Kenya, you’ve upped your own game and you’re going to have to follow through

Saturday September 9 2017

Nasa leader Raila Odinga celebrates with

Nasa leader Raila Odinga celebrates with supporters in the streets of Nairobi after the Supreme Court ruling on September 1, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Well, thanks Kenya. It wasn’t enough that you guys haven’t let anyone else win a prize-money marathon in decades? Or that you genetically Barack, like, Obama’d?

No, you had to go and effectively Arab-Spring the rest of Africa with your High Court ruling and your election second-attempt. My goodness, what divas.

The entire world has been doing nothing but complimenting you for a week now because nobody wants to talk about North Korea, Trump and the impending World War Death of Planet Earth.

And you know what they follow up their optimistic reports with? That’s right. Musings about how this represents a watershed moment for democracy in Africa. Democracy... in Africa! I mean, seriously. Have they even met your neighbouring countries?

That’s what I mean about Arab Springing us all. Remember when them folks caused us to believe that social media was going to change the world and the political landscape for the better? Yeah.

I was actually subjected to a workshop — a workshop! — where pimple-faced proto-millenials from Al Qahira were meant to teach young “African” activists how to make their country #awesome via Twitter.

Stop laughing.

First of all, Egypt is an African polity no matter how hard they try not to admit it and secondly, as the saying goes time would tell. Well, time told.

Likewise, much as I want to believe that your bold and glorious move to challenge a deeply entrenched and powerful executive branch will resonate across the region, unfortunately it’s just exposing the weird underbelly of our dubious democratic practices across the region a bit too much for comfort.

There y’all went with your separation of powers, ati independent judiciary, blah blah blah investigations resulting in actual admission of electoral irregularities. Now we’re all caught in the headlights as we try to explain ourselves in comparison. What is this thing you guys are doing called? Rule of law? Respecting the constitution?

Nervous laughter all around.

Oh, don’t worry about us. We’re not struggling at all. Rwanda is at least 99 per cent singing exactly the same hymn to each other, bless. Nobody wants to talk about it, let’s just focus on how it’s a “wonderful *blip* technohub”. And Burundi is... well, she’s growing avocados or playing football or something, okay. Uganda is importing porn-detection machines at the moment, the better to fondle the people’s Internet for their own good. That’s right.

Tanzania’s fine too, thanks for asking. Busy times. We seem to have lost an airplane somewhere in Canada. Can you believe that the Canadians didn’t even say sorry about that, eh? Oh, we also recently incarcerated... I mean “held for police questioning”... an old dude by the name of Hashim Rungwe Spunda.

Of course you haven’t heard of him, he’s an obscure and delightful Tanzanian opposition party leader whose party membership seems to consist entirely of his family and maybe a couple of neighbours who were too nice to say “no.” But he’s cool because he has a beard and he’s weird and he lives in Dar’s best neighbourhood, bar none.

He’s also harmless, except for the part where he occasionally makes reasonable comments in public about the health of our republic’s democracy. Just another guy with an intelligent opinion or two, guest of the state not by choice but by patriotic duty. We’re, you know, absolutely fricking fine.

So... not to put pressure on you or anything Kenya but you’ve upped your own game and you’re going to have to follow through. Jokes aside, as a big fan of the separation of powers, professional civil service and stone cold impartiality as fundamental elements of a republic’s civic engineering, I cannot help but feel the inspiration.

As always, best wishes for a peaceful election that is as close to free and fair as you can make it. Whatever happens (because Donald Trump), please know that I will always be at hand to keep the most important parts of your legacy alive. My, uh, personal nuclear bomb shelter provisions have been made to host your entire Rugby Sevens team. And their tight, white shorts. It’s the least a caring neighbour can do.

Elsie Eyakuze is an independent consultant and blogger for The Mikocheni Report E-mail: [email protected]