My Kenya reflections

When I applied for another Health Journalism programme, this time based in Africa, Kenya was my first choice followed by Uganda and South Africa. I love the three countries, but Uganda in terms of Health Journalism I thought they are well covered, South Africa is a great place to visit and enjoy places like Rhodes University in Grahamstown next to Port Elizabeth. I ove Durban and its many opportunities, and I would wish to live in Cape Town. Johannesburg is too fast for me and many will agree. However my choice was Kenya, and in his great wisdom, God decided that time was not ripe for me to work in Kenya. I first visited Kenya in 1997 and was introduced to tribes that co-existed fully and indeed were an envy amidst turmoil.My first President Ngwazi Kamuzu Banda only erected one statue of a human, Kenya's first president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. In all main cities of Malawi there is a Kenyatta road. Both men carried a fyling whisk while both preferred their companions to be refered to as 'mama'. Kenya had Mama Ngina, while Malawi has Mama C. Tamanda Kadzamira. The closeness of the two men ended up with even National flags that have similar colours. Both have Black, Red and Green colours while Malawi has a rising sun, Kenya has a shield. There are many events. Kenya was the first country Malawi had to build a purposedly built chancery. We closed the offices and I do not know what happened to the buildings. I am proud to say, kwaheri, nyamachoma and so many of Swahili words that are almost similar to my Chichewa. When I was asked which country I would love to work in, Kenya beaconed me. My trip to Libya in 2000 when Brother Leader of the Great Jamahiriya sponsored Youth NGO's to disect the proposed African Union, together with a freind of mine Kepta Ombata from kenya we caused hell by rejecting documents that included final resolutions to a meeting which had not yet started. Kepta later run for a Parliamentary office after working with his Youth Agenda. I still cherish the ability to drink in a country where it is banned. But we made it. Later I have beent to Nairobi so many times, I know bars next to Tom Mboya, I have slept in Serena to anything cheaper hotels. My passport when I checked yesterday has 40 stamps, indicating that I have been to Kenya that much. Whether in transit or for business, I never miss an opportunity to get out and be dazzled by Nairobi. I have never asked my freinds if they are Kikuyu or Luo. While at Harvard School of Public Health discussing circumcision as best alternative to reducing male infections of HIV and Aids, I learnt about tribes that poke each other when one is not circumcised. Chinyeke Tembo recently wrote of his ordeal in Nairobi when all the girls could not accept a young man without a cut, while his freind met one who refused to be done by a man with a cut. I found the stories of Kenya very amusing all the time. Then came the Embassy bombings, I was angry that some terrorist decided that it was worth to sacrifice the lives of close to 300 Tanzanians and Kenyans to kill ten Americans 3,000 miles away from USA. Kenya had its own self proclaimed god Wanyonyo. I know a freind who later christened a hard core boss Wanyonyo. As late as 2006, Kenya still was producing human interest stories, miracle baby pastor, a First lady who slapped Journalists twice, later she shouted at British High Commissioner for making noise. I read Kenyan newspapers because of their best analysis on regional intergration, problems in Northern Uganda, the East African Federation, the New Constitution, General Garang of Sudan, Darfur and many other interesting stories.
In 2003 or 4, I went with Rt. Honourable Justin Malewezi to Kenya to the furneral of Late Micheal Wamalwa, who was Vice President. There I had a privilage of sitting next to South Africa's controversial politician Jacob Zuma, a free minded Deputy President who offered drinks to all of our delegation after noticing that the Government of Mwia Kibaki had forgotten my Vice president Malewezi and then Zambia's Vice President Mumba. Zuma took us to a hotel, he was wearing a black leather jacket and told jokes which we all laughed at. I had flown in a special plane frm Nairobi to Eldorate and by road to Kitale. On return, my Ambassador and PS for Vice President Dr. Magwira asked me the young man and an official from the veep to exchange seats on the plane. They gave us money to drive back to Nairobi. Learnt about the distance to Ugandan border, the food and the beers. I loved the drive through so many beautiful valleys while bufalloes, giraffes and hordes of animals grazed freely. I still recall the many speeches made at Wamalwa's funeral, Raila Odinga sitting close to Mwaki Kibaki. I learnt about Kenyan politics about Charity Ngilu a powerful woman I met at the Airport then Minister of Health. About Trade Minister, about Mudavadi, about Kalonsyo Musyoka. I read about the 'boma's' and the constitution. I attended a music concert. Today I recall that Wamalwa loved Tom and Jerry. I recall that Kibaki had a broken leg when he was worn in and people filled a stadium. Today Kibaki had a hurried ceremony at State House to swear in. Today, I thank God for not being Kenya while I email my freind like Jonah Josiah and many others, trying to find out what has happened to them. Today I cannot believe that the beauty of Kenya has been replaced by a man brandishing a machete in a face of another Kenyan. Today I dare to think that Charles Loker an old freind of mine from South Sudan who had settled down in Kenya has to move again. Where will the Somali's go. Where will the Eritrians find peace if Kenya is not peaceful. What happens to the model of regional integration through the East African Federation. What has happened to the reasoning of Kenya, that suddenly killing your political opponent will solve the crisis. I reflect my trips to Kenya and my love for Kenya with a cry:

What has entered your heart
Who has entred your mind
With a machete
With anger
My Kenya

Why kill a neighbour
Why destroy people
Where shall peace reign
If Kenya lies in ruins

Who shall save Kenya
Who shall save Africa
What shall happen to me
If Kenya disintegrates

Naivasha is a killing ground
Edolert is a blood centre
Nairobi is a refugee centre
Why Kenya why


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