A cheerful heart is good medicine

It used to be about talent. People used to need some kind of identifiable skill. Something to trade for a pay check. Not anymore. These days all you need is notoriety. Even if that notoriety is gained in the dock. For some reason, committing a white collar crime does not make you a criminal – it makes you famous. But enough about Laura Oyier.

It’s not her fault. She is a product of the media. It must have been a slow news day.

Instead of seeing Oyier’s face in print, on air and everywhere, I would much rather have watched coverage of the Beyond Zero marathon to see the First Lady racing across the finish line into the welcoming arms of the Head of State. That, quite frankly, was more engaging. Less authentic perhaps, but more engaging.

This was the second time that images of presidential displays of affection were being beamed across the country. The first time there was an element of surprise. Spontaneity, even. It was all very sweet and charming. The President and First Lady seemed very much like Mr and Mrs Kenyatta, a couple of ordinary citizens who clearly, were enamoured with each other. Even the hardest of hearts melted a little.

The second time, call me a cynic, but something about the sequence of events felt just a tad bit staged. To be clear, the First Lady is doing a commendable job in her quest to protect the lives of mothers and children. It is such a worthy cause that no matter what anybody says about it, it is to be applauded. She could have sat back and done nothing, but she quite literally hit the ground running. That alone must be respected.

But the whole song and dance at the finish line comes across as a scripted effort to give the wananchi something to feel good about in a country where there is often little to smile about.

Which is all well and good, after all, a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Speaking of a song and dance, what really brought a genuine smile to my face was the movement on the dais as Sauti Sol’s Sura Yako played. I say ‘movement’ because it was not immediately clear to me what the Deputy President was doing. It seems like he was on his mark, ready for some kind of take-off, bouncing up and down like he did. It was very entertaining to see a seasoned politician so obviously out of his depth. That one display of awkwardness humanised him, even if for the briefest of moments.

President Kenyatta on the other hand was having a ball. That song is obviously a favourite in State House. His moves were, how shall I say, somewhat outdated, but at least he was committed. Through hell and high water, sick and sin, the President can still find that little boy inside every man, and engage him for the merriment of the masses. There is something to be said for youthful abandon. It is the most endearing thing. That show of unaffected, good-natured fun will do more for his image than any PR firm ever will. I’m just saying.