Friday, June 03, 2005

Anatomy Of A Kenyan MP

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Meet Jack Arse, MP. The initial urge to smack his fat head can be overwhelming, but if you keep your hands in your pocket all will be well. This feeling is intermittent but on the whole it is wise to keep your hands in your pockets.

Jack insists on being referred to as the 'Honourable' Jack Arse, despite the fact that this gentleman is nothing remotely of the kind.

He is the living testament that stupidity is an entirely relative term. Between the 30 million people and the 250 Members of Parliament, most of whom lack the intelligence to hit the water if they fell out of a boat while wearing a suit of armour, it is indeed debatable which of the two groups, as someone once said, "wallows in a miasma of crass stupidity".

Armani, Boss and Laurent need look no further than Jack for that fond, mellow feeling that honest work done lovingly and skilfully well brings to a skilled craftsman. Well cut and well stitched silk, with buttons able to withstand the considerable assault of an obscenely protuberant stomach can only be fashioned by a chosen few. A blind eye can be turned by these craftsmen to the fact that Jack on occasion appears in public with pink trousers and a yellow coat with a blue shirt and a orange tie. On a good day Jack is like a Boeing 747-- you hear him well before you actually see him.

Jack's vocabulary is quite unlike that of the rest of us. He proudly refers to the lengthy heated debates with his bosom friend D Mwitt about the oil content of the parliamentary cafeteria samosas as "healthy democratic expression". When this degenerates into an ungraceful exchange of fleshy fists and fatty kicks, peppered with biting and scratching this is referred to as "increased democratic space".

Jack has no qualms about appearing with his arm fondly around the shoulders of D Mwitt in public on Monday. He is also has no problem appearing on Tuesday with his foot appearing to have been grafted into the back of D Mwitt's trouser seat. On Wednesday both will be clinging to each other in tearful laughter, the very epitome of friendship that has withstood the corrosive effects of the sands of time.

Jack has been heard on several occasions to express puzzled surprise that 30 million Kenyans do not understand the back breaking work he does tirelessly for them. He is amazed that we do not find it obvious that 10 minutes a day idling at the parliamentary cafeteria establishing the calcium content of Castle Milk Stout while awaiting instructions from the Chief Whip to vote for white instead of cream napkins for the parliamentary picnic is work not for the faint of heart.

The threat of his pointed crocodile skin moccasins giving him corns as he queues for his innumerable allowances are the very exemplification of sacrificing for the benefit of his fellow countrymen. Risking paper cuts from the crisp thousand shilling notes is what separates the ordinary Kenyan from the true patriot.

Suffering from having his considerable hindquarters wedged in the confines of an airline seat as he flies to Mombasa for a conference of parliamentary procedures, details of which are conveniently and perpetually available in the parliamentary library he is leaving behind, is standing at the front line of the calvary charge in the service of his countrymen.

Some of his constituents have trouble recognizing Jack whenever he appears in public because whenever they see him on TV in the house, his eyes are invariably closed and his snoring is shaking the rafters of the house.

When it comes to unity, the Holy Trinity can learn a thing of two from Jack and his 249 colleagues. Any issue to do with their personal welfare unites the 250 in ways that atoms could do well to take note. Bills such as increasing their own remuneration pass quicker than milk through a small boy suffering from diarrhoea. Light needs to spend more time in the gym in order to move as fast as a motion suggesting increased perks and the passing of the said motion.

Jack's latest favourite word is "dialogue". Dialogue is the solution to anything. Had too much roast beef for lunch and suffering from the effects? Dialogue. Pesky constituents harassing you with requests for services? Dialogue. AC Milan lost to Liverpool? Dialogue. Suffering from a sore throat? Dialogue. Jack and his colleague could dialogue the jawbone off a donkey.

Jack is one of the few people on this earth who can convincingly deny utterances he has made that have been captured on film. His outrage, shock and disappointment, followed by a loud and almost incoherent denial has to be seen to be believed. Video footage showing him actually say the things he is denying leave him unmoved an unimpressed. If anything the footage brings out the conspiracy theory in him.

"Money has been poured to finish me politically" Jack declares, frothing at the mouth. "I have powerful enemies. The Media also have a hidden agenda jealous of my success!"

Jack's myopia is such that Optica and Baus Optical, two of Nairobi's leading dispensers of spectacles and contact lenses have declared him as unwelcome in their premises. The instant a corrupt official that Jack grew up with is arrested on corruption charges, Jack wastes no time in thrusting his ample, sweaty face in camera lens.

"It is victimizing our community", he bleats into the camera. "It is our turn to eat!", he adds as an afterthought.

Jack additionally clamours for promotions purely on merit, as his latest press release reads. It was a coordinated effort with participation from a good number of his ministerial staff. Written by his brother, typed by his sister, proof read by his third cousin on his mother's side and mailed by his first born son, the press release rails at government officials with the temerity to recruit only their kith and kin. As his childhood village sweetheart brings him his morning tea, he observes to her that such practices would be the death of the nation. He also asks whether fresh documents have been sent to his wife and sister in law, co-chairs of his Constituency Development Fund.

His aversion to the mud tracks, dust and insects of his rural constituency are legendary. The only time he is spotted there he is invariably in tropical suits that Livingstone and Stanley would have envied, complete with hats with netting like contraption to keep out the rural air and insects. He is only seen there during election campaigns and funerals, and it is during funerals that he can overlook the casket with the dead body and the bereaved family and begin vocally and fluently describe just what he thinks of his political opponents.

At present Jack is currently on one of his many recesses, but we expect to see him soon, fast asleep, mouth open and dribbling onto the leather of the August House as he attends the reading of the budget.

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