Letter from Africa: Five gifts for five African presidents

Christmas presents Image copyright iStock

In our series of letters from Africa, Kenyan journalist Joseph Warungu digs deep into his own pockets to buy some Christmas presents for a special group of people.

With Christmas round the corner, I am in a mood for giving - and I am focused on the needy in Africa.

No, not the sick who are sleeping on the floor in public hospitals, or sharing beds and hoping to get better one day.

I want to give Christmas presents to those who need them the most - our African leaders.

They work so hard to drive this continent somewhere, anywhere. Yet hardly anyone thinks of them and sends them any presents.

I cannot afford to reward them all so I have put together a small package of gifts to send to five leaders:

1. Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, 54

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Charity begins at home so I'll start with my own president.

Uhuru, when you open your parcel you'll find one kilogramme of roast goat meat.

I know you love "nyama choma" as we call it in Kenya, so you will definitely enjoy this succulent dish.

Apologies for the packaging - the meat will arrive wrapped in today's copy of a local daily newspaper.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption "Nyama choma" is roasted meat often prepared over an open fire

In your regular attacks on the media, you've often said that newspapers are only good for wrapping meat.

In other words the media that keeps Kenyans informed and holds those in power to account is worthless.

In the nearly three years your government has been in power, there has been a raft of bills and regulations to tame the media.

The result has been a shrinking of the space for free expression and exchange of ideas.

Enjoy your meat, Uhuru.

2. Tanzania's John Magufuli, 56

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Greetings Magufuli.

I know you're less than two months in power in Tanzania, but there is a gift for you.

In the parcel you'll find a copy of the Holy Bible.

Image copyright Getty Images

In the short time you have been in power, you have shaken Tanzania to its core as you went in search of those public officials who have abused their office and stolen from the people.

But as you get closer to the untouchables - the drug dealers and corruption masterminds - you will be treading on very slippery ground.

The Tanzania security machinery and the love of the people may not be enough to shield you.

I have heard you constantly ask Tanzanians to pray for you, so this gift of the Bible will be useful.

3. Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza, 52

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Mr Nkurunziza - I see things are getting tough for you in Burundi.

There has been so much loss of life since you went against everyone's plea for you to abandon plans for a third term of office.

I know you love football very much.

So your Christmas gift is a football, which you can use to launch a new team - Burundi United FC.

It's an advanced ball that is filled with blood, instead of air.

If you kick it too hard it will bleed or burst.

So handle your team with great care and listen to them.

Go easy with the political ball, so as to spare the nation more bloodshed.

4. Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, 91

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Media captionRobert Mugabe was walking to his car when he appeared to miss a step

Hello President Mugabe! In your Christmas parcel is a generous helping of Chinese tea.

I chose this because they claim it cures everything from bad nerves to bad luck.

I've noticed that your legs sometimes don't listen to your will power.

When you need them most, they fall asleep and you topple over.

This special tea will stabilise your long walk in power, even when your feet suggest the journey is over.

5. Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, 71

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Finally, a gift for you Mr Museveni.

I see that power will be running after you again in February when you'll be seeking a fifth term in office.

Normally people chase power, but in every Ugandan election power faithfully comes in search of you.

So for you it is a special manual called "How to cope with cattle".

Image copyright AFP

I know how you value your beautiful cows. They tend to be obedient, they don't argue much. They don't defect to another herder.

They don't make unrealistic demands about their democratic right to reject their owner.

So the manual in your Christmas parcel will be a great companion for those days when you eventually persuade Ugandans to find another leader and leave you alone to herd your peace loving cattle.

Thank you, your Excellencies - I do hope you enjoy your presents.

A friend indeed is a friend in need. Happy Christmas!

More from Joseph Warungu:

Image copyright BBC Sema Kenya

Tanzania's new wine gets to work

Tanzania's cybercrime law

Travel tips for Obama

Why Kenyans enjoyed the political blackout