I am 'PROUD TO BE KENYAN'. Really. And it is not because this adage originated with Dr. Alfred Mutua. No, I really am proud to be Kenyan. Who wouldn't be with all the democratic millions of hectares that we are enjoying compared to the tight rope we were walking a few years ago.
Today, you can stagger right out of a bar with all your pockets hanging out, knees knocking while you are trying to hold onto anything that your hands can find or walk from a church with a weird name like 'Finger of God Ministries' and announce that you want to be the next President of Kenya. If you are lucky and a journalistic ear happens to be around, you join the Raila, Martha and Bifwoli Wakoli bunch and you will be on television as a news story which goes 'Another Kenyan joins the (rat) race'.
The most fascinating thing for us who have eaten a lot of salt is that the President, going about his business, will occasionally remind the guys who want his job that 'job iko na mwenyewe.' President Kibaki dismisses you as a rubble rouser and asks the public to disregard you. Hon. Fred Gumo said it even better when he told Hon. Eugene Wamalwa 'to keep up in his father's big shoes because daddy doesn't mind' - he can't leave the house in them.
A few years ago, it was seditious to say you wanted to be president. There were guys who were known as Special Branch who intercepted your thoughts before you got to declare your interest. They were mind readers who took you to a building that shares the same appellate as a buffalo and they charged at and trampled on you until you gave up your presidential fantasies. If you insisted, they dragged you to the courts and charged you with treason and sedition. I suggest that we start a political museum in this country and hunt down survivors of the Special Branch and mount them in galleries with giant pins. Anyone who supports this suggestion raise your hands. I thought so.
This state of affairs left many Kenyans without ambition to be anything but what the system dictated. The Joint Admissions Board (JAB) determined what you would study. It was not like today where we have a group of persons calling themselves 'career advisors' that can tell what a foetus in it's mother's womb will become. Me, I was JABed into a Wildlife class which for the life of me don't know what I was there for. Of course it was the highpoint of my life, being a domestic tourist on government funds, hopping from one National Park to the next. I later tried to get a job with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) but the interviews (and I have attended several) always have this question about giraffes; one from Lake Nakuru and the other from Maasai Mara Game Reserve which I am supposed to differentiate.
The giraffes look pretty identical to me, but my interviewers and some of my former classmates who were lucky to land wildlife jobs swear that one of the giraffes is Maasai and the other is Rothschild, which I think is a tribe from Europe. A career advisor would have advised JAB that they were wasting time and money on me.
The other thing that we pride ourselves in is sports. When ever our teams win, we all suddenly ooze with patriotism. Kenyan ladies are now flooding our stadia to watch football matches. This is the fault of relationship columns which advise ladies to love their men's sports to enhance their relationships. I think it is now going too far because the guys would rather their girls go shopping 'because they don't the hell shut up and let us concentrate on the game!' is what a friend of mine told me. He said the girls keep asking questions every time the ref blows his whistle or raises the small flag. That same girlfriend came to impress me with her knowledge of the game and when I asked her which teams were playing, she couldn't remember the team that was playing with Harambee Stars let alone the stadium they were in. And she can't wait for the next match. The boyfriend is bribing me with a weekend out of the city so long as I take the girl as far away from the city as I possibly can. And if you know me, I am in on it.
And hey, I am looking for a running mate and a Prime Minister for 2012. Send me your details.