Guest Column: Revotuion Fever Slowly Gripping Kenya

Kenya is smelling revolution

Kenya is smelling revolution

People from all social classes are discontented; they feel restless due social, political, religious or economic restrictions; Scholars are disillusioned; Government is unresponsive to societal demands and loses support; it’s near financial bankruptcy and resorts to over taxing. These are the classic symptoms of “revolutionary fever” according to late historian Crane Brinton.

He, among others, reviewed the French revolution where social inequalities was rampant, unfair taxation was eminent, political corruption and greed was dominant, inflation was the norm, lavish spending by the king was unrestrained and the rich got richer as the poor got poorer. But it was the bread riots that tipped the scales and catalysed the revolution. Food deprivation fuels trouble.

If we turn the clock forward to this past week‘s event in Egypt, the revolution fever symptoms relatively the same. During his short stint as President, Morsi failed to deliver a renaissance. Some have quipped that “he was his own worst enemy, deaf and blind to the gathering storm that ultimately swept him away. Instead of delivering on his promises, such as more jobs and greater inclusiveness, he monopolised power and entrenched his cronies in state institutions”. His reign left Egyptians feeling no better than they had under the Mubarak’s reign. History advises that “an empty stomach isn’t a good political advisor”. Egypt now finds herself under military rule she so detested.

Of what use is history if we can’t bring it home? Kenya’s past couple of weeks signify burgeoning discontentment. The teachers strike seems to have no end in sight, as the nurses threaten to follow suit .

Persistent supremacy battles between the upper and lower houses threaten the entrenchment of our new Bi-cameral parliament. Government expenditure is characterised by unnecessary largesse and misplaced priorities; from the cabinet secretaries acquiring guzzlers, to the governors budgeting for golden robes, kinglsy palaces and guzzling iron chariots; to MPs awarding themselves handsome pay, to the retired president being gifted with a send-off package fit for a king; the rich are getting richer as the wananchi get poorer.

Moreover, public positions continue to be filled by politically correct cronies making a mockery of the constitutional requisite for vetting of government jobs and to add insult to injury, the planned imposition of VAT on essential commodities such as food only serves to make the hungry hungrier and angrier. When summarised as I have done, our situation doesn’t look very enthusing does it?

Indeed as we delve into the unchartered territories of Kenya’s transition, our two honchos who seem quite keen in amassing public approval must be alive to the murmurs and shouts of discontentment. They must embrace history and it’s a vast early warning signal.

Like you, they should reflect on Charles Dickens’ observation of the French revolution in “A tale of two cities” where he wrote; “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us……” Rings a bell doesn’t it?

Let’s not ignore our own symptoms of revolution fever. No formidable nation does.

Angela Ambitho

16 comments

  • Guide me oh thy great thinker!

    Angela Ambitho start revolution by yourself do something show others the way, The problems facing Kenya is not the one experienced bt Tanzanians!.As a woman you can become an example , but keeping on writting doesnt stop Uhuru and Ruto from exploiting wakenya ignorance of yapping (people who claims to know too much but no action comes from Mdomo kayas!For your information (Egyptians) are whites but Kenyans are Dark stupid and sleeping niggers) who are in dire need of somebody waking them and leading them (thinking for them)There is prenty of food in Kenya If there is no food in Kenya (Those going hungry would invade rich man’s store and feed themselves their children and other families! Why don’t we see a class-war in Kenya btw the rich and the poor? Being taxed and accepting means Kenyan obedient mentality (slave mentality ) where slaves will always admire daily floggings rapes hangings and denials of food >That how others see Wa-kenya . Look at your countries sorrounding Kenya all are fighting Liberation wars !Why not in Kenya where majority lives in Jehanum,Yet they can’t fight the evil-Ruling-class traitors and an army of fools and idiots!
    Show me one Patriotic Kenya (be it a man or a Woman)?

  • Bunch of madness by Raila fanatics. Kenya is for Christ. Refer to the pre-election prophecies and pray to God. Do not follow fanatism and witchcraft

  • Uhuru, Ruto and their die-hard centralists do not hear the bells tolling all over, or if they do, the warnings are disregarded with contempt. Gentlemen, things are definitely not going your way under the deceptive expanse of the tranquil surface. If you think otherwise, it only can mean you care for yourself, not for the country. Reading this together with W.B.Yate’s The Second Coming, one may be persuaded to wonder whether he penned the poem prophetically with Kenya in the hands of you people in mind.

    Your actions, erratic and zig-zagging as they are, since you took over the government are nothing but anti-wanjiku, anti-devolution, anti-fiscal restraint, anti-trade unionism, anti-democratic opposition,……. ! The political history of the world is littered with leaders like you who are propelled by racism, ethno-centrism, impunity and hubris, who had no qualms about waving their subjects’ grievances contemptously off.

    Your selective respect for court rulings is appalling. Your insensitivity to the plight of the common Kenyan is mind bogging. Your derisive treatment of opposition leaders is primeval in that we are purported to be a democratic state as per your own admission. And your expectation that the opposition leaders who matter will embrace your bosom at the sight of high sounding carrots will come to zilch because Mr. Kenyatta, they are not your ilk.

    Your adamant adherence to cramming top public office positions nepotistically is lamentable. Your policy of countering the genuine demands of the workers’ unions anchored on legal CBAs inherited from previous governments with threats, intimidation and innuendos is barbaric. Frankly speaking, you are, after short changing the electorate and the country’s institutions – the IEBC and the SC included – out right, now vomiting on their shoes ‘unapologetically and decisively’.

    You have not learnt from history, nor have any inclination to, not after all surprising looked at in the light of your refrain – Forgive-Forget-Move on. We never thought for a moment you would soon put literally into practice your ‘no-rear view mirror’ theory.

    What you see in the rear view mirrors are any stealthy vehicles tailing us, others trying to overtake us through short cuts on the wrong side, vehicles behind driven dangerously giving us a chance to avert an accident, whether you are holding someone up against the highway code, and more importantly the road you took to reach where you are now. You had better begin having an eye on the mirrors, asap.

  • Corruption gets worse in Kenya

    Corruption getting worse, says poll
    9 July 2013 Last updated at 05:00 GMT

    One person in four has paid a bribe to a public body in the last year, according to a survey carried out in 95 countries by Transparency International.

    The poor record of some African nations on bribery stands out. Sierra Leone has the highest number of respondents admitting to having paid a bribe – 84% – and seven out of nine of the countries with the highest reported bribery rate are in sub-Saharan Africa. See the list below. The countries with the lowest reported bribery rate are Denmark, Finland, Japan and Australia, they all have a bribery rate of 1%.

    Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer gathered data from 95 countries on bribery. For a small number of them, including Brazil and Russia, data on particular questions has been excluded because of concerns about validity and reliability. For the question on corrupt institutions 105 countries were covered.

    The margin of error for each country is 3%. The typical sample size is 1,000 people. Four countries – Cyprus, Luxembourg, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands – have a sample size of 500 people and a margin of error of 4%.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23231318

  • raibako umelala kweli

    Raibako #2: Yes, your god has allowed Uhuru to shag you and your type so hard while he increases the price of unga, tampons, bread, milk, and yet poor Jubilee employees suffer just as CORD employees. Keep burying your head inside Uhuru’s bottom as he makes money from blind Kenyans like you. Unemployment is at 70% and the economy is not growing.Mungiki is back and there is social anarchy.What a god that selected Uhuru!

    Nearly half of Kenyans say their lot has worsened since the government of Uhuru Kenyatta took power in April.

    Some 49 per cent said they have less money in their pockets with only 16pc reporting an upturn in their fortunes.

    According to an Ipsos Synovate opinion poll released Wednesday, Kenyans are grappling with high cost of living and insecurity with 54pc and 21pc respectively saying the two issues are of great concern.

    Some 10pc of Kenyans reported being victims of crime in the last three months alone with Nairobi recording the highest incidence of the vice. 58pc of those who reported to police were unhappy with the response while an equal number did not go to the authorities.

    On security, 25pc said they feel less secure since the March 4 General Election, 41pc feel secure while for 32pc, the situation is the same as before the polls.

    Of those polled, 58pc said they unhappy with the proposed VAT Bill that seeks to tax essential goods including bread, milk and maize flour.

    President Kenyatta has secured the support of Jubilee MPs to support amendments to the Bill with a view of exempting maize flour and bread from taxation.

    Hague process

    On confidence in public institutions, 51pc of those polled said they have confidence in President Kenyatta’s leadership, Supreme Court (34pc) and Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (32pc).

    A total of 39pc want the cases facing President Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and former radio presenter Joshua arap Sang at the International Criminal Court to proceed, 32pc want the trial brought closer home while 29pc want the Hague process stopped.

    Of those polled, 36pc want former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to retire from politics as opposed to 32pc who want Mr Odinga to remain active and vie for the presidency in 2017. Some 28pc are of the opinion that the former MP should engage in politics but not seek elective office in the next polls.

    A total of 2,000 respondents participated in the survey conducted between June 23-30.
    http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Kenyans-worse-off-under-Uhuru-regime-poll-shows/-/1056/1910734/-/733kqrz/-/index.html

  • serikali ya Uhuruto

    Sh50bn on the 50-km Thicker Superhighway
    Sh100mn private jet rides
    Sh100mn house refurbishments, as top up to the Sh500mn that built it
    Sh700mn for a retired president’s office, to top up Sh500mn state-funded mansion
    Sh53bn for laptoys
    Sh15K sitting allowance for hundreds of obese public officers

    What’s not to love in Kenya?

  • evil government

    Kenyans believe the Government and the Police are responsible for Insecurity in the country!

    Asked to state who they thinks is responsible for the insecurity:
    35% mentioned “government”
    19% the police
    17% that it is Kenyans themselves
    10% politicians
    9% the president

  • .According the Video above >Is there any Diff Btw The People of Kenya their Aping Leaders and Monkeys especially in Mating Mood?
    The brain of these gibbons is rotten to the core!Can scientists come with a solution of how to transform the rotten brain of these Bonobos to a human brain hence something drastic measures must be applied fully:Some brain insemination/surgery /iqs manipulation or Genetic corded!

    Comment by Hotentot Hotezburg | June 15, 2013

  • evil government

    Corruption Roasd carnage daily !why does the govt sacrifice the poor youth ?The mangled wreckage of the bus in which 15 students perished in a road accident in Sameta on…

  • with state sponsored insecurity in parts of Kenya and road accidents because jubilee is using traffic police to collect illicit funds. .
    with state sponsored poaching going on all over game parks by politically correct master jubilee strategists to recover campaign funds and acquire more to bribe institutions like media council and silence critics ,.
    with state inspired tax evasions at kra,kpa and Kenya pipe line…\
    with state inspired corruption in politically correct banks and state corporations and virtually all facets of businesses in Kenya
    with state inspired social unrest s–strikes-school closures
    with state inspired plunder in Treasury-shady contracts–repairs–maintenance-leases of jets etc
    with state inspired attempts to kill devolution-independent media-independent constitutional offices–ethnic cleansing in senior government jobs to be jubilee country compliant.
    with recklessness and wanton state inspired luxury parties,drinking sprees ,meals in state house of the republic of Kenya
    with state inspired ineptitude and recklessness o f national assembly members now targeting governors for nothing but to fulfill jubilee desire to control all and sundry in kenya even those who clearly cant and dont or wont be jubilee
    see what they are doing in Mombasa county ? look at deteriorating roads there ? the starve off funds at county hall ?
    see uhuruto insisting in not running govt of republic of Kenya but jubilee govt ?
    what become of people who are not jubilee ?
    why run such exclusive govt ?
    why surely insist on govt of jubilee manifesto when clearly not all Kenyans agree with jubilee manifesto as the best road map for development in Kenya.
    why is jubilee always either holed up in state house merry making,making trips to ugand ,burundi,china etc or holding barasa in wajir ,rift valley ?
    is govt run in parties,abroad or in political rallies,thanksgiving prayers as jubilee would like us to believe ?
    jubilee don’t engage us us in diversionary tactics like prolonged strikes ,closure of schools,laptops debate etc — you in govt–we have accepted you and your jubilee manifesto just go ahead and do your things as you know it…don’t bribe media to keep quite and go slow in reporting your excesses —-
    who is going to save Kenya ?
    what is next in jubilee plunder,misgovern and mismanagement of Kenya ?

  • Kimeu Kividyo

    Read how Morsi (Egyptian) Muslim (Islamic President was Overthrown by USA Money (USA should do the same in Kenya)Features

    Critics denounce Al Jazeera exclusive

    ‘US bankrolled anti-Morsi activists’ story called baseless and irresponsible, while others sing its praise.
    Robert Kennedy Last Modified: 13 Jul 2013 16:38

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    Journalist questioned the legality of US funds disbursed to political operators in Egypt [EPA]
    Doha, Qatar – An exclusive story published on Al Jazeera’s website has been criticised for being inaccurate and disingenuous after it detailed US government funds earmarked for opponents of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.

    Emad Mekay’s “Exclusive: US bankrolled anti-Morsi activists” published Wednesday created a firestorm of controversy, with supporters praising its investigative reportage, while critics denounced it as irresponsible journalism.

    Regardless of what side readers fall on, Mekay’s story has skyrocketed online as one of the most viewed on Aljazeera.com since publication, especially on social media with more than 17,000 Facebook Likes, 3,700 Tweets, and 820 comments – and counting.

    We are raising questions as to whether those payments violated Egyptian law and the US regulations and contributed to the unrest in Egypt.

    Emad Mekay, Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley

    Based on US government documents obtained by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, Mekay’s story describes how US funds were given to some organisations led by Egyptian politicians and political activists, who had called for the ouster of Morsi’s democratically elected government before last week’s military coup did just that.

    The article suggests it may have been illegal in both Egypt and the United States for funds to be disbursed to political operators, particularly those involved in subversive activities targeting democratically elected governments.

    “We are raising questions as to whether those payments violated Egyptian law and the US regulations and contributed to the unrest in Egypt,” Mekay told Al Jazeera.

    But some commentators have described the article as poor, misleading journalism.

    “Al Jazeera English’s publication of a frankly brain dead feature article purporting to show US support for anti-Morsi political forces is sheer conspiracy theory and very bad, unbalanced journalism,” wrote Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan, on his blog Informed Consent.

    “All the piece shows is that the US State Department program in ‘democracy assistance’ granted small amounts of funding to … Suprise! democracy activists in Egypt.”

    National Endowment for Democracy

    One of the quasi-US government organisations involved in promoting democracy abroad and highlighted in the story is the National Endowment for Democracy. It issued a statement that challenged some of the story’s facts, adding “Al Jazeera’s readers deserve better.”

    “Emad Mekay makes a number of allegations about the assistance program of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Egypt, asserting that our funding was used to conduct partisan political activity and even to foment violence. The facts are otherwise,” NED said.

    US money was allegedly paid to some opposed to Morsi [EPA]

    “Mekay cites recent inflammatory remarks made by an individual associated with NED funding which ended long ago. The NED supported this group’s project to inform Egyptian citizens of their legal rights. The NED categorically rejects violence and incitement and would terminate funding to any grantee that engaged in such activity.”

    The individual cited above is a former Egyptian policeman, Colonel Omar Afifi Soliman, who now lives in exile near Washington, DC. Soliman posted violent instructions to his 83,000 Facebook followers, calling on them to target Morsi’s government.

    Soliman told Mekay he still receives money from the National Endowment for Democracy.

    NED also challenged the story on its description of Esraa Abdel-Fattah, a female activist belonging to the Al-Dostor Party. NED said the story inaccurately translated a Tweet sent by Abdel-Fattah to “lay siege to mosques and drag from pulpits all Muslim preachers”.

    It instead quoted a public statement by Abdel-Fattah encouraging nonviolence. “I stand against those planning to surround mosques or abuse them in anyway, and I encourage Egyptian youth to change the tactics of their work and not to perform any act that would make any degree of encroachment on places of worship.”

    The National Endowment for Democracy also highlighted its efforts: “NED has worked for nearly two decades to support a broad range of civil society groups within Egypt that seek to protect human rights, promote independent media, provide civic education, fight corruption, promote dialogue about the compatibility of Islam and democracy, increase the participation of women in civic life, and strengthen independent associations.”

    ‘Extremely irresponsible’

    The Project on Middle East Democracy’s Stephen McInerney, who was quoted in Mekay’s article, told Al Jazeera’s Inside Story it was “rather absurd”.

    Posters of President Barack Obama held at a protest [EPA]

    “I think this an extremely irresponsible, extremely misleading report. I think he ignored at lot of context that he was given by myself and by others that he spoke to in putting this article together.”

    Mekay quoted McInerney in the article estimating Egypt received about $25m in 2012 in US funding for democracy promotion. McInerney said the story was “false on several levels”.

    “First, none of these funds provided by the US government – either directly or indirectly – are given to individuals. They’re given to organisations … The majority of the $25m that he quoted me on actually goes to the Egyptian government … that included ministries controlled by president Morsi and his government and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    McInerney also took the article to task for failing to mention $200m in US funding for the Egyptian government while Morsi was in power.

    “It’s absurd to suggest that the United States government had some sort of conspiracy to overthrow or to oust president Morsi, when the United States government was supporting the government of president Morsi and the Egyptian military,” said McInerney.

    Egyptian democracy activist, journalist, and publisher Hisham Kassem was equally critical.

    “Almost once a year Emad Mekay comes up with a similar article. He seems to be obsessed with the idea that the United States is financing political activism in Egypt,” Kassem said.

    Some observers have suggested the story could be used to incite violence among Egyptian factions and against US authorities in the country. But Kassem said that was unlikely to happen.

    “I don’t think it will generate more unrest,” Kassem said, but he added, “the sooner there is … less fraudulent journalism that is basically stirring up the situation, the better for everybody.”

    McInerney’s The Project on Middle East Democracy received $380,500 in 2012 from the National Endowment for Democracy. Kassem is on the steering committee of NED’s affiliated World Democracy Movement.

    Defending the story

    Lowell Bergman is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, former correspondent with The New York Times, and now the director of the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley. He defended Mekay’s article.

    The story speaks for itself. No one disputes that the payments were made to dissidents and political activists.

    Lowell Bergman , director of the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley

    “The story speaks for itself,” Bergman told Al Jazeera in an email. “No one disputes that the payments were made to dissidents and political activists. And there does not seem to be any dispute about their advocating the overthrow of the government, including the use of force or violence.

    “We look forward to the release of additional documentation, as well as a determination as to whether these grants constituted a violation of US government guidelines, regulations or laws.”

    Some Al Jazeera readers also praised Mekay’s work. “Such investigative reporting, alas, is rarely if ever present in US press,” said John McEnaney from the United States. “This is a good piece. Factual in content. I hope you can keep up your efforts to print the facts, not illusions.”

    Mohammad Arif from the US said: “I was so upset with Al Jazeera reporting last few months that I almost thought that Al Jazeera is also receiving dollars. After reading this report I’m relaxed. Thank you very much. I’m back with Al Jazeera. Keep on doing good journalism.”

    Mekay said regardless of how his story is interpreted, its main point is irrefutable: anti-Morsi activists received US funds.

    “Did those people ask for Morsi’s ouster? Yes. Did they receive funding over several years from the US? Yes. Do we have documents and videos to back that up? Yes,” said Mekay.

    2050

    Source: Al Jazeera

  • Manyakie Manyakie

    HomeOp/EdLetters Letters

    Indeed choices have consequences
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    Posted Saturday, July 13 2013 at 20:00
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    Kenyans are witnessing many harsh consequences in just the first 100 days of the Jubilee Government. What has gone sour in a short while? Could it be linked to pre-election warning that “choices have consequences”?

    The United Kingdom has banned miraa. Other “consequences” in the offing or have just happened include France’s withdrawal of rural electrification funding to Kenya, Somali Government demand to have KDF soldiers withdrawn from its country while the USA has withdrawn military funding to KDF.

    If the consequences we were warned about by the West can become a reality in just 100 days, very soon Kenya will just have to cave in and bow to external pressure.

    Justin N. Nkaranga, Mombasa

  • New
    The International Criminal Court in The Hague turns down a request by Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto to be tried in his home

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