Monday, October 01, 2007
Book Special: Kenya Betrayed
In the true Kumekucha tradition we begin today to publish information that has never been published anywhere before.
Marianne Briner’s raw no-holds-barred tale of her encounter with Kenya and her people from all walks of life including the high and mighty. Visit Kumekucha daily and read this amazing tale for yourself. If you have read a Shinning Star In Darkness, you will still find a lot of information that you never saw in that earlier watered down version of this amazing tale.
M A R I A N N E B R I N E R
In Memory of Dr. Robert Ouko - Minister for Foreign Affairs And International Co-operation.
Brutally killed on February 13, 1990
Although part of the story is based on the Book A Shining Star in Darkness – co-authored by Sam Okello – this book is a totally new approach – not only because I am using the real names, but mainly because I am telling the ‘whole’ story – something neither the American Publisher nor Sam Okello had allowed me to do since I feared legal consequences…….
But I have decided that the times where I or anybody else should feel afraid, are over. It is time to tell the whole truth. Dr. Ouko and all the others who have died for a similar cause, deserve this. Only then will they finally be able to rest in peace.
- All rights reserved –
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system – without permission in writing from the copyright owner and the above Publisher of this book.
Spain, August 31, 2007
In Tune ……..
I don’t remember when I first began
To call you ‘ friend ‘ . One day, I only know,
The vague companionship that I’d seen grow
So imperceptibly, turned gold, and ran
In tune with all I’d thought, or dared to plan.
Since then, you had been to me like music low,
Yet clear. A fire that throws its warm, bright glow
On me as on each woman, child and man,
And common thing that lies within its rays.
You’ve been like wholesome food that stays the cry
Of hungry, groping minds; and like a star -
A self-sufficient star - you made be raise
My utmost being to a higher sky.
In tune, like you, with earth - yet wide and far.
“Please fasten your seat-belts, we are approaching Nairobi Airport and will be landing in about. 30 minutes,”
The voice of the Swiss Pilot clings in my ears - it is November 19, 2004.
I had received a Summon by the Kenyan Government to give evidence in front of a Parliamentary Committee which had been set up to investigate the killing of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Robert Ouko.
I recall the anxious eyes of my daughter at the Airport in Zurich and her pleading voice before I passed the Check-in, “Please, Mami, don’t go.”
But then appears in front of me the sincere and smiling face of another person:
Dr. Robert Ouko - brutally killed on February 13, 1990 - unforgotten not only by his immediate family and me but also by so many who had put their hope in him that he could change their lives, erase the corruption and lead Kenya into a better future.
Then I know that it had been right to take the risk and that I owed this not only to Dr. Ouko and his family but also to myself.
I then wonder if I will also see the former President Daniel arap Moi. I am sure he knows about my arrival since it had been announced in the Media already since weeks.
There are so many questions to answer - so many gaps to close - so many doubts to erase which only he would be able to do.
One of the Swiss Pilot comes and tells me that I will have to stay in the plane until all the other passengers have left. He had been informed by the Nairobi-Flight-Control that a Kenyan Delegation and some Security People will come directly to the plane to receive me.
Finally the plane is landing and I realize that this may be the last time that I will ever be allowed to enter Kenya.
I close my eyes and my thoughts go back in time.
I am trying to remember when and how it all started.
……HOW IT ALL BEGAN ……
Chapter 1 - Part 1 - The early years -
I came to Kenya for the first time in 1967 when I was working as Air Hostess for a German Airline.
At that time we had 7 days stopover and my flight schedule included this destination once per month during the following two years.
This gave me time to get to know the country and its people and to visit also the beautiful National Parks. Together with the rest of the Crew I used to rent a private plane and could explore also parts which were otherwise difficult to reach like Samburu and the Lake Victoria-Region.
Although the Airline paid our hotel in Nairobi (we usually stayed at the Westwood Country Club), we normally preferred to go to Mombasa. East African Airways gave us free tickets and some hotels like the Nyali Beach Hotel or the Two Fishes offered us reduced rates.
Kenya was just beginning to build up the Tourist Industry and it was our Airline which brought the first German visitors on a regular basis.
Nairobi was still a quiet city, no high-rising buildings like today. But the social life was already very active. We therefore received via our local Representative sometimes invitations to attend also diplomatic functions and private parties.
Here I then also met for the first time President Jomo Kenyatta and his beautiful young wife, Mama Ngina.
At that time I was already engaged to Dr. Frederik Briner, a well-known Swiss Psychologist and a Member not only of the Swiss but also of the German Psychological Association and teaching in both countries at various Universities.
He also entered Swiss politics following the footsteps of his grandparents - his grandfather was one of the founders of the Swiss Labor Party SP and his grandmother was behind the first Cooperative Movements.
After we got married in 1969, we received an invitation to spend our Honeymoon in Kenya and stayed for two months in a private house near Malindi.
Since my husband had some close contacts with the German Automobile Association, he had then the idea to get into contact also with the the Kenyan AA. He had started in Germany and Switzerland to help to develop some machines which were testing the eye-sight and another one the reaction of the drivers.
The Kenyan AA was very interested and in 1970 we went back to Kenya during the Summer Holidays and he started to make some tests introducing these machines also to the Kenyan Officials. They then proposed to start testing as a first trial some school-bus- and truck-drivers since the amount of accidents had increased significantly.
He was then also interviewed at the Kenyan Television and we also met President Kenyatta.
But the whole exercise turned out to be a disaster: not only did almost nobody pass the Reaction-Test, but he even encountered many drivers who not only did not see well which could have been rectified by wearing glasses, but some were even blind on one eye.
He had to report them and these people lost their jobs. He was then threatened. Their families even came to our house (we stayed in Karen in a private house). Since I was normally alone during the day, my husband felt that I might be in danger - so he decided to stop and we went back to Switzerland earlier than scheduled.
Before leaving he instructed some Kenyans from AA how to use these machines and left them with them.
Our daughter was then born in November 1971 and we continued spending holidays in Kenya at least once per year and therefore kept the ties with the people we had met before and some have remained our friends up to today.
After our divorce some years later, I started to go to Kenya on a more regular basis, always accompanied by my daughter and also her father used to join us sometimes. We are still very close friends and always kept contact.
Watching the beautiful landscape and the animals has contributed to my daughter’s later decision to become a Veterinary doctor (as she said during her first years in Kenya: ‘one day I will lie in the grass and count the lions....’).
By the way, my daughter’s name is Alexandra Malaika and to get the second name registered in Switzerland took us three days since the Swiss did not accept it first because they believed it being just a fantasy name.
Chapter 1 - Part 2 -
Mary Bryant and Simon Mbilu (Commander Kenya Navy)
Although I normally used to rent a house when my daughter was staying with me during her summer holidays, I preferred to stay in a hotel when I was alone. One of my favourite places was the Ocean View Hotel just next to the Bamburi State House.
To be continued tomorrow.
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