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Friday, June 24, 2011

In Kigali, Lessons For Garissa

It's a well documented fact that Garissa has a massive hygiene problem. While our city has experienced turbocharged growth in the past decade, we still lack a proper garbage disposal mechanism and our sewerage system is medieval.

In spite of this, we pompously proclaim ourselves to be Muslims while ignoring an important tenet of Islam that lays great emphasis on cleanliness and hygiene.

I have always laid the blame for this on general illiteracy, our notorious lack of civic mindedness and the ever useful "my qabil" political gambit that has served our MPs and Councilors so well for so long while leaving the rest of us dying  of dysentery.

Let me come back to the point of this post though. Kigali, Rwanda is one of Africa's cleanest and healthiest cities. Every Kigali resident has health insurance and clean air to breathe.Laws there are  well defined and enforced . But the most impressive thing about Kigali is how its residents maintain its cleanliness as the video embedded below illustrates.

The only difference between Kigali and Garissa or even Nairobi is the leadership. In Kigali and in Rwanda generally, leaders care about their people and are mainly motivated by a sense of public duty. In Garissa, our leaders are bunch of thugs who use their tenure to strip us of our wealth through taxation (without representation) and then divert it to their offshore bank accounts.

Most surprising though, we Garissans know where we stand and have no illusions about it.
We get to live in dry, sewer invested, unpaved neighbourhoods, eat expired food, die of pneumonia or dysentery at 39, get buried in a nondescript grave at a nondescript yard and then face Allah's questions for all our deficiencies.

In between, we get an election cycle every half a decade, vote with our blood lineage, get rewarded with a few police parades on Madaraka Day and forever remain hapless historical footnotes.

As Moi put it in his ultimate pabulum, "Siasa Mbaya, Maisha Mbaya."

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