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Coronavirus pandemic has exposed human vulnerability

By Stephen Ndegwa
Thursday, April 2nd, 2020
Coronavirus scare.

If human beings had any delusions of grandeur about their place in the cosmic scheme of things, nature has just put us squarely in our minute space. This is the new reality brought by the emergence and ruthless spread of Covid-19. 

After all the bravado of feats achieved for eons, humankind has realised just how vulnerable it is. Forget about nuclear power and futuristic military gizmos.

The existential threat facing man today is a microscopic organism—the novel coronavirus.    

About a third of the entire world’s population is literally in a lockdown. Things that billions of people had taken for granted, or as a right, have come to a complete halt.  

Try to imagine a situation where heartless crooks of all shades, including terrorists that blow up people into smithereens, have also quarantined themselves, scared for dear life, from a virus, like the rest of us mere mortals. 

Heads of  nations, militaries, corporations, et al are squirming like those they lord over.

A joke going round also puts our predicament in perspective—pastors are also waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to be eliminated so they can continue healing the sick!   

Even if it was a conspiracy, the conspirators also got themselves in a cul de sac. Like a popular Swahili saying cautions, some snares entrap both the prey and its setters. 

We are truly living in desperate times, with a German minister reportedly committing suicide after fearing the worst for the fortunes of the biggest economy in Europe. 

Ultimately, one thing you can be sure of is things will never be the same again. During this period of soul searching, we must recalibrate our lives. We need to interrogate a lot of our beliefs and relations.

Meanwhile, could this possibly be the prophesied rapture? Either the Messiah cometh, or it’s time for the anti-Christ. 

***

Those who have been in and out of long term relationships know the emotional and psychological trauma of being stuck with a lousy spouse. It is an insufferable misfortune, where one is damned either way, with no escape or respite. 

That was my ordeal last week when I delayed paying for my subscription TV. The service provider pulled out all channels from the menu, and, guess which one they did not bother to withdraw? You are right! 

Now, we all hate to love the good old Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC). Those who lived through its time as the only broadcaster, to its transition in a competitive and pluralist media regime, can feel the pain of an institution perpetually in rigor mortis. 

For the avoidance of doubt, KBC is still a relevant media house, particularly in our current socio-economic development challenges. In fact, with the downside of media liberalisation, KBC should have remained strong as the nation’s moral compass and national psyche. 

Unfortunately, KBC lost it long time ago—it is better it was even trapped in a time warp. For the last couple of decades, it has been a bottomless financial pit that has gobbled up public funds with nothing new to show for it. 

KBC hardly attracts any advertisements, even the obvious ones from the government that it is supposed to serve, for the simple reason that no one is watching. 

I do not begrudge KBC’s employees their privilege to earn a living, just like the rest of civil servants in the country. However, going by previous instances where staff of the moribund corporation have expressed their desperation, they would rather move on if offered a good send-off package.   

A State broadcaster is necessary anywhere in the world, as we see even in the developed world. But it must serve a clear and discernible purpose, not a conduit for siphoning our meagre national coffers. 

— The writer is a communication expert, and public policy analyst — [email protected]

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