Monthly Archives April 2019

The old Crocodile and the young Crocodile

Posted on 2 min read

The old crocodile was floating at the river’s edge when a younger crocodile swam up next to him,

“I’ve heard from many that you’re the fiercest hunter in all of the river bottoms. Please, teach me your ways.”

Awoken from a nice long afternoon nap, the old crocodile glanced at the young crocodile with one of his reptilian eyes, said nothing and then fell back asleep atop the water.

Feeling frustrated and disrespected, the young crocodile swam off upriver to chase after some catfish, leaving behind a flurry of bubbles. “I’ll show him”, he thought to himself.

Later that day the young crocodile returned to the old crocodile who was still napping and began to brag to him about his successful hunt,

“I caught two meaty catfish today. What have you caught? Nothing? Perhaps you’re not so fierce after all.”

Unphased the old crocodile again looked at the young crocodile, said nothing, closed his eyes and continued to float atop the water as tiny minnows muched away lightly at the algae on his underbelly.

Again, the young crocodile was angry he couldn’t get a response from the elder, and he swam off a second time upstream to see what he could hunt.

After a few hours of thrashing about he was able to hunt down a small crane. Smiling, he kept the bird in his jaws and swam back to the old crocodile, adamant about showing him who the true hunter was.

As the young crocodile rounded the bend, he saw the elder crocodile still floating in the same spot near the river’s edge.

However, something had changed — a large wildebeest was enjoying an afternoon drink just inches near the old crocodile’s head.

In one lightning fast movement, the old crocodile bolted out of the water, wrapped his jaws around the great wildebeest and pulled him under the river.

Awestruck the young crocodile swam up with the tiny bird hanging from his mouth and watched as the old crocodile enjoyed his 500 lb meal.

The young crocodile asked him, “Please… tell me… how… how did you do that?”

Through mouthfuls of wildebeest, the old crocodile finally responded,

“I did nothing.”


Jesus is in Trouble

Posted on 2 min read

Jesus is in trouble. Some serious trouble. The kind of mess that would easily get you into depression. As one would be expected to do, he decides to get his three close buddies, so that they can go and pray. He takes Peter, John and James with him so that they could back him up. He tells them;

My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.

He needed their support. He needed them to pray for with him. He then went a little farther and fell on the ground. Falling on the ground maybe because the knees gave way. There he pleaded with the Father that if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him to be taken away. It was not like a prisoner awaiting the gallows, but like a cornered a tethered sheep watching helplessly as a wolf approaches. He was indeed in danger.

He goes back to find his three friends asleep. He is like, “Seriously? You guys could not stay awake just for an hour when I need you most?”

He goes again to pray, and comes back to find his prayer partners asleep again. They were so embarrassed that they did not know what to say. Even Jesus had no other words for them. It was already too late. His friends were turning to a luggage which he had to drag along.

It was now a race to the bottom. The events that followed were worse:

  1. He was soon to be betrayed by a friend.
  2. His close friend denied ever meeting him.
  3. His gang of 12 who had been very close to him ran away, leaving him with abductors.
  4. In a few more hours, he would be forsaken by his people he was trying to save.
  5. He is to be tried under an oppressive regime, for a crime he never committed.

Can someone help Jesus before Friday comes?


The Huduma Namba Mess

Posted on 4 min read

I stopped taking humans seriously when I learnt that a human being needs a birth certificate, as if their existence is in question, and a death certificate when they die to prove that they are dead and buried.  

When my daughter was born, I was advised to wait for two months before applying for a birth certificate at the Registrar of births and deaths office. I waited, and after two months, the office told me that I needed to wait for another one month. I waited for two more months, just in case, because I could not afford to go to and be turned back again. After application, I was told to go back after three months to pick the certificate. I went back to the office after three months, and there was no certificate. I was advised to wait for another one month. I graciously waited for two months, because I knew governments are just governments. When I went to pick the certificate, I had to sit and wait for three hours as they prepared it, only to receive one with a misspelt name. I protested, and they simply asked me to write the correct name on a piece of paper, then they went ahead to erase the wrong name, and wrote the correct name. How simple!

Such are the experiences that one gets from government offices. Be it about birth certificates, national ID, passport, KRA PIN (which is easy to register but hard to use), NSSF, NHIF, the 5:00 am queue for passport, or senior citizens queuing for hours waiting for Older Persons Cash Transfer activities. The government has lousy staff and very poor service delivery. All of a sudden, the government has had a brainwave, and now has one magic solution to all these problems; Huduma Namba.

When I first heard about Huduma Namba registration, my first question was ‘who called it a number?’ A good design would avoid using the word number because conspiracy theorists would call it the biblical mark of the beast. A number that you need to have in order to access all government services is suspicious. It did not help any better that the government started coming up with draft laws that would prevent farmers from selling milk to their neighbours, or even using animal manure. The government was saying that you cannot farm or sell your produce, and you need a number. Big blunder. The government, like many other governments out there, has decided that since it no longer makes news to shot self in the foot, it will go for a head shot.

But why would a government need a new number when there is already an existing unique identifier? The ID number is unique, and the government already has the biometric details of 19.7 million Kenyans who registered as voters. Do you know what is 19.7 million people? Kenya has a population of 49 million, with 51.3% of people being 0-19 years. This would mean that the rest of the people, who were over 18 when IEBC was doing their thing stands at 23.8 million. In short, the number of Kenyans over 19 years who are not in the IEBC register is about 4 million. Factor in the new people who got their IDs in the last two years and the total becomes 6 million. Do we need 6 billion to register 6 billion people? Of course, that is not the full story. The government intends to register even minors who are between 6 and 18 years. This approach is worrying because we know how poor the government is at securing data, and in this case it is biometric data which can never be changed in case of a bleach.

Why also register people in the diaspora? The government has all their details, including biometric data through the department of immigration. There are about 2.5 million Kenyan passports that have been issued. Have they changed their fingerprints? Have they grown horns? I do not think that plastic surgery is that prevalent. Why are we spending billions harvesting data which we already have?

My few comments:

  1. It is easier to build on an existing system than to develop one from scratch.
  2. No number can make service delivery efficient. A government that is unable to deliver on basic things cannot use a magical number like a magician to solve all problems.
  3. I have seen politicians who acquired the IEBC register to use in order to contact potential voters. If they already sold the IEBC data to some very low bidders, what about the high bidders who really need this NIIMS data? Remember you can change your phone number if misused, but you can never change your fingerprints.
  4. In connection to that, why can’t the government first of all finish up with The Data Protection Bill of 2018 in order to ensure that our data is safe? Why does the government want to take crucial data for our children without guaranteeing that the data will be kept safe?
  5. Timing. When the government has admitted that it is having logistical challenges sending relief food to starving people who are very starving but none has decided to die of hunger yet, it also has 6 billion shillings to reach all the corners of the country for NIIMS

That said, the main thing I see in this Huduma Number is the 6 billion. It is their turn to eat. We need a savior.


A very sad story

Posted on 1 min read

In a book I am reading, Philip Yancey tells a very sad, but true story.

A prostitute came to me in wretched straits, homeless, sick, unable to buy food for her two-year-old daughter. Through sobs and tears, she told me she had been renting out her daughter two years old to men interested in kinky sex. She made more renting out her daughter for an hour than she could earn on her own in a night. She had to do it, she said, to support her own drug habit. I could hardly bear hearing her sordid story. For one thing, it made me legally liable—I’m required to report cases of child abuse. I had no idea what to say to this woman.

At last I asked if she had ever thought of going to a church for help. I will never forget the look of pure, naive shock that crossed her face. “Church!” she cried. “Why would I ever go here? I am already feeling terrible about myself. They’d just make me feel worse.”

What struck him about the story is that women much like this prostitute fled toward Jesus, not away from him. The worse a person felt about herself, the more likely she saw Jesus as a refuge. Has the church lost that gift? Evidently the down-and-out, who flocked to Jesus when he lived on earth, no longer feel welcome among his followers.

What has happened?


Babies and Former Babies

Posted on 3 min read

When you show the moon to a baby, they only see your finger (African proverb). That is just how babies are, and that is how they live their lives. The grown ups are always at the receiving end of these selfish human. Babies will keep you awake at night until you start questioning why mentally sound people decide to get children. They will cry for food, cry or attention, cry for what they need, cry for what they do not need, cry to get what can harm them, and cry when they feel lonely. They see you as a servant who has always existed to serve their needs.

As far as the baby is concerned, the earth is just a few meters long. It could be that the earth has two people, mum and dad, of course and an aunt. Daddy is the biggest thing around, and the trip to the clinic could as well be a trip to mars. There might be animals on the planet, but which planet? Cows, birds, TVs and chair belong to the same family. The known earth revolves around the baby, while rotating on the parents’ axis.

We tolerate babies in the hope that one day they will outgrow their childish behaviors. We patiently feed them, change their diapers, and wake 194 times every night to attend to them in the hope that one day they will grow up and become responsible. We do our best in the hope that they will turn out just fine. The government is probably keen on child care in the hope that they will turn out to be great tax payers. We are a world that works hard to take care of babies, but maybe it is time we paused a little and learnt from them.

Why do babies cry and fight for toys they do not need? Even if another baby clearly needs the toys, or is using them, a baby will cry and demand to get the toy, and hoard the toys to themselves. And they quickly forget what is in their hands, in order to get what is in someones hands. I always thought such babies will turn into terrorists, then realized that the globe’s richest 1% own half the world’s wealth, and the top richest 26 people on planet earth own as much wealth as 50% of all people on earth. I now conclude that this penchant for accumulating toys will land these babies into the top something under something in the world.

I have always held the opinion that a sleepy baby should just sleep, not cry and make life unbearable for everyone. That can never be the case. Even sleepy adults do not just go to bed and sleep, but take caffeine to keep them awake for longer. Even when they sleep, they set an alarm to rescue them from the sleep. They then spend the whole day very irritable because of lack of sleep. Babies are just honest adults.

Babies do not know dirt. Everything that can fit will land in the mouth. Thank God most insects are swift, and toothless mouths are less potent. Babies can feed on anything, and it takes a parent to distinguish foods and non foods. They will eat bitter stuff and cry, as if someone forced them to eat. Parents will always determine what the baby feeds on, because they know what is safe for little humans. Yet, the same parents do not know what is safe for big humans. Big humans do not know where moral boundaries lie, and are not open to suggestions or directions. Of late, big humans cannot tell the difference between a boy and a girl.

Babies get angry and frustrated when their needs are not met in a reasonable amount of time. Their parents overlap on the roads and jump queues.

As Augustine says in ‘Confessions,’ Babies cry loudly for food, constantly demanding for the attention of their mothers. Only waiters and waitresses can give the other side of the story.

Babies demand things that aren’t even in their best interests. Their parents also own 32 pairs of shoes.

Babies do not want adults telling them what to do. They want to space to practice lawlessness, break stuff, spoil toys, and even self destruct. Adults do not want a supreme being telling them what to do.

Grown ups are overrated.