Friday, October 31, 2008

Oh No. I hope not

Yesterday was a sad day for me. the day when our MPs decided in one voice to reject the Waki report and throw away the baby with the birth water. It was sad because the violence not only cost people friendships and families but also lives. It was sad because the main reasoning for its rejection was only to save a few careers. But it also taught us great lessons. What we don't know is what may happen next. was January the worst? I surely did not expect Raila to agree to the rejection of the report. We should not allow people to kill with such abandon and let them go free.

This violence especially in the Rift Valley is somewhat historical. And by choosing to protect the guilty , Raila shall have inherited the culpability of the killers of '92 , '97 , 2002 and so on. Even those who fed Kikuyus to the crocodiles in the Kerio Valley in '97. For a man who has spent his whole life fighting for justice and common good, it would be a sad way to conclude a career. Was it worth it? Is that what you get for being the most politically detained man in the history of the country? Its sad like Kibaki, spending more that 40 years of a brilliant career building a rare image of a gentleman politician, only to throw all that out for 5 years of presidency. sometimes people really fail to see the trade off. That now through history Kibaki will be remembered as the man who failed to unite the country, refused to accept defeat and led Kenyans to near civil war and national collapse. As a man who brought us to the lowest levels of tribal considerations and created the deepest divide. Yet for more than 40 years he has been known as the gentleman of politics. All for a miserly 5 year term!

I still hold on to hope that Raila will see that he would rather lose the next election or indeed the current PM seat than block the justice for the over 1300 dead Kenyans and those thousands of IDPs. I hope he will be the golden boy of Kenyan politics. In another chat we were having with a group of friends, i was told that you do not gain anything from good history. so what if people remember you as a thug or murderer. after all you achieved your personal goals and lived the life you wanted? But that to me is a very uncultured argument of uncultured people and Raila, having been brought up by cultured and honorable people, should not buy it.

And yet the report is not only about punishment or justice, its also about what has gone wrong with our systems. our police force, our culture of greed and tribalism, our pride as a people. It gives serious recommendations on the constitution, governance and so on. But politicians will simply look at the one thing: That it threatens their own career ambitions!

Am sad.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Waki - opportunities

Political entrepreneurs could right now be laughing as they draft their business plan. The Waki report that has hit hard on some key pretenders to the crown has provided an unmatched opportunity. That's why i keep wondering where the proponents of grand opposition are holidaying. there will be no other time to show their relevance like now. This is the time for them to stage an Obama and upset the apple cart once and for all. Normally opportunities to rewrite history don't come too often. But what presented itself to Raila and Ruto in 2002 to put paid the career ambitions of the likes of Saitoti, Biwot and Kalonzo, being the clamor for constitution and change is now over and the likes of ababu have a new great frontier to exploit. they can now push the idea of Grand opposition and take the game to Raila and Ruto by pinning them down on integrity and accountability. With this report, it will be an uphill task trying to revive those careers of the likes of Uhuru and Saitoti especially if it goes to the Hague and that's how Martha too will get her big break.

However Ababu Namwamba and his colleagues of the Grand Opposition have not even hinted a position since the Waki report came out.

By the way, what happens to the awards of honorary doctoral degrees awarded the other day to the principals after Waki revealed that death and destruction in Naivasha and other places were planned in state house?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bold Waki did us proud

The man called Philip Waki and his team actually did me proud. when he was appointed, i told myself that nothing concrete would come from him. He would try to make the principals happy so that he could land a fat job maybe like a chief justice for example. after call Chesoni had a similar fate. My eyes were instead focused on Kriegler (sp. Who i supposed being a foreigner (and white :-( ) would have a non-biased approach and give us a true report of the issues. But instead its Waki who has shown character and said the hard things that Kriegler could not say. while the old man chose to play court poet with the principals, Waki went for the throat and told even his direct reports that they were squarely directly individually and severally responsible for the near collapse of our nation. He touched all the taboo subjects and accused even sacred cows. To me Waki has shown us himself he showed that he gat balls. He managed to do what the other older man Kiviutu could not do.

He did not protect us from the truth but rather brought it out loud and clear knowing full well that its truth that's sets a people free.

Another bold man is Pastor Nganga of neno evangelical centre. he said that the Bible said women must not wear men's clothes but rather wear long dresses that cover the knee. short skirts and trousers are not African and definitely not Christian. I wonder what made him think that long dresses were African in the first place. i thought we never put on dresses and that's why in traditional dances, we always put on those skimpy short sisal or leather skirts. he further said that women in minis distract men in worship and invited rapists upon themselves. to start with rape has never had anything to do with attraction or lust. it has always had everything to do with power and domination. most rapists are sexually codependent people or persons with low self esteem.

secondly what i would find distracting in Pastor Nganga's church would be those women who normally roll over the floor when he is 'blowing his healing and exorcism spirit' the way they roll over and kicking in all directions to me would be more distracting in a church setting than a woman in a trouser. and the bible says men must never put on a woman's dress and vice versa. But during bible times there were no trousers when did those become men's clad?

However i may agree with him on the mini-skirts and tight trousers but for a completely different reason. being that by exposing their thighs,cleavage and behind too much, women have denied men the excitement of mystery ,imagination and discovery. One of the rules of power states that you must be scarce if you want to be powerful i think the same applies to the power of attraction. no wonder men are these days very lukewarm when it comes to these things.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Your Parrot Died By Lance N.

Laughter is good. I found this joke in askmen website and literally fell off my seat:

A man is sleeping in bed when his telephone suddenly rings.
“Hello, Senor Rod? This is Ernesto, the caretaker at your country house.”
“Ah yes, Ernesto. What can I do for you? Is there a problem?”
“Um, I am just calling to advise you, Senor Rod, that your parrot, he is dead.”
“My parrot? Dead? The one that won the international competition?”
“Si, Senor, that's the one.”
“Damn! That's a pity! I spent a small fortune on that bird. What did he die from?”
“From eating the rotten meat, Senor Rod.”
“Rotten meat? Who the hell fed him rotten meat?”
“Nobody, Senor. He ate the meat of the dead horse.”
“Dead horse? What dead horse?”
“The thoroughbred, Senor Rod.”
”My prize thoroughbred is dead?”
”Yes, Senor Rod, he died from all that work pulling the water cart.”
“Are you insane? What water cart?”
“The one we used to put out the fire, Senor.”
“Good Lord!! What fire are you talking about, man?!”
“The one at your house, Senor! A candle fell and the curtains caught on fire.”
“What the hell?” Are you saying that my mansion is destroyed because of a candle?”
“Yes, Senor Rod.”
“But there's electricity at the house! What was the candle for?”
“For the funeral, Senor Rod.”
“Your wife's, Senor Rod. She showed up very late one night and I thought she was a thief, so I hit her with your new TaylorMade Super Quad 460 golf club.”
“Ernesto, if you broke that driver, you're in serious trouble!”

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

of belts, bellies and beers

In the days when Zambia had a copper belt, Kisumu also had a belt. but it wasnt a mineral belt but rather a beer belt. It was actually a shopping center near the social hall otherwise known as wanainchi. the name stemmed from the fact that the area was surrounded with several bars, restaurants and 'lodges' (actually just sin rooms) Wanainchi was incidentally close to our estate and in the night we could hear the likes of Owino Misiani belting their benga away into the night. The Gor Mahia songs were very popular and i could hear him sing them over and over. in these joints the patrons often ask for an encore after parting with a small amount the musician can even put your name in the song if your pocket smiles nicely.

Well that was then. But last Thursday i saw another beer belt. this time in the heart of Nairobi. actually just at the Nairobi West shopping center. I have never passed by the center in the evening or night. and this day i made the blunder of blunders by trying out a short cut near the shops. Cars were packed till the road with only a small passage left for pple like us to pass. Invariably we got into a gridlock since another car came from the opposite end. being Kenyans where road courtesy went for lunch and has never returned, neither of us was willing to yield ground and we stayed there for like ages before another young man who washes cars there came to our senses.

All the pavements and even part of the parking lot had patrons downing their favorite drinks and enjoying hearty chat music and nyama choma. Kenyans will not divorce nyama choma even though cases of gout and related issues are increasing by the day among young upwardly mobile.
what shocked me was that the place is like a sea of bars some small with a few patrons others having patrons spilling out onto the streets like a defiant beer belly.

But i was not interested in that beer belt of nairobi, i was instead looking forward to taking my wife for some good music near nyayo. the place is not your ideal joint. seats are hard to come by and even walking space is a luxuryy given the size of the crowd. But from the cars packed outside, you can tell that this might even be above your class! The musician called Omondi Refa was doing his best belting hit after hit. mostly originally done by others. but his style is unique and he is a young man dressed like a teenager. its difficult to associate him with ohangla. from his dressing he should be singing the likes of "...watuuu, munajua ni aje ?..." yet the patrons were people above middle age whose mid rifs have already formed a permanent grand opposition.

Even though we weren't able to dance since the place was packed to capacity, we enjoyed watching those who could, try their styles out. Now when watching those young Congolese dancers on Citizen, you would think dancing is an easy thing. maybe they should be warning pple not to try that after a certain age or size. it was simply hilarious watching those not so young men and women try to shake their heavy waists around and throw their arms in the air like Koffi Olomides dancers. funnier yet was odd couples of very old men trying to impress some gals who seemed as old as their last born daughters. yet on the other side i could see rather slim guys with partners of the plus size. truly opposites attract!

But Refas efforts are not in vain and his music at the stadium has actually created a small economy. beer sales seemed to be doing well even though world economy is in a coma. and Obama shirts, badges, capes etc were also going like hot nyama choma. just outside, newspapers vendors did good business as did sausage vendors, there was even chicken roasted on open fire and you could get it with ugali, chips etc. Even the favorite nyama choma was available. Maybe Akina McCain could learn a few tips on economic stimulation from the musician.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Researchers and Research methods

Lets just start by stating that am a scientist by training and inclination. However lately science and science researchers have been leaving me rather dumb founded. My having an advanced training in statistical analysis and probability only makes it worse. I have read a number of science research results with a lot of shock.

sometime in the '90s . I think early-mid '90s, when i was actively involved in AIDS awareness campaigns, we were one day shocked when one researcher gave us his results pointing out to the fact that the virus' spread was accelerated by consumption of believe it or not , fish. He had very detailed analysis replete with figures and examples. he pointed out the luo, luhya, iteso , and some communities in uganda, malawi, tanzania where HIV was prevalent and whose main dish was fish based. Well i was just dumb founded. but i cant remember how that research went.

then just recently i read again another research where the scientist was trying to explain men's dalliance with prostitutes. his hypothesis and conclusion was that men who frequent prostitutes are actually men with stronger genes. so he said that those men were simply under pressure from the natural law of selection to propagate those superior genes for greater common good of human species survival! He went on to state that if you look around you will see that most prominent men , who he assumed posses some of these superior genes either had multiple sexual partners, wives or concubines and/or also used services of sex workers. He had figures and examples to support that.

Another research revealed that water was not good for your skin after all. guess how it was performed. the researcher took one pair of twins (since they share most of the DNA) one was made not to drink water at all while the other took the recommended water ration of 10 glasses a day. the experiment took one month after which the researcher tested the skins for moisture content. he found out that there was no difference. ok lets not even start with alpha being a non biased estimate of theta!

and late '90s early 2000s, a friend of mine told me of his participation in a study in Kisumu. the study was based in Kisumu's Lumumba dispensary and was financed by Bill-Melinda gates foundation. a group of them were asked to get 'cut' and then continue being sexually active. they were not encouraged to use condoms during the period of the study. however they were to visit the clinic every week for check up during which visit they would get paid 200 shillings allowance. additionally they got free medical care whenever they fell sick. After a few years , just about 6 short years, the study concluded that HIV spread is reduced by 60% through the cut! Raila gave his great support the other day and story goes that men in that region are trooping to the centers for the magical circumcision. Never mind that Africans are the most 'cut' people in the world and is generally leading in infection rates.

ok lets forget about scientists and researchers for a while. This years home expo at the KICC was both very encouraging and revealing. one, that Kenyans though faced with tough times are still very innovative and full of hope. most people were asking a lot about solar systems meaning the energy thing has hit all of us real hard. secondly that most people i met seeking information on home purchase and mortgages were young ladies either in their late 20s or early 30s. Like Moi said last week men be afraid be very afraid!