Land of the Free
It has been said that in settling on a name for their new-born child the lucky parents are handing over the first of many life tools to their child. The given name, distinguishing each one of us from all other individuals is something that most of us will make our own and take with us, wherever we go, for the rest of our lives. Continue reading
It is Tuesday 24th December 2013 and as I write these few lines violent storms are sweeping across the British Isles with high winds and heavy rainfall battering the country. The Met Office has issued ‘severe amber warnings’ forecasting extreme weather conditions for all parts of the country. Transport disruptions and localised flooding are expected. People are being advised not to travel ‘unless it is absolutely necessary’. Hello….It is Christmas eve.
The theme of violence takes a deadlier turn closer to home. Events of the past week in South Sudan have plunged the country into dangerous chaos and uncertainty. There are now reports coming in of ‘ethnic’ killings between the Dinka and Nuer communities. The AU and UN watch as Africa’s newest country totters towards a full scale civil war.
It would seem that 2013 may be remembered for all the wrong reasons. With the post election violence of 2007/8 at the back of everyone’s mind we went to the polls in April. The results were contested in the courts and the decision when it came was a slap in the face to a huge section of the electorate. For the sake of ‘peace’ we were all urged to accept and move on. Peace at any price.
Violence continued to rear its ugly head. The Westgate tragedy revealed the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of our diverse society. The stories of people risking their lives to save others in the face of what they imagined was a huge terrorist attack. Kenyans helped one another regardless of race, class or creed. The long queues of blood donors and other volunteers giving freely of themselves gave a sense of pride to many Kenyans. We said to the world…”this is how we do it here…”
The inadequate response by our security apparatus, the failure of all security agencies to understand the nature of the terrorist threats facing our country and chaotic manner in which ‘the siege was ended’ revealed a disturbing level of incompetence by those charged with managing the situation. I will not say much about the looting by the KDF and the facts now emerging that there were no more than four attackers who probably all got away. I think we have had enough.
Something positive for 2013? Well the world bade farewell to a great man. It has been said that we will not see someone like Madiba for a very long time. Perhaps never.
Florence Kiplagat and Wilson Kipsang won the Berlin Marathon women’s and men’s races with Wilson setting a new marathon world record. The men’s race had an incredible top five finishers from Kenya. Beat that!
image from Bleacher Report
On that note may I take the opportunity to wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas. May the new year bring your dreams and aspirations to fruition and may you keep your noble resolutions until February, at least.
There is a new notice on this keyboard that I am using that says : Warning – official business only.
I am working late in the office tonight – only the second time in the 12 years that I have worked here – because I spent most of the day at Kaloleni police station. I was invited there to try and identify some items taken in a burglary at our flat in early August.
As I put my feet on the desk and sip my coffee I take a moment to savour the peace and quiet of the office. Outside, traffic is easing in the streets below as people make their way home. Save for the light from the street lamps it is very dark in here. Our electric lights’ circuit has recently been put on some kind of a timer so that you cannot switch the lights on after 5.30pm. The water in the loos is also on some timer – no flushes after 4.30pm.
Our problems began when Head office brought in a new office manager, Julius Kata, to take over as our Gladys went on maternity leave. Since the beginning of August Mr Kata has lived up to his name. He has cut our lunch hour to 35 minutes and declared a ban on all overtime. Some of the senior staff members on better salaries were asked to take pay cuts or see their positions made redundant. Everywhere in the office Kata has pasted small notices with slogans like Cut waste. Waste costs Jobs. Increase Productivity. He is quickly becoming public enemy No.1 in this place but we are powerless to do anything.
I sip some more tea and try to recall the events of the last few weeks. It came as a bit of a coincidence that just at about the time Mr Kata started swinging his axe in our office our youngest son aged ten learned that their school was starting Taekwondo lessons. He asked us so many times if he could join and each time Mrs Woolie said no. My son bided his time and came to me when I was alone. He begged and pleaded so much that in the end I capitulated and said yes. I read the letter that he thrust at me. It contained details of the course and fees. I almost screamed. They were charging a fortune! Is this legal, I wondered.
The next mistake that I made was to swear the little boy to secrecy. Under no circumstances could we tell mummy that he was taking the taekwondo lessons. At least not for the moment. That was to be our secret. I’d then sneaked out of the house at about half-past-eight making my way to our local watering-hole. On arrival I whispered to Magdalen, the young barmaid and she went off to fetch the local financial advisor. Just as I sat down Magdalen returned with Mr money- bags. We waited until our drinks had arrived. I explained my predicament and the shark said that what I needed was a short term log-book loan. We agreed repayments terms and I discreetly passed over Mrs Woolie’s Log Book. He counted out the 23K(i had my own expenses to take care of) with a practised hand, all the while a small line of saliva hanging from his lower lip.
My third mistake had been to confide in the shark. I explained that it would harm my marriage if Her Majesty was to learn of my smooth cunning. I said the clever thing tonight would be to put the notes in an envelope wrapped carefully with the signed letter of authority, place this inside one of his books and put it all away in my boy’s school bag. The boy could then give it to the teacher.
Shark seemed genuinely impressed and called me sungura mjanja.I bought him a final drink and made my excuses – I said to him that I had a mission to take care of. He smiled and winked at me – and guess what? I winked right back.
I was woken in the morning by wailing from downstairs. The children should have been finishing their breakfast. Their school-bus was due in a few minutes. Instead they were crying and shouting and totally inconsolable. I could not make out what they were saying; it was as if they were speaking a foreign tongue. Their mother informed me that someone had broken into the house and stolen some items from the kitchen. They had not managed to get through the security door that led to the bedrooms. She was calling the police. As I looked in the kitchen it suddenly occurred to me that the children were crying because the raiders had also pinched their school bags………..
Chris Gamisha CEO of the newest locally-owned soft-drinks bottling company has named a new management team ahead of the launch of a sports drink to be introduced to coincide with the opening of the London Olympic games later this year.
A drink for the games
The new team was unveiled at a glittering ceremony held at their plush offices on Haile Selassie Avenue, Nairobi. Invited guests included athletes, media personalities, entertainment celebrities and members of the general public who were treated to live entertainment by several local artists. A complimentary buffet lunch was laid out for the guests of the new “king of pop”.
Swanky city offices
The new team members are
Philip Wanzakwa, Sarah Pilawi, Gerald Tawuta, David Wanen, Prisca Natowa, Jane Sawita, Geoff Bawasa, Naomi Wanena, William Sawiti and Maryanne Amikwu.
The chief wished his new team every success.
Woolie has now been informed that due to an error in the ciphering room all of the surnames of the new team were crunched up by the machines before being wired to media houses and it was only after they had been published that the error came to light.
I was just getting used to July when August came crashing into our lives with shock and awe.
London exploded into burning and looting following a peaceful protest in Tottenham organised by the family of a local man who had been shot dead by police. In the following days disturbances spread right across London and into many English towns and cities including Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham. The ferocity and anger of the rioters shocked many, including the police.
Much has been said about the causes of the trouble with politicians from all sides falling over themselves, stating the obvious whilst trying to score party points but for me it was a comment on the Daily Nation online edition that captured the the mood best: The English riots were the UK’s own hurricane Katrina. They have exposed an underlying disease festering in the fabric of the country. It is often ignored and rarely discussed. If nothing is done about it we may well see much more serious trouble in the streets..”
Libya became more violent as the opposition forces closed in on the Brother Colonel, forcing him out of Tripoli. As opposition forces gain the upper hand there have been terrible reports of retribution and human rights abuses coming in. The situation is far from settled and only time will tell if the revolution gives birth to a better country for all its citizens.
There is a light at the end of this tunnel because 3 wonderful ladies: Edna Kiplagat, Prisca Jeptoo and Sharon Jemutai completed a fantastic 1-2-3 for Kenya in the World Athletic Championships in Daegu, South Korea, last Saturday.
Arsenal losing 8-2 would have been enough to give anyone a severe bout of depression but then some clown at the Daily Nation decided that Beyonce falling pregnant was an item that merited first page-breaking news. I was happy that they did that – the comments page showed that Kenyans are number one in the art of sarcasm.
So just as I was about to swallow a whole packet of malariaquin a rumour started spreading and I was notified that she was back. I rushed online to confirm what was being said on the street – The lady herself had listened to the pleas of her readers and she had returned to be with her loyal fans.
Let’s hear it for the ladies of August 2011.
Photo from BBC News
I watched the Women’s World Cup final last night and what a game it was. Both teams played well and this was reflected in the score of 2-2 after extra time. In the penalty shoot out that followed Japan won 3-1.
In other news Rebekah Brooks a News International executive was arrested and questioned by police for 12 hours while on Sunday evening Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson tendered his resignation both events coming in the wake of the News of The World phone-hacking scandal. The hacking affair seems to have grown legs and more casualties are expected, observers say.