Archive for June, 2007
* I say, this has to be one of the most interesting letters I have read in a long while.
June 26, 2007
I have been a member of the Conservative party for over 30 years, and have served for 20 years in the parliamentary party, in a variety of backbench and front bench roles.
This has usually been a great pleasure, and always a great privilege. It is therefore with much sadness that I write you this letter. But you are entitled to know the truth.
Under your leadership the Conservative party appears to me to have ceased collectively to believe in anything, or to stand for anything.
It has no bedrock. It exists on shifting sands. A sense of mission has been replaced by a PR agenda.
For the first 19 years of my time in the House, in common I imagine with the great majority of my colleagues, it never occurred to me to leave the party, whatever its current vicissitudes.
Ties of familiarity, of friendship, and above all of commitment to constituency supporters are for all of us very strong and incredibly difficult to break.
But they cannot be the basis for living a lie – for continuing in an organisation when one no longer has respect for its leadership or understanding of its aims.
I have come to that appreciation slowly and painfully and as a result of many things, some of which are set out below.
The first horrible realisation that I might not be able to continue came last year. My initial reaction was to suppress it.
You had come to office as leader of the party committed to break a solemn agreement we had with the European People’s party to sit with them in the EPP-ED Group during the currency of this European parliament.
For seven months you vacillated, and during that time we had several conversations.
It was quite clear to me that you had no qualms in principle about tearing up this agreement, and that it was only the balance of prevailing political pressures which led you ultimately to stop short of doing so (though since then you have hardly acted in good faith in continuing with the agreement, for example you never attend the EPP-ED Summits claiming that you are “too busy” – even though half a dozen or more prime ministers are always present.)
Of course I knew that you had put yourself in a position such that if you did not leave the EPP-ED Group you would be breaking other promises you had given to colleagues, and on which many of them had counted in voting for you at the leadership election.
But that I fear only made the position worse. The trouble with trying to face both ways is that you are likely to lose everybody’s confidence.
Aside from the rather significant issues of principle involved, you have of course paid a practical price for your easy promises.
You are the first leader of the Conservative party who (for different reasons) will not be received either by the president of the United States, or by the chancellor of Germany (up to, and very much including, Iain Duncan Smith every one of your predecessors was most welcome both in the White House and in all the chancelleries of Europe).
It is fair to say that you have so far made a shambles of your foreign policy, and that would be a great handicap to you – and, more seriously, to the country – if you ever came to power.
I have never done business with people who deliberately break contracts, and I knew last year that if you left the EPP-ED Group I could no longer remain in a party under your leadership.
In fact you held back and I tried to put this ugly incident out of my mind and carry on.
But the last year has been a series of shocks and disappointments. You have displayed to the full both the vacuity and the cynicism of your favourite slogan “change to win”.
One day in January, I think a Wednesday or Thursday, you and George Osborne discovered that Gordon Brown was to make a speech on the environment the following Monday.
You wished to pre-empt him. So without any consultation with anyone – experts, thinktanks, the industry, even the shadow cabinet – you announced an airline or flight tax which as you have subsequently heard from me in a long paper (which has never been refuted) and I am sure from many others, is certainly defective and contradictory – and in my view complete nonsense.
The PR pressures had overridden any considerations of economic rationality or national interest, or even what would have been to others normal businesslike prudence.
Equally it seems that your hasty rejection of nuclear energy as a “last resort” was also driven by your PR imperatives rather than by other considerations. Many colleagues hope that that will be the subject of your next u-turn.
You regularly (I think on a pre-arranged PR grid or timetable) make apparent policy statements which are then revealed to have no intended content at all. They appear to be made merely to strike a pose, to contribute to an image.
You thus sometimes treat important subjects with the utmost frivolity. Examples are “inequality” (the “Polly Toynbee” moment – again you had a paper from me!), marriage and the tax system (even your own party chairman was unable to explain on the BBC what you really meant) and, most recently, mass consultation of the public on policy decisions. (In view of your complete failure to consult with anyone, within the party or outside it, on many of the matters I have touched on, or on many others, the latter was perhaps intended as a joke).
Of course I could go on – up to three weeks ago when you were prepared to stoop to putting forward a resolution on Iraq (demanding an inquiry while our military involvement continues) which it was admitted at a party meeting the following Monday (by George Osborne in your presence) was motivated by party political considerations. That was a particularly bad moment.
Believe it or not I have no personal animus against you. You have always been perfectly courteous in our dealings. You are intelligent and charming.
As you know, however, I never supported you for the leadership of the party – even when, after my preferred candidate Ken Clarke had been defeated in the first round, it was blindingly obvious that you were going to win.
Nor, for the same reasons, have I ever sought office in your shadow administration.
Although you have many positive qualities you have three, superficiality, unreliability and an apparent lack of any clear convictions, which in my view ought to exclude you from the position of national leadership to which you aspire and which it is the presumed purpose of the Conservative party to achieve.
Believing that as I do, I clearly cannot honestly remain in the party. I do not intend to leave public life. On the contrary I am looking forward to joining another party with which I have found increasingly I am naturally in agreement and which has just acquired a leader I have always greatly admired, who I believe is entirely straightforward, and who has a towering record, and a clear vision for the future of our country which I fully share.
Because my constituents, to whose interests of course I remain devoted, are entitled to know the full background, I am releasing this letter to the press.
Source: The Guardian
For most recent updates on my campaign, click here.
By JESSE MASAI
One of the benefits of being a Churchman and woman’s kid is that you get to travel around lots, often on a shoe-string budget.
You live, study, work, eat and do much else with people from cultures and backgrounds other than your own.
Life batters one just as much as it nourishes, you get wounded just as much as you are readied to serve as a healer in the various contexts you find yourself in.
You learn so much about people and your world at a tender age that, if unchecked, you both become overly sensitive to some things or entirely numb and callous.
In effect, nothing presents a more difficult challenge for a writer than to sift through experiences gained from such so as to offer the reading public some genuine wheat, distinct from the chaff of self-aggrandizement and sanitation of otherwise colorful legacies.
Personal Christian journals and autobiographies often make for great reading because of creative tensions emerging from such; I am in the process of compiling my own, documenting some of the events, crises and turns that have influenced my journey in the faith and life as an emerging Christian thinker and servant.
I have, in recent times, been working on a section detailing all the women who have played a role in my life.
It was while going through my draft for that section that I recalled my thirty minutes on the cross some fourteen years ago.
At thirteen, I found myself living with my parents in a certain, remote, Kenyan village.
My family occupied an imposing old manor, the legacy of early Dutch missionary activity in that place.
It was the only house of its kind in a village battling to catch up with trappings of modernity which, by the day, appeared more like a pipe-dream despite the villagers’ best of efforts at education and infrastructural development.
Still, life was going on in our sleepy surroundings.
We are a naturally friendly and outgoing household, so it was no surprise for us to get an invitation to attend a community function one early morning.
We had attended several already, including the betrothals of some of our friends, community dances and hunting celebrations.
At precisely 5:00 A.M, our minder led us through a thicket behind our house to a river bank nearby.
At precisely 5:30 A.M, my dad, my brothers and I found ourselves standing at a spot the female members in our family could only have been intuitive or lucky never to have heard about.
Squatting in front of a swelling multitude in the chilly morning were some twenty seven young girls my age, allowing five more or less years.
Behind each girl stood two stern-faced men with long whips made from animal hides, a natural tribute to the wild game that dotted the vicinity.
The girls were naked.
But in their slimy ochre, they appeared firmly at ease, periodically shifting their military-like gazes from the increasing spectators to the old, almost blind woman, who feebly walked before them like a Mother Superior with an old, dirty, sickle-like knife.
The girls appeared to be relishing the prospects of something everyone in the crowd, except a few like my family, appeared to already know and cherish.
At precisely 5:45 A.M, another old woman emerged from the thickets nearby and stood beside the knife-wielding woman, whom we now got to quietly learn was one of the community’s longest serving circumcisers.
“Wamefaulu (they have qualified),” our minder told us in Swahili, translating what the new woman was now saying for our benefit.
Apparently the woman had spent several weeks with the girls in the bush, taking them through various aspects of womanhood, including giving birth, child-rearing and how to pleasure themselves and their husbands after the cut.
“Mila na tamaduni zetu zitabaki imara baada ya hii sherehe (our mores and traditions will remain intact after this ceremony),” the old woman said as she now gestured her colleague to begin work on the girls.
With military precision and great mathematical exactitude, the woman had cut off some part of at least ten of the girls’ reproductive organs, a part I would later learn was called clitoris.
The cheers and ululations that rent the air at each surgical success was enough to give the new initiates smiling faces as they remained squatting, and tearless.
They had now joined the community’s club of heroines, the community’s fellowship of revered, hardy women who now could attract male attention and mate without thinking they could still be besmirched as big babies.
They were now women, worthy of the name.
There were no short-cuts to this fellowship.
In the community’s long-held traditions, there could not have been any more decent, alternative rite of passage.
No girl who ever avoided the knife, however educated and “cultured,” could land a man to marry in the village or anywhere else the community had its reach or influence.
But it was after the tenth girl that things began going awry.
As the cheers and ululations continued, the remaining girls began to chicken out, as the pressure piled on them to play up to the gallery just as their counterparts had successfully done.
All this while, I had stood monitoring the action, too shocked to do anything else.
A shriek rent the air as one of the girls wailed in pain.
She had trembled and shook big, allowing the circumciser to get away with nearly the whole of her pubic area in her haste to clear with everyone else in time.
The two men behind her descended on her with whips, more in visible hate than to cajole her into any new obedience, if at all.
The sequence was predictable.
The ground was getting all bloodied, as some in the crowd yearned to join the rite’s curia in whipping the wailing fifteen.
At least five of the girls were now bleeding profusely and in such a backwater village, it was difficult seeing how they were going to survive on the community’s herbal medication.
In the melee, someone apparently had had the presence of mind to whisk away the “successful” ten.
My dad, my brothers and I could stand it no more; we began walking away, tears forming in our eyes.
Time had hit 6:00 A.M and the chill of the morning that, together with the cold river waters, had served as an anesthetic for the ceremony was giving way to the warm African sun.
Silently, I made a resolution that I was not going to eat meat till my family moved out of that place.
“What was the point?” My dad asked, getting angrier by the minute.
Our minder, keeping pace with us, could not have been more prepared with an answer.
“Mchungaji, mambo yatakuwa sawa tu. Usijali . (Pastor, everything will be alright. Don’t you worry).”
“You haven’t answered my question.”
“Mchungaji, wewe huhubiri kuhusu Mungu anayetaka maisha ya uadilifu katika ngono. Hizi ni juhudi zetu kumsaidia huyo Mungu maadili hayo yawepo. (Pastor, you often preach about a God who demands purity in sexual matters. These are our efforts to help God establish that purity).”
“I still don’t understand you.”
“Sherehe ya leo itapunguza umalaya na nyege zisizo na kipimo . (Today’s ceremony will cut down on sexual immorality and associated desires that have no limits).”
Never again have I given myself to attending another FGM ceremony – the closest I ever came to events of that day was descriptions in my biology lessons in high school, women health lectures at campus and an ethics class in graduate school, out of which I walked when debate shifted to the grisly details of Female Genital Mutilation in modern Africa and the Diaspora.
A Cameroonian friend of mine tells me that it is even worse in his community: Girls’ breasts are ironed with a hot press to achieve the same effect FGM does.
Who will do away with this cross that hangs on the shoulders of us all like an albatross?
For most recent updates on my campaign, visit http://www.jessemasai.com
By JESSE MASAI
Ihuoma sat down and thought hard. Three months without word from the man she loved and her heart was almost bursting at the seams with anxiety.
“Give him time,” her friend Nkechi said as they now talked about John. “He will come around. He loves you. He told me as much.”
“But don’t you think he isn’t that into me anymore?”
“No, he wouldn’t she-tox you like that if he had any misgivings about you. I know him. He talks his heart out.”
“Is he seeing another girl?”
“No, he isn’t. But we would know if he did. No African city is so big as to hide a secret from Gossip Anonymous. There is always someone who knows something about someone and who is willing to talk about it without asking to be paid.”
“I hate gossip.”
“What you call gossip never harmed a fly, my dear. You think of it a little too strongly. Let’s not call it gossip. Between us, it is simply a sharing of prayer requests.”
Ihuoma laughed uneasily at Nkechi’s last statement, as she adjusted her bra nervously.
“You make your top,” Nkechi said, as if reading her friend’s mind.
“Thank you. But I’m ageing, you know. I know John and I had issues, but it wasn’t meant to drag this long. I’m hitting the big O pretty soon. The clock, Nkechi, the clock!”
“Relax. You will have your sex-on-the-tap pretty soon. You will have your little angels all over you pretty soon. John will make a decent woman of you pretty soon. Give it time, relax.”
“But I’m not getting any younger. You don’t seem to realize how important this is to me. John and I agreed to give ourselves another shot at this. We want it to work. He agreed to work on it with me, to burry our differences, to forgive me for all the beef we have had. Three months on and I haven’t heard anything from him.”
Nkechi knew Ihuoma was now hitting a raw end.
“Everything will be alright. I’ll talk to him again tonight. I’m sure you guys will be into each other again pretty soon. I’ll be your best lady, remember?”
“You realize, don’t you, that by setting yourself up as a go-between here you are also committing yourself to be a life-long friend of both John and myself?”
“That much I know and am prepared for. Nothing could please me more than see stuff work out between you two. You deserve each other, you really do and God knows it. I’m happy for you.”
“Thanks Nkechi. But you know sometimes I can’t help thinking that Sharon Stone has been right all along in saying that while women can fake an orgasm, men can fake an entire relationship. Perhaps I should wake up and smell the coffee. ”
“Ihuoma, I’m going to sew your beak up. Cheer up girl! Keep your eyes up, the sun is still shining! Tell me now; what would drive John into any other woman’s embrace? The boy is smitten by you. I’ll be talking to him again tonight on your behalf. Drop him another e-mail today and just give him some little time to get back to you.”
Alone in her apartment after Nkechi had left, Ihuoma wondered if her buddy had not been right much of the time they had talked: She was too anxious for life.
She gnawed at some chocolate as she thought over John.
And Nkechi’s role in restoring things between them too.
She loved John – she always had ever since they bumped into each other at college.
She had played too hard to get along the way – that, distance, gossip, and other cares of this world had eroded her feelings for the man somewhat, but there had always been something or someone pulling them together time and again.
“God’s case, no appeal,” she had told herself the day she sought Nkechi’s help in resolving the John question.
Nkechi was a home-girl with whom Ihuoma had seen the best and worst of life, including those tearful heart-breaks from some boys who considered themselves God’s rare gift to lovelorn girls.
Like the proverbial Caesar’s wife, Nkechi was – in Ihuoma’s estimation – going to be always above reproach; she had bared her soul to her, Nkechi knew her as intimately as no man ever would.
She trusted Nkechi.
It was that trust that made her e-mail just one more time.
“I’ll not respond to romantic overtures from other men till I hear from John,” she told herself as she signed off her latest of e-mails of concern to John.
A week later and she still hadn’t heard from John.
In her inbox, however, was a terse e-mail from Nkechi inquiring how things were shaping up between her wishful boo and herself.
It was a Sunday evening, just before the day’s prime-time news. Ihuoma reclined in a seat behind her computer desk, composed herself and hit a reply to Nkechi:
Thank you for requesting a report on the matter concerning John and I.
With regard to the status of the matter, I’m yet to hear from John, principally on the issues you had said he had agreed to communicate to me about as well as a response(s) to some of my e-mails.
As you may or may not know, I have not desired to effectively dominate the discussions between us and it has taken considerable effort to ensure parity with him and to have an outcome that would reflect our shared position.
I have had some feedback from friends praying with me who are concerned with the fact that communications between John and myself on this matter have, thus far, been via proxy (yourself).
Furthermore, there appears to be a one-sided monologue from my end, the reality being that a dialogue of the deaf-and-dumb is taking shape.
If John wishes to continue with this matter, then I would suggest he communicates and that such communication should reflect his genuine desires.
If he would wish for me to let him be, I would recommend that communication be made to this effect too.
But I leave it in your good hands to let me know what he would wish.
It may be that you may wish to have me still be patient with him.
If you would like me to continue, then please let me know. I am happy either way.
With our Lord’s blessings,
As she clicked send , she turned on the tube for the day’s headlines, just in time for her to hear the signature tune end and the smiling anchor come on and say: “…and don’t you forget, we also have news of the biggest society wedding in town for you, John Kuffuor and Linet Nkechi, a little later on in this live bulletin.”
“You witch!” Ihuoma wailed as she passed out.
For most recent updates on my campaign, visit http://www.jessemasai.com
*I did not attend the Nakuru prayer meeting organized by Dr. David E. Owuor. I have talked to a friend who did. Excerpts.
While in India, Owuor struggled with God. He didn’t want to return for ministry to Kenya because Kenyans had abused him, schemed to kill him, ridiculed God, etc. “You must go back,” he was told. “I’m restoring my altar.”
While praying for a mission to another country, God gave him a vision of Nakuru. He was given a vision of the multitudes of people repenting. It was also during one of the preparatory prayers for the Nakuru meeting that he was shown the KQ crash, 3 weeks to the incident.
The Nakuru meeting was attended by people from the East Africa region and every corner of the country.
Only Machakos DC John Litunda was the highest government official in attendance. Efforts to have President Kibaki and other senior government officials to attend were reportedly thwarted by some Christian leaders in the country.
Mr. Litunda was Master of Ceremonies and part of the organizing committee. In the course of one session at the prayer meeting, he made prayers for peace, peaceful elections, etc. Dr. Owuor rebuked him, saying the meeting was not about Kenyan elections, getting a good president, averting the predicted Nairobi quake, etc but to prepare the way for Christ’s return.
Repentance was carried out on behalf of denominations of Churches, ethnic communities, regions, institutions, etc.
Owuor had a message on what he called “the midnight hour.” The clock is ticking. It is one minute to midnight. The second hand is moving pretty fast. Time has run out, it’s about to strike midnight. Time is running for the Church. The Church has to be restored, starting with its priesthood. God’s mind is past the rapture; Gods mind is onto the Great Tribulation when most people on earth are barely thinking of the rapture. The Beast / Anti-Christ will torment / devour those in the Great tribulation who will refuse the Mark of the Beast, putting their faith in God as opposed to the demonic system that will rule over the earth. They are going to be terrible times. No one should want to wait for them. Only those in the Lamb’s Book of Life are going to hear the trumpet call; the call is going to be very personal and specific.
You are to mature as a bride for Him to wed you at the glorious Wedding of the Lamb. You need to be a mirror image of Him.
God has heard Kenyans’ cry over Mungiki. He will bring the Mungiki to an end. Kenyans should not fear.
Nairobi and Mombasa must repent. The Nairobi quakes must take place. Nairobi hasn’t repented God’s way. Nairobi must humble itself and acknowledge Him as King. Nairobians have treasured earthly possessions over and above God. They are content with themselves and their world; their repentance is mere PR / gimmicks. They haven’t broken down. They are paying lip service to God. There’s a small remnant that will survive – who are upright and living righteously, who have not bowed down to Nairobi’s idols. Magnitude of Nairobi’s quake going to be so huge, will defy description.
God loves Kenya. God is going to use Kenya to show the nations of the world the end-times. Kenya has a place in God’s end-times plan. Don’t be selfish with what God is bestowing on you as a nation; take it and run with it to the nations of the world. “God loves you Kenya. There is no way I can hate you. I’m forced to love Kenya.”
In the coming short while, so much must happen on the world calendar in terms of events that must precipitate the rapture and Great tribulation.
God has wanted to use Kenya mightily, but pastors and priests have hindered God’s move big time. God now overtaking and superseding these blockades and everything else in the way. He will not force anyone to work with Him. He will work with those who are available for / to Him.
To pastors / priests – preach Christ’s return, holiness, repentance, the Holy Spirit (to sensitize folks on Christ’s comeback). Live in repentance at all times. Bring the Bible back to the Church, to the Church’s center, so that God’s flow can be real. This will serve to end some of the Church’s small-time battles. Go back to the old and rugged cross.
For most recent updates on my campaign, click here.