THE RAILA NATIONS: THE UNCERTAINTY OF POST BABA ERA

For those who revere the man they nurse a hope of reinvention; at least for the last time perhaps. Well signs point to an ending season; bold internal rebellion and an ODM that is a pale shadow of its former self. Of course, a resurgent Jubilee that is so keen on allowing no chance at reinvention. And the man, Raila, his vigor and energy stolen each day by the advance of age

Kenyan politics has pivoted around this enigmatic figure for more than a decade. The man, Raila, has been a novice and a master, the hero and the villain. He has morphed from Tinga, to Agwambo to hammer and then baba; a master at reinvention.

His name has made careers and his person destroyed some. A characteristic Machiavellian prince in many ways who did not hesitate at some instances to burn the very bridges he used. To say Raila has been the Kenyan politics and the Kenyan politics has been Raila is not an unholy exaggeration.

But now the sunset looms; a statement that his believers would not bear. But which is a guarantee of nature, for every man must bow down at some point, and Baba, is just a man. Raila has been a controversy, a puzzle that history will try to unravel. And in his characteristic self, no one can predict just the perfect time when he should call it a day. And he knows the art, he keeps people guessing. Raila.

Raila built around himself an aura that is puzzling, his name sometimes overshadowing institutions. Not the best characteristic of a good leader, but I think a show of politics per excellence. And with this, he built two nations; one that believes the man and the other that loathes the man. Sometimes the latter has been reduced to be called the Luo nation, but that is a lie. For Raila commands followership albeit fading that goes well beyond the boundaries of Nyanza.

While the former, the nation that loathes the man anticipates his end, there is an unknown danger that it equally faces. Anytime Raila is in the politics, he becomes a common enemy, when he leaves; certainly, a unity of purpose for an impressively large constituency in Kenya disintegrates. So, in my own estimation, the two Raila nations must share in the anxiety of the post baba uncertainty.

So the most fundamental question is what lies ahead, after Baba?
For those who revere the man they nurse a hope of reinvention; at least for the last time perhaps. Well signs point to an ending season; bold internal rebellion and an ODM that is a pale shadow of its former self. Of course, a resurgent Jubilee that is so keen on allowing no chance at reinvention. And the man, Raila, his vigor and energy stolen each day by the advance of age.Raila Odinga

OKOA Kenya which in my interpretation would have provided a real chance has barely taken off. And while Raila in the last decade always set the pace, he finds himself playing reactionary. Trying to catch up, trying to mend what is disintegrating. Signs point to a looming sunset. And in part, I believe those around Baba instead of helping him craft a narrative that resonates with time, they each day are a luggage, being carried on his very back that knows both the joys and pains of time. Signs point to a looming sunset.

It will be foolhardy to conclude, whether there is nothing up his sleeves. Whether there is no other person after Baba.

To the ambitious, who hope they can inherit his faithful, this is the best time to start. And some in naivety believe this nation is up for auction.

While admittedly Kenyan politics his tribal, what has galvanized Luos around Raila is not necessarily his Luoness. It is his charisma, his person. He earned his place through stripes and whacks. Born of royalty, to a vice president to be, he crafted and cemented his own image. Told his own story and fought his battles. To imagine that after he leaves the scene, there shall remain a coherent Nation of faithful is to be naïve.

Well, certainly a huge number of people will now be up for grabs, but the ambitious who hope to take the loot home, in my estimation must be ready to craft a powerful narrative. In fact, a hope that anyone can replace Raila, in form and stature is impossible for much known reasons; no one can be Raila. So everyone should try being their own person. If there is a conclusion I am prepared to make, is that the Raila faithful cannot be inherited without considerable disruption. The going of the man, shall leave a nation that will certainly scatter, even if it will recollect itself later on.

The nation that loathes Raila must be prepared to find a new unity of purpose. And whatever narrative that will replace Raila, must certainly be powerful. It was so easy to whip emotions against the man and get followers. You could galvanize a narrative by just stating that is you are not supported, and then Raila will win. This narrative won 2007 and 2013. Certainly, post Baba shall call for a thorough reinvention.

The hope of his calling it a day will be disruptive, but certainly not unwelcome. He has given his time and life for country. Many see him as a hero, many as a villain. Many see him as though he championed a course; many think his was a raw pursuit of ambition. And many will struggle to have an opinion about him. Whichever Nation you belong, one thing we all agree, Raila Odinga existed, and an exciting time is ahead as we face a politics without him.

IN MEMORY OF THE DEAD: FATHER I AM NOW 24

So many times, in my own quest to be a man, I miss you. Those small voids that a young man experiences; the questions that a father would be suited to answer. The small successes that would make more sense if I felt your pat on the back. And that one thing that I would pay with my life to hear you say: Well done son.

In two short days, it will be sixth of November, 14 years since you died. It was on sixth, November, 2000. It was a Monday. I recall that day, though I was tiny, in stature and age, I still recall that day. I had been swimming in River Sio, you know that rock filled trench that taught my heart its rhythm. Water used to flow swiftly dad, and here the measure of a man was how swift you could swim against the current. A lifelong lesson I carry today.

Now, I know you are not aware, but three years earlier, I almost drowned here. You see, I was tiny, but always wanted to be a man. So I always took a dive, and when my brother Odhis, was not watching, I would go to the deeper ends. So on this day, I went into the silent waters, where current could not save me. So I swam, and swam till when my feeble arms could no longer hold me. I gasped for breath, and swallowed water.

These deep ends were so silent; no one seemed to notice as I gasped. Until this one guy, I just remember him as Moni. I should look for him, noticed me as I sank one more time. He did not rush to save me. The art of rescue meant that he had to wait, until when I had just swallowed enough water, before he could come.

But however designed that rescue thing, has never drowned. With every gasp and every gulp swallowed, is a step closer to death. The problem with drowning is that you are so aware that you are dying. So you keep reaching out to something, something that is not there. So you keeping gasping, amidst hopes that you may find something to hold onto to.

Well, that close shave with water never deterred my spirit. In childhood bravery, I still stood on the rugged rock naked, and took that bold plunge into the very depths that almost drowned me.

So on this Monday, after the ritual, I started walking him. You see, this plunge had so many things; you would leave the river with a buzz in your ear. And you had to jump up and down with the ear facing downwards for the water to come out. As the water came out, it was warm, close to being hot, and then you would hear well again.

So as water came out of my ears, I heard that unmistakable shriek. In Western Kenya, it could only mean one thing, a person was dead. People were crying, and from a far, I picked out Granny’s cry. You see, Granny had such a distinctive way of mourning; a rhythmic pulse that described loss and grief; a fusion of artistic cords with genuine cry. She could mourn, Granny mourned you Dad.

I wondered who would have died. I do not recall hearing anyone say you were sick. Even so, your death would have been the last thing on my mind. You were the last thing on my mind then.

But as I got home, I sensed danger. Mom was sobbing uncontrollably. She sat looking west, saying her friend had gone. Saying he had gone without a bye. Saying she missed those small things that were eaten up by years of separation. You see Dad, mom mourned you.

At first, it never struck me as anything. The gazes I received from people, those deeply warming sympathies that would make a young person believe that the loss only meant more concern. It is strange, but as I try to recall exactly what I felt, I think it was pride.

I felt proud of the loss, strange that sounds. But yes, I was ten, I had lost a father, and I had gazes of concern all around me. I was surrounded by love, and pats on the head. I was a son who had lost a father. All people go through this; just few people do so in the innocence of their childhood.

The memories of your funeral, cars; it is magical how in a village the number of cars that come for a funeral matter.

My last glimpse of you, you were stretched in that mahogany casket; peaceful in death. And I think I saw this dust on your shoe which I wanted to wipe before Auntie Pamela whisked me away.

Now, I never shed a tear, all through the days of the funeral; until by your graveside. When I saw your casket being lowered into the eternity something snapped.

I remembered that was the only time when it was just you and me. It had been in November, 1999. You were bringing me back home after a long stay in hospital. So you drove, I still remember the bottly- clings as your car, a jungle green KAC something passed over bumps. I still remember that sharp swerve on some corner when you almost hit a Matatu. You smiled with that guilt on your face.

Perhaps you may not recall, but I cried by your graveside. I just don’t know why. But you see, it is not good for a son to grow up never knowing how a pat on the back from a Dad would be.

I recount the hate I felt, and in my adolescent escapades the rebellion I waged against your grave. I never experienced your strict reign. But I enjoy the tales when my sister and bro tells me the fear your presence wielded. I am told anytime the hum of your car would pass by, they would run to their books. Yet, you had an eye for the one who was pretending. Bro, Tito tells me one day you found him looking at the book upside down. I think that was cool.

So many times, in my own quest to be a man, I miss you. Those small voids that a young man experiences; the questions that a father would be suited to answer. The small successes that would make more sense if I felt your pat on the back. And that one thing that I would pay with my life to hear you say: Well done son.

Now the last time you saw me, I was nine. The last place you saw me, was Granny’s gate. That was the happiest day ever Dad. You gave nine shillings; shiny silvery new shillings. It was such a boost. I added seven to my savings. You know I had a small hole on the Eastern wall of the house where I saved. I only emptied it on Christmas Eve. Because that was the only time mom would allow us to go and walk. And I would indulge in spending; I enjoyed outdoing my brother Odhis. Then I would some back home, a poor little fellow.

So that nine shillings went to my Christmas. And that smile is what the last thing I remember of you is.

Dad, I am now 24. And I no longer save for Christmas. I rarely celebrate Christmas. Mom, your friend has been awesome. I have stopped rebelling; I now live your aspirations. You know, it has not been easy. I do not have your photo, and I have to listen to stories about you and guess what you would have wanted of me. Granny thinks I really look like you, so secretly, I look forward to being old, then I will take two photos, one, I will write Lone Felix, and the other, Lone Felix-he who resembles Charles. That sounds cool.

Dad, I am now 24. And I no longer save for Christmas. And I would laugh at you if you gave me nine shillings. Your going gifted us an invaluable chance, to grow in uncertainty and lack. And so we have become tenacious and well rounded. But somehow, mom always reminded us that you would want us to succeed. She has been awesome.

Fourteen years can be a long time. I think they have taken a toll on her. But she has been awesome. Happy 14th Anniversary of your Rest.

THE THIRD PERSUASION: JUST NOT JUBILEE OR CORD

“These two formations though, are morphing into entities that will pose the greatest challenge to Kenya; Jubilee; a ruthless machinery, keen on preserving its hold onto power, but dangerously unconscious to the need of nationhood; CORD, a scheme of frustrated ambition able to give a shot at their dreams at any expense”

With the high court ruling that only three political parties will benefit from the 205 Million Political Parties Kitty, smaller parties must be wondering how they will survive. Indeed, some have already started moving from expensive offices in the leafy suburbs of Nairobi to way humbler locations. With funds obtained from party nominations exhausted, pilfered or mismanaged, a familiar circle of party deaths is coming full circle. Such has been the predictability of our politics, a certain gifting of each electoral cycle.
The elections of 2013 managed to realize another goal though, a resurgence of the Oginga-Kenyatta rift that seems to defy each political cycle. These two cleavages have then gone forth to cement cliques around themselves and Jubilee and Cord were born. Each drawing their depth from shared distrust, and fueled by a burning pursuit of political power.
Any political contest is founded on a desire for power. A people centered political contest will add a hope; that with power one can influence a society to better ends, to that desire. Jubilee and Cord are formations that have shown that they ascribe to the former, a raw pursuit of political power with the real issues affecting people playing an impressively peripheral role.
As I write this, I have just concluded reading the National Development Party (NDP) 1997 manifesto. NDP then was a Tinga affair, and I must admit I am impressed. That manifesto, unlike anything glossy today had a real touch of what truly affected people. And indeed, many items it bore today have been anchored in the constitution. In comparison, ODM as a party is miles away in thought to be close to what NDP espoused. How time can kill real leadership.
Raila’s inability however to hold onto the spark that once characterized him is not a surprise. The man has criticized and dined with the system. He has sought it, grasped it before it was snatched away. He has been in the system, betrayed it, and destroyed it, before he was again ejected out. This mix would create a natural confusion I must admit.
But with this confusion, as the chief protagonist, his brigade finds itself frustrated by an evasive quest for power that they have started following the very paths they castigated. Indeed, if there is a fear I nurture today, is the impatience of Kenya’s opposition. Their acts, strategies and initiatives point to a nearing of desperation. Probably, an acceptance that belief in the idealism is not paying off, and that perhaps it is time for raw politics; value-less, just politicking.
So Kenya is at interesting times; a government that is struggling to find the heart of its people; consumed by raw pursuit of individual advancement, and an opposition that is impressively blank, unable to offer any credible alternative.
Yet, we have been lumped into these two formations politically. Our taxes only recognize them, as the sole representatives and bearers of the Kenyan dream.
It would be hypocritical to paint a picture that nothing is working. I mean we have seen quite some progress. Recently, we reviewed our data and pushed ourselves into lower middle level income nations; beautiful statistics. Even though it has no correlation with my daily bread, it attracts a certain pride to be told we are among ‘top-ten’ economies in Africa. This ‘top-ten’ business was such an issue in my primary school days. We at least have very high literacy levels, a president who takes selfies, so yes, a few things are working.
Both the current and past regimes have invested in real pieces of development. The road network is set to be upgraded and funds set aside for the youth. Whether the fanfare around this translates to real results is another question; likely, in my opinion to be answered in the negative.
But a country’s leadership must always know the season of its people. There will always emerge a single problem in the development of a country where if overcome, a trajectory of sustained growth becomes irreversible. Kenya’s at the moment is our inability to pull together as a people.
I have held an opinion that Kenya’s best moments occur when we pull together. In my own view, the independence government before rifts emerged, the initial stages of the NARC government and the grand coalition government offered real hope that Kenya would take off. Their collapse also necessarily meant a halt to the real progress towards a sustainably stable country.
A fundamental question therefore that we need to ask ourselves is whether the current two formations have the ability to rally Kenya together.
The faces leading the two formations are unable to unite us for many reasons. The fact of Kenyattaism and Odingaism is just as dividing to the opponents as is unifying to the supporters. The two graves excite love and hate in equal measure, and so whether their sons desire a united country or not, they just can’t be the vessel towards that unity.
This is not an entirely new notion. Even Biblically, even though David desired to build God a temple, the fact of him was too controversial for God to allow it.
But whether Raila or Uhuru truly wills a united Kenya is equally a fact in this. The two and their immediate brigade draw their support from their ethnic enclaves. If politics transcends ethnicity in Kenya, the very existence of the two dynasties becomes threatened. And so, it is in their interest to have a nation polarized, and that informs the political rhetoric that has characterized the two fronts.
Admittedly, CORD and Jubilee have several people who will be willing to commit to national unity. But the shadows of the dynasties will always overshadow any of this initiative.
These two formations though, are morphing into entities that will pose the greatest challenge to Kenya; Jubilee; a ruthless machinery, keen on preserving its hold onto power, but dangerously unconscious to the need of nationhood; CORD, a scheme of frustrated ambition able to give a shot at their dreams at any expense. And sadly, all of them are recruiting youthful vigor into the callousness and desperation they are.
A normal Kenyan, who would like to belong, and have their struggles and prosperity found in a stable nation may not find their aspirations expressed here. A Kenyan who dreams of unity, shared challenges and shared dreams will rarely see the expression of this hope in the two formations. A Kenyan, who hopes that public good can characterize the pursuit and exercise of power, knows that Jubilee and Cord does not represent their hope.
So certainly, there must be a third persuasion. There must be a politics that truly deserves the honor of our taxes. There must be a leader not tarnished by the baggage of yesterday, or so deep a prisoner of interest who can inspire us to nationhood.
When Uhuru Kenyatta became president, I thought his stature would have overcome the confines of the system. History has a few examples of leaders who are nurtured by the system, but ended up disobeying them to the good of the people. Beyond the charm Uhuru has brought to the presidency, is certainly still chained to unfortunate interests.
Further, the interest that jubilee is rekindling in the presidency, casting it as central to everything revives the very ghosts that Kenya hoped to run away from by decentralizing power. Why, the presidency would re-emerge in this new dispensation as a powerful player to everything points to two things. A mindset that is deeply rooted in the past unable to transition to Kenya’s aspired spirit and secondly a deliberate dismissal of the intentions of the drafters of Kenya’s new order.
And while the opposition should have taken this chance and demonstrated what true belief in institutionalized reforms would look like, it has started a new clamor for change of system of government; a politically expedient quest. Merit notwithstanding, no society can afford the luxury of such frequent transitions.
And so Kenya is yet again with a politics that is not in sync with her aspirations. And I as a young Kenyan fail again to see a leadership that expresses my aspirations. I think it is time to for a Third Persuasion.

CONTEXTUALIZING HEROISM: WE JUST CANT RELIVE HISTORY

So a real modern hero, will have to understand that the oppression we suffer is our inability to invest in institutions and even more to have confidence in the once we create. A modern hero in my opinion is the one who will be bold to lead our people through real pain, banking on our resilience as we break our chaining to inefficiency. One who will say we bear the responsibility for our own growth without excusing our failure by blaming endless conspiracies. My real Kenyan hero, will be the one who learns from the values that founded our struggles, without attempting to live those times.

Today, Kenya celebrates Mashujaa day. A national holiday set forth to honor men and women who contribute to the collective growth of our nation. The people whose personal achievements bring honor and repute to our country, people who sacrifice their own comfort to see that others’ plights alleviated.

Hero has an indo-European provenance with its root ‘ser which essentially means protect. Indeed, notions of heroism seem to find their validation in acts of bravery when adversity befalls a section of humanity. A hero therefore, from both an etymological and contemporary perspective, is a person who steps forth when there is a gap to give a profound contribution that benefit more than their person.

Our country Kenya has distinguished names. Jomo Kenyatta, Jaramogi Odinga, Tom Mboya, Wangari Maathai, Tecla Loroupe, Humphrey Khayange. Political or other preferences notwithstanding, these are names that evoke a certain feeling of admirable achievement. Jomo Kenyatta, the fact of him being the founding father of this nation or Maathai, the fact of her fighting for the environment.  Our sportspersons give us an insatiable desire to associate with them. The fact of their winning brings honor to us. They become our heroines and heroes.

A society therefore will choose to see an act as heroic depending on many reasons. Whether it draws pride, confers benefits or even absurdly if it satiates sometimes mundane desires.

One permanent feature though, is that these persons become some benchmarks of sorts. They offer an achievement or guidance that secures both today and tomorrow. So the future generations or even the current are referred to their exploits as sample-paths to take. Some of heroic stories inspire current exploits. So a young politician may decide to strive for Kenyatta’s charisma or a young athlete wish to exceed Kipchoge’s fame. In a way, the values, standing and choices of those we regard as heroes become spirits that breathe life into our own fights.

This got me thinking. Most of the time history has a sense of beauty. Humanity has always been hesitant to document its failures. So it exalts the niceties that exist at any instance. Of course, the very fact of human documentation means, history is fraught of subjective perceptions and individual judgments.

So when it is suggested that the versions of history we are taught was heavily revised to favor my nation’s own agenda, hiding its crime and in doing so fostering an unrealistic sense of false patriotism to corporate entity government, I silently agree with it. It is just human.

So anytime a character from the past has been mentioned with a glowing value around them, I have chosen to give cautious admiration. Because the picture will just never be complete. But that admiration in itself is complete. For even with the revision and hiding, any documentation is justified to the extent that it serves a certain purpose. So if my history is doctored to create supermen, if the fact of that creation motivates the existence of supermen in years to come, so be it.

I suppose this may be construed as complacency, no. I have chosen to question history many times. But as a young African, I choose to have trust in the history I was taught. The tales of Anako afote who fought for the independence of my country. I choose the beauty in the names of Nkrumah, Nyerere, and Mandela. I think I love the bravery of Dedan Kimathi that if it were a lie, I would rather it, than a different truth.

Well, I needed to dissuade myself from trying to question history, before I could move to the substance of my writing.

What made Kimathi a hero? What made Loroupe a heroine?

Their acts revolved around a context. When a people’s freedom and wealth were taken away from them and a free people forced to become subjects to foreign masters, it was necessary to revolt. And anyone who led this revolt served to gift their generation and states a service that was extra-ordinarily valuable. They became heroes and heroines.

And so in this, the names of Kenyatta, Amilcar Cabral, Kenneth Kaunda or Nelson Mandela will forever stand exalted on the African shelf.

These people shouted away invasion. They sought freedom for their people. A pursuit which in many ways is the only inherent desire of any human being. The oppression they fought against was the actual presence of foreigners who loaded it over them. And this was a genuine pursuit. For this was a struggle across Africa, a feeling of solidarity was conceived. I have been never able to place the real reason of this birth. Was it a mutual craving for freedom or shared hate for whites.

Elite-led struggles can be full of deception. But the dwindling of Pan Africanism suggests, perhaps it was a shared hate. For a yearning for freedom is essential, it is an ideal that would have bound us together forever.

Voices of Pan Africanism have started to emerge. But the solidarity we seek today, in my view is not creating any value for posterity. From Kenya, to Uganda through West Africa, there are calls to get African problems solved by Africans. This is indeed extra ordinarily true. We have as Africans to solve our own issues.

But as we seek to assert ourselves, I believe we must contextualize our struggles. Kenyatta snr was justified to say Kenya should be left for Kenyans. Season and time allowed it. Environment allowed it. Then, internet was but an idea, today, America could be hacked by a Nairobi educated youth from the comfort of their village.

The reality of today is that shouting away other state’s interest is an unrealistic endeavor; in fact a hypocritical one.

A true modern African Political hero is the one who shall be honest enough to tell our people, that we shall not succeed unless we truly assert our greatness in the context; the context of globalization. That modern Pan Africanism should never be crafted around shouting away other nations, but by asserting the spirit of African excellence on the global stage.

In my own opinion, we are a resilient continent. Africa has faced the worst that humanity can face. Yet we retain an admirable optimism. We walk kilometers to school, yet we give the world amongst the best of the brains. And Kenya as a country, exemplifies these values even more pronouncedly.

So a real modern hero, will have to understand that the oppression we suffer is our inability to invest in institutions and even more to have confidence in the once we create. A modern hero in my opinion is the one who will be bold to lead our people through real pain, banking on our resilience as we break our chaining to inefficiency. One who will say we bear the responsibility for our own growth without excusing our failure by blaming endless conspiracies. My real Kenyan hero, will be the one who learns from the values that founded our struggles, without attempting to live those times.

A modern hero, to my truly African heart, must tell me the truth; that I am just as responsible for the failure of my society as my government. And that the success of a nation is a reflection largely of individual effort complimented minimally by the workings of state. And so that I have a responsibility, in all little bits, to be the hero, that my time calls me to be.

.Lone Felix OnwardHappy Mashujaa Day, to those who live the spirit of honest struggle

LETTER TO LIFE: THE SEVENTH CONVERSATION; A BEGINNING END

“But then, this would mean, that perhaps the truest measure of ourselves is ourselves. For how will men, who are susceptible, no, who do not have a choice most of the time but to believe what they see or hear, know your heart.
So then, if we need a better of ourselves, we have to daily struggle to question our hearts. To implore our conscience and judgment to life. To live others. To forget self. To believe in the discomfort of our own judgment”

The last six times we have spoken, I have always been motivated by many things. Sometimes hate, sometimes disappointment, sometimes threads of disillusionment. Today, as I sit down to start writing, I do not have any particular emotion. From a far, there are tingles of gratefulness, fatigue, acceptance, disappointment; there are threads of self satisfaction, an anxiety but in a big way; a feeling of learning.
As you know, in the history of our twofold life, I have never ended a conversation without a conclusion. Recall those times when I retreat to talk to self, or to question my ideas? I have always endeavored to conclude our talk. Because whenever I confide in you, without ever finishing it, it sets endless emptiness.
I have published four of our conversations; three remain in the secrecy of our twofold. I know at the right time, they will be released. To a people who, as I stated when we started, will interpret them through their own scales. I have always found extreme relief in the candor we share. And so today, I intend to share with you again; a pursuit of that same relief, seeking the strength of renewal. Perhaps, like I am coming to believe, a confirmation that one face of my journey is done, and I have to start again.
The sixth conversation was lessons. I wrote then, having been taught by you to know the emptiness that follows a raw pursuit of ambition. Then you taught me life, that trueness of life lives in value of people. I feel like this chat will have an uncharacteristic detachment. For here, I want to talk to you about the intricacies of opportunity, the confusions that chance brings when it happens. Actually, my feeling was wrong, there won’t be a detachment, it’s a realization that the idealism I once nurtured has been molded by experience, to be stronger.
So what is this end that I anticipate? Of course, I have had one invaluable year of service to my peers. Of course, I have had four years of schooling. Of course, I have had a season of making decisions. That comes to an end with unexpected transition to more challenge, to further schooling. Such is a moment of self evaluation.
I must stop the free flow of my thoughts and look back. Well, it has been a fascinating year. Two very important things happened to me since we last spoke; I understood my values as a person better. And I found love. So idealistic again. What, the encounter with extreme realities have failed to make me a realist. This gives me a sense of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Satisfaction in knowing that I still have a root to what formed the root of struggles, but also a dissatisfaction in knowing that I was unable to transition to what my raw mind believes is a better life.
Life, a year ago, I took an oath of office. It was the second time I was swearing to take a responsibility. I will not dwell here on my encounters at office, for that very oath bounds me to secrecy. I will not dwell here on my own view of the year or the view of others. I have countless fond memories of that year and countless sad memories. I am unimaginably enthralled by multiple bits of joy, but unimaginably tied to countless bits of disappointment.
For a year, I have had a chance to see someone walk to me with their hopes pegged to the very words I would say. In my inexperience, I got confused countless moments. It is always the desire of each leader to solve each issue that comes your way. But what an unfortunate desire it is.
At first, I recall the times I would go home in a thousand pieces. Each concern would take a bit of me. Then I got shaken in knowing that I each day I may have to disappoint. Thank God for Gabriel, he made me know one thing.
Human beings, no matter the problem they face, always have a solution with themselves. And in the business of leading, the best and most sacred thing to do is to inspire that solution.
So where is my friend Erick; the person who embodied this lesson. I think I passed him on stairs in the haste that now is my life.
I have come to learn, that perhaps the greatest duty of a leader is to listen. How paradoxical, the illusion could be that as a leader you speak, and get listened to. But whenever one does that, all you get is an echo of your talk as it bounces against the many issues that will always be with the people.
Indeed, listening is an art that plays magic. In most instances, when you listen to people, what they want they confess themselves. So I had to conquer the fear of being unable to listen because I may not help. I had to believe that well, I would listen and hope that solutions would curve themselves. I do not know whether it is too early to conclude, but maybe the greatest lesson I have today is that the greatest leader is he who can be led easily. Again; Ideal. He who will be listened to is he who listens. Again; ideal. But I also learnt, that listening is the boldest step anyone would take, for men are so wired to listen to what they like, but, mostly what you listen to will never be what you like.
I need to go back to the streams of my thoughts.
About the revelation of myself to me, and about the defiance to become a realist. You see, chance is one crazy thing. You seek it, so hard, then it happens, often with curtailing realities. But I guess it is nature’s way of ensuring we keep being at it. That we will never be satisfied. For again as I said, satisfaction breeds stagnation.
Life, I would like to really wonder as to what men should do in living with others. You see, when I say am just a man, it means my confidence gets pumped up when a brother walks with me. It means It shrinks when a brother walks me. Yet, in life, so many times you are walked.
Indeed I know why. Men are burden by their own struggles to have time to think of what they see or hear. So they buy what they are told. It is not an entirely bad thing. Industries have been born out of this void; industries of people whose work is to create perception. How sorry, I wish we all bothered to question, a lot more would be different.
But such will always be impossible. For the world must also be founded on a certain level of trust. And that, perhaps means a certain level of not questioning. Such is a paradox of what is right in life.
As I question myself more, I realize the complexity of what is universally right is so simple. The paradox has two different ends. Competing, conflicting, all right in differing context. I guess, the easiest revelation that man should know then, is that right is in the balancing. In the knowing the time, the season and the reason. That right is in being of pure intent and facing reality as that, reality. That principle and value is not exemplified in absolute rigidity, but being rigid as to know that each season has its call.
Perfect principle of a leader, life your reveal to me, is knowing that the next second is a fluid as he has never seen, and that it has to be construed with its own uniqueness and peculiarity, but that this has to be done with a consistency of heart. Such is the simplicity of the paradox of what is right.
But then, this would mean, that perhaps the truest measure of ourselves is ourselves. For how will men, who are susceptible, no, who do not have a choice most of the time but to believe what they see or hear, know your heart.
So then, if we need a better of ourselves, we have to daily struggle to question our hearts. To implore our conscience and judgment to life. To live others. To forget self. To believe in the discomfort of our own judgment.
I feel that I should not proceed, indeed, the 8th conversation is just by. So I Stop. Just like I feared, for the first time without a conclusion. May be, it is time for another pursuit of lessons

SUPREMACY BATTLE, KENYA CAN LEARN AND MOVE WELL AHEAD

Of course, the Executive has reasserted itself as the ultimate. And it has given this claim legitimacy by drawing from tradition, but even so, controlling the legislature using extra-legal means. Tradition sets the presidency as the first authority, and this perception even if contradicted by law is the truth. While, whereas the Parliament should have real capacity to for instance to check the executive, it in reality is an agent of the presidency de facto. The Majority faction in the parliament is effectively whipped and has routinely accorded itself to the wishes of the presidency. If you were to suggest that Duale can check the President, well, that sounds laughable.

Since its promulgation, the Kenyan Constitution has managed to occasion several changes. A ballooning of the public wage bill, uncertainty of our legal regime and now the confusing supremacy wars that we are seeing as part of the disadvantages, on the positive, it has ushered in an era of pronounced civic knowledge on rights, restructured our national values, albeit on paper and facilitated creation of a second political structure at the county level.

The latter part of my sentence is deliberate; I do not believe the constitution has facilitated devolution. Not of resources, and not of political power. If you devolve resources, but retain the disbursement and monitoring rights (which is the real power) at the central level, ideally that makes governors and the county assemblies, agents of the national government. On the other side, no political power that was for instance reflected at the national level, say in the presidency, now vests at the county level, if there is, it is apparent, not real.

My interest though is not to question devolution; it’s to contribute to the dialogue on who is supreme, if there is, between the Executive, the Legislature & the parliament.

The Kenyan State, unlike other countries now has four organs of government, the Executive, the Legislature, The Judiciary and Independent Constitutional offices. As all states, the four are inter-linked in a manner meant to facilitate first, checks, and secondly balances. From here, we can make a logical conclusion, that viewed holistically, and then all organs are equal. For you can only check and even so, balance off the excesses of the other, if you equal them?

But logic as a concept often is in conflict with reality. And a political entity like Kenya, who beyond the law feels the impact of personality charisma and the effects of how institutions assert themselves, that balance is not a given.

My own view, a look at the Constitution, suggests that the Parliament may be the only body that can impose its will. In fact, the only form of imperialism capable of being exercised in Kenya is parliamentary. The Constitution vests onto the parliament powers to check and approve holders of office, distribution of resources and what have you(s).

In comparison, most powers vested in the presidency in the old constitution now rest either fully with the parliament or are spread between the parliament and the Executive.

Of course, the Executive has reasserted itself as the ultimate. And it has given this claim legitimacy by drawing from tradition, but even so, controlling the legislature using extra-legal means. Tradition sets the presidency as the first authority, and this perception even if contradicted by law is the truth. While, whereas the Parliament should have real capacity to for instance to check the executive, it in reality is an agent of the presidency de facto. The Majority faction in the parliament is effectively whipped and has routinely accorded itself to the wishes of the presidency. If you were to suggest that Duale can check the President, well, that sounds laughable.

On the other side, the Judiciary occupies what can be termed as the most pure status of the four organs. It’s the custodian of legality, and has a mandate to interrogate any action; by any authority as long that interrogation is founded on need to ensure its within the constitution.

To be crude, let me say, the Judiciary is traditionally powerful than the legislature. If the primary role of the legislature is to enact legislation, and the role of the judiciary is to interpret the law, who is powerful by fact. If I am to recall my social foundation class, with interpretation, is there law?

It would appear that what comes out of the parliament are expressions of intent, they only become the law when questioned through litigation and given an interpretation. Well, this could be viewed as abstractly academic, but that in my opinion appears as the reality.

Given its role, the judiciary had a chance to assert itself as the ultimate, which in my view would be desirable. Of the four arms, only judicial decisions are the ones reached at in a deliberative environment that can inspire the confidence of the whole society.

Indeed, the principal of constitutional supremacy has seen the transfer of powers from representative institutions to the judiciary. This primarily founded on an understanding that politics will always be partisan, and so political decisions rarely reflect the holistic view of the society and that if we continuously use politics as a determinant of what is to occur, we end up realizing that as we progressed, we left bits of societies behind.

The Judiciary has then had to move from undertaking its traditional role of solving conflicts, to adopt a new stature of the guard of a state’s aspirations.

This is what in my view the drafters of the Kenya Constitution envisioned, that questions of public policy, political conflicts and the confusion that comes with fusing morality into our legal notions should be adjudicated upon by the courts.
But the audacity the parliament today has to attack the judiciary was incubated by the judiciary’s inability to assert itself.

At the start of the new constitutional dispensation, the courts were invited to interpret the law, they did so through the politician’s eyes and set themselves on a path that suggested that euphoria and political considerations may outweigh the strictness of the law.
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Judiciary

I am glad as a citizen, that this path has haunted the judiciary quite soon. I hope it realized how untrustworthy politics and ‘public interest’ can get and choose to relentlessly assert itself from now henceforth.

Letter to Life, the Sixth Conversation: Lessons

IMG_20130807_060245 (1) Now, I am on this bed, a culmination of that fatigue. It’s when I just realize, that as you succeed, anytime you forget those who believed in you, you lose a part that makes you, and the closer you reach to failing, and the faster you loosen the grip that once made you, and the faster your success looses meaning.

I have been in the seclusion of a bed for the eighth day running now. In my past 14 years of living, this has become a tradition, Pangs of pain that rob me of any comfort. Just that this year, as I gaze at the hollowness of this room, and feel the stench of its medicine, I feel the nearing of end, the end of pain. I must admit I am scared of whatever face will start. Good health? This pain, that I was unable to get accustomed to, has been my greatest motivation. Some sort of a reminder, that I am moving, and that with each step taken, I should evaluate myself. That however, is not what I will discuss. For anyone who has been around my life, these times draw tears, but imagine, imagine I forgot that pain for the two days. An inexplicable numbness descended on me as I reviewed the year, the year 2013.

It has been the year, which I have perhaps received great applauses, respect and admiration, but it is also the year, which has left me with the deepest sense of emptiness.

What a paradox life can be sometimes. At almost the same time last year, I wrote my fifth letter to life. Then, I had attempted so much, with the world totally failing to respect my efforts. I wondered then, what the world owed me. I felt that the sincerity of my ambitions and dreams necessarily meant that I should have been listened to.
Deep down my heart, I held a sharp rebuke at how naïve the world could get. I could not understand why in the world, truth, value, honesty and a genuine pursuit of collective greatness could not be appreciated. I attempted to reread that letter; of course as I am here, I cannot access it, I can only imagine it.

But if I am to recall, in that letter, I ranted at life. I rebuked how the world wanted to force me into the streams of existence, how, my desire to disobey tradition could be seen as deviance. Well, I still uphold the bulk of my beliefs then, but I realize with the advantage of experience, two lessons that perhaps will redefine what I am to become in life: The most important person, is the one who believes in you and you can never do everything.
There have been two questions that bothered my conscience this year. The first was what is disobedience? You see when one fails to obey; it could be bad, or good. Bad, if what you were to obey is good, and good, if what you were to obey is bad. Sadly, life’s challenges are not as clear cut as that. In fact, what is good it-self is a controversy. We can never say with certainty what good. In fact, everything could be good at some point, and bad at some point.

Funny, how this confusion always creeps in my thoughts. I remember, as that day I sat before my lecturer of Jurisprudence. She looked at me, with a deep gaze and told me, Felix, this is a good decision, but this is not the best time. You should be focusing on something else now. The second lesson started here.

I need to give you a little bit of a background. When I was in standard eight, my sister Connie came home in December. She had just finished her first year in college. I recall, she had quite a number of tales, and a sense of admirable progression. I mean, she had a Sony Erickson phone. Rectangular and curved in shape, cream in color and phony in feel. It was the first cell phone I operated. I had held a couple before, but largely those ones belonged to my primary school teachers who send me to the market centre to have them charged. Of course, I would try to operate them. But in the village, a phone has to be dead, so that it can get charged. You cannot pay Ksh. 30 if there is a little charge in it. Yes, I had actually forgotten that sense of value for money that runs deep in my village. Funny.

Now, among the escapades that Connie told me, is that she had met the Chairperson of the Student Union in Kenyatta University. That she made sure she talked to him that his name was Charles Wafula, by the way, my dad’s name was Charles Wafula. Then, for a standard eight, Charles Wafula was the all mighty University Chair, respected by all. And I told her, told Connie, that I will be the chairperson of my University Association.

Of course, my sister belong to the honest type, who tell you stuff like, you can, but it’s very hard.
Now, when I joined college, in 2010, I sat in the masses as the then President, Antony Maina spoke, the guy was very intelligent. The next day, I bumped into him, and just like my sister, had to make sure I talk to him. My reasons were different, I was not creating tales for my younger brother, I was gauging my resolves. I told Antony, I would one day be like you. He wished me well, and said you can, and a bunch of other wise words.

In my first year in college, I contested for Congress in my school, and lost. I had set in my mind, some trajectory, First year Congress, Second year President and final year, of course not a vice chancellor, but to run my own organization.

When second year came forth, I gave the presidency a stab. My internship Manager Diana would say, believing in the strength of my naivety. Sometimes I muse, where the motivation came from. I have always wondered where that motivation comes from.

Some people see many things in dreams. Many think those who vie for such offices, perhaps come from rich backgrounds, or are endowed by extensive unique qualities. Well, I can only speak for myself. I am neither. I am a man of many flaws, and from the humblest of backgrounds. Perhaps, only endowed, in the words of my Manager with the strength of my naivety.

So, I tried to establish why I vied. When I was in second year, I credit my vying to two people, a friend, Henry Paul, and a facebook friend, Anne, from Nakuru. Funny, I actually now realize that I never vied because I thought I could make it, I vied because Anne and Henry believed I could be their President.

And with each passing noise, and shouts of discouragement, any time I felt I would be giving up or giving in. In politics the two are different, I always remembered their voices, they always believed I could be their president.
So, somehow, in the extensive commitment to this pursuit, while I was a vessel to try and realize the dream, the creators of the dream were remotely aware of it. Now, I also wish I knew this then. I think, as I sat down in long meetings, strategizing and counter-strategizing the only failure, which I now believe made me loose the election then, was forgetting who actually bore the dream I was trying to realize.

And the resentment and disappointment I felt after that loss, was again because I never knew whose dream I was trying to realize.

You see, dear friend, my sixth letter has a lot of naïve conclusions. That when a man dreams and aspires, and that when his dream is as honest and true, then the world should somehow respect it. What I forgot, is that whenever a man becomes as constricted to believe that he can dream, then he has lost it. I now realize, I hope it’s not too late, that true dreams are born in us because another eye revealed it to us.

Now, I just reached a conclusion that seems to contradict what I seem to have believed. Sometimes, it happens that all eyes that glare at us only see failure. Does that mean that we are failures? Of course no, the eyes I speak of are not of approval and consent. The eyes I speak of are those that look at us, with a hope that needs to be brought out. Sometimes, those eyes may not even be looking at us, perhaps, our physique is too frail to warrant their seeing us, but whenever a dream is born out of our hearts. Whenever we conceive a dream not for our sake, but through the eyes of another, we have realized the purity of intend.

When we do that, we do not need to scream that the world should listen, or should have listened. The world listens. It listens to anything that is pure and true, and purity starts, when we take us, from the dream.
So, why did it take this long for me to realize this? I thank God I did.

The reason is what numbed my pain. In the making of this presidency, I just never realized how important the email I got from my friend Nicholus Kamau or the Ksh. 200 my friend Maina wa Ngoingo used to buy me lunch was important. I never just realized how much the waking up of Richie to get my posters done, or the taking of an hour by my manager Isaac to listen to me meant.

And so, when I realized the presidency, I was drained emotionally, physically and materially. And in a way, I forgot where my strength came from. I started taking a day without calling a friend, or failing to tell them why I was unable to meet an obligation. And the more I did it, the more drained I became.

Now, I am on this bed, a culmination of that fatigue. It’s when I just realize, that as you succeed, anytime you forget those who believed in you, you lose a part that makes you, and the closer you reach to failing, and the faster you loosen the grip that once made you, and the faster your success looses meaning.

Now, I feel really tired, but I must speak of my second lesson. You can never do everything. You see, I swore to uphold secrecy in my duties as President. But I do not believe that that secrecy extends to my failing to share a lesson.

The deepest lesson I have realized is that as a human being, you can do much, but not everything. And so life calls for priorities.

I have found myself in the midst of something, just for something else to come up and you feel like you should jump out of the chair and see it done. I have done that, just to realize that what you left was never done.

So, in as disappointing as it gets, we have sometimes to let go what is truly important, for what is important now. That’s the pain of priority.
I feel I can no longer continue writing, I will continue my letter in the New Year, my strength fails me. I will miss watching the stars tonight, but I will start the New Year, with my two lessons.

Happy 2013 dear friends

RUTO-UHURU FIXERS SHOULD BE PURGED FROM GOVERNMENT:

The Deputy President's lead counsel has alleged that senior government officials were involved in witness coaching

The Deputy President’s lead counsel has alleged that senior government officials were involved in witness coaching

In my opinion, the President, Uhuru, needs to purge those implicated, not for his deputy, but because he cannot fully trust that they are not the ones who are directly the reason why he is, himself at the ICC.

I can understand why the Deputy President would require a ceasefire on the fixing claims. To hold the government together, Ruto needs to be the nice guy, willing to forgive and move the country forward.

It is however very important, that those who can be objectively associated with any fixing, if there was, be identified, purged from the government, and where the fixing was based on utter lies, be prosecuted.

Before addressing why the fixers need a purge, it is important that we understand why Ruto is urging a ceasefire on this.
The stakes here are too high. The ICC narrative was in the first instance used to hoodwink the duo constituents and it created a powerful anti-Odinga and anti-Western imperialism narrative in the 2013 elections. So, as the truth starts coming out, Uhuruto naturally feel they are becoming exposed.

One thing that the duo fully understands is that their constituents would relish a moment, when Odinga’s name comes up in the ICC. When an allegation is proven to the extent that a lead counsel can say, certain Raila agents coached witnesses. I am certain, their lieutenants would jump at the opportunity and shout, “I told you.” A realization, that it is they themselves who planned against each is a serious anticlimax that will dent the anti-Odinga rhetoric which is major glue that holds jubilee.
I am also certain; Kenya has managed to galvanize the whole of Africa to be against the ICC. Indeed, the court is fighting perceptions that it is being used to install leadership in Africa.

That it is a neocolonial tool perpetuating lordship over Africa. The entire continent seems to have bought this story. And it was reinforced by the “UK Dossier” and related narratives. It will be a serious anticlimax to the continent, where it becomes known that actually, it is the Africans themselves who were using the ICC to influence political outcomes.
I fully understand why to the Deputy President, the ceasefire is absolutely necessary.

One thing has never been lost to me; the ICC cases are at the ICC because certain individuals within the Kenyan circle wanted it so. The other thing also that I was very certain about, is that those individuals must have been within the government.
Writing in April 2012, I noted in reference to the omissions of the Kibaki led government that saw the ICC take up the ICC cases, “I can only make two conclusions, either they know that he is indisputably guilty and any attempt to obtain a deferral or referral will be futile, or that there was someone within the centre of power, who was deliberately instituting those abortions with a view of getting hon. Uhuru out of the way.

Rereading that article, I now even further believe in that assumption.
Either way, I am waiting to see whether those very names being touted as having manufactured anti-Ruto evidence, will not come up when the trial of the President starts.

I still hold the series of omissions that saw the ICC case firmed up can only be deliberate or foolishly negligent. And with what is coming to the fore, I believe the former.

If one is mentioned as having been part of the plot, they need to be purged. Not because they fixed Ruto, but they are entirely to blame for the ICC mess. Just like I speculated then, someone within the inner circles of Kibaki wanted Uhuru out of the way.
In my opinion, the President, Uhuru, needs to purge those implicated, not for his deputy, but because he cannot fully trust that they are not the ones who are directly the reason why he is, himself at the ICC.

The second reason is the overarching fact that this country needs the truth on the post election violence. For posterity, we need to know whether Kenyans can be spontaneous as to cause the mayhem we saw in 2007 and that it is true that these cases were manufactured to fix a few people.

There has been extensive pain caused by the ICC issue. Let me for an instance be in Ruto’s shoes for an instance, the fear of not knowing whether a lie will hold to the end, the stigma of being associated with forcible transfers and rape and murder. As a human being, one gets drained and no one should make another person to go through that. And imagining, that however did that can still be called a civil servant, paid by tax payers money is an abuse to the Kenyan intelligence.

The future, as Ruto would like to say, must be built on a foundation of truth and openness, not a reckless letting-go attitude.
If these civil servants intentionally could not divorce themselves from politics as the law requires, we do not need them.
There is nothing wrong about forgiving and about caring for the future, but we can only do that sincerely if we open the past to the criticism it deserves. This will not only give us lessons on how to have a better future, but also eliminate suspicion.

DO NOT FEAR, FOR I AM WITH YOU?

The only person, that can truly tell you, DO NOT BE AFRAID, for I AM WITH YOU, is You. In the end, its your strength, your ability to overcome fears and your ability to rise above tides that will hold this world together.DungarSingh

Its a good thing, isn’t it. Not to be alone. To take a step, knowing that well, there is a person not in a distant far, but close by, watching out, just in case you slip.

This comfort though, welcome, can only be assuring if the person who said it is reliable, and true and will ALWAYS be there. A truth that we can never be assured of.

You can never tell, that those we trust and value will always be there. At a snap of an incident, they vanish. Some, when danger knocks, they run away to seek their own safety. There is also the other truth, that just as we need them to be with us, so do they also need another person to be with them.

So you see, whenever we believe this is a shoulder to lean on, that shoulder leans on another too. In a way, the whole world is leaning. So actually in the end, only one person hold the world together. And that person, can never be the other, it has always to be you.

The only person, that can truly tell you, DO NOT BE AFRAID, for I AM WITH YOU, is You. In the end, its your strength, your ability to overcome fears and your ability to rise above tides that will hold this world together.

Whenever you are scared beyond holding yourself together, your world crumbles and with it thousands of other worlds. So learn to be brave in your fears, knowing, truly, in this leaning world, its always dependent on you.

So pursue your motivations, say prayers or Dua, Meditate, take deep breathes, but always, remember, You hold your own world and thousands of others who lean on you.

Brave day friends!

FEELING PROFOUNDLY CONFUSED?

stock-photo-girl-before-a-white-roadsign-in-fear-of-the-unknown-134240561 So, I approach it with caution and spontaneity, thinking through what I can, but praying for grace to accept what I cant change. Sometimes, yes, giving up myself to a higher motivation. Even sometimes, just letting it all pass. I guess, its just human to be human.

I have always wondered, what should guide my decisions at that moment. That moment when you think you should move on,yet your hearts asks you to be cautious. Or when you feel, you should quit, yet your heart wants you to persist.

That strain, that is very often created when, what our hearts wills and what our eyes conceive are two huge contradictions. That second, when no data, or history can assure the accuracy of your decisions.

I find myself on this path more often than not, and I believe many human beings find themselves here. I have done all experiments, sometimes trusted my gut, sometimes prayed, sometimes just took one path, hoping that it will be the best.

And just like in all experiments, some work out, some disappoint.

Yet, the fear I face each day, is that I cannot keep on experimenting, or disappointing every day. The brevity of time and life cannot afford that luxury. Yet, the dream that somehow I will ever get a way out, a formula, a method of handling all this with precision has faded.

So, I have resigned to this truth. That life is a risk. And that, more often than not, we will be called to take the risk. That if we are profoundly timid to take any, we will never live, that if we are profoundly brave to take all, we may never live again.

So, I approach it with caution and spontaneity, thinking through what I can, but praying for grace to accept what I cant change. Sometimes, yes, giving up myself to a higher motivation. Even sometimes, just letting it all pass. I guess, its just human to be human.

To cry and laugh, to succeeded and fail sometimes, to impress and disappoint sometimes, to face days and nights sometimes. All that matters, is that you know deep down your heart, that you did your best. Honestly, your best.

Have a Reflective day friends!