Wednesday, May 30, 2007

economy growth edition

the maths and statistics are out and it shows a clear trend that the economy is growing at a rate never seen before in this country. not even before independence. the guy who put that in the papers was clever to start all the way from 1956, a 50 year analysis. the analysis was very interesting. but was the report surprising? hardly. Even though politicians are bad mouthing the report and saying its a campaign gimmick , you have to agree that the growth has been felt in many areas. coz otherwise i would need to be told where those 5000 cars per month are coming from and going to. and if you go to the super market, you line up for that long, and the mobile phone profits (12. something billion!) those guys must have been laundering money if it was not coming from Kenyans. even about tourism, we have read over and over about shortage of beds and of people turning their houses into lodges. further, beer consumption has gone up even after the brewer started the responsible drinking campaign. the list doesn't end there ...

...and or all that we need to raise our hats and bow!

Monday, May 28, 2007

voice of the young?

The activities of the vijana tugutuke group as well as statistics from the good old samuel kivuitu may be sending us a very strong message. if its indeed true that 67% of the registered voters are currently young people then it may be true that the youth are seriously fed up with the old men's leadership and are focused on wrestling power from them. if the attendance of the gutuke rallies are anything to go by then the old should be afraid , very afraid. and good old samuel already challenged the youth when he stated that he first went to parliament when he was only 26 years old and that he was elected in westlands and not his tribal backyard. now any youth with fire in his belly would give that a serious thinking. in deed we know that the likes of matiba were in senior civil service positions when they were only 24. it would be interesting to see the young people like nyambane (walter) , kiarie, kaimenyi driving to parliament to debate policies with the likes of michuki. comedy of comedies!

and again last week when michuki was talking about mungiki , i couldn't help but notice a similarity with mau mau. may be mungiki are not only about extortion of money from matatus and kidnapping. what if they insist that only mungiki members be allowed to stand for election in the areas they control? if they can bravely take on the police and murder like that with abandon, they must be knowing they are standing on dry ground. maybe mungiki is another way young people are again telling the older generation that if you wont share, we will take by force! mungiki may just be another revolution like mau mau. we know that even then michuki must have dismissed mau mau as just thugs but they were more than 'normal' thugs. and even though they were crushed they bloodied the noses of michuki and his colonial bosses

but if my seemingly allegations were to be true, what would that portend for the investor public? that the leadership would change hands from the old legacy business men to young gun trotting men and women who only want to start creating their wealth?

however, am afraid that the mungiki could simply prevent the older politicians from even presenting their nomination papers and that would make them go to parliament unopposed.

a weekend of culture

ok, i expected this posting. in fact i feel that by posting am only meeting my expectations. the day was Friday, i had seen a small advert about a ramogi night at the great carnivore. to celebrate luo kit gi gi timbegi (culture) i knew for sure i was going to give it a miss. the last time i went there it was too packed. but this friend of mine insisted i take him since it was going to be his first time. i protested that i was broke, but that excuse did not fly since he offered to buy the tickets and the beer!

we got there at 8:30 and already there was very little parking left. inside there were no seats left but the musicians were not yet ready. we found the new luo-english dictionary being sold near the door. on the culinary side were varieties of roasted maize, roasted gizzards, fire roasted chicken, fish potato etc. but they did not yet have ugali. (food isn't food without ugali!) one surprising thing was that unlike the last time i was here, there were no politicians, at least no MPs and the other surprise was that the crowd was rather young, maybe about 35 and below. current top musicians were in attendance and the very first one was the young and beautiful lady Maureen. looking at her you could not associate her with ohangla. traditionally ohangla is played by men with dirty lyrics. but when Maureen took to the stage, the house came down. you could not stay on your seat.However you could hardly dance since the floor was so packed so all you had to do was let the music sway you in the crowd. this time maybe since it was such a young crowd, the air was full of very sweet perfumes. there were two dance areas. so if ohangla was not your cup of tea, you simply moved to where dola kabary was belting his benga beats

I think when it comes to organizing these kinds of things carnivore is way ahead of the park. i was pleasantly surprised that in spite of the large crowd, their professional service remained untainted, and the waiters were affording a smile even after walking several kilometers back and forth taking orders from the excited revelers. i know how difficult it is to serve young rich people. After 1 hour you would easily pick up a fight. but thumbs up to these waiters and their managers.
How carnivore keeps on surviving the turbulence of the entertainment scene baffles one but may be it is because of the high turnover of entertainment managers in the place. in Kenya your club can kick for just 3 months during which time, patrons would be only too happy to even sit on each other or stand but then all of a sudden they disappear into thin air and you are left with all the renovation and the expansion you recently did. you never know what hit you. but carnivore has survived all that.

on another note, courtesy of Benin Mwangi i have come across this very nice site which led me to this very heart warming and inspiring story.

Benin Mwangi has really advanced in the business in Kenya and Africa line and he keeps me posted on very great new happenings in and around Africa.

Friday, May 25, 2007

things we see on TV...

TV can be very frustrating sometimes. did every one see mugabe making a fool of himself the other day on TV or was i seeing my eyes (aneno wang'a) ? addressing such a strong gathering the old man decided to go at the British's jocular with insults and so called challenges. he went on and on about tea and so on. but he was speaking in English! dressed in probably English suits etc. but that is not my beef. am more concerned with the fact that Mugabe knows for sure that he has murdered millions of people by his tyranny and poverty of ideas and instead of talking about that he chose to keep mum and instead try to divert attention. my horror was the fact that he used a Kenya platform! this reminds me of the way philip Ochieng dedicates his column to bashing president bush for murdering sons of men in Iraq based on a useless war and loudly ignores the senseless killing in mount elgon, kiambu , muranga etc. philip sure knows where the bread is buttered!

then in another TV show, i had a participant of a talk show claim that in order to solve regional imbalances and marginalization (commonly know as tribalism) we need to inter marry. even a presidential aspirant who was in attendance claimed her only qualification to head our beloved nation was because she has a heritage of the kamba, kelenjin, coast and her children are half maasai. poverty of ideas.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

a century

a milestone passed here silently without being feted. we actually hit a century with the last post.

this i guess is the point where we stop, look back and recall the good and not so good moments that saw the achievement. but i have no energy for that. instead, i only learnt to respect the likes of wahome mutahi, who kept Kenyans laughing at themselves each week for decades, oyunga pala, philip ochieng, clay muganda, warigi, onyango obbo and the like.

however i feel immensely indebted to my fellow bloggers who have read, commented and shaped this blog as well as those who keep on blogging and giving us invaluable information for free really

i know that with the bloggshere still available, the media bill is nothing but a frogs croak.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

All under one roof

where can you have a catholic mass, courtship,evangelistic ministries and circumcision all under the same roof? upper hill springs of course. at least that is what i saw last Sunday during a family fun day. actually in upper hill springs every Sunday is a family fun day. and they have nyama choma, kids swings, and play arena, magic tricks. horse riding , 'live' music, beer, you name it.

The magician was quite good with the kids even though his clad was a little too creased and faded. magicians are supposed to be brilliantly dressed and good looking. However he performed some very nice tricks, one man came to me and said, if this guy can do all these things with the power of the devil, just imagine what the real Satan can do!

the whole place was full of enterprising Kenyans, one was selling second hand story books to the kids, he claimed he wrote most of them, another was selling second hand toys which had been wrapped afresh to look like new, while there were face painters, etc. somehow during these family fun days, parents are normally very generous with their money and they buy stuff for their kids that they would otherwise not buy in normal times even if they were cheaper. also at this place, you could get your car washed, of your hair cut while you wait.

the music was being provided by the a Capella group which is a break away from kayamba , kayamba itself broke away from muungano choir, i don't know how many pieces there are right now, but you know its Kenyan since we even have new kanu, new ford kenya which broke away from ford kenya which broke from ford. actually Kenyans have an answer to Shakespeare's question, "what is in a name?" Everything! thats why when you break away, you must hold a bit of the name. these particular kayamba acapella group did not really do a capella, they lip synced some music in the background. they started with the solemn church songs, then they went to auma nene ayie kodi, then to some club songs from congo, back to natudhie nyambaini ya baba before they burst into a luhya circumcision song! the afternoon was unfolding nicely though with parents drinking beer while their kids take sodas on the same table. some girls whom my colleagues remarked were half naked if the blouses was anything to go by joined the kayamba guys on stage. as the day wore off, the beer did its job and more people joined the small stage. The group loved it.

towards the end i saw parents push their kids to join the dance, then the kayamba leader made the kids one by one to showcase what they got. one girl who could have been about 7 got to the stage and put one arm behind her head while the other caught her waist, she then wriggled so sexily all of us in our table gasped. but the other patrons clapped in approval. at least i only saw one woman shake her head in disapproval and protest that the music and showcasing should stop. but the show went on since the fat lady hadn't sung!

Well, having had enough of the mchanganyiko, I left the others to enjoy the day and probably night while i went to prepare to work for the working nation the following day.

Friday, May 18, 2007

back to base

judging by the recent events at the NSE as well as the sentiments expressed by some of the investors, its pretty clear that the NSE has bounced back to its base of before the 2002 elections. during that time the market wasn't excited yet people were still making money. how did they do it? they traded on such counters as KQ and MSC and what they kept doing was buy MSC at 3 bob and sell at about 5 or 6. MSC then was always the most traded counter but it never went beyond 6 bob. that only happened much later in 2003. the same was being done with KQ which kept seesawing between 8 bob and 11 bob. Right now we are seeing the low priced stocks behaving just that way and for the active trader this is a wonderful chance to make money anyway.

Other areas to make money include money markets. however this time, it may be difficult to predict. one would have expected the shilling to depreciate at about this time due to uncertainty but the opposite is happening, you wonder whether upon the conclusion of the elections the shillings will become even stronger. according to an article of Maina, an analyst, there must have been money printing happening just like in 1992.

however if things remain this way then one is tempted to imagine the shilling at the 50s region by early next year. this is because even the dollar is actually loosing it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

desperate, impatient or just gullible

You know what ? i honestly don't get how come Kenyans are being duped by these promotion scams. only a month ago, a friend with whom we were in college called me to share his joy. his girlfriend had just won some special prize from Safaricom and all they were asked to do was send 800 shillings airtime so that they could claim their prize! ok i really don't know where to start. for one Safaricom are the ones who sell airtime, why would they want you to send airtime to them? and secondly this girl had not participated in any raffle or promotion so which special prize was that? then before i could even sigh, i get another call from a former colleague. the guy says that his uncle has just won a double cabin pick up from safaricom. that was 3 days after the promotion had ended and safaricom had dutifully published the names and faces of all the winners. however this 'lucky' uncle had already sent the 'mandatory' 3000 shillings in airtime to the promoters so that the vehicle could be registered in his name. o boy!

And as if thats not enough,DECI has now decided to move out of town where people are enlightened to the rural. they said it was because of the death of the finance manager. i guess that means that when they get back their victims shall have forgotten their money. thanks to Kenyans' amnesia. after all they forgot about Moi's tyrany only 30 days after kicking him out of office. but what will u say to that, i know a guy who put in 200K just the other day my financial advice fell on deaf ears. However the saccos have sounded an alarm , rather late though, about the dangers they are likely to face since members took money to 'invest' in the pyramids.

but really the bottom line of all these cases begs for answers, what is the issue here?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

crash queries

I have been trying to avoid this topic because its sensitive. however i feel we must re look at ourselves as a people as well as investors. if the reports coming from Cameroon are indeed true then we must react to them.i have seen that the initial reactions from most Kenyan bloggers have been support for the airline and also a call to support the airline. what i wonder is whether saying out loud that the airline anyway has the best safety record in Africa is doing us any favor. when we say that we have the safest airline in Africa, does it give our customers confidence in the airline. would they not have more confidence if we got concerned, looked at the root causes and gave them answers. we know that the airline lost another aircraft only 7 years ago, the black box has not been analyzed or has it. and we have another. based on those stats can we really claim cleanliness and pretend to give confidence to our would be customers?

the report that the pilot could have flown into a storm is even more shocking and worrying, the question that begs is this, if it were true was it necessary? i have heard in the grapevine that the CEO does not take any lateness by the planes lightly , he is a performer and he wants performance. it has variously been suggested that the pilot was under pressure to fly the plane to Kenya so that the lateness target could be achieved. of course as at now that can be treated as speculation. however the fear is this ; what if its true? We must put it to the CEO and others with similar views as far as perfomance and delivery is concerned that there is more to achievement. there must be humanness even in the work setting. i have seen several occasions when managers task their subordinates toa point of collapse just because company targets have to be met. i hold that such targets without the human angle are not only enslaving but also punitive.

i also hold that it will help us if we dissected this matter however painfully it will be other than covering it all up with talks about being patriotic and supporting the airline

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Time for Lewa

The annual Safaricom Lewa marathon is on 23rd June this year. registration is already open and details are in the lewa website

The team event requires 10 team members each contributing 10,000 bob.

Talking of support and related issues, we have managed to get funding for the construction of 4 classrooms in my former school in the village courtesy of safaricom foundation. needless to say i am more than excited. i am hoping that we will be able to get other well wishers to construct the remaining 4.

A lot of thank yous to Safaricom

Monday, May 14, 2007


I have been tagged courtesy of Mama Shady
7 things the bloggers don't know about me. well i must say i am touched by Mama Shady's gesture. now, mmmmm lets see.

1. I am actually an IT professional, and i have done IT all my life! have got several years experience in major enterprise systems, ERP systems, major databases including Oracle and SAP. I also have major industry certifications. but my absolute favorite flavors are HP-UX , AIX etc. basically UNIX
2. I believe am good at what i do since i have bagged some major industry awards of excellence
3. I am multi lingual, i speak 4 major international languages: Luo;- spoken in kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan and parts of west Africa, Kiswahili;- spoken in most of east and central africa, English;- the official language of business and bureaucracy the world over and finally French;- the language of love , peace romance and fun! (my wish language is luhya the language of culture, laughter, arts and faith, i hope to learn it soon)

4. i love blogging finance, investment and economy related issues because of my passion. (anyway i also have a masters in finance) but my pet discipline is mathematics and all its relatives

5. I believe the only necessary ingredient for success in any field of choice is passion. if you have a goal , all you have to calculate is a passion for what you want to do and go get it done.

6. i am a poet and an actor. i was also once a choir teacher( i still hope to get back to it some day i love choral music) i also once acted with phoenix players theater under the great jamo (James Falkland)
Am a failed fine artist, though i once used to do some great portraits and landscapes.

7. I am tall and of athletic build. people who see me often suppose i would be a great footballer or basket baller. there is this time we had an inter-departmental soccer tournament, i took a strikers position. the opponents gave me two markers. they thought from my physique, that i would be lethal. needless to say it took them only 5 minutes to realize they didn't even need to mark me! i was benched after only 10 minutes. ( i have no passion for sports)

since i have this feeling that i am at the bottom of the pyramid of tagging, i am not going to attempt to pass on the baton. Thank you Mama Shady, i hope i have done my bit

Friday, May 11, 2007

running away from FMs in my life ...

am a man on the run. each morning, i struggle to get a reasonable entertainment on the jam due to a non working transport system as i go to work for the working nation. before, it was pretty easy for me. my stereo was permanently on kiss fm. but two things made me change my mind. one was that i thought the nyambane gig was past its sell by date. having been copied by virtually all fm stations and all pretenders to the business.(too many copy cats in this country) secondly, i was told by a friend that listening to kiss is a sign of immaturity since the station targets young people and those who have not grown past their youth attachments (ouch!) so i ran away.

first to easy fm, but even though the music was great and the presenters sounding professional initially, they seem to be hopelessly into sex and sex scandal issues. their prank in the morning when they call unsuspecting people on air and splash their dirt all over to me is rather cruel and uninspired. but sex sells and soon other stations copied the gig. so i run to classic and they are discussing a man who has called in to complain that his wife is insatiable, with 'strong' men calling in to give the gory details of how they do it on their women till the women scream and run away (is it supposed to hurt?) anyway they are asking the man to hand over his wife so that they can show him

embarrassed as i have kids in the car, i run to another fm station and a woman has called in to ask what to do now that her rich husband does not have time for her ...?
come to think of it, Kenyans are surely getting lonely. if people can discus such personal things to details about their life on radio as early as 7AM i think its a pointer to a deep sorry situation. and they give their names and cell phone numbers!

but again i ask, Kenyans have been complaining that tv stations air bad shows when kids are still up, yet the topics discussed in the fm stations when kids are going to school and totally alert are worse. now lucky those who have their cars and can quickly shift to different stations or switch off, if you are in a matatu, the conductor wont listen to you. and all those kids who use public transport are subjected to this kind of abuse every day. no one is watching no one is listening...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

beating the ponzi shchemes

For the first time, i saw people come out guns blazing in defense of ponzi schemes. i was not surprised the first time but the second time, it was actually the would be 'victims' who were voicing their support and that got me thinking. they asserted that they had seen development thanks to ponzi. they claimed they had got very high returns. I will not argue

however the easiest and best way to beat the schemes pants down right now is to set up a parking lot in town. the car crisis is unspeakable and if you tried to get to town last Saturday then you probably know what am talking about. there was gridlock everywhere, most cars trying to get the scarce parking. street boys and other related people are making quick bucks 'selling' parking slots to motorists who still pay the city council for any car that is not moving whether its parked on the road, pavement or carb, you pay the yellowed pple their money! in Kenya there are very many parallel governments! i don't know what those boys make in a day but given that out of desperation, motorists are willing to part with as much as 100/= just to get the slot, they must be very happy. indeed i saw that one other landlord has realized this and starting june, the public will be able to use their parking bay.

still on cars and robust economy, last week, after being late for an appointment, some guys were blaming the traffic for all the inconvenience. said one; the economy is growing too fast. said another , the rods are too narrow. offered a third , the matatus should be banned from the roads. well at the point i offered that none of the above is true. since i saw in SA with such great infrastructure the jams were still impossible and getting from sandton to midrand was next to impossible although they have sweet 4 lanes each way!

me thinks that the solution to the congestion in towns is to do like unto the southern Sudanese and take the city to the people. in Kenya everything is centralized. everything happens in Nairobi. all the best facilities are in Nairobi so invariably every one is in Nairobi hence the jam and lack of parking. when i offered that suggestion, the conversation died.

on another note, are there any blogs out there that deal with recruitment. i know Bankelele always offers tips on vacancies. but are there any that focus on that? especially head hunting and related activities?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

of saccos and like minded socities

some friends of mine have been trying to lay siege around me after attending what they described as a very highly energized seminar by a leading financial adviser called manyara kirago. the siege they want to lay is my because of my softness towards saccos and other cooperative societies. and it was rather easy for the said adviser to convince these guys. all he asked them was this:

"why borrow your own money and pay interest on it"

to which am told there were blank stares and a resolve to withdraw from such saving schemes. the guy further advised that for day to day expenses all you needed was a credit card. and instead of savings society , you could put your money in unit trusts especially zimele!

ok i find it tiring to even think of responding to those claims. however anybody who has lived in kenya in the last 50 years knows that this country has moved forward because of saccos and like minded societies. manyara should be old enough to remember that to get any loans one needed to have a title deed. and that title deeds were and still are issued only by the president to loyal party followers. so if you had siasa mbaya , then of course the prezo never came to your rural area to issue title deeds and consequently you did not qualify for loans.

secondly the interests rates were as high as the stars and those who dared take loans invariably burnt their fingers. it was the saccos which saved the common mwananchi

third, on the case of borrowing from yourself, i would respond with a question: if you were to award a tender, who would be the best suited to do business with? is it not yourself. the best person to borrow from is yourself! since the interest you pay comes back to you in terms of rebates and dividends. its like if you own shares of uchumi and someone comes to tell you to instead do your shoping at nakumatt. that person must be sick.

fourth, i just discovered zimele was actually a cooperative society. and again for an adviser, it doesn't make sense to be specific with recommendations like that. is zimele the best asset managers really?

i think those 4 are enough for now

i was asked here to declare my portfolio. i promised then forgot but now that i remembered here it is:

1. BBK
2. Stanbic UG
3. Express Kenya
5. MSC
6. ARM

return for the year to date counting stanbic 46%
without stanbic -13.9%

Monday, May 07, 2007

moments of silence

In solidarity with all those who were in the KQ flight 507. as well as those who love them and those they love.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

the road to development

like the upperhill, the waiyaki way is a road unto development. along the highway, there are many 'modern' highrise commercial buildings. some are complete and new ones are coming up. people are simply running from town. the problem is that it is rumored that most of those buildings that are built dangerously close to the roads are actually on road reserves. the reserves having been sold to them by the moi regime. yeah right blame everything that goes wrong on the moi regime. how is that for scape goat. the downside of it is that this road can therefore never be expanded.

however on the left side of the road is Nairobi school. Nairobi school is such a disappointment. the school is massive. on one side it has two football fields side by side and another enough land for two more pitches. and thats not all. the front side has even more land. am told this school has enough history and success to its name. there must be stong people who make up its alumni. my problem is, during all these years, hasn't there been any reason or need to improve on the school. like to pave the walk ways , roads etc, put up new buildings. set up tertiary colleges on those expansive fields. after all as one housing agent told me, kids dont play ball these days. in fact the administration of the school is only content with hiring out its beautiful fields to wedding planners.

They say growth is constant but in the case of this school and its old history, classroom and housing, growth ain't constant. however the principal makes good use of the school bus. its used every morning as school transport system for primary schools in westlands and parklands. i know since the bus ripped off my car door once. when i asked why a school bus which should be used for school activities was being used commercially, he said that all those kids belonged to teachers teaching at nairobi school. so that stopped it from being misuse of funds and facilities provided by parents of nairobi school boys.

kwa njunguna is still as operational as the sun. i pass several cars packed dangerously by the wayside. and people munching their favorite choma. honestly, there is something that doesn't go down well with seeing young beautiful women on high stools eating nyama choma which has been cut and place on a choping board! its just not ladylike. its as fashionable as wearing office suite with sneakers!

a news alert from nationmedia tells me that Kibaki government (not Kenya govt) will pay school fees for all secondary school going pupils as from next year. this was kalonzo's pet campaign agenda (its called stealing the thunder from the thunderous)