Wednesday, October 31, 2007

the shy , the bold and the offensive

Kenya is normally divided into 3 distinct sections during any major decision making such as elections. normally there are those who are bold and pushy about what they want. then there are the offensive and emotional. this group never talks coherently about what they want, they rather normally just choose to insult the other group and say why that group must not be given what they are yearning for. then there is normally a 'third force' the middle ground group who never makes their stand known. they normally lurk in the alleys waiting to jump onto the winning wagon. this group is also a very clever group and normally offers their allegiance to the highest bidder! I hate the middle ground group.

the referendum debate was a very unfair debate and never gave the middle grounders a chance. you either ate orange or went bananas. i enjoyed it.

but there is another group i left out 'kimaksudi' , the shy group who have a stand but would not want anyone to know since they have been scolded or told that they are future leaders. some have even been told that decision making in kenya is a dirty game and must be left to dirty people. this shy group is large and have directly been responsible for letting things get out of hand. even though most of the pple in this group are very well educated, professional or successful in business and academia, they have continued to 'sin' by omission and watch as mostly 'dirty' men run this country down the drain.

it was for this reason that i supported the MPs for increasing their salaries and allowances and making the position very lucrative and attractive. my hope was that some of the shy people would be jolted into positive action. this country badly needs their leadership and insight!

My appeal to bloggers be they investment bloggers, entertainment or whatever is to make their stand known and make this country the nation we want it to be. it doesn't help to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that things will work themselves out. its also foolhardy to run to other democracies such as USA, UK, SA and the like and state that you will never be back until we back here sorted out the mess. those nations are the way they are due to the hard work that all their citizens embarked on and their resolve to make their lives better. they agreed to get their hands dirty. As they say; the grass is greener the other side since thsoe people scythe their sod!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Of kisses and churches

When i came to Nairobi to look for a job (since there was no majimbo), i enlisted to act with phoenix players theater at the professional center. it had always been my dream. the good old Jemo who was the director gave me a complementary ticket to the show that was going on at the time in order for me to appreciate the standard of plays. the show was titled 'Fools' staring Ian Mbugua. it was a hilarious comedy and every line caused roars of laughter. but the underlying message was very strong. the story was about a city on which a curse had been cast. the curse made everyone in the city very foolish. the curse would only be broken when the mayor's only daughter got married and received her first kiss.

Now that was where the plot thickened. the beautiful daughter was engaged alright but she could neither get married nor get that powerful kiss. why? because of the fool curse. the fiance could not get himself to do the noble thing and even the girl had very funny answers to every one of his proposals. so the city lived with their 'fools curse' until one day a foreigner who was supposed to be the girls teacher came to town. he fell 'foolishly in love with the girl and even though he was told about the history of the city and the curse, and even the edit that only the fiancee could marry the beautiful daughter of the king, this teacher defied all that and one day, completely unable to contain himself, pounced on her and kissed her very passionately.

The curse was broken. 'wajinga wakaerevuka!' the fools experienced a sudden surge in intelligence and wisdom. one notable thing that happened was that the mayor's wife set up several businesses. she became so organized that even her husband had to book an appointment to see her and so on

in the present kenya, i cant help but draw a parallel with that story. it reminds me on a guy who went to a party called KANU and 'Kissed' the party. the hitherto loyal followers of the party leader suddenly became fiercely independent and one of them is even running for president this year even though his former leader had declared that no one in the party was fit to be a president. not even his friend. at that time they had clapped and cheered him when he made that statement. while the rest who used to follow their leader so loyally are now charting their own cause. in fact i was shocked to hear them say on TV. 'Hiyo support yake kwa rais ni yake binafsi!

moral of the story : Never kiss strangers!

and as that was happening, one Hon Bill Ruto who is a non catholic reminded me ; a staunch catholic, that the catholic church of which John Njue is cardinal is governed through majimbo!

and he is so right. since Njue is coming to Nairobi to head the Jimbo Kuu la Nairobi. where i was born and brought up, we were under the Jimbo Kuu la Kisumu. there are also Jimbo Kuu la Nyeri, and Mombasa. there are other smaller jimbos like Jimbo la Nakuru, machakos, Eldoret, Kakamega etc. Ruto went on to ask Njue how come those majimbos of the catholic church have never caused tribal wars!

Meanwhile, the clashes in mount Elgon are going on unabated as are the ones in kuresoi and parts of eastern province even without majimbo. no pastoral letter has been sent to Kibaki to condemn these clashes. during Moi's time, the catholic church used to issue pastoral letters criticizing the govt every time they heard any small sob or sniff anywhere in the country.

moral of the story: Sin aint sin if your friend commits it!

Friday, October 26, 2007

debut blunders

When former Arch Bishop (now cardinal designate) Njue was appointed by the pope some time this month, i got a call from a very unlikely source. it was a writer with nation business daily. i had known him before at a friendship level. but this time when he called he told me it was purely business. he wanted to know the reaction of a staunch catholic at the occasion of Kenya getting her second cardinal. Well i said it was a great thing but appointment of cardinals was a prerogative of the pope in rome just as ministers were appointed by the president. but he wanted to know the significance and whether that would excite catholics and rejuvenate the faith in kenya. i said that i was not sure. but i wanted to compare Njue with the late Michael Cardinal Otunga. the church in kenya has been following on the beatification of the late cardinal and faithfuls have been asked to report any incidences of successful intercessions (prayers answered after praying through the late cleric) i hear a number have been reported so far. but why have kenyans even tried to do that? because Otunga was unique and fiercely religiuos. we remember him at uhuru park together with muslims burning condoms, we remember his rigid stand against any form of abortion, stand against rights abuses and so on. but we also remember that Otunga was a rare kenyan breed who not only corrected Moi in the pastoral letters but also on his face. he was not the type to juggle issues and double speak. so how different was the new cardinal? Kenyans still did not know his firm stand on moral issues. we only knew his stand on political issues. in any case he had shown more than once his partisan stance. so i concluded to my caller that Kenyans may not find as much excitement on his appointment as what Otunga used to generate and it remained to be seen if kenyans would hold him in such a high esteem.

on telly the same day, Njue did not disappoint me. he was there on his first public appearance declaring his stance on an emotive and divisive issue as majimbo. one would have thought that he would have given it more thought or addressed it more soberly. after all majimbo was never contentious and was in all the 3 draft constitutions including the wako draft which the catholic fathers told us at that time to support

He however repeated it yesterday flanked this time by other catholic fathers. according to him, kenya needs to grow up first as a united nation before thinking of majimbo. question is, how long is old enough. kenya is 43 years old already and we are worse off than in '63. and again what is a united nation to me and you? what does a united nation mean? as at now if you are in marakwet, or turkana, you cannot believe you are in kenya. similarly if you are from nairobi's western side, and you happen to visit mwingi, you would not believe you are touring the same country. but why? cause of skewed resource allocation.

the bishops said majimbo will bring tribalism. ok i know these bishops lead a very sheltered life and they probably dont know that majimbo will not bring tribalism, coz tribalism has been here for very long and it has become worse. we see it everywhere, in jobs, churches, trade, campaigns resource allocation etc. am told even when kenyans go abroad they still stick to their tribesmens and women only and in the US of A , certain cities are know to have only certain tribes. Even the dishing out of districts is glaringly tribal. in fact the next best thing would be to turn these tribes , into administrative units. the BEE and affirmative action in south africa can loosely be termed as official tribalism.

so i was disappointed at cardinal's first public announcement. instead of hitting at majimbo, i think we were better off talking about tribalism and giving practical examples of how to tame the vice now instead of scare mongering. But churches have always avoided talking against tribalism. the only pastor i swa boldly attacking the vice was the same old pastero of the House of grace church.

However during the debate in newsline yesterday, the two former commissioners gave majimbo debate a very sober approach and they suggested that kenyans address the fears that the majimbo debate generates so that we can adopt it since according to them, majimbo was currently the best and only way to ensure equitable distribution of our national resources

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Ati rarieda district! Kibaki sure is a comedian. ok before you am hit with thousands of anti-me punches. who thought rarieda was going to be made a district? it now joins the likes of suba as a one constituency district. so kibaki was lying when he said that we he was moving away from the nyayo ways of dishing out ministries and districts. however nyayo tried it and survived for two terms. desperate times call for desperate actions. at this rate the whole country will be dissected into millions of miniature districts all in the name of going back to kilimani estate. and by the way, where on earth is 'mimi kama rais' lucy? she should be telling us now why she must continue as well as michuki, murungaru etc.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Price Shocker!

this past day i got a shock of great proportions. i have been reading in blogs and even hearing on TV about the price increases but i hadn't seen it first hand until i went for my monthly shopping. well first good news first, nakumatt junction was hosting house of grace church in the central 'hall' (for lack of a better word) House of grace church is not your everyday church with tradition ,laws, rules, kanzu and tarban. it is an 'uptizo' church the kind that 'ozones' of the '90s would attend. replete with young suave gentlemen, beautiful girls, great music and very contemporary teachings. the pastor often addresses the issues of the day. the ones that pple would rather avoid eg tribalism, capitalsm, etiquette and such like things.

but even the good church music outside did not prepare me for the price shock inside. most things have gone up. sugar! 150/=. cooking fat by 20% , bread from 25 to 33 thats what? more than 30% meat by another 30% . washing soap, fuel, unga wa ngano, name it. in fact those women who sell chapatis in inda and some construction sites will just close shop. since their inputs have gone up by more than 50% in one month. meaning they must also increase their prices by the same margin. will they get customers given that income hasn't gone up by the same margin over the past one month?

so much for the free primary education, but will the kids go to that school hungry, unclothed , dirty and unhoused? these were the questions one presidential candidate Pastor Pius Muiru was asking on TV as i browsed the supermarket. citizen did me proud again by giving Muiru the coverage even though all the other stations snubbed the preacher. and he did have a large crowd. only that unlike 'wiper', he did not ask the cameramen to take this shot here and that shot there in order to disapprove steadman. However i must say that muiru shocked me with his grasp of the plight of the common mwananchi and his seemingly very practical solutions. why, he posed was it necessary to provide concessions to people who had the ability to build 150 houses? that was like rain falling on the ocean!

as i moved on, i got forcefully involved in a conversation with another man who was equally shell shocked at the price tags. but he had someone to blame. he suggested that the prices have been increased "...kuangusha hii serikali. hawa ni watu ambao hawataki kazi mzuri iendelee!"

anyway, i would understand that the 120% tax on plastic would have caused increase in prices of stuff like bread or sugar due to packaging but i dont know how that makes the price of a kilo of meat to go up.

but all in all, i really wonder how kenyans across the board are making it. these price hikes are simply extreme.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Siasa na NSE

the good station was at it again. this time, KTN chose two sober minded debaters. or may it was the debaters who chose to be sober minded focused and issue driven. as opposed to the discussion on majimbo which was replete with innuendos and confusion, the debate on NSE and politics was carried very maturely by Billow Kerrow and Jimnah Mbaruh. Mbaruh agreed with Kerrow and even Raila on several aspects of the market. he even agreed that the control of the NSE was concentrated in the hands of a few. he agreed about market cycles and so on. Kerrow gave a very detailed analysis of the factors that can and have influenced markets the world over and NSE included. it was quite refreshing. Jimnah assured us that the market will improve next year come rain or high water. it was there before independence and survived the two dictatorial leaderships. in fact he indicated that confidence levels were going higher up. On the declining index, he said the impending safaricom IPO was a more likely culprit than anything else. investors have just been positioning themselves for the biggest and most emotive IPO in our history. emotive because safaricom is close to many peoples heart. another reason why it should be delayed and held only after elections as suggested by the CEO Michael Joseph.

and in another city, ODM-K was finalizing their game plan. the second miracle. probably to team up with Kibaki and revenge on the pentagon who denied him presidency. does that surprise anyone? Hardly. During the debate on majimbo, Mutula showed that as much.

So Mr. Raila has 4 vendetas ganging against him. one Simeon Nyachae who has never forgiven him for hoodwinking him (Nyachae) to attend the rally where Kibaki was declared tosha, Moi; for all the problems in his (Moi's) life, Uhuru for deserting him at his hour of need and finally Kalonzo, the chosen one who believed that the presidency was his birthright only for the pentagons to declare interest and make it clear to him that he would lose ODM nomination. but this cloud has a very bright silver lining for the Raila team. with kalonzo out of the race, the threat of voters getting confused about the two oranges will melt like ice and further more kalonzo's joining of PNU will only increase the confusion and jostling already existing in that side.

Don't you just like how Ruto gives practical examples in his campaigns. in fact instead of sending Nyongo for the majimbo debate. Ruto should have been sent. Nyongo was very theoretical and academic. but Ruto simply says: hakuna haja kuenda kutafuta kazi Nairobi pekee yake. hakuna haja kuenda referral hospital Nairobi pekee, etc. by the way did you know that most national schools are only found in nairobi province and its close environs?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Smart moves

So who was the smarter one? almost one week after ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga visited the NSE, the value of shareholder wealth continues to rise. And if Kimunya's argument is to be held then it appears that investors have also discovered some love for the fish monger. so its not true that the market fears either fishermen or bee keepers. Raila took the fight to the floor of the bourse but no one was there to fight back. only his relative was there to recieve raila's son and daughter in law. the market rose for the first time in as many weeks that day and has continued to rise. Mr. Jimnah Mbaruh who had started all this in the first place was away somewhere in the land of former colonialists telling them that raila presidency was bad for the economy! He said the NSE does not need the man. when he came back and found that numbers from the bourse were suggesting otherwise, he now declared that politicians must keep out of the market! what an about turn! never rattle a snake mr mbaruh! your friend michuki knows better. if you invite politics you will be stung and badly. in fact the unfortunate careless insults by the finance minister are more dangerous to the NSE than anything else.

but looking at it again criticaly, between ODM and PNU whose govt would threaten the NSE and investors more? me thinks PNU is worse. why? becuase should Kibaki win, his PNU will not have the numbers needed in parliament to pass any bills. all the important house committees will be full of opposition members. he will be forced to horse trade with ODM-K. horse trading means expanding the cabinet, creating positions not needed by the country and basicaly blackmail. what that means is that there will be a lot of uncertainty. now thats the word that a stock market fears most. uncertainty.

on another note yesterday, on KTN, Mutula kilonzo brought himself down by showing open confusion on the question of majimbo. he could not decide whether or not he was for the idea. kimunya was forth right and stated that PNU was for national unity and central governance. he claimed like Moi that majimbo was recipe for chaos. well for moi anything he doesnt like is normally recipe for chaos, he told us as much during the clamour for multy party, and even when we rejected uhuru. he said that electing Kibaki was recipe for chaos.

and while that was happening, John Njue was appointed cardinal of the Holy Roman catholic and apostolic church. only the second in kenya after the late Maurice cardinal Michael Otunga.

funny quote of the day: Kids all over kenya are up in arms against the kenyan politicians for taking over their mchongoanos, insults and games. the kids through spokeschild claimed the shifty old men have also denied them the chance to have role models, grandparents or greatgrandparents!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

coffee break

When the whole country was busy getting charged by both railaphobia and railamania, (am told sinners have railaphobia and the righteous have railamania :- according to Joe Nyaga!), two , nay 3 nice things slipped in unnoticed by many. both NTV and citizen introduced new local productions in their menu. i must say that citizen continues to make me proud. they continuously show their confidence in Kenya and our kenyanness.

While NTV's production 'The Cobra Squad' looks like a Hollywood's production replete with stunts, guns, accent, glamour launch and all that goes with it, citizen, stole my love with their down to earth, truly Kenyan story of papa shirandula and inspekta mwala. well i dont like inspekta mwala as the jokes are rather stale and far fetched. but papa shirandula looks very real and most of the people i have talked to can quickly identify with one or two aspects of show. i know most people will cite the accent and watchman role of 'papa' as being a perpetuation of the stereotype of luhyas being only watchmen and cooks. however we must give it to Bukeko and co for a production well done, good storyline, acting and production.

on the other hand the cobra squad written by none other that the government spokesman (thumbs up to the man for leading from the front) is to me a disappointment and reminds me of the likes of prezo, nonini, nameless etc who represent artists who opt to be copy cats instead of doing things that appeal to our local taste. citizen TV is the only station that has a show for local musicians who do real local music, the likes of ken wamaria, emily nyaimbo, dola kabrry et al. NTV would not be caught dead show casing such talents preferring instead to go for copy cats in their shows.

on top of 'papa' and 'mwala' citizen also has a 'tahidi high', which according to me is very well done actually.

ooh sorry i forgot to mention that KBC has also always had 'local' flavor in vitimbi, vioja, makutano etc. but KBC destroyed their brand with too much partisan politics and its forgivable to forget them!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

child abuse

My kids came back from school the other day looking very worried. One of them told me that she had bad news from the teacher. upon inquiry, she said that the teacher had told them that Raila's hummer was given to him by Devil worshipers! the teacher went on to say that should Kenya elect the ODM flag bearer, then he would have to return the satanic money and we would all be subject to the Devil!

and as if that abuse was not bad enough, another told me the teacher separated them into two groups based on the name, luos on one side (they happened to be only two in that class) and the rest in another group. she then proceeded to teach them a song in a local language which i later learned was a C-song.

but other warnings were milder though, like telling the young minds that Cocao, soda, meat, chicken, crisps, biscuits etc kill! poor kids could not eat anything the whole evening and the whole day yesterday.

they were also told that the man who represents some of the poorest in Kenya and also some of the richest Kenyans all in one constituency is the one who has caused all the poverty and suffering in our beloved nation.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

online entertainement

With a lull in the investor activity. Safaricom sale facing hurdles both internal and external , i have been spending many hours reading very entertaining 'thoughts and analysis' in various blogs and sites. such hitherto respected sites as stockskenya has been reduced to a public shouting arena with tribalists going over themselves to get the filthiest insults to hurl at one another. the other interesting site is Mashada. on blog front, i am finding kumekucha very comical indeed. i am told that these sites are modorated by 'right' thinking and professional Kenyans mainly in the diaspora. They give one a very good picture of how Kenya wants to develop!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

selling self

The political landscape is charged! thats what the media says. indeed, yesterday was just another day i was invited to yet another launch by yet another young friend. its amazing many young people i know are really going into siasa. and all of them promising to change the old view of things that has been hopelessly based on tribe, circumcision, dialect, horse trading and many other low things. panafric hotel seems to be the hotel of choice for most aspirants. and this past day there were about 3 of them at the same time. however i was only going to attend Chaacha's launch. it started with a nice dinner. you had to pay 5K at the door, then get a slip with which you go get dinner. on the way to the dinner tent, i met a guy with a plate full of vegie salad, and i couldn't help but hear the guy in front of me congratulating the herbivore: 'Thats very good food. very healthy. in fact thats what am going for. where did you get that?" i waited to see if i could spot another carnivorous Kenyan eat veggy in one night. when we reached the buffet, the man went straight to the sumptuous mbuzi choma, topped it with beef, before pilling choice helpings of chicken drumsticks! so much for the healthy food.

anyway, then i went in to the hall. shock! the hall was packed to capacity. no extra table. i wondered how i was going to eat standing in my immaculate suit. Chaacha is the immediate former group managing editor and so there were many high net worth individuals in attendance as well as several cameras. the place was expensively and deliciously decorated and even the serviettes had the orange symbol on them. i found Mr. James Shikwati the director of Iren Kenya giving his praises of the young aspirant. Shikwati himself is quite young compared to the articles he pens in the Africa executive.

However it was when the man himself got up to speak that i got the challenge. he started with his difficult childhood, then went on to show us the poverty in kuria , his constituency, before letting us know about his impressive CV. at his age, he was Kenya's youngest group managing editor. he suffered a lot in the hands of Kibs govt following some funny stories and was at the helm when the infamous raid took place. consequently he had several sympathizers in the dinner as well. another interesting thing ; there were very many of his classmates who were here and most of them are now professors. (i thought to be a professor you had to have grey hair...)

i was amazed how this man had surmounted this much hardship to become a GME of a leading media house at only 31. and at 34 he is ready to become a minister in an ODM government as he put it. but again come to think of it. Matiba became a senior civil servant at a very tender age. only that our current 'leaders' will not let go even when they can hardly see and have to limp due to age even when walking with a stick.

However Chaacha's speech, even though refined was missing out significantly on action points , timeliness and solutions. he only talked of what the problem was in Kuria, kenya and Africa but no solutions to those many problems.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Real Lean times

the situation really is grim in the stock brokers front. my favorite standard investment bank had expanded and moved into a new large office in the center of the town. the expansion informed by the huge volume of business and euphoria witnessed last year. but now most of their 14 teller booths are empty and those occupying them are visibly bored and yawning. but standard investment bank still is a good broker and their orders are still executed within 3 working days. they still are able to right checks as immediately the sale is effected without awaiting settlement. so the bank is good. However the employees know all too well who is causing them all this pain. its one Raila Amolo Odinga. they reckon that the market is doing poorly since it fears the prospect of Raila presidency. and the steadman is not making life any easier by declaring that the man really is ahead. its all too funny. voters are ignoring the noise about economic growth, creation of jobs etc.

But Kibaki should have known, you cannot sell economic gains alone, or even free primary education and the like. why ? because if you talk about economy then the pre-indepence economy was probably kenya's best. the roads were superb, security top notch, education high class. in fact students at the university were living very well without paying a cent for it instead, they could get married and support their families on the boom. but why did kenyans 'fight' against the colonialists and send them off? only one reason: DISCRIMINATION

People will not buy the story of growth unless you demonstrate to them how you plan to make them benefit from that growth. what is the need for great roads if you cant buy a car to drive on it? or why would you need great wealth if its not secured? and so on.

ok. am sure that attempt of mine at political analysis has fallen flat on the face. i rather leave better analysts and politicians to talk politics. talking of which , am getting quite a number of invites to dinners and bid launches by some very close friends of mine who have decided to give this country 'professional, ethical and competitive leadership' that it has lacked for the past 44 years. in short they want to be elected MPs. and am parting with some really tidy sums to send these friends to the House. all i ask tell them is if they need a PS they need not look any further!
Elsewhere politics keeps on dividing families. while Biwot looks poised to support Kibaki for a second term in office, his wife and our former principal Prof. Margret Kamar, who rose from a nobody to a professor in a record 5 years is saying its Raila who has the magic wand for all the countries ills!

quick question; what makes an oil company to sell petrol at 85/= a litre when every one else is selling at 79?