The word (expression) [to] “sensitise” is the most overused and, no doubt, most abused, at least, in the African political sphere.
It is part of the common but extremely condescending and, quite frankly, dehumanising language used, almost instinctively, in public and political discourse in African political parlance, often thrown about to give a veneer of a democratic process of reaching out to the public – the ordinary people. This is to raise [their] awareness on the social and political goings-on in their societies, from the most mundane and mindless things like worshipping and prostrating to an individual as a [the] founding ‘father’ (it is usually fathers which raises the critical question: where are the founding mothers?) of a country/nation.
How on earth a mere mortal individual can be a founding ‘father‘ of any country/nation is another foreign political absurdity that is entrenched in African political mindset; and one that must be put to critical question. Although the aim of which, of course, is to ultimately glorify a single individual and to give the impression such individual is superhuman, usually to build a mystical cult aura around such individual for posterity. So that future generations will be taught that they owe their existence to the superhuman exploits of such so-called founding ‘father‘ without whom, well, they would never have seen the living light of their day. But that is a topic of its own and one too deep and complicated that will be dealt with separately at a convenient time.
This extremely condescending and dehumanising language of sensitisation is also applied to raise awareness on more serious and important political issues of the day like, and thus, soliciting for public opinion on whether or not national constitutions need fixes and maintenance here and there, to align them with what the authorities think and deem essential to reflect – so the prevailing narrative goes – political realities of the day to avoid being left behind and held captive in the past by our commitment to a legal document written – certainly not curved in stone – but on mere paper. So, in such circumstances, the public needs to be sensitised on – and made aware of – that vital part of the national constitutions: that constitutions are, after all, created by us and can and will be changed by us, only if we are sensitised enough to realise the benefits that lie therein for us in a potentially changing [changeable] ‘living document‘.
But more importantly, the language of sensitisation, is too often aimed at bringing – or creating the impression of bringing [pretending to bring] – the public to the same understanding with the authorities around many issues that are or simply carefully crafted to give the impression, nonetheless false, to be of national importance. Even though, and this is quite the norm of course, the public hardly has a say or genuine participation in the process of decision making on such issues.
Equally important and perhaps the sole motive, however, is to mobilise the public’s support behind the authorities’ machinations for their own (authorities’) personal interests usually to the inevitable detriment of public interests. To the extent that, at the end of the day, [to] sensitise, in essence, turns out to be an underhand political process of deliberately dumbing down the unsuspecting masses. Which raises the fundamental question: is it to sensitise or ‘senselessise’, that is to say, talk and cajole sense and wit out of the masses?
Is [to] sensitise, henceforth, the authorities’ code word for ‘senselessise’?
Would it, then, be overstretching one’s imagination and perhaps too daring to indulge and entertain the unworldly thought and therefore refer to so-called public sensitisation by the authorities as “public tricknology”?
Beware of – and when – African political interest groups, the political establishment, start and come speaking the language of ‘sensitisation‘. They are often after your senses, with the intention to numb them – your senses – where and whenever they can’t destroy them forever so that you become and turn into a living human ‘tin‘ that can be shaken and drummed up anytime and according to their own tune and rhythm.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that, only the senseless, that is, people without [devoid] of senses, can be sensitised. Therefore, when the authorities claim to sensitise the public; it is evidently because the authorities treat the public – people – as senseless morons who need sense drummed into them.