LAIKIPIA’S PRE – ELECTION VIOLENCE

Image result for laikipia clashes 2017Just last month, (January 2017), the New York Times published a list of 52 must visit destinations in the world. Laikipia was number 47 worldwide and the only one in Africa to make it to this prestigious list. Borana Conservancy, being the reason why Laikipia was picked is a  hotbed and all-in-one scenic destination in and around Africa. It forms part of a 90,000-acre protected area for elephants, lions and cheetahs, among other charismatic megafauna. Game drives and lodges abound, but a spectacular new property, the five-suite Arijiju, opened in 2016 with guides who take guests on excursions, including fly fishing, trail running, horseback riding and treetop canopy tours. The region is also home to both the Samburu and the Maasai, tribes with equally colorful and fascinating cultures – According to New York Times website.

In 2016, Laikipia County was feted as the, County of the Year, Tax Compliance County and Trade Facilitation partner for the year 2015. I can confirm, this was not accidental but due to the quality of firms which have settled in Laikipia largely in Tourism sectors and Flower Industry, thereby fueling the economy of this county to new height levels including providing employment opportunities to as many as they can. It has dozens of ranches, conservancies, private firms, home to the big five, and big enough to fetch over 200 kilometer squared.

By now you appreciate the level of tourism inside Laikipia County. That said, you’ll ponder why the political class is busy crisscrossing the country mobilising all and sundry to register as voters as County number 31 is burning inside-out, since late last year. It’s prime revenue source, being Tourism, the sporadic violence is eating up its main core of survival, displacing the minority tribes and European/American settlers; while no hairs are being raised.

The worse of all is the lackluster approach with which the government in place has conducted itself. It’s saddening when the media too doesn’t tell the whole story. The country has been cheated all along that what is befalling Laikipia is scramble for resources and the biting drought. That’s part of a well-choreographed story, well-polished to lure the rest of us from what is the actual truth. The actual truth is, Laikipia County is envied for its lack of ‘hardened Army’ unlike its neighbouring communities who engage in cattle rustling.

The truth of the matter is, Laikipia County has been invaded by its neighbours, who form thousands of pastoralists from Baringo, Isiolo, Samburu and Pokot with close to 200,000 cattles. Worthy to note is that the dynamics of this invasion was changed by the heavily armed Pokot. Pokots are ‘envied’ for their superior war tactics and the number of arms in their possession. Why Laikipians need to worry is because; Pokot and Samburu resolved their archaic feud just before 2013 elections, and developed a strategy to displace communities living in Rumuruti – Maralal and East of Laikipia.

The minorities being largely Kikuyus and white settlers, theirs have been counting the losses and watching their properties go up in flames and farms get invaded to feed pastoralists livestock. The epitome of the violence is greed, selfishness and barbarism from enemies of Laikipia which is unrivalled. I wonder why the Government has not thought of setting up a military base either in Rumuruti or Baragoi where we lost about 40 military and brave Kenya heroes who died painful deaths having sacrificed their lives for peace, in this region. As the situation appears now, the worst is yet to come. Unfortunately, the Truth, Justice, Reconciliation Commission of Kenya has been reduced to a spectator as Laikipia County is held hostage, by incitement and political powers where some politicians want to place themselves as kingpins for their self-preservation as election date draws near.

The aspirants are using the Land issue to incite their communities that the ranches and private firms across Laikipia County are illegally occupied by the settlers yet most of them are Kenyans, who pay tax and land rates and rents to County governments just like everybody else. A former Mungiki leader who controversially got born again and fashionably became a pastor, who is now an aspirant for the Laikipia senate seat has gone public to allege that the settlers leases have expired and therefore should give back the land to the locals. There has also been allegation of voter importation by both political divide thereby causing tensions and political animosity.

National Land Commission and National Cohesion and Integration Commission have done little to bring long lasting solutions. The government too has failed to disarm communities in cattle rustling areas which to a large extent has had guns play out as the most lethal weapon in this clashes. Where the guns are sourced and who finances these bandits cum herders, is the elephant in the room.

Will we watch Laikipia’s envied ecosystem get destroyed by politicians who want to win elections through the back door? What of the billions of money in this economy which has created employment and tax revenue to both County and National governments? The media must do enough to expose aspirants who are fuelling animosity like Maina Njenga and have Head – Office of Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tubiko direct prosecution of these rogue politicians who want to burn our livelihood. Moreover, Laikipia should make enough noise to their superiors be it having politicians and other leaders be vetted for this menace. The National Intelligence docket too, should have justified their work by now.

WHAT’S IN A BEARD!

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“The male beard communicates a heroic image of independent, sturdy, and resourceful pioneer, ready, willing and able to do manly things,” said psychologist Robert J. Pellegrini

November might have been my birthday month but somehow also marked the end of ridicule from a good friend and deskmate whom I will refer as Chris for the sake of this article. Chris is a typical mischievous, humorous and very bright classmate if you may, who effortlessly creates lighter notes from a seemingly dull class tormented by fast approaching exams. Now, Chris decided not to shave his beards the entire month of November citing to be in solidarity with the rest of the guys who believe in not shaving in this particular month. It’s known as Movember where male adults raise awareness about men’s health issues more specifically, cancer.

For the rest of us who either have no good relationship with beards or who were caught unawares, had to deal with a Mr.Chris who did everything to make us feel bad about ourselves for failing to prove that we were in oneness with men who battle prostate cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer and liver cancer which are common in men. Forgive Chris for this weird imagination. My problem with him though is that he tried too hard to create an impression that he had full-grown beard look while in reality was struggling with a semi-arid, disoriented appearance. (Hoping Chris won’t read this).

That said, you’ll appreciate that beards have come of age on perception, metamorphosing from the conventional thinking to contemporary trends that use them as a fashion statement, to express one’s personality and to symbolise solidarity with victims of chronic illnesses. In the past, beards only proved that one was indeed a male adult. Nowadays, depending on how they are kept or shaved, they can enhance or totally disfigure one’s look. From a research I did at a recent time amongst friends of either gender; female respondents showed a very high correlation between how they perceive a man and how their beards appear to be.

Let’s sample a few reactions I received from ladies when posed the question;

What’s your take about men who keep beards and them that not?

Respondent A: A Man who keep well-kept beards appear to be mature, responsible and more manly but in situations where the dressing does not match his style of hair and beard cut, it implies a disconnect but the same dude in casual outlook gives a totally different implication…..Those with trimmed beards appear more presentable.

Respondent B: I believe it’s an individual’s preference however I personally prefer men with well-kept, trimmed beards.

Respondent C: I prefer a complete shave…It’s neat and brings out some kind of order in a guy’s image.

Respondent D: Some look handsome while some are deemed not grow beards at all!. I prefer a neat beard, trimmed and well cut. And he has to have a smooth face not a bearded face with pimples looking like a forest in the hills!!!

Interestingly, from my findings, ladies have stereotyped men with fully grown beards to be ‘Bad boys’, unreliable in the society, hostile and bully.

A good number of male respondents didn’t have much of a problem in fact insisting beards are a sense of male identity, and part of their personality and expression. Some said they keep them to justify their age which if not, are misjudged to be young boys. A majority of them confessed to keep well-trimmed beards by virtue of their careers which otherwise would be taken to be disorganised, arrogant and unprofessional.

Well, researchers agree that men who keep beards do so to appear dominant among other men. Moreover, they are stronger, older and more aggressive. They are also likely to have deeper voices and rated as the most attractive. In contrast though, some experts have it that beards can harbour more germs than a toilet. They have warned that beards are nothing more than a ‘bacterial sponge’, riddled with thousands of bacteria and a perfect way to pass on germs. The cuticles on the hair which are like layers of tiles on a roof, trap the germs and grease. Hair around nostrils and mouth is well-placed to harbour bacteria. Men have a habit of over-handling their beards, meaning they can spread bacteria to their mouths. If their hands are dirty, they transfer dirt from their hands on to their face and mouths.

TYPES OF BEARDS

Wild Beard

The full-on scraggly, all-over beard belongs to a very specific man. Not many can pull off its wild ways. It epitomise boldness, super confidence and egocentric. This look is also likely to be kept by people battling depression, relationship or marriage breakups and loss of job.

The He – Goat Beard

This is kept by outgoing men who love exploring, have a soft spot for outdoor activities and are self-employed. They are also likely to be sophisticated, mischievous, non-conformers and have a sense of humour.

Cleaned Shaved Beard

This is common with men who don’t love attention, cautionary when it comes to risk, and mostly semi introverts. These type of men have a belief that all grown beards are irritating, demanding and trigger itching.

The Scruffy Chin

This type of look is close to the weird beard but a bit trimmed and well-kept. This is for men who are fashion sensitive, have time for themselves and pay attention to image.

The U – Shaped

This type of look is for men who are averse to change. It is mostly common with men above 35 years, who grew up listening to KBC radio and who unfortunately believe that it’s still trendy to have such a look in the post-Trump era. We forgive them!

Male beards have endured endless battles that somehow threaten their extinction with perceptions that men who clean shave appear more presentable. In the midst of these challenges, beards remain stubborn, unbowed and rebellious, confronting all roadblocks that threaten their legacy with a pinch of resilience. What does the future hold for them? Will men stand to erode part of their heritage by doing away with them? The jury is out.

R.I.P CREATIVITY

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If there is a man who rattles and disturbs creative minds in Kenya then it has to be the one and only Ezekiel Mutua. Every time he tweets or walks to a news conference, the creative world in this great country quivers and runs for safety. This infamous public figure has grown tall over us, trashing and vomiting on thespians, art enthusiasts and media freedom. He has turned the Creative industry to a ball of remnants that should be done away with. To him, artists, writers, actors and practitioners in the media are irritating ‘things’ that should be expunged with guns blazing. With the same gusto and conviction Moi government declared Mau Mau activists terrorists, Ezekiel Mutua has used the same pen and spirit to conclude that creatives are a sore in the eye.

What an unfortunate tragedy it is that talented young people have to apologize and beg for acceptance for pursuing their passions. That an overzealous man in the name of Ezekiel Mutua can sit down in his office pulling a smiley face and tend to think of what next can raise hues and cry in the public domain. The fact that Kenya has produced thespians that have had the world wag its neck and solicited for a piece of them, he should know better and stopped proposing draconian laws that only make him a stumbling block to the advancement of the Creative industry.

What has become a norm these days whenever Mutua opens his mouth, he leaves many of us badly wounded. He scatters our hard work and renders us hopeless. He wakes up armed with his so called proposals that are only meant to curtail and strangle talents of innocent Kenyans. Interestingly, he has awarded himself the role of patronising our moral dispensation which by the way is far from his mandate. A man who bites more than he can chew, Mutua cuts out as man with tendencies of wielding imaginary powers, putting a lid on how far we can enjoy online products. He has also gone further and capped how far we can go in terms of innovation, creating online products and sharing them across social media.

Instead of Mutua inspiring, helping nurture and protect media freedom and content creators he has instead chose to make headlines for his wishy washy suggestions and voodoo proposals. Some may ask, where is my venting coming from? See, Kenya Film Classification Board came to life through an Act of parliament specifically Cap 222 that gives powers to KFCB to regulate the creation, broadcasting, possession, distribution and exhibition of films in the country with a view to promote national values and morality. This begs the question; WHAT IS A FILM? Oxford English Dictionary defines a film as a story or event recorded by a camera as a set of moving images and shown in a cinema or on television. Mind you, cap 222 was created before the promulgation of the 2010 constitution, and since no law acts outside the constitution, KFCB is compelled to operate and conform to laws that were enacted in the 2010 constitution. The point is, Constitution of Kenya is supreme and nowhere does it recognise KFCB!

Dear Mr. Mutua, is recording weddings occasions and sharing videos on whatsapp really part and parcel of the spirit of Cap 222. Surely, is it about marketing products and services online? Bwana Mutua has given himself the mandate of regulating ads on T.Vs, websites and in social media. On that juncture, I can’t still understand what the definition of a film is. Further, KFCB has gone way ahead to ‘kidnap’ responsibilities of other agencies like Communication Authority(CA), Competition Authority of Kenya(CAK) and Media Council of Kenya(MAK). For Instance, MAK has a responsibility of ensuring media houses in Kenya operate within the law and that they do not air programs that do not augur well with the general public. MAK also accredits journalists and regulate professional standards in the media industry.

C.A has a mandate of censoring, or age restricting broadcast content to ensure that content which depicts or contains scenes rated as adult, or are of the language intended for adult audiences, are not aired during the watershed period. In fact, KFCB role is to rate broadcast content including films and stage plays and give advisory services to other relevant agencies that have specific authority to regulate the communications sector in Kenya – Communication Authority (CA). In any case, KFCB can’t purport to monitor and penalise media houses, that’s the mandate of C.A. To draw my point home, KFCB is established under the ministry of Sports & Culture while CA is founded under the ministry of Information, Communication & Technology. That tells you which agency of the government between the two has a wider and more pronounced mandate.

In the coming days, you and I will be expected to apply for licenses as long as we intend to use our phone cameras. How ridiculous can it get? Recording a scene via your phone renders one a broadcaster and by virtual of that you need to alert the relevant authorities for approval, according to Mutua. Further, the proposal suggests authorised police to be present during the shooting of a broadcast film and to stop any scene an officer feels “in his or her opinion” is unlawful. More interestingly, this man of no slim ambition has dared to police and regulate political speeches. He will also blacklist political commercials that demean politicians, their parties and manifestos. Come to think of how money buys people in this country and what dangers he is wading this country into, especially with the 2017 elections, fast approaching.

Don’t be surprised if Mutua wakes up tomorrow with suggestions of blocking social media similar to North Korea which intends to control further access to outside world information. Kenya cannot also join countries like China, Iran, Pakistan and Syria that shockingly have banned YouTube broadcast. Journalists in Kenya have a right to work without interference from a poking hand courtesy of KFCB as is captured in the constitution. Moreover, I’m not sure how producers and the contractors are meant to be fined Sh5 million or sent to jail for four years, and this help the film industry.

Our constitution is envied world over for being among the few that has elaborately enshrined the bill of rights in its clauses. Surely, Ezekiel Mutua cannot be the one to stop us from enjoying these rights which include freedom of expression, more disappointingly when it is note his mandate.

SOCIAL MEDIA: THE BAD HABITS

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Social media craze has swept across our minds like bush fire, breathing life to introverts, tumbling on the extroverts and on the flip side killing our century old socialization aspects. Our reference point has to be on the social media. We compete to report first, to show off, to stalk, to break unverified news, to parade our imaginary wealth and to explain to god-knows-who, of what we are up to, travelling to, or where we are savoring sumptuous lunch with whom.

More annoying, we share images of our hours-old kids, never minding that kids are not to be displayed to anybody who cares to see them. Kids are sacred and sensitive and not everybody in social media is happy for you who got blessed with a one. Sorceress and humans who don’t mean well for you are on social media too or at least their agents. In fact they make part of your three thousand friends on Facebook and follow your every move on IG (Instagram). But why would one share a pic of her kid on social media even before she steps out of the maternity room?

We even go ahead to create social media accounts for them. Is that not encroaching on their rights? Whose consent do parents have when they create these accounts? You see, not every kid would be comfortable to learn later in life that virtually all their life was shared widely on social media. A parental expert will tell you this violates a kid’s privacy. Ultimately, we will go down in history as a generation that has not only over-photographed our kids but also over-scheduled for them. We have to come to the realisation that our children are separate human beings with perhaps different tastes, beliefs and personalities from us which ostensibly, should be respected as well. In a nutshell their autonomy and privacy should be accorded the necessary respect. A research done in UK recently revealed that contemporary parents will have shared about 1,000 photos of their kids online before they turn five. Is this fair?

I’m sure you’ve followed on the story of the famous – Kim Kardashian after she was tied up in her luxury bathroom in Paris and her hotel room ransacked and robbed off 9 million pounds worth of jewelleries. Of course no robbery should be justified however; some school of thought would refer Kim as a publicity junkie. In fact one columnist put matters into perspective as far as this American reality television personality is considered, in this form;

For when you live your life as a shop window mannequin, parading the spoils of your success, you cannot be surprised when one day someone smashes down the shop window and lunges at your baubles and bling. Kim Kardashian has built her global fame – and gargantuan fortune – on exposing her life to the public.

Seemingly, Kim is a victim just like many of us who belong to the millennial generation that hovers on approvals, showing off syndrome and rogue competition. To a large extent, social media platform mirrors our inadequacies, insecurities and the gaping emptiness in our lives. That unless we get those staggering likes and double taps, we seem not useful to the world.  Interestingly, we have to let the world know what is taking place around us. There is nothing wrong about it, however, when we overdo it, then it begs a lot. When total strangers get to know all in your wardrobe, or where you can be usually spotted, or how you kitchen layout looks like, then there is trouble.

Speaking of which; you and I know of these IG bigwigs who literally go on the spree, over sharing about their hoods, their family and all the pettiness in between that you can imagine of. In fact, some of you can go round their digs with much ease based on the hundreds on pics uploaded daily about their high end mansions. Just why should we parade all our possessions online?

I was taken aback the other day when I happened to find a photo uploaded by a dude who is supposedly my friend on Facebook, regarding a dowry invitation (read financial help). So the photo had the image of the couple, inviting (soliciting money) Facebook friends to their dowry ceremony. My thinking was; this was an act of desperation. I mean, who shares dowry invites on Facebook? It appeared like soliciting. Please don’t invite people to your dowry or wedding by uploading invites on Facebook for all who care to read them. It somehow dilutes these ceremonies. In fact one appears, ridiculous, laughable, selfish and full of shortcuts. Kindly invite specific people to these ceremonies, not a mammoth of complete strangers on social media who perhaps have never and will never meet you in person.

Further, don’t flaunt your air tickets to Coast on social media; the world is not safe anymore. You never know who might break into your house. And if you have to share them, please let it be after the trip is wrapped up. You just never know. You recall when the infamous Ezekiel Mutua vaunted about his diplomatic passport only to emerge he shouldn’t have been issued with one, in the first place. At his age, was this appropriate? Cut the slack people. Genuine success doesn’t announce itself. You simply can’t have your cake and eat it!

There is an untold rule or is it a memo that should be passed around; That social media is a double edged knife. It is an incredible platform for networking and reaching up to your friends. On the other hand, if a line is not drawn between sharing and oversharing; one can antagonize family and friends, breach on privacy, expose loved ones to unnecessary attention and possibly attract fraudsters.

And by the way, let’s drop this hullabaloo of ‘checking in’ here and there. Who said you should report to social media on every corner you dart at! While at it, stop selfies at funerals. It’s rude and unbecoming. Come to think of it, do we need to be briefed on how your honeymoon is coming along?

HE’S OFFICIALLY A TEETOTALER

You recall Austin of Peptic Ulcers? When he went for a post treatment check up, Doctor Martin, seemingly in his mid-thirties, donning the typical white coat, ordinary specs and showing a tendency to tolerate beards all over his cheeks, looked straight at him and had this to say;

Please forget alcohol. 

For starters, Austin was never an active drinker. He popped in these stuffy and noisy places say once in three months and it had to be out of influence from friends. In other times it was out of those family gatherings events where men are compelled to drink to appease the so called imaginary ancestors. Speaking of family, it’s important to appreciate Austin comes from a family background stemming from the slopes of Mount Kenya. That’s said, I’m sure you’ve come across these breed of kuyus in social functions struggling to shed off a stereotype of harboring unusual appetite for alcohol. These chaps (and a considerable number of women) drink even when they meet for burial preparation activities.

By the way, I have attended several fundraisers in downtown Nairobi, in joints owned by kuyus usually with funny names like Magomano Hotel, Giathiniwa Cafe, Njogu-Ini Inn, organised by these lads where people literally drink heavily while the ceremony runs. Occasionally, your name will be randomly mentioned by the MC to escort a friend to the basket normally placed at the high table as he takes his contribution. Escorting in this aspect means chipping in to his contribution. You will rise with your beer firmly in hand, while adjusting your symbolic godfather hat whose colour will be complementing your pair of Safari boots and join the queue as you dance to a popular mugithi song.

For Austin’s case, he was not that type of a drinker you would find fixed alone at the bar counter, seemingly in deep thoughts, occasionally teasing the bar lady and having one those uncultivated pep talks with her. You know of these chaps, who walk to the bar formally dressed, straight from the office clinging to the Business Daily newspaper? They never sit at any other place apart from the counter. And if it is fully occupied, they’d rather hang around there for hours holding on their brown bottle, keeping tabs with their phones and sporadically engaging the guy seated next to them, in those tall seats.

For Austin, it was a different ball game altogether. He would never walk to a club alone. He had to be in the pack of other thirsty cubs eager and excited to catch up and kill the night courtesy of drinks. He savored the thrill that comes with drinking in the company of his boys, so to speak and the drama that makes the night wilder. Be it because of the guys seated next to them who would hide some bills much to the frustration of the waitress to the weirdness that comes with all types of drinkers. This was best captured in an article I wrote not so long ago; What Type of A Bar Patron Do You Make .

The good think about alcohol (not that I’m advocating for it) makes one more human if you take it responsibly. You see, these days we rarely say hello to strangers be it in matatus, not in the barber shop queue nor in the ATM line. We hold and keep it to ourselves. This never occurs in the bar. Chaps who have a cordial relationship with the bar counter are normally taken to be lone drinkers but that never deters them from bonding with the rest, with similar ethos. In fact as the hours speed off so does the silence. The more litres ones imbibe the more talkative one becomes, thanks to alcohol. Even when you walk to the washrooms and bump on this stranger as you do your thing, alcohol compels one to warmly acknowledge him, be it through a nod or a smile. This toxic stuff has a way of exuding the human touch.

From what I gathered from Austin, he is keen on ensuring he faithfully stays away from alcohol and its dens for as long as he lives. Of course to the much delight of his girlfriend who was openly against him taking alcohol. Well, she seems to have had the last laugh. But what would happen if he gets invited to one of those bridal parties, birthday bashes and dowry events. Will he survive the jabs and indirect ridicules from friends and relatives? Will his body have conformed to the tough laws passed without much consultation or notice courtesy of Doctor Martin? Martin should have prepaid him for this hehe and be like; well, you have two more months to drink and from then forget if alcohol ever existed in the first place. But that would still be tough for him especially on Fridays when he will be driving past his formerly usual joints and have them unrelentingly throw tempts at him. The familiar music, and mood will take toll on him too.

Being a teetotaler is tough, he quips. Nowadays everybody drinks. How does one manoeuvre life with this kind of stigma? To add on, the doctor also advised him to avoid coffee and lemon and any acidic foods. Meaning, Austin will not be in a position to even take an intern for coffee. Or rather he will take her and drink tea. How do you walk in to Java House – Nanyuki and order for tea? The intern will be taken aback! Tea should be taken at home or in the office not in Java or any other high end place that you could take your girlfriend hehe. She will indulge him;

Why kienyeji tea?

Blame the doctor. Coffee triggers heartburn.

Oooooh woisheeeee. Poor thing.

Meanwhile, he will have to take cues from renowned Kenya public figures who are established teetotalers to name a few; the celebrated radio presenter – Willi M.Tuva, Hip hop artiste – Octopizzo, the flashy – Jaguar, the high rolling – Victor Wanyama, Top Dj – Dj Joe Mfalme, local dancehall guru – Wyre  and Ladies favourite – Jeff Mote. I saw Larry Madowo in the list but wasn’t too sure if he is a strict teetotaler. I’m told Dhoty Family’s Dj Kriss Darlin’ doesn’t drink as well. As it seems, Austin is in a safe company of brave gentlemen who have arguably solid careers at their grip, taking the battle of teetotalling right at the doorstep of the drinking hearth. That’s pure audacity at best.

On the flipside he will have to cut links with his drinking buddies. This has everything to do with friends who never have any other agenda apart from always urging him to go drinking. It will be difficult for him but important, at least to save his health.

All the best Bro Austin! It’s time you did this!

Photo courtesy of Standard Digital Entertainment – SDE 

THE EGOCENTRIC MAN

Image result for Kenyan men who drive big expensive carsSociety respects confident men. Actually it has a soft spot for them. They can get away with anything including beautiful ladies who get you thinking; Is she dating that guy, how so?  They manoeuvre dowry negotiations with some sort of ease. They always know what to say and how to say it.  They win second chances during interviews and get more recognition in workplace meetings. In essence, a man with no confidence is a goof. Nature is unforgiving, unfortunately.

What of a too confident man? A slightly arrogant type! Them that bite more than they can chew. Have you done business with these kinds of fellows? They have a thing for big man syndrome. They can be reckless in their talk. They are straight shooting and cut conversations into two; you either with them or not. And if not, they will dare to topple on every confidence you’ve amassed over the years. They are self-believers and assured type. They are full of conviction and wit. Have you seen them in traffic, driving cars that seem to massage their 35 years ego? They enjoy being served, referred and reported to. They live to delegate work and ask tough questions. They enjoy being consulted submissively with pick up lines that sound like; Sir, did you approve the payment for XYZ Ltd? They will take time to answer as if to first savor the demeanor being put across by this staff who’ll pose so humbly and politely.

You will find them in exquisite bars holding meetings with men of their match. You will easily identify them by their authoritative laughter and loud voices. Actually they are even louder while on phone. Holding humongous smartphones, they will get the eyes of a waiter just by the look. They will be here to deliberate on County tenders and influential positions in blue chip companies. They imagine the world should uphold and bow down to them. They have a problem with you who forms another center of power and confidence. They abhor anybody who threatens their patriarchal thinking. They have a way of measuring your confidence weight in a matter of minutes by giving you those firm handshakes and fixed eye contact for minutes. You’ll not sound bad when you refer them as busy bodies.

So, on this day you’ll have been scheduled for a meeting by one of this type, in his office for some biashara. You got introduced to him by a mutual friend who incidentally stumbled on an opportunity that he thought you’d do it justice.

Exactly 1 pm, you’ll check in at the reception area and request to enquire about a Mr. Chris. The light skinned receptionist seemingly not having such a bad day will evaluate you from head to toe as if to find out if you are one of those KRA officers. She will be donning those trendy specs that seem to elongate on either side, have her nose powdered and be dressed in one of those petite dresses that will do everything to flatter her body. She will ask:

Was he expecting you?

Yes, certainly.

You said you are from?

I’m Andrew, from F.C.P (Financial Consultants House). You will watch her eyes dazzle and come to life. And that will be a perfect juncture to give her your business card.

Just have a seat please.

The egocentric type of boss has no respect for punctuality. You will be compelled to wait for about 15 to 20 minutes. By then you’ll have gone through the day’s newspaper, cover to cover. You will even have attempted the Sudoku part and through to the Obituaries section. It’s funny how you’ll notice it then. Naturally, you always skip that page. From the background you will not help eavesdrop conversations in his office. You’ll be bombarded by deep voices and hearty laughter. You will also not miss utterances like; Sure Mheshimiwa…Will catch up sir….Will be in touch when you jet back in the country.

By the time these gentlemen walk to the front office, you’ll have questioned so many things. Like will he recall you? What will be his mood? Will he excuse himself to rush to the airport or run for a meeting with Bwana Governor? You see, when a client tells you he’s running for a meeting with the Governor or the County Assembly speaker….he is simply telling you mark my lane. He is one of those chaps, always meeting the big kahunas in town. He has connections with all the ‘right people’ from politicians to influential business persons. To add on, he is always in the know of every classified information in the business circles like which lucrative firm is investing where, which contractor met a particular Tender committee in a certain hotel. You mention to him of a financially endowed entrepreneur and he interjects you with a half an hour’s story of how he once worked with him or her.

Where were we?

As they make their way through the corridor to where you’ll be seated, you pensively wait for his reaction upon spotting you. It’s like Obama landing. Everything else halts including breathing. Suddenly the receptionist who will have been busy scrolling her phone all this time will bounce back to her computer, pretending to be occupied. When he finally appears, he will go like;

Oooh Andrew, you are here!

By then you’ll have stood up; strictly upright and giggling. Steadily feeding your eyes on his face just to have him not get twisted like you are unsure of yourself. You’ll reach for his handshake and mumble those empty conversations that lead to nowhere.

He’ll apologise for keeping you waiting for long and you being the needy person in this situation, will let that pass unchallenged. He will invite you to his office and drag his chair over to one corner to get his notebook and pen. You will notice how his office is quite spacious and organised. This will remind you of your Communication Skills lecturer mentioning something about space and authority. Bosses have bigger offices than the rest. It’s a matter of restating that they are firmly in charge and that they are the main guys and heartbeat of the organisation.

So you and your phone will make yourselves comfortable as you give in to forced laughter and smiles. He will indulge you on how business is performing on your end. You will sound Kenyanese with familiar statements like; Kung’ang’ana tu hii town.

So, you will reach to your laptop and get this proposal about this million dollar project coming up in a few months. On the 45 minutes conversation, you will be awashed with staggering numbers being thrown all-over the place apparently pumped to result to handsome results later. You will walk out hopeful and confident to have won his heart. Later, you will excitedly inform your girlfriend about this breakthrough coming your way pretty soon. This will seem to be the jackpot that you’ve finally been waiting for.

Three months down the line, reality will have settled in a rather depressing way. Your calls will go unanswered and so will be your emails. You will bump him in those coffee shops busy catching up with men who survive by striking deals. Be they brokers who specialise in doing business with the National or County governments or investors looking for vast land to develop. Your convictions will lead you towards walking to his table briefly. He will promise to give you a call in a few days.

This will never come to be.

In the end, you will realise egocentric men are not necessarily successful but rather, apply these gimmicks just for perceptions. Do they say life is all about perceptions?

PEPTIC ULCERS – BE IN THE KNOW

Image result for private hospitals in KenyaWhen people hear of ulcers what mostly comes to mind is that the victim is probably battling stress related issues or depression. I won’t call it ignorance but rather lack of information. I was in your position too before I met Austin and listened to his story.

I bet you want to be in the know about this infection that is not so popular but painful and draining. Join me as we go through Austin’s medical journey as I compiled it few days ago;

To what started as mild pains around Austin’s chest quickly developed to intense discomfort in a couple of days. When the pain became tough to endure having toyed with the idea that it could be stress which could somehow be solved by going easy on himself and opening up to close friends and relatives, the pain had none of this. When this failed to work, the most prudent thing was to call a friend to rush him to a nearby hospital one late evening. He was misdiagnosed with Asthma by the nurse on duty. The doctor was away. Be careful with private clinics. He actually learnt of the misdiagnose close to a week later when he checked in another hospital only to be treated for Anxiety Disorder. The doctor made him believe he was a Type A personality just like renowned familiar public figures to name a few –  Presidents Uhuru and Obama. Google defines Type A personality as more competitive, outgoing, ambitious, impatient, aggressive and self critical. They are short fused meaning their temperament can be slightly out of normal. They are also highly status – conscious, workaholics, rigidly organised, anxious and proactive. Type A personalities are highly vulnerable to stress related illnesses than the rest of the personalities.

Austin having been diagnosed with Anxiety disorder was prescribed with medicine that would make him relax his mind. The side effect was, he tended to sleep more. No sooner was he done with his dose after a month or so, than his chest pains re-emerged once more. He visited another different hospital and this time round diagnosed with stress. He was made to believe his body was producing excess acid which in effect, affected his esophagus, because acid burns, right? He was cautioned to avoid issues that would make him overly stressed and also consider engaging in hobbies that would relieve his mind off the serious stuff. In other words he was to embrace unwinding seriously than before and to have a strong support around him. The remedy here helped him relieve off the acid but had nothing to do with treating peptic ulcers.

Two months later the pains kept playing hide and seek; jumping from one area to another. It went to a point where his rib cage ached from time to time. Austin became convinced its time he had an X Ray of his chest. He booked an appointment in an established Mission Hospital where the result came with a clean bill of health. Here, he was diagnosed with pneumonia. He was advised to keep warm, avoid conditions that would lower his body temperatures unusually, exercise more and strictly drink warm water. He was medicated and got temporarily recuperated.

As soon as he was done with this medicine composed of antibiotics and pain killers, the pains resurfaced this time more angry, rebranded and confronting. Meanwhile, Austin was developing stress out of not getting a lasting solution about his pains. Besides, the checkups were draining him financially and disappointing. One day, he sipped tea and felt nausea. The next minute, he was holding his breath to stop untimed vomit. How so? With the pains stubbornly persisting he was dealing with another problem; of handling nausea. I remember him joking – I felt like I’m pregnant. No pun intended.

By sheer chance, one of his distressed siblings advised him to go to a reputable hospitable with a credible laboratory where he would be tested for amoeba. For your information, amoeba causes nausea and headaches. Austin identified another hospital where he had his tests done. This time round, he met a proficient doctor who diagnosed him correctly. He calmly told him his illness had nothing to do with stress but hygiene! How? Yes. He was suffering from an infection called Peptic Ulcers caused by a bacteria referred as H.Pylori. This was evidenced by the tests done from his blood and stool samples.

The doctor advised him to avoid taking meals and water from public places – Hotels etc. The bacteria is mainly caused by contaminated foods including fruits , water and spread from person to person. I assumed it’s through kissing. Washing ones hand regularly and thoroughly is also highly recommended. By all means avoid those tempting street mutura in your neighborhood, normally prepaid by this lad who is always in a dirty, dust coat. Please also ignore the aroma that comes from that kibanda that sells chips mwitu. Be careful with where you buy your greens too. They might have been grown in sewage rich areas.  The bacteria attaches itself along the digestive tract and triggers acid which the burns the esophagus which lead to pain around the upper part of the chest. As you read this, Austin has fully recovered. He has shed off the pains and carried along vital lessons.

He is worried of one thing; Social media. You know of those ‘forwards’ on Whatsapp that read – if you have this type of pain bla bla bla please consider visiting a doctor as it may be trigger a particular chronic illness bla bla bla…. They end with familiar conclusions that go like; please share with at least ten of your loved ones. 

These messages made Austin paranoid. They made him struggle with self assurance. He consoled himself with the fact that, most of these information spread across social media are mostly inaccurate and unverified. However, Austin has one plea to put across; that please do not forward any message on whatsapp or whichever platform especially to do with one’s health if you are not a clinical officer or health expert. This messages can easily trigger panic attacks to individuals who are not as lucky as you forwarding them. Lucky in the sense of a credible support system and people around them at that time of reading these forwards. They can easily get paranoid. They may also be living alone, you know. Think of what could happen when their blood pressure suddenly shoots up out of reading such forwards.

The issue of going for comprehensive medical checkups at least once in a year should be taken more seriously. It might be slightly expensive but; ….THIS IS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH! The cliche that prevention is better than cure is so true. In any case, the money we spend in clubs drinking ourselves silly just in one weekend is enough for a thorough medical checkup. Is that much to ask!

Lastly; Avoid alcohol as much. Alcohol worsens these conditions.