Has Our Lust For Money Killed our Mashujaa.
Money and markets have been around for thousands of years. Yet as central as currency has been to so many civilizations, people in societies as different as ancient Greece, imperial China, medieval Europe, and colonial Africa did not measure residents’ well-being in terms of monetary earnings or economic output. In the late 18th century, Trade was introduced to Africa by a few who wanted to rip off our gold and natural resources to a lesser extent other industrializing nations such as England and Germany departed from this historical pattern. It was then that African people and policymakers started to measure progress in dollar amounts, tabulating social welfare based on people’s capacity to generate income. This fundamental shift, in time, transformed the way Africans appraised not only investments and businesses but also their communities, their environment, and even themselves.
Today, we have long forgotten the long fallen heroes and we praise those who stole from our infant economies and their well-being may seem hard to quantify in a nonmonetary way, but indeed other metrics—from incarceration rates to life expectancy have held sway in the course of the country’s history. The turn away from these statistics, and toward financial ones, means that rather than considering how economic developments could meet Africans’ needs, the default stance in policy, business, and everyday life is to assess whether individuals are meeting the exigencies of the economy.
At the turn of the 19th century, it did not appear that financial metrics were going to define Africans’ concept of progress. In scramble and partition of Africa all the world across was showcasing their power, in bigger terms than just money, military and industrial, the invaded African farms asking them to calculate the moneymaking capacities of their farms, workshops, and families so that he could use that to create economic colonialism in Africa. To my surprise African became their slaves and workers, labourers for the famous Manufactures. It is in these that the big firms and Europe made their big leap as cheap labour and free resources were leaped of the African continent.
Today Kenyans are set to mark a big step in their struggle to stand united as a nation amidst rising political temperatures, that notwithstanding it has been my observation that far the most popular and dominant form of social measurement in society then was a collection of social indicators known then as “moral statistics,” which quantified such phenomena as prostitution, incarceration, literacy, crime, education, insanity, pauperism, life expectancy, and disease. While these moral statistics were laden with paternalism, they nevertheless focused squarely on the physical, social, spiritual, and mental condition of the Kenyan public. For better or for worse, they placed human beings at the center of their calculating vision. Their unit of measure was bodies and minds, never pounds and cents.
Yet today, money-based economic indicators began to gain prominence, eventually supplanting moral statistics as the leading benchmarks of individual prosperity. This epochal shift can be seen in the national debates over salaries. In the earlier parts of the 19th century, Kenyans wielded moral statistics in order to prove that their society was the more advanced and successful one. The proportion of being the more you manage to get out of the societies under the table the more Shujaa you are. Who can remind me of what happened to all those who stood by their moral. All those who whistle blowers for big cases, they all died poor and we all call ourselves shujaa and neither of all those souls is remembered today.
By the end of today, however, most of us politicians and businessmen will have abandoned such moral statistics in favor of economic metrics. We will all be calling our firms managers tabulating the cash value of agricultural produce that both regions had extracted from the earth. In so doing, we speak the language of productivity, turning many men of capital to the slavery cause.
What happened in the few month is more or less the same, no clear explanation of how the Unga crisis hits the country just before an election is held and who are the mastermind of the crisis, who benefits selling maize to the government at a large scale and how he preserves his farm produce that the country can’t match up to him to save it people in the time of need. In the day that we all call ourselves patriots and want to celebrate our heroes, I urge all of us to think if we will ever be celebrated by the generations to come or we will just be forgot as soon as we wither. Happy Mashujaa Day