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Don’t Hold your Breath for the “Bonus”

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Warning: the following post contains language that some might find offensive.

I am grouchy, I haven’t had enough coffee, and I just stubbed my toe. But none of those facts is the reason that I’m angry. I am angry because of the willful myopia of the Kenyan press, especially the Daily Nation. The insistence on heralding a brave new world is not only wrongheaded, but inaccurate, misleading and based more on wish-fulfilment rather than any objective research.

I have already touched on the issue of Kenyans being wrong to expect anything to change with the election of Barack Obama. Initially I thought the initial euphoria would give way to more sober reflection, but I was wrong. Today finds Oliver Mathenge, Samuel Siringi and David Mugony involved in a circle-jerk, mentally masturbating over the “Obama Bonus.” So help me, if I ever have to read their article again, I will have an aneurysm.

More Kenyan goods could sell in the United States and America may invest more in the country where Barack Obama traces his roots

Don’t stop now, boys! Just a few more strokes and you’ll be there!

The election of Mr Obama as US President would hopefully bring an influx of American tourists and mean our goods would find a ready market

Ahhh! Doesn’t that feel good? Now, wipe your keyboards clean.

To be fair to our hapless trio, they are only reporting the words of our over-excitable Prime Minister. However, they are supposed to be journalists, and part of journalism is the ability to use your critical functions to distinguish reality from rhetoric. Sadly, it seems that after the first three paragraphs, they had exhausted themselves and rolled over and gone to sleep.

There is nothing in the rest of the article about the difficulties facing Mr Obama when he takes the US presidency. Nothing about whether American tourists will still have the money to take long-haul flights to travel to Kenya. Nothing about whether there is actually demand for our Kenyan goods in the US market. And most definitely nothing about how our politicians may have shot themselves in the foot way before the election was decided.

In recent years, when it comes to trying to raise foreign capital, our politicians have not been courting the US. They have barely played lip service to their relationship with the UK or the EU either. Instead, we’re constantly told to “look East,” to China and India, who ask us fewer questions about corruption and human rights, who don’t make us feel like naughty schoolchildren for having squandered generations of aid money.

Where was Raila Odinga when he made these pie-in-the-sky remarks? Why, at the airport, just back from China! As a nation, we have been happily burning our bridges with the West. What possible hope do we have of getting favourable treatment with them now, just because the US has happened to elect someone whose father was born here? Put your dicks down, boys; write the reality, not the fantasy.

[Image by Panda Destroys Robot]

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