Jul 27, 2009


Walk down the streets of Nairobi or any major town to any bus terminus. Think of any good looking young man, smartly dressed in the latest fashion and you will see him there. Meet him in a fourteen sitter on his spinning seat, his staring eyes will literally steer you clear from him. A welcoming wink of an eye for a lady and perhaps some compliment is his secret of making the fourteen fully occupied. With loud music under his seat, the guy is confident of pocketing hefty pecks at the end of the day. Watch him; his chewing of miraa (curt) will remind you of a stray goat in your village.

A matatu driver, an adversary to traffic police will always have money in his driving license just in case, a survival tactic. He and his hydrophobic assistant called the makamba are the big headed managers of our traffic. Reckless overtaking, overspeeding, overshouting and thunderous music are very characteristic to them. Try get on their way crossing the Zebra lines and you will be bedeviled. They shout fifty fifty but wait until you face the makanga.The lunatic will treat you like a fool of the 20th century, that you heard it all wrong. You will be surprised, reduced to paying twenty more in very embarrassing circumstances.

Lucky is you, a young submissive cute lady, you won’t pay a penny if a falsified affluent matatu driver sets eye on you. Our college ladies are the most vulnerable. I wonder how matatu drivers manage to ignite them. A matatu driver will somehow rather have some-one for the road. Go to entertainment lobbies, you will find him there entertaining the young and innocent with all types of alcoholic drinks. These tender ones will rather play truant on Friday evening than throw an opportunity of squandering money with a pretentious matatu driver. Then they will come back so smitten, so hell-bent and swollen like bedbugs looking forward for the next day. And snobbish they exhibit, but dare you complain and experience how they throw back to your face.

His language is fascinating, the so called shen’g and some neither here nor their broken English intrigues. Our local musicians really admire him; I see them on T.V everyday mimicking a matatu driver. The flamboyance has gone down to our college boys and girls and even percolated to secondary schools. The dress code, language and behavior are enough to narrate the whole story.

Matatus having artistic images and some blinding DVD screens with effing hoofers are exorbitantly expensive to board. A matatu driver makes a lot of money out of this extraordinary entrepreneurship, doesn’t he? Wait until it rains, you will pay him everything and go hungry for several days!

With or without a matatu driver, this roughshod needs not to be embraced. This extremely obnoxious proliferating infamy deserves being hurtled limbo or else aggravate. And who said that a matatu driver is precisely a fellow who drives matatus? 

By Duke Mwancha.

Jul 22, 2009


A few months ago, it was hard to belief that president Barrack Obama would triumph over Senator John McCain in US elections. Obama made history for being the first African American to become president of the United States of America. He is famed for his charisma and alacrity that charges many with hope in America and across the world. Had he been Martin Luther’s son, he would certainly be a chip off the old block.

The embracing of a black person by Americans as president is the greatest thing that could ever happen to the Negro society, keeping in mind that an American leader is also the world leader. But have you imagined what could be the case if the Obama-McCain race was in a different environment, in Kenya for that matter?

If all that happened in 2007 is anything to go by, then I can’t imagine the infamy that everybody would live to remember. Obama would be given a direct nomination by his party following his sensational dwarfing speeches. His party also would conduct the most fraudulent party nominations ever and baptize them “free and fair”.

Kenya has been a powder keg of ethnic mistrust, betrayal and imbalance. The ethnic stereotypes that we so innocently pander would take center stage at the expense of nationalism and patriotism.Obama would be accused for coming from a community that has held on presidency for too long. He could also be accused for coming from a minority tribe or a community that “will never lead Kenyans”. Political platforms would be characterized by the “domo” “domo” hate campaigns. His opponents would capitalize on this and move for a kill.

News stories on Obama would take the lion’s share of space in particular media houses as was religiously done by the main-stream media in 2007. The opposite could also happen to him depending on the media house and the community it supported. The press would forget media ethics and professionalism and run all sorts of unethical political adverts to safeguard their interests.

Obama would be termed as a very dangerous man, fish marketer or a coward just to instill fear in voters and ensure he does not succeed. Our vocal friends from the civil society would also go tribal. The men and women who are supposed to protect us from the private sector’s exploitation would kill the goose that lays the golden egg. With all their influence, some would shoot up hands for Obama and others against him and confuse Kenyans whom they often think cannot make decisions independently.

Kenyans would desperately be besieged to vote for Obama or jeopardize his chances by turning in large numbers at the polling stations. His party would skim to rig, yet cry foul innocently over rigging plans by other parties. The ECK would be put under pressure and people would hurl skepticism claims over its mandate and credibility. Many people would be perished for supporting Obama or even for supporting his opponents. Such more would happen as was literally transpired in this country towards the tail end of 2007.

However, this was abysmal. The intransigent for such thinking can never be expected to be the prerequisite for a mature nation. One wonders if by any chance in our savvy, we have learned anything from our American brothers and sisters. Perhaps our leadership fraternity needs to borrow a leaf from US politics. This might redeem us a great deal even as we brag that Obama’s ancestral blood lives in Kenya.By Duke Mwancha.


Kenya’s history is still fresh in the minds of those who cared to incubate it. Perhaps the most memorable one is how Kenyans united to deliver themselves, from the canines of the white lions from Manchester forest in the Kenyan jungle forty five years ago.

At the threshold of building the nation, Kenyans were frequently seduced by a monster called tribalism. Some call it negative ethnicity. This monster lured and rendered Kenyans bigotry of subscribing to tribal cocoons on matters political. This cradle annihilated our independence spirit and jeopardized our national cohesion. It baptized and consigned us into parochial politic. Over years it has arguably retarded our development growth and perpetuatively initiated tribal conflict. The 1992 tribal clashes and the 2008 post election crisis are some of the clear-cut examples of the mess this monster has driven us to.

Kenya is not the sole country in the world with numerous tribal affiliations. I am being baffled by the magnitude this diversity has taken and the extreme it has reached. Today notwithstanding the memories of where we have come from and the number of people counting loses; our unscrupulous political class is at it again. They are injudiciously campaigning for the next general elections; they are engineering malice against each other devoid of efforts to kill ethnicity.

A section of Kenyans continue to wallow in the abyss of abject poverty. Others in the name of politicians are blissfully enjoying their allowances tax free. They are unarguably either oblivious or ignorant of the prevailing circumstances. It is wrong for them to presume that they are leading us when all they are doing is literally emptying our pockets more aggressively driving us from the frying pan into the fire.

We Kenyans have a common challenge; we should stop bragging about our history [Independence] and start thinking of where we are going. We should as well stop waiting for good things before us [vision 2030] and put curb on the hindrances that stop us from getting there sooner. Thus what lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. Destiny is not a matter of chance but a matter of choice, it is not something to be waited for but something to work for.

We have a tendency of masquerading to be saints clean of tribalism in public places but replenished of the double dyed spirit in our offices and homes with our friends. This is unfortunately having a cake and eating it too, an instinct worse than that of the wild pig. What is fundamentally essential for Kenyans is to once and for all arrest the monster and hung it on the cross without trial like they did to Jesus Christ two thousand years ago. This big sacrifice will do much in rendering our country big redemption.

Our politicians who are the main architects as well as the accomplices of the big monster should stop rhetoric, shoot from the hip rather than serving from the lip. We on the double need to find cure of myopia for our politicians, a malady that is abysmal and lethal to the health of our national eyes. We cannot curb ethnicity by pointing fingers and hurling blame on each other. If we insist on doing this, we will only be postponing the day of reckoning as we have done in the past making it potentially much more devastating.

It is our responsibility too to dig the deepest grave for the monster and certainly the obligation of the political class to disown it, force it to hurtle down to the grave like the meteor that consigned the dinosaur family extinct sixty four million years ago. To ensure that it does not haunt us and baffle everyone like the proverbial phoenix, we should embrace powerful mental and moral sanctions from the cradle which will subsequently banish tribalism from our national fabric.

By Duke Mwancha.