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Thursday, 28 February 2013

All LUOS especially those supporting RAILA ODINGA blindly …..

Kenya is heading towards an election, and as usual, the battle lines were drawn a long time ago. I observe from the Diaspora, though I visit every year

On the one side of this line, stands my tribesmen and another, whilst the other side is also made up of two other major tribes. The rest support either side of the antagonist.

But it is my fellow brothers and sisters from the lakeside who I wish to address
For a very long time, we have fed this nation with brilliant intellectuals in each and every field conceivable.

However, we have continued to behave like captives of illiteracy and ignorance. This, we have paid a heavy price for, as our homeland has been a bedrock of all that ails a society; poverty, HIV Aids, Political thuggery, dwindling resources, wife inheritance…..etc

Yet through all this, we have allowed ourselves to be enslaved and or held captive politically by one family. The last remaining Chiefdom in Kenya.

However, a look at the rest of the nation paints a picture of other communities who have embraced diverse leaders with divergent opinions that ensure that one family and or individual holds sway over a whole people, their hens, livestock etc.

The upshot of this has been that we have allowed ourselves to be led through paths that have not augured well for us, either politically, socially or economically by a minority among us, that has exploited the unemployed and uneducated in our midst to create a cult like following, that is beneficial to no one in particular. Nyalwenda and Manyatta have remained the same pathetic crime ridden slums since time in memorial. They have no importance to the ruling class at all, and only feature during elections, where we are promised that they will be turned into miniature Switzlands!!!!!

Consequently, this has seen our region producing some of the most astute, accomplished and dedicated sycophants and bootlickers. That what they support is wrong does not matter until the ego of one man is massaged, soothed and praised.

Few examples will serve.....The Hon James Orengo and Nyongo, both very brilliant minds in their fields have had the indignity of been unelected to parliament at the expense of lesser minds when they were in Ngilus SDP just because they were not in chama ya baba.

Today you might mistake the two for bodyguards of you know who. Shame!!

A look at other regions of this country paints a different picture;.....In Eastern, the Kalonzo/Ngilu Rivaly ensures that the Kambas have a choice. In Central, the Uhuru/Kenneth and uncompromising Karua ensures a choice for any disgruntleds, Our shemejis have Musalia/Watengula axis, Kisii-Obure/Ongeri. Even at the Coast, they have no one leader there, the Joho/Shabhal axis is providing people with a choice, same case for the Rift- Ruto/Moi.

This is matured leadership and democracy.

However in Luo Nyanza, sycophantism rears its head big time. One man and his family are everything. So much that his siblings, cousins etc wanted to impose themselves on the electorate.

That is why as much as I weep for, my Luo nation, I am much encouraged by the drama that was witnessed during the primaries in Luo Nyanza when a tired, burdened people finally said a BIG NO, that has even led to the dropping of the silly and counter-productive Six Piece Voting

May be, just maybe the first rays that will save our people from the whims of one man may be coming to an end.

That is why I weep......but weep with a smiling heart, because the first seeds of a revolution in Luo Nyanza have been sowed. I pray that they may germinate, FULLY

May be...just may be.

J. Odipo signs out!

Kenya General Election 2013 Outlook

1. Overview
Kenya will be conducting its General Election on 4th March, 2013. Besides electing the President and the members of National Assembly, the new constitution will see power de- volved to 47 counties, each of which will elect a governor, county representative, women’s representative, senator and local assembly.

1.a The presidential candidates
A total of 8 candidates will be contesting for the presidential seat including Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya’s 1st President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s son and current Deputy Prime Minister), Raila Odinga (Prime Minister), Musalia Mudavadi (Deputy Prime Minister), Peter Kenneth (Member of Parliament), Martha Karua (Former Minister of Justice and Member of Parlia- ment), James Ole Kiyapi (Former Education Permanent Secretary), Mohamed Abduoba Dida (Former High School teacher) and Paul Muite (Former MP).

1.b Possibility of a run-off
In the event that no presidential candidate obtains more than half the votes, or does not re- ceive 25.0% in at least 24 of 47 counties, a second round of elections will be held within 30 days of the first round of voting with President Mwai Kibaki remaining in office in the in- terim. The numerous opinion polls that have been conducted so far indicate that the race is a close call with Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta remaining neck-and-neck. This shows a strong likelihood of a run-off taking place. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Com- mission (IEBC) estimates that a run-off will cost the government an extra KES 11.2bn (USD 128.7m), over and above the initial KES 24.9bn (USD 286.2m) cost of running the first round of elections. The government plans to borrow KES 30.7bn to plug a shortfall in the supplementary budget.

2. Voting scenario
As portrayed in the demarcations on the Kenyan map, a large number of Kenyans vote along tribal lines. It is however worth noting that the nature of the political parties and coalitions’ stronghold in the various provinces ranges, with a basic >50.0% guaranteed in order to be con- sidered “safe” votes by the alliances, and voter support may be as high as 75.0%. The 3 main parties endorsing the CORD alliance are Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM) and Moses Wetangula’s FORD- Kenya. Jubilee alliance’s main party support on the other hand comes from Uhuru Kenyatta’s- The National Alliance (TNA), William Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP), Charity Ngilu’s National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) and Najib Balala’s Republican Congress Party (RCP).

Certain tribes may not have a presidential aspirant, but influential leaders vying for different po- sitions on different tickets will affect the voting stance of these tribes. This will result to parti- tioning of voting blocs in the areas of Rift Valley, Coastal region, Lower Eastern province, West- ern province and North Eastern province, albeit the nature of fragmentation will vary per prov- ince.

In Rift Valley, the existence of William Ruto’s URP and Gideon Moi’s KANU will see the Rift Valley vote split, with William Ruto securing a large portion of the votes, especially in North and Central Rift Valley. Lower Eastern province will face a similar situation from the Kamba community occupying lower Eastern province, with Kalonzo Musyoka appearing to have a significantly larger traction in the area. As for the Luhya Community, despite having a presi- dential candidate, they will not vote as a bloc with an approximate 33.3% sure backing for Musalia Mudavadi (Amani Coalition), especially amongst the Maragoli (second largest sub- tribe) of the Luhya, while the remaining 66.7% will be scrambled for between Amani, Jubilee and CORD alliances.

It is however worth mentioning that the FORD-Kenya support for CORD gives it a significant upper hand over Jubilee alliance in securing the balancing Luhya votes. With no presidential aspirant or running mate, the Kisii Community stands as a majorly neutral point, with some parti- ality noted towards the CORD alliance. A combination of the Turkana, Pokot, Samburu, Borana, Somali and Maasai communities that occupy northern Kenya create a significant bloc, which is currently declared as a swing vote area.

William Ruto has however gained popularity amongst these ethnic groups, thus giving Jubilee an upper hand in securing the votes which would make a significant increase to percentage votes of the safe votes already secured in the Eastern province (especially around the Mount Kenya re- gion from the Embu and Meru communities, approx. 918,946 registered voters). With both can- didates yet to secure safe vote majority of 51.0%, the probability of a run-off is very high. Should Kenya head to a run-off, it is highly likely that the determining factor of who wins the presidential elections will be based on who receives backing from the Amani Coalition.

3. Presidential debate
For the first time ever, two presidential debates were held on 11th and 25th February 2013, with all the candidates in attendance. This was an initiative of the Media Association of Kenya. The first debate focused on governance, education ,
health care, security and tribalism.

The ICC issue where Uhuru together with other suspects are facing charges on crimes against humanity at the Hague, was heavily debated. Uhuru said he was seeking an elective position and not an appointive one, and as such, Kenyans being well aware of the charges he was facing were free to exercise their democratic right and vote for their candidate of choice. Peter Kenneth said he wants to beat Uhuru in a fair contest and therefore supported his bid for presidency while Martha Karua said his vying for presidency was a sign of impunity. Kiyapi, Dida and Mudavadi warned of ramifications of Uhuru’s presidency while Raila re- mained doubtful about Uhuru’s ability to run the government from “Skype”.

On tribalism, Uhuru and Raila were accused of running campaigns that were exploiting tribal animosities. Uhuru is a member of Kenya’s dominant Kikuyu tribe, and his running mate Ruto, the second dominant tribe-Kalenjin while Raila hails from the Luo community. They both rejected claims that they were running ethnic campaigns. Martha Karua vowed to deal with ethnicity by equalizing development in all areas through deliberately giving more funds to underdeveloped areas.

On governance– the issue of Migingo Islands, the rocky little island in Lake Victoria whose ownership Kenyans and Ugandans have been arguing about was raised, with the candidates being asked to explain how they would resolve it. This was probably thrown in to bring out how the candidates would handle disagreements with other countries. Most of the candidates questioned why no action had been taken by both Uganda and Kenya to resolve the matter but Raila Odinga explained that the survey work commissioned earlier is still on going. Muite said he would deploy the Kenya Army to evict Ugandans from the island after estab- lishing Kenya’s rightful ownership.

On security, the candidates agreed that the clashes in Tana River ought not to be repeated, they suggested that police numbers should increase and that they should be provided with better equipment.
• On education, most candidates promised to provide free primary and secondary education as well as setting up more technical institutions. All candidates believed that more teachers would be required.

• Healthcare – Some candidates promised that they would provide free healthcare, others stated that they would focus on preventative healthcare.

Most candidates believed that they would finance their ambitious plans by making better use of public funds (they admitted that there was a lot of wastage of public funds). They didn’t go into the details on how they would implement their plans. Most Kenyans felt that the first debate was below their expectations as most of the issues discussed did not come out clearly, probably due to the large number of participants. Time was also poorly managed with the debate running for an extra 1.5hrs.

The second debate, despite still having all the 8 contestants, was very well moderated with the candidates providing clarity to most of the questions directed at them within the given time. The debate mainly focused on the minimum wage, corruption and land issues.

• Minimum wage– Candidates were asked what they thought the minimum wage should be. Uhuru argued out that one could not put a figure to it given that it is a factor of several meas- ures including general economic conditions such as inflation, labor supply and demand, and productivity growth amongst others. As such, the government needs to focus on growing the various sectors of the economy to ensure wages are substantial. Raila was of the opinion that a lot of care needs to be taken when deriving the minimum wage in order for Kenya not to out-price itself in terms of competitiveness.

• Corruption charges/allegations facing all candidates were addressed. It was evident that all the candidates, except Uhuru, had various unresolved corruption related cases which they vehemently denied. Raila’s case where he was accused of stealing land set aside for a molas- ses plants as well as Mudavadi’s cemetery land case was revisited. Peter Kenneth, during his tenure as CEO of Kenya Re (a listed insurance firm), apparently acquired a house belonging to the corporation illegally.

• Land– This was a very emotive issue with the spotlight mainly on Uhuru Kenyatta, who by virtue of being the first presidents' son, inherited many acres of land which led some candi- dates to stating that he owns “half of Kenya”, yet there are millions of squatters who have been denied the rightful ownership of their ancestral land. Uhuru defended himself by saying that all the land his family owns was legally acquired through a willing buyer-willing seller process and that no one has ever accused his family of grabbing land. He also stated that there is an independent National Lands Commission which should be left to handle the issue of land. Raila said that in as much as Uhuru is an innocent inheritor of land, one cannot al- low a “hyena to protect their goats” Most candidates stated that it is due to government’s failure that many of the displaced persons from the 2007-2008 post election violence haven't been relocated..

4. ICC Trials
Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto (Former Minister of Agriculture and Mem- ber of Parliament) under the Jubilee Coalition Party, together with two other Kenyans have been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity com- mitted during the 2008 post election violence (PEV). The trials were scheduled for 10th and 11th April 2013. However, Uhuru and Ruto filed a three-month delay application which the ICC prosecutor agreed to on 26th February. Should the ICC judges grant it, the trials will be moved to August 2013.

4.a Eligibility of the accused
Civil society groups in Kenya filed a suit at the High Court to bar Uhuru and Ruto from contest- ing the presidency on account of failing the integrity test given their impending Hague trials. However, the High Court ruled that it has no jurisdiction to deal with disputes on nomination and election of presidential candidates, and can only do so after they are elected to office.
When asked what he feels about vying for presidency whilst facing charges at the ICC during the presidential debate, Uhuru said he is basically exercising his democratic right and Kenyans have the right to vote for whoever they want. Both Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto have pledged to comply with the ICC, even if they win. Additionally, they might not need to be physically pre- sent during the trials and can instead take part via video conferencing thereby lessening the de- mands that compliance with the ICC would place on their time.

4.b Impact of the ICC on the elections
The ICC may serve to mitigate political violence especially at the national level. It is important to note that political violence in Kenya is mainly steered from the top. The risk/penalty that inter- national trials as well as the new judicial system places on anyone found guilty of spearheading violence is quite high. We have so far witnessed the presidential aspirants emphasizing on peace- ful campaigns and elections during their rallies, and believe that the losing party will concede defeat thus avoiding instigating violence. However, in the event of a closely contested election, minor violence might be witnessed driven by the losing presidential aspirant’s supporters.

The issue of the ICC trials brings about several concerns should Uhuru and Ruto emerge victori- ous in the up coming elections:
• Even with video conferencing, the strain that the trials would have on the two impacts on their ability to perform their duties exemplary should they win.
• There’s the risk that the two might try to derail the prosecution and even push for the case to be handled by the local judiciary. They have however continuously emphasized on their full co-operation with the ICC.
• International implications of a Uhuru/Ruto presidency in the event that they are found guilty could be serious especially if the two fail to comply with the Hague. Kenya would lose its diplomatic relations with several countries thereby possibly impacting socio-economic de- velopment.

5. Post Election Violence
5.a 2008 Post Election Violence (PEV)
The 2008 PEV erupted in Kenya after President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the tightly contested Presidential Election held on 27th December 2007. Targeted ethnic violence and violent protests took place, leaving 1,133 dead and 650,000 internally displaced. The unrest came to an end as several mediators came in to the picture including John Kufuor (former President of Ghana), Kofi Annan (former Secretary of the UN), and Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania President) and had advanced talks between the two political parties. This led to a power sharing agreement be- tween the two. Raila Odinga was sworn in as Prime Minister on 17th April 2008.
5.b Likelihood of a repeat of the 2008 PEV
The manner in which the 2013 elections are carried out will determine the perceptions of Kenya by the international community for the years to come. It will also have a great impact on Kenya’s economic growth. The World Bank maintains its 2013 growth projections at 5.0% if elections proceed peacefully and do not disrupt economic activity. Even though some incidents of violence have been witnessed during the nominations in January earlier this year, the intensified scrutiny on Kenya and increased security measures make it unlikely for violence to erupt.
The electoral commission is now more advanced and the security agencies have increased the preventive strategies. This alongside the measures taken to promote peace will go a long way to maintaining a calm environment during elections. The religious leaders are also keeping country- wide vigil for a peaceful election, the reformed judicial system has upheld its capacity to handle any clashes and this election’s political alliances appear to have tranquil ethnic tensions. There is also the public accountability, which tempers campaign moods, and will contain voters.

The World Bank predicts that growth will stagnate at 3.0%-4.0% in the worst-case scenario of violence and disturbance. Should election violence erupt, Kenya will not only lose it image as a maturing democracy but will also increase the distance between itself and other emerging mar- kets. The tourism sector will be heavily impacted as Kenya will be viewed as ‘unstable’ and in- vestors will take their business elsewhere. However, we believe that an outbreak of the 2008 magnitude is unlikely but there is a possibility of intra-community demonstrations that people may pursue upon announcement of results.

So far, the environment has been generally calm with peaceful campaigns taking place and ap- propriate measures placed for a credible poll.
6. Impact of the 2013 General Election on the economy
The 2013 General Election will be the first under the new constitution which has created new centers of power and a devolved government. The president will have less power which has in- stead been vested in the judiciary, legislature and local governments.

6.a New government structure and costs
The National Assembly which previously had 210 seats will now have 290 seats plus an addi- tional 47 seats reserved for women and 12 seats for special interest groups. There will also be 47 counties, each with its own elected governor, assembly and senator, responsible for allocating the national budget outside Nairobi. The counties will receive a minimum of 15.0% of the national budget, on top of local revenues.
The new government structure is expected to put immense pressure on the country’s wage bill which is currently at 30.0% of the KES 1.5tr budget and at 12.0% of GDP. However, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission has made proposals setting a limit in what the high ranking state officers will earn, which if implemented, will save the government a total of KES 500.0m (USD 5.7m) annually.

Additionally, all the proposed salaries including allowances will be taxed in full.
Amongst others, the President will earn a maximum of KES 1.7m (USD 19,540) per month, from the current KES 3.1m (USD 35,632), while the Members of the National Assembly will earn a maximum of KES 740,927 (USD 8,516) per month inclusive of allowances and the Cabinet Sec- retaries (a minimum of 14 and a maximum of 21) will take home approximately KES 1.1m (USD 12,643) per month.

The central government wage bill to GDP is quite high at 7.8% compared to Africa’s 6.5%, Asia’s 5.1% and European Union’s 5.2%. The total wage bill to revenue ratio currently stands at 43.0% compared to the targeted 40.0%.
Kenya’s budget deficit to GDP and debt to GDP ratios currently stand at 5.0% and 47.2% respec- tively. This position is expected to worsen once the new government structure is in place as we don't expect the revenue collection in the counties for the first few years to be substantial enough to cover expenditure. So far, it remains unclear how the government plans to finance the next financial year’s budget (2013/2014). However, we believe an increase in taxes (PAYE, VAT, Import Duty ) or introduction of new forms of taxation will be inevitable.

6.b CORD and JUBILEE manifestos
Both the CORD and JUBILEE manifestos seem to have borrowed heavily from the new constitu- tion and Vision 2030 and therefore are quite similar. This is not too surprising considering that the major players in the coalition were members of the previous government whose strategy is based on Vision 2030. The manifestos appear to be overly ambitious given the current level of government spending. No clear source of revenue has been outlined.
Below are some of the major beneficiaries of the manifestos:

Construction Sector
• Both CORD and Jubilee intend to ensure that the Lamu Port and Lamu-Southern Sudan- Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) projects are completed. The project involves the construction of a seaport, international airport in Isiolo, a railway line, pipeline and oil refin- ery. The project will open up several landlocked countries north of Kenya to increased re- gional trade. CORD plans on fast-tracking the Construction Authority Bill to allow for the creation of an authority to regulate the conduct of all stakeholders in the industry.
• Both parties plan on constructing more health centers, schools and technical institutes. The health centers will make health services more accessible to Kenyans. In sports, the Jubilee party hopes to build 5 new national sport stadiums and sports facilities for the youth as well as upgrade sports facilities at the county level.
• The two coalitions also plan on investing in the construction of new roads and maintaining existing roads. In order to reduce the cost of such projects, Jubilee has stated that it would seek concessional and public private partnerships, Build Operate Transfer and Toll and Maintenance arrangements.
• All these infrastructure projects would lead to increased demand for construction materials. Cement companies like Bamburi, ARM Africa and EA Portland would be major benefici- aries.

Information Technology
• The CORD and Jubilee manifestos have emphasized on the need for using ICT to enhance governance structures in the public sector. Implementation of ICT systems in government offices would aid in cubing corruption.
• To improve security, both CORD and Jubilee plan to use CCTV technology in major cities and bolus technology to prevent cattle rustling. Jubilee plans on using IT systems to track wildlife in the national parks in order to reduce poaching.
• Jubilee seeks to leverage off fibre optic and wireless networks to communicate with the vari- ous county governments. Service providers like Access Kenya and Safaricom would be major beneficiaries.
• Other IT initiatives would be to set up creative hubs for youth and promote e-health. Jubilee also mentioned that it will work with international partners to provide school students with solar powered laptops.
Importers, Exporters and Manufacturers
• Jubilee proposes the removal of barriers and tariffs. This will spur increased trade between Kenya and its trading partners. Kenya’s northern neighbors (South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia) received a special mention. Jubilee believes that trade within the region will be the key to unlocking the next phase of economic growth in Kenya. Several local banks have set up operations in those countries. They include KCB Bank, Equity Bank and Co- op Bank.
• The CORD government plans on increasing the capacity of the Port of Mombasa, installing the equipment required for efficient operations and establishing a free trade area, as well as developing other minor satellite ports, such as Shimoni, Lake Turkana and Kisumu, through strategic partnership approaches. These will in turn speed up the process of clearing goods at the ports saving importers surcharge expenses incurred .
• Manufacturers would benefit from a better funded and more effective Anti counterfeit Agency. It would help deal with issues with counterfeit products such as illicit brews and illicit cigarettes. EA Breweries, BAT Kenya, EA Cables, would benefit significantly from this.
• Jubilee will seek to maintain a stable exchange rate. This will allow for increased trade and relatively stable terms.

Energy Sector
• Jubilee will endeavor to promote alternative energy sources while also creating a platform for Carbon credit trading. KenGen is already putting up a large geothermal plant. Due to its clean energy projects, it will be able to generate additional revenue from carbon credit trad- ing.
• In order to improve power supply, both CORD and Jubilee have promised to ensure the completion of the Mombasa Nairobi Transmission line. This would lead to more efficient distribution of power. Kenya Power, Kenya’s electricity distribution company, will benefit from this.
• Both parties would formulate fair revenue sharing agreements for minerals finds. Revenue would be split between the local community and the central government.
• The proposed energy projects of the LAPSSET project are echoed in both manifestos. They include the construction of an oil pipeline and oil refinery for the energy sector in Kenya.

Hotels and Tourism
• Jubilee hopes to host international sports events while also marketing Kenya as a business and holiday destination by encouraging investment in these areas. Hotels are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries of this. TPS Serena has hotel operations throughout East Africa and would stand to benefit from higher occupancy rates.
• CORD plans on building capacities of county governments to identify, develop and exploit the tourism potential in their respective jurisdictions as well as creating an overall tourism development strategy to improve co-ordination and give priority to strengthening public services that impact directly on tourism.

Financial Intermediation
• CORD and Jubilee have asserted in their manifestos that they will design policies that will ensure the reduction of the fiscal deficit and tame inflation.
• CORD aims at taking a longer-term perspective on macroeconomic stability via a compre- hensive approach to managing public finances while strengthening regulatory capacity and functions of the Central bank of Kenya to manage runaway interest rates. Further, the CORD government will put in place measures to favor a combination of high-profit taxes and low interest rates in order to promote investment over consumption. CORD’s policies on low interest rates might see them enforce interest rates caps which might be detrimental to bank- ing stocks including Barclays Bank, KCB Bank, Co-op Bank, Stanchart Bank, DTB Bank, NIC Bank and Equity Bank.
• The Jubilee government will ensure that microfinance finance institutions receive support from the government in their role in women empowerment and mortgage financing. SME’s such as Kenya Women Finance Trust (KWFT), Faulu Kenya amongst others would be major beneficiaries.

Job creation
• Jubilee hopes to hire more police, border control, game rangers and medical officers to deal with the increasing population. For existing public sector workers, it hopes to pay them more and increase their benefits. The result could lead to an increase in recurrent expenditure.
• CORD plans on reducing the number of licenses required for investments to globally com- petitive levels, such as by ensuring a one-stop-shop licensing mechanism.
• Additionally, the CORD manifesto states that CORD government will increase savings and investment rates by rejuvenating and streamlining the co-operative movement, with a view to mobilizing savings and expanding access to credit.
• Both CORD and Jubilee have vowed to pursue labor market policies that facilitate growth in employment by giving priority to development of the sectors that offer the major employ- ment opportunities, such as the retail trade, restaurants and hotels, and social and personal services. A boost in these sectors would positively impact Uchumi Supermarkets and TPS Serena.

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27 Feb 2013


Mashariaz Gitonga
15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,........But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Ati KIKUYUS must give us a break from yet another KIKUYU president!

Its kenyans who decide, no tribe has a birth right! You too can make it! .......[mashariaz]

Read this article by Samuel N. Omwenga (Pictured)
Is it fair or right for a country of more than 40 tribes to be led in all of its history by only two communities which exchange presidential leadership?
The answer is clearly a resounding “NO.”
Since independence, Kenya has been led by the Kikuyu, who have dominated presidential leadership and the Kalenjin, who luckily got in between on account of Kenyatta naming Moi as his vice-president, not with a view to one day succeed him, but altogether for different reasons.
Moi just managed—and initially barely so—to cling to the presidency upon Kenyatta’s death.
No one expected Moi to last more than the constitutionally provided 90 days within which a new president was to be elected—or more accurately, selected among the ruling class, elections merely being a rubber-stamping of some kind.
Thanks to the likes of the eminent Briton who never was Sir Charles Njonjo, Moi quickly figured how to entrench himself as president and the rest is history, including the fact he ended up ruling our country more than Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Moi was, of course, succeeded by Kibaki, another Kikuyu as our next president.
Interestingly and really the point of this blog, Moi himself preferred another Kikuyu and none other than Kenyatta’s son Uhuru to succeed him.
Thanks to efforts by political giants like Raila, Moi’s Uhuru project was resoundingly rejected by Kenyans who ushered in Kibaki in a euphoric election of 2002 which many believed would lead in transforming the country.
They were wrong as soon after being sworn in as president, Kibaki defaulted to yet another tribalist president stuffing all key government positions with his cronies and other members from his community.
So much so one embassy was staffed by members from his community, one passing by and hearing ordinary day to day chat in the office would be rightly mistaken to believing they were deep in a village from Kibaki’s neighborhood.
With the dominance in presidential leadership, so has been the case in the allocation of resources in the country besides jobs, which clearly and indisputably favor the Kikuyu community.
This is simply neither right nor fair as other communities are left to scramble for crumbles, if at all.
One of the reasons Raila has been mercilessly opposed in the Mount Kenya region is because there are many there who believe presidential leadership belongs there and no one should even bother seeking to yank it from them.
Uhuru, for his part, believes presidential leadership is his birthright.
Both notions are wrong for several reasons.
First, Kenya as in many other countries has never embraced dynastic rule, even though one can argue that the dominance by one community in presidential leadership is no different from a dynastic rule.
Voters must reject this notion of dynastic rule come March 4, 2013.
Second, underlying the thinking among those who hold the view presidential leadership belongs to the Mt. Kenya community is this sense of misguided belief that one community from that area is particularly superior to all others, which is pure nonsense.
It’s actually this kind of thinking that has created hatred and animosity among tribes of all manner in many countries, most notably Rwanda where the 1994 genocide is attributed to this backward superiority based ethnic and tribal divide.
Third, closely related to this backward superiority thinking, is tribalism.
There are those from the Mt. Kenya region who believe that no other tribe other than theirs can lead the country.
This is obviously so wrong and backward there is no need to elaborate as to why other than to say we are all Kenyans and each community has the right as any to have a president elected from within its community.
To say this or that community cannot lead a country is both nonsensical and primitive those holding the view must be ashamed, if they have any shame at all.
Fourth, there are those who argue it’s discriminatory or a form of tribalism to urge Kikuyus to give us a break from yet another presidency from the community.
This is simply not the case; there is nothing discriminatory, divisive or tribalist in making the plea or holding this view.
Indeed, there are many from the very same community who have made the same plea and see nothing wrong with it, which there isn’t.
This is just a question of fundamental fairness to say other communities also must be given the opportunity to lead the nation.
It’s also a question of fatigue; we are simply tired of being led by one community.
This is not even a phenomena confined to Kenya as other countries have much come to the same conclusion as to their own presidential leadership.
In the United States, for example, former president George H Bush was followed a few years later by his son George W Bush as president—this in a country with a population of more than 300 million.
When George H Bush’s other son and former governor of Florida Herbert Bush wanted to run for president in 2012, he was prevailed upon by people who told him it was not a wise move because Americans were simply tired of being led by the Bushes and besides it was akin to trying to create a ruling dynasty, which Americans long rejected.
Hebert Bush heeded the advice and did not vie and rightly so.
Someone should have prevailed on Uhuru not to vie for the same reasons but that would have been an exercise in futility as the man is determined to vie for reasons that go beyond his belief the presidency is his birthright or that the same belongs to his community.
Fifth, the constitution attempts to force this issue of not having one tribe win the presidency merely due to its numeric majority by the strict requirements as to who can be sworn as president, especially in its regional vote requirements but that’s not enough to prevent yet another Kikuyu from being elected as president, at least not this time around, given we have already had two presidents from the community.
It’ll take the wisdom of Kenyans going to the polls on March 4, 2013 to make that happen as it should.
Again, there is nothing tribalistic, divisive or discriminatory in urging our brothers and sisters from the Kikuyu community from giving us a break from yet another presidency; this is just a question of fairness and fatigue anyone objective would have to see it that way.
As others have said before, the election of Raila Odinga as our next president will go a long way in ending tribalism and his harvesting of votes in the former Central province will be key in that outcome.
Thus, those from the region must ask themselves is it in the country’s interest to end tribalism and if so, would they like to be a part of that eventuality which is certain to come, anyway.
On the other hand, the election of Uhuru Kenyatta will be condemnation of the country to dominance of one tribe at the expense of all others, which is unfair, not right and undemocratic notwithstanding its occurring in a democratic process.

www.omwenga .com



Odinga forced to drive overnight to Mama Ngina's Home in Nairobi and apologised to the former first lady.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has apologised to the family of the late president Jomo Kenyatta for repeatedly and wrongfully alluding that the founding presidentm his son Uhuru Kenyatta and former first lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta were land grabbers who own more than half of Kenya.

Kenya personally delivered the message to Uhuru Kenyatta after Monday's debate at Broohouse School and said he did not intend to show any disrespect to Mama Ngina Kenyatta. In addition, Odinga said some of the campaign messages were misunderstood and intentionally distorted by the media so that to embarrass him.

On his part, Uhuru Kenyatta responded that he did not mind the apology, but advised Odinga to personally deliver it to Mama Ngina Kenyatta. Sources said Odinga drove overnight to Mama Ngina's Home in Nairobi and apologised to the former first lady, who has stayed out of politics since Jomo Kenyatta died in 1978.

ODM spokesman Phil Etale has been instructed not to comment on the apology issue bacause it may embarrass the prime minister. Other CORD officials have been instructed to remain mum.

Odinga was forced to apologise after some of his advisors told him that it was crass, repugnant and disrespectful of him to drag the name of an old lady into dirty politics yet she had done nothing wrong to warrant abuses.

This also came after Odinga failed to link Kenyatta to any land scandals Kenya, a majopr set back for his campaign to replace President Mwai Kibaki. Martha Karua is expected to deliver her apology in due course.

Maseme Machuka Dennis Itumbi Cherotich Kiki Kimkung Pope Phillip Koech Mosoku Geoffrey Murithi Mutiga Michael Mumo Rob Jillo Benjamin Agina

DO NOT BELIEVE POLLSTERS BELIEVE THE ACTUAL 4TH MARCH POLL

JUST SEE HOW IT HAS BEEN PREDICTING THINGS WRONGLY.
Red faces among Italian pollsters who got election wrong

(Reuters) - Italy's election not only shocked the political establishment to the core, it left polling companies with egg on their face after they completely failed to predict the messy outcome and the spectacular resurgence of Silvio Berlusconi.

Opinion polls are banned in the last two weeks before Italian elections and the last public ones on February 8 almost all predicted a clear center-left victory, mostly by around five percentage points.

Private conversations with several pollsters after that date and right up to the election suggested the center-left had hung on to enough of a lead to still clearly win the election, with majorities in both houses of parliament.

The actual result was very different. The center-left of Pier Luigi Bersani won the lower house vote by less than one percentage point,

The instant polls done by polling companies straight after the election ended also got the result completely wrong, predicting a strong center-left victory and causing a brief market rally before computer projections based on actual votes began showing the opposite result.

Maurizio Pessato, vice president of polling company SWG, said all pollsters had underestimated the shock comeback by Berlusconi, who mounted an extraordinarily effective campaign after overcoming months of indecision in December and entering the race.

"Based on this experience, many (polling) methods must be seriously reassessed," Mannheimer said in Corriere della Sera daily.

Pessato said that Berlusconi's vote had now been underestimated by pollsters in three successive elections dating back to 2006, when the media tycoon had staged a last-minute surge, as he did in this vote.

"The center-right was growing and it wasn't showing in the polls. I spoke to other companies and they said the same thing," Pessato said.

This was particularly important in pollsters' estimates of the Senate race, where Berlusconi won far more regions than expected. Under the peculiarities of Italy's electoral law, winner's bonuses are awarded by region for the Senate.

"We expected the center-left to be able to control the Senate together with Monti but this did not happen," Pessato added.

The major reason for missing the 76-year-old billionaire's late surge was that conservative voters supporting Berlusconi tend to refuse to be interviewed by pollsters, he added.

There is also another factor noted by many pollsters - Berlusconi voters often refuse to admit it because of the scandals surrounding the billionaire media magnate.

"This time there were even more controversies and scandals so probably some of them didn't want to say they voted for him, or refused to accept the interview," Pessato said.

Berlusconi, who has faced at least 30 prosecutions for corruption and other offences in his 20 years at the center of the political stage, is currently on trial charged with having sex with an underage prostitute during "bunga bunga" orgies at his villa.

(Writing by Barry Moody; Editing by Michael Roddy)

Why Ukambani will pull the greatest surprise Monday

Ukambani the clarion call is that hapa Chini Patia wiper kule Juu tumpatie Muthoniwa!

I was having this phone conversation with an aspiring candidate in Ukambani. I was just calling him to hear how he is fairing on and why he was not present in the recent Kangundo rally where the PM and the VP were Present. After a hearty laughter he asked me “did you see other Ukambani leaders other than the usual faces?” As I was struggling to get the clip online and watch it again he continued … “you see Ukambani is going to pull the biggest surprise in this election. We are not making any noise about it but watch this space my friend! In all honesty do you expect somebody like Mutua to go round campaigning for Raila?…. That’s stretching a joke too far. “I assumed he was referring to the former Government spokesman. I thought about it and the dots started connecting.

Then I remembered something I had seen online and asked… “There is this rumor online that your boss has sent some Lawyers to cut a deal with Jubilee having realized that the ground is hostile to cord how true is it?”His reply was candid and detailed…. “ In ukambani we have 22 constituencies and in majority of those apart from Kitui county with five constituencies and Narc’s candidates all wiper candidates have no opposition. In essence what I’m telling you is that the moment we were nominated we were as good as elected. So we can just sit pretty and wait for the confirmation next Monday because we don’t have any opposition. So ask yourself why is it that all these other candidates are not accompanying Raila in the National campaign? We made up our minds long time, that after we secure our seats, we shall let the electorate decide on the Presidency lakini hatutaki kupoteza pesa na ndoa ya kulazimishwa.”

I Laughed and then asked “Ndoa ya Kulazimishwa?” “eeeh” he replied “hii ni ile wanaita ndoa ya machozi bwana, you see the Problem with our partners is that they feel they own the Coalition , to them Kalonzo is just a flower gal to ensure he creates this fa├žade of ethnic and regional balance. These partners are blind politically, they don’t know where they are heading and everything starts and ends with raila Odinga. If you look at even small things like the Cord adverts on TV they don’t mention a cord government but a Raila Odinga government. Kalolnzo does not feature anywhere. This is a one man affair. Contrast that with Jubilee where even Balala features in it. I tell you sisi tumechoka!, na tunangoja 5th tuingie kwa post election agreement na Jubilee. Sisi tutafanya Kazi na serikali ya Uhuru. You see we could have done earlier but wiper was too slow. There was a time just after Uhuru Park Humiliation 15 of us had threatened to walk out, I don’t know whether you had of that City hotel meeting that resolved that issue but we were really fed up. But to tell you the truth even Raila himself knows Ukambani he will get very little votes. Majority of us have never contributed to the National cord campaign kitty. We are not even going to contribute a cent! Kwa nini upoteze pesa? Hiyo ni kazi ya Muthama, Mutula na Tip tip. Sisi hatuna hiyo pesa ya Kumwaga!”

“So its true what I hear that in Ukambani the clarion call is that hapa Chini Patia wiper kule Juu tumpatie Muthoniwa?” -meaning Inlaws I asked. “If Raila Odinga gets more than 40% of Ukambani atakuwa amejaribu sana- take it from me!” he replied as a matter of fact! I looked for political clips online for both Uhuru and Raila In Eastern. I was shocked Uhuru gets more crowds in ukambani than Raila. Now the dots have connected!

After that eye opening Conversation I felt pity to one Man Raila Odinga. Here was a man who was so desperate to be President to the extent that he chose a VP who could not even deliver his own backyard. A VP whom he did not have even the faintest political chemistry. Here was a man who out of desperation chose the same man he has been having protocol wars with for the last five years. Here was a man who out of desperation would want the Vp foot soldier’s to campaign for him but had soiled the relationships while in government. Here was a man whose fate was sealed that he will never be Kenyan President! Facts sometimes are stubborn and crude but they are just that –FACTS!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

If Raila Odinga wins Kenya's elections, Britain's interests are secure,but if Uhuru Kenyatta wins...

The coming elections in Kenya have caused major consternation in London amid fear that the outcome may unravel key British strategy in east Africa.

Uhuru Kenyatta, the candidate running neck and neck with his main opponent in the polls, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and the UK’s position is that it will have nothing but the most “essential” contact with someone in that position.

If Mr Kenyatta, the son of the first leader of independent Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, is sworn in as president on the scheduled date of 10th April, his first official act would be to appear to face charges in The Hague the following day. He will be accompanied by his running mate, William Ruto, who has been accused alongside him of orchestrating the violence which left 1,300 people dead during the last elections in 2007.

Both men insist that they are prepared to face justice and it remains unclear how Kenya’s new government would function with its two leaders enmeshed in legal action which may last several years.

A number of cross-departmental meetings have been held in Whitehall to decide what action to take on a range of issues involving Kenya, a Commonwealth partner and ally, from anti-terrorist operations, military links, to trade and aid distribution in the region, should Mr Kenyatta win.

Mr Kenyatta, in turn has warned that any sanctions or cutting of trade by the UK and the West would make a government run by him to turn to other international partners, especially the Chinese.

Kenya is the centre for security operations by the UK and the West against the Islamist Al-Shabab group in neighbouring Somalia, a country which Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, has described as second only to Pakistan as a destination for extremist British Muslims. UK military teams sent to train Somali forces, part of a strategy to build up security in countries facing insurgencies, will have its logistical support base in the country. One of the British army’s main exercise areas overseas is also in Kenya and is used by brigades in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan.

Kenya is also the hub of aid programmes for neighbouring countries for Britain; trade between the two countries grew to a billion pounds last year, and the UK is the largest single foreign investor with projects totalling £ 2 billion and around 70 companies involved.

There is widespread trepidation that like the last elections the ones in March will also be mired in strife with reports of arms being stockpiled, and inflammatory rhetoric along tribal and sectarian lines. A report by Human Rights Watch warned that the risk of violence was “perilously high”. There have been a series of attacks among rival groups, seven people shot dead last week at a mosque in north-eastern Kenya near the Somali border.

Wide-ranging reforms have been carried out at the instigation of the instigation of the US and UK. However, in this febrile and politically charged climate Britain has been accused by Mr Kenyatta’s followers of arrogance and interference. A part played by DFID in voter registration process has, in reality, according to them been part of a plot to manipulate the polls.

A legal attempt to stop Mr Kenyatta from running in the elections was thrown out by a Nairobi court. He currently just trails Raila Odinga, the current prime minister, seen as the West’s sponsored candidate by 45 per cent to 43 per cent in the polls. The contest, it is widely expected, is likely to go to a second round of voting after an indecisive first round on 4th March.

Mr Kenyatta insisted that he would appear before the ICC. But he went on to say: “But if Kenyans do vote for us, it will mean theu themselves have questioned the process that has landed us at the International Criminal Court. But that does not mean that we will cease to cooperate because as I have said most importantly we understand and recognise the rule of law and we will continue to cooperate as long as we are signatories to the Rome Statute.”

The American and a number of European Union governments have made public pronouncements urging people to desist from violence and also warning of the difficulties which will be caused if Mr Kenyatta is elected. But when the High Commissioner, Dr Christian Turner, stressed, without naming individuals, that the UK will have minimal contact with anyone indicted by the ICC, it was seized on by critics as an example of colonial hubris.

Mr Kenyatta has reposted “In actual fact the negative impact is on the British. Kenyans are showing they are not keen on foreigners telling them what to do. His remarks helped us out.”

The candidate also insisted that the prospect of commercial and other ties with Britain would not be too damaging. “Many countries are willing to deal with Kenya” he said. “We have a good relationship with China; and when one door closes another one opens.”

Peter Cheboi, a political scientist, pointed out that any impression of interference by Britain and the West could backfire. “There could be a backlast against people of European descent. We must not forget that almost six million acres of land in our country is still owned by people of British extraction. British firms make a huge profit from trading in Kenya and we are sure that the Chinese and the Indians, the new economic superpowers, will be happy to step in.

“It is hypocritical of the Americans to talk about the Hague court and the need of our politicians to go there. They themselves have refused to sign the ICC treaty. They a;sp must know a Western boycott of Kenya would mean more influence for Islamists.”

Kenya's long road to independence

The Berlin Conference of 1885 imposed formality on Europe's Scramble for Africa, designating the 250,000 sq miles chunk from the Indian Ocean to beyond Lake Victoria as British East Africa. Today, it forms Kenya and Uganda.

The Scottish ship-owner Sir William Mackinnon set up the Imperial British East Africa Company and established trading activities. Fighting off tribes, and the two infamous lions the "Man-eaters of Tsavo", he oversaw the construction of the railway from Mombasa on the coast 660 miles inland to Lake Victoria, at a cost of 2,500 lives.

High taxes, low wages and hardship after the First World War politicised a generation of would-be Kenyans. By the Second World War, Kenya was of strategic importance for campaigns against Italian forces. Nearly 100,000 black soldiers, askaris, fought for Britain in the King's African Rifles. At the end of the war they wanted to keep their improved status, and became a vanguard for African nationalism.

Jomo Kenyatta, the charismatic son of Kikuyu farmers educated at the London School of Economics, demanded a political voice for Africans. He would go to prison for leading the Mau Mau uprising which began in 1952. Thousands were killed on both sides. In 1957, the first native Africans were elected. Rather than placate nationalist fervour, it fuelled it, and in 1963 Kenyatta's Kenyan African National Union formed the first government. He proclaimed the Republic of Kenya a year later. Tom Peck

From ‘Project’ Uhuru to a comedy of errors, and the not-so-comic ICC trial

Eldest son of founding President Kenyatta walks the tight-rope that some fear is coiling fast into a noose that could strangle Kenya future diplomacy

When Uhuru Kenyatta visited Maralal town in North-Eastern Province five years ago, he went to his father’s old house, now a museum, and wrote in the visitors’ book: “Conceived in this house in the year 1961. A pleasure to be back using my own (sic) two feet”

This conscious act of retracing his footsteps reasserted the unconscious fact about Uhuru’s life: his personal story is foisted on Kenya’s political narrative and the complex legacy from his father, the founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

Maralal, where Uhuru’s life begins, represents the colonial oppression of the Kapenguria Six, and immortalises the six nationalists who were jailed there by British authorities in 1952 on largely trumped-up charges.

Nearly 60 years on, Uhuru’s pending cases at the International Criminal Court are seen as a re-enactment of his father’s tribulations. The father prevailed, the story goes, and emerged to lead the nation. Uhuru’s supporters believe he will similarly prevail to lead Kenya after next year’s General Election.

Jomo Kenyatta looms large in Uhuru’s life—34 years after his death. That analysis is mirrored in Uhuru’s website, uhuru.co.ke. Out of the dozen images published online, nearly half depict Uhuru with his famous father—from Uhuru’s infantry to his father’s State funeral.

That is as it should be, for no child can extricate itself from its roots. But things are far more complex for Uhuru: the legacy that his father bequeathed this country is also Uhuru’s personal burden. And Uhuru’s personal wealth from his father is usually seen as a dispossession of others.

Forbes magazine ranks Uhuru the richest man in Kenya on account of the massive land holdings, estimated at more than 500,000 acres that he stands to inherit. That’s besides other business interests from real estate to banking to dairy farming, whose net worth is estimated at about Sh50billion.

“The land was acquired by his father in the 1960s and 1970s when the British colonial government and the World Bank funded a settlement transfer fund scheme that enabled Government officials and wealthy Kenyans to acquire land from the British at very low prices,” Forbes writes.

Land remains the core grievance in pockets of conflict scattered across Kenya, and Jomo Kenyatta is often blamed for the mess. In 1980, while speaking in Mombasa, the doyen of opposition politics in Kenya, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, called Kenyatta a “land grabber.”

In some parts of the vast Taita Taveta, individuals like the Kenyattas and former MP Basil Criticos owned tracts that covered entire constituencies, and locals there were virtual tenants, rather than constituents.

The severity of the problem is underpinned by the fact that land is a core issue under Agenda Four of the National Accord—now being handled by the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission—plus an amalgam of other historical injustices.

That would obviously complicate Uhuru’s situation were he to ascend to State House. How can he be expected to promote land policy review when the stakes are so high for him?

Writing in the Daily Nation last December, former Subukia MP Koigi wa Wamwere sneered: “Looking at the presidential hopefuls, I see inheritors of stolen land and beneficiaries of recent graft masquerading as liberators. The more they have eaten, we are told, the safer we are with them.”

But history is not the only thing weighing down on Uhuru. He has no public service record to write home about, save for the brief interlude in 1979 when he reportedly served as a Kenya Commercial Bank teller at Kipande Branch, according to his timeline on uhuru.co.ke. His next public appointment came 20 years later, when he chaired the Kenya Tourist Board in 1999.

Uhuru’s foray into politics was in 1997 when he vied for Gatundu South parliamentary seat and lost. He was nominated to Parliament in 2001 and made Local Government Minister by Daniel arap Moi, who later propped him as his preferred successor in 2002 polls, in which Uhuru was trounced by Mwai Kibaki.

While public service is not the only yardstick for leadership, it is curious for someone to aspire for the highest office in the land, yet manifest little or no footprints in service of the public.

Also, Uhuru is yet to overcome the stigma of being Moi’s “project” that was imposed on the people for purposes of preserving the old order.

Uhuru’s brief tenure in the Cabinet has not been without event. His stint as Finance Minister was blighted by what he confessed as “typographical errors” in Budget Bill that overshot the supplementary budget by over Sh9b. He was cleared of wrongdoing by the Joint Finance and Budgetary Committee on the issue.

Uhuru was similarly criticised for refunding to the British government some Sh100m that they demanded following mismanagement of the Free Primary Education, before the matter could be fully investigated and a mechanism put in place to guarantee a full refund from the culprits.

“I have worked very hard to get to where I am,” Uhuru told Citizen TV recently, to discount claims that he is privileged. On his massive family wealth, he used the metaphor of housing to demonstrate his future intentions: “I may have a house but I’m committed to ensure that I have many other similar houses around me in order to ensure my house survives through the survival of everybody else’s.”

But that is he survives the integrity test pending in court on account of his ICC trial, and which some fear could complicate Kenya’s future diplomatic policy.





Willing buyer, willing seller! What a myth!

Uhuru Kenyatta’s “suicidal” remark that his family bought land on a “willing buyer, willing seller” basis has angered residents of the Coast and Rift Valley provinces. The Masai, Kalenjin, Digo and Taveta elders found it utterly arrogant for the Hon Kenyatta to lie on national TV that the massive Kenyatta land in their communities was acquired voluntarily.

“We were pushed into the reserves and our land taken by the white man. When independence came, we never got our land back. Instead, Kenyatta gave to himself the land, friends and his kin”, sais Kiprono arap Misoi an elder and land rights activist in Nakuru County.

Mzee Misoi named 17 former white farms that he says were annexed by Kenyatta in the 1970s and used to resettle people from other communities, nobody consulted us, there were no willing sellers, the farms were renamed thereby removing the true origins of the lands that otherwise belonged to the Kipsigis and and Ogiek in Nakuru and Kuresoi.

He cited areas like Mutukanio, Nyakinyua, Kiambereria as among those in the long list. “Land is a weighty matter and we must talk about it, the remark by Uhuru confirms that he is the most unsuitable person to lead any discussion on land. That is why we are telling our people to vote against him”, Misoi added.

His sentiments were echoed by Mzee Daniel Ole Ololmwaitai of Ilparakuo Foundation that operates in Kajiado, Narok, Laikipia and Samburu counties. “I am now in my 80s, and in my life time, I cannot remember Kenyatta or any of the white settlers approaching my family and or any of our community members to sale land, that statement is unfortunate”

“We need somebody who can help us get back our land or at least compensate us for the loss. We cannot trust the aggressor to arbitrate the issue.” Mzee Ololmwaitai added.

“Mzee Kenyatta allocated our land to himself, his friends and people from outside the community. There was no consultation with the community or families that were displaced”, Peter Kosgey a Nakuru based advocate said in a phone interview. “I find the line very inciting, it is like Hon. Kenyatta is teasing a powerless community, just because he holds title deed does not in any way make it right”, he added.

In Uasin Ngishu and Nandi Counties, Kalenjin elders demanded that Uhuru parades the “willing sellers” in public, or if they are dead, their families be paraded. The elders promised to reconvene a meeting in which among other things they will visit the Koitalel shrine for prayers this week and thereafter they will make a major declaration.

“Nothing can be further from the truth, it is this kind arrogance that has aroused our suspicion with our friends from Mt Kenya, we are trooping back to CORD, the arrogance, and hypocrisy of Kenyatta is too much to carry for five years, the debate helped us know the Mau evictees resettlement fiasco”, Peter Lagat a Bomet based social worker said on phone.

If the sentiments by the elders represent the masses then Uhuru may have goofed his way to defeat on the March 4th election considering Rift Valley is a tossup. Prime Minsiter Odinga only helped Uhuru to fungua roho ,Raila knew he will benefit especially in the vote rich Rift Valley where CORD seem to be breaking the grass ceiling and registering success, in a region that only weeks ago seemed a jubilee zone.

“That was a joke of the year, the communities including the Taveta and Digo were never consulted, and somebody is trying to re-write history here. How could communities in Taveta agree to sell the entire community land to outsiders?” It is good that Uhuru said he personally owns 30,000 acres in Taveta, can he parade the willing seller who sold half of the County to him?” Lawyer Joseph Odiago wondered.

The remarks have not gone well with the youth in the affected region especially in Rift Valley. The youth have all along believed that their ancestral land was grabbed, that is what informed their violent acts in the past.

Uhuru’s remarks have resurrected debate on the use of the funds provided by the British government and the World Bank to resettle people and communities soon after independence. Land experts say this was the beginning of Kenyatta’s acquisition of large tracts of land in Central, Rift Valley and Coast regions.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Money does not buy everything.

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

SON: ‘Daddy, may I ask you a question?’

DAD: ‘Yeah sure, what it is?’ replied the man.

SON: ‘Daddy, how much do you make an hour?’

DAD: ‘That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?’ the man said angrily.

SON: ‘I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?’

DAD: ‘If you must know, I make $50 an hour.’

SON: ‘Oh,’ the little boy replied, with his head down.

SON: ‘Daddy, may I please borrow $25?’

The father was furious, ‘If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I don’t work hard everyday for such childish frivolities.’

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think:

Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really didn’t ask for money very often The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

‘Are you asleep, son?’ He asked.

‘No daddy, I’m awake,’ replied the boy.

‘I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier’ said the man. ‘It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $25 you asked for.’

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. ‘Oh, thank you daddy!’ he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.

The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.

The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

‘Why do you want more money if you already have some?’ the father grumbled.

‘Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,’ the little boy replied.

‘Daddy, I have $50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.’

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.
It's just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts.

Do remember to share that worth of your time with someone you love. If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of hours... But the family & friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.

FOR ALL THE SINGLE LADIES OUT THERE

1. Don't be in a hurry to move out of your parent’s house.
2. Don't wait for a man before you start living. You can live a fulfilled life as a single woman.
3. Stay away from alcohol. It has killed others and you are not special.
4. Don't entertain wrong numbers calling you, especially late in the night. It's not the right way to find a lover.
5. Develop a healthy eating habit. Always take breakfast and avoid sweets.
6. Dress well: impression counts. People will judge you by the way you dress even before they talk to you.
7. Don't use sex as proof of love. Sex is not a proof for love; he'll still leave you after all that sweet sex.
8. Don't marry someone because of money; else you'll become one of his possessions.
9. Add value to yourself, get a career. Don't be fooled that a man will solve all your problems.
10. Respect yourself depending on your dressing code. This will also show what you, where you come from and many people out there will respect you because of your being descent.

Compiled and gathered by Dr. Gero Albs



The Campaign for Kenya


February 22, 2013, 8:30 amComment
Running on Amnesia
By MICHELA WRONG

A series about the country’s first general election under its new Constitution

Presidential candidate Raila Odinga is pictured on supporters’ t-shirts at a rally in Bomet, Kenya.
NAIROBI — I was negotiating one of Nairobi’s terrifying traffic circles — a maneuver that requires jumping over a lattice of open sewers while playing chicken with a line of trucks snorting their way toward Uganda and Congo — when I was confronted with a vision to chill the heart and drop the jaw.

Twenty young Kenyan volunteers in T-shirts and caps printed with the candidate’s face were jiving and chanting on the back of a campaign truck as it trundled toward the Sarit Center shopping mall in Westlands: “Vote for Brother Paul!”

It was my first day back in the city that was once my home, and I’d just caught a glimpse of what must surely be the overriding characteristic of this East African country’s forthcoming general elections: shamelessness.


For Brother Paul, as he is known since he found God, was once plain Kamlesh Pattni, the smirking, mustachioed brains behind Goldenberg, the biggest financial scandal in Kenyan history. The scam, in which top officials looted public coffers by claiming compensation for phantom gold exports, sent the economy into a nose dive that cost Kenya at least 10 percent of G.D.P. in the 1990s. Yet Pattni clearly sees no reason why that awkward fact should bar him from office.

Maybe he’s not so crazy. Because forgetting past financial scandals is only one form of amnesia a dazed public is being asked to demonstrate come March 4. The presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta, a Kikuyu, and his running mate William Ruto, a Kalenjin, are asking millions to effectively lobotomize themselves as they enter the voting booths, blanking out everything they saw five years ago.

The Kikuyu are the largest and most economically successful tribe; the Kalenjin, a looser ethnic grouping, come second in size. Kenya’s last three presidents have all been either Kikuyu or Kalenjin.

After the 2007 election Kikuyu and Kalenjin militias were given machetes, spears and cash payments, trucked to where they could do most damage and let loose on rival ethnic communities. Houses and churches were burned; businesses were looted. Refugees went on exoduses, only to find their way often cut off by flaming roadblocks. Many analysts believe that the official estimate of more than 1,000 deaths is a laughable underestimation.

Now, thanks to an alliance between Kenyatta and Ruto, who both face trial before the International Criminal Court for allegedly organizing the violence, attackers and victims are being asked to become buddies. Anything to keep Prime Minister Raila Odinga, a Luo who almost certainly should have won the 2007 election, from becoming president. Kenya has a tradition of strained tribal coalitions, but few have been more grotesque, or demanded more torturous mental acrobatics of scarred constituencies, than this.

Odinga, who has pulled together his own alliance, is also hoping for some serious short-term memory loss from his supporters. They will need to forget that he was lucky — enemies say miraculously so — to escape an I.C.C. indictment for what Luo lieutenants perpetrated in Kenya’s warring slums in 2007 and 2008. They will also need to skim over the corruption scandals that have led back to the prime minister’s office and the deep nepotism that surfaced during party primaries in Odinga’s region.

Will the candidates succeed in convincing the electorate to swallow such repugnant medicine? God knows they have stinted neither funds nor energy in their attempts to make the various unlikely deals sound pragmatic, even sensible. Across Kenya, walls, fences and kiosks are plastered with campaign posters. Toyota pickups covered in stickers perform semi-permanent loops through slums, horns blaring.

There is one interest group, at least, that has no problem behaving as though the past were another country: the international business community.

Since the most violent elections in Kenyan history, consultants advising companies keen to invest in Africa in general and Kenya in particular have been telephoning me, asking for my views on political risk. The last call came two days before I flew in. “This isn’t a great time for predictions,” I said. “Literally anything could happen. It’s a very tight race.” The consultant was apologetic. “I don’t think our clients realized there was an election in Kenya this month.”

That level of ignorance is unusual, but my answer, in any case, is always the same. Yes, Kenya is East Africa’s most vibrant economy, a strategic gateway to the mineral resources of the Great Lakes region and — potentially — the oil riches of South Sudan. It has an aspirational middle class, a ballooning pool of potential workers and a relentless entrepreneurial spirit.

But a generation of cynical, short-termist politicians has turned ethnicity into a poisonous national obsession, Nairobi’s slums are the most squalid in Africa, and the vision required to defuse the frustrations of the young population trapped in them is noticeable by its absence.

RELATED IN NEWS
Neighbors Kill Neighbors as Kenyan Vote Stirs Old Feuds

In less than two weeks, Kenyans will line up by the millions to pick their leaders for the first time since a disastrous vote in 2007, which set off clashes that killed more than 1,000 people.
Read more»
Despite such warnings, overseas funding pours in. Taking the long view, private investors are transforming Nairobi’s skyscape, while holes in the city’s moth-eaten colonial infrastructure yawn ever wider. Above the shattered pavements, giant potholes and broken streetlights, gleaming 20-floor towers now rear.

I walk past them and wonder if those who commissioned their wraparound glass fronts, so vulnerable to looters’ rocks, were more far-sighted than a headline-obsessed writer. Or perhaps, it suddenly occurs to me, it’s just shatterproof glass.

Michela Wrong has covered Africa for nearly two decades, reporting for Reuters, the BBC and The Financial Times. She is the author of “It’s Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower.”

A version of this article appeared in print on 02/24/2013, on page SR3 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Kenya’s Surreal Election Cycle.

Neighbors Kill Neighbors as Kenyan Vote Stirs Old Feuds

By Jeffrey Gettleman for the New York Times

MALINDI, Kenya — In a room by the stairs, Shukrani Malingi, a Pokomo farmer, writhed on a metal cot, the skin on his back burned off. Down the hall, at a safe distance, Rahema Hageyo, an Orma girl, stared blankly out of a window, a long scar above her thimble-like neck. She was nearly decapitated by a machete chop — and she is only 9 months old.
Multimedia

Ever since vicious ethnic clashes erupted between the Pokomo and Orma several months ago in a swampy, desolate part of Kenya, the Tawfiq Hospital has instituted a strict policy for the victims who are trundled in: Pokomos on one side, Ormas on the other. The longstanding rivalry, which both sides say has been inflamed by a governor’s race, has become so explosive that the two groups remain segregated even while receiving lifesaving care. When patients leave their rooms to use the restroom, they shuffle guardedly past one another in their bloodstained smocks, sometimes pushing creaky IV stands, not uttering a word.

“There are three reasons for this war,” said Elisha Bwora, a Pokomo elder. “Tribe, land and politics.”

Every five years or so, this stable and typically peaceful country, an oasis of development in a very poor and turbulent region, suffers a frightening transformation in which age-old grievances get stirred up, ethnically based militias are mobilized and neighbors start killing neighbors. The reason is elections, and another huge one — one of the most important in this country’s history and definitely the most complicated — is barreling this way.

In less than two weeks, Kenyans will line up by the millions to pick their leaders for the first time since a disastrous vote in 2007, which set off clashes that killed more than 1,000 people. The country has spent years agonizing over the wounds and has taken some steps to repair itself, most notably passing a new constitution. But justice has been elusive, politics remain ethnically tinged and leaders charged with crimes against humanity have a real chance of winning.

People here tend to vote in ethnic blocs, and during election time Kenyan politicians have a history of stoking these divisions and sometimes even financing murder sprees, according to court documents. This time around, the vitriolic speeches seem more restrained, but in some areas where violence erupted after the last vote the underlying message of us versus them is still abundantly clear.

Now, the country is asking a simple but urgent question: Will history repeat itself?

“This election brings out the worst in us,” read a column last week in The Daily Nation, Kenya’s biggest newspaper. “All the tribal prejudice, all ancient grudges and feuds, all real and imagined slights, all dislikes and hatreds, everything is out walking the streets like hordes of thirsty undeads looking for innocents to devour.”

As the election draws nearer, more alarm bells are ringing. Seven civilians were ambushed and killed in northeastern Kenya on Thursday in what was widely perceived to be a politically motivated attack. The day before, Kenya’s chief justice said that a notorious criminal group had threatened him with “dire consequences” if he ruled against a leading presidential contender. Farmers in the Rift Valley say that cattle rustling is increasing, and they accuse politicians of instigating the raids to stir up intercommunal strife.

Because Kenya is such a bellwether country on the continent, what happens here in the next few weeks may determine whether the years of tenuous power-sharing and political reconciliation — a model used after violently contested elections in Zimbabwe as well — have ultimately paid off.

“The rest of Africa wants to know whether it’s possible to learn from past elections and ensure violence doesn’t flare again,” said Phil Clark, a lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. “With five years’ warning, is it possible to address the causes of conflict and transfer power peacefully?”

Spurred on by Kenyan intellectuals and Western allies, Kenya has overhauled its judiciary, election commission and the nature of power itself. Dozens of new positions, like governorships and Senate seats, have been created to ensure that resources flow down more equitably to the grass roots, an attempt to weaken the winner-take-all system that lavished rewards and opportunities on some ethnic groups while relegating others to the sidelines.

But in places like the Tana River Delta, where the clashes between Pokomos and Ormas have already killed more than 200 people, the new emphasis on local government has translated into more spoils to fight over. And there are nearly 50 governor races coming up across Kenya, many of them quite heated.

“The Orma are trying to displace us so we can’t vote,” said Mr. Bwora, the Pokomo elder. “They have burned our villages, even our birth certificates. How are we supposed to vote then?”

The Orma accuse the Pokomos of doing precisely the same thing, right down to the burning of birth certificates.

On the national stage, two of Kenya’s most contentious politicians — Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto — are running on the same ticket for president and deputy president. Both have been charged by the International Criminal Court with crimes against humanity stemming from the violence last time. Mr. Kenyatta, a deputy prime minister and son of Kenya’s first president, is accused of financing death squads that moved house to house in early 2008, slaughtering opposition supporters and their families, including young children.

He could quite possibly be elected Kenya’s next president and find himself the first sitting head of state to commute back and forth from The Hague, potentially complicating the typically cozy relationship between Kenya and the West.

There is a growing perception among many members of Mr. Kenyatta’s ethnic group, the Kikuyu, and Mr. Ruto’s, the Kalenjin, that they must win this election in order to protect their leaders from being hauled off to a jail cell in Europe, which is raising tensions even higher.

Most analysts here feel this election will be turbulent, though some argue it will not be as bad as last time.

“Things are different,” said Maina Kiai, a prominent Kenyan human rights advocate. For instance, he noted, it was the Kikuyu and Kalenjin who fought one another in the Rift Valley in 2007 and 2008, but now many members of those two groups are on the same side because their leaders have formed a political alliance.

“There may be new arenas of violence,” Mr. Kiai said. “But I don’t think the extent of violence will be the same.”

There is also a keen awareness of how much there is to lose. The Kenyan economy flatlined after the turmoil of the last election. But now it has recovered mightily, spawning a dizzying number of new highways, schools, hospitals, malls, wine bars, frozen yogurt stores, even free samples in the supermarket — evidence of Kenya’s position on this continent as home to a deep and booming middle class.

Many nations in this region depend on Kenya, as demonstrated by the economic chaos caused downstream during the last election when mobs blockaded Kenya’s highways and sent fuel prices spiking as far away as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Another safety valve may be the courts, which are now considered much more independent, one of the biggest achievements since the last election. Kenya’s new judiciary is led by a former political prisoner and widely respected legal mind, Willy Mutunga, the chief justice, who said he was threatened this week.

The hope is that if any election disputes arise between Mr. Kenyatta and the other front-runner, Raila Odinga, Kenya’s prime minister, who says he was cheated out of winning last time, Justice Mutunga will step in — before people on the streets do.

But the Tana River Delta remains a blaring red warning sign, and there have been suspicions that political figures are deliberately fanning old disputes, in this case over land.

One leading Pokomo politician, who was an assistant minister, was recently arrested and accused of incitement, though the case was soon dropped. The allegation echoed the International Criminal Court cases, which assert that behind the ground-level mayhem in 2007 and 2008 were political leaders who incited their followers to kill for political gain.

Up and down the crocodile-infested Tana River, Pokomo and Orma youth are now patrolling the banks with spears and rusty swords. The result is a grim, sun-blasted tableau of ethnically segregated but parallel villages mired in the same poverty, misery and fear.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: February 22, 2013

An earlier version of a photo caption that appeared in a slide show with this article misspelled the given name of an injured girl. It is Rahema Hageyo, not Raheema.

The Campaign for Kenya


February 22, 2013, 8:30 amComment
Running on Amnesia
By MICHELA WRONG

A series about the country’s first general election under its new Constitution

Presidential candidate Raila Odinga is pictured on supporters’ t-shirts at a rally in Bomet, Kenya.
NAIROBI — I was negotiating one of Nairobi’s terrifying traffic circles — a maneuver that requires jumping over a lattice of open sewers while playing chicken with a line of trucks snorting their way toward Uganda and Congo — when I was confronted with a vision to chill the heart and drop the jaw.

Twenty young Kenyan volunteers in T-shirts and caps printed with the candidate’s face were jiving and chanting on the back of a campaign truck as it trundled toward the Sarit Center shopping mall in Westlands: “Vote for Brother Paul!”

It was my first day back in the city that was once my home, and I’d just caught a glimpse of what must surely be the overriding characteristic of this East African country’s forthcoming general elections: shamelessness.


For Brother Paul, as he is known since he found God, was once plain Kamlesh Pattni, the smirking, mustachioed brains behind Goldenberg, the biggest financial scandal in Kenyan history. The scam, in which top officials looted public coffers by claiming compensation for phantom gold exports, sent the economy into a nose dive that cost Kenya at least 10 percent of G.D.P. in the 1990s. Yet Pattni clearly sees no reason why that awkward fact should bar him from office.

Maybe he’s not so crazy. Because forgetting past financial scandals is only one form of amnesia a dazed public is being asked to demonstrate come March 4. The presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta, a Kikuyu, and his running mate William Ruto, a Kalenjin, are asking millions to effectively lobotomize themselves as they enter the voting booths, blanking out everything they saw five years ago.

The Kikuyu are the largest and most economically successful tribe; the Kalenjin, a looser ethnic grouping, come second in size. Kenya’s last three presidents have all been either Kikuyu or Kalenjin.

After the 2007 election Kikuyu and Kalenjin militias were given machetes, spears and cash payments, trucked to where they could do most damage and let loose on rival ethnic communities. Houses and churches were burned; businesses were looted. Refugees went on exoduses, only to find their way often cut off by flaming roadblocks. Many analysts believe that the official estimate of more than 1,000 deaths is a laughable underestimation.

Now, thanks to an alliance between Kenyatta and Ruto, who both face trial before the International Criminal Court for allegedly organizing the violence, attackers and victims are being asked to become buddies. Anything to keep Prime Minister Raila Odinga, a Luo who almost certainly should have won the 2007 election, from becoming president. Kenya has a tradition of strained tribal coalitions, but few have been more grotesque, or demanded more torturous mental acrobatics of scarred constituencies, than this.

Odinga, who has pulled together his own alliance, is also hoping for some serious short-term memory loss from his supporters. They will need to forget that he was lucky — enemies say miraculously so — to escape an I.C.C. indictment for what Luo lieutenants perpetrated in Kenya’s warring slums in 2007 and 2008. They will also need to skim over the corruption scandals that have led back to the prime minister’s office and the deep nepotism that surfaced during party primaries in Odinga’s region.

Will the candidates succeed in convincing the electorate to swallow such repugnant medicine? God knows they have stinted neither funds nor energy in their attempts to make the various unlikely deals sound pragmatic, even sensible. Across Kenya, walls, fences and kiosks are plastered with campaign posters. Toyota pickups covered in stickers perform semi-permanent loops through slums, horns blaring.

There is one interest group, at least, that has no problem behaving as though the past were another country: the international business community.

Since the most violent elections in Kenyan history, consultants advising companies keen to invest in Africa in general and Kenya in particular have been telephoning me, asking for my views on political risk. The last call came two days before I flew in. “This isn’t a great time for predictions,” I said. “Literally anything could happen. It’s a very tight race.” The consultant was apologetic. “I don’t think our clients realized there was an election in Kenya this month.”

That level of ignorance is unusual, but my answer, in any case, is always the same. Yes, Kenya is East Africa’s most vibrant economy, a strategic gateway to the mineral resources of the Great Lakes region and — potentially — the oil riches of South Sudan. It has an aspirational middle class, a ballooning pool of potential workers and a relentless entrepreneurial spirit.

But a generation of cynical, short-termist politicians has turned ethnicity into a poisonous national obsession, Nairobi’s slums are the most squalid in Africa, and the vision required to defuse the frustrations of the young population trapped in them is noticeable by its absence.

RELATED IN NEWS
Neighbors Kill Neighbors as Kenyan Vote Stirs Old Feuds

In less than two weeks, Kenyans will line up by the millions to pick their leaders for the first time since a disastrous vote in 2007, which set off clashes that killed more than 1,000 people.
Read more»
Despite such warnings, overseas funding pours in. Taking the long view, private investors are transforming Nairobi’s skyscape, while holes in the city’s moth-eaten colonial infrastructure yawn ever wider. Above the shattered pavements, giant potholes and broken streetlights, gleaming 20-floor towers now rear.

I walk past them and wonder if those who commissioned their wraparound glass fronts, so vulnerable to looters’ rocks, were more far-sighted than a headline-obsessed writer. Or perhaps, it suddenly occurs to me, it’s just shatterproof glass.

Michela Wrong has covered Africa for nearly two decades, reporting for Reuters, the BBC and The Financial Times. She is the author of “It’s Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower.”

A version of this article appeared in print on 02/24/2013, on page SR3 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Kenya’s Surreal Election Cycle.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

England is old, small and has some interesting history.

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families
used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken &
Sold to the tannery.......if you had to do this to survive
you were "Piss Poor"

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't
even afford to buy a pot......they "didn't have a pot to
piss in" & were the lowest of the low

The next time you are washing your hands and complain
because the water temperature isn't just how you like it,
think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about
the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their
yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by
June.. However, since they were starting to smell . ...... .
Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.
Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting
Married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man
of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then
all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the
children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so
dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the
saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no
wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get
warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs)
lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and
sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof...
Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the
house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs
and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence,
a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top
afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into
existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other
than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had
slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet,
so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their
footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until,
when you opened the door, it would all start slipping
outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way.
Hence: a thresh hold.

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big
kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit
the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly
vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the
stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold
overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew
had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence
the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas
porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they could
obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When
visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show
off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home
the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests
and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high
acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food,
causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with
tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were
considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt
bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests
got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination
would Sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days.
Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and
prepare them for burial.. They were laid out on the kitchen
table for a couple of days and the family would gather
around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake
up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running
out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins
and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the
grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins
were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they
realized they had been burying people alive... So they would
tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the
coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.
Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night
(the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone
could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.

And that's the truth....Now, whoever said History was boring