Saturday, 31 December 2016
The eyes of the world throughout 2016 were trained on the Republic of Kenya, a country which the United Nations (UN) rated as extremely democratic while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) classified it as one of the countries whose economy is robust and steadily growing in the world. In fact, there were myriads of beautiful stories about Nairobi throughout 2016. Kenya's place in Africa is that of the big-brother.
Back home, there 10 things to be proud of despite the grim image painted by the riotus opposition.
In his speech about Kenya, outgoing US President Barrack Obama said Kenya’s economy and overall stature has dramatically changed in past 6 years. Kenya, in another 5 years will be in the class of Singapore and South Korea.
There is so much to be proud of in Kenya. 2016 has been a good news story.
Friday, 30 December 2016
What's so special about being white while you guys are more sick and ill than the black folks?
Surely any person going to work outside their country is an expatriate? But no, the word exclusively applies to white people
Expats or migrants? Photograph: Alamy
Mawuna Remarque Koutonin
Friday 13 March 2015 10.52 GMT
Last modified on Monday 12 October 2015
In the lexicon of human migration there are still hierarchical words, created with the purpose of putting white people above everyone else. One of those remnants is the word “expat”.
Posh white blokes: holding back the struggle for a fairer world?
What is an expat? And who is an expat? According to Wikipedia, “an expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing.
Defined that way, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country. But that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.
Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.
Don’t take my word for it. The Wall Street Journal, the leading financial information magazine in the world, has a blog dedicated to the life of expats and recently they featured a story ‘Who is an expat, anyway?’. Here are the main conclusions: “Some arrivals are described as expats; others as immigrants; and some simply as migrants. It depends on social class, country of origin and economic status. It’s strange to hear some people in Hong Kong described as expats, but not others. Anyone with roots in a western country is considered an expat … Filipino domestic helpers are just guests, even if they’ve been here for decades. Mandarin-speaking mainland Chinese are rarely regarded as expats … It’s a double standard woven into official policy.”
Is there any space in the development debate for African experts?
The reality is the same in Africa and Europe. Top African professionals going to work in Europe are not considered expats. They are immigrants. Period. “I work for multinational organisations both in the private and public sectors. And being black or coloured doesn’t gain me the term “expat”. I’m a highly qualified immigrant, as they call me, to be politically correct,” says an African migrant worker.
Most white people deny that they enjoy the privileges of a racist system. And why not? But our responsibility is to point out and to deny them these privileges, directly related to an outdated supremacist ideology. If you see those “expats” in Africa, call them immigrants like everyone else. If that hurts their white superiority, they can jump in the air and stay there. The political deconstruction of this outdated worldview must continue.
Friday, 23 December 2016
This statement raises a number of issues; legal, legislative and political.
The Laws of Kenya are very clear that there will be elections in Kenya every five years.
The supreme law ( constitution ) has unequivocally declared August 8, 2017 as the day of the General Election in Kenya where the Presidency, Governors, MPs and MCAs will be elected.
By Raila declaring that this will not take place is tantamount to suspension of the constitution and the laws that govern Kenya and is itself not only illegal, unconstitutional but treasonable.
The Elections Act as it is now is a legislative product of parliamentary resolution and must be adhered to by all as it is unless amended. Defying that law will be anarchical and Kenya would be a failed State that is not governed by the rule of law.
Two, parliamentary democracy is where a bill is introduced, debated by MPs and made law by a resolution by the majority.
All laws, whether negotiated or otherwise are subject to review and amendments from time to time.
No law is crafted on stone that it can't be amended.
What is before us today is nothing but sheer political contest between two contestants; CORD and Jubilee.
Kenya too is a political country. Parliament is a political institution that makes laws to govern a political country.
CORD wants to win next year's elections. Jubilee too wants to win them back and again.
The contest and shenanigans must continue in a healthy way unhindered.
All Kenyans have braced themselves for political elections come August 8,2017.
If Raila and CORD don't want to participate in the elections, they are free to do so.
But many areas are ready to elect new leaders and return others who have performed.
CORD looks like it doesn't want any Election taking place in this country.
They have sued everyone including IEBC, Parliament and all who is attempting to prepare for elections next year.
CORD has declared mass action next January 4. It's not known whether it's that day only or it will be everyday.
Sensing defeat in the forthcoming elections, CORD would have it not done rather than participate in it and loose.
Question is: Must CORD win for the elections to be credible?
Then how would you know the winner unless a contest is done?
THERE WILL BE ELECTIONS NEXT YEAR!
Friday, 16 December 2016
When I was growing up I knew I was going to be successful. I loved school and my grades were in line with my dreams.I imagined having a family, a beautiful house, a nice car, gorgeous kids and taking family vacations, everything looked so real.I just couldn’t wait to grow up.
Last year, as the year was coming to an end, I almost lost my job and things didn’t get better after that, so I decided to quit my job and figure my life out. Everything wasn’t going according to plan. I finished school, got good grades in campus, got a job then another then another and now I was tired of looking. So I decided to start my business. It seemed like a great idea. Now all my childhood fantasies were on the way to becoming a reality. I had a few friends to back me up on the business ideas. Some gave me general advice and others went on to even give me float to start. I was enthusiastic. I was in line of becoming a successful woman and I loved everything about it.
It started like a joke, my friends were having a party, they obviously invited me but I found a flimsy excuse not to go and that was the beginning of everything else that came to pass. You know as you grow up, people become less and less attached and most people will take your word for it and move on. For example, the party, I told my friends that I wasn’t feeling well and that was that. The next text that came in,was a ‘get well soon’ text and life went on as usual. No one checked up after that to find out if I got better, everybody quickly got back to their lives and life went on. My lifestyle slowly became about me and my business. The closest I got to fellow humans was my clients and that’s it.
I stopped going to social functions mainly because it always felt crowded. Dates with potential and non potential boyfriends was a no no. I felt like I was crowding peoples space and I didn’t want to feel like everyone’s pity party. You know the time before your business picks up and you are living from hand to mouth. I hated being in that situation of constantly explaining myself and why my business hasn’t picked up in three months and what I was doing wrong.
My sister called the family for lunch at her place, despite it being a walking distance from my house, I chose to stay in the house and watch a movie. I hated the interrogations and expectations and before you know it, everyone has an opinion of how you should live your life. It was safer to stay home and create a valid excuse not to go.
My family started finding me peculiar and preferred to stay away. “She doesn’t want to spend time with family then I think we should leave her alone because she doesnt need us” my elder brother lamented. It had been four months since anyone in my family had seen me. I never made it to any family gathering not even the casual ones.
I found comfort in spending time alone. I didn’t want to intrude into anybody’s space. Everything was simpler when it was just me. I didn’t realize how I have secluded myself from everyone and how estranged I had become. I talked to myself a lot, I used to cry myself to sleep most of the nights and woke up feeling like I have been hit by a bus and my eyes were so swollen I could barely see. I tried telling a friend what was happening but she said everyone has bad moments it will soon be over. I took her word and hoped that this feeling was just a phase.
My family, friends and anyone else who knew me had given up trying to invite for this or that because it was now obvious I wouldn’t come. Some assumed that I felt superior to them to attend their events, others thought I had developed an attitude and most thought I was being childish.
I wish I had a proper explanation as to why my time alone became my comfort. I did not have a valid reason as to why I wasn’t hanging out with friends, it just felt better that way. I did not have a good answer as to why I felt too exhausted to go for family gatherings. Everyone thought I was being rude but honestly I also wanted to know why? Why do I feel this way?
I started feeling like there’s more to the story than just isolation. My body was always tired and I was always in a solemn mood. I felt sick but if you ask me what was wrong, I did not have an exact answer to that. My body was now working against me. There were days I had canceled on clients because I did not want to get out of bed. Was I sick? No, but I didn’t feel like going anywhere or doing anything. This happened three times to three different clients, I knew something was wrong but I did not know what. How do you get help when everyone seems to think you are being foolish and selfish? Do you go to the doctor and tell them am suffering from isolation and I am selfish.
My alarm clock went off and I didn’t bother switching it off. It went on and on until it stopped on its own. I didn’t move. I stayed still in bed. The sun rose, the light peered through the curtain, there was noise outside, people were now awake.I went back to sleep and woke up at around lunch time. I felt my stomach grumble but I didn’t do anything about it. I still stayed in bed. I fell asleep again and woke up in the evening. The kitchen seemed so far and I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed, so I went to sleep again. 24hours passed and I hadn’t left my bed. I was hungry, I knew I was hungry but I couldn’t get myself to go and make something to eat so I just stayed. At around 1am I felt the urge to go to the bathroom. Something told me the bathroom was too far and I was too pressed so I peed right at the side of my bed and got back into bed. Morning came, the sun rose and still I didn’t do anything but stare at the ceiling and stayed still. By the afternoon, I could smell some odour of someone who hadn’t showered, and the pee beside my bed but that didn’t ignite any emotion to move. I ignored the smell and pulled my blanket and slept. By now my stomach is beginning to realize that its not receiving any food, I felt the hunger pangs for some hours then they finally stopped.
I was tired, hungry, smelly and almost out of strength but this was my comfort zone. Two days passed, no phone call, no text, everyone was used to my silence and had given up on trying to have conversations by this time. I didn’t expect anyone to call me, and the silence was music to my ears.
My hungerpangs came back and my strength diminished little by little. I had no reason to wake up and face the day and that was the day I knew what my mind wanted. I wanted to die. I had given up eating, I peed right next to my bed until there wasn’t much to pee anymore, I wasn’t drinking anything, I hadn’t showered in 5 days and my body stunk like a dead rat. My lips had cracked, I could barely see clearly anymore, I could hear noises from afar, my body was frail, my back was aching and legs could hardly move.
As I was closing my eyes not sure if my death had finally come or my sleep was still holding on, I had the door open. “Who could that be?” The next thing I know is I heard a loud scream and before I knew it, my eyes finally gave in.
I woke up and found my mum scrubbing my back with my flannel sheet as she bathed the rest of my body. She noticed I was awake but she didn’t say anything. She finished bathing me like a one year old and carried me to the bedroom. She wiped me and put some clothes on me then left and came back with some porridge.
She didn’t ask me anything but she started talking. She told me stories of the countryside and how my uncle has married a 17 year old girl. She went on about church politics and chama differences and all I did was listen. It wasn’t a forced conversation, her stories were interesting, I knew her characters in each story, I had questions but I could barely utter a word. She finished the porridge and fed me some mashed potatoes mixed with spinach and some beef soup. I didn’t have energy to chew so all I did was swallow.
Mum was at my place for almost a month. She didn’t tell anyone anything. She bathed me, fed me, talked to me until one day when I gathered my strength and whispered a thank you and she melted and went on her knees and cried. She cried like a young girl whose doll was stolen, she cried then rose up and hugged me like her life depended on it.
The next month, my strength was back. I was doing everything on my own again. My mum never left but she helped get things done. I was now talking and even laughing. She had a lot of stories and theories about relationships and life. I listened most of the time and shared my opinion every once in a while.
She knew what had happened, she felt sad and ashamed to talk about it but she knew she saved me and she was glad she did.
Months later, mum received a phone call from an aunt. My cousin called Brenda was found dead in her house. My mum hang up and wiped her tears before she told me the news. We knew what had happened. We knew how it would have happened. However, no one said anything to the other and we just moved on.
Days later, my mother and I left to go to the funeral meeting. Most people were still in shock. Everybody seemed perplexed that Brenda would do such a thing.Her friends were in shock most of them hadn’t talked to her in a long while. Some say she never showed up to their club meeting. Others mentioned that she stopped answering their WhatsApp and others said she stopped going to church. They looked sad and you could see some wished they knew, they would have prevented this from happening. As for the older generations, most didn’t understand why a young lady with no grown up responsibilities like children or a husband would amount to killing herself. They all something to say…
Person A: “some kids are so selfish, does she know the pain and ridicule she has left her parents with?”
Person B:” Now why would someone take her own life, isn’t that being stupid”
Person C: ” And the way she was a beautiful girl, now what would she have lacked to make her do this”
Person D:”Maybe its because of a man, girls have become very stupid nowadays!”
I listened to all the negativity going on around the room as people spewed insensitive comments as to why they think commuting suicide is selfish and that Brenda was very stupid. That was me a few months ago. I was there. Giving up on life but my mum saved me just in time.
Depression is a mental illness. Being mentally ill doesn’t mean you only speak funny incoherent words, or go outside the house naked or walking around throwing stones and cursing people. In Kenya, its very hard to discuss depression or mental illness amongst each other. Most people expect cure from depression to happen overnight. My mum understood what happened, she did what she had to do to get me back first, then we can talk about what happened when am ready.
When your friend stops hanging out, visiting, showing up, picking up calls, secluding themselves from people, go an extra mile and just check up on them instead. Maybe they just need to find a reason to fight again. Show them the reason to fight again. Help a friend with depression. Hold their hand until they can walk on their own but never stop caring it can come back and it is amongst us.
By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN DEC. 15, 2016
Intense traffic, a strong multicultural vibe, big global businesses — and yet you can still feed giraffes and elephants within the city limits.
From giraffe kisses to country music, spend some time with the delights of Kenya’s capital.
Video by Sam Wolson for The New York Times. Technology by Samsung. on
December 15, 2016
Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, calls itself the City in the Sun, and a visit can be as pleasant as that sounds. Most outsiders drop in for two reasons: business and animals. A short flight from spectacular wildlife parks such as the Maasai Mara, Nairobi has also become a magnet for some of the world’s biggest corporations trying to gain a foothold in Africa. The city is surprisingly beautiful with flowering trees and the perfect climate: 70s and 80s, sunny, low humidity — almost every day. It’s a palpably multicultural place, encapsulating what is happening in Africa better than any other city on the continent. Picture new construction, a lot of people, intense traffic, and more and more Western businesses. Yet you can still feed giraffes and baby elephants from within the city limits and see Maasai warriors ordering lattes in red-checkered blankets.
36 Hours in Nairobi, Kenya
Explore street view, find things to do in Nairobi and sign in to your Google account to save your map.
1. CURIO MADNESS, 4 P.M.
Plunge in. Haggle hard. And console yourself that if you do get ripped off — which is almost inevitable — the people on the other side of that 500 shilling note probably need it more than you. Friday is Maasai Market day at the Village Market Mall in northern Nairobi, and this is the best place to load up on East African souvenirs, from toy airplanes made of bottle caps to Obama Africa T-shirts and kanga cloth. The vendors are pushy but friendly and not averse to talking about life as you bargain. Few things have a marked price. That’s the fun.
2. INTO AFRICA, 6 P.M.
Indians arrived more than a century ago to help build the railway across East Africa known as the Lunatic Express. (Some of the original workmen were eaten by lions). Thankfully, the Indian community flourished, and there is no better way to get a taste of it than at the Diamond Plaza food court in Nairobi’s Indian quarter. Diamond Plaza is an old mall where everything is two-thirds scale: The streets are two-thirds as wide, the buildings two-thirds tall; it has the feel of a toy town. The food is served from a dozen booths arranged around outdoor tables. A favorite is Anil’s chicken tikka on the bone with gooey naan bread slathered in butter, costing together 600 Kenyan shillings (about $6). Wash this down with fresh ginger sugar cane juice for 150 shillings. Don’t miss Chowpaty’s vegetarian chana masala (675 shillings).
3. AFRICAN COUNTRY MUSIC, 8 P.M.
Kenyans adore country music. You hear it on the radio all the time. The leader is a man whose name joins these two seemingly incongruous cultures: Elvis Otieno (Sir Elvis, as he is known, whose parents named him after The King). You can catch Sir Elvis at the Gallileo Lounge in the Westlands neighborhood, among other venues. Close your eyes and let his purring baritone sink in, and you might think Don Williams had wandered into Kenya. Find out where Sir Elvis is playing in UP Nairobi Magazine, Kenya’s equivalent of Time Out.
Visitors ride a ferris wheel at the Mamba crocodile farm. Credit
Sam Wolson for The New York Times
4. GET MOVING, 7:30 A.M.
Wildlife safaris are wonderful, but they tend to be sedentary, full of long drives and big meals. About an hour and a half outside Nairobi lies Mount Longonot National Park, a beautiful emerald green dormant volcano. It’s a rigorous hourlong hike to the top, where you can scan the Great Rift Valley, cradle of mankind. You’ll see buffaloes, zebras and, maybe, baboons. You can hike around the crater rim, which takes about four hours. You don’t need a guide but if you would like to hire one, several are at the park gates. Admission 2,700 shillings.
5. ANOTHER SLICE OF QUIET, 10 A.M.
Feeling less ambitious but still eager to stretch your legs? Karura Forest, in the middle of the city, offers more than 2,500 acres of trails, bicycles to rent and a little history. Mau Mau rebels who fought for Kenya’s independence in the 1950s hid out here, and you can peek into their caves. You can also take in waterfalls, butterfly-filled meadows and many species of tall trees. Listen for the eerie bark of the Sykes monkeys; you might see a gang of them swinging through the trees, a blur in the leaves. Admission 600 shillings.
Lunch at Brown’s Cheese. Credit
Sam Wolson for The New York Times 6. A VERY PLEASANT LUNCH, 12:30 P.M.
In Tigoni, a beautiful high-altitude tea-growing area, the hillsides are carpeted with verdant tea fields picked to a uniform height — a giant green couch begging for someone to stretch out. Here you will find Brown’s Cheese, an all-natural cheese company run by two Cornell grads who make award-winning cheeses and awesome ice cream, especially the salted caramel, which, if slightly melted, is addictive. From Thursdays to Saturdays, Brown’s puts on a cheese-tasting lunch. For 4,000 shillings, sit in their garden and indulge in fresh cheeses, organic salads, the ice cream and wine. You can also tour the cheese factory and milk cows. All lunches by appointment.
7. CROCODILES!, 4 P.M.
Your children are probably wondering when it’s their turn to pick something. Just tell them “hakuna matata” — no problem in Swahili. And take them to Mamba crocodile farm. Here you can watch crocodiles slither into ponds and crunch on lamb femurs. There is also an amusement park ideal for young children with a small lake shaped like Africa, paddle boats, a Ferris wheel and other spinning rides powered not by electricity but by men pushing them. It’s relatively safe, and the people couldn’t be friendlier. Admission 1,000 shillings for adults, 500 shillings for children.
8. NAIROBI LUXE, 6:30 P.M.
The Sarova Stanley Hotel in bustling downtown Nairobi opened in 1902 as a luxury hotel. Upstairs is the Exchange Bar, rumored to be the site of Nairobi’s first stock exchange during colonial times, decked out with leather couches and dark wood. Unique fans are bolted into the ceiling; they don’t rotate but beckon back and forth like giant hands. This is a nice place to enjoy Kenya’s cocktail, the dawa (medicine in Swahili), a refreshing mix of vodka, lime, ice and honey. Beware, they go down quick!
Country music night at Gallileo Lounge. Credit
Sam Wolson for The New York Times 9. SUSHI IN AFRICA, 8 P.M.
Kenya is an increasingly multiethnic place where Asian food plays a big role. Furusato is a local favorite. It’s a boisterous, crowded place where you’ll see all types — safari goers, aid workers, out-of-town businessmen and Kenyans with their families. The menu is Japanese and Korean and a meal can be built around the Dynamite Roll (shrimp and chile inside) for 1,300 shillings and an order of salmon ngiri (600).
10. DANCE, DANCE, DANCE, 11 P.M.
The most famous — or infamous — of Nairobi’s party spots is Black Diamond. The club is crawling with young people in tight clothes, and the smells of perfume, deodorant, sweat and beer hang in the air. The speakers thump out reggae rap and the latest Afropop. Note: Nairobi has been trying hard to distance itself from its reputation as crime-ridden and dangerous; it never liked the nickname Nairobbery. But at night, exercise caution. You can use Uber, but after dark don’t visit an A.T.M. or stroll around.
The view from the top of the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC) building in Nairobi. Credit
Sam Wolson for The New York Times
11. KISS A GIRAFFE, 9 A.M.
Where else can you do this? At Nairobi’s Giraffe Center, you can feed Rothschild’s giraffes food pellets from your palm, and stick a pellet between your lips and get the wettest, stickiest kiss you’ve received since seventh grade. Of course, you do this for the greater good. The Giraffe Center uses proceeds to help breed and resettle endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. Fun facts: Giraffes sleep a maximum of two hours each day, and their coats are just like snowflakes, no two have the same pattern.
12. ADOPT AN ELEPHANT, 11 A.M.
China’s insatiable demand for ivory has driven up the price of elephant tusks to $500 a pound. African poachers are now colluding with Asian gangsters, and in recent years more than 100,000 of some of the most intelligent life-forms on earth have been slaughtered to make combs, bookmarks and other ivory trinkets popular in Beijing. At the David Sheldrick elephant orphanage, from 11 a.m. to noon daily you can feed and pet orphaned elephants, many whose mothers were felled by bullets. If that isn’t enough, “adopt” one — you can come off-hours and watch the elephant keepers tuck them in and put them to bed.
13. FEAST, 12:30 P.M.
The Talisman restaurant in Karen, the neighborhood of Nairobi where Karen Blixen once lived, is a meeting ground for Kenya’s who’s who. Both sprawling and cozy — with shaded outdoor tables, a playground and nooks next to the fireplace for cooler days — it offers excellent food. Go heavy on the feta and coriander samosas for 750 shillings. Fish and chips is another favorite
Sarova Stanley Hotel has been a Nairobi classic for over a hundred years. It is centrally located with those unforgettable ceiling fans. Double rooms from $225.
The Fairview is near the center of town, offering spacious gardens. From $205.
The Tribe Hotel is a good alternative if you are in the Gigiri neighborhood, about 30 minutes from the city center, which is home to East Africa’s United Nations headquarters and several Western embassies. From $190.
Thursday, 15 December 2016
By ANGIRA ZADOCK; WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 14 2016
Deputy Inspector General Joel Kitili at a past event. He has said police officers and station commanders are corrupt. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP
- Mr Kitili also said there were unnecessary roadblocks across the country.
- He also urged the county commanders to deal with complaints from members of public.
Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the Kenya Police Service Joel Kitili has said the traffic department and the station commanders are the most corrupt.
He recommended that some corruption cases involving officers be dealt with at the station level under police regulations.
He said the Service Standing Orders (SSO) had a section on "offences against discipline" that could deal with corruption cases.
Mr Kitili was speaking during the second Inspector General Conference at the Safari Park on Wednesday.
He said corruption cases involving police officers were taking too long to be concluded, hindering the fight against the vice.
Mr Kitili also said there were unnecessary roadblocks across the country.
"Most of them serve no purpose and we have communicated this officially," he said.
He also urged the county commanders to deal with complaints from members of public.
"At the police headquarters we are receiving so many complaints. Please deal with them at the local level," he said.
Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said police officers should shake off the corrupt tag to enhance their good relationship with the community.
He also accused the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) of intimidating police officers.
"As a ministry, we are not going to allow our police officers work under intimidation of IPOA. This message must come out clearly to these institutions," he said.