I Love Mangrove Forest

I Love Mangrove Forest

I love the mangrove forest,
Tall and wet beneath,
There I love to rest,
As I waddle in its breadth

Some love the Savannah Grassland
all bushy and dry
to graze in the plains without end
In the tall grass filled with passion and birds’ cry
For me, it is just the mangrove forest

Still others find pleasure in the mountain,
Where they explore the valleys from its leeward,
Poking the flower-filled cracks  they contain,
And enjoy whatever they find as a reward,
Still for me, mangrove is my passion.

Yet there are desert lovers
Those who prefer the bald places
To sweat under the heat with no covers
And around the dunes Pace
But for me, I love mangrove

I pity those who prefer the lake,
To swim in the massive water body,
And ice it like cake,
Or up on its muddy shores to wake,
Luckily for me, mangrove forest is my choice.

​JOMO KENYATTA AND DANIEL MOI: A TALE OF TWO SELFISH LEADERS

JUST THINKING OUT LOUD

They are popularly referred to as the founding fathers of the country. Of course there were many founding fathers that died mysteriously and are never mentioned in the history of the country. The first president of Kenya, Johnstone Kamau Wa Ngegi alias Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and the second president of Kenya Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi famously known as Nyayo are loved by many in the country and hated with an equal measure. The best legacy these two leaders left that we can remember them for are selfishness and egocentrism; they are leaders who went all the way to fulfil their narcissistic spirit.

The first in my article is Jomo Kenyatta. The fight for independence in Kenya was spearheaded by very many Kenyans from different tribes in Kenya. It was not a one man’s show. Ronald Ngala, James Gichuru, Masinde Muliro, Tom Mboya, Oginga Odinga, Pio Gama pinto among hosts of…

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The Most Unappreciated Talents

The world is filled with talents of all sorts. There are even bodies dedicated to awarding people with extraordinary skills. However, there are a set of talents we have, for reasons unknown, refused to acknowledge despite getting entertained daily with people bearing these unusual abilities.

Toilet graffiti artists

Long before the invention of mobile phones, there were things that used to keep people busy during calls, particularly in public restrooms. How these guys manage to divide their time between doing the business in hand and writing creative pieces on toilet doors is a mystery. Since the writer has been only in men’s washrooms, it is safe to conclude that these toilet writers have the rare ability of multitasking, something that most males lack (according to women). The world should not just write these toilet graffiti artists off because clearly they are talented.

Graffitti

Touts

We know them as manambas or conductors. We know that they are funny too. So funny that some of us avoid striking conversations with them because their witty responses sometimes leave us ashamed. One always wonders if one of the qualifications of becoming a manamba is to possess a weird sense of humor. We cannot also forget their talent in “forgetting” to give us our balance.

Manamba

Back benchers

Almost all teachers hate them. The hatred is mostly justified. Backbenchers have some ways of triggering laughter in class. Whether it is banging plates when a teacher extends their lessons or farting in class, it must always be someone occupying the infamous space in class. The consoling fact, however, is that these hind lovers love sleeping in class too although this habit further escalates conflict between them and teachers.

backbencher

Dear Teachers in North Eastern; Resign

Two years while the story remains the same

JUST THINKING OUT LOUD

I have grown up adoring my teachers. The way these men and women have impacted on my life is hard to go unappreciated. To me, teachers have always been a different class of human being. Even though I am grown up nowadays, I still find it hard to call my former teachers by name on their faces (even with titles like Mr or Mrs).

I find it disgusting when these anti ignorance soldiers are killed in North Eastern Region. The blame is usually shifted to Alshabaab although there are clear indicators that the locals are involved in this conspiracy. It is due to this mistreatment that I write this letter to the teachers in the region.

“I know you are not fine so I won’t bother with the formality of asking how you are feeling. It is quite sad that you are sacrificing your precious lives for people who consider…

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Recently I turned 27 and grew horns almost immediately. I am yet to understand why animals or people who have developed horns are not described as horny (although mostly they are). Living to see one’s twenty seventh birthday is quite an achievement. It means one survived the beatings of their African moms, was bully proof, did not die in the hands of their math teachers, and lived through paraffin doused food of secondary school. These individuals were tough enough to live through the famine of after HELB stage in university and hustled their ways through joblessness that accompanies the power to read. Indeed, anybody who has lived for more than 1431 weeks is a hero by their own rights. That said (or rather written), it is a new year for this author and a new year cannot be complete without resolutions. Talking of resolutions, I only have one; encouraging people to stick to their lanes.

Although I am self declared General of cycling, the lanes for keeping here are different. From this year, I have banned anybody calling me “mtoto”, “kijana” or similar demeaning terms except if they are twice my age. In layman’s language, only those beyond 54 years can refer to me as “kijana”. The rest are people of my age set; either we are all youths or equally adults. The despots, who insist on “childrening” adults must stop, mobilize, organize and be disciplined. Viva!

Share — Okut Oloma

THE OLD DAYS IN KATHIENO That place, where our wombs were buried And in tiny steps we tottered into the world Half naked ,we followed our mothers to the stream Our eyes drowning in tears at being left behind. Those days,when abada silenced our cries As mothers went to the market To buy mbuta for […]

via Share — Okut Oloma

Reflecting on the times of Professor Fredrick Otieno

Professor Fredrick Alfred Otieno is one of the best brains Kenya has ever produced. Those who had a chance of meeting the professor, famously known as FAO, encountered a miracle worker. When he first joined Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in 2013, the professor inherited debt wrecked institution with several stalled projects and staff with hearts of stones. Within five years, FAO had transformed MMUST. It is these changes that made the establishment turn again the hardworking engineer. So much love did he have for MMUST that he literally died trying to lift up the university. Although Otieno has died, there are several lessons that can be drawn from this great man who once reigned in the seventh oldest public university in Kenya.

FAO 2

  1. It is always possible

The Kenyan culture is filled with greedy and incompetent managers who mostly leave public institutions worse than they found them. FAO did the opposite; within his first term of leadership, he outranked most of his peers. While other universities are faced with numerous challenges of unremitted deductions, delayed salaries, and ghost workers, MMUST, during his tenure, did not sail the same ship. From FAO’s determination, one realizes that no mountain is too big to climb.

FAO 3

  1. What matters is standing up for the right thing

Otieno believed students had the right to be treated as human beings. Otieno insisted that staff had to perform the duties that they were employed to perform. Otieno insisted that public funds were not to be plundered. Above all, Otieno knew that parastatals are government property, not community or inherited clan belonging irrespective of where they are built.

  1. Some human beings do not appreciate people’s good work

Despite Prof’s good work; FAO was still opposed by many people who felt they had the right to mismanage the institution and loot it dry. From improving the infrastructure of the place to ensuring timely payment of salaries, Otieno was dedicated to positively change the welfare of all the workers of the institution although some failed to visualize the dream that he had for the university

FAO 1

Although the mighty professor is dead, his legacy lives on and no matter how much those opposed to him try to dilute it, one fact remains; Professor Fredrick Alfred Otieno is one of the greatest VCs MMUST will ever have.

Surviving January

That January is a tough is a fact even foetuses know meaning it is unworthy writing about. The problem is usually how to survive the infamous month and live to see Valentine’s Day. My journey around the sun for the last 324 moons has given me enough experience to share some of the best tactics to overcome the dry month.

  1. Sit next to a lady

This strategy is effective only for the employed. Our female counterparts rarely lack something nutritious to nibble on. When faced with the unending famine of January, a boychild should not suffer in silence. If one is lucky to sit in an open layout office, all that one needs to do is move their desks next to a lady colleague. One is assured of some morsels during breakfast, a few goodies to bite before lunch, sumptuous remains post lunch and a little juice in the evening. While others lose weight due to the hardship, such wise men are likely to live to see the next January.

  1. Befriend the rich

Not everyone suffers in January. There are usually a few January cartels that do not experience the sting of hunger that accompanies the first month. Blessed are those with sweet tongues to befriend the rich because they shall see the kingdom of full stomach in this period rarity. Paying such people regular visits can guarantee one an occasional escape from sukuma wiki.

  1. Spend money wisely

I am not exempted from preaching water and indulging in sweet wine. One usually has twelve months to save before encountering the month of pocket dryspell. Those of us who perennially cry of hardships in January can maybe lay better strategies to survive January

Let’s stand up for African Languages

There is one difference between developing and developed countries. The education system of the developed world is tailor-made to suit the needs of their citizens. To ensure that the learners comprehend whatever they are taught, the main medium of instruction in advanced countries is usually their mother-tongue; the first language of the learners. Whether it is the USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan, or Russia, countries that are dedicated to development never use languages of different cultures to teach their own.

language 3

In Africa, majority of countries rarely use the first language as a medium of instruction. Tens of years of colonialism brainwashed us to believe that our languages are not as advanced and as important as those of our colonial masters. Close to a century after attaining independence, Africa is still divided along language lines leading to antagonism among the Anglophones, the Francophones, and the Lusophones.

In the current world, described as a global village, it is important to know one of the international languages for ease of communication and integration in international affairs. That, however, does not mean that African languages should be belittled.

Children acquire their mother tongue before starting basic education. By the time they join school, most of them are mostly fluent speakers of the languae. Foreign languages, however, are acquired later on while going to school. It is a difficult task to learn a new language and comprehend the concepts that come with it. If children are instructed using their first language, there will be little need to teach the language in advanced form since the students and the teachers will be equal in terms of language mastery.

langauge 2

The current generation of youngsters in the country does not appreciate their language much. Whenever one visits a town (however small it is) they come back to the village struggling with Sheng’ and Kiswahili in the pretext that they have forgotten their mother-tongue despite the fact that it is almost impossible to forget the first language.

language.jpg

African governments should promote mother-tongues and encourage people to name their children using African names. We may lose most of our cultures in trying to adopt the western one; however, we must jealously guard the languages our forefathers left us with; something that took them thousands of years to refine and pass down to the current generations.

Siaya: A blessed county run by a buffoon

The mere mention of Siaya paints a picture of poverty-ridden county full of fishermen attending campaign rallies or throwing stones. Although this stereotype is a big lie, of course, nobody in the county has made any attempt to positively market the county. Siaya suffers from one problem; it is a mighty region led by a clown.

It is not the first time I am referring to Raila’s cousin as an empty head. In overall ranking, the county has repeatedly trailed with some arid and semi arid counties surpassing it in development. This does not come as a surprise because the county boss thinks publicizing his photo in (illegal) Mock exams will make the place become developed by 2030.

Sere Rapids
A section of Sere Rapids in River Nzoia, Ugenya Subcounty in Siaya County

There are several ways the livelihoods of Siaya residents can be improved. The fist lies in tourism. Quite a few people understand just how spectacular Siaya County is. The region bordering Lake Victoria has sandy beaches that can be used to attract visitors. Multiple islands such as Ndenda and Koyamo can also serve as baits to lure tourists to visit the county. Lake Kanyaboli, the second largest ox-bow lake in Africa sits in Siaya County but we let domestic and foreign tourists believe that Kenya can only offer wildlife and the Indian Ocean. Gem Subcounty hosts the famous and spectacular Ndanu Falls while Ugenya brags of River Nzoia that is home to a huge hippopotamus population, multiple rapids and large waterfalls that, if properly marketed, can attract lots of tourists.

Despite all these, Siaya is never mentioned among the counties with tourism potential. Instead, all the county can brag about is an incompetent governor that has only build ECDs for the seven years he has been at the helm. It is a shame that no efforts can be made to at least make Kenyans know that Siaya has the largest number of professors in the country.

A Decade of Stress?

Followers of the Gregorian calendar are well into 2020. Whether they are happily enjoying or not should be left for them to decide. For some of us, however, the advent of 2020 is really scary. The year ushers in a do-or die decade, specifically for those born in the early and mid 90s. In the current setup, the society expects people to settle down and find bearing by the time they hit mid to late thirties. After completing basic education and pursuing a career in the mid twenties, one is expected to move from the Egypt of joblessness, single status, and poverty to a stable Canaan of the mid thirties where an average person should have a spouse, children, and a stable job. One should have also invested on earth (and in heaven for the faithful). When a new decade emerges in 2030, youths between 25 and 29 years old will be full adults in their late thirties unless they become politicians where they can remain youths until they hit seventy years.

stressed

What makes the decade more scary is that the born early 90s still lack stable jobs, are not in very stable relationships, and far from deciding what they exactly want in life. With less than ten years to attain full adulthood, many of these youthful chaps are afraid of this decade with its uncertainties.

Many of us within this age bracket have our eyes wide open to see how we will get money to build homes, advance studies, bring up families, invest, and carry out any other duty the society assigns before the decade ends.

Which Life begins at 40?

Quarter life crisis is killing some of us. Pressure from the society is stronger than ever. Each morning, something new emerges to overwork the already stressed mind. Friend A has married, Friend B has been promoted in their job, while D will graduate with Masters in 2 months. All this while, the poor us are still single, jobless, listed in CRB, and belonging to twenty different WhatsApp wedding groups and committees. Mid and late twenties are not some of the friendliest age bracket in human life. When chaps in this age bracket complain to the older people, the response is usually one; “wait until you grow older, life begins at forty.” But does life really start at forty?

Forty years paper confetti sign.

Forty is an interesting age. It sits right at the junction between youthful and old age. Those who have stayed for four decades somehow believe that at this point, everything falls in place and enjoyment sets in. However several reasons affirm that the number of years the Israelites took in the desert doesn’t automatically usher people into Canaan.

Mortality

Once somebody completes basic education (tertiary level that is), death starts knocking on our brain. At forty, it becomes clearer that the Creator can set the appointment date any time. With the cancer menace, it is quite obvious that individuals in their forties have not started life. Rather, they are standing at graveside waiting for a small push to land in. At this age, almost every weekend is a funeral for a former classmate, friend, or workmate. Bearing mind that average life expectancy in Kenya is about 67 years, knowing that one has less than 30 years to live is not a consoling thought at its best.  At 1560 weeks, diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer and stroke also start to set in. With menopause for ladies and baldness for some men, there is absolutely nothing to smile at, at that age.

Family

Whether one has a family or not, that aspect makes forty not a very lovely age. For those with children, the young ones usually have a lot of demand ranging from food to school fees or maybe posting weird videos online (sorry Consolata Kid). For the unlucky (or lucky depending on your point of view) who are still without family, the need to find a partner and settle down is usually overwhelming.

Financial crisis

There is no single age brackets where a person can claim that they have enough money. Forty, however, appears to be that time where financial mess is a reality. With pressure to invest, children to look after, loans to manage, and the desire to settle down, those who have seen earth for 480 whooping moons can easily find themselves facing serious monetary issues.

If one finds themselves starting life at forty, it means that there is a stage in life they skipped because there is no way life can start at forty for normal and ordinary people.

The First Stone

On that sad day,
He saved my life and soul,
His voice they did obey,
When he challenged them all.

Their hands armed with stones,
Hearts filled with loath,
Faces of scorns and frowns,
They dragged me tearing my cloth.

At His feet they shoved me,
A prostitute condemned to die,
Together they passed a decree,
Fabricated; nothing but a lie,
“Master she was caught in the act,
and Moses said that as such we should kill!”
Mercy and sympathy they lacked,
United in wicked zeal.

Silently He wrote on the ground,
As my accusers incessantly screamed,
Baying for my blood like a hound,
My pleas they didn’t heed,
Then He issued a command,
“Let he who is without sin,
Cast the first stone.”

the sinful woman

As I held my breath,
And waited for a hail of rocks,
To pound my mortal body to death,
I heard feet shuffling and a few clicks,
Then loud silence reigned.
“Where are thy accusers?”
A gentle voice queried,
Though I lacked answers,
“None Lord,” I quivered,
“Neither shall I judge you
Go and sin no more”
That I was forgiven I knew,
How I felt relieved,
My life I’d start a new,
How I felt loved,
And thus I swore,
Never to sin as before!

Owino Ooko

The Unending Final Examinations

The thought of doing the last exam has excited people ever since exams were invented (if at all they were). Students always think that the tests stand between them and good life. That is why a good number celebrate when they submit their last exam. But is it really worth the celebration?

final-1.jpeg

Thrice in life I have celebrated sitting final exams that marked mega chapters in the book of my life. The first was KCPE. Like everybody else, I wanted to join secondary school, start putting on trousers, probably go to a boarding school and disappear from the village, and of course escape the cruel hands of my teachers and parent. Little did I know that the biblical fire and brimstone awaited me on the other side of bank of life. The struggles, bullying, beatings by prefects and teachers, and other miseries in paradise-turned hell are enough to write for lifetime.

After half a decade, came KCSE and again I couldn’t wait to exit high school and join university. My not so young mind was filled with academic Canaan where honey and milk abound. University students who had come for teaching practice convinced some of us that the institutions of higher learning swarmed with beautiful ladies, freedom, and HELB. University turned out to be full of empty pocket, starvation, regrets, and of course exams that I thought I had bid goodbye in high school.

Another four years of disappointments and my mind still did not learn for I treated the last university exams as the liberator, the last of the last exams and the pinnacle of academic excellence. Throughout the experience, one thing stands out; final exams always lead to worse conditions than the previous conditions and are not worth celebrating.

Bachelor Chronicles

Majority agree that a bachelor is a man without a wife although they have attained the right age of marrying. A bigger majority is yet to agree on that ‘right’ age anyway. Members of the wifeless association are not the happiest beings on earth despite what the married guys say. The society always finds ways of reminding one that they need to find their missing rib and woe unto those who procrastinate on this tasks, for the reminder ranges from ridiculous, petty, to harsh and mood breaking. As one of the staunchest members of this union, I have had a fair share of nudging that it is time to give my mother a daughter in law.

bashola

Chronicle 1

So this particular day I come from my daily hustle feeling worn out. All my hungry mind thinks about is how to put my bachelor skills into preparing a meal. If there is one thing unmarried men are good at, it is cooking. Maybe the skill arises out of the freedom to experiment with whatever menu one can imagine of. Sometimes we go overboard though and end up throwing away whatever we have prepared, like this one time I cooked omena and rice in one cooking pot before my tongue reminded me that I do not qualify for a citizenship in the mashakura republic

Back to the original story, when I enter the plot, I find two children playing. As I struggle with my bunch of keys to open my cave, one of the kids asks the other if I am the father of the kid. That’s how bad it is sometimes. Even children know that bachelors should not only be married but also have kids old enough to playing around. Being a Kenyan comes to my rescue as I conclude like any other Kenyan that ‘of importance is life.’

bashola 2

Chronicle 2

In another occasion, I go to a marketing event and I am seated on the tent wondering when the ceremony will come to an end to sample what the catering guys have in store for my hungry tummy. Out of nowhere comes a lady who distracts me from observing other forms of edibles I see rolling in front of me with huge natural luggage. She proceeds to give me two booklets that I find quite irrelevant. One is about the importance of sheathing the weapon before engaging in gland to gland combat and I decide that men naturally know this skill. The other book is about menstruation so I ask the messenger why she should give me a book discussing about how women should take care of themselves during that time of the month while all physical signs (and the predatory glances I keep throwing at her) show that I am a man. The answer that she gives me are meaner that the action of giving me the booklet itself. “You can give the booklet to your daughter for I am sure she needs it,” the lass quips. I swear silently that I am going to marry that same night although it is the millionth time I take this oath.

arried

Chronicle 3

On a different occasion, I attend a Bible study meeting. Finding a wife is not one of my petitions to the creator so don’t get me wrong. The session proceeds well until the moment of saying the final prayer. The volunteer decides to pray for individual members asking God to bless their families. He then boldly mentions me and asks God to bless my family too although I am quite sure he is not talking about my father, mother, and sibling. You see, nobody knows much about me here so whoever prays just assumes I have a better half and a few products of the union hence the prayer. I cannot lie that I said “Amen” after the intercessions

Despite all these, I am not so keen in recanting my status as a msumba anytime soon.

CORRUPTION

I weep for this land,
Where corruption has become a norm,
Where development fund,
In thieves’ pockets find a home,
I weep for this nation,
Where nothing goes right;
We live under the notion,
That corruption we cannot fight.

Take your shield and spear,
This pain we all feel,
Be in the front don’t fear,
This monster today we must kill,
Before it finishes us all,
We must exterminate it,
Else it will bring our downfall,
Creating a society we cannot fit.

Where are you brothers and sisters?
Save the nation and our future,
Be strong be fighters,
Speak out scream louder,
Our tomorrow is at risk,
We must save it
Let us make it our task,
corruption we must defeat.

Corruption has no tribe
Do not say ‘my people,
Alone they receive bribe
You don’t benefit it’s that simple
Let us join our hands,
And bring corruption to a stop,
We need to save our funds,
From these monsters ASAP!

 

Owino Ooko

PONGEZI MWALIMU

  1. Hizi zangu shukrani, ‘toka moyonimwangu,
    Kweli nakuthamani, mdogo nikiwa tangu,
    Ninaweza kupa nini, ewe baraka wa Mungu?
    Pongezi ‘we mwalimu, daima nakusifia

  2. Busara umenijaza, akilini ‘siyafute,
    ‘Menitoa kwa giza, nasema wajue wote,
    Ujinga umefukuza, mabaya yasinipate,
    Pongezi ‘we mwalimu, daima nakusifia.

  3. Adabu umenitia, amani nakaa na jamii,
    Sifa nakumiminia, wala katu sikutanii,
    ‘Taishi kusimulia, ‘livyonifunza bidii,
    Pongezi ‘we mwalimu, daima nakusifia

  4. Mshahara ninapata, zotezo zako juhudi,
    Kama nyota nitameta, ‘tajitahidi zaidi,
    Nyayo zako ‘tafuata, kwao niwe shahidi,
    Pongezi ‘we mwalimu, daima nakusifia.

  5. Chuo au chekechea, kote ‘menielimisha,
    Dunia naelezea, mahali ‘menifikisha,
    Kistadi umenilea, mawazo ‘menisafisha,
    Pongezi ‘we mwalimu, daima nakusifia.

  6. Jua ‘mestahimili, ili nipate elimu,
    Upepo na mvua kali, hazikukutoa hamu,
    Daima ulinijali, kwa mapenzi yal’odumu,
    Pongezi ‘we mwalimu, daima nakusifia.

  7. Mawaidha ‘linijaza, njia nisije potea,
    Darasa nilipocheza, ukali ‘linitolea,
    Daima uliniagiza, masomo kutozembea,
    Pongezi ‘we mwalimu, daima nakusifia

  8. Ulikuwa ‘fano bora, kwa’lo nakushukuru,
    ‘Litaka nisiwe ‘kora, taabu ‘kaninusuru,
    Kwangu yako seera, kwa jamii niwe nuru,
    Pongezi ‘we mwalimu, daima nakusifia.

  9. Ukapateheri njema, na baraka zake Mungu,
    Zidi ‘watendea mema, watoto na ‘jukuu wangu,
    Utajazwa neema, zile tokazo mbingu,
    Pongezi ‘we mwalimu, daima nakusifia.

  10. Imeisha yangu zamu, jukwaa ninaondoka,
    Kilichoko cha muhimu, tuwapendeni hakika,
    Tusiwape pesa adimu, wasije kuteseka,
    Pongezi ‘we mwalimu, daima nakusifia.

Owino Ooko

 

 

BIMA YETU SUPER COVER

  1. Bima afya nchini, debe tunaipigia,
    Mijini hadi ‘shinani, wote twajivunia,
    Hata wal’o masikini, tiba inawafikia,
    Bima yetu supacover, baraka kwawakenya.
  2. Wanazo tele huduma, kutosha kila mmoja,
    Usije jishika tama, hata ndwele zikija,
    Bora uanze mapema, maradhi hayawi hoja,
    Bima yetu supacover, baraka kwa wakenya.
  3. Wanayo ndoto kamili, kuwa bora yao nia,
    Jukumu lao asili, sote tunashabikia,
    Wala bado hawajafeli, kazini ‘wajibikia,
    Bima yetu supacover, baraka kwa wakenya.
  4. Ukitaka ‘pasuaji, fahamu utalipiwa,
    Mwenyewe utajaji, , jinsi utahudumiwa,
    Tena hautahitaji, muchango wa kutibiwa,
    Bima yetu supacover, baraka kwa wakenya.
  5. Watu wote familia, supacover kawacover,
    Hakuna tena kulia, hata ukipata fiva,
    Kote ‘takuhudumia,kazi tamu kama pizza.
    Bima yetu supacover, baraka kwa wakenya.
  6. Wamama waja’ wazito, rahisi kujifungua,
    Kitambo ‘likuwa ndoto, gharama wametimua,
    Ndiposa huu wito, siri tumegundua,
    Bima yetu supacover, baraka kwa wakenya.
  7. Wale watakaofiwa, hawana cha kuwahofu,
    Mazishi utalipiwa, heshima ‘tapata mufu
    Wal’obaki kufidiwa, wasije kuwa hafifu,
    Bima yetu supacover, baraka kwa wakenya.
  8. Mia tano kwa mwezi, upate kinga kamili,
    Usidhani ni upuzi, NHIFu wanajali,
    Wala usitoe chozi, eti we’ hauna mali,
    Bima yetu supacover, baraka kwa wakenya.
  9. Changamoto wako nazo, baadhi tumesikiya,
    Ufisadi nd’o chanzo, wengine wanaibiya,
    Vyote hivi ‘kwazo, bado tunawasifiya,
    Bima yetu supacover, baraka kwa wakenya.
  10. Tunawarayi ‘nzetu, huu ndio wakati,
    Tuyajali maisha’tu, tuwekeni mikakati,
    Tuwalete wenzetu, wote ndani tufiti,
    Bima yetu supacover, baraka kwa wakenya.

Owino Ooko

 

 

TUYAJALI MAZINGIRA

  1. Jukwaa twaingia, tayari kuwaelimisha,
    Jukumu twajipatia, mradi kuwajulisha
    Tusije tukajutia, lengo letu kuwahamasisha
    Tuyajali mazingira, ni jukumu letu sote.

  2. ‘Chafuzi wa mazingira, ni mbaya kutazama,
    machoni inatukera, katu si jambo jema,
    Tena yake maadhara, siyo mazuri daima,
    Tuyajali mazingira, ni jukumu letu sote.

  3. Kutupa ovyo taka, inachangia uchafuzi,
    Mijiniau vichaka, ni mbaya waziwazi,
    Tumeivuka mipaka, watoto kwa wazazi,
    Tuyajali mazingira, ni jukumu letu sote.

  4. Uchafuzi huu jameni, unaleta vifo vingi,
    Aina za saratani, zatuua kwa wingi,
    Mwisho tabaki nani, mapema ‘sipojigangi?
    Tuyajali mazingira, ni jukumu letu sote.

  5. Recycle nd’o jibu, shida kutatuana,
    Kubwa hasa sababu, zipate kutumika tena,
    Tukifanya kiadabu, ‘tapata kazi vijana,
    Tuyajali mazingira, ni jukumu letu sote.

 

  1. Kusafisha huu uchafu, yaweza kutusaidia
    twaweza pata sarafu, hata za kigeni pia,
    uchumi wetu hafifu, kifedha tukaimarishia,
    Tuyajali mazingira, ni jukumu letu sote.

  2. Kwa waziri Tobiko, ni we’ twategemea,
    Jukumu ni lako, kazini usije legea,
    Nasi tuko kando yako, nguvu zetu ‘ongezea,
    Tuyajali mazingira, ni jukumu letu sote.

  3. Hongera kwenu NEMA, kaziyo watambua,
    Nchi ‘metendea mema, kweli mumeamua,
    Wenyewe mumejituma, plastiki ‘timua,
    Tuyajali mazingira, ni jukumu letu sote.

  4. Ni letu sote jukumu, kutupa vyema taka,
    Isije ikawa sumu, tukawa wake mateka,
    Mikakati ya kudumu, ‘nahijati kuiweka,
    Tuyajali mazingira, ni jukumu letu sote

  5. Shairi ‘mehitimisha, jukwaa tunaondoka,
    Ujumbe ‘meifikisha, dua letu ‘mesikika,
    Tujitolee kusuluhisha, nchi ipate ‘nufaika,
    Tuyajali mazingira, ni jukumu letu sote.

Owino Ooko

 

 

 

Proud to be a dog

There are two abuses most people dread in life; one touching on one’s mother and the other is being called a dog. The simplest way to ensure someone ‘closed’ with you was to refer to someone as a dog. Despite being called man’s best friend, many men would rather let the canine creature remain afriend, not replace their name. Some women have taken it far and call all men dogs. The madness in the son of Owino’s head, however, convinces him that being called a dog is a privilege. I mean, why should I become mad when hailed as a fox’s cousin?

When somebody calls me ‘mbwa hii,’ my heart somersaults in joy. First, the dog is an efficient creature, a symbol of prudence, and economy. When the food it has eaten insists it wants to exit via the route it followed rather that from the ordinary end, the wise creature decides to ensure the food goes back to stomach to the stomach with immediate effect? Isn’t that just beautiful? Why should you leave the food you have just eaten go to waste in the name of vomiting? So being called a dog literally means you don’t waste resources.

Have you ever seen dogs in their steamy session? They go for hours just relaxing and having their time. Whether it is day or night, big storm or total darkness, our barking friend just does not give a whatever. In our envy, we try to emulate the mighty dog and name ours after their style. And we still think being called a dog is bad if they can invent sex style?

Dogs are intelligent too. Very intelligent. When your relative who lives 40 kilometers from your home dies, it is quite natural to attend the burial ceremony and the feasting ceremony that follows if we share a tribe with you. Such long distance requires the use of ‘peng’ or motorbikes as odieros baptized them. Once you alight from the vehicle at the gate of the funeral, guess who you meet shaking their tail happily to meet you? It is your dog. If somebody could only give our chicken loving neighbors such a strong ability to smell where delicious food is prepared!

Finally, a dog is one of the most honest creatures. It either knows you or it bites you. A dog will not lie to you that ‘nikumbushe nilikuona wapi’ if it does not have any clue about you. Neither will it share its food with you half heartedly. So if someone calls you a dog, wag your tail (if you are lucky to have one), hang out your tongue and pant in pleasure. But if you are annoyed, you can simply bite whoever dogged you. After all, that’s what dogs do. As a by the way, my relative recently opened a hospital so you can call people dogs and confidently tell them you read it in my blog.

Of Disco Matangas and Early Pregnancies

Kenya, in recent years, has been facing huge problems. Some of these problems are literally big, such as the swollen stomachs of our teenage school going girls. The abdomens are not distended because their parents are feeding them well. No, they discovered different type of food a little early, overfed on it, and, like the holy book says, anything done in darkness will exposed in daylight. So our youngsters walk showing, as Kenyans say, the evidence of what they did.

disco 2

The teenage pregnancy is not as worrying as the solution the government is providing to bring the issue under control. Some old folks sat somewhere and made a simple decision. The teenage pregnancy is on the rise in the country? Good, let us ban disco matanga. According to the government (whoever he or she is), music after burials is the sole cause of our young girls multiplying and filling the earth before they are given an ok. So what is my problem with the decision? Well, everything. It seems whoever makes some of these decisions spent a lot of their time in disco matanga instead of going to school. Either that or they never attended the discos hence the hatred.

Music played during funerals is not enough to make young girls all over Kenya develop interest in sex. Biology and common sense can easily dispel the myth. If a child can attend disco matanga playing in the village loud enough for their parents to hear and prevent them, then it is quite easy for the same children to sneak out when their parents are asleep and visit their boyfriends.

pregnant

Our biggest problem as a country is pretending that we are very religious. Parents and other adults, including teachers do not want to believe that the teenagers are having sex, although the truth is that they are having it in plenty. Once a child hits puberty, the raging hormones do not understand laws forbidding their owners from certain activities. At this stage, the boys and girls have fully developed organs and the little interaction they have had with the world has made them aware that the organs have other more important roles than simply urinating. A cocktail of raging hormones, peer pressure, temptations, and external influences makes it hard for many young people to restrain and wait until marriage.

There are some countries such as India and the UK where there are no disco matangas yet the rate of teenage pregnancy is still high. I am not advocating music to be played in villages at night. If anything, they interfere with my beautiful sleep while in my birthplace. However, we can do better as a country and come up with a more realistic plan.

The solution is simple; teenagers should be offered sex education. Let boys and girls be told on birth control methods. Promoting abstinence has terribly failed. Relying on religion and traditional values may not yield much since we are busy burring our culture while religion gives an option of repentance millions of times. Instead of guiding students to wait until they get married, give them contraceptives and show them how they can use the contraceptives to reduce pregnancy rates. If not, we can go on banning disco matangas while the young ones continue manufacturing the next generation.  

Alcohol Consumption a sin? No please!

Many Christians associate alcohol with sin. In fact, the staunch ones can swear by their ten percent that the intoxicating liquid is the blood of devil and any pious Christian should never touch the cursed drink. But is this what the Bible says? Is the founder of Christianity in agreement with this proclamation that His children should not moisten their throats with this drink whose fans readily sacrifice their livers for its sake?

In the book of Matthew 11:18-19, Jesus says that, “For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He is possessed.’ The Son of Man came, eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ Yet wisdom has been proved right by her actions.”

                                                             

alcohol 2
Glasses of wine. Many denominations condemn the consumption of alcohol based on misinterpretation of the Scriptures

From the above verse, the Son of Man clearly was not talking about drinking water. No, for him to be called a drunkard by the Pharisees Jesus must have been a regular boozer but he clearly ascended to heaven. After the last supper (where Jesus is seen drinking again), he says that He shall not drink wine again until day He drinks the new wine with his followers in God’s kingdom (Matthew 26:29). Throughout the bible, there are several instances where people consume alcohol without any form of condemnation. Only Nazarenes such as Samson and John the Baptists were not allowed to drink. It would have been disastrous for Samson to drink because his career demanded that he was to be sober enough to work on Philistines. History also proves that consumption of wine in Palestine was quite common and it is no surprise that many saints we know regularly consumed alcohol.

It is therefore hypocritical for people to associate the great hangover giver with sin. If Jesus were alive today, it is possible that he would take a glass or two of wine after his meals. Christians should discourage people from taking excess alcohol because of the side effects of the drink such as impaired judgment and health issues but not on religious grounds. Besides, I am very certain that God will not condemn people to burn in eternal fire for using the plants he created to derive a pleasant liquid. It is also important to know that I rarely drink what I preach.

The Media Council of Kenya Is a Shame to Journalism Standards in Kenya

Journalism standards in the country have been improving in a recommendable manner. To instill professionalism in the field of media, the Media Council of Kenya was established in 2007. The body registers journalist and ensures that the latter adhere to the code of conduct.

As an overseer of journalists, MCK established a magazine called the Media Observer where the council points out mistakes which journalists commits in the course of their work while giving recommendations on how to avoid such errors. The idea is worth praising except for one thing; the magazine ends up committing bigger mistakes than whatever it claims to correct.

Almost every issue of the magazine is published with errors that make an amateur journalist like me feel ashamed of my profession. Take an example of The Media Observer Issue 23, 12 June 2018. In one of the articles, the author boldly wonders why journalists say “patients are fighting for their lives yet the patients are in critical condition” Without any sign of shame, the self appointed critic questions how an injured person can fight for their lives. Idioms are taught in primary school and anybody who has undergone the system should be in a position to know that the expression “fight for one’s life” means struggle to stay alive. How the writer got a job with the Media council without Basic English knowledge and how to interpret idiomatic expressions is a mystery. How the same article passed through the hands of editors of the magazine and got published still amazes me.

The Media Observer
A screenshot of The Media Observer Issue 23, 12 June 2018. The circled area shows some of the glaring mistakes that the magazine publishes

The same edition also argued that referring to Ms. Kanze Dena as a girl was erroneous and sexist. The word “girl” has many definitions and is not restricted to a young female human being. There are specific contexts in which a mature female human being can be called a girl without any offense. Men can also be called boys under similar circumstances. It is perfectly fine to call players girls and boys irrespective of their age. A young woman such as Dena with a specified job such as news anchor or spokesperson can be called a girl. I doubt if the audience and readers of The Standard would have been happy to see the headline of the newspaper scream “Coast TV woman uhuru’s new spokesperson.”

Before one qualifies to train as a journalist, they must have attained a given grade in English language. During the training period, journalists spend close to 40% of their time studying English. Writers who end up drafting articles full of mistakes show that they were ill trained and ended up getting jobs through corruption. The editors of The Media Observer are also lazy and do not have mastery of English language. Before media council of Kenya embarks on pointing out mistakes from reporters, they should first clean their own house. I will not be surprised if they respond that they have employed sweepers to ensure their houses are clean.

Dear Great Grandpa Moody Awori;

I am writing this letter to you while as moody as your name. I thought you should also live up to your name after what recently happened and show nothing but displeasure.

Puns aside, Mr. Awori, with all due respect I believe that one of your grandchildren, who definitely is older than me, will read for you this letter word by word. If your glasses are still good enough, you can equally read it although I doubt if based on your age, you can competently use a computer. I do not intend to abuse you sir, far from it. However, let us get to the point without wasting much time since a nonagenarian like you can easily fall asleep within a short notice.

writing 2

Sir, the son of Jomo recently disrupted your retirement and tried to forcibly bring you back to civil service although technically, you should have retired 31 years ago. I believe somebody woke you up to deliver the bad news that you can no longer mull over your golden days as you sit under a tree in your great compound looking at your great grandchildren running about. Maybe you were sitting with fellow old men born several years after you had started serving the great nation of Kenya and discussing how December nowadays if different from the way it used to be during the second world war. Who knows Mr. Awori, maybe you were on the way to your dentist to give a new set of dentures for the 20th time since your last tooth kissed your gum goodbye. I can imagine the annoyance you felt at the craziness that befell the Kiambu tycoon to think that you were still fit to actively serve the nation.

As a gentleman I know you are, you should have let your grandchildren call a press conference and criticize the government for giving you the jobs they qualify to do. They should have screamed at the 50 something year old youth that as a person who once held the second highest office in this former British colony, smaller appointments are demotion and mere disturbance. In fact you should have instructed them to say that you are no longer interested in money because anglo leasing left you wealthy enough. Yes, Arthur, the whole world should have known that at 91, the only appointment you deserve is to see a doctor to fix those problematic joints and get new specs. Even our shameless Jeff cannot ask you if “unaweza kazi” because everybody knows you have retired from all aspects of active life.

moody
Mr Moody Awori during his younger days

I know that old is gold but sometimes gold is worth just watching and not actively using for any purpose. You are a wonderful medal that should be hung on wall for every visitor to see not a trophy to be fought over. I am waiting to hear that you have rejected the appointment stating clearly that you cannot be associated with the government that is making life hard for the friends of your grandchildren (your family is too rich to feel the pinch that ordinary Kenyans persevere).

I hope that the letter does not offend you great grandpa since I have been brought up knowing that I should respect the elders. I should be in good terms with you because you can decide to reject the job and recommend an energetic Kenyan youth like me who deserves the appointment as you work on your pension and remember how 70 years ago, you first joined the workforce in Kenya.

Yours sincerely,

A Youth Who Has Never Stolen From the Government.

Thank you Tiger Battery Company

Thank you Tiger Battery Company

 

Today, I want to pass special thanks to battery companies for saving our lives when we were growing up. The younger generation and people brought up in towns cannot understand what I talking about. Long before mobile phones became common, or before Zuckerberg dropping out of school to run Facebook, there was radio.

The radio was an important gadget. They were cheap to buy and run. But getting money was not that cheap. These radios derived their life juice from dry cell batteries that were not rechargeable. According to the manufacture not the consumer I should add. There were two types of people in village those days; those who could afford EverReady batteries, and the rest. Even the EverReady had sub classes within it; the yellow, red, and black types but I am not interested in them since they lived in a different world.

eveready black paka power

Although Eveready bragged of paka power, their batteries did not have the nine lives of the domestic mouse eater. That strength went to a bigger member of the feline family; there existed a brand of battery called Tiger. The company was designed for poor fellas in mind. Not only were the batteries cheap; they also did miracles that Eveready could not perform. Tiger cried and cried until it started bleeding; then it went on crying as opposed to EverReady that would suddenly grow quiet after using them for one week.

Tiger batteries were quite friendly for the innovative village mind. Once the power had drained from the batteries, there were various methods of squeezing the remaining little power from these chemical cells. One of the most common methods was rolling several cells end to end making a very long roll that would make a Jamaican smoker die of jealousy. The roll was then connected to the treasured radio via some wires then one was free to roam the village and brag of their prowess in managing such a feat.

tiger 2eveready-blue.jpg

Not everybody had these skills that bhang smokers love. The poor ones with two or three dry cells that had gone past their best before dates had also to listen to their favorite programs such KETAU express or some reggae program by Jeff Mwangemi in KBC English Service. And that is where these battery manufacturing companies saved our lives. The simplest method was hitting the batteries to revive their power. A poor folk would sit with a piece of wood and vigorously work on the dry cell while being careful not to break the powerhouse. The daredevils usually wrapped the cells in polythene (NEMA please) and dip them in water. The budding physicist would then boil the cells until they felt that the fire had recharged the cells. Nobody bothered finding out the risk associated with these illegal activities since there were chances of the batteries exploding.

There were also the lazy and uncreative people who sun dried their batteries in the sun (and prayed their batteries were not rained on). These cells would only work for one minute before starting to snore just like their owners would a few minutes. Perhaps, the most important lesson I have learnt from these power companies is that Tiger is a Chinese company and Eveready is an American one; so china keeps winning in African markets.