By Job Mugiira

  • The guy is doing well, he bought a car the other day, he has built a big house and his business is doing well.’

  • Do you think he has done all that using clean money?’ and surprisingly, 98% of my friends do not care about genuineness of the riches. Tragedy!

  • If we continue praising and glorifying dirty wealth while looking up to the corruptly rich, our next generation will never appreciate hard work as a staircase to clean wealth

A role model is a person who can be termed to be a good example. This is supposed to be a person whose behaviour, example, success can be emulated by others, especially the young.

When I was young, I had aspirations of becoming an accountant. My role model was a certain man with a big house and he used to be seen with a car once in a while. He used to say he was an accountant. By the time I was in class 4, I got to know that the man had no known business and that he was seen around police cells, courts of law and some jail at times. Some people whispered that he was a conman. Just like that, my aspiration died as I did not want to associate with such a person. I later changed my dreams to joining the Legal Profession but fortunately or otherwise, I am what I am today. Good thing was my motivation for pursuing Law was to solve a teething land case that had befallen our family for many years.

Fast forward to many years later and I could now understand the purpose of role models as I was supposed to be one. I am happy that there are some good, worth emulating persons and some other crop of human beings who in this article are referred to as ‘fallacious role models’ or in simple, people who majority of the society admire or desire to be like but in essence, those people are thieves.

Step by step analysis shows various reasons why someone would be termed as an epitome of something. For example, there are epitomes of behaviour, sporting, work ethic, academics, religion and genuine riches from real hard work. Before we end the article, just place yourself somewhere in the preceding list.

The tragedy which is the fallacy of role models is currently what our society has turned out to be. The society no longer admires hard work but it simply admires riches be it money, mansions, cars, businesses, land, etc. irrespective of how this money has been earned. I have severally talked to people who have mentioned so and so as their role model and whenever I question some of them about the reason the said person is to be emulated, the response has always been ‘the guy is doing well, he bought a car the other day, he has built a big house and his business is doing well.’ Nowadays, I add an extra question to such people in ‘do you think he has done all that using clean money?’ and surprisingly, 98% of my friends do not care about genuineness of the riches. Tragedy!

Any knowledge in Economics and Business Analysis enables one to detect illegally earned wealth from far and this is indisputable. I understand the rate of Returns on Investments (ROI) just like many of you. There are a few friends who have toiled their skins out and their empires are doing well. I have seen them survive the storms and constantly put the spirit of hard work on. For knowledge purposes, I have also known several thugs; thugs in that their fast rise to riches is questionable from all angles and dimensions. Unfortunately, the rich thugs have a following of young people who look up to them. Tragedy!

Nationally, there are several rich people whose sources of wealth are well known. Sources including; drugs trafficking, human trafficking, counterfeit goods manufacturers, tax evaders, proceeds of bribery, massive graft and looting, etc. And don’t such people still have youths looking up to them? Tragedy!

Locally, in my village I know at least 3 thieves (for now I am not concerned about reporting them to police, but about how they have so many people admiring them). The problem we have is that the villagers are worshipping them. They are used in public gatherings as role models. Tragedy! For all of who have been in business, how much capital and time do you need to make sh.5, 000,000 in 2 years without any debt?

Why is the society praising corruption? Why can’t we call a spade a spade and let our youth and children know that stealing is bad? Funny enough, these thieves are being praised even in churches. They are even ushered to the front seats near the pulpits. At times they are given more time to speak than the pastors. Why can’t the believers who are praying God to scatter terrorists in seven directions also pray that the corrupt be scattered in seven or more directions? (I bet this would be an easy miracle for most Kenyans witness firsthand). Is it so hard to do what a church that I know did? (After discovering that a devoted member was a thief, they relieved him of all his leadership duties and even asked him to no longer tithe in that altar. They however encouraged him to continue coming to church and repent then stop stealing. He is yet to.)

I cannot continue any longer since this topic is sickening but I feel some message is home.

We must embrace hard work and learn to toil. We must all aspire to be genuine role models in our fields. We must endeavor to do quick calculations and know who the thugs are. We must stop glorifying thieves. We must be ready to report the corrupt to Authorities so that they can be eliminated from the society. Our youths must start caring about sources of wealth. We must also pray to God to scatter the corrupt in seven or more directions.

Job Mugiira is a Research Analyst in Nairobi

Previous articleRisk Management
The PLATFORM for Law, Justice and Society is a monthly publication by Gitobu Imanyara & Company that was established in 2014 to provide a platform where Kenyans can share their opinions on current issues of concerns in the country, Africa, and beyond.