What Did You Expect From The #VPMeetUp?

I didn’t attend any of the events with the PM or the VP. I can’t really remember what I was doing at the time, but I didn’t bother to sign up either. Call me unpatriotic or less concerned. I’ve been accused of calling other so. I’ll take it well. I promise.

I however kept myself updated following live tweets on my TL. And just like that Mindspeak meet-up with Museveni, I waited for the postmortem detailed blogposts. And yes, here they are. For what it’s worth, I think we should have some more. They’re quite entertaining and in a sense, therapeutic.

Therapeutic because, it appears quite a number of tweeps had their hopes high up there like I hope of owning a G5 aeroplane. Really, tweeple, what did you expect?

  • That you’d crack the VP bad-cop style?
  • That you’d ask a question so tear jerking that would leave the man stuttering and running for the fire escape?
  • That you’d get the time and chance to tell the man to his face all the things we say on the TL?
  • That you’d play truth or dare with him?

Granted, we who have a voice on the social media should regard ourselves different, a unique niche of the wider electorate. It’s easy to assume that we think and act different from the folks that occupy the 4th estate and other actual experts. And by thinking of ourselves as different, perhaps we believe we should be treated different, even with a little more respect.

But honestly, what is this one question you’d have asked, that the man wouldn’t have side stepped? Of all the pro-journalists who may have interviewed the man or will interview him someday – Julie Gichuru, Beatrice Marshal, Linus Kaikai and for good measure, let’s throw in CNN’s David McKenzie – wouldn’t he sidestep them too? Wouldn’t they be left as high, dry, wasted, entertained and complaining like they had just been to the Nairobi Show?

From the depths of my whereabouts that day (can’t still get my coordinates), I noted with pride those who attended the VP meet. Like you took a pilgrimage to a land known to produce watermelons, hoping that perhaps this time round, by some miracle, you’ll find mangos. And if you’ll still find the melons, you’ll mash them to pulp until they turn into mangos.

It was worth a try. But sadly, the flock of our politicians are not about to change. Like the saying goes, why fix what’s not broken? The VP’s over two decades in politics have been so successful for him using a self-designed strategy that will baffle any 10 year old. Why should he change it then, just because he was sipping drinks with a few KOTs? The sadly smart man figured: Why don’t I gather these peculiar lot around, sit them on my lap and try to figure them out without letting them figure out my psyche.

So what’s next, some may ask? # MugukaWithSonko #KufyashNaTuju #CigarsWithUhuru #MilkWithMututho

The possibilities are endless.

But here’s what I would do. I’d ignore them all. The same way they’ve ignored my plight, my voice and my very existence. Because there’s nothing more powerful than ignoring someone who has the power to insult your intelligence.

Oh, how I long for the day when a politician will call for a political rally at Uhuru Park and no one shows up. The message couldn’t be louder and clearer. We’re tired of the same old bull. Take the hogwash and false promises to the birds.

But no, we’ll always go. And they know it.

Like people suffering from battered-wife syndrome, we will always be there to attend to their every need. We will come up with campaign strategies for them and offer to print t-shirts, caps, posters and banners for politicians who’ve just realized we exist. For people whose track record we question even after they’ve painted it for us, in all shades and colours of the rainbow.

Yes, we are the same folks who admonish the media for paying too much attention to our politicians. Look at us now? We can’t ignore them. They have us by the nuts and they’ll come up with all sorts of products and sell them to us right at our doorstep.

And if they can’t package it as a political rally, they’ll throw in a few prosperity-gospel preachers and call it a prayer rally. If that’s too expensive, they’ll gladly attend our pomp-filled funerals and sell their agendas on our forefathers’ graves. We are so duped, so yearning for their 0.02cents worth. We’ll give them our time, our expertise and everything we’ve got, but they won’t let us in on much.

What would it hurt to ignore them until they start working? Until they pay their taxes, until they hire some more teachers with the same ease they pass bills like they are selling them at a kiosk.  Why do you have to keep hooking up with someone that pisses you off when you can always say: “Sorry dude, I’ll be doing something less important at the time. Like oh, I don’t know, watching flies on a wall.”

If at all the revolution will be tweeted, then we tweeps need to stand out from our fellow brothers and sisters we see on TV. The ones chasing after politicians’ motorcades like they’re now gathering around that Equity caravan like they’ll be given loans by winning a dancing competition. If we consider ourselves different then we need to act different. Value ourselves differently. Weigh every beck and call before approaching that finger saying “Oh come all ye faithful!”

Perhaps it’s time to adopt a new strategy like Ignore, Don’t Show Up or Walk Away, especially if the mangoes we demand are not forthcoming.

Enlightened Self-Interest: Towards An East African Federation

“Integration is more than five presidents meeting in Arusha and patting their backs on an illusionary integration” – Ahmednasir Abdullahi Anonymous

As we speak there is an East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Symposium taking place in Arusha, Tanzania themed: “A Decade of Service towards a Political Federation”.

Now, I may not have been born in the Seventies, but I’ve heard stories of how things were especially between my country and its neighbours. The most vivid accounts were of the icy relations between Kenya and Tanzania. Relations hit their lowest ebb in the mid 1970s. At one time, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere was so frustrated by the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s capitalist economic policies, he angrily described the Kenyan leadership as being made up of “nyang’aus” (‘hyenas’) and the country as a ‘man-eat-man’ society. This description has stuck, the mistrust and mismatch of ideologies and practice has persisted till this very day.

As for our other neighbour Uganda, we have all witnessed the on-going dispute over the Migingo and Ugingo islands. I didn’t know what big of a deal it was until Museveni arrived at our Promulgation ceremony last year and he was pelted with boos and chants of “Migingo is ours!”

That said we were all filled with hope in the EAC, when the Common Market was officially launched around this time last year (remember the google doodle? Awesomeness!). But a political federation is a whole different ball-game. A federation is ofcourse a worthy goal but it calls for a bold and visionary leadership by the five Heads of State to succeed. For, beyond greater economic integration, it requires political will and unity of purpose. That is where the catch lies.

Are the political leaders of the five countries capable of matching their well-intentioned sentiments with concrete action to integrate the five countries politically?

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What a Horrible, Horrible, Horrible Time to be a President

by tripppleO

“When thousands of peoples is riled up to see you
That can arouse ya ego, we got mouths to feed so
Gotta stay true to who you are and where you came from
Coz at the top will be the same place you hang from
No matter how big you can ever be
For whatever fee or publicity, never lose your integrity”

- Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones (aka ‘Nas’)

Long hours on the campaign trail, packed and charged rallies, meetings with campaign donors, countless election strategies and counter strategies all culminating in the announcement of the win and the swearing in ceremony. It’s all usually glamorous and inspiring to most people looking in from the outside. Although the campaign period is extremely stressful and draining on the candidate the really hard work begins once that candidate is sworn into office.

Just ask Barack Obama. After his ‘landslide’ win he embarked on achieving some of his campaign promises and he was successful in some most notably healthcare and Wall street reform. However, there is the big issue that has dominated news in the States these last 6 months (not Osama) have been the budget deficit. Make no mistake, the U.S debt is a serious global issue. While the risk of the U.S defaulting on its debt may be a bit farfetched, given the close linked global economy, it is crucial that they sort out their debt issue. As most economists will confirm the two ways to cut a deficit are either reduce spending or increase taxes. However, both options are politically risky for any American president. (There’s also the increased tax receipts/collections option as a result of economic growth but this is more long term in most cases and highly dependent on economic growth).

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The Tale of 30,000 Magical Ninja Goats

I like reading Ugandan news when I’m feeling low. There’s always something interesting in there; sometimes inspiring, most times hilarious. This story however, I heard about before I read and it was so good, I looked it up so I could share it.

Apparently, the Ugandan government has somehow misplaced 30,000 goats. I try not to find this hilarious but the core concept tickles me to tears. What makes it worse is how it’s being handled in the news. Instead of calling a spade a spade and saying it’s a scam, they’re talking about the matter as if these are potentially magical ninja goats that got tired of captivity and bounced. Continue reading

The Ugly Side of the First Lady Syndrome in Africa

“Macbeth: If we should fail —
Lady Macbeth: We fail!
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail.”
– Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”, Scene VII

Political Science 101: power is the capacity to make others do what they would not ordinarily do. Often described as the power behind the throne, First Ladies are well positioned to either build or destroy a nation by virtue of the power they wield over their spouses. In my earlier piece on Last..err..First Ladies in Africa, I focussed mainly on their instrumental role as peace-makers and advocates of change. A role which many of our First Ladies have not taken up and as a result, they are also blamed for the failures and short-comings of their husband’s rule.

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Daily Dozen: 28/02

- Barack Obama for the first time calls on Col Gaddafi to step down [Telegraph]
#KenyaFeb28: Online Call to Nationalism [GlobalVoices]
Learn to Love The Revolution [TIME]
3 Years of National Discord [KDP]
The surreal playboy life of Teodorin Obiang [Very Interesting]
The price of food is at the heart of this wave of revolutions [Independent]
Suddenly, a Rise in Somali Piracy’s Price [NewYorkTimes]
Is your nation poised for revolution? Introducing the Revolting Index [WSJ]
Open Letter to Uganda’s Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni [Afrospear]
“si you’re my fans?”: how to be a kenyan ‘artist’ [Mugendi]
Would You Stop Acting Your Age? [H&H]
How To Make Money Online – For Absolute Beginners [LikeChapaa]

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