Thursday, August 16, 2007

Media demo, 50 Women parliamentary seats

It is proudly noted that the demo by the media was well conducted. Hopefully they've had their 15 minutes and can now steer themselves back to real reporting. I have been trying to get a hold of the entire media bill but due mostly to my own unavailability, don't have it all as yet. I have seen the part that is in contention and I have to say, I have no problem with it. The way I see it it raises the question, if I was adversely mentioned, or so it seemed, in a derogatory column or article, and I felt sure that the person the article referenced was me but my name wasn't mentioned and I took it to court, I should be able to demand that I be told whom the article was referencing. Let's pay attention to this, referenced party, not source of information.So unless there is a different section of this bill that is causing a row, the media is misleading people once again! Nobody has asked them to reveal their sources. Again, since I haven't seen it all and I'm unsure as to what parts are causing contention issues, I'll hold my final emphasis point.

And as Standard noted, proudly to my amazement,Mwala was out trying to provoke some violence. I'm sure they would deny this was his mission, but the questions he was asking were intent to make the recipient irate enough to act irrationally, start a melee, end the demo in riots and then the media could say there demonstration was interrupted by the government who are afraid... or whatever else they would say.

Obviously, I am biased against the media. I always have been. I argue often that the Kenyan media is not grown up enough and is detrimental to the development of the society. They contribute immensely in painting an ugly picture of the government and often publish biased and unresearched material, with people's opinions being represented as fact.The Standard is the worst offender of this kind. The media further abuses its rights by picking on certain individuals and insinuating things that are detrimental to careers and even family lives. They get nothing right. Often times even their entertainment articles such as Pulse are filled with misinformation and errors. There exists, without a doubt, a quality control issue that needs to be addressed.

Those arguing that the politicians are trying to protect themselves, shouldn't they? These are their careers. And if a reporter has nothing to hide, these laws barely start to intimidate them at all. Demanding that they reveal sources would be too much, though there are circumstances when I feel they should be forced to reveal sources such as if any one's life was in danger, collectively as a nation or a single individuals life.

As for the 50 women seats in parliament, I'm glad those weren't voted in. However, I'm very disappointed by the fact that these stupid politicians cannot take a stand on anything. Instead they walk out and disrupt the quorum. Where are their balls? Sit there and vote the thing down! But since that might come to bite them in their behinds, they run away like cowards.Kenyans you can all vote in new people or the same ones back, but if you can't vote in people with principles they can stand on, the same crap will continue from the parliament. Martha Karua may be adamant, but that woman is admirable for taking a stand with an issue and sticking with it. A lot more than we can say for many men in that parliament.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Birth or Growing Pains?

There is a lot of grumbling going on in Kenya. Some warranted some, maybe not. In my opinion, a lot of it is growing pains. Some of it birth pains, with access to new freedoms and ideas causing conflicting opinions. The media bill is one such thing. For me, I insist that the Kenyan media needs laws and regulations, so I'm all for it. Even as they urge Kibaki to veto the bill that was passed in parliament. Over a small addition which they claim compels them to reveal their sources. The people who added it claim that it compels them to clarify an unnamed person if a conflict arises. After reading the particular entry,I believe the media is again making a mountain out of a molehill. The wording was not even confusing. However, because I haven't read the entire bill, I will refrain from saying more. But if that part is the only problem, this is why the media obviously needs policing. They aren't grown up enough yet. That they have an opportunity to express themselves this clearly is a sign of how far they've come. To insist that they are being gagged is being alarmist, a condition the Kenyan media really needs to put emphasis in moving away from.

Other things have happened recently. That Charity Ngilu got arrested received mixed reactions. There was a demand for her arrest prior to this. That she found her arrest humiliating is the effect of fair law. For her to blame Kibaki is rather ludicrous. I keep asking at what point Kenyans take responsibility for their own actions. I pose this question to Ngilu as well. Those days of "I am minister, I can do whatever" are gone. You obey the law or like everyone else, suffer the consequence. This is the kind of environment that is conducive to prosperity. That many Kenyans are up in arms against her arrest doesn't make them right. They need to remember to think about being careful what they ask for. Charity wasn't right. She knows it. She just thought she could get away with it. She didn't. I hope she has had some time to internalize, analyze and grow.

The growth is apparent. Tuju expressed himself clearly over the EU tariffs and regulations. This argument over the purported carbon release within organic food that travels for many miles is in many ways an attack to the thriving organic markets that are taking businesses away from the mega store moguls. In Europe and USA, the issue has been seriously in the limelight especially because the organic stores are not lobbyists and have no friends in high places. Or so the rumor mills have been saying. Back from digressing, that Tuju could and did express himself clearly and with no fear, is surely a sign of the times. When a country can support its budget, at least 93% of it, with no need for aid, then it starts to roar and make itself heard.

What about this money for road repairs? Actually I'm more interested in the "meeting to educate citizens about the plan." That caught my eye. What a good sign. The more people understand, the more involved they can be with the plans. And the better able they are to plan and brainstorm around pending implementations so as to stimulate business growth and development. Good move. And perhaps reflect a growing interest amongst locals as to what is going on around them.

Not all is well. The police seem to continue to have a stronghold on majority of people. This is still more an issue of awareness. Brig Ali, in my view, has done a lot to improve the police force. But everyone else has to chip in. Ignorance is not an excuse ever. I recall I have always thought of Kenyans as cowardly. But if every motorist was to opt to be put in jail, how full would those jails be? And how quickly would that draw attention to the stupidity of cops at station X? I think the solution lies in cameras. Everywhere cops station road blocks, they must be required to have a camera running 24/7. Lacking which, any grievance filed against them will be awarded to the plaintiff, no questions asked. And if everyone makes a habit of questioning the cops, politely, I insist politely because it bears results; whenever stopped by them and quoting the law every sentence, I believe it should make them afraid enough to minimize if not stop their extortion habits.

There will be a lot more of these issues coming up. A lot more erroneous judgement especially preceding elections will be made by Kenyans. My hope is that they are all alert and learning. My greatest hope is that one day, Kenyans will be able to drop fickle mindedness and open their eyes to truth. Absolute inability to recognize improvement just because it comes from a man you choose to hate, with reasons ranging from "he has a stroke" (are you kidding me?!) to "he is an old man" mostly masking tribalistic differences is a loud cry for mental development within our population. We can get there. We just need to understand what path we're on and how to stay on it or move away from it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Shooting our own feet

My previous post expressed clearly what I thought of the proposed send off packages those men and women in parliament had proposed for themselves. Then come these shenanigans. Why, oh why did these people feel they needed to do this? They are so much worse than those who stayed at home and did nothing.

The law is not a suggestion. Especially one that requires that you alert the police force of where a possible huge crowd will gather. The reasons are obvious. Kenyan crowds historically get rowdy, out of control, burn innocent by passers cars and destroy property. Alerting the police will ascertain that they are made aware of a gathering and available if and when needed as a result of it.

Breaking the law to voice one's dissatisfaction is all dumb. It is exactly the case of a tainted witness. Once your credibility is shot, you have no value. Acts of lawlessness like these actually justify the send off these members are about to apportion themselves. If compensation is to be matched with how much crap one has to put up with, then these kinds of behaviour justify their move. I'm aggravated by these people. And every newspaper and column and blog that wants to portray them as innocent victims. You break the law, you deal with the consequences. Ignorance or purported privileged class citizen membership is no excuse. These people deserve to be in jail, arraigned and fined or imprisoned, whatever the penalty is for the crime.

As for Mrs. Ngilu, her family should really consider seeking her psychiatric help. By all means, that is not 'normal' behaviour. And her recent actions have been less than functional. She is singlehandedly justifying all those who claim women cannot make good leaders because they are emotional. I hope brigadier Ali is working on bringing her in with the huge allegation of aiding a fugitive escape. How a person who runs for the post of president is completely unable to respect the law just baffles me.

I thought I was disgusted with those MPs but I am sure much less irritated by them than these so called deliverers. And the media outlets portraying them as martyrs. Please! These are criminals. They are breaking the law, that's all. I wish they hadn't "helped". If you can't do it right, sit your butt at home. And anyone follow the law or suffer the consequence. And anyone interested in good governance of any institution should be backing that claim all the way.

And people scoff when Kibaki calls them wapumbavu. If the shoe fits...

As for those in Mathare, as unfortunate as it is that a 2 year old died, I refuse to be dragged into the foolhardiness of blaming GSU for using tear gas canisters. At what point do we bestow responsibility on the citizens themselves? They expect that KPLC should have let them continue stealing power? They want justice? they should name their landlords to the police so that we know whom to penalize for all the theft that the other power consumers have had to pay for over the years. And they need to know better than to start riots. Rioting crowds must be dispersed! What do they propose the GSU do? Approach each one and over a drink of Fanta urge them to go home? Seriously! Let's all be responsible. It's our own individual duty to assess a situation and understand its path and consequences. And hence, avoid those that end badly. On some level, the government,they police the MPs and all serving civil servants cannot be to blame for all the stupid things we do as a individuals and as groups of people.