Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Twenty years ago, it would have been suicidal to mention some words that have become household names in this generation. For example, it was considered treasonable to insinuate that someone was from a different tribe from yours. Calling out to someone by his tribe was considered very offensive. You would be considered as breaking the spirit of the Nyayo Philosophy when you shouted at your neighbour ‘Wee Mluhyia kuja hapa’ This was enough to book you a ticket to Kamiti Maximum Prison (FB) for a certain fraction of your life.

But this is not so anymore. In this era of coalition government, you can actually place a commercial on the television giving important anecdotes on such details as to where your wise ancestors chose to be born. The commercial goes like this; ‘Sisi wa….. (whatever tribe you come from) should be the ones leading this great nation because our staple food is ….. We declare to the rest of you that we are better than you. Therefore vote for one of us in the next general election’.

Another household word that my computer gets uncomfortable with is (get ready) -CONDOM. I can imagine how many of you who are reading this column at this very minute are having a hard time breathing. Who would have thought that this would be an item for a television commercial? But it is. And the advertisement is aired at the very moment your children are really concentrating on the telly.

Bored by the intrusion of the commercial they ask ‘Dad, Mom what is a condom?’ I suggest that we the audience of such commercials demand that the advertisers provide us with a gadget that refills our mouths with saliva. Or, they could follow up with the explanation of what a condom is.

They could help us by introducing a cartoon series that would teach our pre-school kids the S-word education. I can hear some self-righteous people muttering that it is my responsibility to educate my six year old on sex and bla bla bla. Send me a manual.

How could I forget the constitution? I am made to believe that this is an important piece of paper which our forefathers sailed in ships for years to England to write. It is not only in these days that our political leaders jump at every opportunity to leave the country on as flimsy grounds as ‘official duty’. I don’t understand why it had to be written in England . Or is it that Webuye paper mills was not milling paper then? Or could it be that there was no ink in the country?

Being the politicians that they were (the Lancaster lot), they came back with a piece of paper that politicians love to fight about to this day. I am told that the constitution writers came and hid it somewhere. Only four policemen were appointed to guard the glass-cased piece of paper. The secret of the constitution came into the open when one of the policemen had a quarrel that went like this with his wife:

Wife: I will be going out this weekend. Care to join me?
Policeman: You are not going anywhere!
Wife: I wasn’t asking you for permission, I was informing you.
Policeman: (shouting) Have you become another constitution? Do I have to guard you for 24 hours? And who is it that will pay me for guarding you? That piece of paper feeds us. Will you?

The woman in her anger went telling everyone that that loser of a man whom she married was a ‘paper guard’. These kinds of stories are known to spread very fast. By midday it had reached several politicians. Well known for their always-looking-for-something-to-do-because-there-is-nothing-to-do they hit the road armed with their new knowledge.

So now they have found the paper (constitution) project and have named it Wanjiku. I understand the problem politicians have with the constitution ranges from its color, size and texture. Some think it should be housed in a state of the art mansion; not so much for the love they have for the document but so that they can have their immediate families appointed as CEOs of a state corporation named Constitution Watching Over Inc.

Yesterday they were fighting to change the whole of it. Today they want its minimum deformation. As usual, they have found something to argue about in the name of keeping the government on its toes.

Discussion question for next week, how many toes does the government have?