Back in the day before capitalism took root and saw all those with some money digging up foundations for high perimeter wall fences not necessarily as a sign of insecurity but more of affluence, a neighbour was a real friend.
The morning routine was always started with greeting neighbours if you could see them or when you met them as your sett off for the day’s programme. Not any more. Now we all live in estates and flats where the wall fences are as common as the roofs.
Every home is an island. And no one cares about what happens even if the neighbour has a feast. We still don’t care. It used to be almost taboo for your neighbours not to attend if you had a feast or even a funeral at your home.
This scenario best represents what the East African Community is going through right now. The other day Tanzania marked 50 years of independence but none of the other four East African leaders was around for the feast in Dar.
This prompted some to argue that the absence of the leaders was a negative signal towards Tanzania whose leader dodged the last EAC summit to attend to American leader GW Bush. I totally disagree with that line of thought.
Many may not have noticed but missing a neighbour’s feast is now common even at the level of our leaders. Let say it is true four presidents did not attend the Dar celebrations because Jakaya Kikwete had not attended the Bujumbura summit.
Did you that he was not the only one absent? While Kikwete was sharing jokes with Bush, Pres, Kagame was trying to visit as many South Korea tech firms as possible. And in Bujumbura, Pres. Museveni who had airlifted his armoured convoy from Kampala left before his host Pres, Pierre Nkurunziza could even make his speech.
My conclusion was that the Burundi EAC summit was only attended by 2 and a half presidents. The half being Museveni’s brief stay.
As if to vindicate me, when Kenya celebrated its 48th Independence or Jamhuri Day as its referred to by the Kenyan, again other East African leaders were nowhere to be seen on my TV as I watched the live proceedings thanks to Citizen TV.
When Kagame was being sworn in, Museveni was not there to share in the celebrations. And the same thing happened when Museveni won his re-election. So next time your president has a big feast and a neighbour is conspicuously absent, just know its the new trend and they are only keeping with the times.
God bless East Africa!