Saturday, 15 December 2012

Reflections

For the past three weeks I wake up every day to a sun so bright. A sun that’s once soothingly enjoyable but fast scorching and unbearable. It is part of my day. 

Every morning I listen to the purring of engines in a construction site down below our second floor office. The purring  goes on till just before I leave office. 

I have seen the building grow, from days when it was just a large dam-like feature, to the time when metals and beams began to take shape. I have seen tonnes of sand, ballast, and cement mix as men dwarfed by my bird’s eye view toil.

And I have taken that all in and been used to the bubbling, urgency that is the work of minting stories for press.

I am now aware that even if you wrote 500 words, only 50 could be used. And sometimes stories die. 

But I have been immensely jolted to the reality that things happen, and that stories are important but the story teller too is important. 

I have seen first-hand what goes on in the mainstream media and witnessed competition look at you in a not so friendly look when you meet in the next event. 

But I have grown, in my judgement of what will make it tomorrow and what will not, sometimes the story is just the lead and sometimes a big story is never so big. 

I have never loved politics because I don’t like the league of politicians Kenya has bred over the years, but that now has to be my daily cup of tea. 

The engines are purring out here now as I write this, and reminds me I have a deadline for my County Weekly docket. 








Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Kenyan Youth Must Register and Vote






Kenyans under 35 years of age accounts for 78.34% of the total population.-Kenya Youth Fact Book

The population of 20-34 year-olds is a staggering 9.5 million
Iebc intends to register 18 million voters

The bio-metric voter registration exercise has begun in earnest and the Kenyan youth have no option but to register and vote in the next general election.

According to the Kenya Youth Fact Book the Kenyans under 35 years of age accounts for 78.34% of the total population.

The population of 20-34 year olds is a staggering 9.5million. The Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (iebc) intends to register 18million voters and this means that over half of this bloc is youthful.

The Education for All Global Monitoring Report launched recently in Nairobi paints a not so rosy picture for the youth.  It states that six out of ten Africans are 25. Of these, one of eight is unemployed and one in four young people work in a job paying less than $1.25 per day.

While many youth have in the past resorted to whining and peripheral involvement in maters politics, the time has come for closer involvement in the politics. The current constitutional framework provides for the position of youth representatives in parliament and in the county assemblies.

However, these posts are not to be given on a silver platter because candidates must be nominated by parties and must meet the requirements of the Political Parties Act. The act requires the nominated members to have been active party members for some time. This could mean active party participation by the youth. 

About 75% of the Kenyan population is aged between 15-29 according to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs website. This could provide a bigger swing voting block for who becomes the next president.

And since the youth feel the ravages of unemployment, corruption, inequitable distribution of resources among other ills more than their older counterparts, they have the only chance in the vote to make a decision.

Youths have made an impact elsewhere, notably in the Arab Revolution and even in the just concluded American presidential polls.

The Kenyan youth must take this chance and make their voices be heard.



Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Myopia

Our country is a great country. our heritage is a sweet one, weaved out of struggle by our fore fathers whose blood was shed into the soil for the sake of all of us Kenyans. we stand today on the brink of a silver jubilee since independence yet some little things hold us back because we cant look beyond our noses. 


Myopia


Can you prove
that my lakeside origin 
makes me proud, a show off
verbose and arrogant?

Can you justify 
your allegations of 
itchy fingers, aggression 
and wolf-like cunning nature 
of him who comes from the slopes
of the great mountain from whose
our country is named?

Does their steadfast cleaving 
to their culture, 
the bright shukas, 
trademark red-ochred hair and 
religious devotion to their cattle 
make them backward 
or less civilized?

Is it true that they from Eastern 
are meek and weak 
can only be loyal servants 
messenger and menial workers 
and giants of voodoo?

Who said they can only chew
mountains of ugali and kuku stew
that the way to their allegiance 
is through their stomachs?

Do all of them run
faster than deers on lions' trail
To get cold gold 
and fame for us? 

Why cant you see beyond this?

Green, white, black and red 
we hoist everyday
flapping  in sweet harmony
black and white keys produce
sweet melody.
Yet we, despite years and years 
of coexistence, 
like leeches hold onto misplaced notions. 
notions whose motions set us
apart, divide us and create disharmony?
Unite. Diversity is strength.


The golden rule is a maxim the kenyan nation must embrace: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Friday, 16 November 2012

I Stand with PK



The field in next year’s political playing field is crowded. The same faces are running ahead according to some opinion polls. In that crowded field, one man stands out for me. That man is Peter Kenneth.

Unlike other candidates PK is fresh. He is a young blood getting a first shot at the presidency. An impressive track record of service delivery in his constituency is something his freshness screams of. Fresh ideas, fresh personality, fresh way of doing things governance and fresh mode of campaigns are with PK.



Nearly all the other contenders have some baggage. PK has no baggage. (that I know, I know he isn't an angel) while some have huge charges hovering over their heads, others corruption related pasts, others looking to fulfill past botched ambitions, PK is presenting a CV chequered with records of industrious duty and past molded out of a humble beginning.

Although he may have chosen to play the ethnic card and join other believed to be his kin, PK has decided to choose the tribe called Kenya. While some people try to pigeonhole him to an ethnic cocoon, he has chosen to tread a different path- to walk alongside the Kenyan people no matter the connotation of their names and sound of speech in their first language. PK is as Kenyan as you can find.  

We all want to belong to a family. A man who takes care of his wife, kids and mother is a responsible person. The true quality of a man is measured by the type of a family he has. Andrew did a good job at humanizing his father but he didn't have to do that because what he produced just by standing to speak was enough to make any man want to be a father. Such is the man I want for my president. PK is a family man.

Economists will agree that numbers are important. If a man can stand and tell you the most important numbers and what they could do. For example, how much we used to raise ten years ago and what we raise now in revenue and why they haven’t helped us: that is my man. The figures are just as important as the policies. Awareness of the figures and what to do with them to solve our problems of health, economy, and jobs among others is key. He has shown he can try. Unlike other people running around trying to make the ethnic figures count.PK has the right figures.

Sheng is the language of the youth. 60% of Kenya’s population is youthful. It is this group that suffers most from unemployment, poor education levels, fewer opportunities to progress and hopelessness. PK is identifying with us;the youth, speaking our language, we can bet on him to make life better for his children who won’t be out of the youth bracket even if we gave him two terms.

Making it to the top doesn't come easy. It requires tireless toil, hard work and a never say die attitude. PK embodies hard work.

Andrew has looks. He is a chip off the old block. If for once we needed a hunk president, PK is the man. (My female friends say he is hot)

Kenya is a beautiful nation. We thrive in our diversity. We share a heritage like no other. We are unique; even peculiar. Let’s unite. Shove our differences aside and start seeing through the lens called Kenya. The future of Kenya is with PK.
End. Register to vote. Make your vote count. I stand with PK.


 photos courtesy of PK facebook page. 

Friday, 26 October 2012

My Ex



I wouldn’t love this post to go viral. It is the story of my ex-girl friend.
Our meeting was accidental. It was in a matatu (some people call it mat). It started so easily by a little banter in that mat. She was immediately in my social network.
I viewed her profile, she was elegant. The real life image next to me was just fantastic. She laughed easy, had a smile I like and the way she talked about her interests and activities made me want her more. She was in an open relationship with nobody in particular and I thought this was my chance.
I sent her a friend request. She accepted the request and put me in her friends’ list. The fact that she didn’t ignore it lifted my spirits and I began laying strategies to make my next move.
First, I poked her and she poked back. Before long, I was writing on her wall, inboxing her and liking every comment and status update she wrote. And somehow she too was doing that in equal measure.
So one day I find her on chat and we started chatting and I squarely put her in the box and close the lid. My relationship status changed from widowed to ‘in a relationship’ that was the beginning of a long nice life.
I would take pictures everywhere upload them and tag her or sometimes just say ‘with my apple’ etc etc Her friends became my friends and mine hers.
And then a topic began trending. It was about my beautiful girl. Everybody began tweeting about her slanderous behavior. It was first whispered that she had joined an infamous group, campus divas for rich men. I didn’t mind much until the hash-tag stop campus divas brought tweetpics of her with some bald headed man. And then I decided to block her. 
blocking her was the most painful thing because i realised I'd have to ask her friendship again. 
A lot of things have changed in my life since. I am looking to find a new mate.

Photo and Poem by Courtesy


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Why you should Follow Your Heart

If you have ever felt that you are not doing what you want, you are not alone. There are millions of people who do the things they do because they have to. Some do this because of family pressures, market trends, recent developments, accidents etc etc. But,  be it that profession you are in, the course you are pursuing or whatever it is, you should never lose the resolve to follow your heart.

I give you my top three reasons why you should follow your heart.

Your Heart already knows what you want
Your heart defines who you are. That is why some people are known to have a good heart- if they are generous, kind, love others and care about what happens to those close to them. While some are perceived to have an evil heart- if they are mean, are sadistic and don’t give a damn what they do to other people.
What your heart wants will always be dear to you. If your heart tells you to be a comedian, follow that path, start somewhere doing whatever you can and believe you me, you shall get there because your mind and soul will give you what your heart desires. 

You will be happy
Happiness comes with contentment. Research has shown that most people who stay happy live even longer.  Happiness is mostly found at work, with family, friends, nature and the Creator. If you follow your heart you will be happy. And you will live longer.

You will find freedom
While many people feel trapped in their circumstances, following your heart could be a source of freedom. You don’t have to look further than your close friends who chose not to follow those big dreams set for them by others. Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group is a free entrepreneur making money and so are others. Just follow your heart. Freedom is guaranteed.

In whatever you pursue keep you eye on the prize. All the things along the way just obstruct our view of the prize so that we may give up. It is only those who dare to dream that see the best that life has to offer.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Interview


John woke up with a start. He rolled on his bed and reached for the alarm; smothering it. His thin worn out blanket lay at his feet. He used it just because he had to. It did not prevent the biting cold anymore. The clock indicated ten minutes past six. The alarm had rang for the second time. He had to move fast. It was a day for another interview.

Since getting out of college two years earlier, he had never held a steady job. He relied on short term contracts given out by his more successful former classmates in big companies. He was among the smartest but the jobs had been elusive to him. They always danced in his eyes as he went from one interview to another. He did not have a tall brother or distant relative to hold his hand and pull him out of his quagmire. He held on to hope. That one day, things would work out. The contracts he got ranged from data entry jobs, sales, and to the bizarre sweat dripping ones. The ones he never imagined he would do as a graduate. Sometimes he would go into construction work; doing manual labour with all sorts of crooks. He had attended so many interviews that he had lost appetite for them.

John groped under the bed for the only basin he had. The lights were off. Without light from the windows, he could stay in the dark till he got accustomed to it. His prepaid electricity bill was still pending. He carefully drew water from the black 100litre water container. The water level was low and he had to bend low to get to it. Bathing was not mandatory here but today, he had to. With water in the taps only once a week and two days to the next 'water day' he knew what that meant for the next couple of days.

He was lucky to get the last occupant of the bathroom leaving. Thank God, there was no queue either. His bathing was always a five minute affair. He had perfected it over the years. It was the only way to cut short the agony of the skin-numbing body-trembling cold water. He also rationalized that with the sharing, he could save other people's time. The condition of the bathroom did not allow a prolonged stay either.

The last phase of his preparation had been the trickiest. His clothes were scanty. John had two suits. One was grey, bought for his graduation.  The other was pin stripe navy blue one. He had bought it from a friend who found it a size too small. He could choose the suit to wear by looking away as he searched for the hangers. As a rule, the one first touched would do for the day. Whether they were clean or not was not considered. Most times they were good. Without mentioning the suits were beaten.

The major hardship was the shirt. Most of them had collars that looked like they were shredded and glued back together. Others were anti-iron. However hard he tried to iron them, they would crease up again. He was very cautious about them because he had attended an interview with one such before. Things had gone well and he tough he was making quite an impression because the panel kept smiling at him. It was not until the last question was asked by the big bellied man at the heart of the panel that he realized what was amusing them.  "Mr. Onyango, did you look at yourself in the mirror before you left your house?" The building almost came down in rapturous laughter. He felt small. He could not even muster the courage to ask the mandatory last question. He did not want a repeat of that experience.

He found a sky blue shirt, clean and pressed. A red tie with stripes went with it; the navy blue suit was picked for this day.  Time was running out. He had just five minutes to make it to the bus station. John wanted to get there early. From experience, he could not get late. It was bad sign to interviewers. On several occasions, he had been late or lost and those were some nightmares he loved to hate. A job seeker is always as lucky as the next interview.

The journey was slow. He had expected it. Forces always conspired to ruin his important days. Today, he could afford a smile. He was in no hurry. He flipped through a dossier he had made for News Media East Africa. He had made many such dossiers in the past. It was a hard task but a worthwhile one. Interviewers are always impressed by candidates who know a lot about their prospective employers. He looked for scraps of information over the internet, from newspapers, journals, magazines and any other relevant sources. He flipped through the dossier absentmindedly as juicy vulgarities from a local FM station rent the air inside the matatu.

He wasn't building castles in the air as he used to when he began job hunting. In those early days, he could imagine the oak table, rolling leather chair, state of the art computer and other trappings that lay on the other side of the hot interview seat. He had grown skeptic.

John fell in love with News Media East Africa the moment he stepped into the reception. It was magnificent. Everything he could see did spell grandeur. He was ushered in by a pretty damsel called Kate. She was kind enough to cheer him up and wish him well. She even said she was looking up to working with him.

The waiting room had four candidates. He had purposed never to compare himself with others.  Thirty minutes later, it was his turn. He was the last; a good sign. He had read in some column in the dailies that the last candidate usually got the job.

He sauntered in, smiled broadly as he said good morning and took his seat. This was perfected from experience. As he rested his back on the seat, he was formatted. His mind went blank as he saw her at the extreme left of the interview panel. He panicked. Sweat drops rolled down his stomach. He was sweating in this cool air-conditioned room. He couldn't wait to hear her full names but when he did, he felt dizzy. With trembling hands, he filled his glass from the plastic water bottle in front of him and gulped it down. He wanted to run away.

The ghosts in his closet had come out. They were here, the most unexpected of places. He had loved Sally. She too had loved him with all the love of her youth. Their love hit the rocks when their country was rocked by mayhem after a botched election. Inter-ethnic animosity could not stomach the beautiful thing they had. His community and hers could not see eye to eye after a blood bath and massive displacement of people. She had cried when her parents sent him away. They had never met again until today. Their daughter Seanice was two years old but he was not aware.

'Tell us about yourself.' The interview was on. He was a veteran at interviews and tried as much as possible to remain focused. The questions came fast and thick but he was prepared. He gave a good account of himself.

After several questions about himself, his competencies, the company, the profession and its current trends and one question of his own he left. He saw her smiling as took his way out.

Two weeks later, the phone rang as he lay on hard hot ballast over lunch time at a construction site. News Media East Africa had hired him. He didn't know what to feel.