Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Shame of it all

I am still amazed that Kenyans expect the politicians to do the right thing. When the Communications Amendment Bill is signed into law, it will not be because Kibaki does not understand its implications - he understands them only too well. When he and Raila arrived at an arrangement to deal with the matter of the tribunal, we were not privy to what was discussed. It is entirely possible that they are trying to bring the matter to a close in the most judicious manner possible. However, our experiences of these two principals is different.

Kibaki has betrayed his political allies in the past. So has Raila. So why won't they betray us on this small matter of investigating, trying and punishing those who caused so much death and destruction earlier this year? Why? Because it is in their nature.

I once asked why Kenyans reposed so much faith in their local politicians during elections. I still do not have a convincing answer, except that Kenyans are political idiots and they swallow the lines that politicians lay down. It is this level of stupidity that has persuaded the political class that they can ride rough-shod over us, shit on us and take us for granted.

It is why when the parties held their elections to comply with the Political Parties Act, cabinet ministers and 'senior' MPs took over the paerty organs at local and national level. This is in stark contrast to other mature democracies where the party and the state are two separate entities. These people are repeating the same errors of the KANU dicatorship. It is only a matter of time that our hunger and anger grows to be too heavy a burden to carry and we will act.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A clean break with the past?

When the Hon. Mr. Justice Philip Waki gave retired UN Secretary-General Koffi Annan that envelope, he broke with a past that was filled with death and disappointment. All previous Commissions of Inquiry, barring perhaps the Kriegler Commission, have had one true mandate - to give the government time to regroup after committing offences and getting caught. Even the Hon. Mr. Justice Kriegler (ret.) could not escape from the Kenyan way of doing things - he did not come out and state what we all suspected: that PNU stole the elections and that the ECK helped them do it. He apportioned blame equally which was the same as shelving the report as all previous reports have been shelved - just mention the Kiruki Commission and see what happens.

Justice Waki has destroyed an edifice that Moi and Kenyatta and, yes, Kibaki have spent the past 46 years creating. he has shown that given imagination and strength of character, one man can indeed make a difference. Now, while we may not have much faith in his brethren on the bench, Mr. Waki has shown us that we can repose our full faith in him without trepidation.

If only the political class, or as some of us think of them, the political underworld were so promising. The idiocies that have characterised theantics mo the so-called unofficial opposition beggar belief. But it is when their interests align, PNU and ODM, opposition and establishment, front-bencers and back-benchers, presidential candidates and also-rans, that they really show their true colours.

The side show between Martha Karua and Kiraitu Muungi, Mr. Johnstone Muthama and his cohorts over the payment of taxes on allowanvces collected by MPs simply tells me this: they will never put my needs first. Kenya is in great and urgent need of a sbetter higher education system, a robust economy, an efficient public and civil service, and security of the person and property. These hyenas in suits have done nothing to see to it that our priorities are addressed. It does not help that the so-called principles (Kibaki, Raila and Kalonzo) are the three legs of a stool that cannot support the weight of the population's aspirations because of their individual weaknesses - Kibaki, because he is a lame duck; Raila, because of his unbriddled ambition; and Kalonzo, because of his treachery.

In one fell swoop, Mr. Justice Waki showed us that it is possible to break with the past. It is now up to all of us to either emulate him or snuff out the candle of hope that he has lit for us.

Freedom of the press and freedom of speech

When the Communications Act becomes law by way of presidential assent, the members of the Fourth Estate vehemently opposed to it will have no one to blame but themselves. This is a fact of Kenyan political life. And if the editors of the Nation Media Group, the Standard Group and the other players in the news market deny that they are political players, they will never get off the state's, and indeed the National Assembly's, black-list. They will also not see the support of the masses in their bid for fairness.

When the Standard Group had its newspaper's premises raided and equipment impounded without explanation, did you see the huddled masses on the streets rioting on behalf of the media conglomerate? We simply tut-tutted, and changed the channel. This answer should tell the media houses that we have our own problems and the fact that they have not done anything to champion our rights means that we don't have to do anything to champion theirs. Who gives a damn about a free press when he goes hungry or is unemployed or has had his farmland confiscated without the due process of law?

The partisanship that was displayed by the media, which I believe contributed significantly to the chaos after the results of the 2007 general elections were announced, have persuaded Kenyans that the media is not out to look after the people's interests but its own.

The problems bedeviling the people of Kenya can be laid at the doors of the politicians and the media houses that give them air time, whose commentaries do not address the root causes of our problems, and whose profit-driven editorial content places more emphasis on retaining ad revenue than speaking truth to power. Until they face the truth of whe they are, the media have no business conflating a free fress with freedom of speech.

My right to free speech, my freedom to speak and think as I please, cannot be equated with the freedom of the Fourth Estate to lie and distort the truth in the name of a free press. I am sure that a free press is vital in the West; they have developed to a point where the people will listen and appreciate the assistance being offered - after all, many of the issues affecting the western world are litigated and interrogated in the press first. Kenya, and Africa, are remarkably and shockingly different. At least, during the Kanu era days, one had a very ggod idea where at least on newspaper stood.

The situation today is unparalleled in the manner in which the Kenyan press has become so wedded to the idea of more money that the rights of the people no longer feature in their abacuses. Their attempts to tempt the youth with professionally produced tabloids - for how would you describe the Nairobi Star and the Daily Metro? - simply prove that they are not interested in informing the people of the problems they are facing and propose solutions. Entertainment is all well and good, but what use is it for a media conglomerate to own radio and TV stations if it cannot nuse them to entertain?

They have failed us and they have failed themselves. They shouldn't ask us to help them out of this government-sanctioned turkey-shoot for they did nothing for us when we were at the receiving end of an enthusiastic, highly motivated politically inspired or government-sponsored lynch-mob.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Another crack at the church

Regular readers of this post may be worried that I am an atheist - or worse, an apostate. However, let me make it clear that I am a Christian who holds traditional Christian values like loving thy neighbour and honouring my father and mother ... You know the rap. I am also a firm believer in the judge-not-lest-you-be-judged creed, and I take great pleasure in judging those who purport to judge me. This week, it is the various Christain denominations that went out of their way to ensure that their (female) congregants were dressed "decently".

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It seems, that decency is also in the eyes of the beholder. But I have to ask, what have these leaders of the flock been reading and watching to determine that tumbo-cuts, micro-minis, drain-pipe trousers, body-hugging tops, et al are indecent? I would have though that so long as you were not walking naked, that was decent enough.

This is where I differ with the church. We claim that Kenya is a free country - that we are all free to make certain choices so long as those choices do not impact on my neighbour. I also have the freedom to worship where I am welcome. However, if at the beginning of my relationship with your church, the only rule was to open my wallet for the colection and the tithe, tou can't come later on and add new rules as to what colour underwear I will wear.

We have come a long way in the past 15 years. Even the stodgy old government has given up the rule that prevented female civil servanats from wearing pant-suits. It is called choice and we have failed to teach our children and the less intellectually curious the responsibilities that go along with choice. We cannot try to impose our own sartorial, or other, values on an ignorant and resistant polity. Therefore, the Church and its affiliate institutions, must take on the arduous job of teaching and guiding once again and concentrate less on making money. You are here to save souls, not people from fashion faux pas.

Tobacconomics

In recent days, some have stated that the cost of treating cigarette smoking-related ailments costs the government a significant amount - six times the revenue generated, by some estimates. Now, this figure may be correct - or not. It all depends on some facts being brought to light. Do the anti-tobacco campaigners have any hard data to present? Let's see if they can answer these questions:
1. How many cigarette-smoking ailments are recorded each year in Kenya?
2. How many of these cases are treated in government-run health facilities?
3. What is the cost of treating these ailments?
4. How much of this cost is borne by the government?
5. How much revenue is generated from tobacco companies?
6. How much revenue is generated from tobacco-users?
7. How many of the tobacco-users suffer from tobacco-related ailments?
8. How many of them seek treatment from government-run health institutions?

The list is endless. Now unless the likes of Mr. Ndubi and Co. can answer these questions, their position starts to seem like a case of over-enthusiastic anti-smoking do-gooding. He quotes EMCA - specifically section 3 - on the fact that every person in Kenya is entitled to a clean and healthy environment. He forgets to mention that every person in kenya has a duty to safeguard and enhance the environment.

It is a fact that the air quality in Nairobi is not affected only by cigarette smoking, but also by the many factories in the industrial area, the thousands of vehicles that are poorly maintaining spewing sulfates and oxides into the air, the open-air incinerators in residential areas - the list is endless. If one were to stand along the sidewalk of a busy Nairobi street s,oking a cigarette, it is my contention that the amount of air pollution caused would be negligible. Indeed, I would argue that it would be next to impossible to cause any form of second-hand smoking-related ailment. One is more likely to suffer from URTI due to the general poor quality of the air in Nairobi, of which second hand cigarette smoke is a minor component.

As a smoker, I am for reasonable restriction on where smoking can take place. The restrictions, however, must be reasonable. I agree with the total ban on smoking in government premises, houses of worship, hospitals, schools, colleges, universities and public conveyances. I agree that restaurants and pubs must designate proper smoking zones where non-smoking patrons will not be at risk of second-hand smoke. I do not agree that the street is off-limits to smokers, save for a few poorly designed and poorly-sited 'smoking zones'. Given the aforemetioned points, the street is hardly a paragon of air quality. It defeats the purpose of enhancing human health if the least contributor to poor air quality is controlled - because it is easy to do so - while the more obvious causes of respiratory diseases (cars, buses, motor-cycles, lorries, taxis, etc.) are allowed to proliferate and pollute. The lunatics who came up with that provision in the Tobacco Control Act, must make amendments reflecting this reality - or else, they should simply outlaw smoking altogether. That would fix things, wouldn't it?

In my defense...

In the past few days, the debate on whether the PS in the Ministry of Local Government can purport to amend by-laws promulgated by the City Council of Nairobi have inevitably focussed on the venality and avarice of lawyers. I wish to state categorically that every profession has its share of greedy and corrupt mebers - take teachers for example; you know, the ones that charge you an arm and a leg for 'extrra' coaching simply by refusing to complete the required syllabus within the time allocated; the doctors that prescribe expensive procedures for routine ailments. The list is long and sordid. To point an accusing finger at the lawyers is to simply find a convenient scapegoat and to give up responsibility for ones actions.

The legal profession would not exist if we were all honest and law-abiding and were willing to take responsibility for our actions. The legal profession becomes an asset only when our hides are in the firing line - else, we are content to blame the lawyers for every error that has been committed through some badly formulated statute.

Mr. Clay Muganda's attack on Mr. Haroun Ndubi for his comments regarding the tobacco legislation and subsidiary legislation (Legal smokescreen, DN 31/10/08) at the centre of the conflict between the ministry and the council are so unwarranted as to question whether he truly studied the law at university. He called lawyers "spineless, pretentious, vile and reptillian" who have failed to guide Kenya out of the woods because each is pulling in his own direction. Of course it is in his interest to ignore the lawyers who do admirable work for very little reward in the arena of human rights, consumer rights, children's rights, women's rights, etc. The numbers of lawyers that have faced the cruel hand of the state upon them for fighting for the public interest is large ... to forget them and label them in such uninformed phrases is to ignore the struggle for the soul of this country. Sure, the National Assembly has attracted the more amoral members of the profession, but in this instance they are politicians first, and lawyers next.

Perhaps, I should shine the spot light on the Fourth Estate. Where were you when alleged meetings were being arranged in Stae House to rob Kenya of its youth in the months of January and February? Is it true that many of you received cash handouts from the architects of the Goldenberg saga to report the news in a less than professional manner? Didn't some of you take to the streets, figuratively, in support of Moi's iniquitous regime? Like the good book says, do not attempt to remove the speck in my eye before you have removed the plank in yours.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why Kivuitu Must Go

We all know that the 2007 Genral and Presidential elections were rigged. I had predicted as much in a previous post. What could not be anticipated was the level of bloodshed that would be unleashed once the rigging was finished. It is in this maelstrom of action that Kivuitu made a series of statements which indicated that his senility had gotten the best of him and perhaps, he ws not the best steward of our electoral process. The Hon. Mr. Justice Kriegler said the same. He literally accused Kivuitu and his team of gross incompetence and negligence in the performance of their duties. I do not disagree.

When Kivuitu admitted that he did not know who had won the presidency, it called into question why he was so hasty to declare Kibaki the winner and attend the swearing in ceremony on the lawns of State House, Nairobi. if he had been coerced, he should have come out and said it. If he was bribed ... Mr. Kivuitu proves that it is time for the old and decrepit to take their leave from running the affairs of state and allow more youthful persons (and I don't mean Rail or kalonzo-like youthful; I mean Namwamba/Kimunya youthful) to take over. Of course, the likes of Kiema Kilonzo and Ababu namwamba call into serious doubt whether the more youthful MPs currently enjoying their millions in salaries and allowances are the best sterwards.

Kivuitu exposes the lie that age and experience are always a good thing in the affairs of state. It shows how the old are slow to see the obvious and how, because of their hardwired prejudices, they will never accept that they know less than the sum-total of their lives. It does not help that the African has a tradition of revering the aged and infirm, even when senile to his very core. Traditions must change, and THAT generation must go.

Is stripping a legitimate employment activity?

Now, for those of you who have traveled the world, stripping in Kenya is a bit more dingier than the worst strip-clubs you'll find in Detroit or Birmingham. The Kenyan version is devoid of any style or class, the venues are dens of various vices and the service leaves a lot to be desired, apart from an unrequited boner!

However, the Apple Bees, Liddos and Tahitis of Nairobi are providing desperate girls with an option from the prostitution that takes place in back alleys and on the ever popular K-Street. I just wish that the proprietors of these joints took a bit of pride in the service they offered and ensured that the quality of service was a bit more ... respectable, in a manner of speaking. They have to upgrade their facilities so that the joints don't look as if the last patron in the place had relieved himself all over the walls. I like the camaraderie of some of the girls there, but I am not looking for a girlfriend or a wife, so if they were to maintain the mercenary standards for which Nairobi is famous for, then I would continue to patronise these dubious houses of sin.

Is stripping a legitimate employment activity>

Is stripping

Monday, July 21, 2008

When leaders behave badly ...

We have looked with horror at the scenes of school-children butchering each other on TV in the last few months. The common refrain has been that the mock KCSE exams are too hard. I think it goes deeper than that. Our political leaders are behaving in the worst possible way - inciting others to commit terrible atrocities. It is only natural that our children pick up on these signals and apply them to their particular situations. However, we shouldn't pretend that we are blameless. For every child murdered in school, we are to blame for allowing ourselves to become the tools of an uncaring, greedy, grasping political class that has shown no moral courage or vision. It is shameful to watch the likes of Kalonzo Musyoka preaching peace and reconciliation when our children have been taught nothing else by his colleagues other than to kill and maim and destroy.

Which leads me to another totally unrelated matter: the indictment of Omar el-Bashir. Sudan is undergoing changes that are anything but civilised - at least not the western notion of civilisation. President Bashir is no doubt a despot. But so what? Why should he be indicted by a tribunal to which his country is not a party to? The ICC chief prosecutor, no doubt an intelligent and passionate man, is wrong to wish to circumvent the international laws that his people have established to govern relations between and among nation states. It is not even an African problem - what would the AU, for example, do? Impose sanctions? Send in peace-keepers? Invade? All these are the lunatic schemes of the west to maintain dominance over an emerging world rich in natural and mineral resources. They are rightfully afraid that their previous bad behaviour is no longer guaranteeing them a share in these resources. They are regretting imposing the SAPs and other such behaviour-altering mechanisms upon us. They simply do not understand that the days of the pith-helmeted white man lording it over the south are going out of fashion. We are sovereign nations, and if we agree to allow one of our own to murder his own people, why should they complain. After all, do you really see Mr. Ocampo bringing indictments against George W. Bush or Tony Blair or Vladimir Putin? those three between them have killed more people than the fictitious "300,000" quoted by the world's media. Tell me I'm wrong!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF THE END?

Now that Martha Karua has decided to throw her hat into the ring, and Uhuru Kenyatta is under fire over his decisions as Local Government Minister, and Otieno Kajwang's over his as Immigration Minister, and Orengo in his war with Kimunya over the Grand Regency, is Kibaki's coalition falling apart? Even mouths for hire like Mungatana are calling the decision to set up the PNU a bad one. When rats desert a ship, you know things are really dire. However, we are mindful of the fact that Kibaki has not survived this long by falling asleep at the steering wheel. He has constantly outsmarted the opposition; to underestimate him now would be a grave error, even for smart girls like Martha. She needs to follow Mutahi Ngunyi's advice and bring the war to Kibaki and the Old Guard otherwise she will end up like all the other no-hoppers who have underestimated him.

The love fest between Kibaki and Raila will not last. I have said previously that January 2009 is the deadline; if they survive beyond then, their's will be like one of those marriages where they don't want to get a divorce because they then both lose. Kibaki and Raila do not trust each other; hence the fact that their lieutenants' constant bickering and oneupmanship. It doesn't help that motormouths have been given a free rein to let rip. The upshot is that ordinary Kenyans are benefiting, albeit in unexpected ways. It was not possible for entrepreneurial Kenyans to set up business that did not run afoul of the various Moi rules of yore. Now, it is not likely that your business will get poached without a fight. For that alone, I would re-elect Kibaki a thousand times over.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Of heroes and Cannibals

We all know that taxation is one of the two things one can never avoid in life, the other being death. The Americans after all fought a war with England over the matter of taxation without representation. So why is it that Kenyans are incapable of mounting a strong front against the 10th Parliament? Perhaps the reason is that we really don't care. There was an image on the TV last week during the by-election in Emuhaya where voters said they would not vote unless they were paid to do so. Have we come to the stage of 'election allowances' for voters? If so, we cannot blame the MPs for saying "no to taxation" of their allowances. After all, if he is going to defend his seat in the next general election at a cost of 10 million shillings, why should he not start saving for the fight right now? How can he save if the government is swallowing a third of his 600,000? That is why the fattest cats among the fat cats are being watched with animosity by their colleagues. The likes of Johnstone Muthama, Cyrus Jirongo, William Ruto and Raila Odinga are millionaires and billionaires in their own right and have no need for the paltry sh. 850,000-a-month they earn. However, losers like Mungatana and his brethren in the PNU have no wealth to speak of. How can the 'poverty-stricken' members of the House survive if their richer brethren keep cutting their legs from under them? Those MPs calling for sacrifice have the right idea but no backbone; else, Kenya would not have been saddled with a cabinet of 40-odd hyenas, some of whom have no business being in government. And Raila begging for money from the Americans to run his office just shows how myopic our 'leaders' are. They should all take a leaf from John Harun Mwau's play book and put their money where their mouths are - he has a vision for Ukambani that if realized, will turn the region into an intellectual and financial powerhouse. His motto, "Think and grow rich", is the only strategy that can work in an area where agri-business is in the doldrums and assorted malaises affect the spirit of the people. He should be regarded as the hero of the Akamba people, not slave-drivers like Kalonzo and his band of ODM-K misfits.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Is 12 months too optimistic for the Grand Coalition?

Surveying the political landscape today, one would be mistaken for thinking that it was November 2007. The ODM-PNU battle of the titans looks like it is still going on, never mind the promises of working together and the recent mollifying speeches of the flag-bearers. It's too bad that this is Kibaki's last term. Lame ducks have never been able to exert authority or bring their wayward charges to heel. With Kibaki's customary laissez faire approach to ruling, his most ardent lieutenants have taken the opportunity to roil the waters and mischief-make in the hope that one of them becomes the flag-bearer in the next general elections. I think that for us to expect the coalition to last beyond January 2009 is wildly optimistic. Martha Karua and George Saitoti have taken such hardline stances towards the amnesty agenda of the ODM team that I am sure this will be a big bone of contention in the next few weeks if not till the coalition falls apart, as it inevitably must.

Commentators have argued that those accused of arson and murder cannot simply be let free. I agree with them. However, it is not fair that a majority of the young men and women behind bars are overwhelmingly the supporters of the ODM. It would have not raised such a stink if the same proportion of the PNU lot were enjoying the hospitality of the state. But this is not so. Karua and Saitoti are being less than frank when they claim that the justice, law and order machinery of the state was employed fairly and without bias. It is because of this that the ODM would like to see its footsoldiers let free. I wonder if Raila's offer of negotitiation with the Mungiki was targetted at softening Karua's and Saitoti's positions in the hope that he would broker an agreement that the Mungiki would not be slaughtered by the police and the ODM murderers would be let free? If this is so, Raila's strategy is falling apart.

I therefore, cannot see this government lasting beyond january 2009 and general elections may be called sooner than we hoped. This time round, matters will end much worse. The so-called Agenda No. 4 of the Medfiation Process is not being discussed let alone being implemented. If we do not get a new constitution by the end of the year and if no changes are made to the election process and law, violence is all but guaranteed during the next general election. This time round, whether the politicins like it or not, to quell it will require more than promises and lies. I don't think that the calm we have enjoyed in the last two months can be described as peace. This is the quiet before the tornado blows away your whole life. Watch and be very very afraid.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Power-sharing? What has the ODM been drinking?

Mutahi Ngunyi may have hit the hammer on the head, and Uhuru 'UK' Kenyatta only confirmed it: there are no hard-liners around the president. The only hardliner in that camp is the president himself. If he wanted a deal done, Martha and the other so-called hardliners would have no say in the matter. it seems that the Old Man and the ODM flag-bearer have a personal chemistry that can only be politely descibed as less that friendly.

In this whole debate, the fate of Kenyan refugees has yet to be addressed in detail. I am sure that Dr. Shabaan is doing her best to sort out matters to deal with humanitarian relief, but the political class has done nothing to begin the process of reconciliation. It also seems that Mr. Odinga's writ does not run large in Kibera anymore. Yesterday's riots are either a sign that he is no longer being heard or that he has asked his constiotuents to return to the streets for more 'mass action'.

It has always been naive to imagine that President Kibaki would share executive power with anyone. Where in Africa, indeed the world, have you seen a head of government share executive power? Even in the 'developed' democracies, there is only one person who wields executive power. Prof. Kivutha Kibwana is right when he points out that the constitution of Kenya and the National Accord do not envisage a splitting of the executive power between the President and the Prime Minister. However, he is wrong in denying the perceived importance and relative power of the different ministries. After all, do you really see one of these men agreeing to become the minister for gender, youth and cultural affairs when he could be named the minster for finance? Didn't think so. This has nothing to do with the letter of the law but with the political perception created and the practicalities of the situation. it is a bare fact that some ministries control the lion's share of the national resources while others receive bread-crumbs.

It is also a fact that the last truly executive president was Mr. Moi. He wielded power with authority and thre was none to challenge him. Even his political rehabilitation in the run up to the General Elections is a testament to the fact the he still commanded authority and respect from his tormentors and friend alike. Mr. Kibaki would be naive to imagine that the political class and the Kenyan people would allow him to rule rather than govern. Sadly for him, he is neither feared nor respected by the Opposition.

Some wags are suggesting that the best possible solution to the problem of power sharing would be to create 222 new ministries and make every MP a Minister. This, it is argued, would drive home the point that the ministerial flag is not important in the grand scheme of things. Thus, what Kenya needs today is not 40 or even 20 ministries, but a political class that has the interests of the Kenyan at heart. Unfortunately, that is not a class that exists today. For instance, Mr. Johnstone Muthama has already been preveiled upon by his colleagues to shelve his calls for a reduction in the salaries and allowances of MPs. Who wants to wager that the honourable member for Kangundo never mentions the matter ever again?


Thursday, April 03, 2008

What sayeth the people

Let's get this right first time round - the Kenyan people are not important or relevant in the grand game being played out between Kibaki's PNU and Raila's ODM. We are merely bit players and our views, such as they are, are irrelevant and inconsequential. Else, how do you explain the fact that apart from their vacuous claims of sympathy and concern for the huddled masses, they are yet to make a dramatic visit to any of the camps where we have been compelled to stay simply because the powers that be have deployed half the security forces to keep apart the riotous nairobi youth in the pay of the politicians sleeping in Parliament?

It is time for the general population to rise up in one voice and declare that the hour of change is upon us and that we will be damned forever if we allowed that change to be managed by a class that has proven time and again that its interests are above those of the people it serves.

The inflation rate is slowly inching up towards 20% and basic commodities are beginning to slip away from the grasp of the Kenyan family and our polititions, on an obscene sh. 850,000 a month, are yet to speak on the need for a fiscal austerity measure for their class to address the plight of the Kenyan. How could they? After all, those Range Rovers and Toyota Land Cruisers will not fuel themselves in any fiscal austerity programme, will they? Why would the likes of Kalonzo Musyoka care for the Kenyan when he goes to sleep every night in a sh. 100,000,000 mansion built at the tax-payers' cost? He would not. he got what he always wanted and he'll be damned if he is going to sacrifice for any of 'his' people.

So what say you, the huddled masses? Are you going to do the Kenyan thing and bury your head in the sand and say "it isn't my cause'? Like Bob Marley sang, Get up, stand up and fight for your rights. Don't give up the fight.

A luta continua!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pet Peeves

Enough with the politics. I think it is time we sorted out some of the more fundamental problems with the world in Kenya today - women who have let themselves go. And boy, am I in a bad mood. Nairobi is a dangerous gauntlet to walk - the number of badly dressed, overweight birds on the street will make you weep in despair. I have no problem with women dessing as if they came from the same cookie cutter; I draw the line, however, when the style they are all adopting is patently unsuitable for a greater number of these fashionistas.

When it comes to cellulose and flab, the less that is seen the better it is. What is so wrong in hiding all your nasty bits until you have hoodwinked the poor fool into bed? At that time, he is so greatful for having you in his bed, he doesn't care that you run a close second to a rhino in girth and skin texture. It should be made a cardinal rule that when a woman starts to resemble the Michelin Man, all figure-hugging items of clothing in her closet should be incinerated.

Men, today more than at any other time in history, are allegedly in short supply - especially the marrying-material, take-home-to-mama kind. But, with so much flab being flashed about so crudely, I would argue that it is not marriageable men who are in short supply, but women. An old African saying holds that there are no ugly women, only lazy ones. This is so very true when you watch all these otherwise personable babes dressing and behaving as if they are God's gift simply by being alive. Men should start drawing a very firm line when it comes to hair in unwanted places, spare wheels on anything but cars, trouser cuffs that have accumulated half the filth in Nairobi, cracked heels, et al.

Personal grooming only becomes a dark art when one behaves like a pig searching for truffles. The level of sartorial inelegance being displayed by women straight out of campus makes me wish that they did away with feminine university education altogether - it has failed to instil any sense of style in these poor dears. Worse, it is now spilling over onto our TV screens. Watching the evening news when presented by some of the over made-up women in suits a size too small spotting beer-guts to rival that of the famed Oloi Tip Tip, is a study in willpower. With the exception of some of the more established names like Kate Kasavuli and Beatrice Marshall and, my personal fave, Julie Gichuru, the rest are slowly scraping the bottom of the barrel when it come to what not to wear on TV. There was this woman who was interviewing the US ambassador in jeans and a rumpled blouse. Professional dressing is definitely not in their lexicon.

I despair for Kenya. The politics sucks and the eye-candy ain't sweet. Time for reform in more than one area, ama?

Friday, January 11, 2008

I didn't see that one Coming...honest!

When Baba Jimmy appointed Kalonzo as his number 2, it came as a bolt from the blue. Kalonzo had all along said that he was never going to side those who had cheated him out of the presidency. Apparently, he only meant Raila. As the rumours fly, the most common refrain is that Kalonzo has betrayed the Orange Movement and that now Kambas are not to be trusted as a result of his greed. They are being painted as a people who not only sit on the fence, but make promises they do not intend to keep for the sake of short-term political gain.

Kalonzo says that he wants to reconcile the nation. How will he do this when he failed to find a middle ground in his contest with his dear brother Raila? I have said in a previous post that Kalonzo is not fit to run this country and my view has only been reinforced by his recent behavior. He is dishonest, even by the usual political standards, and lacks any moral authority to pontificate on good governance when he spent his entire formative years in politics being one of Moi's ardent hatchet man. He has now proven to be even more power hungry than Raila ever could. If he believes that his current gambit will assure him a shot at the presidncy in 2012, I hope that the likes of John Harun Mwau and Mama Rainbow Charity Ngilu swiftly remind him that even his hegemony over Ukambani is not total or absolute.

The ball, unfortunately, is now in Raila's court. He can capitulate and play the role of a weakened opposition, or he can come to an arrangement with Kibaki and join the cabinet, albeit in less significant ministries. Either way, Raila will not be sworn in as President of the republic any time soon. But, as the pundits say, it's better to be in government than out. Where will this country be in a week's time?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Told You So...

When the date was announced for the general elections, no one was in doubt that the ODM-led Raila group would sweep the parliamentary sweepstakes. What was still undecided was what Kibaki would do to retain his presidency. The fact that he had a master tactician like Moi in his camp made things very difficult to predict. Raila was ahead in the opinion polls, but only just. Everyone was talking about the power of incumbency. It was to be seen if Kibaki would be the first African incumbent to be defeated in a presidential poll.

As it were, the choice was not the voters rto make. It is rumoured that the power-brokers and insiders surrounding Kibaki were not about to lose their shirts because their man was a gentleman. All the mechanisms were in place for a silent coup d'etat. when it became evident that the Kibaki camp was losing and losing badly, they played their last card and had the figures from Central Province massively inflated. To do this, the whole voter register in Central Province, to a man, voted for Kibaki, an unprecedented statistic. Of course, when it emerges years later that dead people voted for him, no one will care.

The violence that has befallen this benighted land in the last fortnoght can be attributed to the fact that Raila and his team do not want to admit that they are not as good as the Kibaki team at rigging elections. His cries that he is the only legitimately elected president will continually fall on deaf ears. If he imagines that the whole country will join him in a Rolling-Thunder type of campaign to dislodge the incumbent, he is sorely mistaken. After Kenyans come to realise that their stomachs are more important than their freedoms, they will leave Raila high and dry. Aand that is as it should be. Incumbents rig elections and the opposition cries foul and life goes on as before. So long as we don't mess with white people's property, things will be as they are. After all, This is Africa!!!

As by law established

The members of my profession, the ones with a pompous sense of importance, tend to use phrases whose value has diminished greatly since the ...