Wednesday, February 17, 2010

You gotta love them, our politicians!

A few months ago, some very enterprising Mheshimiwa sold our entire maize stock to his relatives in Southern Sudan, forgetting that in its milled form, Maize is Kenya's national staple. Due to this, the supply of maize in the country was quickly outstripped by demand, and as is wont to happen in such  circumstances, the price of maizemeal was soon scaling heights that even Yelena Isinbanyeva would have needed steroids to clear.

A hungry nation is an angry nation, and having just recently come out of butchering each other simply because we were angry we did not have a Prime Minister, it was clear that playing with our food was the quickest way to a violent revolution since Marie Antoinette said "Let them eat cake." Governments hate revolutions, and ours quickly moved to remedy the situation by importing maize from outside.

For a while, everything was OK, until PriceWaterhouseCoopers did an audit of the excercise and discovered that true Kenyan style, a few billion shillings had somehow managed to affix itself to the real price of the maize that had been imported. Quite a few prominent names were mentioned and suddenly, Kenyans were very interested. Corrupt government officials were about to be exposed!

Our euphoria, however, was to be short-lived because in a master-stroke to end all master-strokes, the implicated Waheshimiwa pulled a fast one of us.

You see, just like Maize is Kenya's de-facto national staple, politics happens to be Kenya's de-facto national pastime. We can never get enough of politics, and being aware of this, the implicated Waheshimiwa knew that the surest way to deflect our attention from matters pertaining to the shady importation of maize was to give us something political to talk about instead. So out of absolutely nowhere, they manufactured a political crisis.

First, the Prime Minister called a press conference and fired ministers he had no authority to fire. Stunned, we were still taking it all in when a statement from the President's office clarified the obvious. We still hadn't understood what the hell all that was about when the Prime Minister screamed blue murder and declared a dispute between him and the President. While we were still getting our heads around the realization that kumbe disputes have to be declared before they are actually disputes when the Prime Minister went two better and called Annan while pulling his troops out of Cabinet, or rather, Cabinet meetings. [The two are mutually exclusive, apparently.]

Then having turned us completely on our heads, the Prime Minister packed his bags and left for the Far East to tell the Japanese what a politically stable and corruption-free investment destination Kenya is.

Behind him, he left a thoroughly punch-drunk and confused nation wondering what the hell had just happened. All the talk was now on the provisions of the National Accord, whether the PM has the right to suspend ministers and what exactly a 50-50 power-sharing deal was all about.

Any talk of maize, of course, was now completely forgotten.

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