The #Shulamite Girl:Women have “executive power” over #sex.They decide when and if it’ll happen!

November 25, 2013

A great example of a woman
exhibiting leadership in her
marriage is the Shulamite girl of
Song of Songs. This
girl knows exactly what she
wants, and isn’t afraid to tell her
lover to make it happen!

The Shulamite girl is the first to
speak in the poem, declaring, “Let
him kiss me with the kisses of his
mouth” (1:1). She actively seeks
out the handsome shepherd in his
fields, saying “Why should I be like
a veiled woman beside the flocks of
your friends?” (v. 7). When the two
are separated, she goes out into
the streets, looking for him, and at
one point is accosted by the city
guards. When she finds him, she
brings him into a private room.
There, she says, “I held him and
would not let him go” (3:4). It is she
who initiates a sexual encounter in
a vineyard in the countryside, and
it is she who offers her lover a
frank invitation to drink her wine
and to enter her “garden” to taste
its choice fruits. Indeed some of
the most beautiful lines of the
poem—and arguably of the Bible—
are hers: “Place me like a seal over
your heart, like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death”

To all teenaged daughters

November 21, 2013

image

To all teenage daughters!

November 21, 2013

Sex is not love

November 19, 2013

It’s that time of the year again when mothers with teenage daughters pray that they could press a fast-forward button in life and find themselves just at the school-opening day. Worse still  is for those with daughters  who’ve finished their KCPE/ KCSE exams: some such feel that  they’ve been freed from jail and it’s “time to enjoy”.

  Unfortunately young and old men are out there all too eager to grant such their fancies. Fortunately,only a small percentage of girls indulge in such as most of them either lack the opportunity or are intelligent enough to know better.

I believe that most of the young girls who end in the sex trap can broadly be grouped into two. The first group comprises of those who are basically deluded that sex = love. They believe there’s a causative relationship between sex and love, and that to prove that one loves a guy,she has to sleep with him. It mind sound naive at this time and age, but it’s happening everyday. Such girls will give in to their “lovers” insistence even if they know it’s wrong. By the time they realize the relationship between sex and love is merely correlation,it’s too late, and possibly the guy already has another gullible  chick he’s telling how she needs to sleep with him to prove her love for him.  

The second group is  essentially a product of our patriarchal socialization where girls and women are raised to believe they are “weak vessels”. As such they are not allowed  responsibility even over their own lives. They believe girls and women have no say over the sex process: they just have to wait for pickup lines from guys and they have to drop it like it’s hot. We then exhort  the girls to “say no”, and we wonder why this mantra  doesn’t work its magic.

In most ethnic groups,a guy who impregnates a girl is given a choice either to marry the young woman or pay “for breaking another man’s goat’s leg” (don’t ask me what it means; it’s not important. This implies that the girl had nothing to do with the whole thing. Most readers will be on my neck ostensibly for blaming the victim (the pregnant woman). Just indulge while I get to my point.

From experience, and thorough consideration my view  is that in a normal sexual encounter,  women (and girls) hold the “executive power” over the whole sexual process. They decide when and if it will happen! If a lady raised up with the knowledge  that  she’s a human being with a brain as good as any gentleman’s, and who has been given responsibility over her own life,and knows she’ll be blamed in case of pregnancy won’t find it hard to talk no, and walk it. And no man, irrespective of how suave his pick up lines are would make her budge!

Over this Christmas season, tell that young girl near you that  she’s responsible for her own life, and that we will blame her for any visible results of her misadventures.        

UNLESS IT IS RAPE! I do not consider Rape and sexual assault  of any kind  as a normal sexual encounter. These are crimes which should be categorized with robbery with violence and punished as such!            
              

Women and Men are Leaders: Redefining leadership

August 13, 2013

Perception is reality. Perception is shaped by a person’s socialization process. Leadership is by and large a subjective concept; a function of perception.

In most patriarchal societies like Kenya, most men and women associate  “leader” with “physical strength” and strength implies “man”. In my humble opinion,this has contributed immensely to the relative paucity of women in elective positions, and by extension in senior leadership positions in all other social spheres.

This perception of “leader” as implying “man” is chiefly a throwback to the traditional societal  life in which leaders were  people (usually  men) who had excelled in war. The war could be raids to other villages or defense of one’s  village when under attack.

In modern societies, leadership has since changed both as a concept and in it’s role in the society.However, we are yet to give up those age-old notions of the term leader being associated with physical strength, and hence man.We, therefore,still socialize our children the same way. Boys and girls grow up knowing that boys are, and will always be leaders. This usually has a negative impact on the young girls, and on the overall position of women in the society.  Your daughter will fail in maths and not because she is incapable: because we say maths is for boys. She will not work as hard as she would otherwise do.Truth be told,  Maths & sciences are hard for most boys too- trust me, I talk from experience! We just worked hard at it.

As I always tell my fellow men,we keep telling our daughters they are not as good as boys, they grow up believing it, they grow up acting below their ability,they fail in stuff they’d have otherwise excelled in,most leave school and get married/or end up with unwanted pregnancies. Most of the ones who got married get dumped and head home with children. And grandparents end up raising their grandchildren!

Paradoxically, most men value the women in their lives (their mom & their sweet daughters). They, however, look down upon other people’s mothers and daughters. The women join in this conclave and we all end up perpetuating patriarchy. Maybe the starting point should be for us, men, to deepen this selfishness: we elect women and give them leadership positions in the hope that ours will suffer the same fate. Incidentally,the more women leader role models out there, the better the chances that our daughters will work had and be like them or even better.

At the core of leadership is an implied “ability” or “capacity”. A leader is one who exhibits relative strength in a certain sphere. This has nothing to do with gender. As it’s often said, if we judge a fish by its ability to ride a bicycle,it will forever live believing it’s stupid. Unfortunately,leadership is mainly a subjective concept; a function of perception. If we keep on raising our daughters with the perception that their greatest ambition should only extend to having the grandest marriage ceremony in the village …
In the same vein, since our daughters can’t be leaders,they, therefore, can’t possibly be in control of their lives, or play a leading role in their own lives,so to speak. The young girl is expected to be responsible yet the word responsibility has the connotation of ability, which we’ve already concluded our young daughters know not of. It’s time we informed them that they are capable,then we give them responsibility first over their own lives and by extension to the society. Responsibility=response +ability.
One social sphere that has really suffered under this leadership perception is politics. Political leadership happens to be the most overt form of leadership, and as such has the greatest  potential of influence in the society,  Once we change the perception of women as leaders in the political sphere,it’s easy to cascade it down to all other social levels.My hypothesis is that gender parity in all other social spheres will always lag behind gender parity in politics. Next time I tell you to elect women,don’t give me this tired line that I was given by some people(both men and women) prior to 4th March elections: “we don’t need women leaders, we just need good leaders.” Most of them actually ended up voting for men, which means good leaders are…

Few women in leadership positions (especially in politics)  will lead to women rights being thrown under the bus, so to speak. We should move on up from quality to quantity, unless you are still stuck in the belief that women are not as capable as men.

My contention is that we do not have a shortage of women leaders,but rather, we suffer a severe shortage of voters who believe women are as good leaders as men, and, therefore, would vote for women. Wangari Maathai,a  Nobel laureate, lost her bid for reelection as an MP and also failed in her presidential bid. You cant possibly tell me that she lacked leadership qualifications.

Thus “WOMEN AND MEN ARE LEADERS”

MISSION: Redefining leadership by changing the social/cultural perceptions to create a different reality for our young daughters. I am aiming at having half the number of elected leaders being women.

VISION: Turning Kenya (and eventually the world) into a Rwanda or Sweden where men and women have equal opportunities in life, And more importantly where humanity  benefit from the skills and experiences of the often  disregarded half of the world(ie women).

I doubt people would be allergic to their countries and companies  being managed the way their homes have been managed by their mothers..

If you can, and are charitable enough to support “Women and Men are Leaders“, donate through:  Mpesa,0722106732.

You can also share and help me reach the next person.

Explanations as to Why some women-Managers are cruel. #WomenandMenAreLeaders,@femnetprog

July 29, 2013

News of elevation to a position of power is usually greeted with jubilation. But a woman, like all weak men, receives such news with jubilation mixed with trepidation.

This is because of two conflicting emotions: She believes she deserves it, and yet at the same time she fears she might disappoint in her new position. People have told her that she’s weak so often that she had internalized it and made it her reality.

In general weak people –reality or illusion- tend to make up for the weakness  by being cruel, bitchy and heartless in the mistaken belief that that will make them be feared and, therefore, respected. In essence they confuse fear and respect. Nothing could be, even remotely, further from the truth!

What women managers overlook is one important fact: once you have executive power your subordinates know it. Trying to prove it to them by bludgeoning them on the head with it will just create fear rather than respect. In most cases, fear breeds resentment which later develops into resistance culminating in non- compliance and sabotage.

This notion of weakness in women is so pervasive that even Connie Glaser, a “leading expert in gender diversity” in the US falls in it’s trap. In her article “get comfortable in your management skin” advices women: “as a new boss, it’s better to start out abit more tough than accommodating”. This gets one wondering, with friends like these do women really need enemies?!

Connie Glaser should read about the experiences of one Julie Culwell.  While manager of the editorial services at the coca cola company, she started of by distancing herself from the staff and keeping her relationship with them strictly professional. And she admits “in fact I was miserable and so was my staff”, until she decided to become close friends with the team members.

Having served as a teacher and a boarding master, I can attest to the veracity of Julie’s facts. It is easier to even control a student who respects and  considers you a friend,  rather than one who merely fears you.

Most weak managers pull rank because in their heart of hearts they believe the subordinates are aware that they are weak, and ,therefore,  won’t obey her/him. They see coercion or force as the only way out of the non-compliance dilemma. Such managers end up being concerned with position rather than in the efficacy of their management. It’s common to come across a principal who would expel a student who don’t fear her rather than a really rotten one who sees her/him and scrams!
This  “weakness theory” ends up, in the long run, affecting both males and females directly or indirectly. The people suffering the brunt of such a manager, as well as the other bosses conclude that women cannot be good managers. In short it’s a vicious cycle.

This  ‘weakness theory’ stems from socialization since childhood. That’s where we need to start addressing it. You have a daughter, a niece, a sister or any other young girl; it’s time to tell her she’s not that weak. She reports to you that another kid hit her, tell her what you’d tell a boy: if the kid  hits you again, hit back. This is a good starting point.

Do we need women leaders(#governors, presidents etc?) No, but our young daughters do! @Femnetprog

July 21, 2013

It is axiomatic that it’s almost impossible to be what you can’t see. Because our sons and daughters grow up seeing majority of senior leadership positions being held by men,they learn to associate any form of leadership with the male gender.

The boys grow up and smoothly transition to leadership while girls struggle due to the perception created in their minds through socialization  that leader means man.

Perception is reality and most leadership is a function of perception. We need as many women leaders as men,not because women are necessarily better leaders than men, but because our young daughters  need more women-leader role models.      

Recently during “Malalas day”, a teenager from Indonesia was quoted as saying that she goes to school so that one day she’ll be the 2nd president of the country..
In any senior government appointments I don’t think it can hurt if we had 1/2 the number being  men and 1/2 women. I hate  this “glass ceiling” called 1/3…  

#Corruption in the construction industry: Whom to blame? NCC? buildings owners? Masons? me? you?

June 24, 2013

Recently I was having a lighthearted chart a few construction workers who were laying a foundation for multi storied building. One of the workers shouted “kanjo! kanjo!” and everyone stopped breathing, until they realized he was kidding and let out a sigh of relief. This really piqued my interest. I couldn’t figure out why the city council would bother them. I mean, it’s not like they were hawking stuff on the nearby street or something. And besides,i reckoned that to start building a house in Nairobi the owner and the masons must have passed all possible tests, including having a license to drive a motorbike..

Turns out I was wrong. The guys told me that the city council officers can suddenly happen at a site and ask for the head honcho in the group. If the foreman is absent, they’d ask for the next senior mason present. They’d demand for the production of “the map”, and failure to produce one meant that the worker would end up at City hall courts on his(rarely her) way to industrial area’s remand prison. It’s rare that matters got this far as some owners would make sure the person is “released” through some deals costing in the upwards of Ksh.50,000. Most knowledgeable owners made sure that the foreman had some ksh.30,000 or so at hand to forestall such unnecessary wastage of manpower hours. Most of the workers at the site were old hands in the industry, and proceeded to harangue us with stories of encounters with the city council askaris at various construction cites. In fact, Masons said that one of the main criteria for working on a building was the relationship the owner and/or the foreman had with the city council officials. They intimated that a foreman with a poor record of “letting the workers hang” would eventually find it hard going getting Masons. I didn’t get to know exactly what “the map” actually was or the legal penalties for not having it at the site. I couldn’t believe the extent of corruption in the city council building department at this era when buildings were collapsing allover town as a houses of cards, and at will.

Saying that I was incensed is an understatement. I was ready to start a demonstration against this kind of impunity. Then questions bubbled in my mind: why didn’t they have “the map” to start with? If the map was this important to the city council,what does that say about the safety of the houses we live in? Who is to be blamed for this particular kind of corruption that daily endangers our lives?

Having no easy answers to these questions, I proceeded to entertain the thought of demonstrating against the police who carryout “msako”,net only innocent guys,get money from them and the poor end up in remand, charged with ridiculous offenses. I remember a case of a pastor who was charged with “being drunk and behaving in a disorderly manner” yet he was caught returning home from “ushirika” at 7:30 p.m. I dropped this line of thought as I wasn’t so sure I was prepared to end up behind bars charged with robbery with violence or worse..

Why I want a wife by Judy Brady cc @femnetprog

May 21, 2013

 Why I Want a Wife by Judy Brady

I belong to that classification of people known as wives. I am A Wife. And, not altogether

incidentally, I am a mother.

Not too long ago a male friend of mine appeared on the scene fresh from a

recent divorce. He had one child, who is, of course, with his ex-wife. He is looking

for another wife. As I thought about him while I was ironing one evening, it

suddenly occurred to me that I, too, would like to have a wife. Why do I want a

wife?

I would like to go back to school so that I can become economically independent,

support myself, and, if need be, support those dependent upon me. I

want a wife who will work and send me to school. And while I am going to school

I want a wife to take care of my children. I want a wife to keep track of the children’s

doctor and dentist appointments. And to keep track of mine, too. I want a

wife to make sure my children eat properly and are kept clean. I want a wife who

will wash the children’s clothes and keep them mended. I want a wife who is a

goodnurturant attendant to my children, who arranges for their schooling,

makes sure that they have an adequate social life with their peers, takes them to

the park, the zoo, etc. I want a wife who takes care of the children when they are

sick, a wife who arranges to be around when the children need special care, because,

of course, I cannot miss classes at school. My wife must arrange to lose

time at work and not lose the job. It may mean a small cut in my wife’s income

from time to time, but I guess I can tolerate that. Needless to say, my wife will

arrange and pay for the care of the children while my wife is working.

I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs. I want a wife who will

keep my house clean. A wife who will pick up after my children, a wife who will

pick up after me. I want a wife who will keep my clothes clean, ironed, mended,

replaced when need be, and who will see to it that my personal things are kept in

their proper place so that I can find what I need the minute I need it. I want a

wife who cooks the meals, a wife who is a good cook. I want a wife who will plan

the menus, do the necessary grocery shopping, prepare the meals, serve them

pleasantly, and then do the cleaning up while I do my studying. I want a wife who

will care for me when I am sick and sympathize with my pain and loss of time

from school. I want a wife to go along when our family takes a vacation so that

someone can continue to care for me and my children when I need a rest and

change of scene.

1

 

I want a wife who will not bother me with rambling complaints about a

wife’s duties. But I want a wife who will listen to me when I feel the need to explain

a rather difficult point I have come across in my course of studies. And I

want a wife who will type my papers for me when I have written them.

I want a wife who will take care of the details of my social life. When my wife

and I are invited out by my friends, I want a wife who will take care of the

babysitting arrangements. When I meet people at school that I like and want to

entertain, I want a wife who will have the house clean, will prepare a special meal,

serve it to me and my friends, and not interrupt when I talk about things that interest

me and my friends. I want a wife who will have arranged that the children

are fed and ready for bed before my guests arrive so that the children do not

bother us. I want a wife who takes care of the needs of my guests so that they feel

Comfortable, who makes sure that they have an ashtray, that they are passed the

Hors d’oeuvres, that they are offered a second helping of the food, that their wine

glasses are replenished when necessary, that their coffee is served to them as they

like it. And I want a wife who knows that sometimes I need a night out by myself.

I want a wife who is sensitive to my sexual needs, a wife who makes love passionately

and eagerly when I feel like it, a wife who makes sure that I am satisfied.

And, of course, I want a wife who will not demand sexual attention when I am

not in the mood for it. I want a wife who assumes the complete responsibility for

birth control, because I do not want more children. I want a wife who will remain

sexually faithful to me so that I do not have to clutter up my intellectual life with

jealousies. And I want a wife who understands that my sexual needs may entail

more than strict adherence to monogamy. I must, after all, be able to relate to

people as fully as possible.

If, by chance, I find another person more suitable as a wife than the wife I already

have, I want the liberty to replace my present wife with another one. Naturally,

I will expect a fresh new life; my wife will take the children and be solely responsible

for them so that I am left free.

When I am through with school and have a job, I want my wife to quit working

and remain at home so that my wife can more fully and completely take care

of a wife’s duties.

My God, who wouldn’t want a wife?

From Ms. Magazine, 1972.Copyright © 1970 by Judy Syfers.Reprinted by permission.

#BEYOND_TRIBE..

March 29, 2013

ABSTRACT

I can’t put it any clearer than Einstein did: “The challenges we face today can’t be solved at the same level of consciousness we were at when we created them”. At the same time he defined insanity as “doing the same thing and hoping for different results”. We need to change our system of “democracy”, otherwise we’ll go on perpetuating  tribalism/ and negative ethnicity. Singing the national anthem won’t help, and neither will exhorting tribalists to end tribalism. I’m still not convinced as to how old tribalists will ever grow up to be non tribal, or tribalist professors get educated to stop being tribalists. Maybe our salvation lies in the children we are busy telling how Kikuyus,luos,kalenjins,kambas are evil in the name of “exercising our Democratic right to elect a president…”

There is no one universal definition and practice of democracy. Indeed, Democracy as practiced by USA, Britain, India and all the other great democracies in the world differ a great deal.

However, there are two basic tenets upon which democracy hinges, viz:

1) That all the members of the society (citizens) have equal access to power.

2) That all citizens enjoy universally recognized freedoms and liberties

In a democracy, access to power is mainly through voting. Thus, ‘equal access to power’ implies an assumed equality, in numerical terms, among the various groups or members of the society competing for the same. Any numerical differences among the members of the society leads to feelings of marginalization of the smaller groups which may ultimately be exploited by some people to cause strife.Once the first principle(numerical equality) fails the test, the second principle will not be worth the paper it’s written on, the assumption being that once a group is denied ‘equal’ access to power their freedoms and liberties will be trampled on by the bigger group.

HERE IN LIES KENYA’S POLITICAL TRIBALISM WHICH RAPIDLY SPILL OVER  INTO SOCIAL PROBLEMS

First, the groups (tribes) in the society competing for power have numerical differences, so that there is this all pervasive notion that the political process is not fair; especially when it comes to the highest political office in the land, namely, the presidency. With the kikuyu at 22% of the Kenyan population and Turkana at about 1%, it’s understandable. This will always be used by politicians as an excuse to sow hatred amongst the various ‘marginalized’ groups, as it happened in 2007/2008.

Secondly, Most Kenyans equate power with the presidency.  Full stop.

Thirdly, the curse (some might call it a blessing) of Kenya’s ethnic differences (cultural diversity) and its attendant numerical differences. However, one should be cognizant of the fact that homogeneity might not necessarily be a solution to Kenya’s political problems: A case in point being Somali, with citizens of same tribe and religion and endless political conflicts.
WHAT IS TRIBALISM?
Tribalism(negative ethnicity) is apartheid,but in this case instead of race, the social grouping  in question is the tribe.  Belonging to a Tribe (ethnic group) is just one of the myriads of identities an individual has as a member of the society. It’s just like being a member of a family, a church, a university, social class etc. Belonging to a tribe is neither negative nor positive.

 

Identities usually turn negative only in cases of competition.

Let me split hairs: If the identity called you and I were in a competition, whom would you support? What of if our children were competing, would you really support mine rather than your son or daughter? Remember London Olympics 2012, which country did you support (especially in games where you had countrymen/women competing?)

 

Politics is essentially a competition for the power or authority to manage public resources. In a democracy, Politicians need the numbers to emerge winners. To get the numbers, a politician will appeal to members of his/her family, clan, tribe, religion etc depending on the position at stake, or the identity with the requisite numbers.

 

Most People always tend to support someone with whom they have a commonality, including sharing a world view, having similar beliefs, being from the same tribe, having similar policies, etc.

Tribalism is basically, ethnocentrism, where individuals feel that their tribe is better than the others. This might extend to the feeling that one’s tribe is the only one capable of leadership or deserves leadership.

In other words tribalism is racism writ small, and nepotism writ large. It’s easy for a person to elect one of his/her kind: what percentage of black voters voted for Obama in his reelection? How many whites voted for Romney?
The easiest way of addressing the issue of tribalism is to remove all situations where ethnic identity can be invoked as a source of “numbers”. In Kenya, devolution in the new constitution will go a long way in addressing the issue of competition for resources, but the presidency is still an issue. The COE erred by putting the requisite threshold of the attainment of the presidency so high, effectively sustaining the flawed perception that the presidency is still as “all powerful” as in the old constitution. As long as this perception remains there will always be people who’ll prey on the gullibility of their fellow ethnocentrists to try and get elected.  After exhaustive analysis, there seems to be ONLY one way of dealing with tribalism

 

CUTTING THE DIRECT LINK BETWEEN THE ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENCY AND THE VOTERS

 

Kenyans are ONE, 4 out of every 5 years: They school together, they engage in business, interact at their work places, drink together- heck they even intermarry!

 

In the course of the four years, we engage in many PEACEFUL by-elections resulting either from successful petitions against elected officials or from their demise. This should serve as proof enough that elections, per se, aren’t exactly the cause of election violence (pre or post)
The fifth year is exclusively set aside for every Kenyan to go back to their tribal cocoons, and help one of their kinsman/woman to become the president. And if a tribe doesn’t have the requisite numbers to make it to the presidency, the members are “herded” into coalitions that would make sure that the Kikuyu doesn’t get the presidency (again!). The end result of all this is resentment towards the winning candidate’s tribe, the flawed perception being that “now the whole of that tribe will benefit at the expense of all the others”. This resentment is a powder keg that require just a few comments like “mass action” from some leaders to ignite it into a full blown explosion as was witnessed in the ’07/’08 PEV.

The only way to prevent this resentment from percolating into our social fabric is to eliminate the direct thread that ties an individual, and by extension the tribe, to the determination of the occupant of the house on the hill.

The model I have in mind that would cut this direct link, is the election of the speaker of the national assembly. The speaker of the national assembly (quite a powerful position) is elected by MPs-elect without asking for the electorates’ help. This ensures that the issue of tribe doesn’t feature so prominently as there’s no direct link between the election of the speaker and Wanjiku the voter.

My proposal for severing this direct link between Wanjiku and the presidency is as follows:

a). The voters elect their local officials (county assembly  representatives, MPs, senators, women representatives and Governors).

b). The legislators (senators and  MPs) join together and elect the president and his/her running mate from amongst themselves, just the same way they elect the  speaker of the national assembly.

In any case, since the legislators  have the powers to fire( read: impeach)  the president, why can’t we give them the power to hire him/her?

The president is supposed to be the president of the whole country. This is the best way to ensure that this theory is in tandem with the practice.
NB

I understand this is not exactly  “democracy” as we read in all those big books, but it’s the only way forward for Kenya and kenyans to rise above tribe and avoid another bout of PEV.

I am aware that this will involve some constitutional amendments. From what I heard, the constitutional provisions aren’t set in stone…

I’m not saying that we won’t have ignorant ethnic bigots who believe only their tribes are perfect,they’ll be always be there; the same way we have some individuals in a family who believe the rest are crap. These will be cured in time, and they won’t bring the whole country grinding into a halt.

 


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