Since the Monday morning bomb explosion in Nyanya, leading to the death of an indeterminable number of people (the official figure stands at about 75) and the injury of more than 200, watching news of it on our local television stations can be so boring. Don’t get me wrong please. I am not bored about the news of the pains, lamentations and anguish of citizens. Far be it. My heart bleeds every time I hear of a new angle of how people got killed or maimed for no other reason than that they live in a country that has failed to meet their basic needs and rights to life and peaceful and safe environment.
What bores me are the various ‘news’ items of one politician or another (or their wives) trooping through our hospital wards with their aides, hangers-on, praise-singers and sycophants in tow plus a horde of news reporters with cameras, purporting to go on sympathy visits to victims. So what we see are photo shoots of politicians smiling to the camera, expressing shock, delivering handouts, with the media announcing the amount of money or items donated. Sometimes the promises made end there.
We do not need to be experts in medical science to know that such riotous visits would constitute impediment and distractions to the medical personnel in giving urgent and life-saving attentions to the victims. It also has more damaging effects on patients who need serene atmosphere to recover and heal faster.
Unfortunately, whenever we see reports of ‘high-powered’ and ‘high-level’ (we love hyperboles) visits of these politicians or their wives, I often notice that an equally ‘high-powered’ medical official such as the minister of health or the chief medical director of the hospital is always on hand to receive them and thank them afterwards. Why must this be? Why can’t these politicians take their hypocrisy elsewhere and stop playing politics with human predicaments and vulnerability? Why can’t our medical service managers act professionally by stopping the shenanigans?
This is tough luck, no doubt, because most of them are political appointees (and politicians) and sycophancy is a major oil in the engine of politics and political appointments. So we can see the link. What is more, on the altar of politics, nothing is too sacrosanct and too huge to be sacrificed. So, the comfort and healing of those victims can be sacrificed, just so that our politicos could have their kicks and get high on a dose of self glorification. So for the next few days, until our usual amnesia sets in and we forget this present calamity, it seems we are stuck with these politicians grinning at our pains and getting media attention for their acts of ‘benevolence’ and ‘magnanimity’.
But for some of us, we can discern beyond their cheap actions and we know better. In fact a television station has reported that the promise by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory that the FCT administration would pick the hospital bills of victims has not been complied with in the National Hospital particularly. It may be the same with the other hospitals too. What does it take to get this implemented?