United In Death- The Common Leveler

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Gerald Otieno Kajwang’ is dead. Well, this is no longer news to any of us. The media and especially social media has satirized the issue. Others have opted to be the detectives of malice and have already read foul play in his demise. This post is however not about any of that. It is about the rarity of this strange phenomenon called death.

In my primary school days, my headteacher, Mr. Kennedy Kiio Kyeva of the then Vitale HGM would call it the leveler and the avenger of all things. Pretty much the reason why capital punishment is still a thorny issue of debate the world over! That, am afraid is also a topic for another day.

The Kenyan political scene is always abuzz. From electioneering mood to the build ups to the next electioneering mood. Insults and abuses are hurled and court orders obtained. Supporters own their ‘kingpins’ emotions and the cycle continues, all through the post elections era. This is called politics. The battle of ‘ideologies’ and selfish interests. The battle of ‘sycophants’ and ‘rationalists’. Yet at the end of the day, it is never that serious.

The last few days since the demise of the flamboyant politician popular for his mapambano chants in political podiums, have seen the political bigwigs in utter shock and disbelief. The common mwanachi similarly seem not to decipher that this very energetic and charismatic political icon is no more! It is in the same  that I would call to mind the Late Prof. George Saitoti and Hon. Orwa Ojode. Though they are long gone, the reality seems far from the mind.

Politicians have made political statements of condolences and so have technocrats; students in varsities and other professionals in their own capacities. The Late Dr. Myles Monroe who passed on in a recent plane crash may have seemed to have it all figured out.

But then, did he?

Is there ever a moment that one is fully and completely prepared for death? I hold my reservations. Even Christ himself willed for that cup to be lifted; If only by the will of God. Death is indeed the ultimate leveler. The good book says, ‘From dust you came, to dust you will return’. But only when, not if, your time comes.

As the nation prepares to put the Late Hon. Senator to rest, it is my hope that his dreams for Kenya will be realized. His numerous contributions to the legislation as well as representation of Kenyans is surely appreciated. His great sense of humor will be remembered, and especially from the defining clips in the hands of our very able media.

As I seek to pen off, it is my humble hope and desire, that the current peace and tranquility in the political sphere will remain. And that our leaders will engage each other in the spirit of dialog and compromise so as to realize the  objectives they set out to achieve while giving us Kenyans the peace of mind we require to put that hard-earned meal on our tables.

Rest in Peace Mheshimiwa. Rest in Peace Senator. Rest in Peace Hon. Gerald Otieno Kajwang’.

Ooko Victor.

Lessons From Kidero

KideroEvans Kidero is the name on the lips of almost all Kenyans on social media today.If you have nothing to say;either to ridicule or to sympathize with this big man(or is it former big man) then you are simply losing out on the trend.Most Kenyans really didn’t see this coming.Well,talk of the man who can draw a surprise slap that even women representatives find hard to dodge!His slap was fired by one Ferdinand Waititu, this guy just like Rio Ferdinand, the Manchester United defender wont give in.Just not yet.And today, he has found Kidero at his most vulnerable of moments.

Robert Greene’s first law in the book 48 laws of Power categorically states that, “Never outshine the Master”,this it seems has never crossed the mind of the former Mumias Sugar Company boss.It most likely seems that he opted to carry with him his boardroom naivety into the murky roads of political oblivion.To even think of rising above the political patronage of Raila Amolo Odinga, the irrefutable kingpin of Luo Nyanza was a great undoing for a politician of Kidero’s stature.The master rules until h opts out after which you seek their blessings or discredit his successor.Not the political coup effected in a boardroom like fashion with stakeholders who have no stake in Luo politics!

Kidero actualized the saying that ‘Do not burn bridges that you may require on your way back’.With the frosty relationships that he currently has with his sponsor party amid audible murmurs of his over ambitiousness;he will have been the key to his own downfall.Another tale of a fast rising political career that took a sudden and certain nosedive!

A year since he was elected into office and Kidero has nothing concrete to sell to the electorate that is devoid of policy jargon.The public feeds on results they can identify with.At the moment;most can attest to the inability to tame the transport industry that continues to render the city center impassable during peak hours as well as the yet to be contained spate of violence related to terrorism activities that have made Nairobi seem like one of the most insecure places in our country today!Separation of powers? Tell that to the hawker on the streets and you will understand why a smoothly operating CBD is all that matters to them and not who makes it smooth.The inverse would however see the same low income earner point fingers at anyone and everyone in a position to influence policy.Especially the governor.

I do not expect the Jubilee government to come to the aid of the embattled governor in case it comes to re-election.And if neither will the opposition then Nairobi will soon be seeing its second governor in its first term of existence.Nairobi being the capital is definitely strategic for the ruling coalition and I bet they will be all out guns blazing to capture this seat from the paws of the opposition.A scenario where the governor would be picked as the Jubilee candidate is also far fetched bearing in mind the spirited fight lodged by his rival and main challenger in the previous general elections.

Who will come to Kidero’s aid?I would not vouch for the very influential matatu industry which must currently be hoping to sign pre-naps with the prospective county boss in a bid to get a better deal.The county assembly?Who ultimately owe their allegiances to their respective coalitions?My view, Kidero is on his own.The very path he chose when he thought that a single election victory is directly proportionate to a successful political career.

Whatever happens in the next few days will be a major determinant on the future of Kidero as the governor of this prized county.If the Supreme Court reinstated him; then he will have had the luxury of a few more years to prove a shrewd and calculative politician.If it chooses to uphold the Court of Appeal verdict then the vultures will be ready to ensure the complete erasure of any traces of Kidero’s political career.

Ooko Victor

Who Wanted Makaburi Dead?

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It is now common knowledge that the outspoken controversial Muslim cleric Sheikh Abubakar Shariff alias Muhammed Makaburi is dead. Shot by what they police refer as unknown assailants on foot. Assailants who disguised themselves in plain sight and were confident enough to shoot at close range and just walk away, freely as though nothing had happened! Bold, right? Well, it happened, and now the coastal city is tense. The situation volatile with the possibility of violence erupting any moment highly imminent. The question that lingers in my mind however is ; Who Wanted Makaburi Dead?

Muhammed Makaburi was according to many people a walking bull’s eye. Ever since he appeared on national tv to openly support the Alshabaab activities within the country, he was a marked man. From Mohamed Ali of KTN to Dennis Okari of NTV, he drew all guns his way. Makaburi was the kind of person who loved controversies. He thrived in the feeling of immortality and his belief that he would one day die a Shahadaa (martyr). Such comments one can argue, played on national TV in a country desperate to prove its foothold on the insecurity menace currently a major pain in the ass was simply intolerable!
Four sets of enemies therefore are key suspects;

a) Government.
It is obvious that the government considered Makaburi an obvious threat that needed extermination. The only other problem was that a great deal of citizens were also in the know. Not doing anything would prove them incompetent. Suing him was out of question with activists like Okiya Omtata keen on making gains with every government setback. Killing him on the other hand would be utterly unacceptable and an apparent injustice in the eyes of the public.
Not unless one was an unknown assailant.

b) Aggrieved Citizens.
We all know the pain of losing a loved one. It is always painful eve if it is because of natural causes. If the reasons are caused by fellow man than it is out rightly infuriating! Men hate fellow men who play god. In the process, they too play god! That is the other possible scenario. A powerful or just vengeful individual who lost someone dear to them, hunted down like a white rhino in the Tsavo. Only that their mistake was to go shopping at the Westgate or go to Church in Likoni as did baby Osinya and his mother. Or maybe, another angry Muslim who also lost a relative and decided a tooth for a tooth and went down jihadically on Makaburi.

c) Foreign Government Operatives.
Who doesn’t know that the FBI have been milling around? Oh yes it is a bit of a relief to host them since they have ably helped sniff out explosives and thwarted probable attacks and thus saved numerous lives in the process! However, we also know what happened to Bin Laden despite the fact that he was unarmed at the time of the raid. The demise of Makaburi would be another name crossed off the list. This would in such a case imply progress. Who doesn’t love progress? I bet one of the best investigative agencies in the world does!

d) Radical Muslim Youth.
I know you’re probably shaking your head right now and thinking that this is far fetched. Well, it is okay. You have a right to your opinion, and so do I. However, going by the revelation in the feature Foul Winds as aired on NTV, it is not a completely absurd suggestion. There is the possibility that this has everything to do with the leadership wrangles surrounding Masjid Shahadaa. Whether from within or without, Makaburi’s death has definitely paved way for the rise of another key figure in the Muslim radicalization. The coveted position at the helm of Masjid Shahadaa (formerly Masjid Musa) is definitely something someone would consider worth killing for.

The investigations into the shooting of Makaburi are underway. Whether genuine or not, the death of Makaburi will no doubt be taken by many as a carbon copy of the same fate that befell his friend About Rogo. Whether or not his death would succeed in serving the objectives of either of the four parties mentioned above is a matter of perspective. As for now, all we hope for is that the relative calm observed will no doubt remain.

Rest in Peace Sheikh Abubakar Shariff.

Ooko Victor.

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Who Retires From Activism? – The Boniface Mwangi Joke!

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It is now two days since Activist Boniface Mwangi declared officially that he was retiring from political activism to concentrate on family. I waited for the last two days to have arguments such as this get into his head and make him reconsider his decision, to no avail. And here is my piece of cents for his mental digestion.
1.No one knew who Mr. Mwangi was before he started making creative noise, and now that he decides to quit, we need no press conferences to announce his departure! When Christ decided to hung his boots, he told it to his most trusted servants whom he urged to keep the spirit alive. Mwangi can as well disappear from whatever hole he came from.

2.Political Activism calls for a thick skin. It calls for sacrifice. It is not a career that someone goes to school for, graduates and retires! It is a calling that ends at death. Neither family, nor religion should serve as an excuse for deciding to quit. If our forefathers decided to quit on us, we probably would still be deep in colonialism at the moment. They put family and their own selves second to their country. Something Mwangi was unable to stomach.

3.Boniface Mwangi now strikes me as irrelevant. Plunging into the public limelight, realizing that the temperatures are several degrees higher than he could stomach, and retiring shortly after the real counter effects of activism begin catching up with him. A coward who would rather save his own skin than take a bullet for the same course he signed for at will. And just at the moment when Kenyans began taking him seriously!

4.We will rarely miss him, especially now that he claims Kenyans are not worth fighting for. That we are ignorant of our own right! Did anyone interview Mr. Mwangi for the cause, marking it as urgently needed? I sure heard of that nowhere. And his frustrations are of no concern to no one. When the disciples decided to be fishers of men, they knew too well the tribulations that came with the trade, one of them was the complete opposite of an appreciation. I bet Mwangi never expected us to celebrate him! Name our streets after him and baptize our children after the name he had cultivated! A piece of advice for the retired Activist, in this job, you just do what your interpretation of the constitution tells you is justified! And you keep going no matter who follows. More often than not, you will be alone and lonely, it is just what you signed for.

5.Great leaders are defined by crises and the direction they decide to take during such. Tough times make heroes! This is because it is the moment when the best strategy is adopted! They don’t just cow in like disgruntled teens! They sit down, think through and change tact. They improvise and tap into their creativity banks! Guess what Mwangi does when he runs out of ideas! Totally predictable!

Ooko Victor.

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Mutahi Ngunyi-An African Disgrace.

Political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi has got so much going inside his head. This is the only excuse I can afford on his behalf. Either that or he just likes attention. And won’t stop at nothing to get it. Well, wasn’t amused…I still ain’t. And just as he does, I will let the World know.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is finally at peace. His remains having been safely tucked away at the very place he had wished for. With him his person is gone. Yet with us his history will always remain. Soon after his demise, Ngunyi’s claims was that Madiba was an overrated hero created by the West.

I learnt the history of Nelson Mandela while studying African History in class 7.Back then in Vitale Boarding Primary School, History was one of the subjects you wouldn’t dare play around with. And if at all you did, then one Mr Kavuvu would sure not be amused.

From there I got the passion to learn about African History. And even better through High school later on. Before all this however, and while still a growing toddler, I had the rare privilege to watch the Movie, Sarafina. A movie that depicted the kind of life that the average South African citizens underwent. The senseless killings and mistrust amongst a people. A nation in need of liberation.

We have all lived knowing what happened in South Africa, as the entire world watched. Watched and hardly did anything. Where was the Pan Africanism back then? Kenya in fact even traded with the Boers as other nations wished otherwise! Where was the West when Mandela, a celebrated world icon today was languishing in prison cells?

I don’t think Mr Ngunyi took some time to think twice about his tweet before rushing to post it. I think he was out to get back into the limelight. How terribly he scored!
Mandela scored above all African Heads of State, when after just a single term in office, he opted to relinquish power. Our leaders stay in office too long to spoil their great reputations!

Yet he (Ngunyi) went a notch higher to hail one Robert Mugabe .A Zimbabwean hero who ruled long enough to tarnish his own name!

When Madiba opted to forgive his persecutors and work with them for the common good of South Africa, many called him a boot licker! Yet look at the economy of South Africa today! Do we rather he chased away all non blacks like Iddi Amin and Mugabe did? He chose to rise above personal grudges and hatred. All for the good of South Africa . He opted to use sports to cement his nation together.

Mandela’s quest for justice did not end with the scraping of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. On the global front, he joined the Non Aligned Movement and even served as it’s Secretary General. He spoke against the United States on both the Iraqi Invasion and the Palestinian case. In him I saw a fearless and dedicated advocate of humanity. One who wasn’t shy of telling the King of his nakedness. I do not see a hero created by the West. I see a pro humanist whose time to bid the world farewell had come.

As his soul rests in peace, I have finally let Mutahi Ngunyi know why I celebrate him. Why he remains in his own league despite the ability of other African leaders to join him up there. Only, they haven’t been so willing…

Ooko Victor.

Ookoscope, the way it is!

Behave Yourselves – A lecture for Nairobi Top Brass.

I have by all means tried to stay clear of the political arm twisting that has dazed the public limelight for the past one and a half weeks in vain. This is because being a young leader with noble ambitions for the future, I have in mind the ideal brand of leadership, that I always aspire to relate to. Non of it prescribes to the actions I have seen.

It all started with Nairobi Senator, Mike Sonko hurling insults at the Kiss FM presenter, Caroline Mutoko, LIVE on National Radio! Mark you, that is a leader who marshalled  a million-plus votes earning the trust of numerous youth in the entire Nairobi County! Mr Sonko should use a legal way of presenting his complains! The Radio Africa has a hierarchy that would be more than willing to listen to him rather than erode his dignity on public radio

Second came the slaps, born out of the incident at the Governor’s office. I will break this a bit… It was wrongful for the Women Representative to lead demonstrators to her colleagues office, without a prior attempt to resolve the matter amicably. As a leader in equal measure to the governor, Hon. Shebesh should have tried to be a part of the solution. Campaigns are way behind us and hence activism instead of resourceful dialog will always be viewed as cravings for cheap publicity. The Women Rep, in genuine concern should have called on the governor and his deputy to try speeding up the resolution of the demands laid by the striking county workers. Plain and simple! This should have been done in private and not in an act of public display of political push and pull that is characteristic of the current political scene.

The reaction by Hon. Kidero to slap his colleague is another bone of contention. A slap was a traditional way of ‘punishment’  meted in the husband by the wife in most societies. That was before the 21st century branded it an act of assault. The law believes that issues can be resolved best through fruit oriented conversations than through getting physical, an option His Exellency, the Governor of Nairobi County preferred. A gentleman, a status I believe he ascribes to currently clashes with his perceived personality by many Kenyans, myself included. My advice to him is to, never again slap a lady, and especially on the full glare of the media . That’s not all, the other bit is his temperament, and ability to work under pressure.All this has been dragged to the public limelight, and with continued pressure mounting and no solution to the workers wages demands, the issue is still a long way from over.

Lies and politics are indeed marriage partners. That’s another key lesson I learnt from the political class. Mr. Kidero looking into the cameras and denying having a recollection of an action whose footage is circulating in on Social media was a minus to his political advisor. I prefer apologizing when I can no longer run. Maybe he needs to borrow that leaf from me.

My advice to the Nairobi County leadership, it’s time to shelve your political vehicles and serve the people elected you. Those that you swore to serve. And this you can best do while United. Unity.

Phew!! I now feel much lighter, for giving my take… Am glad to be back from the long break…

Ookoscope, the way it is!

Is the Call for A Referendum Justified?

The Kenyan political scene is a circus that never ceases in its innuendos. From elections to campaigns and campaigns to fresh elections.

The experience reminds me of the 2005 event which literally split the nation into the Orange and Banana antagonistic campaign fronts . This polarization greatly contributed to the post Election violence that rocked our country following the bungled presidential elections in 2007.

In 2010, the scenario was almost similar, although less heated than it had been  previously. The country is yet again tossed into the referendum debate, the main question being whether the Executive is frustrating the devolution agenda for the County Governments.

The push initially by the governors crusade and firmly supported by the Senators and most recently the Opposition under the three CORD principles. This argument is valid as long as it seeks to put the Central government in check and especially when it appears to frustrate the efforts of the Constitutionally recognized devolution process.

The counties in my opinion ought to be supported in establishing their governance structures and ensuring that the grassroots effect that they had so much hopes in, can really project towards improving their living standards. The  counties can and should cumulatively become the economic hubs for the nation. The natural resources present in these counties can be tapped and exploited for revenue both to the county and to the citizens. I concur, as far as the intentions of the governors crusade envisions my line of thinking, or something more organized.

In concurring with this point of view, I need to express my disapproval of the CORD’s top brass approach of overhauling the Presidential system of government for a Parliamentary one. This, in other words means that Parliamentarians would be entitled with choosing the Head of State and keep in check the decisions of the Executive. Most importantly, this would strip the electorate of the power to vet their head of State and in turn give way to the manipulation of MPs to influence voting outcomes.

If I were asked, I have more confidence in the current presidency than in the parliament. Our MPs are known for the greed that is always up their sleeves and with no one keeping them in check then only the worst can be imagined of them.
CORD, in keeping the government in check should not forget that we have a President who is legally in office and the least they can do is keep up with it while strategizing for the 2017 General Elections.

We instead should have counter policies from the Opposition. Policies that are mature and highly applicable to the lives of the citizenry… ones that could depict them a worthy alternative to the Jubilee government.

The nation is keenly watching as each party pulls on a different direction. Whether in pursuit of individual interests or the national agenda remains a mirage. Either way, the bickering needs to become more creative.

Ooko Victor – Secretary General, Students Union of Egerton University.

Ookoscope, the way it is!

Greed or Credibility?

Hello fellow Kenyans… It has been long since I last posted my sentiments on the past political developments… which apparently are not leaving us anytime soon.

The last time I was here we had just lost Hon Mutula Kilonzo, the Senator for Makueni County. I won’t be dwelling so much on that issue on this blog Post. Not at all. My attention is to the living politicians. Those who are alive, eating and kicking and still not getting it right. Those taking us Kenyans for granted. Setting up commissions and disbanding them for doing their jobs right. Those who have eaten from public coffers and perfected the art to even think it as their birthright! And those fresh into elective politics and clearly yearning to fill their tummies (if at all they have tummies) with the hard earned toils of the surviving Kenyan majority.

Since the opening of the national as well as the county parliaments, these ungrateful brothers and sisters of ours have stagnated on discussions about their salaries and picking up petty fights in the name of ‘credibility’!

While floods are sweeping away Kenyans and Insecurity troubling the Western region of Kenya,and specifically Busia and Bungoma Counties, our ‘patriotic’ representatives still find time to push and pull at each others collars in the name of seeking ‘credibility’  on matters that would otherwise be solved on the basis of consensus and allow for the nation to build a stable momentum from the general elections mood.

Politics has of late found its way into the English and in some cases the Swahili dictionaries. In choosing leaders we ended up choosing dictionary reviewers and critics of everything presented before them. The victim and scapegoat for all these being innocent words whose meanings are rendered ambiguous to suit the rival coalitions.

The House business committees meant to play the oversight role to the Cabinet has got clear rules on their formation and the MPs should not take Kenyans for fools! The political coalitions of CORD & JUBILEE have held the nation at ransom for so long with their political arm twisting. It’s time we resumed our journey to Canaan which I must say is the prayer of every struggling Kenyan. Every survivor, Every sufferer, Every hustler.

My optimism in the Jubilee government remains … the doubts also slowly gaining force… Mr President is away on official duty. Over to you Mr Deputy President…

Ooko Victor-@VictorMkubwa

Ookoscope, the way it is!

Why Mr Okuta’s funeral gave Kenyans a Second Chance.

The death of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General was indeed a big blow to the Kenyan family who very well know how instrumental he has been in ensuring better working conditions to the teachers, both employed and aspiring.

The burial of this great icon also provided a fair ground for strengthening the call for Unity, Peace and Love by the former political arch rivals and presidential elections frontrunners Hon. Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta. The two statesmen embraced a show of maturity and national brotherhood at the close watch of the formerly politically charged residents of Nyando, Kisumu County, the backyard of the former Premier and presidential election frontrunner, according to the then opinion polls.

The two exchanged light moments and exhibited very good body language. They even referred to each other as brothers albeit to easen the tension that has been implied either verbally or physically by their supporters. They reiterated the need for the nation to move on and work towards the realization of national development.

These two politicians invested so much in their campaigns against each other. And even after the heated campaigns, they still had to battle it out in court! To still see them speak the same language of peace and Unity is a political sacrifice for the sake of our nation. The sign of political maturity and respect for democracy. My former Member of Parliament the Late Prof George Saitoti once said that, “There comes a time when the nation is more important than an individual…” This is that time and the supporters of Uhuru and Raila need to realize that. The character assassination and spread of hate messages on social media is uncalled for. The originators of Facebook and Twitter had noble intentions that are continually being abused to the extent of felling hate crimes and perpetuating tribalism!

The County Reps, MPs, Women Reps, Governors and Senators across the political divide continue with their lives as usual. They contested against each other and even represented rival factions. However, they have moved on! And it’s time voters did that too .

As Mr Okuta is laid to rest, Kenyans have been given another opportunity to put aside their political differences and forge ahead for their sakes and for the sake of this great nation, Kenya.

Ooko Victor

Museveni vs Mini skirts

It now official! Believe it or not ladies and gentlemen, President Museveni has spoken yet again! From picking petty fights for supremacy with his closest rival Kize Besigye(ain’t certain of the spelling) along the streets of Kampala, to a different kind of battle altogether!

This time round, the, ‘You want Another Rap’ hit maker and longest serving President of this landlocked nation is now raising tantrums against the female population in Uganda. The objective, waging a war against Mini skirts! You heard me right. The Ugandan Legislature has passed a bill banning ladies from adorning in skirts of lengths ending above the knee!

I hope Hon. Mutula Kilonzo is reading this. The last time he tried to prevail against the dressing of high school girls like ‘nuns’, he attracted attention both positive and negative depending on the interested parties. That can only happen in Kenya, where freedom means freedom.Hon Besigye is a living example of what it means to brush this former army chief the wrong way . I therefore expect this law to come into force with minimal opposition.

The question however is, does the state really need to get involved with minor issues like the dressing code to the extent of legislating its regulation? The Mini skirts in Uganda have been attributed to the increased accidents by motorists. There is the Swahili saying that goes, ‘Macho hayana pazia’ (Eyes don’t have curtains), and since the affected seem to be the male gender… the issue is bound to raise even more questions!

Sex starts from the mind. If the mentality is diverted then the motivation is cut off. The excitement contained. Was this really an issue of national scrutiny? What are the women’s say on this imminent Law? Is this a source of alarm on the state’s infringement on the right of the woman?

My take is that Uganda needs to transform with the changing society. Mini skirts are not a sign of immorality if immorality is not primary in the thinking of the ‘judge’. African morality should not be used as a tool to further male chauvinism! Men should learn to keep their assets in their pants!

Kenyan men apparently, are doing better in it. It’s time our immediate neighbours caught up with modernity. Today it is the Mini skirts, tomorrow…

May the ladies speak now or forever remain silent!

Ooko Victor.

Ookoscope, the way it is!