The president snoozes in his office by a tottering stack of papers in
his in-tray. The prime minister lounges in a toilet with a red carpet
leading to its door. Cabinet ministers take pot shots at each other in
a High Noon-style showdown, writes Katharine Houreld in The Namibian.
The stars of KenyaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s new smash hit TV show are puppets ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ but itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s the nationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s politicians who are providing the punchlines. For many of the millions who tuned into the debut of ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“The XYZ ShowÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ last week, the scenes of excess and ineptitude are only slightly more outlandish than the everyday antics of their real-life leaders.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a true picture of whatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s happening,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said bookseller Chan Bahal, quoting lines from the programme. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThese are their true colours … if they keep pushing this, it will be wonderful.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The showÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s creator, Godfrey ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“GadoÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ Mwampembwa, hopes the showÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s humour will force Kenyans to take a critical look at the leaders they elected, who plunged the country into weeks of bloody riots last year.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re trying to get people to laugh and then stop and think: this is our life,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â says Gado, whose biting political cartoons in the independent newspaper Daily Nation have earned him both widespread popularity and the occasional death threat.
The latex puppet caricatures in ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“XYZÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ were inspired by the British television show ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Spitting ImageÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ and the French ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Les GuignolsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ cult programmes whose send-ups of politicians have immortalised their eccentricities and scandals.
Kenyan politics provides plenty of bitter punchlines. ThereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s President Mwai Kibaki, who often appears befuddled in public and whose sole press conference since his disputed election in 2007 was aimed at squashing persistent rumours he had taken a second wife.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga has been ridiculed for loudly complaining that he lacked a red carpet and separate toilet at a recent government event ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ even as scandals over money and missing food reserves severely strained the coalition government that ended election violence.
Click here to read the full report, posted on The Namibian's website.