Are Kenyans a naturally hateful people?


kenyans in diasporaKenyans are excellent at dishing out advice, but terrible at taking it (much like Portia said in the Shakespearian play Merchant of Venice).

We know the best way to do anything under the sun, and if we don’t, we’ll fake it, and if no one buys it, we will Google it.

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We criticize anything and everything given the chance and play armchair experts at the slightest opportunity, whether it counts or not (and especially when it doesn’t).

The fastest tool to enable this widespread hate is social media. Everyone’s on it and everyone has a certain level of idleness when there is an interesting topic to be discussed. Interesting topics range from Tujuane,politics, and burning airports.

Wednesday morning at 4 a.m., a fire began at JKIA. I’m sure we can all admit that the circumstances look dodgy; the airport staff all knew that there was a fire; they were contacted at home and told so. So why did it take so long to put out (buckets of water instead of hoses, perhaps?)? Where did it start? And most importantly, what is going to happen now?

These are all questions that Kenyans on Twitter (otherwise known as KOT) sought to answer with a vengeance. Tweets raged across the internet.

“Why is Uhuru there? Is he going to put out the fire?’ ‘Hata kama ni baridi, kuchoma airport si poa.’ ‘And the fire brigade arrives with no water…of course.’ ‘There come the travel advisories and there goes tourism for the rest of the year.’

Granted, questions need answers. But if Uhuru hadn’t gone, I bet the level of negativity would have been the same. We have a tendency to latch onto something – anything – and levy all our pent up hatred and frustration towards it.

Why is this? Are we a naturally hateful people, so bereft of the sense of appreciation or gratitude that anything and everything must be kicked when it is down?

The creativity behind the conspiracy theories and the humorous tweets was something to be marvelled at, to say in the least.

Mine is that some malcontent stewardess upset with her pitiful pay instigated it. It’s good fun to read, but sometimes I wish we would spend our time tweeting even more frequently about things that matter, like #carpoolKe or #wanadamu, and DO something about it; actually get out of our armchairs, like the spectators who miraculously coalesced at the airport. If we could use our voices as KOT on the internet for something positive more often than a dating show on TV, how far, do you think, could we go?

Abigail Arunga is the Digital Sub Editor,

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