The illusions of power and the gentle groove of the gravy train snaking its way

I witnessed first-hand how our money is “eaten” by political operatives. And since any question to promote accountability is likely to be rebutted with a well-rehearsed, though unfounded response that the media are all collectively and uniformly biased against the Kenya Kwanza administration, I’ll refrain from naming the individual in question. Let’s call her a VVIP.

That means Very Very Important Person, a title that ordinary folks only acquire when they join the public service, not any other institution, which suggests their value is only realised when they join the government.

First, a disclaimer: I am an ordinary folk who sleeps out of ordinary bunkers while travelling, so I was pleasantly surprised when at breakfast I noticed a tremble in the air when a certain woman in a satin dress that swept the floor, moved an inch.

I paid her no heed—how many women in satin dresses have I seen in this long life, anyway— but I did recognise her at second glance. Alas! I was in VVIP company, I said to myself, and I took my time at the buffet, lingering long enough to experience the assumed magic of power.

It only resulted in irritation; the morning calm was interrupted by the several dozen men and women in tow; they sprung to their feet at the slightest turn of the woman. There were bodyguards and aides and camera crews and what-have-you.

At the table, an inner ring of aides sat watching her eat, one would think they would intervene if her throat was clogged, or if a bone went the wrong way.

“Inaitwa pawa,” a waiter hummed under his breath as he picked tea things from the table. This summation from an ordinary man encapsulates deep philosophy about the illusions of power. To feed this one VVIP mouth, Kenyans fed 40 others in the entourage.