Life is cheap in this part of the world. In fact, it is so cheap that every week tens of lives are snuffed out and no one even gasps in horror any more.
Occasionally, we slightly get jolted by the violent or stupidity of the deaths.
Lest we forget, more than 300 people needlessly lost their lives in the past week in avoidable tragedies across the region.
In fact, if we were to add the number of road deaths in Kenya, well over 400 people have died.
The problem is simple. It is cheaper to bury people than to keep them alive.
That is why traffic police think it is too much work to enforce the law on our roads; government officials find it easier to look the other way than insist on having properly planned settlements; the government is too busy keeping itself in office to make sure the rule of law prevails.
We could all recite what a minister, MP or government official would say after deaths from man-made disasters that stalk the nation.
There is always the offer of “the government will help families to bury their dead,” “offset hospitals bills” among other cheap tokens.
What this country needs is not a government to bury people, but to create a society where people can stay alive and fulfil their dreams.
This can only happen if the government uses all means at its disposal to make living possible. Decent living, not mere survival.
Many might think it is the right thing for the government to offset medical bills and buy coffins for people who should not have died in the first place, but it only goes to show that we don’t value human life.
The sooner some unfortunate people are thrown into some dark hole and covered with dirt, the sooner the government functionaries get on with their more important occupation – being important.
If you really want to know this government is not moved by tragedies even as bad as that of Sinai, listen to what those in the medical services were appealing for.
The Kenyatta Hospital was appealing for bed sheets, blankets and room heaters. For heaven’s sake, this is the national referral hospital. And it lacks basic supplies such as bed sheets in times of emergency?
I don’t remember any minister saying the government would provide the hospital with all that it needs to treat those injured. The public is being forced to do that. Why?
All we hear is how the government is ready to help families bury their dead. That is the cheaper option.
Sarah Bakata is deputy chief sub, The EastAfrican