Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Re: Party Shenanigans: Not Yet Democracy - Oby's Response

Charles (Lumi),
I read between the lines and your frustration is palpable. With other people that I have spoken with about this the feeling is shared I recall an sms that somebody sent me moaning that Kosgey 'Dick Berg', Nicholas 'Got Alila' Biwott, Uhuru et al are the new party leaders. What is so new in these characters? In KANU it was like a secession club of the past Kenyatta's Moi's, Salatt's sons taking control. The democracy that we have chosen is party based and the parties are less than democratic. The manner that the parties are run makes them unlike vehicles for democracy in the current state of the development of Africa. The ODM party selection that you refer to was a well crafted ethnic balancing act because the reality is that the parties are vehicles for ethnic interests and not ideologies. This is true to all of them. They try to show national character by what they call regional representation. I was at a burial lat week where the people of Kisumu West district were very happy that the seat 'they' read: Anyang' had in ODM was retained in the district. This is the thinking on the ground; the parties are actually ethnic coalitions period.

You pose that maybe those who think that this is despicable should find a party colonise it - Pattniesque- and use it as a vehicle for making political headway. I wonder about the novelty in that. Should we not be thinking about changing the paradigm? Are parties the only vehicles for representational democracy? Museveni tried the moventism until he turned it into a movement. Can power be captured in a democracy only through a political party? Are the local Kenyan populace really ready for multi-party democracy in its real sense? Is the manner that we understand multi party democracy an evolution from which we can emerge with something new? We must ponder these questions and ponder them hard. If you ask who does not pretend because their education has made them such hypocrites they will tell you that they would support their man. The Kikuyu would support:Kibaki, Karua, Kenyatta and Saitoti. The Luo would support Raila. The Kamba would support Kalonzo and the Luhyia speaking coalition would support Mudavadi-Kombo-Jirongo. This is a fact.

Should we base our democratic practice on the fact that the ethnic identity has not superseded the ideological one and that Kenyans cannot AS YET identify with any thing larger than ethnic identity when push comes to shove. Note that in Kenya even religion is really not a factor yet like it is in Nigeria or Sudan. A few of the elite can see beyond ethnic identity, BUT WILL ACT well within it. Note that all the professional caucuses that supported PNU/ODM had a clear ethnic identity to it.

If this is a given for say the next 30 years when Tamia (Lumi's daughter) et al will be the influence peddlers can we not fashion a system that allows ALL regions and communities to feel part of a whole in the political scene? Note that this is a problem only at the political level, we do not have a problem with a majority of Harambee Stars being composed of lads with roots in Nyanza and Western neither do we flinch in our support of the national medal winning athletics team even if 80% come from a single village, nor the winning Pipeline/KCB/Prisons Volleyball teams heavily dominated by certain regions. We do not complain when the swimming team has 60% white-Kenyan members or the hockey team having 60% Kenya South Asian players. We do not even complain when the majority of the music stars are from Western Kenya. Our problem is the political and the political economy.

This in my view is where the majimboists loose the plot. Kenyans are not divided on their Kenyanness they do not mind that Nameless and Wahu are both ethnic Kikuyu, but they are unhappy when the single resource sharing mechanism - politics - is dominated by a single region. Full stop. This is what we need to change. The real and perceived dominance of the political arena by a few personalities, families and persons from an ethnic groups. The trick so far has been to form an ethnic coalition to give a perception of equitable distribution - this is what we must change.

How do we do this? Either by ensuring all regions are represented around the table that only changes the PERCEPTION of equity or shifting the resource base away from political control. This is what I think we ought to do. Can we create 1,000 multi-million shilling companies like Safaricom away from the political control? can we create 10,000 Equity Banks away from political machinations? Can we create 100,000 highly profitable businesses that will make the resources that the political center purports to control irrelevant? The reason there are some people able to think outside the clutches of the ODM/PNU/ODM-K sphere is the answer; economic independence. Let us create wealth, create opportunities for many that will slowly make the majority poor drift away from these party leaders. As long as the majority are poor, desperate and hungry the party supremos will prevail.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Party Shenanigans - Not Yet Democracy!

The recent party elections held by different political parties in a bid to comply with new regulations once again proved that as a country we are still a long way from Democracy. All the major parties basically "staged the elections" and none of the current party leaders deserve to claim that they were elected. The party delegates merely met to rubber stamp board room decisions. What is even frightening is that parties went as far as creating positions to accommodate certain personalities. Nowhere was this so blatant as in ODM where a position of second deputy party leader had to be created to accommodate William Ruto as the party feared the consequences of Ruto and Mudavadi facing each other. In another party, positions for eight vice chairs were created!! While it is laughfable the way our politicians fear to face each other in elections, what is of more concern to be is the fact that doors are effectively shut on new comers or new blood.

While the law will be making it difficult to have anybody come up with a party just for the sake of it, the mainstream parties are effectively being locked up through board-room maneuovers. This might mean that even having some fringe parties to run on with the hope of upsetting the applecart will be more difficult. And with mainstream parties under lock and key of the establishment, it will be a long time before any meaningful democracy is seen in our political space. I see a continuation where the PNU-ODM-ODMK dictatorship is further going to be entrenched as the political space closes up, more so with the continued attempts to frighten the media through legislation. Given that this axis of evil shares the same values, that is to further entrench and enrich the political and big business class at the expense of wananchi, this really is frightening.

It is time that Kenyans started to identify a political movement that can be shaped and controlled by wananchi, that whose leadership can be a reflection of the people's voice and not crafted to satisfy the bloated egos of some big shot politicians. And how can we do this. I don't have an exact answer at the moment but one of the first steps can be to identify a fringe party and take it over...just musing

Friday, December 5, 2008

Call, text or email your MP and ask them to pay taxes

See for a list of MPs and their contact information. Call, text or email your MP and ask them their stand on taxation

Abdirahman, H.Ali - Wajir South - KANU - 0721-724746 / 0722-144999
Chiaba, Mohamed Abu - Lamu East - PNU - 0722-410177
Bahari, Abdul Ali - Isiolo South - KANU - 0733-289501
Balala, Mohammed Najib - Mvita - ODM - 0733 333500 /0724 - 650000
Bifwoli, Wakoli Sylvester - Bumula - PNU - 0733-865323
Chepkitony, Lucas Kipkosgei - Keiyo North - ODM - 0733-635894 / 0722816064
Ethuro, David - Turkana Central - PNU- 0722-526370
Gesami, James Ondicho - West Mugirango - ODM- 0733 826090
Gisuka, Machage Wilfred - Kuria - DP - 0733-451806/0725834575
Kajembe, Ramathan Seif - Changamwe - ODM - 0721 609777
Kajwang’, Gerald Otieno - Mbita - ODM - 0722-882787
Kamama, Asman Abongotum - Baringo East - PNU - 0731-583303
Karua, Martha Wangari Gichugu - PNU - 0721 623 342 / 0733-747551
Kenneth, Peter Gatanga - PNU - 0722 512996
Kenyatta, Uhuru - Gatundu South - KANU - 0722 463 891
Keter, Charles Cheruiyot - Belgut - ODM - 0722 530555
Khalwale Boni - Ikolomani - NEW FORD-K - 0721 318722
Khaniri, George Munyasa - Hamisi - ODM - 0722-859341
Kilonzo, Julias Kiema Mutito - ODM-K - 0722-513605
Kilonzo, Charles Mutavi - Yatta - ODM-K - 0734-621593
Kimunya Amos Muhinga Kipipiri PNU - 0722518801 / 520936
Kinyanjui, Lee Maiyani - Nakuru Town - PNU - 0722 842653
Kiunjuri, Festus Mwangi - Laikipia East - PNU - 0721 600 305
Kuti Mohammed Abdi - Isiolo North - NARC-K - 0733 235914
Lesirma, Simeon Saimanga - Samburu West - ODM - 0722-719946
Magara - James Omingo - South Mugirango - ODM - 0722 911274
Katoo, Ole Metito J - Kajiado South - 0721-640175
Midiwo, Washington Jakoyo - Gem - ODM - 0721 504 040 / 0733 421277/ 0722 935761
Mohamed, A.H.M - Mandera West - ODM - 0722-779942
Mohammed, Haji Yusuf - Ijara - KANU - 0722-709395
Mugo, Beth Wambui - Dagoretti - PNU - 0722-205753
Mungatana, Danson Buya - Garsen - NARC-K - 0722-411971
Munyes, John Kiyonga - Turkana North - PNU - 0721-339094
Murungi, Kiraitu - South Imenti - PNU - 0721-240863
Musila, David - Mwingi South - ODM-K - 0722 571117
Musyoka, Stephen Kalonzo - Mwingi North - ODM-K - 0722 523 872 / 0735 161 588
Mwangi, Onesmus Kigumo - PNU - 0722-778581
Mwatela, Andrew Calist - Mwatate - ODM 0733 719 871
Mwiria, Valerian Kilemi - Tigania West - PNU - 0733-657562
Ndambuki, Gideon Musyoka - Kaiti - ODM-K - 0720-384553/0734-758567
Githae, Robinson Njeru - Ndia - PNU - 722514837
Nkaisserry, Joseph Kasaine - Kajiado Central - ODM - 0721-356786
Nyong’o, Peter Anyang’ - Kisumu Rural - ODM - 0733 454 133
Odinga, Raila Amolo - Langata - ODM - 0733 620 736
Oginga, Oburu Bondo - ODM - 0733 818517/ 0724-105493
Odeke, Sospeter Ojaamongson Amagoro - ODM - 0733 967345 / 0722 813819
Ojode, Joshua Orwa Ndhiwa - ODM - 0722- 514830
Okemo, Chrysanthus Nambale - ODM - 0733-608895
Olweny, Patrick Ayiecho - Muhoroni - ODM - 0722-734187/0733-784633
Onyancha, Charles - Bonchari - ODM - 0722-248190
Oparanya, Wycliffe Ambetsa - Butere - ODM - 0722 521856
Osebe, Walter Enock Nyambati - Kitutu Masaba - N LP - 0722 724 556
Poghisio, Samuel Losuron Kacheliba - ODM-K - 0722-520663 / 0734-200836
Ruto, Samoei William K. - Eldoret North - ODM - 0722 517 997
Shaban Naomi Namsi Taveta KANU 0722 814 412
Shitanda, Peter Soita - Malava - NEW FORD-K - 0721-341241
Sugow Ahmed Aden Fafi KANU 0721-596726
Twaha, Yasin Fahim - Lamu West - NARC-K - 0722-925108
Wekesa, Noah Muhlanganga - Kwanza - PNU - 0722-774374
Were, David Aoko Matungu - ODM - 0722 707548/0733 569180
Wetangula - Moses Makisa Sirisia - PNU - 0722 517 302 / 806 363
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF KENYA: Amos Wako 0722 772 453
Hon William Kipkiror Cheptumo, LLB, MP, Assistant Minister for Ministry of Justice & National Cohesion, 0711696756; 0722716103.
Elizabeth Ongoro (Kasarani) - 0723870741,0722897529
Mathioya's Mp Mobile 0725 740830
Henry Kosgey – 0722 759877
Kangundo MP Johnstone muthama, His number is 0733900300
Kitui South MP. Isaac Mulatya Muoki 0722 295903.
Musalia Mudavadi -0722527614
Uhuru Kenyatta - 0722463891
MP for Nyeri Town, Esther Murugi Mathenge: 0722932794
Fred Outa's (MP Nyando) no. is 0722818983

List from Wananchi Forums

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Power, Politics and HIV/AIDS in the African Blogosphere

Find a link to an interesting article by Dipesh Pabari on Pambazuka.

Dipesh participated in the male circumcision research in Kisumu as an ethnographer (I think) and is passionate on the issue of male circumcion.

Sneek preview

About a year ago, CNN and Time declared the identification of male circumcision as a preventive measure against HIV infection as the biggest medical breakthrough of 2007. Having worked on one of the studies that led to this “discovery” several years before, I quickly penned something which was published on Africa News on the 20th December 2007 (

What followed was an onslaught of comments prompting the publishers to keep the article open as a discussion. In this little microcosm of cyberspace, individuals debated the “truth” behind male circumcision as a potential preventative measure against HIV/AIDS. Right from the start it was clear that the readers of this forum were equally as concerned with the value of the science behind this declaration as they were with the power of agency and socio-political dimension that could have influenced and skewed the science in favour of male circumcision. To many this was a “western conspiracy”:

• “You need to be careful of these Americans who come to African forums to sell their ideas and to teach to the "stupid Africans."
• “Appeal to authority is nothing but intellectual laziness or incompetence. One should actually do a critical analysis of the evidence itself, and not rely on 'big brother" to do the thinking for them.”
• “.... For all the good work Stephen Lewis does he is a hypocrite in this case. He speaks against programs designed to promote behaviour change as being 'neocolonialist' yet sees absolutely no problem with telling African Men what they should be doing with their own bodies.”

Such reactions towards research in general are fairly common and well documented within medical anthropology journals and mainstream media. Four years before the article above was published, I had conducted an ethnographic study on people’s knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards medical research using a trial on male circumcision as a case study in a town in western...