PEELING BACK THE MASK PDF
Clueless' is a word Miguna Miguna uses often in Peeling Back the Mask. Everyone he worked with in ODM and the Coalition Government was. Peeling Back the Mask is an insider's account from one of the Kenyan Prime Minister's former advisers detailing instances of corruption and fraud at the highest. Peeling Back the Mask. A QUEST FOR JUSTICE IN KENYA. Miguna Miguna. Peeling Back the Mask Prelims_Layout 1 23/06/ Page iii.
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Aliye na link ama pdf ya vitabu vya Miguna Miguna anisaidie tafadhali. https:// resourceone.info Peeling Back The Mask:Miguna Miguna.. Free PDF Download! resourceone.info /z/download/peeling+back+the+mask+pdf/. Peeling Back the Mask A QUEST FOR JUSTICE IN KENYA Miguna Miguna Peeling Back the Mask Prelims_Layout 1 23/06/ Page iv.
Again, after a sumptuous meal with plenty of drinks on offer that the team, except yours truly, had partaken of the bill had been brought to me, and I had dutifully passed it over to Orengo. Seeing Orengo and I looking at the bill, Raila had asked us to pass it over to him. He had examine it closely and then asked for the manager. The bill had been about Sh, I had also felt that we could and should simply have paid what we believed was a fair cost for the order. After all, the place was a going concern.
The owners were there to make money, and they had offered us good hospitality in exchange for our money. The man was then trying to endear himself to Raila Odinga. That was the second time I was speaking to him. Buke fled the country, returned home, and then went to jail, but remained an active reformer. Miguna fled at the first burst of teargas canisters to a safe haven. Miguna landed in Toronto, Canada, where he stayed in economic exile for 20 years. Miguna knows Buke knows the tall man betrayed his comrades.
If Miguna lost the way to AG Chambers, he would settle for solicitor-general. The AG had clung to the office Miguna desired. It was not that Miguna was living the revolution because he loved Raila; he was seeing his fancy jobs — AG or solicitor-general — slipping away. When he lost bid for PS and even advisor, he was devastated, and felt betrayed. He blames Raila for it.
Like sitting plan, red carpets, and protocol. Miguna recalls post-election violence, when the country was burning. Blood of innocent citizens was flowing. Darkness had fallen on a country once described as an island of peace in a turbulent ocean.
Then, he accuses Raila of failing to stick to the script. The script was Raila should have stuck to a re-run of presidential race or declared himself president. Perhaps Miguna was too preoccupied with his own ambition to succeed Wako. They were watching TV during the night of the long knives. The question readers should ask is, if Miguna had gotten what he expected when he joined the Raila Campaign, or stayed on as advisor, would he have erupted?
He was not among the first lot around Raila. He detested this. His bitterness with Omondi and Isahakia is palpable. True, these two have been cited in some indiscretions, but one would expect Miguna to give prosecutable evidence so a court of law would prove their guilt or otherwise.
Which was the right decision because somebody could easily take the man out and then blame Raila for it. But he left with his school-going children. Bishop Wanjiru was overheard complaining that she is being disillusioned with the party because some officials are frustrating her. She said her efforts to popularise the party are not appreciated and that she will consider decamping if she continues to be ignored and frustrated. He urged Kenyans to elect reformers and people who have sacrificed their lives for the betterment of this country.
I like Raila, Ruto, Miguna and Moi. They are leaders who take advantage of people like you who know what to do yet we keep our tribes and stomachs ahead of all other important aspects of life. The book depicts a cowardly and intellectually dishonest leader undeserving of all the praise and attention he has generated or received over the years.
We make history this day not for ourselves but for the ages. The choice we make in will determine not only the future of Kenya but the future of peace and freedom in the world for the last third of the 21st century, and the question that we answer today: Let us listen to Nyanza to find the answer to that question.
Nyanza is suffering due to our blinded minds. Atleast he expects that we quit the spirit of babyness and evolve in to political maturehood where we should begin to feed on solid food. The time has come for an honest government at the State House to germinate from the Nyanza seedbed.
Look at our community that am proud of. It has produced gigantic movers of the well being of Kenya, Africa and the world. They work in American factories, they run American businesses. They serve in government; they provide most of the soldiers who die to keep Kenya free. They give drive to the spirit of the World. They give lift to the Kenyan dream. They give steel of know how to the backbone of Kenya.
He is about to quit politics in the next episode, the question lingers.. Not anyone around him can. The answer is the current youth fresh from the outside August house. And so this day I do not promise the millennium in the morning. But I do promise action. Look at our problems back in the lake region. Do you realize that we face the stark truth that we are worse off in every area of the country than we were 30 years ago? From HIV pandaemic, poor education results, bad treatment of girl child, being misused by established politicians, poor road network affecting our produce, over fishing due to lack of proper income, bottom ranking ICT, poor health facilities and bad relationship with our neighbors other communities.
And there is only one answer to such a record of failure, and that is the complete house cleaning of those responsible for the failures and that record. The question is; why did they trust us? And we will say nothing during this campaign that might destroy that chance. Just use me and my husband Quincy as an example, we endured and continues to endure all the hate speeches against us. We show the deepest maturity inside of us.
Letting go, it means one is stronger that the hate lyrical twister. I believe we must have peace. I believe that we can have peace. But I do not underestimate the difficulty of this task.
Now there is no quarrel between progress and order because neither can exist without the other. So let us have order in Nyanza, not the order that suppresses dissent and discourages change but the order which guarantees the right to dissent and provides the basis for peaceful change.
Let us always respect, as I do, our women and the youth, but let us also recognize that some of our leaders in their decisions have gone too far in weakening the peace forces as against the community forces in this country. But let them also recognize that the first civil right of every Nyanzian is to be free from freedom of expression violence.
And that right must be guaranteed in this country. Because, my friends, let this message come through clear from what I say today. Time is running out for the merchants of crime and corruption in the Nyanza society. The wave of crime is not going to be the wave of the future in the Republic of Kenya. And to those who say that law and order is the code word for racism, here is a reply: Our goal is justice — justice for every Luo and other Kenyan communities.
If we are to have respect for law in Nyanza, we must have laws that deserve respect. Just as we cannot have progress without order, we cannot have order without progress. I pledge to you this day that we shall have new programs which will provide that equal chance. We make great history today. We do not fire a shot heard round the Kenya, but we shall light the lamp of hope in millions of homes across this Nyanza in which there is no hope today.
Because this is how our politicians trap us. They ensure that we remain poor for a 5 year term until they revisit us again.
CDF should be turned to benefit the Luos directly. By creating women and youth groups. Borrow money from CDF coffers, perform commerce returns and then refund the capital back to the public accounts with no interests after an agreed period.
We ruin his chances to the State house. No one should appoint leaders on our behalf as we know what we want and why want the appointees exclusively by us. The stink of corruption Raymond Bonner applauds a hard-hitting and far-reaching study of bribery in Kenya. It held multi-party elections, had a solid economy, had never experienced a dictator like Idi Amin in next-door Uganda or descended into chaos like Somalia to the north. What, then, explained the madness of men with machetes and broken bottles slashing and pummelling men, women and children from other tribes?
In a word, corruption. Kibaki had promised to clean up corruption in a nation where the ordinary citizen paid around 16 bribes a month to the police or some government agency. Githongo was the perfect man for the job, and he attracted bright young idealists like himself to work with him.
Government workers began inundating him with evidence of fraud and corruption. There was enough low-hanging rotten fruit to keep his office busy for years. The first president after independence was a Kikuyu, Jomo Kenyatta, and the Kikuyu grew rich.
He was a Kalenjin. Kalenjin politicians bought Mercedes, their wives shopped abroad. The Kikuyu, desperate to get to the trough again, persuaded other anti-Kalenjin tribes to join with them, and the Kikuyu Kibaki was elected. Registered in Britain, it had 18 contracts with the Kenyan government for the supply of everything from a forensic laboratory to a navy frigate and jeeps: The company was no more than a street address in Liverpool.
The American ambassador, William Bellamy, said that the amount of money siphoned off was enough to supply every HIV-positive Kenyan with antiretrovirals for 10 years. Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo, is an exceptionally talented writer. It is easy to imagine George Clooney turning her account of the risks Githongo took — the way he was tailed by Kenyan intelligence after he fled to Britain; the malicious smear campaign against him at home — into a tale of government malfeasance and a crusade along the lines of Michael Clayton.
This is one of those rare books that deliver more than the title suggests. It is more than a story about a whistleblower, and more than about Kenya. It could have been written anywhere where corruption is endemic, and Wrong disposes of some general myths.
She also drives home this usually overlooked reality: Indeed, they are constrained by anti-bribery laws, however weakly enforced, while Chinese, Korean and Japanese companies pay huge bribes with impunity. Further, Wrong makes depressingly clear that corruption in the developing world is aided and abetted by donor governments and the World Bank. Even when confronted with the full extent of the Anglo Leasing scandal, Diop in effect did nothing. His successor, Colin Bruce, continued to rent from the president and, despite evidence that the polls had been rigged in the election, assured his bosses in Washington that his landlord was the legitimate president of Kenya.
Bruce was promoted to director for strategy and operations in the Africa region. When his quiet diplomacy with the Kenyan leaders failed, Clay delivered a speech to the British Business Association of Kenya: But it has … They may expect we shall not see, or notice, or will forgive them a bit of gluttony, but they can hardly expect us not to care when their gluttony causes them to vomit all over our shoes.
Only the Netherlands froze aid. Others describe him as a disgruntled and bitter, a sacked employee with ambition and axes to grind. Much of the talk has been vitriol — and most of it directed at Miguna himself.
Things got so bad that one group of villagers burnt an effigy of Miguna in a mock-funeral, complete with mourning dirges and cleansing rituals. A quest for justice in Kenya, was the fulfilment of a threat. Miguna worked as an aide to Odinga from after the botched elections until late , when he was sacked by the prime minister for not toeing the party line.
His book is an attempt to make good on that promise. Odinga himself comes in for some withering criticism. In addition to the juicy anecdotes, Miguna makes a few stunning allegations. I have it right here. He says he went easy on Odinga and his party: Kissing his feet is the very last thing the prime minister, or any of the other names implicated in the book, is doing. But Miguna himself is not the real issue, for Odinga and his team are working towards a rather grander prize.
Chances are that he will weather the storm. The tone of the coverage of this drama has very much been coloured by political affiliation, with more time spent dwelling on the relative merits of the main players than on the substance of the allegations involved; this suggests that the controversy is merely hardening divisions rather than encouraging anyone to switch their support to someone else.
And the reality may well be that Odinga, for all this flaws, is the best of a bad bunch; after all, two of his main competitors, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, are being tried for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. The lesson for the rest of us is that four years after the post-election violence, and in the run-up to another election, the ethnic and political fault-lines which exploded so disastrously last time round are still very near the surface.
Raila Odinga is running for president. I am not. As a person who has occupied an exalted public position in our society for decades; one who has enjoyed immense privileges; and one who is seeking even more power and privileges; Raila Odinga must be audited, vetted and weighed thoroughly for his record in public life before he can be found to have satisfied the requirements for election. There are no two ways around it. But he cannot intimidate, threaten or beat us into submission. Let me start by saying that what is happening to Miguna is natural.
To use an example that in no way suggests that Miguna Miguna is a mad man; imagine a mad-looking man accosts you and your friend in the street and accuses your friend of stealing food from him; would you believe the fellow? I do not think so. In fact I doubt you would even give the accusations second thought. The reason is that we have a natural tendency not to accept the word of someone who looks like they are mentally unstable.
You immediately go back to where you do not even consider the accusations. A third scenario is where you are then advised that the mad-looking man is not actually mad. You are informed that despite the odd dressing, loud noises and disturbing facial expressions that he is making when putting across the accusations, the man is going through a traumatic experience in his life. This means the man is not mad but just going through an emotive point in his life that has psychologically destabilized him.
This means that maybe you should look at his accusations beyond the state of his mind. This is where he speaks about his growing up and early education, as well as making disparaging remarks about nearly everyone he has encountered over the years. They end with his move to Canada, where against all odds and despite difficulties settling in as an African, he actually sets up a law firm.
This means that Miguna actually only dedicates a maximum of pages of a page book, to his allegations against the Prime Minister. Each of these articles were as venomous as those words in the book; but they were in support and towards protecting the Prime Minister, from the same accusations he now makes!
So here is a man who first writes a 60,word series of articles in a public newspaper over two years; not for profit and of his own accord as he explains in the book , to be read by hundreds of thousands of Kenyans, saying one thing. A responsible leader who upholds the rule of law would have quickly condemned those barbaric acts and distanced himself from them. By not doing so, Raila has now fully associated himself with such acts;.
The country and the world is still waiting. Everything written about Caroli in the book revolves around what he did after Raila was appointed PM and Caroli started working at his office.
Consequently, as far as I am concerned, in all intents and purposes, Raila is Caroli and Caroli is Raila as far as my book is concerned.
Kenyans have not given Paul Mwangi any legal and constitutional authority to act as Prime Minister. Therefore, as far as I can see, Raila has not spoken on my book at all.
Subterfuge will not do. This is not what is expected of a PM who wants us to compare him to modern leaders in the first world. He has failed in action and practice.
Friday, July 27, — Who can remember the major controversy that arose in after Kibaki was sworn in as the 3rd President of Kenya, politicians and the public questioned his marriage with Lucy Kibaki because there was rumor that he had another wife — Mary Wambui. Uncle Moody was heard questioning Lucy whether they should address her as first or second lady at an executives party in Mombasa.
Since Kibaki rose to power in , Mary has prospered both as a political activist and a business woman for the recent acquisition of an IEBC tender for supply of Biometric Voters Registration kits which shows the level of nepotism in our country. Through their connection with the late Njenga and late Michuki who Kibaki went to school with the three used to meet at the bar. Their meeting turned into a blissful affair that yielded to the birth of their daughter — Winnie a.
Conventional wisdom says you should never review a book written by a person you know. Everyone who knows Miguna and is mentioned in the book should read it and review it and correct anything they know to be wrong — because there is much in this book that is fallacious and invented.
I am neither a liar nor a sycophant, and since I am frequently accused, particularly of the latter, I want to make that clear before I move on. Miguna himself declares in the book that he finds me honest for what that is worth. My so-called sycophancy is non-existent. Miguna had given me an undertaking of confidentiality on this. No, Miguna, your word and your bond are worthless — just so much dross to be abandoned when it suits you.
You can claim no honour there. I want to speak of that which I know. Worse, he has repeatedly used a device where he takes a nugget of information that is true and then wraps it round with distortions, to achieve the desired effect — disparagement of Raila Odinga.
A small example occurs right after Miguna quotes in full my memo to the Prime Minister. Apparently, Sarah felt that Raila was jealous of intelligent, disciplined and hard-working people with integrity. Such words have never passed my mouth, nor has such a concept ever grazed my mind. He says Raila read his speech from a laptop, and that this was a last-minute solution to time constraints because Miguna was working on the speech from Toronto, along with Sarah Elderkin in Nairobi.
Total fiction. First, the laptop idea was one the launch team had chosen deliberately so that Raila would not be reading from pieces of paper. Though outdated now, it looked rather cutting-edge at the time. I had never met Miguna Miguna then, nor had I ever spoken to him. In fact, I never once spoke to Miguna Miguna while he was in Canada.
As always, Raila knew exactly what he wanted to say, and the idea of presenting himself as an applicant for a post that would soon become vacant the presidency was entirely his own. The speech still sits on my computer, with the chronology of its development. Miguna sent a memo to Raila on May 2, four days before the launch. A copy of that memo is also in my file. I have attached herewith some thoughts on some of the issues that might be glossed over as you and everyone else works tirelessly for the Big Day.
I hope that you will find time to read, reflect and hopefully incorporate whatever is appropriate for the Big Day. The accompanying notes offer some pretty standard thoughts on tribalism, the economy, CDF, security, working in consultation with others and so on.
Miguna had nothing whatsoever to do with the speech.
PEELING BACK THE MASK: MIGUNA MIGUNA’s BOOK IN SUMMARY
Miguna also uses the launch — which was a glittering and ground-breaking event that others this very year have copied when launching their own presidential bids — to try and portray Raila and his team as disorganised. The team was not a political strategy team, as Miguna tries to portray them while dismissing them as clueless but a strategy team for the launch. I have the final storyboard on file.
It was produced by Caesar and covers the programme minute by minute. It lists all the personnel in charge of onstage events and their assistants, security co-ordinators, protocol, press and verification team, finance manager, ushers co-ordinator and master of ceremonies.
It lists the broadcast arrangements, the sound and lights back-up, generator provision, the actors and musicians, photographers, projection screens, guest comforts, branding — flags, posters, bunting, T-shirts, balloons, plants, stage dressing, carpets, confetti and the way it would fall at the appropriate moment — press packs, TV crews liaison and runners, among many other details.
The event was supremely organised and a huge success. He was completely harmless. It has traumatised me throughout my life. I have strongly opposed them throughout my life. It is amazing that even today when I close my eyes and try to remember that period, I can still see my mother kneeling as I suckled away, in full view of the villagers. Katolo is what the English call hop-scotch.
Peke is a throwing game. They would gather little twigs which they used as firewood. A small hole would be dug on the ground with three little stones like cooking stones. Small tins would be gathered and cleaned. These served as pots and pans. The girls would then prepare real vegetables or fake ones from weeds. From dust and soil, they would make mounds resembling ugali. Older boys would sit separately from the children and would be served as the men of the households.
It was during these imaginary fiestas that naughty children tried to engage in sexual escapades. She was from Kobura near Kaluore market. She had come to help our neighbour, Mary Ochele, who was giving birth to baby boys every year in those days. We were about five or six years old. Mary had just given birth to a baby boy called Elisha.
As we watched her tummy extend and enlarge each year, we could predict with precision when the hilarious commotion would begin. The week Mary gave birth, she would be very restless; going in and out of her hut; sitting behind the hut and generally just walking around. As toddlers, we sometimes lay there pretending to be asleep but watching keenly what was going on. Elisha was delivered in the morning, at about 10am.
Suddenly, we heard a loud piercing shriek. I want to pee! I want to peeeeee! The baby is coming! We remained in front of the hut as she retreated behind it. And hardly 30 minutes later, there was a whimper from a baby before my mother asked us for water in a basin. This was the baby Lalo had come to babysit.
From then on, she became my partner; we became so attached to each other that even adults used to refer to her as my wife. However, shortly after I started elementary school and Elisha was ready for the village nursery school under the tree, Lalo returned to her home and I never saw her again. For some reason, I liked baby boys so much in those days that whenever a local woman gave birth to one, I would spend hours carrying them and playing with them.
I would rush there first thing in the morning and after chores or school. Perhaps it was a way of expressing my desire to have a brother. There came a time when my mother dressed me up and escorted me to school.
For a week or so, I would pretend to be going but turn back when I knew she had gone off to the field or the market. Eventually after two weeks , I had to be taken to school by force by a teacher and neighbour called Onditi Oriare, the son of the village priest. I remember that day as if it was just yesterday.
I screamed and cried all the way there. I was missing my mother and playmates. At the end of school, I rushed home, where my mother knelt down to breastfeed me. But that was the only time I resisted going to school. Once I started properly, I became very keen on learning. My mother was very firm about the need for me to go. Despite her illiteracy, she knew that education would be my only salvation from poverty.
I loved and valued my mother. To please her and prove to be a good child, I plunged into learning in a manner hitherto unknown to the village.
I did my homework without prompting. I carried my school-work and books whenever I went to herd the few cattle we had.
After spending hours in the fields digging with our hands, I would rush off to the river to swim before reading myself silly.
Thankfully, that investment eventually paid off. When I was a toddler, well before I joined elementary school, I spent time with my brother Eric Ondiek Owadgi Leah who was a policeman in various stations in the Western Province. She was a young beautiful Teso woman at least to the eyes of a toddler. They had a lovely baby girl called Queen.
My brother later separated from Deborah after he lost his job as a policeman and moved back to the village. Unfortunately, my brother never kept in touch with Deborah or his daughter. As a child, I blamed my brother for the break-up.
It was just the thinking of a perceptive child who desperately wished that things could have turned out differently. What I know is that at some point after losing his job, my brother started drinking heavily and neglected his family. He would leave home in the morning with his drinking buddies and return at night, shouting and singing incoherently.
There were days when he would just eat and go to bed without commotion. But on most occasions, he would engage his wife in unnecessary quarrels that inevitably led to a physical assault on her, often prompting my mother to intervene. It was extremely annoying to see him complain about the food he was served: I used to sit there and wonder: Why are you blaming her?
But I was too young to confront him. Other times he breached all boundaries of decency and good morals. He would hurl abuse at my mother, merely because she had tried to prevent him from assaulting his wife and told him to stop drinking. Of course that was just an empty threat. Nor did she have the capacity to implement the sanction. Ondiek was a big man at six foot, four inches. He would go for his usual drinking sprees, return shouting and singing; only this time, my mother had little or no leverage.
In his drunken stupor, the cultural and traditional restraints that compelled children not to answer back, quarrel with or fight their parents, especially their mothers, evaporated. He would threaten to kick my mother out from his homestead. Once, when I was only 15, I yelled back at him that he would have to fight both her and me.
I swore I would never drink alcohol. That stopped my brother in his tracks. He looked at me bemused but actually stopped yelling, entered his house and went to sleep. I hated witnessing those scenes.
I knew my mother was suffering innocently. Neither did he really help himself.
Peeling Back the Mask: A Quest for Justice in Kenya
From that day, I felt alienated from my brother and hated alcohol. And I have remained a bitter enemy of all alcoholic beverages to date. The other reason why I have always hated alcohol revolves around an incident that happened when I stayed with my brother and his wife Deborah in Malakisi.
I was only four yet it remains fresh in my mind as if it occurred just yesterday. But I went with the policeman to a place where people were drinking a local alcoholic brew which Luos and Luhyas call busaa. He started drinking. Moreover, it was given to me using a calabash, which I had hitherto only associated with porridge. In fact, busaa looked to me very much like porridge.
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Once I felt the pungent taste, I refused to take another sip. My brother was so furious that he ended up beating Deborah and banned his fellow officer from his house. To a child that young, however, it seemed like a lifetime. However, when I returned to the village, I realised, to my horror, that I had forgotten my mother tongue, Dholuo. In Malakisi and Bungoma, we had only communicated in Kiswahili. Hence, when I returned to the village, my first traumatic experience was how to relate to and speak with my mother, sisters and the children of the village.
In the village, life revolved around Luo; the culture and the language.
It took me months of frustration and daily struggle before I learnt basic words and phrases. And as I learnt to roll my Rs, the village children made a spectacle of me, laughing and taunting. To them, not being able to speak my mother tongue was akin to being an alien or a village idiot. Within one year, however, I had learnt Dholuo and completely deleted Kiswahili from my system.
Thereafter, my brain refused to absorb Kiswahili. It taught me an interesting lesson in human psychology: However, should our system detect danger, it will shut down. At night, mosquitoes were all over, singing and biting. They were particularly mutinous against visitors, upon whom they unleashed their most vicious attacks, making them restless and ultimately bedridden with malaria.
But not on the indigenous villager; strangely the mosquitoes knew us. They exercised great restraint: But for as long as I was young and living in the village, I was never infected. Mosquitoes would feast on us daily but we never got ill. Much later after returning to Magina from Canada, I caught malaria. I had stayed abroad for six years and my body must have accordingly adjusted to the extended absence of risk.
Magina is a microcosm of Kenyan villages. Today, it remains painfully poor — almost desolate and abandoned by the state. The floor, which was supposed to be concrete, is still dusty and dirty. Money that was intended for it has lined the pockets of a few school administrators, school committee members and politicians. More than ever before, the villagers struggle on their narrow strips of dry land, trying to eke out a living.
But the swamp is gone, together with the papyrus, mangrove, reeds and other foliage. With them went the fish and the birds, including the beguiling seagulls. The sweet potatoes, vegetables and sugar cane are no more. In other words, like most Kenyan villages, Magina has decayed and become poorer over the years. The culture of neglect has persisted. In many ways, Magina has never enjoyed the fruits of independence, politically and economically. This is both a tragedy and an unforgivable betrayal.
My mother used to visit them quite often in Nyatoto village, Lambwe Valley. I became curious about them, primarily because there were three male children close to my age. In Luo culture, they were my brothers. That was in January I also had a school bag with a few pencils, an eraser, a razor blade for sharpening my pencils, and three exercise books.
He had two large kraals full of cattle and hundreds of sheep, goats and chickens. The homestead had several houses, one for each of his three wives, and one belonging to his older son Jacobo Odhiambo.
There were also numerous stores and a kitchen. In addition, Aoyi owned more than 50 acres of land, on which he grew corn, millet, groundnuts and sunflowers. Up to that time, I had never entered a homestead that big.
On arrival at the school, I found children who believed Aoyi was so wealthy that he had earned the status of a demi-god. The first month went well; I found my bearings and settled down. But in the second month, things grew unbearable on the home front. I was supposed to wake up at 5am or earlier to go to the farm and plough with the oxen until 7.
I hardly had time to do my homework, read or play. I was often so exhausted that learning became a challenge.
Although food was abundant at the home, I hardly ate. He would shout at me all day long. Over the weekend, I was on the farm for eight to twelve hours uprooting groundnuts, harvesting sunflowers, struggling to drive a huge plough and rambunctious oxen over rough terrain.
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When I was not ploughing or planting seedlings, I would be weeding or harvesting. After the harvest season, I was sent to roam the vast Lambwe Valley in search of grazing grass and water. The whole area teamed with wild animals such as deer, elks, rabbits and zebras. The valley also suffered from a bi-monthly invasion of army worms, what the Luo call kungu. They would eat everything green in their path — grass, plants and leaves — and carpet the entire place.
They were rapacious and destructive. They were also messy. People literally walked on top of those worms, crunching them as they went along, leaving trails of green goo. But even more, they left a trail of destruction in their wake. They made me hate Lambwe Valley even more. At the end of the first term or semester at Nyatoto — and despite my intermittent attendance — I was still the second best pupil in my class. That was quite an achievement considering that I had often missed school in order to do manual chores.
The one month recess that followed was hellish for me. My brown cotton shorts were now tearing off. My cotton shirt could no longer be worn. I now only had the nylon shirt that I had come with. I had no shoes. He would be nice and generous one day or hour and be brutally callous the next. He was even violent. It missed me narrowly.
In the absence of proper clothes, shoes, food and care, I became a victim of jiggers parasites that burrow in to the skin which were rampant in and around Nyatoto. After only three months, nearly all my toe nails had disappeared. I was finding my life as an unpaid herder increasingly unbearable, I had also not seen my mother and siblings for more than three months.
I cannot recall what the argument was all about, but I recall Jacobo asking me to leave his simba a hut for boys. I was to go and sleep in the kitchen, which the girls were now using. To me that was ridiculous. I believe I must have refused to leave. Before I knew it, both Jacobo and his brother Daudi were raining blows on me.
I tried to defend myself with very little success. Both were much older than me and I was soon overpowered. I cried out as loudly as I could but no one came to my rescue. The physical assault lasted for about 30 minutes. I was writhing in pain. My mind was racing. I quickly gathered my books, the cooking stick I had prepared as part of arts and crafts for school, and took off into the darkness with dogs barking behind me. Jacobo and Daudi were in hot pursuit. I ran outside the gate and onto the path leading to the main Homa Bay-Sindo road.
My heart was pounding rapidly. I was mad, angry and sad. I was crying, but kept running. My clothes were in tatters. I was determined to get away for good. It was around midnight. I had no money. Luckily, after about one hour, I saw a large truck approaching at full speed with full headlights on. I began to wave furiously. The truck driver must have seen me because he suddenly slowed down and screeched to a stop, about 50 metres past where I was standing, my heart racing.
Please help me! Please take me to Ahero! He nodded his head and closed the back of the truck. The man must have looked at my state and concluded that something terrible had happened to me. He never interrogated me. It was dark and scary inside the truck. But he kept driving. After about 30 minutes, he stopped and left the truck. I heard him talking with some people before the truck started moving again. And it moved and moved until I fell asleep. When I woke up, it was early morning. I could see the sky clearing.
The truck kept moving. I knew that as long as the truck was moving, I was getting away and would be farther from danger. Then the truck suddenly stopped. The back door opened. The driver told me to climb out as we had reached my destination. My heart started racing again. I was excited. We were at Ayweyo. I climbed down, thanked him, blinked and took my bearings. It was now about 8 am. The journey had taken eight long hours. As I walked towards Magina, tears started flowing down my cheeks.
I was sobbing uncontrollably. I sat down and held my head with both hands. I was ready to return to grinding poverty, but at least I was free from inhumane and barbaric treatment. My mother was at home when I arrived. When she saw me approaching, she ran up to me and held me tightly against her bosom before breaking down, crying.
She took another good look at me and told me to enter our hut. I was given cold water to drink and then porridge. My mother took water and washed my face. She then wiped my feet with a wet cloth. She did these things ritualistically. I was being cleansed. As I sat there drinking the porridge, my sister-in-law Angeline arrived. She too looked at me with sadness on her face. I had no toe nails on my feet. My hair was shaggy. They knew what had happened.
They could see that I had endured long and brutal abuse. Later, I recounted what had passed and how I had managed to escape. The story was so sad that my mother asked me not to repeat it. I also knew how and when to reject it. From that day onwards, I considered my uncle Aoyi dead. I never communicated with him again until much, much later and only then because I had no choice. The first time was after I returned home on holidays from the University of Nairobi in and found one of my older sisters missing.
Leah had a learning disability. Apparently, she had gone to visit the Aoyi family, but she had not been heard from for about one year. So, I took off to Lambwe Valley, arriving late in the evening only to be told that nobody knew where Leah had gone. I was given the name of a lady who was said to have taken her to somebody else to marry.
That evening, I saw Aoyi and we greeted each other though we never actually spoke. The lady and I took off early the following day. We arrived at our destination in the late afternoon and began a search that took us to five homes. Eventually, we found Leah, thin and dazed. When he saw me, he panicked. I told them that my mother had died in May that year. I managed to take Leah home the next day. Leah was confused: He had not visited Magina, nor had he brought any cattle to symbolise marriage in accordance with the Luo customary law.
There was no marriage certificate. On reflection, I actually think I placed myself in unnecessary danger. The man, his brothers, relatives or fellow villagers, could have murdered me thinking — of course mistakenly — that I was a stranger trying to take their wife away.
I had good reasons for what I did. For that, I took a risk. A week after bringing Leah to Magina, I went back to university. When I next returned home for the holidays, I found that Leah had returned to Karungu.
She had stayed in the village for only one week. Years after I had fled to Canada, she left that man and returned home.
But she later died of severe diarrhoea on her way to the funeral of one of my step-sisters. I actually believe Leah died of hunger. The tragedy is that I had sent her some money via my brother, who had either diverted it or kept it for too long. The second time I communicated with Aoyi was after my relocation back to Kenya in Aoyi was by then an ailing old man.
He had undergone prostate cancer treatment and was back at the Moi Referral and Teaching Hospital in Eldoret for further tests and treatment. While there, his son, Daudi, who was then teaching at a university in South Africa, called and asked if I could speak to his father. I did. That was the second and only time I had spoken to Aoyi since To me, Aoyi was an embodiment of raw and unmitigated evil.
By not trying to prevent an year-old boy from disappearing into the night in a place where wild animals roamed, he had shown real barbarism. But worse still, he never bothered to find out where I had gone or whether I was still alive.
He made no attempt to send anyone to Magina to find out if they had heard of or seen me. That was bestial. Aoyi died in May and I attended the funeral.
Death is the final equaliser. And since we were taught never to speak ill of the dead, I paid my last respects humbly, and forgave him, though I have certainly never forgotten his cruel treatment of me.
Fortunately, years have healed some of the hurt and injuries I sustained in Nyatoto. My relationship with Daudi improved and we are now fairly close. I am also on speaking terms with Jacobo, his sisters and mother. But before I could join, there were minor issues that needed to be resolved.
First, the school needed a record of my attendance at Nyatoto Primary School. Then the Ministry of Education officials insisted that they needed evidence that I had paid the 12 shillings annual fee.
The Ministry of Education office at Ahero insisted that my mother had two options: My brother opted to go to Pap Onditi and returned with proof of payment of Sh And in September , I rejoined Apondo Primary School, having nearly lost a year herding cattle, sheep and goats for Aoyi. For that, I have been forever grateful to my brother. Belts were rare in those days, so I would make do with strings made from sisal fibre or discarded plastic.
In elementary school, it made running or participating in sports extremely difficult. When I was about eight years old I nearly died twice. One day, I went to herd our cattle between the river Nyando and its tributary Wailes with a boy from Magina called Ouma Nyakongo. He used to call himself John Kirk, a name he borrowed from a European explorer in the Kenyan history books. As we herded, Ouma decided that he wanted to make a club from a fig tree branch. He had carried a sharp machete with which to accomplish the intricate job.
He climbed up the fig tree and asked me to hold the branch as he cut. Unfortunately, when he finally managed to cut the branch, the machete went through it and landed on my forehead. I lost consciousness immediately and came to as Ouma was frantically washing off the gushing blood from the wound in my head with the brown Nyando water.
I sat up for a while, and then stood up. And when he did, he pleaded with me to keep it a secret because he feared that he would be severely punished if he was found out. Somehow, I found myself home as the sun was setting. I pretended that nothing had happened and for a few minutes even joined my sisters in playing hop-scotch.
Suddenly, I heard a shriek from my sister Auma. She was pointing at me and screaming. She had seen the swelling on my forehead. She screamed. Apparently, she saw something white on my head and thought my brain was coming out.
It was my skull. By then my head had swollen to such an extent that it was submerging my eyes. I felt dizzy and collapsed. The deep cut on my head had been washed and stitched. That explains the fairly large scar on my head just above the forehead. At Onjiko, some students used to make fun of it, claiming that it was a path for cockroaches. The second time that year that I nearly died was when I attempted to cross the river Wailes. Children in Magina learnt how to swim fairly young.
That day we had crossed the river using a log-bridge and spent considerable time playing and eating wild guavas. Later in the afternoon we came back to find the river rapidly swelling. We were at a place without a log-bridge. The other children knew how to swim, and they soon removed their clothes and swam across the river.
I was left alone. I looked at the river and took a plunge only to find myself being swept away. I was drowning.
But in a split second a creative thought came to me. I loosened my body and fell to the bottom of the river. My feet and hands could feel the sand on the river-bed. I held my breath and walked on the riverbed and across up to the river bank where I emerged to find my friends running along the bank wailing that I had drowned.
I emerged at the bank breathless, just at the point where my energy had begun to ebb away. My eyes were red.
I was choking from coughing, having ingested too much water. I lay on the ground, not quite believing I was still alive. All I had was a strong faith and a determination not to die. After about one hour of deep reflection, I returned to the river and resolved that I must learn how to swim. I struggled for about three hours. I returned the next day and the day after that until I learnt how to swim.
Since then I have held the belief that everything is possible with hope, faith and determination.
For a long time when I was growing up my brother owned both a shortwave transistor radio and a gramophone. Whenever my brother got some money, he would buy batteries and play the albums endlessly. I loved it. I also used to listen to the British Broadcasting Corporation news bulletins daily — in the evening and in the morning. The BBC used to bring more insightful news than the Voice of Kenya, which concentrated on narrating what the President and his retinue had done on a daily basis before announcing fundraising events, deaths and funerals.
In those days, the singer Owino Misiani Ja Shirati was like a one-man army of resistance, satirically and lyrically pointing out the ills of society and the betrayals of the Kenyatta — and later the Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki — governments. To date I have remained a strong lover of music of all genres , news and current affairs. In fact I trace my political consciousness directly to the historical and critical lyrics of Owino Misiani. In August Kenyatta died. I remember that day clearly because I was at home when the news broke.
I beat that bell so hard and for so long until I felt pain on my right hand. Of course nobody joined me or came to the school. Many must have thought that I was either crazy or that somebody had died and I was announcing it. Regardless, as a year-old I already had developed deep resentment for Kenyatta and his government. At the time, I was preparing to sit for my Certificate of Primary Education examinations.
I was top of the class in Civics in our school. I knew about the political repression and economic subjugation Kenyatta had subjected the Luos to, yet it was Jaramogi who campaigned for his release when Jaramogi had the option of taking power himself. Even at that tender age, I was babbling with rage at the palpable injustices and inequalities that many Kenyans, especially Luos, were experiencing under Kenyatta. The 24 years of Daniel arap Moi continued and intensified the political and economic strangulation of the Luos, in particular, and Kenyans in general.
This is hardly surprising, given the fact that only three out of the six teachers had actually been trained. Elkanah Otieno Ojuki taught me English. No one could forget Elkanah. He was erudite, loud, proud and brash, in his own unique way. He perpetually reminded us that he was the best English teacher south of the Sahara and north of the Limpopo river. This could have been due to his relative youth at the time.
The Okuta of the late s was young and trim. I guess Okuta has eaten well since the s. That applies to me as well. These were poorly paid, humble but extremely committed teachers. They lived in grass thatched and mud walled huts in and around Magina village. They either walked to school or arrived perched precariously on their rickety bicycles.
But above all, they taught us with passion. When we sat for the CPE exams, I was so confident that I would get 36 points — the maximum at that level — that I only chose the best schools I knew of: Only three pupils at Apondo passed that year: Habil and I led with 30 points with Rose coming second with 28 points. Habil and Rose seemed to have been more modest in their expectations, choosing all local Nyanza schools. In those days they were considered very good schools.
They both received their admission letters within weeks of the results being announced. I waited for my admission letter to no avail. Then just one week before the secondary schools opened in January , I received an admission letter from Onjiko Secondary School. I was stunned.Inflation had hit the roof. And since we were taught never to speak ill of the dead, I paid my last respects humbly, and forgave him, though I have certainly never forgotten his cruel treatment of me.
I now only had the nylon shirt that I had come with. Which was the right decision because somebody could easily take the man out and then blame Raila for it. Successive governments have never bothered to solve, once and for all, the perennial floods problem. It could have been in because I started elementary school in A basic understanding of copyright law tells us that Miguna and Gilgamesh Ltd.