Tag Archives: Kenya

Word on the street…

(Guys in a house watching football, listening to music, having a beer and basically chilling.)

Guy A: Who will you vote for?

Guy B: (Proudly) Peter Kenneth. My conscience cannot let me vote for these other fools.

Guy A: Okay. After you and your conscience have wasted your vote and forced Kenya into an expensive run-off who will you vote for?

Guy B: Wa! Between worse and worst I guess I will pick worse so I will reluctantly vote Cord. I do not want to live under sanctions. Just look at Zimbabwe or Sudan.

Guy C: I was also going to vote for Martha or Peter Kenneth but after the alliances formed I realized it will be a close two-horse race. So I changed my mind! I am not going to waste my vote. I will vote for Cord. Not that Cord are that great.

Guy D: I will vote for Jubilee. Kenya and Kenyans do not need half-shocks like PEV 2007/8. Kenya needs major shock to happen so that it can rebuild once and for all. These half-measures mean Kenya never grows. Look at Rwanda? It totally broke apart then now it is doing well. Let us break apart totally and then rebuild. Also I can’t vote for Raila after his 41 tribes versus 1 tribe mantra in the last elections.

Guy C: So it is basically about tribe?

Guy D: Off course it is about tribe! This is Kenya. How would you feel if your community is targeted and singled out through no fault of your own? Even you are in Cord because your guy got running mate.

Guy B: See? This is why I am voting Peter Kenneth. To end this tribalism nonsense.

Guy C: To bad Kenneth has no chance in hell of winning. So you are wasting your vote. And these wasted votes will force us into a run-off. Do you think Kenya is politically mature enough and rich enough to go through a run-off? Or will a close election result in chaos?

Guy A: And to be honest, Kenneth appears to me to be an Obama in 2008. He looks good, can be branded well and he can speak well. But when push comes to shove he is short on concrete and long on fluff.

Guy D: So you who will you vote for?

Guy A: No one! I do not have a voter’s card. And looking at the options available and after listening to all your reasons for voting, I can’t say I am missing out on anything. Whoever wins it seems we are screwed and the question the election is settling is just how screwed we are!

Ends…

The above conversation played out in my presence over the holidays.

The guys chatting are all young, urbane and educated with exposure to internet, media and world affairs.

It is amazing that all these attributes seem to have had no impact on their decision on who to vote for. No one mentioned issues or track record. It basically comes down to tribe and political history of aspirant.

It is a sad indictment of the level of our politics/democracy after 50 years of independence.

With two months to what promises to be bruising and very competitive elections, it is also worrying and scary.

Pray for Kenya.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Kenya Daima…

These words of William Butler Yeats in his poem The Second Coming keep playing in  my head:

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

My country is no longer at ease.

Before I wrap my head around what is going on I would like to:

Pay tribute to all the members of the security forces who have lost their lives in the recent days while in the line of duty.

Pay tribute to all Kenyans who have lost their lives due to the recent spate of violence.

Request you to spare a minute every day to say a prayer for our beloved country Kenya.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Undecided…

During the US elections I often wondered how given all the media coverage and adverts available any voter would be undecided on whether to vote for Obama or Romney.

It is therefore funny that with three months to the Kenya elections I find myself being an undecided voter.

Do not get me wrong, I am decided on who I will NOT vote for. The indecision is on who I WILL vote for.

Courtesy | Google

I am tired of crap. 50 years of nonsense is enough for Kenya. I believe time is nigh for Kenyans to break away from the yoke of mediocrity.

The launch of Tunawesmake was a breath of fresh air. Issues appeared to have come to the fore-front of Kenya’s body politic. But two weeks later there is no sustained buzz from the Peter Kenneth campaign. Methinks this was a wasted chance to build momentum by his campaign team.

Enough about Peter Kenneth.

Let us talk about the ‘elephant in the room’: Martha Wangari Karua.

For a while, Martha was touted as the ‘change candidate’ for the demographic of Kenyans who are tired of the tribal nonsense and business as usual politics.

However her campaign appears to have lost team and direction. It feels to me that it has fizzled out even before it got started.

And now with the launch of Tunawesmake many of those who were Team Martha are slowly getting seduced by Peter Kenneth. Therein lies the indecision many pro-change voter are faced in. They have to choose between Martha Karua V Peter Kenneth.

This is reminiscent of Obama v Hillary duel in 2008 for the Democratic Party ticket. Hillary lost and had to settle for Secretary of State while she bids her time. She is said to be considering running for the US presidency in 2016.

Martha Karua is no stranger to politics. She has been in politics since 1992. Prior to that she served as a magistrate. She rose up to position of Minister of Constitutional Affairs in President Kibaki’s cabinet where she was referred to as the only man in the cabinet due to her strong-will. Her only blemish is her unequivocal support for President Kibaki during the 2007 election debacle.

Her political pedigree is not in doubt but the question begs, is Kenya ready for a woman president? Or is presidency a bridge to far for Martha? Should she swallow her pride and support Peter Kenneth so as not to split the reform-centred vote?

Kenya is a patriarchal society. This is even more pronounced in the rough and tumble of Kenyan politics. Just look at the hullaballoo over the two third rule. Despite women having the numbers it is highly likely that not enough women MPs will get voted into Bunge thus resulting in a constitutional crisis after the elections. Add to that mix what I call the Baraza-effect; Kenyans been averse to a strong confident women leader following the Baraza alleged nose-pinching incident. The odds are thus heavily stacked against Karua.

Folk have been saying that Kenneth can choose Karua as his running mate. I believe this will be problematic. A ticket that has Peter Kenneth and Martha Karua would be a hard sale due to the fact that both have Kikuyu roots and President Kibaki is Kikuyu. I know it should not matter but Kenya in 2012 is a tribal country and tribe cannot be ignored. Two Kikuyus seeking to succeed another Kikuyu would not go down well with ordinary Kenyans.

Since she has already said goodbye to Gichugu constituents, how about Martha borrows a script from Hillary Clinton? She can throw her weight behind Peter Kenneth and then negotiate for a Cabinet Secretary for Constitutional Affairs. With the new Katiba needing massive implementation, she will have mega visibility and she will be working on something she has labored for over the years –constitutional reforms.

Will she? Would she? I have no idea. That ultimately is Martha Karua’s decision to make.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

It appears that I am not the only one who has to make decision concerning the upcoming 2013 elections.

Given the state of our country and our politics, the decisions are not black and white. It is about choosing lesser evils, been strategic, sacrificing individual desires for the greater good of many.

The only constant I can see in the midst of the ever changing variables is the love for Kenya.

Everything notwithstanding we all have to put KENYA FIRST!

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Heritage Series – A Wife’s Tale

The sun that had earlier kissed the slopes had progressively disappeared under the heavy clouds. Gradually chilly it had turned. It seemed like the afternoon rains which are very common in the Kenyan highlands would pour anytime.

At a corner, where two houses join, a lady sits on a stool, taking in scenery and enjoying the breeze.  Donning several sweaters, a maroon dress, a blue woolen cap which covers her white hair and she has a walking stick at her side.

Upon sighting her visitor, she bursts out laughing. “My husband, is that you or are my eyes deceiving me?” she exclaims. A hearty handshake ensues accompanied with the rhythmic vocal intonations.

She may not do it herself due to vagaries of age but just like a wife would, she asks Wairimu, her helper to get her husband a stool, take his bag and warm up a mug of uji for him. Wairimu, does all this in short order. She also introduces herself to the husband as a distant relative.

Wife and husband then proceed to catch up on ‘home’ matters. With each finding out what the other had been up to since they were last together.

Conversation drifts leisurely as the husband sips his uji. “Is it too hot? Should Wairimu bring another cup to aid you cool it?” wife soothingly asks husband.

During a lull in conversation, a cow moos at a distance. A cockerel chases two hens around the homestead. The dog, Tiger, sniffs out the visitor and attempts to play. For its efforts it earns itself a poke with the walking stick. Wairimu washes the dishes, begins preparing the evening meal and lights up the jiko.

Husband picks up the thread of conversation. He guides it to an area that had previously just been glossed over. Wife lights up like a Christmas tree. Making light work of the many decades that have passed by. Her memory razor-sharp.

She begins to coherently answer the prodding questions

When I first went to Nairobi, we lived in Majengo. This was in the late 1950s. I moved to be close to my husband. By then I had three children with the then last-born just a couple of months old. My friends in Majengo were Khadija and Fatuma. Swahili women who loved talking and cooking. They greatly improved my Kiswahili. Unfortunately once I left Nairobi, I forgot most of it.

One day a white man did allocations for houses in Bahati – a newly-constructed estate for Africans. Three families were to share one house. It was a big leap from living in Majengo. With the many constructions in Nairobi I cannot point out where the house stands now.

To eke out a living I sold vegetables in Marikiti Market. A group of us women would harvest vegetables from the banks of Nairobi River after paying for strips. The farmers were from Embu and Ndia. I do not know if they owned the land or just farmed it.

We picked the vegetables during the day, washed them until they looked very fresh, and then took them to the market at 3am. There were matatus to town. I would sell my stock and still come back and prepare breakfast for my school-going children.

My clientele at the market were mostly Asians although there was a sprinkling of white ladies. I struck up a friendship with two Asian ladies. One did not have kids. One did. She invited me to an Indian wedding. It was a great chance to sell my wares and experience the eight day ceremony.

By now I had gotten more children. I was also taking care of my nieces and nephews as well as other family’s children. To further supplement the family income I brewed flour-based African beer. I bought the flour from my Majengo friends.

Sympathetic to my large brood, the alcohol consumers made a beeline to my house every evening to partake of my brew. I sold a quart at one shilling and a pint at fifty cents.

The shadow of the white man was never far off. Several encounters spring to mind. Once I had to stand in an identification line as a betrayer picked out Mau Mau sympathizers. Off course I had taken the oath. The betrayer was fully covered. Only his eyes were visible. He did not speak. Just nodded or shook head to show who was Mau Mau. He did not pick me out.

Another time was more risky. My husband ran a charcoal business. He kept guns for Mau Mau in the sacks. The authorities suspected but never found evidence. One day there was a swoop, he was taken to a police station and almost taken to jail but luckily he was not. The sight of me with a child several days old must have softened the cops’ hearts.

Kenyatta, I cannot say I saw a lot of. Father of Odinga walked around Bahati a lot. He dressed in shorts and a Swahili cap. He seemed a brave man at ease with people.

The Independence Day was quite something! It was at that big open piece of land. What do you call it? It rained a lot. Lights were switched off. Then upon their return the white man’s flag had been brought down and Kenyatta hoisted our flag. It was the end of the white man. We were very happy.

The questions cease. Husband takes in the impromptu history lesson. Wife smiles and has a far-away look. She appears to be reminiscing. Husband is awed by how her memories tell a story of Kenya’s last 50-years.

Husband is grandson. Wife is grandmother.

Wife’s memories are her husband’s heritage. Wife’s memories are Kenya’s history.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Saba Saba

Today is the 22nd anniversary of Saba Saba Day.

The first Saba Saba day was marked on 7. 7. 1990 under a hail of tear gas and a violent confrontation between Kenyans tired of the oppressive KANU regime and riot police who were agents of those seeking to protect the regime.

22 years ago Kenya had a dictatorial president who was for all intents and purposes a god, a mutilated constitution, an oppressed media with only one TV and one radio station that were mouthpieces of the regime, it was a one-party state, the intelligence services eavesdropped on all conversations and a wrong word could land you in the torture chambers, one could not freely trade in forex, the judiciary sang to the tune of the president and so on and so on.

Yes, I know for most reading this, they cannot comprehend that kind of life but these and more bad things was the usual life for Kenyans.

Until a group of men and women said enough is enough. They gave up lives, limbs, minds, families, jobs, comfort to fight the oppression. They did not have twitter, facebook or mobile phones but they had a dream of a better day for Kenya and Kenyans.

22 years later, Kenya has a new constitution, a presidency with term-limits, a free and vibrant media, freedom of expression with guys able to even question the president with no fatal repercussions, there are 51 registered political parties, dollar accounts are common place for many, there are ongoing reforms in the judiciary and so on and so.

Kenya has come from FAR.

Blood, sweat and tears were shed by very brave men and women to gift us this free and democratic space we by and large take for granted.

In an ideal situation, Saba Saba Day would be a national holiday: a mega celebration of Kenyan heroes and heroines – an acknowledgement of the strides taken by Kenya in the last two decades.

However, as is the case in many revolutions, those were get the spoils are those who sacrificed the least. Thus Kenya is still by and large controlled by people who were part of or directly or indirectly supported the oppressive KANU regime.

A flamboyant celebration of Saba Saba Day would therefore also be an indictment of their complacence during Kenyans dark hour of need and of the fact that they are enjoying democracy and freedoms they fought against.

A tree with no roots withers and dies and so does a country with no history.

I choose to remember Saba Saba Day. I choose to celebrate Saba Saba Day. I choose to give thanks this Saba Saba Day.

I remember all the 2nd liberation heroes and heroines who gave up lives, limbs, minds, families, jobs, comfort to fight for Kenya’s current democratic/free space.

I celebrate all the 2nd liberation heroes and heroines who gave up lives, limbs, minds, families, jobs, comfort to fight for Kenya’s current democratic/free space.

I say thank you to all the 2nd liberation heroes and heroines who gave up lives, limbs, minds, families, jobs, comfort to fight for Kenya’s current democratic/free space.

GOD BLESS YOU!

GOD BLESS KENYA!


To legalize or not?

Legalize or not is the question. I am talking about legalizing prostitution or if I am to be politically correct I am talking about commercial sex.

Nairobi Mayor, George Aladwa waded into this age-old debate with his declaration that City Hall would make prostitution legal but shortly thereafter he was forced to retract his statement as Kenyans bayed for his blood. It got me thinking and resulted in this post.

I need to issue a disclaimer. I have never procured the services of a hooker. I do have friends who are hookers.

I think that the allegation that legalizing will result in increased immorality and an increase in the number of hookers in Kenya is a load of bull. Kenya is currently Sodom and Gomorrah. If you can think it, it is being done and surprisingly by folk who shout loudest about morality. Kenyans are unfortunately hypocritically conservative.

I will go as far as saying that hookers are the glue who keep together marriages and relationships in Nairobi. Yes, it is a big statement to make but hear me out.

Yes, men do go to the hookers for the kinky, non-conventional sex but that is not the essence of the service the girls provide. Most often than not, the man will pay for an hour with the girl not to get down but rather to have a nag-free, non-expectation, and demand-less conversation which he does not get when with his wife or girlfriend.

A man is his ego. A man whether Bill Gates or the majengo guy both want their women to treat them like Kings. However women are trying to be men and thus forgetting to be women. Thus a man is 101% on fight mode, at work, in traffic, basically everywhere. Then when he gets home to his castle and he seeks to be King he has to compete with another king (wife).

So why won’t he go to the bordellos which are in every street in the CBD or in every estate, get King Treatment then by the time he comes home he is all f’d out or talked out to be bothered by the nagging?

Hookers know men. They completely understand the man’s psyche. So when today’s woman is being all independent and brash, the hookers are getting the men and making them feel like men.

Hell, I will go as far as saying that hookers should be offering bridal shower advice to the clueless women. Yes, I know that women typically look down upon the hookers and are quick to judge them but take my word, befriend one, learn from her and that may be the best thing that would have happened to your marriage/relationship.

I am not a chauvinist but I believe that there are male and female roles. I also believe that women are the foundation of the society and it beholden upon women to pause and reflect where the rain started beating them. (Feels like I should do a men v women post)

Also I am not glorifying prostitution or the hookers. I believe in individual morality and everyone being accountable for their actions and their consequences. I am just painting the picture of the reality on the ground.

I am pro-legalization because I reckon it will enable the girls to be safe, to access regular and constant medical check-ups and increase usage of protection.

As a lady you may think that whether the girls are safe medically or that they are in a place where they can demand clients use protection is none of your business but it is your business.

The hookers tell me that MOST of their clientele are married guys or guys in relationships. So hubby/boyfriend sleeps with hooker then hubby/boyfriend sleeps with wife/girlfriend. Zero degrees of separation.

So maybe the women should be in the foreground campaigning for the legalization of prostitution for their own sakes.

It is just a thought. Do not shoot the messenger!

PS: Always remember the ABCs of sex : Abstain, Be faithful, Use a condom.

Other side of the coin!

I do not claim exclusivity to being right. My desire is to stimulate conversation on topical issues and in a small way make Kenya a better place.

One of my friends, M passionately shared her opinion on the question on whether to legalize or not. This is what she had to say:

” I dont agree with you on this one, sorry. I don’t hate hookers, I just don’t think it should be encouraged by our law. Just because its happening doesn’t mean the society should accept it in writing. I speak as a Christian, its a sin, it’s been a sin.

As for protecting the girls, they should have access to information on its dangers then encouragement on how to make ends meet in more acceptable and productive ways. A man shouldn’t go to a prostitute in the institution of marriage in the first place. I will never agree with you!

Prostitution demeans women by allowing men to view them as sex objects; it separates sex from love, respect, commitment and relationship. It undermines the institution of marriage by encouraging promiscuity, it encourages promiscuity among single men and adultery among married men. Lastly, it lowers the health of the community and we both know this shall not be solved by legalization.

My two cents!”

Wow! She is passionate. It definitely is food for thought..

 

GOD BLESS KENYA!


An eye for an eye?

Several weeks ago my pal lost her dad through a shooting during a robbery. In the same week, four alleged robbers were gunned down by cops in my hood. These incidents made me really think about police executions and my stand on them.

I was born, have grown up and still live in the hood. My views are tinged with my experiences from the hood. My thoughts were and still remain sho0t the armed robbers dead! If they carry a gun then why should they expect mercy? But I also agree the issue is NOT wholly black and white and there is plenty of grey areas.

Last Saturday an armed robber who was part of a gang that had earlier murdered a policeman tried to evade capture and barricaded himself in a house next to a police station. He then had the nerve to call media houses and beg for amnesty. After a five hour standoff he was gunned down and he became another statistic but this was not before many Kenyans castigated the police for executing him and talking about human rights.

What about the rights of the policeman gunned down? My sources tell me he had only drawn a salary for three months before his death. Did anyone take time to mourn him? Or has it become fashionable to bash the men in blue? And no this is no defence of the police but just an alternative view for you to consider.

Let me digress and tell you about M and V.

M and I are age mates and we grew up together, playing bano, shake, one touch etc. We were boys until after high school when I went to college and he became a thief. He started off pick pocketing (pinji), moved on to snatching phones, then to strangling guys (ngeta) and finally he graduated to armed robbery. He was lucky. He survived several shootouts and even a mob justice experience. He finally relocated to the States several years back after which we lost touch.

I went to primary school with V but he was three years my junior. He started pick pocketing while he was in class eight and took the same route as M and graduated as an armed robber by the time he was in form two. His gang terrorised Mombasa Road users with vicious carjackings for several months until they were horribly gunned down. Those who saw his body say he was like a sieve due to the many bullets he received.

Why did these boys turn to crime? They were driven by a greed for power and money for drinking and women. I have never seen a robber better his life and retire. Why did we not report them to the cops? We had desire to live, perhaps? When they are armed and have killed, then they are not your boys anymore plus Kenya has no witness protection so you snitch, someone is arrested and in a day they are out and your life is in danger. What do the cops know? Cops and robber have a relationship. Word on the street is that cops take a cut out of the robber’s earnings until the robbers became a nuisance and they have to be gunned down. It is very rare for cops to execute the wrong people. They do know each other. (Rumour has it that cops went to where V grew up and told his mum to start fundraising for his funeral. Less than a month later he was dead). Does the family know they children are robbers? Yes, they are recipients’ of the ill gotten wealth and they turn a blind eye. Where are guns gotten? In the street getting a gun is as easy as ABC and there are even rent a gun for a job syndicates for the robbers starting out before they can afford to buy their own guns.

Executions happen almost weekly but they rarely make the press. However the jury is still out as to whether the executions reduce crime or even act as a deterrent to aspiring robbers. There is a fatalism that hopelessness breeds plus the robbers live very flashy lives and have beautiful women around them and they are the role models for children growing up in the hood. Ten years ago, robbers were at least twenty and above. Now there are stories of kids as young as fourteen packing guns and that is scary since these kids are ‘damu moto’ and will not hesitate to use the guns at slightest provocation.

That is the unfortunate reality on the ground and it leads to the following uncomfortable questions: If you carry a gun as a robber should you be considered to have signed your death sentence? Should cops have carte blanche to execute armed robbers? Are there killings which are for the greater good of peace in the society?

This is not an easy dilemma and I have no easy answers.

For starters, methinks to solve it will require for Kenya to sort out its judicial system and re-instil confidence in it, it will also require the widening economic inequality to be addressed and it will also require a re-look at the plight of the boy child.

Quite an uphill battle and for now all we can do is say a prayer for safety.

PS: Disclaimer for legal purposes: the characters mentioned therein are entirely fictional and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


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