Category Archives: Literature

TRIBUTE POEM IN MEMORY OF GRACE OGOT

THE RARE BEACON OF HOPE:-

LETS CELEBRATE GRACE OGOT

O, the rain has come for our icon,

Yawa, let’s

Celebrate Grace Ogot

Our rare multi-multi

Talented icon

Let’s celebrate this ever

Smiling lady of thrift

With the gift for philanthropy

The rare beacon of hope,

During dark days of illiteracy

The rare lily in the Luo universe

Ever

Exuding intellectual fragrance

Let’s celebrate nyar Asembo

Mama Grace Ogot

Who cherished Christian values

This delineated her life

As the only nominated and elected women M.P

For Gem

Gem the home of the legends

Odera Akang’o and CMG Argwings Kodhek

You championed

Education for the girl child.

Let’s celebrate Grace Ogot

The rare beacon of hope

Let’s celebrate this kind hearted

Mulago trained nurse and BBC Radio Journalist

Who inspired by Luo culture,

mythology and folklore

Aspired matured into

A renowned writer

Articulating the role

Of women in

Patriarchal society

We celebrate the life

Of an extraordinary

Mother and wife to an

International historian:

Prof Bethwel Alan Ogot.

Let’s celebrate a great

Personality,always

Elegant in her distinctive headgear

And mono-tone flowing dresses

The rare beacon of hope

The rain has come for our icon

The care beacon of hope

Let’s celebrate Grace Ogot

Born in rural Asembo

This great African writer

Educated at Ng’iya and Butere Girls High Schools.

Government Assistant Minister for Culture in 1987.

We celebrate Grace Ogot

The politician, the nurse, the broadcast Journalist, the diplomat and P.R .practioneer

Besides being a mother and a wife.

We celebrate a nurse, while studying at St James Hospital, England in 1962

She presented B.B.C Radio program

‘’London Calling East Africa’’

We are Celebrating an inspired author

0f nine books

The Promised Land, The Rain Came, The Year Of Sacrifice, Island Of Tears, Ward Nine,

The Graduate, The Other Women, Miaha and Days Of My Life

We celebrate the founder of Writers’ Association of Kenya

One among 570 authors of the 20th century, featured in the 4 volume

Of Modern Women Writers published in 1996

W e celebrate a gold hearted matron

Who selflessly donated her School Jubilee High School to facilitate the Odera Akang’o Campus

In honour of

The legendary Gem Chief.

O WE MOURN A GREATE AFRICAN MATRON

BY

AKECH OBAT MASIRA AND

OMAR NASSER

IN KISUMU, KENYA ON 3RD APRIL 2015

MISANGO ARTS ENSEMBLE

REACTIONS ON FATHER OKECH’S BOOK

From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
WEDNESDAY, JULY 9, 2014

A widow who does not want her name revealed writes: “Fr Omolo Beste I am a young catholic widow aged 37. I read your article on dealing with the loneliness as one the most challenging problems faced by widowed mothers with great interest.

While I agree with you that the inheritors are there only to exploit the widows, mainly for cheap sex and not interested in taking care of the children they produce with these poor women, at the same time I don’t agree with catholic doctrine that widows should remain single.

I really long to read that book by Fr Joseph Okech- I am not sure how much he has treated this issue of widows in his book. Surely Fr Beste, how can I remain single at my age? Give me a break bwana!”

Thank you for your openness. In fact Catholic Doctrine does not bar widows from getting remarried provided that this is done according to the Catholic teaching. You can get a single man to marry in church. This can happen in your husband’s home according to African tradition.

Many African traditions and culture don’t allow widows to leave her husband’s home because of the dowries. Once an African husband dies his wife cannot leave his home to be remarried in another man’s home because of this dowry condition.

As I said earlier I have not read Fr Okech’s book so I cannot say exactly how much he has dealt with this issue of widow and inheritors. Among the Luo of Kenya for example, widows have traditionally been inherited to a local clansman who has his wife and children. This type of remarriage is what the Catholic Church does not allow, in that, this man is married with children and again inherit a widow.

Their interest actually is not in a widow’s welfare but simply cheap sex. That is why they don’t support widows socially and financially. They are not able to take care of medical, education, food, and clothings of the children they produce. Instead a widow is to work extra time to get enough money to feed the man. This is what I referred to my article as the exploitation of the high class.

At 37 I can understand how you feel. Paul speaks directly of your situation, too. “A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If the husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is” (1 Cor. 7:39-40).

Although remarriage is clearly permissible, yet some widows find it very difficult to remain single as Paul suggests. In fact some widows don’t feel “happier”, that is why they opt for inheritance.

Pope Pius XII observes concerning the widowed “…others after the death of their spouse, have consecrated to God their remaining years in the unmarried state . . . have chosen to lead a life of perfect chastity . . . for love of God to abstain for the rest of their lives from sexual pleasure, in order to devote themselves more freely to the meditation of divine things and better experience the elevations of the spiritual life.”

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

Omolo_ouko@outlook.com
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Twitter-@8000accomole

UNDERSTANDING CODE OF CONDUCT AND PRACTICE OF JOURNALISM

From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2014

While World Press Freedom Day is celebrated tomorrow, May 3, 2014, Catholics will celebrate theirs on May 25, 2014. The Pope’s general Prayer intention for the month of May is “that the media may be instruments in the service of truth and peace”.

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.

It is an opportunity to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom throughout the world; defend the media from attacks on their independence; pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

In his message for the 48th annual World Communications Day, Pope Francis challenges us to consider how the media can either create understanding and unity or divide people. He asks, “How can we be ‘neighbourly’ in our use of the communications media?”

His answer is: “We need to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm. And this calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen.” Communication is not simply about talking but also listening and recognizing that, even if we disagree with the person speaking, he or she is our neighbour.

Pope Francis writes: “There is a danger that certain media condition our responses so much that we fail to see our real neighbour.” As an example of good communication, Pope Francis proposes the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

The disciples are closed in on themselves and their own ideas but Jesus listens and gently shares with them the truth about the messiah. Their hearts are set on fire by the truth and burn with love. Their dialogue with Jesus leads to a deeper encounter with him, when they recognize him in the breaking of the bread.

During the month of May, let us pray that the media may serve the truth and not manipulate people and promote half-truths or lies. May it help people to enter into dialogue with one another, so that the foundations for peace may be laid.

What Pope is expressing, that is, respect for truth and for the right of the public to truth should be the first duty of a journalist. As journalists we need to protect the privacy of individuals in a manner that secures the public interest.

This is all about what the code of conduct and practice of journalism should be. We need to write a fair, accurate and an unbiased story on matters of public interest. The code of conduct is helping us journalists to avoid misleading or distorted story.

When stories fall short on accuracy and fairness, they should not be published. Sometimes this happens because of bribe which has become a big problem of journalists not only in developing countries but also in developed nations.

This should not happen given that journalism is the fourth estate which protects and safeguards the democratic values in the society.

You find in many countries, Kenya included that after every press conference, the media will give the organizers of the meetings rough time until they part with the money. In other words, your story will not be reported unless you pay journalists money.

Journalists, while free to be partisan, should distinguish clearly in their reports between comment, conjecture and fact. In general, provocative and alarming headlines should be avoided, especially those containing allegations.

Even though letters to editor are expressing the opinions of the writers, an editor is not obliged to publish all the letters received in regard to that subject. Only some of them either in their entirety or the gist thereof should be published.

The editor has the discretion to decide at which point to end the debate in the event of a rejoinder upon rejoinder being sent by two or more parties on a controversial subject. Unnamed sources should not be used unless the pursuit of the truth will best be served by not naming the source who must known by the editor and reporter.

This is very important because in general, journalists have a professional obligation to protect confidential sources of information. That is why journalists should generally identify themselves and not obtain or seek to obtain information or pictures through misrepresentation or subterfuge.

In general, the media should avoid publishing obscene, vulgar, or offensive material unless such material contains a news value which is necessary in the public interest. In the same vein, publication of photographs showing mutilated bodies, bloody incidents, and abhorrent scenes should be avoided unless the publication of such photographs will serve the public interest.

This is specifically toTelevision stations which must exercise great care and responsibility when presenting programmes where children are likely to be part of the audience. Bringing pictures where men and women deeply kiss each other on the lips can be an embarrassment to parents who watch TV with their children.

Although most of these programmes are aired because they have been paid for, some of them are not morally upright. Think of an advertisement where, for example where condoms have been demonstrated how to use them, or sex positions, like what had been going on in one of Kenyan television stations.

This is a programme where a sex educator and therapists demonstrates several styles of having good sex. While such programmes can be extremely very important for couples, especially those who have difficulties in making love, they can be embarrassment to parents with their children.

Meanwhile, using someone else’s work without attribution – whether deliberately or thoughtlessly – is a serious ethical breach. However, borrowing ideas from elsewhere is considered fair journalistic practice.

Media should also avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to a person’s race, tribe, clan, religion, sex or sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or handicap. These details should be avoided unless they are crucial to the story.

Things concerning a person’s home, family, religion, tribe, health, sexuality, personal life and private affairs are covered by the concept of privacy except where these impinge upon the public.

The media should generally avoid identifying relatives or friends of persons convicted or accused of crime unless the reference to them is necessary for the full, fair and accurate reporting of the crime or legal proceedings.

Finally, media should also avoid presenting acts of violence, armed robberies, banditry and terrorist activity in a manner that glorifies such anti-social conduct. Also, newspapers should not allow their columns to be used for writings which tend to encourage or glorify social evils, warlike activities, ethnic, racial and religious hostilities.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

Omolo_ouko@outlook.com
Facebook-omolo beste
Twitter-@8000accomole

SIGNIFICANCE NUMBER 3 IN THE BIBLE

from: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2014

Elizabeth Awuor, form three student from Masosa Secondary School, Miruka, Masamaro, Nyamira County writes via text message: “Hi Fr, what does number 3 represent in the Bible? Jesus was tempted 3 times, he fell on the cross 3 time, rose from the 3 times, we make the sign of the cross 3 times, the cock crew 3 times”.

Thank you for asking this important question Elizabeth. Literally we can say that the number 3 is the numerical signature of God. It is the number of personal completeness. It is the number of the Godhead, it stands for the triune.

The number 3 is used 467 times in the Bible. There are 27 books in the New Testament, which is 3x3x3, or completeness to the third power. Jesus prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest.

He was placed on the cross at the 3rd hour of the day (9 a.m.) and died at the 9th hour (3 p.m.). There were 3 hours of darkness that covered the land while Jesus was suffering on the cross from the 6th hour to the 9th hour. Three is the number of resurrection. Christ was dead for three full days and three full nights, a total of 72 hours, before being resurrected just before sunset.

Jesus commissioned his twelve Apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)” We know this concept as the Trinity even though the word “trinity” is not in the Bible.

Some examples of three being the number of spiritual fullness: Jonah was in the belly of the big fish three days. Samuel heard his name called three times before Eli confirmed that it was God calling Samuel (I Samuel 3:8).

When something happens three times, it gains emphasis such as when Peter denied Jesus three times. Three times Pilate wanted to release Jesus, but three times the chief priests and rulers rejected him. This repetition represents the emphasis placed on the rejection (Luke 23:13-25).

Man is a trifold being: body, spirit and soul. The Bible only mentions the name of three angels (Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer). There are three places in the New Testament where sex sins are specially referenced.

The first is in Romans 1:20 – 32, where certain people who reject God are given over to defile themselves in a variety of ways that includes homosexuality (male and female) and overall sexual immorality.

The second mention of sex-related sins is in 1Corinthians 5:1 – 13, where the apostle Paul must handle the problem of the local church allowing a member to openly commit incest. The third sex issue dealt with in the New Testament is in Revelation 2:19 – 25. A female who considers herself a prophetess within the Thyatira church, in the spirit of Jezebel, was teaching believers to commit sexual immorality and spiritual adultery.

An angel is charged to cry three woe’s to those who live on earth to warn them of more trials to come (Revelation 8:13). The murdered bodies of the Two Witnesses will not be allowed to be buried but rather will lie openly in Jerusalem for three days before they are resurrected.

Three unclean spirits will be allowed to deceive the whole world to fight the returning Jesus Christ in what is called the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13 – 16). The New Jerusalem, created by God for placement on a new earth, will be shaped like a square with three gates on each side (Revelation 21:13).

God is described, in the very beginning of the book of Revelation, as a Being “which is, and which was, and which is to come” (Revelation 1:4). There are 3 great periods of God’s annual Feast days of worship. They are the Spring festivals (Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread), the summer festival (Pentecost) and the Fall festivals (Feast of Trumpets, Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles).

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

Omolo_ouko@outlook.com
Facebook-omolo beste
Twitter-@8000accomole

Republic Of The Mind And Thralldom Of Fear By Wole Soyinka

From: Yona Maro

I have a cloud of sadness within me as I speak. It has to do with an absence, a non-event which, both as a product in itself and as the product’s fate, could easily stand – among similar testimonies – as symbolic of the mission of this gathering, and a number of others like it, at least in all societies which value the exertion of the mind and products of the imagination.

Before I state what that non-event is, I wish to emphasize very strongly that this is not meant as an indictment of this Book Fair of which I consider myself a part, having been with it – albeit marginally – from its very inception. That would be grossly misleading. My remarks represent a personal wish, generated by the nation’s current crisis of existence, and extend beyond this present location and time, even though they do take off from there. They are a continuation of a discourse on which I embarked years ago – and formed part of my BBC Reith Lecture series – CLIMATE OF FEAR. That discourse was nudged awake quite fortuitously when I visited the London Book Fair three to four weeks ago, where the issue of censorship resurfaced. In any case, this absence I speak of, paradoxically, constitutes an integral part of the story of the Book, narrating the predicament of much of humanity in scattered parts of the world – and on so many levels, both specific and general.

For us in this nation, that predicament is hideously current and specific. We are undergoing an affliction that many could not have imagined possible perhaps up to a decade ago. In a way, both that product, and its absence are simultaneously instruction and consolation. On the one hand it brings home to us the price that others have paid – and still pay – for complacency, timidity, evasion, and/or failure to grasp the nature, and multiple guises of the Power drive. The obsession to dictate, dominate, and subjugate. On the other hand, it consoles us, in that painfully ironic way, that others have been there before, and many more are yet lined up to undergo – if I may utilize an apt seasonal metaphor, this being the Easter season – many more unsuspecting nations and communities, currently insulated from a near incurable scourge, are lined up to undergo the same Calvary.

To the product then: It’s just a book, but then, more than ‘just a book’ – written by Professor Karima Bennoune, an Algerian presently teaching at Berkeley University, California. And the title? YOUR FATWA DOES NOT APPLY HERE. It is not a work of fiction. It is a compilation – with commentary and analysis of course – of experiences of individuals – men, women, young, old, professionals, academics, entire families and others – among them her own father. It is a record of unbelievable courage and defiance, yes, also of timorousness and surrender, of self-sacrifice and betrayals, of arrogance and restraint, intelligence and stupidity, fanaticism and tolerance – in short, a document of Truth at its most forthright and near unbearable, the eternal narrative of humanity that illustrates, the axial relation between the twin polarities called Power and Freedom which, I persist in pointing out, stand out as the most common denominator of human history.

I feel sad that through this absence, Africa north of the Sahara could not meet and speak to Africa South on Nigerian soil, console and instruct us through a shared experience, one from whose darkness one nation recently emerged and into which the other is being dragged by the sheer deadweight of human mindlessness. It is such an important book, one that has a sobering relevance – does one have to reiterate? – for this nation. It is not quite over yet for Algeria by the way. Only yesterday I read in the papers that eleven soldiers were ambushed and killed by forces of identical mental conditioning to the ones that are currently traumatizing this nation. We can only hope that Karima Bennoune does not have to drastically update her account through a resurgence of a traumatic past. So much on the product itself.

Now comes the question: what would have been the effect of that title on most of us, seeing it displayed in one of the bookstalls of a participating publisher? Let’s begin from there. Even before we have opened the cover, what impact does it have on us, the local consumers? This is not a rhetorical question – what is it in the title itself that guarantees in advance that the average viewer would instinctively approach it with some trepidation? This is a familiar battle ground for thousands of affected writers, and constitutes the phenomenon that I wish to drag into this specific context, seeing that the book is available through all the normal sales channels elsewhere, and has been reviewed extensively in numerous media. It leads inevitably to the question: have we been shortchanged, albeit through circumstances too convoluted to go into here – in an environment to which such a history is excruciatingly pertinent?

One should not cry over spilt milk, yet one should never let an opportunity go to waste to recoup one’s losses wherever possible – even in divergent directions. In this case, as I hinted earlier, the very absence forms part of our literary mission. I consider this work of such relevance that I am persuaded that it should be made compulsive reading for everyone in leadership position in this nation, beginning from the President all the way down to local councilors, irrespective of religion, and community leaders. I intend to adopt Professor Bennoune’s book as entry point into the interrogatories for the very contestation that is summed up in the title of this address – “The Republic of the Mind and the Thralldom of Fear”. I intend to pose questions such as: should such a work constitute a contentious issue in the first place? Is our world now in a condition where a work that may – repeat – may – explore and narrate unpleasant histories is approached as an instant minefield for its handlers? Is any interest group, as long as it is sufficiently vociferous, reckless and dangerous, entitled to bestride and menace our world once such a minority decrees even factual history unpalatable or unflattering? Do we now instinctively make assumptions of negative responses on behalf of such a minority? Does anyone possess a right of imposition in the first place? What does that mean for any community?

I pose these questions because my increasing conviction is that our space of volition and equality of choice is rapidly collapsing under internal relationships based on fear and domination, on dictation and imposition. This is not the view of this speaker alone. Both Egypt and Tunisia, one after the other, are solid proofs that this shrinkage of space is an obsessive project by the assiduous cultivators of the realm of thralldom, and we have seen how it is answered in both instances. My business here is not to urge the adoption of the solutions pursued in either nation, or indeed Somalia, but to point out an existing agenda of control, manifested in different ways and degrees, and consequently drawing unpredictable responses.

But quickly, that question, are the people themselves sometimes collaborators in the shrinkage of that space of choice, that space of freedom? This, indeed, was the disquieting issue that triggered off the London discussion, catapulting the Nigerian predicament to the fore. We must be honest in our answers. When we look into the demands and impositions by one section of society upon another, coldly and analytically, we find that, very often, our instinctive assumptions are totally divergent from the actuality of relationships between such groups. We find that we have conceded what was never at issue, or else can be argued and clarified through mutual exchange. We find that sensitivities are often exaggerated, or else unnecessarily indulged. It is a lazy intellectual habit, one that is born of a timorous attitude for frank and honest dialogue. Mutual respect is built by clarification, not by avoidance or unjustifiable concessions, which is an attitude of condescension, a patronizing approach that is not only disrespectful but unhealthy.

To begin with our immediate community here in Nigeria as testing ground, let us consider the ‘People versus Boko Haram.’ Boko Haram represents the ultimate fatwa, of our time. It has placed a fatwa on our very raison d’etre, the mission, and justification of our productive existence. I do not think that this claim is in contention. The next question is: does the Boko Haram fatwa remotely represent the articulated position of the majority of moslems in this nation? My reading over the past few years is an unambiguous NO! Again and again the declaration that those words represent in Bennoune’s title is the very manifesto with which the nation has been inundated by moslem intellectuals, politicians, community leaders quite openly in their pronouncements on Boko Haram. ‘They are not true moslems’ has become the persistent mantra from North East to West, all the way southwards across the Niger. Grasping the nearest such declaration to hand, only two days old, the governor of Osun state, a moslem, declared in categorical terms:

“A visibly angry Osun State Governor called on Moslems to rise against atrocities perpetrated by the fundamentalist group in the name of religion”. In his own words,

We must protest seriously against the sycophants who hide under religion to perpetrate evils in our land; it must be done nationwide. We reject everything that Boko Haram represents. Our religion rejects everything these evil characters project in the name of islam. We must not be silent, because Boko Harm represents evil.”

Now what does that mean, this exhortation that has been echoed by Emirs, islamic scholars, islamic councils, politicians and lawgivers etc. The least that the intimately connected people of the book – publishers, teachers, thinkers of all faiths can contribute, is to exploit opportunities such as this market of ideas – to spread the word in all possible forms, most especially where an example is provided through the histories of those who failed to rally the mind when encroachment on the space of ideas was still in infancy. What these voices now proclaim, somewhat belatedly, is simply that the edicts of Boko Haram – in short, its fatwa’s – are worthless and unacceptable to the rest of society. Bennoune’s book, the string of words that makes up the title, is the charter of rejection that the Algerians, as a people, flung at the murderous fundamentalists as they battled for over ten years for their freedom. It represents a collective challenge for the rest of us: to go beyond even the contents of the work and actualize its lessons in our lives. To do less is to concede that the will of Boko Haram is the will of all humanity.

Why else are we gathered here? Boko Haram anathemizes books, destroys books and destroys their institutions, but we are here, in a surrounding of, and celebration of books. Yes, indeed, a Book Fair is itself a statement of rejection of Boko Harm’s fatwa. It is an implicit yet overt gesture of contempt for the delusions of grandeur of that movement and its homicidal avocation. But then, a Book Fair owes itself the full complement of what renders it – itself . Its mission, as an instrument of enlightenment, must not be compromised by the diktat – implicit or overt – of whatever makes no disguise of its contrary mission and manifests itself as an enemy of enlightenment.

An army that remains in the barracks even when assailed by enemy forces is clearly no army at all, but a sitting duck. We cannot recommend that we all sign up and join the uniformed corps as they make their rescue sorties into caves and swamps in the forest, not only to destroy the enemy but now, primarily, to rescue our children who were violently abducted from their learning institutions to become – let’s not beat about the bush, let us face the ultimate horror that confronts us, so we know the evil that hangs over us as a people – to become sex slaves of any unwashed dog. Those children will need massive help whenever they are returned to their homes. To remain in denial at this moment is to betray our own offspring and to consolidate the ongoing crimes against our humanity. There is no alternative: we must take the battle to the enemy. And this is no idle rhetoric – the battlefield stretches beyond the physical terrain. We are engaged in the battle for the mind – which is where it all begins, and where it will eventually be concluded. And that battlefield is not simply one of imagination, it is one of memory and history – our histories, what we were, and a consciousness of the histories of others – what happened to them in the past, how they responded, and with what results.

My dear colleagues, there may be hundreds of soldiers out in the forests of Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, but this battle is very much our own., primarily ours, and we should display as much courage as those who are dying in defence of what we value most, as writers, and consumers of literature. At least I like to believe so, to believe that nothing quite comes quite that close to our self-fulfillment as the liberation of the mind wherever the mind is threatened with closure. This is what is at stake. At the core of this affliction, it is this that is central to the predicament of our school pupils wondering through dangerous forests at this moment through no crime that they have committed.We sent them to school. We must bring them back to school.

Why did this nation move out of its borders to join other West African nations to stop the maniacs whose boastful agenda is to cut a bloody swathe through communities of learning, of tolerance and peaceful cohabitation? What does a united world say to the agents of heartbreak and dismay when religion powered mayhem is unleashed against innocent workers gathered at prime time in a motor park to resume their foraging for daily livelihood? It has happened before – let us not forget that, by the way! What, in short, do Book Fairs say as we learn of the steady, remorseless assault on the seminal places of culture, ancient spiritualities and book learning. We have not so soon forgotten the destruction of the monumental statues of Buddha, the historic monuments and tombs of Timbuktoo, her ancient manuscripts – repositories of islamic scholarship that pre-date the masterpieces of Europe’s medieval age? The true moslems, the authentic strain of the descendants of the Prophet Mohammed, pride themselves as people of the book, hence those lovingly preserved manuscripts of Timbuktoo, treasured and tended through generations of moslems. In such circumstances, whose side do we take, when children are blown up and slaughtered in their school dormitories, their teachers and parents hunted down for daring to disobey that phillistinic fatwa that forbids learning? Do we remain in our barracks? And I am not speaking of military barracks!

For it has not just begun, you know. We are speaking of the prosecution of a war that, four years ago already, was already galloping to its present blatant intensity. That it has attained the present staggering figures that numb our humanity with the abduction of female pupils to serve as beasts of burden for the enemy, does not disguise past failures, self-inculpating silences, and even tacit collaboration in places. Try as we might, we cannot insulate ourselves from the horrors to which our children are daily exposed through a fear to undergo, even for our own instruction, the vicarious anguish of others. First, it is futile, the ill wind currently rattling our windows will shortly blow down the flimsy structures we erect around our heads. Symbolism is all very well and – yes indeed – no one should underestimate the value of this symbolic enclave whose mandate we shall be acting out over the next seven days. The palpable products – albeit of words only – that emerge from within this symbol however is what constitutes the durable product, reinforcing morale and conveying to the maimed, the traumatized, the widowed and the orphaned, the suddenly impoverished, displaced, the bereaved and other categories of victims a sliver of reassurance that they are not abandoned.

And why should they feel abandoned in the first place? Why not indeed? Permit me to impose on the leadership of this nation a simple, straightforward exercise in empathy. I want you to imagine yourself in a hospital ward, one among many of the over a thousand victims of the latest carnage in Nyanya – do remember that the actual dead and wounded are not the only casualties – I could refer you to JP Clark’s Casualties for a penetrating expression of the reality of the walking wounded – however, let us take it step by step, let us retain within the territory of physical casualties – imagine that you are one of them, on that hospital bed. You find yourself in the role of playing host to the high and mighty. You are immobilized, speechless, incapable of motion except perhaps through your eyelids. The guests stream in one by one, faces swathed in concern – local government councillors, ministers, legislators, governors, prelates, all the way up the very pinnacle of power – the nation’s president. They even make promises – free medical treatment, habilitation, etc etc. They take their leave. Your spirits are uplifted, you no longer feel depressed and alone.

Considerately mounted eye level on the opposite wall is a television set, turned on to take your mind off your traumatized state and provide some escape for the mind in your otherwise deactivated condition. A few hours after the departure of your august visitors, you open your eyes and there, beamed live, are your erstwhile visitors participating in chieftaincy jollifications a few hundred miles away, red-hot from your sick-bed. A few hours later, the same leadership is at a campaign rally, where the chief custodian of a people’s welfare is complaining publicly about an ‘inside job’ – that is, someone had allegedly diverted his campaign funds to unauthorized use. That national leader then rounds up his outing with a virtuoso set of dance steps that would put Michael Jackson to shame.

That is all I ask of you: to undertake a simple exercise in human empathy, asking the question – as that victim, what would you think? How would you feel? That is all. Would you, playing back in your mind the reel of that august visitation, would you feel perhaps that the visit itself was all a sham, that those sorrowing visitors were merely posing for political photo shots, that the faces were studiously composed, their impatient minds already on their next engagement on the political dance floor? Or would you feel that this was a time that a nation, led by her president, should be in sackcloth and ashes – figuratively speaking of course? That there is something called a sense of timing, of a decent gap between the enormity of a people’s anguish and ‘business as usual’? And do let us bear in mind that that dismal day in Nyanya went beyond a harvest of body parts, of which yours could very easily have been part, there was also the dilemma of two hundred school children, some of whom could very easily have been your own – vanishing under violent conditions. Would you think that perhaps, in place of the dance floor, a national leader should have been holding round-the-clock emergency meetings on the recovery of those girl children, mobilizing the ENTIRE nation – and by entire, I mean, entire, including the encouragement of volunteers, for back-up duties to the military, demonstrating the complete rout of the prolonged season of denial, the total transformation of leadership mentality in the nature of responses to abnormalities that are never absent, even in the most developed societies.

If anyone requires contrasting models of simple, commonsense responses – not even the responses of experts, just leadership – then look towards South Korea. That tragic ferry disaster that overcame schoolchildren on an outing was not even a case of deliberate, criminal assault on our humanity. It was a human failing, probably of culpable negligence, but not part of a deliberate act of human destabilization. It was a frontal, in-your-face assault. Study the nature of leadership response in that nation! Today’s media carry headline banners that nearly two hundred children remain missing. Even if it were twenty, ten, one, is this the time for dancing? Or for silent grieving? What is the urgency of a re-election campaign that could not be postponed in such circumstances? Will the yardstick of eligibility for public office be the ability to dance to Sunny Ade or Dan Marya? The entire world regards us with eyes brimful with tears; we however look in the mirror and break into a dance routine. What has this thing, this blotched, mottled space become anyway? It is a marvel that some still wave a green-white-green rag called a flag and belt out one of the most unimaginative tunes that aspires to call itself a nation anthem. It has become a dirge – that is what it is – a dirge, and what we call a flag is the shroud that now hovers over a people that are even incapable of the dignity of self-examination, self-indictment, and remorse, which would then be a prelude to self-correction and self-restitution, if leadership were indeed attuned to the responsibilities of leadership.

To sum up, one would rationally expect that the leadership mind, belatedly applied to cautionary histories such as YOUR FATWA DOES NOT APPLY HERE, will courageously attune itself to an altered imperative that now reads: YOUR FATWA WILL NOT APPLY HERE. This would be manifested in a clear response to the enormity of the task in which the nation is embroiled. Not all national leaders can be Fujimori of Peru who personally directed his security forces during a crisis of hostage-taking – no one demands bravura acts of presidents. However, any aspiring leader cannot be anything less than a rallying point for public morale in times of crisis and example for extraordinary exertion. Speaking personally now, my mind goes to the lead role played by President Jonathan in this nation in the erstwhile campaign to ‘BRING BACK THE BOOK’ an event at which we both read to hundreds of children. So where are the successors to those children? The reality stares us in the face: Among the walking wounded. Among the walking dead. In crude holdings of fear and terror. Today, we shall not even be so demanding as to resurrect the slogan BRING BACK THE BOOK – leave that to us. It will be quite sufficient to see a demonstrable dedication that answers the agonizing cry of: BRING BACK THE PUPILS!

Emperor Nero only fiddled while Rome burned. There is no record of him dancing to his own tune. There is, nonetheless, an expression for that kind of dance – it is known as danse macabre, and we all know what that portends.

Yona Fares Maro
Institut d’études de sécurité – SA

WAS MARY MAGDALENE A PROSTITUTE?

From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2014

Wilfred from Mujwa, Meru, Kenya writes: “Dear Fr Omolo Beste, Happy Easter. I read all your homilies from Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. You are a greater preacher Father, may God continue giving you abundant blessings and good health.

I have 2 questions on your homily on Mary Magdalene. My first question is that there is no where in the Bible written that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, only that Jesus removed seven demons. My second question is, it is true that Jesus had sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene, got married and had children? Thank you Father”.

Thank you for these important questions and your best wishes Wilfred. You are absolutely right. Mary Magdalene is mentioned in each of the four gospels in the New Testament, but not once does it mention that she was a prostitute. The Bible provides no personal details of her age, status or family. Only her name, Mary Magdalene, gives us the first real clue about her.

It suggests that she came from a town called Magdala. There is a place today called Magdala, 120 miles north of Jerusalem on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The name occurs in the New Testament, and also in Jewish texts. Its full name is Magdala Tarichaea. Magdala seems to mean tower, and Tarichaea means salted fish.

The idea of Mary Magdalene being a prostitute might have come from one Jewish text which mentions Magdala, called Lamentations Raba, which says that Magdala is judged by God and destroyed because of its fornication. It is possible that the description of Magdala as a place of fornication is the origin of the idea that arose in western Christianity that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.

Your second question whether Jesus had sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene and whether they got married is quite interesting. Yale Divinity School dean Harold Attridge asked this question in 2006 in a short piece prepared in response to The Da Vinci Code. He concludes that such a relationship was improbable based on his interpretation of the Gospel of Philip, one of the codices discovered in the 1940’s in Upper Egypt near the town of Nag Hammadi.

The Gospel of Philip has caused quite a stir for several reasons. It says Jesus’ companion (also translated as “consort”) was Mary Magdalen, and that he “loved Mary more than the rest of us because he used to kiss her.

Philip also speaks of a “stainless physical union” which has great power. Early scholars translated the ‘union’ phrase as “undefiled intercourse,” which would mean that the text advises, “Understand/seek the undefiled intercourse, for it has great power.”

However, in recent years orthodox scholars have tended to translate the phrase as “pure embrace” or “marriage.” Attridge claims that it is a reference to an early Christian practice of offering one’s fellow worshipers a kiss, known in some circles as “passing the peace.”

Some scholars have interpreted the kiss in a more spiritual sense and see kissing as a symbol for an intimate reception of teaching of the word of God, of learning. The image of Jesus and Mary as engaged in mouth-to-mouth closeness suggests not necessarily sexuality, but the transmission of divine knowledge.

Those who claim that she was the wife of Jesus rely on some apocryphal gospels. All of them, with the possible exception of part of the Gospel of Thomas, were written after the canonical Gospels and are not historical in character, but were written to transmit Gnostic teachings.

The huge misunderstanding is the fact that these writings are used to make them say exactly the opposite of what they intended. The Gnostic vision – a mixture of Platonic dualism and Eastern doctrines, cloaked in biblical ideas – holds that the material world is an illusion, the work of the God of the Old Testament, who is an evil god, or at least inferior.

This idea has been stipulated in the popularity of Dan Brown’s controversial novel, The Da Vinci Code. This novel advocates the thesis that Jesus was in fact married to the woman we know as Mary Magdalene, that they had a child together.

Many readers of The Da Vinci Code, believing the fictional history of the novel to be true, have been buzzing about the possibility of Jesus’ having been married. In a recent survey conducted by the online religious website Beliefnet, 19 percent of respondents said they believe that Mary Magdalene was in fact Jesus’ wife.

The New Testament contains no explicit answer to the question of Jesus’ marital state. It never mentions his wife, nor that he was unmarried. In fact, whenever the New Testament gospels refer to Jesus’ natural relatives, they speak only of his father, mother, and siblings, but never of a wife.

Two prominent Jewish writers from the first-century A.D., Philo and Josephus, mention that some Jewish men in the time of Jesus were single by choice. Philo, a contemporary of Jesus, was a Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, and who wrote many volumes in the first half of the century.

Josephus was a Jewish historian who wrote near the end of the century. Both Philo and Josephus mention that the Essenes, a group of apocalyptic Jews who eagerly awaited God’s intervention in history, did not marry by choice.

What we actually know about Mary Magdalene is from the biblical gospels. Something else is not is not correct.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

Omolo_ouko@outlook.com
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NOT ALL JEWS KILLED JESUS

From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
TUESDAY, APRIL 15, 2014

John from Kericho writes: Fr Beste what is your take on Cardinal John Njue supportive to crackdown on illegal aliens currently going on? Thank you for your homily on Palm Sunday. Why do you think high priests, including Caiaphas were among people who planned to kill Jesus? Some times last year a Kenyan wanted to sue Israel State for killing Jesus, how did the case go?”

Good question John. In fact it is not only Cardinal John Njue who is supporting crackdown on illegal aliens, the operation is supported by religious leaders from mainstream churches. They have pointed out that the exercise should be expanded to include those involved in armed robbery, cattle rustling, poaching, rape, kidnappings and petty crimes.

They also blamed laxity on some security personnel whom they accused of allowing illicit guns and other dangerous weapons to enter the country. Cardinal Njue on his part was quoted saying: “We appreciate the efforts of the security forces and realise several have lost their lives in the efforts of restoring order.

However, there seems to be reluctance and lack of vigilance among some security personnel causing illegal arms to increase and criminal elements to operate freely in our country.” Religious leaders are aware that behind every illegal immigrant stands a corrupt or negligent government official and behind every illegal firearm, there is a tale of corruption and negligence.

Cardinal Njue added, “The dignity of life should at all times remain a priority. The current operation must not be seen as targeting any religion, tribe or nationality but aimed at fighting terrorism and other forms of crime.”

The recent operation has seen 82 Somalis deported while hundreds more have been arrested and screened. The Government is also investigating several individuals believed to be financing the terror groups.

Yes John, you are correct. Kenyan lawyer Dola Indidis attempted to sue the State of Israel, the Republic of Italy and a whole slew of New Testament characters on behalf of the friends of Jesus.

Indidis filed his suit in the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands, also bringing suit against Tiberius, the Emperor of Rome; Pontius Pilate; Annas, a Jewish Chief Priest; King Herod; Jewish elders and Jewish teachers of the law.

For Indidis, it’s all about human rights, and he feels as though Jesus suffered greatly. In particular, the lawyer is challenging the modes of questioning used in Jesus’ trial more than 2,000 years ago.

While the ICJ rejected the suit because they have no jurisdiction for such a case, what you should know John, is that the Jewish people are not collectively responsible for the death of Jesus.

Many Catholics and other Christians are blaming Jews for Jesus’ death. In his book, Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI points out that it is wrong to condemn the Jews collective as having killed Jesus.

He asks in the book, referring to scenes in the Gospels where the people of Jerusalem demand that Roman governor Pontius Pilate have Jesus crucified. Although the Gospel of John says the people in question were “the Judeans,” the pope says the term “does not refer to – unlike the modern reader may tend to interpret – the people of Israel as such, and it doesn’t even have a ‘racist’ connotation.”

On your third question, high priests, including Caiaphas were involved in the plan of killing Jesus because he threatened their power. High priests were so corrupt and powerful. Thy forced their worshipers to take to them ten percent on what they harvested from their gardens. Jesus was against this.

Caiaphas was a supreme political operator and one of the most influential men in Jerusalem. He had already survived 18 years as High Priest of the Temple (most High Priests only lasted 4), and had built a strong alliance with the occupying Roman power.

Caiaphas knew everybody who mattered. He was the de-facto ruler of the worldwide Jewish community at that time, and he planned to keep it that way. Caiaphas wanted Jesus arrested, tried in a kangaroo court and convicted on a religious charge that carried the death penalty.

Caiaphas’ power base was the Sanhedrin, the supreme council of Jews which controlled civil and religious law. It had 71 members, mostly chief priests, and Caiaphas presided over its deliberations.

Mind you, Levites were the only Israelite tribe that were only to become priests, they also received cities where they were not allowed to be landowners “because they claimed that the Lord the God of Israel himself was their inheritance” (Deuteronomy 18:2), so they forced worshipers to feed and contribute money to them.

The Tribe of Levi served particular religious duties for the Israelites and had political responsibilities as well. Historically they were the priestly classes in Judaism who had exclusive rights to learn and teach Torah to others.

Levites’ principal roles in the Temple included singing Psalms during Temple services, performing construction and maintenance for the Temple, serving as guards, and performing other services which they were paid for. Levites also served as teachers and judges.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

Omolo_ouko@outlook.com
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An Open Letter to Lupita Nyong’o

From: Leila Abdul

Dear Lupita Nyong’o,

Thank you for showing the world what true talent and beauty looks like. Last night, I watched the 86th Academy Awards in awe of seeing a woman that looked like me and shared my story. When you accepted this coveted honor, tears rolled down my cheeks. I was reminded of what your win symbolizes for little girls fighting to posses self-love in a world that tells them that they are unworthy of it.

As a young girl of African descent, I grew up detesting who I was. My dark skin, foreign facial features, coarse hair and unique name meant that I wasn’t apart of the American tapestry of beauty. I desired to have fairer skin and curly hair like my lighter-skinned counterparts. Nothing about being of African descent illustrated beauty to me, it only read ugly. In my adulthood, I see the same disease of self-hatred growing amongst the younger generation. I walk into local beauty stores and see skin-bleaching creams (chemical substances that many African, African-American and Hispanic women use to lighten their skin). Despite the dangerous medical effectsof skin bleaching, many continue to put their lives at risk in order to attain the social privilege that a fairer hue affords them.

Though we are generations removed from slavery, we are still combating the aesthetic ideals that emerged from this time period. The film 12 Years a Slaveironically brought the world a breakout star that reminded us that talent and beauty exists in all shapes and forms. You are a woman who looks like so many young Black and African girls struggling to love ourselves for who they are.

Hofstra law school student Laisa Pertet exclaims, “As a young women of Kenyan descent but more importantly, as a young, dark-skinned African-American woman, [Lupita] gives me hope. Because I know that I can be embraced by popular culture when I emphasize the best part of me and bask in my own essence. Her presence alone is inevitably changing society’s definition of beauty, which speaks directly to the potency of our true beauty.”

As a public figure, you share our obstacles, hardships and triumphs. You often speak of your own qualms with self-acceptance, “My one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. [To young girls] feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.”

This beautiful commentary on developing internal self-love speaks volumes to young girls by proclaiming that what the world thinks of you should matter less than what you think of yourself. For the first time in my youth, I’ve seen the world celebrate a woman who doesn’t share the same features as Beyoncé, Paula Patton, Zoe Saldana or Halle Berry.

Lupita, you are adored for your acting chops, intelligence, brilliance and captivating looks. Most of all, you are celebrated for shifting the standard of beauty away from traditionally oppressive norms. There are hundreds of little Lupitas across the globe that now believe they can achieve their dreams because of your presence as an astounding role model. This Oscar win is more than just another accolade; it symbolizes a change that women of color have been waiting for.

Thank you, Lupita, for showing the world that, “No matter where you come from, your dreams are valid.”

Ola Ojewumi

KENYA: NEWS DISPATCH WITH FATHER OMOLO BESTE CONGRATULATES LUPITA NYONG’O

From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
MONDAY, MARCH 3, 2014

The News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste congratulates Lupita Nyong’o for searing drama “12 Years a Slave” being named best picture at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday night, the story of Solomon Northup, a free African-American man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.

Nyong’o has made Kenyans proud. She was the best in the category of the best picture “12 Years a Slave”, beating out big names Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, June Squibb and Sally Hawkins, for her portrayal of Patsey, a favored but abused slave in the Steve McQueen-directed drama.

Her concluding remark was touchy and emotional: “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

As lawmaker Gitobu Imanyara remarks, today because of Lupita there is no Kikuyu, no Kalenjin, no Luo, no CORD, no Jubilee! We are just proud Kenyans! May we remain that way! Lupita, becomes the first Kenyan to win an Oscar’.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

Omolo_ouko@outlook.com
Facebook-omolo beste
Twitter-@8000accomole

Citizens’ role in political settlements

From: Yona Maro

Question
Citizens’ role in political settlements: Identify literature on the role of citizens in creating and maintaining political settlements. Where possible identify material that discusses the role citizens are allowed to play; how citizens view their roles; compromises citizens are prepared to make; and differences, if any, between their roles in national and subnational political settlements.

Helpdesk response

Key findings: Political settlement literature focuses predominantly on elites, with citizens often seen as passive beneficiaries or potential spoilers. However, emerging literature on the role of civil society in peace processes identifies roles that citizens have played and can play, in creating and maintaining what are essentially political settlements. This report outlines the concept of political settlement and introduces literature on potential citizen roles in such settlements. In particular, this report draws on an upcoming, unpublished document which synthesises current thinking and draws insights from an on-going project on civil society participation in peace processes.

It is important to note that contexts vary significantly and research for this report was not able to find literature that provides generalities in how citizens view their roles, the compromises they are prepared to make and differences between national and sub-national political settlements. Instead, the literature suggests these issues are very much dependant on social, cultural and historical factors and constraints.

Full response:
http://www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/HDQ1014.pdf


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reflection on George Orwell’s book “Animal Farm” pp 120

From: Abdalah Hamis

By Aikande Kwayu

For the 50th post of this blog, I deeply thought of what to write or which book to review. I then decided that I would write a reflection on the famous George Orwell’s Animal Farm. I kept asking myself if I am capable of reviewing this, almost, century-old masterpiece!

In a synopsis, Animal Farm is a political fairy tale that narrates a rebellion carried out by animals against their owner/farmer- Mr. Jones. The animals wanted to be free from exploitation. It was a revolution aimed at liberating the animals. They wanted dignity, independence, equality, free speech, education, and everything else that living creatures naturally desire. These ideals were engraved in 7 commandments, a sort of a ‘National Anthem’ titled the Beasts of England’ and were symbolized by a green flag. The animals were successful in chasing Mr. & Mrs. Jones out of the farm and set up their own system.

For them, “man is the only creature that consumes without producing…yet he is a lord of all animals” (p.4). And that explains the summary (for the dumb animals such as goats) of the 7 commandments and the Beast of England – ‘four legs good, two legs bad’. The revolution seemed to be a success story in the beginning. Even when men (Mr. Jones and his friends) wanted to
retake the farm, the animals were able to protect their territory and independence in what they famously called the ‘Battle of the Cowshed’. However, the leaders (pigs) led by Comrade Napoleon gradually changed towards the behaviors of ‘man’ whom they rebelled. He started by fighting hard against his fellow leader, Snowball. Napoleon and his fellow ‘leaders’ or rather rulers slowly killed the ideals that animals fought for including equality, freedom of speech and participation. The laws in the farm were gradually changed to favour the ruling animals while exploiting other animals. There was no room for complaining and those who did were quickly shut down or threatened. There was no permission to challenge the ‘leader’. Killings happened in the farm and things were not in ‘cloud 9’ as the animal thought but they were ‘convinced’ to remained patriotic whatever the situation because the single aim was ‘not to be ruled by man’. However, Napoleon and his fellows in the ruling class ended up learning to walk on two legs and imitated everything that was of man…even their new friends were men…and the dumb goats changed the summary anthem to ‘four legs good, two legs better’. Well, what can I say? Upon reflecting on this fairy tale, my mind thought of so many historical events at international level and local level too. At local level a lot of contemporary issues can also fit into George Orwell’s story. Although the Animal Farm was written in 1930s and published in 1945, the story is still relevant to political situations in many countries in the world.

Without going into much details, Orwell’s book kept me thinking of Russia, China, ‘independent’ Africa, multiparty Africa, Arab Spring, Capitalism, and Socialism…I could write a few pages on each of those from Orwell’s book but for this short entry allow me to write something short and general.

Citizens who feel that they are exploited or not free are usually prone to carry out a revolution if they get a right and (mostly) a charismatic leader. They revolt against what they perceive as an exploitative system with the aim of replacing it with a fair system that will make everyone equal and ensure freedom of participation, speech, etc. Such revolutions have been common in many parts of the world. Russia Revolution on 1917 and its aftermath, for example, had much influenced in George Orwell’s writings and in particular the Animal Farm. Of late we have seen “revolutions” in North Africa that ousted out decades old rulers/dictators. However, the question is always the sustainability of these hard fought for ideals in the hands of ‘leaders’- who often prefer titles such as “comrades” “brotherly leaders” and “revolutionary leaders”. Even the leaders that were ousted in North Africa, such as Muammer Gaddafi, had revolted against authoritative systems in their times but then changed to become dictators themselves. Since history repeats itself, one year after Tahrir Revolution, Mohamed Morsi, for example, the then new president, tried to accumulate more presidential power in his hands, which…too bad gave a justification to what I categorize as a ‘coup’.

In Africa, we read about liberation struggles in the 1950s through to early 1980s. The aim was to remove colonialists out of our land and to gain dignity, independence, and freedom. However, most of new African leaders (with few exceptions such as Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda) changed to become dictators, refusing to get out of power, and worked hard to be like the colonialists in style and many other things. They embraced colonial-like policies of exploitation and class division. They created an elite class in Africa, just like the pigs did in the animal farm.

In the multiparty Africa, we see the same dangers. After 1990s, Africa opened up to ‘democracy’ in what scholars such as Samuel Huntington, calls “third wave” of democracy. Political parties emerged with the aim of removing old parties that had become so exploitative after independence. There were hopes in Africa. But most of these new regimes (formed under the multiparty system) ended up becoming dictators and some even worse than the older parties’ regime. In Tanzania, my country, we have not been lucky to replace the old CCM with another political party regime. However, there is a wave of change- however gradual. Some political party have managed to command considerable number of followers and if, all goes well, there are prospect that one day they will get into power. But power corrupts, even the increased popularity in these parties have already becoming a challenge and a root cause/source of nascent feelings of dictatorship. It is something that we need to be careful so as we do not find ourselves in a worse situation like the animals.

This is not to say that we need to stick with the one party throughout. NO and I repeat NOOOO!! with an emphasis. Multiparty is a good system and its ideals are crucial to ensure participation and democracy. Events of failure of multipartism in some African countries and to some extent what we are seeing in Tanzania, should not discourage Tanzanian from voting change! We have to embrace the ideals as long as we put in place checks and balances that will ensure ‘new leaders’ don’t hold on into power and become dictators. In his preface to the Ukrainine version, George Orwell himself complained that “nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of Socialism as the belief that Russia is a Socialist country…” (p.118). I just hope what we have been witnessing, of late, with our main opposition party in Tanzania will not corrupt the meaning of democracy in Tanzania.

George Orwell’s book includes little stories and accounts that can teach us a whole lot of what happens in a contemporary world politics. I found it very interesting that Napoleon had secretly kept the dogs who came to threatened his opponents. For some reasons I related this part of the story with real life examples in Tanzania political businesses (some Tanzanian educated youths are secretly kept (as Napoleon dogs) ready to threaten and devour anyone who will oppose their master…I beg youths to refuse such roles). In short, Animal Farm is a political fairy tale that leaders and citizens should read. History repeats itself and that is why reflections of the world politics in early 1930s by Orwell are still very fresh and applicable in our contemporary world.

I cannot say anything more on this great book because I feel very incapable of writing anything more concerning Orwell’s work.

— Reflections: Orwell G., Animal Farm (London: Penguin Books, 1945), pp 120

— Read more of Dr Aikande’s reflections on her blog: AikandeKwayu.com

Financial Inclusion for a Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Africa – New publication

From: News Release – African Press Organization (APO)
african-development-bank.png
PRESS RELEASE

A new publication released today by the Complex of the Chief Economist of the African Development Bank

TUNIS, Tunisia, December 10, 2013/ — A new publication, Financial Inclusion in Africa, released today by the Complex of the Chief Economist of the African Development Bank (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org) finds that for sustained and inclusive development to thrive, a great deal of innovation is needed to ensure that appropriate financial services and instruments are put in place for the benefit of the poor and other vulnerable groups in Africa.

Download the full publication at: http://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Project-and-Operations/Financial%20Inclusion%20in%20Africa.pdf

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/african-development-bank-2.png

The publication is edited by Thouraya Triki and Issa Faye from the African Development Bank’s Research Department. It brings together a wealth of knowledge on financial inclusion from experts and practitioners from the broader development community, including the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, Alliance for Financial Inclusion, Overseas Development Institute, Inter-American Development Bank Group, Dalberg and AfDB.

The publication describes the multi-faceted nature of financial inclusion through a compilation of chapters that approach the topic from different perspectives. “We sought to cover different groups that have been historically underserved or unserved by formal financial institutions including small and medium enterprises, women, rural areas and agriculture, and fragile states,” explained Issa Faye, Division Manager at the Research Department of the AfDB.

The book is structured around three main parts. The first part lays the theoretical foundation for the subsequent analyses by explaining the multifaceted aspect of financial inclusion and how to measure it. The second part looks at some transformational mechanisms and approaches designed to serve the underserved while the third part discusses strategic issues such as the relationship between financial stability and inclusion, the potential transformative role of technology and the role of Development Finance Institutions.

The publication draws on recent data collection efforts made by the development community to document the state of financial inclusion in Africa. “Thanks to these new datasets, we were able to rigorously analyse financial inclusion for different segments of the population, users groups, and sub-regions. Such exercise was not possible until recently,” said Thouraya Triki, Chief Country Economist at the AfDB.

The findings and policy recommendations provided by this publication are aimed to inform the current discussions on the state, the opportunities and challenges for accelerating financial inclusion on the continent.

Further information on this publication is available at http://www.afdb.org/en/news-and-events/article/financial-inclusion-for-a-sustainable-and-inclusive-growth-in-africa-12664/

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

For more information, please contact:

Thouraya Triki (t.triki@afdb.org) or Issa Faye (i.faye@afdb.org)

About the African Development Bank Group

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 34 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 53 regional member states.

For more information: j.mp/AfDB_Media

SOURCE
African Development Bank (AfDB)

“White Mischief”, the 1987 movie

From: Jeremy Kinyanjui
Subject: “White Mischief”, the 1987 movie on promiscuity amongst a sizable number of Whites in colonial Kenya (Download it at dropbox.com)

“White Mischief”, the 1987 movie on promiscuity amongst a sizable number of Whites in colonial Kenya. It focuses on the illicit happenings in the then “White Highlands”, and what was then specifically known as “Happy Valley” (mainly Naivasha & Nanyuki).

“White Mischief” in particular, focuses on the murder of Lord Errol (Josslyn Victor Hay, 22nd Earl of Errol). Lord Errol was an aristocratic philandering playboy in colonial Kenya, who met his death on 24th January 1941, as a result of a steamy affair he was having with Diana Lady Broughton. Lord Errol’s body was found the following morning i.e. 25th January 1941, in Karen, Nairobi, near where St. Francis Church now stands.

The prime suspect in the murder was Lady Diana’s then husband, Sir Henry “Jock” Broughton. Sir Henry was acquitted of the murder, but later revealed (while drunk at either Karen Country Club or Muthaiga Country Club), that he had “fixed” Lord Errol for having an affair with his wife.

The good looking Lord Errol made many enemies with his extensive womanising in the then Kenya colony, and there was therefore little love lost following his murder. Diana Broughton became Lady Delamere when she got married to her fourth husband, Thomas Pitt Hamilton Cholmondeley, 4th Baron Delamere, on 26th March 1955.

Thomas Pitt Hamilton Cholmondeley is the grandfather of Thomas Patrick Gilbert Cholmondeley i.e. the Delamere who shot dead Kenya Wildlife Service game ranger Samson ole Sisina on 19th April 2005 and also later shot dead stonemason, Robert Njoya Mbugua on 10 May 2006. Lady Delamere is therefore Thomas Patrick Gilbert Cholmondeley’s step-grandmother. Lady Diana promised to make startling revelations on the 1941 Lord Errol murder, but she passed away before do so.

The movie has interesting scenes e.g. at Nairobi’s then mortuary, after Lord Errol’s murder, where Alice de Janze (Sarah Miles), rubs her vagina with her right hand, and then proceeds to rub her said right hand on the face of the deceased Lord Errol (Charles Dance), with the accompanying words “Forever Josh.” This particular scene is between the 58th & 60th minutes of the movie, approximately. “White Mischief” showed to packed movie theatres in Kenya in the early 1990s.

Download the movie “White Mischief”, One hour & 43 minutes (a 33MB file), at the following dropbox.com link i.e.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0drg6vnyf558pb0/White%20Mischief%20-%20YouTube.zip

“Sanders of the River”, the 1935 movie in which independent Kenya’s founding Premier & President, Jomo Kenyatta, makes a cameo appearance

From: Jeremy Kinyanjui

“Sanders of the River”, the 1935 movie in which independent Kenya’s founding Premier & President, Jomo Kenyatta, makes a cameo appearance. “Sanders of the River” stars the legendary Paul Robeson. Jomo Kenyatta, father of independent Kenya’s 4th President, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, landed the role of a “Tribal Chief” in “Sanders of the River”, during his long 15 year sojourn in Europe of 1931 – 1946. Jomo Kenyatta, and other “Tribal Chiefs”, appear alongside Paul Robeson (“Bosambo”) in a scene that lasts from about the 31st minute to the 34th minute, a scene where Leslie Banks (Commissioner Lord R.G. Sanders), is bidding farewell to “Tribal Chiefs” who have served him loyally during his tour of duty. After a brief thank-you address by Commissioner Lord R.G. Sanders, the “Tribal Chiefs” disperse, and one notes Jomo Kenyatta disperse alongside his fellow “Tribal Chiefs”, with his distinct trademark swagger. Many who were alive during Jomo Kenyatta’s 15 year rule of 1963 – 1978, or who may not have been alive but have nevertheless watched video clips of the Jomo Kenyatta years, distinctly remember Jomo’s trademark flamboyant swagger like e.g. during the State Opening of Parliament in 1974, where Jomo majestically swaggers along the corridors of Parliament on his way to the chambers. “Sanders of the River” wasn’t that great a movie, but what has helped keep the legend of the movie alive to this day, is the fact that it’s star, Paul Robeson, was a pioneer African-American top-notch actor who trail-blazed the path for numerous African-American actors & actresses who came after him. Just like African-American boxing legend Joe Louis created a memorable Illustrious path for the likes of Floyd Patterson, Sonny Liston, Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ken Norton, Leon Sphinks, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Larry Holmes, Michael Sphinks, Trevor Berbick, Tony Tucker, Tyrone Biggs, Mitch Green, Mike Tyson, James Buster Douglas and Evander Holyfield, so also did Paul Robeson similarly create a memorable Illustrious path for the likes of Hattie McDaniel, Sidney Poitier, Richard Roundtree, Jim Kelly, Cecily Tyson, Janet du Bois, Whoopi Goldberg, Halle Berry, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Hudson, Mo’Nique, Octavia Spencer, John Amos, Gary Coleman, Richard Pryor, Morgan Freeman, Carl Weathers, Lou Gosset Jr., Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jamie Foxx, Forrest Whitakher and Will Smith. Download the movie “Sanders of the River”, one hour & 26 minutes (a 29MB file), at the following dropbox.com link i.e.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/j0tu1oollafcyfd/Sanders%20of%20the%20River%20%281935%29%20-%20Zoltan%20Korda%20-%20YouTube.zip

Historical Maps of Africa

From: Yona Maro
Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2013 04:26:05 -0800
Subject: Historical Maps of Africa

Kenya: What Raila did not tell you in his new book

From: Judy Miriga

Dr. Joyce,

Well, in my view, the book deserves criticism and maybe Raila may consider a Review from peoples critics. This is because he deserves to have a book in the international shelves of statesmen along those who struggled for Reform for Kenya. Although unfortunately down the line, Raila diverted course and got out of track where created more enemies and bad blood with many, mostly his own tribesmen the Luos……….this means, if any member of a Luo community fail to subscribe to Railas ways, you are doomed, you are forever an enemy, unless you kneel down to him and beg for forgivement…………for which, some of us have suffered scars and the pain of rejecting sycophancy, intimidation and freedom for justice and truth.

Quote:

The photographs he selects, the stories he tells, the way he tells them and the stories that he does not tell, seem to establish Raila as the authority on the making of Kenya……….and the Democratic space for Reform in Kenya. Where shall we put the likes of Tom Mboya for example, the part which have trace for real history for Kenya ???

This part is true and therefore the book is misleading to gain any credibility in the Institution of learning in the world…………

No one can succeed alone without a team. Life is all about appreciating each others efforts and give credit where credit is due……….What spoils for Raila is greed and selfishness, otherwise, he can change and Reform if he wants to. I am concerned because, lives on earth, our behavior and characters lives long after we are all gone. People shall be remembered by the good they did for others and it is up to individuals to choose how they wish to be remembered.
Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson
Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,
USA
http://socioeconomicforum50.blogspot.com/

– – – – – – – – – – –

Friday, November 8, 2013
What Raila did not tell you in his new book

Was The Flame of Freedom intended to (re)brand Raila Odinga as the intellectual custodian of our nation’s pro-democracy struggles? A key theme in the book is, “the government’s long vendetta against the Odingas”. PHOTO/FILE

By JOYCE NYAIRO

In Summary
It’s one of the best written autobiographies by a Kenyan, but the book is structured in a way that spares the writer censure over his contentious choices, argues our writer in this no-holds-barred review of The Flame of Freedom.
So Raila was never a child of material want, nor one lacking in privilege. His capacity for protest, though selfless, is nonetheless curious.
In February 2008 when Kofi Annan expressed his horror at the goings-on in the Rift Valley, which he visited, Raila coldly responded, “Clashes are not new. It is not the first time. We have seen them since 1991, and in 1997 and 2002”.
Raila’s detractors come in for unflattering description—“the bellicose Michuki”; “Patrick Shaw, a grotesque giant of a man”, “gargantuan reserve officer”; “unpredictable [George] Githii”; “the combative Nassir”; “Idi Amin…the unpredictable and murderous buffoon”—among many others. The tone is often so condescending!
Surprisingly, Raila does not recount the events of October 29, 2005 when Raphael Tuju tried to hold a rally in Kisumu in support of the Wako Draft Constitution, yet the incident mirrors closely the events of New Nyanza 1969.

By JOYCE NYAIRO

Was The Flame of Freedom intended to (re)brand Raila Odinga as the intellectual custodian of our nation’s pro-democracy struggles?

The photographs he selects, the stories he tells, the way he tells them and the stories that he does not tell, seem to establish Raila as the authority on the making of Kenya.

Raila’s story gives clear justification for the constitutional changes that this country finally made.

It is a must read for those who never experienced — and those who would so carelessly forget — the terror of a dictatorship where sycophancy, fear and silence reigned supreme.

A key theme in the book is, “the government’s long vendetta against the Odingas”.

But for all the evidence that Raila mounts to prove this point, he simultaneously supplies enough information to refute the truth of his tumeonewa refrain. A few examples suffice.

GREAT OPPORTUNITIES

With his father out in the political cold, Raila was employed at the University of Nairobi, a government institution headed by Dr Josephat Karanja.

Raila’s consulting firm, Franz Schinies and Partners, got a contract to “install a liquid petroleum gas tank at [Jomo] Kenyatta’s farm in Gatundu”.

Raila and Franz registered Standard Processing Equipment Construction and Erection (Spectre), got a loan and premises from the Kenya Industrial Estates, a wholly owned government body.

Was The Flame of Freedom intended to (re)brand Raila Odinga as the intellectual custodian of our nation’s pro-democracy struggles?

The photographs he selects, the stories he tells, the way he tells them and the stories that he does not tell, seem to establish Raila as the authority on the making of Kenya.

Raila’s story gives clear justification for the constitutional changes that this country finally made.

It is a must read for those who never experienced — and those who would so carelessly forget — the terror of a dictatorship where sycophancy, fear and silence reigned supreme.

A key theme in the book is, “the government’s long vendetta against the Odingas”.

But for all the evidence that Raila mounts to prove this point, he simultaneously supplies enough information to refute the truth of his tumeonewa refrain. A few examples suffice.

GREAT OPPORTUNITIES

With his father out in the political cold, Raila was employed at the University of Nairobi, a government institution headed by Dr Josephat Karanja.

Raila’s consulting firm, Franz Schinies and Partners, got a contract to “install a liquid petroleum gas tank at [Jomo] Kenyatta’s farm in Gatundu”.

Raila and Franz registered Standard Processing Equipment Construction and Erection (Spectre), got a loan and premises from the Kenya Industrial Estates, a wholly owned government body.

After his first detention Raila negotiated funding from Industrial Development Bank, another government institution.

Through Kenya Railways and the Ministry of Works, the government facilitated the testing of Spectre’s gas cylinders, leveraging their acceptance by international oil companies.

Raila says the idea of setting up a local standards body was his, driven by the challenge of getting Spectre’s LPG cylinders certified in the UK.

The Jomo government embraced the idea, appointed Raila to the position of Group Standards Manager in the newly formed Kenya Bureau of Standards.

He rose to be Deputy Director in 1978, a job he held until 1982 when the Moi government detained him over his role in the coup.

Raila served as secretary and later vice-chairman of the Nairobi Branch of Kenya Amateur Athletics Association (p.334) and he travelled abroad many times with national teams, representing Kenya.

In the Jomo years, when Jaramogi had problems servicing a foreign currency loan from TAW Leasing International for the purchase of 12 buses for his Lolwe Road Services, he obtained a shilling-based loan to pay off TAW from National Bank of Kenya then headed by Stanley Githunguri.

Dr Oburu Odinga was employed in the Ministry of Planning in the Jomo era. By 1994, he had risen to be the Provincial Planning Officer in Western.

The acquisition of the Kisumu Molasses Plant gave Raila 283 acres in Kisumu town for a well-below market rate of Sh13,100 per acre.

Maybe the Kenyatta and the Moi governments facilitated the commercial ventures of the Odingas to keep them from aspiring for high political office.

Still, the reality of all these opportunities negates the argument of government waging an all-out vendetta.

LAND QUESTION

The position of the Odingas on the land question is logically inconsistent.

In the 1950s, Jaramogi donated land for the building of Nyamira Primary and Nyamira Girls schools in Bondo.

Though Raila is vague about the exact purchase dates and the distinctions between the properties, he nonetheless mentions several tracts of land owned by Jaramogi aside from his Bondo home—150 acres at Opoda Farm, 550 acres in Tinderet purchased through an Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) loan after independence, 700 acres at Soba River Farm and an undisclosed acreage at Great Oroba River Farm in Muhoroni.

And then there is the sketchy matter of the Lumumba Institute in Ruaraka. Jaramogi and Jomo were joint trustees.

Bildad Kaggia, Achieng’ Oneko, Pio Gama Pinto and others were board members. Funded by Russia, the institute functioned for just one year before closing in 1965, a victim of Jomo’s pro-west politics.

How did the property end up in the Odinga portfolio? Raila just says, “we still had the premises…which we rented out, though the returns were paltry”.

Raila emphasises that Jaramogi left Kanu to form KPU because he was “increasingly critical of the widespread land-grabbing that characterised the first independent Kenya government’s activities”.

But Raila’s knowledge on the land question is dogged by fundamental factual errors.

He says, “[w]ell connected families acquired land in the early 1960s through the Settlement Transfer Fund Scheme, a brainchild of Kenyatta and his cronies soon after Independence”.

No such fund existed. The Land Development and Settlement Board was established in January 1961, a precursor of the Settlement Fund Trustees (SFT) launched on June 1, 1963.

Alfred Nyairo has repeatedly demonstrated that discussions over the sale of the White Highlands commenced while Kenyatta was still restricted in Maralal.

Nyairo adds, “the first African allottees were settled at the ex-Luckhurst farm at Dundori on 27th March 1961. By Madaraka Day in 1963, 356,255 acres had been purchased on which 6,668 African farmers and their families had been settled”.

Jaramogi was in Mombasa in 1981 when he called Jomo a “land-grabber”. Though he apologised later, that comment angered Moi so much that Jaramogi was shut out of that year’s Bondo by-election, the 1983 and 1988 General Elections.

So what makes one a land-grabber? Is it the extent of the acreage, the manner of purchase, location outside your “ancestral” home, the source of the funding, the time of purchase (pre-versus post-independence) or a varied mixture of all these factors?

The Flame of Freedom gives many insights into Raila’s character.

CHILD OF PRIVILEDGE

At his birth in 1945, Jaramogi was Principal of Maseno Veterinary School, a thrifty businessman running a trading company and distributing East African Industries products all over Nyanza.

Later, Jaramogi ran a printing press, a construction company and a bus company. Raila had a choice of homes between Kisumu Town and the rural Bondo.

At 17, he was sent to high school in Germany taking a flight to Cairo from Dar es Salaam at a time when few Africans had seen a car, let alone in an aeroplane!

So Raila was never a child of material want, nor one lacking in privilege. His capacity for protest, though selfless, is nonetheless curious.

He narrates a stunning example of this reflexive defiance.

On a visit to Romania in 1968, Raila landed in Bucharest without a visa. Immigration officers allowed him to leave the airport terminal building so that he could go to a bank, cash his traveller’s cheques and return to buy a visa using US dollars.

POINTLESS LAWLESSNESS

“I walked out of the airport, now an illegal immigrant, saw people getting on a bus and joined them for an uneventful journey to town”.

Why violate the trust of an immigration officer?

Raila shows no care for the Kenyan student leaders who had gone to meet him at the airport and could not locate him.

This example of pointless lawlessness ties into another disturbing aspect of character.

In detention, Raila encountered many cruel warders and was subjected to vile brutality.

But there were also kind-hearted warders, who facilitated his communication with fellow detainees like George Anyona and with his wife, Ida.

When a smuggled letter from Ida was found, Deputy Police Commissioner Philip Kilonzo was furious to the extent of having Ida arrested and locked up.

The search for the facilitating warder landed on an innocent man, one who had never been kind to Raila. He was promptly “removed”.

Raila does not see the injustice of a man being punished for a “crime” he never committed. Instead he gloats, “I felt that ‘divine justice’ had intervened to help rid me of one of the unsympathetic askaris”.

This warped sense of justice carries over to Raila’s later defence of Mungiki.

Though Raila boldly stood up for them in 2008 offering to mediate between their leader Maina Njenga and the coalition government, he had previously displayed absolutely no compassion for the conditions of Mungiki’s making.

In February 2008 when Kofi Annan expressed his horror at the goings-on in the Rift Valley, which he visited, Raila coldly responded, “Clashes are not new. It is not the first time. We have seen them since 1991, and in 1997 and 2002”.

Anyone who would fight for the right of Mungiki to be and to assemble should first fight to eradicate the conditions of cyclical violence and forced eviction that radicalise disillusioned youth!

Raila is emphatic in stating, “I am not a tribalist”.

But the structure and style of his narrative makes it hard to believe that he does not single out Kikuyus and blame them for all of his suffering.

BLATANT MISINFORMATION

His chronology of post-election violence is deliberately blurred and elliptical, avoiding dates so that he never has to use the term “retaliatory violence”.

He gives blatant misinformation about the events in Kisumu where he claims there was no “inter-community fight”, yet Kisii and Kikuyu properties were openly torched.

Raila distorts events in Eldoret, especially the Kiambaa church inferno, for which he refuses to state the ethnic identity of the victims — yet he keeps talking of “our boys” and “our people” in reference to killings in Nairobi and Kisumu.

He understates the death toll and makes no mention of his disastrous BBC interview aired on January 17, 2008 and carried verbatim in The Nairobi Star. That interview had a catalogue of factual errors and appeared to defend the church fire.

Victims of the worst of post-poll violence, regardless of how they had voted, will be comforted to learn from Raila’s story that when lives and property were being traded as collateral to gain high political office for some, there were some wise voices who cautioned the warring factions against the anger that was welling up against politicians.

Former Mozambique president Joachim Chissano said: “Those who have lost loved ones have a spirit of hatred towards those they think are guilty of causing their suffering”.

Indeed. He doesn’t mention placards and slogans, but nothing was more damaging to Raila’s cause than the chants, “No Raila, No peace” and “No peace without justice”.

Whose justice? The one whose votes were stolen or the one with an arrow in his head presumably because votes were stolen?

Raila’s earlier account of the events preceding the 1992 election dwell on the ethnic clashes in Muhoroni and Tinderet, but never mention the purge of Kikuyus in Molo, Burnt Forest and Turbo.

Similarly, he makes no reference to the 2005 Referendum victory speech that triggered the “41 against 1” doctrine.

STRUCTURE AND STYLE

Aside from his systematic and sustained disavowal of Kikuyu suffering, Raila (sub)consciously employs a style that profiles any Kikuyu in a position of authority, for instance, “Finance’s Kikuyu editor Njehu Gatabaki”.

The same ethnic profiling is not used in references to Pius Nyamora or Philip Ochieng’ no matter how nefarious their editorial activities were.

Qualifying Asman Kamama and Samuel Pogisho as “ethnic Pokot” raises their profiles as worthy minorities but references to the Kikuyu stress their dangerous over-representation.

Interestingly, Raila never sees his own proclivity for congregating with Luos in ethnic terms—during his stint at UoN and in the organisation of the 1982 coup.

This book is structured in a way that spares Raila censure over his contentious choices. The acquisition of the Kisumu molasses factory and co-operation with Moi’s Kanu provide two apt examples.

The chapter on the acquisition of molasses is strategically sandwiched between the Ouko Inquiry and the 1992 General Election so that our shock and fears over the heinous murder of Ouko influence us to see the resuscitation of the molasses factory as a just cause.

Raila does not tell us that he acquired this factory as he took NDP to Kanu and Moi appointed him Minister for Energy.

BLURRED CHRONOLOGY

Raila employs a similar technique of blurred chronology to introduce co-operation.

He begins by tracing “Jaramogi’s ideas [which] were sound and well-intentioned”.

Before we can interrogate this statement, we are plunged into Jaramogi’s death and what is possibly the most endearing chapter in the book.

By the time Raila resumes the story of co-operation — which happened eight years after Jaramogi’s death –— we are still reeling from the profound sorrow and sympathy over the senior patriarch’s passing.

Raila’s sequence lends logic and coherence to political events that were probably never planned that way or that far back.

The (co-)author of this book, Sarah Elderkin, is incapable of writing a bad sentence. This makes for a compelling 959-page read. Typos are at a minimum — mostly of ethnic words like Shamakhokho and Kaguthi—and the editing has been thorough.

It is tempting to call this monumental work a gracious account, but Elderkin’s studied penchant for colourful invective makes such praise difficult.

Raila’s detractors come in for unflattering description—“the bellicose Michuki”; “Patrick Shaw, a grotesque giant of a man”, “gargantuan reserve officer”; “unpredictable [George] Githii”; “the combative Nassir”; “Idi Amin…the unpredictable and murderous buffoon”—among many others. The tone is often so condescending!

One looks for the engineering and football metaphors that will distinguish the telling as Raila’s. There are hardly any.

The story is dominated by Elderkin’s distinctly English—rather than Kenyan—idioms. For instance, the phrase “champing at the bit”.

But there is a more fundamental reason why Elderkin is an obtrusive biographer. Raila states at the opening that this “is a collection of memories, and memory is, of course, imperfect”.

But because he tries to capture the whole story of Kenya’s pro-democracy struggles, Raila is forced to narrate events that he could not have witnessed when he was detained on and off for close to a decade between 1982 and 1991.

MEMOIR OR AUTOBIOGRAPHY?

When does a work cease to be a memoir and become an autobiography?

A memoir allows you to operate at the level of feeling, narrating things as you remember them, perhaps about a single event or period and with no need to qualify a sentiment.

Raila does this many times, like when he relates the fall-out in Ford-Kenya by glibly saying “it remains my conviction that Wamalwa’s bodyguard and personal assistant were drafted in and also that 12 delegates …were switched”.

He borders on rumour and hearsay with the frequent “we were told”, “I had received information”.

Autobiography compels you to do the homework and give us the facts. To tell the story of Luo genealogy; of KPU’s emergence when he was studying in Germany and of events during his detention and exile years, Raila’s biographer does the research. She relies heavily on press accounts for the period 1982-1992.

Aside from these tensions between remembering and researching, this work raises an even bigger question on the politics of memory.

Memory is as much collective as it is individual. People in positions of authority—politicians, academics, and cultural workers including the media—shape and reinforce the ways in which society remembers.

Raila’s memory often fits into a well-honed collective position. His account of Jomo’s October 1969 visit to open New Nyanza Hospital in Kisumu strikes one as the familiar provincial version, different from the State’s (sub)version of that day.

Raila arrived in Kisumu from Europe via Uganda the day before Jomo’s scheduled visit. Before going to the hospital, he went to Kondele “getting a feeling of the atmosphere as the crowds awaited Kenyatta’s arrival”.

He remembers the crowds shouting the KPU slogan “dume” as Jomo waved his flywhisk and then he started hearing gunshots and screams.

By other accounts in the press, Jomo was met by “organised gangs of youth shouting ndume…stones were lobbed at the presidential dais…the presidential bodyguards opened fire …a stampede ensued and many were trampled”.

This was a defining moment of rupture from government for the people of Kisumu who lived under a dawn-to-dusk curfew and bore the pain of an official death toll of 11 that contradicted their own account of 100 dead, including children.

The event clearly shaped the discourse of exclusion and victimisation among the Luo.

Surprisingly, Raila does not recount the events of October 29, 2005 when Raphael Tuju tried to hold a rally in Kisumu in support of the Wako Draft Constitution, yet the incident mirrors closely the events of New Nyanza 1969.

Officially, four people died from gunshots, 30 were wounded.

Raila outlines the power of the Odingas in determining elections in Luo Nyanza.

Even when they have had serious doubts about the integrity of a person, as in the case of their in-law Otieno Ambala, they have never shied away from using their clout to get someone elected.

STARTLING REVELATIONS

But the more startling revelation is of the safe haven, later guerilla camp, that Raila and his father run on their Opoda Farm in 1979 when they trained the soldiers who invaded Uganda to aid Milton Obote’s return.

The clout of the Odingas in the region is seen again in Raila’s 1991 flight into exile when he escaped Moi’s dragnet by crossing over into Uganda on a boat.

Before that exile, Jaramogi too was said to have Ugandan support when he was reportedly spotted at Entebbe airport after the failed 1982 coup.

Raila refuses to discuss his role in that coup saying “[t]he full explanation of our efforts to bring about popular change will have to wait for another, freer, time in our country”.

This silence is unfortunate because there are numerous accounts from coup perpetrators who implicate Raila and Jaramogi in the funding and planning of the putsch.

A recent account taken from the statements of Joseph Ogidi Obuon was published in the Daily Nation on August 3. Ogidi said that in the planning stages, Raila had informed them that there would be “some help from neighbouring countries”.

Though Raila refuses to discuss the details, his account of his travel from Nairobi on the night of August 1 and his arrival at a vantage point on August 2 from where he confirmed that a military aircraft was parked at the Kisumu Airport, speaks volumes!

LAST WORD

The last two chapters of Raila’s story are important for two reasons.

First, they allow Raila to finish his story on a note of victory.

Second, they give us substantial details on his achievements in the Office of the Prime Minister, a worthy thing because there are many who were convinced that his was the laggardly side of mseto, a cantankerous and disagreeable union that tired the populace with its trickster narratives and cries of “I was not consulted”.

Still, it is rare to come across a biography like this one that relates no regrets, no pensive second thoughts on old choices.

Where there have been mis-steps or dodgy decisions, they are swiftly blamed on others.

A particularly amusing example is the failed cheaper maize flour scheme for those with low income. Raila says “government officials spoiled it” instead of admitting to its illogical socio-economics or, with the benefit of hindsight, debating how the scheme might have been run differently.

TAKING TOO MUCH CREDIT

It is easy to conclude that Raila takes credit for far too many things, not least the famous “Kibaki Tosha” which, truly, came at a time when Raila and his group of New Kanu rebels had nowhere else to go and no choice but to endorse a decision that Wamalwa, Kibaki and Ngilu had already arrived at.

By their very definition, autobiographies are about making the subject the centre of gravity.

Raila, therefore, dims the contributions of party leaders like Mboya, Fred Gumo, Mwai Kibaki and Ronald Ngala all of whom represented constituencies outside their ancestral homes long before Raila did so in Langata.

He diminishes the ideas of his colleagues at the Kenya Bureau of Standards; of Ufungamano and other actors in the constitution-making process, and by-passes the genius of the technocrats who turned his Lapsset, Prime-Minister’s Round Table Forum and Special Economic Zones into memorable successes.

He is a rare lecturer who has no memory of a single one of his former students and a hard-hearted friend who seems to deal too casually with the disappearance of his business partner, Franz, with whom he had a disagreement.

This is a story of courage and determination but in the end, it fills one with an overwhelming sense of pity.

The humiliation that Raila has suffered is partly in the brutality of detention, so he gives very few details of his second and third stints therein.

Understandably, there is an even more harrowing pain. You hear it in the number of times Raila reports, “[they] attacked Jaramogi”.

PRESIDENT FOR JUST ONE DAY

The weight of his father’s unfulfilled dreams is evidently on Raila’s shoulders as he leaves out the revelations of Jaramogi’s confidant, Odinge Odera, about Jaramogi’s “sulking” reaction to Moi’s ascension to the throne upon Jomo’s death in 1978.

Similarly, Raila does not recount the sad public plea Jaramogi made to Moi in Bondo shortly before his death when he asked Moi to leave him the president’s seat for just one day.

Though Raila’s book ends with a bold vision for high Pan-African ideals, it is still the story of a man (and his father) who has lit so many fires, but one who has yet to warm himself at the ultimate hearth in State House.

So I echo Obasanjo’s Foreword in saying, “I am looking forward to reading the rest of the Raila story”.

Dr Nyairo is a cultural analyst. (jnyairo@gmail.com)

Thanks, and Christian Literature request

From: Josephat Sekele

I would like to express my sincere thanks for the great work you have been doing for many years .Truelly your ministry has blessed me and others all over the world.Personally i have read some of your books and listened your tapes are so encouraging.I take this opportunity to reguest for any christian literature and any other materials which can help my spiritual growth.Thanks.Hope you will consider my request.

LUPITA NYONG’O TO GET HOLLYWOOD AWARD OCTOBER 21

From: Ouko joachim omolo
The News Dispatch with Omolo Beste
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2013

Kenyan actress based in Hollywood, Lupita Nyong’o will together with the director of the 12 Years a Slave Steve McQueen get an award on October 21. The two are expected to receive the Hollywood Breakout Director Award and New Hollywood Award, respectively at the 17th annual Hollywood Film Awards. Previous recipients of the New Hollywood Award include Robert Pattinson, Gabourey Sidibe, Jennifer Lawrence, Felicity Jones and Quvenzhane Wallis.

Lupita who is Kisumu Senator Prof. Anyang Nyong’o’s daughter stars in the movie alongside Hollywood bigwigs like Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard and Brad Pitt. She plays Patsey, a slave on the Epps plantation. Her other credits include playing Perdita in “The Winter’s Tale”, (Yale Repertory Theater), Sonya in “Uncle Vanya”, Katherine in “The Taming of the Shrew”.

Lupita who is also a graduate of Yale School of Drama’s acting program and also holds a degree in Film and African Studies from Hampshire College, Massachusetts, also a lead actress in the Kenyan TV drama Shuga in 2009. She acted as Ayira, a vivacious college student who loved the high-life. She has also graduated with a degree.

Lupita who was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya makes a brief appearance in the second season – Shuga: Love, Sex, Money, where she was also a co-director. Her other work includes the documentary In My Genes which she wrote, directed and produced. It tells the story of people living with albinism in Kenya. She has worked in the production sets of different movies including the Kenyan-filmed Constant Gardener.

The first trailer of her slave drama made its debut online this week and the Kenyan actress is seen working on a plantation picking cotton with other slaves and at one point coming to the defense of the main character, Solomon Northup, acted by UK-based Chiwetel Ejiofor.

It’s a movie adapted from the autobiography by Solomon Northup, who was a free man but was lured to a well-paying job in the US, kidnapped and sold as a slave in Washington DC in 1841.

Like Lupita, there are also other young, romantic and beautiful Kenyans women who have made us proud. One of them is Miriam Chemmos, a multi-talented Kenyan singer/song-writer and actress living in the United States.

Among the inspiring songs she has released include a new album titled Lovebird. Released on January 7, 2013, Lovebird celebrates love, peace and unity, and is a collection 15 tracks sung in both English and Swahili incorporating a verity of genres – reggae, salsa, hip-hop, rumba, pop, RnB, and soukous.

Miriam was born in Kenya by a Kenyan father and a Tanzanian mother. She spent her childhood between Kenya and Tanzania. She began singing and citing at an early age, and competed at the national drama and music festivals while in high school in Kenya.

In 1998, Miriam moved to Iowa in the US where she studied Theater/Music and Media, and graduated in 2001. After graduation she moved to Washington, DC, where she acted in several regional theatrical shows and also hosted her own radio titled “Retrospect’ on Voice of America. While in Washington, DC she also featured on CBS hit TV series “The District” 2003 and in several independent films such as “Refuge” and “Mirrors”.

In 2004, Miriam moved to New York and landed numerous roles on off-Broadway shows and on print and television modeling jobs. She also became a member of the famous Motown girl musical group “The Marvalletes Revue”. While performing with this group Miriam shared stages with legendary groups such as “The Escorts”, “Kool & The Gang”, and “Soul Generations”.

In 2007 Miriam released a hit single titled “RUDI” that would top charts and countdowns in several radio stations around the world: BBC Radio (UK), SARFM (New York), Voice of America (Washington, DC), Kiss FM (Kenya), Capital FM (Kenya), Sanyu FM (Uganda), Ghana Choice FM, among others.

The success of the RUDI single gave Miririam a great deal of media coverage, including being featured in several US and overseas magazines. She was featured in the September, 2007 issue of Vibe Magazine, with the magazine calling her “The Queen of African Urban Music”.

The next one is Susan Anyango- half-Russian half Kenyan with the killer smile, endless legs and soft attitude currently holds the tiara as outgoing Miss Kenya. She is 6 feet tall, slight in weight, very soft spoken (a little coy even). She is involved with the jigger campaign which is a former Miss Kenya’s initiative.

In her tender age, Susan prays, reads a lot and plays basketball. She has also featured in a Safaricom advert and once Miss Kerugoya for two years. She owns a car (which she loves) which came with the crown. She is studying Journalism and Communication at KEMU (Kenya Methodist University). She will participate in the Miss World competition in London in October this year.

Known as Chantelle, Winnie Wambui Naisula Ole Siameto is another celebrity young and industrious woman. A friend got her the name Chantelle because she felt the song and Winnie did not blend well.

Born 21 years ago, Chantelle is a child of mixed race, with a father of both Maasai and Indian origins. Her mother was of the Gikuyu origin but passed on when she was only 11 years. She is the only girl in the family of four boys.

One day she will accomplish her dream of becoming a T. V. presenter. She especially admired Sophie Ikenye who was a star news presenter when she was growing up. In her absence, Julie Gichuru and Lilian Muli-Kanene are the people she looks up to, and is sure she will one day do her thing like them. For now though, she is concentrating on her newly discovered talent, rapping.

Chantelle is a firm believer in the Kenyan music industry. She is happy her generation is storming into the music scene and has great admiration for the Camp Mulla group, whose music is great although they are quite young.

Meet another young and romantic woman, Pierra Makena. She is talented lady set to perform in Big Apple in New York at the awards which are scheduled for Sunday then proceed to perform in Washington D.C, California and San Francisco. Pierra’s deejaying career has grown massively in the years and has even seen her ranked Kenya’s top female deejay.

Her moment of fame started a while back through acting in various local television shows including Kisulisuli and the all famous Tahidi High after which she was featured in a MNet show Changes.

This lady of many talents has a lot going for her as apart from acting she has other things up her sleeve. She is the Marketing Manager at ONE F.M and at some point she was a radio presenter before she quit and pursued her current passion, deejaying in which she proved that a woman can thrive in a male dominated field. One place you will be sure to catch her performing is at The Circle. Good work Makena.

Tanya (Sarah Hassan) Shish (Shirleen Wangari) Freddy (Abel Mutua) OJ (Dennis Mugo), Pierra Makena among others have been through Tahidi High and they have made Kenyans proud in theatre industries.

Miss Karun of Camp Mulla is another one. At 19 years old, this girl has risen above the ‘auto tuned, shake your behind while spewing crap’ madness. She has grown into a singer who understands her vocal capabilities and is surrounded by mentors who actually understand what music is about. Karun has flown off to the US for studies.

Born Karungari Mungai, Karun is the daughter of designer Molly Mungai, the CEO and creative strategy director at African Mystique Ltd, and Eric Mungai. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Eric Mungai are great childhood friends and he has therefore seen the young Karun grow up. She performed at Uhuru’s inauguration ceremony.

Others are Kambua Manundu, a good gospel singer. She works for Rauka, a gospel music show on Citizen TV. Rauka is Kiswahili for “wake up” – and Kambua has been waking up audiences wherever she goes with her drop-dead gorgeous looks and beautiful, soaring voice.

Sarah Hassan (Tanya) is another young Kenyan woman whose life revolves around fun. She is on One FM as the breakfast show presenter or on hosting Mashariki Mix. Then comes Sheila ‘Nikki’ Mwanyigha, a Easy FM’s broadcaster.

Sheila came to the limelight in the late 90s after she took the airwaves by storm with the track mapenzi tele. Sheila has released a new track with Camp Mulla’s Taio dubbed Feeling Good. The track is currently gracing the airwaves.

Sarah Ndunu and Sugar as she is known is a young actress, who was the talk of town after she won the Best Female Actress Kalasha Award and, Sugar, that tasteful singing beauty from Phoenix Records.

Others are Joey Muthengi musician, Alice Kamande, Wewe Pekee gospel star and the Groove Awards 2011 Best Female star singer, Amani, Tero, Sanaipei Tande, STL, Wahu, Habida, Size 8, a sizzling hot gospel singer, Brenda Wairimu, Avril and Marya among others.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail omolo.ouko@gmail.com
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Twitter-@8000accomole

Real change must come from ordinary people who refuse to be taken hostage by the weapons of politicians in the face of inequality, racism and oppression, but march together towards a clear and unambiguous goal.

-Anne Montgomery, RSCJ
UN Disarmament
Conference, 2002