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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How I Will Vote And Why

Plus Bizarre Incident of APs Found With Marked Kibaki Ballot Papers

In a few hours time, Kenyans go to the polls in what I have called the mother of all general elections.

If I get to the polling booth here’s what I will do and why.

My choice for councilor and MP will not make much sense to most of you but I can assure you that neither will go to ODM or PNU.

I have thought long and hard about my presidential vote. Those who have been here for a long time know that my preferred presidential candidate is not running. If John Githngo had run I woild have trooped over to the polling station where I am registered and I would have cast my vote for him even if I was sure I was the only Kenyan voting for him. You see contrary to what most Kenyans think a vote is NEVER lost or wasted. This thing is about your conscience. The big question you should always ask yourself is if you will live with our choice for the next 5 years.

Luckily my conscience still works (You can easily numb this critical faculty you know).

Despite the fact that I love my in-laws very much and despite the fact that I always seem to have a crash on Kikuyu ladies (like Mrs Kumekucha—even after all those years, PKW—many months ago, my good friend Sayra—the latest flame whom I feel so close to, my younger brother’s wife who is also Kikuyu accused me a few minutes ago of wanting to seat next to her—she was joking of course, etc.) I am not voting PNU. I woud never be able to live with myself if I did because a vote for PNU is a vote for Moi and Anglo Leasing and most of all it would be vote against John Githongo, a man who has risked his life and done Kenya proud.

Stevo comes from my tribe. But my vote for Ngilu in 1997 was the last time I will ever vote for tribal reasons. A man who hides in the toilet to avoid an important vote in parliament is not my idea of the courageous president we need to carry Kenya forward.

Personally I don’t like Raila and I have never liked him. I don’t want to go into details because there are a lot of things I know about his true character (e.g. the Shem Ochudho-Kenya-Pipeline-appointment saga). But like an unmarried woman running into her late 40s and with no other suitor in site except this man whose breath smells but has the money and loves me enough, I will vote Raila with all my heart and with a clean conscience. Out of all the terrible choices, he is clearly the best suited to take Kenya to the next level. In fact my prayer is that ODM fulfill only one election pledge and Kenya will be well on its’ way to being a super power in Africa. I am of course referring to the devolution agenda as per the Bomas draft.

Besides, if Raila turns out to be a disappointment, we will vote him out in 2012 (the year I expect that we will have a Kumekucha candidate for president.). Wembe ni ule ule.

Another reason why I am voting the previously “unelectable” presidential candidate is to help get it into the heads of Kenyans that anybody can be president. And besides it is not a bad strategy to change presidents every 5 years until we get the right candidate.

P.S. This business of Administration policemen being found with marked ballot papers in favor of the incumbent is really bizzare. It reminds me of the prophecy by somebody I don’t know to the effect that a lot will be exposed in these 2007 elections and also that one of the presidential candidates secretly plans to “spill blood” but will fail miserably.

This is high drama, especially the part where security personnel chased the KTN journalists with the AP rigging story and then when they lost them, they laid an ambush at I&M Building. Luckily the brave journalists gained access into the building through a back entrance and managed to file their story which was aired on KTN last night. I spoke to my Dad briefly about the incident and he seems to believe that this is ODM propaganda (he is voting Kibaki and nothing will change him). But we’re still great friends.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Elections 2007: What Consequences?

As we head to the elections after Boxing day, I find that I have less and less to say to you my dear readers and more worrying to do.

If Raila wins, what will the consequences be? Will the Kibaki administration hand over power peacefully? Will they accept defeat?

If Kibaki wins what will happen to Kenya? Will Kenyans in 6 provinces accept the results? Will the multitudes of Kenyans desperate for change—any change accept such a result?

How long will it take to heal the wounds that started with the terribly expensive referendum of 2005 which cost Kenyans much more than just a lot of money?

What if the elections produce a constitutional crisis that the current constitution can never handle?

And most of all my eyes are firmly focused on the Langata constituency where nobody quite knows what is going to happen.

Enough has been said and now is the time to sit back and see what happens. Now is the time to let the people of Kenya speak. My prayer is that they will speak so loudly and clearly that there will be no constitutional crisis. My prayer is that precious lives will be spared. The truth is that no politician is worth dieing for let alone our current crop of selfish, self-seeking ….. (I restrain myself from using abusive language).

The truth is that even as Kenyans shout themselves hoarse in support of their preferred candidate, this is a very dangerous and unpredictable time for Kenya.

I take this opportunity to wish you all my dear friends, a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year, 2008. Thank you for your support and most of all thank you for your patience as I have rumbled on and on throughout the year coming up with views that have been very different from the ones you hold dear. Nothing personal though, I just love my country too much and I am sure the same is true with you and that is why you have chosen to spend valuable time here with all the characters that have made “kumekucha” their home.

Please don’t run away in shame if the election results don’r go the way you want. Let’s keep talking here and learning from each other so that we quickly get to understand why the election results go they way they will.

Let’s continue to love our country, irrespective of our poliyical leanings. After all Kenya is bigger than out preferred candidate, bigger than our issues and feelings.

God bless Kenya. God bless us all.

Vindication Is At Hand

Guest post by Sam Okello

Fellow Kenyans,

In just three days, the journey the Hon. Raila Amollo Odinga started in the eighties will enter a new phase. With his election to the presidency, a matter approved from on high, the nation will embark on the final leg of a chapter that should have closed in the sixties, immediately after independence, but never did. I'm talking about national reconciliation and the creation of a nation that works for everyone.

What we've witnessed in the years since President Jomo Kenyatta took oath to lead the nation to prosperity has been the unequal distribution of national resources and the selective development of pockets of the nation. The result is that vast areas of Kenya remain sinfully underdeveloped, while others wallow in wealth and boast some of the richest Kenyans.

But what is more disturbing is the increasing tribalization of the nation. The shameless manner in which President Kibaki constituted his Cabinet and other key appointments is a case in point. He was obviously acting in the same way Presidents Kenyatta and Moi acted when it was their turn. The sad thing is, with President Kibaki, a man Kenyans voted for in droves, suffering wananchi finally decided that unrepresentative governments should not lead Kenya. He betrayed the trust, just like Moi and kenyatta before him. And so in three days Kenyans will vote to right the wrongs that have been allowed to go on for forty years.

When that happens, there's only one word that can and will describe the change that will have taken place. VINDICATION. It will be a vindication of the ideals our freedom fighters fought for. A vindication of the Kenya Waruru Kanja thought was possible when he called on us to end the politics of elimination. A vindication of the ideals Bishop Muge tirelessly advocated before his life was painfully snapped out. A vindication of the ideals Tom Mboya and Robert Ouko and JM and Masinde Muliro were killed trying to help take root in Kenya. Indeed, it will be a vindication of the one thing Kenyans have known all along...that when all is said and done, deep down we all long to live in peace and harmony one with another.

That's why about three weeks ago I dared to say that the Hon. Raila Odinga was God's choice to lead Kenya. Because at a time when the nation is standing on the threshold of taking its place among the the greatest and modern democracies of the world, when human rights and the celebration of humility are viewed by Kenyans as the next great thing, the Lord in His wisdom has seen it fit to call His servant, the Hon. Odinga, to lead His people to that place. And thankfully, the Hon. Odinga has said, "Here am I, Lord, send me."

The Lord sends the Hon. Odinga in three days. At that point we all start a journey to Kenyanize Kenya. A journey to true brotherhood. Let there be nobody in five years who'll say they feel left behind, unwanted. Because more than anything else, that is how we'll all know that for the first time since independence, the Lord has blest Kenya with a government for the people. And as I pen off, I hope that in five years, the Hon. odinga will still be able to go around the nation and meet millions of Kenyans who adoringly call him...Agwambo...Tinga...Nyundo!

I don't think he wants us to call him His Excellency, does he?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mupende Musipende, Kamlesh (Paul) Pattni Is Already In The 10th Parliament

…And He Could Be The Next Official Leader Of The Opposition

Kamlesh Pattni, now known s brother Paul Pattni is believed to have been the main architect behind the multi-billon shilling Goldenbeg scam. Other tycoons who committed lesser evils like Ketan Somaia are now behind bars but Pattni continues to defy all odds and is now set to be a member of the 10th parliament.

Part of the reason why the man is not behind bars is because he is extremely intelligent and appears to have too much on former President Moi and his hand in Goldenberg.

So how is Pattni going to find his way into parliament even if he does not win a parliamentary seat? Actually Kenda is set to win a number of parliamentary seats countrywide and Pattni will have an opportunity to nominate not only himself but quite a number of other characters into the August house. It all depends on the number of seats that he will win and all signs are that his extremely well financed KENDA political party is going to win quite a number of seats. Those seats will be used to support Moi and his former henchmen who stole billions from the Kenyan people and are looking like they will get away with it.

Kenyans in every constituency need to be very careful about electing anybody from KENDA into parliament. A vote for KENDA is a vote for corruption and Moi.

Pattni’s chances for the Westlands seat don’t appear to be too bad after all. The way incumbent Fred Gumo is behaving (accompanying Raila to campaign meetings countrywide) suggest that he has already given up on being re-elected and is now looking for a nomination to parliament from ODM. The Asian influence in Westlands and Pattni’s almost bottomless pockets put him as a firm favorite for the seat and probably the next official leader of the opposition.

There have been reports that each KENDA parliamentary candidate has received Kshs 10 million for their campaign and when you consider the fact that it is only ODM that has fielded more candidates than KENDA, then Pattni and KENDA are the party to watch.

Kumekucha Poll
Much has been said and asked about my controversial poll. I will say no more. I only ask Kenyans that they judge me and the poll against the real results which will start trickling in on the 28th of December and which we will closely monitor and report about here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Is Gallup’s Shocker About A Kibaki Lead True?

One can do all sorts of surveys and polls these days. In fact there is one you can do without leaving your desk—everything is done online. Let me take this opportunity to emphasize to Kumekuchans that the survey I published recently was NOT done in this way. In fact a lot of the data collection I did on my own. Actually I have been traveling a lot over the last few weeks and that is why my posts were so few and irregular then.

This I can tell you with all certainty the Gallup poll is pure rubbish. The problem with the other polls is that they concentrate too much in towns and major trading centres which I noted on my trip this time is heavily populated by people from all corners of the republic and not just the people in the area.

Something else I cam assure you is that Kenyan voters are in a very bad mood indeed and the results on 27th will be very difficult to swallow for many seasoned politicians. The message I got on the ground was very clear. It was;

“You guys somehow fixed the nominations, lets see you fix the elextions on the 27th.”

What pollsters need to tell Kenyans is what has caused the electorate to change their minds so many times as we head to the elections. Then they need to explain how a candidate can lead in six provinces and stil be in a neck to neck battle with his opponent who leads in only one province and has a slight lead in another. It just does not make any sense.

The position with Gallup is that Steadmann claimed the local affiliation which Gallup disputed and so the polls have all along been Steadmann polls. But it seems that Steadmann finally met the stringent requirements of Gallup who have a name to protect and are now the local reps. I’d like to tell the Gallup folks that their name is about to receive a major dent come the 27th of this month.

Still as far as Kenyan voters are concerned Steadmann is a better known name. Gallup means absolutely nothing to most Kenyans.

But what has been worrying opposition ranks the most is the recent utterances by PNU people to the effect that the opposition should e ready to accept the results. Meaning that the election results are already known to some PNU insiders and they show Mwai Kibaki victorious.

Judging from my extensive travels countrywide and my own survey, this is impossibility. It would be easier to tame a full grown crocodile on the Tana River and leave it with your toddler after only a day or two and expect to find her safe and alive than it would be for Kibaki to lead any electon poll in Kenya now or in the near future.

I am not favoring anybody. I am simply stating the cold facts on the ground as they are.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Political Parties And The 10th Parliament

The political temperatures are very high in Kenya. So high that for sometime I feared to publish the results of a countrywide poll I carried out. Well, I finally published it and got exactly what I had expected. Insults and folks saying that this is an ODM blog.

By publishing the provincial breakdown, I will only attract more insults, so I will not publish any more details about my poll. People will not believe the kind of support the candidate previously known as “the unelectable” enjoys in Simoen Nyachae’s Kisii or in most of Nairobi for that matter. Thank you PKW for reserving your comments for the 28th.

I did not publish the polls to upset anybody, I simply documented what the people on the ground are saying.

With this kind of obsession with the presidential elections, very little attention is being paid to the parliamentary elections. And yet whoever is elected president, their success or failure will hinge very heavily on how much support and goodwill they will enjoy from the 10th parliament.

Going by the mathematical law of probabilities, Kamlesh (or is it Paul?) Pattni’s KENDA party will be an extremely influential political party in the 10th parliament as will ODM-K. But it seems that the most powerful bloc of all will be the collection of numerous little known parties who collectively should end up with the second or third highest number of seats in parliament. This is significant and means that any presidential candidate who hopes to win the forthcoming polls should already be talking to and warming up to these minnows because they will make all the difference in the 10th parliament.

One of the reasons for this fascinating trend will be the fiasco of the party nominations where many popular candidates who had won their party nominations were locked out. They were left with no alternative but to find a way into the ballot paper for the constituency by joining one of the numerous (over 250) political parties. Most of these fringe political parties, Kenyans have never heard of.

Yep. It’s going to be a very fascinating general election.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Kumekucha Poll Survey: Bizarre Results in Kisii

Anytime now, I will be releasing the results of a countrywide survey that I have carried out with the help of our numerous countrywide sources of information.

The different thing about this survey is that it was done amongst the ordinary folks of Kenya as well as the down and out struggling to put food on the table who make up the vast majority of voters.

To be absolutely honest I believe that I have always had my hand very close to the pulse of the nation, but I was still quite surprised by some of the findings that came through.

Today I will share about one of the areas of the country where our findings really surprised me.

I know the Kisii people fairly well and I have assumed all along that considering the strong influence Hon Simeon Nyachae has on the people in this area, ODM was unlikely to get anything better than lukewarm support from the Abagusii community.

My recent survey has proved just how wrong I was. A large chunk of the Kisii vote is set to go in the direction of ODM and the party’s presidential candidate Raila Odinga. In fact sources on the ground indicate that Hon Nyachae has in recent weeks greatly softened his previously highly combative attitude against ODM and Raila Odinga that culminated in the ugly incident of violence against ODM’s Ruto and Magara a few weeks ago. Insiders insist that the Roads Minister and chief PNU campaigner in the area has sent feelers to the people and to the ODM high command that he has nothing personal against the party or Raila Odinga. That is quite a telling gesture coming from an old hand experienced politician like Nyachae.

This is certainly not good news for PNU strategists who have all along counted Kisii as being more or less in the bag for the president, especially due to repeated assurances by Nyachae who has taken charge of the Kisii campaign and has told the president that he needn’t bother himself with trips to Kisii because the entire community is already in the bag for him.

I have been concurring with this sentiment knowing how deep and passionate the Abagusii are when it comes to cultural matters, most of all issues like circumcision where the Luo have different cultural practices for initiation that are mostly ridiculed in Kisii. In fact most women in Kisii are still circumcised and campaigns against this brutal FMG practice by numerous well-funded NGOs in the area have had very little impact. So it seemed that defeating Raila and ODM in Kisii was very simple. All that was required was for politicians like Nyacahe to take to the dias and lead the crowd in Kisii circumcision songs. No speeches would be necessary.

Now surprisingly it seems that an entire community has had its’ thinking transformed overnight. I will not for a minute pretend to know why and how this has happened.

But what is crystal clear are the percentage figures for thise area of Nyanza province. Kisii, is clearly ODM country and who can forget the chilling remark from one respondent who told our source in Kiswahili.

“Ikifika saa kumi na mbilli jioni tarehe 27th Dec, Wakenya watakua wamemalizana na Kibaki. Mimi sidaganyi wewe.” Roughly translated into English: “When the clock strikes 6 pm on 27th December, Kenyans will have sealed the fate of Mwai Kibaki. I am NOT lying to you.

The 5 Most Popular Stories in Kumekucha today-10th Nov

1. What this election is really all about

2. Who is this woman called Marianne Briner?

3. Mystery behind Raila's sudden popularity

4. What our Luo brothers need to know

5. Sahel CEO says that Raila is God's choice

The Worrying Thing About Raila’s Financial Backers

Guest post by a former insider

One clarification first: I do not hold the key to a solution, but I may be able to explain where and how things went wrong .... the solution lies in the hands of each and everybody of you when you go to vote on December 27th .....

Things went wrong a long time ago but as long as a totally corrupt and surpressing Government (speak Moi) did not allow free expression of mind and controlled the press totally, many things were not known and could not be known. And if anybody dared to talk, he (she) disappeared out of public (political) life and sometimes even got killed (and I do not only talk about Dr. Ouko .....).

But now you have the possibility to know and to talk - and still, the same people who held you for ransom for so long, continue controlling your life - and that is unexcusable .... do not allow this to happen.

Although I do not see that things will change in the next 10 or so years ... Moi, Biwott and also Kibaki are too clever .... whenever it suits them they fall back on the tradition that elders have to be respected ...... they manipulate a whole country ..... and even these tribal slogans creating hate and fear amongst Kenyans - Kenyans who have learned to live, laugh (and love) together in normal times.

But with Elections, all of the sudden this subject is coming in. Do you not ask yourself 'why?' - 'why all of the sudden'?

The answer is very simple: Because it fits into the pattern of certain people and they know very well how to organize and use this. This is not new, it was done all the time. Just remember the so-called 'ethnic' cleansing in 1992 where thousands have been killed and more lost their homes.

So the Mt. Elgon situation of today already existed before and was used to create fear amongst the people ..... 'be careful, see what happens if you don't elect me (at that time Moi who was in danger after Ouko got killed and he had to succumb to the call for a multi-party-system)' and now the same with Kibaki 'if you do not re-elect me, things will go out of control ......' - we are your saviours, and nobody else ....

I do not say that Raila is the perfect man ..... there are too many open questions also regarding him. He has some business contacts which I do not trust a bit (South African Whites with a very shady past) ... he owes them a lot of money and they are interested that he becomes President so they get back their money .... they are mainly interested in the oil-deals but also in road-construction and other profitable business like railways, refinery, ports etc. ..... why do you think Raila has started to talk about building a new port in the north, a railway-connection to the Sudan, etc. etc. - but his partners are criminals, internationally known crooks ..... and that's scary ....

And then there is still Biwott .... I do not want to go into details regarding him .... but it is more than worrisome (and here I quote Mutula Kilonzo who once wrote to me regarding Biwott: that a man like him can influence the outcome of elections and even decide on who becomes the next President, is the most disturbing thing and says a lot about Kenya...) ... and reading that one of his wives - Prof. Kamar - (besides her he has two more: one jewish white and a Tanzanian) - is running for Parliament on an ODM-ticket and besides her also her brother ..... gives me more than a chill ....besides the fact that already one of his daughters - Esther Koimet - is holding a very crucial position in the financial government sector.

And now I better stop .... although I did not answer your initial question: how did I come into all this ????? That's a very long story ..... but piece by piece I will give you the answer ..... just be a little bit patient.

Regards,
Marianne Briner

The 5 Most Popular Stories in Kumekucha today-10th Nov

1. What this election is really all about

2. Who is this woman called Marianne Briner?

3. Mystery behind Raila's sudden popularity

4. What our Luo brothers need to know

5. Sahel CEO says that Raila is God's choice

Sunday, December 09, 2007

What This Election Is Really All About

In a few days time (how time flies) Kenyans will go to the polls to make perhaps the most important decision humans on these shores have ever had to make in East African history.

The saddest thing of all as that day rapidly approaches is the fact that the real issues in these elections have deliberately been crowded out by non-issues. Contrary to what many folks think, Elections 2007 is not about tribalism. Actually it is about money and corruption.

Let me explain.

There is plenty of evidence that the Kibaki administration started out very serious about fighting corruption. In recent times it has often been suggested that they never intended to do anything about it. That IS NOT TRUE.

To bring into perspective the decision you and I have to make seated/standing inside some polling booth it is important that we understand where and why that fight against corruption ended.

Actually all was going well until sometime in mid 2004. Just before things went terribly wrong, impeccable sources have it that a deal had been struck (with some of the thieves of public funds) to have quite a hefty sum of money returned into the country. For a moment it looked like Kenya was about to make a dramatic turn in the right direction.

Reports on exactly what triggered the derailment of the fight against corruption at this stage are varied. Some sources say that insiders convinced the president that his administration was doomed without a “reliable source of funding.” Others say that intelligence reports showed evidence of destabilization of the Kibaki administration by some very rich individuals in the former Kanu government using their ill-gotten wealth. The truth will probably never be known.

What happened next was that some very prominent personalities in Kibaki’s inner circle made “private deals” that effectively killed all the good progress that had been made. One of those characters (a cabinet minister) was suddenly flash with cash and bought shares in Lewa Downs even as he undertook expensive private construction programmes in Meru and Karen in Nairobi, all at the same time. His cabinet colleague who had been dodging auctioneers in the run-up to the 2002 general elections suddenly paid off all his hefty debts and also got involved in major private construction projects in Nyeri.

But what many people who were aware of what was happening did not realize at the time was that the president’s re-election team for 2007 was effectively coming together at that particular juncture.

Those “private deals” are the real reason why retired President Moi and the Kenyatta family have solidly thrown everything behind the Kibaki re-election campaign. These are all individuals, so where does tribalism come in? How is it that these elections have become so charged with ethnicity?

The answer is very simple. A large percentage of Kenyans have been “cheated” in much the same way that the masses of Kenya have always been fooled. We have been hoodwinked into defending thieves and corrupt individuals using the old time-worn but very effective strategy of politicians in these shores of saying that the entire tribe/community is under siege. The right Kenyan term is; “our tribe is being finished.”

Interestingly the Kalenjin community, whom other Kenyans have always assumed (very wrongly) are not intelligent, have NOT fallen for that old trick this time. However the house of Mumbi whom Kenyans have always held in high esteem assuming that they are extremely intelligent have swallowed the bait hook line and sinker. The message to the Kikuyu has been simple and effective. It is; “if Kibaki is not re-elected, the Kikuyu will be finished.” This is the kind of rubbish that even a crocodile on the Tana River with its’ powerful jaws wide open cannot swallow. Yet it is the feeling amongst most of our Kikuyu brothers and sisters.

The true position is that the Kenyatta family and the Kibaki family stand to lose a lot of money if President Kibaki is not re-elected. Of course both families had no intention whatsoever of sharing that loot with the community or putting it into any community-based projects for that matter.

My humble message to my Kikuyu brothers and sisters (and indeed my in-laws) is very simple. Whatever voting decision you make on 27th is your democratic right. But just remember that you and your children’s children will have to live with the consequences of your decision for years to come. If I were you and still felt that warm fuzzy filling towards my tribes mate that is unshakeable, I would rather look at the other candidates from the community like Kenneth Matiba and Pastor Pius Muiru. A vote for these two will be much easier on your conscience for years to come. The harsh reality of this matter is that a vote for Kibaki is a vote for Moi and the billions he and his family have stashed away abroad. It is a vote saying that the status quo should be maintained at all costs (kazi inendelee).

If you feel very strongly about voting for a candidate who has no chance of winning then why not throw your weight around Kalonzo Musyoka of ODM-K (I dare not mention Raila because that name provokes the kind of emotions we all know amongst the House of Mumbi). A solid Kikuyu vote for Kalonzo is enough to get him into State House. In my view he is the least qualified of the 3 major candidates, but conscience is everything and such a decision would also rest well in the conscience of my Kikuyu brothers.

It is instructive that PNU is the only political party amongst the big 3 that has not dared mention the issue of fighting corruption in its’ agenda. That is commendable. They are sincere.

P.S. If this post means that Kumekucha has broken the rule of being neutral, so be it. However in my view, being neutral does not mean throwing the truth out of the window. Here’s some more “neutral truth” for you. Many individuals in ODM are corrupt and have helped in fleecing public coffers. That one is also a fact and Kenyan voters will need to consider this very carefully as they cast their votes for their MPs. My advice; vote individuals and ignore party affiliation, because political parties in Kenya are not worth the paper on which their registration certificates are typed on.

WHO IS THIS WOMAN CALLED MARIANNE BRINER?

Many people - even in some roundtable-discussions in the American TV - have asked the question 'who is this woman called Marianne Briner and what is her background?'


So I have decided to give some answers.....


I grew up in Germany in a very social and open environment - although being born in 1941 in the middle of World War II this was sometimes not easy. My father was not serving as a soldier but was belonging to a Medical Team in charge of wounded soldiers and also prisoners of war. He was a very courageous man and I admired him a lot.


Just to give you an example: As I said before, he was also in charge to control the health of some high-ranked prisoners, amongst whom were even some Russian Generals ...... my father made sure that they were not only getting medical attention, but also decent food and could send some letters to their families at home (actually this was strictly forbidden, so my father had to smuggle these messages out and then mail them under his own name) ..... as I said before, he was a very courageous man.


Some of these Russians became his friends and he even managed to get them out of their prison-cells to attend the Christmas celebrations at our house...... I was only 3 or 4 years old, but I remember very well how I was sitting on their labs and they were hugging me with tears in their eyes thinking about their own children...... and singing old Russian Christmas songs with beautiful voices ...... and my mother - who had a beautiful voice herself - joining them - and then we were all attending the church-service at 5 a.m. - making sure that they reached their prison camp before anybody could realize that they had spent this very special night outside.......


When it was clear that the war was finishing, many of these prisoners in other camps got killed (shot) by the German Authorities but my father managed to set 'his' prisoners free - i.e. letting them 'escape' .........


He later got a medal for this by the Russian Government and some of these Russian Officers came even personally a few years later to thank him personally.


So I had inspite of the fact that we were living during the World-War-II-aftermaths a very happy childhood with a lot of privileges as I have realized only later since at that time it was all 'natural' for me.


My parents always insisted that also as a girl (I had a brother who was one year younger) you have to have a good education enabling you to become independent in your future life.


This seems to be normal today. But at that time it was not ...... girls were 'allowed' to be intelligent ....... but - please - not too much - since their utmost 'goal' was to 'catch' a good man, settle down and become a good wife and mother ...... and that was it........


As a result I attended a very selective Gymnasium for Girls (similar to a Girl's High School). The biggest attraction there was our Music-Teacher - Otto Daube. He was a friend of the Wagner-Family and well-connected in the international music world.


So we had the privilege that the most famous international musicians and singers of that time came to our school to give free concerts for us.


And each year he invited some of us to accompany him to attend the Wagner-Festival in Bayreuth ..... and for two years I was one of this 'selective' group.


For those who do not know what this means: The Wagner-Festival is upto today the most exclusive and prestigeous international venue - with a waiting list to get tickets - not only for one season but for upto 10 years .....


Besides this classical event, we were also interested in Jazz - attending (again with the help of our famous music teacher) concerts of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzie Gillespie, Chris Barber, Miles Davies etc. -


And this leads me to the best of all:


Since we (and I talk about a group of friends and myself) were not satisfied with 'only' attending these concerts, but wanted to do something ourselves, we got the permission to convert an old war-bunker in my hometown Hattingen into a 'jazz-bunker' ......... o.k. I admit, it helped that the father of one of us was the Mayor and another one was the Administration-Director and both of them liked our idea .......


But it was us who worked in it day and night - cleaning, painting etc. - and finally we got the permission to use it and then the best thing of all: people like Louis Armstrong etc. came and gave private concerts - and not only that, they loved it and told friends about it and it soon became a very famous venue ....... and best of all: it was free of charge since none of these famous people ever charged us for their appearances ......


Maybe it helped that amongst us was the son and heir of the famous Krupp (Steel) Dynasty - Arndt von Bohlen - I don't know .... but it was fun ...... and some of my old friends of that time (like von Stockhausen and Klaus Doldinger) even became very famous musicians and another friend is now one of the most famous German TV-Actresses ..... Marie-Luise Marjan .....


Besides my father, the biggest 'impact' on my life had the sister of my mother.


She was married in the Netherlands and her husband was the Director of the West-Indian-Banana-Company (WIBIC) with the brand-name 'Fyffes' which later became the famous 'Chiquita'.....


His brother was the Financial Adviser of the Dutch Queen (first Wilhelmina and then Juliana - grandmother and mother of the present Queen Beatrix).


Since I used to spend all my summer-holidays in the Netherlands, it was Beatrix and her younger sister Irene with whom I spent most of my time .... and we became very close friends.


I soon learned that my aunt (my mother's sister) had been a driving force behind rescuing Dutch Jews from the Holocaust during the War - first hiding them and finally arranging for their departure mainly to the United States - risking her own life in doing this.


She also set up a Charity Organization for mistreated girls and women at a time when nobody even believed that these horrible things existed. This earned her later the title 'Dame of the Court' - given to her by Queen Beatrix.


And here life and its amazing stories crops in:


the present Queen is Beatrix - the same with whom I once went bicycling during my childhood - and her husband was Claus von Amsberg ......... and he was directly related to my daughter's husband ......... actually Crown-Prince Willem Alexander is a first cousin of my daughter's husband ..... and he is also related to the Spanish Royal House (my daughter calls this 'the Spanish branch of the family tree...' - and this was one of the reasons why Jeff Koinange was so interested in her - calling her 'royal' ..............


As I said before, my childhood was not very 'normal' and this applies to the rest of my life - I think .....................


My first 'boyfriend' was Klaus Westphal - the son of one of the most famous German Atomic-Power-Physician - his 'Godfather' was Albert Einstein ..... and this should give you an idea ..............


Get me right - at that time things were very innocent and not like it is today - we met during a school trip - he was two years older than me..... we started writing to each other and then he invited me to come to visit him in Berlin. When my parents had some objections (don't forget, things were different at that time) ..... his mother wrote a very nice letter to my mother assuring her that everything was fine ..............


So I got the permission by my parents to visit him ..... and from then on we kept contacts ....... even after I met my future husband and then Klaus also met his present wife Margrit ...... it was an innocent friendship which started when we were both just teenagers ....... and it always stayed like that.


Klaus is living since many years in the US and has become very famous ..... he was one of the driving forces behind the Jurassic Park movies ...... for all those who are interested to know more about him: google 'Klaus Westphal' ...... and you will know what I am talking about .... his father's name was Wilhelm F. Westphal - for the ones who really want to know more .....


Other people who had a strong influence on my life:


Ivo Andric - Literature Nobel Price winner - I met him and his wife in Yugoslavia when I was only 20 years old ..... they invited me to their home and we kept contact for some years after. The way I met him is a story in itself: I was on holidays and while we had a beach party, one of our local friends pointed to a house on a hill informing us that it is the holiday residence of Ivo Andric who had been awarded the Nobel Price for Literature. To be honest, we had already a little bit (too much) red wine - and I challenged them 'Shall we bet that latest in two days from now I will be invited by Ivo Andric???? ...... My friends started laughing and told me to 'sober up' ..... and stop dreaming !!!!!!! But when I went back to my hotel, I started to write a letter in which I congratulated him and told him that I would like to meet him ...... I dropped the letter the following morning in the mail-box at the entrance gate of his house ...... and waited.


And already the same day, I found a message in my hotel inviting me for lunch the following day......... He was a very nice, very polite man. Also his wife was present (she worked as a Doctor at a Belgrade Hospital) ..... and both of them spoke fluently German........ I stayed until Dinner since he wanted to know so many things about Germany, the young Generation, politics etc. At that time, the communist regime did not allow him to travel freely and the only contacts he had were with people from the then German Democratic Republic .....


I saw him twice after this ..... and then he also wrote for some time ...... we lost contact when I started to work as Air Hostess and moved to Frankfurt.


Another 'famous' old friend of mine is Donald Kursch - I met him when he was American Vice-Counsel in Zurich - he later became Special Ambassador of the US in the Kosovo ...... he introduced me to some friends in New York who then invited me to some High Society Functions. One was the wedding of the Heir of Wrigley Chewinggum .... which took place at the Jade Room of the Waldorff-Astoria Hotel ....


At another occasion I also met Ted Kennedy and later also Robert and Ethel Kennedy .... and I was in Los Angeles when Bob Kennedy was shot and a few days later again in New York where I had the possibility to see the coffin and attend the church service at the St. Patrick Cathedral ....


There are many more who crossed 'my path's ..............


So you see, my life did not start in Kenya .............. it 'started' long before that ..............................maybe one day I will also write about this as my daughter is pleading with me since years .........

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Danger Ahead: The Next Move Could Leave Kenyans Numb With Shock

For one magical moment in the recent post where I reproduced the hate literature being distributed in the Rift Valley, all major Kumekucha contributors for once seemed to find a common ground. Everybody agreed that this was something that Kenya does NOT need.

It is my sincere hope that what I am about to say will be received in the same spirit because it is bigger than petty partisan politics. It is more important than PNU and more important than ODM, ODM-Kenya and any other political party for that matter.

Let me also emphasize that it has nothing to do with tribalism. The truth is that greedy politicians have always managed to rally their tribesmen around themselves in their grand mission to enrich themselves and to destroy any obstacle standing in their way. This appeal to the tribe has always worked like magic. For instance nobody talks about Anglo Leasing any more because the widely held view by those supporting PNU is that there is a bigger enemy that has to be dealt with first. Little do they know that this election is all about retaining power so as to continue with the plan of personal enrichment and more Anglo Leasing by certain individuals in the current government. It has nothing to do with our poor Kikuyu brothers, some of whom have suffered more than other communities in Kenya, losing scores of relatives who basically died for nothing.

In the same way, Tom Mboya was NOT assassinated by the Kikuyus and neither was Robert Ouko bumped off by the Kalenjins. NO!!! This dirty work was carried out by individuals who fell back on their tribes for support after their evil mission was accomplished.

For some time now, there have been rumours (mainly brushed aside by most wise know-all analysts) about an impending political assassination. Interestingly this rumour has been strongest amongst security personnel (which should tell you a lot.)

The reason why many people do not take such rumours seriously is because they assume that it is all Domo and ODM propaganda. My enquiries have revealed a totally different chilling picture.

For starters, to date nobody has been able to explain the mystery of the Artur brothers and their real mission in the country. Impeccable sources recently revealed that they were brought in to “clean up” and that their mission was to assassinate a certain list of prominent Kenyans. The identity of the two well known personalities who brought them into the country left me thunderstruck and even I am frightened to name them here.

These same individuals have not abandoned their “cleaning up ideas.” In recent times some Israelis have been recruited to explore the same option amongst other options. Some of these “other options” being explored will make any right thinking Kenyan sick to the pit of their stomach. But admittedly it is a strategy that many politicians have pulled off very successfully in the past both locally and elsewhere. The option is to assassinate a senior person within PNU and then blame it on the ODM crowd.

My prayer is that the individuals involved in this evil should abandon their plans, no matter how desperate they may be.

What should really worry Kenyans is the fact that powerful forces behind the scenes have not been happy with recent political developments and their plans to influence the forthcoming polls seem to have been frustrated with everything going wrong. That fact should make every sensitive, intelligent Kenyan very worried indeed because the most likely thing that would happen is for these guys to pull off some desperate measure that will leave Kenya in chaos.

Mercifully experts in this macabre business believe that most of the individuals currently involved are incapable of pulling off such an act successfully. This coupled with the fact that the intelligence system in Kenya currently is “leaking very badly” makes it highly unlikely that such an evil plan would succeed.

Naturally very few people will take such claims seriously. Not when everybody is now very emotionally involved in supporting their preferred presidential candidates and every bit of information is analyzed in terms of which side it is hurting and whose propaganda it is.

The truth about the information I have just revealed from highly impeccable sources, is that the biggest loser in it all will be Kenya and the ordinary folk in Kenya. NOT ODM or PNU or ODM-K which by the way are all the same thing.

Let me repeat that I have often said here that unless we can face the past and deal with the ghosts of that past, we will always leave ourselves vulnerable to history repeating itself in a most undesirable manner. We cannot ignore the past and expect the future to be bright. Political assassinations of the past MUST be addressed and resolved.

The PNU MOU That Nobody Is Talking About

Guest column by Kijana M. Kibisu

One question that has refused to go away is why the leader of the official opposition party would abandon his constitutional role to support the re-election of a sitting head of state. Historians tell us that this unprecedented action has already Uhuru a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

What historians forget to add is that Uhuru's move took months of negotiations with the current regime. In a series of meetings brokered by Central Province old guard, John Michuki, Njenga Karume and Kibaki's Muthaiga golf club friends, Uhuru was prevailed upon not only to abandon his plans of running for the top post in 2007 but also to reunite KANU by making peace with Nicholas Biwott's New KANU. Further, he was asked to keep a decent distance from Raila's Odinga's ODM. These discussions culminated in the signing of a secret MoU between Kibaki and Uhuru. So what was Uhuru promised in return?

By agreeing to support Kibaki's PNU, KANU was allowed the privilege of preserving its identity within the umbrella party. While other parties were being pressurized to accept joint nomination under PNU, KANU was exempted. The second part of the MoU dealt with campaign funds.

The president agreed to underwrite KANU's campaign costs in this year's elections (the party received 50m shillings just to participate in PNU's launch). The third and most important aspect of the MoU dealt with Kibaki succession plan. In this regard, Kibaki promised to use all state resources at his disposal to ensure Uhuru's victory in 2012 elections. For a while, Central Province leaders and strategists have focused their attention on a succession plan that would ensure retention of power in the region.

Although names like George Saitoti, Martha Karua, and Kiraitu Murungi have been bandied on and off, Uhuru is increasingly seen as the region's crème de la crème. Not only is he young, savvy and untainted by pervasive corruption, Uhuru comes from the well known Kenyatta family that has immense wealth. Kibaki's current and rather spirited campaign is therefore more than a just fight for a second five-year term. It is a battle to ensure that power is retained in Central Province until 2022, at least! This was, in essence, the MoU between Uhuru and Kibaki. Indeed, Uhuru has publicly admitted this strategy (without divulging its essential details) when he met with angry KANU supporters to try and assuage their anger over his unilateral decision to offer KANU's support to Kibaki.

In the meantime and even as Kenyans sing and dance their hearts out in support of their favourite political parties, Kibaki and his Central Province friends are busy selling off public assets to themselves at throw away prices. Hiding behind persistent calls for privatization by Bretton Woods's institutions, they are wasting no time at all in disposing of ALL public assets. By the time power passes into the hands of others in 2022 (but preferably later), nothing but 'bare bones' will be left. This is why the thought of this well thought out plan being disrupted by Raila and his ODM party evokes so much anger and panic in Central Kenya. The 'good work' that Kibaki started in 2002 is not done yet, you know. Another 5 (but preferably 15) years are needed to complete the work! What you may not know is that this good work is consolidation of both political and economic power in one region.

The concept of devolution of political and economic power away from the Centre (another name for Central Province), is clearly inimical to the grand plan referred to above. The idea is that once the plan is implemented, everybody else (mainly from Western, Coast, Rift Valley and NE provinces) could only be employees (not owners) of former public (but now private) companies owned by the new super rich elite. Millions of others would be tenants in Nairobi offices and houses owned by the same group. However, this plan would come a cropper if new economic centers (in Kakamega, Kwale, Busia, Garissa or Narok) were to spring up through the devolution or ugatuzi arrangement. Suddenly, property value in Nairobi might come tumbling down. Cheap labour, mainly from Western Kenya and parts of Eastern that keeps Nairobi's economy running would vanish overnight.

Why would someone from Sabatia take up an askari job and live in a mabati shack in Nairobi for just 200 shillings a day? It is also easy to imagine what might happen if devolved regional administrations decided to build or upgrade airports in Kisumu, Busia or build cold storage centers in North Eastern. Suddenly, horticultural and livestock produce from these regions would find their way into the same external markets that are currently dominated by Central Kenya farmers. To these folks, ugatuzi is clearly an idea whose time has not come.

This year's election is perhaps the most important election in Kenya's history. The outcome will determine whether or not the Grand Power Plan outlined above succeeds. By re-electing Kibaki, Kenyans can forget about any meaningful change for another 15-20 years.

Kijana M. Kibisu works for an international think tank in Nairobi.

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