Beware of what you do today, for it shall be used against you someday

  • PublishedSeptember 27, 2013

You never know what tomorrow brings, so goes a popular saying. We live life, trying our best to be on the right side of history – sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. We just can’t tell. That is how life was meant to be; or rather it is how life is. You wake up one morning and open up to a whole new reality – good or bad – such is life. But it is the one-minute fun or madness, anger or jealousy that determines most of our future. A lot of time it is the alcohol.

In 2009, two boys argued in a bar. One had just graduated from university and was expecting to get a job soon. The other had just returned from the UK with a doctoral degree. They argued over something related to the game of pool they were playing. Maybe drunkenness overcame them or anger or both. But by the time the quarrel came to an end, one was dead and the other would later be jailed for life for the murder of his friend.  Last year, Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Barasa had to resign from that position for assaulting a security guard. Ms Barasa had built a respectable career for herself in the legal and humanitarian professions and is highly regarded among her peers. But just that single moment of confrontation with the guard cost her a reputation and a job she deserved and for which she had sacrificed much.

In 2011, New York congressman Anthony Weiner resigned after what was known as Weinergate Scandal came up. During his tenure, it was discovered that Mr. Weiner had been sending women vulgar online messages and pictures and that was enough to send him into political exile. His marriage hit the rocks but somehow it survived. This year, Mr. Weiner tried a political comeback by getting into the race for New York mayor. People received him well at first and aside from a few hecklers he was holding the lead for Democratic primaries for most of June and July. Until a website named The Dirty, released X-rated exchanges between Weiner and 23-year-old Sydney Leathers that took place well after the candidate quit the House of Representatives. From then on, Mr. Weiner and his sexting (the act of sending sexually explicit messages and/or photographs, primarily between mobile phones http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexually_explicit) pseudonym, Carlos Danger once again became a national punchline. He has  now quit the race after falling out of favour with the electorate.

Back to the country, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero was under pressure to resign for allegedly slapping the city’s women representative Rachel Shebesh. After all the grueling battle he waged in ODM to be the party’s flag bearer and the draining campaigns to capture the seat against a well-oiled Jubilee machinery, the governor might find himself out of a job. This, after the court cleared him in an election petition that sought to nullify his election. He might survive yet, but in other countries like in the West (and Kenya is getting there), the governor would be already out or preparing his parting shot. Or maybe there was no slap after all?

None of us knows what position we will occupy tomorrow. The best we can do is to be careful what we do today because it sure will affect our fortunes tomorrow. And as they say, it takes a second to destroy character that one has laboured to form for a lifetime. No matter how repentant or born again Kamlesh Patni gets, the world will always know him as the Goldenberg architect who fleeced Kenyans billions of shillings – that is what they see when they watch him preach on television.

I write this to all young men – especially those in college and those getting into a career, who still have their character intact. My word to you is watch your every move and mind your every word or action. In this age where Facebook encourages you to write anything by asking “what’s on your mind,” take care or you will lose your mind on it only to post something you will regret later. Today, employers are combing through prospective candidates Facebook and other accounts to read into the mind of a person. Even institutions that give scholarships and countries that have visa requirements are using the Internet to know whether applicants are what they say they are.

You never know. So the best thing is to think not twice, but thrice. If you slap a woman today, know it will come up when you don’t want it to come up. If you sextext someone, be worried because the same might follow you to your big job interview. Remember too that our city streets are now full of CCTV cameras; your moves are being trailed. I can’t say enough about this, just be very careful.

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