There is something absolutely fascinating happening in Kenya. It must be a first. The US envoy to Kenya, Meg Whitman, is traveling across the USA with Kenya’s Moses Kuria, the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Investments, Trade, and Industry, and Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua. Playing the role of the Kenyan ambassador to the US, she is promoting the Kenyan Government and mobilizing American investors to come to Kenya. Imagine RDB’s Clare Akamanzi, traveling with the US Ambassador to Rwanda doing the same. Actually, don’t imagine that, no investor would come. US Ambassador to Rwanda is no Meg Whitman!
Who is Margaret Cushing Whitman, US Ambassador to Kenya? A billionaire, business executive, former president and CEO of eBay, Hewlett Packard, Walt Disney and DreamWorks, etc. Already in 2010, she was the fifth-wealthiest woman in California with a net worth of $1.3 billion. “During Whitman’s 10 years with eBay, she oversaw its expansion from 30 employees and $4 million in annual revenue, to more than 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue”, her bio reads. Whitman was named 20th in Forbes list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World, and cited by The New York Times among the women most likely to become the first female president of the United States.
Meanwhile in Kigali, a Canadian school teacher, is complaining that Rwandans are staring at her. A teacher, employed by Rwandan parents, to spend the day with our kids, is complaining of Rwandans staring…
I don’t know what we did wrong to deserve this. You will never hear Meg Whitman complaining about staring, because she is used to it. In the US, camera crews and paparazzi would chase her down, crowds would mug her for an autograph, etc.
Most VIP tourists visit Rwanda because people here leave them alone. A few months ago, Lewis Hamilton was in Cascade, a local disco in Musanze, rural Rwanda, dancing the night away, totally incognito. I once queued for potatoes at Issa’s stand (if you know, you know), with Samuel Eto’o, a few NBA stars during the NBA Basketball League (BAL) in Kigali, with no one interested in a selfie; no big deal.
Most envoys we are sent here, are busy talking about DRC militias and visiting Victoire Ingabire at her residence. We can’t blame them, no one can give that which they do not possess. None of them has been CEO of a fortune 400 – or any CEO at all; in fact, their posting in Rwanda is likely to be their career-maker.
However, even they do not make this type of remarks. Those who do, are usually nondescript individuals who’d spent their previous lives between a tiny apartment, the tube and a dark cubicle at the foreign office, without being noticed, in years. So they are shocked when a people they visit, seem to show some interest, for their very first time. Instead of being cool and enjoying the sun, they fake-complaint…
I noticed that some foolish kids here too, whom we send to university overseas, comeback a year or two later, to complain about their cousins and aunties “staring”, in a “wreng wreng” accent, no less; it is pathetic! In those countries they’d be lucky to have someone other than the police take notice of their very existence.
People of colour are complaining that artificial intelligence being invented today does not recognise them. There are hundreds of black people on death row in American prisons for crimes they did not commit, because some “Karen” confused them for another black person. My own telephone does not show my face, whenever I take a picture with a white friend.
Seriously. Stop this nonsense, people stare because they care. We live in the summer all year long, accordingly, we have a warn vibe, we interact. If someone stares at you, say hi, take their number, etc., but stop being annoying!
No one will walk up to you and ask to touch your hair as you do our brothers and sisters with afros in your countries…