I recently had a conversation with a friend who works in the Middle East. The first thing she asked, was how we were doing here. She sounded distressed. Like she had been worrying too much about the situation in Kenya.

I told her we were fine. She told me she didn’t feel convinced. I told her we really were. She shrugged it off.

She was certain something was amiss because every moment she was logged on to Facebook, her gut instincts would start firing off. Her news feed had turned into an ugly minefield of pent-up anger and by now, she’d grown accustomed to the barrage of insults creeping up from every corner. Occasionally, she’d stumble on a photo or two of burning tires and savage youth who looked like they were baying for blood.

For this reason, she found it hard to believe that things were okay out here in the streets of Nairobi. That everyone: conman, teacher, clergyman or governor, was hard at work and that our biggest concern right now was the haggard state of the economy after a prolonged period of dwindling earnings. Still, I told her, we remained optimistic that this was just a passing cloud. That’s why we’d wake up early every morning and head to work, rather than stay at home, sharpen our blades and poison our arrows-heads.

By the time our conversation was over, she was thoroughly confused, not sure what to believe anymore because her mind was sure it was otherwise.


The chilly morning of Tuesday the 8th, last month, found me lined up with my National Identification Card at hand ready to vote. I’d woken up about an hour earlier with the hopes of getting to the polling station at least before 5:30 am. I needed to confirm my name and other specifics on the noticeboard put up at the gate.

There were a few policemen and women in sight who were doing a good job of keeping the crowd calm as we waited for the official opening hours. After what seemed forever, we were let in. The multitude of people eager to vote and get done with the process was enormous.

Some were quiet. Some seemed anxious and others happy, but they all looked determined to make a choice.

It was a choice that we were going to live with for another five years.

By 9:30, I had already voted and left the polling station. I felt happy with myself and generally the whole process. I’d watched as pregnant women, young mothers, the old and the frail were given priority just to make sure that they voted. (Eventually, this turned into a point of humor after some women started to report to the polling station with some big-ass babies, awkwardly tied with undersized lesos on their backs. One King Solomon emerged somewhere and suggested that all children who had accompanied their mothers would need to suckle their teats for at least five minutes to prove that they were legitimate mother and child. Needless to say, his suggestion was shot down.)

I felt relieved. It was over.


It wasn’t.

In the past few months, our country has become very uncomfortable to live in. Not because the yellow maize from Mexico is almost over but because we don’t know what next. Every day, it feels like something is waiting to spring up on you. The tension is palpable and the fear unmistakable.

It feels like nothing is moving in the right direction.

Once or twice, I’ve heard a few wish that they were back under Moi’s rule. “At least in Moi’s time, you knew everything was stable because he ruled with a clenched iron fist.” they say. I do not necessarily agree with this.

Here are a few thoughts I’ve gathered from the whole situation:

1) One of the biggest influences of our current times has been social media. More so, the influence of social and digital media extends to governance. It has toppled kings and made DJs presidents. And clearly, this is only the onset.

There will come a point when no government will be stable unless they have the reins to every conversation happening on social media. Personally, I’m tempted to imagine that in the near future you will need a national ID to sign up on Facebook. Any status you update or DM you send after, can and will be used against you in a court of law.

2) Facebook opened a Pandora’s box when Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of a more interconnected world came to fruition. I’m sure he imagined that as the world grew more cohesive, as people got closer to each other, they would be warmer and kinder. That they would be more accepting and tolerant as they got to learn more about other people, different from who they were.

Maybe it worked. Maybe it didn’t.

What became clear though, was that people were not who they appeared in real life. In fact, it was becoming increasingly difficult to determine who the real person was; was it the angry woman shamelessly insulting people online and leaving hate messages on every WhatsApp group or, was it the jovial lady who sang in the choir every Sunday?

Like in most spheres of life, social media is influenced by a small critical mass of individuals whose content is seen over and over again. If this group of people grows hateful and reckless with what they say, they can very easily start a contagion. Aided by anonymity, social media has presented fertile breeding ground for ugly human emotions that often threaten to spill out into the real world.

3) The longer you spend on social media, the more skewed your perspective of the reality becomes. After spending an ominous amount of time reading nasty comments and taking hits of pungent vitriol, you would be forced to believe that the world really is broken.

It almost feels like nothing is right.

And I’ll tell you why.

While you are partly to blame, (because people are attracted to the bizarre like a moth to the flame, you’re more likely to notice the bad/scary/revolting incidences than the good ones.) an equally huge part of that blame can be passed on Facebook.

You see, everything that appears on your social media news feed is not there merely by chance. It would take you several lifetimes to see everything your friends post and read each update from every single page you follow. And that’s not forgetting the shared content.

Facebook therefore, has something called an algorithm that it uses to determine what is the most appropriate content for you to see based on a number of factors. One factor it considers is the type of content you and your friends/people like you have shown previous interest in. For example, If you’re always commenting on cars, this algorithm will study your patterns and feed you more content related to cars.

Unfortunately, the same applies for other things like inciteful/hateful/scary content. If you spend a huge chunk of your time looking at such content, you will find that there are heaps of the same where that came from. Reminds me of Fredrich Nietzsche’s quote: “…for when you stare long into the abyss, the abyss gazes into you.”

If you’re always reading negative content, it will find a way to follow you.

Meaning, you might be trapped in a vicious cycle of negative content that makes you believe that the world is more messed up than it actually is. Your own private hell.

4)  If perception is reality, then it follows that reality is perception. Which makes a good case for optimism. – Simon Sinek

As a man thinketh, so he becometh. What you fear, you create.

If you wake up every day believing that everything is wrong in the world, it soon will be. If on every waking moment you’re obsessing on the probability that we might degenerate into violence, you might very soon have your fears come true.

Our thoughts and emotions, very much determine what the world becomes. And that’s why is of paramount importance that we post content that is meant to make the world a better, happier place.


Shoot down the dissenting voices that say that Kenya will degenerate into violence. Cut through the wave of noise showing you how bad this country is.

Kenya is our motherland and there are sufficient reasons to fall in love with her, over and over again. Dwell on those.