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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Shailja Patel: "When a man invades a woman´s body space without her invitation... he violates her sovereignty of person. He evicts her from her own body"

Shailja Patel returned to Kenya a few weeks ago, she told me mainly to take a much needed break. She is a renown poet and follows the issues of her activism with verve. She is committed. She is resilient.

She has been there for many in need. Even if she were not all these things....and nobody knew her...what she states below hurts tremendously. That she was sexually assaulted by one we know and love also as a poet is incredible but here is her statement. 

One big concern in the world is how a woman is seen to be and understood in society. There has been a trend of slaying sure voices in Kenya. Yes, there are many voices of men saying that women want to much but what has been before that? Total deprivation of justice in innumerable cases. Customs and cultures condone so much injustice for women.

We speak about these things and write about them. We run to places where a victim cries out long before she becomes a survivor we must also hasten here even if it hurts. It appears clear to me that silence also in these spaces where I normally call for justice is not an answer. May this shed a new light on facing issues of the body in Kenya. 

Commission of, attempts and indeed if we could we would put in intentions, desires must be condemned to the highest degree possible. Women have much to tell in this regard.

"When a man invades a woman's body space without her invitation, touches, grabs and gropes her without her consent, he violates her sovereignty of person. He evicts her from her own body. Our bodies are our first homes. If we are not safe in our bodies, we are always homeless!" Shailja Patel

Date: Thursday September 25

Contact: Ann Njogu, Chair, CREAW, Centre for Rights, Education and Awareness for Women
Mobile: 0722 768 381

On Saturday September 20th, Standard Group journalist Mr. Tony Mochama committed an indecent act upon the person of poet and activist Shailja Patel, at a gathering in the home of Professor Wambui Mwangi in Spring Valley, Nairobi.

Today at 12 noon, Ms. Patel filed a police report at Spring Valley Police Station. She was accompanied by her lawyer Ann Njogu, Chair of CREAW (Centre for Rights, Education and Awareness for Women), High Court Advocate Betty Kaari Murungi, Executive Director of COVAW Joan Nyanyuki, representatives from FIDA, and friends and supporters.

Ms. Patel had previously stated that she would seek restorative community justice rather than engaging the judicial system. Following consultation with civil society colleagues and consideration of all parties involved, she decided to file a police report for the following reasons.

1) To facilitate the need for corroboration, substantiation, triangulation.

2) To support decades of work by Kenya's women's movement to improve reporting procedures for SGBV survivors.

3) To move forward policy and practice on on sexual violence in public life on the basis of evidence. 

4) "The women's movement has fought hard and long for sexual violence to be treated like the crime that it is.  We must uphold that struggle by being as rigorous as possible when we make our claims and the demands thereof." - Muthoni Wanyeki

Ms. Patel said: 

"Each time a man sexually harasses or assaults a woman with no consequences, he is emboldened to repeat and escalate that behaviour. It becomes a pattern. Sexual predators are not born; they are the product of patriarchies and rape cultures that teach men they are entitled to the bodies of all women. 

"When a man invades a woman's body space without her invitation, touches, grabs and gropes her without her consent, he violates her sovereignty of person. He evicts her from her own body. Our bodies are our first homes. If we are not safe in our bodies, we are always homeless.

"Let us stand with all victims and survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Let us create a society where sexual violence is unknown."
- - -
Shailja Patel

Katya Min at The Lecture Bureau

Friday, July 11, 2014

Kenya at the brink: Could the killings in Lamu & Msa turn into the hot rod that breaks the nation's back? Will you cry genocide after?

In Moi years, 1978 - 2002, and specifically in 1990, Paul Muite, a lawyer and formerly an elected politician used to say that one day, if Kenya continued to brook dictatorship, she would become like Somalia. The people said that was too far fetched. They laughed. That was then. Tonight we cry.

Today many agree that the current government is like Moi's and are not surprised it does not bend its ear easily to those who are not wearing electoral platform shoes and that is a choice Jubilee has made.

Its supporters cheer them on saying that this is right and fitting because they won the presidency (seen as one tribe) by a slim margin against those who wish to dialogue with them now (read the other tribes). But the dialogue issues for most Kenyans and not just the memorandum writing ones include a serious list of loss of life. 

Here we cannot jeer and cheer, but some of us are losing our souls and openly rejoicing in social media at the extinction of our 'enemies'. This hatred may not make faces bleed on Facebook but it stinks of the horrible ugly possibilities of humans against humans.

The deaths of over 70 people in Mpeketoni, Kenya, Lamu County have not been resolved. The president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta said - despite Shabaab owning up for the attack- this was the work of his political opponents, sadly you have to read here, the other tribes. But Shabaab do not claim terror where they are not involved. We are jolly well stoking our own fires.

In 2013 as Kenya voted the country was clearly ethnically divided, now we are hacked in deaths and burials and aspirations. Police are mentioned in the same breath as militia groups. 

Even our fear of the country breaking down does not seem to galvanize us into a national force for we cannot identify, due to the way we have carried out our politics, anything with a semblance to a common enemy. We feed and are our own enemy. We have shown Shabaab a way in via corruption and naive divisions. Lacked leadership in holding the nation as one. 

But was there really a chance for that after 2007 if those who went into power were already seen to have taken sides with their own, used tribal appeal to do whatever they did for the sake of power? Have we been naive? Did we fail the test of values and integrity so badly? Voices of wisdom were heard as those of condemnation.

Whoever said we needed anyone but elected people? The rest have no right to speak to power. Not that anyone has no flaws. Raila Odinga has them of course. He was not elected, we said and he accepted that. But he continues to have, like all of us, despite the existence of a senate and parliament, an eye, a voice and a keen following.  Those in power like to remind him he has none of these things. Kenya needs external help to recognize herself. 

None of this is new. We have been here before. We shed blood. Not even our own Nobel Peace Laureate could be heard for everyone who spoke was told they were speaking for a tribe So we are diagnosed already as people highly challenged by a common human ailment, the inability to hear themselves or see themeslves in their neighbors.

Killings in Kenya have not abated and more attacks have taken place in Pandanguo, also in the area. But these are the visible. Witnesses to the ICC and other people disappeared silently. Because of the visible massacres of Mpeketoni, arrests of politicians have been made, but police in the area are still under attack from someone and the civilians live in terrible fear. 

Just recently a study on the analysis of militia groups in Kenya was released by Mutahi Ngunyi and Dr. Katumanga in a well documented research. There are militia groups stalking Kenya as we tell each other - and government bids us-  keep quiet and not cover events in the media shortsightedly believing that our own criticism is a greater cause of crime than the reality of criminals, corrupt police and organised militias? Here

One would have thought this should have been connected with what the international media said it feared in March 2013 election time. All these gangs have not grown organically just in the last few months. 

It is said they were involved even in killings in 2007. The forme head of Mungiki Maina Njenga had an attempt on his life in May this year and he linked it to his possible or imagined role in the International Criminal Court. He said only an angel of God saved him from death. He got some consolation from Raila Odinga and the CORD team who are calling for dialogue. 

Yes Fr. Dolan spoke at a Christian burial but tonight it is our duty to ask why so many people of Muslim faith, their leaders and business men are dying in the name of terror. This priest who also writes said that his heart is heavy with burials day after day.

Many things are amiss and if we must go through this then let us at least know what reasons we can cite. 

We mourn to no end the shooting of Shahid Butt, business man and owner of Coast Modern Bus company. His death will shake Mombasa. Judging from the many concerns online tonight, his shooting is another reason to ask if the area will stabilise soon.

He had been accused of being a terrorist and we are non-violent, completely against terror, not confessing the same faiths but Kenyans in pain. Many people have been calling for reason and dialogue because of the high level of insecurity in Kenya. 

Leaders of different backgrounds but outstanding among them Raila Odinga have been saying repeatedly that the country cannot continue as it is. Media personalities have also expressed the down spiralling of Kenya's governance. I listened to a caller to a TV talk Show shakingly say she smelt genocide. This word and Rwanda as well as tribalism have never been so repeated in Kenya's history. 

And we ask, if you can see our government has lost reason and is not humbling itself to find out what is happening to the people of Kenya, are you waiting until we can cover a genocide in the media?

The international media expected bloodshed during the elections of 2013, some of them even found groups of people in training. Al Jezeera told us as much. Why will they not bring out such information early enough if it was hidden away for a clean election? I am now convinced that their fears were not baseless and that they could still connect the dots and save us from further bloodshed.

Today a Kenyan vessel has been seized 65 kilometers from Mogadishu and aboard it some Kenyans. The news of the shooting of Sahid Butt filtered in as Kenyans were listening to the news on the above.

There are questions. He is not the first prominent businessman to die in Mombasa Kenya recently. Senior Muslim clerics have also been killed. Someone dies monthly. No explanations are given.
 If he was supporting Shabaab, has Shabaab shot him dead? 

Since the president has said the killings at Lamu and this extends to Mombasa are not carried out by Shabaab but by Opposition politicians does this mean that rivalry in both business and power has hit a pitch that shows the country does not matter any more? Since the Mombasa Republican Council have been unhappy and would not like to be part of Kenya, what does all this imply?

Shabaab owned up for killings in Mombasa and said they were doing this because Muslims are being ill treated by the Kenyan government. If that is so, where do these killings of the prominent leave the poor and less protected? Can they sleep tonight or tomorrow night? There is runaway insecurity. Some describe Lamu as a war torn zone. 

Even those who defend the government vehemently have today dissented quite clearly with the President who posted on his FB page earlier his dinner in Kakamega with Muslims for IFTAR. The people asked him to sort out Lamu first before dining with the Muslims during their dinner of the fast time of Ramadhan. But that was done and photos are splashed in social media.

What is important is to know Kenyans are hard put to understand or to see the end of this insecurity and settle to work and rest. What if, God forbid, something more should happen? There is far too much rhetoric and demonizing of opponents for peace to prevail. We have to remember that killings, accidents can trigger genocides and civil wars. it is not consolation to remember how that happened in Rwanda and to witness what is going on in Palestine and Israel today.

I can only compare the mood in Kenya now to that before the violence of 2007. As early as June 2007 before Kenya experienced post election violence at the end of that year, the people were already disturbed. Some kept on saying all would be well until they saw fire.

 A nation haunted by many issues of injustice shakes. A nation seeking answers of many who have died in caused deaths that were never explained takes steps backwards often. And many will say that this is just a nation in transition and everything is normal.

I beg to differ. Kenya is badly shaken. The Jubilee government may be trying to do what it promised to do after its election but that is visible mainly to its voters and to those who keep insisting that all is well. There is a long list of disturbing issues. All of them are seeking for answers.

If all these challenges were to a government that has full moral authority perhaps one could continue just insisting that nothing is wrong and like Mollie in Animal Farm just working head down. But Uhuru Kenyatta's government has been weak from its foundation because it's two main people, he and his deputy have been cited for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. 

Their election in the circumstances was met with great euphoria at home by a vote that was mainly aligned ethnically, and referred to one analyst as the tyranny of numbers. It was a vote in defence of their own people and a vote for the same people's protection, a vote that will most likely always be stalked by fear. 

Has someone learned or have some groups including Shabaab learnt just how weak we are when our fault lines are magnified like the Rift Valley? If so what can we do without dialogue? How will the letter of the law help us if we refuse to listen to the panting breath of the others? Are we already divided at every level possible? And if we are, which seems the case, is the world out there so divided that we cannot hear their voices? 

Were they so cheated at African Union and at the UN that the only security that mattered was that of the president of Kenya and his immunity to the ICC because he was going to protect us from terror. 

With all that has happened to the Somalis of Kenya, the invasion of Somalia by Kenya on her own and later he joining of AMISOM to attack Shabaab in Somalia, the rounding up of Somalis sending them away from Nairobi, to Mogadishu  show reasons for terror seem to be increasing daily, not decreasing. That is what the only militia group that speaks back and to which we do not listen - Shabaab, is saying. That we do not care for Muslims.  

I know they have to find reasons to attack but we could be found standing cleaner and more focused if they have no reasons to trade with us or people to point such as the killed clerics and businessmen. But of course, we are a nation and we have to show everyone that we do not back down! We kill. 

Not that wildlife is spared either. Ivory poaching is running wild. Shabaab is said to be involved too. Cheap sugar is imported and dumped into the Kenyan market, Shabaab is involved too. the National Intelligence Service says it has no idea who does that. 

Everyone needs help in times of crisis, Kenya is in a crisis. Said in a childlike way, you come to see the elephants and wildlife, send word now to us. Send us healing. Don't send elders such as Desmond Tutu when it is too late for words! And certainly for tears.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Kenya, Signs of Contradiction 2, No dialogue and 'The elephant will reach the top of the house!"

Photo of Satao, the biggest elephant in the world. Courtesy of Richard Moller in Tasvo.
It has been tough in Kenya. What is going to unite us? Our origins in terms of tongues misguide us or are blamed, therefore we re-invent ethnicism - as my friend likes calling it - to no end. 
The elephant will reach the top of the house is a proverb apparently from Cameroon. I like to think that we must make way for others and let all reach where they want to go. Nature included.

Religion -ties that bind- has been used to divide us further. Class wars are big and the winners seem to be the rich all the time. Children are dismayed and have learned to fear. 

Famine in the North has not taught us to prepare for it as it comes every five years. Who can stand the images of the hunger broken ribs we see in the media when we are allowed to? Yet we pray in national breakfasts which are quite hefty every year. 

Social Media is playing a dynamic role and sometimes I would rather the anger is expressed there, than machetes in homes, but again even in such a space, we cannot find a cool library to share our thoughts or have some fun. Life continues to be more of strife whilst striving to breath fresher air. 

One would think our animals could tell us better stories as they did in traditional times but not even that. The level of poaching in Kenya, especially of the elephant is out of hand. 

In the first instant I am not forgetting the deaths of Kenya's wisest and same track using elephant. This means this elephant, 46, guided scientists to resolve the human-wildlife conflict on use of space.

This is not a blessing to a nation that has lost so much wildlife, not a good omen to the world. Not especially when poaching is also being linked to terror actions in the Kenya by Shabaab.

For one thing is clear, nobody can manage to poach animals in Kenya without a string of connections that help one get away with the tusks or other things such as monkey skins. 

An old man once boasted about his exploits from Zaire many years ago. He travelled there for monkey skins. The weak link which everybody knows in Kenya is the police that can be bribed. There are enough roadblocks but those do not stop trafficking of such goods, humans or road accidents.

We have lost many elephants. We are losing ourselves. The din in the nation is at the rooftops. The people are still torn along ethnic and class divisions, political and the Catholic church has joined in by deciding to ask those who are requesting dialogue with Kenyatta to keep quiet and let him rule the nation peacefully. 

On June 14th another elephant was killed. Satao was mourned by all. Sleep was lost by many. Paula Kahumbu wrote. 

There is a Proverb that goes "An elephant is never unable to carry its own tusks". I wish our politicians would play their roles as mandated.

We all know elephants have a lasting memory. I wish we could get some of it. All these things connect. I think we shall be trying to lie if we whisper that this situation is apolitical. For we know that many more elephants died on the eve of the Kenyan elections. Someone knows how to turn ivory into money fast. 

Kenyan poet Stephen Derwent Partington and many are mourning in hunger for justice and yes, compassion and anger. And we keep singing for the elephants and for this nation and the world. Here is Stephen's poem for Satao and for P. Kahumbu who lost her sleep along with many others when Satao died. 

For‘Satao, 2014’ For Paula Kahumbu 

Cowards, let us sing in dead Elmolo
how the elephants have died.
We thank the cavemen, that they drew them,
that zoologists described them,
for the photos of them herding
which the tourists left behind,
for who would ever, fools, believe us?
Teeth from heaven to the ground!?

I stretch my arm out like a trunk
to palm the graveyard of its cranium;
it’s how, I hear, they mourned.
The brain within worked tools and language.
I have none: a useless pen
(it’s only good for drafting elegies)
and even then, no words.

We once had tuskers. Tell the birds!

How do you sift all this from politics?

Two big political voices in the country approach things in the way of two that fight. Yet I believe that the more powerful one is the more important ears are. In this noise, space is created for poachers, but not only poachers, also terrorists. Kenyans are losing. The saying is that "When two elephants fight, the grass suffers". But we do not even have two elephants we loved and they never fought, but they died. 

The grass was suffering before and after. Are our stories going to succeed in keeping us safe from bloodshed? If you follow Kenya, this has been on the rise and the last is events have been at Mpeketoni Lamu where over 60 people were gunned down in cold blood. 

The perpetrators of this crime have not yet been identified. There has been a sad blame game based on previous disagreements. We are forced to wait to see the end of this. It may not be peaceful.

Many people are mixed up of late. Some of them say that if we only stopped speaking politics things would be cooler but I do not know anybody who can balance nature and this nation the way Satao did. 

There are not two big elephants fighting. No-one is bigger than a country we might say. n the spirit of the Kenyan Constitution every person elected to power is supposed to work with regard for the needs of the nation and to show interest in listening to what others say. 

Lest someone says I am inventing because I did not think that the call to dialogue from Raila Odinga would lead to the tug-of-war.

Chapter 6 on Integrity Chapter 73 binds all public officers.

73. (1) Authority assigned to a State officer—
(a) is a public trust to be exercised in a manner that—
(i) is consistent with the purposes and objects of this Constitution;
(ii) demonstrates respect for the people;
(iii) brings honour to the nation and dignity to the office; and
(iv) promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office; and
(b) vests in the State officer the responsibility to serve the people, rather than the power to rule them.
(2) The guiding principles of leadership and integrity include—
(a) selection on the basis of personal integrity, competence and suitability, or election in free and fair elections;
(b) objectivity and impartiality in decision making, and in ensuring that decisions are not influenced by nepotism, favouritism, other improper motives or corrupt practices;
(c) selfless service based solely on the public interest, demonstrated by—
(i) honesty in the execution of public duties; and
(ii) the declaration of any personal interest that may conflict with public duties;
(d) accountability to the public for decisions and actions; and
(e) discipline and commitment in service to the people.

Kenya aimed high. This is a land that says it cannot stand violence of such things as rallies and dialogues as Raila Odinga and his team called are calling for.  He has been told that he is wrong and does not belong. You see just now the president has reminded him that he should wait for the election contest of 2017. The country is calm and peaceful and he is confused, they say. So mixed up that he ferries people around the country to listen to him in huge rallies. Rally is dead. 

Kenya loves peace and what you saw in 2007, if you noticed was not violence, just love for justice. In the meantime a newspaper The Star reports that machetes are selling pretty well and the reporter is wary of the fact that this happened also in 2007 before the onset of post poll violence.

Some people who are active commentators on Social Media, usually helping a healthy discussion keep going are weary. Long before them some Kenyans began to post that it is better to write about God and such things and to avoid politics. They were tired of the rhetoric they said. Grant them their choice.

 But then what is so deadly in Kenya? When is making some noise the only thing one can do? It is when things are happening so fast and the rim of reason seems to have cracked and fallen into a hot volcano. Such are the times we have built up since for three months. About other statistics you may want that are or seem to be more balanced and to your taste you can find in all government books and in many other sites. He is my story from my viscera. 

Irony in safety

Kenya wants to sell itself as a safe country, developing rapidly especially by selling Euro bonds. The economy is safe. There is no need for travel advisories, in fact many Kenyans are suggesting to Britain and America to issue those to their own unsafe countries where gun men often snip lives of kids in schools and all those other horrors.

If you asked a little more you would hear that the warning should be against the European and other developed countries not because of such things as the Lampedusa happenings where often many Africans die in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe but because in Europe there gay people are not listed for death every now and then.

Europe should be written off for its failed morals and poor ways with regard to religion. 

As for Kenya, the resources in the country including the finding of oil in formally neglected parts of the country such as Turkana in the North and Lamu at the coast is just the icing on the cake on the future of a country whose golden dawn was on the 4th of March 2013 when Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto got the mandate from the people both through the vote and to clear the air also from the High Court. 

There are people for whom absolutely nothing is wrong with Kenya. Only on May 31st they say did some nuisance begin because of one man who returned from abroad with an agenda to introduce an old man called Dialogue whom he said had died.

The elected politicians he wanted to speak to,  in the main the president and his deputy keep on telling him that the old man is not dead. About the elephants there is no argument because even poets have sang.

What they want to hear is that all is well and there is no need for this thing called revival and revival rallies for the rising of this old man called Dialogue who now also reveals that he has a wife who also died called Rally. He has met thousands of people in many rallies to call out the name Rally to see if she lives. 

Bishops of the Catholic Church who profess a lot of faith in ecumenical dialogue, life and life after are not in favor of such a dialogue. Ecumenism is only good for the church. It is a sacred word. In politics people should listen, they seem to say, to one person because this is Kenya. They stand has often been questioned.

Only one Fr. Ambrose Tonui Kimutai has told them that he will stick out for Old Mr Dialogue as part of the Decalogue. He says they are acting out of turn because as it is, the Bishops are not meant to take sides on this. Many answer him to congratulate but others say that he should know he has bosses. Still more divisions. 

The Swiss ambassador to Kenya, Jacques Pitteloud and one of the authors of a recently launched book Wings of Kenya, the subject being birds of Kenya,  has done what I never see happening in Europe or anywhere else. He has taken sides too. He contradicts himself between this and this or despite the dangers that are real and explosive, anybody who has followed the onset of the call for dialogue knows that it has been exacerbated by the deaf ear that has been given by those in power today. 
Kenyans have not failed to let him note that money is stashed in Swiss banks often from all the wrong investors. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

'Fast 2014, Kenya On Trial and the buck stops with Uhuru Kenyatta who must listen

'Fast 2014, Kenya On Trial

Accepted: "A leader does not listen to rumors" Ghana

Questioned:  "If a leader limps all the others limp" 

This is written as a response to so much that Kenyans are sharing on Facebook. It is part of a series that was sparked by a the National Sumptuous Breakfast Prayer Meeting, 2014 at a time when one felt that a fast was better off in Kenya. Therefore the 'Fast 2014. Two proverbs are quoted.

If a leader is limping do I have to limp? Must I limp? Never. If a politician, let us call them their real name as leaders are too sacred and few, should I limp? Never!  Things have changed. 

These are not the days that Tabu Ley with others, danced with a limp to imitate and please dictator Mobotu Sese Seko of Zaire. Some people are still fostering this limping mentality. The family must vote for them, the clan, the mbari and so on. No room for dissent. In Kenya, electing and siding with the  president born in one's home areas is taken for granted. 

People are shocked when one who lives near power refuses a job offer or speaks freely and yet...times changed. These are not the days of inventing a limp to fit into power, it is power that should limp like us after they have shot at us, killed and raped the women, taken babies out of wombs. 

Remember Kenya in 1997. Pregnant women were shot in case they gave birth to a baby boy. Nothing is new but we want to treat it like it is new. Even then, it was still power perpetuating itself in an evil way. We cannot keep on inviting the same nightmares. We have to find reason. Having to look up to the elders and those elected, usually men is an old trick to keep people from asking basic life questions. 

I am not going to be afraid of insight. I am not going to be afraid of finding out what drives us to where we are. A place where reason grows so thin. I know some are afraid of words, poetry. I am not going to be afraid of my pen or mouth. I will use them wisely, like the vote. Memory. I will remember. Elephants have died. The best we have. Our Kenyan national memory is vital. Some only want to pray.

They told me to pray that four men speak. They told me to pray harder. I told them i do not have to say what I do before God but to human beings I owe human language which we share beyond ethnicity. I shall not limp.

When Kenyans in 2007 killed others inside a church, threw them back into a raging fire, children and mothers, men, both the killers and the killed had known about prayer before. Churches had been silent as if already burned to ashes before. Their leaders limped, the people followed. They killed. Yes, pray. But know that reason and action wait and plain language which tells us where we are. Sing all the songs you know. Write all the poems. The Bible and the Koran are full of them too. Speak out. Spit out why we are not able to follow even traditional wisdom.

Critical thinking is a must. Expression too. These go together and the other person's point of view need not kill mine, much less make me lift up a weapon of destruction. Freedom of Expression is normally the first target of a leadership that will not work well. It shows disdain for the other when you do not allow expression. This is one thing I have sworn to defend. It is actually part of the right to living which follows the right to life. For if you have no words with which to borrow water to drink in the desert you will not live for long. 

Things as I see them. Look the coming of A New Constitution 2010, A Parliament, A Senate, new laws, more women meant the invitation to more people DIALOGUE. It could never have meant that if a president wins an election these things do not count. That they do not come to being. That human beings lose their tongues and their holy nature of humans, speaking out, not following like mute mules. Even donkeys speak to time and shake their burdens. Now many a times, issues in Kenya have been so hard for us that we are the ones who shoulder this burden.

 I have to be clear and say that Uhuru Kenyatta has not understood the spirit of our Constitution 2010. That he has acted out of order many times. And now, the nation is asking him to listen. He instead is listening only to Raila Odinga's voice. 

But Kenyans started to complain about insecurity and many other ills and to state that Uhuru and his Jubilee team were not performing for the good of the nation. That election pledges were just that. It is not Raila Odinga's fault. He has a following. He accepted defeat but was still doing his homework of finding out what happened to his votes. Recently, his party intimated that they had found out what happened, but they did not release that report. 

He went on a two month visit to the U.S.A and in his absence it seems, and his untoward treatment by the ambassador of Kenya in the U.S.A, Jean Kamau, his image morphed once again into the one who can make demands on Uhuru's government even if he is not in Parliament or in the Senate.

It appears that Uhuru is still at the competitive stage of the politics of the legitimacy of his election. Perhaps the ICC, the fact that he and his Deputy Ruto have to answer for several counts of accusations of crimes against humanity takes all the energy off the attention of how to lead Kenya.

Most people have in a sense gone beyond -even his own die hard supporters except those who are willing to limp along and that includes elders of his ethnic group who see Kenya as Kenyatta - the realisation that he must show results to one Kenya.  Uhuru Kenyatta should have known that by now. Should have known that Raila represents a big voice and is worth listening to for the cohesion of the nation. There are far too many issues bedeviling Kenya for Uhuru and others to act as if Kenya is their home affair. 

What was the need for instance of showing that it costs too much for Uhuru to show deference to another seasoned politician? Is power going to crumble if one eats humble pie? Gestures are important. And we go to the simple negative early signals. The ostentation of power. The public show of this is ours, once we are elected, not yours any more, once you lose. Almost back to kindergarten issues. Raila Odinga yes can be reminded he is an ordinary citizen in many ways but humiliation is not one of the ways.

If Uhuru had met Raila Odinga upon his return from the U.S.A in May 31 2014, for after all, the Kenyan embassy there had shunned him, the high political fever we have now in Kenya would be more constructive. 

And earlier? If Uhuru had insisted that Raila be accorded due respect and yes, accepted that he is a seasoned politician worth meeting at an airport instead of immediately allowing his new regime to taunt him at Kenyan airports the gesture would have been read positively. 

But did he do that, allow him to be taunted? Yes, because he should have put things in order by showing that he was not going to tolerate this kind of thing so soon after the elections. 

Is this important? Such small things? Yes because Kibaki's regime had played the same tricks and this reads not a game between politicians like Berlusconi 'playing cuckoo' with Bill Clinton and Putin in corridors of G8 meetings but as an insult to all Raila's supporters who judging by the close call of the result of the election and the many times Raila led in opinion polls are not only from his ethnic group but from the Kenyan nation.Things began to break into non-dialogue a long time ago. 

Substantially because of the affront on Freedom of Expression, worries even on bloggers, free expression on ICC and other matters, not long after March 2013, people began to point out that old was creeping back and that Moi seemed not to be so far away from us after all. 

Appointments made by Uhuru leant on one one side of the divide, at it is being called now on Fb, the Great Tribal Divide... reminds of the Great Rift Valley. It is no longer a divide we must not pretend does not exist. The ethnic one. Gender too was not being taken into account often times. The Constitution was clearly not sacred after all. 

Now if I was disappointed to see Kibaki inviting his friends first and fast to State House in 2003, making at once an ethnic kitchen cabinet, how much more in a man of the uhuru generation. There was no space being created for new imaginings. Even if we have to live with reality good leadership creates space to breathe and dream of happy possibilities, opportunities for everyone.

 The  opposite left many with space only for old narratives. These kind of actions and the reaction of fear and intimidation to the suppression of Freedom of Expression left little positive for us to savor. Polygamy would be reinforced by Uhuru's signature later. Defeat was felt. This is an important issue. It was even seen as betrayal by some, thus adding to a sense of despondency. No new dynamics were operating. Corruption and the poaching of wildlife, insecurity were on the rise. Much of what was left for our focus was that history, that Uhuru Kenyatta was and is Moi's project and there is much history and story there.

 It does not matter that some who elected Uhuru were still in a cloud of worship, hero worship, the rest said what they felt. Remember Uhuru Kenyatta's roadside announcements on secondary school charges on roads reminiscent of Moi. These were already criticized also in Central Province. Something was stillborn even if Uhuru and Ruto seemed to surge forward energetically many were going back to a place we left.

Such stories such as the rulership of Kenya would never go past River Chania which could have been dead and buried resurrected in all fervor. It was his father who said that. Uhuru Kenyatta was not moving from this kind of background. He became Jomo in leadership. And of course, in the peoples' eyes, Raila Odinga was becoming his father, who was not Jomo Kenyatta's friend in power, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. He who 'allowed' Jomo Kenyatta to become Kenya's first Prime Minister in a way. We wanted to move away from this kind of political contest between giants but the leaders seem to gain more from it.

The Kikuyu Luo dichotomy was facing the nation again, the election had not made it good but now we were refining and defining ourselves ethnically even more clearly. Uhuru Kenyatta could have acted to heal this divide, in many many ways. It takes only a little imagination. Even if he would not have succeeded we would have now different facts to put on the table. We do not. 

In the meantime, the ICC was complaining about complete witness intimidation and tampering. Maina Kiai spoke out about threats. This was already clear before. This kind of ruler means much fear for Kikuyu who would speak out. The fact that others did not surface does not mean they do not exist.

Those in Central Province who had in the first place not voted Uhuru Kenyatta were seen as betrayers. People who speak out even worse. There were numbers and tags and some people were eliminated. If you  mentioned the ICC you became an enemy with one stroke. 

Now in June 2014, beginning and insisting on that speaking out is inciting people is to take many for fools. There has been so much going on that was worse and most inciting. Not 'insighting'! This means we were already having a censored and scary dialogue. In a way the people do not need permission from anyone to have a dialogue. When they ask for it, it is Uhuru Kenyatta's exclusion of his hearing in it that they are pointing out. They are already having it. Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed his kind of dialogue was still going on, no one had stopped it. 

He said that it is only Raila Odinga who had refused to join in. But before Raila came back in full gear and expressed his hopes and fears to the many Kenyans who turned out to meet him at  Uhuru Park. Nobody bayed for blood. There was peace at Uhuru Park, so much so that the festivity of Madaraka Day on June 1 at Nyayo  Stadium reflected on Uhuru Park only in the off-the-cuff remarks. This is one problem for me. 

That another politician who no matter what else he has done wrong and whose history borders on that of Independent Kenya's tussle with inequality in representation is treated so casually by Uhuru Kenyatta. He has to show that he understands the history and the feelings the British and his father witnessed and created between ethnic groups. And more... but I remember well that the Uhuru Kenyatta did not talk to Raila Odinga who was not present. He said:

Minute 24:57 of this video clip.

"Na mimi sina shaka kufaulu tutafaulu. Nikimalizia na sikua nataka kusema haya lakini wacha tu niseme... eeeh, ehmm, kuna wakenya ambao walikua wakisema.. na.. nikafurahia... kidogo...

"I have no doubt that succeed we must. While winding up, and I did not want to say this but let me say There are some Kenyans who were saying yesterday...." 

One would be happier with the tone he uses with business people than with the one he used in the  last part of his address to the nation on Madaraka Day.

His first business partners are the people of Kenya, not a class. And of course, not telling people which are the matters they should speak about because Uhuru Kenyatta has to listen more than he thinks. 

Uhuru Kenyatta is constantly defining the content of the dialogue the people want. He is not listening. This taunting tone is unacceptable. Even so with the business class, the chips came down. Minute 3.21 is not what one expects from a national leader of a torn nation and I will not limp after it but it sounds like limping..."IEBC did what they ... DID.. You went to COURT..."
Some people are saying..." 

This is so dismissive, cursory and actually in the circumstances insulting. Some people thought it was so positive and open armed embrace. One only needs to read and to know the mood and take on some serious matters in history. 

Make what you will of that yourself. But the president of Kenya must not treat peoples' needs as rumors. The president is still saying that it is not Shabaab that attacked Mpeketoni but Raila Odinga and his supporters. The Intelligence had issued a warning before but it was ignored. 

Kenyans are faced with the most awkward of situations, tragic. Who is playing who and for what reason? It is not to be forgotten that some feel all terror actions are to be used as a shield against answering to the ICC or presenting himself to the Hague for a probe on crimes against humanity. But we are here at the crossroads now and people have died.

We still have to ask, seeing the state of the nation now, the fears Kenyans have felt when Mpeketoni was attacked, The Somalis of Kenya and of Somalia who have been victims, the deaths in Bungoma not so long ago, the many attacks on Kenyans and the non-stop constant insecurity that makes sleep impossible for many, many a nights.

We are divided into the class of those who can sleep well and those who sleep waking in death. We have to ask ourselves ourselves not what went wrong, we know it. We have to ask ourselves what to do.  People are taking positions to go into violence. We have to ask ourselves what to do because this is not the answer, so obviously not. 

Well, maybe looking at our past which stares into our eyes again as a present we still need to go back further. There is a grandstanding as if a winner- take-all dialogue is all what the General Election of 2013 gave us in Kenya. Winning then with the slim margins and all, Supreme Courts and all that you know, cases and a lot of apprehension should have led one to do things in a conciliatory manner, to remember that even if elected, these leaders and Kenya with them were walking a very tight rope. Instead we heard speeches that sounded like we have just discovered the meaning of dictatorship.

 Winner-take-all was part of the old constitution and does not only apply to votes. We needed to have a president who spoke like he knew his power is limited. This was not so. If we revisit some of our election promises we read more on our toying with justice and the rule of law.

Uhuru Kenyatta dropped his Skype beseeching methods. He had promised to present himself for justice before the International Criminal Court. But instead we spent more tax payers money and galavanted as Kalonzo Musyoka had done before for Kibaki to all lands to ask them to help us run away from trial as we had no time. I must say Ruto presented himself dutifully even as the Rift Valley began to warn him that he was getting used. Our tearing apart began long ago. They stood together, Ruto and Uhuru but the people were expressing other fears. Fear that Ruto would be left standing guilty at the ICC.

Uhuru Kenyatta remarkably became the one who holds us in peace in East Africa. That meant that it was best for him to be with us all the time and not travel to the ICC because if he was away from home we would be attacked by terrorists. 

Westgate happened all the same and it was not Raila Odinga who did that was it now? And at this point we could not write everything but there was a pertinent question on my mind. If you become all in East Africa and are protected even from trials or mention of them in our villages because someone will die, people will die. When you become the one the West must have at home are you not pointing a target for Shabaab to hit? Silence on that one.

At this moment, Raila Odinga is blamed for Mpeketoni. And when I take another look, I will talk about my experience with Raila Odinga being sculpted into the the one we must fear. Being demonized. The ambassador of Kenya to the USA the other day ignored his presence in the U.S.A. 

Then came to the call#BabawhileYouwereAway. They focused on Raila to listen to all their woes. They said we paid billions for Anglo Leasing under Uhuru Kenyatta... These are matters we must dialogue about. 

Uhuru Kenyatta needs to listen. We are not stopping ourselves at the verge of the breakdown of a country we love. We have to... it is a duty of conscience on all of us. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

President Kenyatta of Kenyatta and the politics of polygyny, polygamy and polyandry?

                          In the morning I learned about polygyny from an anthropologist whom I call anthropo because of his funny ways of teaching. Polygyny allows a man to marry more than one wife. I learned too that in countries where more than one wife is permitted, polyandry where a woman can marry more than one husband has been run out of the gates! 
Wikipedia map of Polygamy and legality. Black represents the color of countries where
polygamy is legal

Nothing that encourages polygamy could be further in the way of a of Kenya of independent thinking. What the step forward in dealing with Kenyan polygamy of late was that if a man wanted to take another wife and they were of course married under one of the many accepted marriage forms in the law of Kenya that accepts polygyny that man had to have the permission of his first wife. 

Yes, the voice of woman was going to count on if another woman can come in. The last time my grandmother's opinion was sought on that, her answer was a terrific "Nooh!" and she was a single survivor of polygamy in a union of three. She counted the pains that the children she knew would experience and the issue died there and then. 

Only two of my neighbours in rural Kenya were polygamous families. In all my school life such families were in the minority in different regions. Something odd here. Kenya now presents itself as country of over 76% Christian faith confessors. There is a deep question of hypocrisy then? Most of those in Parliament and other positions of power do not have the guts to campaign as atheists. They use the Christian faith as a source of supporters.

There was more consultation in polygamous set ups than we reveal. But this one of the modern woman has been rejected and the President of Kenya in 2014 has signed into law the bill that has taken this step back.

In many places in Kenya, marriage has a way of revealing itself with regard to land and other property rights at the funeral of a man. It is often reported that then a woman whom nobody knew of turns up yelling that this is her man and she produces some mournful children at the same time and if possible gets into the way of the burial stopping it. 
Marriage turns up at funerals often in Kenya
Source BBC News and AFP pic. 

Some do that legally before the day of burial. There was a recent case in which a woman quickly cremated her man before the others turned up and that in a place where polygamy is recognised. 

Clearly much turbulence at the family level shows up at that time. We needed a change, a hand that begins to decrease this unhealthy secrecy and yes, a hand that with its leadership finally rules polygyny out. We are still missing that hand of power.

Everything that affirms more responsible paternity in Kenya should be the focus. This is overlooked. The plural male politicians do not see it as their duty to right society, to take on burdens of the nation. They see it just like the fetching of water in the past, the cleaning and the hard work of making sure the family is well fed as the work of the woman. This cannot be.

It is true that elected women in Kenya must fight really hard to be heard and to make a difference. It can be argued that they are the ones that must because of their salary and voice change Kenya but this is actually the work of all those in power. This is a patriarchal set up and women cannot do by themselves what all the men who are also elected by women voters should be doing for the good of the country. 

In Kenya it is still usually the man who marries a woman. So he can opt for: Civic, traditional, Hindu, Sikh, Christian or Muslim law in marriage. What is chosen bind the two of them in that pact as according to its singular law.  But polygyny which remains as polygamy is retrogressive no matter how one looks at it. It is simply difficult to fend for more than one wife and children. 

In the past, life was organised in a different way and being African as I heard the President emphasise with regard to the media law does not keep us from changing we are just humans. In this age and time I do not hear anyone emphasising on being European, Asian or American... be more and more Australian. I hear more of look out for human values, for what binds us. But that is another topic.

Polygamy and power

When one looks at the world and how it has handled polygamy, there is a clear connection between polygyny and the politics of clans and tribes. Kenyatta Kenyatta who signed polygamy into law in Kenya the other day is writing a dark history indeed. 

Polygamy favors the return to family and tribal cocoons for politics. All wives have to wait for the decision of the man. They are schooled into that from the family to the ballot box. 

Kenya only has to remember its own Naivasha politician and many others who were polygamous and see how things played out. It sounds minor and irreverent even, but just go to the grassroots and find out how this works out.  Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya was a polygamist among many monogamists of his time

They say these clans and cocoons is not the ruin of Somalia but one finds it hard to understand how if people are so bound with blood ties things can go so wrong until one hardly has a country to speak about. Of course close family ties are also an enormous benefit in family business but things can go quite wrong.

Power should have been questioned here. The Legislature in a new system which many in Kenya have not yet mastered, true, had its day. But many pointed out that this law that allows polygamy in Kenya should have been taken back to Parliament if the president had not signed it for further scrutiny.

Kenya is flooded with a patriarchy that needs serious checking. It would not have been possible for women parliamentarians alone to win the fight against polygamy. The way forward is not polygamous.

We know polygamy today is not tenable in many ways. We know where it places the women and the lie that the first woman is the one who invites the second, even today cannot stand up to scrutiny in over 90% of the cases of polygamous practice. In essence that is where the law that was rejected in Kenya in favour of the men not asking for permission to take another wife was going. Now that is history.

Let us learn, there is something disturbing about this map. It is almost the very same map of areas where Female Genital Mutilation is practised in the world. What is it about women and power that we hide in polygamy? 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kenya: Signs of contradiction : Song...A glance at the last three months of 2014

Moipei Quartet

 My Land is Kenya

Save the lions and the elephants too! 

Save the elephants we must but as people say in one Kenyan language, things can also be 'elephant'. It means things can get thick.

And when things are like that there there is no peace and not even my darling Elephants and all wildlife can rest peacefully. 

Who is naive enough to expect poaching to end as long as there is ingrained corruption and appointments are made not on merit but on other considerations such as: political party support and ethnic background? 

A few officers will be arrested, have been arrested reports the BBC before the local media can. Good. There were tweets to this and that led to the pressure. Three are gone. A network remains.

Sorry, Hush My Darling will not work but  Mbube... will... I can relate to the word Kuteta... complain... Listen how the urgency of Africa comes in woman's voice " Aaaaiyaaahiii wi Mbube Mamaaaa! Hiiii! You are a lion Mama! . 
Another version:

Poaching continues to be a main problem for Kenya that relies heavily on Tourism and remains rather indifferent to a diaspora that is closely competing with this sector for generation of revenue in Kenya. 

I was having a chat Sophia Onasisisana who has a ready camera to film The Mara last week. She wants to make the visit of her life but she is afraid of Kenya. 

I was trying to encourage her as her embassy has told her that her trip is not just risky but dangerous. I taught her some survival tricks  one of which is never to forget the music she loves. I do not forget Kenya's music and I know it will generate many positive things. 

I could not deny that theft was higher in Nairobi at the end of last year even if my friend Wairis keeps on reminding me that Nai is not Jo'burg. 

My friend Ona, as I call her asked me what Karibuni Kenya means. I answered her that it means "Welcome to Kenya". She was not done. She asked me,  'What does Umekaribishwa mean?' I answered that it means "You are welcome.. d".  Passive tense.

Let me explain by the way that I had to tell her that as she knows her name means Wisdom, and we have a version of it in Kiswahili, inherited mainly from people often identified with Muslim faith: Sofya or Sofia but also Christian, Sophie. 

I added that her full name  Onasisisana means "view us deeply" in Kiswahili but it also reminded me of Onassis rich family, once so famous. She said to forget the rich part but that on vision if it is included in 'seeing' we could go far. I had to explain the complication of language for vision is maono meaning what is sighted, but still it has to do with eyes. So she is stil with me as Ona, meaning, see.

I bet the Kenyan intelligence will be looking out for her in their files one of these days. She wants to retrace a story she cannot forget. Some Kenyans would say  immediately after hearing that... Utakiona.. You will see it. The story of Julie. Let us call her Julia now. Keep in touch about her trip or trips if she remains bold enough. 

But upon reading this someone has also told me already.. Utaona cha mtema kuni! This means that I will see what the woodcutter saw. The one who cut the branch he was sitting on! I won't add Lol! That is not funny!

We went back to her trip.. nor Safari discussion. She wants to start it with words. I have promised her that she will see lions and elephants, I am not really sure at all. Last time I was in Nairobi National Park in February the wardens run to tell us where to see a lion. But I saw it. One mother and cub. Not at all impressed by the fanfare. 

 Ona already knew another song, Jambo Bwana, and she told what hakuna matata means. She learnt it from the movie Lion King. It means there are no problems or things to fuss about. 

She had a few hiccups...Jambo, Jambo Bwana! Ooops! I had to tell her that she is not a bwana literally man and lord. She wanted an equivalent for woman and I was not too sure of Mama. I hear it abused often enough not Bwana. Bwana is for the people who like polygamy too and for tourists and masterful people of money whether polygamous or not. It is  even for Jesus, but anyway... the song.

The song goes on to praise  Kenya, a country of sunshine. Just like the song Karibuni Kenya...Nairobi is known as the "green city in the sun". This is a very touristy song. The conversations I started recently on solar energy fainted quite fast in the sun.

But Jambo Bwana is on You Tube. You can listen to it on internet from the Safari Band and other singers. We went on to discuss Kibera but before long insecurity in the whole country came up. Kibera is not a national Park, by the way. It a place hard to describe. If you call it a shanty, Kenyans will ask you if you are still in the seventies, if you say a 'slum', some will look at you and say that could be as offensive as the word 'tribe' not even tribalism. 

We tried to go hightech like organizations such as German...GTZ and say Informal Settlements as they called Mathare when they tried to upgrade it in the 1990s onwards and before they gave up. Perhaps they decided to work through other smaller organizations. I will ask the office some day. Upgrading goes steps forward and then several backward. Something about land ownership? House ownership? Someone will tell us in a comment below perhaps.

Ona and I talked about most of the news in the months of January, February and March 2014. It was a trimestral of celebration for some in addition to Kenya@50, it is said that the Jubilee Government achievements are remarkable.

End of year 2013 had come with the celebration of the fact that Kenyans in the diaspora, who were not facilitated to vote unless they were in Uganda, Rwanda or Burundi or Tanzania, are almost earning the country the same revenue as tourism is. Tourism, tea and coffee are Kenyans highest income earners. Hot on the heels of the earnings from the diaspora has come an Equity Bank offer for transfers from Kenyans abroad. 

There an arm of welcome extended to the diaspora now. In the USA, Kenyans have been issued with Identification Cards. This means that they can vote. 

In February 2014 and even now, The Kenyan Constitution 2010, is still described as brand new especially for women issues. The Karibu goes to tourists and women. They are new to everything. 


All that relates to transport is key our growth not only in products but also national optimism and ambition. The stemming of corruption. 

 I introduced Ona to a new song! The Good Old EAR$H. She was delighted.

Oh, good Old EAR and H! While the train would rock and roll swing and sway we would sing along with what they had to say...

 I know this was colonially aligned but no matter, it does point at where we could be. We had fun singing this:

And they said:

Yes we can, yes, we can, yes we can, can, can, can! Oh the good old EAR&H would get me there right on time... 

Kenya has neglected railway travel for too long and the price has been bad roads that are impossible to maintain due to attrition by heavy load vehicles going to the entire region, many car and bus accidents and a retardation of growth for many small businesses. Why would anyone not want this to be put right without any hitches? Why would a contract to build railways become contentious? 

Ona had a point here. She said "Do not worry, your president is the president of the Eastern African region now!"


A contract given to a Chinese company to re-build the Kenya Railways, repair and extend the railway sparked much controversy in Kenya in 2013. Procurement procedures on which many good Kenyans spent hours to refine a few years ago had been breached. 

It was clear that there was no open tendering and the company had been chosen without competition. Completely irregular. Many steps back from where Kenya was going to avoid strange deals that have lead to huge corruption such as Goldenberg and Anglo leasing, words that our children pronounce in some primary schools. 

I was now teaching Ona names that have village renditions. 
Kamlesi Batii for Kamlesh Pattni who was associated with Kodenba... for Goldenberg is one version I know.

But now Kamlesh Pattni is holy. He is Brother Paul for he like Saul came tumbling off the high horse. He returned with humility and founded a church that many gullible Kenyans follow and which used to have airtime on National TV on Sundays. What matters is not the ethic, it is money. 

And if one of the whistleblowers on the above cases had enough money to run a programme on corruption the media house might in time say it has little space as it has so many other church adds. 

Welcome to Kenya. And Anglo leasing and Goldenberg did cause losses of lives documented and undocumented almost everything does.

 Ona wants to know what is dangerous to talk about today so that she can steer clear of controversy. I told her we shall talk about steering clear another day.

Nowadays the anathema letters are three: ICC. All those who speak about this as the home of justice especially if they have any clout imagined or real are in for trouble. So much so that an activist called a press conference to say he was not a witness in this case. If such a person can do that, what does it really mean to the rest of the Kenyans who are witnesses or who are seen to know anything about the ICC? 

People who bumped into and have a photo with Fatou Bensouda even before she became the Prosecutor also have reasons to be cautious. Kwani? as they ask in Kenya, was not Ocampo himself and Bensouda in Kenya sometime back? Are Kenyans expected to leave a city if she is passing by and if she wants to address issues of justice in Afrika to run away?

We ear not to be herded we are Kenyans
In Kenya Human Rights Defenders are under threat and that is no secret. On Fb where much time is spent by Kenyans 'venting' as we say on different issues is rife with such reports. And can we believe them? Of course we can. 

Al Amin Kimathi is the latest to cry out that he is in danger. There are many who are unheard. He does so knowing fully well that as a human rights activist he has always engaged the law against terror for its weaknesses. He has questioned illegal renditions of Somalis from Somalia to destinations for torture because of terrorism. 
There are Kenyans who will never stop to ask for justice.  Justice for JM Kariuki and Pio Gama Pinto is the last thing I heard Al Amin Kimathi (In a white kanzu)  and Muthoni Kamau discuss. And indeed why are there so many unanswered deaths in Kenya? Julie Ward too... whom Ona wants to trace!

Somalis have now been thrown out of Little Mogadishu, Eastleigh and Mombasa in Kenya. In Nairobi, they were first detained at Kasarani Stadium. Over 3000 humans: Children, women and men were in the same place and initially without the support of lawyers, UNHCR, friends or relatives. 

Al Amin Kimaathi raised alarm on concentration camp like treatment of these Somalis. The network which included Shailja Patel, TheWanjiku Revolution, Philo Ikonya and many colleagues in solidarity with what is right, grew. The following is Al Amin Kimaathi's recent tweet confirming that police in Kenya want him dead. 

And there are pleas directly to the police boss IG Kimaiyo not to allow that Kimaathi is executed and his death blamed on support for terror. Kimathi is a human rights activist and works across board with many activists on a range of issues. He was once arrested on trumped up charges and imprisoned in Kampala for a year. 

Should our lives depend on direct pleas to the police boss and to the President of the Republic in a country that has enshrined the Bill of Human Rights for years? 
Eternal vigilance is the price we have to pay

  1. I can now confirm receiving warnings from colleagues that some elements within have disclosed to them that am "next to be killed"
  2.  Retweeted by 
    I make a personal and passionate plea to IG Kamiyo not to kill Al Amin.

Why does the Government feel threatened by Free Expression? Is the media really free in Kenya?  Why is there so much fear about what is said and done in a country whose president said he would be so free with the citizens and in fact would turn up at the ICC if required and with his Deputy rule the country via Skype? This was a public announcement during the Jubilee team campaigns. Transparency is redefined.

Is it true that one episode of a TV program could not be aired because it went contrary to his taste? Of course sitting with a host of uninvited guests called the Intelligence is common whenever some people should want to chat at a restaurant. And yet, these are people with open agendas and who say what they do not like. In the meantime insecurity caused by real crooks is at a runaway level.

The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto tell us that they are on track. Even the laptops to every primary school child that were a campaign promise in 2013 Deputy Ruto said only yesterday are on the way. 

There was a comment and question on social media regarding why these are going to cost 300$ each if they are being purchased for 100$. The answer was that there are some taxes that bring us to that figure at delivery. Someone else wondered if the Government adds taxes to its own purchases. 

Procurement systems are clear and are one of the things we could say that was put in place even before the year 2012. Nonetheless the first tender for these laptops had to be cancelled not so long ago because the tender had been given to an Indian company that could not deliver. The rules are laid down and the children are waiting. 

Teachers' Strike

Ona heard about the teachers strike last year in June and again the threat in January this year. What happens there? We had to agree that teachers strike in many countries and yes, Kenya is young. However, why is it that in past decades 

Students in public schools have it rough but the ones who can afford private education carry on boarding buses to go to school daily and with good food and pocket money. 

Indeed some of them are so well off that they are the target of drug dealers. But for now let us stick to the question.

Kenyans love to achieve. Athletes know that. There are many fine persons of great achievements in Kenya. 

Lupita Nyong'o who has won an Oscar for her role in the film Twelve Years A Slave. The joy that exploded in Kenya was tangible with this win. Black beauties were out to assert themselves. There are many Kenyan number ones that are celebrated. 

But the Nairobi Stock Exchange is not so excited about the sales of Black Tea, Kenya's best in the world, and coffee.
Ona will still come because she loves tea and  she wants to learn the song Pole Musa...
You got to love this.. Daudi Kabaka!

Sukuma, sukuma, sukuma... Musa nimevumilia sana. The persona is a woman totally oppressed by Musa in a marriage gone wrong. I wrote Kenya, Will You Marry Me! and so I am really interested in marriage. The marriage of Change.

I sometimes sing Kenya nimevumilia sana...No mystery. It means something like not just push, which is sukuma...literally but can also mean push yourself.. to the next level. We shall talk.