Pointing fingers at Uhuru isn’t going to get you a shoe.
By Najar Munyinyi
Do you know that story of the two shoemakers?
“Zamani za kale, humans landed at coast via way of ship. SHIP – Kikuyu’s call ships ‘mary’ I don’t know why. This story is that in those days broke “mzungu” would sit in the belly of the ‘mary’ which was called the steerage section, to travel to Africa for “opportunities”. Steerage was one big space in the bottoms of the “marys” – mzungu slept, shitted, cooked, threw up, peed and shat more – in slops buckets which where carried up and down between decks, so that their poo could be thrown overboard. Pollution of our oceans began long ago but let me not go there…
Our story is that there were these two shoemakers who had left England to come do business in Queen’s country. They landed in Mombasa – and as they disembarked they began to look around at the locals. “Aye, Jesus Lord, looky here mate, – oh looky here – these here natives don’t wea’ nary a shoe..!”
… and when the ship rang it’s bell to leave Mombasa Port, one of the shoemakers got back on to return to Londonderry and retold the sad tale of how them “..bloody natives didn’t wear shoes, no damn business”. The other shoemaker, he set up a shoe shop, and began making shoes and boots for his clients who had no shoes.
What’s the moral of this story?
Our government has collapsed, and peoples are getting ‘sacked’ left right and middle, but there is one thing that will save any and all youths – if they are serious and stop squealing like a bunch of roasting pigs – and that is to fill the gaps via a cottage industry and hard work. If they do not leave the cities and go back to their lands, they shall continue screeching, moaning, weeping and screaming to Uhuru who really does not care if you’re shoe-less or not. Him he’s buying his wife Jimmy Choo shoes while you you’re walking shoeless to the choo.
CBO’s and the Department of Social Services and Understanding Social Development Programs. To understand this Social Development Program one would have to examine countries like Norway and Sweden which call their form of governance “social democratic”. If you follow closely the politics of the United States of America you may also have caught this term or heard about the Social Democrats, USA (SDUSA or SocDems) – an American association of social democrats which was founded in 1972. Today in 2019, young leaders in the USA are vigorously pushing away from the social injustices created by the economics of the Baby Boomers and big capital ventures, and towards a more equitable democracy. The capitalist economic corporate systems of governance are built mainly on the economics of greed, extraction of resources and capital gains – where the human being is identified and regarded as a capital ‘resource’ – and hence the formation of inhumane Human Resource departments created to disregarded humans as requiring any form of honor. This model relies on a pyramid spread of wealth, where masses/workers toil for meager wages yet are highly taxed to support the life-style of a privileged few. In the USA for example, laws formulated by capitalists have set up the complex prison system industry where prisoners work much, for less than a dollar a day wages, this is in an economy that is regarded as among the richest in the world.
In Kenya, we have a collapsing economy where a few top families together with our “royal family” are living large at the expense of millions of Fatuma’s, Wanjiku’s and Ahmeds – where large scale-farms and other conglomerates pay thousands of shillings to executive paper-pushers and little to the over-taxed low wages earner. Because of the collapse of formal employment, the private sector in a capital move, pay lower and lower wages, charge more for goods in order to make profits, and lay off salaried employees.
Kenya’s Capitalism is Dead. There is no more room at the top of this pyramid scheme for others. For those of you who may not entirely understand, note that capitalism is an economic system which is founded on the private ownership of the means of production, and their operations, for Profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include amassing private property and land, capital accumulation, wage labor as opposed to salaried jobs, voluntary exchange of human resources, (or slave wages) a price system and competitive markets. In simple terms, Capitalism is an economic system where the government plays a secondary role and companies make many of the decisions and own most of the property. This is what Kenyan’s failed to understand when arguing about the economy – it’s working quite well and the Kenyatta Family is at the top of the Market – they own the means of production and they operate for only PROFIT. But because we as the public did not put in checks and balances, plus this family is also the government – the economy has collapsed. However, there are two things we don’t have in Kenya – a price system, and competitive markets. In getting to the top of this market, the Kenyatta family destroyed, are destroying, and will destroy all in their greed to amass more and more wealth – which means they own everything – but they forgot that people need to have money to buy their products, and this error is why the pyramid and Kenya’s previous economic boom is busting.
Social Democracy is a political, social and economic philosophy that supports economic and political interventions to promote social justice – this within the framework of a liberal democratic polity, and a capitalist-mixed economy. When studying the Nordic Model which comprises the economic, social, as well as typical Cultural practices and policies, I found that it is particularly favorable towards Kenya’s community development programs and this is what I discuss here. “Cultural practices” in this regard defines the practices of a particular ethnic culture or sub-culture group. In practical usage, cultural practices refers to the traditional indigenous customs developed within specific ethnic groups, and those aspects of culture that have been practiced for more than 500 years. Among the Borana, for example, they have customs which are 700 years old. Because of the elasticity of this Nordic Model, it is possible to develop communities in Kenya through the undertaking of their unique cultural policies that will involve the entire community, all without negating their particular cultural and indigenous traditions.
Department of Social Development (DSD) in Kenya.
The Department of Social Development currently falls under the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, it’s objectives being;-
- mobilize and empower individuals, families, groups and communities
- facilitate the process of social change.
- achieve sustainable socio-economic development.
Under the Department of Social Development, each CBO or Community Based Organization functions through its by-laws. These by-laws are unique to each CBO and are accepted as the guiding principles and philosophy of the CBO. It is when writing the bylaws that each community can and should encompass their cultural practices and policies – instead of calling in a “lawyer” or someone with a lot of ‘kizungu’ to write the by-laws, CBO’s should rely on their unique cultural processes and systems which depend upon the welfare of ALL MEMBERS. This is why they are called “community based organizations” where each individual in a community has a role to play towards the joint success of that community. As stated, if pursued correctly, there is no need to hire lawyers, seek politicians for favours or handouts, or look for funding in order to get individuals to write up ambiguous agreements in High School English.
The CBO is a completely cost effective development program, as depending on the type of CBO formed, the association pays a fee from as little as Ksh 1000/- and a certificate which has access to government or bank loans, both internal or international donor funding.
The language of the document need not be written in ENGLISH. The language of the CBO constitution/by-laws should be in the common language or dialect of that particular community. Meetings, discussions and forward strategic planning meetings are a necessity of each CBO and it is often either unnecessary or impossible for such meetings to be held in English. For example, if the CBO is located in North Turkana.
Further, there is an English term known as ‘lost in translation’. For the purposes of record-keeping it would be extremely necessary to record proceedings of the CBO for posterity, but much can be lost-in-translation when the recordings are done in a foreign language!! This is what “cultural practices” within social-democracy means – and language is an integral part of culture.
The CBO is renewed yearly by the local chief – and in many regions around Kenya there are those whom have, again, no more knowledge of the English language than the closest tree – for why should they – while English and Kiswahili are Kenya’s business languages in the capital cities – these languages often feature nowhere when dealing with local communities. Therefore I would strongly advice that no chief should stamp or approve a document which he/or she cannot understand.
What type of CBO can Kenyans form?
Before the arrival of ‘chain stores’ or ‘supermarkets’ the world was built on what is known as cottage industries – each family had a specialization and would trade on it. The shoemaker would look for those who had no shoes and trade to make shoes.
Kenyan’s however, are short on ideas, and the greed for short term INDIVIDUAL gains in this country is overwhelming. If one business does well with a car wash, the next few Kenyans follow suit like sheep, without thought. If one youth CBO forms a boiled-egg business for night revelers, the next week you’ll find 16 egg sellers haggling on the same spot.
There is a redundancy of ideas in the Kenyan market where Tom Kamau will kill you for a few paltry shillings to make a profit off your idea. This is why I stated earlier that for any CBO to work well, they will have to study the rules and regulations of their customs and then inquire and look into their social needs for CBO’s are built on social development and not on commercial economics and get rich quick plans. CBO’s offer humanitarian services which in the long term make a community wealthy. KEMRI is a CBO, so are all YMCA’s.
Pastoralists and Nomads
In Kenya, we have an abundance of land – forget this ‘individual nonsense’ of going to work in the ‘capital city’ for when you do so, you loose out on two of THE MOST important forms of CAPITAL which are LAND capital and HUMAN capital. Many have land inherited from ancestors which have been illegally taken away by foreign thugs. Turning to the government to ask for assistance is futile – and this is why we also have wars regarding land use with foreign conservationists who use these same CBO certificates to get funding for your lands*. Form CBO’s to get your lands back. Then get your akala’s back on. Eg, your local village may have about 30 families. Each family with maybe about 700 cows, or 200 goats. If they formed a ‘Herders CBO’ for example – that’s a powerful Ranch right there – do the numbers and go figure. This social movement for social equity and justice can pave the way for creating generational wealth which can then challenge local beef or diary industries, all just by following their own polices and by/laws, and in a few years they can own their own abattoirs, solar panel their homes, sink boreholes and have tapped hot water in each home, build schools, import teachers from America, and resuscitate their roads.
People walking everywhere barefoot, and there you are, a shoemaker, complaining to the government that you don’t have shoes.
Najar is an Indigenous Rights Consultant and Environmental Activist