Kenyan movies are coming of age

First published in the East African April 1, 2018.

Our nation’s inner soul has been laid bare in the three Kenyan made movies premiering at the Nairobi Film Festival this week. In them, we learn that he-roes and she-roes come in unexpected personalities and places. Kenya does not need Facebook, Twitter, Hollywood or Nollywood, we are a whole social network by ourselves.

The three films reflect three important social commentaries on today’s Kenya. “Watu wote” is based on the inspiring story of those brave Mandera bus passengers in 2015 who refused to divulge the Christians among them to terrorist attackers. The passengers were led by the Mandera Primary School teacher and now national hero Salah Farah. Farah succumbed to his wounds six weeks later. The powerfully shot and well-acted short movie earned its place in history as the first Kenyan movie to be nominated for an Oscar. It reminds us how much courage we may need to transform intolerance and hatred.

Supa Modo” centers on the terminally ill 9-year-old Joanna and her community who rallies around her dream to be a super hero. Shown in Berlin recently, the movie was watched by over 1,000 German children who then took pictures of themselves wearing khangas as Supa Modo capes. Hilariously funny, the movie also touches on issues of affordable healthcare, absentee fatherhood and power of women in rallying our communities.

New moon” addresses the looming impact of the US$3.5 billion investment on Lamu town. It is often said that Lamu town has one car, 2,000 donkeys, no modern electricity or sewage system. Once complete, the Lamu Port will attract ships half the size of the entire island. With this new moon, much will be lost, much could be gained.

Violent extremism, community action and the displacement that comes with mega infrastructural projects are very Kenyan themes right now. This is not new. The Kenyan film industry has always been dominated by fictional movies and documentaries that explore poverty, social injustice and exclusion. “Nairobi Half-Life” remains one of the most powerful indictment on inequality, criminality and unlawful police killings.

What is new, is that with the right levers the movie industry seem set to expand our creative economy dramatically. Barely six years ago, Riverwood film distributor Mwaniki Mageria was warned that we will never watch Kenyan movies. They are too poorly acted, filmed and under-resourced to compete with Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood. In short, just too “shao”.

He persisted and today the Riverwood Ensemble which he represents, boasts of 200 film producers. Kenyan funder Docubox now offers Kshs 200,000 for creative film ideas. “New Moon” would never have been made without their support. They now plan to get film-making onto the new primary school curriculum. The Nest Collective also continue to break new ground technically and socially. Properly supported, our film industry could make just under a billion shillings annually in under two years.

This will not happen unless we all get up under the industry. These movies and Kevin Njue’s powerful “18 hours” about paramedic Brian Odhiambo and the late Alex Madaga deserve to be seen by millions. Sadly, we have only 10 or so professional movie halls across the country and ticket costs are beyond the reach of most. Live-streaming and piracy aside, these movies will probably not be seen by more than 40,000 people at most.

To avoid isolating our creatives nationally and internationally, we need an independent film fund, to fast track policy changes to provide incentives and tax rebates, step down the over-regulation and better link our movie industry to places of learning.

Kenya is a movie making machine and we must let her breathe. Our popular culture and politics explode with great movie scripts. What about that monkey that shut down the national power grid for four hours in 2015? Or the grandmothers of Korogocho who learn self-defence to stop rapists? Or those still unexplained political murders of the 2017 Elections?

This recent batch of movies teaches us that the most powerful of our movies are those that bring out the best in us, that remind us of the empowered, engaged and ethical people who walk among us. Those that have the decency and the courage of the late Salah Farah to say, “You will have to kill all of us or leave us alone.”

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African common market will boost trade

First published Sunday Standard, March 25, 2018. Kindly reproduced here with permission from the Standard Group

Our Pan-africanist ancestors just sat up and took notice. I have often imagined that most days our ancestors look down at us and shake their heads in disbelief as African Governments squander and mismanage Africa’s natural resources and public taxes. Those cynical thoughts were punctured for a moment on 21 March when African Governments met in Kigali to discuss and sign three policy instruments that create a single African trade market.

The three instruments establish an African Continental Free Trade Area and the right of Africans to move, work, invest and reside anywhere in the continent. 44 states supported the move to a common market and 22 states signed the free movement instrument. Alongside 27 Heads of States, Kenyatta signed all three instruments.

With a collective population of over 1.2 billion people and Gross Domestic Product of US$ 2.6 trillion, this is the biggest trade area since the World Trade Organisation was established. Africa is on the verge of a GDP equivalent to Britain or four times the size of Malaysia, Mexico or Brazil.  The move strikes a blow to the difficulties facing small-scale traders and large companies trading across Africa. Up to now, trade tariffs and taxes on imports from other African countries has averaged 6% and 52%. This has made trading among ourselves too costly. The moment has been long in coming.

Nigerian Professor Adebayo Adedeji had seen this vision nearly forty years ago. Against the advice and conditionality of the World Bank and western powers, he rallied African leaders to adopt the Lagos Plan of Action in 1980. The plan was obstructed and instead, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank proceeded to unleash the most aggressive set of austerity measures ever seen since colonialism.

Like “that handshake” two weeks ago, the signatures are just the first step. For this vision to take its first breath, all 55 States must sign, ratify and implement the instruments. It is almost treasonable that eleven states including South Africa and ironically, Adedeji’s own Nigeria failed to sign the key instruments. Before we as early adopters condemn them, we need to also make sure the national interests currently strangling the promise of the East African Common Market do not show up here as well.

More explicit attention must be placed on the distributional value of the new common market. The interests of South Africa’s MTN, Dangote Cement and Brookside are very different from the millions of small scale farmers, cross-border traders and low skilled workers. These interests combined are very different from China’s Techno, America’s Google or India’s Barti Airtel.

To industrialise, we must aggressively add value to our crops and raw materials at home. Unregulated market access for non-African companies and countries to dump their finished produce in Africa will betray the real vision of the Common Market. This market must deliver a prosperous and industrial continent in which all, not just consumers, share in the growth. Without this, we will not close the productivity gap between us, the Chinese, Americans and the Europeans. We will continue to be a market for all and a factory for none.

Twenty years ago, I was a student at the University of Dar es Salaam. Travelling on the cross-border lunatic express buses those days, I would regularly come across Kenya women traders smuggling “illicit goods” like drinking chocolate, sugar, margarine and other dangerous contraband into Tanzania. It would always amaze me how creative they were and why stopping them even mattered in the grand scheme of things.

Accelerated manufacturing, technological innovation, jobs, food security and shared prosperity will not come automatically. Our economies still serve the powerful and the privileged first. For the Common Market to really matter, it must place the needs of non-rising populations and the rising number of poor households at its center. Our Foreign Affairs Ministries must convene public dialogues and let us debate the trade offs and how we can prepare powerfully.

Africa has known great economic empires before slavery and imperialism. The fifteenth century Songhay empire once extended from what is now central Mali to the Atlantic coast and east into Nigeria. I like to think that their first King Sonni Ali and the late Kwame Nkrumah were both there in Kigali whispering into the ears of our leaders. Delivered well, the African common market will make it easier to move, invest and trade our skills in future. Perhaps then, this generation could have a real #WakandaMoment. We may even find some vibranium.

Divorce, extra-marital relationships and Kenyan political parties

With apologies to my Sunday Standard readers, this is this week’s opinion. My Sunday Standard column will resume next Sunday.

Prolonged political deadlocks directly endanger Project Kenya as we discovered last year. Dialogue and reconciliation could be as risky. Reconciliation, rage and rain dominated our headlines in equal measure this week. After the handshake, it seems our national opposition is spiraling towards a divorce that will change our political landscape.

Most of our scholars agree that political parties are the means by which voters inform Government policies in democratic societies. Many functional parties create political choices and competition. This, in theory, holds the executive accountable. As politician and now Meru County Governor Kiraitu Murungi once argued, our experience has been very different.

Politicians have been free to leave and join political parties as easily as the rest of us do matatus. Behind his comment lies the reality that most of our parties are largely underfinanced, disorganized, undemocratic and anchored on a dominant personality with a substantial popular following. Our parties are like Cinderella in that fairy tale. They flourish during campaigns and then vanish at the stroke of midnight, leaving confused voters holding one high heel.

There are a few risks with the way that NASA is imploding and alliances with Jubilee are emerging. Firstly, there are no signals yet that suggest the handshake will lead to a more strategic or inclusive approach to what fundamentally ails us. This is probably the red line for me. If the Kimani-Mwangi secretariat offer nothing more for the country than the accommodation of political class minority interests they will squander an important opportunity.

Secondly, signs of a NASA divorce and possible extra-marital relationships between individual NASA members and Jubilee makes for a set of complicated relationships. Divorce can be messy. What makes divorce messy is not the separation. After a month of ‘ghosting’ each other, mistrust and contemptuous back-biting, divorce could introduce fresh air and new politics.

What can make divorces bitter are the lies, indecisiveness and meanness of spirit it generates. If this is NASA’s choice, its leaders need to declare this relationship complete, offer forgiveness, accept their responsibility and powerfully declare the way forward like couples separating. Failure to do this will predictably usher in a period of Grand Confusion politics.

Many have argued this week that we should not be worried. The tendency for parties to break up and patch up again is as natural for our political class as their paid supporters. The latter swopped party t-shirts daily last year based on who is paying most. Perhaps like that popular series “The Modern Family” we should accept this is our “Modern Society” and get on with it.

After acceptance, perhaps we should embrace the reality that the quality of our democracy depends on how we exercise the power of Article 1. The supremacy of the constitution and the sovereignty of the people article was introduced very deliberately as a single Article. Without constitutionality, our actions are meaningless. Without action, our constitution is powerless.

Besides our comfort at being spectators, “our tribesman” thinking also imperils us. This week, Cabinet Secretaries Keriako Tobiko and Sicily Kariuki faced the brunt of the tribesmen and women of Kenya Forestry Services Director Emilo Mugo and Kenyatta National Hospital Chief Executive Officer Lily Koros. Elected representatives sought to interfere with their decisions to sack and suspend the two public officers respectively for failing to protect our forests and hospital patients.

Here too, citizens need to raise their voices against attempts to shield the poor performance of our public offices. Ethnic solidarity is not helpful in the fight against deforestation, illegal logging, dysfunctional and dangerous hospitals. The alternative is to watch the country follow our multi-party politics down our road drains along with the rain raging across the country.

Four days after this article, Jubilee President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto cracked their whip against the 170 MPs who had signed an impeachment petition against Health CS Kariuki.

After #UhuruRailaTalks ceasefire, we must fully address what ails us now

First published Sunday Standard, March 11, 2017. Kindly reproduced here with permission from the Standard Group

Friday’s ceasefire announcement by Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga has the power of an epic war movie ending. Secretly crafted and carefully worded, their joint statement creates a fresh beginning for Kenyan politics. Whether it holds, depends on whether they, their advisors and the country see this as a journey rather than a symbolic event.

Nine months of violating our constitution and attacking public institutions, media, civil rights organisations and political parties had brought our democracy to its knees. Stuck in this political meltdown, we have worn down the nation and attracted local and international ridicule for our sins. In this sense, the dialogue that has led to a nine-point Friday agreement is both welcome and historic.

Like that tired and impatient Moses in the Bible, Kenyatta and Odinga have called on their followers to stop pounding the great rock that is Kenya. Kenya is indeed, infinitely bigger than the personal interests of two individuals or two parties. Congratulations gentlemen, for your leadership in this moment.

Over the last year, this column has devoted no less than five opinions to the topic of dialogue. I have argued that one-way communication, accountability dodging, threats to public institutions and ever-expanding egos is destroying our elected representatives the opportunity to be great leaders. Further that, without integrity and powerful conversations anchored in our constitution, neither legal intelligence nor political energy will guide us through the 2017 elections.

I will resist the temptation to speculate on how this happened, what to attribute to the leaders themselves, the religious, business, diplomatic leaders and which deals were really made. This is of secondary importance at this point. What is crucial as all negotiators know, is what happens next. The wider national leadership and Paul Mwangi and Martin Kimani’s secretariat must now concentrate on five strategies.

Deepen and financially resource some specifics actions within the nine points. Address the entire conflict comprehensively while also focusing on minor issues of public irritation. Thirdly, bring some creativity to our stale and predicable politricks. Include other public interest actors and third parties to chart the way forward. Lastly, see this resolution more of a journey than a Friday handshake.

Many of us are walking wounded. Traumatised men and women as peace builder Tecla Namachanja knows, have the tendency to seek revenge, lash out and even disrupt a future that is objectively in their interest. As post-accident survivors, it will take a while before we drive with our eyes firmly in front of us rather than obsessing on the rear-view mirror. The secretariat must patiently program for the walking wounded also.

Puncturing the political opposition and intensifying public cynicism with elected representatives must be avoided at this hour. The ever-revolving door of political parties is losing the public confidence and patience. In only one decade, we have seen hundreds die and thousands displaced in violent elections only to be presented with either #RailaKibaki, #UhuruRuto or #UhuruRaila as solutions.

Constitution tinkering to allow for a Prime Minister or adding more chairs at the Cabinet dining table will not address what ails us. It merely rewards zero-sum hardline electoral politics and balloons our over-representation.

Two signatures on an agreement and a photo opportunity will amount to little if they do not carry the political class and the rest of Kenya with them. Kenya is too complex and our wounds are too deep. For this agreement to powerfully hold, we need a series of meaningful national conversations and actions on what ails Kenya. There are obvious places to start.

Lift the discriminatory passport and fire-arms license bans and restrictions on NASA leaders. Both NASA and Jubilee must stop the abuse, hate-speech and reckless fiery speeches that have brought us to this brink once again. Stop also, the wanton disregard for court orders that protect constitutional rights and responsibilities.

Re-introduce security sector reforms to ensure live bullets will never again be used on protesters and bystanders including infants and school-children. Reform the Leadership and Integrity Act (2014) and election and campaign financing regulations to rein in the abuse of public resources during campaigns. Revive and pass the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report in the National Assembly. Commence the Public Benefits Organisations Act and restore some policy sanity to the development sector. Act decisively on the gender two thirds constitutional promise.

Friday gave us a fresh opportunity to re-imagine Kenya and #ChoosePowerfully. Let us not short-change or squander it.

VC and police must act over student leader Njoroge’s death

First published Sunday Standard, March 4, 2018. Kindly reproduced here with permission from the Standard Group

It has been seventy years since the Colonial Government established the Emergency company that later became the General Service Unit and almost twenty years since a younger Njoki Ndungu wrote her dissertation on the need for police reforms.

Njoki Ndungu is now a Supreme Court Judge and the police is no longer a force but a service governed by new laws and public institutions. In the wake of the murder of Meru University student leader Evans Njoroge, we must all ask the question, what has gone horribly wrong again?

Alone, unarmed and in flight, Evans Njoroge was pursued and shot dead by a police officer several meters away from a public demonstration he organized to protest the increase of university fees and poor facilities at his university.

The demand for affordable university education, democratic and efficient management of universities is not a crime under our law. It has also been a recurrent global theme with South Africa’s #FeesMustFall student movement being probably the most famous.

His death comes just six months after the violence against at least sixty University of Nairobi built environment and medical students on September 29. For seven hours, the General Service Unit yelled “Mnajiona mlisoma, sisi hatukusoma. Leo tutawaonyesha.” (You think you are educated and we are not. Today, we shall show you) while indiscriminately wielding batons, exploding tear-gas cannisters in confined spaces, sexually assaulting female students and torturing both sexes.

Njoroge tragically joins the very large number of citizens killed by our police service. Last year, 252 men, women and children died at the hands of uniformed officers. This was 38 more than 2016. Most of these well-documented deaths and injuries are among young men in the killing fields of Dandora, Mathare, Kondele, Majengo and other urban poor settlements.

Bunty Shah’s death last year stood out for many. Asian, third generation industrialist and millionaire, Shah was shot in an Anti-Terrorism Unit raid. The family have now sued the Attorney General and Police Inspector General seeking Kshs 730 million in damages with Kshs 100 million as a punitive measure for widespread extra-judicial executions.

To date, the incidents have elicited an all too familiar set of official responses. Silence, denial then an admission of a few rogue officers acting alone, accidental deaths or a justification that violent crimes breed violent policing lead the arguments. Words are not backed by police cooperation where it matters. The refusal to supply duty rosters, weapon registers, attend court appearances or provide evidence has intentionally frustrated investigations and inquests.

Only two cases out of a staggering 9,200 cases brought to the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) have successfully ended in convictions. Without vigilance, the other cases will probably recede in the public conscience and our amnesia will again license excessive force in future.

Protests have been the default expression of public disappointment and outrage. I was reminded this week that protest also comes from a space of powerlessness. Parents don’t protest at the behavior of their children nor do employers protest the poor performance of their employees. They simply take disciplinary action. Perhaps, it is time we looked at this issue in this way also.

The Meru University Vice Chancellor and University Council, Police Inspector General, National Police Commission and Interior Cabinet Secretary have an individual and collective obligation to act. Stepping aside, issuing a public apology, establishing conflict mediation and safety strategies, releasing that morning’s deployment plan and a list of all the officers involved, their ranks and service numbers to IPOA and lastly, swift disciplinary and criminal proceedings against the officers responsible would be a start.

Sixty-four years ago, Colonel Young made history by resigning as one of Kenya’s shortest serving Police Commissioners. Disgusted by police violence and torture of the Kenya Land and Freedom Army, he resigned after only eight months.

Having interacted with many decent, courageous and dignified police men and women, I know they must be appalled by the actions being taken in the name of “utumishi kwa wote”. Their reputation is now on the line. They too must speak up now.

Njoroge will not be among the 50,000 university students that graduate this year. Perhaps his family, comrades and rights organizations could also institute a civic suit to seek justice and kickstart desperately needed police reforms. We are not powerless. We also get to say how our public institutions treat us but we need to decisively act, if this is to happen.

Trampling on the rule of law breeds instability

First published Sunday Standard, February 25, 2018. Kindly reproduced here with permission from the Standard Group

Three incidents brought Amnesty International’s 400-page, 159 country report home for me this week. The first was Lancer Achieng and Joseph Abanja bravely appearing in a Kisumu court to demand justice for baby Pendo.

In a Nairobi court, LGBTIQ citizens sought to strike out sections of our archaic penal code that criminalise intimate same sex relationships. Lastly, thousands of kilometers away in Florida, students from Stoneman Douglas High School demanded their Congress leaders and National Rifle Association lobbyists take responsibility for the mass killings of seventeen of their fellow students. Their words “We refuse to be ignored by those who will not listen. We are not going away” could apply to all of those involved in the three incidents.

2017 saw both peril and progress for millions of people. Over 600,000 Rohingya muslims fled their Myanmar homes for safety in neighboring Bangladesh. A similar number of South Sudanese left one of Africa’s youngest states for Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. Imagine the entire people of Nyeri, Kajiado or Bomet being forced to flee en mass by famine, sexual abuse and violence. That is what happened to the Rohingya and South Sudanese last year.

Violent clampdowns by Governments also left many dead, injured, tortured or traumatized simply for expressing dissent or their right to expression and assembly within their borders.

While the cost of standing up has been expensive for many, 2017 saw new energies in unexpected places. #MeToo #TimeIsUp campaigns broke the global silence on sexual harassment in business, entertainment, NGO, religious and Government spaces. American and European citizens directly challenged their Governments’ treatment of Arab and African refugees and migrants. British, Greek and Algerian citizens confronted the silent killer of corruption and public health cuts.

These global trends paint a predictable common future for East African leaders and citizens. That future is restless and rebellious societies, unstable states, inequalities and repression. However, another future is possible if we are willing to confront three inconvenient truths.

As the power of digital information continues to grow over our minds, lives and countries, the toxicity of fake news imperils the human rights defender, leader and the average citizen. Misleading or polarizing each other with lies and half-truths is neither leadership nor citizenship. Fake news may be great for high suspense action movies but will not create safe and dignified societies for all of us.

Human rights defenders have to insulate themselves better from party and or Government capture. Political party capture comes at a very deep cost. Left unaddressed, we will choose our targets and our words selectively not based on constitutional principles but on which side we are on. Inevitably, we will find ourselves trapped in the crossfire of party hardliners caught in zero-sum politricks and unable to elevate their thinking.

Too many Government leaders still believe or tolerate the myth that strong autocratic leadership creates regime stability and smooth leadership transitions. If most autocratic leaders were allowed to write memoirs, I suspect the dizzy pre-occupation of stopping this, pre-empting that, would occupy several chapters. More honest tombstones would read, “Here lies a troubled and hyper-tensive failure of a man. Besieged for most of his rule, he had thought he kept his citizens in check. Then he watched it all fall apart”.

Simply, trampling on the rule of law and repression breeds instability. New ways of transforming popular dissent are desperately needed. The more courageous and wise of our leaders know this. Only by creating value-based and virtuous conversations and institutions can we create stable and inclusive nations. Even jobs, health, housing and food cannot do this alone.

If the political courage to act differently is needed among both citizens and leaders, friends of Kenya need it too now. Donor bashing in Kenya is one of Kenya’s fastest partisan sport. Those that engage, find false comfort in cyber-attacking the diplomatic community. The real cost is that we are not collectively finding new ways to confront inequalities, corruption and abuse of office as well as reforming our electoral system and security sector.

Baby Pendo would have celebrated her first birthday this month. We owe it to her, Stephanie Moraa, Lilian Khavere and many others to act differently. Until we can create a respect for human rights as mainstream popular culture and boldly inspire our youth to lead us, rights violations and the violence of 2017 will sit out there in our future as well.

We are destroying the democratic fabric

First published Sunday Standard, February 18, 2017. Kindly reproduced here with permission from the Standard Group

Our national fire smolders still. Blinded by the smoke of zero-sum tactics of hardline politicians, many of us still cannot see the difference between yesterday’s smoke and today’s flame. This week’s happenings and the significant upsets in South Africa and Ethiopia requires us to re-focus and engage. Oddly, Marvel’s “Black Panther” movie that hit our cinemas this week offers some clues where we can go next.

The appointment of Parliamentary committees and vetting of the Cabinet by our National Assembly edged to a close this week. Transparency International brilliantly just invoked the constitution to strike down the 2015 Public Audit Act and open up the finances of our security agencies to the Office of the Auditor General.

Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter, Madat Chatur and Arthur Sakwa were arrested for attempting to de-fraud the country of a staggering Kshs 633 million. Police-officer Titus Musila found himself alone in a court and convicted of a public Githurai street execution in 2013. Abandoned by his employers and a community who either tacitly ignored or approved of his shoot to kill operations, his conviction sends a clear message that extrajudicial executions do not come without consequences.

That these four moments have received little broader attention worries me. On this important week, NASA took a sabbatical to create a separate state or abuse western diplomats. Jubilee remained upset with the judiciary for not joining in on their opposition and media crackdown. Both appear to be driving with their eyes firmly fixed in their rear-view mirrors not on the road ahead.

Keeping our new Cabinet under public scrutiny is everyone’s business not just the media. Instituting a forensic management audit of the debt register would be a prudent way to probe the Keter incident as the Institute of Economic Affairs have proposed. Can police reformers seize the opportunity of the Musila conviction to demand that all shoot to kill units are dismantled?

Incredibly, two African Heads of States resigned under public pressure for an end to kleptocracy and dictatorship. It was fourteen years ago that the brave National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka declared a prima facie case of corruption against the then Deputy President Jacob Zuma. This week, the African National Congress finally stripped Jacob Zuma of the Presidency. He now faces close to 783 criminal suits on corruption and his legacy has just been shredded like the Biltong South Africans like so much.

Dawn has begun to break for our Ethiopian neighbors. For close to a decade, excessive and lethal police force has been the only response to courageous protests against political repression, economic and cultural exclusion. Mass arrests, unfair trials and torture of the political opposition had decimated all rights to freedom of expression and association. This week, the Federal Government released 700 political prisoners, many of them journalists. Prime Minister Haile-Mariam Desalegn also resigned, citing his prolonged stay as an obstacle to democracy. There are obvious lessons for our leaders in power in the South African and Ethiopian cases.

The struggles for justice and smoke of African politricks deserve their own movies. Until then, we watch others for hope and inspiration. I watched “Black Panther” at a special premiere organized by the #StillWeRise” African-American community living in Kenya. Over ten thousand people across the world have watched “Black Panther” by now. This must-see movie powerfully explores the twin dangers of social injustice and radicalism without virtues. Two statements still stick out for me. Wakanda leader T’Challa’s words “Your heart is full of hatred, you are not fit to be a King” and “Wise people build bridges, foolish ones build barriers” should be repeated by everyone who consider themselves a leader every morning before they put on their clothes.

We are losing our capacity for empathy and engagement. We listen not to understand or even to persuade others. We listen only to find new ways to restate old grievances or score political points. We are too comfortable listening to only those that think and sound like us. Regardless of which side we are on (and some believe there are only two sides), we are destroying the fabric of a democratic, tolerant and engaged society that makes it impossible for corrupt and dictatorial leaders (even benevolent ones) to reign. We still need to re-focus and engage. #KenyaForever