It is 6.30pm and I am still in town swallowed by the iconic buildings and masses of people who move up and down to make ends meet. It soon downs on me that I only have 30 minutes to catch up with the seven o’clock news. This realization propels me to the matatu terminus. As I sit in the matatu, I pray very hard that today’s news won’t leave me nauseated as the previous day’s news. If in the unlikely event my prayer will be answered, then that will be the beginning of a new dawn in Kenyan news bulletins.
No sooner had I switched on the TV than I was bombarded with political news of senators, MCAs and MPs wanting to increase their salaries. I tried to switch to different channels but this didn’t make things any better. It seems our country has become an incubator of stress, depression, hopelessness and fear. I choose to view the glass as half full, the glaring facts to the contrary notwithstanding. After encouraging myself that the next piece of bulletin will be refreshing, I stay put.
As if the news anchors were waiting to deflate my optimism balloon, the next piece was about a father somewhere in Kisii who had slit the throats of his two kids after separating with their mother. Following hot on the heels of this piece, was a pastor caught pants down with the wife of a member of his church somewhere in Nairobi. Our feelings have been numbed to this kind of news since morals long held as sacred are crumbling under the weight of modern social pressure.
In almost every society, the situation is the same. There is political confusion, ideological frustration, social unrest, economic uncertainty, moral bankruptcy, institutionalized corruption, and people are disillusionment with religion. All inhabit an environment of our fragile democracy. This comes as a result of a generation in a society that seems to have lost a sense of purpose. They are out of touch with the values, morals, and convictions that build strong families, secure communities, healthy societies, and prosperous nations. Thus, the moral fabric of most societies is being stretched and tested to its outer limits.
During a commercial break, I decided to distract my mind from the tormenting news by filling up a Sudoku puzzle in the Daily Nation. When there were signs that the break was almost over, I put aside the newspaper and focus on the screen ready for the next roller coaster. “Ten passengers were killed in a grisly road accident near salgaa” were the words that flowed from the anchor’s mouth and left a heavy stench in my living room. The refreshing work that the Sudoku puzzle had done on me was rendered inconsequential. I was back to my usual depression incubator.
Minutes later, my proclivity for business news was dealt a major blow after the business news anchor unequivocally stated that financial institutions will be rising their lending rates to stem the high rate of inflation being experienced in our country. This is not only in Kenya. Industrialized nations are also not spared. They are as fragile as third world nations. Inflation, coupled up with deregulations, mergers and acquisition, information technologies, wars and international competition all alter the shape of our economic fabric.
The news of “Harambee Stars” being eliminated from Africa Cup of Nations qualifications brought up the rear of the bulletin. I switched off the TV and stared blankly in space as I said a silent prayer for our country. I then took some panadols and went to sleep, forgetting to take supper.