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The last few days has seen an avalanche of “crimes of passion” in Kenya. The most recent being that of an Ex-military officer who stabbed his girlfriend because she was planning to leave him after he had paid for her university education. Are these crimes justified? Our guest writer takes an in-depth look.

By Ryanne Achieng’

Passion

Crime of passion refers to a violent crime, especially homicide, in which the perpetrator commits the act against someone because of sudden strong impulse such as sudden rage or heartbreak rather than as a premeditated crime. Such crimes are not new in our society and are mostly caused by love inflicted pains and betrayals.

Love is a variety of different feelings, states and attitudes that ranges from interpersonal affection to pleasure. It is defined differently by different people and for this case defined as the ‘Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.’
BERTRAND RUSSELL describes love as a condition of ‘absolute value’ as opposed to ‘relative value’. MEHER BABA on the other hand states that in love there is a ‘feeling of unity’ and an ‘active appreciation of the intrinsic worth of the object of love. ‘ According to Philosopher GOTTFRIED LEIBNIZ, love is ‘to be delighted by the happiness of another’ whereas to the Biologist JEREMY GRIFFITH, love is simply ‘unconditional selflessness!’ To me, it is a heartfelt affection, so good yet so deadly when misused! It is however common knowledge amongst us that the complex and abstract nature of love often reduces the general talk about love to a thought-terminating cliche… the main reason why we have lots of love related drama!

Maxwell Ochieng’ loved this lady. Word has it that he did everything humanly possible to ensure that she got her University degree. Life was probably very rosy until she graduated! An event meant to be the end of a long journey and the start of a new chapter in their lives brought nothing but pain to him. Reason? She wanted nothing more to do with him!

Confused, feeling betrayed and obviously ANGRY with probably no time for proper thinking, he acted…murdering the love of his life in cold blood! To some she deserved this but to others, nothing justifies taking one’s life! Fact… people react differently to love inflicted pains…this was his reaction to the action of being damped after all the sacrifices he made for love! The Big question is, was his action justified? Let the Jury decide!

Can crimes of passion be avoided? Maybe. Would things have turned out differently had he embraced dialogue or probably just walked away from it all? YES.

Sadly most people who commit such crimes have very little time to think clearly and only realize their mistakes when it’s too late. Maxwell’s action however justified to some, was a big mistake. He committed murder, a crime punishable by law! The best he can get is having his crime reduced to manslaughter. Is this possible? YES. All he needs is for his legal team to try eliminate the element of premeditation. To make this claim however, they must prove that he acted immediately upon the rise of passion, without the time for contemplation. Is this necessary? Yes. By eliminating premeditation, they lessen the ‘provable homicide’ charge to ‘manslaughter’ with no death penalty and probably limited prison terms! Whichever way, this young man with a great future is headed to prison and his love, to the grave. What a double loss!

In life, every good deed has a price tag so it’s upon one to find out what it is before its too late so that we repay good with good, the only way we avoid such tragic endings! That said, there are always THREE SIDES to these types of stories…His version, her version, and the TRUTH which, we will NEVER know!!!

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African Passport

The African Union passport was unveiled yesterday (Sunday) at the AU Heads of State Summit in Kigali.

At the beginning of this week, a momentous development happened at the AU Heads of State summit in Kigali, Rwanda; the first ever copies of the African Union passports were issued to Rwanda President  Paul Kagame and AU Chairperson Idris Deby (Chad President). The two leaders are the first recipients of the new travel documents that will also be issued to other heads of states and top diplomats in the coming weeks.

It is believed that this new document will hasten the realizations of the continent’s dreams towards achieving Agenda 2063 which is anchored on African integration as a means of achieving the continent’s development objectives.

The role of issuing the new passports to ordinary citizens of Africa has however been left to the respective AU member countries. It’s still not clear whether there is a clear road map to be followed by the member states in issuing the travel document with enhanced security features. It could take a few more years before they are available to non-diplomats.

This announcement has been welcomed with a lot of excitement across the continent.

Chitonthozo Munyaradzi is a radio presenter in Kenya. He is half Zambian and half Kenyan (Dad from Zambia and mum from Kenya) but he still needs a work permit to be employed in Kenya despite the fact that his mum is from Kenya and that he went to school in Nairobi. To him this is a long overdue move:

“This is a great initiative that should have been realized yesterday. It sickens me that foreigners (people from outside Africa) get their visas at the airport while fellow Africans have to get visas in advance to visit their families!”

Roselyne Okeyo, a Kenyan lawyer who studied in South Africa, Botswana and the UK welcomes the idea but thinks that it’s still impossible to roll out the new documents by 2020.

“My first thoughts on it is that three years is such a small time frame to implement such an initiative. ..or should I say the visionaries are being over ambitious regarding the matter…”

The development though is a momentous one. It definitely rekindles the Pan-African hopes that the 32 founding fathers of the OAU had when they sat down on 25th May 1963 in Adis Ababa to give birth to the  union that is currently known as the AU.

That dream has been greatly dimmed by the travel and trade restrictions that subsequent African leaders either imposed or failed remove between themselves. In the pre-colonial era, African communities traded with each other across the continent with coastal cities of the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea being major trading points between people from East, West, North and South Africa.

Today, Africa trades more with China and Western countries than it does with itself. It’s more easy for citizens of the US and European Union to visit most African states than it is for citizens of other African countries. Out of the 53 states, only 13 states have opened their borders to African citizens without the necessity of acquiring a visa in advance. Ghana being the most recent to change it’s policy on advance visa.

Even though it’s still not clear what the real benefits of having an African Union passport will be, it is largely assumed by most citizens of the continent  that it will come with freedom of travel within the continent just the same way citizens of the EU travel freely within the borders of EU member states.

More open borders will definitely come with it’s challenges, but the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages as Dr. Cyprine Oduogo an International Relations & Diplomacy  lecturer at Maseno University’s School of Development & Strategic Studies in Kenya explains:

“We are in a situation where the continent is internally dealing with a lot of issues. Somalia has been at war for decades, something that has given rise to the terror group Al-Shabaab. There are fears of several ISIS backed groups in North and West Africa. The biggest challenge that this integration and open door policy will bring is importation of terror.”

Conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan, Central Africa Republic and Libya will possibly lead to refugees. How readily will African countries accept immigrants from these counties and provide them with equal treatment as their citizens? Even when they do, there are real concerns of pressure on the host economies.

“We however have positive examples from countries which have opened up their borders like Rwanda. The growth is immense and if the rest of Africa are to grow at par with such economies then the integration is a necessary evil,” adds Dr. Oduogo.

The prospects of integration are coming when other parts of the world are pulling away from similar unions. The EU just lost Britain less than a month ago with pressure increasing in France and other EU nations to follow suit. The reasons behind such disengagements provide a rich case study that African leaders and policy makers need to immerse themselves in before formalizing any integration pact.

Fredrick Ochieng’ a Kenyan who frequently travels within the continent thinks that the move will reduce illegal immigration into Europe and tackle ‘brain drain’.

“A lot of Africans travel to Europe when they cannot get opportunities in their own countries. If we had free access to all African countries a lot of people would look for opportunities closer home and help build African economies as opposed to going abroad where Africans face numerous challenges,” says Fredrick.

Even as we celebrate the dawn of a new Pan-African era with the continental passport, we have to align ourselves to the reality that there is more to real integration than a travel document. The cost of air travel between African states has to come down if we are to achieve the full benefits of integration. We still need better transport connection across the continent via rail and road networks for easier movements of goods and people.

More civic education need to happen before all these is realized. We have witnessed cases of Xenophobia in South Africa, citizens of Uganda and Kenya are regularly attacked and mistreated in South Sudan. There are teething problems and constant suspicion by Tanzanian citizens of the Kenyans who live and work there. The ideals of the Pan-Africanist founders of the continent such as Kwame Nkurumah and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere must be instilled on the current citizens of the continent.

Follow me on Twitter @IamOminde

This post was written for publication in the Africa Blogging network website.

 

 

 

It’s 8 O’clock on Monday morning when I start putting this piece together. A little happier than I have been about Mondays in the recent past – happy because today there will be no street protests in my city, Kisumu.

Mondays have been marked with street protests called by Kenya’s opposition coalition CORD over electoral reforms ahead of the 2017 presidential elections. Though the protests were meant to be peaceful, they have resulted in the death of five people, several injuries caused by bullet wounds, loss of billions of shillings due to closed businesses during the protests and destruction of property.

It does not end there.

The street protests being championed by the opposition coalition have renewed the deep rooted ethnic animosity between some of Kenya’s largest tribes. In the run up to the stolen 2007 presidential election, political animosity pitted the Kikuyu (who mainly supported President Kibaki’s PNU at that time) against the Luo and Kalenjin (who supported ODM leader Raila Odinga). Today the Kikuyu and Kalenjin are together in the ruling Jubilee Coalition while the Luo and several other tribes make up the CORD coalition under the leadership of Mr. Odinga.

The rivalry between the Luo and Kikuyu is something that has been exploited by politicians for their own political gain and it dates back to the immediate post-election period when Kenya’s founding President Jommo Kenyatta (father to Kenya’s current President) allegedly betrayed a pre-independence MoU with Jaramogi Oginga Odinga (father to CORD’s Mr. Odinga). The rivalry would become amplified when Kenyatta fired Jaramogi as his Vice President in 1966.

This political rivalry was revived in 2005 after a short stint in which the two communities were in power together and successfully defeated former President Daniel arap Moi’s KANU candidate (Uhuru Kenyatta). The relationship between the Luo and Kikuyu would take a nose dive over another alleged betrayal of an pre-election MoU between former President Kibaki and Mr. Odinga.

The political campaigns in the run-up to the 2007 elections would ignite the ethnic mistrust between three communities; the Luo and Kalenjin on one side and the Kikuyu on the other side. The Luo and Kalenjin would accuse the Kikuyu of being responsible for all their economic problems.

When the election results were disputed, the ODM Party would immediately call for mass protests that quickly degenerated into full-blown ethnic conflicts that led to the death of more than 1,300 people and the displacement of about another half a million people.

Before it got that bad, there were the reckless political statements that incited communities against each other. There was the planning. The mass action called by the opposition (whose victory was stolen) provided a conducive environment to execute.

After a supposed resolution of the conflict following international interventions under the leadership of Dr. Koffi Anan, cases against those thought to be most culpable began at the ICC. One by one the cases were dismissed until no one is currently facing charges.

This has been interpreted back in Kenya as :”people can get away with these crimes.”

Fast forward to today, the war drums similar to those that were beating in 2007 have started beating again. Last night I watched two videos that were sent to me via social media. In one of the videos a Kikuyu politician  is heard proposing the shooting dead of opposition leader Raila Odinga and adding that, “the Luo will throw stones for a week and then move on.”

That statement has sparked angry responses, most coming from the Luo community who are also demanding action against the said politician. One of the reactions I read goes:

” I put it to you MK and those who share your caustic tongue that if Raila is ASSASSINATED, Luos will not DEMONSTRATE. They will FIGHT! An all out war of HONOUR!”

Another politician at the same function called for the mass circumcision of Luos (Luos are one of the few African communities that do not circumcise their men). What should worry anybody about that statement is the fact that forced circumcision was one of the ways in which Luos who were living in predominantly Kikuyu regions were tortured during the 2007/2008 post election violence.

My examples might have revolved around statements from Kikuyu politicians because that is what triggered this post but for the sake of being fair it is worth noting that even the tribes on the opposing camps have made extremely dangerous statements as well.

One comment on Twitter aptly describes my feeling about this whole conversation though:

You see, politicians can only get away with this because their supporters allow them to. They cheer them on because deep down that is what our society is.

These statements are coming as the CORD coalition intensifies it’s push for electoral reforms through mass protests and just months to the 2017 general elections. Kenya is at cross-roads and even though the situation is calm today, the volatility can be felt in the air.

After 2007/8 we said “never again” but it looks like we forgot too fast. Maybe because we never really saw someone pay dearly for their actions – on that we blame the ICC.

This post was written for http://www.africablogging.org – a network of African Politics bloggers.

Folow me on IG &Twitter @IamOminde

Huku Kisumu

Tumaini When someone throws stones and destroys part of a supermarket just because they feel it’s not locally owned then I will need someone to define local. PHOTO: TONY HILLARY

Yesterday I had to walk home from work – no, that is not why I am writing this.I have actually walked home from work before. Mostly because I was broke and did not have 20 bob for that ride on a tuk tuk to Mowlem. At times it’s because I wanted to enjoy the evening breeze hit my face as I think about my life (when I was little my teacher would tell us to ‘go to the corner and think about your life’ whenever we did something wrong).

Yesterday I was neither broke nor in the mood to think about my life. I had actually left the office in Milimani driving home but found the roads impassable and…

View original post 1,101 more words

Holocaust

Posing for a photograph at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. PHOTO: Bruce Chooma

Two weeks ago, I visited the Jewish Holocaust Memorial in Berlin together with about 15 colleagues from the Africa Blogging network. We were among 7,000 delegates from around the world attending the annual digital conference; Re:publica. On one of our free days, our hosts – the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung organized a guided city tour for us. The tour comprised of visits to important historical sites in Berlin which included this breathtaking piece of architecture.

2,700 rectangular slabs of various heights running from north to south and east to west giving you that feel of confusion which symbolically represents an ordered system that lost touch with human reason. They represent the more than 6 million Jews who were murdered across Europe during the Nazi reign.

The Jewish holocaust is one of Germany & Europe’s most shameful history. A later visit to the Wansee Memorial House would even make the events preceding the horrific butcher of Jewish men, women and children more vivid.

What struck me though was that as shameful as this part of European history was, they gave it a monument – a lifetime reminder of a moment when the German/European society sank to it’s lowest.

Back home in Kenya, the events of December 2007 and January 2008 are still vivid in our memories. A moment when we sank to our lowest. Butchered each other just because we have a different last name. 1,300 lives were lost. Hundreds of thousands were forced to be refugees in their own country.

Even though there was a political settlement of the issues that brought the deaths and displacement, there isn’t much to write home about as far as retribution for the victims is concerned. The cases at the International Crimes Court have since collapsed due to political interference and witness tampering.

Even as the cases abroad collapsed, there is little going on back here at home. No proceedings against the so – called mid –level perpetrators.

Laughable and discriminatory compensation.

Let me however go back to the memorial.

Today Germany is a very racially sensitive country. The citizens learnt their lessons and the memorial site together with other historical monuments around Berlin and Germany as a whole remain as reminders of where they need not to go back to.

In Kenya, not a single slab has been erected for the victims of the post –election violence. Why? We have put up monuments for less significant things – we have a monument for the victims of Sachewang’ oil tanker explosion. Even the KDF soldiers who died in Somalia in February had a monument put up in their honor in a record two weeks.

Holocaust victim

At the House of Wansee Conference where the slaughter of over 6 million Jews was planned, testimonies such as these ones from survivors of the holocaust adorn the walls. Here, the world comes face to face with the feelings of these victims. We need to do this for the 1,300 lives we lost and the hundreds of thousands of survivors.

Today as I put this piece together, the ethnic divisions in this country are probably worse than it was in 2007. The political temperatures are at an all time high. Have we forgotten how these same things landed us in trouble?

Perhaps nobody died in 2007 – 2008 post –election violence. Perhaps if people died it was nothing to do with politics. In fact we cal say the 1,300 people committed suicide and the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons were just tired of living in their houses and wanted to enjoy camping in public places.

Holocaust 2.jpg

This is a feeling probably shared by the victims, survivors and relatives of the PEV victims. We haven’t done enough to appreciate what they went through.

We all know that is not true though.

The victims are just a shame we don’t want to admit but the truth is that until we own our shame we cannot move forward as a society. We will keep going back to that ugly past and right now we can vividly see the signs that we are headed back there.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration has since inception tried to limit the freedoms Kenyans fought for, died for and eventually enshrined on their supreme law which is the Kenyan Constitution.

These attempts were first legal in nature  but are of late taking a very dangerous turn. It started with an attempt to curtail media freedoms enshrined in Article 33 and 34 of the Kenyan Constitution. This was in the form of Security Amendment Bill that was passed by parliament in December 2015 and signed into law by Kenyatta. It took the courts to restore these fundamental freedoms to the Kenyan public who are either journalists or media consumers.

Then bloggers and social media commentators were frequent guests of the state charged under section 28 of the Kenya Information and Communications Act 2013 with the offense of “misuse of a licensed telecommunication equipment.” 2015 saw seven people charged under this law. In January 2016 alone, 17 people were arrested charged with this offense before the courts declared this law inconsistent with provisions of the bill of rights in the Kenyan constitution.

(My colleagues and I from the Africa Blogging network had a lengthy discussion about social media freedoms in Africa during the Republica 2016 conference in Berlin two weeks ago, watch the video bellow.)

Two weeks ago, businessman Jacob Juma was shot dead in what looked like a well planned attack on one of the ruling government’s harshest critic. Juma openly spoke about corruption in Uhuru’s government and had on several occasions called out key government officials including the Deputy President for allegedly involving himself in corrupt practices.

Juma’s death still remains unresolved even as evidence disputes the theories propelled by police about the events leading up to and after his death.

Yesterday though was the saddest day in Kenya’s recent history as police resorted to the use of excessive force to disperse peaceful protesters as shown in the photos bellow.

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Bernard Ngatia from Ndumberi, Kiambu County succumbed to his injuries this morning. PHOTO: Associated Press

In the above photos, you can actually see that all the victims had severe head injuries with some of the photos capturing police aiming at the heads of the protesters. Is this how police are supposed to disperse demonstrators? Was it necessary to hit the victims in the head? What were the orders?

These images are a stark reminder of the Moi era when freedom of expression was not guaranteed. It’s the excesses of that administration that led to Kenyans enshrining these fundamental freedoms in their constitution.

Article 37 of that constitution states: ” Every person has the right, peaceably and unarmed,  to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and to present petitions to public authorities.”

These and many other demonstrators who were viciously attacked were demonstrating seeking an overhaul of the electoral commission ahead of the 2017 general elections. They were within their civil rights which were then violated by police officers across the country.

The listed events points to a pattern of an administration that is keen on curtailing basic freedoms. Freedoms that those currently in power did not fight for. Neither Uhuru Kenyatta nor his deputy William Ruto ever spent a night in police custody as a result of fighting for these rights; they do not understand what it cost Kenyans to achieve them.

Under their administration they have supervised the subversion of these fundamental rights that the Kenyan public gave themselves. These rights must be guarded jealously because our lives literally depends on it. It’s either that or a trip back to Moi’s dark days.

Follow me on Twitter @IamOminde

Truth

A lie told so many times has the power to be believed as the truth.

Last week we were in a strategy meeting with my colleagues and our GM. While explaining how people tend to assume things, he mentioned a lie that most of us grew up believing or even still believed; that a majority of Kenyans consume alcohol.

“Do you know that only less than 15% of Kenyans consume Alcohol? They just happen to make the biggest noise,” he explained while trying to drive his point home.

I am one of those people who believed that most Kenyans consumed alcohol. A lot young people in my generation do or did as well. This is the image that we portray to young people everyday and they grow up from colleges thinking that if you want to be  cool you got to do alcohol and drugs.

Many of us interact with information in the digital space where entertainment writers and bloggers glorify wild parties and binge drinking without stopping to tell us how such reckless action could lead to serious health problems.

Vincent Achuka in an article appearing in the Daily Nation on 7th October 2014 boldly states the truth about the dangers we subject ourselves to.

“Men consume five times more alcohol than women and it is therefore not surprising that they are twice more likely to die of liver cirrhosis compared to women. Men are also six times more likely than women to be dependent on alcohol.They also form the bulk of binge drinkers.”

With the increasing internet penetration in the country which currently stands at over 70%, most of us have relied on blogs to provide us with information. Most of that information is usually very sensational and far from the truth. The decision by Daily Nation in 2014 to include bloggers to its pool of writers was therefore a welcome decision because from the nation blogs; which are also published on the Daily Nation we can now have information we can believe.

Njoki Chege and Larry Madowo who run the columns “City Girl” and “Front Row” respectively are some of these new pool of writers that have boldly come out to challenge some of these lies that we have grown up believing.

One of the other lies that young people have grown up believing is that Shisha  smoking is cool. In a very hard hitting article published on the Saturday Nation 14th November 2015, Njoki Chege boldly takes on the vice.

“There is nothing cool or classy about smoking shisha. The pungent aroma aside, you are nothing more than a prime candidate for cancer.”

“Research by the Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention shows that smoking shisha for an hour involves 200 puffs in which you inhale approximately 90,000 milliliters of smoke compared to the 500-600ml of smoke inhaled when smoking a cigarette.”

Of course such bold pronouncements come with some backlash at times, but as Gorge Orwel says, “journalism is about printing what someone else does not want printed…” So instead of playing PR and ego massaging, Njoki Chege gives us a dose of truth every Saturday morning.

This is not just about drugs and alcohol, it’s at time about what we stand for as a country and as young people in this digital sphere. While topics such as sexual abuse and rape have been casually treated or even celebrated in the blogosphere, notable voices such as that one of Larry Madowo have stood up to be counted.

While Kenyans were poking fun at a girl who was probably a victim of sexual abuse, Larry Madowo used his “Fron Row” column on the Daily Nation on 11th August 2015, to have us pause for a moment and ask ourselves some important questions.

“How can you reconcile the fact that the same people whose hearts bleed for a brave young man with a will to live also fail to recognize the oppressed young woman’s right to experience pleasure on her own terms?” He poses.

 

“I asked a male colleague who insisted the recording didn’t document rape whether he would feel the same if it were his sister in the tape. He fell silent.” He adds.

My father worked in a different town when I was growing up. He was the only one who bought newspapers in my family. Whenever he came home for the weekend, he brought with him the entire past week’s edition of the Daily Nation.

One thing though is consistent from the days when my father made me read newspapers that were a week old to today when I can not only buy my own newspaper but have access to digital editions too; The Truth in the Daily Nation.

Believe The Truth.

 

 

Uganda decides

Presidential Candidates hols hands before the beginning of a live Presidential Debate held at Kampala’s Serena Hotel on Saturday. PHOTO: monitor.co.ug

In under a week from today (Monday) Uganda goes to the polls to decide whether incumbent president Yoweri Kagutta Museveni who has been in power for over three decades will continue ruling the “pearl of Africa” for another five years or that he will hand over power in a new dawn that will see the country’s leadership shift to the opposition.

No doubt that this is a defining moment for Uganda whichever way ‘the dice rolls.’

These elections are however not just significant for Ugandans, across the border in Kenya people are closely following the developments. Kenyan media outlets have sent correspondents to Uganda who give live updates during news bulletins.

Kenyans are also regularly commenting about developments in Uganda on social media.

Why is this election important to Kenyans?

Uganda is a key partner in the East African Community with very strong ties to Kenya. A lot of Kenyans are working in Uganda and likewise there are so many Ugandans working in Kenya due to several agreements between the two countries.

John Okello sells car spare parts at Kisumu’s industrial area, he regularly travels to Uganda to source second hand car parts and he explains why Kenyan’s care so much about Uganda.

“Unlike Tanzania, Uganda has been very welcoming to Kenyans and a lot of us do business there or go there to get supplies. Look at Kisumu streets today, how many vehicles do you see bearing Ugandan registration?”

Esther Waliaula works with an NGO in Jinja providing bicycles to volunteer health workers and students in remote areas of Uganda to improve access to healthcare and basic education. She is from Western Kenya and is currently back in the country because of the uncertainties that could come with the hotly contested elections.

“I have only been in Uganda for a month and I largely hope that the elections will be peaceful so that we can soon go back to work. I however came back because I know how African elections sometimes go and you do not want to be caught up when violence erupts in a foreign country.”

Dr. Cyprine Oduogo an International Relations lecturer and dean at the School of Development and Strategic studies at Maseno University agrees that a stable Uganda is very key for Kenyans’ economic interests.

“Uganda being a landlocked country relies a lot on Kenya for the movement of its goods and a lot of Kenyans do business in Uganda or with Ugandans. A stable Uganda is most definitely in the entire region’s best interest.”

The Connection between Kenyan and Ugandan politics

These elections are not only significant to people who work in Uganda or travel there for business. There are domestic political reasons as well.

Kenya will be going to elections too in about a year from now. Kenya’s opposition politicians and their supporters have had very frosty relationships with Museveni’s regime. At the height of the violence that occurred in Kenya after the disputed 2007 elections, Museveni is alleged to have provided police officers that backed up the Kenyan forces in Kisumu and other opposition strongholds and helped Kibaki hold on to power. To many Kenyans he helped rob them of their victory.

“Museveni was party to our stolen victory in 2007. He was a close confidant of President Kibaki and now it’s time for him to go home too,” adds Dick Okech, a resident of Kisumu and supporter of opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Dr. Odugo (quoted earlier) thinks that Museveni has immersed himself into Kenya’s ethnic divisions and sections of Kenyans would welcome a politically neutral leader of their western neighbor.

“Kenyans would most definitely want to see a more neutral leader in Uganda who does not align themselves to the various tribal factions of Kenya.”

Even though President Kenyatta has remained silent on his stand regarding the elections across the border, his deputy who is a close ally openly campaigned for Museveni in Eastern Uganda where a huge population from his Kalenjin tribe reside. That was probably the biggest indication of President Kenyatta’s support for a Museveni win and more reason why Kenyan’s allied to the opposition are against a Museveni win.

While it’s impossible to ascertain whether Kenyans in support of Kenyatta’s administration also support a Museveni win, a lot of Kenyans think he has led the East African nation for too long and it’s now time to change guard.

Museveni is attempting to hold on to power like his counterparts from Rwanda and Burundi, a move Kenyans on social media openly showed their displeasure with.

As far as over staying in power is concerned, your guess on where Kenyans stand is as good as mine.

The politics around the disputed Migingo island in Lake Victoria have also not helped the relationship between Museveni and opposition supporters who mostly hail from Western Kenya. In 2008, Museveni’s claim to the small island led residents of Kibera in Nairobi to uproot sections of the railway connecting the Kenyan coast to Uganda thereby disrupting delivery of goods to the landlocked nation.

“Museveni is widely seen to exhibit irresponsible leadership when it comes to his frequent claims to Kenyan territory. These are things that the average Kenyan does not take lightly even if the disputed land is just a small island,” says Dr. Oduogo.

To others though a win for opposition candidate Dr. Kiza Besigye is symbolic of things to come in the greater East Africa region including Kenya. In Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete peacefully handed over power to John Pombe Magufuli (a close confidant of Raila Odinga) and an opposition win in Uganda would be a much needed morale boost in the Kenyan opposition rings.

Linda Okado ia a member of the ODM Women’s league and supports a Besigye win in the Thursday elections. To her an opposition win in Uganda  will be an affirmation that it’s possible to defeat an incumbent in Africa.

“The challenges the opposition is facing in Uganda are similar to ours. A win there would mean that it is possible for transition in free and fair elections.”

A view shared by Dr. Oduogo who thinks that the opposition in Uganda is facing an impossible challenge and ” a miraculous win” for the opposition in Uganda where “democracy is in a bad state” coming hot on the heels of a change of guard in Tanzania will be a sign of hope for the opposition politicians in Kenya and their supporters.

Follow me on Twitter @IamOminde

 

 

 

 

Hi, my name is Daniel Ominde and I am really not surprised you do not know who I am. I am a journalist but today I ply my trade as a Content Director at one of Kenya’s secular radio stations – explains why you don’t know who I am. My work involves waking up at 4 am everyday and going to bed past midnight with the time in between used in figuring out what you hear on your radio and what you read online. Beyond that I (and people like me at Kiss and Classic and similar radio stations) even go a step further and decide how we package and deliver that info to you.

So today in the course of my work I check my Twitter timeline and I see #TuangamizeUmalaya trending and for a quick moment thought it’s a veiled reference to our politicians or the intrigues at the supreme court but hey – it’s neither. On the contrary it’s a bunch of “online experts” expressing their views on how the “Kenyan media has let them down” and turned their women into whores. These “media experts” got their PhDs from “Twitter University” and “Kwa base Community College.” They are actually very respected people in the society and are commonly referred to as bigwigs. Earn a lot of money (or should I say bundles).

This morning they are having a peer review session convened at “Twitter University” where they are analyzing a paper by one of their revered peer called C. Nyakundi titled:

Extortion; How Maina Kageni & Caroline Mutoko Turned Kenyan Women Into Pseudo-Whores

Because of their limited exposure and the fact that their qualifications from the backstreet “Twitter” university does not add any value to intellectual discourse they give Nyakundi who for once solicited the services of a copy editor and got his grammar right a pass. You know they say ‘if you want to hate, make sure you do so in good grammar’ (I will give him that). Of course without forgetting that this is the same guy who was expelled from a University last year…of course this is good work.

Let me get back to the gist of the matter though and give an actual intellectual review (here not peer) of the said submission.

 

What you hear on radio, read on newspapers and watch on TV is an actual representation of who we are as a society. Why was Tujuane the most Watched TV show when it aired on our screens? Why is The Trend more popular when it hosts socialites? Why do you read Ghafla articles more than you do opinion pieces on the Standard or Nation?

You see, the problem is never with the producer. In marketing they say the customer is always right. In economics my teacher told me that before you produce you have to ask yourself “who are you producing for?”

Just like normal consumables those shows have producers. You might not know this but them – not the presenters control the content of the shows. So find out who Maina Kageni’s producer is before exposing your ignorance on a subject you know very little about.

Not to digress. The question we as producers and content managers/directors ask ourselves is “who are we doing the show for?” This market is demand driven. If Kenyans did not like the content Maina’s show would not be the biggest breakfast show in Nairobi. Do you know how much advertisers pay to place their products on that show? Would they do so if it did not have listeners? That is demand right there.

So if Kenyan women (and men) are whores then they are whores because that is who they are and the media had nothing to do with it.

Somewhere with your small minds and “bundles mwitu” you are busy tweeting #TuangamizeUmalaya saying how the media has failed in it’s role of promoting good societal morals – take a sip. A cold one. You see KBC is paid using your taxes (wait you don’t even have a job to pay tax – my taxes) to do that. The rest of “commercial media” are here as business entities whose primary goal is to make money educating (and here we educate you how we feel like), entertaining (play you music we feel is good for you) and inform you on trends from around the globe (you can call that eroding your culture).

In Kenya we are pretenders, we claim to hate corruption but only when we are not benefiting. We claim to want quality news content but we still watch The Trend. How come our TVs are not always tuned to KTN News – they have 24 hours of news coverage but nobody is watching.

I guess we are in the political season again and the likes of Nyakundi are trying to prove to politicians that they can sway public opinion by attacking the creme of the Kenyan society (maybe soon he will be with Itumbi and Mutai at Statehouse). The fool here though is you who is blindly following and believing everything you hear and read just because you have bought yourself some 20MB of data bundles – now you are a media expert, financial expert and expert to everything under the sun. My advice go get yourself a real job that pays with bundles of cash not data.

Before I go let’s look at this guy Nyakundi though. This is that guy who allegedly tried to extort Bidco and Nakumatt, right? Now he is accusing others of promoting extortion. Did Maina and Mutoko ask him to demand 20M from Bidco? Wait, this is the same ninja who tried suing Larry Madowo? Go take the 10K caroline Mutoko offered you my brother and get laid….you been complaining about everything, go get laid a bit and you will feel better.

You know what I am tired, I can’t even argue about this anymore.

Tweet me @IamOminde 

Slightly over a week ago, tens of Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) soldiers were butchered in a night attack on their base in El Adde, a small town in Southern Somalia. What followed were messages of solidarity with the fallen and injured KDF heroes. The outpouring messages of compassion came from all corners:

The hashtag #IStandWithKDF became a rallying call for online patriotism. Very few dared to ask questions even as the government sought to control the flow of information. Those who asked tough questions or provided information on the nature of casualties were met with threats of prosecution and some citizens were arrested. As I am putting this peace together, a Kenyan journalist is being arraigned in court to be charged for posting photos of KDF equipment captured by Al-Shabab in the raid that left an unknown number of Kenyan soldiers dead, several others injured and an unknown number held hostage.

Threats or no threats, some brave people still sought for official information. Larry Madowo, a Kenyan TV journalist tweeted this:

The question of “how many” is one that is being asked and will continue to be asked for a while before we get answers – that is if we ever will. There is however one question that we are not asking but we really should.

When will our soldiers come home?

Five years have gone since our soldiers first set foot inside Somalia in an operation that was meant to be a “fast in fast out” kind of operation aimed at protecting Kenya from Al-Shabab who were then being accused of abducting tourists inside Kenya and threatening the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner. The operation was aptly dubbed “Linda Nchi” – loosely translated to mean protect the country.

Working independently from Amisom troupes and under the direct command of the Kenyan military heads, the soldiers succeeded in driving Al-Shabaab from key towns and almost crippling their finances when they took the port city of Kismayu. For a little while, there was celebrations and Kenyans believed that they had crushed their sworn enemy.

Did we protect the country?

Like my colleague Patrick Gathara points out in his article the objective of KDF operations in Somalia shifted when “Operation Linda Nchi” was disbanded and Kenyan troupes joined AMISOM whose main mandate is more beneficial to Somalia than Kenya and Kenyans.

Our country is not safer than it was before we crossed over to Somalia. From the sporadic abduction at the Kenyan Coast, we are now seeing increased terrorism activity in the country with regular attacks at places of worship, public transport, shopping malls and education institutions. The Westgate attacks in 2013 where 67 lives were lost and the recent classroom butchers that took place at Garissa University where 147 lives were lost is still fresh in the minds of the world.

Truth is despite our success in destabilizing the Al-Qaeda linked terror network in Somalia, we have also taken considerable heat. We have lost an unknown number of soldiers to the war and a huge number of civilian casualties as well.

Is it time to pull out?

That is a critical question Kenyan policy makers need to start asking ourselves. The objectives of our initial incursion into Somalia might have long been overtaken by events as the force mutated into a Peace Keeping mission with the objectives of ensuring the transitional government and the Somalia National Defense take control of the war ravaged nation.

The narrative that security operatives keep peddling that pulling out will mean that Kenya’s forces are conceding defeat does not hold any water now. It is evident that we need to protect our country from within our borders where we are increasingly coming under attack from home-grown terrorists.

A safer Somalia will definitely mean a safer East African region, no doubt. Even if it is not in our direct interest, in the spirit of good neighborliness we must demand for a secure Somalia for her citizens.  This though should not be a burden left to a few nations in the region.

This is an African Union mission and Africa is bigger than just Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. It’s time that the African Union re-looked at the composition of this force and replace the East Africans or long serving nations with troops from other parts of the continent.

This is a conversation that we must start having, it might not happen tomorrow but we need our soldiers back home to protect us from within or at least deployed to other missions.

Follow me on Twitter @IamOminde