Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Digitizing Kenya – The impact of multimedia on the socio-cultural and political landscape in Kenya
Words: 1200 – 2000
Deadline: February 25th 2009
Publication Date: Mid-March
“To many in the developed world, the ‘networked public sphere’ connotes the potential for a more public discourse, increased transparency, and positive cooperation of all kinds. Throughout sub-Saharan Africa where artificial borders and legacies of ethnic strife have yet to solidify many countries into nations, the narrative is more complicated…The internet and mobile phone have lowered barriers to participations and increased opportunities for many-to-many communication…” (Goldstein and Rotich: Digitally Networked Technology in Kenya’s 2007-2008 Post-Election Crises)
We invite submissions on all aspects of how digital technology is shaping public discourse, culture, politics and economy in Kenya. Topics of particular (but not exclusive) interest are:
· The internet and social justice
· How development operates within the new face of communications
· Integrating digital technologies into mainstream media
· Trade and economy
· Civil society interactions
· ‘Good governance’ and human rights discourses
· Cultural interactions
· The evolution of content
WAJIBU: a journal of social and ethical concern, is a Kenyan journal that has been published in Kenya for the past 22 years and has subscribers not only in Kenya but in various other countries in Africa and abroad. Every three months readers are treated to an array of in-depth analytical coverage of issues such as “Peacebuilding: gaining or losing?” “The Millennium development goals,” “Education: a constant challenge,” “Roadmap to a just society,” “Culture and values,” “Traditional African wisdom and modern life,” “Human dignity and the value of one life,” and other issues of major concern to Africans and those who love Africa .
Sunday, December 28, 2008
ATTN: MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
FORMER HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS
C/O PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
This is letter from Mwananchi addressed to you Honourable Members of Parliament through the people’s platform Bunge la Mwananchi:
- Hon. Anyang’ Nyong’o, African Research and Resource Forum (ARRF);
- Hon. James Orengo, Law Society of Kenya (LSK)/former member, NCEC;
- Hon. Martha Karua, Law Society of Kenya (LSK);
- Hon. Cecily Mbarire, former Co-ordinator, Youth Agenda (YAA);
- Hon. Kabando wa Kabando, former student leader;
- Hon. Sheikh Dor, Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI);
- Hon. Millie Odhiambo, The Child Rights Advisory Centre (CRADLE);
- Hon. Gitobu Imanyara, Law Society of Kenya (LSK);
- Hon. Sophia Abdi, WOMANKIND;
- Hon. Rachel Shebesh;
- Hon. Ababu Namwamba, Chambers of Justice (COJ), Law Society of Kenya (LSK), Cancel Debt for the Child Campaign;
- Hon. Bonny Khalwale, NCEC, male rep. Western Province in NCA;
- Hon. Kilemi Mwiria, former Deputy Secretary General, UASU;
- Hon. Mutava Musyimi, former Secretary General, National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK);
- Hon. Linah Jebii Kilimo, Education Centre for Women in Democracy (ECWD), Co-ordinator, Stop FGM Campaign, Rift Valley;
- Hon. Danson Mungatana, Law Society of Kenya (LSK)/former member, Amnesty International (AI); and
- Hon. Peter Munya, Law Society of Kenya (LSK), former Kenya Law Students’ Society Chair.
Because we are convinced that you still believe in these ideals and we have faith that each of you is still part of the struggle to make the abovementioned ideals a reality, through this letter Mwananchi calls upon you to demonstrate your undying commitment to those ideals, by paying tax on your allowances.
We know that you are each aware that if the 17 of you, listed above, joined the Mwananchi movement to pressure Members of Parliament to pay taxes on their allowances; you are more than able to convince 222 legislators to pay up their taxes. Honourable Member of Parliament, do you know that from this patriotic act, our exchequer would raise over K.Shs. 3 billion in the 10th Parliament which can form “sufficient aid” towards resettlement of IDPs, resettlement of persons from the Mau Forest, providing food to starving thousands in Eastern, North Eastern and Coast provinces where there is a looming famine, subsidising agriculture to develop food security, investment in development projects, improving infrastructure, providing free secondary education and reducing youth unemployment?
Indeed, as Members of Parliament you are no longer activists but policy makers which means that you now have the AUTHORITY, the POWER, the TOOLS OF STATE and the RESOURCES needed to practice that which you held dear as activists. Today, you have been presented with a messiahnic opportunity to address the very issues that you identified as pertinent during your activist past. Unfortunately, we have seen so little by way of action from you in your new status as lawmakers. In the Kenyan public mind, paying taxes on your allowances would be a great first step towards persuading us of your commitment to our priority development issues as summarised above and towards the shared dream of 40 million Kenyans – that another Kenya is possible!
Kenyan taxpayers and voters represented through Bunge la Mwananchi would like to know when you are writing your cheque to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) remitting your taxes on your respective allowances so that we can accompany you in solidarity as you join the roll of honour of the Kenyan taxpayers army.
Bunge la Mwananchi is a people’s movement mobilizing and organizing 40 million Kenyans to resist oppression, fight for social justice and demand for responsive and accountable leadership at all levels in Kenya; and also a member of the Kenya National Civil Society Congress (NCSC).
We anticipate your quick response and appropriate action!
Yours in the struggle for a Just and Equitable Society,
Bunge la Mwananchi
Cc HEAD OF STATE, PRESIDENT MWAI KIBAKI
PRIME MINISTER, RIGHT HON. RAILA ODINGA
ODM, NARC-K, PNU and ODM-K Head Quarters
Saturday, December 27, 2008
From Citizen TV
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Bunge La Mwananchi
The campaign, which climaxed on Jamhuri day celebration at Nyayo Stadium, had actually started in March 2008. The campaign was initially mobilized around "unga for 30/-“ as a clarion call and later revised to include "ushuru".
Our earlier activities with the public included holding public forums where Kenyans would come and share their views on governance openly and suggest ways forward. However, the government through the police brutality, arrests, threats and intimidation made it difficult for us to enjoy our freedoms as protected under chapter 5 of the constitution of Kenya.
Noticing that the government's (in)security machinery often violently disrupts lawful and peaceful public meetings and street processions before the message is delivered, in the run up to Jamhuri day we decided to be creative in our communication tactics and instead deliver our message at State organized functions.
Therefore, armed with our mouths on the 12th December, 2008 we made for Nyayo Stadium to dramatize our disappointment with a grand coalition leadership that was presiding over unchecked price increase for basic commodities especially unga, bus-fare increase as result of high fuel prices, reluctance of the political class to implement the Waki report, the criminal behaviour of members of parliament refusing to pay tax and the latest addition of gagging the media.
Through the heroic actions of the thousand Bunge la Mwananchi members who thronged the Nyayo Stadium on Jamhuri day, and especially, through Fredrick Odhiambo, we terminated President Kibaki's speech although an attempt to hand the Head of State a petition letter failed.
We recognize that the issues we risked our lives to bring to the nation’s attention have not dissipated and are therefore make the following demands:
Food: while we campaigned for unga for 30/- the government intervention gave us unga for 52/- and 72/-. Why the difference in prices? When will that unga get to shops in the countryside? Basic commodity price is still high, many families still cannot access food, and majority of Kenya are on skip-a-meal program or in the danger of starvation. This is shameful. Our message to the government and all political leaders is that they do not have business being in power if they cannot ensure food security for all Kenyans. Plans must be made to zero rate tax on all basic commodities. If the government, especially President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila, do not check the price of basic commodities quickly, “the terminator” of the Jamhuri speech will pale in comparison as we shall invoke other unconventional methods of communication and dramatization of unga issues.
Fuel: on fuel pump price reduction – an estimated 15million urban poor use kerosene for cooking; and according to KRA an estimated 5million Kenyans have cars. Why then is the price of Kerosene higher than that of petrol?
MPs taxation debate – taxes fund national projects such as roads, schools and hospitals among others. We earn less than 10,000/- per month and we are sufficiently philanthropic to participate in nation building. Does the MPs refusal to pay tax mean they are sufficiently against national building? Why should we pay tax to feed fat people while Kenyans starve? We are now asking the current MPs who worked in the NGOs and Civil Society and who spoke eloquently as human rights defenders: “When are you writing your tax check so that we come and escort you to KRA?”
On the Media bill: the media serves the whole society and not just politicians. The media has done well in it is work of telling stories of our struggles, especially in helping us demand to know who and why the Members of Parliament don’t want to pay tax. Our message is that the media serves 40million Kenyans not only 222 members of parliament. In a democracy like Kenya, we the 40million must have the day; we demand that MPs stay away from our media of communication. We are challenging President Kibaki to use wisdom not to sign that bill into law. If he does the mistake he shall have invited the wrath of 40 million Kenyans into a protest.
Today’s Bunge la Mwananchi leaders consultative meeting at Shauri Moyo YMCA, has drawn representation from Bunge la Mwananchi’s network across Nairobi (especially its informal settlements), Kisumu, Siaya, Eldoret, Nakuru, Naivasha and Mombasa. We have adopted this meeting as a forum to reflect, deliberate, vocalise and dramatise issues and protests against apparent injustices as set out earlier, all of which are close to the hearts of the many Kenyans that are represented by this cross section.
We invite all the 40 million members of Bunge la Mwananchi to remain firm in the demand for responsive and accountable leadership and where there are improprieties they must hold those involved to account.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Whilst the blog has evolved into a ground for voicing the frustrations of the mass from its original purpose of fundraising and reporting, Ladies In Action run by my folks and a few others in Kisumu has continued to do what needs to be done: building schools, wells, paying school fees, helping orphans and the countless destitutes that the Kenyan government has created.
One year later, I don't think we have made any progress as a country. The blood that was spilled in the name of democracy has left no stains on the conscience of those that it was spilled for. The last couple of weeks have truly revealed the stench of evil that masquerades as politics.
So Sukuma Kenya continues to scream and Ladies In Action continues to give hope. We are just glad that we can help in giving hope once in a while because screaming all year has done nothing more than left us with sore throats. A while ago, we came up with an idea to buy Kenyan books for Kenyan children and as always the Klara Foundation has stood by us and supported the necessary funds to back goodwill and giving to the less fortunate. Thanks do a donation of 2000 euros, we were able to purchase a bunch of school text books as well as handful of publications from Sasa Sema/Longhorn, Wajibu and Philo Ikonya's little inspirational treat based on young Obama
Ladies In Action gave out the first parcel of books to Arise and Sunshine Orphanage and will be giving out several parcels to schools and orphanages after the school holidays. Children will be given their own copies of various story books and the schools will be given a variety of books.
Tu endelea kusukuma nchi yetu, Kenya...
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Police bar civil society and media from visiting Frederick Odhiambo:
Saturday, December 13, 2008
As you know, many were detained yesterday following attempts to peacefully protest during Jamhouri Day celebrations.
Most of those detained have since been released.
1. Mwalimu Mati of the Media Analysis and Research Services (MARS) Group and his wife Jane remain in custody at Langata Police Station Nairobi...they have not yet been charged (at which point they could apply for bail) more than 24 hours after their detention...we are deeply concerned that the intent is to hold them for no apparent purpose up to the maximum of 48 hours.
2. Fred Odhiambo of Bunge la Wananchi was just brought to Langata Police Station from Nyayo Stadium, where he'd been detained overnight. He has been badly beaten and has just been moved to Nairobi Women's Hospital for treatment, still in detention.
3. Four colleagues in Garissa remain in detention for simply trying to present the Provincial Commissioner with a memorandum.
1. Use any influence you have in government to demand all's unconditional release...the rights to the freedoms of assembly and expression have been violated by their continued detention;
2. Focus attention on the Commissioner of Police, where the directive for their contined detention seems to be coming from;
3. Focus attention on the President and Prime Minister for having utterly failed to demonstrate enlightened leadership during yesterday's events;
4. Ensure this sad story gets to the media, here and elsewhere as well as to any and all diplomatic contacts we have.
Click HERE to read the full statement from the Partnership for Change
Friday, December 12, 2008
Breaking news from Bunge La Mwananchi: Caroline Mutoko, Mwalimu Mati, 60 others arrested at Nyayo Stadium
Caroline Mutoko of Kiss FM and Mwalimu Mati of Mars Group Kenya have this morning been arrested at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi. The two have been taken to the Langata police station. 60 other Kenyans are also being bundled into waiting police vehicles and it appears that it is planned to distribute those arrested in various police stations across the city.
The 62 are part of a larger group of Kenyans that had gone to attend the national event at the Nyayo National Stadium as we mark Jamhuri Day today and use the forum to address our leaders, making the Kenyan citizen’s grievances heard.
They were all wearing black T Shirts with the message “No Tax for MPs, No Tax for Us” which is part of the campaign being run in conjunction with Kenyans who care and university students to protest against MPs refusal to pay tax.
The black T Shirt campaign forms part of a larger campaign where Kenyans have over the past few days held demonstrations, rallies, boycotts as they are protesting against the ongoing food crisis, the escalating prices of basic commodities, the high price of fuel and the MPs culture of impunity.
The urgent help required is:
cash bail for each person arrested,
tracing and visiting all the arrested at the various police stations where they have been taken,
lobbying for their immediate release, and
any other help you are able to render.
Let us all join together to keep up the pressure against the culture of impunity in Kenya and protect our hard earned rights that were so valiantly fought for by our independence heroes.
Together in solidarity,
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Dear Kenya, and friends of
Our struggle for people sensitive, responsible and accountable leadership is firmly on! Kenyans are fired up to use their creativity to dramatize and communicate their dissatisfaction to their leaders. December 10th, 11th and 12th remain our days for civil direct action, the days for display of people power!
The guidelines of expected action is as follows:
On 10th December 2008 at 9.30am, we assembly at Bunge HQ, Jeevanjee where we shall short speeches and then start a procession through city centre to Muthurwa market and then head to Huruma sports ground.
At Huruma sports ground we shall have public meeting where grassroot Kenyans shall outline their priority human right issues as part of celebration World Human Rights Day. The meeting shall also serve as mobilization for the next two days’ activity. Similar mobilization activities will take place in other place across the country through our partner and network organization.
On 11th December 2008, to express their anger and discontentment, Kenyans will refrain themselves from using public or private vehicles; and where they have to go to work they shall walk as a sign of solidarity with civil direct action. We beseech employers to show solidarity by allowing Kenyans to stay off work.
On the 12th December 2008, our major direct action day, we must all jam various Jamhuri celebration venues armed with our "mouth" to communicate eloquently our frustrations. Our clarion call to all our issues of discontentment will remain "unga!" "Unga" (maize flour) is the symbol of our people power just like "bread" was a symbol of French revolution. During the celebration speeches at district, provincial and national level, to everything the speakers shall say, we shall respond with "unga!".
The power to create another Kenya is in your hand do not sit back!
For information or help please reach myself on 0720 451 235 or Birundu on 0713972941
Bunge la Mwananchi
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
· Editorial - Charles Otieno-Hongo
· Traditional African leadership institutions - Betty Wamalwa Muragori
· Can African traditional values be revived? Interview with Rev. Dr. John Gatu - Njeri Kang’ethe
· Performing the self - Chamo Nyadhi - Oby Obyerodhyambo
· A rose by any other name - Shilpa Jain
· Africa and the challenges of development – is religion a help or a hindrance? - Pete Henriot
· Violence in Kenyan schools – is it a question of values? - Isaac Ochieng
· From traditional values to African modern values? - Sally Ireri
· Male circumcision – are we cutting a piece of culture? - Dipesh Pabari
· Are African extended families a blessing or a curse today? - Nicholas Rabach.
· POETRY CORNER - Annetta Miller
· YOUTH SHOUT – Arise from complacent slumber - Christine Mungai.
· BOOK REVIEW – Uwem Akpan: Say you’re one of them - Muthoni Garland
· MAKING A DIFFERENCE – Islamic banking - Cathy Majtenyi
Available at all major book stores in Nairobi or contact: wakurayag (at) yahoo (dot) com
Friday, December 5, 2008
The grand coalition leadership is in self destructive mode. They are presiding over all the conditions that caused the French revolution: detached and insensitive leadership; majority malnutrition and starvation; high national debt; inequitable taxation; consumerism among the ruling elite and high unemployment among other citizens. The symbol of the French revolution was "bread" (so close to our "unga") and the uprising swelled over time.
As early as April 2008 Bunge la Mwananchi started the campaign to urge the government to check the increase in essential food items such as unga. As in the unprecedented French revolution before them where there was a notable mass uprising reaction that featured women marching on Versailles, Kibera women also recently defiantly sung: "tunataka bei ya unga iteremke" as Raila's mercedez motorcade passed by.
Fellow Kenyans, we have an opportunity to be make history. WE WANT CHANGE BUT THROUGH NON-VIOLENCE:
1. Start mobilizing your friends and networks today;
2. On 10th ( World Human Rights Day) meet and organize yourselves as part of the Direct Action squad;
3. Write a letter to the editor expressing your opinion on current issues;
4. Send a text message to your member of parliament ( access phone numbers at www.bulamwa.co.ke) demanding to know when s/he is paying tax
5. On 11th let us walk to work to dramatize our demand that unga, petrol and kerosene should be reduced to 30/-, 65/- and 40/- respectively, send a text message to your member of parliament to express your dissatisfaction with the current status, avoid any fuel product; and
6. on 12th December (Jamhuri Day) join other Kenyans at the venues scheduled for public celebration especially Nyayo Stadium and use your mouth to petition your leaders to reduce further the prices of unga, kerosene and petrol.
Kenya National Civil Society Congress through Bunge la Mwananchi and Name and Shame Corrupt Networks (NASCON) have put in place safetynets such as lawyers, etc just in case.
This is your practical chance to be part of activities towards change as we mobilize and organize ourselves into direct and peaceful action to demand responsive leadership.
You can also download pamphlets for distribution the Partnership for Change campaign site by clicking HERE!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
The MARS Group have been working relentlessy to bring out the buried facts of corruption, greed, theft - not that we need any more convincing that Kenya has been hijacked by a thieves. Click on the image below to watch the documentaries and promos. Spread the word and write to MARS Group if you would like a copy of all the videos. Help get them out to your neighbourhood...