Al Kags

Al Kags in Thought

Thoughts that preoccupy me


In the course of living my life, I am usually preoccupied with key life questions that guide my thoughts, work and impact. This is a list of the issues/ questions that I am considering. I share them in no particular order. 

1. How can government truly be by the people for the people?

I am pondering what it would take for government to be truly controlled by the people and how governance can be less elitist. Most people in the world do not have a clue of how and why decisions that impact them are made by politicians (who often have very low expertise). Using many techniques, governments around the world have made it largely impossible for everyday Wanjikus, Okonkwos and Joes to be aware of what is happening, how much money is used, how it is used and why the priorities are as they are. Even in the places where people have some level of engagement it is often tokenist.

2. How can data be less elitist and more accessible to everyone?

I am specifically wondering about information and data usage and how it can be better (and more) used by people – you and I – to specifically guide our personal actions, plans and how we demand for our rights. Looking at statistical systems, and all the knowledge that is shared around them, it almost feels like they are intentionally obfuscating information that should be useful to people for them to make better decisions.

People activating an issue in a protest

Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America.

3. Too many people are not counted and don’t exist

I’m recently learning (more clearly) that there are many Africans that aren’t registered (no ID) & therefore aren’t counted in any way for service provision (including education & health). I am thinking about ways that we could do better to count & include them. I have lately been writing stories of people I am meeting that officially do not exist. See this blogpost and this one too.

4. How can everyone be functionally literate?

Related to (3) above, I am thinking about what it would take to have 100% functional #literacy (meaning LITERALLY EVERYONE can read, write, count, manage money, plan families & resources, and grow skills). I made a new friend, Jackie Mungai, who shares thoughts more eloquently about this here.

I have a specific gripe against the Advocates Remuneration Order (, which I think prices legal services outside the scope of 99% of Kenyans and maintains a colonial view of how the law (and therefore justice) should be accessed. Look at the minimums. Advocates are required to charge at least Kshs. 60,000 to register a company! A landlord who is renting their house out at Kshs. 20,000 per month (Kshs. 240,000 annually) would be required to pay a lawyer one full month’s rent in fees for preparing the lease agreement. Because this is law, an Advocate could be in trouble with the Law Society of Kenya for undercutting. My thoughts are leaning towards how do we make law a low-price-high-volume business?

Screenshot of the Advocates Remunerations Act provisions on formation of new businesses.
Screenshot of a provision of the Advocates Remuneration Order (2014)

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