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Archive for March, 2010

Most Kenyans have no clue on new constitution

Posted by Administrator on March 30, 2010

A newly released opinion poll shows that 67 per cent of Kenyans know nothing or very little about the draft Constitution.

Besides that, if a referendum were to be held today, less than half of Kenyans – 40 per cent – would vote in favour of the document, while 25 per cent would vote to reject it.

According to the poll conducted by Synovate (formerly Steadman), 54 per cent want the number of MPs reduced.

It also shows that the issues that worried Kenyans most include food prices, corruption in public sector, poverty and unemployment.

Currently, Kenya’s Parliament is debating proposed amendments to the Draft Constitution, which was presented to the House by the Committee of Experts about a month ago. Kenyans will have a chance to approve or reject the document during a referendum later in the year.

When asked what they would want Parliament to do about the draft law, 52 per cent of the said they would want it revised before being passed. However, a significant 25 per cent say they do not know anything about it. A further 19 per cent want the draft passed in its current form.

The opinion poll sought to establish the rate of support of the draft law among Kenyans, their outlook on the contentious issues like kadhis courts and abortion; and their views on the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC). The poll also established the popularity ratings of political parties and potential presidential candidates among others

The poll was conducted over six days from March 21 to 26 and it involved 2003 respondents from both urban and rural settings.

The Synovate opinion poll report can be found here.

Daily Nation

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Butcher’s confession shocks villagers

Posted by Administrator on March 29, 2010

Villagers of Kathiru in Embu East District were shocked last week when their trusted butcher confessed in court about the source of the meat that had made him popular.

Nyaga had been their favourite butcher for years. There was dismay in the packed court when he explained how he came by the meat he sold so cheaply to the villagers.

“Meat is meat, judge,” he declared. “If what people believe to be taboo meat was meant to kill, these villagers would all be dead.”

The villagers heard that they had been feasting on skunks, monkeys and other wild animals.

Nyaga was an unorthodox butcher. He had no weighing machine and relied on his left hand to weigh meat. Villagers ended up with larger chunks than they would have bought at the nearby Runyenjes town.

Besides, his prices were elastic. For instance, at the middle of the month he sold meat at half price. “I love you people and understand that these are difficult times,” he would tell customers when they asked why he always reduced his prices at mid month.

Fortune grew

Above all, the villagers liked Nyaga because he sold meat on credit. He was very patient and some villagers, on learning about this ‘weakness’, promised to pay him when they received their annual tea bonus.

Nyaga’s butchery became popular in the neighbouring villages. He even started rearing chickens in his backyard as his fortune grew. It was not long before he expanded his business premises and started a pub. It became popular with drunkards and idlers, especially youths.

What particularly attracted the idlers was the cheap tasty soup and roast meat that were sold next to the pub.

Then Nyaga started selling chicken meat. A Sh10 chunk of chicken meat was enough to add taste to fried githeri. Villagers had never had it so good.

Baboon limbs

However, one unlucky morning Nyaga’s trick was uncovered by a drunkard. Nyaga’s scouts had brought in the meat early in the morning. They passed by the drunkard who had slept in the trench overnight at the pub’s backyard and had just woken up.

Marangu, the drunkard, was shocked to see what the boys had brought in.

He woke up and rushed to summon the villagers. The angry villagers gathered immediately and rushed to Nyaga’s place and forced their way in. They forced him to carry the game meat and marched him to the local police station.

When Marangu was summoned by the court as a witness, he said, “Judge, I am not drunk today. In fact I vowed never to drink again when I saw what we used to eat as roasted meat. We did not eat roasted goat but roasted baboons.”

Nyaga pleaded guilty to the charges and even freely confessed like one possessed. “I used to make the rich soup with rats, moles and baboon limbs. Judge, I ask the court to forgive me.”

Outside the courtroom, some villagers vowed to become vegetarians there and then.
Source-The Standard

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Barack Obama: Kisumu’s Favorite Son

Posted by Administrator on March 29, 2010

Obama memorabilia The US president means more than just a home-town boy done good -- it’s about Kenyan politics too. (Photo: Reuters)

Obama memorabilia The US president means more than just a home-town boy done good -- it’s about Kenyan politics too. (Photo: Reuters)

By Jodi Clarke

On the edge of Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria, Irene Akinyi holds up a kanga with Barack Obama’s face resting between two African continents. She wants 500 Kenyan shillings (Ksh) for the garment. Not a bad deal, she says, considering she was selling them at double the price only a few months ago.

“Last year we sold 1 000 of these kangas,” says the 19-year-old stall-owner, holding up the traditional piece of clothing worn by local women around their waist. “This year, we’ve only sold three so far. T-shirts, kangas, badges — nobody wants them anymore.”

That the sales environment for Obama kitsch has quietened down is hardly surprising. But what is, is the sombre resignation that has come with it. Many locals expected Obama to do something for the area where his father was born and which he visited several times before running for the presidency.

Instead, in a very public reproof to Kenya’s corruption-riddled political system, he visited Ghana after his election — a country held up as a beacon of peace and stability on the continent.

“People have begun to realise that they can’t wait for Obama to help them,” says Dan Omombi, a taxi driver and former political activist. “They thought he would deliver the goodies, but he hasn’t. So people realise they’ll have to work hard themselves.”

But then, that’s no bad thing.

Where investment hasn’t come, American tourists and aid workers have, with a definite upsurge in visitors since his election, according to local travel agent Rosellyne Mokaya.

One of them, from Charlottesville, Virginia, is unloading sacks of grain from a 4×4 just off the Oginga Odinga Road, which cuts through the town. His name is Jonathan Martin and he is a Christian aid worker who has come “to share the gospel with the needy people of Kenya”.

“There was a lot of excitement and enthusiasm leading up to the election as to what he was going to do for Kenyans. People were handing out badges and other Obama paraphernalia. There was one man praying in the street.

“But people now see that he’s just another politician. He isn’t necessarily going to put food on their tables. He didn’t exactly make Kenya the 51st state. But if he can put pressure on the government here over corruption, there will be results. A lot of money comes into Kenya and no one knows where it goes.”

And it is the very state of Kenya’s politics that accounts for much of Obama’s popularity in the country.

That’s because the enthusiasm which greeted his election was never just about “home town boy done good”.

Obama’s father came from the local Luo community. And in Kenya’s fractured tribal politics, that means a lot. In December 2007 the local MP, Raila Odinga, lost the presidential election in a controversial poll that resulted in some of the worst violence since independence from Britain in 1963. Luos have never held the presidency. And many felt they were cheated yet again by the Kikuyu tribe, who make up about 20% of the population and have twice held the presidency; the current president, Mwai Kibaki, is one of them.

Walking the streets of Kisumu you stumble on the frustration everywhere. Photos of Odinga, the prime minister in the current unity government, hang from store fronts, while on the main thoroughfare a crowd of about 100 people has gathered to hear a spokesperson for Odinga’s ODM party deliver a fiery speech.

“They manipulate the people of Nyanza in our own land,” he says, a bottle of Sprite in his left hand, the other gesticulating wildly over the crowd. “That lake [Lake Victoria] makes 80-billion Ksh a year from fish and where does it all go? To the Kikuyus. All the money goes to some clerk who then gives it to Kibaki.

“But God didn’t predict that Kikuyus would rule forever. This is the time of Kenya. This generation must make history.”

That Obama could become president of the US before a Luo became president of Kenya, therefore, means a lot to the people.

But then, it means a lot to all Kenyans. “He’s a very clever guy, very brave. On top of that, he is our son,” says Jared Okumu, nursing a beer in the Imperial Hotel in the town.

“He rose from nothing and he has never forgotten where he came from. That is to be respected. I mean he is respected worldwide.”

Source: Mail & Guardian Online

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Queries raised over military choppers that have yet to fly

Posted by Administrator on March 29, 2010

Did Kenya buy defective helicopters from China? That is the question being asked by military engineers after it became apparent that eight Chinese choppers delivered to Nairobi in January have not been flown.

The helicopters were bought from a company that has previously supplied planes to Kenya.

However, the ministry of Defence said the helicopters had not been grounded but did not explain why they have not taken to the air three months after they were delivered.

“We wish to state that so far we do not have any Z-9 helicopters which are grounded,” the DoD spokesman Bogita Ongeri said in response to enquiries about the aircraft. But engineers at DoD said the military utility helicopters had never been airborne since they were delivered in January.

Sources at DoD said several of the eight helicopters were meant to beef up the VIP fleet that is usually at the disposal of the President, Prime Minister and the Vice-President.

Currently, President Kibaki uses the French-manufactured Puma helicopters that are reconfigured for VIP usage.

As military utility helicopters, the Z-9 have a variety of roles including ground attack, air assault, cargo, reconnaissance and troop transport. They can carry 10 armed soldiers.

VIP fleet

Engineers note that while they expected the “new” helicopters to reinforce the VIP fleet, they were disappointed that they had not flown three months after arrival.

“For three months we have waited for them to take to the skies but to no avail,” our source, who cannot be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said.

The Harbin Z-9 is a Chinese military utility helicopter licence-built version of the French Eurocopter Dauphin.

The first Z-9 flew in 1981, and was built in China by the Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corp from components supplied by Aérospatiale.

This is the same French firm that supplied the Puma helicopters still in service for the Kenya Air Force.

The latest armed version, the Z-9WA, was introduced in 2005 and has night attack capabilities with an under-nose low-light TV and infra-red observing and tracking unit.

Information on the purchase of the choppers is contained in the latest factsheet of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which monitors worldwide purchase and transfer of military hardware.

According to SIPRI, the four Z-9WA armed version helicopters were ordered last year by the ministry of Defence and delivered in January.

The DoD termed the purchase of the helicopters a prerequisite for readiness on the part of the military.

Mr Ongeri said the acquisition of the helicopters is one of a series of steps aimed at modernising the armed forces.

“We have an obligation to equip our soldiers with the very best, most modern equipment/systems our nation and budget can provide,” he said.

Without revealing how the country procured the aircraft, DoD said contracts in regard to procurement of military equipment the world over take a long time.

Last week, SIPRI disclosed that Kenya had spent more than Sh45 billion on military equipment.

This was the third largest budgetary military expenditure in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Kenya’s expenditure

African countries that exceeded Kenya’s expenditure were South Africa and Angola.

Last year, DoD was on the spot when it insisted that tanks imported from the Ukraine belonged to Kenya while it was generally assumed the end user was Southern Sudan.

The department promised to take journalists on a trip to show the tanks in action but, more than a year since the pledge, nothing has come of it.

Since President Kibaki took office late in December 2002, Kenya has continually looked to China and Eastern Europe countries for its arms and military hardware.

In 2006, Kenya bought an estimated 400 troop-carrying vehicles from China in a deal that sparked questions from other suppliers.

A year later, Kenya bought 32 armoured personnel carriers from China.

Earlier, the country had received Y-12 military utility planes from the same country.

Queries over the state of the Chinese choppers came as the Sunday Nation learned that the much-awaited Jordanian fighter jets that cost taxpayers Sh1.6 billion are expected in the country next month.

Meanwhile, DoD has said it is in negotiations with the Spanish firm awarded the tender to build a warship for the Kenya Navy in May 2003.

Mr Ongeri said DoD has entered into arbitration with the ship manufacturers, Astilleros Gondan, and the company awarded the deal, Euromarine Industries.

The Defence and Foreign Relations Committee chaired by the then Laikipia West MP, Mr G.G. Kariuki, had in 2007 asked the government to hire independent experts to evaluate the naval ship’s works and services done as a basis for working out payments to the shadowy Euromarine Industries.

“Other options the government may consider include nullifying existing contracts and renegotiating new terms and entering into new well thought-out agreements with a clear exit strategy to safeguard public funds,” the report says.

The committee recommended that those who deliberately make the government enter into irregular and lop-sided procurement contracts where Kenya stands to lose money, image and international standing should be dealt with firmly.

Naval ship contract

The committee urged the government to bear in mind the need to protect public funds in whatever action it takes on the naval ship contract.

Although DoD declined to state how much money had been paid to Euromarine Industries, independent sources put the figure at Sh2.3 billion.

Euromarine Industries is reported to be demanding a staggering Sh1.8 billion for same ship.

The naval ship deal is among the 18 dodgy contracts that the government either terminated or suspended after the Anglo Leasing and Finance scandal blew up.

Euromarine Industries was awarded the contract to construct the ship for a staggering Sh4.1 billion (Euros 51,997,000).

The firm is said to have proposed a medium term financial package that was to ease the budgetary burden on the government.

Source-Daily Nation

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Gifted girl skipped five classes

Posted by Administrator on March 28, 2010

13-year-old Tracy Ouko, a Form Four student at Millenium Academy, wants to be a nutrition manager and help solve malnutrition cases. Photo/William Oeri

13-year-old Tracy Ouko, a Form Four student at Millenium Academy, wants to be a nutrition manager and help solve malnutrition cases. Photo/William Oeri

By Joy Wanja

Tracy Ouko can easily pass for a girl in her late teens, or even a young woman aged 20 years.

So confident, composed, and articulate is the 13-year-old that she has not only learnt to mingle with adults but intimately shares her passion for her pet subject — nutrition.

Tracy was identified as a gifted and talented child five years ago and was accelerated from Class Three to Form One.

“A psychometric test revealed that my daughter was exceptionally good in nutrition and her knowledge was above that of her age mates,” Prof Humphrey Oborah, her father, told Saturday Nation on Friday.

Little effort

Her interest in the subject prompted her parents to take her through the psychometric test.

“She would ask lots of questions, was a keen observer and analyst and excelled in her studies with little effort,” Prof Oborah said.

“I developed an interest in food and its nutritive value when I was seven,” says Tracy, now a Form Four student at Millennium Academy.

She says the more she researched, the more she thirsted for knowledge in the field.

Tracy is one of 325 children in East Africa who are part of the African Council for Gifted and Talented Children, an organisation that nurtures and appreciates extraordinary ability.

According to Prof Oborah, the children do not necessarily have to be gifted academically only. Dexterity in skills like singing, playing the piano or sports are some of the talents identified.

If you notice a unique skill in your child, nurture it,” he advised parents, guardians, and teachers.

However, Prof Oborah said one of the challenges facing learning institutions in the country and region is a system to identify gifted children due to restrictions on access to educational and psychological assessment to determine IQ.

“I want to be a nutrition manager to solve malnutrition cases,” says Tracy.

However, all has not been rosy for the adolescent. “The girls were older than me but we were almost the same body size,” she said.

“Making new friends was even harder but they were helpful and I settled in pretty fast,” she added.

Looks forward

Tracy says that although she is seven years younger than her classmates, academic work was a common factor they shared, making school more interesting.

Tracy is preparing for her O-level examination and looks forward to assisting in finding solutions to under-nourishment in the near future.

-Daily Nation

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Photo display replays Kenya poll chaos

Posted by Administrator on March 28, 2010

A woman cries outside the Kiambaa church where several people were burnt to death in January 2008. Photo/FILE

A woman cries outside the Kiambaa church where several people were burnt to death in January 2008. Photo/FILE

By DENNIS ODUNGA
Posted Sunday, March 28 2010 at 22:30

Tears flowed freely as memories of post-election violence were replayed at a photo exhibition in Eldoret Town at the weekend.

The residents were treated to few heart-warming pictures before moving on to scary ones to remind those who witnessed and those who didn’t about what transpired after the 2007 disputed presidential poll results.

Counsellors were at hand to attend to those overwhelmed by emotions. The exhibition was organised under the auspices of “Picha Mtaani, Heal the Nation” initiative in collaboration with USAid and UNDP.

The pictures at the municipal council grounds, showed Kenyans full of vigour casting their votes oblivious of what lay ahead.

Running battles

The pictures showing demonstrators as well as security personnel engaging the public in running battles and bodies of some of those killed left many heart-broken.

“This was terribly bad. A man hacking his fellow human being to death is not something Kenyans should take for granted,” said Ms Mary Chebet as tears flowed down her cheeks.

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, seen crying in some photographs, were dismissed as shedding crocodile tears given the manner in which they were governing this country.

“They have not shown commitment to ensure the country does not revert to what happened in the last General Election,” said Mr Derreck Too.

Mr Boniface Mwangi, the project director, said the pictures though a sad reminder, would enable Kenyans condemn tribalism and understand the value of respecting and valuing life.

Daily Nation

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Kenyan Boy’s Confidence Leads him to Spelling Bee Victory in Ohio

Posted by Administrator on March 28, 2010

Ian Muita spells a word during the Newark City Schools Middle School Spelling Bee on Friday morning at Liberty Middle School in Newark. Muita, a seventh grader at Liberty, won. (Matthew Berry, The Advocate)

Ian Muita spells a word during the Newark City Schools Middle School Spelling Bee on Friday morning at Liberty Middle School in Newark. Muita, a seventh grader at Liberty, won. (Matthew Berry, The Advocate)

By L.B Whyde

NEWARK — Twenty-five middle school students started, but only three remained at the end of the seventh round of the middle school spelling bee Friday at Liberty Middle School.

The winner after the final round was Liberty seventh-grader Ian Muita, 13.

With words such as “femininity” and “triumvirate” knocking out students ahead of him, Muita had the luck of the draw and had to spell “confidence” to gain first place.

But it took three more rounds to determine the second- and third-place finishers.

The students went through all the eighth-grade lists and challenge words and in the final round went on to even more difficult words. While “popularity,” “diary” and “humble” were simple for eighth-grade contestants Josh Abrams and Liz Dysart, they then received “soliloquy” and “efficacy.”

Abrams, of Wilson Middle School, came in second after spelling “pernicious,” meaning exceeding harmful or deadly.

Muita said he wants to attend Harvard to study physics.

“I knew I would win because I am really good at it,” Muita said. “I didn’t study much; it’s a natural ability.”

Dysart, of Liberty, came in third.

“I hope I’m never in another spelling bee,” he said with a laugh.

Abrams likes to participate in spelling bees after his first one last year, when he placed sixth.

“I have no idea what ‘soliloquy’ means,” Abrams said. “I’m a great student in school, and I thought being a good speller would be important.”

Newark City Schools Curriculum Director Dana Herreman pronounced the words during the bee.
Eight sixth-graders, 10 seventh-graders and seven eighth-graders participated.

Source: Newark Advocate

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One last night…

Posted by Administrator on March 28, 2010

By JACKSON BIKO

Have you ever wondered what happens at a stag party? What it is that your husband- to-be and his friends get up to on the last night before he is finally yours? Well, here it is right from the horse’s mouth.

You can call me Mitch. Of course that’s not my real name; I just like the sound of it. Right now, I’m in a private house somewhere in an upmarket address. It’s a beautiful house; two bathrooms, four bedrooms, a massive living room, a balcony and a garden.

I don’t know who owns this house, what I know, is that it’s goes for Sh25,000 a night. My friends, who have been here several times from the look of things, call it the “house on the hill”.

There are about two dozen men, or more, in the house, scattered all over the living room, out in the verandah and garden.

Everybody is cradling a bottle or a glass of something alcoholic. The music is thumping. At the edge of the room is a long table where drinks are sold by this huge fellow with a goatee that is dyed white.

Or maybe his goatee is naturally white in colour, who knows? I sure won’t walk up to him to find out. It’s heading to 11pm and the air is heavy with anticipation.

The highlight of this evening will be when the girls finally pitch up. The dancers. Jimmy said not less than 15 girls will be in attendance. Jimmy, he who put this shindig together, is one of my good friends.

Of course that is not his real name; I just like the sound of the name. Putting this show together has taken him two weeks of planning; finding the appropriate venue, sourcing for the dancers, the drinks, the deejay and security which comprises of three beefy fellows with chests the size of my refrigerator.

I’m getting married the day after tomorrow, a church wedding with all the bells and whistles that come with it.

I’m a bit giddy at the prospect of walking down the aisle. It’s a big deal to me at 36 years of age. This is it. And being in this private house is my close friends’ idea of a ‘send-away’ gift.

This is a stag party, my stag party. ‘Every guy needs a decent send off; this is a chapter that you have to close.’

They enthused. I don’t know. Maybe it is, most of them are married and perhaps know better, I don’t know what happens when men cross the threshold, so yes, I trust that this has to be done.

My idea of a stag party has always been a slightly dysfunctional party where men get drunk and beautiful women grind themselves on hypnotised men. This is not altogether a horrible idea when I think about it.

I’ve been on scotch for the past hour now and so I’m a bit tipsy, but I’m also getting restless. Let me tell you about my fiancée Sandy (not her real name of course, again, and again, I just love the sound of that name).

She is the sort of girl who practiced celibacy until she was in her mid-twenties; totally middle of the road and totally faithful to some core beliefs that she sometimes confuse even me. She is a sober person, and by that I mean she doesn’t touch alcohol.

Little wonder I’m marrying her. When I took her to visit my parents, my mom called me aside and whispered to me, “If you let this one go, you will never find another.” Three months later we got engaged on a bobbing dingy off the coast of Mombasa.

The girls finally arrive and you can almost feel everyone hold their breaths. Even though the music is blaring, the room is suddenly filled with an inexplicable silence. They rock up in two vans, with heavily tinted windows.

As soon as the vans come to a stop outside the door, they step out in long heels of different colours; black, red, blue, pink, white, purple. A rainbow of heels.

All the men are suitably inebriated now, and almost tired of each other’s company, to express their relief at the new entrants they all clap enthusiastically.

Picture about 13 grown men, clapping wildly and cat-calling as the vans empty of these beautiful, lithe women.

The women, all smiles and not a hair out of place, shuffle into the house in one long file led by their leader, a slightly older woman but who amazingly has a figure of a teenager. The men, dreamily, follow them inside…the story of the Pied Piper comes to mind as I amble in after everyone else.

The girls head upstairs to change. The men gather around in the living room, every one of them wearing broad smiles, eyes reflexively shifting up the staircase.

Each of these guys paid Sh3,000 to be here. I know only half of them, and as the night wears on, more guys will show up at the gate, with Sh3,000 clutched tight in their fist, wanting to get in on the action. I count the number of guys I knew; maybe seven.

The rest are strangers but only in a manner of speaking because everyone seems to know my name, as we sat together earlier, they would walk over and “wish me luck” and perhaps give me a piece of matrimonial advice. I felt like I was going to fight in Iraq.

The music is killed and standing in the middle of room, the leader of the girls – let’s call her Queen Farida, because I like the name – gives a short speech.

“I’m sure you gentlemen have day jobs. This is our day job, only we prefer to do it at night,” she says to a little good natured chuckle around the room.

“I only have one request from you; I need you to respect my girls. You guys have paid for a dance, and that’s what it will be, a dance. Any disrespect will be handled with the seriousness it deserves, but I’m certain it won’t come to that because you all look like gentlemen.”

More chuckles. She talks concisely and eloquently but with a robust authority that lurks underneath her civility.

She then asks the “man of the night” to take his seat. That will be me so I walk and ease myself into a special red chair in the middle of the room.

She then hands me a box of cigars; Cohiba or something. Someone cuts off the end after which she strikes a match for me and I light up. I feel like a King already.

The music comes back on. The lights dim. The girls come down, dressed (if that is the right word) in anything from hot pants, dresses to shukas and Erica Badu-like head gear. They all retain those high heels.

The men who have made a circle around me cheer even more wildly. I guess the booze is taking effect. The women start dancing within this circle, cycling me like hounds that have smelled blood.

They sway and sashay to the beat. Their skin glistens in this subdued lighting. Some have that glittering thing that they sprinkle on their faces, and so they look like sketches off a fashion sketchpad. It all looks surreal.

At some point, I get a lap dance. In fact, I get lap dances pretty much from every one of those girls. You would imagine that it gets normal, that once you get one good lap dance you’ve gotten them all.

It doesn’t. Every experience is unique. This goes on for a long pleasurable while. After I’ve danced with – or rather after I’ve been danced on by the ladies, the fun is spread to the rest of the boys. It soon becomes a full blown party; pole dance, dirty dancing, you name it.

Queen Farida keeps a close eye on me like a waitress would, and once in a while she asks me if there is anything else I need, ‘anything at all.’ I can’t think of anything more I would want….of course!

But I can imagine my fiancé’s reaction if she would, at this moment, walk through those doors. The bottom would surely fall off and I’m certain she would promptly faint.

Initially she wasn’t for this idea but her friends convinced her that it was only for this night anyway.

At some point in the night, one of the girls will hold my hand and drag me to the verandah where, surprisingly, she will engage me in a light banter. I say surprising because it’s not every day that you meet a stripper who is keen to talk.

They don’t talk, they dance, that’s their job description. Okay, she doesn’t exactly talk, she more like asks questions. I imagine that Jimmy set this up, to make it seem as casual and real as it can.

Even though I can tell she doesn’t care about my answers, she still asks me questions. She asks about my fiancée, how we met and if I’m nervous about the wedding.

She asks what colour of suit I will be wearing; she asks if I will wear a hat, and when I tell her I won’t, she says she thinks I would look absolutely hot in one. I think about it for exactly three seconds.

She asks all sorts of mundane but amusing questions and I indulge her. She even asks me if my fiancee owns anything kinky, like leather pants.

When I tell her she is a Christian who doesn’t wear leather pants to bed, she laughs for so long and so genuinely, that I’m left a little surprised.

Strangely she finds that amusing. I’m seated on the railing of the verandah cradling my glass of whisky. She stands between my legs. She smells of something citrusy.

My answers to her interrogation are very brief and vague; you will excuse me if I’m reluctant to talk about my fiancée with a woman who stands between my legs dressed in little more than her 4 inch heels.

What do I feel right now, seated here with a scantily-dressed woman standing between my legs, a few hours before I walk the love of my life down the aisle, you might ask?

If you are hoping I will say I feel guilt, I won’t. I would be lying. I don’t feel any guilt at all; I’m totally expunged of it.

There is a slight discomfort though, but above that I feel an excitement and not because this dancer is now resting her hands on my thigh, but an excitement that my life is about to change, that in two days, I will be having a ring around my finger, and that ring will signify a milestone in my life.

In short, I’m thinking of my fiancée in little spurts, but the feelings are not fuelled by guilt but rather by a realisation that I’m on a free fall. Being here, with these well-oiled dancers is not a recipe for guilt.

I feel buffered from guilt by the fact that it’s been approved by her and by some abstract societal rules that allows men one more night of naughtiness. To use an analogy; it’s a bit like amputating a leg, a drastic measure that lends justification to the larger end. A cathartic exercise – if ever there was one.

My best man is here too, just so you know. I hope he is not carrying the ring with him. He, let’s call him Frank, is a very level-headed fellow. He walks out and checks on me once in a while as if to make sure I don’t run off with the dancer.

The evening winds down in a haze. I remember the scene transform into a loud but cheery tableau of hedonism. I remember the dancer who I was chanting with laying a kiss on my cheek and whispering something in my ears (good luck, I think).

I remember Frank leading me to the car, because I was a bit unstable on my feet. I remember Jimmy, holding a glass of brandy, grinning at me proudly through the car window, and someone behind him saying he had lost his duck. Yes, a duck! Like I said, I was on scotch.

satmag@ke.nationmedia.com

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Karua fixed Kenyan MPs with tough review Act

Posted by Administrator on March 26, 2010

BY ANTHONY KAGIRI

Debate on the new Constitution has reached fever pitch and politicians are hitting the roof over proposed amendments. An attempt to twist the law so that MPs can make changes by a simple majority was thwarted earlier in the week, thanks to National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende.

 The Committee of Experts has done its work, and I extol the members for ignoring demands from politicians no matter how thunderous some shouted.

The churches aped politicians and campaigned vigorously for their demands but like the lawmakers they were largely ignored. However aggrieved the two groups are, they have very little options left. The MPs have an uphill task of convincing 145 colleagues to pass any amendments.

Further, if the amendment(s) pass the draft will have to go back to the Committee of Experts. Here’s the catch: The CoE is not under any express obligation to incorporate the changes.

In fact, should the experts deem the amendments unpalatable, they have the leeway to dismiss them altogether. Turning to the religious leaders, they are also left with the option of petitioning MPs to move their desired amendments (which could in turn be discarded by the CoE). The last option would be to use the pulpit to lobby followers to reject the draft at the referendum.

But even then, I know a good number of faithful will vote with their conscience. The review process is propelled with clear timelines and not even the Head of State can alter the road map.

 This is just a snip preview of the strength of the Review Act, which virtually protects the draft from undue mutilation.

Martha Wangari Karua may have bowed out of the Cabinet a frustrated woman and subsequently lost her place in the newspaper headlines but her legacy remains, although unnoticed.

I guess most of us remember her for the passion she exhibited when she defended President Mwai Kibaki after the disputed 2007 Presidential results. Today I want to give you another reason to remember her.

As the Justice and Constitutional Affairs she drafted the Review Act that is guiding the review process. Ms Karua insulated the process from any selfish interests and sealed loopholes that would have given politicians an opportunity to unjustifiably interfere with it.

The only stumbling block to the process is a referendum. In very unlikely fashion of a politician, Ms Karua boxed his colleagues by ensuring that whether or not they like the draft, they cannot stop the review process! Despite fears that the two-decade quest for a new Constitution could hit a dead end, I am very optimistic Kenya will finally get a new set of laws.

A while ago I formed the ‘Name and Fame Network’ to appreciate outstanding Kenyans. And today, I add the name of Martha Wangari Karua to the roll of fame.

Posted in Kenya | Comments Off on Karua fixed Kenyan MPs with tough review Act

Councillors use coffin in Kenya protest

Posted by Administrator on March 26, 2010

An empty coffin with photo of Mayor Majiwa

An empty coffin with photo of Mayor Majiwa

By Simon Ndong’a

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 26 – A section of Nairobi councillors took to the streets on Friday pushing for the resignation of Mayor Geoffrey Majiwa over the cemetery scandal.

The civic leaders presented a petition to the office of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Government Musalia Mudavadi in which they demanded that Mr Majiwa vacates office within 10 days.

Led by nominated councilor Mutunga Mutungi, the councilors who carried a coffin on the streets said that strong action on the mayor will ensure zero tolerance on corruption at City Hall.

“As Nairobians, we do not have farms. That is why we are petitioning the honorable Deputy Prime Minister because we have an obligation to give our burial land to the people of this City,” he stated.

Mr Mutungi said should the petition be ignored, they will mobilise Kenyans in a bid to pile more pressure on the government.

“We will still go back to our people who are rate payers and actually tell them that the Deputy Prime Minister is not taking action and we need them to act,” he explained. “Since they are the rate payers, we will come up with a decision which might entail them being asked not to pay their rates until action is taken.”

Acting Local Government Permanent Secretary Francis Musyimi received the petition and said that the ministry would look into it.

“We have received your memorandum and this means the message will be conveyed to the Deputy Prime Minister,” he stated.
 
The councillors invoked section 53 B (1) of the Local Government Act in a bid to disqualify Mr Majiwa in the light of his alleged direct involvement in the cemetery scandal.

Kasarani ward councillor John Njoroge said that the resignation of the Mayor would restore the public’s confidence in the council. He stressed the need for the council to urgently undertake any acquisition of land in an open and transparent manner in a bid to cancel out the mistakes that have bedeviled it.

Mr Majiwa has always maintained that he will not resign despite being implicated in a cemetery land purchase scandal in which more than Sh259 million was fraudulently paid out.

He instead accused the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission of breaking into his house and stealing personal documents.

 

Source: Capital FM

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