Friday, January 13, 2017

A Trumpite in Obama clothing.

Any comparison between a Kenyan politician and Barack Obama, the forty-fourth president of the United States is laughable. Kenyan politicians are likely to be comparable to Donald J Trump, the recently elected Tangerine Caligula, than Barack Obama, a politician of great political talents. (There is no woman politician in Kenya who compares with Hillary Clinton or the sharp-as-a-tack Senator Elizabeth Warren; only Martha Karua managed to demonstrate steely resolve and political chops to be comparable to Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady.)

Mr Obama has suffered the worst eight year run of any two-term president of the United States. Mitch McConnell, the United States' Senates' Majority Leader promised to make Mr Obama a one-term president and failed. But that didn't stop him and the members of his party from stymieing Mr Obama at every turn, accuse him of the most petty of things, challenge his citizenship and many other dishonourable things. What sets Mr Obama apart from many other politicians is that despite the needling, lying and destructive tendencies of the Republican Party directed at him, he remained gracious and, on the face of it at least, honourable to the end. The Republicans, on the other hand, simply lived up to its odious character by embracing Donald Trump and his carnival barker act.

Kenyan politicians don't have the deft touch displayed by Mr Obama since 2004 when he gave that speech at the Democratic National Convention. Few of them have demonstrated the acute intellectual curiosity necessary to propose and implement complicated and comprehensive policies for the benefit of the people. None of them certainly as the sense of history their offices afford and are more interested in the banal, the pedestrian, the juvenile or the salaciously scandalous. More of them are undisciplined and reckless than is safe for a functional democracy.

We are going to miss Mr Obama, if for nothing else than to show that even when ordering the assassinations of US citizens or the bombing of wedding parties, politicians have a responsibility to think of their people first. Hard decisions are the hallmark of any political office; how those hard decisions are  implemented are the reason why some politicians are celebrated, like Mr Obama will be for generations, and why some are vilified till the end of time, like Pol Pot, Stalin or CeauČ™escu. No, good people, Kenya doesn't have an Obama or a Clinton. It has putative Pol Pots, instead.

It is a genuine pleasure to listen to Mr Obama speak. He knows his place in history and he has a sense of duty that, even in his wonkiest remarks, is apparent and true. Listening to Kenyan politicians is exhausting. They have as much depth as a puddle of spit. They spend more time celebrating their petty differences than anything else. They are self-conscious, gauche, crass, uncivilised, often incoherent, bearing massive chips on their shoulders and mendacious. They are the reason we are a nation in name only. They make one want to to weep into his whiskey.

If you doubt me, watch how they have reacted to the #LipaKamaTender movement. No, no, there are no Obamas in Kenya. Even the Kenyan who is an Obama is actually a Trumpite in Obama clothing.

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