Sunday, October 21, 2007

"Kibaki has made no significant contribution". Your honest conclusion or is it taking away from your intelligence?

I had enough of these debates and arguments. So I am simply documenting them. My thought process with them and the facts associated with them wherever available. I am just asking for a little justice, some fair assessment of things. You don't have to vote for a man, but give the devil his due. That's all this is about, giving the so called devil his due.

Annual Economic Growth Rate
from UNs regional commission development update in July 2001, "Africa made significant economic progress in the 1990s, with several countries sustaining double-digit growth. " Kenya meanwhile recorded a negative 0.3% growth rate.The same article also adds that "The new leadership will have the opportunity to restore public confidence and promote economic growth." Whether that has happened or not, I'll leave you to judge. To further make my point, "Africa's average gross domestic product (GDP) growth of more than 4 percent in 2001..." Compare that with -0.3.However, be aware that there are things that are simple fact. That while Africa is now at an average growth rate of about 6%, Kenya is right about there, actually slightly above average. So that the economic growth rate is in fact what is Africa's current economic growth rate, does not mean that there has not been any progress here done by Kibaki's government. It would be stupid and inaccurate to conclude that.

Corruption/Anglo Leasing
Let's now address Anglo Leasing. Why do I address this under corruption? It's because it's the only example I am getting from people when they accuse this government of corruption and I ask for specifics. That it has been turned into a Kibaki administration issue is interesting and thought provoking. Here is the story of the origin of the Anglo leasing scandal. This comes from the Mars group, a group whose tactics I have learnt to absolutely disagree with. That a story for another day. My point being that Anglo leasing was done, rushed and finalized before the elections of 2002. It is thus inherited. Meaning the blame cannot be transferred to Kibaki's government. So the people have not been brought to book yet. There has been a lot of finger pointing, true. But no real hard evidence to convict has been provided. The one good shot was Githongo's dossier. But he chose to deliver it to a foreign government, despite the fact that its research was paid for by the Taxpayers shilling. Point is a dossier in the hands of a foreign government is of no use to Kenya and does not enable our courts to convict. And the whole idea of thinking Britain in better than Kenya so run there, Screw that! That's what we're trying to get away from. I haven't met the supernatural Briton or foreign person either. If it can be done right in Britain, it can be done right in Kenya. Running to Britain for cover was stupid, bore him no fruits, stonewalled an investigation and seriously, what did he think they would do? Send Clay to remove the splinters in our eyes, altogether ignoring the logs in theirs as usual? My point is Anglo leasing is not a this generation scandal. The drama perpetrated by Githongo was no help to the issue either. And any promises any other person is making in regards to this issue are not well thought out and are lies. The only way to convict this people is without fair trial and would be dictatorial. To follow the law is to concede that this is a very difficult case to win ina court of law, where the accused can afford good representation. I'll stop here, this topic can cover a small book. Fact is as far as the law goes, they are free until someone can bring in evidence. Face it and move on, let our future be the difference.

Planning and management or lucky break?
What about economic growth generally? I've been advised to "stop worshipping" what Kibaki "has done". The benefits of this came from the Kenyans in the diaspora. Really? So Kenyans went abroad only some 4-5 years back? Or is that when Western Union started sending money to Kenya? I mean how do we come up with this? Are you suggesting there was no foreign currency coming into Kenya before Kibaki's government took over? Is that a logical and educated suggestion? The economy... here are some facts. Collection of funds. KRA. What milestones has that taken? How much better effective is their collection all arranged and organized and funded by the current government? It takes a person who understand that it takes money to get work done, and who knows to tackle the root cause to get this achieved. There are other solutions, such as sucking up to rich foreign governments so that they would give us aid. But that just makes us puppets who are fed just well enough not to die, but not enough to put up a fight should we need to. If nothing else, this is single handedly the most effective most important thing this government ever did. It is the only first right step that existed. And the execution has been nearly perfect. Yes, people have complained and whined intermittently throughout this process, but that is because people resist paying taxes. It doesn't make them right. And this my countrymen is the root cause of progressive development. Then other factors have played in, such as ministries with assigned goals, ministers who know that they will have to earn their dismissal and no longer have to wake up reading papers to check if they were fired last night as was the previous regimes ministerial situation; leaving room for confident planning, implementation, execution and tracking of goals. The CDF kitty, that one tells you what your local representatives are doing for you. And so you can decode who to vote back in. This should be your measure of whether you need local leadership changes or not.

"Kibaki has a stroke. he's totally handicapped." Think about this statement. Play it over in your mind. Analyze it. I'm not sure I should comment on this. I have a healthy respect for the privacy of medical records. But what do we know about strokes that are totally debilitating? Seriously. Kibaki couldn't move his arm well after a road accident. An explanation was offered for it as a badly handled surgery and he had local surgery, which obviously fixed the problem. So logical. And let's face it, no surgery could fix a stroke induced immobility, simply because that would be about the brain triggers. Yet this stroke rumor continues. It reminds me of the republicans as they are sending e-mails now. "Barack is a Muslim", they say. they will lose him his popularity this way. he had to be handled because he had republicans considering a democratic vote. Look into the similarities of these tactics, their unfairness, their pettiness, their absolute absurdity and then decide to know what you believe form that. Kenyans you're smart people. There's a healthy respect for just how smart you all are internationally. Just start acting like it when it comes to situations like these. And on that note, has anyone bothered to note that Kibaki struggles with expression only when speaking in Swahili? Common sense my people. he's not good with Swahili. It is not a stroke! Listen to him when he speaks English and allow yourself constructive though process.

Other stuff
No one is arguing with me about the payment of farmers being a good thing. Yet, most people ignore the overall effects of this. In a nutshell, the development of rural areas begins here. There will now be an increased demand for goods and services from the farmers as they have disposable income and hence supermarkets and eventually malls and all sorts of trading will have to move closer to the demand. It's that simple. the beauty is in its simplicity. And if Kenyans are to be smart, there should be a migration of sorts back to the farms because they are now profitable "centers", more like fields and spaces. Which would lead me to an attitude I notice amongst Kenyans that I have narrowed down to "fickle mindedness". What I mean is simply this, the people who are now currently farming as young people, have almost all studied outside of Kenya for further studies. They are the only ones who can proudly declare themselves farmers as their "what do you do" response; and not care about the crazy looks they get from their peers. Think about it people. It may not be an easy pill to swallow but if we can't discuss the facts, then we can't help each other. But all that another story, for another day.

What about primary school education? That it's now absolutely free. Recall how opposed this was when Kibaki first announced it? It will be difficult to implement, the skeptics said amongst other things. Who said difficult means do not push ahead with it. How about a simple pros and cons assessment. every year delayed in implementing free primary education would have meant scores of students late for primary education entry. And the same skeptics were screaming, free secondary education a few years down the road?

Health care. By no means perfect. But what leaps and bounds I ask? How much better are the local dispensaries doing? Answer these questions to yourself honestly. The Nairobi Stock exchange and the provisions that have been given it to allow growth. I could go on. And by no means am I citing perfect governance. I am however acknowledging leaps and bounds in progress. And truly choosing to understand that it cannot all be done in 5 years. Neither will it all be done in the next 5 regardless of whom the throne will belong to. It's a process and we as Kenyans need to learn how to measure milestones and keep things in perspective.

In a previous post, I gave simple litmus tests for critical thinking. Let me say I cannot overemphasize the importance of critical thought process. No matter what you decide, let it be under these circumstances, a conclusion of fact assessment, within context, with common sense exercised and devoid of emotion. Just pure thought and logical infusion and totally and completely grounded by facts and not speculation. It calls for invested interest and work in fact finding from everyone but if you are to comment and have an opinion on something, don't you owe it to yourself as a smart person to know all there is to know about it?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Inconvenient Truths

I finally watched Al Gore's documentary. What an interesting and captivating piece. I felt totally enlightened. Gore earned that Nobel peace prize two times over! If ever there was an example of turning a bad situation into a good one. Perhaps there was a good reason why Gore lost elections despite winning them after all.I thought I had gone green but after watching that, I wonder how much greener I can get. You can be sure I'll be making a huge effort to get greener. I'm already what I consider almost extreme. take for example, unless in extremely unavoidable circumstances, I don't drink bottled water. Why? because it adds a whole lot of plastic waste to drink water that in its fine print says this: PWS. Meaning, public Water Source. Someone took the same tap water I drink, packaged it and sold it to me for more that it costs to buy gas. Not only does it offend my sensibilities, it harms the environment, so I just say no!

I noted that Gore mentioned Nairobi as becoming mosquito infested. I recall a doctor once telling me that there was hardly any malaria in Nairobi and people should not take malariaquin as it was harmful. Then, these drugs were still available OTC (over the counter). We had a good laugh over how rare a female anopheles mosquito was in Nairobi as he laughed when I told him how my entire family had once collapsed from malaria within 2 hours of each other. He had explained that that was the only way malaria occurred in Nairobi. Because there weren't that many malaria causing mosquitoes, you saw it as a significant wave and it was gone. His explanation had made sense then. I wonder how global warming will affect that balance.

After I watched Al Gore, i wondered what the impact would be on the medical expense budget should malaria become common place in Nairobi. Once upon a while back in this blog, I watched how a remote part of Kenya was struggling with malaria and the inability to afford its treatment. malaria would probably outbreak in the slums. that's where they have pools of stagnant water and other unhygienic practices glaring to the eye. This would cripple the entire medical system should cases of malaria start to increase and keep increasing exponentially.

So it started me wondering what about the future our presidential hopefuls were addressing. How much about the global issues do they become part of and incorporate into their messages? can Africa afford to turn a blind eye on all that is going on? Africa has been both blessed and cursed by being a developing continent in the face of developed nations. The bad about this situation is well known and could fill 4 days Worth of reading. But there is a good to this as well. And that is that we can learn from the mistakes of those that have developed before us. Aldo, we can benefit from their research. As the snow melts from Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya. what do we do to retain that tourism? Mark where the snow was for periods of years, just to make it worth visiting? Perhaps? Maybe, channel those visitors elsewhere. the problem with that is that it takes away from local traders who were benefiting from those tourists. Basically, we can all agree that these issues need to be addressed as they happen. this is where I call for effective media outlets. Who think outside of the noise being made and can engage politicians and force them to think outside the normal stagnating noises they make.

Genetically modified food. This issue just puzzles me. Why go there, Africa? There is enough research to show that this is a harmful route to take. It only benefits pharmaceutical companies. So again I ask, why go there? There are other ways to increase productivity and they don't include messing with God's work. If there is nothing else we are learning as the effects of technology start to be felt, is that no matter how much we as human beings think, "we got it", there is a perfect balance from a much more intelligent creator that we know little of but are prone to upset often. Our best bet is to work with things in their natural states. Plus cancers and MS and other weird painful diseases. All linked to modified foods. Not to mention the trend in the oceans. Fish now have both male and female parts and males are simply taking a path towards extinction, thanks to huge amounts of estrogen in our waters. bear in mind, that most engineering of foods has something to do with estrogen. And the issues that will arise include greater numbers of women with gonadic problems, from polyps to fibroids, worse to cancers both ovarian and breast. Why, oh why won't Africa, trailing behind, learn from those ahead of it? I surely hope they do.

I'm waiting to watch Sicko. the reason I haven't watched it yet is because I want to buy it and its not out on DVD yet. From this, I hope leaders in developing worlds will watch to learn what the possible entrapment of modernized medical systems, insurances and pharmaceutical companies tied into it, and device ways to avoid them altogether. I guess I'm a social capitalist, as Raila described himself to be. Off on a tangent, the whole entire NSE reaction to a Raila lead was surprising to me despite the fact that I have been fully aware of investors being very wary of a loss for Kibaki during the oncoming elections.I wasn't aware, however, that they were that nervous about it, enough to get out just because poll numbers indicated a possible loss for Kibaki. That was an interesting observation. And one that led Raila to eat back some unwise words he had uttered while in Atlanta. will the investors, trust Raila ever? I guess only time will tell.

I guess I'm wondering about which one of our presidential hopefuls worries enough about the global future to invest time and research so as to protect Kenya from some of the atrocities the developed world faces today. Why should we have to make the same mistakes? Can we afford to make the same mistakes? And to what extent should this matter in picking out a future leader?