Tag Archives: #KOT

Emotions; the predicament to our development

In the market place of politics when reason and emotions collide, emotions always take the day. This is because we are always inclined with what we feel more than the real and true facts about a certain situation. This is evidently seen during the time for elections where most electorates vote by how they feel towards a certain candidate, their political party and lastly their policies or political manifestos. The emotions are normally pegged on certain characteristics such as, the ethnicity of the candidates, their gender, issues that surround him personally and which the electorates relate to, his/her age group, race and to some the “swag” that he has.

When Barrack Obama was elected on November 4, 2008 and sworn in on January 20, 2009 many analysts said that he won based on the policies he articulated during his campaign but the major influence was based on how the Democratic Party campaign team was able to capture the emotions of most electorates especially the youth and the African-Americans. He related to them based on age and race. The other percentage of voters, voted for him based on his policies (reasons). Thus both the reason and emotion played a role in his election but emotion was the major factor for those who voted for and against him.

To bring the argument closer home, the Jubilee government was elected based on the emotions surrounding the ICC issue. Most people couldn’t stand the fact that a Kenyan will stand trial before an International Court. Emotions played a major factor and reason was nowhere to be seen despite the fact that thousands were displaced during the 2007/2008 post-election violence and thousands killed. This doesn’t mean those who have been charged before the International Criminal Court are guilty or not but only stresses the point that emotions drive our Kenyan politics. Also when a politician or a leader is charged for corruption he/she runs to his ethnic region and incites the people that it is not him/her being targeted but the community at large. The aftermath is demonstrations from the community through protesting and barricading roads.

90% of the elected leaders we voted for during the last election were purely not voted in because we believed in their policies and manifestos or their track records of good performance. We voted based on who we felt had warmed our hearts. This was based on the status we envisioned a leader to have, the depth of his pockets, the tribe he comes from, and lastly what traits he posses such as dressing and the language he uses that we tend to relate with. As a country we have made crucial decisions based on our emotions and most of these decisions have come back to haunt us. For example when we voted for the constitution majority never had the time to read it but voted for it based on what their favorite politician was advocating for. Today the same politicians who were for the constitution are now advocating for a referendum because the constitution is not benefiting them as they thought it could. Sadly we still let our emotions cloud our judgement and again we follow the same politicians without asking each other what are the real issues they are advocating for and if we support the call for a plebiscite what benefit are we going to enjoy as a common mwananchi?

Our politicians have mastered the art of manipulating our emotions to their own advantage and this is why when the Supreme Court made a verdict against the CORD Coalition, its leaders started organizing rallies to criticize and tarnish the image of the Supreme Court arousing rage within their members that caused tension within the country. Also we are currently witnessing a wave of violence from our County Governments such as Makueni, Nandi and elsewhere where leaders who we feel we are emotionally connected to, incite us to wage war amongst ourselves yet we ignore the fact that they are simply playing politics and using us to settle political scores. A time has come for us as Kenyans to activate our reasoning gear and deactivate part our emotions.

We need to hold our leaders personally accountable to what is happening within our Country. We need to stop supporting the “thug” kind of leaders we elected and we’ve got to stop letting them manipulate us to support them yet all they are after is to enrich themselves alone.

We need to always ask ourselves, what will I benefit if I support a certain cause being advocated for by our leaders? Why should we demonstrate and what benefit will it accord me as an individual? It is time, fellow countrymen, to let reason prevail in our politics. Let us support our leaders by the content of their past and present performances and let us not allow emotions to cloud our judgement from now hence forth if we still want to achieve vision 2030.

Article by

Dennis Mwaniki

A political Scientist

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KIDERO: OPEN REBUKE IS BETTER THAN HIDDEN LOVE

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A story is told in the Bible of three fellows whose master decided to go for a journey. He called the three servants and gave each a portion of his property. To one he gave five talents of money, to another he gave two talents and to the last he gave one talent, each according to his ability. After a long time the master returned and summonedeach of the servants to know what they did with their talents. To the one he gave five he was brilliant enough and went and put the money to work and gained five more, the master replied to him, “well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” The one with two also gained two more and the master applauded him and put him in charge of many things too. Lastly the one with one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid the money. When the master asked why he hasn’t gained more. He replied master I know you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. The master rebuked him as one wicked, lazy servant and he took away the one talent and gave it to the one who had ten.

Governor, on the 4th of March 2013, we the Nairobi voters gave you 692,483 talents worth of votes hoping that you will be as the wise servant who received the five talents and later on invested and earned a double. From among the list of gubernatorial aspirants we all thought that you had the ability to turn the city of Nairobi and make it an economic hub, a 24hour economy, attract many investors who might create jobs thus reduce unemployment rate, ensure there is accessible clean and most preferably piped water in every homestead, clean the entire city by clearing all the dump sites, have your county officers restore sanity and order within the county, minimize and disband the many vigilante groups that had mushroomed in every informal settlements in the county and hopefully return it back to its original name as the “city under the sun.” We had high hopes in you which were cemented on March 28th, 2013 when you were sworn in. We demystifiedpopularity as some of your contenders had and we went after leadership.

Unfortunately, Mr. Governor you have failed us. You and your county cabinet have slept on the job. Sir, I know you always claim that you are working and truly you are. Some of your handy works include slapping your fellow county leader and later recanting the action, mounting traffic lights that no longer meet their intended purpose, increasing the parking fees without a clear guideline on how you are going to improve the services, or maybe this are the funds you are using to bribe the county assembly members from impeaching you? Deploying some of the former city council “askaris” as Traffic Marshalls without any training or knowledge on their new roles, and playing power games with matatu owners leaving millions of Nairobi residents stranded…. Oh don’t get me started on this transport issue. Mr. Governor in short the Nairobi County has lost its glory under your watch and you have denied us from enjoying the benefits of the devolved system of governance.

This is why terrorist are taking advantage of your inability to perform and they are hurling grenades in the county you are in charge of. Mr. Governor as a resident of Nairobi I have never seen or heard you condemn the terror attacks or issue a statement on how you will ensure your people are safe. Mr. Governor, or is it your Excellency? Whichever the case, you have failed us. You took the talents we gave you and went, dug a hole in City Hall and slept on them making merry with your cabinet and county assembly members while our County is becoming unsafe and dirty. Mr. Governor I was among those who thought you were up to the task but sadly you have proved me and my fellow Nairobi residents wrong. All you wanted was status, good leadership and performance was not part of your agenda. We are eagerly awaiting the supreme court verdict but whichever the case Mr. Governor come 2017 we will demand back our “692,483 talents “ worth of votes and give it to someone else who is more capable of transforming this great county because to who much is given much is expected.

Article by,

Dennis Mwaniki

A Political Scientist

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KANU AN ENIGMA TO KENYA’S SYSTEM OF GOOD GOVERNANCE

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When former president Moi said that Kanu will rule for “100 years” many thought he was simply exemplifying the last kicks of a dying horse.  The opposition and other greedy politicians criticized him harshly. What they all forgot was that most of them were alumni of Moism School of politics. They teamed up and formed a coalition to prevent KANU from taking power under the leadership of Kibaki who was once a tutorial fellow in Moism School of politics. He was backed by Raila Odinga, an expelled caretaker who got his loans repaid just before he led a mass exodus of some students, when the then Principal (Moi) hand-picked one of the students (Uhuru) who had undergone a crash program graduating with a PHD in politics without going through the undergraduate and post-graduate program.      

 

In Moism School of politics the curriculum was not based on principles or values in chapter 6 of our constitution nor was it based on ideologies of good governance, performance/results oriented, honesty, etc. Instead, the curriculum was drafted and adopted to teach different ways of corruption and how to avoid being caught, intimidation and extrajudicial killings, under dealings, mistreatment and torture, detention without trial and land grabbing. Performance was measured by how good one is at siphoning funds from the public coffers and enriching themselves. This explains why there wasn’t any form of development that can be attached to the 24 year rule in the Moi’s regime other than the grand/mega corruptions that till to-date have not been resolved

 

KANU was rebranded to form a coalition known as Jubilee (A changed forest but the monkeys remained the same with few newborns). This Coalition is under the leadership of two alumni students of Moism School of politics. President Kenyatta attended a crash program designed for him alone and was able to miss some lessons while deputy president William Ruto was a border who attended all lessons even those taught during public holidays and was able to learn everything in the syllabus and also got an opportunity to do his practical lessons(YK 92).

 

This simply explains why one year down the line the two gentle-men ruling this great nation have nothing to show other than simple theatrics of holding hands, wearing uniform suits and the latest trick of reducing their own salaries by 20 % as a sign of reducing the gigantic wage bill which they will still recover in allowances and gratuity that they and their cabinet secretaries receive from trips and meetings. They have mastered the art of psychological manipulation and have conditioned us like the Pavlov dogs and when they move they make us move with them.

 

They have done this through the use of the VAT Bill making the cost of living to sky rocket, gagged the media, threaten most of the civil society by accusing them of coaching ICC witnesses and now the latest move to weaken the workers union COTU by forming its own puppet Union. All these clearly depict the prophetic words from the former president Moi and show his tactics at work.

 

As a country we will only develop once we break free from the chains of KANU influences and get a Moses kind of leader. Till then us as a country we will continue to go round the desert feeding on Manna in form of aids from foreign countries, experiencing the scorching sun in form of VAT Bill hence missing the opulence in the Promised Land where good system of governance is in place. If a Moses kind of leader is nowhere to be found then we can customize President Uhuru and send him to the Mountain with one order to come with his commandments (Manifesto) which he had sugar coated one year ago before assuming power. Then the second order is for him to implement it without fear or favor. Maybe then the Jubilee government will find themselves in the right track of development.

 

Article by,

Dennis Mwaniki,

Political Scientist

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WAS IT TRUE SOLIDARITY OR HYPOCRICY?

Westgate terror attack! These terrifying words embedded our TVs screens for an entire week. It was a painful and unforgettable day, when a few extremist and mentally disturbed individuals who have been brain washed by satanic and barbaric ideologies attacked one of our shopping malls. They sprayed bullets and hurled grenades to any individual whom they came across. They killed our men who were the protectors, providers in most homes, killed our lovely mothers and wives who were the care givers and pillars in our homes, killed our babies who brought bundles of joy and warmth and lastly killed our dear brothers and sisters who had a bright future ahead full of promises of being our future leaders. It was indeed a sad day for every Kenyan as the entire country was glued to our screens underwent a mental hostage situation in anticipation of what will happen next.

To the bereaved families, no amount of encouragement can fill that enormous void that was left by your loved ones, but one thing we promise as country to do is keep you in our daily prayers and I know our Almighty God will heal, comfort and give you peace of mind and see you through this dark and painful path in your lives. May the words of Job 13:15 that say, “Though he slays me, yet will I hope in Him; I will surely defend my ways to his face”, encourage you at this moment. To those who were held hostage and still traumatized, may our Almighty God give you peace that surpasses all human understanding.

As a country, these past weeks have surely defined the true meaning of what unity is. From the volunteers to our security agents who risked their lives to rescue and assist the injured and those held hostage irrespective of the color, race, religion, gender or age, we salute and will be forever indebted to them for their heroic and selfless demeanor. You demonstrated what civil maturity truly means. That not withstanding Kenyans came out in large numbers and offered assistance of any nature. From sharing their own breath of life through blood donation, offering food and beddings to those who were engaging the extremist, others offering financial assistance running to millions of shillings that will be used to off-set medical bills and lastly those who were unable to offer any of the said things gave the greatest gift of going down on their knees and whispered a word of prayer to those who were affected and for the country.

The devil thought he could divide our beloved country through the use of the extremists/terrorists but he failed and this sad incident brought us closer and united as a people under one Nation, one leadership and one God. We indeed became one. On social media the entire world witnessed our solemn vow through the hash tag slogan #WE ARE ONE. I am proud to be a Kenyan and I will never think of trading my Nationality for any other. Sadly another reality has hit me.

Fellow country men were these acts of unity simply a mere show of hypocrisy or were they a true picture of who we are as a country? Sadly to some it’s just a mere show. We become united when faced by external threat from the terrorist/ extremist but divided when our own local “extremist” best known to us as the “Waheshimiwa’s” / Politicians attack us. They may not use grenades but use words that terrorize our feelings making us kill each other, forcibly evict our brothers and sisters from their lands because they don’t belong to our tribe or ethnic group. We torture each other, destroy property and leave families in turmoil for the rest of their lives simply because our preferred politician has lost a seat or an election or our political party has not won an election.

Why do we allow our “local extremists” to divide us to a point of driving our own country to be classified as a failed state or banana republic? They spend our hard earned money manipulating our constitution for their own selfish interest, increase the living cost resulting to deaths simply because our time of living has been reduced due to the harsh economic environment we wake up to each day. So my beloved country men were the act of unity simply a mere show of hypocrisy or was it our own nature of being united? Let us always stand united despite our differences on any issue. My condolences to the bereaved families.

Article by,

Dennis Mwaniki

A Political Scientist

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“CHOICES HAVE CONSEQUENCES”

The words of Johnnie Carson “choices have consequences” are becoming real every day when we wake up. These consequences are not emanating from the foreign countries as alleged before but from all our elected leaders.

When Johnnie Carson the then Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs and former US ambassador to Kenya uttered the above words when addressing the media during the recent concluded election period, it sparked a harsh reaction from many Kenyans. At first I was burning with anger and asking myself whether we are an independent and sovereign state or are we still under the wings of the colonial masters. To confirm these fears I had to re-read our constitution, switch of the TV and then switch it back on to confirm whether the presenters are “white”, also I had to call a few friends whom I knew were in the city center and asked them whether they were walking with their ID cards hanging on their necks.

I opened my twitter and face book accounts and searched for the accounts of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and some of the freedom fighters so that I could tweet or poke them and ask whether they truly completed the deal of liberating us from the so called colonial masters. This not being enough I sent a quick SMS with the subject line as “urgent” to the village too inquire whether my grandparents were still in the bush fighting for our independence. The answers I got gave me a relief and I truly affirmed myself  that we were indeed an independent state having all our governance structures and institutions in place and all we were going through was just the normal election period conducted by any civilized country. Immediately I took my national identity card made a few copies and hide them anywhere I considered as safe. I waited anxiously and on the Election Day I was among the first to cast my vote to affirm my democratic right to elect any leader I want and not one that the so called colonial masters want me to elect.

I do believe many Kenyans voted for the same reasons as I did; to defy the colonial masters and also to let them know we are in charge. The Jubilee government was voted in despite the various threats from different quotas who kept reminding us on the repercussions of electing a government that is led by leaders who are indicted by the ICC on crimes against humanity. After the swearing in ceremony some of us went to make merry celebrating the fact that some of our so called “big boys” in foreign countries are mourning and that finally the message of being a sovereign state has been stamped on their minds.

The Jubilee government gave me an impression that we are going to have a little heaven on earth. Their manifesto based in three pillars which are Unity, Economy, and Openness. With these they promised that they are going to achieve free primary healthcare for all Kenyans, starting with women, expectant and breast-feeding mothers and persons with disabilities by increasing health financing from 6% to 15%. They promised tax breaks/holidays for the young people to encourage them to initiate start up businesses, and the introduction of tax incentives to encourage investment and growth in the manufacturing and service sector so as to enable them achieve the pledge of creating one million new jobs and many other promises which simply seem as mere utopia talk.

The VAT bill 2013 is just but a tip of the iceberg on what is going to happen. The cost of living has become extremely high that many people will not be able to sustain. Mr. President I believe you are relying on your advisors who are telling you to apply the principle of man cannot live on bread alone but on every word that comes from your government. Your Excellency the words from your government are becoming bitter. Even a simple tool of communication such as newspapers has increased in price making communication from your government unaffordable.

The effects of the words and policies from your government are affecting the unborn, the living and the dead. You have increased VAT on essential commodities such as  milk, bread, eggs and many others that are a requirement on a daily basis and they need to be zero-rated. To the dead, after pushing them to the grave you are still following them by increasing the cemetery charges. Electricity charges have also gone up despite the massive promise from the deputy president that jubilee government will reduce cost of electricity. The manufacturing sector will be highly affected and at the end of it all the common “mwananchi” will bare the greatest burden.

You are pushing us to the wall and as a result we will react. We will try to get rich or die trying and as a result; crime rate will increase while corruption and under-dealings will be the order of the day. As our leaders travel to The Hague accompanied by their sycophant supporters whom we also elected we wish to let them know we will not be praying for them because we as a country are hungry and that we regret the choices we made because the consequences are painful.

Article by

Dennis Mwaniki

Political scientist

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THE JUBILEE SCORECARD!!

Its way past 100 days for the Jubilee Government and I am still pondering on what to give as my own scorecard. Things are happening so fast and the fear of going back to another politically charged environment is becoming more and more real each day due to the immature proposed referendums. All these proposed immature referendums have one thing in common, that is, selfish play from our so called leaders whose main desire is to negatively polarize our peaceful atmosphere as a country in order to remain politically significant. If by any means we find ourselves back to the ballot box any time soon, I wish to state that my vote will be against any form of referendum. Having stated my position, kindly allow me to continue with the agenda for today and that is giving my well thought out scorecard on the Jubilee government.

This government reminds me of three men who were trying to argue amongst themselves who is more generous to God. The first man went ahead and dug a hole and immediately tossed his coins up and said the ones that will fall into the hole will be his and those outside the hole will be God’s. The second man used the same formula and he too tossed his coins up and said the ones that will fall into the hole belong to God and those outside are his. The third man looked at them and condemned the two men for being selfish and said that he believes that he is the most generous of them all. He tossed his coins and said those that will remain up belong to God and those that will fall down belong to Him.

The first two men represent the Moi and Kibaki governments but I wish not to dwell on them and the third man represents the Jubilee government.  As a government you are now fully in operation having selected and appointed your members of cabinet and their respective principle secretaries. You managed to meet the constitutional mandate on gender balance on the appointments and for that I highly commend you. Also the men and women whom you selected are individuals with impeccable credentials and you managed to defy the historical notion of appointing former politicians. On matters of health, you managed to waive the maternity fees making our women able to deliver with pride and dignity in the comfort of our specialized medical personnel. For that every woman gives you a plus.

 On these two matters your performance is above average and I hope you will continue to improve the health system through improving the remuneration of our medical personnel and also raising the standards of our health facilities. Unfortunately these are the only things that you have managed to deliver. Chapter four, Article 43, stipulates that-Every person has the right-

a)      to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care; b) to accessible and adequate housing, and to reasonable standards of sanitation; c) to be free from hunger, and to have adequate food of acceptable quality; d) to social security; and d) to education

Sadly as I look at most of these fundamental rights which you are required to have delivered I can firmly say you have performed below average.

Today most citizens cannot afford a decent meal. During the debate on the proposed VAT Bill the Deputy President, who claims to be a “hustler”, said that the reason why they advocate for increase of VAT on maize meal is because those who go to supermarkets can afford it because they live in urban areas. Allow me to correct the Deputy President and say 98% of those who live in urban areas nowadays cannot afford to buy food from the supermarkets. Instead they go to local shops which purchase their products in bulk from supermarkets and then sell in small quantities making it more expensive in the long run. Inflation rates are too high forcing people to opt for 1 meal a day or the “kadogo economy” where a real hustler budgets for Kes 100 or less on a daily basis.

Insecurity has become a national disaster to a point where even our domestic animals are endangered by being maltreated forcing most us to be vegetarians. The fuel prices keep going up and the living conditions have become unbearable. Transport cost has doubled and now people are opting to walk to work. Unemployment rate continues to increase and the promise of 1 million jobs annually keeps fading away. Soon it may be referred to as a pipe-dream. On housing, most people are opting for informal settlements because the rent has doubled and most people cannot afford.

Bottom line the cost of living is too high. During the campaign period you tossed your well articulated manifesto claiming you will be generous by ensuring every Kenyan gets a decent living. As citizens we are still waiting but it seems all the promises have only fallen down to the main players in the government. Final verdict; you are still below average, but you got time to recover.

Article by,

Dennis Mwaniki

A Political Scientist.

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Time to move on, next time try harder!!

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Recently I found myself reading a book titled “Surviving the Loss of a Loved One” by Reginald K. Brown for no apparent reason. In the book, the author states that in an emotional state of sorrow and grief there are two traps of which the bereaved should be aware of. The first is to pretend that they are over the worst when they are not and the other is to hang on to the grief for too long. Reginald K. Brown continued to state that within the grieving process we have various stages that will help in recovery.

The first is shock and numbness; which is the immediate reaction to the loss and may take several weeks. It’s nature’s way of protecting you from the initial pain and distress. Secondly, we have the denial where one may find himself or herself not believing what has happened and some may think it’s a bad dream. Thirdly, we have blaming self/others. At this stage the individual may resort to a “blame game” on his/her loss to himself or other people.

Fourth, we have depression and disorganization. At this stage one may feel extremely sad and unable to do things they want to do and also unable to enjoy friends; indulge in hobbies or other pleasurable activities. Last but not least is the resolution stage where one makes a mistake of thinking that the solution is to stop grieving. Where as the loss will always be there and no matter what you try to do at some point the memories may still reappear.

After the last general elections we had those who lost and some had to cement their loss by going to the Supreme Court. Some of these individuals are still in the initial stage of grief where they are experiencing shock hence they are no longer in the public lime light nor do we hear them making any public comment or critic the winners (Government).Unfortunately, we are now seeing those who are experiencing the third stage which is blaming self or others exercising it and to be specific the Cord Coalition leaders.

 Immediately after the Supreme Court verdict the Cord Coalition went back to their strongholds to win sympathy from their supporters claiming that democracy in our country was on trial while others spreading innuendo and propaganda that some of the Supreme Court judges had been bribed. Fortunately or unfortunately most the electorates had accepted the verdict and were in the process of healing and those who were angry and bitter, the memory of 2007/2008 post election violence still lingering in their minds forced most of them to sober up and move on.

Currently, the Cord Coalition leaders are back at the blame game and now the target is the IEBC. We all know the IEBC had its challenges and it being the first time as a country going digital on the electoral process, we all knew some technological challenges were inevitable without trying to justify the massive challenges. But starting to attack an institution that is well founded under our constitution and whose commissioners underwent a rigorous vetting process and their names approved by parliament is just simply political manipulations from our political leaders.

The Commission under attack now carried out the successful referendum of 2008 and for a period it was a “darling” to many and especially those who were on the winning side and to be more precise the leaders of the Cord Coalition. Why then change the perception just because the nomination of one of your nominee in the Makueni by- election was declared null and void simply because of failing to do a proper verification on whether the nominee was a registered voter or not .

Losing is part of life especially in a competition. It is something that we are all going to experience just like death and paying taxes. But how we handle and grieve over it is determined a lot by our character. The solution is not to disband the entire commission or polarize the country by saying you are not going to engage yourselves on any election carried out by the IEBC, yet most of your coalition members who won and are now Governors, M.P’s and Senators were declared winners by the same Commission. Also trying to jeopardize the existing government is not a solution because if the government fails we all fail, whether we voted for or against. Its time to move on and for those who lost lets try harder next time.

Article by,

Dennis Mwaniki,

A political Scientist

 

 

 

 

 

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Should we cover our nakedness or expose it to the world?

Recently a US based research organization classified Kenya as among the group of failed states and on top of the list was Somalia. A country that has been faced with violence and war for almost a decade or so, a place where the language on rule of law, democracy, peaceful co-existence, harmony is just but a rumor but the language of iron machetes, guns, grenades and blood is a common phenomena to all. Hopefully, Somalia will relinquish its current position soon due to the newly established Federal Government of Somalia under the leadership of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as president and Abdi Farah Shirdon as the Prime Minister and also assistance from the Africa continent and world at large.

 

But the question that still lingers in my mind is; is Kenya really a failed state? For a country to be classified as a failed state there are various factors that are normally considered such as the Legitimacy of the state, Security, Declining public services, Human rights, Demographic pressures, External Intervention, Uneven Development, Refugees & IDP’s, Poverty & Economic Decline, Group grievances and last but not least Human Flight. Allow me to interrogate most of these factors so as to check whether as a country we are a failed state or not?

 

As a country we do have a legitimate state which was duly elected on 4th March 2013 and thereafter given a clean bill of health by the Supreme Court despite the massive electoral irregularities such as failure of the BVR Kits and the electronic tallying system. Despite the legitimacy of the state, as a country we still face another issue of not being fully accepted by the international community due to the well known ICC issue that surround both our President and his deputy. But can that make us a failed state?

 

Security is a big issue in our country. Actually the President needs to declare it a national disaster. Every now and then we wake up to news concerning ethnic clashes from Bungoma to Tana River and parts of Northern Eastern. People are killing each other as if it’s a new game. Most of our Sundays wouldn’t end without grenades being hurled into churches, bus stops or Mosques. Killer gangs and Juvenile gangs are mushrooming in most of the informal settlements and our young girls are raped every now and then. Our top police officials (Chairman of the Police Service Commission and Inspector General) are still in limbo of who should have more powers over the other. As a result security in our country is still in question and our safety is definitely not certain.

 

Declining of public service is still another issue that we are facing. Under the new government the Ministries have been reduced through merging most of the Ministries that were in the former blotted cabinet. Unfortunately this has not solved any issue because the personnel have not changed their minds or their ways of doing things. This is well articulated when one visits any of the Public Hospitals.  Most of our human rights are not well adhered to fully, such as freedom and security of persons, labor relations, assembly, demonstration, picketing and petition.

 

Demographic pressures are also challenges that we grapple with but they are swept under the carpet by our leaders. We have a large group of retirees who are not able to sustain their living and those whom they depend on, happen to fall under the category of the working class but a large percentage are unemployed. There is also the challenge of external threat from the Alshabab and cattle rustlers from our neighboring countries. There are external influences from certain global financial institutions that issue ultimatums for any assistance they offer us.

 

When we ushered in the devolved system of government we were all optimistic that uneven development will be an issue of the past but lately it seems it’s only going to be a pipe dream if the current budget estimates from our counties are anything to go by. Our leaders have selectively ignored what is of priority such as solving the issue of IDP’s who are still languishing in torn tents, the issue of poverty increase where basic amenities to some people is a big issue and the current wave of industrial strikes.

 

We are told that if you happen to see your father walking naked don’t start shouting and calling the villagers to come and see his nakedness but rather cover him. Unfortunately our father enjoys walking naked and despite our efforts to cover him, the villagers have already noticed his nakedness and now they are exposing us by calling us a failed state. Fellow country men my question still lingers, is Kenya really a failed state? If so should we all join the band wagon and expose its nakedness or should we continue to cover it?

 

Article by

Dennis Mwaniki

Political scientist

 

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IGNORE PROTOCOL AT YOUR OWN PERIL:

Change is as good as rest. It is something that humans need to understand and appreciate but at the same time, Robert Green in his book 48 laws of power cautions us to preach change as much as we like, and even enact our reforms. But, we should remember to give them the comforting appearance of older events and traditions. As a country we are experiencing change from both the social sphere; where individuals are changing from one gender to another. Economical sphere; where we are currently operating on a Trillion budget. Lastly, political sphere; where the electoral system is different and even appointment of individuals for different offices is away from the norm.

It is an exciting as well as a baffling change especially when it comes from the level of presidency.  Not long ago we witnessed the “statehouse romance” where our president and the deputy president held hands after naming the first four cabinet secretaries.  The act was so casual and also the manner in which he addressed the journalist by inviting them for a cup of tea, someone would notice a big change. As a result of this I think many high profile individuals have started to take advantage of the casualness of the president and to some extent strayed from the guidelines of protocol and how to address him.

In the ancient Chinese Court of the WeiKingdom there was a man named Mi Tzu-Hsia who had a reputation for supreme civility and graciousness. He became the rulers’ favorite. It was a law in Wei that “whoever rides secretly in the ruler’s coach shall have his feet cut off,” but when Mi Tzu-Hsia’s mother fell ill, he used the royal coach to visit her, pretending that the ruler had given him permission. When the ruler found out, he said, “How dutiful is Mi Tzu-Hsia! For his mother’s sake he even forgot that he was committing a crime making him liable to loose his feet!”

Another time the two of them took a stroll in an orchard. Mi Tzu-Hsia began eating a peach that he could not finish and he gave the ruler the other half to eat. The ruler remarked, “You love me so much that you would even forget your own saliva taste and let me eat the rest of the peach. Later, envious fellow courtiers, spreading word that Mi Tzu-Hsia was actually devious and arrogant, succeeded in damaging his reputation, the ruler came to see his actions in a new light, “This fellow once rode in my coach under pretense of my order, “he told the courtiers angrily, “and another time he gave me a half –eaten peach, “for the same action Mi Tzu-Hsia had to suffer the penalties! Please allow me to interpret!

Some of the high profile individuals including some politicians, government officials, and members of the private sector (CEO’s) are behaving like Mi Tzu-Hsia. They have taken the casualness of the president and forgotten the level of respect that needs to be accorded to any individual who happens to be in the position of the presidency. Recently, during one of the events that the president graced of which it will go to the annals of our history as the first social event a sitting president to ever attend. It was a noble gesture from him but what struck people like me who happens to be keen on protocol matters is the way one of the officiators a well known corporate leader addressed him as a “guy”.

The act looked innocent and probably it was a joke. But let me remind some of these leaders who are becoming so comfortable with the casualness of the president. They say a fruit doesn’t fall away from the tree. Our current president happens to be the son of the founding president of our Nation. This is a well known fact. But when I was growing up, I would hear of stories about our founding president and how would call leaders who went contrary to his demands and whip them literary like children. He operated on the frequency that it’s better to be feared than loved. Also that it was impossible for any one to look at him straight in the eyes. A fact or a myth but things are about to change.

For those leaders who happen to be close friends to the president and who are now cultivating the habit of addressing him casually its time you reconsider your actions. If you all happen to be keen on history, our president is simply trying to replay his father’s leadership style. This is well demonstrated on the formation of cabinet which closely resembles the first cabinet this country had and many other things such as operating fully from statehouse and so on. Sooner or later he will get used to the presidency and his character will emerge and some of you may suffer the penalties of your actions.

Article by,

Dennis Mwaniki

Political ScientistUhuru_Kenyatta_Groove_Awards_

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Activists : An emerging class of Good Samaritans

#OccupyParliament

#OccupyParliament, Kenya, Parliament, Democracy

Recently in Kenya; during the Labor Day celebration, an activist was mishandled by hired goons, protecting a Man who claims to be the image and representative of the millions of labourers in Kenya.

As in the case of the Good Samaritan; the first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the Good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him? (Martin Luther King Jr.)

These words of wisdom are normally embedded, knowingly or unknowingly, in the hearts of many activists or civil society movements that advocate for the various rights which may have been directly or indirectly violated by either the ruling government or highly powered individuals. These rights may be first or second generation rights, Animal rights, Conservation rights or right to have rights.

Was the activist justified to express his inner most pain and frustrations of what he and many Kenyans feel but fail to express? Yes he was. Did the government do anything? Yes they did by letting the hired goon mishandle him and later charged him with disruption of a state function. We the ‘priests’ and ‘Levites’ sat comfortably in our living rooms wining and dining while applauding the circus being screened on our flat screens TV’s as the activists were being carried like criminals while others were busy criticizing the activists harshly.

Within a week the same activists made headlines by bringing pigs feeding on bloody filth outside parliament. The pigs were branded with names of Members of parliament who are adversely advocating for the increase of their salaries. The activists were arrested and are being charged with cruelty to animals. I think as a country and especially the newly elected leaders (Governors, Senators, Members of Parliament and Members of the county assembly) we are missing a very critical point that these activists are trying to pass across.

Allow me to give you all a mental flight to the last seen series of protests and demonstrations across the Middle East and Northern Africa, which came to be known as the Arab Spring/Uprising. These series of phenomenal started in Tunisia when a man decided to set himself on fire which resulted to the escalation of riots and unrest which led to President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia. A spill over to other countries such as Algeria, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt which resulted to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak was experienced. The gross but bravery act by the “burning man” in Tunisia as he came to be known was majorly a protest against the high rise of food prices, mistreatment from the authorities, high unemployment and other social injustices that a common man in any part of the world faces.

Having enlightened you and myself on the “Arab Spring” I wish to join this group of young activists and assume the role of a “media activist” meaning I am among the class of the “Priest and the Levites” but undergoing a mental emancipation to become a “good Samaritan”. Our leaders have mastered the art of selective amnesia whereby they choose to remember what is beneficial to them and forget what is not. When they campaigned they knew how much they will earn and none complained. Some even made promises to donate their salaries to the various constituents but now, they have forgotten the promises and their new song is that the Salary and Remuneration commission is plotting to kill them. On the other side, we the Kenyans suffer from “adaptive syndrome”. 

We adapt to any situation we find ourselves in and most of these harsh situations are man made. As a country, we have a large percentage of educated youth who are internet savvy and creative but lack employment. We are faced with food inflation, lack of freedom of speech and extremely poor living conditions. Something needs to be done and if not then we will have a battle of the haves and the have not as we are currently seeing through the Occupy parliament protests. To the Kenyans, the activists are simply saying, if they don’t stop to voice the injustices we face, what will happen to all of us when the “pigs” take all the food. Is there anyone listening?

Article by;

Dennis Mwaniki,

Political Scientist.

 

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