Friday, December 16, 2005


So the Iranian president denies the Holocaust, so what? He is first and foremost a politician, then a diplomat, if at all, next. He is under no obligation to be nice about the Holocaust. Of course, he is being tactless and crude, but does this amount to the level of belligerence? I don't see it that way.
When Dubya decided that Saddam had to go, and that he would bring Iraq to its knees to achieve his aims, the world agreed largely with him. Thay had no qualms in allowing a nation to invade another on the flimsiest of suspicions that even American prosecutors would have thrown out of court, no matter how badly the Judges were stacked against justice.
What everyone fears is that Tehran will one day have a nuke to lob at Israel. But, history shows us that only one nation has ever nuked another. India and Pakistan, implacable foes since the mid-fifties, now possess nuclear weapons, yet they aren't about to go to war with each other. I don't see how Iran could possibly go to war with another nuclear power. It would be suicide.
While Tehran has supported suicide bombing missions to Israel, there is no evidence to show that some of the bombers were Iranian. A nuclear war would be suicidal for them. What really gets the West's goat is that Iran learnt from Iraq's mistakes. Just when Iraq's nuclear facilities were about to go operational, Israel blew them to kingdom come. Unfortunately, they had located them in one area, easy to find and consequently, easy to bomb. Iran, cheekily, has dispersed all its facilities precisely because they will be harder to find and bomb.
Such tactical dispersion removes any disadvantages Iran might have in terms of conventional military defenses. It is this lack of tactical advantage for Iran's potential foes that makes them mad. Iran is refusing to play by their rules. They are not placing themselves in harm's way and the Americans are not happy about it. Further, Iran being such a difficult nation to penetrate, what with its peculiar popularity for a clearly demented political system, could it be that the West and Israel are finding it difficult to locate all of Iran's nuclear facilities. This would explain why there is so much talk of a 'democratic wave' sweeping the Middle East as a result of any potential success in Iraq. But such hope is mere speculation. Iran so far has not shown the same desire as the other regimes in the region for Western-style democracy or systems. That is ultimately the paradox of Iran. And the reason why all talk of an imminent invasion is just that-TALK.


What do you admire most about your political heroes? Or just about any of your heroes? I don't have a political hero, but I can identify what I admire about certain political leaders even though I loath and detest the whole lot of them.
Mr Raila Odinga is leading us down a dark and dangerous road. He knows this, but in his mind it is clear that he must do this to win. And he will do this until Kibaki and his cowboys see the error of their ways. The days of Kibaki Tosha are well and truly over; now we are in the days of uncertainty.
However, whatever I admire about Raila is the way he is determined to chart his own course in the murky waters that are Kenya politics. He vowed to break Kanu and this he did right before the last general elections. He has now vowed to have a general election before the end of 2006. he may very well do what he has promised. His political currency is all that remains of a shortlived and stormy relationship with Kibaki's cowboys.
Strength is to be admired even when it is employed in dubious and nefarious activity. Nyayo was a strong man and he wasn't afraid of taking hard decisions. Dubya is a strong man-he went to war knowing that he was right. He didn't let the little details worry him. These were to be managed by the likes of Powell and Cheney and Rummy. His job was to win at all costs. Strong Presidents will send you to die for the most flimsy of reasons. What makes them exceptional is that you will not rebel when they do so.
Kibaki does not have any strength of character. Thatcher once said that leadership, by definition, is not consensus. Dubya has demonstrated this and so did Moi. But Kibaki has been running a coalition government rather that leading a country. Perhaps he may yet pull the rabbit out of his hat, but his performance so far does not inspire confidence. The people who have exhibited any will in his previous government were not the ones who should have done so. Kibaki failed the country by failing to reign in his cronies. They didn't get him elected, but his 'coalition-partners'. Everyone else is a hanger-on.
Now look at what has happened. Murungaru embarrassed himself such that he is persona non grata in capitals that Kenya needs to court assiduously. Doubts are being raised about the integrity, if any, of Kibaki himself. This can only create more unwanted pressures, especially in the area of budgetary support from the West.
It is hard to admire a man who, while in a leadership position, exhibits weakness and uses profane language to shore up his confidence. What makes it worse is the the sycophants around him are given enormous powers to act as they please, and their agenda is not to chart out a different path, but to please the man. Their indifference to all but their constituents doesn't make them leaders, but tribal hitmen.
I will always admire people like Raila, not because they make things happen, but because the morality and the expedience of the situation doesn't impress them. When they want something they will impose their will on an entire nation to get it. Kibaki, for all his strengths, will always remain a follower, never a leader. After all, Moi fired him twice because of his weakness, and the Old Man was rarely wrong in his assessments.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Separation of Church and State

Now the Church want to meddle again in the constitutional mess. I can never understand why religious leaders think they are the moral arbiters of society when their own society is so fucked up. Child abuse cases, financial shenanigans, murder-you name it, they have done it. And now they want to play politics. For this they must give up the cloak. They can't have their cake and eat it too.
When they were given an opportunity, they shied away from taking a stand. Everybody was on the bandwagon, one way or the other, yet the Kenyan Church was fence-sitting and playing possum when they were supposed to be telling their flock how to vote. The phrase, "foolish like sheep", describes the Kenyan congregation perfectly. When they wanted to oppose sex-education in schools, they did not hide their feelings behind sophistry and cant. They came out fighting, even though their opposition to the exercise was wrong, both morally and religiously.
Today, they want to play both sides against the middle. People of Kenya, wake up to the reality that the church treats you exactly as the sheep that you are. Think about it: this is the same question I ask about politicians. Would you allow a religious leader into your house and heart? The answer may be yes, it may be no. But you will never trust them to make the right decision on your behalf. At least, you shouldn't. They haven't demonstrated behaviour that calls for my trust. They can therefore, take a position in the pantheon of the charlatans and false prophets of this world.
The way forward in this matter, is to look at it logically and dispassionately. Put as little faith as possible on all the various leaders claiming to be our messiahs out of this mess and trust your instincts. Ask for a Draft thay will make your life better, not a Draft that will please your local strongman and self-proclaimed prophet of doom. Don't think about hypothetical children and grandchildren you don't have. Think about those who are here now and whether you can look them in the eye with love and confidence. For you to do that, you must give them the gift of a Kenya free from greed and corruption, one in which they shall be in a position to be counted as humans.

Listen to what Gen Z is saying. Hear them.

Kenyan Gen Z seized the moment that was made for them and threw down the gauntlet at the feet of the Kenyan State. With the memory of the bi...