The Maize Games and Hidden Battles 

When I was young I had hopes, dreams unshaken and unfazed by their magnitude and complexity. I had taken a sip, a gulp out of the cup of hope, a cup that was generously provided, unreservedly sprinkled onto our hungry, thirsty souls. I had been quick at it, and thorough too; I was drunk. And so I dreamt and planned out heaven and how to conquer :in m mind I waz certain poverty was in the mind of the poor born out of an intrinsic trait of laziness from the same crowd.

Afterall when you plant, you will, must, reap, bigger moreover. The belief held through upto after I complete my studies and the full reality of our economic circumstances comes settling down.

A flip into history reveals a disturbing trait where the winners standing high and tall are as a result of mutiny and genocide. That those who we call leaders got there via illegal means, not the kind that you can brush over but the kind you wouldn’t want to reconsider for even a second opinion due to their severity.

There’s a fundamentally disturbing thought that creeps into ones head when there isn’t any success story free of crime, a clean business, one that is built from morals, goodwill and hardwork. The problem with such a nation is simply that people always know, the information gets by. You’d be surprised how many people know the secrets of a certain politician from corner to corner of our nation without even being in the same county. And un a nation as urbanized as ours, one that is in love with forwards, how much more.

Human nature dictates that when you see a car heading your way @100 kph you jump off, brace yourself and/or cover your head. I am concerned at the number of Kenyans who have witnessed good men, die off, fizzle away, tortured and what that means to the generations to come, specifically the X generation, XY & millennials. If the inly proven way to make a billion in our nation is to commandeer the supply chain for maize in our nation, or to simply sell a whole government Embassy abroad, then what would stop like minded people from doing the same thing?

A country with NCPB silos dotting across the nation filled with grain from as early as 2003, we go hungry, starve to death and none is the wiser. Our biggest aim seems to be who controls State House, blind to the basic services like a shop smack in the middle of town paying four thousand shillings more on a certain year but still expected to persevere the sewerage that the county council has assumed doesn’t exist. All this happens in broad daylight and we should overlook the fact that dollar millionaires keep popping up in the most crucial of positions in our government and we should assume this is all mystery ;that the money has just fallen onto their laps?
Really Kenya?

And now a bigger villain has been exposed, a dollar billionaire, shipping maize all the way from Mexico for local consumption yet we have reserves that would last us a decade, and of course in our old fashion, we don’t know what has happened. We are an innocent, ignorant & toothless mass that doesn’t know their rights or basics of trading. Someone just dared the public to act and is awaiting a response

Maize Shortage as millions of maize bags rot! 

The media need to be honest with Kenyans and tell them why we are facing a food crisis. There is no greater tragedy than those entrusted with empowering the masses hoarding information that points to government incompetence and dereliction of duty in feeding its people.
For starters, Kenya has a government body called the National Cereals & Produce Board (NCPB). Anytime you hear there is a reshuffle in government parastatals, kindly go straight to the appointee of the NCPB docket, because this is, arguably, the greatest cash cow of all the government entities around.
And for obvious reasons.
According to FAO – the United Nations agency responsible for defeating hunger – the average person in Kenya consumes 2,155 kilocalories of food per day. Of this, 1183 kilocalories (55%) are in the form of the main staples of maize, wheat, beans, potatoes, and rice. Of those 5 main sources of energy, maize is the main staple food in Kenya, accounting for 65% of total staple food caloric intake. Simply put, 7 in 10 Kenyans survive on maize meal as their main source of energy. The average Kenyan consumes 88 kgs of maize products per year; approximately one full sack.
And this is where the NCPB comes in.
Nairobi commuters navigating the Jogoo Road-Embakasi route will never fail to spot those giant cemented drums sitting between Outering Road and Likoni Road. Those drums, right there in Doonholm, are the The Nairobi Grain Silos, and the headquarters of the NCPB Nairobi/Eastern Region.  The intimidating structure, which can bee seen by a sitting toddler from as far as Baba Dogo in Ruaraka, is designed to store 880,000 90kg bags of grain. It will take 1 million Kenyans, feeding on the maize inside that depot daily, one year to empty the contents in there. 
And they are not alone. 
Other than the Doonholm silo, there are ninety six (96) other NCPB depots spread all over the country. From Turbo to Kibwezi, Voi to Sagana, the NCPB silo network is so elaborate you could argue it is the only evenly distributed national resource in this country.  There is no way Kenya can be facing hunger with all the NCPB silos in this country operating optimally.
But we are, and here is the reason why.
If you listened to the Finance Minister Budget Speech last month, you must have heard of a term he called ‘The Strategic Grain Reserves’, or SGR. Paragraph 89, of the 2017 Budget Speech, reads, and I quote;
“Mr. Speaker, to enable the country maintain adequate food reserves and ensure productivity of our lands, I have allocated Ksh 1.3 billion for the strategic grain reserves; and Ksh 0.1 billion for mechanization of agriculture. To diversify our agriculture, I have allocated Ksh 0.1 billion for the revival of the pyrethrum sector, and for the Miraa farmers, I have set  aside Ksh 1 billion. To enhance service delivery in the lands subsector, I have set aside Ksh 1.6 billion for Issuance of Title Deeds; and Ksh 0.9 billion for Digitization of Land Registries.”
The SGR, commonly referred to as as emergency food reserves or food security reserves, is a government measure to cushion Kenyans from the adverse effects of hunger. What this means is that to ensure Kenyans do not starve to death, every year, the government allocates money to NCPB to buy cereals that they will store, on the government’s behalf, and which can only be used in times of a food crisis. 
The NCPB, therefore, procures, stores and maintains an SGR stockpile of up to four million bags (to be upgraded to 8 million bags) on behalf of the government to be used for food security. Upon instructions from the government, the NCPB is required to turn over the SGR stock through releases to commercial outlets and/or to social functions.
It’s all good on paper. 
With that level of preparedness, anyone landing from the moon would choose Kenya, all day long, as the most food secure nation to live in under the sun. But we aren’t. Where is the SGR stock that the NCPB should be releasing to commercial millers at this time of a food crisis, you ask?
Your answer, which the media would rather gloss over, lies with Newton Keter – the NCPB Managing Director.
In June 2016, Parliament’s Public Investment Committee summoned the National Cereals and Produce Board Managing Director, Newton Keter, to explain to Kenyans why the price of maize flour was threatening to blow the roof off. He came at the speed of light, with evidence the size of my grandmother’s granary. And if the committee expected him to run around the bush with his response, then they were in for a rude shock. 
The NCPB Managing Dorector told them, in no uncertain terms, that the SGR Trustees, among them principal secretaries in the ministries of Agriculture, Treasury, Interior and Special Programmes, had delayed to order sales of the SGR maize from their silos, and that some of the maize had stayed there for over eight (8) years, leading to contamination.
It is the shortest ever submission, and by far the clearest, by a government official since 2013. The message was clear; that the artificial shortage of quality maize for millers, which had led to a spike in the cost of maize flour, was occasioned by government policy makers sitting in air-conditioned offices rubbing their convex bellies without a care in the world. The SGR trustees, mandated to sign off the dispatch of maize to millers to cushion us from starvation, were busy swiveling in their chairs watching the clock tick away while the dispatch letters were lying in-front of them waiting for just a sign.

And for obvious reasons.
The maximum recommended period for NCPB to store maize, without compromising on quality, is two (2) years. Beyond that, the quality of the grain begins to deteriorate, leading to contamination which renders the maize unfit for human consumption. At the time of that grilling by the PIC, Mr. Keter revealed to the country that they had 400,000 bags of maize in their stores which had already been discoloured, with another ‘substantial amount’ already infested by weevils and other vermin. In short, the Strategic Grain Reserves in this country, at this time last year, needed a complete overhaul. No one would buy the low quality grain even if it were to be traded in the black market, for a penny.
That, up there, is what is wrong with this country. 
Nothing happens by chance in this country. Everything happening in this country is meticulously planned to the last full-stop  There is a reason someone high up the government food chain wanted Kenya to experience maize shortage.
And here is why.
Maize grain prices in Kenya, according to a 2009 study, are among the highest in the Eastern and Southern Africa region. Comparing price levels in the major urban markets of Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa, only Malawi has mean maize prices exceeded those in Kenya. What that means is that one can comfortably sanction government policy to import cheap maize in the country, sell it to millers for a tidy sum, and pocket the remainder without breaking a sweat in the farms like those in the Rift Valley do. It is not surprising, given that Kenyans long abandoned the virtue of hard work and adapted their noses to sniff at opportunities that guarantee quick money.
And it came to pass. 
Let’s hear from Henry Rotich’s Budget Statement last month;
“Mr. Speaker, considering the hardship and the suffering associated with the recently declared national disaster as a result of the widespread drought in the country, white maize will be imported on a tax free basis for a period of four months. In addition, in order to support our Muslim brothers, the importation of dates during the period of Ramadhan will be done free of taxes.” 
That statement can be found on paragraph 165 of the Budget Speech read in parliament last month. You may interpret that statement the way it pleases you but at the time that speech was being read, it was reported that a duty free maize consignment from COMESA was already in the high seas waiting to dock at the Port of Mombasa immediately the Finance Cabinet Secretary was done with his pitch..
It is not the first time government had deliberately strangled a public service outfit to give room for private entities to reap from the suffering of Kenyans. 
It the reason farmers in the Rift Valley protested at that move, because it meant that zero-rated imported maize was going to lower the prices of their main source of livelihood making them incur loses from the production of their grain. Private brokers with links high up the government food chain were handsomely rewarded while hardworking farmers down there breaking their backs to earn a living off commercial maize were told to accept and move on.
As Winston Churchill famously remarked; “An appeaser is the one who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last.”

Freedom is coming, tomorrow.

Gabriel Ogada

Beauty has a face! Kenya…. 

Kenya is beautiful: beautiful people, beautiful land and most of all we pride in our very beautiful cultures. Not the kind of love that we get trending on hashtags on social media networks, or the one we are too used to when taking selfies in front of our posh cars, don’t get me wrong selfies are just too awsome, but that’s not what we are aiming at here. This kind of beautiful beats the celebrity status gunnered by jeans too ripped to recognize 100 nil, or the occasional Bentley Continental Phantom that rides our streets in custom plates tinted all over.

This isn’t about opulence, never about price nor decorative beauty, but the raw kind of beauty, the one that you gaze at too much, you lose yourself, forget everything you know and for a moment you are a student absorbing the mysteries of the world. The one that shakes you to your roots, challenges all your beliefs and rips at your values and stands.

Probably that’s what the Chinese & Arab traders discovered, ions ago, when they set sail on our shores lasting for a life time, leaving country & family behind,probably what our colonial masters envied of us. May be the reason why Africa still enjoys the kind of tourists we have, the kind who come to stare, paying top dollar to watch nature unfold, to watch the untainted wild roar freely.

It is hard to speak of Kenya’s beauty without talking of Africa’s, seeing as we share the same slice of cake, the bitter & sweet together. We share borders so porous to our indigenous communities that deciding on the true owners of a piece of rock suspended on a lake proofs too tricky to solve. Wasn’t the great and mighty rain forest ones a stretch from Kenya all the way through Western Africa, didn’t the Cushites traverse across our North Eastern region across Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti unabated? Don’t the Maasai cross the Tanzania – Kenya border unawares of the bureaucratic governments manning such. See the connections? I ones saw a Congolese who could play my brother so well my mother would second guess her births. Tricky stuff folks.

The beauty within us is so simple that one not so detailed wouldn’t notice, the simple ease with which a stranger would knock on your door to ask for a glass of water (sorry Nairobians this might be unheard from whence you hail) Crazier still is when one welcomes the stranger indoors, playing the faithful host. The level of trust and brotherhood is just mind-blowing. The fact that a woman would pick a crying infant by the road side, comfort him/her, talk to them and get them to their home after much enquiry all besides their busy day. ALAS!! Kindness has a face and it is AFRICA!! Tales have it that missionaries and adventurous criss crossing our nation before colonization would get welcomed to villages and communities, fed, housed & entertained, why then would we be surprised when our Government opens its borders to our warring neighbors.

Our people are always eager to learn and grow; my old mother keeps insisting that she will get a smartphone soon despite her not being able optimally use her small keypad phone, impressive as always! Or the old lady outside our flat who insists on attempting high fashion;clothes, heels & makeup, despite her superior age. The simple lady who toils day & night to avail chapati, mandazi & late night teas to drunks & insomniac students all in abid to buy herself a Prado, or one of those huge Toyota VX’s politicians show off. This might seem far-fetched but very real, suddenly ‘Audacity of Hope’ has a face, and it’s…….

From the sprawling arid lands up north we find the plain Nilotes who prefer to donne shukas & tiled shoes with a jerrican of water on their backs all day as opposed to the lavish lifestyle we all aspire to, irregardless of the fortunes they tuck under their sheds on a regular, to the streets of Nairobi where we find the youths who wake up from high-priced bedsitters; cashless and jobless but find a way to bring home two thousand shillings without fail to their similarly young girlfriends & baby-mamas. Living peacefully day by day, riding the wave that is an ever changing national economical demographic.

The Tragedy of Women’s Day

Women’s Day
Once again the ladies have it, another international day to celebrate the female race, allow me today to punch holes into our norm. Ontop of the many regulations that have been setup time and again to try upgrade the position of women in society, a day is added! It’s been a long time coming for the ladies, from the old days of only being seen and not heard, days of working all day with no compensation or appreciation. After centuries of being treated like property, traded to the highest bidder and at times given as an appeasement it isn’t hard to allow as much opportunity to the ladies; in whatever form this takes we(lemme say I) would comply.

And from that, the women we live with, interact and work with get their basis for justification for alot of the women empowerment movements and calls. UN regulations, Government regulations, slowly trickling into businesses’ ways of doing business, preferring to take up lady employees to men equally qualified and suddenly many ladies walk along the streets of Nairobi shouting for the freedom to wear as short a dress as they would want. Suddenly we see a face to the movement that has been gaining traction all this while. The movement gets an ominous face.

My fight comes with the skimpy dressed urbanite girls, who know too much about their rights and not a clue about lack of them. Yes! Those ones who are too quick to flaunt their perfectly formed asses and thighs exposed by long tight dresses adorned by a slit to the hips, and walk around the streets ready to pounce on anyone who would even think of pointing out the indecency. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some good eye candy, but there is something like overkill, even in these matters!

I am talking of the urbanite girls the ones who have been living in a cocoon specifically designed to protect girls from societal oppression and ensure their growth. The girls who grew up and found their battles fought and won, by the iron ladies of before. These girls who after realizing the chance to enjoy the toil of their predecessors would stand tall on the dais of equality and proclaim that they need more inclusion: more seats in parliament, more appreciation from their men, more intakes into schools, more liberty in work hours, more understanding in indecent dressing, more audience despite their quality of speech etc.

The whole purpose of gender equality movements is to build up where the society tramples on, the vision of it is not to cause a supremacy battle of the sexes but to build up one to at least reach the other. It simply means interventions like: lowered entry grades into schools on all levels, government subsidies on issues bringing down said gender and such. This is to enable girls from poor backgrounds, the ones prone to sale as brides to older men get access to an education and would be sponsored throughout the system. This wasn’t made for the benefit of the selfie-taking girls who decide studying hard is too beneath them and now would want their positions in schools assured because they are…… ! Shame! And leave out the boy-child heaving sand & stones all day to make his fees?
Movements to fight for girls’ fashion choices, where we go up & about upholding #MyDressMyChoice. This was used to lift the societal restriction of girls especially when it comes to clothing and was never made for those of our ladies willing to walk half naked in town to no one’s surprise. This was meant for girls forced to numb their sexuality! So I am continually baffled by the fortunate women who use this as an excuse to dress indecently in their comfortable urban jungles and spit back ‘MyDressMyChoice’ when pointed out.

Those ladies taking these movements and their benefits for granted and going as far as using them to push selfish agendas are destroying the spirit with which these were launched. Continually denuding the dignity and integrity of women in their foremost day to shine.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a lover, not a hater. I love my mother, sisters and have a myriad of lady friends(platonic friends ) I am all for development across the board and since women have received the shorter side of the stick I don’t mind the ones-in-a-while special consideration they receive. In my lifetime though I have questioned some of this special considerations awarded to certain individuals due to their gender. I am holding myself back from outrightly saying that is ‘Gender discrimination’ in itself, beacause apparently it omly is if a ladg is kn the receiving end. If you don’t think so you clearly have never been denied access to an institution of learning, a scholarship program or even a group just because the spaces have been held for ‘deserving ladies’

At the back of my mind, I hear certain women leaders shouting at me for writing the unthinkable. To them hold your horses for a while. All the women empowerment projects and talk to benefit them are to target the real needy women. Ladies in rural areas, those who live in abject poverty, those who are still under oppressive sovietal structures, those who go through FGM amd still forced into marriage in their mid teens, those who are pulled out of school to work on their farm because they are lesser beings who don’t deserve a descent education.

This is meant for needy ladies in remote areas like Dolodol, Wajir, Mandera, Hindi, Lamu, remote areas in Western Kenya, Eastern region. Areas still embracing oppressive traditions. These benefits are not for the pampered ladies in Nairobi enjoying their huge phones and selfie sticks, those who compete and succeed just as their male counterparts, probably better as they enjoy privileges due to their gender.

I would never complete this before mentioning the most disastrous part of women empowerment. The Gender Rule in our Parliament! Why would we as a people be forced to elect a woman just because we have to strike a certain balance?
Don’t we know good leaders?
Can’t we select wisely and freely?
Is this democracy a ruse?
A way to control our thoughtless selves to a certain direction. Are we so deluded with our differences that we have to force ourselves compromise on quality leadership for the sake of Gender Rule. If anyone would envision to be a leader, then they should fight it out on every level,not receive a boost on certain levels.

If this is permitted forever the girl child will be considered weak and will be handled as such and for the life of me I would never let my daughter expect to be treated as a weakling. Gender equity means I stand as equal as my fellow sister. This nation needs a serious change in perception. And probably the definition of Equality & Equity.

Concerned male Citizen.

2017 Elections: The Rot! 

2017 elections: “Party leaders at a rally tell the people “Register as voters so that you can determine the people you want as your leaders” At the same rally, the same leader turns to the aspirants and tells them, “Even if you loose,”serikali ni kubwa, tutakutafutia nafasi hapo.”

This isn’t rocket science, neither is it too much the Queen’s language for us to call that spelling professor from tv, to help us out. We all know what is happening, what they mean and what they are doing. And you laugh when a leader openly says “pumbavu tuuuu…..” on the dais.

Lemme take a step back and unravel the mystery that is full speed headed for a collision course with us Kenyans. I have tried to stay away from it too long, kept my sentiment to myself as a true Kenyan would do, never wanting to adulterate anyone’s beliefs or political opinion. I guess I was raised well (proud of it by the way) and wouldn’t, for the life of me, go out there in public (or as it is in our time:online) and start name calling and shaming anyone for their slips, mistakes, bad behavior and more intolerable acts. Especially at a time set by our forefathers: cast by their pain and death, preserved by their blood and sweat, to ensure our prosperity as a nation, a true depiction of our freedom of choice!! ELECTIONS. Free, fair elections are coming up!

I believe we all need to air our views, after all that’s what we bought with thousands of deaths while fighting for our freedom! All alike, the poor, rich , middleclass, even the class less people who seem to have and not have at the same time or those of us who would be flaunting gold bracelets at one time and begging the next time. All equal votes, the process should be free and fair; call it a holy time for people to reflect into the past decades and decide what kind of leadership they would want! A process that should be respected, actually revered within our borders, where no manner of belittling, misdirection or manipulation should be telorated.

A picture comes to mind from my past, over one of those Christmas morning cartoon movies, where the kingdom looks on at a coronation process. All in awe ready to bow down when the mantle passes from King to the all deserving and loved Prince. None of the noble men jeer at the process, despite their reservations of the new King.
Respect!! Loyalty!! Honor!! Is what we lack!

That a leader may stand infront of thousands and utter such nonsensical words and still find it ok is an insult to the dreams and aspirations of those that established this nation! A spit in the face at the electorate, the millions of us. This momentous occasion that we all brace for, this moment that defines us more and more every half a decade, one that is to show the world of our progressive minds is being taken lightly.

Our current crop of leaders have decided to replace honor with bafoonery, have decided to replace progressive politics with cheap shots below the belt, respect with careless remarks and insults. Dear Kenyans, our dais of freedom of which we boast, kn which we stand on aloof as a sovereign state, proud to conquer the world! That dais has children playing on it, little boys and girls peeing and defacating on it, playing ‘tap that’. The children have found their way into every corner, into the judicial corner, parliamentary corner and even the executive corner. Shame! Shame! SHAME on you leaders.

As the hopeless feeling of lack of choice, as the creeping realization that there is no good option set before you, dear Voter! Do not forget that voting is the voice you have, keeping quiet only loudens the deceitful’s voices.

Take a vote, speak loud and clear!! And I don’t mean that piece of paper being dished out by the IEBC agents, know that your real vote is your voice, your sentiments your social media posts, sentiments when in a group of fellow countrymen discussing national matters. So walk proud that you have a voice and flash it responsibly, do not give it out to whoever is charming enough on a dais.

Kenyans Against Tribalism 

I celebrate Journalists that fight for truth, equality and Peace, with time this traits seem all the more rare. Here’s a post by Biko Adema. I wouldn’t dare edit a word, read through and meditate on it.

*Serious Read for ALL Kenyans By Biko*

So as weird as this might sound I dreamt about that story, not in the way I will describe it but roughly. The clearest part of my dream was of a tanker in the middle of Kenyatta Avenue, right at that intersection of Koinange Street, it’s long cold snout pointing towards GPO. The whole street was deserted, not a single soul in sight, a breeze blew loose leaflets down the vacant streets.

There were stones on the roads and all sorts of debris; shoes, spent teargas canisters, handbags, lipgloss rolled towards drainages, an open notebook facing down, a teddy bear, mobile phones that had been trampled on, broken spectacles, a child’s lone black shoe, motorbikes felled on their sides, napping in this ensued melee, hats, a novel by Clancy and plastic water bottles. There were cars parked in their spots with windscreen caved in, some with doors swung open as if waiting for an important person to walk out of a building. Nobody came. Nobody will come. The buildings were hollow with emptiness, broken windows, naked mannequins, their clothes stolen from their unresisting stiff plastic limbs. When I looked up, over the skyline towards Eastlands area, black smoke bellowed into the sky. If you listened keenly you could hear a faint scream, like the sound of a strange bird. A chopper whirred away in the horizon.
The air was rent with burnt rubber and fear and desolation. KICC, now a mockery of development, stood out for once, hunched in this emptiness. Our Parliament – the theater of comedy – sat silent for once. A few military guys leaned on their cars smoking cigarettes and laughing at a joke.
The entrance of Intercon Hotel was bare of that tall elegant doorman who stands there in uniform, he would not be bowing to anyone. If you walked into the foyer you’d be met by broken glass and a bunch of lone suitcases that would never connect with their owners. Down the street, a half drunk bottle of Yamazaki sat on the counter of The Exchange Bar at The Stanley. At Nation Center, the military stood guard with guns. Traffic lights blinked amber.
Tom Mboya street was a ghost town – a transistor radio played Kameme loudly from an empty shop. River road; dead. Museum Hill overpass, dead. Our National Museum, dead…ironically. If you stood at the roundabout at Kenyatta Avenue and Uhuru Highway and looked east, you could see all the way to the hump of hill leading to Nakumatt Mega. Not a car in sight. Not a human. Uhuru Gardens across echoed with the the carcass of democracy and free speech.
Only cops, military officers, stray dogs and cats, and ghosts of a dead nation walked the city. At night bands of hoodlums prowled in alleys, ducking into empty shops to steal shoes. Nairobi as we know it was dead. Nairobi in ruins. A city that had turned into an oxymoron. The Mau Mau and our founding fathers turned in their graves.
Elsewhere, in the outskirts of the city we fled. Luos, Kisiis, Luhyas, fled towards Nyanza. Kikuyus fled walked towards Central. Kalenjins left for the Rift Valley. We only carried things that we really needed; family, clothes, food, water and lots of prayers. While we previously drove cars now we were all on foot, every last one of us and we all gravitated towards what we knew, home, shags, dala, gicagi. We also carried fear and uncertainty. We were weighted by the unknown, by terror.
We left everything we owned in our homes. Our microwaves would never warm any meal again. In Runda the electric fences still hummed with current, fencing off empty homes. Abandoned dogs, pedigrees that cost 250K a paw, barked incessantly from hunger and lonesomeness. Luxury cars lay parked in compounds. We left all our money in our accounts, now useless. M-Pesa had gone down a week ago, right before power went out in most parts of the city. Everybody was mteja. M-banking was a dodo. Fuel a rumour. We all ran away from the stench of death in the city, a city now framed by smoke.
When we passed by dead bodies lying by the roadside, we covered the eyes of our crying and terrified children.You had already paid school fees for your child next term? Oh he/she won’t be needing that. No bells would ring. There would be no snackboxes to pack. There was no single bus leaving the city. No water in taps. The expatriates had all fled, there will be nobody on Sankara’s rooftop bar chugging bottles of Krug Grand Cuvee using their “hardship” allowance. No planes took off in JKIA, our national liner, KQ, sitting on tarmac with no pride left in its belly. Military vehicles swarmed the airport with military guys drinking alcohol from duty free shops. Nobody was going to land into JKIA to go look at the wild animals in the Mara. In fact, the Mara was so deathly silent, that wild animals started coming out of the park to look for humans to stare at. The trains stopped moving. The young brilliant guys who had started excellent hopeful startups had watched them all go south. The Kenya Shilling had become paper, a prophesy of Luo Dollar and Octopizzo’s song “Bank Otuch” coming to pass; pesa surely, is otas!
The radio only played the national anthem, over and over again, a sound that we would associate with desperation.

All this happened because all the tribal shit that we casually played with online had now come to pass. Luos had turned against Kikuyus, Kikuyus had turned against Luos, Kalenjins had turned against Kikuyus, Kikuyus had turned against Kalenjins, Kalenjins had turned against Luos, Kambas had sat on the fence, Merus had fought for Kikuyus, Luhyas had fought for Luos. Then when we had gotten tired of fighting and hacking each other because of our last names. When the city had sunk into desperation and suffering, it had become about class, and the poor had come for the few rich who hadn’t left town; climbing over their walls, raping their wives and daughters, breaking into their safes with machetes on their necks and fleeing into the waiting lawless darkness.
Nairobi’s hope had died. Then there was nothing left.
The only thing that continued working was fear and hopelessness.
Kenya was done.
We made headlines on all the major networks. CNN kicked us while we were down on our knees; a hotbed of a mess. Wazungus shook their heads and muttered, “Kenya? I couldn’t have seen this coming. Africa is indeed cursed.” Talking heads compared us to Rwanda, then Burundi, then Central African Republic. It was open season; comment was free. We had become savages. Donald Trump, now the president, sent peacekeepers down; big burly men in dark shades standing legs apart at roadblocks while tyres burnt cinematically in the background. The French dropped us relief food. Even Somali, broken as she is, stewed in a broth of war, looked over our fences with puzzlement. The UN stayed in meetings, deliberating, looking up the word “genocide” on Urban Dictionary first before they acted.
We had all lost.
All of us.
We were done.
We had become refugees.
We crossed through our borders with our children. Thousands and thousands of us, mostly the middle-class because the wealthy and the ruling class had left as soon as the fire started burning. Now they were in Milan and in Switzerland and in London eating caviar and swirling merlot and cognacs, an eye on a burning country they once professed to love.
We crossed the borders clutching our children’s trembling hands. Children we named Liam and Tamms and Amani and Zenani and Hawi, a generation of modern post-internet children, free and alive to all the possibilities that escaped us, children who were to save us from tribalism but whom we now had failed terribly.
Tanzanians welcomed us, yes, but would end up treating us like the poor cousins who had come a-visiting. Ugandans opened their borders to us. Museveni, who we constantly mocked on social media, mocked and taunted and made memes of, now said graciously, “Let them in, let those Kenyans in but check their pockets, nobody should come here with hashtags! Not on our soil!” Yoweri had become our father.
And we shuffled into Uganda in our old shoes and battered faces and weary souls and we were given a section, a large tract of land where all these humanitarian bodies perched on us, like vultures on a dying animal. They pitched huge tents for us and we lived like goats in a pen, taking a shit in the bushes, showering from sufurias, queuing for food like slaves. Refugees. Even our shadows were miserable.
We had become a disgrace to ourselves, a spectacle to the region. We had stripped ourselves of all dignity and had become beggars. No hashtag would save us. In fact, our neighbours would create a hashtag;
#SomeoneSaveThoseKenyans on our account. Imagine that, a hashtag by Ugandans and Tanzanians and Somalis, these people whom we felt were inferior to us; we mocked that they couldn’t even spell yet they were now saving us. Oh how the tide turns. Kenya, the oasis of peace in the region, was no more. Kenyans On Twitter had become a rubble of collapsed hubris. Regret cuddled with us in our wintry refugee tents.

Used to instant showers, warm beds, and all these things we currently take for granted, now we craved a place to just put our heads to sleep, a peaceful place where nobody could kick in the door and drag us into the darkness because we had the wrong name. In the sprawling refugee camps, grown men silently wept in darkness. It rained in Uganda. Daily.
Chaps from Amnesty International would show up like they always do, and talk to defeated men, place fatherly hands on their shoulders as the clouds above rolled in with more rain. It would rain and rain and rain and we would huddle under the tarpaulin and listen to news from home, aching to go back and do normal things: buy bananas at Zuchini, go to T-mall and do an M-pesa transaction, sit in evening traffic along Uhuru Highway listening to a drive show, have a meeting at Java Yaya over a granola with strawberries and honey, run at Karura, buy a Jambo Jet ticket online, like a picture on Instagram, you know, simple everyday things. But we wouldn’t be going home anytime soon. Nobody knew when. Kagame would meet Uhuru, Yoweri would meet Kagame. Magufuli would meet Raila. Uhuru would meet Raila.
As refugees we would sit all day and all night, sit in miserable clusters, wondering how it had all gone to the shitters, but knowing very well how it had come to this. Our children, now with their tattered clothes, would stare at us with empty looks and only find fear in our eyes. And all this shit started because we thought we were immune to war, we thought we would not be broken by tribe, it was all fun and games hating on Facebook right up until the crows came home to roost.
Now we had tanks in the streets

**Think twice before you Share any article on tribalism: Think Peace, Think Kenya.

#KenyansForPeace #KenyaElections

Vote for who? 

He was the last man to put down his rifle
And the first ruler to abolish slavery in the Americas
He fearlessly fought against developing tribal lands
In 1890 he fought fiercely against mining in black hill.
He was imprisoned at Standing Rock agency and he lost his life fighting for the Indian people.

He was Chief Sitting Bull of the Siuox nation!

Yes he did, and many more leaders followed suit with such traits. These were the good all days, where the leaders knew that their lives were useless compared to their charges, when leadership meant giving your life to your followers. Great nations on this earth have been established by these kinds of  leaders who would stand tall, unshaken, and fast!
Such stories inspire me, Nelson Mandela of South Africa who braves decades of prison time in protest against apartheid! Refusing to back down and compromising his stand by accepting a position in an oppressive regime.

Tales of the courageous and practical Thomas Sankara of Togo. Who got into power via a military coup ousting an opressive leader. Sankara revolutionized his nation, he would seat in public and champion his people to build themselves, support their industries, build businesses and grow. 

A more popular video is of him as he asks a young boy with a Levi’s t-shirt who Levi is and where he’s from. Sankara stood true to giving his people the power to self empowerment, even when he knew his deputy was corrupted by western nations he didn’t indulge into extra judicial killing to protect himself and his administration. He was assasinated by his deputy and the nation’s history followed the path of many disaster ridden nations in Africa.

J. R Rowling of Ghana couldn’t stand the goverof the day as it ran a disorganized stinct. He overthrew the government and set up an individual who had shown promise as President. Reason; he says he couldn’t hold a political position as he was a military man. Years later the country was back in shambles, as his choice followed in the previous regime’s steps, ones more J. Rowling moved in to rectify the situation. Taking power and leading the country to stability.

These are leaders who left the world agape with wonder, their impact well documented and effects felt to this day. Looking at Kenya through these lenses would cause one a mild stroke.
So dear citizens as you proceed to register as voters and subsequently vote for the next batch of our nation’s political leader.

–#OneNation #TribeKenya


#BringCarolHome went the hashtag across social media, mostly Twitter where it has been surfacing time and again. A quick glance doesn’t give much but a look into the story beckons tears to one’s eyes. The sad story of a beautiful, lively, energetic, and ambitious young girl by the name Carol.

Carol a recent graduate yet to delve into the real world, is resting at home with family, she has been feeling sickly but was determined to have nothing put her down on that day. They talk, share all the while; she had been sick months before and the doctor’s visit put her under a steroid medication. It was hard but on this day it seemed to have caught up with her: she seized! Convulsed! The family was notified and there the hospital stint started.

Agha Khan Hospital, Nairobi Hospital, Matter Hospital and Ladnan Hospital all were hnable to diagnose the disease ailing our beautiful friend. Carol constantly on medication was subjected to dialysis treatment as the kidneys seemed to fail. At this point hope seemed bleek as she would be rushed between ICU and HDU so often it baffled her doctors. All the while as the family diligently cleared her mounting hospital bill.

A charitable doctor saw the plight of the family and explained their loss in diagnosis. He expressed concern on the bills paid and suggested that they take Carol to India for a more specialized diagnosis and treatment, owing to their superior medical equipment and services. He went ahead and directed the family to Global Health City hospital in Shennai India and got them in contact with a doctor. Thus her move to India seeking treatment.

The family took her to India in quick succession and within the first couple of days she was diagnosed positively with Lupus. They started of by recovering the kidneys, reversing the medication effects she was suffering through before treatment. At this point the family knew they were ill equipped to handle such and had gone ahead to ask their friends to help in clearing of the mounting bill. Hence the social media movement championed by her former classmates from Mass Communication. #BringBackCarol

Fasg forward to January 2017, Carol’s medical trip to India seemed almost over, what with her improving condition, livelier spirit and general aura. Her mother and sister’s precense went a long way to improve her condition in this strange land with strange tongues and foods. Now getting better discussions on her getting back home had commenced allowing for clearance of her outstanding bills as she gets better at home a familiar and comfortable location.

On January 10th ones again the social media movement was on full swing, trying to catch President Uhuru Kenyatta’s attention as he planned to visit India. #BringBackCarol was leading twitter movements in Kenya, off to a great start. Looking forward to a successful day. At about 9 am that morning Carol was announced no more!

Stunned! Dismayed! The many friends and family froze, silence prevailed as all scampered to confirm the bad news. At 11am word was out, officially, across social media, as we all mourned a life taken too soon. Leaving the family with a devastatingly huge hospital bill amounting to 3.9 million Kenya shillings.

The family and friends are now asking any well wisher to help them, in prayer and funds whichever possible.

Contact person is Kevin, the brother, 0726 498003
M-PESA Mchanga
Paybill is 891300
A/c number 8557

The Maasai Heritage 

He stands up straight, more upright than his agemates long aged. He hold his long walking stick closely, now part of his hardened anatomy :a herder is known by his stick.

He throws his cloth over his shoulders ones again as he peers afar, keenly studying the activity. His piercing eyes are still strong and stern, with the kind of depth that shows the owner has seen too much in a lifetime. His sight pierces through the crowds, the traffic, the dry, dusty bushes beside the road, kilometers away he sees it. Standing as it did a century ago, untouched by time, testament to his legacy.

He ignores the tout calls and stares into the young man pulling him out of his way,
‘Doesn’t he know who he speaks to…? ‘
He withdraws and the aged man crosses the road without a care in the world. Slow but sure he confidently crosses unmindful of traffic. His youngest grandson had explained, that the man on the wheel controls the metal box, man had yet again managed to amaze him. But this trip today was more important, one that couldn’t be delayed by anything.
‘They should know who crosses… ‘
He clusps his leather artifacts a little tighter, adjusts his shuka onto his shoulder and proceeds as traffic deftly avoids his step.

He mutters something under his breath and spits in response to an infuriated ignorant driver. Perhaps a curse, a restriction to never use the route running through this land.
Why should he move?
Why should he step aside?
After all, even a moran doesn’t bow to such crude acts, those are meant for simpletons. Yet his word would suppas even 20 morans. He proceeds and doesn’t give a second thought to the boda boda rider on his right, who came to a complete stop.

With one swing he puts down the babbed wire keeping strangers out, the earten grounds feel smoother, familiar, best for grass growing ;if only its glory had been maintained. Just a few more meters he saw it and trembled as he stretched to feel its cold presence.
A moment of silence as he listened to the wind as it confirms his presence.
He feels the ground beneath him quieten to one voice in a century.
His heart pounds along with the victory drums within.
He sees his father and his grandfather before him all holding their long sticks next to them, their people behind them; happy, celebrating: Their Bloodline lives on. Their people will have a leader now.

He recalls as a young man, when he saw his father, from afar, touch the shiny pole, and smiled gratefully knowing his son was observing from where he stood.

“This is our land….. ”

Corruption in Banks

So I was in a bank today, opening up a new bank account for my new business. Following my new year resolution to do those things that benefit me like befriending forward-thinking guys yo meeet the same end. I strutt in all documents in hand, neatly prepared. My partner goes first as he has to rush back to our small business. Great service I think, this is a verg mordern bank, breaking new records as they come up.

As he leaves in a rush, he leaves me behind as I finalize with all the dotting i’s and crossing t’s process in the bank. You see the attendant was directed by his friend, so he was first becoming an acquaintance of ours, great service. My pal jumps in again, he had forgotten to leave behind the cash we were to deposit and was bringing it. As he handed it to me, the bank attendant looks up from his 17″ hp tft screen, pausing his progress,

“na yangu ya lunch….? ” (what about my lunch…..?)

I almost flipped, pulled off my hair, caused a scene, and before I could formulate any words, my partner smiles and tells him that I WOULD LEAVE SOMETHING SMALL. I follow suit with the smiles and hold my silence.

Here we are trying to make a proper living in a brutal space, in a town where the Governor has just added the annual business registration fee. And a bank attendant wants his ‘lunch’ from me, ontop of the salary he gets for services rendered under his contractual obligation.

Sad day indeed, when corruption roots into the private sector attacking the financial sector in its growth. Next time the supermarket attendants will ask for ‘lunch’ or ‘tea’ when eating is too far fetched to fathom.

When will we wake up? Lemme fight my part as I wait for shopkeepers to ask for the same.

Pardon my outburst.