how to end war

My good friend Brian persuaded me to read Butler’s War is a Racket and this is one book I would recommend highly especially to believers in “good” wars but that’s not what this post is about.

Butler had 3 suggestions to end war.

1. Remove profit from war- on this point, he added the businessmen, presidents, members of congress who profit from war should be paid the same amount the rank and file are paid for risking their lives. He builds on this in a speech where he talks of these profits as blood money and that generations of Americans (this book was addressed to the American public) will keep paying for the deficit caused by war.

2. Require a limited plebiscite of those who are going to do the dying in war if war should be declared

3. Limit military forces to home defense purposes

He writes in the same book

when our boys were sent off to war they were told it was a “war to make the world safe for democracy” and a “war to end all wars”.

Well, 18yrs after, the world has less of a democracy than it had then. Besides, what business is it of ours whether Russia or Germany or England or France or Austria live under democracies or monarchies?[..] Our problem is to preserve our own democracy.

they hate our freedoms and democracy

that’s what Americans have been convinced to say of the countries their government rains bombs on.

Maybe Lyndon Johnson was right about how the US government thinks about democracy in other nations when in ’64 he told the Greek ambassador

“Fuck your Parliament and your Constitution. America is an elephant, Cyprus is a flea. If these two fleas continue itching the elephant, they may just get whacked by the elephant’s trunk, whacked good. We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks, Mr. Ambassador. If your prime minister gives me talk about democracy, Parliament and Constitution, he, his Parliament and his Constitution may not last very long.”

It was  not long before Greece were shown what the elephant could do and for that they had a military junta till 74 as punishment I guess.

But maybe democracy is just easy to shout about not living it.

Quotes about war

The man from Mars who saw how men suffered in the last war and how frantically they are preparing for the next war, which they know will be worse, would come to the conclusion that he was looking at the denizens of a lunatic asylum.

Norman Thomas, 1935

And I think he would be forgiven if he came from his grave today and saw how countries are building their armies in the name of self defence. The next war, when it happens( it’s a question of when not if), will be a great war and I don’t know who will be left to write about it.

In the soul of man under socialism

Oscar Wilde argues that humanity would do better under socialism than the way society is currently organised. We should abolish government because, in government, whether a monarchy, oligarchy, theocracy or even democracy, the individual is always under the authority of someone- the prince, the rich, the pope or the mob.

In his view, machines should do mundane work like mining, cleaning our streets and all, that man should aspire to being, not having. In writing about machines, he thinks they should benefit the common weal unlike now when one person owns a machine that does the work of hundreds living them unemployed and starving.

I am tempted to agree with his thoughts on journalism. Most of the journalistic work is horrible. It is meant for the mob and the mob as a group is not intelligent.

Whether his proposals are workable is a different matter altogether.

Why has Africa been relatively unable to grow food?

I saw this question on quora and I didn’t read the answers given but I know a thing or two.

1. Colonial legacy- many African countries produce cash crops for export formerly to their former colonial masters. This means 60 years after independence we are still here convinced that we shall earn foreign exchange if we grow tea for export instead of maize and or other food products. I mean it makes dollar sense to plant what the monied need.

2. Trade agreements- if Burkina Faso were to produce enough food, the US would stop buying their cotton. montesato will not find a market to sell us their seeds that would destroy farms and all.

3. Intellectual property rights- I don’t need to say much here.

4. Cost of equipment- tied to the 1st point

Here and here are a few pointers to what I mean by the colonial legacy.

Is the cure more deadly than the disease?

That seems to be the opinion of this author and this group which then leads me to ask why are we all doing this? Is it a case of global hysteria? Or a global propaganda war?

There are already 63K deaths worldwide as at the time of publishing from a variety of causes. Hidden in that number is 111K deaths this year arising from seasonal flu.

And with that I go to ride my bicycle.

To my fellow countrymen and women

First I will start by saying majority of the voting public is insane irrational. In 2013, I wrote an open letter to those who can read imploring you it would have been much better to vote in a dead cow than the duo running for president at that time. Kenyans, millions of them, thinking they were defying the ICC and other western governments overwhelmingly voted for the Uhuruto duo and if that wasn’t bad enough, the Mutunga Supreme Court gave them a shot of legitimacy by validating their win and so we got stuck with an incompetent, corrupt and irresponsible duo.

Again in 2017, a good proportion of the public having seen the mega corruption scandals, ineptitude, the claw back on basic freedoms and rights, decided that the duo were the best placed to rule this country and on 26th of October voted overwhelmingly in an election where only one candidate was running to give him a birthday present. Fools will do what fools do.

2020 is here with us. It is not the best of times. It will take Covid19 to show the weak underbelly of this regime. It has been said by others more eloquent and brave than I that Uhuruto are incompetent, corrupt, irresponsible and illiberal. At this time of crisis, these four things will come to the fore. You remember the Afya House scandal involving medical equipment running to billions of shillings. The dams scandal. Eurobond. SGR. All these are coming to bite now. The government of incompetents will not be capable of pulling together the right talent to steer the country out of this mess because the only people who are willing to work with the duo are thieves. Or potential thieves.

Having no safety nets and a broke treasury means those Kenyans who will lose their jobs have nowhere to go. The impact of that on law and order I leave to sociologists to address. A corrupt government means that even if money were made available it would not reach those most in need. In short, we are fucked and as has been said so many times before, choices have consequences.

As we sit at home to ponder our next moves, maybe it is also time we reconsider our choices for representatives. It may go along way to making the difference between life and death.

I leave you with this passionate letter from V to us all.

There is a new sheriff in town

In 2017, the good people of Nairobi county elected a clown, a jail break of questionable intelligence to be their governor. Whether it was out of hysteria or plain old foolishness, only history will be the judge. Now, after two years of disastrous leadership, the other incompetent fellow at State House have taken over critical functions of the county government leaving Sonko basically idle and with almost a ceremonial title. The legalities of the process I leave to lawyers to discuss.

The new town Sheriff is Major-General Mohamed Abdalla Badi. If he is to clean the rot in the city government, I see only one way to do it. First and foremost, announce vacancies at development control. Fire everyone who is there and have fresh interviews. Those who reapply and qualify, move them to sub-county offices or place them in other departments or he should say goodbye to changes in that department.

Kenyatta said

“There are cartels running the city water supply, garbage collection, parking, issuance of permits,”

and if this it to change, a change of guard at the helm is not enough. A shakedown of the entire edifice is mandatory. Unless, this is one of those plans by incompetent office bearers to keep justifying their salaries while being incapable of delivering their mandates to the public.

The toughest job for the good major will be managing traffic congestion in the city roads. As Brian never stops to remind me, planning alone will not solve this problem and especially as long as people rely in their own personal cars, we shouldn’t expect any changes and I doubt the general has what it takes to demand radical action to change how move within the city so we might as well forget any changes in this respect.

Studies have been done around the world how cities can improve their revenue collection. I can’t tell to what extent the general believes that scholarly material has application in practice. It is likely he will do nothing creative or innovative to improve revenue collection or to come up with new revenue streams.

To improve public health systems, the county government or in this Nairobi Metropolitan Service will need to move fast to improve clinics and other health facilities, employ necessary personnel and pay more attention to preventive actions rather than curative.

The good general will have to allocate up to 30% of revenue to manage garbage collection. This again is supported by evidence from studies in other jurisdictions of what budgetary allocations are required to maintain some decent level of garbage collection, disposal and treatment.

He has a tall order which I doubt he will be able to accomplish. Maybe the general is an accomplished army man but public service is an entirely different ball game. And because I have doubts in the appointing authority’s ability to carry through with a challenging task, there is no where this Nairobi regeneration plan is going.


In Covid19 related news, there was a national day of prayer yesterday (Saturday) where among other things the president said

There are those who are saying that we should depend on science not prayers. But I want to assure you that even science needs God. A nation prospers when a nation trusts in its maker.

the same maker who has left the most Catholic country in the world in the hands of her medical officers.

He added

Let us continue to pray for healing, understanding, and prosperity. Our God is a hearing God and He will grant us our desires and our wishes.

which he has so far refused to the 13071 dead (as of this writing) from Corona virus. But maybe we are a special country, who knows.

The archbishop for the Anglican church on his part had this to say

When the children of God strayed away he would allow calamities to ravage their world.

And since god is ravaging the world, is it not best to wait for her anger to dissipate and she stops infecting people with disease?

I have read elsewhere that the theme of the prayer service was

 the apparent sinning and rebelliousness of man from the word of God.

and the guest list was basically all those corrupt government officials and the clergy that provides them with cover. Basically, the source and end of our problems arising from mismanagement were at SH. One asks at such times where was god?


In these times of Covid19 all one can wish his friends is to have a corona free day, won’t you?

How does it happen

that man, who calls in professionally trained doctors rather than shepherds to treat him when sick, has no reason, when well, to let public affairs be conducted by windbags no better qualified than shepherds?

                                                                                                           Ulrich, the man without qualities

Mau Mau and Nationhood

In political debates in Kenya, the refrain from a section of the polity are fond of remarking that only the Kikuyu fought for independence and remind the rest of us that without Mau Mau, there would be no independence or it would have happened much later than it did.  While I don’t want to cast aspersions on how knowledgeable about the history of our independence these people are, I will say they are mostly common folk who repeat what they have heard without ever bothering to do any digging.

Mau Mau and Nationhood is my current read. It’s a collection of articles by eminent scholars, and I don’t use that word carelessly.

Some time back I wrote this summary on the same subject and continuing with the same line of thought, I will just pose a few more questions that I find interesting.

  • Has there been a country where all the masses rose as one to fight the colonizing party? Why not? Why does a section of the polity not join in the fight?
  • Since we are told without the Mau Mau, there would be no independence, we can ask how many Europeans did they kill?
  • Kenyatta said we all fought for independence. Who, then, do we celebrate on the 20th?
  • was Kenyatta and Mau Mau concerned with the national project and was Mau Mau the only militant group?
  • Why did Mau Mau activists kill Ofafa?
  • Was Harry Thuku a collaborator or an independence hero?
  • There are those who argue that the national project, if it ever was there, ended with the assassination of Mboya. Is this really the case or did end it much earlier?
  • Why is there little talk of the Oromo people’s resistance?
  • Or why has no one ever mentioned to me the Somali-Galla line (PDF) and the Kittermaster line (separating the Samburu grazing lands of the Leroghi plateau from the larger Laikipia plateau, which had been reserved for white settlers)
  • Or why is there is little talk of Maasai nationalism with its headquarters in Sanya Chini, Tanzania?
  • what were the debates going on in the forest? how were the issues of gender, marriage, religion and violence dealt with?

Nation building makes for interesting history. Earnest Renan argued for forgetting the past and forging a new unified history, what is generally called, imagined histories. Others have argued differently. So here we are, trying to understand the early days of the nation called Kenya. What were the discussions taking place and where were these discussions? What form was the nation to take?