Archive for January, 2016

I fear for a generation raised on Facebook.

Or maybe the whole Internet will simply become like Facebook: falsely jolly, fake-friendly, self-promoting, slickly disingenuous. – Jason Lanier “You Are Not A Gadget”

Facebook generation

Sometimes I look at my timeline and wonder what it would have been like growing up as a child if my parents (ok, maybe just mum, don’t see dad doing it) had Facebook in the eighties and posted fifty times everyday their love for me and how I was the centre of their world –complete with photos of my tiny self in diapers, being bathed, crawling on dusty floors, on the potty, crying for porridge, etc. How would I have felt about it I ask myself. I most likely wouldn’t have liked it very much in my teens, I definitely would not appreciate it as an adult; that is assuming I ever matured into one given the entitlement such constant ‘love’ and attention would foist on me.

Growing up in the eighties and nineties, parents and older relatives were viewed simply as providers and symbols of authority and discipline, there was little room for being smothered with odes to our infantile greatness, praise was dispensed sparingly and only when deserved and that made it all the more precious, hugs were reserved for just the most difficult or happiest of times, yet we survived. It was true then as it is now that there’s only one beautiful child in the world and every mother has it, but this went unspoken. Maybe that is why we’re not the most romantic men in the world, maybe that is why we don’t cry like Alejandro at the drop of a hat, maybe that is how African men should be raised, or maybe not. Then again, what do I know about such things.

Look at what is happening in our schools: in the bad old days poor performances were placed squarely at the door of the student by both parents and teachers, punishment to remedy this was not far off. Nowadays bad performances are blamed on teachers by parents and students, teachers are berated and shouted at as poorly performing students sit smugly in chairs during school visiting days. It is difficult for me to relate to this. In the times comprising my childhood, any adult could set straight any kids he found playing in the middle of the road, nowadays it is best to mind your own business even if you see the worst of behaviour in children who are not your own. It no longer takes a village to raise a child, just Facebook likes and comments on cute photos will do.

I cannot wait to see the kind of men and women that will be the legacy of a generation raised on Facebook.

When a human being becomes a set of data on a website like Facebook, he or she is reduced. Everything shrinks. Individual character. Friendships. Language. Sensibility. In a way it’s a transcendent experience: we lose our bodies, our messy feelings, our desires, our fears. – Zadie Smith

 

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Cry My Beloved County

Fighting corruption is not just good governance. It’s self-defense. It’s patriotism.

– Joe Biden

A while back I thought it was bad enough the talented visionaries leading Vihiga county were broadcasting to the world their innovative plans to build mud houses at 20 million shillings, while raising taxes through charging parking fees on donkey carts, mkokotenis, and wheelbarrows. All these in the face of mounting debt then at a colossal KES 2.53 billion. I was wrong.|

Mud houses in Vihiga

The findings of an audit report have left me open mouthed with both amazement, shock, anger, and seething rage at the rape and pillaging that has brought this tiny county to its nadir.

Some of the payments made out to profiteers and other crooks and tenderpreneurs include figures so staggering that it beggars belief that public employees have the audacity to sign off on such blatantly fraudulent contracts and condone unconscionable racketeering, all at the long-suffering public’s expense, without fear of being marched to the gallows by mobs frothing at the corner of their mouths from all the bending over and shafting they have had to endure from the thieving lot ensconced in our county offices.

Monies were shoveled with abandon to pay for delivery of services and works that do not pass muster or have been multiplied by several factors, these sad unscrupulous dealings were scrutinized in an ADHOC Committee report tabled this week at Vihiga county assembly that was concerned with the 2.5 billion debt. Suspect payments include (and this is just the tip of the iceberg):

  • The installation of a generator with automatic switch and two 300 litres solar heaters at the Governors residence awarded to Mian Contractors LTD at a cost of Ksh. 6,040,000.
  • The installation of CCTV surveillance system at the governor’s residence worth Kshs. 877,900.
  • Payment of 3.216,000 shillings to company called Daysey Enterprise
  • Payment of Ksh 3,463,920 to Ahadi trust in two installments
  • Payment of Ksh 4,500,000 for legal services to Browne Nathans & Co. Advocates.
  • Payment of Ksh12,845,344 to Antonina & CO Advocates,
  • Ksh 32,000 paid to Rafiki Bank and Micro finance under questionable circumstances.
  • Payment of Kshs 1,563,686 to K.R.A and PAYE which is questionable as this is deducted from employed emolument
  • Payment of 2,286,040 paid to commissioner of VAT.
  • Payment of Ksh 19,463,975 to consultants for unspecified service delivered,
  • Payment of 100,000 shillings to the county secretary’s personal assistant Mr. Herbert Kenogo
  • Payment of Ksh. 30,000 to Mr. Hudson Mutsotso
  • Payment of 3,897,600 paid to a security company identified as Leadman security services LTD for service not delivered.
  • Payment of Ksh.8,340,880 to council of governors,
  • Ksh. 5,677,800 paid to Mian contractors LTD,
  • Kshs. 6,283,140 paid to a company called Mavuh LTD for unspecified services.

 

The other hot spot area where millions of shillings were looted was in the execution of projects not budgeted for.

These projects with exaggerated payments included:

  • The construction of Kaimosi Dining Hall awarded to Manvuh LTD at a tune of 13,528,036.
  • The rehabilitation of 8km Kapsanjo-Habalia Road in Busali ward the contract awarded to Mazobi Enterprise at a cost of Ksh. 2,995,874. It was established that these were ghost projects since these roads were not in Busali ward.
  • The connection of internet and wi-fi at KMTC computer laboratory awarded to Kenworth Prime solution at a cost of Khs.1,698,530.
  • The construction of perimeter wall at Vihiga county headquarters at cost of Ksh.18,810,212 the tender awarded to Reapways Enterprise.
  • The construction of a sentry house and electrical perimeter wall at Vihiga FM radio station awarded to Stomatech Enterprise at cost of 14,695,400.
  • Construction of kitchen and toilet at Vihiga FM station at cost of Khs. 11,339,017 awarded to Sulu construction LTD.
  • The construction of Vihiga county court headquarters the function of national government cost the county Khs. 9,417,956 done by Splendour supplies LTD.

The committee recommended the directors of these alleged ghost companies be identified and chief officer treasury held responsible.

The committee also sought accountability of the transition funds Kshs. 61,592,200 set aside for commencement of county government.
They demanded Beatrice Alosa be held responsible for failing to provide conclusive evidence relating to the expenditure of Ksh. 61,592,200.
The funds were alleged to have been spent on:

  • The completion of the county hall and offices at a tune of 29,947,772.
  • The purchase of Hansard for county assembly at a cost of Khs. 6,600,000.
  • Roads grading and murraming at cost of 2,750,000 and refurbishment of county assembly at cost of 15,775,362 all these projects are not completed.

There was also:

  • A loss of 900 million that was allocated to wards projects,
  • The irregular expenditure of Khs. 105,984,712 emergency fund,
  • The loss of Khs. 1,6646,616 received for development in the FY2014-2015.

The Committee had recommended that Governor Moses Akaranga is also asked to explain how the county government incurred Khs. 2.5 billion debt. He is also to explain how and when the stalled projects will be completed.

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