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The Kenyan revolution that never was

It's 8 minutes past midnight. It has taken quite a while to come to the decision whether to blog or catch up on sleep. Catching some sleep means postponing the blog post to another time, but doing the post now means loosing some sleep and a sleepy day tomorrow. A sleepy day tomorrow is okay, cause I will spend the better part of the day travelling to Diani for the Connected Kenya conference where I will be providing news coverage. I can catch up some sleep on my car ride to the Coast, in between reading Chimamanda Adichie's Purple Hibiscus (finally, thanks to a bargain buy from Kwani? Trust).

Tomorrow is also the day that the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) has called for Kenyans to walk to work to protest against the rising cost of living, including the cost of oil. The Ministry of Energy pretends to regulate oil prices by setting a maximum price ceiling. This began about 3 months ago after consumers lamented about the ever rising and high price of oil and related products which in turn drove inflation. Ironically, last week saw the highest ever rise of fuel prices which saw petrol rise by Ksh 8 (about $ 0.1) overnight while kerosene missed he ksh 100 mark by a few shillings.

Back to the planned walk to work, which is an imitation of a similar protest driven by the opposition in Uganda that has seen President Museveni over- reacting - deploying the military on unarmed protesters , declaring it illegal to walk to work (we can't make this up). Don't ask what we were doing in Kenya as the Ugandans sought to address their inflation. In Kenya, we have no opposition, any politician worth his name is either on the ODM led or PNU led arm of the government.

Both the ODM and PNU arms of the government are busy setting the stage campaigning for 2012 elections. They have sought to use the ICC indictment of suspected masterminds of Kenyan 2008 post election violence suspects as a proxy war for this campaign, with  some politicians seeking to eliminate those opponents named as suspects while the suspects have sought to use the charges as a "mercy eliciting" tool by portraying themselves as unsuspecting victims set up by their opponents.

The Media? The Media has been busy covering the hatred spewing out of our politicians mouths to the point that my colleagues now pen their stories from deep within the rear orifices of our politicians. Every headline contains "Hague" and once in a while, we get a break where the headline story is a cock and bull tale of Hague suspects lugging around $10 Million cash in paper bags, despite the fact that this weighs in at 100 kg.

The rate at which we are no longer addressing any issues worth a pinch of salt has reached a point where the middle class are uncomfortably fidgeting in their "Made in China" leather office seats.

The middle class is alarmed that no one is addressing rising inflation and unemployment, and that the "bottom of the pyramid (This is a term that has been instilled upon me by the telco operators who I cover in my line of work. It is a great term that elsewhere would have been either 'those living below $2 a day [$1 ? please!]' or better yet ' the poor masses'"), yes, the bottom of the pyramid may be stoked back to the point where we are slashing each others throats with machetes.

The middle class, inspired by the Egyptians and Tunisians have decided to take action into their hands. They are now determined to force the media to cover real issues happening outside the rear ends of politicians, determined to catch inflation and make the country a better place to live in.

However, the middle class loves cake a lot. The extent to which the middle class love their cake is evidenced by the rising number of Bakers Inn, Vasilies and smaller cake shops around Nairobi. They love their cakes so much that they want to keep their cake and eat it at the same time.

The middle class does not want to be inconvenienced by peaceful demonstrations that cause traffic jams that slow them in their quest to get to their Internet equipped offices or WiFi ready cake shops. Furthermore, the middle class does not want to risk a brush with the Police who may arrest them and thus cause them to miss what their politicians said on the evening news. They do not want to miss the luxury of wiping their asses with imported Egyptian Tissue paper and instead use the front page of the 4 newspapers they bought on their way to work.

Worse of all, the middle class dreads those unemployable university students who stone their imported cars when rioting against worthless every day occurrences, like the disappearance of a person or death of another.

There are better ways of addressing this issues, signing online petitions. This can be done for the comfort of our air conditioned, Internet served , leather seat equipped offices as we eat a pastries alongside imported coffee.

No need to waste lost of time demonstrating in the streets like Egyptians, or beg for tiny contributions to construct a foot bridge near General Motors on Mombasa road. Raising this issues on Twitter and signing in with Facebook to 'sign the petition' better addresses them.


As I mentioned earlier, I a travelling long distance tomorrow, perfect excuse to avoid the 'walk to work' demo. Would I have walked? no, why? I have a range of excuses including how work is far, I would get late to work amongst others that mask my avoidance of any slight risk and discomfort in the quest to address such issues. I will not be alone in this though, the majority is complacent.

Sign a petition today telling the Kenyan intelligence services not to be alarmed by online activists, they are no match to Okiya Oumuata who chains himself to your headquarters in protest. Chains to them are for BDSM.

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