Kenya:Gamblers Galore

We have to admit, when the proceeds from your loss are being pumped back into the sport and some charitable cause, you are doing some good, right?

Gambling is described in the dictionary as taking risky action in the hope of a desired result. Contrary to what people think it does not seem dangerous. But it is the compulsion to constantly take risk no matter who you are hurting (including yourself) in order to achieve the desired result that is the problem. And as such it becomes an addiction. And honestly Kenyans, we are all gambling addicts.

I do not say this because casinos have been opened in almost every town, or due to the rise of the so called gambling alternative we’ve come to know as betting. Apparently the change of names and the proximity of platforms are supported to make it feel better than before.We have to admit, when the proceeds from your loss are being pumped back into the sport and some charitable cause, you are doing some good.

More Betting Opportunity

However, I feel as if betting and gambling has not been fully exploited in Kenya. The sort of risky behavior we engage in surely warrants a more extensive betting field. Take the school fires for example. More than 100 schools experienced dormitory fires in June and July this year of the Lord 2016. By the end of June it was more a matter of when than if a school would be set ablaze. Ranking of school based on academic performance was banned but why not rank the schools according to probability of arson? A fire probability index or fire index for short.

A national school like Starehe Boys Centre can have odds of 50.2 while more rowdy schools like Jamuhuri High and Lenana High School can be tied at 10.6. It sounds morbid now but you must have thought about it at some point. I personally rank the secondary school in my village at odds  of 67.8. The villagers will straighten out the kids before the news vans can arrive and by dawn a dormitory of mud and dung will be standing ready for occupation.

When you arrive at Uhuru Park to listen to Baba and see anti-riot police in full gear just know they are not there to tickle you. When you see a youth with stone laden pockets and you have come to hear a speech, you are gambling by association.

Riots in Kenya are also fertile ground for betting. What are the odds Boniface Mwangi will be at a demonstration? Bet against this and you will likely benefit from a windfall. What are the odds students from University of Nairobi will hold a violent demonstration… well, any time? Odds should increase around the time HeLB monies are distributed.

Political rallies, picketing, demonstrations should also carry odds for betting. Heck, we are already gambling when we attend, aren’t we? When you arrive at Uhuru Park to listen to Baba and see anti-riot police in full gear just know they are not there to tickle you. When you see a youth with stone laden pockets and you have come to hear a speech, you are gambling by association. He/she has not come to build the nation in the traditional manner. You might have, the police could be and the politician could be robbing you blind, but you are all in the same park to build the nation you want.

So when stones start flying and police retaliate, don’t cry in a hail of tear gas. Place your bet. Bet on which politician will visit you in hospital, bet on who will attend the harambee to raise funds for your treatment, bet on which media house will send reporters when you cannot afford the medical bill and then bet on which politician will make you a martyr for your sacrifice to the cause. Because this will happen.

Watch our news and bet. Bet on who will go to court to stop their impending arrest while they face allegations of corruption. Bet on what politician will get the law to excuse their behavior. Remember Opiyo Wandayi, the man who tried to whistle down the President during the State of the Nation Address. He’s back in Parliament, some twist of the law and court orders insisting he was allowed back into the house. Meanwhile, the motorcyclist who blocked DP William Ruto’s motorcade (Mr. Abdulaziz Abdala) was charged…somehow…and fined! If you shouted down the President you might not be allowed back in your house! Bet on that.

But the safest bet I can urge you to take is this: As we head to 2017 or whenever the elections shall be, bet on Kenyans focusing more on the community of the leader than a development track record.

Bet on who will go to court to stop their impending arrest while they face allegations of corruption. Bet on what politician will get the law to excuse their behavior.

We risk corruption crippling our nation all for ‘our man/woman’ to be the lead. But then who cares? It’s just a gamble and we think we are playing as per the odds. While in real sense the odds are against us. Soon after elections we will be on the streets complaining of deteriorating health services, road networks, schools lacking renovations among others. But we forget, we gambled away our chance to make real change and instead chose to satisfy the pride of having a leader from our community. It is in such times that Kenyans will swear, “Next time we will elect better leaders”.

Campaigns will start running telling citizens “Kura yako sauti yako”. Soon other slogans encouraging Kenyans to choose wisely will arise. And with enthusiasm they will respond, commenting how these messages are changing their lives. But come campaign season our addiction will not let us off. It will point us to where gambling is sweetest. We will trade our souls for two hundred shillings, our future will be exchanged for a few words in our familial tongue and suddenly we will have forgotten the sweet messages, the heavy swearing and the promise we made to ourselves.

As Rene Descartes would have said if he was a betting Kenyan, “I bet, therefore I am.”

 

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