Heavier things · Just thoughts

Kenya Needs Radical Surgery, Desperately and Urgently

We now know that a deputy principal of a school known as EL-WAK was the mastermind behind an elaborate scheme that led to the leakage of the national examinations whose contents were ‘watssapped’ faster than DJ De La Creme’s sex tape. The detailed account reads like a crime thriller: Fast paced, plenty of action and a general sense of impending doom- not for the deputy principal in question though- for this country.

It’s hard to believe that we have sunk this low. Everyone is stealing, everything is for sale and crime pays- extremely well.

Theft has hit us from every possible angle: in our taxes, on our land, in our bank accounts, in our churches, businesses, service provision, electoral votes and now with our children’s future. Everything is up for grabs. There is not a shred of evidence to prove that this country is headed in the right direction.

We have become disgusting, selfish, money hungry second rate copies of what we were meant to be and we are taking this beautiful country down with us. We are obsessed with two things: Money and Ourselves.

We are headed for doom and we don’t seem to care.

It’s become so bad that I now have to ask whether Churches are still relevant. Seriously, other than making money from the ignorant and condemning gay people, what do these Church people do? I am specifically pointing a finger at Churches because we claim to be a Christian country. Today, this country has more churches than anyone cares to count. They all purport to be some kind of moral compass in our society with millions of followers to boot. And yet, the level of ugliness and immorality is becoming increasingly unbearable.

Teaching was once known as the Noble profession. All professionals underwent education with a teacher. Teachers prepared the next generation of skilled professionals. They taught people how to be good citizens. Teaching was considered as a means by which God touched lives.

Not anymore.

Today, teachers want money- lots of it. They won’t teach till their demands are met, the hell with the children.  Today, teachers have become sex pests who impart knowledge on young minds under the influence of alcohol.  Today, teachers steal exams; squander children’s dreams and use their positions to enrich themselves.

Forgive my generalizations here but it has been all doom and gloom with this profession in the past couple of years. Same with pastors, priests, lawyers and politicians. At least with lawyers and politicians, we have never had our doubts. They have stayed true to their cause and continue to live up to our (lack of) expectations. With teachers, pastors and priests, we are less forgiving. We have been failed. Miserably.

It was not taxi driver, a software developer or even a politician that was behind the latest KSCE exam cheating scandal. It was a teacher, a deputy principal no less. There have been similar exam cheating sagas in the past couple of years but to date, we ‘don’t know’ who was behind them. My money is on yet another teacher. And since no one was punished, the same thing was bound to happen this year. We should have counted on it.

But we didn’t.

Instead, we ‘accepted and moved on’.

We continued putting up with a system where impunity rules and crime pays. And now the few honest hard working people are beginning to lose hope. I recently had a conversation with someone, a good man, who has been doing all he can to avoid paying taxes. He has succeeded and is very proud of the fact. “What difference does it make?” He asked, “It’s the crooks that end up taking my money anyway”. This general sentiment has become a running joke on social media. Kenyans spend time creating and consuming funny memes about corruption. And we laugh. Yes, it’s funny that we have so many funny Kenyans but right now, we don’t need any more funny Kenyans to make us laugh. We need a radical surgeon to remove the tumors. Because we have growths in the body of Kenya and they are not benign. They are spreading into every organ of this country and they are spreading fast.

After the latest exam cheating saga, 5,100 results were cancelled, meetings were held, commissions of enquiries were formed and some people were asked to step aside to ‘pave way for investigations’.

Same Shit Different Day.

But now that we are talking commissions of enquiry, I have some enquiries of my own:  What was the criteria used to cancel the 5,100 results? How do we know that another 10,000 didn’t get away with cheating? How do we know that out of the 5,100 cancelled results, some got their A’s fair and square? If the teacher at the centre of the KCSE cheating scheme is still a free man, why have the 5,100 students been punished? Is it possible for the candidates whose results were cancelled to seek redress in a credible court of law? Will the commission of enquiry actually make some enquiries or are they just doing the usual sitting around tables, earning more money per hour than the average Kenyan makes per month to compile reports that no one will ever look at?

Looking at this case, in all fairness, I don’t blame the students. With the education system we have, getting an A is a big deal and let’s not kid one another, we would all have probably done anything to get one in high school. Not that it guarantees anything in the end but we didn’t know that at the time did we? All we wanted was the A. And guarantees aside, it’s never a bad thing to tell your kids you got an A in school.

Having said that, would an A mean anything to the one who didn’t work for it? Won’t they spend the rest of their lives walking around and feeling like the miserable frauds they are?

Maybe not.

Maybe they are just warming up.

And at this rate, they are on the right path, they will fit right into the mess that this country has become.

Unless, of course, we get radical surgery.

The cost of having all the candidates re-sit contentious exams far outweighs the repercussions of the precedent we are setting. So why not do it? Why not have the kids do the exams again? Fair and square.

Simultaneously, why not start the process of scrapping this clearly defunct education system? Too many things have changed in this world for 8-4-4 system to still be relevant 30 years later.  And while we are at it, why not change the way we treat crime in this country? Too much pain has been inflicted for it to be business as usual. We need a surgeon or we will surely rot in this hell that we have either created or enabled.

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