Tuesday, September 30, 2008

cutting off your nose to spite your face

Why did the H of Rep shoot down the bailout plan in US? I don't get it. some people have argued that at 1M USD a month, the corporate leaders wages are obscene and i concur. but then do you throw the baby with the bath water? in any case can it be objectively said that the market crush was caused by salaries? hardly. tough economic times in the world have been caused by among other things good economic times! indeed when you want to know your weakness look at your very strong point there in lies the weakest link. the boom is what made people spend like crazy, buy guzzlers, pay huge, walk into everyone's mess and try to solve the problems of 6 billion people with the same template. I just continue drawing parallels with the African scenario. just over there in SA, why did they sack arguably their best economy manager ever? to spite their face! just funny decisions like over here at home when we decided to shove the bomas draft to spite one man. the man whose family fate has been intricately intertwined with our collective history. the aftermath has been disastrous.

But how is it helping, the two protagonists shouting themselves hoarse accusing each other of sabotage while the average tax payer continues to lose his 30, 40 or more years of savings each passing day. for what gains? What were those guys thinking? i have been looking for some strong argument. something novel, a debate regal and purple like the great drapes of Roma to support their decision. Nix!

on other matters, the local media houses seem to have had me in mind for some time now and they have included more local content in their repertoire. Artists are being paid better and its very refreshing to watch locally produced shows every day. my absolute favorite right now is Wash and Set which comes on NTV every Thursday now moved to wed. it even beats tahidi high in terms of relevance, casting, production and research. i wish these opportunities were there back then when we used to perform plays for bread and fanta!

and the Sunday Sation is trying to clone whispers son of soil and they have promised hefty salary for someone who can fit into his shoes. bad idea. you can never clone talent. just let someone else provide his own style the way jalango had done in kiss. he never cloned nyambane who , phew , resigned at last.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A few Bush truths

Every cloud has a silver lining so the sages say. and in every bush there is a flower. Well that should count true for the American Bush as well. 8 years of his misrule, most Americans and indeed most of the world is not just sore but desperate as well. However we cannot wave the guy goodbye without relishing the few lessons he gave Americans and indeed the whole world.

1. That America is not that strong after all: the initial raid on Iraq that was meant to end after mere shock and awe, has dragged on to date with countless American families crying over wasted years, dangers faced by their sons and daughters and increased hatred by the world

2. Democracy is the not the panacea: its telling that American citizens are weighed heavily with crippling debt. most of which are given by China. Now when it comes to governance, America is the exact opposite of China. and for years they have never seen eye to eye. yet its said every American now owes china an average of 6000 USD . so whose policy aint working?

3. We are all human red or blue: The American election in 2000 and also the current campaigns have shown that there is no difference between Africa and the west. we are all greedy for power. and we can stop at nothing to achieve it. We all discriminate others on the basis of their differences etc.

4. That America is not as clever as believed : What do you say when one man constantly eludes a first world and gets away with one murder after another. all the scientists, investigators, professors etc are unable to get the dude! the 'great' nation has now turned to the third world to get foot soldiers to fight its funny wars in the poppy growing land

5. That you cant bite the hand that feeds you: as long as oil continues to drive the world economy, it will be difficult to beat the people who literally dig for money. whether you push them shove them or toss them

6. Time is up for world bullies: as shown by Kibaki and his like minded friends. if they bully you in the west, go to the west , south , north else Libya

7. You can only rule a person who needs you: Its proving increasing difficult to control a world which is fast becoming independent in every sense of the word. Most leaders no longer look to Bushland and threats just don't work!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Today's screaming headlines in the major dailies left me in shock and wonder. That the old Man Kenyatta who had as many lovers as he had haters met his death in a very sorry neglected situation. it reminded me again of my friend Kodhek's assertion that no-one ever thinks of a rich old man's health but rather his wealth. its dangerous to be rich and old or sick in this country then. That his most trusted and close aides never bothered even when the president withered away with age and disease is very disturbing. And the declaration they had made earlier that even speculation about the presidents health was a treasonable offense may seem to have been orchestrated to actually send the man to his grave painfully and slowly. since the 'king's' nakedness could not be mentioned in public, he was left to face the embarrassment alone. that story does makes seriously sad reading indeed.

The raw greed for power and wealth that those men showed in the post independent Kenya is what made my colleague angry after he came from Lisbon. He talks of how he found it painful to discover that while in 2008 we still don't have a solution to our transport system, those guys already had a sailing school in the 12th century. trams were in use already in the 18th century at a time he reckons that his grand ancestors may still have been fighting with bows and arrows in congo!
But what pained him more was how Kenyatta and his colleagues messed the post independence goodwill to unite the nation and concentrate on development. instead they went into a grabbing spree, thinking only of themselves. this same attitude is what informed his handlers when he now faced imminent death.

But to err is human, to forgive divine, problem comes when you err again and again and completely ignore history.

The story in today's dailies and even my colleagues rants after his eye opening visit to Lisbon really mean nothing. In 2002 only 5 years ago we were faced with a second lifeline, to correct what went wrong in 1963 and even in 1978 but again Kibaki against every ones expectation, bungled it. Early this year Kenya paid heavily for that greed. With the Kriegler commission, people expected a new beginning, to find real answers to this age old problem. but its now seeming rather clear that Kriegler was here to do what Bosire did 5 years ago with the goldenberg commission. which was to sanctify the sinners. look for a cheap scapegoat, sacrifice the poor soul and let the culprits free. In goldenberg case, Pattni took all the blame and everyone else including Saitoti were declared clean. this time, we are being told that even the ballot box stuffing which have been reported by Kriegler were just mere 'mistakes' of the ECK. so Kivuitu shoulders the guilt for the death of those 1200 + dead Kenyans. All those IDPs must blame Kivuitu. But the old judge has said one thing more , that the wrong person was sworn in. that the man did not win! neither did Raila Win according to the judge so we have a country being run by impostors!

But to me the commission's report gave me one more thing to ponder about. What if it were true that no-one actually won? What if it were true that there was a tie? then what? does our constitution have any provisions? This may be the time to put the 50% +1 requirement. ie that the winner must garner 50% of the vote plus 1 more vote. This would save us in future.

Looking to the future though, i saw a posting in a website mostly frequented by young people which made my heat leap for joy. This post is a rarity in Kenya!

Going back to Njiru's press statement 30 years late. I think if this be the trend then one Mr. Daniel Toroitich Arpa Moi should be very afraid. All those atrocities, wrongful detentions and torture will come to light and poor man, he seems to be going strong by the day and those things will be revealed when he is still alive!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Reality Check: Error Intolerant Professions

Early into the Kibaki administration, we were shocked to hear of a tragic demise of one of the past great second liberation fighters. he was a man of great courage wit and focus. he however fought in a very unique style- using humor. his name was Wahome Mutahi alias whispers. he was a man i had read since i was in my primary school. the days when he partnered quite skilfully with maddo another pencil-great man . i was sad to learn that the man would not enjoy the new found freedom he so galantly fought for. i was sadder though that his death was unfortunate given the fact that it was by a botched operation.

a year after Wahomé's death, we got our last born and in the week of being around, the guy fell seriously ill. he just withered away like a shoot in the scorching sun. we rushed him to hospital and were told that he had to be operated in the stomach. his bowels were to be cut and reconnected! i looked at my son and wondered what the doctor was talking about. What was he going to hold while cuting him! i was utterly depressed. we were between a rock and hard place. the doc said it had to be done immediately else he would die. the operation was meant to be the following morning. our luck came when another doctor who was doing rounds in the evening happened into the wards and asked for blood and stool test after which he prescribed a drip laced with an anti-biotic. the gentleman never went for the operation and he is growing strong.

my neighbors case was similar but he took his kid to Gertrude's hospital where he was operated but never survived. just last month, my siz was told to undergo an operation to remove a fluid based goiter. the cost was 70,000 kshs. we sought a second and third opinion and eventually paid just 2000 for a jab to remove the thing!

i read the issue about misdiagnosis in the media jana, i also remember many stories where doctors have either killed or maimed patients for life due to wrong prescription. one may call it negligence, but am thinking its more driven by the financial rat race. it starts with people cheating in exams to go to medical school. then it goes to high school failures taking medicine since they can afford to pay parallel degree. you wonder how someone who does not even get the cut to take the simplest course at the university can qualify to do one of the hardest courses. it then ends up that for you to recover your money fast, you gotta go on a 'cutting' spree! surgery is very lucrative in the medical circles.

coming close to doctors making mistakes, are pilots felling planes 'kila uchao' what am persuaded to think is that there are some professions like politics and law where 'errors' can be accommodated. but in some, qualification is very important since one simple error is equal to one human being's life. We must just decide to lock out certain professions if at least to protect oursleves.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

of beauty and brawn

I downloaded Google web browser for trial. i like it for the beauty, the novelty of treatment of tabs, history and even its ability to auto-configure. But like they say most beauty is often used as cover up for certain fundamental flaws. like they say academically challenged people get beauty at birth as a cover up for that fatal flaw. With chrome, the Google browser, i find am not able to log in to google mail! of all the pages. even this blog entry is not possible to make when using chrome. i am not even able to go to the comments page. further, even though its sold as optimized for web embedded videos, the thing does not work when you are behind a firewall. it just hangs and looks at you like a beautiful fool. Ok lets be fair, Chrome is still in beta, meaning its still not officially released but i wonder why they made this trial at the same time that mozilla Firefox was releasing a new improved version of their own web browser. the new version is cute, fast and with several likable add-ons.

more on beauty, my colleague is back from a 3 week visit to Portugal. he reports to us that Lisbon is probably cleaner than the inside of his own house here in kenya. Everything works, people respect you and everywhere you go you feel alive. That story is similar to that of my cousin coming back from a visit to to The United States. Trees are alive and beautiful, everyone drives, life works and effort is very small. Those stories are great, compelling and inspiring just like what i want to make my Kenya to be in my own small way.

That the NSE has fast lost investor wealth is not fodder for any prime time news. and Kenyans are probably having a love hate relationship with Safaricom. its like the feeling you get when you marry your beautiful(or handsome) teenage heart throb only for reality to hit you when you realize, kids must be fed, clothed, schooled and disciplined. and that beauty is only meant to attract the best suitor, happiness is what you work on.

Seriously though, the Kenyan market is doing much better than most global markets. there is a general slump and the current despair or anger is very much misplaced. some people are saying they could have been better off buying land which is assured. Speculation on land is largely responsible for the looming food insecurity in Kenya, water shortages lack of expansion land for roads etc. speculation on land is not creative capitalism.

Is there anything like creative capitalism? Bill Gates thinks so. its a break away from the traditional way of donating huge chunks of money to charity after making money irresponsibly through obscene prices like those of petrol and electricity in Kenya, environmental pollution and sinfully low wages and long stressful working hours, to a humane approach to business which is basically avoiding the need for charity in the first place.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

more uplifts

Today must be one of the best days for kenya. after watching Pamela Jelimo win her and Kenya's first ever jackpot in athletics , the 1 million dollar golden league series, another Kenyan Vivian Cheruyot won the 5000 meter race beating the opponent just at the finish line, the brilliant day ended with Kenyan soccer team Harambee stars show casing great talent poise and skill to take down the much fancied Namibia team. The Kenyans were fantastic. the most refreshing thing to me was the break away from Ghost Muleis media antics. the new tactician Kimanzi is a very reserved man. rather relaxed and humble. But his charges are what make you want to look at the man again. It was very uplifting watching the indefatigable Oboya doing the runs around the field. he was found almost everywhere. Noah Ayuko in goal was hardly test as the back line was tightly manned by opiyo and Ochieng. Two other greats were Njoroge through whom the penalty came and highly skilled Mohamed.

Monday, September 01, 2008

uplifting the soul

Two things happened recently which were very uplifting. one was seeing a young Kenyan woman beat a crowded pack of experienced athletes to bring home the first women Olympic gold. However the Kenyans who take part in these races normally depress me as much as they uplift me. Seeing someone sprint like that to the finish line after soaking up 1500 meters or more is depressing in equal measure as the joy of seeing the Kenyan flag doing the victory laps after such a tough race. The Kenyan athletes show me that it can be done but they also remind me how unfit i am.

the other uplifting event gave me the same feeling. The speeches during the democrats convention in Denver. All the speakers surprised me in a very uplifting way. first Michele giving an address which would have been fit for the nominee himself. then Hillary Clinton stressing with a smile and conviction that everyone should rally behind the candidate who denied her her own chance to write history. Then came Clinton the man who put to rest all doubts that anyone had and declared clearly his support and thereby showing his own courage and strength as a man. But the icing was watching Mr. Obama take the world through arguably one of the most soul lifting speeches of recent times. it looked like he was talking off his head and heart. it was not a written rehearsed speech as i guessed. Even McCain had to stop and congratulate the man first!

However the Colorado convention had its own depressing reminders to me. for one that if it were Kenya, Michele would not have addressed the gathering, Hillary would have defected to republican or worse formed her own party. Bill Clinton would have fronted Chelsea instead and McCain would have called Mr Obama all sorts of unprintables.

The fortunate thing is that the encouragement i got from those two great events is far greater than the other realities that cause discouragement. It was even more uplifting to see nyahururu residents give their son a fitting welcome.

By the way, how are people handling the electricity tariffs? apart from buying energy saving bulbs etc. am actually actively looking for a good solar installer. the energy bills are obscene!

I have said it before but it doesn't pain to say again: I wonder who the producers of Tahidi High in citizen come from. How come that show is so far ahead of the rest in the same country. Success should be copied. the other teams have no excuse to keep on showing mediocre series when we have such talent around.