TRANSFORMATIVE ANGER


I am from Baringo. If you’ve ever taken a road trip to this beautiful county you have had the privilege of experiencing the breathe-taking scenery and the straight tarmacked road with smooth corners, if any. I have used this road a thousand times. Okay realistically speaking maybe around 50 times, but up until yesterday I had not noticed the small yet big IDP camp by the roadside of a small town along the road. I passed there at around 2pm; there was little life around the camp. At first I did not want to believe that people actually live there. Well, the heart
rarely gets what it wants. I was shaken, hoping that when coming back to Nakuru in the evening I would see no sign of life in these circular ‘hema’ homes; let them be dark ruins of the past. Unfortunately the lanterns were on, a sight that shook my heart.

I’ve always heard stories of still existing IDP camps but never seen one. It took me a moment to take it all in. It’s been over 11 years since the post-election violence, how and why does an IDP camp still exist? Is it that toxic poor financial management by the ‘tenants’ of this IDP camp: irresponsible head of families who cannot sustain themselves? Is it due to toxic leadership: leaders who are driven by greed inhumanely denying this people of their reparation? Is it the toxic greed that Kenyans have: that they decided to take reparations that are rightfully not theirs?
What is it? Why are people still living like refugees in their own country?

Before I begin goggling and looking for answers behind this IDP camp, I hope that poor financial management is the reason behind this still existing place or better yet the greed of Kenyans. The thought of having leaders who are toxic, leaders who are driven by greed, leaders who care more for their pockets than the livelihood of those under them is painful. Yet I am almost certain it is the reason .

This is death. How can a fellow human being live in a circular canvas home while you have houses in three counties each having over 10 rooms with a perfectly green garden that is watered every day and mowed twice a week? The amount of water you use to water your lawn can sustain the IDP camp for two weeks. Worst of all, you built these houses using their (fellow human beings) money. Money that could have put a decent roof over someone’s head. Money that could have sent someone to school. Money that could have put a smile on someone’s face. Money that is NOT YOURS. The anger I am filled with right now, God only knows.

But as I sit here typing off my anger to an audience I have never met, the one thing I know is that my anger can either turn to action or can slip off my fingers and show up the next time I see the IDP camp on my way to shags. I am sure I am not the only one who sympathizes with
them, but after you feel bad, what next? Or these feelings are just emotional swings that come and go. What’s the need of such emotional swings when they don’t make anything better?

My anger will not be in vain. The action I take is to speak justice and show kindness. To live humbly. My action is to support any group that fight for a good course. My action is to be a role model to whoever it may be out there. My action is to care for my neighbors. My action is to teach my children to do all this. I choose to put a smile on someone’s face when I can. I am the change. The simple things always count. My anger can be a waste of time and energy, but I choose to turn it into a productive course. What do you choose to do with your anger?

By Dawn Chemoiwa Chepkoech.

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The Strange Thing About the Johnsons: A Review

This past week, Twitter’s infamous Sco Pa Tu Maana (What is Your Opinion on…) featured a 2011 short film that remains a controversy on the interwebs for illuminating a ‘sickening’ gaze on role-reversal in sexual abuse.

The Strange Thing About the Johnsons is short film written and directed by Ari Aster. Initially, the film was Aster’s thesis film while studying at the American Film Institute. It later premiered at the 2011 Slamdance Film Festival prior to going viral in November that year.

The film tackles incest and sexual abuse in families; highlighting the manipulation, gaslighting and mental torture victims of abuse go through. Warning: Although not explicitly graphic, the film does a great job of making viewers uneasy throughout the whole screening. Approach with caution.

The film opens with Sidney Johnson, a well renowned poet, walking in on his son masturbating. It is at this point that Sidney’s role as a kind and loving father is exhibited; he handles the situation with poise, assuring his 12-year old  son that masturbating is not wrong; an innocent gesture by a supportive, sex-positive father. It is only at the end of the scene that Isaiah, the son, reveals the photograph he was masturbating to; a polaroid photo of his old man, shirtless at the beach.

This scene is vital in grounding the film’s message. Ideally, when we’re introduced to characters in a potentially ‘dark’ film, it is the older character(s) who exhibit such an uncanny tendencies. In this scenario, the very introduction of a seemingly innocent child as the vile character of the film makes (or breaks) the willingness of watchers to continue with the rest of the film; occasionally pausing to question what your eyes just saw.

The film is based on the Isaiah’s fascination with his father. Sidney dismisses societal stigma on masturbation; it is okay and normal. That by talking about it, it no longer was taboo, Isaiah is able to twist this to fit his narrative. Isaiah’s cryptic ‘I love you’ to Sidney feels like a test, a test to see if Sidney was on board with his twisted version of events.

The film transitions to Isaiah’s wedding 14 years later, and it is here that we meet a dejected Sidney. And the confirmation of our fear at the moment, the story leading up to Isaiah sexually assaulting his father. It is this scene that in the midst of looking for both her family at the wedding, Joan, Sidney’s wife stumbles upon her son forcing oral sex on her husband, hidden away from the rest of the wedding party. She chooses to turn away, ignore the happenings and return to the wedding festivities.

“It is super interesting how even the people in the comment section condemning the movie are indirectly proving the point. It’s so vile and unfathomable that they have to lash out to protect themselves from the thought of it.” One viewer pointed out under the YouTube leak of the video.

Mutheu, Y is a student at the Technical University of Kenya pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy

The Stories…

I wanted to post this last week, but I lost the post. That was probably for the best. I had written the post with such raw emotion and honestly a little anger because I could not stand the blinding things around me.

We obviously learn a lot from stories. From our teachers, our parents, the books we read, folktales that have been passed down for ages. They teach us morals, culture and more about life in general. The modern day versions to educate about life are mainly folded up in motivational speeches, especially for youth who are trying to figure out what to do with life. From high school talks to leadership camps in campus, their has been no shortage of stories about those who have made mistakes
and risen from them because it gets better. That’s the “right story” because it gives us hope. Don’t get me wrong, hope is the thing that keeps most of us going and that makes it necessary mostly.

I have however found there is more to learn from those who really failed. Real-life failure that was not reversible or fixable. I have heard stories of young parents who wished that they could be anything but
parents and do not just proclaim the child as a gift all over social media. I have heard stories of school drop outs who realized the job they were running towards doesn’t really matter 10 years later. They had
to go back to school to move career-wise. I have heard of people who wished they didn’t go to study abroad. That one was hard to believe but it is what it is.

These are stories we don’t hear often. When we do, we try to find a reason for them to be wrong or to blame the people who share these experiences. To be honest, didn’t you just do it? Do you think they are quitters of some sort? Sometimes we just have to listen to the cold hard truth. If life always got better the world would be paradise. Be more cautious. It doesn’t always end well. It probably won’t. Make the best of who you are and not of who you could be.

By Sarah A.S

International Youth’s Day recap


The International Youth Day is celebrated each 12th Day of August, annually and over the last years since 2000. On this day, as the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guteres was quoted, “we celebrate the young people, youth led organizations, Governments and others who are working to transform education and uplift young people everywhere.”

This year, the theme for the day is Transforming Education, and especially by and for the youth who form the bulk of the population; this not only in Kenya but also globally. This does not only work on the scope of infrastructure in our institutions of learning but also extend to also include the quality of education and the ease of accessing the education, including its affordability.


At the heart of every International Day is the need to reach out to everyone for both support and goodwill in regards to the celebration at hand. On such a day as this, we the youth should use all available platforms to advocate for the need to be recognized and granted our space. It is by no doubts that the youth have been massively sidelined; and above all neglected by the same bureaucratic and political class of elites who made endless and mouthwatering promises to us and convince us they would put our interests at their hearts. Do we console ourselves and say that promises could be broken?

What of the consequences?

We have let them walk away simply with their broken promises! The youth power is a tool that has been underrated for long and seen as a toothless dog. This is not because those who could be victims of it are not aware, but because the youth themselves have built such an impression.

In addition, despite constitutionally enshrined doctrines and acts enacted by legislative bodies, the youths still get denied what is rightfully theirs. It is a high time we the youths, rise and claim our possession. The political sphere has been dominated by the older generation. Their presence is undisputable since they are a representation of a particular group of people. But it ought to be agreed on that, it is time we the youths gather momentum and cause a storm and a wave of a youth revolution sweeping across. Our voices deserve to be heard and we deserve better for ourselves.

Relenting is the killer of hope and the diminishing spirit of any possibility. It is now that we take up the call to represent our own interests and agendas as we understand ourselves better. This, rather than relying on some other persons who only claim to understand and to be cognisant with our feelings and desires only to later play chameleon on us for their own sake and benefits.
Youth Rising!

By Kamau Samuel.

Your education is probably a scam…

A couple of weeks ago, a video emerged online of a young man being interviewed for the #FormNiGani Campaign. He was asked what his dreams are; he expressed that he had no dream, that his main aim in
life is survival. He further revealed that he was unable to secure an attachment that would guarantee his graduation; eventually resulting in him not graduating: kama attachment yenyewe ni shida, kuna reason
ya kudream? We were recently introduced to Kelvin Ochieng’; a graduate of the University of Nairobi with a First Class Honours in Actuarial Science. His story was one that highlighted the plight of the youth who only have their education as the sole guarantee of a brighter future.


For years now, education in Africa and especially in Kenya has been linked to employment. As early as the 1900s, the colonialists pushed for the education of Africans to acquire skills that would prove them useful in settler farms or in aiding the few British civil servants working in the government and for the missionaries, education was simply for the African to learn how to read the Bible. Primarily, higher education aims at creating lifelong learners. This is however, always challenged by the private sector’s repeated involvement in creating education-based discrimination where individuals advance based on their certificates.


The private sector is hell-bent on making profits. Often, this presents a challenge in the relationship between the private sector and graduates; with the ever insatiable private sector faulting graduates for being half-baked and the graduates lapping up on the crap. Ideally, capitalism aims at profiting those who invest in it; the exploitation of talents reaps big harvests for those who put in the work. That if you want to achieve, you must put in the work; hard work does pay, we have been taught. Kelvin’s story created a buzz on the interwebs with many, including our very own elected representatives, faulting the young man for not creating employment; for not becoming his own boss, entrepreneurship.

However, that notion that education is for job creation is fallacious
Education is a service government provides to its citizens, not a product for the same government to sell to its people. However, the government has turned itself into a business that sells education as a product despite the amount of money collected as tax to cater for services such as education, security and healthcare. Governments exist for that very reason, creating a pool of funds for the welfare of citizens while putting in place an economy that allows everybody to generate wealth for the country which in turn generates revenue (from the created wealth) that allows the government to provide services.


Mutheu, Y is a student at the Technical University of Kenya pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in
International Relations and Diplomacy.

Nature’s Karma

Lake Nakuru National Park, the home of flamingoes. Those pink long-legged birds that can fly. The lake is enlarging, covering up more trees and pushing all the wild animals a little bit farther every second. The flamingoes are migrating in search of food. There has been a change in salinity of the lake due to the solid and liquid waste flowing into the lake affecting the growth of blue-green algae fed on by flamingoes.

The lake has a couple of rivers pouring into it but none flowing out. So whatever those rivers bring in, stays in, forever.  All the plastic bottles, those gunias, the baby pampers, all the sand residue, the paper bags, the clothes and every other thing Kenyans throw in rivers and by the side of roads. Over the years, there has been massive pollution finding its way into the lake from the town. The poor waste management in Nakuru at large, both industrial and domestic. These different things destroy the ecosystem in the lake.

Deforestation in the Mau Forest and Aberdare has increased the siltation in Lake Nakuru. There are over a million farmers in these water catchment areas who use poor farming methods thus an increase in erosion. This has contributed to the rapid in change in size and depth of the Lake. Went there recently, the lake has really expanded and if the trend continues it will one day encroach on the nearby human settlement.

Do I blame us, yes I do. At the end of it all, it is what we do that affects Lake Nakuru. Be it pollution, poor waste management, poor farming methods, deforestation and even throwing away that water bottle in the streets. One thing with nature, joke with it, it jokes right back at you, harder. I’ve been trying to think why we Kenyans find it easy to through a piece of paper out a window. Either ignorance, or after throwing it, it ceases to be your baggage. Well, to all who think of it like this, nature’s karma is truly a b-

Dawn Chemoiwa is a resident of Nakuru and a student of International Relations.

Data: What Should We Know?

The Question of Privacy and Personal Data Protection.
In April 2019, the Kenyan Government undertook an initiative dubbed Huduma Namba that saw the collection of over 36 million Kenyans’ biometric data (the largest data collection exercise in the country) amidst protests that the initiative was unconstitutional, forceful in nature and the lack of comprehensive data laws within the country.
Over a week ago, Netflix announced the release of its new documentary film The Great Hack set to premiere on Wednesday, July 24 on both Netflix and select theatres.


The film seeks to shed light on the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook Scandal of 2016. It follows former employees of the analytical firm, whose clients are primarily politicians, revealing the operations of the firm; revealing the connection between social media platforms and data
mining; the predatory manner in which private data shared by individuals on these social media sites are in turn shared with data analytics firms for exploitation and manipulation geared at modelling data to create political campaigns gleaned from how people use their social media accounts.
We targeted those whose minds we thought we could change until they saw the world the way we wanted them to.

Brittany Kaiser,

Former Cambridge Analytica Employee.

Cambridge Analytica is known for supposedly ‘delivering elections’ to clients, working for the Trump Campaign in 2016 the Uhuru Kenyatta Campaign, both in the 2013 and 2017 General Elections, and the Brexit Campaign (Privacy International, 2017).

In the wake of increased globalization and the dependency on technology for the re-organisation of public administration, security requirements and market interests, is data protection recognised as a fundamental, autonomous right? Is there a correlation between the emergence of data as the most valuable asset in the world and the rising data collection exercises undertaken by governments in the wake of increasing cyber terrorism in the presence of obsolete cyber and data
protection laws globally?

Data refers to unorganised information in its raw form; alphabets, numbers and symbols aimed at providing a representation of conditions, ideas or objects (Business Dictionary, 2019). Issues
revolving around protection of personal data often feature a contradictory approach that cuts across the social, political and institutional aspects of society.

Progressively over the years, companies have created profiling databases on consumers and their behaviours on every aspect of their lives. With the rising global concerns around state security, principles surrounding data collection have loosened; particularly, the purpose specification principle and the principle of separation between data collected and processed by public bodies and data collected and processed by private bodies.

Data collected for a given purpose is made available for different purposes whereas data processed by one institutional agency is distributed to different agencies making it nearly impossible to protect personal data as individuals become more and more transparent in the absence of the political and social powers wielded by public bodies, asserting a new distribution of political and social powers (Rodota, 2009).
In a world where personal data is constantly on the move, affected individuals remain at liberty to demand and control the manner in usage of the collected information. Therefore, privacy ought to be considered the right to keep one’s own information and controlling the creation of one’s own private space.

The issue on data protection affects all of us and it is important that we consciously make an effort to improve it. We need to do this as global citizens and as Kenyans because it is as important to us in a technologically progressive age.

Mutheu, Y. is a student at the Technical University of Kenya pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy.

The Creative Skills Enterprise

World Youth Skills day celebrates the central role of youth in achieving sustainable, inclusive and stable societies. The 15th of July event is marked to educate the public and celebrate achievements made so far. Apart from a special day set by the UN, there are other platforms that celebrate young people who are incredibly skilled. Earlier this month, Forbes Africa released the list of the 30 most promising game changers under the age of 30 in the sectors of Business, Sports, Technology and Creatives.

The list not only appreciates the young people who make a difference but also encourages more young people in the various fields. I look forward to a time when the African list will feature the categories of Manufacturing and Industry, Science, Energy, Finance, Healthcare, Law and Policy and Social entrepreneurs. This will encourage youth to be involved in diverse sectors while appreciating those who are making major strides within those sectors.

The creatives category has just been introduced and I was very inspired. Fashion stylists, models, photographers, designers, musicians and poets among other creatives were represented in the list. This goes to show that the creative market in Africa can be exploited by the young generation to spark significant change.

Here in Kenya, there are many creative youth with talents spanning beyond the traditional ideals. Inspired photography, design and music tell the stories of the urban and rural youth alike. However, it will need more effort and support to turn these talents into fruitful and more impactful enterprise. Creative schools could be a step in the right direction by the government and the youth themselves to have more fruitful creative spaces.

So as we celebrate World Youth Skills Day, let us appreciate the creatively skilled youth and their unique ideas. With a more appreciated creative industry, we can create an economically and socially impactful youth enterprise.

Youth and the Referendum Question

August 8, 2017, the Republic of Kenya set out for what was termed the most contentious general election. This, being attributed to the fact that the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was triggering his last bullet, constitutionally, aiming to salvage a term of residence at the white house on the hill. This was however to face a tough government side with President Uhuru Kenyatta determined to defend his position and ensure he doesn’t go on record as the premier one term head of state could he lose the polls. This would probably also solidify the path for the ‘Hustler’, Deputy President William Ruto, to ascend to top leadership come 2022; if by any chance going by the sentiments of the Jubilee party.

The two horses were set for the race. At the outcomes, the Jubilee team was declared victorious; but the opposition was having none of it. A quick move to the Supreme Court saw nullification of the polls and a fresh election ordered. This was not welcome for the Jubilee party; and remarkably, President Kenyatta’s famous ‘we shall revisit’ declaration. The set date of 26th October, 2017 was to see the repeat race. However, the opposition pulled out of the race; creating a dilemma of course of action. The elections continued as set, seeing the Jubilee party claim a landslide ‘illegitimate’ victory which saw candidate Uhuru Kenyatta sworn as president with Ruto sworn as deputy. The opposition was, however, not relenting in the bid to have ‘Baba’ at State House. Mass action and protests ruled the streets and especially the capital, Nairobi. These incapacitated the development agendas of the government.

This was outlasted by the historic March 9, 2018 ‘Handshake’; a sign of truce between President Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila. But the big question remains, what does the referendum question have to offer? Is the referendum in to favour Wanjiku or her oppressor elite of leaders? And, is the referendum designed with a central prospect against an individual? It should be noted that the current constitution is less than a decade old yet all calls are on tearing it apart. Reason? The loopholes exhibited by the current constitution is due to having its background setting to borrow as far back as the late 80s and in the 90s into the early 2000s,  where various drafts were being coined and of which had an orientation to block any more system of the ‘Moism’ of which people were already fed up with. The orientation against an individual proved the downfall for the constitution, which now seeks to be amended for inclusivity, virtues that were dropped from the Kilifi draft.

Now, with the agenda of hampering or otherwise blocking a Ruto presidency come 2022 being key, and being taken the real motive behind the Handshake, will the BBI draft recommendations brainwashed by such a motive and create yet another failure report? And if the referendum comes out in such an aim as to depict possibility of blocking the ‘Hustler’ ascension to power, will the Hustler ride over the tides and clinch the top seat against all odds? You never underestimate the power of Bwana Hustler, he has risen and is rising the more! On the side of Wanjiku, if the referendum has to offer yet an expansive leadership to depict inclusivity, will Wanjiku refuse yet another huge pile up of burdens for the gluttonous and power hungry elites and politicians? Will the sense erosion spell that hits ordinary wananchi before each polls hit the population and vote in such a manner as to regret later?

With the referendum seemingly being a matter of when and not if (with the BBI report due in October), what does it has to offer if it ever come? We can only wait and see: but certainly, a reconstruction of the executive to include a Prime Minister and deputies, hoping to curtail presidential powers! But one thing, you never underestimate the power of the ‘Hustler’ and the huge Hustler nation!

Kamau S.M., a scholar of International Relations and Diplomacy with an interest in politics.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

 ‘Diplomacy is the art of letting someone have your way. Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.’

 On the 24th of May, Theresa May gave her resignation speech. Most people said it was long overdue. I never saw it coming; it broke my heart. I was watching BBC with my mum at the time. Excited as I always am, I began telling my mum all about BREXIT. My mum was all ears all this time. In the silence of my pause to recollect my knowledge, my mum said, “She seems to be emotionally intelligent.” This statement surprisingly stuck to my mind. What is emotional intelligence and why is it important when it comes to the world of diplomacy and politics?

Emotional Intelligence is the portion to a better life, whether you are an Architect, Engineer or Teacher. But why is it notably important in the world of diplomacy? Let me break it down. The qualities that characterize emotional intelligence are awareness of ones emotions and how they affect others, the ability to regulate ones moods and behavior and empathy. Being able to manage and control ones emotions and influence someone’s emotions.  All these qualities seem to help us get what we want from others or at least find a common ground.

Diplomacy is the method of influencing the decisions and behavior of foreign government and peoples through dialogue, negotiations and other measures short of war and violence. Basically, making a point and letting someone have your way without making an enemy. The maintenance of a good relationship between two or more parties is key, otherwise it’s not diplomacy. How else do you achieve this without understanding your own emotions and the emotions or needs of the other party?

Diplomacy basically constitutes practices by individuals on behalf of the country. Typical human beings in flesh with emotions, consciousness and a personality. A diplomat might be having an amazing day yet he has to go negotiate a trade deal with a diplomat who has just hit his toe going into the meeting room. The USA –China trade war is a result of a sequence of decisions made by human beings like you and me who need water to survive. Their level of emotional intelligence affects the deals they make on behalf of their countries. It doesn’t seem professional, but it’s the truth. There are human beings behind every policy, treaty and agreement.

Diplomacy has been linked to nations and governments but we all practice diplomacy. Trying to push the deadline of some tough 12 paged assignment or convincing your HR to give you that salary increment, it’s all diplomacy. Dealing with everyday issues tactfully does not come simply because you have a brain, it lies with how emotionally intelligent you are. Emotional intelligence determines the ability to separate emotion from the facts in rational decision making. Some people have the win-win attitude while others are more accommodating; they can all be successful depending on how skillful and sensitive they are in dealing with both complex and simple issues.

In the end, everybody’s emotional intelligence affects their daily decisions, conversations and interactions. I don’t know about you, but I am personally trying to improve my emotional intelligence.

Dawn Chemoiwa , Student of International Relations and Diplomacy.

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