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7 Bravest Kenyan Whistleblowers


Since there are always as many scandals as there are potential scandals going in Kenya at any one time, it is hard to pick out a few whistleblowers from the many who go unnoticed.  It takes bravery to expose the system, especially when it involves the powers that be. The problem is that there is no reaction beyond a mere grunt from the populace, with the occasional twitching of the conscience that is quickly covered up with layers and layers of political sycophancy and apathy.

#7 The Grand Regency 11

images

In 2003, 11 employees at the Grand Regency Hotel volunteered information to the KACC on alleged corruption within the five-star hotel. It was at the time owned by Kamlesh Pattni. The hotel subsequently fired the employees.

Their testimony is said to have contributed somewhat to the decision by Pattni to surrender to hotel to the government. It did not, however, stop the fraud that took place when it changed hands to another owner. When the hotel was handed over to the state, the Receiver Manager reinstated the eleven back to their jobs but they were physically ejected and locked up at the Central Police Station.

#6 Kipkemoi Arap Kirui

Anyone who followed the 2007 elections remembers the man who the opposition party brought to the platform and whose introduction was ‘My name is Kipkemoi arap Kirui and I am a Clerk Assistant at the National Assembly working at the Table Office. I am a lawyer.’Some of the issues he raised include the suppression and reduction of results in some constituencies, and other irregularities.

Kirui’s information exposed the sham that was the counting and tallying process that was the ECK. It provided fodder for the opposition party to claim that the electoral commission had skewed the numbers in favor of the incumbent. While nothing tangible was ever done to correct the mistakes of 2007-except the cosmetics of course-Kirui’s courage in the middle of corruption and fraud is admirable.

Like many of the individuals on this list, he was forced to go into hiding as the country slowly sunk into mayhem and violence. Some of his academic work points towards a brilliant thinker on parliamentary procedure and democracy. 

 #5 Catherine Gicheru

One of the lesser known whistleblowers, Catherine Gicheru is a practicing journalist who wrote a series of explosive reports before the 1992 elections. Her scathing articles touched on two things, the involvement of KANU’s power men in the assassination of Ouko, and the corruption schemes to siphon off millions of dollars into a private housing development. Basically just exposing what KANU did whenever any of its leaders was concious enough.

Gicheru was harassed and threatened by thugs but that was pretty much it.  The KANU government banned the Nation from covering the Electoral Commission at the time. She was later awarded Courage in Journalism Award by the International Women Media Foundation.

#4 David Munyakei

munyakei

A brilliant clerk who passed a chance to enter the military as a cadet for a job in the CBK, Munyakei blew the whistle on the Goldenberg Scandal. He noticed that Goldenberg International was receiving massive sums of money for alleged export of gold and diamonds. He leaked official CBK documents to opposition members of parliament and so initiated a series of clusterfucks that were the reactions to the multibillion scandal.

He was arrested, released, and then fired from his job at the CBK. He fled to Mombasa where he hid for four years. Within that time, he converted to Islam and married Mariam Ali Muhammad Hanii.He emerged from hiding in 1998.

After the NARC mistake took over in 2002, they used him for PR and he testified before the Goldenberg Commission. Munyakei died in 2006 a poor and dejected man. The scandal for which he sacrificed what would have been an illustrious career is still a blemish for which justice may never be achieved. Everyone received a slap on the wrist, a few went to prison for months, and everyone but the Kenyan taxpayer went home richer.

Munyakei’s heroic story is serialized in Billy Kahora’s book ‘The True Story of David Munyakei.’ 

Although the two were most likely unrelated, there is said to be some link between his troubles and the death of his mother.

# 3 John Githongo

gstatic dot com

Another famous whistleblower, Githongo made headline news when he quit his position as the Ethics and Governance Permanent Security and accused several power men of Grand corruption.

The scheme involved a $600m contract to Anglo-Leasing, a non-existent company. Some of the contracts in the scheme predated the NARC government but the new government had furthered and increased the money-stealing scheme. Githongo named Chris Murungaru, David Mwiraria, Kiraitu Murungi and Moody Awori, and Kibaki, ostensibly the most powerful men in the country at the time, as the people behind the scandal. He subsequently fled to London for a few years. His story is recorded in Michela Wrong‘s book It’s Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower.

A former journalist, Githongo first founded the Kenyan chapter of Transparency International in 1999. The London-based New African Magazine selected him as one of the world’s 100 most influential Africans in its June 2011 edition .

Like the Goldenberg Scandal, the Anglo Leasing (Fleecing) Scandal remains a crude joke in recent Kenyan history.

#2 Oscar King’ara and Paul Oulu

These two were human rights activists whose work investigating police brutality and extrajudicial killings led to their public execution. Oscar, a lawyer by profession, was the founder and director of Oscar Foundation Free Legal Aid Clinic. Oulu, a former University of Nairobi student leader, was his assistant.

The two had played an extensive role in investigating police extrajudicial killings. In 2008, Oscar released a report that accused the police of killing and torturing 8, 000 people during a crackdown of the Mungiki gang. He also contributed extensively to The Cry of Blood — Report on Extra-Judicial Killings and Disappearances. Oscar had also given testimony to, and assisted UN Special Rapporteur, Philip Alston.

Assassins, almost definitely government operatives, ambushed them on March 5, 2009 during rush-hour trafficThe aftermath was even weirder. University students moved Oulu’s body into a hostel. When the police tried to retrieve it, they fired live rounds, killing one student. The police answered to the call a whole two hours after the shooting despite the nearest police station being a walking distance away from the crime scene.

The image above of Oscar’s body slumped in the driver’s seat in his white Mercedes remains a constant reminder that the dragon of police brutality is alive and well.The man who had spent his adult life fighting police brutality, was killed by what was ostensibly an extrajudicial killing. 

Addition 24 January:

Oscar and Paul’s story is featured in the 2013 movie, The Fifth Estate, which features the Wikileaks quest to expose the corruptions of power.

#1 Elias Njagi Kavanda

Rusty Corruption. Image Credit www.bbc.co.uk

Rusty Corruption.
Image Credit http://www.bbc.co.uk

One of Kenya’s unsung whistleblowers, Kavanda investigated and exposed corruption at the Kenya Railways Corporation in 2003. Kavanda was dismissed and his family subsequently thrown out of the government house.

Kavanda was employed at Kenya Railways in 2002 as the Senior Security Officer in charge of Central Kenya. He was the number two in the security department. Kavanda stupidly believed that his bosses were interested in ending corruption and over the course of his yearlong employment, investigated and reported cases of corruption.

Their first solution was to demote him to a small station at the coast. Here, he discovered a racket to smuggle new spare parts that would be later sold as scrap metal. Unrelenting as ever, he also discovered that his corporation and the police were in cohorts to steal bags of sugar in transit. Between February and July 2002 alone, over 1, 500 bags of sugar were stolen.

Even after his request for funds was denied, Kavanda investigated another fraud, this time involving his bosses. This one involved the movement of empty containers from Malaba to Kilindini where certain individuals would pocket the money. Other scandals included the corrupt sale of Railway land plots and houses. 

He started filing his reports at the Office of the President from where it was later leaked to his bosses. His bosses fired him and threw his family out of the government house. Luckily for him, he had backup copies of all his reports to defend his actions. The gravy train continued unabated, however, despite his relentless bravery.

Owaahh, 2014 © 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Crime, Despair, Discourse, Events, Kenya, Lists, Pages from the Past

 

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7 Ballsiest Hoaxes Ever Pulled by Kenyans


 I’ve only been conned once. By an old man. An old senile man. Not 60s old, older, that guy was really really old. By the time I realized I was the sucker in the transaction, he was probably on his deathbed, dying of natural causes. I was KES 2500 poorer, carrying a shredded ego and for some odd reason, finding it funny and embarrassing at the same time. Although the relic didn’t get a lot of money, the pang of my gullibility lasted for months, probably longer than him.

But when that old man was younger (or still old, but not as old), Kenyans fell for many hoaxes. To their defense, it was the Age BG-Before Google. Still, even in the Google Age, we are still made of suckers and gullibility. Suspect Everyone.

This is a sequel to this previous list.

#7 The Facebook Phishing/MPESA hoax

One of the most ingenious hoaxes/financial cons in recent years, this one takes the cake for how fool proof it can be if you are not skeptical.
It works rather simply; a Facebook friend starts a random conversation, he or she then asks you to send money to someone for them-always KES 5, 000, repayable the next day as KES 8, 000/7, 000-because they are in a fix. The appeal for first, friendship, and second, greed, is the very ingenuity of this hoax. You have friends and you are greedy because you are a human being like the rest of us. 

MPESA

The phishing component is often the first phase. You receive a random link to vote for someone or something of the sought that takes you to a dummy Facebook page where you need to enter your email address and password again to access. A day or so later, you can’t access your profile, and suddenly your Facebook friends are calling you asking you whether your friend got the money. You try to change your password, but nein! The fraudsters add an extra password recovery email address to your profile and it’s a game of cat-and-mouse between the two of you, battling for control.

The name of the MPESA is always something common, like Tracy Kamau, Stacy Kamau, Janet Kamau. You will never get your money back.

#6 The Medical Adverts

There was always a sense in the Kenyan ‘spirit’ of Harambee that skirted the thin line between altruism and survivor guilt. Pure concern for others, it would emerge in later years when the ‘spirit’ was banned, is easy to exploit especially in a country used to throwing money at problems. Every disaster or accident is immediately followed by a call to fundraise, and no questions are ever asked about why the system doesn’t work. News reports on almost anything sad, even the death of a cat (hasn’t happened yet but who knows) are followed by  a Pay Bill number for the sad reader to restore some hope to humanity (or its endless greed).

 The medical adverts con is easy, and the epitome happened only two months ago. Two men walked into local dailies and paid for a medical appeal advertisement for a Master Cavlin Wanzila.

It later turned out that Wanzila is not really Wanzila, but Laren Galloway. Galloway has creepy but intriguing blue eyes, most likely caused by a genetic disorder called Waardenburg Syndrome.

Does this picture look familiar? You've been duped.

Does this picture look familiar? You’ve been duped.

Now you know that, but when the photo was published in local dailies in August, not many did and the hoax worked. With a small investment of about KES 50, 000 and remarkable ingenuity, our confidence team of two men and a woman just sat back and watched the monies roll in from gullible well-wishers who seriously wanted to help.

Ruth, the woman in the story, had received at least Shs. 1.7 million by the time the trio was made.

#5 Fred Achieng’, or was he?

By the time the British justice system sentenced this guy to four years imprisonment for fraud and theft, he had left a trail of bruised egos and bad debts. His greatest ruse was that he was the playboy son of Saudi arms dealer Adan Khashoggi, Mohammed Khashoggi.

He used his ‘father’s’ name to win over favors which mostly included free nights in presidential suites at five –star hotels, all over. His ruse even managed to make suckers out of successful businessmen like Allen Sheppard, the proprietor of the Grand Metropolitan Hotel Group in London.

He was a big spender and an astonishingly talented pianist. That latter attribute worked well for him, winning him many nights in five-star hotels. At some point, he was a cabaret artist in a prestigious hotel. At another, he was swindling everyone who had money at the coast. Using his best ruse and at other times claiming he was the son of a Permanent Secretary, Fred (or whatever his real name was) really had a blast in Nairobi, Mombasa and London. The lowly porter with a knack for the keyboard pushed it too far by targeting five-star hotels, but since there was no Google then, it took sometime before his huge bills got him made.

#4 The Miracle Babies

There has only been one true miracle baby and he was crucified on a cross. Or so the story goes. Unless you believe your pregnant daughter too when she swears she was fertilized by nature, and not by a young man you can blast with the shot gun you will buy for just that purpose. But Deya and his wife Eddah Odera had 12 of those, the miracle babies, not the shot guns, between 1999 and 2004.

The man with magic bullets.

The man with magic bullets.

At 56, Eddah was post-menopausal and her body should have shut down that business of churning out babies like a Coca Cola bottling factory sometime in the decade before. But she claimed it hadn’t. The entire system was simply machine-gunning out babies like it was being paid to do so. The Lord, through her husband and prophet, Gilbert Deya, had seen it fit to bring forth a new football team in five years (there are some teams in the EPL that can attest to this never working).

barnes and noble

The ministry’s advert openly solicits “God has blessed us with miracle babies that the world has never seen anything like before. Your donation is very useful to your miracle.”

It was total BS.  DNA tests showed no genetic link between the dozen children and their bewildered post-menopausal mother. No one seems to have thought of claiming that the foreign DNA was God’s. Wait, if we are theists, all DNA should be His, right? Logistics, logistics, you would think Nature or someone would make it easier. No one used the defense that maybe because a deity was simply making sperm out of thin air, maybe the DNA couldn’t match in the first place.

One of the women who was jailed with Deya’s wife, Rose Kiserem, later confessed to the whole thing being a ruse to hide a child-trafficking ring. It was a face-saving confession, and it only came after Deya refused to ‘apologize to her.’ Wait, shouldn’t he be apologizing to all those women who lost their kids?

#3 Kamlesh Pattni

Of course the Brother Paul had to be here. The story of Goldenberg is old, and tired, and Pattni is still rich, but it still needs to be told.

In the early 1990s, the not-so-bright Kenyan government sought to mitigate the economic crisis it had created the decade before by encouraging exports. Local businesses were given an incentive that  included a payback of every $20 for every $100 of products exported. Simple, yes, but there was no system of verifying volume, the entire process relied on the paper trail.

Pattni, young and ambitious, quickly opened a company and started exporting nonexistent gold to get the bonus. There was only one tiny gold mine in Kenya at the time, in Kakamega. The actual gold that was ever exported was first smuggled in Kenya from Congo and then forwarded to get the government bonus. He roped in the suckers and collaborators throughout the system; more later when he was almost caught and instead conviniently started his own bank, Exchange Bank Limited which made his system foolproof. Instead of the usual 20%, Pattni earned 35 percent for his gold and diamonds exports.

Never has this picture been more relevant. Source: LA Times...

Never has this picture been more relevant.
Source: LA Times…

By the end of the mess, Kenya’s public coffers were $600 million short, and through a commission of inquiry and some lethargic prosecutions, Goldenberg would become a tattered rag of a story, and Pattni would become Paul, Brother Paul. Rich and blessed by God, a greedy system, an obnoxious judiciary, and apathetic at-least-he-did-not-steal-from-my-house taxpayers.

#2 The Man who milked an Elephant

Unlike Brother Paul who seems to have emerged from his elephant-milking unscathed save for a bad reputation, Peter Baraza had the injuries but no milk. In a story headlined ‘Meet the man who milked an elephant that appeared in a local daily in 1998, the 21-year old Kenyan farmer claimed that he had milked an elephant as she grazed with her calf. The irate mother, after letting him milk her a bit, then turned on him and gave him a proper ass-whoopin’! But it didn’t smash him or cause very extensive injuries-he had a dislocated shoulder, ‘other internal injuries’ and the shock of surviving with such an awesome story.

Dramatization

Dramatization

So, why didn’t he, like Nyaumbe (the man who bit and beat a python) make it to Badass of the Week. Because it was a hoax. One that everyone, including papers such as LA Times, went ahead and re-published. That article raises a poignant question about the original report that appeared in the Daily Nation, why Baraza, other than the reason that he just felt like doing it, had tried to milk the elephant.

The story was also insensitive to the elephant- it implied that she had only knocked him out when she realized that he was milking her, which was like a minute later (like her boobs are that numb, but who knows).

This is an aside, but does anyone know whether elephants have nipples? If they do, they must be big. Baraza-crushing big. They are probably the ones that knocked him out. What search terms do I even enter into Google for this without looking like am researching for a fete of wildlife intercourse, pun intended?

I am not very sure what is happening here.

I am not very sure what is happening here.

But there was a major problem. The real Peter Baraza from Nyahururu had no injuries and had made no such claim. He, like the rest of us mere mortals, feared elephants for their sheer size and their ability to make a smudge out of our entire lives. Someone had made up the story, and when Baraza was done with Nation Media Group in a defamation case, he was KES 2 million richer. This time, he had milked an elephant for real, just not in the forest.

#1 Eric Awori

This is one of the least known, yet the ballsiest hoax ever pulled off by a Kenyan on Kenyans. Yes, it beats Brother Paul’s daylight robbery. Even Deya’s how-about-we-sign-up-a-whole-team-from-this-uterus ruse.

 In the pre-automatic cars age, and when cars were still the reserve of the government and her owners, Awori decided to play what would turn out to be the most embarrassing con someone, make that entire newsrooms and thus, millions of readers, would ever fall for. Forget the old senile man who made a sucker out of me, forget him and his shaking hands and dying wishes, Awori made a fool out of an entire nation.

Step 1: Sourced from www.blog.espow.com

Step 1:
Sourced from http://www.blog.espow.com

Awori’s con was simple. Sometime n 1985, he made the ballsy claim that he had driven a car in reverse from Mombasa, through Nairobi, to Rongai (the Nakuru one, it’s further than the landlocked country past Lang’ata. You need a Christopher Columbus for this one) and then back to the capital city. Simple, right? Until you re-read the first sentence in this paragraph and notice the words ‘in reverse’!

Parallel parking an automatic car is hard enough as it is (someone said it would can be used to sort out who to sacrifice to the zombies first, I think that can work) but we have a guy here who swore by the gods of Motor oil that he had put his manual shift in reverse and driven about 650km (on bad roads, by the way) without his head getting permanently sore from looking at his driver’s mirror and without a single accident.

There was no mention of a navigator, although that would have been confusing. It’s like when you are trying to direct your wife out the parking lot, and you tell her to turn the wheels to her left, and then she asks whether it is your left or hers, and then you sit and cry? Or one of those times when you have to do the writing motion to remind yourself which one is your right upper limb?

Awori claimed the world record was then held by Gerald Hoagland, and in the celebrity shenanigans that followed the king of reverse in Kenya, he even got a new Toyota Corolla from Westlands Motors. True, a Gerald Hoagland had driven 102 km in reverse “Fortunately for Hoagland and motorists in general, the event took place on a special track.” Because driving in reverse is disorienting and bound to get messy. The girls might cheer you on and cream their pants for you, until you drive right into the bevy of cheerleaders. Men will put pinups of your car’s booty on their walls, and worship you. Awori knew that, he banked on it. 

But he wasn’t done. He announced he was going from the city to Mombasa driving a 7-tonne lorry. In reverse! Clearly, all these reversing was growing the ballsiness of our antagonist here. The even crazier part? Car companies fell for it! The very people who sold such machines fell smack into the con! DT Dobie (you would think, you would think.) donated fuel, and a Mercedes-Benz lorry for Awori to guide with his back-of the head eyes all the way to the Kenyan coast. Car companies, mainstream newspapers (I see you, Daily Nation), and just about everyone else.

They say you should never marry someone until you've watched them drive in reverse. Image from www.getahead.rediff.com

They say you should never marry someone until you’ve watched them drive in reverse.
Image from http://www.getahead.rediff.com

They say you shouldn’t marry someone until you’ve watched them drive in reverse.

Of course he won! …and a ‘John Miller’, a supposed Guinness Book of World Records adjudicator, sent a telegram confirming that Awori had smashed a record. In reverse. He was putting Kenya on the reverse map and local dailies were buying the story like sponges.

Once you win over everyone at home, the next step is New Zealand, right? Awori new that, and according to his telexes, that was his next step, Auckland, for the “620-km Kiwi Auto Reverse Rally. ”He took the hoax too far by ‘winning’ that world championship too far, and before long, his Kenyan assembled bubble burst. When the cops caught up with him after the New Zealand High Commission called BS on the win, all the reversing that Awori had been doing was his swivel chair in an office in Mama Ngina Street as he shuttled between the telex machine and the coffee pot, periodically breaking into maniacal laughs while patting himself on the back. 

People are still setting records for reverse driving, but Awori is not among them

People are still setting records for reverse driving, but Awori is not among them

 No mention on whether he was jailed but if he was, you can be sure someone in prison made him drive. In Reverse. If you catch my drift…

Owaahh©, 2013

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2013 in Badassery, Crime, Lists, Pages from the Past, Weird

 

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Disaster? Cue the Looting, This is Kenya


When I saw images of Abdul Hajj, I automatically knew he was not a Kenyan cop. There was something about him that told of affluence, a man who gyms in a proper facility and eats well. Later, I bounced on an image of the cop (the unlucky thief) currently being prosecuted for looting from the dead at Westgate. It is because we pay our police so badly, I thought to myself in a moment of temporary insanity. Then, when we all knew that KDF had almost exclusive access to the mall for days, stories of looting reappeared. This time, the possible looters were not poorly paid officers but elite forces that are among the best paid employees in the country. So I hang my head in shame and sighed. We are doomed.

It is not as much as what was stolen but by whom. The police, underpaid and neglected, have a ‘social license’ similar to that we give politicians who bribe us for our votes. We think it is an abhorrence, but we have learnt to live with it. If you commit a traffic offence, for example, and are arrested, anyone will tell you not to open your wallet in the arresting officer’s field of vision. One lady did exactly that and the officer snatched the bundle of brown notes, totaling 5,ooo bob, and let her free. And so it goes.

We have so institutionalized looting that we see nothing new about it. That’s why my sentiments on Westgate looting point towards the underlying and nagging idea that with exclusive access, the military officers might have hauled away luxury watches and other valuables. Our astute forces, well paid, and provided for as much as they would want, most of it untaxed and exclusive, might have conducted one of the most blatant thefts in the history of our society. It is too soon to claim the end of the AFCO tax breaks triggered the looting, so, why would those we pay well enough to do violence on our behalf steal from us like those from whom we expect similar services but pay poorly? Does it even have anything to do with the salary and allowances or is it deeper, engrained in our hastily clobbered national genotype?

In Its Our Turn to Eat, the case is made through the Anglo leasing story that being in a position of power in Kenya is chance to loot. If you don’t do it, someone else will, goes the story. We tend to associate politicians with five year mandates with this social license to raid public coffers and behave plainly like assholes in their interactions with us common folk. We allow that, because they are elected or nominated, and are thus in a God-given electorate-legitimized position to thief for themselves and their ilk. Maybe some crumbs will fall our way, we think.

It does little to our collective national psyche and legendary apathy, and will probably be forgotten in no time, but it raises questions of a deep moral angling. Is it that we have become so used to looting, whether as participants or victims, that we can only be shocked now if it is done by those we thought above such a trivial offence? Didn’t the crowd that had to be repulsed using teargas want to access the mall even before it was secured? They had an epiphany of what the disciplined forces, bar none, would do when left alone in a upper class mall where all hell had broken lose? It seems they did.

Almost all disasters are followed by looting of some degree, so much so that one academic called it the ‘cliché of disaster journalism.’ In most cases, it is simple citizens first looting for basic stuff such as food and water (before eventually hauling luxury items, going up the Maslow pyramid) but in Kenya, the protectors are quite adept at it. Instead of appearing as astute members of the disciplined forces, as perhaps we all think of military officers, policemen tend to appear as low socio-economic players.

It happened before at JKIA and has probably happened many times prior. It is just that now that we all have and want good stuff, we are talking about it. Living in a consumerist society, you want to know that at least your valuables will outlive you, and go into your estate should you die during a terrorist siege or a traffic accident. But that comfort, friend, is denied. We will loot. We will loot from you everything on your corpse before your soul reaches the roof. Hell, if you are not dead enough to let go of your iPhone, we will help you either journey yonder or wait like vultures, until your lungs heave that last one, and away we go with all your bling and cash. Maybe your family will get your wallet. Such is not assured.

What ails our national morality then? In the cliché mentioned prior, most cases tend to be instances of horrific disasters such as Hurricanes and earthquakes. There is a desperate need to get basic utilities and, for those whose inner animal has an automatic switch, acquire nice things. Yet there is hardly ever looting in Japan.

It became a phenomenon after the earthquake and Fukushima nuclear reactor aftermath. The Japanese do not loot, and if they do, not at the scale seen in other scenes globally, even in richer societies. In most discussions of this phenomenon, most contributors argue that the Japanese culture of shame, community, and respect, has something to do with it. The consumerist culture has not managed to kill of this national conscience, and the deep respect for one another stretches to a moment of desperation. Where other countries take years to recover from a disaster, Japan’s system is efficient because it is built on a system of restraint, if not trust.

One can imagine the temptation, the fact that you are standing in front of a shop with things you have only seen on displays. There is no one to catch you, or a bigger crime (than the one you are about to commit) is being committed. Who will worry about the dead man’s phone anyway? Or how much cash he had on his person when the hooded terrorist shot him point blank? The dead do not need the money, their dependents are probably rich enough to survive without it, you think. But you do. Who will ever catch you anyway? If the police do, you will only have to forfeit a portion of it and voila, the handcuffs of justice will magically disappear. Hell, you will even get an armed escort home that day. Such is. Such is.

Our culture of looting and plundering is not epitomized by Westgate but by our reaction to it. It is the deeper sense of apathy where we figure most of the shops were insured and thus, it does not matter that their valuables were lost in a crime scene. A crime scene with layer upon layer of cordons, and a retinue of our protectors. Our protectors got rich that day, maybe they will not be too hungry when they arrest us tomorrow.

But looting feeds avarice, another of our national treasures, which in turn breeds the kind of hunger that addicts of morphine get on subsequent doses. That is why majority of the onlookers at Kenyan crime scenes are there. It is not to ask after the dead and injured but to await the slightest opportunity to carry a trophy. Drive on any road and if you come upon an accident, study closely how first responders pocket valuables while pulling people from the wreckage. Such is.

There is an actual criteria for when looting is morally permissible. In such cases as where there is actual desperation. The argument there is that in an interdependent society such as ours, everybody plays a part, however minute, to the production in and progress of society. This position thus means that in case a fair exchange of goods is not possible because of the circumstances, such as breakdown of social order after a disaster, then one is in his human right to seek basic needs from those who have. It would be, another argues, selfish of us as human beings to judge those desperately seeking to survive. Our very existence as a species would be at risk.

But there was no breakdown of social order per se at Westgate or JKIA. There was perhaps, too much order. Normal ad hoc looters do not come carrying grenades and other explosives to open safes and access ATMs. Neither do they, at least the first wave, go after the cash registers and other movable currencies. Yet that is exactly what happened at Westgate, and before at JKIA (there were no explosives here though). Systematically, responders took time off their busy schedule of protecting us to help themselves to items on the aisles and the mannequins. The clinical organization meant that even shop owners who had luckily managed to lock up their shops still suffered the same fate as those who left them wide open.

Those looting were not poor and desperate, as we would be if, say, a Hurricane were to miraculously hit Nairobi. They were in no danger of imminent hunger if they did not wear the gold chains and watches from the shops. In fact, brave Kenyans filled their cars and set camp to feed responders. There was more food where that came from, that’s for sure. All, except maybe the community policing units, receive a constant monthly salary and allowances that was still assured when and if they survived their mission there. There was no social order to warrant breaking into ATMs, or even justify it. Yet the hapless gaffe-prone Interior Cabinet Secretary will proudly downplay the significance of the crime by saying only ‘two or three shops were looted.’

In this god forsaken land we were born in, numbers shock us but hardly ever enough to make an actual difference. 1, 100 people died during the 2007/8 massacres. 40 officers died in Baragoi. Over 100 civilians died in Tana River. Another 40 died in a single bus accident. More die each day. The death toll in the Northern Frontier is so high that it does not make headline news anymore. Wajir was bombed the day after Westgate was (sic!) retaken (and bombed, for some reason). Isn’t it ironical that we should derive a lesson as ‘the death of one is a tragedy, the death of a million is a statistic’ from a diabolical dictator who massacred his people with the gun and famine? Shouldn’t it embarrass our very core as an ‘inter-religious’ but constitutionally secular (ignore the allusions of faith) in the Preamble country?

A US official recently told Museveni that his military officers are ‘good soldiers but thieves.’ Then reports appeared pointing towards Kenya’s complicity in the charcoal trade in Kismayu, the very jewel we won from its murderous rulers just last year. Do you know what that would mean if it is true that our military has been facilitating illegal business in Somalia? That we actually funded the Westgate 5 (or 15 or 20, no one seems to know how many hostiles held us in panic for over 72 hours) and all that they did. We rubber-stamped our own death by spreading the tentacles of our selfish ambition to enrich ourselves at whatever cost. Sealed our fate so our wallets could be heavier. The children will never know their education was funded with blood money. The wives will never know the red on the flower petals is blood from victims of our greed. Even if they do, they will not care much. It was not anyone they knew, they will argue, and if we had not done it, the next person would have. So why not us? Also, we prayed for forgiveness and filled the offertory.

Some might argue that from a Hobbesian perspective, looting is a way through which those who-have-not seek to bridge the class gap with those who have-yachts. But the injured driver who loses his valuables to his helpers is a man hustling as any other. Start a fire in a slum and see whether the looting of other residents has anything to do with class warfare. It is pure human greed, nothing else.

The ethics of looting depend on the facts of the subject. After 9/11, for example, firemen took water from nearby stores to rinse their eyes. When a hungry man steals from a store, then there is a moral case to let that man eat; and to make sure that he has a living so he does not have to break social norms again. In the Argentina food riots of 1989, poor women walked into stores and stole food and other basic supplies. There were no cases of looting of non-essentials and the cash registers until later when other mobs followed. But Kenya’s two recent cases are interesting and disturbing.

The looters are not desperate hungry mobs, at least not in an ad hoc sense of the word. They are organized units with a clear mandate and training to handle emergencies. Their very job description is built on the fact that their role in society is sacred. The salaries are low, the hours depressing, the populace thankless (unless it is in one of those rare occasions of national reflection), and all but hope is lost. That is still no defense for such an abhorring crime as grave robbing.

So, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Since it is their work to do that to us, to hurl us in jail if we (are caught) loot, to protect us from external threats by doing violence on our behalf, who will do it to them? In the next disaster, as one surely will come, are we to helplessly stand by as our businesses are ransacked simply because these are ‘the untouchables.’ One of the victims succinctly saidThis is Kenya. Let’s just face it, what’s lost is lost.”

It is plunder, mate, and these are times of war and uncertainty. Accept and move on. In fact, grab something from that glass window or aisle and move on with it. 

Edit, 2nd October 2013 1710hrs

Prompted by panoramicdon’s comment below, I remembered that indeed the TJRC report is teeming with testimonies of looting by our ‘esteemed’ forces. A cursory reading of the relevant volumes points towards a tradition of looting as a military strategy, a strategy of yore, the medieval days of pirates and plunder. Even sadder, looting is connected to other crimes such as rape and murder. But no commissions, if any, have ever been formed to investigate the suffering the NEP and Mt. Elgon residents went through. We are an unequal society, dear reader, and you are not invited to the looting.

 

 

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7 Most Badass Prison Escapes in Kenya


     Prison is a shitty place. In fact, let us rephrase that, next to hell for theists, prison is the worst place you can ever be. There is always something trying to kill you, suck your life and blood or sodomize you, if not all three. If you do survive all that, the government is waiting just outside to execute you or drag you back to the cholera cells. So one can understand why Kenya’s 101 prisons have seen more than a few escapes and attempts. In fact, any prisoner who is not thinking of escaping ought to be released! Or have a mountain named after him, like one of these guys…

#7 Naivasha Maximum Prison

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As one of the country’s maximum-security prisons, Naivasha GK Lice Prison has seen more than its fair share of successful prison escapes. Its most notorious record prisoner hemorrhage to date was the escape of 28 prisoners on April 21, 2004. Two dozen plus prisoners simply vanished from the prison-some reappear on a later entry on this list. It is like the prison guards weren’t even trying.

The government, ever eager to pass the blame, thought so too and quickly blamed ‘inadequate staff and laxity of prison warders.’ We don’t know that much about how the labor system works but of course 300 worker bees will appear lax if they are doing the work of a hive of 900. But who are we to judge the government, the government knows. We will move on now.

After the December 2007 escape of seven death row inmates, the opposition party at the time, ODM, claimed that the government had deliberately assisted the prisoners to escape to assassinate top ODM leaders. The news of the escape quickly faded from the public limelight as we started cutting and torching each other while digging into our tribal cocoons. If ever there was a group of prisoners to benefit from a Force Majeure then it must be the Naivasha 6. What was that? The PEV was not an Act of God? I thought the deity was to be blamed for everything, being omniscient and all…

#6 Kamiti Prison (mostly attempts)

Capture

It is perhaps not surprising that there are very few, if any, successful escapes from Kenya’s most secure and most notorious prison. If Jonah Anguka and John Kiriamiti are to be believed, Kamiti is actually worse than you think it is. Go on take a minute; imagine how horrendous life must be in Kamiti prison. Now, multiply that by the largest figure you can come up with and then divide that by the number of lice colonies you think you can sustain during a life sentence. If your worst nightmare does not include some big burly prisoner making you his ‘mtoto’ then you are not thinking of living within the walls of Kamiti.

Almost there...

Almost there…

One of the first reported attempts to escape from the place where lice has more freedom than men was in February 2000. Eleven years later, on September 21st 2011, six inmates also tried to escape by cutting the metal grills in their cells. They had already exited the cells when a warder spotted them. The cockbocking warder-a crude analogy given the prison context-was most likely rewarded by a pat on the back. The Kamiti 6 are still the laziest group of prisoners on any list of prison escapes in Kenya-they had figured out how to get out of their cells but had no idea about how to exit the compound. You can imagine the walk of shame back to the sodomy cells.

There is the small issue of whether prison escapes from Kamiti have been hidden from the public eye. One example is the case of three Langata Road execution victims. Remember the front-page images of a Flying Squad cop executing three men who had surrendered and were lying on the road in broad daylight? The one that was a national outrage for all of two minutes before we quickly reverted back to our usual apathy and showing justice the [[midfing]]? Well, there was a deeper story, one of the men was supposed to be in remand at Kamiti and the other two had been released only halfway into their sentences. Hussein Gichuki Mwangi (Ochuka), the ringleader, had been sentenced to death while the other two Hezron Mwangi and Paul Njomo,  had been sent to the slammer for seven years each for robbing ‘Kenyan tycoon and politician’ Cyrus Jirongo of jewelry worth KES 750, 000 in 2004. Gichuki’s appeal had yielded a retrial but he was not released on bond-he was expected to be in prison but had presumably levitated out of a maximum prison and back into the crime world.

Kamiti is famous for other things, like the prisoner who went beserk and killed two others in the sickbay by strangling them with crutches, and the video of brutal beatings during a prisoner search in 2008.

#5 Sonko Escapes from Jail

Kenya-Prison

The Tana River escape was the center of one of the latest prison escapes. In it, three serial killers charged with over 38 murders escaped from their prison cells at the standard hour for prison escapes-3.00 am.

Shimo la Tewa has a less glamorous history. In the most recent escape, two murder suspects constructed a ladder in the prison workshop and hid it within the compound. They then used it to climb over the wall. It turns out that the seats in the refurbished Parliament are not the only tools to be made in a prison workshop and then used for criminal activities. You are in good company, MPigs!

A ladder is not exactly Scofield’s ducks.

But perhaps the most famous prison escape was the 1998 escape of the future MP for Makadara and Senator for Nairobi. You know him as the man with a lizard on his head, more metal than a steel mill…he often looks like so much is happening around his fashion sense that nothing sensible is actually happening, as if he attempts to put his audience into a trance so they don’t hear the stupid he spews out. His most recent? During a recent parliamentary debate, the also-why-wont-you-shut-up Anyang’ Nyong’o made a reference to Hugo Chavez, the now dead socialist leader of Venezuela and the prison escapee thought he was referring to ‘Rachel Shebesh.’ I will wait for you to stop laughing.

Are you even trying, Puss?

Are you even trying, Puss?

Technically, Sonko did not escape from Shimo la Tewa prison itself but from the Coast General Hospital where he was chained to a bed. He bribed his way throughout the whole process in 1998, and then again a decade later into parliament. He had paid some guy to make his faked illness look even more legit, and then paid off almost everyone—El Chapo Guzman style-before making the successful escape. His later defense was that he had gone to bury his mother. How noble.

Did I mention that he was disguised as a lady? The Standard issue of May 18, 1998 was not clear on whether he added boobs to his charade but given his antics over the last five years, we would be safer assuming he even had mascara.

Oh, and he and Pastor James Ng’ang’a were cellmates at Shimo la Tewa, whoever says that we do not rehabilitate needs to see these guys. Chuckles. Who says our correctional facilities are just cholera and sodomy centers? Oh wait, that was me.

…and remember that book, John Kiriamiti’s My Life in Crime, where he escapes from prison? Sonko claims that inspired his escape…before he goes onto to quote from the bible.

#4 King’ong’o Prison ‘Break attempt’

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This one doesn’t even qualify as a jailbreak. It is here because the government propaganda machinery first branded a case of brutality as necessary force to foil an attempted jailbreak.

On 3rd Sept 2000, 6 deathrow inmates died in King’ong’o Prison. The prison department attempted to cover up the killings and recorded them as being the result of fatal falls from the 40ft wall during the attempt. They hurriedly buried the mangled bodies and then went back to taking bribes and not fighting cholera.

The official story was that two escapees had managed to escape but one had been caught later randomly strolling in a nearby village wondering what to do with his newfound freedom. But the story refused to go away. First, there was the issue of the hurried burial and the horrendous state of the bodies.484742_473436542710590_605536596_n

After the intervention of several human rights groups, a lethargic Moi government began an inquest that ordered the exhumation of the six bodies. The official story was fraught with loopholes. The postmortems noted consistent extensive injuries inflicted with a blunt object. . This differed from the incident report recorded by the police of the cause of death as gunshot wounds . None of the prisoners had any bullet wounds and all of them had signs of extensive injuries including broken skulls, jawbones, ribcages and gouged out eyes. Way to foil an attempted escape Prison Department! Way to go!

Nine prisoner warders were charged with murder, and all were found guilty and handed the mandatory death sentence on 18 December 2008. Five filed successful appeals but the appeals of the other four were denied in April 2013.

It must be sad-and dangerous- being an imprisoned former prison warder. Think about how the ‘mendes’ (the sodomizers in Kenyan prisons) will pass you around while making you ‘wield the knob’ and ‘open the cell door.’ I think something like that happens much later in the Prisonbreak series plot, the warder going to jail part, but luckily after Tbag was out.

In 2010, two inmates tried to scale the wall but were captured after they fell and broke their limbs. At least someone had thought up something slightly legit about the high wall in the 2000 escape.

#3 Mageta Prison Escape

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At the height of the state of Emergency, the British government established several camps away from the conflict zones to house political prisoners and suspected Mau Mau insurgents. One of those places was Mageta Island, a small Island on Lake Victoria. One of the two entries on this list from the colonial era, Mageta is a story of darkness, human sacrifice, and forgotten escapees.

On February 5, 1956, 11 prisoners (or 9, depending on the source) escaped from the treacherous island. First, they hacked a fisherman, Onimbo Haulu, after he refused them use of his canoe. They hid his mutilated body in a nearby bush and it became the source of propaganda. The official story spread by the local authorities was that the escaping prisoners had used Onimbo’s blood and body parts to perform an oathing ritual. Most historical accounts are unclear about whether this actually happened, but that does not matter, what followed the news does.

They vanished as soon as they arrived in Usenge. The obviously overzealous security forces killed three during the subsequent hunt. An angry mob killed Jotham Njoroge in Alego and another killed two of his colleagues in Sakwa. The rest managed to escape.

Mageta contributed somewhat to the post-independence animosity between the Kikuyu and the Luo since most, if not all, of the escapees hailed from Central Kenya. The rumor that they sacrificed Onimbo portrayed them as brutal savages, an effective tool perfected by the colonial government. One wonders what happened to the other five (or three).

#2 The Embu GK Prison Escape

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The most badass prison escape in postcolonial Kenya, the Embu GK prison escape of 2006 makes the other entries on this list look like skipping school. It was as much an escape as an attack; a group of gangsters stormed the prison, in stuff that you only expect in cliché movies, armed several inmates, and then shot their way out of the cholera and sodomy. You probably know this plotline from several terrible movies where the villain is imprisoned and his minions stage a badass attack to free him. They shoot everyone who is anyone, and then drive out with guns sticking out through the windows. Embu was no different.

Other than having pairs of titanium balls and tonnes of nongiveafuckery, the gangsters had had previous target practice. Embu GK seems to have been part of a systematic plan to free a specific gang of criminals. First, Silas Mugendi Njeru, one of the masterminds of the prison attack, had himself escaped from Shimo La Tewa prison a few months before. The other target practice was Entry #7 when two dozen plus prisoners levitated from Naivasha GK and the other was an escape of 29 suspects from Meru courts.

While the bro code is unclear about what one should do when a bro is in prison, we are sure it does not include getting guns and shooting your way in. Maybe something less murderous, like giving money to their wives (criminals always have several) and lecturing their children. Among the prisoners who escaped were Simon Gitau Saitoti and Godfrey Mulwa Kitheka, two of the most badass criminals in modern Kenyan crime history. The two, known in the crime world as Saitoti and Ngilu, were later shot and killed in typical extrajudicial execution style.

The whole shenanigans led to four deaths: a trader, a gangster, a remand prisoner, and a prison warder. Wait, what was a businessman doing in Cholera country? We might never know.

#1 A picnic on Mount Kenya, or the Oxo Tin Escape

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So, how can a 1943 prison escape win dibs on a list that includes the classic storming into a prison with guns blazing, jumping over the wall, and masquerading as a woman? What can outdo the public execution of prisoners who had teleported from maximum-security prison walls? I’ll tell you what-an escape so badass that the prisoners walked back to the prison after they were done doing even more badass things. Hell, the escape even spawned a book!

In January 1943, a group of Italian Prisoners of War (POWs) escaped from the POW Camp 354 in Nanyuki. The three prisoners, Felice Benuzzi, Dr. Giovanni Balletto and Vincenzo Arsotti escaped from prison, went on a three-week adventure, and then walked back into the prison. That last part seems to defeat the entire logic of a prison escape, doesn’t it? Why would you bother to, say, dig through a pit latrine to the other side, or sneak through barbed wire, only to stay three weeks free and then walk back? But you are not Benuzzi and Co., and history will soon forget you.

IN context, Felice Benuzzi was a man who didn’t like to get bored. He was that eccentric friend you still hung around despite your guts instincts repeatedly warning you that one day, one of his stunts will kill both of you. Benuzzi first pitched the idea of escaping the boring POW camp to a professional mountaineer. He didn’t intend to have them walk all the way to Italy, which would have been sure death, but wanted them to escape and climb Mount Kenya, which was even surer death. The expert mountaineer, in following with the script that all experts are douchebags unless you are paying them, trashed the idea. Benuzzi should have listened to the advice on food and ideal wear but he was not a man to get bogged down by such details.

So he went for the next best pair, a doctor and a sailor. Perhaps he figured the sailor knew a thing or two about being in places with funny weather and a million things that want to kill you, and the doctor would, well, do whatever witchcraft it is that doctors do. Suck on that expert mountaineer!

On the 24th January, the trio begun what would be an 18-day odyssey. They presumably drew a phallic image on the mountaineer’s forehead with prison marker pen-equivalents before sneaking out while giggling like the badass metrosexual prison escapees they were. The only map they had of the mountain was the label of an Oxo tin …of course, because they were guys, they would rather consult a food tin than ask for directions, puh! The sailor fell sick at the base of the mountain but the relentless Benuzzi and the doctor soldiered on for 17 more days, reaching a point at about 5000 meters on the North West ridge. They planted the Italian flag and left a message-bottle on Point Lenana, presumably a dedication to Mussolini and a prayer to the gods. You can see the logic in the act, it was high up in the mountain, the gods live up there, it was closer.2012-2-14-tumbiumbimadness_179

You can imagine the shock of the camp commandant when the three POWs leisurely strolled back into the camp on 10th February. He was so impressed that he reduced their month-long solitary confinement to a mere week, a nod to the daring act. A prison escape so badass that the guy who should be punishing you reduces the punishment? …and then proceeds to telegraph his superiors a story they will need likely not believe. It is a manual on how to win respect from your jailers, and your fellow prisoners from whom you stole food and supplies.

The British government then sent an expedition to remove the Italian flag and host the Union Jack, but nothing they did could remove the embarrassment.

The prison escape was so badass that it spawned a book and has been the subject of many documentaries and spinoff books…and a point on Mount Kenya is named after the man who led the escape because that is what we do, we celebrate achievement, not means.

 Owaahh, 2013.

 

 

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7 Most Outrageous Things Ever Done to Win in a Kenyan Election


Kenyan elections are never boring events. They are the equivalent of gladiatorial fights, complete with an arena and a euphoric audience. In fact, often, as in Rome, winners are determined by who can better use sharp objects and who can transform euphoric chants into motivation. In such an environment of blood and paper, it is often hard for anything to stand out but once in a while, something sure comes up.

#7 Hire a Militia

sunray22bWhat would a good election in Kenya be without a series of small, unacknowledged massacres and ‘ethnic displacements?’ Boring and bad for the economy, that’s what! Kenyan life revolves around elections, stopping every five years to decide on who to hate for the next five years. Its never much of a choice really, your surname pretty much tells the observer who you are voting for, but not why; the reasons are often blurry but the numbers, tyrannical. So how does a good Kenyan politician make sure he or she wins decisively, or by 2 votes, or by none, but is declared the winner? Simple! Hire a private army, a small ‘ragtag militia’ to win you the election with weed, machete, and halitosis. I don’t know about the last one, its always the image I get whenever I hear of gangs, guys with unkempt hair and no knowledge of how emancipating a clean mouth is…

Colgate, untapped market (hint, hint)

Colgate, untapped market (hint, hint)

The logic is pretty simple and begins years before an election.  In places where a majority might not be as defined as to provide the necessary tyranny of tribe, politicians employ militia to start a war against ‘the other tribe, ’ referred to as ‘madoadoa’ as recently as 2007. Not only does a private army give you clout, but it also means you never get to lose a brawl again. You get to determine who lives and who dies, who gets raped and who doesn’t, who gets to give birth and who gets to miscarry. You are the evil overlord of your small electoral conquest, ruling from behind the shadows, conveniently away from the frontlines to not die in the counter attacks but always making sure your troops pass the message. If we didn’t know better we would think you a deity.

Pick any multiparty Kenya elections and someone somewhere had a militia ‘campaign’ for him or her. Tribal politics have led to ‘tribal clashes’ during elections which begun in earnest with the 1992 ethnic cleansing strategy in the Rift Valley, Baghdad Boys in Kisumu, the Kaya Bombo raiders and other militia in 1997, Mungiki in 2002 (when both leading candidates were from one tribe) and then hit a climax in 2007. Jeshi la Mzee, Jeshi la Embakasi, Nganda Nyenze’s ‘Ndeteleka Group’ and other ‘private armies’…the list is so long that one needs to only point to a spot on the map of Kenya to locate a place where a militia exists or has been. All the ones mentioned in this previous list were at some point used to win someone an election.

Up until now, every militia in Kenya has been constituted on ethnic and gender lines; can’t a good militia also be an equal opportunity employer.

#6 Bring in the Mossad?

Not pictured: Said spy agency...

Not pictured: Said spy agency…

It is impossible to say enough bad things about Moi, formerly Citizen #1 without using all possible negative adjectives. Never has one man does so much evil in less than quarter of a century, oh, scratch that, the man has peers.

To be fair to the man, Kenya was never much of a country to begin with, just a small country with cobbled up diverse groups that had to learn to share a national cake that belonged to the 1 percent. Other than its strange borders and rampant avarice, Kenya had had more than a few massacres already. The national numbness was (still is) a dictator’s dream and the women wore miniskirts to church….the good old days.

 Upto 1990 at least, Kenyan elections had been simple cases of who was the better sychophant. Moi opposed multipartyism vehemently, even going as far as having his VP at the time, Kibaki, fence sitter extraordinaire and the slowest Head of State ever (Paraplegics do not count in this comparison) make sure ‘one-partyism’ waslaw; arguing that it would bring tribalism and division. When he realized that couldn’t win, he jumped onto that train-the tribalism one, although he had always been on it- like a boss, in fact he was the boss.

Lets go vote...

Lets go vote…

The earliest attack in the lead up to the 1992 elections was an attack in October 1991 on members of the Luo ethnic farm in Meitei farm in South Nandi District. Over 300, 000 were displaced in the resulting attacks and counter-attacks. KANU blamed the clashes on the opposition, and the latter blamed it on the former, then everyone went back to their Muthaiga homes and laughed maniacally.

The never-released (at least officially) Kroll report (Thanks Assange, hope you get some sun soon) suggests that the 1992 clashes were the work of Moi’s right hand man at the time, the ‘Total Man’- whose feeble attempts at clearing his name are often hilarious- and ridiculously expensive. More specifically, one of the Total Man’s ‘business’ associates, a Mr. Danny Vardi. said to be the same guy behind the disappearance of key Dr. Robert Ouko murder witnesses. Vardi is thought to have been a link to the Mossad although the claim is largely unsubstantiated-but given how unsure we are about the truth in what we know, not entirely implausible.

#5 Rape your Opponent?

Immediately after the 2013 elections, the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association accused some unnamed male aspirants of using threats of sexual violence to force the female candidates to back down. While they did not name and shame the misogynists, their assertions were not new…or even surprising.

Elections in Kenya have always been more testosterone than adrenaline, more where the meat comes from than if it is even safe for consumption. In such a state of cultural misogyny, political office is seen as a man’s world, and the few women who have balls (I had to) to run for any office find themselves the targets of attacks and sometimes…rape and death threats.

The current levels of intimidation of female candidates in multi-party Kenya can be traced back to 1992 (again, this must have been the year of all shenanigans) when the political stakes went beyond simply being friends with Mwananchi #1-and throwing yourself prostate whenever he was around. Before 1992, if the Big Man said you were running, you were running, and winning, gender being inconsequential. From 1992 however, it was open season. Everyone woke up one day and realized would never be any progress without getting female candidates. The resulting interest in female candidates ‘threatened men’ when their campaigns drew mammoth crowds, the commonest way of gauging how effective your witchdoctor was. So politics went to the strays, predictably.

“ For a good part of the campaign period, the media reported some of the most unlikely election tales. Married women candidates were accused of neglecting their families for personal gains. Widows were accused of having been the cause of their husbands’ deaths. Divorced women were accused of having loose morals.”

The TJRC Report, Volume 2A p 736, 86 contains an excerpt on unnamed female candidate who tells the story of how she was raped and beaten by a group of thugs who told her that she ‘troubling men.’ She says “One of them suggested that they leave because I was not proud. Then another one asked what they were going to say. That is when I realized that they had been sent.”

You think we left this curse in the 1990s? That TJRC witness is talking about the 2007 elections and the KWPA was talking about events of less than three months ago…and a related one from 2013.

#4 Outsource Witchcraft

No African election is complete without a half-dressed guy sitting on your head-and presumably farting on your face as he utters incantations and makes you regret going for aromatherapy. He also has to make you eat peppery things as he jumps around you and yells things to ‘bless the ballot’ and make you ‘invincible at the vote.’ If you are not sitting on a three-legged stool in a smoky hut talking to a guy who does not shower much, then you are probably doing it wrong. If you have a smoky hat and a three-legged stool and are not already advertising services for the byelections, you are also doing it wrong.

There is a sequel by the way...its called Handkerchief 2.

There is a sequel by the way…its called Handkerchief 2.

A few days before the last elections, Moses Wetangula, then a candidate for Bungoma Senator, claimed that he had concrete evidence that his rival was using witchcraft to ‘bind voters’ and “do funny things at various venues.” The funny implied here being not ‘funny ha-ha’ but ‘funny hhhmmm WTF?’  While it is almost impossible to ignore the BDSM connotations in the choice of descriptors of said goal of witchcraft, it turns out that the ‘witchdoctors’ in question had been outsourced from a West African nation. We have all watched enough Naija films to know that a handkerchief, with the right amount of magic, can get a personality and an evil, almost electrical laugh followed by exclaims and unnecessary handclapping.

The candidate in question was Musikari Kombo [he outed himself to clear the rumor that he was part of said BDSM] who clarified that the alleged witchdoctors  in question were actually Nigerian MPs. He said that the MPs had accompanied him during his campaign rallies (and implied that West African legislators cannot good withcdoctors make… Naija filmmaker, over to you). It turns out witchdoctors might be one of our largest expatriate population for the duration of the polls. Tanzania is kind enough to furnish us with the much needed expertise, and if the advertisements nailed to the few remaining trees all over Kenya are anything to go by, being a Tanzanian witchdoctor is an added advantage.

But its not all lost, just last year, 105-year-old John Dimo predicted that Obama would win re-election and surprise surprise, BO won! Who would have thought? Maybe this thing works guys, but can it be used to choose a wife?

I am become Gallup yawa!

I am become Gallup yawa!

In one scene in the two part-video above (and below), the witchdoctors’ rate Dennis Okari’s chances of victory (his star is “…at 35 and it needs to be at 58…). Does anyone know the criteria for this rating, maybe it is more reliable than our opinion polls but then again, the witchdoctors in the expose never figure out that Okari is the same Okari on TV. Wait, what’s that? Maybe they too do not watch KISS TV? Oh, yes, no one does…

 I am not sure how the ass-sniffing is necessary, but I would go for the being carried around and jumping over horns. It looks like good fun for the man and for the heart.

#3 Mlolongo System- The Dick-Measuring Contest

Why is that guy even impatient, its not like the queue is supposed to move...

Why is that guy in the middle even impatient, its not like the queue is supposed to move…

Entry #6 up there already discussed how we should blame Moi for all that ails this badly drawn map. Still, if you think the man did his worst in and after the 1992 elections then you probably do not know about the joke that was the 1988 KANU elections. KANU was ‘chama cha baba na mama’ and the symbol of the party was (and still is), the cock, or cockerel, if we insist on writing the long version to avoid the hilarious ambiguity. Since winning the KANU nomination was winning the election outright, there was a lot of haggling and murdering and bribing whenever the nomination elections were held. There was also comparing Mwalimu #1 with the Christ in Christian and letting him know that he was your monarch through and through.

The Mlolongo voting system was a queue system where party members lined up behind the photographs of their preferred candidate. These elections were actually part of a larger plot; on February 5, 1988, Moi had announced the release of nine political prisoners followed quickly by a snap general election on March 12 that he christened the ‘big broom.’ The National Assembly had been expanded from 158 to 188 seats with 12 members appointed by the Father of the Nation, the man with the wand. Any candidate who won 70 percent of the nomination would go straight to the August House. 

Dramatization...voting for the water.

Dramatization…voting for the water.

The idea behind this seemingly bad joke is that, ideally, the candidate with the longest queue wins the nomination and thus, the elections. It is sort of like how young boys choose opposite teams before a football match, only this were the actual elections. You can see the returning officers coming out of their stuffy offices, shielding their eyes from the sun to ‘see far’, and then declaring someone the winner right?

Like all dick-measuring contests, it turned out that length wasn’t the only thing you needed, the girth of your queue, and presumably vigor of your sychophancy, also played a part.

“KANU made sure that whoever it wanted was the winner –long queue, short queue, it didn’t matter.”

If the line above does not sound like the typical dong-measuring contest then I don’t know what does. It was the same the election that gave us the professor of mathematics and the man with his legs on both sides of the political divide, both former vice presidents, both dead, one politically, the other literally and politically.

#2 Stage a Fake Kidnapping

22563_158-628x250

In 1997, Uhuru Kenyatta (Now Landlord of the Nation) was a thin young man with a bad taste in suit jackets and zero knowledge about why you should wear your party colors during a campaign. His mismatched suits were just beginning to feel the pressures of being a feudal prince with a dynasty to propagate. Despite his otherwise unappealing prospects, Mkenya #1, HE Daniel, had seen something in him (dynasty!) that no one else, including the State House operatives, had not.

So Moses Muihia, UK’s erstwhile rival for the Gatundu South seat was more than just a simple parliamentary candidate, he represented the hopes and dreams of those who wanted to quash UK’s political brand. This was a typical Kenyan election, you could kill the man’s supporters, begin a tribal war, hire the Mossad, or even simply pay off the man to quit, but why would you when several pints of blood and a river could do the trick? If there is a medal for this kind of thing then these guys deserve one, a podium finish, even if they are the podium.

Well, 1997 was a different time, there was no internet in Kenya just yetand news was still pretty much oral…read, spread by the single guy in the village who could afford the newspaper. UK was a strong candidate alrightand he had the support of Mkulima #1. Working with the knowledge that Moi was running in his last elections-which he had already won even before the ballot papers were printed-his Kitchen cabinet decided to frustrate the young prince’s chances of succeeding him.

Nothing to see here, just winning an election is all... www.usnews.nbcnews.com

Nothing to see here, just winning an election is all…
http://www.usnews.nbcnews.com

So they hired a group of former University of Nairobi’s student leaders to make sure the young prince lost the election…on election day!

Muihia was ‘kidnapped’ in a stage-managed plot that included plunging a car into River Thiririka and pouring some pints blood (from a nearby slaughterhouse) into the river. Then the town crier-equivalent made sure everyone knew about the ‘kidnapping’ of the Kenyatta rival. What did the voters do? Of course they voted for the guy whom they thought dead or kidnapped, a concept known in sham democracies as a ‘protest vote.’ At 2 pm the ‘victim’ appeared conveniently and told voters (who had just voted for him) that he was still alive. He had already won the election…and added to the infamy of Comrade University,

Fake kidnapping, winning unwinnable battles for men since forever...

Fake kidnapping, winning unwinnable battles for men since forever…

#1 Amend the Constitution!

The age-old adage "Constitutions are paper, bros are forever"

The age-old adage “Constitutions are paper, bros are forever”

While Kenyatta the Elder had his failures, this entry will show that if nothing else, he was the best wingman a man could ever have. The wingman, as described in the Bro Code, is a sacred role that is occupied by only those who can handle such responsibility. It turns out that if you’re the successor to the Queen, you can make quite the wingman… Plus, who knew the Bro Code is greater than a country’s constitution?

During the 1974 elections, Paul Joseph Ng’ei prevailed upon his rival, Henry Muli, to withdraw from the race. Muli later filed an election petition against Ngei’s win claiming that “… he (Ngei) had bound Kangundo voters to back him by administering an oath.” The high court ruled that Ngei had indeed committed the electoral offence, nullified his win and disqualified him from the consequent by-election. When he realized that this meant he couldn’t eat at five star hotels and point the waitresses to State House when they presented him with the bill, he turned to the man who still owed him a lifetime of favors.

Hhhhmmmm...what do you mean the constitution is sacred too? The Bro Code is sacred!

Hhhhmmmm…what do you mean the constitution is sacred too? The Bro Code is sacred!

Mzee, ever the Lannister, made Njonjo and Moi (who had been part of the efforts to ‘finish’ Ngei politically) come up with a solution that had to be passed by Parliament in 12 hours. Since Parliament was scheduled to go for recess, the Head of State and Government, Landlord of the Nation and Protector of the Tribe declared that the recess was conditional; they could only go if they enacted the amendment…which they did with Moi proudly declaring “I support this amendment because we know that the President is above the law…” He would know. 

Ngei’s hold over the Man with the Fly Whisk is said to have begun at Kapenguria where he saved the man from getting beaten by his jailers several times, and even foiled Kariuki Chotara’s assassination attempt on the future president. When a man saves your life and even takes a beating for you in prison, that man owns you! He can walk into your compound anytime and eye any of your wives, and the implied Bro Code demands that you must comply. Ngei spent most of his time cashing in this blank cheque and pissing everyone off, once taking a Mercedes from a showroom and refusing to pay for it (aaaahhh…the good old days). He ‘test-drove’ it for 20 years.

The result? Constitutional Amendment Act. No. 1  of 1975, or as it is colloquially known, the Ngei Amendment. This seemingly harmless amendment extended the presidential prerogative of mercy to include annulment of the result of an electoral court (where an offence had been proven).

Even more proof that this is the most outrageous thing ever done to win an election? As soon as the amendment had served its purpose (annulling the nullification of Ngei’s election), it was repealed..presumably so no one could abuse it, no one else at least [sic!].

“[O]nce demagogy and falsehoods become routine, there isn’t much for the political journalist to do except handicap the race and report on the candidate’s mood.” 
― George Packer

 Owaahh, 2013.

 

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7 Myths about the ‘Mau Mau’ War (Some are TOTAL BS)


The 1950s are Kenya’s curse. No one cared to correct the myths because they fit into a certain context which romanticized the Mau Mau while keeping them subjugated to their new lords. While they died off in abject poverty and a society that blamed them for Operation Anvil, a different set of myths took root and became the mainstream stories…

Oh, and the tale of pseudo-gangs is not comprehensively explained on this list but you might want to ask your grandparents which Mau Mau exactly they really were on by the end of the rebellion.

#7 MAU MAU? Mau Mau? Mau? 

Depicted in British Culture as a group of savages www.maumauhistory.com

Depicted in British Culture as a group of savages
http://www.maumauhistory.com

Basic Kenyan history huh? You could answer this one while overlapping and texting on the phone and not endanger anyone on either lane, right? Well…what we have are ideas, guesses, too many to be sure…it seems like we forgot to ask Sir Evelyn Baring’s predecessor before he left. Dedan Kimathi’s assertion in the KFLA Charter notes that the ‘Mau Mau’ was a synonym for terrorists and that the movement was called the Kenya Freedom (and) Land Army (KFLA). If it was propaganda (and quite effective, given that it is now a brand and a term used to indicate brutality), where did it come from in the first place? It clearly has roots in some African language, more so Bantu, but which one and/or why?

The group originally called itself muingi [masses];Other possible sources of the common name include the ‘Movement of Unity’, the Kikuyu Maranga African Union (KMAU); or, as Bildad Kaggia claimed, the secret code muhimu. Some accounts even claim that the name could have been taken from the Mau, the range of Mountains in the Rift Valley. In 1963, another claim emerged, this time arguing that young Kikuyu boys would say ‘Uma Uma’ [‘Get out! Get Out!’] during initiation.

The murder that started it all...

The murder that started it all…

Another myth (well, I warned you there are many) 2claims that it came from the first ever prosecution of a member of the Mau Mau, that of Magroui Ole Kedogoya, for attempting to recruit his supervisor into a secret society.  He allegedy said (as quoted in Kinyatti, 1992) “ndingikwira maundu mau mau nderirwo ni kiama.[ I cannot tell you those, those things that I was told not to tell you by the movement.] This version claims that the wide coverage of the case by the colonial press grasped the words ‘mau mau’ (those, those) and assumed they meant the secret movement.The group later made due with the brand as ‘Mzungu Aende Ulaya. Mwafrika Apate Uhuru’ (No, not that Uhuru, the feudal prince one, although come to think of it….)

There is one other plausible source…

 It is likely that the name came from a mishearing of a Kikuyu or Swahili word, and ‘ muuma’ seems like the most likely candidate. Some factions of the freedom fighters refered to the movement as ‘Muuma wa Uiguano’ (Oath of Unity). Could it be that the loyalists, in attempting to explain what the Mau Mau oath was and why it was so strong, never noticed that the British colonial government heard something completely different and seemingly retarded?

The name itself was not exactly unique as it formed part of Sojourner Truth’s mother’s nickname ‘Mau-Mau Bett.’ Truth’s mother was an enslaved African from Guinea. She (Sojourner) died in 1883.

 #5 Obama’s Grandfather 

The guy in the background knows, he does...

The guy in the background knows, he does…

In Dreams from My Father, Barrack Obama claims that his grandfather was detained and tortured by the British.  Sarah Obama, according to multiple accounts, says that when he came home he was thin, dirty, and injured. Hussein Obama had (supposedly) been suppling weapons and information to the freedom fighters.  Sarah has further been quoted as saying that Mzee Obama’s testicles were pressed and he had been whipped by his African oppressors twice a day…because, of course, the British and their cronies had an unhealthy obsession with pliers and testicles. Obama claims in his book that his grandfather was held for 6 months, and Sarah claims he was held for 2 years, it was the 1940s/50s anyway, time was a blur…

 The only would-be corroboration for this story is that of Tim Symonds (3rd Last Paragraph) where he says

 “During one mission in the bamboo forest he captured a 50 or 60-year-old insurgent named Obama who spoke perfect English. That is clearly not a Kikuyu name and Tim has written to the American Embassy trying to discover if this was the grandfather of U.S. President Obama.”

Why its BS…

An Obama biographer, David Maraniss critically assessed this claim and came out with nought; he got multiple accounts from Hussein Obama’s friends who worked with him and who noted would obviously have known. There is also the curious fact that at the time when Obama the Elder was supposedly in prison, his son, Obama Sr. (father to the current POTUS) was studying at Maseno National School (1950-1953).

Waaaaaiiiiiit.... www.telegraph.com

 At least he didn’t come home and say ‘I was swallowed by a whale’

http://www.telegraph.com

 

It is likely that Obama was a friend of the founders of the group, then running the militant wing of the KCA, the Group of 40 but it is unlikely that Obama ever became an active member of the group.  Tim Symonds’ story implies that Obama Sr. was an active fighter, a seeming discrepancy from the other myth that he was a secondary participant in the war…

One of Obama Sr’s daughters, Ayuma, gives a more logical explanation; that he had been kidnapped by thugs and the story had been weaved through generations to claim he was a freedom fighter. 

#4 Lari Massacre, The Night of Long Knives

Kenya’s poster-child case of how a counter-massacre is the generally accepted response to a massacre.

On March 26th 1952, a group of Mau Mau fighters attacked and massacred entire families yanking children away from their mothers and hacking them to death. Anywhere between 70 and 100 people were brutally murdered in a single night including Chief Makimei and his predecessor, Luka Kihangara.

Lari Massacre

The counter-massacre began when the homeguards returned and found Luka’s, Makimei’s and other homes ablaze. As they gave chase to the fleeing Mau Mau fighters, they began a counter-massacre that eventually outdid the initial crime. Lari DC at the time, John Cumber, made the situation even worse when he ordered that all male suspects be rounded up (which, if the chronology of state massacres is anything to go by, means virtually any male in the vicinity).

Luka's Homestead, where all hell broke lose... www.ugpulse.com

Luka’s Homestead, where all hell broke lose…
http://www.ugpulse.com

In Volume 2A, Page 165/6/7, the TJRC report vividly explores the counter-massacre that made the first massacre look like a joke. The Commission refers to the massacre of the early hours of 27 March 1953 as “Little-known, little-discussed, little-acknowledged and yet undeniable...” Although almost all historical accounts hold that the 70 people died in the initial massacre, over 200 bodies were strewn all over Lari on the morning of 27 March. In the East African Standard report sometime after the massacre and counter-massacre, the government acknowledged having killed 150 people. This is generally agreed as the lower limit of the fatalities of the counter-massacre, and does not even include the over 70 people who were later hanged for the initial massacre.

The Lari Massacre of the loyalists and their families was just the one that received the most attention and the one which the Colonial government milked for propaganda. Photos of the initial massacre appeared on numerous pamphlets and news reports, and was used to show the Mau Mau as savages. I guess when you call dibs you must take all the blame…

 #3 When the Mau Mau war ended

A Propanganda pamphlet distributed during the war www.psywar.org

A Propanganda pamphlet distributed during the war
http://www.psywar.org

Officially, the actual war began to subside after Kimathi was captured in 1956. In truth, the Mau Mau war ended in 1963/4, and not without the characteristic massacre that the KE Government uses as a signature strategy to solve security issues. Mwariama -shanekeven dot typepad

The Meru faction of the insurgency survived the decade. Field Marshal Mwariama and General Baimungi (People’s General) had been in contact with Kenyatta as early as 1962 when he (Kenyatta) gave Mwariama a 15-acre plot of land which was, in truth, a loan he and other similar recipients had to pay back. Baimungi went back to the forest in Jan 1964 with ‘200 fighters’ (reffered to as ‘thugs’ in this Times article). Mwariama is the dreadlocked man in the famous photos with Kenyatta. He was good PR. 

At Ruring’u Stadium in Nyeri, Mau Mau fighters including Field Marshal Muthoni, Kimathi’s ‘Weaver Bird’, surrendered their weapons to the government. FM Muthoni left the forest in 1963/4, according to her own account but was first cleaned up and dressed well. General Baimungi, clearly not a known-giver-of-fucks,and his group were massacred on 26th January 1964 and their bodies (Baimungi and Chui) paraded in Meru Town for three days.

The exact reasons of his refusal to surrender are unclear, G. G Kariuki here asserts the popular myth that he demanded that the Mau Mau be given control over the Kenya security forces. His wife,Evangeline Muthoni Baimungi, later said that he (Baimuingi) had been given a Land Rover by Kenyatta and a flag to fly on the car. He used the vehicle to transport about ‘seven 20 kg containers full of cash’ he was holding in trust from the oathing fees. Mau Mau veterans agree there was cash, but argue instead that Baimungi used it to buy the Land Rover. 

Very little is known about what happened to Mwariama, although this account tells us that he died in 1989 due to ‘complications from snake venom he had sucked from the leg of a friend who was bitten during a visit to Ukambani’; the man who enlisted both he and Baimuingi died in April 2013.

#2 Who was Field Marshal Kaleba?

Sydney Morning Herald 1954 2

Sydney Morning Herald 1954 2

I KNOW, you have also never heard of him have you? Neither had I when I first set out to research entries for this list.

Sydney Morning Herald 1954

Sydney Morning Herald 1954

To understand who ‘Field Marshal Kaleba’ was, or was supposed to be, let’s first describe the Gray Leakey Murder, perhaps the most gruesome of all known assassinations during the course of the Emergency.

Arundel Gray Leakey, cousin to the more famous Louis Leakey, and known as ‘Morungaru’ was a white settler farmer in Central Province. He was the brother of Nigel Gray Leakey, a badass World War II soldier who jumped over an Italian tank and shot all its occupants except the driver. He (Nigel) was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award of gallantry that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces, albeit posthumously (he was killed when he tried the same stunt again).

In October 1954, the less accomplished Leakey’s home was attacked by 60+ Mau Mau freedom fighters who killed his wife and force marched him to the Mount Kenya forest. Almost all available accounts of his murder indicate that he was buried alive after being tortured and disembowelled. The murder was reportedly sanctioned as a human sacrifice to appease the spirits, but embarrassed the colonial government and forced it to look for a scape goat.

"Go catch someone, anyone!" The Courier-Mail Brisbane

“Go catch someone, anyone!”
The Courier-Mail Brisbane

A ‘Field Marshal Kaleba’ was the man the colonial government hanged for the gruesome crime. True to character, they paraded him before the media as a ‘Half-Kikuyu Half-Somali’ savage who had led the murder and sacrifice of Gray Leakey. The link above claims that he was captured with two bodyguards, a girl, and most importantly, Gray Leakey’s revolver. Some just named him as a leader of the Mau Mau, although no corroborating evidence exists on who the man was. He appears in no literature post-1954…

So who was he? We know from multiple accounts that there were the only Field Marshals were Muthoni, Mwariama, and Kimathi. So, again, who was ‘Field Marshal Kaleba’? Was the sacrifice of a government that needed to show some success in its fight? Well, we might never know, given the fact that the colonial office must have disposed off of those records to cover up for the fact that they picked up a random guy and gave him a rank and a crime. 

#1 Mathenge, the Tragic Hero

Not pictured: Mathenge

Not pictured: Mathenge

Shenanigans!

A tale weaved over the course of fifty plus years, and hardly ever questioned, that General Stanley Mathenge led a band of fighters to Ethiopia in 1956 and never came back. Kimathi and Mathenge were something akin to rivalling siblings. Kimathi usurped power from the uneducated Stanley Matheng’e and declared himself Field Marshal while Mathenge remained a mere general despite being older and more experienced.

The competition led to the creation of two main ideological factions within the group, one which was aligned to Kimathi and was called ‘Kenya Parliament’ and another called ‘Kenya Riigi’ which had a less defined hierarchy but was led by Mathenge and Kahiu-Itina (Gen.)…and no, the last one did not get his name from stabbing people in the ass, he used to sheath his sword around his waist such that it rested on his buttocks.

By 1956, the ideals of the Mau Mau had pretty much changed from those of a war for freedom to a civil war. Waruhiu Itote and others had turned and were giving valuable information to the colonial government. The colonial government, through the pseudo gangs, reached out to Mathenge and the broader ‘Kenya Riigi’ to change the rules of engagement.

A typical pseudo-gang...  How long did it take you to notice that there is a white man in the photo? www.psywar.org

A typical pseudo-gang…
How long did it take you to notice that there is a white man in the photo?
http://www.psywar.org

General Kassam Gichimu Njogu gives a more plausible version of what really happened.Kimathi was pissed and ordered they (Mathenge and Kenya Riigi leaders) be court-martialed for treason. “Mathenge was bound with six fighters loyal to him to nearby trees as the court proceeded. A Wambui wa Nderitu from Mirangini in Nyandarua supposedly cut the ropes and Matheng’e and his group ran into the forest.”

Or posed with the corpses.

Or posed with the corpses.

Two likely scenarios? Kimathi or the British government caught up with, and killed, Mathenge. It is unlikely that the British government did because, from what happened during Waruhiu Itote and Kimathi’s own capture and trials, they would have made it into a propaganda victory. This leaves only one ugly but more likely event, Kimathi’s side of the Mau Mau re-arrested and executed him and made sure his body was never found. 

Kimathi had more to gain by portraying Matheng’e as an uneducated coward who had abandoned the cause than by admitting he had had him killed.  It was akin to a sibling fight for survival, and everyone lost, except in popular culture where Kimathi is almost deified and Matheng’e tucked to an incomplete part of history. Somewhere in the Mount Kenya forests lie the remains of Stanley Matheng’e and other prominent members of the Kenya Riigi.

“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Update, 6th June 2013.

A keen reader noticed that entry #6 is missing from this list. I apologize for the oversight and shall add the entry soon. As you were…

Owaahh

 

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3 Proofs that the Kenya Government believes in Magic


Do you know how difficult it is to dupe the government into buying fake things? The government has entire institutions dedicated to detecting fake things, police to investigate any fraud, and killer gangs to settle scores…and of course, your taxes to play around with… Apparently, its not harder than convincing your two-year-old that you have stolen her nose.

#3 Mahindras with Low Self-Esteem

MahindraBrave

What we asked for…

You probably remember Mahindra’s from the series Renegade, the police officer with a pony tail called Bobby Sixkiller had one. Apparently, that was all the KE police needed to know they needed one, make that more than 1, 000 units.

Chamanlal Kamani figured out something every Kenyan knows at birth, the government is all-seeing and all-powerful…ish. Through his company, Kamson’s motors, he tendered to supply 1, 000 units plus of Mahindra Jeeps at the cost of Shs. 1 million each to the Kenya Police…for cars that would not be charged duty, and were cheaper in local showrooms. It turns out that the government would have been better buying several flying brooms and pointed hats than buying the jeeps. Since you do not see any of the more than 1, 000 unit that were bought, well, at least now you know. Or they were sold off, who cares anyway.

what we got.

what we got.

…and if you clicked on the link above then you know the Kamani’s didn’t stop with the faulty Mahindras, they are the guys behind Anglo Leasing, CID forensic laboratory, and a few other scandals we wear on our lapels with pride.

Or was Bobby Sixkiller’s car a Hummer? Its not like we are experts or something…

#2 Bomb Detection through Sheer Will Power

What we asked for...

What we asked for…

Remember that one time you were carrying a bomb in your bag, ostensibly for work or some party, and then the police stopped you and magically known you were carrying a bomb? Then the big obese officer went directly for the bag and now is why you are in Guantanamo? No? Well, neither do I…but you remember how you would grab a butterfly or moth at its pupal stage and then make it do silly stuff? Like pointing towards where Nairobi is? Given that it could only wiggle in four directions, there was a one in 4 chance it would point to the right direction, right?

What we got... Alternative Caption...the belt doesn't look so bad, maybe it was a bargain...

What we got…
Alternative Caption…the belt doesn’t look so bad, maybe it was a bargain…

The government of Kenya has a magic wand that uses the same logic and not only that, it much works in the same way as Moses’s staff, wiggling around until it points towards the place where the would-be terrorist is hiding a bomb, or drugs, or a gun, or used condoms. This small Hogwart’s-stick-of-an-antennae can do pretty much anything if you have the right card. I am not joking, it uses cards which specify what you are looking for, and then you grab onto it as it seemingly pulls you towards the would-be offender.

Here it is in action (warning, the video below contains proof of magic, if you are a non-believer, please skip it).

The ‘maker of that magic wand‘ is already in court for lying to gullible governments which did not have any experts and it would seem, common sense, or Google even, to ascertain whether they really work…and where the other 2 entries are from 1995 and 1997 respectively, the video above is from April 2013, last month (*cough*cough*)

Since there is no scientific evidence of how the magic wand works, we can only guess that it is proof of what you can achieve with sheer will power.

 #1 TRANSFORM, or Jesus’  First Miracle

What we asked for...

What we asked for…

The ultimate proof that the government believes in magic and if we are Christian, then that Jesus did indeed turn water into such good wine that the groom woke up next to all the bridesmaids.

In 1997, the government, okay, to be fair, the City council of Nairobi, decided to procure chlorine for its three treatment plants. The tender went to a Kenyan called Kimani Kongo who decided that he knew something more effective at disinfecting water for the capital city…guess what he supplied?

You know this one…

Trust me, you do…

Think…if you won a tender to supply chlorine, and you intended to supply something cheaper, a joke maybe, but something powdery, what would you supply?

I am waiting…

Why are you acting like you haven’t been to school?

You know it…

Didn’t the teacher’s chalk disinfect your illiteracy?

Here is a hint, the answer is the sentence above.

CHALK!

Yes, he supplied the city godfathers with enough chalk to disinfect the entire water system, or, maybe, he intended it as a practical joke to show them they needed to go back to school.

Meanwhile, in Kimani Kongo's lab...

Meanwhile, in Kimani Kongo’s lab…

What did he do with the Kshs. 70 million they paid him? A good patriotic Kenyan this one, he bought a home in Muthaiga and a Mercedes Benz, returning most of the money to the economy…and of course he was a politician, accused of murder and grabbing land and houses in Woodley Estate, but none are as symbolic as chalk dust. 

Since the CCN paid him for the chalk dust (despite the blatant denial by the responding minister in the link to the Hansard record above), we can only assume that he told them that the water to be disinfected was the primer of sorts. That ‘dormant chorine that changes when you put it in water and pray” is better than all other colors of chlorine…but at least it was just the once...that we know of…

Hogwarts

Hogwarts

Seeing that we haven’t gotten any ‘dissolved’ chalk dust in our water systems since, and there has been no massive dumping of chalk, we can only assume it is what was used to color the City Council headquarters.

Owaahh, 2013.

 

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