Political & Social Empowerment


There is an interesting story by some writer of yore in the Arabian Gulf in the ambient of the current nation of Iran. The storyteller for whom I have long taken a great admiration concocted the kaleidoscopically colourful character known as Abu Nuwas. One day Abu Nuwas was cutting a tree branch for personal use. The peculiar thing is that he was sitting on the same branch. After sometime hacking on that branch with a hatchet a man passed nearby. Perceiving immediately with great concern the great peril a fellow citizen was exposing himself to by that very action he spoke out to Abu Nuwas. He enlightened him that similar action will no doubt result in a cataclysmic fall and horrible injury. Abu Nuwas ignored these ramblings as those of some busy-body over the chip of his axe as he kept chopping away. In one fell swoop the branch gave way and he came tumbling down unceremoniously with it. Rather fortuitously, he was cushioned by the thick foliage below. That same moment thoughts of gratitude crossed his mind. He suddenly had an elevated opinion of the gentleman that had warned him of impending danger and thought of him as some clairvoyant or even a prophet. He immediately went after the guy. He found him in a saunter going about his errands for the day. Fast as lightning while possessing the verve of a child with a new toy, Abu Nuwas enquired from the man how he knew that his posture would certainly have led to a tumble with the branch. Without even waiting for the answer, he further enthused the man to predict when Abu Nuwas was going to die. This was a tough ask leaving the composed character absolutely speechless and catatonic for three whole seconds. He was also starting to feel pestered. However, he composed himself though thinking of Abu Nuwas quite a stubborn and irrepressible character and told him that the day he rides his donkey and stumbles three times will be his last. That took care of Abu Nuwas giving him something to worry about and freed the paragon of concern to go about his business in bustling Baghdad. But I digress.

In most of 2017 Kenya mirrored the behavior exemplified by Abunuwas on the tree branch in the above anecdote. After the January 30th 2018 swearing-in ceremony for the People’s President of The Republic of Kenya, Raila Odinga there seemed to be no way back. The fission looked complete. With two ‘Presidents’ installed in the same country, only fire and brimstone clouded the horizon. The fall-out from eons of neglected historical injustices, the bitterly yet closely contested election in August and consequent brutality meted by state players on the opposition, the nullification of that entire process and the farcical fresh election seemed to have pushed us to the edge of the precipice. Battle lines had been drawn and positions entrenched so deeply the tension arising was virtually palpitating. In most households in the opposition strongholds, murmurs of secession were evident and poignant for all to see. And these sentiments were no doubt justified. Hateful rhetoric was spewed from all quarters and the same leaders who we elected as our symbols of unity morphed to become the very wedge that was splitting the gargantuan woody tree representing what we have learnt to call our motherland asunder. Dubious and quite shady characters; some purporting to be members of some ‘business community’, were co-opted on an inexplicable basis to militantly protect the interests of the majorly unpopular but imposed majority. Polarization was the order of the day and like a living cell that is in the Telophase stage, a seismic split was definitely on the cards. Then the seemingly unexpected happened, an anticlimax of sorts. On the 9th of March 2018, a meeting was secretly concocted at the President’s Office between him and his bitter rival catching both ally and foe speechless. The aftermath of the meeting was an unexpected handshake between the bitter antagonists and a cessation of hostilities.

Bewildered and having lost any modicum of relevance some politicians retreated to their cocoons while others simply did what politicians do best and hypocritically postured as if they never had any enmity in the first place and were just in some small sibling tiff. The handshake was no doubt good for the country. As evidenced by the crumbling economy due to the loss of investor confidence due to political uncertainty. Popular misery was exacerbated by the fact that there was no generation of revenue due to incessant demonstrations, strife and damage to enterprises that had decided to be brave as to open their doors in this turbulent period. A dearth in tourism due to travel advisories in many a foreign mission had resulted in such massive lay-offs, hotels and lodges were virtually operating on skeleton staff. Lecturers, teachers and for the first time in a while doctors went on strike totally paralyzing important aspects of human capital development and health. There was virtually no one to address these conundrums as the nation was too deep into the murk of ascertaining who was the real victor of the popular vote and whose result was a computer-generated fallacy! To add insult to injury, the NASA coalition poisoned the minds of their massive support base against products and services that were deemed to be owned by senior operatives and functionaries in the Jubilee government. This drastically cut the financial output from these companies and attendant taxation that is usually a foregone conclusion when business is booming. Our nation had definitely been jolted to the core.

Now in the aftermath of the handshake I dare take on the elephant in the room and ask, “What is the relevance of this handshake?” Yes a cooling of simmering tensions has been occasioned but what’s next for the man at the bottom of the pyramid who bears the greatest brunt of any conflict? All of us can agree the newly minted concord between Odinga and Kenyatta gives us the best opportunity to iron out long-standing challenges to our nationhood. This in my mind should be a conduit through which an all-inclusive agenda has to be set out for our national dialogue. Remember, only a few weeks ago sections of this country felt so disenfranchised that they wanted by hook or crook to be de-linked from this nation. A bill and framework was all ready to be tabled and it was looking awry. Plenty of water both the red and clear has gone under the bridge but to avoid any further these are the measures I propose for the two titans of the Kenyan political landscape:

  • Kill ethnic contempt & antagonism – For years on end ethnic contempt and competition has been a thorn in our flesh. We seem to think that national progression and respect for each other are virtues that exist in mutual exclusion. Some have a demented view that if you build up your tribal enclave and homestead to surpass another ethnic group that will in some way lead to national development. Such a tokenistic mentality drives me to almost salute one with the middle digit. It is flawed and impracticable to say that one county or tribal subscription, favoured by the application of an inordinate abundance of national resource will actually drive our GDP as a country upwards. This will be counterproductive, raise eyebrows and even infuse unnecessary bad-blood that will be to the benefit of none in particular. Of course, the deprived will ask why their tax-payers kitty which they no doubt contributed to by the uptake of their blood, sweat and tears is not of any benefit to them.
  • National ideology and mindset – As a nation there is unanimous admission that we lack a national ideology and mantra to guide us in true unity much needed for continuation as one. More than any other time we need to focus more on what unites us than what actually creates rifts. Building of bridges is a skill each one of us has the onerous responsibility of undertaking at the moment. We should know that we are sailors in the same boat and that if it tips over not just the guys on one side but the entire craft will capsize. Invariably, a hole on one section of the same boat will ultimately flood and sink the entirety of the contraption. By the way tectonic forces in the Rift valley have forced the chasm to grow to the point that it split the road at Mai-Mahiu. That is to demonstrate that we don’t need any more fissures in our national politics as these mere chalk circles as a suffix to what we have already been dealt by nature will only serve to hurt rather than be of service to us. In the absence of a road all of us will be cut off, suffer lack of travel, will not conduct commerce, require expensive air travel and starve together. We no doubt have common challenges like illiteracy, poverty, disease, flooding immediately after drought & famine which we have to address irrespective of any affiliation. Our ethos should gravitate towards collective good as a nation.
  • Inclusivity is not even a word in existence anymore in the collective vocabularies of our supposed leaders onto light and future fortune. What shared prosperity are we to aspire to as a nation if some are not treated as a vital and integral part of the whole. The rumble of secession was not a passing cloud and we should begin engendering in each other a sense of belonging to this unit or we go burst with all the demerits that come with it. Not to intimidate anyone but we lose out on the synergy that would have pushed us further forward if we worked in respect and seamless articulation to each other, but who am I to say?
  • Devolution– The new constitution opened the chapter on devolution and an assessment on how the new devolved units are doing so far is necessary. It has already been made evident that this is the best way of sharing out national resources and I am one to doubt we are ever going back on it. The percolation of state largesse to the man at the grassroots so far looks good but there still remains rooms for improvement. The allocation of 15 % needs to be bumped-up to about 30% of the national budget. The Lake-basin counties initiative that seeks to pool together funds for development of these units in Western and Nyanza is a welcomed move that will create utility in our county structures and help develop more future infrastructure. In unity we will attain whatever dream we look up to.
  • Divisive Elections – The issue of divisive elections based on some tribal arithmetic and the exclusion of huge majorities by our winner take all system has to be addressed. One of our lionized second liberation leaders has spoken of a three-tier government that has the executive, 14 regional blocs as an addition to the existing national government. The Executive also needs a way of accommodating in the proposed governance structure the leader of the party with the highest number of elected Members and Senators in the position of Prime Minister. Those opposed to this are no doubt beneficiaries of the vicious cycle of pre-election and post-election violence that has held this country captive ever since the advent of multiparty elections. As Kenyans of goodwill we have to stand up in force and say we have outgrown the loss of our kith and kin just so that some nebulous entity we have little knowledge of and miniscule affections for becomes a president. Our lives should be deemed too sacrosanct as to be made the pawn of some useless sport and anyone opposed to that should no doubt be relegated to the same level of importance we apportion to carpets and grass on the ground. This is no leader but a character to be tossed into ignominy with the contempt he or she deserves!
  • Peace and Security of every citizen must be guaranteed as a human right enshrined in our constitution and not as an act of mercy by the Lords of the time. These are essential components for prosperity for any nation that has ever approached the acme of the sophistication we all seek. The Peace spoken of here should not just be the calm before a storm rather an authentic product of truth and justice to be enjoyed by all bounded by our national borders. True Peace and Justice no doubt procreates the kind of stability that is much needed to progress any country to the next level and is what our leaders should aim to embrace for the well-being of our republic.
  • Corruption – The leviathan-sized monster called corruption has to be tamed to some degree. Egotistical and kleptocratic leaders should be made redundant as to only serve as a relic of our primitive past. Rampant corruption has proven an impediment to any development that we may have as a leakage of resources will no doubt hamper implementation. Also among the things castigated by former Prime Minister at the 5th Devolution Conference in Kakamega include the moral corruption which he mentioned in jest, had seen some leaders choosing to engage in shady activities in the dark as a means to save on the electricity bills while operating in a 24-hour economy! Public office should neither be seen as an opportunity to fill-up your political war-chest for future political engagements nor a way to earn yourself the ever-elusive title of libido-in-chief by trying to give warmth to as many members of the opposite gender as possible under your jurisdiction! I have had conversations with many friends who give a dull assessment on the possibility of totally eradicating corruption but I personally hold that there is no need of tolerating any longer a vice that benefits only a few people to the detriment of the collective good. Integrity will be of greater value to us far beyond illegitimately earned riches.
  • Shared Natural Resources – We need to responsibly use our national resources not just among ourselves but with respect to others. What do I mean? When we decide to engage in illegal logging in say the Mau or Cherangany forests, the result is the drying of the Feeder Rivers that flow into Lake Victoria. A recession of the waters of that grand lake will put us at loggerheads not just among ourselves but with our neighbours Uganda and Tanzania if they are prudent in resource management on their part and they see Kenya as the weak link. Also we recently discovered oil & gas in the Lake Turkana basin and for many that was a source of great glee and jubilation. We would finally be able to fuel our motor vehicles using cheaper fuel obtained within our boundaries! But for me it only brought heart palpitations. This is because all over Africa and the third world, conflict has arisen not as a result of any other reason other than a feeling of skewed resource allocation. Immediately one group feels slighted for instance the traditional occupants of the land a mineral resource has been discovered there is bound to be the genesis of ceaseless friction. Only targeted and genuine dialogue will avert a resource–based conflict that has seen abundantly blessed nations like DRC failing to attain any level of the great potential they hold within.
  • Constitutional Implementation – Checklist on the attainment of our Constitutional timelines is now due for marking. Nearly 10 years since the promulgation how much benefit has accrued from this creature of many years struggle and many days of fine-tuning and accommodation of diverse interest? Also a strengthening of capacity for national institutions like the IEBC should be made an important agenda item for discussion as no progress can ever flow from flawed polls or an unpopular leader elected with disregard to integrity. Civic education on the same is also required so that as a polity we are also better able to critique any failures evident. As the document stipulates, “Sovereignty is vested upon the Citizens of the Republic and nowhere else.”

In humble submission I must add that we must not just blindly give in to the request for blanket amnesty to Uhuru Kenyatta and the Government machinery just because he asked for it. No! That apology will only pass the true test of sincerity and be worth anything if it is backed up by sound and deliberate action. He will only deserve our forgiveness if and only if he puts in motion the execution of a clear strategy ensuring that never again will Kenyan lives be lost as a consequence of political contestation for the presidency. He should midwife a referendum to foster a more inclusive governance structure and lobby for its approval by the majority of the nation, apparently the same that voted him in for the second term. For President Kenyatta to secure any measure of legacy he will have to deal with these long-standing issues conclusively and without regard to any impediment because the future will judge his tenure harshly if he does not.

Political & Social Empowerment



A forest has many definitions. Some define it as an ecological landscape dominated by trees and woody vegetation. From some enlightened folk has been issued the explanation about a complex interaction of wood, herbaceous flora, fauna, soil and other factors. The simplest one is a tree-dominated area, verdant land. I remember back in the day when I was still in primary school honing the writing skill that I proudly display today, we wrote many essays on the topic ‘The Importance of Forests’ and ‘Faida ya Miti.’ We yapped on end about forests being water catchment areas, sources of food and medicine, the habitat of many common and rare flora and fauna, they are our carbon sinks to reduce air pollution and the source of the oxygen we breathe. They also hold our Terra-firma so as not to be eroded into the rivers and seas which we have no contract to supply with our fertile agriculturally potent soil, they have economic value as source of timber for construction and furniture, also a source of fuel. They are additionally a tourist attraction as it is not all countries that are endowed with tropical rain forests, mangrove forests, bamboo forests, heath and moorlands and what not. They invariably provide us with revenue that will be vital to run our economy. Forests form a natural barrier between the domestic and the jungle habitats. All these essential oils like chamomile, mint, sage and olive oil required for cosmetic, medicinal and culinary value are reaped from these same forests. Not to forget tannin that turns skin into leather. For the coastal communities, who does not appreciate the potency of the local brew ‘mnazi.’

Despite all these great uses to humanity and all terrestrial life, the agents tasked with the protection of our natural resources apparently missed out on writing such essays due to some omission or commission on their part! So do their actions which seem to betray such a systemic chasm in their understanding of the same. When I was in Primary School forest cover in Kenya stood at a measly 8.3%. Initiatives were being pontificated to aggressively build on this level. Political leaders traversed this country preaching about the same to every rapt audience in attendance. Unfortunately, they did more talking than acting as consequent to all their efforts by the year 2011 we were down to 7.75%, a damning indictment on their efforts. On such a trajectory we may have burnt through our entire forest cover by the next generation. This is no doubt a cause for alarm.

We all remember the monumental task that our very own Nobel-Peace Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai made her life’s work and passion. Most of us appreciate the noble efforts she made to stop the monument to nihilism and vanity that was to be built at Uhuru Park which would have invalidated the existence of the only green space that we have as the splendour of our capital city. She in great conviction also stood her ground to prevent the wanton and inordinate grabbing and distribution of our great heritage to the Mau-Mau revolution, the Karura forest. I am not just speaking from an emotional standpoint though as I have personally visited the woodland that is home to the caves and bunkers where our independence heroes hid while in bits and pieces hewing down the colonial juggernaut out of our nation. Imagine if all this would have been pilfered to the concrete jungle that is the construction of high-end rental apartments and real-estate for a few people’s narrow economic gain. All the fresh air, meditation zones (for the peace of mind), biking tracks and camping grounds for family and friend’s bonding lost and for what? The long and short of it is that our dear matriarch of jungle conservation was clobbered but her spirit remain unbowed and she inspired the local and international community to ensure not an inch of that prime natural air freshener was lost. She eventually got her Nobel Prize but which pays credence to these efforts she launched all over our nation. She once uttered sentiments to the effect, “nature can be quite unforgiving, if we allow greedy and corrupt individuals to destroy our forests then nature will hit back with an unmitigated vengeance and we deserve whatever misfortune that will ever befall us.” The Veterinary doctor had to literally protect Karura forest and Uhuru Park from annihilation against formidable opposition from State actors. She also put in motion a consciousness in many Kenyans for environmental conservation. Now we have environment and tree planting clubs in almost every school, youth groups and many companies have in place Corporate Social Responsibility policies that emphasize the same. For every tree that is cut down we should always aspire to plant two.

There are already journals to suggest the link between forest cover and availability of rainfall so it is no longer a myth that forests draw rainfall.  One such can be found here: In Geography we were taught that forested land has a higher evapo-transpiration rate than the sea. When the water heats up and converts into vapour wafting upwards, the cool air comes from the sea to replenish it filling the vacuum occasioned by that process. In the absence of forests, dry land has less moisture which inverts the hydrological cycle so that the sea has a higher evaporation than land. A pseudo-vacuum is formed over the sea and air has to move from land to take up that space. This movement no doubt pushes clouds away from land reducing the proclivity of dry lands to getting rainfall. I rest my case there.

The recent pronouncement by our Deputy President, William S. Ruto issuing a moratorium on logging in our nationally gazetted forests was no doubt a step in the right direction. But as we all know this same character resisted such efforts when once-upon-a-time (loosely translating to the year 2009), his then superior the Right Honourable Prime Minister Raila Odinga spearheaded efforts to evict squatters from Mau forest and other forest areas in an effort save our water catchment areas. Ruto proffered profuse yet pedestrian lamentations about protecting the livelihoods of the inhabitants of that forest who were mainly from his core political base. He played the politics of impunity at a crucial epoch in history and nature has proven unforgiving. When today, he is in the seat of power and a heart-beat away from the presidency he faces a more profound quandary of dry river beds even in hitherto apparent paradises of greenery like Kericho. This begs the question, what would Mr. Ruto have lost had he supported Mr. Odinga’s efforts in 2009? Wasn’t it better for those vaunted and much needed efforts to have been commenced earlier rather than later? But I digress. That is now water under the proverbial bridge. What I try to reiterate is the importance of Government’s Political will in the face of such an egregious threat.

The wheels of any national undertaking can only turn consequent to lubrication with the grease of Political will and sound policy by the Government of the day.

Despite Constitutional obligations enshrined in the Bill of Rights Chapter 4 Article 42 and Chapter 5 Article 70 bequeathing upon us the Right to a reasonably clean and enforcement of sustainable practices to protect our environment, only Political Will by State players will make that notion a reality. In her memoir, ‘Unbowed’ Prof. Wangari Maathai quipped about Liberties not being things that are set on some table in a silver platter for all and sundry to enjoy but are hard-fought and afterwards contingency has to be made to jealously and with great vigilance safeguard them. The sagacity in her conviction is now on show for all to see and no one can dare doubt its authenticity. Climate change is the reality of our time. Dry seasons are more severe and the wet even more pronounced and miserable. We are now experiencing near temperate conditions where Hot Seasons are torrid escalating into heat waves while Cold Seasons become frigid and frosty as to make us question whether we also passed the chill within the constitution without reading the referendum’s fine print! A few weeks ago most of Nairobi, previously dubbed the city in the sun was covered in murk and knee-deep water much to the consternation of all much worse the people who constructed multi-million shilling homes on wetlands. Much as Civil Engineers have taken much of the flak for constructing roads with poor drainage, as per empirical wisdom the heavy dumping of precipitation can no doubt overwhelm even our best designed infrastructure. Some bridges were rendered impassable and even Our World famous bridge at the View point of the Western Rift Valley in Maai-Mahiu was cracked by a combination of tectonic-plate movements and the heavy rainfall effect that inundated the adjacent substratum. All this would have been forestalled or at least its impact abated with a larger herbal mat but as the wise man put it pride comes before a fall, if you fail to plan you plan to fail.

As I have put it in a previous blog what is happening in Kenya is not unique. I will take excerpts from the same: Let me present an anecdotal example. Our minds float across the oceans and we land on Easter Island in the South Eastern Pacific Ocean. This is the tragic tale of how people who took great pride on the illusion of grandeur over all else built monumental statues each to his honour. The landscape dotted with statues which are now a sight to behold but some lie prostrate and without their former lustre. These used to be called Rapa-annui. Men and women cut down the dense forests they were endowed with just to gain more land for the statue building and the accompanying colossal structures of domicile. In fact the principle objective was surreal as to boggle your mind – To create pathways for the Statues’ conveyance by means of rollers. Environmental degradation consequent to these activities led to them losing their agriculturally potent and verdant land. They also lost the trees that would have been valuable to make canoes for their escape from that wasteland. Cornered they turned on each other, engaging in out-of this world macabre competitions and rituals just to survive. They were to a man exterminated. Before the inevitable extinction they equally turned on the same idyllic statues they carved out for themselves. Today that land is unsuitable for habitation and UNESCO named it a World heritage site, to chronicle what havoc the unfettered love for primitive accumulation and infantile destruction of resource can wreak on a nation.

What are we to do to replenish our tree cover? First and foremost this is a task too heavy to saddle onto the already overburdened shoulders of the government, even with their capacity to mobilize resources and what not. Our nationwide pastime of sticking our heads in the sand cannot gain any traction here. But still I will throw onto the government’s court the ball to provide subsidized renewable energy sources to prevent all this rampant burning of charcoal and logging for firewood. I also call for a Private-Public Partnership on both the eco-friendly alternative energy side and the tree planting initiative. For now we are all residents of this Earth. If we render it hostile and uninhabitable we have nowhere else to take sojourn. What destiny will we bequeath to our progeny in generations to come? Economic empowerment is also key in this regard.

In the Saturday Standard of the 10th March 2018; my role-model and exceptional former high school-mate, an inimitably intellectually endowed one-man think tank who professionally serves as an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, Washington D.C, Kennedy Opalo had interesting insight on an opinion column he authors. Sharing an alma-mater, the guy was two classes ahead of myself so I call to mind his absolute aversion to academic mediocrity, second to none every time the Prize giving ceremony was around the corner. He offered optimism that reforestation is possible but only if a tactical, scientifically viable approach is used. In his recollection he gave the example of South Korea that had lost almost all its forest cover to logging during periods of Japanese colonization and the Korean war. At the inception of a visionary leader millions of acreage of trees were planted with the Government keen to stem any dissent from ‘cartels’ and industrialists who use excuses to engage in illegal logging. Government Policy on replenishment of forest cover was not a matter to be put to debate. Today 63.4 % of South Korea is under forest cover. The strategy was to have a 10 year plan with planting trees of value to the local populations. Nut bearing trees were grown for nutritional value while Chestnuts grown for fuel. Fast growing tree varieties were the catalytic precocity of the entire program. Rainy Seasons were not let to go to waste as this was the prime tree planting period. The first Saturday of November was designated the National forest tending day. What did they achieve? A forest cover slightly smaller than the size of our second-biggest county, Marsabit most of it privately-owned. To achieve this in Kenya, we need a tailored strategy that ensures less of our land is put under food production and real estate. A statement that we have a problem that transcends all our political and ethnic affiliation will be a good precursor. A radical reorganization of how we use land will be required. No complaints touching on our racial pride being Africans who often feel the need to divide all available land till there is not even a path to traverse each piece, No! Just an objective look at the sustainable ways to gain more from what little we have. Economic empowerment of the populace is important so as no one feels the need to encroach into forests to produce charcoal then like a windmill wave logging licenses at whoever questions his actions. Research and extension services will come in handy to disseminate newer and better ways to commercialize trees.

PS: I feel a tinge of dismay for all the entrepreneurs who lost their trucks to arson and vandalism for venturing and engaging in tree cutting and haulage in a neighbouring county but even more do I extol the Governor who stood firm not allowing the already degraded forest cover under her jurisdiction to be petered any further to the detriment of the local economy. It all boils down to magnanimity and objectivity instead of careless fluttering of fraudulently acquired or in solidarity with the plight of the guys whose lorries were set ablaze, misappropriated ‘tree-murdering’ licences. Environmental Conservation is a task for us all too significant to be devolved to anyone else or merely a singular entity. Let’s all hug trees not hang them!

Political & Social Empowerment



Contrary to many fables weaved by ignoramuses, Kenyan Opposition has always been vibrant. Pre-independence we had that nascent rivalry between KANU and KADU. While KANU advocated for a centralized system of Government as trumpeted by their name, KADU espoused Democracy in their acronym and were in favour of a federal albeit regionalized format now hailed as the devolved system. As the Kenya African National Union drew most of its support from Luo-Nyanza and Central Kenya, the Kenya African Democratic Union conversely gained traction in Luhya-land, Maasai-land, Kalenjin country and the Coastal region to counter perceived dominance from the Big-two of the time. In the ‘Small General Election’ of 1960 KANU handed KADU a routing that sent their opponents in a tailspin after piping them to the bragging rights as the ruling party. Partly for being magnanimous victors and mostly in the interest of National Unity which they espoused nominally, KANU co-opted KADU into the new majorly African pre-independence government. In Early 1961 Jaramogi Oginga Odinga made history as being the first member of KANU to be suspended by the party for his steadfast adherence to communist leanings contrary to the capitalist outlook that was the staple of KANU. As far as politicians go he is one who evinced the greatest fortitude and consistency in sticking to his ideology and principle even if it was to his detriment in the murky and duplicitous world that is politics. He atoned for this by ceding leadership of the party to Jomo Kenyatta who had hitherto been incarcerated for politically-maligned trumped-up charges by the colonial government. He made the infamous statement, “No Uhuru without Kenyatta.” He may have done this out of nationalist pride at best or in the worst-case scenario merely seeking cheap popularity, naivety, loyalty to long-term friendship, selflessness, poor calculation or blind faith but that is not the gist here speaking from hindsight. For his contribution let’s give him a benefit of doubt and stick with patriotic sentiment. In 1963 Kenya became independent and Ajuma Oginga Odinga was made Vice-president.

Now the year is 1966 and disenchanted with the course that the unified independence government was taking in both land reform and stripping him of his meritoriously earned power, Oginga Odinga resigned from KANU and formed his own party KPU. The Kenya People’s Union was proscribed almost on inception and doomed to fail. Nonetheless, support in Luo-Nyanza irrevocably moved to this new entity. The chickens came home to roost for KPU when Kenyatta and Odinga were involved in a feisty shouting-match during the opening ceremony for the Provincial General Hospital built with funds sourced from Russia. Talk about the proverbial ‘swearing-in ceremony.’ KPU was consequently banned and its leaders detained in the coldest form gratitude has ever been expressed towards a man who was ready to risk life and limb not so long ago for the freedom of Kenyatta. From then on Luo-Nyanza and Kisumu, in particular, became emblematic of revulsion and resentment against KANU. The assassination of flamboyant and popular independence leader Tom Mboya; a Kenyatta loyalist and veritable front-runner as his successor hailing from the region became the Rubicon-crossing event as far as entrenchment into opposition is concerned for the Luo nation ~ Dennis Mukoya ‘No Chills’ Blog.

Later Kenya became a ‘de-facto’ (by fact) one-party state, then an attempted coup later the status was upgraded to ‘de-jure’ (by law) one-party state but the strife for opposition politics still bubbled hot both within KANU ranks and externally. Come the 1990s and the repeal of the infamous Section 2A hailed the full return to the mainstream and the real birth of the multiparty politics in Kenya. People like Kenneth Matiba, Charles Rubia, Martin Shikuku, Masinde Muliro, Mwashengu wa Mwachofi formerly KANU aficionados formed a huge opposition party Forum Of the Restoration of Democracy (FORD). They were joined in it by Jaramogi’s equally fearless, thick-skinned and radically hard-wired son Raila Odinga fresh from exile. As people were busy eating Christmas goat in 1991, the master of convenient and shrewd political machinations; Mwai Kibaki- a former Vice-president and disgruntled Minister for Health, resigned and formed his own Democratic Party. Fissures soon emerged in the behemoth-like FORD with Matiba keeping the FORD-ASILI faction while Odinga became the leader of FORD-KENYA. All this division resulted in a massive opposition vote split in the General Election come December 1992 whose consequence was the ruling party KANU narrowly edging the election with 36.6% of the polity with FORD-ASILI coming home with 25.7% at 2nd. Kibaki’s DP was 3rd and Oginga came fourth. A few years later the Senior Odinga joined the ancestral pool throwing Ford-Kenya into a succession battle. We later as a nation hurtled into the Inter Party Parliamentary Group (IPPG) period, had the 1997 elections and into an audacious phase in the horizon.

In the period between our failed coup in 1982 and the return to Multi-party politics, political persecution was the order of the day for all and sundry who failed to toe the party line with the only legally existing one being KANU. State largesse and good fortune was accorded to anyone who sang to the tune of sycophancy and unflailing loyalty towards the head of state at the time, D.T Arap Moi. Massive expanses of Public land, beach plots, natural forests, state resources and prime residential properties were assigned to the feckless cronies of the President of the day. Appointments to state corporations, Ministerial and as Permanent Secretary were openly with absolute disregard to any laid down procedure done in respect to primarily tribal affiliation-based lines. A huge monument to ‘Nyayo’ for vanity’s sake was supposed to be erected at Uhuru Park looking on to the one at Kenyatta International Conference Centre ostensibly in following the footsteps of our founding father. This project was to be financed by diverted donor funds and was only curtailed by the valour and onerous resistance offered by one Wangari Maathai, a future environmental Nobel-Peace Prize Laureate. Consider this as hearsay and a story for another day!

As I had commenced saying, anyone who tried to oppose the will of the government was met with outright brutality from state agents who had set up shop at Nyayo House for the infamous Nyayo Torture Chambers. Many who were dragged into this impressive structure did not come out with any enthusiasm to recount their horrors therein. Only the tough-skinned and supremely crafted bodies of Raila Odinga, Charles Rubia and Kenneth Matiba among a select few survived this dispiriting existential Armageddon. But horror-movie scripts and actual physical infirmities remain as testament to what these men and women went through. Teeth were pulled out using pliers sans anesthesia, eyes were gorged out and men were put through the vagaries of the crude pastoralist implement called the ‘burdizzo’ as retribution for being virile in expression. Also detention without trial, pre-fabricated court proceedings for sedition, treason and subversion were the order of the day. Daily heavy-handedness by the police became commonplace with being hauled and frog-marched by the seat your pants becoming a popular means of transport for all who fell foul of the police force and state security. Python-grade clobbering by the later became routine practice not even questioned by our seemingly progressive-minded and devout father of the nation who in front of live cameras attended AIC church every Sunday as suggested by News Bulletins. Hiring and Firing of Ministers and other state functionaries was done by the roadside and announced in the Lunch-time news briefs. Grown men openly wailed in lamentation on those same thoroughfares at being rusticated from the ‘Jogoo’ party. Swearing-In-Ceremonies could be conducted at dusk or dawn and even elections called at the pleasure of the President.

Fast forward to 2018. We have already gleefully promulgated with great pomp and pageantry a theoretically progressive document of Constitution and even elected two youthful leaders into power for their second term. The legitimacy of these guys is supposed to be beyond question as they were elected by a 54% margin of the electorate. We thought that the year 2010 heralded a new epoch in our history where meritocracy, experience, regional balance, gender parity and dedication to service would be the principal yardstick to gauge suitability for any position in government. No less that Constitution prescribes that only technocrats in the various fields should be elected as Cabinet Secretaries. However, what differences do we see between their style of leadership and that of the barely-literate ‘Nyayo’? I will let you be the judge of that.


Demonstrations by the opposition in more developed climes would have been met with civil banter at best and maybe a little bit of the water canon-action at worst. After the disputing of the results by the National Super Alliance principals the usual opposition was expected. In the run-up to the repeated polls a violent and diabolically brutal crack-down was launched against the opposition. Reports of men, women and children cut down by ‘stray’ bullets in the opposition strongholds was as widespread as the existence of Nitrogen in our atmosphere. Children as young as six-months were clobbered silly and into the ethereal realm for faults they knew little of. Tear-gas and the water canon wash-down became almost a daily routine but to what ends? Moreover, today as we speak media freedoms are on the wane in this nation. After the cat and mouse game between the Government and NASA about the swearing-in of the opposition leader; Raila Odinga as the People’s President, the event was forced through courtesy of unspecified threats by some quarters who will best remain anonymous for this piece. However, the Government took its most repressive step yet to switch off all the non-government owned mainstream media sources in Kenya. The week-long media shutdown was so that nobody would be informed on the goings-on at Uhuru Park, the size of the crowd that was ready to manifest their sovereignty and partake of their constitutional freedom of association. In so doing the Government overstepped the same constitution it swore to uphold when the two-gentlemen running the executive were sworn in. The love-hate relationship between the Judiciary and Executive continues as the government is on record labelling the Supreme Court as consisting of rogues and miscreants who serve at the discretion of the opposition leader to debase them. Needless threats have been proffered against the Judiciary in absolute reprehension to the tenet of non-interference by the state with agents of the Justice system. Today more than at any other time we witness the inception of bloggers and social media activists on the government payroll with the sole purpose of spreading government propaganda, insulting the Judiciary, gagging any divergent voices and attempted intimidation of the opposition. Creation of jobs for the youth is a noble venture; however, misusing of the cyber-space to cajole and threaten the citizenry while wasting their hard-earned tax-payers funds is simply bad manners if I should label it as anything.

Today commando missions by our specialized security forces are unleashed on the residences of innocent and veritable opposition leaders who are consequently carted to police stations in their pyjamas and slippers in the guise of preservation of national security. A duly –registered citizen of this country who had dual citizenship who in times gone by has even served as an advisor in the office of the Prime Minister was recently under an aura of mystery deported to his second country merely for holding views contrary to the government stance. With that went the Freedom of Conscience. Intemperate statements of future arrests and prosecutions are the assurance anyone who questions this move has received from the currently omnipotent Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National co-ordination.

Today just as in the system we sought to put in the rearview mirror state resource and privilege is accorded only to the reserved few who are long-term buddies of the Executive, Members of the right ethnicity and the usual sycophants and hangers-on. In fact the ill-fated repeat presidential election in Kenya in October 2017 presented the chance of a lifetime to the myriad of political losers who were previously members of the opposition groupings to gain back the fortune they had lost in campaign funds by playing the role of boot-licker to the incumbent. These were supposed to be relics of a by-gone time more so one worthy of consignment to eternal amnesia from one’s conscience. Success by political patronage is the by-word today. The current state of governance encourages the mediocrity that stems from appointing characters on the basis of fancy and political correctness. We are seeing the return of illiterate and political operators back to our Cabinet and that can only sound the death knell and torpedo any expectations of attaining whatever broad-based agenda we may want for Kenya. Alarm bells have been sent ringing to sonic boom levels by the intervention of foreign ambassadors trying to bamboozle the opposition members on matters governance which they are out of their depth to have any discourse on. The Election in Kenya has become a complicated matrix whose only function is as a formality to rubber-stamp the incumbent. Worse of all, taking advise from China on crippling the opposition is the final straw that is breaking the camel’s back. Who will in future play the crucial role of oversight that is much needed to forestall any potential excesses by the government of the day? Just like in the past previously proscribed tribal gangs are embedded into the security apparatus to try to quell riots and this portends trouble. The constitution has virtually been abrogated. Why would any sane human being want to peel back all the gains we have made as a civilized and more democratic society? Why seek to obviate the sacrifices, blood, sweat and tears of all the patriotic men and women who have toiled, been jailed and killed just to take us back to where we came from? Something has got to give.

Proposed solutions? Today I will propose just one:

The Government ought to bring back adherence to the Constitution to engender the respect for the rule of law by all.

What do I mean? Nobody should be deemed above the law. Honour the sanctity of Court Orders. Revile illegal tribal gangs as criminal elements and nothing more. Propose any appointments on the basis of regional balance and meritocracy. We have intelligent, well-heeled, professional, youthful and energetic characters all round. Make gainful use of their potential before the powers of their minds atrophy or fall into the wrong hands. The current government should respect our wishes as a populace, do us a favour and keep the guys we refused to elect out of our sight at least for five years. Not reward them with state appointments as we refused to elect those guys to keep them out of our ‘cookie jar’ for justified cause. Appoint the youth to positions of authority to give them a head start on the experience they will need to become future leaders. Otherwise you lose them to brain-drain to the benefit of other nations or worse still to terrorist formations which renders them potent weapons of civil disorder. Our Government should style up as only oppressive regimes still use terms like subversion and sedition towards the opposition. Antipathy towards some government policy can never be adjudged to be mutiny but only constructive criticism. Otherwise we will only attract the derision of our more politically adroit neighbours. We must make sure that as Kenyans we stand up and jealously guard our hard-earned gains against malicious erosion by non-patriotic individuals. Civil disobedience may sometimes come in handy! This is a task nobody else will perform on our behalf other than ourselves, otherwise we risk bequeathing upon our descendants a legacy of cowardice, ignorance and being hoodwinked by the mediocre. That is undesirable!

Our Current Leadership should give dialogue a chance as this is the only way to attain meaningful all-encompassing development. To put it plainly all these recent activities raise suspicion if this current government is truly a representation of the will of the majority or merely a few guys scrambling for legitimacy after the unlawful and unconstitutional seizure of power. That is why I beg the question, Has Kenyan democracy regressed? This is a rhetorical question!


Political & Social Empowerment


Today to Break with Tradition I will pen a Poem to my Love Kenya:


As I sit in introspection asking if being born Kenyan is an act of omission,

I shed tears for all the victims of corruption, mediocrity and intimidation,

All those onerous souls my heart goes out to in cogitation,

Children shot into oblivion not aware of any sins of commission,

I pour out my libations to the real heroes of this nation.


Inconsolably I find myself weeping for this nation,

Unable to fathom why a blind man tries to burden upon himself the obligation,

Of trying to dance to a tune of which he has no cognition,

Of this I aver with unrequited unequivocation,

I pour out my libations to the real heroes of this nation.


To all the citizens who hold their fellow countrymen in utmost derision,

They deplore in no uncertain terms to the economy their contribution,

Punished in retribution for insufficient aggression in primitive accumulation,

Thus they live in tenements diabolically accused of planning no rent remission,

I pour out my libations to the real heroes of this nation.


To what do we owe this retrogressive re-introduction?

Of the most archaic & sardonic terms like sedition and subversion,

Since when did the strife for your rights become an act of the treason,

Punishable by arrests, false accusations, and even deportation,

I pour out my libations to the real heroes of this nation.


Why are there guys keen to oppose the virtue of secession?

Yet they spend days and nights in macabre curses and incantation,

Burying dogs, smoking weed and maliciously threatening the circumcision,

Of veritable citizens, peace-loving, most polished and most upright men of this nation,

I pour out my libations to the real heroes of this nation.


Why did Kimathi, Gen. Chui and N’ Marete cede rights to respiration?

Fighting for the rights that are now held in indifferent disaffection,

Only for the benefits to fall to the seeds of home-guards, worse than crucifixion,

They run their mouths abominably claiming their kinsmen were foremost in the fight for liberation,

I pour out my libations to the real heroes of this nation.


Mediocrity is rewarded and excellence reviled to oblivion,

A hangover survivor was feted for maize and bean’s mastication,

In ignorance preach fornication as a means to increase the population of their bastion,

A man is deported to winter lands for remaining true to his opinion,

I pour out my libations to the real heroes of this nation.


I fail to see why to someone’s rural home has to be sent 1001 delegations,

Of men and women purporting to unite this nation but only in majority exclusion,

They prostrate before mere mortals in sycophancy and hollow expression,

Of their undying loyalty and to demigods proffer meritless orison,

I pour out my libations to the real heroes of this nation.


I have buried a man whose life was extinguished in a blaze of frustration,

After a promising start full of ambition and vision,

He failed to sufficiently convince of value in his worthy innovation,

Broken & crushed under the weight of unfulfilled expectations,

I pour out my libations to the real heroes of this nation.


I crash to the ground in limitless lamentation,

Commiserating inconsolably at the very act of castration,

Of the very bull that was supposed to lead to the propagation,

Of the better days we all aspire to as a civilization,

I pour out my libations to the real heroes of this nation.


How on earth did anyone have the stones to suspend our constitution?

That by 50% +1 apparently led to his irrevocable election,

Is it in dereliction of the existence of our tapestry as a nation?

He avers accept and move on yet he’s all emotional and mushy at the inversion of the equation,

I pour out my libations to the real heroes of this nation.


In vengeful abhorrence of all the tenets of our constitution.

He lives in contempt of all the articles of Justice and retribution,

Disdainful of the rank and file of the media and our freedom of information,

Scorn by the bucketful of all foes and even compatriots in the opposition,

I pour out my libations to the real heroes of this nation.


That I may be naïve and ignorant is my humble submission,

But he who casts a shadow to the purveyors of the light is the real enemy of this nation,

That you may plant roses in all their glory expecting to yield carnations,

Hypocritically attempt to preach peace disregarding the truths and historical injustices commission,

I pour out my libations to the real heroes of this nation.

Political & Social Empowerment


BamBiblically, in the Book of 1st Samuel the people of Israel grew restless and asked Samuel to appoint over them a King to lead them. Samuel was a prophet of the Lord who presided over the entire multitude and was so favoured as to have one on one communication with the Lord. As a far-sighted person who knew the consequences, he steamed in anger but did not let the lid blow off. He prayed to the Lord over the matter and the Lord in no uncertain terms disclosed that he felt the people had not disapproved of Samuel but instead he, the Lord creator of Heaven and Earth. Samuel came back and warned them about the aftermath of anointing a King. He will start off as humble but will grow haughty and claim what belongs to them as rightfully his. He will take their sons and make them serve ahead of his chariots and horses to run like headless chicken in front of the same. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and order you to plough those same fields and glean the harvest for his table. From what you are left with, he will levy a charge of ten percent of your grain, vintage and flocks. He will take your daughters to be his cooks, attendants, chamber-maids, perfumers, servants, concubines and bakers. None of them will even deserve to be his royal wife; the queen as they, by no consequence of their own have no noble blood hence deemed unworthy. For wives, he will tap from the neighbouring heathen women to ostensibly build a semblance of familial unity with those in the proximity! This will occur in absolute disregard of God’s statutes on who to marry and who not. Other sons will develop weapons of war for the big man. He will with ruthless abandon, take your best servants to be his own not to forget the best cattle & donkeys. Ultimately, you will become his slaves and serve at his pleasure only for the crumbs that will fall from his table. On that day you will cry unto the Lord in supplication and gnash your teeth. The Lord will be unbowed as he watches he who sets traps eventually get ensnared by the same. Of course, the human being is oft deemed intelligent yet belligerent enough to accuse the donkey of being stubborn while it is he who is at fault. They said an emphatic “No!” Who was to lead ahead of them in battle like the other nations? When they peddled this frivolity before the Lord he assented and told them albeit in rebuke to get one. Many years later King Ahab; a leader of God’s chosen people, found himself in headlong flight in battle against the Arameans (Syrians) disguised as just an ordinary soldier. Where was the brave king who was supposed to lead men into battle? But I digress.

In Kenya we have been exposed to this unsightly and festering monstrosity that is the proliferation of the big man syndrome. We eternally assume that we must fight tooth and nail to have a person known to us in the seat of power. This brooks from the fact that a dearth of meritocracy and objectivity has resulted in success at any field even merely seeking employment to be a matter decided based on not what you know, your excellence and professional acumen, rather who you know and in worst case scenario, which big boss’ hotel room you have had the misfortune to share! Professionalism has gone to the dogs and instead has been replaced with something not even remotely decent. Recently, the president named the ladies and gentlemen ostensibly tasked with the responsibility of executing his agenda as Cabinet Secretaries. History has dictated that the Minister of yore who used to wear the hats of both a politician and technocrat was an ill fit for the job from any angle you look be it project, will or agenda implementation. After many years of toil and watching illiterate fellows stumble through ministries we had decided to bequeath upon ourselves a constitution that was to ideally have technocrats in the various fields as the substantive Cabinet Secretary assisted by equally academically and technically endowed Principle Secretary. But now, all that is in abasement as we watch the return of appointees merely for being sycophants, political financiers and golf-buddies to the appointing authority. This is in the various tiers of government both county and the national government. Some will argue that I am harsh as to denigrate the great virtue of loyalty, but what is loyalty? A good leader is only supposed to be loyal to the best interest of his subjects and fulfilment of his mandate.

In this very publication, I am on record in no uncertain terms castigating the originator of the term ‘strongman’ to mean a despotic and intolerant leader. In reality a strong leader is one who accommodates many interests, is kind, never engages in spousal-battery, gives reasoned opinions not attempting to arm-twist anyone, surrounds himself with people more gifted than he is on many aspects, is God-fearing, never gives in to selfish interest, always prides in the truth and justice, is ready to forego his personal comfort for the greater good of the nation and is willing to peacefully handover power in case of electoral defeat or at the end of his term. Not the effeminate, tantrum-throwing, egoistical, mediocre, media-freedom curtailing and petty demagogues we see around rewarding sycophancy and utterly disregard innovative smart work and enterprise.

So who are these people I have dubbed the big men? These are characters who are actually physically hefty in body size having enjoyed the trappings and largesse of state powers. These are characters who are well connected in the upper echelons of state as to be able to do business with the government. They are people who win in whichever tender they bid for as they are able to influence its award. These are the leaders we the proletariat apotheosize, converting them into demigods even though they possess no special abilities. When they say, “charge” then we like wildebeests run helter-skelter, plunging headlong into whatever quagmire is laid ahead. They have conditioned us so that like dogs we are able to obey their every command. At their inception, we could even be turned against our brothers or neighbours, just for financial gain. They have a sound mastery of the button that can convert us into beast mode.

These ethnic chiefs blind us to the fact that in the real sense there exists but two tribes, the haves and the have-nots. They will lie to you, “if I get this position then it is to the benefit of our entire community.” When caught in corruption scandals, with fingers firmly in the cookie jar they will call in a press briefing. They will assemble a multi-sectoral panel consisting of politicians from the same ethnic extraction, professionals, business leaders, women groups, people with disabilities, a religious leader, and a few young men with unkempt appearances – in derision dubbed the tribe’s business community. They will then speak with the most sonorous voice of melancholy expressing the lie that the entire community is being pushed to extinction to evince ethnic pride and sympathies. Afterwards, in a shambolic act to hoodwink the entire nation, they go around town in a nihilistic and self-effacing demonstration to defend the indefensible. One question we fail to ask is: Does my kid study at Hillcrest like the guy shedding crocodile tears purportedly for the community?

The problem with this syndrome is that it defeats the very tenets of democracy that we have pain-stakingly tried to build over time. The big men have organized themselves into some sort of community mafia preferably to defend the interest of their tribe. They fundraise to ensure they prop up the tribal leader of their choice. To them lawlessness and impunity is the staple as they deem themselves above the law because they have a deity-like influence on who becomes president. Though enshrined in our gleefully promulgated new constitution, just one word from them and the general interest of the nation will be pilfered to ashes. Woe on you if you are not a member of that community. You can be popular all you want. You can be flamboyant, with the best manifesto, be most patriotic, ooze the most confidence in your campaign, have the best interest of the electorate at heart, be most patriotic, be oratorically gifted as to virtually wax lyrical. You could the actual instrument of peace prayed about in the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. However, if you are adjudged as not able to do the bidding for that particular tribal mafia, then you are ‘toast’ politically. Propaganda will be birthed against you. This will be spread by the network of social media experts and Search Engine Optimization gurus with intellectual acumen so rarefied some of us could never imagine it. A massive smear campaign will be launched against you of the scale never thought possible. The retribution from whatever backlash you get for your transgression will be so wild you could actually collapse into anaphylactic shock and perish. Drums of war will be beat and you will be styled an ‘arch-nemesis’. Every noble venture you ever engaged in will be considered an endeavour for personal gain and falsified evidence will be fabricated against you in that regard. Even trumped up legal challenges will crop up, to if not for any other reason deflate the wind out of your sails. The weak-willed will fold up their campaign and go to tend their goats in the foreseeable future. The seasoned will go to the end and face the inevitable electoral defeat. Why should we allow such a small number of people to stand in the way of our greater good?

These big men are a heartless, corrupt, conceited, diabolically-malicious and singularly profit-motivated bunch. They are the authentic personification of capitalism without a human face. These are guys who can trade their own mothers for a PlayStation let alone some stranger called ‘the ordinary Kenyan.’ In some places they have been termed ‘evil-geniuses’ because of the level of chokehold influence they wield on almost all facets of our lives. They are the warlords who finance tribal militia and proscribed entities to wreak havoc on the opposition oft co-opted into the nation’s security tapestry on a need basis but abandoned to their devices afterwards. When NASA leaders called for a boycott of some companies, they wanted to cause a tremor on this sinister groupings who like a malevolent wind are blowing our very destiny away from its due course. These big men who form cartels to protect their every interest have wrought against our polity nothing short of pain, grief, thieving, mediocrity, impunity that is widening of the gap between the wealthy and those dabbling in penury, raiding the exchequer and reinvesting those funds in foreign climes by the truckloads. These are the same characters that engage in deplorable acts like drug-peddling, then proceed to launder the attendant proceeds into legitimate enterprises which artificially purport to exist in the profitable range all the while being propped up. Talk about doped-up economics. These are the same guys that threaten us that our economy will crumble into the sea and the stock market experience a perpetual bear-run if we dare elect someone from a region exterior to theirs. It is the subversion of the will of the majority that will crumble a nation’s economy and kill foreign investment. But don’t mind me as I have no academic grounding on matters economics.

Sometimes I sit in meditation and ask myself these questions. Do we eternally elect Members of the County Assembly to do nothing else other than engage in cock and bull fights in their august county assemblies? Are we in need of the gladiators of ages past? Whose interests are they fighting for? As I am yet to get a sufficient answer to any of these queries, I just give myself consolation that maybe their wrath is like the passion-laced jealousy of an amorous boyfriend towards other males trying to make moves on his jewel. On many occasions I would have preferred the mythical action character ‘Optimus-Prime’ as my MCA. He was a hefty gorilla who due to his intellectual superiority found himself as the undisputed leader of a rowdy gang of animal superheroes who he whips into an efficient military force which is tactically astute. Not a single time did he resort to chest thumping or asserting his physicality on any member of his team but I think I passed my point. My opinion is that the raising of the academic bar to Degree level could instil some aura of professionalism to how service delivery is effected at this level. Snobbish as it may seem, I personally think it will have some benefits in the future. But am also aware that leadership is not taught in school and confidence is key in this endeavour, I can only submit that slightly more education will polish the rough edges off this gems in our midst.

What is happening in Kenya is not unique. Let me present an anecdotal example. Our minds float across the oceans and we land on Easter Island in the South Eastern Pacific Ocean. This is the tragic tale of how people who took great pride on the illusion of grandeur over all else built monumental statues each to his honour. The landscape dotted with statues which are now a sight to behold. These men and women also cut down the dense forests they were endowed with just to gain more land for the statue building and the accompanying colossal structures of domicile. In fact the principle objective was surreal as to boggle your mind – To create pathways for the Statues’ conveyance by means of rollers. Environmental degradation consequent to these activities led to them losing their agriculturally potent and verdant land. They also lost the trees that would have been valuable to make canoes for their escape from that wasteland. Cornered they turned on each other, engaging in out-of this world macabre competitions and rituals just to stay alive. They equally turned on the same idyllic statues they carved out themselves. Today that land is unsuitable for habitation and UNESCO named it a heritage site, to chronicle what havoc the unfettered love for primitive accumulation and infantile destruction of resource can wreak on a nation.

All this said, my message to Kenya is that, we now have an onerous task to perform. Opportunity is ripe. Let us take back our power from the power-brokers; the big men, and back into our more than capable hands because these men will never have any other interest in their hearts other than their own financial gain. We must rebel against our unpatriotic elites and their unsightly neo-colonialist foreign backers. As we put it in this publication, ‘No one should ever purport to love you more than yourself!’

Political & Social Empowerment


Electoral reform

As any wise man will attest, no army in this world is strong enough to stop an idea whose time has come. Another variation is, “an invasion of armies can be resisted but an invasion of ideas cannot.”  This statement gained credence about 200 years ago when it was quipped by the famous playwright and poet Victor Marie Hugo. Another candid statement whose veracity shines ever so bright today as it did when it was uttered by liberal –minded American musician, activist and film maker Frank Zappa, ‘there is more buffoonery around than hydrogen unfortunately with a longer shelf life’. But I digress.

Kenya is a land of great dissimilitude and variance. On one hand we have quite a vibrant and highly educated population. Few are the countries in Africa that boast the kind of wholesome education that brings forth the all-round human capital as the one dished out in Kenya. For many years we have been known as the harbinger of ‘peace’ or rather ‘calm’. This wholesome reputation has seen many of our warring neighbours come to us to try to broker truces and sustainable peace processes. They even seek consultation on how we do it but being amiable guys we do not charge a fee, you only have to pay for your hotel rooms and cater for your delegation. Moreover, our economy has had more episodes of the upside rather than the downside and the Lord was gracious enough to embellish our land with a coterie of tourist attractions. The negative side is our unenviable record in the fight against poverty even for the employed, unemployment, free education that is free of learning and the conquering of a few diseases. A ruthlessly aggressive entrepreneurial culture that can aptly be described as capitalism without a human face is a norm for us. Others call it the man eat man phenomenon where as long as you make money without killing anyone or getting in jail then you have made yourself some smart money. Also rewarding of characters based on sycophancy-based loyalty sticks out for ridicule like a sore thumb. In a previous post I have mentioned all the virtues sacrificed by such a venture which I urge anyone interested to just trackback and confirm. But where we fail miserably is our tackling of Electoral reform.

It hurt so bad that it literally seared off my conscience when I heard our apparently ‘democratically-elected’ president brush off talks about electoral reform with an un-statesmanlike flourish with a statement to the effect, “the election season is over, if you want to discuss electoral reform then do it with my duly-anointed successor in 2022.” This is a cause of malaise for me as I ask myself many questions. If a snake were to invade the sanctity of my bedroom, would I leave the house to the satisfaction of the snake or would I have driven it out? Why wouldn’t a democratically elected leader not want to further strengthen the credentials of a system which he is confident of and which duly gave him his mandate? What is our dear ‘Father of the nation’ engaging in that is so important that he cannot spare a day or two to mull the electoral future of a nation where he promises to be a honorable but still ordinary citizen after retirement? Does this guy really value a legacy? On the 8th of August this nation went to the General Election. Despite the irreducible minimums implored by the opposition which were no doubt constructive additions being ignored, we still proceeded full speed ahead with an incomplete process. Consequently, the Presidential result of that poll was so tangled in a nebulous haze, unverifiable nay unjustifiable to such an extent that the venerable bench at the Supreme Court had no alternative but to call for a fresh presidential election.

The President-elect whose victory had been justifiably invitiated was beside himself with fury and consternation. At every twist and turn he referred to that bench created to referee our Electoral process as rascals, deviants, miscreants and a few other terms you can ill afford to utter in a ‘ruracio’ to describe either your future mother-in-Law’s facial appearance or mien if you are still in need of a wife! He threatened to deal with them after we finished going through the motions of the Elections. In adherence to the letter but not the spirit of the ruling he steam-rolled the IEBC urging them to finish ‘this thing’ fast so as to resume normal life. The part about adherence to the tenets of legitimacy, constitutionally laid guidelines and most importantly fix the errors that led to the nullification in the first place were of negligible consequence to Jubilee head-honchos. IEBC was prodded in the ribs. Opposition leader, Raila Odinga and his party saw this folly and chose to abstain, vacating the entire exercise. One Commissioner, a brave and conscientious lady, a laudable daughter of this land resigned when the allure of independence at the Electoral body varnished. The chairman appeared set to follow suit but ominously changed tune to assure that all was well. After that one could not statistically and with certitude ascertain where the ruling coalition stopped and the Electoral Commission began. A new petition to bar the poll was pole-axed by an incomprehensible and cosmetic ‘national holiday’ gazette just before the Election Day. The day came and went without as much as a whimper in the form of ceremony in many sections of the republic. As things stand right now the legitimacy of the president’s mandate is under question from large swathes of this nation, many who simply passed over the October 26th event as an over-glorified cassava harvesting day!

As one who has even produced an entire video uploaded on YouTube urging all Kenyans to come out in force and make their voices heard electorally, egg is the only thing I have all over my face as commiseration for my troubles. We have heard allegations that despite no support from the census figures, a conglomeration of two mega-tribes and about three small ones usually suffices to yield an unassailable tyranny of numbers! What do the 38 odd ones form, a ‘tyranny of the willing down-trodden’? In token of that, and in good faith I sought to address the issue by making a clarion call to all adult citizens to never coop themselves up in the house on the material day but come out in force to assure of their futures electorally through the vote. Little did I know that the Election Matrix in Kenya had more elements than just the mere voter turn-out or the population size of the registered voters but other extraneous elements inclusive of but not restricted to weather, communication network reliability, integrity of transmission of raw data, will of the business community; the determinant of all being the guys tallying the results. To cut the long story short, we need Electoral reform not just for today but for posterity. Why should we waste whole days, running biro-pens rugged, putting marked papers into a bucket, have ink soiling our fingers then hold vigils waiting for a predetermined outcome? I am concerned that despite high intellectual acuity associated with many Kenyans, members of the winning side are usually blinded from both conscious introspection of the form and shape of their victory. They fail to ask this valuable question. Is this triumph the product of the same ballot papers they painstakingly queued to cast or just some cooked up statistics? In ecstasy they simply jubilate oblivious to an interrogation of the integrity of the figures they celebrate.  Are they not aware that the side of the towel that wipes your derriere today could be flipped over to wipe your face tomorrow?

As this is not the book of Lamentations penned by the under-appreciated Prophet Jeremiah, I will now give the reasons we need electoral reform:

  • Despite the fallacies we hear out here about despotic, insecure and murderous individuals being called ‘strong-men’ in actual sense it takes an incorruptible, honest, God-fearing, loving, progressive and objective leader to run a democracy. One who is willing to freely and fairly accept the will of the populace without the need for bullying, cajoling, arm-twisting, intimidation, deceit and out-right violence to gain power. This can only be made possible when every incumbent makes it his principle agenda to improve on the previous system even in an infinitesimally small way.
  • There is nothing as important if not heart-warming as even the mere illusion of inclusivity. Kenya is currently a fractious lump of restless nation states with different tribal and cultural identities. We need reform to convert our election process from an ethnic census to an objective and policy-based initiative.
  • We need to greatly reduce the powers the current dispensation ‘arrogates’ to the Presidency. Consequently, the attainment for the presidency has become synonymous with the proverbial ‘reaching the promised land / Canaan.’ Thanks to our winner-takes-all system coupled with the inordinate love for primitive accumulation of wealth and the allure cast by affluence devoid of enterprise; strife for this singular seat takes on diabolical meaning. Winning becomes the chance to reward cronies, dish out positions to allies and ruthlessly punish all who did not vote for you even with economic extinction. This is a zero some affair as we cannot foster universal growth by segregation in improving regions in isolation instead of as a whole unit. Historically, blood-letting has become the only predictable outcome of the presidential election in Kenya bar the 2002 one. Funerals are no way to grow a nation. Yet we continue cling to such puerile politics and still lay claim to wisdom!
  • It is a Constitutional obligation as per Chapter 7 Article 82 to continually improve and foster the autonomy of the IEBC. So let no one purport that it is PR for him to engage in this much needed noble venture. It is not a body cast in stone and ought to be dynamic to flow with the times and as per the wishes of the citizens of the republic. An important point to our leaders is that the law was made for the people and not the other way round.
  • As stated above large sections have of this country feel so left out of their rightful share of the national cake as to mull the possibility of secession whether amicable or otherwise. This is usually a painful process but the threat of pain is scant intimidation to one who feels he has nothing to lose. Instead of the no election reform talk, a responsible president would seek to heal rifts in the nation after such a divisive process.
  • The parity as envisaged by the gender-rule is yet to be attained. Deliberations and a serious plan of action need to be formulated to this end.
  • Electoral malpractices need to be clamped down upon. Abuse of state resources, campaign rallies led by civil servants, intimidation and beguiling of voters are ills that have to be seriously and in actual austerity dealt with. Incitement to violence should not just be frowned upon but be grounds for disqualification from elections forthwith ‘por-aeturnum’. As one Nicolo Machiavelli once averred, “For humans only punishment and enforcement can engender good behavior.”
  • The move to both an electronic and futuristic voting system is something that has to be accorded the solemn gravity it deserves. Nations near and far are modernizing to have Electronic polling systems. Kenya, the market leader in many aspects cannot afford to be a pedestrian in this regard as her peers motor ahead to modernization if not digitization. Every system like a suit of armour has chinks. We should work to improve on our fallibilities so as to improve our credibility rating. We should not just procure systems and arrogantly seek to abuse the attendant Super-Administrator status on offer to subvert the will of the electorate. For the non-ICT practitioners, the Super-admin has the privilege to alter anything and everything including the data in a computer networking system. It is this immoral behaviour, callous in form that is the real reason perennially our presidential poll becomes a macabre blood bath festival.

As a means to secure his legacy, I would urge Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta to expeditiously call to table a multi-spectral forum on Electoral reform. As such is an ultimate surety, it would augur well for him to mid-wife the process because as surely as day follows night reform will triumph over conservation of the status-quo. Back in the day slave trade, apartheid and colonialism flourished but they all crumbled. We the august Catholic Church resisted ecclesiastical reforms but Martin Luther ringed the changes in our evangelism. Your political mentor, Daniel T. Moi entrenched a de-jure one-party state which eventually capitulated and the purveyors of democracy had their way. Belligerence consequent to majority notwithstanding, we must accept that electoral fraud can never be a conduit to yield leadership that befits the image of our heritage of splendour.

Political & Social Empowerment


DnJamhuriDay1212jHSC is an acronym for the Head of State Commendation. It is recognition awarded by the President of Kenya as reverence for outstanding or distinguished services rendered to the nation by individuals in various facets of society. This is ostensibly on advice of a National Honours and Awards Committee in the President’s office. No less the current president is on record offering profuse yet pedestrian lamentations about corruption cartels even he is powerless to act on in this same office. However, this may be a minor blip not meant to debase the integrity of this committee. Memories of the Greek legend Sisyphus who was condemned to a bog-standard life of pushing a boulder uphill only to watch it without ceremony do the downhill slalom comes to mind.

The day was the 12th of December 2017. It is the Independence Day for the Republic of Kenya, popularly known as Jamhuri day. Chronologically, this one was our 54th. This is quintessentially supposed to be the most important day in the Kenyan national calendar, but events this year have only to be confined to the nadirs of living memory. This year the day had many peculiarities, not less the low turn-out of Kenyans many who feel they may not have gained anything from this independence. Historically, our forefathers were in the struggle for independence with the aim to get out of Poverty, Illiteracy and disease which they felt had been let rife on them thanks to foreign occupation. Their land was seized and all factors of commerce were delivered to them only in a trickle. To most intents and purposes these aims have not been achieved. Many Kenyans feel disenfranchised because their voices had been doused electorally by the announcement of a not so popular incumbent as their president for a fresh mandate. I shall not pay credence to the absurdity that occurred on the 26th October as I risk engaging in an unavailing discourse on a nullity. I would rather discuss King Julien day or fly a kite!

Electoral fatigue had seared every muscle and sinew of the populace of the Republic. Many enterprises had been pushed to the limits of existence by the politicking. Many could not let go the chance to take their much deserved rest. In recent times they have had to deal with innumerable upheavals. What with the weekly burying of kinsmen, innocent victims of disproportionate, callous and extrajudicial execution by the same Police service tasked with their protection? For the survivors teargas, burning tyres and barricaded motorways had become the staple. Also the opposition leader; who many feel was the real victor in the Electoral race was busy threatening to either constitutionally or otherwise swear himself into power, the 5th President of Kenya. To add to that unemployment which has left many disillusioned, vulnerable, restless and destitute. Everything that could go wrong just obeyed Murphy’s Law to add impetus to the simmering cauldron that was the careening of this day into the deeper echelons of the absurd.

Everything that I have described above pales in comparison to the spectacle that transpired on the material day. Everything was tailored to script and all that had to be pretentiously applauded was. Then came the time for the award of the Head of State Commendations where everything tapered to a hot mess. Shock and consternation is the only emotion that greeted anyone who awaited acts of valour, patriotism and enterprise to be rewarded. We had deserving candidates like Fatuma Zarika and Joshua Oigara who were awarded this high honour based on great achievement and celebration of merit. We cheered those to no end. Those are surely not the grouse of this piece.

The raison d’etre of this post was the list of awardees rife with undeserving characters who I will not denigrate this piece by mentioning in name. Every cadre of the abysmal was exalted to high heavens. For all I could gather, that list reeked of the acrid stench of ethnic chauvinism. An inordinate number of individuals were feted for merely just being in politically correct tribal groupings at the right time. Who really chose where they were to be born anyway? Characters whose only claim to fame is preaching for ‘peace’ without Truth and Justice were cream of the crop. Others were people who suffer from incorrigible amnesia of the facts of nationhood. Hypocritical, conniving and chameleonistic men and women were commemorated as the true sons of our soil. Not to forget characters who vociferously in text dabbled in the mighty abomination of attempting to publicly embarrass the few venerable practitioners of the legal profession in the nation, possessing the grit of heart and mind to do what is right even against the grain of insurmountable opposition from the incumbency. We adjudged to be honest the very intellectual dishonesty that is the scourge of this nation. Others were feted for being parochial ideologues and sycophants basically regurgitating the will of the ruling coalition whether to the detriment of Kenya or not. On that fateful afternoon, we reveled in mediocrity and apotheosized primitive accumulation of wealth without enterprise. We in negative faith worshipped at the altar of nihilistic vanity. We virtually etched in marble the chronicles of a guy who was nursing a hangover on the polling queue while stuffing his face silly with a puree of maize and beans. Collectively, we profaned the name of the Lord by apportioning honour to religious leaders who preach anything else but the authentic gospel of Jesus Christ. We reviled heroism choosing to carouse the cowardice if not indignity of morally reprehensible characters. We chastised professionalism choosing to proffer song and dance to the agents of favouritism, tribalism and malice. We built a shrine in honour of injustice and cremated our national values, pilfering those ashes to the four winds of the earth. We were so lost in raucous cheer of those who sharpened their weapons to protect cabals & cartels that suckle the life-blood of this country rather than trumpet the feats of unsung heroes; teachers who whet the minds that build commerce and industry. We castigated service all the while fanning the self-effacing flame that is the grandeur of the big-man syndrome. It was a great dishonor to our heritage of splendour to accord any kind of honour to such undeserving characters.

I have so many questions which may not all get asked in the bounds of this piece:

  1. Where in this scheme was the award for the brave, distinguished and conscientious Kenyan lady Roselyn Akombe who did the unheralded singularity in Kenyan public life? She unflinchingly resigned from a constitutional commission in neglect of attractive perks and all, an oddity in Kenya.
  2. What award was given to the young ladies who selflessly gave up their own lives in a heart-rending attempt to save their colleagues from the inferno that engulfed the dormitories at Moi Girls High School, Nairobi?
  3. Were the Malkia Strikers feted?
  4. Where was the award to the faceless majority who braved hunger, cold, snakes, hyenas, tribal militia to turn up at the polling stations twice in 60 days?
  5. Where was post-humous pride and honour for the unflinching souls that defied police bullets to protest the malaise that we all admit is the undoing of our electoral system?
  6. Where was the award appropriated to the Chief Justice and three of his Supreme court colleagues who in good conscience refused to uphold the unverifiable and totally entangled if not nebulous results of a bungled poll?
  7. Now that we were celebrating the bizarre; where was one for the slay-queen of the year, the bank tunnel-diggers, abominable narco-preneurs and all the teeming shisha-heads?
  8. Where were awards for techie Kennedy Kachwanya, The No-chills-blog guy or Cyprian Nyakundi guys who blog on issues of importance to the down-trodden proletariat?
  9. Have Baimungi M’ Marete and General Chui ever been singled out to be celebrated for the sacrifices they gave to liberate this nation and afterwards calling out the nascent government of the day for disproportionate land allocation system post-independence? They were basically the first opposition entities this country has known.
  10. Where was an award for Miguna Miguna, the unrelenting live-wire opposition battering ram and a voice of reason?

I could go on and on but what will be the wisdom in that? Is the institution of the Presidency still a symbol of Unity for this country or just a conduit to solemnize and cajole the egos of cronies? To enjoy with partisan friends the largesse of state power while you still have it, with limited regard to the taxpayer bank-rolling it and all. This is a detrimental and fatal flaw in our ‘winner-takes-all’ political system. What happened was an absolute travesty of the reward scheme, utterly incomprehensible and deemed abhorrent by any Kenyan of good faith. The problem with such a reward proposition is that it breeds a dearth of excellence. Laziness is labeled exemplary, responsibility is not and blame is to be shared and thrown around like dodge ball. People will feel that the only way to get ahead in life is by playing harlot to the ‘big man’ and hope that the crumbs of good fortune fall from his table to their own.

There will no longer be any need for enterprise as you will ultimately end up where you started if you are not well-connected so to speak, a phenomenon I personally find nauseatingly as repugnant as the worship of idols. Young men and women will no longer cherish the value of hard work, smart investment and timely action instead engaging in some asinine stunts in social media with the goal of attaining fame & fortune to nobody’s benefit. Short time pecuniary gain has gained greater traction as opposed to the toil and sacrifice of building a long-term, sustainable and replicable system for success. The draw of composing and performing patriotic songs will be in abasement at the altar of short-term, money-spinning deification of mere mortals whose character is not even worth the amplifier in the studio where those songs were recorded. People who are steeped in virtue will be shunted aside as they watch their undignified and feckless compatriots get ahead. Impartiality and objectivity have become foreign attributes and the butt of jokes in the current Kenyan political dispensation; which to all patriots is a shame, testament to the deplorable depths we have allowed ourselves to sink as a society.

You must have been embarrassed silly and thought you were watching a cringe-worthy horror movie. The Black, Red, White and Green lights of our flag were nullified by the day-long eclipse of the bilge on show. Nevertheless, you live in Kenya my man. Peculiarities and idiosyncrasies are the standard-bearer everywhere and defiance of logic a badge of honour. Take heart my friends as here; more often than not fact is stranger than fiction.

Political & Social Empowerment


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fighting-girl-two-angry-men-standing-isolated-white-32639409I pen this piece full of my own personal apprehension about the destiny of Kenya as a republic. Both in overt public declarations and in hushed tones there has been public discourse about secession of sections of Kenya from the whole. No less than the coastal region has had their foremost leaders come out strongly to assert that the coast no longer feels as a part of Kenya. I do not blame them as I’m reminded of what occurred in Biblical times. Joseph who came into Egypt as a slave, bought by Potiphar – captain of the Egyptian army and eventually imprisoned for some falsified accusations by the captain’s wife. By the Supreme Deity’s grace he flourished, giving a prediction that saved Egypt from a great 7-year famine by building great reserves of food in times of opulence. When lean times struck, nations travelled from far and wide to come and try to buy supplies from Egypt. Such was the splendour of the land at the time that even the nation of Israel; God’s own chosen people, via its primordial eleven sons were attracted there to save their lineage. With Joseph – their blood; an insider in the Pharaoh’s palace, the Israelites were given laissez-faire even to settle in the land and engage in agriculture and other forms of enterprise. Several generations later, a new Pharaoh emerged who knew not of Joseph and his acts of saving grace for the Egyptians. All he saw were how great the Israelites had prospered in his land, multiplying greatly and each of their enterprises faring better than his own people’s. The age old ‘green-eye’ set in and he decided to enslave the Israelites. Egyptians proceeded to ride roughshod over Israelites. Years of servitude ensued and ultimately; there arose Moses who was tasked with leading the children of Israel back to their ancestral land. This request felt like a bad joke to the ears of the Pharaoh of the day. He flatly declined; accustomed to comforts afforded by the Canaanites’ free labour. The afflictions of the ten plagues did something to ease the Pharaoh’s resolve but immediately his erstwhile slaves left he felt a tinge of regret. Despite freely allowing them to leave he changed his mind and decided to pursue them headlong. But I digress, because I have never laid claim to being a preacher.

I will try to demystify the gist of Kenya’s National Super Alliance (NASA) grouse with the incumbency. They have become so aggravated that they have now converted to a resistance movement. I do this both for Kenyans of good will and those blinded by ethnic and political affiliations so that if they truly love Kenya, then they will understand the reasons why their compatriots do what they have to do.

Lack of commitment to Electoral reform by the incumbency. The Incumbent government in Kenya does not seem to have any interest in electoral reform which piques many members of the populace. This is despite the fact that they come out in force every electoral season to vote for their candidates of choice. But when the time for result announcement comes around many are no doubt shocked by the results. The majority has lost! Any electoral system even in the more developed countries is often regarded a dynamic system, fully living and a work in progress. However, when this system does not possess any quantifiable evidence of improvement that is cause for alarm. I wrote in a previous post that an electoral system is supposed to be simple, free, fair, efficient, accurate and verifiable. How many boxes of these can the Kenyan system contrive to tick? Add to these woes technology failure, corruption in procurement and the age old problem of manipulation then you find yourself with a ghastly mix. That we have an ICT based electoral system which lacks a senior IT official in the higher echelons of the organization can only speak volumes of how much we regard the value of those professionals.  Add to that the fact that our electoral results have to be transferred to a server hosted in a foreign country with the hosting company blatantly refusing to release those figures even at the inquisition of no less than the Supreme Court is telling. I could harp on and on castigating such utterly reprehensible and predictable flaws but to what end? What is the wisdom of complaining to a frigid and dispassionate entity, fatally flawed? And why should I as a Kenyan expect any less efficiency from a system procured so dearly with my tax payer’s funds? What is most disturbing is that these transgressions are only discernible to one party with the other choosing to turn a blind eye with the incumbent being liable of the latter commission. I will not even be drawn on the Electoral commissioners themselves taking incessant polls to determine issues of basic commonsense and principle of operation. For the October 26 election, why was the poll allowed to go on despite admissions that the basic thresholds for verifiability, freedom and fairness had not been achieved. Despite a major player vacating the election the poll still went on. It ended up carrying all the hallmarks of a sham and meaningless exercise soulless and desolate. The Supreme Court unfortunately upheld the result of this exercise leaving limited avenues for redress.

Police brutality and inordinate use of force by security operatives. In the current election cycle the police look prepared to execute a predetermined script. Despite Chapter 4 Article 37 of the constitution of Kenya which bestows upon all citizens the Right to peaceably and unarmed, assemble, demonstrate, picket and to present petitions to public authorities. Apparently the security operatives seem to be operating from a point of vindictive bile against members of the opposition school of thought. They criminalize the very act of dissent. They violate Article 244 on the conduct of the National Police Service with ruthless abandon. Enjoyment of these freedoms is usually curtailed by such violent suppression as to seem vengeful at best and a form of ethnic cleansing of groups deemed ‘politically-incorrect’ by the Government of the day at worst. Whatever happened to the much vaunted ‘Utumishi Kwa Wote’ mantra and maintenance of law and order? If you attack unarmed citizens of a nation aren’t you the greatest impediment to their adherence to Law and Order? Intimidation of countrymen and behaving like terrorists against the people you are supposed to protect will only foster bad blood between the citizenry and yourself. Those demonstrating are in the same vein fighting for your rights too as security operatives yet you treat them even worse than the lowest of beasts. Unfortunate of all, the deliberate maiming and killing of fellow men in the guise of protecting property and investment is just diabolical, macabre & barbaric behavior. Malicious targeting and execution of small children and claiming stray-bullets is so callous I will not even comment about it here objectively or in passionate emotion. May the souls of all these people find eternal repose! (Sic) Many lives were lost to attain the freedoms we now desecrate and that is unacceptable and a reasonable grounds to resist.

Economic disenfranchisement, entrenchment of mediocrity, run away corruption and tribalism. The current government has made it a routine to engage in the practice of playing the game of hot-potato with responsibility on important challenges and matters of State. With musical chairs the order of the day, nobody is willing to take responsibility on any act of omission or commission but all are keen to be glorified for achievements attributable to others. It is not rare to see government officials taking glory for projects that may even have been launched in colonial times and put them under their portfolio of achievements. That kind of dishonesty is what is causing consternation among so many and pitting them firmly against government. Worst of all is the run-away corruption which no less than the Head of state himself is on record claiming surrender and abject failure in his efforts to tackle it in his very own office. Is that presidential talk? I unabashedly doubt it. So there is a cartel so strong that they send jitters down the Head of State’s spine? I am too perplexed to go on but I have to. And it seems sections of the populace are equally culpable in promoting mediocrity. I have personally spoken to some fellows who I have great affection and respect for as friends and intellectuals of no mean repute only to gain insight I now wish I did not. They claim that in the heartland of the president’s own home county there are people who walk bare-foot to the level of becoming jigger-infested and imbibing in so much liquor as to become a liability to society. Their argument is that regions external to the president’s backyard have no moral authority to complain about disenfranchisement as this is the prevailing situation countrywide. I totally and unapologetically differ on such a sinister premise. This appears as an abject failure of government to implement its agenda and shortchanging the people they vowed to serve and protect and it should be called as such. That as asinine a vice as ethnicity is worn like a badge of honour in many state departments is utterly repugnant. This is nothing to be proud of in our nation that claims heritage to many cultures. It an indictment even to one’s cognitive faculties to think you are better than somebody else based on origins, sex, religion and any kind of affiliations. As a wise man put it, ‘Brilliance is evenly distributed while Opportunity is not’. The fortuitous simplicity of the sagacity of that statement should not be lost on anyone. Our political rallies overflow with the youth who are less than gainfully engaged. Consequently, they are vulnerable to manipulation and for a trifle commit great atrocities only but to vent out their frustrations on the wrong entities –their compatriots from another political party or tribal grouping. The right villain to train their sights on is that villainous entity who robs the government in broad daylight, hacks the IFMIS system then carts 60 million shillings in sacks to a quarry in the dead of the darkest night, but I will be queried on who I am to cast the first stone?

As an act of civil disobedience. Chapter 1 Article 1, Section 2 of Constitution of Kenya empowers the electorate with the authority to exercise sovereign power either directly or through representatives. Kenyan democracy is built on the blood, sweat and tears of many freedom fighters and reformists which we cannot allow to be washed away by malicious, abhorrent and reprehensible entities just by intimidation, connivance and for ethnic convenience. If the side in power elects to misunderstand or refuse to follow some provisions of the law then what moral authority do they have to ask the populace to obey the same? Talk of entitlement based on their role in fighting for independence is pure hogwash. The previous election had no place for the reward of meritocracy choosing to proffer entitlement by other parameters too nebulous to be conjured by the ordinary mind. Also with a situation where an undeserving party has a majority in all houses of Parliament; our goose may well have been cooked. As we are deemed unworthy for recognition of hard-earned achievement, then we can only do what is constitutionally mandated to us which is exercise our sovereign power directly.

The boycott of certain consumer goods. These firms are not guests to privilege for currying favour to the government of the day. Consequent to this; a feeling of superiority, entitlement and generation of super-profits is their modus-operandi. In token of all this insensitivity, arrogance and indifference has crept in to sections of the entrepreneurial class. They blatantly support inequality, marginalization, blindness to historical injustices and political strife. In consort with our Government they exhort them to treat such as norms handled only with the policy of leaving them to the creator! Some were in good faith used as conduits to transmit election results due to their above average reliability as network service providers to servers abroad and mysteriously leave not even a log to assist in the verification of whatever data was transmitted. Others choose to offer an endorsement of the government chiding the opposition as ineffectual and an insult to the Kenyan psyche. The other is a popular milk processing firm owned by the first-family of the day. We have borne witness to a broadcasting arm that pays lip service to the first-family, that only parrots the views by ideologues and narrow minded apologists and sycophants of the government of the day all the while goading a venerable opposition leader who their only aim is to see retire into oblivion in sinister motive. We have been treated to the ‘theatre of the absurd’ by people vowing to evict opposition members who find habitation in their rental houses but choose to go against the grain of the land-lords tribal chiefs. Others talk of the ‘matatu industry’ predominantly controlled by one group threatening to stop opposition elements from boarding their conveyance. To counter against such abominable and obnoxious palaver members of NASA have taken it upon themselves to boycott these companies as they do not appreciate the value of their consumers to their success and this until at such a time when the same is forthcoming. Sentiments of economic sabotage and threats of job loses are no doubt moot as you cannot lose what you never had in the first place.

The government treatment of the civil service has been appalling.  Politicians in the government side go around boasting of their good fortune while on the opposite side of the mouth lamenting a lack of funds to pay essential members of the civil service in the Health and Education departments. Professionals are left to engage in industrial action for lengthy periods; hence, woe on to you if you can ill afford private facilities.

Insufficient support to the county government is an item of lamentation. The central government claims to value devolution even appointing a fully fledged cabinet secretary for the purpose who may as well be a tree stump! Counties are so poorly financed as to perpetually live in eternal dependence on the national government. With only 15% allocation of the national budget they are so underfunded as to virtually serve at the discretion of the national government and any impression of deviance from the official Government line may result in funds being frozen.

The government’s foreign policy is wanting. African entrepreneur extraordinaire and billionaire Aliko Dangote was set to open a cement factory in Kenya early last year. Plans were in such full gear that Job advertisements were already being circulated in various online and print media outlets.  His intentions were noble but according to the grapevine were met with head winds when his kick-back valuations to the powers that be fell far below what is required to open shop in Kenya. Is that our national policy on foreign investment? How are we to create the 100,000 jobs per year for our youths? How are we to get any future foreign investment in? Despite years of regional cooperation, when our livestock cross into a neighbouring country and are auctioned and there is not as much as a whimper from our foreign affairs docket.

Engaging in Intellectual dishonesty about constitutional interpretation really hurts. When seasoned constitutional lawyers and Professors choose to sacrifice many years of erudition and experience at the altar of privilege and ethnic convenience , they expose themselves to ridicule. They are in full spirit a liability to humanity. Instead of providing valuable insight and edify the layman these ‘fellows’ are busy throwing more mud to roil an already turbid interpretation of our ambivalent and obscure laws. They start their statements with “The Law is clear” then proceed to muddle a further complicated concoction. Religious dishonesty to the levels that have been witnessed in the country can only be well viewed from the prism of the paranormal. What use is an imposition on our conscience called ‘Corporate Prayers for Peace and Unity’ when this same characters preach with amnesia to truth and justice? Enough said.

Land reform failure among other issues also gnaws at their conscience. As patriotic Kenyans of good will we cannot stand back and watch all we are proud of go down the drain right before our eyes. Kenya is truly at the cross-roads. These are only a microcosm of the reasons why NASA resist.

Political & Social Empowerment


Kenya splitKenya is at a crossroads! The sting of the axiom, ‘if you want to kill a dog then give it a bad name’ has never been as potent as it is today. It reeks with an odious stench so appalling, abhorrent and reprehensible it could actually drive the irreverent leviathan out of hell! Why I make such a damning indictment of affairs will be discussed below. Traditionally; in days gone by, the nation-states of Africa used to trade and engage each other with decorum, love and mutual respect. Other than sporadic expansionist wars between the various tribal groupings and innocuous cattle raids to raise bride price; trade used to be the only exchange that would precipitate between these groupings. Adjacent villages would hold festivals together like dances and sporting activities. As the African has naturally been known to be a vibrant and energetic entity, wrestling matches among the men as a show of virility were held among proximal villages. The legend of ‘Luanda Magere’ is a byproduct of such engagement between the adjacent states. The region referred to as Kenya was initially bush and greenery bristling with a cacophony of fauna and issued a brilliance of flora. Many of the groups currently living here migrated from the Cameroon-Benue-Congo regions and the upper Nile. They had met countless and seemingly insurmountable challenges along the way. Disease, battle and pestilence had been their staple along the way. The progeny of these were though hardened, also yearning for tranquility and a crack at enterprise. This no doubt magnetically attracted a microcosm of tribes to take advantage of this ‘heritage of splendour’ as suitable domicile for their weary feet. Gradually, the several groups migrated and settled into their current locales. Much later came the white man. The black man with his typical dark complexion could never continence that a man could exist in such hue and appearance. Spell-bound he was given to worshipping any edict that issued from this new creature. Unbeknown to them, there was nothing divine about this ‘pseudo-god.’ His sole intention was to captivate the man then denigrate his religion, way of life, dress, culinary habits, economic activity and marital practices or to crudely put it his ways of associating with the opposite sex. He brainwashed the African and successfully captured his ‘prime-mover software’, the mind. He taught Mr. Black man that the only good that could come out of his neighbour was to be captured and traded as a commodity into slavery for sheer pecuniary gain. He taught the naïve African to start viewing his fellow man with unverifiable suspicion, paranoia and at worst malice. Then the real cracks started to form.

Each tribe used to have their trademark skills. Some of these were so sublime and unique to each grouping as to be held in high-level esteem. Some were expert blacksmiths, fishermen, farmers, traders, long-distance entrepreneurs, messengers, pastoralists, rain-makers, prophets, clairvoyants. Some of these were definitely difficult to replicate so neighbours had no choice but to periodically tap on to the expertise of their contemporaries.

After the scramble for Africa and its subsequent partition, Europeans powers started consolidating their spheres of influence. Suddenly people with varying leadership structures, traditional practices and customs were forced together as a conglomerate to be governed as a state. But the story goes even further. Historically, the region currently known as Kenya consisted of slightly more than 42 contiguous nation-states. Each had its own leader. Then came silk, the Bible, some rum lubricating the path for British Imperialism. The segregation-based policies piloted by colonial leadership bred and entrenched the putrid culture of ethnicity in Kenya. Africans were in one nation but restricted into native reserves which became based on each one’s tribal affiliation. If a community from elsewhere were to find its way here, they were viewed by the sons-of-the-soil as intruders. Ethnic nationalism was born out of fear to lose land to these new inhabitants. Bad – blood percolated the reserve locals’ collective psyche and these new settlers had to be expelled at all costs.  The British used this means to cause fractious divisions, suppressing their unity to facilitate their rule of the local communities. The ‘divide and rule’ system was alive and well. Those that resisted the advancement of the Queen’s empire found themselves forced to hate their erstwhile neighbours who were now viewed as collaborators.

Post-independence unfortunately, the ethnic contempt wedge was further driven into the heart of the nation. Our new cadre of leaders, the black neo-colonialists institutionalized tribalism. They pillaged and looted state institutions to the ground under the guise of their tribe. When caught they retreated back into this cocoon for security. As a matter of fact, tribalism was aggravated after the departure of the colonialists. We as a nation find ourselves more deeply mired in the ills that affected our forebears before independence which include poverty, illiteracy and disease. Why should this be the case? Wouldn’t it be better if the imperialists came back? At least they took some initiative to create some equal level of development countrywide. It can only be termed a tragedy of cataclysmic proportions when state largesse only trickles down to those in power, their lackeys and tribesmen. This has resulted in cut-throat competition for power which is now manifesting its detrimental effects. Professionals and intellectuals throw all their years of erudition, experience, refinement and sound qualifications to the wind; instead preferring to side with their ethnic kingpins (sometimes warlords) for tribal expedience and financial gain. Such acts against your fellow man will inevitably undermine any effort at unity.

Intellectuals froth at the mouth trying to prosecute views that have insufficient structural integrity to even stand the test of basic common sense. They chase after wind trying to defend the indefensible, repugnant and utterly bizarre pronouncements and acts propagated by their moneyed kinsmen. Mischief is their common denominator. Objectivity is thrown to the wind and anyone who tries to make an effort to illuminate the darker echelons of the umbra cast by this moral perversion is immediately dubbed an idiot, naïve to the bone and insufferable. When a man who purports to have the ‘audacity of hope’ newly sprinkled to us by the Barrack Obama American presidency suddenly starts shrugging with hopeless resignation that we cannot end corruption and negative ethnicity, you know we are in deep trouble. If Fire is burning your skin and causing you untold pain, why shouldn’t you make an effort to douse it? I am forced to conclude that if someone does not want to be part of the solution for specifically these two ills then it is not by default but he is no doubt part of the problem.

Tribalism is gnawing at the fabric of our republic no matter how you look at it. From the socio-economic, political and even religious facets we are forced to stare down at this bizarre culture that is not only alien to us but retrogressive. In the words of seasoned lawyer and linguist PLO Lumumba, ‘The blood of tribal convenience is apparently thicker than the blood of Christ! ’ Rwanda just started in pretty much the same way and those old enough bore witness to the effects in 1994. Why should we wish to tread the same path ourselves? These days when looking for a job in many a Kenyan State corporation; most notably the Kenya Revenue Authority, tucked in the middle of the interview questionnaire is a blatant question for one to state their tribal affiliations. Your answer becomes the principal determinant to whether you land the post or not. All the quintessential markers of meritocracy like experience, academic performance, integrity, actual genius, enterprise, proclivity for loyalty, proactive learning, promptness and even body hygiene matter in the least. We forget that brilliance is evenly distributed while opportunity only sparsely. In Kenya citizens are segregated by their ‘Ethnic IQ’ as opposed to their intellectual acuity and speed of learning. By engaging in such macabre practices we deny ourselves the benefits that would accrue from picking the most suitable and best-tooled man for the job. Chapter 6 of the Kenyan constitution is of no use provided you are ethnically correct. Accountability goes out the window when the only one you are answerable to is your tribal kingpin. This brooks impunity.

The other ill effects we see from tribalism are under development, corruption begetting economic sabotage, rigged elections leading to civil strife. Shockingly; the guy whose election is rigged is told to accept and move on and even labeled the impediment to Kenyan unity, a perennial cry-baby and war-monger by the very institutions he turns to for restitution. Tribal militias are permitted to mete terror in consort with the police against Kenyans on the opposite side of the divide to ostensibly quell opposition to misgovernance and pilferage of national funds. What became of the ‘Utumishi Kwa Wote’ motto and disciplined mien that almost made yours truly join the force back in the day? My commiserations go out to the kindergarten children who have been time and again violated and tear-gassed in the guise of stifling riots in predominantly opposition strongholds. Punishing babies for the misdeeds of their parents. Is that collateral damaged or narcissistic behavior?  Assassinations have been the price some divergent voices have had to pay for the sake of voicing valuable insight the government of the day does not want to hear. In a previous piece; I have stated in no uncertain terms, that democracy dictates willingness to accept divergent opinions, letting the minority have their say while the majority has their way. Here in Kenya, you are likely to have retribution meted against you in celebration of your opponent’s electoral victory! Intimidation reigns supreme. The winner seeks to punish and utterly repudiate the opposite side for not contributing to their win notwithstanding the other side’s role in chipping-in to raise national revenue. A defectors fund is set up to entice the battle-weary election losers to the party in power in spite of the myriad of challenges bedeviling the collective good being left in the rear-view mirror, so to say. We must unapologetically resist this callous attempt to roll back our hard-earned liberties.

Sick and tired on enumerating the ills of this illegitimate enterprise, I will now attempt to proffer remedies.

  • Religious leaders should be at the forefront to disabuse the notions of tribalism. They should utterly rebuke the hypocritical characters who come to their precincts on Sunday yet for the other six days spew bile and retrogressive rhetoric. They should baulk at the prospect of cash donations in exchange for allowing miscreants to divide Kenyans, live from their sacrosanct pulpits. Jesus is love and his temple has no place for hatred.
  • We should encourage the practice of Intermarriage among tribes. Despite the many stereotypes we have been brought up on against people not native to our ethnic group, it is our responsibility to go out and embrace other ethnicities. This will eventually blur the lines of our tribal leanings.
  • We need to introduce into our constitution the notion of a rotational presidency among the various ethnic interests. In the line-ups of political parties, running mates should hail from tribes different from the leader. This should be a ‘modus-vivendi’ and well-bounded by term limits. This will introduce the good-will in every group. They will feel that in due course their time will come. Nothing beats audacity and popular camaraderie. Revolutionary ideas include total scrapping of the presidency and having a leadership council handle affairs of state. This has worked to inspirationally foster greater development in the most developed nations.
  • As envisaged in Articles 11 and 44 of our newly minted constitution we should use our cultural diversity as a tool to foster unity, love and appreciation of each other. As a Physicist, I was schooled on the theory of discordant polarities attracting. It should be no different in nature. No one should think of himself superior to the other just because he had his foreskin cut off and his neighbour retained his. You are not better than the other guy just because you prefer to gorge on ‘githeri’ when he relishes fish. Superiority complex based on tribe is the most asinine manifestation in the human society that should be relegated to the depths of the Hades. From our diversity should stem our greatest strength. Each distinct ability should be encouraged to plug any unsightly holes in our national tapestry. It should be akin to a peerless spice in our national broth. The ‘tribeless-youth’ initiative in Nakuru gets honourable mention.
  • Socio-economic empowerment of the rank and file of this nation. As proportionate contributors to the national kitty we all deserve an equal share of national development. Youth empowerment programs will keep this valuable asset of society gainfully engaged and not vulnerable to abuse by morally corrupt politicians.
  • Strengthening of county government. This will ultimately shield the man at the grass-roots even when there is economic pilferage at the top. A trickle-down economy is good for everyone.
  • Ruthlessly and unreservedly castigate public institutions that have engaged in bad practice on ethnic constitution and correct this injustice. There will never be a tribe better suited for a job than another as to have it reserved for them.
  • Pay great premium to meritocracy as opposed to tribal convenience. Just the same way the toiling farmer has a great harvest, why do we allow an undeserving character to reap benefits if for nothing else just as a consequence of his tribe. Such behaviour sabotages and ultimately kills enterprise.
  • We need a political climate where good policy trumps good looks and tribal leanings. This is the only way to attain meaningful development and the refinement education was supposed to bestow upon us. Ignore divisive rhetoric from maniacal politicians with the contempt it deserves.

Let’s take a step back for some introspection. Right now any efforts to annihilate tribalism are welcome not just borne out of goodwill but as remedy to an existential threat to us as a nation. If we do not slay that dragon today, then down the drain goes our 54 years of toil trying to create a country enjoyable by all. All the relics of past glories we are proud of fade from history. All the sporting triumphs, Olympic gold medals, technological ingenuity (Mpesa), Nobel peace prize laureates, Independent Supreme court Judges. The same game reserves that over years have served as tourist attractions will become the arena of new splits where our chalk-circle boundaries will cross. Tribalism is a retrogressive practice from which no communal good can ever accrue.

Political & Social Empowerment


Iremember this incident with great perspicuity of mind like it happened yesterday. It was the 27th day of June 2010. It is not because I was a salaried employee who had been paid, Hell no! I was still in university trying to make head or tail of my engineering course units, by the way. It is because of the atrocities which were committed against one team on the football pitch that overshadowed the auspicious tournament that was that year’s world cup. It was the eternal rivalry between Germany and England replayed not on the arena of the World War II battleground but an exhibition of footballing artistry. For England every manifestation of Murphy’s Law of the universe was coming to pass. Everything that could go awry did just that. Despite intrinsically focused effort; England found themselves two goals down in their last 16 clash against Germany in Bloemfontein, South Africa. The great defender Matthew Upson; not so revered by the Arsenal fans of yore but more ardently by their West Ham United counterparts pulled a goal back. Then in a flash the match seemed to have been turned on its head when Frank Lampard looked to have equalized with a long range effort that ricocheted off the bar and over the line-with goal keeper Manuel Neuer well beaten. Jubilation in the England camp knew no bounds. But this was brought crashing to the substratum of the 40,000 capacity Free State stadium when referee Jorge Larrionda failed to acknowledge the legitimate goal. There was immutable gloom interspersed with raw fury among the England faithful when they went on to lose 4-1. Familiar failings but only fire and brimstone can aptly portray the scathing tirade delivered by one England fan about the refereeing of the tournament. “Absolutely farcical and a disgrace,” he exploded. He was not wrong. Rumour has it that the aforementioned referee could only mutter, “Mon Dias – Oh my Lord” at the review of the goal footage. The controversy that ensued from this fiasco was instrumental in the football world governing associations’ Fifa’s decision to introduce goal-line technology for the next tournament. Larrionda was barred from involvement for the rest of the tournament, scant consolation for England. But, I digress.

On Saturday, 26th November 2011, the Standard newspaper ran an article about the use of ICT deepening democracy in Kenya. An argument was adduced and prosecuted to its logical conclusion that the use of Information and Communication Technology will not only increase administrative efficiency but also reduce recurrent costs and enhance the transparency of the electoral process. Many of us have only gruesome memories of the 2007 polls which were littered by panoply of irregularities in the tallying and transmission of returns for the various positions. This is the quintessential case study of how inadequacies in the proper use of technology and weak electoral systems can trigger civil unrest, conflagration and disillusionment with the entire process of democracy. The absence of a procedure to authenticate democratic choices will only invariably lead to accusations and counter-accusations of impropriety by the losing party. Hope parallels can be drawn with my World cup anecdote.

But even with that said, technology alone cannot solve electoral problems. Indeed, former USSR dictator Joseph Stalin once quipped, “those who cast the votes decide nothing, but those who count them decide everything.” Even in despotic pride he still captured the hot mess that is the electoral system in many countries that purport to exercise democracy. In the absence of safeguards, independence, fairness, integrity and justice; the incumbent will always have a colossus-like influence hovering over the entire process. In Kenya, even before the elections the opposition leaders were already up in arms over perceived irregularities in the appointment of the commissioners. In their eyes the team looked to have been hand-picked by the incumbent with the sole aim of doing his bidding. Assurances on the automation of voter registration and transmission of result were given by the outgoing Chairman of the electoral and boundaries commission pursuant to the provisions of section 44 of the IEBC Act of 2011. Come 2017 elections the electronic vote management and transmission system was up and running. It seemed to operate like clockwork. This was until some glaring ICT related issues were brought to the fore by one of the presidential candidates whom the results looked to be heavily steeped against. For the issues of legality, he would have found someone to rebuff his claims. But when matters came to Servers, SQL, Admin rights, DLL, Oracle, Logins and other technical ICT stuff rejoinders became mumbled and far-in-between. “An attempt was made to hack the system but was unsuccessful,” was all the Chairman could proffer. This is a half-hearted and unconvincing retort insufficient to assuage any skeptic who already had innate and niggling misgivings about the process but that is all they came up with on that front. Here; surprisingly for career Lawyers and Public relation practitioners, speech became silvern as silence was golden. Then it dawned upon me that none of the commissioners had sufficient skill, competencies or even a passing inclination to matters ICT.

All these ladies and gentlemen are people of great renown in their fields. Wafula Wanyonyi Chebukati is an advocate; a lawyer of

Being appointed a commissioner in Kenya may not be the worst job ever, unless it is IEBC.

many years experience and unquestionable standing. As a Corporate lawyer, he helped develop Kenya’s maritime policy while working as the managing partner of a prestigious legal practice in Nairobi. Consolata Nkatha Bucha; the Vice-chairperson, holds two diplomas in Public relations and business studies from the London Chamber of Commerce. She also has a Master of Science degree in Public relations. Dr. Roselyn Akombe is an accomplished professional with a PhD in Global affairs with experience as an Under-secretary at the United Nations headquarters, New York. She is laden with 15 years experience in global electoral practice. Mr. Boya Molu has degrees in human resource management and business administration. Dr. Paul Kibiwott Kurgat is a former ambassador to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. He holds a PhD in History from Moi University, a Masters Degree in International relations from Kiev State University and diplomas in peace, security and conflict resolution. Margaret Wanjala Mwachanya has a Masters degree in Swahili studies, having studied in Kenya and Israel. Prof Abdi Yakub Guliye has a PhD in animal nutrition from Scotland. He has previous election experience managing the Egerton University, Njoro campus elections. Even Ezra Chiloba, the Secretary to the Commission and CEO of the IEBC, who prima facie looks like an IT geek and guru is not one. He possesses a Masters degree in Public policy and is a Doctoral candidate at University of Nairobi in Political Science and Government. After a Bachelor Degree in Law he distinguished himself in the civil society and United Nations projects.

Looking through their profiles one question itched my conscience like a very determined louse. Where is the ICT professional commissioner among all these veritable individuals tasked to chaperone an ICT powered election? Who is likely to explain with even intermediate level cogency when any query relating to technology arises? And true to form these questions arose and no one stood up to be counted. So now we have an election petition in the Supreme Court premised upon issues surrounding the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System. Director of ICT in the organization, now the dearly departed Chris Msando disappeared onee week to the elections roiling an already muddled mix. It may neither be here nor there, but this has raised a genuine concern about if his cruel murder was a ploy to sabotage and irrevocably compromise the KIEMS system. Only time will tell. This only serves to add impetus to the opposition’s claims of electronic vote tally manipulation using the late Msando’s credentials.

But the real question here is why the role of ICT has to be this relegated in the hierarchy of the organization? This is no doubt a scathing indictment on a body that was trying to put a front as the harbinger of Information Technology and automation to its peers. Going forward, it will be prudent to have a fully fledged Commissioner who is technically adroit and can unequivocally field questions from the gallery on matters IT, run a computer simulation and even shock the audience by successfully trouble-shooting the system silencing any chatter-box naysayers for posterity. I have watched the Canadian Prime Minister; Justin Trudeau, academically extinguishing a journalist on Computer Science matters a feat I would have been proud to witness at the IEBC briefings. Instead we were put through the excruciating charade that was Ezra Chiloba being hounded off the eligible bachelor and knight-in-shining-armour pedestal which was an inexcusably self-effacing distraction by his colleague, if I should be kind to the lady. If not we risk disenfranchising professionals in the technical field who will view a career path with the electoral commission as a virtual dead-end, a path to perdition. Who then will run tests that will ultimately yield a fool-proof system we can all be proud of? Will we import human capital too in the face of all this unemployment? With advancement in technology we will eventually join the bandwagon of countries with fully-fledged electronic poll systems. As has already been manifested, will we put these systems under individuals who have no inkling of the goings-on, cannot perform a cost-benefit analysis of the system and who can only fire a blank and look to the sky when the system inevitably decides to fail? As our very own Attorney General once put it while trying to defend the manual voter backup register use for electoral purpose, “all electronic systems ultimately fail!” Denigrating the toil and functional integrity of other professionals is a staple for the consummate lawyer, indeed.

In summary, we need not put our democracy under trial. We must cherish it as to aspire never to sacrifice it at the altar of manipulable and under-managed electronic systems. Any technology no matter how advanced will only function effectively with well greased mechanisms and effective manpower around it for audit and control, most crucially at the higher echelons of the organization. Near perfection will only be a consequence of consistent, organized and well intentioned improvements.