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Category Archives: Musings

How I Met Uhuru Kenyatta; A Musing and More

Uhuru(2)

Many have asked me to pen a memoir and I fully intend to do so, if anything to put in record that which I have personally witnessed or been a part of. To the extent I can, anyway, for there are things that shall forever remain private, especially as they pertain to public figures I have had the privilege to know or interact with. As I have done previously, I continue to share tidbits here and there, including this one.

The World Bank, through the office of its Vice President for Africa, invited a handful of Kenyans of which I was one to have a meeting at the World Bank offices in Washington DC. The purpose of the meeting was to organize a core group of Kenyans who, in turn, will organize Kenyans in the diaspora to more effectively participate in our country’s economic development.

The recognition was, Kenyans in the diaspora already contribute significantly in Kenya’s economy but mostly by family remittances and other contributions beside direct income and jobs generating activities.

We called this group the Kenya Diaspora Network or KDN.

Although everyone expected yours truly to be the inaugural chairman, this was not a role I wanted to assume, given my then very busy practice and other considerations. Instead, I encouraged a good friend Michael Okomo to vie and we had him elected as chairman.

[I discuss in detail what happened with the group, especially after KCA’s President Mwaniki was invited to join the group, and why I and other founders decided to leave the group and things went downhill from there for the group].

Soon after formation of the group, I had a discussion with the World Bank liaison for groups like this (there were others, including one for Ethiopia and Sri Lanka, which was the pilot country for this World Bank initiative).

In my discussion, I told him I was soon traveling to Kenya and looking forward to bring the group’s vision to the Minister of finance and others.

The gentleman told me this was perfect timing because there was a World Bank Consultative Group Meeting for Kenya taking place in Nairobi at the same time I was planning to be there.

The liaison then arranged to have me credentialed as an observer for the invitation only meeting that was to take place at Safari Park Hotel in April 11 and 12, 2005.

As an invited guest for the meeting, I had an option to stay at Safari Park at reduced rates but I opted to instead stay at Fairview Hotel where I met Ruto for the first time and more on that later.

On the appointed date, April 11, 2005, I was driven to Safari Park and dismissed my driver, with instructions for him to come back later in the evening about 6pm. This is because I was planning to be at the meeting the whole day and ditto the next day.

I then proceeded to the meetings wing of the hotel but could not be admitted to the meeting because I did not have proper credentials. I explained that I was there as an observer by arrangement of the World Bank office in Washington.

The polite staff directed me to go see a Ms. Ruth at the other side of the hotel, which I did. She told me she was expecting me and handed me my name badge as well as other useful information.

I then returned to the venue and this time was welcomed and proceeded to the meeting room, which was actually more like a huge lecture hall.

As always, I never like sitting to the front. I prefer sitting all the way on the back in settings like this and that’s what I did.

As was scanning around, I could immediately recognize the place was full of who’s who in Kenyan government other than Kibaki who was not present.

Everyone else who runs the government or had a stake in how the government was run was there.

During a short break before lunch, I went over to say hi to my political mentor and friend Simeon Nyachae.

As we were talking, several people waved or said hello to him and one, he told him there’s someone I’ll like you to meet.

He then introduced me to someone I already recognized as none other than now President Uhuru Kenyatta.

I had never previously met the man in person but had heard and read a ton about him so, I was pleased to meet and hear him speak one on one like that. As I have previously blogged, my conclusion from that brief meeting was contrary to what I had heard or read up until that point, Uhuru was intelligent, articulate and down to earth like no other person of his background and privilege.

He remains to be so this day.

[More about the meeting, how I also met Amos Wako for the first time, what happened in my brief chat with him about dual citizenship, looking to my right during the meeting and seeing someone sitting all alone, nobody talking to him at all even during the break. It was none other than the now late Nicholas Biwot. I couldn’t believe it; this once so powerful man in Moi era was basically a loner at this meeting! And much more, including how a then cabinet minister and “friend” dodged and basically refused to have his driver drop me in town and why I had to leave earlier than when my own driver could make it back to Safari Park to pick me up]

I will meet Uhuru again, for the second time and this was just after passage of the new constitution referendum before promulgation. I met Uhuru this time at a mutual friend’s house and I told him I was headed back to the United States that evening.

Uhuru told me I should stay for the promulgation then planned about a month later but I told both he and our mutual friend I wished I could but I had to return to the US with intention to plan on coming back for the promulgation as it was going to be the historic event to cap this historic occasion as we ushered in the new constitution. And that’s exactly what I did, namely, returning to the US and then back home 3 weeks later for the promulgation.

..

[More on promulgation, how Kibaki snubbed my friend and not inviting him and his supporters to State House for the party there following Uhuru Park festivities, how my friend was already ahead of this and hard organized an alternative party at the Carnivore, how as I told to wait in my hotel where my special invitation to the Carnivore bash was hand delivered to my room and what went down at the bash itself, including musing with interacting with then Speaker Kenneth Marende, what I told him, his response and how I shook hands and said hello to the late Dr. Kofi Anan and comedy relief involving one Jeremiah Nyagah]

All that and more in my memoirs when finally published.

Including more on Constitutional Change 2.0; the impending referendum.

[unedited]

 

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Posted by on September 25, 2019 in Musings, Politics, Uncategorized

 

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Public Service Musing: Beware of Scammers!

Computer Virus Scam(1)

Well, the scammers nearly got me today!!! I am always very careful not to open any attachments I don’t know the sender or clicking on links while browsing.

I must have let my guard down today because I followed a news story link to a site I regularly read but, as in the case for most of them, I do not follow other suggested stories at the end of the story I am reading, which are typically not from the same source so I don’t bother–except today.

Today, I let my guard down and clicked on another suggested story–and believe it or not, it is a story I ordinarily would not even find interesting to read as it was supposedly about someone dying from taking a selfie from a rooftop!

People dying from doing moronic things such as that I have no time to find out even what happened–and it’s amazing how many really dumb and moronic things people do for who knows what–some downright suicidal!

Anyway, the moment I clicked on the link, my computer screen was filled with a page bearing what looked like a legitimate Microsoft page with an auto voice message saying my computer has been locked due to something about a virus and that to unlock it, I must call the number provided and the message warned not to turn off the computer or restart! I checked the number and determined it was not Microsoft so I immediately knew I am dealing with scams I have only heard or seen on Youtube!

I didn’t quite panic but I took a deep breath and said, “what should I do now?”

Of course, calling brother Claude, who is an expert on these things is what first came to mind as always but, before doing that, I decided to turn off the computer despite the stupid warning; after all, I save important or work related documents on cloud so no worries there.

I restarted the computer but the same stupid page warning was on!

I did this 3 times to the same effect, but I noticed everything else was working such as Word, Outlook email, etc. The only thing I couldn’t do is close the browser.

That’s when I decided to ask Google and he told me to go to Task Manager and tap “End Task” which the blogger suggested should fix the problem.

And it did! Phew!!!

I was fortunate but in reading about this, and from what I know from previously, the way these scammers work, is they scare you into either giving them your password and other personal data or in other cases they ask that you pay, usually $200 for an individual (more for businesses) to “fix” the problem and create a firewall to protect your computer–never mind that you already have one, especially if your computer is new with the latest security features.

Anyway, back to being very, very, careful on what attachments to open and what links to follow I suggest you do the same!

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2019 in Musings

 

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The 12th Kenya National Prayer Breakfast Part I

Uhuru_Musyoka_NPBPresident Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President Wiliam Ruto
with former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka during NPB

A few days after arriving in Nairobi a few weeks ago, I met a friend of a friend who has since become a friend himself and as we were chatting, my new friend mentioned something about the 12th Kenya National Prayer Breakfast (NPB) to be held at Safari Park Hotel on Thursday, May 29, 2014, which was a couple or so days away.

Curious, I probed more about this and at the end of our conversation, my new friend agreed to arrange for an invitation for me to attend the event.

I was initially to send someone to pick up the invitation but as it turned out, my new friend and I subsequently agreed to meet for lunch over something else where afterwards he gave me the invitation.

I have attended a few of these events back in Washington, DC so I was curious and actually looked forward to attend the one in Kenya if anything to find out how we as Kenyans do ours even though the concept is the same.

Just as in the US NPB, guests are required to be seated by 7:30AM latest, which is usually some good time before the president, who’s usually the chief guest, arrives to grace the occasion.

In practice, the time before the president arrives is time for mingling and/or getting to know those seated on your table and tables, save for a handful or so, are usually non-assigned, meaning you seat wherever you find space.

This is intended to maximize opportunity for attendees to meet and make friends with new people, which is not a bad thing at all and is consistent with the nature and purpose of these NPBs.

A funny anecdote regarding being seated and where later.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 28th, 2014, I had a meeting with another friend of mine at his office and the conclusion of that meeting, I asked him if he was attending the NPB to which he answered in the affirmative.

I told him I was, too and asked him if we could ride together even though I had my own driver who could take me to which he also responded in the affirmative.

“I’ll pick you up at 8AM” were his last words to me as we bid each other goodbye and I left his office.

As I was leaving, I found myself wondering why my friend would pick me up at 8am when I was told and the invitation clearly stated guests must be seated by 7:30AM.

Given I know who the person is and that therefore he had to know the protocols and procedures, I didn’t make much of it.

The following morning my phone rang at just a few minutes after 7am, “sorry, we must leave now!” were the words on the other end.

It was my friend who noted he was mistaken as to what time we were to be at the venue.

Fortunately, I had gotten up early and was already getting ready so I told him I was ready.

“Where are you?” my friend inquired, “Well, I am at _______but I can’t really tell you how to get here so let me get someone to tell you.”

I had someone give my friend’s driver instructions only to have them drive right past the gate and discovered this at a point where coming back would take forever as it would be with traffic.

Realizing this, my friend called me and wondered if in lieu of him coming back with that heavy traffic, if I could just walk over to where they had pulled over and not too far from where I was I said I would and did just that.

That was an experience as is the case walking anywhere in Nairobi for yours truly which I avoid altogether for a number of reasons not the least of which is I never know which side to look for traffic, coming from the Keep Right world, the rude, unyielding drivers who would rather run you over than be 3 seconds late to kiss the car bumper parked ahead and going absolutely nowhere in heavy, non-moving traffic, fear of being hit dead cold in the face by a stranger who doesn’t like the way you look, etc.

Indeed, the last time I recall actually walking CBD was a long time ago I was with my sister and suddenly, out of nowhere, this lady carrying a baby appeared and started walking side-by-side with us asking for money.

My sister quickly took some cash from her purse and gave her what she would later tell me was a large bill but she didn’t care.

“Did you see what she had on her hand,” my sister inquired.

“No I didn’t; what was it?”

“She had spit likely mixed with poop on her hand had we refused to give her money, she would have dumped the entire content on our faces!”

I am fairly certain that was the last time I walked anywhere beyond into and out of a car into or from a building in CBD.

But I digress.

Back to walking toward where my friend had pulled over, this made sense because we were already late and any further delay in traffic would make matters worse so with someone in tow or more precisely ahead of me, we briskly walked toward where my friend was waiting and in less than 10 minutes I was in his car and off we left for Safari Park.

As it would turn out, we arrived ahead of the president and actually still found people mingling but given there were no seats assigned, save for a few individuals like the president, the Speakers, some cabinet secretaries, etc, my friend just told me to watch wherever he sits and sit on the same table as we were to leave together immediately the president finished making his remarks as both he and I separately had other engagements following the event and did not want to be caught up with everyone leaving.

My friend then takes a seat on one of the few designated tables this one for diplomats but knowing I was not my friend, I said to myself, “no; don’t sit there lest some diplomat comes and you’re told to get moving!”

More on this later–the anecdote I first refer to above.

So, next to the table my friend took a seat was another table where there was only one person sitting out of a possible 10. The table was the first one to the right of the entrance to the huge tent where the event was held, and therefore next to the open air and field, which was ideal for me as I tend to get closer phobic.

As soon as I took my seat and said hi to the only other person sitting there, I saw the table was also reserved for diplomats!

Fortunately, it turned out to be an overflow table for diplomats and several other late comers who were not diplomats joined us to my relief one actually turned out to be a brother of my friend and he and I have also since become good friends.

One of these was a Parliamentary staff member who by way of introduction said I could never figure where she was from going by her last name and surely enough I couldn’t; it turns out she’s from one of our little known communities I now forget (no pun intended) but I was nonetheless happy to see a young member of this community as she is doing something within the corridors of power and hope that she, too, can some day be just that power.

Shortly thereafter, the president and his entourage entered and the program started.

More in Part II coming soon.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2014 in Musings, Politics, Religion

 

Bravado and Pride of Luos: Fact or Myth and If Fact, Is There Anything Wrong With It?

I read with interest an article yesterday in the East African Standard Online titled, Bravado and Pride, the Key Tenets of the Luo which essentially says or purported to make the case that Luos have a “flamboyant nature and sense of style founded on three tenets, pakruok (self praise), nyadhi (bravado) and sunga (pride).

For the convenience of those pressed with time, the following are excerpts from the article:

“It is not uncommon to find a [Luo soccer] fan putting on a jersey inscribed with the writings reading owad gi agwambo (Agwambo’s brother), Wuod Gem (I hail from Gem) denoting that the wearer is proud of his birth place while wuoyi mosomo (highly educated) indicating the wearer’s high level of education.”

“This is in addition to their polished and eloquence in command of the English language, otherwise known as The Queen’s English.”

“The Luo tribe also brags of many professionals dominant in nearly every area of Kenya’s economic sectors and policy making.”

A man from former Central Province interviewed for the article, said, “”These brothers of ours are the most versatile of our tribes. They pride themselves in being the hardest working and most learned in Kenya. They can be found in large numbers in all social groupings, from the manual labourers in the quarries to university halls the world over, they are found everywhere.”

All this bravado and expression of pride is done in good faith, said another person interviewed for the article, professor Ouma Onyango, a history lecturer at Maseno University.

Another contributor, a psychologist, sees nothing wrong with bravado and expression of pride, if not done in excess.

“There is nothing wrong in praising yourself if you have done something really good. It is praising yourself in front of other people that is wrong, because people might think you are bragging about your achievements and qualities, sort of blowing your own trumpet in front of others, which I guess no one likes,” said the psychologist, Paul Maranga.

Curious after reading this article, I posted it in its entirety a forum with a fair balance of Luos and other tribes and ethnicities, wishing to know what their take on it would be.

First, I was surprised at the dearth of responses; I certainly anticipated this would generate an interesting discussion about tribalism and ethnicity, outside of the usual political prism, even though there is no separating politics from the issue.

Second, the couple of responses I saw were hardly surprising as they were from individuals I assume are Luos, affirming the same concept.

The one non-Luo who contributed in the thread, essentially found fault in my posting the article for discussion, which I could not and still can’t see what that could possibly be.

I have since reflected on the article and have several observations.

To begin with, there is no doubt this is a sensitive subject in as much as it goes to the core of who we are as individuals and in many ways, it forces us to look at both ourselves inwardly but more importantly, it exposes our vulnerabilities both from a practical point of view, and culturally to the point any expression of views on it to others becomes circumscribed for fear of the unknown.

In other words, we cannot express ourselves fully on an issue like this without fear of being branded arrogant tribalists, in the case of a Luo who does so express oneself agrees with the article or a brooding tribalist and hater, in the case of one who so expresses oneself in disagreement.

But this need not be the case.

As the psychologist said in the article, there is nothing wrong to express pride for oneself of one’s community; the problem is if one does it excessively.

What is excessive?

That’s the question but it’s not one which renders itself to a simple answer.

As in such questions, the answer depends on any number of factors and circumstances presented for evaluation.

The soccer fan at Nyayo Stadium with a jersey announcing he is from such and such village, is probably out-of-place.

It’s not villages that are in competition, but groups of villages, as represented by these teams therefore the promotion of one village over the others is in by itself the definition of anti-teamwork, which is necessarily counterintuitive and counterproductive, if displaying such messages intended to express oneness with the team, or support for it.

Ditto for a blogger in a forum, who announces he or she is from such and such village; which village where one comes from, is not relevant in a discussion of national issues but is very relevant in the discussion of regional issues, thus, in a forum, say, dealing with Lake region issues, such pronouncements are appropriate.

Let them try and out-do each other as to who is from which village and why that’s important or something to be emulated, if that’s the purpose for such declarations.

I suppose the reason people find it offensive or unacceptable to make such declarations in either regional or national fora, is it is assumed such declarations are intended to make those from other villages feel less Luo or worthy of mention, if in a regional Luo forum, or less Kenyans and humans for that matter, if in a national forum.

I personally never think so and actually find such declarations almost comical.

Now, on the larger question of bravado and pride, I find it a fascinating subject because it’s both a good thing but equally undesirable.

I come from a family of 10, with one mother, who is still around and we are thankful to God for that.

Our Mzee passed on a few years ago but if there is one thing he left in all of his children starting from our oldest now over 70 and retired to yours truly, who is the youngest, it’s never to chest-thumb or otherwise brag and none of us ever has and doubt ever will, as anyone who knows us will tell you.

There is greatness in being humble, but don’t be average either.

That was the lesson all of us learned from our Mzee who, having retired early as the head of the African Tribunal Court, went on to become a highly respected member of the community, besides becoming a staunch Adventist and elder of our SDA Church to the day he passed on.

I am glad I and my siblings learned this lesson and applied it in our lives as we grew up and hopefully have passed it on to our children (to say we have, is not to be humble so I can’t say we have or have not, or is it?).

But is being the opposite necessarily a bad thing?

In other words, isn’t there some utility in bravado and one proudly expressing oneself?

I think so, but only to some extent.

This, namely bravado and proudly expressing oneself and its appropriateness, in fact, becomes one of degree, but the question, as I posed above becomes, when is such expression excessive?

There are two extremes of this, as in many things, ranging from the most arrogant to the most humble.

Neither end is a desirable position to be, albeit for different reasons I address below.

Here in the US, there is a Radio Talk Show host by the name Rush Limbaugh, who someone once published a book he aptly titled, “Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot.”

That book sold like hot cakes and its author, Al Franken, is now a United States Senator.

This Big Fat Idiot, Rush Limbaugh must win hands-down, the title, the World’s Most Arrogant Person, and all you have to do, is to listen to the various ways he introduces himself to know he takes the title hands down:

“Talent on Loan from God,” “Maha-Rushi” (from Maharishi, a great sage);     “Serving humanity just by being here, and it doesn’t matter where here is,” “exuding knowledge and information with half my brain tied behind my back, just to make it fair” (this from a High School-drop-out), “Doctor of Democracy” and so on.

We all know Idi Amini and the titles he bestowed on himself in his foolish believe that would make him the super military general he was not but for his effort, he must be mentioned alongside this Big Fat Idiot Rush Limbaugh for he must be his runner-up.

These two are representative of the one extreme of self-expression but say what anyone can about the Big Fat Idiot Rush Limbaugh, he has a cult-like following among Republicans and even non-Republican listeners that have for decades made him the #1 Talk Show Host and a position he has maintained unchallenged all those years because he knows how to grab and keep his audience with endless rants and raves about Democrats and hubris.

So much such that when he brags about himself, these mindless listeners believe him and often acknowledge and remind him as much.

On the other end of the scale, there is extreme humbleness, which is a form of weakness and here, the perfect example is Jimmy Carter.

You cannot find in any country’s history, a president more humble than Jimmy Carter, yet, he was deemed a failure, even though he redeemed himself after leaving office to become the most popular president out of office in American history, right up there with the likes of Dwight Eisenhower, FDR and JFK Kennedy, men who in their own time, were humble in their own ways albeit to a much lesser extent than Jimmy Carter.

In between, these two extremes, there is a variety of self-expression and manifestation of assuredness and humility or lack thereof that ranges in degree from the acceptable to the unacceptable.

Where are the Luos in all of that? Is it as the article implied on the Limbaugh end or the Carter end, or neither?

In my view, this is necessarily a mischievous rap on Luos.

Luos have no more bravado and neither are they more openly expressive of their pride than any other tribe in Kenya.

This may be true among the younger generation of Luos but in time, as people move away from their enclaves and interact with others, some of the learned habits are unlearned and a blending of attitudes and mannerisms occur such that it makes no difference where one tribally or ethnically comes from but that does not mean there are not those left with their old habits and manners they are unable to shake.

I therefore reject this notion that bravado and expression of self-pride is the stable of Luos but would readily agree, if it’s a matter of propensity we are talking about, then there is amble anecdotal evidence to suggest its more likely than not a Luo would manifest bravado and more readily and comfortably show his or her pride than similarly situation folk from other tribes but only up-to a certain age.

Talking about pride and arrogance, many a politician or wannabes politicans have again and again been jettisoned from politics because of enlarged egos brought about by too much bravado and arrogance.

To be sure, pride in oneself, self-assuredness and confidence are key and required elements of a successful political career.

However, those same traits must always be put in check, especially as against other politicians.

PLO is being shown the door, not for incompetence in running KACC, in my view, but because he was perceived by the politicians as being arrogant and essentially telegraphing that he believed he had them all in his hand to threaten and abuse at will, which is the height of arrogance but less than the Big Fat Idiot Rush Limbaugh’s because the latter can express it and get away with it but not the former.

To be continued.

Peace, Love and Unity

Omwenga.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Musings, Social

 

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My Musings And Recollections About Life III

Most of us have literally grown and come of age in the Diaspora, having come here when we were very young. I was barely 20 when I first landed in the United States and, like many before me, and I assume others that followed, I had no clue what to expect other than life was supposed to be closer to what was depicted in the TV show Dallas, which I used to enjoy watching before venturing to the US, than what it actually was or became.

Having been in these foreign lands for close to three decades, I can say I have seen and done it all—well, almost all and would some-day like to pen a book to memorialize some of it for posterity’s sake.

And, boy, do we have stories we can tell about life in America!

Some, we can laugh about them now but they were not laughing matters at all when they happened. For example, when I first came to the US, folded and tucked neatly in my suitcase was a price possession from my last days of high school: very expensive—even by today’s standard, pink corduroy jeans.

Yes, pink corduroy, jeans!

Now, without having any clue, I would wear these pair of jeans with a shirt that did not often match, complete with an eagle necklace and matching gold bracelent and head to a favorite club down the street with my friends in the hopes of, of course, ahh…having fun and bringing home a trophy to account for the hard work.

I did this a few different times until one lady friend I met in one of these excursions, and would later date, told me pink was a color of choice for homosexuals!!!!

I was shocked, disgusted and traumatized for days and weeks but I finally somewhat got over it.

I up-to that point had no idea that homosexuality existed! In fact, I refused to believe there were Kenyan gays at home or even here in the US until just recently when I resigned to the fact in disbelief when I was given names including some very prominent people.

What a shocker it was though back then when I first found out that homosexuality even existed.

Fast forward and these days apparently pink is a mainstream color but you’ll never see me wearing it regardless.

Interestingly, there was a story here in the US the other day where parents “gave in” to their 7-year or so old boy’s wishes to be dressed in pink and as a ballerina.

Seeing the way the boy looks and talked, one could not but conclude he is definitely heading there but the question is, where did that come from? Naturally? I doubt it; it’s parents like these who contribute to this anomaly.

Indeed, I told my wife when watching the story that if this was in a normal African or Kenyan household, the boy will be whipped so silly he will be seeing different colors other than pink.

I was bound to find out about homosexuality back in those days sooner or later and sooner it was: Those days, Kenyans used to have weekly house parties and never liked going to clubs (only handful of us were adventurous enough to do so) so one time there was this house party taking place.

Having worked double shifts in addition to going to school and after a few drinks, several party goers–all men–decided to crash in one bed at least to get some zzzs before facing another day of school and double shift of work.

The partying got louder into the wee hours so a neighbor called the police, who upon entering the apartment, found several of the Kenyan male partiers totally passed out on the one bed!

It took some serious convincing of these officers that this was purely an innocent thing; the dudes had merely gotten drunk and tired and decided to crash before time was up to go to school and work again, and nothing more.

Fortunately, the police believed us and simply told us the party was over, and thus spared these innocent fellas from being busted for sodomy, which is still a crime in Texas.

We may now know that homosexuality exists among Kenyans, but I still find it to be an abomination that must never be allowed to sully traditional notions of family and by that I mean, let the homosexuals have as many rights as they can have, but we must draw the line at not allowing them to marry or openly engage in anything that defies our natural orientation and sensibilities, such as kissing in public or otherwise displaying acts of affection in public.

I should hasten to add I also do not approve of even heterosexuals doing the same, albeit for different reasons which have to do with degree as opposed to the acts themselves.

Thus, discrete to moderate is okay, excessive and exhibitionist not okay.

My position is, let the gays do these in the confines of their own privacy and ditto for the excessive and exhibitionist types.

I know some would rush to assume I am homophobic by saying what I have but I am not.

As president of the Student Bar at my law school in the mid-90s and in charge of distribution of funds to various student organizations, I made it a point to secure funding for an organization for gay and lesbian students, which was previously shunned and ignored at the school.

Indeed, this was true of gay rights across the country at the time.

As it were, a leader of the gay organization happened to be a friend but I had no clue he was gay and did not secure funding for the organization because of him.

I just knew it was the right thing to do that is why I hold the position I do, and that is, let’s not deny homosexuals rights everyone enjoys but let’s draw the line on interfering with traditional notions of family and our natural sensibilities about things of this nature for doing otherwise would, indeed, mark the end of the world but as an Adventist, it just might also bring about the return of the Messiah—not necessarily a bad thing.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2011 in Musings

 

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My Musings and Recollections About Life and Other Things Part II

If you find me watching TV, it’s likely going to be I am watching news programming, nature or informational/educational shows with the kids, or some old movie or show. I am not into any of the current TV shows and completely refuse to watch the Reality TV shows that now dominate the TV sets across this land we call temporary home.

No one has yet to convince me about, even the entertainment value in any of these reality shows, but I understand everyone is different and some can’t wait to watch the next episode or even re-runs of any one of them.

For me, watching Three’s Company or other old shows like the Saint, or Are You Being Served or the Masterpieces, for the 20th time is much better than watching any of these current TV shows.

As to movies, I can’t remember which decade I was last at a movie theater but I remember Cameo and Odeon in Nairobi very well from back in the day. Back then, taking a date to watch a movie in either of those theaters was the height of one’s life; well, almost.

Talking about Cameo and Odeon, neither is anything close to what it used to be—even going back two decades when I think everything started taking a dive for the worse. That’s just one sign of how bad things have become in the country.

I can go down the list of other things that the young reading this blog have no clue how good they used to be, but that will take the whole day except let me just mention Fanta is not what it used to be; butter, is not what it used to be; does Tree Top even exist anymore?

And that’s just at the bottom of the list.

Very tragic, indeed, how bad things have gotten, when they didn’t have to.

If I were president today, I’ll move mountains to return things to where they used to be and even have them stay there permanently for that’s 1 million times better than where things are today.

By the way, change doesn’t and shouldn’t necessarily mean doing away with the old; not at all; some things are just as good today as they will be 100 years from today, if not better, without changing a thing about them.

For example, I’ll still prefer to watch my old movies and shows no matter how much advances are made in either, technologically or otherwise.

My wife figured this a long time ago for, after years of lack of interest, she finally took the advice if you can’t beat them, you join them so she, too, now is into watching some old TV shows and some old movies.

Okay, she only likes two or three old TV shows but that’s a good start, even though it’s been more than 10 years since she showed interest and started albeit rarely watching the only old TV shows she likes.

We have a lifetime together–God willing, though, so by the time we are rocking chairs somewhere in old age, she might get around to liking all of my old shows when I suspect I may be preferring to watch a current show at that time like Single Ladies, a current hot series my wife likes to watch depicting the lives of 3 hot chicks from Atlanta, one a successful black business woman entrepreneur designer catering to the rich and famous, another a black gold-digger with the looks and mouth to match, who is after her clients’ money and their white female friend caught in between the two lifestyles.

Don’t they say the older you get the younger you become?

Talking about old shows, one old show that my wife likes and we sometimes watch together, is I Love Lucy (the other one being I Dream of Jeannie).

The other day, we were watching I Love Lucy and Ricky (the main character) pulled up his chair ready for breakfast, newspaper at hand.

As he did so, I told my wife how things have really changed to the point I cannot remember the last time I actually physically held a newspaper on hand to read here in the US; must be at least several years ago.

Everything is online now.

I know hard-copy newspapers are still the in thing back home and in fact enjoy having to read same when I am at home but the I Love Lucy newspaper episode had me thinking about these changing times and habits, thus prompting me to pen this blog.

For example, talking about newspaper reading, I remember getting hold of a current copy when growing up was such a rare thing it was manna finally getting one to read—even days and weeks old one.

For me, I was assured of a current daily only once every two weeks when my late Mzee will go to the big city (Kisii Town) to haul his regular re-stocking supply for his general hardware and supply store in our small city (Nyamace Market).

I would at least on that day get a current copy of the newspaper.

And two weeks supply of past editions.

You see, Mzee had to buy bundles of old newspapers from his goods supplier, an Indian (more about him below) and the intended purpose for these used newspapers, was to wrap things for customer’s at Mzee’s shop.

The other albeit unintended purpose from Mzee’s perspective, was for my friends and I to catch up with the news of days and weeks before, or get details of snippets we had heard on the radio.

If a bundle of these unused newspapers was supposed to last two weeks, Mzee would be puzzled why it did not and was forced to send for more before his scheduled by-weekly trip to Kisii to restock.

Little did he know that his generous son was discretely re-distributing the used newspapers to his friends and thus the fast disappearance and this went on forever without being caught.

It was one of the “confessions” to be made at Mzee’s death-bed in old age much to his enjoyment. I say confessions in quotation marks because some of these confessions by I and others Mzee figured as much when they were occurring but acquiesced.

One confession I remember vividly came from Mom as Mzee was lying on a sofa in our family living room, with several family and friends visiting him. He had by this time gotten much weaker and lost quite a bit of weight (he was quite an imposing figure in his life and thus the Luambo or Makiadi nickname) but he was nonetheless active in mind but said little much as he always never did in his life.

So, with family, neighbors and friends reminiscing on that day, Mom told of her elaborate scheme that lasted years to supply some of my uncles 10 wives with things from the shop, behind my father’s knowledge and unbeknownst to his brother either, the late flamboyant Senior Chief Mathayo Ratemo (SCM Ratemo), when the latter refused to provide for them as punishment or other reasons, including there just not being enough to go around.

Unlike my father and his other brother who each had only one wife, SCM Ratemo had 10 wives. I have a whole book about my uncle, some of my cousins and polygamy, to write some day.

I have already elsewhere shared about one of my cousin’s son I helped go to Russia in lieu of I and what life would have been like had I gone to Russia instead of coming to America. I noted in that blog I know for sure I would not be married to my wife, had I gone to Russia because, even though from neighboring Rwanda, we met here in the US.

And what a tragedy it would have been for there is no one I could have met in Russia or anywhere else in the world, who could come even close to be the wife my wife is or the excellent mother of our wonderful children that she is!

I believe God God has life perfectly planned for all of us, all the way, we just don’t know it and when we don’t get there, it’s simply because we fail to stay close enough to him, to see the leads.

For his part, my cousin’s son, too, wonders, what life would have been for him, had he not gone to Russia, which he was completely not even thinking about, let alone going overseas for further studies until I showed up to ask him to come back to Nairobi with me and apply for this scholarship I was offered but could not take because it was in science and I hated science but I knew he loved it. I am happy he successfully completed his studies in Russia and so is he. He is now a professor back home.

To be continued.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Musings

 

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