One thing that has come to the fore recently is the issue of gender in the new Parliament. The folks that make our laws are currently trying to figure out how they will integrate the gender question. The constitution we passed two years ago decreed that no one gender shall occupy more than two thirds of anything.
The new law that is raising so much heat and but little light is trying to find a way of ensuring that women are at least one third of the occupants of the National Assembly. The reason why it has been so difficult to come to an agreement is that the formula to integrate them is not clear and has to be negotiated to follow the constitution as well as not make the country broke with a huge wage bill.
Whichever way you look at it, the new Parliament will no longer have its usual handful of ladies but will have a large contingent of women. As Parliament goes about its deliberations perhaps it should consider the fact that with that new group of women they need to change their attitudes. One of the most well known issues in Parliament is that if one misses a certain number of sessions - eight - one automatically loses his or her seat. This won't work so well with the new female members.
As younger members join the House it will have to start preparing for those who get pregnant and have to take their maternity leave. The committees of the House are vital as they help concentrate Parliament on important national issues. No longer will there be only the Health Committee and the Security Committee as these will have their "owners." Incoming newbies will organise things they are conversant with as committees.
We are thus likely to see the Fashion Committee which will go a long way in dealing with urgent national fashion crises. It will give advice on matters such as what is the perfect size for school uniforms for girls and whether men can be allowed to walk around with man bags without their sexuality being questioned.
When the House has a big issue to deal with it usually have what it calls a "Speaker's Kamukunji" to thrash the issue out. With a larger number of women in the House, you can be sure the Kamukunji will be a very popular way of dealing with any little issue. Whenever there are issues men will sit and come up with a solution pretty fast.
With the new House, the Speaker's Kamukunji will be one where people don't just discuss national matters. It will also be a place where members will now have to discuss their feelings about all that they experienced that day in the House. The male members will have no way of escaping these enforced weepy soul-searching sessions. They will have a problem getting the numbers when they are trying to pass their preferred laws.
As part of the bending over backwards to accommodate the new feminine contingent in the House, there will also be some changes to make the place more homely. Parliament will now see a new world class spa offering aromatherapy and excellent masseuses. It won't be strange to hear of the Speaker's Kamukunji for, say, a crisis in Tana River being conducted at the spa with avocados on people's faces and a masseuse working on stressed legislators' backs as they decide how many troops need to be deployed.
After the situation has been dealt with, members will retire to the new lounge that has been built at the same institution. It will not just stock single malt whiskey and white cap lager but there will be the introduction of new tastes with ciders and alcopop drinks on show. The barmen will have to learn to mix exotic cocktails with umbrellas in them with exotic names like Sex on the beach and Kamikaze.
Spuds Pub, South C shopping centre
I wanted to watch the big match between AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia and I wasn't planning on watching the match at the Kasarani Stadium. No matter how many "peace marches" the fans of the two sides engage in, I am still averse to going somewhere I might find myself breathing my last for love of sport.
I opted, instead, to watch the match at the South C shopping centre where I have heard good things about a pub in the area called the Spuds Pub and grill. I got there on Saturday afternoon and noted that this wasn't just one but two pubs in the same complex. At the front there was a little pub called Three. Here all I saw was one lady punter which wasn't too shocking if you consider that half of Nairobi was either watching the rugby at Nyayo Stadium and the other half was at the Karasani watching football.
The front area was a little bar with a counter and a TV overhead with the Everton match. This wasn't exactly my kettle of fish so I went to the back where I was informed there was another place I could follow the match. As I headed there I saw a washroom and opted to give it a try. I found a facility that was pretty decent. I was impressed as bars in local shopping centres tend to be the worst when it comes to toilet hygiene.
After using the facility I proceeded outside and thus felt a bit exposed to the elements which may not have worked too well when it rains. The area was not very large and was set up in a circular manner with a large flat screen TV at one area where folks were following the game. There was a large Kenyan flag behind the TV and I had a seat and ordered a cold Tusker which cost me Sh140. The service was very friendly and I went on to follow the match on the screen with my fellow punters.
The crowd in here looked local to the area with young upwardly mobile guys making the bulk of the audience which made sense as we were all watching the game. Now where escape in an emergency is concerned, I have to say this place really doesn't inspire me despite being on the ground floor. There is only one entrance and exit to the place and the outside area with its fence doesn't feel like something one wants to try when there is drama from fire or any other emergency.