Friday, December 11, 2009

Johannesburg Transitions

The opening of this exhibition on 3/12/2009 was a clearly choreographed affair just like all the events that take place at G.I. Although, I missed the speeches since I had arrived late due to some unavoidable circumstances. I try not to miss such events.
Johannesburg transition’s is a photo exhibition by a South African photographer Andrew Tshabangu. What is interesting about his work is that it is an exhibition of black and white photos. These photos are what I would call ordinary photos of South African’s captured in the streets of Johannesburg.
Some of my best pieces from this exhibition are photos that capture scenes of South Africa back in 1994. This show African’s selling apples outside a mall.
If you have listened to Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s Umqombothi then you will not fail to see a photo by the same title. It shows an old lady preparing some Umqombothi.
I got a chance to speak to Andrew and he I got first hand explanation background on some of his photos and why he produces black and white photos. I was happy to learn that the local liquor of S.A. equivalent of Chang’aa here is called Umqombothi! I could help asking him about pictures of Churches in his exhibition and he did allude that this is the project he is currently working on. Also in carrying out this project he is also trying to working on his religion.
This time around the background song, if you call an African woman, felt at home with a South African exhibiting at Goethe.
You can catch this exhibition at the Goethe-Institut Auditorium which is open until December 18th and then again between January 4th and 8th.
Monday to Saturday, 1.00pm – 6.00pm.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Political Cafe (Sarova II) On Harmonized Draft Constitution on 08/12/2009

Youth Agenda Organized another session of Political Cafe on 8/12/09 to discuss the harmonized draft constitution (HDC) so as to come up with a memorandum to present to the committee of experts on the views of the youth who participate in youth agenda forums.
This is what I would refer to as Sarova II and it was organized because it was felt Sarova I did not exhaust the issues at hand to be discussed. Therefore, this cafe was convened from 1300hrs and took the better part of the afternoon.
The agenda of the cafe was to validate the recommendations of the previous cafe (Sarova I) and to discuss on the following chapters;
• Judiciary (Lead by Priscilla Nyokabi)
• Public Finance (Lead by John Mutua)
Priscilla Nyokabi from Kituo cha Sheria and John Mutua from Institute of Economic affairs was at hand to assist us run through these chapters. This is after they gave brief presentations.

A suggestion of pegging a certain percentage of our revenue (GDP) to be allocated to judiciary was raised.
The issue of structure of courts was queried especially Court of Appeal and Constitution Court. It was in our opinion that the HDC has no clear cut distinction as to which court is superior of the two.
Some members had problems with Kadhi's courts. However, I am of the opinion that they should be entrenched in the constitution as is the case in HDC. However, requirements of a degree either in law or Islamic studies should be added to strengthen them.

Public Finance
John Mutua advised us that one of the things we need look at when considering this chapter is aspect of cost benefit analysis. That would be when we decide to get rid of our current structure and come up with 74 counties as proposed in the HDC.
Although, no one has come up with the cost figures of devolved government as proposed in the HDC. In my view there is need to do this so as to debate this chapter with facts. We could borrow from what the US is doing when they are overhauling their health care system. They work with figures.

Picha Mtaani

Picha Mtaani which was launched on 7/12/09 at 1000hrs outside Hilton Hotel is a collection of photos taken by Bonface Mwangi an award winning photo journalist. His photos capture the electioneering period aka campaign period, election day and post election violence that occurred after our disputed 27/12/2007 polls. Hence this pictures show a chronological account of the events before and after the polls.
I have had the occasions to see exhibition of his works before. This previous exhibitions were being held in what I would term as 'private open spaces' namely; the Alliance Francaise, Goethe Institut, The Godown and The National Museums of Kenya. Also, his pictures can be found on just a band song 2012.
However, what I like is that Picha Mtaani has embraced a new concept.This is the concept of exhibiting his photos in a public open space i.e. outside the Hilton Hotel. This gives the wider society and not the tourists or affluent persons a chance to consider his works and reflect as a nation on the events that lead to the post election violence.
This exhibition from my own perspective is that it is meant to spur us into conversations with ourselves and with one another. I could not help noticing that it had realized this objective as I went to see the exhibition on a Tuesday night (08/12/2009). I could see Kenyans from all walks of life engaging each other in conversations as to what might have possibly gone wrong.
This is a wonderful concept and I can only thank the UNDP, Picha Mtaani and the whole group behind this concept for what they are doing.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Political Café: Deliberations on harmonized draft constitution under the auspices of Youth Agenda

I had the pleasure of attending the above forum to discuss the harmonized draft constitution. From my perspective, it was a meaningful endeavor to spend my Monday evening discussing the harmonized draft constitution in the presence of one member of committee of expert Bobby M. Mkangi (Whom I must thank for being so nice as to give me his copy of the preliminary report), Hon C. Mbarire (My M.P., I must point out that it was something to be proud. It is not everyday our legislatures do anything to write home about!), Cyprian Nyamwamu, Kepta Ombati, Pastor Gowi, Rita Shiko, Collins Otieno and Nemuel Machuki.
The deliberations were to look at what the harmonized draft constitution holds for the youth but it was not exclusively about youth interests as six major points of the harmonized draft constitution we discussed. Among this were;
• Executive
• Legislature
• Land
• Bill of rights
• Decentralization

This months political cafe was full house given the big shots who attended this months meeting. Thus, I was able to gain lots of insights and now am reading the draft constitution in a better informed position.
For those not in the know the political cafe is organized by Youth Agenda monthly (subject to availability of funding) and in most cases it is held at Goethe Institute because one of the major sponsors is PLDP (Germans). It seeks to discuss youth issues in an informal forum come up with recommendations to this issues.
Am informed the deliberations of this forum will be published in the dallies in the course of this week. We can all look forward to see the final draft recommendations that we adopted at Sarova PanAfric