Idiot Press: The Fact-check Edition

So apparently our prezzo is the third best performing president in Africa.

Well, woobloodyhoo!

And here we thought he's a complete idiot, what with dodgy procurement scams, terrorist attacks all over the country, a sluggish economy, suspect payments to Anglo Leasing ghosts... Ladies and gentlemen, apparently the man has a 78% approval rating. EH? Now I saw the headline and I shrugged it off, convinced that it was another bullshit proclamation from the spin idiots over at State House. Truth be told I couldn’t be bothered to read, these days I can't be bothered to listen to anything serikali has to say. That and I do not consider Kirubi's outfit a credible source of news. When then same headline popped up in The Star this morning, however, I felt compelled to check it out. According to The Star... 

President Uhuru Kenyatta has been ranked as the third best performing sub-saharan Africa leader in a poll released by Washington-Based polling group, Gallup.

Uhuru received a rating of 78 per cent in the survey carried out in 2013. The poll ranked Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita led with 86 per cent and Ian Khama of Botswana at 81 per cent.

“Presidents from more than half of the 26 sub-saharan African countries surveyed in 2013—many of whom are attending the US-Africa Leaders Summit this week—received job approval ratings higher than 50 per cent. But those ratings varied greatly across countries,” the Gallup poll indicated.

They went on to add...

The poll comes at a time when Uhuru will be holding meetings with Obama, US government officials and American investors. According to Gallup, Uhuru’s performance is approved highly by persons of all age-group as follows; 15-24 (78 per cent), 25-34 (77 per cent), 35-44 (70 per cent) and 45+ (85 per cent).

So apparently this was a serious poll, conducted in 2013, by Gallup. This sounds quite kosher, no? But, and there's always a but, if the poll was done in 2013, and the man was elected in 2013, when exactly was this poll done?

I went off to look for the first article on Capital News

Among the leaders who received some of the highest approval ratings, a few have been in office for more than two decades, such as Cameroon’s Paul Biya and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni.

“Several other highly rated presidents, such as Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali, had either just been elected to a first term or started on their second term at the time of the survey,” it went on to state.

President Kenyatta was also elected into office last year.

The poll further points out that the same diversity in tenure also appears among leaders who received the lowest job performance ratings from their constituents.

“Two of these presidents, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Chad’s Idriss Déby, have been in office for more than two decades, while most of the others were finishing their first or second term at the time of the survey. As such, length of time in office appears to be unrelated to approval ratings.”

That last line, “As such, the length of time in office appears to be unrelated to approval ratings.” It appears to be an explanation for the minor matter of a survey being conducted on approval ratings for someone who may not have been in the job very long. Random question, if a man has just been voted into office, what am I approving?

This is the table helpfully included in the Capital News article, because we all know that a table makes everything official...

+ No longer in office

Source: Gallup

I'd like to draw your attention to the first entry, Mali's president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita with an approval rating of 86%, and no tenure indicated. There's an asterisk by his name, and two against Kabila's name at the bottom of the list, implying footnotes at the bottom of the table offering explanations. No such luck, the only footnote included was in reference to the cross marks against Banda and Rajoelina. Keep this in mind, for later.

Now when one reads five woefully short articles bearing remarkable likeness to each other, all referencing vague data (the articles in the People Daily, the Daily Nation and the Standard are pretty much the same as the two above, except the Standard went a bit further and talked about the wealth of the respondents), one feels compelled to search for the source material, if only to find out what’s missing. These geniuses were quoting a report saying the president of Mali, elected mid last year in a country that recently had a coup and a French invasion cum rescue, and possibly flawed polls, and continuing instability in the North, this president got an approval rating of 86%? Really? And third on the list is the man who won his election with a 51% majority, and he had a 78% rating? How?

And how soon after their consecutive elections was this survey conducted?

This data was all from the Gallup site, off an article titled, “African Leaders' Scorecard Is a Mixed Bag” dated August 4, 2014. First up, the complete table...

Remember the missing footnote regarding Keita? Seems the reason no tenure was indicated was because he had only been in office a month. Quick question, why did they feel the need to clarify that one month tenure, is it because an empty field raises questions, or is it because one month tenure raises questions? They also note that that result excludes four regions in the north. Thing is, the civil war in Mali was a north versus south fight, where the northerners were the insurgents. Any data missing from the north would therefore skew results in favour of the south, no? This is my armchair analysis, mind you, all I'm saying is if you poll mostly the side that won, odds are the results will be overwhelmingly, umm, positive. But hey, I'm no statistician. 

The fact that the poll was done after only a month in office, while dodgy, is actually helpful in our quest to ascertain the date the polling was done. The elections in Mali were held in July last year, with a run-off the following month. The winner was declared in mid August, with his inauguration in mid September. That puts polling in October 2013. Now, our president was sworn into office in April 2013 and the one year tenure indicated would put us at April 2014. Thing is, this poll was conducted in 2013, yes?

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with at least 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted in 2013 in Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error ranged from ±3.8 percentage points to ±4.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Assuming the polling was done at the same time in all countries, in October, the Kenyan polling was done about 6 months after President Kenyatta was sworn in. Hell, even if they polled in December 2013, that still doesn’t give him a full year. That one year story makes no sense, but because I don’t like to make assumptions (not when there's a possibility I may be sued), I got to digging, looking for the full report of this survey. I couldn’t find it. Seems you have to pay to get this valuable information. What I did find is this, Country Data Set Details...

On page 81 of the 'Gallup World Wide Research Data Collected From 2005-2014', the data collection date in Kenya, in 2013, is listed as 'May 20 – May 31 2013'. That was 6 to 8 weeks after the inauguration. That is the only instance of data collection in Kenya in 2013.

Now it could be that I don’t know what to look for and I am misreading the limited information I've found, or it could be that the one year tenure indicated in their article is wrong, and by wrong I mean complete bollocks. If they polled in May, our president had been in office for less than two months, which then begs the question, why have they indicated one year, instead of two months?

More importantly, why did no-one at Capital News, or The Star, or People Daily, or Daily Nation, or the Standard, ask this most basic question?

Incidentally, who the hell did they allegedly poll to get such overwhelming numbers? I'm not being anti-Jubilee here, if CORD was given similar numbers I'd be just as confounded. The last election was so bloody divisive, there is no way a random sampling of the country could have given you nearly 80% in favour of either side, and definitely not two months after that supreme court ruling.

I'm thinking, if a report can get something as basic as duration wrong, something that can easily be counter checked with a quick glance at a calendar, then what else did they get wrong? This is what I'd expect the press to dig into, especially seeing as how they like a good siasa story. But no. They're happy to copy paste snippets and slap on a silly headline, because that's just how they do.

Say it with me...idiot press!

Some things bear repeating.

You know how they say the universe gives you what you ask for?  I’m here today to tell you that it does, and oh how it does.  This is one of those instances I regret everything I have said leading up to this exact moment.  See, I went out and told the universe that I was looking for a good man, and good sex (ideally with a man, but I’m considering being more flexible if need be, take that as you will), and perhaps a bit of good money, and a half decent president, and some good steel cookware.  I asked, with earnestness.  This is what the universe sent me.  A relatively good man, who cannot be mine.  Good sex, with a not too good man.  The possibility of good money, from the most corrupt government fixer type I’ve met in years (and I work in construction, possibly the most corrupt industry known to man, second only to politics).  A president who is trying very hard to make me move countries, what with his idiotic proclamations every bloody week.  And a non-stick pan that sticks to pretty much everything (the pan itself sticks to everything, I’m not sure how).

I think the universe might be fucking with me...

Hello, my lovelies, how’ve you been?  It’s cold, no?  I’m sitting here in two fulanas, a pair of socks and a headscarf, trying to heat up my wine with nothing but sheer willpower.  You know it’s too cold when even the wine is near frozen.  Hang on...this is why the Russians drink vodka.  That was an epiphany.  Issues.  I need to tell you a couple of stories about my peculiar love life, get all my shit out, as it were.  Well, almost all.  About half.  Don’t worry, I’ll only tell you about the foolish stuff I’m allowed to talk about without it coming back to bite me in the ass.  This is going to come back and bite me in the ass, isn’t it?  Stop nodding.  Disclaimer: the language may get a bit coarse, but not sewer explicit, I hope.  

I met a man who tried to funga my ass, on the internet.  I didn’t think people still do that, at least not people my age, but there you have it, apparently men don’t care too much for learning new tricks.  The worst part is, he wasn’t even smooth about it, talking to me like I was a Njoki (read, idiot).  Gentlemen, I hate to break it to you, but you are probably not the first man to hit on that woman, women get hit on all the time on these interwebs, and always with the same old lines.  Even a technophobe, nay, Luddite like me has gone through online dating.  That should tell you something.  I understand that it can be hard to approach a woman, but try and be clever, dammit.  Or at least try and sound like you’ve read a book without pictures.  Wait, that’s a bit harsh, I am quite fond of books with pictures, or just pictures, if you know what I mean.  Gentlemen, and boys, try and sound like you’ve read a book with more than 100 pages, if only so it gives me a chance to have a conversation with you that extends beyond whatever idiot thing is captivating the masses online (probably an ass, real ass, not donkey...).

Do I sound particularly bitchy tonight?  Good.  I’m hoping this post will scare away any idiot with the misguided belief that my constant hanging out of dirty linen makes me desperate for his foolish behind.  Negroes talking to me like I’ve never written a bloody thesis?  To me?  What the fuck?  Now I’m laughing at myself.  The thesis was too much, no?  All I’m trying to say is I have half a brain, sometimes more, and I quite like it when someone attempts to get me to engage it.  Do I not look like someone who likes to think?  I don’t?  Shit.  That explains so much...

This is what I don’t understand about men.  Must the fact that I’m friendly mean I must be looking to get laid?  I know I’ve asked this before, but I’m asking again because I keep ending up in the same bullshit scenario.  Yes, I blog about sex, that’s because I quite like it.  No, that doesn’t mean I’m an easy lay, far from it in fact.  Yes, I do like to chat with random strangers, on and off the interwebs.  No, that doesn’t mean I want to share any, ANY, body fluids with said person, not unless I want to, in which case I’ll tell you.  Gentlemen, when a woman wants you, she will let you know, and if she doesn’t, then maybe she doesn’t want you.  Or maybe she’s a girl pretending to be a woman (read, a Njoki).

I have to detour here, if only to explain my relentless digs at the Njoki’s of this world.  That I have taken offence at that bullshit city girl page comes as no surprise, I’ve said as much at length. I take issue with the content, and the style, and the fact that someone higher up signs off on it each week.  Im convinced that the female readers of the Daily Nation deserve better than mindless swill being peddled as 'sassy' opinion (yes, this from the woman who is peddling her own swill-like opinion, but at least I’m not making you pay for it, yes?).  I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again, a full page in a national paper is not to be wasted on inane bullshit, such as an article telling women they deserve to be cheated on because they don’t look like models, or the one advising women to prostitute themselves to get ahead (which just for the record was much, much more offensive).  The Njoki’s of this world (read, clueless idiots) have no business in my paper.  Then again, I’ve stopped buying the Saturday Nation, so what do I care?  Yes, I’m angry, and no, I will not let this one go.  Moving on swiftly...

People, I’m tired of meeting idiots on the internet.  Scratch that, I am done meeting men on the internet.  I’m declaring an official ban on any form of romantic liason-ing on these here interwebs.  And because I’ve just said that out loud, the universe is about to send me kendo 10 men, right now.  That karma mama can hold a grudge like you wouldn’t believe, and all because she was impregnated last year, and not even by me.  See, this is what you useless buggers do to me, setting me up for failure and whatnot, bloody nkt!  Seriously though, I have met enough people online that I know not to expect much of anything.  What we rarely admit to each other, we’re playing a role most of the time, showing only that which we think is pleasant, hiding the less than suitable behind well constructed façades.  And we don’t want to get to know the real person, because doing that requires us to show our real person, and who the fuck wants to be real when you can live a lie of your own choosing?  I know this sounds like my normal cynical, anti-technology bullshit, but look at the buggers around you; pretending to be oh so smart and oh so sexy and oh so rich (or broke, in the case of the gracefully starving artists) and oh so deep and oh so moved by the plight of Gaza...  We all have our carefully crafted masks.  Not a problem, needs must and all that jazz, but only for as long as we know it’s a mask, and we remember to take it off every so often.  

Please keep in mind that this is the opinion of a paranoid woman who doesn’t trust anyone, and I mean anyone, until I’ve known them for at least a year (and even then...).  Don’t look at me like that, I attract batshit insane people, like moths to my flame I tell you, but I digress.  On the rare occasions that meeting strangers turned into something meaningful, it only happened because these people I met were as interested in getting to know the real me as I was in getting to know the real them.  In every single case, these are people who met me and said, "Wacha wewe!"  Useless information, I’ve found that anyone willing to call bullshit on your bullshit, and that person is willing to let you do the same, that is someone worth getting to know.  This is not about romance, it’s about friendship.  Free information, use it as you will.

Which brings me to the next genius, he that should know better.

This guy I know, lovely fella, he gets it into his head to sext me.  Now ordinarily I love a good sext, although I’m more partial to a good s-chat (can’t be a shat, can it?), but the man was sexting me from not too far away.  It would have been faster for him to walk across the road and sex me, is all I’m saying.  Why didn’t he walk across?  That would be because he was in no position to walk across, because his family, or watchman, would probably enquire as to why he is walking across the road, at two in the morning.  In retrospect, I should have seen it coming when he complimented my ’warm smile’ (why do men talk about your smile when they want to shag you?  Is it like women and men’s eyes?), and then asked if there was any man who would object to football being watched in my house late at night.  I know, I can be really dense some times, but the man had given no prior indication of lustful tendencies.  No really, not so much as a surreptitious glance down my shirt in all of three years, and then the hand was on my back and I was thinking, eh?  Now before you give me a hard time about this, know that there was nothing said or done, on either side.  Up until the sext incident we were simply idiots who’d have a loose chat about siasa once in a while.  I’m lying through my teeth of course, I’d stared at him, but I had done nothing more than stare, and always undercover.  Stop judging me, we’ve all done it, stared at someone we shouldn’t have been staring at, what’s a woman to do, dammit?  At least I left it there, no?  So did he, for the record, save for the hand that one time, and the incident on the phone, he hasn’t said or done anything unbecoming.  We talked it out the following day , because you know I’m the idiot who will talk it out with you if you do something foolish, and things are back to normal, if somewhat more formal.

Why am I telling you about this non-event?  I’m not entirely sure.  I suspect I’m processing, trying to make sense of an awkward situation.  For the first couple of minutes, I was quite flattered that this man was hitting on me.  He’s attractive and intelligent, in another lifetime he’d be just the ticket.  Then I sat back and thought about it and it dawned upon me that, in hitting on me, he’s relegated me to that girl.  The one he could shag, no strings.  The one who would be open to that shag, no strings.  I know I always talk about women wanting to have sex just to have sex, but that rule doesn’t apply to men we might actually like, as in really like.  I didn’t see him as a walking dick, and I was slightly very miffed that he saw me as a walking p...part.  I was sitting there thinking, “What about me gave you the impression that I would be up for this?”  See, it’s one thing for a single man to try and funga your ass, he’s an opportunist bastard who may not have gotten laid in a while and is therefore willing to try his luck, and more power to him (I just wish there could be a bit more finesse).  When a married man pulls that stunt, he’s just being greedy.  It gets worse when said married man is honest about his intentions towards you and your parts.  I love the direct approach, but I do not like being treated like a random hole to be filled.  It’s a catch 22, but there you have it, you need to be direct without being offensive.

Problem is, the outcome of that incident was that I was left doubting myself.  Did I act like I was loose like a langa and ready to be the chick on the side?  Did I somehow indicate to this man, who I thought knew me relatively well, that I was that girl, a Njoki?

This is what offends me about how men choose to hit on women.  In approaching me for a mindless shag, without stopping to consider whether or not I am open to the idea of said mindless shag, you reduce me to nothing more that a pair of tits, an ass and a cunt.  Does that sound crass?  That’s about as crass as it feels.  I don’t expect chocolates and flowers when a man hits on me, I positively abhor the grand romantic gestures when it comes to sex.  I like the direct approach, people speaking plainly, stating intent clearly and without nonsense sweet talking.  That said, it would behove you to establish my level of interest before asking me to suck your dick.  It would behove you to establish that I have no objection to fucking somebody else’s husband before asking me to suck said dick.  It would behove you to establish all this, not on the internet, or via sms, but in person, ideally before you whip out said dick.

Next man who comes at me with foolishness gets slapped, yes?