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

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?

How much Nairobi Residents Pay in Rent

In my last post, I explained how difficult for people looking for housing in Nairobi. The main challenge is lack of information. On this front, I began a project that will collect some information, which will provide some start for those looking for housing in different areas in the city.

In the last one month, 33 people have given their responses.




Interesting enough, majority of the respondents, 16 to be exact, live in 2 bedrooms. This may mean that either 2 bedrooms are the most popular rentals in the city, or the most available. Only one way to find out - if you live in a 2 bedroom rental, here’s another survey.

10 of those who filled in the survey live in self contained 1 bedrooms.

5 people have 3 bedrooms, including 2 in Kikuyu, 1 in Ngong and Lower Kabete each, and another around Langata/National Park.

1 respondent has a 4 bedroom, while another one has a self contained bedsitter.
Pricing




Turning to pricing, the price of 1 bedrooms ranges from Kshs. 10,000 in Rongai to Kshs…

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…

Road Safety: Can Google Maps Help Kenyans Leapfrog Unmarked Bumps?

How long has it been since you heard the word “leap frog”?

It’s a term that grew in popularity as it was used to describe the outcome of the arrival and spread of the mobile phone in Sub-Saharan Africa.

For decades, “development” had appeared to stagnate in many of these countries, with slow-growing economies and little change in how people led their lives. In some instances, things appeared to have even gone into reverse gear.

But then, while the developed world was freaking about something called the Millennium Bug in 2000, mobile networks were coming up across the continent.

In the next decade, mobile phone usage would explode as many Africans were finally able to own phones for the first time ever. Previously, you had to lease a land line from a state-owned company and many of these had waiting lists several years long.

With mobile networks came SMS and USSD which innovative businesses took advantage of to create basic applications even within the limitations of these channels,…

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…