Merriam-Webster defines it as capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress. You wonder why I bring this up, but hear me out.

In many fora, I hear people say Africa is resilient. Speaker after speaker talk about how Kenyans are resilient, that we manage as a people to recover after tragedy but I disagree with these speakers. They are spreading a gospel I can’t consciously agree to. I am not in any way opposed to resilience, not at all. So I hope I am not misunderstood.

My argument here is that as Africans, generally, and Kenyans in specific, we have learnt to survive. There is nothing great in surviving bad leadership. What choice have we? We must keep surviving or we perish and I don’t want to call this resilience. It is just basic common sense.

I have mentioned the drought in parts of north eastern Kenya and other semi arid areas. Drought is a natural phenomenon but famine is not. Famine points to a failure of societal structures to ensure food and other produce reach the intended users at all times. Where the government has failed to make this happen and instead asks for relief aid, shows not resilience but a case of poor governance. But we will not hear this in the press. Every speaker shall be talking about resilience. No, we can’t continue like this. We must demand better.

Let us first, as Africans demand that the state system that we pay for works, delivers service and then we can talk of resilience when there is calamity. As things stand, we live in a continuous calamity and we can’t take credit for mediocrity.

Maybe the only time we came close to resilience was surviving the pandemic but at what cost? Many businesses closed. Many people lost jobs. Relationships were severed. Maybe many lives were saved too, I don’t know. Maybe, given that it was expected that we would die like flies during the pandemic, and since this didn’t happen, some have taken this to mean resilience. I wish I felt the same way.

Maybe some day, we will really be resilient. At this time, we will have systems that work and our resilience will be tested when one part of it fails or is attacked by external forces. Until then, don’t call us resilient. We are survivors. We want to be more than survivors. We want to live. If you ask me, maybe we don’t even want to be resilient. A good life, a beer here with friends and bbq with enemies would be a good place to begin.

Maybe I am not making any sense.

Have a great week everyone. Be resilient.

I have beef

There is some form of racism or neo- colonialism or I don’t know what that is practiced by universities in the west that I don’t understand and that should end. I apply for an admission to a university say in Melbourne for a PhD and one of the requirements is an English language proficiency exam. Now, I would not have a problem with this if my education had been in a language other than English. But this is not the effing case.

The language of instruction at the university is English. It is the same in primary and secondary school. Why then would someone think that after writing and defending a thesis in English I can’t speak or understand English and must prove my proficiency by taking an exam that costs 240 USD?

If this is not a form of systematic racism, then I don’t know what is. Or maybe I am wrong and that we who were colonialized by Britain and adopted their language as a method of instruction can’t speak it, can’t write it and maybe, can’t read it.

Or am I missing something?

On this world teachers day

I want to send a shout out to my good parents, teachers per excellence.

Then to all the other teachers who I have interacted with ans have contributed in some way to what I have become.

Finally to those teachers forming others to be good and responsible citizens.

And finally, a prayer, that the education system will change from a mass factory to a more individualised training. With this, we hope we will not blame a fish for not knowing how to climb a tree. But maybe this is too ambitious.

To the teachers!

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.