Pure Madness

My thoughts on the "behind the scenes" of life. You will find inspiration here. Share it generously


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Death Announcement!

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the sad and untimely death of our dear friend, Courage. Until his death, Courage has been living in our hearts from birth. He will be joining his kin faith, hope, trust, optimism, confidence self-belief, sacrifice who passed on a while ago. Courage leaves behind fear, self-doubt, limitations, cowardice, timidity and faint-heartedness.

Kenya Liz rape victim

Courage will be remembered for energizing many hearts to keep believing even when all hope was lost. He was there when we were fighting for our independence. He made the freedom fighters intolerant of injustices that were happening at the time. It is because of him that the freedom fighters sacrificed their lives and took an oath not to relent until the generations that would come after them were free to be whoever they wanted.

Courage will also be remembered for leading men and women into fighting for democracy in Kenya. He is the one who kept them from giving up when they were tortured and humiliated for taking a stand. It was Courage that reminded these men and women what they were fighting for. He showed them that even though some would lose their lives in the process, their posterity would enjoy the fruits of a democratic country.

Courage will also be remembered for walking with individuals like the late Wangari Maathai who fought greedy and self-centered individuals and organizations that were hell bent on robbing future generations of their inheritance; a safe, clean and functional eco system. Today we enjoy the benefits of her sacrifice and our children will grow up in a clean, unpolluted environment.

Westgate heros saves child

You will remember Courage when he walked with individuals like the late John Michuki who dreamt of a safer public transport system. He put his foot down and refused to give in to pressure from the stakeholders in the sector. Today, his legacy lives on; public transport is orderly, safer and more comfortable than we could have ever imagined.

Before his demise, Courage has also been living in heroes and heroines who are still alive today. He was living in the GSU officer who chose to reason with rioters during the post-election violence period instead of using violence. Courage was at the center of the people who fought for this country to have a new constitution. He was in leaders who resigned from high positions because they did not want to be part of “the rot.” Unlike the famous “I’d rather die than resign” kind of leaders we are used to

Courage, if you can remember, has over the years put Kenya in the global map as he inspired many athletes to push themselves enough to win races and marathons. He has restored the pride we have in our country when our athletes have carried the Kenyan flag high every year. From the track to the swimming pool to the volleyball court the Kenyan flag has continued to soar.

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You too interacted with Courage a couple of times and can tell of his friendship. When you went out to demonstrate and demand justice over grabbed land, justice for rape victims and other seemingly ‘small’ injustices. You refused to keep quiet when something was not right. You let your voice be heard and when it wasn’t you, joined like-minded individuals to make it even louder. You brought the fight for justice home and into your networks, including social media. Any platform you got, you raised your voice and demanded justice. Thanks to Courage, your voice was heard, and you made a difference.

It took courage for you to wake up early that election morning to go vote for a new constitution and for a leader you believed in. You believed in the need for change and you actioned your belief. You chose leaders who had the courage to declare that they had what it would take to change the status quo. Courage made you see the benefits of your choice and you took the risk.

In his last days however, Courage lived a very lonely life. We all abandoned him and made deals with his enemies; fear and selfish ambition. We soon became cowards who only thought about themselves. We refused to respond to people who cried for our help and told ourselves that it was someone else’s responsibility. We built higher walls around our homes and around ourselves to keep people out.

courage wordle

We soon joined networking forums not to offer others anything but to find out what they could offer us. We became selfishly competitive to the point of sabotaging colleagues so that we would look good. We stopped being courteous on the roads or anywhere else. Our selfishness became so severe that we started selling out our country and freedom to the highest bidder or just any bidder. We turned our back and hid our faces to injustices. We hid in our religious institutions saddened by how evil seemed to be thriving around us wondering what ill equipped simple people like ourselves could do in such times. Soon our country became the prey for terrorists, rapists thugs and land grabbers. We saw evil but shut our mouths to it and slowly Courage grew weaker and weaker.

Our leaders stopped listening to Courage. They forgot that Courage had once taught them that they were the heroes chosen by the people to fight injustices in society. They too became “crowds for hire” even at the cost of the mwananchi. They unanimously appointed a public servants who played to their tune and turned down qualified personnel that would bring the much needed change in the country. They ganged up and looted the country at any given chance.

So dear brethren, we are gathered here today to say goodbye to our departed friend. Our unsung hero who lived his latter years as a lonely, abandoned old man despite all that he helped us achieve over the years as individuals and as a country. Let us take this time to honor him by remembering all that we have lost in the demise of a dear friend, Courage.

(Moment of silence)

Edited by Wanjiku Kimaru

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In God’s Name

A lot has been done in Kenya in the name of God. The other day, a pastor in Machakos is said to have been caught praying for naked women in the middle of the night, as if clothes have been known to hinder answers to prayers. In the name of God, a group of gun blazing youths recently left an entire nation wounded and 148 promising Kenyans dead.

This is not the first time “shameful” activities are done in the name of God.These days, the miracles promised in the Holy Books to anyone who believes, are now on sale on the pulpit, in parks and in buses. In pursuit of these seemingly elusive and expensive miracles, many a people have sold their shambas and other possessions only to be robbed of the hope that put them on that journey. Others have in the name of God refused to take their children to school for education or to hospital for treatment. The list is endless.

Christianity isn’t the only religion that has had its fair share of challenges in the name of God. Our Muslim friends are now looking for ways to deal with the radicalization of the younger Muslim generation into religious militias that have seen Kenya lose many lives, the recent Garissa attacks still fresh in our minds. We have seen Mosques turn into battle grounds as the police raid and disband suspects hiding inside the mosque.

Religion is personal maybe that explains why most people are very defensive when it comes to matters religion. But does that mean we ought to turn the other way when religious injustices are going on unchecked? Where do we draw the line? Do we have to wait for lives to be lost for us to act? Do we have to wait until an entire generation has been radicalized before we say its needs to stop? Or an adherent who will not take his children for immunization and chases away health officers? What must happen for us to start talking about the danger of “unchecked religion?”

What can you and I do anyway? I believe the answer lies in very uncomfortable quarters -cleaning up our places of worship. Christians already have a perfect example on how to clean their places of worship. Jesus once went into the temple and chased out the people who were doing the wrong business in the temple. Our places of worship, just like during Jesus’ days, have become “A den of thieves.”

Pakistani Muslims Form Human Chain To Protect Christians During Mass. (Photo: www.huffingtonpost.com)

Pakistani Muslims Form Human Chain To Protect Christians During Mass. (Photo: http://www.huffingtonpost.com)

The government has intimated that they want to start regulating religious institutions. My suggestion is we do it ourselves; if we don’t and the government authorities do so, I guarantee you there will be an uproar. We will feel as though our holy places are being intruded by outsiders and most likely we will be up in arms.

I believe the religious umbrella bodies like the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and Supreme Council of Muslims (SUPKEM) need to be empowered especially by the religious groups they represent to play a more active role-in monitoring what happens in their respective groups. These umbrella bodies also need to have powers to shut down religious institutions that do not adhere to their code of conduct.

There should be registration procedure put in place before one is allowed to start a church. All activities happening in the Churches, temples and Mosques should be privy to their umbrella bodies. If any doctrine is being taught in any religious institution that is not in line with the Holy Books, action should be taken against that institution. This way, the government authorities will only need to deal with the religious bodies as they do with unions.

Religious leaders will need to do what they preach and be humble enough to submit to their umbrella bodies just as the congregants submit to them. Their finances need to be audited by an independent professional auditing company. This way, if any activity is noted in a religious institution that is questionable, the umbrella body will be asked to account for them. If that institution is not registered then the government can close down the institution and take legal action against them. If it is registered then the government deals with umbrella body who in turn takes action against the individual institution that is “out of line”.

Muslims pray while Christians form a protective human chain around them in Nigeria's capital Abuja, January 10, 2012. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotund

Muslims pray while Christians form a protective human chain around them in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, January 10, 2012. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotund

Sadly (and God forbid), if status quo remains and we don’t put some controls to our religious institutions. Religious intolerance will soon soar and cause religious institutions to form militia groups to “protect” themselves from the other religion or fellow religious institutions. Worse still, religious leaders might start aligning themselves with political leaders who promise them “protection” once they are in power.

Pirelli, the world’s fifth largest tyre manufacturer have a slogan, “Power is nothing without control” and a common phrase from the Spiderman movie is “With great power comes great responsibility.” Friends, our religion and our faith need to be checked for our own good. The latter (faith) is personal responsibility. You and I have the great responsibility (are mandated) to live our lives as the Holy Books we subscribe to dictate.

Libraries are a great resource to help us add knowledge and complement our education. Spending time in the library reading is beneficial to our education but it does not guarantee passing exams. In the same way, Churches, Mosques and other religious facilities are just aids to complement our faith. Regular attendance helps us increase our spiritual knowledge but these institutions should never replace personal devotion and effort required to grow our own faith.

Power is nothing without control and with great power comes great responsibility.

Edited by Wanjiku Kimaru


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Remember The Poor!

Remember_the_poor

It almost seems impossible to believe that we are in a new year barely two weeks after we ushered in 2015. Some of us have already forgotten the resolutions we swore to live by this year. To most, it’s safe to say not much has changed from last year. We are still here, in the pain and problem we were in last year. No fast forward buttons available to speed up the process. We feel stuck, out of luck, let down and left behind. We are disappointed.

I am guilty of expecting things to change as soon as a New Year checks in. I love new beginnings. Fresh starts. I get easily frustrated when things seem to remain the same when I eagerly expect them to change. I want to plan better, make better choices and wiser decisions. I want to drop old destructive habits. I want to be a better person. I want to be more reliable, I want to live beyond myself. But that’s not where I am this year. Far from it.

I am still selfish and self-centered. I don’t care much about other people’s needs it’s about me. I am lost in the problems of my own world and blinded by my own needs. If only I could stop for a while to see what is happening around me, I would actually realize that I am so much better off. I have so much than I think I do. My frustrations about what I don’t have would disappear if I took time to look around and see what others don’t have.

I have good health, I am sane (or at least sane enough to think that I am sane) I have a family and friends. I have a home and access to clean water. In fact the water that runs in my toilet bowl is fit for human consumption; it’s about etiquette for me, not access. I have a meal every day and when I don’t, it’s out of choice. I have decent clothes and a place to go back to in the evening regardless of what the day was like. I have so much to be grateful for.

The fact that I have “so much” does not mean that I still don’t have needs. We all do. But is it possible that as they say, I am crying about my lack of shoes while my neighbor has no feet? There is nothing wrong with anticipating to meet your needs. If anything they are yours. That’s why you work; to meet your needs. All our needs are valid but perhaps we give them too much attention than we should.

I learnt on Sunday something that inspired my perception of “where I am”. It might inspire you too. Did you know that if you and your spouse bring home a minimum collective income of (wait for it) Kshs40,000, you are among the 7% of Kenyans who live above the poverty line. You are actually the middle class! This means that 93% of Kenyans are living below the poverty line. You can learn more about this data in a sermon here. Remember the poor!

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Believe it or not. You are doing way better than most. You are doing so much better that you have no idea how envious those around you are. You have so much going on for you. True, you have no obligation to worry what other think about you. Actually, there is a common phrases in a popular Kenyan song “tuko na shida zetu tuskize zako kwanini”? (We have our own problems why should we listen to yours)

This year, Kenyans, regardless of what is happening in your life, what you think you have or don’t have, please remember the poor. For a long time we have placed this responsibilities on our political and religious institutions. But this year I invite you to a different call, remember the poor within your reach. The people who work for you. Those who clean your houses every week, those you interact with at work, those 93% who are still below the poverty line around you. If you and I choose to make the life of one fellow Kenyan better, just one, then others will follow. Those we have helped will help others, Religious institutions will follow and eventually (hopefully) our leaders who have more influence to change the current trend, will follow suit. Our country will change. You and I will have contributed to this change and not just with handouts but real change.

You are doing way better than you think. Remember the poor.


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From the Pulpit to Politics

Madness I tell you. That is what is going on these days. I am not sure I can keep up anymore with the level of madness that you find in Kenya today. When a mad man tells you that you are mad, maybe you really are mad. It’s what he knows best. Madness. Now that madness seems to be “in season” let’s talk. One mad person to another.

Photo courtesy of getty images.

Photo courtesy of getty images.

Talking of madness, how is it that people who barely have enough for themselves, fall prey to schemes in which they enrich other people. Seriously, I don’t have enough for myself yet someone will somehow convince me that to get more I will need to give them the little that I have? Logically, this principle works this way, if I have and someone else doesn’t, I give to the one who doesn’t have. If you don’t have and then you give the little you have to the one who already has, then you my friend, are a competitor! You are mad.

If we were to do a madness challenge, the person who barely has anything to give and yet finds something to give to the one who already has hoping to get more would take the cup! Let’s break it down further, even the model and instructions in The Bible are; to eat, you work. Simple. That is why people often pray and ask that “…the work of their hands…” be blessed.

Photo courtesy of getty images.

Photo courtesy of getty images.

So while the rest of the sober and sane world works an entire month to get a salary at the end of the month, you want to “sow a seed” so that you can get “certain fast returns”? You my friend are out of your mind. That’s a pyramid scheme. You are greedy and you are cutting corners and that’s why someone is preying on you instead of praying for you. Here is an even better idea. Don’t pay rent anymore. Get a sack and a corner like the rest of us. You are mad.

So you woke up in the morning took a shower and dressed up like a sane person. Then you went to a religious institution where the leader tells you to show the entire world your breast (the one that you had covered very well when you left the house perhaps because you knew that was the right thing to do). Your own father and mother would never ask you to do that, your teachers in school didn’t either, your husband at home (if you have) has never asked you to do such a thing.

In fact if your boss dared to suggest such a thing you would sue him and he would spend the rest of his business life behind bars. But this stranger, not a doctor, a man asks you to show the world your breast and you do so? You are probably mad and under a spell. I hope it’s not contagious. Grab your corner. Feel at home. With us, even if you walk naked no one will care. You are lucky you got to rehearse madness before you became mad. Some woke up one morning and alas!

Voting

But don’t worry, actually be proud of your new status. There are people who are fighting their status. They walk around like sane people but if you look closely they aren’t. Here is your consolation. Every five years, these people will wake up early in the morning spend the better part of their day queuing to vote. That’s doesn’t sound mad right? Wait till you hear who they are voting for. That’s where the madness checks in.

They will vote for someone who for the last many years has been making the same promises to them but never delivering anything. Yet they will wake up early in the morning vote for him/her, spend the entire day watching TV to see if “their leader has won” and even pray that God would allow the leader they voted for to win. Others will vote for a person with a criminal record or a bad reputation and hope that they will deliver what they promised.

Once “their leader” wins, their lives becomes worse, while that of the person they voted for becomes better. Their kids will get poor education in congested classroom if any, while the politician will take their children to international schools. They will spend hours or days trying to access good health services while their leader will get the best treatment outside the country. They will work hard, earn less, pay more taxes as their leader works less if at all, and gets tax exempt packages. They will lose the little they have earned to robbers and thugs as insecurity soars all the while the politician gets more security and adds another layer of tint to his armored vehicle. As their roads get worse and worse, his car gets higher and higher.

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And then as if that’s not enough madness, after five years of doing absolutely nothing, he/she will come back with 200 bob and they will validate him as a good leader that remembers his people. He will get into his car and speed off. As the dust settles they will realize that 200 bob for five years is not much. But it’s not the first time they have been taken advantage of. Nope neither is it the last.

So you see my friend, you might have shown your sick breast to world and they thought you mad. Well, even we mad people thought you mad but that’s not the point. The point is, they only see other people’s madness. Never theirs. Just like the leader of your religious institution, their political leaders continue to prey on them while they pray that the bad leader they voluntarily chose changes.

Photo courtesy of getty images.

Photo courtesy of getty images.

I pray too. I pray that one day we can all loose our minds. Maybe then, our sight will be better and our decisions wiser. If not, well, we were mad. What did we expect?

Yours Truly

The Madman