Thursday, January 05, 2012
I had woken up an hour earlier at twenty past five in the morning, with a makeshift Al-Shabaab mortar bomb in my gut, one that I had accidentally armed a few hours earlier with two doubles of vodka and beer before retiring to bed. But now, it was heating up in my tummy together with the previous evening’s dinner. Brown ugali, mutton stew and traditional herbs washed down with the mildest mursik. I jogged about 100 metres before I literally boarded the Al-Shabaab ‘technical’, replete with my mortar bomb.
Alone, none of these foodstuffs are that harmful, except maybe the beer and vodka. However, I had no time for weakness, a man I was, after all. I surged up the hill, brushing aside shrubs and bushes as I cleared radar distance off the morning mist with each ascending step. The incline was about a kilometre uphill and I struggled to gain altitude. After a yearlong hiatus, it was the most gruelling kilometre I’d endured in recent memory. Once atop the hill, I eased for the downward two kilometre drift into Bararget forest section of the Mau. I espied a number of people ridging potatoes on a farm about half a kilometre downhill. They paused with a start when I appeared atop the hill before resuming their duties, busy in the morning chill before sunshine arrived. They probably thought I was a forest guard, out to stop them from encroaching on the fertile forest land. After a brief pause, I eased forward for the descent towards the forest. It was then that the fire in my abdomen got worse.
Every runner’s enemy. The dividing line between pride and shame, victory and defeat as well as youth and advancing age. They’d started, and it was about half past six in the morning on the edges of one of the biggest and darkest forests in Kenya. Another lurch in my tummy and a rip through my shorts and I knew the end was nigh. I spot a secluded bush on the side of the mud track and I skip off the path into the knee length grass. If only I can make it to the bush on time.
Fire in my tummy. Ice on my feet.
Ignoring the farmhands on the potato farm, I hid behind the bush and ripped my off tracksuit with my left hand, clutching the saplings of the bush with my right hand as nature took its course.
An explosion never heard before in the Mau like an Iranian missile test exploding in Strait of Hormuz. Grass was flattened, early worms scampered for safety, chirping in the process. An expectant silence fell in the bush, a silence that was suddenly broken by a few giggles from the females among the farmhands. I turned partway around to look if anyone was coming towards me when another round of mortar fire went off below me. My lungs had all but shut down, and the edges of my sight were getting blurry and teary when the laughter started rolling towards me in the breeze of the Mau sunrise.
It eventually subsided after a few minutes, the events in between probably not fit content for this rusted blog. Leaves and shrub substituted tissue paper and I emerged from behind the bush a limp, broken man. Sweat soaked jumper, soiled running shoes and spirit broken, like a runaway logging tractor on the edge of the Mau forest. The women in the distant potato farm stood there looking towards me laughing, the men kept busy ridging the potatoes with understanding.
I guess some things are better left unsaid.
I had hardly stepped back onto the mud track to resume my shameful jog did I hear they yelp of a male dog and the hiss of a couple of bitches. Turning, I see about four dogs running towards me from the direction of the farm. Wasting no time I turned and ran back where I came from. Down, down the gradient towards home as all the people working the potato farm burst into loud, mirthless laughter that made the dogs turn back.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is how I ended my relationship with running.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Handful of Stockbrokers Spotted Miles from Somali Border
Garissa, Thursday In light of the impending crackdown by the Micah Cheserem led Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and the declining index, owners, managers and staff of the remaining Nairobi Stack Exchange (NSE) stockbrokerage firms disappeared from the city bourse on Monday. Reports indicate that they are headed for the Somali border. They robbed motorists, pedestrians and hapless farmers along the way, and asked them to seek compensation from the Discount Securities receiver managers, Francis Thuo and Nyaga compensation fund.
Calling themselves the Stock Market Defence Force (SMDF), the stockbrokers were first spotted Monday night crossing
By afternoon, the financial militiamen had reached Meru town, transferred its miraa trade to a unit trust and sent a bill to the Ministry of Agriculture for KShs 89 million. Police officers on patrol and ‘high’ miraa traders watched helplessly as the SMDF went about its business.
"The police would like to reassure the general public that we are looking for the SMDF financial militiamen and they will face the law once we catch them,” said police spokesman Eric Kiraithe, “they even hide in commercial banks, we’ve been searching for them all morning. If we don’t catch them by late evening, we will have to issue a shoot to kill order against them and send in the military.”
Reached on phone for comment, Jimnah Mbaru, the self-styled commander of the SMDF laughed off the threat by the police. “We have far more sophisticated weapons than the police,” said Jimnah. “We have share certificates and registers, CDS accounts and even a semi-automatic NSE Wide Area Network.”
The police however intimated that they expected to have some level of success in the coming days by preying on a common stockbroker weakness. "We will disguise a policewoman as a KTN or NTV news host, or another local celebrity and see," said Mr. Kiraithe. "She will be irresistible to the SMDF and its leadership."
In addition to the police manhunt that has crippled business and normal life in Central, Eastern and parts of North Eastern Provinces, teams of CID officers have been using high-powered listening devices to scan the plains around
While some SMDF stragglers are believed to have successfully crossed into
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Speeding in a car down the highway is probably the most fun you could ever have. I love doing it. I speed in neighbourhoods, schools, parking lots and even at the office basement... basically, wherever I can. I love showing off the power of my 1993 Toyota Corolla. (I'm pretty sure that means 1,993 horsepower!)
So anyway, I'm doing my usual weekend trip to Nakuru along
I pass this one car, a sweet 90's Toyota Tercel, white with custom rust marks and scratches. I fail to get a good look at the driver as I go by, and I feel sad about that, because I usually like to get a glimpse of people's shame as I pass them. But I snap out of it and continue flying along. I casually pick my rear-view mirror up from the passenger seat and lift it up to eye level so I can see out the back window. (My car still has a manual rear-view mirror. OLD SCHOOL!) There is that Tercel again, inching its way back up to my rear bumper. I'm thinking, "IT'S ON!"
But no, it was clearly not on. The Tercel was keeping its distance, and it was now going the exact same speed as me.
Now I'm confused, but also intrigued. I'm slowed down slightly by a Range Rover in the fast lane. The driver's ignoring my rapid honks and head light flashes, which of course mean "get out of the way you damn old person/principled idiot/woman". The Range finally rolls into the left lane. I slam the accelerator hard to show them that I am upset, and roar past them at 120 kph. In the meantime, the Tercel had gone all the way into the far left lane where there was a joining lane in a daring manoeuvre and had passed the Range on the right. Now it's just us with a half a kilometre of road ahead of us before more traffic. Neck and neck, I finally get a good look at the driver. Male, professional speeder, not slowing anybody else down, knows the tricks of the trade. A real man's man. Like me. I look at him and he looks at me. And it was at that moment that we knew we were... Speeding Friends!
The next fifty minutes of the drive were amazing. We cut and wove through traffic like surgeons performing an appendectomy. Forcing others aside, team honking, synchronized middle fingers and more. I can't express how great it was having someone watching my back for the police while I do what I love to do. But soon enough, that became a problem.
After passing one particularly slow pack of cars downhill near Kinungi, my new friend in the Tercel sped ahead, hitting somewhere in the 170 kph range. Amused, but not impressed, I begin to accelerate as well. In my peripheral vision, I see a blue and white Nissan X-Trail parked somewhere down hill along the highway near Karai, just as my Speeding Friend turned the corner to approach the roadblock. . I immediately drop to 110 kph as the policeman with a speed gun zeroes in on my speeding friend who still doesn't see the policeman. I flash my lights and hazards, press the water to turn on my wipers multiple times and even point with my finger over the roof of my car at the policeman, but to no avail. Sure enough: the cop raises his hand and my newfound friend is pulled over and his DL confiscated.
After what seems like forever, I get to the scene where the cop stopped my speeding friend. With his window down, I can finally get a good look at the guy's face. I slow down to 80 kph and pass with an expression of deepest respect and concern. He's been through this a million times, right? He knows the drill. He'll say he had his music on too loud and the kapuka pumped him up and he lost track of his speed. Or that his wife just had a baby in Naivasha. Or that he is going to the hospital to have something removed from his stomach. Or that he thought the car was actually dong 100 kph, how slow is this jalopy? (All of these excuses work equally well.) But no-- he shouts to me as I pass, "Weweee!!! I'll catch you before Gilgil Daddy!" He just blew his cover; he admitted guilt. He's doomed.
Another lost speeder.
These words had such an effect on me, I felt compelled to do this post. I had once considered myself an unmatchable solo-speeder. I have since learned the folly of such selfish thoughts. So strong was the bond between us, I would have paid HALF of that guy's bribe money. OK, not half, maybe less. But that's not the point. Now, whenever I go driving, I pick up as many speeding buddies as I can. I had assembled a speeding posse from Narok to Kericho once, composed of complete strangers. It was amazing. You can immediately tell who is a worthwhile speeding buddy, because they won't get too far ahead or behind, and they use the signals to warn you of cops, when they want to pass you or if your wheel is coming off.
I encourage you other speeders out there in to seek this bond with others. Don't be competitive; work as a team and your speeding experience will grow more enjoyable by threefold, just like a threesome.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Surprise, it's already morning, and you've probably been wondering why you are still on blogsphere, knowing that it is likely some IT police are watching your actions in virtual hell. Well, wonder no more, your update is here. Sorry I'm late, but I'm in a bit of a hurry, so try to keep up. Ready. Set.
The butterflies in my stomach are flapping their wings, ready for flight, massaging the walls of my empty stomach, making me slither in silent and painless pain and sink further into my seat and wish I could slither across the floor. The new guy seated across the room from me pays no attention as my boss shouts at me, and why should he? Deadlines aren’t his problem, they probably never have been. The deadlines are my problem. The world is coming to a probable end. Rabid killers invading colleges in the
Stretch me on the rack of
You know, the quagmire of daily existence can become too much for a mere man to endure. Finding your ideal job and abode in Nairobi does not necessarily mean you've found peace, especially when an entourage of weary-eyed vampires has taken roost in your suicide tree and their only remaining glee is to see how much of your blood they can draw. Bad news finds its way in from every direction. Knock on the door. Letters arriving from the post office or an e-mail tirade or even a text message blitz. And if, on any given day of the week, more than two of the following parties have already called and left a message or you have a missed call, you should probably leave town, change cell numbers, or both:
Your ex-girlfriend, some of your relatives, your ex-girlfriend’s best friend, a lawyer, a debt collector an insurance assessor and your local barman.
So what do you do when all of these people demand your attention, answers, time, money, and otherwise at once? Leave. You run like the building is on fire. And with all the romance and subtlety of a rock flying through a glass window, I am absconding the city for the cold homely sanctuary of the jungle that is the Mau forest in the Rift Valley this coming weekend.
After all, sometimes the frying pan is cooler than the fire.
Monday, June 25, 2007
It's been a few months - did you miss me? What? No?
Frankly speaking, it’s been a while since I’ve graced blogsphere with my stupid musings. My colleagues and fellow drunkards have had a hard time bearing the brunt of the listening to my idle ranting and maybe I should thank them publicly for their time.
You’ll have to bear with me; I have to admit that I am totally rusted. Since the last time I wrote here, I have been locked in a virtual cage, engaged in a mortal kombat with my addiction to alcohol. Not having access to the liquid in brown bottles in the name of detoxing my system, I started debating the jurisprudence of starting other bad habits such as going to the gym, eating healthy and walking up the stairs to my office.
After twitching through more than thirty days and four torturous weekends of withdrawal, I awoke one Saturday morning to birds chirping outside my window. An unusual occurrence, being used to noisy car alarms and noisy children, I sat up, took a deep breath, and, lo-and-behold, I didn’t belch, my head was as clear as a bottle of Smirnoff Vodka (pun intended, of course) and I could remember what I did on Christmas day last year. Amazingly regenerative, the human body is. Four solid years of binge drinking every other weekend, and I was already feeling a difference after only five weeks detoxification. I spent the entire day jogging my memory and running errands for the house.
Truly, I hadn’t felt so clean in years, and I will go on record saying that alcohol does affect the health of the body, despite my prior assertions that the responsible drinking movement is just a conspiracy by the social rejects at Nacada, jealous of how cool, sexy, and mature sitting in a bar having a beer makes me appear. Apparently, those guys are on to something. Too bad they lost another convert when a long lost friend of mine rolled into town from North Eastern with a bottle Three Barrels under his arm. I didn’t ask where he got it, I just unlush two glasses and some ice and were we in business. The neighbours, who’d started being nice to me, offering me friendly smiles and saying hi occasionally, have now gone back to their old ways. It must have been the loud music/laughter of that day (and night!) and subsequent days (and nights!).
I’ve taken quite kindly to a new watering hole here in
"Hey gal, you look flirtilicious tonight. Can I buy you a drink?"
One night, when I was moments from falling out of my chair, drunk as a weasel, a really drunk guy ambled into the bar and screamed. A long harrowing-high-pitched scream. When the bar fell silent and every one stared at him, he asked (loose translation):
What are you guys staring at? Our country is run by a drunkard!
The guy was a total mess I tell you. So one of the guys in our table starts talking about Kenya's inane politics. He says oh bla bla we are forced to bear with all the appointments and policies that the big man throws our way every now and then sijui nini. Like I cared. But in my drunken stupor, I agreed with him. I know, I know, if I don't like my country and the current economic growth, tribal wars, Mungiki beheadings and all the dirty horse-donkey (okay, mule) politics, I should just pack up and go. Well, just know that I can’t. First, I am too lazy to look for another job abroad. Secondly, well, I'm too lazy to think of anything else!
But I digress.
So this drunken guy looks around then walks to some chicks at a table and bursts into tears and all but one scramble to leave hastily. The waiter comes for payment and a bouncer follows, restrains the chicks who wanted to leave and asks them to pay up. Apparently, they had been drinking with the noisy guy at a nearby pub and they ran off when he got so drunk and out of hand. When means of going home got tricky, one of the ladies (apparently his cousin!) sent him a text telling him to come pick her. One of the others was his arranged date for the night and she actually had to intervene and save the situation from turning sour after all the patrons and bouncers started laughing when the drunk guy started recounting how he had been ‘used’ and his money ‘eaten’ by his cousin who had earlier arranged a date for him etc etc…
The good news is that they eventually settled down and started talking animatedly and the drunk guy cuddled with his date, obviously after the ringleader of the chicks left in a huff after her protestations at the jamaa’z ‘invasion’ of their table fell on deaf ears, her friends’ and bouncers included. The things that don’t happen in bars!
Monday, March 05, 2007
There comes a time (not my words, so don’t read my lips!), sometimes many, in life, where your common sense and intellect, are at odds with each other as you battle your demons. That is acceptable. However, when the same happens to an organisation, it surely leaves a lot to be desired. The following post tells of such a time in the life of the Prisons Department and the Kenyan security and justice system in general.
The punishment of criminals should be of use; when a man is hanged he is good for nothing.
Life imprisonment. Death penalty. Serving time in a Kenyan jail. Eternity far away from the vagaries of Kenyan life, and in the real sense of the word, ridiculous. Many Kenyans have never been very good at counting time, let alone keeping it. People wear watches because they have to, pay attention to the calendar because their jobs, banks, schools and mistresses make them do so. Now imagine yourself behind bars for life or awaiting the hangman’s noose. It’s either you will not take your eyes off the non-existent clock or make yourself lose track of time by counting time backwards. The days will definitely get longer if you are serving a life term, and the reverse is true for the death penalty.
Hon. Moody Awori, you had it coming.
There are certain things that happen at the intersection of certain events: upon "stepping on to the highway" and "speeding trailer coming down the same," we find the subject being run over. Ditto the intersection of "jumping forward" and "standing on the rooftop of a tall building" - there are certain expectations of result. Is it fair that someone who jumps off a tall building should plummet hundreds of feet to their death?
You are probably wondering why I am asking this question. Fairness has nothing to do with most elements of life - such as throwing yourself off a tall building. There you're engaging gravity, under the direct guidance of Darwinian evolution - you're naturally deselecting yourself from the gene pool. The question of "fairness" is one for intellectuals to debate over in lecture hall in one of
Take the case of the Prisons department case in Nakuru for example: Five convicts escaped from tight custody at 2 AM, scaled a fence using a blanket and disappeared into the night. There is a certain expectation that when convicts escape from custody, a manhunt should ensue right away, all roads sealed off and cars searched. Other should mount foot pursuit with sniffer dogs to trace the convicts. Are the Kenya Police and the prison’s department running an experiment on the justice system?
The security personnel were still searching houses late Sunday close to the prisons after a car sped off from the scene at 2 AM, suspected to be carrying the escapees. There was no roadblock into and out of Nakuru all day Sunday. I know this because I was there. The police were looking in the traditional places for the suspects. We all know that the police chase running things like dogs chase fleeing cats - dogs have no inherent interest in cats, but if they run away, something snaps in their brains. So the police are looking for fleeing inmates dressed in the new look uniform because something has snapped in their minds. Nobody else is a suspect. This has nothing to do with the efficiency or fairness of the Kenyan security apparatus, no; it has to do with the evolution of men into Kenyan police.
Why did the Commissioner of Prisons and other senior officers to rush to Nakuru, hold a four hour meeting debating on who let the convicts escape, suspend six officers, and then address the press rather direct and lead the search operation, call in the rest of the security teams like CID and NSIS to gather intelligence around the area? Isn’t that how a search for escaped dangerous convicts is supposed to be carried out? Not from a boardroom. Not by deploying more officers to search and subdue prisoners under incarceration than those searching for the dangerous escapees. Not by leaving all routes out of Nakuru unmanned and then searching houses, starting from the prison’s neighbourhood at a slow pace, expecting the escapees are moving at your pace as well. Oh, I almost forgot, and after a car sped off from the scene!
Everyone suspects that there was assistance from some of the wardens, and probably the gunfire was ‘friendly fire’. And why shouldn’t the wardens help them escape at the right price? When you earn little money for in a difficult job, and look forward to very little pension as well, you may need to consider your options at making it, moneywise at least, in life. That is why the Kenyan security forces have so many rotten apples. While Hon. Moody Awori was busy trying to turn the Kenyan prisons into a chain of resort hotels funded entirely by taxpaying citizens in an effort to keep undesirables off of our lives, he forgot the officers who are supposed to make the system work. The prisoners now watch telly, and most of the officers who watch over of them can’t. Prisoners eat three meals a day and while this is an entitlement, most of the officers cannot afford to. The prisoners have a better life than the wardens in certain instances. No wonder some of the wardens pointed an accusing finger at the Kenya Human Rights Commission fo fighting for the rights and welfare of the prisoners only.
You do not lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership.
--Dwight D. Eisenhower
Hon. Moody Awori tried to force the warders to do a good job on the terms they have always had. He refined the system so that there was no opportunity for the officers to make an extra cent on the side. Did Moody Awori get what he deserved? Is it fair that six prison wardens are suspended? [Out of context alert] was Matheri Ikere’s shooting fair to him and his family? I'm not touching those issues, even with a stick; mainly because I don't have sufficient information to comment. But, I’ll tell you this: it wasn't fair, 'cause fairness has nothing to do with cause and effect. You jump off a tall building, and you fall down to a certain death. You let prisoners escape, you face the axe, you kill Kenyans at will and you get shot. Anybody can solve that equation.
Another argument here is that by suspending the warders and eventually sacking them, and yet they are suspected of having links with the criminal underworld, isn’t the prisons department releasing another contingent of gun trained and dangerous people to the Kenyan public? They will most likely hook up with their pals in the underworld and form a formidable gang to terrorise Kenyans.
Or what do you think is going to happen?
Friday, January 19, 2007
Someone's named Valerie Kimani is trying to become an internet celebrity. This is unacceptable. Go KBW, go! Click here to go to ValeriKimani.com and tell her how you feel and stop her from embarking on an unofficial and irrelevant exercise in shame of the Kenyan nation and the East African spirit. She already has it on her mind that she is famous all over
StackListOfAddictions, one spot after beer and about one thousand spots ahead of the church and politics.
Everyone knows that in order to be a superb performing artist, you need, among other things, to be confident and talented. However, what people might not understand is how one directly leads to the other. Using a bit more logic than Valerie logic, you can probably guess having the same amount of confidence and even an ounce more in talent than Valerie Kimani every time she stepped on stage during the recently concluded Tusker Project Fame (more like a Protected Flame, a candle in the wind) isn't going to do anything to make your fan base believe that you are talented.
Obviously, and more sadly though, God, Ngai Allah, Jehovah, Shiva, Buddha, Mungu, Musambwa, Krishna, The Great Architect of the Universe, The Grand Artificer, Great Geometer, or The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge Above (emphases mine), Vishnu, Yahweh or whatever deity you'd like to pin Valerie Kimani’s misfortunes on, gave her (and indeed only a select few of us!) the talent and confidence required to be a superb artist. She sound more like she is a tented bar in Eastlands flapping against the wind to make some music so that bar patrons can spend more. However, she shouldn't worry... she has plenty of options.
Considering that her fan base, as far I am concerned and have experienced so far, is with the little rich kids across the corner from your neighbourhood, she should just go and serve them at The Splash Water World. I can picture her roasting sausages in the area next to the playground or better still poising an aiding archery target (in no regalia hopefully, although there is nothing to look forward in that ominous forehead and almost non existent boobies) in the archery range (Archer are you listening Mzeeiyas?). She can also be a cashier at the main bar.
For those who have never experienced what goes on with those rich kids and tired ols farts and hags at Splash, lemme break it down for you. People usually just carry an extra bag to store all of their stuff as they surf n’ ride the imaginary waves in the
So go to ValeriKimani.com and do your worst, ladies and gentlemen. I don't for the love of Tusker care if you tell her the truth or a pack of lies, it is all the same. And be sure to go to the ‘Talk About Valerie’ forum and verbally beat the daylights out of Valerie, the administrator and the moderator and all her finger licking fans. Once you are done, go to the empty (or ‘empte’ as Marcus would put it) Wikipedia entry on Valerie Kimani and do your worst also. As far as I'm concerned, an entry for Valerie Kimani on Wikipedia should be as shallow as possible on her talent, intellect and confidence and be as detailed as possible on how a slutilicious, bootyless and flat chested wannabe won an internationally acclaimed show in the Star Academy series, much to the chagrin and shame of the respectable residents of East Africa.