ICTVILLE

Kenya, irresistible to the expatriate;Why many expats fall in love with our beautiful land and forget the hardship regions that are Europe and America

Posted In Business, Lifestyle, NEWS - By admin on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 With No Comments »

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Oh dear, what to make of this Kenyan citizenship issue? Is this one of those letters that are addressed to just one particular government official or to ‘whoever it may concern’?

For years, I have just been appending my signatures to letters written by a secretary, but now that I am done and dusted with my high-paying expatriate job, I will have to do the writing myself — or probably until I am appointed to some local board then I can hire another secretary to do all these menial letter-writing jobs.

Should I fail to write this letter, I can as well kiss my quest for Kenyan citizenship goodbye, and that will be the loss for Kenyans, you know, considering that I have a lot of experience doing many things they cannot, like living well in their own country.

I want to guess, nay, believe, no, trust, that Kenyans know me, considering that I have been hosting high-level functions attended by officials from high echelons of government, captains of industry, and generally Kenyans who are famous for being famous.

There have been unfortunate instances when I have been discussed in Parliament or when my work permit has been revoked and the decision rescinded and re-rescinded and re-re-rescinded — as in revoked, reissued, then revoked, and later reissued — in a matter of minutes.

Apart from getting such mainstream mentions, I have also featured in fringe quarters after being espied with female socialites in events organised by them, or just when I am shooting the breeze and they are hanging on my fingernails while their boyfriends are hanging onto my shirttails, and to my every word.

I have been in almost every nook of the Kenyan society — television talk shows, game shows, shoes shows, fashion shows, cookery shows, road shows, radio talk shows, binge drinking parties, infants’ birthday parties and private sector initiatives on legalisation of prostitution, responsible drinking, road safety, soil conservation, forestation, construction of paths in villages, free and fair elections… name it — and I have been getting favourable media coverage.

Because of that, and also due to the fact that I comment on major national issues like women’s short skirts and men’s tight pairs of trousers, there are many ordinary Kenyans who might have thought that I am a Kenyan by birth.

Actually, there are even non-ordinary Kenyans who thought that I am a Kenyan because I always get ahead of them in supermarket queues, pubs and in slow-moving traffic.

I would not confess that the local media have been under my thumb, but they have been very supportive of my causes, which include assisting young inebriated women pull up their skimpy dresses or giving them a lap of luxury to sit on while drinking. The media can vouch that I have a clean record.

Now that I have made it clear that I am not yet a Kenyan citizen, you may wonder why I want to be one.

There are numerous reasons why Kenya should be my permanent home, and anyone who has lived in this country long enough should know them.

Nonetheless, I will enumerate only the basic ones and not bore you with what might make me look like a person who does not love this beautiful country with beautiful women and handsome men who give and forgive and get and forget.

That is not to say that Kenyans have poor memories. Their memories are wonderful, but they are just too busy drowning their sorrows, nursing hangovers or staggering to their vehicles and deliberately forget things which people in other countries consider important.

Deliberate amnesia is the main reason I want to make Kenya my permanent home. It is the most important reason I do not wish to go back to my country, where people are so idle that they remember so many wrongs.

Back in my country, I might have to seek employment, and knowing the economic situation in these Western countries and the concomitant high levels of unemployment and cost of living, that might be a problem.

Further, getting employed there will mean I have to pay the high taxes. In Kenya I will not since I will easily register some non-governmental organisation or conservation body for protecting endangered species like the numerous weaver birds, rats, marabou storks, dik-diks or even the non-existent ones like kangaroos and I will be exempt from paying taxes.

I could even set up a body tasked with protecting slums from slum dwellers who destroy the rich ecosystem which draws in Western celebrities. Slums are a gold mine and hold so much talent in the form artists and artisans whose works are dirt cheap locally but expensive abroad.

With one hundredth of my weekly pension, I can afford truckloads of art pieces, sell them out of the country, bank the money there and have it wired back as remittance from the diaspora, which is highly hyped as higher than revenues from agricultural exports.

In my country of origin, pieces of art are expensive because artists cannot be exploited. Becoming an art dealer is also not so easy, but in Kenya, it is as simple as jumping across an open sewer in the slums.

In short, I will contribute greatly to the Gross Domestic Product — proof that in Kenya, it is easy to contribute to the GDP than in my country of origin where even if I did, I will not be recognised and acknowledged the way I will be in Kenya where I could even receive State Honours.

Another reason is that in many Western countries, errant fathers who sow wild oats and scoot have to pay for child support. In Kenya, the mother will just be content with introducing the child as the offspring of the former chair of the British American Indo-China and Pacific Business Community who was also the CEO of the Great Bank in charge of Africa, Middle East and Lower Part of Europe, the chair of the Great Pacific Motor Company and Sino-Kenya Great Wall Fabricators of South America…

Isn’t it an honour to mothers and their children when they are linked to a man with such qualifications? Kenyan women give (birth) and forgive, especially when a foreign man is involved.

Kenya’s general populace and government officialdom hold foreigners in awe and I will not only be a respected citizen, but a feared one also and will get away with any infraction.

The Kenyan system of poor governance favours foreigners too, unlike in neighbouring countries where I will always be under scrutiny and sources of my income will be questioned.

Compared to other countries, laws are just proposals, life is cheap, and apart from the fact that I will be a member of almost all high-end exclusive clubs, I will easily buy a ranch where I will host tourists.

Where else can I get such world class treatment and perks? Nowhere but Kenya, and that is why I want to be a citizen. Remember, it is your loss if you do not grant me citizenship.

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Get off bootless Facebook and hit the campaign trail!

Many politicians will lose, not because they could not bungle their messages worse than their opponents, but because they have totally misunderstood new media and how it can be used to lower their chances of succeeding at the ballot.

Failure has gone to the heads of many users of social media in Kenya, and some politicians have put so much faith on these people that they forget votes are cast at polling stations and not on the Internet.

Considering the rate at which some of these tech-savvy politicians were dumped by voters who know little or nothing about their (politicians’) popularity on social media platforms, many more are going to realise their follies come the General Elections and there will be nothing short of gnashing of teeth as they wonder where they went wrong.

Again, Kenya might be a “Silicon Savannah”, what with our futuristic techno-cities and such like digital confectionary shops in the sky, but still, votes are cast at polling stations, largely by citizens who do not even know the correct spelling of Facebook or Twitter.

**********

Take your pick, politics or education

Those who have political hair on their chests had an adrenaline rush last week as political parties fumbled, bumbled, bungled and made fools of themselves before the masses.

All of them were looking at the elusive “bigger picture” in the fiasco that was political parties’ nominations (I deliberately refuse to call them primaries), and the result was that even education took a back seat as parties coolly decided to carry their stupidity forward by one extra day, without caring that some young minds had been kept away from public schools just to accommodate them.

In all that mess, one thing that was never realised was that even private schools remained closed. Many private primary schools did not want to put children at risk because they felt that supporters of disgruntled politicians — but aren’t all of Kenyan politicians disgruntled? — might hijack school buses or even storm private schools that are next to public ones, thus pupils were advised to stay home, missing two days of learning.

That is how politicians’ bad manners affect even the innocent now and in the future since they grow up knowing that violence is the only means through which Kenyans can effectively communicate.

You can argue that democracy is expensive and even children have to pay for it by failing to attend classes, but as a nation, we have cheapened democracy. We have lowered its value to such levels that make dictatorship seem like a better option.

Yeah, that is how we roll, and if we liked some of the scenes that were witnessed at nomination centres last week, then we will love what we will experience after the March 4 General Elections.

The only difference is that in March, there will be rivulets of tears and, sadly, even when we add them to our few sources of water, they will not be enough to douse the fires that will be burning across the country — unless there is a complete, collective change of attitude.

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