Congolese musician Koffi Olomide was caught on camera assaulting (slapping) one of his female dancers outside Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). Unfortunately for the musician and thanks to the ubiquitous presence of smartphones w/camera, retribution was fast, furious and exacting -- especially by Kenyan standards.
Within twenty-four hours of the assault, the scheduled concert by the MC Hammer-wearing pants and Ndombolo dancing performer was canceled. After spending the night in jail, Koffi along with his entourage were put on the next flight out of Nairobi. Videos circulating on social media showed that upon landing in Kinshasa, the chastened singer was heckled and booed by the crowd as he walked hurriedly towards a waiting vehicle. To add insult to injury, the authorities in Zambia, followed Kenya’s lead and canceled a show that had been scheduled in the country’s capital Lusaka.
During the same news cycle, American real estate developer Donald J. Trump officially became the nominee of the Republican Party for the 2016 US Presidential Elections even as it was revealed that his 3rd wife Melania not only admired Michelle Obama -- a person Republicans have relentlessly vilified -- but admired her so much that she lifted several sentences from the First Lady’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech nominating her husband Barack as the party’s official nominee for the elections.
And the clincher?
The lines Ms. Trump plagiarized from Ms. Obama’s speech earned the Slovenian-born model sustained applause from the party faithful gathered in Cleveland!
Placed side-by-side, the foregoing series of events laid bare the hypocrisy of sections of the two societies albeit on different matters. Like Koffi Olomide, the current governor of Nairobi County Dr. Evans Kidero was caught on camera assaulting (slapping) Nairobi County’s Women’s Representative Rachel Shebesh. But unlike Koffi, the former Managing Director of the plundered and bankrupt Mumias Sugar Company got a reprieve not only from Kenya’s court of public opinion, but from the country’s court of law as well! The presiding judge Justice Isaac Lenaola curiously asked Kidero and Shebesh to break bread, reconcile and “never to revisit (the) complaints they had made against each other” -- whatever that meant! Equally curious was the silence of Kenyans including the (in)famous Kenyans on Twitter (KOT).
So the very folks who were quick to arrest, try, convict and deport Koffi Olomide because he was caught on camera assaulting a woman were more forgiving and accepting of Evans Kidero who was also caught on camera -- assaulting a woman!
Even after the slap heard and seen around the world, Mr. Kidero not only avoided jail time, the man seen slapping a woman legislature retained the governorship of Nairobi County in a sequence of events that offers a window into the country’s response to a weightier more sobering truism: That eight years after the post-election violence (PEV) of 2007/2008, no one has been held accountable for the violence that took the lives of thousands while disrupting the lives of over one half million!
Stateside, Donald Trump's ascension to the GOP nomination exposed the hypocrisy of a party that has unabashedly touted itself as the party of “family values”, of “real Americans” who are “Christians” and like some folks I know, claim a monopoly on "patriotism" and “hard work”.
Jon Stewart’s summation during the July 18th episode of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” offered a succinct and scathing take on the hypocrisy of Republicans who embraced as their nominee, someone who embodies the very qualities they inaccurately hoisted onto Barack Obama THEN criticized him for!
Directly calling out the right wing talk show host Sean Hannity, the now-retired political satirist pointed out that Hannity along with fellow Republicans are either lying that they are bothered by Barack Obama; someone they have repeatedly described as “a thin-skinned, authoritarian, less-than-Christian reader-of-the-teleprompter” or they don’t care as long as it’s THEIR own "thin-skinned teleprompter-reading authoritarian tyrant narcissist" who also happens to have children from multiple women!
So the very Republicans who made it their mission “to make Barack Obama a one-term president” because he was, in part, a “vindictive, authoritarian, non-Christian ‘non-American’ with a snotty wife” embraced as their nominee, a demonstrably vindictive, 3x married septuagenarian who according to Sen. Elizabeth Warren sounded like a “two-bit dictator” during his Thursday acceptance speech.
To paraphrase Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), to his supporters, Gov. Evans Kidero may be a man predisposed to violent physical outbursts but at least he is THEIR man -- predisposed to violent physical outbursts just like Donald Trump may be a "narcissistic 'blue-collar billionaire'” with an inexplicable affinity for Vladimir Putin but to his supporters, he is THEIR very own “blue-collar billionaire” with an inexplicable affinity for Vladimir Putin!
By Washington Osiro | firstname.lastname@example.org.