Listening to Newsday- BBC on Monday morning caused me to think of a word I had last reflected on a decade ago while frightfully awaiting a literature exam.
Come this Monday, one of the Newsday presenters reported of Christian Militia in the Central African Republic and I went ‘wait a minute, Christianity as I understand it is supposed to be a religion based on love, so to speak of a Christian militia would basically be putting together two words that have opposite meanings and thus my current thoughts on oxymorons.
Here is a list of oxymorons popularly used in Kenya and beyond.
1. Africa Rising
If you have been following the Africa Rising story that is bombarding our media of late, then you must surely understand why I do refer to this phrase as an oxymoron. Opponents of this narrative are quick to point out the wars in South Sudan and Central African Republic, Al shabaabs survival so far, violence in DRC , perpetual electoral disputes and hundreds of refugees opting to die in capsizing boats as they flee in search for better lives in other continents as just a few of the reasons why Africa is in fact, not rising.
This has got to be one of the most used oxymoron in Africa. A democratic state is supposed to be one by the people, of the people and for the people. However, over here it is used whenever an individual or a group of individuals feel a deep-set dissatisfaction with the government of the day. This usually leads to a coalition of the disgruntled to form parties that carry the word democratic. Nonetheless, anyone interested in closely examining the day to day activities of such democratic organizations will come to find that the party’s actions are usually as far away from the true meaning of the word as they can be.
Let us charitably begin at home. The Orange Democratic Movement has, in the past, had internal wrangling during the rather tough times of flag bearer elections. That the leader is usually rather predetermined doesn’t resonate well with those who my favourite East African columnist Elsie Eyakuze would describe as having president-flavoured ambitions, they, wounded by the undemocratic choices usually storm off in anger to join their rivals
Then we have Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change . It could be true that according to Mr. Tzvangirai, Zimbabweans have a yardstick for measuring democracy and morality isn’t a component of the said yardstick ( refer toi linq www. ). However, how does one begin to explain his complete belief that it is he and only he who can be on the frontline of the so-called fight for democracy?
3. Free and fair elections
This is of course another well loved oxymoron which simply refers to elections marred by among other things; irregularities; delayed results that keep the mwananchi at the edge of his seat, damned to listen to sorrowful patriotic songs as he awaits results from Tharaka Nithi to arrive because the current figures on TV aren’t ‘moving’ ; malfunctional dollar shilling VBR kits that cost the taxpayer an arm and a leg, missing forms ; telephone jams that mar otherwise digital transmissions of M-results; uninformative regular news briefs by electoral body chairmen, social media political wars and finally solemn faced election ‘non-winners’ announcing to the nation that they would have won if only the elections were free and fair.
4. #KenyansWeAreOne and #TribelessKenya.
This is particularly hard to believe in a country where an adamant MP would lash out at the father of the nation for unfairness because he gave more cabinet positions to ‘his’ people and hence shortchanging the people from the other region. ‘Our people were sidelined’ doesn’t really reek oneness. Also, that an acquinteace, in the process of making small talk would begin with ‘ not to be tribal or anything but which part f the country do you come from? As though your answer to that is what determined the drift of the conversation….
5. CORRUPTION FREE ZONE
In marketing, there is a concept known as subliminal marketing in which a product is subconsciously sold to a client without the clients’ knowledge. This is done through say, putting up images of the product in the room, however, no one directly speaks of the product. However, the human brain unconsciously receives this message and if the client walks out and finds the product being sold at the door, he is very likely to buy.
This would be the same concept at play in the so called ‘corruption free zones’. Just by coming across the word corruption, the person walking into the place is already indirectly made aware of the possibility of bribing their way to a great service. If push comes to shove then the said person will most likely try out the option since the word corruption is embedded in their subconscious.
Have a trouble-free weekend, won’t you?