Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The bittersweet Anniversaries

August 27th was the third anniversary of the promulgation of the “new” Kenya constitution.  It wasn’t really new in 2010, simply the third attempt at creating an inclusive and unanimously agreed upon document that represented the will and wishes of the Kenyan people.  7th August, 2010 brought a journey of years of tears, sweat and blood to an end after a landslide victory in a referendum that quite literally threatened to rend apart the nation.

The thing about that referendum is that it represented the very essence of what we have come to define as democracy in Kenya. It was a “winner takes all” battle. That is, in the culture and spirit of every other electoral process, proponents for the new constitution and against went cutthroat at each other. Just like the 2002 elections, and then the 2005 referendum, and then the 2007 elections, the 2010 referendum was filled with malice, misinformation and selfish interest on the part of stakeholders and politicians. It was a battle between Green (Yes) and Red (No).

On the part of the “No” team, was the determined drive to obscure certain facts of the constitution that pertain to the protection of life; at every rally the electorate was reminded that this constitution would allow for abortions to be conducted. “Mtakuwa baba wa akina nani?!” (Whose fathers will you be?) The churches especially were resolute on the matter, despite the constitution clearly stating that: 

“The life of a person begins at conception” and “Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law. [Art. 26 (2) & (4)]

I suppose it was the terms “unless” and “emergency” and “life of the mother” that they were most objected to. The idea that the mother’s life was important too must have been completely unacceptable. Thus, a campaign based on driving misinformation based on that clause led the “No” team to literally claim that the new constitution allowed for abortions under all circumstances.

But let’s not berate the “No” team. They were in good company. Because the “Yes” team, rather than clarify the deliberate misinformation that was going out, chose to attack the people behind the “No” campaign, calling them, “anti-reformers.” Those who previously considered themselves politically expedient earned the title “Watermelons” (green on the outside, red on the inside).

The escalation of animosities between camps was so intense, so great that it became a national concern that a repeat of the violence of 2007/08 post election violence might occur.  Let’s just pause there. This was just going to be a referendum, no lucrative elected posts would be at stake and at the heart of the referendum would be a document for all Kenyans from here into eternity. Yet the tension and hatred in the country was so intense that it actually resulted in major security concerns. The US and UK even issued travel advisories. 

Luckily for all of us, after months of spewing all sorts of venomous, vitriolic garbage about the opposing camps, the politicians and stakeholders begrudgingly began to preach a message of peace. A bit too late of course for some parts of the Rift Valley but on the whole, the flares of violence before, during and after the referendum were to a controlled minimum.

It’s been three years since we promulgated the constitution. Lo and behold, majority of Kenyans are as misinformed and largely ignorant of the constitution as they were when they were voting 3 years ago. You have to remember that this constitution was the most widely and freely government distributed document in the history of Kenya. Yet majority of Kenyans to date have not read it. I believe it was Mark Twain who said that, “A person who does not read is just as badly off as a person who cannot read.” That is, you are both ILLITERATE.

Kenyans revel in their ignorance by the way, as do their political leaders. That’s why now, 3 years later, we have County Governors threatening the process of devolution with demands that the constitution be amended so that 40% of the National budget is distributed to the Counties rather than 15%; never mind that they have no presented facts or statements of expenditure that can justify such a demand. That’s why now, 6 months after the 2013 general elections that cost us billions of shillings, politicians are talking about doing another referendum in order to amend the constitution so as to take the right to vote for president away from the electorate because of “the tyranny of numbers” AKA some ethnic groups outnumber others.

Throughout all this the staunchly defiant and proudly ignorant yet ethnic (p) sycophantic political supporter of whichever tribal kingpin, agrees in total with whatever his tribesman says. 

If we did go to a referendum to amend the constitution to take away our own right to pick the president it would certainly not surprise me that up to 50% and more of Kenyans would vote against their own rights, because that is what ignorant people do. Ignorant people will cheer while an elite group of sadistic politicians rile them up emotionally over a document that seeks to serve them ALL.

3 years after the constitution was promulgated and the Constitution Implementation Committee confirms that the biggest obstacle to the implementation process is not just the delays in the scheduling but the massive, determined, willful ignorance of majority of Kenyans. It’s a simple concept. We cannot fully implement the Kenya Constitution if you do not read and consequently adopt the tenets within that document; knowing and exercising your rights, freedoms, responsibilities and privileges. Without you making the constitution a part of your identity as a citizen of this country that document is just a piece of paper that is partly important to government officials and perhaps, sometimes important to the Judiciary and rarely important to Parliament.

This is the year of anniversaries, and yet all we seem to be marking is yet another year of ethnic drivel, animosity and the general stupidity of majority of Kenyans who keep talking about a document they haven’t read and will not read. Cheers Baby, Happy Anniversary!

W.S.I the new old STD on the block - featured on

W.S.I – (abbreviation) “Willfully Sexually Ignorant, a state of deliberately ignoring sex education and yet being sexually active; knowing of sex education but ignoring it.”
Every Friday night they are on twitter, on facebook, busy sex-chatting the explicit and the vulgar. On the bright side, they are on social media so the chances of them actually DOING what they are talking about are reduced; on the dark side, the blatant ignorance they display which they actually practice.

In 2002, then President Mwai Kibaki declared free primary education and 1 million kids went to school within the first few weeks. Then came the nationwide anti-HIV campaign, led by the president himself that resulted in “sex education” being introduced as part of the curriculum. So our little kids were told of the evils of sex outside marriage and about the reproductive cycles and the “education” stopped way short of how to take preventive measures. Well, the ABCs were mentioned: Abstinence, Be faithful and use a Condom, but no one was going to demonstrate HOW to use condoms. Never mind, we said, they were children in primary school and don’t need to know how to use contraceptives. The religious people would raise hell anyway. Apparently God has issues with contraceptives. 

So here we are; dealing with a generation of legal adults aged 18-49 who are STILL willfully sexually ignorant because lo and behold, most don’t use condoms, and most don’t take contraceptive measures. Now it’s understandable if one was a teenager in high school and unable to access information or contraceptives, but these people are not in high school, these are people who are in university or are working, people who have access to news, information, smart phones and GOOGLE.  These are people who go out there, have unprotected sex, and with more than one partner.

The willfully sexually ignorant woman will not spend 50 shillings on a monthly hormonal contraceptive. No. She will spend 150 kshs on an emergency pill which she will take up to 4 times a month, despite the instructions clearly stating that it is an EMERGENCY pill, and one does not have those sorts of emergencies 4 times a month. Never mind the hormonal boosts she keeps giving her body, or the fact that an emergency pill is taken in case one’s REGULAR contraceptive method has failed or if she forgot to take the pill for 2 days or more. She relies on the morning after pill because she is compulsive the night before and apparently unable to follow simple instructions or swallow a pill each day like a normal person.

WSI women use emergency pills as regular contraception, pumping their bodies full of hormones and messing up their cycles so much that they don’t know when their periods are supposed to turn up. Should the WSI miss her period anyway, and suspect she is pregnant, she will spend 6-10 thousand kshs on an abortion; an UNSAFE abortion.

I don’t have to tell you that abortion is illegal in Kenya so chances of one procuring a SAFE Dilate and Curette (D&C) depend on how much the doctor values his ethics. Needless to say, it would be an expensive procedure. Basically, the average WSI encumbered with an unwanted pregnancy will seek a backstreet abortion. The damage done in such procedures fills the government clinics and the district hospitals with females whose insides are ripped to shreds and festering with sepsis, and if the WSI woman gets away unscathed, she remains defiantly, willfully sexually ignorant and repeats the process once again.

The WSI man on the other hand is not only willfully ignorant sexually; he is also incapable of self control or taking responsibility. Thus, if he gets an infection it is the woman’s fault. If she gets pregnant it is her fault. If he is HIV positive someone else infected him. During the entire sexual act it is the woman who “gave” him. The result being that the WSI man is unlikely to EVER consider condom use, or even have the slightest hint on the different contraceptives available. He thus would not know if his woman took a pill or not. The most the WSI man would do is contribute cash to an abortion.
Though it may seem that WSI male is getting away with less physical damage due to sexual behavior, the WSI man leads HIV prevalence, being slightly ahead of the woman. 

You see there is absolutely no point of doing anti-HIV campaigns and adverts if the people who are supposedly educated enough to understand these campaigns remain willfully sexually ignorant. That is, they IGNORE condoms, they IGNORE contraceptives and they IGNORE safe sex practices. There really is no point in lamenting the impending deaths of people who choose to expose themselves to HIV infections despite there being condoms and despite there being VCT clinics where they can be tested. It is a cold thing to say, but it has to be said. If you are a WSI female popping the morning after pill 4 times a month thinking that you are avoiding pregnancy all the time you are exposing yourself by not using condoms or the regular pill, you really cannot expect us to believe that you don’t know what you are doing. I am NOT sorry if you refuse to be sexually responsible and thus face the consequences of your irresponsible behavior. Yes. I am cold hearted. But then you are willfully ignorant. We are even.

We aren’t talking about teenagers who are caught up by their hormones and a lack of access. We are talking about fully grown adults who not only were educated in school, they grew up post 1980s so they know about the dangers of HIV and AIDs and they know about condom use. These are people who come from families where their own parents used contraceptive measures such that they have average 2-3 siblings. These are people who can read but choose not to. They are as sexually illiterate as the herds’ boy in the remotest plains of Kenya. These are people who live close enough to hospitals such that when their backstreet abortions go wrong they can at least seek treatment at a medical facility. 

WSI people behave that way ON PURPOSE. A willfully sexually ignorant person is like this suicide patient a doctor once told me about. The man had tried to slice open his neck. His family took him to hospital in good time and the doctor spent hours in surgery working on reattaching the various sinews, nerves and veins in his neck. He survived in good condition. Barely 6 hours after surgery the man woke up and jumped from the 5th story of the hospital. Just like that he was rushed back into surgery for the same doctor to stitch him together again. The doctor was working on another patient and couldn’t stop, so he took his time. 30 minutes later, suicide guy had died.
Sometimes you actually get what you want. We can’t keep stitching fools together.

How to rule for a 100 years - featured in

89 year old Robert Mugabe got sworn in this week in his 7th term as President. After winning an “election” with 63% of the votes verses Tsvangirai’s 37% and also garnering a house majority in parliament, we just have to concede that after all these years, old really is gold in Zimbabwe.  Mugabe has been party leader of the populist Zanu-PF since the 80s, his most renown land reform policy returned land to millions of citizens who were previously squatters and sealed ownership of Zimbabwe in the indigenous people of Zimbabwe.  So. Never mind that self rule didn’t turn out as rosy as the people had hoped, they owned the land they live on and that is ALL that matters.

It’s such a simple, trifle thing and yet even the most so called educated intellectuals and political pundits just don’t get it. Even if Mugabe were 180 years old, way past dead and barely breathing, he could still cling to power and win an election with over 60% of the votes because the people own the very land they live on from now into eternity and that is all that matters to them.

Land is the sole determinant in all of Africa, it is the land that caused the scramble and partitioning of the continent and it is the land that will forever remain the source and fuel for conflict.  It is land that brought colonial settlers here and it is land that freedom fighters fought for. It is land that gives us life and a livelihood and it is land that African governments must redistribute in an equitable, fair and considerate manner.

It’s no secret that the people of South Sudan had been tormented in a 21 year old war because of the resources found on their land. You would expect that after gaining independence and becoming Africa’s youngest nation State that South Sudan would quickly encourage her people to re-settle far and wide and reclaim the land so that they can develop together. But this is not the case. South Sudan’s government suffers the exact same problem every single post-colonial country suffers to date. There are elements that will always be unwilling to cede power by allowing the people to take up what is rightfully theirs. Some of these elements may come from Khartoum, but many of these elements resist from within. 

If black gold is the poison that keeps Abyei near the border with Sudan aflame with violence, then the people of Turkana County are facing an impending doom. In 1961, one of the largest oil deposits in East Africa was discovered to rest beneath northern Kenya. It was of course kept a secret then. Ever since, the Northern territories have deliberately been under developed and marginalized; this is a region that sees perennial conflict. Northern Kenya is so lawless that the Government of Kenya visibly struggles with cattle rustlers, bandits and brazen border crossing terrorists. Earlier this year over 100 policemen were killed in an ambush in Baragoi district while tracking supposed cattle rustlers.

To kill 100 Kenyan armed policemen takes not just the biggest cajoles one could ever possess, but it also means that the attacking party was far better armed and prepared and certainly outnumbered the policemen.
More importantly, it means that right within our country is a militia that completely refuses to recognize the law enforcement authority of the Kenyan police. Chances are, the policemen met with the law enforcing authority of some mini-lord out there in Baragoi.

In Northern Kenya, administration police die like flies. They are under equipped, lack resources and outnumbered constantly. As soon as the Kenya government announced last year that Tullow Oil Company had discovered oil in Turkana County, there was a marked increase in arms being distributed among the people there.  Note: it took the Kenya government 52 years to tell the people what exactly they were standing on. During which time, certain members of government and highly placed politicians had bought entire sections of land in Turkana at throw away prices. The place is dry and arid, so at the time it would have been a bargain to anyone. 

Now the people are wiser. They now understand why for decades they were left to starve under the blistering sun, why only NGOs would give a hoot whether they lived or died why there are hardly any schools, no electricity, no roads and no security. They finally understand that the very ground that they stand on is the reason why their numbers have deliberately been depleted through conflict, starvation and disease and why the rest of the country couldn’t care less. And they are arming themselves.

It’s almost hilarious for Kenya to declare that it is set to be an oil producing country within a few years. To successfully produce oil from that part of Kenya is to eliminate or subdue the threat posed by the people who rightly live there and those people are armed. What is likely to happen is a long protracted conflict, whether political or physical; one that will make the journey to those petrodollars difficult, painful and quite possibly bloody. 

When we say oil producing nation, I don’t think of Saudi Arabia where social services and amenities mean that nobody is homeless or going hungry or unable to seek medical attention. No. When we say oil producing nation, I think of Nigeria, where the disparities between rich and poor and ethnic communities and religious groups is so dark and distinct that Nigeria has homegrown terrorist groups.
We, as a country, did not take stock in the run up to independence on how we would actually manage to live together, all 120 different ethnic groups, within one border and share resources. We allowed a handful of politicians decide to impress deeper a colonial divide and rule doctorate, to sew together haphazardly linguistically and culturally similar groups so as to reduce the national ethnic tally to a strange number of 47 and to totally ignore ancestral land rights and concerns over much needed resources necessary for the sustenance of entire groups of people. 

Every 5 years thus, we allow these same Frankenstein- like politicians or their psychopathic offspring to hem and haw at whatever little sense of nationhood that we have, we let them use our ethnic differences to polarize us so that they can be elevated into power in repeated fiascos we call elections. In the event that you live in an area where the law is not the Kenya police, you can be sure that every 5 years, those parts of Kenya run red with blood because of these “leaders.” 

It’s funny how Kenya refuses to learn from Zimbabwe thus. Seeing as these political leaders desire to rule forever, all they need to do is to restore the land to the people. The fact is, once that is done, even if the people aren’t well off, they will still give you their vote. It will be an effortless victory. KANU can then rule for 100 years as President Moi once said, and do so without need for bloodshed. Painless, effortless, power.

JSC as a whole should be investigated

There once was a King who had in his counsel a Judge, a Rich man and a Poor man. The King suspected that one of his advisors was not to be trusted, but he was not sure whom. So, he called the Judge and said. “Someone TOOK my Scepter.” Immediately the Judge called all the advisors before the King. “Someone STOLE the King’s Scepter.” The Rich man said, “I am rich, wealthy beyond imagination, why would I steal anything, when I do not lack?” The Judge agreed with this, and immediately accused, judged and sentenced the poor man to death. “We KNOW that you stole the King’s Scepter,” said the Judge. 

The poor man said, “My King, I have no money so I have no measurable success to hide behind, I am not a Judge to embody justice and thus be above accusation, and I am not the King who owns all. But Sire, I have only one thing in this world that no one gave me or can take away and that is my truth. I did not take your scepter and I do not know who did.” He insisted on his innocence, even up to the moment that the executioner raised the axe above his head.
Then the King stood up. “Stop! I now know which one of you I cannot trust.” And the King showed them his Scepter which he had hidden all along. 

In any nation, injustice taints the leadership and honor of the office bearers at the highest echelons, more so, when the injustice is delivered by one of the very institutions that are to implement justice for Citizens. When the Judicial Service Commission voted 5-7 to suspend the Chief Registrar of Judiciary, Gladys Shollei, based on allegations and insinuations rather than actual charges of proven impropriety, an injustice was delivered. That a high office bearer can be hounded out of office based on claims of apparitions and ghostly corruption is not just morally reprehensible it depicts aptly the deeply rooted ROT that festers deep within the JSC.

Just imagine how simple it is to get someone out of the way, or into office then. One doesn’t need any concrete facts or concerted effort to reach the truth, merely an allegation. What is truly disturbing is how much of the so called “dubious” contracts Ms. Shollei is accused of handling already existed before she took office.

One wonders who or what indeed is being investigated here then. You surely cannot investigate the person, for something that was procured before the person took office. You cannot investigate the office before the office was created and you certainly cannot investigate the entire JSC based on an allegation that the JSC made itself!

We can however, tell what the problem is with the JSC. It’s not just that the officials themselves need to be weighed, measured and tried, but the powers of the offices they hold need to be curtailed, curbed and cut. Yes CUT. To a just and judicious level befitting the sort of people we sadly appoint to these offices.

Let’s face it Kenya has only a handful of actual Jurists, none of whom are in the JSC. This is an institution that has proven incapable of justly considering its own procurements verses the state of the nation in deciding to build the CJ an extravagant home.  As if that was not disgusting enough, a few months ago, the JSC had the temerity to argue that acquiring luxury cars for judges was a constitutional right!

So here we are, some months later, when lo and behold a strange spirit of buyers' regret has invade the JSC and rather than perform an AUDIT as would be appropriate, correct and JUST, they choose to summarily suspend the Chief Registrar without merit, without proof of allegations and without even giving her the chance to know what or who her accusers are.

Rather than the JSC conducting investigations FIRST and then suspending Ms. Shollei if evidence was found, they decide to suspend her, claim they will investigate allegations and do this in full view of the entire country.  You have to admire such brazenness.  If I were King, I would certainly see the hanging judge hang himself, so as to restore the people’s faith in the legitimacy of my office; but I am not King. 

If nothing else, we have to thank these JSC officials for demonstrating how far from anything lawful this “investigation” will be. I dare say all we will be served after two weeks is more rumor and allegation.  At the very least, now we know what level of “justice” to expect from the JSC. That explains the sort of “justice” we get from the Judiciary too, I expect.