Thursday, November 26, 2009

CoE AND HARMONIZED DRAFT CONSTITUTION EXPLAINED

A learned friend was trying to clear up the harmonized draft constitution for me, specifically the contentious issue of power sharing between the President and the Prime Minister. I had looked up my dictionary to try and understand what is the difference between Head of State and Head of government and it turned out that the 'government controls the state'. Another definition indicated that they mean the same thing.

So my friend took the onus of educating me and the way he did it, he made sure that I understood that I am as sharp as a potato chip when it comes to matters of state and government. He used the following illustration;

The new constitution proposes that the people desiring to be President would go out as hunters to hunt for game (votes) and whoever brought home the gazelle or dikdik (majority votes) would become president while the one who brought more hares (MPs) would be the Prime Minister. The President would however give half the gazelle or dikdik to the Prime Minister because he brought more hares to the August house and he would become the Head of government while the President would become the Head of State. The President would be rewarded by being honoured to lead the greyhound brigade and officiate National holidays. The Prime Minister would run our lives including that of the President. I am not sure the above illustration cleared up the harmonized draft constitution. If anything it has only helped to confuse me more.

On the referendum, my learned friend continued with another dramatic illustration . He wanted me to rely solely on my memory of Likoni this time without the ferries. This to me is similar to asking me to imagine my life without me. Likoni without the ferries? At this point I understood why I did not become a lawyer - I am not given to strange imaginations.

Then he asked me to imagine that Japanese Engineers had built a bridge connecting Likoni to Mombasa and I couldn't help asking, "You mean the Japs can pull such a stunt?", obviously interrupting my thought process and I had to go back and start imagining Likoni all over again. This illustration proved to be harder to understand than the hunting one because I had experience hunting all sorts of antelopes when I was growing up on the slopes of the Aberdares. Bored by my lack of imagination, my learned friend asked me whether we would ask to vote for the bridge or not. I thought 'Why not, we could vote on whether the Japs used the right kind of cement.' Then I remembered we had argued earlier about whether it was in order for women to advertise cement on TV and the argument had almost broken our friendship and so I answered 'No' mostly to dissuade him from wearing me out with a third illustration on cement.

The CoE has produced the harmonized draft constitution and I, (who even after two indepth illustrations of the draft constitution still have absolutely no idea whatsoever about what it is all about)I am supposed to vote for or against it. Come on! And without my nose in the air, I have scored slightly above average in an intelligence test. Guess what will happen with the average and below average and those in the continuum to the left.

We shall leave them at the mercies of some politicians who describe the draft constitution as a 'Two Headed Monster With Two Centres of Power'. The same politicians who are now going for(according to Hon. Soita Shitanda)Kshs2000, much less than a bag of potatoes.

I am out of this constitution debate to grab a bite because just as so many of my fellow 'Wanjiku's' have stated, what good is a harmonized draft constitution on an empty stomach?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

U.S. EMBASSY - KENYA GOVERNMENT ROW

When Hon. Wetangula dared to retaliate against the U.S. Embassy's continual issuance of visa cancellation threats, I did not sleep waiting to get ideas for a major motion picture. I thought that the now self-proclaimed 'Mundu khu Mundu' would take such drastic correctional measures against the US Embassy and that we would wake up to the sounds of roaring Concorde engines racing against time coming to evacuate the Embassy and anyone who is remotely American. I wanted to be there to witness the historical occurrence and thereby quit writing this column and become a film producer. As it turned out, the Minister was as usual making empty threats, which he had made us think that this was a serious (un) diplomatic Tsunami coming against the U.S. It turned out to be little cans of hot air and now I have lost the opportunity to become a major motion pictures producer.

I am not one who gives up easily and I am suggesting to our media houses to stop airing this U.S.- Kenya governments tiff as a 'News Item' and produce a sitcom to be aired before or after the Prime Time News and a comic strip for the newspapers.I have written the first two episodes of the sitcom which only seconds 'Cobra Squad' in lack of creativity.

EPISODE I

Ambassador Ranneberger in an undisclosed government office with Hon. Wetangula, Hon. Mutula Kilonzo and the AG Amos Wako.

Ranneberger (handing out papers to the three gentlemen):Your visas to the US have been canceled. This declares that you are unwelcome, uninvited guests to the US.

Hon. Wetangula: I am a 'Mundu khu Mundu'

Hon. Mutula Kilonzo: Please SHUT UP! Please

Amos Wako (with his usual grin): I am retiring. I will head East. (A few seconds later) Wait a minute. I am going to sue the tar out of the U.S. government. You can't tell me where to go or not go.

The End

EPISODE II

(This second episode is informed by the way the U.S. assistant secretary for African Affairs, Johnny Carson has been reading what the media calls the 'Riot Act', pretty much the same way a mouse would dash for a maize cob in a starved cats infested field).

Ambassador Ranneberger and Johnny Carson wearing comical Jerry (from Tom and Jerry) outfits dash out of the Ambassador's residence, read the 'Riot Act' and dash back to the residence.
Outside, Journalists representing the Tom family, wearing comical Tom outfits take pictures and write notes.

The End

I will give tips for the third episode. Replace Johnny Carson with U.S. Ambassador for War crimes Stephen Rapp. This is a new one and probably needs to wear the Scooby Doo outfit. The only difference with Scooby Doo is that he too is afraid of the Kenyan press and dashes out and in of Ranneberger's house and straight to the airport.
Sitcom or no sitcom, this behaviour is unbecoming and the two countries should show more mature diplomacy between them.

Monday, November 9, 2009

ITCH, ITCH, AATCH!

I have developed this itch on my entire body and all I can say is that I am lucky to be sane.The itch began like the one that begins in your throat, then when you try to scratch your throat by use of oxygen, meaning you lock up the air way, because you are now a wise person and do not try to use the handle of a spoon anymore for this type of itch, it moves to the back of your nose and when you put your small finger in your nose, the itch jumps into the ears and the cycle begins all over again.
Frustrated, you look for a knife to slit your throat open so you can scratch it and the itch suddenly disappears.The itch is probably sent by a colleague at work who is eyeing the 'Employee of the year award', and must have it taken away because he thinks he will get the award and it is more thrilling for him to see your fallen face when he receives the award than watch you slit your throat open.

This itch I have developed felt like it had gone full circle and had discovered more ground to cover like the red blood cells and I could literally feel the itch flowing in my blood vessels. At one time it would be on my calves, probably where the red blood cells would stop to 'scratch' by rubbing against one another and within a three-hundredth of a second, it would move onto my scalp.

I decided (against reason) to go and see a real skin doctor when the itch felt like it had settled on the base of my brain- meaning it had the ability to move to the lungs and liver and who knows what an itch on these internal vital organs can lead one to do.

So I went to the doctor and after telling him what was wrong with me (the itch),he started asking me all these questions that were totally unrelated to my affliction - like

1.What have you been eating in the last two weeks?
2.Did you travel?
3.Have you changed your bath soap?

Of the three questions, I was glad for the last one because I was afraid of the doctor accusing me of being dirty and unwashed and this would honestly have devastated me.

I answered all the three questions in the negative which means the only thing the doctor should have said was 'It sure beats the heck out of me why you have the itch' But not a doctor. He went ahead and scribbled something in their trademark illegible handwriting on a pad and gave me two papers. One was for a prescription and one for a consultancy fee. I advise us to be asking for half the consultancy fee because we give the doctors half the information to help them find out what's wrong with us or we demand that they figure out what is wrong with us without our help if they want the whole amount. But with the itch, I wanted quick relief and didn't mind his incredulous charge until the third day, with the itch still there.

I visited the doctor again and he said that the itch was gone but my brain had been reprogrammed by the itch to respond to all stimuli as itch- so that when I felt hungry the brain screamed -itch! When the doctor says such things you think that the only option you have is a brain transplant, which he suggested, but I flatly refused. You are aware that what the doctor suggested meant amputating my brain and replacing it with probably that of a sheep or worse a university's student which means that I cannot relate anymore with my fellow Kenyans without throwing stones at their cars or setting buildings on fire. I went with the option which the doctor called 'knocking me off' for a few hours with piriton. It worked and now I am up and about, a few thousand shillings less, the itch gone and a perfectly working brain, thank God.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

WHAT A LOAD OF BALONEY

Twenty years ago, it would have been suicidal to mention some words that have become household names in this generation. For example, it was considered treasonable to insinuate that someone was from a different tribe from yours. Calling out to someone by his tribe was considered very offensive. You would be considered as breaking the spirit of the Nyayo Philosophy when you shouted at your neighbour ‘Wee Mluhyia kuja hapa’ This was enough to book you a ticket to Kamiti Maximum Prison (FB) for a certain fraction of your life.

But this is not so anymore. In this era of coalition government, you can actually place a commercial on the television giving important anecdotes on such details as to where your wise ancestors chose to be born. The commercial goes like this; ‘Sisi wa….. (whatever tribe you come from) should be the ones leading this great nation because our staple food is ….. We declare to the rest of you that we are better than you. Therefore vote for one of us in the next general election’.

Another household word that my computer gets uncomfortable with is (get ready) -CONDOM. I can imagine how many of you who are reading this column at this very minute are having a hard time breathing. Who would have thought that this would be an item for a television commercial? But it is. And the advertisement is aired at the very moment your children are really concentrating on the telly.

Bored by the intrusion of the commercial they ask ‘Dad, Mom what is a condom?’ I suggest that we the audience of such commercials demand that the advertisers provide us with a gadget that refills our mouths with saliva. Or, they could follow up with the explanation of what a condom is.

They could help us by introducing a cartoon series that would teach our pre-school kids the S-word education. I can hear some self-righteous people muttering that it is my responsibility to educate my six year old on sex and bla bla bla. Send me a manual.

How could I forget the constitution? I am made to believe that this is an important piece of paper which our forefathers sailed in ships for years to England to write. It is not only in these days that our political leaders jump at every opportunity to leave the country on as flimsy grounds as ‘official duty’. I don’t understand why it had to be written in England . Or is it that Webuye paper mills was not milling paper then? Or could it be that there was no ink in the country?

Being the politicians that they were (the Lancaster lot), they came back with a piece of paper that politicians love to fight about to this day. I am told that the constitution writers came and hid it somewhere. Only four policemen were appointed to guard the glass-cased piece of paper. The secret of the constitution came into the open when one of the policemen had a quarrel that went like this with his wife:

Wife: I will be going out this weekend. Care to join me?
Policeman: You are not going anywhere!
Wife: I wasn’t asking you for permission, I was informing you.
Policeman: (shouting) Have you become another constitution? Do I have to guard you for 24 hours? And who is it that will pay me for guarding you? That piece of paper feeds us. Will you?

The woman in her anger went telling everyone that that loser of a man whom she married was a ‘paper guard’. These kinds of stories are known to spread very fast. By midday it had reached several politicians. Well known for their always-looking-for-something-to-do-because-there-is-nothing-to-do they hit the road armed with their new knowledge.

So now they have found the paper (constitution) project and have named it Wanjiku. I understand the problem politicians have with the constitution ranges from its color, size and texture. Some think it should be housed in a state of the art mansion; not so much for the love they have for the document but so that they can have their immediate families appointed as CEOs of a state corporation named Constitution Watching Over Inc.

Yesterday they were fighting to change the whole of it. Today they want its minimum deformation. As usual, they have found something to argue about in the name of keeping the government on its toes.

Discussion question for next week, how many toes does the government have?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Moveme.com

Moveme.com is a website about a company in the UK that gives information and resources to people who are moving houses, whether buying or renting.

What they do
They have indicated on their website the services which they offer which include;
• Setting up new services online for example utilities like gas and electricity, phones, TV, broadband and water.
• They give clients quotes on removals from different removal companies.
• They give expert advice on moving both online and over the phone.
• They have unique planners and checklists for people who are moving.
• They also compare prices for home services

The Website
The website is very well laid out and a potential client is able to find their way around for the services they need. They have tabs for every service they offer which links to more details concerning that specific service and this helps save clients’ time.
They have also included various awards that they have received and this helps create customer confidence that they give good services. However, they can include comments from their satisfied customers.

Areas for improvement

Since their services are free, they should remove that information on how they earn their money. Most customers don’t query free services on the internet anymore. For example, people don’t know how Google or Yahoo make their money and yet are glad to use their services. The inclusion of the referral fee might cause some clients to deal directly with the movers because a client thinks that they can save money. The statement of helping customers save money by using the website is not convincing.

On ‘Who is moveme.com’ under about us, they launch directly into their mission without saying who they are. They should either tell the client who they are or ask ‘What is our mission’.