Posts Tagged ‘Kenya’


A man rides a motorcycle past a burnt petrol station and a charred building in Mpeketoni, Lamu County, on June 20, 2014. More than 60 people were killed over two days. PHOTO / JOAN PERERUAN >> NATION MEDIA GROUP

Article By : Peter Gaitho

“I have seen the script more times than I care to remember. A spark is lit in an unpretentious manner in a far-off outpost, just like Mpeketoni.

Two days later, the small embers generate some heat. 65 dead turn to 100, then 300. Before long, thousands are dead. Massive rapes, wanton destruction of property; the whole land is lit.

This is how it begins on social media; “Kill them, useless people,” “Hang all by the neck until they die,” “Circumcise them with a blunt knife,” “Washenzi, kill them all, your tribesmen think they are the best, we’ll finish them.” The vitriolic battle on Facebook and Twitter is real.

Soon enough, they generate enough heat, then hell breaks loose. The first victims are far off. Then the battle drums are beaten in your county, then in your district and ultimately in your neighbourhood.

Long before the battle reaches your village, you soon realize that you cannot access the nearest town, hakuna magari, hakuna unga in the shops. You cannot even get a Safaricom scratch card to buy internet bundles. So you are cut off from the social media. The same one you used and depended upon to “kill” your presumed enemies.

Before you know it, you escape death by a whisker, but with a deep cut on your right shoulder. No dispensary is open anywhere. No hospital either. The fight for your community’s right to be included in the government turns into a fight for your own life.

The leaders who egged you on are nowhere to be seen, or heard. They are watching events unfold in the safety of Sheraton Hotel by the Nile River, Uganda.

Humanitarian organizations hurriedly put up refugee camps. Maybe in a Catholic Church compound. Maybe the UNHCR has erected tents in Busia, Uganda, or Moyale, Ethiopia.

The UN compound in Nairobi is turned into a huge meeting place where all communities gather. And you end up in one of the camps.

Fighting for the few tents becomes the order of the day. A few rations reach your parched throat three days later. The gush on your right shoulder in gangrenous.

The overworked Medicines Sans Frontiers doctor is busy with a dying child next to your bed in a stinking, wet, humid tent hospital. There is wailing outside. You pray for death, but it takes its sweet time.


Anderson Cooper from CNN and his trademark black t-shirt have made it to your camp. The wide view camera catches you gnashing your teeth with high fever and bloody bandages over your right shoulder.

Your picture is seen worldwide, thanks to globalised, 24-hour media.

Omondi meets with Karanja and Omar and Werunga in the camp. They converse in low tones in Swahili wondering where the rain started beating them. They cannot remember when they last took a bath. They share a lone cigarette bootlegged into the camp by Mutiso.

In the meantime, in the Hilton Hotel, Addis Ababa, the political leaders hammer a truce negotiated by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn and the AU. They share out government positions.

But you cannot celebrate the truce. For you see, three days before it happens, you, together with 43 others, are buried in a mass unmarked grave 12 miles outside the refugee camp.

None of your relatives will ever learn of your fate. Your amputated right arm is food for the vultures and hyenas in the refugee camp dump site.

Yes, my fellow countrymen and women, war is real. It kills real people; it leaves real women widowed, real children orphans, real men maimed.

Before you click ‘Send’ on that bigoted, egotistical hate message on Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp, Think Twice.


Peter Gaitho is a PhD student in Communication Science at the University of South Africa (UNISA)  



Prime Minister Raila Odinga has
rejected proposals by MPs to award themselves Sh3.7 million each as gratuity at the end of the current term.
In a letter to Attorney-General Githu Muigai dated May 14, Mr Odinga described as “unconstitutional” amendments to the National Assembly (Remuneration) Act through
the Finance Bill 2011 that raised the gratuity paid to each MP to Sh3.7 million from the previous Sh1.5 million.


“The Salaries and Remuneration
Commission has brought to my
attention the amendments made to the National Assembly
(Remuneration) Act through the
Finance Bill 2011 authorising
humongous payments to all members of Parliament,” he stated.

“These amendments are
unconstitutional more particularly
because they were done in
contravention of the mandate of the said Commission and also in
derogation of the Constitutional
provisions,” he said.
The PM also ordered Prof Muigai to withdraw the Statute Law
(Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2012 that seeks to amend the National Assembly (Remuneration) Act which is set for debate this week.
The Bill proposes to amend the
National Assembly (Remuneration) Act to expand categories of members who may receive allowances to include the Deputy Speaker and members of the Speaker’s panel.

Currently, only the chairperson, vice- chairperson and members of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) as well as chairpersons and members of departmental committees are entitled to the allowances. The
PSC is chaired by the Speaker.

If adopted, the Deputy Speaker will, for example, be paid Sh200,000 per month as responsibility allowance which, when backdated to July 2008,
will see him receive about Sh12
Speaker’s panel Members of the Speaker’s panel and the PSC commissioners will receive
Sh100,000 per month backdated to July 2003, which will eventually see them take home Sh8.4 million.

“The effect of the intended
amendment will be to commit the
Kenyan taxpayer to pay humongous allowances to certain members of Parliament without following the laid- down constitutional procedure for
amelioration of salaries and allowances,” the PM said.

The stand taken by the PM is likely to put him on a collision course with MPs who have in the past risen above party and ethnic differences and unanimously passed amendments that touch on their salaries and allowances.

…now what I like…if only such news was on the front pages more often …