There are three silver linings to the rather dark, foreboding cloud hanging over us at this time. There is so much to be gloomy about, it is a talent to find something positive to say about our condition.
The first one is the crackdown on corruption at the Immigration Department. It is a small but pleasant surprise. Dr Richard Leakey had a profound impact on my thinking about government and what citizens have a right to expect.
When he served as a most unlikely Head of Public Service, he focused a lot on improving the points of contact between government officials and citizens and ensuring that if you sought service, you got it quickly and, in a no fuss fashion.
And for the first time, it became possible to get service without paying a bribe or waiting for as long as a year for a passport, an ID or birth certificate. But these services are magnets for brokers and graft fiends. The folk in need are pressed for time – because they need to travel, to apply for a job or go to school – and can be squeezed for a bribe by ruthless bureaucrats. The more incompetent the entity the more fertile the ground for bribes.
Protecting the public from such folk and ensuring that services are accessible is the first step in the business of governing.
Pundits have lampooned Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki because he has a soft voice. But his performance during Shakahola, the results that he has got against bandits in the Rift Valley point to a man who can get things done.
If he can clean up Nyayo House and get results against Al-Shabaab’s attempts to plant an insurgency in our land, he will have answered his critics.
I’d be careful. Mr Kindiki comes from a clan of archers; they come quietly.
The second thing is the Africa Climate Summit early next week. The continent is gathering under the leadership of President William Ruto to redefine its response to the threat of our planet becoming uninhabitable.
Clever people are pessimistic about our chances of survival beyond the next couple of centuries. The most immediate threat is a nuclear war that will wipe out life on earth, man with it. The second is our irresponsible exploitation of our planet and pollution that we pump into the air and the water bodies.
French Colonial Pact
Humanity is like a person who uses his own house as if it belongs to his worst enemy: When he is cold, he burns the walls for heat. And disposes his waste in the same space where he lives. Because we are the poorest and most despised continent, we feel the effects of climate change, even though we have the least to cause it. Africa now wants to change the game: Find a common voice and signal a determination to get off the loan and grant bandwagon and start cutting grown up deals to fire up its resources.
I have written acres about the conference, but it is a real opportunity for the President to demonstrate leadership and the continent to take some concrete action to save itself and humanity.
The third silver lining is Gabon. A land with incredible resources – from oil to lots of good land – and a population of only 2.4 million, the only reason Gabon is not as wealthy and as advanced as Dubai is Mr Ali Bongo and his accursed. They have continued that tradition of assisting foreigners exploit their countries by driving their boot into the necks of the people and behaving like European royalty. I bear no ill-will to Mr Bongo as a person but I do bear ill-will against what he represents.
The French Colonial Pact, the oft spoken about agreement with ridiculous provisions which would allow France to continue holding sway and ruthlessly exploiting 11 former colonies is almost laughable it had not caused so much misery. This modern day slavery is enforced by men like Félix Houphouët-Boigny, of African peasant stock, but who in adult life consider themselves black French nobility and, in power, rule their people with patrician contempt. Ruling on behalf of a foreign power, for the benefit of a foreign power, with little regard to the African people, the rightful owners of the resources on which they have grown as fat as tomatoes.
This putrefying edifice is kept aloft by frequent coups against those with the testicles to speak out against the foreign occupier. Laurent Gbagbo was taken to The Hague for standing against the choice of the masters, Alassane Ouattara, in a disputed election. I remember Mr Gbagbo and his wife, living in hiding like rodents, hunted down and her hair being pulled out by troops when they were finally apprehended.
I suspect that little Charles Taylors and Samuel Does in the barracks have smelt the people’s discontent and are now rising to take power, perhaps not really for the people, but for themselves. Next, they will contract Russian mercenaries to protect them against foreign intrigue, digging themselves deeper in the mud.
But the false peace of the endless servitude that comes with the Bongos of Africa is worse. Way worse. The rejection of his almost certainly fake election victory is a good thing. It is the turn of his life to stand in the rain.