Skip to main content

Africa's "Our Person" syndrome

Obama somewhere in Afrika. According to one
Afrikan journalist, Obama should do more for
Africa due to his African ancestry
(image: http://www.biyokulule.com)
The other day, a senior journalist (I have no idea which organisation ranks journalists though) remarked that United States President , Barack Obama, like his predecessor, George Bush Jnr, had not done much for Africa.

Apparently, Obama, born of an African father of Kenyan origin, making him "our person" . As our person, Obama was supposed to have Africa's agenda somewhere close to his heart, giving it almost as much priority as that of the US.

Africa is yet to come to the reality that Obama is a US citizen, voted in by the good people of US to mind about their concerns. If it involves screwing Africa, so be it.


In Africa, the concept of someone being ours is taken quite serious. We have resigned to fate bestowing luck and charm on others while overlooking the rest. The lucky ones are expected to remember  the unlucky ones, and throw some luck their way.

It is for the same reason that the watchmen at the main gate have become quite a bother. I made the mistake of been quite friendly, and I have paid the cost to become the "boss". Alighting late at night, I am accompanied by requests to "buy them tea." Come Christmas and I was accosted by queries of "wapi Christmas (Where's Christmas)", one would have mistaken me for one of Santa's elves.

In life, I have been lucky, at times, to get favours from people in other services, especially the public sector. It happens when they ask for my name, and notice that we belong to the same tribe, followed by those four words, "kumbe we ni wetu (Alas, you are one of ours)". The recently held Internet Governance Forum was a recent example, where one of "our people" insisted that we should hang out together during tea breaks, and network amongst "our people".

Several institutions, especially government ones, are usually occupied by people of one tribe. In places where there is one tribe, we will narrow down to clans or family, there has to be something about our people.

Politicians are expected to toe this line, and most do not disappoint. The president should fill the army with his people to make it more loyal, no one will care if it is less effective to fight over neighbours. Like Kenya's Daniel Moi, the president also has the duty to ensure that his people have the best of roads, even if they barely have any vehicles, and an airport that will barely be utilised , while the National airport is bursting at its seams with overcapacity.

However, a tribe will be ready to forgive their front runner if he fails in even providing the basic of necessities , as long as he outdoes the other tribes in use of  helicopters, and in pecking order. One Kalonzo Musyoka who has his people fervently rallying behind him, recently marked a silver jubilee in his political career by blowing clouds of dust from a hired helicopter in a constituency that frequently suffers from drought.

I really hope my people shall read this post, and share it to their people. 











Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The bitter story of the downfall of Mumias Sugar company

Have you heard the bitter story of Mumias Sugar?

Regarded by many as Kenya's most successful sugar miller, Mumias Sugar Company was a disaster waiting to happen.

Many pointed out how Mumias Sugar Company was a fortress in the wreck that is Kenya's sugar industry, only unaware that it was just a matter of time. As the old wise men said, "Ukiona cha mwenzako cha nyolewa, tia chako maji".

The proverb means that if you see your neighbour's head getting shaved, your head will soon be undergoing the same - you'd therefore better wet your head for a smoother shave, otherwise you will be forced to undergo a painful, dry, shave.

But what ails Kenya's sugar industry?

The Kenya sugar industry is under legal siege. The typical Kenyan issue of coming up with laws to tackle a problem is evident here.

Many of Kenya's sugar factories are owned by the government, and have slowly declined under mismanagement and corruption. The appointing of political cronies and trib…

Beers in Kenya: A sober opinion

I have had a short beer swigging stint in my life. It has however been long enough for me to share my opinions of Kenyan beer. Interestingly, over the course of sharing such opinions with other drunkards connoisseurs,  I have found that we all have different views as to what beer is the best, which one makes you too drunk, or which one gives a free,  extra hangover for every hangover you get from it.
For starters, like everyone else, I discovered that beer isn’t as sweet as it looks like in those adverts that show golden barley swaying in breezes,  happy men smiling and toasting chilled, foaming glasses of beer as a deep voice does some narration in the background.
Beer is bitter! Now, it turns out beer is intentionally made bitter. See,  beer shares the same ingredients as bread. The major difference is that bread isn't fermented. Bread is sweet, so why isn't beer sweet?

A Kenyan in Addis Ababa (Part 2) - The "University Girls"

This post continues from Part 1. 

The residents of Addis are friendly too. On my first day, I did meet a guard at a hotel, who later offered to show me around. Among the places he suggested, was this place where some “University girls” were holding some "dancing ceremony". He added, that Ethiopians being Orthodox Christians, were about to go on a sex, alcohol and meat fast, hence the importance of this “ceremony.”
I had some suspicion that I was being sold to sex, but my guide insisted that this was not a sex sale. Just dancing University girls. We did end up in some nondescript compound, and into a house. There was sort of a sitting area, with a radio system, low benches and tables, and grass sprinkled around the floor. Grass sprinkled around the floor is an Ethiopian tradition that indicates you are welcome to a place.

It was about 5 PM,  and the hosts seemed not to be expecting any visitors at this time. My guide disappeared down some corridor into the back to call them. In…

Why we loved Mixcrate and Where to next?

There are two types of music listeners: those who listen by artist or by album, and those who listen by top hits. The second lot of us do not care much about what other music made it to an album besides the top 2 hits.

Mixcrate served the second lot of us very well. You could search for a song title or an artist, and you would have dozens of DJ mixes to choose from which contained more than the one hit you searched for.

Listening to music on Mixcrate also meant that once you settled into a mix, you had uninterrupted music for the next one hour.

Why Kenyans love Kigali (Part 2)

See part 1 of why Kenyans Love Kigali, which this articl is a continuation.

In my previous post on why Kenyans love Kigali, or Rwanda for that matter, I had mentioned on the security of the city. The post however widely dealt with the feel and appearance of the city, and a little bit of the country.

Both of my visits to Kigali have been through the airport, though you may opt for a more adventurous journey by road. Getting to Kigali then required a Kenyan passport, but no visa. Now, all you need to go through both Uganda and Rwandan borders are a National Identity Card.

For travel by air, Rwandair is a cheaper option for Kenyans as compared to our national flag carrier, Kenya Airways. Ironically, most other Africans get to Kigali via Kenya Airways, thought most Kenyans will opt for the cheaper Rwandair. The flights are comfortable and the service on board the 1 hour 15 minutes flight is great.

Depending on the weather, your landing can be quite full of turbulence in Kigali. The airpor…