Category Archives: Nostalgia

7 Kenyans Who Made it in Hollywood before Lupita Nyong’o (Part 1)

Lupita Nyong’o’s role in 12 Years of a Slave (2013) is a milestone by itself. Although it represents the achievements of Kenyans and Kenyan-born actors on the global film scene, she is not the first Kenyan to make it that far. In fact, there are about eight decades between her and the first Kenyans to act in a Hollywood movie.

You can read Part 2, another list of 7 Kenyans who made it in Hollywood, here.

 #7 Kipsang’ Rotich in Star Wars


You probably know that episode in Star Wars: Episode VI-Return of the Jedi where Nien Nunb says something in an alien language that happens to be the Kikuyu language. But did you know that the guy who voiced Nien throughout the episode is Kenyan? And not even Kikuyu? Kipsang Rotich  is not credited for his role in the film.

However, we know that Rotich replaced some of his scripted lines with dialogue from Kenyan dialects, which would explain the Kikuyu line which, translated, means “All of you over there, come here.”

Nien Nunb is Lando’s first officer in the Death Star run in Jedi. The rest of his lines that sound gibberish even to the Kenyan listener are actually in the Haya language spoken in Tanzania. Since the Kikuyu line is missing from the episode’s script, we can’t tell whether it was still Kipsang who voiced it or someone else.

#6 Mary Oyaya in Star Wars

Originally a model, Oyaya’s only claim to this list is the Star Wars character she played in two Star Wars movies. She played the role of the Jedi Master Luminara Unduliin in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.Her modeling agent hooked her up with the Luminara casting role and she was an automatic fit when she first went to the Fox Studios for auditions.

She is a Kenyan-born globetrotter who has lived in Kenya, Sweden, Canada, and Australia.

#5 Benjamin Ochieng’ in The X-Files

The X-Files (1999), Tears of the Sun (2003), The Shield series (2005), The Anatolian (2007), The Disciple (2008). Benjamin Ochieng’  is Hollywood’s go-to actor for Kiswahili lines. Benjamin’s claim to stardom has actually been his proficiency in Swahili. After playing 50 to 60 roles as an extra, he told the Associate Director on X-Files that he spoke Swahili and was hired three minutes later for his first speaking role.

He is now an actor with an impressive filmography and is fast making a name for himself as a producer and sound editor. With 20 titles to his filmography that include a voice actor in Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, Ochieng has also worked in movie crews as a sound editor and a writer. He has also directed two short films: Mr. Brewer’s Difficult Day (2011) and MISSInformed (2013).

#4 Kiran Shah and Deep Roy in almost every movie

I bet you didn’t know there is a Kenyan-born actor in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, Titanic (1997), and Alice in Wonderland. Wait, did someone say Titanic? The Titanic? …and all three Lord of the Rings movies?

The man with such a splendid filmography is Kiran Shah. Shah was born in Kenya in 1956 but moved back to his parent’s native India when he was only twelve years old. A stuntman and actor, he first featured in a movie in 1977. His most recent role is as Goblin Scribe in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Which Kenyan-born actor has starred in Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Star Trek? Hint: All the Oompa-Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are digital replications of him? No, it’s not Kiran, its Deep Roy, also credited as Roy Deep or GorDeep Roy. Ignoring the fact that reading those names aloud sounds like making bedroom noises, Deep Roy is also of Kenyan-Indian descent. He was born Mohinder Purba in Nairobi but emigrated to Britain.

Deep Roy

Here is a good list of Roy’s most prominent actor roles. In the Doctor Who serial Talons of Weng-Chiang, he plays Mr. Sin. In played Droopy McCool in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, and an Ewok on Endor. In Star Trek (2009), he plays the alien Keenser.

Kiran has 31 Titles in his filmography and Deep Roy (we can’t get enough of the name) has 46.

So, why are these two actors often mistaken for each other? There is the obvious similarity that they were born in Kenya, at around the same time, immigrated, then launched their careers in the 1970s. But there is something more apparent. They are both dwarfs! Roy is 4 ft 4 inches and Kiran Shah is slightly shorter at 4’ 2” or 1.26 meters tall.

Now, guess which one of the two was Elijah Wood’s (Bilbo Baggins) body double in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

#3 Edi Mue Gathegi in the Twilight Saga and House


I know. We shouldn’t be proud of one of Kenya’s sons making it to Twilight. Not since the series made vampires look so timid and mushy (and one spent his immortality vibing an underage highschool girl). But if you think about it, given our proven acumen on the track, we would make superb I’ll-even-give-you-a-head-start vampires. Gathegi is already making it happen.

Born on March 10, 1979 in Nairobi, Gathegi has acted in X-Men First Class (2011), Crank (2006), House, Gone Baby Gone (2007), and Twilight (2008). In Crank (2006), Gathegi is the Haitian cabbie; in Death Sentence he is Bodie; Darudi in The Fifth Patient; Cheese in Gone Baby Gone; He is Dr. Jeffrey Cole in House; Laurent in Twilight; and had a guest star role in CSI: Miami. Most recent roles include Atlas Shrugged and Family Tools.

He took up acting because it was an ‘easy course’ after he injured his knee playing basketball. When he first auditioned for his role as Laurent, he had not even read the Twilight books—understandably-and had no idea that the character was a vampire.

#2 Charles Gitonga Maina in The Air Up There


This 6’10”giant of a man was born in Kenya 1976. His claim on this list is The Air Up There (1994) where he co-starred with Kevin Bacon and Yolanda Vazquez. Maina stars as a tall basketball Winabi prince who is spotted by the main character, Jimmy Dolan, played by Kevin Bacon, as new talent for his college team. After seeing a home video of Saleh doing his signature skyhooks and reverse slum dunks, played by Charles Gitonga Maina, Dolan travels to Africa to recruit him. 

For the Saleh role, Maina and his friend were selected at the final auditions in LA. His natural talent got him the role and a basketball scholarship at Lynn University.  He moved back to Kenya after being unable to return to the US from Greece where he had gone to try out for a pro-team.

Maina also acted in SeaQuest DSV as Professor Obatu.

 #1 Mutia Omoolu and Riano Tindama in Trader Horn

1931. That’s when the first Kenyan-born actors made it to Hollywood. Trader Horn (1931) is a story about the titular character, Trader Horn’s journey to an unexplored area of Africa. They find a missionary has been killed and her daughter abducted by a native tribe. Nina, the daughter, has become their queen and Horn’s role is to ‘bring her back to civilization.

The movie was shot in Kenya and the reshoots at the MGM Studios in California. In the Kenyan set, Mutia was the unofficial casting director for the Kenyan crew. During the shooting, a crewman fell into a river and was eaten by a crocodile. A boy was killed by a charging rhino-and the scene was captured on camera and is included in the movie.

Mutia and Riano got very stereotypical roles. Mutia’s role in the movie is Horn’s Gun Bearer while Riano is a Witchdoctor; Riano is not credited in the film. They moved to California for the duration of the reshoots.Legends grew around their presence in Hollywood, including one popular, but fake, anecdote of how Mutia once threatened his boss at MGM in an alleged love triangle involving a Central Avenue prostitute. Mutia is said to have protracted a venereal disease from such sexacapdes.

The bigotry-oozing article titles as “Jungle Actors are the Unhappiest of Film Stars’ tell the modern reader much about the culture shock and racial stereotypes the two faced. In the article Mutia is said to have shed tears when his shoes became too tight. It goes on to say that their only savior from the culture shock was the set where they enjoyed acting with a ‘childlike innocence.’

When they returned to Kenya, Mutia started a business with his money but never talked about the film again. Riano simply disappeared from the streets of Nairobi and from history.

 Owaahh, 2013.



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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


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)


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


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’


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


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


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


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 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

Depicted in British Culture as a group of savages

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).


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


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...

Luka’s Homestead, where all hell broke lose…

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

A Propanganda pamphlet distributed during the war

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


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?

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

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…



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7 Most Brutal and Elaborate Militia in Kenya’s History

In Kenya, the name for a group of youth organized to do so something outrageous shifts from ‘militia’ to ‘gang’ to ‘vigilante’, and back, depending on when you are assessing it and who is paying you at the time.

Gangs gain political angles, or political militia become gangs, vigilantes are used by politicians and businessmen, generally, everyone sleeps with everyone, and the fact that we have not been killed by one group or the other, or its splinter groups, or the ‘strayed bullets’ by now is a total surprise and a proof that if there is indeed a God, then He or She must be confusion.

#7 Sungu Sungu

Sungu Sungu

In its truest sense, ‘sungusungu’ is a term rather than a single criminal gang.The escalation of insecurity is often how gangs and mob units form, and eventually morph into militia and mafia-type groups made of young boys who just need to get laid. The funny this is that the sungusungu do not have a single known chain of command or structures. This might be a farce though because the group had offices and of course, police support, in Kisii town because, what is running a gang without an office? Ask Al Capone…

The Sungu Sungu had existed before 2002 at least as vigilantes, but finally morphed into brutal gangs over the years. They were most famous for lynching suspected criminals and burning suspected witches. Residents of villages and estates still contribute to finance the operations of the sungusungu as volunteer patrols, and you know, to torch witches and commit extrajudicial and targeted killings on their behalf.

The Sungu Sungu are actually one of a set of three ‘criminal gangs’ centered in Kisii that regularly feature on lists of proscribed groups-the other two being the chinkororo and the amachuma. Chinkororo translates to ‘We will rain on you’ and is either the most chilling threat ever packed in a criminal group or simply a case of misunderstood raindrops. They are traditional warriors of the Kisii community, like the famous Morans of the Maasai community. Traditionally, the Chinkororo would mobilize in times of ethnic conflict to protect the Abagusii families of Borabu and Gucha districts. They did-admittedly, engage in cattle rustling ‘to compensate those whose livestock is stolen’ because, what is a good tribal warrior without a few stolen cattle?

The amachuma were a curious addition to the government ban on criminal gangs because they are not a gang, and they do not even exist. ‘Amachuma’ might be from the slang ekegusii word for ‘metal’ -‘richuma’- that ‘loosely translates to village tough.’ Amachuma is the plural for richuma and is not really a gang, but a specific cadre of youth, like saying ‘’ unemployed youth.’ . So, the government has banned unemployment and juvenile delinquents? Such an effective government.

#6 Mungiki

Perhaps the poster child of Kenyan criminal gangs, militia, and vigilante, the Mungiki were not known givers of fucks, although they were generous with the machete. They are the Kenyan Mafia, the Cosa Nostra, the Yakuza of Kenya. Mungiki emerged in the 1980s as something of a gang that combined criminal vigilante activities with cultural preservation. In the 1990s, the group moved most of its operations into Nairobi, gradually taking over the running of protectionist rings  and racketeering in slums, middle-class suburbs and most importantly, running matatu terminus. 

The Mungiki are highly structured: The national overall structure is broken down into a defined cell structure, each divided into five platoons of 10 people each. Even with this, the actual hierarchy remains largely unknown outside the group and of course, the complicit police. The political wing and mouthpiece of the group, the Kenya National Youth Alliance (KNYA), has since gone underground.

The name Mungiki probably comes from ‘muingi’ or ‘Kiama kia Muingi’ which means ‘a united people’ or ‘The party of the multitude/masses’ and which was what the Mau Mau was originally known as before all the propaganda. The Mungiki styled itself as the modern version of the Mau Mau, advocating for cultural rites such as circumcision for both male and females, and complete with a blood-oathing ceremony.

The Mungiki dabbled in politics and backed KANU in 2002, specifically Uhuru Kenyatta, now Fourth President of the Republic, as the presidential candidate.They were furnished with ten military land rovers ostensibly because they had important places to be. The NARC government discovered the link about a month into power, and Internal Security minister at the time, Chris Murungaru, asked the then Chief of General Staff Joseph Kibwana to investigate because you best investigate yourself, sir! After Uhuru Kenyatta lost, the gang’s power waned. Imagine what would have happened had he won…oh wait…

The first real attempt to break up the group in 2003 was a raid that ended up being two full days of clashes with the police in Mathare slums and other places.50 people had died in Nairobi in 2002 during clashes pitting matatu owners against the sect. In June 2007, the gang embarked on another campaign, beheading defectors, conductors, matatu drivers, and killing almost indiscriminately. The retaliation campaign led to over 10 extrajudicial killings by the police in Mathare alone.  In July 2007, members of the sect/gang/militia killed a two-year old, decapitated and mutilated the body in what is thought to have been ritual killing   In the 2007/8 civil unrest they were back with a bang, because the Mungiki are not people to miss a tribal cleansing party!

There have been stories of 500 bodies discovered in thickets, male genitalia being found hanging in town centers, and forced circumcision of members of the Luo community, and women.

Mungiki’s tentacles, like those of the Cosa Nostra and any mafia organization worth the name, are thought to have stretched beyond central province and even Kenya. One notable case is the gruesome murders of Jane Kuria and her two daughters in the US. Jane’s husband had died in 2001, after which she moved to the US and sought asylum saying that she and her children were in danger of being forcibly circumcised. The link might have been a fluke, but not completely implausible given the financial might of the group over the years.

In 2009, Mungiki leader Maina Njenga was released from prison and acquitted of murder charges. A week later, David Gitau Njuguna, the charismatic Mungiki and KYNA spokesperson, was shot dead on River road, in broad daylight, by obviously not the police. Another famous Mungiki leader, Ndura Waruinge, renounced the sect and converted first to Islam and changed his name to Ibrahim, then to Christianity and changed his name to Hezekiah perhaps intending to wash his settle his sins with all possible deities, the ultimate Pascal’s Wager.

The gang has since gone underground, and splinter groups such as Wailer and Thaai, which are already emerging as equally brutal gangs.

#5 Taliban


As the divisive Mungiki permeated through Nairobi slums, members of the Luo tribe living in Nairobi slums formed their own defensive vigilante gangs. Known as The Taliban, the gang obviously morphed beyond its initial intent. Other than choosing a name that carries connotations of Islamists who do not like it when women go to school, the Taliban are often referred to as ‘a Christian group.’ To confuse the deities of course… They viewed the Mungiki as ‘moral savages’ more so for the act of forcibly circumcising people than for killing Kenyans for sport.

The Taliban followed the Mungiki business and the business-of-cutting-heads model, extortion, beat-downs, murders, illegal taxation, racketeering, and others. They also engaged in public executions, the most common being stoning a target until he or she was unable to walk, and then burning them alive. Remember the famous photo from the 2007/8 civil war where a group of men are holding a dreadlocked man as another drives a machete into his skull? Well…

Let me save you the trouble...

Let me save you the trouble…

It is sort of what happens in Afghanistan and Iran, what did you expect? In the 2007 PEV, the Taliban emerged as the vigilante defense against the ethnic cleansing (or for, if you were a member of the other tribe) that was taking place while the government was meeting to decide who to blame. The Taliban once tried to blow up a bridge that connects the ‘Kikuyu area’ with the ‘Luo Area’ in Area 3 proving once again that in any way, you should go for the jugular, but you should not.

The Taliban began as an offshoot of the Baghdad Boys, the original grouping that was ‘the Luo tribe’s answer to the Mungiki’. The Baghdad Boys of Kisumu emerged in the early 1990s around the same time as the Gulf War, which might explain the choice of name. They were used widely in the 1992 and 1997 elections. The group later disbanded into several factions, with Taliban being the biggest and most influential. Other splinter gangs include ChinaSquad and ‘American Marines.’

The are many other offshoots of the Baghdad Boys, the most notable being Nyalenda Base, the Chief Squad, Nyamasaria Massive, Kenda Kenda, Kondele Bagdad for Peace (Who do we sue for misleading the public?), Karamojong Boys, Saba Saba, Artur Margaryan (because…why not), Kebago

#4 Ngoroko Anti-Stock Theft Unit

ngoroko standard 2

In January 2013, a Joshua Waiganjo was arrested for (supposedly) posing as a senior officer. Everyone denied knowing the man but there is overwhelming evidence that everyone knew who he was. The case is tied to the Baragoi Slaughter of 40 police graduates who walked into a trap where cattle raiders used them to test their new guns and newfound wealth. The undertones, of course, pointed to Waiganjo being a member of the Ngoroko or for a more apt title, the ‘Stock Theft Unit.’

The Ngoroko was never/is not just a militia group, it was a parallel police force made up of, well, who else but police officers? Integrated into the Kenya Administration police as the Anti-Stock theft unit, the modern-day Ngoroko was formed as a private army and quasi-official police force. Sometime between 1976 and 1978, the Kiambu mafia was willing to do anything to prevent Moi (or any other non-Kikuyu) from ascending to power. Its original aim, according to the Kenyatta Succession (the book, not the joke), was to impoverish the vulnerable pastoralist people.

Its primary activities were poaching and cattle rustling but it moved to assassination hits, carjacking, bank robberies, money laundering, gunrunning, protectionist rings, import, and escort of pirate loot, drug trade, takeover of Mungiki areas, and electoral malpractices. If there is any police unit that knows where Felicien Kabuga really is, then it is these guys. They are like a conglomerate for all things illegal.

Ngoroko was first used in reference to the ‘armies of heavily armed bandits’ who emerged in Northern Kenya, especially the area from the Ilemi Triangle into the Pokot and Turkana districts. The Ngoroko used AK 47s procured from Sudan and Somalia to raid each other and re-raid each other after they were raided for first raiding the other communities. That was before the first militia was trained by Rift Valley police Chief James Mungai, the same guy who slapped Moi twice in front of Kenyatta and once carried out a strip search and home raid after Moi came back from an overseas trip. The first target? Moi of course because if you are going to kill someone, it might as well be the Vice President at the time.  They were said to have been armed with silenced weapons, and only missed him because he was ‘sneaked past Nakuru.’ They were running roadblocks on the highway as they whistled and waited to give Moi several bullets because, they were generous.

#3 Sabaot Land Defense Force (SLDF)

sourced from

sourced from

Perhaps the most memorable guerrilla groups in recent years, this militia group focused its activities in the Mount Elgon Area. Formed in 2005, the SLDF’s activities and the ensuing security operations left at least 600 casualties and displaced over 66, 000 people over eighteen months of the most action. The original aim of the group was as a community reaction to the Chebyukk settlement scheme. The scheme, like all other land settlement scheme, was just one ‘big fap job’ [citation not needed] where only the government was left feeling nice and rich.

SLDF ran a parallel administration system and was funded in much the same way as six of the entries on this list, through racketeering, taxation and running protectionist rings. It was also the well armed, with most of the militia carrying AK47s and other types of guns, and with seemingly unlimited access to ammunition. The group used mobile phones, discarding the sim cards after every raid.Rumor has it that the first commander was a former Presidential Guard because the more famous commander, Wycliffe Matakwei Kirui, was just the deputy commande.

Witness accounts detail such as these :

“Once they raid a place, they divide themselves in groups of 12-20 men. Then they surround the area and strike. They are so confident that they at times send warnings before they strike,” says the police officer.

Each of the members is supposed to carry special charms to protect him during an operation.

After surrounding their target, the militia group then blocks all the roads leading to the place as was exemplified during the Kapsokwony raid where the Kaptama/Kapswokony, Kapsokwony/Kimilili and Kapsokwony/Kopsiro roads were all closed.”

In March 2008, the military launched ‘Operation Okoa Maisha’ a large-scale assault to fight off the group. The government also offered an amnesty and KShs 10, 000 for information and surrender. The full title of the operation should have been ‘Operation Okoa Maisha…ha-ha, NOT!’ because the army might have outdone the SLDF. The month before the military operation, the police had uncovered mass graves in the Mt. Elgon forests. …and of course, it sought to outdo the SLDF by carrying out its own massacre to stop the SLDF one. Proving once again that ‘dawa ya moto si maji.’ The militia is estimated to have killed, about 30 people before the well-meaning, deity approved government killed 68 people because, double or nothing.

Successful military campaign huh? Matakwei was killed, the commandant remained and unknown and of the very few who were tried, eight commandants were freed after the government entered a nolle prosequi . The government’s counter-massacre ended the scourge, right? Actually no, in February 2012, the group was said to be regrouping. We are just waiting for the next Mt. Elgon Massacre, let us see who wins this round. My bet is the government remains undefeated in the third round, via technical knock-out…plus, what is a military operation without a few explosives left behind to kill any future militia, or as we prefer them, innocent kids.

#2 Northern Frontier District Liberation Movement (NFDLM) 

Perhaps the most underplayed yet one of the most significant conflicts in Kenya’s history is the ‘Shifta War.’ Recorded in most books and etched in memory as the ‘Shifta menace’, this seeming success of the government propaganda machine overlooks an important militia called the NFDLM. The irredentist militia began in the pre-colonial era, and its exact history has not been well covered.

The Shifta are actually more of an idea than a group and existed as early as the British Military Administration of Eritrea (1941-1952). 4 days before granting the Somaliland areas independence in June 1960, the colonial government declared that all Somali areas should be unified into the Greater Somali. Kenya was granted administration of the Northern Frontier District despite the fact that it was inhabited by ethnic Somalis and an informal referendum had demonstrated their wish to join Somalia.

The Kenya government first considered the NFLDM a s serious threat in 1966 after they used a landmine which “killed two 2 officers and wrecked the vehicle (a police Land Rover).’ The NFLDM was supported by Somalia in training and finance.. The proxy war almost brought Kenya and Somalia to full-scale all-out warSince almost zero information is known of the NFDLM organizational structure, the only possible info can be gleaned from the government reaction. For example, the government confiscated livestock to deny guerrillas access to food and logistical supplies. The state-sanctioned propaganda strategy makes for an interesting read.

The government reaction to the group’s activities was brutal, and was borrowed, almost in intricate detail, from Operation Anvil, the military strategy during the State of Emergency in the 1950s. In fact, declaring a State of Emergency was the first thing the government did. The North Eastern Province (NEP) was closed off to the rest of Kenya hence the lack of evidence of the atrocities committed by both sides. Most accounts suggest  that the government engaged in genocide, as it always does, slaughtering entire villages and ‘vigilization’ pastrolist communities into 14 Manyattas, concentration camps. The villages included passes and fences and all, and of course all the rape and testicle-crunching.internewskenya dot org shifta

This might be the longest running militia in Kenya’s history, as the first real secession of conflict ended in 2000. The war officially ended in 1967 after a peace agreement between Somalia and Kenya, but not before the lesser-known Garbatulla massacre where more than 2, 700 people were killed and buried in mass graves. The few disgraced fighters who managed to avoid being tortured and massacred went home and begun engaging in banditry within the manyattas. Remember the more famous Wagalla Massacre of 1984? That was also part of the conflict, and the government might have used chemical weapons

With five decades of conflict, most of the new militia are content with engaging in the occasional bombing, or shooting, of ‘hostile forces’, ostensibly the Kenya security forces, often warranting extreme reprisals …

–notably, in March 1997, the Ethiopian Shangilla raided the Kenyan side of the border and shot dead over 100 people, including 19 security officers. The skirmishes lasted a whole week, and became a mini-war where they engaged the military and cut off road link. They attacked again in October 1998, and killed 200 members of the Degodia clan, Kenyan Somalis. In 1999, they again attacked, this time with land mines and many times after that…

With the emergence of extremist  Islamist governments in Somalia , the violence quickly returned, and as of 2013, involves various largely unknown militia against security forces. The massacres happen almost daily, and the government swears it will not stop until all of NEP is cleared of its common wish to join the motherland. Okay, it does not swear that aloud, but it has used the NEP for human target practice before.

#1 The Kaya Bombo Raiders

The MRC, remnants of an long-lasting conflict

The MRC, remnants of an long-lasting conflict

You know how there are movies where a group of raiders attack a strategic village and hold it as they fight off government resistance and kill people? Well, it has happened in Kenya…

The Kaya Bombo raiders are the arguably the most structured and best organized entry on this list.

On August 13, 1997, a group of about 200 raiders carrying traditional weapons and covered by foreigners wielding guns, attacked a police post, a police station, and basically anything else at the Likoni Ferry station that had a portrait of Moi in it… They killed 6 officers and stole more than 40 guns. They then went on a violent rampage killing almost indiscriminately, or so it seemed at first. They targeted ‘the mainland communities,’ the tribes that would vote ‘the other way’, in the December elections.

They later retreated to the Kaya Bombo forest, hence the name, when security forces arrived the next morning. The guerrilla attacks did not end, not even after elections ended in December, they continued December of 1998. The police found themselves outmatched by a group that was seemingly coordinated, effective, and almost any other adjective you can use to describe a successful militia. They had had numerous opportunities to practice as Coast politicians jostled for power.

In materials and records that were intercepted during the course of the gang’s activities, a proper military structure, with 278 men in total, was clearly detailed and illustrated. The commanding officer of the group was one Juma Bempa. They had a military structure headed by ethnic Digo men who had served in the police or military. The group also included a retinue of mercenaries and some security forces might have crossed over during the yearlong conflict. 

“An attendance register, records of personnel matters (promotions and demotions, disciplinary actions), and a firearms register that detailed the number of guns, their serial numbers, and a log of who used them”

“… the raiders were divided into different “companies” of fixed composition, and listed the dates of the training given to each group”

“…the second book detailed the raiders’ expenses on food and hospital treatment and included an unsent letter”

If you clicked on the previous link, somewhere in the middle, you will find a detailed analysis of the military structure including the uniform issued to different ranks, and accounts of raiders attacking the post office, shops, homes, and everyone else.

How could a small militia of more than 200 carry out such an effective (because murder) campaign?

The whole gang was the work of KANU politicians exploiting local politics to win the 1997 elections. Most accounts of former gang members, who went on to form the MRC, indicated that similar attacks, a trial run of sorts, had occurred in 1992 but at a smaller scale.

...also, the government will fatten you up, temporarily.

…also, the government will fatten you up, temporarily.

The jury is still out on whether the Mombasa Republican Council is an armed gang, a secessionist group, or a political party. While the courts decided otherwise, the executive still maintains the MRC as one of 33 criminal gangs. The MRC , or as It was first called, the Republican Council, is thought to have been partially inspired by the Kaya Bombo raiders. There is the curious fact that the group was formed as the RC in 1998, around the same time the Kaya Bombo raids subsided, and was also made up, at least originally, of ethnic Digo men.

+ Forty Brothers

This gang is not to be confused with the ‘Forty Two brothers’, another proscribed gang that clearly has two more ‘bros’ than this entry….or the ’40 Ndugus’ which gets zero marks for militia brand differentiation.

Formed in 1998 (again, curiously, around the same time the Kaya Bombo raiders dispersed), the gang would raid homes, rape young women, and steal from the homesteads. Like all other gangs on this list, its signature weapons were crude machetes and traditional weapons, police uniform and the occasional gun. It also operated boats because transportation…

The group used to meet in Changamwe to strategize on its targets. They would hide in caves in Mshomoroni area of Kisauni, which is also the same place they are thought to hide their loot. Residents in the affected areas publicly lynched its leaders and the group fizzled out. Pssst, treasure hunters…? Anyone?

Plus, when do we get the next counter-massacre? What is a good massacre among countrymen?

Owaahh, 2013.


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7 Most Eccentric Kenyan Politicians

The thin line between eccentricity and insanity is riddled with money, and power, and political office, and balls.  In fact, if you the common Wanjiku were to try some of the eccentricities here, there would be a ‘Get Wanjiku to Mathari Hospital Campaign.’

#7 Kamwithi Munyi

In an age that was characterized by sychophancy and national asskissing to win favor with the big man it is hard for anyone to stand out, but this man did. Everyone was ‘toeing the line’ which is just euphemism for kissing the man who lived in the house on the hill’s ass.

Kamwithi Munyi would wear “… two wristwatches lest he missed a presidential function, nodded at every word the president uttered as he judiciously took notes”

Kamwithi, seen here reincarnated....

Kamwithi, seen here after reincarnation…

That’s it, Munyi wore two watches because he didn’t trust either to be correct. He believed in ‘The Synergy of Many Watches and the ancient art of asskissing’ [citation needed] Or perhaps no one told him about Segal’s Law “A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”

People wear two watches for different reasons, the more apparent of which is stupidity.

#6 Dixon Kihika Kimani

Where Peter Oloo Aringo was the court poet, Dixon Kihika Kimani was the court jester and he owned that with unmatched awesomeness.

Kihika Kimani Live? Anyone? NTV?

Kihika Kimani Live? Anyone? NTV?

Most of his quips were in vernacular but the meaning cannot be lost to anyone.
He holds the record for being the only man to ever represent three different constituencies. You would think disappointing three different electorates would qualify one for the list but this man did more, or rather sad more.

When a Nakuru trader, Mbugua, expressed interest in a car he was selling, he laughed off the whole idea and told him in Kikuyu: “Ukwenda gakari gaka nduire thuragiria? (You want this car, in which I have been farting?)” Well, that is not exactly a sales pitch, sir.
Interviewer (when he saw the 70-year old Kihika with a 6-month old boy): “Ona gaka no gaku mutongoria? (You have fathered this one, too, mheshimiwa?)

...and he might have succeded, meet his gorgeous daughter, now the Nakuru County Assembly Speaker...

…and he might have succeded, meet his gorgeous daughter, now the Nakuru County Assembly Speaker…your argument is invalid.

Kihika: “Tondu niwe undeithitie gugaciara?” (Have I asked forhelp from you on that matter?).
“Hata sasa nikitaka naweza kuchukua wanawake tatu, nne, niende nao kwangu kwa sababu nina mali (Even now, I can take away three or four womenand marry them off because I have wealth),” he would say.

He was elected in three different constituencies, a fete no one has achieved before or after him. He is also famous for having his six wives run in different constituencies, giving new meaning to the art of spreading your luck.

# 5 C M Njonjo and his pinstripe

Meet Sir Charles M. Njonjo, the Duke of Kabeteshire. Njonjo is almost always seen ‘…Clad in his trademark three-piece custom-made pinstripe (with his initials “CN”) suits with a watch on a golden chain dangling down his neck.”NjonjoHe is a man who is known for his British mannerisms, although we cannot confirm whether this is as cool as having a British accent (which has been scientifically proven to increase one’s chances of getting laid exponentially). Njonjo is credited with giving us Kenya’s Machiavellian prince, also known as the giraffe of Kenyan politics, and hence triggering events whose effects we are still seeing now. If kids do not get their free the next six months, you know who to blame now.
Everyone knew Sir Charles was stylish and more obsessed over his pinstripes than the government he was supposed to be advising on legal matters. The truth about the pinstripes, was captured in the Miller Inquiry when so many snitching on the man that it held the record until Michael Vick was tried for holding dog fights [citation needed].
The Miller Inquiry ended up being more about the man’s vanity and narcissism than the accusation of treason. THis was the same man who had accused people of ‘imagining the death of the president’ so…karma.

The age before zoom?

The age before zoom?

“In January 1981 he (senior superintendent of police Essau Kihumba Kioni) discussed with a Mr Todd, an accountant in the revenue section, the issue of excess baggage weighing 270kg that had been flown in by Njonjo from London. When it was confirmed with the London authorities that Njonjo had not paid for the excess baggage, the chief accountant discussed the matter with the airline’s Managing Director, Lord Cole and Njonjo was invoiced Sh36,272.50 on January 21, 1981. On January 29 the same year Kioni was summoned to Njonjo’s office, where in front of Lord Cole and Simon Mbugua the then permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport, the former AG expressed his disgust at the police officer.”

270kg of what most certainly were a bunch of suits and for which a lowly officer got to see the AG’s office.

You raise us tyranny and a suit, Hosni? We raise you consistency!

You raise us tyranny and a suit, Hosni? We raise you consistency!

Now, even common folk like you and I get clothes that are tailored somewhere-the difference is whether they are tailored in a sweatshop in China where one of the company policy rules is to not get frustrated and jump out of the window, or in London where the cost of thread can feed a family for a few weeks.

Njonjo wins this for consistency, having worn the suits for almost as long as he has been posing for photos.

#4 Martin Shikuku and the early grave

In an age where sycophancy was real, there were those few blessed with tonnes of bollocks the size of Saturn complete with rings of badassery and nongiveanyfuckatall-erely (citation needed). One of those few was Martin Shikuku.

KANU  might be dead, Shikuku, but it had already sired enough....

KANU might be dead, Shikuku, but it had already sired enough….

Shikuku dug his own grave actually he had two of them dug and labeled clearly so no one would bury him in his wife’s grave. Then he bought them coffins and placed them in the house. You can relax now, married guy, suddenly your oily spanner on the kitchen table sounds like child’s play. If she ever brings up that or the dirty socks on the coffee table, point her to what Shikuku’s wife had to go through with two coffins in the house, maybe even using them as a book case.
Shikuku made his funeral arrangements in 2004 (Including no religious rites and political speeches), which is pretty weird because his chances of being assassinated had gone down exponentially with the fall of the ‘official’ KANU in 2002. He is most famous for saying that KANU, the mother and father of the republic, the cockerel of the land was dead.

"Yes, I need two levels in the grave too, in case I decide to ressurect"

“Yes, I need two levels in the grave too, in case I decide to resurrect”

Everyone knew it, but you couldn’t just tell the king he was naked. Simply calling the cock (ignore, for the next few minutes, that the last two syllables of his surname alluded to poultry) dead does not count as a qualification to be on this list-there are enough men having to tell their girlfriends that everyday-but the cock in question here was the only cock in the whole nation (I don’t know why you are thinking of the cock that is not the cockerel that is only male poultry. You might need therapy), But my guess is that there are two places you couldn’t say ‘the cock is dead’ and expect to be treated the same way after between 1965 and 1991 and that’s Kenya and the Playboy mansions.

For eight years he walked past his own grave most likely even jumped in a few times to get a feel of his body’s eternal home. You figure he most likely covered it or something, more to prevent the occassional four-legged domesticated animal from falling in and forcing everyone to throw ropes at an ass.

#3 Mutula Kilonzo, the Lion herder

So you own a pet, or pets,yes? You do, of course you do, you are most likely reading this with your feline lord straddled across your lap, and you are stroking her with one hand as you scroll down with the other…any lubricant and I would ask you to first finish off the creepy business before reading on! Or you own lolCats, the internet equivalent of these living deities. Still, you own a pet, even if its just the cockroaches now walking across your carpet simply because someone whose pants you are trying to decode is seated across….whichever the case, your relevant lane on the road of pet-keeping is a damp weather road with potholes compared to this man’s.

No, not this one of his hobbies...

No, not this one of his hobbies…

Meet the other Mutula who lives in his Sh2 million cage called “The Hague”. The other Mutula is not a learned friend, he is a friend with a mane, a lion (Dear dyslexic, we all have loins, if we had wanted a list about loins we would have written one. So, lions it is, unless your lions are roaring in which case, stop reading this and go get checked by someone, preferably a witchdoctor with proven experience and no front teeth….trust me, you do not want to know why). 2 million bob, you that read right (but you that read wrong, this too…again, twice, too easy?).

That’s the price of a decent family home in most parts of KE, or a campaign if you want to win a parliamentary seat in Meru.

The politician is rearing three lions and has named the dominant one after himself (ofcourse). The lions and the cheetahs (one named Mutula and the other Ocampo because …well,because subliminal) are fed on beef and goat meat from his livestock, but only five days in a week so they don’t become obese-no one wants momo-lions.

At least this Hague knows how to do its work....

Two Mutulas, one owned by KWS, the other by KRA.

One lionness is named Sis and the other, Nduku, after his wife. Now, given that this are the only three lions on the ranch, and that they most likely mate (although they are orphans), this could actually be a representation of a man’s threesome fantasy cum incest cum adultery with le sister and le wife cum everyone at once. [citation needed]
Now you have to clarify which Mutula you are talking about, is it Mutula the Simba, Mutula the Wild Pig, Mutula the Cheetah or Mutula the  former Mbooni MP (you would think representing a constituency with such a name would be enough).

Naming a wild pig after yourself is not exactly subtle is it sir?

#2 D. T Arap Moi and his baton
Its the way he shamelessly fondles it in public (for over three decades, the horror!) that should tell you who we are as a country. We are queer, we like to watch…

See how he holds it?

See how he holds it?

It looks somewhat like a dildo, something you would see in a grotesque porn movie with a lass on heels on one end and a jerk on the other. In this scenario, only the lass is missing.No one knows whether he sleeps with it.
Moi is an obsessive man, as this profile on his sense style suggests . He is well-dressed for a man his age, and looks quite healthy but it is impossible to find a profile of the man that does not mention the “elegant gold- or silver-tipped ivory rungu.”

He referred to it as his fimbo ya nyayo- making you dear male reader, not the first one to name something you own and fondle ‘fimbo’, in fact, take a number, this one might have copyright issues.

We know he used it whenever he was angry; sometimes shattering it in which case another rhino or elephant would have to die for a replacement baton- unless all the rungus were made when the first one was killed, poachers, are two tusks enough for…say, 30 presidential phallic symbols? This is a safe environment, you can answer at the comment section…(the worst that can happen is a 30k fine if they catch you).

Is it just me or is the head on this one bigger?

Is it just me or is the head on this one bigger?

During a visit to Australia in 1981, Moi accidentally dropped and broke it.   He was so distressed that aides had to arrange for a replacement to Down Under (See what I did there?)

Eddie Murphy once described Moi as a bone carrying head of state . If Eddie Murphy had been Kenyan, Eddie Murphy would have had Eddie Murphy’s balls between a pair of rusty pliers in the basement of Nyayo House for sedition and making fun of the father of the nation. The man was Machiavellian to the core, a giraffe and a tyrant now celebrated for being old and clairvoyant.

Seen here definitely not describing the size of the real one

Seen here definitely not describing the size of the real one

Should it worry you when everyone talks about the pointy thing you carry around everywhere? Especially if you don’t work in the porn industry?

Yes, the taxpayer paid for an eccentricity because you don’t want your president to be distressed that the thing he holds on to is now broken. Because we never heard it after, in the next 20 odd years of leadership, we can assume he improved his grip, learnt how to….hold it better with dropping it…if you catch my drift.
It seems to escape our national conscience that we have phallic symbols in the capital city and a major town and we are not worried about its impact on morals (come on clergy, when do you start hating on this one too?).

Your Excellency, if you would please toss your rungu in there too, and maybe stand closer to the fire?

Your Excellency, if you would please toss your rungu in there too, and maybe stand closer to the fire?

The irony did not seem to dawn on anyone that the guy burning 60 tonnes of ivory  to discourage poaching was holding a baton was made of ivory.



..but when you are the president you can even add the phallic symbol to the currency....

..but when you are the president you can even add the phallic symbol to the currency….

When yours truly tried it, carrying around a stick as a boy, there was a fully-fledged, state-sanctioned, family intervention because everyone thought he was exhibiting masturbatory behaviour (holding the/a stick all the time is not exactly subliminal is it?)

No one said it out loud but he knew, or rather he knows now why it was thrown into the latrine.

I dare to start hitting on women in the club while holding a baton suggestively. Well, Moi can get away with that but you my friend can’t… This can only work if you own stuff and you make shit happen.Some life advice? Whatever your eccentricity is, don’t carry a baton unless you are high in the police hierachy, unless it can get you laid then always carry a baton, in fact, carry a pair of balls too!

When you are president you can even immortalize it, and add a mountain just for kicks...

When you are president you can even immortalize the phallic symbol, and add a mountain just for kicks…

#1 Dr. Taita Towett and a host of eccentricities
Any list here at Too Late for Worms that Dr. Towett appears in is bound to have him as the most of anything… because  was weird and he owned it….like a bawse, before it was even cool to be short and not give the tiniest of F-words for what anyone else thought. Taita Towett is here because if he wasn’t rich or powerful, he would have simply been a madman.

So you think you are awesome? Tell me more...

So you think you are awesome? Tell me more…(see the specs?)

Now, one understands why a man with 26 children, five marriages and two divorces would make everyone keep time. You don’t want a whole polling station yelling ‘give us money, give us money’ at the same time. As a Kenyan politician, Towett knew the ancient art of keeping your constituents waiting, ensuring you could break their will one by one.
When everyone was clamoring for multipartyism from 1988? Towettwas advocating for a party-less state-which would have saved us from our legendary political prostitution. We also know that he was a linguist, and a tribalist, by today’s standards for having not pretended he wanted ‘other tribes’ in the Rift Valley in the 1960.

Research Endeavors
Long before Robinson Githae told us we were dying of hunger because we are stupid (not exactly in thos words), Towett had already tried to figure out how eating moles (which he paid catchers KShs. 15 for) affects the eater’s sleeping habits.His hypothesis? That rodent’s have heavy sleeping habits and most likely affect how the eater sleep? This would have been important research and might have, to some extent,, provided Githae with the scientific evidence he needed to validate telling such a proud goat-and-donkey eating nation to eat rats.

Plus there would have been a clash of personalities, cats do whatever they want too...

Plus there would have been a clash of egos, cats do whatever they want too…Feline Towetts

He had first wanted to use cats for the study but abandoned the feline animals because he discovered their ineptness. The cats were naturally heavy sleepers and he settled on the moles.

That’s right, this guy stayed up watching rodents sleep. Which makes sense, to some level, because you want to wake your cat up when the mice are asleep, or to take shifts waiting outside the mice-condo in your wall (we have watched too much Tom and Jerry, clearly).
Why we don’t have the journal article? Well, he’s research couldn’t really have passed the scientific tests of validity because of several reasons. One, he was his own sample population, okay, he and the moles he caught and booked one of his wives to cook for him were the sample population. Being the guinea pig is not exactly sharp is it?



Two, even if we were to accept his self-experiement, there is also the other matter of his WhiteCap. Anyone who knows Queen’s O’Clock knows that it is the ancient cure for insomnia and is so effective that it most likely made the moles look bad.
Another one of his many research endeavors was the effect of alcohol on sexual performance in men. It just sounds like a ruse to get an orgy from your five wives doesn’t it? You would think owning a harem would increase your chances of getting laid…

It is said that his Ngata house farm was invisible until one got really close to it, and no, I am not making phallic allusions as I was doing in one of the previous entries. The house, known as ‘Mashimoni’, first made it to the national news plate when the Standard carried an article in 1987 of how weird Towett was.
When the journalist asked him why he dug out so much soil and built a bunker excuse for a house, his response was:

I can even wash my hands in the sufuria and wear a suit with

I can even wash my hands in the sufuria and set the style standards for Mike Ross. (and how to not forget where you placed your glasses for everyone else)

There is no such thing in the world as ‘below ground’ because even if you dig a hundred kilometres into the ground, you will still be stepping on ground. I have built my house below grass. You will appreciate that grass only grows at the surface of the earth. My house is, therefore, ‘below grass residence’.

Plus below grass sounds like euphemism for being baked.
If you think you are eccentric, dig a house below ground level and call it Mashimoni (the name is so graphic, but I figure he had a crisis because he wanted to call it Shimoni but couldn’t because it would have alluded to something completely different) and spend a few months watching moles sleep, or socialites, whichever tickles you.
The Passenger Seat
Towett’s greatest eccentricity was not even watching moles knock it off or even making barbeque sticks out of their tiny internal organs. His greatest eccentricity was that he thought the inner design of the car was stupid, and he set out to offset the imbalance. How? First, he took out all the back seats and placed a bag of sand in the back (Of all his cars). Then he removed the passenger seat and reversed it to face the back so the passenger could face the driver in transit.

His justification for removing the back seats? “I am not running a taxi service. One seat is enough for me
For turning the passenger seat? “I like to see who I am talking to, as we travel… most people are so linear in their thinking you waste time looking at them directly in the eye



But sir, you had a family of 26 children, what you needed was as many seats as those in a Nyayo bus, not less. The rationale here was probably not ‘putting all your eggs in one basket.’
Coould it have all been a ruse to get head-it must be easier? Or to be straddled when driving without the whole, shift-gears-first-so-I-can-move-thing. It makes sense, especially in a car-chase, plus also gives new meaning to head on collision.

Which means that at some point in NRB’s notorius jam, a bored driver would look at the next car and see a man seated on the passenger seat, facing behind, not giving a fuck about anything, and just being awesome and weird. That man, giving a whole new definition to riding shotgun, and perching his spectacles on his head because why not? It also means that guy who drives a ‘pimped out’ Vitz with Christmas lights on the outside and a spade on the excuse of a boot suddenly looks sane.

Owaahh, 2013.


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7 Most Elaborate Cons ever pulled off in Kenya by Foreigners

Hunter Thompson quipped “In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught.In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”

Wanjiku, the taxpayer who watches soap operas every evening and takes the 9 O’clock news for truth, expects elected leaders and the media to do due diligence and not be stupid and gullible.

History shows that more often than not, they do exactly the opposite. Many of the cons were successful because we have a tendency to believe foreigners, and often approach interactions with them with ‘half-closed eyes).

#7 Lamine Diack’s ‘Son’

The (almost) Sucker: Maina Kamanda, then Minister for Sports
You are also forgiven for not knowing Lamine Diack, or why someone would masquerade as his son to swindle a cabinet minister. The would be sucker, then Sports Minister Maina Kamanda had a stroke of luck, and figured it out before he lost his money.

Do something, like call a Minister and say you are the Second Coming.

Do something, like call a Minister and say you are the Second Coming.

The Ruse
Imagine you are a cabinet minister and you receive a call from the head of an international sports organization claiming his son, Mohamed was carjacked and is now stranded Kenya. He needs more than Shs. 300k to find become ‘un-carjacked.’

Chances to have the head of IAAF owe you one? Those do not come easily, do they? You can already sense the excitement as you call your bank to see whether they can loan you the money (you are a cabinet minister, of course you are broke, your over 900k salary a month notwithstanding). Kamanda later said “I…alerted my bank to see if they can lend me the 4,000 Euros.”

The taxpayer should be taxed for this scenarios, right? As an allowance for ‘international assistance, networking and asskissing.’ To make sure that whenever a political leader needs to do a favor, he has the necessary funds to handle the bills and buy a favor.

Sir, did you get a reimbursement for the Liddos part?

Sir, did you get a reimbursement for the Liddos part?

As your bank sorts out the money issue, you ask your secretary to call back Lamine so you can see ‘what more you can do for him.’ Get the son into Liddos, perhaps, because he might need striptease therapy after the carjacking? Only that this time, you are talking to real Lamine Diack and he swears he knows nothing a son in Mombasa or Kenya, and probably calls your mother names and tells you to quit weed before hanging up on you.

You call the police, trick the guy and arrest him. Then you hold a press conference to express your dismay; underneath it all we know you are cursing the lost chance to be a sucker.
The confidence man who wanted the $5, 100? Nelson Banda, a Zambian national (and no, he is not, to the best of my knowledge, related to the former president).

#6 The Artur Brothers

The Sucker (s): The Kenyan media and public, and almost everyone in between
You have probably heard of this saga so much in the last nine years that you can recite it better than you can the second stanza of the national anthem. The two brothers with similar first names and weird last names, one with a full-time smug on his face that tells you he knows things you don’t.

This is a case of what Johnny Depp’s character in Dark Shadows describes as being ‘so overt it’s covert.’ It is the art of hiding by not hiding, being so much who everyone thinks you are that it can only be a lie. Its what Mike Sonko does by displaying such stupidity that we are just glad he wears clothes.
The Ruse?
It all started with the seizure of a 1.1 metric tonnes of cocaine haul in 2004 at the port of Mombasa that upset the drug business and triggered background power fights, and put the corruption machine into full gear.The Artur brothers were brought in as ‘investors’ and in private circles ‘security consultants (in a way, this is true, just not precise).

The smug look on their faces! Who shaves them anyway? Is there like a mercenary barber?

The smug look on their faces! Who shaves them anyway? Is there like a mercenary barber?

In 2005, Raila Odinga claimed that they were assassins brought in to kill him.
….before the Arturs said that they had been hired by Raila and ODM to bankroll a regime change (wait, paid to pay for something? Okay…).

Actually, for the lazy reader who hates clicking on links, the main point there is that they ‘…met with Kalonzo and Raila who wanted US$41 million to support the ‘No’ referendum campaign in November 2005 to bring down the Kibaki government. They claimed they had loaned Raila $1.5 million in cash.

In 2010 they claimed that Kibaki knew about the Standard raid. Didn’t anyone give this people a job description? An entire bureaucracy and no one thought to at least think up a JD?
Like a good number of the entries on this list, they were accommodated at a five-star hotel in Nairobi (Which the taxpayer almost obviously paid for) before moving to ‘their’ Runda home (where they invited the same media they later raided-well, supposedly). Maybe they were the fangs of the rattle snake to which Michuki later alluded.
They were ‘assistant commissioners of police’ with state ‘protection’ (that we still paid for…happily… and just to show them, well, that we can afford mercenaries).

Again, the smug look...what's with these guys?

Again, the smug look…what’s with these guys?

On the mercenary issue one of Arturs (I was too lazy to check which one) said: “if we were mercenaries, Kenya could not afford us.” I don’t get these people, insulting our ‘national pride’ by claiming we do not have enough taxpayers and lenders to pay two mercenaries, we pay over 1, 900 of those already-we brand them ‘politicians’ though, it’s easier to spell. (I am tempted to switch to full vernacular mode, what Sunny Bindra calls peculiar lingo and ask ‘ii nikii we!?’)
In the end, no one even knew whether they were Armenian as claimed or Czech as claimed by the immigration ministry. For such an incompetent government, at least they got the Eastern Europe part right.

…Or even why we deported them to Dubai and not Armenia where they claimed to have hailed from.
That claim of an assassination threat? A claim that matches their recent appearance in Maldives just a few days after Mohammed Nasheed, the ousted leader, expressed similar fears.
Now Maldives is scared of falling for the same con job with the president even saying he doesn’t know how to pronounce the first name (Neither do we sir, we just think of how some people would read ‘A tool’ and take it from there. Catch up, ignorance is no excuse). Then this press statement.

#5 Grace Aluma Ondonga, The Woman who ‘sold’ International Life House

The Sucker (s): An MP, diplomats, top companies
The Ruse

Grace Aluma offered to sell International Life House and all of its 15 floors to a group of rich and powerful dudes who drive around Nairobi looking for buildings to buy. Her first pitch was that she was a uranium dealer with the American government, and that she had over $100 million to invest in Kenya.

Sold, to the stupidest bidder!Source

Sold, to the stupidest bidder!

Granted, this was the age before the internet so it’s not like you could just Google-search a person and go through their Wikipedia page (stop opening a new tab, she doesn’t have one).
Grace, illiterate as she was, was most likely inspired by this guy, the con artist extraordinare (if they write books about your crimes, that’s a good thing, right?) Lustig is known as the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower in 1925 (date is key; we don’t know how many other times it’s been sold, France loses many wars).

He became famous for this one act because of the sheer balls it took to ‘sell’ such an iconic piece of architecture and never be prosecuted it for it because the scrap metal dealers he swindled were too powerful to be embarrassed but not bright enough to not see the con. Granted, they were French so, doesn’t really count as a great con Lustig, resurrect, and try again!

Cool move Ondonga, now try sell the most notable piece of architecture in a country and you qualify as a pro...

Cool move Ondonga, now try sell the most notable piece of architecture in a country and you qualify as a pro…

Her most prominent suckers? Then Bahati MP Fred Omido, Dr. Victor Johnson (UN Consultant from Sierra Leone). She also collected money from Westland Motors (now Toyota Kenya), Swissair (defunct) and Kenya Commercial Bank. Of course, it makes sense for big companies to want to own buildings, the fact that the seller is illiterate being less important than the fact that its such a fair deal.

Omido was later accused by Charles Njonjo of helping Aluma escape.
Like Count Lustig’s ruse, the exact suckers are not named in the media reports, perhaps to save them from the embarrassment. For the simple fact that they are not French, this ruse took balls!
She and her accomplice, Dr Simon Ngoye Mulopwe were arrested in 1984.

#4  Debra Amelia Kasambura nee George, The Queen of Sheba of the Nubian Empire

The Suckers: Government officials (of course), businessmen, Kamlesh Pattni (Someone got even for us? Have we feted them yet?)

If you Google the Queen of Sheba, you are more likely to land on pages about the Queen of Sheba of the Nubian Empire, alias Debra Amelia Kasambura Nee George than the real saphosexual who travelled to get some from King Solomon.

First, just because someone has a pompous title doesn’t mean she’s legit, okay rich and powerful guys? Especially if the title of her Kingdom ‘Ra Nubia-Sheba Imperial Queendom of Sheba Throne’ sounds like someone was trying too hard and couldn’t find time to edit out some kingdoms.

Royalty? Where is the purple?

Royalty? Where is the purple?

She claims to have
“… studied law [sic!], psychology [of course] and international marketing [explains everything]… practiced law while running a clothing and design business and also ran a consultancy firm.” (Because….superhuman!)…to have married Adam Sheikh Thabit Kasambura, the self-declared King of the Nubian Dynasty which, according to her, stretched to Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Egypt in 2001.’

How lucky were we, that one year later she decided to grace our capital city with her royal presence?

The Ruse
In March 2002 (everyone was confused between 2000 and 2003, it seems), she arrived in KE and commandeered the Presidential Suite at the Grand Regency Hotel (owned at the time by the one man who deserves a list of cons all to himself) all to herself for what she termed as a ‘working holiday’. Like good lapdogs, many senior government officials and businessmen advanced her goods and services … because, well, because royalty!

She demanded special treatment and made government officials run at her beck and call organizing a meeting with President Moi and doing all things pertaining to ass-kissing. She raked up a Shs. 3.4 million bill at the five-star hotel that included medical bills the hotel had paid for her when she fell ill.

This is not her, but who knows...

This is not her?.

Like all other entries on this list, this one thrived on the pathological greed of the Kenyan politician, civil servant, businessman, hotelier (I am resisting the urge to say society in general). Her carrot was a purported Shs. 15 billion she wanted to invest, and she was open to ideas because who wouldn’t believe a pitch for so much money with no ideas? For someone with so money, it would make sense that she hadn’t paid a coin, and never did, for the suite or the medical bills, wouldn’t it?
Why they should have seen it from the start?
First, as a country with a sizeable albeit marginalized Nubian community.  (she wasn’t lying on that part at least, they are the guys that ‘own’ Kibera), Kenyans should have known, or at least even asked around, about the ‘Nubian Kingdom.’ Or even simply ask the Kenyan Nubian Council of Elders (it exists). Why, someone would a marginalized people have a queen with so much money?

That lion though...

This is the King of the Jungle of Sheba and Lubia, Mufasa.

Her ruse is now widely known, at least in crime-watch circles. Here the author says ‘She’s as much the Queen of Africa as I am the Prince of Wales‘ which points to her symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Like most of the individuals here, she was never charged although she was ‘arrested’. The authorities were, as this article puts it  “Mortified at the ease with which she had pulled her con” because you shouldn’t make a con look so easy that it would look silly on the charge sheet.

Plus you conned Pattni, Kenya’s own Lustig, that should get you a Head of State Commendation or a spear of some sort, at least.

#3 Michael Otieno, the Diamond Dealer

The Sucker (s): William Daniel Marrow, James Edward Harreland Jurgen Robert Ahlmann.
During a recent ‘Twitter war’ between Nigeria and Kenya, Team KE kept bringing up the issue of Scam 419, a legendary and infamous ‘internet scam’ where you get an email from a ‘distressed Nigerian prince or princess’ and it activates your Prince/Prince Charming buttons to rescue her by sending her your bank account details. It turns out we might have some shared history…

Disclaimer: This is only a hypothesis, the would-be sample population is not exactly forthcoming with data...

Disclaimer: This is only a hypothesis, the would-be sample population is not exactly forthcoming with data…

The Ruse
First, Michael Otieno was not really ‘Michael Otieno’, he was Augustine Azubuike Nwanga  alias Ahmed Suleiman. He and accomplices Johnson Chukweuemeka Obasi (stop! Don’t be lazy, read that middle name before we can continue),

….alias Suleiman Ahmed, and Felix Ibioma Anosike, alias Prince Felix (could this be him, the infamous one) carried out one of the most elaborate and detailed Scam 419s ever, right here in Kenya.
It all started when Nwanga contacted Marrow in September and told him of about a $9.5 million diamond investment in Kenya. One can see why that would be funny right now but these were different times, people thought Africa was full of diamonds.

After corresponding with Nwanga by e-mail (of course), Marrow decided to visit Kenya. He arrived Jan. 27 and was met at the airport by Nwanga and a woman- who is thought to have been his wife. The others arrived in Kenya on April 14 and were held for 10 days for a ransom of $200 000.
Ahlmann and Harrel said they came to Kenya to meet Nwanga and discuss shipping fish (of course, ‘fish’, is that what they call precious gems now?) to Europe. He sent them plane tickets (always invest in a con, lesson number one in con school), and when they arrived April 14 they were taken to the house  in Golden Gate (how apt) estate  where Marrow was still being held. Marrow had been held for four months at the time, which leads one to suspect his family and friends didn’t like him much and might have already rented out his room.
The victims were chained hand and foot (Marrow claimed his private parts and legs were burned with cigarettes and candles) and fed bread, rice and tea, and sometimes Coca-Cola.

Coca Cola, feeding kidnapped people since...let me get back to you on this

Coca Cola, feeding kidnapped people since…let me get back to you on this

The men phoned their wives and requested the ransom payment (requested is the word used in that article, it sounds so pitiful, right?)

The Nigerian had lived in KE for 12 years at the time (Probably called Oti by his bar mates when he wasn’t busy burning someone’s balls with a candle), had a Kenyan family and worked in cosmetics.
Nwanga was lured to a Western Union office to pick up part of the money, but instead he was arrested  charged and convicted to a seven-year sentence. No mention of whether he was ever reimbursed for the plane tickets…
…and one of the victims, Harrel was later awarded for his stupidity- Okay, not really, he was given a letter of commendation ‘for surviving the ordeal.’
I don’t get why the ‘lawyer’ in this similar scam is writing in caps, does that make him look more legit? Someone should research on whether writing in caps makes you more believable. In that thread, when the swindler is ‘caught’ (the would be sucker’s financial advisor decided to Google, oh Google search, saving lives since 1996). The conman then goes like “You are just making false imagination against me” (How apt!)

#2 Dick Berg and the 4th All Africa Games

The Sucker (s): The Government, the media, and if you believe his side of the story, Henry Kosgey.
You are a third world country, you want funds for a continental tournament. You need money, hire first world consultants, right? Sounds logical, yes?

Okay, reverse back to 1987 and you are the Minister in charge of Culture and related shenanigans under President Moi, a scandal is in the offing, of course. The taxpayer doesn’t pay enough and as an elected leader, it is your duty to correct the situation you ensuring you oversee at least one scandal.
The Ruse
Dick Berg convinced the government that he could procure a Shs 10 billion loan yet there was no record of his work, nor did he own or run a financial company…

H. Kosgey, seen here not being duped by a foreigner.

H. Kosgey, seen here not being duped by a foreigner.

Berg, claimed he had marketed World Cup tournaments in South America and Europe, and even the Olympics. Granted, this was more than a few years before the internet and before Google became everyone’s best friend, but still, someone should have done due diligence.

To look legit, Dick Berg ‘rented’ an entire floor at one of the five star hotels in the city-don’t be fooled, the taxpayer paid for that too. He promised to bring in top American artists at the time and, to show everyone he was legit (when someone tries too hard, something is brewing) he brought in Jermaine Jackson.

Jermaine, for the lethargic reader, is one of the less famous Jackson brothers, and given that this was at the height of the Jackson years, no one really knew any other Jackson other than the one with an undecided skin tone and the voice of a fetus. We must give him one for effort though, his hook was quite legitimate.

Because the GOK runs on a system of trust, goodwill, faith, gambling and other such systems of probability, it paid him Shs. 22 million as a commitment fee then after he disappeared claimed that there was no money to renew the maintenance service for the presidential jet.

They could have sold the staff instead...or the man holding it...

They could have sold the staff instead…or the man holding it…

The man disappeared after placing only one advertisement in an international magazine (One, a single one? You were cruel sir, you could have at least placed three, just to give us back some of the money).

Henry Kosgey ‘launched a search for the man’. To date, nothing has been seen or heard of Berg, not that anyone ever expected him to be found. Which would not have been a problem if the entire floor mentioned earlier, and the Jermaine Jackson trip, were not all funded by the Kenyan taxpayer (US $2.6 million). On the bright side, at least they got a Jackson to visit, any Jackson was good enough, right? The bigger crime here is believing a man with a name that describes the entire male organ, okay, only one of the two ‘Bergs.’
The Dick Berg hoax was such a successful (although not new, Lustig had done it too before) con job, and elaborate that it has copycats in Uganda.

#1 Ato Lemma Ayanu Hiyeyi

The Sucker (s): Everyone.
In 2002, the new government felt the way people feel when they finally lose their virginity, as if they can take over the world one screw at a time (a 40-year old virgin? There was no way we could botch this…)

One of the first acts of government in 2002/3 was to decriminalize the Mau Mau, (Yes, for 40 years since independence the group had still been proscribed, Kenyatta the Elder had first ignored it, then everyone seemed to simply forget the same guys who had fought for their freedom…)

The Ruse

Like our virgin at the beginning of this analogy, the over-excited government sort to unscrew every screw of being largely unscrewed for four decades. Anyone who goes on such a rampage is bound to kiss a few frogs, right? The frog in this case was Lemma Ayanu, you everyday grandfather…or, if you were the suckers we call political and media bigwigs, General Mathenge.

Lemma, seen here not pretending to be General Mathenge.

Lemma, seen here not pretending to be General Mathenge.

It all started with Joseph Karimi, a journalist for the East African Standard in 2000 who wrote that Mathenge had been found in Ethiopia.

The man who found him, a George Milimo said he had met ‘an old man who had more than usual interest in Kenya and the goings-on there.’ The only qualifications needed to be a long-lost freedom fighter? Milimo said Lemma Ayanu answered in the affirmative when he (Milimo) inquired if he was the general in question. In court we call that a leading question, a question that has the expected answer in it…
Milimo claimed that Ayanu had regaled him with tales of his exploits in the liberation war and that he (Ayanu) was keen on visiting Kenya again, albeit briefly…it seems he had other things to do rather than tell us how he fought for our independence and disappeared before we could neglect him too.
The media fell for the story!

The Standard paid for Mathenge’s wife and son to go Ethiopia. Karimi reported that his wife had positively ID’d him sayingthis is the man. The nose and set of teeth are his‘  (a wife would know her man’s teeth and nose at least, right? Even if she was senile and had not seen her husband for more than four decades). Even Mau Mau (spell check thinks the second Mau is unnecessary) war veterans who met him at the airport claimed he was the one, never mind that most of them were already in their 70s and 80s and senile.

So the NARC government did the only sensible thing and through ‘his MP, the President of Kenya’, sent him an invitation for the Madaraka day celebrations in 2003. Ayanu, who died in 2010, brought Kenya to a standstill, and was accorded state security, high-class accommodation and celebrity status. He had been found, he was old and he was frail, and he was good PR. There was no way this could have gone wrong, right?

Everyone believed the government had found, and returned, General Mathenge– a commander in the Mau Mau independence movement. He fled Kenya in 1956 after the nominal leader of the movement, Dedan Kimathi, who is thought to have usurped power from the uneducated but experienced Mathenge was captured and executed by the British colonial power. He had the rank of general bestowed on him after he returned from service in Burma in the Second World War. He and 28 other fighters fled to Ethiopia, with the hope of getting support there, but they never returned. “dedan_kimathi
They need not have waited four years for the DNA results to tell them Lemma was not Mathenge.

The man couldn’t speak any of the national languages, and even said he knew nothing of the Mau (he called it that, he probably thought we said the second ‘Mau’ because we were retarded, seems my spellcheck agrees).
.. Or the fact that the man who recruited Mathenge  into Mau Mau (Harkman Muiruri) cast doubt the moment he saw the man.

There was also the age issue, when Mathenge escaped in the 1950s, he was 37 and would therefore have been 84; Ayanu was 72 at the time.

Other issues included the fact that he didn’t know ‘his’ code (Mau Mau used codes in the forest) nor was he tall (he was shorter by at least a foot) and had a gap, or a scar on his nape.
.. Or the fact that he admitted he knew nothing of the Mau Mau [“I have no idea what Mau is as I was not involved in the liberation struggle] which raises doubt that some of these stories of his ‘excitement and anticipation’ were either lies on mistranslations. Well, most are misunderstood, some are mistranslated.
Ayanu owned huge chunks of land in Ethiopia. “…Sellassie offered Mathenge Ethiopian citizenship along with a 1000-acre farm, an offer the Kenyan accepted after marrying an Ethiopian woman. ” This just sounds like a weak redoing of the Shashamane story (Jamaicans, Rastafarians etc etc).

The dreadlocks are awesome sir, but what did you say you code during the struggle was?

The dreadlocks are awesome sir, but what did you say you code during the struggle was?

Karimi was nominated for CNN’s African Journalist of the year Award in 2000 but later disqualified because of issues surrounding authenticity. He had shielded journalists from interviewing the man-argued that he wanted to hide his Ethiopian identity. Some claim he might have been too embedded in the narrative and “… became  a participant in the developing saga.”

. Once it was clear it was a hoax, and possibly a con, it made international headlines. Appearing in The EconomistNewswire and the BBC. Some saw somewhat of a silver lining in it (optimists, such ready suckers!) and some saw lessons.
It was one of the few times that the government accepted it had been conned. A moment to be relished, although I suspect it’s because the taxpayer didn’t want to look bad for judging the government for paying bills for an old man anyway.
The trick, dear reader, is to never get caught, and if you must, make it so big that everyone will be embarrassed about it and they will just let you go, or elect you to Parliament.



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5 Hilarious Security Lapses of the Kenyan Presidential Guard

Whenever we elect a man to the House on the Hill, we give him the right to avoid all human contact except that which has passed through three metal detectors and dressed appropriately. We give him the best of our security forces, trained by foreign legions to throw themselves between their master and the bullet at any time. We give him the best cars, the best house (arguable) and the best women (okay, this last one is unconfirmed).

Our Kenyan Presidential Escort is especially overzealous, jumping out of moving vehicles and refusing to smile despite being paid peanuts for such a dangerous occupation.

You get the picture....

You get the picture….

See any teeth?

See any teeth?

Once in a while, however, even they slack off, and its during such times that a small cadre of people, with the biggest balls we have seen this side of the Sahara (except for some mammals we cannot name), pull off stunts that put shame to the security system. This here is a list of such men and (spoiler alert!) a child…

#5 An Eight Year-old Sneaks up on the President

When Bethuel Mbugua was eight years old, he chose the easy mode and just walked right up to the president. Remember that this was Moi, the man who ‘appoints and disappoints’, father of the nation and leader of ‘Chama cha mama na baba.’ To fully understand why this is the most ingenious breach of presidential security ever, some background is necessary.

Bethuel Mbugua was an exceptionally gifted boy who was enrolled in secondary school when he was seven years old and lectured over 300 universities and high schools in EA by the age of 10. By the time he was in Standard Six in 1986, he was rated too bright for his class and taken to Form Four at Ol Kalou Secondary School. But he was kicked out after a month because other students and even local residents started disrupting classes asking him to lecture them.

Kenya's brainy kid of the 80s and 90s

Kenya’s brainy kid of the 80s and 90s

Suddenly all your accomplishments in life do not look like they are something huh?

With no money to move his child to a school for the gifted, Mbugua’s father plotted what still stands as most famous sneak-in on the president ever. The eight-year old boy, already blessed with more brains than he would ever need, walked right up to the president during a fundraising at Kijabe Hospital.

 “I had a ready speech and when nudged by my father I walked to the President,” he says.

By the time the security guard saw him he had already gotten the attention of the President and the then VP, now President Mwai Kibaki who said “Pengine ana mchango yake (Maybe he is bringing his contribution),” 

Is it just me or is he holding his staff in a suspicious way?

Is it just me or is he holding his staff in a suspicious way?

In case you are wondering, the plan did not work because Mbugua later failed an IQ test and became the ‘laughing stock of the country’. His father, ever the optimist, sneaked him to Tanzania where he made a mark lecturing universities. On October 20th 1991, as luck and opportunity would have it, the small boy who had walked right up to the president made his way to the USA to pursue the American Dream.

#4 Man who sneaked into State House -23rd December, 2002

Mr. Onyango Mono holds the record as the man who sneaked into State House by bluffing his way through the front gates. He was carrying a cross and a sword and said in a later interview “I’m not mad as Kenyans thought. I was sent by God to President Moi to tell him to hand over power immediately.”

I will just snuggle and wait for the guy to hand over power huh?

I will just snuggle and wait for the guy to hand over power huh?

Just sneaking in was half the job, Mono snuggled on a carpet near the president’s office and snored through the night…because bluffing your way to the most powerful office in the land is a very energy-draining process.

He was found the next morning, minutes before the President entered his office. This means the area was not covered by any CCTV cameras and even if it was, someone in the security office thought nothing strange of the man with a cloak curled up on the floor holding a cross and a sword.

 “When he was woken up, he said he was waiting to meet President Moi to hand over power to him. He looks like a religious fanatic.”…

The source said: “The man told us that nobody stopped him from the gate to State House. He tried to open several doors, but he found them locked.”

“He finally found one of the doors open and walked in. He used the door regularly used by the president,” he said.

In case you are wondering which State House...

In case you are wondering which State House…

There you have it, a man just walked right through the State House gate and even had the time to try a few doors before finding an unlocked on and deciding that it was a good time to take a nap as any.


An aerial view, I bet you have never seen this one before.

An aerial view, I bet you have never seen this one before.

The feat was replicated later by a tourist who ‘mistakenly strayed’ into State House grounds and had ventured some 100 metres in before anyone noticed him. He was in the neighbouring grounds, doing whatever it is a young tourist would be doing along in the jungle, and saw a big house and decided to walk towards it. It turned out to not be the best decision of his life because that big house was not just any house, it was the home of the president. I can bet someone was reprimanded for sleeping on the job, both literally and figuratively, while these two individuals made the security in State House look like child’s play.

Here is what you would need to visit State House, unless you are performing at the National Drama Festivals or you just won a marathon.

Man who sat between Moi and Kibaki- Karume’s wife’s funeral

At Maryanne Wariara Njenga’s funeral a man sat between two presidents. No one asks a question because both security teams think he is an aide to either of the presidents. In actual sense, this is just another Jones who saw an empty seat and simply sat down.

I think you left your sandals in the house, and the loo, kind sir, what were you eating?

I think you left your sandals in the house, and the loo, kind sir, what were you eating?

In 2003, the security teams around the presidency were in obvious quagmire after having only guarded one man for 24 years and now having to cater for a current and a retired president both with their own security teams. So a ‘non-person’, your everyday Jones with his own unachieved political ambitions, with no fat bank account to boast of and with no ‘name’ whatsoever, decided to take advantage. He sat in the VIP tent, between Moi and Kibaki, for hours before anyone started asking questions. Now tell me that is not just looking at presidential protocol and pissing on it? Very little of the event was covered, as many of the stories here, most likely because the security teams did not want people to ‘get ideas.’

Frederick Odhiambo, The Man who Embarrassed the President, Jamhuri Day 2008

Every time we elect a politician, we know that there is a distance around him that is considered a ‘buffer zone’ that normal people like you and me are not allowed to breach. Apparently, one 28-year old Frederick Odhiambo never got that memo.

 Just how a man not familiar with presidential security protocol could walk up to two rows behind the president unnoticed and sit for two hours is a tale of intrigue and suspense.

Not even the hawk-eyed presidential guard, always in their hundreds during functions of such magnitude, spotted him as he walked past several sniffer dogs.

The security detail chose to give him a good beating (if there is ever) to teach him and anyone who might be thinking along the same lines from ever trying such a stunt.

This is not dramatisation, I repeat, this is not dramatisation

This is not dramatisation, I repeat, this is not dramatisation

Odhiambo said in a later interview “For three days,  I planned my mission, and I swear I was all alone; not even my wife Sarah Nyokabi knew a thing about it,”

He also said that he woke up at 5 am and left for the city center, his chosen scene, on an empty stomach (Disclaimer: Attempting a security breach on an empty stomach is not a proven advantage)

 When Members of Parliament and ministers started arriving and taking their seats, he mingled with some of them and walked towards the main dais and sat on a minister’s chair, three rows from that of the President. He chatted jovially with some of the country’s high and mighty.

Different angle, the offending weapon is seen here being neutralised by a guard's hand...

Different angle, the offending weapon is seen here being neutralised by a guard’s hand…

“Some of them told me that the seat I was on was that of a minister, but none of them asked me to leave,” added Mr. Odhiambo.

He was all the time unaware that a presidential guard was sitting only two chairs beside him, and even greeted him: “Hi!”

Did you read that last paragraph? He greeted a presidential guard, talk about having balls of steel! I must, however, ask you to hold on the accolades because Odhiambo was a ‘premature heckler’, he shouted too soon, and chose his moment wrongly (Nyambane was being manhandled at the same time below the dais). He lived to tell the story though, on a hospital bed after an encounter with the guards he had just embarrassed. His message all along? “I wanted to tell him to ask MPs to pay tax and that the freedom of the media is paramount.”

Did I mention that after the 30-minute torture, Odhiambo was taken to Nairobi Women’s Hospital with soft tissue injuries. Why? Someone seems to have a pretty convincing answer.



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