SERMON: The Letter from God…

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My Child, 

You may not know me, but I know everything about you (Psalms 139:1).

I know when you sit down and when you rise up (Psalms 139:2).

I am familiar with all your ways (Psalms 139:3)even the very hairs on your head are numbered (Matthew 10:29–31). 

 

You were made in my image (Genesis 1:27).

In me you live and move and have your being, for you are my offspring (Acts 17:28).

I knew you even before you were conceived (Jeremiah 1:4–5).

I chose you when I planned creation (Ephesians 1:11–12).

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book (Psalms 139:15–16).

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live (Acts 17:26).

You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14).

I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalms 139:13); and brought you forth on the day you were born (Psalms 71:6). 

 

I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me (John 8:41–44).

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love (1 John 4:16).

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you (1 John 3:1), simply because you are my child and I am your Father (1 John 3:1).

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could (Matthew 7:11), for I am the perfect Father (Matthew 5:48).

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand (James 1:17), for I am your provider and I meet all your needs (Matthew 6:31–33). 

 

Bible study 2.jpgMy plan for your future has always been filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11), because I love you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

My thoughts toward you are as countless as the sand on the seashore (Psalms 139:17–18), and I rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

I will never stop doing good to you (Jeremiah 32:40), for you are my treasured possession (Exodus 19:5). 

 

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul (Jeremiah 34:21), and I want to show you great and marvelous things (Jeremiah 33:3).

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me (Deuteronomy 4:29); delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart (Psalms 37:4), for it is I who gave you those desires (Philippians 2:13). 

 

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine (Ephesians 3:20), for I am your greatest encourager (2 Thess 2:16–17).

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles (2 Corinthians 1:3–4).

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you (Psalms 34:18); as a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart (Isaiah 40:11).

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes, and I will take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth (Revelations 21:3–4). 

 

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus (John 17:23).

In him, my love for you is revealed (John 17:26).

He is the exact representation of my being (Hebrews 1:3).

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you (Romans 8:31), and to tell you that I am not counting your sins against you (2 Corinthians 5:18–19).

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled (2 Corinthians 5:18–19).

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you (1 John 4:10): I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love (Romans 8:31–32). 

 

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If you receive the gift of my son, Jesus, you receive me (1 John 2:23), and nothing will ever separate you from my love again (Romans 8:38–39).

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen (Luke 15:7).

I have always been Father and will always be Father (Ephesians 3:14–15).

My question is:

will you be my child (John 1:12–13)? I am waiting for you (Luke 15:11–32). 

 

Love, Your Dad 

(The Almighty God) 

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CAVEMAN ENCOUNTERS: Mafumbo’s antics against his Mother-in-Law.

The separation.

Three weeks had transpired since Mafumbo last saw his wife. He really loved her, and the more she was away, the more the ache of missing her grew. Having married just a year ago, things were still not settled in their young union. There were things they both still needed to work on and as individuals mature. He was a hot-head and head-strong; whereas she was a one who could give you a piece of her tongue until the ground just swallowed you up to save you from more tongue bashing. They had disagreed on an issue to do with some Ksh.10,000, which she had sent to her mother without his consent whereas they had agreed the money was for ploughing the hired one acre shamba belonging to Wambilianga, son of Walekabusuma. A seemingly simple argument turned into a violent confrontation. Mafumbo, who could not hold back to the hot insults poured on him by his wife lashed out and gave her two good slaps in quick succession, which put her out. He regretted it immediately, having not hit a woman before. On regaining her wits, she packed a few of her belongings and hurriedly left.

He later learnt from her relatives and friends that she was at her mother’s home, a half day’s walking journey from their new home. That relieved him momentarily because he had feared she went into a simba belonging to one of the basumba, who still pursued her. She was a beautiful woman, with a light skin complexion and generous sitting allowance that she swayed with pride like a peacock, wherever she walked. Nasambu, or simply Julie as he liked to call her was his conquest, and it made him proud wherever he walked down the village or when he made reference on her. His rivals hated and admired him in equal measure, because they would have loved to be in his position, but had lost the opportunity. And oh my, the girl could dance! She loved fun and had a cheerful spirit, a good company to be with anytime. It was her quick temper and rapid mouth that was a minus, but a balance to one’s character as any other. We all have the good and bad side, depending on circumstances.

The thought of losing Nasambu…

After 3 weeks of futile attempts to convince her to come back, using emissaries and numerous gifts to woo her to no avail, until he finally had it. Either, her mother was against her going back to their home, or someone was poisoning her mind and turning her against him. It suddenly hit him hard that after just one year in marriage with nothing to show, he may lose her…maybe even get divorced! That very thought got him straight out of his stupor and he went to Omusakhulu Okhanyikina Barasa for busaa, to calm his nerves and rethink. He made up his mind as he drowned several kimbos of the local brew; then that he will confront the witch woman (mother in law) who was about to ruin his marriage. As busaa went in, his seething anger and hatred for her grew. He imagined the unthinkable concerning her. He realised he never actually liked her, especially after that day she chased him through her banana plantation, through a number of village homesteads when she caught him courting her daughter. They laughed at it later, but the embarrassment and being a laughing stock in the village always caused bile to rise in his stomach. He hated to remember it.

The midnight visit to mother in law

Midnight of that same night found him at Mai Nabwami’s homestead. He knew exactly what he wanted to do. He summoned Ole Matope, her old faithful big black dog and after playing around with it for a few a short while (already he had built acquaintance with it) in the bushes near the main gate to the homestead, he threw a big jaw bone he had picked for it to chew and enjoy in the night. One problem solved, he moved to the second phase. Cautiously, he walked towards the main door, ensuring no one saw him, as he closely hugged the lantana live fence and keeping to the deep shadows. Finally, after confirming all was set, even peeping through the wooden bedroom windows to hear the two women snore away in slumber, he finally positioned himself for action.  Balancing his two feet perfectly at the centre of the main entrance, he unbuckled his belt, pulled down his pants and went on to relieve himself (both long and shot calls of nature). As his bowels emptied two days of an adult’s well fed man waste to the door step, a smile of satisfaction cracked his strained face. Later, after ensuring everything is downloaded, and tasting the foul smell of his own shit and piss, he stood up, stepped forward and buckled up his pants.

Some demon suddenly seemed to possess him and drive his emotions to overdrive. Right there, where Mai Nabwami dried her cassava, sorghum, maize for grinding; and sat with family and guests late evenings to contemplate the day; he turned it into a stomping ground. Clapping his hands rhythmically, he chanted traditional war songs as he called out her name, likening her to an enemy. He accused her as the reason why his wife could come back to her, and bewitching their marriage that they had not got a child of their own to date. He raged on and on, completely lost in the emotions and intoxications of the moment. It was only the creaking of the front door and sight of some lighting from the echumuni (latern) that he got back to his senses and scumpered into the bushes nearby, fading into the clasp of darkness.

Mai Nabwami’s call of distress

Mai Nabwami was not amused by the sudden and rude awakening she got deep in the night. She knew of no mortal enemies who wanted to fight her. Seeing her own son-in-law, recognizable from the voice and little light that prevailed that night, she was dumb-founded, and touched herself to confirm she was indeed awake and not in a wild dream. The stench of the pile of fresh human waste at the door set in after the first shock, and she quickly closed the door to cut it off from poisoning the air inside her simple house.‘Wele papa, what abomination is this?’ she asked herself, amidst sobs as she grasped exactly what had transpired. Not able to hold on any more, she went through the back door and out there in the garden, and lit it rip. Her call of distress roused the whole village, who hastened to her home stead to find out what had befallen her at such a time in the night. She was a peaceful, simple woman, loved by all musirekere.

100 cane strokes on Mafumbo’s backside

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Quickly, everything was added up to a satisfactory case against Mafumbo, who has just done an abominable act against his own Mai omukhwe (mother-in-law). This was unheard of in the village of Siumbwa, and even surrounding villages. A decree was made by the village Chief, who had made way to Mai Nabwami’s home that dawn; that Mafumbo had to be found and held accountable for his abominable actions. At such moments of crisis, the unity of the people is strong and the resolve to find Mafumbo, get him to face the law of the people was welcomed by all. Sooner than later, Mafumbo was brought, after getting caught dead asleep in the maize field,  seemingly too exhausted for the nights exertions. He was taken to his mother’s in law home, where clansmen awaited to administer the rule of the people that was used to govern the people, and as required by tradition and culture.

The fight beaten out of him, Mafumbo looked down shame faced as the elders condemned him and the villages rebuked him. Even his wife hid away from the whole scandal, too shamed to be associated with him then. The children looked curiously at him, wondering what had happened to their hero. Yes, Mafumbo was popular in the village; being a musician, artist, comedian and good wrestler. He was their champion wherever ceremonies were called and people needed to rise to accession and entertain or speak. Finally, the verdict was out: Mafumbo was to get 100 strokes of cane on his backside, and pay 5 milking cattle as fine to his mother in law, in addition to publicly apologizing to her for his archaic and barbaric act. It was either this, or banishment from the village forever. He chose the the cane, and Omutai Omupa-bandu Barasa, rose up, peeled off his shirt to administer the punishment.

 

BUSINESS FOCUS: KENYA AIRWAYS

‘The Pride of Africa’

KQ

Kenya Airways (KQ) is one of the icons that identify Kenya to the global community. Indeed, the livery with slogan ‘the Pride of Africa’ splayed proudly and beautifully along the body of the Boeing airplanes and all KQ merchandise tell a story of one of the greatest aviation companies in our generation. Initially using 4 strips as its livery running through the length of its fuselage, Pride of Africa slogan became synonymous with KQ, another rebrand from the accustomed KA. Since IATA airline code had to be adhered to, the Q has to replace the A. This was all back in 2005, and it gave the airline a rebirth and refreshed look in its operations. Through KQ, Kenya’s identity was easy to connect internationally due to the association with the aviation company. Certainly, Kenya Airways as a business is expansive with billion worth of investment and mind blowing revenues, returns and daily transactions on a global scale.

Ownership

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KQ Boeing lifting off

KQ is headquartered in Embakasi, Nairobi and runs its hub at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). Founded back in 1977, it tremendously to what it is now, a mega-complex international business organization. It is currently under a public-private partnership ownership with the government of Kenya taken the largest stake (48.9%), KQ Lenders Company (38.1%), KLM (7.8%) and 5.2% (various private owners). Privatization enables KLM to come into the picture, and acquired 26% of shares hence single highest shareholder. The government owns 23% of shares and the rest floated to the public (51%). This allocation was back in 1996, and 16 years later, in 2012, ambitions growth plans due to aviation realities and projections into the future brought about need to raise more capital. As such KQ announced rights issues for Ksh. 20 Billion for the expansion plans (a rights issue is that issue of shares offered by a company to its existing shareholders on a pro-rata basis to their shares. This enables the company raise more capital). The government increased their share amount from 23-29.8%, while KLM increased its stake from 26 to 26.73%. With so much investment from various stakeholders (government, a large aviation industry player, bank lenders, private owners), the complexities of running such a vehement cannot be undermined, with all these stakeholders wanting to be well represented, as far the stewardship of the business is concerned.

Stewardship

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Titus Naikuni, who was KQ’s MD between 2003-2014.

Ever since its formation and adjustment in structure and ownership changed hands and more control was required, KQ has grown from level to level. It is important to know who make the group of KQ tick. Between 2003 and 2014, Titus Naikuni was then the Group Managing Director. Within the time of his tenure, KQ registered high growth in revenues, passengers use on various routes; purchase of more Boeings to add to the fleet and expansion of networks to various other. Currently, the Group of Companies under the umbrella of KQ is being steered by Michael Joseph (formally CEO FOR Safaricom),

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Michael Joseph, KQ’s Non- Executive Chairman.

who serves as the Non-Executive Chairman from 2016, after the resignation of then Chairman Ambassador Dennis Awori. His role was to get the bleeding company healed and back on track, especially with sharp decline in revenues reported. His skill, resolve and business acumen was required to guide the sinking ship. Others on the board include:

  • Sebastian Mikosz, as Group MD, and CEO with over 20 years’ experience in public and private sector experience in executive management
  • Dick Murianki, as Group Director of Finance, with over 15 years in professional accounts experience and management
  • Ron Schipper as a Non-Executive Director
  • Professor Paul Mwangi Maringa
  • Nicholas Bodo, as Non-Executive Director
  • Kamau Thugge, as a National Treasury’s Principal Secretary, as monitoring government’s interests in KQ
  • Jos Veenstra, as a Non- Executive Director with responsibility in monitoring KLM’s corporate interests.
  • Major General (RTD) Michael Gichangi, as Non-Executive Director
  • Caroline Armstrong, as Non-Executive Director
  • Jason Kap-Kirwok, as Non-Executive Director
  • Festus King’ori, as Non-Executive Director.

What is/was so wrong at KQ

A critical look at the ailing airline reveals worrying concerns that were slowly over time bleeding it to death. KQ problems could be attributed to poor decisions made by the top management mandated with strategically providing a path for the aviation company. Operations inefficiencies also played a critical role slowing things down and wasting valuable resources, never to be recovered. The failure to counter the ever fierce competition in its markets including the Ethiopian Airline, South African Airways, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways proved fatal. These airlines suited their fares; routes and service deliver to suit customers in the routes KQ used and with no counter measures, and KQ took a beating. Poor investment decisions in purchase and leasing of aircrafts caused huge debts due to mismanagement of available funds and not prioritizing.

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KQ’s major resource the staff have had rough times as the aviation company fixes its problems

Sticking to its old tasted ways, KQ failed to plan ahead and explore new routes, especially in emerging markets such as Africa and Asia. Its competitors were proactive researching and raising to the challenges and opportunities, as KQ grappled in the darkness, clueless. In the same line, its ticketing was not sensitive to the market forces, being too expensive and no-competitive, yet alternative carriers offered lesser costly tickets for same or even better carrier service. KQ was also reportedly notorious for frequent flight cancellation inconveniencing travelers. The situation was not helped either by a demotivated staff, who brought about poor customer service. This shunned of passengers, hence loss of revenue. These problems required short and long term solutions, and brave decisions needed to be made to save the once mighty carrier from collapse.

Effects

Many KQ staff were laid off and this did not auger well with majority of them who sought compensation, running into millions of shillings. Bad PR caused around the whole time did not do KQ any good, especially at a time it was mending its brand name and trying to get back to good books. Michael Joseph and the new MD, Sebastian Mikosz; a huge task of turning round KQ fortunes. It is currently on a turn around with major focus on the problems as pointed out:

  • Operational efficiency including exploring new routes, increasing frequencies of its flights along various strategic routes
  • Proper cost management, which will take more deliberate look at the purchase, lease and disposal processes and procedures with saving and profit in mind.
  • Effective human resource management to maximize productivity is also important, with proper acquisition of talent, training, and compensation of staff and taking care of their welfare.

Way forward

We all watched with dismay the collapse of NAKUMATT, a chain of supermarkets; crumbling from being top tier into a bundle of chaos and confusion. Certainly, this should not and would not be the case of Kenya Airways. The government has done its part, and much remains in the hands of the stewards running the ship, to steer it clear from the turbulence. Michael Joseph, tried and proven remains upbeat KQ will pull through and record good profits again. With a debt of over 1.4 USD, jittery creditors and unstable conditions surrounding the country after the elections, its one hell of a rough ride. the trading at NSE probably tale a story of the situation.

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January KQ Stocks trending at NSE: My Stocks

It is about time for people to earn what they are paid for, tie down lose ends and put things right. Optimism is good, but equally getting it right would be right for KQ. Over to you Joseph and crew. We want our Pride of Africa back!

TECHIE’S TAKE: The Blackberry Passport Silver Edition.

Always BlackberryTo the bold, loyal and defiant Blackberry owners…

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Family: Iconic Blackberry devises collection, still a strong force to reckon.

Big-up and utmost respect to all owners and users of Blackberry phones. No matter how old, battered or bettered the devises are, they are still gem. The familiar dial pad, masculine build, business touch and robust performance keep most of us not wanting to let go. This current trend of phones being produced and discarded like pop corns is disheartening. Finding your Blackberry bae and staying loyal is the in-thing. Reports emerging that the  almost shamed brand is raising its head with new, refurbished smartphones that made it made headlines for a long time is refreshing. 

The Blackberry Passport Silver Edition

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When the Blackberry Passport was introduced into the market in 2014, with the Silver Edition being introduced later in 2015, it was not business as usual. Standing bold, tall and defiant, the Passport is my ultimate definition of class, uniqueness, different and masculine. It stands apart from any other phone ever designed and presented on the market. It’s a square shaped beast of a smart phone featuring:

  • A 4.5’ screen with 1440*1440 1:1 display ratio
  • A qwerty keypad
  • 2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
  • 3 GB Ram
  • 32 GB Memory storage, with an expandable microSD slot

The silver edition has basically same features, with slight improvements mostly in the physical appearance as the original Passport. As such, it has almost same features as the older brother, apart from an additional preimium look with the stainless steel frame. It is a business focused phone, with its features created to suit those who wish to quickly access and make use of their emails, spreadsheets and report. This would be ideal for executives always on the road to various business meeting over the week, running tight schedules and always need to be communicating.

Outstanding Features:

The 1:1 aspect ratio display;

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The display on the Passport ensures a display of 60 characters as opposed to the normal 40 characters by other phones. As such, reading of eBooks, emails, reports and pages on the web a lot easier. A HD 1440*1440 pixel display ensures clarity with crisp text appearance, full color images from different viewing angles. Though a little disappointing for videos, it is tidy enough for what really matters.

The 3 row Qwerty keyboard;

The 3 rows that make the keypad also serve as a mouse pad. Made smoother that the original Passport, the silver edition version keypad are easier to press when in use. The keyboard contains physical rows and more rows on the screen, which change depend on the application in use. It is technical in a way and not for the faint hearted, which is another reason why you should own one, to show your sophistication.

13 MP Camera;

The Passport Silver Edition features a 13 MP camera, which is better protected than the original Passport. It features LED flash, auto-focus, face detection and HDR. The front facing camera is 2MP; provided by LG Innotek, and capable of shooting 720p from the fixed focus shooter. The cameras are functional for a business phone whose focus is functionality and not aesthetics.

Good quality sound Speakers:

The Blackberry Passport Silver Edition speakers are loud, and damn good; just as the device is bold and outstanding from other smartphones. This is undisputable, especially for sound lovers who know what to look for in sound, away from noise to quality delivery! Much credit to the engineers and designers of the Silver Edition, especially the speakers located at the bottom of the smartphone. The speakers produce clearer, louder sound with deep base which is a marvel to listen especially in speaker mode.

Processor and functionality.

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Running on a 2.2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, Adreno 330 GPU with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal memory, the Blackberry Passport Silver Edition is really a robust beast in multi-tasking and ensuring the jobs get done. Better graphics performance, downloading and uploading speeds, smoother UI and efficient use of power make the Passport exception. As a user, you are guaranteed of a solid, assured performance in your daily use and uncompromising reliability. The Passport is a real gem compared to other smartphones that appear attractive with lots of attractive features but fail to deliver where it matters most.

Aside from the masculine, strangely handsome hardware, with the premium stainless steel finish, the Passport runs the Blackberry Passport 10.3.2 OS. This OS runs some of the Android apps, hence would be convenient especially for some apps which has become important in daily interactions such as Whatsapp. Among the outstanding characteristics that define the Blackberry 10.3.2 OS are:

  • Anti-theft protection ensures the phone cannot be wiped, accessed and used by someone else especially in these present days when phones have become personal assistants with lots of personal and office data.
  • Smart Calendar, which can chose events and duration depending on frequency as detected in the meeting mode.
  • The Blackberry Blend which enables blending your messaging and content on your Passport to your tablet or computer. As such, you are able to get notifications, respond, access mails and documents in real time on whatever device you are with.
  • Blackberry Assistant which makes doing tasks easier. An own version to iPhone’s ‘Siri’, the Blackberry Assistant enables you speak your requests, hence complete tasks faster.
  • Blackberry Hub enables you as a Passport user have all your messages, mails, events and notifications in one location for your convenience and better planning. You are able to respond to all the different channels from a central point, saving you time and energy.

Power

The Passport Silver edition has a 3,450 mAh which keeps power at least for 24 hours on average after heavy use in the day. This is a vast improvement from the problem encountered in the past from other Blackberry devises that dried up on power juice before none get properly started in the day. The efficient operating system and superior processor ensures good use of the battery, especially with applications running in the background.

Price

the devices were pricey and worth every penny when released back in the day, 2015. Still available on the market, the  Passport can be purchased locally at Ksh. 20,000-40,000 from various reliable outlets and or import directly through Alibaba, ebay or Amazon.

KREATIVE KORNA: The Encounter with my other me.

CAVEMAN ENCOUNTERS: Meeting Emboko Chief Wakubona

I am a wild-mild one in character and personality; life has made me align to the quiet flow of obedience, submission and compromise of ambitions to survive the plunges of the day. The things I want to do are not the things I really want to do, but I have to do. I watch the masses and sometimes I curse why I am part of the thousand crowd, heads bowed like sheep looking for a shed and take a flight of fright and a puppy’s bark. Damn! Where is that defiant lion spirit that seems to surge just below the skin depth?

Splurge Lounge

I took my place in a quiet corner restaurant side at Splurge Lounge, to just take a rest after a long day in office to review my day and give thought on my life. No serious girl in life presently, poor pay and working on a job I had no passion for were enough dead weight on my poor back to make me walk beaten. I ordered a cold Krest madiaba, which was billed three times its actual retail cost, but anyway the environment would compensate for the inflated price, or so I consoled myself. Quickly, I scanned the area for a familiar face but they all seemed totally new to me, each one minding their own business, save for this lady with blue lipstick, fake eye lashes, expensive wig and oddly shaped-shaved eye brows.

Nyakundi things!

Damn! She looked gross, and the low cleavage revealing bouncy boobs didn’t help the situation either. I shrugged my shoulders to hide my disgust. She kept looking my direction, sipping at her cock-tailed juice, but I avoided her gaze and dug into my phone to show I was not interested. “This may be one of those slay queens Cyprian Nyakundi talks about, ani-slay when I thought I got some conquest for the night…’ I told myself. By her mannerisms, I noted she was a mission to get some poor fellow and chop his money. As a boy child, I will not let myself get exploited!

The live band was doing a fine job, especially the saxophonists who blasted away some old school love ballads. As Muchacho, a friend of mine had recommended, I felt my time and money was well spent with the proceedings, though it was still 6.05 p.m. How I needed that! I settled back in my seat, took another swig of the bitter Cola drink, as I checked on a post by Nyakundi on Facebook about Ciru Muriuki.

Emboko Chief Wakubona aka ‘Mandevu’ entry at Splurge Lounge caused some real commotion (Illustrated by Lewis Wafula)

The sudden commotion at the main entrance interfered with the quiet, beautiful mood set for lonely souls like mine which sought solace. Waiters and the patrons suddenly seemed to find sense of purpose as they rushed to clear tables and place themselves strategically for the new customer. ‘Who was this person who seemed to bring the whole house down?’ I asked myself. Even Ms. Blue Lipstick seemed suddenly fired up, finishing her drink quickly and clattering across the restaurant to possibly get the ‘fresh meat’.

Grand entrance of Mandevu

Some clean head shaved young man with a full beard, gold chain and black sun glasses strolled in, in a company of two big bicep-ed men in black suits, shirts, ties and matching glasses. He was waving at almost everyone as he walked towards the VIP Lounge on the bar side. The two burly men pushed people aside Margayan-Sargasyan style, even as the bearded young man waved to the ululations and cheers of the patrons. Someone crazied woman shouted excitedly,  “Mandevu in the house!” This seemed to rouse the waiting crowd, who broke into a chorus, with beats of beer bottles and fists on the tables to match, as they chanted: “Chief, Mandevu…Mandevu! Chief, Mandevu…!” He waved back to the cheering crowd, all while keeping a cool demeanor and smiling broadly to everyone. Well, from the little I could see, he looked well groomed, well feed and fit. The beard, bald head and full beard created some air of mystery around him and a peculiar masculine whiff of an alpha. I don’t know why, but my mind quickly analysed what kind of man he was. Things went back to almost normal again, as drinks flowed and the band switched to Zilizopendwa hits. The sound was well tuned and it fitted my state of mind, then.

The gents encounter…

A call of nature called, and I finished my madiaba, summoned the waiter nearby for another cold one, secured my corner space and rushed to the gents for a piss.

To be continued…

 

MOTIVATION MONDAY: Find and keep your lane. 

We live in a world that is forever on the move. Revolving around the sun, the earth  has periods, divided into Spring, Winter,  Autumn and Summer.  As the earth rotates on its axis, we got day and night; this creates differences in world time lines. As we wake to go to work today 0600hours, American citizens in Minnesota are retiring to bed, being 2100 hours. Accumulative days and nights bring about weeks,  then months and years, which turn into decades, century and millennia etc.

The differences and varieties in life can be seen in human life too. We are all human,  but our differences are clear and distinct as the billion stars in the sky. Even Africans,  save for the rich melanin on our skins, depict differences in culture, character, mannerisms,  personality and beliefs. It’s all fascinating, the differences in our genes, even between blood brothers.

I realized many times we run the race of time with a wrong focus, attitude and mindset. Since we cannot be all Michael Joseph, Barrack Obama or Dalai Lama, we need to appreciate our strengths and weaknesses as we work towards exploiting our potential.

Usain Bolt makes look it easy to run super-speed in the 100-200m short races, but would struggle against David Rudisha in 800m tactical race; even won’t attempt the 10,000m endurance race against Mo Farah.

Each race requires certain skill, tact and technigue to compete, make or break a record. It also takes time,  dedication and intensive trying to achieve the fetes the athletes attain in the world championships.

So, find and maintain your lane in life. Overtaking may seem a quick fix,  but later it comes to bite you when you use wrong lane and get fined, cause accident and or confusion on the road. Just as cars on a busy highways go to respective journeys, we too have different  destinies,  different life goals. I noted too that note all cars are Toyota Prados, or Subarus. In these regards,  let’s run on our lanes depending on our design, abilities,  and purpose we were created.

As others move through traffic on the main highway towards the city,  others are leaving,  others joining the highway through feeder roads and others taking the diversions to estates and mitaani. Interestingly,  these seems synonymous with our lives,  in all its diversity and intrigues.

SOCCER SUNDAY: Battle at Anfield

Liv vs Man City.pngWe all anticipated a sweet game today and were not disappointed, when current league leaders took on Liverpool at Anfield in a 1900 hr kick off. Both teams started off strongly,with pundits pointing at a possibility of Liverpool ending City’s unbeaten run.

The first half was a 50-50 affair. Liverpool picked a loose ball midfield and Ox Chamberlain escaped his markers to back home in the far corner beyond the outstretched City’s keeper to make it 1-0.

Ox scores
CREDIT: Daily Mail

In the 41 min, Sane jested down a past on the left wing touch line, beat his markers and slotted home a fierce shot past the keeper on near post. At half-time, both teams went to rest at 1-1.

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Credit: Daily Mail

The second half started positively, with Liverpool showing more enterprise in the 3rd quarter of opponent’s area. Their continuous run and good balls, good striking partnership aided by poor anticipation and marking saw them rewarded  with goals from Firmino-59′ (a deft chip past Ederson;Mane-62′ (a left footed right top corner thunderbolt) and Salah’s 67′ strike.

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Sane in action for Liverpool. (Credit: Daily Trust)

Fate seemed to be against City, who were going down after such a good run in the first half of the EPL campaign.

City, never backing down from the fight, and showing discipline and resilience fought back with a series of attacks. As Gardiola barked orders and guided his team from the touchline, late goals from Silva ( 84′) and Gondugan (90+1′) brought them back to the game. A stoppage time foul kick from  De Bruyne was almost buried in by the industrious Aguero with a flying header which missed the mark by inches, kissing the side netting for a goal kick.

At the blow of the whistle signalling end of 90+1′, Liverpool emerged with the honours, deservedly beating the current league leaders in a pulsating game. The would have done more, had Mane nicked in his curling shot but still, they got the job done and took home sweet 3 points. This was far a better performance from the 5-0 annihilation back in September, 9th 2017.

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Jesus scores for Man City back in September, 2017 (Credit: Reuters)

SOCCER SATURDAY: Michael Olunga Ogada!

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La Liga:Michael Olunga celebrating with Girona team mates 6-0 victory over Las Palmas

Kenyan international and Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga Ogada  proved yet again he is good as hyped, hitting a hat-trick for Girona in the Spanish La Liga match against Las Palmas. He is the second Kenyan to feature in the La Liga after McDonald Mariga Wanyama, who plays for Real Oviedo. A proved young striker with a nose for goal, this a was a major milestone in his blossoming career in top flight football abroad. It doesn’t matter Las Palmas are bottom in the La liga, but Olunga ruthlessly did the damage and ensured his team move up the league standing to 9th place.

Getting a chance to contribute to the team’s campaign this season as a second half substitute, he played a starring role, and in the process made history. Olunga became the first Girona player to hit a hat-trick, hitting the back of the net in the 57th minute (Girona’s second for the match), 64th and and 74th minute (6th goal) to make it a resounding 6-0 win at the Estade de Montilivi. It was indeed Girona’s biggest soccer in too flight soccer, after promotion from from lower league.

 

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Michael Olunga: Top Scorer (2016) and KPL Champion with Gor Mahia.

Soccer days in local league

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Champion: Olunga’s Gor Mahia days

Olunga was a sensation in the Kenyan Premier League for Thika FC, Tusker FC and the league champions Gor Mahia back in 2016. He helped them win back to back awards, and won many individual awards as a player. Back in 2012, while still at Upperhill High school, he showed glimpses of his prowess is football for his local outfit Liberty Sports Academy. He then signed up for Tusker FC in 2013, before being loaned out to Thika FC. A year later (2015), he joined Gor Mahia, who were in a fine form for the season, and bulldozed other teams to finish unbeaten and win the league, as he emerged top scorer with 19 goals.

Olunga’s international football career

He indeed showed potential as a professional soccer player, with him being called abroad for trials in 2016, before eventually joined Swedish outfit Djurgården IF on a 4 year contract. There in the Swedish league, his knowledge and talent on football proved as no fluke, and investment in him as a striker paid off, with his heroics enabling his team emerge 5th in the league, bagging 12 goals in the process. In late 2017, after a number of offers from top flight football clubs asking for his signature, Chinese Guizhou Zhicheng got their man. He was loaned to Girona at beginning of 2018. The game against La Palmas (13.01.2018) was his debut, and what debut it was for Michael Olunga Ogada.

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Spanish La Liga: Michael Olunga Ogada (Girona) in a previous match against Sevilla.

 

PERSONS OF INTEREST: SAUTI SOL

  • Sauti Sol Band.jpgThe African beats and sweet lyrics of Sura Yako put a wide smile on any one’s face and tremor down and through your torso to get up, throw caution to the wind and get down to shake a leg. So the lyrics go:

Nimekuchagua wewe, nikupende

Mama, sitaki mwingine;

Aushi usiniache, usinitende

Mama, usipende mwingine

Moyo wangu ni mwepesi

Umenikalia chapati, nafanya vituko kama chizi…..

All Kenyans across the divide, whether young or old, poor or moneyed, pastor or drunk fella know the song. In social event such as weddings, the introduction of the song gets the crowds down in a frenzy especially the sweet African dance to the sweet flowing lyrics of the chorus:

Sura yako mzuri mama, aaaaaah [Your face is beautiful, woman]

Mzuri mama…[So beautiful]

Na tabasamu lako mama… [And your smile sweet like a flower…]

The Band

Sauti Sol, an all men’s band made up of 4 is definitely going places with their unique way of presentation, with each production a new revelation to music lovers and enthusiasts. Initially a capella group,  it evolved into an afro-beat heart-throb that continuously hit our airwaves and media. Three members of the group (Chimano, Mudigi and Baraza) met and formed a band back in Upperhill High school in 2005. Another member joined them later (Otieno) and together they formed Sauti Sol, and together they performed and grew in the profession. Not only are they creative, but have sharp brains as graduates from various Kenyan Universities.

Sura Yako is just another number to their growing songs which are coming as fast as they are consumed by a hungry following. The whole branding effort, from identifying a unique name, a market niche, creative production and well orchestrated tours and performance make the band a success story today.In a chronological order, here is a summary of their hit albums, from debut to date:

  1. Mwanzo (2008)
  2. Sol Philosophia (2011)
  3. Live and Die in Afrika (2015)

Who makes Sauti Sol?

The unique strengths and contribution of each of the for guys that make Sauti Sol have contributed immensely to their success and stability. Watching them perform a live gig is just organismic and immensely satisfying especially for those who seek raw, masculine performance that involves muscle, sweat, moves and of course vocals.

Delvin-Savara Mudigi

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Mudigi beats the drums. A vocalist, producer and actor, he fits his role in the Band perfectly to enable it reach such high heights. A B.Com graduate from Africa Nazarene University of E. Africa (2012), his skills in as an accomplished producer has enabled to maintain its edge in its productions (albums). As a producer, his contribution to the industry remain outstanding, and is recognized with other big names that make the entertainment industry in music production.

Willis Austin Chimano

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Austin  is quickly recognizable from his flamboyance and deep voice. A saxophone player and vocalist, he brings another unique dimension to the dynamic group with his creative contribution. A University of Nairobi graduate (Journalism and Media), Austin stands out distinguished in style, performance and eloquence.

Polycarp Otieno

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Polycarp is synonymous with the guitar. An enthusiast of the instrument from early life and he developed to master it. a lover of music like a second nature, his passion and mastery of playing it like a pro earned him the name Fancy Fingers. You can’t miss his signature style, and how the guitar synchronizes with the drum rhythm and vocals of the band. Behind the artistry and wizardly is a level-headed man with a degree in Actuarial Science from JKUAT! Eish……

Bien-Aime Baraza

BienBiggie Bien is a journalism graduate from USIU, where he graduated back in 2011. He is not only a song writer, but also a vocalist and guitarist. He always works the keyboard, a creative man indeed. His inclination to women in his compositions saw great characterization to Lazizi, Mama Papa and Zosi all which he effected his writing prowess. I visualize him already in giving life and personality to the epic, Sura Yako. 

The Band’s Achievement

For a band brimming with talent,experience, strong personalities and not short of ambitions, their achievements from time of formation to date.With 3 albums under the belt, Sauti Sol been on a success. in 2011, they scooped the Best Kisima Music Award for  a single hit called Come Home. Another single hit wonder  Gentleman, released in 2012 after collaborating with P-Unit (damn good song) was an anthem back then, recognisable from the sweet rhythm and vocal flow of rap and RnB. Sura Yako n most downloaded single in 2015 in the Mdundo Awards. The video for the song was the winner in Pulse Music awards, deservedly! In Africa and across the globe, the group is recognised and being nominated and awarded in various music forums such as the MTV awards, African Music Awards (MAMAs), BET Awards, Chagua La Teeniez Awards, Kisima Music Awards, Kora Awards, Pulse Music Awards, Nigeria Entertainment Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards, KORA Awards amongst others. The sky is the limit for Sauti Sol.

Road Ahead

Thinking ahead and thinking big, the band is working well on its strategies especially on collaborations. Melaninanother controversial hit by Sauti Sol featuring Patoranking shows the ambitions of the band to collaborate with other artists globally to attain a global reach and exposure.

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Sauti Sol: Fashion Sense

This will definitely work well for them. With a well crafted brand that has global recognition, commercial endorsement such as EABL’s Chrome. Bigger things would be coming for the band, especially with the influence it has on social media and fashion sense.

 

 

BUSINESS FOCUS: THE JUA KALI SECTOR, KENYA

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A large format printing, down town Nairobi.

Brisk, lucrative business

I was heavily involved with the Jua Kali sector in 2016-2017, then working for a printing and promotions company. Then, since we were heavily involved in production of items as ordered by clients, rushing downtown to pick package and deliver to waiting clients as samples and or finished items was the norm. I saw great brands having their promotional items being produced, packaged and shipped for delivery. Big orders, like a 2,500 diaries, 1000 A3 calendars and 5,000 t-shirts for printing works come in thick and fast, as money exchanged hands, orders were made and confirmed. It was a great eye opener at the thousands jobs the sector has created for Kenyans and the lucrativeness of the investments made by shrewd entrepreneurs who decided to put their stakes down town.

What intrigued me was how much these guys made per day. Most seemed simple, ordinary and minimum education, but on a good day took home more than what the white collared fellows made in a month. Other than printing, Jua Kali sector involves artisans in metal welding, mitumba selling, mechanics and vehicle repairs, bus pimping, canvas covers  & tent selling, carvings and sculptures etc.

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Jua Kali: Artisans at work

The informal sector, popular known as Jua Kali is dominated by SMEs. A survey done as documented in Kenya 2014 Economic Survey showed that out of every five working Kenyans, four are in the Jua Kali sector. Almost 100,000 jobs were created from the sector alone, and these has continually contributed heavily in Kenya’s industrialization and development. Creation of employment opportunities and production of materials and consumables from within the country contribute towards industrialization , as opposed to the oppressive importation.

Professor Bwisa in an incisive article on the Jua Kali sector pointed out that Kenya is on the right track, as this will empower the country’s economy even as we come to terms with the crippling national debt. Using own manpower, skills, tools at disposal, good which are otherwise expensive to import can be produced and used within the borders. This imitation phenomena is not new, since countries such as China, India amongst other Asian countries adopted it and largely depend on it for production. Maybe, the government need to study and adopt some of the policies and philosophies used in these countires, especially in regards to mass production, production by masses and empowerment of the local people through a practical education system.

Challenges

Although the lucrativeness of this informal sector is evident, the structures and policies in place do not make it sustainable. The SMEs are vulnerable as they come with short life spans and susceptible to situation within or beyond their control. Witnessing how county council askaris harass hardworking hawkers and shop owners tell a sad story of the informal sector players.

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Second hand Stall Owner, Nairobi.

The fires at Gikomba Market that destroy millions worth of merchandise do not help the situation in any way. The well connected and rich individuals use their power and influence to push the jua kali players to the very edge of survival, as they eat at the high table. lack of proper education on finance management, business planning and expansion strategies affect the very operations of these sector, even for the most successful ones. Promises made by governments all seem empty, as same problems go unresolved over decades.

Optimism in the forecast

With a growing of an educated population, and a decrease in of opportunities and scarcity of resources manifest over years, the jua kali sector seems to be way to go. Self employment and development of skills that empower individuals to produce locally would be highly regarded. The government did extremely well with the introduction of Huduma Centers and the e-citizen portal that enabled business registration processes faster. Huduma centre Busia.jpgEven the tax compliance processes are now online and less of menace, compared to past years. Roads are getting better, and electricity to remote areas makes it easy to locate production areas in remote areas,where cost of production is cheaper, and easily transporting them to markets for sell. Also, the county governments are now more empowering in enabling upcoming business owners the platform and opportunity to develop and grow their enterprises. Banks are lessening their stance on their requirements to consider SMEs for financial assistance, and micro-finances and rapidly expanding and providing fiances and financial plans that assist the SMEs, major players in the informal sector grow to desired potential.