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??……… 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?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Political dilemma

Mrs.Charity Ngilu is one of the best women politicians in Kenya; she has been in the forefront of fighting for democracy in Kenya and was part of the team that removed Kanu from power after 24 years. She is regarded as a role model for upcoming women politicians in Kenya being the first woman presidential candidate in Kenyan history.

She is the Chairperson of Narc the party that removed Kanu from power in 2002 and refused to give it up to Dr. Noah Wekesa’s group, who wanted to take it from her, revive it probably to be used by the president again. It was said she is walking around with Narc in her handbag, they gave up decided to leave it with her and moved on to PNU.

Mama Rainbow, may be she should now be referred to as Mama Machungwa (orange), has openly supported ODM presidential candidate Mr. Raila Odinga and urged people to vote for Mr. Raila, she has tried to convince ODM-K presidential candidate Mr. Kalonzo to mend ways with Raila but it is not working.

Her defection to ODM to join Mr. Raila Odinga has been anticipated but it seems not forthcoming. I think its because of the dilemma she is in, being an MP from her home constituency in Eastern Province which is Mr. Kalonzo Musyoka’s strong hold, she has no choice but to support ODM-K to capture her seat back. Her people will hear nothing about Mr. Raila Odinga being better than their son Mr. Kalonzo Musyoka.

The political alignments and tribalism have put people like Mrs. Charity Ngilu with no option but so support people they do not want. On the other hand there is still time for her to make a choice. I read in the news this week that she has been promised a top post by ODM. She may decide to join ODM but will loose her MP seat to an opponent of ODM-K. Alternatively she can defect, loose her seat but get nominated by ODM next year.

What are the chances of Charity Ngilu defecting to ODM?

Political promises and betrayals

Political parties are currently working in groups. You bring your small party and I bring mine. You can no longer win it all alone in Kenyan politics. The coming together of these parties has promises; some are as empty as the original NARC’s MOU that haunts the current regime to date. I have not read the much talked about MOU but I know it was full of promises that turned out to be betrayals.

The regrouping under the current campaigns is also full of promises. Politicians are good at both promises and betrayal. The most crowded group is the PNU (Narc K, Shirikisho, Ford People, old Ford Kenya, new Ford Kenya, DP and TIP). It has many people that have been promised things here and there and we expect as many betrayals as the promises.

Why are Kenyans convinced by politicians’ empty promises yet we know they are excellent in breaking them?

Let us be wise in these elections.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Teachers impregnating schoolgirls? Shameful……….

Cases of schoolgirls dropping out of school due to pregnancy are currently alarming in Kenya. Most of these cases are found in the rural areas and teachers are the suspects.

The same has been in the news for years and was also in yesterday’s news by both KTN and NTV. They showed girls from a school read more in Garsen, Tana River district who are now at home taking care of their babies. In another incident a girl was slashed with a Panga (metal rod) by his father in Western Kenya for getting impregnated by a teacher. In some cases parents give their daughters who get impregnated by teachers for marriage in exchange of some dowry.

This has become a major hindrance to girls education and the development of female human resource has come down.

Parents send their children to school (girls inclusive) so that when they are old the children may take care of them. At the same time schooling is viewed as an investment in that the educated persons are expected to uplift the economic life of the parents and other brothers/sisters in the family. The decision to take that girl to school had an objective and an expectation from the parents that no one should come to spoil.

I normally wonder what drives the male teachers to get intimate with female pupils that should be under their care. There are many theories and justification that have been put to this men behavior, but all of them are wrong.

Poverty in the rural areas plays a major role in girls dropping out of school. From the story on the link above, they say the school is an old school but the structure is in a bad shape. Most homes where these girls come from are not any better. So when a teacher who leaves in a better condition approaches a girl from a poverty stricken home they get tempted and accept thinking of a better life ahead is beckoning. But the one to be blamed is the teacher who uses his position and wealth to “terminate” the economic life of such girls.

I also imagine a teacher who has been transferred from a town or Nairobi with better infrastructure, moving to a school in a remote area and living his family behind not to subject them in such a condition. The teacher gets tempted to sleep with schoolgirls because this could be the only girls available in the area, the rest are married off early.

I think the government should investigate why this is happening; arresting the teachers over the years has not solved the problem.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Can politics be said this other way?

I applaud the move by Nation Media Group’s introduction of another daily newspaper, Daily Metro (The paper that brings news to life). It is colorful with big headlines; I can say it is a comparison to Nairobi Star but of better content and cheaper.

Nation media group are experts in this field and more experienced, hence know how to introduce a new product in the market, considering consumers interests and competition factor. The paper only costs 20/- because it has lesser contents compared to their normal daily (The Nation) newspaper. I think they realize that there is no need of starting a newspaper with flashy headlines but very little contents and charge the same as other normal dailies that have a lot of contents.

Today’s Daily Metro headlines caught my attention, it was about Girl Power. I thought it was about women issues and not politics. By the way I did not know it was by Nation Media group at first because; I had missed the launch if there was one. I also thought it doesn’t look like gutter press and could be an interesting change from too much politics we have been digesting. The top story in the issue was about two ladies connected to politicians dictating the political debate in Kenya. The daughter of the current President, Judy Kibaki and ODM Presidential aspirant’s daughter, Rosemary Odinga. That is a moderate way of politicking.

I urge Kenyans to promote this good idea and read the paper which is more affordable.