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Kibaki and Njonjo: Neighbours who don’t get along



Watching Jonathan Moi’s funeral on TV two weeks ago took me back in time to when I attended the burial of his mother Lena Moi in Kabarak in July 2004.

On both solemn occasions, two men sat close to each other, but from their hostile body language they could as well have been on different planets.

At Jonathan’s funeral, it’s his younger brother Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and Deputy President William Ruto who sat only separated by Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, but you could tell there wasn’t much love lost between them.

From the cold handshake to avoiding eye contact, only protocol and the solemn circumstances ensured civility.

It was the same with the burial of Lena 15 years earlier. On arrival, President Mwai Kibaki and First Lady Lucy Kibaki seemingly ignored former Attorney General Charles Njonjo, though their sitting positions were only separated by their host retired, President Daniel arap Moi and the Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner.

Throughout the ceremony, Kibaki and Njonjo never looked in each other’s direction. The former AG later made a passing mention of the President only because he had to pass a vote of thanks on behalf of the Moi family.

Such is the mutual coldness between the two Muthaiga neighbours that when Lucy Kibaki passed on three years ago, Njonjo didn’t bother to send message of condolence — at least in public — let alone drop by next door to condole with the Kibakis.

Kibaki, 87, and Njonjo, 99, perhaps were never meant to coexist in the same compartment right from their opposite backgrounds.

One was born into royalty, the son of a colonial chief who rode horses to school. The other was born into peasantry, with a father who could barely manage to put food on the table from sale of raw tobacco.

Kibaki was an A-student, effortlessly passing school examinations with flying colours, and making his way to Makerere University and London School of Economics.

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On the other hand, Njonjo contemporaries say he was an average learner, but somehow made it to Alliance High School, South African’s Fort Hare University (he was a classmate of Robert Mugabe) and eventually Lincoln’s Inn in London.

Kibaki returned to teach economics at Makerere College while Njonjo got a job as a junior clerk at the Law offices in colonial Kenya.

That is where President Jomo Kenyatta found him at independence and gave him the exalted job of Attorney General, more on the basis of old Jomo’s friendship with his father, retired Senior Chief Josiah Njonjo.

Kibaki and Njonjo crossed swords right at independence. Njonjo didn’t bother to conceal whose interests he served – those of the old colonialists and the expatriate community.

He was an Englishman in black skin. As AG, he never liked or believed in Africans, and made it his business to ensure no black person came near gaining influence in the Kenyan Judiciary.

He also seized every opportunity to frustrate budding African lawyers whose mastery of the English language, let alone the law, he doubted.

In commerce and industry, Njonjo was chief promoter and protector of British conglomerates, as he sabotaged African enterprises.

One-time chairman of the Transport Licensing Board Joseph Gatuguta once related to me how Njonjo made difficult his efforts to Africanise lucrative aspects of the local transport sector.

Gatuguta would deny permit renewals to expatriates to pave the way for local investors, only for Njonjo to have a British expatriate judge overturn his decisions in favour of foreigners.

Gatuguta had to cunningly wait until Njonjo was out of the country to sneak to State House and explain to Mzee Kenyatta the challenges he was facing.

The President saw the point and Njonjo’s Mzungu was ordered out of the country and back to wherever he came from.

On the contrary, Kibaki, as minister for Commerce and later Finance and Economic Planning, was in the driver’s seat of the massive Africanisation programme in newly independent Kenya.

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He was at the helm when several state corporations were established to expedite takeover by Africans in Kenya’s commercial, finance and industrial segments.

They included the Agricultural Finance Corporation, Agriculture Development Corporations, and Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation.

In terms of style, the two men were as incongruent as repellent poles. Njonjo believed in politics of blackmail and coercion.

Like the legendary American Federal Bureau of Investigation bulldog J. Edgar Hoover, he’d collect damning dossier on opponents and selectively use it to whip them into submission through blackmail.

Kibaki, on his part, believed in tolerance. A good illustration is when then Marxist-leaning author Ngugi wa Thiong’o wrote Petals of Blood (1977), which some saw as provocation to the Western-leaning Kenyatta government.

Surprisingly, Kibaki, then Finance minister, agreed to launch Ngugi’s book and made a speech that became subject of whispers in government circles.

He’d said: “It is true writers all over the world want to write and comment on what is going on in their own country. But one of the most terrible things about the modern world is how many writers have had to immigrate to another country in order to be able to write on what is going on in their country…

“It is a tragedy, because it means that societies are becoming intolerant… true freedom in any democratic system should be that those with a different view of the society we live in must be able to paint what picture they see so that we can have many, many pictures of the Kenya we are living in now.”

In contrast, five months later, Njonjo, in the company of an Anglican cleric from Kiambu, flew to State House, Mombasa, and read to President Kenyatta passages from Petals of Blood, and from Ngugi’s vernacular play Ngaahika Ndenda (I will marry when I want).

They used that to convince the President how “dangerous” the author was and needed to be detained without trial, which was done in a matter of hours!

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Ironically, it is Njonjo who recommended to President Moi that he appoint Kibaki vice president in 1978.

However, the two soon fell out when it turned out Njonjo merely wanted Kibaki to warm the seat for him, as he (Njonjo) was on his way to State House.

To angle himself for takeover, Njonjo resigned as a civil servant and joined electoral politics.

In the ensuing battle of nerves with the vice president, Kibaki, completely out of character, made a scathing attack on Njonjo whom he accused of allocating himself role of a “Nyayo-meter” to measure who was more “nyayo” (loyal) to the President than the other.

Long after Njonjo was eased from mainstream politics after falling out with President Moi, his hostility towards Kibaki continued, and has remained intact.

At the dawn of multiparty politics in 1992, Njonjo, in a surprise about-turn, threw his lot with presidential candidate Jaramogi Oginga Odinga (Ford Kenya), largely because of his loathing for Kibaki (Democratic Party), who appeared set for victory before Kenneth Matiba (Ford Asili) appeared at the last minute to upset the apple-cart.

And in the 2007 election, Njonjo openly backed Raila Odinga and perhaps keen to see Kibaki make history as a one-term president!

The mutual dislike between the two Muthaiga neighbours apparently extends to their favourite pastimes. Njonjo loves swimming and does mandatory three laps daily even in his old age.

Not so for Kibaki, who has never worn swimming gear in his life and believes swimming was meant for fish and other amphibians.

His cup of tea is golf, and though age no longer allows him to tee off, he still goes to the golf club just to enjoy the scenery and catch up with old buddies.

In contrast, Njonjo has never understood how grown-up men and women should spend a whole day keeping eye on and clubbing some little ball!

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Death of festivals dims Lamu hope to revive ailing tourism



Maulid. Food and Expo. Art, yoga and kite festivals. These are just a few of a slew of art and culture experiences that Lamu County used to dish out to the world and which boosted its tourism profile.

Lamu Old Town, also known as “the island of festivals”, had a splendid array of events and festivals ranging from Eid-Ul-Adhar to the Lamu Fishing Competition, Lamu Art Festival, The Lamu Cultural Festival, Lamu Yoga Festival, the Kite Festival, Shella Hat Contest and the Lamu Painters Festival.

But these events were put on the back burner as the tourism sector took a nosedive.

Coming on the backdrop of the Mpeketoni terror attacks in 2014 that also hit tourism hard, hospitality industry players say the vital sector is in the doldrums and want the festivals reinstated. Speaking during a forum in Lamu at the weekend, hoteliers and other players questioned why the county government has not been keen in reviving the events.

Hotelier Salim Abubakar said the county’s tourism sector was on the decline after the festivals were lifted. He urged Governor Fahim Twaha to restore the events and revive the sector.

“All the festivals that were introduced in the calendar of events are crucial. They served to attract visitors, both domestic and international, to Lamu. We need them back so that the tourism sector can be improved,” he said.

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Marketing strategy

Former Lamu Tourism Association (LTA) deputy chairman Ghalib Alwy said the body, in partnership with the county tourism office started the festivals to attract more tourists. Mr Alwy said it is important that the events are retained.

“We launched those events as a marketing strategy for Lamu tourism. Through them, we were able to attract tourists from Kenya, East Africa and the world. This is after the terrorism attacks led to an almost 90 percent decline of the sector. It’s only through the festivals that tourists got the confidence to visit Lamu again. The events must be reinstated,” said Mr Alwy. Mr Mohamed Hassan noted that local tourism was still doing badly, attributing the situation to a section of foreign countries that are still having active travel advisories against their citizens visiting Lamu.

“The travel advisories still play a big role in scaring away tourists. We want as many festivals as possible as they have the ability to ensure the tourism climbs back on its feet,” said Mr Hassan.

Some of the festivals known and which are still being celebrated by many in Lamu includes the annual Lamu Cultural Festival that is marked between November and December, the Maulid Festival marked every January, New Year’s Dhow Race marked on January 1 and Eid Ul-Fitr marked every July.

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The festivals are said to attract more than 30,000 visitors from around the world.


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‘I was jobless and about to be kicked out’ Tedd Josiah on how Kenyans came through for him after losing his wife



Kenyan Music producer and JokaJok founder Tedd Josiah has thanked Kenyans for coming through when he lost his wife Reginah Katar.

Katar passed away just months after welcoming her daughter Jay.

Since then, Tedd says strangers became family and he is forever grateful.

‘To our beloved IG family, To say thank you doesn’t ever feel like it’s enough.

I was broken (am still in repair) and lost.

2017 Oct was all about cliffhanging in PAIN, learning how to raise a baby girl 3 months old ALONE! No nanny, no relatives, no one just baby and I walking the toughest walk I’ve ever had to.

Tedd Josiah

Guess who came through for us with baby clothes, with baby milk, with words of encouragement, with prayers and more prayers and more prayers…? Our IG FAMILY that was at the time only 20k at the time.

When JayJay’s 1st birthday 🎂 came along I was scared and very jobless about to be kicked out of our home.

People from as far as China sent JayJay gifts 🎁 and cakes 🎂 and so many other things. You made it bearable.’


‘When we launched mama’s idea of a bag company JOKAJOK you embraced us and have continued to build with us from day one.

Now we not only feed ourselves but we feed 11 other families through employment and we empower single mothers and fathers in our company.

Our head of leather studio is a lady feeding and fending for 3 children alone, all our other staff also have children to fend for and we’ve managed to come this far with you our IG family and build a legacy company.

Tedd Josiah

The road ahead is even longer and only God knows were it leads.

Sometimes strangers become closer than family and love you in a real way they will pray, fast, love and support you.
We don’t take that for granted at all and we want to thank you.

Let’s keep building the bear 🐻 family but also let’s build other people who maybe in need.



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Grace Ekirapa: I’ve been unable to access DJ Mo since cheating scandal



Grace Ekirapa, who hosts NTV’s gospel show Crossover 101, has revealed that she had not been in touch with her co-host DJ Mo since rumors he was cheating on his wife Size 8 rocked the internet a fortnight ago.

Ever since reports emerged that DJ Mo, real name Sammy Muraya, was cheating on his wife of seven years Size 8 causing a social media frenzy, the DJ was barred from co-hosting the show with Ekirapa and is thought to be busy trying to glue his marriage together.

Weighing in on the scandal rocking the marriage of her co-host, Ekirapa revealed that she had been trying unsuccessfully to reach out to DJ Mo.

“I haven’t spoken to him and to be honest. It’s been hard for me to get to him. My phone calls haven’t been going through, I know it’s been difficult for him and I think when he is ready he will talk to me. Meanwhile the show has been going on without him but that’s the management’s decision.” Ekirapa revealed during an Interview with Radio Jambo.

She, however, felt DJ Mo should be given a second chance.

“What I will have to say is, when you get saved you won’t stop sinning, you can’t be perfect but there will be consequences. We make mistakes. DJ Mo is an amazing guy and if there’s a chance of working with him again, I would love that.” She added.

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The singer also delved into the rumors that once emerged that she was having an affair with DJ Mo, a married man.

“During the launch of Crossover is when the rumor started. We had done a couple of photo shoots on different days and most of the time his hands was on my shoulder or mine on his and so people got talking.” she explained.

by NN

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