#FUMP: Sam Ongeri Thinks Bloggers are Misleading Kenyans

Last night, Sam Ongeri decided to take on bloggers and let us know that we were wrongfully inciting Kenyans on Twitter to insult their leaders and further inform us that we could be legally dealt with.

I wasn’t online to see it, but quite a few people informed us because we’d printed some t-shirts earlier in the week expressing our displeasure with MPs and their greed. Thank you all.

As for you, Mr. Ongeri, a few things:

1. I refuse to call a man ‘Professor’ if he cannot distinguish between “they’re”, “there” and “their”. It is pre-primary grammar, Mr. Ongeri.

2. I refuse to call a man a leader if he cannot lead. At best, MPs are representatives. In fact, they’re our employees.

3. I refuse to call a man, Minister or otherwise, ‘Honorable’, if he is not honorable.

4. How dare you talk about misleading, Mr. Ongeri? How dare you talk about leadership? Continue reading

Where Are The Songs For Our Coming Revolution?

I wince with displeasure every time I have to watch another section of Kenyans demonstrate on the streets of our major towns. Not because I do not support their cause or understand their plight. Far from it. My displeasure comes from the fact that I have to listen once again to a song which should have by now, been stored away in the cliche cabinet.

Solidarity forever!

Solidarity forever!

On and on it goes. First with the teachers, then with the doctors, enter the nurses and right behind them another group of civil servants. Even University students, disgruntled private sector staff and politicians flaunting alliances, find reason to sing Solidarity – a song once thought to be the reserve of labour Unions.

Where are the songs for our coming revolution?

The songs we can sing not just on the streets but in in our homes when we look at our unga reserves dwindle. The songs we can sing while we do our laundry and ponder on the next move that will keep us alive?

Where are the songs that annoy our government so much, it wouldn’t want them played on radio?

Why do we instead sing songs to mock other tribes? Songs that insult their cultural beliefs and their very identity. Why do we compose songs that highlight our tribal differences and inspire ethnic hate?

And not the songs we sing in church. Not the praise songs whose tune we maintain and lump new words on in a poor attempt at creativity. Not the songs from that holy place. Let’s keep those for God, and upon our victory, we can praise him without getting the words mixed up.

Where are the songs that will wake us up to the reality of our current situation?

The songs that will carry in one chorus,  the ills of our current political class, the shame of our slowly growing economy and the silence of a lower class, whose lips are caked with the dust and odour of our slums.

Where are the songs that will enlighten our educated middle-class?

Songs that will challenge their pursuit of luxuries as mere vanity. Songs that they can teach their children, while narrating in pride and not shame, where they have come from and where they should never return. Songs that will summarize all the clever words that make our placards so heavy.

Where are the beautiful songs we can sing together? Songs that won’t pit one tribe against the other? Or the rich against the poor. The songs we can sing in groups while we go about our work under the sun? Where are the songs that will bring us to tears, or jolt our fists upright. The songs that will make us rise up and defend our dignity while we thump our chest in a show of might.  The songs that will bring us to shout IYAA!! or OYEE!! like we do at every rugby tournament our countrymen take part in.

Our National Anthem will not do. It isn’t enough. We can do better.

It is not a lack of talent.

There are those who have tried to compose such songs, but few can recite ALL the words to Eric Wanaina’s Nchi Ya Kitu Kidogo or Kenya Only. Jaguar may have tried to explain our complex situation in sheng, but Kigeugeu is nothing but a club hit to the majority of us.

Even with the political freedoms we now enjoy, the freedoms of speech and self expression that are now upheld unlike they were in the former regime, few are the artistes who will pen down songs that inspire unity, peace or change.

Who will compose the songs for our coming revolution? And not just any songs. Songs that are easy to grasp. Simple songs. Songs that everybody can sing. And when those songs come to be, who will put them all together and teach us so that we may in turn, teach our children.

Songs of our coming revolution.

Mob Justice in School Uniform

Now.., if Ferdinand Waititu slept in his bed last night, and not in a police cell, there’s something wrong with our police force. Far as any blind person could hear, disHonourable Waitutu’s remarks yesterday should be deemed as incitement to ethnic hatred. If anyone should argue otherwise, then please explain why the public reacted as they did – targeting their perceived anger stupidity at the Maasai community living in Kayole.

Perhaps the police standing next to the MP are both blind and deaf. Or like their seniors, they are afraid of going to the Hague. Perhaps, like his seniors Kayole’s OCPD is waiting for a cabinet directive to do his job. If a cabinet directive is not forthcoming, well then Mr Waititu may sleep in his warm bed tonight.

A few questions if I may:

  1. Now that Waititu was caught on camera saying Maasai’s be flushed out of Kayole, or that unspecified area of Kayole, would it be wrong for the Maasai in say Kajiado, to flush out other communities living there, if only to avenge the humiliation and ethnic targeting their brothers underwent yesterday in Kayole?
  2. If that were the case, would the police move in to deal with the situation in Kajiado or would they stand by and enjoy the (if you want, call it small) ethnic violence they overlooked oversaw in Kayole?
  3. How is it that the police did not arrest any of the people that took part in the mob justice and looting and instead only arrested those alleged to have been involved in the killing of the alleged chicken thief/ garbage collector?
  4. Finally, why didn’t the police arrest Hon. Waititu?

But if you think Waititu is the problem, then think again.

Go back to the clip and watch the kids taking part in the looting and mob justice. Look at the ones looting charcoal. Think for a minute. Why would kids loot charcoal? Where does charcoal rank in a child’s order of thinking? To me – no where. The way I see it, someone sent those kids to steal. Someone who would benefit from the charcoal. Someone like a parent.

Back to the clip again to time stamp 0.04. Watch as a young girl in school uniform viciously hurls a rock at a Maasai man, proud to be taking part in what she probably thinks is “adult-like” behavior. Where did this girl learn to mob people? Who is her mother? Who is her father? Who is her neighbor? Did any one of the adults in the crowd report her to her parents?

Who is her mentor?

See, Waititu isn’t the problem. He’s an aging man. Soon, he’ll be gone and forgotten, hoping of course he doesn’t end up being governor of this Maasai land called Nairobi.

But the girl in school uniform, who is barely 15, is the problem. She is the problem because she is the future. She could be the future that will form a third or two-thirds of parliament. Otherwise, she will be the future voter.

If at her tender age she can be so incited as to hurt a fellow human being – an adult for that matter- what does that mean for her and the rest of her peers who are yet to attain a voter’s card? Most importantly what does that say about us – her parents, her siblings, her neighbours, her teachers, the police officers who watched her, the viewers who only saw Waititu in the clip and not her?

More importantly, what does this imply about the state of the country just five months to the elections? Didn’t we learn anything from the post election violence of 2007/8? Didn’t we learn anything from being incited by politicians? Didn’t we learn anything about tribalism and ethnic violence? Didn’t we learn at least one lesson that we should have taught our children by now?

Wangari Maathai, Charity Ngilu, Martha Karua: Political Moments and the Legacies of ‘Mama’

“Leadership is not simply a matter of filling the top positions in a government. Nor is it a quality restricted to the ambitious, the elite, the politically gifted, or the highly educated. Indeed, not every person in a leadership position is truly a leader” – Wangari Maathai, ‘The Challenge For Africa’ (2009).

A good place to start would be the 1997 General Elections. Charity Ngilu, who was already a household name after capturing the Kitui central in Kenya’s first ever multiparty elections held in 1992, announced that she would be running for the presidency on a Social Democratic Party (SDP) ticket. “Ma saa na Ngilu”, for those who remember. We all cheered for this gallant politician who arrested our imagination when she stormed out of Mwai Kibaki’s Democratic Party (DP) and boldly struck out for the country’s top job despite a relatively short career in politics. And then, several months to the election, Wangari Maathai, too, announced that she was vying for the top job. The results? Moi won, of course. Kibaki came second, Raila, third and Ngilu managed a respectable 5th place, one notch higher than the late Martin Shikuku. As for Maathai, she came third from last in those elections with 0.07% of total votes cast.

With today’s news that Charity Ngilu will be seeking the presidency in the 2013 General Elections, one cannot help but feel that history is somewhat repeating itself. Martha Karua, the proverbial long-distance runner, launched her presidential bid a couple of years ago, and has been on the campaign trail ever since. Now Karua has company in the form of ‘Mama Rainbow’. It may be political naivete to ask, but would anyone serious about campaigning for the presidency launch a bid with only five months to the polls? Prior to her campaign announcement, wasn’t she on record that she would support Raila’s presidential ambitions? These questions may seem to you, rhetoric or a display of my ignorance, but allow me to continue.

Continue reading

“Freedom Ain’t Free” – On The Integrity Bill and Online Freedom

Before I start, R.I.P. to the many souls departed in the past few days. It’s been a difficult time for the country without having to lose so many in such a short time.
And now to the matter at hand…

Let’s talk about the impunity of our government in regards to the above issues and how we can tackle it.

Sigh.

We’ve been here before.

The best of us are sitting in our comfort zones pointing at blatant rights violations with full mouths screaming.

The rest of us don’t even know why people are screaming. Trying to figure out what’s going on, or just ignoring it all together.

For those that don’t know what the hoopla is about the Integrity Bill being “watered down” is Continue reading

In Response to BBA’s Alex

So Alex wrote a letter on his Facebook wall justifying his decision to nominate El Presidente for eviction from the Big Brother house. I don’t know how much trouble Alex is having walking the streets of Nairobi seeing that we didn’t even care…, thaaat much. I know I didn’t. I don’t even know his 2nd name. But his letter more so the effort put into writing it, just put a bad taste in my mouth.  And seeing that it was addressed to the country (that should include the people of West Pokot) then it’s only fair I reply. Coz no one likes to send a message and not get a response.

Dear Alex

Thank you for your letter. At least, it proves you actually give a rat’s ass what the world thinks of you. While you attempt to locate the middle finger on your hands,  let me applaud you on your effort in being a patriotic Kenyan.

Indeed our flag is a beautiful and unique thing. For you to have it on your fireplace, in your bedroom and on all your cars, must mean you eat, sleep and dream thinking of nothing but this country. I’m sure you forgot to tell us about all the Kenya t-shirts and scarfs you have. But don’t worry, we figured that out.

By the way, having the flag in your bedroom.., very kinky. If you never get laid with that flag there, that chic is simply unpatriotic, a traitor and certainly not a nationalist. Thank you also for reminding us that having a flag on our cars is not a privilege reserved for our president and minsters. I hope that every patriotic citizen of this country who owns a car will eventually put a flag on it.

Then there’s that little issue about not knowing the words of our national anthem. Man, I bet that was hard. It’s like going to heaven and realizing that you don’t know the words to the Lord’s Prayer. And God would be looking at you, tapping his foot, stroking his beard and thinking.., should I evict this guy?

So the question keeps arising why you  nominated your countryman for eviction. Actually Alex, the question arises among the people you call “friends” on Facebook. We who did not know you and may never meet you, forgot all about it when your kinsman survived eviction and YOU came back home.

You claim that your fellow Kenyan violated your personal interests and freedom of association. Biggie should really have a human right’s body on location to look into such grave accusations.

In defending your actions, you also claim that “the right of an individual legally executed comes before patriotism, because whoever violates your rights is unpatriotic in the first place.” To this I ask, does revenge include your definition of patriotism?

But of course you would say that you have “legally executed freedom” (whatever that means), protected by the new constitution, which like the Kenyan flag, you love very much. You’ve got so much love bwoy. Love for everything.., maybe just not everyone.., at everytime.

So your countryman came across as selfish, hiding luxury items from other housemates including you. While you make a shoddy attempt at displaying your legal prowess, you may need a lesson in the economics of needs and wants. Luxuries tend to fall in the latter and lacking them does not cause death.

Sure Alex we respect you, as you respect us. We do not expect you to act on every one of our wishes. If you do, you will be unhappy and the last thing we need is another depressed, suicidal Kenyan. We also support your appeal for “peace to prevail”. For real dude. We cannot have another spate of post-poll violence. Never again.

Besides, BBA is only a game.You had the right to play the game as you wished. It’s you who got into the house. Not us. While there, you had the right to offend others and defend yourself as you pleased. Writing illogical statements later defending your actions is rather lame.

So people think you’re an asshole, others think you’re a failed strategist. Who cares? You may not make the best brand ambassador, but you got your shot. That’s all that matters. You were in a game. If only you looked at it that way from the very beginning, you’d move on with your life now. If not for yourself, for the love of your country.

Me.., I just hope you find your middle-finger dude.