The nation is currently embroiled in a discussion about a man’s grade. Yes, a whole Nation of over 40 million Kenyans has solemnly taken a vow to ignore any national issue that urgently requires our contribution. Instead, we have decided to bask in the triviality of a man’s grade.

Yes, grown bearded men with children scattered across the universe have absolutely nothing else to discuss except Joho’s results. Lactating mothers, have abandoned their sacred duty to breastfeed their children and instead are now discussing Joho’s grades.

Owners of grades A, B and C have apparently taken off their garments of reason and instead, they have waded in the mud to discuss a grade that their superior result slips couldn’t afford to accommodate.

That we have taken an oath, never to discuss anything that has a serious relevance to the welfare of our country at such a crucial time is simply mind-boggling. Instead of coming together as a nation to talk about the hunger that is claiming lives in parts of this country, the insecurity that has rocked Laikipia, Baringo etc and the growing level of political intolerance across the country among other issues that needs our attention, we are now arguing about a grade?

What’s with the sudden obsession with grades of elected leaders? While I agree that it is a constitutional requirement for leaders to attain certain academic qualifications, it is amazing that we aren’t really discussing the character of those who are going to vie on August 8th, 2017.

16 weeks to the elections, instead of having a national discussion on the manifesto that the current leaders issued, and whether they kept their word yet a majority of them have offered themselves for re-election, we are busy discussing something that is being handled by the relevant authorities.

For the last 3 years, I’ve been working for an organisation that values talent above academic papers. And in the midst of the storm of retrenchments that have been rocking the media industry, Capital FM hasn’t fired even a single soul. The company has continued to innovate itself out of the turbulent waters. For the last over 2 decades, that is the one unique trait that has kept this company afloat.

While working here, I’ve learnt the power of ingenuity. The power of manipulating your lemon filled circumstances to get a lemonade. I’ve been taught the skill of side hustle, and now I believe that I can weather any unemployment storm. I’ve learnt the power of soft skills like social skills, sales, etc networking, pitching for business, proposal writing among others.

I’ve been stretched beyond my marketing undergraduate degree. It’s here that I discovered my writing skills. I was equipped with digital media skills and I learnt so much that Daystar couldn’t have taught me in my undergraduate.

You and your degree mean nothing if you don’t apply yourself. You and your A means nothing if you don’t learn the street-smart skills that are required for one to succeed. You and your polished English doesn’t matter at all if you can’t provide for your family what they need.

In fact, the person who got a bad grade might apply himself more and succeed because he knows too well that he has no luxury of relying on academics to get things going on for him.

Some intellectuals wear their grade on their shoulders as a badge of honour yet still live in rented houses as they drive old cars bought through loans. They think that the world owes them anything based on the books that they have drowned.

It’s not the school you went to that will help you. It’s not the number of books you have read that will save you. It’s certainly not the kind of English that you can speak. It’s the tangible knowledge that you get, then convert it into wisdom to change your life.

We have seen educated fools who cannot solve even a single problem. Some of the people who are bigoted to the core lay claim to education yet it didn’t transform their lives.

Debating people’s grades as a national issue is not only juvenile, but it also shows an acute lack of seriousness in a country that grapples with the 3rd world problems. It’s an indictment to the depth of our intellect when the 40 million of us congregate to discuss one man’s grade as if we have just landed a man on the moon.

Shame on every Kenyan who decided to make the grade issue of national importance.

How do we hope to break the poverty, inequality, insecurity and bad governance that cripples this country when all we care about are people’s grades, bedroom affairs, etc.?  Why don’t we demand the implementation of the TJRC report? Why don’t we as a people demand the full implementation of chapter 6 of the constitution that talks about the integrity of our leaders?

His grade cannot put food on anyone’s table. Discussing Joho’s grades cannot return the amounts of money fleeced from public coffers.

Loved the piece? Follow the writer on twitter @dannishodongo and like his page Dannish Odongo. He is a journalist and a political commentator. For any enquiries, you can reach him on +254720348865.

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People & MotivationPolitics & International Affairs
Author: Dannish Odongo

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