Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mingy Christmas and a Hopeful New Year

It has been quite a trying year full of downs and downs may be a few ups like some rains after a terrible drought. As the year is coming to an end things are getting worse, the hardship has climaxed during this festive season. The prices of commodities that doubled and tripled are now hiked as it is the norm during festivities. For those traveling fares are not any better.

Many have to cut down on spending because January the tight month of school opening is next week, many are also worried about Al-shabaab attacks after warning alerts have been issue. I wish Jesus would just pay a short visit to Earth again to save the World from misery. As we celebrate His Birthday the cheapest way we can, we hope for a miracle in the coming New Year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Deadly strike

This Doctors’ strike is now getting out-of-hand, Kenyans breathed a sign of relief when the strike was called off on Monday evening only to hear that the strike is still on in the morning. It is sad that most Kenyans can only afford treatment at Government hospitals that have been affected by the strike, so many now watch their loved ones pass-on because of lack of treatment. Am also sad because I lost someone I know at Kenyatta National Hospital and hope the Government and the Doctors agree to end this senseless loss of lives.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Many strikes in Kenya now

It is one strike after the other, teachers strike, lecturers strike, Medical staff strike and now Doctors strike all over the Country, there could be others I may have forgotten. Such strikes are helpful to push the Government to fulfill their promise, even after giving warnings of strike the Government does not do anything about the warnings until they take place. However some strikes notices should not be ignored; medical staff and Doctors strike is a very serious issue.

Doctors working in Government institutions all over the country are on strike now, this is a very serious and grave issue because many patients will not get the required services of a Doctor and already a patient has died at a Coast hospital. This is according to daytime news and if this continues how many more patients will succumb to their ailment.

The Government should hold an urgent meeting with the Doctors’ Union leaders to solve this problem as a matter of urgency. However I sometimes wonder why the Government does not allocate enough funds for the Ministry of Health despite the many complaints about the poor state of Government Health facilities Country wide. Patients complain of pathetic situations and medical staff as well complaining of the same situation and poor remuneration.

It’s like the State does not care about the well being of its citizens.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On World Aids day

Politics is a dirty game

Political parties in Kenya are expected to hold grass root elections and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) started last week. We have witnessed live and in the news the fights at the elections that have been termed a sham by some of the candidates. I agree with the candidates that the elections were a sham because of the old method they are using, mlolongo system the method of queuing behind ones candidate of choice. It is unbelievable that in these democratic times mlolongo system can still be used.

One big problem in mlolongo system is that it is too open the candidate sees all who queue behind his/her opponent even the ones who have betrayed him/her. It is also common knowledge that they pay people to vote for them so it is shameful for the ones who have eaten from both sides or all candidates if they are many and that is why secret ballot is a more decent way of voting.

Grass root elections are more chaotic because it is run by parties and not the Government, so the parties cannot organize these elections like the Country’s national elections. Security is minimal so citizens become more rowdy and the candidates employ all sorts of crude ways like hiring goons to beat up their opponents to get elected. The worst candidates are those who want to hold on to their seats, they know the system of the party; they know early enough the time and venue of the elections and are in contact with the presiding officer. Most of those who want to cling to their positions are men and frustrate women opponents.

Armed with information from the party headquarters ahead of other candidates, these people change the venue of the elections without informing others, they go to an extent of bribing the presiding officer with a lot of money. They also by them food and drinks delaying the exercise. The officer arrives at the venue of elections late in the evening to find a very impatient crowd. The crowd is asked to leave the premises for delegates names to be called, without a loud speaker and a long list of names to call the situation because terrible. Before the officer gets anywhere with the names the crowd gets charged and storms the hall, then the elections is called off because intruders are mixed with the delegates. Meanwhile a group had already sat down, elected themselves and submitted their names to the officer. The other candidates who were prepared for a democratic election are left confused.

This is the dirty game played at grass root elections and it is good ODM is repeating some of the elections.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The worst traffic Jam experience

After attending a meeting that ended at 6pm on Sunday I assumed I would be home in about an hour. When the vehicle I was in joined Jogoo Road that had a Jam, I thought it was a normal traffic Jam caused by the heavy downpour. It is a common occurrence for heavy traffic in Nairobi when it rains so I assumed it will rain a bit then the police will open up the roads. However things turned out to be worse than I expected, when we got near Donholm roundabout, there was no alternative road to follow, the road was jammed on both sides with vehicles from town using the wrong side of the road making the situation worse.

The roundabout was clogged up with vehicles and at the beginning it seemed there were no police because of the heavy downpour. So people just sat in vehicles hoping something will happen. Those who lived nearby alighted and walked but they had to walk in the middle of the roads because the roadsides were flooded, some used motorbikes but it was a rough ride because of the mud and water. Because of the distance I was going I had no alternative but to sit in the vehicle and wait. I tried to sleep, I counted hours while waiting and believe it or not we were stuck for around 8hrs. I started my Monday in the traffic and got home nearly 4am.

We saw police come after many hours, when we finally passed Donholm roundabout there was a lot of water on the road and we realized many small cars got stuck in the water causing the terrible jam, many of them were pushed aside to make the jam move. My evening and night was wasted because of poor infrastructure, I imagined there was no politician, a senior Government official or an important member of the society in the jam who would have called the Traffic boss to tell his people to clear the mess faster. I used to hear stories about people spending the night on Outering road and Jogoo Road jam before they expanded the road years back and could not imagine this could still be happening. I believe other roads also had problems but I think this was the worst. It was a day I wished I could fly or had a helicopter to lift me out of the mess.

Current weather in Kenya

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Terrible! Terrible and very sad indeed!

Watching houses worth millions being demolished in Syokimau was really shocking and sad, families left in the cold and a man telling people to see his house worth 30million about to become a pile of rubble. Imagine after people bought land and built homes not just simple homes but good homes that they built to get away from renting houses in the City and the congestion. The money involved most of them from borrowed loans that many may be still paying. Then Kenya Airports Authority decides to mercilessly shatter the lives of these families by demolishing the homes saying they were built on Airport land. Were they asleep when the land was being sold? Where were they when the buildings were coming up?

Airport land or not it is said many of these people acquired these plots legally, Syokimau is under Mavoko county council and I know these people are strict because I have dealt with them in the past. I remember when I wanted to build a home I had to take an architectural drawing to Machakos for approval and paid for it. They occasionally inspect the building to ensure it is done according to their requirement. I thought at that time if Nairobi Council did the same Nairobi area would have had orderly buildings. However because of personal reasons I decided to build a home elsewhere. When I also remember demolitions on Mombasa road in Mlolongo also under Mavoko then it seems this Mavoko council that I thought was so organized than Nairobi council is a sham and cannot be trusted.

The Government is also fully to blame for these traumatizing demolitions that will tremendously affect the families. They let the land to be sold and documents issued, they watched the building come up and people settle. Why didn’t they stop the people before spending a lot on the buildings, it would have been better they lost the land but not land plus building. People cried and wailed it was very sad watching the beautiful houses come down. Having built my home I imagined what it would be like for someone to decide to demolish it I would get sick.

I agree with the person who talked to the media and he said the owners were not prepared; they needed counseling before the demolitions, by bringing the homes down they were bringing down peoples' lives. If they were prepared they would have salvaged some of the material to use or sell. What a Government! A Government that inflicts such pain on a family is a Government that cannot be relied on.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Political intolerance

It was very bad for a group of people to attack former Rariada MP Raphael Tuju in Kisumu. The worst is that Kisumu is like his home too just like the people who attacked him. All Kenyans regardless of their political stand and tribe should be allowed to go to anywhere in Country and preach their political gospel. Therefore it is up to Members of Parliament to talk to their constituents and supporters to have political tolerance and allow other politicians from other areas and parties to address them; thereafter they can make their own decision when elections come.

Since the group that attacked Tuju invoked the name of the PM Raila Odinga, it was prudent of the PM to call on his supporters to have political tolerance but as usual the issue has been picked up by the PM’s opponents and is being politicized. They say it is the PM who called on his supporters to stone Tuju, but what if it was the other way round? There is a possibility that opponents of the PM called on the former MP for Rarieda to go to Kisumu knowing very well that political fanatics who support the PM will react? Then they get another chance to ill repute the PM because they are suffering from acute Raila phobia.

Our politicians should talk of important issues that can help citizens like now there is some good rain in the Country that is a blessing after the severe drought. They can advice their constituents on farming, water storage etc instead of childish politics.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My take on the PM and Kazi Kwa Vijana issue

The Kazi Kwa Vijana World Bank project meant to reduce the number of jobless youth by offering them work on infrastructure has been a subject a lot of controversy especially by some of our MPs. When the issue of Kazi Kwa Vijana comes up in the news, it is normally to attack or ridicule the Prime Minister Hon. Raila Odinga because it is under his office and it is so obvious the attacks and ridicule always comes from his political opponents/enemies.

Therefore recently when the issue came up again raised in parliament by Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa, supported by others, I was not surprised at all and read politics in it. However when the issue was brought up by Sunday Nation (October 13 23) and reading the story of about “millions of shillings for young Kenyans had instead been paid to a senior official in the PM’s office” Imagine one official being paid US$5,000 monthly allowance for 13 months for her work on the project” I said at least I can rely on the media than our politicians who get too personal most of the time. I was so mad and felt like joining the call for our PM to resign because that amount can employ many jobless youths.

However I decided not to jump into conclusions and write terrible things about the PMs Office on this blog but instead I decided to wait and hear from the horse’s mouth, this afternoon the PM honored Parliament request and appeared personally to answer questions on the issue. From his well tabled documents it emerged that the media should also not be relied upon sometimes, apparently the issue on Sunday Nation was an incomplete information leaked by a World Bank official, he/she may have been paid for this but the official will end up loosing his/her job. So far the World Bank have not said it is the PMs Office to blame for the irregularities and the PM himself had also requested for an audit of the funds. Most of the issued raised have been cleared.

I agree with MP Eugene Wamalwa’s concerns and even those who supported the PM agreed that it is an important issue because it is of great concern when our brothers, sisters, friends who are youth are jobless and funds meant for them are misused or channeled to unnecessary sources. From the issues raised in parliament today I realized it is about MPs wanting to manage the money through Constituency Development Funds (CDF), it is also about settling political scores when Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale said the PM should take political responsibility like he did to Hon William Ruto and Hon Sam Ongeri, Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto also asking PM to take political responsibility without giving proper reason it was clearly a war waged by PNU and affiliate parties, ODM rebels against ODM leader and his supporters that is how I clearly saw it. It is true that Kazi Kwa Vijana project should change lives of the youth and a proper way of managing the funds should be put in place.

By the way

The PM is also a principal just like the President they are partners in this coalition Government but looking at it he takes most of the blame for the wrongs in this Country more than the President who is more relaxed. I do not say he is perfect, no human is perfect. However I believe he deserves some respect.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Police brutality in Naivasha

Even when the former police commissioner is facing charges at the ICC for post election violence, police have not learnt a lesson. Watching news this weekend I saw protestors carrying a coffin it was said to be of a farmer who was killed, the mourners were protesting about rising insecurity in Naivasha. After sometime police came and violently dispersed the mourners. Those who could run were lucky to escape they even left the coffin on the street. Unfortunately one woman could not run far because of her body and may be age, she was caught by the police and beaten up mercilessly, the media showed this clearly on TV.

Looking at that part of the news without knowing the story behind it, one would think those were pictures of the 90s when police brutally beat up opposition protestors, I remember the worst was that of Rev. Timothy Njoya being beaten up outside parliament and the Late Nobel. Prof. Wangari Maathai, bleeding on the head after the attack at Karura forest.

One would also mistake this to be a crackdown on Al-Shabaab now that Kenyan forces are in Somalia to fight the terrorists. The police unleashed their anger on the innocent mourners as if the coffin they were carrying had a bomb and not a body.

Police commissioner Mathew Iteere tell your boys to style up, Kenya is changing.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pride comes before a fall

What a tragic fall for a proud ruler, a man who reigned in Libya for years like a king, a man who thought his people loved him so much they would protect him, he thought he was good enough to be the leader of a United Africa. At an AU summit in 2008, he got many African traditional leaders to declare him the continent's "king of kings" (BBC News).

He joins the list recently fallen Africa dictators Tunisian former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt former long serving leader Hosni Mubarak.

Rest in pieces Muammar Gaddafi meanwhile we await the fall of other proud dictators.

Al-Shabaab have woken up Kenyan security forces

It had to take the kidnapping of a British tourist Judith Tebbutt, a French national Marie Dedieu and a Spanish aid worker Blanca Thiebaut to realize that Al-Shabaab’s threats to attack Kenya are real. Kenyan armed forces are now showing their might in Somalia in an operation dubbed Linda Nchi (protect the Country). When they threatened to attack, Kenyans imagined it would be bomb attacks on buildings as previous cases and a so a lot of measures had been taken since those attacks. By kidnapping 3 foreigners they knew they would hit our image and economy because it would scare tourists and investors.

As a result of many years of corruption Kenyan Government got itself in a dilemma that will take time to solve. The issue of Kenyans of Somali community and Somali’s of Somalia mixed up in Kenya is a big issue, if you visit Eastleigh estate in the heart of Nairobi you would think you are in Somalia, they own nearly all the businesses, they have built multi storey buildings for business and residential, they are buying land and houses not only in Eastleigh but in most places in Nairobi. Am talking about Nairobi because it is City with people from all over so it is so strange to find one community so crowded in one estate like the case of Eastleigh.

Before the opposition took power many of these people flocked the country and bought Kenyan identity cards and passports, they are now Kenyan citizens with relatives in Somalia. So Kenya has been living with a time bomb and it is why it was so easy for Kenya to be bombed as was the case in 1998 7th August, then the bombing of Kikambala Paradise Hotel at the Coast, other bombs exploded at a Ambassador bus stop, and a bus bound for Kampala Uganda.

It is a risky venture for the Kenyan Armed forces but it is high time these people are stopped. It is also the right time to sort out this Somalia problem that is nuisance to the Horn of Africa.

Party leaders have the right to expel rebels

Makadara MP Mike Sonko master of political hooliganism and theatrics was at it again as usual with his idle supporters wailing and sitting down outside Narc Kenya offices, showing their unwavering support for their money flashing kingpin just because he was told to leave and officially join the G7.

Rebel politicians should just officially defect from the political parties that took them to parliament if they cannot tow the line, instead of walking like the greedy hyenas with legs apart wanting to eat here and there.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Good bye to “Black” September

Am glad we are in October after a bumpy September full of tragedies in Kenya, tragedies of all kind petrol fire in a slum, petrol fire from a fallen tanker, road accidents, killer brews, gas explosion in a garage, inflation and many more. Watching news yesterday I agree with the media when they called it a “Black” September. Previously it was the month of August that was a bad month when at one time many prominent people died in August. It is also ironical that terrorists also chose the month of September to commit the worst crime on humanity in the USA. Kenyans also lost a very important person to us and to the World; it is a September to remember as we are still mourning the death of Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai (RIP).

As we start October things are still not so good in the Country with a weak shilling, we have to dig deeper into our already battered pockets to buy essential commodities. Most prices have doubled over the past year especially from the effects of drought. It is not only essential commodities that Kenyans have to grapple with, fuel prices, transport costs, school fees has risen by 50% and some schools have doubled to cope with this crisis. It is a fact that many Kenyans now survive on borrowing, bank loans, cooperative loans, chama (group) loans, merry go round groups, re-loaded loans, selling properties to make ends meet. It is crazy and I just pray for a miracle to happen in the remaining part of the year.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Honored in death

It is common for many of us Africans to honor our people when they die more than when alive. I remember an old relative in my upcountry home telling us to buy him a warm blanket and a suit when he is still alive and not to buy them when he is dead to bury him in a nice suit that will rot in the grave. This relative was very correct because he needed the items more when alive than dead, it is true we spend a lot and honor people more when they are dead then when alive.

I thought about this when the Government decided to give Nobel Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai a state funeral, 2 days (today and tomorrow) declared for mourning and the Kenyan flag to fly at half mast read all the stories here. There is no doubt she deserves the honors of a state burial but despite her excellent education background, efforts to conserve the environment, achievements and honors, she was not given a deserving honor by the Government when alive. Instead of being appointed as the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife she was appointed as an Assistant, surely she deserved a full Ministerial post and Kenyans also talked about it because they loved and adored her for her achievements.

She was very different from many African Women leaders because she valued African culture this can be seen in her name and the way she dressed, also on her beautiful photos of her in African attire. She was a woman of action apart from sitting in and addressing conferences, boardroom meetings on Environment; she went out of her way to plant the trees herself and risked her life when protesting depletion of forest and nature. She was also humble.

Many African leaders issue appointments based on loyalties and gender, Prof. Maathai’s case is a good example and it is time for leaders to honor and appoint personalities for their achievements when they are alive.

If not for her ailment leading to death and age, she would be a Presidential candidate to reckon with in the coming elections in Kenya.

RIP Mama Africa.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Prof. Wangari Maathai passes on

News of demise of Nobel Peace Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai after a long battle with cancer is shocking. I have been wondering why she has not featured much in news lately even with succession politics of 2012 getting hot and when Kenyans need the opinion of women like her. Kenyans will surely miss this humble and noble lady.

Rest in Peace Mama Africa.

Poor state of Pumwani Hospital

Yesterday’s Sunday Nation newspaper featured a Hospital Audit report that was done upon request by the PM Raila Odinga after he visited the facility in July. I was shocked about the condition of biggest maternity hospital in Africa because I thought the situation had improved with the many changes taking place in Government institutions. Unfortunately the state of this hospital is a clear reminder that rampant graft is a chronic disease that is yet to be dealt with in our health institutions as well.

This hospital that is an important institution that ushers in new life into the World is riddled with “Graft, financial crisis, lack of supplies, moral and ethical decadence and absenteeism amongst staff” mentioned in the news, causing more than 1000 death of babies in the past year and 13 maternal death very sad. Mothers bathe in cold water because boiler is not working, after giving birth, the last thing that a mother would want on her body is cold water yet this is very common in public hospitals in Kenya. Only one theatre works full time and they put up to 6 babies in an incubator that is meant for one baby. The story is long read more

Am amazed by the contradiction in city council run heath facilities, the health centers that now offer maternity hospitals are like free, mothers pay Kshs20 for normal delivery, they only need to carry some items like cotton wool, bleaching agent like Jik, methylated spirit items that are around Kshs100 depending on the size one buys. But when a mother has complications they are referred to Pumwani Maternity hospital were the bill is like Kshs4000 for normal delivery, yet this is hospital meant for the poor and should be the best referral public hospital for maternity. Women who have delivered at the health centers say they are clean, they get good food and are taken good care of for the one night stay, if one stays for another night they would only add another 20 bob. So it is ridiculous for a similar facility that charges 3980 more is in worse condition. This is another case of deep graft at City hall another head ache for town clerk Philip Kisia to deal with.

I believe the best solution is to place Pumwani Hospital and all heath facilities that are under city council under Ministry of health. Government hospitals like Kenyatta hospital are far much better now.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

More and more tragedies

After the Sinai tragedy one would not believe there would be another incident of people siphoning petrol from an overturned petrol truck. Most victims of Sinai fire tragedy have not been buried, those affected are yet to be resettled, yet it is unbelievable that Kenyans have not learned from these petrol tragedies of the past like the one in Sachangwan and even this one that is still fresh. Daring Kenyans still went to siphon petrol from this truck on Kisumu-Busia road in Western Kenya. What is this? Is it that the people do not hear what is happening in other parts of Kenya, many means of communications available in Kenya are Television, if one has no Television at least every home has a Radio and now nearly every home has a mobile and most mobiles now have FM Radios, those who are too poor to have these at least visit their neighbors or markets where they get information, so where is the problem?

May be it is poverty and greed, to an extent that one is willing to die making money as a matter of life and death. Like a sticker that is common in public vehicles “get rich quick or die trying to”. This is grave desperation imagine a father, a mother risking their lives to get something like Kshs500 ($5.2) from 5 liters of petrol (pump price would be a little more), because of jostling from the crowd it would be difficult to get a lot from the tank, then die living their children as orphans hence more suffering because of making some 500 bob? This is crazy. Kenyans have seen and heard about the tragedies, warnings have been sent by the Government, leaders and the media but nothing has changed. It cannot be that they do not understand the language used to relay the message because we have FM stations in different vernacular in Kenya, Inooro FM, Kameme FM, Milembe FM, Ramogi FM, Kass FM, Musyi FM, Chamge FM, Just to name a few. All these stations have passed messages but nothing has changed. A petrol tanker will overturn even today if there are no police around people will rush to siphon petrol not caring about the danger involved and the incident that happened yesterday. The question Kenyans are asking, how can this be stopped?

I think it is about time concerned organizations like the Government through the Ministries involved, The Red Cross, Kenya Pipeline, Petrol Transporters because it is their drivers and vehicle causing most problems and other organizations that may help put up adverts Bill Boards would be a better option especially on our highways. The adverts should be in Kiswahili and other vernacular if need be. The words of the adverts should be clear warning of the consequences of siphoning petrol. It should also be a criminal offense. If possible pictures of previous scenes and victims can be used to pass on a message. It should also be clear to people that the Government or any organization involved will not compensate victims who willingly went to collect petrol from a scene of accident or anyone living in an area with a petrol pipe as the case of Sinai. Drivers of the vehicles should also report the accidents immediately in this case there should be emergency numbers to report the cases. This is because the Government is loosing a lot of money on treatment, compensations and other costs involved.

Apart from petrol related tragedies, everyday there are reports of road accidents, very bad ones, traffic police have been blamed for corruption and now they are trying to enforce rules that they have ignored. It has not been a good year after the severe drought that affected many Kenyans in the Northern part of Kenya. The latest tragedies are just weird because of the occurrence, it is like the evil one has visited our country or his agents are at work, I agree with religious leaders who are calling for national prayers it is the right time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What a tragedy

The terrible fire that engulfed Sinai slums on Lunga Lunga road of Industrial area yesterday morning caused by petrol spillage is very, very sad and shocking. Kenyans in the past have died of such fires when trucks transporting petrol fell and people siphoning petrol are caught by fires that ensued. This one for Sinai is really sad because fire caught people unaware in slums causing many to be homeless, over seventy confirmed dead and more than 100 hospitalized with terrible burns. Most of the victims are in Kenyatta National Hospital a friend who was there yesterday told me it was a terrible sight of badly burnt expectant women, children, old, young men and women.

Lately there have been bad tragedies of road accidents like Kawethei accident that claimed over 20 victims and other accidents the one for students on Meru road and other roads in the country. Our neighbors in Zanzibar are still dealing with Ferry accident that has claimed many lives. It can be true that “ajali haina kinga” (which means accidents cannot be avoided) as the Kiswahili saying goes, but I believe that some can be avoided, when law and order is maintained. Because we know the issues with slums there have been many fires in the past that have claimed many lives especially children left in the houses, rescue operations have been hampered by poor infrastructure, more people could be living on time bombs that could explode anytime.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What a relief as Teachers’ strike is called off

It is a great relief to hear news that a deal has been signed between the Government represented by Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya Union of Teachers (Knut) and Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to employ 23,000 more teachers.

The strike was worrying not only to parents with children is public primary schools but also to many of us parents with children in public secondary schools and especially those with children doing exams this term, because Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) had also called on their teachers to join the strike. This would have been very costly for parent because unlike public primary schools that education is free, secondary school education in public schools is not free, most of them are in boarding schools and travel to different parts of the country to attend the schools, hence it could have been very costly for already pressed parents if children were to be sent back home, then later to pay for transport again to take them back.

Now that more teachers will be employed the issue of understaffing in public primary schools should be given priority, it is also a shame for the Minister of education Mr. Sam Ongeri to term the teachers demands are unrealistic. It is a fact that the decline in performance of public primary schools is due to overcrowding of students and understaffing. I will quote the standard “Teachers have complained of being poorly and irregularly paid and teaching overcrowded classes. Shortage of learning materials erode public confidence in the value of public education, even as State takes a backseat on teachers woes”

It is true that most of us Kenyans have no confidence in the value education in public primary schools, am a good example of a parent who attended public schools but cannot take my children to the current public primary schools, secondary schools are much better and in-fact most parents after taking their children to private schools in primary rush for the best public secondary schools. I cannot imagine my child failing because teachers have more than enough children to teach and worse I cannot imagine my child in a dirty class or worse a school with poor sanitation facilities. Am not saying this with pride and prejudice but it is the bitter truth of our public schools and many parents have no choice but to take their children to these schools.

Since these schools are run by public fund from taxes paid by Kenyans, the Government should improve and restore their glory so that parents like us who spend a lot of money in private schools can take our children to improved public schools. It can even be better if the government could have two categories of public schools, free public schools and subsidized public schools for parents who are able to pay some fees this can also be a way for the Government to get some money to support paying teachers. Consequently many private schools that are mushrooming can be controlled. Most of them are in business of drilling students for exams, making quick money and doing booming business in school uniforms from the normal schools uniforms to additional uniforms like track suites, jackets, sports shoes, scuffs etc…., being sold in the schools. As a result children who are drilled in such private schools end up performing poorly in secondary schools.

Friday, September 2, 2011

School opening may be affected by teachers strike

Public schools are scheduled to re-open next week. However a 7 days strike notice by teachers unions KNUT and KUPPET may paralyze re-opening of schools for the third term of this year. This is a very crucial term for student who will sit for exams in October/November.

Teachers and the unions are annoyed by Treasury’s move to allocate money meant for employing more teachers, to Parliament to clear tax arrears for members of parliament who most of them refused to pay taxes and already have huge salaries compare to teacher’s who pay taxes on their small earnings. Some teachers have even been hired on contract without benefits.

“He complained whereas Knut had met top Treasury officials and that the Parliamentary Budget Committee had approved the allocation, and the matter was agreed on by the MPs, the same committee had turned round and re-allocated the funds.
“We are calling on parents to support us in fighting this injustice that would further mess up the standards of education,” Okuta pleaded.” By Vitalis Kimutai. The Standard read more

I support Mr. Okuta’s (Knut Secretary General) plea to parent because since introduction of free primary schools education, the number of students in public schools has more than doubled, a class that used to have around 30 students now has over 100 students with one teacher. Off course it is a challenging task for teachers to follow keenly each student’s performance under such circumstances. It is very difficult for the teacher to mark all the 100 plus books or exam papers in one day to prepare for another lesson. Consequently the student’s performance has gone down tremendously in public primary schools, public primary schools like Olympic primary schools in Kibera that were amongst top ten in the past, now features no more. As a result most private primary schools are amongst the top. Even though the Ministry of Education stopped ranking schools one can still tell that private schools with fewer children are amongst the top when they name the top students and their schools.

As a result of the crowding in the public schools and few teachers, many private schools have mushroomed and many parents who are able to pay for school fees send their children to private schools, where there is better attention from the teachers because of few students in class. No parent would want their children to fail, but many parents do not have a choice but to take their children to public schools. Therefore this is a serious issue the Government should look into and address urgently.

A quote by Chairman of Knut

“Sossion said: “This is a war between the rich and the poor. Some leaders were brought up in royal families. They do not understand the tribulations the common man undergoes everyday.” He asked the Minister for Labour to consider all avenues to address the issue and ensure that TSC employs teachers on fair and equitable terms. “The withdrawal of the financial allocation marks the lowest time in our history. It comes at a time standards of education are at its lowest,” said Sossion. also from the Standard

I support our teachers 100% because they are important in the society to shape the future of every school going child.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wambui Otieno passes on

I was a bit shocked to hear on news that Wambui Otieno died in Nairobi Hospital yesterday, she’s not been well with a heart problem. I came to know about her in 1987 with her case against Umira Kager clan over the burial of her husband the late Criminal Lawyer SM Otieno. It was a hot case because Wambui Otieno wanted to bury her husband on their land in Upper Matasia in Ngong Kajiado and the clan insisted it is against Luo Customs to bury a man away from his ancestral home, unless there was a written will.
Wambui Otieno tried her luck in Politics in North Kajiado and Kamukunji but was not successful. She made news again in 2003 with her controversial marriage to a young man Mbugua when she was 67 and Mbugua at 25 and said men have been marrying younger women and people say nothing about it but when women marry younger men it is news. By marrying Mbugua she was giving women the courage of marrying younger men publicly. After a few days of the marriage Mbugua’s mother died and it is believed it was as a result of the shock from her son’s marriage.
As much as this marriage may have been a way to get even with men who marry younger women and making history, I believe many mothers cannot allow their son’s to marry or live with an older woman especially with that big age gap. Wambui Otieno was not young and with her health she needed a helper but the choice was shocking. May be she also thought about what would happen to her after she dies, just like the case of her husband and imagined Umira Kager clan coming to claim the body of the wife of their son to bury in Nyalgunga in Siaya County? Now she can be buried on her Upper Matasia land where she wanted her husband to be buried because she was legally married to Mbugua in a civil wedding in 2003 and this year she had a Church wedding.

Monday, August 29, 2011

2012 race getting interesting

As we are nearing 2012 the year for Kenya next elections, candidates have started campaigns, political alliances like G7 have been formed, some presidential hopefuls have launched their bid and the most interesting part is that more and more presidential hopefuls are coming up. The list is long and still getting longer; we have PM Raila Odinga, MP Martha Karua, DPM Uhuru Kenyatta, VP Kalonzo Musyoka,MP William Ruto, MP Eugene Wamalwa, MP Mutava Musyimi, MP Wetangula, MP Bonny Khalwale, MP Najib Balala and many more Members of Parliament showing interest so far only one woman.

The Latest entrant in the race is former MP Raphael Tuju a very interesting candidate who is likely not to get much support from his own people. It would be interesting for trusted opinion polls like Infotrak and Synovate to tell us how much Tutu can get in Luo Nyanza first. May be things have changed with time and he is now sure of getting support. Opinion polls Company like Smart Octopus is not likely to give accurate information in such cases, they should instead get a real octopus.

It seems like every region has a representative or more and many more to come. It is an interesting game of serious candidates,haters, distracters, spoilers and mockers. What a show! (As Jeff Koinange of K24 says on his Bench), what a movie it will be come 2012. Kenyans are watching, this time it will be full of surprises and more drama, the Hague issue may also affect the race and the climax will be the ballot box where Kenyans will decide.

The show continues.

Amos Wako finally retires

The ever smiling long serving Attorney General of Kenya, who has served two Presidents, Daniel Arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki has finally retired after serving for over 20 years. A lot has been said about him mostly criticized and accused of being an anti-reformist, blamed for delay in constitution implementation and injustice but with all accusations one can never tell whether he is annoyed or happy because he is ever smiling.

Anti-reformist or not, biased or not, he served his masters devotedly, because they never complained about him and only extended his contract until we got a new constitution. Prof. Githu Muigai takes over from him.

Fare thee well Mr. Wako.

Kawethei accident victims condoled by RMS director

Bad accidents caused by bad driving and police allowing drivers/conductors who flout traffic rules to rule our roads. The latest accident in Mbooni in Eastern part of Kenya is the worst this year with 23 people dead and around 30 injured, the victims who were from paying dowry in Machakos were from Kawethei in Kagundo county are yet to be buried.

Government officials visited the injured in hospital, condoled the families and offered to foot hospital bills are burial expenses. Yesterday a service for the victims was held at a Catholic Church in Kangundo. It was very impressive to see Royal Media Services staff and Director participate and offered each family Kshs 75,000 and other donations. Royal Media Services is a media that is loved by many Kenyans for offering mostly local programs and radio stations of Kiswahili and other Kenyan vernacular. At least one can listen to their vernacular station anywhere in the Country unlike before when we could only get our vernacular stations when traveling to the rural areas.

I can say S. K. Macharia the Chairman for Royal Media Services is a leader who cares for the needs of other Kenyans and should be emulated by our leaders.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sugar shortage in Kenya

Just when we are recovering from shortage of maize and high prices of maize, now there is no sugar in the supermarkets and shops, when it is available customers can only buy one packet. A pack of 2kgs Mumias sugar that we are used to is what most supermarkets have and it is now selling between 400 and 420 depending on where one buys the sugar.

Whatever the cause we’ve really felt it this year, drought, weak shilling, high prices of fuel, high cost of living etc… Didn’t they see this coming and plan in advance, it is also said the factories close at this time for maintenance; it is always the common citizen to suffer the consequences.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Should women be “given” a third of seats in parliament?

According to the new constitution there will be 290 members of parliament and a third of which must be woman. Read more

In the news it was said that Cabinet hit deadlock over women seats, and said it will be practically impossible to achieve a third gender representation. Women MPs and lobby groups have demanded implementation of this section and requested to be given maximum number of seats and jobs in public office.

It is right for the women who can be heard to demand for the rights of women especially now that it is in the constitution. I also partly agree with the Cabinet that it is practically impossible to achieve this because it is like forcing leaders on people. For public jobs I believe it is possible because it is the Executive who appoints and if women are equally qualified and apply for public jobs, they should give women a third or even half of the jobs in public office. However I still maintain it is not practical for Kenyans to be told to elect women in certain constituencies. It is for us Kenyans to elect who we want whether man or a woman.

For it to be possible it is for us women to accept ourselves first because I have heard many of us say “I can never elect a woman”. Many of us have never even elected a woman councilor let alone electing a member of parliament. We say some women can be very proud and nasty when given high posts, some of us have had women bosses who are so terrible that one cannot imagine electing such a person into a public office. Yes we have women who have been elected as members of parliament, but they are few and they were connected to the right people hence got nominations for the right party so how could they lose.

I said I partly agree with the Cabinet that it is impossible because on the other part it is possible. Many women do not get the chance to get to the top because of corruption during political party nominations. A woman can be very famous in a constituency, even a mama mboga (selling vegetables) or just a housewife but when she decides to get a nomination from a popular political party, she will get nowhere because she is not known by the highly placed politicians or their representatives, she is not a member of big women groups that meet in big hotels, she is not from a family that has been in politics since independence, she is only a member of local chamas or micro finances that brings together women in an area to empower them financially. This way women in an area know each other well and know who can lead them, but still this woman or women cannot get far in their political quest even becoming a councilor is difficult.

Therefore I believe the only way the Government and Elections Commission can help more women to get more seats in Parliament is to ensure political party leaders and officials conduct free and fair elections at the grass root, stop victimization of potential women candidates by men aspirants, prosecute leaders who use their money to get what they want. Women leaders who lobby for this part of the constitution to be achieved, should also educate women at the grass root to realize our potential and appreciate one another. If this could happen, then women leaders and lobby groups will not have to demand for their rights and possibly we could be on the way to electing a woman president. Otherwise we are still far from achieving this.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim (Johnnie) is the man to beat in Kamukunji

Kamukunji by-elections are on today, Kamkunji has a big population of Somalis concentrated in Eastleigh estate therefore most votes are traditionally going to go to a person who is one of them. Most votes will be those of Kenyan Somali community, therefore I believe the battle is between ODMs Ahmed Ibrahim (Johnnie) and PNUs Yusuf Hassan Abdi.

Ibrahim has a lot of support from Eastleigh because he has lived with them, so they feel he is one of them and understands their problems better. Even though the other candidates are of different tribes and Kenyans like voting for their own, it has been said and it is a fact that as we are heading to elections next year for the moment the two choices that voters have is between ODM and the G7 group. So those who support ODM will vote for Ahmed Ibrahim and those who support the G7 alliance will vote for Hassan Abdi.

Let’s wait and see.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

London is burning

When I was a small girl my mum would sing this song about London and sung something like this “London’s burning London’s burning look yonder, look yonder fire, fire, fire, fire pour water, pour water but we have no water”. During their school days they were taught by the British who colonized Kenya and taught them such songs.

The shocking riots in London have reminded me about this song, I can now sing it to my kids when watching fire caused by rioters in London. I say it is shocking because we in African have looked at UK a member of G8 as a super powers who cannot have ugly riots like has been seen lately. It seems like the youth have been boiling about some issues and exploded after police shot a man.

It is strange the riots took days and in the process a lot of property damaged, hence police had to use extra force. Many people having been asking what if it happened in Africa were riots are so common, there would have been a lot of uproar from them and other superpowers that police are using a lot of force on innocent citizens or they would have said the cause of the riots is political and should be investigated properly. The messages would have been passed through their diplomats, so now why can’t African leaders change roles and advice the UK.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The crazy Kenyans

I normally do not like the theatrics of Makadara Member of Parliament Mike Sonko, but now with the drought situations and the happenings, I agree with one of his statement “Serikali ni kichwa maji” (The Government is a thick head). The Government has been blamed for years for not solving the situation, house speaker also said yesterday someone has been sleeping on his job and by the way congratulations to our MPs and Parliament for contributing over 8m for drought.

Incidents that happened recently that confirms the Government to be “kichwa maji” is the statement of Government spokesperson Alfred Mutua saying the Government has no statistics of Kenyans who have died of starvation, I will not dwell on that because I have written about it in a previous post below. Then he was contradicted by a Chief in Kalapata in Turkana South who shows a news reporter his book were he registered five deaths and shown graves of his people who died of starvation. Then someone in the Government gets mad at the chief for spilling beans and sends warning letters and gave him 21 days to explain his action. The chief of Kalapata is not the only one who has been asked to explain his actions, another chief who talked to media about the difficulty of reaching Turkana people in the remote areas due to logistics was also given a letter. The media has also been criticized for the way they reported the hunger situation and giving Kenya a wrong image. If the media and the government representatives did not report the situation the way it is, how many more would have died? Would the response be positive like the one by Kenyans for Kenyans and other donors?

I tell you without a free media, terrible things can happen in a country. Yesterday I watched on NTV a cereals businessman in Kawangware being arrested for offloading at NIGHT bags of relief maize and beans (packed in sacks labeled GOK NOT FOR SALE) from a lorry into his shop, it is the public that tipped that authorities about the incident. This are goods meant for starving Kenyans, that were diverted by a corrupt Government official and sold to a Greedy businessman, this are the crazy Kenyans who do not fret or shade a tear when they watch pictures of hungry babies feeding on the breast of hungry mothers, old people who are so frail to walk because of the many days they have had no food and those that died. While some Kenyans, Corporate and other donors contributed from as little as 10 bob to millions for the hungry, for the Greedy Kenyans it is business as usual and a time to take advantage of the situation. There were other incidents of stolen relief food found food found in homes of people and many more that have not been reported. SHAME ON THEM!

If there are people in the Government with “vichwa maji” then the Government should clean its house to improve its image.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What an irony

While Kenyans in Turkana have had no rain for a long while resulting in the worst drought in years; there is rain in Western Kenya and other parts of the Rift Valley.

While they are waiting and scrambling for a share of relief food mainly maize; people in Transmara county have a bumper harvest of maize and those in Kinangop are harvesting a lot of potatoes that some are rotting before they sell. We have also seen on news that Turkana central, Naoros Scheme are able to produce food through irrigation started by World Vision Kenya they have plantations of Sorghum and is green compared to the other parts of Turkana that is very dry. This shows that the country is able to produce enough food through irrigation and rain water harvesting during rainy season.

Maize in Transmara is sold at Kshs 2300 but when it gets to Nairobi the same bag is sold at Kshs 4000 a difference of Kshs1700. One just needs to get 1000 bags of maize and sell in Nairobi at around Kshs 4000 to become a millionaire. This is why the government should also control price of maize to stop traders from exploiting citizens in these hard times.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Saving image can be costly

Last week Dr. Alfred Mutua Government Spokesman nicknamed Spin doctor/master annoyed Kenyans by saying the Government does not have statistics of anyone who has died of starvation. By this statement he meant the local and international media coverage of the starving Kenyans in Northern Kenya was nothing to worry about. It was not a question of whether they had died or not, it was about getting them help before we lost many. I was so annoyed with this comment from a man who has been on the bad books of Kenyans since he was appointed on June 22nd 2004.

Yesterday we were told he spent 2.5m to save his image by placing full page colored ads on local dailies, this at a time when Kenyans for Kenyans are raising funds to save Kenyans from starvation. This could have bought over 700 (90kg bags) of maize if sold at 3500/bag. This time he has added injury to the wound we have in the Country. He has ashamed himself locally and internationally and no matter how much he spends to save his image, it will not change anything. I believe it is time this man just quit his job or gets a sack. I think activist Okiya Omtata (a very aggressive Civil Society Activist) and 30 others who participated in demanding resignation of Minister of Education for corruption in his Ministry are still in remand. Otherwise they would have demanded the spin master’s to resignation for his silly remarks.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tribulations of the Turkana people

Every time when drought affects Kenya, Turkana County in the Northwestern part of the Country is amongst the most affected region together with Northeastern part. Now with Kenya and the Horn of Africa going through the worst drought in years, everyday we see images on TV and newspapers of the Turkana people’s suffering.
One amazing thing that I have noted is the people are very different from other Kenyans, most of them especially those living in the very remote parts are still backward in development. Most of them are half naked and the children are completely naked, the structures they live in are sticks joined together to make something like the Maasai Manyata, they are not safe at all. It is not like they are in Kenya where even the Maasai communities who wore their shukas for a long time and were considered backward are now very developed. Even though some still wear the shukas, they wear them covering most of their body and do it as a tradition wearing the latest designs.
The case of the Turkana people is very sad yesterday after watching Citizen TV news I was shocked and said OH MY GOD! There was a newscast on people walking over 10 km to get food from the “nearest” local authority, after trekking nearly the whole day they go back home with only one 2kg tin (gorogoro) of maize, those lucky to get more go home with 3 tins. Some even end up going home empty handed. One person at the office said there are people who are 25 kms away who have not been reached. Imagine what will happen before the message gets to them that there is relief maize at the local authority 25 kms away, if the others took nearly a whole day to walk around 10 - 11kms, they will have to spend a night or two, too and from the chief/district office where they get the maize. The worst is there is no guarantee they will get the maize and may collapse going back home.
This is shocking for us Kenyans to see there are people in our country who leave like they are in their own world. This is a real Food for Thought for the Government to work on because there is no way life in Turkana will improve with poor infrastructures. On this news a messenger was sent on foot to announce to the villagers to collect maize from the authorities’ office 10 - 11kms away. This means even the local authority does not have the capacity like Government vehicles to distribute the relief food or the roads are bad. Therefore apart from thinking of Agricultural methods to improve food security, they have also to put in place proper infrastructure in Turkana County. We have seen trucks of relief food stuck for days on the way to deliver food some have also been attacked. The Government is now using the military aircraft and the military to deliver food in Turkana.
Thank God for initiative Kenyans for Kenya, God bless us Kenyans, many local and international organizations for willingly contributing towards saving lives. It is also good the Government took up their duty to distribute food to the affected areas using the military. The Military should also now be deployed in such affected regions to work on infrastructure and security because the aircraft can only offload the food at an airstrip.
Lastly as I looked at the half naked Kenyans and the naked children I just thought may be after the drought, people should also donate clothes.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why do Kenyans have to starve all the time?

The images on TV of drought stricken victims and carcasses of dead animals are very heart breaking, a very sorry state of our Country. The images are so shocking and thanks to our media, through them we were able to know what is going on in our Country. If this was happening in South Sudan a country that got their independence the other day, the World would have excused them, but this is happening in a country that got its independence 48 years ago. We have had 3 presidents and are now looking forward to 2012 election to get the 4th president. We have capable Government institutions namely:

Metrological Department
Ministry of Agriculture
Ministry of Water
Ministry of Livestock
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Health
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI)
Just to name a few

All these Government institutions are capable of ensuring that Kenyans do not die of hunger and malnutrition, but still years after years Kenyans still suffer and die from starvation due to drought. This time the drought is said to be the worst in years. Why should this happen? May be the excuse could be that areas affected are arid and semi arid, however that it not an excuse for farming because countries like Egypt and Israel countries are mostly deserts. According to Wikipedia Israel is a major exporter of fresh produce and a World leader in Agricultural technology despite the fact that geography of Israel is NOT naturally conducive to Agriculture. I believe our Ministers and Members of Parliament have visited Israel and Egypt a number of times, and learn a lot from them but how come they have not put in practice what they learn? Do they go there to enjoy themselves or what? I think so.

Our Members of Parliament are good at holding political meetings and waste their energy, time and money talking about useless issues and insulting one another. Recently they were busy strategizing for 2012; even the President rebuked them for not caring about starving Kenyans and busy talking politics even in funerals. Only a small percentage of them agreed to pay taxes when demanded by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). They even had the nerve to demand pay rise before their perks are taxed. When discussing issues they meet and are accommodated in expensive hotels paid by public funds that can be channeled to other important issues like buying food for hungry citizens. Why can’t these issues be discussed in a cheaper way to save taxpayers money? They only discuss political issues, when will we hear they met in a secluded place to discuss how to end drought in Kenya for good?

Media owners, Safaricom and Kenya Commercial Bank, have partnered with Kenya Red Cross and come up with an initiative Kenyans for Kenya to raise money to feed about 4 million Kenyans starving. Contributions through Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) account no. 1133333338, Safaricom Money transfer MPESA pay bill no. 111111. Congratulations for this effort to save dying Kenyans. Read more

It is a shame to the Government that Kenyan taxpayers still have to dig into their pockets to save ourselves.

Friday, July 22, 2011

GMO maize to solve humanitarian crisis in Kenya

The Government has allow imports of Genetically Modified Crop (GMOs)of Maize to save Kenyans from severe starvation that has hit the country. This has caused a lot of debate on whether it is safe or not for human consumption. Whether safe or not millions of Kenyans are starving and will eat anything that is edible, their animals have died, no grass or bush to feed on. They are only left with wild fruits which is not enough, those who have been reached by relief food from the Government and International organizations like Red Cross are lucky to change their menu. This humanitarian crisis that has hit the country has been worsened by thousands of refugees getting in from Somalia daily. This high influx of refugees from Somalia is posing a high security risk because of Al-Shabaab.

Now with the debate of GMOs on, I believe many Kenyans and refugees who are faced with starvation and high cost of living due to drought welcome this news of imported food, without caring whether it is good or bad for health. They will not listen to environmental and food security activists who support organic agriculture practice by farmers instead of GMOs. To get information on advantages and disadvantages of GMOs, I searched and got information from some web pages like this one.
And African Agriculture web

Why go for GMO that is said to cause health problems and not go the bumper harvest of maize in Tanzania and Malawi. Is it because it is cheaper, cheap can be expensive in the long run. For now may be it can temporarily solve the problem, but the Government has been told time and again to come up with a long term solution. I think bore holes and green houses all over the country can help a lot.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Can we allow a foreigner to control our air waves?

A Chinese company has won a lucrative bid to distribute digital TV signals across the country, as the deadline for migration draws nearer. Read more

Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) has denied experienced Kenyan media companies Royal Media Services and Nation Media Group the opportunity to run this very important project in the Country. Pan African Network Group that has won this lucrative bid is said to have only been registered 2 weeks ago. This is a fishy move and I smell corruption and agents of anti reform at work again.

It seems like China is buying Kenya slowly, every big project in Kenya is given to the Chinese. Fine we have seen corrupt contractors doing bad work before and the Chinese have done a good job on our roads. However there is a good side of them and a bad side of having them take most of our projects. China is a country known to abuse human right’s, does not allow press freedom and hacks internet. So how can a Country that claims to be on the path to reforms allow anti reformists control our air waves? This should not be accepted and our MPs now back in Parliament should stop this move. We do not want our country to be bought by China.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

House girls’ problems, mainly HIV, abuse and unwanted pregnancy

The other day I wrote this post about house helps pay hike that is not workable in Kenya now, still on this issue of house helps I realized the Government needs to do more on issues affecting house helps apart from their pay hike. Link
Just like many Kenyans I have had the experience of employing different house girls both middle age and young adults, from the rural areas and from the city. From my experience the ones from the city are more experienced, enlightened and demand more pay than the ones from up country. The only problem with the enlightened ones is they can leave at their own pleasure because they know how to go about getting other jobs. The ones from the rural areas may not be as enlightened as the one from the city and can be paid less. They may be good for a while when staying within their employer’s compound, because they rarely take offs and may take a while to know their surrounding. However when they get to meet other girls or people to enlighten them about they city, they can be very dangerous to have in the house. Therefore both girls from the rural and city have their good and bad side.
Now my story is about the problems house girls experience, I never used to subject my house helps to medical check up when I employ them but two cases made me change my mind. I once got a very good lady from a relative in my rural home, she was very hard working and liked my kids but she looked frail, she would get sick quite often and I would spend a lot on her treatment until I decided to get her properly checked. I talked to her first and she accepted. It turned out she was HIV positive, unfortunately she felt ashamed working for me because I knew and left. Later I got another girl from home again because I thought they are good, the girl is an orphan and told me she is on some drugs for a stomach problem and can only get them for free at a Government hospital. When I took the names of the drugs to a friend who works in a hospital, she confirmed they are ARVs. I talked to the girl and she accepted and because I had worked with another similar case I didn’t mind. After counseling and directing her to a nearby institution I felt there was nothing wrong staying with her. Furthermore I had lived with many house girls before and never tested.
Apart from being HIV positive I later realized she was also pregnant, this was more shocking to me than the other problem. I got confused and through I wanted to keep her, I could not bear both burdens. I once got a house girl from home that was pregnant, I did not notice because I was busy working but would wonder why she liked sleeping a lot and ignored. When I came to notice some friends told me you mean you didn’t see it and looked stupid for someone who had kids. When I was preparing to get another one she went into labor just two days before the other one came. I had to take some time off from work to take her to hospital and bought everything for her and the baby. It was a very trying moment for me and I swore never to employ and girl again. But here I was again with another girl not only pregnant but also sick.
From these cases I have learnt a lot and decided to share the story, many friends told me to send away the sick girl immediately. But I said so long as she is good and is on drugs I will keep her. She looked healthy and was not as frail and the older lady, the older lady was a widow and it seems her husband had died of the same. Now I decided to investigate the root cause of this orphan girl’s problems.
I came to learn that this girl had worked for a couple in Nairobi, the lady was sick and mostly bed ridden and the man looked healthy. It seems they were HIV positive and man was taking drugs, it is said this man was the one employing and firing the house girls and most were sent packing after getting pregnant. He would sack even the good ones and people wondered why, so this is when I came to a conclusion this girl may have gone through the same. Once pregnant they are taken direct to the bus that takes them to their rural home. So this girl’s aunt brought her to work for me a few days after leaving her employer.
I felt very touched and annoyed by this case, many girls are sent back home in/into desperate situations after getting pregnant or falling sick. Their life became a mess and their children enter into the poverty cycle because of the mess. Many girls in Kenya, after dropping out of school get into early marriage that do not work, are abused and get pregnant. Many also get infected by STDs and HIV virus. It is very wrong and evil for men to abuse innocent girls and use them to sambaza (spread) diseases. Because they are not enlightened and cannot sue those who abuse them, they are scared of reporting the problems. Their relatives may be poor or do not care to do anything for them and many do not have parents to speak for them. Many women still blame house girls for their problems but we should now see them as humans and see how they can be helped. This is why I say the Government should see how they can help these girls and open a help desk for them at local Chief’s offices or police stations where they can report abuse.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

South Sudan Independence

Finally today Southern Sudan officially breaks away from Northern Sudan that has oppressed them for many years. Many of us Kenyans cannot just express the joy we have for our South Sudanese friends who have lived with us like family for many years, they were like Kenyans and we got used to them. We hoped and prayed for their oppression to come to an end and for them to get separated, it was not imaginable that it would happen.

After the late Dr. John Garang the founder of SPLA signed a peace agreement deal here in Kenya, then his sudden death there after, it was like that was the end of the peace deal and things would get back the way they were. At least there was some improvement after the power sharing deal that has eventually led to the separation. It is very sad Dr. John Garang is not alive to witness this historical event.

I don’t have the words to express my joy and that of many Kenyans, after watching the scenes of war, the lost lives, the refugees, the effects of war on the victims, the lack of development and infrastructure in the south and the many problems they underwent. It is time to congratulate our brothers and sisters of South Sudan. May God bless them as they start the new Government led by President Salva Kiir they should be strongly advised not to emulate the many States that are dictators and corrupt. Hence make South Sudan Republic a role model for African States because many have not been good role models.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mercy Keino’s mysterious death

News of a Nairobi University Student who died in a “road accident” and had already been buried came into the limelight last week, then University of Nairobi student leaders through their Students Organization of Nairobi University (SONU) issued a 72 hours ultimatum to the police to arrest all the culprits behind the murder of their fellow student or they will hold peaceful demonstration. This was a normal statement that we Kenyans have gotten used to over the years and would just brush it away saying University Students like demonstrating about anything even an accident that could not be avoided. I thought it was long since I heard University of Nairobi demonstrate and so they got a reason to do so.

However I realized this is a fishy case and as the police started investigations and stories started coming out on the death of Mercy Keino, I realized it may have been a murder case and not an accident as those who attended the private party were trying to make people believe because:-

• There was no much blood at the scene of accident.
• A black Mercedes Benz was seen dropping the body of a girl, then a man on Monday presented himself to police as the owner of a vehicle mentioned in connection with the mysterious death of a university student. Mr Wycliffe Okelo, however, denied any wrongdoing, saying he saw the body on the road and swerved to avoid it. Read more
The Benz he presented is Green and is said to have been hurriedly repainted.
• The party she attended was also attended by an MP Kabogo, who was accused by former American Ambassador to Kenya Michael Reinburger of being a drug trafficker. Those who attended the party said they were discussing a business proposal but did not disclose the nature of business. It is also said she had a disagreement with the MP.
• Those who attended the party recorded statements that the student was drunk and was hit by a car because she was drunk. Her fellow students rubbished this and said she never drunk alcohol and was a born again Christian.
• The accounts recorded by the police show that Ms Keino was escorted out of the plush apartment complex by the MP’s bodyguards. When she stepped outside, the student sat on the stairs at the entrance to the complex. When the night guard asked the bodyguards what was going on he was informed that the woman was waiting for a taxi. But he did not see any taxi arrive and Ms Keino left on foot with the bodyguards, walking towards Waiyaki Way. Read more
• The body was later found 3 kilometers from the venue of the party.
• Her face and body was badly mutilated.

SONU also wants the Parliamentary Committee on Security to start an inquiry into the high number of students of the university who have just been disappearing. "It has become the norm for the University of Nairobi students to be murdered in cold blood by malicious members of public. A case in point is the murder of engineering student by guards at a night club. To date the culprits have not been brought to book," Owino said. Read more

The tragic and premature end of a promising master’s degree in communication student of the Nairobi University and one who had already discussed wedding preparations with her father is very sad. We can blame it on peer pressure that took her to the private party, but this is not right at all. Where there is smoke there is fire and that is why women legislatures and FIDA have come out strongly to condemn this and requested that no stone should be left unturned. Our police have left many stones unturned in the past and there are prominent people whose cases are just passing clouds. This is why the police just like the judiciary should be reformed. We cannot wait for America, England or Hague to take action against prominent personalities who are involved in criminal cases.

Related stories from Daily Nation

Saturday, June 25, 2011

House helps pay hike

A gazette notice by the Ministry of Labor stipulates new regulations of minimum wages for house helps and has been backdated from 1st May 2011. In the major cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu the minimum wage will be Kshs7586 and Kshs7000 for other counties.

Benefits include
House allowance of 15% of salary
2 days rest every week
Annual leave with full salary
Pension on retirement

Penalty for those who do not comply
6 months imprisonment or a Kshs50,000 fine.

I find this ridiculous and unaffordable to majority Kenyans. Many Kenyans earn very low salaries and can only afford to pay house helps from Kshs2000. Imagine that Kshs7000 is nett salary of some people employed even in offices and are just struggling to pay that person they leave with their children. Many especially in the slums who cannot afford to pay a house help leave their children in day-cares that are now on the rise due to high cost of living. Many Kenyans would wish to pay as much as they can to the house helps who they leave in charge of their kids but cannot afford to do so.

May question is how will they implement this, will they send officers to every household to enforce the law? This also contradicts the fact that Kenya is a free market economy, where willing buyer willing seller principal applies. Under this rule the buyer and seller agree on terms, so for that reason employer (buyer) and employee (seller) can agree on affordable salary. They can also have a written contract just like other jobs.

What are the consequences?

In the event the government manages to enforce this law on Kenyans (which I doubt). We will resort to live like people in America and Europe, we will take our children to Day Care centers and do our work ourselves or get help from relatives. As a result unemployment and crime will rise. The gainers will be Nursery schools and day cares and in fact it may be cheaper to pay a day care something like Kshs10,000/term than to pay house helps this Kshs7000 per month which is like Kshs21,000 for three months. Some are even cheaper depending on where someone lives, people who live in the slums pay 50/pay. So some other middle class estates can charge minimum 100/day which is much cheaper than paying a house help under the new salary scale.

To implement the ministry of labor will need to hire more officers to move from house to house and arrest those who don’t comply. We all know what that will lead to, more corruption. They will threaten people and ask for bribes. Majority of Kenyans are faced with numerous financial difficulties due to luck of jobs, low salaries, high cost of living and it is a fact we are still in the 3rd World, so unless the Government will force all employers to increase salaries (if they will afford), this law is absurd in Kenya.

Friday, June 24, 2011


MPs to pay taxes

The taxman (Kenya Revenue Authority) has cracked his whip on the “un-touchable”, according to the new constitution all remuneration should be taxed. KRA commissioner John Njiraini will start with our MPs whose benefits were not taxed and threatened to attach their assets if their employer does not remit the taxes, the tax will be backdated from September 2010. If there is anything that can unite all our MPs including the house speaker, it is any move towards their salaries. They are now crying they had planned for their salaries for the five year contract which ends 2012. That is just an excuse, lucky they are to have good paying jobs they could count on for five years, make big plans like buying fuel guzzlers, get mortgages for buying homes and enjoy a good life. This move was blocked before and termed unconstitutional by our MPs when Kenyans demanded they pay taxes. Now KRA has the new constitution to support them to recover millions of shillings uncollected.

Many Kenyans have come out to support KRA, polls by local media have shown that majority of Kenyans support this move because many Kenyans (who elected these MPS) even the lowest paid pay taxes, many cannot afford mortgage, cannot afford cars and luxury like our MPs. So now it is time for our MPs to start paying taxes like other Kenyans, Kenyans did not send you to parliament to get richer. When in Tanzania some years back, a Tanzanian commented it is shocking that Kenyan MPs are amongst the richest which is not the same case in Tanzania were their MPs are just like common citizens. If they cannot afford the taxes they should sell part of the assets they acquired from the Government salaries and pay KRA before KRA auctions them. How do they expect the 1.55 Trillion budget to be achieved, it is time for wananchi to benefit from public resources. There are very few MPs who pay taxes and some have accepted they will pay congratulations, we wait to see more patriotic MPs come out to say they will pay taxes.

Un-authorized buildings to be marked and demolished

After two multi storey buildings under construction collapsed, one of them killing and injuring people, the local Government under Dept. Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and Town Clerk Philip Kisia have vowed to mark and demolish such un-authorized buildings. This move off-course cannot be accepted by landlords of up-coming multi storey buildings in the affected areas like Mwiki, Kayole, Umoja, Tassia, Embakasi etc…According to the council multi storey buildings with over five floors should have lifts, most don’t. The MP for Embakasi, whose area is most affected Ferdinand Waititu and the landlords, formed a human barrier to block move by City Council to mark buildings in Kayole. Waitutu is warning the Council of dire consequences if they step in his constituency. This is one MP who is known to support Mungiki (outlawed militia) and so one can imagine the kind of action he implies by his threats. The council has also complained of their efforts to block un-approved building like the recent one that killed people in Embakasi being blocked by such militia. Kayole estate has many such multi storey buildings which house many people. The population there is I believe the biggest in Nairobi and this is why Ferdinand Waititu cannot accept this. It is also a fact that Embakasi constituency is the biggest in Nairobi may be he gets more CDF funds. It is a big dilemma for the landlords are said not to have titles for the plots. However it is a fact that many innocent lives of Kenyans have been lost because of un-approved buildings and greedy landlords, so something has got to be done to stop this. Waititu should not support the few landlords some do not even live in those houses, and think of the many tenants whose lives are at risk.

The Government should come out strongly on this issue and reach a compromise with the landlords of the buildings because both sides are to blame for the collapsing buildings. Then the Government should stop all up coming buildings until they get approval from the local authority, use whatever force they can to save lives. MPs should stop politics on these efforts.

Sam Ongeri clings to his office

Even after facing major scandals in his Minister since 2009 and numerous calls by Civil Society, public, heads of schools and even his fellow MPs to step aside for investigations. The civil society even camped and locked his office yesterday. The minister seems unmoved by these calls and actions. This is very typical of most ministers in Kenya faced with sandals, is it the money or ego, when will this attitude stop. It is a shame for a minister to cling to his public office like it is a personal property. The civil society protesters were attacked by a group who smeared them with human waste off course one can tell who sent them, what a shame!! It is also a shock to Kenyans that the President and the Prime Minister are mum on this issue, why can’t they just send him packing?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Congratulations to Nancy Baraza and Willy Mutunga

Finally, after going through a grueling, publicized and embarrassing vetting that they took with great humility, the country’s first and female Asst. Chief Justice Nancy Baraza and Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga have been sworn in today by the President. Many Kenyans are happy today, they got a lot of support from the public. Also sworn for another term as the Deputy Public Prosecutor is Keriako Tobiko whose nominations was not much welcome by the public as that of Baraza and Mutunga. He has been given a chance to prove that he can work better in this time of reforms.

The three now have an enormous task to clean the rot in the judiciary that involves piles of cases in our courts, corruption, biased verdicts for the "big fish" and "small fish" just to name a few.

Kenyans have waited for years for this change in the judiciary, please do not disappoint us.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ministry of Education scam

“Releasing the Forensic audit is Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Education Minister Prof. Sam Ongeri, Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua, and CID Director Mr. Francis Ndegwa Muhoro” Read more from Kenya weekly post.

This afternoon the Prime Minister Raila Odinga issued a statement on this misappropriation of a colossal sum of 4.2 Billion shillings. Many members on point of order wanted to know what action the Government has taken on this issue. This is not the first time the ministry is being accused of embezzling funds, in 2009 the sum was much higher 8.2 billion. The Prime Minister suspended Prof. Sam Ongeri; he was later reinstated by the Member of Parliament for Othaya (as MP. Sonko pointed in Parliament). As usual in Kenya the Tribal Nonsense came up in 2009 the Minister’s tribesmen Kisii came out to defend their man as being innocent.

Kenyans have been informed top officials will be arraigned in court to face charge.
The Prime Minister also assured Members of Parliament that it will not only be the small fish to face charges. I support MP Martha Karua, she said the properties of those accused be freezed. Donors also have lost confidence in this crucial ministry and have withdrawn funding. This is a very serious issue because it means some individuals in the ministry decided to get rich at the expense of education of Kenyan Children. It is known that many public servants have acquired a lot of property and cars for themselves and their girlfriends through corruption. To confuse others or those who may be investigating them some live in rented houses that their salary can afford and rent out the houses/flats they built. May be the government should make the names of those accused public, you never know they could get more information from people who know them.

This time round the Minister of Education should do the honor of stepping aside to pave way for investigations, and please let us not get “cries” from his tribesmen that the Government is against the Kisii. It is about public funds and the rights of the Kenyan Child and if they care they should ask him to step aside.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Another storey building collapse killing people

A six storey building under construction in Embakasi collapses killing workers and injuring many. It is unbelievable that this could happen again in Kenya today, there was no earth quake in Kenya to trigger this, it is as a result of dubious contractors and Nairobi City Council is to blame. It is shocking that this department of Nairobi City Council slept on their job once again after the past incidents that robbed Kenyans of their loved ones.

The current town clerk Mr. Philip Kisia has been busy working hard trying to overhaul and change the image of NCC famously known as Kanjo they are hated and loathed by many business people and Citizens for harassing and using uncouth ways of enforcing law and order. At least I can congratulate Mr. Kisia for working hard to change this perception. He also unearthed the corruption in License department that cost NCC’s losses worth millions of shillings. The council is also trying to recover unpaid money from land rates and demolish illegal buildings; they are so serious they even demolished NENO Evangelisms Church in the City center and the house of an MP Mr. Bufwoli Wakoli.

With all these happening at least we no longer hear of “ghost workers” or council workers demonstrating because of unpaid salary arrears. On the other hand it seems someone is sleeping on the job or was amongst the council officials under investigation for corruption. This is a serious matter that Philip Kisia should deal with as a matter of urgency. How can they allow more storey buildings to come up without proper inspection, this means their officers are still taking bribes from owners of the buildings like they normally do. They move around with small council vehicles as if going to inspect a building, within a few minutes of meeting the owner they disappear and comeback after some days or months to take more. More and more storey buildings are going up and the cycle continues. Something serious needs to be done.