The World – A Master of Double Speak

“From the word go, you must be clear on what you can do and what you can’t do.” – Prof Marion Mutugi

Last Sunday, I was privileged to attend a Young Professionals Convention where the panelists included notable bigwigs such as Prof Sam Ongeri, Prof Marion Mutugi, Dr. Herta Von Stiegel, and Phyllis Wakiaga among others.

Admittedly, listening to their bio was a little bit intimidating: I mean, their accolades, titles, and accomplishments possibly outweigh the number of books I’ve read in my lifetime. Yet, effortlessly, merrily, and with immeasurable humility, they unselfishly shared some of the incredible nuggets of wisdom that they’ve learned experientially through their many decades of service across various sectors in the nation and abroad.

Of the many stories narrated on that day, one stood out for me and I would like to amplify it today. Prof Marion spoke of one time when a prominent person wanted her to ‘get things done’ owing to her influence and position. The reward was of course a ‘hefty kickback’. Without hesitation, she candidly refused only to end up getting berated owing to her gender and ethnicity. Unflinchingly, she stood her ground and left.

Now here’s the interesting twist to the story: sometime later, she was appointed by the then President to serve in a vetting committee for commissioners of Kenya’s electoral body. Taken aback by the call of duty since she wasn’t close to the Head of State, she later on enquired about how she had ended up there. Unbelievably, the same person who was angry with her resolute integrity ended up proposing her name to the President!

Isn’t it laughable how the world is looking for a compartmentalized individual – one who flexes between corrupt and the incorruptible depending on the situation at hand? You see, virtue is deemed as an impediment when we can’t somewhat influence events to our own advantage – yes, integrity appears uncouth when you can’t find someone to ‘buy’ in order to fast-track a service in whatever office. However, the same virtue is considered desirable for that person working at the border or customs department – after all, they must do their job well, rejecting any undue influence for we need assurance that the food we eat isn’t contaminated and the medicine we consume isn’t a counterfeit.

Indeed, we live in a world that champions for diversity and inclusivity yet unashamedly models nepotism in the name of ‘supporting our own.’ A world that blatantly condemns social injustices yet some perpetrators of crime and evil go scot-free for they are ‘untouchables’. A world that ridicules youthful chastity and purity yet ranks these same virtues foremost for anyone seeking for a mate to betroth. A world that views upholding virtue as a call to exemplify more holiness than His Holiness or worse regards it as a means of securing more bounty from the Almighty. Indeed, the world we live in is a master of doublespeak. What brazen absurdity!

Many authors and commentators have written and spoken extensively on this subject, but I’ve yet to encounter none who punctuates it best like Ellen White in her book called Education: “The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” Will you be counted among such men and women? Only time will tell.

Cheers, good people to a week and lifetime full of virtue.

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