Friday, August 06, 2010

2010 - New Decade, New Kenya

It's been a long time since I've felt the need to put my thoughts on this blog. I got deflated, negatively impacted, jaded or just completely drained after the election skirmishes. I've tried to come back here often, simply because I used to use this space to store my opinions and assess them later - to monitor my state of mind during certain events and to grow from what I observe about myself in those pieces I had written.

I've missed having this place to come back to. I haven't been able to transfer this process to other places where I store my thoughts. But somehow, I do associate the Kenyan blogosphere with the events of early 2008. And I guess I don't like to come back here. My opinion of Kenya was changed so drastically, left huge holes and such a sense of loss in my heart. I got an inside view of Kenya and it was not pretty. I've been trying to overcome that; to see it as an isolated incident. Yet, I believe my hesitation is in the fact that I don't believe in its isolation. Somehow, I feel like my eyes were opened to an ugliness I didn't before have the ability to fathom within my own people. An ugliness I feel has not yet been explored, exposed, addressed or altered. I don't have to be right. I could simply be traumatized. But those are my feelings towards all that at the current time.

With all that said, I had to write my thoughts on the day after the constitution passed. I've talked to many Kenyans, young and old, Christian and not, super intelligent members of society to the regular Joes. It was interesting to hear other people's point of view on the constitution. One very super well to do, smarter mind of society actually argued that Kenya had no need for a new constitution. That what was wrong with kenya was its leadership and that if people were good, and elected only good leaders, all would be well. Now, duh! Isn't that a fact anywhere? Don't we put checks and balances because that is a utopian expecttaion? Don't we know human nature pushes its boundaries? A fact observed with children as they grow? It's an instinct, people get away with as much as they can. It is a survival instinct. Truth be told, this person is also a Christian religious zealot; and I believe we got to this point of view simply because they had run out of ways to justify their opposition to the new constitution.

I'm overjoyed but cautious. And my primary instinct is to call on fiscal responsibility with the implementation of this new constitution.

First, the pay for MPs must be dropped by more than 30%. I say this not because I know that our MPs are overpaid, but because it is prudent and justifiable to reduce pay within the new constuitution. If pay is to be commensurate with responsibility, smaller constituents indicate smaller portion of responsibility per person. Each MP will have less to worry about. And in that manner, one can justify a pay cut on that level. Generally speaking, the cost to run constituencies should at worst case, stay the same. An argument could effectively be made to reduce the cost. I'll admit this huge increase in governance costs was a concern to me. But I figured, if this is handled prudently, a paycut for all MPs should follow. And I chose faith. If Kenyans can get here, maybe they can can get to where they one day alter the cost to run the country so that it makes sense.

I'm of the school of thought that the amount of money spent to pass this referendum the second time around could generally have been spent to improve the first referendum. The naysayers both times were emotionally invested on the side of no. Anyone who has me figured out knows I detest emotional thinking; simply because it almost always kicks out common sense. I recall in 2005 asking a simple question, how many things are wrong? I was told 2 at most. I asked then, "can't they be resolved later?" And was advised 'no!' But this came from a then orange supporter and nothing I could do could get them to listen to anything other than voting against it. I write this, because there is a huge part of me that hopes many who voted no last time have had some time to reflect and see what their voting no has cost the country both in real shillings (the drafting of a new constitution is not cheap) and in missed opportunities. The point is, I hope it has been a learning opportuunity for many, to look inside, understand self more and become a better person. But I'm glad, that finally, the issues were debated and that finally change is nigh.

And I especially hope that Kenyans will learn how to vote wisely. In a country where Raphael Tuju was not reelected, besides having accomplished a great deal; but a host of do nothingers were reelected - I can't help but feel that Kenya has the leaders it deserves. We have to deserve different. And by that I mean we have to start voting for those who do right. Let the consequence match the action. Otherwise, we cannot justify our complaining when the MPs want to hike their own pay. And with no shame, highlight their out of touch attitudes. Can anyone please advise the Kenyan MPs that it is completely rude to the average kenyan, to complain that after all bills are paid, one has ONLY 50,000 to take home. Many Kenyans have way less than that to take home long before they paid huge mortgage and car payments. So frankly, shut up! Because it is rude and inconsiderate and ignorant to speak like that.

The tone of this almost reads like I might be angry. I just caught on to that. I don't feel that way at all. Actually, I feel very hopeful. Maybe the tone is a remnant effect of the fact that my emotions about Kenya are scattered. I love but don't trust or I trust cautiously or something close. It's complicated. Hopefully, next time I come back here I will have sorted that feeling out.

Whichever way, I wanted to say of Kenya, congratulations! Go ye forth and prosper! And I know God is on our side, no matter what those who claim we have kicked God out might think.

Serial Killer Devil Worshipper

This I wrote on June 15th. When I was completely mortified by the one weird Onyancha, blood sucking guy.

Reading about Phillip Onyancha is shocking in more ways than I care to describe. Be it the

callous way he describes his deeds, or the sheer monstrosity of it all; it is all newsworthy; and

not in a good way. But I find two things especially interesting.

One is the mention of the devil worshipping madness. That is interesting to me because just

recently, some friends and I were discussing the absolute insanity that had encompassed

schools in Kenya; in regards to cult worship. The very Christian union (CU) bodies had

been infiltrated by weirdness to the point that God was scary. We had mentioned the devil

worship comments that were constantly being made. But we had more or less concluded the

overzealousness and fanaticism of religion as the culprit. Allow me to say it the way Kenyans

love to say things; “Shock on us!”

The second most troubling thing is the investigation bit. Did I read about some family that kept

forwarding numbers to the cops who kept losing them? As in what the heck?! So I pose a

question to the police commissioner, can you explain to the general public how investigations

are handled? I feel quite sure I ask these questions on behalf of very many people.

First question, is each investigation assigned a case number?

Second, is it then assigned specific people to be working on it?

Third, who monitors the progress of the investigation?

Fourth, what follow up is owed to the victims, the concerned parties, the people who requested

an open investigation; or the people with a missing relative?

Fifth, the filing system – Where do you file all materials related to a case number? Are these

arranged by case numbers? Is all evidence in these files? Who has access to it? What protocols

exist to ensure no evidence is stolen out of files?

Sixth, what about the evidence that has to go for forensic testing? How does it get back to the

file? What is the process? Who is responsible if it goes missing? What is the trail left behind?

Who signs what when they pick it up and when they return it?

Seventh, what are your general standards? What do you internally consider best practices when

handling an investigation?

Eighth, the different bodies, cops, CID, the flying squad – what is the role of each one? When

does each one get involved? What is the official process of handing down a case from one unit

to another?

If there’s a process where the cases are transferred, are the files transferred with them? What is

the trail left behind? Who signs for what?

Where is investigative training provided? When? And for how long?

What are the procedures to ensure crime scenes are not contaminated?

By the general public?

By the people investigating them?

What are the time limits set by the department to start an investigation?

How are suspects handled? What constitutes sufficient evidence to hold a suspect? What

are the processes of keeping an eye on a suspect who cannot be held for lack of sufficient


And what tools are at hand for use within investigations? Which departments own them? What

is the process of requesting a department ran a specific test on a piece of evidence? What is

the expected turn around time?

How is information shared between investigative units in different areas of the country and the


Let me end my questions at this point. I feel quite sure that the commissioner will be hard

pressed to answer 25% of these questions effectively. So let me offer them as starting

points for the setting up of good controls. Every organization needs protocol. People need

guidance otherwise they perform well under par; including loss of evidence. People also need

consequence. If the institution spent a week organizing preliminary responses to most of these

questions, and then embarking on training, there’d be a process to be improved on by the end

of the year. And the results would be instantaneous. Good luck and God speed on this one!