Thursday, May 29, 2008

if you rattle a snake ...

...Actualy that to me appears to be Safaricom's reaction to the celtel 3 bob buzz. free all night calls!

Monday, May 26, 2008

same old lie

The news about South Africa(the rainbow nation) and what is now being popularly called xenophobic attacks could also be termed as sad, disappointing and the like. their actions can be termed as selfish, ungrateful , mean and stupid. but in the bottom of all this lies the age old lie that human beings live with the world over and leaders, or politicians as they are called in these parts use day in day out. these kind of wars and conflicts are most of the times always based on a lie.

apartheid was based on a lie that the whites were genetically better than the blacks. that was why even Jesus chose a white skin, beauty was based on whiteness and even lakes and rivers that had outlived humans were 'discovered' and renamed by the white. the story of that fight is known to all. but in other places, that lie was being repeated, that we are better than them, better traders, better sports men, better academics etc. we are genetically superior.

but its not always about being better, there are other lies about the other person. that our problems are caused by those other guys. and so that was the lie told to Africans to risk their lives for independence. independence was then peddled as the panacea for all ills. just like the end of apartheid. now normally when those lies come to light, its often important to form another plausible lie. like that your jobs are being taken away by foreigners. or that your schools are taken up etc. so people choose to chase the foreigners instead of going to college. just like am told some black Americans don't bank coz those are tools of white supremacy.
the problem with these lies is that some people believe them and internalize them. They are then ready to die for them. like the lie that one Raila was unelectable. when that lie came to, people were ready to kill to disapprove the facts. loads of money was used to stop the man to no avail. Armies were deployed and central park sealed off just to prove an old lie! some other lies are told to some people that if you kill an American, you will inherit 70 virgins once you are dead!

but Americans themselves and western media has also perpetuated those lies especially in their movies. showing africans as uncultured apes. so when EtoĆ³ dazzles the white 'gods' they cannot reconcile with the reality and hence resort to cat calls, insults and other racial slurs.

The violence in SA may continue and even get worse but at the end of the day, once all the 'foreigners' are gone, if indeed they will, the ruling class will have to do decide, either nail the root problem or spawn another lie

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


My post yesterday on the report of the status of work at my village school and the sponsorship of young bright girls from challenged backgrounds drew some of the most uplifting comments i have had in my 'blogging life'. To say my soul (and ego) was lifted to high heavens is to understate the feeling. I am greatly thankful to you all. you never can imagine what a simple pat in the back can do to me. However there were some people who went further and offered to help in donations. I welcome you all.

Before i let you know how you can participate, i need to give you a little background of how it works. So far, i have not thought of an elaborate support structure for the projects. the sponsorship is just done on a friends basis between my friend and i. we get the school fees structure and share out the responsibility on a 50-50 basis like the grand coalition. since the guy lives abroad, i handle the money in my account. (he trusts me )

for the school, i donate what i can but so far the bulk of the money has come from The Safaricom Foundation. For now we have a deficit of 122K to finish the two blocks on the right. I will raise 61K then the foundation will match what i have raised cent-for-cent. in case i raise 200,000 they give us another 200K. in case that happens, we will be able to put up a small staff room as well.

How you can help: if you are abroad you can send me your donations in trust (like my other friend) using money gram, western union or any other channel. my full names are (oh finally i have to do this) Jeremiah Ochieng. am based in Nairobi. If you are in kenya and/or you do not like to use those two methods , you can send me your email then i will send you back my accnt number. (email is

Why am i not using the school accnt? because before Safaricom foundation gives us their part , i will have to deposit what i have collected in their accnt then they give us a double check in the name of the school.

If you would like to send us a check, the schools name is Urenga Primary School.

What i will do in return is to publish here all the accnts and how the money was used. asanteni sana na Mungu azidi kuwabariki hadi mshangae!

finaly to just to give you an idea of how the school was before i have put some pictures plus the teacher too:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bragging Rights

Early last year i blogged here about my intention to sponsor bright girls from challenged backgrounds in my home village through high school. i got a lot of encouragement from mama shady, acolyte and the the like on the idea. i since teamed up with another good man who is so good that he hates bragging, to take up the challenge. we have since taken 3 girls to school. one went to a national school and is doing fantastic in her second form now. the other two are in form one in another provincial school in Western Province and doing great. To think that these bright girls would now probably be some frustrated wives of an old man fetching firewood and walking miles to get water is in itself enough encouragement.

But i did not stop there, i also had a blog on the sorry situation of schools and classrooms in the village. i found kids learning under mango trees and even teachers forced to sit under some trees to mark books since there was no staff room. those teachers used stools as both the chair and table. to this end i embarked on constructing at least one extra classroom in the school. i approached Safaricom foundation with a request to fund the project. we managed together with the local community to secure 1 million shillings. with that we put up 5 classrooms. Now we have run out of that money and yesterday, i got the final report of the work that has been done and i ,must say i am excited. For this i have given myself a pat on the back.

I am thinking of approaching safaricom foundation again for additional funding to put up 3 more rooms and maybe a staff room. I hope they will be willing once more but i wonder whether there are other foundations and well wishers out there who can help too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Of fun and Compe

While Koinange street was fighting it out with luthuli avenue for the red light status, another part of town was slowly but surely edging Kimathi street out as the entertainment zone. Kimathi street is or has been the street of night life. but mainly for young people. starting all the way from Zeeps near hilton, the street is replete with clubs and night restaurants all the way to Kosewe at the end. at night the nation center area is normally abuzz with music and young people looking for fun. am sure the taxi operators in this area do a roaring business especially from Wednesday. But Westlands is slowly catching up or is it taking over as the 'joint'. the other day a casual tour revealed that the place comes truly alive at night. its a 24 hour center with night clubs all over the place and even a 24 hour supermarket to complete the treat. Westlands in fact has something for everyone. from high class eateries such as gaucho to quick bites for the not so loaded like Kenchic.

another thing that will have something for everyone will be the safcom allocation. rumor has it that the allocation will be as low as 30%. meaning that all that money will either go back to the banks or hopefully go to the market. optimists will hold that the money will be used to buy safaricom in the secondary market. these optimists join the other IPO investors at putting safaricom value at a whopping 800 billion shillins or just the same size as the NSE. If all that money is to be absorbed, then the price of safaricom shares according to them should be 20 bob. That would mean that the girl who borrowed money from me would live her dream.

the pessimists however say that the loans will have to be paid. for that matter all refunds will go back to where they came from. the secondary market will not be able to sustain the pressure and the mobile giant will hover around 5 bob for years just like mumias did at one time and even KQ. you will remember that these pessimists also predicted that the NSE would collapse if safaricom, then being offered at 30 billion were to be floated in the NSE alone. they held that the offer should be cross listed in London to make sure it succeeded. may be they were just being paranoid.

Paranoia is a good thing. that i think is what is called experience. the experienced never sit on their laurels and assume that everything will go well. its paranoia that makes one succeed. when you lose all fear you lose self defense as well. you then expose yourself just like the best football team in the world (at least in sheer skillful play) Arsenal, lost the infamous or famous unbeaten run and also the 6 point lead to finish 3rd and also get knocked out of the champions league. Their local equals Gor Mahia (nostalgia nostalgia) have over the years suffered for that reason alone. loss of fear! loss of pride

talking of pride, we go back to safaricom. did you know that the mobile giant has just launched their 3rd world first. It should make you proud to be Kenyan. if you didnt know the first was Mpesa, first in the world, then prepaid blackberry service (note not postpaid) and now mobile DsTv. (am not sure this is a world fist too) but it sure is a continental first. I wonder how the product will do. though me thinks that its currently 'The Story'. In kenya, you have to have 'The story'to make you stand out. it used to be mobile phones, then it was DsTV itself, them hummer, then blackberry but now any Wakesho, Wekesa and Waita have those so what do you have? Mobile TV!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

How often

About a month ago when the safaricom IPO was in the heat of it, a smiling and seemingly shy girl walked to my desk and introduced herself purposefully. From her uniform, i could tell she was one of the hospitality staff. in fact the ones in the tea section. after what appeared to be a dutiful smile she went straight to her mission. she wanted to take a loan from me. she said she had approached banks already but they could not lend her the money. the young girl barely in her 20s wanted a loan badly and was willing to repay it over 4 months with almost 45% interest when i made my calculations. i still have no idea why she saw me as a potential lender but here she was smiling and expectant. but why did she need a loan so urgently? To buy Safaricom shares. according to her proposal, she would pay me in installments until she cleared the sum loaned with the interest on top. to say the least i was very impressed at her grasp of the issues at hand.

I reclined on the seat and got my breath to ask how much she wanted. i knew that would give me a good excuse. 10K to buy the minimum. she offered as her security the shares themselves and even said if they went up the first day she would sell and pay me back. i told her to give me time to think about it. i wanted at least 2 hours break to just think about the 'ambush' .

2 hours later she was back and with even more stories to back her request. i sought to know why she found safaricom so attractive. she said she wanted to take up a course in front office. the course would cost her 40K she estimated that safaricom shares would go up 4 times in the first month. she would sell and register for her course and that way get her dream!

I was so impressed i wanted to give her the money for free but thought it would destroy her spirit, she would feel indebted to me and in any case she was not seeking favors she wanted a loan. so i gave her the money and she walked away after showering me with the greatest number of 'thank yous' i have had this year.
I never saw her again after that and told myself i could as well have been conned.

Last Monday the girl walked to my workstation again with her smile and bright eyes. she had her first installment. she handed it to me proudly and also told me she was surprised i trusted her yet i had never met her before. baffled i listened as she went on to describe how her career path would be. after the front office she would get a better job and pay for a course in mass communication and that would break all barriers to her. this time she was even more confident about the prospects of safaricom and promised to clear my debt when the trade begun. she walked away proud and smiling.

the only thought she left me with was : How often does that happen? isn't this what separates people; the extreme success and the hopeless pariahs.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Show me the Money!

I have been trying to get the media to expose what I consider a scandal of glaring proportions. I have always naively thought that the media was on the right side of life. what with all their noise making about sleaze, koinange street, vote robbery and everything negative. I even thought i could make some money while at it. To 'sell' my story to the media and also get authorities who have neglected their duty to act. Shock! every media house i approached, ok let me say every media personnel i approached just asked for money. and they told me in many words that the thickness of the font will depend on the fatness of the check! I can even get my story on the front page or as a headline news on TV as long as i was willing to part with a sizable bribe.

Other than the media, i have noticed that somehow my electricity bill has slightly gone down from what it was sometime starting October through February. A friend had told me that PNU were using KPLC to fund the campaign and KPLC had simply forwarded the cost to the consumer. i brushed it off as mere campaign propaganda. but just the other day another NGO gave that very report and now i cannot explain how come my bill has gone down just the same way i could not explain how come it went up so suddenly late last year. my consumption has largely remained the same.

However what has not remained the same is my consumption of petrol. Its even difficult to say. that a littre of petrol now goes for 100 bob! i dont know where i will hide but this surely is a sign of tough times.

The tough times are already being felt by property owners whose rents will have to come down since most expats are fleeing the strengthening of the shilling (or is it the weakening of the dollar) those who used to get 80,000 a month on rent are now getting 60,000 a month since the they charged 1000 dollars. but the expats also claim that the cost of doing business has gone up but i see it more as being that the salaries have remained the same in dollars terms even though its power has largely been eroded.

Power erosion is not a term African leaders want to hear. I feel very sorry for Mugabe. surely why should a man subject himself to so much ridicule and shame. Anyway why am i going that far. right here at home because of power a man risked the life of a whole nation just to cling to power and prevent it from being taken away. Power was more important than thousands of lives and even wife , children and grandchildren. Family i guess comes second to power