Let’s Pray for a Bungalow

Every one aspires to own some real estate in Kenya.  Some trouble makers may want to know who said so; well now you’re hearing it from me (tweet please). We are such that if you keep acting busy all the time with some sort of job, the only success we want to see is a kaplot either developed or not.

The irony is that some people have built hundreds of flats, bungalows, townhouses, bungalows, castles and other types of houses while others struggle to pay rent for a multi-functional 10 feet by 10 feet single room. I was thinking it would just be easy if banks gave out loans to these poor chaps and have them build a decent place for the many kids they tend to have.

However, and very unfortunately, lending money to the poor folks contravenes the Kenyan Banking Act number one of firsts section 101 – only lend money to people who don’t need it at all. People who need money tend to not to pay it back. This is not necessarily due to inability but because they needed it in the first place – who wants to give away something they need? I think Imperial bank must have broken this rule when they fell for a butchery owner’s tale and did an unthinkable 10billion loan for him – Keroche Industries could only qualify for half of that from a different bank according to recent reports.  It’s not really clear what the lucky butcher must have said but the rest of the bankers took a longer look at imperial bank after the unusual gesture and closed them down.

That explains why an ordinary person isn’t doing very well in the real estate realm. Landing the kind of money that buys land and builds a nice house remains a dream to many. In fact, for some, it has been on the list of New Year resolutions for too long that it has understandably been scrapped for the last few years.  It is now a matter of luck, winning some lottery some day. Even that has a complication – the winnings these days are too little to cover land expenses and the family and friends excitement that come with them.

SACCOs are making a killing promising people easy huge loans. But even for those, they are pegged on one’s income and savings, a factor that is not going so well for random folks.  Yet people are building all over. Nice houses left and centre. You pass them each day, praying, fasting (sometimes not so willingly) and hoping that someday, in an inexplicable way, you will be the proud owner of a bungalow or whatever those  big houses are called. You will be a proud resident of a place that’s arguably not a slum.  My prayers are with you.

Surviving the Job Market

I remember in 2008, Obama was my greatest inspiration. His speeches seemed to open doors for me, they had a bigger effect on me than a huge part of the then American audience I suppose. The same feeling was hardly anyway near me this 2015 on his much publicized visit to his fatherland I happen to live. I probably found out over time that speeches and a great feeling can’t change anything. The reality is the sad and difficult toil i have to put up with to experience any worthwhile good.  In fact, I now prefer the much blunt Donald Trump.

A lot happens after every step beyond the hype. This is what goes on when you finish college and get stuck in being a perpetual unpaid intern. Even after you finally get someone willing to pay something for your services, they just feel don’t ashamed offering 10,000 shillings to starve with every month. Yes, Mr politician, life is that hard, Instagram photos notwithstanding.
As a person with first hand experience, I can with with lots of authority, give some advise regarding this pitiable situations you might be finding yourself in.

Firstly, I want to start by saying, the economy is f’ed up and nothing other than sweat and brains can get you through. Nothing is actually easy for the majority sons and sons of peasants. So please know yourself and know that – your problems are from the village you come from and shaking them off isn’t easy.

Having known that, stop living like you are not. You might want to cut down on the expensive Tuskers (yes there is such a thing puppy), the expensive girlfriend, and the multi-bedroomed house (when you have been sharing a room with ten siblings all your life). Please don’t get comfortable with money. It’s what you don’t have. If anything, you have to cut costs to get anywhere with your peanuts. In case you have a problem, just remember that your dad had a decent salary but still blew it on alcohol and other poverty seeking habits.

Whatever you do, make sure you put away something for the rainy days and something worth mentioning in a drinking party back home (I’m not talking about the oversize suits I see in church though).

This discomfort will also put you in a good position to keep your job seeking business up despite the futility it keeps showing itself to be. I can’t emphasize this well enough, finding a good job is very difficult, but keep trying while getting very good at your shitty one. It is never easy.

Lastly but very importantly, please have fun. Nothing is as wrong as being a sulky underpaid person. Look at the carwashers, the bodabodas and the mjengo people. They have fun at their jobs and everything, what are you sad for? You have things that happy people don’t have. So thank God and make merry, of course without blowing away any hopes of advancing financially. Don’t also forget that only prayer will push you, pray and be very thankful while at it.

My take on the National Oceans and Fisheries Policy ongoing review process

The government of Kenya is currently reviewing the national oceans and fisheries policy with a view of aligning it to the Jubilee manifesto. A nice draft is already being debated on by stakeholders and I have attended a few of the consultative meetings. From what I could gather from the discussions, I fully support the National oceans and fisheries policy to the extent that it furthers the sustainable use and conservation of the underexploited high seas fisheries especially as per the National Tuna Fisheries Management Strategy.

However, I take exception on a number of issues – the first one being Open access as one of the key underlying issues that hinder optimal exploitation of offshore fisheries resources. This is especially due to land tenure problems affecting landing sites in most parts of coastal Kenya and the island areas. Another contributing factor is the obvious capacity issues that limit the artisanal fishers from accessing the high seas.

Secondly, under fisheries Management, most Beach Management Units (BMUs) are stuck in infancy and are yet to play their intended roles to their full potential as envisaged in the BMU Regulations of 2007. The sector also suffers from general lack of data and limited monitoring, control and surveillance systems. These coupled with other factors such as Inadequate legal and institutional framework for coordination and collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, has led to the high proportion of Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing.

Thirdly, the most important issue is quality assurance and marketing. Fisheries in Kenya has had serious problems arising from post-harvest losses, inability to comply with international fish quality standards and safety for human consumption, and inadequate sanitary and phy-to sanitary (SPS) measures. This has not only lowered the ability to enter international markets but has also lowered revenue both for the government and other players including artisanal fishers.

Fourthly, the role of infrastructure in any sector cannot be overemphasized. The sector has a lot to do in terms of infrastructure to realize its full potential. This is, in addition to areas mentioned in the policy document, with greater reference to sanitary and phyto sanitary facilities.

Effective Participation at International Level remains to be an important avenue for promoting equity and optimally benefiting the local economy from the resources in the country’s exclusive economic zone. There are still many areas that require work in order to benefit the local fishing communities; earn revenue for the government and; promote sustainability. A key issue is the quality of negotiations by the government in Economic Partnership Agreements and Fisheries partnership agreements and lack of data as well as mechanisms for the same especially as regards to deep sea fisheries.

 Given the foregoing issues, I recommend that under subtitle 2.1 (unsustainable utilization of fisheries resources), access to landing sites and offshore waters has to be acknowledged as a challenge under its own clause. The policy draft should better reflect better the government’s commitment to taking advantage of avenues for EPAs and FPAs to benefit the local people from the utilization of offshore fisheries resources. Clauses 4.2.3 and 5.6.3 should be revised to include benefiting the local community members as an objective in this regard. The policy should also specify its risk management strategies in these agreements.

In regard to quality assurance in subtitles 2.5 and 4.4, the government should place more emphasis on physical infrastructure such as laboratories as a means to enforcing quality standards. Marketing systems have also not been given due emphasis in some parts of the policy; we recommend that one of the objectives of the policy should specifically point to strengthening marketing systems in the oceans and fisheries sector.

The general lack of data is an important challenge in the sector and the policy needs to reflect this. Clause 4.1.1 should therefore have “data collection” in its last sentence; clause 4.1.2’s last sentence should end with “based on available data”. There is need to enhance the role of bridging institutions who link research centres to practitioners and other research information users who are, in most cases, non-governmental organizations. The policy, in addition to recognizing KMFRI as the lead agency in research, should also provide further for better coordination with other institutions involved in research.

The policy should be reviewed to reflect the new devolution governance system – for instance, the quality and value addition issues are mainly a concern of the county governments.

On the welfare of fishing communities and workers, we strongly recommend that clause 3.3.2 be rephrased such that the last sentence of the narrative should read, “The government will also ensure that fishers and those involved in supporting fishing activities enjoy improved livelihoods and good working conditions”. I also recommend that the government commits itself to further provide direct capacity support to small scale fishers in the matters of sea safety and encouraging collaborative action among different agencies and actors. The government should also, through this policy, contemplate more creative ways of building the capacities of BMUs to play their roles rather than just training.

Lastly, the Kenya Oceans and Fisheries Service (KOFS) should be retained in the policy and the legislation (the bill) abolishing it be revised to reflect this. Notably, the KOFS is a central player in the policy’s implementation.

While thanking the drafters of the policy for a fairly well thought-out document, I urge stakeholders and decision makers to consider my recommendations. This is in our shared efforts of not only realizing the national development objectives but also protecting the interests of all stakeholders and especially small scale fishers, future generations and other forms of life that deserve a place in our oceans and in our minds.

Disaster in waiting at the coast?

According to the National Policy for Disaster Management in Kenya (2009), more than 70 percent of natural disasters in Kenya are related to extreme climate events, which are also key causal factors for some emergencies that lead to disasters. The National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) notes that climate change will lead to more droughts and floods, as well as the spread of malaria, all of which are disasters for Kenya. Climate change is expected to increase the frequency, intensity and magnitude of extreme weather events, with impacts in terms of lives lost and livelihoods disrupted falling most heavily on the poor.

Coastal Kenya best exemplifies this situation with a mix of arid and semi arid areas and coastal urban areas. For instance, Mombasa is a growing and vulnerable urban center with low adaptive capacity resulting from limited financial resources, technology, institutional capacity, low levels of economic development and high poverty levels. As a secondary city, it is experiencing increased urbanization with poor people living in slums and peripheral settlements more likely to experience shock climate disasters and the very slow incremental impacts of long-term trends in increasing severity of weather.

Other coastal towns such as Kilifi, Mtwapa, Malindi, Ukunda and, Lamu are experiencing the same challenges i.e. the inadequate/lack of three types of physical infrastructure, namely drainage, sewerage, and garbage collection; Varying degrees of insecurity of tenure rights to housing and land as well as inadequate settlement planning (including uneven land plots, lack of pluvial drains, curbs and sidewalks causing flooding in solidly built properties, inadequate roads) and; social economic vulnerabilities – the people of these urban areas heavily depend on tourism, fisheries and natural resource based economic activities that are vulnerable to climate change disasters and long term impacts.

Coastal Kenya’s rural areas are also mainly ASAL areas experiencing drought at increasing rates resulting in serious development challenges. For instance, Ganze constituency is the poorest in the country while large parts of Kwale County, Kilifi County and Lamu County are known to experience acute food shortages that result in deaths. An increased risk of drought and persistent vulnerability of the poor is likely to have serious impacts on the people centred development. Increased risk of drought will also affect Kenya’s wildlife and hence the tourist industry, as well as reduce water supply and hydroelectric power.

 

Opportunities and Threats

 

It is worth noting that effective emergency and disaster response and preparedness is important for achieving the goals of Vision 2030 and the millennium development goals. The 2009  national policy for disaster risk management indicates that the country’s disaster profile is dominated  by droughts, fires, floods, terrorism, technological accidents, diseases and epidemics that disrupt people’s livelihoods, destroy the infrastructure divert planned used of resources, interrupt economic activities and generally retard development.

 

Communities in Kenya are predisposed to disasters by a combination of factors such as poverty aridity, settlement in areas prone to perennial flooding or areas with poor housing, infrastructure and services such as the informal urban settlements. The policy notes that the hazards are exacerbated by climate change and stresses the central role of climate change in any sustainable planned and integrated strategy for disaster management.

 

To understand the vulnerability of both urban and rural communities in coastal Kenya to climate change disasters, one has to take note of the low literacy, academic achievement and the general information marginalization in the areas. For instance, the coast’s counties are poor performers in national exams taking the bottom slots quite consistently. The 2009 housing and population census showed that only 7% in Kilifi County have secondary education. These two facts should give a good picture of difficulties in access to information as just one of the many factors that limit the resilience capacity of communities in coastal Kenya. This coupled with the many other aforementioned factors has already led to disasters and the level of risk is expected to increase.

 

The government of Kenya, working in collaboration with other stakeholders, has identified, among other key strategies, strengthening the capacity of national and county institutions responsible for climate change coordination and improving knowledge management and awareness creation as some of the most important ways of confronting challenges and risks associated with climate change. The action plan also proposes that specific adaptation and mitigation actions should also be promoted. Some of these actions call for bettering the community’s capacities to adopt new technologies for farming and other livelihoods, knowledge management, natural resource use and management among many others.

 

It is therefore important for identifying key capacity issues and elements, agree on vehicles and tools that can be employed to address them as well as means for resource mobilization and developing and implementing specific strategies to better community-level management practice, preparedness and, resilience towards climate change related risks and disasters.

 

What can we do?

 Given the above, it is important to create opportunities for dialoguing and idea exchange for the communities living in coastal Kenya. This should give a clear and unified understanding on the extent and nature of problems posed by possible and existing climate change disasters. This needs to be as inclusive as possible, followed by progressive and participatory monitoring of outcomes as well as follow-up activities.

KENYA’S COASTAL WETLANDS UNDER THREAT

ImageMost of the academic publications today do not agree on any one definition of wetlands but rather on some identifiers, that is, common attributes that wetlands share.  For learning purposes, the widely accepted definition is from Article 1 of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, popularly referred to as the Ramsar Convention. The Convention describes wetlands as ‘areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres.

Wetlands occupy approximately 6 per cent of the Earth’s surface area according to the Ramsar secretariat. In Kenya they are estimated to occupy about 4% of the land mass according to the Kenya Wetlands Forum (2012). This percentage increases during the rainy season up to about 6% when different parts of the country experience floods.

They are generally seen as unique ecosystems that integrate the characteristics of both terrestrial and aquatic environments (Lathrop 2011) with spatial and temporal variability. This variability together with other factors such as the cause or source of a wetland determines the wetland type.

There are different types of wetlands classified in different ways. But the focus of this article is on the coastal wetlands. Coastal wetlands include saltwater and freshwater wetlands located within coastal watersheds[1]Wetland types found in coastal watersheds include salt marshes, bottomland hardwood swamps, fresh marshes, mangrove swamps, and shrubby depressions.[2] Coastal watersheds can extend many miles inland from the coast. The extent and condition of wetlands within a coastal watershed is both dependent on and influences the health of the surrounding watershed.

Kenya’s coastal wetlands form the basis for many ecosystem services and support many economic activities starting with the agricultural, tourism, fishing and, shipping industries. They also offer ecosystem services that are important for the well being of human beings. The following are some of the most important functions of coastal wetlands:

  • Flood Protection: Coastal wetlands protect upland areas, including valuable residential and commercial property, from flooding due to sea level rise and storms.[3]
  • Erosion Control: Coastal wetlands can prevent coastline erosion due to their ability to absorb the energy created by ocean currents which would otherwise degrade a shoreline and associated development[4].
  • Habitat and food: coastal wetlands provide habitat for many threatened and endangered species.
  • Commercial Fisheries: coastal wetlands support almost all the rural households and a large number of urban folks who are involved in artisanal fisheries and to a much laser extent, large scale fishing.
  •  Water Quality: Wetlands filter chemicals and sediment out of water before it is discharged into the ocean.
  • Recreation: Recreational opportunities in coastal wetlands include canoeing and kayaking, wildlife viewing and photography, and recreational fishing and hunting.
  • Carbon Sequestration: Certain coastal wetland ecosystems (such as salt marshes and mangroves) can sequester and store large amounts of carbon due to their rapid growth rates and slow decomposition rates.

This has, however, not meant that they are not threatened by all sorts of factors. Wetlands in coastal watersheds are experiencing disproportionate losses compared to inland wetlands in most countries including Kenya. There are many development activities that are interfering with wetlands, the many protective laws notwithstanding. Some of the laws guiding wetland protection include Sections 42 & 55 of EMCA as well as the wetlands Act.

The rapidly increasing population and urbanization has meant that focus should shift from the more familiar emphasis on agricultural threats to emerging issues including housing and climate change.  There has also not been enough research on the full extent of ecological and socioeconomic benefits of wetlands within coastal Kenya. This should inform policies and actions for every stakeholder in this wetlands business.


Credits

[1] epa

[1] EPA

[2] EPA

[3] Costanza, R., O. Pérez-Maqueo, ML Martinez, P Sutton, SJ Anderson, K Mulder. 2008. The value of coastal wetlands for hurricane protection. Ambio 37(4): 241-248

[4] Carter, V. 1997. Technical Aspects of Wetlands: Wetland Hydrology, Water Quality, and Associated Functions. United States Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 2425.

Hard work or Luck?

It has been a very long battle with dependency, independence, pride, uncertainty, grief, shame, nice moments and a whole mix of experiences for the last few decades I have walked the earth. One thing I have learnt is that things just don’t get either better or worse with time, they do both. Things are a lot more complex than they look, switching colours as you switch your standing point. If it is simple you don’t understand it, if it is too complicated, you are clueless. Perhaps that’s why there are good arguments for and against just about anything and lawyers are in business.

 It is for this reason that I have chosen to accept my past, try and enjoy the present and prepare for the future without worrying too much. But there is something about worrying that I can’t exactly let go of; the fact that the future is hardly guaranteed. I try to be religious about it but then again I have a strong feeling that I can do more than sit on my loins and pray.  I think it’s the average thing to do to just hope that some stroke of luck will find you.

The latter is in fact a show of fear, what Robert Greene characterised as what gets you stuck in a rut of your own making. It is the addiction to boring familiarity mixed with being terrified of the unknown. Much of it, a life that depends on the comfort that religion provides, scared of a little shakeup of the status quo. Live average, die average. Hardly my preference though, I want to wade through dangerous waters and bear the pain of wrong decisions if I must. But then again, I continue to be a subject of weak leadership provided by the luckies.  People who struck gold right under their own beds and didn’t have to walk the long and painful path of hard work. As I said, it’s never that simple, it’s never that complicated either.

I have realized there is never going to be gold in my bedroom and I may not even have a bedroom if I don’t work hard as hard as I can. I have taken a long time to consider my options and hard work remains to be the basic principle in the myriad of other variables involved. I’m alive to the element of luck; something that can really be discouraging especially to the religious kind.  Sometimes, tough luck might make you a subject of failure even in your commitment to excellence and success. But then again, can you really tilt the compass of luck? Hardly.

But some people differ, they believe you can actually change destiny by convincing a supreme being about it. Apparently, sometimes the deity might just like you or admire your good character and heap favours on you. Yet this notion has never been used to explain inequality in the world. Why are people not in your religion more successful if your preferred deity is “the provider”?  That sounds messed up already. I like the Nigerian pastor, Blessed Oguguamakwa Dikeh, who simply explained away the issue, “If you are in poverty and cannot pay your house rent then you are already in hell. But when you are in heaven, even if you reside in a flat, your landlord will come and beg you for money.”

In conclusion, I think luck is something you can’t exactly change that much. All these other things like religion are mere attempts to explain things that have not been explained. The real difference lies in hard work. It is doing the best with the little that luck (or blessings) has afforded you. So go out there and do something with your good hands.

 

My Comfort Zone

I’m in a meeting. I can’t pick calls you know, it would be rude to the person making his point and indeed the rest of the participants. The issue at hand is the all-important issue of how a lorry winded up at a destination thirty minutes early twelve months ago. This was in a civic education drive in the same year. The details have been blurred out in everybody’s memory hence the heated and winded argument. Not that I care, I did even think it economically wise to use my time to queue at a polling station just to vote in people you’ve never met. I’m not just that passionate about politics at a personal level anyway. If you ask me, In Kenya it’s more like religion; good to keep to oneself.

It is therefore very unfortunate that I have to cut down on my playtime on a Saturday to discuss issues that are particularly inconsequential in my estimation. I’m feeling out of place, left out in the mindless nattering and passionate speeches that ensue. I’m not comfortable but then again it’s my job to stay around and pretend to be “privileged to be here”.

Then my mind wanders to the many people who might be going through my fake “privileged to be here situation”. What of those who are here too often-wake up in the wrong place, spend the day doing things you don’t like? I try to figure out what you would call them-unlucky, unsuccessful, unhappy, probably a sad adjective. Something I don’t want for myself.  I want to be at the place I like-where I meet my kind of stuff, my niche.  It is that place in my imaginations where my species thrive.

Badly, the reality is I rarely get to my perfect habitat. I have to, most of the time, deal with unsavory people, do unpleasant tasks or do something at a time when it doesn’t feel right.  This situation can be very frustrating. The more of these experiences I get, the more I feel like I haven’t succeeded in life; or positively put, I get a lot happier by doing something different. That’s why I have never really understood the old cliche “get out of your comfort zone”.

Why I’m I supposed to move away from a zone that makes me comfortable? In fact, I have this feeling that the day I stop hoping to reach a comfort zone is the day I drop dead.

Here is to my Humility

As I write this, my  colleague is on phone talking animatedly about what I would obviously consider nonsense. Despite the fact that I can hardly know whether the conversation is about politics or religion, I know that there is possibly nothing that can make you so oblivious of a neighbor’s need for calmness and silence. She must be making an attempt at showing me she has a life beyond the office, but of course i’m not fooled. Who wants to hang out with such an obnoxious character? Then again I remember there is an acute shortage of people like me – a calm person, the object of desire for many who desire great company and friendship, the small matter of my never-ringing-phone notwithstanding.

So I bear with my rude sister as I continue to type and retype a nice technical document. The document’s  importance has not escaped me from the first sentence. It will  certainly sway decisions of the powerful, feed desolate families and above all shape laws that govern the high and the mighty just as much it does “the rest”. The document is, in its full essence, my small contribution to humanity’s improvement. It has to sing my praises. That  explains why I have to stretch my neck for the right vocabulary, it has nothing to do with your stupid text messages!

For I know that when the document reads right, I will reward myself with a bottle or two (three on a nice day) of my favorite drink. I’m certain that powerful people will finally take a break from reading fashion magazines and at least skim through the work of an experienced hand. Who knows some real value might come out of it – you know like money or a parade or something. Moreover, though highly unlikely, I might get a colleague who happens to have at least acquainted themselves to the dictates of polite society. This breed would offer me a compliment for my good work. All the same I know I would have done a great service to my world and maybe to somebody else’s conception of “my country”.

But in the meantime, I have to put up with other people, those with little vision, not even the promise of a fulfilled evening can jerk them from engaging in trivialities during the day. They talk about their underachieving overage boyfriend like they would be talking about John F. Kennedy or Mahatma Gandhi. They bring up Lil Wayne’s birthday like it wasn’t a sad day for all of us. What is even more painful is that I have to put up with ramblings about my apparent arrogance with the humility of a saint (though I know the self promotion needed for one to make a saint). Lest you forget, these people are arrogant enough to think that I would tone down my strong character and moral standing just to accommodate a bunch of mouth-breathers. The same kind that make long faces when I perform my God-given duty to educate and amaze others in the form of an informative lecture.

As I have earlier indicated, my phone rarely rings, but when it does, it is bad  news. I have had a problem in deciphering what I am to many of my friends. For many, I’m a confession box or some kind of Santa Claus that shaves an under-grown beard. The phone calls and text messages would most likely be far from my expectations from them. For instance, I would expect a congratulatory call just for the other grumpy friend of mine to spew a litany of unfair and uncalled for complaints about something I did yesterday. The only thing I want to hear about yesterday is “congratulations!”. Anything else like trying to extort money from me based on obvious false pretenses is unacceptable. But I still have to keep my phone on, silently praying that some angel Bernard will call to congratulate me for my good work or at least offer a deal not so shitty.

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DDT is the Wrong Shortcut

DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) is one of the earliest of the modern synthetic insecticides developed in the 1940s . It was initially used with great effect to combat malaria, typhus, and the other insect-borne human diseases among both military and civilian populations and for insect control in crop and livestock production, institutions, homes, and gardens. DDT’s quick success as a pesticide and broad use in many countries round the world led to the development of resistance by many insect pest species.

 In the late 1950s and 60s the use of DDT became very unpopular owing to its declining effectiveness and benefits as well as mounting evidence of its environmental and toxicological effects. Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring in 1962 stimulated widespread public concern over the dangers of improper pesticide use and the need for better pesticide controls.

However, today, owing to prevailing emerging health problems such as the malaria problem in the Sub-Saharan Africa, many African countries have had a rethink. All the issues we saw five decades ago have gone away and many are warming up to heavier use of DDT in killing mosquitoes.

This comes at a time when DDT has already been used and found to have failed about a century ago. History is replete with cases of mosquito resistance to DDT many of which have been documented the world over. It should be noted that DDT is not only very persistent in the environment but also has far reaching effects on human health and well-being that are also well-known and backed by scientific evidence.

What is also well-documented are also a variety of existing non-chemical malaria control methods. We are yet to see any serious efforts by the governments and the other DDT crusaders try this road and fail. Instead of opting for the more sustainable and environmentally friendly options available, a quick fix that may not be a real fix in the long term is being financed and supported by everyone but for Africa.

 

What is your take?

Hush the Raila Talk

 

Presently, it has become increasingly difficult to express oneself without appearing to be either an irredeemable Raila sycophant or a sworn hater of the PM. It must be difficult being a journalist right now especially when everyone is struggling to say something that sounds objective in an electioneering period. In fact, you would get the impression everybody should announce out rightly whether they’ll vote Raila or not so they can save “our” time because that is all that determines whether we listen not.  People don’t care about the merits or demerits of your argument; you’re either with us not.

The recent Miguna book drama has been a very good example of this unfortunate state of affairs. A section has dismissed the book and its author without the slightest hint of ever reading it. They have opted to point at Miguna’s obvious show of arrogance and stopped there never caring for the substance of the book. Another group has rounded up the media and announced that the book contains “very serious allegations” against the PM. They don’t care to analyze any of the “allegations” in their rehearsed presentations to anxious journalists. An obscure civil society group even asked the PM to resign.

Of the many things that Kenyans can bother to listen to; must it always be about Raila’s blind haters and lovers? When Miguna and Sarah Elderkin are going for each other’s necks for near personal reasons, Kenyans have to move on and discuss issues as objectively as possible. This should be without fear of being labeled a Raila sycophant just because you mentioned that the PM is popular in Lang’ata or a Raila hater for saying that Mzee is quite a messy administrator.

Railamaniacs and Railaphobics are an insignificant group and should not hoodwink anyone into thinking they are that many. They are only the loudest and the most destructive since they spur ethnic hatred and muzzle others making them appear less intelligent or paid-up.  Fortunately, next general elections will be determined by those who neither harbor fanatical love nor hatred for Raila.