Michael Mundia Kamau's Website

                         Black Sunday - 27th January 2008

                                                                                                  Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                  P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                  00200 City Square
                                                                                                  Nairobi
                                                                                                  Kenya

                                                                                                  27th January 2008

                                                  BLACK SUNDAY

The gloom, doom and utter uncertainty that this country has been plunged into following the callous theft of the general election of December 27th 2007, is the direct responsibility of the fascist regime currently in power and the irredeemably tainted Electoral Commission Kenya. If the illegitimate fascist regime currently ruling Kenya is allowed to get away with this felony by it's continued stay in power, then this country is doomed forever.

There cannot be and should not be any attempt to negotiate an obvious violation and abuse of office. Doing so will only further worsen an already deeply troubling situation. None of the so called high profile mediators currently in Kenya, voted in the general election of 27th December 2007, and their presence is of no value whatsoever to the masses who voted for the “de facto” President of Kenya Raila Amolo Odinga and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). The continued presence of these impostors on Kenyan soil and their empty attempts at purported mediation, only serves to further infuriate and insult the overwhelming majority that voted for Raila Odinga and ODM. It is only those that voted for Raila Odinga and ODM, almost an entire nation, that should be consulted for any mediation or negotiation whatsoever. Such "consultations" were however concluded by way of the ballot box on the 27th of December 2007, before a thief known as Samuel Kivuitu callously reversed the peoples' decision on Sunday, 30th December 2007. In the interest therefore of posterity, this country, it's people, it's institutions and it's future, Mwai Kibaki should immediately step down as President of Kenya, to pave way for the legitimately elected President of Kenya, Raila Amolo Odinga, to be sworn in, and immediately form an ODM government. Nothing else whatsoever can restore and/or sustain any semblance of faith in this country, it's future or it's institutions. The power to effect regime change squarely lies with the citizens of this country and no one whosoever has the right to stand in the way of this right. This right was jointly violated on Sunday, 30th December 2007, by a bunch of hooligans known as the Electoral Commission of Kenya and the illegitimately sworn in President, Mwai Kibaki. Faith in this country and it's institutions had already been severely strained prior to "Black Sunday", 30th December 2007, and the announcement of Kibaki's "victory" came as a devastating blow to the vast majority of desperate masses who had anticipated hope and change by overwhelmingly backing Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)

It is clear that the last five years were a lie and a nightmare for the majority of Kenyans. Nothing else whatsoever can be held to be the case, given the bitter manner in which the majority of Kenyans shut out the so called Party of National Unity (PNU), and it's affiliates. The hyped up government campaigns of economic improvement, growth and development and of massively increased government revenue from improved tax collections, were clearly nothing more than empty propaganda. It is clear that Mwai Kibaki's five year regime miserably failed to bring about the reform and change anticipated by the majority of people who voted him President on 27th December 2002.

An unfeeling and insensitive Mwai Kibaki locked himself up at State House Nairobi for five years only appearing towards the end of this five year reign with a hastily constituted party known as the Party of National Unity (PNU), numerous decrees for extra districts to be created, a decree for an additional public holiday for the primary benefit of Muslims, a decree that crew of public service vehicles be no longer required to wear uniforms, and a decree that hawkers be allowed back on the streets to sell their wares. Mwai Kibaki genuinely believed that these were sufficient placating tokens for a population that he openly ignored for five years, and was a clear demonstration of the contempt with which he holds the people of this country.

Mwai Kibaki totally failed to touch base with the people of this country, establish what the real issues were, and facilitate genuine programs on how they could be addressed and resolved, in similar manner to F.D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" of 1933 in the United States.

Mwai Kibaki clearly failed to deliver the "New Deal" and the same majority that elected him to office on 27th December 2002, therefore chose to grant this mandate to Raila Odinga and the Orange Democratic Movement on 27th December 2007. The majority of Kenyans exercised the right to elect in a regime that they felt would deliver the greatly desired "New Deal"

Mwai Kibaki has no right whatsoever to stand in the way of this resolution, and he will surely and certainly destroy this country by doing so. He and several others misread the peoples' mood. He and several others, including this writer, underestimated Raila Odinga and the Orange Democratic Movement. In a classic re-enactment of David vs. Goliath, Raila Odinga and the Orange Democratic Movement skillfully triumphed over Mwai Kibaki and the chauvinistic Party of National Unity (PNU). These are the facts as will always be remembered by history.

Unless Mwai Kibaki steps down immediately in favour of the legitimately elected President of Kenya, Raila Amolo Odinga, this country is lost forever. Things will rapidly degenerate until this country becomes ungovernable, and eventually splits up.

Clearly, the last forty five years, and the last five in particular, have been a lie in which things have gotten worse rather than better. Even amongst Kibaki's revered tribe, the Kikuyu, things are in mayhem, turmoil and utter disarray. The community's wealth has been severely depleted and squandered by current generations of Kikuyus who are heavily in debt and who try to conceal this by showy expensive lifestyles and heavy consumerism. A glance at the obituaries in Kenya's dailies shows the heavy set backs that Kikuyus have suffered, and continue to suffer. The obituaries are glorifying and paint a picture of accomplishment, but the revealing details come at the end... "to be buried on father's farm" or even more demeaning, "to be buried on grandfather's farm", a terrible indictment for a Kikuyu and a reflection of the true state of affairs in the Kikuyu community. The sad thing is that these obituaries are for people in their 40s and 50s. If Kikuyus who are forty years old and above are being buried on either "their father's farm", "their mother's farm", "their grandfather's farm", "their grandmother's farm", "their father-in-law's farm", or "their mother-in-law's farm", then it is a clear that even Kikuyus are in serious trouble, and indeed  have been for the last forty five years. Even if this writer were to fall down dead today, then it would also be the the humiliating and shameful "to be buried on father's farm", if not "to be buried at Langata cemetry". So there is nothing special about Kikuyus, even though they are now under siege both internally and externally because of terrible mistakes committed by themselves and by Mwai Kibaki.

Mwai Kibaki has revealed his true colours. He is no democrat or nationalist, and nor does he believe in freedom, equality and civil liberties. He is a liability to this country, a fascist, a bigot, a hooligan and a thief. Nothing other than him immediately stepping down to pave way for Raila Amolo Odinga to be sworn in as the legitimate President of Kenya, will keep hope alive, and save this country and ourselves from perishing.


Michael Mundia Kamau

           Zimbabwe Out of Control - 20th August 2007

                                                                                                 Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                 P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                 00200 City Square
                                                                                                 Nairobi
                                                                                                 Kenya

                                                                                                 20th August 2007

                                                     Zimbabwe Out of Control

This letter is written in response to the two part BBC World Service documentary “Zimbabwe Out of Control”, aired on the three local Kenyan BBC frequencies of Nairobi 93.7 FM, Mombasa 93.9 FM and Kisumu 88.2 FM, on Monday, 13th August 2007 and Monday, 20th August 2007

The only thing as depressing as conditions currently being faced by the people of Zimbabwe, is the insensitivity of other African countries towards the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe. Certain estimates now place inflation rates in Zimbabwe as high as 13,000%, and it is just a matter of time before Robert Mugabe’s regime is forced out of power by impossible and unsustainable conditions. The people of Africa shall however forever shoulder the blame for what has happened in Zimbabwe.

Of equal tragic significance however, is the gaping vacuum that shall be left following Robert Mugabe’s exit from power in the very near future. Robert Mugabe is Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe is Robert Mugabe. There is no worthy opposition to speak of in Zimbabwe, and this makes the situation all the more worse. Had there been the equivalent of say a Sam Nujoma led South West Africa Peoples’ Organisation (SWAPO), at the flanks of Robert Mugabe’s tyrannical ZANU-PF, then talk would be of transition, and not of every likelihood of either a UN or African Union constituted commission to govern Zimbabwe in the post-Mugabe era.

The Morgan Tsivangirai led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is a pathetic apology for a liberation movement and compares very poorly with the Frederick Chiluba led Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD), of 1991 in neighbouring Zambia. In Part I of the said “Zimbabwe Out of Control” documentary, one of Robert Mugabe’s fiercest critics, Archbishop Pius Ncube, even states that he is prepared to stand in front of Mugabe’s “blazing guns” as long as he does so with other Zimbabweans. These were very unfortunate remarks coming from a person of Archbishop Pius Ncube’s stature. When Jesus of Nazareth was faced with imminent execution, did he only agree to face up to his fate on condition that he was accompanied by the 12 disciples and/or the people of Nazareth? Would Ferdinand Marcos have been deposed in the Philippines in 1986, had Cardinal Jaime Sin adopted Archbishop Pius Ncube’s line of thinking?

Zimbabwe’s real problems and challenges could only just be beginning as Robert Mugabe’s rule draws to a close. Somalia has been extremely volatile, unstable and lawless since Siad Barre’s ouster in 1991, and even threatens to develop into the insanity that Iraq is today. Like Mugabe, Siad Barre was Somalia and Somalia was Siad Barre.

The spillover of the anarchy and lawlessness that has existed in Somalia over the last 16 years vividly lives on with us here in Kenya, even as many in Africa hail Robert Mugabe as a liberator and an African hero. Lethal caches of weapons that have been smuggled over the Kenya-Somalia border for several years, are today easily and cheaply purchased on black markets across Kenya. These very same weapons have been used to perpetrate several atrocities and felonies across Kenya over the past several years. Despite this, Robert Mugabe continues to receive roaring receptions wherever it is that he seems to set foot in Africa. The latest example of this is the just concluded two-day summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), in Lusaka, Zambia.

What is truly ironic and perplexing, is the fact that Zimbabwe probably faces greater hardships in the post-Mugabe years ahead, than it does now. The African Union is in shambles and member states are even having difficulty in committing troops to Somalia to help aid the deteriorating situation there. The United Nations equally, is also in dire straits. A contingent of Pakistani peacekeeping UN troops, was recently at the heart of damaging allegations of illicit trading in gold with different militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In return for gold, the Pakistani UN contingent was said to have supplied arms to the very militia that they were meant to be disarming. Relevant organs of the UN were forced to turn a blind eye to these very serious allegations, because Pakistan is the biggest supplier of troops to the United Nations. Relevant organs of the UN did not want to risk further strain to already stretched resources, by provoking a possible fallout with the Pakistani Government. Add to this a stretched global financial system that has partly been laid bare by the ongoing US subprime mortgage crisis, and there is clear realisation of very limited support for post-Mugabe Zimbabwe. No one really has money or resources to spare for anything, let alone the re-building of Zimbabwe in the post Mugabe era.

We however still insist on championing Robert Mugabe as an African hero despite the fact that it may take up to three generations to re-build the country he has destroyed. We really need to grow up and move on in Africa. The scramble, partition and colonisation of Africa is no different from other similar episodes in history, because this is clearly what is fuelling our shallow perception of Robert Mugabe as a hero. If Robert Mugabe is a hero, then what is Nelson Mandela? What would happen today if right-wing fundamentalists were to seize power in the developed world and undertake radical reforms such as declaring all Blacks in the Diaspora “persona non grata”, regardless of heritage? How would we have felt had P.W. Botha received thunderous welcomes in key Western capitals during his apartheid heydays in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s?

The current US Secretary of State is a young black woman. The next president of the United States could possibly be a young black man. In actual fact, chances are that Senator Barrack Hussein Obama could very likely become either the next president or vice-president of the United States. He and Senator Hillary Clinton are by far the top two leading favourites in America at the moment, so that even if Hillary Clinton beats him to the Democratic Party nomination, the two may opt to forge a formidable Hillary Clinton-Barrack Obama winning ticket, similar to the John F. Kennedy-Lyndon B. Johnson winning ticket of 1960 and the Ronald Reagan-George Bush Senior winning ticket of 1980. Lyndon B. Johnson and George Bush Senior in their own right, also rose to the US presidency.

If we as Africans cannot draw inspiration from such significant milestones that have largely taken root over the past 50 years, and instead perceive Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s destruction of Zimbabwe as a heroic deed that has taught the white man a lesson, then this continent is truly doomed.


Michael Mundia Kamau

THE REPUBLIC OF THE MEDIA & POLITICIANS (MPs) - 6th August 2007

                                                                                                    Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                    P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                    00200 City Square
                                                                                                    Nairobi
                                                                                                    Kenya

                                                                                                    6th August 2007

                           THE REPUBLIC OF THE MEDIA & POLITICIANS (MPs)

The manner in which the Kenyan media continues to devote virtually all it’s coverage to politics and politicians is getting out of hand, and spells the doom of real growth in Kenya. The latest irritating example is a half-page article by Assistant Minister of Information Koigi wa Wamwere, appearing on page 29 of the “Sunday Nation” of 5th August 2007.

It beats logic why the print and broadcast media in Kenya insists on pursuing this deplorable policy. The signal it sends is that the media in Kenya caters primarily for politics and politicians, and so the rest of Kenya should look elsewhere for representation.

Koigi wa Wamwere for instance, has become an irritant and an eyesore, despite his distinguished standing as one of the very few individuals who dared challenge both President Kenyatta and President Moi. Koigi wa Wamwere regularly features on virtually all radio stations, television stations and newspapers, including the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), the Royal Media Group, Kiss 100, Classic 105.2, the Nation Media Group, Baraza Limited, Kenya Times Media Trust (KTMT), the People Daily and even Swahili broadcasts of the BBC World Service on 93.7 FM Nairobi, 93.9 FM Mombasa and 88.2 FM Kisumu. As an Assistant Minister for Information, Koigi wa Wamwere also wields considerable influence over the state owned and managed Kenya News Agency (KNA), which has bureaus in virtually all corners of this country. As the Member of Parliament for Subukia, Koigi wa Wamwere also has the ultimate platform of Parliament. Following not too far behind in Koigi’s example, are other equally prominent politicians such as Raila Odinga, Mutula Kilonzo, Peter Anyang Nyongo and Assistant Minister of Education, Kilemi Mwiria. The absurdity does not end there. Not too long ago, the Standard newspaper ran a half page article by Cuban President Fidel Castro. It is hard to tell what this was meant to achieve. Was it meant to please the Cuban consulate in Kenya at the expense of more pressing matters afflicting the people of Kenya? Why not daily fill all our local newspapers with articles by presidents and premiers from all over the world?

The media in Kenya is also currently devoting a lot of coverage to the just passed Media Bill and it’s possible repercussions, but Kenyan media clearly has much more to worry about. The media in Kenya is alienated from the people of Kenya, and vice versa.

This is why there have been no street protests or mass action, following the passage of the Media Bill. This is why there were no spontaneous street protests of the kind regularly seen abroad, after the Government backed raid on the Standard offices in March 2006. No one really cares because the media is quite correctly perceived as a tool for the elite in Kenya.

On June 16th 2002, Senegal beat Sweden to qualify for the quarter-finals of the 2002 Soccer World Cup. The spontaneous outpouring of emotion across Kenya was unprecedented, with people coming out onto streets and markets across Kenya chanting “Senegal”, as they waved twigs and Kenyan flags. Why was this same level of spontaneous outpouring in support of Kenyan media lacking, when the Media bill was passed?

Politicking in Kenya has lost meaning, direction and substance and the media has contributed immensely to this unfortunate state of affairs. From day one of NARC’s leadership almost five years ago, it has been squabbles regarding all manner of issues ranging from a “Memorandum of Understanding” previously unknown to the general public, to the amendment and/or review of the constitution. In real terms, this country has lost five years and looks set to lose another five, because matters clearly look set to continue on the same footing regardless of who wins the December 2007 polls. High flyers from civil society, the private sector, the civil service, academia, the Kenya community abroad and even the media itself, are decamping from their current occupations to contest parliamentary seats at the December 2007 polls, with no clear agenda or roadmap on how to address the vast problems facing this country. It is clearly all about self-interest, yet the media in Kenya still insists on giving prominent coverage to both politicians and aspiring politicians. It is just over four months to the December 2007 polls yet there is no election mood to speak of. People are fatigued, hungry, angry and depressed, and unlike Koigi wa Wamwere et al, they do not have the Kenya News Agency (KNA) and other media arms at their disposal. As this goes on, the general situation across the country worsens. An attempt on the life of Assistant Minister John Serut has just been made by the self-styled Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF). This act of aggression clearly demonstrates that the Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) is prepared to go all the way in pursuit of whatever agenda they purport to have. It also brings back memories of 1978, when the “Red Brigades” kidnapped and murdered former Italian Premier Aldo Moro.

The media in Kenya is quite clearly pursuing a limited agenda that will eventually result in widespread tragedy. This explains for instance, why two reporters at the highly respected “Washington Post”, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, were able to force the resignation of President Richard Nixon in the United States in 1974 following the Watergate scandal, yet the Kenyan media continues to take the public round and round in circles on matters such as Kenya’s shameful Anglo Leasing scandal. Even when former Ethics and Governance Permanent Secretary John Githongo, posted damaging documents related to the Anglo Leasing scandal on the internet on Kenyan blog spots, websites and discussion groups, there was no panicky move by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), to block access, as has lately been witnessed by CCK equivalents in Egypt, China and Russia. Two points emerge out of this. The first is that of an apparent mutually beneficial relationship between the Kenya Government and Kenyan politicians on the one hand, and local Kenyan media on the other. It explains why the highly respected London based publication “The Economist”, has just run a damaging article on Kenya as a potential failed state, as local media continues to recycle doubtful material on vastly improved and improving prospects for this country.

The second point is that the Government is aware that most Kenyans who browse the internet, visit mainly pornographic websites and/or other websites such as Myspace, Hi5, Youtube, Yahoo and Google, and there therefore exists no real threat if documents damaging to the Government’s reputation are posted on the internet.

The loser in all of this however, tragically continues to be the common man, he and she that Koigi wa Wamwere purports to represent in his “Chama cha Mwananchi” (The Peoples’ Party). The Government, Politicians and the Media, are clearly not addressing the needs of the common man in Kenya. Who is…?


Michael Mundia Kamau

                     August 1st 1982 - 16th July 2007

                                                                                                                             Michael Mundia Kamau

                                                                                                                             P.O. Box 58972

                                                                                                                             00200 City Square

                                                                                                                             Nairobi

                                                                                                                             Kenya

 

                                                                                                                             16th July 2007

 

                                                               August 1st 1982

 

The nation will mark the 25th anniversary of the failed Kenyan coup attempt of August 1st 1982 on August 1st 2007, in the face of a number of unresolved questions. Amongst this is the fate of the dramatic broadcast by the de facto head of the coup attempt and Chairman of the self-styled Peoples’ Redemption Council (PRC), Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka. The said broadcast was made at 6.00 a.m., Sunday morning, 1st August 1982 on the General Service of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (then Voice of Kenya – VOK).

 

It is unclear how many people across Kenya heard Ochuka speak that morning, but those who did will certainly remember the broadcast for it’s eloquence, good voice intonation, conviction and clear articulation. I fall into a category of people who got to hear the broadcast by coincidence.

 

In those days, the Voice of Kenya state monopoly began radio broadcasts at 6.00 a.m. in the morning and television broadcasts at 2.00 p.m. in the afternoon on weekends, and 4.00 p.m. in the afternoon on weekdays. 24 hour radio and television broadcasts by the state and privately owned stations that we have today, did not exist in those days.

 

On Sunday mornings in those days, Voice of Kenya (VOK), began the 6.00 a.m. commencement of broadcasting with a brief news bulletin, followed by a interlude of music that went on to 6.15 a.m. After this would be a 15 minute session/interview with a studio guest, as I recall.

 

One of my older brothers liked listening to the then Sunday morning interlude of music that followed the brief 6.00 a.m. news broadcast. I didn’t care very much for the news bulletin and/or the music interlude in those days, and therefore only intermittently listened to both when I happened to be awake. Sunday morning 1st August 1982 happened to be one of those times. I remember my older brother switching on the radio we then had at about 5.55 a.m.

 

On this occasion however there was just silence from Broadcasting House. The National Anthem was not even played before daily commencement of radio and television broadcasting, as was the practice at VOK in those days.

 

Then came Ochuka’s voice out of the blue, announcing that the KANU Government had been overthrown and that the Peoples Redemption Council (PRC), had taken charge. It took a few seconds for both my older brother and I to register what was unfolding, but we both remained silent as we continued to keenly listen.

 

The address must have lasted no more than two minutes, and much of what Ochuka said that morning is blurred and obscured in both our memories. Other than the announcement of the takeover by the Peoples’ Redemption Council (PRC), four other things I distinctly remember Ochuka mentioning were “…the economy is in shambles…”, “…Government ministers have grown rich overnight…”, “…the KANU regime has impoverished the masses…” and the decree of the immediate disbandment of the Kenya Police Force, and immediate replacement of the same by the Military.

 

Ochuka must have been reading a prepared speech, but the striking feature that will remain forever embedded, is the resolve, eloquence and articulation that he spoke with. His voice was neither raised nor angry, and the delivery was made with good voice intonation and the clarity and conviction of a revolutionary who believed in the cause that he was pursuing. There was no flamboyance and no use of complex vocabulary. The brief morning address on 1st August 1982 by Ochuka, certainly revealed a man who had committed himself to a cause.

 

What became of the master tape of this recording…? Is it still intact or was it destroyed in the heavy exchange of fire later that morning between Ochuka’s Air Force men and Kenya Army Officers under the command of then Army commander Brig. Mahmoud Mohammed…? If it is still intact, is it in the hands of either the Court Marshall instituted thereafter, the National Security and Intelligence Service (the then Special Branch), or the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (then Voice of Kenya)? Will the recording ever be made available to the public? These questions need to be asked on the floor of Parliament, to enable official responses from the Minister of State in charge of Internal Security and the Minister of Information.

 

The US Government for instance, will only release classified information on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on or after November 22nd 2063, 100 years after his assassination. During the Ghanaian Golden Jubilee celebrations of independence that began on 6th March 2007, the BBC World Service did a series of programs covering the momentous event, on which were aired the national broadcasts made in Ghana at the time of their military coups in 1966, 1979 and 1980. This was certainly done with the express authority of the Ghanaian Government. The British Government also declassifies sensitive information every forty years. Out of these continuous declassifications the Kenyan public has for instance come to learn about how the British initially intended to grant independence to Kenya in 1973, and about how nearly all movable and immovable assets of the outgoing British colonial Government were forcibly transferred to the incoming independent Government of Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta, at an unreasonably high financial cost. So will the public be able to access Ochuka’s famous broadcast on or after 1st August 2022, 1st August 2032 or 1st August 2082…?

 

History should not forget Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka, Senior Private Pancreas Otenyo Okumu and the attempted coup of August 1st 1982 as a whole. Was Hezekiah Ochuka a driven idealistic Marxist revolutionary who stood for an egalitarian society as did Che Guevara, or was he a deranged despot like Pol Pot, Jean Bedel Bokassa, and Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier…?

 

 

Michael Mundia Kamau

              "The Clinton Years" - 30th September 2007

                                                                                                    Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                    P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                    00200 City Square
                                                                                                    Nairobi
                                                                                                    Kenya

                                                                                                    Sunday, 30th September 2007

This letter is written in appreciation of the four part documentary "The Clinton Years", aired on the BBC World Service on 27th August 2007, 3rd September 2007, 10th September 2007 and 17th September 2007. I listened to all four parts at 06.00 Hours (9.00 a.m. local Kenya time), here in Nairobi, Kenya, on the local BBC frequency of 93.7 FM, which has only very recently been changed to 93.9 FM. I particularly liked Part II aired on 3rd September 2007, which featured how a hard-pressed Bill Clinton was at one time forced to seek the services of a well known political wheeler-dealer called "Charlie" (Dick Morris). My own personal lasting impression of Bill Clinton, is him playing a saxophone at his first inauguration party in January 1993. It remains an immortal, powerful and lasting depiction of how a regular person in this world can rise to any heights.

Let me also take this opportunity to also suggest a future similar documentary project for the BBC World Service. This involves none other than the immediate former president of Kenya, Daniel Toroitich Kapkorios arap Moi.

In my opinion, Daniel arap Moi is accorded very little credit for the crucial, lasting, powerful and very meaningful role that he has played in Kenyan leadership and politics for 52 years now. Were it not for him, this country could very probably be in the state that Zimbabwe is in now, and he only has a very small fraction of the immense formal education that Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has.

To be vice president of Kenya for eleven years (1967- 1978), and president for twenty four (1978-2002), "Baba Moi", "Uncle Dan", "Heavy D", "Man Toro", "Nyayo" (some of the several nicknames that he has had in his long years of distinguished public service), had to put up with monumental challenges and prejudice, not only because he only had a basic formal education even by the standards of those days, but because he was from the small Kalenjin tribe considered impoverished and backward in those days. It does not end there, because the Kalenjin are mainly made up of the the Nandi, the Kipsigis, the Marakwet, the Keiyo and the Tugen. The Nandi and Kipsigis are the most prosperous of the Kalenjin with interests in Wheat and Tea farming, as well as the transportation business. Daniel arap Moi is a Tugen, a sub-tribe of the Kalenjin that ranks lowly, and that is generally looked down upon by the other larger and more prosperous Kalenjin sub-groups. The Nandi
 in particular, have never had time for Daniel arap Moi ("arap" incidentally means "son of" in Kalenjin). On a national scale, the biggest and most prosperous tribe are the Kikuyu, and they too have never had time for Daniel arap Moi.

Daniel arap Moi overcame this double prejudice to spectarcularly become the vice president and president of Kenya for a total of 35 years, and still remains a key force to reckon with not just in Kenya, but the entire East African region. He presided over two peaceful and very crucial transitions, the first in 1978 following Mzee Jomo Kenyatta's death, and the second in 2002. Other than ensuring a peaceful transition of power in 2002, the outgoing Moi Government left behind record foreign exchange reserves of US $ 1 billion held with the Central Bank of Kenya, yet many of us still insist on branding the Moi years as "24 lost years".

The spectacular manner particularly in which Daniel arap Moi triumphed at the multi-party elections of December 1992 against all odds, remains a lasting distinguished tribute to his abilities. It shocked everyone including then US ambassador to Kenya, Smith Hempstone, who had little time for Moi and his policies. When the opposition cried foul, Ambassador Hempstone famously responded by saying that it was difficult to see how the election had been rigged, given the heavy losses suffered by Moi and the then ruling party of KANU in the provinces of Nairobi, Central and Nyanza, and further given that nine of Moi's Cabinet Ministers had failed to re-capture their parliamentary seats.

Moi's spectacular triumph at the 1992 general election is a classic "Magnum Opus" not just for Kenyan politics, but politics in general. The then key candidates for the presidency, Moi, Kenneth Stanley Njindo Matiba, the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, and the current president of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, ran high profile media campaigns towards the elections. Moi's television advert remains memorable in the way that he appeared forlorn, beaten and asking for forgiveness from those he had wronged. The opposition and it's supporters were ecstatic... "Moi is finished!" But no, he wasn't... he only let us see what we wanted to see.

Ten years later in 2002, Moi presided over another spectacular "Magnum Opus", by fronting a young ill-experienced and ill-prepared candidate to succeed him as president of Kenya. "Project Uhuru" as it was known , was a well choreographed and high profile decoy aimed at ensuring a peaceful albeit clumsy and unexpected transition of power. A coalition party to challenge Moi's "Project Uhuru", was hurriedly and clumsily constituted, supported by an equally clumsy Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.), whose contents have never quite been known publicly, and whose contents have been the cause of considerable friction over the past five years.

Almost everyone believed that Moi would rig the 2002 presidential election in favour of Uhuru Kenyatta, in much the same way that the immediate former president of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, openly rigged the May 2007 Nigerian poll in favour of current Nigerian president, Umaru Musa Yar Adua. If not this, then almost everyone alternatively believed that Moi would nullify the election had the opposition won, in much the same way that then Nigerian president Ibrahim Babangida did in 1993 following victory by the late Mashood Abiola. This is why the Kenyan opposition put in place what was then dubbed "The million man march to State House, Nairobi", should "Baba Moi" have rejected an opposition victory in 2002. The 2002 election results were therefore an anti-climax of sorts and another shrewd and stunning "Magnum Opus" engineered by "Baba Moi".

Moi's micro and macro economic policies had mixed fortunes. For instance, many of the grand projects borne out of his Sessional Paper No. 1 of 1986 ("District Focus for Rural Development"), stalled towards the mid 1990s, and are in the process of being revived by the present regime. Savings Credit and Co-Operative Organisations (SACCOs), however experienced tremendous growth and prosperity in the Moi years. Some of the most prestigious real estate across the country is owned by SACCOs, and this is a lasting tribute to "Baba Moi". Some of these include Harambee Co-Operative Plaza, Afya SACCO Plaza, Ufundi Co-Operative Plaza and Posta SACCO Plaza. Almost all of these holdings were acquired in Moi's time. The high profile Constituency Development Fund (CDF), was also mooted just before Moi left office, by a committee chaired by retired Chief Justice, Abdul Majid Cockar.

The little understood Goldenburg Scandal will however remain a terrible blemish on Moi's career. Was Goldenburg used to fund the high profile election campaign of 1992, or were the funds from Goldenburg meant to be a safety net for the Moi regime, in case it capitulated in either 1990, 1991 or 1992? Moi was under tremendous pressure in those years for a variety of reasons, as many will remember. The economy was in recession, foreign aid had been suspended following accusations of corruption by the IMF and World Bank, Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPS) and Liberalisation were causing considerable disenchantment, and there was also tremendous internal and external pressure on Moi following the February 1990 murder of then Forein Minister, Dr. Robert Ouko.

Socially, Moi scored highly with his personal touch. He always had time for people, and for this he will always be dearly remembered. When the national football team "Harambee Stars", had a crucial local game, Moi always appeared to cheer them on in his then trademark white stetson. One of the best football clubs that Kenya has ever produced "Gor Mahia", won the continental Mandela cup in 1987, to Moi's credit. They beat Tunisia's "Esperance" 1-0 in a very memorable final. Those were the glory days of Kenyan football, unlike now. Kenya also pulled off a sterling performance at the 1988 Seoul Olympic games, winning five gold medals, including Robert Wangila Napunyi's gold medal in boxing, which remains the only gold medal won by any African country at the Olympic games.

I do not think that this legacy should be treated lightly or be forgotten, and therefore humbly ask the BBC World Service to kindly set aside funds in the coming year (2008), for a project on the "Moi Years". I doubt that Moi would stand in the way of such a project. He rarely gives formal interviews (the only one I ever remember seeing was in 1998, in a Kenya Television Network production then known as "The Summit"), but I doubt that he would want to stand in the way of such a project. I am sure that he would also be eager to set the record straight on several matters. I am also sure that he has tremendous regard for the BBC, because he never once interferred with BBC operations in Kenya during his 24 year reign, including the 1980s, when the then Directorate of Security Intelligence (Special Branch), was most dreaded, especially following the failed coup attempt of 1st August 1982.

"Baba Moi" is deserving of a project of this kind, if nothing more. He is a legend and the one true celebrity we have in this country at the moment. Will he be remembered as a tyrant or as benefactor...? The BBC World Service can certainly help in answering this crucial question.

Yours sincerely,


Michael Mundia Kamau

                  NO LONGER AT EASE - 25th June 2007

                                                                                                 Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                 P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                 00200 City Square
                                                                                                 Nairobi
                                                                                                 Kenya

                                                                                                 25th June 2007

                                                NO LONGER AT EASE

The passing on of Ramogi Achieng Oneko, the last of the “Kapenguria Six”, bears immense historical significance, symbolizing the passing of a remarkable era and it’s lasting legacy on this nation. Ramogi Achieng Oneko will of-course always bear the favourable distinction of being the most moderate of the “Kapenguria Six”. Four of the remaining five, Jomo Kenyatta, Paul Ngei, Fred Kubai and Kungu Karumba, were fabulously wealthy individuals who made mockery of Jomo Kenyatta’s Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965 meant to blend western capitalism and eastern communism, while Bildad Kaggia, despite being a man of moderate means like Aneko, clearly had fundamental leftist leanings, given his close association with the Soviet funded and now defunct Lumumba Institute, and given the fact that he had once registered his own religious sect “Dini ya Kaggia”.

Unfortunately, Aneko’s moderation and the fact that the “Kapenguria Six” as a whole beat the Mau Mau rebellion to 12th December 1963, may be the only positive aspects remembered about them. Mau Mau indeed holds a very distinguished position in this country, brave soldiers who dared take on the colonial Government head on. Theirs, like the Nandi resistance, was a cause based on principle and the restoration of dignity.

Mau Mau however had it’s dark excesses, as portrayed by the Lari Massacre of 1955. Mau Mau clearly did not tolerate divergent views and had they beaten the “Kapenguria Six” to 12th December 1963, they would have immediately taken this country to the fundamental far left, let alone Jomo Kenyatta’s “African Socialism”, blending western capitalism and eastern communism.

It is conceivable that Mau Mau would for instance have immediately expelled all Whites and Asians from this country (including missionaries), would have nationalised and confiscated all British interests and properties, would have banned Christianity and razed down all Churches, would have banned the English Language and English Literature in this country, would have enacted the equivalent of Sharia Law by decreeing Kikuyu Customary Law in and as the Constitution, and would have definitely embraced communism by turning to the Soviets. It is probably only now that this country would be beginning to recover from numerous consecutive years of shockwaves, counter-rebellions, counter-insurgencies, coups and counter-coups. Former UK Prime Minister Harold McMillan’s famous “Winds of change blowing through Africa” speech, was probably inspired most by the grim prospect of Mau Mau type Governments seizing power in all former British colonies in Africa. The then real fears and concerns of Harold McMillan and the then Conservative Government are captured in a 1985 Granada Television interview of one of the “Kapenguria Six”, Fred Kubai, in his description of Mau Mau onslaught and the run up to the declaration of the state of emergency… “It was not a joke by that time… there were no going back”.

This notwithstanding, the “Kapenguria Six” will long be associated with entrenching and enshrining extreme chauvinism and deep rooted inequalities in this country. Whatever deal they brokered with the British to take over power on 12th December 1963, was tilted in their favour. For instance, the Kenyatta family is today said to own land the size of Kenya’s Nyanza province. Legend also has it that cabinet meetings were many times conducted in Kikuyu during Kenyatta’s 15 year rule. In Andrew Morton’s “Moi, the making of an African Statesman”, mention is even made of how Kenyatta frequently addressed his then Vice President Daniel arap Moi, a non-Kikuyu, in Kikuyu. Former Central Bank of Kenya Governor Duncan Ndegwa, attempts to explain away these excesses in his autobiography “Walking in Kenyatta Struggles”, by tacitly implying that they could have been caused by Kenyatta’s frequent bouts of ill-health, his advanced age and memory lapses. It is not easy to accept this point of view, given five incidents in five years that proof Kenyatta was in control to the very end: In 1974 Mzee Kenyatta banned mini-skirts by way of a presidential decree; in 1975 Mzee Kenyatta decreed that he would only accept the Parliamentary report on the disappearance and death of former Nyandarua North Member of Parliament, J.M. Kariuki, if the names of two close Kenyatta confidants were deleted from it; in 1976, as noted in the outstanding publication “The Kenyatta Succession”, by Philip Ochieng and Joseph Karimi, Kenyatta decreed an immediate halt to the then raging Change-the-Constitution debate by summoning the main protagonists to State House, Nakuru, calling them “stupid”, and telling them the Kikuyu proverb that “A cow is not shown the rope that will strangle it; in 1977 Mzee Kenyatta postponed highly explosive elections of the then ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU), that could have split this country down the middle; finally, it has always been held that Kenyatta asked for the whereabouts of his then closest confidant and Minister of State Mbiyu Koinange, before he passed away at 3.30 a.m. on 22nd August 1978. It is therefore very difficult to uphold Duncan Ndegwa’s notion that Kenyatta was not fully aware or fully responsible for his actions throughout his 15 year rule. History will link the remaining “Kapenguria Five” to Kenyatta’s actions by way of complacency.

The chauvinism, arrogance and conceit associated with the pioneers of independent Kenya, the “Kapenguria Six”, lives on with us today, and threatens to tear this country apart in ways that Mau Mau could have, had they beaten the “Kapenguria Six” to 12th December 1963. Work ethic and innovation are low, and we are still heavily reliant on the developed world for material and intellectual support. Kenya has always embraced free market policies unlike Tanzania, China and Russia, which embraced free market reforms in the 1980s under Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Deng Xiaoping and Mikhail Gorbachev, respectively, yet there is no comparison today between Kenya and Tanzania on the one hand, and China and Russia, on the other. What is it that China and Russia have, that Kenya and Tanzania do not…? Is it discipline, foresight or innovation? It certainly cannot be said to be population size, because the size of the African economy in it’s entirety, equals that of Italy, and the US state of California, reason enough for the formation of another CIA (Carlifornia, Italy, Africa).

In Kenyatta’s time, having a formal education and being a Kikuyu, were two parameters of then chauvinism, but nowadays it is having either a masters or doctorate degree, a lap-top, a USB memory disc (“flash disc”), an expensive cellular phone such as a Nokia 6233 or the soon to be launched “Blackberries”, so that there is no principal difference between Kenyatta’s generation and the younger generations of today that fiercely claim their time has come. The only principal difference between an 80 year old and a 30 year old in Kenya today, is age but not mentality.

Our chauvinism, attitude and puffed-up pride, have clouded our focus to the need to generate real growth, real wealth and real progress in this country, something that finds it’s roots in the “Kapenguria Six”. There is little to celebrate in a purported 6.1% growth rate because the near absolute proportion of this growth has been generated by huge foreign owned multi-nationals such as Safaricom, East African Breweries Limited, Barclays in Kenya, British American Tobacco (B.A.T.), the Aga Khan Group, Unilever Tea and Kenya Airways. If for one reason or another the multi-nationals pull out of Kenya, we are in very serious trouble. We lack the discipline, focus and expertise to run such enterprises, despite the numerous degrees and qualifications we have.

Giant mobile phone operator Safaricom, has for instance just announced impressive and historic profits of 17 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 243 million), for the financial year ended 31st March 2007, a situation that has been brought about in a short seven years, and raises the question why we have not been able to build a Kenyan owned corporation of such magnitude in the 44 years that we have been independent. Probably even more fascinating are other Safaricom statistics for the same financial year ended 31st March 2007. Subscribers grew from 3.9 million to 6 million, while overall turnover for the same period stood at an impressive 47.4 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 677 million). Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph, said that 97% of all Safaricom subscribers are pre-paid customers, the vast majority of whom purchase the low denomination 50 shilling airtime voucher, “Bamba 50”. In principal however, 6 million subscribers fuelled an impressive turnover of 47.4 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 677 million), between 1st April 2006 and 31st March 2007, yet there are concerted calls for the Government to right-off a cumulated debt of 2 billion shillings (approximately US $ 28.6 million), owed to secondary schools across the country by parents and guardians. The “Safaricom tribe” of 6 million people, as was the Kikuyu tribe in the 1960s and 1970s, is very wealthy indeed. Is the “Safaricom tribe” of 6 million taking any steps to extend it’s impressive wealth portfolio of 47.4 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 677 million), to much less privileged Kenyans, in the same way that G8 nations are for Africa?

Left to ourselves, there is no way we would have attained the just released Safaricom Limited results, and here lies another terrible tragedy. Safaricom Limited would by now be under receivership, riddled with all manner of controversy and problems, not least, massive overstaffing and gross underproductivity. We for instance forever blame former President Daniel arap Moi for the collapse of corporations such as the Nyayo Bus Service Company, completely forgetting that we all fully contributed to it’s downfall. In the run up to it’s eventual collapse passengers were openly and shamelessly paying the bus crews half fares. If we were the ones running Safaricom, then “Bamba 50” would by now be retailing for 25 Kenya shillings on the black market, base stations would have been heavily cannibalised, and staff numbers countrywide would probably be currently standing at about 350,000. This is the terrible legacy that the “Kapenguria Six” bestowed on us and rather than fight it, we have been assimilated by it.

Tremendous challenges lie ahead for this country. It is not enough to blame the “Kapenguria Six” for our predicament, because their form of conceit, tribalism and shortsightedness has been replaced by the “Safaricom tribe”, the “ Celtel tribe” the “East African Breweries tribe”, the “Manchester United tribe” and the “Chelsea tribe”, as China, India and Brazil have continued to surge ahead. Kenyatta’s generation may be forgiven for not being well versed on the global economy and it’s functioning. We certainly, cannot. 44 years, China, India and Brazil are more than enough of a learning process. How much more time and how much more chauvinism and tribalism do we need, before we change…?


Michael Mundia Kamau

                  THINGS FALL APART - 20th June 2007

                                                                                                       Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                       P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                       00200 City Square
                                                                                                       Nairobi
                                                                                                       Kenya

                                                                                                       20th June 2007

                                               THINGS FALL APART

President Mwai Kibaki’s Madaraka Day outburst against the Mungiki sect was an act of escapism and hollow bravado, geared at glossing over much deeper and wider societal problems. Even in passing, his Madaraka Day remarks cannot be treated with any shred of seriousness, given the failure of his Government to take any action on the perpetrators of the multi-billion shilling Anglo-Leasing scam of 2004 and equally, the failure of his Government to take action on the criminals who caused damage to the offices and press of the Standard Group in the high profile March 2006 raid, among just two still outstanding matters. Two of the alleged masterminds of the Standard Group raid, foreigners no less, continued to operate with impunity in the country thereafter, before being belatedly deported following another high profile holdup at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport, yet the president chose to insult the people of Kenya on Madaraka Day by declaring that his Government would not tolerate or harbour any kinds of criminal activity. Were Anglo-Leasing and the Standard Group raid the work of “Mungiki”?

Moreover, and tragically so, Mungiki is just part reflection of the near absolute manner in which this country is now overrun by marauding gangs and murderous militia, whose actions are seldom known to the wider public. Just before the crush of KQ 507 in May of this year, a gang of thugs gunned down 11 people near Kitale town in inexplicable gangland manner. This matter was quickly overshadowed by the KQ 507 plane crush, and has not been addressed since. Incidences such as this have in any case been happening in all parts of the country for several years now.

Numerous militia now control and administer different parts of the country, terrorising, maiming, stealing and raping, and are no different from Congo based militia such as “Intarahamwe” or “Banyamulenge”. The security apparatus in all parts of the country have been heavily compromised by these gangs and militia, or are overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude, in areas where the security apparatus has resisted being compromised. A case in point are the July 2005 killings in Marsabit district where there stands proof of repeated memos to the central Government, both describing a deteriorating situation and appealing for assistance.

In areas such as Nairobi’s peri-urban Ngong division, it is a known fact that inebriated gangs operate in groups of up to one hundred at night and implore residents to scream as much as they want during break-ins. This only makes things worse, and co-operation is often the best defence. Numerous overwhelmed residents in areas such as Ngong have now chosen to either sell their properties, shift, leave their gates and main entrances open at night to lessen the damage, or opted to pay protection money to the gangs or militia. It is a state of futility that the vast majority find themselves in, and it is in extremely poor taste for President Kibaki to brush all this aside and instead make bombastic remarks about only part of much more serious and much wider phenomenon.

In any case, groupings such as “Mungiki” are the result of extreme societal chauvinism, inequality, insensitivity and prejudice, going back several years. They have grown from strength to strength, fueled by society’s failure to adapt to changing times and changing realities. The terms in generous use at the moment, such as “crush Mungiki” and “deal with Mungiki once and for all” are in themselves a grim and sordid reflection of how detached we are from reality. “Mungiki” and other similar groupings, are the Kenyan equivalent of organised crime elsewhere in the world, such as the Sicilian Mafia, the Italian Mafia, the Mafia in America (“The Mob”), “Commora”, the Russian Mafia and “Yakuza” in Japan. These are powerful and lethal organisations with wide and far reaching tentacles. If the American and Italian Governments have been unable to “crush the Mafia” and/or “deal with the Mafia once and for all”, it is futile for President Kibaki to declare that he will squarely deal with “Mungiki”.

The line between organised crime, big business and Government is in any case extremely blurred. One of the most celebrated cases of this involves the high profile Kennedy dynasty in America. The Mob played a key role in the fortune that family patriarch Ambassador Joseph Kennedy made in the motion picture industry in Hollywood. Ambassador Kennedy also got heavy support from The Mob in the 1960 election victory of his son, former President John F. Kennedy. It doesn’t stop there. Despite the Warren Commission’s dismissal of a conspiracy in the assassination of President Kennedy and the ridiculous adoption by the same commission of the zigzag trajectory of the bullet that eventually killed Kennedy, a strong conspiracy theory of the Mafia’s role in the assassination still looms, the motive being that Kennedy had made up his mind to bring down the Mafia. What’s more is that Kennedy shared a mistress, Judith Exner, with then Chicago Mafia boss Sam Giancana, and Judith was said to be one of the key moles that the Mafia had in the White House. Besides, the Zapruder tape taken by an amateur cameraman on the day of Kennedy’s assassination, 22nd November 1963, clearly shows a clear shot to Kennedy’s head, the work of a high calibre rifle even by today’s standards, and certainly the work of a professional hitman. There is no comparison whatsoever between Ronald Reagan’s attempted assassination in 1981, and John F. Kennedy’s assassination of 1963. Many of us reacted with scornful disbelief when the Kenya Government initially suggested that former Foreign Affairs Minister Robert Ouko had committed suicide following his February 1990 demise, and it is clearly not just the Kenya Government that goofs. One would expect much better from any American Government. What’s more is that John F. Kennedy’s younger brother, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, was known to have even less patience for The Mob, and had to be stopped even before he became president.

Another example of the large presence of organised crime in society, is the intrigue surrounding the sudden unexpected death of Pope John Paul I in 1978, as captured in David Yallop’s bestseller “In God’s Name”. In the said David Yallop classic, one detects a determined effort by Albino Luciano (Pope John Paul I), to rid the Vatican of any Mafia connections and dealings, such as Paul Marcinkus (“God’s Banker”), and collapsed Italian bank, “Banco Ambrosiano”. Pope John Paul I paid for this with his life, and Churches in Kenya have no idea what they are talking about when they tell the Kenya Government to immediately crush “Mungiki”.

Comparisons of “Mungiki” with the Sicilian Mafia or the American Mafia do not however start and end there, and this is probably where our greater concern should lie. “Mungiki” clearly also has far-left political leanings and can in this respect be also compared to radical organisations such as “Hezbollah”, “Hamas”, “Taliban”, “Tupac Amaru”, “Fatah al-Islam”, “Abu Sayyaf” and “Black September”. “Mungiki” therefore has the combined features of an organised crime outfit such as the Sicilian Mafia, as well left wing rebels with a political cause, such as “Black September”, and it is very unfortunate that we have chosen to ignore this.

President Kibaki, his Government and indeed all us, should therefore desist from using terms like “crush” because we are clearly dealing with phenomenon that we are little aware. We shall rather engage the likes of “Mungiki” in “talks” and “discussions”, in the same way that the Israelis engaged the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), and in the same way that the Colombian Government engaged the Colombian drug cartels, including Pablo Escobar’s Medellin cartel. “Mungiki” is not a fairy tale, but grim reality that can tear this country apart in ways that we never imagined. Half of this country is under the siege of “Mungiki” type militia and the other half has put it’s money into collapsing pyramid schemes, and the best that President Kibaki can offer are hollow threats and a disputable 6.1 % growth rate. This country is in a terrible crisis and we are not helping matters by living in denial.

On Valentine’s Day 1929, another high profile, well known and ruthless Chicago mobster, Al Capone, ordered high profile executions on a rival gang, in what has come to be known as “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”, and what certainly ranks as one of the most brutal warnings and statements of intent of all time. “Mungiki” has done precisely this with it’s recent beheadings and none of us should make things worse by further provoking them.


Michael Mundia Kamau

                           Mugarbage - 30th May 2007

                                                                                                        Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                        P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                        00200 City Square
                                                                                                        Nairobi
                                                                                                        Kenya

                                                                                                        30th May 2007

                                                     Mugarbage

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s presence in Kenya for the signing of the a customs union for the Common Market for East and Central Africa (COMESA), in the week of 20th May 2007, was extremely unfortunate, undesirable, insensitive and uncalled for. All COMESA member states and Africa at large, should bow their heads down in extreme shame for directing such an atrocious and extremely inhumane insult at the people of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans are being made to face extremely horrifying and traumatic conditions, by a sadistic despot who takes pride in possessing seven degrees. Not even Uganda’s Idi Amin visited such terror on his people, despite not having even one degree. It is difficult to see how current and future generations of Zimbabweans will ever forgive Kenyans and Africans in general, for warmly accommodating the nefarious actions and deeds of an extremely malicious and brutal dictator.

Delegates representing COMESA member states warmly applauded President Mugabe when he asked if the United Kingdom had ever been known to grow tea. Instead of this extremely juvenile, extremely unfortunate and extremely immature action, the COMESA delegates should have answered Mugabe by asking him whether he knew of any country in the world other than Zimbabwe, where inflation rates currently stood at 3,700%.

A significant number of Kenyans, both at home and in the Diaspora, have written diverse letters in support of Mugabe. This is as unfortunate as the warm applause that Mugabe received from the COMESA delegates. Applauding and supporting Mugabe equates to applauding and supporting overnight price hikes of a two kilogramme packet of maize meal from 50 Kenya shillings (approx. US $ 0.7), to 1,850 Kenya shillings (approx. US $ 26), a loaf of bread from 27 Kenya shillings to 999 Kenya Shillings, and average one way commuter fares in the city of Nairobi from 40 Kenya shillings to 1,480 Kenya shillings. Applauding and supporting Mugabe also means applauding and supporting overnight price hikes of a local text message from 5 Kenya shillings to 185 Kenya shillings, an overseas text message from 10 Kenya shillings to 370 Kenya shillings and an extreme devaluation of the exchange rate so that for instance, the Kenya shilling moves from the current average exchange rate of 70 Kenya shillings exchanging for 1 US dollar, to 40,000 Kenya shillings exchanging for 1 US dollar. These are the conditions that Robert Mugabe is presently subjecting his people to, and if we have convinced ourselves that we are facing hardships in Kenya, then it is clearly apparent that we continue to deceive ourselves in one of the biggest ways in history. How can we even stand the sight of Robert Mugabe, let alone applaud him and send letters in his support? We might as well invite the de facto heads of the Klu Klux Klan (KKK), neo-NAZIs, “Intarahamwe” and “Banyamulenge” to Kenya, accord them first class treatment and accommodation at Hotel Intercontinental Nairobi, or the Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi, and cheer them wildly and passionately for telling us that the Sun rises in the East, and sets in the West. Why did we allow ourselves to be insulted and demeaned in this way? Why are Zimbabweans being made to face these conditions?

Many Kenyans feel that the worst that this country has ever faced is British colonial rule and the three successive independent Governments of President Kenyatta, President Moi and President Kibaki. Whether this is true or not, we have never experienced anything remotely close to what Zimbabweans are being made to face under President Mugabe’s atrocious rule. Even during the State of Emergency declared on 20th October 1952, no African, including the Kikuyu from whom the bulk of the Mau Mau fighters were drawn, was subjected to the extreme forms of mistreatment that Zimbabweans are presently being subjected to. The painful irony is that the State of Emergency was declared by and presided over by Governor (Sir) Evelyn Baring, a Briton, while Robert Mugabe is a fellow African, if this means anything anymore.

Even during the inflationary trends of the 1990s, President Moi’s Government ensured that the cherished two kilogramme packet of maize meal remained below 1 US dollar per packet, through heavy Government subsidies. President Kenyatta’s Government ensured the same during his reign, and President Kibaki’s Government continues to ensure the same. Regardless of whether the brand is or has been “Jimbi”, “Jogoo”, “Ndovu”, “Pembe”, “Halisi” or “Shujaa”, nothing can be said to be more Kenyan than the two kilogramme packet of maize meal. No Kenyan household, including the prosperous ones, can be said to be complete without a two kilogramme packet of maize meal, in the cooking area. It is to Kenya, what sushi is to Japan, and what curry is to India. Many food items such as sugar, margarine, milk and even bread, have been lacking in many Kenyan households for many years now, but rarely, the two kilogramme packet of maize meal. State Departments, Non Governmental Organisations, Corporations and Social Organisations, display it prominently when making donations and several Kenyans overseas even send fellow Kenyans coming home on holiday or business, for it. To wake up one morning and discover that a two kilogramme packet of say “Jogoo”, “Ndovu”, “Pembe”, “Halisi” or “Shujaa”, was retailing for 1,850 Kenya shillings (approx. US $ 26), would brutally devastate all Kenyans, including those in the Diaspora. It would herald the end of a nation as we have always known it. This is what is happening in Zimbabwe, as many Kenyans and Africans applaud and support the evil actions of one Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, must greatly be commended for very sensibly invoking state authority and banning a tour by the Australian national cricket team to Zimbabwe. This is happening when a Kenya select cricket side has just returned from a tour of Zimbabwe. How can we be condemning the actions of Kenyan militia such as “Mungiki”, “Kisungusungu”, “Chinkororo”, “Taliban” and “Baghdad Boys”, as we contribute to the purchase of a two kilogramme packet of maize meal at 1,850 Kenya shillings per packet (approx. US $ 26), by our fellow Africans in Zimbabwe?

The Kenyan Parliamentary Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations is required to immediately summon the Commissioner of Sports, to enable him give a briefing on the lavish financial endowments of Cricket Kenya, among several other very troubling matters related to the tour. It must also be noted that cricket is a middle class sport, and that the tour lasted one month. Being a middle class sport, the entire tour party must have among other things, been feeding on food items such as milkshakes, beef burgers and French fries, a single serving of which presently retails for about 250 Kenyan shillings and which must currently be retailing for about 9,250 Kenya shillings (approx. US $ 132), in Zimbabwe. There have been two prominent deaths in the world of cricket in the last two months, while Cricket Kenya has just contributed to the death of an entire nation.

The Kenyan Parliamentary Departmental Committee on Energy, Communications and Public Works, also needs to immediately summon the Director of Information, to enable him give a brief on media policies and ethics in Kenya, and in particular, advise on the speedy enactment of the Media Bill into law, given the deplorable media standards in Kenya. The Director of Information will also be required to explain why local media houses, including the Nation Media Group and the Standard Group, supported the Kenyan cricket tour to Zimbabwe by giving it prominence in their coverage, in complete disregard of extremely appalling and difficult conditions currently being faced by Zimbabweans. The Nation Media Group and the Standard Group, were very prominent in attacking the UK Government of Margaret Thatcher for initialling refusing to enforce sanctions on the Apartheid regime of P.W. Botha. We cannot continue to blame “the White man” for all of Africa’s problems when the likes of John Howard take decisive action, as the rest of us sit back and support Mugabe’s regime, as we munch on milkshakes, beef burgers and fries.

The Zimbabwe High Commissioner in Kenya and all other Mission staff, also require to be expelled with immediate effect, as we temporarily shut down their Mission, and indefinitely cut ties with Zimbabwe. We must lead by example. It is obscene that we continue to allow staff of the Zimbabwe High Commission to enjoy high standards of living in Kenya and ride around in luxury vehicles, made possible by the wages of traumatised Zimbabweans, who among other things, purchase a two kilogramme packet of maize meal for 1,850 Kenya shillings (approx. US $ 26). What purpose does the Zimbabwe High Commission currently serve in Kenya anyway? Is it here to give us expert advise on how to dramatically shift our exchange rates from it’s current levels to levels where say, 40,000 Kenya shillings exchange for 1 US dollar? Staff of the Kenya High Commission in Zimbabwe must also be recalled immediately, and the Mission should be closed in Zimbabwe, until further notice. It is unacceptable for Kenyans to continue fueling a hitherto unforeseen global crisis by amongst other things, munching on servings of milkshakes, beef burgers and fries that cost 9,250 Kenya shillings (approx. US $ 132). Former US President Bill Clinton, was once heavily criticised for getting a US $ 200 haircut abroad the official US Presidential jet, Air Force One.

The African Union (AU), in conjunction with the United Nations (UN), must also hold emergency sessions, and explore all possible measures and resolutions that can be invoked, to ensure a hasty end to Robert Mugabe’s tyrannical rule in Zimbabwe. The problem clearly is Mugabe, and a small band of equally insensitive individuals surrounding him. Economic options, and possibly a military one must be explored as a matter of urgency. If need be, a combined military contingent should go in and arrest Mugabe, in similar manner to what happened to Gen. Manuel Noriega in Panama in 1989, during the administration of the senior George Bush in America. Were it not for combined and concerted outside pressure that was brought to bear on the Apartheid regime in South Africa, chances are that Nelson Mandela would still be in jail today. We must not this for granted.

With regard to Nelson Mandela and the freedom movement in South Africa, one cannot forget how Mandela defied western pressure not to visit Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya. It was extremely difficult for Mandela to forget the support that Gaddafi gave to the African National Congress (ANC), during it’s darkest and most trying moments in history. Gaddafi gave the ANC much needed support at a time when the rest of the world had turned it’s back on it. When former Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin made a brief stopover in Kenya in 1991, he gave an emotional vote of thanks to the people of Kenya for allowing the Israeli rescue mission to refuel and get other supplies at the then Nairobi airport, following the remarkable Israeli hostage rescue mission at Entebbe airport in 1976. Rabin said that Israel would never forget. It is indeed difficult to see how Israel would have deployed specialised military contingents to Kenya after the August 7th 1998 bomb blast, and after the collapse of the building on Nairobi’s Ronald Ngala street in early 2006, were it not for 1976. Israelis helped save our lives.

The flip side is also true, and it will it will be several years before Zimbabweans are able to forgive us for our complacency in the current crisis. Following the February 1990 murder of former Kenyan Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Robert Ouko, then University of Nairobi students continuously shouted “Where were you?!” at contingents of Kenya Police Officers. Then Police Commissioner Philip Kilonzo, was not spared either. This is exactly what several generations of Zimbabweans will ask Kenyans and other Africans……. “Where were you?!”


Michael Mundia Kamau

                           50 Cent - 28th April 2007

                                                                                                    Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                    P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                    00200 City Square
                                                                                                    Nairobi
                                                                                                    Kenya

                                                                                                    28th April 2007

                                                       50 Cent

The Kenyan media has lately been awash with outrageous and mythical claims of how the Kenyan Diaspora annually remits home average sums of 50 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 714 million), and without batting an eyelid, the two main Kenyan dailies, “The Daily Nation” and “The Standard”, continue to give prominent spreads and editorials to these nonsensical and baseless assertions.

These claims actually began with the immediate former Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Andrew Mullei, and may initially have been dismissed as a populist statement geared at raising the profile of the Diaspora and/or justifying legislation that could grant dual citizenship to the fast growing Diaspora.

However, these claims have continued to grow in profile, to the extent that we now hear of all manner of delegations going abroad to “woo the Diaspora” to invest back home. One such trip has just been concluded by no less than the Kenyan Finance Minister, Amos Kimunya.

The money and energy being wasted on these worthless and inexplicable trips, would be extremely laughable, if they were not extremely serious and tragic. For instance, the Commissioner-General of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), has not produced documents supporting the receipt of these large sums of money over the years. These would among other things include annual return forms completed by the individuals and/or corporations remitting these large sums of money, and the bank accounts through which these large sums of money have been wired.

In public interest, the Commissioner-General of KRA is also duty bound to report whether the 50 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 714 million), which has lately been flowing back from the Diaspora on an annual basis, is net of taxation or whether it has been exempted from tax. If the amounts of 50 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 714 million), have all along been tax exempt, then the Commissioner-General of KRA has to produce all published legal notices in all the respective editions of the Kenya Gazette (signed by the Minister of Finance), and citing the provisions under which the Finance Minister has continually chosen to grant tax exemptions to these large sums. In this respect, the Commissioner-General of KRA would also be duty bound to produce evidence demonstrating that this matter of national interest has been brought to the attention of the Kenya Cabinet and been extensively discussed and agreed upon, and that the same has also been brought to the attention of Parliament, and been also extensively discussed and been also agreed upon by an Act of Parliament that does not contradict powers of tax exemption granted to the Minister of Finance and /or any other statute in law related to this matter.

If on the other hand the 50 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 714 million), is net of tax, then the Commissioner-General of KRA has to account for approximate annual amounts of 21.4 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 306 million), given the approximate Kenyan tax rate of 30%.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), has lately been making impressive returns on tax revenue collections on both a quarterly and annual basis. The KRA has been managing tax collection rates of up to 98% of targeted figures stipulated by the Finance Minister in his annual budgets. What is not clear at all, is whether tax collection rates on a quarterly and annual basis are inclusive or exclusive of the foregoing figures of 50 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 714 million) or 21.4 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 306 million).

This country is in a terrible state of disrepair and it is extremely tragic that we still allow ourselves to be governed by assertions as nonsensical as the Diaspora making annual remittances home of 50 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 714 million). It does extreme injustice to the large numbers of individuals in this country who now hold high school certificates, college diplomas, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, and all manner of professional qualifications and/or proficiencies. It also raises begging questions on whether we have evolved the competencies required to run our affairs and the affairs of this country.

50 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 714 million), is a very large sum of manner by any measure, and if we cannot appreciate and grasp this, there is little else we can.

The Kenya Government through the Kenya Cabinet, has just approved payment of 20 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 285 million), to the National Bank of Kenya, being part repayment of long outstanding government guaranteed loans. The amount is considered large enough to destabilise the financial and capital markets, and a committee has therefore been constituted and given a two month mandate, to oversee the gradual injection of the 20 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 285 million), into the economy. The key strategy in the matter, is the issuance of a long term non-redeemable government bond with a maturity of 20 years, for the near absolute amount of the 20 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 285 million), clearly demonstrating the limited extent to which our young, growing and fragile economy, can effectively absorb an immediate unregulated injection of 20 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 285 million), let alone 50 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 714 million).

It brings memories of the 1992 general election, and the accusations then made against the ruling party, the Kenya African National Union (KANU), of money they “printed”, to fund their high profile campaign of 1992, that included the high profile and now defunct Youth for KANU ’92 (YK ’92), which seemed to have endless financial resources.

Almost no veracity of these claims of excess liquidity is required, given the events of the following years, beginning with 1993. Interest rates and inflation soared to troubling highs last experienced in Kenya during the oil embargo of the 1970s instituted by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Government Treasury Bill rates on which banks peg the interest they charge on loans, soared to rates as high as 70%. Prices of basic commodities such as maize meal and bread doubled, trebled and even quadrupled, yet inflation rates came nowhere close to what is currently being experienced in Zimbabwe (inflation rates of over 2,000%), or what was experienced in Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire.

The exchange rate of hard currencies to the Kenya shilling hit unprecedented highs, with one US dollar exchanging for 83 Kenya shillings, at one stage, 100 Kenya shillings on the black market. Even condoms, then fast rising on the list of necessities, were not spared. The “Rough Rider” brand of condoms for instance, overnight rose from about 25 US cents per pack, to US $ 1 per pack, causing mass hasty retreats to “Sultan”, then the free standard condom issue given by the Ministry of Health.

Several individuals have never recovered from the inflationary trends of the 1990s, and several individuals have indeed lost assets by way of public auction, because of the high interest rates and defaults in loan repayments linked to those times. A big portion of the bitterness against the past KANU regime is associated with those times.

It took the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), over ten years to mop up the excess liquidity associated with the general election of 1992, and bring interest rates to the current low levels which the present regime seems determined to maintain. It took over ten years to mop up excess liquidity whose exact figure is yet to be known and which legend puts at between 2 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 28 million) and 10 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 142 million), yet there are continued high profile claims that the Kenyan Diaspora remits 50 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 714 million) on an annual basis. How irresponsible and reckless.

The Minster of Finance has just gotten Parliamentary approval to draw 28 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 400 million), from the Consolidated Fund, to cater for expanded recurrent expenditure not catered for in the 2006/2007 budget. One could easily reprimand the Finance Ministry for this, because the Diaspora should by now have sent the quarterly remittance of 12.5 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 179 million), for the year 2007, meaning that the Finance Ministry would only have needed Parliamentary approval to draw 15.5 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 221 million), from the Consolidated Fund.

In a most embarrassing, humiliating and peculiar yet little noted incident also, auctioneers on 10th April 2007 moved in and attached movable assets of 11 branches of Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Limited, over a 15 year old civil suit involving a relatively small amount of 420 million Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 6 million), which Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Limited, the Kenyan operation of global blue chip Standard Chartered Bank PLC, failed to pay to the plaintiff in the time stipulated by a Court of Appeal Ruling (page 20 of “The Standard” of 12th April 2007). Just how well is our economy doing……..? This incident didn’t even affect the share price of Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Limited on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE), raising further questions about the parameters we use to measure economic performance in this country. Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Limited has been declaring annual profits in the billions of Kenya shillings for several years now, yet on 10th April 2007 the reputation of the entire organisation, both here and globally, was put into serious question, because of their inability to effectively deal with and handle a 15 year dispute involving a small sum of 420 million Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 6 million). Public attention is drawn to the very, very disappointing fact of Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Limited’s inability to deal with issues revolving around small sums of 420 million Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 6 million), despite their long standing and reputation, in the midst of which we continue being fed with garbage that the much less prolific, much less experienced and much less skilled Kenyan Diaspora, remits home 50 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 714 million), on an annual basis.

50 billion Kenya shillings (approximately US $ 714 million) per annum is power and substance, power and substance to justify the granting of recognition and privileges to the Diaspora, such as dual citizenship, tax concessions/holidays, nominated Members of Parliament specifically addressing the needs and interests of the Diaspora, a Ministry specifically catering for the needs and interests of the Diaspora, roving ambassadors specifically catering for the needs and interests of the Diaspora, and most certainly, the immediate establishment of apparatus that will ensure the Diaspora votes in all elections and/or referendums. Ironically though, the annual cost of Kenyans studying abroad, about 14 billion Kenya shillings per year (approximately US $ 200 million per year), is amongst the highest in the world. We are certainly help build outside economies, at the expense of our own.

The Diaspora and it’s supporters back home here in Kenya, are hardly able to justify it’s continued existence, embarking instead on expanded meaningless, inexplicable, ridiculous and peculiar campaigns of self-glorification. What this is intended to accomplish, remains to be seen.


Michael Mundia Kamau

                              Ali - 17th January 2007

                                                                                               Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                               P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                               00200 City Square
                                                                                               Nairobi

                                                                                               Wednesday, 17th January 2007

Dear Sir/Madam

This is a letter of appreciation following the feature on Muhammed Ali’s commemorative 65th birthday of 17th January 2007, appearing in “The Standard” of Wednesday, 17th January 2007.

Muhammed Ali does indeed belong to the revered and golden 1970s era, which carries the distinction of evolving some of the greatest sports and entertainment personalities of all time, including Ali himself, Pele, Franc Beckenbauer, Johan Cruyff, George Best, Gordon Banks, Bruce Lee, Jimmy Connors, Arthur Ashe, Kareem Abul Jaber, Abba and Bob Marley. Indeed at one time, the two most easily recognisable individuals in the world, were Bruce Lee and Muhammed Ali himself. At one time also, it is reputed that pop group Abba surpassed renowned motor vehicle Volvo, as the top
foreign exchange earner of Sweden.

Ali will probably be most remembered for his stunning and spectacular defeat of George Foreman in October 1974’s “Rumble in the Jungle” in Kinshasa, Zaire. It is a fight that many still speak of today with great
admiration. Ali relived and reenacted the much-loved biblical tale of David and Goliath, to the extreme joy, pleasure, inspiration, satisfaction and gratitude of the entire world. It will remain Ali’s preeminent,
foremost and immortal “Magnum Opus”.

We must all draw from and build on the exploits of Ali’s distinguished generation of achievers. Ali dared think differently, and he dared defy and challenge a system. The sacrifices that he and others of his time
made, have helped create a world of greater equality, greater promise and greater self belief.

The greatest tribute we can pay to Muhammed Ali as he now battles with the debilitating Parkinson’s disease, is to pursue the ideals that Ali has always stood for with renewed zeal and vigour. These include fighting
for and defending the oppressed.



Michael Mundia Kamau

               CORETTA SCOTT KING - 11th February 2006

                                                                                                   Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                   P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                   00200 City Square
                                                                                                   Nairobi
                                                                                                   Kenya

                                                                                                   11th February 2006

                                                CORETTA SCOTT KING

The passing on, passage tributes and interment of Coretta Scott King, marks a milestone and turning point in the History of America, the Civil Rights Movement and Black History at large the World over. It was a resounding tribute to all Black freedom fighters, past and present, across the World, and in particular, Rev. and Mrs. Martin Luther King Jnr. Just about the biggest statement of the change that America has embraced over the past forty years, was attendance of Mrs. King’s funeral by President George Bush and former Presidents Clinton, Bush and Carter, two Republicans and two Democrats. These are scenes only witnessed when a US President passes away. The presence of former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter cannot however be said to be surprising, because the plight of African-Americans and other minorities, has always dominated policies of Democrats. Republicans however represent America’s old, powerful, wealthy and conservative order, sticklers to the old ways. So the presence of George Bush Jnr. and George Bush Snr. at Mrs. King’s funeral signifies a major milestone in America’s History.

Blacks all over the World need to pay attention to this significant transition, because when America sneezes, the rest of the world has a cold. Many Blacks forever complain and whine about being the victims of racism and prejudice, even though in most cases this is untrue. America has openly demonstrated that it is ready and willing to work with Blacks, but not for them. There is a huge difference between working with and working for. Ironically, this misconception has been the source of numerous racial spats over the years, revealing Blacks as more the perpetrators of racism and prejudice, than those they accuse to be. Since we do not have standards, wealth or pride of our own, there is no way we can lay demands.

It is also tragic that we as a Nation are nowhere near making the strides that America has, yet we always accuse America and in particular President George W. Bush, for all manner of evils. America has long accepted and honoured the Civil Rights Movement. A Federal holiday in honour of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement has been in enactment for over twenty years now, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. What about us, have we done the same for all the heroes and heroines of our heritage and freedom movement? When the time comes for Mrs. Elsie Mukami Kimathi to go to her rest, will she and her husband get even a fraction of the honour that has been bestowed on Rev. and Mrs. King? We can no longer take refuge in pointing fingers elsewhere because it is we the people who are to blame. We celebrate the lives of Rev. and Mrs. King and recently deceased Rosa Parks, among others, in large part because of their brave, bold and courageous role in challenging and defying a system that was oppressing them. Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama, on 1st December 1955. Rosa Parks did what needed to be done in the fight for change and equality. Had she argued that she and the others wait for the next General Election as we in Kenya do, the Civil Rights Movement would have gone nowhere. One also further needs to note that America has had 13 presidential elections and 10 presidents between Rosa Park’s 1st December 1955 and now, and if we use that as the standard and timetable through which change will come to Kenya, then we are truly doomed. The terrible monumental scandals linked to the sitting Kenyan Government that have emerged in the past few weeks, strip it of all legitimacy to continue ruling. Yet we the public are just sitting back, whining, laughing and dining, viciously attacking George Bush’s racist America for invading Iraq, and  waiting for the next general election. However when we get hold of a thief who has stolen a loaf of bread out of sheer desperation, we set upon him or her with the viciousness that Lions hunt their prey, openly exposing our extreme cowardice. Not one of us truly cares about ourselves, this country or it’s destiny, because if we did, the Government would by now already have been removed from power by way of public petition and protestation.

Drought, famine, poverty, disease and despair are ravaging this country, yet those with the power, opportunity and ability to do something, care about nothing more than themselves, glamour and glitz. It is Africans running this country and the population is predominantly African, so we have no one but ourselves to blame. We cannot even run our own country and this is a terrible shame. When the building on Nairobi’s Ronald Ngala street collapsed in January this year, a team of Israeli military personnel was hurriedly flown in to salvage the situation. The Israeli Colonel in charge of the operation asked a simple question, “Who is in charge here?” at the rescue site, and got no answer. This was despite the presence of several high ranking Kenya Government military officials, many probably higher in rank than the Israeli Colonel. He then ordered all of them out like a pack of truant school children. Days in the history of a Nation do not get darker than this, as they demonstrate a complete lack of purpose, ability, identity, self-respect, self-esteem, character, pride, control and direction. We lack all these as a people and a Nation, and it doesn’t scare us one bit.

Martin Luther King’s celebrated dream has been realised in America because the “sons of former slave owners and the sons of former slaves, now sit together at the table of brotherhood”. Coretta Scott King’s distinguished farewell brought this out in a very powerful, poignant and immortal way. Rev. and Mrs. King’s dream is however yet to be realised in several other parts of the World, including, and tragically so, Kenya.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                      ARAP KIBAKI - 12th December 2005

                                                                                                         Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                         P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                         00200 City Square
                                                                                                         Nairobi
                                                                                                         Kenya

                                                                                                         12th December 2005

                                                       ARAP KIBAKI

Ford-Kenya leader, Musikari Kombo and NPK leader, Charity Ngilu, are on the verge of being politically duped in a huge, scandalous and most embarrassing manner, in the ongoing sham negotiations for them to rejoin President Mwai Kibaki’s Government. The list of demands being made by both have clearly been overtaken by events, and are unworkable, ridiculous and comical. President Mwai Kibaki would certainly not have gone through with the swearing in of his reconstituted cabinet on Wednesday, 7th December 2005, if he only remotely felt that a fallout from both Musikari Kombo and Charity Ngilu, would have serious repercussions on his rule. Both are now the laughing stock of Kenya and beyond, as they nakedly expose their most amateur grasp of politics.

It is taking an enormously long time for certain elementary matters to register. Literally all  commentaries, editorials, write-ups and analyses, continue to make reference to “the huge and embarrassing loss”, suffered by President Mwai Kibaki and his government at the November 21st 2005 constitutional review referendum. Some commentaries have even gone as far as even blaming the Intelligence network for “failing to relay accurate information”, to their boss. It is time that we started taking leadership and politics much more seriously than we do.

Whichever way one looks at it, Mwai Kibaki was going to emerge winner at the referendum, whichever way the vote went. How could he have lost when he still retains the enormous powers of the current constitution? The referendum vote would only really have counted if it was a choice between either the Wako Draft and the Bomas Draft, but President Kibaki and his allies cleverly took care of this much earlier through a sham parliamentary vote. The whole referendum matter, like former President Moi’s “failed” Project Uhuru of 2002, was a cleverly choreographed decoy, to make it seem that the continued existence of the current government, relied entirely on the outcome of the November 21st 2005 vote. In other words, President Kibaki’s government would only survive if it won the referendum vote. What happened after the apparent government loss, confirms the referendum as state sponsored political decoy:

President Kibaki “honourably conceded” defeat on 22nd November 2005, emphasising that there was no “vacuum”, and that the current constitution would continue to be upheld. The following day, Wednesday, 23rd November 2005, President Kibaki dissolved his cabinet. A day after, Thursaday, 24th November 2005, President Kibaki prorogued parliament, to delay any possible vote of no confidence in he and his government as he reorganised his marshals, and equally importantly, to prevent parliament from further extending the mandate of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC), which will now die a natural death. There was no panic from President Kibaki as he effected this actions in calculated composed sequence, and it is amazing that no one has pointed this out. President Kibaki’s cordial meeting with former President Moi on 28th November 2005, could even have been designed to make him appear desperate. In the interceding period, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), oscillated between defiance, threats and compromise, exposing themselves as possibly the more desperate and disorganised of both opposing camps. One such particular incident stands out as significant and curious: after an ODM Naivasha retreat sponsored by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the ODM issued a reconciliatory statement, indicating that it was ready to sit down at round table talks with President Kibaki, exposing the fact that ODM has no agenda or finances of it’s own, and is relying on sponsors for direction, formulation of policy and financing. To all intents and purposes, ODM is just as desperate as Musikari Kombo and Charity Ngilu.

Equally as bad is the entire Kenyan media for it’s failure to provide incisive and investigative journalism, that would enable the public see through many of these ploys. On whose side is the Kenyan media, and why is it deliberately standing in the way of transformation in Kenya, by keeping on running mundane amateur stories of no value to the Kenyan public? History will harshly judge the entire current crop of Kenyan journalists. The one attempt to break from the drudgery is carried in the following poignant statement carried in the lead story of “The Standard” of Monday, 12th December 2005: “Though Ford-Kenya’s top officials were upbeat that the President would meet his part of the deal, it was not immediately clear what the President’s strategy was. Efforts to get a comment from the head of Presidential Service Director failed as calls went unanswered”. The handwriting is on the wall.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                 KIBAKI’S COUNTRY - 11th December 2005

                                                                                                    Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                    P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                    00200 City Square
                                                                                                    Nairobi
                                                                                                    Kenya

                                                                                                    11th December 2005

                                                KIBAKI’S COUNTRY

The drama and intrigue in the aftermath of the Kenyan constitutional referendum of November 21st 2005, is drawing to a close, with balances tilted in favour of President Mwai Kibaki and his administration. Power games have once again taken precedence over National advancement in what must be regarded as another wasted year of widespread opportunity in Kenya.

Against expectation, the Kenyan economy has registered significant growth in the year 2005, and the drive must be towards consolidating and strengthening these gains. Independent and reputable projections, including one by the AIG Global Investment Group, estimate that the economy will grow by between 5.5% and 6% in the year 2005. In the Central Bank of Kenya weekly bulletin of 2nd December 2005 (http://www.centralbank.go.ke/downloads/weeklypress/latest_weekly.pdf), tax collection increased by 13.5 per cent to US $ 1.46 billion between 1st July 2005 and 25th November 2005 as compared with the same period in the year 2004. In September 2005, the largest and most profitable Kenyan firm, telecommunications giant, Safaricom, hit the 3 million active subscriber mark, 15 years ahead of its initial growth targets (http://www.safaricom.co.ke/2005/default2.asp?active_page_id=334&id=249). The report announcing this breakthrough, further states that “Safaricom also ranks high among the leading corporate taxpayers in Kenya having paid a total of US $ 405 million as total duties, taxes and license fees in the past four years. Last year Safaricom, invested more than US $ 165 million in its capital expenditure programs raising the total capital expenditure in the past four years to US $ 506.6 million”. Kenyan corporations, including Celtel, Safaricom’s main rival, continue to have massive long term Corporate Bond issues of between US $ 50 million and above, at the Nairobi Stock Exchange.

There have even been significant share price improvements of publicly listed companies at the Nairobi Stock Exchange over the past year, with Kenya Airways, the Kenya Power and Lighting Company and East African Cables, taking the lead. Market activity slowed down considerably in the period prior, during and after the November 21st 2005 constitutional review referendum, though the figures remain astounding: at the close of trading on Thursday, 8th December 2005 for instance, 108, 098 shares of Kakuzi were traded at a mean value of US $ 72,065, 921,171 shares of Kenya Airways were traded at a mean value of US $ 982,582, 375,569 shares of Kenya Commercial Bank were traded at a mean value of US $ 545,827, 450,663 shares of Bamburi Cement were traded at a mean value of US $ 841,238, 240,100 shares of British American Tobacco were traded at a mean value of US $ 656,273, 1,147,634 shares of Sameer Africa Limited were traded at a mean value of US $ 336,639, 161,000 shares of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company were traded at a mean value of US $ 298,387, and 1,027,980 shares of Total Kenya were traded at a mean value of US $ 589,375. There is no way that small time Kenyan speculators can raise such sums of money, meaning that the source of these funds are probably Kenyan Fund Managers and Kenyan Custodians, very likely acting on behalf of foreign investors. Fund Managers and Custodians do not speculate, meaning that these are long term investments. Added to this is the fact that there are intended new listings in the coming months by the Kenya Electricity Generating Company, Pan African Paper Mills, Equity Bank and regional advertising giant, Lowe ScanAd. Towards creating incentives for further Initial Public Offerings(IPO), the Nairobi Stock Exchange is in the process of reviewing and relaxing it’s stringent IPO requirements, and is due to adopt electronic trading on it’s floor by mid 2006.

President Kibaki’s war on corruption over the past year, has not been convincing as the gains on the economic front, but it is encouraging to note that he has taken the cue, and dropped a key albeit blacklisted ally, from his reconstituted cabinet. Related to this, are reports that petty crime in Kenya has dropped by 31% in the year 2005. There is still an enormous amount of work to be done on the social front, as half the Kenyan youth continues to be perpetually stoned on drugs, many of which, like “Muguka”, are purely and simply, potent and lethal poisons.

By any measure, Mwai Kibaki must surely be the least popular and most detached president that Kenya has had so far, even by the standards of his very own Kikuyu ethnic community. He led a coalition once known as the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), which has been the source of extreme pain and disappointment. NARC has collapsed, but the country remains intact and hopeful. 1.5 million jobs are yet to be created, 450,000 housing units are yet to be built, and numerous by-passes and corridors, northern or otherwise, are yet to be constructed , but after three disappointing years, there is a rebirth of hope. Just as many of us were about to throw in the towel, there appear these flashes of light and brilliance at the end of the tunnel.

President Kibaki used the word “development” five times in the speech he gave prior to the reconstituting his cabinet on Wednesday evening, 7th December 2005. Another important part of his said speech, was the following key acknowledgement: “During my country tours and the recent meetings with the people over the referendum, the common message from the people is that they want better services, more employment opportunities for the youth and enhanced development for all the people and their regions”. Little more captures the mood and expectations of the general populace.

Whether or not we like it or want to admit it, President Mwai Kibaki has kept hope alive in the year 2005, as supported by the above figures. Big business and the European Union (EU), are even throwing their weight behind him and his government. This notwithstanding, President Kibaki’s rule is under severe test, the same way that President Kenyatta’s was in 1966, 1969, 1971, 1975 and 1976, and the same way that President Moi’s was in 1978, 1982, 1990, 1992 and 1997. To his advantage, President Kibaki lived through all these times and experienced the happenings first hand. The year however is 2005 and the situation, a highly polarised Kenya, and any initiative to oust President Mwai Kibaki and his government from power, must be accompanied by a detailed and convincing blue print of how his designated successors, intend to outdo and outmatch the record above. Any probable vote of no confidence in President Kibaki’s rule, must also be accompanied by a detailed and convincing plan of reconstruction, otherwise the momentum in place should not be disturbed and should be supported in pace, enhancement, growth and extent.



Michael Mundia Kamau

“ALCOHOLISM, DRUG ABUSE, TAKE ROOT AT NJORO BOYS” - 6th November 2005

                                                                                                     Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                     P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                     00200 City Square
                                                                                                     Nairobi
                                                                                                     Kenya

                                                                                                     6th November 2005

                        “ALCOHOLISM, DRUG ABUSE, TAKE ROOT AT NJORO BOYS”

The documentation of a badly deteriorated situation in the Rift Valley’s Njoro Boys High School, carried on page seven of “The Standard” of 31st October 2005, is reflective of countrywide malady and degeneration at all levels of education. It is a situation that has been brought about by years and years of abuse and neglect.

The formal education system in Kenya is in tatters, and only complete societal overhaul can bring about desired change. Problems are so entrenched, complex, entangled, and historical, calling for concerted societal input and concerted societal change in attitude. For instance, the children of Kenya’s first three presidents, received overseas schooling. Many of the offspring of the current Kenyan cabinet attend school in either North America, Europe, South Africa, Uganda or Australia. Indeed, literally all the children of leading Kenyan luminaries, be they in government, the private sector or business, are in overseas schools, and not necessarily the best. Middle class Kenya has also followed suit on an equally intense scale. This has resulted in some highly costly and distorted situations, such as the refusal this year by the Kenyan Commission of Higher Education (CHE), to recognise degrees awarded to graduating classes of the local chapter of the Newport International University, whose home base is in Wyoming, USA. The crazed Kenyan quest for an overseas education has also attracted predatory exhibitions and road shows to Kenya, from Ukrainian, Romanian, Czech and Russian Campuses.    

This clearly reflects the lack of faith, trust, and goodwill that we as Kenyans have in our own education system. It is difficult to determine how, when and where we lost complete faith in our education system, but the pattern is very clear. Very few of the pioneer Kenyan African elite who attended elite schools like Alliance Boys and Girls, Mangu and Maseno, sent their children to the institutions that built them, instead opting for the next generation of leading elite schools such as Lenana, Nairobi School, St. Mary’s Nairobi, Rift Valley Academy, The Hillcrest Schools, St. Andrews Turi and Brookhouse. It’s getting worse and worse with no traditions being built, because the children of pioneer Kenyan elite have in turn opted not to send their children to either Alliance Boys and Girls, Lenana or Kenya High Girls, and instead chosen highly expensive prep schools in Europe, North America and South Africa. The first and second generation of elite Kenyan schools, have now been left to the dying Kenyan middle class to scramble for. There is no effort to establish tradition, out of which culture and growth evolve. The trend in primary schools is exactly the same, with the emergence of numerous private academies across the country over the years. Correctional institutions are now even called Academies, a joke in Kenya goes.    

In as long as we do not seek to revamp our own education system so that it is attractive to both ourselves and outsiders, the situation at Njoro Boys and elsewhere will only become worse. Entire Kenyan generations will be groping in the dark for many years to come because we have failed to infuse substance in formal education and training. The disparities in this country are extreme and unsettling. On the one hand is a small elite of individuals who have degrees in specialised areas such as Aerospace Engineering and Bio-Chemical Engineering, whose skills have little place in Kenya, and who live and work abroad. Then there is the mass of us back home who attended the likes of Njoro High School, fiercely competing for limited and shrinking resources, and who will jump at the first available opportunity to relocate abroad, without careful consideration.

We have very little self respect left, which is why the education system has fallen apart. It is very hard for instance, to impart discipline on students who forever see an entire adult Kenyan population, flouting good conduct and decorum on a daily basis. Until we set a good example to the youth, and show a real interest in playing a participatory role in shaping their future, there will be no education system worth speaking about in Kenya. Until we start committing our vast resources and energies to instituting long term self-supporting improvement to the entire education system in Kenya, this country is doomed.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                  KwaKenya-Natal - 20th October 2005

                                                                                                    Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                    P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                    00200 City Square
                                                                                                    Nairobi
                                                                                                    Kenya

                                                                                                    20th October 2005

                                                 KwaKenya-Natal

Numerous state owned Kenyan companies appear targeted for lucrative acquisitions by South African conglomerates. The latest high profile deal, is majority stake acquisition of the giant Kenya Railways Corporation (to be now known as Rift Valley Railways), by South Africa’s Sheltam Trade Close Corp. Kenya’s financially troubled supermarket chain, Uchumi, run by South African chief executive, John Masterten-Smith, has just concluded a successful share rights issue that raised US $ 17.3 million, against expectation. The rights issue has resulted in a reduced Kenya government stake in Uchumi Supermarkets chain, and has for the moment, dispensed with the need for the supermarket chain to offload it’s healthy and attractive property portfolio valued at approximately US $ 10 million. Uchumi Supermarkets Limited strongly looks slated for a strategic merger with a South African Holding Company. The Nation Media Group’s “ The East African”, carried a lengthy three page feature on Standard Bank of South Africa’s strong intention to acquire controlling stake in the substantially improved National Bank of Kenya Limited. According to the feature, an informal offer had already been made to the state owned National Social Security Fund (NSSF), the key shareholder in National Bank of Kenya.

On a related note, the state owned Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), is in the final stages of it’s much awaited and much anticipated public share offer, slated for the first quarter of the year 2006. KenGen’s sister corporation, the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), has just released improved financial statements for the year ended 30th June 2005, and stated that the government stake in it is coming down soon.

In a determined unprecedented move, the Kenya government is moving with speed towards privatisation, even before the privatisation bill has been signed into law by the president. It is terrible that public assets in Kenya, are being transformed into a branch of South African business, without prior public consent and input. All activities in Kenya right now, are being overshadowed by the November 21st 2005 constitutional referendum, as the country is quietly taken over by Corporate South Africa.

Ideally speaking, the president should first sign the privatisation bill into law, after which the Minister of Finance should be required to gazette a detailed privatisation timetable, inclusive of an economic referendum of equal weight and equal magnitude, with the November 21st 2005 constitutional referendum.

The entire privatisation program is, and has not, been conducted in a transparent and accountable manner. For instance when current Kenya Airways Managing Director, Titus Naikuni, was appointed Transport Permanent Secretary six years ago at the time of the high profile “dream team” private sector appointments, he released an 18 month privatisation program for the Kenya Railways Corporation by way of public share floatation, and the transition between then and now is not clear. Further, the World Bank has a fully running financial sector reform unit in Kenya, whose objectives include the restructuring and sale of Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), National Bank of Kenya (NBK), and Consolidated Bank of Kenya. No measure of overlying considerations, including the fact that that National Bank of Kenya has been brought back to stability by a local chief executive, Reuben Marambii, under conditions of great difficulty and hostility, are deterring the World Bank’s determined decision to sell NBK to foreigners. The public has a right to decide on the fate of KCB, NBK, Consolidated Bank of Kenya, and indeed, all state owned corporations.

It is also instructive that a working party of the International Monetary Fund is presently in the country to assess funding to Kenya, and a connection with this, and the high priority currently being given to privatisation of state owned corporations, must be made. Overall, the common man’s business interests in Kenya have stagnated, and no effort is being made to correct this.  



Michael Mundia Kamau

                              POXI - 19th October 2005

                                                                                                      Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                      P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                      00200 City Square
                                                                                                      Nairobi
                                                                                                      Kenya

                                                                                                      19th October 2005

                                                       POXI

The sudden, stunning demise of leading Kenyan singer and rights activist Poxi Presha (Prechard Pouka Olang), at the prime tender age of 34 years, is a blow to a generation reeling in oblivion and obscurity, and lacking in the will to push forward towards a worthy collective destiny.

Poxi Presha personified this idealism and the willingness to adopt change, when he ruggedly stormed onto the music scene in the 1990s with probably his two most memorable hits, “Total Balaah” and “Oton’glo Time”, brilliant cosmopolitan fusions. Poxi Presha and his contemporaries at the time such as “Hardstone” and “Shades O’ Black”, determinedly made rugged, unrefined, rebellious and informed statements of a generation that was tired of being shunted into the background and that was making it’s claim to today and tomorrow.

Youth in Kenya have forever suffered demeaning, substandard and prohibitive status. Poxi Presha and his contemporaries pioneered a rude, brash deviation from this repressive way of thinking, and it is in this aspect that they shall forever receive homage and tribute. There’s was a statement of notation and intent, a statement that there was a new generation on the block, with worldviews, aspirations, beliefs, dreams and ambitions that needed to be recognised, if nothing more. Pioneers are bold, fearless and courageous, and it is this that Poxi and his contemporaries shall always be remembered for.

Society is under no obligation whatsoever to adopt new theories, but prudence obligates society to recognise and adapt to changing times. Poxi’s battle is far from being won, and those of us who shared in his vision, must carry on with the struggle. Poxi’s generation is yet to transform the numerous opportunities that it grew up with and continue to have, into meaningful gain for itself and the nation at large. This hardly gives it the right to lay claim to anything. For instance, Poxi’s last battle against music piracy was another one of his lone crusades, a damning statement of the unwillingness of Kenyan youth to get involved in many of the important issues of today and tomorrow.

Before we make claim to anything, we must first prove ourselves, and it is this next level that Poxi’s battle needs to be carried. Poxi and his contemporaries knocked on the door, and even entered and did some cleaning, as personified by Poxi’s last determined battle against music piracy. Those of us left behind must continue where Poxi left off. It is about reclaiming back this country, it’s dignity and ours. One of the greatest tributes to Poxi Presha is the fact that his catch phrase of the 1990s, “Do I say”, is still in use in Kenya today. Poxi Presha helped break new barriers and set new standards, and encouraged us to think boldly, differently and artistically. He resoundingly called on us to be ourselves and make no apologies about it. This was how he helped define the 1990s and today, and how he shall best be remembered. Rest in Peace, Olang.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                 FANTASTIC FOUR - 18th October 2005

                                                                                                                                 Michael Mundia Kamau

                                                                                                                                 P.O. Box 58972

                                                                                                                                 00200 City Square

                                                                                                                                 Nairobi

                                                                                                                                 Kenya

                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                 18th October 2005

 

                                                                 FANTASTIC FOUR

 

The qualification of four African rookie teams, Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, for the 2006 World Cup Soccer finals in Germany is highly gratifying and commendable. Probably the two most fascinating qualifications, are those of Angola and Cote d'Ivoire, war torn and strife plagued for several years.

 

Soccer is a universal sport, the global common man’s game, and football federations across the African continent will be hard pressed to explain how it is that Angola and Cote d'Ivoire were able to make it to Soccer World Cup 2006, and not them. The Kenya Football Federation (KFF), is no exception in this regard.

 

It is however tragic that Kenya, which can be described as a province of the UK’s Manchester United, has been unable to mobilise any meaningful advances in local football, a damning indictment to the entire apparently soccer crazed nation. Owing to continental time differences, much of Soccer World Cup 1994, played in the USA, was viewed during the day locally, mainly between noon and 5.00 p.m. The same applied to Soccer World Cup 2002, played in South Korea and Japan. During both occasions in 1994 and 2002, many places of work remained deserted during the day, as several employees took time off to view games. A random stride through any Kenyan town today, and especially Nairobi and Mombasa, reveals conspicuous and readily available merchandise of major European football teams like Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, New Castle United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Olympic Marseille. Numerous public service vehicles, and even private ones, are donned with the logos, emblems and colours of these teams, and celebrity players such as David Beckham, Ronaldo, Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho, Michael Owen, Zinedine Zidane and Rio Ferdinand. Whole towns and entire centres have been grinding to a halt when Manchester United and Arsenal have met in the past, though this is now changing with the growing dominance of Chelsea, and a much improved Liverpool.

 

Yet despite the glamour and entrenchment of European football in Kenya, local soccer has declined with equally dazzling proportions. Last season, players of two leading football clubs of yesteryear, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, were many times forced to disgracefully beg for accommodation for the night on the very same public service vehicles that lavishly don the colours of lead European teams such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, New Castle United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Olympic Marseille, giving renewed vigour to the saying, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”. There is truly no greater betrayal, than that by one’s own blood. Also last season, another high profile team of yesteryear, Shabana FC, made a trip to the coastal city of Mombasa to play the then Dubai Bank FC, but were forced to spend two nights on the cold floor of a sympathetic Mombasa restaurant, because they had no money for food or accommodation, and at the end, Dubai Bank FC were forced to hastily convene an impromptu fund raiser for the disgraceful return of Shabana FC to their home base in Kisii. This is the terrible shame of  Kenyan football today, yet over weekends, bars, restaurants and other social places are packed by patrons in t-shirts, tracksuits and caps of top European football clubs,  who spare no effort attacking the government and the Kenya Football Federation (KFF), for not supporting local football, and for the terrible decline of local football. While this has been going on for several months now, Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, have triumphantly emerged from the shadows of World football, and qualified for World Cup Soccer 2006.

 

It is doubtful whether Angola and Cote d’Ivoire have facilities as good as the Kasarani Moi International Sports Centre, Nyayo National Stadium and City Stadium, to mention a few, but we shall as usual turn up in big numbers in 2006, to support them, Ghana, Togo and Tunisia, and thereafter go back to supporting Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, New Castle United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Olympic Marseille. It is extremely difficult to side with criticism of the Kenya government and Kenya Football Federation (KFF), for declining soccer standards in Kenya, coming from a Kenyan in a track suit and cap of Barcelona FC, a beer in one hand, a woman in another, and a wind pipe throttling from the dual task of spewing out nonsense and attempting to swallow a mouthful of goat ribs. We are failing ourselves and sport in this country.

 

 

 

Michael Mundia Kamau

         LAWLESSNESS AND DISORDER - 2nd October 2005

                                                                                                         Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                         P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                         00200 City Square
                                                                                                         Nairobi
                                                                                                         Kenya

                                                                                                         2nd October 2005

                                             LAWLESSNESS AND DISORDER

The manner in which “Sunday Times” writer, David Ochami was arrested and arraigned in court for his article “Coups in Africa do not occur out of nothing”, appearing in the “Sunday Times” of 25th September 2005(http://www.timesnews.co.ke/25sep05/nwsstory/opinion.html), is an act of State terrorism and intimidation. Ochami’s bitter article addressed the sensitive matter of mounting disenchantment, displeasure and discord by the people of Kenya, against prevailing harsh socio-economic and political conditions in Kenya. In principle, Ochami cautioned and reprimanded the government for it’s ineffective and insensitive handling of the troubling, lawless and uncertain situation in the country. Ochami’s was not a threat, but a caution, and the government is best placed addressing the sensitive matters raised.

Much as the subject is avoided, the likelihood of a mutiny is as real in Kenya as elsewhere in the world, because mutinies, coups and uprisings are about interests. Those who were awake and heard Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka’s eloquent and articulate early morning radio address to the nation on the then Voice of Kenya on the fateful morning of the failed coup attempt of 1st August 1982, will recall Ochuka’s reference to “the economy being in shambles” and a further reference to “government ministers growing rich overnight”. 23 full years have passed and we are in exactly the same situation that Ochuka made reference to on 1st August 1982.

The lawlessness and desperation currently prevailing in and out of the government raises real concerns of a nation about to be torn apart by conflict, disagreement and despair. The government has terribly failed to exhibit the unity and purpose required of it during this crucial period of transition. The very government that is required to uphold the rule of law, is openly breaking it. On Wednesday, 28th September 2005, Makadara MP Reuben Ndolo and Embakasi MP David Mwenje, took the law into their hands and unlawfully stormed and attempted to disrupt a meeting that was being held by their political rivals at Nairobi’s City Cabanas Hotel. Two days later on Friday, 30th September 2005, the State equally took the law into it’s own hands by ignoring a Magistrate’s grant of bail to both Ndolo and Mwenje, and re-arresting both on hurriedly prepared trumped up charges. The very cause of the dually instituted illegalities that were perpetrated by both MPs and the State, is in itself a contravention of the law, because the Electoral Commission of Kenya has clearly gazetted that campaigns for the November 21st 2005 Constitutional referendum, are to begin on 21st October 2005. Almost the entire Kenyan cabinet and the entire Kenyan legislature, therefore require to be arraigned in court on the same charge of incitement as that of David Ochami, amongst several other dishonourable charges.

One of the major causes that led to Milton Obote being deposed as President of Uganda on January 25th 1971, was Obote’s open violation of the law. Former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, then key in the Ugandan military, was present when Prime Minister Obote dismissed a question on the legality of Kabaka Mutesa II’s removal as President of Uganda, by Obote’s famous and fatal declaration that the Ugandan constitution “was a mere piece of paper”, followed by Obote’s action of throwing the Ugandan constitution into a waste paper basket.

There are distinct similarities between Obote’s Uganda and Kenya today. The current Kenyan leadership in it’s entirety, is violating the law with impunity, in the same way that Obote did, setting disastrous precedents and sending out all the wrong signals. The damage that this has caused and continues to cause, weighs in equal measure to any effort that will be made to rectify this extremely troubling situation.

Mutinies, revolts, coups and uprisings, are a fact of life and the Kenyan government is better placed using the vast machinery at it’s disposal to address this reality, rather than intimidate the general populace. During the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, US President John F. Kennedy, faced the real prospect of a coup and the real prospect of World War III, when the US Air Force directly violated a presidential decree to hold fire, by attacking Soviet warships off the Cuban coast. Kennedy was wild with rage. The Soviet military also mutinied against executive orders of calm given by then Soviet leader, Nikita Khruschev, and rapid intense behind the scenes diplomacy on both sides, averted World War III.

The entire Kenyan leadership is obsessed with person interests and stranglehold on power, as the entire country goes to waste, and as the entire nation is engulfed in tension and uncertainty. Here lies the big part of Kenya’s problems today, and not in a journalist pointing out the likely devastating consequences that could arise out of such a situation.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                    RED CARD - 26th September 2005

                                                                                                   Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                   P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                   00200 City Square
                                                                                                   Nairobi
                                                                                                   Kenya

                                                                                                   26th September 2005

                                                      RED CARD

The cancellation by the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU), of the Kenya Hockey Team tours to South Africa for the Africa Championship, is another severe blow to sport in Kenya as a whole, and is indicative of very worrisome decline and stagnation. That the Kenya Hockey Union was unable to take both teams to South Africa by road, is a resounding death knell.

Not since the sterling performances of the 1980s, including Kenya’s sterling performance at the 1987 All Africa Games, Gor Mahia F.C.’s clinching of the 1987 Africa Cup Winners Cup and Kenya’s five gold medals at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, has Kenyan sport shown any real sparks of brilliance and development. It has been a steady decline and the nation’s conscience needs to be pricked into determining the fate and future of sport in this country.

We are living in times where sport has grown into a global multi-billion dollar enterprise. There is growing intensity and pressure in the sporting industry. For instance, the Professional Golfing Association (PGA), pretty much runs a 12 month season now. This has been brought about by mounting pressures to expand and mounting expenses, not least player remunerations. Greater demands are being made of everyone inside and outside the global sporting industry. For instance, no less than Nelson Mandela was present during South Africa’s unsuccessful bid to host the 2006 Soccer World Cup, and South Africa’s successful bid to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup, despite Mandela’s ill-health and his doctor’s advise to drastically tone down his schedule. British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was present to support the United Kingdom’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Last year, U.S. entrepreneur Malcolm Glazer, successfully acquired controlling stake in the U.K.’s high profile Manchester United F.C.  In Kenya, South Africa’s MultiChoice Corporation has made successful inroads into the Kenyan market over the last eight years, with it’s mainly subscriber based Super Sport channels. Even lowly regarded Kenyan establishments now subscribe to Super Sport, if nothing more.

Sport is now an established way of living worldwide, but in Kenya it is treated with disdain, ridicule and contempt, and this has greatly hampered the institutionalisation of sport in Kenya. After independence, sport was viewed as an inferior occupation for those who could not proceed with formal education. Football in particular, was balkanised into a sport for Western Kenya. The Kikuyu, Kenya’s leading indigenous community, did little to spare it’s disdain and contempt for football, referring to as the “childish” occupation of “Jaruo” and “Baruyia”(the Western Kenya Luo and Luhyia communities), so that even when Gor Mahia F.C. won the Continental Africa Cup Winners Cup in 1987, it meant little to many Kikuyus. When Kikuyu Kenya sneezes, the rest of Kenya has a cold, and here lies the significance of this disdain.

Sadly, these biases towards sport have not changed in Kenya, despite sweeping changes in sport worldwide. For instance, many of us have witnessed African soccer grow into an institution over the years, and we can now confidently state that an African nation will win the Soccer World Cup in our time. Star African soccer players that have helped this proud and significant progression included Liberian presidential candidate, George Weah, Roger Milla, Abedi Peli, Rashid Yekini, Thomas Nkono, Anthony Yeboah, Nwankwo Kanu, Daniel Amokachi, Tijana Babanginda, Rigobert Song, Augustine “JJ” Okocha, Ibrahim Babayaro, Samuel E’too, Henri Camarra, Didier Drogba, El Hadj Diouf, and a host of numerous other brilliant players. Over the years, we have loudly cheered these elite soccer African players while watching them on screen, seen the opportunities that they have created for themselves and their countries, but failed to adopt the strategies that have enabled progress in these players and their mother nations.

Our attitude towards sport in general in this country is depressing and all wrong. We are no longer a threat in any sport worldwide. We lost the chance to host the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations, and Kenya’s once prestigious Safari Rally has been off the World Rally Championship (WRC), calendar for some time now. Employment in Kenya has stagnated, but we still insist on treating sport with disdain, as the global sporting industry transforms in leaps. Rather than carry on in pursuits that are not beneficial to the general population, sport in Kenya should either be revolutionized to catch up with modern trends, or be scrapped altogether, so that we can fully devote our energies to the Premier Soccer Leagues across the European continent, equally of no benefit to this country.



Michael Mundia Kamau

          THE BULL OF NEW YORK - 18th September 2005

                                                                                                      Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                      P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                      00200 City Square
                                                                                                      Nairobi
                                                                                                      Kenya

                                                                                                      18th September 2005

                                                    THE BULL OF NEW YORK

Ten years after the disgraceful “Bull of Auckland” episode involving a high ranking Kenyan Government official at the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit in New Zealand, the pitiful baton has been passed on to yet another high ranking Kenyan Government official, the “Bull of New York”, following the bizarre attempted rape incident that took place during the just concluded 60th anniversary celebrations of the United Nations. Eleven years after former Nairobi Mayor John Kingori dramatically led 45 councillors in ousting then Nairobi Mayor Steve Mwangi by way of what Mayor Kingori referred to as “Club 45”, the 94 member Kenyan delegation to the said 60th anniversary celebrations of the United Nations, has taken over Mayor Kingori’s mantle through the newly constituted “Club 94”.

Two incidents during one momentous occasion, define the real Kenya. It is extremely difficult to take President Kibaki and the entire Kenyan leadership, seriously anymore.
For instance, the said 94 member Kenyan delegation to the just concluded New York event, partly comprised Gem MP Hon. Jakoyo Midiwo, a staunch critic of the Kibaki Government, Hon. (Prof.) Ruth Oniango, another staunch critic of the Kibaki administration, and Zipporah Kittony, Chairlady of giant Maendeleo ya Wanawake, and key operative in the previous regime. Indeed Zipporah Kittony was one of two key operatives then, who shed tears on the lawns of State House Nairobi, on the day that Daniel arap Moi handed over power on 30th December 2002. Others were a retinue of obscure State functionaries whose role at the occasion, is difficult to place.

The entire cost of the wasteful trip is estimated at US $ 200,000, at a time when civil servants, teachers, nurses, and University lecturers are being denied salary increments, because of lack of funds, at a time when many in this country are faced with famine prompting an international appeal by the government, and at a time when the country is faced with a shortage of several key drugs, and other healthcare facilities. Moreover oil prices have hit record highs both worldwide and in Kenya, yet no plan of action is forthcoming from the entire Kenyan leadership. The Electricity Regulatory Board has indicated that power tariffs will soon go up as a result of increased petroleum prices, and it is just a matter of time before similar multiplier effects begin being felt all over the economy.

The situation begs for critical action and fore planning, but in their place we instead have government functionaries incapable of controlling their loins both at home and abroad, a Kenyan contingent of 94 that has just wasted US $ 200,000, and opposing political camps back home who are breaking the law with impunity, by directly contravening a Kenya Gazette notice that states that campaigns for the November 21st 2005 referendum, are to commence on 21st October 2005.

We should stop lying to ourselves, and accept that this country has become unmanageable and ungovernable. Jungle law, cartels, anarchy, disorder, indiscipline and abuse prevail, as the country goes to rot. This indeed is one of the things that greatly troubled former President Daniel arap Moi for many years.

It is extremely difficult to take the entire Kenyan leadership seriously anymore. But then again, it is extremely difficult to take ourselves seriously anymore. When the late Hon. Tony Ndilinge was accused of being the “Bull of Auckland” back in 1995, he quickly came to his defence by declaring that he was the “Bull of Machakos”, and not the “Bull of Auckland” as stated. Hon. Ndilinge strongly protested the misrepresentation, and not the representation per se. How many high profile male Kenyans have passed away in the recent past, occasioning the emergence of a retinue of women credibly claiming to be either co-wives or concubines of the deceased, and making valid claims to the Estate? How many less prominent Kenyans face this exact indignity on a daily basis, following their demise? It pours scorn on both our morals, and women’s empowerment in Kenya. Why did parliamentarians attempt to callously sneak in a clause into their medical covers, that catered for as many spouses as possible, up to and including concubines? Why did the Kenya Pipeline Corporation streamline it’s staff medical scheme to cater for cover of strictly one spouse for male employees, following massive abuse? How many of us currently have more than one wife, and a retinue of several other girlfriends? We are just a nation of “Kenyan Bulls”, and on this one count, the recalled Kenyan ambassador to the US can be spared harsh criticism.

A nation with loose morals and loose loin control, is a nation with no principles, and a nation where a 94 member government delegation can squander US $ 200,000 with impunity.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                  KIBAKONOMICS - 11th September 2005

                                                                                                         Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                         P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                         00200 City Square
                                                                                                         Nairobi
                                                                                                         Kenya

                                                                                                         11th September 2005

                                                     KIBAKONOMICS

Two Nation Media Group headlines in two consecutive days raise very serious questions about the overall state of this country, and the direction it is taking. On Thursday, 8th September 2005, Kenya’s “Daily Nation” reported that Kenya was a poorer nation today, than it was three years, according to a compounded United Nations report and index. Part of the “Daily Nation” report of 8th September 2005, went: “Kenya is ranked 154 out of 177 countries included in the United Nations Development Programme report. Kenya is 10 places behind Uganda, which is position 144. Tanzania is number 164. Yet in 2002, Kenya was ranked in position 134 while Uganda was trailing at 150.”

The following day, Friday, 9th September 2005, the “Daily Nation” reported that the Central Bank of Kenya had made a monumental loss of US $ 53.3 million, in it’s just concluded financial year. Part of the “Daily Nation” report of 9th September 2005, goes: “In the 2001/02 financial year, the bank reported a US $ 77.3 million profit reportedly after a strong performance in currency and gold transactions. The profits had doubled from the previous year’s US $ 32 million. However by January 2003, the CBK foreign exchange reserves had increased by some US $ 62.6 million to hit the US $ 1.11 billion.”

What is deeply amazing and deeply troubling from the two above revelations, is that former President Daniel arap Moi, handed over a nation and economy that was on a sound path of recovery, much the same way that former US President Bill Clinton inherited a sound and improving economy from the senior George Bush. The difference of-course is that Bill Clinton built on these gains, unlike Kenya’s NARC regime, which has erased them. In one stroke, two headlines erase Daniel arap Moi’s grossly unfair portrayal as a buffoon and despot who stifled economic advancement in Kenya for 24 years, and casts serious doubts on President Mwai Kibaki as a redeemer and an economist per excellance.

The Kenyan Minister for Justice is on record as having said that the war on corruption was being lost. Immediate former British High Commissioner to Kenya, Sir Edward Clay, is on record as having forwarded 20 cases of corruption to the Kenyan Government for investigation, all of which according to Sir Clay, made the monumental US $ 93.3 million Anglo-Leasing scandal of 2004, look pale. Yet no action is forthcoming from the Government of President Mwai Kibaki on all the aforementioned troubling indicators of economic decline, as the entire Kenyan leadership, including President Kibaki himself, gives it’s entire priority, time and energy, to the Constitutional Review Referendum of November 21st 2005.

Little could be of higher priority to the Kenyan nation right now, than it’s ailing and troubling economy. Much of the social decay and decadence in Kenya right now, has a direct and indirect correlation to the ailing economy. The economy has stagnated resulting in widespread loss of jobs and high unemployment. Business margins are extremely tight, and only a small crop of businesses are breaking even under very difficult conditions. All urban areas in Kenya are choking terribly from massive rural-urban migration, following stagnation and despair in Kenya’s rural areas.

President Kibaki is campaigning aggressively for a “Yes” vote at the November 21st 2005 referendum, yet he cannot find it in himself to say a word about Kenya’s troubling economic stagnation. The figures quoted in the Kenyan mainstream today are fabulous, monumental, and amazing : “ ‘US $ 40 million set aside for project’, ‘US $  9.24 million to alleviate poverty’, ‘US $ 120 million for construction of roads’”, yet the United Nations Development Programme gives Kenya’s plight as being worse of today, then it was three years ago.

Based on the two above reports, Kenya would have registered fabulous economic growth by now had former President Daniel arap Moi continued to rule this country after 2002. There is truly little else that could be more amazing or more ironic in the face of Kenya’s history over the immediate past 13 years. Daniel arap Moi may not have formal schooling in economics, but he is certainly an enlightened leader. The problem all these years was not him, but us. Following the protocol fiasco at the Nairobi signing of the Sudan Peace Accord in January 2005, former State House Comptroller, Franklin Bett, went public and stated that such incidences rarely occurred during the Moi presidency, because Moi did not interfere in and with the functions of State, letting them be handled by the relevant officers. Moi gave his officers a free hand and was very professional in his approach to governance and administration, according to Bett. No other State functionary can be said to operate in closer proximity to the President of Kenya than the State House Comptroller, and Franklin Bett’s words therefore bear heavy significance. Out of this, one sees how Kenya’s foreign exchange reserves hit the US $ 1 Billion mark, on the eve of Moi’s departure.

The NARC administration may be made up of individuals with high formal schooling, but it clearly lacks in enlightened leadership and direction. The same actually, is true of the entire Kenyan nation. Typical of our idleness and typical of our posturing for the next thing to happen, the whole nation is now on the topic of Bananas and Oranges, symbols of the totally unnecessary November 21st 2005 Constitutional Referendum. Where were all of us before Bananas and Oranges suddenly became an issue? Isn’t there anything else to do in this country? It is deeply depressing to see fully grown men and women who claim to have witnessed the birth of independent Kenya on 12th December 1963, discuss energetically and animatedly about Bananas and Oranges.

This country has not grown mentally and here lies the problem. We may have fabulously expensive and fabulously sophisticated cell phones, but we are little more than overgrown babies going nowhere. Never before have Kenyans been more educated, more widely traveled and more exposed, yet we have not grown up. Immaturity is becoming more and more pronounced by the day. We lost a great opportunity to build a great nation after 1963, and continue to do so, despite all the strides that we have purportedly made. A good example is the fact that this writing is in English, and not the Kiswahili of Julius Nyerere’s standard. We have choices, and we need to start using them.



Michael Mundia Kamau

“DISPUTES OVER INDUSTRIAL AWARDS AFFECTING WORKERS” - 14th July 2005

                                                                                                       Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                       P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                       00200 City Square
                                                                                                       Nairobi
                                                                                                       Kenya

                                                                                                       14th July 2005

                         “DISPUTES OVER INDUSTRIAL AWARDS AFFECTING WORKERS”

Concerns raised by the Secretary General of the Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers, Hoseah N. Kagondu, appearing in the “Daily Nation’s” “Talking Point” of Wednesday, 13th July 2005, are symptomatic of an extremely troubling labour situation in Kenya, on the verge of total collapse. Many will be quick to side with Mr. Kagondu’s view on the ineffectiveness of the Industrial Court of Kenya in comprehensively concluding labour disputes today, but this constitutes only a minute part of a much larger and serious problem.

On the one hand, the Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW), and the umbrella body of all Kenyan labour unions, the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU), continue to fail miserably in effective representation of workers. Since independence, there has been no real significant growth in membership, finances and assests. COTU’s run down Solidarity Building headquarters in Nairobi, in the equally run down Pumwani neighbourhood, and COTU’s run down Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu, remain the perennial, sordid face of the plight of Workers in Kenya. This has been the situation as far as the majority can remember. Membership has also registered steady decline over the years, following lay-offs, company closures, general worker disenchanment and malaise with the labour movement, and hidden subtle threats and arm twisting from employers. This has worsened an already fluid situation. Spiralling unemployment has created a desperate situation where hundreds of thousands of individuals are seeking very limited opportunities. Employers are taking full advantage of this.

What is worse is that only a small fraction of “elite” Kenyan workers “benefit” from Union representation. The vast majority of Kenyan workers operate in an uncaring, corrupt, exploitative and manipulative system, and eke out an existence of torture and abuse. For a long time for instance, the exploitative and inhumane conditions of workers at Nairobi’s Export Processing Zone (EPZ), have been public knowledge, yet no action has been taken by the public itself, the Government of Kenya, the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), Mr. Kagondu’s Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW), or the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU). Workers are hired and fired at will. Female employees are objects of sexual gratification for supervisory staff, and frequently abused and mistreated. When the become pregnant, they are immediately dismissed.  Many times workers question whether there is a Government in Kenya. Horticultural and floricultural farms in the Rift Valley, have also been cited for similar abuses and injustices, yet no action has been forthcoming.

From the late 1990s to the present, a cabal of powerful local operatives of African and Asian descent, have been illegally smuggling Asian labour into Kenya from mainly the Indian sub-continent, and other countries from Eastern Asia, to take up clerical and supervisory roles in Kenyan companies and factories. The Asian immigrants have no respect or regard whatsoever for locals. The contempt is so pronounced that it has also resulted in friction, tension and outcries from indigenous Asian Kenyans. The swoop of illegal Asian immigrants at the Kenyan coast earlier this year, is a sign of this nefarious crime against the people of Kenya. There has been no action from the Government of Kenya, the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), Mr. Kagondu’s Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW), or the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU). There is also another vast number of domestic workers and child labourers, who suffer daily brutalities and injustices at our hands, as the entire nation, including Mr. Kagondu’s Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW), sits back.

It has also been a long time since there were any meaningful Tripartite deliberations between the Government of Kenya, the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), and the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU), to address changing realities in the Kenyan labour force, and the economy at large. During Labour day this year for instance, it was indicated that general nationwide salary increments for workers, would henceforth be made only once every two years. This was because Kenyan labour was too highly priced when compared to labour from the far east, according to Kenya’s multilateral and bilateral donor partners. There is little that could be more absurd than this point of view, because present Kenyan incomes have resulted in a life of squalor for the majority. “A Basket of Goods” costs much less in relative terms in India than in Kenya, for instance, and it is curious that Kenya’s donor partners are choosing to ignore this.

Yet we only have ourselves to blame. The economy has not registered any significant growth and change since independence. We heavily rely on the same sources now, as we did then. A case in point is the salary award made by the Industrial Court of Kenya to workers of the troubled Kenya Bus Services Limited (KBS). COTU applied hollow pressure on KBS to pay the award, but KBS insisted that it couldn’t, because it was facing a serious liquidity crunch. KBS is now on the verge of bankruptcy and collapse, Industrial Court of Kenya, or not. It is well that Mr. Kagondu and the Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW), take stock of this.

The same applies to other affected parties mentioned in Mr. Kagondu’s article. On April 17th 2005, “The Sunday Standard” revealed that the bulk of Kenya’s wealth is in foreign hands. According to “The Sunday Standard” of April 17th, 2005, “If Kenya were a cake to be shared out, Kenyans would only lay claim to 31 per cent of the country’s total wealth. The rest would go to foreigners”. “The Sunday Standard” itself is foreign owned, so we do not have the luxury of laying down terms or conditions. If the Industrial Court of Kenya continues to make impractical and unsustainable awards, then foreign owned companies will simply shut down their operations in this region, and leave us with our exhibitions, bars, restaurants, lodgings, butcheries, boutiques and hair salons. The Ugandan economy collapsed when dictator Idi Amin expelled Asians in 1972.

Mr. Kagondu, the Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW), and the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU), had better look beyond the Industrial Court of Kenya, and take grip of a troubling crisis. If ever there was a need for renewed Tripartite Agreements between the Government, Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), and COTU that characterised labour relations soon after independence, then it is now, because the Kenyan economy is on the brink of collapse. There will have to be compromise from all sides, otherwise the situation will degenerate into total anarchy. Significant anarchy already exists.

The Government and Unions must be seen to be playing a leading role in this delicate situation. It does help to see government officials riding around in brand new top range luxury vehicles. It does not also help to see the COTU Secretary-General riding around in a Mercedes Benz. Rather than seek refuge in blaming the Industrial Court of Kenya through prominently placed press articles, Mr. Kagondu ought to put his house, and that of his immediate neighbours, COTU, the Government of Kenya, and the Federation of Kenya Employers, in order.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                          LUTHER - 12th July 2005

                                                                                                       Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                       P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                       00200 City Square
                                                                                                       Nairobi
                                                                                                       Kenya

                                                                                                       12th July 2005

                                                          LUTHER

The decision by Nairobi’s Classic 105 FM to dedicate the entire weekend of July 8th and 9th, to compositions by departed Blues icon Luther Vandross, was as timely as it was befitting. Classic 105 FM provided much needed calm, solace, recognition and reflection to the troubled city of Nairobi and it’s environs, over the said weekend, appropriately celebrating Vandross’ life, songs and accomplishments.

Luther Vandross’ music embodied soberness, substance, respect, rationale and honour. His music cut across any and all boundaries including race, age and gender. This was the magnificent appeal to Vandross’ music, and it shall truly be his lasting legacy. Vandross solidified Rhythm and Blues through compositions that re-enacted age old teachings. Numerous and diverse music genres, rarely accomplish this nowadays, but Vandross passionately pursued this high standard for over 20 years.

We all have choices, and Luther Vandross made his the propagation of the timeless values that constitute society’s very existence. To his credit, he stuck to Rhythm and Blues, and resisted deviating to other forms of music for survival and commercial gain. This was certainly not easy. A lot of music nowadays lacks in meaning, substance and direction. Like a marijuana joint, it is only meant to provide highly contaminated, harmful, injurious and momentary pleasure. Music that worships racism, homicide, prejudice, chauvinism, vanity, conceit, hate, lust, adultery, fornication, profanity and obscenity, cannot meaningfully define any destiny. Music is with us at all times of our lives, signifying it’s entrenched place in society.

Luther Vandross is familiar to only a small fraction of Kenyans, but his legacy is of very useful inspiration to this country. Like Bob Marley who revolutionised Reggae music and sensitized the plight of the downtrodden in contemporary society, Luther Vandross made passionate appeals for sobriety, humility and a return to the timeless values that define life.

We live in a world that places a high premium on image and physical appearances. The outer self takes centre stage at the expense of a highly malnourished and hollow inner self. We can and will never go anywhere before and unless this paradox is addressed. Luther Vandross’ music will always remain nourishment for the inner self.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                         TENSION - 19th June 2005

                                                                                                       Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                       P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                       00200 City Square
                                                                                                       Nairobi
                                                                                                       Kenya

                                                                                                       19th June 2005

                                                        TENSION

Legislation that restricts Kenyan retirees from drawing the bulk of their pension until they attain the age of 55, as contained in the Finance Minister's Budget speech of 8th June 2005, is misplaced and out of touch with reality. The Government cannot claim that it seeks to safeguard the welfare of workers on this one account, when it has failed to create a conducive all round environment for the Kenyan labour force as a whole.

Fortunes for the Kenyan worker continue to become gloomier and more wretched by the day. Despite assertions of higher economic growth and despite continual and lavish pronouncements by the Kenya Revenue Authority of exceeded revenue collection running into billions of shillings, the general situation in the country is far from being attractive. For instance, the giant Kenya Bus Services Limited is deeply indebted and appears headed for certain insolvency. Seven hundred of it's employees have been laid off and part of it's fleet has been grounded. The sheer desperation of the situation was further captured by the sacked workers' demand for payment of outstanding salary arrears. The Government and Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU), have done nothing to alleviate or arrest the fast deteriorated situation at Kenya Bus Services Limited. If the Government and COTU really cared, there would have been prior intervention. The Industrial Court of Kenya cannot also escape blame for failing to ensure implementation of a salary award to Kenya Bus Services Limited workers. One can only imagine the sheer sense of frustration, futility and torture being felt by the sacked Kenya Bus Services Limited workers, when they further realise that they cannot draw their pension contributions until they attain the age of 55.

The situation in other companies and sectors of Kenya's economy is not much different from that of Kenya Bus Services Limited, and the entire country needs to accept and address this gruesome reality. Downsizing, outsourcing, cost-cutting and merging are the terms regularly used nowadays, not just in Kenya, but world wide. In lower and middle class Kenyan households nowadays it is common to find parents, guardians and offspring all at home, because of job cuts. In situations that are deeply distressing, one can find a laid off father aged 48, a laid off mother aged 47, a laid off daughter aged 26, and a laid off son aged 24. If the Minister of Finance is not aware of these realities, then he had better sooner resign. In a country that is yet to draw up sound structures on the expansion of free enterprise and in a country that is yet to lay down firm structures on affordable accessibility of credit, extended and aggravated delay in accessing one's pension is untenable and impracticable.

The flip side of it is also deeply distressing. Kenyan parliamentarians received hefty lucrative increments on Constituency Development Funds during the same Budget of 8th June 2005. Kenyan parliamentarians will not have to wait till they attain the age of 55 to access the higher Constituency Development Funds. Kenyan parliamentarians also mooted a scheme that entitles all outgoing elected MPs to a pension, on expiry of their five year terms. A great deal of controversy was generated by the proposal, leading to it being shelved temporarily, but not expunged. The entire Kenyan Cabinet, including the Minister of Finance, and the near entire Kenyan Legislature, is therefore set to draw generous pensions sometime in early 2008, two and a half years from now, as the rest of the Kenyan labour force is being asked to wait up to 30 years for their much less generous pension packages.

If this country is growing, then many of us are not feeling or seeing the growth. If the revenue base of the Kenya Revenue Authority is growing exponentially, many of us are not feeling or seeing this massive growth in the revenue base. What we feel and see, is gloom and uncertainty. After the fall of communism in Eastern Europe 14 years ago, there was significant economic growth partly manifested by major infrastructural and real estate developments. South Africa and China have also witnessed similar scenarios in recent years. Kenya has not, and it is therefore difficult to relate to the favourable figures being bandied. Until tangible structural changes began being felt by the general Kenyan populace, the Minister of Finance requires to suspend any and all legislation that strangulates scarce accessibility to credit by the Kenyan worker, including torturous unnecessary delay in accessing one's pension.


Michael Mundia Kamau

                 POWER OF ATTORNEY - 29th May 2005

                                                                                                         Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                         P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                         00200 City Square
                                                                                                         Nairobi
                                                                                                         Kenya

                                                                                                         29th May 2005

                                                 POWER OF ATTORNEY

The outrage that has arisen across Kenya following the acquittal of White-Kenyan, Thomas Patrick Gilbert Cholmondely, on the charge of murdering former Kenya Wildlife Service ranger, Samson ole Sisina, is two-faced, hypocritical, racist and unjustified. The reasons fronted by Attorney General Amos Wako and immediate former Director of Public Prosecutions, Philip Murgor, may be wanting and lacking in substance, but the public cannot ignore past and ongoing injustices in this country, because of this one tragedy. The manner in which Africans and Asians have ganged up against the Delamares, and Whites in general, is misplaced and totally sends the wrong signals.

Fr. John Hannon of the Society of African Missions, was murdered at his parish house at Matasia, Ngong, on 24th November 2004, yet the same sustained Thomas Cholmondely type public pressure on the government to apprehend the African killers of Fr. Hannon, is and has not been evident. Father Anthony Kaiser, an American Roman Catholic priest, was murdered near Naivasha, on 24th August 2000, yet the same sustained Thomas Cholmondely type public pressure on the government to apprehend the African killers of Fr. Kaiser, is and has not been evident. When Catholic Father, Gabriel Dolan, was arrested in Kitale in November 2003 over a land dispute, there was no sustained Thomas Cholmondely type public pressure on the government to release Fr. Dolan. It is deeply ironic that these three cases involve non-indigenous White catholic priests, yet when Pope John Paul II passed away on 2nd April 2005, there was mass emotional outpouring in Kenya. It is also tragically ironic that the period of ailment of Pope John Paul II prior to his death, coincided with clashes for water points between Maasais and Kikuyus in Mai Mahiu. Prayers were said for the ailing Pope, yet no prayers were said for those killed in the clashes. Further, no sustained Thomas Cholmondely type public pressure was brought to bear on the government for the arrest of those behind the Mai Mahiu clashes, and for compensation of the victims and their families.

For over one year now, the "Daily Nation" weekly "Outlook" has carried detailed and startling stories of miscarriages of justice in this very country, yet no sustained Thomas Cholmondely type public pressure has been brought to bear on the either the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Police Commissioner, or the Criminal Investigations Department Director. All the victims, except one White immigrant, are Africans, and all the key suspects are Africans.

On the occasion to mark the 25th anniversary of the assassination of former Nyandarua North M.P., J.M. Kariuki on 2nd March 2000, the "Daily Nation" ran a detailed and stunning serialisation of J.M.'s last moments. For 25 years, the last publicly known sighting of J.M. Kariuki, was he in the company of former General Service Unit Director Ben Gethi, in the vicinity of Nairobi's Hilton Hotel. For the first time in as many years, the "Daily Nation" exposed how J.M. was thereafter taken to the Special Branch headquarters, where he was interrogated, assaulted, and shot in the arm. Following this startling and dramatic revelation, there was no sustained Thomas Cholmondely type public pressure brought to bear on either the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Police Commissioner, or the Criminal Investigations Department Director, to re-open the case.

If we want to assist ourselves and this country, we should steer way from racism, tribalism, sectarianism, prejudice, and favouritism. The judicial system in Kenya is in shambles and incapable of upholding and safeguarding the rights of any of us, in it's current state. Reform will only come if there is objective and widespread public participation. The rights of all races in Kenya are equal and complimentary, and do not supercede each other. The Law Society of Kenya (LSK), the lobbies, and the public in general, should therefore pursue all prior and ongoing miscarriages of justice in Kenya, with the same passion and gusto as that of Thomas Patrick Gilbert Cholmondely.


Michael Mundia Kamau

                     NIGHT SHIFT - 21st May 2005

                                                                                                       Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                       P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                       00200 City Square
                                                                                                       Nairobi
                                                                                                       Kenya

                                                                                                       21st May 2005

                                                  NIGHT SHIFT

The celebrated Labour day weekend affront on immediate former World Bank Kenya country director, Makhtar Diop and the two leading Kenyan dailies by Kenyan first lady, Lucy Kibaki, has spurred widespread reactions. Looked at historically however, the high profile events of that weekend personify the crude and abrasive manner that we have chosen to conduct the affairs of this country over the past 41 years, and on this count an entire nation, and not just Lucy Kibaki, stands accused of injustices. The passionate criticism of the first lady is therefore grossly misplaced.

Lucy Kibaki's conduct that weekend was no different from that of Kenyatta era goons, who would hold up traffic on busy highways as they engaged in empty banter, insulting, assaulting and threatening those who dared protest. Everyone outside their glorified circles, were merely "tumudu" (small insignificant beings). Lucy Kibaki's conduct that weekend, was no different from that of Kenyatta era goons, who urinated openly in major streets, declaring that theirs were "Royal waters". Legend has it that a group led by a former member of Kenyatta's inner circle, entered an eatery and was disappointed to find that the last portion of roasted meat had just been served. Maddened by this, the head of the group proceeded to where the last portion of roasted meat was being served, and urinated on the roasted meat.

Lucy Kibaki's conduct on the Labour day weekend of 2005, is no different from Moi era goons, who took over the running of the civil service and parastatals from Kenyatta's equally crude goons, and continued with the reign of public terror and intimidation. Lucy Kibaki's conduct on the Labour day weekend of 2005, is no different from Moi era goons, who created fiefdoms out of this country. This is probably why Mrs. Kibaki got emotional at one stage during her five hour sojourn at the Nation centre, citing "unkindness". In true effect, Mrs. Kibaki, was probably reminiscing numerous "unkind" humiliations that her and her husband suffered at the hands of Kenyatta's and Moi's goons, and was further wondering why the public was being "unkind" by not allowing NARC govern in the same manner of Kenyatta and Moi, by continually auditing and criticising her husband's government. For instance, if Kenya Television Network cameraman Clifford Derrick Otieno, should by any remote chance succeed in filing an assault charge against Mrs. Kibaki, then numerous of Kenyatta's and Moi's men will have to be arraigned in court, either alive or posthumously. The issues at hand are of a much bigger nature.

It is however clear that the nation can no longer bear such uncalled for and unnecessary brute actions of purported supremacy, and what is even more tragic, is our refusal to accept this reality. Lucy Kibaki wasted an entire weekend on the kind of empty chest-thumping that Kenyans engage in on a daily basis.

Many people have come to the defence of Korogocho slum dwellers, following Mrs. Kibaki's snide reference to the slum over the celebrated weekend. However, many Korogocho residents have serious attitude problems. They go out of their way to belittle and degrade each other, and wider society at large. Korogocho slum is home to the lower classes, yet Korogocho is little more than a haven of tin gods in denial. Everyone in Korogocho seems to know several imaginary well placed members of society, will brag about these hollow claims, and get into vicious verbal and physical fights with each other over this, or much less. There is hardly any respect for anyone or anything in Korogocho, and we should not pretend that we despise Korogocho any less than Lucy Kibaki does. Korogocho residents reign over their world in the same way that Lucy Kibaki reigned over Mahktar Diop's residence and the Nation centre over the celebrated Labour day weekend. Lucy Kibaki was just being a Kenyan, in a country that is far from cultivating standards. We cannot ask for what we are not giving off ourselves.

The upper classes rank no better than Korogocho slum dwellers, and this is why our society is trapped in an intertwined and interlinked web of misery, deprived of inspiration. Many from middle class neighbourhoods and Lucy Kibaki's upper class Muthaiga neigbourhood, have distinct links with Korogocho and other slums. Many upper and middle class Kenyans purchase stolen goods from Korogocho and other slums. These include cars, spare parts, electronic goods, and high tech cellular phones. The Kenyan upper and middle classes continue to fuel criminal and murderous acts, through trade in stolen goods. Status and prestige is to be acquired at any cost. How different is this from the manner that Lucy Kibaki demanded status and prestige over the celebrated Labour day weekend ? It is this same Kenyan upper and middle classes that this country is supposed to be relying on for future development. Numerous Kenyans in the upper and middle classes, also have mistresses and gigolos in Korogocho and other slums.

It was very refreshing though, to have heard Lucy Kibaki boldly declare that she would make no effort to try and be anyone other than herself. This was very inspiring for both Africans and women, because Lucy Kibaki is both. The road of empowerment, assertion and self-realisation that this country ought to take, emerged in this powerful and ironic sense, on the night that Lucy Kibaki laid seige at the Nation centre.

Whatever it is that the public perceive of Lucy Kibaki during and after the celebrated weekend incidents, she effectively captured the pronounced state of deep turmoil, confusion and conflict that this country continues to be engulfed in. The entrapment of a nation in unworkable, derelict, obsolete, outmoded and outdated ways, were on display on Labour day weekend 2005. If we as a country are not able to see ourselves through Lucy Kibaki's altercations of Labour day weekend 2005, then we can never hope to get a more clearer understanding of ourselves through any other means. An entire nation, and not just Lucy Kibaki alone, is called upon to reform.



Michael Mundia Kamau

        THE KENYA COMMUNITY ABROAD (KCA) - 11th January 2005

                                                                                                         Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                         P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                         00200 City Square
                                                                                                         Nairobi
                                                                                                         Kenya

                                                                                                         11th January 2005

                                     THE KENYA COMMUNITY ABROAD (KCA)

Jerry Okungu’s article titled “Kenya's spoilt exiles have nothing to give this country” in “The Standard” of 5th January 2005 (http://www.eastandard.net/archives/cl/hm_news/news.php?articleid=9896), was a candid and frank effort to address a subject that has been ignored for too long, and Jerry needs to be commended for this very brave move. In a nutshell, Jerry stated that the huge Kenyan Community Abroad has and is not making any tangible contribution to the development of this country, a view that must be held to be true, in the absence of much to suggest otherwise.

The overall position of the entire Kenyan Community Abroad, needs thorough reviewing, overhauling and transformation, to immediately halt the monumental wastage in personnel, funds and resources. Other than a website (http://www.kenyansabroad.org/), KCA does not have any meaningful programs running either abroad or at home. KCA was founded in March 1997 according to their website, but there is nothing to suggest that they have filed returns with the Kenyan Registrar of Societies for the past seven years, returns that would be invaluable in reevaluating the Gross National Product (GNP). The failure by the KCA to compile and file authentic and credible Reports of their audited accounts and activities over the past seven years, makes nonsense of their claims that they have made immense contributions to Kenya’s development. The KCA has not shied away from attacking purported exploitation of Kenyans by giant Multi-National Corporations operating in Kenya. Whatever ills that the purportedly exploiting Multi-National Corporations stand accused of, they continue to make annual returns in conformity with the law. Other than making heavy contributions to the Kenya Revenue Authority in the form of a wide array of taxes, Multi-National Corporations continue to publish their annual audited accounts in leading Kenyan publications by way of full page paid advertisements, unlike the KCA which forever continues to freeload on complimentary slots in the same publications.

Sylvester Kitua in a January 10th 2005 rejoinder titled “Okungu knows little about the role of Kenyans living abroad” (http://www.eastandard.net/archives/cl/hm_news/news.php?articleid=10294), claims that that the entire African Diaspora annually remits back home an amount of US $ 80 billion. Mr. Kitua does not quote the source of his figure, but even if one were to assume that only a minute fraction of this figure, say 0.1 %, is the Kenyan remittance, then this would mean that Kenya receives an annual amount of US $ 8 million (640 million Kenya Shillings), from the Diaspora, which is an outrageous misrepresentation. These kinds of funds would comfortably enable the KCA maintain a fully staffed and running National Office in Nairobi, fully staffed and running branches in each of the eight provinces of Kenya, and fully staffed and running sub-branches in each of the 70 districts of Kenya. Additionally, Al Kags in a January 8th 2005 response titled “Kenyans living abroad are doing a lot for their country”( http://www.eastandard.net/archives/cl/hm_news/news.php?articleid=10137), claims that the number of Kenyans abroad numbers 1.8 million. Al Kags like Sylvester Kitua above,  does not quote the source of his figures, but even if one were to assume that only a tenth of the 1.8 million Kenyans abroad are active members of KCA, paying an annual modest membership fee of US $ 20, then this translates to an annual revenue for KCA of US $ 3,600,000 (288 million Kenya Shillings), from membership subscriptions alone. These kind of funds would comfortably enable the KCA maintain fully staffed and running Chapters in North America, Europe, Southern Africa, the East and Central Africa region outside Kenya, and Australia, where the bulk of the Kenya Community Abroad is situated. With these structures in place at home and abroad, the KCA should have been able to hold numerous awareness campaigns, workshops, seminars and road-shows over the past seven years, both at home and abroad. These assemblies would have succeeded by now in entrenching a much clearer understanding on living, studying and working abroad, amongst Kenyans back home. The provincial and district KCA offices at home in particular, would have been invaluable and instrumental in coordinating and organizing relocation of numerous Kenyans to different parts of the world, to study, work or trade. KCA at large, would have succeeded in spearheading a massive socio-economic movement in Kenya through ideology, akin to the Robert Mugabe led Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), the Yoweri Museveni led National Resistance Movement (NRM), the Paul Kagame led Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the Oliver Tambo led African National Congress (ANC), and the John Garang led Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM), all of which staged successful movements from outside their respective countries. Jerry Okungu is therefore fully justified in dismissing the Kenya Community Abroad.

KCA is just as bad as the current and previous Kenya governments that it continues to attack, Kenya governments that facilitated it’s very existence. Rather than build a vibrant Kenya Community Abroad, reports that continue to filter back home are of disjointedness and desperation. Five years ago, alarming pornographic images purported to be those of Kenyans in the United States, circulated extensively on the internet. Some of the images displayed nude individuals brandishing the Kenyan flag. The one known source of the pornographic images (http://www.mightyafrica.com/warembo.html), even mentions pornographic video tapes involving Kenyans. Unconfirmed reports on a host of Kenyan websites manned from the Diaspora, suggested that the participants in the said pornographic video tapes, communicated in both Kiswahili and “Sheng”. Further unconfirmed reports from the same said websites, also alleged that pornographic activities by Kenyans was also rife in Canada. The KCA has not made any indication whatsoever that it is investigating these claims and arranging to render assistance and remedy where necessary.

It is misplaced and unjustified in the extreme to make a blanket condemnation of all Kenyans abroad. A sizable number of Kenyans abroad are making useful contributions to themselves and those back hope. The policy of allocating huge funds and resources to settle huge numbers of Kenyans abroad for one reason or another ought to be however reviewed, if it is not bearing results. The huge funds and resources used to relocate Kenyans abroad, had rather be re-directed to the rehabilitation, funding, improvement and support of individuals and structures back home.



Michael Mundia Kamau

THE POWER TO READ, AND ALL THAT APPERTAINS……. - 5th January 2005

                                                                                                       Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                       P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                       00200 City Square
                                                                                                       Nairobi
                                                                                                       Kenya

                                                                                                       5th January 2005

                              THE POWER TO READ, AND ALL THAT APPERTAINS…….

The results of the 2004 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (K.C.P.E.), released by Education Minister George Saitoti on 29th December 2004, further disclose vicious disparities in the education sector in Kenya, and the nation at large. Debate so far has revolved around the sterling performance of the minority privately owned and privately funded schools vis a vis the dismal performance of the bulk publicly owned and publicly funded schools. Justifiably, the effect of free primary education and it’s impact on declining standards in public schools over the past two years, has also been addressed.

No regard whatsoever has however been given to the numerous individuals who will fail to secure further academic and training opportunities. 657,747 candidates sat the K.C.P.E. examination in 2004, out of which roughly 200,000 will proceed on to secondary school and other levels of formal and informal training. This means that roughly 450,000 individuals across the nation are about to be cast into obscurity. Out of the 200,000 that are about to proceed to higher levels of education and training, a sizeable number of roughly 50,000 will either not commence at all, or drop out in between, because of lack of funds. President Mwai Kibaki’s government therefore has the immediate task of engaging or employing 500,000 youth. Unfortunately, many of the remaining 150,000 youth proceeding to higher levels of education, face the grim prospect of attaining sub standard accreditation from an education system that has stalled, having failed to adopt to fast changing times.

The issues afflicting our fragile nation clearly go beyond and are about much more than passionate calls for free primary school education and/or free secondary school education. Equally unsettling and disturbing is the fact that majority school leavers face grim prospects, whether or not ours is a free education system.

Small impoverished nations like ours cannot afford the luxury of implementing a free education curriculum. It is a Herculean demand that is morally, ethically and economically untenable. Education and training can and never will be free. To suggest that education be free is to scorn, completely disrespect and completely disregard all breakthroughs made by mankind upto this point. Numerous distinguished generations of mankind have paid an enormous price over thousands of years, that have enabled modern day conveniences in medicine, health, engineering, science, economics, commerce, communication and travel, inter alia. To suggest that this knowledge be imparted free on current generations of mankind, is to among other things, suggest that we recede back to the days when surgeries were manual, clumsy, painful and rudimentary in the extreme.

In the first instance, the average primary school child in the developed world is privileged, with access to basic necessities. Secondly, in addition to conventional facilities of education and learning, the average primary school child in the developed world has easy access to a wide array of modern electronic gadgets of learning and communication, including television, personal computers and the internet. The developing world is ages away from attaining these levels, and the average primary school child in Kenya is severely handicapped when compared to the average primary school child in the developed world.

State funds and resources in Kenya as elsewhere, are stretched and cannot suitably and favourably fund a free primary school education scheme that will be able to effectively compete with the module in the first world. Politics and populist decisions aside, Kenyan society will fund the transformation of the entire education sector in Kenya in partnership with the government, if we genuinely care about this country, it’s youth and it’s future. In previous years, the government periodically issued 5 year, 10 year and 25 year development plans. Transformation in the Kenyan education sector clearly falls within a 25 year development scheme, initially. Even then we would only have covered a small fraction of a long journey. Oxford University, Cambridge University and Harvard University, institutions that many Kenyans glorify and regularly make reference to, are 909 years old, 796 years old and 369 years old, respectively.

The majority of us have adopted a laid back, convenient and detached approach to change in this country, and this must cease. Our continued generous funding and generous support of fringe activities, is regrettable and deplorable, in the face of general nationwide decline, including alarming declines in the education sector. On the 26th of August 2004 East African Breweries Limited announced record profits and a record dividend payment for it’s financial year ended 30th June 2004. No less than President Mwai Kibaki himself, has made a passionate public plea to Kenyans to reduce their alcohol intake. Leading local cell phone provider, Safaricom, announced a record half year net profit of approximately US $ 28.75 million, as it’s customer base fast approaches the 2 million mark. A 1988 article on Mercedes Benz in the reputed “Economist” magazine mentioned Mercedes as the status symbol vehicle in Frankfurt, London and Nairobi, a situation that still prevails in Nairobi, 17 years later. Nairobi is currently reputed to have a grater density of Mercedes Benz vehicles per square kilometre, than London. Many more Kenyans in general own a wide variety of classy vehicles of one kind of another, than they did 17 years ago. There has also been rapid growth in hawking in this country over the last 11 years. Products ranging from clothing, brand new or used, to electronics, are readily retailed, a sound indication of high impulsive consumer expenditure. This consumerism and it’s preference for foreign products, has been the regrettable cause of the collapse of local manufacturing concerns such as Kisumu Cotton Mills (KICOMI) and Rift Valley Textiles (RIVATEX), over the years.

The massive consumer expenditure in Kenya, which has no long term benefit, requires to be converted to development expenditure for the long term benefit of this country. The highly risky and successful rescue mission of Israeli hostages from Uganda’s Entebbe airport by Israeli commandoes in 1976, ignited fierce gratitude, nationalism and patriotism, to the extent that Israelis reached into their pockets to contribute $ 3 million to a voluntary defense fund. The exchange rate in 1976 was seven Kenya shillings to one US dollar, which means that US $ 3 million in 1976, roughly equates to US $ 34 million in 2005, a figure marginally above the US $ 28.75 million we have helped Safaricom make in half a year. Were we to follow the Israeli example and reach into our pockets to contribute US $ 34 million to voluntarily revamp the education sector, infrastructure and the economy at large, this country would transform favourably remarkably.


Michael Mundia Kamau

           “Whiz kid or just clever boy? - 8th December 2004

                                                                                                     Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                     P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                     00200 City Square
                                                                                                     Nairobi
                                                                                                     Kenya

                                                                                                     8th December 2004

“Whiz kid or just clever boy? Child star speaks out 13 years later”, Article on Bethwell Mwaura Mbugua appearing in “Outlook”, Daily Nation of Monday, 6th December 2004

A retrospective analysis on the high profile Bethwell Mbugua “genius” saga of 16 years ago, carried in the “Daily Nation’s” “Outlook” magazine of Monday, 6th December 2004, should spur extensive soul searching in a nation that stubbornly persists in looking to the west for academic and economic redemption.

Undoubtedly, Bethwell Mbugua and his father Mzee Paul Mbugua Mwaura deserve high commendation for eventually emerging with Bethwell’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry from Macalester College, Minnesota, in the United States. Bethwell Mwaura Mbugua withstood and overcame the tribulations, trials and handicap of originating from a third world background in rural Kenya, adopted and settled in high pace cosmopolitan America at a very tender and vulnerable age, and returned backed home having attained what he set out to accomplish. This is an enormous credit to him, because far to many Kenyans, from both urban and rural backgrounds, are hopelessly holed up and depressed abroad, having failed to accomplish the objectives that took them there in the first place. The situation is no less depressing on their families, friends and associates back home.

Where Bethwell Mbugua and his father Paul Mbugua Mwaura went wrong, was in their attempt to short change the system, and have no basis whatsoever blaming anybody for this, be it former President Moi of Kenya, former Presidents Nyerere and Mwinyi of Tanzania, psychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Kabithe, former inspector of schools Tom Sitati, or Edward Karanja and his son Kangugi Karanja, in the United States. For instance, Bethwell Mbugua in an unforgivable manner, ridiculed, insulted, humiliated, scorned and embarrassed his science teacher in primary school, by terming his class and lessons as “boring” in the presence, full view and full hearing of his fellow pupils. His father, Paul Mbugua Mwaura, also invited the wrath of the Kenya High Commission in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, by violating it’s recommendation that he and his son leave, and save the Kenya government further unwarranted publicity and embarrassment. These infringements took place despite diverse and extensive recommendations that Bethwell Mbugua proceed through the education system like any other regular pupil.

There are numerous other brilliant Kenyans who have built their careers and stature by being regular students and working their up through the different requisite stages of proficiency. These include Dr. Julius Gikonyo Kiano, Hillary Ngweno, Professor Thomas Odhiambo, Professor Wellington Okumu Jalango, Professor Wangari Maathai, Professor Ngugi wa Thiongo, Professor Peter Anyang Nyongo, and the youthful, promising and brilliant Leonard D’Cunha. Paul Mbugua Mwaura and his son Bethwell Mwaura Mbugua were asked to follow this age old and proven path, but they defied this and went against laid down societal standards. They can blame no one for this.

It is however clear that Bethwell Mwaura Mbugua is on the path to making amends with his past, and this is commendable. An education in the west cannot override all other considerations, and this is a grave mistake that Kenyans continue to make. Bethwell Mbugua should use his status and become an ambassador at large in advocating reform in our attitudes. While making peace with his past, Bethwell Mbugua should use the opportunity to visit his former local schools, and encourage the pupils to take education seriously, work hard, have broad perspectives, but desist jumping the gun and advance their academic careers through the laid down standards. This way, Bethwell Mbugua would have truly made peace with himself and with society. His father should also dispense with any and all notions of persuading Bethwell to pursue a Masters degree for now.

Kenyan society in general, must reassess it’s perspective towards education and it’s indispensable role in this country. Far too much emphasis is today placed on quantity rather than quality and relevance. This is partly the reason why too many people today have strings of different qualifications, with nowhere to take them and with no placement. This is also the reason why standards have badly deteriorated in the institutions that we attended, because we have failed to inject back support and goodwill. To build Kenya, we must first build Kenya.


Michael Mundia Kamau

               A NATION IN DESPAIR - 4th December 2004

                                                                                                        Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                        P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                        00200 City Square
                                                                                                        Nairobi
                                                                                                        Kenya

                                                                                                        4th December 2004

                                                  A NATION IN DESPAIR

The second year of NARC’s rule in Kenya again comes to a disappointing end, with little to suggest that the coming three will be any better. Events over the past year are indicative of ill-equiped governance far removed from reality and the people’s plight. The government of Kenya has once again failed to spur an economic turnaround by skillfully mobilising the vast resources at it’s disposal. The government of Kenya has once again failed to contain runaway crime and insecurity, by mobilising it’s vast resources in instituting meaningful collaborations with communities across the nation. The government of Kenya has once again failed to address crippling levels of unemployment, by mobilising it’s vast resources in instituting meaningful collaborations and ventures with communities across the nation. The government of Kenya has once again failed to contain high level corruption by apprehending the offenders through the mobilisation of it’s vast resources. Of grave concern in particular, are the continued and growing incidents of government sanctioned crime and sleaze. The governments of Kenya has once again failed to arrest spiraling social decadence that daily continues to manifest itself through pedophilia, rape, illegal abortions, underage sex, illicit sex and substance abuse of all and different natures. The government of Kenya has once again failed to give hope and direction to the people of Kenya.

The soul of this country is in a coma and the entire Kenyan leadership, whether in the ruling government of national unity or in the opposition, is tragically doing nothing to remedy this ghastly and fatal condition. Tales of Kenyan MPs being paid and being airlifted to the Kenyan coast by powerful interest groups, in return for their votes in passing crucial Bills in parliament, are indicative of a nation that has gone to the dogs. Scenes of government ministers openly confronting and openly insulting each other, are a sign that government functions have ground to a complete halt.

The entire Kenyan leadership as we presently know it, is clearly just a lull before a major storm. Unless drastic action is taken to address and remedy the vast problems afflicting this country and it’s people, a vicious and violent uprising is not far off. No attempt is being made to build goodwill at the grassroots, and this is the reason why several nations within one nation have evolved, up to and including the powerful Public Transport Vehicle cartels. This nation is so amorphous and so desperate, it’s difficult to tell who is really in control.

Hundreds upon hundreds of people, not least the trained and educated elite, are daily being marginalised by a system that cannot cope with vast changes that this country has undergone over the past forty one years. There are next to no opportunities left in Kenya anymore, and even worse, there are no concrete steps in place to create them. If the government has a plan, it has failed to communicate it’s vision, goal, objective and mission to the people, which is as bad as having no mission at all.

The president continues to emphasise hard work and self reliance, yet the tax payer has been forced to meet the cost of personal debts incurred by deceased members of his cabinet over the past two years. If the president wants to emphasise self reliance and reduce reliance on the government and the extended family, then there should be a massive nationwide drive to promote and entrench life insurance policies, pension schemes, provident funds, health insurance, education insurance schemes, unit trusts and trust funds, inter alia, as they constitute the extended family in the money economy that we live in.

In general, two NARC budgets have made huge budgetary allocations to all government ministries and departments, but we are yet to see these massive allocations and support translated into action. Where have all these funds gone? It is further troubling to read that government ministries returned back huge sums of money to the Exchequer following the elapse of the 2003/2004 government financial year, because the funds had not been cleared for use as a result of intricate bureaucratic red tape. If bureaucratic red tape cannot be streamlined, how can the plight of 30 million Kenyans be addressed?

There is something terribly wrong in this country. There is a devastating and looming crisis in our midst, and direction out of this needs to be established fast. Government and local authority functions have crumbled to the detriment of an entire nation. It is this sheer frustration that drove an exasperated Njonjo Mue to confronting two government ministers on the grounds of parliament on 30th November 2004. Njonjo Mue’s bold and courageous act of confrontation will one day rank alongside that of the Boston Tea Party of 1773, the storming of the Bastille in Paris on July 14th 1789, the beginning of the modern civil rights movement in the United States on December 1, 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama and the brave, bold and courageous manner in which civil rights activist James Chaney met his death at the hands of white captors in June 1964 by telling them to their faces, “I aint running”. Njonjo Mue’s is not the first bold and courageous act of defiance in Kenya. On the day Jomo Kenyatta was released from restriction on 14th August 1961, he was asked when he wanted independence for Kenya, and he famously and defiantly responded “Today!”. In 1975, former Butere MP, Martin Shikuku declared in parliament that then ruling party, KANU, “was dead”, and then Deputy Speaker Jean Marie Seroney famously came to the defence of Shikuku by declaring “there is no need to substantiate the obvious!” In mitigation during the trial for the part that he played in the abortive Kenyan coup attempt of 1982, then University of Nairobi student activist Rateng' Oginga Ogego, declared that his biggest regret was that the coup did not succeed. In early 1985 former University of Nairobi students’ leader, Mwandawiro Mghanga, stunned the nation when he inspected a guard of honour mounted by University of Nairobi graduands of the then National Youth Service training programme for pre-University students of Kenyan public universities, a role then reserved for only the Head of State. Images of Mghanga being whisked away by Special Branch officers then, are still etched in the memories of many.

Njonjo Mue’s bold and courageous act of 30th November 2004 is nevertheless an enviable and inspiring wakeup call to both the entire Kenyan leadership, and to the ineffective and heavily compromised Kenyan middle class in deep slumber, a heavily compromised 21st century Kenyan middle class that makes 18th century France’s Marie Antoinette and her callousness, appear saintly. The Kenyan middle class on which the country relies on for direction and intellect is decadent, and hopelessly preoccupied with sex, pleasure, alcohol, flashy cars and flashy cell phones. Fresh impetus and direction needs to given to the Kenyan dream, struggle and movement, and Njonjo Mue played a shining role in this respect on the 30th November 2004. Sanity and direction urgently require to be restored in this country.

On Wednesday night, 24th November 2004, Fr. John Hannon of the Society of African Missions, was murdered at his parish house at Matasia, Ngong, 25 kilometres from the capital city Nairobi, after a botched robbery attempt. Nothing whatsoever warranted the brutal murder of Fr. Hannon. Were it not for missionaries, this country would not have made the strides that it has and this agony cleared showed on the face of cabinet minister George Saitoti, the day after the senseless killing. Whites and priests have always had a respected status in Kenya. Fr. Hannon was both a priest and a white, which means that nothing or no one is sacred or respected in Kenya anymore. This country is between a fiercely burning fire and hell, and whichever way one looks at it, we are in serious trouble. The least that this country can do, is fight to get out of this ghastly predicament. Is NARC dead, and is there no need to substantiate this?



Michael Mundia Kamau

                     UNCLE SAM - 4th November 2004

                                                                                                         Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                         P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                         00200 City Square
                                                                                                         Nairobi
                                                                                                         Kenya

                                                                                                         4th November 2004

                                                      UNCLE SAM

The epic 2004 U.S. elections have ended on an acrimonious, dramatic and polarised note. Never before has the outside world taken such an intense, biased and partisan stand in a U.S. presidential election, indicative of widespread and troubling desperation across the globe. The victor in the presidential race, George W. Bush, was the primary victim of the animosity, bias and prejudice, for no justifiable reason whatsoever, and is deserving of high commendation for standing tall and strong.

There has been no radical departure in American policy with regard to the presidency of George W. Bush, and nothing tangible to suggest that this would have been the case had John Kerry won the presidential race, a worrying indicator that much of the world outside America is made up of individuals who do not want to take any initiative in their lives, and who hinge and define their goals and dreams on a U.S. presidential incumbent. Even now, much of this world would immediately drop whatever they were doing in exchange for a U.S. visa, but still shamelessly point accusing fingers at George W. Bush for invading Iraq. George W. Bush is merely playing his part in growing and protecting the interests of an empire built by his forefathers. John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, and Nikita Khrushchev, a Soviet, divided Germany into West and East Germany at the height of the cold war. Prior to this, successive U.S. governments, Democratic and Republican, divided Korea into half with the Soviets. John F. Kennedy’s attempt to expand the empire by toppling Fidel Castro through the Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961, suffered a humiliating setback. Successive U.S. governments, led by both Democrats and Republicans, and spanning from John F. Kennedy to Gerald Ford, were also humiliated by the Vietnam War campaign and loss. Ronald Reagan, a Republican, staged a successful raid on Grenada, and bombed Tripoli and Benghazi. George Bush Senior, a Republican, walked into Panama and apprehended it’s leader Gen. Manuel Noreiga, and presided over the highly successful Operation Desert Storm. Bill Clinton, a Democrat, bombed and made successful incursions into Eastern Europe. Had Democrat Al Gore, won the U.S. presidential election of 2000 he would have continued in this tradition up to and including the invasion of Iraq.

Throughout all these years, several non-Americans, Kenyans included, have gained from this situation in diverse ways, ranging from education, training, trade, and U.S. residency and citizenship. Indeed, one of the key beneficiaries of this very system has been Barack Obama, the prolific Kenyan-American Senator-elect from Illinois. It is the height of folly to celebrate the election of Democratic Senator-elect Barack Obama, and at the same time mourn that of Republican President-elect George W. Bush, because they are products of the same system. If anything, it is celebration of a system that rewards character and initiative, and not race or tribe. Elsewhere in the world, Senator Barack Obama would certainly have been the target of persecution and intimidation by counter productive forces.

It is this counter productivity that is behind strong anti-Bush sentiment amongst numerous non-Americans, and it’s just as well that it is on the peripheries of worthy causes like that of Senator-elect Barack Obama, aimed at giving renewed meaning and vigour to the American Dream, indeed, a Global Dream.

The world cannot sit back and rely this heavily on a U.S. presidential election. It even worryingly emerges from the 2004 U.S. presidential election, that America today is a badly polarised nation in need of revolutionary idealism. President-elect George W. Bush is not the least cognisant of this troubling situation, and has made a passionate pledge to reach out and mend the divides. This is certainly where the policies of his government will be focused over the coming four years. The situation would have been exactly the same had Democrat John Kerry won the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Whichever way one looks at it therefore, numerous non-Americans had placed empty hopes and empty optimism on the outcome of the 2004 U.S. presidential election, as America has more than enough problems of it’s own, a situation that is not likely to change in the near future.

Many non-Americans are therefore best advised to snap out of these defeatist attitude, wherever it is that they are located around the globe, and usefully get on with their lives. Numerous opportunities around the world are going to waste owing to an obsession with the United States of America, and what goes on in it.



Michael Mundia Kamau

       PROFESSOR (MAMA) WANGARI MAATHAI - 11th October 2004

                                                                                                            Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                            P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                            00200 City Square
                                                                                                            Nairobi
                                                                                                            Kenya

                                                                                                            11th October 2004

                                      PROFESSOR (MAMA) WANGARI MAATHAI

The award of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize to Kenyan environmentalist Professor Wangari Maathai is astoundingly pleasant and inspiring news in a nation continually sliding into decline. The sheer significance, honour and unexpectedness of the prestigious award is still yet to register in a country that has become resigned to mediocrity. For a country that is continually complaining about being discriminated against, we owe huge gratitude to the Nobel Peace Prize Foundation for bestowing this tremendous honour on our struggling and often ridiculed country.

As we bask in the glory of Professor Mathaai’s accomplishment, we must also be true to Professor Mathaai and ourselves and ask for her forgiveness for failing to support her in her cause and quest for the past 40 years. Professor Mathaai has been the subject of torment, persecution, ridicule and harassment for her beliefs, for over 40 years now. It’s no wonder that she in the first instance passed her gratitude to her three children Waweru, Wanjira and Muta, for standing by her throughout those turbulent times. She was unceremoniously bundled out of her job at the University of Nairobi for her defiant stand, with no support forthcoming from an uncaring society. When the KANU regime vilified her 15 years ago for opposing the construction of the 60 storey Kenya Times Media Trust sky scraper on the grounds of Uhuru park, the society sat back and sheepishly laughed at the insults that were directed at her, typical of behaviour in this country. Her fight for the release of political prisoners in 1992, led to the brutal affront of mothers of the political prisoners and Professor Maathai at Nairobi’s Uhuru park. Many at the time felt that Professor Maathai was overstepping her bounds, sympathising minimally and criticising maximally. It is against this backdrop that Professor Maathai has gained distinguished global recognition for her efforts.

To her credit, Professor Maathai did not abandon her country in haste, greed, vanity and cowardice, and stayed on and fought. The Nobel Peace Prize Foundation must have taken this into consideration because like James Chaney, the courageous African-American civil rights activist who died in 1964, she declared “I aint running”, for all to hear and see.

Professor Mathaai belongs to a rare and severely depleted disposition and school of thought in Kenya, and in this we must draw strength and inspiration. In many ways, the harshest battles of her life are only just about to begin, given the distinguished platform that she now stands on, and given the apathy of the people she lives amongst and is a part of. Environmental degradation in Kenya is much more prevalent than environmental conservation. We have no excuse whatsoever for this because we have adequate resources, adequate education, adequate skills and adequate exposure. Driven by vanity and short-sightedness, a nation has clogged itself into urban centres and wrecked havoc by flouting bylaws with impunity and causing environmental pollution and degradation. The Nairobi river today is much less a river than it is a flow of muck. Many of the professionals now showering praise on Professor Mathaai and who should know better, have contributed to this sordid state of affairs through the construction and support of numerous extra-legal structures, permanent and semi-permanent. Leaders and politicians have made the situation worse by not providing effective leadership. Whatever reasons that may be fronted for the ongoing bickering in the ruling NARC coalition, none can make up for the deep sense of loss and betrayal that the people feel.

This is the Kenya that Professor (Mama) Wangari Maathai brings her 2004 Nobel Peace Prize to. It is regrettable that the situation in the country has and will tremendously dilute the high prestige of her award. From this point on, the more she pushes her agenda, the more it will be met with ridicule, scorn and resistance, by a people who do not know who they are, what they want and where they want to go. Intense petulant jealousies and biases will also stand in her way and slow down her cause.

Professor Maathai is also not likely to receive the spectacular ticker tape reception that Charles Lindbergh got after flying solo non-stop across the Atlantic in 1927, even though the two share the distinction of having accomplished their tasks solo. This should not however deter those who still care, in a nation in a deep crisis.

Appropriately and expectedly, Professor Maathai has expressed her wish that people should celebrate her award by planting trees across the country. We should take this further and celebrate her accomplishment by growing the character, talent, strength, resolve, passion and expertise that has characterised Professor Maathai’s life over the past 40 years. This country needs to rapidly transform itself into the mould of Professor Mathaai’s way of thinking and foresight, for it to survive. If this is asking for too much, then we had better spare Professor (Mama) Wangari Maathai our false pretentious congratulatory messages, and sit back and mock her as we always have.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                  KENMOIKIB FARM - 10th October 2004

                                                                                                         Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                         P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                         00200 City Square
                                                                                                         Nairobi
                                                                                                         Kenya
 
                                                                                                        10th October 2004
 
                                                      KENMOIKIB FARM
 
The one-week expose on land ownership in Kenya carried in both “The Standard” and “Sunday Standard” from 1st to 7th October 2004 was as informative as it was shocking. For the modest fee of just over US $ 3 spread over seven issues, the Standard Group revealed information capable of bringing down governments elsewhere in the world, in what is certainly a thought provoking expose. It is amazing that after 41 years of independence we know and control so little of a country that we claim to be ours. Kenya may longer be a British colony, but it is certainly not independent either.

The Kenyatta family is said to own 500,000 acres of land, about the size of Nyanza province, the Moi family is said to own over 100,000 acres, and the Kibaki family is said to own over 30,000 acres, essentially making Kenya, KenMoiKib Farm, KenMoiKib
being the acronym for Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki. The family of former minister for lands and settlement, Eliud Mwamunga, is said to own 70,000 acres in Taita Taveta district, with former senior government officials and senior civil servants raking in the
remainder of the spoils.
 
It is clear that the so-called freedom movement against British colonial rule, noble as it ever may have been, was merely a clamour for the ownership and control of the country’s resources. History will not only harshly judge the forbearers of the Kenyan freedom movement, but the citizenry that unhelpfully stood by, as the country was denigrated once again by it’s new leaders. The generation of Kenyans born after independence in 1963 has continually been accused and reprimanded for ineptitude, immaturity, lack of focus and lack of drive, which is true to a big extent. However the pre-independence generation also has several questions to answer, one of which is what they were doing or where they were, when the Kenyatta family was growing it’s land holdings to 500,000 acres? What is the difference between the Kenyatta family and the much detested former owner of the Taita Taveta district, Col. Ewart Grogan ? Does Col Grogan stand accused of racism and bigotry anymore than the Kenyatta family does?

The contention with colonialism was the disproportionate allocation and ownership of resources in the face of a vast marginalised and impoverished populace. Kenya therefore is no less a colony today than it was 41 years ago. It also follows that Jomo Kenyatta amongst others, may as well have been the oppressors and Col. Grogan, Lord Delamare, Lord Jock Broughton, Lord Egerton,  Lord Errol et al, the oppressed. Colonialism was and is not about race, but about ownership and control of resources, and the might that goes with it.

The expose by the Standard Group should aid us in our quest to transform this country. An entire population emerges as pawns in a bigger, complex and more intricate scheme of affairs, with a stake that does not go beyond the ownership of a national identity card or passport. We have brought this state of affairs upon ourselves because we have never played a definite role, or showed any real concern in the destiny of this country.

It is hard to see how proposals by the Ministry of Lands to legislate punitive measures against ownership of fallow land will succeed, given the presence of several large land owners cum powerbrokers in the present and past regimes. Even if the proposed legislation does succeed however, only part of the problem would have been solved. The other and more difficult part would be for the nation to convert the vast acreages of fallow and semi-arable land to viable use. Whichever way one looks at it, vast sums of money would have to be committed to the long-term development of infrastructure countrywide, to enable this viability. Are the government and people of this country willing to commit themselves to a 40/45-year long-term venture of this nature? We do not have a choice because the limited resources of this country cannot withstand the tremendous pressure on them much longer, especially with regard to the capital city, Nairobi.

The land ownership expose is also key in dispensing with the long held misconception that problems in this country start and end with former President Daniel arap Moi. It is unfair and unjustified for an entire nation to have singled out Moi for blame for so long then and even now. It is this remarkable tolerance and patience that certainly endeared Kenyatta to Moi. It is this remarkable tolerance and patience that kept this country going for several years. For instance, the Standard Group expose states that the land on which Kenyatta University and Jomo Kenyatta University currently stand on, was part of a much larger piece of land that initially belonged to George Criticos, before it changed ownership to the Kenyatta family. Details of the transaction are however sketchy and unavailable. It is interesting that bitter critics of Moi’s era and overenthusiastic aficionados of Kenyatta’s era, have never pointed out such discrepancies. If Moi is to stand trial for misrule, then Kenyatta and his entire government, must also do so posthumously.

The general elections of 27th May 1963 succeeded in bringing in a new regime that rapidly transferred ownership of former Crown lands to a select few over a period of 40 years. The general elections of 27th December 2002 were wrongly interpreted as a genuine effort to undo these injustices, but were instead a futile attempt and belief by an overenthusiastic populace, to circumvent this lengthy process by the apparent convenience and apparent ease of the ballot box.



Michael Mundia Kamau

      “LEFT” – A SHORT FICTITIOUS STORY - 1st October 2004

1st October 2004

“LEFT” – A SHORT FICTITIOUS STORY,

By Michael Mundia Kamau, P.O. Box 58972, 00200 City Square, Nairobi

The day was the 4th of December 1982, the place Uganda’s Nakivubo stadium, the event, the soccer final of the East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup between Kenya and Uganda, and the precise moment, the concluding minutes of a 120 minute thrilling and memorable encounter between both nations. 1982 was the year of the 12th edition of the Soccer World Cup and the year of Italy, West Germany, France, Brazil and Cameroon, but all this took a back seat in an encounter that would later be dubbed “120 minutes at Nakivubo”, derived from “90 minutes at Entebbe”, the spectacular real life rescue mission of Israeli hostages from Uganda’s Entebbe airport six years earlier.

Kenya’s “Harambee stars” and Uganda’s “Cranes” gave an extremely good account of themselves on this day, with both teams exhibiting very high standards of skill and discipline. After 90 minutes of regulation time both teams were tied at 2-2 which meant 30 minutes of extra time, split in two halves. In the breather between conclusion of regulation time and start of extra time, both coaches assembled their respective teams for pep talks as is customary during such periods. There was an air of concern in the Kenyan camp as one of the star strikers, Clifford Wanjala, appeared badly bothered by the injury in his dependable right leg, picked up earlier on in the tournament. Kenyan coach, Marshall Mulwa, went to great pains to allay the concerns of Kenyan fans present as well as strategise with the team on how to best deal with the situation. It is not clear whether the Ugandan camp was aware that Wanjala’s injury was nagging him during this crucial moment.

Clifford Stephenson Wesonga Wanjala had always been a brilliant soccer player right from his student days at Kakamega High School. He joined Kakamega High School in form one in 1968 and joined the school team in 1970 when in form three, playing for it from then until his A-Level form six in 1973. His skills earned him the fondness, respect and admiration of the school administration, making him the beneficiary of a school bursary scheme that catered for his school fees and boarding fees for the period he was in form four, five and six, loosely referred to then as “Wanjala’s sports scholarship (ss)”. Wanjala “ss”, as he was known in those days, helped Kakamega High School win all available trophies in the district, province, nation and region, including the District trophy, the Provincial cup, the national secondary schools’ title and the East African schools’ championship. Wanjala “ss” declined his admission to join the University of Nairobi after his A-Levels, opting to concentrate his efforts on helping steer the young family of his then recently deceased father. Nevertheless, Wanjala was quickly signed on by the then elite Abaluhyia Football Club, through whom he was able to secure employment in the then giant and regional East African Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (EAP&TC).

As with Kakamega High School, Wanjala helped steer Abaluhyia Football Club to several national and regional titles earning him a reputation that caught the attention of Arab Oil Riggers F.C. of Oman, who were scouting for talent in the East African Region at the time. Arab Oil Riggers were convinced enough to sign on Wanjala after watching him play in an epic match on 8th September 1979 between Abaluhyia Football Club and their arch-rivals then, Gor Mahia F.C., played at Nairobi’s Kangemi stadium. Arab Oil Riggers arranged for Wanjala, his lawyer and two other representatives to be flown to Oman, where a four year contract was signed between Wanjala and Arab Oil Riggers F.C. of Oman on 15th November 1979, in the presence of Wanjala’s three representatives, four lawyers for Arab Oil Riggers F.C. and one of the principal shareholders of the Arab Oil Riggers Corporation of Oman, Sheikh Mohammed Sadiq, later to become a lifelong friend of Wanjala’s.

The mastery of Wanjala’s right foot and right shot continued to work it’s magic at Arab Oil Riggers helping them secure two consecutive Middle East Cup Championships in the years 1981 and 1982. This amongst other things, is what endeared Mohammed Sadiq to Wanjala. The other was Wanjala’s resolve and stubbornness, because try as he may, Sadiq never managed to convince Wanjala to convert to Islam. But every man, great or small, has weaknesses, and Wanjala was no exception. Wanjala’s strength was his right foot, his weakness was his left. Friend and foe alike knew this about Wanjala over the years, grieving and reaping gain, respectively. Victory had been snatched from all sides that Wanjala had played for over the years when opponents sensed that Wanjala’s dependable right foot was on an off day. He had intended to work on his left foot after school, but many happenings in quick succession deterred this, starting with the demise of his dear father, his decline to join the University of Nairobi as a result, his quick signing to Abaluhyia Football Club, his employment with the East African Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (EAP&TC), and his marriage to his childhood sweetheart, Veronica. Wanjala realised and accepted that his professional playing career would have to bear with this handicap.

Back to 4th December 1982, Uganda’s Nakivubo stadium, Kenya and Uganda about to engage each other in extra time of a thrilling regional soccer cup final, and Wanjala’s injured right foot. Kenyan coach Marshall Mulwa could be seen whispering something into the ears of both Wanjala and his fellow striker whom he combined so well with, Steve Onyango Obiero. Mulwa then had a word with his mid-fielders before concluding with the defence. It emerges that Mulwa had intended to momentarily switch Wanjala to right mid field and push up right mid fielder Dave Musembi, to striker, but this was decided against, because it would have been a dead give away to the Ugandans. It also emerges that Wanjala asked Mulwa to allow him play only the first half of extra time, an arrangement Mulwa agreed to. Before the Kenyan team went onto the ground for the first fifteen minutes of extra time, Mulwa whispered something lengthy to Wanjala, with Wanjala nodding all the time that this was being said to him.

All the whispering must have drawn the attention of the Ugandan camp as they now seemed aware that Wanjala’s injury was nagging him. The dreaded Ugandan defence of Stevens Nakitare and Rogers Mulugikare,  both of whom later played for Arab Oil Riggers, sensed this in particular, and harassed Wanjala mercilessly albeit professionally. Wanjala knew he needed to do something fast to salvage the situation.

In the eighth minute of first half extra time Obiero made a desperate high pass to Wanjala from the left wing in the Ugandan 18 yard area goal mouth, with Nakitare hot on his heels. Both Obiero and Wanjala knew that Wanjala would get the pass with his left foot, and there was a distinct look of despair and desperation on both the faces of Obiero and Wanjala. What happened thereafter took not more than two seconds, but it seemed like an agonising prolonged episode for the Kenya team, the Kenya bench and the Kenya fans both there and at home.

Wanjala later said that he saw the look of agony on Obiero’s face, the menacing look mixed with glee on the face of fast approaching Ugandan defender Rogers Mulugikare and the look of anxiety on the Kenyan bench and Kenyan fans present. Wanjala later said that he also felt the cries of those back home listening on radio and watching on television. Wanjala says that he saw, heard and felt all these in a split second, and unleashed a spectacular left volley that sailed over Mulugikare and Ugandan goalkeeper, David Sekeleyabula to the amazement of all present and beyond. Wanjala had never done this before and would never do it again in the remainder of his playing life. The Kenyan fans present went wild with jubilation and had to be ordered off the pitch by the referee and match officials. 22 minutes of extra-time still remained. The situation back home was equally chaotic. The Ugandans on the other hand were crest fallen, but not out.

After play resumed, Mulwa did not waste time, realising that the left volley must have taken it’s toll on Wanjala . Mulwa called off Wanjala, replacing him with Musembi and putting on Nyerere Wesonga, a first cousin of Wanjala’s, in Musembi’s place. Musembi took over the captaincy of the team from Wanjala and skillfully steered the players into defence formation for the remaining 22 minutes.

To this day Wanjala is known as “Left”. After his playing contract with Arab Oil Riggers F.C. elapsed in 1983 he stayed on with his family in Oman for seven more years working for Arab Oil Riggers Corporation, courtesy of his old friend Mohammed Sadiq. He came back home in 1990 to head Arab Oil Riggers (East Africa) up till 1997 when he retired and went into private business. Despite all this, Wanjala is simply known to people, indeed whole generations, as “Left”. The workers at Arab Oil Riggers (East Africa) all referred to him as “Left” when he was area manager. Wanjala has been married to his childhood sweetheart Veronica, for 29 years now and they have five children. None of his children took an interest in sports, but have nevertheless done well for themselves. Two sons, Nkrumah and Malik, work in Oman for his old company Arab Oil Riggers Corporation, his daughter Stella lives and works in Sweden, while his other two sons, Nathan and Ambani, live and work in the United States. The youngest Kenyans present during “120 minutes at Nakivubo”, are at least 27 years today, and when asked about the day, they simply respond “Left”. Wanjala is gifted with figures and was due to pursue a degree in statistics had he been admitted to the University in Nairobi in 1974/75, but all that most people remember about him is “Left”. Wanjala is also a gifted artist, but most people best remember him for “Left”

Wanjala is a conservatist and staunch believer in the old ways, but the magnitude of that day has long dawned on he and his dear wife Veronica. His own grand children call him “Papa Left” and it is this, amongst many other things, that prompted him to swear a deed poll with the Kenyan Registrar of Persons, for his names to be altered to Clifford Stephenson Left Wesonga Wanjala.

                                                   THE END

        FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE - 21st August 2004

                                                                                                      Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                      P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                      00200 City Square
                                                                                                      Nairobi
                                                                                                      Kenya

                                                                                                      21st August 2004

                                          FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE

The sadistic attack on visiting Kenyan literary icon Ngugi wa Thiongo and rape of his wife Njeeri wa Ngugi were clearly geared towards humiliating and traumatising the couple on the occasion of their triumphant homecoming. Nothing whatsoever can justify the senseless violation on the celebrated couple, but nonetheless gives Professor wa Thiongo the true picture of the nation that he left twenty two years ago. The beastly acts wrought on Ngugi and Njeeri are an everyday occurrence in Kenya today, highlighting a society in troubling decay. The one major difference is that Ngugi and Njeeri chose to go public with Njeeri’s rape ordeal and the nation owes them invaluable gratitude in this regard. A problem discussed in the open is a problem half solved, whereas a problem concealed is a problem aggravated. This is why the situation in Kenya is getting more and more aggravated by the day.

It is ironic that the traumatic experience on the Ngugis has happened during the reign of a regime that was supposed to put this country on the right track. Ngugi wa Thiongo made bitter attacks on the persons and reigns of Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi, but no such terror was visited on him and his family during both these eras. Ngugi was detained by both regimes yes, but sitting next to him at the press conference where he revealed that Njeeri was raped was Hon. Raila Odinga, a former multiple detainee. Seated next to Raila was Hon. Kiraitu Murungi, a former celebrated activist against Moi’s rule. Ngugi would not have been seated next to the two had the reigns of both Kenyatta and Moi been that bad. It further signifies that the problems in Kenya are much deeper than the leadership.

Additionally and unfortunately, Professor wa Thiongo’s celebrated homecoming does not carry with it any meaningful message of hope, badly needed by a depressed populace. It prompts one to question whether Professor wa Thiongo is a great son of Kenya or a great son of literature. Even the latter stands questioned because Ngugi has evolved into the monster that he depicts and despises in his brilliant writings. On the night that Ngugi, his wife and nephew were brutalised, he was hosting his nephew who had visited Ngugi driving a Mercedes Benz, considered a mark of opulence. When Ngugi visited the home of his in laws, it was in the convoy of vehicles, with Ngugi and his wife riding in a Mitsubishi Pajero, again considered a mark of opulence. On the night that Ngugi, his wife and nephew were brutalised, a lap top and US $ 500 in different currencies were stolen from them. All these are status symbols that Ngugi attacks in his writings. Therefore, did Ngugi wa Thiongo differ with the Kenyatta and Moi regimes on principle, or was it because both occupied the glorified perches that he desired and which he could not immediately occupy? Why was it necessary for Professor wa Thiongo to lash out viciously at both regimes only to return back after 22 years bearing symbols that formed the basis of his attacks? The greatness of Ngugi’s revered writings are tainted by these flaws. No one can take away from Ngugi the brilliance of his writings, but one can certainly question their sincerity. This is probably why the public perceives Ngugi as a wannabe and not a nationalist. If Ngugi was truly viewed as a redeemer, then his welcome back home would have equaled that of Jomo Kenyatta in 1946 and 1961, Kenneth Matiba in 1992 and Mwai Kibaki in 2002.

Professor Ngugi wa Thiongo has also shifted his literary emphasis to propagating writings in native languages. This is an action more retrogressive than any he attacked in the regimes of both Kenyatta and Moi. Professor wa Thiongo can now be regarded as an accomplished man with status and wealth, which is why he has the luxury of experimentation. Mainstream Kenya does not have this luxury. This country is already badly polarised and Professor wa Thiongo is only making it worse through his calls emphasising writings in local languages. This is the last thing that this country needs right now and as a beneficiary of an Anglophone education, Professor wa Thiongo should know better. Very little of our heritage is documented and we owe this to the Anglophone legacy in this country. No native Kenyan can credibly trace their lineage to even the 18th century as many in the developed world can do.

Pioneer Kenyan freedom fighter Joseph Kangethe is also on record as stating that it was he who was initially selected by the Kikuyu Central Association (KCA), to go to London in 1929 to air it’s grievances, but that this choice was later rescinded in favour of the better suited Jomo Kenyatta, “who was able to communicate in English”, as opposed to Kangethe. Professor wa Thiongo’s ascendancy would certainly have been much harder had he used his native Gikuyu in his writings from the very start of his career, and he should therefore stop jeopardising Kenya’s future prospects. Besides being the reputed cradle of mankind for believers in Darwin’s theory of evolution, Kenya has no astounding cultures of interest to the world, or an eighth wonder comparable to the Pyramids in Egypt or the Taj Mahal in India, so it is difficult to see the world warming up to writings done in our native languages. If Kenya was the home of Latin or the Taj Mahal, then this would be different. The one landmark of medieval historical significance on Kenyan soil is Fort Jesus at the Kenyan coast, attributed to 15th century Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama. If Professor Ngugi wa Thiongo can identify only one native Kenyan who can credibly trace his roots to this period, then his call to write in native languages will have some justification. Much as we hate to admit it, this country has a place in the modern world because of the heavy Anglophone influence and legacy in it’s recent history. The results of the 1989 Kenyan population census released in 1992, gave the numbers of the Kikuyu, Ngugi’s native ethnic group, as 4 million. This figure has more or less remained the same. The Kikuyu are the most populous and prosperous ethnic group in Kenya so whereas 60% of Kenyans live below the poverty line as per various estimates, this figure is probably 50 % as regards Kikuyus per se. This effectively knocks off 2 million readers of a Kikuyu audience, leaving a remaining audience of 2 million readers. Of the remaining 2 million, several are metropolitan and cosmopolitan, chasing furiously after Ngugi’s sleek Mitsubishi Pajeros and lap tops, and left with very little time to seriously read any writings, let alone a Kikuyu one. Ngugi wa Thiongo is therefore left with an audience of between 100,000 and 200,000 worldwide. To write in Kikuyu for a living is therefore akin to writing a suicide note and the prospect becomes even bleaker when one considers writing in the languages of Kenya’s other remaining ethnic groups. Any serious writer should target the global population of 6 billion as opposed to a mere insignificant portion of 200,000. If Nelson Mandela had set his sights on the confines of his Xhosa ethnic group, he would not be the ambassador at large that he is today. Ngugi wa Thiongo should not deny Kenyan children the opportunities that his children Mumbi and Thiongo already have in the United States. Ngugi wa Thiongo should not deny Kenyan children the opportunities that he had.

History will indeed question whether Jomo Kenyatta was a nationalist or a medieval despot, based amongst other things, on the fabulous land holdings of the Kenyatta family. History will also indeed question whether Daniel arap Moi was a nationalist or a   mellowed down version of medieval despot, based amongst other things, on his loyalty to Kenyatta. History will in the same token also question whether Ngugi wa Thiongo was a nationalist and literary genius, or whether he was merely a parochial bigamist and tribalist who was privileged to have acquired an Anglophone education, and whose only quarrel with the system was it’s denial to admit him.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                THREE WISE MEN - 1st August 2004

                                                                                                      Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                      P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                      00200 City Square
                                                                                                      Nairobi
                                                                                                      Kenya

                                                                                                      1st August 2004

                                                 THREE WISE MEN

Three prominent Kenyans made significant contributions in the week of 25th to 31st July 2004. On Tuesday, 25th July 2004, former President Daniel arap Moi, stated that he and his late wife would be buried next to each other at his Kabarak farm, breaking ranks with the age old Kenyan tradition of mandatory internment at one’s ancestral home. On the same Tuesday, 25th July 2004, aspiring US senator, Barrack Obama electrified the Democratic National Convention and the world at large, with a spectacular speech delivered with class oratory. Finally, on Saturday, 31st July 2004, acclaimed Kenyan writer, Ngugi wa Thiongo, made a triumphant return home, after 22 years abroad. It is unlikely that the three men know each other personally, but they are nevertheless uniquely connected in the quest for this country to break ranks with it’s burdensome past, and move on.

Former President Moi’s Nakuru Kabarak farm could as well be in Muranga, Mandera, Turkana or Kilifi, and here lies the significance of his statement. By choosing to bury Mama Lena at his adopted Kabarak farm home, Mzee Moi was by extension urging the entire nation to reform and break ranks with dogmatic beliefs of no value. This is interesting because Mzee Moi has always been accused of standing in the way of change. It further dismisses the notion that Mzee Moi eventually desires to be buried on the grounds of parliament, as is Mzee Kenyatta. Mzee Moi has always stood for the dignified blending of traditional and contemporary cultures, and this has put him on a collision course with the nation. This is why Mzee Moi, despite being urbane in a contemporary sense, still carries around his trademark baton, and still greets his daughters by placing his palm on their heads. The message is that we should adopt facets of both worlds, in shaping our nation.

Aspiring senator Barrack Obama is the new dynamic face of Kenya, and shares Mzee Moi’s qualities in this respect. Obama was under no obligation whatsoever to visit or identify with his roots, but he has boldly and prominently done so. Kenya’s “East African Standard” published extensive photographs of Obama’s visit home in the 1980s, including photographs of Obama trading with his paternal grandmother on market day, when he first announced his intention to run for senate. This signifies that Barrack Obama was and is fully prepared to involve himself with the issues of his homeland. It proves that Barrack Obama is not just an Africa-American, but a Kenyan-American. Congressman Obama clearly let this out during the 2004 Democratic National Convention. The bigger part of his loyalty however lies with the United States of America, because he paid tribute to America for granting him opportunities he would not have gotten anywhere else in the world. In a interview afterwards, congressman Obama revealed that he built his campaign by reaching out to issues that affect the lower multi-racial classes of Illinois, and this will certainly form the core of his agendas when he makes it to congress. Congressman Obama emphasised that he managed this despite “coming from the south side of Chicago”, a mainly black neighbourhood.

Watching and listening to Barrack Obama was very inspiring. He is very hardworking, focused, and has every potential of becoming President of the United States of America. He has a strong sense of identity and purpose and this should send out a strong message to Kenyans all over the world. Barrack Obama is telling Kenyans that success can be attained anywhere in the world, despite station in life, despite location. Like Mzee Moi, congressman Obama is telling us to reform, work very hard, be open minded, and be focused on the future. Barrack Obama’s career has been enabled in a distant way by Mzee Moi’s rule. If Mzee Moi is as paranoid as many would have us believe, then he would have been an impediment to Obama’s career and homecoming in the 1980s, by having him detained. Obama however owes us nothing and if we want his support as a nation, then we need to support his plight and career as a congressman, by also adopting hard work and focus, as he has. California Governor, Arnold Schwarzneggar, can be described as a 10th generation immigrant to the United States, and we can also follow his good example. Besides, Governor Schwarzneggar’s accent is not as refined or as polished as Obama’s.

Enter the legendary Professor Ngugi wa Thiongo on Saturday, 31st July 2004, in a manner befitting a hero. Ngugi wa Thiongo also represents a fusing of two worlds, as does Mzee Moi and Barrack Obama. His writings are still revered, still ahead of their time, and have captured for now and posterity, this country’s historic transition from colonialism to self-governance. If one wants a idea of what it felt like to live in Kenya during the 1960s and 1970s, Ngugi wa Thiongo’s writings provide this. His are works that will transcend generations, transcend dimension, transcend time. Despite criticism leveled against Professor wa Thiongo, five of his six children from his first marriage are US educated and based abroad, and the sixth has a degree from his alma mater, the University of Nairobi. His two children from his current marriage to Njeeri, Mumbi and Thiongo, are flent in their native Gikuyu despite their US birth and upbringing, and are to all intents and purposes, Barrack Obamas in the making. It is a blow to Ngugi wa Thiongo’s legacy, that he returns to a homeland where creative writing has stagnated. It is a blow to Professor wa Thiongo’s legacy and beliefs, to come home and find that intellectual growth has been relegated to obscurity and growth of body weight propagated in it’s place. It is a blow that Ngugi wa Thiongo returns home to a collapsed Kenya National Theatre and a collapsed Kamirithu Theatre Group. Unlike Daniel arap Moi, and like Barrack Obama, Ngugi wa Thiongo has accomplished his dream, his best, while far away from the confines and limitations of his homeland, confines and limitations that the former has worked so hard all his life to try and break down. Ngugi wa Thiongo returns back to a homeland that has stagnated intellectually, culturally, economically and politically. This is not good for him or Barrack Obama, and it is as well that Professor wa Thiongo grows his family, his career, his dreams and his life, in the Diaspora. His alma mater has degenerated into decadence and greed rather than an intellectual growth centre. The plight of theatre in Kenya is even worse. Professor wa Thiongo once interestingly locked horns with the University of Nairobi senate, because of being denied elevation to associate professorship, on the grounds that he did not possess a doctorate degree. Professor wa Thiongo correctly and successfully argued that numerous University of Nairobi literature students had acquired doctorate degrees using his works in their dissertations. No scholar in Kenya can currently make claim to this distinction.

Six worlds, three generations, three men, one nation, bring together Daniel arap Moi, Ngugi wa Thiongo and Barrack Obama, in a unique fusion and statement of this country. The three have kept this country moving in their three respective capacities, despite being worlds apart and despite not appearing to have time for each other, especially Mzee Moi and Professor Ngugi wa Thiongo. We do not have to agree in principle, but we have to agree on the principle to move this country ahead. It is a tribute to the three men that they can agree to meet or not meet at a common forum, but live and let live, nevertheless. This was the vision for our nation by our founding fathers, and it is our duty to re-ignite it; progress from diversity and strength. Success does not lie in having numerous academic qualifications, the ability to use complex English vocabulary, owning a motor vehicle, owning a cell phone or having a revealing bosom, equaling revealing posterior and a light complexion. The measure of success is productivity. Daniel arap Moi, Ngugi wa Thiongo and Barrack Obama are useful and productive individuals despite their differences. There is no short cut to success, and as once put, there is no secret to success. The secret to success is hard work. Daniel arap Moi, Ngugi wa Thiongo and Barrack Obama, have proved this. The detached coming together of the three is interestingly taking place during the 22nd anniversary of a failed military coup in Kenya. This country should therefore use the occasion to celebrate the three men and their lives, and to initiate an intellectual and cultural coup.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                         MAMA LENA - 25th July 2004

                                                                                                       Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                       P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                       00200 City Square
                                                                                                       Nairobi
                                                                                                       Kenya

                                                                                                       25th July 2004

                                                     MAMA LENA

Kenya mourns the passing of former second lady, Lena Moi, despite the fact that she was little known to literally all of us. Her and her husband, former President Daniel arap Moi, are the forces behind the revered Moi name in Kenya, which is why her passing is of significance to us. It is sad that whole generations never got to know Mama Lena directly, but her life and passing are not in vain, because she kept this country going in a very powerful indirect way from the back ground.

We may never really know what caused her and her husband to separate, but we shall always be grateful that the two kept it to themselves without involving the nation. Not once during Daniel arap Moi’s 24 year rule, did the public ever have to bear with discomfort because of altercations between Mama Lena and Mzee Moi. Mama Lena gave her husband the leeway of discharging his duties with pride and dignity, by in turn, keeping a dignified profile in the background. Not once during a crisis in this country, did Mama Lena kick up an immature tantrum or declare either “let them eat cake” or “let them eat rats”. She chose to keep her feelings and wishes below those of the nation. She could have chosen to brutalise and embarrass her husband’s rule, but instead gave it support from a detached position. Curiously, Mzee Moi suffered much more heartbreak from many disappointing political unions of his era, than from his own marital disunion. Mama Lena saved her husband added anguish.

Own his part, Mzee Moi also allowed Mama Lena her leeway and dignity, something this country will only really appreciate in later years. Mzee Moi spared this country the dementia and horror of Idi Amin, who murdered and dismembered his wife, Kay Amin. If Mzee Moi had wanted to, he could also have remarried a flashy and younger lady in a marriage similar to that of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Margaret Sinclair, but he didn’t, and kept Mama Lena’s dignity intact. Even if Mzee Moi were to advertise for a bride today as many do, communication networks in this country would jam because of overloads.

It is not for the public to pry into the lives of the two, but to appreciate that they kept this country going for 35 years in a uniquely attached and detached relationship. They were apart yet together, irreconcilable yet enjoined, in a relationship that built one of the most formidable family dynasties in this country. The name Moi would have been nothing without the two. In as much as the Kennedy dynasty owes it’s stature to Ambassador Joseph Kennedy and his wife Ethel, so also does the Moi dynasty owe theirs to Mzee Moi and Mama Lena.

The final moments of Mama Lena’s life were equally appeasing and joyous, as she conversed with her husband and children for a last time. It is indeed the wish of all of us to go to our final rest in this manner and it is fair to say that Mama Lena got a favourable send off for living a favourable life. There are times when unity is in division, which is why having known Mama Lena is of less importance to this country, than knowing that she was there for us. Rest in peace, Mama Lena.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                 TOO CLOSE TO CALL - 23rd July 2004

                                                                                                        Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                        P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                        00200 City Square
                                                                                                        Nairobi
                                                                                                        Kenya

                                                                                                        23rd July 2004

                                                TOO CLOSE TO CALL

Games of the XXVIII Olympiad run in Greece from 13th to 29th August 2004, in what is sure to be a display of scientifically induced advances in sport. Kenya’s failure to adopt high tech advances in sport will also be on display for the umpteenth time once again, signifying a nation sinking fast into sporting oblivion.

The unspoken truth in sport nowadays is that there is heavy use of approved and disapproved enhancement drugs, which the “Daily Nation” brings out clearly in it’s editorial cartoon of 22nd July 2004. Ethical or unethical as this may be, Kenyan sport needs to seriously embrace the use of approved supplements, to retain relevance in the world of sporting. Our strength remains in the middle and long distances, and even this has now been taken away from us by the Ethiopians. It’s just a matter of time before an approved wonder supplement emerges for middle and long distance runners in the first world, rendering us even less consequential.

Even in the absence of supplement use and reliance on raw talent, our method of running sport remains improper, and is the reason why our standards have been severely compromised. Games trails continue to be bogged by controversy and indecisiveness. Allowance keeps being made for unavailable star athletes, dealing a severe blow to upcoming and future talent. Star American athletes Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones were accorded no preferential consideration following their unsuccessful bids to qualify for the US sprint teams to the 2004 Olympics, and the same ought to apply to Kenya.

Some of the most remarkable sporting transformations have been in bodybuilding and rugby. Charles Atlas and Joe Weider are amongst the pioneers of modern bodybuilding, but if either were to attempt competing today, they would not only be barred at the preliminaries, but would also be sent away with verbal and written cautions for bringing the sport into disrepute. As recently as the 1980s rugby forwards were burly individuals known and required more for their mass and ability to shove, than swiftness and speed. Today’s rugby forwards are lean individuals with frames like bodybuilders, weigh as much as they used to in the 1980s, an average of between 90 and 120 kilograms, and can run the 100 metres in 10 seconds or below, meaning that speeds of up to 360 kilometres an hour are a regular feature on rugby pitches nowadays. These are also very powerful individuals. When Jonah Lomu was at his peak he easily did bench presses of 320 pounds (145 kilograms), something only top powerlifters, weightlifters and bodybuilders do with ease. The triumphant 2003 Rugby World Cup English team looked more like bodybuilders than rugby players of old. Multi-adaptability is the face of sport today. A top rugby player can play an international on Saturday, run the 100 metre dash in a charity event the following Tuesday, compete in a bodybuilding event two days after on Thursday, and end a sporting week by participating in a powerlifting event a week later on Saturday. They are obviously able to attain this by the use of supplements prescribed and monitored by top physicians. Remunerations are also supplement induced. America’s Shaquille O’Neal broke records of sorts when he negotiated a 1996 seven year contract to play for the LA Lakers for US $ 120 million. The LA Lakers have team physicians, but Shaq could afford the best personal physician on that kind of a salary.

Use of approved or disapproved substances in sport can however be fatal. It is widely held that this is what led to the early demise of legendary American athlete, Florence Griffith-Joyner. The health of bodybuilder Frank Zane, IFBB Mr. Olympia in 1977, 1978 and 1979, is also said to have been affected by this. On a sadder note, the death of bodybuilder Mohammed Benaziza, is believed to have been caused by excessive use of diuretics.

It is common knowledge that many amateur Kenyan sportsmen and women now regularly use the over-the-counter supplement, creatine. The efficacy of this is still highly debatable, because creatine is known to have a number of harmful side effects. The Kenya National Sports Council and Ministry of Health, therefore stand blamed for not providing leadership in this regard. It however appears that the government will be forced to recommend the use of safer and more expensive supplements for sportsmen and sportswomen in the long run, if we are to retain sporting relevance. At the rate at which things are moving anyway, disapproved supplements of today will become approved in the next twenty years. By far, Kenyans had rather adopt the use of approved sporting supplements for a more secure future, than contribute to our destruction through the continued abuse of alcohol and intoxicating drugs.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                  A NATION IN FLAMES - 22nd July 2004

                                                                                                        Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                        P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                        00200 City Square
                                                                                                        Nairobi
                                                                                                        Kenya

                                                                                                        22nd July 2004

                                              A NATION IN FLAMES

Seven members of parliament from Kenya’s Eastern province condemned the ongoing student unrest in Machakos district on Monday, 19th July 2004, asking the government to take action. To start with, the seven MPs constitute the legislative arm of government and one wonders who exactly the MPs were making an appealing to. When parliamentarians increased their wages, they did so without the seven making a similar appeal to the government. Parliamentarians therefore need to approach the students’ crisis with the same unison that they increased their wages. What’s more, parliament is in the process of asserting it’s authority, and reducing executive control over it.

The detached approach of the MPs in addressing the students’ crisis is the cause of it in the first place. The restlessness and rebellion in the student population has been brought about by general societal disregard. Those expected to instill discipline in students are the worst violaters of it. Many parents and guardians today pay only token attention to family and child bearing. Materialism and hedonism have taken precedence over all else in a society that is degenerating fast. Alcoholic and promiscuous parents and teachers have taken the place of benefactors and role models. The disregard that adults have for law, order, decorum and etiquette, also has a similar prevalence among the youth. There is no way that a parent or teacher can command the respect of the youth when perpetually drunk on illicit brews. There is also no way that a parent or teacher can command the respect of the youth when perpetually dressed in obscene clothing.

The youth continually feel that they have nothing to live for. Products of a pampered upbringing, the youth have no role models, and are finding it difficult to cope in a society teaming with educated, yet financially strapped and jobless parents. All emphasis continues to be placed on high grades and none on creativity, character, innovativeness, or originality, despite this. Counseling and career guidance have no place in Kenyan schools. The youth are rebelling against society’s refusal to change, innovate and reform. The sad thing is that many Kenyan youth curse why they were born Kenyan and African and daily pray that they contract Michael Jackson’s purported rare skin disease and his accent to match. This is in big part because of the confused upbringing that they are subjected to. From birth Kenyan youth are continually reminded that they belong to a particular ethnic group that comes from a particular area. At adolescence, youth start formal education modeled on western standards using a western language, and are guided sternly to adopt only the western formal education, and parts of the western language that will aid in grasping it. An adolescent risks severe repercussions if they deviate from the norm, and show a keenness for other features of western life such as art, jazz, cinema, theatre, classical music, writing or sport, and is cautioned to primarily focus on attaining a western formal education. Along the way, a sizable number of adolescent girls terminate their western formal education in place of informal African marriages. After western formal schooling, youth are either encouraged to actively seek employment in western companies based either locally or abroad, or are actively encouraged to seek graduate school training in the west. Careers in African enterprises are shunned and discouraged. Whatever the outcome, youth are discouraged from harbouring intentions of settling abroad and are always reminded to focus their energies on developing the African homeland, and eventually settling there.

Our society has grown faster and bigger than any of us can cope, and the need to set standards is paramount. The youth are restless because they are living in a society with no direction, no hope, no pride, no discipline and no foresight. They are venting their frustrations on what they deem to be the symbols of this society that they resent and detest. It is no longer enough to tell children to study hard for a better life. It is time to grow and mould the society that the youth will eventually emerge into.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                 CORPORATE REFORM - 22nd July 2004

                                                                                                        Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                        P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                        00200 City Square
                                                                                                        Nairobi
                                                                                                        Kenya

                                                                                                        22nd July 2004

                                              CORPORATE REFORM

Information Minister, Raphael Tuju, announced on Tuesday, 20th July 2004 that the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), has a huge outstanding debt of 10 billion Kenya shillings (US $ 125,000,000), and made an appeal to the government to inject money into the national broadcaster to offset the debt. Minister Tuju stated that the debt was incurred in the 1980s when KBC undertook an extensive upgrade of it’s equipment.

Nevertheless, KBC deserves no preferential treatment and the question of state injection of funds should and cannot arise. If KBC is experiencing a liquidity crunch it should invite a strategic partner on board the same way that Kenya Airways did with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The corporation memorandum and articles of association may also need to be altered in readiness for a public share flotation that is certain to be highly successful. This will enable KBC to both offset it’s debts and position itself strategically for the future.

The government cannot continue being resorted to in cases where options exist. Recurrent government expenditure far outstrips development expenditure at present anyway, so the onus is on corporations to adopt, innovate and surge ahead. The Standard Limited acquired the financially ailing Kenya Television Network (KTN), and this impacted negatively on group performance for a while. The Standard Group is however strongly back to profitability and it’s shares have been holding steady at the Nairobi Stock Exchange. The Nation Media Group has also invested heavily in it’s relatively new broadcasting division, and continues to fight fiercely for the limited market share available. Kalamka Limited, publishers of the “The People Daily” and “The People on Sunday”, admirably transformed from a weekly to a daily and even own a printing press of their own. The Kenya Times Media Trust, publishers of “Kenya Times” and “Sunday Times”, continues to grow a readership base despite speculation that it would fold up after KANU’s defeat at the 2002 polls. The private sector rarely advertised with the Kenya Times Media Trust previously but this has now changed sinificantly. Flagships of the alternative press such as “Weekly Citizen”, “Dispatch”, “Independent”, “Kenya Confidential” and “Patriot Weekly”, have changed their style of reporting and layouts, and now even attract advertisers from the private sector. Citizen radio 106.7 FM, Kameme FM, Kiss FM, 98.4 Capital FM, Nation FM, Waumini FM, Ramogi FM, Inooro FM and Soul station 105.2 FM, continue to battle for a restricted market share. If the government has 10 billion Kenya shillings to spare, then it would rather use part of it to support and grow the media industry as a whole, rather then inject it into a corporation that has options.

Other corporations outside media circles like Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Limited and East African Breweries Limited, have also undertaken painful reforms over the last ten years and KBC ought to also follow suit. Ten years ago, Standard Chartered Bank either sold or closed many of it’s branches in a restructuring and cost cutting program that also involved staff cut backs. Standard Chartered Bank profitably suffered badly for a while, but it is now amongst the most profitable corporations in East and Central Africa.

It has correctly been held that many state corporations are a drain on public resources and priority ought to be placed on the pending privatisation bill. Early last year, the cabinet elected to convert a loan of KShs. 8 billion owed by the Kenya Power and Lighting Company to the Kenya Electricity and Generating Company, into equity. In the same year, the National Bank of Kenya also converted a loan it owed the National Social Security Fund, into preference shares. Last year, the cabinet also passed a resolution to inject extra funds into the National Housing Corporation. Other than KBC, it has also emerged that the Uchumi supermarket chain is on the verge of insolvency in a corporate scandal comparable to that Enron Energy of America. Much of the mismanagement in state corporations is historical. For instance, as far back as the 1980s, it is said that the Kenya Power and Lighting Company and the defunct Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation, used to be called upon regularly to pay salaries for the Kenyan Armed Forces. It is however time that definite decisions are taken regarding state corporations, and privatisation is certainly a welcome option.

Mobile operators, Safaricom and Kencell, have revolutionised private sector standards in Kenya over the past four years, and the drive in Kenya ought to be towards private sector development and growth. Private enterprise is what has built the developed world and we are called upon to follow suit. Kenya still has only one electricity generator and distributor, one telecommunications provider and one postal service provider, while the developed world has numerous such businesses. Many American corporations prefer to expand their operations into other American states rather than come to Africa, and we need to seriously question why.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                      KENYA’S 43RD TRIBE - 18th July 2004

                                                                                                          Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                          P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                          00200 City Square
                                                                                                          Nairobi
                                                                                                          Kenya

                                                                                                          18th July 2004

                                              KENYA’S 43RD TRIBE

The Kenya Television Network expose of the sale of laced sweets to primary school children highlighted growing desperation in a nation that has refused to mould originality, creativity and hard work, and further revealed declining standards in the school curriculum. The child interviewees of Nairobi’s Westlands Primary School spoke in the broken English long associated with Kenya’s rural schools, which should induce reassessment of the standards that we have set for ourselves. The English spoken by the school children was of a low standard and a far cry from alumni of the Westlands Primary School of the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, who easily gained admission to top schools like Alliance, Kenya High, Mangu, Limuru Girls, Maseno, Lenana, Nairobi School, Strathmore and St. Mary’s, and at worst, Upper Hill, Statehouse Girls or Jamhuri High School. What is more, is that the Kiswahili of the same school children is very likely just as bad, and the native language the most horrid of the three. Westlands Primary School used to teach French in earlier years, which must also be in a terrible state, if still taught.

We may derive a lot of insolence, naïve pleasure and bravado in speaking a mixture of native tongues, Kiswahili and English, in Kenya today but we are also just as equally destroying ourselves, and the shaky foundation that this nation lies on. This is the reason why the education curriculum in Kenya still lags behind, and is producing individuals who are finding great difficulties competing with the world’s best. It is also the reason why moneyed Kenyans send their children to institutions like St. Andrew’s Turi, Braeburn, Rusinga School, Hillcrest, Imani, Banda School and Brookhouse, because they stand a much higher chance of securing opportunities the world over, thereafter. The majority of Kenyans have allowed themselves too narrow a scope, and this needs to change. Very few Kenyans currently stand a chance of gaining admission into Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, Princeton or Harvard, if assessed on language and character alone. When Julius Nyerere’s dream of evolving nationalism through language and culture succeeds one day, very few Kenyans will gain admission to Dar es Salaam University, because of poor Kiswahili and poor character. So where do we lie ? When President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania was a guest of Kenya at the Jamhuri day celebrations of 1995, he dazzled and mesmerised us with his mastery of Kiswahili. Two years earlier, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda was less dazzling but just as inspiring when he told us “tusi je danganye tume endelea” (let us not deceive ourselves that we have reached). We speak English poorly meaning that we have low regard and poor respect for the west, and we speak Kiswahili just as poorly, meaning we have low regard and poor respect for ourselves and our country. How can we be loving of our country, when we are contemptuous of it’s language? Even Asian-Tanzanians speak Kiswahili with pride, splendour, flow and fullness, signifying at least one vital success story of Julius Nyerere’s Tanzania.   

Communication is the basis of life and our poor communication has impacted on all areas of our lives. This is why we have also not excelled in the revered fields of physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology. We must respect ourselves before gaining the respect of others. During national occasions, guests show up in West African gowns, mainly Nigerian “Agbada”, a sign that this country is far from evolving an identity. This is why we are still not able to grow as a nation. The contempt we have for Kiswahili and English extends to all other areas of our lives, hence our preference for Nigerian “Agbada”. When high and average profile West Africans like, Jerry Rawlings, Ibrahim Babanginda and Olesegun Obasanjo, have come to Kenya, they have not been dressed in Maasai attire. West Africans do not dress in Maasai attire wherever it is that they go in the world for that matter.

South Africa’s domination over us is even more profound, despite our similar historical backgrounds. Charlize Theron did South Africa proud by winning the Best Actress Oscar at the 2004 Academy Awards. Born and brought up in South Africa, Charlize’s accomplishment was warmly welcomed as a national achievement by South Africans of all race led by President Thabo Mbeki. Probably even more moving was the Nelson Mandela inspired victory of the Springboks at the 1995 Rugby World Cup final. Mandela has admitted that he and other Blacks used to cheer the British Lions against the Springboks in the 1950s as the Springboks were regarded as bastions of apartheid. It’s probably why captain Francois Pienaar publicly corrected his interviewer during the Cup award by reminding him and those watching, that the Springboks had the support of 43 million South Africans and not just the 60,000 at the stadium. Many of us in Kenya wanted the All Blacks to win that final, disregarding the fact that Mandela himself had forgiven and forgotten. Other South Africans like Dr. Christian Bernard, Zola Budd, Mark Shuttleworth, Ernie Els, Chester Williams and Shaun Bartlett, have been very successful in building world profiles. Apart from our world famous runners, the only other Kenyan with a global profile is probably CNN’s Zain Verjee, which she has undoubtedly worked very hard for. Features that have defined Kenya for many years such as athletics, tourism, boxing, rallying and hockey are crumbling, a statement that this nation is failing as whole, regardless of race.

We need to seriously reevaluate who we are and what we stand for. Rather than take refuge in angry North American gangsta rap full of profanities and equally bitter roots reggae, we need to define ourselves. No one really cares about us and we better come to terms with this quickly. Bill Clinton ignored us on both of his African tours preferring Uganda and Tanzania. He shook the hands of African heads of state present when bidding farewell to them in Tanzania, but instead warmly embraced Mandela, the Mandela who defied America and visited Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya. Mandela declared that Gaddafi supported the ANC in it’s fight against apartheid when all others had forsaken them, and was not going to ignore him on any account. It’s probably Mandela’s brand of character that we are lacking, and the reason why we continue to sink into oblivion.



Michael Mundia Kamau

     30 BILLIONAIRES AND 30 MILLION BEGGARS - 17th July 2004

                                                                                                         Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                         P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                         00200 City Square
                                                                                                         Nairobi
                                                                                                         Kenya

                                                                                                         17th July 2004

                                30 BILLIONAIRES AND 30 MILLION BEGGARS

Ambassador Edward Clay’s scathing attack on corruption in Kenya on 13th July 2004 was a breath of fresh air in a vast expanse of muck. Ambassador Clay ought to be accorded Kenyan residency and Kenyan citizenship all at one go, because of his brave and bold move. It is extremely unfortunate that President Kibaki’s government is shamelessly making an appeal for global food aid funding to address famine in Kenya, in the face of Ambassador Clay’s revelation that 15 billion Kenya shillings (US $ 187,500,000) has been eaten up by government corruption over the past 18 months. This beats any scandal of either the Moi or Kenyatta eras.

It is however terrible that Kenyans still have to rely on outsiders to address and solve our problems, long after governance reverted back to ourselves. Ambassador Clay’s celebrity status ought to actually belong to Hon. Maoka Maore, who first exposed the Anglo Leasing scam. Rather than hate the players as we always have though, we now have to deal with the game, a game that has evolved into a multi-faced monster with just as many tentacles. The public should have immediately thrown their support behind Maoka Maore the minute he made the initial damning revelations, and sought directions from him. Kenyans at large have for years deliberately avoided playing their role in the destiny and governance of this country, expecting that a third party should bear the responsibility. This is why every other person keeps making blasphemous reference to Jesus in the most minute of matters in Kenya today. After forty one years of living in a filthy environment, we still do not want to take the initiative of picking up a broom and play a small part in cleaning up the filth, expecting it to be done by somebody else.

We are getting what we expect and it appears certain that this nation will go up in flames before we come to our senses. We must start putting our energies where it matters rather than focus on petulant sideshows. There is simply no will to drive this nation forward in whatever small a way. For instance, Nairobi’s Mid-Town Bar is a sight to behold during weekday lunch breaks as a section of Kenya’s skilled labour force feuds, and almost comes to blows over roast meat. The semi-literate employees of Mid-Town find it amazing that the individuals at the centre of the feuds are the schooled elite that this country is supposed to rely on for development. Even if NARC had the best of intentions initially, behaviour of this nature has certainly destroyed it. Some of the individuals that feud over the Mid-Town roast meat are probably the ones that could have prevented misappropriation of the US $ 187,500,000 mentioned by Ambassador Clay, had they just been minimally diligent in their jobs. Mid-Town is typical of Kenya as a whole and variance is only in intensity.

Images of desperation and famine at the Kenyan coast are also extremely distressing and reflect abandonment and betrayal. We can hardly claim that those are our fellow Kenyans when we feud over roast meat and continue to hold empty cultural fetes under banners of Kikuyu Cultural Night, Luo Cultural Night, Luhyia Cultural Night or Mji Kenda Cultural Night. There is no culture, no nation, if we cannot be supportive of each other. This country still holds back from accepting the emergence of a 43rd tribe, Kenya’s mainly urban youth, yet it still fails to build and support rural Kenya. Famine at the Kenyan coast and elsewhere is clear evidence of this.

Much as Ambassador Clay’s outburst is highly appreciated, this country has much bigger and complex problems that we need to deal with. As we feud of the constitution, pupils across the country are setting institutions of learning on fire. Education and the youth are the future, which means that this country does not have a future. What could be more serious or grave? Even if all of us were flown to America and settled in prime areas such as Beverly Hills, Minnetonka or Martha’s Vineyard, our problems will not have been solved, because our attitude is all wrong. We had rather stay put and destroy our own country, rather than cause the rest of the world problems. We do not know something good and we do not know that we have it. This is why NARC’s legacy will be about the creation of 30 billionaires and 30 million beggars.


Michael Mundia Kamau

              GOVERNMENT HOAX MAN - 9th July 2004

                                                                                                         Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                         P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                         00200 City Square
                                                                                                         Nairobi
                                                                                                         Kenya

                                                                                                         9th July 2004

                                           GOVERNMENT HOAX MAN

The newly appointed Kenya government spokesman Dr. Alfred Mutua has got off to a wrong start in a probable attempt to both justify the newly created position, and to impress his superiors. Dr. Mutua’s 8th July 2004 defense of the government’s role in the Anglo Leasing scam was as pathetic as it was absurd. It is the height of folly for Dr. Mutua to suggest that the Central Bank of Kenya was wired an astronomical sum of
US $ 10,262,500 from an unknown source. As aptly put by the “East African Standard”, in it’s 9th July 2004 lead story, the Central Bank of Kenya amongst other things, flouted  international money laundering laws by accepting such a huge sum of money before thoroughly scrutinising it’s source. Dr. Mutua is therefore saying that this country will soon be swarming with agents and troops from high profile global intelligence, drug and fraud agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), MI5, Mossad and Scotland Yard.

The junior-most clerk in the smallest financial institution in Kenya can tell Dr. Mutua that the Central Bank of Kenya continues to issue strict procedures on the monitoring of bank account cash flows in the aftermath of the Al Qaeda Network attacks of September 11th 2001. Kenyan banks and financial institutions have traditionally required only limited information from new account holders, but this has changed since September 11th 2001. Extra details, references and referees are more closely monitored nowadays and a sudden cash upsurge in a relatively dormant account is immediately reported to the Central Bank of Kenya. Moreover there are different levels of authorisation and a regular deposit of US $ 10,262,500 would require entries to be passed by clerks and their immediate superiors in the immediate instance, before going up to the chief executive through several intermediate stages of authorisation and approval. Fraud is usually detected by a hawk eyed official or officials during such processes, and Dr. Mutua is therefore telling us that the regulator of the Kenyan financial markets ought to be shut down immediately, and the Kenya shilling suspended as a bona fide global currency. Dr. Mutua is also telling us that the Kenya government, through the Central Bank of Kenya, is supportive of international money laundering criminal activities and the August 7th 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

Dr. Mutua really ought to quickly co-opt the input of a diverse array of professionals on his working committees, to aid him in his task. For instance, Dr. Mutua ought to have sought the counsel of banking experts who would have assisted in patching up the Anglo Leasing debacle, before issuing a statement,. Ironically, Dr. Mutua can also learn from the Al Qaeda which the Kenya government appears to be supporting by accepting an amount of US $ 10,262,500 from an unknown source. Al Qaeda executed one of the most daring and spectacular assaults in human history on September 11th 2001 which must have made the likes of Julius Caesar, Hannibal, Alexander of Macedonia, Shaka, Samore Toure, Napoleon Bonaparte and General Erwin “the desert fox” Rommel, glee with admiration from their resting places. The airlines had full tanks and were flown by Al Qaeda trained pilots. It is also plain to see that the operation had the input of Architects, Structural engineers, Building engineers, Civil engineers and Quantity surveyors. Simply put, Al Qaeda was not playing. Dr. Mutua requires to be just this thorough in his delivery.

Dr. Mutua also needs to study the historic waterproof and detailed submission made by Justice Richard Kwach in the epic 1987 court battle between the Umira Kager clan and Wambui Otieno-Mbugua which won the case for the clan, to understand the kind of detail to attention that is required of his job. Dr. Mutua can also learn from Marlin Fitzwater, the White House spokesman in the administration of the senior George Bush and the Clinton administration’s George Stephanopoulos, who impressively defended government policy in the severest of onslaughts. Dr. Mutua’s delivery is also being hampered by disjointed language flows punctuated with elementary grammatical errors, that do not reflect well on his standing as a doctorate degree holder. Dr. Mutua needs to work on this and emulate the likes of Moody Awori, Kalonzo Musyoka, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Raila Odinga, Dr. Chris Murangaru and Paul Muite, all of whom have impressive communication skills in both English and Kiswahili. Overall, Dr. Mutua is required to withdraw his hoax communication of 8th July 2004 and tell the truth about the Anglo Leasing scam, otherwise he might as well sooner resign and save us three possible years of agony.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                VOICE OF KENYA(VOK) - 7th July 2004

                                                                                                       Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                       P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                       00200 City Square
                                                                                                       Nairobi
                                                                                                       Kenya

                                                                                                       7th July 2004

                                            VOICE OF KENYA(VOK)

The people of Kenya once again find themselves on the losing end of an endless battle for political supremacy. The cancellation of the Katiba Watch rally of 3rd July 2004 was unwarranted as the current government owes it’s existence to competitive politics, and in a much wider perspective, negates the very principle of democracy and freedom of association. The convenors of the failed rally also stand blamed for engaging in directionless populist politics which resulted in the loss of one life, damage to property and huge business losses in general. The entire Constitutional Review process has narrowed down to conflict on whether this country should transfer executive powers from the Office of the President to the proposed Office of the Prime Minister and thus leave a ceremonial Presidency, or whether to retain the Status Quo.

The Kenyan leadership is still making no genuine effort to grasp the real issues and real problems afflicting the people of this country. The individual who lost his life in Kisumu city in the Katiba Watch related rally of 3rd July 2004 was driven to his demise not by a strong desire to have the Kenyan constitution reviewed, but by desperate criminal bid to better his life. This is why there is need for a definite drive towards politics of development. The experience of former Cabinet Minister, Isaac Ruto, whose support lies with the Katiba Watch lobby group, sums up the prevailing mood in this country right now. The mob didn’t care a thing who Isaac Ruto was or what he stood for, all they wanted was money from him. This is all that lobbies, pressure groups or political parties mean to Kenyans anymore, as all themes have lost meaning, however well intentioned.

The government is also duty bound to explain it’s procrastination on facilitating review of the Kenyan constitution. Perhaps even more worrying are the scandalous revelations of high level corruption in government related to the shadowy Anglo Leasing trading company, which have gratifyingly drawn the ire of key donors by the issuance of strongly worded threats and protestations through their local diplomatic missions. On 6th July 2004, President Mwai Kibaki assembled his cabinet in what appears was supposed to be a bonding and fence-mending luncheon. President Kibaki lamented at individuals in and outside his government who were constantly colliding with his government, wondering where they were headed. President Kibaki referred to the dissenters as “guys”. Well guys in this country are also deeply anguished by the failure of President Kibaki and his government to make good his pledge to combat corruption as evidenced by the Anglo Leasing trading company fiasco. President Kibaki should have boldly addressed this worrying issue at his luncheon of 6th July 2004. Guys in this country are also concerned at why President Kibaki’s government is making arbitrary decisions with no regard whatsoever to public opinion and input, such as the proposed enactment of the statutory National Social Health Insurance Scheme, a venture that the World Bank has raised doubts about. Guys in this country are also concerned by about the disdain, contempt and disregard that President Kibaki’s Ministers have for the rule of law, with at least three examples of contempt of court. Guys in this country are also concerned about the government’s efforts to muzzle press freedoms and wider freedoms of association as evidenced by the onslaught on Nairobi’s Kiss 100 radio station by the government and it’s pro-establishment competitor Citizen Radio 106.7 FM, and the said proscribing of the Katiba Watch rally of 3rd July 2004. The Citizen Radio 106.7 FM frequency jams of Kiss 100 transmissions are a particularly worrying indication of the brutal disregard of law and order in this country, especially when coupled by the fact that the culprit frequencies, Inooro FM and Ramogi FM, were not licensed by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) in the first place. Guys have numerous grievances against President Kibaki and his government and it will take much more than luncheons to correct them. On Sunday, 27th June 2004, the Kenya Television Network in it’s weekly Eco Journal feature, highlighted the havoc being wrought by River Nyando on it’s surroundings and Lake Victoria, as a result of deforestation. Guys in the Nyando River basin must be wondering whether the government has forsaken them, and this is no laughing matter

One of the biggest tasks that any Kenyan government will have, NARC, KANU or otherwise, will be to restore order and faith in this country, because just about none is left. When Argentina was undergoing a crippling economic crisis, Argentines pointed in the direction of the international airport in Buenos Aires, when asked what the solution to the country’s problems were, and this is the situation that Kenya is also in. Kenyan leaders as a whole still refuse to accept that the problems in this country go beyond party lines and are about a nation that has lost faith in itself. Even if the Kibaki government were to fall today and an LDP government were to take over, it would probably also last only half of 18 months before it also fell to an alternative government. Kenya would become like Italy where there have been numerous governments since World War II or like the final years of the U.S.S.R. where supreme leadership changed rapidly from Leonid Brezhnev, to Yuri Andropov, to Konstantin Chernenko and finally to Mikhail Gorbachev. Kenya is however too fragile and too impoverished a nation to sustain the Italian and Soviet experiences, and would instead quickly disintegrate. A respectful tribute was however made by a soviet citizen after the departure of Leonid Brezhnev when he said that “we used to call the old man silly and make funny remarks about him, but we now miss him”. These remarks have a similar curious place in Kenya today.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                     MUSIKLY SPEAKING - 5th July 2004

                                                                                                            Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                            P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                            00200 City Square
                                                                                                            Nairobi
                                                                                                            Kenya

                                                                                                            5th July 2004

                                                    MUSIKLY SPEAKING

The Kenya Television Network’s feature of Kenyan music duo “Necessary Noize” on the  “My Day with You” weekly segment of 28th June 2004, lacked in depth but was crucial in directing public attention and focus at an industry that still remains amorphous, undefined and on the fringes of Kenyan society. The defining moment of the brief segment was Kevin Wyre’s poignant remark that “he lives of his music”, an ominous sign that the music industry can no longer be taken for granted in this country.

Kenyan hip-hop continues to take centre stage in the local music industry, benefiting highest from media coverage, generous airtime play on radio stations, promotions and sponsorship. A flamboyant genre of music that blends local and foreign influences in a package delivered with youthful flair, swagger and insolence, Kenyan hip-hop is both lovable and detestable, and the ideal vanguard in the fight to entrench support and tangible gain for the much wider music industry in Kenya. Artistes like “Necessary Noize”, “Gidigidi Majimaji”, Mercy Myra, “Nameless”, Poxi Presha, and Wahu may not be doing justice in evolving a distinct Kenyan sound with universal appeal, but their celebrity status, controversial music and controversial lyrics are ambassadorial and key to evolving standards and gain for the industry. The calibre of Kenyan artistes has also evolved dramatically, lead amongst them “Nameless” a.k.a. David Mathenge who is an Architect and an old boy of Nairobi’s prestigious Strathmore School.

One of the biggest let downs in Kenyan music remains an unsupportive public. Generation after generation of Kenyan musicians have suffered from this and it is probably why second generation artiste the late Kelly Brown, relocated to West Germany. The compositions of first generation contemporary Kenyan artistes like Paul Mwachupa, Fadhili Williams, Fundi Konde and Daudi Kabaka still benefit from regular airtime play from Kenya’s radio stations, but that is as far as it goes with regard to their legacies. The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), still remains vocal in it’s fight against piracy, but has been grossly wanting in securing Collective Bargaining Agreements for Kenyan artistes involving remuneration, severance pay, pension, medical insurance, accident insurance and medical insurance. The result continues to be the public held view that the music industry is only as good as a Saturday night out. This compares poorly when compared with other parts of the world. Music secured Elvis Presley his Graceland ranch, Michael Jackson his Neverland ranch and Sir Paul McCartney fame, fortune and a knighthood. When Kool & the Gang were at their peak, they owned the latest line of Mercedes and stayed in exquisite residences. The Music Copyright Society of Kenya is yet to present a blueprint of how it partially hopes to achieve this for Kenyan artistes.

The MCSK can however only take part blame for the problem in Kenya and the public the rest. One of the most disheartening things in Kenya is the high prevalence of distaste for home grown music and musicians. Congolese artistes Franco Luambo Makiadi and his TPOK Jazz Orchestra and Pepe Kalle and his Empire Bakuba Band, reigned at the same time as first generation contemporary Kenyan musicians like Fadhili Williams but the fame and legacies of the former two far outweigh and outlive that of the latter. One is more likely to find “The Best of Franco” or “The Best of Pepe Kalle” in a Kenyan household, then they are of finding “The Best of Muungano National Choir”.

The second generation of contemporary Kenyan artistes also arrived in flair in the 1980s, but still nowhere close to the high profile flamboyance of today. Voi MP, Boniface Mghanga’s “Muungano National Choir” topped culturally with harmonious compositions with national appeal such as “Kenya kipenzi” ( Kenya my love). The Prisons Choir also played a key role in forging nationalism at the time though their closeness to then President Moi gave them a sycophantic tag. Darius Mbela’s St. Stephen’s Church Choir and the St. Barnabas Church Choir also dueled for supremacy in Gospel music with compositions that had a wide reach and wide appeal. The St. Stephen’s Church Choir is best remembered for the brilliant music tributes they composed at short notice in 1978 for departed President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. In pop music “Them Mushrooms” (today’s Uyoga Band) and “The Pressman Band” managed a successful music blend of cultural and contemporary beats including “Jambo Bwana”, which still remain ahead of their time. Groups of the time with a heavy pop theme similar to present groups like “Necessary Noize” included the University of Nairobi’s “Gravity” and their 1981 hit “Forever yours”, “Earthquake”, “Radi Band” “African Heritage”, a 1985 off shoot of “Gravity” partly comprising Anthony Ndungu and Jack Odongo, and “Musikly Speaking”, a flamboyant female trio of Joy Mboya, Susan Gachukia and Susan Matiba who had the honour of meeting legendary American music producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The pop groups inspired no doubt, but not as much as Muungano National Choir or Them Mushrooms.

The flair, flamboyance and insolence of today however beats everything that this country has ever witnessed and has opened this country to opportunities it never thought it had. This had greatly been aided by technological advancement and the onset of synthetic music. Generic computer software that costs as little as US $ 50, a personal computer, speakers, sharp wits and fairly good vocals, is all it probably takes to compose a hit song nowadays. Bands equipped with bass and treble guitars, drums, trumpets, saxophones and accordions, had already began becoming obsolete anyway much earlier on in the 1980s, with the advent of synthesizers. Today’s producers and artistes nevertheless take credit for making possible what many thought would never be. In this respect credit must go to ventures like Samawati productions, Ogopa DJs, Calif Records and Ted Josiah’s Blu Zebra studio amongst others. America continues to dominate the world music industry and from it has emerged brilliant artistes such as Kool and the Gang, Earth Wind and Fire, Lakeside, The Dazz Band, The S.O.S. Band and Sister Sledge backed by equally brilliant producers like the legendary duo of Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, Quincy Jones, Leon Sylvers III, Khalis Bhayyan, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. We used to imagine that their sounds were made in heaven and never thought that Kenyans would ever be capable of equaling them. The likes of Ted Josiah and “Gidigidi Majimaji” have made this possible for present and future generations. During Kenyan national days Daniel arap Moi continually pointed out with a very deep sense of pride that the jets in the fly past were flown by “Vijana wa hapa nyumbani” (native sons of the land). Those born and brought up in post independent Kenya like myself could not identify with Moi’s deep pride because it was nothing new to us. Moi however grew up at a time when it was sacrilege for a native to look at an aeroplane, let alone touch it, hench his deep pride.

The pride associated with advances in the Kenyan music industry come nowhere close to Moi’s pride, but they are nonetheless gratifying. There is still a tremendous amount of work still to be done to establish and give stature and credibility to the music industry in Kenya and we all have a part to play in this. Much as “Necessary Noize” and their contemporaries may be stars, very few Kenyans purchase their CDs, which is what supports both them and their producers, the music industry as a whole. We pirate their music shamelessly. A lot of work needs to be put into marketing as well. We must question why Congolese music continues to dominate our own. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is a struggling nation as much as ours and there should be no reason why their music should take precedence over ours. The dominance of North American music in Kenya is more understandable.

It will certainly take much more than easier access to the tools of the trade because US $ 50 can be raised as easily here as it can be elsewhere in the world. The World Wide Web also has several sites that enable convenient downloading of diverse music software, but we must remember that the internet is an easily accessible worldwide facility. The marketing and growth of the Kenyan music industry is still therefore primarily dependent on the input and goodwill of it’s people.


Michael Mundia Kamau

                     DANIEL ARAP KIBAKI - 3rd July 2004

                                                                                                            Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                            P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                            00200 City Square
                                                                                                            Nairobi
                                                                                                            Kenya

                                                                                                            3rd July 2004

                                                DANIEL ARAP KIBAKI

The Kenyan cabinet reshuffle of 30th June 2004 has re-centred socio-political and economic power in the elite hierarchy that has ruled Kenya since independence in 1963 and is a glaring indication in real terms of the stunted growth that this country has undergone over the last 41 years. The heavy contribution of former President Daniel arap Moi in the 30th June 2004 cabinet reshuffle is clearly noticable, and confirms reports by Kenya’s “Sunday Nation” that President Mwai Kibaki and former President Daniel arap Moi, have lately been holding regular consultations on the political situation in Kenya, with newly appointed Energy Minister Simeon Nyachae as the linkman. It is apparent that President Mwai Kibaki desperately sought counsel from his former boss in a bid to salvage a fast deteriorating situation. In a sad way, it signifies President Kibaki’s firm intention to protect elite interests in Kenya before remotely embarking on any universal programme. For instance, newly appointed Special Programmes Minister, Njenga Karume, still has difficulty conversing in English, but Njenga Karume is a man of consequences and the Kenyan equivalent of a wealthy Texas oil-man, which is probably why U.S. Vice President George Bush visited his Kiambu residence in 1986 while on a state visit of Kenya.

Three successive Kenyan presidents have played a leading role in safeguarding the interests of the small pocket of elite Kenya that actually owns this country and their reward has of-course been induction into the club with a severely limited membership. President Kibaki was certainly under severe pressure from elite Kenya to explain his handling of the crisis and therefore turned to a tested and distinguished elite member for counsel. In the America of the 1980s for instance, it was no secret that little love was lost between Ronald and Nancy Reagan on one part and George and Barbara Bush on the other, but both sides always teamed up when their interests were threatened. Kenya is no different.

The events of 30th June 2004 and thereafter are however a sign that Kenya continues to lag behind badly in the formulation of an alternative school of thought to grow the interests of the remaining huge part of marginalised Kenya. “KANU ina wenyewe” (Opposition party KANU, has it’s owners), is how former President Moi put it before the 2002 general elections. “NARC pia ina wenyewe” (Ruling party NARC, also has it’s owners), it emerges after 30th June 2004. Who therefore represents the interests of the remainder of Kenya? There is dire need to grow alternative leadership that will be held accountable for propagating the interests of the common man in Kenya. The alternative must stand the test of time like KANU as opposed to being a  stalled venture like the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU), the Kenya Peoples’ Union (KPU), “Dini ya Kaggia”, the Kenya National Socialist Alliance (KASA), the unregistered Saba Saba Asili political party, the National Development Party (NDP) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). There would rather exist a political structure with two or more main lines of thought like the Republicans and Democrats in America or the Conservatives and Labour in the United Kingdom.

There is a huge unemployed pool of skilled labour in Kenya which does not have elite roots and with no effective representation. There is a huge pool of small scale traders who continue to congest the streets of Kenya’s cities and towns, who have no effective representation. The Kenyan labour force as a whole has no effective representation. Kenyan farmers have no effective representation. The irony is that the people who run Kenya are least represented in terms of their personal interests. Credit must go the government for liberalisation efforts over the last ten years that have enabled a sizable group of Kenyans secure opportunities in East, Central and Southern Africa, America, Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Even then, these opportunities have largely been secured through personal efforts rather than any structured programme in place. The American airlifts of the 1960s associated with Tom Mboya and the Eastern Europe airlifts of the same period associated with Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, were more structured and more organised in this respect.

Kenya therefore lacks an effective lobby or political party that caters for the interests of the vast majority, a lobby or political party with a self-supporting membership. Giant land buying and owning ventures like Ngwataniro and numerous informal social groupings known variously as “merry-go-round”, of course form the prelude to the evolvement of a Kenyan political party similar to the US Democratic party and the UK Labour party. The hastened need for this cannot be overemphasised as Kenya continues to bear with governance that propagates elite Kenya at the expense of mainstream Kenya.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                      UNCLE MOODY - 27th June 2004

                                                                                                         Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                         P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                         00200 City Square
                                                                                                         Nairobi
                                                                                                         Kenya

                                                                                                         27th June 2004

                                                    UNCLE MOODY

The Langata Womens’ Prison beauty pageant held on 26th June 2004 is a first of it’s kind and a commendable and worthy effort at instituting meaningful reform in the Kenyan prison system. Splendidly presented in attires with an African theme, there was no way of telling that the bevy of beauties solely comprised convicts, and clearly shows that we are all capable of excelling in life if given the right opportunities. Everybody deserves a first, second or even third chance at life and the NARC government is providing a second with regard to the Kenyan prison system. This is one area where President Kibaki’s trial with delegation of powers is paying off dividends, and Vice President Moody Awori deserves high credit for this.

Every effort is being made to transform Kenyan prisons into corrective and rehabilitative institutions in tune with the fast changing times that we are living in. Nothing personifies this more than acceptance of donated computers for use by convicts in Nakuru District by Moody Awori’s Ministry of Home Affairs. Convicts have traditionally received training in masonry, carpentry and tailoring and it is gratifying to note the Kenya government’s cognisance and acknowledgement of huge global transformations. Ex-convicts will certainly be higher placed to readjust back in society with computer software and hardware skills. These are the sort of actions that Kenyans sought, expected, wanted and anticipated from the NARC government as a whole after it’s 2002 landslide election victory.

The presence of the Ministry of Home Affairs has also been felt in the  rehabilitation of street children through granting of opportunities in the National Youth Service (NYS), however minimal. There are those of us who are fully committed to granting less privileged Kenyans a chance at life with the available resources, as many of us take sides in the ongoing political feuding. It is these committed Kenyans, like Moody Awori, who are keeping hope alive. It is these committed Kenyans who are keeping society secure by  reassuring convicts and rehabilitated street children that society still cares. Several of us claim to be born-again Christians, but how many of us attended the Langata Womens’ Prison beauty pageant ? How many of us have attended NYS graduation parades comprising ex-street children if we are so committed to reforming society ? The truth of the matter is that we are not supporting societal reform. The truth of the matter is that the women of Langata Prison displayed a willingness to change for the better and many deserve to be discharged and the rest of us charged. We must also not forget that our founding president, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was once a convict. Nelson Mandela was also once a celebrated inmate. It’s not over till it’s over and even then, it’s never over, because the names of Kenyatta and Mandela will live through the centuries.  

The Langata Womens’ Prison beauty pageant was a welcome relief from the unending ongoing political murk, whose protagonists need to borrow a leaf from Vice President Moody Awori. Moody Awori is focused on his job and the future of this country, which is probably the reason why is voice is seldom heard in the infighting nowadays. He is using the resources available to him and his ministry to better the lives of those under his charge, rather than take sides in unending and meaningless political battles. Yes, Moody found himself in an awkward and embarrassing situation when his ministry featured centrally in the Anglo Leasing trading company when the scandal first emerged. Moody however defended himself and his ministry in the best possible way in the prevailing circumstances, as the Anglo Leasing debacle continues to emerge as a Goldenberg like mega-scam steered by powers much bigger than Moody. Nevertheless, Moody has managed to secure modest yet monumental gains for his ministry, and other ministers must be challenged to give a similar return. If Kenyans really care about action, then Moody Awori personifies this. If Kenyans really care about hard work, then Moody Awori exemplifies this. When the Kenya Television Network featured Moody on “My Day with You”, Moody said and showed that his day begins at 4.00 a.m. Self-made, experienced and wealthy, Moody Awori is presidential material despite his advanced age, and much younger Kenyans vying for the top seat must stand cautioned. Moreover, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Nelson Mandela and Ronald Reagan all ascended to the top seats in their respective countries at advanced years of age, but their legacies have and will endure.

There are places in this country where one dare not soil the name of Jomo Kenyatta. There are also places in this country where one dare not soil the name of Daniel arap Moi, and there are indeed also places in this country where one dare not soil the name of Mwai Kibaki. At the rate at which things are going, there will be many places in this country where one will not dare soil the name of Moody Awori.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                            KENYA “B” - 19th June 2004

                                                                                                            Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                            P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                            00200 City Square
                                                                                                            Nairobi
                                                                                                            Kenya

                                                                                                            19th June 2004

                                                        KENYA “B”

The leader of the official opposition in Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, made a hero’s entry into the joint-ruling Liberal Democratic Party stronghold of Kisumu city on 18th June 2004, in a manner that his father would have wished and envied 35 years ago. In this respect Uhuru Kenyatta has accomplished a feat that his father was not able to, in the same way that John F. Kennedy’s ascendency to the American presidency fulfilled unfinished business for his father Ambassador Joseph Kennedy.

Uhuru’s triumphant Kisumu entry is however taking place at a time of great political, economic and social turmoil and instability in Kenya, which significantly lessens it’s impact and significance. Uhuru brought no new message of renewed hope and merely stirred emotion through cheap anti-government propaganda and the announcement of the possible formation of an alliance between his party KANU and Raila Odinga’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The likely formation of a political alliance between LDP and KANU is nothing new to Kenya, and there have been several such failed ventures in Kenya’s history over the past 12 years. The opposition Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD), formally registered in 1992, initially split into FORD-Agip and FORD-Muthithi, from which was to later emerge FORD-Kenya and FORD-Asili, respectively. After the opposition’s loss to KANU at the 1992 elections, the stalled United Democratic Movement (UDM) was formed in 1994 to counter KANU. UDM was a lose coalition of then opposition parties like FORD-Asili, FORD-Kenya and the Democratic Party (DP). Around this period former FORD-Asili leader, Kenneth Matiba formed the still unregistered Saba Saba Asili party and joined ranks with former Gatundu MP, Ngengi Muigai. Kenneth Matiba also formed a short-lived political alliance with current “de facto” LDP leader, Raila Odinga, at the time. Raila Odinga fell out with FORD-Kenya in 1997 and formed the National Development Party (NDP). KANU and NDP formed a political alliance after the 1997 general elections that was to culminate in the March 2002 merger of both parties and the emergence of “New KANU”. Mwai Kibaki’s Democratic Party, Michael Kijana Wamalwa’s FORD-Kenya and Charity Ngiliu’s Social Democratic Party had meanwhile formed themselves into an opposition political alliance known as the National Alliance of Parties of Kenya (NAK). Raila Odinga’s former NDP and a faction of KANU, rebelled against former President Daniel arap Moi’s choice of Uhuru as KANU’s presidential candidate at the 2002 general elections, broke off from KANU, and joined NAK to form the current ruling alliance of the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC). It is becoming increasingly apparent that former President Daniel arap Moi pulled off one of the most shrewdest political decoys of all time by his support of the stalled Project Uhuru in 2002, much the same way that the Americans pulled off a major military decoy prior to the 1991 Gulf war by publishing detailed accounts of an planned amphibian attack in Newsweek magazine. Moi ensured his smooth exit from power and fully knew that his legacy would soon be redeemed by the almost certain comical performance of the incoming government. He knew very well the characters of the men and women vying for government, having worked closely with them for several years, and knew that they would soon be exposed as reckless and irresponsible self-seekers. It is a bit much to set aside Moi’s vast experience and exposure, and assume that he did not know what he was doing.

The power struggles in NARC are becoming more intense, more brutal, more bold and more reckless. In an unprecedented move, First lady Lucy Kibaki joined the fray in the week of 13th June 2004 by lashing out at LDP rebels in NARC. It is difficult to tell what turn events will take, though what’s certain is that the entire Kenyan leadership is doing this country great injustice and great disservice.

Uhuru Kenyatta is building alliances with ruling party rebels before putting his own affairs in order. He lost credibility by not being elected chairman of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), a key position traditionally reserved for the head of the official opposition. Uhuru Kenyatta has failed to reinvigorate vanquished KANU  by giving it a new lease of life. The party is down and this is the most appropriate time to make key and painful changes to the party, in readiness for the future. The themes of Uhuru Kenyatta’s political rallies continue to revolve around attacks on the government’s lack of delivery. There is however little to suggest that Uhuru has the will, character or ability to mobilise support and apply sustained pressure on the government to deliver. This is what built the career of current British premier, Tony Blair. If Uhuru Kenyatta was not able to do this with his PAC candidacy, it is difficult to see how he will be able to mobilise the support of an entire nation. Rather than continue preaching about several ills of the current leadership, Uhuru Kenyatta should rectify them. He should use his key political position to safeguard the interests of the nation. Uhuru Kenyatta has not for instance used his position to apply pressure on the Minister of Transport and Communications to decree a reduction of fares even though there was a definite government pledge to do so. His Gatundu South constituents are affected by the fare hikes in equal proportion to the rest of the nation. Uhuru Kenyatta has not brought meaningful pressure to bear on the government regarding high level corruption such as the unprocedural award of huge government contracts to the little known Anglo Leasing trading company. Uhuru Kenyatta has not made his presence felt on numerous other issues in the country such as unemployment, rising crime nationwide including his own Gatundu South constituency, poverty and health. A figurative official opposition head is as bad as no official opposition head at all. Former Ugenya MP James Orengo, almost brought down the Moi government by moving a vote of no confidence in parliament. Ever since Ronald Ngala levelled harsh criticism in parliament against Mzee Kenyatta and his government in Kenyatta’s presence, Kenyan presidents have never attended parliament for routine parliamentary business, but in an extemely rare gesture, Moi attended parliament on the day of Orengo’s near successful vote. James Orengo did not occupy the enviable perch of official opposition head at the time of his near successful vote.

The World Bank has just announced that it is releasing a tranche of US $ 250,000,000 development aid to Kenya and close monitoring of these funds to ensure that they are correctly utilised, provides another test for Uhuru Kenyatta. The Anglo Leasing procurement scandal however destroys all such optimism, and in it’s stead hangs a dark cloud of pessimism and despair.

When Uhuru Kenyatta was the Chairman of the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB), he featured on the Kenya Television Network’s “Breakfast Show”, articulating KTB efforts to improve Kenyan domestic and international tourism. Amongst the things that Uhuru mentioned was the formulation of budget domestic tourist packages to cater for the “wananchi” (common man). Uhuru used the word “wananchi” in his delivery, probably unaware of the vastly changed conditions of the common man in Kenya. The common man in Kenya is on the brink of madness, pushed to the edge by an unfeeling system. Uhuru Kenyatta forms part of that unfeeling system. The revered Kenyatta family residence in Ichaweri, Gatundu, remains largely unchanged from the time Uhuru’s father reigned. The posh Kenyatta family mansion off Nairobi’s Dennis Pritt road, remains largely unchanged since the time that Mzee Kenyatta reigned. The rest of Kenya has however changed drastically. Upper and lower middle class neighbourhoods have been transformed into little more than slums, as slums proper continue to emerge in every available open space. Uhuru Kenyatta may have taken a drive through Nairobi’s middle class Umoja estate as a teenager, which has now grown into a vast formless concrete maze of developed and half-developed real estate. To manoeuvre through the heart of this concrete maze one requires the skills of Kenya’s Rhino charge crews. The difference is that Kenya’s Rhino charge is an annual weekend entertainment retreat, whereas living in Umoja is daily weekday and weekend need. The same applies to other neighbourhoods like Zimmerman and Ongata Rongai. Rural Kenya is a daily replica of the Rhino charge proper. This is a Kenya far removed from the romanticism associated with Kenya’s Coronation Avenue of the 1950s, Kenya’s Delamare Avenue of 1960s and Kenya’s Government Road of the 1970s.

The rough reality associated with modern day Kenya is congestion and deprivation. If Uhuru Kenyatta wishes to equal the legacy of his father, he must go to the heart of modern day Kenya, and assess it’s needs, goals, fears and aspirations. In this respect, Uhuru Kenyatta can borrow a leaf from his cousin, Dagoretti MP, Beth Mugo. After Beth Mugo lost her bid for the Dagoretti seat to Chris Kamuyu at the 1992 general elections, she got involved in every meaningful development project in her Dagoretti constituency to the point that her name became associated with progress in Dagoretti. The 1997 general elections were therefore a walkover for her.

Kenyan leaders as a whole need to wake up to the realities of a drastically changed country. The leak in the pipe has now bust and the floods are the vast numbers of people seen daily on Nairobi’s congested streets and elsewhere. It is plain to see why former President Moi actively sought opportunities for Kenyans in Namibia and elsewhere. The entire system requires radical surgery and an overhaul. The two available options for Kenyan leaders now, are to either change radically, or be bundled out in a manner that would make Moi’s bundling out look majestic.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                               TROY - 17th June 2004

                                                                                                            Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                            P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                            00200 City Square
                                                                                                            Nairobi
                                                                                                            Kenya

                                                                                                            17th June 2004

                                                          TROY

The epic motion picture “Troy” which features the unification of Greece 3,200 years ago, has just concluded showing in Kenyan theatres courtesy of Fox Theartes (East Africa) Limited. The making of “Troy” sustains a tradition of historical films like “The Passion of the Christ”, “Armistad”, “Cold Mountain”, “Dances with Wolves”, “Joan of Arc”, “The Outlaw Josie Wells”, “Glory”, “Gladiator”, “Hidalgo”, “Saving Private Ryan”, “The Killing Fields”, “The Fourth of July”,  “BraveHeart”, “Shogun Mayeda”, “Apollo 13”, “Out of Africa”, “The Last Samurai” and “Schindler’s list”. A production of a film on Alexander of Macedonia is underway and will hopefully be released worldwide towards the end of the year.

These efforts at preserving history cannot go unnoticed and uncommended. Meticulous attention is given to high quality reconstruction of events and the heavy input of historians, sociologists and anthropologists in the film productions is clearly discernible. The mourning costumes and ceremonies during the funeral of Trojan Prince Hector in “Troy”, are one such example of meticulous reconstruction of history. The overall benefits from this are tremendous. Major parts of the highly successful film sequel “Lord of the Rings”, were shot in New Zealand and tourism in New Zealand has benefited tremendously from this as a result of highly priced tourist tour packages, eager to get a glimpse of the sites.

Kenya has wasted numerous opportunities over the years to produce a film venture as successful as “Troy” or “Gladiator”. It is unforgivable that “The Ghost and the Darkness”, a historical film about the construction of the Kenya-Uganda railway and the distress wrought by the man eating lions of Tsavo then, was shot in South Africa. It is unbelievable to hear that the producers of “The Ghost and the Darkness” had initially selected Kenya as the filming location, but changed this after officials of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting asked for heavy bribes. This clearly shows the total disdain and total contempt that Kenyans have for everything and everyone including ourselves. We hold abosultely nothing sacred and revere no one. This is the reason why our customs and cultures have floundered and failed to flourish. A film on the epic eleven year old Nandi resistance of 1895-1905 for instance, should have been concluded by now. This will however remain impossible as long as we continue to glorify contemporary cultures like hip-hop, at the expense of our own rich history.

The United States of America is undeniably the cradle and capital of the youthful motion picture industry, and Americans have never lacked time for us. High profile Americans have consistently come to Kenya over the years including President Johnson’s Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, President Ford’s Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, President Carter’s Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, President Reagan’s Vice President George Bush, President Reagan’s Secretary of State, George Schultz, President Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright and President Bush’s Secretary of State, Colin Powell. President Jimmy Carter sent his son to represent him at the 1978 burial of Kenya’s founding president, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. A number of Kenyans have accused recently deceased American president, Ronald Reagan, of being a racist and propping up apartheid South Africa. If this is so, why did he allow Bush and Schultz to come to Kenya during his tenure ? If this is so, why didn’t Reagan make the Ku Klux Klan the symbol of America, the same way that Hitler made the swastika the symbol of Nazi Germany ? If this is so, why did the brilliant careers of African-Americans like Colin Powell, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and Michael Jordan evolve during Reagan’s tenure ? Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones still hold the distinction of partnering the most successful music album of all time, 1982’s “Thriller”, and one wonders why the two have not gotten together again since. If the claims against Reagan are true, why wasn’t Kenya at the forefront of supporting the dismantling of apartheid by hosting ANC camps like Tanzania ?

Kenya has certainly not taken advantage of it’s useful links with America over the years to spread it’s culture. A Hollywood film executive would be more than honoured to get a telephone call from an American Vice President or American Secretary of State, asking them to consider a film project on Kenya’s history. He or she would probably answer the telephone call standing up as it is said that Kenyan Provincial and District Commissioners used to during the tenure of Internal Security Permanent Secretary, Hezeekiah Oyugi. It is strange why we haven’t taken advantage of these opportunities and renders our lobbies ineffective.

For many years also, Kenyans have been made to believe that we openly dishonour and disrespect men and women who have  made valuable contributions to our nation. Nelson Mandela, the symbol of Black pride, reinforced this belief by remarks he made during his visit of Kenya in July 1990. Eight years ago however, “The People Daily” carried an interesting feature on how the family of Mau Mau general, Dedan Kimathi, was long ago allocated 25 acres of land complete with a farmhouse. How many other similar misrepresentations of Kenya’s history are there ? The problem is not our culture, the problem is not America, the problem is not Reagan, the problem is us.



Michael Mundia Kamau

                KENYAN ROULETTE - 13th June 2004

                                                                                                        Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                        P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                        00200 City Square
                                                                                                        Nairobi
                                                                                                        Kenya

                                                                                                        13th June 2004

                                                KENYAN ROULETTE

Kenyan media reports that the Anglo Leasing trading company has been paid an extra US $ 2.775 million for a cancelled Criminal Investigations Department project, and is slated to be paid a balance of US $ 5.8 million for the same dubious project as provided for in the 2004/2005 Fiscal budget, are a worrying sign of deeply embedded high level corruption in the NARC government. This reports are emerging just after the suspension of the dubious US $ 33.75 million Kenyan passport scam linked to Anglo Leasing.

The revelation pours scorn on President Mwai Kibaki’s stern message of 1st June 2004 reminding us that his government would not condone corruption at all. President Mwai Kibaki should demonstrate his seriousness about fighting corruption by taking immediate action on the matter. Never in the history of this country has a dubious item of this nature been sneaked into a Fiscal budget, and one wonders what excuse Finance Minister David Mwiraria will plead this time.

The revelations of Anglo Leasing’s dubious dealings are being made hand in hand with the equally shocking revelation that an amount of US $ 12.5 million has been dubiously allocated for the construction of a vice-president’s official residence. Had the Minister of Roads and Public Works not been so enthusiastic about demolishing palatial residences built on his bypasses and corridors earlier this year, one would have been been acquired by state decree as an official residence of the Kenyan vice president and another would have allocated to the family of the late departed vice president through a similar decree. Even then the amount of US $ 12.5 million is outrageous and unjustifiable by any standard. All the nation’s State Houses and State Lodges put together, do not even cost half of US $ 12.5 million.

Arising out of NARC’s latest misdeeds will follow the traditional drab week long condemnations from the country’s leaders, clergy, media and lobbies, all full of emptiness. Years of Moi’s misrule will also definitely be invoked as an excuse, as the public continues to suffer under inept leadership. It was joked that former American President George Bush would make calls for an Operation Desert Storm victory parade whenever his popularity ratings plummeted. In Kenya, the entire leadership spectrum has taken to blaming Moi and his years of misrule whenever confronted with matters of glaring misdeed such as those linked to the Anglo Leasing trading company. This is no laughing matter and is reflective of nation that is totally ill-equipped and totally ill-prepared for transition and change. What is for sure is that this country is falling apart.

President Mwai Kibaki continues to maintain a deafening silence on this and other serious matters. Swift action was taken against judges accused of corruption last year, but no similar action in other areas has been forthcoming since. He and his government have become the subject of scorn and ridicule and his credibility has been dealt a severe blow. President Kibaki is still hopelessly adopting a regal approach to governance as his government and the entire nation falls apart. Apart from the Anglo Leasing company scam, members of his cabinet and party have adopted opposing views on the sensitive matter of sugar importation and it’s impact on the local sugar industry. The crumbling and punishing effect is being felt by farmers and consumers as government organs continue to condone institutionalised corruption. The Minister of Energy has silently hiked levies on refined petroleum products which has already resulted in the pump price increase of the same. The depressed economy by extension is therefore about to experience further inflation and further recession. Even prior to this the cost of basic foodstuffs has been steadily rising. The International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) has just suspended Kenya from international soccer events after a disagreement between it and the Kenyan sports minister. Soon thereafter officials of the Kenya Football Federation (KFF) were arrested in connection with corruption as players and officials suffer and as endemic corruption in Kenyan sport as a whole, remains unresolved. Sports kiting meant for Kenyan national teams continues to be sold on the streets, and it is curious that the sports minister was not as enthusiastic in addressing this as well. In principle, KFF officials should have been arrested at the same time as representatives of the Anglo Leasing company. It is unbelievable that the individuals behind all these, are the same individuals who spared no effort to portray Moi as the devil incarnate. Moi’s government would have taken a lot of action by now.

President Kibaki’s continued silence and continued inaction is in extremely poor taste. He and his government have lost credibility before they have even built it. No statement coming from he and his government can henceforth be taken seriously unless and until action is taken against lawbreakers in and outside his government. No statement coming from he and his government can henceforth be taken seriously unless and until actions geared at safeguarding the interests of the common man in Kenya are enacted. Unscrupulous and criminal multi million dollar scams involving tax payers money are not part of this enactment.



Michael Mundia Kamau

               THE PASSING OF AN ERA - 12th June 2004

                                                                                                         Michael Mundia Kamau
                                                                                                         P.O. Box 58972
                                                                                                         00200 City Square
                                                                                                         Nairobi
                                                                                                         Kenya

                                                                                                         12th June 2004

                                              THE PASSING OF AN ERA

Former American President Ronald Reagan has been put to rest in a manner befitting his stature, his contribution and his legacy. Ronald Reagan was a child of many worlds, different things to different people and indeed a leader. His long and illustrious journey captures remarkable transition at all stages. Ronald Reagan witnessed the inception of flight and then presided over it’s rapid transformation several years later through the growth of the space shuttle program and through his monumental Strategic Defense Initiative program (SDI), also known as “Star Wars”. Ronald Reagan witnessed the birth and growth of the American film industry, was a part of it as an actor, and then presided over it’s transaformation several years later by helping build numerous brilliant careers, including that of present California Governor Arnold Schwarznegger. That the final resting place of Ronald Reagan remained his beloved California, a state currently run by a contemporary American immigrant, is a profound statement of Ronald Reagan’s legacy. Ronald Reagan grew up during the Great Depression and witnessed the birth of Henry Ford’s Model-T automobile. Several years later, Ronald Reagan presided over huge general economic growth in America at the front of which stood giant automobile manufacturers, General Motors (GM), The Ford Corporation and The Chrysler Corporation.

Ronald Reagan lived and gave renewed inspirational to the American dream. The epitome of a  quintessential American, Ronald Reagan grew up poor, but died a fulfilled man. Legend has it that Ronald Reagan abhorred and avoided firing individuals at all costs, because his father was laid off during the Great Depression, and knew firsthand the pain of growing up with a jobless father. Ronald Reagan did not come from old money or obtain an Ivy League education, but nevertheless became an actor, a governor, a president and a statesman. The attendance of Reagan’s funeral service by former leaders Mikhail Gobarchev, Margaret Thatcher, Brian Mulroney and Lech Welesa, are a lasting tribute of Reagan’s success at building a better world. Many never believed that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.), would fall in our time. The U.S.S.R. was a bitter foe of the U.S.A. for many years and was last headed by Mikhail Gobarchev, an equally great man in his own right. Mikhail Gorbachev was under no obligation whatsoever to attend Reagan’s funeral service, but he nevertheless did of his own volition. This is a profound indication of the regard that Gorbachev had for the man.

Ronald Reagan was also a husband, a father and a friend. Ronald and Nancy Reagan are beacons of family values for global societies grappling with the crumbling insitution. Nancy Reagan’s loyalty and strength over the years, especially the last ten, are remarkable and deeply commendable. She stood by her husband to the very end, a contemporary rarity. Nancy’s gracefulness and strength over the last five days reflect features of the sound character that helped build her life with Ronald Reagan. Despite her advanced age, Nancy could have chosen to desert Reagan if she wanted to, but she didn’t. Nancy even afforded a chuckle at her husband’s funeral service when former President George Bush jokingly reminisced about Ronald Reagan’s rhyme answer “so so”, when asked about his meeting with Bishop Tutu.

Ronald Reagan’s links with Africa and Kenya were not that prominent. Former Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi made two state visits to America during Reagan’s presidency and Kenyan athletics’ legend, Kipchoge Keino was hosted by Reagan in an event to honour great world athletes. Kipchoge still jokes about how he and his wife were sought out from their Eldoret home by Kenyan security officials and promptly flown to America abroad a concord, at speeds he could never dream of running at. Apart from Moi’s and Kipchoge’s visits, Kenya did not feature prominently in Reagan’s policies. Many Kenyans at the time viewed Reagan as an arrogant, cocky, reckless and abrasive cowboy, especially after his administration bombed Tripoli and Benghazi. Rather curiously and indirectly, Ronald Reagan has another lasting legacy in Kenya. Many Kenyans, young and old, now have a preference for American pop music produced in the 1980s. There is abundant play of music of the time by artists like Kool & the Gang, Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Kenny Rogers, Don Williams, Madonna and George Michael. At some point five to six years ago, it had become ridiculous to the point that radio stations eventually decided to allocate playing of such music to only certain hours of the day or night. A further lasting Kenyan legacy of Reagan’s  America, is the fact that Nairobi now has a full time soul station, 105.2 FM, that specilises in playing American pop music of the 1980s. The fact that many Kenyans got to see Reagan’s final journey to his final resting place by way of live beams from the giant Cable News Network (CNN), a station that was born, grew and thrived during Reagan’s reign, is a loud indication of Reagan’s legacy in Kenya. Ronald Reagan had an enviable regular guy persona as does Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton playing the saxophone at his 1993 inauguration party is a defining statement of America. If Ronald Reagan were a Kenyan, he would have been a regular feature at Nairobi’s Burma market and would not flinch from buying and eating roasted maize from street vendors.

Another remarkable American president, Richard Nixon, died ten years ago after what he described as his long journey from his home town of Yorba Linda, to the White House. Richard Nixon’s remarkable journey was tainted by the Watergate scandal, which Americans forgave him for in later years. At one such occasion, a shop attendant reached out to Nixon and said “ For what it’s worth Mr. President, I voted for you, and I’d vote for you again”. Nixon was so overwhelmed with shock, emotion and gratitude that he reached out and gave the the shop attendant a warm bear hug without uttering a word. In the same token, many non-Americans would have voted for Ronald Reagan during and after his presidential terms, were it possible. Ronald Reagan was not just an American leader, but a world leader. Rest In Peace, cowboy.



Michael Mundia Kamau