Thursday, October 26, 2006
Should “we” fund weddings?
Jozeh walks down Wandegeya Street on a hot Friday afternoon, and is almost rummed into. As he crosses the road leading to a nearby internet café, the sound of screeching tires brings him to a halt, and right there standing in front of him is a lorry. He had come face to face with his death.

Raising his hands to extend apologies to the angry and cursing lorry driver, Jozeh proceeds to the café. He is in a hurry to send out one of the last invitations to friends and relatives to attend his wedding meeting. The 4000,000 thousand salary advance he has received in just a drop in the ocean, given his wedding budget of 6 million.

For this month, his bill reads 250,000/= only, which is 80,000/= lower compared to the previous month. Peninah as fiancé will be lucky to get a gift before they wed in a week’s time.

Jozeh as any other young man wonders where to get the money to make his wedding a success.

In Kampala, the months of August to December are so memorable to its dwellers due to weddings and parties. This merry period usually make outfit designers to make a wide smile due to the huge profits and big sales.

Today, weddings in Kampala have become pocket-squeezing factor. Many couples that want to marry have resorted to ask friends and family members to contribute financially for weddings. As Jacob Noowe puts it, “Men want to make a statement to a woman and friends around her; even if they quarrel ten years later, when they look back to the wedding they remember that there was love at least at one time. In some cases, the parents or friend want to make you happy. So they have to make a very big wedding.”

“Men, this is an occasion that comes once, so all have to be done to make it happen, If I have the dime [money] or not. My friends cannot let me down, they have to see the nigger up, you heard me?” says MC Linx.

For some wedding organizers, they have resorted to webpage sms to reach the friends and relatives with simple message of inviting them for wedding meeting or update them on the days remaining days before the wedding. Some people like Rose Sematimba say, “Web sms are usually good, but a times they bore, when they are monotonous asking someone to honour the pledges”.

Poor contributions in wedding meetings have made some marriages to be postponed. If a pace maker for instance starts with a small figure, get assured that less will be put in the “wedding bells” sack.

My suggestion to you who wants to wed and you have the money; sky is the limit but for those who have little money, do you really have to ask for contribution from friends or the public? Why don’t you go for a civil marriage or simple church wedding that is less costly?

***photo was got from
posted by ombui at 11:44 PM | Permalink | 5 comments
Friday, October 20, 2006
The unending Kenya's clashes
This year was thought to be different for Kenya compared to the past. The level of civic education, it is assumed, has risen because of an almost free media and politicians maximizing the political platform to sensitize the public.

The Issue of which party or candidate to vote for is no longer a big problem to some. But some questions remain unanswered: Have they (politicians) educated the public to love one another and reach a consensus amicably incase of a sticky situation? Is the government living to its constitutional mandate to protect its citizens and provide security?

From April- October 2006, many people lost their lives, got injured, lost properties or got displaced. The causes pointed out include colonial land reforms that dismantled pastoralism badly, water, ethnic hostilities, bandit attacks or foreign-rebel attacks. Names of places like Moyale, Marsabit, Laikipia, Pokot, Turkana, Trans Nzoia, Baringo, Samburu and Molo continue to fill the press.

Looking back at 1992 and 1997, the clashes that sprang in most parts on the country were politically instigated compared to the 2006 clashes. Communities in the government then were against communities that were out of government. A vivid example is the Molo clashes that affected the Kalenjin and Gikuyu communities deeply.

“In October 1991, a gang of youths — said to be from the Kalenjin ethnic group, armed with spears and machetes — attacked members of the Luo ethnic group living at Meiteitei farm in the south Nandi district of the Rift Valley Province.2 In these attacks, thirty houses were burnt and some 4 000 people were left homeless.3 In November and December, fighting between the Luo and Kalenjin extended to Western and Nyanza Provinces, and in the process drew in members of the Luhyia and Kikuyu ethnic groups.” observes Lucy Mulli of Africa Watch, Institute for Security Studies in her article Understanding election clashes in Kenya, 1992 and 1997.

BBC states that approximately 2000 people died in the westerrn part of the country out of the tribal clashes.

The above explanation affirms that the role of politics in Kenya’s clashes is negative. Today, issues concerning security have been politicized thus slowing down the government machinery to deal with any security matter.

As Oscar Obonyo of Daily Nation Newspaper puts it, “current clashes in Laikipia District have been deliberately induced by the State for political reasons, the Narok North MP claims that it is a ploy to gain advantage ahead of 2007 elections.” [Daily Nation 10/8/2006]

If Kenya is to have peace, the problems of the past have to be dealt with first as it moves forward. The perpetrators have to be brought to book as an example to anyone who instigates the public. The Likoni clashes in 1997 massacre case in point resulted to more than 40 people dead, more than 120,000 people displaced and its social credence as so fresh.

It will take resettling victims of clashes and psychological services too, for them to go back to normal life.

Education as key to societal advancement should be provided to the pastoralists on the number of the animals they keep and where to graze while the government engages itself in land zoning for grazing (substantive measures on land reforms). This will lessen land disagreement related to grazing lands as exemplified by the Laikipia incident.

The government should be proactive all the time to avoid the conflicts and set up transitional mechanism to deal with the past abuses like the Waggala Massacre, Molo clashes and many others.

As Korir Singoei, the Executive Director of the Centre for Minority Rights puts it, the incompetence of the police has resulted to segregation and impartiality at all levels. The police have to be reminded of the professional ethics and be re-armed to avoid being over powered by bandits and thugs.

The Kenyan citizens also have a big role to play in the issues of security and that is to avoid instance that might flare up conflicts. Information relay to the relevant government structures will be your duty as a citizen.

For the foreign instigated clashes like the Mandera case in 2004 where by Garres were backed by Ethiopian militiamen while the Murule were helped by the Marehan clan militiamen from Southern Somalia. Diplomacy should be applied very fast to less tension amongst fellow countrymen.

In conclusion, with issues of peace, all are important to contribute positively, be it politicians or citizens or government. Don’t you think you matter?

*The photos have been got from AP and BBC

posted by ombui at 2:04 AM | Permalink | 4 comments