If this is what it means, I want to be president in my next life

Saturday May 16 2020

In my next life I’ll be president, come what may, because I have discovered it is the most rewarding job in the world because everyone, even Anthony Fauci, is afraid of you and kowtows to you. ILLUSTRATION | JOHN NYAGA | NMG


I have been growing with Covid-19, I am not ashamed to say, and the silver lining I had failed to see in the early weeks of the virus is lighting up the sky like it’s some muted display of mellow colours that shine benignly to bring joy to tortured souls.

Just think of the exhilarating realisation that we are not necessarily the dumbest people in the world, that there are others close by who are just like us.

Like, the other day I am glued onto my TV screen watching a US Senate committee trying to get something out of the top epidemiologists led by Anthony Fauci as to how President Donald Trump’s administration has been handling the now ubiquitous pandemic, and why the most powerful nation in the world is doing woefully badly faced with issues of morbidity and mortality, and I discover that the top world experts, including Dr Fauci himself, dare not say what everyone wants them to say, that their job is made immeasurably more complex by the presence in the Oval Office of someone who made billions of dollars getting there but can also be guided by the thinking capacity of a first grader.

Stop there, you will say, that is an oxymoronic construct; how could he make all that money if he is so stupid, and, look at you, without a nickel to your name and you dare say what?!

Ok, I’ll grant you that, and much more, but there is something telling me anyone who runs the risk of having the whole world believe he is saying we should try to imbibe turpentine to kill a virus has mental issues.

But then, I still cannot get over this reluctance on the part of Dr Fauci and others to tell the Senate they are working under the direction of a man who is so bent on reopening the country that he is willing to risk millions of American lives just so he can come out as the one who did the most of everybody else in saving lives, the best in testing (not anyone even close), always looking for favourable polls and re-election, even if he has to walk on top of skeletons to get there.


The lies that provide the soundtrack to his march are superlative, and I suspect it has something to do with the way he made his money.

He kept insisting American testing was way ahead of everybody, anybody, anywhere in the world, and some people were mystified by this, until Senator Mitt Romney, who you could never accuse of being an Obama admirer, said it for all to hear that South Korea had done all the necessary testing when Trump was still in a deer-in-the-headlights mode.

But, except for Dr Dick Bright, who has broken ranks with the other officials and called out Trump for lying, Dr Fauci and other scientific colleague are handling Trump with kid gloves.

Sure, he can fire them, or get them fired, but so what? With the qualifications that got them where they are now, would they ever miss lunch, and wouldn’t their quitting earn themselves more respect from the American tribe which still believes in science?

But I now realise that the joke is on me. Trump is President, and when someone is that, it is safe to assume he has some mystical powers that make him almost supernatural. He belongs to the league of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. Who are you to argue against such might when wielded by someone who believes we should be drinking poison to stay alive?

So, I came to this conclusion as I tried to count the silver linings in the dark clouds. In my next life I’ll be president, come what may, because I have discovered it is the most rewarding job in the world because everyone, even Anthony Fauci, is afraid of you and kowtows to you.

You do not have to know what you are talking about and you can pooh-pooh science and some people, a lot of people, will applaud you; if the likes of Rex Tillerson (former US Secretary of State) shoot their mouths saying you are a moron, you fire them ... there is simply nothing that beats being president, anywhere!

Jenerali Ulimwengu is chairman of the board of the Raia Mwema newspaper and an advocate of the High Court in Dar es Salaam. E-mail: [email protected]