The Basic Need for Digital Security by Cecilia Maundu

Never has there been a need for digital security as the present time. When I embarked on a journey to become a digital security trainer, my mail goal was to help keep women and young girls safe online. I never thought that in my wildest dreams that this desire and passion would take me around the world. Digital security has become a basic need, in the current society that we live in and especially in Kenya where online violence is rife. This vice is targeted at women and especially women with voices online.

The goal of the perpetrators being to silence women online and the fact that we leave in a patriarchal society does not make it any better. Most of its victims shy away from the online platform and those who remain, resort to self-censorship. This leads to the widening of the digital gender divide gap. Despite being lauded for its vibrant and dynamic online scene, Kenya still grapples with gender disparities in the online space.

This ‘‘disease’’ can be defined as the digital gender gap, which refers to the inequality between men and women with regards to access and use of the internet. But it’s ironical that we are encouraging women to be online yet the same platform is so toxic. Hence the critical need for digital security.

Through the generous funding of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) I was able to organize for a focus group with four other digital security trainers. Before I move forward, I can hear someone asking what is APC? No worries I got you covered. APC is a worldwide network of social activists who use the internet to make the world a better place. APC is both a network and an organization. APC members are groups working in their own countries to advance the same mission as APC.

The main purpose of bringing together women digital security trainers, was more to focus on forming a community of feminist digital security trainers in Kenya. A community that we can rely on in this unique field, taking note that we are very few professionals in this field.

Building a community also organically increases the impact of the trainings we conduct since we are able to get valuable feedback from each other regarding our trainings. Additionally, the purpose of the focus group was to introduce some of the Feminist Tech Exchange (FTX) training modules, called the FTX: Safety Reboot to the digital security trainers. Feminist Tech Exchange: Safety Reboot is a training curriculum made up of several modules for trainers who work with women’s rights and sexual rights activists to use the internet safely, creatively and strategically.

It is a feminist contribution to the global response to digital security capacity building and enables trainers to work with communities to engage technology with pleasure, creativity and curiosity. Trainers should be familiar with the obstacles and challenges faced where misogyny, censorship and surveillance are restricting activists’ freedom of expression and ability to share information, create alternative economies, build communities of solidarity and express desires.

The FTX: Safety Reboot explores how we occupy online spaces, how women are represented, how we can counter discourses and norms that contribute to discrimination and violence. It is a feminist contribution to the global response to digital security capacity building, bringing the APC Women’s Rights Programme’s unique methodology and approach.

This journey will also see me produce four podcasts on each of the Following FTX modules, mobile safety, self-care, online gender-based violence, and creating safe online spaces.

Podcasting is the digital medium built on the power of conversation. The aim of producing these podcasts is to try and localise, adapt the FTX modules to the Kenyan context and to demystify the terms which are not familiar. The FTX modules will go a long way in helping digital security trainers in implementing their trainings effectively.

Online harassment comes in so many shapes and sizes, and can target its victims via many different mediums and platforms, and it can be overwhelming to think about how to prepare for and respond to online attacks. Hence the need for trainers to come up with different ways and means of training.

Cecilia Maundu is a Specialist in gender digital security training and consultant. With a focus on training women on how to stay safe online. She is also a broadcast journalist, as well as a User experience trainer, (UX). Collecting user information feedback and sharing it with developers all in the quest of making technology usable for digital security trainers and human rights activists.She is also the current elected secretary general of the International association of Women in radio and television.
Twitter: @ceciliamaundu
LinkedIn cecilia maundu

Governing by Lying: On the Death Cards of Drought, Deceit and Delinquency By Sitati Wasilwa


“Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but not to his own facts.” – Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Kenya’s current administration is without doubt an archetype of incompetence and delinquency based on the high levels of misgovernance witnessed over the last six years.

A legendary distinction of the Jubilee administration in comparison with the country’s past administrations is governing not just by lying, but by repeatedly doing so even when Kenyans are dying and suffering because of drought.

In an assemblage of what may be termed as “a grand presentation and sanctification of alternative, erroneous and disturbing facts”, the administration’s purported “machinists” denied any deaths resulting from drought that has largely affected Turkana and Baringo counties as well as counties in the Northern Frontier region.

Contrary to the “facts” presented by the “machinists”, there is undeniable evidence that Kenyans are dying because of the ravaging effects of drought.

Development Agenda

Featured twice on Jubilee’s agenda for the much touted but hardly evident development is creation of a food secure state; first through its manifesto, “Agenda for Kenya 2013-2017” harmonized with the second medium-term plan (2013-2017) of Vision 2030; and secondly, through its 2017 manifesto integrated with the third medium-term plan (2018-2022) commonly known as the “Big Four Agenda.”

A vague and totally empty campaign promise that now offers comic relief to politically conscious citizens regards the expected miraculous productivity of the Galana-Kulalu Food Security Project, the regime’s much acclaimed signature programme.

While launching Jubilee Party’s election manifesto in 2017, its deputy party leader William Ruto, in a utopic frenzy, remarked that the Galana-Kulalu Food Security Project would produce 30,000 bags of maize each month beginning July 2018. This remains a politically fat and equally irrelevant statement.

The Galana-Kulalu Food Security Project is one of the regime’s cash cows, a soon-to-be white elephant. A recent article revealed the irrigation project as Jubilee’s equivalent of the infamous Goldenberg Scandal, a fact confirmed by an unnamed wheeler-dealer of the administration.

Unsurprisingly, the irrigation project has been dogged by corruption. The Auditor General has raised fundamental questions about the usage of finances allocated to the project. Green Arava, an Israeli firm contracted to develop a model farm at the irrigation scheme, threatened to abandon its operations this year after not being paid as per the contractual agreement.

Additionally, the regime’s intention to construct dams with the aim of enhancing food production in regions perennially affected by drought and famine has turned out to be a scandalous affair. Ridiculously and unintelligently, the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Agriculture claims that thirty one dams will be constructed before the onset of the long rains. Are Kenyans – politically conscious Kenyans – that stupid to be lied to?

Deceitful PR: Of Food Relief Pilgrimages

To be a gallant politician one must be a master opportunist, a firm believer in propaganda and a “saviour” of the poor, needy and desperate masses.
Close to six decades since the British imperialists ceded political power to Kenyans, ordinary folks are still economically impoverished because of the invisible hand of the tiny elite that has strangulated the country’s economy by plundering resources.

The politico-economic tyranny occasioned by the tiny elite has dominated Kenya’s post-colonial history, a true indication of lack of economic and political independence for ordinary Kenyans. The success of this tiny elite is through the creation of a kleptocratic political monopoly that oversupplies short-term solutions and undersupplies long-term solutions.

We’ve got to remember that the yearly food relief pilgrimages are consequences of short-termism fashioned by Kenya’s tyrannical tiny elite.
Such short-termism keeps the masses in a perpetual state of dependence on the tiny elite and acts as fodder for gaining political capital. Acts of benevolence especially by politicians in helping desperate and poor citizens qualify as deceitful public relations exercises, and such is the case with the food relief distribution activities in the affected counties.

Voting & Political ‘Misleadership’

A country’s economic well-being or lack thereof depends on the nature of its political leadership. But the nature of the political leadership is an outcome of the voting patterns of the majority, and a reflection of the thought processes of a significant number of citizens.

High affinity to short-term solutions meant to address perennial challenges such as drought and famine would be avoidable only if the republic’s politics was based on relevant political ideologies. But as Bryan Caplan notes in his book, The Myth of the Rational Voter, “in real-world political settings, the price of ideological loyalty is close to zero…” No wonder ideologically deficient politics is the order of the day in Kenya.

A handful of Jubilee administration supporters who voted twice in 2017 to endorse the regime’s corruption and misgovernance have suddenly turned into its critics. This is pretence and ignorance.

In fact, Caplan further notes in his book that “voter ignorance opens the door to severe government failure”, and Kenya would have avoided such a failed government if only voters made right decisions at the ballot by not ignoring the terrible record of most of the politicians.

County governments especially in the regions affected by drought need to prioritize agriculture which is a devolved function.

The only way forward for Kenya to avoid humiliating situations like deaths resulting from drought, and food relief pilgrimages is to collectively root out the corrupt, tyrannical and imperialistic tiny elite that promotes state capture hence political ‘misleadership.’ Is this possible? Only if the misled significant majority embraces progressive thinking.

Sitati Wasilwa is a political economist, consultant on political and economic governance, public policy, geopolitics and geo-economics at Savic Consultants, and a youth leader at YMCA Kenya. He blogs at The Insight and Savic Consultants Blog, and can be contacted through sitatiwasilwa13@gmail.com.

It is time for parents to come out of their dugouts By Burns Noah

Lately, there has been so much fuss revolving around the bold proposal orchestrated by distinguished judges of the Court of Appeal to lower sexual consent age from 18 to 16 years. This move comes in amidst a crucial time when there has been relentless mechanisms put in place to empower the girl child. Furthermore, parents around the country are yet to come to terms with the Court of Appeals mouth gapping proposition.

A substantial number of Non-Governmental Organizations, churches detest the idea claiming that it will grant ill minded folks a free pass; to molest their adorable naive daughters and sons at a tender defenceless age.

Nonetheless, conclusive facts as well as figures from the Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 report stipulates that our innocent boys and girls have gotten way ahead of themselves. Yes! They engage in sexual intercourse under our noses. Here are some of the contributors facilitating their sexual endeavours.

Poverty is an undeniable predator raging terror and havoc in the society which ultimately renders people vulnerable to questionable schemes. It’s unfortunate that teenagers have fallen culprit to advances that involve partaking in sexual activities in exchange for favours. The perpetrators of such heinous acts choose their prey wisely and present themselves as friends yet they have a deadly plan to execute.

Life is full of challenges and teenagers do battle with their own Goliaths from time to time even though adults seem to dismiss this obvious fact. It is at this moment that their instinct for survival kicks in and it only takes a little psychological nudge to seduce them into something. Lack of basic resources creates awkward situations which enables wicked individuals to sexually exploit kids in exchange for favours and kickbacks.

It is time for parents to come out of their dugouts and have that decisive sex talk with their teenagers by streamlining as well as highlighting crucial details. Our young adults lack a sense of awareness and direction which leads them in an expedition to explore sexuality guided by curiosity.

Pursuing this further, along the way they get bombarded with mind-blowing ideas from friends, interested suitors which they will be tempted or lured to try out. The changes in teenagers happen so abruptly and they cannot fully comprehend what is going on. This is where you as a parent come in to provide insight as well as guidance to enable the young adult cope with the situations as they arise.

Lastly, the society has played a crucial role in ensuring that our young adults are fully exposed to content beyond their cognitive comprehension. Additionally, the things we do as adults do have long lasting impressions on our kids since they learn by picking up clues from our actions.

Consequently, the society as a whole needs a complete overhaul in terms of moral uprightness since our actions are betraying the values we believe in. We tend to shun and mock immorality yet we openly engage in fornication, adultery.

Written by Burns Noah an undergraduate at Kenyatta University pursuing BSc Petroleum Engineering
Twitter: @The_Analyst00

Aluta Continua By Burns Noah

Our beloved nation, Kenya gained sovereignty from her annihilator a lifetime ago and has since undergone transformational change as well as her own fair share of challenges. In the same line of thought, the youth have been a contagious issue when pondering and tinkering around matters relating to national development.

Furthermore, the government in addition to, reputable Non-Governmental Organizations have spearheaded the efforts of creating, modelling a better future by empowering tenacious young souls. On the other hand, despite the endless endeavors of finding amicable solutions to problems facing the youth, the situation doesn’t seem to be getting any better as expressed by majority of the young.

Corruption has been a cancer eating through our distinguished systems by consistently derailing our morals as well as ethics upon which the modern contemporary society is based on. Additionally, the vice has had negative adverse effects to the well-being of the Kenyan citizens who struggle to meet their needs on a strict budget of one dollar a day.

Our subscription to capitalism ideologies have played a significant role in ensuring that corruption finds a serene environment to thrive. Whenever cases of corruption surface, the accused individuals act as targeted victims of circumstance or disregard charges levelled and advice the complainant to wait for their turn to mercilessly loot public resources.

The youth overwhelmingly pledge allegiance to the esteemed office of the president in the war against corruption nightmare. Our only plea is to the office of criminal investigations to provide sufficient evidence to enable the Judiciary perform its mandate.

From a psychological point of view, the youth have successfully been brain programmed by conservative doctrines which foster selfish gains and undermines public interests. Pursuing this further, Kenyan youth have been fixated to believe that they are incapable of standing out for themselves as well as incompetent to give insight on matters affecting the society.

Consequently, this has made the youth to reluctantly take a back sit as they watch things unfold from a distance. The youth should step out of their slumber, comfort zone and take charge or else we are trading on a very treacherous path. There are excellent examples of youth whom have defiled the status quo and are now living their dreams like the young talented KTN news reporter Timothy Otieno, the charismatic Nerima Wako and the vocal Babu Owino.

Its ironical that a good number of the Kenyan electorate approximately above 50% as depicted in the 2017 general election are youth yet the number of representatives in elective posts is less comparatively speaking. This clearly shows how the youth don’t trust each other when it comes to choosing leaders despite having youthful qualified candidates vying for various seats.

It’s no secret that every youth has a goal and a plan for the future nonetheless, without adequate support from each other we are headed towards a frustrating end. It’s a challenge to the youth to find it within themselves to support each other in building a majestic nation.

Written by Burns Noah an undergraduate at Kenyatta University pursuing BSc Petroleum Engineering
Twitter: @The_Analyst00