Monday, 16 November 2015


The much anticipated return of the son of the soil finally broke forth on Friday 24th July at 2002 hours East African time, when Air Force One touched down at the JKIA where tens of journalists, both local and international were eagerly waiting to capture that moment when the most powerful person on Earth, the president of the United States of America, Barrack Hussein Obama was going to step on Kenyan soil, being the first sitting US president to do so. 
It was a sigh of relief for millions of Kenyans especially those who live in Nairobi, for Obama to step out of that huge, magnificient airbus, one of its kind, since the Nairobians had already been held hostage in their own city for hours waiting for the arrival of the US President. 

Of course, president Obama was visiting Kenya for the sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit, the first to be held in sub-saharan Africa and the second to be held in Africa after the third which was held in Morroco last year. This three day event was going to mark a turning point in the entrepreneurial history of Kenya and Africa as a whole. Kenya has been greatly described as the gate to Africa arising in technological and entrepreneurial advancement and this was her time to launch into that arena. 

As many were glued to their Tv screen to witness this historic event, there was a team which had analyzed Obama’s visit before it actually happened, ‘fought many battles’ to make it happen, prepared the avenue on which Obama was going to ride on and also spread a proper ground for him to tread upon while in Kenya. This is the social media team. 

Ranging from facebook, twitter, Instagram, blogs, websites and such like platforms, the social media in Kenya was a buzz of activity as teams such as #KOT (KenyansOnTwitter) widely shared information using different hashtags to describe Obama’s visit, the preparations, the actual events during the GES as well as antics from the sidelines.

In today’s world, with the high level of technological advancement in communication especially in the mobile industry, Hashtags have become the norm in which information is shared, since they easily identify information pieces and make it to flow very fast as well as bringing similar information together.
During Obama’s visit to Kenya, hashtags were widely used in the different social media platforms and they proved to be powerful tools of impact in the communication industry in today’s era.


Nairobi Governor Dr. Evans Kidero initiated a beautification process for the city of Nairobi weeks before the arrival of POTUS (President of the United States) in the country. This project estimated at a cost of Kshs. 180 Million attracted a myriad of comments from many online users who used the hashtag #kiderograss. Comments varied from questioning the large amount of money allocated for the work compared to the quality of the work delivered, the time in which the grass was planted and its ability to grow within days before the arrival of POTUS. 

@LLoperioMUSA No one is under pressure like the #kiderograss which should grow in days.

After POTUS left the country, this trend still continued with many saying that #kiderogras was no longer under pressure to grow. Others wanted a proper account for the money allocated for this project. This hashtag was frequently used alongside #NowThatObamaIsGone after president Obama left the country.


This is one of the trends that did well and trended for a long period of time in the month of July with many online users very excited that President Obama was visiting Kenya as the first sitting president of the US. It was described as a historic event and one which would change the world’s perspective about Kenya. Many blew the trumpet that Obama was not only visiting Kenya for the Global Entrepreneurial Summit but was also visiting his father’s homeland where he would interact and mingle with his African family.

Powerful and strong messages that Obama delivered during the GES at UN headquarters at Gigiri were posted online alongside this hashtag.
@JamesPatie Jubilee was electes, support it – Obama tells Opposition #ObamaReturns.

Obama’s call for youth and women empowerment and his enthusiasm for the next generation was widely spread via the social media platforms via this trend.

#GES2015 & #KenyaMeansBusiness

These hashtags were primarily used to point out some of the key highlights that came up during the Global Entrepreneurial Summit which was hosted by our president Uhuru Kenyatta and President Barrack Obama. In this summit young Kenyan entrepreneurs had a chance to pitch their ideas before potential investors from across the globe. 

The President of the United States was visiting Kenya to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and also for bilateral talks with president Uhuru Kenyatta.


America’s Cable News Network experienced the wrath of team KOT –Kenyans on Twitter, as it is famously known, after it aired a story that seemed to paint Kenya negatively. CNN cited that president Obama was not only visiting his father’s homeland but also going to a ‘hotbed of terror’. This is not the first time that CNN is carrying negative stories about Kenya as the same was experienced in 2013 during the general elections.

@LeonLidigu #SomeoneTellCNN : ‘Foreigners’ will never tell the African story !

However, Kenyans were quick to criticize and highly respond to CNN. This even attracted the attention of other international news casts like The Independent and the BBC


The buzz did not end without the criticizing of the local media stations and outlets for highly concentrating on the sidelines of Obama’s visit rather than highlighting more on the GES and its importance to Kenyans.

@kenyanpundit: A whole article on where Air Force One spent the night. #Kenyanmediafailure  nonsense


After the whole buzz, Airforce One took off to Ethiopia where Obama was going to address  the African Union summit, and it was time to go back to the daily routines and domestic affairs, now that Obama was gone. 

@JulieOtieno  #NowThatObamaHasGone let's internalise and actualise the audacity of hope. Yes we can

Monday, 25 May 2015


“We are in a country where justice and reconciliation and recognition of past events and understanding our own history is a problem.” – Salah Abdi

On February 9th 1984, during the wee hours of the night as the residents of Wajir town were deep in sleep, a lot of activity that would change their lives forever was taking place in the covering the night as security officers from the military, the General Service Unit and the regular police were busy taking their positions in a move aimed at disarming members of the Degodia clan in the area in which intertribal clashes were rampant.

The residents were woken up by the heavy sound of military apparatus hitting the ground as the operation began. On this day, men from the Degodia clan were rounded up from their homesteads and the streets and taken to the Wagalla military airstrip where they were tortured and many brutally killed.

In this operation, which the government termed as a disarmament exercise to retrieve illegal weapons from the members of the Degodia clan, the men were forced into police trucks and taken to the Wagalla airstrip where they were stripped naked and forced to lie down under the scorching sun and the cold of the night for three days, without food or water. They were battered, tortured and shot in an ordeal that left hundreds of them dead and thousands unaccounted for. The government claimed that only 57 men lost their lives but witnesses indicated close to 500 were killed.

As the men were being burned and tortured at the airstrip, women and children were not spared. Many women were raped, beaten and dragged out of their houses leaving many wounded and even some even permanently disabled.

Violation of Human Rights
The United Nations condemned this incident describing it as the worst case of violation of human rights in Kenya.

This massacre termed as government genocide against its own people, immediately attracted a lot of criticism from far and wide not only from the United Nations, but also from NGOs like the UNICEF, the Kenya Red Cross and the World Vision. However, the government downplayed the operation with a series of cover ups and frustrations to the international organizations that had the quest for justice for the Wagalla victims and families.

Three decades after this incident, three different governments have been in power but little has been done to bring justice to the people of Wajir. Though they have tried to move on with life, many of them say their pride and humanity was trampled down.

Moi Era
This heinous act was conducted when president Moi was in power, and many of the intelligence and security officials during his reign were alleged to either have authorized or had information of the attack before it took place.

Two days before the operation began, some top government, security and intelligence officials met in Wajir at the DC’s office, and according to the list obtained from the visitors book the following government officials attended the meeting; Benson Kaaria (PC North Eastern Province), Bethuel Kiplangat (PS Ministry of Foreign Affairs), David Mwiraria (PS Ministry of Foreign Affairs), John Gituma (PS Ministry of Information and Broadcasting), Bigadier J,R Kibwana (Department of Defence), John Kagathi (Senior Administrative Secretary – office of the President) and James Mathenge (PS Office of the president).

Many of the above have never spoken on the matter while others denied the said meeting ever took place, and distanced themselves from any involvement in the planning of the operation. When the matter was tabled before parliament on several attempts by former Member of Parliament for Wajir West, Abdi Mohamed Sheikh, to institute a probe into the circumstances surrounding the massacre, the parliament was hostile and did not give a hearing into the matter.

In 1992, Moi unofficially apologized to some Degodia elders and promised to establish a trust fund for the victims. This promise never came to pass and he remained mum on the matter ever since.

Kibaki era
In July 2010, some women who survived the horrific attack paid a visit to the deserted Wagalla airstrip where there has not been a single plane for the last close to 30 years. Here, they cried and wept bitterly as the deserted place brought forth memories of the ordeal the were forced to go through. Many were widowed and lost sons in the hands of the police, they still had not got justice from the government.

Various groups of women have tried to broker peace in the area with the help of community elders and businessmen reducing inter-clan conflict which was cited as the initial lead to the Wagalla massacre.

In 2008, The Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission was set up to investigate the human rights violation and other historical injustices meted upon the people of Kenya. This was after a peace agreement was reached after post–election violence. Bethuel Kiplangat, a former operative in the Moi government, and one mentioned to have attended the Wajir meeting before the termed genocide, was appointed to steer this committee.

In 2010, a new constitution was implemented in an attempt to end years on violation of human rights in the country.

Uhuru Tenure
The Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission conducted its investigations and presented its report to president Uhuru Kenyatta who came to power in 2013. In the report the commission stated it was unable to determibe the precise number of persons murdered. It also reported that the security agents committed antrocities including torture, brutal beatings, rape and sexual violence as well as looting and destruction of property.

Several remedies were outlined in the report one of which demanded of the president to make a public apology on behalf of the government to the Wagalla victims. This report was tabled before parliament for discussion and it is yet to be implemented.

So far, none of the perpetrators have been brought to justice, none of the families have been compensated for the loss they suffered.

Organizations such as the Truth be Told, Wajir Peace and Development Agency have been formed to educate people on peace as well as tackle violence and crime as well as campaign for peace and seek justice for the people of Wajir.

31 years later, justice is yet to be found, only a monument has been set up in Wajir town in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the ordeal. However, the wait continues.

We cry out for Justice.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

THE EMPIRE: The hidden motive behind this highly celebrated movie

Just at the mention of the name Lucious Lyon many movie lovers will turn their heads and want to know exactly what you are talking about and maybe join in the conversation. This is simply because there is a new movie in town that seems to have registered perfectly well in the minds of many who have watched it, but not without passing its message which though partly hidden, comes out clearly.

I do not command a standing as far as knowledge about movies or even their evaluation is concerned, i actually do watch not so many of them, maybe until everybody is talking about it and i have to visit the movie shop after a long time, just like it happened with the Empire. And therefore, these are my humble thoughts concerning this ‘Empire’.

I write this piece from my Christian faith and understanding of the actual African society values and practices. What is depicted in this movie is not new, and it is also not the first time that it is being portrayed, it is only that it is well orchestrated and coiled within the particular scenes of this movie such that everything comes out interesting and almost perfect. For instance, did you notice that the lady singing at the very beginning of the first episode has such a beautiful and a strong voice? Now that’s good singing right there, not to mention those of Hakeem and Jamal his brother.

Allow me to first appreciate the way in which the whole concept around the movie has been executed. The locations, the actors, the camera shots, the directing, the continuity, the editing, the transitions, everything is just fantastic. Lee Daniels and Danny Strong the brains behind the Empire properly earned their money.

Andre Lyon health condition gets worse after his father fails to vote in his favour to become the company’s next CEO, after which he is put on medication and assigned a music therapist named Michelle White, who also leads a singing team in a church.  In the process of helping Andre, Michelle takes him to the church where he seems to regain his health and find his purpose in God.
At one point while talking to his dad in his office, Andre tells him, “There is always something missing. A void that is filled with darkness, but now I’m getting to know my God. And He is sealing this void with a higher purpose.”

Andre brings out the fact that without finding your purpose in God, there is always am emptiness inside a person that remains dark and void.
Lucious immediately trashes of these words saying, “There’s no higher purpose than being a maker of music, that’s the voice of God.”

These are utter lies that Lucious speaks, dismissing his son’s new identity he has found in God, a clear indication that he neither respects nor honours God.

In another incidence, Lucious is in need of his son Andre back to the Empire. Andre has been away in his new found life in church where Michelle White led him, and he seems reluctant to go back to the Empire. Upon seeing her, Lucious cannot believe that the young church-girl has managed to influence her son to that extend.
“Is this the little angel who has got you down here?” He laments, “Let’s see who is more powerful. Your God or your Daddy.”

Lucious goes ahead to pretend on Michelle that God has spoken to him while she was singing, and he wittily lures her into the Empire alongside his son Andre.

Lucious Lyon boasts himself as more powerful than God both by his words and actions.

Naomi Campbell features in this movie starring as Hakeem’s girlfriend. However Lucious doesn’t like the fact that Hakeem is dating this ‘old’ lady. He calls her in her office and asks her to leave Hakeem alone and vacate the Empire. And here once more he makes some controversial statements.
He says to her, “Do you know how God made man in his image, I am making Hakeem in my own image. God didn’t need help and neither do I.”

Lucious makes himself equal with God, that he can do things on his own.

As the family music business continues to flourish amidst many challenges, the Empire is set to become the first black owned entertainment company to be publicly traded in the New York stock exchange. Lucious invites journalists to come and experience what he terms in his words,” The brand new Lucious Lyon sound.”
“So you can witness as the Empire becomes synonymous with the American culture, and Lucious Lion becomes a god.”
Then Snoop Dog takes up after him and says, “And while he is God, then I must be Jesus.”

This is pure blasphemy as Lucious and Snoop both declare themselves God and Jesus respectively.
At the end of the 12th episode which is the last episode for this first season, Lucious Lyon is arrested and put in jail for murdering his friend and business partner Bunkie Williams. These are his last words behind the bars, blasphemous ones indeed.
“You may think you have gotten away with it, but don’t fool yourselves, this is only the beginning. If streets couldn’t defeat me, if diseases couldn’t defeat me, even God can’t kill me. The day will come when Lucious Lyon will return.”

What a proud character is portrayed right there.

Apart from blasphemy, acts of sexual immorality, murder, idol worship and other manners of evil, all are well orchestrated yet disguised and camouflaged with good music, talented actors as well as fine production. Hakeem the youngest son sleeps with his father’s ‘concubine’ or rather fiancée. Jamal is gay and gets intimate with his partners on several occasions.

The Empire might not be so evil or explicit to be banned or even censored by the authorities, but the message behind this movie is one that is misleading, evil and destructive.
God speaking in Isaiah 42:8 says,
I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

Anyone who tries to compete with God or tries to make himself equal with Him is only paving his own path towards destruction. In as far as God is merciful and loving, He is also a consuming fire.

The sin of blasphemy has serious consequences, such that if anyone sins against the spirit of God he has no place in the kingdom of God. See Mathew 12:32. The devil and his agents could devise new and appealing ways of spreading his agenda, but let us be wise and alert lest we be entangled in the schemes of the devil.

These are my own and personal opinions and are subject to err and omissions. However the truth of the Word of God remains and about that i am not apologetic.

Ephesians 5: 15-16
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Comments are welcomed.

Thursday, 5 March 2015


The statistics indicating that one billion people in the world today do not have enough safe and nutritious food to eat are really shocking, having in mind that the total population is still growing while at the same time the resources are getting diminished. This means that if something is not done to bring a solution, many people will continue going hungry and succumbing to this unfortunate challenge. This essay highlights some of the key causes of food insecurity, their effects on population and also outlines some changes to agricultural practices and food chain practices, as well as personal and community behaviors that can be employed not only to reduce the rapidly growing number of ‘hungry’ people but also secure our natural resources across the planet. I will majorly use Kenya, my home country as a point of reference as I address these issues globally.

According to the World Health Organization, food security is built upon three main pillars which are; food availability, food access and food use. Therefore, anything that deters these three pillars becomes a threat to food security in the world.

Some of the key causes of food insecurity include the lack of access to good and sufficient food. This can be caused by the unavailability of the food or the lack of enough resources to obtain it. Many people across the world are poor and live for less than a dollar each day. This makes it very difficult for them to afford basic necessities including food, with the increased cost of living. Natural calamities like drought, floods, fires and crop pests and diseases often lead to poor production of food in most parts of the world especially where no proper prevention or counter measures are employed. In Kenya, for instance, we only have two rain seasons. The ‘long rains’ between October and February and the ‘short rains’ between April and June. Sometimes these rain seasons fail leading to a great famine characterized by crop failure, scarcity of water and food, death of animals among other severe results. It is usually a very difficult period for many people who go even for days without food of water and have to depend on relief food from either the government or from international organizations like the United Nations.

Apart from that, some environments do not have the capacity to provide enough food for the total number of people living within those areas. Literally, the food is not even there. This is mainly caused by factors such as soil infertility, poor rains and poor farming methods, natural disasters, increased population as well as the lack of a place to cultivate. This leads to a scramble of the limited resources by the inhabitants resulting to a depletion of those resources and negative impact on the environment. Effects such as deforestation, over cultivation of the land, soil erosion emanate as a result.
Other factors such as poor storage of food, lack of quality food as well as crop diseases also contribute to increased food insecurity in the world. Poor education standards for the people has led to the lack of use of environmental conservation practices and continued application of harmful methods of farming and depletion of the natural resources.

These causes of food insecurity have had negative impacts on population not only locally but also globally. The greatest of them all is loss of lives. In the year 2010, several people lost their lives in the North-Eastern part of Kenya due to hunger, and the people of Kenya had to come together and contribute money and foodstuffs under a programme which was dubbed ‘Kenyans for Kenya.’ Through this initiative, a lot of hope was found for the hunger stricken people, even though this was after several lives had already been lost. Across the world, children born under poor conditions die from preventable diseases like flu, leukemia, malaria and HIV AIDs. Poor health and malnourishment also arise due to lack of quality food.

Globally, the realization of the Millennium Development Goals is facing a great hindrance from food insecurity. MDG number one is about eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. This can only be realized when everyone in the world has the access and the capacity to obtain sufficient and quality food. To achieve environmental sustainability, proper measures have to be put in place to curb depletion of the natural resources and ensure proper utilization of the same having in mind the future generations.

Several changes can be made in our agricultural and daily practices to bring a solution to this disaster. The two main areas which need to be addressed are Education and the use of Modern technology.
To begin with, great emphasis should be made on the production sector, which happens to be the core of the whole food chain. Education should be a basic thing for all players in the food chain beginning with the individual farmers, the entire community and all other players in the food chain. This education should touch on proper farming methods and practices, soil conservation methods, water storage and conservation methods, avoiding land and forest depletion, as well as being educated on the need to embrace new technological practices in farming. Education on practices like cross-breeding, crop rotation, new planting methods, new type of seeds and crops will go a long way to eradicating poverty and increase productivity.

Also, in ensuring that sufficient food is produced for the people, current technology should be employed in the farming methods across the globe. The type of seeds put on the ground reflects a lot in the amount and type of produce achieved. Not only in Kenya, but also many parts of the globe experience shortage of rains. Sometimes this comes unexpectedly and many farmers suffer a big loss after an unproductive season. Growing of drought resistant crops which produce a harvest even under minimal rains should be made available to the farmers, and the farmers educated on the importance of embracing such especially in these times of continuous global climate change.

Employment of machinery in food production. In Kenya, for instance, combine harvesters are only used in the tea, wheat and sugarcane fields but not on maize farms whereas maize is the staple food of Kenya. Manual labor is the main labour force in the country, and happens to be slow and expensive although it provides an employment opportunity for many jobless Kenyans. This makes both the land tilling, planting and harvesting processes very slow, leaving many fields unutilized. If proper machinery was employed in the food production activities, more potential land would have been utilized, activities done faster and as a result more produce harvested. And the country would have enough for domestic use as well as for export.

Modern means of fighting pests and diseases should also be made available to the farmers and at a favorable price. This will prevent damage of crops in the fields as well as the stored food products. This, together with proper storage facilities of the harvested food, will greatly reduce wastage, damage as well as early expiry which lead to loss of large quantities of food products.

Modern technology has changed every sphere of life and the same has been experienced in some of the developed countries like Sweden, Netherlands and Switzerland. If employed in every other country, and properly instilled in the food chain, production, transportation, storage as well as exportation of food products to the global market will be impacted positively.

Thursday, 12 February 2015



As at 10th Jan 2015

As I am writing this, news of the killing of two suspected terrorists, who happen to be brothers Cherif Kouachz and Said Kouachi, are going viral across the world. The two carried out a horrific attack at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, France. Many people continue to condemn this act describing it as an attack to the freedom of expression.
In the words of France’ president, France is living through a trial, maybe one of the worst massacres the country has experienced in the last 50 years. Security forces in Paris remain in high alert after other two suspected terrorists took hostages in a grocery shop under siege. These two incidences remind me of the Westgate attack in Kenya by Al Shabaab terrorists which left 67 people dead and many scores injured. This outlawed group cited that the entry of Kenyan troops into Somalia under the operation Linda Nchi prompted their continuous attacks in Kenya
The president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta condemned the act and described it as one full of cowardice. In his subsequent responses to the run-away security situation in the country, especially from terrorist attacks, he repeatedly said that Terrorism is not an enemy or a challenge that only Kenya has to battle with, but rather a global threat. This stand by the president now sounds so true to many who are following the attacks in Paris, and the recent ones across the world.
Not only Kenya and France have fallen victims of these attacks. Before this, a self-styled muslim cleric named Man Haron Monis held several people hostage in a café in Sydney Australia, before being killed by the police in a dramatic encounter that led to the death of two civilians.
On Sunday, 4th January 2015, via a suicide car bomb blast in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, 4 people were killed. Again the Al shabaab claimed responsibility.
Recently in Nigeria, the outlawed terrorist group, Boko Haram, which has been carrying out attacks on several parts of the country, seized a military camp in the Northern part of the country, forcing the military officers to flee and abandon it. In the latest revelations, the group is said to have issued threats of attacks to Cameroon.
The ISIS operations in Syria and Iraq continue to harm many across the world.
The bottom line is clear, terrorism is a global threat, and no country or state is prone to terrorist activities. And therefore it needs a global prompted mechanism to tackle it. We should all unite irregardless of our ethnic backgrounds, race, nationality or even religion to tackle this threat to our hard earned peace and stability.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

CR7, 2014 BALLON D’OR WINNER - My Reflections

That’s me there…. CR7, 2014 BALLON D’OR WINNER, 

His picture holding his third golden boot at the Meliá Castilla hotel in Madrid happens to be my desktop wallpaper on the computer from which am typing this piece, my two cents worth view concerning the 2014 Ballon d’Or FIFA player of the year. This was his second golden boot as a Real Madrid player. I cannot quite clear remember when I customized my desktop to have this smiling chap holding this highly coveted award. My loyalty to his amazing talent is undisputable. This is CR7. Yes, Christiano Ronaldo the Real Madrid and Portugal forward.
What an amazingly talented lad!! Phew! I exclaim even before I say anything about him. This is the point I wish I come from the lakeside, the adjectives that would follow hereafter… I would definitely paint them ‘Caps-Lock engaged’. My friend Aketch Ochieng Edwin knows what I mean, he does that with ease. Donge! Anyway, let me briefly remind you what this 29 year old managed to achieve in 2014. He became the Ballon d'Or world footballer of the year for the second year in a row beating Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to the award and took it home for the third time in his career, after also winning it in 2008.
Ronaldo scored a total of 61 goals for both his club and country, guiding Real Madrid to winning their 10th La Liga tittle, La Decima. In the league, he scored 52 goals in 43 games
To the date of writing this article, Ronaldo has scored a remarkable 26 goals in 16 games in La Liga and an additional five goals in six Champions League games.
After watching Kate Abdo the sky sports presenter, hosting the gala steer the happenings of the night, I think she also stole the show in her own way, that beauty and eloquence, anyway one could easily note the calmness and the beauty of the night. Lionel Messi, the magic boy, was visibly emotional just like his fellow contestants, when Arsenal legend, Thiery Henry called out Ronaldo’s name as the winner, Messi closed and opened his eyes just as immediately as he had closed them in unbelief. The continued competition between the two has always sparked a myriad of reactions from their fans across the globe. The Argentine has earned the honors of lifting the title for four straight years from 2009 to 2012. Pure magic and talent combined.
There were no tears, no frustrations. Infact, Ronaldo went ahead to applaud Messi as his fellow compatriot in the race. “I’m proud to have been in the World XI for eight consecutive years … it’s something very few people manage to do. I think just Messi and I have done it, not many more anyway. I don’t think anyone else has done it eight years in a row”.
After following this event, I wanted to find out more about Cristiano, but since I couldn’t make up a one on one interview with him from the ‘wanting’ state of my couch, I decided to trace his childhood life and how it was growing up in the in the mountainous outskirts of Santo Antonio, Portugal.
Amazingly, I found out that we share a lot in common with him, as far as childhood and growing up is concerned. Ben Heyward of did a very informative story on Ronaldo’s background which I used as my reference in comparison to my own upbringing, and of course my ‘yet’ achievements.
Ronaldo was born in Santo Antonio in 1885 in a relatively poor family. His mother was a cook and his father was a gardener and struggled to provide for the family. Unfortunately the father passed on in 2005 after a long battle with alcoholism. One of Ronaldo’s childhood friends, Rui Alves, describes him as a fighter who always wanted to play football. If he didn’t get the ball, he got upset and when his team lost, he cried. When Ronaldo joined the Sporting Lisbon football academy, he was bullied by other boys for being too small and having a heavy Madeiran accent. (It sounds like Madea, the movie!). He became homesick many a times, but he did not lose hope. He kept rolling the ball, passing it on, running wild, practicing and putting more effort every day until Sir Alex Ferguson noticed the lad and brought him ‘home’. Yes, the theatre of dreams, Old Trafford.
I will confess I came to realize this lad was talented when he joined Manchester United. His footwork, speed, passing, body movement, stamina, airborne skills and of course his ability to convert penalties and free-kicks. He flourished under Sir Alex and the initials CR7 became a brand. He was later to move to Real Madrid from where he is now ruling the football world.
However, Ronaldo does not go back to Santo Antonio more often, many guys there don’t work, and all they do once he steps his foot there is to ask him for money. His family has relocated to greener suburbs. Even so, I believe that all football fans there roared in great delight when his name was called out as the winner.
Now, this is why I think I will be the next CR7. I come from an average family, the time I was born; my parents did exactly the same work as Ronaldo’s parents did the time he was born. The alcoholic part, no. In our family we never taste anything bitter. I used to play serious football; yes, actual passing, defending and scoring goals too, actually am a legend the place I come from, all until I came to the city; there is no football here, it’s just a rowdy group of fans who sing around a statue when their team wins and throw stones, snarling up traffic when it losses. I hate this madness. In this very city, many told me I had a funny ‘lower-eastern’ accent and my name betrayed me, and therefore was disqualified from sailing in the ‘city businesses’. Many a times I felt like giving up, but anyway I am still ‘kicking the ball’, punching keys on this PC, zooming in and out, panning and jibbing out all at the same time. And by the way somebody told me I should do a voice test somewhere, that’s like when Sir Alex brought Ronaldo to Manchester. I believe my voice will not betray me. Ronaldo’s talent put him through, didn’t it? I still go back to my roots, and just like in Santo Antonio, there are lads waiting for me to buy them ‘tea’ and ‘mukhombero’. The bitter stuff I don’t relate to. My family built a new house a few years ago, to me that’s relocation. Same story like Ronaldo’s.
I need no other conviction. If CR7 made it that big in 2014 am gonna make it too. That’s my little story for now. Adios.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

It had been long since i wrote a story, until the demand to write one came. And this is what I penned down.

It was a few minutes to seven o’clock in the evening, East African time, Steve Biko just like most of his teammates was comfortably leaning back on his seat aboard the Kenya Airways Boeing KQ-708. The comfort of the plane and the softness of his seat almost lulled him to sleep. Suddenly the Captain called, “We are landing in five minutes, please everybody fasten your seatbelts and remain seated.” Steve had now been used to such alerts; they were not strange to him anymore. He had boarded a plane for the first time in his life two weeks ago when his team was travelling to Michigan in the United States after qualifying for the NBA School’s championships. ‘The Stormers’ as they were famously known, was the Nairobi University basketball team which had just been crowned as the national champions which made them qualify for this highly feted tournament.
Steve turned his head and looked around the plane, carefully moving his eyes as if he was taking his last glimpse of the plane. The inside of the plane was painted cream white with well decorated red finishing around the almost oval shaped windows. The seats were blue in colour with small cream rectangular patterns, and had the KQ inscription well labelled at the back of each seat. They were arranged in two rows on either side of the plane leaving a clear path at the middle where the air hostesses passed when attending to them or when they went about their business. They had just passed by there a few minutes ago taking away the empty cans left behind after the team enjoyed a round of their favourite Coca-Cola drinks. The floor of the plane had a well laid red carpet which had white and green shield-shaped patterns, an ideal symbol of the Kenyan flag. Above the seats were well partitioned cases in which Steve and his teammates had stacked their bags. Each case had its own perfectly fitting cover which also had the KQ inscription. Just after the front row at the partition that separated the passengers and the pilot’s cabin, it was written ‘The pride of Africa’ in bold well-designed red words. It was such a spectacular view for Steve to behold. He could not hide his joy after enjoying the experience of flying first class on his second time aboard a plane, the wide smile on his face was evident. 
“Hey happy man, what is it?” Raul, the team coach, who was seated on his far right on the adjacent row called on him. He had been closely watching Steve for some time. He had earphones well tucked in his ears, probably listening to some music from the CD-player which was well fitted at the back of the chair on his front.
“Am fine coach, all is well,” Steve said trying to wipe off his smile unsuccessfully, “I am just happy.”
“I know. Thank you for making us proud son,” the coach went on.
“Thank you too for believing in me.” Steve replied. “You are the best coach in the world,”
“And that’s why you emerged the best player in the tournament, ha ha!” Coach Raul concluded laughingly.
Steve was very amused and overwhelmed with joy after being voted the best player of the tournament, and the team clinching the highest tittle. The team was now jetting back to the country, the mood was high among the team members and they were looking forward to a warm welcome from their fans at the Jomo Kenyatta international airport. Steve was seated next to a window and could clearly see the city of Nairobi far at a distance; tall buildings looked like small ant hills, with the Mombasa-Nairobi highway looking like a small path meandering through the hardly recognisable buildings. They were finally home.
However, the thought of home did not seem to please him. In his mind he could see the state of his family and only hoped that this would be the beginning of the end of their predicament. Steve was the only child to his mother, having being brought up in a very poor family by the single parent. He did not have the opportunity to enjoy life like most of his peers did. He went to a local school near his home but was out of class most of the time due to lack of school fees. His mother did menial jobs to put food on their table, and many were the times they went to bed hungry. He had nothing like luxury. This was until the government rolled out the free primary and secondary education, which to him came as miracle at the right time, prompting him to settle in school. He was very bright in class and always topped each time the results came out. In his final exams, Steve emerged as the best student and was awarded a government scholarship, and that is how he ended up being in Nairobi University.
Because of his poor upbringing, Steve grew up as a very shy and lonely person with a very low self-esteem. This affected his social life and he used to spend most of his time alone thinking about his poor mother and the demanding state of his home, something which would make him shed tears.  He continued being lonely as nobody seemed to care about whatever he was going through.
In his first year in campus, Steve saw the basketball team players train and was very pleased and attracted by the way they played. He would closely watch the way they passed the ball from one player to the other, bouncing the ball on the ground as they moved towards the ring and finally tossing the ball into the ring ‘Vuuuush!’ It was just amazing to him. He longed to learn this game; it looked very interesting and enjoyable at the same time. After one training session, he approached the team coach and told him his strong desire to learn the game. Coach Raul admitted him into the team and began teaching him the moves of the game. He was quick to learn the three-pointers, the passes, the spins and the dunks as well. This game seemed to carry off his mind that he would forget his predicaments, the thoughts of his poor home seemed to fade away the more he played this game.
The coach noticed his dedication to the team and his growing talent and immediately incorporated him in the school’s main team. This is where he met Mike, who was the best player in the team at that time. Mike was very skilled and talented, but also very proud and arrogant. In one training occasion, Mike seemed to miss almost all his shots, while at the same time Steve was hitting all his shots on target. The coach cheered Steve more and congratulated him before the entire team something which made Mike feel very devastated and become jealous of Steve’s performance. He began to hate him, though in secret. However, Steve was very committed in the game than all other team members. He would wake up early and go to the court to train every morning before taking his breakfast. This helped him sharpen his skills and grow his talent. But most important, he played it more because it took away his loneliness feeling and the thoughts of the poor state of his home faded away too. Later that year, the team went up to become the national basketball champions and qualified for the NBA School’s championships in Michigan USA.
Being the only team from Africa, ‘The Stomers’ were given a warm welcome by all the African-American students and fans in the University of Michigan which was hosting the games. In the tournament, Steve and his team faced challenging teams from across the world including Australia and China. They however managed to win their way up the chart to the finals, where they were scheduled to meet one of the best teams in the world, The Cavaliers, from the state of Texas. To that level, Mike and Steve were the key players in the team with each scoring crucial points steering the team to this level, but Steve had a few points more. Although the team was altogether showing an impressive performance in every game, Mike still was still very jealous of Steve. He knew the player with the highest number of points would definitely bag the award of the most valuable player in the tournament and the only guy who stood on his way was his teammate Steve Biko, and the coach seemed to have more confidence in him. He had to do something to win the award.
Then the final match came. This was the game that was going to determine whether the cup would end up in Africa courtesy of Nairobi University or whether it was going to remain in the American soil where it had been for three years in a row. At the Michigan university main arena, the stadium capable of holding fifty thousand fans was filled to capacity. Fans were chanting songs, and making shouts as they eagerly waited for the two teams to make their way to the stadium. Fans loyal to the Cavaliers were donned in their trade mark yellow coloured t-shirts, scarfs and headgears. To come out of the tunnel first was the tournaments mascot. This big puppy-like cartoon was dressed up in white, red and blue costumes ideally looking like the US flag. Behind the mascot followed the two teams with each being led by their coach amidst loud cheers from the fans. The players from both sides looked really psyched up and well prepared for the game, jumping up and down, waving to their fans and acknowledging their chants from all corners of the stadium. After the customary greetings, the toss of the coin, the choosing of sides and the ‘high fives,’ the match kicked off to the cheering of many.
In the first half the Cavaliers seemed more confident, organised and well put, passing the ball carefully, making well calculated moves past the boys from Nairobi. Their players were more talented and experienced, having participated in this tournament several times. When the sound of the whistle was blown to signify the end of the first half, the Cavaliers were up fifty five points against fifty three of ‘The Stormers.’ The coaches from both teams were burning with pressure, they both knew the second half was the final chance they had and each calculation or miscalculation by their players would be celebrated or regretted altogether.
The stadium was experiencing a deafening sound from the loud singing and chants from the fans eagerly waiting to see who would win the title. Some were beating drums, flying flags, with some singing, others blowing trumpets all in a systematic rhythm. The place was rioting with eagerness.
Inside the changing room, the teams were taking a breather.
“This is our last chance guys,” Coach Raul began, “we have made it this far, we cannot let it go.” His voice was becoming heavy as if he was literally begging them to win the match for him. The players were seated in a circle, with the coach standing at the middle addressing them while emotionally moving his eyes from one player to another. Mike had so far hit twenty three points, with Steve having hit twenty. He normally hated competition and did not like the fact that Steve was doing so well. He lifted his eyes and looked at Steve who was drinking water from his can. He saw the first time the boy joined the team as a first year. He even didn’t know all the rules of the game. He was so naïve, quiet and lonely. He remembered that day during training when fate seemed not to be on his side, when he was missing almost all his shots, and the boy was hitting all his’ on target. Then the coach congratulated him in front of the rest of the team, as if to humiliate him. This thought struck him like a sharp nail in his heart. “If only he was not in this team, If only he did not score any point in this tournament, If only he was injured.” He wished all the bad things he felt in his heart against Steve. Suddenly he felt a heavy weight of bitterness fall upon his heart, he stopped staring at Steve and now looked down. At this point he resolved not to pass the ball to him at all during this second and last half.
“Please…please, team work is the thing I want you guys to put up on that court, pleas…” Coach Raul was now yelling, but before he could finish his statement he was cut off by the sound of the whistle calling the players back to the field.
The second half kicked off with speed and focus. Each team seemed stronger and better. After fifteen minutes, the tally had changed. Steve threw in four three-pointers pushing his team a point above their opponents. The noises from the stands increased, time was ticking fast, coach Raul could not sit down, he was almost losing his voice urging his boys to keep going. Steve now had one point more than Mike. Then suddenly Steve got the ball which was carelessly passed on by the Cavaliers players, he dribbled fast towards the ring, Mike was on the far right of the court he quickly gazed upon the clock and only two minutes were remaining, Steve was a few metres from making history, by being the first African player to score the highest number of points, the bitterness upon Mike’s heart leaped again, he could not let Steve do it. No not again! He jumped up the same time Steve also jumped towards the ring, then he carefully moved his hand onto Steve’s face blocking him completely; both of them collided, dropping on the ground with Mike falling on Steve and hitting him on the head!
The stadium went dead silent. It was unbelievable; Mike had blocked his own teammate. The commentators lacked words to explain that. Coach Raul immediately called for time out, Mike looked disturbed. Suddenly Steve rose up to the excitement and cheers of the whole stadium. As he entered the changing room where the rest of the team were gathered, he came up to Mike with a questioning face, Mike did not wait any further, he had now turned a beast. He clinched his fist and threw it firmly at Steve intending to hit him, but before he could do it, one of the security officers who saw his intention him bounced on him bringing him to the ground. He was pulled out of the stadium under heavy security guard.
The match resumed with only a minute left. The boys from Nairobi defended the game for the remaining sixty seconds, sending the whole stadium to an uproar of shouts after the final whistle. A record had been set. ‘The Stormers’ became the first African team to win the NBA schools’ championships with Steve Biko chosen as the most valuable player of the tournament.
As the plane touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta international airport Steve was in high spirits and was very proud of himself. News of their great victory had spread around the world like bush fire. Families, friends and fans had filled up the airport waiting area to welcome the boys back home. Both local and international media journalists were all over taking pictures and asking for interviews. From the crowd, Steve could not notice anybody from his family; probably they even did not receive the news. Anyway, he was used to this from his childhood. He enjoyed the picture moments with the different fans who were so eager to take pictures with him.
Later, at the Nairobi University main campus, the team was hosted for a celebration party with local artists entertaining the revellers who had turned up in big numbers. Steve was chatting with his friends when suddenly Mike appeared with tears on his face. He looked gloomy, tired and older than his age. His eyes were red and swollen. Anybody could tell he had been crying for a long time. He looked at Steve, who looked back at him. They both stared at each other in a silent moment which everybody could tell meant a lot for both of them. They seemed to communicate through their eyes, Mike full of disgrace pleading for mercy and Steve’s full of grace and pity. They finally jumped into each other’s’ arms with Mike sobbing woefully apologetically.

When Steve finally retired in his room that night, the only thing he could not sleep without doing was admiring his array of medals which now seemed to grow as he added the gold medal from Michigan.