Editorial: Suits and Hats and Legacy
Friday, 12 February 2010
How delightful: Mr Ghaddafi, exiting in a dramatic hissy fit after the African Union quite stubbornly turned down his kind offer to keep spreading his magnificence and look after the shop for another year. Term limits for the Brother-Leader – the indignity! He really is one of my favourite African dictators. Lately, I’m a bit concerned about what looks like a really bad Botox job on his face, but the man has oodles of style – the amazon bodyguards, the outfits , the tent. Yes, it’s a tad regrettable that he rules over an actual country, with actual people in it, keeps meddling in all sorts of other countries and rebel armies, and clearly has too much oil money to not be taken seriously. But he would be perfect for a Libyan version of a Disneyland in the desert, no?

However, armed with possibly more cash than sense, the good man is still out and about building his legacy, and I look forward to learning of his new project to entertain us.

Style-wise, Kenya’s very own Mr Moi likes to keep things calm and collected – his only extravagance is a blossoming lapel. He may have been a bit disgruntled that he was asked to move on, too, but he keeps pottering away in the background, and thanks to his successor, his legacy also had a neat face lift: Ever since early 2008, he’s been smiling a smug little ‘told ya’ smile to himself. Democracy? Letting people decide? Nothing but trouble. With that political-stability makeover, he recently took himself next door to Uganda to visit with Mr Museveni, a man fond of wearing a hat that makes me nervous. Mr Moi attended the Liberation Day festivities and provided some elder statesman endorsement to Mr Museveni gearing up for his fourth official and sixth inofficial term. Like the Brother-Leader said: You can’t just send a revolutionary back home! So expect more safari hats.

Mr Kibaki may have the same uneventful dress sense as his predecessor, quite in contrast to the first lady who has become a favourite on the (Nairobi) Star’s annual best/worst dressed list, and that other lady, always described as an ‘activist’ of the political vehicle of the day, who I shall not name since I wouldn’t want Mzee to be dragged to another press conference that some may consider extraneous to his work requirements. In any case, Mr Kibaki must be a little concerned to see his legacy unravel: Press freedom? Mr ‘don’t rattle a snake’ Michuki wasn’t a fan, and Mr Ndemo likes the broadcasters small and harmless, too . Free primary education? Can we talk about something else, I hear Mr Ongeri mumble nervously. The economy and all that jazz? It all went so well until that kidogo dispute over the election. I just finished reading the autobiography of Mr Njenga Karume. On page 257, he cites Mr Kibaki: ‘Even rigging requires some intelligence!’ Is that so, sir?

When not pondering sartorial choices, I also do worry about the administration’s educational background, pre-dating free primary education: We know that Uhuru Kenyatta and his team have some issues typing, but Dr Bitange Ndemo’s office also seem to have problems in that area. Or what is it with ‘typos’ and ‘drafting errors’?

It must be the beach weather and my recent foray into style consultancy that made me veer off into presidential textiles. I apologise. As always, on housekeeping matters: We’ve got more new job ads   than you can shake a stick at, so have a look, and also check out the trainings and conferences in East Africa.


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