Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Santa Ocampo: The Gift That Never Was

I have recovered from the shock of watching how inauspiciously Mr. Moreno Ocampo was received in the country recently. It has not been an easy time since he left and I find myself obliged to write an apology on behalf of all Kenyans who shared similar expectations as I did.

Mr. Ocampo, you are practically family. We have already started to call some of our children your names. This is what we do when we value one’s impact in our lives. We have known you ever since one Waki mentioned that he was going to give you a list of naughty people who he felt you would best discipline. These people had caused us irreparable harm as a country before, during and after the 2007 National Elections. So imagine our excitement when we heard that after failing to cook our own meal, you were on your way to light up the fire of justice and start off the roasting of these naughty boys and girls.

I must emphasize that to us, you truly are our hope  of justice and salvation from the selfishness and irresponsibility of the animals in our animal farm. So I was appalled brother Ocampo, allow me to call you that, when I watched as our welcoming committee failed to follow the script and received you in the most embarrassing of ways. If anyone told you Hakuna Matata, they lied to you. That is what we used to tell tourists when they came to our country long before we turned cannibal. Then, we had no worries. Today, we are worried.

You are a household name in Kenya and even children are singing your praises. Given how well we have come to know each other, we had planned a home coming party for you. When we have such parties, we have a delegation at the airport that receives you. A nice girl presents you with a bouquet of flowers while you quench your thirst with mursik. This is a delicacy of traditionally soured milk. After the journalists take pictures of you dancing with our cultural groups, we line the streets of Nairobi from the Airport singing your praises and brandishing posters and placards in support of justice which we are confident is what you came for. We would have then gone to the City’s University where you would have made an inaugural speech to our academicians and to the nation.

Given this hero welcome tradition, I was disgusted to watch as you were sneaked out of the airport even as we waited for you at the VIP lounge. Our welcoming committee was afraid that we have become too bold and that we might say something unexpected and blow their cover. You see, brother Ocampo, the welcoming committee was comprised of some people who might have been in the list that you received from Mr. Annan. For them, you are not family, you are the handsome neighbour who if left too long in the house will impregnate the wife.

The country was holding its breath when you emerged at Windsor. We were hoping that you would confirm that indeed Christmas had come early and that you had a special plane that carries naughty people to Holland. But the welcoming committee had prevailed upon you. They had hoodwinked you and made you believe that we are the enemy and that we are not to be spoken to. When I watched you, the President and the Prime Minister smiling after your two hour meeting, I was not fooled. The kind of gift you brought would not have been pleasing to the eyes of those two. I knew we had been sold out.

So the welcoming committee filled out your itinerary with a visit to Nairobi National Park where I understand you adopted a cheetah. What they did not show you is the slum on the opposite side of the road. Kibera. That was deliberately left out of the schedule. Had you gone there, you would have received many a horrifying tales that would have forced you to unwrap your gift without further discussion. The soil there is still red from all the blood that was shed following the disputed elections. My brother, just before you came, many internally displaced people had been forced out of sight so that you may not see the kind of squalor in which they live, two years after their homes were burnt. Such a sight I suspect would have biased you against the welcoming committee and those two smiling men who assured you that they had already started working toward a home grown solution to our problem.

I nearly had a heart attack when I saw how quickly you were bundled out of the country before the stench of all the trash under our carpet caught your attention. While we prepared to speak to you and share our ideas on the number of strokes to unleash on the naughty people on your list, the welcoming committee had already decided that your welcome was overstayed. You left us disappointed children. We had hoped to open the present but someone made sure that you flew right back with it.

But I am confident that you are not a fool, brother Ocampo. You have worked with criminals like this before and you know their tactics. Do not return that gift. Keep it for us until we find a way that you can hand it to the country without the interference of such a welcoming committee. Make it before Christmas. That way we will focus on the new constitution when the New Year begins.

Please receive my sincerest apologies for the way that you were received. I assure you that we shall do better next time not to let monkeys guard the banana tree. We shall sing your songs and we shall present your milk and flowers. On your departure, we shall even give you a National flag as you are headed on a mission to represent the country at The Hague. We have kept our placards demanding justice away but our hearts are yearning no less for it. As we decide which street to name Ocampo and on which park to build a multimillion shilling monument, please prepare the sticks with which to spank those naughty people on your list. That is the blood that binds us together with you. That is why we regard you so highly.

We remain in touch.

The Tin Man.

1 comment:

  1. Please please please Tin Man, grace our dailies with your amazing articles?
    There wasn't a better way to narrate Ocampo's story!
    You identify with the masses and that is just incredible!!
    Very vividly put, I cracked up the whole time!



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