Wednesday, April 8, 2015

We Have Welcomed Terrorists In Kenya

Washington Post staff writer Vernon Loeb, writing in 1998 said:

"It is said that Bin Laden's (Osama)financial and accounting department consists of 17 staffers headed by a Sudanese called Abu-al-Hasan. Yemeni sources say that bin Laden owns commercial firms in Kenya that deal in electrical appliances and make a great deal of profit that is transferred to his financial department that is spread in several European capitals, including Rome."

The article goes on to say:

"All the while, he has mixed war and profit. His economic holdings include trading companies in Kenya, a ceramic manufacturing company in Yemen and a bank, construction company and investment firms in Sudan, where he and his associates secured a near monopoly on gum arabic, the country's leading export and a staple of much fruit juice production in the United States..."

Tribute to the Departed Souls of Garissa Attack-147 Not Just a Number

Garrisa University, a theater of higher learning where minds gather to reason and seek better truth, was on Thursday April 02 turned into a theater of annihilation of innocent souls by barrels of terrorist’s guns. And they took away some of the following souls:

Bernard Kipkemboi Tonui succumbed to gunshot wounds he sustained during the Garissa University College attack last Thursday. He was the only GSU officer from the Recce Company felled by the attackers. Tonui had just arrived from the US recently, where he took an anti-terrorism course. He died doing just what he swore to do-defend our country.

Abdulrazak Mohamed was a night guard at the university and he too, must have tried to fight off the attackers. But he could only do so much before his life was cut short.

Abel Mukhwana was an Economist student. I can see a young man who was fascinated to read the works of Karl Marx, telling the people of the world to unite! I hope Abel will rest in peace knowing that Kenyans will be more united and never shall young souls be annihilated in such a cruel manner.

Alex Omorwa Mogaka was only 19 and the only child in the family. He died under a hail of bullets from the barrel of a terrorist’s gun. He wanted to be somebody and be the voice of reason. Those dreams have been shattered. His family is shattered.

Ayub Njau Kimotho was a second year business administration. Just before the goons got to his cubicle, he texted his brother; “Hapa tumefika sasa wacha tuachie Mungu.”. Ayub died, perhaps wondering what kind of hatred would consume people to the extent of butchering their fellow human beings in such a crude way.

Beatrice Njeri Thinwa was only 20. She hoped to pursue PHD someday. Her favorite singer was Kenny Rodgers. But I believe, just like Kenny Rodger sung, that the terrorists will not outrun the long arm of the law.

Doreen Gakii was known to her friends as “Special Rose.” She was bubbly and always full of life. Now she is an angel in heaven, looking down on us. We shall remember you Doreen.

Ebby Omari, is described by her friends as a jovial girl who loved being her mom’s best friend. She was the key that unlocked the essence of friendship and all her friends knew she was loyal and protective. But she could not protect herself,or some of her friends who were felled by the terrorists’ bullets. Eric Ondari Nyabuto

Gideon Bryson Mwakulegha loved to dance, play and watch football and also sing. In a sense I see myself in Gideon. I don’t know which football team he supported. Maybe someday our paths would have crossed and I would have told him about the greatness of Baricho Fc. But that hope was stolen by men who never stopped for once to use logic.

Diana Musabi loved basketball. I can imagine her favorite basketball player being Lebron James or Stephen Curry or James Harden. But she will not know which team will win the NBA title this year. Before she could get there, terrorists struck, aimed a gun at him, shot several times, and killed her.

John Mwangi Maina is believed to have left his hideout to go save his girlfriend. Here was a man made of steel and resolve. When Bruno Mars sung that he could take a grenade for his girl, maybe the song was meant for John. He took a bullet for his girl. But sadly though, both died in the attack, felled by terrorists’ gun.

Jeff Macharia was his mom’s only child. I have read that his mother was advised not to have any other child, maybe because of a medical condition. But that child is gone, not taken by a medical condition but taken away by a condition of the terrorists that makes them believe they will change the people’s way of life. No they will not!

Laban Kumba Daniel fought with the terrorists but was overpowered. He died a painful death, yet hoping he could put an end to the massacre.
Officer Peter Masinde Nyangura was the seventh born in a family of 8. He will not see the birth of his child, as he left a pregnant wife behind. A dream of the unborn child to be held in daddy’s strong and protective arms was taken away, by terrorists.

Midred Yondo Wakholi excelled in theater, was outspoken and loved to eat mangoes. I can imagine she looked up to someone like Lupita Nyong’o. I sense deep in my bones that she believed, just like Lupita, that her dreams to be somebody in society were valid. But those dreams were invalidated by terrorists. Never again, should we allow this to happen.

Obadiah Okiring is described by his friends as joyful, focused and wanted to be the best. How could he be the best when the road towards that dream was destroyed by terrorists?

Risper Maggie Musyoka loved gospel music and wanted to start business. I can see her humming to her favorite gospel music as she checked how the business was faring. But she will not see that happen. A journey cut short by terrorists.

Susan Anyango was shot, flown to Nairobi but succumbed to injuries. She loved volleyball and football. She was only 23. This is an entire generation, wiped by people acting in the name of religion.

Jane Akinyi’s last message to her boyfriend was full of love and the kind of love that we must tap into as human beings. She may have died under a hail of bullets but I know her should is resting in peace.

These beautiful souls and many others are no longer with us. But we must remember that the terrorists may have taken from within us 147 lives. If we are not careful and do not do our part of ensure these terror minded people are not living within us, then we could be number 148 in the near future.

St. Francis of Assisi had this prayer: Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; that where there is hatred, let me sow love; that Where there is injury let me sow pardon; that where there is error, let me sow the truth; that where there is doubt, let me sow faith; that where there is despair, let me sow hope; that where there is darkness; let me sow light and that where there sadness, let me sow joy.

And that prayer did not stop there. St Francis of Assisi would pray: Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.





Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Most Lethal and Highly Trained Police Units in the World

10. BOPE of Brazil

Called the Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais (BOPE)
This is also considered another highly famous and trained police force of the world. BOPE are considered an urban warfare unit, tasked with policing the city’s sprawling shanty towns.


In a recent commanded – called just 01 – reported that of a class of 100 applicants, only three made it onto the force. The final three days of the training involve staying constantly awake with almost no sustenance running mock missions. Finally they have to run up the daunting slope to the unit’s HQ fighting MMA-style almost all the way.


9. GRUPO ESPECIAL DE OPERACIONES, SPAIN

The GEOs tackle terrorism in Spain. They started out well, freeing five hostages in a bank raid with no bloodshed. Their operational record is excellent, with 424 hostages freed and 41 armed terrorists captured in their history. Only one officer has ever been killed on duty, when the Madrid train bombing suspects reacted to the GEOs approach by blowing up their flat.


Most who apply to join the GEO are deemed not good enough. Each year, 97% of potential candidates are shown the door. To join, you must be a two-year police officer and either a martial artist, scuba diver, shooting instructor or explosives expert or have worked in a provincial special unit.

The training is both physical and mental. Among the physical tests is a 3km run that must be completed in 11.5 minutes. Some candidates fail after getting through initial training, when they are given specialist training, including very demanding tests in police science and technique.

8. JUNGLAS OF COLOMBIA

They are armed like a Special Forces unit and have specialist explosives and sniper teams. The training program is four months long and is internationally acknowledged as one of the best in the world. When the US invaded Afghanistan, Junglas instructors followed in 2006 to help get the war on opium production started.


They have an even more elite cadre of 40 within the Junglas from the Special Reconnaissance Team who are responsible for their most dangerous missions.

7. THE GRUPO DE OPERACIONES ESPECIALES OF MEXICO

The GOPE are the elite unit of the Federal Police, tasked with tackling the worst criminals, drug lords and terrorists. Despite Mexico’s terrible law and order problems, the GOPE have only 87 officers, who work in groups of eight to 12 on their missions.



Their selection and training is very tough. They are trained by Mexican military Special Forces, Spanish police special forces, the Colombian military’s urban anti-terror units, French police special units, America’s Air Marshalls service and the Mexican navy’s airborne marine unit.

6 – SPECIAL TASK FORCE OF SRI LANKA

The STF is the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency police unit of the Sri Lankan police. It’s prime task has been taking the police lead in dealing with the Tamil Tiger separatist guerrilla movement, and it’s so well-regarded that it often goes on teaching missions around the world. The STF helped the Chinese authorities prepare for the Beijing Olympics.


They carry handguns, but mortars, grenade and rocket launchers and armoured personnel carriers are also amongst their armoury.

5. ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE

There is a legend that this force always got their man.


The training program to join the Mounties lasts for a demanding six months, each day starting at 6am and finishing no earlier than 4.30pm.The recruits are expected to take a large responsibility for developing their own physical and mental talents in an academically challenging environment.

Once those six months are completed, there’s another six months training in the field. Although the training programme is broad, candidates are warned that they could face marching at 6.15am, jogging between classes, sparring, push ups, a four mile run and getting up nine flights of stairs before noon.

4. – FRENCH POLICE NATIONALE RAID

They are on duty when world leaders arrive in Paris and they are so elite that there are only 60 of them.
Selection is voluntary and only Nationale Police officers with at least five years’ experience and tip top physical fitness need apply. The success rate is about 10 from every 600 applicants.


The training process lasts about nine months and includes six hours-a-day of tough physical work. They learn martial arts, tactics, shooting, learn how to get into buses, planes and trains, rescue hostages, attack from helicopters, drive like lunatics and even how to parachute. They are often sent off to elite military units to take their courses too.

They go into action wearing fire-proof overalls and balaclavas. RAID is allowed to use any vehicle in the Ministry of the Interior fleet and officers chose their own weapons.

3. GSG 9 OF GERMANY

This is considered as one of the most professional and famous police force of the world.


GSG 9 is only open to officers with two years’ service under their belt and applicants undergo rigorous medical and psychological training before taking a 16 week basic training and a further nine weeks of specialized lessons. They must also be top marksmen. Only one in the five applicants makes it through the tough training sessions.

Since its formation, this police force has conducted more than 1,500 operations and most interestingly they have only had to use their guns five times.


2. YAMAM OF ISRAEL

They are considered as the elite anti-terror cops of the Israeli Border Police.



They are highly armed, but one of their favourite weapons is an armoured bulldozer with which they simple destroy buildings thought to be harbouring terrorists.

Applicants are already trained soldiers, having completed their three year military service with some distinction. Many come straight from Special Forces. The training lasts for six months and includes a ‘hell week’, which is said to be the toughest such ordeal in the world.

1. US MARSHALS SERVICE

American law enforcement is liberally littered with special units, and one of the toughest to get into is the US Marshals Service, the details of whose selection and training processes are a closely guarded secret.


Marshals are the enforcers for the federal court system, handling everything from protecting courts to tracking down fugitives. Of those who apply only around 5% make it through selection and training. To even get to the starting line you must have a four year degree or the equivalent work experience in the police. Even before training begins, applicants must pass an exam, an interview board, full vetting, medical and drug testing and a demanding physical.

The training program lasts for 19 weeks and is considered one of the toughest in the US.


Source: Internet.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

My Version of Uhuru's Address to the Nation Following ‪#‎GarissaAttack‬



On Thursday 2nd April 2015, just before the sun rose, and as students at Garissa University College were preparing to start their day, terrorists struck. Some of the students were still asleep in their beds while a few had woken up to head to early morning Christian prayers. But this was cut short by terrorists who took 800 students on a day-long hostage ordeal, and sadly, ended up killing 148 people. It turned out to be the most lethal terrorist attack on Kenya since the 1998 US Embassy bombing. Thankfully, more than 600 were rescued and our security managed to kill 4 of the terrorists while arresting 5

To the families of those we have lost following this heinous attack, to all who called them friends, to the students of Moi University-the mother University of the Garissa Campus, the people of Garissa and the patriotic citizens of Kenya, I mourn with you today. As a fellow citizen, I pray with you and as your president, I will stand by you.

There is little that I could do to heal your broken hearts. But I want you to know that as a nation we shall overcome this. I beseech you fellow citizens, let us put our faith together as a country that the other living victims of this mindless slaughter will pull through. I am reminded of a verse in the bible that says; "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the most high dwells.” God is with our brothers and sisters, He will not abandon them. They will pull through.

I am grateful to the doctors, nurses, police and first responders who went to the scene as soon as possible. I want to thank the staff at Garissa Provincial General Hospital led by Karanga Kimani whose quick decision-making to establish basic life support teams at the scene as well as a triage team at the hospital emergency department saved many lives. I also commend the three officers who paid the ultimate price in their selfless service to Kenya. These heroes stood up to be counted in a real way when it counted most.
These patriotic Kenyans remind us that heroism does not require physical strength. Heroism is here within us, in the hearts of so many Kenyans, all around us waiting to be summoned, as it was on Thursday morning by the doctors, nurses, interns, volunteers and even the police who swung to action within the shortest time possible. Their collective efforts showed that Kenya is and will always be a sum of its people that live by the Harambee spirit of pulling and pooling together.

The selflessness all these individuals pose the question of what, beyond prayers and expressions of concern, is required of us as a patriots going forward. Where do we go from here? How do we prevent such an attack from happening again? How can we be true to the memory of the fallen? More often when an attack like this happens, it is part of our nature to demand answers and explanations. I admit we have been hit enough times-Baragoi, Wajir, Mpeketoni, Mandera and Westgate that most Kenyans feel hopeless and insecure. I completely understand the conscience that demands to make sense out of such attacks which are senseless. The fact that we are debating on social media what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future is an essential ingredient of our calling as patriots. As we do so, it is important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that that heals, not in a way that wounds.

At this point in time, none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. The Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, "When I looked for light, then came darkness." Bad things happen, and we have to guard against simple explanations in the aftermath. To this end, I have requested the Ministry of internal Security to do a thorough investigation of this attack and report to me in 2 weeks. The findings will be made public and I shall invite public participation to air views on what we can do as a country to ensure our security is not threatened

The Kenyans who died in this attack did not deserve it. I am heartbroken reading Jane Akinyi’s last text message. Inside Garissa University College, as Jane watched the terrorists kill her comrades, one by one, and knowing that they were coming for her next, she managed to share her last moments with her boyfriend saying; 'in case we don't see each other again, just know I love you'. I will ensure that Jane’s memory is not in vain.

I am putting other terrorist who maybe within our borders on notice, as well as their financiers and their supporters, that wherever you are, we shall come for you. They will know why my forefathers would say ‘Mwinogoro wa ngite ni mwondoko.”

Let us remain in unity as we safeguard our peace and stability.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Obama's Speech in Nairobi (UON) in 2006.

"The first time I came to Kenya was in 1987. I had just finished three years of work as a community organizer in low-income neighborhoods of Chicago, and was about to enroll in law school. My sister, Auma, was teaching that year at this university, and so I came to stay with her for a month.

My experience then was very different than it has been on this trip. Instead of a motorcade, we traveled in my sister's old VW Beetle, which even then was already ten years old. When it broke down in front of Uhuru Park, we had to push until some joakalis came to fix it by the side of the road. I slept on the couch of my sister's apartment, not a fancy hotel, and often took my meals at a small tea-house in downtown Nairobi. When we went upcountry, we traveled by train and matatu, with chickens and collard greens and sometimes babies placed in my lap.

But it was a magical trip. To begin with, I discovered the warmth and sense of community that the people of Kenya possess - their sense of hopefulness even in the face of great difficulty. I discovered the beauty of the land, a beauty that haunts you long after you've left.

And most importantly for me, I discovered the story of my father's life, and the story of his father before him.

I learned that my grandfather had been a cook for the British and, although he was a respected elder in his village, he was called "boy" by his employers for most of his life. I learned about the brutal repression of Operation Anvil, the days of rape and torture in the "Pipeline" camps, the lives that so many gave, and how my grandfather had been arrested briefly during this period, despite being at the periphery of Kenya's liberation struggles.

I learned how my father had grown up in a tiny village called Alego, near Siaya, during this period of tumult. I began to understand and appreciate the distance he had traveled - from being a boy herding goats to a student at the University of Hawaii and Harvard University to the respected economist that he was upon his return to Kenya. In many ways, he embodied the new Africa of the early Sixties, a man who had obtained the knowledge of the Western world, and sought to bring it back home, where he hoped he could help create a new nation.

And yet, I discovered that for all his education, my father's life ended up being filled with disappointments. His ideas about how Kenya should progress often put him at odds with the politics of tribe and patronage, and because he spoke his mind, sometimes to a fault, he ended up being fired from his job and prevented from finding work in the country for many, many years. And on a more personal level, because he never fully reconciled the traditions of his village with more modern conceptions of family - because he related to women as his father had, expecting them to obey him no matter what he did - his family life was unstable, and his children never knew him well.

In many ways, then, my family's life reflects some of the contradictions of Kenya, and indeed, the African continent as a whole. The history of Africa is a history of ancient kingdoms and great traditions; the story of people fighting to be free from colonial rule; the heroism of not only of great men like Nkrumah and Kenyatta and Mandela, but also ordinary people who endured great hardship, from Ghana to South Africa, to secure self-determination in the face of great odds.

But for all the progress that has been made, we must surely acknowledge that neither Kenya nor the African continent have yet fulfilled their potential - that the hopefulness of the post-colonial era has been replaced by cynicism and sometimes despair, and that true freedom has not yet been won for those struggling to live on less than a few shillings a day, for those who have fallen prey to HIV/AIDS or malaria, to those ordinary citizens who continue to find themselves trapped in the crossfire of war or ethnic conflict.

One statistic powerfully describes this unfulfilled promise. In early 1960's, as Kenya was gaining its independence, its gross national product was not very different from that of South Korea. Today, South Korea's economy is forty times larger than Kenya's.

How can we explain this fact? Certainly it is not due to lack of effort on the part of ordinary Kenyans - we know how hard Kenyans are willing to work, the tremendous sacrifices that Kenyan mothers make for their children, the Herculean efforts that Kenyan fathers make for their families. We know as well the talent, the intelligence, and the creativity that exists in this country. And we know how much this land is blessed - just as the entire African continent is blessed - with great gifts and riches.

So what explains this? I believe there a number of factors at work.

Kenya, like many African nations did not come of age under the best historical circumstances. It suffers from the legacy of colonialism, of national boundaries that were drawn without regard to the political and tribal alignments of indigenous peoples, and that therefore fed conflict and tribal strife.

Kenya was also forced to rapidly move from a highly agrarian to a more urban, industrialized nation. This means that the education and health care systems - issues that my own nation more than 200 years old still struggles with - lag behind, impacting its development.

Third, Kenya is hurt from factors unique to Africa's geography and place in the world -- disease, distance from viable markets and especially terms of trade. When African nations were just gaining independence, industrialized nations had decades of experience building their domestic economies and navigating the international financial system. And, as Frederick Douglass once stated: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will." As a result, many African nations have been asked to liberalize their markets without reciprocal concessions from mature economies. This lack of access for Africa's agriculture and commodities has restricted an important engine of economic growth. Other issues, such as resource extraction and the drain of human capital have also been major factors.

As a Senator from the United States, I believe that my country, and other nations, have an obligation and self-interest in being full partners with Kenya and with Africa. And, I will do my part to shape an intelligent foreign policy that promotes peace and prosperity. A foreign policy that gives hope and opportunity to the people of this great continent.

But, Kenya must do its part. It cannot wait for other nations to act first. The hard truth is that nations, by and large, will act in their self-interest and if Kenya does not act, it will fall behind.

It's more than just history and outside influences that explain why Kenya lags behind. Like many nations across this continent, where Kenya is failing is in its ability to create a government that is transparent and accountable. One that serves its people and is free from corruption.

There is no doubt that what Kenyans have accomplished with this independence is both impressive and inspiring. Among African nations, Kenya remains a model for representative democracy - a place where many different ethnic factions have found a way to live and work together in peace and stability. You enjoy a robust civil society; a press that's free, fair, and honest; and a strong partnership with my own country that has resulted in critical cooperation on terrorist issues, real strides in fighting disease and poverty, and an important alliance on fostering regional stability.

And yet, the reason I speak of the freedom that you fought so hard to win is because today that freedom is in jeopardy. It is being threatened by corruption.

Corruption is not a new problem. It's not just a Kenyan problem, or an African problem. It's a human problem, and it has existed in some form in almost every society. My own city of Chicago has been the home of some of the most corrupt local politics in American history, from patronage machines to questionable elections. In just the last year, our own U.S. Congress has seen a representative resign after taking bribes, and several others fall under investigation for using their public office for private gain.

But while corruption is a problem we all share, here in Kenya it is a crisis - a crisis that's robbing an honest people of the opportunities they have fought for - the opportunity they deserve.

I know that while recent reports have pointed to strong economic growth in this country, 56% of Kenyans still live in poverty. And I know that the vast majority of people in this country desperately want to change this.

It is painfully obvious that corruption stifles development - it siphons off scarce resources that could improve infrastructure, bolster education systems, and strengthen public health. It stacks the deck so high against entrepreneurs that they cannot get their job-creating ideas off the ground. In fact, one recent survey showed that corruption in Kenya costs local firms 6% of their revenues, the difference between good-paying jobs in Kenya or somewhere else. And corruption also erodes the state from the inside out, sickening the justice system until there is no justice to be found, poisoning the police forces until their presence becomes a source of insecurity rather than comfort.

Corruption has a way of magnifying the very worst twists of fate. It makes it impossible to respond effectively to crises -- whether it's the HIV/AIDS pandemic or malaria or crippling drought.

What's worse - corruption can also provide opportunities for those who would harness the fear and hatred of others to their agenda and ambitions.

It can shield a war criminal - even one like Felicien Kabuga, suspected of helping to finance and orchestrate the Rwandan genocide - by allowing him to purchase safe haven for a time and robbing all humanity of the opportunity to bring the criminal to justice.

Terrorist attacks - like those that have shed Kenyan blood and struck at the heart of the Kenyan economy - are facilitated by customs and border officers who can be paid off, by police forces so crippled by corruption that they do not protect the personal safety of Kenyans walking the streets of Nairobi, and by forged documents that are easy to find in a climate where graft and fraud thrive.

Some of the worst actors on the international stage can also take advantage of the collective exhaustion and outrage that people feel with official corruption, as we've seen with Islamic extremists who promise purification, but deliver totalitarianism. Endemic corruption opens the door to this kind of movement, and in its wake comes a new set of distortions and betrayals of public trust.

In the end, if the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists - to protect them and to promote their common welfare - all else is lost. And this is why the struggle against corruption is one of the great struggles of our time.


The good news is that there are already signs of progress here. Willingness to report corruption is increasingly significantly in Kenya. The Kenyan media has been courageous in uncovering and reporting on some of the most blatant abuses of the system, and there has been a growing recognition among people and politicians that this is a critical issue.

Among other things, this recognition resulted in the coalition that came to power in the December elections of 2002. This coalition succeeded by promising change, and their early gestures - the dismissal of the shaky judges, the renewed vigor of the investigation into the Goldenberg scandal, the calls for real disclosure of elected officials' personal wealth - were all promising.

But elections are not enough. In a true democracy, it is what happens between elections that is the true measure of how a government treats its people.

Today, we're starting to see that the Kenyan people want more than a simple changing of the guard, more than piecemeal reforms to a crisis that's crippling their country. The Kenyan people are crying out for real change, and whether one voted orange or banana in last year's referendum, the message that many Kenyans seemed to be sending was one of dissatisfaction with the pace of reform, and real frustration with continued tolerance of corruption at high levels.

And so we know that there is more work to be done - more reforms to be made. I don't have all the solutions or think that they'll be easy, but there are a few places that a country truly committed to reform could start.

We know that the temptation to take a bribe is greater when you're not making enough on the job. And we also know that the more people there are on the government payroll, the more likely it is that someone will be encouraged to take a bribe. So if the government found ways to downsize the bureaucracy - to cut out the positions that aren't necessary or useful - it could use the extra money to increase the salary of other government officials.

Of course, the best way to reduce bureaucracy and increase pay is to create more private sector jobs. And the way to create good jobs is when the rules of a society are transparent - when there's a clear and advertised set of laws and regulations regarding how to start a business, what it takes to own property, how to go about getting a loan - there is less of a chance that some corrupt bureaucrat will make up his own rules that suit only his interests. Clarifying these rules and focusing resources on building a judicial system that can enforce them and resolve disputes should be a primary goal of any government suffering from corruption.

In addition, we know that the more information the public is provided, the easier it will be for your Kenyan brothers and sisters out in the villages to evaluate whether they are being treated fairly by their public servants or not. Wealth declarations do little good if no one can access them, and accountability in government spending is not possible if no one knows how much was available and allocated to a given project in the first place.

Finally, ethnic-based tribal politics has to stop. It is rooted in the bankrupt idea that the goal of politics or business is to funnel as much of the pie as possible to one's family, tribe, or circle with little regard for the public good. It stifles innovation and fractures the fabric of the society. Instead of opening businesses and engaging in commerce, people come to rely on patronage and payback as a means of advancing. Instead of unifying the country to move forward on solving problems, it divides neighbor from neighbor.

An accountable, transparent government can break this cycle. When people are judged by merit, not connections, then the best and brightest can lead the country, people will work hard, and the entire economy will grow - everyone will benefit and more resources will be available for all, not just select groups.

Of course, in the end, one of the strongest weapons your country has against corruption is the ability of you, the people, to stand up and speak out about the injustices you see. The Kenyan people are the ultimate guardians against abuses.

The world knows the names of Wangari Maathai and John Githongo, who are fighting against the insidious corruption that has weakened Kenya. But there are so many others, some of whom I'm meeting during my visit here - Betty Murungi, Ken Njau, Jane Onyango, Maina Kiai, Milly Odhiombo, and Hussein Khalid. As well as numerous Kenyan men and women who have refused to pay bribes to get civil servants to perform their duties; the auditors and inspectors general who have done the job before them accurately and fairly, regardless of where the facts have led; the journalists who asked questions and pushed for answers when it may have been more lucrative to look the other way, or whip up a convenient fiction. And then there are anonymous Kenyan whistleblowers who show us what is, so that we can all work together to demand what should be.

By rejecting the insulting idea that corruption is somehow a part of Kenyan culture, these heroes reveal the very opposite - they reveal a strength and integrity of character that can build a great country, a great future. By focusing on building strong, independent institutions - like an anti-corruption commission with real authority - rather than cults of personality, they make a contribution to their country that will last longer than their own lives. They fight the fight of our time.

Looking out at this crowd of young people, I have faith that you will fight this fight too.

You will decide if your leaders will be held accountable, or if you will look the other way.

You will decide if the standards and the rules will be the same for everyone - regardless of ethnicity or of wealth.

And you will determine the direction of this country in the 21st century - whether the hard work of the many is lost to the selfish desires of a few, or whether you build an open, honest, stronger Kenya where everyone rises together.

This is the Kenya that so many who came before you envisioned - all those men and women who struggled and sacrificed and fought for the freedom you enjoy today.

I know that honoring their memory and making that freedom real may seem like an impossible task - an effort bigger than you can imagine - but sometimes all it takes to move us there is doing what little you can to right the wrongs you see.

As I said at the outset, I did not know my father well - he returned to Kenya from America when I was still young. Since that time I have known him through stories - those my mother would tell and those I heard from my relatives here in Kenya on my last trip to this country.

I know from these stories that my father was not a perfect man - that he made his share of mistakes and disappointed his share of people in his lifetime.

As our parents' children, we have the opportunity to learn from these mistakes and disappointments. We have the opportunity to muster the courage to fulfill the promise of our forefathers and lead our great nations towards a better future.

In today's Kenya - a Kenya already more open and less repressive than in my father's day - it is that courage that will bring the reform so many of you so desperately want and deserve. I wish all of you luck in finding this courage in the days and months to come, and I want you to know that as your ally, your friend, and your brother, I will be there to help in any way I can. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The State of Union Address President Uhuru Kenyatta Will not Give

Thank you, Deputy President Ruto for the warm and generous introduction. I want to thank my wife Margaret for her great service to the nation, and extend a warm appreciation on her behalf, to the people of Kenya for supporting the Beyond Zero Campaign. I am so proud of you Maggie and I love you so much.

Dear Kenyans, I speak to you today in the wake of World Bank announcing that our beloved nation is the world’s third fastest growing economy. While this is welcome news that shows the zeal and capacity of Kenya to be among the world’s elite, I am aware our country continues to suffer serious economic challenges. I know of a young boy in Pokot who will be sleeping hungry tonight because his family cannot afford to buy food, and whatever little money they have, they want to pay for his big brother’s trip to Nairobi so he can look for a job that his family believes would get them out of poverty.This, and many more problems afflicting many Kenyans are well known to me, and they concern me. Our government is working hard to ensure all Kenyans, irrespective of tribe, ethnicity or political affiliation have a decent shot at life. The pace may not be to everybody's liking but believe me Kenyans, we will get there.

I speak to you today, not just as your president, but as a fellow Kenyan who understands that we are a deeply divided nation. As the president, I have to lead by example and walk the talk. I have been challenged, and rightly so, that any appointment I make through the power vested in me by the constitution reflects the diversity of our country. Yes we are a mosaic of over 42 tribes and each matters. I will keep my end of the promise. Likewise, I call on you fellow citizens to ensure that our differences are not just informed by tribe, gender, or any other negative isms. While we cannot live in a society devoid of differences, let us differ through the prism of constructive controversy with the aim of getting the best ideas on how to transform Kenya into an oasis that people from all across the world would want to drink from.

Fellow Kenyans, I have heard you. You want empty talk to be sent to the sin bin. In its place, you want good jobs, good schools, health care, safe streets and a clean environment. As a father, I too, want a secure country where our children can grow without fear of being introduced to drugs or criminal activities. To build that kind of Kenya, we must make the right choices, and we have to. One of these choices must be to eradicate corruption.

Our government, in an effort to fight corruption, has done the following………………………….....

Did Memusi Plagiarize His Maiden Speech?

Newly elected Kajiado Central M.P Hon. Elijah Memusi delivered an electrifying maiden speech to parliament, that some observers are saying "made Mps cry." However, could the M.P have lifted most of the speech from another source and did not reference to that source?

Actually, I will allow you to compare Memusi's speech with the victory speech given by Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola in 2014. Be the judge.

Memusi:

"To the good people of Kajiado central goes my unflinching gratitude. We salute your steadfastness, courage, loyalty, commitment and fierce determination to defend your sovereign rights. You have demonstrated in this election that in a democracy, power truly belongs to the people. I am humbled and honored by your trust and abiding faith in me and my party. I pledge that your confidence in us shall never be betrayed or taken for granted."

Aregbesola (in 2014)

"To the good people of Osun State goes our unflinching gratitude. We salute your steadfastness, courage, loyalty, commitment and fierce determination to defend your sovereign rights and the integrity of our nascent democracy. You have demonstrated in this election that in a democracy, power truly belongs to the people. I am humbled and honoured by your trust and abiding faith in me and my party. I pledge that your confidence in us shall never be betrayed or taken for granted."

Memusi:

"The outcome of this election, once again, shows the unswerving determination of our people to ensure that democracy triumphs in Kenya. We have sent a strong signal to all and sundry that no might is powerful enough to thwart the will of the people. This should always strengthen our resolve to ensure that as from now on, every vote must not only be counted but must count in this country. Nobody or party must ever exercise power unreasonably at any level except in accordance with the will of the people to whom sovereignty belongs."


Aregbesola (in 2014)

"The outcome of this election, once again, shows the unswerving determination of our people to ensure that democracy triumphs in Nigeria. We have sent a strong signal to all and sundry that no might is powerful enough to thwart the will of the people. This should always strengthen our resolve to ensure that as from now on, every vote must not only be counted but must count in this country. Nobody or party must ever exercise power unreasonably at any level except in accordance with the will of the people to whom sovereignty belongs."

Be the judge. Nonetheless, great speech







Friday, November 7, 2014

Dear Victor Kanyari



It must be a busy or interesting week for you granted the KTN expose. It must be quite a challenge dealing with the concatenated issues arising from what Kenyans watched! I believe as a result, you have read or heard a lot.

I have thought about the deceit with which you have run your church, the manipulation of your flock and the utter disrespect you have shown to the same Lord you seek miracles from. However, even with all these, I am reminded that any judgment made in the heat of emotion is never sound. My grandfather would tell me that a boil can never be cured unless opened to the natural medicines of air. As such, instead of condemning you, allow me to note what I feel.

As I write this, I do realize I am not a perfect person. How then can I call you to be a perfect preacher yet in the first place, you are an ordinary mortal and therefore subject to flaws, sins and mistakes! The answer is found in that you have a higher calling than mine. You are a minister of the gospel and as such, we, the flock, have certain expectations and you cannot blame us. You see, we understand the preacher as the person who is supposed to articulate the longings and aspirations of the people. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would say the following, of the preacher:

“Somewhere the preacher must have a kind of fire shut up in his bones and whenever injustice is around he must tell it. Somehow the preacher must be an Amos, who said, "When God Speaks, who can but prophesy?" Again with Amos, "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Somehow the preacher must say with Jesus, "The spirit of the Lord is upon me because He hath anointed me and He's anointed me to deal with the problems of the poor."

The concern of the people, therefore, is not what you have done to the Lord. We are well aware that guilt, just like salvation, is individual. If the Lord feels you have wronged Him, in His own timing, He will take it up with you. However, it is how you have used the problems of the poor for personal aggrandizement that stinks, and that’s what, in my belief, is making most people uneasy.

In as much as you may be the most ridiculed man in Kenya right now, as a Christian (I belong to C.P.K, not even Anglican), I am called upon to forgive those who are on the wrong. You see, in the scripture, we read about the Good Samaritan. We can draw different lessons from this parable but I like how Dr. King sums it all, relative to the lessons Christians should draw;

“..The Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"

I do not know how to help you; maybe I cannot be that Good Samaritan. I feel however, that the first thing you need to do is offer an apology to Kenyans, not because they are a perfect people but because you are a man of cloth. To be forgiven, more than sorrow is required. You will need to show two things. On the first hand, genuine repentance - a determination to change and to repair breaches of your own making. As you would tell your congregation, ‘repent.’ On the other hand, you will need to show what the scripture calls a ''broken spirit''; an understanding that you must have God's help to be the person that you want to be; a renunciation of the pride and pomposity which cloud judgment, and lead people to excuse and compare and to blame and complain.

I know this is a difficult proposition. But it is a call on you to turn to be the real man of God the preacher every parent would want their children to grow under the tutelage of. It will take an act of will to make this turn. It will mean breaking the old habits, maybe even giving up the Range Rover (maybe keep it). It will mean admitting that you have been wrong, and this is never easy. It will mean losing face. It will mean starting all over again. And this is always painful. It will mean saying you are sorry. It will mean recognizing that you have the ability to change!

Finally, as one preacher prayed, this is the prayer I will leave you with;

“Lord help us to turn from callousness to sensitivity, from hostility to love, from pettiness to purpose, from envy to contentment, from carelessness to discipline, from fear to faith. Turn us around, O Lord, and bring us back toward you. Revive our lives as at the beginning, and turn us toward each other, Lord, for in isolation there is no life.''

Sunday, November 2, 2014

What is Common Between Kanyari and Kenyans?

I watched the Victor Kanyari 'expose' or whatever we may want to call it and the first thing I did, perhaps like anybody else, was to condemn the man so harshly. It seems the denominator of our condemnation is premised on two questions; On the first hand, how can a fully grown man be such greedy to the extent of using the name of God in vain? On the other hand, how can people be so gullible to such an extent such a man to manipulate that much?

In a sense, Kanyari and those who worship him represent our true self only that we do get the opportunity to be exposed by Jicho Pevu. Politicians will swear with the holy bible to protect the interests of Kenyans. There are so many things that they do that go contrary to what they swear to uphold. They will fake many things just to get what they want more-power. How different then, are they from Kanyari in taking the name of the Lord in vain.

We may condemn Kanyari but tragically, we may be up there with him in the book of sin. Day in and day out there are people who will hate others because they belong to another tribe. They will dehumanize the other tribe as though the people from that tribe are a creation of God; perhaps telling God He should have done a better job. How different then are we from Kanyari in our selfishness when the only thing we want to love is ourselves?

There are those others, for the sake of politics, who will quote verses just to please their political masters. They will tell you that authority cometh from God and stick to that line, even without reading the entire context of the quote. How different are these people from Kanyari in misleading people?

Kanyari has succeeded in taming the wisdom of those who follow him. Its an achievement of sort, knowing how difficult it is to tame anything. For instance, how come we have never succeeded in taming poverty?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Agikuyu Have "Mataha" or "Irio" and not Mukimo


The online Kikuyu dictionary describes "Mukimo" as anything mashed. It is derived from the verb "Gukima" which means to mash. For a long time, other communities have used the Kikuyu word "mukimo" to refer to any mashed food. Important to note is that what others call "Ugali" within the Kikuyu, is called "Ngima" which is within the definition of mashing.

Mukimo is a delicacy known to other communities but not the Kikuyu. It is what other communities have come up with in trying to steal the recipe of a very popular and healthy delicacy found within the Kikuyu community, but failed miserably.

The true Kikuyu meal that others may attempt to qualify as Mukimo, is called Mataha or Irio. Unlike what other communities do while preparing the food they call mukimo, no effort is spared while preparing Mataha. No weeds are used in the process but vegetables like Masekondari, Karimi ga thia, Togotia, Magacia, Marenge among others are used to enrich the food.

Mataha is a healthy meal. Other communities must move away from the fake mukimo and politely ask the Kikuyu how to prepare mataha. As Dr. King would ask, "Should society blame the rich man because of his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? No Silas Gisiora Nyanchwani, the answer is that society must blame the robber and not the robbed.

You wrote a brilliant piece.However, you must put the blame on those who have tried to steal the mataha delicacy from the Kikuyu, have failed and ended up with mukimo.

On the flip side, my friend Silas Nywanchwani failed to tell Kenyans about the artistry of the people from Kirinyaga in making a variation of Mukimo, called Nguja Gutu. If any man or woman thinks their food is more sumptuous or healthier than ngunja gutu, then I am ready to have my ears folded.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

We Must Adopt New Ways of Recruiting Police Officers in Kenya

Each year, thousands of patriotic Kenyans look forward to serving their country as police officers. When the recruitment dates are announced, these young men and women, in most cases, start conditioning their bodies granted the historical affinity towards such punitive recruitment considerations. Meanwhile, as they do so, other Kenyans cross their fingers, toes and legs while some pray and hope that the recruitment process of the day will nail men and women of integrity who are looking to serve not their interests, but their country and make Kenya a safe haven. But as Hama Tuma notes in the book Case of Prison Monger, great expectations make frustrated men.

I have a lot of respect for the police officers in Kenya. We have placed great expectations on their shoulders even when they have to endure tough conditions while doing their job. We have ridiculed the officers and dehumanized them. In fact, in most conversations, we talk of the police, not as human beings in the first place but as just that-the police. I believe as a country that is progressive, we must do better in terms of our attitude to the officers. Nonetheless, this is not about what we do or perceive of the police, but it’s about the process of recruitment.

A while back in one famous presidential debate, a candidate, asked by the opponent why in his tenure there was a reduced military personnel, smiled and responded: “We no longer live in the days of using horses and bayonets in war.” Simply put, time calls on humanity to change the process of doing things because ultimately, if you do not change with time, especially in matter security, then the criminal elements will outsmart you. It is debatable, granted the recent killings in Lamu whether criminals are outsmarting the police. The jury is out there.

For as long as I can remember, the recruitment to the Kenya police force is defined in two outrageous ways; corruption and a rigorous exercise. While I can understand that society has accepted and moved on, to the fact that corruption is part of what defines who we are and how we carry our business, I cannot comprehend why the recruitment process is still defined by who can run how many miles. In a digital regime, we ought to do better. We should be using modern technology to test the fitness of individuals but this should even come as the last item on the process.

What we need more, during the recruitment is a keen attention to details on people who can work for the force and not against the force. You need police officers who are able to make plans and execute strategies and I want to believe in all honesty, this can only be attained by a strong, willing mind who is ready to serve the country, and not a person who made it to be an officer on the basis of paying a bribe or being a good athlete.

Our current recruitment process does not in any way help solve a crime. Do not get me wrong on this, I am not saying it is preposterous for potential police officer to be physically fit and able, all I am rooting is the RETOOLING of the process so that it seen to be complimented by a desire to recruit men and women who can use a sense of reason, logic and common sense while providing security to Kenyans. By the way, I am so proud to note that many police officers carry their duties with dignity and strive to excel, but it is not about what the good elements are doing, it’s about what the security force in its entirety is not doing

Endurance and physical agility can be trained over time but integrity and sense of reason cannot be taught; these are some of the basic concepts missing from the police today. It is worth noting that in a country like the United States, before a recruit is subjected to physical exercises, he has to go through various tests that are aimed at checking the integrity and capacity to serve in difficult circumstances. In fact part one has to pass a polygraph before getting to the health checks. Some people will argue that a physically strong body is what is required to secure Kenyans but in my research and talking to police officers in the United States, the most important requirement is a strong and healthy mind.

I recently met a friend who works with the Singapore Police and in the process of touching base, our conversation deviated to our careers. He told me that serving in Singapore police is the ultimate desire of young men and women, because, as he told me “it is a career that transcends the daily grind.” I can hope for the day we shall talk in the same way of our police force. Maybe, just maybe someday we will but we have to change our approach.

I have asked myself time and again what we can do as a country to improve the image of the police, but I keep going back to the fact that this is a system, and within this system are people who are churning millions of shillings, so long as the status quo remains. Therefore, to expect change in the recruitment process is to be as naive, perhaps to the extent of the Dickens Inns character who would claim he loves reading a lot, even when the book he was holding was upside down.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

We Ought to Pray for 2014

This is the last Sunday of a year which I can only sum as a intriguing. We seen it all, or so I believe, this year.

It is a year that begun with a highly polarized populace as we readied to go the polls in March. People were not killing each other like 2008 but this time round it was a psychological type of adversity, all in the name of siasa. This would not be helped by the court of appeal decision, as one side believed there was no distributive or procedural justice while the other side coasted on a unanimous decision that would see Uhuru sworn in as president.

The president and his deputy have been all over with the ICC cases, and in my opinion, time has not been spent to rally Kenyans together, as a country. The cost of living has also soared and the impact of the value added tax making some people think the government is not for the people, even though this tax may mean well in the long term.

The Westgate siege did not help a public that had by now grown too unbelieving of a popularly elected government but they would be justified in this. As of writing this, no report has been made public on the attack that left more than 3 score Kenyans dead, others maimed and a big number in trauma.

The mantra that has been created that We are One has not made any sense to date. We are commingled into such catch phrases time and again but people no longer care, not for the government and neither for other tribes. Everybody is not bent on personal survival. If you think this is a wishful thinking, then you have to look at the appointment of Francis Muthaura, Lina Jebii and Matu Wamae to understand the feelings of Kenyans.

Where do we go as a country going forward? Since 2003, we have been used to the politics of "my people, my piece of government" and while you thought jubilee would be different, the interests remain even though political players may have changed.

This is our time to unite. As you go to your place of worship, whisper a prayer for this country. We will have to live as brothers and sisters, or we shall perish, individually, as fools.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas Dear Friends


I look forward to Christmas time every year. This is one of the most important holidays in the life of a christian, in addition to Easter. I do not get the joy from the variety of food served on the day or because of the chance the day offers to be with family and reflect on so many things that life has to offer; my happiness about the day is brought by something more substantial-the birth of Christ.

You see, a few months ago, we were all caught up following the birth of prince George of Cambridge-the royal baby. As the traditions in England or the aristocracy are, the birth of the baby was announced to almost all leaders you may think about. I know a message was sent to Obama, Barack about the birth. I know a message was sent to Cameron, David about the birth. I know a message was sent to Kenyatta, Uhuru about the birth. I know a message was sent to the elites in the society about the birth. I however, do know for sure, that NO message about this birth was sent to the ordinary folks in the society. No message about this birth was sent to Gatheru Kagunga. No message about this birth was sent to Atta Gori. No message about this birth was sent to Edith Fortunate. No message about this birth was sent to Dikembe Disembe . No message about this birth was sent to Dennis Itumbi. No message was sent to the ordinary folks! But with the birth of Christ, that was not the case.

In the second chapter according to Saint Luke, we read the following that introduces us to the birth of Christ:

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord"

This is a very powerful message that all of us ought to read and internalize as we celebrate Christmas. You note that the message about the birth of Christ was not sent to Caesar. You notice that the message about the birth of Christ was not sent to some important government officials, or any King. We read that the message about the birth of Christ was announced to Shepherds, who I believe were just ordinary folks-the you and I working hard each day to make ends meet.

The above scripture reminds me to think more about the shepherds and makes me have a sobering assessment if I would have been in the same league as the shepherds of the day. The shepherds were hardworking. They were fervent. You see, they were working on a night shift!. We must be willing to work hard to receive the blessings that Christ has promised us. We must be willing to do more than just complain and hoping for manna to fall from heave. We must be willing to lift ourselves with the available bootstraps, no matter how worn out the boots maybe.

Another thing that is clear about the shepherds is that they were human enough to be afraid, to exhibit fear. Many are the times we get into situations but we are ashamed of being afraid. We are afraid to fail, afraid to express our honest opinions, afraid to talk to God and tell Him what we really want, afraid to express our love, afraid to lose friends because we want to do what is right. We want to appear as invincible no matter how much it eats on us. But alas, we must be like the shepherds.

Finally, the above scripture reminds us that the shepherds were hopeful. Yes they were afraid, but they remained hopeful. Maybe you had a rough 2013. Maybe you did not get the promotion you wanted. Maybe you did not get the engagement you had hoped for. Maybe the returns from your first business were not so good. Maybe things did not just happen for you. But dear brothers and sisters, let us be like the shepherds. As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember to remain hopeful.

And oh yes, I can hear the message of a new born Jesus telling us to fight on. I can hear him promise never to leave us, never to leave us alone; no, never alone, no, never alone. Yes He has promised never to leave us, never to leave us alone.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Open Letter to President Barak Obama.

President Obama,

Welcome to Los Angeles, sir. I sit in traffic for hours with no end as traffic is diverted for ease of managing your security. I cant concentrate much because of the cacophony created by the traffic. The good thing though, is that drivers on this side of the world are patient. Such are the times I wish I was seated on a Matatu christened 'Buju' or 'Bling Bling' or 'Darren Fletcher' plying the Thika road route, for they would have made evading the traffic look like duck to water. Anyway, mr President, my little mental skies cannot help but wonder a few things. When I am idle, my brain tends to think of weird stuff.

First of all, I am wondering how much the fundraiser for the Democratic Party will raise, and what purpose the money raised will serve. But someone reminds me that the 2014 mid term elections are months away and there would be need to shore up the DP accounts. I wish I can contribute to the kitty but you guys dont operate an Mpesa which I am accustomed to. Besides, my pockets are too shallow to even find anything worth contributing. However, allow me to contribute in terms of the questions that I have!

Mr. President, its good to know Magic Johnson will be hosting you for one of the fund raising events. You see, the first time I heard of Magic Johnson was during the 1992 Olympics in Bercelona, Spain. He was leading what pundits called the "Dream Team', being the USA men's basketball team. I did not know much about basketball back then but I could tell this guy Magic was no ordinary mortal. His combination with the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley and Karl Marlone was one to die for. Mr. President, I know you love basketball and has been a fan, far more years than I have. In fact, I have never played basketball, unlike you; who gets to do some post up plays with the White House Staff and some former NBA stars. But the NBA commissioner, just the other day said that you are not that great of a player as you say you are (lol). Maybe then we are in the same league! Mr. President, on a more serious note, why did the dream team not include Isaiah Thomas? Were the selectors biased just because of the need to racially balance the team? As you chat and laugh with Magic Johnson, please pass my regards to him. Let him know his story inspires me. Here is a man who was stigmatised by his fellow black men, for having a disease that they thought would kill him in days. It took a white man in Pat Riley to rescue him, to show him the love, to play ball with him and lead to his comeback. I know you have addressed these type of incidences, more so in your address "A more Perfect union". I think all we need is a better union.

Mr President, I am still stuck in traffic, and this means more questions. Sir, I cannot help but wonder what you think of the great country called Kenya. You see, the last time you visited Kenya, the word on the ground was "Unbwogable". We have moved on from that and now the clarion call is "Giniwesekao, Donge!" To be honest I have no idea what this means but it must be something spectacular. I mention this to you because you could use the phrase to motivate congress. You could use the phrase to motivate a country that is reeling from betrayal by its own sons. I am aware that Americans love catch phrases from Africa. Doc River took the Boston Celtics to South Africa after acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, for team bonding and they adopted the "Ubuntu" philosophy of compassion. That year, the Boston Celtics won the NBA title. So, try this "Giniwesakao, Donge".

Mr President, there is the little matter of the cooperation between America and Kenya. I know so much has been said about this relationship but this is you and I talking sir, in traffic! I will not go down the road of the revolutionaries, especially Walter Rodney and African Marxists like Bade Onimode who have in their delving advocated for a total de-linking of Africa from the West to eliminate dependency, but without any serious solution to the problem of poverty. I will also not go down the road of neo-capitalists like the Ghanaian political economist, Abgeko Katapu, who present very brave proposals to end Africa's poverty through westernization, but provide virtually nothing to eliminate or minimize the dependency problem. In that case Mr. President, we need to find a middle ground.

Yes we want to run our own show Mr. President. Yes we want to be totally independent. There is a commitment and a feeling everywhere you go, all accross Kenya, that the country of Kirinyaga has come of age. But we cannot lift our own boot straps when we either have no boots or the strength to pull on the straps. Just like a child learning how to crawl, what we need is guidance. Only that Mr. President-guidance.

Mr President, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, in his speech during the march on Washington cried about the banks of justice in America being bankrupt. He moaned that the check of justice had been returned marked "insufficient funds". Look at the circumstances surrounding our president and his deputy. I would like you to consult the heart of your hearts and see what Dr. King would have said of their trial at the Hague. I howeve, cannot blame the process as it is. Some people cried "Lets not be vague, lets go to Hague" and they got what they wanted. They tore their own check, which I believe had been properly prepared with enough funds stored in the banks of justice. The question is, mr. President, is it too late to reinstate the funds in that bank of justice, now that they have learnt their lesson?

Finally Mr. President, a while back I was in the Library at the university and and this girl came over to where I was seated. She asked me if I am MXM, and I answered in the affirmite. She was a good looking girl, had clear eyes with an easy smile. She told me that she had been pointed to my direction by her friend who had told her of the fact that I was from Kenya. We got into a conversation and she told me that she had recently returned from visiting Kenya, and was glad to be back to America in 'one piece'. Mr. President, pray tell me, why do people treat my country as some piece of shit? I tell you Mr. President, I have realized that America is just but a country on paper, and Americans cant survive in any other place in the world. Mr. President, Americans ought to be what they profess their country is-the might of the world. Americans need to demonstrate what they exhibit in their own country when they go to visit other countries. After all Mr. President, I have heard Americans sing "Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just...O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave". I have also heard the Americans sing 'Let mortal tongues awake; Let all that breathe partake; Let rocks their silence break". What then, in a land like Kenya, would an American fear?

Mr president...(traffic clears)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Kirinyaga My County it is....Number 20!

Today I remembered a song we used to sing in secondary school. “Coro wabubo muthenya wa giathe, Mwangi na Irungu metanaga na mugambo andu magathie kiwanja. Na marurunga kiwanja, athuri makaruta kirira gia kurumiriruo” (The sound of the horn was a sign that elders Mwangi and Irungu were calling on people for a baraza to chart the way forward). Today, I want to blow the horn on this social site to invite the people of Kirinyaga for an honest debate.


You see, we have talked about the beauty of Kirinyaga already. We have talked about the unique nature of county number 20. But there is a lot that we can and must do for Kirinyaga to further improve its economic, social and political conditions. Being critics will not help us much without providing the attendant solutions. Just look at the politicized counties and you will see the impact of too much siasa as opposed to kusema and kutenda. What we need now as a county is to find the perfect formula that will help build more schools so that the student-teacher ratio is at the allowable level to make sure our children get quality education that will nurture them to be the future engineers, scientists, artists and innovators. We must find a way to ensure as many sub district hospitals as possible, and all equipped with the state of the art medical equipment that will compliment the general hospital at Kerugoya. In this day and time, people of Kirinyaga ought to get affordable medical attention within the county and not having to go to Nyeri or Kenyatta. The mark of a great county is the service it gives to its people. The debate then can shift to medical insurance coverage by the county to its sons and daughters. We can establish parameters on how to establish this.

In addition to the above, a rich network of roads must be established. I am glad that this is already being taken addressed. I grew up at a time when parents taking their children to St Agnes Boarding primary school, one of the best in the country, had to alight at ‘kwa jairo’ as the roads were impassable after the rains. And if we have to sell our county as the leader in education, we must show on our prospectus that we have all weather roads. It’s good to note that there is now a direct connection from Nairobi to Kerugoya through Baricho. Moreover, there are options for those travelling from Nyeri to Kerugoya through Kiburu and Baricho. With this type of network, we are set to see the mushrooming of economic villages which translates to a powerful economy. I think we should have a Kirinyaga currency!!!

Moreover, we must also look into areas we are yet to venture into. We already know that our country is super rich in Agriculture and Horticulture. We should establish research centers and laboratories within Kirinyaga that will come up with new innovations in terms of seeds, breeds et al that will improve on the agricultural efficiency. This will also have the effect of creating jobs as well as being a point of reference for other counties. By improving the factories already in existence through investment in modern machinery, we shall be able to make the case for value addition within our county. I would propose creation of economic zones that would be unique with specific value addition.

More than anything, we the people of Kirinyaga need to define the direction of our own destiny. We should have a vision that not only inspires us but also encompasses the hopes and interests of the generations to come. Although we have to deal with today’s immediate needs, we should not lose sight of the impact of our actions on posterity. I have every reason to believe that Mwangi, Irungu and other elders famed in our county had a vision of their own. They had ideals. I have all reason to believe that they collectively did whatever was in their power to change their time and pass on to us a better future. In the face of all adversities and very little support, they managed to secure our freedom. There is no doubt that they handed us a better Kirinyaga than the one they had.

Needless to say, it is high time that people of Kirinyaga took charge of the county’s destiny. We should be profoundly convinced that no other people can and will put Kirinyaga as its first priority more than ourselves. Whatever we do, whatever we discuss, we must know we are either creating or destroying Kirinyaga. I remember my grandmother used to tell me that the hyena enters the compound using the hole created by the family dog. Well, only our actions and the future will tell the depth of our conviction and love for Kirinyaga.

We should aim high and jointly chart the vision for our common advancement. To do this we need to know one another better. We cannot learn or know too much. Alliances built on a limited understanding and interest cannot pass the test of time. Our education, enlightenment and cooperation during our college years should also help us break some of the baseless fear and hatred. Reach out to somebody from Kirinyaga today, get to know where they come from, what crops they grow and what it is you can do together to advance the well being of number 20. And if you are like me, I have that timeless way of asking a person from where come from, summed up in something I learned in secondary school (Ukethetwe ku?)- (where are you harvested from)!!

We must be careful as a county, to avoid as plague, problems to do with good organization, sound management, accountability, effectiveness and efficiency. These are a necessity for any sustainable development. If we are pouring out billions of shillings in an environment, we must make sure there is an abundance of good organization, management and accountability. To be able to remain on the right path in this, knowledge will undoubtedly be one of the most important ingredients.

Today is Friday. Its market day in Kagio, one of the biggest open air markets in East Africa. Its also the day Ndugu Hotel, still at Kagio makes some of the best gitoero kia marigu.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Let Kirinyaga County Build an Airport......and Legalize Brews

Dear people of Kirinyaga

Muriega Abai.

I will not waste so much time in introductions about our beloved county number 20. Those from without our county have already heard or seen what we are all about. But just to be sure and fair, let me restate what is already know facts

Kirinyaga is/has been touted as the best county to give birth in. And it would only be natural therefore, that this land between River Sagana and River Rupingazi is the best place to find a lifetime parter of the opposite sex!

Kirinyaga has the best coffee and tea. I am aware of companies here in California who only deal with tea from Kangaita. Such is the extent of our fame world over. A few days ago I also met a local who imports tomatoes from Mwea. Ask yourself why? Why?

Kirinyaga is the best place to educate your children. Do I have to mention the likes of St Agnes girls primary school, The Effort school, St Augustine Njukine, Kerugoya Municipality and of course Lower Baricho Primary school!

But this is not what I intended to talk about Kirinyaga. Today I want to talk about the future of our county. In the wake of the fire at JKIA, we must now think outside the box or without the box!

Yes we are a grand county. A grand county must believe in grandiose ideas. We must show other counties what grandiosity is all about! WE NEED TO BUILD AN AIRPORT IN KIRINYAGA!

Just think of what such an airport would earn to us. We are talking about connecting the French Beans farmer in Kagumo or the Rice farmer in Kandongu or the tea farmer in Mutuma or the coffee farmer at Kabonge to the ready market in California or Colorado or Nevada, where demand for such products is high. Think of the great link tourists visiting Mount Kirinyaga would have with the gem of Kenya. Think..think...think

The other grand thing we may have to do as a county is to legalize what has been hitherto illegal brews. We have some of the best Muratina, Kata Pingu, Makabo, Njuku et al but if we allowed small industries to thrive in this field, then we could have another story of Keroche. And we could then market these brands all over the world, using the Kirinyaga airport.

And what of the jobs all this would create. It would have the economic multiplier effect. The good news is that we have not even begun to warm up. But we are getting ready.

We must also recall our sons and daughters who are building economies in other countries. I am aware of a Bio Chemist who just completed his PHD but who the US government has already offered a top job. These natives ought to be given roles to mentor young people and also help create the next scientific frontiers.

Remain thirsty my friends.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why Kirinyaga is The Best of All Counties in Kenya

I am from Kirinyaga. Call it county number 20. It is a great county, my friends. The greatness of Kirinyaga is not measured by the fact that we rank second in the country in terms of wealth and resources. Our greatness is not pegged on the fact that year in and year out the county tops all others in KCPE. Our greatness is measured by our fear of God, perhaps the more reason why the founders of Kenya prayed looking to Kirinyaga!

Kirinyaga is beautiful. Its beauty is unrivaled. From the snow capped Mount Kirinyaga to "Ndaraca ya Ngai' (God's bridge), county number 20 is stunning! From the Kamuri water fall near Muchagara to the bungee jumping sites and rapid falls for boats rafting in Sagana, Kirinyaga provides one of the most unique eye candy spots and experiences you could ever ask for.

You have to be reminded that the Mwea national reserve is still untapped including the birds watching spots and game shooting thereof to believe the capacity of Kirinyaga's vast wealth.

I am lucky that I do not have to mention Kiringa river with the many water falls, the Castle Inn and mutitu wa Njukine to confirm what a giant Kirinyaga indeed is.

Kamuruana provides a panoramic setting for those interested in camping. Murinduko hills are breathtaking while the famed Kangaita intake has quenched the thirst of many a people who love quality tea.

I am reminded of the soil at Mukarara, which locals believe has rich carbon content and the carving stones at Uuthui in Getuya village as some of the underestimated resouces in Kirinyaga.

Above all, the beauty of Kirinyaga is its people. Yes we are unique. We are proud of our roots, and we are proud of our culture. You would agree with me its only a person from Kirinyaga who, on a simple sentence like "the goats are still where they were yesterday', would say "Mburi iro vari ira ri ira".

And if you talk about music and comedians, we have the best. Mike Murimi comes to mind and when he sings "Wandathaya Mukurukuthu ndugatume ndeke" (When you scratch my back dont make me laugh) even the elephants flap their ears!

Oh dear Kirinyaga, my county tis of thee, sweet land of where we all belong. Oh how thy name I love. I love thy soil and weather. Thy woods and templed hills; my heart with rapture fills like it should always be.

And when the tough gets going, you can look to the people of Kirinyaga for their stoicism and endurance, summed up in four timeless words "Kabiri Kwenda Kooma Koome"

Sunday, July 21, 2013

No, I will Not Defend Your Right to Say Anything

Cliches like "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" are a way to earn bravery on the cheap, that makes one defend principles you have not thought through or you vaguely support.

Many people who use this phrase thinking they are echoing the heroism of some forgotten general or martyr willing to sacrifice himself for the liberty of others-they are wrong. The phrase has a history and is attributed to Voltaire, although it was actually a historian's paraphrasing of Voltaire's attitude.

The phrase finds its root to a hullabaloo over a book by the French utilitarian philosopher Claude Adrien Helvetius. The book, De L'Espirit, argued that people behave the way they do out of a desire to avoid pain or feel pleasure. Everyone hated the book including Voltaire, who took offense at the authors insufficient praise of him. The book was ignored until the dauphin, the king's son, read it. He really hated it. Parliament ended up banning it. The tome was even publicly burned. Because of this act of being banned, De L'Espirit became a sensation, translated into every language imaginable, just because it had been censored. And just as suddenly, Helvetius became a celebrity and his salon instantly fashionable.

The men who had hated it, and had not particularly loved Helvetius, flocked around him now. Voltaire forgave him all injuries, intentional or unintentional. 'what a fuss about an omelette!', Voltaire had exclaimed when he heard of the burning. How abominably unjust to persecute a man for such an airy trifle as that! "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it" was his attitude now.

So it is an expression born in glibness-defined by vanity, not courage, and it remains so to this day. But how often we hear politicians use the phrase!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Obama Perhaps still Blames Older Kenyatta for His Father's Death

Barrack Obama just finished his second trip in Africa in as many years of his presidency, now in the second term. Many however, are surprised that Obama ignored the country of his father in his trip. But maybe there is more than just the snub. Could Obama still be carrying grudge on the circumstances that one can say accelerated Obama Senior's demise? Well, in the book Dreams From my Father, Auma, Obama's half sister narrates the following story. It could be a pointer to maybe why Obama loathes the Kenyatta's


“Then things began to change. When Ruth gave birth to Mark and David, her attention shifted to them. The Old Man, he left the American company to work in the government, for the Ministry of Tourism. He may have had political ambitions and at first he was doing well in the government. But by 1966 or 1967, the divisions in Kenya had become more serious. President Kenyatta was from the largest tribe, the Kikuyus. The Luos, the second largest tribe, began to complain that the Kikuyus were getting all the best jobs. The government was full of intrigue.

The Vice president, Odinga, was a Luo and he said the government was becoming corrupt. That, instead of serving those who had fought for independence, Kenya politicians had taken the place of the white colonials, buying up businesses and land that should be redistributed to the people. Odinga tried to start his own party, but was placed under house arrest as a Communist. Another popular Luo minister, Tom Mboya, was killed by a Kikuyu gunman. Luos began to protest in the streets and the government police cracked down. People were killed. All this created more suspicion between tribes.

Most of the Old Man’s friends just kept quiet and learned to live with the situation. But the Old Man began to speak up. He would tell people that tribalism was going to ruin the country and that unqualified men were taking the best jobs. His friends tried to warn him about saying such things in public, but he dint care. He always thought he knew what was best, you see. When he was passed up for a promotion, he complained loudly. ‘How can you be my senior,’ he would say to one of the ministers, ‘and yet I am teaching you how to do your job properly?’ Word got back to Kenyatta that the Old Man was a troublemaker, and he was called in to see the president. According to the stories, Kenyatta said to the Old Man that, because he could not keep his mouth shut, he would not work again until he had not shoes on his feet.

I don’t know how much of these details are true. But I know that with the president as enemy things became very bad for the Old Man. He was banished from the government-blacklisted. None of the ministries would give him work. When he went to foreign companies to look for a post, the companies were warned not to hire him. He began looking abroad and was hired to work for the African Development Bank in Addis Ababa, but before he could join them, the government revoked his passport, and he could not even leave Kenya.

Finally, he had to accept a small job with the Water Department. Even this was possible only because one of his friends pitied him. The job kept food on the table, but it was a big fall for him. The Old Man began to drink heavily, and many of the people he knew stopped coming to visit because now it was dangerous to be seen with him. They told him that maybe if he apologized, changed his attitude, he would be all right. But he refused and continued to say whatever was on his mind.

I understood most of this only when I was older. At the time, I just saw that life at home became very difficult. The Old Man never spoke to Roy or myself except to scold us. He would come home very late, drunk and I could hear shouting at Ruth, telling her to cook him some food. Ruth became very bitter at how the Old Man had changed. Sometimes, when he wasn’t home, she would tell Roy and myself that our father was crazy and that she pitied us for having such a father. I did not blame her for this-I probably agreed. But I noticed that, even more than before, she treated us differently from her own two sons. She would say that we were not her children and there was only so much she could do to help us. Roy and I began to feel like we had no one. And when Ruth left the Old Man, that feeling was not far from the truth.

She left when I was twelve or thirteen, after the Old Man had had a serious car accident. He had been drinking, I think and the driver of the other car, a white farmer was killed. When the Old Man finally got out of the hospital, that’s when he went to visit you and your mom in Hawaii. He told us that the two of you would be coming back with him and that then we would have a proper family. But you weren’t with him when he returned and Roy and I were left to deal with him by ourselves.

Because of the accident, the Old Man had now lost his job at the Water Department, and we had no place to live. For a while, we bounced around from relative to relative, but eventually they would put us out because they had their own troubles. The old man had so little man; he would have to borrow from relatives just for food. This made him more ashamed, I think, and his temper got worse.

In my last two years in high school, the Old Man’s situation improved. Kenyatta died, and somehow the Old Man was able to work again in government. He got a job with the Ministry of Finance and started to have money again, and influence”

Sunday, June 23, 2013

When Obama Met Nelson Mandela



"The only meeting between the first black presidents of the U.S. and South Africa lasted only a few minutes and almost did not happen.

In May 2005, Barack Obama, a new U.S. senator, was riding to a Washington event when his office called. Nelson Mandela, whose decades-long fight against apartheid and efforts at racial reconciliation had inspired Obama to become engaged in politics, was in town and asking to see him. Obama seized the chance.

In Mandela’s room at the Four Seasons hotel, the man who had transformed South Africa rested in an armchair, legs up, a cane at his side. Obama bent to gently grasp Mandela’s hand and the photo taken shows Obama in a silhouette while Mandela is bathed in light.

Mandela and Obama are both historic figures, Nobel Peace Prize winners, who leaped from being parochial politicians to symbolic forces of global change, helping to shed shameful aspects of their nations’ pasts. Yet the comparisons only go so far"

Monday, June 17, 2013

'Barrack Obama Speech to the People of Kenya'

Hamjambo Wakenya…..Haraambeee………..Harambeee…….Asanteni.

Thank you very much to the warm people of Kenya. Let me thank governor Kidero and senator Sonko, for the warm welcome into your city. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto thank you for being steadfast in your love and optimism about Kenya. To my friend Raila Odinga, thank you for sacrificing all you could to make sure democracy and the rule of law prevails in the country.

I come to Kenya at its finest hour. Today, I speak to you not just as the president of the United States but also a son to a father who hailed from Kenya, in Siaya. I must admit that Donald Trump is part of my entourage so that we can finally get my birth certificate and put this little matter to rest.

As you all may know, at the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his dream required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life. It is as a student at a university in Hawaii that he met my mother and together they bore a son, Barrack.

Kenya knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we are here today is because men and women from all across the country came together to work, struggle, and sacrifice for that better life. People like Dedan Kimathi, Koitalel Arap Samoei, James Gichuru, Mekatilili wa Menza, Jomo Kenyatta, Oginga Odinga among others will forever be remembered for the sacrifices they made to make sure the children of their children would enjoy the fruits of independence.

Sometimes odds have been stuck against this Kenya. But even in the darkest hours, the people of Kenya have always kept the flame of hope burning. It is no surprise that Kenyans are among the most optimistic people in the world. The people of Kenya have always refused to give up. At the height of corruption scandals and the big fish going Scott free, Kenyans have always moved on to other struggles. After terrorists hit Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenyans have refused to be intimated. And when the country was almost being written off as a failed state in 2007, Kenyans regrouped and have soldiered on, despite tough differences sometimes occasioned by tribalism. People of Africa, look at Kenya!

And Kenya has remained beautiful in all circumstances. From the snow-capped Mount Kenya to the sandy beaches of Malindi, from the plains of Kano to the mountain ranges of Aberdare, from the spectacular shores of Lake Victoria to the ever flowing Tana, Kenya is richly endowed by nature. The unequalled beauties of the wildlife of Maasai Mara are but a few of the descriptions of Kenya’s natural beauty.

More than anything, however, the beauty of Kenya is its people. You are a mosaic of almost forty five tribes, many clans; hundreds of languages and a multitude of cultures and histories. Some of you are farmers, others fishers. Some are nomads, some herdsmen, some scientists; some highly educated others just literate. Some are very successful and prosperous but still many others not so fortunate. Each has their own unique history, culture and pride.

Though many, when classified and grouped, the people of Kenya are also inseparably woven together by a common destiny, history and a unique oneness underpinned by common values. Hospitality in the midst of adversity and willingness to joyfully share resources even in a situation of scarcity and need are two values that never end to fascinate me.

People of Kenya! You are all beautiful. And its beauty does not end in itself. Although wounded and hurt, bruised and abused, including by some of its own children, Kenya is one of the precious jewels of Africa in modern civilization. Despite all the evils that have been inflicted against its people, history, culture and nationhood, your country has proved its potential, resilience and perseverance time and again.

A large number of Kenya’s s precious children have shown the world that they can excel in all fields and occupations. If soccer is this country’s submarine, then Victor Wanyama has proved to be its telescope, surveying the midfield all the way in Scotland with his club, Celtic. David Rudisha continues to redefine short distance running, dominating the 800m race in a way only he can. My own story is part of the dreams that many Kenyans share. Today, many people who trace their roots to Kenya are getting positions of authority all over the world. In Claremont, one very affluent community in Southern California has elected a Kenyan born Opanyi Nasiali, a man born in Maragoli, to be their mayor.

As much as it is a country of beauty, however, Kenya is also full of paradoxes. While nations and peoples afar off enjoy the fruits of your land, rivers, lakes and seashores for a very little price, it is sad there are also other Kenyans who do not even get adequate meals or safe and clean drinking water. While many of Kenya’s educated children deck the world’s libraries with their literary and professional works, many of Kenyan’s children do not even have access to good primary education. While Kenya’s doctors provide sophisticated medical services in other parts of the world, thousands of mothers and little children die in Kenya every year due to lack of even the most basic health services. The list of hardships that many of our people endure is very long and the needs enormous.

There is a lot that Kenya can and must do to further improve its economic, social and political conditions. Corruption must be stopped. There is a need to build more schools, hospitals, roads, airports, power plants, factories and laboratories. There must be emphasis on math and science in schools to prepare the next generation of innovators. More than anything else, it is high time that Kenya took charge of its own destiny. While the assistance and cooperation of all people, organizations and governments of good will from elsewhere should be welcome, I am convinced that no other nation, organization or people can and will put Kenya as its first priority more than Kenyans themselves.

It is no secret that today, Kenya, just like many developing countries, bleeds more from the attack perpetrated on its people by its own ‘leaders’ than foreign enemies. You cannot continue to blame the west. Do not get me wrong here. Let me be clear. I have no doubt that unscrupulous foreign interests and individuals add fuel to the conflicts created internally in order to continue unhindered in their plunder of your riches. But I am reminded of that timeless African saying that “The hyena enters the compound using the hole created by the family dog”.

People of Kenya, People of Africa; there is need to learn more, work harder and invest in your future. We all hold dear the fact that the optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty and the pessimist sees a difficulty in every opportunity. Yes the problems you face are many and the challenges great. However, these difficulties also provide us with the opportunity to do our part and pass on this beautiful country, made even more beautiful through efforts and sacrifices, to the next generation.

This reminds me way back in 2007 when I was running for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. As many of you may recall, it was a tough race. I was just a skinny kid with a funny running up against established names. I think Alfred Mutua had killed any chance I had of picking a few endorsements after he called me a ‘junior senator’ during my visit to Kenya back then.

I had been campaigning non-stop, traveling all through towns and having town hall meetings and shaking hands. And in between, I was making phone calls, asking people for support. So one day after making a campaign stop in South Carolina, I still had to do so much. I got to the hotel about one in the morning. I was wiped out. I was exhausted. Back then I did not fly on Air Force One. And the accommodations were a little different. And just as I was about to walk into the room, one of my staff taps me on the shoulder to say, "Excuse me, Senator" –we are going on the road early in the morning! I know Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga both can agree on such rigors of campaigns.

So a few hours later, I wake up and I am feeling terrible. I think a cold is coming on. And I open up the curtains to try to get some light to wake me up, but it is pouring down rain. And I take a shower and get some coffee, and I open up the newspaper and there's a bad story about me! I was much more sensitive at that time to bad stories. Finally we get to our destination. And we pull up to a small field house, and I walked in, and I am looking around. I do not hear a lot going on. But I am running for President, so I do what I'm supposed to do, and I am shaking hands, I say, "How do you do... nice to meet you." And I'm making my way around the room, and suddenly I hear this voice cry out behind me: "Fired up." And I am startled, and I do not know what is going on. But everybody in the room act like this is normal. And when the voice says, "Fired up," they all say, "Ready to go." And so once again, I hear the voice: "Fired up." They say, "Fired up." They say, "Ready to go!"

I look around; I turned behind me there is this woman, looks like she just came from church for she had a big church hat. And she's looking at me, kind of peering at me, and she's grinning, smiling, and looking happy. So for the next few minutes, she just keeps on saying "Fired up." And everybody says "Fired up," and she says she's "Ready to go," and everybody else says "Ready to go."

And I'm thinking this woman is showing me up. This is my meeting. I'm running for President. And she's dominating the room. And I look at my staff, and they just shrug their shoulders. They don't know what to do. So this goes on for a few minutes. After a few minutes, I'm feeling kind of fired up. I'm feeling like I'm ready to go. So I start joining in the chant, and my staff starts joining in the chant. And somehow I feel pretty good.

People of Kenya, be fired up and ready to go. Be fired up to meet the challenges ahead. You are ready to go to the Canaan of jobs, that which the forefather had in mind about this great country.

People of Kenya, be fired up and ready to go. Be fired up because you are the country that should lead in Africa and others to follow. Be fired up because you are the country of Wangari Maathai. Be ready to go because President Kenyatta and deputy president William Ruto have what it takes to lead this country into these frontiers