Stop with the Filters Already! 

I write this fully aware that I could be an endangered species after its all over. I really don’t own much property, so all my possessions I leave to my mother, the whisky in my house I leave to my boys and my Manchester United jersies I leave to my 2 year old cousin who loves football but he just don’t know it yet. 

Now, filters and Photoshop. There is a reason God created you the way you are. We cannot all be slim, we cannot all be light skins, we cannot all have natural, long, free flowing hair and we most certainly cannot all have perfect eyebrows. I would like to believe there is a purpose we were all created the way we were. Life/Nature needs to have a balance, that is why we have different sexes. 

Social media has been used for good, for bad, for business, to raise awareness, to avert & tackle disasters and unfortunately, for spreading the greatest lie on looks. More often that many would like to admit, shock and utter disbelief have reigned supreme when you meet face to face with people you have been engaging with online. Complexion can be as light and flawless like a baby’s back side on that Picture you have online but in reality it’s a dark/scorched and uneven face like a Githurai Matatu’s front bumper.

Yes, looking good raises your self esteem, in fact it’s advised-on these white people shows on TV showing makeover shows right before the show on botched plastic surgeries. However, lying to yourself and others is also a crime against humanity. A guy might have invested emotionally on you based on your filtered pictures online, only for him to willingly ask the waiter during the date to give him raw fish to hasten food poisoning so he can go home and spend the entire night trying to be Sebastian Vettel on a toilet bowl-feeling sorry for how his life turned out & constantly asking at which point it went all wrong. 

False advertising is wrong. There’s a guy who sued Redbull once for saying that Redbull gives you wings and he never got some when he drank it. One of these days a guy should be allowed to sue a woman for false advertising. Pictures you put online should be a true reflection of how you look in life. There is no need trying to look like Marilyn Monroe while the reality is the complete opposite. Why would you want to subject another human to such disappointment? Some of these unlucky guys actually cannot bear the humiliation they undergo after their make friends know about the botched date they consider jumping in front of a Citi Hoppa coming down valley road when there is no traffic. You go to meetings and someone says hi to you like you have known them since you were in diapers and you look back at them like the people who preach in buses. “You don’t recognize me?” That’s the next question and the obvious answer is yes. They tell you the name they use online and you go “Aaaaah, yes, you are well?”. You might call that guy a snob but really, how would you expect to be recognized if all your photos online look nothing like you in reality? 

Filters and Photoshop are good, they make everyone a Nat Geo photographer, they make a plate of Githeri look like cuisine straight from a top hat chef’s kitchen, but those are unnatural things. You are most beautiful 10 seconds after you leave your bed, embrace that. A little make up isn’t bad, but please don’t end up looking like a geisha. Other than that, embrace your beautiful dark chocolate look, some men actually prefer those to light skins. 

So please, stop with the filters already! 

*Books a flight to Timbuktu* 

In Pursuit of Happiness

Amid extensive suspicions from my lady friends, I decided to carry out a “general poll” on social media today. The main question was “Ever find the perfect woman who ticks all your boxes yet she’s taken? What do you do; Pursue or admire from a distance?” Of course this was a general contextual question which was meant for both sexes, but yes, should have included the “Perfect woman/man” part in the query. 

The responses were as divided as you would expect. To put it into context, on one hand, if you did decide to pursue, you would be hurting another emotionally invested human but on the other hand, you would come out the happiest human-at least in your general locality. 

Surprisingly, majority of the women supported the idea of the pursuit. To some, happiness should be sought at all costs. If that happiness pursuit leaves scars and bodies by the road side, that is a statistic they can willingly live with. To actually quote one “You don’t want to wake up when you are 80 and realize that you never had a soulmate”. 

Men on the other hand were unanimous; well when I say unanimous, I mean only one guy in the entire pool of respondents advocated for admiring from far. The general response was “If she’s not married, it’s fair game”- well apart from one who for all intents and purposes we shall assume he’s a very patient man who said “You admire from far as you hope he does soon and he doesn’t leave behind any kids”. 

When you consider both scenarios, they do have their pros and cons. Morality rears its head in one while the other one holds the key to a lifetime of happiness. You also have to consider the fact that if he/she’s ready to leave another for you, chances are that it can happen to you too. Many are of the assumption that its a risk worth taking being that the individual in question does “tick all your boxes”. In terms of morality, the question would be if this would be considered as “cheating” on his/her part. 

From the perspective on the individual being sought, I guess the question would be “Would you consider it “cheating” if there is mutual attraction with the one doing the seeking?” At the end of the day, the chest at the end of the rainbow is happiness regardless of the fact that technically you are scarring another  emotionally attached human. The main decision you have to make is, can you live with it? Is the happiness you seek greater than the guilt? Does the other individual “tick your boxes” too? 

In my own opinion, whether you decide to pursue your happiness or whether you decide to admire from far (or hope that the guy dies and doesn’t leave kids behind) the one thing that should matter is communication. You have to let the individual in question know your intentions before hand. They might not know “real” happiness and you have to be prepared to make a once in a lifetime proposal that would make them glance your way. One of the respondents admitted to “chasing” for six years! Patience will be key in your endeavor because normally changes don’t happen in a flash. Emotional detachment does not bond really well with humans and once they are emotionally attached, they tend to have tunnel vision. In your endeavor, you have to show that there are greener pastures elsewhere, you would need to show the gaps in the present and how they would be filled if another path was considered. Joseph Campbell once said “We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” You have to be very persuasive for them to make that change. 

A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it. Whichever decision one makes presented with this scenario, always appreciate the patience in your pursuit of happiness. 

Open letter to IG Boinnet

Well, first off, congratulations good sir! These days getting a public servant as high a rank as yours approved is very hard, let’s not kid ourselves, our parliament is not necessarily a room full of non whiners. 

I wish you the best of luck in your security docket, but the bar set by the predecessors was not so high (in the eyes of Kenyans-not mine) so I’m pretty sure you will prosper. 

Reason I decided to write this as I wait for updates on my laptop to install (it will take a while) is when I saw your post on Twitter “i look forward to working closely with #KOT”. Yes that one; now I’m not saying these guys are bad, but those streets they reside in are never safe. 

Look at it this way, those streets (that is what we call the Twitter Timeline) are like being in an F1 race track- wait you went to an American University, so let’s say a Nascar racing track- you know, the ones with no bumps. Subarus (the intern who will be running your account on Twitter can explain what that is) whizz past and you don’t even realize it before it’s too late. 

#KOT are not your friends, these guys are way too funny to be taken seriously. You should never take what they say too seriously, even when they make memes (please ask your intern to explain this too) of you. They hate being told what to do, they are all experts -in all fields I must say. 

#KOT know how to do your job better than you do, believe that, so be sure to venture on those streets once in a while to look for intelligence. Now on to serious matters, we need security assured, we need more sponsors to visit this country. Sponsors have been avoiding Kenya for a while now because of security matters so I would urge you to kindly look in to that. 

I don’t think I have forgotten anything, if I have, I’ll see you on the streets (Twitter I mean). Good luck sir. 

The girl at the coffee shop

kuirab:

One of those things that never leave your mind- might be the one who got away lol

Originally posted on kuirab:

A typical after- work day, all tired, all worn out. I decide to go and fuel my coffee addiction at my favorite coffee shop. As i seat, all alone, in a booth, lost in my thoughts, lost in my own little world.
She gets in, hand in hand with what i automatically guess is her boyfriend. They have the courtesy to ask if they can sit on my table, i was getting bored so i said ”go right ahead”. I had this sudden urge to add ”its a free country” but i decided to be subtle.
I ask for another cup, they both get some orange juice and share a piece of cake- guess economy’s pretty hard.
She stares at me, not stare- stare, more like stealing an occassional glance. I m happily tapping away at my phone- writing this- she thinks- or a  least i think she thinks m…

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My Dress My Choice

Having not written for over 8 months now, it saddens me that this had to be the blog post that ended that drought. In this century, we have men who can publicly declare their intent on stripping women in public. Being a liberal society, the Bill of Rights gives you leeway in what you can say but it’s up to you as a mature adult to keep your opinions within the confines of maturity. Coming from a Single mother household, I especially hold women in the highest regard to the point that I don’t even mind when people call me a momma’s boy. No human being has the right to assault another in any way; Sexual assault it the worst kind of action you can inflict on another human being. I haven’t brought myself to watch that video of the woman being stripped by shallow minded men simply because I don’t have to watch to condemn the action. Even the topic by itself disgusts me a great deal, why would you do that to a fellow human? Instances of Muslim women, some of them my close friends have been harassed in public even when they had their BuiBui, so you really cannot associate this with short dresses.

This is a short minded mentality by a few because I believe we as men, we were raised better. The fact that it happened and has been happening is a shortfall for our security apparatus. They have allowed this to go on for a really long time, we have had instances of women being sexually assaulted in police stations and being scared to testify for fear of repercussions. This is where I pick a bone with our women legislators, where are you? Women representatives- we have special seats for you in the legislature, where are you? I might be naïve, but for issues like this, I expect women legislators to be on the verge of lynching the police commissioner demanding justice. I have a voice to condemn this, but yours’ as legislators is bigger, you have the voice to make even the famous cook make a statement but you have been silent in this matter which is even sadder.

It’s your right to dress the way you want, it’s your right to self expression, it’s your right to walk around nude if you wish.Unless you are my under age daughter, you can dress either way you wish, I might not know the reason for your choice of dress, but then again, its none of my business. You are free to make your own choices, I believe free will goes all the way back to creation. Issuing scathing remarks to discredit those who took part in this campaign just shows how mediocre some people’s line of thought is.

Before you issue statements that you will strip women, think of your own wife, your own daughter, your own sister, your own mother. How would you feel if that happened to them?As much as you may have your opinion regarding this matter which is your right, keep it to yourself, wallow in your own self pity for self recognition. The next thing after stripping is rape, so think about that before you make idiotic statements.

It’s a matter of choice, choosing to be a good role model for our sons, we are bound to make this earth better for the next generation. It’s a matter of being a mature man, it’s a matter of respect, it’s a matter of being a human being.

I commend the men and women who took part in the #MyDressMyChoice march, respect of humanity is something I believe we were all taught at some point in our lives; We must have Utu.

Why I love Nairobi

Nairobi I believe is one of the most beautiful metropolitans in Africa if not the world. I mostly enjoy the walks I take in the morning to and from work through the city so I decided to document some of the beautiful sites it has to offer.
It’s basically a good contrast of dawn and dusk, the sunrise and the sunset that are so breathtaking from the little glimpses the concrete jungle allows. Here are some of my best moments, taken from my camera phone as I walked along the various streets in the city.

This is Moi Avenue in the morning, looking all peaceful. The hustle and bustle of hard working Kenyans on their way to work. The Sunrise above the National Archives building is just breathtaking. A new day, a new dawn, another day to make a difference in the world.

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City Hall Way in the evening can be so beautiful. This is one of my best streets in Nairobi. The Plush green trees, the clean pavements, the flowers by the side, the street lights as the dark creeps in. All is one marvel that brings a smile to my face even after a really long day.

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This is a beautiful evening shot of the famous Kencom building. Since back in the day when cell phones were non-existent, this was the de-facto meeting point for people in Nairobi. Dates would be set months in advance and the activity around this building still makes it a central meeting point for people to this day.

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Mama Ngina Street. This is one street that I really love; The trees that have taken ages to grow, and of course it hosts my favourite coffee shop. Nairobi Java will always be my favourite coffee shop, it fuels my coffee addiction and life would just not be complete without it.

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Parliament way. Such a beautiful street to walk on any time of day. The human traffic on this is very minimal which ensures that you enjoy the scenery of the Parliament buildings and the Jomo Kenyatta Mausoleum.

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Kaunda Street. Such a serene walk way, not too much traffic and gives a vibrant feel of the Nairobi culture with a selection of shops of all accessories. 20140131-191823.jpg

Another great shot of Parliament way by the wall of the Parliament Buildings.

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This is by far one of the greatest shots of the Nairobi sunset I have taken. It was a long day after work and I was walking down Utalii Lane on the way to meet a couple of friends for coffee when i saw this beautiful sight. The golden sunset illuminating the clouds and the light reflecting on Utalii Building. It was such a breathtaking experience all round, i felt refreshed just by looking at it.

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Another Sunset shot on Kenyatta Avenue. The green on this street is just amazing and the light reflecting on the buildings was just awesome. It also captures the extremes of a great peaceful walkway and the busy Nairobi evening traffic.

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A dawn shot of the usually busy Moi Avenue. This street was virtually empty at this hour, it was so peaceful walking to work on that day. 20140131-192245.jpg

Muindi Mbingu Street. I feel in love with this particular part of the street because of all the green around me in the middle of this concrete jungle we call Nairobi. Such a beautiful sight.

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To cap it all off, the walk way in KICC, I am glad I took this short cut through the grounds, it’s always such a beautiful sight. 20140131-192328.jpg

Nairobi sure is beautiful, amid the social, economic and political things that are around us each day, we all need to pause and enjoy our streets. Who knows, some of these great sceneries might just influence us to relax and re-evaluate our perspectives on every day life.

VALUE FOR MONEY IN PROCUREMENT

Traditional approaches to achieving value in procurement underscore cost savings. Contemporary procurement on the other hand, takes a holistic view that transcends cost savings, delving into other forms of value addition that are realized by organizations through procurement functions.

This report highlights the different forms of value that can be realized through procurement. It is aimed at ensuring that procurement professionals appreciate the concept of value for money; so as to design & implement the structures, systems & processes that would promote the delivery of value to their respective organizations through procurement.

One of the key factors in achieving value for money is coming up with a comprehensive procurement strategy. A good strategy should incorporate key services or goods for various units/programs/departments, an assessment of how these goods are purchased, performance of key suppliers & the scope to improve value for money & quality of service. A good procurement strategy should also cover the whole process of obtaining the goods, services & works from third parties. This strategy should link the procurement goals & the achievement of the overall organization objectives.

Procurement has direct control over huge amounts of money in an organization & therefore there needs to be continuous development of procurement staff to further enhance competence development.  This ensures that through this, they are able to identify areas that can be maximized on & those that can be improved to further ensure that they realize value for money for the organization in terms of procurement.

Value can be realized in terms of viewing an asset to be purchased in a whole life perspective which incorporates initial cost, maintenance of that asset, warranties & guarantees, support services, obsolescence & the cost of disposing that asset when the time comes.  A good example of these would be the buying of vehicles for an organization: some brands of vehicles are expensive to buy, maintain but overall, have a high resalable value even after long periods of use, compared to vehicles that are cheap to buy & maintain but end up in a scrap yard after a couple of years because no one wishes to purchase them. An organization should always look at opportunities to gain some money off disposals that can be utilized for other activities.

It is crucial for users in an organization to include procurement when they are defining their needs. This allows procurement to advice on areas that savings can be achieved & avoids unnecessary purchases that become expensive especially when specifications are not well defined. Incase it’s a project based procurement, early procurement involvement makes sure that the users are able to anticipate potential problems  & proactively deal with them, still at the planning level.  This saves on times & cost. In terms of aggregating procurements, the procurement department can pool together needs from the various departments/users, standardize on the specifications & at the same time save on costs in terms of volume discounts from suppliers.

The foundation of any value that an organization can gain in a contractual arrangement will be based in the structured contracts. The ability to remove possibility of variability in the duration of the contract is vital in achieving on time delivery and on budget & thus realizing value for your money.  It is important that in the planning process of a project, everything is taken into consideration since midstream re-evaluation of needs & specifications will translate to more costs that those initially planned for. All stakeholders including procurement need to be involved in the planning process & look into ways to deal with supplier delays, fluctuations in products costs & how these are incorporated into a contract. A good example of this is a company that enters into a contract with a contractor to build a road, but the contract is time based & not performance based. The contractor can delay the project, bill at the specified periods be it quarterly & at the end the organization ends up paying the full amount, long before the road is even done. The key here was even if litigated, the contractor was within his rights to be paid without completing the project based on the contract that was signed.

Procurement risks can be managed by avoiding unnecessary purchasing. There needs to be clear justification of need for goods and services.  It is also good to note that price does not necessarily represent value for money, it is always advisable to purchase through competitive bidding. Assessment needs to be done to ensure that goods are not purchased in uneconomic quantities, & right quality is maintained.  It is good to note how to allocate the various risks across the supply chain to the party best placed to manage that risk. Some of the risks that an organization takes when purchasing a particular product are: will the product perform adequately, will the supplier deliver in time, what happens when the supplier fails to deliver & also the reliability of the product in question. All these risks need to be looked at in case they occur & how they will be handled.

Procurement audits also need to be done once in a while.  These audits help to identify weaknesses and areas of non-compliance in the procurement system, ensure implementation of intervention measures & ensure the application of fair, competitive & transparent procurement activities.  It is also advisable to audit the procurement policies to check if they are realigned to achieving the organization’s strategic objectives.  Procurement audits should look into random procurements to check if the right procedures were used in the planning & specifications identification, whether the bids sent out were standard, conform to the public procurement Act, conditions & specifications were clear, the choice of the procurement method,  how the bids were opened & were committee meetings maintained, how were the late bids treated. How was the evaluation of these bids done? Was there consistency in application of the evaluation criteria? Was the evaluation report prepared & duly signed?  After award, it needs to be established if simultaneous notification to successful & unsuccessful bidders were sent out, the contract issued was based on documents, award decision, and notification of award.  All this cries for proper maintenance of procurement records that are transparent & show the entire procurement process.

In a nutshell, it is good to note the key drivers for value for money for the organization. These are focusing on whole life costs of a product, integrated planning & design, deriving proper specifications, continuous improvement of skills & expertise, best value evaluation of bids & proper contractual terms.