Monday, February 27, 2012

Book Review; Down African Second Avenue by Ezekiel 'Eskia' Mphahlele

Ezekiel 'Eskia' Mphahlele
Title: Down Second Avenue
Author:  Ezekiel (Es’kia) Mphahlele
Publisher: Faber and Faber first published in 1959
Pages: 222
Genre: Non-fiction (Auto-biography)
Reviewer: Manuel Odeny
The author’s life as captured in this title has relevance to Africans and more so Kenyans where, while in exile from his country South Africa, directed Chemchemi Cultural Center and published a short story In Corner B in 1967.
Like most South African biographies Ezekiel Mphahlele’s Down Second Avenue offers a personal account of the effects of degrading apartheid system. Born on 17th December 1919, the first two chapters are dedicated to his childhood in Pietersburg where he lived with his unkind paternal grandmother who was ‘as big as fate, as forbidding as mimosa, stern like a mimosa tree”. His drunken father takes after the grandmother which sees his parents separate after domestic violence at a tender age.
The family moves on with the author’s maternal grandmother and Aunt Dora, who do laundry for a living, on Second Avenue of Marabastad slum in Pretoria which form the main setting of the book. He shares the tin shack with his little brother and sister, three uncles and three cousins as his mother works away in white suburbs as servant.
Mphahlele’s description of the slums of the 1920’s still resonates to poor housing and demolitions to date. He writes “Marabastad, like most locations, was an organized rubble of tin cans. The streets were straight; but the houses stood cheek and jowl, rusty as ever on the outside, as if they thought they might as well crumble in straight rows if that was to be their fate…the standards were always swaying in drunken fashion”. As kids they are forced to rummage through bins in Indian and white locations to supplement the meager family income.
The author escapes this appalling condition heightened by apartheid’s segregation through education offered by missionaries which gave rise to the country’s first black elites which spurred anti-apartheid resistance.  He went to school with Oliver Thambo and author Peter Abrahams among others.
As the noose of apartheid tightens education is controlled completely making the author lose his job as a teacher and ends up being an office messenger even after getting a Masters Degree with distinction.
Equally, locations considered to be in white areas are brought down without any negotiations with tenants like in Syokimau saga. House 2A of Second Avenue where the author grew is brought down.
“Marabastad is gone but there will always be Marabastads that will be going until the screw of the vice breaks. And the Black man keeps moving on…they yell into his ears all the time: move nigger or be fenced in but move anyhow” he summarizes the ordeal.
Without a job the author moves to Botswana to teach before coming back to his country to become a journalist and a literary editor with Drum Magazin in 1956. He try’s and get dissolution with politics by joining Africa National Congress, ANC before leaving the country for exile in Nigeria to teach in Lagos.
Ironically it is while in exile that his writing career takes off, this book was written while the author was in Nigeria. He says his short story Man must live again, whose story of the same title was in Kenyan set book Encounters from Africa, was an escapist writing since he “ can never summon enough courage to read a line from any of the stories”
“Writing in exile somehow feels like having just climbed down from a vehicle that has been rocking violently for countless times” he notes.
The book is divided in twenty three chapters with the author using simple English in a strong narrative to tell the story of his life within the struggles of apartheid. by giving full chapters to other characters in their daily struggles against the system the reader is offered a mirror to see the society in a wider angle. Equally by using interlude written in first person between major chapters, the reader get a chance to glimpse at the author’s personal struggles.
But by finishing the book with his move to Nigeria away from his country, Mphahlele falls for the pitfall of autobiographers’ ‘escapism’. Consider the following finishing: Barack Obama (Dreams from my father) where he leaves for Harvard from the Chicago slum, VS Naipaul (Miguel Street) moving from Trinidad to abroad trhe same with Camara Laye (The African Son) he leaves Mali for African in a scholarship.
Apart from Kenya and Nigeria, Mphahlele lived in Zambia and USA in exile before returning to his country in 1977 and changed his name to Es’kia as a means of recanting Christianity. He died on 27th October 2008 which his two autobiographies, thirty short story collections and several poetry books leaving a major mark in African literature.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Preparing for African Diaspora Summit this summer By Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey

Wedding celebrations by Maria Onyegbule, Courtesy
“There is now clear recognition that the African identity is a global one,” said Cheick Sidi Diarra, UN Special Adviser on Africa, at a preparatory meeting in New York for the first African Diaspora Summit, slated to be held in June in South Africa. African leaders in all spheres and Diaspora need to connect more and better for advancement of the continent.

Diaspora has done amazing things for Israel and now even the Palestinians. For the Armenians, Chinese, Greeks, Indians, Croatians and even Bosnians/Herzegovinians where only two decades earlier there was no recognized Diaspora. It's also important to see African Diaspora in waves, during slavery. colonialism and in modern era.

“People of African descent are dispersed to all parts of the world due to forced migrations through slavery, colonialism and war and more recently to voluntary migrations due to globalization. These pockets of African people scattered around the world can now play a significant role in Africa’s growth, development and empowerment,” according to Mr. Diarra. See Film Report – “Brazil-Africa Link” -

Diaspora Summit in South Africa a First:

This will be the first time that the African Union (AU) holds a summit with heads of States on the subject of diasporas, and the event seeks to create partnerships between African legislators and legislators in diaspora communities worldwide. The summit also aims to draw the attention of global decision-makers to shared issues between Africa and its diaspora communities, and to provide lawmakers with an understanding of the challenges faced by each diaspora community, as well as enhance their capacity to lobby at a national and regional level.

Politics &; Economics:

“Parliamentarians and other elected officials have an important role to play in shaping the policies of their countries. Their role is central when it comes to economic and social development but also conflict prevention. More importantly, diaspora parliamentarians can play a crucial role in influencing their countries policies toward Africa,” said Mr. Diarra, who is also the UN High Representative For Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.
Debt burden for landlocked developing countries (LDC), many of which are African, has decreased as a result of initiatives such as the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. But he also stressed that much more needs to be done to prevent LDCs from being hurt by trade shocks due to commodity price volatility and other external factors.

Challenges of Infrastructure &; Trade Barriers:

At the launch of the preparatory process for a Ten-Year Review Conference of the Almaty Programme of Action – which aims to galvanize international solidarity to assist LDCs to better participate in the international trading system – Mr. Diarra said LDCs still experience high transport and trade transaction costs, and that their transport infrastructure is still inadequate.
Amb. Muhamed Sacirbey
He added that these challenges are exacerbated by rising food and fuel prices, economic and financial crises and climate change, and called for policy reforms that seek to remove physical and non-physical barriers to their effective participation in international trade. See Film Report –“Africa Development Governance” -

Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey is a EX-Foreign Minister/Ambassador at UN, Agent International Court of Justice, SVP of Standard & Poor's. Current: commentator/writer/lecturer/publisher-editor at
Follow him on twitter @MuhamedSacirbey and twitter account for his website at @DiplomaticallyX

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Travel: Out and deep into the Rift Valley…….By Okoth Oluoch

A lonely man satnding over the Rift Valley, Kenya
‘Welcome home’ Jean Paul Fourier, warmly greets me moment after I had just stepped out of the car and into the neatly mown lawn at the Kerio view point, the pint, any visitor will attest is the best to have a glimpse of the breathtaking Iten landscape.

I couldn’t help but notice that Jean had put a slight stress on the word ‘home’. I had called him a day before and informed him of my interest in having a look at the Iten landscapes, famed for its stunning mountainous scenery and he assured me he was more that ready to show me around.

The short ride from Eldoret town to Iten was uneventful. Either side of the road farmers tilling on the farms, a clear sign that the timeless rhythm of the agricultural life which has been associated with the residents of the ‘bread basket of Kenya’ has not lost a thing.

As we take the final bend and into the valley, a group of athletes on practice zoom past us, a reminder once again that I am at the home of some of the countries best athletes. The driver, following my gaze promptly informs me, his voice filed with both mirth and pride that before me lay the former Jelimo’s and Tergat of this country.

Inside the valley, I take the opportunity to fill my lung with the fresh air, slightly scented with wildflowers but extremely refreshing.

My view inevitably shifts to the valley, which the area has been fro along time famed for. For five second or so I am lost in my own world.

The valley, about 2000 feet away is just breathtaking. From the colorful landscape, golden rock surrounding it and covered by the blue skies, its just fascinating to stand and look at it.

‘I felt the same when I came here, and I still feel the same whenever I see it’ Jean tells me following my gaze, his voice bringing me back as we move towards the edge of the cliff.

Robert’s Rock

Our first stop is at a rock standing just on the edge of the cliff. This rock, he informs me is referred to as the ‘Robert’s Rock.

Robert Creten, he explains to me is a Belgian who used to like reading at the rock when he stayed there in 1997 although he has since gone back to Belgium.

‘Whenever anyone wanted him they only had to come here’ He explains adding that from here, Robert could then watch the agama lizards and the behaviors of monkeys deep inside the forest.

I muster just enough courage to sit on the edge of the rock but flatly decline the request to state down the cliff despite several pleas from the other couple who had just joined us.

On the other side, not too far away a group, definitely braver than me are engrossed into their hiking.

Going by the between the valley, 1300 meters above the sea level to the escarpment forest at 2400 meters and eventually to the cold heights of Cherangani at 3500, I have to admit the area will give any experience hiker a run for his money.

‘People are always coming here to test their hiking and biking abilities’ Jean says adding that given its terrains, its the bets place fro the hikers.

Monkeys can be heard chattering as we leave the rock and head for the other side of the view. On our way, more athletes are passing by and I ask Jean if they have a training facility at the valley.
High Altitude training.

‘We accommodate a number of athletes here during their training’ he explains adding that the athletes however train by themselves at the valley.

Athletes training in the high altitude in Iten town
The place, I am told has also been frequented by a number of international athletes who are eager to learn the reasons behind Kenyan’s dominance in the middle and long distance running.

The likes of Saed Shaheen, formerly Stephen Cherono who is the former world 1500 meters champion is one of the athletes who have used the facility and I promise to come back late and use it for preparation for my Standard Chattered marathon debut.

We leave and on the way, we pass the Elnino hut, a special place for barbeque on the valley. Set above the steepest cliff on the view, Jean explains to me that it was named Elnino after the rains of 1998 when a digger load machine which was being used to make it slid and stuck on the edged of the cliff.

‘It was quite an incident, very scary’ Robert say, his mind visibly still on the incident which happened about a decade ago. He later informs me the place is mainly used for bird watching and also watching the colobus monkeys below.

A few meters away, a family is having their lunch at a nearby traditional hut while three children are clearly enjoying the swinging game. They invite me and for a second I am tempted to join them before deciding against it; there is still a lot of the Iten to view.

We move to what is referred to as the pajero point, the largest view point in the area.

Down, I can see beaters and hornbills slowly going about their businesses. On top of us are the hovering buzzards and the lanner falcons and Jean informs me that there are occasional high altitude eagles.

As we walk away from the scene, he explains to me why the area was named ‘Pajero point’

‘Unoccupied Pajero once took off from packing and crash-landed here’ He explains adding that the pajero wasn’t damaged and is still on the road.

We pass the monkey house, a barbeque hut with one of the finest views of the valley below and here, another couple is having their meals. True to is name, I can see several monkeys just behind it and he informs me they come to look for fresh fruits and leaves everyday.

On our way to the dining room, Jean decides to show me around the Furier room. A conference room partially underground, the room equipped with a television has got capacity of about thirty people.

Just above the door is a stationed glass which I am informed has got a history dating back to 1939.

‘It was a sign in front of a hardware shop in Belgium’ Jean says in matter-of-fact manner. The shop was owned by Eugene, Jean Paul’s father and his three uncles.

It’s almost time to leave the view as I inform Jean I still have to go over to Tambach. As we settle down for a bottle of cock, Jean makes yet another revelation to me.

A tourist paragliding over Kerio Valley

‘Care to paraglide?’ He inquires. He then goes ahead and explains to me that a number of Para gliders come over to the view each year to have the opportunity of paragliding into the valley and fly over the Kerio view.
‘Most of them are Germans’ He explains and goes head to take me to the room fully equipped with parachutes and other equipments.

‘I wish you could try it. It’s real fun’ He explains after I had decided to put off my maiden paragliding to rush over to Tambach. On our way to the gate, he explains to me the regular patrons they host at the view.

‘Former President Moi was here just last weekend’ he explains adding that Prime Minister Raila Odinga is another visitor they had hoisted recently. He is however quick to add that the view was just to ensure people had the perfect view of the valley.

He bides me a heavily accented ‘Kwa heri’ and soon I am on my way to Tambach, on the other side of the view.


On either side of the road lie beautiful hills illuminating the sun, the hills forming steps from the road. Occasionally the driver has to sop to let the cattle cross over and I have to admit the way the road has formed zigzag on the floor of the view is simply amazing.

We are soon in Tambach and I realize that just like Iten, it is on the valley.

‘This is the last frontier at the valley’ the driver Tambach informs me as we walk to the edge of a cliff.
Hundreds of meter below, people are going about their normal businesses as usual although one can hardly make them up from this far.

I decide to ask been, the driver it is true the myth I heard in college that the locals used to bring up old people on top of the cliff and throw them down in time of wars to stop them from being captured.

‘I have heard the same myth, nothing true about it anyway’ He replies laughing as we walk around the stiff cliff. He informs me paragliders also come here but that the place is best known for hiking.

We decide to go down the view and have a feel at what it feels like to be in there. Three or four monkeys quickly disappear from the road when they see us and on our way, three groups of athletes trying to get accustomed to the high altitude passes us.

The air is just fresh. And save for the chattering o the monkeys here and there and bird cries, its dead quiet inside the valley. Both sides are surrounded by hills and for the next one hour, I have my maiden hike, Ben having turned into very able teacher.

It’s getting late and we join a group of ten athletes into a warm up before leaving for Kerio valley.

Naiberi Campsite

A guest at Naiberi Campsite
The next morning, I decide to spend some time at the Naiberi campsite, just 17 kilometers off Eldoret town and famed for its natural camping sites and serene environment.

On the gate, I am received by Jacky, one of the stewards at the site and I am immediately struck by the silence in the entire site.

‘Anyone home’ I enquire as we make our way through a stone walled tunnel with hanging lanterns on either side, a question which elicits a grin from her. Off course there are people, she explain adding that the site has mainly thrived of the peace and the tranquility it offers.

The tunnel eventually leads to a surprisingly modernized opening; Jacky calls it a ‘modern day cave’. In front are a water fall and about three streams, stone pillars and wooden bridges on top of either of the streams.
Our first stop is at the swimming pool, which I have admit is nothing but impressive.

Surrounded all over with indigenous trees, it’s simply fits into its surrounding. Just on the edged of it are a water fall and a stone carving and on the other side are a beautiful table surrounded by some four seats. She informs me this is for people who would like to enjoy their drinks by the pool side.

The sky blue water is simply inviting and when she asks if I can swim, I momentarily toy with the idea of jumping right in the water.

We then make our way to the disco hall, just in the heart of the site. It’s not crowded but the air is of carnival and I, this time round fall to the temptation to grab the ice cold drinks served here. We settle on a table as she gives me more information on the site.

Naiberi, she explains has be mainly a camping site for cooperate bodies and families interested in having some time out of the busy town life.

‘Its Nature’s own creation’ She explains to me adding that it had been designed to take its guest far back to the stone age with little touch of modern day luxury.

I take a look around the site and I can’t help but marvel at the irony. Here is a place where almost all constrictions are on stone. But the disco hall is truly modern. There is a pool table, darts, a card table for eight, and even a digital satellite television.

She then leads the way to the campsite. From the quietness surrounding it, to the well maintained lush green lawns set aside for the campers to pitch their tents, and the soft sound of the waters of the streams passing by the site, the site simply offers a resting place.

A group is trying to erect their tents at the site and we join them for a moment before passing over to the stone cottages, another feature Naiberi is so well know for.

The cottages, about fifty meter from river Naiberi are all made from thatch stone and precious cedar wood, the same material used in the constriction the disco hall.

We the go through the dormitory o large groups, the cabins before paying visit to the fish pond, also just within the camp.

On our way, she insists that I have to taste the meals at the camp. I just have time for a bite and the meals, she explains are served to the guest’s convenience in the designated dining areas.

It’s getting late and as she escorts me to the gate, two more groups are just getting in for a camp over the weekend. She forces me to promise to come back for a weekend next time, a promise I am honesty keen to fulfill.

Who won’t like to spend a night at Naiberi!

Nick Okoth Oluoch

All photo credits from online

(Okoth Oluoch is a travel blogger and writer with The Standard in Kenya. This post was first published on his blog link: )

Friday, February 3, 2012

You and Mr. Me in this trivial life of economic recession By Charles Jomo

The month is still twenty hungry with a delay of the pay slip. When a wall refuses to smile at you even after inserting a plastic card in it means the world is spinning like turning a ‘O’ upside down.

So we are walking downturn me and a colleague we will call Mr. Me, for the sake of this post. Being an extended twenty hungry period of the month, the description of our wallets, and workers drawing a salary is dismal. We couldn’t afford a hole in the middle of the doughnut t have two coins to rub together!

It's was late in the evening as a writer’s muse got me thinking on the greatest phenomenon in the world agenda has always been; the world moving on unmoved, unfazed at human kind hustles and bustle to define its place herein.

I mean, the world?

The economy stings creating a domino effect in people's wallets, with lies aligned with masks to hide their faces of oblivion from cruel reality in this time of the month. The humankind; women , men and children are in a merry go ground to transform corn, that is if afforded, into a corn meal we call ugali in East Africa.

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy PM got his ass kicked out from power, Barry Obama is getting Republicans sniffing his ass in White House because of the bloated economy. Guy Fawkes mask has got a reconnaissance of sought because of economic down turn.

If the big of the world can squirm why not a common mwananchi wa kawaida like you and me? Even encountered, which brings me to our friend Mr. Me, someone who try’s to look economically sound even in the face of economic disglut (cooked this one from disquiet)?

Earlier yesterday Mr. Me, a good time buddy, asks me if I could spare some roasted stuff. Those roasted maize found in every road side in Kenya and rake more millions than roasted meat, nyama choma, but since they are left for hoi polloi will never feaure in marketing the country.

You see, just to digress, nyama choma going down with beer is a social meal, but mahindi choma by the road side is a means of deprivation, a meal that cant be shared in a merry mood. First of all there is no water to wash your hands, making one to disregard his health over germs filled hands (at the back of hand washing campaigns) which is a sign of personal neglect!

Take a test with me Kenyans who chew on the roasted cob always look down trodden and in a pensive mood. Just take a cursory look today!

So back to my friend, the first ones we come across are rather stout and small in size and so we neglect them altogether. We soldier on and good heavens, we come to the next vendor (are they really vendors or roasters) and we go about to pick our like from the still hot.

It’s here that Mr. Me intrigues me. I pick a small rotund cob which looks young and succulent despite its size.  On the other hand my main man (stolen from Obama’s Dreams from my father) fuses with the roaster like a broke window shopper before settling for a big mature cob, with me picking the ‘bill’.

Being presumably richly well endowed with concern 4 human kind, I decide 2 let him have that which he desires in life because this way only, do we become great achievers.

a few steps from the point of purchase, Mr. Me complains about his cob.

“This damned maize is hard and tastes funny. I feel like throwing away this piece of shit!” He complains.

I'm then like: what the hell is wrong with you? You insisted in picking this cob as aligned with more grains?

“This cob will upset my stomach with this funny taste” Mr. Me complains, quietly feeling the hurt from his obnoxious behaviour towards my kindness.

What made me like his reaction rather than getting irritated is how he sounded more of a nag looking for attention from the reality of the economy than having any justifiable course.

Mr. Me complains, like lower middle class families facing inflation and completely disowns his role in accountability, or so I think.

And so I get a pissed off with the lad’s tirade and leave him alone as I retire to my abode, which is humble like the hackneyed phrase with a parting shot:

“My main man, i think your insolence has worked me up, see you morrows.”

That was earlier in the evening do now as I wait for my bachelor’s supper to cook it makes me think what really is the concern of man?

Life under recession, I muse, is a vicious cycle accorded to humankind all the days of its life. Inflation hits and the poor suffer most. They try to cover a hole from a leaking wall, but with powers against his strength the water ultimately rushes in and cover his life.

Without a leaning shoulder to guard against politicians insolence, the weak shilling (wherever it is) and skewed international trade balance the poor are completely caught unawares in the daily pangs of life and as a result, they never just anticipate any next, worthy courses of actions.

You live life as it comes; no planning for a tomorrow whose rouse is beyond your grasp.

May be, if only you and me force ourselves out of the boxes we're contained in and get to think outside these boxes, the world would then become one heaven of a place.     

(The writer is a graduate of English Literature from Maseno University, Kenya. He teaches at Migori Boys School)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A play: Bitter Sweat by Mwangi Wilson Murimi

A convergence of animals in Kikulacho County is called by the Development Committee, under the watchful eyes of the county governor Mr. Lion.
The Baraza is called to discuss possible implementation of a new produce deductions policy. The policy recommends a 25% seasonal deduction of members’ produce for five consecutive seasons.
 The convergence, however, turns out to be a forum for members to demand answers on earlier cases of resource misappropriation. This culminates into the quest for the formulation of a new Development Committee.


LION - King of the Kikulacho County.
CHAMELEON – Member of the Kikulacho development Committee.
HARE – Member of the Kikulacho development Committee.
HYENA – Member of the Kikulacho Development Committee
TORTOISE – Citizen of the Kikulacho County.
CHICKEN – Citizen of Kikulacho County.
ZEBRA – Citizen of Kikulacho County
FOX – A law expert at Kikulacho County.
GIRAFFE – A technician at Kikulacho County.

(As lights fade in, the Lion, Hare, Hyena, Monkey and Chameleon sit on the front bench as other animals assemble at the Mikutano Square for a public Baraza. The Hare, who is the head of the ceremony stands at the podium. The other animals take their seats at the auditorium. He takes in a deep breath before picking the microphone from the giraffe who is the technician for the meeting)

HARE (Moving his gaze sideways): Ladies and gentlemen today’s meeting will be short as we all know the agenda. (The animals nod in agreement, as the hare picks a file from the table, and proceeds to read from it). Kikulacho Country has recently faced a severe drought that has claimed the lives of a good number of us. With me is a proposal of the austerity measures to contain the situation, and avert such a catastrophe in future.

HYENA (leaning to the Chameleon): Learn to stay put today and leave your colour changes to the trees.

HARE: Honourable members, the Development Committee of which I am a member sat and drafted a proposal of a Kikulacho County Granary. All members will contribute to the granary. (Low toned murmurs follow) Pursuant to the Kikulacho County constitution, members of the Development Committee will be excluded from the suggested produce deduction due to their inflated budgets occasioned by their service to Kikulacho County.

CHICKEN: Don’t committee members eat and empty their bowels like the rest of us!

HARE (Ignoring Chicken’s outburst): Honourable law abiding citizens, we at the Kikulacho Development Committee have never frustrated Kikulacho County before. This new austerity measure is the best solution for famine in Kikulacho County. 

TORTOISE:  (In a high-pitched tone):  What developments have you initiated beyond your homes. The hyena and his family are ever growing fat as our children cry out their rumbling tummies.

HYENA: My family only eats to their proportion just like the rest of you. (Satirically) Maybe you are on a weight loss prescription!

HARE:  Honourable members let’s not demean the acclaim we have recently received at the recent conference at Ufisadi County. All other counties are longing to emulate our cooperation in Harambees.

TORTOISE: Why did your wife accompany you to the conference? Was she a delegate? And by the way were you harvesting cotton at the conference? You have since bought your family new cloths!

CHAMELEON: The new produce deduction policy is as important as the lives of our loved ones whom the drought snatched from us. Let’s not contradict ourselves with baseless allegations.

TORTOISE: There comes the white sepulcher that waivers with his every colour change!
(A loud laughter follows Tortoise outburst)

HARE: Order! Order! Order honourable law abiding citizens…

CHICKEN: Too much silence makes the mouth stink!

HARE:  Etiquette is a virtue. Kikulacho Development Committee exists as your mouthpiece we cannot all talk at the same time.

TORTOISE: Is that so called Development Committee a mouthpiece of Kikulacho County or the mouth to feed the committee members?

ZEBRA: Have the findings of Monkey’s maize saga ever been tabled?

HARE: Honourable members please lend me your ears awhile.

CHICKEN: Go ahead and pluck mine out. Do I even have any?
(Earsplitting laughter follows)

CHAMELEON: Honourable members, investigations on the case are ongoing. Let’s not get ahead of the times

CHICKEN: Debate with yourself. You seem to have two different personalities.
(Air tearing laughter ensues)

TORTOISE:  We demand a statement from Monkey right now. Since the maize scandal was uncovered his wife has been making more trips to the posho meal. The hare has since been increasing suits on his closet, as our children wear tatters!

MONKEY: The fact that I am becoming healthier is no reason to be called a thief. The peanuts I get from the Development Committee are barely enough to meet expenses of my administrative duties.

CHICKEN: Endorse me chairlady in your place!

HARE (The irritated hare walks back to the podium. Anger almost chokes his voice): Before the meeting took a twist, were setting logistics for the establishment of a Kikulacho Granary. Prior to my interruption, I was about to mention that all members of Kikulacho County are to pay 25% of their produce to the national granary for a period of 5 seasons to contain the famine occasioned by the two dry spell. (Murmurs ensue but the hare opts to proceed).  Of the 25% proceeds paid to the granary, five percent will go to the Development Committee’s kitty…

TORTOISE: Who authorized that committee to make resource deduction decisions on our behalf? That’s a breach of the Kikulacho Animal rights! We are the most supreme authority on taxation matters! And by the way how important are the tummies of the Development Committee members?

CHICKEN:  Some of the committee members are too old. They should go home to look after their wives!

HARE (Irritated by the satirical outburst of the chicken): We never converged for an election. We were here to endorse the new austerity measures. The election can wait.

LION:  You have bickered enough, can you now listen (Murmurs continue, before Lion angrily clenches his canines).  Shut up. You’ve had enough time wag your tongue. Listen here!

CHICKEN (In a whisper): We use the ears to listen not the mouth.

LION: The mud you have smeared on my Development Committee is founded on incoherent and false allegations. Move forward if you have any evidence validating your allegations or learn to shut your rowdy bickers and listen! (Silence ensues, as the fox strolls into the Baraza venue. Nobody seems to notice his entry.) We never rendezvoused here for a political witch hunt concert.

CHICKEN: Where are the witches?
(Prolonged laughter follows, before it is sternly stopped by the lion’s loud roar. By this time, the fox has moved up close to the podium awaiting a turn to speak)

LION: First things first. This granary policy has to be endorsed, no compromise about that!

FOX (Other animals are surprised by his unprecedented entry): Kikulacho constitution has deeply ingrained principles of resource accountability that resource misappropriation whatsoever. (The rest of the animals nod in agreement). On the provisions of leadership, the committee members are bequeathed the power to lead and no to rule!

CHICKEN: We’ve now started talking!

LION (angrily): This is not a convergence of constitutional experts. It is a crisis Baraza to save Kikulacho County.

TORTOISE: Yes the salvation of the chosen few, by devouring every bit of our bitter sweat!

FOX:  The constitution calls for elections if 65% of Kikulacho’s citizens pass a vote of no confidence following gross corruption by the incumbent government. I believe we have a quorum to demand for polls!
(The auditorium claps, as Chameleon confusedly rises to speak.)

CHAMELEON: Let’s not heckle each other…, Law abiding citizens; dialogue is the mother of concurrence. Let’s agree to talk and disagree to disagree.

CHICKEN:  Stop confusing us.

FOX: Polls, polls, polls, polls…

AUDITORIUM: Polls, polls, polls…

HARE: You won’t like it. That’s tantamount to incitement.

FOX: Mass action is democratic. We will protest anything short of a new committee and resource accountability!

LION: So be it, early tomorrow we will be back here. You will appoint a new Development Committee.

FOX: Let it happen right now!
(The lights fade out as the entire auditorium surges towards the podium)

(The playwright is a third year media student at Maseno University and a sub-editor of Equator weekly.)