Don’t wait for bells to be sounded to act responsibly

Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary

By Gilo Jr. Okwata

First the varsities threatened to down their tools over unpaid arrears, then comes the hotels giving ultimatum for the peace delegates to exit their premises over 10-million-dollar debt and now the JEDCO joins the chorus by threatening to shut down the electricity over lack of hard currency.

These scarecrow tactics are only synonymous with landlords whose tenants missed the deadline of paying the renting fees. The only solution to necessitate the due payment is to lock up the room with a new padlock until the said amount is steadily settled. This is a real scenario the government found herself in.

The most plausible questions should be; why would the government which is capable of paying the arrears, debts and hard currency, wait until an ultimatum is given? Does it enjoy working under pressure? Or does it take deep slumber until it is woken up? Is it a well-thought-of strategy to deviate the public from the laxity in the implementation of the peace agreement?

These are some of the questions we may not know the answers soon because no one either cares to know, asks or is willing to talk about it. Sadly, no one either wants to follow-up to find out why all these spectacles resurface every now and then because the once upon a time last hope and public gatekeeper, the disjointed self-pity media, is always busy trying to outwit each other. They are still busy saving their faces because their houses are not in order. Their practitioners have become social media warriors who are strong enough to attack each other for reasons best known to themselves. Worst is, they have been threatened, recoiled and retreated to their carapaces.  

The civil society bears resemblance to the media. Their responses are always wanting and based on individual opinions. They are far more divided than the eye can see. They are just frustrated toothless lions. They cannot bite deep into the flesh.

At the end of the day, this circus will continue to rub salt in our wounds. We can only whine and groan, but the pressure will eventually die down like a dying ember of a lit candle.

It is quite distressing that the responsible ‘big brothers’ would wait for alarm bell to be sounded to act responsibly.

The knee-jerk reaction only serves as short-term easy escape route solutions and quick fixes. It does not in any conceivable way solve the underlying problems. This manner of waiting until you are ambushed by the owners of hotels and JEDCO with bills worth of millions is quite embarrassing. We have given power to private companies and individuals to hold us at ransom in our own country.

However, the onus lies with the government’s inertia to respond to these avoidable occurrences. I believe that some of these issues of lecturers’ strikes, hotels fiasco and JEDCO debacle should have been solved out of the public glare and devoid of theatrics.

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