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Top 10 depressing stories of 2014

In a developing country whose top leadership crop continues to engage in endless squabbles, it is difficult to narrow down the year’s negative stories to just ten, but here is a list of the many reasons that got Kenyans shaking their heads in disappointment this 2014.

1. National teams’ mediocre performances

There is no word that can effectively describe the poor run that Kenyan national teams have recorded this year.

National football team Harambee Stars were tossed out of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on the preliminary stages by Lesotho, a result that led to the disbandment of the team’s entire technical bench.

The story was the same for the national Sevens Rugby team as they recorded fresh lows in the International Rugby Board circuit in Dubai, occasioning the resignation of coach Paul Treu as well as Kenya Rugby Union chairman Mwangi Muthee.

2. Security Bill passed

President Uhuru Kenyatta put his thumb on a widely disputed Security Bill that now gives government the full mandate to literally spy on Kenyans in the name of dealing with terrorism, and also curtails media freedom in terms of broadcasting information related to terrorism.

What however carried the day in terms of negativity was not the reported contents of this bill, but rather, the way our lawmakers haggled, fought, vent anger, in front of cameras, in an effort to pass or prevent this bill from becoming law.

3. Soaring cost of living

There was no respite for low and middle class Kenyans as the cost of living continued to climb higher. Prices of basic commodities like milk soared, making life difficult for citizens.

Throughout the year, only petrol prices slumped, but even that had little impact for Kenyans because the new prices did not translate to a reduced bus fares for commuters, nor were the new prices a true reflection of the global market prices.

4. Esther Arunga’s saga deepens

The travails of popular television news anchor Esther Arunga sunk into a new low this year after her son died in mysterious circumstances, amid reports indicating that she is dealing with acute psychological problems abroad.

Pictures of the lawyer walking into a waiting police car for questioning was heartbreaking for every Kenyan, and the fact that there is existing bad blood between her and her family serves to make hers a very unfortunate case, even as her husband Quincy Timberlake remains behind bars on his alleged contribution to this incident.

5. Doping in athletics

While Kenyans are known as being naturally talent in the athletics discipline, that notion was eroded toward the end of the year with damning revelations that several Kenyan runners are actually cheats who rely on banned substances to enhance their performance.

Rita Jeptoo bought home this fact as she tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drug EPO, and is staring a two year ban in the face. This has given Kenya a bad name in the global arena as all Kenyan athletes are now considered doping suspects.

6. Failed laptop project

The Kenyan government has for the second year running failed to fulfill the promise made to primary school going pupils on supplying them with free laptops to primary schools.

The delay has been attributed to a delay in acquiring a suitable supplier for the machines, although the tendering process has been marred by corruption allegations.

With the year virtually over, there are no signs of this pledge coming to fruition in the near future, although the pupils will be looking out for some good news in 2015.

7. Otieno Kajwang dies 

Homabay senator Otieno Kajwang was a man full of life before he was abruptly plucked out by cardiac arrest.

His death was a huge blow to Kenyans who were fond of his funny chants of “Bado Mapambano” as well to the Orange Democratic Movement as they had lost a dedicated leader who was key in their plans and a loyalist to the core.

8. Fake pastors emerge
An expose in one of the leading television stations revealed how certain men of the cloth fleece desperate Kenyans under the guise of prayer.

Pastor Victor Kanyari became the second Kenyan pastor who was caught deceiving his followers that he can perform miracles, bringing to the fore the sheer gullible nature of Kenyans an also the unbelievable extents through which certain Kenyans go in pursuit of riches.

9. Digital migration fails to take off

The move from analogue to digital platforms with regards to television broadcasting signals failed to kick off yet again this year eve as the initial deadline was set for December last year.

The national TV broadcasters were drawn to long court proceedings in the course of the year demanding that they be given exclusive rights to air their programs, after which a ruling was made in their favor.

10. State of insecurity

The bizarre killings by Al Shabaab militants continued to headline news stories this year, with the murder of x police officers in Kapedo underlining the sad state of our country’s security.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the most brutal of fashions this year in the hands of terrorists and cattle raiders.

It is a situation that made the country revisit the question about whether to withdraw the Kenya Defense Force troops from Somalia or not, although it is crystal clear that the militants are not about to relent in their cold desire for revenge.