Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Captain of virtue

Celebrity sportsmen have through time found it really hard to keep their pants up away from home and their names off the sleazier sections of the press.

Last year, Tiger Woods' dalliance with more than a dozen women did things to his reputation that even an elephant would hesitate to do to a glass cage holding its young. Dude is now divorced and a hundred mil poorer.

Soon after the Woods' saga hit the tabloids, it was quickly followed by the lurid tales of one Jacob Zuma, who even two decades after the death of Apartheid remains unwilling to put down his machine gun. [OK. Maybe Zuma isn't exactly a sports personality. But he has been quite a player in the romantic field, which sort of qualifies him for that sporty title, doesn't it?]

News of Zuma's 20th-born was still settling in when another sports celebrity waddled into the murky sludge of tabloid press. John Terry, Chelsea and former England captain, was soon afterward reported to have showed more than passing interest to the ex-girlfriend of his England and former Chelsea team-mate, Wayne Bridge, and the reports caused such outrage among the English public that England coach Fabio Capello, fearing the destabilizing effect the incident would have on the England team as they prepared for the World Cup, promptly stripped Terry of the England captaincy.

Now, let us for a minute transfer the JT debacle to Kenya and assume that in the place of Terry, it was the Harambee Stars captain who was implicated in an affair with the ex-girlfriend of a team-mate. Would the public have shown the kind of outrage shown by the English and demanded that he be stripped of his armband?

That, of course, would never happen. In fact, as rhetorical questions go, that question would put the rhetoric in rhetorical.

First of all, unless the lady in question is actually married to the team-mate,a Kenyan would see absolutely nothing wrong with the captain's action.  If there is no ring around the fourth finger of her left hand, then she is, for all intents and purposes, fair game. In the JT saga, the lady, a French lingerie model called Veronica Perroncel, wasn't the wife, or even the current girlfriend, but the EX girlfriend of Wayne Bridge. In Kenyan books, nothing wrong there.

But even if a queer section of the Kenyan public had found the saga even remotely repulsive and opined that Twahir Muhiddin, Ghost Mulee, that clueless German or whoever it is in charge of the Stars should relieve the captain of his leadership duties, then this high-minded percentage of humanity would first of all have to contend with members of the erstwhile captain's ethnic community, who will scream, shout and even uproot a few railway sleepers to protest against the victimization of their community.

But the main reason no furore whatsoever would be raised is quite simple: Over 80% of Kenyans don't watch Kenyan football, and of the 20% that follow it regularly, Two thirds have absolutely no idea who the hell the Harambee Stars captain is.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Model Trial

I love models. Nothing quite appeals to my amorous fantasies than the combination of a figure that makes you think long nights in exotic locations and an IQ figure equal to the number on a goalkeeper's football jersey. And growing up as I did during a time when 90% of vehicles on Kenyan roads had only six digits, I was at some point totally besotted with one Naomi Campbell.

Of course the distance between fantasy and reality is mostly only covered by dreams, so the stunning Ms. Campbell has since then remained exactly that, i.e. the girl of my dreams. However, when I'm not busy with other more important stuff such as debating Referendum results and waiting for the start of the new English Premier League season, I make time to look her up and see what she has been up to, as well at ogle at those looooooooong legs thrusting from whatever leading fashion house number she happens to be donning.

Slightly under a fortnight ago, I got a chance to indulge this passion of mine. Naomi had reportedly been summoned by the war crimes trial against Charles Taylor at the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, and she was to appear to give testimony that would help indict the former Liberian warlord. With my beautiful Naomi in the picture, I was very, very interested in these proceedings, and accordingly stacked on the popcorn.

We will come back to Naomi and models in a bit, but first, a little background for those of you who for whatever absurd reason may never have heard about Charles Taylor.

Born in 1946, this dude is something of a cross between Idi Amin Dada and Robert Mugabe, with a dash of pre-historic man. He ruled Liberia for six years from 1997 after helping overthrow the government of Samuel Doe, and all indications are those six years aren't exactly ones that Liberians remember with an incredible amount of fondness.

Taylor had a number of very disagreeable habits, and among these was an apparent overwhelming covetousness. He was reportedly so covetous of the riches possessed by neighboring Sierra Leone that he felt compelled to fund a rebel group there, the Revolutionary United Front [RUF], so that he could also get in on a share of its Diamonds resource. This was to prove his undoing, as the activities the RUF rebels involved themselves in have landed him in major legal problems at the Hague.

Naomi Campbell catwalks into this Charles Taylor saga sometime in 1999, when both she and Taylor attended a fund-raising dinner in cape Town hosted by then South African president Nelson Mandela. 

Like 99% of all heterosexual men who have ever set eyes on Naomi Campbell, Charles Taylor's senses went AWOL upon meeting her, and by the end of the night, he had displayed his amorous attentions towards her with a pocketful of uncut diamonds.

To cut a long story short, those diamonds are now central to the case against Taylor at the Hague, because during that time, he had apparently gone to South Africa with the intention of selling the diamonds and raise money to help fund the RUF's atrocious activities in sierra Leone.
To be perfectly honest, I have so far paid the Charles Taylor trial the kind of attention I normally reserve for traffic signs when I'm late for work, and I’m sure an overwhelming proportion of the earth’s population are exactly like me. But since the lovely Naomi graced the trial with her magnificent presence, interest in the trial has grown tenfold, and I’m sure the UN is very thankful for that.
Closer home, it is hoped that if Ocampo does his job properly, a number our local politicians will be acquainting themselves with the Hague quite soon. The Kenya trial is meant to act as precedent and deterrence against future acts of civil violence in Africa and the world over such trivial issues as elections results, and the UN is hoping that public interest in the case will be massive.
Kenya is taking the case very seriously, and a couple of months ago, a witness protection bill was passed in parliament to help secure potential witnesses who will give testimony at the Hague. Last week, it was reported that some of these potential witnesses are already being flown out of the country in readiness for the trial.
My question is, are there any Kenyan supermodels among those witnesses being flown out?