Re-Adjusting African Constitution

In African countries, and to be a little bit more specific, Kenya. ladies will put on  waist-size skirts and dresses, commonly referred to as mini-skirt, or micro-mini, depending on how much flesh you can see, and spend the whole day adjusting them leaving you to wonder why they put them on in the first place.

Now before i face protests dubbed ‘my dress my choice’ over my remarks on that piece of cloth which, unlike the mps salaries, keep getting smaller and smaller with every release of African Club hit songs. let me make it clear that this post has nothing against the adjustable mini-skirts and mini dresses, or even the weave which keeps growing bigger and have to be regularly re-adjusted back to it’s size.

This post is more on other adjustable and re-adjustable issues like adjusting the constitution to favor the current situation, or persons. When, a few weeks ago, we heard that mps allied to a certain political divide wanted to re-adjust the constitution. most of us didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or do both at the same time. considering that we didn’t even know what the targeted constitution clauses said in the first place until we heard that they were to be re-adjusted in parliament.

Perhaps I also need to add that it’s not only Kenya, but the spirit of east Africa seems to have caught up with our adjusting spirit and all of a sudden our neighboring countries are also adjusting clauses in their respective constitutions, Including Uganda where Mini-Skirt adjustment cannot take place since the piece of cloth was banned a few years ago, A step that was so much discussed and anallized by experts in Kenyan television shows more than the Ugandan ones with little consideration to the fact that it happened in Uganda and not Kenya.


Back to the constitution, our leaders seem to have just woken up from a sleep and formed ‘Dream Teams’ to spearhead the adjustment of constitutional gaps that they didn’t know existed until a few weeks ago.

In Uganda, it is alleged that the opposing sides literally fought, over constitutional adjustment to scrap the Presidency age-limit. a move that was seen to favor the current head of state who is among the longest serving head of states in our seemingly democratic-Africa.


While their Kenyan counterparts suddenly have realized that Court Petitions can actually nullify a Presidential Election, a move that they is seen to suffocate the ‘will of the people’ hence the adjustments so that we don’t come to another situation where ‘the majority rules against the minority in a court of law’, I’m tempted at this point to define the word ‘Democracy’ but am not gonna do that, not for now.

Everyone in Kenya, and African so to speak, have suddenly read their respective constitutions and either taken to the streets to protest, or taken it to parliament for re-adjustment and physical confrontation (if need be) then either headed to a television talk show to annalyze the situation or to a favorite joint to drink it all away and we wait for the ‘outcome’.



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Understanding DP william Ruto’s mind

The deputy president William Ruto has never understood why the opposition leader keeps complaining about everything including electoral commission bosses, In fact the DP has never understood what the complains are. a few days ago in Busia, Our hard working Vice President wanted to know why at every election the opposition leader kept complaining of his victory being stolen.


‘Umeshindana na Kibaki amekushinda, ukaenda kufukuzana na mwingine anaitwa Kivuitu. mtu mdogo’ the Deputy President said in clear reference to 2007 election, with Ababu Namwamba seated behind him, also as confused over the Opposition complains as the good Dp.

Unlike you, my dear reader, I’m not going to question my deputy President and ask which political side he was on in 2007, or if he ever held a press conference in 2007 to complain about the said Electoral Commission too, coincidentaly with the same Ababu Namwamba still seated behind him.

I can never bring my self to question our beloved Deputy President, a self-proclaimed proud hustler who has worked hard to build stadiums in all the major counties and can not entertain petty issues from the opposition leader like complaining about elections rigging when he has more immediate national issues to deal with like cholera outbreak and so on.

as a matter of fact, the supreme court should have considered several other pending issues before nullifying Uhuru and Ruto win. one of the issues is connecting electricity in homesteads in Kenya’s rural areas, Building kilometers of roads all round the country. In fact, the chief justice nullification delayed the provision of free maternity to women all over the country. The chief justice didn’t have it in mind the the deputy president had allocated funds for different projects that had not been implemented in Jubilee’s first term in office because, as we all know and understand, we still had the ICC cases to deal with.

On matters of the Supreme court, once again I’m not going to behave like the ever-complaining Kenyan opposition and ask if it was the deputy president William Ruto who urged the opposition to seek justice at the court, I’m not even asking if our Hustler ever praised the Opposition leader Raila Odinga for “Kuwa mngwana na kupeleka malalamishi pahali ambapo inaeza shugulikiwa kwa njia ya kisheria (Being a gentleman and taking grievances to a place it can be dealt with in accordance with the law)”. And still am not going to say that our DP even urged the opposition to accept the verdict of the court.

In fact, Our beloved Dp, and “Wakenya wenzangu (fellow Kenyans)” at large, were even shocked that we had a supreme court with three, four people that could ‘overturn the will of the people’, we didn’t even know we had a supreme court in the first place. when all we have ever known is that  “It is the Kenyan people that are supreme” . so why did we urge the Opposition to seek justice at the supreme court and told everyone to accept the outcome? both the DP and myself don’t know that assumingly.


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(Mis) Understanding Politics and Politicians


I actually didn’t know how to start out this piece, not because of the fact that almost every blogger has written much about it that some might want to ask what more there is to write, but because i felt it wise, or good to give a rather clear view to that Kenyan who didn’t have the time to read ‘between the political lines’ in this matter. so after a few ‘type and backspace’, I’ve just decided to be plain, or simple about it, to take things Easy. Though I know with politics, more so Kenyan Politics, ‘taking things easy’ might be considered a very misplaced sentence.

Okay, We can say that around here, those who agree with you politically do everything to protect your evils, your weaknesses and anything or everything negatively associated with you while publicizing your positive side. the bottom line is they want to show as much as possible what a good person you are or have been for the period they have known you as their politically correct friend. Unfortunately the opposite applies when they are in contrary to your beliefs. Of which they’ll do all they can to expose your negative image.

A while ago rumor had it that the Mombasa Governor, who happens to be the deputy party leader of one of the major opposition parties in Kenya, had turned down an alleged request from the ruling party to join them, something that may have not been received well by the leader of the ruling party as was explained by the source of that rumor. but, just like any other rumor you may hear or have heard, it has never been confirmed nor denied by anyone.


One might argue that The Governor’s control of Coastal region may have sent shivers, tremors, Adrenalin and any other thing that can be sent, down the throats, or veins, of the ruling party heavyweights and they may have burnt midnight oil trying to come up, or down, with ways to end the opposition grip, and to an extension the Governor’s grip, of the coastal region.

Rallies and project launches have taken place at Continue reading

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Lessons From The Blue Sweater

I will start this post by Quoting Jacqueline Novogratz’s paragraph on the last chapter of ‘The Blue sweater’ Novel. which says,

‘Traditional Charity alone can’t solve the problems of poverty, what is needed is a philosophy based on human dignity. We can end poverty if we start by looking at human beings as part of a single global community that recognizes that everyone deserves a chance to build a life worth living’.

This Blog is meant to outline what I have learnt from reading Jacqueline’s The Blue Sweater Novel, what I now strongly believe that those who bring aid to Africa should put to consideration, by outlining examples from the novel on how Jacqueline came to understand the depth of poverty in Africa and new methods to approach it.

She writes that the answers to poverty lies in the space between Market and Charity.

Sometimes aid, is much more helpful when it comes in a way of supporting profit making initiatives that look to uplift the lives of the poor families that live in informal settlements and marginalized areas.

‘Today’s world needs more than humanitarians, we need individuals who know how to listen and who have real and tangible skills to share. There’s a reason to believe that people everywhere can lift themselves up, but they have to be given the tools to do so.

When Jacqueline met Eliarehemu, a man who lived in a tiny village known as Usa River, In Tanzania, He was a man pron to Malaria attack. which affected his work in the nearby fields where he earned $6 a month.

Eliarehemu had gratitude and Joy despite how little he earned and a gift of a bed net changed his life. ‘he was happy to have the bed net even though he had no bed to tuck it to’.

Three years later when Jacqueline came back to see him, Eliarehemu was healthy and Malaria-free, working hard enough to feed himself and earn some money that even enabled him to study at a nearby church.

He had a mattress and sheets and for the first time the net could be tucked underneath the mattress.

In Rwanda where Jacqueline picked up, she realised that a financial institution focused on poor women was needed. and over the time after meeting local women like Honorata and Veronique, with the help of Rwanda’s only three women parliamentarians at the time that is Agnes, Prudence and Constance, they started Duterimbere, an organisation dedicated to lending to poor women with extremely low income levels.

Years later, after the genocide, Duterimbere grew to be a micro-finance bank having so much impact on many lives, helping women borrowers re-create their lives. one such woman was Charlotte, whose business started with just 4 litresof milk, after she and her daughter survived starvation by eating grass around the house they had taken refuge in.

Now with a great desire to build a business that actually created jobs for the poor people, Jacqueline met Prisca and her group that included Marie-Rose, Gaudence, Josepha, Immaculata and Consolata. together they expanded a small baked-goods project into a thriving bakery popularly known as the blue bakery which Gaudence thought should have been green.

The story of the bakery was a human transformation story that came with being seen, being held accountable and succeeding, to use Jacqueline’s words. Coming back later after the genocide, Jacqueline found a ugandan refugee living in the building that once housed the blue bakery.

Being the founding member of the Acumen Fund, Jacqueline also helped in supporting focused individuals such as Tralance, whose relatively new company at the time, that’s WHI, was selling clean affordable water to poor villages such as Vijayawada, in India. A poultry farmer explained to Jacqueline that he purchased averagely 10 containers a day to feed his chicken that were 7000 in number at the time from an earlier number of 5000 he’d been raising before.

Jacqueline aslo worked in Nairobi, Kenya and even rented a house here back then, she together with Mary Koinange from the Local Authority worked in reviewing a number of Women groups programs. she also speaks of meeting beatrice, a member of Jamii Bora. who, with the help of a friend saved enough to get a loan from Jamii Bora that helped her start a french fries business which expanded into her owning a water kiosk, a butcher and a hair salon.

Charity is good, but how can it be used to have a larger positive impact on people’s lives with the long term goal of reducing poverty levels, through social entrepreneurship just like Jacqueline did.

all this can only be summarized in the last sentence from Jacqueline’s great novel, ‘ We have only one world for all of us on earth, and the future really is ours to create, in a world we dare to imagine together’.

– (Inspired by ‘The Blue Sweater, Bridging the gap between rich and poor in an interconnected world’  A novel by Jacqueline Novogratz)

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Is Storm Gathering Over Kibra?

Ethnic Intolerance is gradually strengthening its roots in Kenya, at most so after the 2007 post election violence that rocked the country, a recent debate on a Facebook group over slum evictions shows.

Although, many will agree with me that the tension had always been there even before the 2007 general elections, and whatever happened at that time only brought out the anger and bitterness that most Kenyans have all along held against each other, or one community against another in this case. Kibra, or Kibera as some might choose to call it, was not spared the ethnic-related violence of 2007. In fact, it was one of the worst hit regions. Even though another ethnic-related conflict had much earlier threatened to tear kibra apart, way back in 2002.

violence                                           {picture: usatoday.com}

We saw so many peace initiatives come up after that with the aim, goal or mission of bringing Kibra residents together. There have been so many of these peace initiatives linked to Kibra, or Kibera that everytime the word ‘Peace’ is mentioned, people expect to see an image of kibera somewhere along the lines. Whether these peace initiatives achieved their goals, missions or whatever they hoped to achieve is a question for another day.


But sadly it looks like something was never addressed. These peace groups or initiatives might have overlooked or bypassed something important, a root cause of all these unrest, call it a grudge that has been held for so long but never settled, historical injustices or whatever you want. But another storm seems to be gathering, all the signs are there, loud and clear. It’s either these peace initiatives will have to go back and do their homework well or new mechanisms will have to be put in place before the gathering storm finally comes down, after which everyone will once again be asking when, or where the rain started beating us.

Like my friend would say, something needs to be done, and not tomorrow but now. Before what we are currently seeing on social media trickles down to the streets.

It only takes a statement, opinion, concern, argument or whatever anyone might call it, in form of a facebook, twitter or any other social media post to ignite the hatred that most of us hold in their hearts, the ethnic-related anger or bitterness that came as a result of whatever injustices happened in the past and never addressed.

Here is a good example of a concern I had and shared on Facebook in relation to the ongoing sewer-line evictions in Kibera and some of the comments that came afterwards..

This was my post:
“Honest opinion, was this NYS projects, or whatever you call them, mean’t to render more Kibera residents homeless? How can they give 3 day notice them exepect residents to find new homes.. then they bring down the houses leaving many women and children to sleep in the cold? they may not respect the structures they see but they are houses to us, it’s where we call home.. evict us after giving us somewhere to go… ‪#‎FeelingPissedOffWithNYS‬”

Mohammed Hassan Juma hamtaki kutoka kwa sewer line?ndo maana wazungu wanakuja kibra kuwacheka. (you don’t want to move from the sewer line? that’s why white people come to kibra to laugh at you)
January 13 at 5:27pm • Like • 3

Fatuma Abdulrahman Surur its a reality some think they r a superior being!anyway everybody dies in kibra but only we r burried in kibra kwa hivo bado tupotupo! (….. so we are still here here)
January 14 at 1:05pm • Like

Imma Jeeb @Fatuma, i like that, of course hawajatoka Mbinguni. Wana Makwao.don ‘t they know the meaning of Devolution?tiz high time we have a better KIBRA.!! (… of course they didn’t come from heaven. they have have thier homes…)
January 14 at 1:18pm • Like • 1

George Ambunya hatespeech ndio mob tu hapa sana (this place is only full of hatespeech)
January 14 at 1:56pm • Like • 3

Siyama Ismail #George_Ambunya,
This is a #Healthy_Debate na hakuna hates speech, it is called #Expressions.
January 14 at 3:07pm • Edited • Like • 1

Owino Kotieno #Hussein Umri wangu hauni ruhusu kutoa matamshi au fikra za Chuki ama Kulenga Jamii. Ikiwa kila mtu ataulizwa Kwao ………Looo. Changia kwa upole,fanya utafiti na ujiusishe na mapambano ya fikra kisha tusemezane. (My age doesn’t allow me to give out hatefull utterances or thoughts, or target a communitty. if everyone was to be asked where he comes from….looo. contribute peacefully, do your investigations and be part of the mind struggle then we can talk)
January 14 at 5:40pm • Like • 2

Daniel Orogo Hussen am shocked that while others are in sobber debate to find a solutions to this problem, you bring another twist thats sounds non objective. Kibera is home to all those who are curently residing there
January 14 at 5:40pm • Like • 2

Stam Kaindi Kibra/ Kibera call it what you like but it is in Kenya and for kenyans!!
January 14 at 6:42pm • Like • 4

Iahtallization Kiberallion Chupakabrah Kiberallization if our actions dont mirror words that come from our mouth simply means we are hypocrites
January 14 at 8:07pm • Like • 5

This, and numerous other examples both in and out of the social media circles, only goes to prove my point on the need to address the outstanding root cause of all the hatred, or bitterness, that most, if not all, of us hold in their hearts.

I do agree with you that this is a national problem, and coming up ways to solve it might be described as a national dilemma, but me and you, with the help of him or her, can work towards addressing the point that may have all along been overlooked by all other peace initiatives here in Kibra.

Stephene ‘Steve Banner’ Oduor,

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Kibera Schools Map Distribution; My Experience

‘If you play your part, and you play it to your level best. Then your gift will surely open more doors for you’ observed one Fred Ogutu, Hope academy director.

We did play our part, if we played it well? That is debatable, and the answer might vary depending on which education partner or stakeholder you are speaking to. It may also depend on which phase of this education project you referring to.

If you read our earlier blog posts on the pre-project survey and collection of data during the previous phases, I believe you should have the answer on how those phases were done. To me, we did well. And more so now that we have the printed education maps and the website running.

With that said, I’m specifically here to talk about my experience in the current map distribution and website demonstration phase. And I’ll be very straight on this.
We started our distribution on the langata constituency part of Kibera, that is Raila village, note that we do have Kibra and Langata constituencies separately, and Kibera, which is the slum itself, expands to these two constituencies, with Kibra having the biggest portion.

All the schools in Raila village had a very positive approach to the map, and the site. They very much welcomed it despite the fact that some of them were a bit reluctant to give out information during the previous data collection.

Joy and excitement may have sent the Maono Secondary School head teacher the religious lecturer way, telling us that these are the end times and why everyone needs to repent and get ready to receive Christ when he comes. He did that for a few minutes then went ahead to tell us how the school will now use the Open Schools website as their official website.

At St. Stephen school, the head teacher even offered us a job, to help her draft the 2015 school activity plan that she intended to send to her donors together with a link to their page in the Open Schools Kenya website.

Hope Academy school director, Mr. Fred Ogutu, having featured in almost all our previous Project phases including the pre-project survey, was now well informed about what we are doing and congratulated us a lot on the good work done so far. He had a lengthy talk with us telling us that Kibera is a slum that has so much been misrepresented, with a lot of false data out there, he cited an example of the current Government-driven National Youth Service project which has, to use his own words, been blown out of proportion yet none of the clinics and toilets that the government seems to boast about are functional.

He observed that our data is one of the few genuine ones and wondered if the work we do also translate to helping us personally besides fighting to change our community. ‘Are you able to put food on the table and pay your rents?’ he posed a question.

In other villages, that is Katwekera, Kisumu Ndogo, Kambi Muru and Makina, the reception was equally good. We did manage to take fresh photos for FPFK Gatwekera school .

At Joseph Kangethe School, which is one of the two public schools that my colleague Zack and I were assigned to, had a very nice view of the map, The deputy head teacher asked us to come up with forums to educate parents in Kibera on the need to take their children to public schools. She said, contrary to what most parents expressed in the pre-survey, that public schools are being deserted and parents are flooding the non-government schools leaving the government schools with empty classes. “Public schools that had four streams per class have now reduced to three streams. We’ve been forced to turn the extra classrooms to stores because there are no children.”

She also added that learning in public schools is far much better than private schools where children are ‘just drilled and not taught’.

‘What is the government doing about that? And what are you as Map Kibera, in your education project doing about that?’ were her last questions.

Stephene ‘Steve Banner’ Oduor

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NYS Protests; The Larger Picture

So much has been said and done, almost in each and every slum in Nairobi, with the sole purpose of preventing any violence that might occure, or re-occure in this context.

The civil society has come up with many different initiatives, over the years since the 2007/8 post-election violence, to help promote peace & togetherness within the ethnic communities that live in the informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya

To some extent, this has worked and we cannot deny that. however, every small trigger of violence or protest always reminds us that there’s a little more homework to be done.

I do agree with you, that the last general election, 2012/13, was relatively peaceful in comparison to the 2007/8 elections. but it still wasn’t spared a protest, or two here and there.

And just a few days ago, after what was considered a peaceful march by those working with NYS (National Youth Service)-Driven slum upgrading projects to allegedly demand for an extension to the project which was expected to end this June, and will eventually come to an end on the long run.

protest 1 kibera(Photo by Joshua Owino)

there erupted a follow-up protest by youths from Kibera who felt that the NYS workers had wrongly accused the former area mp of meddling in their affairs, and event went ahead to burn a toilet built by the NYS.

toiletPhoto by Joshua Owino

Kibera News Network accompanied the marching NYS workers and from what could be gathered, it was clear that most of these workers didn’t even understand why they were marching, some had it that they were demanding for time extension to the project, yet some knew that they were protesting over what they termed as unnecessary interference by the former prime minister, who has in the recent past pointed out alleged corrupt practices at the ministry of devolution, or both. most of them were vague about it. but at the city centre, politics took centre stage with most of the workers chanting anti-Raila slogans, obviously leaving the vague workers showing there confusions openly.

It was funny when some workers interviewed during the match admitted that they are paid less and wanted the money increased, and time line extended.

nysprotest kibera (Photo by Joshua Owino)

My point is drawn from here, are protests, and more so violent protests, that include burning of property,  the effective way to put issues across? especially in informal settlements. if not, what are other channels that can be explored and how well we explore them.

Stephene ‘Steve Banner’ Oduor

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Bit By Bit at 23rd August BitCamp

The leaders of tomorrow , as some people might choose to call them, are no longer sleeping.  Of course not everyone agrees with this statement,  but for the few who agree, or many depending on statistics, might also observe that these leaders of tomorrow, or the youth as we know them, are being empowered bit by bit to fight for their rights.

One of such empowerment programs, or trainings was the 24th august bitcamp that took place at the Global platform Nairobi, the theme of the day was the Greatdebater, and every bit taken was to be under the great debater.

We arrived in bits, and started a little bit late than the scheduled 2pm. Each one of us was to take atleast two bits under the greatdebater, a task that was made almost impossible by the internet which kept coming in bits, and most of us were from time to time made to wait, but our training spirit was stronger than ever and we did our best to take atleast two bits, doing it bit by bit.

After we had shared our bits, we paired in twos and each person commented on his partners bit.

As you may already have guessed, the day could not go without having some kind of a debate, it was the great debater, come on.

We made two teams, team A and team B, and each team came up with sets of questions to ask the other team. I was part of team B and we came up with our questions which were inspired by what we had learnt, we wanted to see if our colleagues from the other team had also understood the site well. here are some of the questions from both teams. 

Team A Team B

As we were coming up with our bit of questions,  we knew little  that the other team’s questions were aimed at challenging us, real challenge.

So the debate rolled on, and I was the first with my bit of questions from team B,  among the questions, we wanted them to tell us different ways of signing up, the idea behind the global change lab, the hashtag we are using, how we get the shares and the skill we were taking. Which was just a piece, or bit, of cake to them.

But the real shocker came when it was their turn to ask the questions, we never saw it coming, they wanted to know how youths from places with no internet can participate in the global change lab, how we were going to effect the gained skills, why there are less youths participating in the global change lab, what we can do to cope with the negative attitude and why we must campaign through social media.

As part of the team B, and unlike team A, we struggled to answer the questions which involved doing a lot of explanation, some which didn’t satisfy our opponents and they ended up giving us less marks.

But at the end of the day, our facilitator told us that we were all winners, something  I thought was just meant to console us.


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Good Governance emphasizes the Role of Women in Leadership

At this years Good Governance festival, speaker after speaker encouraged women to rise up and take their place in leadership roles in this country, since women are the backbone of the economy and decisions made without them are not considered to be all inclusive.

In the previous constitution, women did not have a big voice and issues affecting them were never taken seriously by the society, but with the new constitution, women have been given a chance to amplify their voice and make their issues heard.

Good Governance Festival is here to celebrate the women who have risen up to take their place in leadership and encourage other women to take up leadership roles in our country today.

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Good Governance Roadshow

Good Governance 2013 edition, whose theme was ‘Power to women’, kicked off on Thursday with a major roadshow that started at Koch Fm studios in korogocho , flagged of by AAIK board chairperson Elizabeth Wakilo.


The roadshow passed through Babadogo, ngomongo, kariadudu, Kariobangi North, Lakisama, Mathare North and Huruma.. with mini shows that attracted large crowds  in various stop overs along the way, apart from promoting the main event that was to take place on Saturday 30th November at dc grounds, the roadshow was also used to educate the public on the need to have women in various leadership position and how to include women in decisions being made in Governance in our country. Music and dance competitions were done during the stop-over shows in which members of the public had a chance to win t-shirts and also add their voice in raising issues affecting women leadership in Kenya today.


Friday 29th November was the second day of the Good Governance roadshow and this time the caravan went through Kangemi, Uthiru, Kawangware and Kibera with various shows at different stop overs along the way, the message being spread was the same, give women a chance in governance.



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