Obama is bringing the world to Kenya, so don’t embarrass him!

The whole world is coming to Kenya this weekend and I don’t trust you to behave yourselves. President Barack (not Barrack, Babu Owino!) Obama has used his gravitas, that nyadhi he inherited from his Luo ancestors, to bring at least 2,000 people to Nairobi to talk entrepreneurship, with special focus on the youth and women.

But we all know that’s just his excuse to come home with all the nice things the White House affords him and show us off to the world.

Air Force One is going to land at our airport for the first time ever. Secret service folks will be all over the place with their dark shades, looking important and likely bringing their legendary appreciation for ladies of negotiable affection.

That is why it is important that we present only our flattering side to all these important people. I know you have always been told to be yourself, but that’s total rubbish.

If I am to leave you with one thought today, it is that you shouldn’t be yourself. You should only be yourself if you can’t be a better, richer, funnier, or more sophisticated person than you really are.

It is particularly important that you not be yourself throughout this weekend. Even garbage-choked, congested Nairobi is getting a hurried upgrade to look a lot less than the dump it is and more like somewhere you might want to live.

The stones lining the roadside will soon be repurposed as missiles by Gor Mahia fans or University of Nairobi students, but it is endearing to believe in this fantasy of a nice city while it lasts.

Socialites, I know there is going to be a dizzying number of potential sponsors with bottomless pockets in town capable of taking you to Instagram-worthy holidays, but this is the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, not the ratchets’ convention, so stay as far away as possible from Gigiri.

Even though billionaires, business leaders and other miscellaneous wealthy and important characters will be everywhere you look, resist the temptation to throw yourself at them.

I’m sure your current old man will do just fine, and you’ve already fallen into a nice rhythm anyway: you spend, he pays.

Activists, bigots, pressure groups and everyone else in the protest industry, this is not the opportunity for nudism on the streets. A credible threat exists that there might be 5,000 naked men and women on the streets to welcome Obama to Kenya. Oddly, this nudist parade is supposed to warn him not to promote “gayism” in Kenya, whatever that is.

While bona fide members of “Team Mafisi (hyena’s club, the term cool kids use to refer to “hungry” men)” will enjoy the view, the rest of us might need years of expensive therapy to get over the trauma. Think about the children!

Speaking of children, several lonely adult males have taken to publicly asking for Malia Obama’s hand in marriage in exchange for varying offers.

While their brazenness is to be admired, there’s just a little bump in their plan: she’s 17 and even if there were a parallel universe where you could marry a minor, she probably has standards they can’t meet.

Some of them might attempt to hang around the summit venue or wherever else POTUS will be to try and appeal directly to him. Let me save you the trouble because there are higher chances of your landing on the moon than haggling over bride price with the American president.

There is no way in which this doesn’t end up in mutually assured embarrassment, which we’ve agreed is not what we’re going for with this trip.

Politicians and other attention seekers of every kind, this is not your moment in the sun. For this week, the spotlight belongs purely to the son of Kogelo and the visitors he has brought us.

Every minutiae of what he does while he’s here will be examined ad infinitum, acres of newspaper coverage and hours of broadcast time will be spent on the circus he’s brought to our doorstep, as it should be.

If you have something clever or thoughtful to say, however unlikely that sounds, wait until they’re all gone before calling a press conference.

Fellow reporters, stenographers of history and producers of premium meat wrapping material, this is probably the closest we will probably get to a moon landing.

Dust up all those skills you forgot as soon as you walked into a newsroom and write some outstanding copy.

We can go back to clickbait, the curiosity gap, and our signature “churnalism” when the world leaves. Everyone should be at their best; wear a suit or a fancy dress if you must. We can’t bring shame to our country when Obama puts on a show for the world.

LARRY MADOWO -1 | Monday, July 20, 2015


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