Customer service week rant

This week has been customer service week in this godforsaken country of ours. And it is this week that the company that provides me with voice and data services-Airtel saw it fit to steal my airtime.

I would move to their competition- Safaricom but the word on the street is they have grown to be a giant by stealing from their subscribers. So I will for the time being stick with Airtel who are learning to steal than go to the giant thief.

If however some genius can come up with a way to communicate that does not involve these giants and is not smoke signals or banana fibre, call me.

Postscript: they have finally corrected the anomaly


The politics of food

Continuing from where we left yesterday, it is interesting to note that the settlers sought protection from the colonial government against the African peasants. In Siaya, we read

[ ]The new market position these farmers achieved in the 20s and early 1930s was feared by the European settlers in Kenya, who sought the protection provided by stiff competition and marketing regulations to maintain their domination of these markets.

Free market anyone?

On moral bankruptcy

I recently wrote here regarding the person of the president appearing as caricature for the incompetent and stealing father before him.

And while still on the 18th Brumaire, Marx said of the bourgeoisie of France that

It was forced by its own class attitude, on the one hand, to destroy the conditions for all parliamentary power, its own included, and, on the other, to render irresistible the executive power that stood hostile to it.

Now, those more eloquent than I have said of our political class as a morally bankrupt sort. Nothing makes this evident than the recent reports that they were bribed in the lavatories with as little as Ksh 3000 to alter or approve a report on illicit sugar into the country.

Of relevance to the above statement by Marx refers to the failure of the August house to pass legislation to bring to life the 2/3rd gender rule as enshrined in the constitution. What this has done to the morally bankrupt house is to make it a puppet for the executive, filled as it is, by a protege of the nation’s first big scale thieving family. This house cannot even if it tried, check the executive.

The chief justice has by failing in his constitutional duty to advise the president on the illegality of parliament, has made the courts equally subservient to the executive so that where the constitution envisages three centres of power, working together but also as checks, we have the executive led by an incompetent and a thief lording it over all of us. If there is a royal screw, we are being screwed royally and without the benefit of lube.

There’s nothing so annoying as to know you are being led by your inferiors.

the case for a revolution in Kenya

All class struggles are political.

In the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Karl Marx writes

Hegel says somewhere that that great historic facts and personages recur twice. He forgot to add: “Once as tragedy, and again as farce.” Caussidiere for Danton, Louis Blanc for Robespierre, the “Mountain” of 1848-51 for the “Mountain” of 1793-05, the Nephew for the Uncle. The identical caricature marks also the conditions under which the second edition of the eighteenth Brumaire is issued.

He could as well have been writing about Kenya. We have Johnstone Kamau and now we have the identical caricature in his son, Muigai wa Kamau.

In the first case, the one borrowed money from the British Government and the World Bank to pay off or rather to buy back land that had been stolen by the British settlers. This money ended up in either his pocket or those of his cronies. The son is borrowing billions of shillings in the name of building infrastructure, a big chunk ends up in his pockets or those of cronies.

The first one through constitutional means concentrated power in his person. The caricature through use of force and pretenses like fighting corruption has usurped the will of the majority.

In claiming to have a big four agenda, the son has found means to continue the family legacy of theft and corruption. In 1975, the New York Times had this to say

In recent years, however, Mr. Kenyatta has damaged his political image and alienated more and more Kenyans by abuses of power, by piling up a growing fortune and by moving to stifle the development of a freer society in this East African nation.

This has not changed. The caricature has ensured that we continue to lose money through graft and especially by people closest to him. Reading the article above, one would be forgiven for thinking time has stood still for Kenya. Elsewhere they write

Another situation involving the President that has disturbed Kenyans is that he has neither restrained nor disciplined his family and his closest associates in their amassing of wealth, much of it through evasions of law and the exploitation of such national resources as wildlife and forests.]

which is still true.

The Left in Kenya, if there was ever one, has become moribund. If it exists, it has failed to have a unified front, a coherent message nor has it been able to marshal the peasants and the workers together and speak in one voice. Unemployment is at an all time high. Cost of living is above the roof and the Left or whatever is left of it has either been co-opted in the capitalist and violent repressive state or they do not know what to do.

This crisis offers the best time for revolt.

In anticipating Brian, why revolution and not democratic means like the ballot? Because the caricature and his cronies have control of the electoral system. They will kill and maim to stay in power. Only a revolution can change this.

What are the goals of the revolution? For me it is simple

  1. To change the property relations that exist currently where a few people own the land leaving the majority destitute.
  2. In his defense before the judges, Fidel Castro said

The first revolutionary law would have returned power to the people and proclaimed the 1940 Constitution the Supreme Law of the State until such time as the people should decide to modify or change it. And in order to effect its implementation and punish those who violated it – there being no electoral organization to carry this out – the revolutionary movement, as the circumstantial incarnation of this sovereignty, the only source of legitimate power, would have assumed all the faculties inherent therein, except that of modifying the Constitution itself: in other words, it would have assumed the legislative, executive and judicial powers.

this would be the second goal of the revolution. To return to constitutional dispensation. The sovereign belongs to the people. For these words to have any meaning, the people must be in a position to determine how they are governed and what the government does on their behalf. This must include but not limited to infrastructure projects, military spending and so on. If the people cannot vote on these, what then is the vote for?

The Left in Kenya must take this opportunity presented to it by the present crisis to call for revolution. A critical mass is not necessary to begin the revolution. The people will join once the call has been made. It must be radical and it must offer a coherent alternative to the neo-liberal democracy that we find ourselves in.

Viva la revolution.

And here is a song for the revolution

note, therefore, there is no such thing as cheapness

‘without some error or injustice’ argues John Ruskin.

He goes on to write

A thing is said to be cheap, not because it is common, but because it is supposed to be sold under its worth. Everything has its proper and true worth at any given time, in relation to everything else; and at that worth should be bought and sold.

He writes also

It is the part of wise Government, and healthy commerce, so to provide in times and places of plenty for times and places of dearth, as that there shall never be waste, nor famine.

And i can’t help but think about what passes for government in Ke. We have sporadic seasons of glut and famine which is all the evidence we need to convince ourselves that the fools in charge know shit or are shit.

Remember always and at all times that

Cheapness caused by gluts of the market is merely a disease of clumsy and wanton commerce.