Death announcement

12 years ago, after several years of agitation, civil society action and hotly contested election among others, we promulgated a new constitution that in some ways expressed the aspirations of the people- sort of. For the most part, it was a national effort. And when it was taken to the polls, it was supported by a majority of Kenyans and it became the supreme law of the land. So we can say that was a rebirth of the nation.

But it was infected immediately with terminal illness. Immediately after, other opportunistic diseases took hold and the rest as they say is history. The nation is hurtling down a fast lane to death. Maybe it is already dead and walking among us as the living dead.

You see, the new law had a whole chapter dedicated to integrity. It had minimum ethical or should I say moral requirements for would be office holders. It was hoped by the framers of this law and the people, that this requirement would with time see the public service cleaned up of people of questionable characters but this wasn’t to be.

Kibaki infected the new law with impunity- the terminal illness- by making appointments outside the law. The judiciary did not and still doesn’t seem to know what to do. But the disease got a boost when Kenyans against all common sense decided that the best thing to do is to elect, among others, the two people who were at the time answering charges of instigating a sort of ethnic cleansing. Unless you are slow, you know where this ends.

Impunity has reigned supreme in the last 12 years. The gender rule, parliament failed in its mandate to actualize it. Even the Chief Justice failed when it mattered. So in effect, the supreme law was infected with a deadly disease from which it would not recover. And my friends, when the law dies, the nation dies it.

We recently had elections and in his first act, the president has appointed a cabinet that says in no uncertain terms that death to chapter 6 is the intended goal. How does he defend appointing to his cabinet a person who is in court answering to charges of murder, discharging a fire arm in public and all.

So, it is the supreme law and with effect the nation that I today I announce its death. It leaves behind impunity, lawlessness and sleaze as its orphaned children. We hope they will not suffer greatly.

On punishment

I have on different occasions shared opinions and quotes on this topic. It is known by regular readers that I am I lean towards abolition of prisons. I also believe with JJR that we should abolish capital punishment in the few places where it is still in the statutes. This doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with what to do with violent offenders. I listen to podcasts on crime and some of the offenses leave me wanting to throw up. The cruelty. The pain caused to families. The violence to the victims. It is all too sick. And the question is, what must society do to protect itself from such?

All that is not the subject of this post.

In this post, I want to ask a question. Different countries have term limits for different crimes ranging from a few weeks to several lifetimes or even capital punishment. The question is, was there a rational basis for say determining that for the crime of sexual assault, the minimum time for rape is 10 years (according to the Kenyan law)? I think the mandatory sentence was ruled unconstitutional. What is to be achieved in the ten years? Could the society achieve the same goal with a shorter sentence? Say 2 years?

What are your thoughts on this matter? Are there rational ways of determining what length of a sentence is required for say a murder? Keep in mind society doesn’t always punish murders. For example, during war, the guy whose side wins i.e kills the most, gets more stars on his shoulder and a presidential commendation for valour and other military honours. It is the killing by individuals not sanctioned by the state that we abhor completely.

Maybe I have this all wrong.

what is violence?

WHO defines violence as the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation. Others define it as the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy.

Can we still talk of violence if it doesn’t involve physical force? In which way should words be considered violence? Should the courts treat words as we would physical assault? I ask this because of this comment

calling on the public to desist from any form of violence against women, whether online or offline.

Daily Nation, 14th September.

Is this As per the 2018 law, a person found guilty of cyber-harassment is liable for a Sh20 million fine or imprisonment of not more than 10 years reasonable?

I am known to not like politicians

But occasionally I can agree with them. And this is one of those instances where I agree with the sentiments of one of the presidential candidate in the just concluded plebiscite.

Reuben Kigame, who is an evangelical Christian has said the Ruto team is overdoing religion. In his own words

I know I will be bashed but I need to be truthful and accountable to the nation. I think the Ruto administration is overdoing religion

Star Newspaper

and this is just the first week of the administration. You maybe wondering why he said this. Again, we will just defer to him

“over-representation” of the evangelical wing of the church during his inauguration and that of his deputy Rigathi Gachagua on Tuesday was unnecessary.

And he has more.

I am a committed Christian who believes in prayer and believe God has helped us this far and will continue to trust Him for the future of Kenya. But I hope that issues such as lowering food prices will not be met with State House saying, “let’s pray about it,”

He was right on the backlash because our morality police, Ezekiel Mutua- I hope you remember him- responded thus

We had sunk so low and thrown morality to the dogs. We cannot have too much of God, provided we also work hard!

I pray to the dead gods that we be spared a theocracy.

The article has comments. Some are weep inducing.

I hear there is atheistic religious fanaticism

Hey friends, did you miss me these few days? I thought not. It was too short to realize I wasn’t doing any posting or visiting your wonderful blogs. Now that I am here, we can return to regular broadcasting. Shall we?

I have always told myself that my time is best spent not offering opinions on blogs by some theists. Then you bump into a blog that leaves you scratching your head. You begin to wonder why so many believe things that are outright crazy. And so this next blog is like that. It starts by alluding to bigotry and vitriol of atheists towards theists. The author even says you guys- atheists- deny Christians freedom of speech.

Atheists are guilty of manipulation. Demanding that arguments be had on their terms, refusing to admit the bible to evidence room and claiming to be intelligent among others.

You are all guilty of being Darwinists, hardcore presuppositionalists– whatever this means- evolutionists, and materialists. Most of all, you are guilty of denying god exists, when you already know it. And you hate the followers of god. Can you stop with the hate, now!

I thought about linking to the post and decided to let it pass. But anyone interested can search for the creation cowboy on wordpress.

I am, therefore I think.

Descartes famously wrote, I think, therefore I am. He could as well have said, I feel or I eat therefore I am. But there are many animals that eat, that feel and shit but are not Descartes. As the title of this post suggests, it is time to rewrite the dictum to I am, therefore I think. It is the awareness that we think, the awareness of the I that is quite distinctive between us and other animals of which we are not aware of their cognition, but this is all for another day.

I love philosophy. Some of friends think it useless because it gives us no answers. But that is the beauty of it. Anyone looking for certainty should look to Math. Not philosophy. Wisdom, the love it, makes a whole difference in the world of feeling in which we live. Maths is good too. When I want to balance my bills, I turn to math.

So, the supreme Court upheld the results of the last presidential election. We will soon be swearing in the 5th president. I am conflicted about the incoming government. Maybe philosophy can help resolve the conflict and contradictions in my head. But this too, is for later.

So what was this post really about? Nothing serious.

Annihilation or immortality? Which is worse, all things considered.

simplifying the electoral process in Kenya

Last night when i couldn’t sleep and reading wasn’t helping, it occurred to me we have a problem with the conduct of elections and the type of people employed to do the work. First I admit here that the process has improved but it can be better.

To address the efficiency of the voting process, we must first look at the political players who benefit from an inefficient system.

Next we look at the people who manage this process. The voting process is controlled by a team of commissioners appointed by the president. They have a secretariat with a CEO and other staff I guess who are involved in the elections. The commissioners enjoy security of tenure, are paid huge salaries and it does seem to me, do very little in terms of simplifying the voting process. Our elections get more expensive every election cycle instead of cheaper, smoother and more transparent. So what to do?

First, make the commissioner position a volunteer position. They shouldn’t expect any pay. Add a condition that should they botch the elections, they will forfeit their freedom and property. But if they should improve the voting process, they will be rewarded handsomely or beautifully whichever you identify with.

Do away with the lawyers. Damn it. They have demonstrated they can’t do arithmetic. They have been at the centre of the election disputes, over numbers, we have had in the last three cycles and it seems the country hasn’t learnt from it.

It should be a requirement that whoever wants to be nominated as a volunteer in the election body must demonstrate how they intend to ensure the vote counting and tallying is both efficient and open to scrutiny. I have ideas on this but that’s for later. The voting process should be treated as a project with a start and end date. The risks identified and classed. Mitigation measures agreed, roles allocated, budgets agreed on and whatever processes required to execute the project made available. A move to a paperless system should be considered.

I had said I would deal with the political players first but look at us. I don’t know about other countries, but I think there is a general luck of trust that each of us will follow the maxim of one man one vote and to cure this, political parties and candidates employ vast numbers of observers to ensure there is no shady dealings going on. The question is how do we address the conflict between private and public morality?

The other question that presents itself is how to reduce the stakes in the political game. As it is, the high stakes means winning by any means has become the mantra. I am not naive to the fact that being a legislator offers many goods that so many would die for. All around, politicians seems to outlive everyone else. They don’t ever die. They have access to government contracts- and in a world where the richest people or organizations are those that do business with the government, then the stakes can not be any lower. A time must come when this madness will get to its apex and the only way out is down, but we don’t have much time so interventions are needed now.

It occurred to me quite recently that the requirements for political office are so low compared to any other office. You apply for a job in almost any field and they want millions of years in experience, your achievements, bonafides and all. But when it comes to politics, the bare minimum which shockingly, this class of clowns don’t have. Take the case of the current governor for Nairobi. When asked to produce his certificates, he went to court as if the courts can cure such a deficiency!

But all this is wishful thinking. A man can dream.