By PETER KIMANI
These are truly exciting times, and I’m craving for a piece of the action. The street action, I mean, the sort that we witnessed this week when women and men in red shirts and masks chanted slogans as they made gentle moves, transforming one city street into a jamboree of song and dance.
Their placards said they were there to mark the International Sex Workers Day – by making a curious demand of the State: to allow them to pay tax.
So the men and women stated their demands in that dancing style: they would pay tax for State protection.
That’s a clever way of saying the unsayable: prostitution be legalised.
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But they need to be cleverer than that. They need to draw on their strength, not mask it.
First off, they have to shed off that drab uniform and masks that make them look like characters out of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
Just imagine if the women paraded in their heels and attires that reveal their cornucopia, complete with makeup and hairdos.
Secondly, they have to learn to utilise any civil strife to their advantage. Instead of doing that rowdy dance, for instance, they could have stopped in their regular patrol streets flashing their brightest of smiles, as they do at night, while holding placard disclaimings: Night Nurse.
Now, that’s what we call a show-stopper. Even the children being dropped to school would ask: "Daddy, hata dakrati wa usiku wamegoma? (even doctors of the night are on strike).
Since the dad will be pensive, wondering if any of the girls might recognise him, he will step on the pedal before scoffing at the kid.
"Mimi sitaki maswali!" (I’m not responding to questions), but that will not deter the kid from revisiting the issue with the mother in the evening. That way, sex work becomes a topic for family discussion.
Other ways of getting the word out is to ensure some loud representatives are invited to certain FM stations (quite a number, I’m told, essentially sell sex on air), and let them engage in intelligent topics like the place of sex workers in the realisation of Vision 2030.
Such arguments would be best rendered in clipped English (what we call Channel O accent), which means the fake accent is not a product of travel or education but watching too much television.
The argument would run along these lines: Our business concept is pretty simple: it’s by the youth, for the youth, or the fading youth. Training is minimal, and it’s offered on the job, during which the trainee is paid. The icing on the cake, employment is guaranteed!
The rep would then give a high-pitched laugh and ask: How about that! When serious corporates are cutting down on jobs, we are recruiting. And you know what, the rep would carry on, this country does not have to wait for 2030 to realise that lofty vision, whatever they call it. That can be done overnight! Just get the damn taxes!
You know what, tourists are waiting. Wacha that business of wildlife and prehistoric sites. Who is interested in the past? All we care for is the future. I’m telling you. Let’s introduce a new visa category. Call it Combo, or whatever. No, nothing sinister, combo is short for combination. It will combine business and pleasure visas. Then increase bed capacity. It’s as simple as that. Then call the tax man. We are ready negotiate the rate.
Wiper’s house is ready, he’s just undecided whether to move in ...
We can rejoice now, finally, at the news that Veep Wiper is going to move house. No, no, no, he is not going to State House. Not yet. He is going to the next best thing to the State House. He is going to the Veep’s official residence.
As a matter of fact, I would encourage him to avoid the temptation of moving into the State House any time soon. Not before those Mungiki adherents and that Banda son on the run, reportedly seen lurking on the complex’s hallowed grounds, are flushed out.
But Wiper does not appear elated at the news about the new house, although this gives him bragging rights. He can now tell Tinga: See, who doesn’t have an official residence!
Still, it is understandable if Wiper is unable to decide whether to stay on in his private residence or move to the official Veep’s house.
This is not a question of indecision or anything, it is just about timing. After all, there are only a few months to go before the General Election, when Wiper wants to renew his push for House on the Hill, which is probably more spacious and obviously more prestigious – save for those suspicious characters reported to be hiding there.
Again, the hassles of moving house are unnecessary pains few of us ever want to go through every few months.
My advice to Wiper: You don’t have to decide anything under pressure. You can even decide to move in December. After all, it’s your life, and home’s where your clothes are.
Lecturers going back to the roots ideal for cultural transmission
The news that educated Kenyans are going back to their roots – by returning to their villages to teach in local branches of public universities – is heartening news. This is exact meaning of the expression, "giving back" to society.
All too often, villages lose out when their brightest leave to pursue life in the City of Lights, and only return when their stars are faded, if not out altogether.
I wonder if there is a gender dimension to this "back to the roots" movement, as that would validate the other expression, if you educate a woman, you educate a community.
Whatever the case, there are some tangible benefits being overlooked by those seeing the exodus in strictly political or economical terms.
Firstly, it is a safe bet that the bulk of the students come from the same localities. This means a lecturer could explain in the local languages without cutting anyone out of the conversation.
Secondly, that would make a very good case for use of indigenous languages as medium of instruction. That would confer a nationalist approach to what remains a very imperial endeavour, and restore the meaning of education.