By Prof Osman Warfa
Last year after the unfortunate terrorism attack on Westgate Mall, the police criminal activity disguised as a swoop on terrorism, Operation Uslama Watch, was turned into an ATM card with no limit on cash withdrawal. Since independence police terrorism on citizens has caused untold damage to Kenyans and more so the residence of North, North Eastern, and cost regions. In addition to hard economic times due to plummeting tea and coffee prices, agriculture suffering from erratic rainfall, inflation, declining shilling, insecurity, terrorism, and hunger – people are nervous of police raids. The unreported raids on Nomads and nightly bangs on metallic doors meant to enhance security in the dead of the night is a hallmark of police disguised terror campaign. The police are excellent professionals raiding, mugging, robbing, and excel in “late kito kidogo” culture!
It is clear insecurity, ineptitude, tribal, ethnic biased in jobs/contracts, and citizens’ luck of faith from its leaders is all products of deceitful leadership. The wananchi are at scorching, blistering, and sweltering with annoyance. They are steaming with resentment towards the oppressive regime. The undernourished minors, weedy sick and frail elder trying to sleep on empty stomach due to poverty and fear of state security terrorism are experiencing nightmares. They can’t differentiate between ordinary criminals, Al-Shabab terrorist and police criminality. This constant fear, fright, trepidation, panic due to criminal activity by “Utumishi kwa wote” has graduated from causing fear, apprehension, and phobia to causing panic and stroke.
A stroke is a condition in which the brain cells suddenly die due to lack of oxygen. It can be caused by an obstruction in the blood flow or the rupture of an artery that feeds the brain. With stroke you may suddenly lose the ability to speak, memory problems, or one side of the body can become paralyze. There are two main types of stroke – ischemic and hemorrhagic. Anyone can suffer from stroke. Although many risk factors are out of our control. But several can be kept in line through proper nutrition and medical care.
Ischemic strokes are ultimately caused by a thrombus or embolus that blocks blood flow to the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes can be caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure, a head injury, or aneurysms. Symptoms include loss of balance, speech problems, dizziness, paralysis, impaired vision, sudden severe headache, and confusion. Smaller strokes called silent strokes, may not cause any symptoms, but can still damage brain tissue. Stroke is treated by restoring blood flow to the brain using a blood clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). In addition, surgical procedure may be performed that can open up or widen arteries.
You can know if one experiences stroke by using FAST, which stands for face, arms, speech and time. If one experiences strokes that person face looked puffy and swollen, is not able to raise both arms as one drift downwards, the person speech is slurred, sounds strange or different, and time is essential as every second counts in stroke recovery. The sooner a person can get to a hospital, the better their chance of recovery. Time is an essence, but is there an emergency number to call? If there is one, does it function?
Time is as essence, but do we really expect the poor to be in hospital on time? What about the cost? The financial cost of strokes is enormous and don’t expect the poor Nomad to afford preventative care or treatment. Poverty as an economic condition can put people at risk for stroke. Diabetes, heart disease, and obesity causes stroke in addition to police brutality. There is an urgent need to stop the police terrorism on wananchi. Doing the right thing now ultimately would be cost-saving. We have a long way to go before wananchi receive adequate stroke prevention and care. If the government is not going to do it for the right reasons, it has to do it economic reason – because it’s going to be expensive. According to research, stroke-related costs including treatment, rehabilitation, and lost wages is an economic burden on frail economy on stilts with complex multi-pronged challenges.
There is no cost estimate of stroke in Kenya as no study has been done. But expect it to vary widely, when the patients’ lost wages are included. Data from the United States show older people account for 87% of all deaths and 74% of hospitalizations for cerebrovascular disease. The availability of nursing homes and a decline in age-adjusted death rates leave more patients disabled could raises cost. But widespread management of risk factors decreases stroke rates and the severity of associated disability.
Stroke caused by the butt of the riffle or the clobber of the police button on wananchi due to police viciousness imposes a substantial economic burden on individuals and families.
Jubilee government excels in treachery and dishonesty at the expense of good governance. Why is Jubilee rolling back the wheels of reform, declared war on NGOs and civil society organizations, and the media? The weakening shilling due to dividends demand payment in dollars, over insecurity, and exodus of tourist from the coast adds to the suffering of wananchi. In the tourist sector those already affected are hotel workers, curio dealers, tour firms, entertainers, fishermen, taxi drivers, and KRA among others.
Jubilee familiar approach to governance is fundamentally confused multidirectional lip service, distorted facts and rejects the idea that there are hard and fast dividing lines between social phenomena and focus on ethnicity. The disintegrating digital duos are unable to look at the present, the future, and are concerned with their own conflicts and contradictions. They are nursing nostalgic idealism of bygone KANU era.
Jubilee leaders axes on naked tribalism in government jobs and suffer from self-inflected condition called “methodological relationist”. An equal opportunity is not in their genes. They care about their two tribes ignoring 40 others focusing surgically on our-time-to-eat.
How can one reduce risk of stroke caused by state security machine brutality, viciousness, ruthlessness, callousness and inhumaneness under creeping Jubilee authoritarianism?
Prof Osman Warfa is a researcher based in USA.