Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

Its festive season once again and therefore I take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy festive season, Merry Christmas and a Wonderful 2008.

Lets enjoy and remember the less fortunate in our society. After Christmas lets turn out in large numbers to vote on 27th December to bring the change we want in Kenya.

Best Wishes and be blessed!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Did the MC at State House function deserve First Lady’s slap?

Latest hot news in Kenya now is not about political parties and their last campaigns trail as we countdown to elections in 13 days. I also thought there would be nothing interesting from news in Kenya to blog about as I look forward to Christmas holidays and the New year, alas I was wrong, there will always be something interesting coming along.

First Lady Lucy has done it again, she slapped the MC at the Presidential award ceremony yesterday at State House, Nairobi for referring to her as Wambui, a lady that has been referred to by many as her co-wife but the President has denied in public that she is not his wife, read here story by E.A. Standard

I want to put myself in First Lady Lucy Kibaki’s shoes, being the first and only wife of my husband, then he gets another woman or another woman appears in public to claim she is my husband’s second wife and has a daughter with him, I will definitely loathe that woman with a passion and insist my husband clears the air about the other woman. I may even contemplate leaving him but one funny thing about married women, we threaten to leave, then again we decide to stay on and fight this intruder or enemy in the form of a co-wife, mistress or concubine. We call the woman all sorts of names, husband snatcher or gold digger and forget to blame the man who went after this woman.

However in First Lady Lucy’s case, it seems like this has been a long relationship (if what Wambui claims about the marriage is true) and the fact that her daughter is an adult so she must have been aware of the relationship for a long time. Her main problem with this other woman could have come out when her husband became a President making her First Lady, so she could not stand the idea of sharing her public figure husband.

On the other hand, if I were a public figure like First Lady Lucy and having to deal with the idea of a co-wife or my husband’s mistress, I would not have reacted the way she did in public. In order not to shame my family or tarnish my husbands name at a crucial time like now (elections), I would have summoned the senior administrative officer who was the MC after the function, get some explanation from him, if I don’t get a satisfactory explanation then I would give him a piece of my mind and a warning, but Madam Lucy being the Lucy we know could not hold her dignity and decided to do what she is known best to do.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Drive carefully these holidays

Cases of grisly accidents on Kenyan roads are on the rise now, most of them caused by public service vehicles (PSV). We see and read in the news of terrible accidents involving matatus and recently a bus from Akamba Bus company in Vihiga, read more from E A Standard .

Apart from public transport drivers being careless, the authorities are also to blame for these accidents. I talked about laxity during election campaigns, where police stopped arresting matatus like they used to and so they drive the way they like. On another post I mentioned about the request by a former MP to the President that matatu touts uniforms should be abolished. I believe this triggered matatu touts to go back to their old ways.

They now don’t wear uniforms, speed governors have been disconnected or thrown in the garage, just take ride in a matatu one of these days on a highway, you will gasp for breath most of the time because of the speed and pray you reach where you are going safely. There are police checks everywhere but most of them defy when stopped or the police only check the front for insurance or proper lights and wave the matatus on. A few of them check the driver’s documents.

When the police are not serious or go slow in their duty may be because they have been told to do so at this time of elections, passengers of public transport and even motorists are left at the mercy of careless drivers with no documents or fake ones, we now have drivers of all characters on the road some could even be under alcohol or drug influence when driving. Un-roadworthy public vehicles are also back and we are back to the days when matatus charge whatever they want and carry more passengers and some even standing.

This is why accidents are on the rise now, many people loose their lives causing a lot of pain and suffering to their families. Other motorists are also caught in the mess when public service vehicles are driven carelessly on the roads.

The authorities should act fast before more people loose their lives and to motorists who will be driving upcountry this holiday season, take care!

Friday, December 7, 2007

I just love December

December is normally a relaxed month for me as I normally look forward to Christmas, the holidays and the New Year. It’s a relaxed time for kids and parents when schools close early in Kenya, so the holidays are normally longer than other school holidays. It is also a good time for parents to organize for items, uniforms and news schools for their kids. Our company also closes over December holidays, this time we will close on 21st, that means I have over 10 days holiday. It is not normally free because the working days get deducted from my annual leave, but I can’t complain because I need the holiday.

When it gets to December the workload also gets less so I find myself free most of the time. I normally get time to do my errands sometimes in the morning or take a long lunch to do some shopping or window-shopping. I also loose interest to work with nothing much to do and my mind is fixed on the coming holidays, when I can get time to relax or travel upcountry to my home and visit relatives in the village.

When I travel upcountry the moment I get out of Nairobi and start the upcountry stretch from Limuru, Gilgil, and Naivasha onwards to western part of Kenya, I normally feel like I have left behind all problems we face in the city and wish I would never come back to them. Unfortunately its only for a few days and would still have to come back to the city because I don’t have an alternative to my job upcountry.

This time if I decide to travel upcountry it will be short because I have to be back in Nairobi by 27th December to vote, if not I would have to travel on 28th December after voting. I cannot complain about elections coming in between my holiday because it’s a worthy cause that only comes after every five years.

As I relax in my office this December, I can plan how to go about the coming holiday with elections coming in between.

Otherwise it is not too early to say

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Poor infrastructure nearly ruined my weekend

I started my weekend early to sort out a few personal issues that marked a big achievement in my life.

I was preoccupied with my plans and thinking about the activities for the weekend in a quiet and relaxed upcountry like atmosphere away from all the pollution in the city and current news in Kenya, I decided to ignore the newspapers and TV and only preferred listening to music occasionally.

Just when I thought I could get away and also forget about politics, an incident brought me back to reality. The vehicle we were traveling in got stuck in mud and took us hours to get it out, the delay caused us to arrive at our destination when it was nearly dark.

That is when I realized there is government that people are complaining about because of poor infrastructure amongst other issues, I really cursed this regime and the previous ones more than ever. I asked myself how can we live like this with terrible roads for so many years, we cry for change all the time, then elect the same people who cause us untold suffering yet they don’t go through this kind of experience.

When it rains they either use their powerful vehicles and helicopters, some even have airstrips on their vast land for smooth landing. They only remember how other Kenyan’s suffer when its time for elections and promise to build the roads. Our politicians have been building ghost roads since independence. How I wish Kenyan’s would vote 90% of them out if not all.

Otherwise I reached my destination away from all campaign hullabaloo, propaganda and accusations. Its all crazy such that I wish ECK Chairman would stop all campaigns and tell everyone to shut up and wait for elections day.

My quiet weekend made me realize how peaceful life can be without politics, so am now looking forward to the festive season more than ever.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Land clashes in Kenya continue

Land clashes in Kenya have not stopped despite deployment of security forces by the authorities. When we enjoy going about our normal life, worrying more about our families, the latest in politics and other issues, we forget about terrible things happening to fellow Kenyans. We are proud to tell the World that Kenya is a peaceful country and that we have enjoyed peace in Kenya unlike other countries in African that have been torn by war for many years.

Then our peace gets disturbed when our news sources brings us back to reality of things happening around us like insecurity, tribal and land clashes, news of clashes in some parts of Kenya, that leave us wondering whether our government has the machinery to deal with such conflicts or not.

Am writing this because I have been saddened by this story in the Daily Nation newspaper of a 4 year old child with her 60 year old grandmother, who were attacked in Kuresoi area of Molo District in Rift Valley.

"Three more die in night attack

Publication Date: 11/29/2007
Three family members were killed in violence-torn Kuresoi area of Molo District, raising the death toll to seven in the last few days.

Four-year-old Sharon Chebet and grandmother Esther Bore, 60, yesterday at Molo District Hospital where they were admitted following an attack by raiders at Ng’arua village, Kuresoi in Molo District. Three of their relatives were killed by the raiders on Tuesday night. Photo/MARTIN TELEWA

The victims were killed as they fled when their home was attacked by arsonists at Temyota-Three farm on Tuesday evening in what residents claimed was retaliation after similar raids in the area.

The family was taking supper when raiders, armed with pangas, bows and arrows, struck. Read more"

Mt. Elgon region in Kenya has also had clashes since December 2006, many have been displaced, people have lost their property and many killed because of land, read more from Kenvirons.

The government has deployed security officers in these areas but violence has persisted. If the authorities managed to stop Mungiki, why not stop these people causing clashes in Mt. Elgon, Kuresoi and other parts of Kenya?

This violence should be stopped to save innocent Kenyan's from suffering as refugees in their own country, then we can be proud of saying Kenya is a peaceful country.

Electoral Commission of Kenya finally releases names of candidates for 2007 elections

I once said this year’s elections will be the toughest in Kenya’s history and also counted up to 18 political parties but mine was not anywhere near the number of registered political parties in Kenya, which I think are over 200.

According to ECK list 108 parties have sponsored candidates to vie for parliamentary seats, 117 parties have sponsored civic candidates. I think the number contestants of civic and parliamentary seats in the coming elections is the highest ever in Kenya. Imagine nearly 2600 candidate to fight it out for only 210 parliamentary seats. That’s means an average of 12 candidates per constituency but in real sense there are as many as 33 candidates in Kitutu Masaba constituency in Nyanza and over 20 candidates in other constituencies. I imagine how that ballot paper will look like, may be a 3 column one will do.

The other issue that I took note of is the number of female candidates in this year’s elections. We have been making a lot of noise about women being the majority in Kenya, we should elect more women, affirmative action for women etc…. but only end up with 269 female candidates out of nearly 2600 for parliamentary seats, it is said this is the largest number of female candidates ever, but is only 10% of the total candidates. At least there are a good number of women for the civic seats 1478.

Women still need to wake up and believe in ourselves, most of us think we are inferior (when will we stop the attitude of who will elect me, I will be beaten up by men opponents, it is for a certain class of women, women are not capable of leading etc…) and instead go to civic seats. Nothing can be done now may be only vote for more women who are good leaders, then change our attitude and the situation in 2012.

The number of parliamentary candidates for every party shows ODM is leading with the highest number of seats at 190, followed by Kenda (unbelievable) one would have expected PNU to follow but they are third with 135 candidates, Kenda also has a higher number compared to 133 of ODM-K which is considered amongst the 3 main political parties in this elections.

Parties in this race have very interesting names, I only took note of these three that have the same initial CCU, which stands for Chama Cha Uma, Chama Cha Uzalendo and Chama Cha Utu, can be very confusing.

With the many contestants per constituency in this race, the race will be tougher than past elections. Though the parties are many there are only 9 Presidential candidates, only 3 are considered strong. I think we will get surprises in the elections from the civic and parliamentary seats, because I don't think many will got for 3 piece like the previous election.

Why do people elope?

I talked about weddings in my previous post and also mentioned that I prefer couples that wed after staying together because they know each other better. However I do not support young ladies who run away from home without getting the blessing of their parents.

Just the other day a cousin who has been under my mother’s care after doing her form 4 exams, meets a man and within 2 months, they are so happy with each other and ready for marriage. She goes to visit my sister with a few of her belongings, then one night she tells my sister and her husband that she is getting married and moving to her new home the next day.

Now if I may ask what kind of a marriage is that? My sister and her husband were really shocked the only thing they could do is to call relatives to talk some sense into the girl’s head. She was not changing her mind and everything we said sounded like annoying music to her ears. They later told her to go back to my mum’s house and get her approval first.

She grudgingly called my mum, agreed to go back and later invite the man that weekend before she goes. The man and some of his relatives came, went through the usual introduction according to our tradition. He later gave some money to say thank you for the food and a token to my parents. Some men think that when they do this, they can take the girl to their home.

My mother told them it wasn’t enough because the girl is her brother’s daughter, her mother died but her father is still alive upcountry. So she advised them to seek my uncles blessings before they move in together, or better still do a wedding. Why hurry when they will stay together for the rest of their lives.

We all felt relieved but it was short-lived because after two days my sister called to inform me the girl disappeared with her clothes, early morning and went to her sweet heart cum husband. That is how my cousin chose to start her marriage.

This is a very common scenario in Kenya and many parts of Africa. It is very difficult to stop a girl when she falls in love with someone, especially if she is a young girl. However men should be able to control a girl’s emotions, show some maturity by performing at least some of the traditional requirements leading to marriage. Give some dowry at least a goat/sheep if not a cow.

It is very sad that she only knew the man for 2 months and got married without my uncle getting even a chicken as dowry for her daughter, I don’t know if they went for HIV test which is very important before getting into such a relationship. We are waiting to see what will happen if he will go upcountry to see my uncle and my grandmother who also took care of the girl.

It can be sad when such a marriage doesn’t work out and the girl has to run back home, who would she blame?

Anyway I wish them all the best.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Weddings in Kenya

I attended a wedding this weekend and was not so enthusiastic because I have known the couple for sometime. It wasn’t a new wedding; they were formalizing their marriage. Though I consider this is a good marriage where the couple has stayed together and know each other properly so nothing can make them change their mind (but in most religions one would be condemned for staying together before officially getting married). New weddings are more interesting because people want to meet the couple.

The other thing that makes weddings interesting especially for us ladies is to see the wedding outfits, the couple and their party. People admire, some come to copy and others just sneer (jealousy). If it’s a new marriage, people from the groom’s side will approve, but in most cases disapprove of the lady the man is marrying. In rare cases people from the bride’s side will criticize the man. There is always whispers and murmuring during the service and at the reception.

I have attended many Christian weddings in my life, but now I feel they have turned to be a boring affair. I don’t see anything interesting whether it’s a Victorian wedding, a mass wedding, a marriage renewal or whatever form of wedding. Unless it’s a wedding of someone whom people felt would never get married or has taken too long and was branded senior Bachelor or “Bachelorette” or one where I have not been involved in the tedious planning and only need to attend with a gift.

I think before the nineties weddings in Kenya were more interesting; most couples organized weddings within their means. I don’t remember many pre-weddings or goat eating parties, which turn out to be harambees (fundraising) like they are so many now. This and many other things have made weddings a boring and exploiting affair for those participating. During my mum’s days as a young lady, the couple marrying and their parents would do everything, including the dresses for the bridal party.

Many couples now don’t wed within their means, even when they can afford a simple wedding; they go for a big one and solicit funds from friends and relatives who form a wedding committee. Some couples look for a bridal and groom team (best couple, maids, grooms men and matron) who are in good financial position to support their wedding. This same group is in the wedding committee; sometimes they also include the best couple and matrons kids in the line up. Making it very taxing for the best couple and those in the line up.

I have participated in many weddings as a maid of honor or best couple with my husband, sometimes the whole family. We were also in the committee and finance heavily so I know what it means. Our duty as the best couple doesn’t end there, the next one-year even up to 5 years, we are like counselors or crying shoulders for the couples when they run into marital and some cases financial difficulties. Some are very petty, that every couple goes through during the first 5 years, but the young couples sometimes cannot take the small issue lightly and even threatening to part ways after a few months of staying together.

So after attending another wedding (at least I was not in the bridal team but had some duty to foresee that things are in order), I think I have developed a wedding phobia, but I will still enjoy some like the ones I mentioned above.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Family matters

As a parent, I like reading LIVING, The Family magazine by Nation media, I find the articles very interesting and educative.

Now I know how to whip up a pizza in my own kitchen from today’s copy, it was also interesting to read about bringing campaigns into your home and the way children know about elections process, have groupings in schools according to the parties they like, “some have learnt to parrot their parent's careless comments about various politics” so true, and that we should teach them about the whole process and good leadership. This reminds me of a post I did on the same topic. Kids on politics and tribalism.

However I was disappointed when I didnt find Fatherhood column by Josaya Wasonga, its one article I have been reading keenly because I got my last baby around the same time as his Pudd’ing. Unless it was mention that last week's article on Pudd’ngs birthday was the last one?

The column that I like most and have also been reading keenly is "Me and Mine" by Ruth, it talks a lot about parenthood and kids. When she talks about her kids thinking she is old fashioned, she reminds me of mine who also think am old fashioned sometimes. When I think am still young and know a lot of fashionable stuff, they can really criticize everything I do or wear.

As a kid I also criticized my mother many times and thought a younger aunt was more fashionable. One funny thing is we do criticize our parents and find that we do some of the things they were fond of doing, when we become adults. A good example that Ruth mentioned is she keeps her money in envelops just like her mother. I was amused because my mum used to do that and still does, I also find myself doing it most of the time to avoid mixing money for different uses.

Kids of this generation think they know it all in terms of technology and fashion, it has become difficult to buy clothes and gifts without their approval. They even criticize what we wear and judge whether its still fashionable or not.

One time I got a whole hour lecture from my daughter(who has appointed herself my fashion watchdog) for wearing a bad outfit during a church function, this was an African attire we chose on with the church group and we felt it looked really nice. They are so young but are very keen on what I wear or buy and can even boycott walking with me if I don’t dress up to their expectations.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

No more uniforms for Matatus touts

Watching news yesterday on the President's campaign in Kangemi Westlands, where Mrs. Betty Tett an aspirant in Westlands made a plea on behalf of Matatu touts over their uniforms saying they need to have seven uniforms for everyday of the week, which is not affordable for many of them and other issue, the President revoked the order and said;

“President Kibaki took his campaigns to Westlands and Dagoretti, where he described his rivals as sweet-talkers promising Kenyans the impossible.
The President, at the same time, revoked the order imposed by former Transport minister, Mr John Michuki, requiring matatu crews to wear uniforms, saying it was costly.

He was responding to a plea by former nominated MP, Mrs Betty Tett, also an assistant minister for Housing, who said the matatu operators lamented that they had been forced to wear uniforms yet they were neither mechanics nor school children.

"Hiyo mambo ya kuvaa nguo nyingi hapana!" (That idea of uniforms must be stopped) he said amid applause from wananchi”.
quote from EA Standard, read more

Many were very happy with former Transport minister Mr. Michuki for bringing law and order in this transport industry that was full of rowdy touts, but the uniform part was not a good idea for the touts and drivers. So many of them will be happy to go back to their old style of wearing whatever they like and also go back to break traffic rules because police are already talking it slow on them this campaign season, the blurring music and overlapping on roads is back.

The good side of this uniform issue is I can now get another dark purple trouser suit, that looked somehow similar to the touts maroon uniforms (some wore purple) or a maroon one, after giving out the one I had when touts started wearing maroon uniforms. A colleague also stopped wearing hers because our driver kept teasing us calling us touts when we wore the suits.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wakenya wameamua

Back from the weekend and very excited about the just concluded nominations. Though I can say am not 100% satisfied with the results, because some of the former MPs who people do not want are still in the race under the big parties that could guarantee their coming back to parliament.

Though the nominations were characterized of violence, disorganization and accusations of rigging and bribery, generally am happy with the outcome of the nominations. Kenya’s have decided that they don’t want most of former Members of Parliament because of their poor performance, hiking their salaries and other reasons. Many of them fled to other smaller parties after defeat, Kenyans may still reject them in the main elections of 27th December 2007.

Majority of Kenyan’s look forward to a parliament with many new faces and younger than the politicians who have been there since we were babies and some of us where not even born. We are the majority voters and sick of old fashion politics full of fake promises and lies, so politicians should look for a way of leading this “dot.com” generation that is more enlightened.

That is why we now have younger generation aspirants like our famous comedians; Mdomo Baggy, Kajairo and KJ joining politics. In fact John Kiarie (KJ) won Dagoretti nominations on ODM ticket and I hope he clinches the sit on 27th December and possibly elected Minister for youth affairs when ODM wins.

Am glad Bishop Margaret Wanjiru will battle it out with Maina Kamanda who has been rumored to have funded Kamangu in a court case that stopped her wedding plans. I hope she will get this Starehe seat. Though am disappointed that Lady Orie Rogo Maduli did not make it in Kasarani on ODM ticket, am happy that it’s a fellow Lady Elizabeth Ogolla who got it.

Kalembe Ndile has proved that politics doesn’t require a university degree or master of English, he was wiser than his boss Cabinet minister Morris Dzoro (who humiliated him in public about his ignorance) to have started his Tip Tip party, he is now receiving defectors who lost in nominations but his former boss had to go shopping for another party after he was kicked out of PNU, he is now in Shirikisho and Kalembe having the last laugh.

On the other hand political parties did not keep their word that nominations will be free and fair, they promised they would not manipulate but politics will never be free of lies and manipulation, so am sad to hear that some aspirants who lost in the nominations still got certificates.

Nominations outcome proves that the coming elections will be the hottest in Kenyan history and steadman polls should not be taken for granted, they predicted that majority of former MPs will not be elected back and we can see it coming.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kenya political parties

A total of 9 Presidential candidates have presented their papers to ECK chairman Mr. Samuel Kiviutu. Three of the parties ODM, ODM-K and PNU held rallies and unveiled their manifestos with all kinds of promises.

Nominations of party representatives for Parliamentary and Civic posts are on from today. The rainy weather has not been on their side but I can now see some sun and can imagine the campaigns out there getting hotter.

However many are not happy that some parties like ODM and PNU have given party officials direct nominations. I also believe that nominations do not give us the right leaders because very few participate being a working day, so an aspirant can influence the nominations with the few available.

One thing that amazes me is the number of political parties in this election, though there are only 9 Presidential candidates, the parties that I have counted are 18 and could be more.

I call it political mchuzi (spice) mix, though I can say the only 3 parties that make the political dish tastier are ODM, ODM-K and PNU.

Nazlin Umar for President

If you thought Nazlin Umar is joking by submitting her papers to ECK to vie for the highest office in the land, then you are wrong.

She has actually made history by becoming the only Woman Presidential candidate in Kenya's election for the year 2007, with her Workers Congress Party.

How else do you get famous in Kenya?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Kenya Politics getting hotter

I couldn’t believe what someone told me this morning, until I saw it in the paper.

Mr. Kenneth Matiba is back in the race for State House and is expected to present his nomination papers to ECK today after President Kibaki presents his. Its the headline news of Nairobi Star and inside other newspapers Read more

This is shocking news to many and especially to PNU supporters who believe Mt. Kenya area will vote as a block. Apparently many friends of mine from this region would prefer Mr. Kenneth Matiba to President Mwai Kibaki but think he came in at the wrong time.

Other Presidential candidates handed in their papers to ECK yesterday.

ODM - Mr. Raila Odinga
ODM-K - Mr. Kalonzo Musyoka
KPP - Mr. Pius Muiru - I thought he was not serious
CCU - Mr. David Ng'ethe - There will always be small strange parties, I saw Dr. Patrick Lumumbas green posters in Kamukuji with CCU party, now I know its Mr. Ng'ethe's party.

The battle line is drawn and its getting interesting.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Servant Leadership

I will start by religious reference and quote a verse from the Bible, how Jesus described a leader. I do not know what other religious books say about leadership and would be interested to know.

Mark 10:41-45
“Now when the other ten heard this, they became angry with James and John. Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions use their authority over them. But it is not this way among you. Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”

After reading this verse, our leaders come to my mind and I realise most of them are not servant leaders. I will talk about Kenyan leaders because I know them better and will give examples of Church leaders and political leaders, some even profess to be Christians and attend Church every Sunday, but do not portray this servant leadership that Jesus talked about. Many Church leaders are some of the worst examples of leaders, they preach water and drink wine, instead of being servant leaders they are so filled by their self-importance and forget their duty as advised by Christ. Church leadership, which used to be a calling, has now changed to an employment opportunity. Some Church leaders look at themselves as CEO and even brag about it.

Our political leaders are not any better, they look at themselves as the most importance members of the society, that they forget they should be servants of people who elected them. In other words they are like our employees, they forget that if we decided not to vote for them, they would not be leaders. Most of them are very humble when begging for votes like now, but change after they get the positions they want.

They go to an extent of insulting their employers like Chris talked about on his Kumekucha blog;

“Anybody who has been employed for any length of time knows the golden rule; you never, ever, ever lose your temper with your employer. The minute you do, it is just a matter of time before the sack comes. But you can be sure that it will come. Your employer will of course look for some other excuse to get rid of you, but it will all have started with your tantrum or fit of temper.

The same rule applies to any politician.” Read more

I also came across this interesting Servant Leadership blog by Robert Greenleaf that talks about this subject, the blog description says. "Servant-leadership begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve.......Read more here

Monday, November 12, 2007

Kenya media changes in the years and its effect on the modern child

In my childhood days there was only one TV and Radio station VOK (Voice of Kenya), which is now KBC (Kenya Broadcasting Corparation). Television would start at 4pm, the order of programs was children programs, then a talk show Mambo Leo (current affairs) a talk show on Kenya current affairs, to me it was the most boring program, after that the 7pm news which was to me another boring affair unless there was some unique news like I remember the death of the first President of Kenya the Late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, I was small but can remember watching this on the old type black and white big television. The other beautiful event that I can remember is the Royal wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana; I still believe it was one of the best weddings in the world.

Other interesting programs were documentaries, cooking program like Mke Nyumbani, comedies like Mind your Language (was serialized again recently) and a number of Swahili dramas like Fedheha, Kielelezo, later Tushauriane, etc… On radio we would mainly listened to music, radio drama and can say the music of those days was quality music compared to most of what we have now. Thanks to Classic FM for bringing back those memories. Compared to current media, VOK did not have stuff that would worry parents with kids. I remember a Swahili program Usiniharakishe had to be stopped because of airing a bedroom scene of a woman and man in suggestive dialogue. Come to think of it now, that is nothing compared to what we watch today, the programs aired now have worse scenes. Those programs that were meant for adults were aired after 9pm news a time when most kids were already in bed. That is why we spent most of the day playing out door games. Kids of today and yesterday.

Today the newspapers, the radio stations, TV stations and other publications are so many, they try to compete with each other by publishing or airing all kinds of stuff to attract viewers, readers and advertisers. The advantage of having a variety is one can choose what to read or what to watch compared to the only station we had. It is a great relief especially in a democratic world when one doesn’t want to watch a state funded TV Station like KBC who can be biased. The other advantage is there is a lot to learn from the variety of news sources. The modern technology has also brought color so we can now get a clearer picture of what we are reading and watching.

However there is always a bad side of everything. Compared to the old media, the current media does not think of the impact of what they publish or air on younger readers or viewers. Unlike kids of old days, who never bothered much about newspapers and Television. Today’s kids spend most of their time in doors, watching and reading anything they could find. In the process they learn everything good and bad. Unfortunately the media mainly target adults as their main customers, they forget that the modern child is well informed compared to the kids of the old days. As a result kids digest all kinds of information from what they watch and read.

This makes it really difficult to control kids behavior in the modern day compared to the kids of our time. Kids also want to know what is in the adverts, for example condom adverts, as a parent am embarrassed to explain to my small child what that condom being put on an leaking plastic bottle is for or when he suggest that I buy it for him thinking its a toy. When I refuse to answer his queries, he/she decides to ask a classmate or relative and end up getting answers in a crude manner. It is even funny when a small child thinks it a balloon and suggests to the parents to buy it during a festive season, to avoid this we may end up explaining some embarrassing things to small kids. Am glad this advert was stopped from being aired on TV, it was very embarrassing.

This is only one example, now there are many programs like those I had talked about above, which in our childhood days were only aired after 9pm news. Though they advise the age of recommended viewers and warn about abusive language and suggestive dialogue, they come as early as 7.30pm when most kids are not ready to go to bed. So one ends up switching from one channel to the other or alternatively switch off completely and listen to the radio, which at least would not have an embarrassing scene to watch. As a parent I cannot complain to the media because it is a competitive world, which has got to do with demand and supply.

This just shows how issues related to sex really sell in our modern society, it has also caught up with most industries, adverts and even our musicians, they produce videos copying the west and don’t care about morals or African culture, just to sell more. The type of music on most of our TV music programs and also in our public mini buses (Matatus), is so embarrassing to many especially the elderly and parents with kids.

That’s life in our modern society, at this rate I can only imagine the situation getting worse.

Friday, November 9, 2007

More election goodies

I thought I would steer clear of politics for a while, but couldn't control the urge to say something when there is something to talk about.

Election year is a year of nice things to those who are lucky to be in the right position to receive them. Like now I wish I was a civil servant, I would have got the 16% salary increment that has been awarded to Job group A – N. There is still more, the increment will be backdated to July and will be paid end of this month. That will be some good money for the civil servants (formally referred to civil sufferers for poor salaries) to enjoy the coming holidays.

Why now? Its obvious, elections are at the corner but “Public Service minister, Mr Moses Akaranga, was quick to point out that the new pay had no connection to the General Election” Read more. Which I disagree.

Earlier this year a friend complained bitterly about only senior civil servants and armed forces getting salary increments yet the armed forces have nothing to do so she can now smile.

There have been many other goodies like, women’s funds, youth funds (which has been now increased to 4 billion Kshs), unfortunately men are not getting anything. I think women and youth votes count more than men.

Many other groups have also complained of not being recognized like the disabled, I think those with HIV/Aids have also complained. Am sure these cases are also being looked at, but they can access the women and youth funds.

So I wonder what other goodies are on the way.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Is FGM medically wrong?

Am sure many would think am crazy to ask such a question, I also do not support any inhuman act against mankind. That is why I once wrote about some cultural practices that affect lives of women and girls.

However one reason I decided to revisit this topic and ask this funny question, is because there is a case of some doctors working with women around East Africa, who have claimed there is nothing wrong with female circumcision (referred to as FGM). In fact they say it does not affect a woman’s sexuality in anyway instead it enhances the desire. One also said he had practiced in Kenya and claims that women who have undergone female circumcision go through childbirth smoothly compared to those who have not. They believe it is mzungus(Europeans) who came with the idea that it is bad.

This is shocking to me because many people like me who do not support this, believe it is a brutal act that should be considered a crime. Women who have undergone the practice have also publicly said its wrong.

This also reminded me of a former school mate, who confirmed she underwent through this and would recommend that girls should also go through it for their benefit and I looked at her bewildered.

I also got this from BBC website asking the same.

"Is FGM right or wrong?

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a traditional practice in some African countries. In others, it is banned. Do you think it should be allowed?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about a 100m women worldwide have undergone the procedure, which happens to 3m girls under 10 every year."

Read more on this story and comments from people, amazingly there are people who support FGM.

Medically wrong or not I do not support FGM because of the pain it inflicts on the victims and there is no medical benefit from the practice like it is said about male circumcision.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Quitting a Job

Making a decision to quit a job after working in one place for many years is a difficult decision to make, especially when one has not got another job. One arrives at such a decision when the job becomes monotonous, boring and nothing to show for it. The other reason could be when one has a frustrating boss. It can be even worse when it’s a one man’s show and the owner runs the company in an unprofessional manner.

When one finally decides to quit their job and decide to inform others. People can make very discouraging comments and remarks like; don’t quit before you get another one, where are you going? seems you got greener pasture somewhere, others will ask what will you do if you don’t have anything else in mind? Will you stay at home as a housewife (in case of a married lady) and ruin your career? Others have stupid thoughts like you will end up being idle and get more kids or are you ready to beg for everything you need from your husband? It is even more difficult for a man especially when he has a family, people will never understand.

What I can say is that very many people are frustrated at their places of work they do not have a choice but to stick for better or for worse (like it’s a marriage). If people had a choice to work for someone or to be self-employed, I believe many would choose the latter. However it is not possible for everyone to be self-employed in this world. It is even worse when one is working for a bad boss who frustrates you because you are desperate, but there comes a time when someone decides enough is enough and decides to quit. No matter what others say, it is only the wearer of the shoe who knows how tight it is. I remember one time a colleague walked out and told our boss, “am not planted here like a tree”.

Having been faced with a similar situation sometime back, I decided to ignore people’s advice and quit a job because of some disagreement with my boss. If I may be faced with a similar decision again, am now more informed and can get ideas from other sources like the web, like this interesting site I came across Career Planning read more here on related topic

Monday, November 5, 2007

Why am counting down to January and not elections

56 days to go

Now that politics is getting hot and elections drawing nearer, our lives are affected by politics, which has surrounded us like air. No matter what we do, we cannot ignore it. Everything around us is political, posters making walls and posts dirty, bill boards, street lights, news, social talks, vehicles with loud speakers informing of political rallies, nabado there is still more to come after parties finish their nominations.

When I come to work and start downloading emails, half of the mails are on political issues. I receive an sms and open it eagerly thinking its from a loved one or my house help asking something, only to find that it’s about politics. Colleagues at work just behave like politicians, one is called PNU because he/she is a Kikuyu, Luo and Kamba colleagues are addressed as ODM and ODM-K respectively, other tribes will be given these political names according to their political inclination. A friend informs me they sit according to their party inclination or tribes in the staff canteen.

After work I return home via the City center and decide to go into the supermarket to buy some groceries, the streets are crowded by hawkers selling all kind of stuff because its campaign time, so no one would dare evict them and loose votes, then groups of people holding small discussions (mainly politics) on the streets (small parliaments).

When I finally get home after a long day, I relax to catch up with the day’s news on the television and it starts with political news. Everyone starts talking about politics even kids, you would think its the latest soap opera. I retire to sleep after a long day my head full with more politics than before.

Sometimes I try to ignore but it is not easy because it is around me like the air I breath and its because politics dictates to our lives in one way or the other. Poor infrastructure, inflation, poverty, hatred and all kinds of evil in the society is believed to be related to politics.

Just like other Kenyans I will wait for election date and vote for my preferred candidate, on the other hand am counting down to January 2008 when politics will start cooling down and I get back to my normal life, whose direction may change for the better or worse depending on the politicians we elect.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Behind every successful man, there is a woman

Mama Ngina Kenyatta, wife of Kenya’s first President Jomo Kenyatta, was still an active public figure even after the death of her husband, though I do not know much about her public life as a First Lady but from information I heard and how I know her today, I can only conclude that she is not very outspoken. After that Kenya did not have a First Lady for 24 years during President Moi’s rule because the former President’s wife Lena Moi lead a quiet life in her farm.

President Kibaki won 2002 elections, we got a First Lady Lucy Kibaki, and within a short time she became an active and outspoken public figure. Kenyan’s keenly took note of her every step, her way of dressing and talking. We were not used to having a first lady for years and I think that is why we became very critical of every move or speech made by First Lady Lucy.

As we are nearing elections, we have started taking note of other possible first Ladies we may have in 2008.

Mrs. Pauline Musyoka wife of Mr. Kalonzo Musyoka of ODM-K party works at Central Bank of Kenya, a very quiet lady.

Mrs. Lucy Muiru wife of Pastor Pius Muiru of KPP party. A preacher like her husband.

Mrs. Ida Odinga wife of Mr. Raila Odinga of ODM, the polls place her husband in the lead, hence there is a possibility of her becoming the next First Lady. She has been through ups and downs during her husband’s detention and political struggles. She runs an NGO that empowers women in leadership.

This time the First Lady and the First Ladies to be are busy campaigning for their husbands. Mrs. Lucy Kibaki was in Western Kenya this week, Mrs. Ida Odinga and two other wives of Pentagon leaders Mrs. Rachel Ruto and Mrs. Nadia Balala were at a party at the Carnivore restaurant to unveil the “Gender Agenda” of the ODM party and asked leaders to vote in large numbers and women to be accorded equal opportunities with men.

Am waiting to see the other two Mrs. Pauline Kalonzo and Mrs. Lucy Muiru joining the campaign trail to drum up support for their husbands.

I can’t wait to see the woman who will bring success to her husband come 2008.

Is Kenyan politics a preserve for the old?

First Lady Lucy Kibaki was in Western province and said.

Viongozi wengine wanataka wazee waondoke kwa serikali, waende wapi? (Some leaders want the old guard to leave Government, where to?)” Read more from EA Standard.

Is Mama Lucy telling us that old politicians have nowhere else to go or anything else to do apart from politics? Even when they have reached political menopause and throw insults like mavi ya kuku (chicken droppings), pumbavu (fool), tutawakojolea (we will urinate on them) etc…. until we cannot call them waheshimewa (honorable) any more, they should just keep leading us as if the young generation are not capable?

Sorry Mama Lucy, it is now time for wanasiasa wazee (old politicians) to retire and leave leadership in the hands of viongozi vijana (younger leaders) for a better Kenya.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Kenya finally got a Cardinal after Cardinal Otunga but……..

I am not a Catholic but its activities are not strange to me because my Church’s way of worship is somehow similar. The Catholic Church has the highest number of Christian following in the world. That is why everything that is done by Catholic leaders all over the world attracts a lot of attention.

I remember the world following with interest when Pope John Paul II was sick, his funeral and later election of the new Pope Benedict XVI.

Now back to my subject, Kenya had Cardinal Maurice Otunga for a long time, he later retired and died. I really admired Cardinal Otunga’s humility, to many he was truly a man of God and disserved his post as a Cardinal. Archbishop Ndingi Mwana aNzeki took over from him when he retired, he served for 10 years and people hoped he will be appointed a Cardinal after the death of Cardinal Maurice Otunga.

This did not happened, Archbishop Ndingi retired this month and succeeded by someone I least expected Bishop Njue. This came as a shock to me and my Catholic friends because of his biased way of talking.

Within a short time, his biased way of talking about issues has come in the public, when he declared that the Catholic Church does not support Majimbo, which is advocated by the opposition parties. This obviously shows he is supporting the President and his party, which is against majimbo. Other Catholics including Bishops have come out to say that was not their stand, read more here.

So now my question and that of many others, what did the Pope see that we did not see in Bishop Njue to appoint him Cardinal? Most of my Catholic friends feel Bishop Rotich of resurrection garden would have been a better person for Cardinal.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I look forward to the time when there will be no more ethnic clashes in Kenya?

Tribal clashes are common in Kenya and get worse during elections. Just recently there were clashes in Sondu area after politicians where attacked in Kisii, earlier in the year clashes erupted in Mt. Elgon, the problem has not settled to date.

Some years back there were clashes in Molo District, which got many families displaced, some have never returned to their homes. After sometime peace returned and for some years it has been peaceful. Suddenly the clashes in Molo District erupted again last week, residents moved with their families to churches and other safer areas.

During the clashes people’s houses and crops get burnt, some loose their lives in the fights. Causing a lot of suffering in the family, after working so hard to build a home and settling a family. Children’s education is interrupted when they have to move and cannot attend school. Those doing exams may not perform well under such conditions, like now KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination) is on and then next month KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) will be on for a week.

These clashes are more prevalent during elections, like now. That is why there were clashes in Sondu and now Molo. Clashes are believed to come about because of land issues and in most cases are instigated by politicians to scare people who may have bought land in areas perceived to belong to other communities traditionally. Otherwise these communities normally live together peacefully if politicians don’t interfere in their peace. So politicians should stop this suffering of innocent Kenyans.

That is why people want change because the government with all the resources is not doing enough, church leaders and other organizations who should be speaking out against this are all busy talking about political issues.

Read more on insecurity on kenvironews

Friday, October 26, 2007

African child, born poor lives poor for how long?

If there is one thing I hate terribly is to see children suffering. There is a lot of suffering in Africa because of poverty; one amazing thing is that the poor give birth more than other people. And the children of the poor are likely to be poorer as chances of taking them to good schools and providing them with the basics of life are reduced drastically.

Having many children with no proper income results to a lot of suffering, even when contraceptives were free in health centers in Kenya (I don’t know if they are still free now) you will still find that the poor women in urban centers and rural areas don’t bother to access the family planning services. Some say their husbands don’t want then to use contraceptives, some are restricted by their religious beliefs and some just don’t bother.

As a result the poor give birth to many children whom they cannot provide for adequately. With the very little income they earn through casual labor in the industries or farms in the rural area, it is very difficult to improve their living conditions. Living conditions for the poor in rural areas is even worse compared to urban centers. I have seen men in rural areas who just as their women work in farms to get food for the family but some do not work.

When the rural woman gives birth to another child, she is weakened and may is not be in a position to work for a few months. On the other hand the man may not be bothered, he would just go to the shopping center to idle and listen to news (especially now during campaigns) from a shopkeepers radios because he doesn’t own one. He just doesn’t care what happens at home and what the family will eat.

This leaves the woman with no option but to send older kids to work in other people’s farms to earn some living. With free education now at least the kids can go to school, but when they have to work to earn a living for the family, they would have to stop going to school.

Child labor is very common in Africa and Kenya even when the government introduced free primary education. Some parents still send their kids to school but in the evening, they are sent to work for people or sell foodstuff like groundnuts, at a time they are supposed to do their homework. The result of all these is that children perform poorly in school; most of them drop out of school or fail to join Secondary school because of poor marks. Then the cycle of poverty repeats itself many times in the lives of the poor.

I see so many children, some as young as 10 years old selling vegetables and ground nuts in Nairobi city center and its outskirts. A good example is kids waiting for shoppers leaving supermarkets and begs them to buy their vegetables tied in polythene bags. These children normally sell as late as 8 pm in the night. Some are in tattered clothes and get affected by the cold and dust. Children are also used as beggars by their parents or guardian; Child trafficking is also a big problem in Africa. It is child labor and abuse in all forms.

International bodies NGOs and governments have been fighting child labor and abuse for a long time, but still a lot has to be done. This is why there are street children, children who ran away from abuse by parents or beg to take some money home to feed the family.

It is not easy to stop people from giving birth to children they cannot take care of or force women to take contraceptives. However I believe a government can come with laws to protect such children from suffering. A friend from Kenya in the US told me it’s a crime to leave young children in the house unattended. Neighbors would report the incident and if it continues the kids will be taken away.

Though it would be sad to loose ones kids just for a small mistake, when one is capable of taking care of them. I think such a law can work well for Kenya and African if the governments set centers to care for such children and prosecute the parents who abuse their children. While the parents are in custody or released they can be counseled on the need to plan their families, need to give a child proper education in order to improve their standards of living.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Laxity by the authorities during campaigns

Parliament has now been dissolved and the stage is now set for elections. However I have noticed some strange things happening that were never the case before campaigns started getting hot.

Matatus have gone back to their old ways of disobeying traffic rules, Matatu drivers overlap on roads causing 3 to 4 lanes on roads that should only have one way on each side, they do this in full view of the police. I was shocked to see more than 20 matatus overlapping on Ngong Road making the road chaotic for other motorists. At first I thought the police were not around and the matatu drivers were aware, but I was shocked to see policemen at the junctions as usual.

The other strange happening I have see lately is that hawkers are back on some streets of Nairobi in the evenings. I was shocked because they have not been around for a long time. They are so relaxed one would think City Council askaris are all on leave.

It had not occurred to me that this is campaign time until I heard comments from people that its campaign time, so no one will arrest them. Then I also remembered how matatus where overlapping on the roads in full view of the police and said yes its campaign time.

It is very interesting that the authority relax rules to attract votes from wananchi obviously to the government side. If the government has performed well then they should continue performing even to the last minute because people would vote for them if they are satisfied. I don’t believe that relaxing rules that are there to maintain law and order in the city, should be relaxed during campaigns to please voters.

9th Parliament is dissolved and the drama begins

Charity Ngilu joins the Pentagon

I watched with interest ODMs big gathering of women aspirants for Parliamentary, Civic seats and women supporters dubbed Orange Women Democrats Convention at Kasarani Sports Center.

ODM presidential candidate Mr. Raila Odinga talked about his vision for women and about issues affecting women like violence against women aspirants, he said men who attack women should be disqualified, he also said sanitary pad will be given free to girls. He also announced that ODM government will allow women to inherit land, this is one issue that does not go down well with some men, because traditionally its men who have inherited land.

He also announced that he has admitted former Health Minister Charity Ngilu in the Pentagon the top governing body of ODM. This has been anticipated by many and I thought when she joins the pentagon it will be changed to Hexagon. However he maintained that the name pentagon that many people are now familiar with people would not be changed.

With Mrs. Charity Ngilu joining the Pentagon, ODM team is now in high gear on the road to elections.

Political attacks on women aspirants

Woman aspirant,Orie Rogo for Kasarani

Woman aspirant Bishop Wanjiru for Starehe

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The 9th Parliament is finally dissolved and the drama begins

After many calls to the President to dissolve Parliament, he finally dissolve the 9th Parliament yesterday after signing some bills that were passed this month i.e. Finance Bill and the Employments Bill I talked about in a recent post, read here.

By this dissolution the real battle for the next government begins, we have been entertained by all manner of launch by the presidential candidates and their parties, PNU, ODM, ODM-K and KPP. Though the parties with presidential candidates are four, the race is said to be mainly for three. Notice parties in this election prefer three letter parties compared to those in 2002 NARC, FORD-K, FORD-P and KANU. Could be three is a lucky number in this elections and I hope it will be Kenya’s 3rd liberation like it has been said.

Our outgoing MPs in this parliament were well paid, we now wait for the house speaker Mr. Francis Ole Kaparo to officially declare their jobs vacant for them to re-apply for their lucrative jobs. The vacant positions are 210 posts but he will be sending 222 MPs home (12 were nominated). Just like previous elections, the posts have attracted applicants from all walks of life to the variety of parties. These positions are so lucrative such that applicants don’t mind paying high non-refundable nominations fees proposed by the parties.

Now is the time for interesting defections, politicians who had not defected will hop from one party to the other, some will stick to their parties. From the trend that has been the case in the past months, the party or parties that will suffer most is the President party PNU and its affiliate parties. The party that has been more on the receiving side is ODM and I imagine more joining them now.

The main task for the parties now is to organize nominations for the candidates who would stand on their parties for the 210 constituencies. There are also a number of posts for councilors for many wards. It will be tough and I hope it will be done in a democratic manner not like in the past.

After the nominations there will be more defections or fallouts. Those who do not win in the nominations will try their luck elsewhere. Some will remain with their choice parties even after loosing nominations, in the hope of being nominated by their parties after elections if they are lucky.

We now wait for ECK chairman Mr. Samuel Kivuitu to announce elections date. I can only conclude that Kenyan politics is an interesting drama that leaves people in suspense as to what will happen next.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Bishop Margaret Wanjiru for Starehe parliamentary seat

There are many women aspirants in this year’s elections than before. It is good that women are ready to fight it out with men to get posts in parliament and not wait for free seats.

One interesting aspirant in this election is Bishop (Dr) Margaret Wanjiru who will vie for Starehe parliamentary seat under ODM ticket. She has not had it easy because of a court battle with a Mr. Kamangu who came up to claim he is her husband, when she announced that she is getting married and will also vie for a parliamentary seat. It is believed her opponents have funded the court case to stop her marriage to frustrate her because of the timing. The issue annoyed her to the point of using abusive words on the pulpit to describe the man. This did not go down well with many Kenyans, however I can only imagine many women doing the same if a man comes out to claim that he owns a woman and her children after many years of not providing for them, although I agree that Pulpit was not the right place. This has not discouraged her to go on with her bid to be an MP.

Just like her, many other religious leaders have shown interest in this elections like I mentioned on a previous post. Many Kenyans including me have wondered why religious leaders have decided to enter into politics at this time. So I decided to check on Bishop Margaret Wanjiru’s web site for more information on what inspired her.

I got something interesting from her Church JIAM (Jesus is alive ministries) website.

“Following a prophecy by a visiting US preacher, Prophetess Brenda Todd, Bishop Wanjiru announced the decision to plunge into the political arena to thousands of church members who thronged the church auditorium along Haile Sellassie Avenue, Nairobi. The announcement was met with loud shouts of applause from the congregation.

“The Bible says that when a nation was about to be destroyed because of the malice and wickedness of Haman, Esther was already in place and prepared for the task of redeeming the situation,” commented Prophetess Brenda. She proceeded to remind the Bishop that she has been prodded from time to time to take the challenge but declined.”Read more

She also has her personal website where she says "It is now official. Bishop (Dr) Margaret Wanjiru, founder and presiding Bishop of Jesus Is Alive Ministries (JIAM), will run for the Starehe parliamentary seat in the next general elections scheduled for 2007.
Indeed, my decision to vie for the Starehe Constituency parliamentary seat has caught many by surprise, judging by the varied responses I have received from you the voter.

I invite you to read through this website and hopefully it will help you understand why I, a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ have made the decision to plunge into politics, a domain where the church leadership in Kenya has in the past shied away. Read more about her vision for Starehe constituency

I wish her all the best in her bid to be Starehe MP.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Why employers in private sector will shun married women

One of the bills I heard in the news that was passed by the Kenyan parliament this week, is Employment bill 2007, which amongst other issues entitles women to three months leave plus one month annual leave, instead of two months leave as it used to be. That means four months maternity leave in total. Many employers especially those in the private sector feel uncomfortable with married women when it comes to maternity leave. They only allow two months leave, one month is maternity the other one annual leave. Some employers even give less deducting the days an employee has taken offs from the leave.

Women who want more time to be with their babies and cannot get extra time from their employers decide to resign. It is only those with partners who can take care of them financially or those with other sources of income who can afford to resign. Women in public sectors enjoyed longer maternity leave without restrictions compared to those in private sector.

This bill has been long over due, it is good that the government brought this law to save women in private sector from abuse by mean employers, employers who behave like they do not have families. On the other hand I imagine some employers in the private sector will avoid employing married women because of this law, but my question is will they employ only men or men with single ladies only? How about the single ladies, won’t they get married or have their own kids?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

High prices in a growing economy?

The Kenyan economists have said that the economy has been growing rapidly of late. I am not an economist but I want to state the facts that I know and are affecting me as a Kenyan. These facts have made me poorer as I spend more, save less and invest less. The income has remained constant (that is my salary) and the prices of essential goods that this salary is expected to buy are rising each day. I cannot invest in business to boost my income because I consume all and cannot save and invest otherwise I will go hungry, sick, naked etc. I cannot get bank loan because my employment is considered insecure because of the management structure.

Just a few months ago sugar cost Kshs.50/kg but now its Kshs.70-80/kg, wheat flour was Kshs.85 for a 2 kg pack but now its Kshs.115. Bread was Kshs.22 now Kshs.30, Milk between Kshs.20 – 25 depending on the pack and now Kshs.23 – 30. These are just a few examples that are used on a daily basis.

Prices of other products have gone up but we can choose to avoid them depending on our purchasing power. This high rise in commodity prices is affecting our pockets so much because our incomes are not rising at the same rate. I can imagine how difficult it is for poor people especially those in the slums because most of them earn very low wages of less that Ksh.200 per day.

Assuming we have a father who is the only bread winner earning Ksh.200 per day as a casual laborer, has four children, a wife and two dependants. Can someone help me to draw a one day budget for one meal for this family? Factor in the transport to work, daily rent rate and the other basics. This is how tough it is. Women selling mandazi (doughnut like snack made out of wheat)to make a living in slums must also be getting it tough.

One reason for high prices is plastic issue. I agree that plastic is a potential threat to the environment and should be dealt with. That is why the government came up with high taxes for plastics and also banned plastics that are lower than 30microns. Plastic companies now have to pay 120% excise duty on plastic bags and may end up closing down causing many to loose jobs. So what are we doing, improve environment at the expenses of standard of living? Would you eat a clean environment if you have nothing in the house? This is the economics I have failed to comprehend.

If you ask me, this is one policy the government should review because it is going to affect the common person greatly.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Stand Up and Speak Out against poverty

STAND UP and SPEAK OUT is a worldwide call to take action against poverty and inequality and for the Millennium Development Goals. During the 24 hour period between Oct. 16th at 9pm GMT and Oct. 17th at 9pm GMT, millions will literally STAND UP and SPEAK OUT to show that they refuse to stay silent or seated in the face of poverty. Help us break the world record so we can break the record of broken promises. Read more

"We join in solidarity with people from over 100 countries to say:

To the leaders of the wealthy countries –

We urge you to keep your promises on poverty – debt relief, more and better aid, trade justice and gender equality.

To the leaders of poorer countries – make it your first responsibility to save the lives of your poorest citizens. We ask you to tackle inequality, to be accountable to your people, to govern fairly and justly, to fight corruption and to fulfill human rights." I agree with Phil on this, read more from his Kenya Environmental & Political News Weblog

It is my hope that leaders will honor this Stand Up call to make the World a better place for all.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What’s in a name?

Nebuchadnezzar, Congestina,Undertaker, Magenta, Gentries, Referendum, Hummer, Morphine??………..do you know that people have such names.

Mode of naming children in Kenya and possibly other parts of the world is unbelievable.

The other day ODM Presidential candidate Raila Amollo Odinga, his Vice President Musalia Mudavadi and sacked Health Minister Charity Ngilu visited Pumwani Maternity hospital. It was said a child born while they were there was named after Raila Odinga.

This is very common during campaigns for elections, people will name newborn babies after their favorite Presidential candidate or their area member of Parliament, but the latter is not as common and the former.

Because all Presidential candidates are men, it will be mainly boys who get named after them. Girls will not get a chance to be named after Presidential candidates because there is no woman running for presidency. Unless parents choose to name them after presidential candidates wives, female running mates like Prof. Julia Ojiambo or any female MP they admire.

I didn’t realize that there could be a possibility of a baby girl being named after a politician in this campaign season, until I talked to a friend who informed me she got a niece and the baby has been named Pentagon. This is interesting and also funny!

It is more funnier in Southern Sudan. A good friend of mine told me they have names there like Repent Sunday, Spinner Only, Spider million, forest Garden, Good Moon etc

Surely what are we trying to achieve when naming? Is it any word or person that we come across or the meaning of a name?

This is unbelievable.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Orie Rogo Manduli

Photos by Style & Substance .an E.A. Standard publication.

Madam Orie Rogo Manduli famous for her African attire with big head gears.
She is the chairperson of NGO council a seat she really fought for when some group wanted to dethrone her unceremoniously. She has many admirers and critics from the way she carries herself, with pride and glamour. She will never shy away from showing of her figure and attire walking like a peacock. In most of her interviews she will never forget to mention how she became miss Kenya at the age of 16 and regrets having gotten married at a young age and divorced because of getting daughters. She is the mother of three beautiful daughters, later remarried to a Zambian the late Mr. Manduli and got a son.

At such a time in Kenya when we are nearing elections, you can never miss Orie Rogo in the limelight. In the past she has tried to contest in elections for parliamentary seat with no success. In the last elections she was in Ford People party, lost the Starehe seat because people voted in three piece for Narc during Rainbow wave. She later said Ford People promised to nominate her after they nominated Kipkalia Kones. She made a lot of noise and threatened to sue but nothing changed. She later tried Kisumu Town West seat when their MP the late Job Omino passed away but did not succeed.

She has since decamped from Ford People then moved to the flower party Narc Kenya (even supported the banana side during the constitution referendum) but now says it’s a tribal party. She has now moved to ODM and is the race again for Kasarani seat in Nairobi where she is to fight it out with former MP William Omondi (a very quiet MP). She may be in the right party now but still has the hurdle of wining the ODM nominations. Once she wins she will surely get to parliament this time round because she is in the right party with the majority votes in this elections, I can imagine her in parliament it will be fireworks from her style of handling issues.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Don't be pushed to vote its your right

I went to see my tailor friend, she was very busy with orders being December a month when most people want to have new clothes for Christmas and the new year or to show their relatives up country when they travel that they are from the City or a town.

This was in 2002 after elections, I asked her if she managed to vote being so busy, she told me she was planning not to go and finish some orders. However her plans not to vote where cut short when her husband told her if you don’t vote you will not come back to this house.

She informed me that she was to vote at a different polling station from her husband but the husband made sure he took her to the queue at her station before he left for his station. So I wondered how he would know if she voted, she told me he said he will know when she comes back if she voted or not. She didn’t take him seriously but went ahead and cast her vote.

When she went back home she found the husband already home, the first thing he asked for was to see her fingers. She stretched her palms to show her fingers and the husband sighed aha good girl you can go back to your work. He saw the purple ink on one of her fingers, which is normally applied after voting.

This story made me realize that many people especially women do not vote until they are pushed to do so by a spouse or a parent. One thing that many people have not realized is that its is ones constitutional right to vote and the benefits of voting.

It is very bad when someone who has not voted starts criticizing the elected government yet their vote would have counted to get the government they want in.

My appeal to Kenyans who are in a position to vote (I don’t know if Kenyans in the Diaspora can now vote from where they are?), to turn out in large number to choose the leaders they want.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Political Attacks on aspiring Kenyan Women

Political attacks against women aspirants are still going on. Another woman aspirant was attacked this past weekend. Ms. Asha Ali was attacked on her way home from a rally. Other women who have been attacked in the recent past are:

1 .Orie Rogo Manduli
2. Flora Igoki Tera
3. A lady aspirant in Kayole last week
4. Asha Ali

Men have also had a taste of violence from politically jealous opponents; the recent case of attacks on William Ruto and Omingo Magara is a good example.

Just like I mentioned on my previous post there will be more of such attacks especially on women because this year has more women aspirants than the past years. The people involved in these attacks feel threatened and they have resorted to primitive means of silencing their female opponents to make them give up on their bid.

Mrs. Charity Ngilu declared her support for ODM’s Presidential candidate Mr. Raila Odinga then attended ODM rally on Saturday and received a celebratory welcome. She was later sacked as Minister of Health for supporting the opposition candidate. Does this mean that people working in the government do not have a right to express their opinion? I do not thing this is fair and is another form of attack.

Those who condemn her for her stand have forgotten just recently Uhuru Kenyatta the leader of opposition declared his support for the government abandoning his duties. He was received well by those supporting the government. This is a move to kill democracy in that if you oppose the government you are punished by attacks and sacking threats.

Ngilu must have been a wonderful minister for her secretaries and workers to hug her and cry the way they did, when she was leaving her office yesterday. There are some Ministers who would send their workers into jubilation when they leave office.

Ngilu’s sacking is a plus to ODM, more are on the way. Talking of more defections, am wondering when the President will dissolve parliament so that we get shock from her former colleagues waiting to defect and talk like they were never in the government. Then campaigns will really get hot.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Some images from the just concluded Nairobi Show

This stand at the show caught my attention more than others, it was my first time to see these structures. The company that manufactures them is Essential Structures, they exhibited houses made of fibre glass, they are durable, portable and affordable as written on their brochure. Get more information from their web site here.

Outside the Arena

Fun fair area was packed as usual

There was a lot of ice cream as usual, local and a variety from other countries like China and Tanzania. Those from China and Tanzania where tasty and cheaper than the Kenyan brands we are used to.

This Chinese company had a variety of ice cream packaged well but still cheap.

Azam a Tanzania company had this foods shop with with variety of ice cream.

This is Dairyland shop a Kenya Ice cream company

There were other ice cream vendors all over but I did not see Razco Foods products Llyons maid brand, a Kenyan brand which has been around for years, may be they did not want to participate due to competition from other companies especially those from outside Kenya.

Memorable events this weekend, ODM’s Thunder & Nairobi Show

This weekend was full of activities as it has been lately being an election year, however the notable event was that of ODM Presidential candidate Mr. Raila Odinga’s launch at Uhuru park dubbed the THUNDER. The Presidents PNU party also had a rally the same day at Afraha stadium in Nakuru. ODM-K of Kalonzo Musyoka also had activities. Gospel Musician Angela Chibalonza Muliri's body was flown from Kenya to be buried in Congo on Saturday, rest in peace Angie.

I met this group of ODM supporters walking to Uhuru Park from Panafric Hotel.

The THUNDER rally out shined all the weekend’s activities with their spectacular event attended by a crowd of over 400,000 at Uhuru park. It was a true picture of what majority Kenyans want CHANGE. ODM Pentagon has promised the change that Kenyans are yearning for. We have been promised this in the past but majority of Kenyans have not seen or felt the economic growth. The economic growth means nothing to the common mwananchi (citizens) if Ugali (maize meal) costs more, if prices for bread, milk, sugar and other essential commodities go up. Some becoming a luxury for poor families. So I believe the common mwananchi will vote for a coalition that has a new change to offer not the change for the worst they have experienced.

I couldn't attend ODM rally at Uhuru park because I had some errands to do in the morning and had to take my kids to the Nairobi show, they told me you will see ODM everyday but show is only once a year. So I had to obey these young Kenyans who also have their rights.

I have attended the Nairobi Agricultural show, which is now known as Nairobi International Trade fair since I was young and got used to the long queues at the gates. We walked to the gate on Kibera side and expected a long queue like it has always been but was shocked that there was no queue, only a few people and kids standing outside the gates (many may have opted to attended ODM rally at Uhuru park). When I went to pay I came to realize that those people with kids outside couldn’t enter because of the charges. Adults were paying Kshs. 200/- and children Kshs.150/-, one man came with nearly 5 kids who were so eager to enter the show, he enquired about the charges, after being told he said sita weza kulipa hiyo (I cannot afford that). The father walked away with very annoyed kids.

Kids entertainment facilities at the show, charges range from Kshs.50 - 100

I can imagine that this man was from the slums, his kids insisted on daddy to take them to the show like other kids. This man and many other parents of kids from the slums could not afford to pay the gate charges. Most people in the slums are casual laborers who earn as little as 200/day. This is the money they use to pay rent and to put a meal on the table for their families. So one cannot take their weeks salary of Kshs. 1000 – 1200 to go to such a show. On the other hand the show cannot be free but I feel the organizers should have set a date for kids to be charged less if not free, to give Kenyans of all walks of lives an opportunity to see what our country has to offer. I only concluded that this was not a poor man’s show.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Threatening Relationships

There are certain relationships that we get involved in or we are cultivating that are harmful to our family institutions and peaceful living:

Young men of late are looking for older women for “love”. In real sense they are looking for money. The trend before was for young girls (ndogo ndogo) going for older men (sugar daddies) for love, marriage and money. But this is now changing and it is the younger men going for the older women. This trend has left many young girls desperate for partners as men of their age mismatch with the older women most of them being widows, divorced, and single etc. I would not like to mention names for now but we have read of these cases. When you analysed the motive of these relationships it is clearly not love and by the end of it the life of a member of a family is ruined.

On the other hand there are some married women whose husbands are in relationship with younger girls. Some women will not just sit and watch, they revenge by getting into relationship with other men. The expected results of these are all known to us; diseases, fights, unwanted children etc. This may be rated as the most dangerous unmatched relationship in a family because both partners are exposed and are out there outdoing one another in search of the problems that I have mentioned above. If the man does not bring the sickness the woman will bring it to the family. That is the bitter truth.

Still there is another one of married men opting for relationships with married women because they feel there will be no strings attached. These men want extra marital relationship but not with a single woman or girl who will demand marriage, financial assistance such as rent, clothes and entertainment. This case is equally dangerous because two families of two wives and two husbands are involved. If transmittable sickness and death (God forbid) crops in there are chances that four adults will be victims. There is a lot happening but I can't say it all, I can only conclude that we are faced with dangerous relationships.

To be a second wife or to have a co-wife?

It has been claimed that marriageable men are becoming less and less with many men leaving past their marriage age or opt to remain single. Men generally have shied away from responsibility that comes with marriages and relations. They prefer having relationship without commitment and responsibility. Ladies have been left with limited options like stay single, be a second wife or have a co-wife. These options come with challenges but some are better than the others.

Assuming that you are unmarried lady and you are involved in a relationship, which seems to work out well. It is hot and growing and all seems to be good. The only thing that you don’t know about this man is that he is married and he is preparing you for a second wife. He has all along been mum about this lest you leave him. He surely loves you. Would you go ahead and marry this man to be a second wife when he proposes? Yes many of us will take that route but few will do otherwise. They will prefer to continue with the affair but avoid marriage. This gets complicated if you had introduced this man to your friends and parents or if you have or expecting a child with him. What will you do? Is the second “ wifery” the only option left?

The second scenario is where you landed in a good marriage and you are the only known wife of that man. For reasons that you have never thought of the man introduces a co wife. Will you welcome the co wife or move out or fight?

Which of the two is better; being a second wife or having a co wife while you remain a first wife?