The fact that a group of young men have been arrested for impersonating the president and conning a business man out of millions of shillings should be the starter of debate in this country.
Most people have been so caught up about Akothee, and her dance moves at a recent performance, that they haven’t really noticed Dr Ezekiel Mutua positioning himself the moral policeman of the country.
We have simplified the definition of morality till it means little more than what people wear and their behaviour. The contradictions of what is right and what is wrong has been reduced to a piece of clothing.
There was once a time Uganda was in the news because women could not wear skirts that were shorter than a certain length, because miniskirts are linked to morality. And this year to witness the Ugandan Ministry of Tourism adding curvy sexy women as a new tourist attraction… hmm.
Why aren’t we talking about the conmen who impersonated the president? Too many things wrong with that story. We have reached the point of no return when it comes to conmanship.
Each one of us have a story, or has a relative who has been conned. It is as common as the flu in this country.
A friend of mine once bought perfume downtown. She took almost an hour deciding which perfume to buy. Smelling one bottle, spraying another on her palm, until she finally made a decision.
She bought the peach shaped bottle, of the scent she had finally made a decision on, only reaching home to find a beautifully packed perfume bottle filled with water. The humiliation, then the anger at the sheer audacity of the man standing there, taking his time to make his kill – so convincing.
Then there are stories of buying things in bulk only to open boxes re filled with rubbish instead of material you had meticulously selected; and, surprise, surprise, the merchants have disappeared into thin air. We have learned too well that forms of identification mean nothing, they can be easily purchased and number plates as well, receipts can be faked, degrees manufactured. Name it, you can find it.
Such cases happen to the poorest of paupers and the rich in their palaces. Our politicians are not to be left behind; we witnessed Governor Mike Sonko of Nairobi alerting the police when a business tycoon tried to bribe him with a million shillings.
The tycoon did not want the government to demolish a building that he had illegally put up in Gigiri. There he was struck dumb, watching as Ethics and Anti-Corruption officials counted the bundles of money he had come with to the governors house before his eyes.
The fact that an individual was open to doing business with the fake president, because he was promised tenders, is unusual in that it seemed believable. Doing business crookedly actually happens so often that Ksh80 million was not a shocking sum.
These individuals even had a number that would appear to be the presidents and talked in a good imitation of his voice. They even had rogue police officers who would escort them and luxury cars that they would drive while wearing expensive suits. The art of the conman has evolved. And these days they are even craftier.
Where would an individual who has not reached the age of 40 get all that wealth from? How does he own helicopters? He was so generous with money that he would donate millions to schools in his village, support charity events and even rub shoulders with people who are currently in government, Members of Parliament for that matter. People were even encouraging him to join politics and run for an elective seat.
This is what happens when a country is immoral: Immoral people end up at the helm. Stealing becomes a way of life, and people have become even more audacious to hatch plots that belong on a blockbuster movie. All this because there is no fear of ever getting caught.
So as we continue to get anxiety attacks due to Akothee’s performance, we should stop to consider Akothee has a career in music, she has an audience that supports her with dance moves and attire that make people’s skin crawl.
If you can’t stand her, then do not follow her on social media or go to her concerts. But when we have people in power, immoral people out there stealing every dime from you, and dress nicely and “behave well,” you can’t simply unfollow them.
Nerima Wako-Ojiwa is executive director at Siasa Place. @NerimaW