Sunday, December 26, 2010

Please dont beg me to create an accident

The World a Loo

The Burning Splint Logo

Club Afrique- The Heartbeat of African Music

Friday, December 3, 2010

Kenya Tinkering With a Time Bomb on Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering

Police guarding a drug haul
The recent formation of a new police task force by police commissioner Mathew Iteere on drug trafficking, piracy and money laundering is most welcomed by Kenyans.

The task force will table its report in 2 weeks after analyzing drug trade reports in the country.

The move will include re-structuring of the Anti-Narcotics police unit for efficiency by changing the superintendent who heads it currently to an assistant commissioner and senior police officers to be in charge.

This move is most welcomed after the Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara tabled a dossier to the parliament implicating corrupt Kenya Revenue Authority personnel, senior politicians and civil servants benefiting from this illicit trade for thwarting the efforts its control.

The US is already alarmed at Kenya turning into a major hard drugs transit point from South East Asia to the West and money laundering aiding Somalia pirates and terrorist.  The country has gone further to bar senior government officials involved in the trade from visiting the country.

US and Mr. Imanyara dossier though downplayed by implicated individuals is a clear warning sign in what corruption of bureaucracy in abating these vice will cause a menace not only to Kenyans but the country image world wide in the backdrop of rebranding the country.

These corrupt sleaze balls driven by lust for money will stunt growth in the country’s sectors of  tourism, education by high rate of drop out and health sector by impotent addicts with the increase of youths hooked to this vice which is already alarming.

That ex-police superintendent Godanna Jarsa had to go into hiding for fear of his life as a whistleblower is sickening in the fight against corruption.

Drug turf wars felt in Mexico, Jamaica by arrest of drug baron Dudus Cork, the poppy war in Afghanistan by Talibans and Guinea leadership stalemate brought by external drug traffickers and barons should never find a place in Kenya at the expense of few complacent fat cats.

Manuel Odeny
Maseno University.

Makadara MP Gidion ‘Sonkoh’ Mbuvi Arrest Shame to Kenyan Youths

Makadara MP Gidion 'Sonkoh' Mbuvi
The arrest and detention of Makadara MP Gidion Mbuvi aka Sonkoh in police cells for 6 days in connection to several fraud cases does not only place corrupt politicians in a poor light but also the  plight Kenyan youths in bringing change.

Upon his release after a failure to raise the 1.5M bond in time- and I thought he was a Sonkoh- the MP termed his arrest and detention as a police plot ‘to kill the youth’.

The turning up of hapless youths in attempt to thwart the cause of justice in the court heightens the dearth of youthful change in the country.

The little known Nairobi politician flooring of big wigs politicians in Makadara by election brought him popularity which Kenyan youths hoped could bring change to the political landscape.

Sadly this has not been the case.

The flamboyant MP’s court appearance places him to the rank and file Kenyan politicians’ often endless court cases,   their names in bad light in several reports and shameful embezzlements.

This has cut off Sonkoh from giving any hope for change to the youths who felt the full brunt of Post Election Violence, PEV as used by the old politicians as gloves in shoving their murky deals.

I have tried to see the MP past his flamboyance, blings and cash-money appearance and what comes out is nothing substantial but a shell of a leader lacking any serious ideological principle. What I see is a politician with loads of cash to sway electorates with little delivery hope on promises.

The Makadara legislature should know  that change and true political leadership comes from the leader walking the talk.

Kenyan youths in voting for this self professed youthful leaders and the ‘Sonkohs’ of these country need to check true leadership qualities which marks great youthful leaders like Barack Obama, Malcolm X, Martin Luther, Jnr, and younger Fidel Castro amongst others who brought change to their society to be felt globally as young men.

Former University student leaders who fought in streets for second liberation are a good example that he can ape.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Review: The Autobiography of Malcolm X; A Glimpse of Black Paradise.

Title:  The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Author: Malcolm X (Assisted by Alex Haley)
Genre: Non-fiction (Autobiography)
“Only Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence of respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will” US President Barack Obama in Dreams From my Father; A story of Race and Inheritance.
Perhaps in the turn of the 21st century Malcolm X is the most physical symbol of black liberation globally. X was born Malcolm Little on May 19th, 1925 in Lansing, Michigan.

In the turn of the century Times magazine named The Autobiography of Malcolm X as the best and most powerful work of non-fiction. Atallah, X’s daughter in writing the forward of the book recounts how the US public erstwhile inertia about X got a jolt with release of X movie by Spike Lee.

This ‘X renaissance’ saw commercialization of his portrait, in theaters and a soaring interest about his life.
His transformation from a ghetto hustler to an international black crusader is most remarkable. After dropping out of school at 15, buoyed with wrong role models and influence he ends up (inevitably) to jail for 6 years.

He suffered anguish and ignorance down the society ladder as an addict, ironically he finds solace and peace in the jail library and converts to Islam to change above white prejudice.

US President Obama’s  search for fluid state of identity in his life falls for this book like most readers globally. Malcolm X’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X has changed lives of millions and shaped many perspectives both white and black.

About a half a century after his assassination on February 1965 in New York, his description of racism and trouble in US is still potent to date.

“I have given to this book so much of whatever time I have because I feel, and I hope, that if I honesty and fully tell my life’s account….read objectively it might prove to be a testimony of some social value” Malcolm X writes, and goes on to give a vivid picture of his hustling years: running numbers, selling drugs, pimping, burglary among others.

The violence which snuffed the life of X started while the author was still in the womb. His mother Louise Little, a daughter of a white man and a black woman in illicit affair narrates to her son how the Ku Klux Klan invaded their house.

The father a member of Universal Negro Improved Association, UNIA led by Marcus Garvey is brutally murdered by the Klansmen leaving the family in destitution.

Like most white lynches the murder is never investigated and an insurance company refuses to pay up a policy breaking up the family further. His mother ends up in a mental institution while the eight children wind up in approved homes.

It’s this powerful narrative voice holding the reader with a vice grip that the author starts in the first two paragraphs ‘Nightmare’ and ‘Mascot’ covering this fallout.

After completing 8 grade Malcolm moves with his sister Ella in Boston where he enters the nightlife of hustling. His relationship with an older woman Sophia and burglary ultimately sends him to jail in 1946.

Ironically social conditions against blacks in jail give the author a transformation. He immerses himself into books where his oratory skills take shape in debates.

After his release he joins Elijah Mohammad’s Nation of Islam where he quickly raises from an assistant minister to head the New York Temple.

Malcolm easily finds the right note with the ghetto masses for revolution. His black racial pride and the militant and spiritual struggle for self respect sees his ascend not only in US, but globally. 
He soon falls out with Elijah Mohammad due to jealousy.

Malcolm X as an international figure is highlighted in the last chapter on his visit to Mecca, Egypt, Lebanon, Ghana and Nigeria. He discover true Islam, racial tolerance and meets foreign leaders like Kwame Nkurumah. 

As the curtain of his life drapes, Malcolm prophetically see the violent death of his father in snuffing off his old age.

“To come right down to it, if I take the kind of things in which I believe, then add to that kind of temperament that I have, plus one hundred percent declaration I have to whatever I believe in- these are ingredients which make it just about impossible for me to die of old age”

As the book ends the malignant disease of racial bigotry by whites in US took a violent twist in riots while integration took a stalemate. X ended up being labeled a ‘demagogue’ and ‘a hater’ among others.

This prophetic stalemate saw Martin Luther King, Jnr whose integration stance failed and was assassinated for having a dream.

Malcolm X’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X gives the reader what shaped the author since the great depression, WW2, Marcus Garvey and Baptist upbringing though important during his time takes a backstage.
He finally summarizes his life:

“Sometimes I have dared to dream to myself that one day, history may even say that my voice- which disturbed the white man’s smugness, and his arrogance, and his complacency- that my voice helped save America from a grave, possibly even a fatal catastrophe.”

The text of the book ascertains this quote.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kidnap poem by Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni
ever been kidnapped
by a poet
if i were a poet
i’d kidnap you

put you in my phrases
and meter you to jones beach
or maybe coney island
or maybe just to my house

lyric you in lilacs
dash you in the rain
alliterate the beach
to compliment my see

play the lyre for you
ode you with my love song
anything to win you
wrap you in red Black green
show you off to mama

yeah if i were
a poet i’d kid
nap you.

Courtesy; Probst, R.E et al (2000) Elements of Literarture Third Course.
Texas; Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Harlem by Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
or crust and sugar over-
like a syrupy  sweet.

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Courtesy; Probst, R.E et al (2000) Elements of Literarture Third Course.
Texas; Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Review: Barack Obama – Dreams From my Father; A Story of Race and Inheritance

A Search for Identity, A Search for Racial Relations

Title: Dreams From my Father; a Story of Race and Inheritance
Author: Barack Obama
Publisher: Three Rivers Press, 2004
Genre: Non-Fictional (Autobiography)
Pages: 457
Reviewer: Manuel Odeny

Few months after winning the Democratic nomination for a seat on the US senate from Illinois, the question of Barack Obama’s identity forced the re-publication of Dreams From my Father in 2004. The first print was when he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review.

“(I) went to work (on the book) with the belief that the story of my family, and my efforts to understand that story, might speak in some way to the fissures of race that characterized the American experience, as well the fluid state of identity- the leap through time, the collision of cultures- that mark our modern life.” Obama observes in the preface of the book.

The book is a story of a fatherless boy trying to retrace his roots. His African father Barack Hussein Obama, Snr arrived at university of Hawaii in 1956, at 23 and married Ann Dunham. The parents separate in 1963 when the boy is only 2 years.

The author’s search for his family history is given in a calm, quite and powerful way evoking the reader to have an insight in human spirit and relation. His experience cuts across the globe and race, from Hawaii his birth place, and Chicago where he worked as a community organizer for three years. To Indonesia where he lived with is step father Lolo, and the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya, giving light to ‘fluid state of identity.’

Dreams From my Father; a Story of Race and Inheritance is divided in three parts; Origins, Chicago and Kenya.

In Origins, Obama talks of his early life in Hawaii, his stay in Indonesia and racial consciousness at Punahou School. He proceeds to Occidental College in Los Angeles where he struggles to fit as a black student.

“I had begun to see a new map of the world, one that was frightening in its simplicity, suffocating in its implications. We were always playing on the white man’s court” Obama writes “until being black meant only the knowledge of your own powerlessness, of your own defeat.”

His search takes him to the library, to WEB DuBois who ended in Ghana, poet Langston Hughes in Harlem and Malcolm X on black consciousness.

In the second part Chicago, Obama writes on three years as a community organizer in Chicago in search for a community. Although his search of identity begins from the fact of race, he realizes it should not end there. In Chicago the problem of poor housing, increased crime rate and poor services is felt across the racial divide.

This makes the sense of hope to move forward not to be based on bloodline of inheritance, but the need of all community to work together.

A visit by the author’s sister Auma ushers the reader to the third part, Kenya. His sister encourages him to visit the country and his father’s grave before joining Harvard Law School.

His visit to Kenya makes him realize who he is without any intellectual obligation.

“For a long time I sat between the two graves (his father’s and grandfather’s) and wept. When my tears were finally spent, I felt calmness wash over me” he finishes in his final paragraph.

“I saw that my life in America- the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I’d felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I’d witnessed in Chicago- all of it was connected with this small plot of earth an ocean away, connected by more than the accident of a name or the color of my skin”

The book gives the story of Obama’s maternal grannies Stanley and Madelyn Dunham (the WASP bloodline’s poor cousins) from Kansas in the heat of civilian war and racial prejudice to their settling in Hawaii.

The story of his paternal grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama in Kenya, the way he embraced the change of Britain colonialists. The two family story written with eloquence, respect and in intelligent style draws parallel in uniqueness of rich cultural experience to give meaning to race.

The author personal narration, although superfluous and dragging on and on gives abundant information for a reader to relate to.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Why Charles Taylor Deserves The Hague

Most African critics against ICC see it as neo-colonialist tool by the west to colonize Africa.

While speaking on Taylor’s warrant at AU headquarter Libya’s Muarmar Gaddaffi observed

“(ICC warrants) a practice of a new world terrorism, it’s not fair that a head of state should be arrested. If we allow such a thing (then) we should also try those who killed hundreds of thousands of children in Iraq and Gaza.” New African, May 2009

This comes from a man who being keen to interfere with pro-USA countries in the world trained Taylor’s 100 National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) guerilla’s from a score of West African countries: Sierra Leone, Nigeria, the Gambia and Ghana.

Other critics insist that Taylor was to face his 11 counts of indictments in Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) instead of Netherlands which was moved because it was believed Taylor still enjoyed support from the region which could have affected the course of justice.

These critics insist on Freetown because the indictment read in part “as he (Taylor) beared  the greatest responsibility for the war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone between 30th November 1996 and 18th January 2002”

 In addition, the same critics said the case which started on 4th June 2007 is lopsided because after the prosecutor presented 91 witnesses, Taylor who started his defense on July last year lucks witnesses since his friends and associates are still under UN travel ban with their finances frozen.
The critics not withstanding Taylor is at ICC after Nigeria, were he retired to a sumptuous villa, bowed to International pressure after a warrant issued by the then chief Persecutor David Crane.

Not to lose hope the critics insists Crane was from US and Nigeria betrayed Taylor when he was arrested fleeing the country with laundered money.

Nigeria bent after Taylor was labeled a Pariah, had arms embargo, trade sanctions and ban on government officials.

Let’s us begin first by checking Charles Taylor’s rebellion at the end of 1986. A descendant of American slaves calling themselves Americo-Liberians, Taylor got his education from USA. He started rebellion against the weak American backed Samwel Doe who seized power on 12th April ’80 coup. America was the only country worldwide to support the October ’85 rigged elections which Doe ‘won’.

The rebellion was aided by Ivory Coast president Felix Houphert-Boigny whose son in law was killed by Doe. Together with Blaise Campaore of Burkina Faso who was related with Houphert-Boigny in marriage.

Firstly, Taylor’s misdeed was recruiting heavily from illiterate teenagers hell-bend on revenge from Doe as child soldiers. A notorious group, Butt Naked Brigade, fought naked in belief it protected them from live bullets. The world saw coverage of Child soldiers high on marijuana, sometimes carrying AK 47s and toys.

Taylor said:
“The NPFL came and we didn’t even have to act. People came to us and said: ‘give me a gun. How can I kill the man who killed my mother?’”

Taylor organized the orphans in ‘small boys unit’ before giving them rudimentary training in Kalashnikov lifestyle and turning them to psychopathic killers wrote the former Times Africa correspondent Martin Meredith in his book The State of Africa: A history of fifty years of Independence.

“Joining a militia group is both meal ticket and substitute education…..the AK47 brings food, money, a warm bath and instant adult respect.” Wrote Krijn Peters and Paul Richards on an essay “Why we Fight”; Voices of Youth combatants in Sierra Leone (1998) about children soldiers. “Underage irregulars fight without inhibition and kill without compassion, sometimes casually, sometimes as an extension of play.”

An American researcher, William Reno, estimated Taylor warlord economy to be $200 million apart from looted goods. This was at a time when Liberia was being crippled economically by war!

When Taylor’s attempted to capture Monrovia were thwarted he built a warlord commercial empire he called ‘Greater Liberia’. He cut a deal with American’s Firestone for rubber plantations; France bought timber from him while a British firm paid $100 million in three months to ship out iron ore. Taylor’s brother, Nelson netted $10 Million in three months from gold and diamond mining in south-west Liberia.

Blinded by greed Taylor’s bid to control Sierra Leone’s $300 million annual diamond traffic, and bauxite and titanium mines accounting for 60% of the country export, supported Fodhay Sankoh a man he called “Governor of Sierra Leone’ against President Joseph Momoh.

To control the fields child soldiers were used to maim dissidents and rape women into submission! By May 2000, over a period of eleven years of civil war 30,000 people died with 20,000 others mutilated.

Fodhay Sankoh’s end came when his rebel group Revolutionary United Front (RUF) seized 500 Kenyan and Zambian UN peacekeepers.

In retaliation civic groups organized a crowd of 30,000 people to march to Sankoh’s house forcing him to escape over the back wall dressed in woman’s clothing. He was captured ten days later, stripped and paraded naked in streets before being handed over to the government.

After all these misdeeds I know Taylor, and other dictators and war instigators like Sudan’s Omar El Bashir and Kenyan Post Election Violence perpetrators, need to go to ICC!

The criticism that the warrant was issued on June 2003 when Taylor was in Ghana with five former African presidents Thabo Mbeki (SA), Olesegun Obasanjo(Nigeria) Joachim Chisanno (Mozambique), Tejan Kabbah (Sierra Leone) and John Kufuor (Ghana) seeking peace is farfetched.

Even after 1500 lives were lost and 13 peace treaties ignored he only relented after fear of his action on region’s security made West Africa states to commissioned the ECOMOG (Economic Community of West Africa Sates monitoring Group) forcing elections on July 1977 on the 14th treaty!!

Not to be easily cowered Taylor flaunted his warlord credentials with a slogan:

“He killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I will vote for him.”

Liberians voted for the sake of peace. Needless to say his National Patriotic Party (NPP) won elections by 75% of the vote.

His effects are still felt in region with the arms embargo being recently lifted by UN Security Council at the end of last year.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Maseno University launches 10 Wi-Fi hotspots

Maseno University VC Prof. Fredrick Onyango and students during the Wi-Fi launch
The Maseno University Vice Chancellor Prof Fredrick Onyango officially launched the 10 Wi-Fi hotspots in the university at the ICT open day on Saturday 6th last month.
The launch offers a new dawn of hope to face lift Maseno to the level of a IT world. The open day which kicked off at 10.00 a.m. Featured exhibitors and the VC farewell party which culminated into free lunch for all students.
The launch saw the Wi-Fi being used from the start of the semester with students browsing with wireless on the Maseno band width.
A total of nine exhibitors graced the function with companies like Compulynx, Equity Bank, Yu, Massatech and Microsoft East Africa gracing the event.
Opera varsity crew led other exhibitors from the university in showcaed the products.
“The introduction of the ICT will give the students an advantage in their students and research” Prof Onyango said during the launch attended by students, head of department and lectures at the graduation square. “Our students sell like hot cakes out there,” adds the proud VC.
The same advice was given by the chief guest at the function Mr. Mark Matunga who is the regional officer for Microsoft in East and southern Africa.
“Maseno university is a regional giant by providing IT , I challenge the students to embrace IT and the Wi-Fi to set the sky as the limit.” Mr. Matunga said advising students to emulate liberty icon Nelson Mandela who did much in a cubicle with little info at the cell in Robben Island.
The Wi-Fi has changed the face of the university with many students opting to use laptops cutting the cyber café off revenue. Most academic work is done online which has boast number of research obline for journals and video.
Speaking with The Informant from the SOMU exhibition stand Mr. Kivunja Mbaka, the student leader observed that the Wi-Fi will aid in online registration to be operational next semester. Students can also check their details online like work study and award s like Rattansi Trust.
“Students are encouraged to constantly check student tab at varsity website for what is on offer.” The chairman said.
Although  operational the 10 hotspots covering about 200 meters radius, they susceptible to interruption with poor connectivity while some areas are not reached. Parts of Equator hostels, Makerere, New Sunrise and Vet Farm are an example.
“The administration promised to increase connectivity points” Mr. Kvunja.
Mr. Felix Kimaru the president of Opera Crew said the connectivity problem is caused by the Wi-fi low band width. He advises the students to get free opera mini sioftware from the group to increase the web standard which always many users.
“Opera allows users to browse from different platforms faster  in best web standards reducing the jam on the network” he advises
The library will harness the Wi-Fi system by availing journals and soft copy books from online for students to have an all round reading.
The varsity band and Equator Fm broadcasting live from the event entertained the students as they took to the exhibition stand before the speech.
There was a light moment when the VC and the guest of honor joined the dance group of Maseno University.
The VC farewell speech which had undertone of humor of his decade at the helm of leadership glued the students before the VC lunch.

Students trooped to the Siriba campus mess for a plate of rice, beef, egg stew and a bottle of soda.
As students jostled for their meal, the social networks like Facebook and Twitter was used to alert the student in their room or in Kisumu.
The RFSL guards helped to man the students with students dipping their hands in the ink to avoid a double take. The plates of unfinished meals lying around attracted mongrels and children from Mabungo and Nyawita who took care of the leftovers.

Co-Authored by Antony Kaguta