Let’s dabble in a taboo subject today. When I was in Class Two many years ago my teacher taught us a song, which was sang holding hands and stomping our feeble feet.
I can’t recall it well but we sung something to ‘we are gay’. That, she told us, meant we were happy. The word has since undergone semantic shift – change of meaning. It now refers to homosexuality.
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Well, the ‘gay’ word no longer means happy. Indeed, it causes pain to those associated with it in Africa. It is threatening to sour our relations with Britain. Ghana and Uganda are close to falling out with UK over the ‘G’ word.
Africans say homosexuality doesn’t belong here, the West insist it does.
In PointBlank’s view, this war of words is driven more by emotions. We need to answer these tough questions to make an informed choice: Why does the West want us to embrace homosexuality? Why do we object? Is homosexuality biological or a lifestyle ‘habit’ (is it bred by nature or nurture)? And, did Africa have homosexuals before colonization?
What Knec must do to end cheating
Examination cheating is a perennial problem in schools. The Kenya National Examinations Council, notes Mr Philip Mathias, has made some progress eradicate the vice.
Mathias, however claims that Knec has so far failed to address one area, which he feels encourages cheating most: selection of supervisors and invigilators.
He claims most would-be supervisors are handpicked by principals and their "names forwarded to the exams office at DEO’s office". These handpicked supervisors, he claims, are easy to manipulate to allow students to cheat. He advises Knec to moot another criteria for selecting the officials instead of relying on hand-picked ones.
Still on examinations, Gideon Kipchirchir is annoyed with the culture of headmasters and principals wasting students time by failing to register them for national examinations. He says this is the worst form of injustice to students and their families. Knec, he suggests, should have supplementary examination papers ready to be given to the wronged students to avoid exposing them to unnecessary suffering. Is this worthy advice, Knec?
Speed, graft major causes of crashes
The number of crashes along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway have reached alarming levels, notes the Justin Osey. He says the loss of 20 lives in Naivasha recently made for depressing news.
He blames the crashes on speeding motorists who "lose attention due to the smooth highway" and corrupt traffic police officers. "Can’t we drive on good roads without speeding?" he asks. Another reader, Mose Maragia, believes corruption is the leading cause of crashes on our roads. He claims the behaviour of most traffic police officers is same across the country: "An officer waves down a motorist. Then walks around the vehicle as if inspecting, ‘talks’ briefly with the driver and the vehicle is waved to drive on." Like most employees, he suggests that traffic officers’ performance be based on set targets such as the number of traffic offenders arrested and arraigned in court.
But Gachiengo Gitau claims Kenyans generally do not take the threat of road accidents as seriously. "If the flying squad is tipped about an illicit gun, they will literally fly there for "action", but if you report about a speeding matatu, you will be lucky to get even a yawn," he says.
Farmers in tears over tea leaves
What is ailing Kapkoros Tea Factory? A farmer, Mr Ezekiel Langat claims the factory has become a ‘headache’ to farmers because it has lately been unable to collect tea leaves. The leaves, he says, have been wilting away with farmers watching helplessly. "The leaves are now collected after four to five days when the are already dry." In addition, farmers spend cold, rainy days and nights queueing at buying centres. Some of them, he reveals, have resorted to taking their leaves to neighbouring factories. "Can the Ministry of Agriculture come to our aid? he asks.
Chiefs read mischief in delay of their funds
On September 1, a chief from Tana North District wrote to PoinBlank complaining that 35 chiefs and their assistants in the area had not been paid their allowances for the work they did during the August 2008 census.
The chief said that all that the Government had given them was a litany of excuses. "First we were told our list was sent using word instead of Excel, then the PC hadn’t signed the list.
Then the district statistics officer was to blame," he said adding: "We need our money and not these Arabian night fairy tales".
Were the chiefs paid their dues, Planning Minister, Mr Wycliffe Oparanya?