Friday, 22 February 2008

Hidden Depths

I knew it, I just knew it, but it was confirmed this afternoon.

When talking about the talks to resolve the present political crisis in Kenya, the Foreign Minister, Moses Wetangula said, "It's not over until it's over."

See? I knew that the new government had real class, real intelligence, people with a real grip on the situation!

How profound is that?

Talking all done?

Oh dear. Just when things looked as if they may just improve a little tiny bit, the Government side of the negotiations failed to turn up at this morning's talks.

The other lot promptly walked out, saying they would return later.

I should have really known better than to think that a solution was in sight.

After all, we are not just talking politicians, we are talking Kenyan politicians.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Problems, problems ...

I have contacted everyone I know, or have even a tenuous contact with, black and white, in Kenya and they all say that it will be safe for me to travel next week. The worst that could happen is that the road block may come out and I will be stuck wherever I happen to be.

This is not a great problem as I am staying with friends wherever I am going.

Except ...

My business partner in Nairobi has just sent me a rare email telling me categorically that I should not travel to Kenya.

So, who is right? A dozen or so people I know vaguely, or my business partner, who I know slightly better?

And if the majority are right, what is my partner up to? Is he really concerned for my safety, or does he have a hidden agenda?

My gut instinct is to pull out of this business arrangement and go elsewhere. But I will wait until I am in Nairobi and meet up with my man before I make any decision.


On another tack, my fiancee on the coast has just texted me to say that she has been given notice to quit her home as the landlord wants to renovate it.

She has found another, smaller, place for her, me and her two children, but her present house is shared with her extended family, two cousins, a sister and various school-aged kids.

She is asking what she should do.

I am intending to get a place eventually, but no on the coast. It is too hot and humid for me. It is fine for a holiday, but I could not work there.

Another dilemma!

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Excitement abated ...

Someone has popped my balloon. Someone, let us call him TweedleO, has threatened more violence (my words, not his) if agreement over solving the political deadlock isn't found within a week.

He actually threatened mass protests, but we all know what this leads to, don't we?

But it looks as if the other protagonist, TweedleK is happy for more Kenyans to be killed and the economy ruined even further.

And the Mungiki has reared its ugly head by apparently threatening the life of Nobel peace laureate Wangari Maathai. Funny, I thought both she and the Mungiki were Kikuyu.

But then, she has been calling for compromises - oh what a silly idea. No wonder her life has been threatened!

So, if it is going to happen, the violence will erupt just as I arrive. Well, it's too late now. I am travelling economy and cannot change or cancel my ticket.

Excitement ...

There is excitement in the Dad Mzungu UK camp (my bedroom/office) as I think about preparing for my trip next Tuesday. I haven't actually packed anything yet - I haven't even thought about packing anything. After all, packing isn't that difficult is it?

My plans once I touch down in Nairobi are a bit, er, fluid. I will be going to Kisii. I will also be going to Malindi, and I will spend some time in Nairobi, and that is the extent of my plans to date.

Timing depends on my people there, and one of them has not acknowledged that I am arriving in less than a week. Oh well, there is plenty of time for that. After all, we are talking Kenya and we know that Kenya works on a different time-scale to Europe.

I will be meeting some people in Kisii that I met on various social networking sites. That will be interesting. Kisii is not renowned for its high mzungu population. In fact, that last time I was there, I was definitely the centre of attention with the kids, many of whom had never seen a mzungu before.

Even in the suburbs if Nairobi where I stayed on my last visit, I was always followed down the street by the local kids and many adult stares. There was nothing malicious or threatening. They were just curious. The kids didn't even ask for sweets as they would in a tourist area.

I just hope that my curiosity value keeps me out of any trouble.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Away from the Politics

I am excited, very excited. in fact I have shaved off about 50 years from my 57!

I'm going to Kenya! Next Tuesday evening, I board a Boeing 777-200 with another 8 people (so far) and fly to Nairobi.

Once there, only one thing is certain. I am going to be with my fiancée and her kids for her son's 6th birthday.

Other than that, everything is a bit fluid at the moment. I know I will be spending time in Nairobi. I know I will be spending time (at least a week) in Kisii, where our orphanage is located.

This is my town of preference for when (if) I settle down. I have friends there. The orphanage is there.

It is a provincial town of about 70,000, big enough to have all the big shops (all things are relative), a reasonable bus service to the big city, and a nice climate, not too hot and not too cold. The area is hilly, green and well watered and the soil is extremely fertile - paradise town within paradise country.

Monday, 18 February 2008

We aren't meddling ...

After meeting TweedleK and TweedleO earlier today, and reiterating what her boss had said regarding a coalition Kenya, she dismissed suggestions that the USA was meddling in the affairs of Kenya.

"This is not a matter of dictating a solution to Kenyans," she drawled - sorry - she said, after her meetings with the Tweedle twins.

Honey, from where I am standing, you're sure as Hell meddling, banning certain Kenyans from travelling to the USA, threatening to cut off all aid to Kenya.

I am not saying the USA shouldn't meddle. After all, so far they have a good score sheet, Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and so it goes on - oh yes, and Grenada.

It is a funny thing. Bush is not much liked in the USA. He is not much liked in Europe. But he seems to be a hero to most Africans. Maybe he should be "elected" President of Africa once his stint at the White House is over. Of course, free and fair elections are as alien to Dubya as they are to certain Kenyan politicians - mentioning no names - nod, nod, wink, wink.

There is a precedent. Our Tiny Blur (or is it Tony Blair? I forget.) is President of the Middle East, or thinks he is.

Most over here wish he would go there and stay there - and take his successor with him.
(This statement is NOT based on any scientific data!)

Condaleeza in Kenya

OK, so Ms Rice is in Kenya, attempting to find a solution to the crisis caused by TweedleK and TweedleO fighting over the rattle that is ultimate power [and wealth] in Kenya.

But will TweedleK feel the need to make any real compromise, unless the wealth of his cronies in big business (and his own) are under threat? What is the death of a few (1,000) ordinary Kenyans in the greater scheme of things?

But if the USA pulls the plug on aid to Kenya (or to the Mount Kenya Mafia), he make be forced to make bigger concessions.

And if the World Bank stops turning a blind eye to the appalling corruption (how many times do they have to fund the same project over and over again without question?) and stop pouring money into the bottomless pits that are the pockets of a chosen few, maybe the owners of those pockets will stop pulling the strings and allow Kenya to become truly democratic.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

The Confusion Continues ...

I have to say that, as a foreigner, I am confused by Kenyan politics at the outset.

However, after the debacle of the Presidential elections, there is a another situation looming with the election of councillors.

The ECK has stated that the it got it wrong [No! Really?] and have nullified 10 results, and seats have been redistributed!

So it goes on ... and on and on!