Friday, 30 August 2013

The continuous Kenyan-road carnage is shocking and a shame!

What happened to the sanctity of life and human dignity?

These two terms "sanctity of life" and "human dignity" have differing histories but one thing is sure-they are at home within differing cultures. Regardless of whichever background we are from, everyone agrees that human life and human dignity are inviolable!

In their book God and Human dignity, R.Kendall and L. Voodhead argues that the Roman Catholic Church has been notable for the way in which it has accorded the concept of human dignity a central place in its social teachings for several decades. This they say has shaped various contemporary debates on issues from war and poverty to abortion, human cloning, and euthanasia.

I would therefore propose a little look at the Catholic theology and see what they have to tell us.
Irenaeus Bishop of Lyons, the great Catholic theologian would say that, "The glory of God is a human being fully alive, and the life of humanity is the vision of God."

Alexander Roberts quotes one of the early Christian apologist Lactantius who memorably addressed the dignity that comes to human by God's work of creation when he declared that God had created humankind as a "sacred animal" (santum animal). For this reason, he declared, God had prohibited that humans be killed, not only in those instances also recognized by public law, such as wanton murder, but in any case whatsoever including warfare and the exposure of infants (Divine Institutes 6.20)

What we are currently witnessing on our Kenyan roads is a blatant rejection of these noble arguments that human life is sacred and should always be treated as so! 

World Health Organisation(WHO) estimate that above 3000 people die every year in Kenya through road accidents with those left seriously injured soaring in their thousands.

41 died, 33 injured (Pictured by Daily Nation)
Not a week if not a day that passes without a report of death and maiming on our Kenyan roads. 
We are regularly bombarded with images and messages of grisly accidents with bodies lying lifeless on the roads and in the valleys. Vehicles with no roofs, bloody personal possessions spread all over the place, weeping mourners struggling to identify their loved ones in the morgues are the order of the day. 

Policemen then appear on our TV screens as the first witnesses. How the police become witnesses I just cannot tell!They are quick to identify that the vehicles involved were either overloaded, over speeding, the drivers were too drunk or the brakes failed. I’m yet to hear one, I mean one policeman who will own up to the fact that the police also contributed to the accident but I have a dream that one day the first police witness will be ordering all traffic policemen/women to surrender because of their negligence.

We then hear the reports that the man on the house on the hill has sent condolences and asked Kenyans to be more careful. Politicians then visit the wounded with messages of condolences and ‘hope’ to the injured. Companies which own those buses are then threatened with mere words of licence withdrawal. Does that deter more accidents from happening? You and I know the answer.

The corrupt and careless public servants are a reflection of  our society and therefore deeper reflections would be needed. To combat carnage on our roads I’m proposing a societal change as the solution.
The argument that our public vehicle operators will always be aggressive does not hold water at any particular time.  

Walter Wink argues that though the capacity for aggression is inherited, the acting out of aggression has to be learned. It is not an instinct. We are not “prewired” for aggression so he argues. Human beings he continues are potentially aggressive, and aggression is a natural and indispensable element in full human life, but people are not inherently warriors. Otherwise the existence of peaceable people would be inexplicable. 

To support that argument he says, a wolf raised in a kennel will, on being released in the wild, stare lackadaisically at caribou nearby even though it is starving. It must be taught to hunt.

Now this is how we should instil sanctity of life and human dignity on our road users. This is how we should be taught to use our roads!

First the driver behavior is as important, if not more so. Though we continue to register improved infrastructure, idiocy (for lack of better terms) has continued to affect our Kenyan driving culture and need correction. 

For one to exercise well-orchestrated patience which would result to smooth and flow of traffic, exercise courtesy coupled with respect then a certain degree of maturity is required.

In my view matatu drivers lack the sensible level of understanding to operate the public vehicles. You can easily see them moving vehicles forward and reverse and in other cases opposite direction all in the same lane. This is highly atrocious!

I also suggest that that the existing driving licences to be withdrawn and enforce a retraining of drivers to have a fresh start. 

And lastly the traffic act should include scrapping. Any vehicle caught flouting rules should be taken off our roads and be written off.Unless we become serious with sanctity of life and human dignity we will continue to loose our people to avoidable deaths! 

The doctrine of sanctity of human life which creates a prima facie duty to respect all forms of human life because they are created and redeemed by God must be upheld at all times and on our roads it is not an exemption!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

An open letter to His Excellency President Kenyatta

Kwanza ningetaka kutoa pongezi kwako na jamii yako pamoja na muungano wa Jubilee, kufuatia uchanguzi wa hapo Machi. Maombi yangu ni kwamba Mungu atakuongoza  unapowajibika katika utumishi wa taifa letu tukufu.

Kabla sijaendelea ningetaka kujitambulisha. Natoka katika tarafa moja ndogo wilayani Murang’a  kaskazini katika mkoa wa kati. Mimi ni mmoja kati ya watoto sita. Baba yangu aliaga dunia tungali wachanga na hivyo mamangu mzazi kawachiwa jukumu ngumu la malezi. Hali ya uchumi pamoja na upataji wa  lisho la kila siku kwa jamii nyingi kutoka eneo hili yaendelea kuwa ngumu siku baada ya siku.

Kilimo ambacho kimekuwa tegemeo letu hakitoshelezi mahitaji yetu. Ukulima wa kahawa ulianguka miaka mingi iliopita, na sisi kama wakulima wadogo  twashindwa tufanyeje.  Hali ya anga haiwezi kutegemewa tena, bei ya mbolea yaendelea kupanda kila kuchao. Muungano wa wakulima wakutetea haki zetu ulianguka pia kwa hivyo hatuna mtetezi tena.

Kiwango cha utabibu pia kimepungua. Twazidi kutembea safári ndefu ilikuweza kupokea matibu na bado gharama yake ni ya hali ya juu sana. Tufanje? Magojwa yenye tiba yazidi tutuangamiza.

Usafiri na pia usalama wa kila mmoja wetu bado unatatanisha.

Pongezi kwa serikali yako kufatia sera za mtangulizi wako kwakuweka mikakati ya kukabiliana na mambo haya lakini na shindwa kama moja zapo ni za nia njema. Kwa mfano najua ulituahidi talaklishi lakini nashangaa inahaja gani kwangu kama sina stima, chakula, hali njema ya elimu na matibabu  karibu nami.

Ombi langu mtukufu  ni kwamba unaweza bado kugairi nia ilituweze kwanza kutosheleza mahitaji muhimu ya kila mwanachi. Kwanza tuzidi kunjenga barabara, tuongeze idadi ya waalimu shuleni, tupigane na ukimwi na tumalize magojwa yenye tiba na pia toboreshe lisho kwa minajili ya jamii zetu!

Wako Mwananchi Mwaminifu