Monday, 20 July 2009

Travelling with a Kenyan Passport

Last week while I was at work, my boss told me that it was time I took leave. I could not believe my ears. I normally have fought to take leave in previous jobs. I know that she is worried,as I have a lot of leave, and the rule is you can take a maximum of two weeks at a time. They have made exceptions for me, and said that I can take three weeks to go home. The rule annoys me, as before in other jobs, I could take however many days I had at a time.

So, I was thinking of planning a short break, and not doing the long haul trip home, yet. I don't like travelling during high season, as it is the most expensive time to travel, and I don't like the crowds everywhere. It is hard for parents to travel with school children here, outside of school times, as they get penalised.

I have browsed on the net for places to go, and finding places that I can travel to that are shorthaul, without the visa hassle is a challenge. In my search I wondered which countries Kenyan passport holders can travel to without having to apply for a visa. This is what I came up with, although I am not sure how accurate it is. If anyone has any other information, let me know. I could have applied for a British passport years ago,but have held onto my Kenyan one. I am waiting to see what will happen in 2012, and also what they do about the whole dual citizenship thing. This is when having a British passport makes travelling easier.

I like to travel, but don't like flying. My anxiety levels are pretty high after 9/11. I don't relax until I get to my destination. So reading about airlines flying to Nairobi hiring private guards, scares me. The last time I was in Nairobi, checking in with British Airways, I went through a number of security checks, and have to say I found it excessive, and hope that noone can bypass the systems. I was just puzzled that the checks in London travelling to Nairobi, were nothing like what I experienced in Nairobi.

It looks like the only place I can go to without a visa in Europe is Kosovo, and am not keen to go there. Everything else is longhaul, in which case I may as well go home, or join the long visa queues.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Trying to shut the stable door when the horse has bolted

The last ditch effort meeting that Raila and Kibaki have summoned to salvage plans for trials of Post election violence , is too little too late.

Ocampo is on the case, and will spill the beans this week. All will be named. However Ruto wants those who rigged the election to be tried first.

I am with Sue and thank Annan for handing over the envelope, and agree with her view that had Mr Kiviuitu behaved differently,we would not have this discussion.

The long arm of justice will come after some of the culprits, whether they like it or not.

I see the Hague as the only option. The local tribunal option I have no faith in whatsoever.

Update related article:What next after handing of Waki ‘envelope’ to ICC? A legal perspective from Paul Muite

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Diaspora dollars down the drain

Reading this article earlier today on why diaspora dollars elude local real estate, brought back some memories.

I have a Ghanaian friend who is now retired, who used to send money to his brother, each month. My friend had not been back to Kumasi, in over twenty years. He was working to build properties back home, and assumed his brother was taking care of business. The plan was, he would leave the UK when he retired, and live comfortably at home. He went home, just before retirement, to check on the state of his properties. Sadly, there were no properties, no bricks, nothing, nada, niente! When he told me what happened, I cried. This guy worked day and night to send money home. I am surprised that he can still talk to his brother.What his brother has done, is wicked.

I have uncles in Kenya who have done the same thing to members of my family, and am at a loss for words. The same uncles who know where to go when they are in a bind, and need money for their children's school fees, or to pay for some emergency.

Life sucks, if you can't trust your family.

My mother is always going on about blood being thicker than water. I don't think so.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Kenya and the Failed state Index

I get home from work, and come across this article on Kenya's decline and fall.

The keywords for me in the article are Kenya and the Annual failed state index 2009. I am relieved that we are not in the top ten rankings, yet.Kenya ranks at 14 in 2009.

I am still getting my head round the idea that we are a failed state, denial ,or wishful thinking, still don't know what it is .

I look back at 2008 and Kenya was ranked 26 on the list. In 2007 we were ranked at 37. So since, 2007, things seem to have gone downhill. I thought that things had improved somewhat, but then I look at the social indicators and political indicators . The truth is staring me in the face loud and clear. We could be in the top ten, and seem to be on the way there.

I live in hope, regardless.

Update related article:The Kenya police is the most corrupt institution in East Africa

Sunday, 28 June 2009

The Somalia threat

I am for Kenya closing the border with Somalia, and feel very uneasy while it is open. Our security on our border posts is not the best, I have Somali friends here who have tales of how they travel across borders across East Africa, and it is down to money, corruption rules. However, security on our borders seems to have improved in the past few weeks.

It will be difficult for Somali refugees , if we close our border. However, I believe this may be the best option in terms of damage limitation.

I do not think our military forces should intervene in Somalia, unless we are attacked.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Michael Jackson RIP

What a legend. Takes me back to the Jackson Five. I grew up with them. Thriller, Off the Wall, Rock with you.

May your soul rest in peace Michael Jackson.

Update Related article:The self-styled King of Pop, whose musical gift was overshadowed by his private life

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

These Kenyan bishops should not be shocked

Catholic bishops of Kenya have expressed shock at allegations of child sex abuse by a prominent missionary priest and promised "to investigate the matter to its final conclusion."

I am not surprised that the Catholic church is on the defensive.

You need to read the finds of this enquiry into endemic rape and abuse of Irish children in Catholic care.

I know someone who was a victim of abuse, who has just received some compensation.

The abuse has wrecked her life, and the life of her brothers and sisters.

I wonder how anyone can be compensated for these sorts of atrocities.

It is not easy for victims of abuse to come out, and divulge what has happened, so I hope the Catholic church in Kenya, investigate this case properly.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Prime Minister Raila Odinga says that you have a simplistic view of Kenyan politics if you believe it is ethnic

We've met with a number of university students here, some of whom were very adamant that it was time for Kenyan politics to move beyond ethnic politics and community politics, that it was time for Kenyan politics to focus on national politics and ideological politics. Does Kenya need to have a more ideological base of party politics, rather than these coalitions of ethnic communities running against each other or alternating power?
I don't agree. It's a very simplistic view of Kenyan politics. Kenyan politics are much more complicated than that, and they are fairly ideological. ODM party [Odinga's party] is more of a social democracy [party]. PNU [Kibaki's party] is a more conservative political party. But ideology has even died in America. What is the difference between Republicans and the Democrats? Go to Britain. Labor and the Tories. It is not just only Africa. That is a very simplistic view of what's happening here.
Our politics are not ethnic. Look at elections last time. My party won seats in all the eight provinces in the country. Look at the presidential elections. I won the vote in six of the eight provinces. I did not win in [President Kibaki's province], but I also got some votes there. I did not win in Eastern Province, but I also got some votes there.
If you look at the Democrats and the Republicans in the United States when they are voting, there are some states that are purely Democratic, the others which are purely Republican. Your political parties are stronger in some regions than others. In Britain, there are what they called the Labor-safe seats and the Tory-safe seats. If you are a Labor and you want to run for a Tory-safe seat, they will give you a ticket, but not [funds], because they know you stand no chance of winning.
Tell me how ODM is an ethnic grouping. We have forty-two different tribes in this country. Who are my alliances in all those? Yesterday I was in Samburu [in northern Kenya], where I got 90 percent of the vote. Who are my ethnic allies in Samburu? In Somali, in Northeastern Province, I won the majority vote there. Who are my ethnic allies there? The people just voted for me because of what I represented. I got the votes of the Kambas [an ethnic group]; I got votes from [the coast]. I won the majority vote, not because of ethnic alliances, but because of what my political party stood for. This idea that politics in Africa is ethnic-based tribalism completely misses the point. It does not understand the sophistication of African [politics].

You have made some public statements of frustration and exasperation with the government and threatened at points to pull out. First, do you have any intention of doing so, and under what conditions?
I have not threatened to pull out. We will not pull out because pulling out would amount to surrender. Our position is that we won an election but our victory was stolen. We agreed to compromise so that the country can move on and that we use this position to produce reforms that will ensure this country does not in this future get itself in the difficult situation that it found itself in last year.
We want to devolve power to give the regions more say in planning and execution of the development agenda. We want parliament to play an oversight role and the executive to implement the vision.
What we have been doing sometimes is to criticize from within so that we can act as a catalyst to the process of reforms. There are difficult areas where the two sides of the coalition are not in agreement. For example, the issue of police reform. Also in the area of judicial reform.
In a coalition, it is not always the case that two sides will agree. Sometimes there are different positions. That's how coalitions work the world over. Even in Germany, where they have a grand coalition, sometimes you see that the coalition partners disagree.

Quotes from Prime Minister says Kenyan politics are not ethnic

Related article: Did the government change its report in Geneva

Sunday, 7 June 2009

The ripple effect

Mac Maharaj believes the instability radiating from Kenya and Zimbabwe will affect neighbouring countries.

The immediate and pressing matter, however, is what should be done about Kenya and Zimbabwe.
In the Kenyan crisis, Kibaki may have appeared reluctant about entering a deal. But it was Odinga who, if he stayed out, would have been seen as the spoiler.
In the case of Zimbabwe, SADC painted Morgan Tsvangirai as the impediment to peace. Mugabe was not put under pressure to make real concessions.
In both instances, the incumbent leaders who were determined to cling to power, retained their seats.
What we are seeing is how both presidents are using their positions to pare down the effects of the deal on their powers and diminish the powers of their coalition partners.
The instability radiating from Kenya and Zimbabwe is going to ripple through their neighbouring countries.
South Africa is in danger of being caught in the middle: on the one hand is the impact of the global economic crisis, and on the other the instability spilling out of Zimbabwe.
Leaving matters to drift along will only increase the instability in the present, and may well spell disaster in the future. It is time to put Kibaki and Mugabe under pressure.

I think of Gordon Brown and the pressure he is under and feel for him.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Politicians are the same the world over

Reading the paper on the underground after work a few days ago, this story caught my eye.

Conservative MP Anthony Steen had claims for expenses of up to £87,000, and part of the expenses included inspections of more than 500 trees, and guarding against shrubs.

To add insult to injury he says ati his critics are jealous because he lives in a big house. I wonder whether he has any chance of getting selected at the next election with this attitude. Some people just don't get it.

This is all tax payers money that pays for this. I was so not amused. I had a look round the train, and was watching faces as they read the story, not good.

I think about how much I am taxed each month, and this is where some of my money goes,WTF!

If I decide not to pay my taxes I know that I will be spending time at her majesty's pleasure. No ifs, buts or maybe's.

The MP's expenses scandals here are outrageous. Some MP's have resigned, others have decided to pay back what they claimed for. Okay they shouldn't have put in such outrageous claims in the first place, but I think it is a good thing, that some are paying it all back.

I wondered whether any politician in Kenya would ever consider paying back the money they had stolen in the various scandals, I don't see it happening.

M makes some strong points about how the UNDP need to get serious.

Related article: Leadership incompetence the cause of Africa's woes

Then we have Somali pirates who take early retirement , and launder their money easily by investing in property, hotels, shopping arcades, and trucking companies in Kenya.

Update Related article: Chasing the Somali piracy money trail

Life goes on as always.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Barack Obama will not be visiting Kenya on his Africa trip

I dread going to work when my Ghanaian colleague will be in. As I know he will ask me why Obama chose Ghana instead of Kenya for his first trip to Africa.

My initial reaction when I read about this was charity begins at home, at least that is what my mother always drummed into me. So, I couldn't get it.

On reflection, I see it as tough love. Barack Obama will not visit Kenya until we have sorted ourselves out. Whenever that will be.

Clearly Ghana had free and fair elections and has a good model of governance.

It can happen in Africa, but will it happen in Kenya despite our history.

I live in hope.

Update:Related article Why Obama will not visit Kenya

Update two Related article:Kenya: Country's Honeymoon With Obama Has Turned Sour

Monday, 18 May 2009

Big man syndrome lives on in Malawi

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has summoned a meeting with Commissioners of Police and their deputies, all District Commissioners at Sanjika today to technically brief them on how to rig the Tuesday elections.

Mutharika who has openly conceded that the race is between him and Tembo has promised to double-kick the opposition coalition in a "Kibaki style" in reference to Kenyan elections which were fraudulent.
Sources have revealed that Mutharika has told close party faithful and aides that they should not worry about losing the elections next week as the DPP is not accepting anything less than victory.
"I and the DPP are not going anywhere. We will not be moved even if we lose the vote. I know Malawians love me and want to see the DPP government continuing. It is that Muluzi and Tembo who want to stop the people's will so why accept the loss if the majority in all corners of the country want us," Mutharika is reportedly to have said.
Mutharika went to assure his politburo that any pockets of violence will be crashed by the police and the army within seconds.

Quotes from Malawi ruler plans to do a Kibaki

Well, what can I say, other than I hope that there is no violence in Malawi when this happens. I will be watching closely.

Africa jameni!

Honest Scrap Award

Marvin K Tumbo of Proud to be Kenyan blog has awarded me with the Honest Scrap Award.

Big Thanks to you Marvin for the honour.


Things you need to do if you receive the award

  • Brag about the award.

  • Include the name of the blogger who gave you the award, and link back to them in your blog post.

  • Choose a minimum of seven bloggers who you find brilliant in content or design.

  • Show their names and links and leave them comments on their blogs to let them know you have awarded them.

  • List at least ten honest things about yourself.

I have a rule about not writing anything too personal about myself on this blog, but hey this is an exception.

  1. I have a very sweet tooth and love liquorice, and treacle toffees.

  2. Everything I eat at home is organic, but I have to compromise when I go out to friends, or eat out. There are too many additives in the food here, in London. So Wholefoods is where I do my food shop. Most of my friends and colleagues make fun of me, and think I am a new age nutter. I use organic skincare, haircare,and all my household cleaning products are chemical free.

  3. I have lived in London for half of my life.

  4. I love to be by the sea, and find that it chills me out. I cry whenever I touch down at Mombasa airport, as I love the Kenyan coast, and have so many good memories there. Swahili men, make me smile when they tune.

  5. Several strangers have come up to me in churches and told me that I am a healer.

  6. Most Black people that I meet in the UK think I am from the Carribean(from the small islands not Jamaica),and think I am lying when I tell them I am Kenyan. I always ask them what an African is supposed to look like, and the standard response is you can tell the difference. What a load of rubbish. When I was at the coast last , the hotel staff thought we were all African American, until my mum broke into vernacular, and the deep one at that, lol.

  7. Most men that I meet think that I am ten years younger than I am. It is problematic,as I get a lot of younger guys chatting me up, and I don't feel comfortable dating anyone younger than me.

  8. I love to read. My flat has floor to ceiling bookshelves, and I spend a fair amount on books.

  9. I don't drink or smoke.

  10. I once went to work with my trousers on inside out. I worked in a team of six people, and saw clients throughout the day. Noone told me until 1.00pm, but I had noticed some funny looks on the underground in the morning. You see I love my sleep,and am clearly not vain.

The seven bloggers that I am tagging with the Honest Scrap award, and who I think are brilliant in content and design are :

Daudi Were at Mental Acrobatics

Odegle Nyang

Thinkers room

Kenyan Psychiatrist

Porky Gourmand


Kenyan Jurist

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Kenyan Kangas in fashion this season in LA

Suno has taken kangas to LA and has introduced a limited edition .

I love going to Mombasa,down Biashara st, and adding to my collection of Kangas whenever I visit.

I always buy a number for the relas, when I am there. I gave my grandmother a set, that she loved,a number of years ago.The saying on the bottom of the kanga was that we get lots of blessings from our grandparents, and cannot shower them with enough love. She was so moved when I gave her this set.She wore them all the time, and when she passed over,asked that they be given back to me.

Update Related article: We have Obama fries

Sunday, 10 May 2009

When a title deed means nothing

Kenyans in the diaspora who have invested in land back home could lose what they have worked so hard for. They claim agents colluded with the government to sell them public land.

Over the past six years, the Government has spent a lot of resources wooing Kenyans in the Diaspora to invest back home.

And the move has borne fruits. Money transfers from the Diaspora now stand at Sh78 billion, an amount that has shot up from about Sh59 billion in 2005.

In Kiambu West District, about seven such investors could lose over Sh150million they have invested in residential houses.

Quotes from Kenyans abroad could lose big in land scandal.

This is so not funny. Hard earned money down the drain.

I feel for these guys who could lose their money, I know a number of people who have worked some crazy hours, with several jobs to raise the money.

You know, at this point I don't think anything will shock me.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Kenyan man could not take the sex strike

A Kenyan man has sued activists who encouraged women to give up sex with their partners for a week.

He claims the lack of sex caused him distress. I wonder what this guy does when his wife has her period.

It reminds me of a friend of mine who had some gynaecological surgery. She needed a few weeks to heal, it was obvious. Yet her husband still wanted to have sex with her regardless. He knew how much pain she was in, and that it was harmful, and still insisted.

I guess some people can't control themselves.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this court case is.

Does the Kenyan judicial system have time for men who don't get some for a week?

Thursday, 7 May 2009

People help me understand

I read about the Kenyan Arsenal fan who hung himself when Arsenal lost, and could not believe it.

I would like to believe that this poor man had some other underlying issues, and the Arsenal loss, was the straw that broke the camel's back.

If not, I cannot understand how a man can kill himself over a football match.

I cannot understand how some men become extremely violent when their team has lost, and you have to make sure, that you don't make them aware that you were not supporting their team.

Why do some men want to fight after footie?

Okay to an extent I know booze is involved, but still.

I live pretty close to a football ground, and can remember sometime last year, when a certain team was playing the cops were out in force. I am talking, horses, riot police in their hundreds. They were expecting some serious violence from this team. I wondered what was going to happen to our neighbourhood. These guys were also known to be racist,and I live in a very multicultural area, so made sure not to manga manga after the match.

Then on the tube home this evening, I read about the Chelsea referee, who had to be smuggled out of Britain because of death threats.

Now, is it just me or are these guys mad?

Help me understand please?

Saturday, 2 May 2009

More of the same in some parts of Africa

Zimbabwe’s bloated government is heading the same way as Kenya's

The core of the problem in both Kenya and Zimbabwe is that incumbent parties which lost elections refuse to hand over power. The winners were persuaded to accept negotiated settlements by the promise that the resulting unity governments would be temporary, but have ended up shooting themselves in the foot. Neither Kibaki nor Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe are prepared to risk a free and fair election, so they are content to drag things out indefinitely. The longer there is no progress, the weaker the position of the opposition.

Nkazwi Mhango raises the question that power sharing deals could be Africa's Anathema.

Africa has come a long hard way. Before this anathema-power sharing was devised, the barrel of the gun used to be the means for power hungry monsters. We saw Yoweri Museveni ( Uganda ) Meles Zenawi ( Ethiopia ), Jonas Savimbi ( Angola ), Paul Kagame ( Rwanda ), Pierre Nkurunzinza (Burundi), Laurent Kabila (DRC) and others coming to power by the barrel of the gun.

After some of them overstayed in power, we wrongly thought that the current monsters supported by hoi polloi, opposing them would be a solution. Nay! They are all the same. To me whoever does not fight graft and listen to the electorate, is as good as any power hungry monster.

That power sharing has proved to be an abracadabra… what should Africa do? The hoi polloi should stop allowing themselves to be used by power barking mad monsters. Instead of pinning hopes onto a wrong horse, people must agitate for real changes. They must use the same popularity they rendered to their traitors in question, to oust them as they strengthen democratic institutions such as the constitution. With civic disobedience, no looter can rule any hank of land in Africa. This is but a new and sure way forward.

Global press freedom declines

There were setbacks highlighted in Israel, Italy, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Kenya should be in there somewhere.

Following is Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message for World Press Freedom Day, observed 3 May:

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees everyone the right "to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers". On World Press Freedom Day, we reiterate the central importance of this right -- and the need to protect the journalists and media outlets on the frontlines of exercising it.

Attacks on journalists remain shockingly high in number. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 11 journalists have been killed in the line of duty so far this year. Among them was Lasantha Wickrematunge, a prominent Sri Lankan journalist assassinated in January on his way to work. I call on the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that those responsible for his murder are found and prosecuted. UNESCO has honoured Mr. Wickrematunge posthumously with its World Press Freedom Prize for 2009, to be presented in a Press Freedom Day ceremony in Doha.

The CPJ also reports that, as of 1 December 2008, 125 journalists were in prison. Some have been incarcerated for years -- and some for more than a decade. Three countries -- China, Cuba and Eritrea -- account for half of those cases. I urge all Governments that have detained journalists to ensure that their rights are fully respected, including the right to appeal and defend themselves against charges.

I am also concerned that some Governments are suppressing Internet access and the work of Internet-based journalists and others using the "new media". Not surprisingly, blogging has flourished in countries where restrictions on media are toughest. Now, according to the CPJ, some 45 per cent of all media workers jailed worldwide are bloggers. I urge all Governments to respect the rights of these citizen journalists, who may lack the legal resources or political connections that might assist them in gaining their freedom.

Quotes from Free, independent media essential agent of human rights, development, peace, says Secretary-General, in World Day message.

The Kenyan blogosphere definitely keeps me up to date with what is going on at home. December 2007, it was a lifeline, even if it involved me having to log onto Mashada. I am grateful for the all the differing content that is out there, that enables me to get a sense of what is happening on the ground.

It was great to be able to text the folks,relatives, and friends during those times, and tell them to avoid certain trouble spots.Sad that they had to rely on information from outside, to get the whole picture.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Amnesty International says the Kenyan government has a duty to protect the rights of all citizens

Over the past three weeks vigilante groups have been active in Kirinyaga district, ostensibly to provide community protection or security against the operations of Mungiki members who have been demanding money as protection fees from residents of the area.

Amnesty International emphasizes that the state has an obligation to respect and protect the right to life of everyone within its jurisdiction.

The Kenyan Government must not abdicate its duty to respect and protect life by explicitly or tacitly supporting the activities of vigilante groups. If the state permits vigilante or similar groups to carry out security or law enforcement functions, any abuses they commit in doing so, including extrajudicial executions or other unlawful killings of criminal suspects, are human rights violations for which the state is responsible. The Kenyan authorities cannot evade their obligations by letting vigilante groups carry out unlawful killings.

It is likewise an abdication of their duty for the police to state that they will not act because whenever they do, they are accused of extrajudicial executions. It is the role of the state, through its law enforcement agencies, to provide adequate security and protection against violent crime. In doing so, the police must use only such force as is strictly necessary and proportionate for the performance of their duty. The government must ensure that the police or any other bodies which carry out law enforcement functions comply with Kenya's international human rights obligations. Deliberately killing a criminal suspect rather than arresting them is an extrajudicial execution.

As the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, arbitrary or summary executions said, following his visit to Kenya in February 2009, "all Governments have to deal with criminals, and it is one of the central duties of a Government to protect its citizens from such persons. But ... the proper response to criminality is not to shoot a suspect in the back of the head ..., but to investigate, arrest, and try the suspect in accordance with law".

Amnesty International calls on the Kenyan authorities to ensure that independent and impartial investigations are carried out into all these killings, whether by suspected Mungiki members, by members of vigilante groups, or by the police. Those suspected of being responsible should be arrested and prosecuted in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty, and families of those killed should receive reparations.

Amnesty International also calls on the Kenyan authorities to investigate the role of the police and relevant security personnel in expressing support for the operations of vigilante groups carrying out killings of Mungiki members.

Quotes from Kenya government must protect the rights of all.

The Mungiki menace, and other militant groups need to be dealt with. It is alarming when some of the police force express their support for the Mungiki.

When I first heard about the Mungiki years ago, I assumed that part of their philosophy was not to kill their own people. These guys take butchering to another level altogether, and give me the creeps.

My prayers are with everyone who lost their lives, or was harmed by them last week.

Somali government has condemned the hard line islamic group invading Kenya

The new Somali government has sharply condemned threats of fresh attacks on neighboring Kenya by hard-line Islamic insurgent group al-Shabab. The group, which has refused to recognize President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's government threatened Monday to annex parts of northern Kenya and implement Islamic Sharia law. Nairobi on the other hand has begun strong measures to counter such an attack by deploying extra troops to man the Kenya-Somali border and maintain the disarmament of residents in the province.

Somali cabinet minister Abdirashid Irro Mohammed told VOA that Mogadishu stands in unison with its neighbor to thwart the insurgent group's violent activities aimed to destabilize the region.

"Really, we are very sorry and we condemn such actions. Kenya is our neighbor state and our brotherly country, and they have their own constitution. So there is no reason that al-Shabab should attack them and endorse the sharia law. So here, that is a very bad action and we condemn it, and we don't accept those kinds of threats… so I can say they (al-Shabab) are the enemies for all the region," Mohammed said.

Quotes from Somali Government condemns insurgent moves to annex parts of Kenya

My concern is that I don't think President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, is any way able to control these militants.

I just hope that sufficient troops are sent to the border to deal with this.

Monday, 27 April 2009

No rest for Kenya

Yesterday I met a Somali friend of mine. His view on what was happening in Kenya, was that Raila and Kibaki were just a smokescreen. He believed that the Somali government *coughs* were trying to destablilise Kenya. I laughed it off as another conspiracy theory. He kept on telling me that Kenyans should not go down the violence route, or we will end up like Somalia. I wish I had the power to make things right, but hey, I wait to see what will unfold, as always.

Then I came across this article,a Somali rebel group has threatened to invade Kenya, and think that my friend may have been talking sense.

A Somali rebel group which is fighting the transitional government of the Horn of Africa nation have threatened fresh attacks on Kenya, seeking annexing part of the east African nation's northern region and subject it to Islamic law

I think our neighbours are capitalising on our instability.

Update: That border needs to be tightened, but I guess that is not a priority for the powers that be, at this moment and time.

I wonder whether there is any truth in Chris's post on Kumekucha, that Kibaki insiders are plotting a third term.

A quote I like

I would rather tread with cautious pessimism than wild optimism. If two bulls are put in one kraal, expect no peace in that kraal, for both bulls but also for the other cows. The older bull will always want to flex its muscle and apply its authority on the young and new one. To do so, it has no choice but to use violence. But of course, the young and new bull won't take kindly to this. It will resist any moves to be sidelined. At the back of it's mind, the young bull is convinced that the old has no real stamina, and that in any case this is the moment for a new leader in the kraal.

Quote from Behkinkosi Moyo, after the swearing in of Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister.

He could have been talking about Kenya.

Related article:Its animal farm all over again

Different voices on challenging the Kikuyu Oligarchy

Despite Mwai Kibaki's stated commitment to operate a meritocracy with regard to the diversity of Kenya, his appointments to the most sensitive and crucial offices have been biased towards members of a Kikuyu oligarchy, write Maina Kiai and Paul Muite.

Calling for their fellow Kikuyus to abandon 'blind ethnic loyalty to decisions made by some wealthy old men' who have 'nothing but disdain for the majority of Kikuyu, who are poor and struggling', Kiai and Muite reject the elevation of ethnicity 'beyond all other identities and interests' in favour of a national outlook and perspective. 'For us, it does not matter what ethnic group the leadership comes from: We expect and demand a government which has the interests of the nation at heart, which is fair, honest, effective, accountable and transparent. And we expect the government to follow the law, especially with regard to human life, and fundamental rights'.

Consider the following. It is during the time of a Kikuyu president, with a Kikuyu minister for internal security, a Kikuyu intelligence chief, a Kikuyu head of CID (Criminal investigation department), a Kikuyu PS in internal security, when there are extra-judicial killings of poor young Kikuyu men, claimed to be Mungiki. More than 600 cases are documented of these deaths in 2006, and hundreds more disappeared. For the sake of argument, lets assume they were Mungiki, despite the fact human rights defenders are sure that more than two-thirds of them were not. There are laws that govern these matters. Why were they not used? Killing poor young Kikuyu men, illegally, does not solve the problem of Mungiki. It shows utter contempt for the poor. It shows us that although we are expected to 'speak with one voice'; the Kikuyu community is certainly not one. There is the powerful, old class and there is the 'other' Kikuyu.

Quotes from Challenging the Kikuyu Oligarchy by Maina Kiai and Paul Muite.

Maina Kiai,Paul Muite, and John Githongo (who is not mentioned in the article), are seen as traitors by some Kikuyus.

I wonder why there is an expectation from some Kikuyus that they should all speak with one voice.

I feel that the violence towards Kikuyus after the rigged elections, was because some people believed all Kikuyus spoke with one voice, and took it upon themselves to harm them, which is wrong.This was a tragedy. The culprits were sitting in their ivory towers untouched, while other innocent Kikuyus were butchered.

Joe Ndungu in his post Maina Kiai, Paul Muite autophobia extreme, on his Kikuyu nationalism blog takes things further by stating Maina Kiai, Paul Muite and Binyanvanga are Kikuyus who suffer from self hatred.

Joe Ndungu acknowledges that Kibaki and co, may have failed in some areas.


However,I struggle with his view that Kikuyus who challenge the Kibaki style of government, corruption, theft etc have self hatred.I cannot see the link at all. As far as I am concerned John Githongo, Maina Kiai and Binyanvanga, are Kenyans first.

They are serving their country, and because they will not collude with the Mt Kenya Mafia that amounts to self hatred?

He also adds that these individuals are out to destroy the community.

What I am unsure of is what is Joe Ndungu's definition of the Kikuyu community, and would all Kikuyus, accept his definition?

I am not sure about his comment, that these men loathe everything Kikuyu. I have met some of these men, and have no recollection of them hating all things Kikuyu.

To draw a parallel if you are a parent, and you find out that your child has raped, or murdered someone, would you turn them in?

It is a tough call, and we are programmed to protect our families. However some parents will turn their children in, and others will not.

The big family is Kenya in this instance, and in my view these men are out to protect the family, ie Kenya first. If one child chooses to take all they can get at the expense of the others, some other members of the family will step in and challenge that behaviour. By challenging the behaviour, and trying to see that each child is accepted and valued does not mean that as a parent, you are trying to destroy the child who had attempted to take everything. You are modelling that things should be shared within the family, if you are to live in harmony.

My view is that constructive criticism is healthy,and expected, in all relationships.

Clearly if we are living under a dictatorship, then that is not going to happen.

I shudder at the thought of living in a society where individuals challenging leaders from their own tribe is seen as unacceptable.

No freedom of speech or justice.

I appreciate that Joe Ndungu may be experiencing hurt,anger and rejection by the positions that Binyanvanga, Paul Muite, and Maina Kiai have taken. My sense from his blog post, is that Kikuyus should not behave in this manner.

I question his need to be a part of a community where it is not acceptable to challenge your leaders who try to destroy our country,if they come from your own tribe.

However I accept that this may be his idea of Kikuyu nationalism.

Related article: This is not about Uhuru, its about a contemptuos Kikuyu Kingdom

Thursday, 23 April 2009

US based Human Rights groups worried about Key Western Allies in East Africa

A US based human rights group is alarmed about the number of governments in East Africa and the Horn, which use repressive and violent tactics to stay in power and silence their opponents.

Kenya is featured on the list, no surprises there.

Albin-Lackey says one of the biggest disappointments has been the government of political rivals President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Kenya.

The coalition government, considered one of the most important regional partners for the United States and the European Union, was formed last year after disputed presidential elections sparked country-wide riots and tribal fighting. Both Kenyan leaders had pledged to work together to heal the nation and to tackle poverty and corruption.

But Albin-Lackey says renewed allegations of high-level corruption, a government attempt to implement a law designed to muzzle the media and U.N. charges that Kenyan security forces were authorized to carry out hundreds of extrajudicial killings in 2007 have all raised questions about the government's commitment to democracy and reform.

"Kenya is so hobbled by corruption and by the quality of governance that the threat of poverty and ethnic violence boiling over again into something like what we saw after the elections is becoming more and more real," he said.

Something needs to be done, but will it be done?

How much power do our human rights groups have in Kenya, to effect change?


Related article: Kenya's crumbling government

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Another slap in the face

I have just read Gladwell Otieno's article about how rewarding ECK chiefs is like throwing good money after bad.

I agree with his sentiments. The send off packages that the former ECK commissioners will get, I feel is an insult. I see it as rewarding bad behaviour, disrupting the healing process that a lot of Kenyans are going through,and refusing to acknowledge the role that the ECK played in the 2007 elections.

Kenya yetu.

The sick society we live in

This video was brought to my attention by Prince Hamilton.Did any of these killers ever get tried?

I ask the question, and wonder whether in some parts of Kenya today it is standard practice to kill a person, knowing that you are above the law.

I have to confess that when I go home these days, I am fearful of gun crime, and car jacking in a way that I wasn't before. Back in my day ie the eighties, things were very different.

On my way to work this morning, I read this story about a twelve year old boy who took part in a gang killing.

Flipping hell, at twelve years old, I didn't have the guts or know how to do something like this. Here in London, when I see kids, or teens up to trouble, I don't intervene. Doing so, could cost me my life, and I am aware these kids are of another breed altogether.

Life is cheap.

I remember going to Dar es Salaam in the eighties, and staying with some friends. I was struck by how well behaved the children were in Dar. They respected their elders to the point that when you walked on the street, they made way for you. They made a point of greeting you first, as you passed them playing. It touched me. I don't expect children to bow down to their elders, however having some respect for them I believe is a good thing.

These are changing times.

Related article:Slaughter of the innocents

Monday, 20 April 2009

What is undermining Kenya's peace agreement

The European Union on Monday raised their concerns that impunity and accountability are key constraints to the peace agreement signed last year.

Priorities for the coalition partners:

  • Establishment of a tribunal to deal with Post election violence.

  • Accountability for extra judicial killings, and an establishment of the police review board.

  • Constitutional reform.

  • Freedom of association, freedom of speech,and freedom of assembly need to be safeguarded.

A determined Kenyan deportee in Kansas who prefers jail to being sent back home

The authorities in Kansas are having difficulty deciding what to do with David Kihuha. He would rather stay in jail than be sent back to Kenya, as he fears violence when he returns to Kenya. He has been in the US for 13 years.

The government want to sedate him, but it is proving difficult. Previous attempts have stopped them ,as Kihuha has covered himself in his own shit,and has been known to spit and bite. The commercial airlines have declined to carry a passenger, who behaves in this way.

This guy has been segregated, and put in four different facilities, but that is still a better option for him than going home.

The government have said he is not mentally ill, and his behaviour is acceptable.

Wow, smearing oneself in your own shit is acceptable or normal?

Since when?

In which culture people?

They still want to sedate him, but some civil liberties groups say this is life threatening.

I know of people who are not given that choice in the UK, the security company usually manages to wake them up in the early hours of the morning, ie 5am, and the next day they are back in their country of origin. Here in the UK they don't mess about, and the guards show no mercy.

I have questions about his mental health.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Inequality getting under my skin in Kenya

I have just finished reading an article on poverty and mental health. The report shows the importance of the poverty gap to both individual and collective mental health. The report by Dr Lynne Friedli, Mental Health , Resilience and Inequalities Gap, reveals how the gap between rich and poor affects the mental health of individuals by causing psychological and physiological changes.

A new book the Spirit level, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett,covers a number of issues.

  • Countries with the greatest inequalities of income came out worst: higher levels of mental illness and addiction, higher homicide levels and prison populations, lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality, poorer educational performance, lower levels of trust, higher levels of obesity, more teenage births and lower social mobility.

  • The book gives us the evidence at a macro level that is needed to take a stand against inequalities. On a micro level, inequalities permeate every part of our lives. We are aware of where we stand in the pecking order and who is in our league. However it is something we don't readily acknowledge and often feel powerless to do anything about.
  • The authors collected data from the World Bank, the World Health Organisation, the United Nations,and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development on health and social problems. They then combined this with data on income differences of 23 of the richest countries, ie the differences between the top 20% and bottom 20% of the population. The UK is amongst the most unequal, with the top 20 % having over seven times that of the bottom 20%.

Opinions of what will work differ widely, Colin Feltham, Professor of Critical Counselling Studies at Sheffield Hallam University feels that Government imposed equality would probably make life better for some, (higher taxes for the too rich) but feels that this doesn't at all get at the widespread greed.

Peter Morrall suggests that impossibilism ie the notion that nothing can be done about global suffering should be tackled.

I think about Poverty, inequality and Kenya , and feel are tasks are insurmountable,and wonder how and where we start.

I often read about some people wishing for Moi to return,and I wonder. The whole question of is it better or worse now, is something I think about. I remember reading on some blog, can't remember where now,(pole), that at least Moi left when he lost.

I just feel like it is more of the same, maybe before we knew what we were dealing with. It was blatant. Almost like you know you are going to die and how, but this time round, you are not quite sure what the death sentence is.

If there is anyone out there who has no idea what I am talking about It's our turn to eat by Michela Wrong, which is a book that is recommended on my sidebar, will fill you in on who are the people who have and have not in Kenya.

The result for me is disillusion with politicians, powerlessness and frustration.

The Economist, has an article about Jacob Zuma and voting for the people's man. South Africa a stable multi party democracy where elections are free, I felt envious that this is something that we lack in Kenya today.

We wait to see what happens to South Africa under Zuma, and whether he will follow in the footsteps of his other African brothers, where government is where you accumulate personal power,and give to your own, forgetting about the rest of the population.

I wonder whether I will go to my grave smiling knowing that the Kenyan society has been cured, or whether I will die of a broken heart?

I just don't get the sense it will happen in my lifetime, and I ain't middle aged yet.That said, I never thought I would live to see Barack Obama as the President of the United States.

So, maybe just maybe change will come to Kenya, but maybe not in my lifetime.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Migingo island this land is our land

The Mgingo island issue puzzles me the more I read about it. Geography was not one of my best subjects, however I wonder why the Ugandan government feel that they can now claim that Migingo island belongs to them.

The Ugandan Minister of State and Foreign affairs claims that the island was submerged until 2004, and had been submerged for four decades.

Is he serious?

I agree with Raila Odinga, that it is embarassing for Ugandan troops to occupy our territory, while we watch. ODM also urged to have Ugandan troops removed from the island.

As a Head of State, Kibaki should take control and protect Kenyans from the invasion by having the Ugandan soldiers out of Migingo immediately," said Prof Anyang Nyong’o the party’s secretary-general

A number of thoughts go through my mind, when I read about Migingo:

  1. What does it feel like for President Kibaki to have Kenyan land occupied, and maybe occupied for good, in broad daylight?

  2. If the island was not submerged for four decades, and there are Kenyans who were born and bred there, how do they make sense of their land suddenly being part of Uganda, if the Ugandans do not leave.

  3. I can remember reading an article about a couple in the UK who had some builders in, to do some work on their house while they were away. When they returned the builders refused to leave. What is astounding, is that the couple are still fighting for their property, and the issue is still in court. The house does not belong to the builders, but the builders seem to have some squatting rights. WTF.

Marvin Tumbo has an interesting post on land grabbing in Kenya, and how land grabbers come and stay because they are well connected.

I guess I am so accustomed to land grabbing taking place within Kenya, by Kenyans. It continues to sadden me that there are still Kenyans living in camps, homeless as a result of Post election violence.Yet, there are some Kenyans who continue to own vast amounts of land, which they grabbed.

What the Ugandans are attempting to do, is no better than the Kenyans within Kenya who have grabbed land, in my view. However I feel more uncomfortable with foreigners coming in, and occupying our territory.

I assumed that Museveni and Kibaki were friends,as Museveni was pretty upfront about his support of Kibaki during the disputed elections in 2007.

The words taste, and medicine, come to my mind when I think about Migingo, and Mwai Kibaki.

I hope the matter is resolved, as our list of problems in Kenya is endless.

Related article: Since bullets won't move Museveni to let Migingo go, deny him oxygen.

Update Related article: How Uganda seized Migingo

Update two Related articles : You do not reason with a military brat like Museveni, you draw your gun.

Kenya Diaspora in outrage against Yoweri Museveni