Wednesday, 17 September 2014

10 Kenyans be sure to find down the comments section

For Kenya, sometimes when there is little time to read the whole thing, go to the comment section and have some fun. Thou shalt find:

1. The sectarian, ethnocentric tribal lieutenant. Does not give a rat's shit who said it, what it was, how it was said - so long as the title says something against 'baba' or inches close to Uhuru-not-good. You can predict the rest of the text.

2. The wannabe PLO. The cheap, ordinary Kenyan who just found some space to excise with the few words they picked up off the thesaurus. 'Cantankerous' 'Idiosyncratic' 'Exasperating' 'Plebiscite' 'Achondroplasiastic' etc. Too many disjointed grotesque jargon devoid of substance (notice am trying to do it).

3. The verbose one: - hehe the one who should just go write a rejoinder or response to the article. Missed the communication skills class on 'summarising'. Comments always close to the size of the main article itself. And they can do many of them by the way.

4. The intellectual conman. The truly intelligent one with no sense of occasion. This one will tire you with theories of Walt Rostow and Socrates and Niccolo Machiavelli and Adam Smith. Has a point but fails to notice the diversity of the audience. Will easily loose you in their argument. Most of the time it is for show (you can bet his/her name will begin with a vowel 'O' or 'A' hehe).

5. The vulgar fraction. Do not spend time looking for the point. It is all about insults and abuse and shameless vulgarism. You either get pissed off if you are new to this stuff or learn to see the humour. Their comments are full of 'F' and 'D' and 'P' and 'C' words.

6. The shameless pitcher: This one smells opportunity. Never mind the article was about maternal mortality - they will post a link to their facebook fan page advertising their 'Ongata-Rongai world-class fumigation services'. They obviously never read the thing - they just saw so many people who are worth the pitch.

7. The know-it-all, ‘diasporic’, well-travelled, seen-it-alls. Their exemplification is full of "in the west" "in Europe" "in the States" "Go to Abu Dhabi you will see' etc. They will demean all other comments with their global views and self-righteousness.

8. The sorry slow-head. Never gets it. Bad spelling; terrible grammar. Arguments always out on a tangent. Lacks even the simplest and most obvious facts. You wonder why they showed up on the comment box.

9. The ruthless, die-hard debater. Has too much time. Probably lives on the net. Commenting, debating, hating is their job. Must have been in those upper-primary debating clubs of "a teacher is better than a doctor" Do not start an argument with them. It never ends.

10. The crack-head clown. Funny chap who draws humour out of even the dimmest most mundane comments. There is always something to make fun of and people like their comments a lot.

What kind of audience are YOU?
"IGAD; EAC - treat Salva Kiir as part of the problem"
5 reasons why the South Sudan crisis must now be dealt with decisively

The crisis in South Sudan now threatens to compromise regional security, peace and stability in Eastern Africa. It is undermining economic and political interests of states in the East African Community (EAC). The region has been putting out fires in the DRC, Burundi and Somalia. A new conflict just dampens momentum for growth - tranquility is attractive for business.

IGAD and EAC heads of state must now loose the friendly posturing and treat Salva Kiir Mayardit as part of the problem – he does not enjoy exclusive legitimacy of office. 

     1. Crisis undermining investment:
Kenyan investors who already had a foothold in South Sudan especially in Banking (Equity, KCB), insurance, ICT, aviation and construction now have their investments hanging in the balance. Businesses belonging to Kenyans were looted during the heat of the violence in late 2013 and early 2014. Some businesses have closed down; others have scaled down operations fearing further losses.

2. Job losses:
Thousands of East Africans, Kenyans especially have lost jobs due to the ensuing crisis in Juba. In Kenya for example some 12 thousand people were registered by the foreign office as working in South Sudan; another 20 thousand were found there unregistered when war broke out in December 2014. All these folks came back to compete for employment. The new directive by the Kiir administration to expunge all expats just exacerbates the problem. 

3. A blow to regional trade:
South Sudan is an important export destination for East African goods especially for Kenya and Uganda. Kenyan exports to South Sudan were equal to 10.2% of all trade to COMESA in 2013. South Sudan is the 4th largest export destination for Kenyan goods and services out of the 18 COMESA countries. Since most of the trade is carried out via road transport; continued conflict diminishes the volume of trade.

4. Slowing down EAC regional integration:
The crisis continues to put some of the ambitious joint EAC infrastructure projects like LAPSSET and Standard Gauge railway into jeopardy for as long as it lasts. Conflict slows down entry of South Sudan into the EAC which would be great for trade and investment in Eastern Africa.

5. Refugee crisis getting out of hand:
East African states – Kenya and Uganda are already overwhelmed by the influx of refugees from DRC, South Sudan, and Somalia. The refugee situation precipitated by the Juba crisis is stretching capacity to host refugees beyond limit. Kenya now has more than half a million refugees to deal with. Moreover, the refugee situation is proffering security challenges: - proliferation of illegal arms, influx of contraband and penetration of the Al Shabab terrorist cell in the horn of Africa that has already caused enough mayhem. The South Sudan conflict could as well spread into the refugee camps.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

So what if Mr President was pelted with rotten eggs?

So what if Uhuru Kenyatta was pelted with rotten eggs? Who gives a rat’s shit if the president was heckled; meeting disrupted by ‘rowdy’ youth? Who cares whether it was ‘local politics’ or national?

Look George Bush ducked for cover from a missile shoe in Iraq. Obama was heckled just last month at a press briefing on GITMO: 

I will say three things here quickly and succinctly for ye who have got an ear to listen. I will leave my neck (as per usual) for you to chop, ye who are already Jubilee or CORD on whatever matter. But I will leave an open mind as well for ye noble Kenyans who argue facts. Three points:
  • The two way traffic thing that is RESPECT
  • Hooliganism amongst the youth: - the microcosm of moral rot; unemployment; inequality (ethnic and socio-economic) in our country that we have paid lip service to fixing for way too long
  • Genuine solutions – not gimmickry and political expediency

There is a chronic self-entitlement that president Uhuru and the people who believe he belongs to them portray in this country that is appalling and nauseating. Respect like the old adage goes – is two way traffic. It is earned, not thrashed down people’s throats. And there are two things that Kenyans must learn to separate: - i) RESPECT for the institution of the Presidency of Kenya; and ii) RESPECT for the person of Uhuru Kenyatta. Those who combine the two and sit on moral high horses administering tirades at us all who would like to distinguish the two are moral conmen that must be treated with the contempt they deserve. If you want me to respect you and regard you as ‘My President’ which is a high honor I would love to accord the gentlemen at state house – Give me reason to do so. You don’t get that by yelling at the top of your voice at roadsides and public rallies about how important you are and deserve exclusive RESPECT.

You rarely see people call President Kagame names, or vilify him on social media or disrupting his meetings. It is because he has earned their respect. He picked up a country at the brink of the precipice; on its knees destroyed by ethnocentrism and sectarian politics no different from the Kenyan case. He has helped unite the nation, and bring it to the global arena of international political economy. Rwanda’s economy grew on average 7% over the past decade; country showed best progress in Africa in combating poverty; reducing maternal mortality; country now has one of the best healthcare systems in the continent – spending largest on health (8%) in East Africa; basic public goods and delivery of services is impressive.

You my president has spent your year or so making yourself look good; clearing your name. Reminds me of the Swahili saying: Kizuri cha jiuza, kibaya chajitembeza (If you have to say you are awesome, then you aint)

Quit posturing as a tribal chieftain; respect the rights of every Kenyan and accord then the respect and dignity that they deserve (especially those who did not vote for you). Act like a stateseman! This is far from wearing military combat regalia; sharing meals at backstreet food kiosks; pall bearing at funerals; dancing with kids or giggling at public events like a sorority girl. READ i) meritocracy in public service; ii) genuine interest and action on furthering devolution; ii) decisive action on insecurity, iv) addressing high cost of living; iv) and according young people meaningful space at the decision making table (just to mention but a few).

On Hooliganism amongst Luo youth
What we like to call ‘rowdy youth’ or ‘hooliganism’ in Kenya is a microcosm of the inequality, unemployment and moral rot in our country – leaders using young people to further their political interests, promising heavens and delivering hell. 

FOREMOST: Young people in Kenyan must now clever up, however desperate and hopeless the situation, and desist from utlilising their energy in furthering political agenda that they least understand.

That said, hooliganism amongst the youth is a problem in Kenya – not an exclusive domain for Luo Nyanza like some people would like to paint it. They are hired by Waititu, Sonko, Kidero, Ongoro etc here in Nairobi when needed to disrupt traffic and make political statements.

Yelling and vilifying the youth with 140 character tweets or facebook updates will never fix the problem. It is not rocket science – fix the economy; increase real economic and employment opportunities (NOT Waiguru’s fake jobs) and you will wish to see young people hanging around politicians, chirruping and pelting stones. Until we substantively address unemployment, deep rooted economic inequalities that lock out the youth from active participation in the economy – young people will keep throwing stones. And God forbid, one day they will blow up this nation.

On Genuine solutions – not gimmickry and political expediency
This is the point where I ask you to listen; and you should. And this is the reason why President Uhuru will keep hustling for respect in futility. The president and his Jubilee government must quit pretending to offer solutions when all they do is attend to their idiosyncrasies far removed from the plight of the people they purport to care so much about. That’s the nonsense that is the Uawzo fund; and that’s the nonsense that is the 1.1 billion shilling pocket change he flew to go peddle in Migori County yesterday.

Look I was born and raised in Miwani – at the heart of the Sugar-belt region in Kenya. The poverty is despicable for a region that boasts the only ecological zone in Kenya that can efficiently produce sugar – and it used to do so. Sugarcane is a lucrative business known world over. So what keeps them poor? The sugarcane industry in Kenya (and this is where you are free to call me conspiracist) was deliberately brought to its knees and neglected by 4 consecutive administrations because of political-economic reasons we can argue on another platform.

My point is that the 1.1 billion shillings that the president went to dangle in Nyanza has very little to do with fixing the real chronic issues that have killed sugarcane farming in the region. Why do I say so? There are 5 milling factories in Luo Nyanza – Muhoroni, Chemelil, Miwani, Kibos (all in Kisumu County) and Sony Sugar in Awendo. I can tell you for a fact that the problem with those industries is with the MANAGEMENT and not the areas that they owe farmers (which is the non-problem the president went to fix). They have always been mismanaged, people used to walk into those factories and emerge with sacks of 50shs notes during KANU campaign time. That’s why they end up not paying farmers, that why they end up suspending operations, that’s why they are perennially in receivership and always squandering farmers investments.

Mr President – PRIVATISE all those cane milling factories and let the private sector do what they do best. We have invested a lot in improving the private sector in this country, they must now be let to reap us benefits. Kenyans in the sugar-belt region care least about who owns Chemelil sugar factory – so long as it is crushing cane and paying famers in time; so long as Miwani sugar factory can keep employing fork lifters, electrical engineers, cane cutters from the area etc; so long as Muhuroni Sugar can keep generating spillovers in terms of Small Micro and Medium Enterprises and informal sector business like they used to do. Your graceful 1.1 billion clearing areas won’t fix the real problem but simply kick the can down the road – as you dance your way home with political mileage.  

Free public money from such wasteful, abysmal expenditures and use it to invest in proper infrastructure in the sugarbelt region – the feeder roads in the area that make cane farming a nightmare. Farmers cultivate sugarcane but cannot afford tea with sugar! Even after painstakingly tilling and patiently working a farm for 18 months. So when someone sits somewhere and calls such a farmer lazy – you baffle me.

You see, Mr President the 1 billion shillings allocated to Athi Galana irrigation project in FY2013/14 is such kind of ‘in-genuine’ solutions that fail the feasibility and allocative efficiency test. Same as this 1.1 billion areas clearing PR exercise. Go to Siaya County at the former Yala Swamp and you will see what private sector investment in agribusiness can do – Dominion Farm.

I wonder - If it wasn’t politricks then what? - I ask myself; why did the president choose the one political hot bed in Luo Nyanza to go dishing his political confectioneries? If he was genuine (and I would love to believe that he was), there are 4 other cane farming zones in the sugarbelt region all in a politically conducive, receptive Kisumu County. Why did the president choose the one county where political tensions were ripe; where a governor had just been threatened with impeachment up to the supreme court; the controversial ODM-PDP-Jubilee governor? To fuel tensions and blame it on the perennially politiking, lazy, hooliganist, intolerant Luos?

NOTE: I am well aware that there are those who will disagree with me from the 1st sentence; there are those who will agree with me from the title. Well – accord yourself the dignity to reflect and argue suitably.

Don't be too full of yourself