Nurses Are Called To Serve, Not To Suffer

In other news, the countrywide nurses strike crossed the 120 day mark and did not make a bleep on the headlines. With the country in the throes of an election tussle, I suspect the nurses strike will sneak right past the 150 day mark without so much as a trending hashtag. It would take a nuke war in the Korean peninsula to divert the national psyche off the election drama. The nation is binge watching political news and all else can wait, even health care.

Who cares about the caregivers? The truth is that privilege and sheer good luck spares many from the trauma of healthcare in a public hospital, where one can get a real grasp of the ongoing public health crisis. Nairobians talk about the nurse’s strike in the same way we talk about an unexpected jam during the off peak hours on Mombasa road. “Ah, bloody hell!” We treat the news as a mild irritation, something beyond one’s control like a growing mound of garbage in a neighbourhood you do not live in but have to bear the stench on your daily commute to work.

Tear Gas City

A typical Nairobian has a guy, who knows a guy, with the latest locational coordinates of the NTSA (National Transport and Safety Authority) alcoblow checks. The sensible thing when you go out drinking is to call an uber. We all know the refrain. Do not drink and drink then drive.

But who follows their own great advice on the slippery slope of a typical heavy night. The evening starts out innocently. One polite single evening beer after work, to let the traffic ease up at the regular. Shortly, 9pm arrives like a thief in the night. One reasons they might as well stay for the news headlines. 30 minutes later, suffering from the effects of a depressing news cycle, a last drink is called for to aide the process of extracting sense from the rabid noise that passes for political discourse these days. Indeed, the more things change in Nairobi, the more they become normalised.

Respect Is A Scarce Commodity

A number witness camera videos popped up online of University of Nairobi students getting “disciplined” by overzealous policemen following a riot to protest the arrest of Member of Parliament for Embakasi East, Babu Owino. Babu was a former University student leader and he still enjoys comrade goodwill. The anti riot police descended on the Nairobi campus on the day of the planned demonstration ready for battle. The students caught in the fracas met the full of wrath of prejudiced police men who have a long standing grudge with public university students.

More accounts have since been relayed of innocent students harassed, beaten and humiliated by policemen in battle gear. Students received a beating they did not deserve and with it a rude introduction to the occupational hazards of student life in a public university.

Meeting Eliud Kipchoge

I was a young sports editor in 2003, heading a small team of four behind a magazine called Sports Monthly, a round up of sports news, features, and opinions in Kenya. It was a great time to be a sports editor. Kenya had lit the sporting world with outstanding performances. This was my first foray in the world of sports journalism and away from my weekly column beat as a relationship critic in a weekend newspaper.

A Man Like Maraga

The week that was, Kenyan news trended globally for good reason. This small East African country delivered a judicial bolt from the blue and nullified a presidential election. “In Africa, of all places?” asked the baffled Westerners from across the Atlantic. Americans are waking up to the volatile temperament of the Trump presidency and there was open envy in the editorials that followed the breaking news.

A little African country had made a strong case for democracy with the Supreme Court ruling that had nullified a presidential election marred by irregularities. Foreign election observers who had given the election a clean bill of health, fumbled over retractions and penned long winded defenses. Citizens of African countries living under oppressive regimes were hopeful again, that the dim light at the end of a long democracy tunnel was not an illusion. Kenya gained new admirers. The biggest surprise was reserved for Kenyans who had never imagined that the courts could turn on status quo and rule against a sitting president.