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OPINION: Bob Collymore is gone, who is next to leave this world?

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By Reuben Kigame

Have you ever stood on a queue and you hear the cashier or hospital attendant call, “next please?” That is the feeling I have as I write this to you. The main difference between death and someone calling the next person to move forwards is that we always know who is next, but for death, indeed none of us knows who NEXT ON LINE is.

Because of the “niceties” of life such as food, drink, being with family, graduating, sex, winning a tournament, getting a baby, etc, we always imagine that death is so far away from us; and we always believe that somebody else will go before us. … If you think that way, you are very wrong. … Or perhaps you imagine that, if you have money, a house, an education, BIG BUSINESS OR GOOD health, you will be here longer than those who are not as endowed as you. If you think this way, you are also wrong.

On Monday morning this week, Heaven called, “Next please!” And one of the most powerful people in the world, Bob Collymore, moved on.

So, between you and me, who is next?

If money could buy life or health, you can be sure Mr. Collymore would still be around, because Safaricom makes profits in billions of Kenya shillings (millions of dollars) and so the company would not have let its boss lack money for a hospital bill, no matter how much! No family member would have held any resource back to buy even a few more years. … If education was the criterion for a long life, then many of our professors would live long. If being smart in military tactics, terror and political intrigues was enough to buy life, then Idi Amin, Osama, Hitler, Napoleon, Mussolini, Mandela, Jomo Kenyatta and Julius Nyerere would still be alive.

May this be a reminder to everyone who gets to read this. May those among our African leaders who wish to die in power or steal votes to be ahead of everyone, those who change constitutions in order to hold onto power, those who steal from the government and from the taxes of the people, those who kill, those who thrive by exploiting others, etc, know that they will not do this forever. May those who fight for Church leadership, those who receive bribes to miscarry justice, those who promote decadent and destructive behaviour know that their time is short. May those who keep yelling that there is no God, those who are planning an abortion, those who are organizing the next march to promote gay rights, or anyone planning to cheat in an exam know that before midnight, before this week ends, in the next one year or several years, they will hear, “Next” and it will be time to face the Maker of this world and the Giver of life.

In the same way, please remember that even if you think you are so good or successful, people like you can be called at any time. Good behaviour does not cushion anyone against death. Bob was a good man in the eyes of many. What his standing was before God, we do not know. During the memorial service, his colleagues, family and friends, government leaders and clergy alike will say very good and kind things about him; but what does God say of him now? Even at a human level, we may still ask, what shall we say about you after you hear, “next” and move on? Michuki was a useful man to the Kenyan society. He is gone. Princess Diana and Mother Theresa both died on the same day, one remembered as a beauty queen and the other as charitable and lover of the poor and destitute. One of them died surrounded by money, royalty and media attention, the other in obscurity. God called “next” and they both left the world.

On Monday, Bob Collymore died. About twelve hours after him, God called “next” and my mentor, Dr. Norman Geisler, responded. About exactly five years ago, my mother-in-law, Joyce Oywaya, who participated in the writing of Kenya’s National Anthem, was called and she went. About thirteen years ago, Mercy Wanderwa, my wife of 15 years, was called at the age of 37 and she responded, leaving me with three children, 14, 12 and 2 years. At least for her, I know she was so right with God. Now my only desire is that when I or any member of my family is called, we will be as ready as she was.

So who is next? You or Me?

Let me conclude. Last week, Bob Collymore could still have responded to some questions by journalists, eaten or drunk something served by his wife or signed a cheque for his company. By Tuesday evening he had been reduced to ashes! Even the memorial service and all the speeches will be done with him missing. I doubt that his ashes would hear the sermon at All Saints Cathedral or any of the songs complete with the playing of the pipe organ which he would have enjoyed a great deal. Don’t ask me if the dead hear what we say. That we will discuss at the Pamoja Fellowships in future. … He is gone. That is it! Only God knows where next. … I have been challenged once more. If I were you, I would do my best to be ready when God says, “Next!” meanwhile, I will work even harder to leave a great legacy for God, my family and my country. Indeed that is all I do these days. And yes, I desire even more to spend quality time with my spouse, my children, my friends, and most of all, my God.

I have preached from the passage below, but let me let the words of this Psalm by Moses trickle deep into your soul as I simply recount them without commentary below:

Psalm 90:

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You turn people back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
4 A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.
5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
they are like the new grass of the morning:
6 In the morning it springs up new,
but by evening it is dry and withered.
7 We are consumed by your anger
and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
13 Relent, LORD! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.
17 May the favor[a] of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ruth

    July 9, 2019 at 2:18 am

    Lovely psalm by king David.

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Haji orders arrest of CS Rotich, top State officers over dams scam

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The Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji has ordered the arrest of senior government officials over fraud linked to two multi-purpose dams in Kerio Valley Key among those to be arrested include Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich (National Treasury), PS National Treasury Kamau Thuge, Dr Susan Koech PS East Africa Community, David Kipchumba Kimosop MD Kerio Valley Development Authority, Kennedy Nyakundi (National Treasury), Titus Mureithi and Jackson Njau Kinyanjui among others.

Haji said the officials broke the law on public finance management and flouted procurement rules and committed illegalities in the Arror and Kimwarer dams fraud.He said he has gathered sufficient evidence to prosecute the perpetrators.  “The persons we are prosecuting today were mandated to safeguard public interest but failed,” he said.

According to DPP, the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) flouted the procurement rules in handing the Arror and Kimwarer dams contract to CMC di Ravenna in which the contract was inflated by Sh17 billion from the initial Sh46 billion.

He says the contractor (CMC di Ravenna) also submitted a design of the dams four years after the required time.

“We borrowed, the loan had an interest, borrowed more money to pay for the interest, this is massive loss of public finance.”On July 10, 2019, a team of top Kenyan security officials flew to Italy to recover money paid by Treasury for stalled Sh65 billion Arror and Kimwarer dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

Sources told The Standard that Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and select State Law Office officers arrived in Italy with evidence of the said fraud to convince their Italian counterparts for action.

Part of the evidence was the Auditor General’s report that showed more than Sh4 billion was paid for the stalled work. The team had met Italian ambassador to Kenya Alberto Pieria and talked about fighting graft and related crimes.

“The discussions centred on possible collaboration between Italy, EACC, DCI and ODPP on capacity building, mutual legal assistance and investigation in combating corruption,” said Twalib Mbarak, the EACC CEO.

While in Italy, the team sought to meet an Italian Government-owned insurer, Service Assicurativi Del Comercio Estero (SACE), which was paid Sh11.1 billion as an insurance premium for a loan to build the two dams.“We are paying interest on a loan that we don’t know about. In fact, we may default and that is why the team is in Italy to see how we can have the money back,” said an official who was aware of the issue.

Another official said: “The deal was government-to-government; however it has now turned commercial. We cannot secure a loan and also pay for the insurance of the same.”

He regretted that the loan had matured and that the government was required to start serving it without a project on-site.

National Treasury CS Henry Rotich paid Sh11.1 billion as the insurance premium for the Sh65 billion loan to build the two dams.Experts say this suggests that Kenya paid 15 times over the fair rate to the Italian government-owned credit insurer for insuring the loans procured from a consortium of banks led by Intesa San Paolo.

This formed a subject of interest for investigators to determine why SACE charged 17.5 per cent of the loan amount as premium, against industry rates averaging 1.5 per cent.Rotich said his ministry was not involved after project identification, prioritisation and procurement were completed by the line ministry and the implementing agency, Kerio Valley Development Authority.

Rotich also acknowledged that he released Sh7.8 billion to KVDA for onward transmission to CMC di Ravenna, as an advance payment to help kick start the project.

By Standard

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Why it’s hard to stop betting

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In probability, if you toss a coin, you cannot get a head and a tail at the same time. It is one or the other, a gamble. This is what betting is about — you win or lose, there is no middle ground.

Yet, thousands of young Kenyans are addicted to gambling. A GeoPoll report in 2017 shows that the country has the highest number of gamblers in sub — Saharan Africa, with sports betting the most popular form of gambling. Further, 40 percent of low-income consumers are unemployed and 29 percent are students.

The government’s refusal to renew the licences for some betting companies comes at a time when many individuals are addicted to betting and have turned it into an income-generating activity.

Is it the allure of quick riches?

Abigail Khamati, 32, has been betting for the last four years and the government’s move has left her without a stable source of income. She acknowledges that betting is her biggest hustle and yes, the thought of making instant riches excites her.

“I depend on what I get from betting to meet most of my expenses, say house rent and other personal needs,” she says. “Using the money earned from gambling, I was able to start a side hustle — selling men’s clothes.”

Although she is addicted to betting, she is quick to defend herself as a responsible gambler.

“I am a football fan. My favourite team is Arsenal and I started betting because I realised that I was good at predicting the outcome of football matches. What began as a pastime became a good source of income,” she offers.

“It derives some attributes from business; you have to be resilient and willing to take risks. I spend Sh10,000 to Sh 20,000 every weekend. I decided to bet only on weekends because that is when there are more matches and I can concentrate fully.” she says.

“Should I lose a game, I take a break, say one day, then start betting again. Last year, I lost more than Sh100,000 but also made more than that. At one time, I placed a Sh1,500 bet and won Sh 80,000,” she offers.

While she has lost thousands, of shillings, she is not ready to stop because of the returns, and the fact that it is instant money.

Clare Sunguti, 29, comes from a betting family. Her father and six siblings are also into betting, which she considers too inviting to stop. “I am not a football fan but I was inspired by my brother when he won Sh64,000 in December 2016. At home, we would regularly contribute money and bet. Once we won Sh 110,000 and my brothers encouraged me to start playing solo,” she says.

Advances in technology have made it easier to bet. Those without, say football knowledge, can ask for tips and odds through the various social media platforms.

Sunguti is a marketer by profession and sells cosmetics and groundnuts on the side. Whatever profits she makes, she channels into betting. not borrow or take loans to place bets,” she offers.

Meanwhile, just the mention of betting brings bad memories to Stephen Muriithi, whose name we changed to protect his privacy.

The former bank teller was introduced to betting by a customer in 2016, and it led to his downfall, including his job.

He started by using Sh500 a day before doubling the amount. But even the loss of Sh50,000 did not bring him back to his senses.

“By the time the bank fired me, I had exhausted my savings and was more than Sh300,000 in debt. It took my mother and a few friends to get me out of betting,” he says.

Isaac Maweu, a counselling psychologist, classifies gambling as a process addiction like pornography.

“Most people bet with the expectation of winning big and whenever they lose, the mind is conditioned to think that they might win the following day, so they continue. Before you know it, you are addicted.

The process brings about various effects such as anxiety, depression, criminal activities to support the behaviour, guilt and strained relationships,” he says, adding that it is possible to get out of it through self-regulation and commitment.

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Ruto addresses his “assassination plot” allegations, says he has spoken to Uhuru about it

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Kenya’s Deputy Pesident William Ruto has, for the first time ever, spoken about allegations about a plot to assassinate him.

Speaking to K24’s Anne Kiguta, Mr Ruto sought to dodge most of the questions on the topic. However, a persistent Kiguta sought ansers to her hard hitting questions. She also pushed him to answer questions on his 2022 ambitions, his wealth, unfulfilled campaign promises and the SGR project, among other issues. Watch:

 

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