The Congo chemistry and the CECAFA geography
While still a student, I was not as disciplined as most parents love to tell their children. There were days when I felt like Bruno Mars – waking up with no plans to do anything productive. So I would skip some classes.
When I eventually decided to concentrate and study hard there was a tough lesson waiting for me. I soon learnt that for the time I was away from class, some subjects had become too advanced for me to even engineer a comeback.
Chemistry topped this list as I soon realised that stuff like covalent and ironic bonding looked like nuclear physics being taught in Russian. My only remedy then, was to identify my strong points, subjects where I felt like a Harvard graduate and used them to buffer my report card.
When I look at East Africa and the wider geopolitical dynamics, I can’t help but think of the Democratic Republic of Congo as the closest thing to my Chemistry troubles. Like the science subject, DRC is something that is not easy to get my head around.
I even recently joked on Twitter that it could be used as a description of a relationship status to imply complicated. But on a more serious note, the situation in DRC is way too complicated for me to pretend to comment about it.
All I have come to learn is that each time there is war in DRC the rebel groups have new names, new leaders and new demands. Then we have the endless accusations on who is supporting who, not forgetting the drama skits like the case of government troops running to Uganda and surrendering.
Therefore just like in school, I have given up on Congo and decided to look elsewhere at things that I can better understand. And I am not talking about the claims that some powerful people in Kenya are protecting genocide fugitive Felicien Kabuga.
That too is more like Physics to me. For example, I cannot understand how Kenya continues to have a very rosy relationship with Rwanda yet at the same time there are allegations that the most wanted Rwandan is enjoying nyama choma in Kenya.
As if that was not enough, around the same time I read about Kenya increasing the charges for work permits even for fellow East Africans and yet all along, I thought this EAC protocol was something leaders took seriously. Indeed this bit is a story for another day.
Indeed, in school there were more interesting and easier subjects that I loved to attend and read about. These included Geography, Economics and History. As I was writing this piece, the annual Kagame Cup tournament that pits the best football clubs in the region was getting underway at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
The defending champions are Yanga from Tanzania but all other clubs will be fighting to walk away with the top prize that is funded by Rwanda’s president. It should be something worth following now that the fanaticism that follows the European football will still be on vacation.
Sticking with sports, the Olympics are getting closer by the day. London is hosting and as usual most EAC countries will be there for the numbers after failing to invest in sports substantially. Uganda will for example send no boxer for the first time in 50 years!
Anyway when the games eventually kick off, many of us will try to spend the time cheering on the Kenyans the same way we cheered Ghana during the last World Cup. I call this orphaned patriotism but with the EAC it can be more understandable.
After all most of the great Kenyan athletes are from the area close to Uganda and indeed it is hard to tell whether the long distance runner is actually Kenyan or Ugandan. All in all we hope the Kenyans do what they do best when the races kick off. To me the CECAFA Kagame cup and the Olympics will be the equivalent of Geography and History.
I also read on the website of Times of India about how the Indian police had so far arrested five suspects in the case where a 23 year old Burundian student Yannick Nizhanga was attacked by about 10 people and beaten to pulp. Yannick spent two months in coma after the beating.
This story also clouded the good news that Burundi’s inflation had gone down from 22.5 percent to 17.3 from May to June.
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