Monday, February 16, 2009



By Ng'ang'a Mbugua
February 15 2009

Dear Mr Moreno Ocampo,

Greetings, Amigo.
Please allow me to tell you something about Kenya because we expect you to be paying us a visit any time soon. Of course, we understand that you will not be coming as a tourist but on the serious business of investigating and prosecuting the six Cabinet ministers and five MPs who organised the violence in which 1,133 Kenyans were killed and 600,000 ejected from their farms and homes.

In Kenya, sir, you can fairly predict the way a person will vote by asking a simple question: Are you Bantu or Nilote? True, there is a relatively smaller group of Cushites, and they have historically voted for the government of the day.

The Cushites did not fight last year and the people you might want to investigate are Bantus and Nilotes. These two branches of humanity are still so divided that if you do not do something drastic, they will be at each other’s throats again in 2012.

That is why you must make your presence felt before then. You can even start by making public the names of the 11 politicians so that Kenyans and the international community can start watching them more keenly.

Election stolen

You may be interested in knowing that some of them could be eyeing the presidency and if you do not act, we could end up with a Pol Pot or a Pinochet or a Milosevic at State House. Help us to avoid that eventuality.

Sir, some people will tell you that the violence erupted because the 2007 election was stolen. But, you may be interested in knowing that with the probable exception of 1964 and 2002, Kenya has never had free, fair or credible elections.

True, there were systematic campaigns of violence every election year since multi-partyism was introduced in 1991, but nothing on the scale we witnessed last year.

You see, sir, no one has ever been prosecuted for the ethnic cleansing of the past. Because the organisers and financiers always got away with it, they decided to up their game in 2007. And that is where you come in.

Because politicians have refused to set up a local tribunal, the Kenyan public is looking up to you to send a clear message that those who organised the killings will be brought to justice. Tell them it may take some time, and although they can run, remind them that they cannot escape.

See you soon, Amigo.


Spare your outrage for graft barons

A few years ago, after taking a Pakistani friend for lunch at Nairobi's Village Market, he fulminated that it was so wrong for expatriates to show such opulence in the face of so much poverty in the rest of the country.

“Are you not outraged at this parallel economy?” he asked, shaking with rage. Well, I reckoned that if all right thinking people were to take outrage to its logical conclusion, they would all have to hang themselves in righteous anger, frustration and despair. There is so much to be outraged about that one is spoilt for choice.

Consider for instance that the government has launched the infrastructure bond, through which it seeks to raise Sh18.5 billion to finance major road works and increase electricity supply, among other projects.

As far as noble ideas go, this is one of them. What it means is that wananchi (citizens) an become donors and the nation would, once and for all, rid itself of meddling foreigners who demand political reforms just because they are giving us money for roads or Aids

Now, the Central Bank of Kenya is inviting wananchi to play the role of donors by buying a share of the infrastructure bond by Wednesday. In fact, anyone who can spare Sh100,000 should seriously consider the offer as it promises the prospects of good returns at 12.5 per cent a year.

Investing in bond

If the infrastructure bond becomes successful, donors will no longer be demanding a new constitution before they can fund the expansion of Thika Road in Nairobi. That job will be left to wananchi.

Sadly, in the same week that the group driving this agenda was expounding on the merits of investing in the bond, a UK based group calling itself Christian Aid reported that corrupt people from Kenya and Nigeria had accumulated Sh468 billion in foreign banks.

Assuming that the two countries are equally corrupt, this means that white collar thieves from Kenya have stashed away Sh234 billion in Europe. As would be expected, the crème-de-la crème of the corrupt are either government officials or top political leaders and their children.

According to Justice minister Martha Karua, the best among these crooks are in the coalition Cabinet. And this is where the public and anyone else with a modicum of a conscience has a wonderful opportunity to be outraged. Here is a government with corrupt ministers asking the struggling mwananchi for Sh18.5 billion to build better roads and generate more electricity.

It has asked for Sh30 billion to help the 600,000 people ejected from their homes during the post-election violence and a similar amount to feed the 10 million for whom hunger has become a constant companion.

Incidentally, the money needed for these noble tasks is a mere fraction of that which has been stolen from the public purse and is lying idle in Europe.

Good governance

For those who are not outraged enough, they can still spare some venom for Western countries, whose envoys have become professors of good governance and accountability but whose bankers continue to provide safe havens for money stolen in Africa.

According to Christian Aid, Europe has an intricate system of laws that provide secrecy “and trust services” for their clients who deposit their loot there.

What this means is that European MPs have passed laws that make it difficult to name the people who have stolen money from Africa. Since this money is kept in fixed accounts, could it be the same that Europe lends to Africa at a cost?


Council should crack the whip on these death traps

If I am not wrong, it was Beethoven, the German classical music composer, who once said that architecture is frozen music.

Investors in Nairobi have accepted this truth as self-evident, and this is clear from the way they are commissioning new blocks of offices that are not just buildings but enduring works of art. The new buildings not only beautify the skyline of the city in the sun, but also give it character.

Finer things

In fact, anyone who has an eye for the finer things in life cannot fail to appreciate the architectural marvels that dot this growing city.
Sadly, however, since the Nakumatt fire tragedy in Nairobi that killed 31 people, there have been reports that many of the buildings in the city are not safe to work from.

A worryingly large number of them do not have fire escapes, and others do not have equipment that could come in handy in case of emergencies.

Yet, every day, these buildings – some of which are magnificent from the outside – host thousands of people, all of whom are at risk every hour of their working lives.

Fire engines

Of course, we have also been told the number of fire engines in the city are far below those recommended for the population size, which means that Nairobi’s firefighters would be overwhelmed should two fires break out on the same day.

May be it is time we borrowed a leaf from the New York Fire Department, whose budget, I am told, is bigger than the UN’s, and which has managed to turn firefighting into a prestigious and sexy profession.


A new anthem that captures Kenya’s mood

To capture the mood of a nation reeling from the increasing number of corruption scandals involving MPs, someone was kind enough to compose a new anthem for them:

Politicians of all persuasions
Strip this land and nation
Fortunes motivate us and keep us
May we steal with impunity
Dodge taxes in unity
Plenty be sourced within our dockets

Let all politicians arise
With scams both wily and foolproof
Eating be our earnest endeavour
And our cake-stand of Kenya
Heritage of plunder

May we fight forever to perpetuate
Let parties with one accord
In common greed united
Bankrupt our nation together
May the agony of Kenya
The fruit of our behaviour
Remain hidden from our 2012 voters.


Submitted by businei1900
Posted February 16, 2009 11:45 AM

Tell him again Seretse, like the hisotry of kenya, they want to again distort the truth. It was Kenya Vs mt Kenya

Submitted by Seretse
Posted February 16, 2009 01:14 AM

Good satirical piece though satire as a technique should mirror the reality in its symbolism. Justifying the 2007 debacle by previous botched election doesn't wash. Simplifying the voting pattern as a simple Bantu/Nilote chism is juvenile in the least. A fairer attempt would have been a Mt. Kenya/Rest of Kenya divide which is probably the reality you are trying to hide in your piece. Unless we slay the dragon of tribalism from our society, building a true nation will elude us.