It’s Time We Stopped Calling it ‘The Jubilee’ Government

Picture from olivermathenge.wordpress.com

Picture from olivermathenge.wordpress.com

By Cdooh

Hey everyone!! Missed me? It’s been a while since I posted on here, even though I can see that the last post here was mine. I like to think that I’m one of the founders of this blog (things that may one day land in my resume somewhere) I do have what was once described as the most popular post here, Why a Kenyan Revolution will Never Happen. I’m afraid what I said then is even more true today than ever before.

Today, I’d like to put to you something that you may have noticed, or not. Whenever you watch news these days and the government is mentioned it is referred to as “The Jubilee Government” which is very accurate as they control both the executive, the legislature (both houses) and, depending on whom you ask, the judiciary too. I can’t really fault the media for reporting something that is an obvious fact but I think it’s time we stopped referring to them as “the Jubilee Government” and just call them “The Government”

There are two main reasons for this.

One is so that we can get out of the election mind-set; the presidential elections have been over for over 3 months and so have the court cases associated with them. No matter what your feelings are on the matter there’s nothing you can do about it until we have our next elections which are in 2017, so it’s time we put them out of our minds and get back to the business of building our nation with single-minded focus. Vision 2030 is not going to happen if we keep this perpetual election mindset.

Second and perhaps more important in the nearer term, is for the sake of unity. I’ve noticed recently that whenever people in my house talk of the government they say “This Jubilee government this…” and “This Jubilee government that…” Whenever this happens I get the feeling that they don’t really feel like a part of the government, there is an “us and them” mentality.

It’s true that this government was mostly elected by two communities, a tyranny of numbers it has been described as by a political scientist more learned in such matters than me (side note: the phrase ‘tyranny of numbers’ has become a part of our national vocabulary if you’re just hearing those words now you need to leave the rock you’ve been hiding under more often) in my house we mostly voted for the main loser, I voted Martha Karua because I’m rebellious like that. Anyway it doesn’t help the feeling of loss when the government that is supposed to serve you is constantly named by the team that defeated you. I think it subconsciously reminds people who voted that this government may just serve the numbers that voted them in and that’s not a good thing.

I’d like to point out at this point that I don’t know how the government will rule and divide resources, but I’d like to think they’ll be fair with it. Also that the President, Uhuru Kenyatta, is an alumnus of my old school St Mary’s Nairobi – greatness by association.

My mum and other members of the household have begun to refer to certain members of certain tribes as ‘waJubilee’ or just ‘Jubilee’ despite my best efforts to stop them, especially in front of my ten-year old sister who I don’t want to get tribal before she’s even experienced life.

This us versus them thing we have going is not good for the stability of our country. There’s a lot of latent anger out there and I feel that the media’s insistence on calling the government ‘Jubilee’ is only adding to it. We didn’t see post-election coming, except those whose job is to look out for such things like the NSIS (though looking back I should have known there was a clear sign). I think we’re at a very fragile time in our history and we can’t afford to stoke the fire any more than it is now.

I’ll be posting this to my own blog soon. I’d like to hear what you think, feel free to comment below and/or hit me up on twitter (@cdooh).Peace!!!

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What Have You Done For Your Country

By Justalffie

What are you doing for your country?

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR YOUR COUNTRY?

In what could be one of the most elaborate & stinging quote as pertaining to patriotism & a citizen’s responsibility to their country from one of the most recognizable leaders, John F. Kennedy said:

“Ask not what your country can do for youask what you can do for your country.”

This is what came to mind after the ‘country’ became incensed, frustrated & even disgusted when the Ocampo 6’s return was welcomed in what can be likened to a ‘Hero’s welcome!’ The media did not make it any better with all of them turning their attention to Uhuru Park while at the same time purporting not to support them!

It’s this that I believe brought about the “I Support Ocampo 6 Media BlackOut” (#ISupportOcampo6MediaBlackOut on twitter) movement and cry all over the cyber world (read ‘Kenya’) and then came the petition to collect signatures in support of this cause. (Sign the Petition)

At this point I wondered how exactly this will help; so the petition is signed then & a HIGHLY almost METAPHYSICALLY IMPROBABLE turn of events that the media blackout is effected; then what? Don’t get me wrong, sign the petition. It’s a worthy cause but here I ask what good is a ‘good cause with no effect”?

Allow me to illustrate. If you were in unfamiliar territory and were lost and along the way you meet a native of the area who happens to know the area, ask him for directions. Assume with me, that he goes ahead & tells you how dangerous the path you are on is but doesn’t tell the right path to take, of what help will that be to you?

That’s how I feel about this move. Media blackout is well & good but what is it that we’ll be doing in the meantime? Inaction is just as bad as bad action, if not worse!

For too long we’ve complained about these politricksters with their politricks (as Peter Tosh would put it). What they are doing is hardly new to us or new at all! They’ll still come back to the voting public with the now famous “90 day roadmap” to do whatever including relocating the IDPs!! What nerve?!! Malcolm Muggeridge, a great in the media industry put it this way;

All new news is old news happening to new people.”

So in essence we are being REACTIVE in airing our frustrations which we all know will avail little to nothing! It’s time to be PROACTIVE. Talking about what they should do then get angry when they inevitably don’t do, is pointless. This is what Albert Einstein referred to as insanity when he defined it as;

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

But in terms of offering a direction to take, maybe Confucius said it best when he said;

“Better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.”

Cursing the darkness (what we don’t like about the politicians & maybe the media) will not make it go away. Shining a light on the other hand will kill the darkness! This is the focus of this post… WHAT TO DO, not WHAT AND HOW BEST TO COMPLAIN ABOUT WHAT IS NOT BEING DONE!

 

I’m not going to suggest aggression because I’m of the same school of thought as Dr. John Lennox who once said that, ‘In the country I come from (N. Ireland), Aggression is usually linked to weakness of argument.‘ I believe we have strength in our argument.

What can we do as the media fights for these leaders’ attention or the other way round or is it a symbiotic relationship?!

I offer a suggestion. Using twitter as a sample, we have corporate, sober media personalities, influential members of the business, music industries, event organizers, bloggers… the list of these movers & shakers, so to speak, is endless!

Twitter has more than 70,000 Kenyan users – about 50,000 active users but for the sake of this argument allow me to use 20,000. If for example, in a month, these 20,000 tweeters give only 500 each, we’ll have a total of 10 Million!! How far along can this go in the pursuit of aiding our brothers & sisters who were displaced during the PEV?!

That’s just one month. How much more can we do in the next 12 months, that is before these politricksters come back to tell us how they promise to resettle them in the now famous 90 days?!!

Just recently, there was the 1% drive that helped raise 100,000 in 8 hours via social sites! 8 hrs!! We can’t honestly say we can’t effect change now can we?

Events can be planned, drives held etc… nothing can really STOP A UNIFIED PEOPLE!

Remember Kenya Feb 28?

 

Many have different opinions concerning this initiative some even see it as a waste of time. I, however, see it as an initiative that achieved its objective – Unite Kenyans in singing the National Anthem which doubles up as a prayer or hymn as some see it! Without the “endorsement” of the government we, Kenyans, came together for a positive cause. If that’s not a testimony that we can do much more I don’t know what is?!

 If we, in our various capacities (still using twitter as the base of argument but not excluding other forums) including the corporate in these platforms, ACT we’ll have achieved more than just going on about “righteously advocating” for an Ocampo6 media blackout or whichever other blackout!

I say WE CAN DO THIS!! We always chant KENYA NI YETU! WE ARE PROUDLY KENYAN!

Well, it’s time we walk the talk, and to borrow from Johnnie Walker tag line… “Keep Walking”..

You want an Ocampo 6 (along with others) media blackout, good BUT don’t stop there, in fact don’t even give them your time. Instead effect change. It’s common knowledge some of them will want to ride on your cause down the line.

For the media, maybe these words by Caroline Mutoko address you best:
Let’s STOP the madness” 

Why a Kenyan Revolution Will Never Happen

By cdohnio

I needed to out this up quick which is why I’m doing this on a day I already have on post up but I feel the longer I wait the less relevant what I have to say becomes. Also I’m not a political scientist or any sort of expert on revolutions and such matters, these are just my thoughts.

Recently, ever since the Tunisia and then Egypt protests and revolts there’s been a lot of chatter on my time-line(Twitter) about whether such a thing can be repeated in Kenya. Today there was even talk of one on 28th February. I don’t know where this one came from but there were a lot of tweets tagged with it in the morning.
I kind of found this laughable because I knew it could never happen, not yet anyway. Why? Well that’s why I’m writing this to explain why I know it could never happen.
We don’t have the balls.  We’re way too comfortable to have a citizen-led revolution. We’re too scared to do what it takes. The post-election violence that happened in 2008 has put in us a health fear of such “revolution”. Even today, when the #feb28 tweets were flying around tweets going around begging for calm, that there were more peaceful means to change the piteous state our country’s in. Someone mentioned the new constitutional implementation as a way to change things.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very pro-peace but what I need my fellow Kenyan’s to realise is that for change to come, a revolution to take place you have to be ready to make sacrifices, I’m not talking about money but lives. Yes, I’m saying that for change to happen in a revolutionary manner we must be ready to die. Until that day we’re ready to lay down our lives  to see change we’ll have to be content with the manner that reforms are being implemented in our country, snail’s-pace and probably a couple of generations out.

I’m not saying that the revolution must necessarily be violent but I am saying that we must be ready to die for it. I say this because the system we’d want to change, the corruption and impunity will not want to change. The people who back it will not want to change, they will fight back and do so violently. We all saw it during the post-election violence. They have the power and means to hire and entice people to kill and intimidate anyone who tries to change the system that has  given them vast amounts of wealth and power. Case and point the Ocampo six.

These guys have managed simultaneously make their prosecution and tribal and political debate and coerce the government to somehow consider their defence one of national pride and honour, hence pay for it, simply because they’re part of the government. I mean are you fucking serious? Crime cannot be protected simply because it’s committed by the government or members of it.

Also for this country to undergo a revolution the middle class needs to take part in it. We won’t. We’re too selfish. We all only ever think about ourselves and/or our families. Think about it. Sure we’ll complain about the corruption, the sorry state of our judicial systems and poor infrastructure but when it comes down to it we all manage to living with them, quite comfortably I can add. We’re not ready to lose that comfort. I think this still goes back to what I said before.
I’ll leave you all with this short story from the post-election violence period:

Kibaki had just been declared president and sworn-in in increase darkness. We saw on TV that Kibera was rioting. Looking out the window you could just make out the smoke in the distance( we stay liked 20 mins walk from Kibera in those days).
Later that night there was talk that Raila had called a rally at Uhuru park, that he was going to swear himself in. My aunt and mum made plans to go. They weren’t going to stand for their election being stolen.
Morning came. They woke up psyched, charged. They dress in jeans, t-shirts and running shoes. There was talk of “If there’s no transport, we’ll walk. Even if the police come there we’re prepared to stand our ground.
They left the house and out of our court. I immediately put on the TV to find out what the situation around Uhuru Park was. A ring of police and GSU all round the place, armed to the teeth.
3minutes later the door opens and there are my aunt and mum. Apparently the GSU(General Service Unit, special police unit used in special situation mostly riot control) men had chosen outside of gate to deploy to stop protesters who were trying to make it to Uhuru park on foot and they had been told to return to house immediately. I laughed my head off!

I fear this is what will happen if we ever tried for a revolution, we turn back scared at the very first opposition we meet. I’d like to point out that both relations in Egypt and Tunisia started with death. Also in Egypt, when they had gathered together in Tahrir square they stayed there besides the police harassing and wounding and killing them and today apparently there been pro Mubarak supporters causing havoc and death. That’s all I have to say. As always peace!!!!

PS: I read an interesting post on revolution on Diasporadical today by misternv. I suggest you go check it out. Again peace!!

KiKenya

Today is Thursday, the day we have decided will be used to appreciate our cultures as Kenyans. We call it KiKenya. And on that note, Alffie who gave us this Luo Cheering Song

Tero buru
I don’t know exactly what this means but my sketchy Luo tells me that “buru” is dust. This is actually the same word used in “Buruburu” estate. Not sure how that came about either. And “tero” (NOTE: it’s not Teroo the presenter with a lovely smile ) means “to take” so I would directly translate this to mean “Take dust” which I would imagine implies something to the tune of “Eat my dust”. But as I said, my Luo is sketchy at best so if you can or know someone who can interpret this, please ask them to!

koriko gi koni kendo koriko gi kochaa.. tero buru x2

(I have no idea what this means!! Someone please translate)

river nyando is not navigable……. tero buru x2

but lake victoria has got hyacinthiii….. tero buru x2

(This should be straight forward I should think.River Nyando is a river found in Luo Nyanza. Hyacinthii is just hyacinth)

nyoyo mang’ich oknyal melt BB….. tero buru x2

(nyoyo is githeri, mang’ch is cold, oknyal is cant, BB is Blueband. If you were in a Kenyan High school you understand how we add margarine to githeri)
Translation: “Cold githeri can’t melt Blueband”

agwata motuch oknyal twomo nyuka…. tero buru x2

(Agwata is a calabash cut for use as drinking container. motuch-that has a hole. Oknyal-can’t. twomo-serve,carry nyuka-porridge.

Translation: “Agwata that has a hole cannot serve porridge.)

akala motuch can make kutho chwoyi….tero buru x2

(Akala-local open shoes/sandals made of used car tyres. motuch-that has a hole. kutho/kudho-thorns. Chwoyi-prick or pierce you.

Translation: “An akala that has a hole can make thorns prick/pierce you)

long moyiech can make nyako weyi… tero buru x2

(Long-adaptation from ‘long trouser meaning just that.Moyiech-that is torn. Nyako-lady/girl. Weyi-leave you.
Translation: A torn trouser can make a lady leave you.)

small tp oknyal yweyo sianda….. tero buru x2

(tp-Tissue paper. oknyal-cannot. Yweyo-wipe. Sianda-*behind.

Translation: Small tissue paper cannot wipe your behind.)

but steel woolu is very pain fullutero buru x2

(This a little direct.Translation: but steel wool is very painful!)

*’behind’ is a friendly translation

 

If you do not agree with the translation by Alffie, educate everyone with the correct translation in the comments section.

If you have a song, skit, chant or anything in any mother tongue, you can send it to the.alt.focus@gmail.com and let us appreciate our culture. Moreover, you can win a price.

 

Luo Cheering Song by Alffie

Alffie starts us off on Keeping it Kenyan with this Luo Cheering Song.

Koriko gi koni kendo koriko gi kochaa.. tero buru x2

river nyando is not navigable…….  tero buru x2
but lake victoria has got hyacinthiii….. tero buru x2

nyoyo mang’ich oknyal melt BB….. tero buru x2
agwata motuch oknyal twomo nyuka…. tero buru x2

akala motuch can make kutho chwoyi….tero buru x2
long moyiech can make nyako weyi…  tero buru x2

small tp oknyal yweyo sianda…..  tero buru x2
but steel woolu is very pain fullu… tero buru x2

 

Rate this Cheering Song on a scale of 1 to 10 in the comments section

 

Find More Writings by Alffie here

Appreciating our Cultures

The Alternative Focus is all about YOU, yes, YOU who is reading this. This is why we are giving you a chance to be a part of it. If you have anything you would like to share, all you have to do is write an email to the.alt.focus@gmail.com and we will publish it. We are even taking things to a different level.

Most literature in Kenyan blogs is in English, a little in French and very little in Swahili. I am yet to see a post entirely in Kikuyu, Luo, Kalenjin, Maasai or any vernacular language. Our ancestors were known to pass valuable lessons to their children in the form of songs, riddles, proverbs, poems, short stories etc. These were letter passed on from generation to generation. However, there is a risk that our generation will not be able to pass these to the next generation. Instead, we will pass foreign literature. Something has to be done about it.

In that light, here is a forum to document and at least help pass that chant, song, riddle, proverb or poem to generations and generations to come. In the process, we will be able to appreciate our different cultures. As Patrick Lumumba once said, “Culture is the celebration of diversity. Let us therefore not deny our origin; but instead celebrate ours as a cultural mosaic not a tower of Babel, but a power of Babel!”

I kindly ask you to send any literature available/existing in your (or any) mother tongue (and hopefully with a translation). If you can compose, then that is great, if you do not know your mother tongue, you can get your folks, uncles, aunts or any relative to write you one. The idea is to interact with fun literary works of our various cultures, nothing too serious. If you are wrong on the translations, I am sure someone will be happy to correct you in the comments section and we will all learn something. As if that was not enough, gifts will be given to the best piece every month, how cool is that?

Well, get that old chant, poem or story, write it on a Microsoft word document and send it as an attachment to the.alt.focus@gmail.com and lets appreciate our unique Kenyan culture. In (again) Patrick Lumumba’s words, “I refuse to believe that this country must run on the wheels of negative ethnicity where ones ethnic extraction is the touchstone of ability; that is a veritable tower of Babel . But worry the least – I have a perfect recipe for national cohesion. Let us combine the energy of the Luhya with the entrepreneurship of the Kikuyu, with a little dose of the Wakamba and Miji Kenda humility, the Maasai’s zeal and zest and the Luo’s quest for perfection and the beautiful qualities of all Kenyan nations and what looks like the tower of Babel will become the power of Babel!”