Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sticky Situation and Vanishing Vitality

The other day I was in a bit of a pickle, you see I was telling an American friend about how in Kenya with the older generation (and maybe some of the younger ones) how due to the proliferation of christianity and westernisation polygamy as an established tradition has been dying down since Independance; but how as a result mistresses/second wives and families have taken root. We have all seen that whenever some public figures pass away how unheard of wives and parallel families crawl out of the woodwork.

So predictably I was asked, "Why don't these men divorce their wives and be with these other women?" I did tell her that over time this has been happening even though unlike in the States many of these first wives are left destitute by their estranged husbands but what used to happen was the man would just take up with his second wife if they decided to part ways but he would still take care of his first wife and she would still be seen as part of his family. I also did point out that for sometime divorce has carried alot of stigma in Africa, and it is also hard for a divorced woman in Africa to remarry but I do think that this is changing in Kenya. Lest I forget there is also this belief that when a woman is married by her first husband in many tribes they are inextricably linked and even if she passes away he still has claim to her body.

Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself here. Do any of you think that this business of parallel wives will die out anytime soon (even though I do recall reading an article in the Nation where quite a few women were ready to be second wives)? This second wives business is different from the humping around that men do, so as to make things clear. And for your information I would not have more than one wife (isn't bigamy a crime in Kenya?), one wife is enough responsibility and besides wasichana wa siku hizi ni watukutu sana!

Moving on, where did I used to get energy from? For the last few days I have been getting 5-6 hours of sleep and I really feel it the next day whenever the afternoon rolls by. A few years back it was the complete opposite. I remember the days when I would meet my pals in the afternoon to watch a U.K premiership match in a bar after which of course we would get to drinking, socialising bar hopping, roast some nyama choma (depending on where we were) do some more bar hopping if the joint was boring and go home early Sunday morning (that is if we didn't make a visit to Topaz). And after all that I would be good to go after just 3-4 hours of sleep, that is if i didn't have a hangover. Rest assured that if I went a on a bender that long tonight I would be out for at least half of the next day or as I call it I.C.U. I once remember 2 years or so back when my powers began to fade, I went out as usual and early the next morning I was supposed to drop someone to catch a bus upcountry. So I came home directly from the pub, took the person to the bus and since it was early morning I got a brainwave. I decided that I might as well go for the early service at church. I walked in just as praise and worship had ended and since most of the church was empty I got a pew to myself. I listened to the first few minutes of what sounded like a very enlightened sermon until all of a sudden due to the residual alcohol in my system my body failed to register how hard the pew was and the veil of sleep slowly descended. What made me wake up was the sound of the closing hymn and the burning sensation in my back as the lady sitting in the pew behind me glared at me. Needless to say that was the last attempt I made at going to church from the club. Stop laughing at me! I know you have all been guilty at one time or another!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Do You Know Who Your Friends Are?

Most of you would answer a resounding yes to this question on most sunny days but when things go wrong I am sure the answer would change. Their is this dude who I met via a mutual friend who is learning that the hard way. He graduated from my Uni like a year ago, has just bought a house of his own and is slowly getting established at work. When he was in Uni he was a member of a fraternity and I got the impression that he was a bit of a man about town. Anyway his small brothers were in town visiting him and he was playing a game of basketball with them when he tore his tendon (I think I may have mentioned this is another post) anyway so now he ended up being immobile.
So of course what he needs at this time are his good pals to check in and pick up the slack before the fam checks in. He was stabilised in the local hospital and had to be taken to the next town 40 mins away the next day for his operation. His frat brothers and my pal were told that by the Doc and the reaction was interesting, one dude who had just popped in to see him when he heard that and people looked at him was like, "Whoa wait a minute......" and gave a lame excuse (the reality was he had left some chics in his house and had business to conclude), the other frat brother said he had to leave town the next day early in the morning and the other dude was inaccesible. Luckily the dude's mum popped in the next day and took him there.
After the operation things really didnt change, it was my pal who was doing most of the stuff; from picking up his meds, giving his small bros a ride to the bus station, making sure his house was comfortable/accesible for someone in his condition (while his big brother watched TV) and calling the dude's workplace about applying for short term disability. My pal has an open heart but I told her that enough is enough and this time she listened, the dude's pals were doing nothing and for the longest time his family looked at her to do things that they should be doing, acknowledging it but not picking up the slack at all. But the bright side of this is that the injured dude started thinking long and hard about who his real friends are because when he was injured the people who stepped up were few and far between. Anyway it just went on to reflect my thought about people, not everyone who laughs with you is your friend. That is why I keep my circle very small, to people who I can trust and rely on; I have no time for fairweather friends at all!

Moving on! I was on the BBC website when I came across this disturbing piece. I know it is a dog eat dog world in Nigeria but now it is a man eat dog world there too. Yes I know that people in Asia (Korea) eat dogs too but it is still gross and very unhealthy (there is a reason people don't eat the meat from predators regularly). Plus you all know I am a dog lover so this story just rubs me the wrong way!

Now I know why Jerry Falwell was going apoplectic over the Teletubbies!

Well done lads! Barcelona's down, who's next?

Monday, March 05, 2007

My Take On the Nation Media Group Scandal

Unless you were living under a rock somewhere I am sure you are all aware the the much awaited Nation Media Group expose is out, if you want to read it; here is the blog.

My opinion? I do think that the post could have been written in a more coherent matter, it does have some typos and seems to ramble on at some points. But I do think that alot of what was written there is true and needs to be addressed.

Some people have said that this is the work of disgruntled employees. Well first things first, I dare you to work your ass for peanuts and not be promoted or get a raise, while your bosses do as little as possible and keep on reviewing their salaries upwards and not be disgruntled. I dare you as a young woman to apply for a job/internship/promotion, be denied because you didn't sleep with your superior and not be disgruntled. I dare you to be denied a promotion or a raise because you are not in the right tribe and not disgruntled! Of course this the work of people who have been downtrodden and yes there may be some malice in their but alot of what has been posted there is the truth. Ask a blogger like Kenyananalyst about his tribulations trying to get a foot into a Kenyan print media house or any other budding journalist, he is not the only person that I know who has had to try and move the earth to get a foot in the right way and won't be the last.

There are 2 sides to every story that is true but since the powers that be believe that there is no story, I don't think we'll hear their side because according to them they have nothing to answer for. Will this scandal every hit the mainstream press? Of course not! Because we all know that unless there is a rift like when Nation were spoofing Kenya Times and in return Kenya Times reported on the Nation employee who was busted by cops engaging in "un-natural acts" with another man, this story will not see the light of day. The alternative (gutter) press publication that had printed part 1 was bribed not to print part 2. Don't you all think that if the claims were without merit the publication would have been sued by the Nation Media Group instead of bribed?

I did read in the comments section of that blog someone asking for evidence. A good question I agree but when it comes to matters of sexual harassment, evidence is hard to come by. Few people tape their phonecalls, save every voicemail, save chats, tape conversations and take pictures of themselves in bed with their bosses. Misuse of power for sexual favor and sexual harassment cases are usually very hard to prove. That is one reason why many of these accusations are on shaky ground apart from one commentor who said he has pictures taken by a private detective.

Then there were the people who commented and said that the people who are making these accusations should follow their principles and quit working at the company. A nice suggestion in theory but it doesnt stop what is going on or solve the problem. Add to this the fact that there are only 2 major print publications (we have no long lasting magazines in Kenya) where specialised journalism skills are needed and paid for. So outing yourself may lead to your being black listed and your skills rotting away at home. So outing themselves at this point in time isn't the most pragmatic thing to do.

I also do admit that in a large organization there are always cases of consensual sex among adults, but this doesn't give the bosses carte blanche to turn the company into some sort of bordello and restrict favors and promotions to those who service them. Anyway I think I have done enough blithering, let me wrap this up.

To be honest from what I know and have heard this kind of rot isn't confined to Nation Media Group; it is happening in other media houses on differing levels and other large corporations that are household names. At the end of the day the Nation Media Group fashions itself as the moral watchdog of the people so I think at the end of the day those who work there should be kept to these same principles they want to uphold Kenyans to. But will this happen? I really don't think so.