The Interview

I got a message from Biko, late last week, “How are things?”

Kenyans have this unique ability to minimize issues. A man could be calling to deliver the tragic news of his own mother’s passing but that won’t stop him from starting the conversation with “Sema, how are things?”

I knew something was up so I asked him to cut to the chase.  Biko wanted me for an interview and it had to be the next day. Biko has been having these anxiety attacks over turning 40 and had launched into an introspective journey, talking to people who had crossed into their 40s in search of his version of the 48 ways to manage your 40s without the midlife crisis.

Missing The Forest For The Trees

There is a concept in corporate governance called the Hammer principle.

It states, never use a hammer to swat a fly on someone’s head. It won’t end well.

American psychologist  Abraham Maslow, in his book, “Psychology of Science” talks about this over reliance of a familiar tool in his famous quote, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as is it were a nail”.

Maslow’s law of the hammer came to mind as soon I caught the news on the latest happenings on the security front. Al Shabaab militants had wrecked havoc on innocent civilians in Lamu county and varnished into Boni forest. Coast regional coordinator, Nelson Marwa was livid when he addressed a press conference. He looked like a man itching to throttle someone. Nelson Marwa is known for his hyper aggressive staunch and Napoleonic complex but it was what he said that made me sit up. In response to the recurring Al Shabaab terror raids, KDF air strikes were ordered to flush the militants out of their secure hideouts in the dense Boni forest.  

Of Miguna And That Nairobi Debate

Political TV public debates are becoming standard fare in the election cycle. Kenyans want to know what their leaders sound like and whether they can stand up to personal scrutiny required of public office. Debates are a space to toot one’s horn for all to hear. They allow observers to look for signals of high status within the male group, and for the debaters to demonstrate strength, courage and competence.

So when the candidates for the governor position lined up last week for a debate organised by KTN news, Nairobi was watching. It was an all man panel, four candidates and moderated by KTN’s Joe Ageyo. On the stage were the incumbent Evans Kidero, Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth and independent candidate Miguna Miguna.

We The People: 10 Deep Philosophical Thoughts from Timothy Njoya

Timothy Murere Njoya is a retired Presbyterian minister, a human rights activist and a theologian. During the repressive Moi regime, Njoya turned the church pulpit into a platform to demand for political and social justice reforms in Kenya. Njoya was among the leading lights in the 80s and 90s from the church who mustered the nerve to speak out against the brutality of Moi’s government. He is also a prolific writer and as I came to learn, an ardent student of philosophy. Njoya is the personification of courage and purpose.

I was eager to grab a copy of Timothy Njoya’s memoir, We the People, published by WordAlive, that was launched on July the 3rd at Daystar University in Nairobi. Unfortunately, there were no copies for sale. Njoya in his address claimed that the book had been delayed deliberately by saboteurs. 30 years on, the words of this small bodied man with a wicked sense of wit still makes the authorities tremble. It was a compliment to his work that some busy bodies in government had to go through such extreme measures to stop Njoya’s ideas from spreading. The publisher reassured us that the challenges at the port would be resolved…soon.

The Kenyan Bridge Is Falling Down

The collapse of the Budalang’i’s Sigiri Bridge linking Bunyala South and North, on the morning of June 26th was not going to be a case of water under the bridge. A bridge collapsing in the thick of a General Election is a metaphor that is too real to be walked over.  President Uhuru had visited the bridge 11 days before its collapse and hailed the project. The Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba, milked the occasion for all its PR worth, terming it as a true symbol of friendship between the residents of Budalangi and the head of state.

It got me thinking about bridges. I had never thought much of them. Bridges are like good parents. Parents spend their lives building children who grow up to walk over them in ignorance. It is only when we look back, or when they are no longer present, that we come to value their contribution to our life journeys.