Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Live Aid? Please!

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The latest buzz over G8, Commissions For Africa, Live 8 and all the latest catch phrases leave me decidedly amused. I for one am deeply sceptical that all this fresh hubbub of the latest fashionable buzz words, taking over from "War On Terror", "Globalization" and "Peace Accord" are nothing but unadulterated, politically correct, sanctimonious hot air.

I am frequently puzzled with references in the press to a mysterious "famous rock star" rejoicing under the name Bob Geldof, closely associated with this new set of buzz words. If he is so famous just how many of us would turn and point him out to our brethren if we saw him in the street. How is he famous? Who can spell Geldof? Quick, when did he last release a rock hit?
What's his latest CD called? Name one song this illustrious rock star has done.

Bob is under the fond impression that if he organizes a concert in Scotland, manna, kebabs and fruit juice will descend from the heavens to fill the bellies of millions of starving Africans. Winged warriors will dispatch dictators and despots into the outer darkness where they can weep and gnash their gold teeth. Farmers will earn dollars from their produce rather than the cents they currently earn.

If a concert in Africa would have me sceptical, words cannot describe just how I fail to see how the remotest benefit a 1 million strong concert in Edinburgh will be derived by a poor fisherman in Lamu. I don't see how one million partygoers will contribute to the filling of stomachs in Darfur, or a reduction of the gunfire. This concert, oddly enough, does not seem to have any African musicians performing aside from the good old token Yossou N'dour, something that will no doubt soon be hastily corrected and laughed off as a "technical oversight".

Eager to chip into the latest mass conscience message are Hollywood's biggest and brightest stars and starlets. Apparently the ilk of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney and their fellows leading ladies and gents were suddenly so overwhelmed by the plight of the poor that they actually wrote letters to the G8 nuclei. I was not party to the correspondence but I suspect most of it went like this:

Dear G8 guys,

Please please please reduce poverty in A free car Afrikka Africka Afrika

[Star Name Here]

The Coca Cola company trademarked the distinctive shape of their bottle. So should Tony Blair with his toothy grin. I have no doubt that said grin would be produced even if a passing albatross deposited a considerable load of guano on his head. Realizing that his role of George's unwitting puppy dog was costing him at Downing Street as well as Down His Street, he cottoned on to something that he felt sure would earn him marks far and wide.

And so the Commission For Africa© was born.

Its vision, mission and modus operandi are simplicity in itself -- make poverty and bad governance in Africa disappear by making poverty and bad governance disappear. Some of the presidential members of his board, who will remain unnamed, arrived late having missed their flights from the Continent because of being held up to attend to the pressing business of jailing errant opposition members.

Of course the elections were held and good old Tony got in by the skin of his grinning teeth and now he is on more pressing matters like bans on fox hunting and how best to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar.

It is laughable for anyone to take these latest initiatives with anything but amusement. The reality of the matter is that these latest buzzwords are a desperate attempt of a world that has grown decidedly weary of Iraq, Afghanistan, wars on terror and Middle East Peace Accords to find another avenue to massage its collective conscience and feel good about itself, basking in the warm glow associated with selfless charity.

Rosy pictures of children in Darfur gratefully accepting food from their benevolent benefactors sends little ecstatic shivers up and down suited forms. The thought of influencing millions of lives using their stardom leaves the constituents of the Hollywood constellation giddy with glee.

Personally I find it laughable watching a knighted man with a good dinner in his belly and the remnants of the said dinner at his elbow addressing the press from a plush, six star hotel in his passionate and very genuine belief that he can strike the blow that will end world poverty.

I find it even more ludicrous to see grinning Prime Ministers, treating us to displays of constellations of 76 assorted incisors, canines, molars, premolars and post molars, shaking hands before flashing bulbs while bemoaning the proliferation of small and large arms in Africa after just coming from superintending loading of consignments of machine pistols, rifles and land mines to Somalia, Sudan and Congo (via DHL of course).

Meaningless concerts and laughable commissions are not going to fight any poverty. Even dubiously benevolent concessions like debt cancellation are meaningless in themselves. It is utterly meaningless to cancel my debt if you do not allow me to earn money. Let us both compete fairly on the International market. Your farmers are already enjoying considerable technological advantages -- they do not need subsidies. Don't wax lyrical about debt relief if without avenues for me earning my own money I shall promptly be in debt again.

The quicker leaders of poor nations that appear begging in 6 door Mercedes limousines are thrown out smartly on their ears the sooner they will learn from the school of hard knocks that they have to live within their means. If they do not their populace should consign them to obscurity at the next elections. And if they have dipped into the till a few years stretching
out at a prison bunk ought to work wonders for the attitudes of those following in their footsteps.

So the concert will be held. Fun will be had. Alcohol will be consumed. People will do what they do on the Discovery channel. Millions will the raised. By the time the morning milk sounds in Irish doorways hangover revellers will have forgotten what the joyous rapture was in aid of. By the time the advertising companies, the equipment providers, the caterers, the security companies, the travel agencies, the hotels and the innumerable NGOs take their cut a few thousand pounds will be left that will be smugly handed over to Oxfam or other such agency, ostensibly to alleviate poverty and hunger in Africa. By the time administrative costs and taxes have been deducted, one medium sized MacDonald burger will be winging its determined was Africa-wise, and another Asia-wise to alleviate world hunger.

No, I am not holding my breath. The solution will not come from Live Aid or from G8. It will come from Africans who will finally refuse to accept the nonsense they are subjected to by their asinine leadership and throw the lot of the useless cretins out.

It will come from Africans who will put their skills and abilities to use for their countries.

It will come from Africans who will refuse to acknowledge the empty gestures from Europe and America, whose only concern is how best to plunder the continent of its resources and people without ruffling too many feathers and upsetting too many of their taxpayers.

It will not, repeat NOT come from Bob Geldof and Tony Blair or any other two faced, ostensibly benevolent big brothers who shed crocodile tears and conveniently ignore the fact that they spend as much on dog food than on their goodwill "aid".

It will not come from Brad Pitt, George Clooney or indeed anyone attention hungry starlette whose only knowledge of Africa is that the people there speak a mysterious language called 'African', live on trees and swing from branch to branch clad in leopard skins while bellowing to each other.

More discussion of

The only people who can solve Africa's problems are Africans.

Follow up: Get Real: Global Politics 101 & Live 8

Anyone care to tell me how the proliferation of "Make Poverty History" arm bands, website banners, mugs, pantyhose etc. are meaningfully affecting the price of tomatoes, aside from giving the wearers a nice warm glow?


Someone's been eating my porridge!

President Mwai Kibaki suspiciously eyes Secretary General of the Asian and African Legal Consultative Organisation

Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl

Friday, June 24, 2005

Conversations With God

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Life is a very strange thing. I've spent years and years trying to find out what mine is all about and much as I have made progress, it is almost negligible compared to the broader picture. However, one of my duties here is to know myself, so I do get some small credit for effort. After all,we are not here to wake up, go to work, have a drink with friends and sleep daily, year in year out.

My relationship with God is entirely satisfying because we generally tend to have interesting conversations where I ask him questions and he replies. At times he replies directly and other times he (maddeningly) replies using other means, at his own time.

One conversation we generally have a lot is this one:

M: Dude ... about misfortunes
G: Yes?
M: I know I can't escape without getting some but do mine have to travel in mobs? It's a bit much to get them all at once! Why don't you stagger them a bit?
G: (Pulling the Omnipotent thing) Hmm... Well, think about it this way. I know you but you don't quite know yourself.
M: (Suspiciously) Yes?
G: So how else can I help you know what you're made of
M: (Opening mouth to answer)
G: (Pulling the All Knowing Thing) No, you can't just ask
M: Ah ... ha ha!
G: (Grinning) Besides, I've never heard you asking me to stagger your blessings.
M: Touché!

This month he has clearly been determined for me to make considerable headway because I cannot remember a month where so many things have gone wrong simultaneously. Everything this month has seemed to turn to ashes. Reading from left to right in the credit column:
  • One of my best friends, who discovered she has HIV recently and who has been given a hard time by of all people, her hitherto loving family, sent me a cryptic message that weeks ago that leaves me in no doubt that she is contemplating something really really stupid. Besides feeling her pain I'm scared to death of what she'll do in my absence.
  • Another of my best friends lost her grandfather yesterday and it's killing me that I can't be there.
  • Apparently the flat I was eyeing has passed me entirely by virtue of my absence. Getting a flat where I want is next to impossible.
  • A and I seem to have hit a rather rough patch.
  • Intense migraines that force me to bed at ungodly hours like 7 are making their presence felt
  • I'm here to fix a problem that I have been unable to get to manifest itself after a week's plus effort. Maddening does not come close.
I won't ask if things can get any lousier because every time I ask it seems to be taken as a challenge. :)

Still, as long as I'm able to enjoy at the lovely sunset, wake up in the morning and do my thing I'm not quite beaten. Not by a long shot.

M: Dude ...
G: Yes?
M: I can't pretend I'm not feeling all this but you just take the first item from the list and I'll try and handle the rest. I'm sure I can manage.
G: All right. And M?
M: Yes?
G: Well done. We'll make a man out of you yet.

Blessed Union Of Souls - I Believe

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Of Shotguns

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As twists of fate go, my beloved old man is also in Kampala on business and I can't think of a better way to pass time than spending some time with this gent. When it comes to interesting tales and dispensing sound advice this gentleman is hard to top.

Again he is on site at the Sheraton making sure that the builders keep the floor at the bottom and the ceiling on top. While waiting for him to appear from the depths of the building I spent time with one of the security guards. Unlike the security guards back home armed with nothing more than a glorified toothpick, painted black in the fond belief that it looks threatening, guards in Kampala are altogether a lot more liberal when it comes to tools of trade.

Hamis, the gentleman I was talking to was dressed in some sort of blue uniform and cap and his preferred deterrent to the shadowy elements of the dark side of the law was not a baton or a torch, but a silver coloured, pump action shotgun. Leading him skilfully along a path of small talk and favourable comparisons of his country's security position vis a vis my own and drawing in for the kill was a moment's work. Within a few minutes John Wayne and Clint Eastwood were puny Davids to my Goliath.

I was holding a shotgun.

When it comes to making large holes with people around them, Hamis confided in me, a shotgun was hard to top.

This was easy to believe. I was angling the gun to look down the barrels when Hamis flicked a speck of dust from his shoulder and wondered if it wouldn't be a good idea for me to get my finger out of the trigger guard, lest I open an avenue to the skies for the shotgun throgh the back of my head.

Contrary to popular belief, a shotgun cannot be carried in the cavalier fashion so popularized by numerous movies where heroes pick one up with the ease and dexterity of a fountain pen. A shotgun is extremely heavy, at least the one I was carrying. I asked the gent if there were chambered rounds in the gun and he said that there were not. I asked if he'd mind me doing the pump action thing and he answered in a manner likely to suggest that he was amused at foreginers fascination with Uganda's easy relationship with firearms.

So in my best Terminator I jacked a shell into the shotgun and looked around for someone to make my day. If I chewed tobacco I'd have spat it out. If I smoked cigars, or indeed happened to have one in my pocket I'd have lit one and languidly looked around the perfectly safe car park for bad guys crawling out of the woodwork so that I could give them a bellyful of lead. Yessir, there's a new sheriff in town.

I was brought back to earth by the guard, clearly an old hand at these things, tapping me on my shoulder and bringing me back to earth. I was not a gun slinger with black spurred boots, black overcoat and black hat but a plain old M in black shoes, no overcoat and no hat. He retrieved his property and the Pater appeared.

He was, he confessed, suffering from a cold.

"And just how the devil," I demanded mopping my face with a handkerchief, "did you get a cold in this heat?"

He was unsure of the specifics but it was only a matter of time before lunch was organized and that topic died a speedy death. We fell upon the repast without wasting time. Matoke, fish, rice, chicken followed by pineapples, bananas and ice cold water... It's a good thing I don't put on weight.

No Kelly, I have not killed pic of the day - only that I don't have my usual notebook that has all the nice tools I use to doctor prepare the photos

I am deeply suspicious about people who use the word "friend" at every opportunity.

James Brown - Sex Machine

Monday, June 20, 2005

Let's Get Soapy

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Today I watched a soap opera. Not so much out of choice, but curiosity. The hotel restaurant happens to have a TV and a desperate young lady appeared and pleaded to be allowed to switch to the DSTV channel that was showing Days Of Our Lives. Since I was the only one there, and what's more was working on my notebook I was not in a position to object too strongly.

I could see and hear the relief when the channel was changed and I found myself wondering just what could drive grown women to such lengths of desperation to do somersaults in order to watch. So i sat down for an hour and a half and gave my full unbiased attention.

As plots go, this one was simplicity in itself. A woman, call her Sharon, gave birth to a baby boy but a cartel of ruthless conspirators, unknown to her switched babies on her and took off with her baby. To this she objected to. Naturally, Sharon is also a doctor, and as a matter of fact is in pediatrics.

Why it took 90 minutes to convey that I'm hard pressed to tell, but I had the opportunity to make the following observations.

As the weather goes, Days Of Our Lives is no different from other soaps. They are untroubled by bad weather. It is always a blisteringly sunny day or a perfect moonlit night. Any other weather would not be the least bit conducive for the proliferation of romantic moments.

The entire town does not require more than three policemen. One is always uniformed and is concerned with dispensing of traffic tickets, catching speeding cars, taking statements at the police station and storming into situations that require storming into. The other two are always detectives, and are always dressed in broken suits with overcoats over one arm.

Days of Our Lives reads from the same script when it comes to health care of the populace. A staff of one nurse and two doctors is on call to attend to the entire town. One of the doctors is invariably the family doctor to the entire population and the other is the versatile surgeon who can do anything from transplant a brain to heart surgery.

When it comes to telephony there are few surprises. Calls are always answered at the second ring. If they are not, they will never be answered. The plot is generally skewed such that phone calls that could have cleared up mysteries within the first few episodes of the program are always missed by some twist of fate, such as a nefarious character answering the phone or the intended recipient being either in a noisy shower or just driving away.

Additionally, chances of a star calling and getting a busy signal are next to negligent. People on soap towns apparently do not make phone calls unless they are on camera. Cellular calls are never affected by a congested network.

The population of Soap Cities do not work, apart from the aforementioned officers of the law and medical professionals. The few who claim to only go to a mysterious place called "the office" and within no time will be receiving phone calls for the rest of the day from other members of the cast. Generally these phone calls will be of a pressing nature that will necessitate them departing the premises at once.

The few of the city's children that go to school only seem to make it as far as the halls. Whenever the scene changes to the school, the bell is conveniently ringing to signal the end of a lesson so that the cast members can fill the corridor and get on with their plot building. These youths are never actually seen to be doing their homework. They are either going to start their homework, being told to start their homework or answering that they have done their homework.

The houses of the key characters invariably have an enormous flight of steps that can be a considerable aid for plot development. More than one soap has had a key character falling down the steps and falling into a coma. Arguments between characters, one at the top of the stairs and the other at the bottom can be extremely effective. They are also useful for heartbroken maidens and suitors to run up.

Tows in soap operas have only one interior decorator who monopolizes the industry and apparently does not believe in variety. Every household in the town bears his unmistakable mark.

Characters in soap operas never watch TV. When they do, it is in preparation to receive a phone call (see above) or to watch breaking news with a crucial twist in the plot.

See TV above

People in a soap do not pay any taxes or rates. Infrastructure just magically appears

Soap cities do not have any government, unless the plot revolves around the government e.g. West Wing.

Soaps have Carte Blanche when it comes to naming characters. You will find people called Barbarita McCafferty, Luis O'Brien, Rosita Ipswitch and Xiuhang Jones. You will find characters who look like they just disembarked from the boat from Congo rejoicing under the name Tyler McDermott III A.C.E. The token indigenous blacks are either Ghanaian, Nigerian or from a mysterious country called Africa, where the language is African. They will generally be called Kwame.

Soaps generally do not have any ugly, overweight or short people. If there are any they are either (a) Token characters like delivery men or housekeepers or (b) There as part of the plot, and have come for revenge against the character that contributed to their malady by poisoning their mothers or throwing acid in their faces.

No soap is complete without a love triangle, where A loves B but B does not love A, but loves C, who does not love B but in fact loves A. The newer soap operas tend to do a thorough job and prefer to go for love rectangles, pentagons and hexagons.The lengths to which each member of the geometric structures will go to get at their beloved is generally the story of the soap.

People in soaps never shop. Their fridges and cupboards magically contain all their needs. Token attempts are at times made to carry mysterious brown paper bags called "The Shopping".

People in soaps never stub their toe or trip and fall, and they certainly never vent their agony, shattering the atmospheric pressure with their vocabulary.

Female cast members always use the same strategy when taking baths
(a) Immerse all of self except impossibly organized hairdo into soapy bath water
(b) Stick leg, from knee onwards perpendicularly out of bath water
(c) Soap leg until either phone rings, killer comes or hero asks if he can join you

(a) Step into shower
(b) Rinse hair for impossibly long time, eyes closed, face angled upwards
(c) Keep rinsing until either phone rings, killer comes or hero asks if he can join you

Though not compulsory, it always helpful to have one or the other. Invariably, one is the very milk of human kindness and the other is the devil incarnate.

Punctures are not to happen unless part of the plot, especially when beloved meet for the first time, before twin of either of the beloved shows up to muck up everything

The entire immediate family with either live in the same house or they will be neighbours.

Characters generally tend to be quite prone to overacting. After receiving shocking news they will look completely at utterly shocked, and then wait for the dramatic music to come up. There is almost always a brief pause before we return to the scene where the character will still have the shocked look. On average this is about ten to thirty seconds. Normal dialogue then resumes until another shocking statement is made, where it is all repeated.

Where tears are to be shed, they must be shed copiously. They must stream down cheeks for as long as possible. Two to three episodes is a good time period for crying. A tearful monologue is also an excellent aid to plot development. Where a fit of fainting can be slipped in, it should be, especially where there is someone standing in a strategic position to receive the fainting person.

When in doubt, use a flashback

A, I is missing you like crazy ...

Nirvanah - Smells Like Teen Spirit

Friday, June 17, 2005

Uganda 101

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Kampala is chiefly composed of hills and corners. The town planners appear to abhor straight lines and insist on putting curves and corners along the roads. Rather than have old fashioned T-junctions, a popular design of making a left turn requires you driving 50 meters further down the road, (away from the turn) before turning back and then taking the turn. This helps break the monotony.

The obsession with curves and corners keeps drivers busy with their gear levers. The cheerful chap who is driving me around seems to believe that it is unlikely you will ever get to gear 4, let alone 3 because just as you get a bit of weight on the accelerator you are at a corner.

As air goes, Kampala's is definitely an acquired taste. It's hot. It's stuffy. It does not appear to want to move and stays merrily in place, like Mwai Kibaki. I have been forced to dispose of my long sleeved shrifts and stick to their short sleeved brethren. Attempting to put on blazers, sweaters and waistcoats will get you followed by screaming excited children that will have concluded you are a circus clown.

The people are remarkably friendly, and apparently possess some instinct that allows them to detect foreigners in an instant. Conversation generally goes as follows:

Kampalan: Good morning sir.
M: Good morning. I wonder if I could trouble you for today's papers?
Kampalan: Yes sir! No problem sir! I'll get them at once sir!
M: Thanks. And there's no need to call me sir!
Kampalan: Yes sir!!

As currencies go, Ugandan currency is the most wallet unfriendly. The Ugandan currency boasts a 50,000 shilling note. A soda is 1,000 shillings. Fuel is 1,990 shillings to the litre. Transactions seem to be rounded off to the nearest 500. A good meal is about 10,000 shillings. A chap I met deeply resents the 50,000 note on the grounds that when the inevitable parasites that are related to you make an appearance and request your IMF support, it is entirely possible you may give away the wrong note instead of the 1,000 that you wanted to get rid of the bugger with.

When it comes to food, Ugandans don't do things by halves. A table is laid with matoke (boiled and mashed bananas) and a dish of groundnut sauce. At this stage it is not yet considered a meal. Shortly people staggering under the weight of assorted pots will strain the table legs with beef, chicken, beans, ugali and assorted vegetables. Dessert with invariably be pineapples or bananas, or any combination thereof.

Eating is taken very seriously and from an informal survey I have carried out, the Britney Spears look is completely eschewed. (Smart People!)

The chief languages appear to be English and Buganda. Swahili is also spoken, but chiefly by the army. However it is apparently gaining popularity

People generally tend to dress colourfully. However, as with most rules there are always exceptions. The Karamojong apparently prefer to be attired in nothing. But when it comes to accessories, the prefer the Ak-47.

George Bush would have a heart attack of Uganda became the Unites States 52nd state. It is impossible to go two blocks before running into a chap sitting idly with a gun, or a chap riding a bike with a gun slung across his back. Security guards are empowered to carry guns. A chap I saw just yesterday appeared to be cleaning his ear with his rifle.

The police themselves are armed to the gums and dart around in open backed pick-ups, scowling furiously to clear the traffic before them. A popular way of cutting down of red tape (arresting, booking, transport to court etc.) appears to be shooting crooks in the head. Most of the Ugandans I have talked to are in favour of this method of dealing with crime.

Apparently there are over 300 MPs in Uganda. (Poor Ugandans!) But when it comes to producing hot air they are leaps and bounds behind their Kenyan counterparts. The current issue of the day is whether presidential term limits should be abolished for the incumbent Yoweri Museveni.

To rocket scientists (you know yourselves) when I tell you I shall be in Uganda and while there I shall be using my MTN line, even a Government spokesman will suspect that trying to contact me using my Safaricon line (pun intended) will not on the whole be effective.

The Game - Dreams

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Geography For Absolute Dummies

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What is more ridiculous than powdered water? A Kenyan Tourism Minister who thinks Mt. Kilimanjaro is in Kenya

Amazed and bewildered travel agents listened in disbelief as the geography of East Africa was altered on the fly with fleeting regard to pesky international conventions like cartography and the United Nations.

While someone scrabbled for an atlas and surreptitious text messages were sent under tables to reassure the doubtful, Tourism Minister Morris Dzoro soldiered on like a Christian Soldier. Did I mention that he is the Tourism Minister, in charge of tourism?

Apparently I'm Kenya's Hillaire Belloc, or so thinks the BBC. I also have a "natty line in political satire".

{Award yourself 10 marks if you know who Hillaire Belloc is}

Run D.M.C & Jason Nevins - It's Like That

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Man & Beast

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Apparently, you are either a cat person or a dog person. Just the other day I went to visit my good friend L. L is the proud and doting owner of a feline and she (not the feline) has the most ludicrous habit of talking incessantly in that annoying coo that I'm sure even babies object strongly too. Things like

"Ooo! How is mummykins' little darling?! Ooo!"

Oozed irritatingly out of her mouth to an unmoved cat that she was holding in her arms with reverence.

Fifteen minutes of whistling to myself, noticing that the chandelier needed urgent dusting, noticing that the picture on the wall was skewed, noticing that someone had been polishing shoes with the sofa cushions were quite enough before I had to interrupt her flow by clearing my throat in a manner likely to suggest I had an erupting volcano in my throat.

Cat and owner looked at me with some concern. "Are you ill?"

I reassured both that I was neither and looked closely at the cat. As far as I could tell, its fur was not coated with gold, or chocolate for that matter. The cat, like millions of its fellows, had whiskers in the right places. It had four legs. Its eyes were in front of its head. It looked like a plain old cat, and I unwisely voiced this.

Ten minutes later I was wishing for a sudden attack of the measles that would allow me to excuse myself from the flow out outraged eloquence. How dare I call Princess "just another mangy cat?" Am I blind? Have I taken leave of my little senses? Do realize that she has feelings?
All the while, Princess looked on sardonically, in smug amusement.

"What feelings?" I demanded finally. "It's just a mang - er - just a cat! Can it moonwalk? Can it ride a bike? Can it play the piano? Can it read Andy Capp? Shoot pool?"

Relations between myself and L, I regret to say are strained.

People's views of their animals are thoroughly biased.

One night about 6 months ago we were dropping off Pete at his place. Our transport was a two door hatchback, and from left to right were self and driver. At the back was Pete. All was well until the car came to a stop within Pete's compound I looked nonchalantly out the window and were it not for John Michuki and his rules I would have ended up in the driver's lap.

There's something very disconcerting about looking out the window in the dark and finding two enormous German Shepherds looking calmly right back at you, eyes gleaming in the dark. The Hounds of the Baskervilles could do well to take notes from these two. I've never seen such enormous dogs in my life. If it was a bit darker I could have sworn they were horses. They were actually looking at me at eye level.

"So gentlemen, can I be on my way?" Pete asked preparing to leave.

I took a second look at the Baskerville Hounds. They were not barking or baring their teeth. They were just looking calmly back at me.

Let me remind you again that this was a hatchback and therefore for Pete to leave I had to open my door, get out, angle the seat and let him get out. I could have sworn one of the dogs licked its lips.

"You must be freaking kidding? You want me to open the door to these half wolves-half horses?"

"They're harmless!" Pete protested.

I looked out at the dogs again. Lucifer was the slightly taller one. Damien was the other. Both shared the same knowing look a Finance Minister will share with a Cooperatives minister when they see a tax waiver.

"My son, the only way you will get this door opened is if you shoot me dead and climb over my dead body."

Finally after some convincing I eased the door opened and slid out of the car to let Pete out. Lucifer looked at me from head to toe, and I wondered if my cologne smelt like roast beef.

Spotting the facilities five hours after drinking a litre of coke is not relief. Slipping into a car with Lucifer and Damien watching coolly is.

When it comes to animals my views are simple - the further they are away from me the better. Cats have got to be the smuggest animals ever created. The audacity of an animal behaving as if it is doing you favour by being your pet is hard to top. They howl and wail at obscene hours of the night.

Dogs are all wet tongue. I fail to see why anyone would like to be licked by a slobbering hound that just five minutes ago was licking the hindquarters of the neighbour's mongrel. The potential of mix-ups increases exponentially if you and your significant other allow the licking animal access to your bedroom at night.

Birds would be OK but they just sit there and their chirruping only attracts all the neighbouring cats and dogs.

Snakes and other reptiles - any self confessed cold blooded creature I can do without.

The only exception I can make is fish. They don't lick. They don't bark. They don't purr. They don't eye you smugly. They just swim happily around chasing plastic toys. They mind their business and they leave me alone to mind mine.

MORAL: If you talk to animals you probably need more friends

The NARC Government has adopted a new methodology of calculating economic growth rates. It is called Rounding Up


Finance Minister David Mwiraria has the sneaking suspicion that he left the budget speech on the cistern and what is in the brief case is a Mills & Boon

Looks like I may be back in Kampala next week for a week or so


Genral Grievous is clearly one bad ass mother [Shut yo' mouth!], joining an elite list of ultimate bad guys that already includes in its Membership Agent Smith and Cyrus The Virus. He hunted Jedi for sport?? LOL! Still, its ludicrous that Obi Wan killed a guy with like 6 light sabres!

Mahatma, Nonini & Jua Cali - Mtu Saba

Friday, June 03, 2005

Anatomy Of A Kenyan MP

I have moved to http://blog.thinkersroom.com, and i have also migrated all posts and comments. YOU SHOULD NOT BE HERE SO CHANGE YOUR BOOKMARLS/BLOGROLLS ACCORDINGLY!!!!
Meet Jack Arse, MP. The initial urge to smack his fat head can be overwhelming, but if you keep your hands in your pocket all will be well. This feeling is intermittent but on the whole it is wise to keep your hands in your pockets.

Jack insists on being referred to as the 'Honourable' Jack Arse, despite the fact that this gentleman is nothing remotely of the kind.

He is the living testament that stupidity is an entirely relative term. Between the 30 million people and the 250 Members of Parliament, most of whom lack the intelligence to hit the water if they fell out of a boat while wearing a suit of armour, it is indeed debatable which of the two groups, as someone once said, "wallows in a miasma of crass stupidity".

Armani, Boss and Laurent need look no further than Jack for that fond, mellow feeling that honest work done lovingly and skilfully well brings to a skilled craftsman. Well cut and well stitched silk, with buttons able to withstand the considerable assault of an obscenely protuberant stomach can only be fashioned by a chosen few. A blind eye can be turned by these craftsmen to the fact that Jack on occasion appears in public with pink trousers and a yellow coat with a blue shirt and a orange tie. On a good day Jack is like a Boeing 747-- you hear him well before you actually see him.

Jack's vocabulary is quite unlike that of the rest of us. He proudly refers to the lengthy heated debates with his bosom friend D Mwitt about the oil content of the parliamentary cafeteria samosas as "healthy democratic expression". When this degenerates into an ungraceful exchange of fleshy fists and fatty kicks, peppered with biting and scratching this is referred to as "increased democratic space".

Jack has no qualms about appearing with his arm fondly around the shoulders of D Mwitt in public on Monday. He is also has no problem appearing on Tuesday with his foot appearing to have been grafted into the back of D Mwitt's trouser seat. On Wednesday both will be clinging to each other in tearful laughter, the very epitome of friendship that has withstood the corrosive effects of the sands of time.

Jack has been heard on several occasions to express puzzled surprise that 30 million Kenyans do not understand the back breaking work he does tirelessly for them. He is amazed that we do not find it obvious that 10 minutes a day idling at the parliamentary cafeteria establishing the calcium content of Castle Milk Stout while awaiting instructions from the Chief Whip to vote for white instead of cream napkins for the parliamentary picnic is work not for the faint of heart.

The threat of his pointed crocodile skin moccasins giving him corns as he queues for his innumerable allowances are the very exemplification of sacrificing for the benefit of his fellow countrymen. Risking paper cuts from the crisp thousand shilling notes is what separates the ordinary Kenyan from the true patriot.

Suffering from having his considerable hindquarters wedged in the confines of an airline seat as he flies to Mombasa for a conference of parliamentary procedures, details of which are conveniently and perpetually available in the parliamentary library he is leaving behind, is standing at the front line of the calvary charge in the service of his countrymen.

Some of his constituents have trouble recognizing Jack whenever he appears in public because whenever they see him on TV in the house, his eyes are invariably closed and his snoring is shaking the rafters of the house.

When it comes to unity, the Holy Trinity can learn a thing of two from Jack and his 249 colleagues. Any issue to do with their personal welfare unites the 250 in ways that atoms could do well to take note. Bills such as increasing their own remuneration pass quicker than milk through a small boy suffering from diarrhoea. Light needs to spend more time in the gym in order to move as fast as a motion suggesting increased perks and the passing of the said motion.

Jack's latest favourite word is "dialogue". Dialogue is the solution to anything. Had too much roast beef for lunch and suffering from the effects? Dialogue. Pesky constituents harassing you with requests for services? Dialogue. AC Milan lost to Liverpool? Dialogue. Suffering from a sore throat? Dialogue. Jack and his colleague could dialogue the jawbone off a donkey.

Jack is one of the few people on this earth who can convincingly deny utterances he has made that have been captured on film. His outrage, shock and disappointment, followed by a loud and almost incoherent denial has to be seen to be believed. Video footage showing him actually say the things he is denying leave him unmoved an unimpressed. If anything the footage brings out the conspiracy theory in him.

"Money has been poured to finish me politically" Jack declares, frothing at the mouth. "I have powerful enemies. The Media also have a hidden agenda jealous of my success!"

Jack's myopia is such that Optica and Baus Optical, two of Nairobi's leading dispensers of spectacles and contact lenses have declared him as unwelcome in their premises. The instant a corrupt official that Jack grew up with is arrested on corruption charges, Jack wastes no time in thrusting his ample, sweaty face in camera lens.

"It is victimizing our community", he bleats into the camera. "It is our turn to eat!", he adds as an afterthought.

Jack additionally clamours for promotions purely on merit, as his latest press release reads. It was a coordinated effort with participation from a good number of his ministerial staff. Written by his brother, typed by his sister, proof read by his third cousin on his mother's side and mailed by his first born son, the press release rails at government officials with the temerity to recruit only their kith and kin. As his childhood village sweetheart brings him his morning tea, he observes to her that such practices would be the death of the nation. He also asks whether fresh documents have been sent to his wife and sister in law, co-chairs of his Constituency Development Fund.

His aversion to the mud tracks, dust and insects of his rural constituency are legendary. The only time he is spotted there he is invariably in tropical suits that Livingstone and Stanley would have envied, complete with hats with netting like contraption to keep out the rural air and insects. He is only seen there during election campaigns and funerals, and it is during funerals that he can overlook the casket with the dead body and the bereaved family and begin vocally and fluently describe just what he thinks of his political opponents.

At present Jack is currently on one of his many recesses, but we expect to see him soon, fast asleep, mouth open and dribbling onto the leather of the August House as he attends the reading of the budget.

<info>Flickr seems to be resting so photo of the day to come later</info>

Kriss Kross & Jermaine Dupri - Live & Die For Hip Hop