Thursday, June 30, 2011

VP Kalonzo Pays his 4.4M tax Arrears Today

The VP Kalonzo Musyoka (right) handing Michael Waweru KRA General Commisioner his tax today at Times Towers.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka today took a bold step to pay his salary tax areas.

Kalonzo joins the list of Kenyan prominent personalities who have already bowed to the pressure and paid their taxes.

Mr. Kalonzo wat at the KRA offices where he paid his taxes amounting to 4.4M.
“I am very pleased to fulfill this obligation as a citizen of this country and in accordance with requirement of our new constitution” he said. 
“I am now fully tax-compliant and happy” he said before handing over four banker’s cheque to Mr. Michael Waweru the General Commissioner of KRA amounting to Ksh. 4,423,000.
Earlier this with week the VP had advocated for dialogue between KRA and Parliamentary Service Commission to break the impasse of paying tax saying he would comply before end month to a letter sent to him by the taxman last week.
“I take this opportunity to urge fellow Kenyans to pay their taxes dutifully as it constitutes government revenue for public service” he said.
Kalonzo said paying taxes was not a public relations exercise for the 2012 elections but a way of implementing the new constitution.
During his press briefing it emerged that the president who is attending presidential summit of AU in Equatorial Guinea paid up to Ksh. 8 million based on his Ksh. 24.5 million salary.
“As the deputy of his Excellency the president I like to state that the president paid his taxes sometimes last week” the VP told reporters saying Kibaki avoided fanfare in remitting his taxes.
The VP though refused to state the amount saying he was out of Malaysia for a state visit last week.
The same stance was taken by Mr. Waweru saying he could not give the figures to the press.
“Under the oath of office I can’t divulge information of any tax payer’s amount without his prior consent or a court order” Mr. Waweru said.
Waweru said the taxman wasn’t pressurizing the MP’s to pay since most have willingly complied, although he refused to give the exact figure.
“From first July, tomorrow the judiciary too will start paying their taxes” Waweru said although he was clear if their remittance could be backdated to august last year when the new constitution was promulgated

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vice President officially launchs the Cisco Expo at KICC

Cisco Algeria Expo 2011 earlier this year. The same Expo was launched today at KICC in Kenya
Kenya's conducive business environment and investment in the ICT sector is turning the country into a regional center for international conglomerates seeking to expand their business in Africa like the two day Cisco Expo in Nairobi.
Starting today, the Expo with a theme of collaboration and virtualization beyond borders is running at Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) bringing together several exhibitors locally and internationally.
“The excitement of the internet connectivity has brought the aspect of a global village closer home by eliminating distance and borders in the world” Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said at the official launch.
Mr. Musyoka said the government investments like the rolling out of 20,000Km fiber optics cable in the country has made broadband and ICT efficient which has not only attracted investors but also improved lives of Kenyans in attaining the vision 2030.
“This is crucial since studies show that a 10% increase of ICT equates a 2-3% increase in the GDP” He said.
The VP's sentiments were echoed by Samwel Poghisio, Minister of Information and Communication Technology who said government is investing and supporting projects like iHub and the 5,000 acres Konza Technology City in Machakos county which will be a regional ICT hub.

Declaring the Cisco Expo 2011 officially open, the VP thanked the company on behalf of the government and Kenyans in choosing the country for their expo.
Local Exhibitors
“We are seeking to seamlessly help communication between the devolved governments and the central office through networking by Cisco” Bob Collymore, the Safaricom CEO told guests who attended the event.
In addition, Collymore said Safaricom Business has used Cisco networks to roll out other ventures like Teleconferencing, Tele-Justice and Tele-Health to reduce time, money and resources used in the country.
Collymore gave example of the Tele-Health venture  which will reduce mortality by making it easier for Kenyans, especially in rural areas to access healthcare with paramedics sharing procedures and healthcare information easily in the clinics with others not only locally but also internationally.
“This will aid in checking the low ratio between patients and doctors in country especially in the rural areas” Collymore told guests.
Other local exhibitors included Zuku and Copy Cat amongst others.
Dan Smoot, the Cisco Vice President said through collaboration money is saved and carbon emission reduced by people meeting easily without travelling.
“People and communities in different context share the same content easily in a secure environment by using teleconferencing facilities” Mr. Smoot said after guest saw a live video conferencing from New York.
Founded in 1984 at San Jose, California Cisco Systems Inc employees over 100,000 people in 165 countries globally will use Kenya as a regional hub to enter the African market with over 500 million mobile subscribers.

VP officially launches The Kenya 2009/2010 Yearbook

Masai morans, they have been a cultural symbol in kenya. The Yearbook will contain authoritative and authentic information about the country.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka  has officialy launched the 2009/2010 edition of Kenya Yearbook today at Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi.
As an official source of information for the country the yearbook covers a wide range of subjects like Kenya’s history, culture, economy, sports and infrastructure development amongst others.
“The Kenyan yearbook is an authoritative and authentic source of information about historical and contemporary governments, private sector and individual in development of the country” Mr. Kalonzo said.
The VP added that information contained in the yearbook is an invaluable resource locally and internationally to students, teachers, researchers and tourists interested in the country.
The book has been launched in both hard and digital copy to embrace the country’s digital advancement through the 20,000 kilometers fiber cables that has increased broadband and ICT services.
“By going online I challenge Kenya publishers to take full advantage of digital technology which is cheaper by reduction of physical storage, production and revision” the VP said.
Publishers should also use the internet to seamlessly with consumers and other stake holders to share information, queries and sales by forming an online community.
Mr. Kalonzo congratulated the Kenya Yearbook staff lead by Catherine Waweru for their efforts in editing and compiling the 1.150 page publication saying the book will be available for institutions country wide.
He challenged the team to translate the Yearbook in Kiswahili to promote the use of the national language.
The occasion was also attended by Minister and Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Information, communication and Technology Samwel Poghisio and Bitange Ndemo respectively.

Kalonzo Musyoka: I will pay my taxes before end month

Kenyans qeueing to pay their taxes at Times Towers, KRA headquaters.
Members of Parliament should pay their taxes at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) as an obligation stipulated in the new constitution.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said today that he will join the queue at KRA headquarters in Times Towers like every other Kenyan to pay his atxes before the end of the month.
“As an obligation to every Kenyan citizen, I will pay my taxes before the end of month” the VP said.
Kalonzo was reacting to comments by Bob Collymore the CEO of Safaricom Limited today at Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) today during the Cisco Expo Conference.
Collymore shared a light moment with the audience about the current taxation debate of MPs which prompted the VP to comment on the matter.
“I have contacted Mr. Michael Waweru the KRA commissioner general and once he gets the amount of taxes due to him he will pay promptly” he said amid prolonged laughter from the audience.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

STEVE BIKO, SOUTH AFRICA; Life, impact of anti-apartheid martyr

Steve Biko, Anti-aprtheid martyr

Incidents preceding 60s-70s anti-apartheid activism of icon Steve Biko involve a cocktail of players like Hendrik Verwoerd, John Voster, Nelson Mandela and the fall of white colonial dominoes in southern Africa.

PM Verwoerd, the Dutch ideological fanatic and architect of grand apartheid and his Minister of Justice and WW2 Nazi sympathizer Voster embarked on scaling up the racial edifice started in 1958.
This made South Africa to have two nations.
Afrikaners and English-speakers whites under the leadership of National Party controlled resources and governments, economy boomed with influx of foreign trade. Inbred and insular from apartheid propaganda of control of media, to them the value of apartheid was unquestionable.
On the other hand, blacks were deported from white residence, denied amenities, could only own one business without expansion. Banking, supermarkets, petrol stations and even garages were not allowed in their segregated zones.
The ultimate segregation was the ‘whites only’ separation and denial of voting rights.
“The only way the Europeans can maintain supremacy is by domination…and the only way they can maintain domination is by withholding the vote from non-Europeans” PM Hans Strijdom is quoted by Leonard Thompson in the Political Mythology of South Africa as telling the parliament.
The African National congress, ANC to attempt reverse this discrimination failed with the 21st March 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, crash of Umkhonto we Sizwe and imprisonment of Nelson Mandela to Robben  Island on 12th June 1964.
Additionally, ANC mandate that SA belonged ‘to all who live in it, black and white’ with white supremacists hell bend policies brought out a splinter group Pan-Africanist Congress, PAC.
This PAC ideology of ‘Africa for Africans by Africans’ brought for Steve Biko after a decade lull with imprisonment of Mandela.
This great man Steve Biko
Steve Biko, a Xhosa was born on 18th December 1946 in King Williams Town, Eastern Cape-SA. His anti-apartheid activism started while he was a medical student at University of Natal.
In 1968 he started South African Students Organisation, SASO and become its first president. SASO got its support from blacks, coloreds and Indians students with exception of whites as envisioned by PAC.
When he was expelled from the university in 1972, SASO gave birth to Black Consciousness Movement, BCM.
During this post Sharpeville boom, black man was locked out of the system completely. Like revolutionary Dr. Frantz Fanon, Biko felt contempt at the black’s negative image and submissiveness.
BCM message was: “Black is beautiful: Man you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself as a human being”
Biko believed the physical push against apartheid there was to be a psychological turnaround to foster black awareness, black capabilities and black achievement.
Biko penned his thought in his book I Write What I Like

I Write What I Like

After university Biko moved to his home town in Eastern Cape and started community work and consciousness to uplift the black community.
“The type of Blackman we have today has lost his manhood. A shell. A shadow of man drowning in his own misery” Biko wrote that awed at white man’s power black had accepted their ‘inevitable position’
He noted that privately in toilets the blacks condemned apartheid but in open they wore fake smiles to please the government.
Such comments made the government to ban Biko and seven other colleagues in 1973. He was restricted at King William’s Town, forbidden to speak in public, write in a publication or be quoted. He was also not allowed in presence of more than one person at a time while in public.
His community work was also stopped.
With all this challenges the spread of BCM continued buoyed by the morale of the collapse of Portuguese white rule in Angola and Mozambique. SA 1976 attempt to keep the white dominoes of southern Africa from black north by sending an expedition in Angola was defeated by the Marxist MPLA.
The culmination of BCM and Biko’s activism came with the Soweto uprising.
16th June 1976, Soweto Uprising

1976, Soweto Uprisng

“What is the use of teaching a Bantu child mathematics when it cannot use it in practice” Verwoerd said. This brought a ‘Bantu’ education to already strained black schools to lock them out of job market.
The folly of apartheid was when it replaced half of subjects taught from African vernacular to Afrikaans and English.
On 16th June 1976 students in Soweto staged an uprising against the education policy by boycotting classes taught in Afrikaans. Within a week about 150 people, especially school children died.
Their hatred of apartheid by marching against police brutality forced the government to retreat on the Afrikaans issue. In all at least 600 died and 4,000 wounded, with others getting lost in police dungeons and running into exile to form a bulk of ANC guerillas.
The uprising was the apex of Biko’s uprising which lead to his demise.  Arrested over 23 times, he met his death when arrested in 18th August 1977 outside Port Elizabeth by Synman Harold and Gideon Nieuwoudt when he was from Grahamstown in Cape Town.
For 23 days he was held in solitary confinement, naked, without toiletries and exercise. Held in leg irons and hand cuffs he was moved to police headquarters in Sinlam Building room 4-1-9 in Port Elizabeth for integrations.
The police savagely beat the naked Biko before stret6ching him with metal grilles in a crucifix form. He was left in the position comatose without any medical attention.
For two days he was left on a mat with a doctor who examined him finding no apparent injury. On the third day, while forming on the mouth it was decided he be removed from prison hospital to Pretoria 1100 Km away for treatment.
Barely comatose, Biko was covered with only a prison blanket and given only a bottle of water before being thrown in the back of a police pickup for the 11 hour ride.
He died hours after reaching Pretorian lying naked on a mat, on a stone floor. He was only 30 years old and the day was 12th September 1977.
The then police boss Jimmy Kruger insisted he died from hunger strike. He said: "I am not glad and I am not sorry about Mr. Biko. It leaves me cold (Dit laat my koud). I can say nothing to you ... Any person who dies ... I shall also be sorry if I die."
AG and a judge of Eastern Cape rejected persecution.
Rand Daily Mail journalist Hellen Zille and Daniel Woods uncovered the cover up of the police murder with the title: ‘No sign of hunger strike- Biko doctors” Woods accompanied the story by shots of Biko’s wounded body.
Hellen Zille is currently a politician and leaders of Democratic alliance, DA while Daniel Woods, Biko’s personal friend went into exile in Britain and published the book Biko.
In 1997 the intricate of the murder was confirmed by Truth and Reconciliation Commission of SA when Biko’s 5 police killers’ application for amnesty was rejected. A 2003 court ruling absolved them citing insufficient evidence and expiry of time limit to avoid persecution.  
Biko’s Impact
His funeral which was attended by 10,00 strong including western Europe and US diplomats and coupled with Soweto uprising brought pressure on apartheid system forcing them to remove ‘whites Only’ segregation.
Equally the 1976 Soweto Uprising exiles gave ANC recruits for guerillas. Thus ANC buried its feud with Biko when they used his image in 1994 election and placed him on its heroes roll.
His popularity lives in children named after him, music, theater and movies on him. Streets and buildings are named after him.
Notably in 1987 Richard Attenborough movie Cry Freedom on Biko’s story starring Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline.

Monday, June 20, 2011

How the ghetto rent is broken down in Eastlands, Nairobi

An old congenial man, my land lord is. Upstairs on the flat he floats quietly on the stairs, a very simple man. He rarely talks, but his eyes say a lot. Much more, to a keen observer with a sense of good story.

Paying rent last week I prodded him gently with words from his reclusive cocoon. I was itching for a landlord’s angle on state of housing.

“Hii pesa mwalipa sio yote inaingia kwa mfuko wangu” He said gently. (The rent you pay, not all of it ends in my pocket)

The ensuing chat opened my eyes to how rent is broken down in Eastlands, Nairobi.

To begin the garbage collector gets about Ksh. 200 from every house. This hunched men bending forlornly over bins in dawn hour like things forgotten in Nairobi onward march to civilization play an important role.   

They unclog drainages and man holes aiding the city in chocking to death its water bodies.

They are players in the politics of poverty; the city council is blocked from estates with their taxes which translate to high prices on comodities. (A Ksh. 100 vegetable in Uchumi Supermarket, Aga Khan Walk goes for Ksh. 20 In Eastlands)

This makes the collectors to come in handy where the council is not allowed.

A second person and most interesting is the estate electrician. This is the  jobless guy with a Dip in electrical and has interned with Kenya Power and Lighting Company, KPLC. The crook pockets a cool Ksh. 300-500 per house very end month.

KPLC with their monopolistic obsession places electricity as a privilege. The crook just invests in gadgets and wires, enters a deal with tenants and the electricity bureaucratic doodle is checked.

“It took time to fill the papers at KPLC for electricity” the old man states, before losing hope. Tenants were restless until one month when he came to collect rent to find the flat wired.

“They just tapped it from the pole outside during a blackout” he says.

So next time KPLC announces an increase of rates due to drought an Eastlando is not worried. Anyway he/she is been paying over 50% less on the bills.

The same tactic is used to illegally tap Council’s water and sell in the estate.

The third are the estate hothead having a hand in every fight. They are guest of the state making the OCPD to know them by their three names. You pass this group high on khat discussing football fixtures and wonder where he gets his daily bread.

Partly reformed they keep off muggers and petty misfits. Their services though not seen are a psychological satisfaction to Nairobians obsession of getting mugged. (Offering the same catharsis like an armed guard in up-market Muthaiga)

Lastly in the list is the estate agent next to boards written ‘Vacancy room Avalable.”  This is the type revolutionary rapper Immortal Technique in the song Poverty of Philosophy calls ‘the ghetto bred capitalist trying to escape the ghetto with their ignorant ways’

They are the ghetto classified like online Delfish and Nsoko.

“They know how to corner the defaulters at 10pm and before 5am to get the overdue rent” the old landlord explains passing me my receipt.

And need I add that the bugger gets a 10% discount?

Humour: Peculiar Kenyan Journalism Phrases

Kenyan journalist at work
Within this month the Columbia Journalism Review CJR aked its online readers to give phrases overused by scribes and the ones they wished to disappear from the press.
The phrases given were interesting with ‘-gate’ and ‘-loo’ depicting a scandal being the most favourite. The phrases have already tickled down into Kenyan press.
Recently, Kenyan author of The Peculiar Kenyan and Sunday Nation columnist Sunny bindrah started the same discussion on twitter. The #peculiarkenyanjournalism topic received participation from many Kenyans.
Bindra’s book like the tweets is packed with humor at what makes a Kenyan different even to their detriment. You laugh and later reflect on the collective personality as a country.
Before listing the tweet, media ia a business of selling news and information to a mass market thus the repetitive nature of the phrase may be a form of branding the end product i.e. news and information.
Rama Nyang
"In an exclusive interview...."

salomenduku Salome Nduku

salomenduku Salome Nduku
'Speaking to reporters at his Jogoo house office...'

ManuelOdeny The Burning Splint
"Na hi ni tarifa ya habari kwanza ni maelezo yake kwa ufupi msomaji ni
sunnysunwords Sunny Bindra
"Speaking on condition of anonymity, seasoned columnist Sunny Bindra implored..."”> Ho ho
hopemwinzi Hope Mwinzi
Recently a headline in the papers- 'Mysterious fire leaves villagers mystified'

StackOfStiffyz Philip Korir
In scenes reminiscent of an action movie, the police exchanged fire with the armed thugs...
shikilia hudson kalama medzad
'impeccable sources intimated that there's a general feeling..'

lechaki Lelei Leley
Outpouring of grief

ManuelOdeny The Burning Splint
"The jam is slow but moving...."

ManuelOdeny The Burning Splint
"(A short footage of chaos) hivi ndivyo mambo yalivyokuwa leo jioni katika barabara ya....."

Richmartz Hassan Mwachili
Basi yatafakari hayo ya babu yangu

StackOfStiffyz Philip Korir
[insert affected group] are bracing themselves for more strikes/higher fares/food shortages etc

CiruWanjii Ciru Wanjii
"Four suspected robbers were gunned down..."

TChenya TC
News anchors: "thank you (insert reporters name) for that story"

ManuelOdeny The Burning Splint
"Mzozo unazidi kutokota kati ya pande mbili pinzani...."

Leleito George Leleito
Unconfirmed reports say...

DavidNdungu David Ndungu
"Reports in a section of the media..." >> then they are quick to add: "Not this paper/station"

maikwambo Michael Kwambo
The Sunday Nation's Rugby reporter wrote that Patrice Agunda suffered a shoulder concussion ?Shoulder concussion?

StackOfStiffyz Philip Korir

earabu Evans Arabu
"according to pundits" or "pundits say"

StackOfStiffyz Philip Korir
'Sources close to...

sunnysunwords Sunny Bindra
"Sources close to the matter..."

valnjogu Val Njogu
'in an unprecedented move'

StackOfStiffyz Philip Korir
Saying someone/something was 'slammed' when the other party just voiced their disagreement cc

nyoike1 Mugo Nyoike-Mugo
"state of the art" , "exclusive", "High-tech", "sleek"

sunnysunwords Sunny Bindra
"Reports in a section of the media..."

sunnysunwords Sunny Bindra
"Property worth millions of shillings was destroyed..."

The Headless Girl

Eve Nammy, a collegue, on her FB profile pic without cropping
PHOTO: Manuel Odeny

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Four Maseno Media Students with a Camera

Corazon Aquino

Faith Nzomo Mwikali

Kenneth Korir Kiprop

Zilper Audi
The Camera
(All photos by Manuel Odeny)

Maya Angelou- Phenomenal Woman

Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

All Rights Reserved to the Poet: Maya Angelou

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kenya: High number of Tanzanian witchdoctors worrying

Albino children playing in school. Human Trafficking in Tanzania of albinos for withcraft has been high which may spill to Kenya.
The number of Tanzanian witchdoctors or ones purporting to have trained in the country is disturbing in Kenya.
Posters and sign boards from these witchdoctors claiming to cure a myriad of ailments like gonorrhea, lost love, lost family members, court cases, business among others is shocking. Often they are openly placed on electricity posts in markets, streets and estates.
Most have Arab names apprehended with ‘Dr.’ claiming expertise from Tanzania with preferred destinations being Suba Wanga, Pemba, Tanga, Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar.
Since practicing witch craft is illegal in Kenya, why are the police dragging their feet to arrest them when they easily advertise their services complete with phone numbers? Are the ‘Tanzanians’ allowed in the country legally by the immigration department?
Tanzania has been on the spot for human trafficking and killing of albinos by witch doctors making their open presence in kenya to worry.
Unlike Kenya, Tanzania tolerates the witch craft and traditional medicine like the recent nod given by their government to the Loliondo wonder concoction.  
In Kenya the trade is hated if the lynching of suspected witches in Kisii, Malindi and most recently Kisumu is anything to go by. Traditional medicine too is alternative pushing genuine herbalist to shed off ‘witchcraft’ tag by selling their drugs on streets and bus terminals.
This community ‘justice’ shows the failure of law enforcement in curbing the spread of black art and the need of a tribe to appear clean nationally.
Ironically, this have lead Kenyans plying the trade to opt for ‘Tanzania’ tag to avoid society’s scorn. The tag suits for safety even though their tribes are adept at the trade they won’t advertise it.
I call on the Tanzania high commissioner to Kenya to work closely with the government to flush out the witch doctors since in East Africa Integration they give Tanzania a bad image as an hub of black magic.

(Published on Daily Nation 15th June 2011, The People 16th June 2011, The EastAfrican 7-14 June 2011)

Friday, June 10, 2011

The VP officially opens Brookside Breeders and Sale show

The VP giving his speech at the show
Animal breeders and scientists need to strive in research to increase of yield and earn the country self sufficiency in food production. This will help the national policy projection in wealth creation.
“Agribusiness can be more profitable with investment in research and development to improve livestock breeds and create wealth to farmers” Kalonzo Musyoka, the Vice President said.
The VP was speaking yesterday during the official opening of the Brookside Livestock Breeders at Jamuhuri Park which started 8th June and is expected to end today.
Started seven years ago by Brookside Dairies partnering with farmers to increase productivity of milk, the show has been successful in offering advice, credit facilities and loan to farmers.
“The number of small scale farmers participating on the show has increased significantly” Mr. Muhoho Kenyatta, Executive Chairman of Brookside Dairies which sponsored the show said.
 “The show has helped take livestock breeding from scientists and the wealthy to farmers” Mr. Kalonzo said thanking Mr. Kenyatta.
He urged entrepreneurs and framers to take interest in research and development to increase the quality of produce and profit.
“I challenge scientists, breeders, industrialists and entrepreneurs to commit time and money to breeding in order to increase quality and their profit” the VP 3,000 guests available.

(Photo: Edward Kiungu Mwendwa- a fellow internee at The VPPS)

Poem: Broken Chains by Valentine Apollo Obara

The Poet: Valentine Apollo Obara
All alone in a world so cold,
I feel like a stranger among outer space creatures.

What I think no one cares,
How I feel is all up to me.

I almost do what they do,
In order for me to fit in.

But something always holds me back,
Just before I jump in.

That is when I find myself talking to you.

Though I can’t see your face or even imagine,
Your presence I can always feel.

Whatever I do, wherever whenever,
I always know you are right beside me.

You comfort me whenever I’m down,
When I’m about to fall you’re always there to hold me up.

All what happens,
You show me the reason why.

That’s why I’ll never get tired of talking to you.

Coz you’re the only one who is ever ready,
To hear my cry.

Your light always shines on my path,
Your arms are ever open whenever I run to you.

You are the lord my God, and I’ll never be ashamed.
To lift up your name till the end,

However hard the devil may try, he will never get,
The power to mend these his broken chains.

Courtesy and all rights reserved; Valentine Obara

The poet is published at Poemhunter on and runs a blog PointOn at

Budget and 3 East African ways of dividing the national cake

Kenyan Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta with the Kenyan budget
On Wednesday, 8th June 2011 the East African states with exception of Burundi read their budget estimates to their parliaments. The budgets have tried to mitigate he high inflation that has caused street unrest in the region especially in Uganda and Kenya.

To a country, reading of the budget is the most important thing as the ministries allocations shows the development path within a year.
Adding to the budget there are three EA ways of ensuring the cake and the crumbs reach the common mwanainchi. The region has military, tribalism and ideology as means of ensuring the tickle down effect of budget.
Uganda with her president Yoweri Museveni who posed with an AK47 rifle in public slices the cake by military. Presidential candidates in the last general election and even the cabinet lineup have a strong presence of military personnel and connections.
This militarization of politics was brought to the country by Milton Obote with his power ambitions. To quash Kabaka Edward Mutesa as the head of state, Obote the then PM solicited support of the army through Idi Amin in 1966.
Later, internecine squabble between Amin and Obote lead to the 1971 coup lead by the latter. The army was given party and government positions to buy loyalty. Subsequent rebel offensives entrenched the army factor in politics.
M7 party National Resistance movement, NRM has its armed wing National Resistance Army, NRA doubling as state army. Apart from policing the state, Uganda uses the army for its expansionist interests in the region with the latest being Kenyan islands in Lake Victoria, Ugingo and Migingo.
And talking of Kenya, tribalism seems like the main way of slicing the national cake. Tribe factor majors in party affiliation with politicians as tribal chiefs using their blocs to bargaining for ministerial positions.
The government big man strives to offer the picking of his office; jobs, tenders and scholarships. This was the major cause of 2007/08 PEV with grumbling by left out tribes.
The problem originated before independence. KANU controlled by Luo and Kikuyu made other smaller tribes to form KADDU. The first devolution debate in sharing of resources was based on tribal politics.
The last PEV which claimed over 1,500 lives and left thousands others homeless as a precursor to all elections in the country shows the bad effect of crumbs from the national table reaching the wanainchi through tribalism.
Though goric, the scale couldn’t reach Burundi and Rwanda clashes like the 1994 genocide brought by tribalism between the Hutus and Tutsis.
On the other hand Tanzania with a quiet military and over 200 small tribes opted for ideology to distribute its resources from tribalism and millitary. The founding president Julius Nyerere worried about classism and elitism staged an intellectual coup on February 7th 1967 by ushering Ujamaa in Arusha declaration.
Public resources like schooling, property ownership and social amenities depended on the declaration. TZ finally abolished socialism to develop the economy through capitalism.
The other world
Considering the world stage, EA is not the strange in dividing the national resources. USA and Britain policies depend on the winning party (like Abortion and immigrants rights). Monarchies and autocrats like Saudi Arabia, falling Arab dictatorships and North Korea depends of wishes of princes and first family members.
While Iran still uses religion and Afghanistan is shaking off mullahs in dividing resources, Russia still depends on oligarchies backed by the Kremlin.

(Published on The People Monday 13th June 2011)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Poem: A prelude to our October kiss by Clifton Mwangi Gachagua

The Poet: Clifton mwangi Gachagua
am writing you a verse
something about the evolution of nova
it remind'd me of that october
and that poets are never to be trusted
i have met a new woman
a lady, a widow called Miss Riva
she is a character in a story
but the way we dance
'tis like the evolution of a nova
we should have kissed that october
there is so much life between the lines of a verse
with these verses
i get to kill you and burn you into ashes
i get to meet real poets
wonder at the suicide
in a halvard johnson poem, so etherial
i've kept your ashes in a safe place
tomorrow Miss Riva, in my new verse
i will name you Miriam.
Courtsey and all rights reserved Clifton Mwangi Gachagua
The poet has been published extensively and most notably in StoryMoja and Kwani? Series

China Central Television to expand its Nairobi, African offices

CCTV News Programming Director Zhuang Dianjun and Bitange Ndemo, permanent Secretary of Kenyan Information & Comm. Ministry during the opening of the bureau in Nairobi on Novermber last year
China is seeking to expand its media coverage in Africa by strengthening her CCTV Africa bureau in Nairobi which started in November last year, the station's  current 12 employees will be increased to over 150 within this year.

“The expansion of CCTV Africa will see more expansion of English and Chinese broadcast with footage from the continent to China, Africa and the rest of the world” Mr. Liang Xia Tao, President of China  International Television Corporation said.
Mr. Tao spoke when he paid  courtesy call on the Vice President Jogoo House office this morning.
Mr. Kalonzo commended the good relations existing between Kenya and China.
“For China to choose Nairobi, over South Africa shows the good relationship with not only Kenya, but also the whole of Africa” VP said.
Kenya has been offering broadcasting channel to CCTV, Radio China and Xinhua news through the state broadcaster Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, KBC.
This new expansion will put china in line with other international media channels like BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle.

“China should be at par with  other major western media station including Al Jazeera since its huge population, Africans and the world need to be enlightened of Africa and China” Mr. Kalonzo observed adding that China should be the voice of developing countries.

Mr. Tao told the VP that Kenya with its centrality in the continent and support to Chinese media made it a preferable choice over South Africa.

Mr. Tao was accompanied by Wang Xiongxian, Deputy Director CCTV amongst others.