#FRONTROW: Uhuru danced as critical issues in the country went unattended

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By LARRY MADOWO
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Dear President Uhuru Kenyatta, have you looked out of your bubble lately at the state of the nation you lead? Have the busybodies fawning over you told you what the street is saying about your administration? If they had, you would know that even your greatest fans are aghast. Soon, your “senior digital directors” won’t be able to pay enough bots and bloggers to make flattering hashtags trend on social media. Sir, the natives are restless.

Take for instance your probably well-intentioned “dab” with the dance group, FBI. Yes, you wanted to encourage young people to register as voters, but you were flogging a dead horse. Journalists who “cover” State House didn’t ask you or your spokesman because that would be going against the State religion and they would lose their privileges. In any case, you weren’t really asking them to register to vote, you consistently asked them to vote for you.

The offensive tweets were deleted a few hours later without an apology or an explanation. We’re confused; can we still dab and send pictures to get an invite to State House? In a term marked by many missteps, faux pas and good old-fashioned incompetence, this sad dab episode still ranks near the top.

Incidentally, you might want to find out about the origins of the dab in the cannabis community, but that’s a story for another day.

Many Kenyans were rightfully outraged that you had time to fraternise with the dancers, Mbusi and Rufftone, but hadn’t found a few minutes to receive credentials from the new ambassadors of several countries. For months.

In one of the most tone-deaf actions ever from State House, somebody thought it would be an excellent idea to rubbish all the upset citizens and do a dab challenge, complete with a hashtag. You  probably don’t read your Twitter, so I’ll tell you what it said under your name: “#UhuruDabChallenge: Dab near an IEBC registration centre JUST AFTER either you or your friends have REGISTERED as voters,” it said, in one of the worst abuses of capitalisation. “The person or group whose picture or video gets the most likes, loves or retweets at the end of the remaining 5 days of voter registration will be rewarded for their patriotism, including visiting with me at State House.” Yes, your government is now officially trolling us!

Keep in mind that this obvious contempt was after a day of anger about your misplaced priorities and indifference to the job millions of Kenyans gave you. Your administration seems to tell us that you don’t care that you are yet to issue a statement about the Kulbiyow attack in Somalia where some of our brave soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice. You didn’t order flags to fly half-mast in their honour. You didn’t call their families as Commander-in-Chief to condole with them or visit the injured in hospital. Your people are telling us that you don’t care that millions more Kenyans haven’t had public healthcare for more than two months because the doctors are on strike. You don’t care that learning at state universities countrywide has ground to a halt, with lecturers demanding better pay. Your attitude is telling us that you don’t care about the drought has hit parts of the country so bad, beyond declaring it a national disaster.

With all due respect, it makes no sense for you to be campaigning to remain president when you don’t seem interested in doing the job.

Our public debt is higher than it has ever been, corruption has hit a new record, we’re on the verge of a civil service revolt and you’re worried about appearing cool? They say Nero fiddled while Rome burnt; make no mistake, Kenya is literally and figuratively burning. Thanks to the majority Jubilee enjoys in Parliament and an endless supply of sycophants willing to defend you from all real and imagined enemies, you’re too deeply insulated from the heat of the real Kenya.

The offensive tweets were deleted a few hours later without an apology or an explanation. We’re confused; can we still dab and send pictures to get an invite to State House? In a term marked by many missteps, faux pas and good old-fashioned incompetence, this sad dab episode still ranks near the top. Kenya is facing an unprecedented crisis, sir, please show leadership.

NO TEARS FOR MPS WHO GET VOTED OUT

You have less than six months to hate the current crop of MPs because in August, many of them are likely to be voted out. Pollster Ipsos found out that 42 per cent of the sitting MPs were “not likely” to get re-elected while 39 per cent were “very likely” to win back their seats. The poll, conducted between January 9 and 26, found voters in Jubilee strongholds most unhappy with their leaders, with 46 per cent saying they didn’t expect their MPs to make it back. In Cord areas, the figure was 39 per cent.  The prospect of nearly half the MPs being voted our is good news only if they will be replaced by better people. But given the people running for those seats, you have every reason to despair. We’re replacing greedy, self-centred, good-for-nothings with more of the same. A ballot revolution certainly won’t be coming in this General Election, if the early signs are anything to go by. But there’s still six months for some good people to offer themselves for public office. Someone quickly check if Barack Obama is available and eligible.

SO ASHISH THAKKAR IS NOT REALLY A BILLIONAIRE?

It turns out that “Africa’s youngest billionaire”, Ashish Thakkar, isn’t as rich as he led everyone to believe.

The 35-year-old’s wealth has been blown wide open by a divorce from his wife of five years in a London court.

“Mr. Thakkar told the divorce court last year he doesn’t own the Mara Group and his personal assets are worth less than $600,000,” wrote The Wall Street Journal.

Take a moment to digest that: one of Africa’s richest people is worth less than Sh60m?

It turns out that “Africa’s youngest

It turns out that “Africa’s youngest billionaire”, Ashish Thakkar, isn’t as rich as he led everyone to believe. PHOTO| COURTESY

That is on all of us who work in the African media and glorify any sign of wealth.

We write fawning profile pieces on them and lionise them into small gods. In short order, they are giving motivational speeches, guesting on TV shows and winning fans on social media.

The England-born businessman sold a rosy story of entrepreneurship and we all fell for it, just like we did for Heshan de Silva’s.

rn rn

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