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

a short story or thoughts out of season

Kenya is a multi ethnic society. In the over 57 years of independence, the presidents have come from Kikuyu and Kalenjin ethnic groups. From the way things look, a Kalenjin ( and a thief) seem poised to be the next president of the republic. There is talk in some quarters that this monopoly of the top seat by these two communities doesn’t bode well for the commonwealth and if it continues in this vein, then their might even be secession or civil war whichever is the worst.

This brings me to the discussion I was having with my host in Garowe, Puntland. For those of you who know anything about Somalia, a lot of things- including governance happen at clan level. SO how have they addressed the issue of who becomes president? Easy. There are three main regions- Garowe, Galkayo and I think Nugal ( I wasn’t paying attention at this point). The president serves a 5 year term ( I think). To solve the problem of clan infighting, the position of president rotates within these three groups.

You maybe thinking this process is not democratic. That’s where there is ingenuity. Anyone can vie during the presidential election. I think the good people of Puntland have come to the conclusion anyone can be president so they obey the gentleman’s agreement and elect the president based on a rotational basis to keep the peace and the nation together.

I don’t know how this would work for Kenya or even if it is desired. But I think a fair and transparent election, equitable distribution of resources and a sense of respect to the rule of law would go along way in easing tensions in the country.


In a different story but still in Puntland. They don’t have car insurance. The community is responsible for you. In the event that you were to be involved in an accident, the community elders would be called and decide on the payment. This payment will be collected from all the families with boys. Same thing for bride price.


There is a lock down in Mogadishu and all non essential movement is restricted. So anyone who was expecting me to buy them anything from this beautiful coastal city will have to wait till my next visit.


I got to cycle in Somalia. That was the best experience. Maybe i will do it again the next time I visit.


 

This post has no title

I said somewhere I am reading Zola’s the earth. It’s such a work!

Somewhere he writes

Is misfortune ever at an end? This universal suffrage, now, it don’t bring meat to the pot, does it? The land tax weighs us down, they keep on taking our children to fight. It’s not a bit of use having revolutions, it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other, and a peasant always remains a peasant.

And for some reason, this would almost reflect the situation of the poor in Kenya. First, the concern of most people is food. I would call it the politics of food. In place of land tax, I would name the many varied taxes the thieving government imposes on the working classes. And maybe, one would almost conclude elections don’t help us. The poor almost always remain poor.

the people

Scipio, in Cicero’s Tusculian disputations, defines the people as

a community bound together by the sense of common rights and mutual benefits.

Are members of the political class bound with the other citizens in mutual benefits and common rights or do they occupy different spheres and as such when we talk about the people, we really have different groups in mind?