From Mugabe’s Promiscuous Ministers, to Tzvangirai’s Character Weakness Yardstick and Zuma’s not thinking like Africans, South African leaders have quite some sense of humor.

Incumbent Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe seems to be getting wiser with age.
This past Sunday at a wedding ceremony, Mr Mugabe lashed out at his ministers, accusing them of taking advantage of their wealth to have a string of unofficial wives commonly referred to as ‘small houses’ . It didn’t end there; the 89 year old head of state had some precious piece of advice for couples. ‘One man, one wife and your marriage will go a long way, remain faithful to one another,’ he said.
In a strangely rare moment in history, I totally agree with Robert Mugabe on this one!

President Mugabe had, earlier on this year, admitted to having been involved in an extra marital affair that led to the birth of his first born with second wife Grace while still married to his late first wife Sally.

Married couples need to listen to the man. He is, after all, speaking from experience.

However, even before the wedding dust settled one day later, Mugabe’s sworn rival, Opposition leader Morgan Tzvangirai was angrily defending what he called his ‘character weakness’.
When a journalist asked him if his failure to clutch the elusive presidency from Mugabe was partly because of the women scandals he has had in the recent past, Tzvangirai angrily retorted that the loss had nothing to do with morality.’ This is not a question of morality, MDC people have their own yardstick with which they measure democracy’ he said.

And we dare blame Zuma for advising ‘his’ people not to think like Africans in Africa???

On being asked if he could consider stepping down to pave way for the younger people of his party, Tzvangirai bluntly asked. ‘Step aside for what? He then burst into a now too familiar pitiful monologue on being a victim who shouldn’t be blamed before colorfully concluding that he would never ever step down because he is the right man to fight for democracy in Zimbabwe. This, from a man who leadeth a movement that is supposed to bring democratic change sounds rather undemocratic if you ask me.

PS: Where on earth is my favorite southern president Ian K of Botswana? Say something sir!

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from Zuma’s Malawi trip, to Obama’s Eavesdropping Democracy ; to Africans Boycotting the 2018 Moscow World Cup; to Gagging East African media and banning Female Driving in Saudi Arabia, this has been quite a week.

Political This and That of the week that Has Been.

• Zuma; This is Jo’Burg Baby!

Last week started off pretty interesting, with South African President Jacob Zuma finding it wise to remind the attendees at an ANC conference on road construction between Jo’Burg and Pretoria that they could not ‘afford to think like Africans in Africa generally, ‘this is Johannesburg, it’s not some national road in Malawi.’ Said Zuma. Judging by their loud laughter, his audience must have found the comment terribly witty but not the rest of Africans, more so Malawians who immediately demanded an explanation for the not-so-flattering-statement.

• USA, The Democratic Eavesdropper.

Speaking of burgs, Obama and his democratic state found themselves in trouble thanks to Edward Snowdens’ fresh dose of Weekly-Leaks. Apparently the USA has been spying on its Allies and tapping phone calls of top officials in other countries. So senior were those whose phones were being bugged that some EU members, France and Germany included, are on their way to a meeting with the US officials to discuss way forward. Okay, so what’s the USA’s obsession information?
The USA is excusing itself and claiming they were doing that for ‘security reasons’. Gulp! Could there be a remote chance that the USA is the ‘itchy ears’ version of Barbara kimenye’s itchy Fingers character in The Moses Series?

• Should African Players Boycott the 2018 Moscow World Cup?

After a match during which he was racially abused and called a monkey, A not-so-please Yaya Toure gave a press conference and vowed to talk to African players to boycott the 2018 world cup in Moscow if nothing was to be done about racism during matches.
Guess we will have to wait and see how that goes…
On the other hand, I’d urge Yaya to relax and let the matter slide, after all, In a country where temperatures are so cold that citizens have to stay on spirits to warm their bodies, ones heart is bound to be freezing cold too, right?

Meanwhile, in the east, a Chinese journalist confessed to accepting bribes and writing fake stories about particular companies. Now that doesn’t add up to the so called creativity in journalism, does it?
• Ugandan Army Selling Firearms to the Al-Shabaab ??Huh

Some wise man might have said ‘keep thy friends close and thy enemies’ closer’ but I am convinced he didn’t mean it as literally as the Ugandan arm of the AMISOL is said to be doing.
So, it is alleged that the Ugandan Army in Somalia is selling guns and weapons in the Somali black-market, to the very people they are fighting. The hell??

As if that isn’t enough, Ugandan solders are eating stale food because some commanders have decided to activate their entrepreneurship skills and put a price tag on the food they are to give their solders.Huh?

So, things are so thick that 24 top officers and soldiers have been suspended pending investigation…..

• Media Freedom in a Democratic Africa, Indeed!

Since the Kenyan government is quick to spend millions celebrating 50 years of independence, we need to ponder and ask ourselves, independence from what?
In an attempt to answer this question, one wonders why on earth one Inspector General David Kimaiyo wants to take us back to the dark ages by gagging the media.
So, the good army boys were caught ‘live’ on the CCTV cameras walking into the Nakumatt Westgate Shopping Mall with guns and walking out with paper bags. To save face, KDF should have out rightly injected the musician Shaggy’s wisdom ‘it wasn’t me’. That would have worked far better than that claiming that the good army boys were carrying bottled water in the paper bags. What was that? The Majimaji war?

The beloved father of our nation is right to support kimaiyo and tell us to ‘keep off his army boys’; these boys who are so patriotic that they broke safes and took away money for safeguarding, then turned it in to the owners after the fifteen-or is it four bad guys were shot dead-or escaped through a tunnel discovered days later.
What selfless boys?

A few kilometers away, the Somalia government just shut down two radio stations in Mogadishu . One of which is deemed the largest independent media house in that country. Now, the reason the Somali government gives for this not-so-noble act is that the media house is occupying the government building illegally. Has the Somali government ever heard of the word ‘Eviction Notice?’Who knows?

Meanwhile, on Friday as BBC’S news-day presenter Shaima khalil (whose job I want terribly) gathered 100 women in their offices in London to talk about all topic women talk about; motherhood vs career, FGM, politics, activism et al, Saudi Arabia women were pondering just how to defy the new rule that bans women from driving. Okay so the Saudi State claims it is doing that for the sake of the women; so they don’t toil changing flat tyres and doing other ‘manly’ things male drivers have to do.
To me, that excuse sounds like the breakup line ‘it’s not you hun, its me…….’absolutely ridiculous.

Oh and need I mention that I have spent the week seriously flirting with the idea of changing my name to Lupita? But that’s a story for another day, for now, let me wish the Kenyan-Hollywood diva girl Lupita Ny’ongo all the best……may you win the Oscar m’aam!!

My town : Kabarnet

To the unacquainted eyes of a stranger staring at the little hilly town of Kabarnet at sunset, it could easily pass off as just another town painted crimson by the rays of a setting October sun. To a native however, Kabarnet is much more. Though it still carries traces of past age communication; an old post office and telephone booths that are obviously out of use, this town is the nerve center of the larger Baringo County. It houses the County Assembly Hall and is home to the County Headquarters for what used to be the six Districts of Baringo namely: Baringo Central, East Pokot, Koibatek, North Baringo , Marigat, and Mogotio.

Baringo Central in which Kabarnet town lies covers a land area of 2,477.9 square kilometers.

A journey to Kabarnet through the Eldoret- Iten-Kabarnet road will leave any traveler breathless thanks to the deep eroded gorges, valleys, streams and rounded hills.

Traces of modernization are felt in this town with modern architecture buildings mushrooming every day. Real estate development is however, stifled by the mountainous topography of the region which makes expansion impossible.

International connection in the town is fostered by its six cyber cafes which have now become a core component of the towns’ life.
It would be virtually impossible to go through the town and not notice two monumental buildings. The first, an AIC church house and the second, a classical Cathedral with stained glass windows belonging to St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Both churches lie opposite the towns’ best built institution, The Kenya School of Government formerly the Government Training Institute (G.T.I)

To the north of the town lies the municipal market whose major trading day is Thursday. Major fruits sold in the market are papayas which grow wildly in Kerio valley and tomatoes that are in abundance in the nearby lowland town of Marigat.

A great attraction of Kabarnet town is its people with their warmth and courteousness to strangers. They will win over your heart and provide you with the impetus to plan a return visit even before you leave the town. The locals you meet in the streets, hotels or market place will not leave you without a kind word or a warm smile. You may not understand everything a Kabarnet dweller says, for they are in the habit of communing in their local language, but if you do understand, it will probably be a smile inducing remark, for they are a good natured bunch of people.

Kenyans love to talk politics and Kabarnet dwellers are no exception. Here, it is inborn to be an expert on the politics of the region. You are guaranteed a free political tip or two when you stop at a vendors’ to buy the paper, as there is always a large number of self-declared political analysts who either complain vehemently or show incredible stoicism towards their preferred politician.

The towns’ most prestigious hotel is the ‘Kabarnet Hotel’ which caters for guests with large expendable incomes. It boasts of being the only hotel in this town with a swimming pool. Other good hotels are, Sinkoro, ‘The Peoples’ Paradise and Sports line Hotel said to be owned by the successful athlete Paul Tergat

Kabarnet dwellers’ favorite meal is goat meat aptly named koriema. An often told tale is that of the naturally salted goat meat from Koriema, a centre 30 minutes away on the Nakuru-Kabarnet road. It is said that because the region is dry, the goats eat herbs which are not only medicinal, but also very key is flavoring the goat meat. Therefore, roast goat meat from Koriema need not be salted as it already contains enough salt.

The towns’ fresh milk is supplied by farmers from the nearby villages. One of them, a gentleman called Koima, collects approximately 300litres of milk each day from the small scale farmers in Talai , a center 19 km away and delivers it to the Dairy Cooperative Society in town. The Cooperative then sells milk to the hotels and offices in town at a retail price of between 42-50 shillings a liter. Processed packet milk is therefore not popular here. No wonder almost all supermarkets sell only the long lasting packs which go for about 70 shilling for the 500ml pack.
Kabarnet town is home to the only National School in Baringo County, Kapropita Girls, located about five kilometers from the town on the Nakuru- Kabarnet road.

It is also home to a one storey Kenya National Library building with a membership of 1,120. The library provides a suitable reading environment and a variety of books for the many primary schools in town.
The most common transport means in Kabarnet is motorbikes which are suitable because of the rough terrain and flexibility in accessing remote areas.

FOUR REASONS WHY I AM OH-SO-GLAD TO BE KENYAN.

From time to time, a patriot, on closer examination, can find near-half a dozen things to be grateful about. Today, in the post-mashujaa spirit of good citizenship, I examine reasons why I am particularly proud to be Kenyan.

1. No president for life

While some of our good neighbors have seen but a single president since the departure of the white man, we have been lucky to have had four presidents in a record fifty years. Quick division arithmetic, coupled with a bit of wishful thinking, would put each president at a term of 12.5 years, slightly over the two term American presidency. Aren’t we doing well? Aren’t you proud to be Kenyan?

One of the said presidents for life, in an interview earlier this year, proudly declared that age could not force him out of office because ‘his countrymen still need him.’ and need him they do because even though he announced that he would step down if he lost the election, he ended up with a landslide victory, or did he? Long live Rhodesia!!

2. Our president is not grooming his son to be president…or is he?

In March this year, it emerged that Uganda’s incumbent president Yoweri Museveni’s son held a very senior position in the army. The ‘daily monitor’, the paper that was unfortunate enough to get the scoop of this story speculated that the big man was preparing his son for the equally big office. The monitor ended up paying dearly for ‘disturbing the security of the nation by being shut down for a good number of weeks and consequently losing millions of shillings.

Fortunately for us, the easy-on-the-eye sons of our beloved fourth father of the nation are too young to be eyeing office. We are therefore, safe from suspiciously premeditated monarchism. But wait, did U.K predict a twenty year term for Jubilee? In that case, perhaps we need to start getting worried. After all, in two decades, the young boys will be all grown up and tremendously suitable candidates for a new ‘youthful –digital-government.

3. We have relatively steady Power supply, thanks you Kenya Power and Lighting Company.

Nairobians would frown upon reading this. Until I tell them that apparently, in Nigeria’s Lagos, power blackouts are as common as traffic jams are in Nairobi. The Lagos city citizens do not believe that the government of one, president Goodluck has any plans of ‘right-ing’ this wrong. ‘The government? Forget it Oh , they will not bother to put even simple street lights’. Said a Lagos resident in a recent interview. And so the’ Nigeria Power Holding company’ christened ‘The Nigerian power With-holding Company’ by Nigerians , needs a little nudging to awaken from their deep slumber and adopt a light attitude.

4. A Thinned out Cabinet in a not-so dramatic way; Thanks Mr. President.

South Sudan’s president Salva kiir on July 23rd this year , sent his entire cabinet home. He sacked them all, including his deputy. Not that he had much choice. The gentleman was under pressure from his people to deflate his bloated cabinet owing to the country’s economic situation. The challenge however, was that a bloated cabinet served to include all interest groups in the country.

This however, proved too hard for a young economy. With 29 ministers and their deputies enjoying luxurious and privileges the economy was seriously drained. The problem was, of course, made worse by South Sudans’ big brother Sudan pulling donor-like strings. Around that time, Khartoum closed the oil pipelines hence stifling the flow of the precious liquid that served as a major source of income for South Sudan. Talk of Shackles of Doom!

Fortunately for us, our digital head of state started off by naming just a single cabinet member and in his next conference called upon a shirt sleeve-arms-folded ‘William’ to help in the very hard task of calling out the few names they had carefully selected as their cabinet. Quite a relief after the excess unnecessary ministries formed to cater for the by-gone coalition government. And what’s more, there is talk of reducing the parastatals and facing out the unnecessary ones. Great!

Viva Forever, Kenya!

A PUBLIC APOLOGY BY THE KENYAN HEAD OF STATE LEAVES THE COMMON MAN IN A VERY AWKWARD ‘STATE’

When the father of your nation asks you to forgive him, and his predecessors… you have no option but to….well…..forgive

(Especially when it is a family affair, a fathers’ son confessing the sins of the father).

The Kenyan taxpayer finally made peace with the fact that the unwelcome long hand of the government would always grope around his pocket and carry off loads of cash in the name of tax; the said long hand would then go ahead and squander the cash like an idle high mistress, in ways that any taxpayer who considers his sanity important will choose not to know.

Since ours is the politics of the belly, we sat, unmoved, watching the ‘Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission’ bag hefty allowances as they gave cheap tissue to the witnesses and those wronged to wipe off their tears. That  team, lead by one Bethwel Kiplagat , got a huge chunk of taxpayers’ money listening to tales by wananchi  who were too happy to tell the truth in the hope that it would not only set them free but also get  them a long delayed justice. What they seemed to forget, these ‘wronged’ group, was that reconciliation, the term that aptly comes at the end of the TJR, was to be the end in the end.

 Had they promptly consulted the management guru Stephen Covey of the Seven Habits fame, he’d have wisely advised them to ‘begin with the end in mind.’

Anyway, with  enthused hearts and a thirst for justice, these ‘wronged’ narrated how they had lost land, property  and even homes in the  unfortunate events that have been happening since Kenya gained  ‘independence’ from the white man (only to lose it to the black man who is twice as slow in developing and twice as fast in gathering and eating.)

As a student of psychology, I wouldn’t dispute that sharing their horrific experiences helped the ‘wronged’ get past some of the horrible occurrences. Just being able to spill it out can dissipate some of the bottled up anger and give the heart a reprieve; perhaps all the justice a poor Kenyan heart can get!

Indemnifi-able Justice.

But Kenyans are a hopeful lot and many expected a restorative kind of justice. One that works like the indemnity principle of insurance; where one is put back into the exact position they were in before the risk occurred. Many dreamt of heroic come-backs into their stolen homes and perhaps a cheque or two for the lost title deeds factoring in inflation and the appreciative value of land.

Lo! And Behold, like every elusive Kenyan dream, they woke up to a serious faced Betwel kiplagat reading out the ‘terribly wise verdict’ of his long researched report.

‘May the Father of the nation offer a public apology for all the crimes committed since independence, that should be done within a number of days (before the apology expired I guess!).

Choke!

So there you are, a common peasant mwananchi, with very little in terms of assets and no power (thanks to KPLC). The charismatic father of the nation,the Commander in chief of the armed forces, he that is named after the state , in whose veins flow the royal blood of a freedom fighter; a son whose mother appears in the Forbes list of the richest and most powerful women in the continent; humbly offers you a sincere, heartfelt apology for ‘all the wrong that has been done to you, from the forefathers to the third  and fourth generation.

WHO ARE YOU TO SAY NO!

Being patriotic, having pledged your loyalty to the nation of Kenya and in the living spirit of Harambee perpetuated in the Nyayo philosophy of peace love and unity ,you stare at the big man, eyeball to eyeball , and after a moment of defiance(only happens in your head) you break into a wide grin and clasp his royal hand tight. ‘Of course I forgive you sir! And all those before you, aaah that was just a small thing Bwana, I can always get another piece of land in Ruai……….I hear the plots there are very cheap…..’

Later that day, you drive past your ‘grabbed’ piece of land and nostalgically remember the golden 80’s, eating roast maize as you listened to Nzau Kalulu’s raspy voice on the ‘sundowner’ programme in the VOK.

And you wonder why the taxpayers’ money had to fund for all those TJRC sessions and allowances when  the matter could just have been taken to the Archbishop Nzimbi and the verdict would have surely remained the same. Forgive!

In Memory of the fallen KBC broadcaster and journalist of   the ‘Sundowner and Radio Theatre Fame’, Nzau Kalulu. Rest in Peace!

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CHIEF JUSTICE AND ALL THOSE MASHUJAAS’ OUT THERE UNJUSTLY NIBBLING AWAY OUR PUBLIC FUNDS

You fought for and got jailed because of reforms, thank you; Now, do you have to repay yourselves with our tax money?

I was thinking….. justice has finally come! In the form of a studded CJ and his nose-pinching deputy. How wrong I was!

As I sat at my office desk in a building next to the new Milimani Law courts a while back, I sometimes caught tiny reflections of something glittering in the sun. Because the new Chief Justice had just moved there, I wisely presumed that the glittering ‘thingy’ was the single stud on the CJ’s left ear. Whenever I saw it, my heart would do a little victory dance.

We were finally saved.

We were going to have a reformed judicial system. The poor would get long deserved justice. Their land and property would be given back. We had put someone who understood the plight of the common mwananchi. He was even jailed in the 1980’s for fighting the common man’s battle. He had our interests at heart.

They vetted him in public. Public crucifixion. He emerged clean, save for the stubborn stud that lay firmly on his left ear.
We had won. The new constitution was promulgated as we looked on, heartbeats quickened.

We’d all live happily ever after!

But somehow, when you live in Kenya, at some point the scandals and stories of corruption, disappearing budgetary allocation and political happenings erode your innocence, and your belief in the African leader. They eat you up, these things and rid you of all naïve wishes of a dirt-free government-digital or otherwise. So you just hold your breath, ear on the ground and wait for the next big scandal that will make us forget the previous one.

Therefore as we settled in to watch OTP627 spill her beans to Bensouda and met to ruminate on their implications to us,lady CRJ started crying wolf; we turned to look at her, not surprised at the timely interception.

Ndrama it was, as we read, page by page through the CJ’S new edition of Tsao Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’ in a local daily. Step by step strategies on how one of his ‘enemies’ was to be vanquished.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. The CRJ Insisted on a public hearing. She decided that if she was going to go down, shed gladly clutch onto the CJ. That they may fall together.

From the falling CRJ’s sleeve came shocking revelations about the Judiciary. Of deliberate out of town meetings that would allow for extra allowances; and twice as many meetings as are legally allowed with sitting allowances of 80,000shillings per sitting. Of bi-annual allowances totaling to 18million shillings per person (some civil servants work up to retirement without reaching this figure).

Then came her blow.

These people, some of whom had faced Moi and told him off because of bad governance. People who had formed and joined secret movements like Mwakenya. People who devoured Marxism and socialism and braved cold wet nights and torture at Nyayo house. People who’d taken oaths to protect freedom and democracy. People who were sworn in to uphold justice but were now withholding it.
Sent one of their own conspirators home.
We are left asking ourselves questions. Who will judge the judges? Who will condemn the condemners? Will they themselves? Will we? Will posterity? Tell me Willy, who will?

Perhaps, you only make noise until it is your turn to eat. Then, because of your exceptional table manners, you shut up and eat.
You only shout yourself hoarse when you are being oppressed. Then when you are crowned a ‘Shujaa’ you now take off your sheeps’ skin and let us see the wolf within. After all, Wata do?

You scribble it down, Your Memoir, while conveniently leaving out the chapters on corruption and thievery. At the end of your term in office, you publish it and title it ‘The Long Fight For Justice’. You launch it with color and fanfare, as universities rush to confer you degrees and honors. Meanwhile, MPs meet to debate on just why the ‘Salaries and Remuneration Commission’ should be disbanded for giving you peanuts to take home. They then approve a better send-off package for you, Good man CJ. For selflessly serving your country with honor, integrity and transparency. A real Shujaa.

Happy Mashujaa Day Sir!