Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And an update from Ladies In Action...

This blog began one bloody day not so long ago as a way to raise funds for Internally Displaced People and victims of the post-election violence. Remember this:

Click on image for more scenes buried in cyberspace.

Ladies In Action, a charity run my parent in Kisumu wanted to use their network within communities to help as many people as possible but needed financial assistance. So we started Sukuma Kenya and sent out appeals to all our friends and family members. You all responded with what seemed at the time as a limitless love. My folks and their team of volunteers have continued to reach out and funds have come to an end for this specific purpose:

10 months later, Ladies In Action have probably done more than the government has to help its people. 10 months later, Kenya has an ostensible layer of peace, lots more 4wd cars and hundreds of thousands still dependant on hand-outs. As citizens and friends of Kenya, we have done what we can. As citizens and friends of Kenya, I think I can speak for all of us at the disappointment in this so-called coalition and all the Commissions of Enquiry this and enquiry that. The KNCHR went as far as to release a report with the names of leading politicians with hard evidence on their direct involvement in the violence. Result: nada. Not a damn thing came out of that.

Meanwhile, I continue to rant and rave into cyberspace with the only visible difference in google statistics depending on whether I blog about penises or taking logs out of our asses. Other than that, I have to sadly admit that we have gained nothing in Kenya. Even the so-called civil society activists seem to have gone back to their usual workshop routine. We could not even get more than 230 people to sign a damn petition demanding Kenya MPs reduce their salaries (given that they are only one of the most highest paid in the world in a country that ranks pretty much at the bottom end in the poverty scale). Blah, blah, blah.

Hopefully America will sink us all into a deep dark hole in the bush and then the bugs can have a chance at ruling the world...

The end.
(of this post....what else would I do with myself if I stopped blogging)

80,000 + IDPs still in camps...

Kriegler Commission, Waki Commission, Commission of Inquiry on post-election violence, blah blah blah! Workshops, talk shops, debates, theater, art exhibitions, blah blah blah!
FACT: there are over 80,000 people still stuck in camps
FACT: there are communities full of hate and anger just waiting for a reason to let it out
FACT: our politicians have started spending tax payers money on their election campaigns for 2012 or whenever it is.
FACT: Kenyan politicians are thieves. PROOF: look at their personal assets and their use of state assets (yes, Kenyans that means YOUR PESA)
FACT: Nobody is signing this petition to demand they reduce their salaries and give back land
FACT: We are a hopeless basketcase and deserve to be raped by politicians. We voted for them and we keep them in power.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The foreskin Wars

Several years ago, I 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 Kisumu. Given that our main topic of conversation was sex and western models of research, you can imagine we always had plenty to jazz about. Six years later, CNN and Time declared male circumcision as the biggest medical breakthrough of 2007. Not suprisingly, foreskins have since become a bit of an obsession amongst mainstream media and my fellow bloggers. So if everybody is talking about it, why can't I?

Question: But is Sukuma Kenya the right place to be writing about weeners?
Answer: Yes.
Question: Why?
Answer? Because some losers have turned a public health debate into a political one and Sukuma Kenya strongly dislikes politicians.

So Kisumu is back on the global media map again - Mr. Obama, so-called son of Lake Victoria, kindly step aside for a moment as our noble politicians pull their pants down:

Kenyan MPs admit to circumcision
"Standing before an audience of 500 in the western city of Kisumu, including Prime Minister Raila Odinga, three government ministers and an MP said they had secretly undergone the operation…"

When a stitch in time really saves nine
"To cut or not to cut — that is the question as politicians from Nyanza take the bull by the horns to disregard age-old customs. Prime Minister Raila Odinga illustrated the gravity of the matter when he led local politicians on Monday to Kisumu to attend a health conference…"

We all know what terrible atrocities were committed in january after the elections including poor uncircumcised including men being mutilated in the name of politics. So I ask my fellow cyperpunks, what good are you doing fuelling your foreskin with stupid comments like,

"Hi all I join you all in the campaign against this exercise, meant to covenant the luos into the politics of doom!"

Fortunately, there are some sensible people still out there including Luo women living in Kibera slums who point out that, "It is not good that Kibera remains a thriving Poverty Tourism attraction while the PM preoccupies himself with non issues like chopping of foreskin and touring central Kenya every weekend."

Ok, so where is this all going? I am sure there is a great deal of truth in the relationship between susceptibility to HIV and weeners with foreskins. But I am even more sure that there is a very strong relationship between poverty and HIV.

Question: Is Kenya a poor country?
Answer: Yes
Question: What is the minimum wage in Kenya?
Answer: About 5000/- Ksh ($80) a month
Question: What do MPs earn in Kenya?
Answer: About 600,000/- Ksh ($9000) a month.

So fellow activists, let's take some advice from the wisdom of our poverty stricken mamas and demand that the criminals in charge of this country give back what is not their and stop beating off in the bush and fucking us over with their foreskins. Leave Reproductive Health matters to people who know what they are talking about and try and stayed focused on the great divide between the handful of rich who stole from the poor and turned our country into one big dumpsite.

Click HERE if you wish to sign a petition that actually makes some sense.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Defending the right to food for all Kenyans!

Press statement from Bunge La Mwananchi:

We are defending the right to food for all Kenyans!

We are hungry and angry Kenyans who have chosen to stand up and demand that the government ensures the right to food for all Kenyans. We are tired of eating "airburgers"; we are tired of watching our children go to bed hungry and we can no longer keep to the-skip-a-meal program.

This government and our society cannot claim to uphold any human rights if it does not as a minimum respect the right to food from which life is assured consequently other human rights emanate.

In a country where the President, the Prime Minister and the Vice President will spend over K.Shs.2.4 billion on their households, public relations service, lavish state functions, political party retreats, and run unnecessary paid up advertisements in the media, it is unacceptable that the government cannot substantively subsidize basic commodities consumed by the Mwananchi such as unga, kerosene, milk, bread and rice.

In a country where the government can give Ksh. 9.6 million per annum, money for nothing as an allowance for political wives' luxuries, it is scandalous that our people, hidden by the inaccessibility of slums are starving because they cannot afford food.

In country where the rich in our society can afford meat, milk, chicken and biscuits for their dogs and cats, it is despicable that our children are malnourished from starvation, must eat rats and wild berries to survive and even miss school because of hunger.

It is for this reason that on May 31st, 2008 hundreds of Kenyans especially urban poor, thronged into our Capita City streets to dramatize their struggles over the unchecked food prices increase and hard economic times. The young people came out to put faces to statistics of unemployment and youth poverty. Reacting, the government through its oppression machinery, the police, disrupted, teargassed and beat up women and children taking part in the peaceful procession. Gacheke, Ojiayo, Odipo, Gitau, Helen and Odhiambo were arrested and charged with illegal assembly notwithstanding that the organizers of the procession had met legal requirements as set out in our constitution. The police went further to occupy all our meeting space and have continued to harass, arbitrarily arrest and threaten our members across the country.

Since then we have been involved in a protracted court process that has disrupted our families, is stressing our small finances: transport fare for repeated court appearances and has also destabilized our focus in searching for livelihoods.

We believe that God in His unfailing wisdom put enough food in this country for all our needs and not for some people's greed. We believe that if the rich decided to grow rich slower all of us can have some jobs. We believe that if our government and society was people-sensitive no one could hold two, three or four jobs while we have none at all. We believe that all human beings are born equal but it is socio-economic structures created by some selfish individuals that shackle us in hunger, unemployment, poverty and poor living conditions. The pangs of hunger, our thirsty for clean water, the cold nights on sidewalks, the pinch of poverty, the stench of poor living conditions cannot wait for the year 2030 which is visionless ab initio!

We therefore demand urgent government intervention starting with making food affordable to all Kenyans in the next 30 days failure to which, Kenyans will not allow them to carryout business as usual. We demand that all Kenyans who care to be concerned must join us to correct the evils in our society.

Prepared by,
Bunge la Mwananchi

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


"The Kriegler Commission must faithfully fulfil its mandate".

Kenyans await the imminent release of the Independent Review of the Elections Commission (IREC) report to His Excellency the President as well as to His Excellency Kofi Annan, the chair of the African Panel of Eminent African Personalities that crafted the National Accord.

However, that wait is tinged with reservations. Reservations informed by the long and disappointing experiences with commissions of inquiry which never fulfilled their mandates or whose recommendations were never implemented. In addition the conducting of the inquiry and the public pronouncements of its chairman, Justice Johann Kriegler have fuelled public scepticism about the likely quality and impact of findings and recommendations emerging from this Commission of Inquiry. In all fairness, Kenyans must wait and hear what Justice Kriegler and his colleagues have to say. But we wait in the consciousness of the historical significance of this report and of the heavy negative consequences that could attend an insufficient fulfilment of IREC's mandate.

The 2007 General Election in Kenya was, arguably, the most closely contested ever. The consequences of that election nearly tore the country apart. Many Kenyans quickly came together upon the eruption of violence to seek peace. One such group stressed that achieving peace alone would not be sustainable without the telling of Truth and the search for Justice. This is how a group of civil society organizations and individuals evolved into the Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ). We are joined on our concerns by the National Civil Society Congress (NCSC).

We still do seek truth, which we believe will only return Kenya to durable stability and peace if it is told and known. Electoral truth, truth on the processes, voting and tallying truth, as well as the truth of the roles played by individuals as well as institutions must be told.

KPTJ and NCSC also seek justice for the people of Kenya. Electoral justice will, in our view, be the foundation of growth in democracy and freedom. This justice must include the final determination of what exactly happened to the ballot and who may have won the election insofar as this can credibly be ascertained.

We, too, seek justice for the people that were violently deprived of their lives, livelihoods and property. We hope that the Internally Displaced Persons shall have their share of justice through the report of the Commission on Post-Election Violence (CIPEV). We deplore the continuing suffering of the IDPs and condemn the inadequate attention which is being paid to finding speedy and sustainable resolution of their plight.

In order to heal itself, Kenya accepted a grand coalition government, which resulted from the Kofi Annan led mediation process. In addition, the abovementioned commissions, IREC and CIPEV, were set up to deal with outstanding issues.

The mandate of the Independent Review Commission includes the investigation of ALL aspects of the 2007 presidential elections and the making of findings and recommendations to improve the electoral process.

We do expect that IREC shall provide a faithful report that will, among other things, do the following:

* Substantively and conclusively note the accountability function of the Electoral Commission of Kenya. This will include clear findings on what the ECK did wrong, who did wrong, what ECK failed to do right, what it could have done better and its responsibility, and that of individual officials, for the aftermath of the elections.
* The Commission should clearly identify the culpable parties for the electoral fiasco that nearly brought the country to its knees. This should include specific findings on individuals, political parties, candidates, state agencies, security agencies and any other parties. We expect that IREC will indeed proffer an answer as to what exactly went wrong with the elections and who had the greatest responsibility for the disaster that happened to Kenya. We seriously expect that the Independent Review Commission will not pass the buck but precisely locate it.
* The IREC will have to be acutely aware that, in the event Kenyans feel that the commission has not fully and effectively discharged its mandate, it will have endorsed impunity and diminished faith in elections as an essential tool for democracy. This will risk being considered a perpetuation of the betrayal that led to the loss of lives and property following the elections.

Whereas we are hopeful that the IREC will acquit itself in respect to the foregoing, we are aware that the commission faces some key challenges. These include:

* The Commission's apparent narrow interpretation of its mandate to exclude the possibility of credibly identifying who may have won the presidential election. We have stressed in all our public statements that this may be extremely difficult, if not impossible, if the records have been
extensively manipulated. However any professional and conscientious forensic audit of the documentation should at least provide guidance on what really happened and who was culpable. Judge Kriegler's apparent public fudging on this mandate is in contrast to the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation agreement, which said that the IREC "would be mandated to investigate all aspects of the 2007 General Election". One of IREC's terms of reference enjoin it to "investigate vote counting and tallying with special attention to the presidential poll to assess the integrity of the results".
* The Commission's highly questionable definition of the primary stakeholders of the inquiry process to be political parties, the ECK and the government.
* Since the IREC's investigation was based on possible mischief by the political actors and the ECK their above-mentioned privileging by the commission and the reluctance to allow civil society to play a more active role in the proceedings of the inquiry was regrettable since IREC's independence could come into question, and thus reduce the credibility of its report.
* In contrast, and without prejudice as to its eventual findings and recommendations, the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence (CIPEV) under Justice Waki has worked well with civil society. We believe that this has had a positive impact on some of the testimony received and the outreach that CIPEV could attain.

In conclusion, the KPTJ and NCSC fully expect the Commission to be faithful and forthright to its mandate and to the people of Kenya so as to safeguard democracy and the fidelity of the electoral system and responsibly use the considerable public resources allocated to it.

We also urge the President to immediately publish the report to its true principals, the Kenyan people, so that Kenyans can evaluate it, respond, and take the necessary steps to heal and reconstruct their nation.

The same demand will be made over the CIPEV headed by Justice Waki, which is also soon completing its report.


Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice
National Civil Society Congress

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Update on arrests in Jeevanjee Gardens

It turns out that the orders for the arrests of Bunge La Mwananchi members and other innocent people in Jeevanjee gardens on 9th September (see below for detail) came from "higher up in the ranks"

The good news is that they are all out. The usual news is that the authorities know they can keep intimidating people and sooner or later they will break their backs and we will all crawl back into our holes and just blog about it...

Full story HERE

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Police arrest 20 Bunge la Mwananchi members today!

The police once again in complete defiance of our Freedom of Assembly Rights have arrested members of Bunge La Wananchi in the hope of intimidating them. This is the continuation of the attacks on civil society.

On 9th September 2008, at around 1.20 pm 4 armed police with riot gear believed to be from from Central Police Station came to Jeevanjee Gardens. Upon their arrival 3 plainclothes policemen who had been seated undetected under a tree as part of the people in Jeevanjee Gardens, joined them and ordered people around to pair up and walk with them to Central Police Station.

19 innocent Kenyans have been detained. We are appealing to people who value freedom to sign this petition demanding the immediate release of our fellow Kenyans and a public apology and end to intimidation by the government authorities.


You can also send a direct letter of protest to the following:

- Prime Minister Raila Odinga - railaodinga@yahoo.com

- The Police Commissioner: commissioner@police.go.ke

- Police Spokesman: spokesman@police.go.ke

- Complaints: complaints@police.go.ke

- Customer Care Desk: customercare@police.go.ke

Monday, September 8, 2008

Moi should repent for inhumanities Kenyans suffered under his rule!

By George Nyongesa

Bunge La Mwananchi

I take great exception to the article by Mr. Nathaniel Otum from Migori, titled “Moi ageing graciously” in one of our dailies dated September 7, 2008 praising Moi’s enviable public charity in relinquishing power, his wise counsel to the public and even going further to associate him with icon leaders like Nelson Mandela. These assertions, especially comparing Moi to Mandela, exemplify lack of understanding and disrespect to historical facts and are highly misplaced.

I would like to inform Mr. Otum that for 24 years, former President Moi’s government besides running our economy down and preaching tribalism in reverse; he presided over massive human indignities and loss of life. The precursor to 2007 election related violence were experimented during Moi’s rule as evidenced with 1992 Rift Valley tribal clashes, Likoni clashes and Wagalla massacres.

Extra judicial killings were perfected under Moi’s reign where security personnel spelled insecurity to their innocent citizens. Remember how many Kenyans died in the clamor for multi-partyism? It was during Moi’s watch that the country lost progressive leaders like Foreign Minister, Robert ouko, Archibishop Alexander Muge and Father Kaiser simply they had dissenting voice.

During Moi’s rule discussions on social injustices was punishable by Kidnapping and enforced disappearance or life sentences. How many journalists were tortured, maimed or killed for practicing truth telling?

Moi has never repented over the Nyayo house torture chambers and the crimes against humanity perpetrated under his government orders. That Moi celebrated his 85th birthday only makes me wonder how many of those who died or those they left behind would have equally wanted a long life. During his rule Kenyans were oppressed, kidnapped, tortured and detained without trial. Does Mr. Otum have any idea how many became widows, orphans or mentally ill during Moi’s rule? Moi’s sporadic appearance and public commentaries are actions of a man who is in the cold and misses the public limelight.

There is a lot that Mandela loses if he is compared to Moi. Moi rightly belongs to the company of former presidents Kamuzu Banda, Mobutu Sesseko or Idi Amin. I am of the opinion if Moi’s claim that he is a Christian be true, he should publicly confess to and repent for the inhumanities he put this country especially to families who lost their loved ones and spend his retirement reciting over his rosary for God’s forgiveness over having misused his power.

George Nyongesa

Bunge la Mwananchi

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Well done Mrs. Ida Odinga but...

Dear Mrs. Ida Odinga,

Thank you for probably being the first Kenyan in a position of power to decline all that extra dosh that you don't need. I must say, when I first heard that the cronies that work for your husband wanted to give you several hundred thousand shillings a month for tea parties and other such necessities, I could not help but think of the starving grandma I met in Kisumu a while ago and what she might feel about this. Just so glad to know that you must have been thinking the same thing.

Now that you have proven to us that you are truly not interested in the accumulation of more wealth, I was wondering if you could have a polite word with your husband and his friends about the 1. 2 Billion Shillings (!!!!) for their household services and press units. That is 100 million shillings a month for themselves. The MARS Group have put the facts online HERE:

Mrs. Prime Minister, please can you ask your husband and his friends if they would kindly set aside some of that dosh for the chaps that live just down the road from you guys...