Saturday, 29 December 2012

Your Vote will only Employ Politicians

This week there was a flare up of violence in Tana River and Baragoi districts. Since it was also the week of Christmas, what were instead given priority in the media are Christmas messages from our political gods. Yes gods, because we worship these beings so much that while our fellow citizens are being cut to pieces by “cattle rustlers” we watch in adoration how our politicians went to church and prayed.

Let’s face it we are lost without the political rhetoric.  It just mesmerizes Kenyans to talk of providing employment by simply being in power and we just swallow it whole. Never mind that ALL these presidential candidates have been in government at some point in the last 10 years. Never mind that some are still ministers. Never mind that none of them have ever directly increased employment for the populace even in their own constituencies nor do they have any tangible economic plan.

Obviously when they are talking about increasing employment by being in office, they mean for themselves. All the promises made in the next 3 months will make even the greatest skeptics among us believe in the wonderland they claim they will create. Luckily I will still be here to help the brokenhearted face reality soon after the vote, when the electorate goes back to being insignificant.

I blame religions and whoever brought those religions here for the way these Africans think. Our indigenous beliefs were based on a universe we lived in, where if you get swallowed by a giant fish you die, simple, factual, dead, reality.  Along came a missionary with a bible that taught us that a man can be swallowed whole and live to tell the tale. Ever since then, anything that comes out of the mouths political class has the exact same effect of bending reality, such that if you just believe, then Kenya will change into heaven on earth.

Of all the promises that come of out the politician’s mouth, the most denigrating is the promise of employment. First of all, these politicians are standing, as usual, on a tribal platform. Thus the promise of employment is specifically directed at their tribesmen. Let’s just examine this for a minute. The tribesman has never been employed by his politician in the first place, despite electing him to MP and thereafter seeing him become a minister. So it’s the most defiling lie ever to come out of the politician’s mouth, because it corrupts the truth of his plain refusal to employ his tribesmen. I say refusal, because obviously when in power the politician simply hires his cronies and not the tribal voter. They don’t do anything that will lead to more viable jobs for the general population. Jobs to them are farces like digging trenches just because you are a “Kijana” yet you have a degree.

You can tell that we are being mesmerized because every single channel except KBC has a live broadcast of a political rally each weekend. We are so “high,” so drunken with the rhetoric that even foolish comments slip past us. Anything that the politician says is golden. They are “human” after all. That a politician needs to say he or she is human, oh my, it’s like they have just discovered that fact.

We rushed, last minute to register as voters, to the relief of the IEBC. The rhetoric is foolish, the voters are even more so.  For starters, we can’t count.
 12 million people with the power to elect into office their tribesmen who have promised day and night to employ all of us, and we think we are intelligent. 290 MPs, 47 Senators, 47 Governors and their deputies, one President and his deputy and all the county representatives in Kenya cannot be able to employ 12 million voters. Come on! 

If such a feat was possible, it would have happened by now.  We would rightly call that a miracle, performed by our “gods”. 

If a nation, of so many different cultures only finds a commonality in divisive politics then truly we are a doomed failed state. It is our divisive and separatist nature that prevents us from responding humanely when our fellow citizens are attacked mercilessly in their homes in the dead of the night. We allow ourselves the comfort of indulging in meaningless tribal politics when our neighbors sleep in the rain and wake up to find their children dead. Worst of all, is how we allow ourselves the pleasure of fantasies like being employed by virtue of a single vote.

It is hard work, and no other way, that will get our people into employment. When you vote you will only give some politician a job. So please, snap out of the haze, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Only zombies and snakes are charmed for so long, if you are human you can discard the ridiculous ideas that the politician is trying to sell you. Economic empowerment is about you, as an individual, getting up and going out there and creating opportunity for yourself, no one will give you that opportunity, the world owes you nothing and you are entitled to nothing, regardless of ‘historical injustices’ regardless of your past, regardless of your tribe. You, dear Kenyan, must make it happen for yourself. That is the cold hard reality. We, as citizens, must expand our economy ourselves.

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Blessing of Coalitions

 It was the shortest lived marriage in the history of politics. Barely 2 weeks after announcing that UDF had joined the Jubilee Coalition, the party left in a huff after a gentleman's agreement was not honored. Not surprisingly, UDF officials were so offended that they vowed to go join the CORD coalition. In short, back to ODM.

Looks like a coalition is only valid when you get what you want. In any case, other than tribal and personal interests what real political ideology were these politicians using to glue themselves together?
Its no secret that democracy cannot work in Africa. We are just too culturally and politically uncooperative define our politics with unifying concepts like democracy. In fact, when multi-party politicking first cropped up, the former President Moi stated that it was just going to be a bunch of tribalists seeking political office in an opportunistic manner. Never was the professor of village politics more right.

You'd have to be completely blind not to notice the obvious tribal calculations behind these coalitions. Still, one has to admire the brazen nature of the Jubilee coalition. even without UDF, the coalition represents the exact same "pentagon" individuals of ODM in 2007, with the addition of Uhuru Kenyatta.

Its really sad that in the formation of these tribal "marriages" so much callous talk is used by politicians. Its a real pity that disparaging remarks that raise tensions in a country that was on the brink of terrible violence only 4 years ago are still to be heard from these leaders.
I blame the media on this one. Why give so much air time to so much hot air? What this country needs is to black out the sort of village dramatics that are causing neighbor to rise against neighbor over a person they will never meet.

I appreciate coalitions. Very much so, in fact Kenya should just have one grand coalition called the Orange-URP-UDF-TNA government of Kenya or ORANGUTAN for short.
ORANGUTAN would be just perfect for this country, because each and every tribal interest would be included in the national plan, and of course the Orangutan leaders would naturally be statesmen for once and not just tribal leaders.

Surely this country is in dire need of Orangutan thinkers, people whose intention is to merge together their interests in order to serve the nation of Kenya. When I envision such a wonderful one party state, I can only admire how diligently our dear Orangutans would watch over resources, in order not to let the other tribe steal or corrupt away national resources meant for all.

I am all for coalitions, marriages, if only it will drive this nation forward and help bring cohesion and peace. So hurray for Orangutans, and may our leaders bless us next year with simian governance!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

IEBC Principally to Blame for Poor Registration

Let’s talk about planning. Clearly IEBC does need a lesson in planning. It’s been 2 years since the commission was formed, during which time, a countdown presumably had begun. So it’s really rather ambitious and actually a bit ridiculous for the IEBC to expect to register 18 million voters in just one month in a country whose majority population live in the rural areas.

Oh yes, they say they conducted civic education. They bought the BVR kits. So why aren’t people registering to vote? It’s not the IEBC’s fault they claim. A huge part of being the body in charge of conducting elections is the charge of being responsible for how the electorate responds to the elections. Being responsible means taking responsibility for how things turn out.

If the claim is that citizens simply are not responding, then the situation should have been looked into long before the registration process begun. Unless the dear commissioners were on Mars during the last election it’s obvious that one of the repercussions of that debacle is that many Kenyans would feel that voting is akin to invoking violence. It’s the sort of voter apathy attached to the swindling of a nation through a botched electoral process.

It’s no secret that much of the population lacks confidence in the ability of IEBC to deliver a free and fair election because of the many failures by IEBC to stick their own timelines. The BVR kits came in too late, now the voter registration exercise is to take place in just under one month and already the admission is that they are way below the target.

Let’s forget about the ghost voters for a second. If an organization wishes to reach 18 million people there should be a more consistent and workable mechanism for that to happen. Given the circumstances that most Kenyans live in, it was too ambitious a goal to expect to reach all 18 million within one month.
If this registration exercise is anything to go by, then the IEBC is really not going to be ready to handle 6 elections running at the same time. Apart from the presidential candidates and their deputies, most Kenyans have no real inkling on the other posts or who to vote for. 

Interestingly enough, the very same politicians who have spent the last 2 years discrediting the IEBC are now urging people to register to vote. Yet the damage has already been done. Once again, the IEBC should have responded immediately certain allegations were made to maintain their own integrity. It was a terrible start to a general election already, and it’s getting worse. 

It’s not helpful at all that democratic values are ignored while urging people to register.  The number of insults pitted against those who haven’t registered is growing, as though that should motivate them.  The manipulative slogans such as “Bad leaders are elected by people who don’t vote” simply add fire to the situation.

IEBC fails to recognize one fundamental fact. Voting isn’t mandatory in Kenya. It’s a choice, and a lot of Kenyans are choosing not to vote. They are doing so because they no longer believe in an election that can either end up being violent, or a process that can easily lose its integrity. The belief that the election will lack integrity is rooted in the fact that IEBC itself lost its valuable integrity during the voter registration exercise.
To underscore this loss of integrity, rather than take responsibility for the poor voter turnout, the IEBC blames the nation.  Yes it is our fault as Kenyans because we don’t go and register. But it’s also IEBC’s fault for not rallying up the people, ensuring that they clearly understand the process and the need for their democratic participation without manipulative language, bullying insults and ridiculous timelines.

Two years ago, Kenyans in the Diaspora believed they would also participate in this crucial election. They were assured of this by the IEBC. Sadly, a few months to the election they are let down by the same IEBC. That is an attitude about planning and taking responsibility for the fate of a nation but at the same time, refusing to acknowledge that you are responsible. 

IEBC needs to recognize that their inconsistency in planning, in communicating to the public and in execution of their mandate has gravely injured their reputation and this, fundamentally is the reason why people are reluctant to respond to the call to register their vote.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Coalitions That Will Define Kenya's Future

Not so long ago, families would seal the fate and future of their young children by agreeing to marry off their children at a very early age. It was a survival tactic, one that ensured the future of not just the children involved but the entire family as well. the pre-arranged marriage was always fruitful, even loving as the couple deemed themselves destined to be together.

There was a time in this country, when family, and community would come first in any agreement between two parties. There was a time when the life and future of the people was foremost in the minds and hearts of community leaders. Sadly that time seemed to have been pre-colonial. It is only our pre-colonial elders who rightly endorsed leaders, to be entrusted to protect community interests.

Ever since the "wabeberu" left our country's future in the hands of our political leaders, very little thought has been given to the development or direct interests of the community without firstly the personal considerations of the politician taking place.

Perhaps this was the best way they could ensure that their own western interests were kept safe, by encouraging a political class that ultimately were as selfish as the British, only that the British did it for "God and Queen".

The idea that our founding fathers were socialists is truly laughable. Immediately that independence was won, it was wrested from the true community leaders and the people were instantly forgotten.
Too often we lament how we are still developing nation nearly 50 years after independence.

Yet isn't it obvious why this is so, why we remain a backward, ignorant and manipulated lot? Here are some hard hitting facts. We, as a country, are a bunch of unashamed, unsavory bigots. We are proudly tribal and ethnically inclined at every turn.

There is not a moment when one's last name does not matter. Our tribalism is such a phenomenon that even foreigners are forced to take up the disgusting practice of asking which tribe one is from.
I suppose it would be necessary, for the sake of distinguishing between one negro and another.

More importantly, our pointless, meaningless obsession with our tribes and ethnicities has provided the perfect platform for the slightly intelligent and very shrewd politician. All they have to do, is yell their tribal philosophies once every 5 years and they will permanently stay in power. As for development, of course its all centered around personal development for the political class.

This week was the saddest in Kenyan history. This was the week when tribal coalitions defined the future of leadership and governance in Kenya. It was a simple, obscene formula applied. 3 large tribes form one coalition, and 2 large tribes form the other. The rest of the country's ethnicities would have to cast their lot with either coalition or form their own. Its a tragedy. There can be no democracy if defined by ethnic affiliation rather than democratic principles, nationhood and issues of development for all.

Its not idealism to want or desire a better system to pick leaders. Certainly, this form of tribal elections based on tribal coalitions is not democracy as expressed in our constitution. One is left to even wonder what then is the point of holding elections, if the leaders we shall have are chosen in a boardroom and based on one's tribe rather than by democratic nomination and by issues.

Some have said repeatedly, that "Bad leaders are chosen by people who don't vote." So I have to ask, who then chooses tribal leaders? isn't it people who vote for the "lesser evil"? Aren't tribal leaders, leaders who refuse to develop their country or their community, picked by tribal bigots endowed with votes? Isn't it a farce of a democratic process to call for free and fair elections when one is forced to choose between tribal leaders?

I admire the rabid irrationality now present in this country. Never before has ethnic tension been so high, never before have we seen so much tribal chauvinism openly displayed by even the ordinary person. How the "wabeberu" must be laughing now. Look at these africans, how well divided they are.

What was done in just a few years of colonial segregation was perfected beyond measure by our political leaders. Tribal sentiments, and tribal coalitions are a weapon used very effectively to divide the people of Kenya along their most basic and primitive survival identities.

You may wonder why these leaders do not develop the nation, once in power. Isn't it obvious? You, the average Kenyan, must remain basic, ignorant, and primitive so that you can also become bloated egotistical bigots who are the easiest to manipulate. In other words, not only is it not in their interests monetarily to develop their communities, it is also in their interests that you remain a bigot who spews tribal sentiments at the drop of a hat. That way, the same political class can remain in power into infinity.

These coalitions are not the first in Kenya, and they certainly won't be the last. In fact they herald the new system of governance with a foreboding ethnic approach that will forever mark our nation's history. As long as we remain tribal and bigoted, we will remain slaves to our own backward and oppressive mentality courtesy of our political leaders, into perpetuity.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Of Warlords and Landlords, The Gods Of Kenya

Last week, 42 policemen were led into an ambush where 400 militiamen mowed them down in a hail of bullets. Kenyans reacted in shock; I mean how can 42 policemen be killed by “cattle rustlers”? What didn’t shock Kenyans is how an Asst. Minister and MPs from the region can publicly declare that the “rustlers” responded in self defense.

More surprising news, 3 military men are killed in Garissa, and then Kenya Defense Forces respond with excessive force. Once again, the public is subjected to a fiasco; the Ministry in charge of KDF claims to not know under whose orders KDF responded.  Quietly, that story dies.  KDF apparently does not need orders from the Minister to crush people. 

There is a Kenyan reality that underlies the fabric of our society. Superficially, we assume that we are one nation, under one flag, democratic and governed. But in truth, this is a fractured country, and not just fractured politically along ethnic lines, which is the meme that our political class would rather we believe.
This country surely has warlords. How can 400 militia men be assembled at one place, with sophisticated guns, and military knowledge enough to massacre 42 policemen? This is a display of military might, organization; these were not just cattle rustlers. More to the point are the statements by the political leaders. “They were responding in self defense.” Excuse me for a minute here. When did resisting arrest, assault, and murder of policemen become remotely justifiable in a civilized nation?  

The words of the MPs are not just horrific; they are representative of a new reality in Kenya, a reality where government itself is under attack and from within. Some people in this country have established fiefdoms complete with personal armies and our nation at the moment is really no better than Goma the DRC, only we have far fewer deaths. This is the only possible explanation for the massacres in Tana Delta, Baragoi, and Garissa.

This is a country that has been sectioned up, divided and shared out, and the police and the machinery of government are inconsequential to the greater equation. This is why, your soul as an ordinary citizen is so easy to trade off. We die like flies, just like our policemen died.  Wise young men now refuse to be recruited into the police; a recent recruitment exercise had a very low turnout. 

While we idly indulge in meaningless tribalism and ethnic divisions, our leaders, nay our gods, which we worship, are busy amassing wealth and armies to ensure that we remain mere serfs.  We live on their land, we live in their houses, we pay rent to them, we work for them in their businesses and we also pay taxes to maintain their kitties. To top it off, we vote them into parliament to ensure that they remain in power, perpetually, as our gods. 

Let us pray. That is the first response that people had when an explosion was set off in a bus in Eastleigh, Nairobi. People automatically resort to prayer whenever there is violence, never realizing that the gods they worship called MPs do not answer prayers, nor will they ever turn Kenya into heaven, only hell. I pity a religious republic that refuses to abandon its irrational belief in its oppressors in the name of democracy.
When the Minister for State of Defense says he does not know who gave the order for KDF forces to respond in Garissa, you know then that something that was hidden for years has unfortunately surfaced. A behemoth of frightening proportions wields the power in this country. There are the superficial power positions in Ministries, and then there are the real power wielders, shadowy characters who have at their disposal our nation’s resources for their own convenience, and there is nothing we can do about it.

The coming elections are an ode to our landlords and warlords, whom we love, desperately, even as they subjugate us and deny us peace or justice. I applaud the IEBC for attempting to pretend to register voters; we know very well that they will certainly not be able to register all voters in all constituencies in just one month. No matter, we also know that we don’t need registered voters, or even elections in this country, when obviously who is going to be President are a boardroom decision and not a democratic choice. 

As our beloved Landlords and Warlords share, divide and sign off on our nation, let us never stop praising them for their violent leadership, and remind ourselves how wonderful they are to allow us to live on their land. In fact, let us pray that their partitioning of Kenya is done peacefully during the next elections, let not our gods, chose excessively violent means of political sharing. Hopefully, as they answer our prayers of not sadistically killing off their own serfs, they will also build some roads and some schools for our children, to ensure that they have a continual production of mindless, religious workers for their industries. 

Friday, 16 November 2012

When the Security in Kenya needs Security

This week was just devastating for the Kenya Police Service. We lost 42 policemen in an ambush that can only be described as utter treachery and an attack on our very sovereignty. The fact of the matter is this; Kenya is not a nation at peace. We haven’t had peace in this country since independence because we have communities in this country that make it their livelihood to be cattle rustlers.  Stealing livestock is not just a favorite past time, it’s a way to acquire wealth.

Its incredible to consider how culture can influence one’s world view, such that rather than work hard to acquire property one simply goes out and steals whatever he desires and kills whoever is standing in his way. No wonder we cannot define integrity in this country, even by law, because right in our own homes there is a cow that we are milking that does not rightfully belong to us.

It’s a barbaric culture, frankly, primitive and retrogressive.  The reason why 42 young recruits were so brutally murdered is a herd of cattle that some greedy people refused to return; I mean really, how can we trade the lives of our young men for grazing beasts!

More disturbing is such an ancient culture is openly encouraged and protected by politicians who themselves probably own stolen cattle. Why else would they be so against a military response to an act so brutal and treacherous as to kill our police? Lets face it. They MUST have known what was about to happen, and that it would be a deadly ambush. How sick must an MP be, to know about a killing about to occur and then not even warn the victims so that they can save their lives?

So, here is where a culture that has survived with impunity and protection finally faces up to the reality of consequences. Consequences such as having the military invade and eliminate all perceived threats. Loosely translated, we know the military is going to sweep these cattle rustling people into oblivion. 

Is a ruminant really of such high value that hundreds of people must die? The truth behind the situation in Suguta valley is that this has less to do with cattle, and more to do with electoral votes and power. Its no secret that vested interests in this region and other parts of the country like Tana Delta are intent on furnishing and encouraging skirmishes in order to secure votes and favor from rural people.

We, as a nation, are such a backward lot, steeped in our miniature hatred, suspicion and dislike for other communities and cultures that at the drop of a hat we will slaughter our neighbors’ over an animal. The politicians know this, they understand how horrifically mutilated our social fabric is, how disassociated we are from each other, all they have to do is ignite flames of suspicion and hate every 5 years to stay in power. It’s our own fault we live in such fear and insecurity, no one else’s.

We get the leaders we choose, we get the leaders we listen to and we never listen to rational, level headed or national statesmen. We always listen to petty, vindictive, morally reprehensible and corrupt tribal chieftains’ because that is exactly how we are as a society.  We are primitive and selfish, later on, when so many die, we turn around and blame the government for not acting sooner to save policemen who we ourselves killed, because of cattle.

Isn’t it interesting how we can thus have uproar about how the President is slow to respond to the situations we ourselves create? Such illogical, irrational behavior speaks to our very mental state. Kenyans seem to be out of their minds to some extent, unable to connect action with reaction, unable to link cause and consequence, and always willing to abrogate responsibility for the state of security, justice and peace in our country to government.

In the coming elections, the responsibility for how many people live through a so-called “democratic” process is entirely up to us, not the police, not the Kenya Defense Forces, and certainly not the Judiciary nor the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Its each Kenyan’s choice on whether the elections will be violent or peaceful and it is our own choice if we want to live free from government repression through force. 

Certainly, I don’t find the idea of a military state of emergency appealing in any way. But some of us Kenyans are monsters and as we all know very well, you must crush monsters when they are small or else they will grow and destroy everything.  It’s a damn shame that we can call ourselves a democratic republic when the truth is, we are really people who must be controlled by government, we lack self control or independence, and worst of all lack humanity.  Kenya is a totalitarian state, and we seem to like it that way.

Friday, 9 November 2012

When Judicial Reforms Means Luxury Vehicles

The JSC through Justice Lenaola this week did a very strange thing. They found a way to interpret the purchase of luxury vehicles for Judges as a constitutional right.  Quoting article 160(4) of the constitution which states that the remuneration and benefits payable to, or in respect of, a judge shall not be varied to the disadvantage of the judge, the JSC thus interprets the purchase of expensive guzzlers as a constitutional right of every Judge in Kenya.

Never mind the Kwach report of 1998, this is 2012 and I mean 14 years later. This is a whole new world, where the key economic term for a developing nation such as Kenya is Sustainable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Renewable Energy.  With regards to the development markers of this country what in the world indicates that Kenya is the sort of country that can actually afford such expensive cars for Judges? And how is the lack of an expensive car disadvantageous to a Judge?

Why, Judges in Germany cycle to work! And I assure you that Germany has an economy that is far more capable of purchasing expensive cars for its Judges, in fact that is where those posh Mercedes Benz are made.

What is it about the big man syndrome that is so hard to excise even from seemingly intelligent people like those thronging the JSC? In the 21st Century, the need for polishing bloated legal egos with vehicles whose fuel efficiency makes them not just expensive to run, but also expensive to maintain is really a reflection of how little we have moved from the colonial regressive mindsets of the 1960s.

Talk about undeserving as well. Lest we forget that the total work output of these Judges can barely power a tricycle. I think the most aggravating statement this year from a panel of 5 of our gratuitously esteemed Judges is that they are not convinced how public interest and administration of justice will be harmed if proceedings by sacked Judges are heard. Hold the phone. Those judges were sacked because of their incompetence when handling cases and it is very much in the public interest that they are still allowed to handle cases!

How terrifying for Kenya. That judicial reforms so desperately needed in Kenya is equivalent to Judges receiving posh vehicles. No doubt, even the sacked Judge still sitting on the bench will also get a gorgeous large guzzler to mimic the gluttony of our Judiciary.

Basically, by declaring that it is mandated by our constitution to purchase these luxury vehicles, based on a 14 year old report and global trends verses Kenya’s development be damned, the JSC has proven to us all that not only are Judges immune to common sense, they are also as parasitic as ever, and there is nothing but superficiality perverse in the Judiciary.

No wonder it is a national concern that violence will mar the forth-coming elections. After all, it is mistrust of this very same judiciary that led to the post-election violence of 2007.  In the time since then there have been lots of changes to the appearance of the judiciary, cleaner, refurbished court houses, nice flowing robes, hot new hairdos, and now posh vehicles that set these judges as far apart from the average Kenyan as a monkey on its way to the moon is apart from its fellow monkeys in the forest.

Are these Judges even Kenyans? That is the question we must ask. Are they representative of the citizenry of this nation, or they simply represent stateless elites who now lord it over “subjects”.  Because when you add up all the shenanigans of our over glorified judiciary in the past year, you must admit, that the term “your Lordship” has been taken literally by these ‘learned’ fellows.

For those who have not tallied it up here is a brief run down. A Judge of the high court makes an unconstitutional ruling. A panel of 5 judges thereafter upholds the unconstitutional ruling and declares that the high court has jurisdiction over a constitutional body a matter of questionable interpretation. The same panel of Judges then declares that sacked Judges hearing cases is not detrimental to public interest despite the fact that the judges were sacked because of incompetence. Finally the JSC awards these “lords” with expensive guzzling vehicles, an ode to a colonial past that they claimed to have shaken off as they sport dashing new robes and hairstyles that they think are African.

 When the constitution is called upon to justify replacing an old Mercedes Benz with a new one in the name of not varying a judge’s benefits to the detriment of the Judge, you can tell that the “learned” fellow is not thinking. If other government officials are using Volkswagen Passats, which are just as prestigious as the Mercedes Benz, what makes these judges so special that they must have luxury vehicles? Finally, only a very narrow minded type of reprobate thinks of a name and label as prestigious more than his country and yet is in public service.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

What Judicial Reforms, Mr. Chief Justice?

Dear Dr. Willy Mutunga,

Greetings and salutations from a fellow humble citizen. I won’t waste time on further social niceties, seeing as you are a busy Chief Justice, and I am a busy young lady too.  I just wanted to let you know how incredibly impressed I was during your state of the Judiciary Report Launch, more so with the number of dignitaries attending than anything. My, you have a lot of support it seems. I was equally impressed with the state of the Judiciary report itself, though it was a bit long winded for my taste.

Looks like almost one year after you’ve taken up office, you’ve managed to get the judiciary to catch up with the 21st century in terms of providing courts and making justice more accessible to the general public plus the introduction of new technology means a greater number of people can keep up with judicial law reports.  And while these impressive measures lend a rather superficial feel to the delivery of justice in Kenya, I must admit, that the change of robes and dress code in the corridors of justice make the dearth of actual reliable judicial process rather festive. 

Why, I am sure, when Justice Warsame made his initial unconstitutional ruling against the Judges and Magistrates Vetting board, seeking to suspend their activities, he was dressed in those new robes too, possibly with a swanky haircut to boot. Oh I know, he isn’t as cool as you, doesn’t have an earring to display, but still, you know, that did not stop a high court justice from making a ruling that contravened the very constitution he was sworn to uphold. Actually, Mr. CJ, I was wondering if swearing really is necessary anymore, seeing as the word of a Judge is about as useful as a verbal agreement, that is, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. Maybe, we could allow for a freer society if in our court rooms we no longer bind witnesses by making them swear to the truth, we’ll just take their word for it. Oh and that will of course affect perjury laws, but I digress.

Back to the matter of Judges who can’t be trusted. Your own Deputy CJ recently took the prize for being an astute spinner of reality. Truth be told, (pardon the pun) she was right about the selection of Judges for her appeal. It was your selection after all, an indicator of how powerful you really are when it comes to the future of judges, even judges of the Supreme Court, as was your Deputy.

So I find it rather astounding, that though the will of the people as expressed in the constitution of Kenya has been delivered by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting board and judges sent packing, The High court can then decide that it has jurisdiction over this constitutional body and bar the sacking of judges, and they can do this, underneath your very nose!

Oh I know, you didn’t hire the Judges, the JSC did that. But then I have to question, what then is your vast power for?  I don’t mean the super powers your earring gives you, you being a man of all faiths. I mean the power of Czar over Kenya, first person of the constitution and Judiciary, surely your office being so powerful as to determine the future of your former Deputy, has the same power to determine the future of obviously corrupt judges.

My deep angst with you is settled upon this one fact, that you do indeed have the power, and are yet to act. What are you waiting for, due process, perhaps? Shall we let this fiasco go all the way to the Supreme Court only for you to pre-select Judges who will find a ruling that is favorable to the Vetting Board? Don’t bother with all the semblances of propriety; superficiality is really your undoing. Go ahead, fire those judges, pap! After all, they won’t bother to disguise their impunity either. 

Well, we knew it was going to be a fight to create actual judicial reforms, and what you need to know is that you are not dealing with gentlemen or gentle ladies. So kindly, Mr. Chief Justice Sir, take off your gloves and get down and dirty. 

With all my support.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Security is too important to be lost over salary increments!

“Najilaumu Kuwa Polisi” (I blame myself for being a policeman) is a facebook meme that may just give you an inkling of how dire the situation is with our internal security services.  It’s no secret that our police service is one of the worst paying government job groups. It’s actually rather shocking, how a government that considers itself in any way remotely intelligent could put the security of the entire nation in the hands of poverty stricken individuals whose paycheck can barely last a week in our economy.

Who did not see this coming? It was rather obvious from the start of this year that industrial strike after industrial strike would occur given the sluggish nature of our government’s responses when it comes to pay rises. First the doctors, then the nurses, then the teachers, then the dock workers and now, lo and behold the police service is facing an internal threat of a strike expressed as a go-slow.  Here is the thing, the police are not unionized. The last time a security service went on strike in Kenya was when the prison wardens decided to down their tools. The government’s response to that situation was to crush the protest and arrest senior wardens for failing to prevent a strike. Stop. Let’s pause here for a second. The government, knowing very well that they underpay people they count on for security, knowing very well that the work conditions at prisons and facilities for wardens are despicable, crushes the protest and arrests senior officials for failing to prevent the strike. Whose failure was it really?

Here we are playing dice with the lives of Kenyans. It may interest this government and their high ranking officials to know that these policemen threatening a go-slow also intend to go slow on escort services.  What does that mean? It means that even though the “higher ups” thought they won’t be affected by a go-slow, they will be the first to directly feel it. After all, most Kenyans don’t have policemen personally protecting them!

It really does not matter that the police are not unionized. All they have to do is not turn up at work and instantly the entire country is plunged into a state of emergency.  All because some slow witted, irresponsible, irreverent government quack official somewhere is sitting on a document that should release funds already allocated to provide incremental pay rises to the police service.

Maybe all the strikes have eaten the senses of the government till they are deadened. Maybe, just maybe, we are dealing with a no –sense government and leadership.  It does not take a genius to realize how serious security issues in this country are. Lest we forget what happened in Tana Delta only a matter of a few weeks ago. Or even more recently, what extreme horrors we saw committed by MRC. It is at this crucial time, when terrorists, criminals, politically instigated violence and murders occur, that a person thinks he or she should withhold an already approved pay rise, well that tells you what a lack of sense this government has.

Perhaps a go-slow on personal security will quicken the pace of salary payments. I understand some of these officials have up to 4 police escorts at any one time. Some even have 60 policemen to protect them, while the rest of the nation has to share one policeman to every 4000 people or more.  In reality, and on a personal level, most Kenyans won’t actually notice the go-slow; the police service goes very slowly anyway, due to being overwhelmed. I am hoping that the threat to personal security will be so alarming to these “big men” that they respond accordingly.

But, should that fail, it would be best then for us to hope for a state of emergency to occur. Only then would the level of security in Kenya finally become a homogenous concern.  Because it doesn’t take a genius to realize that when you get your salary the first person you should pay is your security guard. In the same vein, it does not take a genius to realize that a country like Kenya which is at war with Al-Shabaab, and is a mere 4 months to a general election, should ensure that the police service is not only paid their dues as agreed upon, but also fully resourced and kitted out. Sadly, we don’t have any geniuses in government, nor do we seem to have people with enough I.Q to figure out these simple facts.