Aidan Hartley on the Wild Life
I want to say Kenya is a victim of negative press. Shady characters called bloggers are nicknaming the President’s new Peace cabinet of ministers ‘Ali Baba and his 40 Thieves’. That is very cheeky. Everybody knows there are 42 ministers, 52 assistant ministers and 42 permanent secretaries. But ‘Ali Baba and his 136 Thieves’ isn’t so catchy. Typical imperialists and their comprador agents on the world wide web. Britain and the US should be careful. The Chinese can also be our friends.
Unfortunately, we are not yet free. Even today our former colonial masters call the shots. That is why they forced our politicians into a peace accord to stop the recent bloodbath. What we need are African solutions for African problems. (Kofi Annan may be Ghanaian but that is not the point.) Westerners do not care about Africans killing each other. Their priority is only to control our resources. Everybody knows we have undiscovered oil. Whites still own 80 per cent of the land growing pineapples for multinationals. Asians do not allow anybody else to compete in industry. American scientists — probably the same ones who invented Aids — come to steal our bacteria and make millions patenting biological detergents. Enough of Europe underdeveloping Africa! We must ban all foreign investors who steal jobs from Kenyans.
Some bloggers described the bloodletting here as ‘tribal’. And TV stations showed youths pulling innocent civilians from taxis to be butchered, while others sharpened their pangas on the asphalt. These reports reinforce an unfairly negative image of Africa — but why do they not show positive images? It is like the British campaign to undermine Zimbabwe’s economy to punish Robert Mugabe for taking back land from the whites. Journalists make it look as if there are more plane crashes in Africa than on any other continent. Why don’t you report on all the aircraft that take off safely? It is time Africans had their own media and by that I certainly don’t mean bloggers.
Still, as a member of an indigenous minority I know all about social exclusion. My consciousness was raised at a Unesco seminar I attended in Tegucigalpa in 2005. There I was so happy to meet Inuits at a buffet-cum-cocktail party. It was an empowering experience, very ground-upwards. This is why I am suing Britain for £2 billion for historical injustices. Colonialists established Nairobi in my grandpa’s cattle boma in 1902. Nobody asked his permission. Now it’s time to pay up, Gordon Brown. Meanwhile the trauma of colonialism is forcing me to arm the idlers down in the market ready for the next elections. I’ll ethnically cleanse anybody who doesn’t vote for our tribal candidate. After all, that’s democracy.
As Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (pbuh) once said, ‘Africa for the Africans.’ But in order for radical self-reliance to be achieved — together with sundry UN Millennium Development Goals — the West must dramatically increase aid to Africa. No more cheating on commodity prices for our raw materials. No more dumping of chicken drumsticks on Africa!
British aid to Kenya is £60 million per year, only slightly more than aid to Zimbabwe. Another damn conspiracy. They’re treating us as badly as poor Bob now. Clearly, there cannot be peace in Kenya without the ‘Peace Cabinet’. And 42 ministries will cost taxpayers about £500 million per year. After all, the president earns more than Bush, Brown or Ban Ki-moon. Our central bank governor earns double Bernanke’s take-home. We’re talking big time here.
That is why, in the new democratic dispensation, when I hear complaints about crime in Kenya, it makes me very angry. As if people don’t get murdered in Buckingham Palace. You say roads are potholed, but go talk to the contractors who did a shoddy job. Typical Italian mafias. Now everybody’s making noise about food prices. On that subject I have only two words to say: global warming.
I condemn nasty press coverage that hampers our IPOs and the recovery of our tourism industry. The suckers used to fly down ready to pay top dollar. Now we have all these smiling Maasai warriors waiting in the bushes with mango cocktails but no punters. May I remind you this is the home of ‘Big cat diary’. We don’t want to have bloggers making jokes about our political leaders. Some people call the goings-on in Kenya a soap opera that should be called ‘Fat cat diary’. That is very cheeky. And, as you already know, the Chinese can also be our friends.
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated April 26, 2008