Thursday, December 30, 2010

While You Were Away, the Economy Expanded

They said it just before Christmas that the Kenyan economy had expanded by more than 6% for the last 3 months. A number of my friends were skeptical given that the previous months in the year hadn't been that good. What we had expected was maybe 2.5, 3% but 6?! That is almost equal to the magic year of 2007, the best and worst year in recent memory. But statistics also showed that even tourism arrivals were higher than even the best tourism year of 2007. Still most of us refused to believe doubting even the revised inflation measures that show us doing pretty good.

Maybe the main reason for our doubts is the fact that our own micro-home based economy actually shrunk! When the country was growing we must have been asleep. However whichever way you look at it, all indicators of improved financial situation in the beloved country abound. For how would you explain the fact that rents for residential houses in our neighborhood keep going up and also still finding takers. The place I moved to when rents were as low as 25K-30K a month now fetch anything between 45K and 50K. some landlords (and ladies) are even audacious enough to demand 60K for a 4 bedroom maisonette. Some say the expanded Red Cross offices with their new high class hotel in the neighborhood is to blame. In fact some house owners are now asking for rent in dollars. There is also a high influx of foreigners from neighboring countries Sudan and Somalia though.

But its not only in housing, even a visit to capital shopping center and even Nakumatt Mega reveals changed fortunes for most people. Strong cars with new plates dot the expansive parking on most days. Xmas day was another pointer. Most entertainment joints which had been a preserve of the upwardly mobile just a couple of years before are now everyones take as more people begin to afford the luxury. This time places like Village market, Panari sky centre, splash etc had so many people you would have thought it was free entrance! Uhuru park itself was full like gikomba with people looking for fun. Or is it the benefit of alcohol ban? But the rich have moved on and these days the in thing is full extended family mini camping. Some sharp Maasas have put up a brilliant day camp site on Kiserian - Isinya road. On an expansive 200 acre piece of rolling grass and wood land. You drive your family there in your new fuel guzzler, order enough goats to  lose their lives and play hide and seek with your kids as you wait for the animals to be roasted on open fire. Its a perfect getaway. Most people are getting together say 3 or 4 families for a family or friends mini team building. The area also teams with wild herbivores eg zebras and impalas but those are not for roasting , sorry. Since its some distance from nairobi, it will take some time before all of us rush there and spoil your fun. By that time you shall have moved on again!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Being the Best, the Top, the First

Yesterday, the minister for education performed the annual ritual of announcing the best and the first among the top in KCPE. The very first exam that Kenyan children will use to determine their social status as adults. It showed like it always does just how competitive getting  the national cake is  becoming. Kids are working harder and smarter and the winner doesn't have much room. This time the top spot was occupied by two boys as was most other spots. In fact only 3 marks separate the very best and the the tenth kid! These kids have now been set on the path we all have traveled. That of fighting hard and smart for the little and diminishing world resources.

I hope though that they wont get into our madness of competition. Seemingly in this country people compete for everything from the great to the utterly mundane. Like on the road where drivers fight  to be ahead whether they have right of way or not. All you have to do is force your bonnet ahead and block anyone else. Or the competition for entry into a packed football stadium.

Some other competition which I found bizarre was when census results were declared and people from various places started complaining that their numbers were not as suggested. They declared the census biased (or political as they say) Indeed  our leaders often amuse me though when two aspects of competition are up. On the one hand they want their 'regions' to be declared among the wealthiest, with good education, infrastructure, health care etc because it shows the great leadership they have shown and provided for those areas. But on the other hand being declared thus means you get allocated less money for development, so the leaders go back to the press to state that their regions are the poorest etc. Its all about being the first and the top. Being the richest and poorest in equal measure!

But are the top guys having it nice and easy? A friend of mine who is a medical doctor by training and profession has decided to change her career because she says its a lie. She doesn't get the money and privilege she was promised. She had worked had , missed her holidays, play and party times to get the grades to first attend an 'ivy' league high school and then after take medicine in the university. Right now she says her age mates who took less prestigious courses are way ahead of her since for a medical doctor you need some more years of practice and more reading before money starts to know your GPS coordinate. well maybe her decision is also guided by the fact that she is a generation Y.

But thinking differently, I have always wanted to meet someone who attended St. Andrews Turi or anyone who took his kids there. If for nothing, just to satisfy a curiosity since I thought the school was ridiculously expensive. Well this past Saturday I did meet someone. A very kawaida someone! In fact we had a kawaida lunch at Galitos and he is not sending one kid there but 4 kids. They pay just about 0.5m per term per child aside from other requirements which go with your kids schooling in such an environment. And if going for an excursion in hells gate Naivasha was a game changer for me in high school, then for them its the grand canyon in the US! But then again they told me in Pembroke school, during visiting days, instead of top of the range four wheelers packed around the compound, its choppers of the parents who mostly reside at the coast. How is that for being at the top of the social stratum?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Talented Kenyans

I discovered last weekend that it has been long since I attended a wedding. Well at least not a live one since here in Kenya we have a choice (or none?) of watching weddings on TV every weekend. I had to attend this particular one since I was one of the singers during the mass. I was impressed to say the least. The style, the decor, the fashion of both the men and women was simple supa. The maids matched all the large clothes hung on the walls and they also had a hint of the men's suits. The choreography was splendid and the chick (soon to be turned into a wife) walked with purpose like they do in the cat walk.

However I found it funny that they had invited us to sing since our singing was constantly interrupted because "the couple had a special recorded music for this and  that part" they even employed the services of some folk singers to sing real cultural sounds in mother tongue. The whole thing was a very well coordinated show and I give big thumb to the organizers.

One area though that I hope more Kenyans will become talented is in keeping time. For this ceremony, we had been told of starting at 9AM so I duly planned my rest of day to start at 11AM when I hoped the two lovers would have finished promising to be loyal and true to each other. However the groom didn't arrive until that very 11AM with a bonus 30 minutes on top. The bride delayed till 12:30PM then when she appeared she took a century to get out of the car after which the cat walk of her maids started to one slow music and her to another even slower music. My day was lost.

On another note, are men becoming women? These days I meet so many brothers in the kinyozi having their nails done and polished, hair dyed and decorated and all sorts of 'soft' treatments hitherto enjoyed only by the sisters. What is the motivation. I read one psychologists article that women aren't visual when it comes partner decision doesn't that mean that men's new obsession with grooming is all vanity?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Noblesse Oblige

From what I have heard people say and the comments I have seen in the media blogs, its clear that many are as perplexed as I am about one Francis Muthaura's inclusion in Ocampo's six. Even Ali may be a surprise inclusion. I have always sympathised with this Mr. Ali, he was plucked from a job he understood very well when he was well past his sell by date, taken to a very new area with its own 'impunity culture' , corruption, power struggle , the works and made to fail in every way possible by both his seniors and his juniors. The poor soft spoken soldier should have just been left to complete his duty in peace and move on with his head held high. In fact I think he will be arguing like he did during his time in the police that he was merely enforcing the law and obeying orders of his superiors. That I suspect will also be Muthaura's defence and indeed of many of his supports and sympathisers.

But the French say noblesse oblige. These two are probably in it for the purpose of their position and not really their active planning and involvement. Well at least that is my speculation. Still like catholics say, you sin by both omission and commission.  So probably by omitting to advice the president effectively, Muthaura may have sinned by omission. Ali also by not stopping use of live bullets on civilians he still committed sins of omission. However one thing I still dont understand is why Ali saw it prudent to release the killer police on Kisumu and Kibera only and not in the areas of Eldoret where people were being killed. This way he also failed in his obligation to protect the poor PNU supporters who were being murdered in parts of the Rift Valley.

On another note, am somehow quite surprised by the muted response from Kenyans after the much awaited announcement was made yesterday. Even looking at the nation web page, the usually enthusiastic bloggers who comment on every little bit of news in their hundreds are rather quiet. The biggest number of reactions is only 19!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Was It Worth It

Now that the shrubby faced prosecutor with a funny accent and lazy eyes has released his list of six (I was actually getting bored of his threats, or were they?). It doesn't look at all surprising save for one Mr. Sang. Am only looking at those 6 guys against what I know of their portfolio and wondering to myself was it really worth it?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Of Wikileaks and security

I must admit , I am a bit confused with arguments on the wikileaks story. If I were a judge hearing this case, I would quickly disqualify myself. However I still find it quite intriguing. Who is at error here, is it Assange (whose name the west finds hard to pronounce) or is it the diplomats? On the one hand you could even say neither. Why because, everyone is entitled to his own opinion and the opinion of the diplomats about their missions is just that, their opinion. Wikileaks had no business leaking this to the world. Its in my view stupid, juvenile and outright irresponsible. Everyone has secret thoughts and its natural and God given. If God wanted all of us to know what others thought about us, he would have made us super people capable of this very thing. In fact I think the cables on what other diplomats think of US may be worse than what we have been reading so far. This story of Assange reminds me of my primary school days when some naughty boys would be carrying small broken mirrors to school for purposes of placing them under the girls skirts during assembly. The poor unsuspecting girls would then be the target of these boys and their cruel jokes. Well even in my high school there were boys who would carry cameras to school and target the female teachers when they dropped their guard even for a second and snap away. In short, Assange was and is probably a voyeur. Voyeurism is big business in the western world. to know just type that word in google.

But then again, how could the super power be so careless! I dont really care what they said and even how they said it. They could have been more blant if they so wish its their opinion. But please you know what goes on in the world today. You must protect your data! I am sure the guy in charge of  information security is having it hot on the collar. Maybe there is even some strong blame game going on right now. Maybe the vendor of the security software has already stated that protection from wikileaks was not in scope of the project or that the module was not purchased or that its coming in the next release. However what has happened now must open new efforts. Stronger efforts to stem this issue. It is actually good business for IT security vendors.

What wikileaks just did is both bad and good. bad in the sense that at a time when we are beginning to depend so much on the web and remote administration, work and even  health care, he has just cast doubts on that ability. Strong doubts. But those doubts are the good he did, because by opening them up to the public he makes us more secure. It would have been worse if only a handful of enemies of humanity had this information and used it for their own good. Now we know our soft underbelly and we can put some effort to protect it!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Feuerzangenbowle , Eierpunsch and Glühwein

Yesterday we went the Christmas market to try out the seasons top favorite Glühwein. Imagine the ingredients: wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus and sugar. The other was Feuerzangenbowle  prepared by setting rum-soaked sugar loaf on fire and letting it drip into mulled wine. Eierpunsch is made with egg yolks, sugar, white wine and vanilla.  you can imagine the taste! It was freezing at -5 C so the warm alcoholic drinks were more than welcome and it was quite interesting to see all those people in the Christmas all lined up e crazy for those crazy drinks

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Fearless!

I find this little video quite an inspiration. What a shockingly fearless small mammal that an African honey badger is! So when am on the low side I just watch this seemingly small man's courage and audacity.
              
                         

Monday, November 29, 2010

Being Yourself

The other day my boss remarked that it was about time he too got a top of the range ride with enough leg room, big head lights, dark mysterious color, rich deep engine roar, large surface area tyres and the works. It made feel the challenge the jolt the inspiration.  But the team I am working with in D-land has different ideas. The top dog wears a jeans trouser and rides his bicycle to work. It makes him proud that he gets to work ahead of most since he can easily maneuver traffic. And indeed most of his direct reports dont drive the top ranges that I crave for yet they are dirt cheap here compared to back home. If only they knew. They also dont care to put on those sharp suits that could not fit me in their shops! Though smart you would consider them dressed down all the time. Typical IT guys one would say. Well all of them apart of one who refuses to be dragged down that route. He always stands out in his dark suits, white starched shirts and a tie. Really your dream 'white collar' office wear. Drives a serious show man bmw and walks purposefully  to complete the image. He is my hero! He really is being himself.

But Germans are not an inch what I thought of them. They are much more gentle than I imagined and they treat their women with dignity different from what I have read in most books. And who said that europe didnt have faith? I have gone for most masses and they are full (well not shoving full like my local church back home) including the Kolner Dom. (that one deserves a full blog entry)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Missing Opportunities

Somehow everywhere I turn to, something is being said about Ulinzi, KPL and the big eared trophy! I may not remember very well Ulinzi's golden era of 2003, 04, 05, but I have a feeling a win of the local league has never been celebrated this much. Its as if it were the last ever KPL league or the very first. Its all so good even our very own president praised the winners which was a very rare gesture. If it was a win against a foreign club or win of a foreign trophy I would understand but this is just a simple local cup. Even Churchill live gave it a whole episode!

But its all so good  and worth it. I was at City Stadium that fateful day when K'Ogalo was frustrated to a barren draw by a stubborn City Stars side as Ulinzi nailed their opponents 2-0 in the Rift Valley. City Stars had shown their intention early by pricing their gates charges rather high at 200 for the terraces. A whopping 100% rise from the normal. I think they wanted to really enjoy themselves by frustrating Gor Mahia both off and on the pitch which they successfully did.

What I kept on wondering all the time I was there and seeing the umati wa watu is how come our local blue chips are not taking advantage of the marketing goldmine that the sudden interest in KPL league has generated. If you were at city stadium that afternoon or in Afraha stadium you could have seen what I mean. It was glaring right there! Were there any serious marketers in there? And leave alone marketing during matches. Given the near fanatical following enjoyed by the likes of Gor , AFC and the rest, has Safaricom or Airtel for instance thought of what would happen if they sponsored the teams shirts? Wouldn't it be law for all  fans (or is it followers) to make the big switch?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Its a discrimination!

I have once blogged against discrimination.Everyone hates to be treated differently for who they are or what they are. It normally feels bad. In deed discrimination is often condemned by most people apart for my kind. Last April  i tried many shops in Oxford street London looking for a nice sharp suit. (Oxford street is the street!) I spent a day walking up and down and i did find some serious cuts! The kind you put on and you make a statement you can even land a top position by your looks alone! One problem existed though. none of the jackets could cover my chest leave alone the trousers going past my thighs. The attendants told me their largest size customers were just about 2 dress sizes smaller than me. Now that was unsettling but I consoled myself that back home am not even among the tallest of men. I wondered why the Brits were that short. but then again, a number of them looked tall enough to me.

But what i found hillarious again this time in Germany apart from missing on suits again is the bed! In one hotel they were able to get me just a fitting duvet. To be honest I still cannot believe that an executive hotel like this one (5 star actually) does not anticipate tall clients! When I get on to my bed my legs are hanging out and when I cover my face my feet stick out. If I cover my feet my face remains in the cold! Now the fun part was how to explain all that to the housekeepers who cannot speak a word in English (neither can I speak any German) So I grab my laptop and go to google translate and type in. It comes out with ' ich bin groß' 'Kann ich haben eine große Bettdecke?' The housekeeper got the idea. 'I am big. can i have one big duvet?' well they just dont have any so for the next 2 weeks my feet and face will take turns in getting the warmth that comes with a duvet!

Maybe like Griffin of family guy I should start an  IFFCDTP  (international federation for clothing and duvets for tall people)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Rewards Galore

All of a sudden everywhere I look, Kenyans are being offered some sort of rewards, 500K, 50K, 10K, 1M, 5M name it. and the reason for the reward? sending a blank sms! just go to your phone and send an SMS. its some sort of lottery they say  and i keep on wondering if our good old betting control and licensing board have licensed all these and also to run right at the same time. On the face it looks like a copy of the recent one where one Kenyan ponyokad with a range rover worth 11 million (so they said). You know in Kenya we copy , fast! But looking at it even deeper one cant help but see a well planned effort to neutralize safaricom's masonko promotion. Well i can think that now that there are reports of sabotage on their network.

Deeper still this thing reminds one of the run away nation wide fraud of 2007 when Kenyans lost millions in pyramid scams. At the time pyramids were springing from all over. Every other corner had a scheme and due to laxity of the regulatory authorities Kenyans lost quite a bit. Again this time the regulators seem to be asleep in a way and before we know it, these win this win that schemes where only a simple sms is required shall have destroyed the still recovering economy of ours.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

From Grace ...

I grew up with great stories of a great place to live in Nairobi. This place the urban legend had it was the ultimate  place and was a dream for many employed persons. Kile together with Lavi I was told were places to aim for once you got to Nairobi. Maybe thats why it was easy for me to accompany my friend who has managed to cross the 'divide' and now sees Kile as the only next option, for a tour of available properties in the famed address.

Our guide was a very well informed sales agent from regent management company. We go through Othaya road and turn into Mwingi and thats where my shock starts. Maybe I have not been keenly observing the changes but the address doesn't have anything close to what I was expecting. The first thing I notice are very tall buildings. Some at 6 stories tall and the agent tells us these do not even have lifts. I wonder why someone would want that kind of punishment daily when trying to get to his house. He mentions that the rents asked here are anything upwards of 50K going to 60K for a 3 bedroom apartment. Its just a shocking overcrowding of blocks upon blocks. In fact the agent tells me that Kile is the area with the highest number of vacant units in the whole of Nairobi. Which is surprising since I thought Zimmer carried this record. Of course its not yet reached the level of Zimmer in terms of litter and chaotic developments but its clear that the sparkle of yester years is long gone.

Somehow in spite of this, some more apartments are still going up. There is clearly an oversupply but whats more surprising is that prices are still steep at 12 million or more  for these 3 bedroom units.

The agent even though aiming at making a sale still comments that he would rather buy an apartment in Kilimani.

What is worrying is that the infrastructure for this area was intended for single family on 1 or half acres. Now on the same 1 acre its not uncommon to find as many as 14 or more families living on the apartments! I wonder what they are doing about water, sewage and even traffic!

Friday, October 01, 2010

In this crazy world


The media often gives us good laughter from time to time however today I cannot say I was in the least prepared to read this in the good old dailies. I was intrigued by the tittle that a government had incarcerated a witchdoctor. why would anyone in the world do that? But for real according to nation newspapers and yes today is not april first but 1st of October, a certain woman was able to dupe the Mugabe cabinet into believing she could draw refined diesel from an ordinary baren rock. They took photos with her and paid her very handsomely for her great efforts. These are the times you hope that someone would slap you into seeing a poor Photoshop work to make the story untrue.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A weekend with K'Ogalo

I learnt the other day that you can sell almost anything provided you were sufficiently (philanthropic? lol ) no sufficiently passionate about it. One other thing that I was disabused off when i was young was watching football 'live' in a stadium especially if that football involved a team called Gor Mahia. Our abode (lol) in Kisumu was only just about 500 meters from the stadium and from our house I could make out the goings on. The problem with Gor and their fans was that they would stone the opposing fans whether they won or not. especially if those fans were Ingwe fans. But it has been argued that the rivalry was good for football. Even those days when Gor won, us little children we would get sweets from total strangers just in perfect mood.

But I  would only 'watch' from the safety of  the radio. However this recent past my good natured neighbor has been selling to me the idea of watching the once great team under flood lights 'mwomo timbe'. I have been escaping with some strong excuses but the other Saturday when K'Ogalo was playing relegation bound KCB I had ran out of options or maybe I just had to succumb to the steady persuasion of the passionate fan.

The fees for the VIP area was only 200, stands were going for 100 shillings each. Inside a small crowd had started gathering. The Gor match was still one and half hours away. Ulinzi, the current league leaders were in the pitch with Mahakama but the Gor fans were all over singing their hearts of for Gor. when the players finally came there was simply a rapture. songs and ululations and the annoying vuvuzela. whoever invented that horn should be expunged from the face of the earth and even history.

The songs were simply hilarious but the goals refused to come. And I told myself it could be because the fans had mostly corrupted nice God songs into support songs with very dirty lyrics. As the match wore on they started losing their patience and you could hear shouts at the coach, the players the ref etc. I wished they would score  just to see how the fans would react. The god of football did finally smile and they scored through a penalty. The frenzy, the celebration, the shouts, the dance the songs! but ouch the vuvuzelas! From there I too joined the dances coz they became too moving to resist!
The match ended 2-0 in their favor but still Ulinzi was 3 comfortable points ahead. However from the party in the stadium I told myself that such a weekend was worth repeating.

Just an observation, there seemed to be quite a sizeable number of dark Gor fans holding hands of extra light (white) mzungu girls there.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Kenya Against the Norm!

Quite a number of things have been going against the norm or the accepted these recent days in this beloved Kenya. It started with the pre-promulgation era(now those are the kind of words you need to take with water!)

To start with heavy campaigns were carried out in this country for the first time in as many years without Raila's heavy presence and it was  instead the  soft general who shed all colors and shocked, like the our dailies said, both friend and foe. Then Kenyans went ahead and voted peacefully everywhere another first since my high school days. Another change was the church being defeated in Kenya for the first time in known history.

Thats history now anyway. Last week more shocks came and for me what stood out was the statistic showing that indeed women and men are at 1:1 in the country. To be honest I find that hard to believe coz if that were true then how come more and more women are agreeing to help men cheat on their fellow women. For cases of single women hooking up with married men is really on the rise and I fail to understand why if there are enough men to go round!

And indeed Pastor Ojigbani's ministry for marriage effortlessly is unique and creative. I have been watching his late night TV shows on this for sometime but I never imagined our Kenyan women would be so enthusiastic about his crusade.

Back to the Kenyan political scene and the absence of war of words, I guess the war between Zain (or sen and most of my relatives call it) and Safaricom has filled the void. People can still enjoy the show. But Zain's approach is a funny one. For them they dont care if they lose as long as Safaricom doesn't win. Basically what they want to do is disrupt the game so that the industry starts afresh. its like when you see you are losing a football match, your fans then throw in all manner of debri until the ref calls off the match for a reschedule. that way your luck or strategy starts afresh. But the mentality of I win or they lose is not really new wasn't it is the same that motivated our very own Melon Musyoka. Insisting that if he lost then his nemesis must also lose. we all know the consequences of 2007.

And what of the realization that Kibera isn't the largest slum in the world after all? if fact it may not even the largest in Nairobi, leave alone Kenya after next year. Indeed Kibera only has about 270K people while the word out there with the donors is that 2 million people eke it out in this place. But I have always wondered that if the whole of Nairobi before this census results was said to hold just above 2 million, did it mean that the rest of the Nairobi population were less than 1 million. and mind you some of those 270K people in Kibera actually dont live in the 'slum Kibera'

NGOs will have to go back and draw on the proverbial board else I see whole careers ending!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What A Mean Cup Finals!

Is it just me or is this world cup really really mean?! After 10 games only one has produced 4 goals yawa. Even teams that were hitherto unknown are claiming their single goal thing and every turn is a boring 1-1 draw or kaf draw. something needs to be done. maybe the vuvus must just be stopped.

But even as goal drought persists in the south, back home I must pass my deepest empathy and condolences to those who lost their lives at Uhuru park last Sunday. I know that even if the perpetrators are brought to book, the loss cannot be compensated but my prayers for you and your families.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Kudos Safaricom Captain

Who am I not to offer a word of congratulations to the Safaricom Chief for increasing his companies market share in spite of the tough economic environment and stiff competition from 3 other global players. Indeed the staff and partners too deserve a big pat on the back! The results are indeed superb.

I must also hasten to add a pat on the Govts back for back pedaling on the punitive regulation it had introduced earlier. Indeed that regulation was as peculiar as other Kenyan habits that Mr. Joseph alluded to during his live presentation of annual returns yesterday morning. In Kenya somehow when you work hard and make money, you are forced to be apologetic about it. Kenyans encourage modesty and humility with a zeal bordering on the bizarre. If you are doing too well you must not say it and you must not show it. Thats why some friends of mine strip themselves of their nice clad when going to the villages for a visit. Some who drive strong cars even decide to take added risk by travelling by old rickety buses. Just to try and conform to a life of averages. I even know of a friend who is doing really well by any standards making close to a million a month in legit business but would not be caught dead in a luxury car. He would rather drive an old beaten B12 in order to 'fit in'

And this peculiar behavior doesn't stop with the mortals. Recently our local church has announced a new requirement by his Eminence John Cardinal Njue dividing the church in Nairobi into 3 classes. Those in class A will be required to submit to him 2 million shillings each year since their parishioners are rich. Those in class B will submit 1 million and those in the C class will be required to submit half M. And this is on top of the normal tithe and sadaka! Tell me if thats not punishing those who are struggling to raise their heads above the average!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Baffling Scenario

After about 4 weeks working with wazungus here in England, (majuu like my gud nephew calls it) I keep on wondering how it is that their life and cities are way more advanced. It would appear to me that they dont do half as much as we do back at home. Their work day starts at 9AM at which time they line up for coffee anyway. Then most of the morning is spent between coffee points and desk and snacking (why must they eat so frequently?!) 12 noon on the dot they are already heading to the cafeteria and if you go at that time you find it very packed. The afternoon is shorter and at 5pm they are all leaving for home!
What I even found most shocking was that most dont report on Fridays when they say they would be working from home. This at a time when we are supposed to be finalizing on a major project!

Where I work we start at 8 officially but most of us often report by 7:15 owing to the traffic anyway. Leaving is normally officially 5pm but your manager and most other people will be looking at you strangely if you dare leave at that time. Average home time is normally 6 going 7 and when there is a major project like this one then midnight does it for you and your weekends are all in custody!

How then is it possible for the standard of living to be this good? My colleague reckons it has everything to do with slave trade!

Monday, April 12, 2010

This Draft Thing ...

After 20 years of waiting and several billions of shillings, death, pain, hatred, disunity I must say that am rather dispointed at what has been presented as the draft law to govern us into prosperity. However, I may just be willing to let it go. If someone was using that trick to wear me out into submission, then he must have succeeded big time with me.

But recently I have found another good reason to support the draft. Maybe I just want it to spite the religious leaders. I feel bad each time they comment on anything about governance. I feel the same contempt for them that I feel each time the former HoS Daniel Moi opens his mouth to comment on the affairs of Kenya. I have argued that the man who had more than 32 years of top leadership has no business telling us what to do after having messed us so much.

I still hold that the religious leaders long lost their moral high ground to tell anyone anything about governance. for starters, The Catholic church celebrated a century of existence in Kenya way back in 1990, thats 20 years ago. I dont know how long the Anglican church has been around and even the Muslims. But in all those years, they failed to teach their faithful the one fundamental tenet of their faiths. The one of loving each other as self and loving the stranger. Whats more , they became totally docile after 2002 elections.

However the biggest bone that I pick with this group of men and women is how they watched us as we slaughtered and barbecued each other in 2008! All the senior politicians in this country profess some sort of religious affinity. How was it possible for them to get to where we got in 2008 and their spiritual leaders to keep mum? As things are now, I fail to be convinced that a life saving abortion  would be more lethal than pure hatred and tribalism which has a stranglehold over Kenyans. I equally fail to see how Kadhis courts would cause more harm than the crime of omission these men and women collectively committed against Kenyans for these decades.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Of Success ...

Last Saturday, we held the 10th Annual General Meeting of our Savings and Credit Society where we announced among other things a 47% rise in revenue, 37% rise in net profits, deposits up 36% healthy cash flow etc. It was also the first time we invited the minister for CD&M to grace the occasion. what made it easy was his comical speech and his ease with everyone. He started by getting up to serve himself lunch instead for sitting back and enjoying our serving.

The day was full of comedy really. first, I found out that when the man came there was supposed to be a protocol of greeting the man and his entourage. Then there was the sitting arrangement. With an elaborate format on who sits on his left and who sits on his right, then who and who. I mixed that all up. But I must thank his able officers from the ministry for sorting out that. Even when delivering the speech, there is a protocol of recognizing the people in attendance. o boy! Well after mixing up the protocol when I went to do my speech and in the processes sweating profusely (I had to keep the coat on even though the sun was unforgiving that day) I thought it was only fair to reward my good old self. First I took those great men and women who worked with me in the past year to a sumptuous dinner at a top city restaurant then I told my self. self, your time has come to take it easy and thank yourself for a job well done. I therefore tossed the coin to decide where to take a jig. Anyway the coin wasn't even needed coz I was going to join my friend on langata road anyway. A new young artist was entertaining.

The rookie was belting real good rumba tunes but what stood out was 'nya sakwa'. one of the most romantic luo songs yet. Each time he sung it, couples jumped onto the floor in tight embrace rhythmically swaying to the slow beats. Those of us who hadn't carried their significant others along were left waving in the air in an apparent submission to the most powerful emotion known to man (and woman) it was difficult to know what the song had. was it the powerful words, the sweet strum of the guitar, the melodious drumming or just the god of music?

The gentleman John Junior is actually my cousin's cousin which by extension makes him my cousin but the word cousin only translates to 'owadwa' which means my brother therefore the man is actually my bro! Success begets relatives

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A little lip on the 'Crisis'

A lot has been said, a lot remains unsaid about the current 'crisis' in our coalition government. I must also claim my lip rights to mouth what my mind tells me.

Question is, why has Raila all of a sudden decided in the view of most Kenyans to take a rope and commit political suicide? First with the mau issue and now with maize and school fees issue? Why is he playing into the hands of his enemies? why when in fact a by election looms large?

My mind tells me that a number of people in 2007 could have voted one Mr. Raila Amolo Odinga as president due to his tribe but a big number could have voted him due to good old hope. Hope that his consistency in fighting various ills in society could be used to finally right the many wrongs. I am persuaded that there were a number of Kenyans who voted Raila in for being Raila and being Raila in their minds meant being right and firm.

But in the last 2 years since he shared power with Kibaki, has Raila been Raila? not really. He tried to play siasa. Doing a number of things to please his key accounts namely the Rutos of this world.

It seems clear that all of a sudden Raila has now woken up from the slumber and realized that for his own sake and for the sake of the country , he needs to be Raila. He needs to give to the country that which his personality promised. Meaning good governance at all costs to him. He has decided to be himself. And thats why I dont agree with Mutahi Ngunyi who reckons that Raila played into Kibakis bait. First I dont believe Kibaki is that sharp. If he were he would not have lost the referendum and subsequent general election with all those resources he had. I mean honestly for one he was a head of state and government controlling vast resources and a corrupt provincial administration together with the police force. Then secondly he was being backed by the most populous and most wealthy tribe in the nation. He was up against a person on the exact opposite of the social spectrum. He should not have lost this leave alone tie and take us through the painful experience of 2007. For that matter I dont buy the Kibaki brilliance theory of Ngunyi.

In any case, my mind tells me that its Kibaki who played into Raila's bait and rushed to squash his decision thus giving himself up to everyone as to who was the corrupt principal. Talk of hook , line and sinker.

But my good friend jakondiek is a worried man, being a blood supporter of Raila he wonders whether the man will survive this and I tell him, I dont know but what I know is that the man seems to emerge stronger from every crisis. Probably only Raila knows what it means to be Raila so time will tell.

Friday, February 12, 2010

If Q Could Change...

It was in November 2008 when I blogged here about my Arduous argument with Q. Wow time does fly! I remember leaving that debate really feeling low, tired and wasted. I remember bloggers giving me encouragement and reinforcing my stand and points. Well just about 16 months later, I met Mr. Q again. his circumstances have changed greatly. For one, he got promoted and now heads a very strategic department in his company. His company is leading in the service industry in the region. Mr. Q sat me down and told me how his work has become almost impossible to do.

Somehow those things I told him that fateful November touched his intellect as he put it. He describes it as 'The Moment'. He changed his ways of doing things and vowed to work things professionally and in a clean manner. And that is what has caused him all manner of problems. He has been exposed to long running and complex corruption chains some so entangled that he finds he is man island of sorts in a sea full of sharks. For every deal he stumbles upon and tries to correct, he gets several smses some friendly and offering goodies while some being hard core threats. I had no words for my convert but I learnt that indeed you should never underrate what you believe in. Whether someone tries to bring you down just tell them. I was actually shocked that while I thought I had lost the argument that November, my words had somehow found some soft landing in him and converted him. Now even when he sat across from me telling me about his hard times with corruption cells in his company he was asserting that he will not compromise his principles. He was telling me of how many such cells he had already dismantled and I was nodding inside me and smiling happily.

But broadly speaking in this country corruption and disrespect for other peoples property is almost as ingrained as a culture. Its almost a given concept that if no one is looking, you are welcome to grab and plunder to your fill. When a few guys like Ongeri and Karega are unlucky or stupid enough to be caught every one else goes for their necks yet the bottom line is simple and straight forward: Just let us respect and accept what does not lawfully belong to us.

Friday, February 05, 2010

mwakweres exit

Wow. the reaction to the news of Mwakwere's lose of the matuga parliamentary seat is overwhelming. Does it mean the man was this unpopular?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What is going on?

Today the often funny discussions on radio caught my attention. A man with a strangely deep voice called in to say he was in deep distress. on prodding, he said that the issue was that 1. he was married 2. He was having extra marital affair with 15 other women. however his biggest problem was that of these 15, 13 are married with children!

He really sounded like a man in distress and intimated that he had tried in vain to change his ways to no success and he wanted help. But pray 15? whats more, he claimed that he never looks for these women. they come after him and he is too weak to resist. Which brings to light the stories they have been on and on about this week about women having gone on the overdrive and turned to be the hunters instead of the hunted. A number of them are calling in the radio stations to proudly talk about how they are cheating on their husbands with their cousins, friends workers etc. Which gives credence to that Jimmy Gathu campaign about mpango wa kando. And me am just left wondering for the life of me what has suddenly gotten to the fairer species. the angels are fast becoming devils what will the devils be?