Politicians and the church in Kenya

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

There is a storm brewing in my backyard, but it is all smokes and mirrors.

For some time now, churches have always invited politicians, including the dee pee,  and the well to do in the community to their fundraising activities. You all know god wants money. So one would ask, why is there trouble? One, the dee pee question (if you know, you know). Reports show he has been too generous leading many people to question the source of his wealth. Well, we generally have an idea but we would want to hear him say it.

Why is the storm all smokes and mirrors? A section of the church goers are complaining that politicians have taken over their pulpits. But this is a half truth or just a plain lie. Churches, clergy and the general population in most events treat politicians as demigods. They get deferential treatment at gatherings and are usually offered opportunity to speak wherever. In church, you have a captive audience and any politician would use such an occasion to push his agenda.

After receiving millions of shillings from politicians and other bureaucrats, clergy and their sheeple have now developed a conscience and do not want this money. Well, not happening. The good archbishop of the ACK church has said they want the money, but please be quiet about it. A cross-section of the population have however interpreted this to mean the good bishop is saying no to politicians and any stolen money. One would think only politicians are guilty of sleaze, but this is not true.

My fellow countrymen and women should stop being hypocrites. We all know god wants money. And wants a lot of it. For what I don’t know. Out of 175 countries ranked, Kenya is ranked 144. And it is not the case that only the political class is driving this corruption. We all are. And last I checked, the world factbook gives this break down of religious affiliation Christian 83% (Protestant 47.7%, Catholic 23.4%, other Christian 11.9%), Muslim 11.2%, Traditionalists 1.7%, other 1.6%, none 2.4%, and unspecified at 0.2% of the population, as estimated in 2009, which can only be translated that it is driven by religious people. They make the majority. So why pretend that you don’t want dirty money in your churches?

I say. let the religious people stop pretending they have developed some spine. Moi always went to a church, was thought of as one of the most religious people in Ke but presided over plunder, unsolved murders and so on. Kibaki no different. Muigai and Ruto are all Christians but have presided over plunder of a nation not seen before in this country since the beginning of self-rule. Well, maybe not as much as Kamau wa Ngengi grabbed land. Just keep inviting the politicians to your churches, we understand your gods/ parsons want money,  and the politicians want a captive audience, which the church provides. It is win- win. God/ parsons get money. The politician gets a captive audience.

End of Thursday sermon.

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on the housing levy

by the thieving UhuRuto government.

Housing can be looked at as a process and a product. And there are local and international instruments that underscore the right to housing as a fundamental right. For example Article 43 (1)b of the Constitution of Kenya provides specifically that every Kenyan has a right to accessible and adequate housing, and to reasonable standards of sanitation.

There are philosophies around housing provision viz: welfare (social housing) approach and market approach.

Habitat for Humanity notes the housing deficit in Kenya stands at 2 million and continues to grow at a rate of 200K per year.

Now that you know what housing is (this is where you say thank you Mak) and what the law says. The drafters of the constitution added this section

Article 21 (2) states The State shall take legislative, policy and other measures, including the setting of standards, to achieve the progressive realisation of the rights guaranteed under Article 43.

and while I am no lawyer, it is my belief that the government is riding on this provision to implement a housing levy in the pretext of financing housing ( I have learnt this is not the case. The stupid people in government are relying on HousingAct17of1953 (1) (pdf)! in developing these regulations). In the context of (local) economic development, this levy would be viewed as a method of capital formation. But having said so, I think it would only make sense if the government reduced massive leaks through corruption, was transparent in how it spends our money, reduced its expenditure among others. Short of the above, it does seem this government is only keen in increasing the money available to be stolen.

My countrymen and women are not amused especially if one were to check the #resisthousingfundlevy which, yours truly believes, is a flopped resistance.

But I digress.

We, the tax payers have genuine reasons to protest this levy. And it should not be construed by those in government or their mouthpieces that we have abandoned our right to adequate housing, far from it. There is good reason that this state capture by the Kenyatta family enterprise. If a government were to win a trophy for sleaze, this regime would take first place and first runners-up. It has made promises from irrigation to school laptops and failed miserably at it. It promised to house police in decent housing and has failed to do so. It is inconceivable that in the two years it has left in office that it could build 500K units. My professor makes the following observations and here where he argues among other things that the regulations are not properly thought out.

In my view, given the current economic circumstances many working people find themselves in as a result of the bad policies and habits of this government, this levy is an ill-conceived idea that should not have been left to see the light of day. While public participation in required by law, our government does not take a robust approach to meeting this requirement. It is not lost to us that the ICC duo treat the citizens with disdain and not surprising that government approach to the citizens is that of antagonism, and threats of violence.

It is time we collectively rise and send them home. We cannot be slaves to the constitution in the face of despotism waiting for the term of the government to collapse to try to do something. The time to do anything is now.

how long will we survive this government?

As I have said elsewhere, the worst that can happen to a collective, say, a nation-state is to have leaders who are incompetent, clueless, murderous and rent seeking. The Jubilee administration is all the above and worse. It’s a government whose officials have taken a vow to plunder the country till it goes bust.

How, for example, do you explain aviation fuel with 5 million dollars disappearing into thin air? And that is the least of their crimes. We cannot tell the extent of the grand larceny that is taking place within this government. It will take ages and a different regime to uncover the theft that these thieves have gotten away with since 2013, though this, too, is only a dream. The same wolves are busy positioning themselves to stay at the helm to either continue stealing or to make sure they are not prosecuted or both.

In this day, we have our countrymen and women dying from starvation while those responsible are busy stealing public funds. To imagine people in Baringo, from where Moi, who ruled for 24 years die of hunger is evidence of the moral bankruptcy of our leaders. How bereft of ideas they are and of course, how useless.

As Ndii has opined, I think the level of graft, no, theft this government has committed against is qualifies to be called crimes against humanity.

Maybe, this post that I wrote a while ago is still relevant.

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