Why 2017 is a Great Year

Decisions are taking a different course. Apparently North Korea is poking USA with missile tests and USA didn’t ask Russia permission to bomb airfields in Syria which wasn’t good taste for the Russians and then there is this tension. Are we heading to WW3? But look at this positively. People are doing whatever they do to secure their interests.

We need to change how we think about power and politics. I am in awe of what has just hapenned the last six months in the political spectrum. From the US trump triumph to France to Brexit and Cameron exit, to the drama in Gambia and DRC and now elections in Kenya. South Koreans ousted their president and she is heading to prison faster than thought.

In 2016, I spent sweet time hating and tweeting hatred about @realdonaldtrump (now @POTUS) the current occupant of the whitehouse I was cock sure he was not going to win. I supported and retweeted every negative sentiment written about trump by the New York Times, huffingtinpost and the wall Street Journal.

Pollsters indicated a landslide win for democrat nominee who was endorsed by the outgoing president. And the Americans said no, they wanted to make America great again. And boom!! 2017 began with Americans handing power to perhaps the most inexperienced businessman who never held a political office before. Democrats, president Obama, New York Times editorial board and me, we were all wrong. Then the democrat, being democratic, conceded defeat and I’m left with my mouth open. “Who concedes defeat in Africa?” I tend to think conceding is unafrican.

Look here, in Gambia the other day, the sitting president was voted out and he conceded defeat and then he changed his mind when he realized he was in Africa. Then he was forcefully removed from office. This is my interpretation, he wanted to buy time to loot and he did.

Kenya is voting in 2017. The second election in the new constitution dispensation. Kenya adopted a new form of leadership and introduced new positions for politicians which I think was a plot to swindle us. And then created counties for equitable resource distribution which I feel was great.  But then there is something new that is developing in the Kenyan political landscape. Having to vie in certain area is like a direct ticket. So the battle ground is slowly shifting from the actual elections to election primaries.

What is being witnessed in 2017 primaries is something unique. I feel democracy is taking shape especially after seeing seasoned political bigwigs floored in their respective offices. Some are still in office but they can’t guarantee themselves a seat in parliament or senate after the next general elections.

Its high time politicians start thinking seriously about the people. The will of the people has the power over ego and wealth and arrogance that has consistently been seen among Kenyan politicians. Kabogo has been shown the door. The wealthy Kiambu Governor won’t be defending his seat on his favourite party. That’s milestone for the people of Kiambu County. We need more counties to take the same action for thieves who have failed in their mandate to the electorate.

Was Hillary Clinton’s email scandal a Threat yo National Security?

National security is profoundly related to military activity, and it is possible to brush off the idea that Hillary Clintons Email scandal was not a threat. In 2015, the head of joint chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. said Russia was the biggest threat to America’s security followed be Islamic state (The New York Times Editorial Board).

Research on the Argentine Military government of 1976 to 1981 found that the army did not don’t make an objective selection, choosing what to classify threat and concentrating on certain trivial elements of the National Security Doctrine and not putting into consideration the other items. This myopic vision was propelled by the flaws of the doctrine itself (Pion-Berlin). Any analogy that the scandal was not a threat will be particular view and be trivializing national security.

National security defined means a state where social-political values, beliefs, heritage, democracy, the way of life, governance, unity, and well-being of citizens in a country are protected and continuously enhanced. In light of the definition, national security is not only military related threats.

It’s a national security issue when the social fabric of a nation is threatened. Any activity or behavior knowingly or unknowingly that tends to threaten and expose a country to values believes among other elements is said to threaten national security.

It may look trivial that former secretary of state used private email server to communicate matters of national interest, it contravenes national security laws to use such a server to disclose information that had been tagged to be top secret. Running an email server outside standard government protocol may attract both internal and external threat.

It’s a national security issue when the social fabric of a nation is threatened. Any activity or behavior knowingly or unknowingly that tends to threaten and expose a country to values believes among other elements is said to threaten national security.

It may look trivial that former secretary of state used private email server to communicate matters of national interest, it contravenes national security laws to use such a server to disclose information that had been tagged to be top secret. Running an email server outside standard government protocol may attract both internal and external threat.

Legitimate access to high-level information by insiders poses a greater risk to national security than outsiders due to their organizational knowledge and location of valuable access (Colwill). Hillary was one such individual with unlimited access to top secret information which, according to Colwill, posed a greater threat.

Her proximity to the president makes her a threat to the president who is a symbol of national unity and not just an individual. Colwill proposed proactive measures to take for those with access to government information which should include strict risk assessment and compliance regimes.

It is easy to conclude that Mrs. Clinton was, in part, participating in weakening security systems by making it easy for interested unauthorized persons to access government information. Clinton should have been subjected to this measures since she has shown levels of irresponsibility and carelessness. What is more worrying is whether someone advised her to bypass set procedures

Clintons email scandal illustrates deliberate misconduct at the individual level as well as institutional for poor practices as regards email communications (Caron, Villeneuve, and Heide). It has since come out that there was no clear, distinctive line between State Department and Clinton’s foundation.

Sending emails to a private server meant that security organs had no adequate control on the information circulated through the server. The server was susceptible to cyber-attack which would have hurt the US national values. In 2013, The New York Times in conjunction with UK’s media firm the Guardian compiled a report of how the US and UK security agencies have hacked most of the online encryptions depended upon by millions of people online to safeguard their privacy.

The report further suggests that there is a $250M US program that works in close collaboration with technology firms to create backdoors into their products(Ball, Borger, and Greenwald 1). If government agencies can crack encryptions secretly, then it worth noting that criminals would worse and the effects of access to such information will be devastating.

For instance, access to the location of all intelligence assets that protect a country. An ambush to the military may have a worse consequence to the stability of any nation.

Mrs. Clinton, through her aides, attempted to delete the emails deemed to be work related from her private servers (Allen). Given her distinguished career as a public servant is a former first lady and former secretary of state, attempts to wipe out information from her servers explains her awareness of the matter.

It appears to be a political move since she was running for Democratic nomination for the president of United States and destroying evidence seemed the most appropriate move for her. In July 2013, Inspector General told Congress that out of the forty sampled emails, four contained classified information two of which were top secret information(Allen).

Besides, the attack on US embassy in Libya which killed US ambassador may have been as a result of government policy failures. The question remains whether she needed a private server for work related communications when there is dedicated state resource for that purpose.

Cyber threats have moved to a whole new level, since the adoption of the internet. Today Advanced Persistent Threats are prevalent since those involved have a sophisticated degree of expertise with excessive amounts of resources invested with specific targets usually agencies and governments (Chen, Desmet, and Huygens 64).

Hillary Clinton was a high-ranking government official, and that alone makes a potential target. She had access to highly classified information and using an unguarded server to communicate classified missions and instructing her aides to delete the emails (Lichtblau and Goldman) was outrightly wrong.

In fact, the FBI director confirmed by saying “Hillary Clinton was extremely careless.” In light of this, Clintons email scandal cannot be taken lightly especially given her social status and her ambitions for oval office.

Any president is the senior most official in any country entrusted with high-level information, some-if leaked, could result in another world war. It is not right to have an irresponsible person taking up such high-profile leadership role.

Hillary Clinton is running for office, and she has since proved to bend the security procedures put in place to guard the country against internal and external threats. Her opponent’s chances of making it to the white house look slimmer following his major tax evasion tactics and calling himself smart for it.

The Benghazi attack investigations, which happen when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, revolved around her office with her aides being called in to testify. Some resorted to enforced first amendment Act not to be incriminated.

We might not fully know what transpired during investigations, but the nature of investigations revealed the sensitivity of the proceedings. Any proceeding that attracts enormous attention from the public and the media is deemed to be of national interest, and Hillary Clinton is lucky to be clinging on the Democratic nomination and the race for the oval office.

Letter to National Super Alliance NASA

Dear NASA

I am sincerely not buying your idea of unseating the incumbent regime. Your intentions are questionable and thus your morals. You launched your ambition with a rather overpublicized idealess event which was richly attended virtually by the poor with eyes glued to their screens. Your existence seems to have been designed not to last beyond nominations.  It is like your loosely attached hands will fall off your body the moment they realise your short sightedness. Your feet will stop walking at the realisation that your brain isn’t that brilliant.

I have heard of the connotations of your name NASA. Does it mean you want to jail the incumbent or you just want to prove a point? From my understanding, the bedrock of any political ideology must be the people, the citizenry. You seem to have a focus more on unseating the incumbent. I don’t think that I should think that you have an agenda for me.

The only thing I admire about you is your ability to bring ideological enemies (family supremacy) in the same room, on the same table and try to share the cake. That is commendable from you. I wonder how Tinga was able to fall into an affair with you. Tinga is an egoistic maniac with an innate desire to sooth his ego than serving the ever loyal population of Uyoma who are languishing in abject poverty. Did you know that your brain was part of Tinga in the other body before you were born?

I agree that the incumbent has had many failures than I expected. The incumbent has allowed looting to be an avenue to seeking political office. I agree that we need change. Change that will track down all the looters and bring them to justice. I think we need change that will restore public trust in the familiarised political system. My friend NASA, you need to understand that you are just a vehicle. But you are allowed to object to any assertions that you can be involved in family battles.

NASA, we live in a 21st-century world full of ill-informed literate criminals who steal from the poor, Such that the wealthy get richer and poor become miserably poorer. No one can break the false pretence of patriotism where private developers grab elementary school playing grounds, and the incumbent unconventionally puts five generations to come in debt. Then when a minute number of bold, loud-mouthed activists make noise, they are thrown behind bars. When they come out, they also aspire to bring change. When they get into the system; even the holier than thou clerics get corrupted.

Lastly, know that I tried my best to convey my message to you in the best way I can. I usually don’t hesitate to throw in a few F-words when I am pissed off. In the last paragraph above, I realised I was way out of line, and I decided that it should end here. My desire is you don’t die like your brother NARC and PNU. Oooh, and you should be aware that incumbent will apparently succumb if he manages to clinch the seat again. I hope you are different. And I don’t like you, and I don’t like your intentions as well.

What you need to do is to convince me that you have me in your plans. Otherwise just stop telling me about the incumbent and start telling me about you. I know who the incumbent is.

Sharing is the new Possession; Accessibility is the New Ownership 

Nelleke told me that in the Netherlands, students are ganging up in groups of four or five to own a car.  This is so because the entire country has taken up carbon emissions very seriously. She says, ” people will start wondering if a family or an individual has more than one car.”

It is even a shame for someone to drive alone in a vehicle especially a student. It’s more fun when you have friends with you than driving alone. She says riding a bicycle is a cool phenomenon for them. In western Kenya where I come from owning a bike is cherished. It’s even a career, but people make fun of my kins for keeping the tradition. Maybe they are the fairest and the environment there is cleaner.

If you can ACCESS it, then you OWN it

George owns a small 1500cc Nissan note which makes life easier for him. And for us too as colleagues. He finds so much fun in driving around town with a bunch of male colleagues than being on his own. He even asks before leaving the office in the evening if anyone is headed his direction. In this way, we contribute to the excellent course of reducing carbon emissions by each one of us not owning a car.

Its the same with public amenities like roads, schools, hospitals no single person can claim to own these resources because they are public resources. Everyone one owns the resources, and they are entitled to get service from it.

If you SHARE it, you POSSESS it.

I have been actively searching for a job, and you should have come across how indifferent my friends are about me resigning. In my quest, I flip skim through every single page of the local dailies, daily. I learnt a couple of lessons from the obituaries section.

  • Even the beautiful and the rich die. You can notice the space hired and quality of the picture. It costs more just find out.
  • There is a requiem mass for the rich also. Mostly at all saints cathedral
  • Fundraisers are also standard to cover for medical bills and burial expenses

The next common thing that happens is family starts court battles over the control of the deceased estate. In my village, they used to call it, kushtaki kaburi meaning they ask the court to help them divide he estate.

It would have been much easier if the rich shared their wealth with the family before they died. Someone will start accusing me of being insensitive and ignorant, but I will tell you one thing, it’s not fun to accumulate soooo much wealth to your name. It’s in fact what the wise man called vanity. It is so much fun when you make people around you happy than make them miserable to beg.

If you share you possess it. It doesn’t hurt to make others happy. It also helps conserve the environment.

Do you think you can share your ideas with others in the world? It is possible, You can start by starting your own blog here

 

Polls Don’t Decide an Election, Kenyan Voters Do.

The whole of 2007,  I worked as an interviewer with the then Steadman. My friend David introduced after he was introduced by another schoolmate who was leaving to join armed forces. This was the year that succeeded my high school, and I wasn’t sure whether I would go to college. Steadman offered me an opportunity to collect data from the field on their behalf, and I obliged. It was a rare opportunity since people complained of the polls saying they have never been interviewed. I had a chance to be on the other side.

It was an incredible journey I must say. The pay was better than my previous job, so I was happy to work for them. Steadman, now Ipsos Synovate, had already become a household name in research and market analysis here in Kenya. Every politician wanted to know what the people thought of them. There was a general feeling that polls swayed votes and possibly, I think, these polls had an effect on the aftermath of the election.

How were samples selected for an interview? No idea but this is how we handled the interviews. We did interviews per household in most cases. On rear occasions, we could target individuals in the families. The work was tiresome with strict rules. It was worse where we had to do structured sampling to interview particular persons with attributes such as gender, age group, and education level. Sometimes I spent the whole day to do only four or five questionnaires.

The number of questions in the survey was dictated by the volume of information needed. Most political polls were accompanied by market studies on particular products with election-related issues embedded in the polls. Here is what you do not know about this job. Much of what we did in the field was never announce to the media. Only political related sections of the questionnaires were published. The other data was directed to the relevant company that sponsored the event. There was no single day we did polls purely without a product embedded in the questionnaires.

The major interviews that I did revolve around market survey such as which media house was dominant! Products that are consumed every day and the other was on mobile phone networks among others. The exercise took two to three days to cover the entire region. Day one I could go to one location, day two to another location soon as colleague also did the same. The locations were predetermined from the head office, and we did not have control where we went to collect data.

This is the time I got to know various places in remote Kwale County where I also met people living lives that you would not want to be associated with. I went to villages that were a couple of miles behind. I remember one village where there was no single toilet in the entire village. If you ask them, they say, we use the nearby bushes.

Exit Poll

After a successful stint with Steadman, it was time to go back home and also consider our choices. It was the usual festive season. You know December holidays and stuff. We were all Kenyans with a constitutional duty to take part in the electoral process. It is a democratic right. Much of what I had in my mind was generous support people had for Raila and the desire and expectation of the populous after that. However, there was another opportunity that showed up; an exit poll for Infotrack this time.

Source: Unknown

The representative from Nairobi called me and asked if I could be available the next day, which was voting day, to do a survey at a remote polling station in Kwale. I readily accepted since I was free. It was a unique type of a study. It was engaging, intense and feedback was required every one hour through a mobile phone. This survey had nothing to do with a market or the market competition and dominance. It was purely what the people had voted. It was like people were voting again after leaving the polling station.

It was highly structured. I had ten questionnaires to fill the whole day. I was required to spend the night in the surrounding area so as to be at the polling station at 6 am, present myself to the presiding officer before stationing myself just outside the gate. The place was remote just like the village I described in the typical morning in a coastal suburb. I had a badge ready prepared for me from Nairobi, and a letter from relevant authorities addressed to electoral commission allowing me to carry out the survey. In case I had challenges, I was a phone call away from my bosses.

I was required to interview the first voter who stepped out of the polling station regardless of the gender and age. After that, I was to interview every fifth citizen. If the first vote was male, then the second respondent was to be a female who should be the fifth vote. After I finish with one, I start counting again. The fifth I was to do a preliminary interview to determine whether they were eligible or not. Now the age came in. It was a tedious exercise.

Before this day, I spent the evening with friends discussing the possibilities of the outcome. One thing was sure. Raila was going to floor Kibaki. The basis of this thinking among my friends was the recent poll results that indicated Raila as a favourite. I was with George, who profoundly thought Raila was going to win one question. What if Raila loses? You can be so sure that he will win. He looked at me and said in a loud voice, “Kenyans are not stupid. This is a definite pass for Raila. Kibaki is heading home” My next question to him was, have you ever had anywhere in Africa a sitting president leaving office before his term? He obviously got emotional and left.

Back to the remote area. I diligently did my work. I initially thought this was easy work. I thought I would be done by 11 a.m. I had done eight questionnaires by 4 p.m. I had two more, and I was tired. The area I went was predominantly Kamba infested. However, out of 10 polls with three candidates on the ballot box, nine questionnaires favoured Raila and only one vote forKalonzo. No one voted Kibaki despite being the sitting president.

My question to you is, “why are you so sure that if you support a particular candidate, everyone is supporting them?” Here are some things I have learned. Constitutionally, a president can only be in office for two terms. I have never seen anyone unseat a sitting president in Africa. We would write history if we sent Uhuru home in 2017. What makes you so sure that he will win? Polls. Raila lost in 2007, and we started destroying our property and life. We cannot afford that this time. Always leave room for the unexpected, be sober and act wisely at all times.

Oooh! Moreover, that marked the end of my interviewer career at Steadman and Infotrack because what happened early 2008 is down in history as the worst election ever witnessed in the country. I lost my job because there was no business anymore.

 

Tolerance is a Virtue. Elections shouldn’t divide Kenya.

Not everyone can be you, and we are all unique in our ways. Some say there is no perfect being. Somehow we have our imperfections and the strengths of other complete us.

With our weaknesses together we are stronger than we think. The synergy created when we are together is much more powerful than our individual strengths combined.

As we head into the election year, full blown campaign period as some of us present ourselves as leaders, it is imperatively important that we understand the need to be objective.

The journey of building a cohesive nation went over a difficult hurdle sometime in the last decade. It is almost a decade since we turned against each other. Now is that time that we need to reflect on those moments again and be wise.

  1. Stop being myopic and consider a broader perspective. What benefits does the politician bring to the country?

In the last general elections, Kenyans overwhelmingly voted for the current ruling coalition. There was a lot of hope in the eyes of hundreds of thousands of school going children.

The country was on the brink of a breakthrough with the digital government promising laptops. As much as this seems a far-fetched idea of what they ought to have achieved, there is need to evaluate whether there has been an improvement in the quality of education

2. Corrupt leaders won’t take us anywhere. As you work to clear your debt, they put your children’s children in debt.

Towards the end of 2015, there reports of widespread epidemic striking the Kilifi and Tana River counties as well as some parts of Kwale county. In the reign of the devolved governance system, people shouldn’t be dying of hunger.

It is clear that there has been lapse somewhere. A county government being accused of multimillion corruption scandals while the population is dying for lack of food. Not that these population didn’t do their part. They did. They tilled the land, the planted crops hoping to make a harvest. Unfortunately, the drought did a lot of damage, and they had to seek help.

3. Land is not the only asset you can have. The best asset is your brain and ability to work and feed your family day in day out.

Am toiling now to build my space online. I working to buy land on the online space. The internet will be massive. Think about that!

4. Our media is biased. Listen partly to them but let them not decide for you.

Did you know that in developed world media takes a stand who to support? Now you know. The New York Times editorial board publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton for the presidency in the United States. She lost to Donald Trump. That you know.

What lesson do you get from America decides 2016?