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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Special Internet IDs?

By cdooh

 

Last week I read a headline in my Google Reader that had me more than a little worried: Special IDs planned for net user to curb attacks. It immediately had me worried about the potential privacy issues this could bring up. Who would handle these IDs? How would then be issued? What data would be collected and attached to them? How long would that data be stored? How will it be secured? What would it be used for and by whom? Also isn’t there already a way to ID devices on the internet, you know the IP address system?

 

Now I hadn’t read the article yet but already I had a bunch of questions about it? I clicked on the link and quickly browsed the article. I was in class so I quickly saved it for future reading and downloaded the key report mentioned in the article, the Kenya Security Report 2012 by Serianu, an IT services and business consulting firm.

 

So I’ve finally read the article and the report and can finally talk about them with a little bit of knowledge. I think, being a computer science student, I can talk about these things with a little bit of authority.

 

First I’ll start with the report. 32 pages long, and a very obvious way to market Serianu, it provides numbers and statistics on various threats on our country’s internet and computers. For instance it claims that about 80% of IP addresses in Kenya have poor reputation scores because of spam. I won’t argue about the numbers in the report since I can’t really dispute them. However, I have gone over the report myself and have a couple of things to say about it.

 

Firstly, well done to Serianu for actually taking time to come up with report, whatever their motives. I’m a firm believer in data driven legislation when it comes to computers and the internet, and this report, and others like it, can be used to inform the government on exactly how far the law can help in preventing crimes and where it would be over reach.

 

Secondly, at the end of every section they give recommendations on avoiding and preventing various threats. While all very valid I can sum most of them down to just one phrase, “DON’T BE STUPID!”. That phrase if applied in its entirety could probably prevent over 90% of system breaches, hacks and malicious software. Recommendations like use firewalls, patch your system, use secure passwords, update your antivirus regularly and limit the number of people who have access to databases and other files by using privileges all fall under this simple rule.

 

Finally I felt that the report only had one mistake of omission, under the sections talking about spamming and the one of malicious software it fails to mention that one of the main reasons botnets and viruses are so prevalent in Kenya is the fact that a very small percentage of the population uses genuine software. The reasons for this are for another post but every computer admin of any sort worth his salt knows that non-genuine software has the high potential to come with security holes. I use a genuine copy of Windows on my PC and every time I connect to the net it patches and updates itself from Microsoft’s servers, this is not possible with fake Windows. The report should’ve mentioned that the use of counterfeit software was one of the main reasons virus are so wide-spread.

 

Now on to the article in the Business daily. After reading it I found that headline very misleading. The government isn’t issuing ID for net users but rather want to have a local Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). This would enable users of basically insecure public networks (like the internet) to securely and privately exchange data and money through the use of a public and a private Cryptographic key pair that is obtained and shared through a trusted authority. Read more about it here. The government wants to move the process locally to reduce costs to businesses working online. That headline should have been something like “Government makes moves to secure online transactions locally”

 

It would behoove journalists and editors to ensure their headline their articles not to cause sensation but inform.

 

Now to end things on a light note here are two pictures from one of my favourite web-comics xkcd on security that should put things in real perspective for you.

CIA

 

 

Password Strength

 

 

 

Finally, read my other post about the government’s plans to play big brother on the internet here. Peace!!

 

 

My 5 Links

This was an initiative started by Egichomo here. You simply post five links to certain posts as done below then tag about  five bloggers to do the same. Here goes:

Most Popular Post: Why a Kenyan Revolution will Never Happen

This post was written a few days before February 28th. If we can all remember, The Arab revolution was sweeping through countries such as Tunisia and Egypt. Back home, people sort to come up with something that would make Kenyans stand up and tell the political elite that enough was enough. February 28th was chosen as the day in which we would sing the national anthem at 1PM. This post by cdooh sort to explain why a Kenyan revolution would never happen. As we speak, I do not know what became of the Kenya Feb 28th initiative, but I suppose, as a country, we have had to address other more pressing issues.

Post That Did Not Get The Attention It Deserved: The Journey

This is a poem by beenduta. I leave it to you to interpret it as you deem fit.

Post Whose Success Surprised Me: Review: Twitter App LMAO!

This is a review of the twitter API LMAO! that was made by Amasy. The reason why it’s success was such a surprise is because the person who wrote the post, greatrnk, is not such a tech person. As a result, the review was more of an ordinary review rather than a technical one.

Most Controversial Post: The Unspoken Rules of The ‘Kalocal’

This is not a controversial post, since there has not been one written here yet. However, I believe this post by Deestinguished will win if a poll of the most controversial post is done. This is a post which gives some rules on how to conduct ourselves when visiting our various ‘kalocal’

Post I Am Proud Of: Martha aka Thatcher Karua: Is Change Here?

This was the very first post on this blog. It was written by Justalffie just after Mike Sonko and Kabogo had been elected Members of Parliament in by-elections.

I tag the following (who are more than five. Rules are made to be broken!)

Cdooh who blogs at Private Thoughts of A Young Kenyan

Greatrnk who blogs at The Greatrnk

Justalffie who blogs at In His Mind

Deestinguished who blogs at Life In Paragraphs

Beenduta who blogs at Bee Illustrated

Pre7amer who blogs at Pre 7’ame’ers Blog

Ascofu who blogs at Ascofu at Work

Antwarogue who blogs at Rogue Blog