This time next week, the greatest show on earth will be launched in London, often hailed as one of the best cities in the world. It’s a city often overcast with grey clouds and endless bleakness. According to popular sage, the reason the Brits colonised other lands was mainly to escape their horrible weather.
But next week will be different. London is in the thick of the season’s summer, and Londoners are streaming out, like animals out of hibernation, to bask in the heat while it lasts.
The Brits enjoyed their place in the sun, as they did in Kenya until they were driven out some 50 years ago.
They named their settlements the White Highlands and, at the height of their occupation, about 1,000 Europeans, most of them of British extraction, held eight million acres of Kenya’s most arable lands.
It is this kind of history that the British don’t like being reminded as it reaffirms their unchecked greed was probably the genesis of the kleptocracy we see parodied in most of Africa.
Let’s steer clear of that past and focus on the present. The Olympics is at hand, and in the spirit of sportsmanship, let us hail the great Kenyans who are optimistic that our national anthem will be heard, not once, or twice, but many times, as they step up to the podium to receive their gold medals.
On that score, I have no doubt David Rudisha, Vivian Cheruiyot and Ezekiel Kemboi, among others, will make us proud.
But I want to hail other Kenyans who are making us proud, also in London, in a different kind of race.
Paulo Muoka Nzili, Wambugu wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara are Mau Mau veterans in their 70s and 80s. They are in London to extract an apology and compensation for the cruel treatment meted out on them during the liberation war.
The lawyer for the British Government, Guy Mansfield, QC, told the three elderly men and woman he did “not want to dispute the fact that terrible things happened to you,” the first official acknowledgement from our former colonial master.