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Archive for the ‘Analysis and Opinion’ Category

Kenya: Male Gold Diggers On the Rise

Posted by Administrator on April 20, 2012

OPINION

By Maureen Ojunga

Often, people brand women who like to date particular men, shop in particular stores, live only in particular areas and wine and dine at particular retaurants as gold diggers! That is not the case always. There are women who do all the above with their own hard earned cash.

Well, for the past couple of months I have been noticing and studying a certain species of Kenyan men… the Kenyan male gold diggers! As a woman I can be excused if I choose to marry a man because of the size of his pockets as I know I will compensate for it in other ways such as carry his children in my womb for some million weeks and of course I will humble myself and cater to him for many years. But a man who is blatantly after a woman for her money…there’s something absolutely wrong with that picture and it’s just plain wrong!

So, the members of this new male species are very comfortable with “being kept” by a woman -who does not necessarily have to be so well off or older but just does better than him financially.)

They will prey on you and be all over you like white on rice just because you have Benjamins and those Benjamins can do something huge for them. A lavish life of fast cars, sexy blings and opulent environs… while they sit back and wait for it to fall on their laps. To the Kenyan male gold digger…because you have your own stylish apartment, you dress well and own keys to anything with four wheels…you are the jackpot!

*I know there are those men who are hunted down innocently by well off cougars but that’s an article for another day. Today I am all about the young male who will go hunting for the lady with a lot pocket money to spare. And guts, they have this lot I must say.

Who exactly is this male gold digger?

They are all over the place and they are multiplying fast!

*A male gold digger is often very handsome and attractive and he knows it. Besides that, he has a very flashy lifestyle and this is what attracts you to him in the beginning. He lies a lot and especially about what he does for a living and his achievements and he is very elusive when asked anything about himself.

*He will tell you about where he lives and even invites you over to his place hoping you’ll say no, but just in case you say yes, imaginary meetings that keep him out of his house at all hours of the day and night emerge! He is simply what musician Wahu would call a “kibow-wow”.

*The male gold digger doesn’t necessarily have to be poor, he could have been rich but has recently bumped into difficult financial times and what matters to him is that he maintains his lifestyle pre-hard times.

*He always knows how to spot a woman with insecurities and so he decides to do something to make you feel better about yourself (i.e offer you fake love) but only to his benefit.

*He does not love you, he loves your money and especially if you are considered socially unattractive and perhaps overweight…ahh…the better!

How to spot the male gold digger from a mile

– He is very keen to know about your finances, job description and your employer. It’s even better if you are self employed or a prominent member in the society.

– He feels he has the right to know about your bank details and how much money you have in your account even before you get to second base with him.

– He asks for money to invest in non-existent schemes claiming he will give it back with interest.

– He is always asking for a loan every now and then and is always in a financial mess that needs urgent attention. If you fail to release the funds or ask for more explanations you will get a dumping but not before some emotional torture.

– He is always “saving” somebody’s a** or constantly his family members fall sick or die…he often just needs money for crises!

– He is very ostentatious in his ways and mark you he doesn’t have a job.

– He never gives you anything or gives you something that will benefit both of you…but him more.

– Whenever he gets money (which you lovingly gave him) he spends it all very fast knowing that when you ask you will give him some more. After all you are his breathing ATM machine.

– He shamelessly asks you to send him airtime or money for fuel or for cab fare when you ask him to meet you.

– He only likes hanging out at your place and will even entertain his friends at your place and at your expense.

– He has a trail of heartbroken women who he has milked, played and dumped in the past.

– He is always unavailable unless he needs something from you.

Remember this man does not care about you, he only cares about himself. He doesn’t add any value to your life whatsoever and once he has milked your finances dry you cease to exist to him! So by any means if you spot him early…avoid him like the plague. Extinguish the male gold digger!!!

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201204170966.html

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Implement draft policy on the Kenyan diaspora and you are into the money

Posted by Administrator on April 10, 2012

After years of promises and missed opportunities, the government has finally come up with a draft policy providing strategies for mainstreaming the Kenyan diaspora into the development agenda.

The draft is currently circulating among diaspora Kenyans and the government has invited our feedback.

I want to start by acknowledging the work that has gone into producing this well thought-out document. The policy provides a more comprehensive view of the diaspora and not just as a source of remittances. It recognises the potential of Kenyans abroad and seeks to create opportunities to harness their skills for the national development agenda.

But after crafting such an ambitious policy, the document proposes the creation of an inter-ministerial council to oversee the implementation and evaluation process. This is a recipe for failure because no one will really be in charge.

While the Presidential Circular No. 1 of 2008 on Organisation of Government placed diaspora issues under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will now house the proposed inter-ministerial diaspora secretariat, the grand aspirations in the draft policy call for a full-fledged ministry for the diaspora constituency or a stand-alone agency answerable to the President or the Prime Minister.

This would be a one-stop destination for all things diaspora. With an estimated population of three million Kenyans and annual remittances of over Sh150 billion, the diaspora merits such a consideration.

It is entirely possible that such an entity could be financed through a creative levy on the remittances. Such a single entity is likely to streamline the process of engaging the diaspora.

An inter-ministerial agency, on the other hand, scatters responsibility across various ministries and therefore holds no one accountable for the policy’s implementation.

A Diaspora ministry is not a radical proposal and has been tried elsewhere, such as in the Republic of Benin, where a 2001 diaspora policy established a new ministry in charge of relations with Beninese abroad.

My second observation is on the issue of diaspora representation in the decision-making process. The draft policy rightly recognises the inherent problems in trying to deal with the diaspora. There is no single organisation for Kenyans abroad and diaspora interlocutors are a myriad of organisations.

That can be both a blessing and a curse, especially when looking for genuine diaspora representation. There is a need for the policy to consider the question of diaspora representation in government.

The diaspora is in effect Kenya’s 48th county but without a governor, senator or any elected representatives. It is also the richest and most educated county. The three million Kenyans in the diaspora deserve more than community organisations.

I have long advocated for the creation of a portal that could serve as a database of diaspora skills. It is gratifying to see that the policy recommends collecting such data.

But the database needs to be accessible to both the central government and county governments in line with the spirit of devolution and in a way that they could tap into any skills necessary to their development needs.

Perhaps we could copy the Pakistan model that offers short-term assignments to its diaspora for the purpose of transferring knowledge and technology.

There is also a need to rethink the type of diaspora engagement anticipated by the policy. Engagement is a two-way process and involves more than streamlining the provision of government services to the diaspora.

The engagement process should also provide avenues and opportunities for the diaspora to be involved in the policy- and decision-making process.

The Government of India recently established a portal that allows its diaspora to offer input on various policy formulations based on their expertise and experiences. We can do the same.

The policy treats the diaspora as a single entity united by a unique national interest. It is important for the policy to recognise and acknowledge the diversity among Kenyans abroad and to create programmes and opportunities for the various Kenyan diasporas.

Finally, a 2005 study by the International Organisation for Migration compared diaspora engagement policies among 49 countries and its findings can inform the Kenyan policy.

Prof Chege teaches at Kansas State University, USA. (Samchege@aol.com)

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/-/440808/1383154/-/m7duk1z/-/

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OPINION: STOP ENCOURAGING CORRUPTION IN THE POOR DEVELOPING NATIONS

Posted by Administrator on April 8, 2012

The West and many other donor Nations should stop encouraging corruption in the poor developing Nations, especially those in Africa which are already suffering from poor Governance.

 

The West and other Nations which have been sending a lot of assistances

in form of grants and loans to Africa, have all along known that most of the

assistances have not been making any differences because it has not been reaching the ground.

 

Most of the assistance given to Africa has always been stolen and

returned back to the same donor Nations from where it came.

 

The Western Nations and other  donor Nations should no longer pretend that they are unaware of the trillions of dollars already looted from the poor Nations in Africa,now lying idle in personal bank accounts abroad, owned by the corrupt African leaders.

 

It hurts the poor further, when they are overburdened with the repayment of

loans now lying idle in personal foreign bank accounts after being stolen from public coffers, yet more and more loans continued to be given to those same corrupt leaders.

 

After the late Muammar  Ghadaffi was removed from power, The US announced that he had 30 billion dollars in the USA.  The US stated very clearly that the money had been looted from the Libya public coffers by the late President.

 

The US had all along been silent over the Ghadaffi loot until he was out of power.  The Western Nations and many other donor Nations in the World are silent over the trillions of dollars  stolen from poor Nations by the corrupt African leaders, already banked in foreign personal bank accounts, as poor human beings continue to languish in abject poverty and unwarranted suffering.

 

Before more grants and loans are released to the poor Nations where corruption is rampant, a stern action should be taken on the already looted money banked abroad.

 

The already looted money should be frozen, recovered and returned to the respective poor Nations, after which more grants and loans may be given to those needy Nations.

 

It  is an encouragement of corruption to both current and future leaders in Africa, if the West and other donor Nations continue to give grants and loans to poor Nations, knowing so well that the money will be looted and returned there.  The West and other donor Nations should freeze, recover and return all the looted public funds banked abroad back to the poor Nations, as a sign of transparency and honesty.

 

If the Western Nations and other donor Countries cannot do so, they should stop giving any more money to the poor African Nations in the name of helping the poor, but  instead,  release such money in the name of  enriching the corrupt leaders.

 

Isaac Newton Kinity Former Secretary General

Kenya Civil Servants Union and Chairman

Kikimo Foundation for Corruption and Poverty Eradication.

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Kenyan youth demanding change

Posted by Administrator on April 8, 2012

By Kennedy Kachwanya/Nairobi

The youth are talented and full of energy and if channelled in the right direction, the outcome is amazing. But at the same time there are a number of problems they face which sometime may turn them to something else. From unemployment to public policy, Kenyan youth are turning to mobile phones and social networks to voice their concerns and encourage policy makers to address their needs.
Unemployment ranks as one of the most important issues shared by Kenyan youth. Whether highly educated or not , the unemployment is a challenge to all more so in a developing country like Kenya.
The biggest headache for many new young graduates is the so called “Experience tag”. It is the reality that you can’t get a job without experience, and at the same time, you can’t get experience if you are not given the job. It is a Catch 22 kind of a situation. Are the employers to be blamed entirely? I don’t think so. Companies prefer to hire people that can hit the ground running.
Yet, Kenyan youth are not sitting idly by to let their frustrations build. They are communicating with one another and sharing discussions on the current state of affairs the country is challenged with. The most amazing trend is the growing rate of young people who are now using mobile phones, and to a larger extent, social media to do amazing things.
With a short supply of work, they have the time to collect their thoughts and voice their opinions to others in the community, which is fostering a high level of awareness.
The same energy has not gone unnoticed by politicians and policy makers. A majority of them have joined social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to the young people.
A good example is when the current budget was being prepared by the Kenyan Minister of Finance Uhuru Kenyatta. In what was a first not only in Kenya locally, but probably globally, Kenyatta asked Kenyans to share their ideas and suggestions on the budgetary interventions that they would like to see in the 2011/2012 Financial Year Budget through his social media accounts, among them Twitter and Facebook. The response was overwhelming.
The Treasury received an unprecedented 4,000+ submissions through Twitter, Facebook and blogs.
Another classic example of young Kenyans setting the agenda on social media came last summer. Due to the pressing situation where many Kenyans were affected by the drought, young Kenyans grew weary of waiting for the government and other NGOs to step in.
Youth took matters into their own hands. Ahmed Salim – also known as @ahmedsalims on Twitter – in collaboration with Kenya Redcross, started a campaign on Facebook and Twitter that urged Kenyans to skip at least one meal and donate it to feed starving Kenyans residing in the Northern part of Kenya. Donations were made through SMS on the mobile money payment system, Mpesa.
The campaign dubbed #FeedKe went viral on social media just within a few hours. A week later, Kenyan corporate members, among them mobile phone network operator Safaricom, Kenya Commercial Bank and Media Houses, joined the campaign. At least Ksh114,564,470 ($1,287,241) had been raised. Not only did youth manage to raise awareness and combat a humanitarian crisis, but they bypassed the current political system and effectively solved a critical problem under one collective.
The debate continues as many young people are now outrightly telling the government to come up with lasting solutions for the recurring drought in Northern Kenya.
Without a doubt, the use of mobile phones and the creativity of Kenyan youth have made Kenya a shining light in Africa when comes to technology and direct action.
As more youth are becoming increasingly civically engaged and drawing attention from politicians, Kenya is sure to be a country of incredible social and political growth for the next coming years.
As long as youth remain active in the democratic process, anything is possible. – Global Experts (
www.theglobalexperts.org), a project of the UN Alliance of Civilizations

***  Kachwanya is the chairman of BAKE (Bloggers Association of Kenya), social media consultant based in Nairobi and lead blogger at Kachwanya.com – sharing tech ideas in Africa. He is also the content manager of Mobilemonday.co.ke, and co-founder of Maduqa.com

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No hunger strike for us battered men; we shall suffer our shame in silence

Posted by Administrator on February 20, 2012

I have always looked on bemused at the antics of one Nderitu Njoka, who speaks for some outfit he calls Maendeleo ya Wanaume. That is supposed to be the male counterpart, or answer if you please, to the oldest and biggest women’s movement in the country, the Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organisation.

Apart from occasional statements on behalf of supposedly “oppressed” Kenyan men, Maendeleo ya Wanaume seems to have really struggled to catch attention over the past few years.

Things can be particularly hard for any lobby group that is so difficult to find.

Google, in this day and age, does not come up with an office, address, telephone, website, e-mail address, or any other physical or cyber presence for this largely invisible Maendeleo.

There is a little Facebook presence, but one gets pages for groups that are largely dormant, with only a couple of members or likes, but other almost zero actual activity.

Anyway, this group that one wag dismissed as a mobile Maendeleo — operating out of a briefcase and a mobile phone — has in the past fortnight or so been handed a potent cause that could catapult it to go head-to-head with the noisier feminist lobbies in the scramble for media attention and donor funds.

But typically, our Nderitu Nioka flunked the big test. His response to the sudden spate of “man bites dog” stories of women in Nyeri routinely beating their men to pulp was to launch an abortion of a “hunger strike”.

Mr Njoka wants men across Kenya to boycott the home meals cooked by their wives and instead resort to taking their lunches and dinners outside.

He reckons men could gather in groups outside their homes to share meals and the experiences of physical and emotional battering by their better halves.

Methinks this Maendeleo ya Wanaume fellow lives in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

First, save for a few hopeless ones who get themselves beaten and then are foolish enough to seek public sympathy, battered Kenyan men will not gather to shame themselves with stories of how they have been worked on. They would rather suffer in silence.

Secondly, Mr Njoka obviously does not see that far from providing solutions, the absurd strike would only make things worse.

There are already many Kenyan men who have their meals away from home, feasting daily on nyama choma washed down with copious amounts of beer, while the wife and children make do with watery cabbage.

This self-appointed crusader for men’s rights is actually providing further rationale for those who routinely avoid Mama’s meals anyway, to swell their numbers, and probably extend the “away games” to more than just meals.

Meandeleo ya Wanaume clearly has little clue on how to address this “Nyeri woman” problem. Mr Njoka might be more useful if he took his primer on domestic strife to the feuding fellows on the political rostrums.

The G7 Alliance obviously needs some help. Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka is coming across as the desperate spurned bride hanging on to a duo, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr William Ruto, treating him with undisguised contempt.

Maendeleo ya Wanaume could work on persuading Mr Musyoka that as VP, he actually is senior to the two Hague suspects and, therefore, need not go to them on his knees.

He could try standing up like a man, telling Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto where to get off, and charting his own course.

Then there is the kerfuffle in Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s ODM provoked by the uncharacteristically aggressive challenge by his deputy Musalia Mudavadi for the party presidential nomination.

The very fact that Mr Mudavadi — always the pliant follower, never the leader — has come out fighting has raised eyebrows.

As Mr Odinga’s cohorts show signs of panic with suggestions that their leader must get the ticket without competition and that Mr Mudavadi must have been “sent”, the latter gets more emboldened.

ODM could be headed for a messy divorce if one thinks he has a God-given right to the ticket and the other might be upping the ante as part of an exit strategy. Mr Njoka to the rescue?

mgaitho@ke.nationmedia.com

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/No+hunger+strike+for+us+battered+men/-/440808/1331626/-/item/1/-/vk79kc/-/index.html

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Kenyan entrepreneur and the Whitney memorabilia

Posted by Administrator on February 18, 2012

I have remarked here before how strange people can get after a famous person dies. These thoughts came back to me last weekend with Whitney Elizabeth Houston’s death. Suddenly she was everyone’s favourite. The Twitter-sphere was alive with the tweets of “mourners” many of whom, as is their wont, were shedding crocodile tears for this former mega-star whom they had mostly dismissed as a loser after her self-admitted battle with drugs.

I must state here that though I enjoyed some of her music, I would never go as far as saying I was a devoted fan. Nevertheless, I must admit that some of her songs formed part of the soundtrack of my life and while I was not particularly shocked or broken by her death, I do feel sorry for those she has left behind including her daughter and her family, most especially her mother. It is never a good thing for a child to die before the parent.

If I was to be completely cold-blooded and examine Houston’s death from a detached and dispassionate point of view, I would say that she had reached the top of her career at the end of the 1990s with her ‘My Love is Your Love’ album and after that it was all downhill. But Houston’s career and what I thought of it is not the reason I have brought her up in this article. It was actually the reaction to the death by a businessman friend of mine in Nairobi that got me thinking about how fake we can be about death.

My friend Peter or Pitts as some call him, runs a successful fashion business in Nairobi. He imports clothes, shoes and accessories for men and sells them from his stalls in Nairobi, Ongata Rongai and most recently Nakuru. Over the last couple of years, Klad House, the name of the business, has done extremely well and Pitts has taken full advantage of modern marketing techniques and has grown his clientele through his use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

He is one of those guys who thinks on his feet and in my estimation will go far in business. In fact, if our universities and business colleges had any use for people with a practical experience of growing a business, he would be one of those people they called in every so often to give a lecture to the students and inspire them to do great things.

On hearing the news of Houston’s death, Pitts, who may or may not have been a great fan of the dead singer whose angelic voice was ravaged by drugs, immediately figured that her fans in Kenya were going to want something to remember her by. He immediately started advertising on social media saying that for Sh1,000, he would print Whitney Houston t-shirts with a message of the customer’s choice above or below the picture. Customers were guaranteed they could have their shirts within 24 hours of ordering them.

From my perch in Johannesburg, I thought that while some people might think it was tad tacky or tasteless, many fans would be delighted to have some memorabilia. Certainly businessmen in China, for example, would have no qualms in immediately producing Whitney Houston memorabilia which these very same fans would snap up and treasure.

Peter’s entrepreneurial spirit reminded me of the spirit shown by another Kenyan, Darius Msagha Mbela. In 1978 when Kenya’s first President Jomo Kenyatta went to meet his ancestors, most of Kenya went into mourning. While it was not as showy as the “grief” shown by North Koreans recently when their “Great Leader” died, it was still quite a big deal.

Mbela had been PS at the Information ministry at the time but was perhaps more widely known for his involvement with the magnificent St Stephen’s Church choir. If my memory serves me right, Kenyatta had not even been buried yet, when St Stephen’s, which was the Muungano National Choir of its day, released an album of choral music about Kenyatta and sold hundreds of thousands of albums.

I don’t remember anyone complaining about that. Earlier still, When JM Kariuki was murdered in 1975 musicians Daniel ‘DK’ Kamau and Joseph Kamaru both came out with songs about JM and nobody then cried about making money off the dead. So why now did people take offence at my friend Peter’s initiative? When did we suddenly become so self-righteous and so anti-capitalists? Or was it just that someone else had caught us napping?

Source: http://www.the-star.co.ke/weekend/g-spot-/63147-kenyan-entrepreneur-and-the-whitney-memorabilia

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A Piece of Us: To Whitney and the Millions of Invisible Black Girls and Women Who Struggle with Addiction

Posted by Administrator on February 18, 2012

Gone with the angels: Whitney Houston

Gone with the angels: Whitney Houston

When Whitney Houston died this past weekend, I was shocked by the amount of grief and the wave of emotions I experienced.  In disbelief, I watched myself undergo the five stages of grief for someone I had never met and did not know intimately.  You see, I am not the type who feels personally invested in celebrities.  In fact, I abhor our increasingly celebrity obsessed culture and often wish that we would lay off the blind adulation just a tidbit.

Still, I knew that Whitney Houston’s voice and songs had always touched me in a special way.  I can vividly recall the countless times when I used her voice to get me out of a funk, to inspire me, to soothe me or to just help me be still.  I have been in love with her voice since I was a teenager and have bought any music she put out.  I did not care what people said about her.  I rooted for her at every performance and every television appearance.  I am not alone. The whole world recognized her gift.

Yet, I just was not prepared to grieve her loss the way I have.  For the first few days since her death was announced, I couldn’t hear her voice, listen to her music without bursting into tears.  I am talking about the sort of uncontrollable and ugly crying that comes from deep within.

Again, this is not like me.  If you know me, you probably know that I do not like to cry or get emotional. I get angry. I get sarcastic. However, you will rarely see me cry. Crying in this situation was even more puzzling to me.

It remained so until I had a moment of clarity and understood why Whitney’s death hit me so close to home.  It happened Tuesday morning, as I burst into tears, again, at hearing the details her death.  That morning, driving while intermittently wiping my eyes and sobbing (yes, really), it became clear to me that in mourning Whitney, I was mourning the little black girl inside of me as well as the millions of little black girls who struggle against the challenges of this world.

If you read the testimonies from the millions of Whitney Houston’s fans, you will hear a dominant narrative from many black women of my generation.  Whitney Houston represented them on some level.  She showed them that, they too, could achieve the heights to which they aspired. The fact that she was black, wore her hair short, long, curly or straight, and exuded a priceless type of confidence, just made us connect to her in a way that few others had.

For me, Whitney Houston’s image was never perfect.  I know that’s the way she was perceived for a while, but if you looked deep down you could always see a strain of stubbornness and sass that was all her own. And that sass and stubbornness is, to me, what made her relatable.  When she performed, it was clear that she was aware of her awesome power.  I loved the way her lips curled into a small smile at the end of a performance after she’d nailed a perfect note.  Go back and watch her performance at the 1991 Super Bowl, her singing the “Greatest love of all” to Muhammad Ali for his birthday, or, even her playful renditions of “I wanna dance with somebody”.  From early on, it was clear that she knew she had a gift and that she could deliver.

In a world where black girls are always getting torn apart and demeaned, I loved that image.  I knew many Whitneys growing up: girls who were just breathtakingly beautiful and charismatic.  I also witnessed many instances where the rest of the world made a point to rob these girls of their beauty and shine.  Whether it be in Haiti as a small child or in the Brooklyn housing project where I lived in my adolescence, I could smell the vultures swirling around these girls the minute they started to bloom.  In college, my heart ached every time I came home to visit and noticed one of the girls I admired so much looking beaten and dejected.

Whitney for me was a defiant image to these vultures.  Even though it was clear that she spent much of her adult life struggling against the trappings of similar, more glorified vultures, to me she still represented someone who tried to pave a way despite society’s labels, someone who was fighting and struggling against insurmountable challenges in spite of fame and fortune. For me, just like the young girls in my neighborhood, these characteristics placed her inch closer to my heart.

When she passed on, I think it gave me the permission to mourn in a way that I had not done before.  I have spent all of my life aware of the pitfalls of being a black woman in this world.  I would not change it for the world.  I love who I am.  Being a black woman, I learned very early, means that I have to work ten times harder and to be ready to fight.  And, oh, do we have to fight! We have to fight for many things, the most important being the right to be ourselves and to determine our fate.

We fight against society. We also fight against those closest to us: those whose own oppressions cause them to replicate the same against us.  We have many open wounds. Wounds that can be traced from slavery and colonization.  Wounds to which most of us cannot tend because we are so busy fighting.

I learned many lessons on how to fight watching black women negotiate their lives while I was growing up.  I have also seen many instances of this tough world overtaking the lives of black girls and women.  Each time results in an immense sense of loss and of powerlessness against which we have to exert Herculean efforts in order to be able to go on.

Whitney Houston always reminded me of our power despite it all. She reminded me of these beautiful girls with which I grew up.  With her addiction, I relived the familiar fear that came with watching vultures try to peddle drugs and other things to us.  I knew then, at 12, 13, 14, 15 years old, that I did not have a magic protection against their tricks.  The best I could do was to try to stay away.

Yet, I understood why other girls might have gotten attracted to them.  You get tired of fighting.  Sometimes, you just want to put your weapons down and forget.  That feeling (that these girls were just like me, give or take one or two options) always made me feel connected to them.  I always knew that “but for the grace of God…”

The fact is that addiction is a disease that can overpower any one at any time.  The fact that some manage to kick the habit, and some don’t, has to do with much more than will power.  Every one’s brain is different in the way they react to a potentially addictive product. So, no, I never felt special that, somehow, I avoided the pitfalls of drugs.  I always felt grateful that the Universe gave me an avenue that took me away from that direction.  That, when I got tired of fighting, the temptation was removed until I could cognitively understand that this was not the path I wanted.

This is why I am peeved at people looking down at Whitney for falling into drugs like a princess who has fallen off her throne.  For a long time, mainstream media acted like she betrayed them. So, they punished her by taunting her mistakes as often as they could.  To them she became one of the many stereotypes they associate with black women.  They treated her as such, completely ignoring the realities of addiction and never seeing her as a full person.

This is why I think I am mourning Whitney so vividly.  Her invisibility despite all of her fame and fortune mirror the lives of so many black girls and women suffering from addiction.  Her obvious struggles resonate as the types of universal struggles so many of us undergo in one shape or form. We were simply luckier than many other women in escaping the dark sides of those struggles.

Whitney, like so many girls before her, was not. With her I mourn these invisible girls and women.  With her death, I realized this week, I finally gave myself permission to mourn the little girl in me who had to learn to fight too early and did not experience the feeling of being cherished and loved as long as little girls and boys should.

In the end, Whitney’s voice, the conviction and soulful way in which she sang, gave us an enduring gift.  Like it did for my generation, her message and her voice will continue to give new generations the energy, inspiration and rejuvenation they need to keep fighting the good fight.  I am sorry that we were not deliberate in showing Whitney that we loved her while she was still with us.  Hopefully, her story and music will help create a path to healing for millions of other black girls and women. Travel well, Whitney.  You will have to fight no more.

Source: http://michelealexandre.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/a-piece-of-us-to-whitney-and-the-millions-of-invisible-black-girls-and-women-who-struggle-with-addiction/

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Bachelors: Ten Reasons Why You Should Be Dating an Older Woman

Posted by Administrator on February 15, 2012

By Older I don’t mean Old. I’m not talking about someone who was a few years behind your mum in High School and remembers how your mum used to bully her. I’m talking about 6 years maximum, give or take. Unless of course she is 40 but looks 25, but we shall cover Cougars in another note.

So why dear bachelor should you be dating an older woman?

1 – The Older Woman comes to the table with far lower expectations. By the time you come around she has already experienced unbelievable heartache at the hands of real jerks. Guys whom by comparison make you look like Archangel Gabriel. Unlike the Young Thang; she doesn’t expect you to deliver the moon, the stars, a unicorn and a fairytale existence. She will be perfectly content with you just not cheating on her.

2 – The Older Woman has Experience. Ahem. I don’t think I need to say any more on this.

3 –  Quick story. A friend of ours once brought his latest catch to our watering hole. She was about 19, and completely breathtakingly beautiful. As is the norm in Kenyan bars, when it got to 2100hrs ( that 9 pm, for those of you who went to school but didn’t get an education) the turned down the music so that we could watch Prime Time News. ( By the way; why do they do that? I mean, we have TVs at home, if we wanted to watch news we’d be there!). Now during the news there was a story about Amos Kimunya. This chick says she supports Amos Kimunya because he has done a good job with Football in Kenya. In shock, one of us asked her who she thought Amos Kimunya was. She confidently replied ” Coach of Harambee Stars”. At that time Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee was having some shidas as well, but that’s no excuse for confusing him with the Finance Minister of the Country! Needless to say my pal dismissed her vibe with the swiftness of a Moi one o’clock bulletin.

With these tois your conversation is pretty much assured to revolve around music and celebrities. Period. Woe unto you if she starts talking about some local ‘celeb’ whom you have never heard of. With an older woman you are going to talk about more stuff; politics, world affairs, the environment.

4 –  The Challenge: With the advent of the Chipo Culture; picking up a young thang from the Bar/Club/Church is easier than catching a cold after jogging naked on a rainy July evening in Limuru. Lets face it; if you have a car, your own crib, passable looks and a modest amount of money in your pocket…you are pretty much guaranteed to pull. Where’s the fun in that?

Now imagine the challenge of getting with a high powered business executive; a CEO or one of these fire-spitting FIDA council members. There is an actual chase, real thrill in overcoming stiff resistance and the pure satisfaction of achieving a near impossible goal.

5 – She has her own life. A young girl is likely to be living with her parents or sharing accommodation with a friend. Whatever the case wherever she stays is likely not to be anywhere near as free and comfortable as your Bachelor Pad. Which is why you will find her slowly but steadily transferring all her possessions from her place to yours; starting with a toothbrush. Before you know it, your house is infested with feminine hygiene products.

Young Thangs also tend to be clingy. She will build her life around you. Your phone rings every 30 minutes, with calls like ” where are you sweetie?” and ” Si I come join you and your pals?” On the other hand an older woman has her own life. When she calls its purely for the matters at hand. She gives you your space and has the confidence to let you hang with your boys.

6 – Ideally an older woman should be more mature in her words, thoughts and actions. Gone are the hormone-induced mega tantrums over socks left in the  sitting room, or a full on thermo-nuclear scale argument because you didn’t return her missed call. All in all, your blood pressure will be far more stable with an older woman than with a PYT who is still drowning in a turbulent sea of adolescent hormones.

7) Your Bank Manager Will Love Her Too: Why? Because unlike these Bambas she doesn’t think that ‘going dutch’ means being charged at the Hague. She pays her way in the relationship. Who knows, she may even do more than her fair share money-wise. I’m just saying that if she decides to pay rent for you so that you can move from Huruma to Hurlingham; so that she can park her BMW outside your digs without fear of it not being there in the morning…that’s a plus. Which leads me to…..

8 – It’s Time Men Started Thinking Like Women: Since the dawn of time, women have been using their natural charms to get ahead in life. On the other hand men find it debasing and some how even under-handed to sleep their way to the top. Screw. That. If your female boss ties that promotion you have been passed-over for ten times with a little nocturnal enterprise… I say ask your self ” What Would A Woman Do?” 8 times out of 10, you’ll hit that all the way up the corporate ladder.

9 – It’s Just Fun for Fun’s Sake: An older woman will understand that the social conventions of Kenya weigh heavily against a younger man marrying an older woman. So, the relationship begins with marriage being completely out of the picture. You guys kick it for a while; until she finds someone her own age.

10 – Lastly, there is a lot to be said for being different. If you are a successful young man, going out with a successful older woman; your stock amongst your peers and more importantly amongst young ladies goes through the roof. You are the Alpha Male who can dominate the Alpha Female…and not many of your peers could say the same about themselves.

So there. Ten Reasons to dump your giggly, gum chewing, Wyre-Groupie chick and upgrade to a more sophisticated older model. Comments?

Thoughts of an Educated Fool is a  random collection of thoughts by a possibly unstable mind. Ranked 562,889,580,219 best blog on the Web by Google (behind ‘Mark Philips: Toe Nail Clipping Chronicles’) this blog is required reading for any person with far too much time and bandwidth.

Follow Bahati also on twitter  @TheBahati

Source: http://insanisblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/bachelors-ten-reasons-why-you-should-be.html

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Total fiction, ethnicity and the Diaspora

Posted by Administrator on February 5, 2012

A friend alerted me to the fact that I had been adversely mentioned in a column by Rasna Warah (DN, January 23).

The tone of the entire piece was in several respects seeded with unjustified conclusions.

Ms Warah started by recounting a vitriolic response from some Kenyan in Pennsylvania.

The riled responder apparently called upon fire and brimstone to consume her for something she had written. I have no idea what it was.

After a little theorising about the possible triggers of Diaspora behaviour, Ms Warah transitioned to the territory of ‘negative ethnicity’ and, bam, I was held up as a purveyor of a particularly virulent strain.

The conflation of insults by an interlocutor in Pennsylvania with my alleged comments at the height of Kenya’s post-election 2008 conflagration was at first a little baffling, but soon I got the drift.

The writer was assembling examples of ‘‘hate speech’’ by Kenyans abroad to back her thesis.

I would not claim Ms Warah quoted me out of context; that would be too much of a cop-out. The phrases she presented as having been written by me were:

“There should be an armed resistance leading to the partition of the country” and “Kenyans should never forgive or forget what these guys (denizens of Central Kenya) have done. There is no guarantee they will not do it again. It is in their DNA”.

I shall provide the context of my alleged comments and let you, the reader, decide.

At the height of post-election violence, the state of Kenya was rapidly ceasing to exist. State authority was eroding at a furious rate.

Death and destruction was visited upon many. Finally, international midwifery coupled with slowly returning sanity prevailed, and the country stepped back from the precipice.

The Kenya Studies Association listserv was one of the forums where debate raged and various points of view flew unhindered.

I referred in a scholarly manner to the right of revolution in political philosophy that has been used throughout history to justify rebellions.

If a government loses legitimacy or is tyrannical, do the people have a natural right to rebel and must they, therefore, as is the case in the US, have the right to bear arms?

In a wider arena, did the people of Southern Sudan have a right to determine that they were better off on their own rather than remaining in a unitary Sudan?

Or Eritrea vis-a-vis Ethiopia? Or Field Marshall John Okello leading a revolt against the Arab sultanate in Zanzibar?

The cohesiveness of ethnic groups defines their organisational DNA, if you like. My ethnic community does have its DNA too, a butt of jokes to some about the preferred occupations of members of the group. I do not take umbrage!

Finally, one swallow does not a summer make. Ms Warah’s alarming conclusion about the capacity of Diaspora opining – she has obviously never trolled some respectable US blogs where the First Amendment protections allow truly ‘hateful’ stuff – to ignite calamity back in Kenya is an example of cavalier reasoning.

To begin with, the causes of peace or lack thereof in Kenya have little to do with the Diaspora.

How many Kenyans peek into restricted listservs compared to print media readership?

Dr Mulaa works and lives in the United states.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/Total+fiction+ethnicity+and+the+Diaspora+/-/440808/1320728/-/13w67sx/-/

Related story: Kenyans abroad should not be allowed to plunge this country into darkness

 

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Jeff Koinange On A Mission?

Posted by Administrator on February 5, 2012

The best description of television presenter Jeff Koinange I ever heard was that he is like a human cartoon. And it seems that the greater the apparent threat to his political godfathers, the more Koinange becomes almost a parody of himself – a parody characterised by strange body jerks, weird facial grimaces and painfully tortured pronouncements – as he falls over backwards (or more often leans dangerously forward) to lick the egos of the carefully selected guests appearing on his K24 programme Capital Talk.

It is amusingly cringe-worthy stuff. But beyond the sniggers, it is also very serious. Koinange appears to be a man on a mission, and that mission is to push the notion that Prime Minister Raila Odinga was behind the International Criminal Court process that has seen three high-ranking public officers and a journalist charged with heinous crimes against fellow Kenyans.

The Second Schedule to the Media Act 2007has a code of conduct that exhorts journalists to distinguish clearly “between comment, conjecture and fact” and to “vigorously resist undue influence from … powerful individuals and special interest groups”. What Koinange has been doing in his programme is in direct contravention of those guidelines.

The TV station K24 is owned by Mediamax, which in turn is majority, if not wholly, owned by the Kenyatta family. Presumably with his employer’s blessing, Koinange has been openly using his programme to engage in what can only be viewed as blatant propaganda and insinuated falsehoods against the Prime Minister. Does this constitute hate speech? I don’t know, but in pursuit of his objective, there is no one Koinange loves to have more frequently ‘on the bench’ than Miguna Miguna.

Miguna used to work for the Prime Minister. After an acrimonious falling-out following Miguna’s suspension from office, he was offered his job back. He refused it. That was the cue, on January 12, for a warm welcome from Koinange for yet another cosy chat on the bench – the fourth in as many months. On each of these occasions Koinange has clearly been egging Miguna on to say things that go beyond, and are not supported by, Miguna’s statements on the programme. To give Miguna his due, while he has his own axe to grind, he has more or less resisted being forced into saying anything more than he means.

Nevertheless, the inescapable conclusion is that it is only the identity of the person at whom Miguna’s attacks are directed that make him such a frequently desirable guest for Koinange, who uses Miguna to continue his own relentless pursuit of his quarry. In the January 12 programme, Koinange says to Miguna: “The Hague – the big decision is coming up [the programme aired just before the ICC confirmation of charges]. You must have thoughts because – you were partially involved in that as well.”

The truth of the matter is that Miguna has openly declared he spoke to officers of the ICC when they were in Nairobi, and he did so entirely as a private citizen. His actions had nothing to do with the Prime Minister and Miguna had no evidence other than his own opinions to offer. It is a point emphasised by Miguna himself in response to Koinange’s question: “Were you ever interviewed by the investigators – at the ICC?”

Miguna answers: “Uhhhh , uhhh, I spoke with people from the ICC, many times, uhhh, whether you want to call them investigators I don’t know. I’m not a witness AND I DIDN’T HAVE MATERIAL EVIDENCE THAT CAN BE USED [my emphasis] but you know, I have my opinions, I have my observations and I have an impression I can give, and I’ve given that …”

Later in the interview, Koinange prompts him back to this topic with: “OK, let’s come back to The Hague. Big decision this week.” Miguna protests that it would be irresponsible of him to speculate on the cases. This does not satisfy Koinange. He persists: “Were you involved at all with the ICC in that period? Because I saw you a couple of times when we went to The Hague.”

It is well-documented, best of all by Miguna himself in his article published in the Star on April 12, 2011, that Miguna went to The Hague during the initial hearings simply as an individual and as an observer – “in fulfilment of my solemn undertaking to [Star] readers”, as he put it in the article. This does not deter Koinange from his insinuations. He persists: “Why were you the only one? How come no one from PNU or ODM-K or anyone else was INVITED [his emphasis] or went to The Hague to give this kind of information?”

Miguna sets him straight: ‘No, I did not give the information at The Hague. I spoke with the ICC people right here in Kenya. I never went to The Hague to speak with the ICC. And I don’t know what PNU or other parties did. And I don’t know what any other person other than myself did.”

Despite the fact that Miguna has already said he only gave ICC officers his personal opinions, Koinange presses on: “On behalf of the Prime Minister, on behalf of ODM, on behalf of who?” Miguna replies, “Both, and on behalf of myself as a Kenyan, as a Kenyan who believes that impunity should not go unpunished, as a Kenyan who believes there should be justice to victims. Yes, I can tell you that.”

This is clearly not the direction Koinange wants Miguna to take at all, so he moves in with: “But being who you are, they must have taken your word as law, because obviously you’re a professional …” Miguna responds, “No, no, no, they can’t. You see, ICC people are professionals. They don’t take evidence based on title. Otherwise, Uhuru and Muthaura’s word would have been the law. Kibaki’s word, on behalf of Muthaura, would be the law. Bashir’s word would be the law. So they don’t do that. They assess what you say, assess your credibility, and see whether or not what you are saying is reliable and credible.”

Koinange is not about to let go and he plunges on rather desperately with: “But did you volunteer yourself to talk to the ICC or were you assigned [insinuation: by the Prime Minister] this task to go forth and talk to the ICC?” Miguna replies: “No, uhhh, I don’t know what happened. I think I was contacted by someone, and I think I spoke with the Prime Minister and he told me I can speak with them and I did.”

There is a huge gulf between the Prime Minister’s being consulted as a matter of courtesy by an employee planning to give his opinions to the ICC, and the Prime Minister’s assigning that task to someone as his representative. Miguna has never claimed he was so assigned by the Prime Minister, nor was he.

Miguna then says that ICC correspondence going to President Kibaki, Prof George Saitoti and the Prime Minister was also copied to him when he was working in his role as adviser to the Prime Minister on coalition affairs. Despite the fact that this was obviously shared, not secret, information, Koinange sees an advantage he can press. “Wow!” he says in hushed tones, and then: “You were in close contact with them [ICC]?”

Miguna: “In some way, yes.”

Koinange (hopefully): “Ocampo?”

Miguna: “No.”

Koinange: “Just the people around him?”

Miguna: “Yes.”

Koinange: “This decision, is it a landmark decision coming?”

Miguna: “It’s a landmark decision.”

Koinange: “And if it does … what you may have told them could have something to do with it.”

Miguna: “No, no, it can’t, because I was not used as a witness. [PNU activist Dr Peter] Kagwanja was a witness, hahaha, his publication was used, but none of the things I said was evidence …They decided who they were going to call as witnesses and what information they were going to relay to the judges.” Koinange (not giving up): “But you may have helped them in that respect.”

Miguna: “Of course I did. I think I did, in terms of analysis. Yes, I mean, for all I know, they are reading even my articles in the newspapers, yes, so in that way, and there were a lot of people who were writing in the newspapers, so in that way, they relied on all kinds of evidence, and you can see they relied directly on Kagwanja.”

 

Miguna has thus clearly stated that he volunteered only his personal opinions to the ICC. He thinks the ICC might have read his newspaper articles (which they might well have). But by his own admission, the opinions he offered were not considered valuable as evidence. It is interesting to note that what Koinange was trying to do was not lost on viewers. Online blog comments attached to Koinange’s interviews with Miguna include:

“Jeff Koinange u always push miguna to say bad things on raila n you really like it am telling you are one of his haters we know”

 

“Jeff Koinange has smelt blood. Why don’t you invite Maina Njenga and tell his story on the fallout with the guy you call a brother from another mother?”

 

“… Jeff, it is a huge payday for you, huh. You sure are an effective hatchet man. Word of caution though … [Miguna] may just be your waterloo”

 

“This is the type of interview I will call unprofessional and gossiping interview. Jeff continues to drain himself in the unprofessional drainage system. Has gone gutter press”

“Jeff is really enjoying this”

 

“OK. Just asking: what is the role of this Jeff Koinange in this show? Is it to incite the speakers, or to objectively draw them out and have them talk about some serious stuff … Oh! And by the way, is he planning to get the other side of the story on the show as well?”

“I love the way Jeff is inciting him!”

“Jeff’s energy begins to wane when he sees that Miguna is no longer saying what he wants him to say. At 4:41 Jeff is like ‘This guy needs to get off my bench. Who asked him all that?’”

“Apparently Jeff is happy Miguna fell out with Raila. Jeff wants to exploit it for the benefit of PNU.”

 

It is evident from these comments and, indeed, from the entire conversation, that Koinange had a noticeable agenda, and that this agenda was certainly not the objective interview of his subject. He tried in every way to insinuate that the Prime Minister could have influenced, or did influence, the ICC process – and he continued trying to insinuate this long after Miguna had made quite clear that this was not the case.

Over the coming year, the conduct of the media is going to play a huge role in influencing how peacefully the next general election will be conducted. There is no room for persistent behaviour by any journalist that is inimical to peace, truth, justice and national unity. Is the Media Council looking? Cohesion and Integration? National Dialogue and Reconciliation? Or do we just let it all hang out like this, with no brakes, and no standards?

Enter Karim Khan, the Queen’s Counsel leading Francis Muthaura’s defence team at The Hague, and last week another willing captive on the bench. Khan spent much of the programme rehearsing arguments that the court had obviously already rejected when it confirmed the charges against the suspects. But it was not long before the two gentlemen got on to the Prime Minister’s alleged role.

Koinange introduces the topic with: “Maybe this case was never about the four but maybe it was the two guys at the top. Maybe that’s what they wanted.” Khan responds with: “Who’s they? That’s the question.” And he goes on to answer that question: “I am not excluding the fact that the professionals at the ICC may have plunged into a certain group within the Kenyan information stream and swallowed everything, as I said in court, lock, stock and barrel.”

To back up this specious suggestion, he moves to the interview with Miguna: “I was very interested to hear that HE SAID HE HAS BEEN A MAIN INFORMATION PROVIDER TO THE PROSECUTOR [my emphasis] and I was taken aback because, firstly, I received no information from the prosecutor in relation to any information given BY THE PRIME MINISTER [my emphasis], particularly when we’ve asserted that maybe there’s some kind of political manipulation of the Kenyan system through the aegis of an international court. We received nothing from the prosecutor to show HIS CONTACT [my emphasis] with the special assistant of the prime minister, who the world knows is the next presidential contender.”

He continues: “Secondly, what portfolio did that special assistant have WHO’S BEING PAID FOR BY THE STATE TO PROVIDE THAT INFORMATION TO THE ICC [my emphasis]. One would expect it to come through normal organs of the state that are entrusted with such matters …. No, this comes from a faction of the Kenyan political establishment, a faction of the coalition, IT’S COME FROM THE PRIME MINISTER, WHO’S A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE GIVING THE INFORMATION THAT INVOLVES ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE [my emphasis].”

Khan’s insidious and inaccurate remarks are shocking coming from a barrister involved in the ICC case. He says he listened to Miguna on the programme. Obviously he did not listen very carefully. He describes Miguna as “a main information provider to the prosecutor”, he describes such information as “given by the Prime Minister” and he refers to having received no information from the prosecutor about the latter’s “contact” with Miguna.

What Miguna actually said was that he was never in contact with the prosecutor and he only gave ICC officials his personal opinions – not those of the Prime Minister. Thousands of people similarly gave opinions to ICC officials. Like most of them, Miguna’s opinions were not considered of evidential value. That is why Miguna was not called as a witness. Miguna specifically stated that he had no contact with ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. Khan speaks of Miguna’s being “paid for by the state to provide information” to the ICC. This is a blatant lie. Miguna specifically stated that he offered ICC officials his own personal “opinions”, his “observations” and his “impression” – and his newspaper articles.

Khan goes completely overboard in stating – despite Miguna’s clear and unequivocal statements that these were his personal opinions – that the ‘evidence’ Miguna offered was in fact coming “from a faction of the Kenyan political establishment, a faction of the coalition, it’s come from the prime minister.”

If these remarks by Khan are indicative of his level of understanding and interpretation of Miguna’s answers on the programme, I would personally want any interpretation by Khan of any evidence whatsoever to be very seriously examined. Not only that. Khan is a British barrister (QCs make up about 10 per cent of the list of barristers in the UK). He is therefore presumably subject to the British Bar Council.

The British Bar Standards Board’s ‘Code of conduct of work by practising barristers’ states at Paragraph 709.1, Media Comment, that: “A barrister must not in relation to any anticipated or current proceedings or mediation in which he is briefed or expects to appear or has appeared as an advocate express a personal opinion to the press or other media or in any other public statement upon the facts or issues arising in the proceedings.”

Khan’s conversation on the bench with Koinange is peppered with his personal opinions, liberally cast about with no apparent concern for this professional obligation. He prefaces many of his comments with “I think”, “I thought”, “In all candour, I was …”, “Our objective analysis is …”, “My own objective analysis is …” and so on.

Is the British Bar Standards Board listening? Is the ICC listening? Or does Khan think that, because it’s Kenya, anything goes? Does he think that, because it’s Kenya, you can get away with murder? As Khan might put it, one hopes not. What one does hope is that there is going to be someone, somewhere, who is going to crack down on this kind of sleazy incitement presented as journalism – before it’s too late.

The writer is a freelance journalist. The arguments are entirely the writer’s own and should not be taken as representing those of anyone else in any way whatsoever.

Source: http://www.the-star.co.ke/weekend/siasa/60975-jeff-koinange-on-a-mission

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