Friday, July 30, 2010

Rape by Deception - Really?

There was an interesting news story recently whereby Sabbar Kashur, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, was sentenced by an Israeli court to 18 years in jail for rape by deception. Two years ago Kashur met a Jewish woman on the street in Jerusalem. He worked as a messenger for an Israeli law firm and like some other Palestinians looking to integrate more effectively into Israeli society had assumed the identity of a Jew. He called himself Dudu, a common Israeli name. On the same day the two had a consensual sexual encounter in a nearby office building. The woman, whose identity is still protected by law, did not know Kashur was an Arab. When she found out she filed a complaint with police. Kashur was questioned by police and spent two years under house arrest facing a charge of rape and sexual assault. It was later dropped to the one of "rape by deception" in a plea bargain.

This story elicited quite some discussions in the blogosphere, with some people calling it racism, others saying it was justified and others saying it was demeaning to ‘real victims’ of rape. One of the things that struck me was the argument about how many men would be behind bars if there was really a case of rape by deception.

It is generally accepted many men in our community that you got to ‘hype’ yourself up a bit to secure the affections of the ladies. While one would ordinarily dress sloppily, one would go the extra distance to dress in a certain way to attract the eyes of some lady. People have been known to even borrow clothes from their friends. Men have been known to also borrow cars to impress the ladies, lie about their actual incomes and even titles at the work place just to get that extra mark. Cleaners suddenly become Sanitation or Office Health Assistants or technicians. When these men land their targets, are they now guilty of rape by deception? And what about those who say they are in love when they are not but just want to get into someone’s pants?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Stupidity of Our Politicians...

For long I have taken the cliche that we deserve the leaders we have with a pinch of salt until recently. Not only did the Matuga By Elections confirm this, but it has also now confirmed another one of my fears. I have always thought that Kalonzo Musyoka, Kenya's vice president, looks a bit silly, even possibly stupid, and despite lots of evidence that could have confirmed this, I resisted the urge to say so with some finality. Until I saw him on news last night.

It was a story on the Matuga by election and Kalonzo was on the campaign trail. I could not believe my eyes when I heard him convince the people of Matuga that the flag that Makwere had been flying before his election was annulled (the fact that he was a minister) was not really his (Makwere's) but it actually belonged to the people of Matuga, and therefore they should not let it go. I figured out no wonder Makwere's performance as a minister was so dismal, he was not a minister for the country but rather for his constituency. All the more reasons why I will vote YES for the draft...Though I was sad that Makwere was actually re-elected, at least I got to confirm one thing once and for all, Kalonzo Musyoka is actually stupid

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Letter To My 13 Year Old Self

I am writing this as a challenge by one of my favourite bloggers @carolkmail I was 13 a long time back so I have to try and remember how it was back then

Ok young man,
I know you now think that you know everything because you just turned 13. Well, I've got 13 things to tell you so for once in your life I want you to actually listen. One, it is an important thing to actually take time to listen. Remember "silent" is an anagram of listen, so it is good at times to just observe silence and listen to what the world has to say. Listen to what the adults have to say, they have all passed 13 you know. Secondly, remember that people will tell who you are by who your friends are. I know you have some friends I don't like, and I am not telling you to do anything about them but as you grow older, you will earn respect or disrespect depending on the type of the company you keep. You hang around with loafers and you will be loafers.

The third thing I want to tell you is to never grow a big head. Keep in mind that just as you are better at some things than other boys your age, there are some things that they are better at than you. And that is how it will be for the rest of your life, so don't get jealous of others, or try to compete with them. Know what you want and set out to get it, it does not matter if others do better or worse than you, as long as you get what you want. The other thing I can add is that when you go to high school, you will meet kids from all types of background, kids who are the sons of ministers and the rich, and kids from poorer backgrounds than you. Treat them all the same coz you never know where life will take you.

My point number five is that never fear trying anything new and never fear to fail. Don't care what others say, if you fail, just start over again until you get it right, or until you prove it cannot work. My final point is about the, I know this is difficult to talk about, but...well, all I can say is that some are good and some might not be so good. The day you will find that good one, treat her nicely and your life will be forever good. And that's all I can say about that point.

I know you were expecting to count 13 points but if you take these points and multiply by two, then add one for that last point because it is big, then there you are. Now finish your homework, it might determine your future. But then again it might not.

PS: I have been asked to tag others to continue this thread but I don't really interact with bloggers whose blogs I read on a personal level, so I am not sure how they will take it. But these are some of my favourite bloggers so I would like to see if they can write anything on this: @magaribina @wyndago and @shiko_msa They have excellent blogs, follow them

Friday, July 9, 2010

5 Ways to Deal With Kenya's Greedy MP(igs)

There has been a lot of uproar of the last few days over the Kenyan Members of Parliament (MPigs) decision to award themselves more money. Yesterday there were demos organized by the civil society, but that's all it was, a demonstration, with few expecting it to achieve anything. Some people are however asking what more can be done to deal with Kenya's greedy MP-igs, something more practical, something done NOW! Well, I have a few "innovative" ideas.

1. Send them on a trip to The Mara: We all know that there is nothing these guys like like an expensive all expenses paid trip. We can pack the whole lot in a bus and send them to Maasai Mara on a trip. We must however pick the dry season and when the wildebeests and zebras are across the border in Tanzania. I assume that if we then abandon them in the middle of the park, and with starving lions...and let whatever happens, happen. Ok, I know that the conservationists will argue that this is tantamount to poisoning lions so it will probably not happen.

2. All women in Kenya, wives and mistresses to deny MPs sex indefinitely. Knowing their appetite for this, but oops! Wouldn't the female MPigs decide to pass it round to their colleagues? Bad idea maybe. But again if you look at the female MPs, barring Charity, that in itself would be torture!

3. Sentence Onyancha to life in prison and imprison him in parliament buildings (with all his tools of trade), maybe he can get his victim balance from there. But maybe this is being unkind to serial killers, I understand they prefer actual human beings, not insensitive, bloated, delusions of grandeur suffering....

4. Drop the buggers in the middle of River Road, and with no police in sight, shout MWIZI! Then let Kenyan idlers do what they do best!!

5. Move parliament sessions to a location out of Nairobi. Since they say that Nairobi is an expensive town hence they need to be paid more, why not move the sessions to let us say Mogadishu? or Baghdad? Or maybe the Pakistan-Afghanistan border? I guess their funeral covers includes the words "collateral damage"!

I know there are more ideas out there on how we can solve pig problems, if you have any that you think might work miracles, I am prepared to listen.

PS: Apologies to the pigs for comparing them to Kenyan legislators

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Time at FilmAid, Part I

Now that I have just moved from FilmAid where I worked for 5 years, I thought I could post some of my moments from my time with FilmAid. The moments are many and I cannot do it in one post, so here are a few random pics I just found and hopefully over the next few days, I will add some more interesting stuff in an organized way.

Evening screening in Kakuma refugee camp, for many evenings the highlight of refugees in the camp. When I was program manager between 2006 and early 2007, I got to see so many of these evenings

Somewhere deep in Duk county in Southern Sudan sometimes in 2007. This was in one of the "cattle camps"

Those days accomodation was in tents, this is Panyagor. Wonder if things have changed three years later

Posing for a photo by the Nile in Juba

Saying good-bye to Kakuma in 2007 as I came to replace my boss (Natalia) in Nairobi

Posing with some camp leaders, these are the ruins of a once resplendent Governors' house and later State House in the self declared state of Somaliland. It was bombed to ruins by the Siad Barre regime. I visited in late 2007. by then it was housing refugees and IDPs.

This is part of the State House camp

Standing among the debris in Haiti. This was April this year as FilmAid set up a program in Haiti.

Evening screening being set up in Port Au Prince, Haiti

Screening in Jacmel, Haiti

Friday, July 2, 2010

What our MP-igs Are Really Worth

There has been a major uproar as Kenyan MPs for the umpteenth time award themselves hefty salary increases. While most are making noise that the money is too much, nobody is really saying how much they ought to be paid. I have therefore decided to ponder on how an MP's payslip should really look like. Here is my take (in Ksh):

Basic salary:
200,000 (same an average program manager in an NGO operating in a bigger area than a constituency)

Travel = 16,000(4,000 per weekend using public transport, in most places they will still have change if they use the 14 seater matatus)
Phone & communication allowances = 0 (this is why people work for a salary)
Seating allowances = 0 (their job is to 'seat' in the House and discuss issues)
Entertainment Allowances = 6,000 (Enough for one to stack some crates of soda in the House, a few packets of biscuits and even some chang'aa now that it is being legalized)
Housing = 0 (that is why we get salaries, so that we can pay rent)
Schooling for kids = same as above

15% of the salaries contributed to the pension scheme (and they can't access it until they retire like the rest of us) = 30,000
Car Loans = 0 (they can apply for unsecured loans from commercial banks like the rest of us, Govt will provide letters confirming that they work in parliament)
Health = insurance paid directly for employee, wife and 2 children (preferably cheapest option from Resolution Health)

We are talking of approximately 250,000 here which is subjected to tax (you they will take home about190,000 thereabouts- someone can do the maths) and we can throw in a 10% increase every year subject to performance appraisal. Your constituents must give the go-ahead by more than 50% for you to get the increase. I do believe that this will be very generous given the fact that the work does not call for a lot of qualifications, one should just be able to speak English and Swahili at a basic level!