Over the last few weeks, there have been numerous reports of the sufferings of Africans in China. It is not my place to recount them in detail, but I can relate the rudiments. As it goes, folks of African origin living in some Chinese cities have been turned out of their residences by landlords and denied entry to malls and other social amenities by security officials.
On the evening of Friday, March 27th 2020, Yassin Hussein Moyo was on the balcony of his parents’ house with other children, some of them neighbours. They were curiously following the goings-on on the street below. Police officers were clearing vendors and other members of the public, enforcing the new curfew instituted to slow the spread of Covid-19.
The other day, while following the Pope’s Mass online with a couple of friends, I heard kids playing outside the door. As usual when kids play, they had these meaningless conversations on a randomly-changing roster of topics, none of which was exhausted before the next one took its place. At one point, they started chanting “coronavirus, coronavirus,” interspersed with some words I cannot remember.
Last Monday (16th March 2020), a fellow sporting the name Elijah Muthui Kitonyo was arrested by Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) agents, on charges of “publishing false information that may cause panic, contrary to Section 23 of the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act of 2018.” If found guilty, Mr Muthui faces a fine of up to KES 5 million, or a jail term not exceeding ten years, or both.
Last Saturday, in furtherance of my very public intention to write a blog article every week, and out of a particular feeling of cantankerousness, I posted a piece satirising the Kenyan government’s response to the threat of the novel coronavirus. As usual, I then shared a link to the piece with many friends through a WhatsApp broadcast message.
Let me declare at the outset, by way of preface, that I am not a public health expert. I mean, I could be, but I have chosen a much more boring path for my life. So I am speaking here as an ordinary citizen, who lays no claim to a monopoly of the truth on this issue. In fact, I will do my best to avoid detail in this treatment, because I don’t want to make a fool of myself.
I first heard of former president Moi’s demise from a guard. I was entering my workplace early in the morning, just before 7:00 am. As I approached the gate, one of the guards was haggling over the matter with his colleagues, insisting to them that the former president was dead. While frisking me, he asked if I had any information about this momentous affair, eager to have me vindicate him before his mates.
Here in Kenya, we take it for granted that ours has been the most stable country in East Africa since independence. This is a lie. We have had dictatorships, an attempted coup, multiple political assassinations, and deadly electoral mishaps. Besides, Tanzania has been way more stable, and it is just across our southern border.
I couldn’t get a better title for this article. Perhaps the muses gave me nothing else because the clumsy one I have used is accurate. In this big world, there are people who argue with mosquitoes (at night) and TVs (during football matches) and other non-human things.
I first learnt of David Ndii during his feisty debate with Bitange Ndemo in 2014. In alternate articles carried out on the large pages of the Daily Nation over a number of weeks, both men defended their views on what constitutes true national development.