By Kenfrey Kiberenge
Two events this week placed Kenya on the world map. On Wednesday, President Kibaki opened the new-look Parliament chambers with what has billed as the world’s most costly parliamentary seats.
The next was the stellar performance of David Lekuta Rudisha on Thursday night in the men’s 800m finals. Rudisha was the first athlete to set a new world record on the track in London 2012 in a performance that underlined Kenyan athletes as world-beaters.
Both events have attracted widespread media interest in Britain.
While we made it a priority to upgrade our Parliament to a hi-tech one where MPs will be buzzing point of orders, in Britain, the mother of all legislatures – and despite their higher per capita income – lawmakers have to squeeze on average green leather pews and stand to catch the Speaker’s eye.
It beats logic how a country that cannot feed its own population can prioritise upgrading of Parliament at a cost of Sh1 billion.
A country that cannot afford Sh250 million to build a spinal injury treatment centre and despite efforts by an injured man riding on a wheelchair to South Africa to raise funds, no Government official seems to care. When the dust settles on the London Olympics and the Government accountants finish reconciling the figures, a higher amount will have been spent on trips to Britain to market Kenya as tourist destination. Never mind Kenyans waste hundreds of billions of shillings in medical tourism in India and South Africa.
Whenever I heard people discuss Parliament seats in the newsroom I cleared my throat and tried all I could to take cover. And as fate would have it, Team Kenya had a depressing start at the Olympics.
I recall on Tuesday night watching the men’s 1,500m finals and with near pomposity telling a roommate with more than 10 nationalities how we would win gold, silver and bronze.
All cameras were trained on Asbel Kiprop and the BBC commentators echoed my sentiments. I kept updating them that running from behind was his strategy – he would raise the tempo in the final lap. We all know what happened.
But on Thursday night Rudisha lightened up not just Kenyans but the entire world. I became more visible and more Kenyan. Although it’s summer time in UK, I wrapped a scarf with Kenyan flag colours around my neck to the office yesterday.
Many more medals are on the way for Team Kenya. The games have also been great for Great Britain as well.
- Salva Kiir sacks top South Sudan officials
- Lawyer wants Chinedu to appear in court
- Maji marefu’s futile effort to find stolen property
- Diplomatic passports, special number plates for governors
- Can chickens really be cleverer than a toddler? Studies suggest animals can master numeracy and basic engineering
- Freedom of media under threat in Eastern Africa