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Macharia Kamau: The diplomat with fast fingers and quirky views

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Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau, the son of a PCEA cleric, cuts the image of a distinguished diplomat.

With more than three decades in foreign service and the UN system, few of his contemporaries are still serving in the Kenyan government.

When Parliament vetted him for the PS job, he said he was “drawing the line in the sand” to stop any further violations of Kenya’s territorial integrity or torture of its citizens abroad.

Outside of Kenya, he is associated with environmental advocacy, having served as Special Envoy of the President of the General Assembly on Climate Change and UN Secretary General on El Niño and Climate.

While serving as Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, he was awarded the Elizabeth Haub Award, Gold Medal, for Environmental Diplomacy.

But he is also a controversial diplomat. This week, through his unverified Twitter account, he attacked a panellist appearing on KTN News and called her, among other things, a “nincompoop”.

Ms Jerotich Seii, the activist and fierce critic of Kenya Power’s services, was appearing in a KTN News show hosted by Ben Kitili where the subject was Chinese loans to Kenya.

The show on Tuesday came in the wake of Chinese and Kenyan governmental denial that the standard gauge railway (SGR) extension was part of the agenda when President Uhuru Kenyatta met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping last month.

The key question Ms Seii asked was why the government has refused to publicly diverge details of the SGR loan.

“What about this issue of one million Chinese who are supposed to make their way quietly into Kenya regularly … then dispatched to different locations … where are these Chinese? She posed on the show, referring to an alleged plan to ship in Chinese to work in Kenya in exchange for the Asian nation loans, which the government has previously denied.

“Our bureaucrats are too short-sighted, too corrupt and too foolish to understand that this is a long game,” she said.

The allegation appeared to incense Mr Kamau. He went ahead to incorrectly say the old railway line, the Lunatic Express, was constructed by the British under a loan arrangement (It was actually part of the British strategy to conquer the hinterlands and acquire the highlands).

“It’s a wonder we are still not slaves!!Where do they find these nincompoops? Where would Kenya be without the loans and rail?” he wrote.

When members of the public called him out for violating free speech, he said it was sacrosanct.

“That was never my contention. Mine is the manner of the uptake by some. The reason I like this medium is precisely because it avails feedback (sic). Some welcome, some not so. But all good. And for your information, the views here are personal.”

So why does the distinguished envoy rant in an office where diplomatic tone is almost daily dose?

In an interview with the Nation, he argued that he speaks his mind and tries to balance between office needs and his personal convictions.

“You have seen my tweets. Sometimes don’t say things that are flattering to the government of the day. Because even though I am a principal secretary, I am also a private citizen,” he told the Nation in April.

“And I have to manage this relationship. I am proud that I live in a country where I am free to do this even though I am a government official.”

He takes his liberty as a private citizen to exercise certain rights, “knowing very well that they might be perceived by some people, including journalists, as non-governmental. This is an amazingly progressive government.”

This freedom has seen him criticise Nairobi City County’s traffic jams and the National Environmental Management Authority’s lethargy in addressing noise pollution near his holiday apartments at the Coast during Christmas.

On the global scale, when serving as envoy to the UN, he infamously wrote to the UN Security Council asking it to stop ICC’s “offshore” trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto as it was hindering them from serving Kenyans.

Later, the contents of the 13-page letter were thrust into mystery after then-Attorney-General Githu Muigai claimed Kenya would continue to cooperate with the International Criminal Court. The cases were later dropped.

But Mr Kamau also dislikes the way journalists report on government. “I think there is an abdication of patriotism on the part of Kenyan journalists. Their interpretation of patriotism, sadly, appears as bashing the government of the day,” he said.

His first fit of anger, outside of Twitter, came when he criticised Somalia for auctioning oil blocks (which it denied), and summoned Kenya’s Ambassador to Somalia back Nairobi.

“Am I angry? Are you happy to learn that you are about to lose a third, if not half, of your maritime area? Does that make you feel good as a Kenyan?”

To the diplomat, making sense in international relations today also means you have go to the edge of ideas. “You can’t’ just sit there saying nice conservative things and hope that you are going to provide leadership on the world stage,” he said.

source:Nation

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Confession: My life with an HIV-Positive girlfriend

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My mentor once told me about an exciting love lesson. “Look, love is a powerful emotion a man can ever experience in his life. However, no man can ever explain this emotion. Give love a chance by stopping to put it to a rational test. Open your heart to the person who loves you and enjoy the difficult and wonderful experience.”

I came to get the true meaning of these words when I met Aliyah (not her real name).

One day I was extremely bored at the campus and decided to visit my cousin, Jane Mwikali, in Dandora. She warmly welcomed me; prepared extremely sweet Chapos and Minji beef stew. We enjoyed the meal, and I was so grateful. After lunch, we talked about many stories about things like ‘what is the campus life?’, ‘why Luyhas love food?’, and others.

Time passed, and then she asked, ‘Mathew, do you know where our cousin Mark lives?’

I answered, ‘No, in fact, I’m dying to visit him. He has always been a good man. I remember when I was joining campus, he sent me some cash for my upkeep. He is a very selfless man’.

‘On nice, if you have time we can visit him next Sunday. He lives in Huruma.’

“Oh, that is an excellent suggestion. I sure will come so that we can visit Mark”, I said in an excited voice.

I arrived on the following Sunday as we had agreed, and after taking lunch, we left for Huruma. When we alighted from the Matatu, I saw a lovely girl. I wished I were alone so that I could approach her. It was sad watching her cross the road and enter into a Matatu heading to Eastleigh.

We walked almost 500 M and reached Mark’s house, where we were welcomed with mouthwatering food. We talked, laughed until 8.pm at night. Mark’s wife gave me some foodstuffs and cash, and I left back to the university.

I was so happy about how my relatives treated me. But I was also sad because I saw a beautiful girl and let the chance slip away since I feared to approach her in front of my cousin. I could not concentrate at school. The girl occupied my mind. She was the one to complete my life, and I loved this strange little thing to the moon and back.

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Next weekend, I decided to go back to Huruma to look for this beautiful flower. I strolled for almost 4 hours in the estate, getting lost in the process. After an unsuccessful day, I decided to track my way back to campus, but I got lost. I had to ask for the direction to the bus stage, and after hard work, I found myself at a place called Raunda. I was so happy to see that I would get a Matatu back to school to prepare for my exams.

Suddenly, four men ambushed me. They struck me and took away my phone and the money I had (Ksh.100). I was forced to start begging for some cash. After five attempts, one lady (God bless her) gave me 200 shillings, which I used as my fare back to school.

Despite such disappointments, I couldn’t stop thinking about this girl I saw in Huruma. I was getting mad since she was the woman destined for my heart. I vowed to look for her as long as I was a living soul.

I kept visiting Huruma estate at least once in two weeks for almost five months. My mind considered giving up, but my heart could not allow it.

One day, I visited my cousin, Mark, in Huruma, who send me to purchase some foodstuffs. As I was strolling the streets, I saw some beautiful and curvy girls fighting as they exposed their soft brown thighs at the balcony on an apartment. Because of a dry spell, my tiny ‘manhood’ responded. I could not stand because my trousers had lost shape. I decided to sit beside the road and enjoy the scene. What made me happy was the fact that there was one girl who was struggling to stop the fight, and I loved her bravery.

After a successful mediation, the girl stood on the balcony staring at the spectators. I looked at her, my small penis shrunk, and my heart jumped.

Three she was. The girl who had stolen my heart!

‘Hallo,’ I said in a loud voice, waving at her like a madman. Everyone looked at me with a lot of indifference, wondering what was wrong with me. She did not notice me. But I was happy since I now knew where she lived.

I decided to be a frequent visitor to that place. I devised a strategy to win her. I could pass by her home, and when I met her, I just greeted her and passed. I did that for some time until we became friends. One day, I decided to visit her church so that I could meet my potential lover.

I bumped into her, thank goodness.

‘Hi, how are you,’ I said.

‘I’m fine,’ she said in a happy tone.

‘I’m Hanny, what about you?’

I’m Aliyah.’

‘I even did not know you fellowship here—what a coincide!’ I said.

Our conversation continued, and then she told me that she wanted to go back home to revise for her exams. She emphasized that she hates mathematics and that she wished the subject was not invented.

“If I had money, I would pay someone for my extra lessons.”

Wow, this is sweet, thoughts started running.

‘Oh, so you are still in school,’ I asked her.

“Yes, I am a form four candidate,” she said.

I looked at her and smiled.

She asked me why I was happy.

‘What is funny?’ Aliyah said in a harsh voice.

‘I am a university student, and it happens that mathematics is my favorite subject. I scored and plain in high school. If you don’t mind, I can help you’.

The girl agreed but warned me against any romantic relationship. With a fake smile, I agreed to her demands, and we struck a deal with her aunt. I could visit her place when I had free time on my hands to teach her. Because of my efforts and her desire to excel in my mathematics, her performance improved. In her final KCSE exams, she scored a B+!

Now that is not what I want to say. My interests were not to help Aliyah; I desired to win her heart. I felt so passionate about Aliyah. I tried to whisper into ear about how I felt about her, but I feared disappointments. One thing I hate hearing is a girl telling me No. Also, my philosophy has always been spending enough time studying a girl’s behavior and thinking before telling her how I felt about her. I knew it could take 6- 12 months or even more. I preferred being bro-zoned before seducing her. It is only through ‘bro-zoning’ I could study her like a book.

One year passed, and we continued being best friends. It was clear that we could not be lovers. ‘She was not interested in me,’ I always told my stupid mind. Any time I tried to tell her that she had beautiful eyes, she could tell me to stop jokes.

‘I have to stop wasting time and let Aliyah know how I feel about her,’ I vowed.

I invited her to the campus on a Saturday. She honored the invite and came. After preparing a nice meal for her, we wasted time bullshitting about ordinary things— like campus life vs. college life (she was now in college) and EPL teams we support. I then looked into her eyes, held her hand, and I told her in shivering voice:

‘I love you so much, Aliyah. You have never talked about your boyfriend, and I think you are single. Please be my sweetheart’.

She laughed and said: ‘I told you to stop smoking weed and you refused, now see.’ ‘I insisted that I loved her, and she took the platform to preach:

‘Honestly, I fell in love the day you selflessly decided to teach me mathematics. You are so brilliant and respectful. At times, I could wear appealing clothes, to tempt you, but you never seemed to be serious or interested in loving me. I love you so much. You are so funny and supportive. You even send me some money, yet I am not your girlfriend. But there is a problem which I won’t let you know today. Just know that I view you as my boyfriend, and I wish we could be engaged in an intimate relationship like having sex together, kissing, and others, but unfortunately, that will never happen. I will send you a text message, darling,’ she completed her narration.

There were streams of tears in her eyes. I tried to reach out to her and console her, but she stood up and left. She insisted that I should not follow her.

I obliged.

I tried to call her and text her, but I got no reply. One week passed. Two weeks passed. I was a sad man—an unfortunate man. I had lost her. I could sit in my house and cry for hours.

One of the reasons it took me long before speaking my heart out was the fact that I never view women objects. When I see a woman, and I insist on sleeping with her, the possibility of loving her is zero. Do not take this to mean that I hate girls, or I don’t emphasize beauty when hunting for a sweetheart. On the contrary, I always go for beautiful women.

One fine morning, I received a text. It was Aliyah! I was thrilled. My penis bulged. I went to take a shower before reading it.

“Hanny, I am HIV positive! Because I love you so much, and I wish to spend the rest of my life with you, you cannot be my lover. You will be a brother. Both my parents are dead. I have neither sister nor brother. You and my aunt are the people I value most in my life. Goodnight sweetheart. Oh, sorry, goodnight, bro.”

To satisfy my ego, I insisted that it was not valid. I thought such were some of the standard jokes girls use when approached. I told myself, ‘she is just testing my commitment to her.’

However, such was never the case. After one week, we met, and Aliyah told me she was born HIV positive. She had lived more than she is supposed to.

‘I was born as an HIV positive kid, and I will be dying soon. I know you won’t believe me, but I have evidence’, she stopped talking as she handed me some medical reports and the drugs she was using.

She said that if I did not believe her, I should ask her aunt. She then assured me that ‘I am such a nice man and that she cannot infect such a right person that has a possibility of changing the society with a killer virus.

I was confused, shocked, and happy at the same time. I hugged and thanked Aliyah for having a golden heart. I assured her that I will forever be there for her and that she will live to see her grandchildren.

We continued being friends, and she viewed me as her real brother. I always supported her financially and was there to assure her that I love her.

One day I visited Aliyah when she was extremely sick. She looked at me and asked, ‘Hanny, as a philosopher, how can a person deal with the idea of death?’

“I always find the idea of Philosopher Allan watts ideas on life and existence critical as they can comfort the troubled mind. One of Watt’s talks is about death, which I know you fear it as a human being. It is out of our control. We cannot run away from it. We fear death, yet we know nothing that happens when we die. Pastors will talk about life after death, yet fear death; they want to live in this chaotic life and postpone visiting heaven, which is full of milk and honey! My point is this: fearing death is what is supposed to motivate us. Death is not a bad thing. It is natural, and it is like life itself. When you were born, you started dying physically, and when you die, we are supposed to view this a time when you to where you came from, spirituality speaking,” I explained.

‘However, people like me believe that there is no life after death—nothing exists beyond death. But when we examine what I mean by nothing, we will get nowhere with that argument. It is important to stop thinking about nothing and live the life you have. When you know you will sleep, feel nothing, hear nothing, and be nothing, you ought not to fear death,’ I continued.

‘Wow, I love you, hun. You are so intelligent, Hanny. I don’t believe in the afterlife or existence of God. I go to church to make my aunt happy. Having struggled with HIV, losing my parents, and seeing suffering in the world, I do not think there is a big daddy in the clouds who is loving and loves me,’ Aliyah said.

“There is no love in letting innocent people suffer in the world. If there is such an all-loving being, I would love to meet him and shout: ‘You moral monster. Let my body burn in hell forever’.”

I looked at her, hugged her, and left for my house.

….

After two weeks, her aunt called me and told me the unexpected bad news: Aliyah is dead. I cried my lungs out. I was sad. My world had been torn apart. I felt like my life had lost meaning. ‘It has already happened,’ I comforted myself.

Her aunt asked for financial support. I took eight thousand from my rent and sent it to her. I promised to send her more money after selling one of my laptops. I sold my computer and sent her an extra 15000.

We agreed that I would view the body after three days.

I entered the house, and I saw Aliyah sited on the chair. She was in a happy mood, though she was skinny, having lost a lot of weight.

‘What is happening?’ I asked.

‘My son, sit down and relax. Aliyah is not dead. We just decided to test your commitment and friendship.’

Aliyah took her aunt’s cellphone and returned all my money. I insisted that I do not need it, but she stuck to her words.

Aliyah always had a funny character. When I could send the money she had not asked for, she returned it. When she asks for some cash, and I decide to send her more money, she returned the extra money.

There is a day Aliyah asked for a hundred shillings. I send her 1000 bob, but surprisingly, she returned 900 shillings! She is a woman any man would die to have her as his wife.

It is not six months since Aliyah lied about her death. She proved that I love her so much and that I would move mountains to make her happy. She knew all my secrets in life. There are two people whom I trust 100 percent: my mother and Aliyah.

Having known this, and after fearing that I had stayed single for long after breaking with my EX, she advised me to look for a girl I can trust and invest in her all my feelings. I told her that there is a girl I have been observing, and I think I love her.

‘This is nice, Hanny. What are her names and tribe? She asked.

‘She is called Sly.

“Congratulations, sweeter half. You did not want to date a Kamba like me. Anyway, I am kidding. Sly is a lucky girl. You are fun. You are intelligent. You are selfless. You are handsome. You have sweet words that any woman wants to hear. But I hope she will manage to cope with your contradictions. Your life is a contradiction. Your reasoning is a contradiction. You know, you can say ‘I love you,’ and the next minute you say ‘I hate you’ to arrive at some predetermined solution. You said, it is called dialectics in philosophy, I think. I wish you two the best at your wedding,” she laughed as she gave me a sincere hug promising to meet Sly one day. I felt so lovely and wished I could take her to my bed that night.

When I told her that I could call her right away and let them converse, she stopped me.

‘Be a brave, sweetheart. What will you tell her Aliyah is to you? A best friend? No. Girls are jealous, and no woman can buy such madness. Tread with care, or you lose her,” Aliyah shouted.

Thank you, Aliyah, I need a lot of time to prepare her for this.

……

Yesterday, I received a phone call that broke my heart: Aliyah was dead. I went straight away to the morgue and saw her lifeless body. She died without having met my girlfriend. She never showed me any warning signs

I am a sad man.

Words cannot express the pain of losing a great friend—Aliyah— to humanity’s worst monster: death. Because I do not believe in life after death—and as a philosopher, I will hold on to Seneca’s words:

“Death is a release from all pains and a boundary beyond which our sufferings cannot go; it returns us to that state of peacefulness in which we lay before we were born. If someone pities those who have died, let him pity also those who have not been born. Death is neither a good nor evil; for only that which is something can be a good or evil, but what is itself nothing and reduced everything to nothingness, delivers us to no category of fortune. ”

I love you, Aliyah, my Forever Love.

By SDE

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Govt orders all civil servants to wear ‘Made in Kenya’ on Fridays

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Civil servants will now be required to wear Kenyan-made outfits to work on Fridays and on public holidays.

The order was issued in a circular from the Office of the Attorney General dated October 17, 2019, by the Solicitor General, Ken Ogeto, as part of a scheme to achieve president Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big 4 Agenda that touches on manufacturing.

“Pursuant to the achievement of the Big 4 Agenda and specifically the expansion of Manufacturing Pillar by producing better goods and creating local employment, I direct that all members of staff shall on all Fridays be dressed in decent, smart casual Kenyan produced and tailored attire,” the circular signed by Ogeto read in part.

On Tuesday, Ogeto confirmed the authenticity of the circular. “The circular is authentic yes . It was issued in line with govt policy to spur growth of local manufacturing industry as one of the pillars of the big four, ” he said in a text message.

The directive took effect last Friday, October 18, and is expected to be part of the official dress code for government staff. The order was addressed to all heads of departments and regional heads and copied to the AG Kihara Kariuki.

During Mashujaa Day celebrations last Sunday in Mombasa, the usual dark suits worn by top officials were replaced by colourful African design attires.

LOCAL PRODUCTS

President Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and Cabinet Secretaries all wore Kenyan made outfits in what was said to be setting an example for Kenyans to embrace local products.

Some of the local governors including Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi also wore similar attires.

The attires were reportedly made at Bedi Investment Limited, a textile firm based in Nakuru County.

This is not the first time the government has pushed for the adoption of Kenyan wear to boost local markets. During the commissioning of ultramodern textile industry Rivatex this year, President Kenyatta appealed to Kenyans to proudly wear “Made in Kenya” clothes.

“For government to lead by example, I urge all public servants to wear at least one piece of garment made in Kenya on Fridays,” he added. During the event, the President wore a shirt made at Rivatex. And in March last year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, declared Fridays as Kenyan attire day.

AFRICANNESS

In a memo to Directors, Heads of Departments and various units, Tom Amolo, the Political and Diplomatic Secretary in the ministry, said that “Africanness” should be used as a tool for diplomacy.

“We brand our nation as much through our choice of attire, as what we may say or do,” Amolo wrote.

Amolo called on state officers and all Kenyans to embrace the various African fabrics and fashion styles from wherever they are in Africa or outside.

“The ethos of this re-engagement speaks to an assertion of an affirmative African narrative that defines our Africaness and insists that at its core, its manifestations and reflections – being African is best,” he said.

He said that the initiative aimed at increasing awareness on Kenya’s culture as well as generate interest in the country’s heritage.

Past initiatives to come up with a quintessential Kenyan dress have however been fruitless.

By NN

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Policewoman in outburst video sent on compulsory leave

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A police officer who was last week caught on video complaining against being posted to assignments without allowances has been sent on compulsory leave.

The National Police Service Commission chairman Eliud Kinuthia on Tuesday said the officer, Jane Asimizi, had been sent home to allow for investigations.

“We have ordered that Asimizi to undergo a psychiatric test to ascertain whether she is of sound mind. What she said on the video last week is not typical of a normal law enforcement personnel,” said Kinuthia.

Hours after the video went viral, Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai ordered the officer to be hospitalised terming her rant as unprofessional.

MENTAL TEST

“The woman’s frustrations ought to have been channeled through private avenues to express her frustrations. I have given instructions for the officer to be taken to hospital for (a) mental test,” Mutyambai said.

In the undated video, the policewoman is heard complaining of being frustrated by her bosses who only send her to jobs that do not have allowances.

This was after she was allegedly assigned to man an exam container in Kakamega but was withdrawn from the duty.

But according to her direct boss, Leonard Omollo, who is the Western Kenya deputy regional police commander, Asimizi was never assigned to man the exam container.

“I would like to state categorically that nobody deployed the officer to guard that exam container. She was only meant to escort the container, we have officers who will then man the exams, said Omollo.

BY NN

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