Lest We Forget and Keep Forgetting

This will be short.

Yesterday, media houses had a field day with the Nancy Baraza story. This quote from The Standard stood out to me.

Declared a liar, a woman whose outlandish actions and runaway rage brought the Judiciary into disrepute and social rogue who brandished gun at an unarmed guard, Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza’s fate appears sealed.

Social media went amok as well.

And if it wasn’t that, it was the olympic coverage. That Kemboi can sure dance his ass off.

This was what we talked about all day.

In the evening I had a passionate debate with some folks. We all agreed that the culture in Kenya needs to change. The youth need to be better educated. They need to be motivated. They need to be more involved in decision-making capabilities. We agreed on these ideas.

Our point of contention was that I believed that in addition to all the above, someone needed to die. Continue reading

How Are You Taking Part in the National Mourning?

As you are aware, the government has declared the next three days, national days of morning following the deaths of Hon. Saitoti and Hon. Ojode.

It’s unfortunate that past the age of 18, very many Kenyans don’t know what to do with themselves when the government sets aside days of National Mourning. Most of us think it’s a public holiday. We actually hope it is a public holiday. So we can sleep, watch movies, go to Naivasha, get high, spend all our money and do anything else, BUT mourn.

Perhaps we don’t know how to mourn. Or maybe we think that the deceased are usually too far removed from us. So we give various excuses : “I didn’t personally know the guy “. “I feel nothing.” “I’m too ninja to cry for three days.”  “I hated that guy.”

I’m no expert in National Mourning. But I can tell that it is not Christmas Day and neither is it a State of Emergency. I also know, that whether we are mourning or not, we must go to work. And because I’m no expert mourner, I hope that you, dear reader can contribute your ideas and suggestions at the tail end of this post. Please do.

National Mourning at Work?

On a state level, national mourning is denoted by flags flying at half mast. In some countries, when the government declares national mourning, public events are cancelled or postponed. On the other hand, the 4th estate give us more shoddily done news, filled with eulogies and dirges. They also give us a chance to call in, email or sms our heartfelt condolences.

Beyond that, what else can we do?

Now, not every Kenyans has a flag outside their doorstep (but that’s not so say that we are not patriotic. We are damn well patriotic, when our athletes win a marathon abroad.)

But the question remains: How can we make an individual contribution to  national mourning in this country? Because whether we like it or not death is inevitable, mourning comes with death.

If you care, like I do, I think that this an area where the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture (does it still exist?) would shed some light on the issue. Them that gave us the National Dress at a cost of 50million. Brand Kenya can also offer some ideas. Besides, aren’t they the ones that advertise all the things that make us proud and that unite us as Kenyans? Perhaps the clergy can also offer some ideas. They’ve done really well with the National Day of Prayer. Surely, if they can get us to pray as a nation, they can show us how best to mourn as well.

I don’t know.., what are your thoughts? How are you taking part in the 3 days of National Mourning?

“It Is You Who Shall Lead This Nation”

I’ll keep this brief.

Earlier this week, we lost Mr. John Michuki. I never knew him; but I definitely knew of him. I had heard great things of him through his family and relatively harsh ones through those he crossed. Verily, he had done a great number of great things for the nation but was also credited with some relatively dark executive decisions. But out of respect for the man, I opt to not sully his reputation after his demise. He has done more for the country than most people I know, and for nothing else, some degree of respect is due. He was a ruthless manager in an unruly time who earned the love and respect from millions.

The nation was still mourning for him, when very early today morning, Njenga Karume passed away.

Now, Mr. Karume, I had the honor of knowing. Aside from the stories and the books; the legend of the self-made billionaire that went from nothing to something was more than enough to garner reverence and adulation. But more than that, he was a man of his word and a man of honor. He believed in hard-work and believed in the youth. One of the last things he said to my business partners and I when we last sat in the same room was “It is you who shall lead this nation.” He was referring to us, the youth, the online generation. He believed that we could – and would – change the face of the country and he stood behind his words by supporting our business aspirations in kind, advice, and action.

I was woken up by the call that he had passed away and during the short conversation on the matter something I had heard rumor of came to surface. My uncle once said that Karume had a family of a million. Not because he had a million children, but because he supported a million people; putting them through school, giving them jobs, sponsoring their dreams. It turns out this was true as I read email after email of how he had touched people’s lives. What was more impressive is that he did so humbly and without prejudice.

And for that, I think we should honor his name by not disappointing his dream for our success.

Rest in peace to any and all the great Kenyans that have passed on and strength to the friends and family they leave behind.