Biashara and the Beast

22 April of 2011 by

By Shamit

It’s a lot of unnecessary work leading to very little progress.

One of the biggest problems we have is when an arrogant person is put in a position of even the smallest authority (which happens quite a lot) and they, undeniably, look to make life difficult for you. And even if you know that the questions they’re asking and the procedures they’re making you follow are as unnecessary as a goldfish bowl without a goldfish, you can’t really do anything about it because you need a signature or an approval or some mundane little task carried out. It’s that dependence that becomes the magnifying glass to your metaphorical ant and boy oh boy do they want to burn you alive. And if you show any attitude whatsoever, you know you’ve pretty much got as much chance of escaping as you would have if you were left naked in the seventh circle of hell with a horny devil eyeing you with the perverse intentions of an involuntarily celibate rabbit in heat.

Progressive business is mummified in the red tape of bureaucracy.

Then come those three words said with all the affection of a cat with a dysfunctional catheter shoved up its urethra. No, not “I love you” but that famous line uttered by the greedy goblins of business, “Toa kitu kidogo” The amount of chai you’re asked for, you’d be sure they think you own a large tea plantation somewhere. Which wouldn’t be too off. Considering they had a fifty fifty percent chance in thinking that you owned one. Which you probably don’t. So they are a hundred percent wrong in the fifty percent chance they took. So eventually you’ve got to give it to them for the math and for trying. And by it I mean the money.

Corruption is no light matter. Especially when you don’t have heavy pockets. A lot of people in businesses I’ve witnessed pay people off. Whether it’s to pay the cops to stop harassing your business and customers, whether it’s to get certain permits approved or whether it’s to bring shipments of goods into the country faster than they should be.

Corruption is the messy lubrication of modern day business.

The worst thing is in some cases it’s totally unavoidable. If a policeman comes to your workplace and asks for a bribe and you don’t pay him and he takes you to jail for some false accusation and you spend a week in court sorting things out, who is going to run the business that puts the food on your family’s table? What do you do in such a situation? Pay the bribe? Record the policeman’s actions with a secret camera? Go to jail and form a syndicate of experienced law breakers and challenge the broken system?

The Beast luxuriously sits back in its lair and licks it’s private parts with delight as we work our collective asses off. It knows the problem exists perhaps because it’s championed the motion of corruption in business. We have campaigns that say “Corruption is Evil” and such but it’s almost laughable when members that make up The Beast sit back and watch all this happen almost as if they’re getting some sadistic pleasure out of the suffering of individuals such as myself who are trying to start up small, creative businesses.

To all those entrepreneurs who have successfully started up their businesses and are doing well despite all the odds that are thrown at you in the amphitheatre of Kenyan Business, kudos. Inspiration lies in your perseverance.

Shamit is Kenyan born and bred and happens to be just a guy who likes to write and he’ll somehow change the world someday. Follow him o twitter @just_sham_it or continue to read some of his work HERE

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