A dream doesn't become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination and hard work.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Why young Africans are swapping the office for the farm

Media captionEmmanuel Koranteng gave up his job in the US to grow pineapples in Ghana

Farming has an unglamorous image across Africa. But this might be changing - the BBC's Sophie Ikenye met some young professionals who packed in their office jobs and moved back to the family farm.

Six years ago Emmanuel Koranteng, 33, gave up his job as an accountant in the US and bought a one-way ticket to Ghana.

He now has a successful business growing pineapples in a village one-and-a-half hours away from the capital, Accra.

He says that even when he was far away from the farm, it was always in his thoughts.

Across the continent, Dimakatso Nono, 34, also left her job in finance to return to the family farm in South Africa.

'Always a market for quality'

She left her lucrative job five years ago and moved from Johannesburg to manage her father's 2,000 acre farm three hours away in Free State Province.

She says she wanted to make an impact.

"I knew that if I came to assist my father, I would be able to actually make meaningful change."

She began by counting his cows.

Media captionDimakatso Nono gives five tips to succeed in farming 

"At the beginning, we were not sure about what the animals were doing and where they were in the fields, so for me it was important to ensure that every single day, every activity that we do is recorded."

Life on the farm has not been easy.

This year's drought across Southern Africa put an end to her apple, maize and sunflower crops.

So does she ever have days when she thinks she made the wrong move away from the corporate world?

"No, not at all, not for me.

"I'm not always on top of the world but on such days I appreciate the fact that if need to rest or recuperate, there's no better place than here where you have the nature to support you."

'Make agriculture entrepreneurial'

But both young farmers have found it difficult to get funding for equipment.

For this reason, Mr Koranteng has decided to stay small.

"If you are small and you don't have funding, don't try to do anything big. It's all about being able to manage and produce quality because if you produce quality, it sells itself," he says.

But there is to be made money in farming.

Sophie Ikenye wearing waders in the water
Image captionBBC Africa's Sophie Ikenye visits a fish farm with a difference in Kenya

A World Bank report from 2013 estimates that Africa's farmers and agribusinesses could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 if they were able to access to more capital, electricity and better technology.

"Agriculture has a bright future in Africa," says Havard University technology expert Calestous Juma.

Nutritious fish biscuits

But to encourage more young people to return to the land, he suggests a simple solution: A name-change.

"The best way to attract young people into farming is to define it as agribusiness - this entails making agriculture entrepreneurial and technology-driven.

More on agriculture in Africa

And it also means making the finished product, rather than just growing crops and selling them.

"The focus should be on the full value chain - from farm to fork, not just production," he says.

picture of cladius inside biscuit factory
Image captionClaudius Kurtna wants everyone to enjoy the nutritional benefits of fish

That is exactly what Claudius Kurtna is doing.

He farms fish in western Kenya.

But he doesn't sell those fish.

Instead he makes them into high-protein, high-energy biscuits.

The 28-year-old entrepreneur wanted to make a product which had both a long shelf life and high nutritional value.

The product has been certified by Kenya's Bureau of Standards and local schools have ordered his biscuits.

Media captionSophie Ikenye tries a "fish biscuit"

"The motivation behind this was nutrition, for children in remote places from poor backgrounds, even refugees. Anywhere you can't get fish in its natural state," he says.

These biscuits aren't made by hand, but by special machines, which are costly. 

That is likely to be true for any farmer who wants to copy this model.

So for Mr Juma, in order to attract more younger people to farming, you need to provide funding with conditions they can meet.

"Agriculture needs the same types of credit and risk-reducing incentives that are given to industrialists. 

"Young people are not averse to farming. 

"They are averse to risk. They are human."

Friday, 29 July 2016

Kenya’s house prices drop as oversupply hits market


The Thursday, July 28, 2016 

Investors in several neighbourhoods in Nairobi are reeling from a slump in home prices and rent as excess supply bites.

Selling prices in Kilimani have dropped more than 5 per cent since last June to lead in the slump that has also been witnessed in Donholm, Eastleigh and Ridgeways, according to findings presented by real estate consultancy HassConsult.

A dip in prices is a reflection of slowing demand, further compounding concerns that developers who borrowed to fund for-sale projects could be coming under distress. Rental prices in the high-end Westlands district are down 3.4 per cent, while Karen is reported as the best-performing estate for landlords.

“We have seen oversupply in these areas,” head of the research Sakina Hassanali said yesterday, referring to the middle-income neighbourhoods that have been worst hit.

The supply of three-bedroom apartments has stayed ahead of demand, translating to low occupancy levels.

Mlolongo, a satellite town along Mombasa Road, has also taken a beating from heavy traffic on the highway to reverse the price hikes of the past. Land prices have fallen by a 10th in the three months to June, while home prices fell 1.2 per cent over this period.

Implications of the supply-demand showdown have already been captured by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), which reported bad loans in the real estate sector had jumped by nearly half in the three months ending March. “This is attributable to the slow uptake of housing units,” CBK said in its latest quarterly report. One of the reasons for the slowing uptake is that home sellers may have priced themselves out of the market.

The average closing price for a residence in Nairobi has jumped seven-fold in 10 years, while rent has risen just three-and-half times, according to survey. A tool used to check home prices against the rent they can generate puts Nairobi significantly ahead of most cities in the world.

Investors in property in South Africa can receive rent equal to the value of their homes in 9.79 years, compared to 15 years in the Kenyan capital, according to international research firm, Numbeo.

The pricing disconnect could be evidence that home prices are overly inflated, a situation made worse by the swelling land prices. Land prices have soared more than six times in 10 years in Kilimani, where an acre has a going rate of Sh430 million.

Average home prices in Karen, popular with politicians and business leaders, have risen nearly 17 per cent since last June, to stay ahead of land prices that rose by a 10th. Infrastructure developments, specifically improvements on the road network around the city, have also helped in opening up satellite towns and raising the values of land and homes, which could diffuse the rapid price increments in Nairobi.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Article 50 was never supposed to be used, says the man who wrote it

'It is like having a fire extinguisher that should never have to be used. Instead, the fire happened'

A former Italian premier has claimed that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which, if triggered, would initiate Britain’s exit from the EU, was designed not for actual employment but as a deterrent - and he should know, he wrote the thing.

Giuliano Amato was the man behind the European Union divorce clause, which if enacted by a British prime minister would begin a two-year countdown to our formal departure from the 28-nation bloc.

"I wrote Article 50, so I know it well," he told a conference in Rome last week.should be a classic safety valve that was there, but never used. It is like having a fire extinguisher that should never have to be used. Instead, the fire happened."

Amato advised that Brussels offer no concessions to London in upcoming negotiations, as this is the only way Britain might reconsider the decision it made through referendum.

"When it comes to the economy they have to lose," he said.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


Hillary Clinton's work for Israel
Hillary Clinton's work for Israel

A leaked Hillary Clinton email confirms that the Obama administration, with Hillary at the helm, orchestrated a civil war in Syria to benefit Israel.

The new Wikileaks release shows the then Secretary of State ordering a war in Syria in order to overthrow the government and oust President Assad, claiming it was the “best way to help Israel”.

Newobserveronline.com reports:

The document was one of many unclassified by the US Department of State under case number F-2014-20439, Doc No. C05794498, following the uproar over Clinton’s private email server kept at her house while she served as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013.

Although the Wikileaks transcript dates the email as December 31, 2000, this is an error on their part, as the contents of the email (in particular the reference to May 2012 talks between Iran and the west over its nuclear program in Istanbul) show that the email was in fact sent on December 31, 2012.

The email makes it clear that it has been US policy from the very beginning to violently overthrow the Syrian government—and specifically to do this because it is in Israel’s interests.

Clinton's email on Syria-Israel
Clinton's email on Syria-Israel

“The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad,” Clinton forthrightly starts off by saying.

Even though all US intelligence reports had long dismissed Iran’s “atom bomb” program as a hoax (a conclusion supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency), Clinton continues to use these lies to “justify” destroying Syria in the name of Israel.

She specifically links Iran’s mythical atom bomb program to Syria because, she says, Iran’s “atom bomb” program threatens Israel’s “monopoly” on nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

If Iran were to acquire a nuclear weapon, Clinton asserts, this would allow Syria (and other “adversaries of Israel” such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt) to “go nuclear as well,” all of which would threaten Israel’s interests.

Therefore, Clinton, says, Syria has to be destroyed.

Iran’s nuclear program and Syria’s civil war may seem unconnected, but they are. What Israeli military leaders really worry about — but cannot talk about — is losing their nuclear monopoly.

An Iranian nuclear weapons capability would not only end that nuclear monopoly but could also prompt other adversaries, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to go nuclear as well. The result would be a precarious nuclear balance in which Israel could not respond to provocations with conventional military strikes on Syria and Lebanon, as it can today.

If Iran were to reach the threshold of a nuclear weapons state, Tehran would find it much easier to call on its allies in Syria and Hezbollah to strike Israel, knowing that its nuclear weapons would serve as a deterrent to Israel responding against Iran itself.

It is, Clinton continues, the “strategic relationship between Iran and the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria” that makes it possible for Iran to undermine Israel’s security.

This would not come about through a “direct attack,” Clinton admits, because “in the thirty years of hostility between Iran and Israel” this has never occurred, but through its alleged “proxies.”

The end of the Assad regime would end this dangerous alliance. Israel’s leadership understands well why defeating Assad is now in its interests.

Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel’s security, it would also ease Israel’s understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly.

Then, Israel and the United States might be able to develop a common view of when the Iranian program is so dangerous that military action could be warranted.

Clinton goes on to asset that directly threatening Bashar Assad “and his family” with violence is the “right thing” to do:

In short, the White House can ease the tension that has developed with Israel over Iran by doing the right thing in Syria.

With his life and his family at risk, only the threat or use of force will change the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s mind.

The email proves—as if any more proof was needed—that the US government has been the main sponsor of the growth of terrorism in the Middle East, and all in order to “protect” Israel.

It is also a sobering thought to consider that the “refugee” crisis which currently threatens to destroy Europe, was directly sparked off by this US government action as well, insofar as there are any genuine refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria.

In addition, over 250,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, which has spread to Iraq—all thanks to Clinton and the Obama administration backing the “rebels” and stoking the fires of war in Syria.

The real and disturbing possibility that a psychopath like Clinton—whose policy has inflicted death and misery upon millions of people—could become the next president of America is the most deeply shocking thought of all.

Clinton’s public assertion that, if elected president, she would “take the relationship with Israel to the next level,” would definitively mark her, and Israel, as the enemy of not just some Arab states in the Middle East, but of all peace-loving people on earth.

This was first published at Your News Wire.

Koffi Olominde charged with assaulting female dancer in Nairobi

The Congolese musician was arrested in response to a public campaign after he kicked one of his dancers in Nairobi.


Renowned Congolese musician Koffi Olomide (left) on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on Friday 22, 2016. Police arrested the rhumba star in his home town of Kinshasa on July 26, 2016. PHOTO | COURTESY 

The singer's free fall started when he kicked a woman in his band at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport last Friday.

Olomide was deported on July 23 alongside three of his female dancers.

Police arrived at his residence in a continuation of perhaps the worst run in Olomide’s fortunes, a painful price to pay for his moment of madness in Nairobi. 

According to reports from Kinshasa, a campaign to have him arrested was started by Congressman Zakarie Bababaswe, who had filed a petition on behalf of the Congolese public to get the musician punished for assault.

Mr Bababaswe had in a televised press conference wondered why Olomide was “still walking scot-free and yet there was video evidence that he assaulted his dancer in Kenya?” 

Incidentally, the congressman and Olomide used to be good friends until they fell out after the musician and Cindy Le Coeur, his lead singer, were accused of belittling him in their songs. 

His arrest, which was ordered by the attorney-general, was received with jubilation by locals and foreigners, who feel justice must be done for all, and especially in enforcing women’s rights. 

Since video footage of the incident, in which one of Africa’s leading musicians lashed out with a “Kung Fu kick” at one of his dancers, came to light, Olomide has suffered a huge setback in a career the mercurial singer, composer and band leader has diligently nurtured for several decades.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Friends, where do I also get myself such a good woman?

When I graduated a few years ago I was excited about the life awaiting me. I thought I would immediately land a well-paying job as an accountant in one of the major firms in the city, earn enough money to accord me a good life. Man, life has a way of humbling you after campus. I went to countless interviews without getting even a rejection email telling me what I did wrong or where I ought to improve. 

My parents were counting on me to provide for them so I couldn’t sit around anymore. I started working as a casual laborer in construction sites. There are days I would get lucky and others I would go back home without a coin in my pocket. You know construction work is tough so I had a lady move in with me to warm my nights. Within no time she got pregnant. You can’t blame me bro, I’m very virile. {Chuckle}

She wasn’t working therefore I had two mouths to feed.  I used to earn 400 bob a day and when I was lucky enough to work on koroga they would pay us 700bob. Every evening when I got home, The first thing I would do is give my lady what I got paid remaining with 50bob. You know women have lots of needs and you don’t expect her to ask you for money every time she needs new panties, right?

When she was due, I took her to my parents’ home in Murang’a. Guess what, she delivered two boys! Being a father changes everything. I now had four mouths to feed. I had to start thinking about the future my precious boys. I needed to plan for their education as they were growing up fast. I knew kazi ya mjengo wouldn’t enable me make enough to give them the life I envisioned for them. 

Disillusioned, I talked to my wife about it. I can never forget what my wife did for me. She went to the bank, withdrew Ksh75,000. SEVENTY FIVE SHILLINGS IN CASH! Apparently, she had been saving the little cash I used to give her every evening for two years. She gave me the money and asked me to buy a motorbike in order to start a boda boda business. Ever since that day I respected that woman. I knew she was the best woman for me.

Mark, where do you get such a woman today when all your age mates care about is partying and taking selfies?

Anyway, that one action changed my life for the better. As you see this motorbike here, its been able to fend for my family and bought me two plots. I bought the first plot in Juja for Ksh. 375,000 and the other one I just finished paying for at Ksh. 150,000 .Now, I’m planning to buy another bike then start building a house for my family.

It was great talking to you Mark, I now have to go back to work. I pray you also get a great woman like I did.

This is the life story of a 28 year old boda boda guy who just delivered a package to my house. Most times we think successful people are only those you see on covers of Forbes and TV but there are also heroes walking among us doing jobs you and I might look down upon. Spare some time and talk to your house help, mama mboga or guard. They probably have inspiring tales of how they surmounted major life hurdles.

 Friends, where do I also get myself such a good woman?

Kindly, share widely to inspire someone.

~ Written By #MarkMaish (www.markmaish.com) #TheBrokeBillionaire 
Photo Credit: csmonitor.com

Don’t date these miserable ‘old’ Kenyan women

By Silas Nyanchwani Sunday, 
Jul 24th 2016 
Older single women who still think they can meet perfect partners need to have their heads checked Photo: Courtesy

We can all agree that there is something fundamentally wrong with a woman over 35 and not in a long-term relationship. Forget all those feminist clich├ęs that there aren’t serious men anymore (cheap excuse) and the tired “career and money over marriage and children” (selfish and regrettable approach to life).

With the exception of those widowed too early or those who walked out of abusive long-term relationships or marriages, anyone over 35 who is still single is single for a reason, and invariably a bad one. There is a reason men have steered clear of them and why they are single, grumpy and insecure. Increasingly, more men are getting wiser and avoiding such women. And for good reason. Besides the assumption that these women are good in bed (some are), can pay for sex, can at least pick the tab in a restaurant and know what they want; they are permanently flawed. There is something wrong with their personality that you would notice as soon as you go for them. 

I recently talked to a senior bachelor who is much beloved and respected nationally, and I joked that I had a 36-year-old, very beautiful woman, who is working and whom I wanted to give him.

“You mean there is a 36-year-old out there looking for a lover?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said defensively, adding, “I think she spent too much of her time studying and building her career; she is now ready to settle down.” 

He laughed so loud and quipped, “She should accept fate and look for a companion. A woman only has up to 26 years to show off, after that, it is hard to find a suitor of her dream.”

And that is the truth. In recent times, I have flirted with older women, and the more I do so, the more I realise they are beyond help. When you meet a single woman approaching 36 who is still choosy, you can’t help but laugh sympathetically. I have been on internet chat rooms and a number of dating sites, and what these women demand is hilariously comical. I have met 20-year-old virgins who are less demanding.

Older single women are psychologically unstable. I am not a psychiatrist, so my interpretation may be a tad too pedestrian, but I think they need help. Anyone above 23 who thinks she can meet a perfect partner needs to have her head checked. You must learn to compromise and tolerate certain habits in others for.

If you meet an older woman without a child (with the exception of a barren one, of course), run! That’s a dangerous woman. Women are wired to want relationships, marriage and children more than men. So, when you meet one who is not given to such, walk on. She hates people and thinks only of herself, and maybe her pets.

Older women are usually clingy and insecure as several of my friends who have tried them found out. If your game is good, they can go the extra mile to keep you. Therein lies the danger. If you are a young man just having a good time with a cougar, you have to be cautious about how you withdraw from her as you look for a younger woman. They can also be ruthless and can use you and dump you mercilessly and shamelessly, as men who have been taken to their homes for one-night-stands discovered in the biting cold of Sunday mornings after being ‘kicked out.’

Any woman who is single after 30 must acknowledge the terrible she made, and pay the price instead of complaining that men are not growing up. Men are okay. You are the problem. And for heaven’s sake, stop lying to young women that they can have it all. They can’t. After 30, their game is up and should settle for whatever life throws at them.

Oyunga Pala once said, “Life does not give you what you want. Life gives you what you deserve.”

That was spot on.



Sunday, 24 July 2016

So Long, Koffi Olomide

http://www.magunga.com/so-long-koffi-olomide/ | the Magunga

by MAGUNGA on 24TH JULY 2016 

The one thing I love about Big Mac is that even when the lights go out, the music from his trumpet still shines true in the hearts of men. For him, the show must go on. This we came to learn last Friday evening during Salsa Night at Artcaffe. The Oval, where this particular branch is located, suffers spasms of blackouts while the band is playing. Power comes and goes at will like asthma attacks; unexpected. Big Mac continues to play, even more passionately still when a blanket of darkness swallows upon the restaurant like a deadly virus. And just like Big Mac, the dancers do not stop dancing. Men hold their women by the waist, moving in two steps, forward and back, twirling them around, carrying them. It is a gracious sight. For those of us who cannot dance Salsa, we watch in awe, wishing that we could move the way these people move. To us, everyone on the floor is a pro. We sit, sipping cocktails from straws and chowing down the monstrously sized Mexican salad. Behind me is this white lady, seemingly in her thirties, dancing with this black guy no older than Twitter. While the guy wears a smile broader than daylight, the white lady shows little emotion. She must be his dance instructor, because there is no passion in how they dance together. It is too physical. Clearly they have been dancing together for a while now, because he does not even seem to charm her in any way. Black dude, with a punk hairstyle, stripped shirt and a broad smile, leading the dance in the basic meaning of the term, but he is not really leading, because she knows exactly where he is going to take her, and sometimes, she goes even before he shows her. I watch in secret amazement at the kind of power dynamic that is going on there. She is not following. She has made a conscious decision not to. We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. ― Friedrich Nietzsche Meanwhile, approximately 15 kilometres from where we are, there is this white-bearded man having a conversation with a news anchor on national TV. He is denying being involved in an incident for which he had, just a few hours before, apologised for. The man is Antoine Christophe Agbepa Mumba, popularly known to the likes of you and me as Koffi Olomide, and to himself as Mopao (Lingala for ‘Boss/King/Lord’ presumably a self proclamation as King of Lingala), Mopao Mokonzi, Rambo du Congo, and Le Grand Patron. True to form, Kenyans have been in love with this man’s music, and deep has been this love such that there is not time a club in Nairobi will play lingala without playing Danger de Mort, Loi, Skol, Effrakata, and more recently, Selfie. However, what Koffi Olomide does not understand is that Kenyans are amnesiacs. Kenyans do not owe anybody any form of allegiance. Today you are the most delicious plate in town and tomorrow you are a cold sandwich. Koffi Olomide at Koroga Festival; Photo by Susan Wong The #KorogaFestival A video posted by I AM KOFFI OLOMIDE (@koffiolomide_officiel) on Mar 13, 2016 at 8:25am PDT It was just four months ago when Koffi Olomide sold out his show at Koroga Festival. In fact, it is said that he made so much money when he came to Kenya that he decided to cancel other shows, just so that he could come back and perform in Nairobi one more time. He believed in this big man hype. Got high on his own supply and as a result, grew arrogant. So much so that when he landed in Nairobi on Friday morning, he had the temerity to take a break from an interview to kick one of his female dancers. The whole thing was captured live on camera, in full view of the Kenyan airport police. But then Kenyan police can sometimes be nothing but blunt instruments. They were begging him to cool down, seemingly pleading with this big headed prick to mind his temper, instead of arresting him for what is clearly a cognizable offence. What followed afterwards was something that Koffi Olomide’s team had not expected, and the Kenya Police had, in their foolishness, taken for granted once again. Kenyans went wild on social media and in just a matter of hours, #DeportKoffiOlomide was trending on Twitter.  I had seen this fire spark earlier in the day, and even when I rebuked Koffi Olomide’s kung-fu antics, I knew that this man was probably still going to perform. His show was still going to be sold out and the man was still going to leave this city with a shitload of money, because violence in itself is something that we Kenyans have somewhat become accustomed to. Come to think of it, it was just the other day that a human rights lawyer, his client and his taxi drivers turned up dead after being arrested by the police. At the same time, the Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Senator Mike Sonko have both been known to have, at different times, physically assaulted the Nairobi Women’s Representative, Rachel Shebesh. In both occasions, people protested, while others cracked jokes about it. Lately, the Bungoma Senator, Moses Wetangula has been having marital problems with his wife. She has allegedly assaulted him more than once. Again, that was a proper chance to talk about Gender Based Violence – about how it is not just a women problem, but a human problem, but then what did we do? In the first instance, the Deputy President William Ruto himself mocked the Senator, and Kenyans held their aching bellies in laughter, saying how in another life, our DP would have made a good comedian. Then in the second instance, Kenyans on Twitter greeted Wetangula’s misfortune with derison, using his domestic woes as a basis to deny him the right to vie for presidency next year. And TRUTH is we cant have a president beaten by a first lady. That cant work! #WetangulaBeatenAgain — Lord Mutai® (@ItsMutai) July 15, 2016 #wetangulabeatenagain pic.twitter.com/I9HHZXg7Nj — christabel Adhiambo (@christabelodhiz) July 15, 2016 #WetangulaBeatenAgain then he wants to be President!!! Smh…Luhyas unite behind Mudavadi we make it to second round and we beat uhuru — THE REAL SHIX (@shikalia) July 15, 2016 If Weta cannot handle his family affairs what of national affairs #WetangulaBeatenAgain — Atanas (@atanasi_) July 15, 2016 And it is not just the grown ups who have normalised violence. Even the young-ins have been watching and learning from the best. That is why in this year only, about 78 high schools have been razed to the ground by fiery students in various parts of the country. * So yeah, knowing the kind of people we are, I would have bet top dollar at the time of viewing Koffi’s video that condemning what he did was going to be useless. He would buy his freedom at the right price. But then there is this one tiny detail. Koffi Olomide is not a Kenyan. He is an outsider, and that is what made people even more angry. That someone had the guts to come here, break our laws in the full view of the public, the police and rolling cameras and basically give not even a single fuck about it. Of course, it was only after the temperatures rose that he put up a video on Facebook, trying to justify his actions. In the video with him was his dancer, Pamela, clearly under duress with a face that looks like a broken promise, trying to make us believe that Koffi loves her and does not beat her. Only that this was too late. Offended Kenyans have this untapped gift of finding dirt. By the time the apology came, we had already known how busy Olomide has been. 2008 – Accused of assaulting a photojournalist from a local TV station in Kinshasa who was covering his concert. 2012- Arrested in August 2012 for assaulting his former music producer, Diego Lubaki, and was handed a three-month suspended prison sentence for the assault. 2012- Charged with three counts of rape and illegal confinement of his dancers in France. August 2012 – Arrested for assaulting his producer at a hotel in the DRC. December 2012 – Assaulted a photojournalist in Zambia. The police dropped the case in July 2013. December 2012 – Accused of kicking a freelance photo-journalist, Jean Mandela, in the face during a concert in Zambia. Of course most of these are accusations and charges, most of which were settled or mysteriously dropped, but then all of them, coupled with his lapse of judgement in Kenya, tell a very saddening story.  A story that Meshack Yobby in this post succinctly summarised by saying “He [Koffi] has a history of doing this thing. But people see the beauty of his music and somehow, fail to see the ugliness he brings with it.” * As we sit at Artcaffe, soothed by the jazz spilling from the speakers, and couples dancing freely like nobody’s watching, one of the ladies on our table (her name is Awino) all of a sudden startles us with a sudden leap of joy. For a moment, I imagine that she has just won Pambazuka, or even gotten lucky with Sport Pesa. Nothing of the sort. Awino cares for football as much as I care for The Mindy Project. She passes her phone around. It is breaking news about Koffi being arrested outside Citizen TV studios, and ferried to the cell at JKIA. Being a Friday evening, what that is supposed to mean is that Koffi is to stay inside the police cell until Monday, when he is to be presented before a Magistrate to face whatever charges the police have slapped him with. The other girls on the table cheer. As for me, I am taken back to December 2004. It is the first time I ever saw a man beat up a woman with my own two eyes. I had just cleared KCPE and so my mother thought it would be a great idea for me to decompress. I ended up at her sister’s place in Westlands. Then one evening, my cousin and I came back home from playing to a heated argument between my aunt and her husband, and immediately he saw this he began crying. I did not know what to do, because never in my entire existence did I ever witness my dad raise his voice to my mum. Maybe he did, but not in my presence. And here we were, watching my uncle and aunt exchange words, listening to this man call my mother’s sister names that, even now, I cannot call anyone when drunk, leave alone my girlfriend.  And when words failed, his fists began to send the message he thought was not getting across. My cousin ran inside to the bedroom and slid under the bed. I stood, watching helplessly, as this man threw my aunt to the ground and then stomped on her with the same vivacity that Pentecostals stomp the ground with when admonishing the Devil. I made for the door, opened it, and just as I wanted to leave, my aunt yelled at me, “GEORGE, CLOSE THAT DOOR! Where do you think you are going at this time?” In hindsight, I think she did not want me to get help; that would be, in Luo speak, undressing her naked in front of her peers. The following day, we took the next Akamba bus back to Kisumu. We spent that Christmas with my aunt and cousin, but still, when the year turned, she went back to her husband. Unlike the white woman on the dance floor, she had allowed her man to do whatever he wanted with her. The beatings never stopped. They never do. Presently, as the women on the table high-five in celebration, I rush to Twitter and Facebook. And let me tell you guys, there is no better time to cull your friend list than when something like this happens. Stupidity never fails to raises its ugly head. And so in a spate of fury, many users were online talking about how we were blowing this little thing out of proportion. Beating someone (and not just women) is not a little thing. Mistreating someone whose career depends on you is not a little thing. It is bullying. That is why I said at the beginning that violence has become such an everyday thing. It is now ‘one of those things’ that you do and say “Ooops I did it again, my bad,” and expect people to forgive just like that. More so when it comes from such a public figure in whose music many other people revel, a person who has as huge an influence as Koffi, committing acts of violence has a higher impact, not just to the dignity of the victim, but the decency of the society in general. Why? Because people are paying attention. You can’t just brush Koffi’s violence with broad stroked oversimplifications and excuse it as a peccadillo that shouldn’t get our knickers in a twist. It should get our knickers in a twist. It should hurt. It should squeeze our nuts until we understand that we are talking about savage cruelty and not a fart. Then there are the ones who hurt you because you expected better. You see them write things like “I do not support violence against women but….” It is always after the BUT that everything crashes and burns, because I cannot imagine anything that can qualify a sentence that begins with I do not support violence against women.  What? That they deserved it? That they had it coming? The most annoying were the people who took this opportunity to remind those who were celebrating the arrest of Koffi Olomide, that we Kenyans are hypocrites. Simply because Kidero and the likes got away with similar wrongs. You know what? I remember people went crazy online in the case of Kidero, as well as Sonko, only that with these two, politics came into play. All of a sudden, the assault case turned into a fight about the never peaceful politics of Nairobi, and the scramble for the county cake. But still, there was a harsh outcry, and simply because these guys may have forgotten, does not mean that it did not happen. It is only that these naysayers needed another act of violence to be committed for them to remember a previous one, just so that they could use this unpunished injustice to justify a future injustice. It is true that the fight against domestic violence is far from over. It is true that people like Kidero, Sonko, Wetangula’s wife, and many others have somehow managed to get away with it, but that does not mean that Koffi should get away with it too. That does not mean that we cannot celebrate a little victory like this one. Koffi Olomide being arrested and deported is just but a small battle victory in a war that began long before Achieng Abura and Suzzanna Owiyo were nothing more than naughty ideas in their father’s heads. Even the struggle for Kenya’s independence did not happen by sleight of hand. Our grandparents did not just wake up one day, go out to fight, and by evening, were already free. It was a series of small battles. Both in the political scene and in the bushes of the Aberdare forest. And that is exactly what the fight against domestic and gender based violence is. A long fight. In some cases, we lose and lick our wounds, and in some cases we win and celebrate to keep the spirit alive. Of course it would be foolish for us to imagine that now that Koffi has been deported from Kenya for assault, then the coast is clear…and quite honestly, with all due respect, we do not need anyone to remind us of that. We already know. It is sad that many right-thinking people still support a man who is nothing more than a vile, unapologetic, but unfortunately talented, suit. The apology video that he had earlier put on his Facebook Page to show solidarity between him and Pamela, no longer exists. Clearly those were mere empty words. Cheap talk. He only said them in a futile attempt to save his show, because the first step in disaster management is damage control, and that is what that ‘apology’ was. Damage control. Currently, it seems like Kenya’s love affair with Koffi Olomide has passed its sell-by date. The love is gone and there is not even a warm spot where it used to sit. After Koffi’s Visa was cancelled, what remains on Mopao’s Facebook Page is this impersonal parting shot to Nairobi; Of course, judging a man so harshly opens one up for interrogation. Am I perfect? No. Nobody is. The perfect ones, just like the beautiful ones, are not yet born. But that does not mean I cannot call bullshit when it starts to stink. * I had not expected to start thinking about all this when I came for Salsa Night with my friends. I came here to let loose. The winds of winter had brought with them a gift for me; a cold that clogged my nostrils and made me feel like I was carrying around a bag of cement on my chest. So I simply wanted to nurse my cold with Dawa, enjoy the company of friends, watch to Big Mac hold his golden trumpet like a long lost lover he has just been reunited with, as he kissed her and made her cry. I wanted to watch people dance exotic dances, and feel jealous. I simply wanted to be. But then my plans went awry, for a short spell, just as the best laid plans of mice and men are often known to. Mackinlay Mutsembi (aka BIG MAC) live in concert 517Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)517Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window) #DeportKoffiOlomide Antoine Christophe Agbepa Mumba Artcaffe Restaurant Danger de Mort Deport Koffi Olomide Effrakata King of Lingala Koffi Olomide Koroga Festival Le Grand Patron Loi Mopao Mopao Mokonzi Rambo du Congo Salsa Night Selfie The Oval