Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Reverse GBV in Kenya!

Well this is how I enter - not to be confused with the Madtraxx and the Skamares of this world -  but rather explore reverse Gender Based Violence in Kenya with our usual level heads and open minds.
Why Reverse?

So why reverse anyway...? Where is it inscribed that it is the women to suffer in the hands of men and not the other way? The answer lies in the African societal expectations seen in gender roles and made real in the African family set up. But for this Kenyan thingy, I just want your full attention...

In Kenya, men physically assaulting their women could as well be regarded a relic of the past. Women in Kenyan cities and townships have been known for battering their husbands to the point of hospitalization, and sometimes death! Ok, this is no exaggeration just in case you think so, neither is it an inferred wayward joke. The most interesting portion is that as the women wage the battle,  they do most of the screaming, wailing and yelling - you would quickly, but falsely deduce that they are the victims, when the reverse is, sadly,  the case! Even more interestingly, when their poor 'victim husbands' get to the health centres and social gatherings with their bruise-littered, utterly damaged faces, broken limbs and/or bandaged parts they go like, 'mmmh, eeeer, you know I had this almost fatal accident, thanks to God I'm alive...' and all this manner of vako continues. The details of the 'accidents' often remain concealed, maybe only some ka-FBI could do the unveiling. I chuckle.

Now The Mamboleo Tale asks, which one sounds sexy; wife beating up husband or the converse? Well, spouse battering is a criminal offense either way, for doesn't it amount to domestic violence?

Conjugal Rights vs Multiple Concurrency
Apart from just being a crime, this practice heightens chances of acquiring the HIV virus among affected couples coz usually after the fight, either of the spouses goes on a sex strike, denying the other their conjugal rights. Multiple concurrent sexual partners (mipango ya kando) is the direct consequence of such a scenario, in which case the sex is usually unprotected - you do not know if condoms are ever known behind closed doors.

Masculinities and Gender
Also commonly reported among Kenyan males overtaken by their masculinities is an incident of forceful sex immediately after the physical fight, just to prove their prowess and weigh 'who's stronger now?', ignorant of the fact that this is marital rape attracting prosecution and exposing each other to bruises and cuts thereby increasing chances of infection.

Now this is the Bull's Eye: Sweet ladies, the offense is spouse battering and not exclusively wife battering, so the law also protects men. Hi dudes, marital rape is as grave as 'the other rape' , so which one do we employ, the mind or the muscle? We only need so much enlightenment to appreciate this.

The Mamboleo Tale: 

Let's Tweet! @Maurytweetz

Facebook: Ongala Maury

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

We Live in a Post-Saitoti World

The Mamboleo Tale remains this real. Many are the times when the Tale gets hilarious. Not meagre are the instances when you read and leave with a prize of laughter, a smile or for the tougher of you, a grin. This is contrary. Yes, contrary because we now live in a Post-Saitoti World.

J.M. Kariuki and Bruce Mckenzie of old had their lives taken away at this spot. I'm also told The Late Kipkalya Kones and Lorna Laboso, some really prominent legislators in the Government of Kenya shared the date - June 10 - of yielding up their lives with this Internal Security Pair. As many of you as believe that all these are but bad coincidences, I charge to take a second consideration, this time a more objective one. This country Kenya, my brothers... 

I imagine everyone was still safe here...
But speaking of the Internal Security Pair, to whom you will allow me to refer as ISP, could there have been something transpiring under cover? Is there anything Kenyans need to get acquainted to that is being purposefully held away from them? Or better still, how possible could this be, that the Minister for Internal Security and his equally powerful assistant could somehow find themselves aboard a chopper with 'unforeseen' mechanical problems? Pertinent questions round one.

Honestly the human side of me permitted me to shed a tear or two as I watched the Vice President tell the tale of these two great men of our land and their body guards. He was struggling with tears and in disbelief paired with enormous difficulty, he almost brushed the journalists' mics aside from his face. He chose his words with great care, yes I noticed him do. Hon. Musyoka is one composed guy in such an occurrence, you know that. Rt. Hon. The Prime Minister and his men weren't left behind. Political rallies cancelled and their hype almost instantenously replace with shock waves. It didn't matter whether it was UDF or ODM, URP or TNA, PNU or the legendary KANU, et cetera; the thing is all these rallies were cancelled by the very people who organized them!.

...then perhaps it got to this....
But wait, before we come to terms with the painful loss of the very intelligent minister - Prof. George Saitoti and his Assistant, the very zealous Hon. Orwa Ojodeh and their security and flight detail - take a moment to ask, why did Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere and the Permanent Secretary who were also meant to be in this same flight, decline to fly at last minutes?  The Captain and the co-pilot must have not foreseen any peril early enough, with all their experiences and the many missions they have carried out successfully with the ISP? I ask. Wasn't this not a case of a too-sudden-to-be-salvaged fate? The Eurocopter AS350, was a new aircraft tested over Nairobi for one hour by the same pilot who flew it at its crash, also having clocked only 230 flight hour since purchase. How possibly could this crash be? Ok, why the ISP and not any other pair? If the ISP were this unsafe within the country, how unsafe are you and me blabbing on The Mamboleo Tale right now? Pertinent questions round two. Lots more stunning facts are in existence of this tragedy, perhaps you know some more (...). 

The gist of the thing is, I shudder. I utterly render myself feeble enough not to entertain the episodes of this movie-like country which I love. Love hurts, now I know. We love this country this much, no wonder the tear drops. Life and death in Kenya both happen really incredibly. Lord I'm too feeble to imagine this. Are we enemies of our own selves or what? Ok, I will be patient with you. From the noble bloggers like The Mamboleo Tale and the folks in upcountry to the elite and the political class in the cities and places of high authority; are we our own enemies? Pertinent questions round three.

Some parting lines could go like this: People never know when they give their last speeches, case in point Prof Saitoti at the Mombasa Peace Conference on Friday June 8. You never know what will be counted good of you after your demise, case in point Hon. Orwa Ojode and his loyalty to his boss and zealous debates in Parliament. And the latter, you never know when your loved ones and colleague will be taken away from you perhaps forever, so learn to love and appreciate them while they last case in point, fellow legislators and kin of the deceased. Meanwhile the 3 day national mourning period declared by His Excellency the President ends Wednesday 13 June.
... and finally, the remains.

The conclusion of the matter is: we live in a Post-Saitoti World. Sad for Kenya, reality to the world.

Let's tweet: @Maurytweetz

Facebook:   Ongala Maury

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fond Memories

This day stands out in my memory. I trudge down a prominent highway of my Lakeside City in the crisp of the morning and I bump into him, almost unannounced. 

"Hey you genius boy, what was your name again? You have grown into a full man - so fast!" He is still soft spoken. 

And before I gather myself, he has thrown in two or five more lines, "Why did you come back from the US so fast... or was it Switzerland? Or did they deport you? You know they do that a lot.... bla, blesh, blab..." People hardly change, I wonder.

I grin all this time. I feel like backing off but I decide to man up. So I intentionally prolong the hand shake as I back-peddle towards this restaurant to my back left.

We choose a corner table for two and a coffee crash ensues amid other really interesting catch ups that make me miss High School. My principal was a jovial, well comported fellow with noble and comely ideas. But I also remember his spanks and smacks that could pair up into day-mare for form four students who wouldn't toe the line. Yes, he was  a Geographer, I remember - a subject in whose A earned me a waiver of all my fee balances and express clearance! This is why I appreciate such people...

.... but that wasn't about all in high school. Now that I met my former principal in the city, more fond memories came my way: Fort Jesus, the old form one block,Tom Mboya the notorious dormitory, the really hilarious happenings at the School Assembly, et cetera. One would  readily dismiss these as relics of the past, but pardon me if thou wilt for the memories are way too fond!

You know, Usenge High School is one of these well endowed schools of Nyanza, located in Usenge Beach along the shores of Lake Victoria. Fast forward, this specific day, the form four students decide not to use tap water as is custom. On the contrary, we march out of the main gate. Lawless. Careless. Once out, we sprint down the slope and in a matter of minutes we are at Wath Goye the nearest lake shore. We're game, we hardly come by such opportunities - common knowledge, so we just want to make the most out of it. We dive, swim, swam and do all manner of high-schoolic stuff... nude or half of it, whatever. We don't realize we have overspent our time, we don't realize the dusk is creeping in, just the same way we do not realize the school captain is making good use of his digital camera at the shore: zooming, focusing and capturing... (trouble), and the rest could well be history.

So as I meditate, I keep wondering which segment of my memory hid this eventful piece, thanks to meeting the former principal, but I decide to blog about it lest I lose it indefinitely. Smile if you care to:)

Follow Me on Twitter:    @Maurytweetz

Facebook:                      Ongala Maury

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

This Word Love

A super sophisticated theme, only maybe - this is how....

You know the simplicity of love lies in the fact that it's only a four letter word. Very flimsy letters, if anything. Two consonants and two vowels, and that's about all. That's love for me, that's it for you too, I presume. Well, you realize love is a root word of several other lazy words like lover, lovely, loveable... the listing sickens. Not that am a pessimist, just that we make a lot of undue sophistication out of love the word that out-rightly renders itself unwarranted as we miserably fail at love the action. Be it filial, romantic or agape, miserable is how we fail.

I'm positive, somehow. Why? because love is a beautiful thing, an elegant word. Beautiful because it is an adjective, elegant because it is a verb. Otherwise I detest the emptiness of lip service when it comes to love. The adjective betrays the verb. It offers a scenic and colourful description of the thing, the damn thing, if you like. Pick some common case instances; "when I see you smile, my heart bursts into flowers...", "my love for you super-cedes this world and the next combined", and what nots. Indeed, all of you should agree with me as in a chorus that the adjective is such a tale-teller, more than just a describer. The flip side of the coin reads treachery. The adjective love is so cunning in our lips. It's a no partner fit for the verb love, for only one pertinent question made of four really simple English words work it down: Can you show it?

Now, enough of this chit chat, if only I lived in this planet (or is it still one?) then I would walk miles for the verb, yes the doing word. The action word. The acted meaning. I would stand tall for it, I would defend it. Not that I'm overdoing this thing, take love the adjective and love the verb for an en-sample. The former is empty and forthwith I would banish it. It is irrelevant given the latter, for isn't action describable? I perform an act of love and the onlookers will describe it as love. I say I love with no action accompaniment and the onlookers tag me a hypocrite. Now I'm certain you see where I'm founded.

Next time you utter this word, take an intrusive walk down your mind and establish whether it was the adjective or the verb!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day 2011: You either Lock it In or Lock it Out, How Simple!

This is 2011 and I’m sitting here to blog about another World AIDS Days event… Amazing how the years roll on, they get eaten up like raspberry! That’s beside the point, anyhow. The point is, we have lost lives to this fight and I am excited about that. Yes, excited because the losses have altogether made us a stronger and a more formidable force, a more jubilant team of soldiers. Soldiering on against the monster with jubilation and hope. Yes the lost lives have put smiles of expectancy on our faces rather than tears of pain; they have made our once sore-red eyes burst bright and as the day. They have been some of the truest of inspirations of our time.

At first we sobbed sore, we burnt precious time in rags of fruitless emotions. Then came this new dawn, this great awakening that saw us spring to action. Today, only a couple years past, we have replaced the mourns with soft smiles and our faces have been made more beautiful. You know, the smiles have a way of prolonging our days! Again that’s beside the point, I pray you get the real point. Looking into our eyes, it’s just conspicuous: You either lock the virus in or lock it out. No passing it on, no receiving it. Non-discrimination and universal access to healthcare remain invaluable. Get more on World AIDS Day here.

Now as my fingers are getting off the keyboard and gripping the Red Ribbon, just one question for you: How do you want to spend your World AIDS Day 2011?

Follow me on Twitter, @Maurytweetz

Facebook, Ongala Maury

So What Differentiates Ethnicity from Nationalism?

Ethnicity and nationalism are twin words, not to imply that they are synonymous, but rather that they are so pertinent to each other that at the mention of one, the other seldom fails to pop up. At the same instance, it is scholarly to note that the two words are not opposites as they may appear from a shallow perspective. Let us take an intrusive look at some of the parallels of these terms.

By definition, ethnicity covers a much smaller scope than nationalism. According to Thomas Hylland (1991), ethnicity refers to the social reproduction of basic classificatory differences between categories of people and to aspects of gain and loss in social interaction. Ethnicity, he says, is fundamentally dual, encompassing both aspects of meaning and of politics. This means that ethnicity plays the role of binding people of a common ancestral origin and sharing commonalities in cultural, social, religious and other aspects of living. For instance, the Baganda of Uganda can be classified basically as an ethnic group of Eastern Uganda, period. Nationalism, on the other hand may be vaguely characterized as a sentiment based on common cultural characteristics that binds a wider scope population and often produces a policy of national independence or separatism from the other nations or countries and their territories. For example, the Baganda, may be clustered with a couple more ethnic groups in Uganda like the Banyankole, the Luo and the Acholi to be identified as Ugandans.

Levels of Identity
It is a fact that both ethnicity and nationalism are aspects of identity of individuals. Deprnding to the prevalent system of socialization in a given region, people may address each other in reference to their ethnic group origin or their nation of origin, especially if that community or nation has some outstanding feature of identity either positive or negative. The parallel comes with the level of identity. Ethnicity, in most cases identifies the ethnic group at a country level. It is more internal and its relevance makes the most sense to nationals or insiders of a given country. Nationalism on the other side has a higher level identity. Once two or more Kenyans leave their country and converge in a foreign country, their ethnicity usually tends to be buried off as they identify among people fro other countries as Kenyans and not as Kikuyus, Tesos or Giriamas.

Patriotism versus Racism
Nationality, being that strong relationship between a person and his country of origin, connotes the attitude that the members of a nation have when they care about their national identity. This amounts to the feeling of deep love and concern for one’s country, commonly known as patriotism. Patriotism is a virtue of nationalism. It is the epitome of all that is positive about nationalism. Ethnicity, if not guarded against, easily slips into the negative and amounts to racism. The more the Luos identify themselves as the peacocks of Kenya and possibly any other attribute, for example, they risk being too engrossed into their ethnic vales and cultural norms to the extent of feeling superior to the rest of the 42 plus ethnic communities that make up Kenya. This is racism or otherwise, tribalism when it extends to giving unmerited favours to kinsmen and tribesmen.

Membership also varies between ethnicity and nationalism. One has no choice of which ethnic group to belong to just as he has no choice of biological parents. One is born and acculturated into a given ethnic community by default. A Maasai Moran for example, is taught all the nitty-gritty’s of the Maasai culture and before he knows it, he is already as engrossed into the community and its way of life as the old Maasai man in his exit years. Membership in ethnic tribes is involuntary. As for nationalism, one always has a choice of which nation to belong to as it is guided by legal precepts that enable one to belong to a country of choice having satisfied the pre-conditions of the country’s constitution. I may be a Kenyan by birth but decide to register as a citizen of another country and drop the Kenyan nationality.

Difference in Dualism
Often times, one cannot have dual ethnicity except for ambilineal communities which trace their descents from either sides of the parents. Otherwise most people belong to only one ethnic community all their lives. When it comes to nationalism, one can have dual citizenship especially if the parents of such a person hail from two different countries.

Nationality being controlled by legal precepts, has a legal government, well structured with each arm performing a specific set of roles e.g. the judiciary, the executive and the legislature while ethnicity is usually governed by traditions and beliefs.

Positive ethnicity can complement the attributes of nationalism while if used negatively, ethnicity becomes a thorn in a nation’s flesh. Nationalism binds a larger group of people and is more broad and far reaching as compared to ethnicity.

Follow me on Twitter, @Maurytweetz

Life Will Test You

...God has come to test you...' Exodus 20:20

Do you remember the tests you took in school? You either passed or failed, but you couldn't avoid them. Life works that way too. When it comes to life's tests-you must prepare yourself in advance! Jesus said: '...a wise man...built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall...a foolish man...built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall' (Matthew 7:24-27).

The first man built his house on rock because he knew it wasn't a question of 'if,' but 'when,' a storm will come. The second man built his house on sand because it was cheap and easy. When the storm came the first man's house stood and the second man's house fell. What's the point Jesus was making? Your talents and your reputation may get you to the top, but if you haven't built strong character you won't stay there long. Furthermore, your beliefs may be sincere and line up with what other people around you think, but unless they're founded on God's Word they'll fail you when you need them most. Three times in the Bible we read, '...The just shall live by faith' (Romans 1:17). When the tests of life come you've got to be able to rise up and say, 'I may not have all the answers, but I have proven God's character and track record and I'm trusting Him to do what He's promised in His Word!'

Follow me on Twitter @Maurytweetz