You Are Almost Safe Now

I love my government. They care about me. They want me to be safe.

This is why the things I am hearing from my fellow Kenyans disturb me so.

I have heard some complain that the government is trying to silence them, to stop them from protesting, but this simply isn’t true. They don’t want you to stop demonstrating. They, if anything, encourage Kenyans to spread their message if they are discontent. All they are asking is that you hand them control of when and where you can do it.

Why?

Because YOU told them “tumechoka” and they listened. They thought about it, had a few serious discussions and now, they are going to craft protest routes and designations guaranteed to be significantly less strenuous for you. You will not be so tired after these new improved government approved demonstrations. It will almost be like you did not protest at all. You see? Your government listens. Your government cares.

I know you want to say that positioning affects the impact of a protest and that’s usually the idea but listen; this is even less stress for you. The government is taking this out of your hands and doing that work for you. Who is closer to the problem than the people being protested? No one. They are the problem and so they know it best. They are, by definition, experts. They can tell you where to stand if you want to effectively criticize them. They know these things.

And besides, it is for your own good. It is for security.

Some Kenyans are, believe it or not, complaining that if these amendments go through, glorifying or advocating for terrorists might get you 20 years in prison. I don’t know why this bothers you. Are you planning to praise terrorist acts? Of course not. Or maybe you’re just concerned about what might or might not be considered supporting a terrorist act. If that is the case, I’ve got you covered.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria says

“We want to make it clear that when the Bill comes to the House, there will be no coalitions, religious affiliations or partnerships. We ask Kenyans to watch out for those who will be on the side of freedom and democracy and those who will be on the side of terrorists and killers”

You see? It’s really easy to figure out. Support for terrorists is what politicians say it is at any given moment. What else would it be? If you are not supporting this bill and you don’t feel like you are on the side of terrorist and killers then, well…you’re wrong. Politicians are infinitely wise. They know. If you want to be on the safe side, listen to them. Do what they say. They know what is best for you. They are doing all of this for you. For security.

If you go to the official government channels on twitter they will tell you what you should already know. America did something like this and so should we. Now some of you have been quick to point out that this didn’t exactly pan out for the good old US of A. That those laws were abused and expanded and used on American citizens. Terrorism took on new meanings and even the man who introduced the patriot act came out against how it was being used. All valid points. But…this is Kenya.

Unlike the US, we have a perfect record of government ethics. Our politicians have always proved themselves to be fine individuals with impeccable moral fibre. To claim that they will abuse the potential ambiguity in the bill and twist it to serve their own ends is ludicrous. Poppycock. Balderdash! Our government is good. As we are sure that the next government will be and the one after that, ad infinitum. It is simply the way of things.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand some of it may seem scary. Like if the Director General has “reasonable grounds to believe a covert operation is necessary” he can give written authorization to an officer of the Service to “obtain any information, material, record, document or thing.” Furthermore, to achieve that goal the Service member can “enter any place or obtain access to anything,” “monitor communications” and “do anything necessary to preserve national security.” Wow.

This is in fact quite frightening and at first glance appears to have loopholes that could fit a fleet of buses. The ambiguity of where the limits are would suggest that there aren’t any. But, fear not. The Director General will be “subject to guidelines approved by the Council.” That would be the National Security Council. I don’t know why the first two words were dropped in an amendment, but it was drafted by far wiser minds than I and so they must have their reasons.

Point is, these mystery guidelines are made by people who know what they’re doing. Politicians, the police and the military. The people who have done the most to make Kenyans feel safe for decades. The ones you should trust.

Does this not set your mind at ease? Do you not feel safe now? Do you not love your government?

But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother. – George Orwell


 

UPDATE: 

If you have thoughts on how the security bill can be improved or anything like that, email them to clerk@parliament.go.ke before 5:00 PM on Monday the 15th

Or make your way to the Mini Chamber, County Hall, Parliament buildings between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm on Monday the 15th

Fantasy And Africans

Will this be a problem has been silent for about a month now but, and here’s the good news, it was an interesting kind of silence. You see, it wasn’t the silence you’d get if we were neglecting you, our dear readers. It was not even the silence you’d get if we were tired of you or awkwardly avoiding you with nothing to say. It was the busy, wary silence of someone who’s planning you a surprise birthday party.

Ok, maybe it’s not a birthday but there is a surprise.

I’m happy to say that we finally (and very sneakily) started working on one of this site’s pillars a few months ago. It was always the plan that WTBAP would be concerned with art and literature and now, we actually have something to show for that besides intentions. I present our first short story and poetry anthology.

jpec edition

You probably have questions. Such as…

1. What the hell is THAT thing?

That is the mascot. Her name is Jane.

Thing is, it’s a strange anthology and, in some ways, very dark. I wanted the cover to reflect a bit of that. I guess we could have eased you into it but why the hell would we do that? Right from the start, we’re pushing you into deep end.

2. Why are the eyes following me? Those eyes! Ahhhh!

Because it wants your soul. Duh!

3. How can I get this anthology?

The anthology will be available exclusively in electronic form. It will also be free.

At the bottom of this post there will be links to get it in the main ebook formats and, if you wish, you can also read it here on the site.

4. Kenyan Fantasy?

Yes.

We’re big fans of fantasy here at WTBAP. Over the years I’ve talked about the rather inexplicable lack of African fantasy books. The content is really just begging to be written and I know African fantasy readers aren’t rare by any measure. But, somehow, there just isn’t much of it and when there is people tie themselves in knots to not call it fantasy. Magical realism pops up a lot and I’ve even seen Ben Okri’s work called (I’m not even kidding) African Traditional Religion Realism. It’s kind of the overlooked child of African literature.

So, the minute we got a chance to make some fantasy we hopped right onto that train (though one could argue that we may have accidentally boarded onto the horror express. Oops). We made the theme for our first issue Fantasy and we got down to work. I think we’ve come up with something special.

5. Will you be doing this again?

Most definitely. We’ve learnt a lot from making this first one and I think it’s going to make the second one even better. So many lessons, so many ideas and this is just the start. But that is a struggle for another day.

6. Another day? So this won’t have a regular schedule.

No. I can’t promise that it will. We’ll do it when we have time but I can’t say that there will be regular intervals between the releases. Well, I can, but it wouldn’t be true.

And now….the book.

READ ONLINE AND DOWNLOAD HERE