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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Revolution in Egypt

 For the past couple days, Egypt, the Arab world's heartbeat revolted against an entrenched kleptocratic dictatorial regime that had suppressed all sorts of dissent for over half a century. Masses of young men, women and children erupted and took to the streets to demand justice, freedom and dignity. The government and its infamously efficient apparatus of secret service failed to silence an energized citizenry, fed up with the hopelessness that has defined their lives. Friends, what we witnessed unfold in front of us for the past couple days, is a revolution  live on TV. This represent the end of the status quo in much of the Arab and Islamic world. Despots can no longer rule with terror and violence. They can no longer continue to treat their citizens like slaves while they indulge themselves in the filthiest of western decadence.

The complaints that are pushing all these people to the streets is no different from our grievances here in Garissa. Unemployment, hopelessness and police brutality are rampant in our own streets. Here is what I wrote about the Jasmine revolution in Tunia a fortnight ago and what lessons it represented for Garissa. It's still very relevant today and events in Egypt just raise its profile all the more.

To follow events in Egypt from your mobile web browser, 

Please don't forget to say a prayer for our Muslim brothers as they seek greater freedoms. Free Egypt! Free Gaza!

Have a revolutionary Sunday!

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Video of Raila's Underwhelming Visit to Garissa

 I still don't understand why people had to attend this rally but then to be chased around by thuggish police officers in scorching heat just to listen to political banter from an opportunistic politician is utterly contemptible. What is worse is the orchestrated heckling and jeering that some payed-for, small minded thugs engaged in. Quite a shame that one of our area MP's had to sabotage someone else's rally.

Bonus point for spotting Hussein Maendeleo raising the one figure Kanu Salute. Speak of mental stagnation, the guy still lives in 2001.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Raila & The KKK Don't Care About NEP: They're Political Opportunists

  Raila came to Garissa today and as usual offered nothing more than the typical vitriolic bluster that he spews everywhere he goes. What was supposed to be a political rally soon devolved into partisan bickering, ad hominem attacks and subpar vitendawilis. I think he didn't get the memo on our disregard for vapid hollow statements that are not followed by tangible action.

 Any individual with a triple digit IQ knows that neither Raila nor The KKK care about the legitimate needs and interests of Somali Kenyans (Nepians). Both are self serving political vampires mainly interested in gaining political leverage in our city and region through proxies (our MPs). Our lives have been made all the more miserable by a Government that is propped  up by ODM as the price for 'peace'. They did not deliver half the change they promised us in 2007. The fake under funded ministry they setup has failed to alleviate the human tragedy that is gripping Northern Kenya today. In short, they are all double faced liars and snake oil salesmen.

Raila like Uhuru, Kalonzo & Ruto presided over the arrest, rendition and torture of innocent Muslims. His partly owned government still refuses to buy our livestock while it buys bad maize grown in Central and Trans-Nzoia to save their tribesmen from losses. Its only in Garissa where policemen can, in broad daylight, rob you of your hard earned wealth and usurp your business. Its only in NEP where you can be arrested and beaten for not carrying your ID with you as was the case during the colonial era. Raila just like the rest of them stands for the continuation of these racist policies. His duplicity and  inconsistency with regards to the rights of Somali-Kenyans is well documented.

 What was missing from the Rally? For one there was no substantiative policy discussion, there were no overtures made to our region and none of our complaints (ID issuance, police harrassment, systemic marginalization) were addressed. We only saw our MPs capitulating to a Luo overlord who offered no vision just vile personal attacks. Now don't get me wrong, I despise Ruto and all those who agree with his ethnocentric politics equally, I just don't see how telling us that 'Uhuru is a bhang addict'solves any of our problems.

 All those who attended today's rally to applaud Raila's prejudices and listened while he fanned the flames of hatred are not any better than those trained seals that beat the drums for the flip-side of this coin, The KKK.
Finally, any of you retarded tribalists that may think I have a vested interest in any of the issues discussed above, I do not. I just want to see my people wake up from this coma.

Its time Dualle, Farah Maalim and the rest of our political class stopped being subservient to vivisectional foreign interests. They should form their very own political movement and prudently chose who to support in the General election, if they do not wish to field their own Presidential candidate. The current divisions will lead to another tribal bloodshed in Garissa. The government has had its Jackboot on our throats for 47 years, time to vote for our own president!

Oh, those who jeered and heckled speakers were just classless goons-for- hire deployed by our so called MPs.
Here is a video of their visit to Marsabit on Monday;

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Our Shameful Culture of Fatalism

  Something my friend and I discussed earlier this week has been gnawing at my mind for quite sometime now.Its the question any restless Somali youngster asks himself : Why is it that we Somalis are so tolerant of failure, so willing to buy into the concept predestination and so unwilling to free ourselves from the "Inshallah mentality" knowing very well that Allah said in the Qur'an "Inallaha la yughayiru mabiqawmin xataa yughayiruu ma' bi'afunsihim" (Allah does not change the predicament of a society unless the change is organically cultivated from within themselves).

 Our culture has become so steeped in destinism. An ingrained culture of fatalism has convinced most of us that standing up for our rights is not worth the risk because our efforts are inconsequential. We accept to be abused, set up ourselves for disappointment, for second class citizenship because we are made to believe that all our efforts will have zero public impact. None of us are willing to demand that the barrier at River Tana bridge be moved to the border because it has become culturally acceptable to tolerate humiliation at the hands of the Police. No one at 'Suuq Mugdi' thinks its better if they organized themselves and cleaned their place of business as a collective group instead of waiting for our blood-sucking Councillors. Everyone is waiting for a non-existent nanny state to change us because we are afraid of changing ourselves. No one is willing to ask where our CDF money went or why our public schools are so behind the rest of the nation.

 In Garissa and the entire Nep region, we have to confront this apathy that plagues us. We must realise that philistinism, lassitude and destinationism are deadly weapons capable of doing quantum amounts of  damage to our psyche than any marginalization by the state.

I do not wish to be simplistic or even sound facile in my diagnosis of NEP's problems by laying all the blame on our footsteps because its absolutely true that consecutive regimes have oppressed us and that may have made us become psychologically captive to the condition I have addressed earlier but that shouldn't be an excuse for the continuation of that debilitating state.

 We Somalis have a proud culture that holds individual achievement in high regard. Our nomadic culture glorified bravery and personal risk for the good of all. Social justice was not only a defining ingredient of what it meant to be a Somali, it was also an article of faith. We need to go back to those roots. We need to transcend the petty divisions that characterize politics in NEP. If there is anyone capable of achieving that fete, its us; the youngsters, the new generation of leaders.

This is not our destiny. Second class citizenship is not our birthright.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dujis CDF Report Card

The National Taxpayer Association audited Dujis Constituency's CDF projects and appropriations process. The group wrote up a detailed report on their findings which I have embedded below.
Here is a summary of their main findings:

  • 1 out of every 4 shillings allocated to Dujis was either wasted or stolen (unaccounted for) i.e a total of Kshs. 24 Million.
  • Close to 17% of all CDF funded projects were poorly constructed 
  • Most projects are beset with delay and are often behind schedule, if they had any.
  • Those incharge of the committee threatened this independent group and tried to bar them from auditing their activities.   
  • Close to 0% of the funds were spent on any infrastructure project; ICT projects, expansion of telephone networks, expansion of the electrical grid etc.            
The document in its entirety is posted below. The projects reviewed date back to the latter days of Hussein "Maendeleo's" (sic) reign.

I think this reveals the checkered nature of those we've put in-charge of our resources and their casual treatment of theft and mismanagement. On top of all our problems, finding out the money which was allocated for the alleviation of inequality has been stolen is completely unacceptable. Its all the more surprising that no one seems to be bothered by this. Not Supkem, not a single civic groups, not the local media, not G-youth. Concentrating all the roles in the committee in the hands of a few individuals from related families has given them the power to legislate for themselves when to steal and when to construct a classroom at an inflated price. Despite the reported 25% misappropriation rate, those of us that are from Garissa know mismanagement is more pervasive in the committee than this figure suggests. I'm sure when figures for the past two years are analysed, multitudes of jaws will drop in shock. Corruption and nepotism still remain the cancer that eat away at the fabric of our society.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Aden Barre Dualle, A Sellout Douche-bag.

I hate to delve into the politics of name calling but quite honestly I'm appalled by Aden Barre's bizzare association with the KKK and his total capitulation to Ruto demands. He has been acting as a subordinate douche bag, running his mouth off in support of the KKK alliance while our very own people starve in NEP. For the love of God, we are drowning in dust hapa Garissa. Huyu fala should be worried about us and not about helping War criminals consolidate their ethnocentric political machinations.

   He has turned into a hysterical amateurish lap-dog who has just tasted the power of getting a sound bite into the nightly news package. Given that Counties are going to be rolled out soon, it would serve Dualle and his ilk better if they focus more on how we can capitalize on decentralization and avoid further disintegration along clan lines. Acting as a proxy for the people that have only used us to catapult themselves to State House will not help anyone-least of all Dualle.

   His destructive obsession with joining the "elite" club so so badly will only serve to alienate him from us, the electorate. I think its time someone told the rookie MP to choose his associations wisely. His advisors, if he has any, need to blithely describe to him a scenario in 2012 where ditto-heads like Ruto & Uhuru will not be of much help to him. I think its time Aden Barre took invetory-with regard to his illegal marriage to Ruto- and realize that its far past time to end this relationship. Its not too late to cultivate a new one with us. 

The Disconnect between ODM & NEP

 Ibrahim Rashid , a political and development analyst, has an editorial in The Standard on how ODM failed to live up to its promises in NEP and how its fast losing any semblance to a political movement for all. He also touched on the prospects for economic and political development in this vastly under-developed region.

Here is an excerpt from the piece

  The party is talking of elections while its electors are dying from hunger and thirst.Which                                           of these starving voters will still be around to cast their ballots and occupy the ODM offices in the region?For North Eastern, the priority cannot, and must not be party elections. Their undying prayer is finding     persons, or  political party, ready to implement and operationalise Article 43(1) where every person has the right (c) — to be free from hunger, and to have adequate food of acceptable quality; 43 (d) — to clean, safe water in adequate quantities.Even then, ODM cannot claim to conduct grassroots elections countrywide while its Secretariat and/or Election Board is not reflective of Kenya’s regional representation as required by both political norm and the new Constitution.The party has also short memory of how it has failed to equitably share the half loaf of bread (nusu mkate) of the Grand Coalition Government and quickly shortchanged those who bore the greatest responsibility in the reform crusade since Jaramogi’s Not yet Uhuru of 1966 to Raila’s Free at Last, last year.

             You can read the full editorial here

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A photo Essay of Almond Resort: Garissa's answer to the Taj

  Almond resort, a five star hotel in Garissa is raising the hospitality bar to a whole new level. It has a distinct Islamic architecture, adds a great aesthetic value to the city and might even lure a few tourists our way if the business class in the city use its fame to propel us to the limelight and build a whole new related industry around it. Our MPs &their henchmen should use the money they stole to start businesses in the hospitality industry and  use significant resources to lure investors, foreign or local. We need the jobs and the prestige.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Garissa's Ruinous Relationship With its Leaders

 In every wretched relationship, there are moments that are so loathsome they make a person throw his hands in the air and vehemently seek vengeance with brute force. Somali Kenyans have reached that point. The anger on the ground in Garissa and other places is palpable. Whilst an unmitigated disaster unfolds in NEP as people starve, the government is splashing money on defending War criminals and genocidaires. It's a reflection of the future that lies ahead in the sick relationship between MPs and their subjects. As poverty and frustration percolate to the core of society, the men we elected to change our fortunes are busy aligning themselves with internationally recognized war criminals. As somali mothers get gang raped by the same people (Police) that were supposed to provide them with protection, our elected Somali officials are busy thwarting the ICC's pursuit of Ruto and Uhuru. As we get humiliated on our own streets by policemen who see us as walking ATM machines, our MPs pusillanimously cow-tow to the fascism of a government that we've been disenchanted with for almost half a century.

 For those of us that are unemployed, educated and frustrated, let's be done with these goons and let them be done with us. Let them start businesses with all the money they stole over these 5 years and make millions in profit. We will promise not begrudge them-as long as they create jobs here in Garissa and stay out of politics.

 To the youth, I urge you to be cynical of everything these pseudo-dictators tell you. Cultivate the Tunisian in you and even if it takes a low level intifada to bust the existing political class delineation in our county, GO FOR IT. GOD BLESS YOU!

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

What is wrong with our Youth?

 What is wrong with our youth? They seem to be happy with their position of irrelevance and actually seem to thrive on it. The lack of ambition on our streets is depressing and besmirching of our honour . Everyday more and more of our vaunted future leaders join the ranks of dropouts, drug addicts and live-at-home 25 year olds. The best of what Garissa produces are those who dream of leaving Kenya for 'greener pastures' elsewhere (read; Europe & North America).

This is a scathing indictment of a culture that does not place any value on academic success, celebrates mediocrity and is hopelessly divided by the most primordial of clan loyalties.While the dynamics at work in Garissa are similar to those in the broader region, our contentment with failure is peculiar and perilous. Improvisation, can-do-demeanour and  an aggressive entrepreneurial spirit used to be an integral part of the collective Somali psyche. One didn't need to have a fancy degree to start a successful business. Our parents did it without ever knowing how to balance a financial sheet. We have no excuse not to. Most of the claustrophobic stalls in "Suuq Mugdi" are owned by foreigners. The construction industry imports labour from elsewhere because we are too classy to do such menial work. Clerical jobs are all held by senile retirees and our political system is the preserve of a few families.

This society will not change until its youth wake up from this prolonged sleep. Garissa's youth can do better, NEP's youth can achieve much more. The real challenge we face today is how to revitalise and empower our youth. Hope, self reliance, private enterprise and pursuit of happiness should be the new paradigm that predominates in Somali Kenya. Waiting for others to uplift us out of our current predicament will never materialize. So to you, the youth of Garissa, being apolitical, sitting around waiting for Dualle to get you a job or a ticket to Europe is delusional. Think of how you can replace him or hold his feet to  fire.

Good Luck.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lessons From Tunisia

 You can imagine conversations around dinner tables in the Middle East and much of Sub-Saharan Africa are rife with speculation on what the revolution in Tunisia means for the strongmen that have had an unrelenting hold on power for decades. The hallmarks of a great revolutions is that once the masses rise up against repression, what formerly seemed like insurmountable peaks turn to pedestrian plateaus. Revolutions normally have a domino effect in surrounding areas once people get to see their collective power. Whatever delusions African 'supermen' have had of endless elitist rule is surely bust and now capitals from Cairo to San'aa are certainly bracing themselves for similar events should reform not materialize.

 The parallels between NEP and Tunis is sufficiently impressing. Our educated, unemployed youth should learn that rising up against the existing entrenched political aristocracy is winnable. I hope we all take away the important lesson that no amount of marginalization and political repression can suppress our desire for a more meritocratic and equitable government.

 More than anything else, the young men and women of NEP, Kenya and Somalia need to vigorously question authority and not accept their position at the bottom of the heap as part of the natural order of life. It maybe hard to live in Garissa and Mandera today but it shouldn't be acceptable to live life without learning the enduring value of human dignity and the rights of people pursue their dreams. If it takes protests, civil disobedience, elections or community organizing to overthrow the decadent current system then we should agitate for that sooner rather than later.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Garissa and the state of Hygiene

 It's an open secret that Garissa is one of the most unhygienic places in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its also a well known fact that Somalis are not the cleanest lot in Kenya. Despite our squeamishness about cultural stereotypes, there is tonnes of evidence that points to the correlation between uncleanliness and the moral decline of a society.
In Islam, its prohibited to throw garbage in public and shared places. In fact the Prophet (Pbuh) said whoever does so will be exiled from Allah's mercy. He also said that God is clean and loves clean. Given our strict adherence to religion, its a mystery that we disregard these important teachings. Anyone tempted to take a walk in Garissa will be choked by dust, confronted with open sewers and piles upon piles of uncollected refuse. I know the conventional thing to do is lay blame on the Municipal council but if these irresponsible men are unwilling to do their work, should we just sit back and suffer in silence? As citizens we can organize ourselves in our own neighbourhoods and decide on ways to dispose off garbage.

 We could also stop paying taxes to the Municipal Council until they get their act together and come up with an acceptable manifesto on the way forward. We are not helpless and our actions are not inconsequential. If any of you are interested in tackling the lazy conflation that Somalis are unhygienic, wild people, its paramount that you go to your families and neighbourhoods and pass on this message. The preposterousness of how we live today is deserving of all the ridicule that we get.

 On an unrelated matter, does anyone know what the Ministry of Northern Kenya and Arid regions has been up to? It appears to me as nothing more than a window dressing, a smoke and mirrors situation. Their website is nonfunctional and they've had no press releases for months. Unless the good minister is perpetrating a hoax on us, he should come forward and give us a substantial explanation for the inaction of his ministry given the drought that is sweeping Northern Kenya.

Have a wonderful week ahead folks.

Friday, January 7, 2011


  My very wise father once told me we are all leaders in our own rights and that we all possess the ability to significantly improve our lives if we are willing to work hard for it. I like that. Sometimes when I'm in a public place or sipping tea in a cafe listening to the BBC , I'll watch people passing by and I'll silently say to myself, "He is a leader. She's a leader. He's a leader, She's a leader." Before long I'll find myself feeling a warm sense of affinity for these strangers. The experience goes up by a couple notches whenever the subject of my observation is an individual of vestigial importance or a person in suffering. On occasion, I'll get into an argument with obnoxious uncle who will turn my spiritual feeling into a domino effect of confusion, fear and regrettable indecision.

 My point , apart from bringing some levity to what is otherwise a boring blog, is to enunciate that  young and old, we can all do our bit to reinvent NEP and I think it helps that we have almost nothing to be proud of now.

Another Season, Another Drought

 It's that time of year when every self righteous MP, NGO and non-profit organization rushing to aid the drought stricken folks of the arid North gets vociferous about the needs of pastrolists. I'm not a believer in Voodoo or Indian "Karma" but I can't help think that may be we are being repayed for our consistent exiguous choice of leadership. It's only in NEP where mediocrity, fear, desperation and perpetual dependency are virtues richly rewarded. If we are to free ourselves from this vicious cycle of poverty, we will have to act as individuals and groups to correct errs that have been made in the past.

  Call me insensitive but I do not see the point in the continuation of this most primitive method of self sustenance. Being a pastrolist living at the mercy of elements in the 21st century is no longer a viable livelihood choice. Any government worth its salt will sure not let its citizens suffer such an ignominious existence. Tremendous strides have been made in turning nomads into sedentary farmers in other parts of the world and I do not see why we are not agitating for such change here in NEP. If any of our civic groups, MPs and local media were good enough, they would be preaching the virtues of educating children and not making them perform laborious tasks such as herding Camels that die by the thousands every time drought strikes which believe me, is almost once a year. While the world around us collapses on itself, it is surprising that many of us are sweating the small stuff. We focus more on whether Red cross rushes to our aid every time a drought strikes and not on what we can do to be self sufficient.

  Our brain dead MPs , at this time of the year, can be seen distributing food donated by foreigners in the hinterlands of our province as the poor and hungry sing songs in their praise. These men make exploiting poor people look elegant, cool and fun. Given the reality of their existence is the culmination of hypocrisy and nightmarish descent into madness for the few that have a guilt sense, it won't be so hard to anticipate the demise of these parasitic men. Not to be pedantic but our not-so-mysterious, intermittent downward slide can be blamed on who we choose to represent us in positions of leadership.

 I hope we all live too see the day North Easterner's will elect a leader who is highly articulate, deeply thoughtful, not overly crippled by the poison of tribalism and capable of improving quality of education, creating jobs and taking NEP to a new frontier. I can ascertain you that tribalism can kill you faster than any germ.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Achievement Test

On Jan. 2008,  the four men we elected based on what tribe they were born into took an oath to represent us  in the national assembly. Three years on, what have they done for us? As I launch this critique of the imbeciles we elected, I'm sure some of the tribalist among us are already rushing to the barricades to defend the clowns that continue to undermine NEP.

 Our MPs are consumed with protecting their seats and making sure they've stashed away enough wealth in their bank accounts. Some of that money will of course be used to bribe a few old, illiterate, self appointed clan leaders to deliver the votes of their clansmen once another inconvenient election cycle comes around. Three years ago, we were all complaining about Police harassment, unreliable electricity, poor service at public offices and youth unemployment. Today, all those problem remain and collectively, we haven't improved one bit.

 The lack of intergenerational equity has brought to surface a whole lot of social problems. Drug addiction among our youth is rendering a whole generation unproductive. Teen pregnancies are on the rise and school drop out rates are sky high. This has resulted in very ugly incidents such as the widely reported youth homicides.  Over 5 young adults were recently knifed to death in bizarre incidents. Local leaders are blaming it on high cellphone use,internet addiction and immigrants from Somalia ..Really??
Police Thuggery
 North Eastern has been turned into a virtual police state. Citizens of this godforsaken province are subjected to daily humiliation by the policies of a fascistic government . The new constitution and realities on the ground in NEP are disjointed. I understand the government has a reason to be concerned about security given its almost paranoid fear of Alshabab but to put police barricades in every village in this expansive region deserves a lot of scrutiny especially when these men are famous for corruption rather than protecting citizens. Travel is a nightmare not only because of the poor road network in our province but also because of constant police stops and harassment. Trade is almost about to grind to a halt. Recently, I talked to a friend of mine, a Zafanana conductor, who confirmed my aforementioned assertions but I believe everyone is aware of this. Just that we cannot protest about it and our local media is too busy playing 70's music to cover any issue of social importance.

 Ruined Education
 Our public schools are no longer institutions that educate, they probably have never been. They have always lagged behind their peers in other parts of the country. If as people we do not see the moral argument for 'better education', we should at least see its productive value. Our clansmen in Parliament have faltered in delivering any results on this front.

 Public officers are demi-gods in our province. They are not there to serve us, rather, we are supposed to be slaves in need of their mercy. Routine things like getting a birth certificate for 20 month old child born in a hospital turn into an experience at humiliation and servitude. Never mind the fact that the  person frustrating you is a clerk with just high school or college education imported from another place while thousands of our capable youth remain unemployed. Getting an ID or a passport has long ago turned into an exercise in futility. There are about 10 inspection spots between Nairobi and Garissa and 20 more between Garissa-Wajir.

 Ask yourself, what has your MP done over the past three years? Maybe, he built a toilet (at inflated price) in your constituency to vindicate himself but has any of his actions led to any tangible improvements to your quality of life? At least Mandera and Wajir have men of who are at the forefront of the silent revolution taking place in Government. How many times have you stopped to ask yourself if your kids will go to better schools than you went to before you referred to these morons as "Mheshimiwa."  Adan Dualle, Yusuf Haji, Farah Maalim and Sugow are the worst politicians in the national assembly. At least three of those men are not intellectually at par with their peers in parliament. Yusuf Haji is almost senile and incapable of making a coherent statement in Swahili, maybe english too. Sugow, aaah...don't even get me started on him.

Youth activism
  As individuals, we need to bring prudence and reason to these matters instead of regurgitating widely known facts. What North Eastern needs is nothing short of a revolution, a mindset revolution. We, as people, have turned into captives to (partly) our own failures. Nepusa and other student bodies need to educate the public on the evils of tribalism. Sheikhs will have to declare war on our unaccountable representation. Every youth movement in the province has to take on the responsibility of educating the public and protecting their elders from abusive government policies. My entire argument is predicated on the assumption that private and individual industry has the biggest societal benefit. We have the capacity to collectively change our lives if we free ourselves from the shackles tribalism. Young university graduates should challenged the old guard for positions of leadership at the national and municipal level.
The hallmark of human achievement is to learn from the past and build a future that is better than the present. As of now, we are failing on this front but we can surely turn the tide to our favour should we rise up to the challenge. What we need is an engaged active youth that will shake up how things are done in this County and in the entire province.