No one dressed in traditional clothing playing drums at the airport…basically they lied. Night falls. This is my first time walking on this soil and I don’t know where I’m going. Ten minutes later and a couple of look-back-to-see-if-you’re-being-followed moves, I decide to follow the music…literally. Up on a flat roof, typical of buildings at… Read more.
Perhaps the most unusual story about truth and trust is both share a switch. Flick it off and you grow less aware of your degeneration.
“In my mind it is a revolution that coats the cold monotony of cliché descriptions of Africa’s music with colors. It is Joseph. It is Egypt letting the people go. It is the exodus from their African masters.
This is Africa uncolonized – without borders. It is the continent’s first disabled woman president – shattered norms. It is melody you are overlooking and underappreciating. It is legend, myth and the first story on prime news. This is a true description of Mali’s music.
It is El Gil, Kapuka, Benga, Afrobeat, Kwaito, Hiplife, Salsa, Kapoera, and Jazz. I love. This is one music from Africa.
It is a woman. She stands with all her parts bare. A floating melody here, a smooth key there, and definitely a beat hanging here. She is Zambian; voice tastes like peanut butter. Her skin reads Mizu, a word from a Nyanja dialect meaning Roots. She takes the form of hiphop. She is the group by Questlove. She is fusion. She is wisdom. She is a he.”
“His melodies roar softly as a breathy voice sounding like waters of the Zambezi. He is the chief spiritually stronger than his sangoma. He is my heartbeat. I hear him in my ear. I sat and listened, watching his fingers effortlessly scale the fret of the bass. His music; it tasted like food. He was Fela, Pompi, Oliver Mtukudzi’s bassist and Common.”
For Okelo, this was a normal experience when listening to his playlist. Slowly, he turns off the radio and goes to bed.
“African music even when slow, is a heavy and forceful pulse. I won’t sleep while it plays, it calls me and I can’t fail to awaken.”
Lights off. Goodnight.
O court of flawed creation
Great ills were your start at queen’s hold
Justice being a skill to defend her
Many dealt impunity
squeezed our liberties
When we did not even have borders
Yet one and all arised
With stronger bonds we tied them
Serving them our violent endeavour
And our homeland of Kenya
Our merits and our grandeur
they partly left us to defend
Get all in one affront
In common bonds amass them
Stealing from this nation together
Blur the glory of Kenya
with the looting foreigners
Still every heart’s in thanksgiving.
Her sharp eyes stare past the screen
counting the minutes as they pass.
They have waited two weeks to view this answer.
So have mine.
We share the same skies she and I, but a different sun.
Her noon is my moon. But at this point. We share the same sun.
We share the same air. We share the same sound as the verdict is read here.
Judges have called it fair.
We had waited. Praying.
That our ancestors wouldn’t look at us and wonder what peace they fought for.
Historic as it is, I don’t see the contents of the screen as much as I see her eyes in my mind.
We share the same time.
Connected by news of our new president. Not that we view it as much.
This small frame…connected to each other.
In 3 minutes it’s over. I flip channels.
She gets back to her morning. I go out for my evening.
We share the same skies she and I, but a different sun.
Her sunrise is my sunset.
Oh I remember him.
I think I was 5 when I first read Chinua Achebe…his name that is. I found it in a bookshelf in town. It was probably Chania Bookshop – we all got our books for Standard One in that shop next to Kenya Cinema. His name was next to Grace Ogot and further down was Marjorie Oludhe. I thought “These ladies have hard names.”
Couldn’t pronounce Marjorie. For a long time I knew Achebe was a woman. Like Akinyi. Curiously, I never found out from what part of the country. In retrospect, any African name I encountered was probably from one of the many tribes in Kenya.
For the sake of that memory, I celebrate Chinua Achebe with the mind of that child:
“Mum says I can’t wonder off, so I’ll go to that shelf with the lady names and imagine I can read ‘big’ books. Such weird names. Good thing we’re all from one place. Oh well, when I grow up…”
sick to my gut.
afraid of my part in this task.
“what if I fail?”
“what if I succeed and they want more?”
“what if it’s a fluke and I can’t give more?”
“still, what do I have to lose?”
calling it from above.
Mine dwindles and leaves me when needed most.
“Invisible God…hi, My name is Seeker.”
“I’m the one who calls you when in trouble. This time, no trouble, just needy, needing your life in my veins…and breath in my lungs. Help me.
“Jump over me cow” cried Moon, “At least it’s company for my brightly coloured loneliness.”
**From Kenya’s Chief Justice**
CJ WILLY MUTUNGA’S STATEMENT ON
JUDGES’ SECURITY AND ELECTIONS
Fellow Kenyans,I have called this press conference to inform the country of two separate but significant events that have occurred in the past one week. I have considered the possible implications of this public statement, but concluded that given the history of this country, such a public disclosure is warranted, necessary, and proper.This statement does not seek to cause alarm but to strengthen the resolve of each and every Kenyan to protect our Constitution, secure our transition, and affirm our future.
On Monday, February 18, 2013, as I was sitting in the Judicial Service Commission interviews for the recruitment of the Deputy Chief Justice, my office received a poison-pen letter from the Mungiki Veterans Group/Kenya Sovereignty Defence Squad. The letter, which was dated Wednesday, February 13, 2013, makes all manner of threats against the Judges, ambassadors and my person. It warns against an adversarial ruling on the Presidential and Deputy Presidential candidacy of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. The letter extols the violent ‘exploits’ of the Mungiki movement and threatens dire consequences. This letter was posted only a day before my departure to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where I had been invited by the Tanzanian Constitution Review Commission to a one-day event to share my thoughts and experiences on Kenya’s constitutional experience.
I was stopped at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) by an Immigration Officer, who insisted that I could not travel because I had not been cleared by Mr. Francis Kimemia, the Permanent Secretary, Head of the Public Service, and Secretary to the Cabinet. I told the official that there is no constitutional, statutory, or policy basis or requirement that provided for the Chief Justice of the Republic to seek clearance to travel from the Head of Civil Service or anybody.Further, the said Circular that he was invoking to make this illegal demand and decision did not –rightly so — even have the Chief Justice listed among the Public Officials on it. It requires quite some courage, ignorance, or political patronage or a combination of all three for an Immigration officer, on his own motion, to summon the confidence to stop a Chief Justice from traveling, particularly in the face of a nonexistent circular! After much haggling, I did eventually travel. The Immigration Shift Supervisor kept insisting that they were awaiting instructions. However, I still find the insistence on permission from Mr Kimemia bizarre to say the least. Even more baffling was that the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary received a purported ‘Clearance to travel”letter by Mr. Kimemia dated February 14, stating ‘..it has been noted the Chief Justice is travelling to Dar es Salaam,Tanzania’.
Upon landing in Dar es Salaam, I received a telephone call from the Director General of the National Intelligence Service, Major-General Michael Gichangi, apologizing for the ‘small hiccup’ at the airport. I told the DG that a Chief Justice being gratuitously stopped by anybody from traveling cannot fit the definition of a small hiccup, however generous one may want to be. It has never happened on any of my numerous previous trips. I have, therefore, concluded that this is deliberate harassment; and whereas I was keen to have this resolved bureaucratically, I am convinced it is political, and public accountability requires that I make it public.
These two incidents evidence a pattern of emerging harassment against my person, the Office of the Chief Justice, and the Judiciary — especially since no fewer than five (5) Judges have been attacked in the recent past, with some involving gun incidence – as we head into the elections.I, therefore, wish to state as follows:
1. Kenyans have invested heavily in this country’s democratization, and this investment has resulted in a new Constitution. This Constitution must be protected and guarded jealously. Threats and intimidation of this nature against the Chief Justice, judges, or any other Kenyan or individual must be resisted actively, and rejected resolutely. I have given most of my life to a better Kenya and if taking it is what will be required to consolidate and secure our democratic gains in this election, or even thereafter, that is a price I am not afraid to pay.
2. I have invested heavily in the past one and a half years in creating a new Judiciary. I have repeatedly given my pledge to the country that the Judiciary will not flinch in interpreting the Constitution as is required, a task we have executed very well. For the 2013 General Election, we have done sufficient ground work to handle both pre- and post-election matters in accordance with the law. On February 28, 2013, we shall hold a special session with all judges of the High Court to give Kenyans a final statement on our preparedness. Therefore, candidates or their supporters — real or claimed — should not panic. We shall decide all cases independently, and with scrupulous fidelity to the Constitution and the law. Let no individual, group, candidate, or supporter imagine that cowardly and darkly acts such as these will cower us. We have seen and overcome worse, and we will all soldier on for this country. None will be held hostage by a cabal of retrogrades.
3. The Judiciary has, in a private correspondence, communicated to Mr. Kimemia as to the legal position on the matter of the ‘small hiccup’ to ensure it never occurs again. 4. I believe that Kenyan security agencies, unless they willfully neglect or refuse to, have the capacity and resources to investigate the sources and partnerships of this threatening letter. To this end, I have this morning sent the letter to the Inspector General of Police, the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department, Director of the National Intelligence Service, and the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate this matter and give the country a progress report. I am also asking the Inspector General of Police to take the necessary steps to enhance the security of judges and other judicial officers at this time.
5. If anybody, any candidate, any party, any agency, or any other actor thinks that it will bend the ear, mind and resolve of this Chief Justice to do anything that is unconstitutional or illegal, then they are mistaken. On any matter that will come before me or the Supreme Court, I and the Court shall operate strictly within the confines of the Constitution. Intimidation and threats are uninvited guests and will not be hosted in the execution of our mandate.
6. The political class must choose whether, either through direct pronouncements or suggestive behaviour, they want a peaceful, democratic and fair election free from the ring of rigging and intimidation, or whether they want to put the country on a path of violence. Whatever choice the political class and leadership makes, they must remain aware that ultimately, the people of Kenya and the rule of law will triumph. The Judiciary is playing its part in protecting and upholding the Constitution; let Kenyans also do their part.
7. I appeal to Kenyans to hold a peaceful election. It is only by so doing that we shall silence these dark forces of retrogression and also advance our constitutional and democratic promise. My fellow Kenyans, with confidence and tribute to the nation, go and vote for our Constitution. It is the only way to reject those who threaten and proclaim violence as a false choice.
Hon. Dr. Willy Mutunga, D. Jur., SC, EGH
Chief Justice/ President, Supreme Court
(South Sudan’s Dr Costello Garang Ring in an Article from The Standard 19th February 2013) (I picture Bane saying…) Ladies and gentle sluggards, How about a round of applause, We are who we are. Yet again, we have another promise unkept, another need unmet, and another goldmine not dug. There is one amongst us, who… Read more.