Eric Mawira Gitari. Do you remember him?
He is the Kenyan man I swooned over recently and offered to marry on account of his sex appeal, cutting intellect and fearlessness.
Well, my crush, my Eric, is crushed, gutted, destroyed.
Specifically, Eric is tearing what’s left of his hair out on account of his president, Uhuru Kenyatta, pronouncing gay rights in Kenya “a non issue” in a podium response to American president, Barack Obama that was beamed across the entire African continent and the world.
But should Eric’s melancholy really be allowed to cast a pall on what has, doubtless, been an exceptionally momentous week for Kenya and, paradoxically if you are not thinking far ahead, for gay rights in Kenya and Africa?
Eric my darling:
You risk looking naïve if you don’t realize that, like the American president currently stoking up a storm of excitement in Kenya that is akin to the Second Coming, Uhuru Kenyatta is an elected politician who has to keep an eye on the pulse of his voters. You confound watchers who are aware that, despite the American racial ulcers that have kept that great country in contortions for more than two centuries, Barack Obama put provision of health care for the most needy Americans on top of his political agenda in his first term of office.
Obama, too, seems to have spent more time talking about the need to stop a far away country developing nuclear weapons than he has about racial tensions in his backyard. Yes, my beautiful Eric, that country is Iran.
While he has been doing all that, Barack Obama has made a black man his country’s top legal eagle, a significant first that many often completely overlook. Then he has replaced him with a black woman. Yet another first, but who is counting?
In the meantime, the black deaths at the hands of the police in America have continued, as have the even higher deaths of black men and women at the hands of their own. Barack Obama has, however, not spoken much at the podium about what he is doing about them all. Might that be perhaps because even he doesn’t have the magic bullet to a problem that the richest country in the world hasn’t figured out how to solve in more than 200 years?
After you raise your head from hanging it on Facebook, my irresistible Gitari, you will, I imagine, accept that it is often not what politicians say on the podium, but what they do behind closed doors to effect change,that really matters, won’t you?
As a classic example, can you believe that while she was promising the world that she would never negotiate with terrorists, Margaret Thatcher was talking to Sinn Fein in secret? No, perhaps not. That was Britain so it doesn’t count, and you were still too young then anyway.
And while we are at it, isn’t it also true that today you can run a coach and horses through the space for dialogue that your current government has created between pivotal ministries (Health and Justice, for instance) and the gay community in Kenya? Or is that just a canard this lovelorn admirer of yours is making up in the tenuous hope that you will notice him finally and pay him some attention?
Finally, my indomitable Mawira: don’t you ascribe to the age-old adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity?
If you don’t, can you perhaps drop your self-pity for a couple of seconds and think about the significance of the leader of the free world and Kenya’s rather cool president (if you ask me) discussing corruption, that small thing that afflicts literally every one of Africa’s 1.2 billion people, and homosexuality, that absolutely critical issue which “afflicts” rather less, with all the world’s cameras following closely, beaming the sensible, sane, sober exchange directly into homes in rural Kogelo (Kenya) and Kotwa (Zimbabwe)?
Eric Mawira, my hot-blooded homosexual rights warrior:
I became besotted with you from a distance because I only fall in love with smart people. I must thus stop lecturing you and work on getting our unrequited love to the next level before your hyper-ventilating does you in.