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Debate on Kenyan governors’ flags is much ado about nothing

By By PETER WANYONYI | August 19th 2013


Kenyan legislators and government executives are astonishing. Their ability to unerringly set very low performance bars — and then fail to beat them — is legendary. But even by our bottom-feeding standards, the recent kerfuffle over governors flying national flags on their cars is a new low.

Africans are perhaps the most selfish beings among the human race, and African politicians are particularly ham-fisted — with appetites to match.

And among Africans, few come close to the Kenyan politician, who seemingly exists merely to steal, rob, pillage and then aggrandize himself and show off his often illegally-acquired power. County governors, seeking to project a bit of national authority, are flying the national flag on their cars with impunity. This should be no big deal because our national symbols should be a source of pride rather than exclusivity.


But no one told our MPs who — because they themselves are barred from flying the flag on their cars — want to create a law that denies governors that privilege, too. Interestingly, they want to add a little salt to the wound by denying governors the right to be addressed using the honorific “His Excellency” title.

It would be funny if it weren’t so stupid. Here we are, the 30th poorest country in the world, with a host of unsolved problems. We have been unable to solve problems like feeding our starving masses; ensuring that electricity reaches more than the 15 per cent of the population currently lucky enough to have power; getting clean running water to wananchi; clearing the slums that blight our cities; chipping away at corruption and tribalism in the public and private sectors. Folks, we have serious problems to attend to, and what is occupying our fat cat, highest-paid-in-the-world MPs is who gets to fly the national flag on their cars?

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