BY Juma Hemedi

Of all the ninjas we were with in primary school, Chos was the "ninjaest" of them all. He had the ability to convince you to follow him into the valley of mischief and get you out of it in one piece.

Chos lived near the place where 'Kaengo', Ntoiti, and 'Aron' used to sell the twigs from the slopes of Nyambene around the hills that sorround Maua town. These twigs had their names that included 'giza asili', kangeta, and 'Alele'. All these were names given to 'miraa twigs' to separate them from each other and give them class. "Giza" were short miraa twigs that would be packed in about eight and ten small bunches and then rolled into one big bunch reffered as "kilo".

Kangeta twigs were a bit longer, they were given that name because of the place they were grown, a small stop over town on your way to Maua town, called Kangeta. Kangeta was a bit more classy and more expensive than 'giza'. It belonged to the people with class and money. 'Alele was the most classy and most expensive. Anyone chewing' Alele' miraa had to be given his respect. Some high class hotels in Nairobi and Thika had designated places where this category of people would sit undisturbed and chew away their twigs as they engage in conversations. If only all these conversations and ideas that were being generated during these chewing sessions were fully implemented, then Kenya would have achieved the vision 2030 before we even knew what the vision was about.

The family of Chos owned a 'hotel' called Biafra Super Cafe. Located near 'Ngabu Hotel' along the walls of Bible fellowship church. You should know that during those days TVs were scarce commodities especially in the Ghettos where we grew up. The entrepreneur spirit of chos and the family had helped solve a very big gap of providing a hall, seats and a 21 inch colored TV and a 'Video' (VHS) for showing movies at a fee of five shillings.

Reuben or 'Rube' was the no nonsense guy tasked with ensuring the operation of the video place was conducted in order. Reuben had made his name as a mechanic near Jamhuri Primary School. He was the only guy who had engraved a lion tattoo on his arm. Rumour had it that he did it himself. He was also rumoured to be a 'black-belt' karate thing and that he had once beaten three guys himself and broke some few bones in their bodies. Those guys had refused to pay for mechanical services rendered and had instead 'talked bad'. He also watched a lot of karate movies and would sometimes confuse himself for a movie star. He walked like the guys in the movies, talked like them and even wear their attitude at times.

Reuben was the only guy who would interpret Indian movies to us. We all believed he not only knew 'Kihindi' but also understood it and had spent some time in the land of Mahatma Ghandhi. So when the movie called 'Ajooba' was released featuring 'Amitabh Bachchan, Reuben would even translate the songs in the movie.' Ajooba was the Indian version of the movie "mask of Zoro" that had this outlaw character saving guys from tyrants and overzealous rulers and oppressors.

Anyway compulsory morning and evening tuition had been introduced when we were in class seven before we repeated. So since obviously we did not want to remain in class people had made a habit of jumping over the school wall into the 'chochoro' that would lead to U-Shop and would disappear into Majengo. Some enemy of development also known as 'kamati ya roho chafu' had alerted Mr. Kabuka, the toughest headmaster this part of the country. He decided to lay trap.

Chos came and told me "twende home" (lets go home) that meant we skip the evening preps. Some other fellows heard that too and followed chos and I in disappearing into Majengo, but chos wanted us to go to his home, where we found his mum. She had prepared some nice tea and 'mkate na blue band'. When we were through with eating Chos suggested we go back to school since the mum was around we couldn't stay there.

We were just on time to be back in class since Mr. Kabuka came a few minutes later and took the names of those who were in class. The following morning he came and said that "if you know you were not in class yesterday evening, come forward before I call out your name". The names of those that were in class were read out loud and you should have seen the shock on the faces of the other 'ninjas' who had followed Chos the previous day in going home.

The beating they received that morning did not pain them as much as the question of how Chos and I were not part of those receiving the beating. Chos the ninja had saved the day. Or was it the 'mkate blueband' that had brought us back to our senses?

Juma Hemedi

Police in Thika on Tuesday afternoon arrested three women for subjecting four young girls to female genital mutilation (FGM).

The girls, aged between 9 and 12 years, were rescued from a house in Majengo estate where they have been holed up since last Friday after undergoing the outlawed cultural practice.

Thika West Sub-County Police Commander Beatrice Kiraguri said they raided the home after some tip off from the members of public.

“Today, we got information that there were some small girls who had undergone FGM and upon raiding this house, we busted the women among them two mothers of the girls and a grandmother to one of them. We understand that the circumcision was administered on Friday by a woman from Kiandutu who we are now pursuing,” explained Kiraguri.

She added that they were still looking for the parents of the other two girls and would take action once they were apprehended.

Biashara Location Chief Simon Kamau thanked the residents for relaying the information that led to the arrest.

He warned those still stuck in the outdated practice that the law will soon catch up with them.

The women were detained at Thika Police Station as the girls to were taken to Thika Level 5 Hospital for medical examination and care.

The arrest comes just hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta warned of his personal commitment and that of the Government of Kenya to providing the leadership necessary to ensure that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) ended within this generation.

“I am referring to the 4 million girls who, every year, have to endure the painful and traumatic effects of Female Genital Mutilation. I would like to restate my personal commitment and that of the Government of Kenya to providing the leadership necessary to ensure that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) ends within this generation,” said President Kenyatta.

The president was speaking during the official opening of the International Conference on Population and Development, at KICC, Nairobi.

He challenged the world leaders to, at a minimum, commit to eliminate FGM which remains one of the most serious violations of human rights of women and girls.

“Last week, we signed an agreement with religious and cultural elders to eliminate FGM by 2022,” he said.

Thika Town Constituency on Friday night made history for being the first National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) Committee in Kenya to win an award for best financial reporting at the 18th edition of Financial Reporting (FiRe) Awards 2019 that was held at the Carnivore Restaurant in Nairobi.

The NG-CDF committee won the award based on their 2018-2019 Fiscal Year audited reports. They were the only constituency that was recognised in the fete out of the 290 across the country.

While speaking to the press after the awards ceremony, Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina attributed the success to his resolve to delink politics from service delivery adding that his team would dedicate this recognition and achievement by offering more services to his constituents.

“I am really excited! Beating all the 290 constituencies was a very pleasant surprise that had not crossed my mind. However, it all boils down to service leadership that has been our clarion call since we assumed office. In Thika, we say ‘Hapa Kazi Tu’. I promise my constituents to wait for greater times ahead. There is no turning back,” said an elated Wainaina.

He congratulated his CDF committee for their dedication to serve and wished that their predecessors did a similar job.

“Our 2018-19 CDF allocation only had Sh. 45 million set aside for development but the amount of work this team has done with it is enormous. How I wish our predecessors did the same. Thika Town would have made very big strides in development,” he noted.

CDF Chairman Huruko Njau thanked the MP for his hands on approach to issues and also allowing his committee to work independently without political interference which allowed them to optimise their service delivery.

“Our success has been driven by the belief that service to humanity is service to God. We also believe that God has given us this as an opportunity to serve Him and not one to dip our hands into public coffers. Stealing from the public will only bring a curse upon you and your generations,” explained Huruko.

His sentiments were echoed by the Fund Manager Joan Jebet Koech who challenged fellow youth to strive to do the best in whatever field they were, discouraging them from seeking quick fixes to issues.

“It’s all about commitment and believing in oneself. Seeking shortcuts to success will only bring you disaster as this kind of achievements never last.

NG-CDF Board Chairman Robert Masese congratulated the Thika team for this achievement and challenged other constituencies across the country to follow suit.

“The FiRe Awards recognise the best in financial reporting and record keeping. This eventually boils down to better services to the public,” said Masese.

The same was said by the Ag. NG-CDF Board CEO Yusuf Buno who acknowledged the enormous work that Thika Town Constituency had done with the amount they received in the just concluded fiscal year.

The FiRe Awards 2019 brought together more than a 100 participants from across East Africa, drawn from both private and public entities.

Permanent Secretary Treasury and National Planning Dr. Julius Muia was the chief guest in this year’s event.

Leaders present included Governors Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua)and Kibutha Kibwana (Makueni), State House Comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua and other distinguished leaders in drawn from Public-Sector Accounting Standards Board-Kenya (PSASB), the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK), and the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).

Financial Reporting (FiRe) Award was launched on 15th November 2002 promoted by ICPAK, CMA and NSE. 

It is the most prestigious and coveted Award in East Africa for financial reporting, usually presented annually during a gala evening by the joint promoters; the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) Kenya, the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK), the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and the Public-Sector Accounting Standards Board-Kenya (PSASB).

Pongezi Bernard Okoth for Kibra.

Congrats Mariga, Team Jubilee and supporters for daring the so called 'bedroom', braving the chaos/violence, to double our vote from 12% (2017) to 26% now.

Our competitors came down from 78% (2017) to 52%. They retained the seat, we have served notice.
Kibra you are amazing! In spite of questionable reinforcements, the con-handshake candidate narrative, the violence/ intimidation, you went past the gate, the door and voted Jubilee a third of 'bedroom'.

You have changed the politics of, not just Kibra but Kenya. We are indebted.

Thank you all our leaders and members for standing firm with Mariga our JUBILEE candidate. We have demonstrated unprecedented resolve in the face of many odds to proudly double our % presence in territory otherwise considered no-go & shaming those who betrayed our leader & party.

A file photo of used cellphones
A security raid on Thursday afternoon netted three suspects believed to be part of a syndicate involved in the sale of stolen phones within Thika town.

Led by Municipality Assistant County Commissioner (ACC) Lazarus Obuar, the area chiefs and their assistants recovered 110 phones from a business stall next Thika Main Bus terminus, all believed to have been stolen within the CBD area.

This followed tip offs from members of the area security policing following public outcry due to the influx of muggings and picks pocketing within the CBD.

“We believe all these stolen phones. The stall owner has no record to authenticate any of them. I urge anyone who has lost their phones to kindly come forward and check if it is among those we found at the stall,” said Obuar.

The ACC also warned anyone who has bought phones or electronic gadgets from unauthorised dealers to also make a point of checking with them as such phones might have been involved in serious crimes before they were sold to them.

“If you know that you bought a second-hand phone anywhere around the (Thika) main stage which you suspect might not be from a genuine dealer, kindly come report to us as the phone might have been gotten after someone committing a serious crime thus landing you into problems with the law,” he warned.

According to Obuar, the stall was disguised as a phone repair and sales shop but the owner dealt with the sale phone stolen around town. The other two suspects are said to be brokers who collected the phones from the thieves and handed them over to the first suspect at a fee.

Thika location chief Samuel Kamau said that once the phone reached the said stall, the owner “flushed” or reprogrammed it to erase all data from their previous owners.

“Once the phone memory is completely wiped out, they then sell it to unsuspecting customers who used it as though it was new,” he explained.

Of late, there has been so many cases of muggings and pick pocketing within Thika town where so many people have lost their valuables and documents. The most notorious areas include the main bus terminus, Whiteline matatu terminus and along Commercial Street especially between Kihanya Building and the Thika Stadium wall when there is too much human traffic caused by the hawkers who sell during the evening.

There are also cases of muggings along Kenyatta Highway from Thika Arcade all the way to U-Shop area.

The residents we spoke to blame these cases of insecurity to laxity among the police officers especially those on patrol, saying that majority of the cases happened even when the police patrolled the area.

“These people work with some of these policemen and even if they are arrested, you just find them back here within a short time. The patrols do not help much. Most of these suspects are well known to the police,” lamented one resident.

BY: Juma Hemedi

I want to start by making a disclaimer, that I do not have political hair on my chest. Just like many of my kind I make observations and try to make sense of the political environment I exist in. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way. I watched Hon. Moses Kuria the member of National Assembly for Gatundu south making some public apology on behalf of Parliament for what he termed as "errors of omission".

The honourable member did not just stop there, he also said that he is a Roman Catholic and he was making a "confession". He said that parliament has been lying to Kenyans that things are rosy while indeed they are not, that the Kenyan books of accounts are cooked and falsified and that they have collectively committed treason on this country for the last seven years. Treason in our criminal justice system is a capital offence. What essentially the Honourable member was saying is that parliament has committed a crime as an institution and the members are equally and individually guilty and therefore the precincts of parliament should be cordoned off as a Crime scene.

Hon. Moses Kuria also told us that our trusted treasurer at the treasury has been taking commercial instead of concessional loans, short term instead of long-term loans and that these bad economic and planning decisions have brought the country to a standstill and made the lives of Ordinary Kenyans very difficult. Hon. Moses Kuria who shares a name with Prophet Moses of the Bible who led the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt into the promised land is a man who speaks his mind. The only problem was the people he was speaking to. Kenyans.

It is documented in the book of Exodus that at some point the children of Israel started questioning Moses of the Bible and wondered whether the God and the land he had told them about really existed. This had angered Moses to a point of breaking the tablets with the Ten commandments and he drew a line and asked those who believe in him stand on one side on the line and the others on the other side (you know the rest of the story) . But they had made a choice of following Moses.

The choices we make as Kenyans every five years determine and dictates the kind of life we will live for, not only the next five years but also the environment for which our children and the future generations will live. I have no idea what happens at the ballot and how we end up not soberly interrogating the people we elect. To paraphrase Prof PLO Lumumba who said "when given a choice between someone with ideas and someone without ideas, its amazing how Kenyans will robotically choose the fellow without ideas and expect something better from him"."we buy a tuktuk and expect it to perform like a Mercedes".

Every five years we are given the opportunity to rewrite our wrongs and choose individuals who we will hold up against the dreams of our fore fathers and the hopes of our future generations. Every five years we collectively commit crimes of both omissions and commissions. Hon. Moses Kuria is only saying what everyone knows.

Granted, Parliament has not lived up to its highest ideals, it has been dogged with issues ranging from sugar report scandals, maize scandals that stars from here to beyond the Namib dessert. County assemblies have not been better either these county assemblies are filled with a number of individuals who cant read and comprehend notices of motions, bills, and policies. There are individuals who cannot even speak in English. The most interesting part is that these individuals were elected or appointed by people who are well educated and learned.

How should we expect these individuals to know what their role is? How do we expect the assemblies both National and county to oversight the executive while still applying for tenders and getting other favours from the same executive? How do we expect them to perform the role or representation and legislation while they cant even read or speak in the languages that those roles require of them?

I have argued before that what we need in these houses are individuals elected independently without party Euphoria. Because Moses Kuria has confirmed to us that they have committed these crimes of omissions because they belong to the ruling party and what the party wants the party will get and if you disagree you will be shown the door (read Aisha Jumwa and ODM).

"We go into the elections having been so empowered, we elect individuals based on their tribal affiliation, depth of their pockets and party affiliations. When they mess the country we come back again and say they are bad, but they are ours" PLO concludes and asks a question, "should we even be allowed to vote?

The country is at a cross road, the people's hopes are diminishing, our economy is in a crisis, our healthcare system is wanting. We have an agriculture that needs to be brought back on track and a global warming and climate change challenges that we need to addressed. We have a young generation who are about to move from "infinite potential to definite disaster'. This things cannot wait for the coming of Christ, they need to be fixed. We need our president to borrow the economic Advisers of the retired President Mwai Kibaki. There is no harm in substituting a player who doesn't seem to add value in the team.

I agree with Moses Kuria that parliament has failed but I also want to add that as a people we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of our country, our fore fathers and our children. But now we need to rise up and save the future generations. Is there a Moses of the Bible among us to lead us into the promised land? Can you stand and be counted?

Juma Hemedi

The recent mass sacking of staff at one of the country’s leading media houses is warning shot to every employee who is in employment. It is some wake up call that anything can happen and nothing is permanent.

One of the worst things that can happen from a career perspective is to lose your job. Losing a job often is a traumatic experience. That’s especially true when it’s unexpected and not your fault.

It’s normal to feel angry, hurt, or depressed, grieve for all that you’ve lost, or feel anxious about what the future holds. Job loss and unemployment involves a lot of change all at once, which can rock your sense of purpose and self-esteem.

Sacking employees is becoming very common but dealing with the stigma can be difficult. But while in employment, it is good to always be prepared for a sack. Being fired is one of the facts of working life, and it can happen to any of us.

While the stress can seem overwhelming, there are many things you can do to take control of the situation, maintain your spirits, and come out of this difficult period stronger, more resilient, and with a renewed sense of purpose.

Losing your job doesn't mean you aren't valuable. No matter how devastating it might be, there is always some hope. Just as Helen Keller said, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”

With time and the right coping techniques, one can come to terms with these setbacks, ease your stress and anxiety, and move on with your career or change career altogether.

In the immediate aftermath of getting your walking papers, do the following:
• Acknowledge that you are in a very stressful situation and your feelings are entirely a normal reaction to it. It is very normal to be upset or angry. Otherwise, never vent out towards your immediate boss or coworkers.
• Take a short break to evaluate your situation. You don't have to start looking for a new job the day after you get fired but do not wallow in self-pity for very long.
• Try to figure out what happened so you can learn from this experience. It is easy to blame others, but it is essential to own your own mistakes. If you don't, it won't be possible to make the necessary changes to keep it from happening again.

Take control

You might be tempted to act on denial, convincing yourself that everything’s fine and not adjusting your lifestyle – ignoring the fact that budgeting and job searching should be your top priorities.

Being proactive allows you to use your unemployment time wisely – whether it’s through training, volunteering, freelancing, or interning. This is a very opportune time to realise what you really want to do and to gain the skills needed to pursue it.

Assess and re-organise your finances

However, this is the time to assess your finances. Learning to organise them effectively is key if you want to make your money last. Don’t deplete your savings or increase your debt. Devise a budget that allows you to cut down on your expenses as much as you can.

With your money taken care of (even if only temporarily), you will have more time and energy to focus on picking yourself up and finding a new job. Get rid of inessential expenses, reduce costs by limiting unnecessary purchases and find ways to tone down your bills.

Stay positive

As hard as it may seem, you have to stay positive and focus on learning, growing and making goals for the future.

If you find yourself struggling to find a routine, make job searching your job. Make a set time to start and finish every day, and set yourself goals to reach – whether it’s to apply for at least two jobs, or just to refresh your CV.

Reach out to others to stay strong

Social contact is nature’s antidote to stress. Nothing works better at calming your nervous system than talking face to face with a good listener.

Though you may be tempted to keep your status a secret, friends and family can’t begin to help if they’re not aware. Letting people know you are available for new opportunities is the first step in getting your job search off the ground.

If you find yourself alone and struggling, you can join a support group. Meeting new people with common interests or other job seekers can be invaluable sources of encouragement, support, and job leads. Being around others facing similar challenges can help energise and motivate you during your job search.

You can also talk to a professional who will provide comfort and encouragement and also help you reign in those negative emotions.

Invest in your personal development

If enrolling in a class or two will make you more marketable and you can afford it, go for it. This way, you can boost your self-esteem and it might end up being your positive outlet.

Create a competitive resume highlighting the skills that are most in demand in your field. Let people in your professional network know what has happened and don't be ashamed to ask for job leads. Review your job interviewing skills and make sure you have appropriate attire available.

Reevaluate your career choice

Losing your job provides the perfect opportunity to reevaluate your career choice and determine whether a change is in order.

One thing to consider is whether you enjoyed what you were doing. Another is the health of your field.
If you feel that you would be happier or have more stability in another occupation, make sure to do your homework first. There are a variety of tools to help with career exploration, including several that provide labour market information.

Do a thorough self-assessment to learn about your interests, work-related values, personality type, and aptitudes then find suitable occupations based on this information. You may need professional help to do this.

Consider Starting Your Own Business

Do you have a marketable skill that can translate into a profitable business? Sometimes losing a job comes at just the right time. If you have ever thought about starting your own business, this is a good time to give it serious consideration

BY: Juma Hemedi

The announcement was made, that we shall be going to the ACK Church for prayers and reflection as we prepared to get our minds ready for the task ahead. A task of studying hard and passing KCPE with "flying colours" (who came up with this statement? The only colours I have ever seen that seemed to pass was the rainbow during the rainy season).

Earlier than that our parents had been called to school to be briefed on what it takes for their children to succeed, and that they should allow us time and space for us to study. We were under pressure to outperform the class eight of the previous year. They had been ranked position three in the district ranking and so many Thika Muslim students had been called to Top ranked high schools, in Nyeri, Kiambu, Nakuru and Nairobi. We had students admitted in Alliance, Starehe boys, Mary hill, Mangu, among others. The tactics of Mr. Kabuka had magical effects and now even Ghetto children were attending top schools and outperforming themselves.

"To be a winner you must be disciplined"
"To be a winner you must be Focused"
"To be a winner you must be Confident"

The authoritative voice of the speaker at the ACK church near Munene Industries continued to drive information in our heads. The man spoke confidently and made us begin to imagine what those words meant.

As he continued speaking my mind drifted to a few months earlier when Mr. Kabuka had combined the class 8Y and 8X and told us that he had dreamt the previous night and wanted to share the dream with us. Okay I must say that all of us looked at each other wondering what kind of dream the headmaster could have had.

You see we also used to dream, most of our dreams were action oriented and featured 'Bud Spencer and Terence hill" the cowboy movies actors of our years as we watched "watoto Kaa chini" at St. Patricks Primary School before the venue moved to "Buutu" (Starehe grounds). If it was not bud Spencer in our dreams it was "Bolo Yeng" the karate guy who once stopped a bullet with his teeth.

We rode horses in our dreams and had cowboy hats as we shot the bad guys and used our "Fist of Fury" and "Tiger Claws" to pull out the heart of the bad guys out of their chest as it continue to beat.

The bad guy would then look at his heart in our hand and make a speech and say some few words to the effect that he has decided to die.

Now what could Mr. Kabukas'dream be about? We silently wondered.

"I had a dream last night" he started. "How many of you want to know what the dream was about?”

For fear of being left behind we all robotically raised our hands and wore our interested and curious faces. A piece of chalk was thrown by the headmaster and landed on Ndungus' face. He quickly opened his eyes he was apparently sleeping. Ndungu was the only guy I knew who would sleep with his eyes open while sitting upright, how he used to do that still remains a wonder to me. Someone needs to study this aspect of human beings.

"I saw in my dream buses that had come to pick students for their destinations," The headmaster continued.

“These buses were to various schools. I saw a bus written Starehe Boys, Mang'u High, Thika High, Alliance high. I saw a bus written Tumutumu Girls, Kahuhia Girls, Loreto Girls. These buses have come to pick students from Thika Muslim. How many of you will be boarding these busses?” He asked.

We all had our hands up.

Then he continued. "But then something sad happened in the dream and I saw faces I could not recognise crying, all buses had picked their passengers and left and these students hadn't been picked. They had not achieved the required marks to board the buses".

"Then I asked myself,  how can we help these students? And I have the answer. We will help each other to work hard and make sure we all board the buses and no one is left behind,” he concluded.

It was the first time we were asked to form study groups. The groups were to help each other in the areas we were weak in.

My group had Lawrence Ochieng, Joel Maina, Benjamin Mungai, Moses Muia, David Kisiaky, Odhiambo and Joseph Kioko.

Kisiaky and kioko were our mathematics guys. Joel and Ochieng were our science guys, Moses, Ochieng, Benjamin Mungai and myself were the languages, arts, business, history and Geography gurus.

The study group would meet daily at 5am Sharp. Most of us would be in class by 4:45am, to study before the other guys come from 6:30am. We would then continue with our group studies from 4pm till 7pm and on Saturdays too. The countdown to KCPE had begun and we had the numbers at the corner of the blackboard to remind us (300 Days to KCPE etc).

"To win you must be decided that you want to win"
"To win you must first win over your mind"

The authoritative and confidence filled voice of the speaker, disrupted my thoughts as I shifted my eyes from the ceiling, a nicely dressed guy wearing a Chinese collar shirt whispered something to the reverend. The reverend nodded and a few minutes later he led the prayers and wished us well in the exams. We were ready to face what KCPE had in store for us.

We were busy that week with "mucaca" sand paper as we cleaned our desks and remove any markings and receiving the success cards with formulas of success. Some read "hard work + determination + Confidence Minus panic = SUCCESS.

Our index numbers were to be visible on the desk and I carefully drew mine .....026.

The police had been deployed to guard us and the exams (we were not sure what they guarded most. Us or the exams). We received briefing during the rehearsal and it was three days of exams that would define which busses we would be boarding as seen in Mr. Kabukas dream.

Zimbo suggested that we treat ourselves to chips at "Kwa Ngishu" that Thursday evening, but the tension for our results had just begun.

It was almost three months of waiting for the results. I returned the cardboard that I had been given by Abdikadir Bashir who had done his KCPE the previous year and had joined Chania High school. He was also my next plot neighbour and friend. The family owned Bismillahi hotel near the mosque.

Juma Hemedi

.... The waiting and the life as a mono...

A family in Mwea Village, Gatundu North Constituency could not hide their joy when they welcomed back their 76-year old father who vanished from home for 35 years ago.

Mzee Lawrence Njuguna left home in 1986 for Kajiado where he eked a living as a charcoal trader. When things did not work out well, he crossed over to neighbouring Tanzania where he sold sand for construction for over 10 years.

His departure to Tanzania led to a complete breakdown in communication between him and the family, leaving them in limbo for the next 35 years.

Lawrence explained how life turned against him, leading a life of abject poverty to a point that he couldn’t even afford his fare back home.

He also attributes part of the reason why he never communicated with them was the fact that he did not have any of their contacts.

Lawrence returned home empty-handed to find grownup kids and several grandchildren.

His wife Mary Nyathira could not hide her joy despite all what she had gone through for all those years, leaving Samuel Irungu, their first-born son, with the responsibility of the head of the family and looking after his four younger siblings.


After successfully pulling a "gangster" surprise on the ghetto people and taking his bicycle, the parent who was given the bunch of keys by the headmaster had no option other than leave the keys with the secretary who also acted as the official "maziwa ya nyayo" distributor to the school. We also called her "tata wa ìria". The woman had the memory of an elephant and would never forget the faces of rascals like us who would hide their milk behind the class and then come back to say that they had not gotten. She would fish you out of the line and frogmarched you holding you by the ear in a manner to suggest that she was not afraid of detaching it from your head full of porridge instead of brains.

Enock was the inventor of that habit. He lived in Bulleys Tanneries and had his brother and sister who was also in the same school. It was easy to identify him as he always had the "mpararo" face and big eyes that were always red. One day Allan saw Enock hiding his packet of "maziwa ya nyayo" behind the class in order to go and get an extra packet. He took the packet, made a very precise hole, drank it and filled the packet with water. What transpired later is a story for another day which included Enock crying and saying he will know who took his milk and make him diarrhoea. But that was the last time he ever hid his milk behind the class.

So after Mr. Kabuka saw the kind of commotion the "maziwa ya nyayo" had caused, he directed that the number of pupils in each class be taken and the exact packets of milk taken to each class by the class prefects and their class teachers. You might be wondering why the milk was that important? For starters it meant that we would have "chai ya maziwa" (tea with milk) at home.  But of importance was the fact that at U-shop centre there were two very important shops.

One was for Abdalla "Mwarabu" he sold "kashatas", ukwaju (mukwaju) or tarmarine, "shungutu", mabuyu, biscuits and mahamri among other things that we loved to eat and the milk always went well with the "kashatas". The other shop belonged to "Ngishu" and we called it "Kwa Ngishu" he had the best Chips this side of the compass and for two or five shillings you had all the chips you needed and you would wash them down with the packet of 'maziwa ya nyayo'.

Mr. Kabuka in an address to the school during one of the school parade announced that the school parade would only be on Mondays and Fridays. And that he would be visiting the classes of especially class six, seven and eight to ascertain whether the students in those classes are qualified to be in those classes. And whether the teachers were teaching.

He also declared that the corridor that had classes six, seven and eight will be called the "red sea" and crossing the "red sea" to the next class meant that you have qualified for that class in terms of discipline and marks. He also banned talking to teachers and himself with your hands in your pockets or hanging on your sides. You must have them at the back and your shirt properly buttoned and tacked. As usual Enock had a problem with tacked shirt it didn't help either when in the heat of panic he would look at the headmaster with his big red eyes.

To show his seriousness, the headmaster would enter your class and surprise you with a question even if you had a teacher in class.

"What is seven times eight? Woe unto you if you didn't know the answer because that meant you would swim through the "red sea" backwards to the previous class. His methods however made us improve on mathematics and overall performance. Thika Muslim Primary School moved from second or third last position into the top five in zonal and district ranking. We were singing the mathematical tables like the song of "naskia sauti,.. Naskia sauti.... Sauti ya mamaa" (you get the rhythm)

Some students in class eight found themselves in class seven and those in class seven found themselves in class six and so on. Those that couldn't stand the heat transferred to other schools other than Thika primary. Thika primary had a no nonsense headmaster by the name of Mr. Gakumo (I think he was Mr. Kabukas twin brother).

"This barbaric behaviour is going to end in this school" Mr. Kabuka announced one day at the parade.
"Thika Muslim is going to be an academy and must produce boys and girls who can be accepted in the best high schools in Kenya and help make the society a better place. If you think you are not up to the task whether you are a teacher or student, you can come to my office and I will gladly give you a transfer".

I was in class seven when he directed that the marks to enable us cross the "red sea" into class eight was 425 out of 700. Yours truly scored 424 in the third term of class seven exam. Your guess is right. I saw class eight "kwa 'viusasa". I went to his office to try and negotiate a re-mark of my papers we look for that "one mark". He answered that unless I was the one setting the school rules, I had no business in his office and I should be in class seven and not class eight.

My mother did not help either when I suggested that she can transfer me. The "eye" she gave me spoke more than the words she could have uttered. My friends that's how I repeated class seven. But it was the beginning of our very good friendship with Mr Kabuka and I can trace my serious leadership lessons from him.

Juma Hemedi

PART 3 LOADING..... (preparing for KCPE)

BY: Juma Hemedi

Of all the teachers and headmasters to have walked the earth this side of the Sahara and neighboring Chania river in our primary school days, Mr Jamlick Kabuka was the one with the most impact on our Ghetto lives. He was the only one who was never intimidated by our "ghettoness" or the "high gangster index" of the Majengo, Starehe, and Kiandutu parents and residents.

Now if you don't know who Mr Kabuka was or is let me take you through the journey of my primary school. The school is sandwiched between U-shop and borders what used to be "Maendeleo" bar (whoever named this bar should be arrested for misuse of a good name). The other side is the Thika mosque. It borders Thika Primary and St. Patricks. The three schools were surrounded by chang'aa dens, bars, and estates that were unforgiving.

Our journey with Mr. Kabuka began when I was in class five, in a school that had no 'serious official uniform' any thing was okay as long as you didn't come naked to school. Shoes were optional as our parents would always argue whether we will eat or wear shoes. So we would wear "ngoome" (shoes made from worn out tyres) these shoes were made by none other than "Nyoka" (a cobbler whose real name I have never known to date, and who still repairs shoes to date opposite my former primary school)

Nyoka was the guy who would draw your foot on a piece of paper or carton to get your foot size and would get into the designing of the "ngoome" shoe like an architect would. Nyoka was the surveyor, mapping guy, designer, engineer and interior decorator. At times he would just look at your foot and decide which size would fit you. The shoes didn't have numbers on them. You just had to try all. If it didn't fit, Nyoka would pull out some shoe hammer and some pliers and screw driver. With these tools you would mistake Nyoka for a mechanic but this guy was the best "ngoome" maker in Jamhuri market.

Nyokas' shop was located near tobacco sellers (mbake") and something some old men used to smoke called "njiiri" (this was the rejected tobacco leaves that would be left after making all types of cigarettes including 'Roster') . So waiting for Nyoka to finish making your shoe or take your size was an exercise that tested your resilience in withstanding sneezing or how many times you would sneeze because of the tobacco ("mbaki").

But Nyoka continued with his work oblivious of the smell it was almost like he was immune to it. He would occasionally let out a luo religious hymm and one could not help but look at his white "Israeli cap" on his head with a long red cross. Nyoka would measure the raw materials of making the shoe the way a bomb maker would ensure all ingredients balance or else he ends up blowing himself into the next world. So he didn't want to be disturbed. Then he would get into his work as if he was about to discover the cure for Mumps "muungai".

Anyway Mr. Kabuka was transferred from Mugumoini Primary School to Thika Muslim Primary School, a school that had entrances and exits everywhere. You could come from your house on the other side of Majengo estate and cut across the playing field into the corridors of class six, staffroom and into the jamhuri market to buy "ngarango" and avocados in Jamhuri Market then use the same route back home.

So Mr Kabuka decided to close some of the many exits of the school and only maintained two, one for the students and the other one for the teachers near the staffroom. When the trespassers couldn't access their route, it was like they were denied their fundamental human right of movement. They came complaining that their access route has been blocked but the Headmaster was not moved.

So when the following day he banned the students from shouting "luuuuuunnch" when the bell for lunch rang, we decided not to comply and said "atajua hajui". We didn't know that day he would stand at our classroom door a few minutes before the bell rang. As usual we shouted "Luuunch!". Before the first person could get out he was in our class carrying all manner of torture paraphernalia. I can't remember which part of the body was not hurting that day from our behind, to the hands to the thighs, to the feet. As we received a beating of come and see. He decided to make us an example to the whole school.

But it was his decision to say that all of us had to wear "proper school uniform" plus proper school leather shoes and socks, that made our ghettos parents protest. They gathered outside his office their children in tow. And when the headmaster came riding his bicycle they waited until he had packed it and then like some uncoordinated choir started to talk. The headmaster pretended that he didn't even notice them as he opened his office and settled in his chair. We knew that today was the day for him to "lijua jiji".

A crowd of parents had now pushed their way into the office and were still speaking in an uncoordinated manner and saying that shoes are not a priority to deny their children access to classroom, we were silently celebrating as for the first time our parents were on our side and not the ones beating us. They were still talking when the headmaster stood up and made his way out through the angry parents. He looked at the one who made the most noise and handed him his bunch of keys. And told him if he wanted to run the school without discipline he can go ahead and become the headmaster. He took his bicycle and cycled out.

There was a deafening silence from the gang of parents who a few minutes earlier had made a lot of commotion. The shock on the one who was given the keys was more that his silence. As he didn't know what to do with the keys.

One by one the parents took their children to the nearby shops to get their children "proper school uniforms" including shoes and socks. It was the first day so many of us were getting to wear closed leather shoes and socks.

Mr. Kabuka had pulled a "Gangster" surprise to the Ghetto people.

Juma Hemedi

PART 2 Loading.........

File photo of a herd of cattle
Livestock farmers around Thika and environs has a reason to worry after thugs have started sedating herders to enable them to steal domestic animals that are out in the fields grazing,

A recent case in point is a farmer in Athena-Kiganjo area who last Thursday lost 11 cows and 16 goats after his herder was sedated by these crooks.

According to him, some people approached the elderly herder in the fields as he was grazing the animals and offered him some mandazis.

Immediately after consuming the snacks, the Mzee lost his memory and blacked out. The thieves took this opportunity and vanished with the entire herd, never to be seen again.

The owner knew something was amiss after the herder failed to return home and went out to look for him and the animals.

“We found him at around 8pm but he looked so confused and empty and could not recall what had happened to him. It was not until the following day that he was able to recollect the events that preceded the loss of the animals,” explained the owner.

The matter was reported at Kiganjo Police Post but up to now, they have not managed to recover the stolen animals.

Further inquest on the same revealed that this was not an isolated case as similar incidents have been reported within the vicinity and across Muthara area in Juja Constituency.

The thugs are said to be targeting herders, especially the elderly and the not so sharp thinkers and offering them some snacks or uji. Within minutes, the drug sedates the victims, eliminates free will, and even wipes the memory of its victims. It is at this time, the crooks drive the away.

These agents of the ‘Devil’s Breath’ (Scopolamine) are not only isolated in the fields as so many unsuspecting people have been victims on the streets of Thika and in clubs and entertainment joints.

In clubs, people refer to them as “watu was mchele”. Tasteless and odourless, the drug is often slipped into the drinks of unsuspecting bar patrons. Revelers go out to party, are drugged then wake up hours or a day without their belongings or their money.

Along the streets, they will disguise as "village" women pretending to be lost or at times "prophets" or even businesspersons who offer you their business cards.

Once one engages them, they blow this powder into their face and within minutes, you are under the influence and will do whatever you are commanded, including emptying your bank account, giving out your PIN Numbers etc.

It is quite difficult to apprehend the culprits as this drug completely wipes out memory; victims have no recollection of what happened.

Others will target shops, M-PESA agents, public transport operators or petrol stations posing as clients or persons seeking some loose change. Immediately the victim touches the sedated money, they lose their memory and empty their cash boxes.

This “zombie-like” state leaves the victim with no ability to control their actions, leaving them at mercy of the criminals. So many victims have told horror stories of how they were coerced into emptying their bank accounts, homes robbed and some even ending up being raped.

Scopolamine comes from the seeds of a family of plants that includes angel’s trumpets and corkwood.

The Devil's Breath is made from the seeds of the borrachero tree.
The drug has a few legitimate medical uses, such as treatment for motion sickness and for the tremors of Parkinson’s disease. Nevertheless, it’s best known for its darker properties.

So, anytime you are approached by a stranger, DO NOT GIVE THEM TOO MUCH ATTENTION.

Kenya Power is conducting a survey to determine the availability of mature raw eucalyptus trees for use in ongoing and upcoming power transmission and distribution projects.

In this regard, they are reaching out to tree farmers and plantation owners who have mature eucalyptus trees covering more than one hectare to declare the number of trees earmarked for processing into power transmission and distribution poles and the acreage covered by the trees.

The targeted species of trees are Eucalyptus Paniculata, E. Citriodora/maculata, E. microcorys, E. blobulus, E. regnans, E. saligna and/or E. grandis.

A mature eucalyptus tree shall be over 10 years old, with a diameter above 255mm (or 10 Inches) at breast height, very straight, and free from any physical defects.

Additional information required includes L.R number and the general location of the farm/plantation.
The information shall be filled on a sample form available here https://bit.ly/2WnMPM3 or at the nearest Kenya Power county offices.

This information should be submitted to the nearest Kenya Power county offices on or before 31st October, 2019 or scanned and emailed to pclangat@kplc.co.ke copy to mkirui@kplc.co.ke and smucheke@Kplc.co.ke

Curious wananchi watch as police collect the body of the suspect killed on suspicion of being part of a gang terrorising residents at night.
Angry residents of Kiganjo estate have lynched a suspect they allege is part of a gang that has been terrorising and stabbing people in the area.
This follows a spate of murders and people being stabbed between Corner 2 and Kimuchu Primary School.
The residents blame police laxity for the runaway insecurity despite the area being only a few metres away from the police post. Furthermore, this street is very well lit with enough streetlights.
One person was last night stabbed in the neck barely 24-hours after a 2TS driver was buried after he succumbed to stab wounds following a thug attack in the same area.
Of late, Kiganjo estate and its environs has experienced so many incidents of mugging and violent robberies. This has left residents fearing for their lives, especially those who walk home late from work or wake up early to report to work.
Police have collected the body of the suspect.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY my friend & boss Uhuru Kenyatta. You are a great inspiration to me,the Jubilee leadership and millions of Kenyans as the youngest of the presidents we've had. As we age, am looking forward to what we agreed to do when we retire!! Remember? UBARIKIWE MPAKA USHANGAE



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