Updated Saturday, July 6th 2013 at 21:14 GMT +3
By Angela Ambitho
People from all social classes are
discontented; they feel restless due social, political, religious or
economic restrictions; Scholars are disillusioned; Government is
unresponsive to societal demands and loses support; it’s near financial
bankruptcy and resorts to over taxing. These are the classic symptoms of
“revolutionary fever” according to late historian Crane Brinton.
He, among others, reviewed the French revolution where social
inequalities was rampant, unfair taxation was eminent, political
corruption and greed was dominant, inflation was the norm, lavish
spending by the king was unrestrained and the rich got richer as the
poor got poorer. But it was the bread riots that tipped the scales and
catalysed the revolution. Food deprivation fuels trouble.
turn the clock forward to this past week‘s event in Egypt, the
revolution fever symptoms relatively the same. During his short stint as
President, Morsi failed deliver a renaissance. Some have quipped that
“he was his own worst enemy, deaf and blind to the gathering storm that
ultimately swept him away. Instead of delivering on his promises, such
as more jobs and greater inclusiveness, he monopolised power and
entrenched his cronies in state institutions”. His reign left Egyptians
feeling no better than they had under the Mubarak’s reign. History
advises that “an empty stomach isn’t a good political advisor”. Egypt
now finds herself under military rule she so detested.
Of what use
is history if we can’t bring it home? Kenya’s past couple of weeks
signify burgeoning discontentment. The teachers strike seems to have no
end in sight, as the nurses threaten to follow suit .
supremacy battles between the upper and lower houses threaten the
entrenchment of our new Bi-cameral parliament. Government expenditure is
characterised by unnecessary largesse and misplaced priorities; from
the cabinet secretaries acquiring guzzlers, to the governors budgeting
for golden robes, kinglsy palaces and guzzling iron chariots; to MPs
awarding themselves handsome pay, to the retired president being gifted
with a send-package fit for a king; the rich and are getting richer as
the wananchi get poorer.
Moreover, public positions continue to be
filled by politically correct cronies making a mockery of the
constitutional requisite for vetting of government jobs and to add
insult to injury, the planned imposition of VAT
on essential commodities such as food only serves to make the hungry
hungrier and angrier. When summarised as I have done, our situation
doesn’t look very enthusing does it?
Indeed as we delve into the
unchartered territories of Kenya’s transition, our two honchos who seem
quite keen in amassing public approval must be alive to the murmurs and
shouts of discontentment. They must embrace history and it’s a vast
early warning signal.
Like you they should reflect on Charles
Dickens’ observation of the French revolution in A tale of two cities
where he wrote; “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it
was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch
of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the
winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before
us…...” Rings a bell doesn’t it?
Let’s not ignore our own symptoms of revolution fever. No formidable nation does.