Thursday, December 17, 2009

We should give the Government credit where it is due

Before 2007 election many Kenyans especially those from Rift Valley and Western part of Kenya complained about the poor state of roads in those regions. Roads have been a tool of campaign for many years in Kenya and so our politicians on the opposition promised better roads after elections. People from these regions felt neglected by the government and formed an opposition movement. Many of us complained in the papers, on websites about the state of roads in the region.

Now the story is different, with the coalition government comprising of both parties, a lot has changed. I traveled upcountry on Nairobi-Kisumu road and I must complement the Government on the good work they are doing on Kenyan roads. Even in Nairobi, most roads have been repaired and the by-passes which will ease traffic on major roads are under construction. This makes traveling more comfortable and less costly to vehicle owners.

Apart from roads there are many other areas the Government is trying to improve on. As I traveled this time I took a keen look at Kericho area to see the Mau forest which is a big issue in Kenya now and I said no wonder the area is ever green. It is sad that MPs coming from this part of the Rift Valley have made the issue of conserving this forest political. They forget that while they enjoy the ever-green environment, other parts of the country are suffering because of destruction of the forest by illegal occupants. Many parts of Kenya, even those that are served by rivers from this forest look like semi deserts compared to Kericho. Worse is that instead of seeing it as a Government initiative to conserve the forest, which serves as a water source for many rivers, they have taken the issue personal by accusing the Prime Minister for evicting their people. It makes me feel the MPs have a grudge with the PM Raila Odinga and so it is not about Mau Forest evictions. Whatever it is the Government is saving Kenyan Environment from more destruction, those with personal issues should let the Government do its work and wait for 2012 elections and see if people will support them.

Holidays and kids migration

When December holidays approach it is normally a hectic time for people especially parents. Kids have closed school, these holidays are longer than other terms and so they demand a lot from parents. One thing that most kids like is to travel up and down. It all depends on parents’ financial status, once parents can afford their planned escapades which involve holiday camps, visiting relatives, friends etc….

From my Kenyan experience having studied my kids, those of neighbors and friends, I have come to a conclusion that kids hate to stay at home during holidays and only do so because their parents would not allow them to travel or cannot afford to do so. Most people only travel upcountry to their rural homes during December, a few who can afford tour the country as local tourists and some travel out of the country. In case parents are not traveling to rural homes kids decide to visit relatives’ homes if parents allow. Where there is no control kids can move from one relative to another, from grandparents to aunts, uncles etc…

Apart from kids avoiding to stay at home during holidays and prefer to migrate to relatives’ homes, some parents avoid staying with kids at home during holidays. Such people are a burden to their parents and relatives. I have a relative who would ask relatives to stay with her kids every holiday. When we realized it’s a habit we decided to avoid by giving excuses like we will be traveling out of town or my kids will be also going away and my house help is also going on leave, so they will not get people in the house.

It’s been hectic for me since my kids closed I have traveled upcountry to our home and back but they are not satisfied they still had to go and visit my parents. It is a good time for kids to visit their grandparents. I avoid long visits of other relatives because I feel it is burden may be once in a while and some relatives cannot be trusted. Otherwise traveling is a good way for them to pass the long holidays instead of being idle and getting into bad habits.

Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams 2009

KCPE exams started today after students went through rehearsals yesterday. This year is very important for me as my daughter is amongst the over 700,000 students sitting the exams. So far I have not heard of any incidents of cheating as been the case with KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education) exams that is still on from October 21st. Apart from my daughter a number of my friends and close relatives children are sitting for these exams. As they go on with the exams, we parents are so anxious to know what the first papers, Mathematics, English and Composition were like but my daughter says it is not wise to discuss. She is right but I would still find myself asking, most of the time pupils find the exams easy or fair compared to what they have done before, however it is the final results that would reveal the truth.

Tomorrow they sit their Science paper, Kiswahili and Insha then on Thursday the last day of the exam, they sit for Social Studies only. Compared to our time, they sit for less subjects because the Government reviewed the previous 8-4-4 system and reduced subjects. Though the burden was reduced for students, I feel some subjects we did are still important in life. Like in our days we did music, art and craft, home science, geography and history which have now been taken over by social studies. Only some private schools still provide lessons in music and art. I really enjoyed music, art & craft and home science lessons during our time. From those lessons we became more creative and active people than our kids today, who cannot even stitch a torn dress. Anyway that is in the past now.

Am anxious to see her finish these exams that mark the end of her 8 years in primary school, we have reminded her of what we have gone through paying her fees. It will be a long wait from now to December after Christmas when the results come out.

Wishing all students sitting exams all the Best!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pastors who are they accountable to?

One thing that has not been understood is who the many mushrooming pastors, especially the charismatic Pentecostal pastors, in Kenya and worldwide are accountable to. Churches have fallen prey to many pastors illigal deals that are well planned to benefit them individually. You start a church today, and you are the pastor and the next few days you are in a very luxurious lifestyle. God`s blessings? May be!

Today I read in the papers what I have all along been imagining. A corrupt pastor being chased away from Botswana. Why? Because of misuse of church funds and an attempt to convert church property to his own. Ridiculous! But this pastor is not alone, there are many such men and women in Kenya today. They get the money from faithful believers and convert them to their own usage. I know one bishop, who bought a whole building in Nairobi CBD with church`s money in her/his name. Is that not corruption and stealing? Hoo God helps us!

That is why I ask, who do these men and women of 'God' accountable to. I think the government of Kenya need to start regulating the operations of the churches for good accountability. I suggest that we have something like Kenya Churches Regulatory Authority with a clear mandate of regulating the functions of these churches.
Botswana has clearly demonstrated that it cannot entertain that corrupt behavior that Kenyans are exporting to our neighboring countries. Shame on these people who are letting us down as a nation.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

BUILDINGS OF DOOM

Rescue operations are on for another storey building under construction, that collapsed in Kiambu district. Many construction workers were injured and a number have been found dead. Chances of finding those that are still trapped in the rubble alive are very slim. Many other storey buildings under construction have collapsed in the past, the recent ones at Mombasa and Kisii towns. Once this happens we assume that the Government through the local authorities will take action to avoid such from happening again, but it’s never the case. We assume that all storey buildings under construction will be inspected and those found to be faulty demolished. However due to corruption such buildings are still being built all over the place. Fortunately and unfortunately some do not collapse while under construction, tenants occupy them unknowingly putting their lives at risk.

Innocent construction workers trying to earn a meager living for themselves and their families loose their lives or get bad injuries that may render them paralyzed for the rest of their lives. No one compensates them or their families, causing a lot of suffering to innocent citizens. In most cases the owners of the buildings and the contractors disappear once the accident has taken place, only to be caught up with later. As much as the owner and the contractor are to blame, the buck stops with Government authorities that have the mandate to authorize such building and inspect them. From the many cases that have occurred in the past and the lives lost, it is now apparent that the local authorities are corrupt and are not capable of handling this department. The issue of buildings under constructions should now be given a department under another Ministry like Ministry of Works, Housing or any other relevant Ministry to handle. They should have officers in every district to authorize and inspect such buildings. In case a building that has been authorized by the officer collapses, then he/she takes the blame, then is fired and charged together with the contractor, they should be given life sentence for authorizing building of Death Chambers. This way we will not loose more innocent Kenyans to human carelessness.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The kind of news we have to put up with daily

Of late I have realized there is hardly any good news in Kenya. I rarely watch or listen to news because I know what it will be about even before it starts. I cannot remember the last time I sat down to watch newscast from the beginning to the end, I always end up switching to a channel without news or move out of the room to do my something else.

Politics makes 90% of most news and our politicians are no longer interesting to listen to because there is nothing new they have to offer. One leader that has offended many Kenyans recently is Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, when he announced he wants to form an alliance of three tribes whose names start with K that is Kikuyu, Kalenjin and his Kamba tribe. This is in preparation for 2012 elections. Imagine this is a person who wants to lead the country!? We have not healed from the last election violence that was caused by tribal politics. In fact internally displaced persons (IDPs) are yet to settle out of their camps. Kenyans have been urged to shun tribal politics because we know the consequences, so it is ridiculous for someone of his level to promote tribal politics. That is a minus to his already bad CV it is also unfortunate that some leaders supported him.

The other issues in the news daily is about the slow pace of reforms, a number of Government officials had to be issued with letters from the US Government. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan came back to talk about the urgency of reforms. Now we expect ICC Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo in the country because no action has been taken on perpetrators of post election violence. Getting a new constitution is a mirage. Then the stories of IDPs being asked to leave camps and being offered some money waiting to be settled on Government land. This is a complex issue because there are IDPs all over the country and in such groups there can never miss impostors. Those who had resettled on their own may also come out again to ask for compensation.

Other sad news about increase in road accidents, when we thought things would be better after the new police boss was appointed and he started with bringing back order in the most corrupt institution in the country. The Minister of Transport as usual is not accepting his office is also to blame and is pointing fingers at the police. Rains are yet to pour in other parts of the country that have experience severe drought. People and animals have died it is sad to watch this in the news and I wonder how long will Kenyans keep suffering due to drought (over 40 years after independence), those in parts of Kenya that are hard hit feel like they are in a different country. Metrological department predicted that El Nino rains are coming, though they can be destructive, this is what Kenya needs now. At the same time Kenyans are loosing the animals they remain with in this drought to cattle rustlers.

Before I forget another bad news is Kenyan football, Harambee Stars is back from Tunisia and even before they left the country I knew they will not win again. I don’t like football but I can at least watch if it is my country playing. However I have given up on Kenyan football, they are getting worse and worse. I feel the money being used on them and to pay coaches from other countries can help in other projects like irrigation. The team should be disbanded until further notice because Kenyans are busy with European premier league. Kenya can concentrate participating on other sports they do well in like athletics, cricket, volley ball etc….

Last but not least is the issue of Al Shabab militia of Somali threatening Kenya once again; the Government has promised they have taken measures against these threats. I hope so and pray they do not have a base in Kenya especially in Eastleigh which is like Somali capital in Kenya.

The list of bad news is endless I just had to mention a few.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The sorry state of Mama Ngina Children’s Home

The story of Mama Ngina Children’s home as seen on NTV news is a very sad one. It just shows how deep the level of greed and corruption by administrators running government institutions has sunk. It is shocking that an administrator of a home for orphans can rent out staff houses and even a school that was built for the orphans of the home, the school is run privately so the orphans cannot study in the school. The worst is food and other basic necessities of the home rotting in the store. That one is now not only greed, it is wickedness! Most of the stuff is from donors and well wishers, so why deny children the stuff???? For heavens sake there is food shortage in the country so why would anyone in their right mind, let food rot in a store!!!

This is a wake up call for the Government to investigate activities of children’s homes in the country and ensure all is well. Most homes for orphaned children are visited during festive season especially in December. Many of us Kenyan’s forget they exist until December when we have something to share or when we are reminded by organizations or religious groups. We only worry about the problems we face, politics but forget the ones without parents and are left in the hands of administrators who turn out to be wicked like the one running Mama Ngina Children’s home, actually this is one administrator who should be punished and shamed publicly.

This home should be returned to its former glory to give the children hope for a better future.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Judge Ringera, is it not time to quit?

I cannot imagine what is in the mind of judge Ringera after he has been rejected by the Kenyan parliament. Leave or not leave. But one thing is clear; he has been rejected not only by the Kenyan parliament but the whole world. He is not a performer; why lie. The man is behaving like a hunted animal cornered but could still see few ways of escape. However, whether he escapes or not, he is already an injured animal that cannot run far before other hunters hit again. The best option is to through in the towel. The more he stays on, the more he remains hunted.

The dying animals vs the hungry Kenyans

Did you see what I saw? The government of Kenya has been buying malnourished cows from the farmers from drought stricken parts of the country to save farmers from losses and allow them to restock once the rains come. Each cow goes for Kshs.8,000/=I good idea though. But before purchased animals could be slaughtered, a good number of them die and the carcass buried. This concedes with the hunger that is wide spread in the country to the point that people are feeding themselves on wild fruits,rats,insects etc. Why can`t these cows be slaughtered immediately and the meet taken to the areas affected by food shortage? This to me looks like a corruption avenue whereby the government officers handling the transactions with the farmers fake the number of animals bought and claim that some have died and buried. Who is reconciling the records of the purchased number, cash paid, the dead and buried with the numbers that eventually reach the slaughter houses.
The second problem is on what quality of meet is in our markets. That I would not like to anticipate but there are high chances that things are not right.

Plight to the Promised Land; The `Kiberians` get new homes

They passed me along the Mbagathi road, Nairobi on 16th September 2009 to Langata new homes in government Lorries as they shout in celebration. The people of Kibera slum are now moving to the new “Posh” area of Southland Nairobi. Yes it was great joy both to them and those who witnessed the plight.
What about the terms and the deal for the new homes. Rent; Kshs.500/=, Electricity and Water; Kshs.500/=. Looks cheap but for how long will they be paying rent. Is it not time that they own their own houses as well? Is there a written agreement that the rent will remain as so? Or will another regime come to change the terms? These are the questions that many are asking. If you ask me, the whole issue looks like a means to get rid of the slum and not necessarily to help the residents. I may be wrong to predict this but soon the electricity and water bill will be increased. There are high chances that these utilities will be abused as the residents misuse/overuse them. From that point, the charges will surely go up and the residents will be required to dig deeper into their pockets.
This is what I thought would have been real help; the tenants would have been given the option to buy the houses in terms of mortgages and other financial arrangements. That in my view would have been the best option that will have a lasting benefit to these low income people. But making them pay rent that is likely to increase in future may not work out. I see this as one other cleverer political move.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hospital treating Fistula patients

Listening to Hope FM radio today at around midday, I realized they had a very interesting topic in their discussion and guests. The discussion was on Fistula a condition that many people do not know about and those suffering from it have suffered in silence for a long time, because of the condition it puts them in.

The guests talking on Fistula were Dr. Kiiru a Gynecologist and Surgeon, a survivor Silvia and a representative of Jamaa hospital Sister Charity where operations on Fistula patients are done. I was keen to know about this condition that many women have suffered from in silence and was glad it was brought on air. Dr. Kiiru explained that Fistula is an abnormal hole in the birth canal of a woman. This condition is caused mainly by child delivery, when something goes wrong during birth.

Other causes are accidents causing fracture on the pelvis, cancer of the cervix, ulcers in the birth canal when the wound is left unattended. Abortion is also another cause and also when surgery of the pelvis is not done well. However, 80% of cases in Kenya are due to delivery for example during prolonged labor a woman under poor medical care, especially those who deliver at home are at a higher risk of getting Fistula.

Fistula is a very serious condition that mostly affects women. It is so embarrassing because it causes frequent dripping of urine and in other cases leaking of stool. Patients have to use sanitary pads everyday. Silvia who has survived Fistula after undergoing an operation at Jamaa Hospital told listeners that she could use up to 10 pads in a day. Patients from poor background are not in a position to buy sanitary pads and have to use pieces of clothes. The Doctor talked of patients traveling from the rural areas with bags full of clothes to change every time they go to the toilet. I was surprised to hear men can also get Fistula when they get involved in an accident or a fall that can injure their private parts. There are also those born with the condition which is called congenital fistula.

Other causes of fistula are traditional practices such as early marriage, where early childbirth can cause this condition because the girls’ pelvis is not yet mature. FGM is also another cause of this condition. Poverty and lack of education is another cause when women deliver at home under unskilled attendants. Malnourished patients due to poverty are at risk of getting this condition when the patient’s body is poorly formed.

Patients with Fistula are stigmatized by the society. This is why many people do not know about it, because many patients rarely talk about their conditions for fear of stigma. They avoid being in public for fear of smelling urine or stool and having to rush to the toilet frequently. Apart from smelling it causes limping in patients, ulcers in the private parts, isolation many have been neglected and some divorced by their husbands. Hence patients apart from suffering from the medical conditions, they suffer from psychological feelings that can make them suicidal.

I was really touched by Silvia’s story, she is lucky to have got help through the hospital after watching a documentary on TV and her husband stood by her all the time. Dr. Kiiru said he is one of the only three surgeons of Fistula in the country. This is shocking because there are many surgeons in the country but only three for this serious condition and all are based in Nairobi. There is need for more Doctors to be trained so that patients do not have to travel all the way to Nairobi for treatment in their embarrassing condition.

They appealed to people to enlighten the society so that those suffering can seek help. The condition is curable through surgery which costs Kshs.50,000 (and above depending on the condition) at Jamaa Hospital. Since this is not affordable to most poor people who are the majority, they hospital gets sponsors to pay for the patients trip to and from Nairobi and the surgery cost. They have sponsors like Safaricom and Freedom from Fistula Foundation that is working hard to help clear this condition, amongst others.

Jamaa Hospital is situated in Eastland part of Nairobi. One can get there by public means using matatu (minibus) no. 23. They have two hotlines for patients to call which are 0718100000 and 0737100800.

Help save Fistula patients.

Monday, August 24, 2009

KENYANS ARE BEING COUNTED

Kenya’s National Census (normally done every 10 years) has begun this evening, Kenyans all over the country and in other parts of the world will be counted. Tomorrow has also been declared a public holiday for the activity to continue. It is a tough exercise because the officers have to count everyone in the homes, the streets, those working, traveling, those still in the camps (IDPs) and Kenyans in the Diaspora. The number of questions this time are so many, unlike the previous years, this time I notice from the adverts and news the questions are more, they even ask if one has internet services in the house, access to computer, how many mobile phones, other electronic gadgets and many other questions.

This time round the issue of tribe has been such a contentious one, some Kenyans felt it should be left out in the questions or the results of the number of each tribe should not be published. This was never an issue before but now that everything is politicized and tribalism being a major cause of post-election violence, it has become a sensitive matter. On the other hand I am curious to know the number of each tribe and I believe there are Kenyans like me who would like to know, which is the largest and where does mine rank. If the Kikuyu are the majority and the Ogiek and the minority that is a fact, why should we hide? We just need to accept one another as Kenyans whether our tribe is the majority or the minority and not politicize the issue. It also helps in the study of the country and in school on subjects like Social studies. Gone are the days when National Census were manipulated for political reasons and we shouldn’t avoid important information because of what happened in the past.

However there are Kenyans who have issues with the Census, the amount being spent on the exercise some feel it is not necessary and should have been used to save millions who are starving due to drought. Even after government assuring of Security at night, many still will not open their doors in the night for fear. Some cite traditional beliefs that they cannot be counted because of various reasons: one that annoyed me is that of some tribes like the Pokot say they consider Women as children and should be counted as children.

Lastly I feel the exercise will be a very tedious one since the population has increased over the last 10 years, the questions are more and questionnaires to fill. The officers will face many obstacles especially in the areas with people of different beliefs and complaints. The other issue is the illegal immigrants in the country, majority of them Somalis, how will they ascertain who are the Somali’s of Kenya and who are not. NTV this month showed how fake documents like; driving license, passports, birth/death certificates and academic certificates are made in the back streets of Nairobi. I believe many illegal immigrants now have the necessary documents that it would be difficult to know which ones are genuine.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Crisis in Kenya

One time I told a neighbor that we need to plant trees on our compounds. The neighbor refused saying roots of trees planted on small pieces of land can cause the walls of houses to crack, because their roots can spread and get to the foundation of the house. I did not want to accept this theory and advised that one can plant trees that do not have long roots and went ahead to plant trees on our plot. I like a green compound with trees because it is a sign of life, many people prefer to plant flowers and crops on their land instead of trees.

Planting trees and conserving our environment is a big issue now in Kenya. Many people had the mentality of my neighbor that trees are not good in town houses even where there is enough space. Others feel they better cut trees and plant crops on their farms. Yes it is good to have farms with crops but cutting trees in the process is what has caused a major crisis in Kenya now. Mau forest is such a good example of the consequences of cutting trees in the forest to create space for farming, making homes and burning charcoal.

Now we are faced with the terrible consequences of depletion of forests in the country, there has been insufficient rains, rivers are running dry so now many Kenyans and animals are dying of hunger, suffering from malnutrition. Water problem is now a big issue, taps are dry people have to buy water from vendors, the government has no alternative but to dig bore holes even in the city. Due to less water in the dams we now faced power rationing and high cost of living. When we were young we used to be told “In the year 2000 the country will have all infrastructure in place, there will be tapped water in all homes and electricity”. The story now is different; it is now vision 2030 and at this rate I doubt whether there will be a major difference.

This is why people must vacate Mau Forest to pave way for planting of trees, it is a bitter pill to swallow for innocent wananchi (citizens) who were duped by the former long serving government KANU, they will loose their homes but they would rather move on to save millions of Kenyan from worse crisis.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Inter-marriages in Kenya

One positive thing that is happening in Kenya after post-election violence is the rise of inter-tribal marriages. This is one thing that many Kenyan’s like me thought would reduce or be restricted after the terrible tribal clashes ever experienced in Kenya since independence.

I never imagined tribes like the Luo and Kikuyu will marry one another in such big numbers or Kikuyu and Kalenjin because these were the major tribes that participated in the clashes. Luhya also participated but not in big numbers as the Luo, Kikuyu and Kalenjin.

However the clashes seems not to have deterred the young generation of Kenya to intermarry along tribal lines, instead they have decided not to follow tribal paths as those in politics and instead decided to intermarry more as a way of reducing this terrible enemy of Kenya’s progress ‘Tribalism’!

One can see these trends in the weddings that have taken place since the clashes from December 2007 to early 2008 and the ones coming up. Also while watch The Wedding Show on Citizen TV one would notice that most of the weddings are of different tribes.

If this is a way of solving the problem of Tribalism in Kenya, then let us encourage it.

Women are more caring in sickness than men

One time I accompanied a lady friend to visit her relative who was sick, I thought it was just normal sickness and it was just to check on how she was doing. To my shock we found the lady was seriously sick, in bed and could not walk or talk comfortably. This really shocked us because she looked like she was in a bad state and needed to be hospitalized. We found out that the husband preferred home based treatment than taking her to hospital, so a doctor was coming to check on her in the house. It seems she needed more than this because she looked dehydrated and needed better treatment. She struggled to whisper that she has been begging the husband to take her to hospital but the husband ignored her pleas.

After a lot of intervention from my friend who works in a hospital the husband finally allowed her to be taken to hospital, were they realized she didn’t even have enough blood. To cut the story short this lady had not been taken to the hospital earlier, she would have died in the house due to the husband’s attitude and not getting the right treatment.

This is not the first case I have encountered where men keep or treat their sick wives in the house instead of taking them to hospital. This is very common with people who are HIV positive. Normally the man seems to know what the problem is and does not want the wife to get to hospital where she may get to know what is ailing her. Many women have died in the house due to such practice by their husbands or die in hospital when taken there when it is too late. The lucky ones survive due to intervention from relatives, neighbors and friends.

In times of sickness women act differently, most women would rush their sick husbands to hospital to get treatment and promptly visit them in hospital, feeding them, helping them in many ways until they get well. However the case is different when it is the wife who is sick, many men ignore their sick wives, they would rather use female relatives or friends to deal with the wife, take care of her at home, take her to hospital and most of the time they would not visit the wife promptly in hospital. One can notice this in hospitals, when you visit male wards you will find mostly women visitors and at the same time when you visit female wards you will also find most of the visitors are women.

This is one attitude in majority men I have noticed, we were discussing this issue with my lady friends who also agreed, so we wonder do men who behave like this want their wives to die, to pave way for them to marry again or to be free. In many African traditions people believe that if a person dies annoyed they can come back and haunt those who annoyed them, as a Christian I normally do not want to believe such things happen. However such men should be haunted by the wives they mistreat to death.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thank you Mr. Annan for handing over the envelope

It caught us Kenyans and particularly our politicians unawares when former UN Secretary-General Koffi Annan decided to hand in the envelope containing the names of those who participated in post election violence, to ICC Chief Prosecutor Louise Moreno Ocampo before August. Most of our politicians who are suspects are not happy but majority of Kenyans are happy because we do not trust our Judiciary to try the “big fish”, so Hague is the only option for them. For the “small fish” who were used by them to cause chaos and to perform all the evil that was done on innocent citizens of this country, a local Tribunal should handle their cases.

Our politicians are very good at delay tactics and just like Annan said, justice delayed in justice denied. They forgot that the envelope was not in the hands of a Kenyan who could be bribed. Corruption is the root cause of all this if Kivuitu (former chairman of Elections Commission) acted like a patriotic citizen and refused to be bribed, then we would not be talking of post election violence, the Hague, a local tribunal and a truth and justice commission. Kenya would have had a democratic elected president and may be President Barrack Obama would have also visited Kenya after Ghana. Hence President Obama was very right when he boycotted Kenya his father’s country in his Africa visit plan and also when he mentioned in his speech Corruption, tribalism and nepotism as part of problems facing Kenyans.

Thank you once again Mr. Annan, we await justice from Mr. Ocampo.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Previous and present state of Government Hospitals in Kenya

There was a time Government hospitals in this country were dreaded for the rate of deaths caused by mostly negligence, pathetic conditions of the institutions and in some cases bad diagnosis.

Kenyatta National Hospital the biggest referral hospital in this region was like a death chamber where people feared for the lives of their relatives or friends if hospitalized, some even claimed there were demons or evil agents working in the Hospital because of the high number of deaths occurring in the hospital. The hospital was known for long queues starting early in the morning till night and patients would die on the queue even when the medical staff watched. As a child I came to fear the hospital when a relative died, he was in a ward with 11 other patients. My mum and aunt would visit him everyday, they would find his condition getting worse daily, they complained of poor treatment the patient was not able to go to the bathroom so he would be socked badly by midday when they visit him, before they gave him food to eat they would have to clean and change him first. Patients very ill had to wait for their relatives to feed and change them, therefore many patients died one by one. The stories of the hospital those days scared me and I swore as a child I would never get hospitalized in that hospital.

The hospital is now different from what it was those years. I think the situation changed because of freedom of the media and also when opposition came into power in 2002, the issues started getting highlighted and dealt with. One person who brought a major change to this institution is Prof. Meme, the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, he would disguise himself as a patient, then go to every part of the hospital and in the process catch the medical staff in action, neglecting, mistreating or abusing patients. He would then fire the person there and then. The media highlighting the cases also helped the institution prompting the administration to deal with their staff accordingly. There are still a few cases of poor patients being detained for not being able to clear their bills and lack of some drugs but generally they have improved.

Pumwani Maternity hospital also the biggest Maternity hospital in the region, was also notorious of babies disappearance, careless handling of patients and also being in a pathetic condition. Many women went there because it was affordable compared to other hospitals and some did not know what the hospital was like until they got there. I have never been to this hospital but the stories I heard about the state was scaring. Mothers would be told their babies died while the babies were alive at birth then a still-born child would be shown to the mother, this was common to mothers with twins or who lost consciousness after delivery. Babies disappearing or switching of babies was a common occurrence in the hospital. Just like Kenyatta Hospital things changed when the opposition came into power, being run by the City Council under the Local Government. The then Minister of Local Government the Late Hon. Karisa Maitha paid surprise visits and dealt with the medics in charge.

The stories were the same and worse in district hospitals all over the country. Pathetic conditions of the hospitals, lack of water, congestion in the wards, patients sharing beds. Patients sleeping on the floor, lack of medicine and supplies, shortage of staff, patients being turned away, poor patients being detained due to lack of money. I started with the two major hospitals in the Capital City Nairobi because they are the biggest referral hospitals and the biggest in the country. They are now in better conditions and the services have improved. However the situation is different in other hospitals in the rural areas. Many district hospitals are still in bad conditions and the services are very bad. It seems this government since 2002 concentrates on changes in its capital Nairobi.

One such notorious hospital is New Nyanza Hospital also known as Russia, this week I saw protests in the news about this hospital, a man had been left on a stretcher for hours without being attended to and later died. The next day on Citizen TV news they showed a comparison on how Kenyatta National Hospital handled their emergency cases and compared with New Nyanza Hospital. The stories I have also heard about this hospital and experienced with relatives and friends from the Lake region are terrible and annoying. An aunt operated badly during a C-Section her wound opened causing her intestines to protrude, she ended up with a bad scar in her tummy. Many friends and relatives lost due to lack of medicine, negligence, patients staying in the ward for long before being seen by a doctor, doctors giving wrong diagnosis this happened to someone who is a medic in a Nairobi hospital and knew what was ailing her relative. The lady tried to explain to them that what her relative is suffering from is not what they have diagnosed and tried to advice what should be done. They ignored her, she looked for the tools and medicine to save her relative but it was too late and watched her relative die.

Most of the staff are rude, corruption is rampant with some of the staff asking for bribe openly before offering other services, only those who know someone working there get served well and faster, some doctors would not even touch a patient, the stories are many I cannot write all. The Ministry of Health has 2 ministers one Hon. Anyang’ Nyong’o comes from the region; he should investigate this institution and bring changes. This is a big referral hospital in Western Kenya that should have appropriate services, well trained and disciplined staff. There is no need of those from Western Kenya coming all the way to Nairobi for better treatment.

It is not only this New Nyanza Hospital that has poor services, other Government hospitals in the country are also in bad shape and the kind of treatment being offered is poor. The Government should start investigating the operations of its hospitals and health centers all over the country. You meet people coming from all over the country, they will tell you tales of Government hospitals and one would only hope not to find themselves in these hospitals under any circumstances. Its not that only those with low in-come who can find themselves in these hospitals, many people traveling and having been caught up in an accident find themselves rushed into these hospitals. When you hear tales of other district hospitals, Kenyatta Hospital which many of us in Nairobi thought was very bad is now far much better. I normally wonder is it about salaries? Are they paid differently from those in Nairobi or is it that the most qualified medical staff are employed in Nairobi?. I believe there a few medical staff that are good and have a heart to work in the institution but the bad ones are spoiling for them. May be the Government needs to use the same tactics used by Prof. Meme and the Late Hon Karisa Maitha to deal with these institutions before more people die due to negligence.

Current events in the Country

Kidnappings and crime

Kidnapping has taken a new twist, it is not only children who are in danger, thugs are now kidnapping anyone they can get hold of. It is also not only the rich, it is anyone who can give some money. Some use the victim to demand money from their relatives through mobile phones services ZAP and MPESA this way they can collect money from relatives using the victims mobile. Police are now blaming Mungiki for the kidnappings, if it is true this group is very dangerous and ruthless and should be dealt with seriously if caught, assisted by the help of Mobile phone companies to track the culprits.

Carjacking are also on the rise mostly in estates where security is tight. Muggings in the streets of Nairobi have also increased. At least the government has embarked on installing CCTV cameras in the City center.

Water shortage

Nairobi residents have no water because Nairobi Water Company is claiming it is due to low water levels in the supply dams and due to poor rains. People now have to walk or drive to places they can find water and buy, some buy from vendors with handcarts or vehicles selling water. Some vendors are now selling the water at Kshs50 per 20 liter plastic container, this is ridiculous, life is tough, price of foodstuff are high. Maize flour is about Kshs.90 and now people have to also buy water at high cost. How do those living on a dollar/day survive? The other worry is where do these vendors get their water from and how safe is it? They are not willing to tell, it is either the customer takes it or leave it, many are left with no option but to take and pray it is ok. At least the Government has come up with a solution to dig boreholes in the City. Those in the outskirts of the City (where many people are now building homes), do not experience this shortage because many depend on borehole water pumped by electricity and can connect to their homes.

Facelift of the City Center

The government through the City Council is giving the City center a face lift by planting new grass and flowers, the roads are being painted, CCTV are being placed to improve security and the most interesting part is numbering buildings, this one is a very good idea because one can easily locate a building by the number not the name. It was difficult to locate buildings by name when written high up the building, one sometimes has to cross the street to look up or keep asking while walking the street.

Political situation

Hague or a Local tribunal, this is the debate going on now the blame game has taken a new turn when President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila are also being blamed. The International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo could put the two leaders to task to explain what they knew about the violence, others are advocating for a Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission. So daily news is about The Hague, Local tribunal, Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission and Ocampo this and that. Meanwhile as the Coalition Government drags its feet, MPs advocating for different options depending on which side they are and others are in the middle. Now former UN-Secretary Kofi Annan has handed over the envelope containing names of who participated in the violence (as per Waki report) to the ICC read more. Many of us are curious to know who are in the Waki List. As a citizen caught up in the middle of this I watch and wait to see what the out-come will be, all I want and many other Kenyans want is Justice and Peace.

Sugar shortage and Maize flour price may go up again

The price of Sugar has gone up by Kshs.20 (from Kshs78 to 98) or more depending on where one buys it and some stores have run out of sugar because of some import issues in the government. Now we hear that Unga (Maize flour) price may go up again because there will be shortage due to inadequate rains and harvest because the areas that used to produce most of the maize were affected by post election violence. This is very bad news already people are suffering because the Kshs.90 for Unga now is very high for many Kenyans. Please sort out this fast we have enough problems.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The African Child

This week I watched celebrations of the day for the African Child on news. As usual there were songs, poems and dances by happy children. However the real situation of most African children is very grave, hardly a day passes without news of abuse cases, kidnappings, malnourished children, a child not being given an opportunity to go to school, children suffering in war torn countries etc.....

Lately there have been many cases of kidnappings of children in Kenya, kidnapping years back was a worry of the rich because it was believed they could produce the big ransom being demanded by the kidnappers. Now the story in Kenya is different, children of people in the middle class and even lower class are being kidnapped. The kidnappers now demand as low as Ksh50,000 from the parents or else they will kill the child. To a rich person this is very little money but to an ordinary Kenyan this is not a small amount. It is sad that a child’s life can be threatened by silly thugs just because of some small money. I call them silly because they are using mobile phones to contact the parents, who of course will contact the police even when warned not to do so, the police will then contact the mobile company involved to tract down the where-about of the caller. Thanks to technology many of them have been caught, but because they are silly thugs they do not learn from such mistakes, new cases are still being reported. Parents still need to be watchful of their kids because not all of them will be caught others can accomplish their threats.

The other case is child abuse, many African children are abused in many ways. Thursday Daily Nation Newspaper reported that “Sexual abuse against children has been on the increase over the years, but many cases are never reported, police have said”. The Cradle a child right organization is also reported to have said that an average of 10 cases involving child abuse have been reported at its Nairobi offices every week since January Read more on their web. This is very sad because there are many more cases that are not reported, many children are abused by people they know, like a neighbor or a relative. There was also the story of a Catholic Priest who is accused of sexually abusing orphan boys in his care. There are many cases that have been reported about children sexually abused by foreigners at the Kenyan coast. Just this week a man was arrested when he went to produce photographs of young girls he has been abusing in his neighborhood in a Nairobi Slum. The stories are many and I wonder if a relative, a neighbor, a priest, a parent, a teacher can abuse a child sexually, who will protect the African child from these people? The answer can be the government, but the government cannot be everywhere, I think it is stiffer laws against the perpetrators and building of more boarding schools for poor children that will save the African child from such problems.

Apart from the above cases the African child is also threatened by many other problems like diseases, hunger, lack of education or poor education, clothing, being left as orphans (many of their parents die of AIDS, war and the list is long. All these are as a result of poverty and bad governance because I believe a country that is well governed has less suffering citizens when its resources are distributed evenly and are used properly to the benefit of its citizens. A well governed state should have good laws that protect its children.

I therefore hope that one day African leaders will take proper measures to protect the African Child and then the day of the African Child will be marked with real joy.

Kenyans willing to die in search of money

It is just this year that many Kenyans died after trying to get petrol from an oil tanker that turned in Sachangwan in the Rift Valley. Many also got burns and stayed in hospital for a long time because of very serious burns sustained by the explosion. Those who got the burns are now facing serious challenges in life from the terrible scars. This is not the first time such an accident occured, there was a similar incident in Siaya sometime back.

Unfortunately Kenyans never learn from these cases, other tankers have fallen after the Sachangwan case, in Kisumu and other places. The media reported that people rushed to the scene to try and collect fuel, when asked they would say its hunger, no food, high cost of food, high standards of living and did not care they could die in the process. Luckily police would get to some of the scenes fast enough to stop people from getting fuel.

In such cases fire is normally triggered by a smoker, many people do not know that petrol is highly flammable and explodes when it gets ignited. The victims are normally burnt beyond recognition and those who survive suffer terribly from the burns. It is sad when many of the victims have to be buried in mass graves because they cannot be identified.

Even after seeing such cases Kenyans have not learnt, this week another petrol tanker turned in Kericho as usual people went to get petrol to sell. It is said one person tried to steal the battery of the vehicle and in the process petrol exploded. People died and others are still in hospital nursing fire injuries. In all the cases the Government has tried their best to get the victims to hospitals and the dead buried. They have warned people, even the media has played its part in highlighting the tragedies and warning citizens, but nothing has changed, another incident will happen, the story will be the same.

One thing is strange that needs to be investigated, many petrol tankers are getting involved in accidents, the driver and those in the vehicle normally disappear after the accident. Rumors has it that it is always intentional after they sell part of the consignment before they get to their destination. Police will try to contain such incidents but they cannot be everywhere, the Government and the media have done their part well, but still there is a problem. Whether it is due to Poverty or Greed, this is a dangerous trend that needs to be stopped. Siphoning any form of fuel from such vehicles should be outlawed, if one is caught they should be apprehended and charged. A driver caught after causing such an accident, if found guilty of causing the accident intentionally, should be jailed for many years because it is a threat to human life.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My views on Kenya Budget 2009-2010

This year’s budget by Finance Minister Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta I think is the best Kenya has had in many years. This was a unique budget in that it was the high compared to other years, I did not get bored listening to the Finance Minister read the budget and also noted that most members of parliament were alert and did not sleep as has been their tradition. When the common citizen like me looked forward to hear about bei ya unga, petroli na mafuta ya taa (price of maize flour, petrol and paraffin), he did more than we expected by touching on every aspect of our lives and allocated funds that if used for the purpose they are meant for, can improve living conditions of all Kenyans.

In this economic hash times the Finance Minister tried to tackle most issues affecting the common citizen and I can summarize as follow:-

Food security and Water conservation

In order to improve food security, he has allocated funds to build wholesale fresh produce markets. Enhance food production to eradicate famine and hunger by allocating funds for water harvesting, scientific farming methods etc… Ksh3 billion allocated for rehabilitation of lands in Northern Kenya through irrigation. Money allocated for fish farming ponds in all constituencies, 7m/constituency for water projects.

For conservation of environment, Ksh1.2m was allocated for tree planting by primary school children. 5 water towers to be rehabilitated, exemption of taxes on relief foods and supplies. However I expected to hear more on Agriculture

Security

He allocated funds to Community Policing engaging the youth and allocated funds to purchase motorbikes to assist in this.

Health

Ksh4b or 20m per constituency for construction of Health Centers all over the country. 4200 more nurses to be hired on contract to work in the health centers.

Education

Money allocated for mobile computer laboratories in each constituency to be used by schools. Additional money allocated for free primary and subsidized secondary school education. Ksh1.5b for upgrading rural schools, Ksh1.3b for recruiting more teachers on contract basis to improve quality of education.

Youth empowerment and Job creation

Ksh2.5m per constituency for construction of Jua Kali (artisans) sheds. 210m or 1m per constituency to equip the sheds. 500m allocated for Youth Development funds. More nurses and teachers will be hired.

Women issues and empowerment

500m allocated for Women Enterprise kitty. 19,000 3 bed roomed houses to be built for (internally displaced persons (IDPs), priority to be given to households headed by women. Duty on cosmetics reduced and Duty on sanitary raw materials off.

Communication & Technology

VAT on mobile handsets removed.

Improved energy

Money allocated for Greening Program to conserve energy. Ksh 400m allocated for installation of Solar all over the country.

Physically challenged persons

Kshs 200m interest free revolving funds for operating business. Tax relief on their income up to Ksh 150,000. He also allocated some money for the Elderly.

Transport

New generation log-books to be introduced. To avoid time wasting between Police and commercial vehicle offenders, police will be allowed to issue fines on the spot. I just hope police will not take advantage of this by imposing hefty fines when the offender is not able to pay they take a bribe. The other issue is that they could issue fake receipts to the offenders and pocket the money. Quick inspection and registration of commercial vehicles before they are used on our roads and bicycles zero rated.

Clothing

Duty on Synthetic yarn reduced and that of second hand clothes as well. Many people cannot afford new clothes so this will be welcomed by citizens who wear and also those who sell second hand clothes.

Investing & Finance

VAT exempt on banking services. At one time many Kenyan’s wanted to get rich quick and joined Pyramid Schemes which fleeced them of thousands and millions of shillings. Now the government has come to protect citizens from future cons by outlawing such schemes. Investors will be encouraged to also invest outside major urban centers.

Infrastructure

Compared to others, I think this is the highest allocation, Ksh140b for roads, rails etc... MPs applauded when he mentioned that Constituency Development Funds (CDF) handled by the MPs will get a share of Fuel Levy funds.

Tourism

Tourism Ministry was allocated 400m for marketing. This is good for the country since Tourism generates some good income for the government.

Good Governance

Ministry of Finance together with the public will monitor Donor funds on basis of project performance at every stage to ensure transparency. For good governance to be achieved, reforms must be made, hence Ksh 2b was allocated for implementation of Agenda 4 of the National Accord. Ksh 3.1b has been allocated for reforms of the Judiciary.

It was good news to hear that Ministries spending has been cut down, phone calls, hospitality and traveling costs reduced. Each Minister will now have one official vehicle that will not be their usual fuel guzzlers since they will only be allowed vehicles with engine capacity not exceeding 1800cc. The other vehicles will be sold and proceeds used for resettlement of IDPs. This has been worrying since this coalition government has many Ministries and the spending is hefty, while many Kenyan’s are starving due to lack of rains. Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta led by example when he went to Parliament in a Passat which consumes less fuel than the usual Mercedes Benz vehicles used by Ministers.

Community Development Funds (CDF)

Apart from the budget being citizen friendly, the amount allocated for CDF for MPs may have also caused them not to snooze as they normally do on every budget reading. Ksh 12b or 60m per constituency allocated for CDF, as I mentioned earlier they will also get a share of Fuel Levy funds from money allocated for infrastructure, the Minister also mentioned part of money allocated for education and other development for constituencies would be added to the CDF kitty and if am not wrong I heard it would add up to something like 105m/constituency. That was very good news that kept MPs totally awake prompting them to make a lot of noise in the house that was stopped by the House Speaker upon Finance Minister’s request to be allowed to continue.

This Budget has been received well by many, especially MPs who had a cause to smile and go home happy. The Task now remains on implementation and financing of the Budget.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Battered men

The new Maendeleo ya Wanaume (development organization for men in Kenya) are really working hard and want to catch up for being in the dark for many years when women have moved far with Maendeleo ya Wanawake (development organization for women in Kenya), FIDA and other organizations that support development and rights of women in Kenya. This week they came up with an interesting finding, that over 1.5 million men in Kenya are battered by their wives. Many people could not believe this because it is believed men are physically stronger than women and so this is impossible. I also laughed it off and said this is another of their get-famous-gimmicks.

However having looked at the issue again and read the story in the news, I realize they could be right on some issues, many men get abused and in some cases battered by their wives when the woman is many years older, financially stable than the man and especially when the husband is jobless, the wife is the breadwinner amongst many other reasons. It is true just like their research revealed roles are reversed so the jobless men are made to cook, wash clothes, clean the house, clean utensils and baby-sit. This is very common because the working woman does not see the need to employ a house help while the man is just in the house doing nothing. The other reason is many women would not trust a jobless idle man with a house girl in the house and because many rarely employ houseboys so the man would be forced to do all the work in the house.

On the issue of physical battering I believe men are physically stronger than women, in fact many can even kill a woman who tries to beat them. Even if a man is a few years younger they are still stronger. The only way a woman can succeed in battering a man physically is by using a weapon like the case of a man from Eldoret Town who came up in the open after these findings to show how the wife had inflicted injuries on his body with a knife. A man who can put up with such a woman is very desperate because of their kids or financial support he may be getting from the woman, but not for love. The other opportunity is when a man comes home very drunk his wife can use the opportunity to beat him.

I know there are men who are very annoying like the promiscuous ones, drunkards, lazy, mean etc… who if women can get an opportunity to teach them a lesson through battering than the number would be higher. However there are women who are very good at cruelty on men who are quiet or vulnerable, they use abusive language, it is not only to jobless men but also working men who marry the wrong women, ending up in miserable relationships they stick to because of kids and what the society will say when they part ways (social stigma). I have realized that many widowers who re-marry end up with abusive women. I know people who suffer in such abusive marriage because the new wife comes with different ways and ideas from what the man was used to, the man may be desperate for a wife and mother for his kids so he puts up with the woman even when she is abusive, the woman also takes advantage of the man’s situation to fulfill her demands. The man ends up depressed remembering his dead spouse and regret why they married again. I must say not all of them are bad but majority of the cases I have seen are bad.

It is good Maendeleo Ya Wanaume have come up with this issue to save men who are suffering in silence. Innocent men should open up to shame such women.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Importance of Breast milk and Breastfeeding in the office

In today’s news the Government and UNICEF are appealing to employers to allow mothers to breastfeed their babies in their work places, express milk or to give breastfeeding breaks to mothers. The campaign has been started because it has been realized that many babies are dying and many suffer from diseases that can be avoided through exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months as recommended.

This is a very noble idea; breast milk is very important to babies because it improves their immune system thus reducing child mortality rate. Working nursing mothers really suffer when going back to work. From my personal experience, one cannot work in peace when you think of your baby crying at home because you are not there to feed him/her. The other problem is breast swells with milk during the initial months making it very uncomfortable to concentrate on work; it gets even worse when milk spills through the bra to the dress or top one is wearing if the nursing bra or pads gets full with milk.

It is very difficult for working nursing mothers to express milk in their places of work because the facilities are not available in many companies, most of the time the only place one can express milk is in the ladies rooms, which can be very dirty because it is shared by other people from the same company or other companies so one cannot keep the milk. Luckily for me I worked in a small company where I got a place to express milk and keep in tight jars in the company fridge to take back home for my baby to use the next day. This really helped my baby, because it was very nutritious compared to other milk alternatives. Babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months are very different from those who have not been breastfed at all and also those who take other milk which is not the mother’s. I have also seen this with my kids and those of friends and relatives, those that are well breastfed rarely get sick.

I know it cannot be easy for many companies to adopt this practice in their offices, especially allowing mothers to breastfeed in the office. It is easier for employers to designate a clean place/room where mothers can express milk and if they are kind enough they can also keep a fridge in the room for them to store the milk. If many companies will allow, then other staff will understand when a mother has to leave the office a few times to go to the place. There are breast pumps in the market that can make it easier and faster to express milk to save time. Some companies in other parts of the world have nurseries that have such facilities but I have not heard of any in Kenya.

Sometime back I watched a South African documentary about a children’s home for orphans. They showed how the babies get breast milk donations from some mothers in the USA, the milk would arrive refrigerated by air and stored for the babies’ daily consumption. The babies looked very lively and healthy that one would not imagine their mother are not alive. This shows that breast milk is important for all babies, it is also possible for women in Kenya and African as a whole to donate breast milk to orphan babies and those whose parents cannot breastfeed them because of health reasons. If this can be supported by the government, organizations and citizens at large then we will have a healthier Nation. Mothers will not have to take offs every- now-and-then to take their sick babies to the doctor because they will be healthy.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Some annoying events of this month

Police use all their might on Mechanics

Mechanics near Globe Cinema vowed they will not leave the land near the city sold to a developer, their demonstrations turned wild because police also used a lot of force to get them out of this land. These battles remind me of Mungiki crack down in Mathare and post election violence last year. One would mistake the police for fighting a criminal gang not some innocent Wananchi forced to demonstrate over land they used to earn a living from for many years. If the government knew they would sell the land and eventually evict them, why didn’t they prepare another land just like they did with public service vehicles, where they built a new bus station at Muthurua, another one near Globe Cinema, they also renovated Machakos bus station. We did not see such protests from matatu crew or passengers. If they got a land somewhere built shades for the mechanics am sure these people would have moved there with time and the City Council would have benefited from levies charged.

In the event of battling with the rioting mechanics they beat up innocent people passing by, I was shocked watching police on TV beating innocent ladies running from a shop, were they mechanics? Those policemen must have been drunk, they interfered and affected children learning at River Bank Primary with tear gas, mechanics damaged property in nearby shops, many shops had to closed, cars were burnt, it was chaotic. It took the intervention of area MP Hon. Dr. Margaret Wanjiru and the Mechanics lawyer Paul Muite to cool down the situation.

Government should think of ways they can help its citizens, when selling land to developers they should also remember the hardworking common citizens.

Provinces to be divided

I listened to some MPs demanding that the 8 provinces in Kenya be subdivided and welcomed the move because some are just too big for administration purposes, but wait a minute this was not for administrative purposes, it is for political gains. The constitution requires that a presidential candidate to win elections should get 51% of votes and at least 25% votes from most of the provinces, so when some have realized it would be difficult for them to achieve this they start making amendments that will benefit them and not us citizens. Shame on them!

Ugandan President Insults Kenyans

I thought Migingo issue was under control when told by Government officials that they are using diplomacy and surveyors were to start working on determining Kenya’s boundary. However things got worse when Museveni had an interview with BBC radio, during the interview he said Jaluo’s (the main tribe living near Lake Victoria where the disputed Island is situated) are mad and that the Island belongs to Kenya but the water around it belongs to Uganda (what nonsense). I got really mad that I said if I did a post on my blog that day I would have written terrible things about this man but I chose to ignore because it is not good to argue with a fool.

Tom Cholmondeley sentence

The grandson of Delamere got 8 months for killing Robert Njoya who trespassed on his land. Many waited to hear what sentence the Judge will pass because many believe that Kenyan Judiciary is biased against the poor. I was not shocked and felt that this sentence was good enough because I thought he would be set free after being charged of manslaughter earlier. This man has served the longest sentence that a man of his caliber would serve in Kenya, before he was sentenced, he was in remand for 3 years and now he will be in prison for 8 months. There are other worse offenders in Kenya like him who have never been to remand even for one day but have committed worse offenses. A good example is our leaders who masterminded the post-election violence. What about the murderers of politicians like the late Dr. Robert Ouko and many others? They are free because of their status in the society and the law is biased.

Maize saga

We are told that around 6000 tones of maize imported from South Africa are contaminated and is being held at Mombasa port. Then some contaminated maize is found in the markets of some parts of the country and people suspect its part of the controversial Maize. Next Kenya Bureau of Standard (Kebs) assures Kenyans that Maize in the markets is safe for human consumption. Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) says the contaminated maize is intact at the port, who is fooling who? If this is some political game our politicians like playing let them not use food meant for the common mwananchi (citizen) in their games.

Printing Error

Sh.9.6 billion computer or printing error by Finance Ministry on supplementary budget estimates. A very expensive error!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Brand Kenya Initiative

Watching Brand Kenya Launch on TV this morning and listening to the opening remarks from the CEO and other speakers, I must say it is a good initiative that should have started a long time. If what they are advocating for would have been implemented earlier in Kenya, we would have been very far now. However it is not too late to start Branding Kenya, if they can be allowed to work in partnership with the media without political interference, then this country will be a wonderful place.

Kenya is a beautiful and wonderful country with many prospects & assets to attract visitors, investors and to make living conditions of citizens better. The major hindrance to our country’s image and development is our politicians and corruption. Our politicians have served us over 45 years since independence but because majority of them are only concerned about filling their stomach, acquiring wealth and rewarding their friends/associates, but not improving the lives of those who elected them. If they were genuine our country would have been better than what it is today.

I hope this will not be like other bodies that are known to hold conferences where they talk big and do nothing. Since public funds will be involved to support the initiative it has to bear fruits. Otherwise I wish them success in Branding Kenya our beautiful country.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mothers Day


On this Mothers Day I salute my Mother and all Mothers in the World, I am happy and proud to be a mother and would like to tell all Mothers you are Great!. The world would have not been a better place without you.

Mother's day Poem:

My lovely mother,
I love you! Mom, you mean so much to me. I'll never forget you in my life. No matter what I become in life you will always be my champion. I love you so much.

Your arms were always open when I needed a hug. Your heart understood when I needed a friend. Your gentle eyes were stern when I needed a lesson. Your strength and love has guided me and gave me wings to fly.
- Sarah Malin

Mother's day Quote:
All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.
- Oscar Wilde

Congratulations for being a Mother and God bless you all.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Family planning and women

I went to hospital one time with my husband for postpartum check-up and to get my contraceptive. This was after giving birth to my last child so we were thinking of the best long term method of family planning.

When I got to the doctor’s office, she commented on how I was in good shape and then I told her I will not be the same once I start using contraceptives. From my past experience I knew I was going to put on weight (this happens to many women others loose weight). She told me how unfortunate and asked me “why can’t your husband go for a vasectomy instead”. I told her to ask him because he was present and I said how true why not. My husband laughed and said he would take an injection instead if there was any for men. She said not yet may be there will be one in the future. I also concurred with her and asked why not him if we believe we have enough kids.

When we got home I told my husband the doctor had a point, why is it that mostly it is women going for family planning methods and not men, he answered that family planning is a woman’s concept meaning that it is women who do not want more children, but an African man would want as many children as possible if he can afford to bring them up. This left me bewildered because it is quite expensive to raise many children in the modern world, not like the days of our parents/grandparents and could not believe that an educated African man would believe in having a big family.

Yes Vasectomy is done in Kenya but what I know and from my husband’s response is that very few African men would be willing to go for a vasectomy, thinking they will not be able to perform after the operation and that it is irreversible. So I am left wondering why men cannot also participate in planning their families. Most men only use condoms with women who are not their wives to protect themselves from diseases and pregnancy, but when it comes to their family it is their wives who have to go for other family planning methods. When a woman and a man feel they have enough kids, it is the woman to use a long term method like Tubal Ligation (TL). . As women fight for equality, I think this is one area they should also advocate for.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A week of Sex starve declared in Kenya-Men be ready for prolonged hardship

The Kenyan lobby group has hit their men where it really hurt. “Conjugal starvation”.

The women lobby groups in Kenya today shocked the entire world by announcing that there shall be a sex boycott for at least a week until their husbands agree to talk to the warring politicians. Ho dear!!!!!! That is a big punishment for the men. But wait a bit these ladies may be right, they well know what make men act. Deny a man sex and he will be willing to toe your line, beg and bow down in humility with….. “yes dear, your request will ever be my command” .But dear women of Kenya be careful playing that type of game with your husband .You will be shocked that the man will encourage you to prolong the boycott as he seek refugee elsewhere.

The lobby group proposing the move let them start the boycott at their marriages if they are married at all. Let us not bring politics in marriage ladies. I warn you. You met your man alone please handle him alone not through press conferences and group boycotts. We have enough problems and do not add more in your marriage life.

As we announce the boycotts the number of ex-marital relationships is on the increase. What does that tell you?

These ladies got it wrong and they are wrong.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Speaker Marende’s wise ruling

It was a smart ruling by house Speaker Kenneth Marende on who should be the Leader of House Business Committee. He left many in suspense wondering whether he will go by the President’s choice Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka or ODM’s choice Prime Minister Raila Odinga. When he read many lines of the Constitution and the National Accord. It was all confusing.

He finally made a wise decision, just like the story of King Solomon who resolved the case of two women fighting over one baby (as described by Hon Omingo Magara and many others). I felt so relieved and I believe many Kenyans felt the same when he decided that he will chair the House Business Committee until the President and the Prime Minister as senior official of the Government come to an agreement on who will be the Leader of the HBC.

This ruling has saved Kenya from being split and from the confusion over what next if he were to choose one person, the conflict that would have ensued after that was not going to be good for the country with all the problems we have. This ruling paved the way for the house to elect other members of this committee, hence allowing Parliament Business to go on.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

If only we had free and fair election like South Africa …….

First I must say Congratulations! to our brothers and sisters in South Africa for electing their new President Mr. Jacob Zuma in a free and fair elections. This is a lesson to Kenya and other African countries but unfortunately most African leaders do not emulate such and that is why many African countries lag behind in development.

Coming back to Kenya, I feel so sad watching news since Parliament re-opened last week. This issue of Leader of Government or Leader of House Business Committee causing a standoff in Parliament is sickening. ODM leadership may have a genuine case but I feel it is not the right time since there are so many issues that need to be addressed by parliament. Many Kenyan’s are still starving because the rains have just started, so we have to wait for some more months to get food from farms. Then issues like, reforms, insecurity, Migingo Island amongst many is also still pending.

Now both the wrangling parties PNU and ODM are calling for elections if this issue cannot be resolved. This leaves me wondering how we will go into elections when the election commission is not in place. We are still waiting for a new constitution which does not seem to be forthcoming. Where are we heading?? Kenyan citizens are confused by the current political situation.

That is why I say if only we had a free and fair elections in 2007 like South Africa, we would have not been in this situation today. So the people who put us in this mess should stop pretending like they are right and are so concerned about Kenyans.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mungiki Hit again-but why?

They have been underrated as have been controlled and destroyed. The Mungiki group have just hit again in Central Kenya killing a reported number of 29 fellow villagers. What is really the problem with these young men? What do they gain by killing their own brothers and sisters? Could there be a serious psychological disorder that need the services of professional counsellors? Is the police unable to curb the actions of these group? Where were the police when the Mungiki were attacking?

The story we are reading in the Kenyan newspapers today and the horrifying pictures of lifeless bodies spread all over are really disturbing. One wonders whether this country is anymore secure. You are attacked and as you cry out and good neighbours come in to help, the neighbours and your self. What signals are we getting? If your neighbour is attacked should you wake up and help? Of course yes, but be ready for attack of the same or more magnitude.

Young Mungiki men , I appeal to you to stop this senseless killing.

President Kibaki wants the cause of the killing to be investigated but I think it is the killers who should be punished. Please help me in this. I am very sad.

Guest post

Friday, April 17, 2009

Riches at all Cost

This will make others curse me dead. But we need to reflect just on how we have acquired our many riches. Where exactly have you got all that wealth from? Do you care and should someone else care? I think yes. There are wealt5h in this country Kenya that is not clean. I mean not clean and if for some reason you have that type of wealth you just need to ask God to forgive you.

A good example is the church leaders who squander from the congregation a lot of money to enrich themselves. I dont want to be a judge of anyone but it is really bad. You start a church today, in six months time you drive the biggest car and other members of you congregation are not. Does it mean that you are the only blessed one. NO GIVE ME A BREAK. You are the accountant, the auditor the bank signatory and the everything of that church. Why? You ways may not be right.

What about the civil servants, the con innocent people to enrich theselves and we all know this."Kitu kidogo riches". How can you be earning Kshs.20,000/= per month without any other business except for this illegal one and has ten flats in Nairobi. That does not add up.

NGO sector. The ED gets funds to help orphans but instead these are used to buy posh cars and good houses then they cheat the donor with false reports.

These are just few examples of what people are busy doing as they brag of deals that they are networking. I would love to be rich because being one is comfort but integrity is more important.

Just what are you doing in pursue of riches.

Guest post

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What is the deal in Migingo?

We are waking up to disdturbing news that Migingo island is still in the hands of Uganda. But why all these aggression by the neighbours uganda? Is Kenya all that weak that we can not respond to this irresponsibly provokation?

We have to do something; otherwise President Museveni will hit again by claiming more of our land. If our security is inadequate in any way, the young and old people of Kenya are willing to defend our right. I think the Kenyan government is taking this lightly as President Museveni keeps on provoking us.

Could it be a case where by the island has been sold like the grand regency case and we are being fooled around? What is the truth? Alfred Mutua of Kenya; please tell us.

Guest post

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What children do when schools close

Schools in Kenya have closed for April holidays, both public and most private schools. Children are happy to get a break from school and studies, it is rare to find them studying, the younger ones play both in and out door games, watch TV and movies if allowed by their parents or guardians. The older ones either stay at home to watch TV, movies, read novels and magazines, they also roam around the estate and town, visit friends and the bad one end in wrong company taking drugs and alcohol, disappearing from home at night to visit clubs ending up in police cells when caught at night or in places were underage persons are not allowed. These are mainly activities of children in towns and developed areas.

Children in the rural areas without electricity may watch TV in urban centers otherwise they have a lot of activities like hunting, fishing and helping their parents with many duties like cultivating, planting, looking for water, herding livestock, fetching firewood etc.., though they are rarely idle like the ones in towns, they still find time to interact with people and other children. These are the times parents and guardians need to be very watchful of their children, talk to them and advise them because it is very easy for them to get into wrong company, get pregnant and also get infected by STDs and HIV.

Schools used to close for two weeks then students go back for the other two weeks for holiday tuitions. This was stopped in public schools by ministry of education, saying teachers have enough time to complete the syllabus on school days. The tuitions were also viewed as a way of teachers getting extra money from parents. Some parents were happy with this but many are not, because they feel their children need more time especially those in upper classes and also to avoid idleness during holidays. Since free education was introduced after 2002 elections, classes are congested with students; hence teachers are overwhelmed and cannot concentrate on all students within the term. Therefore many parents feel there is need for extra tuition to help teachers and the students. The case is different with private schools; holiday tuitions are on after two week’s break. Because of this many parents opt to enroll their children in holiday tuitions in private schools.

One challenge that parents are faced with now during these holidays is feeding children. Children have double appetite when they are on holiday. I think it is because of playing a lot and being idle. With the economic hardship it is really a challenge to many to put an extra meal on the table for energetic kids or any meal at all. This makes me wonder how kids in areas where people are starving due to famine and drought are surviving, there are many organizations with feeding programs in schools during school days, what happens now that the children are at home and the parents are also waiting for relief food? I hope the organizations are still feeding the children even when on holiday. When my kids demand too much I tell them to remember children who are starving.

What is wrong with couples working in one office

A circular was issued by Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua of Treasury, that it is now illegal for couples to work in the same department under the Treasury, saying they can collude in corruption. This has drawn mixed feelings amongst Kenyans. Some support him but others don’t. They have been asked to chose who stays and who goes.

Personally I feel it is not right for a couple to work together in an office. It is not easy for a couple to work in one office because personal disagreements can cause conflicts amongst couples who cannot trust one another. There has to be a lot of discipline and trust amongst such couples which is very rare.

However the directive should have been clear to civil servants from the beginning that it is not allowed, but love has no boundaries and so colleagues can marry. It is not right to come with the directive now and ask one to leave. This is not the right time to get someone out of work, the economic situation cannot allow. Instead they should be given an alternative for one to apply for transfer to another department.

I also do not agree with him that couples can collude in corrupt ways and agree with someone who asked on today’s morning discussion on Classic Fm radio that those who participated in Anglo Leasing and Goldenberg were they couples? Of course the answer is a big NO, so this should not be an excuse to get rid the couples.

This will also cause conflict in the homes of those couples, how do you decide who is to leave? Both of them are used to earning their money and may not be comfortable being jobless and dependant on the other. A man, even the one in a lower Job group than his wife would not be happy to leave so that the wife who brings more stays. Therefore women will be the first victims.

There are many important issues in Kenya to be addressed that can help wananchi, like arresting the real culprits stealing public funds, stop appointing and re-appointing old men past retirement age and those refusing to pay taxes than targeting innocent couples working hard to earn a living.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Happy Easter


Easter is here again, a time to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a time to rest from work, a time to travel for holiday and a time to get together with friends and family.

Even with the Economic hardship people still squeeze entertainment and traveling in their budget. Prices of food and other stuff have really gone up but still people will shop for Easter festivities. Machakos bus station and other bus parks used by many traveling upcountry will still be packed with travelers trying to get means upcountry. People will travel even when fares are double or more than the normal fare. Others will go for a holiday at the Coast and other towns with hotels and tourist attraction points. Many will only go for what is pocket friendly or just stay at home like other days.

Happy Easter Holidays!

No more Noise Pollution

Six months from now, Noise pollution will not be allowed in Kenya. Thanks to the ‘No Nonsense’ Minister Hon Michuki, he deserves the term honorable sometimes unlike some of his colleagues who do not deserve the title at all. He is the Minister of Environment.

This will affect transport industry, the same industry he is praised to have returned to sanity when he was the transport Minister. Matatu’s (mini buses) are very notorious when it comes to noise pollution playing very loud music which irritates many passengers. Many also have music videos with explicit music videos played full blast, not caring what type of passengers they are carrying and whether they prefer that kind of music. These people lack Public Relations skills; they don’t care at all about their customers, so it’s only a Minister like Michuki who can rescue citizens from such harassment.

The law will also affect street and bus preachers, it is good to spread the word but the manner they do it is a nuisance to peace loving Kenyans. There is nothing I hate like taking a bus when traveling around Nairobi or upcountry then a noisy preacher comes to disturb my peace. Others take advantage of people waiting for transport at the bus stops; the preaching can be very loud using speakers. Most of them are only after collecting money from commuters.

The others are the small shops that have mushroomed in every corner of Nairobi streets, selling music and video CDs, mobiles, electronics, clothes, shoes etc…… To attract customers they play very loud music, imagine 10 shops in one line all playing different music to attract customers, it is irritating.

It is noise pollution from the streets, at the bus stop, the Matatu tout shouting for passengers, the music or the preacher in the bus or Matatu, the blaring horn from other cars in the traffic, music in the estate bars, evening service in a nearby Church with loud speakers, a neighbor who plays loud music and by the time one get in their home, you have a splitting headache.

Thanks Hon. Michuki for coming to our aid once again.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Danson Mungatana resigns

Medical Services Assistant Minister Danson Mugatana has also resigned. I am not surprised by his move because he is also in Narc Kenya party; a supporter of Martha Karua’s bid for Presidency in 2012. He has also been very vocal about corrupt deals in the Government. This is a totally different Mungatana from the one we knew before the coalition government.

Talking of coalition government, where is it headed? Things are falling apart with now two ministers out and probably more will follow. The Prime Minister is also not a happy man; one can say he is petty by complaining about his reception at the coast. Half carpet or do I say small carpet, no toilet behind the dais and the worst is the Provincial Commissioner snubbing his visit. Surely this is a Jua Kali (local artisans) government like PM Raila Odinga called it. He was so bitter that he was being treated badly yet his ODM party is the one that won the 2007 elections.

What next for this Jua Kali government, ODM the coalition partner is not happy with the treatment they are getting from the other Partner PNU, with Martha and Mungatana’s exit seems Narc Kenya an affiliate party of PNU is getting out.

Things are falling apart, will the center hold? There must be something going on that we the common wananchi (citizens) do not know, after 2007 controversial election results and the chaos that ensued many of us are scared of surprises.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Martha Karua finally sees the light or what?

It is unbelievable that Justice and Constitution Minister resigned today as she has been threatening. This is the same Martha Karua who stood by President Kibaki during the controversial election outcome in 2007 and the hurried swearing in thereafter.It did not go down well with many Kenyan’s who felt cheated and looked at her as one of the key players in the rigged elections. She told ODM who felt cheated to present their case in court, knowing very well what Kenyan courts are. Many now wonder what happened between them.

Lately she changed tune, started criticizing those in the government connected to her docket, Attorney General Amos Wako and Chief Justice Evans Gicheru. She accused CJ of favoritism, incompetence and cronyism in appointments of Judges. The President ignored her, went ahead to swear in the Judges. This is clear case of being given work to do then your hands are tied like she said when declaring she cannot continue working in the government.

However, many supporters of ODM who felt cheated still do not trust her even after changing her stand on the government. She was the first to declare her stand to vie for presidency in 2012 under Narc Kenya party; many think it’s about 2012 elections. The President recently warned grumbling ministers they would be sacked so some think she was about to be sacked then opted to resign. Others say she is not happy with President Kibaki’s PNU party succession plan.

Whatever it is, Martha is a tough woman who speaks without fear and can fight for what she wants. This is one character many women like about her but loathed by some men saying she is arrogant. She has promised to keep her fight against corruption in the government and to work with Kenyan’s to bring change.

If she has truly changed, her resignation will be a plus to her bid for presidency in 2012. Other women in Kenya have tried to get to this seat dominated by men but not succeeded. All that Kenyan’s want is real change and that change can only be brought about by a genuine leader. It is not easy but we will see what Martha Karua can offer.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Woman’s Show

I like this show that comes on Citizen TV on Tuesdays because it is about Women’s issues. I must say the program is more appealing to me than other talk shows by women in Kenya, because of the way it is presented by the host Sheba Harst. She is a good presenter and brings participants from all walks of life.

I haven’t watched the show for long, the first time I came across this program when changing channels and got this one that featured a woman in labor with her husband in the room supporting her. I couldn’t believe that this was a Kenyan show. The show was about childbirth, they had filmed the lady going through labor and part of childbirth.

This was an interesting show to me as a woman, having gone through this experience and interested to know how other women feel about it. She had also invited Helen Mtawali a music tutor of Tusker project fame show to talk about her child birth experience and 2 birth attendants from a hospital, who demonstrated how they assist women in labor.

Women have very many issues that affect them in life, labor and childbirth is a very interesting and traumatizing experience that many women like to talk about when they visit one another after getting a baby. We can talk and talk about each others experience for years and don’t get bored about it because it is about bringing a life on earth.

From that time I continue watching when am home on Tuesdays morning, the show is very encouraging with issues like parenting, relationships, marriage etc……. . Many of us are only used to Oprah and Tyra shows. Though there are other shows in Kenya by women, we still need to get our own Oprahs and Tyras in Kenya with more shows on women issues, because it is us women who watch such shows for entertainment, advice and lessons. Sheba Harst is doing a good job, let others follow.

Akinyi washing dirty linen in public

Akinyi girlfriend of former MP Raphael Wanjala is back in the country after being released from jail in India.

The war between her and her estranged Nigerian Husband Chinedu has started again. I saw her on TV hurling insults (in dholuo language) saying it is only in Kenya that thieves like Kabuga of Rwanda can hide and calling her husband thief because he took charge of their property while she was away. She now wants “her” property back and says she cannot share with him.

Her statement that, it is only in Kenya that thieves are invited is so true but only the big fat thieves are protected, the small ones who steal chicken and pickpockets rot in jail. However, since she was married to the “thief” as she calls him I believe they acquired property together hence the guy deserves a part of the wealth.

She needs to tone down, pick up her life after the ordeal in India (with her boyfriend who came between her and her husband). Then she should sort out her issues legally not publicly.

Bad Kenyan roads-in the estates

I like the hard working of Kenyans. Today, a good percentage of Kenyans own their own houses in the urban areas and many more are working towards that.They work hard, save heavily and borrow as well to meet that objective of being a self landlord.If you look around the outskirts of Nairobi (Ruai, Kitengela, Ngong,Rongai, Thika, Syokimau etc) good residential houses have come up.These are individual efforts of hardworking Kenyans with very little direct help from the government.They are private investment and make the city spead faster and of course the cridit will go to the goverment for the development.

My concern is that these developments are in a vaccum. I mean they are on their own without infrustructure like roads, water etc. Kenya Power Co. has tried alot to pass the powerline to these areas and I salute the management of that company. But those concerned with making road have taken a nap. Road are not there at all and wananchi are struggling to make them from the little resources they have.

If the mwananchi pay all taxes as required by the goverment why can`t the government do it part too? This is simply unfair to the kenyan who works hard. We need these roads and it is our right.

Sociable

Kenya

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