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Twisted logic of importing useless palms from Malaysia, exporting 500-year baobabs to Georgia

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja intends to import mature palm trees from Malaysia to beautify city thoroughfares, perhaps because we have cut so many trees in recent years.

Please don’t laugh at the idea; when so many things have gone wrong, even the most absurd could sound uplifting. I suppose none of us has forgotten what Mike Sonko’s City Hall looked like.

I’m not thinking about Sonko’s histrionics, sipping coloured drinks from thermos flasks; I’m thinking about the set of lions that he unveiled somewhere near Uhuru Park and which resembled cats that had been rained on.

Anyway, Sakaja aspires to have a better Nairobi, even though the carbon footprints—everyone is talking in those terms since the Cairo conference on the environment—of delivering the trees to Nairobi would far outweigh the pollution that the trees would mop up from the environment.

One supposes, of course, that the trees will grow in the first place and that Sakaja’s instant gratification of seeing a tree grow overnight is not an infantile fantasy. In any case, it is surprising that he’s not keen to grow trees from scratch, like the rest of us. Maybe he’s wise enough to acknowledge power is not guaranteed. It could evaporate, just like that.

Sakaja’s mission, by some measure, appears pretty grounded; some folks in Kilifi are doing something completely out of this world: they are uprooting and selling baobab trees, estimated to be between 200 and 500 years, for export to Georgia. Where’s Georgia again…? The idea, I hear, is to ‘clear’ farms for maize farming.

Well, we have enough room to grow grains (and even lease some to the Qataris), but only the age-old baobabs in Kilifi are coming in the way. In moments like these, the only expression that makes sense of such asinine acts is: nani alituroga?