Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm The Guy Your Mum Warned You About!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Music Review: Carter 4 by Lil Wayne

The hottest 2010 Lil’ Wayne’s album leaked, yet top be released!!Album: Lil Wayne Carter 4
Singer: Lil Wayne
Leaked: At Focus Mixtapes




The Young money rapper album yet to be released this year has been leaked as a mixtape on the internet. The leak comes when Lil’ Wayne official site is yet to announce the release date.

The twenty three track album is leaked by www.focusmixtapes.com. It follows the June 19, 2008 release of Tha Carter III which topped the American billboard with two platinum accredited.

The last album had hits like A Milli, Lollipop feat. Static, Got money feat. T-Pain and Usher’s, Love In This Club, Part II

The album incorporates gangsta rap, rock and Rnb. The song Money In Da Bank feat cocaine bishop is a gangsta while rock lovers will enjoy the rapper keeping pace with Katt Delina in track 10 “unstoppable”.

In Things That You Do feat. Lloyd and Young Keno, an Rnb session, Wayne gives his soothing raspy rap against the soft Rnb beats as with Speechless feat Razah.

The songs that may Rock 2010 are Lil’ Wayne feat Jay-Z and Smitty I ball, the easy rap flow feat. Eminem in Weezy who and remix to You Turn Me On feat Keri Hilson and Jarmanie Duprie

Though Lil Wayne has remixed with big names like Fat Joe, Jay-z, Lloyd, Jermaine Duprie, Dre, Pharrell and Eminem(with sensational Red who and Weezy who). The rapper has done singles: Filthy, Call of duty, and how are you doing

To boast new rappers of Young Money Entertainment, Cater 4 has released for Cocaine Bishop, Jers and Jay Bezel and casino songs: too much in da line 2, talking reckless and money in da bank.

Lil’ Wayne’s Carter 4 Album has the variety on rock, raggeaton, gangsta rap and crunk making it an album for the collection especially for rap lovers.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Book Review: The State of Africa: A history of Fifty Years of Independence by Martin Meredith

TITLE: The State of Africa: A history of fifty years of Independence.
AUTHOR: Martin Meredith
PAGES: 752
PUBLISHERS: Free Press, London (2006)
GENRE: History

Martin Meredith book is conceive and offer insightful knowledge on the historical development of Africa as a continent, before the settlement of European colonialist, through the struggle of independence, the emerging of nations and the state of Africa, as a continent, in the world map.

As Times journalist who did corresponding in Africa, an auto-biographer and a writer, Meredith has written an outstanding book. A masterpiece. Albeit if his use of facts is anything to go by, the author went to greater length to glean for facts and figures from respected authors and sources. The authoritative bibliography speaks for itself.

The book’s magnitude in understanding the contemporary state of the African continent-from whichever facet you see it- is echoed by Bob Geldof. The Irish pop singer who has been involved greatly with charity work in the continent (notably the fund raising record Do they know it’s Christmas’ for 1984 Ethiopian famine victims), says “you can’t even contemplate about the contemporary state of Africa without first having a look at why Africa as a continent is where it is.”

The State of Africa starts with the ancient African kingdoms before the scramble and partition of the continent by European colonialists lead by Germany’s Otto von Bismarck in the Berlin conference. With little knowledge the colonialist least cared as they curved out states transcending across ancient lands separating kingdoms, tribal lands and merging other which never existed before.

Notable are the Bakongo of Congo, Ashanti of Ghana and King Moshoeshoe of Tswana. The Britons got their protectorates to Great Britain, the French assimilated minor French provinces in Africa; the Belgians were content to reap Zaire to enrich king Leopold II, together with the Portuguese, Spaniards and Italians.

The seed of discord was thus implanted.

The Europeans forcefully struggled and settled in Africa. As Christianity and western education spread in the Africa, an elite class emerged and fought for independence. The old guard- African leaders who inherited power from colonialists- brought the birth of nations amid glimmer of hope riding the crest of expectations about the future of Africa.

The European colonialists retreated- hastily like in Algerian independence struggle- to leave the leadership to Africans. The old guards experimented with ideologies. Some countries picked up economically shortly before the coups, the cold war effects and the lingering neo-colonialism.

Martin Meredith writes of the effects of the East and West power struggle effects on the continent. In their ism-schism of capitalism and communism the elephants- USA and USSR- descended on the African grass for the struggle of world supremacy.

The cold war, Otiose to Africa, was triggered by emergence of sovereign states which could topple the scales at world scene. At its peak in ‘60s US supported Mobutu Sese Seko to plunder Zaire and aided in usurping Liberia’s resources. American firestone controlling rubber plantations helped prop semi-illiterate Samwel Doe.

On the other hand Russia, in association with Cuba, propped Major Mengistu Haile Mariam red terror in Ethiopia and thwarted west influence in Angola against rebel leader Jonas Savimbi in a blood bath.

The struggle of Anglo-phone and Franco-phone effects on the continent in former colonies is tackled. With otiose cultural misgivings Britain and France flex their muscles to neo-colonize their former colonies with devastating effects.

French propped and later turned against Jean Bedel Bokassa of Central African Republic because he was a French soldier during the WWII. In a bid to suppress the spread of Anglo-phone influence in central Africa, French propped and maintained a genocide regime in Rwanda against the Tutsi and moderate Hutus.

The effect was the 1994 Rwandan genocide which spread towards DRC and Northern Uganda causing the fall of two ‘Anglo-phone’ leaders, viz. Mobutu Sese Seko and Milton Obote.

In the story “In the name of prophet” The State of Africa has extensively covered the Egyptian revolution against the monarchy of King Farrouk and it culmination to pan-Arab fever that culminated to 1965-67 Arab-Israel war. Muarmar Gadaffi’s taciturn involvement in internal affairs of Chad and the bloody diamond fields of Liberia and Sierra Leone war by training guerrillas.

The root cause of Nigerian conflict on Biafra war is caused partly by the murder of Chief Abiola is elaborately written. In addition, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba by Belgians and The CIA, and the culmination of the Zaire’s war is written with historical flair.

My gripe with the book is the casting of France. Meredith, a Briton, espouses the idea of treating the French as villains in expense of the Britons. It aligns with the Hollywood blockbuster Godzilla with a story of a French illegal nuclear testing gone haywire.

The effect, a giant dinosaur, creates havoc in New York City. The French in the movie are down casted and stereotyped like the Arabs and Russians.

Meredith treats British colonies, especially South Africa and Sudan with velvet gloves.

In “A degree in violence”, a story of Robert Mugabe (need I say a villain); little is said of suffering of Zimbabweans under the apartheid rule, And Mugabe’s house arrests and the death of his infant son. Likewise the impact and magnitude of apartheid rule in South Africa is sidelined.

In addition the book places the onset of Darfur war after the introduction of sharia laws. This is far from Blaine Harden, once a Washington Post bureau chief Nairobi, book Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent placing the problem on British rule. Harden, an American, writes that by the failure to effectively colonize the Muslim North the Britons segregated the Christian South.

The segregation brought two distinct cultures. At independence the ‘suit’ wearing Christian South considered the northern Muslims with suspicion. The Arabs had sold them as slaves.

The passing of sharia laws just exploded a simmering volcano and turned the fissures into a mountain of a problem.

Insightful
Martin Meredith’s book gives insight into understanding the winding politics and events in Africa easily. You will understand why French President Nicolas Sarkozy personally attended, and got booed at Omar Bongo Ondimba’s funeral for interfering with Gabon’s internal affairs. Paul Kagame’s gripe with the France over the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The book should miss in the shelf if you need to know how Charles Taylor ended up at ICC in The Hague and why Omar el-Bashir is wary of ICC indictment and southern Sudan supporting him though the Janjaweed militia kills with impunity.

The reader will be conversant with how Somalia warlord Aideed drove Americans and UN officials out of Mogadishu in ‘Black Hawk Down’

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Poem: Africa by Leony Armattoe

Dedicated to Mme. Leony Armattoe

I once saw a maiden dark and comely,
Sitting by the wayside, sad and lonely.
Oh! Pretty maiden, so dark and comely
Why sit by the wayside, sad and lonely?
‘I am neither sad nor lonely,’ She said,
‘But living, sir, among the deaf amid dumb;
Relentlessly watching these shameless dead,
Makes my warm heart grow very cold and numb.’

By R.E.G Armattoe

(Source: Donatus Ibe Nwoga (1967) West African Verse: An Anthology. London. Longman)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bamburi nature trails: a Kenyan rehabilitated Eco-Tourism site

Imagine a derelict cement quarry being turned into a rich coastal tropical ecosystem bursting with life. This was how Bamburi nature trails was 36 years ago, an open waste land, before receiving international recognition for rehabilitation as a leading tourist site.
Owned by Bamburi cement factory in Mombasa the Haller Park and Forest Trails are a kilometers apart on Mombasa-Malindi highway.
The nature trails diversity is reflected with over 400 plants species with around 200 bird species. An ornithologist guide tourists and visitors on a bird safari to watch the narina trogon, golden weaver, waders and migratory species are a common feature at the trails.
During the evening feeding times visitors can get close with giraffes, crocodile, buffaloes and hippos at the animal sanctuary.
The trails about 20km stretch are designed for leisure walks, exercises and cycling around a dramatic kaleidoscope of landscape from open, active quarries to the lush forests with docile elands and Oryx along the way.
The night walk with romantic intense scents of forest is class of its own with life teaming with water bucks, genet cats, fire flies and bush babies.
Other animals in the sanctuary include mongoose, suni, duikers, giant aldabran tortoises, bats, owls amongst others.
Stated more than a decade ago, the butterfly pavilion exhibits a leisure stop point for visitors to admire the floating insects in their lovely iridescent colors.
Owen and Mzee
A place to unwind
When booked in advance the grounds at Haller Park and the forest trails forms an ideal and serene environment for social events.
The sunset terrace extending over a quite forest lake is ideal for an evening drink with friends and family to unwind in nature.
The secured fully fledged playgrounds offer kids fan and safety during family outing like birthday parties and weddings.
Companies on team building, product launch, theme nights and co-operate launch can access the modern conference facilities at Haller Park pavilion in a rustic forest setting.
The auditorium seats 80 people in a serene surrounding inspiring creativity.
For foreign tourists the gift shop supports local artists by catching the diversity of Kenyan rich culture with souvenir and beauty accessories for friends and family back home.
For more information and booking about Bamburi nature trails go to:  http://www.lafargeecosystems.com/

The Great Plunderer: Mobutu Desire Sese Seko, Zaire.

How the cold war waxed Zaire.
American CIA and Belgium forces propped Joseph Desire Mobutu to power fast on 14th September 1960 and later in 1965 as the absolute president.
The two countries felt jittery when Patrice Lumumba sought the eastern bloc; Russia and Czechoslovakia support against Moise Tshombe and Mobutu. Primarily Belgian, colonizers were interested in Zaire resources while USA had cold war interests.
The two countries later plotted the assassination of Lumumba when the eastern bloc intervened on 15th August 1965.
President Eisenhower regarded Lumumba a maddog and ordered CIA to plan his elimination on 26th August. CIA director Allen Dulles authorized Kinshasa chief Lawrence Devlin to use $100,000 for Lumumba's assassination which was to be ‘urgent and a prime objective’.

CIA scientist Dr. Sidney Gottlieb designed an assassination kit of poison intended to be placed on Lumumba’s toothbrush. It expired before the material day.
Mobutu used to answer directly to CIA chief Devlin when he was an army officer and the president to spy on fellow countrymen.
Lumumba was captured by Mobutu’s forces and beaten badly. Mobutu scrutinized him with malicious air, spat on his face and said:

“Well! You swore to have my skin, now it is I who has yours”.

On 18th January 1976 Lumumba and two accomplishes were taken by Moise Tshombe, Belgian policemen and their commissioner. Under the command of a Belgian officer they were shot by a firing squad and buried in graves.

Afraid of their involvement on the deaths the Belgians unearthed the corpses, chopped them in bits and charred them in a barrel full of sulphuric acid. Their skulls, bones and teeth were grounded and the ashes scattered. A tale was rumored that Lumumba and his accomplishes had been killed by ‘patriotic villagers’.

With the deed over, the western world turned to Mobutu calling him ‘a friendly tyrant’ who had western interest at heart. The CIA used Zaire as a base to spy on its neighbors especially Angola. US aided UNITA forces led by Jonas Savimbi to fight the Angolan government backed by Cuba and Russia.

The pain of the cold war still lingers between Angola and DRC to date. Cabinda secessionists group is aided by DRC, and Angola blamed DRC for changing the border of oil and diamond rich region on December last year.

When Angolan backed rebels tried to overthrow Mobutu in 1977 & 78 the west swiftly came to his aid. In 23 years of mobutu misrule the US aid was $860 million despite the worsening economy. Through flattery president Nixon led the west to invest $2 billion for resources of copper, cobalt, industrial diamond and other minerals by 1974.

On the same year, despite mobutu tyranny US propped the image of Zaire further by organizing world heavyweight boxing match between Mohammad Ali and George Foreman dubbed ‘rumble in the jungle’

Mobutu consolidated power to strengthen his rule. He hanged four former cabinet ministers in public attended by 50,000 spectators for being opponents.

“In our African tradition, there are never two chiefs. Can anyone tell me that he have known a village that has two chiefs?”

He started and become the sole leader of movement populaire de la Revolution (MPR), the only political party in Zaire with ‘mobutuism’ ideology where deviation was a constitutional offence.

To built national spirit mobutu used personal power by decree to change western names to African. The name Congo was changed to Zaire. Towns with western names were changed too: Leopoldville to Kinshasa, Elizabethville to Lubumbashi, Stanleyville to Kisangani and Katanga to Shaba.

On equal measure Christian names were dropped for African and any priest caught baptizing Zairian children with Christian names were sentenced to five years imprisonment.

He changed his name to Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngendu Wa Za Banga which in his Ngbendu tribe meant: “’the warrior who knows no defeat because of his endurance and inflexible will and is all powerful;, leaving fire in his wake as he goes from conquest to conquest.” A more succinct translation in Tshiluba meant ‘invincible warrior; cock who leaves no chick intact’.

European suits were banned too. Men wore a collarless Mao-style tunic without shirt or tie called abscot. The abscot became Mobutu’s personal trademark worn with a leopard skin hat and thick, black framed glasses.

Mobutu built a personality cult. His deeds were praised in songs and dances as the ‘father of the nation’ ‘savior of the people’ ‘supreme combatant’ and ‘great strategist’. Officials in his government had to wear badge with his miniature portrait.

His personality cult took a religious twist. Before and after every TV News there was an image of Mobutu descending, as it were, from heaven. Places where he had worked and lived became pilgrimage points: high places of meditation. His interior minister Engulu Baanga Mpongo once told party faithfuls:

“God has sent a great prophet, our prestigious guider Mobutu. The prophet. Our liberator, our messiah. Our church id MPR. Its chief is Mobutu. We respect him as one respects a pope. Our gospel is mobutuism. This is why the crucifixes must be replaced by the image of our messiah.”

Mobutu’s personal wealth was unusurped by any African tyrant. In 1973 he seized 2,000 foreign owned enterprises- farms, plantations, ranches and factories. The seizure benefited his family and cronies who were given orders like ’you have been allocated’ and ‘the state authorize you t take possession of.. .’

Mobutu controlled the central bank where he channeled money to his personal Swiss accounts. He controlled mining by filling planes with copper and cobalt for personal use. US House of Representatives heard in ’81 that mobutu sold 2,000 ton of copper worth 35M for personal use.

In a country ravaged by poverty mobutu owned three quarters of ranch cattle and produced a quarter of cocoa and rubber in Zaire. His firms become third largest employer. Within 15 years Mobutu was worth more than $5Billion, a sum larger than Zaire’s $3billion debt.

Mobutu bought houses, apartments and estates in Europe, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Morocco and Brazil. He had a three storey luxury cruiser, Kamanyola, to entertain guests. In Zaire he hard three expensive villas in Kinshasa and a $100 million palace in Gbadolite.

The palaces had private zoos, several lakes and gardens, a nuclear shelter and a private airport for his supersonic concord.

To maintain power Mobutu had to bribe his opponents starting a wave of kleptocracy. Consequently it lead to massive inflation, fuel shortage and failing civil servants. 40% of government expenditure was looted while ‘ghost workers’ existed with their salary being pocketed by senior civil servants.
Mobutu had advice for his greedy ministers:

“If you steal , do not steal too much at a time. You may be arrested. Yibana Mayele- steal cleverly, little by little.”

In ’79 an economist sent to revamp the economy, Erwin Blumenthal, had to sleep with a shotgun and a radio to call West German and American embassies when he was threatened by armed men. The problem started when he gave a list of 50 plundering companies owned by Mobutu’s cronies to be investigated against corruption charges.

“Convectional wisdom said that besides Mobutu and his family there are only 80 people who count in Zaire” Blaine Harden, American journalist noted. “At one time, twenty are ministers, twenty are in exile, twenty are in jail, twenty are ambassadors. Every three Mobutu the music stops and Mobutu shuffles the park.”

Shuffling was a method to neutralize his enemies, mobutu said:

“My father used to say ‘keep your friends close, but your enemies closer still’ leaving people in exile was a danger, they were making a lot of noise. The game was to neutralize their capacity to damage them"

Moise Tshombe nephew Nguza Karl-I-Bond was a good example.

He was a foreign minister in ’74 and ’79. He paid the foreign press to mention him a possible successor of Mobutu. He was accused of involvement with the rebel group, charged with treason, tortured and sentenced to death in ’78. He was imprisoned and made prime minister (’79). Nguza went in exile (’81) where he made noise about Mobutu’s regime. He returned in fold, ’85, made a foreign minister and prime minster again.

Use of Zaire as a CIA base to spy on Angola brought tension in the region. Mobutu end came when he got involved in Rwanda's politics by supporting the Hutu rebels.

“The big mistake of Mobutu was to involve himself in Rwanda.’ Yoweri Museveni said “so it’s really Mobutu who initiated the programme of his own removal. Had he not involved himself in Rwanda, I think he could have stayed.”

Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Angolan forces outset Mobutu by placing Joseph Kabila as president on 17th may 1977.
The western world deserted him.

Three days before Kabila’s inauguration an elite presidential guard from his Ngbendu tribe mutinied against him. He escaped with his family on a cargo plane belonging to Jonas Savimbi, an Angolan rebel he supported, with bullets ripping into the fuselage as it took of.

He died in exile in Morocco bitter and resentful at the betrayal of his cronies and the US.

FRANCISCO MACIAS NGUEMA. The mad man from Equatorial Guinea.

Francisco Macias Nguema

Guineans believed their first president had supernatural powers. Using the knowledge of witchcraft he inherited from his sorcerer father, President Francisco Macias Nguema built a huge collection of human skulls at his homestead to beat his subjects to submission.

Surrounded by village elders at his state house, Nguema used a bamboo hut as the state pharmaceutical and treasury after closing the central bank. Most of the money rotted on the ground while citizens suffered in subject poverty.

Nguema was favored by the Spanish colonialist as the president on Independence Day, 0ctorber 1968 because of his limited education and mental ability. In favor of a trustworthy collaborator the Spaniards made him a mayor through a civil service test which had failed thrice.

The Spanish plan backfired.

Due to his education inability Nguema had a phobia for intellectuals. 154 days after independence when he found Spanish flags still flying in some parts of Equatorial Guinea he lashed out.

Nguema instructed youths and vigilante groups to attack colonialist. 7,000 Spaniards left, mostly civil servants, left en masse.

Their vacant positions were filled by fellow tribesmen of Esangui. Most notable was his nephew, Colonel Teadore Obiang Nguema Mbosogo; the commander of National Guard, military commander of Fernando Po, a province, and the secretary-general of ministry of defense and head of prisons.

When his foreign minister, Ndongo Miyone, tried to diffuse the tension he was brutally murdered for being too ‘intellectual’ for Nguema liking.

A director of statistics had his body dismembered to ‘help him learn how to count when he gave figures which displeased the president.

A central bank director was executed when he controlled Nguema from plundering the state coffers. Consequently all foreign currency went to his house where he placed the state treasury for his personal use. Civil servants and military salaries always ran long overdue.

When he ran out of money Nguema kidnapped and ransomed foreigners and notable was the $103,600 ransom for a German woman, a Spaniard professor and a dead soviet citizen.

His execution knew no bounds. All former lovers of his current mistresses were executed. The husbands of women he coveted were equally killed.

His pet subjects were intellectuals, education and foreign culture which he rumbled on incoherently on speeches.

He later banned the word ‘intellectual’ in Equatorial Guinea and closed all libraries in the country. Newspaper and printing press were not spared either, they were all banned.

Ultimately education was abolished in 1974 and children were taught political slogans.

He strove to control organized religion by having his pictorials hanging in every church and had himself proclaimed as ‘the only miracle’. Under threat of immediate arrest priests were forced to recite slogans lie;
During his sentencing

“There is no God other than Macias.”
“God created Equatorial Guinea, thanks to Papa Macias. Without Macias, Equatorial Guinea would not exist.”

Nguema was comfortably satisfied when through citations on 1974-75 he banned religious meetings, funerals and sermons. All Christian names were abolished. He turned churches to warehouses. He stored state weapons in a cathedral at Malabo, the capital city.

Nguema’s demise came in 1979 when his ambitious nephew colonel Obiang Nguema feared he could go down with the when he started showing overt madness.

Nguema smoked bhang and a local stimulant, Iboga. He started hallucinating and having monologues with his dead victims. Due to old age he turned deaf. On September 1979 alongside his five most brutal aides Nguema was sentenced to death by firing squad at Malabo’s Blabich Prison.

For fear of supernatural powers, the Guineans hired Moroccan soldiers to shoot him. To date Francisco Macias Nguema ghost is still potent in Equatorial guineas politics.

LEGIO MARIA: The African Christianity with a black messiah.


The messiah will come back for the third time. Nearly two decades after his death, messiah Melkio Simeo Ondetto will collect his followers and go with them to heaven.

As Christians wait for the second coming of Jesus Christ, the followers of Legio Maria believe Christ had already come, as messiah Melkio Ondetto, and they only await his third coming. Biblically, the book of Daniel prophesize the second coming of Christ as south of Palestine, East Africa where Ondetto came from. This strengthens the idea of third coming.

It is the sane book of Daniel that Rastafarians believe emperor Haile Sellasie is the messiah and power of the trinity as the son.

“We the followers of Legio Maria and messiah Melkio believe he is Christ and resurrected to heaven with God. We only await his third coming.” Says Cardinal Alexus Ogolla Agalo at Jerusalem Amoyo village in Kadem area of the newly commissioned Nyatike district.

The cardinal added that the messiah who was buried on 14th September 1991 at the ‘Calvary’ in Suba west division in Migori district will surely come for the third time to take his faithful to heaven.

The visit to the church’s headquarters at Amoyo village which the sect members call ‘Jerusalem’ as in biblical times of Jesus Christ reveled over 560 members praying earnestly for the third coming of their messiah.

Their leader cardinal Alexus says the members are constantly praying for the end of tribulations in the country like cholera outbreak, famine, the wrangles in the coalition government and the Miring saga.

18 years after the death of Melkio Simeo, the followers still believe he will come back to get rid of sin and misery in the world.

The origin of the Legio Maria.
The current movement of Legio Maria is said to have been started as Legion of Mary at Myra Dublin, Ireland on 7th September 1921 by Catholics to fulfill their baptismal vows by dedicating themselves to the church. The movement brought it to East Africa in 1939.

It was from the sect that the founding mother of the church, Gaudensia Aoko inherited it to Legio Maria , which means the large followers of Maria.

Although gone physically and buried at Nzoia in Siaya which the sect call the land of Efeso. She is adored spiritually as the equivalent of Virgin Mary the mother of Christ.

The faithfuls have built her a shrine in Jerusalem Amoyo and worship her through bead rosaries.
Father Cyprian Bwire, a priest at St. Peters clever church in Migori town refutes the claim of the church starting ion Ireland. He says the church was started for Africans and by Africans making it a truly African church.

Bwire narrates that the holy mother, mama matakatifu Maria, origins and relatives are not known. But she came with a vision directly from heaven to start the Legio Maria sect and search for her lost son, Melkio Simeo. Her followers who saw the light adopts ‘oyawore’ as form of greeting in dholuo which means they have seen the light.

Mama Maria met his son baba Melkio at Got Kweru in Migori . Initially the place was called ‘okwong’(from dholuo, cursed) because it was a sacrificial place for the Luo people.

The place was later called Calvary by followers because the messiah was buried there.
Messiah Melkio Simeo became a catechist at Nyandago Catholic Church where they broke up with a white priest who claimed that the messiah went against the church doctrine by baptizing people en-masse.

It was these reasons that the messiah and mama matakatifu rebelled and broke up with the Roman Catholic Church to start an African church away from the white colonialist church.

The priest, Bwire, quotes the messiah as saying:
“My people the blacks I have come for your safety because you have been ill-treated, I heard the white man abusing the black man ‘monkey’ although I created all of them. I have come to show the Whiteman that the Blackman is also a human being.”

After breaking with the Catholic Church the messiah and his followers went to Kajonis Baru area near Got Kweru to officially start the church and re3ceive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The villagers were amazed as they saws the heavens open and heard songs, though they could not see anybody. The two Dholuo songs and one in Latin: ‘Yesus osebiro e chunya(Jesus has come to my heart) and ‘Chon Nyasaye ochiko okelo ng’a mawarowa(God has brought the messiah) together with ‘Gloria in excleis Deo’(glory to God) gave them the spirit to proclaim the gospel.

The sect saw tremendous spread in 1960s in East Africa, including Congo, Nigeria and three churches in Ethiopia which father Bwire attributes to the Holy Spirit.

And before her death mama matakatifu passed the mantle of leasde3rship to messiah Simeo Melkio Ondetto and blessed timothy Blassio Atila as the pope of the sect in 1960.

The messiah Simeo Melkio Ondetto built the Jerusalem Amoyo in 1963 after taking leadership of the church.
The messiah was first buried at Jerusalem Amoyo when he died on 5th September 1991 and was later reburied at Calvary, Got Kweru, according to his wish and will on 14th of the same month.

“On baba(father’s) death there was a tussle between the Kadem and Suna people over his burial site because Ondetto resided at Kadem although the church was started in Suna” explains Cardinal Alexus. The score was settled the messiah will dictated he had to be buried in Calvary.
Like his spiritual mother, Gaudensia Aoko, the place of birth and origin of the messiah is shrouded with misery.

It is claimed that around 1923 a man named Obimbo Misumba was approached by destitute child for shelter while herding his cattle around his homestead at Angoro village, Awasi in Kano plains.

Mr. Misumba and his wife Margeret adopted the stammering Simeo Melkio as a herdboy to run errands in the home. Melkio got his nickname ‘Ondetto’ which stuck with him to adulthood, the name meant ‘the scratcher’ because the lice and jiggers which infested Melkio made him scratch his body continuously.

Father Bwire said that the messiah met his met his mother, Gaudensia, while herding cattle in Migori.

The claim of adoption was refuted during his burial.

The then dean of cardinals, nelson Obimbo said the messiah was his biological brother born in 1926 Obimbo Misumba and Margeret Aduwo Obimbo.

Cardinal Nelson added that it was at this time that the boy-messiah started showing supernatural powers.

The black Christ, Black messiah
Is Simeo the messiah? The Christ?

Cardinal; Alexus speaking from Jerusalem Amoyo says Melkio is the Christ and t prove he says he performed the same miracles as Jesus Christ of the bible and later persecuted the same way.

“The prophesy in the book of Luke 21:12-20 about persecution was fulfilled by baba matakatifu” adds father Bwire.

Ondetto and 37 followers in 1960’s were beaten up , badly by the government and locked up at Kodiaga prison in Kisumu. Though his bone was broken and his body was spitting pus, Ondetto rejoiced in tribulation with ardent followers.

The messiah was tried in Kisii and Kisumu law courts and found guilty of holding illegal meetings.
Passing the judgment, the then senior magistrate at Kisumu law courts john Abraham described Ondetto and his followers as:
“A collection of lapsed Catholics and pagans practicing heresy that is a mockery to Christianity and Roman Catholic Church”

While preaching at Ogwethi, Migori, messiah cursed a fig tree which dried up when it could not offer fig to him and his angry followers.

In addition the black messiah healed the sick and performed the same miracle as his counterpart the son of Joseph and Mary of Bethlehem.

While visiting St. Joanes church in Winam division in Kisumu he raised a dead woman. He ordered the body which was dead for 112 hours be brought to him. Though no date is given, the messiah raised the woman who immediately asked for porridge and drank it o the bewilderment of onlookers.
The woman went home praising God.

In another incident at Nzoia Ondetto ordered a heavy downpour to stop when it threatened to disrupt his open prayer meeting. The messiah started prophesying and speaking in parables to the bewildered audience.
To people who readily rubbish Legio Maria as fanatics and heretics father Bwire has this for them;

“I(Melkio) am coming soon. Keep safe what you have, so that no one will rob you of your victory prize. If you have ears then listen” says the priest quoting revelations 32:10-13.

And controversy never seized to surround messiah. The most controversial, perhaps, is on April 3rd, 1988 when it is claimed he died and resurrected at Jerusalem Amoyo.

Father Bwire confirms the incident took place and affirms that older followers like cardinal Alexus who saw the messiah were there during the incident.

On resurrection the messiah claimed he met a lot of saints like Francis is Assisi. The most vivid discretion was hell.

“I found a man being weighed on a balance before a very big book. God and evil were debating on the man’s soul. Then God asked the devil if the man was his, of which the devil replied ‘I know he is mine’. God allowed the devil to chain the person’s neck and drag him away to hell.”

Although he didn’t see hell, he said that he heard people wailing and begging for mercy.

The political mileage
The late politician Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was a personal friend of Ondetto calling him Messiah. In 1965 when Jaramogi was the vice president and minister of home affairs in charge of immigration, police and prisons he was instrumental in registration of the sect.

Jaramogi and his spiritual adviser took undated photo with Oginga holding a flywhisk. Politically these was a move usurped Ondetto’s fanatical following sweeping through Nyanza.

Conversely Melkio had stormy relationship with late Tom Mboya who was running a parallel force to quell his power. According to father Bwire, the Catholic Church approached Mboya to curb the sect growth.
Ondetto saw Mboya’s hand in his persecution by the government.

A day before Mboya’s assassination, the messiah prophesied a catastrophe. True to the prophesy on 5th July 1969 Mboya was assassinated in a doorway of a pharmacy on government road, now Tom Mboya street.

Mr. Isaac Njenga Njoroge was later convicted for the murder.

The sect relations went smoother when messiah met former president Jomo Kenyatta in 1977 and was assured of freedom of the sect worship.

To date politicians still use the sect for mileage. 2kms away from Migori-Muhuru road, Amoyo center is connected with electricity.

“We constantly get offers from politicians and well wishers.” Cardinal Alexus told Migori DC Julius Mutula. “The area MP Edick Anyanga gave us Ksh. 3000,00 to start the foundation of a new church building.”

The Holy Mother churches of Nyanza province and Legio Maria.
During her life, Gaudensia Aoko the founding mother of the Legio Maria church was a herbalist with supernatural powers of healing and exorcising evil spirits through prayers and prophesy.

The founding mother is highly adored by followers of her sect who equate her to the biblical Virgin Mary.
Through her a practice culminated of ‘mothers’ headi8ng t6raditional African-Christian churches in Nyanza province after her death in 1960. The holy mother who is the spiritual mother of messiah Melkio Simeo Ondetto was buried at Nzoia in Siaya district.

The churches are mostly a series of Legio Maria splint groups and Roho Msalaba churches.
Under the current setup, the mothers today divide a section of their homestead to build a church. The woman the claims super-natural powers to heal disease, solve problems and prophesize of the future through prayers and sometimes traditional herbs.

The mothers live from the preceding from their client’s and offering from their followers.
Always revered the women have followers to carry out their domestic chores for hope of blessing from the mother.

On designated days on the week the followers constantly meet at the ‘church’ to pray together.

(Black Messiah: Top Melkio Ondetto the spiritual leader of Legio Maria. Bottom: While in prison at Kisii Town in South Nyanza, notice the Caucusian Features.)

JEAN BEDEL BOKASSA, Central Africa Republic.

The Francophone mistake in Africa
From an early age Bokassa life was marred with violence. At 6 years old in the village of Boubangui his father, a petty thief, was beaten to death by the French for refusing to take forced labour as a punishment for his deeds. His mother committed suicide a week later, leaving behind 12 siblings to be raised by their grandfather.
After finishing a catholic mission secondary school, where Bokassa was taunted by other children for the fate of his unfortunate parents, he joined the French army. At the army he received 12 citation of bravery in World War 2 at Indo-China, the legion d’ttoneur and the Croix de Guerre.

He left the army at 17 years as a sergeant to become the army of chief of stuff of CAR’s national army.

He overthrew his cousin, President David Dacko on 31st December 1965 when he learnt he wanted to replace him secretly. Once in power Bokassa demonstrated personal grandeur unusurpped by any other African ruler.

Democracy and elections were banned. He called himself an absolute monarch. For ‘supreme services of the society’ he made himself a marshal and had special uniforms designed to accommodate many medals he awarded himself.

He took great pleasure in naming schools, hospitals, roads and development programs after himself. The front page of every exercise book in the country adorned his image.

Jean-Bedel Bokassa held 12 ministerial portfolios and interfered with all others by staffing through the radio and presiding over chaotic government expenditure with no paper work or budget. Apart from the army, the civil servants salary was always in arrears.

He started the presidential guard and recruited heavily from the Mbaka tribe where he belonged.

Emperor Bokassa sexual escapes were legendry. He had 17 wives, a hoard of mistresses and official broad of 55 children. His principal wife, Catherine, a striking beauty spotted by Bedel at age thirteen lived in villa Nasser and the other wives and mistresses in separate villas build by tax payers’ money.

Bokassa used to hold up traffic in the capital Bangui when he left his palace to pay a visit to his women.

Bokassa wives were known by their nationalities: the German, the Swede, the Chinese, the Gabonese, and the Ivorian amongst others.

"I did like everyone" Jean-Bedel boasted in 1984. “In Formosa, for example, I hustled the most beautiful woman in the country. Who later he married. In Bucharest, the most beautiful woman in Romania {a cabaret dancer}. In Libreville…..and so on. My criterion was beauty.”

Jean-Bedel tried to track a daughter, Martine born through a marriage with a Vietnamese woman in Saigon in 1953. An impostor, later adopted, turned up while the real daughter was found working in a cement factory in Vietnam.

The two had a double weeding in a public auction where a doctor and an army officer were the highest bidders.

The fake Martine’s marriage turned into a disaster. Her husband, a doctor, was brutally executed for assassination attempt on Bokassa. A few hours later, she gave birth to a baby boy. The infant was taken away and murdered.

To save his empire which had poor government services, huge infant mortality rate, wide spread illiteracy and only 418 kilometers of paved road, emperor Jean-Bedel dubbed in the 1948 cold war fever to gain funding.

In 1969 he announced ‘the move to the East’ by proclaiming scientific socialism as the new government ideology. When the eastern bloc did not co-operate he tried in vain to coax the Arab oil dollars by converting to Islam. He changed his name to Salah Addin Ahmed Bokassa.

Disillusioned he reverted back to the Catholic Church and got supported by the French who wanted to prolong the francophone dynasty against the Anglo-Saxon onslaught.

Bokassa gave generous gifts of diamond to French presidents; Charles de Gaulle and Valery Giscard d’Estaing. The latter had a wildlife reserve at his disposal where, in 1970s, he killed 50 elephants and numerous animals.

Emperor Bokassa was inconsolable during de Gaulle burial, he cried in front of the widow:

“I lost my natural father when I was a child. Now I have lost mu adoptive father as well. I am an orphan again.”

The reason for Bokassa emotion was that French aided in Bokassa $22 million coronation which emulated his ‘guide and inspiration’ general Napoleon Bonaparte coronation in 1804.

The 4th December 1977 coronation took place at palias des sports Jean-Bedel Bokassa, on Bokassa Avenue, next to universite Jean-Bedel Bokassa.

The amount was ploughed back to France as, among others, an imperial throne shaped like a golden eagle, thoroughbred horses, 60 Mercedes-Benzes for guests and even flowers were imported from France.

During the ceremony, emperor Bokassa turned to Robert Galley, French co-operation minister and whispered.

“You never noticed, but you ate human flesh.” This prompted his reputation as a cannibal who included human flesh on his menu.

During his outset two mutilated bodies were found in a refrigerator. One body, of a mathematician teacher, had its head, arms and one leg missing.

His violence was manifested in April 1979 he led government ministers in beating inmates at Ngaragba prisons. He massacred 100 students, fed 30 to crocodiles and lions at his palace when they protested the buying new uniforms sold exclusively at Bokassa’s family textile outlets.

Unable to face embarrassment the French army in neighboring Gabon and Chad overthrew Bokassa and reinstated David Dacko. A perfect case of neo-colonisation. Several chest of diamonds, 200 cameras and pornographic material were found in his residence.

Emperor Bokassa was sentenced to 20 years of forced labor in 1986, later reduced to 7 years imprisonment. He died in 1996, at 75 years, while surviving in Bangui with French army pension.

He was buried in an unmarked grave.

(Le Grand Folie: The coronation of Jean Bedel Bokassa PHOTO: by Mike Thomson/BBC Online)

IDI AMIN, Uganda: Recalling the last king of Scotland:

Idi Amin
Though semi-illiterate with little schooling and limited intelligence Idi Amin of Uganda moved from a humble beginning as a trainee cook in King’s Africa Rifle in 1946 to be the Uganda’s president for 8 years from January 1971.

Under the colonial British East Africa protectorate Idi Amin was made an army officer from a cook due to his huge physique and stamina which made him excel in sports and marksmanship. He held the national heavy weight championship for 9 years when he was a boxer.

His brutal nature showed when he was a corporal. He used to round up Mau Mau dissidents with undue brutality. Six months before Ugandans independence he escaped charges of murder of three Turkana tribesmen while on the then Kenyan Northern Frontier district to be recruited in the army by Milton Obote.

Idi Amin escaped because he had rose to sergeant major- the highest post held to be held by an African. Although classified as not an officer’s material due to his low education credential in army exams, the British colonialist trusted his loyalty.

At Ugandans independence, 1962, Milton Obote ignored Amin’s army records and commissioned him an officer. Obote mistook him for a bluff, loyal and simple soldier who was malleable and gave him a Mercedes Benz.

Schism appeared between the two when Obote in a bid to control the army started enticing senior army officers for support among his tribal Langi and Acholi. He started up the General Service Department, a special force he field with his Langi tribesmen.

To survive Amin countered Obote’s maneuvers by recruiting heavily the Kakwa, Madi and Lugbara tribes from his West Nile district. He also recruited heavily from Nubians of the southern Sudan in the area.

Tension between the two intensified when Amin was implicated for the murder of an Acholi deputy commander and embezzlement of army funds.

When president Obote left for a commonwealth conference, Amin struck first with little resistance by a coup in January 1971.

With a phobia for a counter attack Amin organized death squads to kill people he thought opposed him. His cabinet secretary and later minister, Henry Kayemba, wrote from exile that it was difficult to dispose the bodies in the graves. Truckloads of corpses were dumped in the Nile at three sites- Owen falls in Jinja, Bujagali falls near an army shooting range and Karuma Fall near Murchison Falls.

“The intention was for the bodies to be eaten by crocodiles.” Kayemba notes the disposal was inefficient. “Bodies were frequently swept to the bank, where they were seen by passer bys and fishermen.”

During Amin’s regime about 250,000 people died.

As the first principal secretary, Kayemba never received any written document from Idi Amin.

“His English was poor. He read badly and clearly had hard time just signing prepared documents,” Kayemba said. He used to give orders for government ministers through the national radio.

When his popularity dwindled and he ran out of Budget, Amin ordered the central bank to print more money. This caused a massive inflation. Price of goods soared while essential goods disappeared from shelves. Amin later turned to the Asian community to appease Ugandans.

In august 1972, Amin ordered Asians with British nationality to leave the country within three months. 50,000 left cutting the government revenue by 40% and negatively affecting government services by leaving a void of skilled labor.

Amin aided in training of Palestrina’s Liberation organization (PLO) guerrillas. Former Palestine leader Yasser Arafat was his close friend. He once cabled Israeli’s Golda Meir ‘to tuck her knickers’ and ran to Washington. When Palestinian guerillas murdered Israelis participants at the Olympic Games, he sent a telegram to United Nations secretary general extolling Hitler’s extermination of Jews.

“Hitler and all German people knew that the Israeli’s are not people who are working in the interest of the people of the world and that is why they burned over six million Jews alive with gas on the soil of Germany.”

During the 1972 abortive coup attempt from Tanzania by Obote, Amin dismembered his former wife and left the body in the car booth for alleged participation in the coup.

Obsessed with his personality, he promoted himself president for life, conqueror of British emperor and the true heir of the throne of Scotland’. To prove his power over the British colonialist Amin took sadistic pleasure in humiliating British army reservist to kneel before him and take the oath of loyalty if they wanted to work as expatriates in Uganda.

He once shocked African diplomats in a Uganda hotel when he arrived on a wooden litter borne by British carriers.

Amin once offered British music living Prime Minister Edward Heath, post of a bandmaster after his election defeat, president Nixon of USA was wished a speedy recovery from Watergate and proposed himself the head of commonwealth.

Amin was outset to Saudi Arabia where he died on16 August 2003 when he ordered invasion of Kagera, Tanzania, Tanzanian forces outset him and aided in replacement of Milton Obote who was outset in the country.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Red Cross: Carrying the Kenyan flag Solferino Italy.

The first thing I notice about Beatrice Wango, fourth year BBA bias in Marketing is her charming smile and radiating warmth.

I catch up with her in the room to chat about the one week meeting of Red Cross Red Crescent third world youth seminar to mark 150 years since creation of international Red Cross movement.

Beatrice, the former secretary of Maseno University Red cross chapter presented the west region amongst other eight delegates nationwide in Solferino near Milan, Italy where they joined over 6,000 volunteers from 150 counties worldwide.

The Italian Red Cross organized the camp in 23rd – 29th June last year at the Solferino site where Henry Dunant, a young Swiss businessman mobilized Volunteers around one-and-a-half century ago to help thousand of unassisted wounded soldiers.

“all can, in one way or another, each in his own sphere and within his own limitations, do something to help the good work move forward.” Henry Dunant5 recalled in A Memory of Solferino.

Dunant’s inspiration formed the world largest humanitarian organization with 137 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, with over 250 million staff and volunteers.

It was this mammoth organization that Beatrice Wango joined as a first year in 2007 and was lucky to trace its roots to Italy.

“i was attracted to Red Cross society because of the basis of humanitarian aid ion providing opportunity to help the vulnerable in the society.” Recalls Beatrice about her maiden step to join Red Cross Maseno University Chapter.
The task as a volunteer and the chapter secretary was demanding and took toil on her time but she didn’t despair.

“you have to take your club seriously and put all the effort but not only for the certificates.” Advise Beatrice.

Amid the workload of coordinating Maseno university and the national Kenya Red Cross Beatrice built a rapport with other volunteers.

“The Kenya Red Cross deputy Dr. James Kisia asked for the lady from Maseno University chapter and recommended me strongly during the choosing of delegates.” Narrates Beatrice.

The Red Cross society catered for her Visa and transport while Maseno through the dean of student Dr. Olela aided in getting the passport and gave her the varsity blessing.

Thus on Monday 22nd June this year Maseno University and Kenya was presented internationally when the delegate’s plane left the JKIA to Milan via Dubai.

“I was elated as my fruit of determination and sacrifice was paid off.” Said Beatrice before breaking into a hearty laugh when i insisted on how she felt on her first flight.
“you should ask what you’ve done for Red Cross or even the University, but not what Maseno and Red Cross has done for you” Beatrice gives insight amid laughter.

On their two hours connection at Dubai in United Arabs Emirates Beatrice recalled the place as being very hot. It was hotter than under the equator in Maseno and she recalled Najivunia kuwa Mkenya slogan

“Although we stayed at the airport lounge, Dubai was so hot and I’d rather stay in Kenya.’

The Kenyan delegation was awestruck with amazingly high quality Milan infrastructure without traffic jams. The Italians were hospitable and easily recognized Kenyans because of their tourist connection to Kenyan wildlife and the beaches especially Malindi where a large Italian population reside.

“The only strange thing about Milan was the cigarettes butt that formed the litter on the streets” Beatrice said of the clean Milan streets except of their strange litter.

The international camp was a boast as youths discussed current global issues like climatic change, non-discrimination and racial tolerance together with youth leadership.

Beatrice says she greatly gained from the trip.

“personally I attended workshop seminars in food security, resource mobilization and youth and branch management.”

The Kenyan delegation was back in the country on 30th June and Beatrice says among her dear possession from Italy is the friends she made from all over the world. In addition she bought Confession of a Shopholic by from a duty free shop in Milan airport.

Her dearest souvenir is A Memory of Solferino by Henry Dunant a book she had tried buying in Kenyan bookshops in vain.

“it was the last copy from the international museum of Red Cross and Red Crescent. Amongst the multitude scrambling for the book I was lucky to buy it at about Ksh. 1,100”

The book, an International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC)/Geneva publication by Henry Dunant (1828-1910) his vital step between vision and devastation on 24th June 1859 at the battle of Solferino between Austria and France when he showed impassion appeal on behalf of the victim. The appeal saw the birth of Red Cross Red Crescent societies.

So dear is the book that my request to burrow it fell on deaf ears. I was counseled by a fanciful souvenir ring and mobile phone holder.

“I congratulate the varsity for the support they offered to me in particular and Red Cross Maseno chapter in general. I hope they continue with the sane spirit” Beatrice offers thanks for invaluable assistance by Red Cross society and the University.

For the students’ body the parting shot is Red Cross is the place to be because everybody belongs.

(Birth of Red Cross: Beatrice Wango with a friend at the Solferino Site where the worldwide Red Cross Red Crescent started. PHOTO: Courtesy)

Maseno university: Lions roar to be scholary giants as the Zain team emerges top.

The Lions scholarly club emerges top during this years SOMU academic quiz night by knocking out other 7 contestants.

The 29th October 2009 event that took place at Hindocha Hall saw the Lions made of second years Bernard Musembi, Ismail Abdulkadir and Mohammed Hussein knock BA – second runners up – with 80 points.

“The battle was tough but we are satisfied with the second position.” Said Peter Kapingazi who lead the BA third years group made of Ibrahim Kimathi and Brian Kibet.

The first round saw Evolution knock Wolves with 640 points to 160, BA thrashed Freshmen with 120 points. Another team H39 escaped narrowly against Fulls with 40 points while Bombers failed to fuse against Lions when they were beaten 480 to 560 points.

The second round saw BA and Lions proceed to finals by knocking Evolution and H39 respectively. Evolution and BA match was hotly contested with BA coming from behind to win by only two questions. Meanwhile H39 was easily floored by Lions with point margin of 270.

Semi final was an anticlimax when H39 representing a room in New Sunrise easily left Evolution to bag number three position with a cash tag of Ksh. 4500.

The BA won Ksh. 6,000 while the indomitable lions went home with Ksh. 7,500.

This year’s quiz was unique since software used by Zain Africa challenge was tried though it brought technological hitches which delayed the competition.

“The contestants were given the experience of Zain challenge by having the questions chosen at random and they were timed” Said James Wambua the SOMU director of academics.

Mr. Wambua attributed the low turnout to the time of the semester when students were but congratulated the contestant groups which brought a high competition as brains clashed for the ultimate prize.

Kevin Ogoro who was a presenter and the chairman of University Scholars gave the Lions a chance to sharpen their wits with the Zain African finalist made up of Sammy Ogeto, Whitney Njiru, Chris Musafu and Paul Oguda.
The Zain challenge team brought the Lions to their heels by wining with 980 points to 320.

Mr. Ogoro , a former Zain Africa challenge participant when Maseno lost to Egerton by missing 60 points at national level, lauded this years Zain Africa challenge team and coaches them on sharpness required as questions are answered in seconds.

“This year’s elimination was highly challengimg as participants scored highly.” Said John Mark Rukungu who was in charge of the process “the final four where chosen from a list of 198 participants through three written exams and standup questions drawn from current affairs, history, geography, greek mythology amongst others.”

The first round on Thursday 24, Sep 09 which required candidates to answer 84 questions in 20 minutes, at an average of four questions per minute, saw only 62 to qualify for round two.

The second round 5 days later saw further elimination before the four were picked from a stand up oral exam.

Although sponsored by Zain Limited Dr. Olela, the dean of students said the varsity provided laptops, modems and equipments in aiding the team. In addition Ongaki Harriet and Ngugi Joshua who were in top six will be sponsored by the University for the sake of continuity.

The team will leave for Sarova Panafric hotel on 11th November this year where the challenge will take place as from 12th -13th of the same month.

Maseno team will battle it out with other Kenyans and countries like Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leon and Zambia in the battle of brains.

(For Equator Weekly and The Informant

Book Review: The Chamber by John Grisham

Death row convict, convicted punishment against truth
TITLE: The Chamber
AUTHOR: John Grisham
PUBLISHER: Dell Publishing, ‘94
PAGES: 676
GENRE: Fiction
REVIEWER: Manuel Odeny.

The clock is ticking away for a brutal killer. The gas chamber of a maximum security unit in Mississippi state prison is beckoning with eager executioners. A former remorseless Klansman Sam Cayhall is facing death for bombing of Jewish twins. Standing between the unrepentant racist and punishment lies a truth and many hidden dark secrets.

The Cayhall family has been in the Ku Klux Klan for generations. A die hard fundamentalist Sam Cayhall drives his family to breakdown.

With a family shrouded by shame, lies and dark secrets only the truth stands between the death row convict and a pardon on the gas chamber. The truth has been the missing cog in the trial case stretching for over two decades in three different trials.

The truth has caused the death of a co-defendant and a lawyer. The truth may set .Sam Cayhall free or kill his grandson lawyer Adam Hall representing him.

26 years old Adam Hall leaves an established law firm with a brilliant career future for a risk to try his maiden case with impossible stakes to save his death row convict grandfather.

Tension mounts to the D-day. The protesters march, appeals are broadcasted and back room court maneuvers are in full throttle.
John Grisham
The legal thriller John Grisham masterfully intertwines with authority the Kluckers heyday in southern states to more liberalized America today with effects on citizens.

With a literary knack the lives of the Cayhall family through the changes is fabricated to a climax with reader left to think about civil right movement in America, the death penalty and the changing face of America.