BESIDES STRIPPING WOMEN

dress1Listening to one of the morning shows on radio, Dj Adrian, a resident ‘mix master’ in that media house quipped, “How long would be the distance from the beaches along the Indian Ocean, for one to be assumed she has crossed the red line of decency?” In one of the recent articles I penned down, I noted that Dead Beat Facebook page would die fast as it sprouted. We are in a fast moving world shrouded with many negative stories, ironically having everything to do with a besieged man and his sinking patriarchy ship, ponder how we forgot about Kanyari and his dirty tricks. Anyway, legions might be wondering why I am connecting issues to do with men who have refused to take responsibility after siring kids, to stripping. They are quite related. Here we are dealing with a wounded lion, and untamed for that matter, a man who has esteem issues not necessarily through his faults and in an identity crisis. A 21st century man growing in Kenya is dealing on a day to day basis with an over empowered urban woman, educated, well aware of her rights, fiercely ambitious and vibrant to the bone. Normally, when you are cornered, you cry foul. Unfortunately your crying may never be receptive to a lay man/woman. This is where psychiatrists come in. Before I proceed, don’t misquote me, I will say it for the hundredth time, any form of assault to a woman is wrong.  People who study human behaviours may understand this signs and they might have seen it coming. How I wish, I would get an interpretation from Chris Hart, a pundit in this industry.

It’s always easy to point fingers at others, overlooking the plank in our eyes; its human nature. Nobody appointed busy bodies in bus terminus to be our moral police; in any case they are the first victims of whatever moral advocacy they purport to uphold.  They say empty ‘debes’ make the loudest noise, I can’t agree more. We are confronted by belligerent delinquents imagining they can be the panacea to all our moral decadence, oblivious that they have insecurities to deal with.  If every employable Kenyan was gainfully employed, we couldn’t be grappling with these primitive acts. Idleness is the source of all evil; with the number of unemployed youths bulging further every day, nothing could be further from the truth, the future is brink as far as our moral compass is concerned. Chivalry is dead or so it seems!

Why is the contemporary man different from our fathers and grandfathers era? What defined a man then and now, has significantly changed. In a lengthy article in the Atlantic titled The End of Man, Hanna Rosin notes the post industrial economy is indifferent to the attributes that used to give man advantage: size and strength. The attributes that are most important today are brain power, social intelligence, communication, and the ability to sit still and focus. Size and strength is catered for by robots and machines where man can no longer compete.  Unfortunately these attributes named above, only favour the literate but the reverse is not true, that’s the spanner. What I mean is, chances are, a well-educated chap is more likely to be civilised than an uneducated one. Let’s zoom in to where these heinous acts take place, in bus terminus. We know who runs the show in these places with all due respect to hardworking men and women, presumably breadwinners to many families; who wake up in the wee hours of the morning to make a living in the matatu industry. In a nutshell, there is a clear correlation between level of education in tandem to opportunities that comes along with it AND one’s behavior.  As a country we share the blame, our economy at the moment can’t absorb all of us. Government has its share of blame too, but we can’t sit back and imagine we do not have a role to play.

Women wear less for different reasons; some do it for personal branding, others just like it when men ogle and drool at them, some will show more skin deliberately to manipulate a man’s mind. Nevertheless, that doesn’t justify, neither warrant a man to lay his hands on a woman in the name of upholding morality. In any case, that man who shamelessly manhandles a woman is more likely to rape her or be suffering from wife batter syndrome since none of the acts involves respect. The writing is on the wall, the chickens are coming home to roast; women (ladies) are being projected as sexual tools. We might have been bombarded by much negative news as a generation, but thou shall not cave in to this level of primitivism.

THE NOSTALGIC WEEK

uMy waking up on Thursday morning coincided with the President’s plane taxing along the runaway of JKIA. He was finally back or so were the screaming headlines from most TV screens. Given that we are a reactionary country, somehow traffic along the busy highways of Nairobi was affected in the very peculiar way, a whole two hours before President Uhuru traversed through Mombasa Road, Outer ring Road, Jogoo Road and Harambee Avenue. UhuRuto government has successfully manipulated the ICC fever to their advantage, creating a sympathetic narrative, legions relate to. If the masses that braved the scorching sun are anything to go by, then the summons by ICC judges was indeed a blessing in disguise for the current government. Somehow the CORD brigade and governors push for a referendum has been squashed to obscurity at least for the meantime. The government saw this as a springboard to rally confidence and popularity amongst Kenyans.

We all can reckon from the hindsight, that it was a tough but worthy decision of the President attending the status conference. Of course the ugly irony is that of the hype, one year ago by Kenyan government, mobilizing the whole continent to have a common stand against the ICC. The extra ordinary summit through majority voting, declared no sitting President from Africa would ever attend any hearing at the ICC. This brings me to one thing I have noted about President Uhuru. He is never afraid of going against the grain. It was no surprise to me that despite a lot of quiet pressure from his counterparts, notably President Museveni, he still defied that force for the obvious reasons of putting Kenya first and more importantly, not putting the sovereignty of this country on trial. Politically, him standing out as a law abiding President and also humble enough to honour the summons at the Hague, will change so many peoples’ perceptions, especially those that had a negative opinion of him from way before.

The President in a very elaborate way, bequeathing the instruments of power to his deputy, Hon William Ruto was unprecedented.  The last time we had an Acting President, was during the sudden death of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta when the then Vice President Moi took the whims of power. In his capacity for the two days, Acting President Ruto had an enviable experience at the hot seat; he was phenomenal chairing meeting after meeting even without the symbolic aide de camp. To that extent, it is good news for Africa at a time when many African countries are marred by infighting and political intolerance. As a country, it was even bigger news bearing in mind less than three years ago we were visibly tired of the constant wrangles of the coalition government. UhuRuto duo has struck a chemistry that they have jealously guided since they were included in the infamous Ocampo list. It is this seamless friendship, which later evolved to a high voltage brand, that helped Jubilee team to have a head start in the campaigns and in winning the March 2013 elections.

Insofar, it was a good week, until Mike Sonko appeared in his typical uncivil style, clad in an insulting T-shirt. It was not only unnecessary but simply sad.  Anybody outside of this country is an ambassador of this great nation, automatically. Sonko portrayed the shallowness in our political circles which we have naively tolerated and give in to, because he somehow appears to be ‘philanthropic’. Philanthropic my foot! We’d rather vote in a broke chap who is visionary and upholds good values of the society than have somebody in the same position, money loaded with no clear sources, trashing decorum boldly in the 21st century.

The jury is out, history and political pundits for a long time to come will have a field day delving and analyzing this very nostalgic week, which not many saw it coming.  Is it a sign of a maturing democracy and trust within the corridors of power? How will this very different style of leadership of UhuRuto government result to? Is it what Kenya has been missing for it to take off to the next level of an economic powerhouse? Time will tell.

On the flip side, there is so much to learn from the President invoking Article 147 of the Constitution, am not sure how many of your immediate bosses would leave you totally in charge of their positions. Insecurity is such a big thing in office setups. Let’s drift it even further, how many husbands by their status of being head of the family would trust their wives with all the ‘trappings of power’. How many In-laws would even tolerate a scenario where the wife or window to have the final say in family businesses? The President is clearly demonstrating that we cannot be prisoners of status quo. They say insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results. In fact while addressing Kenyans who shoved to catch a glimpse of him, the President emphasized on trust in leadership for this country to propel. This will go down as one nostalgic week which made some of us more prayerful and patriotic! Ultimately, we can only hope justice will prevail to the victims and the accused; and that whatever the verdict, this country will be a stronger state.

‘POLICE RECRUITMENT’ – KARMA IS A BITCH

police-recruitmentIt came as a great relief to many when the National Police Service Commission announced plans to recruit 10,000 police officers. Many patriotic and concerned Kenyans were at least impressed by the efforts the government was making towards achieving the recommended ratio of police to citizens which stands at 1:450. Another age group  was rejoicing as the commission had reduced the minimum entry grade from C (Plain) to D+ (plus) and put the minimum age to between 18 and 28 years for KCSE holders, and 30 years for those with specialized skills including Diploma and Degree. But as they say, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Old tricks die hard.

The ills that marred the recent police recruitment will finally catch up with us sooner or later. In fact part of the complacency annihilating  the security sector in this country, to a large extent is a problem emanating from vague police recruitment. If nepotism, tribalism and money are the requirements for one to join the force, then we are shooting ourselves at the foot.This ineptitude in the name of recruitment drive is catastrophic to say the least. Reducing an enormous task as this to an auction for the highest bidder only shows how low and selfish we have become. Sh.2.9 billion of taxpayers money have gone down the drain.

Senior commanders and politicians outwit each other in absorbing  their relatives, cronies and fellow tribes men and women in the force at the expense of genuine youths fit as fiddle who only count at the recruitment as their last resort. These are jobless young lives who have bared the wrath of a harsh reality of searching for those elusive opportunities in the job market. Remember they obviously do not have godfathers because these is a country of unequals, what J.M Kariuki would term as a nation of 10 millionaires and 10 million beggars.

These selfish acts means police condoning impunity on our roads, passengers pegging their lives at the mercy of notorious drivers will always resurface occasionally. Drug cartels and their dens sprouting all over and thriving will continue to be a thorn in the flesh. Citizens mobilizing neighbours to keep vigil around the estates and the villages will be our new norm for a long time to come. Dreams will be shuttered and precious lives will be brought to a halt courtesy of extra judicial killing by elements in the force who do not give a damn. Al shabaab cells will continue to terrorise residents and people will be displaced every few months. We will get used to burying our young men and women, their lives cut short by poisonous liquor. Am sure you now know all wealthy people have ‘licensed guns’. Yes they can never count on the police. Nobody even cares for the Wanjiku.

Am hoping the Kavuludi Commission will unravel the rogue police men and women, cartels and brokers in these business and recommend severe actions to be taken. Stations that registered massive complaints should be be given another chance to hold a transparent recruitment.  We must set a precedent now by raising the bar in professionalism, in conducting these drive and punishing impunity. After all is said and done, Karma is a bitch, we certainly do not need to sob later for the bad seeds we continue to sow now.

MATTERS SECURITY; THE HARD REALITY

baby ceplinFrom subtle terrorists to petty offenders, from high end suburbs down to the slums we are sitting ducks surviving at the mercy of experienced criminals and delinquents. As the sun rises and falls so do they sharpen their skills waiting to capitalise on our laid back attitudes which the security agencies do little to mitigate. There is a serious void mainly due to our attitude of forgetting so fast all in the name of ‘moving on’ and a clear lack of being patriotic. The rain started beating us when we succumbed to politics fodder, so drawn were we that overtime we neglected the very security basics and inquisitiveness. We never report cases of those suspicious characters in our neighborhoods. I know ‘suspicious’ is an amorphous word which is neither here nor there but that is not an excuse. We can not afford not to be on the look out watching over our personal security and by large that of the country. Our nation’s safety should come first at any one time, we have no other place to call home.

When the immigration officials and security agencies at the border started auctioning our country, we watched from a distance without raising an eyebrow, in other words we invited trouble. Martin Luther puts it this way; “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Take a look at the impatience we display when going through security checks, call it our peculiar ways of living.More fundamentally the problem lies with the men and women in blue who are unfit, under equipped and demoralised. We churn out people from Kiganjo still trained on challenges we faced back in the 80’s such as cattle rustling when we as a country are grappling with serious villains ready to die for an ‘ideology’. Its self defeating for a county commissioner to give a directive on shoot to kill of suspects, you never kill the messenger, in any case it will encourage more martyrs. Recall there are thousands of indoctrinated youths out there, killing them is only confirming to them that their ‘war’ is ‘justified’ as ‘virgins wait them in heaven.’ Police main focus should be in digging out as much information as possible from the suspects, that will help in nailing the people who call the shots in this ideology.

Am made to believe Kenya Police does not have a digital database that can be used for intelligence and profiling of criminals. Someone joked that our police behave like robots, they have no skills of telling nor identifying suspicious characters from a crowd. In global security circles some people go through more security checks than others’ they call it profiling. But castigating the police wont help the situation, Our bigger worry should be directed to the government of the day. Does it have a strategy on combating crime or is it just a knee jerk reactor, these piecemeal actions by the security agencies only seem laughable on the eyes of terrorists. When we arrest tens of youths and later release them the following day for idling when terrorists invade and kill christians in a church, there is a problem. There is even a bigger problem when everybody speaks for the government on twitter.For instance on the Likoni tragedy, accounts run by our security forces gave conflicting information some saying police were 100 metres from the said church and they tried to pursue the attackers in vain whilst the other quarter reported to have engaged them!.

As a country we must rise to the occasion and smell the coffee, Al shabab and the rest have a serious narrative that they are selling to our unemployed youths.We must counter it first by heavily investing in intelligence, make police act on the intelligence, building capacity in terms of ratio of police to citizens, address their welfare, establish forensic labs, well funded civilian police, winnow rogue men and women in the force, roll out Nyumba Kumi initiative in a more clear way and embrace technology but more importantly as Kenyans we must be patriotic enough. Having said that, this is not a war that can be won through a military solution alone, there is need to reach out to the communities affected, make them feel part of Kenya by addressing their day to day grievances.If we win their trust so will we win this war but the opposite is also true.

HEIGHT OF WICKEDNESS-WESTGATE MASSACRE

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It was a hallowing ordeal, horrific, bloody and unfortunate. In what started as a typical sunny Saturday for most of us turned out to be one the worst and dreadful weekends. I remember getting the news of some gunshots at Westgate around 11 in the morning and I quickly rubbished that as a normal robbery which would be contained in no time. But it is only when I got home and switched the T.V, and for minutes I stood still not certainly believing what I was watching. Survivors run out of the building covering their mouths seemingly very traumatised.Image They were so close to death, fresh blood was strongly smelling, screaming victims and crying children was the ambiance.

I happened to sample exclusive photos of dead people lying all over the top floor of Westgate which also served as a car park. The terrorists were so inhumane that they went under the cars parked to kill those who had hidden. A cross section of children and their parents full of life minutes ago quickly changed to scenes akin to Syria.

The terrorists had smartly planned their operation, taking advantage of weaknesses in our national security system. In fact one international newspaper was quoted saying, “behind this terrorism act is massive corruption.” I tend to concur fully, how these terrorists got to Kenya months ago, how they finally got valid I.Ds, how they rented a stall within Westgate, how they brought in armories inside the building with all the security details are questions that beg answers.

The intelligence was found flat footed.Its time to hold people accountable. Without intelligence we are cooked. We must move with time, embrace technology and hire people who understand what terrorism is. I was moved by a story I read in the papers this week about a kid who wrote a composition that is now helping detectives. It all started when a class teacher, told the pupils to write a composition about their weekend. So this kid wrote about how a stranger saved their mother who is also pregnant. The stranger told the mother to quickly walk out of Westgate as there was to be a stampede and people would be killed. This tells how the terrorists were strategically positioned waiting for their accomplices to arrive.

Hard questions must now be asked starting with; How many terrorists were involved in that attack? Kenya government has maintained they were 10-15 but international media is estimating 25-30 heavily armed ? Secondly, how many were killed and where are the rest? Thirdly, what is the fate of the said 30 hostages? Forth, who was responsible for caving in of the upper floors? Fifth, what is the fate of the missing people who are estimated to be over sixty? Sixth, how did the terrorists manage to get in Kenya and indeed rent a stall inside Westgate? Seventh, was there an insider with some connections to management of the building who helped them get the architectural plan of the building, CCTV and power main centers of the building? Eight, how come the police discovered of the tunnel so late? Was Samantha Lewthwaite involved?

ImageI rest my case hoping someday we will get answers. I also hope we learnt as a country, that security starts with you and me. There is so much that our security agencies can do but without community policing and co operation they won’t achieve much.

I pass my condolences to the bereaved,Image may the Lord grant you peace of mind and comfort you at this difficult time, may their souls rest in God’s love. For the maimed, quickest recovery. We as a country must refuse to die prematurely in the hands of criminals.

As the president said, our heads are bloodied but unbowed.

EXITS KIBAKI; ENTERS UHURU

KIBAKI-AND-RUTO-e1363180006867One thing you quickly notice with these two gentlemen is that they do not have christian names, one is a contrast of the other from age, character to background but somehow intertwined by nature’s humour and history.Kibaki who apparently bestows a laid back character has unquestionable intelligence that ultimately made him dust off his pauper background but also thanks to his father who thought he was not useful in the farm.On the other hand, Jomo’s scion is from an affluent family enjoying unprecedented privileges unlike his peers.One thing with Uhuru is that he his charming and exudes charisma anytime anywhere not to mention his mighty handshake. The witty Mutahi Ngunyi best captures these two blokes contrast, he simply says Kibaki did not have many hurdles to clinch power in 2002 but the son of Jomo faced an avalanche of them, consequently Kibaki’s reign was marred with a myriad of challenges , the latter as foretold by Ngunyi will have an easy time. Am tempted to believe this political scientist going by the many post election pacts Uhuru is signing daily which analysts think is crushing the opposition.

Narrowing down to Kibaki who was the first African to graduate with a First Class Honors from the prestigious London School of Economics. We should give credit to his administration for the tremendous economic growth, a stock market which has reached its highest stock market index in four years, implementation of free primary education, subsidising secondary education, 15 new universities created under his administration, more funding of higher education students loans body.Upgrading of infrastructure, tapping on I.C.T and making Kenya a technology hub in Africa, he ensured Kenyans were supporting their own budget as opposed to soliciting money from Western powers.

Amidst all these praises, there are some things he overlooked. Some 2007-08 Internally Displaced Persons are still languishing in tattered camps five years down the line, ironically a good number of them voted for him as their president. Am not sure if he forgot about them, lets give him the benefit of the doubt and blame the highly charged Kenya politics.Either way its an issue that will erase some of his good attributes.Security has remained a thorny issue in this country complicated by ungovernable Somali, global terrorism, inter-clan wars and corruption within security agencies.Not much has been done to tame M.R.C and Baragoi skirmishes.Kibaki has done little to reduce the gap between rich and poor which consequently impedes any economic growth, corruption is worse than during Moi’s era and industrial strikes from disgruntled civil servants. Kibaki has also been compelled to eat a humble pie courtesy of court rulings in a number of occasions.

For me, he remains the best president we have ever had, Chief Justice shocked many when he disclosed Kibaki never used the hotline that was directly connected to statehouse, in other words he did not interfere with the judiciary even after it sometimes ruled harshly on him.

There enters a fairy young man, full of energy and charisma. All the best Muigai Kenyatta.

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