Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Former Legislature, Hon. Ochilo Ayacko(Rongo) wins a libel case

Hon Ochillo Ayacko (2nd L) with President Kibaki as Sports minister
Two journalists have been found guilty by a Migori law court for defaming a former Rongo legislator.

Kisumu City based freelance scribes, Jeff Otieno and Leo Odera Omolo, penname Arrum Tidi were charged alongside a politician Philip Mkabong'o and a high school principal Kaunda Ogweno, with printing, writing and publishing defamatory matters concerning former sports minister Hon. Ochillo Ayacko.

The libelous articles were posted by the journalists on a website,, between 15th and 24th of August last year.

The first article: Amorous MP caught red handed with somebody's wife in bed was posted on 15th by Leo Odera, 73, who writes for Citizen Weekly and contributes to several websites. Mr. Odera has reported since 1957 for the Standard Group, Nation Media Group and the BBC before retiring.

Jeff Otieno tried to extort money from Hon. Ayacko before going online on 17th of with the second article: New information emerges on MP caught in the act with somebody's wife. the article read in part: the youthful MP from the larger southern Nyanza district, who is also a lawyer by profession, escaped the wrath of enraged villagers...when he was caught in the wee hours of the night making love to a woman"

The last article was a rejoinder by Leo Odera on 24the where he circulated a personal letter by the principal Mr. Kaunda.

Passing the judgment on Monday 27th last month the senior Principal Magistrate Ezra Awino of Migori law courts acquitted Mr. Kaunda because the letter was sealed and not intended for libel.

Philip Makabong'o was fined Ksh. 50,000 or 6 months imprisonment for spreading the articles during a funeral.

The journalist, Jeff Otieno was fined Ksh. 50,000 or six months imprisonment while Leo Odera was fined Ksh. 80,000 or a year imprisonment.

Of Nairobians and West Wannabes.

So much fascination of the West. Are there no loafers, vagabonds and street sweepers? And is it not a fact that almost everybody who goes there are menial workers.

These are the people who are ready to be called ‘Black monkeys’ while stooping low to boot lick the whites and when they come back to Africa they want to be treated as demigods.

They come back with aura of snobbishness spiced up with haughty eyes. So it is no surprise when westernized Africans say; “it’s very hard to help an African….” This comes after their hard earned money has been overtaxed from jobs with no (or least) security like nursing.

Have you ever wondered what could happen if US borders were to be free for just a day? Just imagine those poor blacks dying to Spain could have a heyday; the visa line at American Embassy could be relieved.

I imagine banks doing a booming business loaning out fares, but above all Africa and Kenya in particular could be empty. I would not forget to pity the Americans because the millions of shillings they get from visas will dry up, my pity will too go to third world countries which receive this donor shillings in loans-just talk of giving with one and stealing from the other.

It is just absurd how Kenyans are west-crazy. Have you ever come across anybody with a relative in the west (a relation attached by cello tape): “Oh! My relative (or unseen pen pal) ananifanyia mipango….. Blah! Blah! Blah! (Plus a lot of daydreaming) these are guys living in a cocoon of fantasy and find it hard to embrace reality.

Kenya is a thousand miles south of Sahara and do you know what that means? It means we are in the part of the world wrenched with poverty, civil strife, high child mortality and a cool HIV/AIDS infection rate. So the thought of comparing your fellow Kenyans with westerns is very inconsiderate.

Anyway away from the West and direct to our capital Nairobi. I just wonder why villagers have got a passion for the capital and not any other big towns. Problem always catch up with us villagers during holidays when the Nairobians carry all their households back. It is funny that all these Nairobians are always from Lavington, Runda and other crème-de-crème estates, I am yet to meet a Korogocho and Mathare Valley guy.

The problem gets murkier when they have electronic gadgets; they will assault any poor guy willing to listen in ‘Ahujarized’ voice about the manual, but please do not ask what an electronic cooker is doing in a grass thatched-mud-and-wattle house in the heart of a remote village where rural electrification is a myth.

You see my village mind always get confused with those city girls a.k.a chicks- I always wonder if their boyfriends are cocks.

Can somebody please enlighten a villager to why a fully grown female specie of Homo sapiens with a bunch of kids likes the name chick but not a hen? These chicks or hens will always insist on Fanta and Chippo in the heart of a Githeri zone.

Needless to say they have always deleted their sir name to have a bizarre combination of two English names to hide their tribes therefore a Mary Nyang’inya will be Mary Anne or a Sipporah Nyakerario Atieno will be a Zippy Night.

So it wasn’t a shock when I saw an ‘enlightened’ fellow who told us was a manager being buttoned by city askaris in the daily paper. The other who was helping his long distance uncle to run a chain of hotels or hovels was caught begging on the streets.

Will the New Kenyan Constitution Devolved Government?

During last year campaign ODM, ODM-K and PNU promise to Kenyans for Majimbo system if they come to power came as no surprise to me. The promise is yet to be fulfilled. Majimbo is the Kenyan coined for federal system of government where autonomous states with their own laws are joined together by a federal state with federal law containing all states. The proponents of Majimboism argue the system will increase the effectiveness of the government.

The orange parties opted for the Majimbo card to quell Kibaki’s strategy of dishing out districts.

Will the doodle making of districts by government quell the urge of new districts? The zeal of creating ‘North-West-East-South’ districts is astounding. At other places constituencies are split in districts like the former Migori to Uriri, Rongo, Nyatike and Migori which are constituencies.

Most Kenyans see Majimbo system as the only way to get to the national cake. With 43 tribes in Kenya and only two in power since independence 40 years ago there is a yearning for power. During Kenyatta’s, Moi’s and Kibaki’s regime their tribes flocked the government and civil jobs. Since independence some areas have been marginalized like North Eastern from central government, can Majimboism rectify this?

The need for self government is high in the country. Each tribe wants a seclusion of power no matter in what distinct form if the fever for new districts, division, and even constituency is anything to go by. The demand is ethically oriented. At last elections many tribes used their votes as blackmail. The Abagusii went further as to request a province (imagine the cheek). Will this thirst for power be quenched by Majimboism? So far are the local governments helpful in any means? Of cause the answer is no what with the high level kleptocracy in the councils.

Always the central government seems far from the subjects.

Imagine a resident of Mandera near the Ethiopian border moving all the way to Garissa to seek his PC of North Eastern province. In addition, the Eastern province capital Embu is not strategically positioned to serve the expense area. The distance covered by Marsabit and Moyale citizens to Embu is always too expensive. Interestingly an Ukambani resident of the province seeking redress with his provincial government is forced to pass Nairobi’s PC and board a matatu in a journey to Embu.

With such little presence of government citizens always feel neglected.

The shortcoming always causes security risk. The Sabaot Land Defence Forces (SDLF) lead by Matakwei in Mount Elgon thrived because the provincial government from Rift Valley was far. Weapons were easily acquired from neighboring Uganda. Lamu with separatist cells is nearer to Garissa than its provincial headquarter in Mombasa in Coast province. Al-Qaeda and Fazul has invaded Kenya with links to Ras Kamboni in Somali through Lamu.

The new constitution cooking at the review committee is highly anticipated. Since the rise of multiparty politics in the early ‘90s the urge, acquisitive, of either to change the constitution as a whole or in part has been high.

Across citizenry, political elites, journalist and civil organizations the undercurrent is the new constitution for a better Kenya. Kenyans want, and need the new constitution to change (so is the notion) the underlying problem in the society.

Through rallies politicians have drum to common wanainchi about the post election violence, impunity for law breakers and corruption to be erased by the new constitution. To them the new laws will be an antidote against the suffering populace.

The talks are the Kenyan test-tube idea making. Politicians always think of conflicting ideas in their expensive offices and spew them at rallies. After a few emotional clapping they are airlifted to the next rally to discuss their ideas shallowly.

Majimboism can cause tribalism and divide the country. During the recent election violence the slogan of returning foreigners to their lands was evident. Majimboism can cause unrest and coup attempts leading to secession from the central government like in Eritrea and Ethiopia, Anjouon islands in Comoros islands which have been rocked with constant coup attempts.

Eucalyptus: The Environmental Monster

A dry trech running through aeucalyptus groove. In 2006 we used to
play on the damp swamp but now its dry
Ever since it was discovered more than two centuries ago in Australia by European explorers , eucalyptus have been extensively grown globally.

Currently there are above 4million hectares of the species in over 80 countries worldwide according to Dr. Richard Matsekele of the Zimbabwe Environmental Research Institute.

With the rise of eucalyptus popularity controversy have also surrounded the specie.

In 1913 a proclamation in Ethiopia akin to Hon. John Michuki, Kenyan Environment minster, was made to oppose the species thirst for ‘drying up rivers and wells’. The directive wanted all standing eucalyptus trees to be replaced by Mulberry tree.

The campaign never materialized.

Eucalyptus still remains as feature in Ethiopia after 115 years of being introduced by emperor Menelik II for it fast growing nature to curb deforestation for wood fuel.

About three months ago, Michuki gazette the order of uprooting and prohibited planting of eucalyptus in watersheds and along rivers. Supporting the move the minister said the species negatively affects wetland environment.

Michuki exercised the power under section 42(3) and 147 of the Environmental management act which promotes the sustainable use of water resources.

Apart from Kenya and Ethiopia a move to control eucalyptus growth has been instituted in Australia, Brazil and South Africa while its negative effects have been felt in Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

Two questions to ponder is if the Michuki’s ban can be implemented, Secondly the effect of eucalyptus on the environment.

But firstly let’s see the rise of eucalyptus.

The match against indigenous forest. “When you go into these monoculture plantations, they look like dead forests because it is only eucalyptus. You don’t see birds, butterflies, other trees, animals- anything other than them because they don’t allow any other growth.” Nobel Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai, founder of Green Belt Movement, at second World Congress of Agroforestry in Nairobi recently.

According to Maathai eucalyptus and other foreign species have replaced indigenous African species.

The main reason is that eucalyptus are fast growers and depending on use start maturing at six months. They regrow when chopped from the root. In addition their high quality timber is used for timber, ornaments and pulping. The species also provide fencing post and building material.

In industries, the eucalyptus oil distilled from the leaves manufacture food supplements like sweets and cough drops.

Prof. Wangari Maathai insists that these benefits should not be overtly promoted over the environmental issues.

“As we continue to plant eucalyptus on watersheds, we will continue to experience water shortages and it will even become a bigger problem as climate change hit us.” Said Maathai.

The problem is experienced in Madagascar where bio diversity is threatened by the species replacing the country’s original native forests. An example is the Andasibe-Mantanda national park.

Scientist against the indigenous forest conservation argue that the over 700 species of eucalyptus are adapted in different environments worldwide, thus, each specie negative effects should be accessed separately.

Conversely, Prof. Maathai, who won the Nobel Prize for her tree planting campaign, insists that if the trend is not reversed then they will consume a lot of water and dry up water sheds.

Not worth it. Their advantages aside, planting eucalyptus is not worth it.
In South Africa the nectar from eucalyptus provides high quality honey for bee keepers.

However, they became invasive by their water sucking capabilities of drying up wells. And by releasing chemicals in soil which kills native competitors.

Through transpiration the specie draws large volumes of water from soil which drys water towers.

Interestingly the effects on watersheds can not be permanent since eucalyptus roots only reach 2.5M underground. Through rain and irrigation the effects can be reversed though Biodiversity destroyed is irreversible.

Although it destroys the ecology, the ‘water sucking’ ability is used to reduce soil salinity and prevent malaria by draining swamps which breeds mosquito larvae habitat as is happened in Algeria, Sicily and California.

On the other hand their fast growth helps the specie to act as wind breakers and reduce soil erosion.

Eucalyptus negative effect on environment is not worth it although its fast growth can match the demand for wood fuel and other needs arising from population growth.

According to Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) with only a hectare of forest planted for every ten hectares cleared, exotic species like eucalyptus remain an alternative because of it alternative uses.

The species too can be harvested as early as six months depending on the use for either poles or timber.

With adverse effects of drought on crops, livestock and humanity causing economical and sociological problems, Michuki directive is timely. The changing weather pattern makes rain unpredictable creating a need for water conservation.

Economic sectors adversely affected by drought are tourism and tea production, which Kenya is the leading tea exporter in the world.

The Kenya Tea Development Agency which produces three fifths of Kenyan tea has its production reduced by 30% because of drought according to its managing director Lorionka Tiampati.

The effects of drought are taxing the economy calling for the need to conserve water.

The only loop side to control of eucalyptus on watersheds is that the minister’s directive under Environmental and co-ordination act was repealed by act no. 5 of 2007 under licensing laws by the parliament.

This is according to Mark Oloo, environmental lawyer with Institute of Law and Environmental governance.

No matter the economic gain of eucalyptus, their negative effects on environment cannot be overlooked as notes Prof. Wangari Maathai:

“Eucalyptus is good for the beauty they offer but consume a lot of water when planted along rivers and around wetlands and watershed.”

Assassination of Kenya Prime Minister Raila Odinga? give me a Break!!!

Come Saturday, Valentine’s Day my mood was sky high. I was feeling good. I had managed to secure a paltry 40 bob for the newspaper to avoid the queue at Berna’s barber shop.

I could’ve bought the newspaper were it not for the headline which fouled my mood and my Valentine day. Somebody (obviously not named) wanted to kill your premiership the only one ushered in the grand coalition, or something of that sort signed into being on 28th February last year.

Through a telephone interview the ministry of defence said it was in high alert. Some cloudy source said all police stations in the capital were in alert to protect a guy with 700million office and security detail.

I give it to our police; their strict vigilance could not locate youngmen lost in the doodle of police records. At least the premier of the grand coalition government was safe.

I left the newspaper stand, least said without a paper. I thought of Kahawa ya Jamii to uplift my mood. Solace never followed, all around bar men animatedly of how Baba Castro, his premiership of cause, escaped many death threats. Facts and dates flared as inept speakers, most willing to hear themselves talk dumpen my spirit further.

Yet again somebody is trying to kill Raila Odinga. Yet again the incident is all news worthy. Yet again most people don’t grasp the politics behind the scheme.

Yet again.

Yet again I felt retched by the all idea.

The Machiavellian tactic of deflecting attention I terribly need a break. Jesus, somebody wants to kill Raila Odinga, again. At this time when Raila terribly needs to save his face.

The grand coalition is in a cess pit. A man made famine is killing Kenyans Raila and agriculture minister William Ruto cant place where the missing sacks are. His son Fidel Castro is implicated in illegal selling oil bringing a shortage in the country.

To add pepper on sour wound the motion to start a local tribunal, a basis of formation of the grand coalition was terribly flawed. Raila and Kibaki misguided thinking it was still the Nyayo error when powerful politicians in parliament could sway voting outcome.

The question many saw and overlooked including political pundits was the involvement of Francis Muthaura who wrote letters to government Mps to rally behind the motion. Why did Raila let Muthaura carry out his duties?
With Raila’s face covered in mud a deflection is terribly needed. Nothing fits better roger this:

Once when the orange fruit was whole and many many tribal chiefs wanted a bite there was a man called Raila Amollo Odinga, a slip of pen please, the honorable of course. These tribal chiefs appointed themselves the speakers of their tribes. The tribal chiefs claimed of their undying interest to their hearts and marrow of their bones.

Their interest was further promised in their untaxed salaries and exclusive members only clubs where they hibernate till elections. These tribal chief shunned tribalism in rallies attended by their tribes. All Kenyans were to be united, so they said. Before and after the post-election.

Confusing, amid the unity the orange, ODM was later split. One took a K after the name and their symbols changed. But my readers need not worry about them for they are all under one roof; grand coalition and they purpose to be united (phew!)

The otiose tribal chiefs; Musalia Mudavadi, Uhuru Kenyatta, Kalonzo Musyoka, William Ruto, Najib Balala, Rajput Umar, Julia Ojiambo, Nyaga and Raila could not solve the conflict by simple arithmetic. Simply they could have stated what to do with the orange. Make juice or eat it raw. Plant the seeds or use the peels to make cake. Many more uses.

Sell it or bury the certificate in a backyard. Anything.

The politicians and their secretariats could not solve this bigger crisis than who won the 07 elections

Odinga, no Hon. please for a pen may luck ink but its still a pen, had these very brilliant idea. The representative of cosmopolitan Langata constituency, alleged to represent a tribe from Nyanza which wont be named for tribal reasons proposed a nontribal meeting far away from tribal forces. England.

Very brilliant, on a dimmer glare though the other tribal leaders never saw the ray. But Raila saw clearly past 2007 through vision 2030 and went alone. The move augured negatively, the orange started losing taste. Some bigots developed a taste for other fruits and a hummer, a tool.

In addition the Steadman polls looked grim on baba Castro. Nagging questions of whether pastor Deya financed the trip soared. Political pundits without tribal twist savored the moment with miracle baby and human trafficking saga thrown in.

On return, journalists wanted to asked questions about the trip. Interestingly instead they fell pen on paper for an automobile, Hummer.

Before you could say oil scandal the vehicle was christened Umvee and H something. ‘Celebrities’ placed orders.

Rating for radio shows were gauged from competitions for free hummer rides. Columnist with dead-resurrected skills on motoring gave the hummer features and placed the amount at whopping 45million.

The all country including opinion leaders were swayed. But dissents never cease. I found someone not in the bandwagon. Katiambo D. a media scholar at Maseno University teaching media content and political communication summed the haze thus:

“the whole country was swayed. One man, a politician, determined the editorial content of the mass media. The content of the mass media was controlled by a shrewd politician and his piece of automobile.”

Craftily important questions were deflected and free advertisement achieved because for every article on hummer Odinga’s name featured.

Come the Arturs, exit journalist. Machiavellian tactic of knowing your enemy moves and weaknesses and when to strike was employed by Raila on artur brothers’ saga.

Although Kenyans have a short memory like forgetting about corrupt deals, some don’t forget easily. A strong fish they say swim against the current. These Kenyans read between lines and airwaves to know a gimmick.

Quickest way to make an item newsworthy is by shrouding it with mystery. Nothing sells faster in news like unnamed sources closer to an item giving tit bits. They call it exclusivity (phew!)

The brothers were sensationally called mercenaries. The culmination was the raid of standard by ‘some hooded pale skin guys with funny accents’
The political engineer got a perfect chance.

With the uncanny ability to hold five mikes while entertaining a crowd the media was shelved away in media freedom mantra. Wonder where ODM was when the controversial media bill was passed.

The idea that the Arturs wanted to assassinate him gave Raila a free advertisement as the government was literary got pants down. After the dust settled Raila flatly refused to appear before a commission of inquiry.
During the news frenzy in the hall where I was watching only two people grasp the impact. The Arturs were stale when they left the country and Raila was tired of the joy ride.

The first person was I, the second was Raila Odinga.

With a pinch of salt
Yet again, when unnamed sources claim assassination of Raila I retch. May the prime minster look somewhere for a scapegoat.

The maize stolen from government silos should be accounted for. The triton saga solved.

The speed to which police responded to the saga should be reflected in search of youths lost in police dungeons.

Ati somebody wants to kill Raila? With hunger and oil shortage who gives a hoot!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A poem, Ecstasy of being Published; Sunday Standard, Sunday Nation.

When the journalism bug bites and the urge to write unquenchable, a young writer always find it hard to believe on his pieces.

Most time unedited pieces done solely with little assistance from peers who find writing boring, I resolved to find some other quarters. I sent a series of my poems to different newspapers and Magazines.

Always I could not afford to follow up on publications due to financial ditches. Among the newspapers and magazines I did send my poems and articles are The Drum, True love, Nation and The literary discourse in Saturday Standards.

I still wonder when and where this poem appeared but some three readers found it uplifting enough to write back to me. They become my first comments and gave me energy and self esteem to write on and start my blog.

Buoyed by the comment i published my poems on the poem hunter internationally. I have received further comments from readers worldwide.

My maiden comment, or advise to be precise, was from :Esther Wanyoike who recommended Power of the Written Word. The was to help me as a poet.. The regards were sent on Thursday, July 31, 2008

The second more interactive mail was from a Mt. Kenya University diploma student Esther Mwaurah. It was more vivacious. I received it on Monday, August 4, 2008.

"Hi! Surprise, my name is Esther; I happened to peruse on the newspaper(never knew which) and found a poem you wrote, Am a big fan of poets and wish to congratulate you on a job well done."

on October 6, 2008 David Kamwela from Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania wished me luck:

"Hello! Manuel, I have read your poem In that Village of Mine. It was a very nice poem i can say your are really a poet. i love your work. Wish you all best in these mail of mine."

Ms Mwaurah wished me good day and told me to keep in touch. I did albeit with glee.for both of them. Of the three only Esther Mwaurah replied back. We exchanged a series of mail till she excused herself to concentrate on her exams.

The three comments bolstered my self esteem and i refer to them to get the strength and inspiration to write. Am indebted to the three,.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Early Days at Maseno University

Perhaps the first day and the early days at Maseno University will always be marked in my life as the dearest. I remember I insisted on coming from home on my own amid worried looks from my parents who according to me were only raising a storm in the tea cup.

With enough rumors of freedom and the institution where anyone was treated by everybody as an adult I couldn’t belittle myself to be escorted as a form one student.

On alighting from a matatu which had defied all Michuki laws; the first thing that struck me as odd was when I was directed from College campus main gate which in my mind was the university and directed to Siriba campus which I found strange due to the grinning monkeys swinging aimlessly on branches.

All around me other students trudged like drunkards carrying big suitcases to their respective halls of registration, I moved to the monument of Siriba campus where Arts and Social Sciences students were registering.

Among the first days I frequented the Campus Palace for the bottle to shekilegi to the tunes because the money from home and the interested-rated one from HELB made me ride in cloud number nine.

Looking back, I remember how we could show-off the palm toys irrespective of either it was first hand or tenth-hand from seedy backstreets of Nairobi.

 I was left at loose because my simu ya tochi a.k.a Nokia 1100 which made my cousins take ‘photos’ cuddling it was a thousand staircases down the others.

I was quickly integrated to the university slang where ‘freshers’ were being ‘ponyokwad’ with, ’resit’ was a term for failure and ‘exile’ was when your roommate ask you for time out to have a behind closed door meeting with a female student.

My early days were fun filled and we always joke a bout it my buddies.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

John le Carre The Constant Gardener

In Constant.

TITLE: The Constant Gardener
AUTHOR: John le Carre
PUBLISHER: Hodder and Stoughton, 2007
PAGES: 570
GENRE: Fiction
REVIEWER: Manuel Odeny

John le Carre novel was turned to the big screen to an Oscar nominated film by Focus Feature starring British awards winner Ralph Fienness and Golden Globe winner Rachel Weiz. The cast, like the story is set in Kenya. Kenyan actors were included on the cast.

Tessa Abbot the wife of a junior officer, Sandy Justin, at the British High Commission in Nairobi Kenya is killed in Lokichoggio near Lake Turkana on their way to Leakey archeological excavation site. A heart wretching and frightening story unfolds in a bid to find the murderers. Preliminary report points to a crime of passion.

With a wife he barely had time to love, Justin set out to uncover a dangerous conspiracy where god-profit is worshipped above humanity.

When a pharmaceutical firm wants to introduce a TB drug, Dypraxa to the market they use human guinea pigs. the firm in collaboration with the corrupt government of Kenya under Daniel arap Moi and his Gestapo uses a village in Ukambani as their laboratory.

It is only when a woman and her infant baby disappear at Uhuru hospital (Kenyatta National Hospital?) where they share a ward with Tessa Abbott that the greed of the pharmaceutical company is unearthed.

With his wife's murder Sandy Justin follows the trial to bring out the unflinching greed, heart wretching deceit and numb nerve quest for hallowed god-profit.

Although with about twenty articles under his belly this is the first le Carre novel i have read. The writer has got a twist with his pen in bring out what is happening in the real world. From Kibera slums in Nairobi, Lokichoggio and Lake Turkana in northern Kenya through the British government bureaucratic dung-hole to Kenyan government corruption is all fact crowned with fictitious characters to bring the dark side of de-regulated capitalism.

The author is experienced in gripping the reader in suspense, but the thought of a junior oficer bringing down an entire corrupt system from Kenya, to Britain and across German, Canada and Italy through Switzerland is a little bit overzealous if for the standard of thrillers.

But the over zealousness is what bring novels out to blockbuster movies like Bourne Series birth from Robert Ludlum and A Time to Kill by John Grisham.

It is at the beginning of chapter 11 that le Carre gives an intellectual statement:

John le Carre
"Out of the finely steered gossip of Whitehall and Westminster; out of parroted television sound bites and misleading images; out of otiose minds of journalist whose duty to enquire extend no further than the nearest deadline and the nearest free lunch a chapter of events was add to the sum of minor human history"

The statement calls for a thesis in scholarly journalism.

Book Review: Guilt by John Lescroart

A Soul Burdened with Guilt Knows no Peace.
TITLE: Guilt
AUTHOR: John Lescroart
GENRE: Fiction
PAGES: N/A, read from Readers Digest collection,1970
REVIEWER: Manuel Odeny

Mark Dooher has many things to feel guilty about. Many things hold, both to his heart and soul. Many things. No peace- a tormented soul bound.

Mark Dooher is a powerful and successful lawyer; he dines and lives with the rich. Everything in life is fine and smooth. He owns a Lexus, goes, and is a member of a reputable golf club, lives in fine house and owns a profitable law firm.

This is the public mark Dooher, but in private life he is a monster. Mark Dooher has a troubled marriage and falls for a magnetic beauty of a young lawyer. Anything Mark Dooher wants, anything, he gets, no matter the obstacles on his road. And Mark Dooher wants the young lawyer even if accused of the darkest crime: the murder of his wife to marry the ravishing beauty and to get $1.6M life insurance.

The private monster envision ecstasy and thrill of power, even equaled to power of God; taking life. Everything standing on Mark’s way will be dealt with. Competitors are crushed and opposing lawyers found dead in their offices.

The guilt is getting heavier and the past is quickly catching up pretty quick. The soldiers in his platoon who died of heroine overdose, the drug supplier in Vietnam who died of bayonet wounds.

In Stanford University while undertaking his law degree, of a rape, 20 years ago, of a woman with a shaky life like an extension ladder. Though the woman hoped in beds and abused every drug on the face of America, she remembers what Mark Dooher did to her.
John Lescroart

Weightier, the guilt gets heavier when police officers believe he murdered his wife and a rival lawyer but cant prove. Being shrewd Mark Dooher gets away scot-free with a trophy wife but lose his friends, clients an firm. That is when the guilty has to face reality.

John Lescroart (pronounced Leskaw) writes fluid English, well placed contexts and even suspense to hold the reader and make the book a page turner.

Sidney Sheldon The Naked Face

Unmasking The Naked Face.
TITLE: The Naked Face
AUTHOR: Sidney Sheldon
PUBLISHER: Pan Books, 1970
PAGES: 222
GENRE: Fiction
REVIEWER: Manuel Odeny

Psychoanalyst, Dr. Judd Stevens working in New York city have his client and secretary executed by a murderer(s) searching for information they think and believe the doctor has. A very important information.

As a psychoanalyst Judd sees a client with a dark secret need by the executioners. According to psychiatry a person's naked face is well hidden from childhood. We learn to hide emotions and feelings from a tender age and wear a mask to hide our emotions. We face the world with a naked face.

It is only when the mask is removed that a person's true emotions is evident.

The information needed is of a mafia boss going by a nom guerre Don Vitton whose wife is
Dr. Judd client and the Mafia believe their top secret is out when the wife ever hears them talk of killing a rival.

Sheldon wrote the book at twenty four years. Among his first novels are: The other Side of Midnight, A Stranger in the Mirror, Bloodline and Rage of Angels.

The Naked Face is intriguing and the suspense is griping as Dr. Judd Stevens accused of the murder by the police goes about to unmask the naked face of the Murderers.

Book Review: The Rainmaker by John Grisham

Raining Millions, bring out your Umbrella.
TITLE: The Rainmaker
AUTHOR: John Grisham
PUBLISHER: Arrow Books,1995
PAGES: 568
GENRE: Fiction
REVIEWER: Manuel Odeny

after reading the book i agreed with the Daily Mail review: " He keeps us turning the pages untill after bedtime.." I concur less, I read the book for only a night.

Stuck in a profession he dislikes, law, one unemployed young lawyer in overcrowded profession in Memphis dodges mounting debts and humiliation from his colleagues. He broadcast his resume and knocks on law firms trying to look for employment.
After prostituting his academic qualification for loose end jobs he finds himself on the street with only one case.

One case which burdens him against a giant insurance company, Great Benefit, which killed a young man by refusing a claim to bone marrow transplant to treat cancer. Great Benefit refuses to pay in hope that the client could not get a lawyer. a shot
gone wrong.

It is only this case that could worth million of dollars and make the young newly qualified lawyer the rainmaker. scared, inexperienced and totally outgunned by the hottest trial lawyer money can buy Rudy Baylor, the young lawyer, embarks on the
battle to show the world the truth.
John Grisham

The book is gripping and holds the reader as s/he turns the pages. The king of legal thriller- Grisham- don't disappoint
and proves again that he is the best and didn't quit the robe for the pen without a good reason.

It is no wonder that a fellow author Ken Follett(Third Twin) reviewing for Evening Standard calls John Grisham " The best thriller writer alive:" making him have over 235 million books in print world wide.

Book Review: Relative Sins by Cynthia Victor

Don’t stay Between Ambition and Power.

TITLE: Relative Sins
AUTHOR: Cynthia Victor
PUBLISHER: Bantam Books, 1994
GENRE: Fiction, junior title
REVIWER: Manuel Odeny

The novel is about naked unbridled ambition that breeds betrayal, greed and lust for power. Cameroon Hawkes, the man character, was raised by a single prostitute mother operating a brothel for truck drivers. With a mother too busy with her ‘work’ the neglected Cameroon Hawkes is taunted by rich neighborhood kids. To belong the youngster starts peddling drug to truck drivers and find his way to New York City.

In the city that never sleeps Cameroon Hawkes starts a shady company producing baby formula to cover up his shady deals of supplying drugs to actors.

Cameroon Hawkes want to make it rich. He desires respect and power. To get at the top he requires a cliché of rich friends. He seduces and sweep off Kailey Richards only daughter to immigrant Russian Jews with the hottest club in the city: Rodost. With low self esteem and adolescent naiveté Kailey marries the charming Hawkes against her parents wish.

As Kailey strive to make her house a happy home, Hawkes, through his rich inlaws connection to make himself rich and powerful.

Its only when they get their first daughter that Kailey sees the wicked Hawkes. He sells off her parents’ assets when they die and abuse her physically and psychologically.

Kailey finds herself standing between Hawkes and his ambition when she realizes poisoning of a rival’s baby formula products that leave two infants dead and a score of others terribly ill. Her once beloved husband threatens to harm her and her daughter if she talks to anyone.

With their lives at stake and Cameroon Hawkes blinded by his ambition, Kailey and her infant daughter
Flee. In the wake of their escape the wreckage of the car is found in a valley. Kailey presumes her daughter is dead. Cameroon Hawkes believes both his wife and daughter are dead……..

Separated by relative sins the characters are later brought together by ambition unknown to each other through a twist of betrayal and greed as Cameroon Hawkes second family meets his ‘first family’ by a stroke of fate.

Cynthia Victor uses simple language and the scene of the worlds of the characters are brought out vividly. The author grips until she brings the characters together in a climax that leaves the reader with abated breath. If you read for entertainment and fancy suspense then this book is for you.

Book Review: The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope

1894 Penguin classic still on Shelf.

TITLE: The Prisoner of Zenda
PUBLISHER: Penguin Books, 1994
GENRE: Fiction, junior title
AUTHOR: Anthony Hope
PAGES: 140

When a lazy Rundolf Rassendylls takes a nap at the castle of Zenda adventure unfolds. He meets the king of Ruritania, who shockingly looks exactly like him, save for a few unnoticeable traces. On an invitation for dinner the king of Ruritania drinks wine brought by his brother The Black Michael and passes out. A day to being ordained.

The king’s men disparate in a bid to stop Black Michael plan to being ordained in the kings absence coaxed Rundolf Rassendylls’ to impost the king and be ordained, and hold to his future wife as he recovers.

To the astonishment of the Black Michael the king turns up for ordinance. Bound by his plan the black Michael plays along for fear of the citizens who will want their real king if he tells the Rundolf is an impostor. The play king dupes all the kingdom and holds unto the unsuspecting future queen.

Story unfolds and the real king is abducted by Black Michael. The play king, Rundolf, is forced to remain the king without enjoying the lavish lifestyle of a king and maintain the beautiful queen, princess Flavia without falling in love with her.
Anthony Hope

A quick paced story of sword wielding and suspense flow as the real king has to be helped and reinstated.

The story has line and flow, and a suitable as non-fiction for senior high school students. I first read the story in high school, Kanyawanga boys, donated by The British Council. I have read it, five times ever. Among the treasured classics, donated by the British Council are: Jane Eyre, The Mayor of Canterbery, Treasure Island, Kays, Adventure of Sherlock Holmes among others.

Around 80 decades since Anthony Hope (1863-1933) passed away and more than a century since published The Prisoner of Zenda has remained a popular story.

Book Review: Only Love by Erich Segal

Only Love True, will make me Love you.
TITLE: Only Love
AUTHOR: Erich Segal
GENRE: Fiction
PAGES: N/A, read from Readers Digest collection, 1998

An adage goes: when love is the music of life, only love can make the heart sing. A young pauper doctor, Dr. Hiller falls in love with an heiress, Silvia from Italy during a volunteer work in Eritrea.

The young lovers fall in depth and face the world in robust as they help the improvised children in Eritrea. It is only after an accident with rebels that the difference between their two world, the rich and poor, clash that love tumbles. They are inevitably separated.

Worlds apart Dr. Hiller immerse himself in books and becomes a micro-biologist specialized in DNA to treat disease. With love gone soar he finds solace in academy.

Meanwhile Silvia marries an heir from home, Nicollo Rinaldi and becomes a rich man’

Carrying a burdened heart and memories etched on his mind Dr. Hiller becomes a respected doctor and goes on to marry another woman, his university sweetheart.

It is only when Silvia suffers from a tumor on her brain that fate brings them together that only love can conquer. Only Dr. Hiller has the experience to save Silvia after other doctors have failed. And its only love which can save the heart ache. After carrying a heavy burden of live dr. Hiller has not only a patient to treat but a lover to bring to life.

The novel reaches a climax as fate which broke the two young love birds bring together more mature adults. The fate threatens to break and mend their hearts and marriages.

Erich Segal writes of love, not of romance.

It’s a second novel by Erich Segal I have read after Love Story, 1970. Erich Segal is masterful with the pen in writing love stories, Mark you not romantic stories. He gets the reader and moves through the set and context expertly in a coherent flow. In love stories, he is what John Grisham is in court room drama. An expert.

In addition, being a Yale University professor of Classic dabbling with a pen bring the love stories out strong like classics with words beautifully arranged to strum the heartstring and make the reader live the emotional story.

His, author’s story, are the only ‘lurvy-durvy’ stuff on the shelves I enjoy. No romantic novel with romantic ideas and dreams out of reality with the real world. Always homing otiose minded readers out of reality in search of solace in their dream worlds.

John Grisham The King of Torts

The Kingdom of Torts, a Million Dollar Worth of Greed.

TITLE: The King of Torts
GENRE: Fiction
AUTHOR: John Grisham
PUBLISHER: Arrow books, 2003
PAGES: 490
REVIEWER: Manuel Odeny

A mysterious source selects an underpaid lawyer at office of the public defender to cover up a conspiracy for $15Million. He, the lawyer did not know that he could be ushered to be the king of torts.

The mysterious source, Max Pace supplied damaging documents to squash the perceived enemies and help the lawyer, Clay Curtis 11 in mass litigation.

This is yet another fictional book by the legal thriller John Grisham entailing the greed about lawyers and the inside game of mass tort lawyers. The story line is gripping and the set in easy flowing character.

The book is purely fictional and no accuracy to the real world. The Author clearly illuminates what happens in the greed of mass litigation. Within the author's note Grisham writes:

"If I can't find a building, then I’ll construct one on the spot. If a street does not fit on my map, then I wont hesitate to either move it or draw a new map. I would guess that about the half the places in this book are described somewhat correctly. the other half either doesn't exist or have been modified or relocated to such an extent that no one would recognize them. Anyone looking for accuracy is wasting time."
John Grisham

Public defender, attorney-at-law clay Curtis II is underpaid and stuck in an office he is ashamed to show his friends and is desperately looking for an exist out. That is until a murder case stumbles on his lap together with a mysterious source.

With the only chance to mint millions Clay takes the case dumps his client and move forward to the tort game. Unlike his previous world of poverty where he loses his girlfriend, Rebecca, the rookie Clay is ushered to the filthy rich and boasting tort lawyers. a creed of vultures circling and waiting for a massive kill,

Book Review: Playing for Pizza by John Grisham

For the fun of the game.
TITLE: Playing for Pizza
GENRE: Fiction
AUTHOR: John Grisham
PUBLISHER: Arrow Books, 2007
PAGES: 325
REVIEWER: Manuel Odeny

After giving the worst performance for a well known football team, Rick Dockery a quarterback becomes a laughing stock and he is injured by angry rowdy fans baying for his blood. Just one bad performance and his football career and dream comes tumbling down to his feet.

Hospitalized with a deem career, the football teams refuse to sign him up. They’re done with him in his country.

With all teams out of reach the only light at the end of the tunnel is what his agent can hustle. Playing football in Parma Italy- which is a thousand and one staircases down the national football league in America.

John Grisham
Firstly the Italy football is for NFL rejects and players who can't make it up at home. The fans are only around a thousand compared to the multitude at NFL stadiums. In Italy football is a dissent game with very few followers.

To add up it is only the Americans who get paid (paltry) while the Italians play for the love of the sport and the after game pizza while juggling the game with work.

Rick Dockery has never been to Italy and the story unfolds around Italy football and playing a game just for fun and getting a pizza.

Personally the book reflects on the author who as a child dreamt of being a professional baseball player. On realizing he could not make a pro career, he studied law school at Ole Miss in 1981 and accounting at Mississippi State University.

Playing for Pizza makes for entertainment reading and proves again that the ex-lawyer John Grisham is not only made of legal stuff but can venture into other professions and produce a page turner.

Boston University's Otto Lerbinger The Crisis Manager, Facing risk and Responsibility

Managing during instability and unpredictability.TITLE: The Crisis Manger, Facing risk and Responsibility
AUTHOR: Otto Lerbinger
PUBLISHER: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, publishers
GENRE: Non-Fiction
PAGES: 384
REVIEWER: Manuel Odeny

Crisis is a daily part of business and form an integral part of business management. A manager’s true management skills are observed during a crisis.

When workers, suppliers, share holders and customers may react to a crisis in an explosive, fixing the problem and not finding a solution way: the manager has to stay cool, calm and collected. Giving a solution and charter a direction out of the crisis.

Otto Lerbinger is well placed on discussing crisis management. A lecturer at Boston University of managing co-operate crisis and issues, he used notes and reports from thesis and research to comply the book.

The book is divided in three parts: communication in era of crisis; Managing seven types of crisis and lastly improving management performance.

On the first part the author help manager to identify crisis and how to plan and prepare for a crisis. Finally, in case of a crisis, how to communicate during and after the crisis. Tips are given on how to deal and communicate with the mass media in event of a crisis.

Detailed; in 1994 internet and media pressure forced the Silicon Valley Intel to recognize and own up that their Pentium chip caused error in complex mathematical calculation. The error was found by a mathematician. Intel knew of the error but assumed and released the chip to the market.

In managing the seven types of crisis in part two, the author outlines how to effectively manage a crisis before, during and after an occurrence. The seven crises are Natural, technological, confrontation, crisis of malevolence, crisis of skewed management value, crisis of deception and finally the crisis of management misconduct.

Finally on the final part of improving management performance the author help mangers to manage risk and communicate to the public by gauging public attitude, perception of risk and how they will react.

Worth to note is the author’s analysis on the thorny issue of ethics and moral conduct of executive when dealing with the public about a crisis.

The book adds value and helps in smooth management skills. A leader’s action and reaction during a crisis speaks volume about his leadership skills.

Current US president Barack Hussein Obama has proved effective in crisis management skills. Obama is an analyzer-in-chief than a fire band when dealing with crisis. The little known senator went ahead and clichéd the democratic nomination and the US presidency.

The rest is put to reat as history. Political analyst, allies and foes say he ahs the uncanny ability to walk through a storm unruffled. Obama is the kind of a leader you would want on a fox hole with you in time of a crisis.

Just another skinny kid from down south with a funny name Hussein (like American’s number one public enemy Saddam Hussein) or Obama (which was pronounced, mischievously as Osama). He slide through the campaign against a lot of mud sling.

The book The Crisis Manger, Facing risk and Responsibility could fit best in an academic library than office shelves. Its writing style and research can easily help scholars and student in writing reports, essays and research for their classes. Being a university lecturer, the author, is not in touch (perhaps) with the cooperate world making the book good for academy.

In acknowledgment Otto Lerbinger says he got his inspiration from students whose reports, notes and thesis have helped enrich the case studies.

Book: The Pope, Catholic Church need to account for sex victims

Kathy O'Beirne Dont Ever Tell In the Name of God.

TITLE: Dont Ever Tell
AUTHOR: Kathy O'Beirne
PUBLISHER: Mainstream Publishing, 2005
PAGES: 304
GENRE: Biography
REVIEWER: Manuel Odeny

The book is dedicated to those, male and female, who suffered in the orphanages, industrial schools, mental institutions and Magdalene laundries run by the Catholic church of Ireland and the government. It is also dedicated to all those who have ever suffered abuse in their lives.

The story, true, revolves around a devastating account of a stolen childhood by neglect and fear.

Kathy O'Beirne was the first daughter and child to a warm-dedicated small mother and a brutal father who to the outside world was a Christian and a smartly dressed gentleman. That is until the door was closed. He could turn brutal and mean by beating the devil out of her 'dirty' daughter. At only four years of age with anger and sadness the young girl started to be raped by two neighborhood boys. A trend which was to continue.

Kathy; confused, frightened and isolated is taken by her father too a government and Catholic Church runned institutions to make a life out of her. Believing that God will cleanse her of dirt. and that was the first encounter at the school from hell.

Demeaning nuns constantly told the girls how worthless they are, constantly beating and slaving them. The grueling life begins. The children from 8-14 years are locked up in a fortress where they work to atone their sins. at 12 years Kathy is given a gruesome work of washing dead bodies at a morgue.

With no one to turn to, the priests and friars preaching to the 'penitents' start raping the girls. Consequently with barely a month to her fourteenth birthday Kathy gives birth. Heavily traumatized by rape the young Kathy recollects:

"The nuns told me I was expecting the child of the Devil.....i was horrified by the idea(breast feeding) it seemed disgusting... I associated people touching me there with being abused."

The baby was later bottle fed. That was not all. Kathy could not change the soiled child.

"I felt there was something wrong with taking off her nappy and cleaning her down there, as when i had been touched there something dirty and awful had happened to me."

From children wards, girls reporting the rapes by priests were taken to psychiatry wards where they were used as guinea pigs in amoral system and later to Magdalene laundries where each morning truck loads full of dirty linen from factories, hospitals, schools and prisons were cleaned by the girls.

In the church run institutions children, especially young girls were treated like slaves, sex objects and specimen while all profit went to the church.

Aodhan Madden a chief investigative journalist of Irish Crime, Dublin writing the forward of the book on February 2005 notes;

“Many of the girls in these church-run institutions were raped and if they fell pregnant, their babies were then sold off to wealthy couples in America. A taxi driver remembers driving some of these babies to the North. The church ran a lucrative baby industry for profit ignoring the human misery caused to deprived mothers."

So sinned against were the girls and babies that when dead they were dumped and buried with black cross (symbolizing Devil's soul) in mass graves. Madden notes:

"There is one badly neglected site in the Glasnevin cemetery."
The Author

For over a decade Kathy O'Beirne is fighting for the rape victims. There is no more secrets, the secrets are out, free at last. But the 'Holy' Catholic church of Ireland and the government are still adamant about their involvement.

Dont Ever Tell is the type of a book that you stumble upon in a library with minimum chance of ever coming across it again, but the impact it etches in your life is permanent. That reminds me of Barbara Kimenye's Pretty Boy, Beware about child prostitution in the Kenya's Coast Province.

For more information on Magdalene girls check the following websites: