Sunday, 18 September 2011


The recent elections held in Maseno University mirrored the Kenyan national elections in that, they were heavily influenced by tribal alliances. The KKK versus luo alignment has become enshrined in Maseno university politics. Not only are the two different sides completely entrenched in their tribal trenches, but they are financially sponsoring candidates now. Where are we headed to as a university?
Kenyan national politics has always been divided at along ethnic lines since independence, that’s the only way that we seem to know to compete for political positions. This has brought about very sad consequences for our country, such as political violence, tribalism, nepotism, corruption and ethnic divisions. Our university seems to be headed down a similar path, whereby compromise, judging candidates according to their abilities and merit solely is not part of the agenda, rather the top down system where the voters are used as rubber stamps to assent the decision made by the rich and mighty “elders” in the school.
But where will this take us as a university in the long run? Poorer leadership, the students having a smaller voice in their choice for leadership, and tribal divisions in our university. Many political analysts will tell u that there is no ideological backing behind any of our national politicians’ manifestoes and policies. This has been replicated in our university’s politics too.
There was not much difference between the political aspirants’ policies in the September 14th elections in Maseno. The repairing of street lights, cheaper food in the mace, and installation of generators are policies that have been recycled down the years, and one cannot easily differentiate candidates according to their policies alone. Some of the methods the students use instead are course loyalties, voting in their friends and relatives, and voting for their tribesmen. Hence you will find a voter (mostly the third years who are the majority of candidates in SOMU elections) voting in the most unqualified of candidates just because they share the same course. The fourth years mostly do not bother voting since it is unheard of for one of them to vie for a seat. They are mostly involved in the tribal alliances and financing of candidates, as well as organizing their tribesmen to step down when two or more are vying for the same seat.
But why is it so hard for politics to be based along ideological or even economic classes in African politics? Some people suggest that the tribal identity that cuts vertically across the populations of many an African country is deeper than the economic differences that divide Africans vertically.  Hence politicians find it easier to rally support from their ethnic groups than economic class in Africa. Tribalism is thus a monster that would seem to be too large to slay in Africa, and by extension Maseno University. The taming of this monster is thus the more realistic choice.
But how does one go about taming tribalism then? Consocialism is a method that has been used elsewhere in countries such as Belgium and Lebanon, that have ethnic or in the case of Lebanon, religious differences too deep to ignore in political competition. Consocialism is simply power sharing that is enshrined in the constitution. In such case, all the ethnic or religious groupings are ensured of seats in the national executive, legislative and judiciary. This makes it unnecessary to push the electorate to vote for people of their ethnic group. For example, the tribes that fail to get any seats in the SOMU executive may be nominated into the organization.  
Burundi is a country that has implemented this system of governance in recent years. It may seem to be a radical idea at best or a defeatist one at worst, but it is something that should be considered. Blaming tribalism while offering no solutions to combat the issue, except cheap sloganeering and complaining has not worked for anyone in Kenya since independence.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


On 15th February 2011, the protests that had begun in Tunisia then Egypt swept into Libya, beginning in the west in the city of Benghazi before other cities and regions followed suit. The Libya leader colonel Muammar Gaddafi vowed to crush these uprisings and sent his soldiers into the fields. The attacks on civilians (some of them violent protesters) by Gadhafi in towns such as Misrata led to un security council resolution 1973 that imposed a no-fly zone over Libya and “authorizing the international community to establish a no-fly zone and to use all means necessary short of foreign occupation to protect civilians.” This led to NATO airplanes and helicopters joining the fray in the Libyan conflict that has lasted over seven months, and changing the momentum in the Libyan conflict in favour of the rebels.
Now that the conflict is reaching its final legs, one can attempt to review the happenings that have occurred since February 15th when the first major protests began, and what this civil war has taught us about the western media, humanitarian intervention, the African union, the fight for democracy and freedom in the middle east, the big man syndrome in Africa, and development and political freedom in the third world.
Humanitarian intervention
According to Wikipedia, humanitarian intervention "refers to a state using military force against another state when the chief publicly declared aim of that military action is ending human-rights violations being perpetrated by the state against which it is directed." In Libya, this humanitarian intervention was perpetuated by NATO, and some elements of the Arab league. The French warships, British and French airplanes, and American intelligence and Qatari financial support were all rolled out to “take all necessary measures” to protect civilians, and bombings of military installations, government compounds, missile and communications centres.
This military intervention was limited to the air operations, although the CIA did send covert operations as reconnaissance operations into Libya. The Special Forces troops from Britain, France and Jordan also entered the country in contravention of the UN Security Council resolution 1973.
The biggest questions arising from this humanitarian question, according to me, include:  1) what were the reasons behind it? That the government used excess force in shutting down the protests is without doubt, but the other reasons the west would have wanted Gadhafi to leave such as wanting a government that was less abrasive in rhetorical terms and to the interests of the west than Gadhafi’s. The Lockerbie disaster and the repatriation of who was supposedly suffering from life threatening ailments, among many other incidents with Gadhafi have soured relations down the years. However, the regime has improved relations recently yet this did not satisfy the west efficiently to stop them from carrying out the attacks.
It is impossible to talk of humanitarian intervention in Libya, or in any other state in 2011, without mentioning Syria. Why hasn’t Bashar al Assad faced the fate of his contemporary? The stronger military, protectors from the neighbourhood such as Iran and Hezbollah have all been touted as reasons. The simple fact is, some dictators will always have a near free reign to do what they want in their country due to the interests of the superpowers and other realistic reasons. Thus the only people who can change their fate are the citizens that are being oppressed. Help from the outside will always come with its complications, and as much as it can have a positive impact, the regional leaders and countries should always have the biggest influence over any interventions in such countries.
The second issue I have with the humanitarian intervention in Libya is the apparent lack of political will and support for the NATO operations in Libya by the populations back home in America, Britain and France, which these politicians ignored at the beginning and went ahead with the operations. This weakness and “leading from behind” led to the unnecessary deaths and destruction of property in Libya that could have been averted. The civil war could have been over in a much shorter time than was eventually the case. Multilateralism and coalition building seems to be the long term legacy left after the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, but how efficient is this when you need to get a well prepared, well-armed and determined dictator out of office?

The African union
The African Union was at best the smallest voice in the room, and at worst a confused spectator in this unfolding conflict. The African leadership, led by South Africa could offer no meaningful solution to the crisis and came out looking like Gadhafi apologists who were protecting their “king of kings” in the United Nations.
The torturously slow evolution of the African union from a “non-interfering” group to a continental body that can help solve the internal conflicts of the smallest country such as Comoros to the biggest is taking too long. What happened to the unified military? Making the tough decisions that are needed to resolve conflicts in Africa seems to be beyond many of the African leaders at the moment. Is the youth that is spearheading the change in countries such as Senegal, Egypt, Tunisia and Malawi ready to assume this leadership? Is there a new ideology ready to evolve the pan African ideals of Nkrumah and Nyerere to the 21st century conditions?
The fight for democracy in Africa
The Libyan civil war has also brought to the fore many serious issues in the fight for democracy in Africa. One of the leaders of the transitional national council is, former justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil. How democratic and revolutionary is he? Only time will tell. The fight for democracy in many parts of Africa has been always spearheaded by members of the elite that were part and parcel of the same government they are fighting. RaIla Odinga, Morgan Tsvangirai, Alassane Ouattara, Jalil, Kizza Besigye and others always get favourable exposure from the media and many foreigners. However, how democratic are these people who have been intimately involved, either politically, personally or professionally with the same dictators they are trying to oust?
Western media coverage
According to amnesty international, “much western media coverage has from the outset presented a very one-sided view of the logic of events, portraying the protest movement as entirely peaceful and repeatedly suggesting that the regimes security forces were unaccountably massacring unarmed demonstrating who presented no security challenge.” This is despite there being numerous accounts of torched police stations, hanged police officers and mercenaries and violence by the protesters in Benghazi and other towns. The media were obviously trying to show a picture of peaceful non-violent protestors being massacred to their local viewers. This would have played into the hands of the NATO and the political leaders who wanted Gadhafi out at all costs.
Balanced and fair broadcasting of news events from Africa and other parts of the third world by the western media seems to be a dream. Who will tell Africa’s story to the world from our perspective then? Even Aljazeera can only do too much. The more important lesson to be learnt is that even private enterprises will always practice self-censorship, biasness and promote the interests of a given class of people, no matter how “developed” and “free” the society views itself. Hence the citizen TV, NTV etc. of Kenya can only follow this rule. It is time we started asking the media questions and not viewing them as above reproach or criticism, whether the international or local.
The prosecutor of the ICC hastily released arrest warrants for Muammar Gadhafi, his son and the intelligence chief after stories of rape, war crimes and using heavy machinery against civilians was reported. This is despite the amnesty international stating that “there is no evidence that mercenaries, aircraft or heavy anti-aircraft machine guns were used against the crowds. On several occasions the rebels in Benghazi appeared to have knowingly made false claims or manufactured evidence.” The international criminal court has prosecuted, or issued arrest warrants on Africans, and Africans only, since it was formed in 2003. This is despite war crimes being committed in Iraq, Syria and Guantanamo bay by the Americans and their allies.
The international criminal court’s inability to even complete a case successfully, let alone prosecute anyone not from the African continent needs to be evaluated. The crusade led by Kenya to leave the ICC is laughable and deeply embarrassing at the least. The solution for leaving the deeply flawed and partisan ICC would be to form an African or world court that can prosecute all war criminals from Donald Rumsfeld to Charles Taylor. Anything less than that is not workable, and we are better off with the international criminal court.
The big man syndrome and transitions of power
From strutting African union meetings and the world stage to releasing barely audible audio tapes condemning the rats and mercenaries from “unknown locations,” Muammar Gadhafi has come a long way. No doubt the man had ruled for more than his fair share of time since the last 1960s. The big man syndrome in Africa is well on its way out, yet the exit of some of the longest serving heads of state in the African continent, such as Robert Mugabe, Paul Biya, and Meles Zenawi among others can only be potential sources of conflict and upheaval in this countries. Is the opposition in these countries, the African union and the continent at large any closer to resolving these potential conflicts than they were at the beginning of this year? Unfortunately, the answer is no.
Economic development and political freedoms
Many Africans believe that having a “benevolent dictator” such as Muammar Gadhafi is the better option for development, prosperity and stability in a country, rather than pursuing political freedom hand in hand with economic development. However, the development of the middle class that will occur with higher literacy levels, economic opportunities, and better standards of living all suggest that this can only be a temporary ideology. When the people start agitating for greater freedoms, bigger say in government and fighting corruption, the benevolent dictator has to be ready to deal accordingly with this. The response he offers will be the difference between taking his country down Morocco’s or Libya’s path.
In my conclusion, I think that the conflict that happened in Libya may yet occur in another part of Africa, with little or no change in strategy or response from the international community or the Africans. Lessons should be learnt, and I am not sure Africans and the world at large has learnt them.

Thursday, 25 August 2011


Recently, there has been a lively debate in Kenya on whether the principle (article 81) in the new constitution that states “not more than two thirds of the members of elective bodies shall be of the same gender” can be achieved, without some form of affirmative action.This is because at the same time, the constitution restricts the number of constituencies in Kenya to 290 seats, with 59 nominated seats of which 47 are reserved for women, and 12 for special interests including the youth, persons with disabilities and workers (article 97). Hence, the political class cannot “nominate” their way out of this quagmire. The number of women elected to the national assembly next general elections must rise substantially if a constitutional crisis is to be avoided.
The general consensus, in my view, is that this numbers cannot be achieved unless some formula is devised to restrict some posts for women. Hence the cabinet last week decided to scrap away this principle by amending the constitution. This raised a lot of anger from quarters of the women’s rights movement, which said it had not been consulted in this decision yet it was their lot that was to be directly affected.
These groups, supported by most of the women nominated members of parliament, want a system of affirmative action devised, whereby a good proportion of constituencies are reserved for women, so that to ensure the constitution is not violated after the next general election, leading to a constitutional; crisis. But what is affirmative action? The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy defines affirmative action as the “positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education and business from which they have been historically excluded. Some of the ways in which affirmative action can be carried out is through quotas, where a specific number of positions in the school, organization or indeed, parliament are set aside for the minority group.
But this idea has not been received well, to say the least, by a good majority of Kenyans. Every voter has a right to choose his favored candidate, as long as he/she complies with the code of conduct, and article 99 of the constitution. How will vetting candidates according to gender improve service delivery, accountability, good governance and responsibility among members of parliament?
That question brings me back to the real issue in this argument: why cant women achieve a third of the seats in parliament without any special considerations or affirmative action?
Some of the reasons include:
• Lack of economic resources to compete with their male counterparts in political campaigns.
• The irregular and highly corrupt methods of political recruitment by political parties that are mostly headed by men hinder women (as well as the physically disabled, youth and other minorities)
• Chauvinism and lack of education that views women as incapable of doing well in such positions
• Political culture that favors violence, militias and voter bribery which are conditions that favor the men
• Lack of political mentoring and role models in the political field

• “jealousy” from the women voters that would rather vote for a man (I have never bought this one)
Hence to even out this unbalanced playing field, affirmative action should be done to ensure that women are well represented in parliament, as well as fight these institutional problems to make it easier for women and even other minorities to vie for and clinch the positions in politics.
Yet there are persuasive arguments AGAINST affirmative action. These include:
o It may not lead to true diversity of opinion which is so important in a national assembly
o It leads to reverse discrimination( discriminating against men while fighting discrimination against women)
o Lowering standards of accountability needed to push women politicians to perform better. ( a recent study by Stanford university indicated that the women representatives in America tend to bring in more money to their home districts, attract more sponsors and introduce more bills than their male counterparts. Of course this may not be true for Kenyan women parliamentarians, but it is obvious that women who succeed in politics, in Kenya and America alike, are ‘the most politically ambitious and talented of their pool, having potentially overcome hurdles including voter bias and self-doubt about their ability to win.” Open up “special seats” for women and the caliber of women getting seats to parliament is likely to suffer as a result.
o Once enacted, affirmative actions are tough to remove, even after the underlying discrimination has been eliminated.

In my conclusion though, I would say that as long as women cannot achieve at least a third of parliamentary seats in any country, then there is a problem with that society. Affirmative action should only be used as the most temporary of measures to correct this discrimination and wrong situation. For Kenya, measures such as the political parties bill, that will regulate the membership and nominations of political parties, strict electoral code of conduct that is well enforced by the IEBC( Independent electoral and boundaries commission), voter education, more women mentoring each other and encouraging each other to vie for seats in politics, more transparent and possibly government sponsored campaign financing, and democracy in political parties will promote a greater involvement of women in political affairs and elections than affirmative action alone can.
Affirmative action has a good number of weaknesses despite its advantages. hence, it must be used very carefully to minimize any discrimination towards the men, promote equality and harmony amongst all people in society, even as it seeks to empower women in Kenyan politics. for sure, restricting some parliamentary seats for women is not the answer. we would be better advised as a country to lay the groundwork for long term reforms of our political institutions and political culture by reading the article as a principle that can promote greater representation for women in the national assembly, as well as the disabled, youth and other minorities.

Monday, 15 August 2011


The riots that have rocked London have shocked many people all over the world. Somehow the picture of the Englishmen stealing shoes, wine, flat screen televisions and other things from the shops in London and other cities is just too surreal. Many people have commented that the policemen of Zimbabwe, Uganda and Kenya, among other African countries would have shut down the riots and looters in a day. Yet others have faulted the reporting of the west’s media houses such as cnn, BBC and sky news. They say that had these riots occurred in Kenya, they would have been broadcasted all over the world.
I think Africans can compare and learn from these acts of “brazen criminality.” Some of the interesting aspects of these riots such as police response, the role of social media, political response, materialism, multiculturalism and ethnic relations, democratic society and social alienation, as well as the role of parents and the government in children upbringing.
• The police
The London riots began after the mysterious shooting of mark Duggan by the police. The shooting occurred after a botched undercover operation the police have been accused of not being responsive enough to the family of mark Duggan when they went to see them and get information about his death. This led to protests that eventually turned ugly, and led to the riots in Tottenham.
The police have been accused of being too soft and reluctant to use force when dealing with the protesters. This is a rather peculiar charge, as policemen are mostly known for being brutal when dealing with public upheavals of any kind. African police have rarely been accused of being soft on any protesters or citizens. As Kenya police continues to reform, care must be taken to ensure that the right balance is struck between softness and high handedness.
However, the police in Britain have been very efficient n arresting the looters, with over 1500 arrests having been made so far. The police have been very efficient in arresting, processing and charging the looters. This is unlike cases in Kenya where police have frequently dropped the ball while investigating cases. Some of the reasons given for this have been lack of resources, knowledge of the law, corruption and incompetence.
• Political responsiveness
Most of the national politicians had been in recess when the riots occurred. The initial response was slow, although the British prime minister did eventually call a special meeting of parliament to debate on the riots.
The politicians in both sides of the divide have struggled to maintain a united front in the debates, at least in public, although cracks are surely just beneath the surface, with the conservatives blaming the looting on criminality and consumerist society, while those on the left seem to think society has not given the poor any reason not to loot or feel like they are part of society they live in.
These ideological conflicts can lead to lively debate on the issues and consensus building when trying to address these concerns. The important lesson to learn from this is that a modicum of unity by politicians is sometimes necessary when a nation is facing a major crisis.
The law in Kenya and other parts of Africa should also be amended to ensure that the small and medium size enterprises are protected from cases of political violence and upheaval, either by providing incentives to the insurance players, or setting up a fund to help compensate the business class from such wanton destruction.
• Social networks
The use of the social networks by the looters has been very efficient, by using applications such as blackberry messenger to communicate and organize themselves. This has led to calls to ban these looters from the social networks. In Uganda, the leading party is accusing the opposition of trying to lead an “armed insurrection” using twitter.
The lesson here is that social networks can be used for both good and evil by the general population. Hence legislation to guide how to protect the general population from crooks that use the internet to liaise and organize their criminal activities, without violating the right of the innocent. The right to privacy in social networks such as facebook and twitter seems to be nonexistent. Activists are being arrested in Zimbabwe and Uganda for notes and updates they posted on these sites. This is a very worrying trend.
.Of course it must be mentioned that the positive efforts such as #riotcleanup and the identifying of looters on flickr have also been done using the same social networks
Activists and the general public in Africa have to know that they may be putting themselves at risk when they tweet or post negative things about their governments, especially in countries with a history of oppression and dictatorship.
• Ethnic relations
The killing of a black man (Mark Duggan) by the police threatened to bring about race riots, however the situation seems to have been avoided. The murder of 3 Englishmen of Asian origin in a hit and run where the main suspect is an afro-Caribbean ha s threatened to bring about ethnic tensions. This reminds me of such cases in parts of Kenya such as kuresoi and other parts of the rift valley region, where a crime perpetuated by a member of one community can lead to reprisals and revenge attacks. The Kenyan youth and civil society at large have a duty to play to promote dialogue and peace among these communities. This will help downplay tensions between the communities, especially in the political contests that are ahead in the next general elections.
• Haves and have-nots
The most important thing Africans can learn from the London riots, however, is that the creation of a deeply unequal society such as Kenyans is a time bomb. The government must do all it can to promote economic development, creation of jobs and inclusiveness of all segments of the society to the economy. Right now we have a two tier education system, where the rich go to the best schools while the poor go to the worst. What is the government doing to correct this? Is giving more schools the national status the answer? Am highly pessimistic, but time will tell.
• consumerism
The other major issue is that of consumerism. Consumerism, according to Wikipedia, is a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods and services in ever greater amounts. Many societies, Kenya included, are consumerist societies and this leads to people always wanting more and more goods so as to achieve a temporary high. This promotes greed and dissatisfaction among many people with their lives. Given an unguarded supermarket or shoe shop, how many Kenyans, or Africans would have acted in the same manner?
The British society will not find it easy to deal with such a problem. Is consumerism a bad thing? No doubt it promotes innovation and spending, which are necessary to economic development. But parents must curtail their and their children’s desires to spot the latest fashions, phones and designer clothes lest it damages our self esteems, sense of proportion, happiness and envy towards the more affluent in society.
In conclusion, the British government has been much more responsive, and united when dealing with these riots than many African countries would have. However, the issues their society faces, such as the vast underclass, poverty, dire economic times and an increasingly weak political class in the face of globalization, increasing power of MNCs and regionalism, as well as unemployed yet educated young population, are challenges all both sides of the north south divide are grappling with. How will our societies and governments deal with these?

Monday, 1 August 2011

tribalism: challenges to a united kenya

Many Kenyans, will tell you that one of the main problems that has affected Kenyans’ struggle to get a new constitution, good leaders, prosperity, peace and fight against corruption and impunity is tribalism. Tribalism is, according to Wikipedia, the possession of a stron“it is our turn to eat,”g cultural/ethnic identity that SEPARATES one member of a group from the members of another group. In the Kenyan context, this strong identity has been exploited “as a resource for interest groups for achieving secondary goals, such as increase in wealth, power or status, “by politicians.
Tribalism’s origins can be traced back to the colonial period where the British colonial state played the tribes against each other in a system of divide, rule and conquer, indeed in the book "it's our turn to eat" Michelle Wong says that some of the ethnic stereotypes such as the loyal kambas, the humble kalenjins and the slippery kikuyu can be traced back to this age.
Tribalism led to greater government expenditures for social expenditure in kikuyu areas, corruption benefits to insiders, privileged access to government and parastatal jobs for the kikuyu elite in Kenyatta’s government. Blatant discrimination against others, including intimidation and assassinations of popular leaders such as tom mboya, jm kariuki, pio Gama pinto etc who went against the grain or threatened the rulng elite’s interests occurred. The unresolved murders of these and many more injustices carried out by the two dictators who were the first and second presidents of Kenya, as well as kibaki to a lesser extent, have promoted ethnic tensions and a desperate urge by many Kenyans to bring about change, if not of this unjust system, at least of the tribe at the helm in government. When this failed at the general elections, the consequences were tragic, sobering and scary.
The multiparty system of democracy that Kenya adopted in 1992 ushered in a new era where a presidential candidate vied on the back of strong tribal support, and as a result more than 5 opposition candidates would vie against the then president Moi, helping him win the 1992 and 1997 elections without garnering 50% of the votes. This changed in 2002, and the opposition united to bring in change and evict the ruling party kanu from power for the first time since independence. But the honeymoon would not last. Scarcely a year had passed when the ruling party narc fragmented into pieces, with the faction led by Raila Odinga claiming that some MOU they had signed had not been honored when sharing the spoils of victory. This led to formation of a government of national unity, then the loss of the referendum by the government in 2005, and an increasingly tense and divided country leading to the 2007 general elections. With opinion polls pointing to a narrow Raila Odinga victory, increasingly violent, hate filled and propagandist campaigns and the unilateral appointment of some electoral commissioners by president Kibaki failed to raise the warning flags that the December 2007 elections would be a turning point on Kenya’s history.
What happened after the peaceful voting would shake the very foundations of the country to the core. The 2007-2008 crisis that followed these elections would lead to over 1000 dead, 600000 displaced, property worth millions destroyed and the economy of Kenya brought to its knees. After weeks of negotiations between the ODM and PNU factions, the National Accord and Reconciliation Act was signed by Raila and Kibaki on 28th February, a coalition government was formed with the mandate of bringing peace to the country, resettlement of the IDPs, political and legal reform, and the historical injustices as well as uneven distribution of wealth among different groups, the land issue as well as unemployment among the youth.
Fast forward to three and a half years later, are we close to solving these issues, and can we say that the political violence of 2008 will never again occur in Kenya? Some of the reforms that have been carried out include:
Passage of a new constitution. The new constitution creates a devolved system of government, that has the head of state and government as the president. It separates the three arms of government and strengthens the judiciary and national assembly at the expense of the executive. It also has a chapter on land, leadership and integrity and extensive bill of rights. How will this reduce tribalism?
It is hoped that by the devolution of power and resources to the county level, development and allocation of resources will be done equitably and not rely on the friendliness of a certain region to the powers that be. Hence tribes will not have to fight for the presidency and support their candidates and tribal chiefs despite the limitations and poor standards of leadership they may have. Major appointments by the president will have to be approved by parliament, such as cabinet secretaries, inspector general of the police and ambassadors will have to be approved by parliament. This system of checks and balances will help to ensure that the president will not be able to skew the appointments to favor any region, and by reducing the powers of the presidency, make it less attractive and imperial.
Any presidential hopeful must acquire 50% plus one of the votes, more than 25% of support in over half the counties, as well as declaring a running mate who will be the deputy president, before the elections are held. These provisions are to ensure that the president will be acceptable to a great majority of Kenyans, and promote nationalist politics that can appeal to all Kenyans despite their tribe, race or religion.
Other provisions that will hopefully reduce the tribalism and institutionalize issue based politics are the law on political parties that seeks to ensure that any coalition agreement between political parties must be transparent and reported to the independent electoral and boundaries commission, nationalize political parties (article 91 A), and reduce the party hopping and defections that occur when certain candidates lose nominations.
However, the presidency still retains its allure and power. The national assembly has to consist of legislators of impeccable character otherwise all the vetting and oversight of the executive and state officers will just take on an ethnic bend. Votes can and will be bought in the national assembly to pass the appointments of state officers. Tribalism cannot be legislated out of the hearts and minds of Kenyans, they must be educated, and they must talk to each other and practice non-discrimination when they vote for their leaders in 2012 and beyond.
The constitution must be implemented to the full. Bills and acts of parliament that add muscle to its provisions must be written according to its letter and spirit.
The ghosts of 2008 post election violence must be exorcised. How many culprits of the violence have been brought to book or charged? Very few, if any. low and high level perpetrators have been prosecuted. This kind of impunity is what will encourage these perpetrators to strike again in 2012. The Hague issue is one that will provide a hurdle that must be safely navigated. Reports that the witnesses the Waki commission used to get information were paid by both the PNU and ODM parties do not bode well for the Ocampo prosecution. How true are these allegations? What distresses me the most is that the perpetrators of the violence were much more than six people. The police have shown that they are not interested in investigating these people and bringing justice to the Kenyans who were uprooted, killed and raped after the 2007 general elections. Little wonder then, that a BBC 2009 report showed that kikuyu and kalenjin tribes are arming themselves with g3 and AK 47 rifles in readiness for the 2012 elections. If the police cannot protect them, and charge the culprits of the 2008 violence, they will protect themselves, is what they seem to be saying.
The tjrc hearings that are taking place in parts of the country have exposed deep lying anguish, injustice and disillusionment with the central government on past injustices that were committed and remain unsolved despite compelling evidence and witness testimonies. The assassinations of Tom Mboya, Robert Ouko and Jm Kariuki are some of them. The massacre of Kenyans in Kisumu at Tom Mboya's funeral in 1969, the Wagalla massacre of 1977, the 1992 and 1997 ethnic clashes in parts of rift valley, the 2008 post election violence and the 2008 human rights violations carried out by the military in mount elgon must all be investigated, among other injustices. This is the only way to ensure feelings of hatred, anger and revenge towards any communities perceived wrongly or rightly to be behind such atrocities are reduced.
Politicians such as Eugene Wamalwa have been heard recommending that appointments to the county government posts must favor the people who originate from his county, if such sentiments are shared by other politicians and Kenyans, then the county governments will have tribalism and discrimination based on ethnicity when it comes to employment of people, which is not only unconstitutional but will promote balkanization and tribalism at the county level. The rights of all Kenyans to live and work anywhere they want in the country must not be violated, despite the political wishes of such leaders. This is the only way to promote peace and harmonious existence among Kenyans.
The system of government still is a presidential form, and whether this is the best system of government for Kenya, the jury is still out. The committee of experts had initially drafted a constitution in which the executive power was separated between the president and prime minister but the prevailing attitude among majority of Kenyans was that given the wrangling within the coalition government, this experiment was not tenable as a permanent system. Kenyans of different ethnic groups will still vote for one president in the next general elections. So what will stop the tribal cocoons, alliances and historical ethnic voting patters from recurring??
Kenyans would be advised to vote for presidential candidates that pass the leadership and integrity test, and some of the criteria they should look at I have posted here. Realistically speaking, many Kenyans will continue voting for the leaders from their tribes. The new constitution has laid the groundwork to avoid a repeat of any violence due to this in the next elections. However, the minds and hearts of people who want to see their tribesmen only as the president will take much persuasion to convince otherwise. The new Kenyan leadership will take some time to take root, and the future does look brighter than the past in this respect.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


In July 2011, the website foreign policy published their annual list of failed states. Kenya was ranked 16th on that list, and this evoked a great deal of negative emotions from the Kenyan public. I mean, Kenya has its fair share of problems, but listing it with countries such as Somalia and Pakistan is unfair, surely.
I decided to do some research on the matter, and this is what I found out:
The fund for peace on its website, describes itself as “an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research and educational organization that works to prevent violent conflict and promote sustainable security.” It measures pressures on a state, moreso than the states capacity to handle them. Its research is guided by 12 primary social, economic and political indicators (check them here) and I have summarized these below. The indicators are then analyzed on a scale of 1 to 10:
1. Demographic pressures
These pressures include pressures deriving from high population density, group settlement patterns, high population growth rates, natural disasters, epidemics and environmental hazards.
2. Massive movement of Refugees and IDPs

This is the forced uprooting of communities as a result of random/targeted violence causing food shortages, disease that could lead to humanitarian and security problems both within and between countries.
3. Vengeance seeking group grievances
These are groups with historical injustices, patterns of atrocities committed against groups, public scapegoating of groups believed to have acquired wealth, status or power as evidenced in the emergence of hate radio, pamphleteering and stereotypical/nationalistic political rhetoric.
4. Chronic and sustained human flight
This is brain drain and voluntary emigration of the middle class due to economic deterioration, and growth of the Diaspora.
5. Uneven development
This investigates group based inequality, or perceived inequality in education and economic status, as well as group based poverty as measured by poverty levels, educational levels etc.
6. Poverty and decline
This is the progressive economic decline, collapse or devaluation of the national currency, “extreme social hardship imposed by economic austerity programs, growth of hidden economies, including the drug trade, smuggling, and capital flight, and increase in levels of corruption and illicit transactions among the general populace.”(fund for peace)
7. Legitimacy of the state
Massive and endemic corruption and profiteering by ruling elites, and the loss of confidence in state institutions.
8. Public services
This investigates whether there has been progressive deterioration of public services, such as the failure of the government to provide health, education etc.
9. Human rights and rule of law
This is the rise of dictatorships, politically inspired violence, rise of the number if dissidents and political prisoners, and the widespread abuse of legal, political and social rights.
10. Security apparatus
Private militias, army within an army, armed resistance to governing authority and elite guards beholden to the government.
11. Factionalized elites
This investigates tribalism, nationalistic political rhetoric, absence of legitimate leadership widely accepted as representing the entire citizenry.
12. External intervention
This looks at the military engagement, economic intervention by outside powers, and humanitarian intervention into internal conflict.
The fund for peace also ranks five key state institutions (leadership, military, police, judiciary and civil service). Leadership is judged to be weak, the military is poor, the police are poor, judiciary is poor and the civil service is weak.
The fund for peace then releases its findings in the July of the next year, after analyzing thousands of reports. Hence the results that were released in July 2011 were for the year 2010. Kenya’s performance from 2007 to 2011 is as follows: 2007-31st, 2008-26th, 2009-14th. 2010, 13th, 2011-16th.
Keeping in mind that the lower the ranking a country is, the worse the conditions in this country are (Somalia is position 1), it is obvious that Kenya’s position deteriorated progressively from 2007 to 2010, but improved slightly in 2011, mainly because of the free and fair referendum, and the promulgation of the new constitution. The enshrinement of the bill of rights and devolution of government will undoubtedly lead to the improvement of the Kenyan situation.

However, the issue of refugees and IDPs, factionalized elites and external intervention are not improving, in any case the factionalized elites (tribalism, nationalistic political rhetoric and absence of legitimate leadership widely accepted as representing the whole citizenry) the situation is getting worse despite the best efforts of the national cohesion commission.
Some of the challenges that stand in Kenya’s way to improving its standing on this list this year include:
• The ruling of the international criminal court on whether the six cases will be confirmed and criminal proceedings started. Whether or not this happens, justice must be achieved for the more than 1000 Kenyans that lost their lives in the 2008 post election violence. Failure to do so, whether by the ICC or the local judiciary will be a win for impunity and injustice. If the perpetrators of the 2008 violence are not prosecuted, what will stop such violence from occurring in the general elections of 2012?
• Secondly, the implementation of the constitution must be achieved within the stipulated time by all costs. This will ensure that we don’t go for a snap election that we are ill-prepared for. Thirdly, the campaigns for the elections will have to be conducted in a way that respects peace, justice and harmonious coexistence between the different communities, tribes and religious groups living in Kenya.
• Fourthly, the famine that is currently ravaging parts of northern Kenya must be addressed, the influx of refugees into Kenya from Somalia must be mitigated, and the refugees who are currently living in Daadab must be housed in proper conditions, and their health, food, security and clothing situation also addressed.
• Fifth, the runaway inflation, deterioration of the Kenyan shilling and rising cost of living addressed. This will ensure that the economic situation of Kenyans does not worsen.
• Sixth, the corruption that always takes place in the two years preceding a general election must be addressed and culprits taken to court, so as to give the public confidence in the government, as well as enable the state to provide the basic services to Kenyans.
In conclusion, the failed state index which did not receive the attention it deserved from Kenyans raises a lot of pertinent issues for all Kenyans to interrogate. The immediate future for Kenya is exciting yet fraught with danger. If there had been no elections in 2012, Kenya’s ranking would have undoubtedly improved. However, that, together with The Hague, drought, tough economic conditions, and slow implementation of the constitution means that we have to be very involved and wary as we move forward.

Saturday, 16 July 2011


The civil society, according to the London school of economics, “refers to the arena of uncoerced collective action around shared interests, purposes and values. In theory, its institutional forms are distinct from those of the state, and market, though in practice, the boundaries between the state, civil society, and market are often complex, blurred and negotiated . . . civil societies are often populated by organizations such as registered charities, gnus, community groups, women’s organizations, faith-based organizations, trade unions, self-help groups, social movements, business associations, coalitions and advocacy groups.”
A simpler definition by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is, “the arena, outside of the family, the state, and the market where people associate to advance common interests.
Going by these definitions, then civil society is very wide, and pervasive in all societies, Kenya included. In Kenya, the civil society has played a big role in the fight for a new constitution, democracy, the accountability of the government and fight against corruption. The line between civil society and government has often become blurred, and sometimes the civil society bigwigs have ventured into politics. This has led to the credibility of the civil society being eroded, as these organizations have at times become too cozy with the politicians, promoted foreign interests, alienated the people from the political process, spread half truths and propaganda (case in point the evangelicals during no campaign for the 2010 referendum), and been used by unscrupulous individuals purely to canvas for support from donors while the ultimate use of these funds is not clear to Kenyans.
Yet, looking at the new constitution and its provisions on gender, the minority tribes and devolution of power, it is clear that the civil society is a force to be reckoned with. In the era of internet, they can easily educate, some would say indoctrinate Kenyans on their ideologies and world view, sometimes in competition against the government, the traditional media(radio, television and print), and advance their agenda in politics. It would be foolhardy to assume that all civil society groups work for the interests of Kenya all the time, for example many faith based organizations were against the appointment of Dr Wily Mutunga as the chief justice, despite; he being a member of the civil society, and most Kenyans approving of his appointment.
Before we accept what the civil society groups have to say, we need to interrogate them. Some of the questions we should ask an activist or civil society hack before we swallow what he has to say include:
• Where do you get your backing (financial, moral or ideological) from?
• Whose interests are you promoting in your advocacy?
• What methods do you use to achieve your interests and aims?(whether lobbying, sending emails, use of the traditional and new media)
• What role, if any, do Kenyans play in the formation of your visions and goals?
• Whose support are you focused on acquiring, the politicians, the diplomatic corps or the Kenyans?
In my view, with the democratization of the country, privatization of the media, achievement of the new constitution and enshrinement of freedom of expression and association, the aims of the first wave of civil society has been achieved. The days of unity and solidarity in the civil society ended with the Moi regime in 2002. Expect to see much more disagreements, plurality of opinions, difference of opinions, pursuing of selfish interests from the civil society. The civil society will start working against each other, in terms of their goals and ideologies. Our view of civil society has to change. The days where Kenyans seek the truth from NGOs are behind us. We have to analyze every civil society organization as a single entity, loosely affiliated to other bodies from the same background.
In conclusion, the role of civil society in Kenya, in my view will change under the new constitutional dispensation to a more vibrant, diverse and multifaceted affair. There will be “fake” civil society groups, those with interests that are downright selfish and contrary to the expectations of Kenyans, much more opinions will be thrown to us, and the rights and freedoms we enjoy under the new constitution will be used both for us, and against us.
Will this lead to a better Kenya? Hopefully it will, but the challenges are rife.


The general elections are supposed to be held sometime next year, and as a result, the field of presidential candidate is growing by the week. The constitution of Kenya article 137 has the qualifications that one must fulfill so as to allow them to get nomination, and because clause 1) (c) allows the nomination of independent candidates, and nomination of two thousand voters, virtually any Kenyan can declare interest.
Kenyan citizens have greeted some of the candidates with ridicule and brushed them away without scrutinizing them, and their policies. This is a negative attitude that promotes propaganda, weakening of the debates between candidates, tribalist chiefs being approved by Kenyans almost unquestioningly, and an unhealthy dependence on opinion polls to tell us who the best candidates are.
I think we should carefully scrutinize the presidential candidates before writing off or rubber stamping anyone as the winner, and some of the things we should look at are as follows:
1. Principles and beliefs
Every person has their own principles that they fight for in their lives, whether it is fighting for gender equality, rights of the disabled, marginalized communities or even acquiring as much wealth s possible. Thus, every candidate will base their candidature on a certain agenda based on their beliefs, whether it is kufuata nyayo, economic development or equality.
It is important that we scrutinize each candidate’s principles and beliefs, so that we can see how these are in line with the national values, interests and vision 2030.
2. Professional and economic background
This is important so as to give us inkling on what special interests, if any, the candidate would represent once in government, and what special abilities the candidate will bring to the office. A farmer by profession would be expected to bring that expertise to the job, while at the same time focusing more on the agriculture sector.
3. Ideological leanings
Ideology is becoming an increasingly important part of Kenyan politics. Whether this is ultimately a positive or negative development is a topic for another day, but each candidate must tell Kenyans where he stands in terms of role of the government in promoting development, the role of faith in the state and drafting of laws and policies, their policies towards the LGBIT group, and what they think the role of Kenya should be in the international relations,
4. Track record
The track record of the candidate in terms of what they have done in their previous capacities to promote democracy, human rights, peace and unity among all Kenyans, and respect for the rule of law, has to be investigated. Those who were silent during the fight for democracy, and against the dictatorship of Kenyans first 2 presidents, and to some extent even the second, cannot be trusted as courageous, principled and democratic candidates.
5. Organization of the campaign
The way the presidential candidate organizes his campaign tell a lot on how they would run their administration. How the candidate uses social media such as facebook or twitter, handling of propaganda and attacks from other candidates, and coherence and realism of the campaign promises, as well as the efficiency of their campaign can tell us how the candidate would handle opposition, use new technology in governance of the country, and run the cabinet.
6. Brushes with the law, if any
Many Kenyan politicians have spent their time in court, either for corruption charges, allegations of crimes against humanity, fighting for democracy and freedom, or organizing protests against dictatorial regimes etc. we should look at these brushes with the law so as to gain insight to the personal characters of the candidates, and their track record in fighting for the democracy (or against it) that we take for granted.
7. Transparency about campaign funding
The campaign websites of every candidate should tell us how they have acquired their funds. This is important because it will show us which candidates promote transparency. It will also educate us on any special interests either inside or outside Kenya, including the business class, religious groups, trade and labour groups.

It is my view that should we scrutinize each candidate this way, we will make much more informed choices on our government, as well as reduce tribalism and ethnic chauvinism. It will also remove the joy riders who may seek to use the pluralism and relative ease in which someone may vie for the most powerful political office in the land.
We as Kenyans must remember is that the constitution stipulates, in article 38 (3), (c) That every adult citizen has the right without unreasonable restrictions to be a candidate for public office, or office within a political party of which the citizen is a member and, if elected, to hold office. We should not discriminate against any candidate who has declared interest for the seat on any ground including race, sex, ethnicity or religion, as long as the said candidate fulfilled all the requirements of the constitution, and is a responsible leader.

Thursday, 14 July 2011


Governments the world over, and especially legislators in national assemblies are always accused by their constituents of neglecting them once elected. Kenya is not spared in this. Kenyan mps have time and again, increased their salaries, fought efforts to pay taxes, approved the discredited director of public prosecutions and generally thumbed their noses at the Kenyan voter time and time again. What makes legislators act this way?
According to Jean Jacques Rousseau, there are three voices that tell every legislator in all governments what to do in their job:
• What the government(executive) wants
• What the legislator wants
• What the people want
In a perfect democracy, the executive creates and implements the policy that originates and serves the public interest, while every legislator’s interest and want is the representation of the people who elected him to parliament. Hence what the people want what the legislator wants and what the executive wants is one and the same thing. But Kenya is not a perfect democracy, and the interests of the executive and the parliamentarians have many a time drowned out the public interest and general will.
Why is this?
Some of the reasons why this happens are as follows:
We vote in governments based not on the general goodwill and on the interests of good governance and visionary leadership. Presidential candidates are elected mainly on tribal basis. Their own ideologies, characters, principles and values are further down the pecking order. Hence the government becomes lopsided towards a certain region, and some tribes feel included at the expense of others. However only minority elite from the ‘ruling’ elite benefits from this government while ordinary Kenyans interest suffers.
In parliament, debate and checking of the government becomes a tribal affair, and going against the tribal line is considered treachery. As a result the public interest suffers.
Secondly, our reasons for electing parliamentarians are not worthy or parallel to the general will. In all constituencies the clan, tribal or religious interests come first, while the richer the contestant, the more likely the chances of election. As a result, murderers, drug lords, launderers and land grabbers ascend to parliament. There is no way such people would pass legislation that could lead to their prosecutions or arrest, despite them being in the public interest. Watu wa mtaa are also likely to go into parliament, despite their lack of knowledge on political science, law, foreign policy or economics. The voters have to start analyzing the contestants, their sources of wealth and their principles and visions for them rather than the above mentioned characters.
Most important, we must start viewing ourselves as stakeholders who deserve honourable, visionary and driven leaders in government. We must start viewing ourselves as individuals, not tribes. Kenya is made up of 40 million people, not 43 tribes. That is the mantra we must carry as we choose our leaders to the two arms of government, the executive and the legislature.

That is the only way to ensure the public interest is not drowned out in government when the budget, laws and policy are being enacted.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

8 ways kenya can assist south sudan after independence

South Sudan will become a republic on July 9th, 2011. This momentous occasion is a moment that should be celebrated by all Africans, and especially those from the horn of Africa, because a peaceful and hopefully prosperous south Sudan offers a lot of opportunities for them. 
however, there is a lot of apprehension regarding the future of South Sudan, due to the many challenges it faces as it becomes a republic, including low education standards, poor infrastructure, unemployment and poverty, tribal dissent from some of the lesser tribes, murmurings of high level corruption in the government, and arrogance, bad relations and clashes with North Sudan. 
For South Sudan to safely navigate these problems the assistance of South Sudan's neighbours to the south and east will be crucial-Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda must be with South Sudan every step of the way. I will focus on what Kenya can do to assist South Sudan:
  1. Offer financial support to South Sudan. Kenya's infamous 1 million aid grant to Japan should be replicated here. most of south Sudan's industry need a lot of investment, and Kenya's generosity should come in handy to help South Sudan build schools, dispensaries, pay teachers and train the south Sudanese professionals 
  2. Fast track inclusion of South Sudan to the East African Community fold. This is the biggest way that Kenya can assist this new country. the free movement of finances, people and goods across the borders will help create employment and exploit opportunities in both countries and hasten the development of South Sudan
  3. Construct transport infrastructure especially pipelines to exploit oil from south Sudan. South Sudan depends too much on the north for infrastructure such as pipelines to transport oil to the ports. Kenya and more likely, Uganda, should help construct these pipelines so as to ensure the relations between north and south are not so lopsided in the North's favor.
  4. Advise the south to avoid tribalism. There have been murmurings in the south that the 'big tribes' are monopolizing the national cake and positions in government. Kenya has had major problems with ethnicity, and it the South Sudanese should be advised to promote devolution of government, appointment of technocrats on merit, regional balancing and promoting national identity so as to reduce instance of tribal conflicts
  5. Kenya should continue being a mediator between north and south, keeping in mind that Bashir is increasingly isolated internationally, much of the oil that Khartoum used to exploit lies in the south and border demarcation in parts like Abyei is not yet complete
  6. Fighting corruption. Kenya has fought, and many will say, lost the war on corruption and South Sudan can learn on how to form anti corruption commissions, empowering the judiciary to try the perpetrators of corruption and institute checks and balances on the executive so that corruption can be fought within and outside government
  7. Kenya should also promote closer military and political ties to strengthen South Sudan's defense forces, institutions such as judiciary and parliament, as well as the executive. This is necessary so that it can fight the enemies of peace and prosperity from the north that are located in and out of North Sudan Kenya should also invest in South Sudan's banking sector, infrastructure, telecommunications network and other industry so that to ensure economic development that can help reduce poverty, unemployment and possible civil strife in South Sudan
In conclusion, Kenya has a lot to do to ensure south Sudan’s future is bright and hopeful…teaching them to avoid our mistakes, and using our economic and human infrastructure to guide them step by step.

Artistry: Richard Gizbert - Updated

Artistry: Richard Gizbert - Updated

Sunday, 3 July 2011


Kenya is at a crossroads at the present. Despite having passed a new constitution last year, many Kenyans and politicians are still stuck in the old way of thinking about the role of the citizens, the government, the politicians and other social and political institutions in the development of the country. As a result, the corruption, impunity, tribal alliances, arrogance, selfishness and gender chauvinism that characterized Kenyans and their institutions persist despite the best efforts of many of its citizens and the new constitutional dispensation.
But the Hague confirmation trials, worrying economic trends and deficits, upcoming general elections and campaigns, implementation of the new constitution and its attendant appointments and acts of parliament, insistence of the police to treat the big fish as though they are above the law and tough economic conditions in much of east Africa and the world have led to a lot of political brinkmanship, tensions, lies and generally a feeling that a big chunk of the political class is insistent on not implementing the new constitution, or ignoring it in both letter and spirit so as to conserve their ill gotten wealth and connections in economic and political sectors.
Hence Kenyans must be extra vigilant to ensure the new constitution is implemented, as well as ensure that the economic troubles facing the citizenry are addressed. We must be prepared to play a bigger role in government affairs and politics if we are to ensure that the monumental challenges facing us are to be successfully navigated. But how do we do this? Below are some steps I think we should take to enable us to be better equipped to bring about change in Kenya.
Think as citizens
Time has come for Kenyans to start thinking more as citizens as an identity, before other defining characters such as professions, tribe and gender. We all are part of the land, and we have to think, talk and act as shareholders of this country. We have delegated power to the government to perform legislative, executive and judicial functions to ensure that our future as a country is guaranteed, and we can live in a peaceful and prosperous country. We are the ones with the power, ability and responsibility to bring about change to this country no one else!
Read and understand the new constitution
The new constitution, especially chapter 1 which talks of the sovereignty of the people and supremacy of the new constitution, and chapter 4, that is the bill of rights, is a must read if we Kenyans are to understand what its spirit and letter says, instead of always relying on the politicians to interpret it for us how they want it. Not only must we read it, but we must understand its limitations and strenghts. This will then enable us to fight for its implementation, weed out those leaders and Kenyans who are against it, and change our mindsets from old Kenya to new Kenya.
Political action
Kenyans must be prepared to actively participate in politics if we are to take the space that the tribalists, thieves and looters are incapable of occupying, those of the sensible, selfless and patriotic citizens. Signing online petitions, emailing, posting and writing to our politicians, joining politically inclined groups and people, taking part in marches for peace and democracy in Kenya-all these actions are necessary in this exciting but risky times if we are to ensure that a new Kenya is born as a result of the new constitution and changing of Kenyans mindsets.
This means that Kenyans should also engage more in seeking solutions for the problems we face, talking with each other across tribes, religions and races to find common ground as well as promote national unity, and educate each other on what we need to revolutionalise our country in the way that the constitution cannot.
Avoiding beliefs contrary to the roles of a citizen, and values of the constitution
We have to disengage ourselves emotionally from our political, social and religious leaders when looking to create a new Kenya. This will enable us to critically analyze the leaders, their policies (or lack of), their beliefs, track record and ideological standing on the role of government, ethnicity and citizen in making a great nation for our children to live in.
We also need to stop believing in the lies and wishful; thinking that leads us to abdicating our roles as citizens in creating a new Kenya, such as: “what Kenya needs is a benevolent dictator”, “we need someone new to vie for president.” As much as these sentiments may have persuasive points, the most important and integral person in the fight for a new Kenya is YOU, and any ideology that leads to the aloofness of YOU from the civic duties of building a new Kenya can only have negative consequences.
Any misplaced affirmative action based on gender or race that will lead to contradiction of article 27 (5) that says no person should discriminate directly or indirectly on any grounds including race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic/social origin, color, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language or birth…must be shunned as we look for the next president of this nation.
Conversing and teaching each other
We must share ideas, educate each other on the new constitution, our hopes and dreams for the future we want to grow old in, our perceptions on the past, and the divisions that have led to the making of Kenya. The social media has a big role to play in this. We must use facebook and twitter for more than leisurely activities since they are powerful mediums that can help us talk with each other and share information across borders and large distances.
We must also educate our parents even as we reject any tribal or racial chauvinism that may be residual on our elder’s feelings, beliefs and ideas. We are from different times, and since firm rejection of ant discrimination of any grounds speculated in article 27(5) of the new constitution, e must take what is good and reject the bad ideas from our elders.

Every generation has a mission, and our mission is to ensure that a new Kenya whose values and foundations are based on the constitution that was promulgated on August 2010. We must not cower from it.