Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Sweetest Dream

The queen of all beauties 
You came into my life when I felt lonely
You gave every reason to smile
You made me realize
What life has in store for me
Life without you is a big misery
Life was always disappointing
Life was always long and boring

May your smile always be there
May your jokes portray our desire in life
May you always be the reason for my happiness
I will never let you out of my grasp
For ours has to grow day to day
For you will always be mine
And mine alone

Always melt me with your love
Which you have promised me
I’ll continue loving you deep in my life
For without you I have no reason to smile
Coz you are the most I have ever had

Friday, April 16, 2010

Maseno University @ art by the design clan exhibition

The beauty of African art at the exhibition by Design Clan
The Design Clan, composed of Interior Design students, on Wednesday March  3rd treated students to an array of art as they displayed diverse pieces of art at the Students’ Centre.

Ranging from mosaic, bead work, pieces to fabric paintings, graphic images, basic photography and house and other interior design art works, the exhibitors meticulously displayed their art pieces on the walls and on tables, that captivated observers who went round and appreciation the beauty of art amidst soft background music.
I arrived early at the varsity students center to capture and mavel at the talent with other students.
“The main aim of the exhibition is to expose designers to their potential clients and show what is available in the design department.” said the current design clan chairman Arnold Wangai, a third year Interior Design student.
The entrance was free though exhibitors were charged Kshs 50 to display their pieces and make sales. 
Walter Mbaka's fine art pieces like Money Matters of a 1,000 shillings note, Kiss about kissing couples and the Leopard ready to pounce drew most of the students' captivated by the great creativity with pencil and paper.
“I am always inspired by posture and emotion of happiness. My art always seek to freeze emotion” Said Walter. Speaking to The Burning Splint, he said his works have also been exhibited at Unatrust gallery in Kisumu and they go for about Kshs 500-5000.
Making a piece of art is time consuming as students have to work with limited materials mostly sourced from Kisumu, tight time schedule and in the crowded hostels.
“It is the joy I get from the art that drives me. The challenges are always overcome by this joy,” Said Ahmed Bini who exhibited Bismillahi  a mosaic of egg shells and wood drawn in arabic as a morning prayer.
The same sentiments were aired by Mary Negesa, a first year student and many other artists,
Most artists interviewed by The Burning Splint said the most daunting challenge is getting materials.
Nancy Moraa, third year who sell her pieces between Kshs 1,500-2,500 said she looks for 'trash' like bamboo leaves, egg shells and old newspapers as materials. Always after this hustle an artist becomes emotionally attached to the art to let it go.
On the other hand, Victor Odongo on his models Homestead, an upmarket home and Bedroom 2, a single lady's room used simple materials. The artist used old card box, utensil rag and crayon in production.
“I just get my inspiration from objects like a rotting log and see how to make them useful.” said Nancy.
Two third year students Anthony Sissey and Josphat Kimani have opted to using computer software to produce artwork. This new form of art was being displayed by a laptop.
“As art appreciation by students is low because of their low economic status I opted to designing postures, business card and printing of T-shirts to make ends meet,” Said Sissey who sells his postures from Ksh. 300 and uses Adobe photoshop and illustrator software.
Perhaps, the most intriguing piece was Kenyatta and Dedan showing the first Kenyan president Jomo Kenyattaa and freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi in prison. The printed fabric showed the  two are behind a barbed a wire in a British colonial prison.
“My main aim was to make the audience remember about our independence,” Said Emma Njoki, who funnily enough is inspired by the curve a woman's body.
Worth mentioning too were the photograph work by Kimani Josphat, Jennifer Kivuitu amongst others. The works Environmental Psychology and Introduction to Photography were a masterpiece with powerful; photographs beautifully outlined.
Published on Equator Weekly (March 7-14, 2010) and The Oracle (2009/10) both publications of Maseno University/Kenya

Mr & Miss Maseno University 2010 finally goes down

Tense: Aspirants waiting for results
Charity Kiarie and Steve Njuguna are the new Miss and Mr. Maseno 2010/2011.

The two emerged winners in a tightly contested event at the Graduation Square on Saturday evening and will replace Jackline Maina and Harrison Okemo.

The competition attracted 10 models from female category and male category as well. Another category was the flex which also attracted 10 body builders. Steven Ochieng’ retained his title.

“I will like to thank the students and my fans for their support. I hope to work with them closely to enlighten the world by portraying the varsity image positively” Said Charity contested last year’s event but never made to the top five.
Pauline Olouch, the second runners up for the crown congratulated Charity and said she didn’t fully agree with the results.

The new Mr. Maseno University, Steve Njuguna said the crown will help propel his modeling career and told The Burning Splint he is ready for the task.

“I would like to thank all my supporters especially my girlfriend Ruth Muthoni of Kabarak University” he said.

The second runners up Ibrahim Mohammed said he was satisfied with the second position and congratulated the winners.

Immediate former Mr. Maseno, Harrison Okemo congratulated the winners saying the modeling skills had gone a notch higher especially like the free modeling where straws, bottles, condoms and banana fibers were used.

Edward Omondi the 08/09 Mr. Maseno who worked closely with the varsity Public Relations office observed that the models were experienced.

“I could not easily predict the outcome since all 20 models and 10 flexxers were experienced and talented.”

 The same sentiments were shared by Gildah Nyamongo and Orlando Geoffrey who trained female models and flexxers respectively.

Susan Osage a Zain Kenya model. Adan Mohammed of House of Funk and Mr. Olivier of Versatile models judged 20 participants of Mr. and Miss Maseno crown. Former Mr. Kisumu Victor Nakhisa judged the body builders.

This year’s event was sponsored by Coca Cola, Zain, EABL, Co-operative bank, Versatile models and Pambo school of dressing and beauty in Kisumu. According to Joel Omino, one of the event organizers, the Vice chancellor made a special contribution amounting to Kshs. 100,000.

Eliakim Lolgisio, the Entertainment Director confirmed that SOMU paid Ksh. 162,000, Cop-operative bank Kshs. 8,000 while House of funk DJs outfit donated Ksh. 12,000.

“Other material like tents, T-shirts, phones and modems were donated by Zain and other sponsors,” Said Eliakim.

The two could not confirm if winners will get laptops as stipulated since Standard Charted bank withdrew Ksh. 200,000 sponsorship hours before the event.

“Although Stan Chart has been the varsity’s bank they said they could not see the benefit of sponsoring the event.

Though the Pulse magazine refused to show up after attending Mr. and Miss Moi University event, the occasion however was a success.
DJ Enzyme of M.O.B partnered with four House of Funk jockeys to entertain revelers.

Local rappers Dr. Ivy, Bob, UjoC and Kevoh gave superb performances. In addition, Dance troupes Extremists, Salsa, Muge, Maomond and Peter Gumbo show casted their talents on the stage amidst applauds from the crowd.

Nonini thrills the audience
Nonini got on the stage at 1.04 am and gave an entertaining performance for 30minutes before the results were announced.
Genge artist Nonini, entertaining guests.

The 28 years musician was paid Ksh. 70,000. With 10,000 of the amount paid for his air ticket. He blazed the crowd with hits like Manzi wa Nairobi, Genge na Bongo feat Juma Nature, Geroro, Viletafanya, We kamu and Si lazima which left the audience breathless.
The dancehall sensation Kushoto Kulia and Mgenge done with the P-Unit crew excited the charged crowd. The Crowd were lost as they tried to follow songs from new album Godfather wa Genge.

The articles was published in Equator Weekly (March 15-23, 2010), The Informant and The Oracle (2009-2010)all publications of Maseno University/Kenya 

Why Floods? Harvest Rain Water to Attain Vision 2030

The current downpour pounding the country and the devastating floods ensueing which have displaced and killed Kenyans shows we are still not equipped for vision 2030 and Millennium Development Goals.

Although some months ago the drought caused loss of lives and livestock coming of rains has not brought before as Kenyans are still being displaced, killed, their livestock, property and infrastructure going to waste in raging waters.

In urban areas the government need to urgently construct proper drainage systems as stagnating water is a hazard to water borne disease like cholera and typhoid which is risky.

Quite disturbing is that as other areas are prone to floods, some other places are in acute shortage of water. The water stagnates in town estates as residents are still having dry taps and pay for inconsistent and low quality water from vendors.

For rural populace the abundant agricultural produce enjoyed by the rains can’t reach the market as infrastructure like roads and bridges leading to the market.

To reach the MDGs and vision 2030 government should take measure of collecting the water going to waste for future use.

Published on Sunday, April 11, 2010 by The Star/Kenya

Voluntary Male Circumcision in Nyanza a success

A volunteer undergoing the cut

The WHO and government’s call for elders from communities that don’t perform male circumcision to help curb the HIV/AIDS in the country is a move in the direction.

Gains made by medical voluntary male circumcision in Nyanza province to be replicated in major urban areas and other communities like Turkana and Teso who don’t culturally cut their males will help prevent spread of the deadly virus country wide.

The cut help reduce infection rate by about 60%, although being circumcised is not a panacea to fight HIV/AIDS this little effort always go along way to having an AIDS free Africa.

The Nyanza program was a success as other African countries like Swaziland are visiting Kenya to pilot studies to help them back home.

Published on Monday, April 12 2010 by The Star/Kenya

Kudos to Kenyan parliament for passing the Alcohol bill

Kudos to the parliament for passing MP John Mututho’s bill seeking to regulate consumption of alcohol. The bill currently sitting at committee level should be signed into law by president Kibaki to control the effects of the bottle.

Following the debate in the house most members observed alcohol is wasting the youthful population negatively affecting their health and energy causing heavy addiction.

In addition alcohol kills through road accidents and liver disorders.

The reports in the media about a month ago showing even high school kids taking to the bottle shows alarming rate of the problem. With uncensored advertising, poor parental guidance, peer pressure and negative role models the youths fall a victim of the bottle.

Kenyan youths should know you cant only enjoy your time through alcohol, not every party has an alcohol and not even every one at the party drinks alcohol.

Published on Saturday, April 10, 2010 by The Star/Kenya

Kenyan government must enhance access to water.

(Left: A student drawing water at Maseno University, West of Kenya. For the country to attain its goals the access of water must be essential  Photo: Manuel Odeny/The Burning Splint)

Bernard Sanga's report (The EastAfrican February 8-14) on how water shortages in Kenya may undermine the country's effort towards schieving Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and Vision 2030 was a spot on.

Although water is the main necessity for human survival, most Kenyans lack access to the precious liquid.

While arid parts of the country like Ukambani and North Eastern Province continue to suffer from perennial droughtd, citizens from other regions such as Budalangi in Western Kenya continue to battle floods year in year out.

Why water harvesting mechanism are not top priority for the government, which it could then distribute to areas where there is a shortage, remains a puzzle.

In urban areas, access to safe and affordable water remains a huge challenge, with the informal sector being worst hit. Dry taps running days and weeks on end mean residents must purchase the commodity at exhorbitant prices from middlemen, and often, the water is unsafe for human consumption.

In hotels, after paying for a meal, a customer is also expected to pay for water (which is bottle)-How sad!

Water is a basic human right and if the government ever hopes to achieve the MDGs, it must ensure all citizens have access to a safe and consistent supply of the commodity.

Published on March 15-21, 2010 by The EastAfrican/East Africa

Kisumu mayor and police should act on rogue touts

I urge Kisumu mayor and traffic police commander to close the illegal bus stops around Kisumu Boys' High and Kisumu Girls' High. Touts have abandoned the bus stages designed for them and opt to pick and drop passengers at the Kisumu Boys' and Kisumu Girls' gate.

Tout operate on a commission basis extorting extra money from passengers to increase their cut. They know they are on the wrong but they seem not to care. Furthermore, a lot of time is spent haggling on the commission wasting travelers' time.

Published on Sunday March 14, 2010 by Sunday Nation/Kenya

Regulate dont ban vernacular radio

Jecktone Odeny listens to a transistor radio in rural Mara Province, Tanzania. He said he prefers Ramogi FM, a luo vernacular station in Kenya to get timely news
I concur with former Mozambican president Joachim Chissano's view that vernacular can unite the country. These stations can foster development in the that niche market populated by the uneducated.

Years ago, my elderly relatives used to tune it to vernacular broadcasting in Kisumu only from Kenya Broadcasting Corparation (KBC). But with the explosion of FM stations, they are now spoilt of choice.

Following the news has now become a ritual a a hitherto untapped market is opened up to the world. Even though some of the stations stand accused of fanning post-election violence, i would rather they were not banned.

Rather, they should be regulated to foster unity and development

Published on Monday March 22, 2010 by The Standard/Kenya

Nurturing money smart kids is essential.

Timely article on kids and money
 Helping kids to become money smart by Millicent Mwololo (Living, March 17) was an insightful piece on this often forgotten subject. Most children grow up knowing that having money is 'Sinful" because they are questioned or punished for having it. And they are seen as spoilt if they ask for it.
As children grow, their first source of money is their parents, so the way parents handle this important item affects children negatively or positively. On shopping trips, children learn that money can be exchanged for goods, so parents should use this to make children responsible.
I believe money-smart kids can be easily be nurtured at home by parents who can't afford services offered by outfits like Nurture Smart. Nurturing children into responsible adults is a challenge to all parents.

Published on Weekend Magazine.

Kenya should guarentee ICC full cooperation on pest election violence.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo
Kenya should fully cooperate with ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo once the list of 20 prominent figures is released by the pre-trial chamber of The Hague.
The government should show a need to account for the about 1,500 lives lost and citizens still languishing at the IDP camps after the 2007/08 post election violence.

This need for justice has been long overdue, up to date the Internal Security ministry and the Attorney General Chambers are yet to bring any suspect to book. Will they be trusted to offer witness security which falls under their dockets? I highly doubt that.

After the government failed to push parliament to establish a special tribunal which could have persecuted the violence perpetrators en-masse, it should then help the ICC in trial of the 20 suspects. The suspects believed to be sitting cabinet ministers; politicians and rich business people who used their tribal, government and wealth connection to fuel the violence should be fully accountable of their crimes at the UN court.

Published on Thursday April 1, 2010 by The Standard, Kenya.

Cites ban on Tanzania Ivory Trade will save the Jumbo

Kenya Wildlife Services officer with confiscated ivory

The recent decision at the cites meet to prevent Tanzania from selling its ivory stockpile worth $20 is a step in the right direction.

Had Tanzania been given the nod, not only would this have endangered the county's jumbos but those of neighboring countries like Mozambique and Kenya as well.

The recently released Briefing Report of the Panel of Experts on Ivory Trade on March this year by London and Tanzanian environmentalists, notes that Tanzania is the largest ivory trader in Africa on a scale surpassing China.

Tanzania has been reported as having a thriving illegal ivory trade which has lead to poaching at it game reserves like the Selous in southern parts of the country.

Additionally, large amounts of tusks from the country have been intercepted en-route to East, who are the world largest users of ivory products.

With the alarming poaching of the Jumbos the trading ban should be implemented to help save the Tuskers from extinction. Wildlife should not only benefit corrupt big cats but all citizens in the region.

Thus effects of allowing trade would spill over to the region considering that elephants roam freely from say Kenya's Maasai Mara to Tanzania's Serengeti national parks.

Besides, the lack of tight security in the region as well as porous borders would encourage smuggling of tusks.

the only way to save the elephants from extinction is by adhering to the ban on ivory trade.

This calls for concerted efforts from all nations around the globe. Wildlife is not meant to benefit corrupt big cats only, but all citizens in the East african region.

Published on Thursday, April 1, 2010 by The Standard/Kenya
published by The EastAfrican april 5-11, 2010
Available online at SaveTheElephant
Posted too by A Mozambique news site mznoiticas

Kenya should keep out of the Somali conflict

The report by UN Monitoring Group on Somali linking the Kenyan government to the Somali crisis should set off alarm bells not only in Kenya but to the region at large.
That Kenya agreed in training of 2,500 Kenyan and Somalian youths for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG)  shows how deeply involved the country is in conflict.
In addition, Kenya, through corrupt government officials, allows illegal immigrants in the country and aids their connection to Europe through visa frauds rackets.
Cross-border raids between the two countries have been reported with elders from both sides trying to reach a consensus. This clearly shows the minimum control the governments have of the volatile areas.
Like all conflict the nature of Somalian crisis is that it sticks like a second skin as seen in the jittery diplomatic relation between Ethiopia and Eritrea as they support TPG and Al-Shabaab respectively.
Most worrying is that a good proportion of Al-Shabaab fighters who are linked to global terrorists network Al-Qaeda, are Kenyans. Once skilled in guerilla warfare, they will return to the country heightening instability in the already volatile region.
Look at Charles Tayloris 1989 rebellionled by his National Patriotic Front (NPL).
Backed by Sierra Leone (Fodhay Sankoh); Bukina Faso (Blaise Campaore); Nigeria (Captain Tijani Babangida); Cote d’Ivore (Felix Houphert-Boigny) among others, the rebellion, whose fighters were trained by Libya, produced hardened guerrillas who caused unrest around the region.
It is the same thing in Kenya. Early this year, demonstrators in Al-Shabaab attire took to the streets in Nairobi demanding the release of controversial Jamaican Islamic cleric Abdul Al-Faisal' leading massive losses in property and several injured.
The Kenyan government should reassure on their ‘neutral’ stand on Somali crisis to foster peace not only in Kenya but the East African region at large

Is Cohabiting a bitter or a better option?

The number of couples living together as married in Kenya is on the increase. Many couples prefer living together to legally get married.
“Why get married?” this is the legitimate question.

If couples needs can easily be met without legal social or religious commitment why then should the marriage institution be perpetuated.
Unfortunately most young adults are affected by the institution of marriage as their failure and divorce rate cast doubts on yet to get married couples.

Increasing number of children are brought up in broken homes seeing firsthand the tattered marriage institution raising skeptics on marital issues.

Not an easy road.
Today’s lifestyle has made the marriage institution to be greatly undermined. The general strain of competition at work, economic requirement and stress can easily be transferred to family life.

Quite absurd marriage requires investment of time which is hard to find. Luck of time means mental imbalance and break ups. Many couples’ hours are spent on jobs for economic security. Luck of time is a barrier in nourishing a relationship.

Marriage option has been pushed to the shelves due to factors like violence, drugs, alcoholism and luck of ethical and religious issues. It isn’t easy to find couples who don’t argue and harder to find couples who know how to argue without physically and psychologically ripping their spouses apart.

The hard road has made many couples to take an easy option of cohabiting. It’s easier to live together and obtain the same marital and family benefits as that of married couples. In cohabiting there is unlimited freedom as notes a university undergraduate.

“Our parents never know we are staying together, when we go home we are separated till long holidays are over!”

It can be argued that most cohabiting couples may opt to having children before marriage. Although it may seem convenient against in-laws it only illuminates that cohabiters still consider marriage as step forward in attaining a higher level of commitment and stability.

First cohabiting family have a demerit of lower level of commitment with expectations reduced to living together. This negatively translates to luck of effort to foster a greater stability in the family.

In this unstable union most couples will easily consider separation as an escape route when cracks start appearing in the family.

Even the society, friends, work mates and neighbors offer lower expectation on cohabiters unlike marriage couples who enjoy societal stability by pressure to stay together compared cohabiters who may be stigmatized.

Quite interestingly it’s easier to deal with crisis in marriage than when cohabiting. No matter how hard the crisis is like financial, sickness, drug and alcohol abuse the thought of marriage acts as great glue to stick together and find a solution. On other hand cohabiters may separate or escape when trouble starts.

May I not be misunderstood. I don’t support abusive marriages, wife battering and husbands unknowingly rearing children not biologically related to them. I don’t. The point here is married couples only contemplate splitting in very exceptional circumstances.

It is this reason that African culture insist on dowry payment! Incase husband and wife want to separate elders from both sides will sit together with advice given to solve the problem. Under this culture couples will split under limit situations like witchcraft.

Together inside, marriage outside.
With marriage option outside cohabiting couples always suffer legal disadvantages in case of break up or death. Legally verbal promises or agreement between the couples hold no water.

Legal hurdles come with the goods acquired together. In case where there is no will or last statement from the departed couple, the deceased partner will find it hard to retain goods from overzealous relatives and in laws.

Additionally, psychologically women have different expectations to men when cohabiting. Quite interestingly most women hope for marriage in future which is inverse to men’s outlook.

In her book The effect of union type on psychological well being and depression among cohabiters versus Married psychologist Susan Brown notes: “Comparison made between women who are in cohabiting relationship and those in a convectional marriage have demonstrated that the former suffer more from depression and find their relationship less satisfactory.”

Thus the longer the relationship without marriage the more depressed the woman cohabiter will be. The depression suffered will lead to lower degree of overall satisfaction emotionally or even sexually as compared to married couples.

Finally in cohabiting the most vulnerable are women and her children, if any, who are at a greater risk of suffering domestic violence both physically and psychologically.