Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Uhuru Kenyatta Finally Agrees With His Employers…

President Uhuru Kenyatta is what we here in Kenya call “kichwa ngumu”. For more than a year, hundreds of Kenyans have lost their lives in terrorist related attacks. Many Kenyans have for long held the opinion that the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku and the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo were in over their heads in their jobs. The President thought otherwise. 

It was pretty obvious to everyone that inevitably, we would get to the point where these two gentlemen would have to leave. I am surprised that it took so long. President Kenyatta knew that a decision on the two would have to be made, but he chose to delay the inevitable for reasons that are not immediately clear to me. It was probably because everyone seemed to be telling him what to do, and Uhuru doesn’t take instructions very well. Kichwa ngumu.


However, the President has done the right thing in forcing the resignation of the Inspector General. Yeah, that story about Kimaiyo “retiring for personal reasons” is a joke and it just makes him look pathetic. Uhuru has also done the right thing by easing out Ole Lenku from his position in Cabinet. His nomination of Joseph Nkaissery as Interior Cabinet Secretary is a smart move.

First, Nkaissery, being a retired soldier, is more acceptable to the Kenyan populace that has for months been highly skeptical of Ole Lenku’s suitability for that position. He brings with him a wealth of experience in security matters, and subject to his confirmation by Parliament, he should inject a much needed professional and experienced perspective to that ministry. Second, he is a member of the opposition, having being sponsored to parliament by ODM. That should shut up the busybodies on that side for a while. And if the security situation does not improve under Nkaissery, well, things are going to get very interesting in CORD. Third, just like Ole Lenku, he is Maasai, so there will be no backlash from that region.

I kind of feel sorry for Ole Lenku for the situation he finds himself in. There he was, enjoying his nice, cushy job at the Utalii Hotel, when the call of national duty came knocking and he found himself at the centre of one of the most stressful jobs in the country. When the President announced that appointment, many Kenyans were taken aback, seeing as the only experience Ole Lenku had with matters security was being searched by guards at the entrance to malls and other buildings. The rationale for giving him that job was not entirely understood by many people, but we let it slide and hoped for the best. As it turned out, that didn’t work out too well.

Um... okay, Kenyans are just mean, c'mon!

It has been said before that the problem with the Police Service is the command structures, and not the person heading the organization. I beg to differ. However much there may be a problem with the way the police conduct their business, it also requires a charismatic leader, one that inspires confidence, someone who actually looks like he knows what’s up.

David Kimaiyo - God bless his heart because I believe he is a good man and he wanted to do right by his country -, I am sorry to say, struck me as a man who was overwhelmed by the demands of his office. Whenever he appeared on TV to make a statement, he looked as clueless as the rest of us. It is little wonder then, that he became fodder for jokes and parodies because no one took him seriously.

With the exit of both Ole Lenku and Kimaiyo, the President may have scored political points by agreeing with Kenyans that fresh eyes are needed in the management of security in this country. That is what people wanted him to do. He was fast losing a lot of the political goodwill that he has managed to garner for himself in the last few months by being hardheaded about it and making the right statements at the wrong time, such as telling Kenyans that everyone should take responsibility for their own security and not quite acknowledging his own government’s failure in fulfilling its constitutional mandate of PROVIDING and ENSURING security for all citizens. That statement at a time when we had just lost 28 Kenyans in Mandera and we were looking up to him to give guidance and direction was not a smart thing to do.

The next focus should be on fixing whatever the problem is that makes it difficult for the coordination of operations between the various arms of the Police Service and the National Intelligence Service (NIS). This story of the NIS gathering intelligence and passing it on to the cops only for it to be sat on is not cool. That needs to be dealt with. It doesn’t sound like it’s a hard thing to do. It just requires goodwill on both sides and a firm talking to by the President. Preferably when he’s in a foul mood and he’s banging tables and glaring at everyone with bloodshot eyes. That should get the job done.

These ones.

Insecurity is a problem for everyone in this country, whether brought about by terrorists or by small boys hijacking public service vehicles and spoiling everyone’s day. I agree with Uhuru that we should all take personal responsibility for security instead of simply being passive victims and hoping for the best.

I know President Kenyatta means well for this country and he wants to be a successful President. He has done well so far, but if this crisis continues, it might undo all the good he has done.

I wish him well.


Those making all manner of noise about Uhuru Kenyatta’s PR machine nini nini should take a chill pill. They should understand that the President is a politician and he understands his brand very well. He has managed to package himself as a Man of The People. He enjoys mingling with ordinary citizens, shaking hands, taking selfies, laughing heartily at everyone’s jokes, etc.

People respond to that and they love him as a person. If he gets a grip on this insecurity story, doesn’t trip up on other things and generally doesn’t give roots to the opposition’s agenda (getting rid of him), 2017 will be a walk in the park for Brand Uhuru.

Let’s give him his due. He’s probably the smartest politician of his generation.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Of Homosexuality, Binyavanga, Museveni and Obama…

So, the last few weeks have been filled with a lot of talk on gayism (no, it is not an actual English word). First it was Binyavanga Wainaina, the Kenyan writer who became probably the first public figure in the country to openly come out of the closet and declare his homosexuality.

"She thinks I like her. Syke!"

Then there was news from across the border in Uganda where President Yoweri Museveni first declined to sign into law a bill that would see gay people sent to prison for life. He has since changed his mind and decided to sign the bill, citing research from Ugandan scientists that shows homosexuality as “... not a disease but merely an abnormal behaviour which may be learned through experiences in life.” Okay.

"There, there, we'll take good care of you. You'll be just fine."

First, I want to talk about Binyavanga and this whole coming out business. Predictably, his action generated a lot of heat both in his support and... well, not in his support. Homosexuality as a subject tends to split people down the middle, both as a political and a moral issue. My opinion is pretty straight forward. I will never understand how a man could be sexually attracted to another man. I will never get it. However, I can see how a woman might find another woman sexually attractive. My logic is simple. I am heterosexual, therefore I find the female form to be a thing of beauty, and I say this with a great deal of respect to women. So yes, I totally get lesbianism.

"Yeah, we totally get it too!"

But why do we make such a big deal out of other people’s bedroom preferences? For example, why do we feel invested in whether Binyavanga sleeps with men or women? And why does Binyavanga feel the need to let the whole world know that he does not really like women that way? What is the value in “coming out”?

I understand why the gay community might feel discriminated against by society at large. They want equal rights as those enjoyed by non-gays. Moral arguments aside, fair enough. But is it really necessary for one to announce or declare their sexual orientation to the public? Why is it necessary to let the whole world know how you like your dessert served, and by that I mean how you like to have sex?

Every human being has a right to choose whom they want to have sex with and how, as long as it is consensual. I may not agree with the choices that some folks make. There may even be religious and moral arguments against those choices. Whatever. What I am concerned about is this need by homosexuals to “come out” and let everyone know what they get up to in the bedroom.

As a heterosexual, I have never found it necessary to announce that I like women. I have never had to. It is none of anyone’s business but mine and whoever I am involved with. Conversely, I really do not care what other people do behind closed doors. As a practising Christian, I know that I should probably be breathing fire every time homosexuality is mentioned, but honestly, I just cannot summon that righteous anger that might be expected of me.

I. Just. Don’t. Care.

I respect Binyavanga as an accomplished writer. He is a talented prose writer and I have enjoyed his works. And that is the extent to which I am familiar with him. I do not know him personally; therefore I have had no opinion on his sexual preference. Until now. Because of his public coming out, I will now know him as that homosexual writer, not in any derogatory way, but because that is how, by commission, he has chosen to cloak himself.

I have read some online comments by fans of his works. Some are supportive of him; others not so much. Some are actually offended by his homosexuality that they have decided that he must not be a very good writer after all. Which is a ridiculous premise of course, but there you are. You cannot argue with people’s stupid opinions.


But when a person in the public eye makes the decision to declare their sexual orientation, particularly if said orientation is not very acceptable, they must understand that the public will from that point on define them by their sexual preference. I find that to be unnecessarily distracting. For instance, right now we are not talking about Binyavanga The Writer; instead, we are speculating on what kind of sexual partner he is. Dominant or submissive? Who cares?

Incidentally, Binyavanga’s late mother was Ugandan (Binyavanga is a Ugandan name), and that country is currently in the middle of a storm that has attracted the attention of US President Barack Obama. Following the decision to sign the anti-gay bill by President Museveni, Obama has said that that decision “...could complicate Uganda’s relations with the US.”

Now, I find Uganda’s position on the whole gay question to be not only repressive, but an overreaction of titanic proportions. I understand how some people might find gayism disgusting and everything, but do you really want to jail for life folks who choose to rub their genitals against other similar genitals? Really?

Of course that decision by Museveni, as much as it sounds like he is doing what the larger Ugandan public wants him to do, could very well be a well calculated political move. It is said that the President really believes, just like he had earlier indicated, that homosexuality is a genetic disorder and that homosexuals need care and treatment and not jail time. Also, he is very alive to the fact that his country’s relationship with donors could be strained by harsh laws against the gay community.

When Uganda’s parliament passed that bill, Museveni’s hands were tied to the extent that he needs that same parliament to pass some crucial bills that are important to him. So he obviously needs the House’s goodwill, while at the same time not wanting to alienate the donor community. So what is a president to do?

Simple. Sign the anti-gay bill into law and keep the Members of Parliament happy while looking good among the country’s conservative right. Then get your people to go to court – of course no one knows they are your people – to contest the law. Wring your hands and tell the nation you tried to sort out the gay problem, but you could only do so much. The wazungus are glad that you are not really going to send gays to prison forever and everyone goes home happy. Problem solved!

Back to President Obama, as much as I disagree with the direction that Uganda is taking with the gay law, I cannot help feeling slightly insulted by the condescending manner in which the US administration deals with nations in the so called developing world. Just because homosexuality is slowly going mainstream in some parts of the US does not mean that other countries should follow suit.

I... I have no words, Time Magazine.

Obama is overtly pro gay, but it is wrong for him to try and impose his beliefs and opinions on other nations.  It is not a smart move to base your foreign policy on how other nations treat their gay population. That kind of rhetoric has the potential to backfire in interesting ways, especially with the Chinese looking to supplant the West in Africa. There are better and more diplomatic ways of expressing displeasure than subtly hinting at possible complications in bilateral relations.

Having said that, we must all agree that homosexuality has been around since time immemorial and it is highly unlikely that it will stop any time soon. Having punitive laws that open the door to sending gays to prison for life, or even executing them for not enjoying sex the way us “normal” folks do will not cure the gay out of homosexuals. It will only send the gay culture and lifestyle underground, not eradicate it.

Frankly, I am not even sure that we should be treating homosexuality as a problem. Come on, we are talking about people who have unconventional sexual taste, not poverty or famine or insecurity or any number of things that should be our focus especially in Kenya. I do not think we should give the gay community the recognition they want as a “minority” group because I think that is a load of crap. They are just people who have chosen a certain lifestyle and they should be able to live with its limitations.

However, we should not really be falling all over ourselves criminalizing the hell out of gayism. It is a complete waste of time and resources, and while it may give those amongst us that find it disgusting for people of the same gender to have sex with each other some measure of comfort that we are making the world safer for... for... um, I have no idea where I am going with this sentence.


Some of my readers complained about the use of cuss words in my last post. They will be glad to note that I have ably exercised restraint this time. Unfortunately, I cannot, in all honesty promise that I shall continue to behave myself.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

4 Things I’m Really Looking Forward To In 2014

I know this article is kind of late, this being way past the beginning of the year, but whatever man.

So how was 2013 for you? Did you have a good one or did you spend the year in prison because you just don’t get how breaking the law is kind of, I don’t know, illegal? Well, if they are letting you out this year, try not to do stuff that will draw the wrong kind of legal attention to you. Or don’t get caught. Whatever.  Or your life will just keep on sucking, trust me.

Is that you? It is you, isn't it?

But if you enjoyed 2013 like I did (sometimes), then I’m pretty sure you probably made some resolutions for 2014 to make sure life doesn’t suck for you. Well, I gave up making New Year resolutions a long time ago because it just felt so... commitment-y? Anyway, even without resolutions, there are certainly things that I’m hoping will happen this year.

Here are 4 of those things.                                         

1. I Hope Uhuru Doesn’t Let Me Down As President

I have an admission to make. I voted for Uhuru Kenyatta in the presidential elections of March, 2013. I know some people will look at my last name and go “Duh, we know! *yawn*”. Did I vote for Uhuru because he is Kikuyu like me? Maybe, maybe not. Let’s not pretend that this doesn’t happen elsewhere in the world.

A huge chunk of the ethnic vote that went to Barack Obama in the last two US presidential elections was on account of his race. Conversely, many white people that voted for his rivals voted for them because they are white and Obama is black. That is the bare truth. Anyway, the debate on whether it’s retrogressive to look at a candidate’s ethnic heritage when making political decisions at the ballot can be had another time.

Not related to article

I voted for this president because I believed, as I still do, that he is the best person for that job. I made my decision and I’m obviously hoping that I shall be proven right. President Kenyatta has a lot of detractors, people that are waiting for him to fail. I think he’s doing a good job so far, but he has made some decisions that I have found to be questionable.

I understand his discomfort with the media, and I know many of his supporters agree with the Media Bill signed by the President and passed by the National Assembly. But it just seems to me that the ten years of Mwai Kibaki’s presidency were the free-est this country has ever enjoyed, and I’m just getting a bad feeling that there might be efforts to take us back into the bad days of the Moi era, in which any dissent against government was dealt with harshly.

I will continue to support President Kenyatta, but I refuse to blindly support every decision he makes just because I don’t want to be seen to disagree with him. He is human after all, and I don’t expect him to be perfect. But unlike some of my fellow supporters, I will call bullshit when I see it.

Oh yeah, also, I really want to see him deal with what are obviously corruption cartels in his administration. If he doesn’t deal with them now, he’s likely to be held hostage by them down the road making it difficult to sort them out then. It would be unfortunate if his legacy, much like that of President Kibaki before him is one of a president who presided over a hopelessly corrupt regime.

2. Avoid Death

Death kind of sucks, right? If you’re writing a suicide note right now just before you jump off that window, you should know that you’re going to look like tomato paste when you link up with the concrete down there. I’m just saying. But just in case you have doubts, maybe you should talk to someone because I really think that being alive is f*****g awesome!

I just can’t imagine not being able to breathe in the smoggy, dusty air of Nairobi, or being unable to walk into Picco Lounge in South B on a Thursday evening to sing karaoke while sipping a warm Tusker (cold will not do because it interferes with the mucous membrane in your throat hence rendering you unable to sing. Thought I should mention that).

I am not able to comprehend being unable to eat all the junk food that I love even though medical literature tells me that that shit is going to kill me sooner or later but I eat it anyway because it just tastes so f*****g good!

I CANNOT imagine not being able to look at a beautiful woman and feel the familiar rushing of blood from my brain to another part of my body and saying silent thanks that there IS A LIVING GOD HALLELUYIA!!!

What I’m saying is that living rocks! And while I know that my life will end at some point in my future, I just don’t want it to be this year. So I will do everything within my power to ensure that death stays at a respectable distance from me.

I will drive more carefully. I will cross the road only when I’m pretty sure that I shall not suffer the indignity of lying on the hot tarmac with my skull cracked open while wearing only one shoe! I will stop drinking in dodgy bars where I’m likely to get drugged by beautiful ladies of the night so they can rob me. Unless they went to the Medical School For Lacing Idiot’s Drinks, I don’t trust them to not overdose me and cause my heart to stop.

Yes, I have every intention of being alive beyond this year.

3. More Money In The Pocket

Money is kind of an awesome thing to have, right? It makes it possible to live a life that doesn’t suck all the time, you’re able to put food on the table and have a roof for your family so that your kids don’t turn into street urchins and use their poop to extort money from me so they can eat! Yeah, now that I think about it, I really prefer that you have money because I think your kids’ poop really smells bad. I don’t want that on me! What the f**k do you feed them?

So anyway, seeing as all those good folks that work in the alcohol industry have kids too, and alcohol, I assure you, is not going to drink itself no matter how long you stare at it, I’ve resolved to do everything this year to make more money and spend it on beer. You know, for the kids.

Oh yeah, I guess also to advance myself economically and those whom I love.

As much as we may not want other people to think of us as money loving sons of bitches, the truth is that your quality of life is determined by how much money you make. The more ways you’re able to increase your income, the more stuff you’re able to buy and the better you’re able to feed your kids so they don’t develop rickets or something. Money allows you to achieve your goals because I am yet to learn of a goal anywhere in the world that doesn’t require money.

You want to advance your education? The school will need you to pay tuition fees. You want to buy a car? The dealer will need to see some cash. You want to develop a drug habit? Your weed guy is not in the charity business yo! Speaking of charity, an area in which I’m interested in this year, that shit requires money. If you intend to feed extra mouths, you sure as hell require more money.

So yeah, whichever way you slice it, more money in the pocket rocks! Yay!

4. Travel More, See the World

When I was a kid in the 80s, there was a song I used to hear on VoK in the mornings before I left for school. It was called Take A Message To Mary by the Everly Brothers. It was about a guy who needs a message taken to his fiancée, Mary, from his jail cell.

He’s been busted for robbing a stagecoach, and presumably killing someone because there’s an allusion to a gun that went off. Anyway, he doesn’t want her to know that he’s in jail, and instead wants her to believe that the reason he’s calling off their wedding is because he had to travel to see the world. I think this guy is kind of a douchebag. Anyway, he tells the messenger in a verse to tell Mary that he went to Timbuktu to search for gold.

The reason I mention this song is because for a very long time, this was the image I had of Timbuktu.

Actually, this is Timbuktu.

I always imagined Timbuktu to be some magical far, far away land, away from all the troubles of the world. And of course there was all that gold there was to be had. It felt like a place I just had to visit. That was until I discovered that the place is actually in Mali, Africa!

Yeah, thanks a lot Internet for bursting my bubble!

So I guess I’m going to Timbuktu this year.