What type of Leadership Does Kenya Need?

It does not matter what the ‘what’ looks like. It could seem to be the greatest, nicest and have the biggest applause but if the ‘why’ is not okay, it is sort of useless and it loses its meaning. When I look at the state in which my country is in, I tend to feel that there is need for much more to be done in the process of reforming our economy and improving the quality of life of our people and communities because it’s not what you look for that matters, it’s what you see.

I just realized that this nation has turned into a drama queen and just because some people are fueled by drama doesn’t mean you have to attend the performance. Forget about the political tension of Kenya’s fresh election and the distrust we have currently gained in our institutions, let’s talk about what we see and need.raila_uhuru

It is sad that our country is still dependent of agriculture as our major source of income. The sector is not doing so well and whoever will be the next president of the Republic of Kenya has a major challenge in dealing with the economic crisis, ballooning debt and inflation of prices on most commodities. So, who between Raila and Uhuru has worked best on his game to drive us to a better Kenya? I understand the former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga pledges tax cuts to seek foreign capital and on the other hand President Uhuru Kenyatta promises to boost investments in public infrastructure and technology to transform Kenya into a middle income nation.

Before making a decision on who you want to be the next president of this great land, you need to understand how all our major sectors are doing and what each candidate has to offer in each sector. Construction of infrastructure has grown rapidly, same as Youth empowerment and the ICT sector as we are very close to getting to that prosperous ICT driven society that the Jubilee government promised us. Manufacturing sector is still recovering while in Transport, the public sector still lags behind however the private sector still thrives in this. Our education sector however still suffers from some background issues and same as our Health sector. The tourism sector also needs to be looked into.

I am a believer that security should be the first duty of the government. Security challenges in Kenya are particularly prominent in urban areas and ours is a very interesting type of crime and not much life threatening but are rather ‘snatch and runs’ and ‘carjacking’ type of crimes. Terrorism however has escalated due to Kenya’s involvement in the Somali wars. Jubilee talks of strengthening the ATPU and expand Integrated Command and Control while NASA promises on improving the police to population ratio and bringing our Kenyan soldiers back from Somalia.

Corruption is the mother of all our problems in Kenya! We all know how corruption has sucked so much from us. I hate that evil monster! It is a major barrier to doing business in Kenya with lots of misuse of public fund. This reminds me of the ‘tenderprenuers’ SMH. We could say that most of our projects in Kenya have failed due to poor planning but with all the cartels existing, our economy will and is affected by this Factor. Jubilee government promises of transparency and accountability while NASA talks of improving the code of conduct to ensure all elected and appointed officials do not engage in corruption.

I wish I could write more on what we are facing and what we need but that is not my area of expertise but I will not seat down and yap about what I need and what is missing or who is best for us.  I hope of a country where people will one day vote based on the changes they want to see and not based on which tribe the leader comes from. I also wish we could have altruistic leaders who care about this country and its future. I also would love to see leaders that respect us all! We need to be done with this elections very soon to save our economy! I will vote

Let your vote voice what you want.

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Let’s Talk About Peace!

It is clearly very hard for me to be apolitical at this period when my country seems to be heading for burnout. I have zero interest in listening to any news in Kenya because every day we seem to be having numerous amount of breaking news. However, I will not sit down and hush while I feel the need to speak up on where we are headed to as a country.

Today morning as I was watching some TED talks, I came across  ‘The day I stood Up Alone ‘by Boniface Mwangi. To be quite honest, I have never wanted to hear or see anything to do with the 2007 post-election violence. The stories I heard were tormenting enough. But today in that YouTube video I saw the images and the photos freaked me out. I do not have the right words to describe the images I just saw but I am still feeling very very disturbed! Most people did not experience or see the violence although they live in Kenya; it was a story to them. But today after seeing this, I repeat I am very disturbed! Why would we want to go back there? I feel that tribalism for Kenya starts from the top. Don’t you feel like political leaders have always relied on members of their ethnical group for votes and it is not different this time round? *Anyway, that was not meant to be part of this whole topic. It was just a quick thought that popped up in my mind.*

I will preach peace!!!! They will tell me that I shouldn’t preach silence to preserve peace but I Believe in transparency; I believe that there is need to stop this ‘lack of credibility’ in electoral process thread that is sickening.  Many people at the moment are saying that they have the will to deal with the political crimes of the past and I respect their ideology. I know we all want justice. I do too. We have a long history of political impunity. My kind of peace is the peace that advocates for a positive narrative and discussions that will not form war energy. We are all allowed to have differing opinions in regards to our political stand and our preferred candidate for the upcoming fresh election. Ten years ago we saw how election campaigns can turn violent but yet we still do not act like we learnt anything at all.  I feel like preaching peace is pushed more as a religious issue by most of you. How I see religion and politics is different. Religion concerns the private sphere where individuals join like-minded individuals while political life concerns public sphere which is pertained as being a member of a wider community.images

We have a population that is very active on social media and loosely connected. Is the message you push for on social media influencing positively or negatively? Like Minahil Qureshi would put it,’ the black colour in our flag is more than just our black colour.  Black is a colour that symbolizes the absence of colour and absorption of colour. It means the absorption of all Kenyans regardless of their tribe and absence of discrimination.  I won’t be a smart coward. I will preach peace. I will stand for the truths I believe in and I would love that we respect each and every person’s political choice. We need to move past this elections and upgrade our economy, our infrastructures and well being for ourselves and future generations.

 

Conservation Pick

I came across a photo on Facebook of some elephant and Rhino with some pink dye on their tusk and horn to protect them from poachers.  To start with, the dye been used is similar to the product used in banking industry. The dye is visible on an X-ray scanner even  when ground to a fine powder. The airport security checkpoints are almost certain to pick the presence of this dye in a treated horn regardless whether the horn is intact or in powder form. It was an interesting initiative. Being the environmentalist I am, I wouldn’t let this one pass me by without putting some research on it. The first question in my head after seeing the photo  was? ” Is this for real?” Well, the short answer is “sort of.”elephant-rhino

So apparently the images you just saw are photo shopped. I know your sad to hear that and  I’m sad as well. I had seen something good coming out from the conservation progress of this endangered species. It is actually painful to write about all this but Wanjiru must write something and she cant do her research without sharing. You know am not that selfish. Sharing is caring! I feel the need to educate you peeps first on why there has been too much poaching of the elephants and Rhinos. Ivory poaching for tusks is the main reason that elephants have been so heavily hunted. Elephants ivory is used in huge amounts to make billiards balls, piano keys and many other items for human enjoyment. Rhino’s horns on the other hand are shaved or grounded into a powder and dissolved into boiling water. They are useful for their medicinal value as they are largely composed of the protein Keratin. This demand is mainly in China and it is growing and without effective demand reduction our beautiful creatures are rapidly going to decline, which is already happening.

To explain my previous “sort of”answer on how true is the use of the ink dye is this; There is this Rhino Rescue Project, whose initiative is to  devalue rhino horns from consumer perspective. Education in teaching rhino horns consumers that rhino horn contains no nutritional or medicinal value has and will not produce any immediate result.The mission for the project is to offer a sustainable, cost effective, defensive strategy to protect Rhinos in  South Africa and elsewhere. The dyeing is done to eliminate demand for rhino horns.  This treatment or dye should remain effective to four to three years after which re administration is required.1ce7b6b184a5893fa45fcfba0b2bca56

If you were keenly reading the article you will realize I haven’t talked much about the elephant tasks.  I am not sure of the colour surface of the horn after dyeing but my question is would  dyeing the elephant tusks protect them from poaching?  I pose this as a question because the elephant tusk is one huge tooth and almost one third of the tooth is embedded inside the elephant’s skull. Wouldn’t poachers still kill the animals for the unstained ivory inside the elephants head? plus the tusk grow an inch per year, the pink tusk wouldn’t keep the elephant safe forever. Another question about this whole dyeing thing is the application process. Is it risky for the animals? The risk process would involve one anesthetizing the elephant, which could compromise its health.

In Kenya, there are several measures that have been put in place to protect the two group of animals. The dyeing has not yet started or been done in Kenya. However, I would like you and I to think of how we could help in the conservation process to ensure that our future generations are not limited to the resources we are enjoying today.

 

The Boozy Passenger

Yesterday I took a Matatu home…*lol, like I had an option* .  I sat at the seat next to the driver. We all know how that seat is on demand.  People who have used the Manchester Sacco would understand the hustle to get the front seats since most of the time they are normally reserved.  A drunk young man sat next to me. I was so exhausted and didn’t need drama for my 45.3Km journey so I decided to move to one of the back seats. I surely made the right choice moving to the back seat. The young man was a nuisance!!! The passengers were already complaining that he should be kicked out even before we could get out of Nairobi town.

The drunken man…..okay we need to give him a name. I will call him Ken (not his real name). Ken with his boozy drink was in a very messy state.  He was literally invading our freedom and the journey that was supposed to be peaceful. The driver pleaded with him severally to stop sticking his head outside the window but Ken was so stubborn. Ken decided to go further to disrespect the lady who sat next to him by touch her inappropriately and that is where the driver and a few men in the Matatu were filled with wrath. The driver stopped the vehicle in the middle of the busy Thika road super highway and the men beat Ken up like a little boy. Ken was moved to the back seat. Everything was interestingly hushed down to a pin-drop silence.

Ken is a really funny character. Niggah couldn’t shut up for long! So he started mumbling about his family and wealth, his education and his crappy job. From what I could tell about him this is a guy who is educated but depressed about his life turn out. An old lady who sat next to me said to me, “ Do not be surprised to realize that this young man is married. He seems so educated. There is always a price to pay from how we choose to live our life as well as raise our kids. And here we have another depressed boy child.” At first I did not understand what the ‘boy child’ had to do with all this but this got me thinking.

depression_drinkingWhen I looked beyond the boozy young man, I saw a depressed man. Ken was trying to relieve some anxiety or depression inside him. He was mumbling about his personal problems and that made me sad. Alcohol is meant to make you relax but for Ken it was his antidote to opening up but to the wrong crowd in the wrong state. The young man and many other young men out here do not really realize that alcohol makes life get more depressing. Most people get addicted and it is no longer a choice to have a drink, it turns to a feeling that one must have a drink.

We have to acknowledge that there are two problems here; the boy child neglect and alcoholism. Both have nothing to do with our African culture but the social platform we have created and developed for our young men. Born as an the only lady in a family of three children, I still do not understand how men operate. One thing I know is that, it’s hard to be a man.

Do we really have people to lead our men through the maze?  Do many men get to the journey to what they were created to be?  Do we have men coaching men as there are many people coaching the girl child? The girl child has been given much attention. I keep saying we have done a good job in that. We have to deeply analyze what men are made of deeply and how they operate.  We need to understand what is critical for men and do it in their language. By this we are able to try to save them from alcoholism.

Am not trying to say that all men who drink are depressed, all am saying is the cause of his drinking was depression. I hope that the ‘Kens’ out here know that talking to someone you trust when stressed is a step towards healing because depression is a disease.

 

Hiding Behind the Keyboard

Kenya’s recent elections got me really fed up on how majority of us use the social media platform. We use technology to bash others by having a high temptation to weaponize these mode of interaction, in a heart wrecking and uncontrolled manner losing vital skills gained through confronting conflict. We talk and spread unfounded theories on local issues on social media that often lead to ‘cyber conflict’. We have created a social platform of “my way or the high way’’. When did it become a crime to have differing opinions? The posts on my homepage got me so bitter and exhausted. I could not find anything interesting to read during the election period apart from the ‘githeri’ man memes. But something that I learnt from all this is that the more talks about how technology has divided us, the more we demand from it.

Digital connectivity is good for citizens but even better for governance. Political leaders are increasingly using social media to gain mileage. How about ‘Wanjiku’? Do we use this platform to initiate dialogues towards the development changes we need? Maybe, by successfully creating a good link through the social media platform to the people who govern us we could establish trust and confidence in our institutions. Why not shift from the social media helping in empowering protests to using it in bringing social and political change.sh

Governance can only be improved if good communication is established. We could use this digital connectivity to mobilize and promote real change in our nation. We could create the capacity to influence how we want to be governed. Use your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the other form of social platforms for civic engagement. Post real life local issues in our society. Imagine being able to notify our local leaders on the local problems at the grass root level through that post, that photo or that video. This could catalyze the change in our governance systems.

We are the change we need.  Who said that one voice cannot be strong? Movements could be created in this social community.  All this could begin with you and I. We need to grow as a community even if growing means doing it behind our keyboards to mask our actual feelings. Use social media to change the development game in our country.

The ‘F’ word females misinterpret

Before I start, don’t get me wrong. I am not against women equality. I actually call myself a Feminist. Yes, a big one but not a blind one. This is because I believe I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay. Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.
My issue is that our generation is becoming too busy trying to prove that women can do what a man can do. I think this makes us lose our uniqueness as women. Women were not created to do everything that a man can do. Women were created to do everything that a man can’t do. We all slave our way in our day today activities to earn a source of living. It’s the 21st century. No one is going to have some lazy punky ass of a woman in his home that doesn’t bring something to the table.

If you want the type of equality most of you all are asking for in your homes, you should be prepared to walk in the same path as your guy. Imagine him treating you like he treats his guy friends, sigh. Someone will start to argue that what I am trying to say is that women should have it easier than men. That a woman has this one luxury that men don’t have, am not among the likes that argue that women can be dependable while men can’t. Some people think that a woman can go to college get a degree and still choose to be a house wife. They also think both the man and woman can be employed but for the woman it’s still okay for her to be dependable on the man while the man doesn’t have that luxury. That it’s okay for a woman to hit a man or kick him but if a man does that he is labeled as an abuser. Dear women, the more we shout the less we shall be heard. They will say that this equality thing is crap. I believe in empowering a woman and educating her but I don’t believe in this special treatment women are begging attention for!!!

Feminism started out as a revolutionary idea, promoting equal rights for women it was an approach that was an integration of women into the global economy hence improving the status and assisting in the total development of their communities. If you are a woman calling yourself a feminist and do not know why we shifted from the Women in Development concept to the Gender in Development then have a seat and shut up! Do your homework!

Women in Development mainly fought against the first wave of how women were not included in political affairs and the other waves were on the social and cultural inequality i.e. sexual violence, reproductive rights and sexual discrimination. WID approach helped to ensure the integration of women into the workforce and increase their level of productivity in order to improve their lives.
While the Gender and Development approach focuses on the socially constructed basis of differences between men and women and emphasizes the need to challenge existing gender roles and relations. The approach is based against discrimination of women/men in all the institutions and society. GID serve as a transitioning point in the way in which feminist have understood development. It served as a comprehensive overview of the social, economic and political realities of development.

My point is, Women need to understand that this “equality” thing is based on development not favoritism. It is a tool towards development of our societies. Equality doesn’t mean identical it means “equal to”. Equality aims to promote fairness and Justice.

Do Kenyan Young Women Under 30 Want To Be Politically Engaged?

 

Here is a millennium woman speak out about the gender ambition gap in the rising political under 30. Do not get me wrong when I talk of ambition because; our young ladies are kicking ass in reference to career ambitions. Career ambition is among their top/major life priorities. We have done a good job in empowering our women towards Gender in Development. However, I feel that the young ladies in our society are focused on personal growth, economic change and social well-being but how about engagement in politics? I will loosely define political engagement as citizens’ activities affecting politics.

Our constitution gives women the right to engage in political activities. We have more numbers of women in parliament but has that increased our young women’s influence in governance? If young women are as politically engaged as young men, why aren’t they aspiring to political careers in equal measure? Does one need to have a family political background? What can be done to make our young women especially in the marginalized areas embrace politics yet they’re very few requirements required to hold office? There are so many ways one can be politically involved without actually being the “candidate” or the person facing the cameras. There are many political jobs that are behind the scenes.

Young men are more likely to be socialized by their parents to consider politics as a career option than are young women, this will eventually make the women feel that they are less qualified for the political office. Most women do not realize the power that they hold as they make up more than half of the country’s population. I feel that we have very many young women out there who are passionate about social issues but very few who feel empowered into getting into politics. I have always felt that having one or two young women get really successful in politics will show my generation that we can grow up to be as politically active as we want to be but gender inequality remains very real in our heads.

I write to encourage the under 30 woman that we can create a structure of possibility in politics and building a thriving democracy that includes women in more than just gender issues. Participation of young women in politics helps in creation of a platform for more women in the decision making processes. It will also inspire the women who might have felt marginalized or uninterested in politics.
My word to every young woman is that one of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors