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.

CONGRATULATIONS!

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.

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