While some termed it as political non-sense that culminated in the recently concluded primaries others were happy to see some hardliners trounced, democracy prevailed…they would say. Social media was dominated with opinions from everyone who awarded themselves as political analysts and I was not left out. The case of Nairobi county where Jimna Mbaru won the hearts of many ‘tweeps’ , trended world wide with rants from people who thought that the turn out of the middle class to get out there and vote was very small. Most of us were busy on our gadgets dictating our opinions in the various social media timelines forgetting that the ones we term as ‘illiterate and poor’ were busy queuing so that they can have their voice heard. We have become a society where peer pressure is digital, but we don’t use it in the good way. How many of us…those who claim to want change have voters cards, how many of us ‘middle class’ will wake up on March 4thto go and vote? We say that politics is a dirty game, and that even if we vote democracy will not prevail…how about acting?
It is a misconception to think that the mediocre society can affect change in any political setting. Real revolutionary change comes about as a result of the gap between the affluent and the down trodden being unassailably expansive (when the poor are pushed to the wall). I have always been a supporter of the middle class being the saviour of our country. I mean we are learned and understand the trends of all spheres (economic, social and political) and are well educated about the constitution, or so I think. Judging from our digital era and having personalities hidden in social media how can the middle class save us yet we are indeed the problem.
The rich do they care? The middle class are complacent and the poor are seemingly helpless; very few if anyone hears their cry hence in the case on Nairobi county contest of governor, a Waititu leader would be their ideal candidate. In my opinion, until the mindset of the middle class and the poor change and merge only shall we free ourselves from the bondage of the opulent. Digital voting and social media forums help us to grow but it does not stop there, it does not stop at opinions but it goes all the way to the ballot box.
IRONY OF DEMOCRACY
In his article ‘Radical First step Toward Free and Fair elections In EAC Partners ‘ Dan Wandera Ogalo quotes ‘ Without Legitimacy and accountability there is no democracy’. A case of Siaya where its people demonstrated over what they termed as ‘false’ results is a déjà vue recipe of what started the 2007/2008 post election violence. The horrendous experience that Kenyans experienced following the flawed violence is still fresh in our minds, a case of dictated democracy. Is violence a monopoly to acquire political power? What is the point of democracy if its meaning is just but a mere term to gun votes for a candidate who claims a free and fair elections yet does not live by his sentiments?
My questions would not be whether we as Kenyans believes in democracy but can we tolerate the stipulates of democracy and the concept of multi-party politics? In his book, War,Guns and Votes-democracy in dangerous places’ Paul Collier writes of how winners of political seats protect power with the ideology of the inviolability of sovereignty. He goes ahead and picks Kenya as a case study and quotes ‘ The rules of fair competition for electoral victory gets sabotaged by autocrats who mobilize members of their own ethnic group to inflict violence on ethnic groups of their competitors.’ He claims that ‘violence against the Kikuyu was deliberate electoral strategy of Raila Odinga’
It makes me sick that Kenya should be a subject of analysis when it comes to post violence election opinion, but the sad thing is that all may not be true but a larger percentage of it is true. I sure do hope that March 4thwill not be a reflection of some of the outrage experienced in some parts of the country in the concluded primaries…I believe in fair elections and I believe that rigging can be a thing of the past, at least if we do away with digital voting, too much of an optimist? Well that’s my prayer.
|african children praying|
Her bare legs were poking out beneath the black skirt which had blood spills. She buried her head on her thighs, all she could feel was anger and hatred. Human beings lacked the value of humanity, she saw no point of living, she hated herself, and she hated the world. She wanted to run away but had no idea where to. All she could feel was nausea and a cloud of bad odour that masked the fresh air.
He was resting in the hut, massaging his belly button, as he smoked a cigarette. He felt like a man, he always did whenever he was alone with her in the hut. He enjoyed how hard she fought him when he tried to squeeze his manhood into her tiny body, it did not bother him that she was only a child, he loved them ripe and innocent and more so when they took kick boxing to his playground. He scratched his chin and smiled at the thought of how enjoyable it was, he wanted it again but first he wanted some meal to be prepared so that he could gain more strength to play battle with the tiny one.
‘Mukami!!! You lazy girl where are you?’ he sounded rough like an elephant’s bellow.
She was not surprised; she was used to his grunting. She slowly wobbled into the hut, her whole body was shaking, and she had no voice it had all been wasted in the screaming and yelling.
‘Hurry up and warm some food for me. I am very hungry!’ he yelled as he shoved Mukami to the corner of the hut where the stove was.
There was no more food, Mukami had helped herself with the leftovers she did not know that he would be hungry in such a short time.
‘There is no food papa, I will rush to the market and get some vegetables,’ she said in a very shaky voice.
She knew that she had upset him, no sooner had she completed her sentence than he pounced on her with kicks and slaps. She fell on the floor, she tried to scream but this time round, all her energy was gone. She was helpless. He had so much strength and she was only nine years old, what could she do to this giant? Not a fly hung around him, he had beaten her before and nobody lifted a finger to stop him. He tore her clothes and threw her on the mattress, she tried to shield her tiny body but it was all in vain, she hated this life, she hated God, she saw no meaning in life. Her father was supposed to be her protector, he was supposed to be her defender yet he was the monster that she dreaded every day.
‘What are you doing to her? Leave her alone!’A woman’s voice screamed
‘Get out of here you silly woman! Go make some food for me!’
‘But she is our daughter, leave her please please!’ the woman cried as she pushed him over and grabbed Mukami.
‘This is none of your business woman!’ he roared as he took Mukami from her hands.
‘No please don’t beat me,’ Mukami whispered, her voice was all gone. Through the pain of her skin she could not cry anymore, she could feel the earth rotating. Maybe she was going to die this time, she told herself.
He dropped her on the floor, pulled up his trousers and walked outside the hut.
‘I have gone to the bar, I better find food when I come back!’ he shouted as he walked out of the compound.
‘Don’t hate him my dear daughter, he is just having a bad day Mukami, he will get better, I am sorry my daughter,’ Mukami’s mother said as she picked up her daughter. ‘And stop crying, you are a woman, women should not cry,’ she said as she wiped her daughter’s tears.
‘Mama let us run away, I feel so much pain, I can not take it anymore,’ Mukami said
‘Stop being silly Mukami, we all have to make sacrifices. Who will pay for your school fees and where will we go? We just have to play nice with papa and give him what he wants, one day we will fight him,’ she said standing up ready to prepare the evening meal.
It never gets better, her mother always promised that life would get better, but Mukami’s life got worse. She was only a child with no one to fight for her. She followed her mother and helped her to prepare her father’s food.
Children in Kenya have become victims of rape and abuse; most of them are too young to understand what is happening. In the recent weeks media houses have headlined news of fathers being beasts and molesting their own children, some have been rescued while others are living in a shell of war with no one to protect them, not even their own mothers, in the end the father ends up killing his family and turning the knife to himself. Children have been stripped off their human rights; they do not know what love is… Who should be blamed? What is the course of action to be a voice to the tiny ones, the voiceless?
IT IS REAL AND ITS IS HAPPENING TO OUR CHILDREN CLICK HERE
It’s election season and the talk in town is politics, and more politics. The greybeards, ambling young men and women convene in the ‘jobless’ corner benches across every major town in Kenya and share views on which candidate is best suited for the top job. Back in offices everyone wants to pull an intelligent motion on candidates who are bound to win and we have our own polls to discredit candidates who are not our preference. Now more than ever everyone is a political analyst, everyone is a peace advocate, everyone is concerned about Kenya’s future and more so we are all watchdogs of change.
Through time I have come to realize that change belongs to those in power and that democracy is a term we use to satisfy our need to have those we want in power stay in power. My take, quid pro quo is the relationship we have with our leaders. Who is failing the other?
In the book African Intellectuals byThandika Mkandawire, he paints a picture of how African intellectuals and more so the leaders, are failing the continent. He talks of how majority of Africans remain mired in poverty and development continues to elude Africa, despite talks on democracy and renaissance. Our fore fathers fought for independence and the need to have sovereign African states, free from the white regime, they took themselves to schools in the west so that they could level up in challenging the white man’s ideologies on ruling our continent. Did going back to school help? My opinion, it did help and thank you to Airlift Kenya which helped to channel a way for the pioneers of this country’s independence get good quality education. But going back to ‘African Intellectuals’ I feel that our current leaders who are well blossomed with degrees of prestigious certificates are failing us.
Should Intellectual wealth be a blueprint to the success of African states, politically, economically and socially? Most states are busy rioting and having military stampedes in their own lands. A case of Kenya, post election violence, Tana delta clashes, Baragoi police killings etc are a result of lack of communication and different ideologies amongst members of a society. Some argue that these wars are propagated by the so called learned African leaders. I might not get down into the details of Kenya because cases are still pending in international and local courts, but take a case of Lurent Gbagbo a professor of History who refused to accept defeat in 2010 and a bloody civil war descended in Ivory Coast, such leaders in our continent show that there is irrelevance in struggling to bring change because if ideologies differ the end result is war.
A recent and ongoing conflict is one of Egypt, where this learned leader with a bachelor’s and masters degree in engineering from Cairo University and an additional PH.D in material science from the University of South California wants to extend his powers and be above the law. Morsi’s decree has sparked protests by Egyptians demanding a reversal declaration of the constituent assembly, he is hardly five months old in presidency after the removal of Hosni Mubarak from the top seat. Again are these scholars failing our continent?
YOU SCRATCH MY BACK I SCRATCH YOURS!
Yes we are all advocates of change, yes we are encouraging each other to go and vote, but we are our own worst enemies. I read a commentary somewhere that, we as the voters fail our continent. Our leaders may be loaded with intellectual wealth but with each democratic vote we decide the future of our country. Most of us are lured by titles, money and favours and that is why even as we approach the ballot box and exercise our right to vote, we do it for all the wrong reasons, because we gain something from it. If things go wrong, if our vote does not put the leader we want in power, we take to the streets and kill each other, forgetting that the leaders we are fighting for are laid back at the comfort of their couches waiting to see the outcome of the violence. Hardly do our intellectual leaders come out and preach peace and if they do, they do it to gain something from it, not because they are concerned about our welfare.
Like an Ox grinding its hooves into the floor and a cloud of dust billows up from beneath it, we move back to give it way, just as we react with our political leaders…as they busy draft their manifestos and tell us of proposed changes they will do in our country, we give them way to bring change. But most of us are bribed into it so as to tag others along for our preferred candidate because we gain something from it, say maybe money or a political post. My question, who should educate us against this rioting culture that has become the new method of solving issues in our continent? The intellectual? We who consider ourselves scholars and learned have let Africa down.
George Ayittey in his article ‘Academics, Scholars and Intellectuals have let Africa Down’ quotes “We of the intellectual community are lost; we don’t know where we are going. We are way behind the curve, late to struggle for democracy in Africa and are only playing ‘catch-up’. We are hopelessly blind to the equally heinous injustices committed by African Leaders against their own people. Too many of us sold off our integrity, principals and conscience to serve the dictates of tyrannical and barbarous regimes.”
Does it matter if we elect leaders who are only learned? Does it matter if we have members of parliament who have never set a foot in a class, the pedestrian? Do learned leaders play key in making a state better? We who term ourselves as intellectuals and learned people, do we matter when it comes to sensitization of the naïve and easy politically tempered? Then who should lead a country?
She does not want someone to foot her bills, not to buy her a drink, not to make her feel inferior because of the heavy loaded wallet, no, the African woman has risen from the doldrums of being judged by the hem of her skirt, it seems as though it happened in a single magnificent stroke, but she is slowly curving in the struggle of our economy into being an independent woman; yes she needs a little pampering but she has come to believe that it is about time she relies on herself, even with the short skirt, the gown of her future is what she has achieved and what she is achieving.
Back in the day, when Methalis(Proverbs) meant something in people’s lives and when the mini skirt had not yet been dismissed as a fashion of restriction, the African woman, had no opportunity to step into a classroom, formal education was meant for the African boy. White collar jobs were done by men and not just all men but the elite, those who had the opportunity to go to school. The best mentor of the African girl child was the mother; the respected girl child was one who knew her way in the kitchen, one who knew how to cook and one who knew that where men were, she had no say. That was the African woman. Who would have thought that we would skip what seemed as a late struggle behind a curve of the uprising of the independent woman? The recent upheavals in Africa about the independent woman has caught most of us off guard, we did not see it coming, because of the ‘gold digger’ trend, now the big challenge of most men is this new species of a somewhat ‘wannabe’ independent woman, who will not settle for less and why should she?
‘That is why you will not get married.’ ‘You will scare men into thinking that you expect too much from them.’
These are some of the sentiments that the Independent African woman is attacked with as she struggles to make the best out of herself. It is no longer a world in which gender is best at what but simply a world of who is best at what… so why limit herself so that she can let a man have the upper hand because of the mere fact that he is considered as the ‘head’ of the family? There are women who are still hung over with the ideology that a man should do everything for them and that there is no point for them to struggle, ‘That’s the work of a man,’ they say. In my opinion I think that this is primitive thinking. Men at least, though not all of them, have come to embrace the independent woman and even though they might cluster around her, pay respect and make phony smiles over her achievements, they have come to appreciate the lady who will offer to take care of them too, say like paying bills, being in leadership etc . We all have one vision to make Africa a better place, improve the economy and more so, build ourselves; does gender define us in this journey?
I am staring at the piles of papers, files and magazines lying all over my cushion and it is impossible to see the upholsters, all this because I want to join the trend of independent women, not to prove anything to anyone but to prove to myself that I can be a better person, drilling myself into literature by the best writers to help better my writing, study hard to crop the little knowledge i feel will level me up in this competitive economy. All this being said by someone who left her job of three years, to pursue a writing career that earns her no penny but gives her satisfaction that no dollar would. I know … crazy huh!
The debate of the rise of the independent African woman vis-à-vis losing the woman who knows her way around the kitchen should be subjected to the same criteria used to asses the ways to nurture and make our economy better. The external prescriptions of the need to be this independent woman, has resulted in a slow eradication of losing touch of the female duties in the house, as some may say. But I would draw this back to the individual, in my opinion, as we suit up and try to level up with the crème dela crème of the well off in the society , we should not forget our household duties: wouldn’t it be a double portion of independence and self fulfillment to be well versed in all sectors?
We don’t need to be dependent anymore, that syndrome that our fore fathers encouraged permeated the entire social fabric, but with time we have seized the chance to cut through what was considered as the male turf… look at us, this new breed, we hate them, at times think that they are just too much or trying so hard but the fact is, the independent African woman is one of the things that Africa needs to balance an economy benched for dependency on the West … but this is just my opinion.
I have always lived my life by thriving on chances and adventure. The motive that drives me has always been to set myself challenges and try to achieve them-Richard Branson