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How harassment by government forces ‘dynasties’ to join politics

By Mbugua Ngunjiri

In 2021, when the Pandora Papers ‘scandal’ broke, Kenyans learnt that the Kenyatta family has stashed funds in foreign accounts. Now, there are a number of reasons why certain people chose to spirit their monies in those tax havens. Chief among the reasons such people hide their money, whether clean or dirty, in secret accounts, in my view, is security.

Patriotism comes later.

On Friday, July 21, an angry Uhuru Kenyatta was on TV complaining bitterly that William Ruto’s government was targeting his family. This was after it was reported that police officers had raided one of his son’s home in Karen, ostensibly to search for ‘illegal firearms’.

During the media interview, the retired president challenged Ruto to ‘come for him’ and leave his 90-year-old mother alone. A few days earlier, it had been reported that Mama Ngina Kenyatta’s security had been withdrawn.

Uhuru said he is capable of ‘protecting’ his family’s property. Well, your guess is as good as mine, where he would take his money should harassment by government persisted.

It should be remembered that a few months back, goons suspected to have been funded by the Kenya Kwanza regime, raided Northlands Farm, owned by the Kenyatta family, stole sheep and set trees on fire.

Kenyan politics is replete with examples similar harassment. I will use the late Simeon Nyachae’s example to illustrate my point. In his book, Walking Through the Corridors of Service (Mvule, 2010), Nyachae says that he entered politics to protect his property.

Now, let that sink for a bit.

When he retired from the civil service in 1987, upon attaining the age of 55, Nyachae was already a successful businessman. “…my intention was to go into farming and to concentrate on my other businesses… I had no intention whatsoever to join politics,” he wrote.

Moi’s government meanwhile, had other plans; they wove a narrative to the effect that Nyachae was ‘a dangerous rich man, who wanted to dominate the Gusii community and Kenya.’ A sinister plot was then hatched to cut him down to size, beginning with his vast business empire. To begin with, public health officials would be dispatched, almost on a daily basis, to his Sansora Bakery with bogus allegations that it was operating under unhygienic conditions.

It also became increasingly difficult for him to import spare parts for his Kabansora Flour Mills, which had to be sourced from Germany. He had to find a way round it. “The supplier would send the parts to the German Embassy, in Nairobi, as samples, and then we would collect them for our own use,” wrote Nyachae.

At the time of his retirement Nyachae decided to reward himself by importing a brand new Mercedes 500. That is where his problems started.

When the vehicle arrived at the Mombasa Port, he was told, flat out, that it could not be cleared into the country. When his son Charles Nyachae went to ascertain what the fuss was all about “a customs official told him that the car I had imported would not be cleared because nobody in the country was ‘allowed’ to import a car that big, unless he or she wanted to have powers like those of the president!”

He had to go to court to have the car released. When it was finally released, seven months later, the Mercedes Benz had been so badly vandalised, he had to order for new parts from Germany. “This experience heightened the pressure from my friends that I should join politics to defend my investments,” wrote Nyachae.

The kamati was not yet through with him; they sent thugs to throw a dead rat into the compound of Kabansora Mills, in Embakasi, in the dead of night. The following morning health officials demanded to allowed into the compound to conduct an ‘inspection’. Once inside they made a beeline to where the dead rat had been thrown. The goal was to close down the premises under the pretext that the whole place was infested with rats, and that consumers of his products risked being infected with plague!

You really can’t make this stuff up.

Seeing as the harassment was not about to die down, Nyachae decided to go to parliament “and fight against the injustices meted out against individuals and groups who were not singing to the tune of the ruling party Kanu.”

There was one more roadblock waiting around the corner. At the time, Kenya was ruled by a single party, Kanu. To contest for any political seat, one had to be a member of the ruling party. Try as he could, Nyachae’s name could not be cleared by Kanu for the 1988 elections, which broke so many records for rigging. Mnasemanga rigging, the 1988 mlolongo elections were not only the mother and father of rigging, they were also the grandparents and ancestors of modern day rigging!

Nyachae got to parliament in 1992, ironically, on a Kanu ticket.

The late Njenga Karume, in his book, From Charcoal to Gold, also gave the same reasons as Nyachae, for entering into politics; to protect his property.

At his prime, the late Kenneth Matiba, another former civil servant, was said to be one of the richest men in Kenya. However, a tumble with Moi’s government, not only left him severely incapacitated, health wise, but at the time of his death, Matiba was stone broke.

Now, had someone advised him to hide some of his money in the Cayman Islands, or some other tax havens, his descendants would still be doing fine.

Now, based on what happened to Uhuru’s son, on Friday, would you blame him for joining politics to ‘protect’ his property or that of his family?

Books Non-Fiction Personalities

Duale: How we saved Ruto from the jaws of ICC

TITLE: For The Record

AUTHOR: Aden Duale


REVIEWER: Mbugua Ngunjiri

When retired president Uhuru Kenyatta fell out with his then deputy William Ruto and embarked on a purge of the former’s loyalists, Aden Duale was the last to go.

There had been speculation as to why the former Garissa Township MP was not let go in the manner in which other Ruto allies were dispensed with, especially those who held key positions in Parliament.

Well, it can be argued that the man, who currently occupies the Defence docket in William Ruto’s cabinet, is not your run-of-the-mill politician, who can be tossed around at will.

This was a man who had served as the Leader of Majority, in the August House, for a good eight years. It must count for something.

In terms of heirachy in Kenyatta’s government, Duale ranked number four, after the president, his deputy and the Speaker of the National Assembly, in that order.

It was him who did all the heavy lifting to ensure that the government agenda sailed through Parliament.

Now, through his book, For The Record, Duale has told his side of the story. He sheds light on events that led to his ouster from the coveted position of Leader of Majority.

Given the important position he occupied in Uhuru’s government and the single-minded zeal with which he went about his job, the president accorded him the honour of letting him know what he was about to do.

Uhuru summoned Duale and gave him the choice of working with the president of losing his position. Duale looked Uhuru in the eye and made it clear that friendship and loyalty mattered more to him and thus chose to stick with Ruto.

That loyalty paid off. Today, he is the cabinet secretary in charge of all defence forces in Kenya, probably one better than his father-in-law, who once served as the Chief of General Staff, during Moi’s and who had been the ultimate power broker in Garissa politics and probably the whole of North Eastern region.

Duale says that the idea to pen his memoirs came about when he found himself with extra time on his hands after he had been relieved of his parliamentary duties.

Writing the book must have been cathartic for him as it allowed him to let off steam as opposed his colleagues who chose political podiums to get back back at Uhuru for letting them go.

Although he goes through the ropes of telling his story about his early childhood days growing up and going to school in Garissa, one can tell that he is in a rush to get to the ‘real stuff’; politics.

It is through the rough and tumble of politics that Duale is what he is today and boy did he play his politics hard?

As a politician, it is safe to say that Duale, when the situation suited him, grazed with the hares and hunted with the foxes.

Being the outspoken person he is, Duale, in large sections of his book does not shy away from letting out what is in his mind.

In one section he outlines the levels he went to ensure that the motions introduced by government carried the day.

Seeing as parliamentary motions involved robust debate inside the chamber, Duale made it his business to identify MPs who would give him a hard time in the house. “I used to identify the rabble-rousers in their ranks, and send them on foreign trips just when I was about to bring a controversial proposal, which I suspected they would oppose. While they were away, business went on,” he writes.

Speaking of parliamentary bills, Duale writes about a particularly controversial one; The Security Bill, Uhuru Kenyatta wanted passed in Parliament. Here Duale found himself in a bit of a pickle as it touched on the community he hails from.

One afternoon Uhuru called Duale at State House to seek his support for the bill. He shocked many in the meeting, including Ruto, when he eye-balled the president and aired his thoughts. “No, Mr President. I don’t support some of the provisions. They are discriminatory against Muslims and appeared to have been drafted to target Somalis and their businesses. I will not support it,” Duale quotes himself as telling the president.

However, the most revealing anecdote – and this is to put it mildly – touches on Ruto’s case in The Hague and the levels to which they went in ensuring his boss and friend was let off the hook.

Duale reveals that their investigations led them to believe that the UK was determined that Uhuru and Ruto would be convicted and probably serve lengthy jail terms.

There was thus renewed urgency to let Ruto off the jaws of the International Criminal Court (ICC), after Uhuru’s case was dropped. Duale was to play a crucial role in this endeavour.

It so happened that at the same time Britain was pushing for the fixing of Ruto at The Hague, the were also eager to have their treaty, that sees their military train in Laikipia, ratified.

This is where Duale came in.

As Leader of Majority in Parliament, it was his role to marshall MPs to ensure that the treaty was renewed. That is how Ruto’s allies found their checkmate towards the Brits.

When push came to shove, Duale, without mincing words, told the British that if they wanted the treaty renewed, they would have to go easy on Ruto’s case in The Hague.

Well, the British relented; Ruto was let off the hook and Duale pulled strings to ensure that the much-needed treaty was ratified.

Well, this revelation tells you all you need to know about the ‘games’ that are played at the international level and whether the ICC is an institution committed to delivering justice or a tool used by Western powers to advance their geopolitical interests.

Still, whether that particular episode says anything about Ruto’s culpability in the ICC case is neither here nor there.

From the look of things, the Ruto ICC revelation must have left Duale quite drained for that is where his enthusiasm for engaging content dried up.

One would have expected that Duale, courtesy of his ringside spot as Ruto’s right hand man, the reader would have been treated to juicy behind-the-scenes revelations on the Uhuru/Ruto fallout as well as how the then Deputy President went about putting together such a fearsome campaign machinery that eventually catapulted him to State House.

Careful reading of the book in the later sections reveals a coyness if not outright refusal to tell what he knows.

Any reader who has keenly followed Kenyan politics right from the Handshake days, which also included Ruto’s ‘tangatangaring’ years, the campaigns and the election, in the mainstream and social media, will tell you Duale tells us nothing new.

It is either that he held back a lot or was heavily censored (by whom? take a guess). Totally missing in the book are details about the controversial 2017 Jubilee Party nominations, which Ruto masterminded and which led to the near-total emasculation of Uhuru in his Mount Kenya backyard.

This is unlike the Duale who so boisterously describes his days as the Leader of Majority (one can tell that he thoroughly enjoyed tenure) as well as his robust take on the ICC case.

On my part, I was especially keen on how Duale treats Uhuru Kenyatta given the acrimonious falling out the former president and his then deputy. Well, unlike his successor in Parliament, who appears hard-wired to issuing anger-filled broadsides at Uhuru, at any given opportunity, Duale comes out as measured in his views on the retired president. Granted that he includes the mandatory rehashed Kenya Kwanza talking points (grouses?) against Uhuru, one can tell that Duale has grudging respect for Kenya’s fourth president.

The book is quite engaging and well written and brings out Duale’s abrasive character quite admirably. The editing too, is point and so is the general packaging of the book.

This book will prove to be a useful resource political science students, especially those undertaking parliamentary studies.

It is a remarkable effort, especially coming from a Kenyan politician, given that they are known to be notoriously averse to writing their memoirs.

Duale must be commended for this effort.

Books Non-Fiction Personalities Reviews

No grace: the shameful exit of Robert Mugabe

TITLE: The Graceless Fall of Robert Mugabe

AUTHOR: Geoffrey Nyarota


REVIEWER: Scholastica Moraa

Like most people, I have always wondered what happened to Zimbabwe.  What led to one man holding on to power for so long? I have always wondered if there wasn’t a better person to lead Zimbabwe.  Through Geoffrey Nyarota’s book many of these questions are answered and so much more is revealed.

Non-fictional books tend to be boring but not this one. Nyarota’s flawless style of writing makes sure of that. Books that cover political situations tend to be skewed towards one side but Nyarota goes through this narration objectively with his ideas supported with facts and on occasions where he is not sure, or does not have hard evidence, he lets the reader know that.

‘The Graceless Fall of Mugabe’ follows the journey of one man; Robert Mugabe and how he led to the fall of a once prosperous nation, Africa’s Jewel, as described by the late Julius Nyerere.  Robert Mugabe inherited a really healthy economy, compared to what Tanzania and other countries, like Mozambique, got. He however, diverted funds, meant for development, to personal use.

Mugabe, according the book, used violence to stay in power, as evidenced by the assassinations of his opponents. Joshua Nkomo, Edgar Tekere, Morgan Tsvangirai are just a few of the people he successfully subdued for having divergent opinions. In the Gakuruhundi massacres, thousands of Ndebele civilians, who didn’t support him, died forcing Joshua Nkomo to sign an agreement with Mugabe, to stop the killings.

In operation Murambatsvina, thousands of urban families that didn’t support him were displaced in a bid to weaken Morgan Tsvangirai, leading to mass unemployment. A miscalculated land program to kick out the whites, left huge tracts of land in the hands of corrupt politicians and unskilled farmers, who didn’t have the technological know-how nor the financial means to run the farms, thus leading to a hungry nation depending on UN handouts.

Drastic steps taken by the military under the leadership of General Chiwenga was the reason Zimbabwe was able to wrestle power back from the Mugabes. The jubilation in Zimbabwe was clear evidence of how tired the citizens were and the relief they experienced after Mugabe’s exit. However, the question of whether the new leadership will do better still stands to be answered.

This book captures the situation in many African countries, where presidents and other leaders misuse funds meant for the welfare of their people, advocate for policies that lead to the oppression of their people and generally lead to destitution of African countries.

The land invasions in Zimbabwe brought about painful sanctions, that paralysed the country’s economy and rendered the Zim Dollar useless, to date. Recently, Kenya witnessed something close to what happened in Zim, when paid goons invaded the expansive Northlands Farm belonging to the family of retired president Uhuru Kenyatta. It would appear that some lessons are hard to learn.  

Nyarota’s book offers excellent examples for ‘misgovernance’ and comes highly recommended.

Books Non-Fiction Personalities Reviews

The enchanting story of the late Yusuf Dawood

Title: Nothing But the Truth

Author: Yusuf K Dawood

Publisher: East African Educational Publishers

Reviewer: Scholastica Moraa

I started reading this book enthusiastically; with a desire to know the man behind the thrilling Surgeon’s Diary in the Sunday Nation newspaper. The book did not disappoint and since the beginning I have read on, feverishly flipping the pages. Excited to see what is on the next page and the next.

Yusuf Dawood uses just the right amount of words, in just the right way to express himself. The humour in some of his stories found me laughing out aloud. It is really magical learning about this great man and where he has been, what he has done, why he is the way he is. From Bantwa, to Miraj, to Britain to beloved Kenya, I followed his story and marvelled at his growth and experiences. I mourned the death of his mother, I froze with him in Britain, I happily met and loved Marie, I went with him in Karachi. I held the scalpel with him too.

The surgeon has wielded the pen so beautiful that a reader steps in his shoes, you meet his patients, you feel his emotions, you step into theatre rooms with him. But the other astounding bit, is the amount of history the book holds. And all from the eyes of a man who experienced it first-hand. He tells his readers about the separation of Pakistan from India, the evolution of medical practice, the growth of Kenya from independence, the evolution of Nairobi, the infrastructure too.

Through his book, a reader is able to comprehend the kind of man the doctor was. Through his life we learn about the importance of family, of values and how far love can take someone.  This book is a gift to anyone. And for an autobiography, it is a thrilling one at that.  We read about great men so we can learn that it is possible to be one. And through them we learn that real life stories are sometimes better than fiction. A thoroughly enjoyable and unputdownable read.

Books Culture Non-Fiction Personalities Reviews

The making of a phenomenal black woman

Title: Finding Me

Author: Viola Davis

Publisher: HarperCollins

Reviewer: Scholastica Moraa

Viola Davis. The woman who set our screens on fire with her act in ‘The Woman King’. Picking this book was a search for who she is, for who she became; for the intricate pieces of what makes this phenomenal black woman.

Finding Me is a biography of one woman’s search for who she is. That eight-year-old girl, who kept running until she decided to run no more. Without holding anything back she shows us her family, in all its ugly, delicate and awfully beautiful edges. I fell in love with MaMama – her mother ‘with the -and stuff like that in tha’.

I honestly think no words can bring out the rawness with which Viola Davis brought out her story.  She fought so many demons her pain and shame are palpable. For people who cry easily, this can make you cry. Her violent father, the utter poverty… the struggle. But then these kids dreamt their pain away.

Viola Davis’ story is not the typical caterpillar that morphed into a butterfly. But rather a butterfly that never really knew how beautiful it was.

From a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, this little girl clawed her way to the stage in New York City and beyond. From a girl struggling with bedwetting, running from bullies and being totally unrecognised, Viola has risen to become a household name. A woman we look up to. Someone black girls want to be. It is raw how she says that people did not expect someone who looked like her to take leading roles… but she did and excelled at it. Once she stopped running, once she went down on her knees, her prayers were answered. Some took longer than she expected; but they were answered.

Anyone would have understood if she had given up. But this woman did not. She rose to win several awards including an Oscar and graced our screens with her talent. An inspiration to any little girl who dares to dream. That it doesn’t matter where you start from. It doesn’t matter the odds stacked against you. You will get where you need to.

I totally recommend this read. A million times.

Moraa is a young woman navigating life. Author of Beautiful Mess… Co Author of Dreams and Demons and I’m Listening 2021 edition. She is also the winner of Kendeka Prize of African Literature-2022. She can be found with a book or two. When she’s not fighting to stay afloat, she is daydreaming, writing poetry or reading.

Arts Awards Culture Events Fiction News Personalities Poetry

Cynthia Abdallah wins 2022 Itanile Award

Kenya’s Cynthia Abdallah is among the winners of the 2022 Itanile Awards. The Awards, administered by Itanile Magazine, rewards the effort and commitment of literary creatives for advancing the African experience, through storytelling.

“We select winners of the award from works we publish from January to December every year,” says Itanile. “Our guest editor selected winners based on strength, quality, and the impact of their works on the Itanile community. The winners in each category received $200 each.”

Ms Abdallah won in the Chapbook category, for her poetry collection, Author’s Feet.

In the Fiction category, the winners were Chioma Mildred Okonkwo for Time is Different Over Here and Enit’ayanfe Ayosojumi Akinsanya for A Rehearsal of Shame. In the Poetry category, the winners were Onyedikachi Shaquille Johnson for May the Thirtieth and Olabisi Akinwale At the Twilight of Your Sojourner.

Itanile is a literary brand that provides a platform for African writers to publish stories they want to tell about the African experience.

The awarded works, selected by guest editors, will be chosen based on strength, quality, and impact on the Itanile community. All works published by Itanile throughout the year – up till October – will be considered for the awards.

Ms Abdallah is a multi-talented artist. She is not only a writer; she is also a filmmaker. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks, My Six Little Fears and The Author’s Feet. She has also authored a collection of short stories: The Musunzu Tree and Other Stories.

Two of her documentaries, Tales from the Pandemic and Inyumba Yu Mulogooli, were nominated for the Kalasha 2022 Awards. 

She is also the producer of The Author’s Feet, a show available on YouTube. 

Ms Abdallah, 36, is based in Caracas Venezuela, where she teaches English and Literature. 

Books Featured Non-Fiction Personalities Releases Reviews

In Spare, British tabloids more than met their match

Title: Spare

Author: Prince Harry

Reviewer: Mbugua Ngunjiri

Never, in their wildest imaginations, did players in the British media expect that a member of the royal family would come swinging at them the way rebel Prince Harry has done in his tell-all book Spare.

The tabloids took refuge in the fact that the royal household operates under the motto of ‘never complain, never explain’, to launch all manner of cowardly attacks on the monarchy, including outright fabrications and falsehoods. After all, they comforted themselves, the royals, bound by their strict rules, can never come out to tell their side of the story.

They also knew that they owned the megaphone through which they could poison the mood of the public against the royals, if they did not cooperate.

With the British media, the royal household is held hostage; they are virtually prisoners; the message being: ‘you either do as we want or else…’

Enter Prince Harry, a rebel within the royal household. Still smarting from the way his mother, the universally loved Princess Diana, who was hounded by paparazzi, who were only interested in taking photos even as the she lay dead in an accident they had caused.

The tabloids targeted Harry from an early age, when he was still in school. Normal teenage truancy by the prince was regularly being analysed and dissected in the papers. The royal family could not bring itself to defend and protect the vulnerable prince.

From the book, it is clear that two of his girlfriends broke up with him as they could not cope with the hounding and relentless intrusion of their privacy. One of His exes committed suicide in 2020. He blames the media for her death.

As the book’s title suggests, Harry is the Spare as opposed to William who is the Heir. Thus, according to Harry, the royal family was too willing to sacrifice the Spare in order to protect the Heir and indeed the rest of the family.

Thus whenever the media caught wind of something negative emanating from the royal household, they were appeased by being given ‘something’ about Harry, never mind its authenticity. Whenever Harry complained to his father – the now King Charles – the father always had a stock answer for him: ‘don’t read the papers’.

This was hypocritical coming from Charles seeing as it was him and his wife Camilla who, through their offices, regularly fed the media with negative information about his sons, in order to shore up their image. William also followed suit and also took part in leaking stories in the media about his brother.

In the book, William comes out as an aloof whiny entitled brat, given to throwing tantrums over minor issues. Despite the fact that he is almost certainly assured of inheriting the kingship from his father, he is not happy with the roles assigned to his younger brother and which appears to accomplish rather well.

William griped endlessly when the Palace approved Harry’s patronage of war veterans’ activities, claiming that those activities were eating up the royal household’s budget. This is despite the fact that Harry’s involvement with the veterans was only taking up a tiny fraction of the budget, with corporate donations plugging the rest.

The royal household saw red when Harry hooked up with Meghan Markle. Here was a woman, who through her acting had curved out a global profile for herself. They could not, according to Harry, stand being outshone. That is when the media leaks against Harry and went on overdrive.

From the palace, the onslaught was led by William. Many are the days when Harry came home to find his wife in tears. Such was the intensity of attacks that Meghan, according to the book, considered ending her life. The race-baiting was especially ugly.

When they could take it any longer, Harry, his wife and child ran to Canada, where for six weeks they led a peaceful life, before the Daily Mail leaked their location and the hounding by paparazzi resumed.

Harry says that their unending war with the media led to Meghan suffering a miscarriage. That explains why he reserves his harshest words for the media, calling them a ‘dreadful mob of dweebs and crones and cut-rate criminals and clinically diagnosable sadists along Fleet Street’.

As stated earlier, the media in Britain never thought that a royal would go to the media to tell his side of the story, let alone a tell-book. Their coverage of the book is telling; it is full of hurt and anger: How dare this brat turn the tables on us, exposing our lies about him and his family; making us look bad.

If they thought that they are the only wielders of the megaphone, well Harry, with his best-selling book, wields it better. Not forgetting that Meghan is yet to write hers…

In Harry, the British tabloids have finally met their match. Diana must be rejoicing wherever she is.

For their shameless race-baiting of Meghan, British tabloids deserve anything and everything coming their way.

Books Culture Education Featured Fiction Personalities

Kenyan priest who wrote a novel and won an award

Ten things you should know about Father Samuel Wachira, the only priest in Kenya, to have written a full-length book on popular literature.

1. Father Samuel Wachira was born and raised in Sagana, Kirinyaga County.

2. He studied priesthood at the Pontifical Institute for Biblical Studies in Rome.

3. His first posting as a priest was in the Amazon Forest, in Brazil, where he served for close to ten years.

4. Deep in the Amazon Forest, there was no electricity and the road network was poor. Sometimes it would rain for a whole straight week and the priest would spend the entire time indoors. “I decided to occupy myself with writing,” he says. That is how Gold Rush, his first book, was born.

5. The death of Father Kamau Ithondeka, who was his college-mate in Rome, during the 2007/8 Post-Election Violence, moved Father Wachira to write Whistleblower. He was still ministering in Brazil.

6. After he came back to Kenya, Father Wachira served briefly at St Mukasa Parish, in Kahawa West, before being posted to Blessed Allamano Runogone Catholic Parish, in Meru, where he serves to date. Back in Kenya, he wrote Tales from the Amazon, a collection of short stories targeted at Standard Seven and Eight pupils.

7. His fourth book, A Spider’s Web, dealing with drug abuse, was made a set-book for Teacher Training Colleges (2021 to 2025). “Writing this book helped me cope with the deaths of my father and younger brother,” says Father Wachira.

8. During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, Father Wachira, again, found himself with spare time as churches had been closed. He used the time to write Hustler’s Chains, which won the Wahome Mutahi Literary Prize, in September.

9. Two of his books have been runners-up in the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature (Whistle Blower in 2017 and The Spider’s Web in 2019)

10. Father Wachira has been published by three different publishers. East African Educational Publishers (Gold Rush and Tales from the Amazon), Longhorn (Whistleblower) and One Planet (Spider’s Web and Hustlers’ Chains).

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Prof Kithaka wa Mberia has occupied the same office for 41 years

Five little known facts about Prof Kithaka wa Mberia.

1. He teaches Linguistics at the University of Nairobi and not Kiswahili, as widely believed by many. One of the many Vice-Chancellors he has served under, at UoN, long held the belief that Prof Mberia taught Kiswahili.

2. His book Kwenzi Gizani, which won the Jomo Kenyatta prize for Literature, last month (September 2022), was the first book he was submitting to be considered for a literary award.

3. He has self-published all his books, including Kifo Kisimani, which was a set book between 2005 and 2012.

4. He has occupied the same office, at the University of Nairobi for 41 years.

5. He writes in Kiswahili as a matter of principle. “I would be read more widely if I decided to write in English,” he says. “That is a price I am willing to pay.”

Culture Issues News Personalities

How Hare Kuria scammed Hyena Kabogo

Gíkúyú mythology tells the story of the cunning hare that entered into a deal with the hyena to the effect that they beat up their mothers later that evening.
While it is not clear what wrong the two mothers had done to deserve such ‘punishment’, the two friends were nonetheless determined to go ahead with their dastardly plan.
Come the appointed time, hyena went ahead and gave his mother a terrible beating. Clever hare on the other hand, carried home some cardboard boxes (I am exaggerating here, but you catch the drift) and proceeded to bang them about.

Meanwhile, he had asked his mother to scream out, as if in agony, whenever he hit the cardboard boxes. That done, hare and his mother slept soundly till day break.
While the story sort of ended there, at least the version I heard, we can only imagine what transpired the following day.
Due to the heavy beating Hyena’s mother suffered, she might have found it impossible to wake up the following morning. However, at Hare’s homestead, the mother woke up fit and healthy, ready to face the day.
She even prepared nutritious breakfast for her son, all the time, exchanging knowing glances.
Such stories, mostly told to children, by their grandmothers, by the fireside, were meant to impart important moral lessons. This particular story counsels against blindly agreeing to any form of advice from ‘friends’. They might turn out to be malicious people who do not have your best interest at heart.
Now, this takes us to the curious friendship – if we might call it that – between Gatundu South MP, Moses Kuria and former Kiambu governor, William Kabogo. Both are supposed to have signed a cooperation agreement with the DP, William Ruto fronted, Kenya Kwanza coalition.
Now, the other day, Kabogo found himself in a shouting match – peppered with choice insults – with Kiambu Senator, Kimani Wamatangi, during a campaign tour of Limuru, in Kiambu County.
Kuria, Kabogo and Wamatangi are all eyeing the Kiambu governor’s seat, despite being in the same coalition. Of the three, Wamatangi clearly enjoys an upper hand, seeing as he is the one flying the UDA flag, which is Ruto’s party.
After the Kabogo/Wamatangi altercation, Kuria jumped to offer Kabogo a shoulder to cry on, as they both embarked on a lamentation tale, telling all and sundry how the UDA party has sidelined them. They also said very bad things about Mathira MP, Rigathi Gachagua, who is Ruto’s running mate, accusing him of engineering their troubles within the coalition.
They both swore to boycott Kenya Kwanza events until their ‘grievances’ are looked into. Meanwhile, Rigathi told them to go jump in the nearest sewerage pit.
The following day, Kabogo addressed a campaign rally in his Thika home ground, where he poured additional scorn on Rigathi and Ruto. On his part, Kuria booked himself a prime time slot with Citizen TV adding more fuel to Kabogo’s sentiments.
Media houses lapped this up predicting doom on the house Ruto built.
Just as Kabogo was basking in ‘their’ new-found notoriety as Kenya Kwanza bad boys, he must have been jolted back to reality when he saw Kuria happily participating in a Kenya Kwanza economic forum meeting in Nairobi. He followed it up with a rally in Nakuru.
That is when the penny dropped for Kabogo. Like the our friend the hyena, he had foolishly jumped on board Kuria’s plan to disrespect Kenya Kwanza and Ruto.
He is now out languishing in the ‘cold’, while Kuria, the hare, is having a swell time in the inner sanctums of Kenya Kwanza.
So, what is the game plan here? Well, only time will tell.
Meanwhile, the show goes on.