I watched the presidential debate on Monday with a mixture of glee and intrigue. To be honest I had no idea who I was going to vote for, and I still don’t. That being said I couldn’t just miss the debate. I mean, it’s the presidential debate, it promised to be full of mudslinging; my tribe is being targeted and jumping up and down. So I watched it and, as they shook hands at the end, I promised myself that I will *not* write something about the debate.
So here it is.
In 2008, there was euphoria about the country. Obama, son of Kogalo, with odd features and an American accent had become the president of the most overrated nation in the world. This was, incidentally the same year we had post election violence, people died in the thousands.
Fast forward to last year Romney and Obama had their debate in the USA and Obama made reference to fish by the lakeside – no, he didn’t- he made reference to horses and bayonets. The debates were talked about so largely in Kenya you’d think we had a choice between Obama and Romney for president. And now, we had our very own debate, which must have made Mr. Amolo angry – he wasn’t the first Luo in a presidential debate.
Thus my point: I strongly believe that the two things that have changed the political landscape in Kenya are the internet, and Obama becoming the president of the USA. It’s simple, you never heard Kenyans ranting about the debate between Bush and Gore, or Clinton and whoever it was. However, with internet penetration on the rise (100% by 2017 according to Tandaa) Kenyans have access to all this information. But access is not enough; you need interest. That’s where Obama came in. Sheer curiosity made Kenyans follow the guy’s political career. What did they find out? Politics is about more than corruption, tribe and football analogies. You can actually have accountability and debate.
And, if all this can come from having an internet connection and a man in the White House imagine what would happen if a Kenyan held the most influential post in the world; the papacy. The country would gain an unmatched moral centre. Given the appointment process may end up being a little, wonky; Waititu will graffiti walls, Sonko will buy free matatu rides and Muite would go to court to seek an injunction stopping the smoke from turning white. But it will be worth having a Kenyan as the pope. And he won’t even have to leave the country, he can rule via Skype and be chosen by our very own conclave; #KOT.