Revv22's Blog

November 30, 2011

Love is… 2

Filed under: Love Is. — revv22 @ 7:08 am

My very good friend’s wedding was themed “Love Just Happens”. The ceremony was held at a beautiful garden in a serene location in the cooler suburbs north of the city.

It was a colourful yet highly sophisticated ceremony that exemplified the pragmatism and inherent respect for culture that the couple of the day had. Looking at it in retrospect, the theme was perfect in the sense that even while betraying the intricately detailed preparations, the ceremony wasn’t a laborious undertaking. Things seem to ‘just’ fall into place with every stage of the ritual smoothly transitioning into the next. It was as if the ceremony was not a performance but a “happening”.

Many times, two people going about their humanly routines oblivious of each others existence, may share the same emotional needs. A number of times such people may go out on nights and sites with hope of meeting the ‘just right’. But on occasion, such two individuals may “just happen” to be on the same path moving towards each other from opposite directions. Each one perhaps running away from what they left behind. As they get nearer, they notice familiarity with their respective mental images of the ‘just right’.

Attraction is never limited to the interpersonal experience. It is always takes some form of cosmic realignment; something like the old cliché PK chewing gum advert when the two bump into each other and bump their heads as they go down to pick up the dropped files (always some form of paper work). Or even the newer bolder version where everything in between them is swallowed up into a non-dimension…

After the stars realign to ensure the two are visible to each other, that is when it stops being automatic. It becomes their time for input. It is up to one to say to the other, ” … You do not want to go to where you are headed, I have just been there and it isn’t too pretty”, and its up to the other to take time to see if they can trust those words. After this encounter, the two will change their course. If they do it together, they go on to create a new, un trodden pathway in the love-cosmos that is built on mutual trust, effort and understanding. If they chose to change course in the opposite directions, then as individuals, they toil twice as hard to create pathways to uncertainty.

Love doesn’t just happen, but is bound to happen. However, it is a grand mistake to think that a destiny does not require hard work. As human beings, we all to often fall into the trap of non-recognition, zero awareness.. If you will. What we need maybe right in our faces but we fail to see it because we are to focused on the search than on the find.

I am happy that I have travelled many pathways; some together with someone and some alone. I am even happier that I feel complete in the current pathway that I travel. I don’t see the end of it and that is the beauty of it because it is an uncertainty that I don’t face alone. I have a partner with whom I share a mutual understanding and loving. We share in the toil of building this ever new superhighway.. And I wish no less to everyone out there who seeks to find love.

November 23, 2011

Focus on Election vs Focus on Devolution

Filed under: Uncategorized — revv22 @ 10:53 am

Cabinet through Constitutional Affairs minister Kilonzo has reiterated that they wont even think of withdrawing the bill on Election dates. Kenyans are deeply engrossed in debates surrounding presidential candidates, plausible running mates and alliances. In the past couple of weeks, focus has been directed towards election dates that I feel should come second to devolution; a hush-hush topic that parliament is yet to give a way forward on, with regard to the crucial bills touching on it on.

The difference between August and December in my view, is four months of additional ‘resource mobilisation’. IEBC Chair Issak Hassan has expressed that it will be impossible to effectively conduct elections in August, but hasn’t come out to clearly state what the four months will achieve.

The fact that we still get excited by presidential elections in the eve of unveiling County Governments and Governors leaves me questioning our respective reasons for voting in the new constitution.

When we look at the two main, or should I say two most popular contenders for the presidency; Uhuru and Raila from a county and voter constituency perspective, you get an interesting realisation. Raila’s perceived voter blocks are the western kenya regions and the coastal regions. (That is assuming Ruto has managed to ‘ponyoka’ with all rift valley support.) Meaning that Railas support base constitute among the most underdeveloped counties save for the north-eastern parts of the Country. Uhuru’s support on the other hand, is believed to stem mainly from central, eastern and the Rift valley regions (also assuming Ruto delivers that wholesome support). These constitute some of the most developed and economically viable counties in the country.

It means therefore that a presidency by either will have varying degrees of backyard pressure when it comes to national resource allocation and county development. A Raila presidency is likely to face heavy pressure from his suPport base to bring them up to par with the more developed counties. Rightly so since they had been marginalised by the Kenyatta and Moi governments which didn’t take kindly to criticism. On the other hand, a Uhuru presidency may have pressure from its support base not for the same reason of development but for ensuring that their regions stay ahead in an economically competitive sense. It is not a hard task to see the strides that have been taken in the last 6 or so years in transforming area such as those fed by the now revamped Thika superhighway. From real estate to agriculture. An Uhuru presidency, will be burdened with the need to maintain the high economic viability of those counties. It is the right of voters to demand their needs be prioritised even if its to the detriment of the 49 % who voted otherwise; and that is perhaps the greatest shortcoming of democracy.

There is therefore a need to be keen on how government intends to implement the devolution principles that did the bulk of the work in selling this new constitution at referendum stage. The bill seek to advice implementation in a broad sense ranging from fiscal management to local assembly set ups to administrative linkages between central and county govts. This is where our focus should be since it is what will determine how resources, access and freedom will interact to ensure much needed development.

The Governors and county leadership will have to be astute negotiators when presenting their budgets to national government. It is no doubt that some counties are wealthier than others given the resources and access they have and they will demand that their larger contribution to the national cake be equally rewarded. In a capitalist democracy this is absolutely normal.

It is important therefore that we have county leadership that is more technocrats than politician. The idea of having former parliamentarians who could barely manage CDF funds should be thrown out of the window.

November 12, 2011

Hungry Patriots

Filed under: Uncategorized — revv22 @ 10:44 am

Apparently in Kenya at the moment it is unpatriotic to demand that the government pays attention to a discussion that has been going on for more than two years. Even if they (govt) were part of the conversations.

As the academic and support staff of Kenyan public universities opt for industrial action as a final yell for attention, some one at the ministry for higher education is busy suggesting that their strike is ‘ill-timed and unpatriotic’.. Well not exactly in those words. But when the minister in charge sites the current economic ditch and the military operations in Somalia as being the priority for treasury, she is simply playing an underhand tactic in the negotiations.

You can’t in one minute acknowledge that concerns raised are legitimate and in the next dismiss their timing as being unpatriotic. The minister should own up to the fact that her ministry has not been seriously considering the plights of the unionist for all this time. Turning the public against the group is a cowardly way of intimidating the university staff. Is unfortunate that some of the students and parents are also publicly denouncing the strike, saying that they have paid school fees and have to be taught. Of course they have a right to get the services they have paid for but wouldn’t it be best if they demanded for a solution without criminalising the striking workers.

Media houses have not made the situation any better, with one putting up a question for vote, “do you think the lecturers strike is unpatriotic?”. What they failed to cover is that the current strike, even though it involves both lecturers and support staff, is mainly a push by the latter. What has been highlighted is the demands by senior staff whose demanded salary increment would put them in the same salary scale as high court judges. What they fail to see, is that the people parading placards, are the “wanjiku workers” who are in constant contact with the student body on a day to day basis. These include security officers, kitchen staff, librarians, lab assistants, office clerks and administrators, front desk attendants and office secretaries… The list is endless.

These persons are equally feeling the psychological pinch of the war (which by the way no one has bothered to tell us how much it is costing us and how we are funding it) and the ailing economy. Being that they are workers at higher learning institutions, they are probably the most versed in matters of “utaratibu” and protocol. So for them to take to the streets as they so often urge their students not to, it means they have heard enough empty promises and deadlock negotiations. Their “sticking up to the man” especially in time of war is a sign of open and liberal thought which is perhaps the difference between true patriotism and jingoism.

Berrypost.

November 8, 2011

who voted for ‘county administration’?

Filed under: Uncategorized — revv22 @ 7:17 am
Provincial Administrators in a meeting

Provincial Administrators in a meeting

I read a grand mischief in the Interim Report of the Task Force on Devolution that was presented to the Constitution Implementation Committee a while back. I understand the report was more than three hundred pages long and touched on matters a variety of issues in devolution, finance to administration.

When it was presented, a number of people sited some concerns over the
proposed position of “County Administrator” and the proposed plans on financial devolution.
Discussions on the former soon disappeared as all public debate focused on the finance proposals which became a chest thumping contest between two gorillas; Local Govt ministry and Treasury(Finance ministry). They caused such a racket to the extent that the IMF, if I remember correctly, was dragged into the middle of it.
Now, am not in any way more qualified than my barber on matters of finance and economic planning, so I won’t even dare suggest that there are a number of countries, African and Western, who have managed federal finance in more polarised situations that we can learn from.
I won’t dare touch on the financial matters also because doing so will serve the continued muzzling of the discussions on “county administration”.
The constitution as promulgated by Kenyans in 2010 had the overwhelming support of the public majored by its spirit and will on devolution. The decentralised system of governance is exactly what Kenya needed in ensuring equitable resource distribution as it would end the injustice done by patronage and political “correctness”. It finally put a stop to the vicious trans-generational inheritance of the colonial public administration system that was put in place to ensure that central government could micro-manage every aspect of life even at the grass root.
The “county administration” system comes across as the same public administration only re-branded, as is the case with the new Kenya Power, new logo same service. The permanent secretary for internal security is on record stating that the residences, home and office, currently occupied by the provincial administrators will be reserved for the incoming county administrators, who I understand will be under the internal security docket. This. In essence means that special budgetary allocations will have to be made, just to ensure that the governors offices will be accommodated. The most logical thing would be for the central government to finance the construction projects. Will the financing be in form of loans awarded to county governments in the spirit of semi autonomy?

As much as am totally against the Idea of county Administrators, it seems it may be necessary to have a stronger national government presence in some volatile areas such as Isiolo where the communities in competition for meagre resources don’t seem like they would ever peacefully engage in county politics.

In the end however, we need to be more vigilant with the way devolution implementation will be conducted, lest we fall back into the same problems all over again.

Berrypost.

November 7, 2011

Terrorism Online

Filed under: Uncategorized — revv22 @ 7:33 am

The first thing I did today, even before getting out of bed, was to reach for my phone and log into Facebook. The second thing was even more passive as it entailed thoughts that justified, or at least attempted to justify how this morning ritual does not reflect on my more physical social relations.

I belong to generation Y (aged 22-32). We are said to be the “online pioneers… credited with sparking the online social revolution”. Margaret Rock (see link below). Social networking is such an important part of our lives that it has been integrated into almost everything we do. Just last night, my partner and I were having goose bumps just by the mere reminder of the days that posting letters was the only way to send written messages. Now anything short of an instant reply to an inbox message causes a slight anxiousness.

The older generation X (32-42), have greater spending power and therefore have more avenues for utilising the internet through more equipment such as DVRs, but are still trailing the Y in usage since they generally use it for services such as banking, health advice, news and information; you know, the more grown up stuff.

It is however the generation Z (18-22)that tops the chats. Studies show that they use social networking sites much more than anyone else. Their main media may be mobile phones but as technology advances virtually on a daily basis, the mobile phone is becoming a more potent device. It is important to note that the ages indicated in this group of users only points to the legal restrictions of social networking sites; one has to be 18 years and older to register. There is nothing like a demand for birth certificates or drivers licence to ensure that under 18s are restricted. Basically all one has to do is lie and get an account. On the other hand, Facebook doesn’t have to answer to anyone if a user lied to them, but they will make some change from every new account.

With this in mind, then the decision making skills of the average user, especially falling in the generation Z bracket has to be put to question. They share more pictures, install more apps, and volunteer more personal information with a lesser regard to profile security and privacy. Making them perhaps the demographic from which social networking sites reap the most complete marketing information.

There is also the question of commenting on popular topics and trends. Some topics may be highly emotive demanding sober consideration of the varying views even when practising freedom of speech and expression.
You don’t need to go far to find examples of this. If you are in Kenya, just search for any discussions that have recently risen of developments in the political seen; recently it was Kazi kwa Vijana, Now it is Ipsos-Synovate poll results for Run-Off Presidential Election possibility. The comments you would find especially on the facebook pages of media companies would leave you happy that the commenters may not know each others physical location.

There are people who have taken note of this laxity by organisations such facebook to tighten their regulations and privacy policy; they have threatened to do something about. If one such group of hackers where successful in its planned attacks on the 5th of November, we would have been talking of a disaster.

The Anonymous hackers who chose the Gunpowder Plot (a 1600s failed assassination attempt on the British king) as the theme of their campaign always seen wearing Guy Fawkes visage, said they would bring facebook to a halt on the 5th of November. It bore stark reminders of the 2006 movie V for Vendetta.

It was the plot of a terrorist attack only this time, the date and location of the attack was known; 5th Nov, Entire Facebook network. This was scary! If you are highly dependent on FB like some of us you would know why. It would leave us totally disillusioned on how to go on about the day, in a 18 hour day, I log into facebook about four times each hour, I use my phone more for social networking and internet access than for anything else. No facebook, even for a single day would call for serious re-evaluation of how to communicate with the world.

Cyber terrorism is becoming more and more a reality as extremists are seeking more avenues through which their loud statements can be heard. Recently, a French satirical weekly office was fire bombed after it printed a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad. The weekly Charlie Hebdo’s editorial staff were also unable to access their website as it was also hacked and inaccessible to them.

Such an attack is more acceptable and easier for the public to forgive for one simple reason-there was no blood shed.
Perhaps it time cyberspace moguls to more responsibility in ensuring that privacy and respect are prioritised over profit.

So the third thing I did in the morning, is retrace the ‘friends’ I added on my facebook recently and check to see if I knew all of them, for all I know I could have added a terrorist.

Links:
http://www.mobiledia.com/news/115306.html

Berrypost.

November 2, 2011

The good reasons of Railophants and Railophobes

Filed under: Uncategorized — revv22 @ 11:50 pm
Tags: , , ,

My last post was, to say the least, unusual for me. It was an opinion piece that broke two of my many unwritten rules. Firstly, it was purely politics and secondly, it was based on speculation, assumptions and hyperthetical situations.
I avoid making my political views public because this is Kenya, where every view is adequately sorted, tagged and all similar opinion stuffed in a box that has a label. Here you cannot let your imagination run wild without the fear of committing trespass on other peoples emotional space.

So in publishing the article “Kazi kwa Vijana; politically speaking”, I put my self at risk of being tagged ‘Railophant’- a Raila sychophant- simply because I did not choose the put-up or shut-up brigade. Every other common mwananchi like my self was either joining the lynch mob or keeping quiet for fear of being stuffed into the dreaded ‘railophants’ box but I choose the less popular approach, to look for the ‘real reason’ (or motivations) and not merely the ‘good reason’ (demands for accountability) for the KKV exposé.

It should be understandable therefore when I tell you how anxious I got every time I checked to see the number of views the post had. I visualised my self standing in line with other outspoken individuals as we moved into the sorting office to be tagged.

My fears are not without base. For every ‘Railophant’, there are probably two or more people who love to hate Raila Odinga. For whatever real reasons, a sizeable number always make good of an opportunity to talk about the man. It is quite similar to the way homophobics always find ‘good reasons’ to explain their intolerance; wich could range anywhere between Darwinian Evolution and Religious dogma. Let’s just call them ‘Railophobics’ – for the ‘good reason’ of easier communication.

It was my every intention to publish this prior to yesterdays (2nd Nov) parliamentary proceedings, for the ‘real reason’ of giving myself a safety net and yso that I would not have to swallow my own words. Fortunately, I still don’t have to swallow my words for a number of reasons, real and good.

First being that it became abundantly clear that the main battles today were between the Railophants and Railophobics. And it was fierce. They both stuck to character with each group proudly wearing their tags.

One team however, seemed to be caught unawares by the amount of preparation the man of the day had done and in the end came out looking like ambitious science students who perfectly completed a theoretical review and reckoned thy didn’t need to conduct the research.

Oh they were students alright, eager to impress a man seated right next to the man of the day and in my opinion, failed horribly. Perhaps it would have served them better if the other deputy PM was also present in the house, this is because at one moment he was mentioned as having, at an earlier date, made contributions pertinent to the matter at hand. They would probably have turned their attention at him. Could this be the reason he was conspicuously absent? Or am I back to my usual assumptions?

Also absent were serious fellows who would normally attend any sittings that demand serious contribution; the woman who was at one time “the only man in the cabinet”, the man who is steadily
cutting an Obama-like reputation as he makes waves with exemplary performance in the Gatanga CDF management, and the man who would still vote NO if the referendum was redone today.

There were also those who were present but wanted to act as if they were absent and indifferent to the squabbles at hand. That was till their good intentions betrayed their real intentions when they uttered the word ‘sycophants’ with reference to other members of ‘good intention’. So perhaps I should have published this earlier after all, it should have made all the name calling a lot easier.

“The only way to get better, is to play against a better opponent”- from a Guy Ritchie movie

Berrypost.

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