TERROR ATTACKS IN THE WEST…WHAT CAN KENYA LEARN

 

ppppFrom the simultaneous attacks in Paris to the Christmas market in Berlin and now the events from Manchester, there are a variety of lessons to Kenya’s state of security that has been presented by   the series of terrorism attacks across Europe in the recent past. This does not mean that we should be cowed by terrorism neither should we be hell-bent and put all our focus on it because of fear.

Like Manchester and other regions across the globe, Kenya is a diverse country and because terror attacks have been attributed to being crystallized by religiosity affiliations, we are prone and fragile to similar attacks as those in Europe hence measures need to be put in place to curb damage that a terror association may tend inflict.

So, how much have our security agencies and the intelligence system done or put in place to do away with the factors that can lead to possible terror attacks? The main suspect of the fatal attack in Manchester, Salman Abedi, is reputed to be only a twenty two year old and this brings about the topic of radicalization and violent extremism which many Muslim leaders have condemned and termed as heretical.

A survey done by SUPKEM in 2014 indicated that there were almost eight hundred returnees from violent extremist groups in Somalia  and with the advent of technology, social media to be precise, the possibility of unemployed youths being integrated into terrorism organizations cannot be ruled out  and therefore should be addressed to the core. After being victims of the Al-Shabaab at Westgate and Garissa University College, the discussion that dominated the most were of indoctrination that majorly targeted the youths from the Kenyan coast. .   A major problem that we possess is that such discussions often diminish until we experience another attack. The conversations need to be continuing so that we are not caught flat footed.

Another lesson that we can learn from terror attacks in the west is prevention of maximum damage. Both in Paris and Manchester the perpetrators of this heinous act used soft targets to accomplish their missions. It is very disturbing to learn that In Manchester the victims included kids. In this season that major political activities are beginning to take shape vis-à-vis    the coming general election, vigilance is something that we need to stress on. Security need to be beefed up in entertainment venues and other places where people congregate.

Proper investing on our intelligence system is also key in ensuring that we remain safe.

 

 

 

POLITICS AND POLITICAL LANGUAGE

downloadEric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, once penned ‘political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure minds”. Political language has in the recent past been the talking points  in many debates as witnessed during the surreal campaign period of the United States election with the focus being on President Trump who many critics continue to describe as ‘the verbiage of victim hood to position himself as American savior’.

Back here in Kenya, especially during such electioneering period, we are used to ‘timeworn propaganda maneuvers used by demagogues who have their backs against the wall appealing to voters’ emotions, rather than their interests’. The use of eloquent clichés and latitudes by local politicians to lure voters was evident during the political party primaries that took place a couple of weeks ago and we are yet to get more of it as we approach the polls. Such are the times when wreck less ethnic political ‘leaders’ are good at rekindling the memories of post-election violence by making hateful remarks hoping to be rewarded by their kingpins.

Political language describes who a politician is and gives the electorate the mirage of what to expect should they elect a leader. From integrity, accountability and competence, the chosen political language by any politician goes deep to influence the choices of the voters.

With the devolve system of governance language and tone of a politician can immensely contribute to the rise or fall of a politician. Though party primaries aren’t guarantee that the elected leaders will automatically clinch the seat in the general election, political language impacted much on why most of the incumbents were surprisingly and unexpectedly defeated.

Being ignorant to the fact that most of the electorate had become  more sophisticated, politicians with imaginary promises and who took the advantage of poverty by giving out handouts were astonished when  they were rejected at the ballot.

The tone of a politician in such an ethnic polarized country should be that which brings a sense of hope of bringing people together. History puts it vividly by telling us how the founders of this nation embraced statesmanship by championing for independence by using a language that led to the achievement of what we and the future generation will often be proud of.

“THIS IS KENYA”

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“Do we still as Kenyans have our national pride, the unifying factors and our dignity intact?” Dennis Macaria once penned down this critical question that true Kenyan citizens need to ask themselves. Let’s be honest our pride has indeed vanquished.  Today the thinking of a larger population of Kenyans has shifted from the idealism angle of perceiving various ills that negatively continue to affect the country to the realism view of it. From poor governance, voter bribery to corruption, these ills are today summarized by the common three words “This Is Kenya” and that we cannot expect anything better than the ills that we are used to.

Kenya is a country that started with equal indicators to that of South Korea. After fifteen years the South Korean economy had escalated and grew forty times than that of Kenya. Today qualified employment seekers seeking for positions as low as of that of an intern in various private and  government institutions summarize their  ordeal of failing to secure jobs as “This is Kenya” .It is either you have some contacts from these organizations or you are known.

The reputed bribery of the officials of the society chosen arbitrator has today made the judiciary to grapple with its reputation by trying hard to maintain its independence and restoring the expected aura and ambience of trust with the public. This has been evident with the way they have dealt with cases concerning the big fish compared to the other cases involving ordinary Kenyans. But this is Kenya…

In his first visit to the country while a senator, Barrack Obama once termed corruption in the country as a crisis. A crisis that today that is continuing to visit and is almost felt in every homestead, from the escalating hike of prices of basic commodities to insecurity.

The only hope that we are remaining with as a country is hope for the unity of our technocrats, cohesive and visionary leadership to permanently replace the blind political entertainment where the top is used to blackmailing the bottom and the bottom is often blaming the top. The hope of “house cleaning and for the citizens to remain optimistic of reconciliation of the ethnically polarized leadership and permanent solution to political squabbles”.

This is Kenya but it is not the Kenya we want neither is it the one that its core founders after the long struggle for its independence hoped for. We need to shift from the dependent style of politics where the agenda and the change that we need is defined by a few greedy individuals to being independent and coming up with ideas of how we need to be governed. The tragic farce of people fighting in order to get their candidates elected and then waiting for another five years of poverty and adversity to fight with each other again need to come to an end.

This is Kenya and we need to make it a better Kenya not just by occasional trip to the ballot but by active involvement in decisions that shape up the agenda and economy of the country.

POWER OF SPOKEN WORD

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“YOU ARE WEAK!!!…”

“You need to adjust and be like other people in your age bracket…”

A couple of colleagues told me these words last week while on a trip that literally affected my thinking and eventually changed my perception about people and words. For a long time I had become a victim of negative words   and I was battling from being ensnared in its trap.

Throughout my thinking I came to find out that people who define us with negative words are not the opposite of these words either. They have the experience of living a negative life and are able to spot when you are exhibiting similar characteristics. The problem comes in when we play to the tunes of their negative words.

We live in an age where our well being in the society is defined by experience and other people perception of us. “He said”, “she said” and “they said” are common words that we use to define ourselves. Later we apply ignorance to the powerful inner voice that is the true definition of who we are.

Every day we have a choice of listening to the voices  we want to hear because these words eventually play repetitively in our mind .Never allow negative people with negative words to tear you down. You see, words are like seeds. We are planting seeds when we talk. When we talk about negative words, we are planting a negative life. The more we talk about these negative words the more we are watering its seeds hence the need to avoid the talk of negative talk and walk the talk of who we truly believe we are.

The end result of dominating our mind with negative talk is complaining. The ironic and funny thing is that we find ourselves complaining about something that we are not but rather about False Expectation Appearing Real {FEAR} as a result of the negative talk. Remember we become what we think about hence the need to further think what we are thinking about.

The bottom line is the definition of you lies within you. When these negative words are thrown unto you, don’t take them in but take them as distractions and stumbling blocks from your destiny because they will put you in a battle that is not worth spending your energy. Somebody once penned down an interesting statistics that 25% of people you meet, won’t like you and never will. 25% of people won’t like you but will be persuaded to.25% will like you and will be persuaded not to.25% will like you and stand with you no matter what. This is a true expression of how we often spend a lot of energy trying to please  and seek approval of a  larger group of people who are  not of any significance to our lives.

Bill Cosby was once asked the secret of success and said he didn’t know but rather said he knew the secret of failure and that is trying to please everybody.

 

A MEETING WITH THE PROFESSOR

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The Professor wanted to meet the intellects of the county and he had arranged for an appointment at his office in the outskirts of the business district. So the cream of the county gathered at the used to be the domicile of the Professor patiently waiting for him battling with hungry mosquitoes that some of the intellects suggested were sent by the incumbent. An incumbent the Professor wanted to replace in the coming polls as the chief of the county. A county highly endowed with natural resources and was once poised to be a future greater hub of the East African region incase devolution succeeded in it.

“Oleche do you also appreciate the fact that the politics of our country has changed?”

Bangu a son of an MCA and a fellow intellect asked as we delve into the conversation of little politics that we know of.

Yap ,I  see some changes. I have witnessed political branded vehicles something I didn’t see in the past.”

Bangu was not amused by my answer and really felt agitated to open the chapter of argumentative politics, a feature  his father had used to the advantage of his own political crescendo. But before he could start to hit on me with the verses of his chapter, our Professor arrived accompanied by the expected body guards. Immediately the short awaited program commenced with the abnormal comrades greetings of Nyongo tibiim and  Nyongo tialala renting all around.

A blackout ensued immediately after the Professor stood up to speak and he teased

“…money has been poured”.

And so the rest of the meeting was to proceed with one of the features that both smart phone and feature phones share in common.

He began his lecture by reminding us that the future of Kenya belonged to our generation. Being an ally of Jaramogi’s son and a core member of one of the national parties many of us expected the name Odinga to dominate his speech . That didn’t happen instead he repeatedly gave example of Kiambu to drive his point home. Kiambu, he said was a county that has made significant strides with regards to devolution notwithstanding the common challenges that counties have faced.

Enda kwa Kabogo,he has been able to use the resources both natural and human to kill the problem of unemployment among the people of the same age as you and enable import and exportation of goods to  take place .Here in our county we export nothing but we are able to import fish when we are being surrounded   by one of the largest fresh water bodies in the continent. A graduate in Kiambu in a field of agriculture and that of  a related course is able to apply his/her skills and be in a position to create self employment. Same needs to be done with our fishing industry.”Our professor pointed out.

“Since 2013 Kisumu County has got approximately forty two billion from the national government”.

He said repeatedly stressing on the part of forty two billion probably expecting us to be astonished but nah, such are figures that we only here of  when the President is initiating a project or when  Rotich is reading the budget. Not even   a high school teacher teaching the inapplicable mathematics would dare talk of forty two billion in a class.

“…do you know the worth of forty two billion?”

He continued after realizing we were not moved and he was prompted he had to give an example to make us understand the worth of forty two billion.

“Did you know the budget of Burundi is forty two billion and despite of having a population of about thirteen million it is managed relatively well?”

Kisumu, he said, has the same population as Estonia when it was founded. After a couple of years notwithstanding the shortcomings of governing an infant nation, all its technocrats  and the educated young men were able to keep Estonia on the wheel of development after bringing together their infrastructure of ideas. He wondered why the leadership of Kisumu, with all this sum of money was not even able to keep the county clean.

“When you are from Ahero getting to the CBD, you will see got Ranguma on the rise.”

He said referring to the famous Kachok dumpsite that has been reputed to be a threat to the many lives of residents residing  nearby.

“Even though the leaders of the neighboring counties are equally corrupt, there has been some reasonable development especially the roads that the constituents can see”

The professor stressed that when they spent long hours with other leaders in the advocating for a new  constitution and championing for devolution, they had the future in their mind  of people being the decision makers in their counties. They had the hope of killing inequality and a dream that the people will be able to own most of the resources in their respective counties and be able to create self employment.

“That is why we wanted the educated people to be the leaders of our counties. That is why some of us at the senate were pushing for the MCA’s to have some element of   education in them…”

What if  our governors got the wrong education.?

The professor concluded by telling the comrades that he had nothing to lose in the forthcoming polls and that it was upon us and   jo Kisumo to make the decision on whether they wanted a peoples governor or a governor for the people.

 

 

 

 

 

THE ETHNIC DIVIDE

KKA couple of years ago Bangu  a Maseno University student impregnated Leila, a daughter of a prominent politician of much influence and who holds an office of a high echelon in one of the briefcase political parties in the land. Notwithstanding the fact that controversies has often propelled the politician to political stardom through media circus, her daughter being compromised and impregnated by a son of an hoi polloi and who comes from an ethnic community contrary to his was never reputed probably because it wouldn’t  add any positivity to his political crescendo.

The bone of contention was that Bangu belong to an ethnic community that is known to dominate a certain lake while Leila, the victim of fornication, came from a tribe that mainly resides from a certain mountain. The honorable politician was angered by this development which resulted to Bangu’s apprehension and being remanded for days by the society chosen arbitrator for ‘sexual harassment’ only to be set free a couple of weeks  later.

Despite the fact that what her daughter had remains to be taboo in their tradition, Bangu and Leila  today are a married couple and our mwanasiasa  who after forgiving the two is today a happy grandfather He has been able to interact with his in-laws and his perception on intermarriage among various communities has changed. He realized that the stereotypical beliefs he had in since entering in to the political activities was nothing less of an absolute opposite of the realities. He understood that there was thin line if not any between the various communities that always seem to be at logger heads with each as a result of having different ideologies whenever polls approach.

He came to a conclusion  the major political protagonists in the country are the enemies of peace due to their failure as the ones who hold the key infrastructure of ideas to   create a conducive environment for nation building process never again to rekindle the horrifying lingering and unfortunate memories of the 2007 post election violence.

Being a columnist in one of the major newspapers, the politician in a long article recently penned of how cohesion among various communities and intermarriage is a course that Kenyans need to embrace in a bid to do away with the menace of ethnic chauvinism that has made peace to be fragile and rob the country its pride. He went further to write about the cohesion process that had taken process in Rwanda after the genocide of 1994 and how it replicates to Kenyans at the moment.