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Kenyans' celebration of Amina's loss at AU is a cry for help

By Ambei Milimu | February 1st 2017

On Monday 30th January 2017, Amina Mohammed the Kenyan foreign Affairs Cabinet secretary came up for a vote at a session of the AU in Addis Ababa. She sought to succeed Dlamini Zuma as the chair of the African Union Commission.

 The government had until that day evidently invested a lot in her candidature with envoys including the DP and the President himself visiting all 53 African states to drum up support for her. A cabinet sub committee was even established specifically for this purpose. While some domestic opposition to her bid is to be expected and accepted in a free and democratic state like Kenya, the tangible sighs of relief around Kenya and in some cases outright celebrations that followed her loss to Moussa Faki of Chad tell a different story.

A story of a Kenya where the government is so far removed from the concerns and everyday needs of the common citizen that everything the government does is seen to be selfish. A Kenya where the political divide is so wide that to some, Amina's candidature was just a scheme by the Jubilee regime to ensure protection by the AU in the event they mess up the elections and insist on staying in power.

So wide that its slowly but surely tearing at the patriotic fibre that holds us all together. Amima has since then spoken to her loss saying that Africa is deeply divided along francophone and anglophone lines and that they shall be interrogating claims that even some of our closest neighbours voted against her.

But again she only continues to prove that the government cannot comprehend the message even if you slap it into their faces. Going through social media, popular messages coalesced around the idea that Kenya was not good at handling its own internal affairs and so was not capable of providing leadership to the continent.

Netizens were quick to point out the prevalent hunger in Kenya at the moment, the recent attack of our soldiers at Kulbiyow that killed tens of them, the persistent doctors' strike, lecturers' strike and impending nurses' strike. Some argued that other countries had become suspicious of Kenya's intention given its desperate effort to secure Amina the post. An effort that took up hundreds of millions of shillings even billions by some estimates.

All in all however, the much that I could read from this reaction was anger,fear and resentment. Anger at a government that has forgotten why it was voted in and all it seeks is self-aggrandisement and recognition across boarders almost always at our expense. Anger that an individual ,Amina, has taken the focus of a whole government off such issues as biting hunger, doctors' strike and suffering of our soldiers in neighbouring Somalia. Resentment that the Jubilee government has written up its list of interests and they appear to be mutually exclusive to those of the average Kenyan.

This celebration by Kenyans of Amina's loss was a cry of frustration seeking to remind the government that Kenyans still exist. A cry I am afraid the government is not hearing given Amina's post mortem speech.

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