The Story of Africa’s (Un)Development

I once read a story (probably in Charles Onyango-Obbo’s Thursday column, so I’ll paraphrase it here) about an African and an Asian who were in Oxford(or some other university that molds leaders). After finishing their studies, they went on to become leaders in their respective countries.

One day, the African visited the Asian. He found him living in relative comfort in a good house, and one or two luxury cars. He wondered how the other could afford it. The Asian winked and told him, “you see that road, 10%”.

Years later, it was the turn of the Asian to visit the African. He found him living in a pool of luxury, private jets, limousines and a palatial mansion.. you name it. When the Asian asked him how he could afford all that, he looked at him and winked. “You see that road…” there was only bush, “100%”.

While Asia and Africa may have been at par economically during the independence years, the difference in their current development status may stem from the fact that African leaders are just too greedy! And I couldn’t agree more..

Africans have problems, caused by our greedy leaders.  Image from

Africans have problems, caused by our greedy leaders. Image from

The American and the African

Another variation of the story is that of the American and African politician are each given a seed in a time when their citizens are hungry. The American takes the seed, waters it, does the mulching, manuring, manicuring and all that, and in time the seed grows into a huge tree with enough fruit for all. Even if he takes a few extra fruits for himself, no one notices, because everyone is generally satisfied.

When the African politician was given the seed, he ate it.

Kenyan MPs’ greed is unprecedented

And Kenyan MPs lead the African pack when it comes to their greed. There is just no ceiling on how much they want to ‘eat’ from the taxes we pay. Just today, MP’s passed a bill that will get them a hefty send off package of Ksh 9.3 million, in addition to other benefits. Read the story on the Daily Nation. I hope President Kibaki can do Kenya one last favour and refuse to sign the bill into law.

Kibaki's no face.. no, hapanaa! Image from

Kibaki’s no face.. no, hapanaa!


President Kibaki did not ascent to the bill, but let’s not celebrate yet because in the same breath, he signed another bill that gives him a hefty send off package! Read more about it here.

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3 Responses to The Story of Africa’s (Un)Development

  1. carol says:

    I had read the 100% and 10% story somewhere, not the Thursday column though. Kenya today reminds me of Chinua Achebe’s “A Man of the People” I studied in high school. We might be moving from bad to worse, hope Kenyans vote wisely this time round, and dearly hope the bill will be rejected, they are getting too much for an economy doing very bad : corruption and joblessness figures are shocking!


  2. Mark Mwangi says:

    As someone said in an article in todays paper, ” We are somehow successfully on the road to self destruction”


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