By Comrade Nyakundi Amenya
University, I am told is the highest learning institution in any society. But, our own universities have continued to make history in the negative, what with the readily available market for academic degrees for the likes of Bishop Margaret Wanjiru (BMW) and Mike Mbuvi Sonko (MMS). During our days, we studied hard for close to a lustrum to earn a bachelor’s degree but now; it is fat bank accounts that secure them.
The penultimate day, I was mesmerized beyond shock to see Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko graduate with a Second Class Honours Upper Division degree in a twelvemonth. Sonko was accompanied with the woman sentenced to be his wife and children. Also, word from gossipers has made rounds that former Kamukunji Member of Parliament Simon Mbugua graduated in the same university under similar circumstances as the Nairobi Senator.
Honestly, has it come to this, that one walks away a full inceptor in a period of one and a half years? If a bachelor’s degree takes a year, as comrade Omogambi Nyachae suggests, a diploma should take one week and a certificate twenty four hours. Funny enough, even as Sonko masqueraded as a graduate, the Deputy President and the Cabinet Secretary for education were both rendered academic bystanders watching him act. The unfunniest thing is that they both had the temerity to cheerily congratulate him.
It is always expensive to protect a lie that a King. How Sonko earned his degree, no one knows. When he read his books, only God knows. No wonder those gossipy comrades authoritatively articulate that bloke has cash enough to buy the entire Garden of Eden but he cannot show us a tree that grows money in his compound. That confirms how incompetence has graduated among the so-called-Kenyan-professionals – professionals my foot.
When I define professional incompetence, doctors do not escape victimless. In fact, they are the worst culprits. Our doctor’s attitudes tell a lot about their academic proficiency. Just like Mike Sonko, most of them are academic terrorists. No wonder the rich and the not-so-rich of this nation reach for VIP lounges in airports at the slightest sign of ailment.
It is only in Kenya where a rich high school finisher with D+ (plus) ends up a medical doctor, whereas the resourceless hoi polloi that just like the rich, spent nine months in their mother’s womb and scored a clean A (plain), is denied a chance to do the same course. No wonder patients are dying like termites in the hands of these quacks upon getting wrong medication.
Our government hospitals have become a complete snafu. Pharmacists, nurses, and receptionists no longer treat patients as patients. Kenya is one country where health workers persistently go berserk in demand for perks and pay rise. In any hospital you go, supposed life savers are after money. Now I tend to believe that in Kenya is “See a hospital and die”
A few years ago, only the best students gained university admissions to study medicine. In faculties of medicine, there were equally brilliant professors in our universities who never let anyone graduate in medicine until found truly worthy in both character and learning. But not anymore. The quality of our training – both moral and academic – our BS graduates receive is in question. Doctors, albeit I am a layman in medicine, please tell me, what happened to the Hippocratic Oath?”
I am reliably informed that these days, only a few are allowed to read courses like architecture, Law, and Medicine without paying a bribe of Ksh500,000 to criminals in some public universities. Likewise, these days people hardly fail or repeat a course – even in High School. This confirms how society is bearing the brunt of corruption. Unimaginably, these are just the early days: the worst is impending and comrade Joseph Lister Nyaringo can attest to this.
Doctors aside, the situation is much worse in my own field: language and communication. Although the incompetence of journalists or writers does not lead to deaths, journalism or writing is no longer a profession. Everyone claims to be a writer, even if they write incomprehensible things.
In public service, the topmost positions are occupied by bungling officers who are adept at asphyxiating grammar. These are the people my friends Dr.Onyango Ochieng Jr. refer to as Grammar Nazis. These are the people who pilfered exams since infancy and they are still encouraging the same in their children.
Every day, we listen to English language murderers on TV and on the radio. But you dare not point out their errors! Kenya faces disgrace every day overseas because instead of communicating in Swahili, Gusii, Dholuo or any other native language and then requesting for an interpreter, some of our diplomats struggle to communicate in English.
I have attempted to read some books written by professors (who obviously do not need editors) but couldn’t go beyond the first paragraph on account of nauseating errors. Once, my child’s schoolteacher handed me a “standard textbook” for class 5 pupils containing abominable errors even in its preface. There and then, I called the number of the publisher in Industrial area. He told me they had made use of wonderful editors and that the textbook was error-free. I felt sorry that my child was being misled by books and teachers at an early age.
It no longer matters that buildings are collapsing across the country. “Tested and trusted” engineers are performing wonders with sub-standard building materials at sites supervised by bribe-thirsting civil servants. Until about 15 years ago, I did not hear of building collapse in this country.
Now it happens several times each year, usually during the rainy season. And many are buried in the rubble for no fault of theirs. Kenyan roads and airspace have been wasting lives partly because money meant for rehabilitation of roads and airports is stolen routinely.
I have always said that when mediocrity replaces merit, standard is compromised. Whoever encourages his child to cheat during examinations should condone him when he becomes an armed robber. And let those who value money more than human beings get ready to be buried by money someday.
We seriously need men of God like pastor Israel Robert Burale to pray for this country.