Never a time has the ordinary mwananchi been so important. From Lokichogio to the Indian Ocean shores, ordinary Kenyans are now a prized possession, at least in the next 58 days! Politicians are traversing the lengths and widths of the country, begging for votes and support from people they will not see in another five years.
They are kissing babies with plastic smiles plastered on their faces and sharing tents over tea with homeless people. They are gleefully shaking hands with dirty palms, with the dark comfort of a 4X4 boot filled with sanitisers making the necessary procedure bearable. Someone said politicians shake your hand before the election then shake you after.
It is true. So Kenyans, enjoy while it lasts. Your importance lasts until the 8th day of August —unless, of course, there is a presidential run off. Meanwhile, as these politicians traverse the country applying for employment, nurses are traversing the streets calling for better pay.
The Council of Governors is laying the blame on the nurses, who it accuses of hard line nonnegotiable stance. The nurses return the favour, accusing the governors of going against a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and Sarah Serem’s Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) for terming the agreement unaffordable.
The Opposition Nasa coalition is blaming the National government of inability to act on a matter of high concern. The National government says it cannot interfere with constitutionally independent institutions like the SRC or micromanage counties, Health being a devolved function. The patient in hospital is watching the circus and not giving a beep beep who is to blame.
All they want is to get medical service, to gain their health, to stop dying unnecessarily. As our leaders wrangle over who takes credit for the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) —the originator of the idea or the implementor— important national issues involving the actual suffering of Kenyans are swept under the carpet.