Nothing to write anywhere about

Michael Onsando
17 September ,2019

Despite Macdonald Mariga being cleared to run in the Kibra by-election, Tob Cohen’s thrilling murder, dreadlocks being made legal in schools(thus raising the hijab question)  and the various electoral shenanigains, there is nothing to write about in the news this week. There is nothing to write about because there is nothing inherently new about what has happened. And whatever you want to read(or will be written) about any given issue would be an articulation of what you already know and agree/disagree with.

Let me explain.

The Tob Cohen story births three fundamental questions first “are rich men safe from the women they are living with?” Second, what is the complex relationship between the expat and the local (or should I use immigrant and native?)? Third “what is the perfect murder? And in what circumstances is murder, not necessarily acceptable but, understandable. Everything written will be based off these questions or an offshoot of the same. The dreadlocks story births questions on religious expression, a few jokes about weed smoking and maybe a long form piece on decolonization and the steps we have taken towards it. The same about Mariga and electoral shenanigans in the country, attainable documents and psychophancy.

After about 6 years of running this site I’m beginning to wonder if there really is anything new that actually happens. Whether the act of writing does the work we think it will do, spur people to change, to think differently, to act different or to even consider a different perspective. Especially this form of writing where we try to frame issues and provide larger contextual information. Perhaps journalists knew this all along, thus reporting aligns itself to telling the facts of the story, trying to be independent of any thought outside “this is the thing that happened. And this is what followed. Tune in next week for more data.”

Maybe it’s a form of public catharsis. So the people who read us can align themselves with the writers they agree with and hurl stones at the other side. In this way the column must be absolute, grounding itself in a certain side’s complete truth and avoiding any single nuance that may challenge or even taint that truth.

But this isn’t about nuance. I’ve written about that again and again and again (and again).

This is about how, after leafing through the papers the whole week, going through my favourite websites and trying to look at things from different perspectives this particular week there is nothing to write to you about. I thought of talking about the irony in Kenya trying to gain a security council seat despite our own problems with extra judicial killing but that just tied back to what we know – the police are killing people. Or perhaps the negative impact the SGR is having on the coast economy but that was both expected and would only lead to a question we have asked here severally – is our debt really serviceable or was the SGR project a white elephant gifted to the government by itself?

In the predictable nature of corruption Brenda Wambui writes about, well, the predictable nature of corruption. Not that it is predictable that we will corrupt something at somepoint, but that the steps that will be taken following the scandal are a dance that the people and the government are so used to that it happens like clockwork. In the same way it is becoming dull, writing this place out. There are few things that actually happen differently and even less that changes.

So in this same spirit I decided not to write a column this week. There’s no point in telling you the things that you already know and framing them to either fit or challenge your confirmation bias. This week, instead I have decided to share a picture of something that you could not have seen coming in any way or form.

Have a great week.

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