Thursday, February 28, 2008


At last! at a longed for last, the peace deal has been signed and what makes me happier is the fact that the pact has been celebrated across the board leaving me to wonder who really was against us. it appears like every kenyan wanted just this so how come it took so long? Well that doesn't matter now.

and congratulations to all those youth who did exceptionally well in the last KCSE. enjoy your victories the future is even brighter!

Monday, February 25, 2008

flying without perching

It was okonkwo who said (or should we say chinua achebe) that since men had learnt to shoot without missing , the bird (i forget its name) had learnt to fly without perching. So last weekend i decided to use that wisdom after realizing that the crude street thugs of Nairobi had learnt to steal car lamps even when the car was in motion. well i still dont get how they do it. but i went to the same mechanics who apparently give those thugs the orders for such things for a solution. they were more than willing to help me secure the lamps. it involved screwing a thin plate over the lamp. it makes it look ugly but at least its safe. at that time i also heard such bizare stories as of those who can steal even your drive shaft while you are in a traffic jam!

but something nice passed when we all fought our former neighbors. it seems gakuo was going on with his work at the city center and there are many new traffic lights put in strategic places. they also look very beautiful. now all we have to do is obey them otherwise they will become just another street flower like the ones in museum hill round about.

the only other thing Gakuo needs to fight is for the state to remove the GSU personnel from uhuru park. the inconvenience these guys are causing lovers is immense. yesterday, i passed several couples at the roadsides bordering uhuru and cetral parks since the usually sweet lawns are still out of bounds.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Kuna watu viatu!

i was mesmerized to see the amount of importance that America attaches to her top diplomat Condi rice. the security detail was so high that it reminded one of those exaggerated American movies. when after talking to our kibaki condi was being escorted by her Kenyan equivalent Moses wetangula, our own man looked like a school boy in his own country! the sheer respect that the Americans in kenya accorded that small body woman was just amazing. And If i thought condi would be 'diplomatic' i was dead wrong, she was the most straight talking westerner yet in this crisis. insisting that grand coalition and not a mirage of it was the only option. so our president elect Raila odinga has no option but to share power with the losers. the losers however had in their true fashion insisted like a mugger that "you know what i have already thugged it and its now mine go get another one!" just like they do when they mug you of your valuables.

so what will be next for the miracle man? i had thought that his was a move of wit and strategy but people are increasingly proving me wrong and condemnation is rising. and in all this what we hope for is speedy resolution so that we can get back to our lives, our stocks, our buses and our other biasharas.

elsewhere Kenyans feel that the country can do with one less sermon. it appears that after the fracas broke out, every Kenyan turned into a peace preacher telling other Kenyans to refrain from violence, hate, disrespect. they have reminded each other on the need to live as brothers just as they have lived before. songs have been sung to tell people just that. talk shows, interviews of people in the street name it. but all of that is just a sermon! no one is coming up to say "this is what am going to do or this is what i have done, or this is what am doing" each person is busy talking to the other person about what the other person ought to do to avert the crisis! just a sermon

but what continues to worry me is the increasing unrest in schools. does it have anything to do with the election theft? they say where leaders lack vision people perish. so if leaders show that robbery with violence in front of camera is legitimate, why cant youth become violent in schools? which brings me to my shock of the year so far. that in this day and age, kids still bully each other in schools?! I went to secondary school almost 20 years ago and among the first things the headmaster told us was that isf anyone as much as called you a 'mono' (a derogative for a freshman), he would face the 6 of the best from him! well no one ever wanted to face those dreaded 6 from that HM in fact no one wanted to face even 1 from him or lets put this way , you never wanted to cross his path in a negative way! so i was never bullied and never saw any bullying in the 4 years i spent in that school. so i was rather shocked that such acts were tolerated in some schools to an extent that one boy had to lose his life! and this was only after another boy suffered grave harm last year after he was sodomized by senior students as a freshman in a school in Nairobi. quite shocking.

but the good news is that the ministry has put rogue teachers who over charge parents on notice. i hope they make good their threat

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

of youth and risks

Of late i have been having many people asking me what i think about the business environment in Kenya, like prof Ndungu, i have been saying that the future is so bright you may need shades. but yesterday, i met a real challenger. she started by saying that she had just over 5 million shillings in foreign currency stashed away in a safe foreign bank and wanted to to know the best investment for the time. i quickly suggested that with that kind of money she was better off in Mpesa agency especially in nyanza or rift valley. am told that queues in the Mpesa agents offices in kisumu are stretching several kilometers and the agents are capping withdrawals at 4K only. in those joints you can also sell safaricom airtime which is almost the next most priced commodity after food in that city. so i suggested that she could open several of those. but she said that she was afraid, the employees would defraud her of the money and people would not tell her the truth. even though i tried to assure her that its impossible to be defrauded since the commission is paid by Safaricom directly to the agents, she had a thousand and one reasons why that would fail.

so next i told her that transport is doing very badly in the region and i even know someone who had to pay 450 shillings for a distance of 80KM on the Kisumu busia road. it normally costs only about 120 shillings. I therefore suggested that if she was investor enough, then she was better off in the public transport. but she said that it was too risky to contemplate and in any case public transport never has good returns. the vehicles will break down, fuel is too costly, drivers cheat and touts are hopelessly corrupt. in any case she did not want to be involved in anything that can cause accidents and death.

i then said the next best alternative is to invest in a funeral home and hearse especially in Siaya or busia since such services are non existent. "Good Lord! Whats wrong with you!!!"

Ok so what else? i next suggested that since wholesale businesses in north rift were burnt down and their owners expelled , she could acquire a large truck and operate a mobile wholesale to target small scale kiosk owners etc. again she brought in the high cost of running the business, monitoring, management, she claimed you need experience with wholesale and FMCG etc etc! phew so i said get away satan if you cant see the light then just head directly to stock market and place your money in equity. still she said that brokers were corrupt and singled out thuo, nyaga, munge and the like. she also said that the market may crush, she better wait until things started going up! ok so what of bonds? she asked whether i really really believed the interest rates would go up and if i really believed that confidence would come back to enable people to get back to those things. ok so why did you come to ask me for my advice then my dear? she asked why i did not mention fixed deposit account!

"sigh!" why should such a young person not even in her thirties put money in fixed deposit accounts? if the youth cannot take risks who will?

Another young person who refused to take risk is one Danson Mungatana who sees that a coalition government is too risky for his ambitions. the prospect of a re-run after 2 years is even unthinkable.

as that was happening, another young and brand new MP who floored my guy Mutahi Kagwe (the guy did a brilliant job in the ministry lets admit) was showing the world the consequences of risking other peoples lives. he has vaguely been accused of fanning violence so he has to risk exposing himself by writing an essay. surely Americans have a way with humiliating us Africans. how can they say that to our 'honorable' MPs? but after the man made me proud by rejecting the letter, he went ahead and threatened to sue. i agree these guys need to be investigated and punished but writing an essay? lol

Friday, February 08, 2008

....hutakuja kwetu!

one grand ban we feared in our childhood days was the 'usikuje kwetu' ban. well you see only a few households had the all important TV set. as little kids, we loved to watch Ojwang and his vitimbi antics. the show would come on Saturday and the following week, every other kid in school would be talking about the last episode. it would be thoroughly humiliating if you had missed it since it meant you would not talk where 'people' were in the subsequent week. it meant therefore that the kids whose fathers or mothers had the great box lived princely lives, they were not to be touched. even if they insulted you, stepped on your foot or took your marbles or polythene paper ball, you just looked the other side since you never wanted to be told "usikuje kwetu!"

But with time, that ban threat, lost its scare. I dont know whether it was Ojwang losing his joke or the east bringing in cheaper TV sets. a change is always good and in 2003, one hated sweaty man called murungaru showed us that you did not need a land rover to govern a country. we for the first time learnt that police in Nissan xtrail, or toyota land cruiser or even Mercedes Benz can still shoot to kill. well for that he got the "usikuje kwetu" ban.

And this week, the Americans also seem to have forgotten the existence of the Chinese block and are telling kenyan leaders that the ban is in the corner. but give it to Martha Karua, she told them to the face "adak ma kata ionge" (my life is fine even without you!) well sometimes i love Martha for forthrightness. she told the UK to define who was whose donor since trade relations were very skewed. the poor old clay did not have any answer. and this time she retorted that the US is no heaven!

and Martha can afford to talk like that coz she knows, that china just loves it when the west behaves that way. they welcome African leaders with wide open arms. their problem is one, they have billions of products but no market. so to Africa they only say slaughter each other if you must but please buy our goods! well that was the policy of the western nations in the years of mobutu sese seko, kenyata, idi amin, bokasa, mengistu , kamuzu banda name it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

of jinis and jinxes

Ok maybe i got jinxed after posting on the coastal jinis. i have simply been unable to blog! a case of what we used to call brain lock.

but yesterday was the traditional ash Wednesday. the beginning of a 40 day period of reflection, silence repentance and supplication in the catholic and other orthodox faiths also known as lent. I think I saw Philo Ikonya in a fashionable sack cloth during the mass. i remember seeing her on TV the previous day talking about the need for Kenyans to wear sack cloth or even a small piece of sack to mourn the more than 1000 lives we lost but more so to mourn the loss of democracy and justice in our country. the lent period couldn't have come at a more opportune moment, that all will be called to truthfully reevaluate their souls and give this country a chance. As they say Kenyan does not have enough resources to satisfy for one man/womans wants but it sure does have all we need to satisfy all our needs. this time should help us to exorcise the jini of tribalism. it already helped people build careers, get land, loans, wives etc but now that jini must go!

elsewhere, the media is finding itself between the proverbial rock and a hard place. on the one hand its being urged to help attract tourists by reporting Kenya positively, not to show the deaths, the fire burning , the police shooting etc. but others insist the media failed to show the plight of the weak and the dying, even some IDPs are suffering more coz their plight is not being brought to the fore by the media. again, do we gain more by hiding the image denting truth or by highlighting the crimes of state on its own people?

and finally, i heard that patrons in my favorite joint were the other day arrested by police for drinking past the hour also known as a crime of thirst!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

'Planting ' the jini

When i was young, we were told some very bizarre and scary stories about the coast of kenya. we were told that those guys there 'planted' jini in their homes or literally reared spirits. to get the jinis, you had to sacrifice someone very dear and close like son, daughter , wife , husband or parents. after that the jini did everything you commanded. it could even do your house work, collect water firewood etc. I however used to wonder why the coasterians were not that sharp and instead of using the jinis to make themselves super rich so that they would never need to collect firewood in the first place, they opted to use those super powers against each other. so that it was fatally dangerous to mess with anyones wife, insult him or disrespect him. he would send the jini. that baffled me. so much power yet concentrated in doing only negative and destructive things.

but another thing about the jini was that once u bought it, it never left you and when there was no more work or blood for it, it would turn against you and your homestead and would eventually consume you.

Well that was ages ago. but recently a close friend of mine for eastern told another bizarre story, when violence in naivasha and dandora started. he said that it was fatally foolish to send mungiki to naivasha, nakuru and dandora ostensibly to protect the kikuyus there. his point was that mungiki operated like the jini. they crave dirty work and blood but they never leave. they will do all your dirty work and then turn against you and consume you. so according to him, the mungiki would not leave even after the luo were forcefully evicted but they would continue demanding payment from every home. they would then turn to rape, ritual killings and striping women trousers. eventually they would take over those places all together so for the kikuyus in those areas it would be double loss.

Well my friend prediction seems to have been spot on since just over here in lower kabete and kingero, am told the guys were stopping matatus and asking people funny questions like how u call the heel of your foot in kikuyu. if you did not know you were evicted or slashed. but if you knew, meaning you were kikuyu, then you parted with your wallet, phone, money , rings and anything valuable since they (mungiki) were hungry and must feed. in some cases they went door to door and did the same and where they found single women, they raped them. and today am reading of the story in naivasha where they have already directed that women must not be seen in trousers as that according to them is against african traditions. if you do they strip you naked! am sure soon they will start performing FGM on those women as well.

but when that is going on, am told of another strange scenario in china. am not sure its true but my friend who is always very current with current affairs tells me that the far east nation is facing a different kind of crisis. they currently have just about 300 million highly eligible bachelors who cannot and will not find brides since there is a shortage of women in the part of the world!