#TurkanaOil: “Is Finding Oil Ever A Good Thing?”

UPDATE: “We found oil in a hopeless place” by dilliemusic

So apparently they’ve struck oil in Turkana. The findings are in many ways preliminary, seeing as it will take years to properly assess the quantities and a bit longer to really start drilling; but our government seems to be optimistic that our reserves are bigger than Uganda’s.

Which puzzles me.

Out of sheer curiosity, when has finding oil in an African country EVER been a good thing? Continue reading

Marriage Law Debate: Are Kenyans Inherently Polygamous?

“Since we became independent and in the 10 lives of the Independent Parliament, we have not found time to legislate over our families. One could almost ask whether our independence has not just been skin-deep if we have not bothered to liberate our families from dictation by such colonial relics as the family Laws of 1962.”
– Judy Thongori, a leading Family Law practitioner

The history behind the failed attempts to enact a comprehensive Marriage Bill in our country is something former law lecturer, now Deputy Supreme Court Justice Nancy Baraza once termed as ‘very sad indeed’. It is no secret that both the 1970 and the mid-1990s parliaments shelved the bill because of their strong opposition to the proposed criminalisation of adultery and the non-recognition of polygamy. See, polygamy in particular is deemed to be part and parcel of “african” culture ergo any Western law that went against this was considered “Un-african”.

So now, thanks to Nancy Baraza and the good folks over at the Kenya Law Reform Commission, we now have a new Marriage Bill. A Bill that doesn’t criminalise adultery and expressly recognizes polygamous marriages. The question I would love to be answered by our women is whether a declaration by their spouse-to-be that their marriage is potentially polygamous would deter them from getting married in the first place? And perhaps more generally, does this provision promote/condone promiscuity by men in society?

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Enlightened Self-Interest: Towards An East African Federation

“Integration is more than five presidents meeting in Arusha and patting their backs on an illusionary integration” – Ahmednasir Abdullahi Anonymous

As we speak there is an East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Symposium taking place in Arusha, Tanzania themed: “A Decade of Service towards a Political Federation”.

Now, I may not have been born in the Seventies, but I’ve heard stories of how things were especially between my country and its neighbours. The most vivid accounts were of the icy relations between Kenya and Tanzania. Relations hit their lowest ebb in the mid 1970s. At one time, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere was so frustrated by the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s capitalist economic policies, he angrily described the Kenyan leadership as being made up of “nyang’aus” (‘hyenas’) and the country as a ‘man-eat-man’ society. This description has stuck, the mistrust and mismatch of ideologies and practice has persisted till this very day.

As for our other neighbour Uganda, we have all witnessed the on-going dispute over the Migingo and Ugingo islands. I didn’t know what big of a deal it was until Museveni arrived at our Promulgation ceremony last year and he was pelted with boos and chants of “Migingo is ours!”

That said we were all filled with hope in the EAC, when the Common Market was officially launched around this time last year (remember the google doodle? Awesomeness!). But a political federation is a whole different ball-game. A federation is ofcourse a worthy goal but it calls for a bold and visionary leadership by the five Heads of State to succeed. For, beyond greater economic integration, it requires political will and unity of purpose. That is where the catch lies.

Are the political leaders of the five countries capable of matching their well-intentioned sentiments with concrete action to integrate the five countries politically?

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What a Horrible, Horrible, Horrible Time to be a President

by tripppleO

“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).

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Daily Dozen: 14/01

Kenyans and Their Peculiar Habits [Twitter]
Which is the best internet service provider in Kenya? [LikeChapaa]
“Ideally, elections are held to choose leaders, but in many cases in Africa, elections are intended to dress up despots in democratic garb.” [Guardian]
Somalia’s new PM says government troops will target Al-Qaeda “very, very soon” [IOL]
Why is Winnie Still Using the Mandela surname anyways? [BBC]
Can Europe Be Saved? [NYT]
Territorial Triumph and Geopolitical Pitfalls in South Sudan [HuffPost]
Once again, Africa is in love [AN]
Does race determine efficiency? [WT]
Things Your Boss Won’t Tell You [Yahoo!]
The Science of “Single”: One Year’s Worth of Dating Advice [TIME]
Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time. [Economist]

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Adoption? Listen, I’m Not Trying That At Home

There are certain people…

Knowing them, being friends with them, means it’s sorta compulsory to know a bunch of other people and have some sort of nodding acquaintanceship with them.

So, I know this chick, and for some reason she always knows a good number of white people Caucasians people who turn red when they are embarrassed. At any given time, she knows at least six. A nirvana-bound hippie tourist. A lone-wolfish expat that’s having trouble sleeping at night. A vet on a $500-a-day vacation in Africa Uganda. An engineer without borders. A do-gooder that’s considering cycling from Cairo to Port Elizabeth to raise money for charity. In addition, an ex-supremacist that’s hell-bent on diluting his Caucasian genes by bedding and subsequently marrying a Negro local.

She is like the True North for white people Caucasians people who turn red when they are embarrassed. They flock to her, I don’t know why. Perhaps it is because she is like one of those éclairs—dark brown on the outside, but creamy white on the inside. Perhaps it is because she is like Eminem, but with the polarities reversed. I don’t know why, truly.

All I know is that hanging out with her and her friends equals hanging out with a range of [dis]beliefs, [non]proofs and [mis]judgements. Sometimes it’s fun. Sometimes it isn’t. Continue reading