“I’m thinking I should be a politician.”, said my boy out of the blue yesterday. We were just about to descend from the matatu into town.
“Why?” I asked.
“I think I’d do quite well in politics. Essentially, all I’d be doing is socializing and pointing fingers, right? It’s like a career game of chess.”
We was right but I couldn’t outwardly agree with him so I asked him what he’d do for the mwananchi once in power.
He stopped walking and laughed. “Kenyans are a funny bunch. They have a very limited attention span. They will watch you intently and then watch someone else intently and forget all about you altogether.” He coughed and got serious. “Put it this way, whether I did good or bad, there’d be resistance. So since Kenyans seem to know what they want, I’ll just go with the flow and collect my day’s pay. They won’t remember me anyway.”
“Yeah they will. They…”
He cut me off and pointed to the people walking around the corner: “They don’t even remember the people that died there and they’re going to remember me?” as he pointed at the August 8 memorial, where people unceremoniously walked past without a second thought.
How many of us forgot yesterday was the 13th year since the August 7th bombings? I know my mother did. She actually asked me to Google it after seeing it on the late night news. Continue reading →
Why do I always fear for the worst everytime I hear something has to go through Parliament?
Among the three arms of government, Parliament thumps its chest the loudest as being the one true democratic entity by the people and for the people. But that’s all on paper. In practice, the Kenyan people have lost total faith in parliament to put their selfish interests aside and speak for the people who elected them into office in 2007.
However, there’s a silver lining.
Kenyans appear to have woken up and are beginning to insist on the concretization of constitutional ideals like public participation, institutional transparency, individual and collective responsibility, meritocracy and accountability. A good example here is the on-going vetting process within the Judiciary and now the Police. Lest we forget if it wasn’t for the peoples’ insistence that the Constitution be followed to the letter, we would have had Alnashir Visram, Githu Muigai and Kioko Kilukumi as our CJ, AG and DPP respectively.
Fast forward to the present day where we appear to be headed back to the same primitive democracy of ethnicity and political horse-trading as the CIOC is expected to table tomorrow before Parliament the a report containing the confirmed nominees for the positions of CJ, DCJ and DPP.
“When thousands of peoples is riled up to see you
That can arouse ya ego, we got mouths to feed so
Gotta stay true to who you are and where you came from
Coz at the top will be the same place you hang from
No matter how big you can ever be
For whatever fee or publicity, never lose your integrity”
– Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones (aka ‘Nas’)
Long hours on the campaign trail, packed and charged rallies, meetings with campaign donors, countless election strategies and counter strategies all culminating in the announcement of the win and the swearing in ceremony. It’s all usually glamorous and inspiring to most people looking in from the outside. Although the campaign period is extremely stressful and draining on the candidate the really hard work begins once that candidate is sworn into office.
Just ask Barack Obama. After his ‘landslide’ win he embarked on achieving some of his campaign promises and he was successful in some most notably healthcare and Wall street reform. However, there is the big issue that has dominated news in the States these last 6 months (not Osama) have been the budget deficit. Make no mistake, the U.S debt is a serious global issue. While the risk of the U.S defaulting on its debt may be a bit farfetched, given the close linked global economy, it is crucial that they sort out their debt issue. As most economists will confirm the two ways to cut a deficit are either reduce spending or increase taxes. However, both options are politically risky for any American president. (There’s also the increased tax receipts/collections option as a result of economic growth but this is more long term in most cases and highly dependent on economic growth).
Disclaimer: The letter below is meant for diasporadical purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
To whom it may concern,
Even as we will endeavour to attain the 33% minimum female representation in future Parliaments (as enshrined in the new Constitution), I believe there must be a shift of focus from just considering the numbers to a closer examination of the calibre and character of the women political representatives themselves.
Not to understate the importance of this 33% critical mass but it is crucial we start examining the specific women vying for public office, considering their educational and professional training, religious views, family and social background, temperament, other idiosyncracies and overall personality. All these other variables will assist Kenyan voters and taxpayers alike to determine what qualitative impact a particular woman candidate will make once she sets foot into parliament or any other public office in the land.
The required 33% of our current number of 222 MPs comes to about 73 women MPs. So the question which I ask is: would you want 73 Sally Kosgey’s or 73 Charity Ngilu’s or 73 Martha Karua’s or 73 Esther Murugi’s?
I’m sure the majority of you would obviously say none of the above and would opt for a mixture of these women politicians based on their individual strengths and weaknesses so as to arrive at a well-rounded and suitable woman politician, if it were possible. In the animal and plant kingdoms, this selection of attributes from various species is known as ‘breeding’.
So allow me to suggest, hypothetically, two possible “breeds” of Kenyan women politicians.