Enzi zile zakukariri mashairi Hebu tujikumbushe hili shair,kwa kweli kama hukulipenda sijui ulipenda lipi,lipo relevant kwa nchi yetu By Henry Barlow Today I did my share In building the nation. I drove a Permanent Secretary To an important urgent function In fact to a lunch at the Vic. The menu reflected its importance Cold bell beer with small talk, Then fried chicken with niceties Wine to fill the hollowness of the laughs Ice-cream to cover the stereotype jokes Coffee to keep the PS awake on return journey. I drove the Permanent Secretary back. He yawned many times in back of the car Then to keep awake, he suddenly asked, Did you have any lunch friend? I replied looking straight ahead And secretly smiling at his belated concern That I had not, but was slimming! Upon which he said with seriousness That amused more than annoyed me, Mwanainchi, I too had none! I attended to matters of state. Highly delicate diplomatic duties you know, And friend, it goes against my grain, Causes me stomach ulcers and wind. Ah, he continued, yawning again, The pains we suffer in building the nation! So the PS had ulcers too! My ulcers I think are equally painful Only they are caused by hunger, Not sumptuous lunches! So two nation builders Arrived home this evening With terrible stomach pains The result of building the nation - - Different ways. ¡®Building the nation¡¯ begins with an ironic tone as the poet refers to what he says is his share in building his nation. The man of power in this case in the Permanent Secretary, who is attending an official function, which in fact is a mere luncheon, where he goes to eat and just returnwithout performing any serious business that is relevant to nation building. In the second stanza, the poet says about the Permanent Secretary¡¯s meeting at the Vic: ¡°The menu reflected its importance/Cold Bell Beer with small talk, then fried chicken with niceties/Wineto fill the hollowness of the laughs/Ice Cream to cover the stereotype jokes/Coffee to keep the PS awake on return journey.¡± The poet uses an ironic tone, and his choice of words clearly reflects his bitterness and anger about the pretence by leaders like the PS, who attempt to hide their greediness and selfishness behind hollow official meetings. Living large They are living large at theexpense of the people, and they seem not to care a bit what their subordinates go through. While the PS enjoyed his meal at the Vic, laughing and chatting, his own driver was waiting with an empty stomach.It was only after he had eaten and was full when he thought of his driver: ¡°I drove the Permanent Secretary back/He yawnedmany times in the back of the car/Then to keep awake, he suddenly asked/Did you have any lunch friend?¡± Even so, when he asked it was not because he cared ¨C it was to keep himself awake through engaging in a conversation to pass time. He even dares to lie that he also had no lunch, claiming that he was attending to matters of state all along. Yet the poet was there, seeing thePS laughing and eating. What we have are two types of nation builders ¨C the people (like the driver)who are sweating and working hard on empty stomachs and the politicians like the PS, whose job is to squander public funds in hollow meetings. Ironically, both become sick due to their roles: One from lack of food and the other from having eaten too much More so, the poet shows classes in the African society. The two nation builders he refers to in his poem are in fact two classes of people who live on the national cake. There are the exploiter ¨C selfish and powerful people who constitute theupper class ¨C and the poor,starving lower class. According to the poet, people in the upper class are hypocrites. Their role is to build the nation but they are like pests, who exist only to abuse national resources. They are not building the nation but their own stomachs, the poet says. There is no equality. The poor suffer from lack while the rich and politicians suffer from overfeeding. The good news is that there is a high level of awareness among the poor. The bitter and angry tone, irony and choice of words by the persona shows that those who are oppressed know that those who are on top are destroying the nation. Thisis important as the first step towards emancipation and development.