Friday, June 19, 2009

Age shall not wither him

The cameras routinely catch him ill at ease, grimacing in the tropical sun as he sits slumped in an uncomfortable chair looking into the great void beyond the photographers and pretending to listen to yet another boring speech by yet another windbag politician. The photographers have grown so adept at capturing his various moods that it would seem to some that the whole point of snapping a picture of the president these days is to freeze him in one of those clumsy poses.

A picture is a story, and one can safely infer from these media images of the president that he is detached from the reality of his surroundings. And not just the immediate, literal reality around him at public events, but the encompassing reality of the country at large -- the stalled projects, the underestimated threat from the anarchy in Somalia, the rising unemployment among the young, the long list of the nation's unfulfilled dreams.

Henry Gekonde has written for the Daily Nation and the American Spectator, among others. His first piece for KI is a sharp look at Kibbs' image.