Showing posts from February, 2010

Hey rich man, won't you please give up, tell me where you get it!!!!

I saw the rally at Kibera. I saw it and all that went down. And I am not amused. I am mad. Angry. Those were hundreds of young men and dozens of women cheering on to political statements. It was interesting to see them being equated to a switch, such that when the temperatures are high, they are just told, “cool down” and they do it. That’s the irony of it. Do you need a better example of how politicians use the youth? Forgive me, but I happen to get better examples where ‘someone’ is involved. It reminds me: Last year, I got a call from a church preacher based at Nairobi’s Korogocho slums. He said there were poisonous fumes being emitted by burning garbage at the Dandora dumpsite. I went there in the company car accompanied by a lady photographer. What I saw has forever stuck in my mind and I shudder whenever I am told to go into any slum—and there are 200 of them in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city. Korogocho is the fourth largest. I came face to face with poverty. Naked chi

Great meeting, Great exposure and now an anti-climax

Yeah, I met George at his office in Cotu Headquarters in Nairobi's Gikomba area. He told me everything there was to know about Cairo; the nightlife, the streets, the life and what to expect of the training. He told me about the itinerary, but then just when he handed me the ticket, he realised he had been booked on the same flight, that very weekend. His doctor, he said, had asked him to delay for another 10 days and then fly over to Cairo. He was sick, back pains and all. The rest are details. So, I left the office rushed to the Egyptian Embassy for my Visa, got a lady called Samantha Mwangi, whom George called "Samenta!" in a nice jocular way, something akin to a twang'. Samantha gave me the forms, I paid for the Visa, although George had insisted that I ought not to pay as everyone else got a complimentary visa. I went home. George called me that evening and asked if I had confirmed my flight. I said "no". I tried doing so online, but then when it comes

Can I remind you of Lord Laro's song, tribute to Count Ossie?

Here is George. This is one of the photos that has graced the obituary pages. I hadn't known him for long, but just looking at the picture makes me remember how Lord Laro spoke of Count Ossie, a 1960s reggae genius. I refuse to write Maestro because that word has something to it lately that is not flattering, especially when preceded with jazz (if you are Kenyan or in Kenya you get my drift). But, the long and short of it, is that I'd say of George what Lord Laro said of Count Ossie. Sample this: "Count Ossie was a true rasta man, with love and devotion for everyone, though he is gone, his music still lingers on, Count Ossie liveth in every bit of the younger blood." Now replace every "Count Ossie" with "George" and you will know what I am talking about. got kind with me and gave me two great quotes which I wish to share with you and all those who feel aggrieved like me. "God saw you getting tired and a cure was not to be. So He pu

It's a heartbreak, but I hope to get over it....

Folks, My apologies for not blogging over the last week. I was busy and nursed a three day bed rest for burnout. I went to hospital, hundreds of tests were carried out, but only a "slight viral infection" was found according to one nice Dr Nyakiamo of Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi. But then, I am sorry to disappoint now that I'm no longer thinking straight after my good friend George Odiko passed on. He died on Valentines Day eve. I mourn George for the next three days. I hope to recover! He was not my agemate, but kind of a father figure. I had just known him for exactly four months and four days. But the pain is only comparable to the one I felt when I lost my sister-cousin Cecilia back in the day or when my boss refused to grant me permission, really, my accrued leave days for me to go and take care of my mum who'd just undergone surgery and was under the care of a fine oncologist. Some things in this world are never forgotten, even if they are forgiven. Ge

Book Review: The Terrorists of the Aberdares

Yes, the moment I laid my eyes on a Q&A piece in the Nairobi Star about Ng'ang'a Mbugua, I saw he was an author of five books. Mbugua, is a boss where I work. I had no idea he had written five books, including the only one which I was able to read --thanks for the heads-up Mbugua-- The Terrorist of the Aberdares. The publishers --BIG BOOKS-- have done really good work with the editing, layout, the cover design and the size of the book. You actually can pocket the book as you walk around, so that as you sit on that waiting bay waiting for your appointment, you sample this piece of reality disguised as fiction. Mbugua insists all this is fiction. Reading the book, I think it has a huge chunk of reality in it. But then, that's what good fiction is all about. Is it believable? Does it "suck" the reader in? Does it reasonate with the reader? This one does in a very very local way. I related with the work. From the loud preacher at the funeral, the rich politician

Little birds, little birds, don't I love your whispers!

Salim Lone was around. I am not sure if he still is, but then again, I saw him last week in the Prime Minister's boardroom. There were some councillors meeting the PM and he was right there looking and enjoying it. Salim Lone, just in case you forgot, is the thinktank of a man that mobilised all the media in Kenya to look at Raila Odinga as the saviour of the country in the 2007 General Elections. He is a strategist, a political thinker with an astute mastery of the workings of the media. You just have to love this guy. And as he went underground on Friday, he let the Prime Minister hog the headlines with a political bass when he called for the resignation of Education Minister Sam Ongeri and the permanent secretary Karega Mutahi. So, the PM was more visible for what he said and what he didn't say. That's fine. But all sides of the story have to be looked at, and in my earlier note after I left the meeting, I alluded to double-speak. I still stand by that. Yes, some people

Are you ready for revolution...PM's double speak disclosed!

I promised to continue with my escapades at KIA yesterday. I was supposed to go there today too but after working my mind senseless yesterday, I gave the whole thing a pass. I was tired. I am still, but let me summarise. Someone else went. I love the weekend editors. To them it is not about quantity, but the quality of stories one submits. I saw Alfred Mutua, nothing big with that. I sat three places from Mugo Kibati (Kenya Vision 2030 Director) and Kenya Wildlife Service boss Julius Kipng'etich, but I didn't speak to them, just a simple hi. No tittle-tattle. I spoke to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Patrick Gichohi, on his way to lunch and he laughed real hard when I introduced myself. "Wewe wewe wewe, ulinipata!" was all he said. We were meeting for the first time since the taxation expose. Then, as I called Kilonzo, one of the relatively honest drivers here, I heard that some journalists were camping at the lunch tent to interview Karega Mutahi the Permane

People are losing confidence in the government...Mr Prime Minister, I am one of them

STATEMENT OF RT. HON. RAILA A. ODINGA, PRIME MINISTER OF REPUBLIC OF KENYA AT WORKSHOP OF PERMANENT SECRETARIES ON STRATEGIES TO ELIMINATE CORRUPTION IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE Kenya Institute of Administration 5th February 2010 Your Excellency the President, Honorable Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Chief Executives of State Corporations, Ladies and Gentlemen, You would agree that it is only appropriate to open this workshop with my observations on the ongoing case of corruption involving our Free Primary Education. I am speaking on this subject not because I want to point a finger at a particular ministry or to find a sacrificial lamb. I am speaking on this subject because I want this case to be the catalyst for CHANGE – a broad and bold reform that would cleanse corruption totally from our public service. I want a CHANGE in the behavior of our civil service. I do hope that each of you fully grasp the gravity of the situation we all face. Free Primary Education was the genuine achieveme

My day with the principals.....

Good people, thanks for all the comments you "facebooked" to me. I appreciate. Today, I left my house at 5.10 am to beat the traffic. It is a Friday and it is endmonth, so you can sympathise with me, again I sacrificed my sleep (just three-and- a-half hours of sleep) to be at work on time. This Nairobi! That's because last night, my editor booked me for an 8.30 appointment with President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga at the government's Kenya Institute of Administration. But that was not the only thing on my mind, another editor for the Sunday Nation also wanted a story. So two assignments, the Sunday Nation one to be delivered before 8.30am, because with Kibaki and Raila you never know what time you will sit down to write the story. There was no hassle today, apparently the Presidential Guards have learnt some manners on how to treat journalists, but again as Isaiah Kabira, the Presidential Press Service boss said, if he invites you, you are free to come.

Hard living in a shanty town......

Share the riches with the poor, before they share the poverty with you. That's a line from the late Joseph Hill, the lead singer for the reggae group Mighty Culture. Listening to that song and living on the "other side of Moi Avenue" as my boss puts it, I can't help but wonder where the big city is headed. So this morning, I woke up at 4.00am as I do every weekday. After the usual sprucing up I left the house at five-thirty to go pick a matatu to work. After yesterday's disappointment of being stuck in traffic for three whole hours, I was not going to do it again. I hate traffic jams and that's why I opted to start early. At five-thirty, Roysambu roundabout was full of people. You would have thought that the nearby Moi Sports Centre Kasarani had just hosted an international meet. All these people were going to work. The vehicles, the matatus were so few. But there were so many KBJs and KBCs carrying one or two people to work. It made me want to buy a car, but