Archive for November, 2012

There is nothing like absolute security; security is a function of perception in the minds of a people in an area or country.

November 27, 2012

For starters, Policemen and body guards do get killed by thugs, whether “in line of duty” or when off duty. If there was something like “absolute security”, anyone involved officially in security would only be expected to die of some other causes eg malaria or an accident, and if we were to split hairs, this means nobody is even  “secure” from death..

In Kenya, I’m told, the ratio of policemen to civilians is like 1:650, or even higher. This should not bother anyone as long as the presence of that one policeman is FELT amongst the 650 people! Having a police ratio of 1: 1 would solve nothing if they are ineffective. For sure we need adequate quantity of security, but the quality of policing matters more.  
  
My point in all this is that humans only need “a sense of adequate security”, and creation of that impression of security should be one that the  security organs’ should be  engaged in(research, development, training), not just waiting for the police/  population ratio “to get better”.
The state of mind that there is security in an area would serve as a deterrent to the proliferation of criminals.

If one walks along the streets of some of the “very secure” neighborhoods in Kenya, one is actually surprised at the paucity of police officers and police patrols on the beat. I once walked from Nairobi CBD to the UNEP and American embassies(Gigiri). I didn’t encounter police patrols. This area is  relatively “secure” area in kenya, because of the perception in most Kenyans minds  that the police are allover the place to protect the relatively well-up who reside in the area.

I’ve always wondered why there’s so much real insecurity in areas where the perception of insecurity is high. What attracts thugs to estates like Githurai 45, where most of the inhabitants are not that well up anyway? Maybe that state of high insecurity has an affinity for criminals…

Britain ranks amongst the most “secure” countries. And I have a feeling you’ll tell me it’s because they have the right ratio of police to population as recommended by WHO or whatever the body that does this. Wrong. To prove that the numbers don’t count for shit, London riots happened, and caught all those police officers flat footed. It took them days to return the situation back to normal. London brought all the riots to a halt by dealing firmly with the perpetrators of the riots.All the security apparatus were activated in a major way: rioters were promptly arrested,hauled in front of judges and handed hash sentences! In an a country who’s people are at a social  level where being denied freedom is as harsh a punishment as being hanged,  these measures worked like magic. Rioters realized that they’ll be caught and punished for their crimes. They realized that the security apparatus are alive and well!          
         
The major  work of security organs should be to endeavour to create this kind of impression and perception of effective  security.

In Kenya,the society is at a level where criminals consider  being sent to jail is actually better than life out in the streets. This essentially means that the British way of dealing with insecurity can’t work in Kenya.

However,there’s something that Kenyans respect and loath in equal measure in quelling episodes of insecurity: the KDF! Once an episode of violence seems to be overwhelming the regular police, the army is sent in and it works to bring the whole situation back to normal,a case in point being the quashing of the saboat land defense forces that had terrorized residents of mt elgon area.

I’d recommend that the government comes up with a policy which stipulates a threshold in violence level which automatically triggers the intervention of the army. The KDF then moves in in-force with the helicopters and ground forces. This would’ve gone a long Way in serving as a deterrent in the post election violence of ’07/’08.

There are issues in the operation of the army allover the world, but this perception can easily be addressed.  

In cases of the usual criminal activity such as (pickpockets, burglary etc) the security apparatus should consider “pouring”  plain clothes policemen in an area for about a week. They do a thorough shake down of criminals to the extent that the criminals fear that the next person they try to rob is a security officer. This done regularly and randomly would considerably lower incidences of crime.        
     

Peter Kenneth’s presidency squeezed between a hard “kikuyu tribalists” place, and a rock of “other tribes’ tribalists”

November 26, 2012

Peter Kenneth is running for the presidency of kenya in the elections to be held in march 2013. As far as qualifications go, he stands head and shoulders above the rest of that congested field of hopefuls to succeed kibaki at statehouse.

Unfortunately, in a tribal kenya, he has his goose cooked.

To most Kikuyu tribalists, Peter kenneth is not “kikuyu enough”,as a matter of fact they call him a “mzungu”. Thus they’d rather vote for Uhuru than Peter kenneth.

To most tribalists from the other tribes that form the kenyan nation, Peter kenneth is so kikuyu that some even swear to have his birth certificate replete with his kikuyu name. Having cut his teeth in gatanga constituency,  murang’a (a kikuyu enclave) as an Mp doesn’t do his unkikuyu credentials a whole lot of good. These tribalists arent ready for another kikuyu at statehouse after kibaki.

Whether he wins or not I’d like Kenyans to get one thing from him: that a child can survive and thrive without an ethnic name!

If your son’s names are John Njoroge kamau, make sure that in the official certificates He appears as John James. If it’s Scolastica Awino, make it Scholastica MarryAnne. Thank me later.

By the bye, there’s a very thin line between being proud of one’s ethnic identity and being ethnocentric (read: tribalist).    

   

Of Tribalism…

November 26, 2012

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. It’s neither negative or positive.

This identity turns negative and becomes Tribalism (or negative ethnicity) in cases of competition. It’s informative that tribalism ONLY rears it’s ugly head in cases of competition either for resources, or authority to control the distribution of those resources.

Let me give an example. If the identity called you and yours truly 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 as the win. 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 will 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.

When it comes to politics, this kind of tribalism leads to people electing mediocre leaders just because they are from their tribe.

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 of resourses,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’ll always be people who’ll prey on the gullibility of their ethnocentrists to try get elected. Tribalism will just get worse unless we can deal with the “small” issue of electing the president. And you can take this to the Shylock.

Reasons as to why we don’t elect most of the women who run for office…

November 14, 2012

1. Women don’t run for office…

2. Women  don’t campaign at night…

3. Women don’t have money…

4. We don’t need women leaders; we just need “good leaders”…

5. Because parties do not give women the chances…

6. Women are prevented from running for office by their husbands…

7. Because of “systemic inequalities” (whatever that means)…

8. Women don’t give us their “policies”, “visions” or “manifestoes”…
   
9.Because women are harassed and abused on the campaign trail…

10. Because women just become like men once elected…

11. Because some women in some parties are against women issues…And more!

SERIOUSLY  ???!

LET’S MOVE PAST THESE LAME EXCUSES, AND VOTE FOR ALL THOSE WOMEN WHO ACTUALLY  MANAGE (AGAINST ALL ODDS) TO RUN FOR OFFICE!

LETS GIVE OUR DAUGHTERS MORE WOMEN-LEADER ROLE MODELS.

As I always put it, Gender parity in leadership in all other social spheres will always lag behind gender parity in political leadership.

Currently women representation in politics in the world is at 19.5% while  percentage of women in corporate boards is at 17%

In EU, the corporate boards are being firmly encouraged to ensure that they have at least 40% women,with women political representation standing at about 22%, although the Nordic countries average is 42%… 

I unequivocally state here that all the above are excuses masquerading as reasons!  Compare Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama in ’08 Dems nominations…

Enlightened Kikuyus For Mudavadi (Kikuyus hold “a peaceful Kenya, 2013” in their hands).

November 12, 2012

A story is told of a confrontation between the wisest man in a certain village and a boy. It was said that the wise man could answer any question put to him.

One day, the story goes, a boy confronted the wise old man with a question. Cupped in the boy’s hand was a butterfly.

“Is the butterfly in my hand dead or alive”, he asked the wise old man. The man looked long and hard at the boy.

“The life of that butterfly is in your hands”, answered the wise old man. “If I say that the butterfly is alive, you will squeeze and kill it. On the other hand, if I say its dead you will just open your hand and let the butterfly fly away”.

The moral of this story is neither here nor there.

The Kikuyu are in the unenviable position of determining whether the beautiful country called Kenya lives in peace and harmony  after the upcoming general elections, or not. Not because they are affiliated to one Osama Bin Laden, and his alqaida network, or that they  are followers of one Jesus christ- but because of the presidency.

The kikuyu need the presidency like they need a hole in the head. We’ve had kibaki as a president for close to ten years now. How many of us has he given jobs to? Has our mpesa a/c suddenly oveflown with cash? Has any of us gotten an extra quarter acre of land? How about an increase in the number of sufurias in out  kitchens, (as moi was wont to put it)? Give me ONE F-ng tangible benefit to a Kikuyu  courtesy of kibaki being a member of our  tribe! For four years IDPs from the Kikuyu community are still languishing in tents with kibaki in power, can I paint the picture any more graphic?!

And Imagine this was the era of the old constitution when a president was, for all practical purposes and intents, above the law. If the president didn’t do much for us during those years, you can rest assured another  Kikuyu president  will do nothing now, when the presidency is virtually ceremonial.

By clinging on to the idea that we must have a Kikuyu president, the Kikuyu inadvertently give credence to  the erroneous perception by kenyans of the other tribes that when a tribe has the presidency, all members of the tribe benefit immensely!

Most kikuyu depend much more on business to eke out a living. What we need Isn’t a president from our tribe, but a conducive environment to carry out the various activities to earn a living as we have  always done.

I’m not saying that presidents from other tribes will give us the conducive environment, no. Having a president from another community will just remove this resentment against the kikuyu for monopolizing the presidency, thus helping in cohesion and integration- all food for business to thrive.

A by-product of the Kikuyu campaigning for presidential aspirants from other tribes is that Kenyans will now shift focus from the current mode of campaign which is all about defeating the Kikuyu versus  the Kikuyu hanging on for dear life not to lose the presidency, as if their lives start and end with the presidency!

Then and only then will the campaigns gradually become issue based.

I’ll state here without “fear or favour” that  any Kikuyu presidential candidate now is actually an enemy of the Kikuyu. He or she is a person who is willing to sacrifice the Kikuyu community  at the alter of His/her presidency. S/He doesn’t care whether your business collapses, your social contacts desert you, Nothing. As long as s/he becomes the president you can go to hell for all he/she cares! Or even worse maybe the leaders are myopic, can’t see beyond their very short noses. This speaks volumes about the supporters of such leaders. All of you supporting such leaders are like the clueless fly that followed the corpse to the grave!

It doesn’t matter whether the Kikuyu presidential candidate is a genius or not. As things stand now, all that most kenyans, especially ODM supporters,  will see and hype on is the Kikuyu in him/Her. In fact, if the genius  Albert Einstein  came back to life, and ran for the presidency, and it came to light that his third name is NJUGUNA, all anyone would  remember, by the time of voting, is that he is a Kikuyu or a “mt Kenya Mafia”!

I know some intellectual morons who will tell me Kenyans have changed, and that those are not the facts on the ground. To all of them this is what I’ll say in advance: Get your tiny brains out of the sand, or even worse, from politicians’ and NGO’s pockets!

To all my brothers in Kikuyu community, the “peace butterfly” is in your hands. You can set it free by letting  go of your presidential ambitions and we all live in peace in Kenya. Alternatively, you can squash and kill it by hanging on to your stupid idea of “the Kikuyu fought for independence so they deserve the presidency”, which will force the other tribes to unite (like they did under ODM in 2007) to try and pry your claws out of the statehouse. The rest will be history.

This is a proposal for all the enlightened kikuyus. I realize we are few, but we can pass the message to our acquaintances. Do your bit.

Until we get over the idea of presidency as benefiting a tribe, we are headed nowhere as a country.

I know that all them big books state that everyone has the democratic right to run for presidency, what they forgot to include is that democracy must be tempered with a little common sense…

We need to start by giving Musalia Mudavadi at least a five year term as the president   

The only way to prevent PEV and have ethnic harmony in Kenya is to Deal with the “small” issue of electing the president!

November 10, 2012

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 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’d 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. I hasten to add here that this whole setup it by default rather than design. The other working model would be China’s National People’s Congress (equivalent of a Parliament) where it elects the president as well as members of the Politburo. This is representative democracy. You elect local leaders to represent your issues at the national level. Let’s stop making the presidency a local issue!

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

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

2.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 power 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.     
         
I recognize the fact that this would require an amendment to the constitution, and as such will only be applicable after the life of the 11th Parliament. I will push for this particular amendment, and I am counting on your support when the time come.