The Crying President

October 10, 8:30 p.m.;
Nairobi, Kenya.

Florence Gachanja-Williams waited for the cameras to be set up. She had already been prepped, her makeup done and rehearsed on her speech. The media was already waiting to popularize her – the newest presidential candidate to join the race to State House.

But she was no ordinary politician – she was young, just turned twenty-three, and brains to match her age (she had a masters from the University of Edinburgh). Her intellect told her that she could go for it; she was the president that the country needed.

Age was just numbers!

However, she was ready to face the seasoned, veteran, politicians of the Kenyan politics, some of whom were an enigma.

When she was given the thumbs up, she walked to the podium, smiled and waved at the people who had turned up for the launch of her political party, her vehicle to State House, and her manifesto.

She faced the cameras, leaned to the microphones and began her speech, accentuating each word spat by the autocue with an Anglophone twang. She had been born and raised in Britain, but it was time she traced her roots, and with purpose.

As she spelt out her political objectives, she occasionally caught glimpses of familiar faces – ambassadors, dignitaries, political heavyweights – faces that were the engine and fuel for her political dream.

Her speech was so moving – highlighted the burdens of debt, diseases, corruption, violence and domestic terrorism and the scourge of tribal clashes that had become the brand of Kenya in the whole of Africa and world.

She turned to the cameras, pressed the back of her wrists to one eye. Her personal assistant (and campaign secretary) had dabbed the edges of her wrist watch and pantsuit coat with ammonia. The sting drew the required tears.

She wiped her cheek and hardened her countenance. Tears were just fine, but she did not want to appear weak.

Well, they served the purpose.

By morning the following day, all major dailies and the papers that were struggling to remain in business, even gutter press, ran her teary, beautiful face on the front page with the headline; ‘The Crying President.’

Copyright ©Vincent de Paul, 2012.