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So sorry it had to come to this…..(part 1)

The events and characters depicted below are purely fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely by coincidence

“Woolie, I don’t know why it is, but more murders are committed in this city on a leap year. It is as if February 29th is a day to fulfill all our evil desires and you know, the statistics actually back it up.”

Earlier this evening we were seated at the verandah of this unassuming house in South B enjoying a quiet drink in the cool city air. My companion was my old friend the retired Detective Inspector from Homicide Division, Kenya Police. As we took in the evening sounds of city folk making their way home for the evening the retired cop relit his pipe and cleared his throat.

“Well, Woolie, It seemed that February 29th 2008 was going to be an exception – at least in our sector of the city. As my shift came to an end there had been no reports of deaths, accidental or otherwise, and we were looking forward to breaking this “curse of February 29”. Then, just before midnight, I got a call from a colleague at the station.”

I took another small sip of the malt whiskey and stretched out on the cane chair. The retired detective went on to narrate the events of that fateful night in 2008. According to reports, a woman had been brought in semi-concious to the Emergency Department of City Hospital.

By all indications this was a case of attempted suicide. The poor lady had been found in her bed by her house help, writhing and moaning in agony. Lying on the floor, beside her bed was a half-empty bottle of scotch and an empty medicine bottle that would have contained 48 anti-malaria tablets.

The personnel in the emergency room rallied to save the woman but despite their efforts Mrs Steffi Nyalima was pronounced dead at 11:54 pm. A day later pathology results showed that she had died of poisoning. But there was a problem; She had not ingested a single malaria tablet. According to the pathologist, tests revealed that the victim had been given a lethal cocktail of sleeping pills, morphine and other dangerous drugs and these could only have been administered whilst she was heavily sedated. Police quickly established that her husband Mr Hallibut Nyalima, a government scientist, was away on a training course in Abuja, Nigeria. Arrangements were made to notify him of these dreadful events.

The home help – a youg lady called Alice was interviewed . She revealed that Mrs Nyalima had come home in the afternoon at four-thirty or thereabouts in the company of her work colleague, a Ms Jackie Mpensi. Ms Mpensi explained to Alice that her employer was suffering from fever and needed complete bed rest. She had helped Alice to get Mrs Nyalima into bed. Mpensi took her leave soon after but only after she had asked Alice to check on her employer every 2 hours or so. Alice had checked on Nyalima twice and had found her fast asleep on each occasion.

Alice recalled how she had been in her own room preparing to go to bed just after 10:30pm when she got an sms on her phone. It was from her boss, Mrs Nyalima. She showed the police the message which read “ Please Alice come quickly to my room. I have done something terrible…I need your help. PLEASE COME NOW..” This was when she had found Nyalima rolling about the bed in pain. She had raised the alarm and their next door neighbour had rushed them to the City Hospital.

Police officers now went back to the home and carried out a search of the dead woman’s room. They were puzzled by the fact that there was no sign of Nyalima’s mobile phone. Also, what to make of the empty bottle of anti malaria medicine? There was not a single tablet in the room. Then tucked between two pillows on the husband’s side of the bed they found a typed memo on plain A4 paper. It read:

“ Dear Hallibut you are now free. So Sorry it had to come to this.”

The retired detective looked at his watch and then at our empty glasses. “ I’ll just get us another drink”, he said.

…………To Be Continued……..?

What’s in a name?

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.

sailing 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”.

sailing 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.

Befriended and then murdered

Woolie believes that we are living in a modern civilised society. He also subscribes to the general idea that in any civilised society it is the duty of all individuals to defend and protect the rights of the more ‘vulnerable’ members of that society. Further it is said that we can judge a people by how they treat such members of society – be they elderly, small children or people with disabilities.

There are idiots in our society who believe that it is no big deal to mock, humiliate, abuse and even bully and mete out physical violence to people with disabilities. Do you know such idiots? Woolie does and he finds it very shameful to be acquainted with them.

When local man Edward Doyle befriended a young vulnerable man in the village of Littlemore near Oxford It seemed to most people to be a kindly and charitable thing. The young man was Sean Miles, 37 who had serious learning difficulties and lived alone in local authority sheltered accommodation. His life was not easy as he struggled to cope with things that most people took for granted.

Several months down the line and things were not as good as they had seemed. It was becoming clear that Doyle was taking advantage of Miles. He took control of his finances and it was reported that he was often violent towards him. The bullying continued but there was nothing that Miles could do to end the relationship. Doyle and his friends took over Miles’ house making it their home. It turned out that many of them were regular drug users and they used Miles’ money to feed their habit. They mocked Miles and his disability and he was subjected to intolerable insults.

One day a friend of Doyle’s falsely accused Miles of sexually assaulting her son. Doyle and his friends subjected Miles to a brutal attack. They rained kicks and blows on the defenceless man. They took a golf club and beat him some more breaking his ribs. One of them stepped up and cut his head in several places with a knife. As Miles pleaded with them to stop – they broke his arm.

Later that day – perhaps fearful that they had gone too far Doyle and two friends took Miles down to the River Thames where they drowned him. His body was discovered nine days later……….

The madness of mankind

There are few things that are more painful to the victims and the perpetrators than the incidents of domestic violence. This sad and shameful condition is present in every world society and in every walk of life. No community, no social class, no ethnicity and no country in the world is spared. The victims can be men or women. But it is the children who live in these conditions that suffer the most.

The causes of domestic violence are many and varied but they all have devastating and long lasting effects to all those concerned. I was quite stunned to read that the cause of this particular incident was one partner’s desire for higher education

Stay Well.

Of Chairs and Car Roofs

I have always found December to be a bit of a funny month. With Jamhuri day arriving half-way into the month and then Christmas and the new year there is very little time for much else and it seems that most people’s social calendars are crammed with functions. I must admit that this is a month that I enjoy – meeting long lost pals and making new friends. For many people it is also a time for family.

This December we have, ofcourse, the on-going doctors’ strike that has crippled medical services in the public hospitals. It goes without saying that the GOK will have to meet with the doctors’ leaders to thrash out their difficulties because the current situation is just not sustainable. According to a newspaper report Eighty-five percent of doctors joining the civil service as interns will have resinged from the service within three years of their appointments. The main reason cited for this state of affairs was poor pay which doctors felt did not take into account their qualifications and workloads.

As the strikes continued to bite we were given an idea of how our country decides it’s spending priorities. It was reported that Parliament had decided to acquire seats for MPs at a cost of Ksh200,000 each. These were to be made by the prisons department. It is difficult to work out which stories are true and which are mere speculation.

sailing From Daily Nation Dec09 2011

sailing

It was with real pleasure that I came across a story which I knew was neither made up nor the wild fruits of speculation. Mainstream media does many stories on bloggers these days and I was pleasantly surprised to read of some of my favourites in a DN feature.

sailing From Daily Nation Dec09 2011

On the friday just passed I went up with and Mrs Woolie to see her parents. It was an interesting visit and we had a wonderful time catching up and telling stories of times past. During the conversation a story came up of how I had once gone shopping and upon returning to the car I had placed my mobile phone on the roof in order to unlock the car-door. Once all the stuff had been stowed away I had jumped into said car and driven off. It was only half an hour after getting back home that I noticed my phone was missing. I used another phone to call my number. It rang for a few moments before someone answered it. A friendly passer-by had heard the phone ringing in the middle of the road. It was was in several parts but still it was ringing. He told me where he was and I went down to meet him. The phone was totally wrecked having been run over by several cars on this busy road.

Mrs Woolies Pa laughed and said that this story reminded him of how way back in 1970 he had received a call from one of his cousins who was then a student at Makerere University. She would be sitting her final exams on such and such a day and would he mind terribly coming up to Kampala in his car to give her a ride back home? To this he had readily agreed, ofcorse and on the appointed day he and his brother arrived at the college halls. On the way up there the car had punctured one of the wheels and they had stopped at a garage nearby where some real friendly operatives had seen to the repair. This meant that they arrived a little later than plannned. The girl assured her cousin that they were not late – infact the students were in party mood and she had arranged somewhere for her cousin to spend the night so that they could leave for the journey home nice and fresh the on next day.

Now Pa was a military man. He drove up to Makindye the main army barracks in the city and on introducing himself was ushered in. The officers in the mess welcomed them warmly and took care of their every need – it is something visiting officers were always accorded anywhere that they went. They went ahead to arrange overnight accomodation. As the music played and the drinks flowed it was certainly a party atmosphere. Suddenly and without warning the commander of the base stormed into the mess his face like thunder. He ordered everyone out on parade at 11:30 in the night! He recognised the Kenyan officer and called him to one side. He explained that the deputy commander one Idi Amin had gone AWOL with another officer’s wife. The officer had discovered the deception and was at this moment hunting the maverick Amin. It was safe to say that there was going to be trouble that night. He asked the visitor where he was staying Pa said he had booked a room in a downtown hotel.

The commandant ordered for 2 crates of beer to be placed in the boot in Pa’s car and they bade each other farewell. Pa drove back to the same garage where he found the same guys were still there selling petrol. He brought out a crate of beer and as the drank explained his situation. The manager said – spend the night in your car right here. You will be safe here. They moved the car into the show-room where new cars for sale were displayed and he slept soundly with no interruption.

Next morning Pa drove to the college where the young cousin was waiting with all her luggage. They loaded up the car and set off for home. On the way they stopped to have a small picnic. The girl took out her radio placing it on the roof of the car so that they listened to pop music as they tucked into their packed lunch. With the picnic over they cleared away the things and got back into the car for the long drive home. The small radio was never seen again.

We are living in times of heightened tensions and security concerns. We must never forget the enormous debt of gratitude that we all owe to the brave men and women of the Kenya Army who are putting their lives on the line to defend the freedoms that we all cherish in this country. Let us remember them and their families especially at this time and let us pray for a quick and successful conclusion to Operation Linda Nchi

I would finally take this moment to wish you all a Happy Jamhuri and best wishes for Christmas and the new year!!

Twende Cinema


It was only a few weeks ago when our young Woolies suggested that as a treat they would take us down to the cinema.

Almost immediately Mrs Woolie and myself thought – “why not?” – It is always nice to do things together -you know family – like but there never seems to be the right time. Also it is quite a while since we’ve been to the cinema what with one thing and another – and everyone working dodgy hours.

There was a new film by Steven Spielberg with the title the Adventures of Tintin. I grew up reading these comics so it was definitely going to be a treat

sailing Image from IMDb.com

There followed nearly 10 days of protracted and tough negotiation. Leaders were asked to step down amidst threats of resignations and promises of fresh elections and a new coalition family. At one point it seemed the whole thing was on the brink of collapse. Just when we thought it was all lost there came a breakthrough. We were all able to organise our diaries and there was one evening when all of us would be available to go to the cinema. The day is finally here and we are going to see the 5 o’clock show tonight.

So unless something totally unforeseen happens…… to say I am excited is an understatement. The last time I went to the movies there were ashtrays on the back of the seat infront of you.

sailing

I don’t remember the film that I watched that night but I still have the ticket. Have a great weekend………


The Master’s Garden


…….later that afternoon when the sun had slipped lower the Master came out for a stroll in his lush gardens. Being so late in the season the trees were heavy with fruit and the air thick in natural fragrance. A small stream chuckled nearby as it flowed under the bridge. The hum of insects as they flew between the flowers accompanied the sweet birdsong from up above in the tall trees. Over in the fields the cattle and sheep swung their tails merrily as they grazed in the deep green grass .The Master saw all this and smiled. It was good.

sailing

The Master walked on a bit further and came to the edge of a vast escarpment. The Master did not come down this far very often. Down in the valley below a herd of humans were known to have a settlement. It was said that nobody knew where they had come from but they were from all parts of the Masters realm.

The change in the atmosphere down here was palpable. It was as if a big dark cloud hovered above encampament. It trapped the air which smelled of stale breathe, old dirty ashtrays, unwashed bodies and centuries of stupidity, peverty and ignorance. The Master noticed that the stale air was filled with the same old discordant notes of hatred and suspicion and the hysterical shrieks of racism and tribalism just as it had been when he last visited in the first millennium. Amidst claims and counter claims the human herds supported, proposed, opposed. They then claimed to understand, professed tolerance, fought wars, strove for peace, adopted new laws and constitutions but as far as the master could tell they were still as lawless and disorderly as when they first came there.

The Master pulled out his cell-phone and placed a call to his valet.

“Al- Zawahiri, It is me. Things are bad bwana. Come down to the human encampment at once. Bring me my staff and my shield and a PA system. And please Zawa, do not make me wait”

In a short while the valet came down to the escarpment accompanied by two male angels. The master took his staff from one of the angels (the one with an earing) and climbed onto a cliff that overlooked the human settlement. The other angel finished setting up the PA system and handed the wireless mike to the Master. The Master cleared his throat once and then called down in a loud booming voice to the herd people below.

“Oh hear this ye lowest of the lowest creatures in all my dominions. This is a sad day in all the universe. You have made your home on my property and still you disobey me. You have brought dishonour and wickedness to my realm because your lust for evil is greater than your love for peace. Why don’t you live in harmony like my ants and termites whose social skills you will never attain as long as you live? Why don’t you pool your resources to better all your lives instead of having a few wealthy humans beating your sister wanjiku into the ground in poverty?

“It is now rumoured that you do not consider yourselves animals anymore. But lo I say unto thee that you are the most ignorant in all of creation. Some of you book educateds call youselves higher mammals. I have bats living under the eaves of my roof that are far more developed than you shall ever be. I know that the conceit that you have developed as a herd is down to the gifts that I gave you when you first came here.”

The Master called his valet up to the makeshift podium. He said ” I will ask Al-Zawahiri here to remind me of one of the gifts that I presented to you when you first arrived.

Al-Zawahiri, never comfortable in a huge crowd was nervous. He greeted the crowd in a shaky voice. The master looked at him encouragingly and smiled. When the valet caught his master’s eye the master winked and confidence was restored.

He said

“master of masters ye are the greatest and the best. We do not deserve you but we couldn’t do without you. Never forsake us oh Master you who are primus inter pares. I will tell you what gifts you must withdraw from these ungrateful hordes below.

You gave them the gift of sight. Rather than use it to remark at the wonder and glory of your creation they notice their individual differences and primitive as they are they set about going to war. Take away their gift of sight. We shall come back in another millennium to see if they still sqaubble…..”

Maria woke with a start. She had fallen asleep on the couch and the same dream of the night before had come to trouble her. What did it all mean? She went to bed. Tonight she would sleep with the light on.


Don’t look now but I think we’re being followed

cycle king

The picture was taken soon after that lunch with Wangari and the CEO

A Friend In Need

testing times


When I showed this story to a good pal of mine the other day the response that I got was totally unexpected. Saima sent me an email and all but accused me of being unfair, short sighted and ignorant. She said that like a majority of the public I did not recognise how unfair the testing and examining regime is to very many people – why should the whole future of an otherwise talented young person be determined by a set of tests?

Read a little of what she said:

“…….Hi Woolie, trust that you’re well.

I must let you know how disappointed I was when I read your comments. The actions of this guy who sat the test on behalf of his prospective MP should commended. He behaved as a true friend. Clement Waibara ofcourse went on to beat the other fifteen candidates in a landslide victory. Clearly Waibara had leadership qualities which his opponents may not have shown.

Woolie, back in my day I impersonated a terrified young lady and took the driving test for her. Word got round and soon I realised that there was a demand for this sort of service. My list of prospects grew and with a bit of reluctance I introduced a modest fee. That did not stop them and I sat more tests. I grew greedier and increased the fees but still they came; I sat more and more tests for people and the cash kept rolling in. The deception now extended to different examinations and tests in all towns and cities across the country and my typical day back then would have me sit a couple of driving tests, a medical test, perhaps a pregnancy test or two and several drug/alcohol tests for anxious employers. My best earners were driving and accountancy candidates.

Woolie, the test system is the most unfair way of determining a candidate’s suitability. It is designed to bottle-neck applicants opening doors to the priviledged few and denying opportunities for the many. After making my fortune abusing this system I now spend my time campaigning for fairer ways of assesing candidates’ suitabilities…..”

Does she have a point?


Goodbye 2010 ;-)

M-Pesa


As the year draws out its final hours we’ll take a moment to reflect on 2010. It may be interesting to see how it compares with the watered down year of 2009 – the non year.

2010 was ushered in with predictable noise and pomp as the good people around the world threw off their caution sending million dollars up in smoke in spectacular displays of fireworks – there would be plenty of time later to worry when their meek governments announced plans to cut public spending and shed thousands of jobs.

The natural environment became a feature of the new year almost immediately when severe winter weather battered Britain in early February disrupting transportation for the second year running. In April there were several eruptions of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland. A huge evacuation effort was undertaken to rescue the local population. Subsequent eruptions sent huge pillars of smoke and ash several miles into the sky prompting the closure of all UK airspace as well as that of many western European countries on safety grounds. The ensuing transportation crisis was unprecedented.

When the UK held a General election in May there was no clear winner. Gordon Brown of Labour was portrayed as a loser attempting to cling to power but in the end David Cameron and Nick Clegg formed an historic Tory – LibDem coalition government following other Serekali ya Msetos patented in Kenya and Zimbabwe. The UK coalition government seems to be on a collision course with Unions over planned cuts to government spending and huge job losses at a time of sluggish economic growth.

In August the people of Kenya held an historic referendum which delivered to the Nation a new constitution. This ground breaking document which swept away the old Lancaster House independence constitution was a culmination of decades of activism and political wrangles and its adoption promised to usher in a new age of democracy and freedom to the people of Kenya.

Wikileaks – now there was a breadth of fresh air. If you ever wondered what your bossom buddies really thought and said about you behind your back – wonder no more. Even superpowers have human weaknesses – US Embassies world-wide were shown to be hot beds of rumour, gossip and scandal. Friends patted their allies on the backs whilst secretly plotting against them. They ridiculed some of their best friends and made very serious allegations against others. There must be a lesson here about the safe-keeping of secrets.

Ocampo Six

The International Criminal Court Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo was in an out of Kenya more times than ever without seeming to make any headway on the main objective – to bring all those suspected of having a hand in the post election violence to trial. More than 1500 Kenyans lost their lives and close to 400,000 were displaced following the disputed elections of 2007. To date no senior official has faced justice for their part in the worst disturbances in our country’s history. In December Ocampo announced what came to be known as the Ocampo list – naming six individuals who would be travelling to the Hague suspected of having played significant roles in the PEV. The list was promptly denounced as a political stich-up. Ocampo had named six suspects three each from the two opposing sides. Whilst these names came as no surprise, Kenyans – and especially those living as internally displaced persons in camps were angered at the names that had been omitted – those individuals and groups who should bear ultimate responsibility for 2007/8 – Those who vowed to win by any and all means.

At the close of 2010 the economy in Kenya is growing faster and we are witnessing impressive changes in the country’s infrastructure. The government does not blow its trumpet and some may be unaware of the huge strides being made. Outlook remains positive with hope of better things once Southern Sudan becomes an independent Nation in its own right. Politically there is an air of optimism in the country even as we grapple with the ghosts of 2007. There are elections scheduled for 2012 so there will be plenty of money sloshing about. It is a good time to be in business.

Here is something else that I think I will really miss

Are there any lessons to learn from this year – time will tell.

A Happy new year and best wishes for 2011


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