OF THE numerous photographs that did the rounds on WhatsApp, email, Twitter and Facebook from Obama’s visit to Kenya, the one that made me look up and take notice of our overall focus was one of a chap with his hand on the bonnet of “The Beast”.
(“The Beast” is the motor vehicle of the United States President, and you can google the rest because I don’t have time for it here.)
I sat up because the fellow in the photo was described as the Personal Assistant (or Private Secretary) to the President of the Republic of Kenya, and named as Jomo Gecaga.
The man appeared quite foolish in that photograph as a Secret Service fellow appeared to be stopping him from putting his hand on the vehicle.
That Gecaga fellow’s excitement at being near the car that conveys the President of the United States was a little understandable until I discovered that not only is he a nephew of Kenyatta, he IS Chief of Staff of the Kenyan President and attended some of the best schools in the world – including, according to the internet, Eton.
THAT GUY was the one having his photo taken next to the car of the US President the way those kids in your village do when you drive your second hand four wheel drive car over there for Christmas?!
I was flummoxed, which sounds like the Sheng word for the kind of punishment one would mete out to a fellow caught in his situation according to that photograph.
Even a well-heeled chap like that one could lower himself to this and get told off by askaris? America is a superpower kweli!
And I couldn’t laugh at him properly myself because over the entire period almost right up to this point, I find that most of the material being shared with me by otherwise upstanding members of society is the WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook equivalent of copping a photograph with one’s hand on “The Beast”.
Check your phone and laptop – how many people sent you links to the terms of the pacts and bilateral agreements signed between Kenya and the United States during that visit? How many of your pals engaged in insightful analysis about how Uganda (or whatever other country you are in) could benefit from the presence of the United States President and right here – right next door where we go on bus rides to see rally cars, eat nyama choma and collect cars from the port to drive them back to Kampala?
Did any of your pals talk about the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, especially since Uganda was named yet again just TWO WEEKS AGO as the world’s most entrepreneurial country?
Did Ugandans set up Rolex stands from Jomo Kenyatta airport to trap all the Secret Service men and possibly even entice Obama? Did we do anything to stress to his entourage that the single entry visa that put them in Kenya could have elicited value for money if they hopped over to Uganda quickly for a day – perhaps even using the airport parking of British Airways, since those ones are not going to be around for a while anyway?
I didn’t even hear about any serious restaurants creating an #ObamaInKenya rolex and putting the menu online so they attract Google search hits to their websites.
Obviously I might be linked to the wrong social and business networks and should therefore seek to join those in which members were invited to or made their way to the Summit in Nairobi to mingle in with globally accomplished entrepreneurs from the United States and across this continent.
Do you know anyone who went to meet with the billionaires that accompanied Obama? Maybe one of them met ex-Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg (worth US$37.5billion), Businessman Aliko Dangote (worth US$17billion), and TV Sharks Daymond Garfield John (worth US$250million), Barbara Corcoran (worth US$80million), Mark Cuban (worth US$3billion)…the list is much longer!
Luckily for my self-esteem, none of the people I have been communicating with has sent me photos of personal achievements such as standing next to the Presidential Car or a Secret Service Guard.
But sadly, none has shared with me their prospects for increased business and entrepreneurship or even personal development pursuits with the United States. All I have received so far are Gecaga-istic exclamations around Obama and the paraphernalia around his office.
Let’s see if we do different when the Pope comes over…