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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Enter Makmende to solve all our problems...

We don’t need President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga any more. Now we have Makmende.

Our crisis of leadership is about to be solved in the most dramatic way. Makmende will force a headless and dysfunctional Cabinet to meet and unite round the proposed constitution, complete with the amendments required to resolve grey areas. Makmende will also knock a few heads in Parliament and summon an all-party meeting that will agree to unanimously support the proposed constitution both in the House and outside when the referendum campaign starts.

The new national hero makes religious leaders who have been issuing all sorts of threats realise that it is a constitution of Kenya at stake and not the constitution of their narrow sectional groupings.

In between, Makmende—fresh from ensuring Kenya’s great performance at the World Cross Country Championships at some place in Poland I can neither spell nor pronounce—will wage war on all the criminals and bandits that have made Kenya a living hell, sending all the baddies into premature retirement and the commissioner of police into disuse.

He will pop over to the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission and the AG's chambers and ensure speedy prosecution and conviction of all the corrupt big fish who have been allowed to operate above the law. After they are safely behind bars, he will throw away the keys and confiscate all their property in Kenya and beyond.

If one Luis Moreno-Ocampo is slow to act on the criminals who committed near-genocide in Kenya after the last elections, have no fear; Makmende is on the case. He will not even have to go through the motions of lengthy investigation and trials. Makmende will simply set himself up a reception desk at the gates of Kamiti Maximum Security Prison and invite all those who funded, organised or killed, burnt and looted to turn themselves in before he loses patience. Within minutes Kamiti will be bursting at the seams.

Makmende will also turn his attentions to other pressing problems, like the state of the economy and the mismanaged parastatals and fix things in a jiffy. He will not only make the President and Prime Minister redundant, but the entire Cabinet, Parliament, the Provincial Administration and the security forces. Things will work like clockwork in Kenya. Highways and railroads will reach every corner of the republic. Electricity and piped water will spread out across the land and will be affordable and reliable. Schools and hospitals offering quality services will sprout on every little hamlet.

The country and the people will prosper in a climate of peace and stability. Even the threats from potential terrorists in Somalia and bandits from across the Sudan and Ethiopian borders will be no more, for none will dare even imagine, encompass or devise any harm on Kenya when Makmende is around. Kenyans will be united as one after Makmende persuades their ethnic leaders to go on leave. Old suspicions, hatred and fears will be cast aside and harmony will reign. We will not be talking about Vision 2030 any more, for we will get there ahead of the clock.

It probably is a reflection of helplessness that a fictional superhero can so capture the imagination of Kenyans.

Makmende may not be the last of the escapist fantasy that allows us all to divert our attentions from Kibaki, Raila, Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto and all the other political frauds who have abdicated their leadership roles and threaten again to lead us down the path of death and destruction.

We can forget about the constitution, reforms, Parliament, the grand coalition, or collusion, government, and all the other things that make life such a drag. At one level, Makmende may be an inspiring tale of Kenyan ingenuity and creative use of new media. But the fictional superhero, who has taken Kenyan cyberspace by storm, also fills the giant void we find ourselves in.

In Congo they have ndombolo. We create Makmende to solve all our problems as we amuse ourselves making up the most creative one lines to illustrate his superness. Makmende is not a particularly great music video. The song is pretty forgettable. The character looks rather shabby and ordinary, a far cry from Shaft, Superfly or other heroes of the American black-exploitation movies of the 1970s he’s supposed to be modelled on.

But he has hit us in a big way, and maybe helped us realise that we are ahead of the curve, and must not forever be hostage to the political leaders who hold us down. After all, not even Kibaki and Raila can have a duel with Superman, Spiderman and Batman, combined, with the losers musthaving to wear their underpants on the outside.

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