This one is about water, fire, hot air and oxygen. And bamboo earrings, just because...

“Silky, milky, her smile is like sunshine,
That's why I had to dedicate at least one rhyme,
To all the cuties in the neighbourhood,
Cause if I didn't tell you then another brother would…”

This song has been stuck in my head all week, ever since I heard it on Hot96 Monday afternoon as I was pretending to clean my house, and by pretending I mean sitting next to a broom practising my telekinetic powers (or therein lack of).  Now there are certain songs from my past that instantly take me back to a time in my life when my biggest concern was whether my shoes were polished enough, or if the hot neighbour liked me, I mean really liked me.  Ah, the good old days  Hang on, those are still my daily concerns, no?  Bloody hell.  Ah well…  I was saying, songs like ‘Around The Way Girl’ take me back, way back, back into time… when this song first shika’d me, all I wanted in my life was a pair of bamboo earrings, ‘…at least two pair, a Fendi bag and a bad attitude’.  My big sister introduced me to LL in the late 80’s, ‘I Need Love’ was her jam back then (she was finishing high school, A-levels I think), but I wasn’t entirely convinced, I was kendo ten years old so the emotion of the song was lost on me, and LL was simply a boy in a strange hat.  Then a few years later this song came out, oh my!  I was in form one and bursting with newly discovered hormones, that and LL had bulked up considerably since I last saw him.  The combination of a big black man and smooth rhymes was the trigger to a love affair spanning two decades.  Folks, when this song comes on you should see me get down like the old school geezer I am, running man and everything, its brilliant!

Just so you know, none of that has anything to do with the rest of this post.  I just had to waste a bit of time before getting stuck in, you’ll figure out why in due course.

This week has been a bad week, a tragic week by all accounts, it seems every time I picked up the paper there was news of death, death that could have been avoided, should have been avoided.  In this day and age we have people willing to kill for pasture and water, this in a country that claims, claims mind you, to put law and order above all else, a country with a functioning government and a real police force, and army?  Something is very wrong, my friends, very wrong.  When buggers run around saying ‘Pwani si Kenya’ (is the delta in North Eastern or Coast Province?  Or should we just lump it into ‘the places Nairobi doesnt care about, unless it has oil?), perhaps they may be onto something, because my Kenya is not that one.  In my Kenya, cows are zero-grazed and water is piped, and neighbours don’t wander across the fence to kill women and children randomly.  That last part is not entirely accurate, but you get my point, no?  Here in the big city, such things are unheard of, here we kill each other over love affairs gone wrong, mobile phones, wallets and cars, such like nonsense, because that's what development is, damn it!  When you read headlines like this, “Clashes over grazing land, water kill 48 in Kenya”, on your Reuters feed, you know there’s something very wrong.  To be honest I thought they’d got it wrong, I assumed it was a sensational, and flawed, reaction to the attack in Mandera on Monday (Ethiopian Al Shaabab?  Really?).  “Clashes?’ I scoffed, ‘These wazungus are on crack,’ I muttered.  Apparently not, seems I was the one who was misinformed, ignorant.  Again I ask, in this day and age?  Of what use is our magnificent government and flash new constitution if we have citizens living and dying in the most medieval of circumstances?  Something is very wrong…

Two days later it was the story of the dormitory fire on the front page, standard seven students in school for holiday tuition, allegedly remedial classes.  Standard Seven?  Apparently Standards Six and Eight were still in class when the fire broke out at 8:30 pm.  Ignore the fact that a child in Standard Seven, 11 or 12 years old, was in school for remedial classes, in August.  Ignore, if you can, the fact that these girls were housed in a room with no means of emergency egress, a room not unlike most of our homes, offices, classrooms, bars, supermarkets…  Ignore the fact that the door to the dormitory was locked, from the outside, and girls died on the other side of that door, trying to get out.  Ignore this statement, “I thank God that my daughter is safe. I hope she will recover soon from the trauma so as to sit the KCPE examination,” this from the mother of a Standard Eight student who was thankfully unharmed. 

Can you see now why I was procrastinating?  I need a musical interlude, don’t question the randomness of the track, its the only thing keeping me from throwing my computer out the window right now. 

“I tell you come here, you say meet me half way,
’Cause brothers been popping that game all day…” 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, this is what was going on in the big bad city. 

Parliament saw fit to pass the ‘diluted’ Leadership and Integrity Bill, a bill the cabinet had amended to remove the more stringent clauses requiring vetting of all political aspirants by various agencies ranging from KRA to HELB.  Seems the powers that be do not think that holding the future powers that be to basic standards of transparency is worth much of anything, probably because the powers that be today intend to be the same powers that will be tomorrow.  Was this news tragic?  Not really, the worst part of this story is that we saw it coming; we saw it coming when we read the then draft constitution and saw what they were proposing; we saw it coming when they told us that parliament would have to pass the bills that would convert that fancy piece of paper into an actual law; we saw it coming when the recall clause was the first thing to fall by the wayside, well before the referendum.  We saw this coming.  The only people who didn’t see it coming were the geniuses who came up with this brilliant plan to begin with.  Having MP’s pass a law that’s detrimental to their own survival?  These MP’s?  What did they think was going to happen, a sudden and collective growth of spine and/or moral, perhaps inspired by their new chairs?  

On Friday the most honourable Speaker of that same (not so) august house was quoted as saying MP's need a pay rise, It is therefore important to consider adequately remunerating members of Parliament towards a reasonable standard of living commensurate with their role and the weight of their responsibilities.”  Just so I’m clear, what exactly is the role and responsibility of an MP?  Because my MP spends all his time doing fuck all for me and mine, instead choosing to spend his time wandering around the country, following his friend around as he attempts to convince us that a 50 year old still qualifies as a youth.  Mr Speaker sir, perhaps before you try to convince us to fork out more, perhaps you need to convince us why we need you.  Just a thought.  Here’s an idea, why don’t we sell your fancy new digs, use the money to make the lives of a few Kenyans living out in the badlands a bit better, and then maybe if there’s anything left, maybe we can consider getting suitably philanthropic and making a donation to your retirement fund?  Pack your bags most honourable sirs and madams, if there’s a god in heaven, you shall not be returning next year.  Don’t worry, I havent crossed the Alai rubicon, yet, I’m still on the right side of the law.  Ive checked, to be sure, and my only crime thus far is mild hate speech towards the political class, and theyre not a protected minority grouping, at least not in the regular sense, so Im good.

And last but not least, our Medical Services Minister announced an innovative plan to have government hospitals manufacture their own oxygen, and in so doing save millions currently spent purchasing this vital item from BOC Gases.  He said, “We have realised we have been fools by buying oxygen yet we can affordably tap the free natural resource from the atmosphere.”  Well, that’s alright then, the last thing we want is to look like fools.

“You got me shook up, shook down, shook out on your loving…”