the power of me, i know you don't like me, you don't have to, just be honest, it's the best you can be.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”- Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mocking Bird
A lawyer has a duty to the citizens of the nation, to be fair, to be objective and to fight for his or her client. Just like a doctor, a lawyer takes an oath, which includes “to impartially do Justice in accordance with this Constitution as by law established, and the laws and customs of the Republic, without any fear, favour, bias, affection, ill-will, prejudice or any political, religious or other influence.”
In the recent news of a couple found guilty of torturing their 13 children from ages 2 to 29 years old for all their lives at their home in California. A public defender has been appointed by the Government to represent the husband David Turpin and an outside attorney (lawyer) will represent the wife Louise Turpin. In their case it is obvious that the couple are guilty as the evidence of torture is clear and the couple will end up in prison for life. So why should they get legal representation and why not rely on the Police evidence and go ahead and announce a sentence?
The Right to a Fair Trial comes up. There have many atrocities and millions of innocent lives lost, but the criminal is a “person” too and deserves his or her side of justice. Thus, it was to the response of the Second World War that the United Nations formed and set out the fundamental rights of human beings in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Right to a Fair Trial was at its heart:
“Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of … any criminal charge against him.”
The international community proclaimed the Right to a Fair Trial to be a “foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.
However, when you think of Reeva Steenkamp’s parents, any verdict for Oscar Pistorius will not be enough. It is a personal choice of the victim to forgive or not. Oscar fell down in the eyes of the world once the murder of his wife Reeva was proven guilty of culpable homicide, defined as “the unlawful negligent killing of a human being. If you were in his shoes what would you have done. American television may have glorified that criminal lawyers are hired by dons, actual murders and corrupt corporates to get them out of the tricky situation. In the United States, criminal defense lawyers deal with the issues surrounding an arrest, a criminal investigation, criminal charges, sentencing, appeals, and post-trial issues.
In Kenya our constitution is the supreme law of the land. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is the National Prosecuting Authority in Kenya, which has been mandated by the Constitution to prosecute all criminal cases in the country.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is the head of the ODPP and operates independently as stipulated under Article 157 of the Constitution. However, the DPP is required to be accountable to the Public by presenting an annual report to Parliament and the President on the performance of the ODPP. The DPP may also be required, on a need basis to present a report to Parliament on a matter of national or public interest.
The Office was delinked from the Attorney General’s Office in 2011 after the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010.
The best example for a criminal using his powerful position to fight out a trial in his favour, is the world famous case of The People of the State of California vs O.J. Simpson. It has been known as “The Trial of the Century” and will always be referred to any school teaching criminal law. Did O.J. do it or not? Only O.J. knows. Thus, what happened to lead to the criminal activity and whether he or she should receive any empathy, is the duty of their public prosecutor because they can argue to reduce the sentence.
The judge in you will always take a side, hopefully you don’t have to grow through a horrendous incident where you are seeking justice where none exists or can be found.
it is too much for who? i am afraid or shall i just not say it? i need to remain confident, i need to feel confident, i am confident.
On 28th August 2017 there was a historic decision made by the Kenyan Government, where the plastic ban finally was enforced. This momentous decision was met with its own kind of protests especially from plastic bags manufacturers but as the weeks proceeded the pattern soon set it and shoppers got used to bringing their own cloth bags or buying from the till.
Before the year closed, Uasin Gishu County became the first one to ban supermarkets from charging shoppers for their bags. The assumption is that perhaps the same should apply across the rest of the country. This is a challenge because each county has slightly different consumer trends. There however can be a blanket rule for shopping malls and especially retail clothes shops not to charge their shoppers for the bags, whichever type they may be. It is very ridiculous to expect a shopper who is buying clothing items, which are on average worth KES 500 to pay for another KES 10 for a bag.
When it comes to the supermarkets, the charge should remain because this has a domino effect in the running of the household. Buying foodstuffs and other condiments is an almost weekly or monthly ritual for most shoppers. The way they run their homes and especially kitchens will depend on the use of these bags. This means planning and of course a last minute shopping situation may not be conducive. Here’s the thing, if your store room is not in order then your shopping is bound to be haywire. While the staff at the supermarket tills needs training, you must take initiative too. The days of relying on them to pack the items are over and perhaps this is the beginning of the Western type of shopping, where you do almost everything and pay too!
When the supermarkets were using plastic bags they never passed on the bill to the shopper, just imagine how cheap we were treating our environment. In the UK shops that have over 250 staff are meant to charge a minimum 5p for their plastic shopping bags. Smaller shops are meant to give them free. The cloth bags industry are cashing in and making money with this entire process but then again they have created jobs and are good for the environment. Shoppers should get used to having their shopping bags/boxes in their vehicles (Kenyans have plenty of cars and big ones too) all the time for their shopping needs. Forgetting to carry them is your problem and if you have to pay, then you should not crib about it.
The plastic bags industry was toxic and that’s why when it ended it hurt those who were killing the environment. Being a responsible human is costly, well then it is too bad, the Earth was given to you for free.
Three centuries ago, the Persians enjoyed what is known as the hookah. This is a pipe connected to a bowl of water that is heated and the vapour steams the flavoured tobacco, cannabis or hashish. When the hookah spread around the world it was called shisha. It literally is a pipe version of a cigarette and according to the World Health Organization in one session you end up inhaling as much as a person would if they took one hundred cigarettes.
There is no doubt that shisha is bad for the health. In fact it is bad for the society. The Akbar Empire era is long over and we are better aware of the health risks that tobacco has so why take the chance? Using this water pipe means being able to contract tuberculosis or hepatitis easily especially if shared. Even if you have your own piece, still there is no significant proof that it is safe. While the water contains the concentration of the nicotine, the person smoking does end up taking more and longer puffs because they do not see the smoke going up in the air and think there is really no harm being done.
While previously it was only restricted to older males smoking shisha, it has widely spread to the younger males and now even females between the ages of 18 and 24 years especially in the cities. Since the tobacco for shisha comes in different flavours it offers an alternative than the usual cigarette and on that pretext many youngsters are experimenting. Herbal shisha too contains nicotine so really there is no difference and your health is at risk.
Shisha smoking is usually found in high-end bars because the assembly and ingredients required are plenty. You can smoke a cigarette anywhere but to have shisha you need the water pipe, charcoal and of course the tobacco. This means sitting down and taking the puffs, thus the bar has to be designed accordingly. Eventually it is promoting a culture of being high and cozy, which can lead to unsolicited activities at the place or thereafter. Of course even drinking alcohol in public can result to the person getting high and losing control of their talk and walk and perhaps cause a fight or engage in sexual violence. Taking shisha is just as close to the cliff too.
Just like a glass of wine can loosen the tongue and get the conversation flowing, so can a puff of shisha, but at what expense? The rich and spoilt children of especially Nairobi are using shisha smoking as an excuse to chill out and faze out from the realities that they should be facing. They become lethargic and unresponsive to real life. Shisha smoking is a way for them to kill time. If it is a part of the Arab culture to have shisha then go an enjoy it in their part of the world, there is no need to spread second hand smoke to the rest. Getting that one kick can literally kick you out of life, trying taking in the fumes of your car exhaust and you know where you will end up.
The Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopha Mailu has rightfully banned shisha in Kenya. Businessmen who are crying for loss of business should remember that dealing in shisha is actually signing up a slow death warrant for your customer. The ban is an excellent way to stop this lazy habit of “socializing”. However he should combine efforts with the Ministry of Sports and Culture, because at the end of the day people do want to socialize and youngsters need their space for enjoyment. This enjoyment should be productive and in the form of sports, arts, music and dance. To enable these activities to happen cost effectively the service providers should get as much assistance as possible to penetrate the youth to keep them busy and competitive.
Finally social vices begin at home just like charity, what you show your kids are what they will emulate later on. While you can’t keep a leash on them, educate them on what is happening from your point of view and not wait for them to Google their symptoms.
The beginning of the year marks the most important movement and that is back to school. The school fees is done, new uniforms if required are ready and books are in the new bag too. The private schools are in their second term and the national schools are starting their academic year. In either case, back to school can mean a lot of pressure for both student and parent or guardian.
The student is worried about unfinished holiday homework. The parent is worried about traffic and transport issues. The teacher is worried about new students. This interesting situation remains unique in experience from person to person. While the academic performance is important to success in life, there is more that is key to a fulfilling career.
According to a World Bank report released on 26th September 2017, “millions of young students in low and middle-income countries face the prospect of lost opportunity and lower wages in later life because their primary and secondary schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life.”
It goes on to say, “according to the report, when third grade students in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda were asked recently to read a sentence such as “The name of the dog is Puppy” in English or Kiswahili, three-quarters did not understand what it said.”
Bringing in ICT (information technology) into the classrooms can only useful if teachers are trained and parents are also involved. You cannot have a student use the devices and only to return home to paper and pen and find a gap. It is therefore necessary to involve all stakeholders for the greater good, which is a brilliant education. The main objective of a good education is that a child is prepared for his work life, whether employed or becoming an entrepreneur.
This definitely requires a closer look at the extra curricular activities schools offer. Every national school in the country must have the basics no matter what, in both primary and secondary. These include, a school band, a full music room, art competitions, football pitches, basketball courts, athletic fields and swimming. These basics can gear them up to face any private school standards should the income allow them to move. Having a theatre in the school will give them the opportunity for drama, acting, debate and elocution.
Each school must have an up-to-date IT facility and chemistry lab. While the Science Congress fairs are common with the National Schools, there needs much improvement for resources.
Let the children compete across schools with the sports championships because this will prepare them for the big leagues of life ahead and maybe a professional career in sports. In fact this is a perfect platform for the Government to prepare its future Olympians. That way the children have an income and the basic education should they retire in their mid-30s from the sports career.
Playing sports reduces anxiety and helps children battling with depression. Even music is known to be therapeutic for children, so let their arts and crafts shine.
Parents can only provide so much, thus it is up to the Government and the schools to give the children a well rounded education that can prepare them for life.
New Year is around the corner and what are you up to? Where are you in life? Where do you want to go?
There is no surprise that the number one and most common New Year’s eve resolution is to loose weight, followed by eat healthy and spend more time with family and friends. You must be wondering where do you lie in all of this? Well, that’s the thing, most lie through the year only to end up and make the same resolutions.
How about you go for losing more than just weight? Don’t get bogged down by the kilos you have to get off, maybe there is more in life you need to let go off. You can still have chocolates but learn to have the right ones and not over do it, if you calculate the amount of festivals to celebrate you will eventually end up eating a chocolate every 5 days.
How about you lose the drama in your life? From watching pathetic time waster TV serials to not over reacting in life! Turn a new leaf and choose to loose the crap and keep the treasure. De-clutter your friends list, even if this includes “family members” who do not add value to your life. But remember if you loose, you must add too. Things have to balance. Take a good stock of your friends and enemies and figure out what is best for you.
If you are dropping the calories then make sure you add them on for someone else. For every fine dining meal you give up, make sure you buy a school meal plan for someone else. That will make you feel better and for sure you will look better. Maybe 2017 was a year of gaining a new skill, then do not let it sit on the laptop, use it to benefit at least one more person and start the process of changing the world.
Since we are all used to the plastic ban, remember the fight has just started, you must still plant at least one tree. This will keep the balance of the earth in check. These are important resolutions. Instead of wasting time buying a new phone, you can choose to get better drainage for your compound and help the neighbourhood. The importance of community living has never been more significant than today. The digital world has connected us but we are strangers in person. Thus, make sure you reconnect with your friends in person in 2018. You never know what opportunities may arise for either of you.
Spending a lot of money over a New Year’s eve party makes sense if there is a purpose. Showing off is a big purpose in Kenya, from the big car syndrome to celebrity stalking. Fall prey if you will but remember these are shiny things that wear off at some point. Splash the money on savings, on a new home, on a retirement plan, medical insurance or a surprise future holiday. That way you will live for tomorrow while enjoying today.
You can choose to make your birthday the New Year of your life. There is no rule written on stone saying it has to start every 1st January. Cut yourself some slack but shape up or shape out when the time is right for you.