Thursday, April 30, 2009

What are we doing here?

"Do you know what happens to the money you give to charity?"

WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE? explores why the charity given to Africa over the last five decades has been largely ineffective and often harmful. The film tells the story of Brandon, Nicholas, Daniel and Tim Klein who travel across Africa in an attempt to understand one of the great problems of our time; the failure to end poverty.

Click HERE to visit the website...

Hat tip App+frica!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We are watching you...


It is well and good that Vision 2030 remains our blueprint but it would be wrong to assume that the plan is more important than the people whose lives the plan is meant to improve. Discussions with our fellow Kenyans and particularly the youth tell us that 2030 as a vision is unreal to them. They look for news and plans for today – 2009 – and tomorrow and the day after that. They
cannot wait until 2030 to have jobs or to eat – let alone until the end of this year.

Read the full article HERE

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Broken synthesizers and fragmented satellite broadcasts from the future provide a fictionalized Kenyan future;
panicked astronauts, lovelorn puppets, a flying tortoise, the meaning of life, an experimental boy band and a sprinkling of sparkly stuff...

The Goethe-Institut Nairobi
has commissioned Just A Band with works of video art for our first art show.

The show runs from Tuesday May 5, 2009 to Saturday May 16, 2009 and will feature premieres of new music videos from Scratch To Reveal and our soon-to-be-released second album - 82.

Just A Band will mark the finissage with END_TRNSMSSN, a DJ set of our favorite house, electro,pop and funk

Entry free.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Free For All...


ECK, MPs, Ministers...

And the rest of Kenya?

Read Gladwell Otieno's piece HERE in the Nation on ECK's handsome pay...

Also worth downloading the Africog Report entitled, "Free for all? Misuse of funds at the Electoral Commission of Kenya"

Click HERE to download report

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Call to Action!

Following the political and economic crisis triggered by the disputed announcement of the election of President Kibaki for a second term on December 30th 2007, it was hoped that Parliament would have used the opportunity presented by the National consensus on Agenda 4 to appropriate tax money for the benefit of the poorest of the poor and curb wasteful expenditure by the Government. The 10th Parliament’s first two sessions have been a disappointment and unless public pressure is brought to bear the third session threatens to be a repeat. Rather than using the parliamentary recess to promote national cohesion and consultations on necessary reform such as national budget realignment, MPs have spent the period heightening tensions amongst the population, and raising possibility of political and ethnic conflict.

Click HERE to

Friday, April 17, 2009

Silencing Kenya's activists...

Apr 11 - Human rights campaigners in Kenya have accused the country's security forces of carrying out extra-judicial killings that have claimed at least 500 lives since 2007.

A UN Special Rapporteur was appointed to investigate in February 2009 and recently accused Kenya’s police and military of intimidating human rights defenders, in a country where freedom of speech once ranked among the highest on the continent.

Several activists in Kenya say that they fear for their lives.

Story filmed and written by Njuwa Maina for Reuters Africa Journal.

South Meets East...

Friday 25th April 2009: "South meets East Jazz Festival" at the National Museum of Kenya from 6pm. Tickets are 1,000 and 2,500 VIP. All proceeds will go to benefiting the Red Cross famine relief efforts.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

An Easter Prayer To All Kenyan Politicians...

(Spotted on Afrigator)

To all Kenyan Politicians
by samson

"We are sick and tired of your bullshit games, die and go to heaven in jesus name, we know what we understand almighty God is a living man, you can fool some people some times but you cant fool all the people all the time. We are now standing up for our rights"

(Off Afrispace)

Hallelujah! :)

Friday, April 10, 2009


By Patrick Boivin. View his other work HERE

You cannot kill tribalism

In a recent online discussion, fearless writer and activist, Okiya Omtatah Okoiti, responds to desperate cries against tribalism and digs underneath the "method" to wisely remind us that it is the attitudes and perceptions which use such methods that we need to address. The tribal discourse is a comfort zone perpetuated by those who require it to keep the status quo and we need to step outside so as not to be accomplices. No one is spared...

I have a feeling that we cannot fight or kill tribalism. Like terrorism, tribalism is a method, a means to a goal, it doesn't have a life of its own. It is a reaction not an action. You canot fight a method! Like the war on terrorism by non-state actors created more and worse terror by State actors, a war on tribalism and not on the circumstances that make it necessary will only create more tribalism, by articulating our differences.

Most terrorism aimed at the West today is a response to the imperialist foreign policy of the USA-led West which is founded on a convergence of economic, political, cultural, military and religious power, in a system of domination that imposes the flow of benefits from the vulnerable to the powerful. So to fix that terrorism we have to fix the attitude and activities of the global North in relation to the global South. I see Obama trying to do just that by unclenching his fist and reaching out for a handshake, nay, an embrace.

We must address the underlying factors that make people feel so insecure that they have to debase themselves so much and go into hunting formations like wild dogs and begin preying on their neighbours. Is it the dictatorship of scarcity (read poverty)? Is it the predatory post-colonial State? Is it the failure to have mechanisms to ensure political power is accountable, so that the only way to secure ourselves is to get "one of our own" in power?

For example, I have studied with interest the invention of tribalism (the conversion of an innocent identity into an ideology of domination and extraction based on that identity) by Kenyatta and his cohorts after our flag independence so that they could accumulate illicit wealth from other Kenyans, beginning with the hapless Kikuyu, in whose name they fraudulently committed the atrocities. And the ideology is still very strong that in Kenya today it is only the Kikuyu (read Njenga Karume and the axis of mediocrity that he represents) who have a Diaspora - a thing that has left me wondering how you can have a Diaspora of citizens within their own country. I am unable to see the Kikuyu or the Luo living and thriving in Busia as diasporas! Why don't we have a Luo Diaspora at the Coast where the Luos have settled in very large numbers?

All Kenyan communities are dispersed across the length and breath of the land but none of them but the Kikuyu has a consciousness of themselves as a Diaspora! And that goes to show the ideological damage the Kenyatta homeguards did to the Kikuyu identity. They made them feel so insecure that they ceased to be an innocent identity and became ideologically insecure because of who they are.

Moi did the same thing to the Kalenjin politicians. Just savour the hunting dog characteristics of their leaders and the insecurities they exhibit as they argue their "entitlements" that are separate from Kenya. Listen to their mumbo jumbo about the Mau Complex. Do these fellows see themselves as Kenyans?

To kill tribalism we must make it unnecessary as a tool/method for survival. Hence, the cure to tribalism lies outside the tribe(s). Let's endeavour to build a pro-people State that is prosperous, that will give us an identity that is superior to that which any of our tribes can give. The time has come Kenyan's stopped fighting for a piece of the Uganda Railway. Our economy that is founded on the Uganda Railway is now too small for our 40 million plus population. Let us think of creating new wealth. Let's stop borrowing and consuming; let's start saving and investing.

Which brings me to the question of political leadership. Both Kibaki and Raila are wired to consume lavishly and so cannot provide the leadership we deserve. They have the least respect for our taxes. They squander them on toys not on infrastructure! Both are limits not catalysts to the creation on a Sovereign Republic of Kenya. They cannot inspire that generation that will sacrifice to lay the sound foundations that the future can build on. In fact, Kibaki's economics of growth are not based on creating new wealth but on selling off what we own (to the lowest bidder?). Raila with his half-a-loaf jeremiad sees Kenya as a consumable (a construct that was popular with both Kenyatta and Moi). Otherwise, he would talk of having received half-a-bakery so that he could at least bake loafs for half the population.

But Kibaki is just a disaster! He is like a lazy parent who reflects good per capita income by selling off slices of his shamba and not by growing crops on it. Eventually he will sell all the land, then the cows, chicken, etc, and finally send his children out to be maids so that he can get some income repartriated from them. Having disposed off parastals (those that are remaining are already lined up for sell), Kibaki has now began selling plots to foreigners!!! And the sooner we stop him the better. Under Kibaki, our economy has become too dependent on external forces to be of use to us.

We must get a leadership which will tighten the Government's large belt of luxuries so that we stop the culture of borrowing and consuming to start saving and investing so that we can create new wealth to diffuse the culture of scarcity that we call tribalism.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

"It's Our Turn to Eat" - Available as an e-book

"It's Our Turn to Eat" - The book that everyone in Kenya is too scared to sell available as an e-book (understandable as our cronies in power are looking for any excuse to practice that big new word they learned - XTRA JUDISAL KIRINGS

Now you can buy it and download it from Harper Collins as an e-book for just £5.56

I love the web! And a hat tip to the hAndy man on the Hill...


Zukiswa Wanner, a South African author has just visited Kenya & Zimbabwe where Continental Africa has born a new form of Western Democracy - Government of National Unity - Losers going to bed with Winners...

Citizens will continue paying taxes. No. That’s not a joke. I am genuinely looking for an honest and noble politician. A politician who cares about the interests of the electorate before theirs (and not just as rhetoric in an election year). And before anyone from the African continent says ‘Obama’ please don’t. Y’all don’t know him and even if you do and you are sure he is wonderful, he still doesn’t serve this continent.

Now where was I? Ja. I was talking of the need for a politician that can be trusted to serve and not be served. Would it not be refreshingly different if the electorate dispensed with the ‘chief/chef/honourable bani bani’ when talking to politicians and the politicians realized that there were in power to serve us and not vice-versa?

When I first went to Kenya , I told a Zimbabwean friend of mine that Nairobi reminded me of Harare when Harare was Harare (in the 90s). Well it looks like the two African nations have just had another similarity.

They are now both ruled by governments of national unity. Now here is the thing. There has never been a government of national unity formed when the incumbent wins the election fair and square. A GNU, African style, appears to happen when the losing side wants to hold on to power by any means necessary as in the case of the two examples I am writing about.

The winners (known prior to elections as the opposition) will then ask the international (Western) community to freeze aid to THE illegitimate government that has sworn itself in (politicians are clearly getting softer. Back in the days, the party that did not want to lose would hold on and the nation be damned. Perhaps we should thank the gods of Africa for small mercies?) A Kofi Annan or Thabo Mbeki will be brought in to get the two sides talking, and boom, a GNU is born.

For that reason one would therefore assume that this type of government, though generally said to be temporary until elections in 20-voetsek will work as a type of checks and balances government to ensure the resources are given to those who need them and that no corrupt behaviour goes on while both parties are watching each other like hawks? Particularly from the party that is NOT of the incumbent because they are the more honest politicians, right? Right? Wrong.

Not for these two countries that I mention at least. We knew the politicians in the old party were self-interested buggers but now the politicians in the new party, the party that’s supposedly of honour, comes out and proves that, as one Kenyan politician put it, though it may be ‘different trees, it’s same old forest.’

Non-Kenyans, and those who are not Kenya-philes like myself may not know this but late last year as the average Kenyan worried about the price of unga (maize meal), parliamentarians from both the so-called old and corrupt party and the new and honourable parties were deciding that it was necessary for them to have a monthly salary of US$10,000 and that amount should be tax free.

All this for their highly important job of mostly sleeping in parliament while teachers, who render a bigger service of educating the nation, are taxed to death on the peanuts they earn. When the nation protested, they were quickly silenced and a bill was put in parliament to muzzle the media that because they raised the questions first. There was more to come.

Cabinet members from both parties were soon implicated in the tender process of grinding maize meal. Turns out there were quite a few ‘companies’ that won contracts to grind maize meal and yet did not own any grinders at all. And it wasn’t so easy as to ask them to return the maize. Somehow the bags of maize meal had disappeared.

And that’s the first government of national unity.

Last week I returned from Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean GNU is a little over a month old but clearly, the politicians are not wasting time.

We have all seen on television leaders of both parties begging international donors for aid to rebuild the country. It is admirable that both parties have united for the good of the nation. What’s less admirable is the fact that, in this space where politicians are asking the world for assistance to rebuild the once impressive Zimbabwean infrastructure, not a single cabinet member of either major party decided that it was not in the national interest for them to have three top class vehicles at their disposal.

Would it not have been revolutionary if some leader said, ‘uhhm, well no. My cabinet members will just have one state sponsored vehicle. Perhaps we could sell the Mercedes and the 4WD and give the funding to the treasury so teachers or doctors can be better paid?’ but no. That would have been too noble for our men and women.

And the rot was not just at the top.

As many know, revolutions generally begin in towns and so too with Zimbabwe . The majority of MDC supporters are in the cities and it is therefore no surprise that majority of councillors serving the towns are from MDC. So, many of these wonderful councillors (who by the way are supposed to have day jobs and leave the town clerk and his team of administrators to do their work in council) have decided to start frequenting council because for every appearance they make at the various town halls, they get paid.

Even in situations where there are no council meetings or meetings of their committee. But that’s not all. These wonderful city councillors had also decided that for some reason, they deserved free cellphones at council expense and some were even requesting….don’t laugh this is true….laundry allowance (I wonder whether this is money to pay the domestic workers?).

More worrisome though was the plot for discounts idea that many councillors passed.

Those who have been to Zimbabwe recently would have noticed that the Zimbabwean dollar is now non-existent. If one goes into a shop, they buy with Rands or US$ (with the US$ to the rand pegged on an easy to work with US$1 to R10).

Imagine then, a bunch of councillors deciding that they should be allowed to buy plots on a non-existent Zim$ rate for as much as 60 percent discount? Yup, true story. Fortunately for this part of the article, someone top up (Minister of Local Government with his three cars) decided to nip the behaviour of councillors in the bud and refused to allow the cellphones or the laundry allowances and while councillors can buy plots, they should buy them at the US$ value.

But what of all the other examples? Is this continent incapable of having any politicians who care more for the people they serve than they do for their pockets?

Is it alright for African nations to continue to bleed while politicians feed?

Your thoughts!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The global economic meltdown is obviously beginning to threaten the snow on the Swiss Alps and has got this little "neutral" country swinging into action. "The era of banking secrecy is over..." say the big fish at G2O...

The US is turning up every stone in search of loose change and scripting new Hollywood blockbusters is well underway following the recent arrests of two bankers from the world's largest manager of private wealth by assets: UBS

So justice is indeed poetic if not pro-active and this change in global climate is turning the heat up a few notches even in downtown Nairobi. Guess who's loot just got frozen?


Alas, we have more to offer the world than just hard cash: Kwani taught us How to Write About Africa very well and now we can tax lyrical too: "The veil on the shadowy figures behind the Anglo Leasing..."

Too well in fact. And now it's not just all the metaphors that are turned upright. Figuratively speaking: one + one DOES NOT = two (anymore)...

Interested to know how it all really works? Then you have to learn how to creatively deconstruct non-fiction. I admit: I am one of those stupid is as stupid does kinda guys but I am learning which piece of chocolate to pick...

Click on image to enter...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Martha mania and a taste of the UnderGround Lunatic...

If nothing else, Martha's resignation makes for great blogging (me I am just hoping that means we have to pay one less salary from our taxes...).

The stream of consciousness on Martha's resignation is best viewed on the Kenyan Blogs webring. And for those looking for some tasteless humour to go with yet another tasteless story, I highly recommend reading the Underground Lunatic...

Click on image to read post...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Notes from the Geneva Talk Shop

Kenyan Pundit was at the Geneva Conference and has three sets of notes well worth reading...

Click on image to read updates...

Muthoni Wanyeki, Head of KHRC writes about this talk shop in this week's East African. Click HERE for article

Friday, April 3, 2009


From International PEN Kenya chapter


Dear comrade,

Sunday the 5th will mark a month since our brother GPO Oulu was slain in cold blood. GPO was a man who burned with zeal and conviction for the rights of the oppressed and with the dream of a better Kenya. He was a man who even in death remains firmly affixed in the minds of all who knew him.

International PEN Kenya chapter, an organization that serves to promote freedom of expression, promote literature and defend and protect the rights of writers all over the world invites you to celebrate the life of GPO the essayist with us in a Reading Afternoon in his honour this Sunday the 5th of April at Wasanii restaurant at the Kenya National Theatre from 2pm to 5.30 pm. We will have readings from some of the essays Oulu prolifically wrote in his lifetime as well as have an open mic of poetry written in GPO’s honour and poems dedicated to him. This is an open event and every one of you is invited to share and read. Poems also in memory of fellow freedom fighter King’aara are also welcome.

If you would like to take part by reading one of GPO’s essays or performing a poem of your own (or even one by someone else, kindly show up on time on that day to be included in the programme. Circulate this invitation to all who knew him or all people you know that share the same dream of justice, love, peace and unity that Oulu passionately lived and heroically died for. We look forward to seeing you there.

One love.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Muthoni magic...

I love the concept and I loved the afternoon chilling by the little pond with some of my favourite voices in Kenya. And I loved the fact that so many people banded together to remember that millions in Kenya are facing starvation and part of the proceeds from the afternoon went to the Red Cross for famine relief. It is so hard to believe that in a country surrounded by so many beautiful people that it is possible to have the kind of politicians that we do. Let me not spoil it:

Muthoni Music and company are on their way to Diani on the South Coast on 12th April...

If you can' t go and you would like to make a donation towards the famine relief appeal specifically for victims of drought from the Kwale area in Kenya, you can make a secure donation on the Colobus Trust blog HERE.

If you wish to contact the South Coast Residents Association who are taking a lead on food distribution within the Diani area, visit their website HERE.