Tag Archives: Uhuru Kenyatta

The Kenyan Land Question

Spent the morning reading about how the Kenyatta family came to amass so much land in Kenya.  It’s not particularly long but I had a few other things to do which meant it took me longer than usual. Here are some interesting excerpts:

A CIA report prepared shortly after Kenyatta’s death said that while Jomo Kenyatta owned only about half a dozen properties covering roughly 4,000 hectares (mainly farms in Kiambu and the Rift Valley), his wife, First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta, owned at least 115,000 hectares of land and also had a big stake in ruby mining and in beach resorts around Mombasa.

However, a group led by … opposed the buying of land for resettlement; they argued that Africans could not buy back land that was originally theirs, a contention that did not go down well with Kenyatta because “there were no free things and that land was not free, but must be purchased”. Kenyatta’s position mirrored that of the outgoing British colonial administration … It is believed that one of the main reasons Kenyatta was selected to lead the country’s transition to independence was because he had made a secret pact with the British colonial government not to hurt British and white settler interests in the country.

The criminalisation of groups demanding land justice has created resentment among disenfranchised communities. This does not augur well for the stability of the country. As the TJRC concluded, there is a very close link between land injustices and ethnic violence in Kenya.

… the newly created National Land Commission that is mandated to look into these issues and to bring about some form of adjudication or restitution for the landless has not yet yielded significant results. On the contrary, the Commission has recently been embroiled in various corruption scandals related to land, which has further eroded Kenyans’ hopes of finally settling the land question.

Read the full article and feel something or at the minimum understand the complexity around the land question in Kenya.

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12. South Africa v Kenya 2015 audit

Following from Fridays post and this one two years back I would like to extend the list by  a few things that say home to me and that don’t feel the same here

  • Kenya has a huge tea culture. Even when families have a big do and people have been drinkin’ when tea time (4-5pm) rolls in, people – old and young, male and female, will all take a break and have a cuppa. Not so much in SA. How many times have I hosted people, offered tea and heard, ” well, we are drinkin’ so maybe not.”
  • Also, just the fact we prefer tea to coffee. Despite growing and exporting both.
  • Also, just the fact that it took me years to find a local brand of tea bags that was brewed as strong as the one I loved at home. Hello Five Roses African Blend which is perfectly strong and is sourced from Eastern Africa teas.
  • Taxis that do not have a fare collector or someone that calls out the route. Meaning that the person that seats up front, next to the driver, has to take the fare and give back any change. Nerve wracking when I used to take a taxi where the fare was R11.50 per person and you had to quickly decide how much was due for all the 15  taxi passengers. Fast. It also never ceased to amuse me how the driver would be so uninterested i.e. if you needed him to give you two fifty cents for R1, he would look ahead and say he has no change! So what must happen?
  • In addition, you have to learn all the different taxi signs to be able to signal correctly to the driver.
  • All this, against the fact that I do not speak any Zulu, which is standard taxi language for Johannesburg. NERVE WRACKING!
  • Also, I find that I still compare the price of taxi (matatu) fare in Kenya v SA. Very expensive in South Africa.
  • Standard rice in South Africa is fat and Basmati is quite expensive. I will just leave that here because in Kenya we have different quality of Basmati rice for all!
  • One ply tissue? One ply tissue? WHY? What does it do. I find that I totally judge any establishment that has one ply because ONE PLY TISSUE IS INEFFECTIVE!
  • Fast food and eating out is much cheaper in South Africa than in Kenya. Although, the food in Kenya is naturally organic whereas it is highly processed in SA. On this, I would rather be in Kenya.
  • Being asked all of the time (still) what my name means. Urrggh! Almost universal fact is that all South African names have a meaning and it is expected that similarly African names on the continent will be the same. Which for the most part is true. I just happen to be that minority with a name similar to a local name that has a meaning, but mine doesn’t. It would take a separate post to explain all the inappropriate places where I have been asked what my name means – just off the top of my head, calling for official purposes to speak to an individual and having to leave a message with the receptionist who will keep me on the phone longer to ask what my name means and whether I have heard of the local equivalent. Urgggh just urgggh!
  • I miss the fruits in Nairobi that taste great all the time!! Not so much here where it’s a lottery of what you might get.
  • Talk radio. Bye Bye all the morning drive filth in Nairobi. Just good bye and good riddance!
  • How the country bleeds or shines when the Boks, Proteas and Bafana Bafana play. I don’t get it. I am most likely to be the person shopping because people are at home or at Sports bars and I can finally pack by the entrance to the shopping centre.
  • South Africans have labour rights and a social security system that actually works. It still surprises me!
  • The state of education. I argue all the time with people I know that it is unacceptable and that in Kenya poor people work hard and get the best quality of education that they can possibly get for their kids and the pass mark is much much higher than here. It saddens me that in Public primary schools, the kids get like half an hour of homework, Monday to Wednesday and maybe on Thursday and this stops almost a month to the final exams! Yes, I know there are private schools but there you get what you pay for – as it to be expected!
  • Beach fronts in Cape Town and Durban are easily accessible to the public. You can park your car and walk to the beach and not to have to walk through a dingy path or pretend that you had gone for drinks at a hotel. Nah! None of that, you just walk across and sit beach side 🙂
  • Expiring data??? Not sure if this applies in Kenya but where does expired data go? Does it slow down or what happens? I do not understand why data has an expiry date.
  • Also just Kenya rocks for the fact that Wireless is widespread and the net speed is much faster.
  • Our lackluster presidents. UK and JZ belong together and both sadden me!

If you have been to or lived in either country, please let me know your thoughts? If you have only ever lived in the one country, what makes it home for you?

On prominent women: let’s stick to the issues please!

I recently read a “friend’s” status update on Facebook in vernacular, that translated simply states “Bensouda, go and get married, Uhuru is ours!”

A bit of context, the current Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta is facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his involvement in the Post-Election Violence in 2007 that resulted in the loss of approximately 1,300 lives and the displacement of thousands more.  Despite this, he went on to run and win the presidency in the March 2013 Elections. (That is beside the point for this post) Bensouda leads the Prosecution in Uhuru’s case.

I remember in my intern days attending a civil society talk in the lead up to the 2007 elections and that days talk centred around understanding the low number of women in politics and attempting to reverse that trend. A lady that had successfully vied as MP in one of the rural constituencies when asked to offer advice to upcoming ladies said to them that they should always wear a skirt or a dress on the campaign trail and under, to always have a pair of close fitting shorts. Why? Because when defeated, men tended to charge towards her and attempt to humiliate her by stripping her of her clothes and in her nudity, strip her of dignity thus ensuring votes for the male opponent.

What do the two situations have in common? The fact that almost always (and forgive me, this is hyperbole at its’ worst) Kenyan men when defeated in a political argument or wishing to make a point against women will tend to bring up her marital status or the fact that she is childless or something about her appearance in judgment of her character and more often than not, will not do the same for a man that is obviously lacking in similar character. This is double-standards and reveals small mindedness at its worst. So what if she is childless, divorced and not “feminine”? Do we care more or less if he is single, not a father and “not masculine”, probably yes but most likely not!!

So no, Bensouda’s interest in Uhuru is purely legal and, NOT THAT IT MATTERS, she is married and has kids of her own so she is not interested in being a second wife. So please let’s not conflate matters and set aside non-issues.