So the Indian suits at Bharti HQ’s decided this little East African
success story (Safaricom) had had its run and gotten enough limelight
and it about time the big boys showed up and made real money.

I can only speculate as to what the strategy is but it seems the main
idea is to erode Safaricoms position to bolster their own. The
response from Safaricom was disappointingly lacklustre and not in good
faith in my view. Zain must have known there would be a retaliation
and if they have any planners in their ranks then they have a
mitigating strategy to counter and/or suppress it. Or they were
banking on such a reaction that would play into their bigger plan.
Maybe they are trying to squeeze Safaricom’s margins and thus weaken
them thereby halting there skyrocketing expansion. This would enable
them to launch their 3g services and possible cover the country

Lets not forget that Safaricom is where they are because they had
hopeless adversaries. Not because they are ingenious, or are in tune
with the Kenyan psyche or that MJ is a Genius. All their products were
launched or were in development in the other telcos (Zain mostly) and
were hijacked and adopted. That they milk their clients dry goes
without saying and we have suffered for ages with their terrible
network which they have only recently improved with the billions
earned in profit. The only reason most stuck with them was because 1)
They hate Change 2) The others were shifty and had fishy names and
weird tariffs.

Now the Bharti guys know all about selling airtime to guys who can
barely afford a meal and the mother ship aint too fazed with earning
cents as profits. Safaricom and their mother company Vodafone seem
like they are more comfortable with rich or upwardly mobile markets
hence their eagerness to tinker with 3g and 4g(not that am
complaining.. . . ) . They may have met their match with the Dukawalas
from India.

Right now we can only wait and see who makes the next move and what it
will be. . . .Right now Safaricom has moved its Pawn forward and
looked across the plains and valleys spotted with cellphone masts and
sneered. . . “Your move. . ”

No man is an island

This week was both sad and relieving in a morbid kind of way. My
grandma passed the previous week and though sad I wouldn’t get to have
All-you-can-eat Ngwashe and super sweetened tea next to a roaring fire
as she harasses her daughters(my aunties) to give me food even when my
hands are full, I am relieved she is no longer in pain and at least
she will join her husband wherever people go when the die.

During the whole time while preparing for her burial, her house was
full of so many new and not so new faces. There were her age mates
recounting stories and trying to draw the family tree for the
younguns, kids running around spilling things, Family tree drawees
around my age who were there by proxy, not really caring or minding
the whole affair. They were just there. Others were there to see who
the rich relatives were and to start lamenting their sob stories
hoping for a handout or bailout by virtue of being related.

More or less everyone under that roof and under the tent on the burial
date descended from one dude back in the 1800’s. When we drew the
family tree we got tired somewhere midway coz it became too laborious
but descendants were already way past the 200 mark yours truly being
somewhere in the labyrinth of names and connections.

All the same, the community involvement leave alone the family was
phenomenal and something my mum has been trying to drum into my mind
for eternity started sinking in. As much as we are told to
differentiate and not depend on anyone else, it is not very bright to
extradite yourself from society. If they kick you out then you may be
allowed but setting yourself aside thinking that you all that and a
bag of chips will be your undoing.

That society is fickle is a given attribute but so are we.
Independence is necessary but let’s not use it as a weapon rather than
as a tool. Independence like freedom is a concept not a right. It is
to be pursued not achieved. Even when you are born you are not truly
free. You are wholly dependent on your mother for your life. In the
same sense, we are dependent on society for our existence. Separating
yourself because you don’t like a part of it is self defeating. Adapt
to it, and try change it to what you would like it to be. It’s the
only way.

Making money the old school way

Nowadays everybody is falling over themselves trying to make money in new exciting fancy ways like Google or Facebook. ‘regular ’ ways of making money are pushed to the curb and termed old, lame and unimaginative. All this when our world has not had any significant change in the basic structure. 

The rich are still rich, no revolution there. Women are still
objectified and considered somewhat inferior (Don’t deny it, you know
it’s true). Superior Civilizations (Technologically more advanced)
still call the shots and proceed to rape poorer societies by stripping
them of resources and all hope of meaningful progress. The youth are
fuelled by hormones and demand change and peace and equality and that
the suns temperature be reduced by 10 degrees immediately. When they
get old and get to control resources they say the youth of their time
are very unappreciative and should work harder rather than complain.
Kids in Mesopotamia didn’t like vegetables or doing homework. They
shared the consensus that their parents were dinosaurs and should
seriously consider upgrading their firmware even at risk of crashing
the system (not in those words exactly). How different are they from
our spoilt brats?

My point is we are not that different from the guys in the medieval
ages, in fact if you were born back then you would be just like them
or vice versa. Evolution takes millions of years not centuries. So we
aint that much brighter than Copernicus or the guys who burnt witches
at the stake.

Anyway my post today was about making money. The old school way of
making chums was by farming and industry. Making machines/tools/food
was the ticket back in the day for living in the house on the hill.
All these other guys are just hangers on and leeches on the core
industries. Though farmer’s aint the richest, they should be and they
are the single biggest contributors to the economy.

These realizations came to me as I listened to an uncle of mine
mesmerize us with how much a crop of Aloe Vera can rake in for you in
a good harvest. Aloe are (I think) a broad range hardy drought
resistant plants that need next to nothing from you. Just plant,
leave, come back to harvest. They are used to make all manner of
things, from shoe polish to lotions for chicks. All from one plant.
Now there is nothing as convenient as doing nothing and getting
something. Rabbits are another lucrative source of cash, the need
little in terms of food, and are fine eating scraps from your table.
Of course it may not be as easy as I put it but what am trying to say
is to be the one creating the raw material for others to use is a very
good vantage point.

If today I was told to invest in two or three sectors I would choose
Energy, Agriculture, and Water Utility. No industry can survive
without either of the above, and therein lays the secret. Demand can
only go up; only thing that changes is the price. The three industries
are not invincible but they are least likely to suffer without
everyone wanting to help out to bail them out.

So before you hatch another harebrain idea to burn your cash again,
Try go back ocha and figure out what the local sonko does. May be a
lot easier for you and you may wind up giving him some tips.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Movies. . .

So am like a serous movie buff and there is little that I love more than a seriously entertaining flick. Action packed Sci-fi are my favourite coz there is nothing as exhilirating as blowing stuff up with something really techy. . 

But i also need to make sense of what is happening on screen. Now this is where the problem comes in because most people (and directors) throw sense out of the window as soon as the word entertainment comes up. Some shows are just brilliant until they come to the science and sense part. 

Take Starwars for instance. With all that technology and research you wanna tell me the most effective form of combat is using Light Sabres?Which are just fancy swords anyway? And then in a just about all the space based flicks when the space ships are in space and they run out of fuel or the engines cock up, the ships stop dead in their tracks like they were rolling down Uhuru highway. This totally disregards Newtonian physics that states that motion remains perpetual unless something stops or interferes with it. Now in space, there is near perfect vacuum and thus nothing to interfere with the motion. The ship should thus continue on its path as if nothing happened. But I guess Hollywood does work too well with sense.

And then there is the case of Aliens. somehow, they are all reptilian and have no idea what love and compassion is and thus it is considered the biggest weakness Mankind has, until we use it against them and ensure victory for earth. They are always portrayed as coldblooded murderers hell bent on eating humans or using us in bizarre experiments. Why no-one has speculated they may be fun loving, beautiful pot smoking Hippies on a jolly ride across the universe is beyond me. I don,t think we are the only civilization in the galaxy who like to have a little fun right? 

I can only conclude that we only have morbid fear of Extra-terrestrials because we are afraid that we aint on top of the universe's food chain. That someday, some dudes/things are gonna show up and pick us the way we pick grapes or apples or how we shika Kukus.

But I think the no. 1 thing that pisses me off in movies is the guys who hear something go bump in the dark and decide to investigate. I still hold that is why Africans are like way more than these white guys. Things that make sounds in the dark are generally avoided. we stay away and wait for sunrise to investigate. Or when you feel your life is in danger but you proceed to walk along dark alleys at night. They just make me want to slap them silly. I barely finish such movies because they rarely teach me anything new or present a story that is actually entertaining. 

Of late ave come to appreciate comedies and sitcoms. They always make me laugh regardless of the situational episode or if its the same characters. Big Bang theory is among my favorite series and for good Measure too. That I laugh hard in every episode is a salute to the directors and cast. No CGI no Special effects, just conversation. That is art.

A log in the sand and heads buried in eyes

Of late ave noticed that guys(people in general) are really fond of suffering selective amnesia when their interests are threatened. 

A previous ruthless Dictator will at the drop of a hat become a humanitarian fighting for the rights of the common Mwananchi without even apologising for the past. The same effect is also applicable to huge swathes of the population commonly even encompassing an entire country.

A dude could be a convicted criminal but will be released , baptised by a bishop of fishy repute and be proclaimed the leader of the youth. Like anyone asked for a leader and who elected him anyway? He will then proceed to attend all manner of political rallies. All this while we cheer and the other politicians embrace him like a long lost brother. 

Then there are cops that assassinate guys (right outside the university of Nairobi) who threaten to expose their shady activities. During riots, a student is shot and after forensics the verdict is passed that the shot didn't come from a cops gun. So some student must have been shooting around in the crowd. After all these incidents, nothing is done and the guys responsible are still very much around going home everyday to their wives and kids with no fear of anything being done to them.

Reading the Wako report, it was clear the Government was very much aware of what was about to go down but took no action for probably political reasons. Any action on the organisers would have been interpreted as an attack on particular communities and would have been a PR nightmare. That kind of crap is what we need to get rid of. That political mileage can be a compromise to the economy, security of the countries citizens and free movement of persons and goods is a very warped way of thinking. 

But we gladly forget why we are in this mess to begin with and choose to slink back to amorphous 'homes' like tribe and where we were born. No one in this part of the world is pure anything. The common name Maina that is common in Kikuyu communities is a Kalenjin word and was borrowed probably because of heavy intermarriage or interaction.We ain't as different as we lead ourselves to believe. That we would be defensive of our tribes is absurd. Most of us cant even trace our lineage back 5 generations. I have been born a Kikuyu but 6 generations ago my forefathers might as well have been from the Sudan for all I know. All am saying is we draw our allegiance from all the wrong structures. Back in the day intermarriage was encouraged for whatever economic reasons but I maintain that was the way to go. Even guys who weren't killed during raids were absorbed into the communities and they went on to have kids and families in the new setting. These dudes who landed with their ships holding bibles in one hand and a gun in the other were here exporting their version of civilisation. We had all they had minus all the complications and fancy structures. But I digress, what was I talking bout again?

Oh yeah. . . we are always told to be civil and not overreact and to avoid getting angry. Now I think is the reason we are so messed up. We take everything lying down and choose to let it go coz we may not see how a few billions being stolen from the treasury influences the price of tomatoes at the market or if it increases my rent. If the prick thugging millions knew he was running the risk of being hauled to jail and get to meet Omundu strong's member face to face or back to back(you get the picture) and if that doesnt happen then a humongous crowd of angry citizens will rain down on his house and beat him senseless for feeling generous with their cash, I doubt he would go through with it. Don't get me wrong, I aint advocating for militias and beating up people at random or violence in general. Am against all the above . What am saying is we need to get angry when we hear of a scandal not just shake our heads and move on to the next. We need Anger for only intense emotion percolates into action. 

We only have two tribes in the country, The Rulers and the Subjects.

Vote wisely.