Category Archives: Commentary

One Year in a Hell Hole

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After spending a year in a place where everyone’s identity was in a crisis, I finally knew that I was in the right place. My previous school had seen me go through different experiences that I can only but liken to what used to happen in Sodom and Gomorrah during Abrahamic days. Those activities that saw God literally make it rain fire and brimstone to the people of the city and changed Lot’s wife into a salt stone for looking back.

Oh how ladies never learn. Even after somebody being turned into a salt stone for looking into history by God Himself, you still get a lady today looking into the history of his man and judging him based on that. May God rain brimstone on you. 🙂 Chapter closed.

gayyyBack to this hell hole that made me discover that actually men can still admire fellow men in a sexual way. Wait a minute, but how that is even possible, please don’t ask me. You could not tell John from Jane at this place during the day because everyone was busy manning up and trying to acquire knowledge. But with every strike of darkness, it seemed like hell was let loose and men had had to allocate themselves roles in the sexual world with some accepting the roles of women to be shagged night long.

A pathetic place to send your son to acquire knowledge if you asked me. But we still do. How many of such places exist in Kenya is a question I might only ask on this blog in this post. No one would want to imagine that probably, that prestigious school your son is in as all the characteristics of Sodom that even an angel cannot survive a day. I will not dare talk about girls schools because that’s a different case all together whose stakes are even higher with candles, test tubes and bansen burners in play. A riskier place if you asked me.

How I landed in this hell hole still beats me. I had all the manly characters  – head to toe  – that anyone can imagine. Hell, I’m not sure if I was still a virgin, thanks to my being a man because apparently somebody decided that no man is a virgin. But I was here and I was expected to behave. To fit in. To take up a role and act it to the end of the nights, which in fact seemed to last an eternity.

A little background check and I discovered that I was coming from this Christina family from where everything is done according to the Book. This was different, rules of the book were being bend right before my eyes and in the presence of the angel from Sodom and Gomorrah who seemed to lark in the darkness that engulfed the hostels at night.

My understanding of monolization changed immediately. It was like my brothers and sisters had not understood the term well during their days and had thus transferred the wrong knowledge of what monolization really is to me. I had to reboot my systems and now understand that monolization does not only include brushing a finalist’s shoes and spreading their beds but also bending while at it naked and warming their beds with a shaft in you. No, this was not going to happen. Not to me.

Garang had just been assassinated but we had our own Garang. A man of stature and principles. He was the second in command and the disciplinarian. Take to him any problem and consider it solved. But by the look on his eyes, this was a different kind of demon altogether. He hadn’t seen anything of this sort in his miserable years of handing teenagers. Even his pay cheque could not handle the bowlful of problem I was taking to him that Monday morning, a month after my joining his hell hole.

You guessed that right. He didn’t believe it. I was being hysterical. I was just looking for an excuse to go back home. I was just like thousands of other new comers he had seen since his career started who use outrageous excuses to drop out of anything good that requires their hard work.  I was looking for an excuse to disappoint my parents who had done so much to get me there. One of the best that there was to offer to a looser like me. He was right about one thing, I was looking for all reasons available to escape from that hell hole. I couldn’t allow my butt to be drilled. Not even by God himself.

At this point I am better than some ladies I bet. Those who are neither virgins in their front door nor their back doors. Both pass. But I won’t say that. This was soo 2005 and we are in 2015. Things have changed, no?

Just as Garang’s plane was taken down in the assassination without a warning, our Garang’s sense of self assurance was unceremoniously brought down when other fresh members of the hell hole came forward and declared that they would rather quit than get drilled.

No one was going to know what happened here. I bet no one, except those affected actually knew what was happening. It was bad for business. It was bad for the image of those concerned. It was bad for the school and hence the best way to hand it was ‘in-house.’ It was to be dealt with ‘with finality‘. I’m not sure how final the finality was.

For me it was final. I was not going back. I was going somewhere else. I was going to a place where men are made out of boys. I was not going to spend another year into this hell hole that made women out of men. No. I was not being homophobic, but I was just making a decision. I was sure of what I wanted to become in life. I was created to be a man and not somebody’s woman. That’s a decision everyone has to take. Every man.

When I look back I can’t help but wonder what became of those we left there.

Where’s the Dignity in Higher Education?

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In the 90’s University Students were the creme of the society.  They were regarded as the most respectable and most learned members of the community. Securing a position in the highest institutions of learning on the land was the height of achievement. Everybody would struggle with no success. The community would carry out a fund raiser to support whoever qualified to join a University. The Government would dish out what was commonly referred to as ‘boom’ to anybody who qualified to join a University. These individuals would do everything to behave their status; to display their prowess in the education sector.

where's the dignitySave for village fund raisers and boom, everything has changed. It doesn’t matter whether you passed or failed in your KCSE. With Universities turning into money-making institutions, your grades are secondary requirements for joining a University of your choice. It doesn’t matter whether you are the creme of the society or not. What matters is the size of your parent or guardian’s pocket. What matters is your relationship with a certain administrator or manager at a University. What matters today is the position your parent holds in the country.

As a result, College students have continually lost their respect in the society. It’s no longer prestigious to join campus. In fact, you have no guarantee that you will get employed after your studies. Not unless it’s in your parents’ company. University students have continually proved to the nation and everybody else that campus is just another place to pass time. Ignorance has taken over the mediocre mind of university students. With every Tom, Dick and Harry joining institutions of higher learning irrespective of their KCSE Grades, Universities have been turned into institutions of mediocrity.

Overcrowding is a common sight in Universities leaving the mentally malnourished students with no choice but struggle for the few facilities available. In fact, some colleges upgrade faster into universities before preparing themselves infrastructure-wise to handle the responsibilities that come with the upgrading. As a result, half-baked graduates are produced with some being denied accreditation by the various professional bodies – which are headed by the old guard who went to school when school was school.

With the mentality that they will find a job and the lack of enough exploratory space, the students have no room for innovations. In fact, those who try to innovate are either met by bureaucratic university management consequences or ridiculed by their colleagues who are in fact supposed to be supporting them. The students are left with nothing but a sleep-lecture hall-library-eat-sleep-exam-go home cycle.

Consequently, a would-be footballer ends up in an office dealing with insurance. His boss is complaining of his incompetence. A would-be professional actor ends up in a hospital dealing with the sick. Many people are dying in his hands. A would-be driver ends up in a class room somewhere as a teacher. Students are finding it hard to understand any concept he tries to explain to them. A would be professional boxer ends up in an Engineering firm. Breakages are doubling up.

University education loses meaning in the society. No body wants to point at a graduate as an example to the children because there’s no difference between that graduate in the village who went to campus via the famous back-door and came back a drunkerd. Children would rather look up to that footballer who is playing at the world cup but never went to campus than aspire to be like so and so’s son who went to campus but has lost three jobs in 6 months.

With the rate at which colleges and training institutes are being given charters, things will grow from what they are now to something worse. The dignity campus students possessed will be wiped out completely. Only time will tell…

The Social Media Menace

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I created my first account online back in 2009. Could be recent or ancient – depending on when you were born or got exposed to the internet. It was a Facebook account with four friends – my family members who were on Facebook. Since then, I’ve moved on to create many others – even forgetting some. From Twitter through LinkedIn to this blog. Currently, I have over 10 accounts online.

Back in 2009, I knew nothing to do with Social Media, but today I literally feed on Social Media. Over time, I’ve learnt that there’s a lot that can happen with the click of a button. With one tweet, you can either lose or get a job. At the click of a button to update a Facebook status, you can be sued for incitement or be used as a witness in a PEV case.  Social Media has become a force to reckon with in Kenya.

Social MediaShow me a company or Corporate Entity without a twitter handle and I’ll show you one that is on the verge of collapse.  Were it not for its power, the president could not have deleted a photo he posted officiating the swearing-in of the new NYS boss! If the social media was powerless, the Namibian and Botswana governments could not have ‘apologized’ for their statements on Kenya! I can go on and on and on to show how powerful Social Media is in the Kenyan context.

However, there are some instances when the Kenyan Social Media players – well, are they? – have exhibited their sense of reckless use of power. Synonymous with the African leaders who abuse power at the slightest opportunity – and this is not a clichĂ© – Kenyan Social Media users have abused the power they have over cheap Internet enabled phones and hustled internet bundles to start twitter wars alias ‘tweefs’, fuel hatred , promote tribalism and incite each other.

The Saturday Nation of 21st June 2014 carried an incisive opinion article by one Peter Mwaura on the topic of ‘whether or not images of death should get published in the dailies.’ In his opening paragraph, Mr Mwaura quips”would you like a picture of your  death published on the front  page of the Nation for all to see?” Most likely, everybody will answer this with an emphatic ‘No!’ However, the same person will be the first to share photos of Mpeketoni victims on his Facebook profile. It beats logic.

Social Media Etiquette is one thing that Kenyans are missing out on. In the wake of Mpeketoni attacks, many Kenyans online could not help but air their view on the attacks.  As usual, many became analysts analyzing the situation and giving their view on ‘who might be behind the attack’. In the end, bloody photos of the victims were doing rounds online with ‘my people’ tags. The cosmetic analysts online were flaring with opinions, suggestions and insinuations.

I posted a Facebook Update that many might not decipher its meaning unless they are reading this article.

In a prayer against satan, I’d expect one to mention God more than satan.  Mentioning satan more than God means you are more concerned with what satan can do than what God is capable of doing. In the end, satan feels more important.  In a prayer of 3 minutes, how many minutes do you use to condemn satan? Who is important? How many minutes do you spend on what is important? #Tafakari”

In that status, I was alluding to those preaching against hate speech and tribalism – while lasing their words with the same undertones. In short, what I meant is that you do not attain peace by constantly talking about war.

Social Media is a necessary evil in the Kenyan context. Just like my primary head teacher used to tell use on every assembly day that everybody is mad, but the degree of madness differ, Social Media users are equally mad but differ in their degree of madness as portrayed daily in their tweets, Facebook updates, flicker updates, Whatssap Messages, Queeps and Instagram pictures.

However, for Kenya to progress, responsible use of social media should be adhered to by all social media users. Before you tweet, think of the impact of your tweet to your followers. You do not need to tell me to kill somebody for that to qualify as incitement…all you need to do is try to portray me or insinuate that I am either ‘being targeted’ or ‘inferior’.

Of Moses Wetangula and the Luhya Unity

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Hon Wetangula (second right) and Hon Chris Wamalwa (Second left) pose for a photo with student leaders at Bontana hotel, Nakuru

Hon Wetangula (second right) and Hon Chris Wamalwa (Partly hidden) pose for a photo with student leaders at Bontana hotel, Nakuru

Bungoma Senator detached himself this week from the CORD caravan to try and lay a foundation for his political future in Kenya. With 2017 looming and a rather disorganized CORD, Mr Wetangula, a co-principle in the coalition has to apparently restructure and strategize for 2017. And what a better group to start with other than Student leaders from the Expansive Luhya community? Bontana hotel in Nakuru paid homage to the meeting that was aimed at restoring the ever-elusive Luhya unity.

Luhya unity has become synonymous with the Kenyan Unity. Always elusive, thanks to personal interests. Allow me explain.

When Kenya gained independence, there were the likes of Mzee Kenyatta, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Masinde Muliro, Ronald Ngala among others. At the time, power was not a big deal until moments after those in power had enjoyed the privileges and fruits that come with power. Rifts were eminent culminating in the firing of Hon. Oginga from the Vice Presidency by the then President Jomo. A seed of hatred was sown and up until today, however much Kenyans will pretend to be united, there’s a dark cloud lurking in the shadows waiting to manifest especially in electioneering period.

Masinde Muliro was the point man in the Luhya community during Mzee Kenyatta’s tenure. His departure from the political scene left Mudavadi Snr.  in the control seat. It was not long before the likes of Kijana Wamalwa, Moody Awori, Amkoa Anangwe and Martin Shikuku emerged within the Luhya nation to claim their stake.

Luhya community has 16 sub-tribes. Almost each of these sub-tribe has a point man with a selfish ambition to attain. As a result, the luhya unity has remained a pipe dream. Witch hunting and backbiting has divided the luhya community even more. From Ababu Nambwamba in Busia, Moses Wetangula in Bungoma, Wyclife Oparanya in Butere, Bonny Khalwale in Kakamega, Jirongo in Kitale, Marende in Emuhaya to Mudavadi in Vihiga, the  Luhya unity is as evasive as the possibility of these leaders sharing a table.

That Hon. Wetangula is meeting student leaders in the absence of other Luhya leaders to strategize for 2017 and ensure the Luhya unity is another stint and self gratification and selfishness.

Luhya unity can only be attained thruogh meaningful roundtable talks between the political ‘stake-holders’ within the expansive Luhya region. Until that time when each of them will drop their ego and open up to  oneness, Luhya unity will remain a pipe dream. The operation 5,000,000 that Hon. Wetangula mentioned will remain just another political rhetoric until an agreement – and a sincere one at that – is reached.

Luhya unity is not a one-man show. It needs more than political good will and personal shenanigans. It’s a process that can be achieved if every Luhya, from those in leadership to those in the grassroots decide so.