Friday, March 15, 2013

Benefits of colonialism lost to Kenyan hookers

Kenya was one of the first colonies of British Africa to be granted its independence. That was about three years after Prime Minister Harold Macmillan made his famous -- or infamous -- "Winds of Change" speech, which betokened the Brits' loss of will to govern.

Since then, under the misrule of the Kenyattas, the Mois and the Odingas [Those are African "big men", not tribal names. Ed.], Kenya has descended into the incompetence and  corruption typical of sub-Saharan Africa. See "Meanwhile, elsewhere in Africa..." posted here over three years ago.

The British quit trying to govern the ungovernable half a century ago, but they are still there. British troops are "in station", as the saying goes, doing good works and standing by in case of an outbreak of Maumau terrorism or other disorder. Walt wouldn't kid you about that. The result of last week's "free and fair" elections is still in dispute, and blood may yet be shed, as is the custom.

Earlier this year, the officer commanding British forces in Kenya imposed curfews on  his officers and men following a series of unpleasant incidents. Sadly, he recked not the law of unintended consequences. Without the patronage of British soldies, the Kenyan sex-for-hire business has suffered a sharp downturn, to the point where local hookers are being driven out of business.

Margaret Wambui, of the Kenyan Union of Commercial Sex Workers, told the International Business Times that the working girls in the garrison town of Nanyuki prefer British men -- especially the officers -- because they pay more for less.

"For normal sex the British pay you 4,000Ksh [£30], but the Kenyans pay 200Ksh or 300Ksh," she said. "Kenyan people take a long time but the British only take a few seconds, so you can go and find another customer."

For more on Kenya after independence, Walt recommends any or all of three books by British journalist and author Michela WrongIn the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz (2000); I Didn't Do It For You (2005); and It's Our Turn to Eat (2009).

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