Of Sex And (Not So) Hidden Cameras

Some time last week, a story did the rounds on twitter. Some guy posted a photo of a semi-nude sleeping woman as proof that he had just gotten lucky. I didn’t see the original tweet or the photo, but it did disturb me quite a bit. I don’t know how many women think about things like this, but I know that every time I’m intimate with a man, I wonder if he has his house rigged with cameras, or if he was taking photos in my sleep.

In rom-coms, it’s sweet when a man watches you sleep. In real life, it’s far more likely he’s ‘watching’ with an internet enabled phone, and it’s a very scary thought. Of course if he keeps the pictures to himself, then there’s no harm done. But when you snoop accidentally see the shots on his phone – or worse – online, then Houston, we have a problem.

Just wrong

It’s understandable that some men assume women enjoy flaunting their bodies. After all, lots of us willingly give nudes to complete strangers. Even more of us use our bodies to get ahead, either directly by sexually transmitted promotions, or indirectly by using feminine charms to get out of tricky situations. Continue reading

Sex For Fish And Other Stories

A story was published in the Daily Nation last week. The headline implied that women were exchanging their bodies for fish. I shook my head in sadness, but I didn’t read the full article until the next day. Basically, female fishmongers in certain parts of Nyanza can’t BUY fish unless they first have sex with the fishermen.

I love her smile. I hope she didn't have to.

I love her smile. I hope she didn’t have to.

I’ve said over and over again that I’m not a feminist. I am – however – a woman, and this article maddened and saddened me on about a hundred levels. It goes beyond prostitution. It goes beyond simply selling my body for cash. It delves into a much darker region.

You see, these are not just women working on their backs. These are businesswomen, with business plans, and capital, and sales strategies. These are women with money. Their plan is to invest this money into products which they mark up and sell at a profit. Which is perfectly logical in this capitalist economy.

But no. They can’t buy these goods – which they have the money to pay for – unless they sleep with the sales people. So in effect, they’re paying for the goods AND for unwanted sex. They’re paying for it. Do you get that? They’re not being prostituted. They’re paying for sex that they don’t even want. What depravity is that?

Oh, and it’s not just sex and fish they’re paying for. They’re also paying for STDs. Diseases that can kill them, their husbands, and their children. Because some of these women are married. And they’re being forced to have sex with strange men in order to BUY fish to feed their families. So on top of everything else – pun fully intended –  they’re basically paying to be infected by AIDS.

Continue reading

The MPs’ Salaries Case: A Triumph for Constitutional Supremacy in Kenya

Gado on MPs Salary Raise

“Parliamentarians are expected to operate within the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. Parliament, like all other state organs, is not above the law. Members of the National Assembly, like all other state officers, and the National Assembly, like all other state organs are compelled by the Constitution to adhere to the national values and principles of governance found in Article 10 of the Constitution. We therefore agree with the petitioners that the resolution by the National Assembly to nullify the Gazette Notices published by the SRC was unconstitutional.” – Judgment in Petition No. 227 of 2013 at paragraph 82.

The above judgment by a three-judge bench sitting at the High Court at Nairobi is significant for two distinct yet connected reasons: firstly, it is a big win for the doctrine of constitutional supremacy against the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty and secondly, it restores much-needed public trust in the ability of the Judiciary to dispense justice. A copy of this landmark judgment is available here.

In the recent past, there have been several spirited public campaigns against members of parliament (MPs) whom many registered voters feel have gone rogue by putting their narrow private interests above those of the electorate that put them in public office. The climax of this perceived parliamentary impunity came in May 2013 when the National Assembly (NA) wrote to the Salaries and Remunerations Commission (SRC) purporting to nullify the remuneration of various categories of state officers which the SRC had published in the Kenya Gazette.

Continue reading

Random: Stereotypes from Google Images

shutterstock_93523804

While working on the concept for a magazine concept with this guy, we began to have a little argument about children.

I had suggested an image of a cute kid (above) and he immediately told me that that kid was “too cute to be Kenyan”. So we got into a little discussion about what Kenyan children really look like.

This inevitably became a question that was too difficult for our meagre minds. So we turned to the all knowing, all savvy, Google images. This is what we found:

Google image result for "Kenyan Children"

Fairly accurate. But someone immediately pointed out that they wondered how accurate this would be for other countries/regions. Below are the findings from our exercise. Continue reading

50 Years Angrier: On Celebrations, Riots & Revolution

Look at our country.

kenya at 50 celebrations

All 50 years of its freedom have amounted to everything you see around you today. All the freedoms that we enjoy, all the development that we witness and all the suffering that remains.

Last week, the the Creative Director at my place of work drafted a fairly sober email for one of our clients to send out on independence day. It talked of the “battles we won and the blood we’ve shed”. I had to tell him to rewrite it as it was too dark. Because if truth be told, we have tons of reasons to celebrate.

But while we’re being honest, it’s hard to remember those reasons when everyday, we are blinded by archaic injustices.

Yesterday, I happened to be a stonesthrow away from where the University riots began when they began. I read online about how the students were infuriated because one of their own supposedly committed suicide while in police custody for cheating on an exam. Students I spoke to seem to think “suicide” is a cover up. It’s not clear and I’m not here to take sides.

What is clear is that students rioted last night. And in response to the riots, police escalated from teargas and crowd control to live rounds and murder. Continue reading

Poor Little Rich Writer

Monkey photographer

People are often reminded to stick to their lanes, and yesterday, somebody returned me to mine.

“How can you talk about being broke?!?”

“Well I-”

“Shut up. I’ve seen the payslips in that place.”

“Hey, I’m in matatu and I’m still paying rent so-”

“Nkt! You work in advertising. You don’t get to complain.”

Continue reading