Thursday, 27 June 2013

A failed State of Mind - featured on

There are some distinctions that Kenya keep receiving that sincerely leave a bad taste in one’s mouth, for example being distinguished for being in the top 20 failed states in the world. With countries that have seen years of conflict and annihilation like Afghanistan or Somalia, to be put in the same category as such states is not only disappointing it’s a scary perspective on our Kenyan reality.

You mean to tell me that while some upper class fellows are having a social media war with a restaurant over croissants, the rest of our planet sees us as little better than Somalia? We seem to be in a haze, us Kenyans. We cannot see what fundamentals we lack in governance that makes us a failed state. Some even denied the reality presented in the failed state index; claiming that the west/US is keen to disparage us because they don’t like our choice of president.

It’s certainly a Kenyan thing to live in denial, to accept as natural utter perversities. Take for instance the fact that there are only 2,300 government doctors for 40 million people in this country. If one doctor dies that is a national disaster. Majority of Kenyans do not have health insurance and if you get diseases like Cancer, Kidney disease or Cardio-vascular disease you WILL die. There are not enough doctors, there are not enough resources and there is not enough money allocated to the healthcare sector. Repeatedly we are told it’s on its dying bed. I think it’s already dead and buried. 

And yet this is the same country where politicians will promise millions of jobs and hatch a scheme called vision 2030. This is the same country that will have fancy new highways, and plans to build a new port in the LAPSSET program. One wonders how a nation can be anything other than a complete failure when the humanitarian factors of governance are so desperately ignored in favor of industry. Rather than increase expenditure on healthcare, this government has consistently reduced expenditure and budgetary allocations for healthcare over the last 5 years. These are the absurdities; that your government will not spend money on social amenities like hospitals but will build a superhighway.

It’s only in a failed state where government does not serve the people but serves industry and corporate interests; as though industry does not require workers, as if government does need us to be healthy in order to work to submit taxes. Because the government refuses to provide adequate health services, the private sector tries to bridge the gap. The fact is though, if you don’t have money in Kenya, you will not receive the medical attention you need. 

It is a refusal, a clear, adamant, refusal by our government, to provide basic healthcare and other amenities for its population. It is a refusal that half the electorate fully supports; having voted blindly for this government in the last election. It is a refusal that the other half of the electorate quietly and begrudgingly accepts. They have moved on. 

This country is considered a failed state because Kenya does not meet the parameters of governance that indicate a functioning democratic government. The government does not seem to exist to serve or govern the people; rather this government exists to serve an elite few.

The majority of Kenyans don’t have the problem of facing so called “racism” when buying baked goods at a pricey restaurant. They are barely surviving in this country, living no better than the haggard Somali, hardened by years of war. It is just as easy to die in Mandera as it is in Mogadishu. That is a shattering and frightening reality that those stuffing their faces with cakes refuse to accept. Maybe it’s the illusion of their money that lets people spend hours arguing about croissants online; or maybe it’s the fact that this silly looking dispute over pastries is the only thing that keeps these Kenyans from going crazy because of all the absurdities, injustices and utter misery they face daily.

It would help us all, to just accept we are a failed state, and our nightmarish existence is shocking to non-Kenyans to the extent we are living lives comparable to those in war torn nations. In fact the biggest failure in Kenya is our own refusal to admit that we are in shambles, wretched, wearing rags, diseased and starving; we refuse to see our own horrors because we are too busy admiring highways and ports and demanding croissants at cafes. It’s a pity that there are only about 100 psychiatrists in Kenya, we surely need help for this mental illness.

Why Kenyans pay so much attention to SEX

There, you see. That headline just caught your attention and now you are FINALLY reading something that just might interest you. SEX. This is the one topic that will bring traffic to a standstill, clear a pub and fill the hotels. Men have been entrapped by it, women have been confused by it and it looks like just about every living creature in Kenya is enjoying it.

Bungoma County’s initial budget just demonstrated how serious sex is to their county assembly. The desire to spend 20 million kshs on “pornography awareness” showed a keen interest in the carnal pupilage of their residents; only a sincere effort would spend 20 million on porn. That’s a LOT of video. I assume it will be video, and not literotica, because even the Bungoma Governor claimed illiteracy as the reason why they would put porn on the budget, so we know they cannot read.

Sex is taken so seriously in Kenya that it fills our radio stations each morning and evening and it is headline news on our TV stations. Why lie, Kenyans love sex. Some so much that some will indulge themselves in trysts with dogs, donkeys, chickens, and most entertaining, cows. The only animal I am 100% sure that a man cannot have sex with is a cat. For obvious reasons, pussy is not pussy. Now that I have said that, I am sure someone will take it as a challenge.

Sex is why, during the vetting of Cabinet Ministers, Kenyans were so thoroughly distracted by alleged “dog porn” in Mombasa that they failed to notice that one minister was vetted by her own relatives. In fact, all of the nominees passed vetting without a single Kenyan blinking. Even the berated Phyllis Kandie was given a second life, despite ridiculous complaints as to her ‘shyness’.
While we were making light of our Kiambu Cownty brothers, the liberals in Texas made sure that sex (gender) discrimination is soundly dealt with. The laudable efforts of Senator Wendy Davis in filibuster proved that women indeed should and can take charge of their own bodies. The US Supreme Court took the issue of same-sex marriage and marriage equality seriously enough to have it mandated at the Federal level.

Meanwhile in Kenya, our different sexed MPs, county representatives and governors all united to pillage the coffers of the nation. We had hoped that by implementing in part the one third gender rule that sexual equality would lend an impartial take to the dealings of parliament and the county assembly. Sadly, despite their gender differences, these politicians have found a way to unite in raping Kenya.

Our legislators are quick to make references to sex – Kiraitu Murungi being the most notable disparager of the female sex when he quipped, “It’s like raping a woman who is already willing.” Indeed, whenever Kenyans want to be insulting, they automatically call it a woman. “Old”, “prostitute”, “ugly” and so on, to show how undesirable that particular topic or even person is.
It never occurs to a nation of misogynists, who incidentally quite enjoy sex with women, that they insult, demean and disparage their own mothers, sisters, daughters and lovers. The hue and outcry over a “caught” adulterous wife cannot ever be compared to the back-slapping congratulations an adulterous husband receives.

When you listen to our SMUT radio stations – smut meaning deluge – you are convinced that sex really is the topmost important thing on the average Kenyan’s mind. Some call-ins are so explicit that really you actually feel the pain of being insatiate. This, in traffic at 8 am, on a weekday, with your children in the vehicle with you, would make any person cringe. 

If sex is that important to us, why then do we take it so lightly? Despite the condom campaigns, I am quite sure that even the cows’ lovers were not wearing one; it actually provided for some comedy when the owner of the cow demanded 150,000kshs in payment for the cow, saying they can no longer use the milk the animal provides. This would be the first time, I suppose, that a man will pay bride price for an animal that is used to pay bride price!

At the rate Kenyans are having sex and procreating, we are estimated to have a population of 72 million by the year 2020. It’s time we pulled our clothes back on and paid attention to how we are going to deal with the consequences of sleeping around.

You can tell a civilization by the way they treat their women - featured on

Feminist! You say that as if it was a dirty word. I have been accused of being a feminist. It’s an accusation as though by standing up for my rights I am doing something wrong. Maybe it’s the brazenness that I dared to speak up for myself and other women. Maybe it’s the temerity I had to know my rights and insist on them being upheld. Perhaps it’s the sheer fact that I am a woman. Feminists are hated mainly by a society that disregards women, that does not consider us even human. I will go ahead and let you know what feminism really is because it’s easy to hate what you are ignorant about. Feminism is the notion that women are people too.

Yes, women are people too. As in the person who gave birth to you is a woman who is also a human being just like you. Kenya is a patriarchy inherited from a country that is ruled by a Queen, and yet our patriarchy resolutely dehumanizes its women. Let’s face it, there is no gender equality in this country and I doubt there ever will be. Why? It’s because misogyny is also practiced by women.
Yes, it’s a shocker, but women are their own worst enemies. It is us who will hold down our daughters so that their genitals are cut. It is us who will shout down the outspoken woman. It is us who will be home wreckers and conduct love affairs with married men. It is us who will scream pro-life and then refuse to use a condom. It is us who will call each other prostitute, and gossip about each other. It is us who won’t vote for female political aspirants. It is us who will deny feminism and hate on feminists.

But it is not just women who are misogynists. It’s the church, the schools, the government and the husband. It’s the men who claim that “you are just emotional” when they are losing an argument, to psychologically manipulate you into thinking that you are crazy. It’s the doctors who take a woman’s menstrual pain as something she is exaggerating, it is the teacher who will not let the girl go to the toilet to change her sanitary towel during class time such that her underwear becomes soaked with blood, it is the Pastor who insists that women must submit to men even though submission should be a choice made willingly; it is the government that provides free male circumcision and charges women expensively for tubal ligation. It is the husband who treats his wife like a domestic and sexual slave and nothing more.

It is a country that insists that abortion is a crime and a sin, and yet does not provide access to adequate maternal healthcare. It is a society that punishes women for being sexual beings and for having sex and yet praises men for “sowing their wild oats.” It is a continent where rape is used as a weapon of war on innocent civilians. It is the proliferation of female genital mutilation even though we are in the 21st century. 

Women mean nothing here. We are no better than cattle. When we are young our bodies are cut so that we are “clean” for our future husband, when we are married we are sold off for a few goats, when we have children we are blamed for the gender of the baby – if they are girls we are chased away. When we are old, we are called witches and set on fire. We spend our whole lives being an accessory to someone else.

In politics, and because it is purely tribal politics in Kenya, when the opposition want to insult each other they refer to their opponents women. “Kikuyu girls are ...”, “Luo girls are…” You can fill in the blanks with every sort of epithet under the sun. We are the brunt of vitriol spewed on other ethnicities, in the name of politics. One leading presidential candidate even wondered whether other tribes don’t give birth to presidents, it is only certain tribes. I wonder what the hell our mothers have to do with a failure to convince an electorate of your own suitability for the job.
Sojourner Truth put it best when she remarked on the oppression faced by African women. “Black woman, you are the mule of the world.”

In our own sort of perverted way of trying to balance things out, the drafters of the constitution crafted the one third gender principle. It’s a part of the supreme law that states that in all elective and constitutional bodies one third of the officials or state officers must be of the opposite gender. I don’t know how they came up with one third, seeing as equality would dictate that HALF of all officials are male and the other half is female. The result of this debacle of a principle is that one’s gender supersedes one’s qualification for the particular post. It certainly is not a feminist ideal to be given a post simply because you are female, but to be given the opportunity to contest in a level and fair playing field and to be taken seriously as a professional.

The more hilarious application of this false equality is found in the sexual offenses act, section 3 (1) a person commits the offense termed rape if (a) he or SHE intentionally and unlawfully commits and act which causes penetration with his or her genital organ. The essence of law is in the language of the law; perhaps English was just too difficult for the person who conjured this up. How it is possible for a vagina to penetrate anything? Physically, it’s a hole! Poor women, there is a law out there that can criminalize the physically impossible all in the name of “equality.”

We don’t deserve to be taken for granted or taken for a ride either. A government that declares free maternity care for all women is certainly pulling our legs especially considering that the maternity costs were as low as 50 shillings. Never mind that free or not, the maternal death rate will not drop because there aren’t enough doctors or resources anyway. To add insult to injury, the government hashed out a deal with rogue MPs where they are to receive 150,000kshs maternity allowance. I wonder what sort of babies the mostly male MPs will be expecting. Some already look quite pregnant with their fat bellies.

I am a feminist because I refuse to be dehumanized any longer. Because I know that I am just as human as any man. I am a feminist because I value my life and the lives of other women as well. I am a feminist because I have to stand up and speak up for my rights, my concerns, my privileges and my future. Until all men and women are considered equally human with equal rights, no society can claim to be civilized while mistreating the life bearers, the mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts. No society can claim to be civilized while dehumanizing half of humanity. No religion can ever justify oppressing God’s creation. I am feminist because I am human too! If you can tell a civilization by how they treat women, then ours is a truly primitive nation.

Sometimes, some things must be said - Featured on

It’s the worst version of a coalition government really. The worst version of the amendments routinely made by the previous parliament to allow those MPs to remain in power while flagrantly party hopping and the worst version of their myriad coalition agreements that ensured that they would retain power at all costs.

It is at this moment in time that we, if we were sincere citizens, should deeply and earnestly miss Martha Karua. During the time, when most of us were blindly approving ethnic groupings that purported to be national but were not, simply ethnic ganging up in the name of politics, during a time when the phrase “warembo na siasa” meant women coming on stage and shaking their ample bottoms for cheering crowds, during a time when thousands of young people thronged the Kenyatta International Conference Centre hoping, and believing every coalitions’ false promises; Martha Karua staunchly refused to join in the fray. She adamantly declined to be sucked into agreements that were entirely selfish and had no basis for serving the people. She stood alone, the lone ranger of Kenyan politics.

Perhaps she could see into the future, into THIS future. I don’t think she has any seer’s powers; most likely Martha is just burdened with a deep sense of integrity, something that does not seem to bother the rest of our politicians.

It’s a pity that we have sold ourselves into such a willing slavery. Consider the absurdities we have swallowed wholeheartedly; that certain ethnic groups would not have stopped their violence and conflict were it not for a coalition agreement to share power. Sadly, we forget that all the conflict between those ethnic communities was politically instigated in the first place. So, they start the conflict, and then they solve it by forming an alliance where THEY will gain power.

Are we so foolish? It appears so. 93% of voters in the last election voted along tribal or ethnic lines. 93% chose their ethnicity over their nationality. 93% made sure that politics of personality, of personal wealth and personal greed and ambition will forever be a part of this nation’s “democracy”.
These coalitions will never end – the idea now is firmly rooted in the politicians’ mind, the route to gaining ultimate power is to join forces, not for the nation but for them. They know, that from here on, no matter how visibly evil they are, and no matter what cruelty they exhibit, no matter what greed and plundering they engage in, the people will always vote for them because they are from their ethnicity.

Whose fault is it really? Some pundit had the nerve to blame the civil society for not conducting adequate civic education hence the outcome of the elections.
Some things must be said; why should someone come along and tell you to have a conscience, to seek leadership that has integrity to pick honest upstanding respectable people and not known drug barons, murderers, embezzlers, fraudsters, kidnappers and thugs?

Chapter 6 of the Kenya constitution tries to define leadership and integrity but fails miserably for one simple matter. The people of Kenya define integrity and they alone chose their leaders. If they willingly and with 93% of the electorate in agreement, pick fellows who rightly belong in prison, for the reason that these people are rich, and have created an ethnic alliance which they now purport to be using to represent their people; if the people of Kenya have no sense of decency, morality, justice or wisdom, then the high court has no mandate to decide otherwise. We do have a supreme law, but that law must reflect the values of the society that derived that law. 

 Kenyans have no sense of integrity, no understanding of that virtue and no need for its use or value in our daily lives and our leaders understand that fully and have banked on that fact so as to remain in power indefinitely. It is not because we are poor; it is because we are ethnocentric bigots. Some things must be said. Looks like in Kenya, Martha Karua is the only person who understands what integrity means.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

When will the Kenyan government learn that it is not rich?

It’s a running joke on social media – “CNN reports that the world is 30 trillion dollars in debt; who does the world owe, Jupiter?!” It’s a meme that mocks the global economic system where entire governments are in debt to private institutions and organizations that they borrowed money from. Kenya is no better than any of these governments; our government has been a consistent borrower from the World Bank and the IMF for most of the last 50 years. 

Last year, former President Mwai Kibaki announced during the Labor Day celebrations that Kenya is currently self financing nearly 80% of its domestic budget through its tax revenue. I think that his intention in making this announcement was to dispel the fears at the time that a rapidly souring relationship with western nations may result in our country not having a source for funding our programs and social amenities. Unfortunately it looks like the politicians only heard the part where trillions of shillings are part of our domestic budget. Never mind that the money is actually supposed to be used to run the country, they must have grinned with glee upon realizing just how much money they could get their hands on.

The Jubilee government will go down in Kenya’s history as the one that took the “big man” syndrome to an entirely new level in Africa. The figures being quoted for splurging on individual luxuries can make your head spin like the girl from ‘The Exorcist’ - 500 million shillings for the retired president’s home, a personal petrol station, 700 million for his office; 500 million for a Chief Justice’s home, 700 million for a Vice President’s residence, 25 million on a luxury jet trip to Congo Brazzaville, and so on and so on.

Not to be out done, the county governments are also on a luxury spending spree, Kisumu County leading the pack – 72 million on Toyota Prados for county officials, and millions more to be spent refurbishing the county governors home; I understand he is currently staying at a luxury hotel where a night for his suite costs 12,000kshs!

Maybe it’s me. I am just too lowly a citizen to grasp just how needful these things are to the running of the nation. I surely must be so broke to think that an office for 700 million is not only outrageous it’s impossible to find office space that expensive in Nairobi; maybe they are renting an office on the moon. I will not even ask why a retired fellow needs an office in the first place and just forget that to “retire” means to stop going to work. 

I must be just an ignorant Kenyan, as Prof. Githu Muigai had the temerity to call his employers the other day. Too ignorant to understand that one or two people must indeed spend billions so that 40 million plus people can receive poor or no services from a government that admits it spends 50% of its revenue on paying the salaries of people who really have no record of doing or delivering anything.

If Githu Muigai and his expensive yet useless government cohorts had indeed the level of insight he claims then they would know that Kenya is just a third world nation and not even a middle income nation and certainly not the State of Brunei, which happens to be one of the world’s richest countries.
I don’t, however, expect these greedy and selfish fellows to have any sort of intelligence. You can tell that no particular reasoning or thinking went into the purchase of luxury vehicles in a County that is notoriously poor.  You can tell that sheer idiocy and brazen thievery was at work when the plot to buy a retired president an office for 700 million kshs was hatched. It’s very obvious that stupid is in charge when 500 million is to be spent on the Chief Justice residence and yet the CJ is also given a housing allowance!

Words cannot express the sort of betrayal Kenyans feel at this – to spend national resources on individuals luxury lifestyle is the height of treachery. It is an unbelievable culture of daring arrogance that has shocked us into silence. Yet we must speak up against those who are corruptly enriching themselves at our expense.

Without wasting a single moment, the Jubilee government set about dealing with the gap between the rich and the poor by making it so exponentially wide the poor cannot even see the other side. We have a brood of selfish, narrow minded and shortsighted people in power and they are too busy turning themselves into mini-Sultans to notice that unless they start using the national revenue for developing the country as is proper, soon this country will go from third world poor to 10th world destitute. Our population is estimated to be at about 70 million by the year 2030; if these idiots don’t stop shopping with our money and start doing what they are supposed to do with it, soon enough even their own so called luxury lifestyles will come to an end. 

They may feel superior, but they are only thieves. They may have it good and luxurious but that won’t last forever. One day in this country, the poor will have nothing left to eat but the rich, and we out number them. That is something that these “big men” keep forgetting, nothing lasts forever.