Thursday, November 13, 2008


Last night a woman was raped two doors down from my room. She was raped several times, beaten and thrown out of the room at 3:47am on a cold Thursday morning. But that is my story, not hers.

At 3.45am, screams rent the air at the hostel. Sounds like mini thunder echoed down the stark corridor; fear filled my heart. Cautiously opening my door and peeking out, I was met with a scene reminescent of times gone by but still all too familiar. The sounds I had heard could now be attributed to slaps from the stout white man to the face of a lithe black young girl. This scene hit me like a ton of bricks and it felt like my blood had crept up suddenly, landing, hot like molten lava in my head. Fury lit the lava in a split second and all traces of sleep and reasoning disappeared.

The young girl said, amid shouts and screams, that she was a prostitute. Her client, the white man, had refused to pay her and was beating her in order for her to leave. Sooner than one could say cat, a stout watchman was by her side, manhandling her towards the way out. "Where were you when he picked me up, negotiated and slept with me? Where were you when my mother prostituted to feed my siblings and I? Will you pay me, now that you want me to leave? Will you give me a place to spend the rest of the night, she asked, amid sobs, screams and a rapidly blackening eye. In the meantime, the white man had silently closed the door behind him, undoubtedly to coil like a satisfied cat under the warm blankets.

"Don't manhandle me. Treat me with respect. Stop! Stop pushing me; at least let me leave with my pride". Mercifully the burly guard let her walk away on her own.

Why wasn't the man asked to leave the very Christian hostel in which we were staying, despite her loud requests that the management allows them to sort out their dilemma outside the premises?

Last night a woman was raped; raped several times by poverty, discrimination, disempowerment, inequality... Last night a woman was raped two doors down from my room. That is my story and I'm sticking to it.

(c) PoP

Monday, August 18, 2008


I wish you could hear my heart speak
It would tell you how it feels
How it tries to still
The never ending fears
Born of years of trials and strife
Just to live another day

It would tell you how clearly it hears
The silent voice of your aching heart
And how it wants to place its hand in yours
and say "it will be well, it will be well"
How though its love may dip and spike
It's always tenderly present
It is always there

PoP 18 August 2008

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Woman On The Brink

If I could be everything you want
Give you all you need
Deliver your fantasies
Give in to your every whim

If I was perfect in every way
Coiffered and regally threaded
Measured in my walk and talk
Ideal in strength, true in depth.

If I could be all these and more
How would you appreciate
The difference in woman and man
Or learn what true love is
Would you see the gift of me
In the shadow of your mirage

Would you not know yourself
Your effect on me
Would you not see yourself
In my pleasure
And sometimes in my pain


Sunday, February 24, 2008


After being displaced in the recent Naivasha violence, I'm back. Still struggling with my footing, but back to the blogosphere.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Is Justice Perverted By Economic Power?

Is justice a word used at the whim of politicians or is it something real and tangible, something for the Kenyan to have hope in? Can justice be divorced from power in Kenyan politics as it stands today?

I now see in practice all my lessons on class and class analysis at work.

The other day, ODM talked about economic boycott. At a time when the country will be facing an economic meltdown one way or another anyway, this came as a great relief, sparing the people from the running battles experienced in various parts of the country.

No sooner had this been said, that the statement was quickly retracted and replaced by more talk of ‘peaceful’ demonstrations in the new week. So why was the suggestion of economic boycott shot down so fast?

I watched Kibaki take notes during a meeting with businessmen calling at State House to plead their case. Or maybe each had brought his bill and promissory chit for payback of support during the elections. If it weren’t so sad, it would have been funny. I’m sure Raila has had his day with the businessmen too. He is one of them. So why was the call for economic boycott called?

It takes me back to a hot afternoon at a study group, listening to comrades discussing class and class struggle. That study group positioned me to better recognise class and class analysis at work.

The most power hungry class are the ruling class. They are also the tightest class – they will not easily let anyone get in, nor will they annihilate or prosecute one of their own. Like parasites,through dominance and exploitation, they rely on the other classes to accumulate more power . This class has the most economic power, giving it enough political influence to ensure government policies are in tune with their interests. This class does not respect the interests of the other classes. In Kenya, this small class of people constitute and/or massively support the power elite.

Take the 2002 electioneering, when Raila, Kibaki, Ngilu and the others promised Kenyans that they would take Moi to court for his corrupt ways and that they would bring back the wealth that had been stashed abroad, using it to build a stronger Kenya. They, of the promises of Goldenberg money being brought back home, of Anglo Leasing, passport contracts, are the ones now fighting for better spoils and/or holding on tightly to them. Once ensconced in power, none of their promises have or will ever become a reality as long as the promises touch on their class. The ruling class are bonded tightly by economic power both in times of peace and strife.

And so what if Kiambu businesses selling vegetables to Kisumu is not working in these violent times? Sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, they will go into the guns business or get the next government contract to supply more tear gas canisters, or whatever it is that sells at the time!

As more Kenyans are shot through their plastic walls, and more children stay out of school, you can remain certain that there will be no economic boycotts of any kind. Raila stands to lose as much as Kibaki. The class will not accept such huge losses. As usual, none of them cares whether the common Kenyan lives or dies. For justice, when married to this economically greedy class, dissipates.

PoP 22 Jan 08

Friday, January 18, 2008

Picture Of Trepidation

I cried this morning
Not that it is something I haven’t done before
In the cloud of fear that is burning up our hopes
Or that I haven’t walked around sad-faced
Solemnly wondering where our cards will fall

I cried, as every woman (and man) probably did
Watching that terrified woman wail on TV last night
Watching her hug the unfeeling lamp post
As she screamed for the country she once knew

I cried this morning
Looking at pictures of terrified Kenyan children
Open mouthed and horrified at the men with guns
Their innocence shattered as they
Watch their fathers burn their country
I wondered, how do they feel
Seeing everything disintegrating

I cried when I saw the picture of that man
In a red T-shirt carrying a tiny infant
On the crook of his shoulder
Walking beside an army truck

PoP 18 Jan 2008

A Response To E...

This is an email response to a friend...

We are well. Just watching the situation as it deteriorates.

I respect your opinion but beg to differ with you in saying that Raila will bring in a free port like Dubai, build Kisumu, etc. If Raila is meant to be the president of Kenya, it gives me no joy him building Kisumu if he doesn't build Nyeri, Narok, Embu, Meru, Kitui, North Eastern, Coast, and all the towns, cities and villages in Kenya because then, what will the difference be between him and the other dictators? Maybe he will bring small change, just like Kibaki did, but in my view he is NOT the rainmaker. As long as this class continues to rule, the masses remain in deep shit. With the Railas, Rutos, Kibakis, Kenyattas, Mois in power, Kenya has not yet attained true democracy.

I can hear the unsaid words in your email that it is 'our' turn. Remember that for 24 years in was the 'turn' of the church torching Kales, and for a number of years before that the 'turn' of the Kikuyus, as has been their turn again for the last 5 years - if you have any friends from this communities, please tell me how those 'turns' have benefited them. Get your head out of the sand because unless you're Raila's close relative, you will continue to suffer like the multitudes of Kales and Kikuyus who voted along tribal lines.

I agree with you that it is not justified for Kibaki to be in leadership. My personal view is that whether he stole or won fair and square, it is just another indication of his greed that he should put Kenya through this turmoil. If he won, he must not be afraid of a repeat of the elections. This is no time to put his personal pride before the country - no one really cares about his pride. I don't agree with you on the wanton killings and 'peaceful' demonstrations. I know there are better ways to demostrate than to throw stones, burn businesses, houses and churches, displace people and cause general unrest. Through this demonstrations, one can tell how disorganized Raila's party is - are they going to rule the country in this manner? Scary!! If his party is what he promises, the blood of one Kenyan would be too precious; why does he then complain about shootings in Kisumu but not the hundreds that have been killed in Kericho, Eldoret, Kitale, Kibera, Mathare etc by panga welding, torch carrying cold blooded Luos and Kales - my conclusion, he doesn't give a flying f.... About Atieno or Wanjiku. I agree with his wanting justice served, but don't see myself walking in his gang because I think all he cares about is being president...please re-read para 1. The demonstrations, if better organized would yield better results. You say the politicians risk their lives for the majority - really? I didn't see Raila risking his life as he whizzed off in his bullet-proof air condition Landrover Discovery, escaping from the teargas and gunshots on Kenyatta Avenue yesterday or Kibaki coming out to calm the people and talk to his opponent to spare us more bloodshed. Be realistic, girl.

I assure you that you can support it now that you still have a job and a warm bed to sleep in. You will feel a lot different when you are homeless and living in fear at Burbuburu police station grounds. When you no longer have access to the few thousands that constitute your life savings, or when you can't find your kids, and your husband is lying on the grass dying of burn or gunshot wounds, or when the few precious things (certificates, clothes, etc) that you managed to salvage from your burning house are being rained on and turned to mushy unusable goo; or your close 'other tribe' friends will not give you even a sip of water for fear of their own lives. I assure you that then, you will not be quite as vehement about your support for Raila, or Kibaki. Your struggle will turn to a struggle of personal survival. Your support of Raila will turn into a horrid hate of anything politics as the majority know it - you will only be interested in finding your kids, burying your now dead husband, getting a warm place to sleep and a hot bowl of uji. Talk to a few displaced people, you will find that this is true.

Kenyans could find a way to boycott the 'opposition' rallies, shun tribal hate messages, and boycott the government initiatives until the two can meet and come to a stalemate. We should not allow the publicity they are getting because they relish it and fuel fires through it. Martha Karua and Michuki talk as if they live in another country (when the shit hits the fan they will go there and you will be left here still supporting Raila or Kibaki, by the way) and Raila uses every incident to fuel fires! We should boycott all things that give them this opportunity. Having been in several violent situations myself, I've always believed that there are ways to solve differences without violence.

Raila had so many people's support, not necessarily because he is such a wonderful and great leader, but because Kenyans were fed up of the Kibaki regime's turncoat tendencies, corruption, injustices to the people, and lies. Right now, I'm not sure I'd vote either Raila or Kibaki, with all that blood on their hands. They have the power to stop this before it gives birth to an even bigger monster. I assure you that when you are displaced and trapped in a country you no longer recognize as your own, all you will want is peace. Lies, stealing of elections, etc will soon NOT be people's immediate struggle. Letting it get this far only changes focus and priorities for the people. The violent rallies/demos are counter-productive; only bringing on more hatred for the ruling class and, unfortunately for Kenyans, further fuelling tribal differences. The government's failure to reel it in through agreeing to international mediation NOW will surely make it bloodier than a slaughterhouse - then we will probably all be dead and according to your email and undying support for Raila, justice will have been served.

There can be no meaningful dialogue, peace and justice without an end, first and foremost, to violence and bloodletting.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In The Dawn Of Great Tomorrows

In those desperate days
when fires consumed brotherhood

In those days when words stung
and passions were not of love or romance

In those days when fear seared
the hearts of men and children alike

When the smell of blood
hung in our throats like yesterday’s bilious food

When we ceased to feel the chill of the night
or the hot rays of the afternoon sun

In those dark and frightening days
When silence was golden, I spoke to all and sundry

I spoke to those who didn’t care to listen
those who were brainwashed or just plain beaten

I spoke of the lies we had been fed
and how we were being led to destroy the country we built

I spoke of the promises never met; schools,
hospitals, and roads yet to be built

I spoke of Njoroge, Kiprono and Otieno,
who lived happily together in Korogocho

I spoke of dairy and fish farming,
of the once fresh vegetables left to rot

I spoke of the shops that were burning
Where would Anyango go to work tomorrow?

I spoke of the innocent children
Who would look after them if we killed our neighbour?

I spoke of the future
Would we forever hide the blood that stained our hands?

I spoke of calm and peace
Who would still these fires that lit the night?

I spoke of peace, love and hope

PoP © 15 Jan 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Song Of Hope

It's in our hands that freedom,
hope and justice lie.
It's in our hearts, the bond
that's united us all our lives.
It's Kenyan blood that dearly paid
for unity, peace, and liberty.
We won't let greed control
justice and freedom,
We will not accept to live in fear.
We will not let the power hungry dogs
feed on the cord that binds.
We will not let them spit
in the blood we shed.
We won't let gluttony
split the nationalities
pitting brother against brother.

Kenya will be Kenya again
Her grass will not stain
with her own blood
Peace will reign again
Kenya will stand united
Kenya will stand strong
proud and tall again

PoP 14 Jan 08

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Careful... Careful What You Say

Shall we talk about our words... and how we get to a place called abuse? It all starts with a thought that tells you that you are more educated/religious/intelligent/clean/loving/faithful than the next guy.

How then does it escalate to uncontrollable levels?
From every thought comes an action - either in your control, or not. The action may come before a word or statement.

To abuse another is to fulfil a sense of inadequacy in oneself, to lunge out to some innocent party instead of working on oneself. It is a great weakness we have. Abuse is like a roller coaster that starts slowly and gathers momentum as it goes.

My ex started abusing me by saying innocent sounding things like 'You are smart but....'. 'You will not be able to get that because you're too'. 'You are not that intelligent despite your education', etc. 'The shoes are nice but your feet are too...'. At first I took it in good faith, working on the issues he mentioned, trying to improve, improve, improve - even on the wonderful things that I had cherished before I met him. Wonderful gifts that God had so graciously given me.

The roller coaster moved a notch and before I knew it, he was on his knees crying for forgiveness after slapping me around. I forgave him and went on 'improving'.

With time, the roller coaster was in full swing, and the real beatings started; slaps and a punch here and there. Before I knew it he went all out to beating me and my kids like he was killing a poisonus snake. No punch or kick was too hard for him. During those times, he was enraged and wild. Neighbours, relatives and friends could not calm him down until his steam was spent on us.

But I digress....

My message here is be careful what you say. There are things that hurt - like telling the blind man how ugly he is, or insulting the cripple for his disability. The things that hurt the most are things that are personal and can not be changed, like tribe and skin colour. Things that can not be washed off like warts, that one can not afford to have removed or like stained teeth that cannot, for one reason or another, be bleached. Things like poverty that can not be immediately resolved, or disability. Issues like religion that can be discussed but not imposed, or personal beliefs that don't really hurt you or anyone else. These are personal things; personal to each individual. If we remember that, we keep the peace. Remember also, that God created each and everyone unique in His eyes, to add on to the beauty of earth. Live and let live.

Some things are actually much better left unthought. Harness your thoughts, and immediately something comes into your mind that is destructive, replace that thought with a pleasant, positive one. Live and let live. And if you live with someone whose unchangeable habits really irritate you, please leave. Yes, I mean, LEAVE.

Abuse starts with a thought, escalates to a word and explodes in an action. The word may seem so innocent at the time, but it leaves the other party unhappy and insulted even if they pretend it's all ok - it leaves the other person vulnerable. For example, a negative comment to a spouse of a sexual nature can leave him/her unable to perform, maybe even destroying a marriage irreparably. An abuser will always add another veiled insult as the abused gets more vulnerable. That is what sets off the roller coaster ride.

Be careful what you say. The tongue can light a fire that destroys a lifetime of good. It starts with us in our individual capacity, goes to our homes, and moves with the stealth of a thief in the night to our country.

Be careful...

A Response To Sue

(Sue is a Kenyan in the Diaspora - she's hopelessly worried about her family who live in Molo and are now displaced. This is part of our correspondence).

Hi Sue,

We are well.

Yes, things are cooling down. Our country has taken a hit! Our people are afraid; we have been tainted by the reality of negativity and tribalism. We have been shown what it feels like to be separated, torn apart; and it hurts, it really hurts. We have seen what happens when everybody insists they are right and the other is wrong, when we are the helpless victims of a class dictating their whims. When a power fight is in our land and we are the grass. We have had a glimpse of genocide, we have taken a step into Rwanda - our country has had no sleep!

We hope that justice will be served. Kenyans will not live with the injustice of being lied to, but most important of all, Kenya will not live in fear, desolation and death. These two parties have to find a way to an understanding that does not hurt the masses. Kenya remains greater than the sum of them and more!

Yes, houses have been razed. 300,000 people are homeless. I cry for the Kenyans who are homeless in their own land. I cry for the bitterness in our people, our children, and our children's children. I cry for these dark days when our livelihoods were snatched from us, our children killed, our kinship with our neighbours erased. I cry for the children who are in the cold, their hopes dashed, their innocence shattered. And the women and men who are raped and hunted, walking to nowhere in the dark, afraid to look in their neighbour's eye. I cry for Kenya and her people, who continue to be raped time and again by the ruling class.

I noticed, as life gets back to a semblance of normalcy, that even in the workplace, things have shifted. Everyone is afraid of uttering the words Kikuyu, Luo, Masai, Kalenjin, etc. It's like walking on eggs! These are our tribes/nationalities for which we have always stood proud and tall; these are our people who we have embraced, celebrated with, cried with, intermarried with. These are the people who now look at each other with suspicion, even disdain, as if one is only identifiable in the stealing of votes, the looting, the killings, the evictions and bloodshed. Our ties are slowly being eroded by the violence. Everyone is agape at the shocking change in nature of a people who have always lived together. Most of us are shamed; left to hold our heads in our hands and cry. What happened? Has this been simmering all along? All our tribal jokes, emails and sms; all those hard hitting tribal sms throwing mud at other tribes/nationalities that were passed around during the campaigns. This is the result. Yes, they have contributed to the violence.

I'm tired, my dear friend. All I can do is pray that the people heal. Right now, I'm not interested in who becomes president - I'm not sure I've ever been. Until we get a president who is a servant of the people, until we attain a true democracy, we will be exchanging one thief/liar for another.

All I can do is pray; pray for love, peace, and justice. That is my prayer - love, peace and justice, in that order.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Tears crawled down her proud cheeks
Soot stuck in her once pretty hair
No one noticed her weep
Footsteps whizzed by,
bullets puncture her side.
Angry fires burnt bright,
Elegant shops now were a sight,
people screamed in fright
Everyone fast on their heels
No one noticed her as she wept
No one stopped to hear speak
No one heard her say,
calm down,
Let justice and peace prevail
Calm down
No one heard Kenya speak

PoP 1 Jan 08

My Shepherd

The Shadow
of death
I will
fear NO evil
For You Are with me

Your rod and your staff
They comfort me excerpt from my favourite.. Psalm 23

Pray for us.

PoP 1 Jan 08

Our House Is On Fire

Not Knowing
Where to run
In the shadow of street fires
And eyes that look
in yours with a mad desire
to kill

Not knowing
which way to turn
in the melee of screaming children
screeching tyres
tear gas loaded tears
resounding gunshots in the night

Which child to take?
Which one to leave?
Which hand do we hold?
Our house is on fire!
Our house is on fire!

PoP Jan 1 08