A Tana River Mangabey (Cercocebus galeritus) rummaging through the Tana River National Primate Reserve .

The Tana River mangabey is a highly endangered species of primate in the family Cercopithecidae. It is a medium-sized primate with a long semi-prehensile tail, yellow-brown coat, and a center part on the crown of the head with long, dark fur. The Tana River mangabey is found on the continent of Africa in the southeastern portion of Kenya along the Tana River mostly in the floodplain forests along the lower Tana river.

They exhibit a pale-grey/brown coloration, and have a conspicuous crest on their crown and white eyelids. Their body is covered in wavy hair with inconspicuous dark bands, and their forearms and hands are darker in color than their tail and upper limbs . Their face is jet black with strongly contrasting white eyebrows. The species has white eyelids that contrast to its darker face like other Cercocebus species. This contrast in the eyelids is believed to be used as part of the species complex communication system The species also has specialized dental morphology for feeding on hard nuts, seeds, and fruits.

It is diurnal and semi-terrestrial, spends most of its time on the ground but is still considered arboreal due to its sleeping area. It is endemic to riverine forest patches along the lower Tana River in southeastern Kenya. The species sleeps in trees which are not so tall and have a sparse canopy cover. The primate sleeps in the forks of the branches of these trees or near the main trunk. It is believed to sleep in trees to reduce the risk of predation and chooses this site according to its last feeding position in the area. They exist in groups of size ranging from 13–36 individuals, and sometimes combining to form aggregations of 50 to 60 individuals. These groups consist of multiple males and multiple females. During the dry season when food is limited groups maintain discrete territories with minimal overlapping. To maintain these territories males give spatial vocalizations and territorial displays  at fixed boundaries. The males within the group may also engage in active combat with outside group leaders invading the territory. In the wet season when food is abundant boundaries are broken down. During this time groups are more tolerant of one another and meet and intermingle. The Tana River mangabey has a few predators, such as the python, crowned eagle, martial eagle and the Nile crocodile.

The Tana River mangabey is a polygynous species with two or more males within each group depending on the size of the group. Males and females are similar in color though different in size. The primate gives birth to a single offspring after a gestation period of approximately 170–180 days. During the first two months after birth, the infant is guarded by its mother and begins to develop a close bond. In the third month the infant begins socializing with other infants and adult group members but remains in close proximity to mom. The females within the group usually have lasting bonds with their mother while the males become more independent and spend more time away from the group or on the periphery. If a group loses one of its males, another male may be recruited from peripheral solitary males to maintain the structure of the group.

Tana mangabey (Cercocebus galeritus) mother grooms her baby of between -3 months old watched by a juvenile. Tana River Forest, South eastern Kenya.

The species is an omnivore, feeding on leaves, seeds, fruits, insects and reptile and bird eggs. It is an opportunistic feeder and is semi-terrestrial where it may rummage through the leaf litter for food. The mangabey gets most of its food from sub-canopy and canopy trees, although they spend most of their time feeding and moving on the ground. It consumes the fruit and seed from approximately fifty different tree species. Feeding is performed 48% of the day, while sleeping accounts for 15%, and resting accounts for 14% of the day. The species annual diet consists of 46.5% seeds and 25.6% consists of fruit consumption.

The greatest threat to Tana river mangabeys is habitat degradation through unsustainable forest clearing and resource extraction

The Tana River mangabey has dental morphology well suited for the food type it consumes. The species has large incisors for the tearing of the tough skin on the fruits it eats. Large maxillary and mandibular fourth premolars which increase surface area to crush seeds, and a shortened face which increases bite force.

The greatest threat to Tana river mangabeys as is for other endangered species is habitat degradation through unsustainable forest clearing and resource extraction The rapid decline of Tana River Mangabeys has several causes including:

  • Drastic changes in vegetation due to dam construction, irrigation projects and water diversion, which affect both the water table and the frequency and severity of flooding which, in turn, affect the extent and quality of this species’ forest habitat.
  • It is estimated that 50% of the original forest has been lost in the last 20 years. The Tana River area is losing its forests to agriculture
  • Fires that destroy forests.
  • Habitat degradation due to livestock.
  • The unsustainable collection of wood and other forest products.
  • Selective felling of fig trees for canoes. Subcanopy trees are also being used for housing poles
  • Exploitation of one of the species’ top food plants, the palm species – Phoenix reclinata for palm wine collection.
  • Corruption, inter-ethnic violence and insecurity.
  • Tana River mangabeys are also hunted and trapped in response to local crop damage. This trapping may occur and appears to be occurring at low levels within the forests.

The Tana River mangabey is listed as one of The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates. A census in 1994 estimated the species population to be 1,000 to 1,200 individuals. It was listed under the U.S. as being endangered in 1970. The species is also listed as critically endangered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature and under CITES is listed under Appendix I. This species is listed on Class A of the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Tana river mangabeys have an important role in the ecosystem in that, they play an important role in seed distribution, as roughly one-third of their diet is comprised of nuts and seeds. They also serve as host for a variety of gastrointestinal parasites. Tana river mangabeys display a high diversity of gastrointestinal parasites because of the fragmentation and diversity of their habitat combined with their large home ranges.

They also have their economic importance to humans in the local area in that they become a popular face for the conservation of the lower Tana River, which contains an astounding variety of species, many of which, including Tana river mangabeys and Tana river colobus, are not found anywhere else in the world. Also given their limited distribution, they are well studied, and research of their ecosystem dynamics has proven enlightening to humankind.

The Tana River Primate Reserve was established in 1976 to protect the remaining forest along the Tana River and the endemic Tana River mangabey. The reserve protects an area of approximately 171 km² with 9.5 km² and 17.5 km² of that being forested area. The reserve contains about 56% of the Tana River mangabey groups, with approximately 44% living in forests outside of the reserve. 10% of the groups living in forests outside of the reserve are under the management of the Tana Delta Irrigation Project.

The objective of the Tana River Primate Reserve was to conserve the biodiversity  within the Tana River area and protect the endangered Tana River mangabey. The conservation of this species is a high priority for primate conservation in Kenya. In 2007, the High Court in Kenya ruled the reserve was not abiding by the laws. This led to the forested areas which the mangabey inhabited losing their legal protection. With the poor management of the Tana Delta Irrigation Project, habitat loss outside the reserve also continues. The Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority, who is in charge of the project, are now in the process of expanding to establish a sugar cane plantation which will in turn remove more forested areas.

A five-year project in 1996 with the Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Department was funded by the World Bank/GEF. The projects goals were to enhance conservation and protection of these primates and forests. The project was poorly managed and was terminated after two years of implementation, leaving the wildlife service with the protection of these areas.

The Ishaqbin Conservancy is a community initiative in the Tana River Primate Reserve. Here communities are working with Kenya Wildlife Service to develop tourism side by side with conservation. Tourism development is believed to be important in that it will secure the conservation of the habitat and the species with the communities around the reserve. Tourism will benefit both the mangabey and local communities through economic development and a reduction in habitat loss. The conservancy will also help to form a buffer around the reserve which will help to reduce human impact inside the reserve.



If you’ve never heard of the pangolin, you’re probably not alone. This shy creature, as big as your cat or dog, is the world’s most trafficked mammal — with more than one million pangolins poached in the past decade. Its name spelt as PANG-GAH-LIN, has the scientific name of – MANIDAE with a diet comprising mainly of insect gets to a size ranging from 4.5 inches to 4.5 feet long. It can weigh 4 to 72 pounds. Though many think of them as reptiles, pangolins are actually mammals. They are the only mammals wholly-covered in scales and they use those scales to protect themselves from predators in the wild. If under threat, a pangolin will immediately curl into a tight ball and will use their sharp-scaled tails to defend themselves, it can roll into a tight ball that only leaves the tough scales exposed. All those scales act like armor and make the pangolin a less appealing snack for predators.

Although a pangolin doesn’t have any teeth, it does have very sharp claws.   It uses these claws to excavate burrows and dig for insects.  It also has a long sticky tongue which makes it easy for the pangolin to eat ants and termites. .” Because they have no teeth, pangolins pick up food with their sticky tongues, which can sometimes reach lengths greater than the animal’s body. Pangolins are solitary and active mostly at night. Most live on the ground, but some, like the black-bellied pangolin, also climb trees.

They range in size from a large housecat to more than four feet long. They are largely covered in scales made of keratin—the same material as human fingernails—which gives them the nickname “scaly anteater.” When threatened they can release a stinky fluid from a gland at the base of their tails as a defense mechanism.

Like anteaters, pangolins have long snouts and even longer tongues, which they use to lap up ants and termites they excavate from mounds with their powerful front claws. They’re able to close their noses and ears to keep ants out when they’re eating.

Though they look and act a lot like anteaters and armadillos, pangolins are more closely related to bears, cats, and dogs. The only time pangolins spend time together is when they mate and bear young. Some pangolin fathers will stay in the den until the single offspring is independent. Babies are born with soft scales that harden after two days, but they will ride on their mothers’ tails until they’re weaned at about three months. They reach sexual maturity at about two years old.

There are eight different pangolin species that can be found in Asia and Africa. However, pangolins are protected animals and some are even considered endangered species. The shy, harmless pangolin has becoming increasingly well known for one reason: It’s believed to be the world’s most trafficked non-human mammal. Tens of thousands of pangolins are poached every year, killed for their scales for use in traditional Chinese medicine and for their meat, a delicacy among some ultra-wealthy in China and Vietnam. There are eight species of pangolins. Four are found is Asia—Chinese, Sunda, Indian, and Philippine pangolins—and they’re listed by the IUCN as critically endangered. The four African species—the ground pangolin, giant pangolin, white-bellied, and black-bellied—are listed as vulnerable. All species face declining populations because of illegal trade.

Pangolin scales are made of keratin, the same material that makes up fingernails, hair, and horn. Pangolin scales, like rhino horn, have no proven medicinal value, yet they are used in traditional Chinese medicine. For many years, the Asian species were the primary target of poachers and traffickers. But now that their numbers have been depleted, smugglers are increasingly turning to African pangolins. In two record-breaking seizures in the space of a week in April 2019, Singapore seized a 14.2-ton shipment and and a 14-ton shipment of pangolin scales—from an estimated 72,000 pangolins—coming from Africa.

All eight pangolin species are at risk of extinction, and conservation efforts needed to save them. Despite their tough appearance these small, warrior-built mammals are losing the battle against poachers and habitat loss. They are the most trafficked animal in the world. Hunted for their scales which can be sold on the black market for up to $3,000/kg. Large-scale trafficking is driven by a belief that pangolin scales have magical and curative properties and demand for their meat. These interesting beliefs about Pangolin are:

  • When mixed with bark from certain trees, the scales are thought to neutralize witchcraft and evil spirits.
  • If buried near a man’s door they are said to give an interesting woman power over him. The smoke from their scales is thought to improve cattle health, keep lions away, and cure ailments like nose-bleeds.
  • Although their scales are made of keratin—the same substance that makes up human hair and nails—they are in high demand in certain Asian countries. Where the scales are believed to cure illnesses ranging from cancer to asthma and heart disease.
  •  Their meat is considered a delicacy and a status symbol as it is served to visitors or business meetings for bragging rights.
  • In some areas, tribes believe sighting of this scaly mammal indicates there will be a drought and the only way to prevent it is by killing the animal.
  • They are used in traditional Chinese medicine to help with ailments ranging from lactation difficulties, epilepsy, chicken pox to arthritis. The scales are typically dried and ground up into powder, which may be turned into a pill.
  • In Africa, it’s thrown into the fire alive and when eaten its believed to bring good luck to the person.

In Kenya, the Pangolins have not been spared either, due to the demand for its body parts, which are used by different communities for different reasons, including as ornaments, in medicine and superstition, among others. They fetch a fortune in the black market since their scales are used for spiritual protection and financial rituals, A pangolin goes for approximately KSh4 million even though they top the LIST OF IUCN Red List Of Threatened Species and are Listed as “Critically Endangered.” Director of In August  24, this year, Director of Criminal Investigations officers in Kinango, Kwale county arrested three suspects accused of being in possession of a male pangolin, after which the pangolin was handed over to the Kenya Wildlife Service personnel at the Nairobi Animal Orphanage.

As a matter of fact, all eight pangolin species face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild due to illegal overexploitation for local and international use. The addition of pangolins to the Red List serves to catalyse action and mitigate against the threats they face in a bid to secure their long-term future. Still, there is a lot to do, and more awareness to communities for their invaluable cooperation must be furthered for sure sustainability of the conservation agenda. No value can be placed on any one species. Lamentably, we must realise all too late a species’ importance in the cycle of life. We should remember, prevention is better than cure.


It is very critical that the climate situation in Africa is no longer only tagged as an ‘emergency’ by the developed countries but some action in terms of firm funding towards the Africa Union’s Climate Adaptation Program provided. It is a major disappointment the only thing the Conference of Parties, COP 26, in Glasgow was able to hand to the planet was a prostrated, watered-down pact.  An agreement actually scourged in overtime due to the reluctance of the developed countries to commit to toe the safe line.

 Presently, Africa as a continent is paying the most for the environment destructive policies of developed nations.  When it comes to climate change, it is in the eye of the storm. Even without the human link or those intertwined challenges in poverty, illiteracy, land degradation et all, Africa’s climate is very vulnerable. Despite the small contribution to global warming, its effects are becoming more intense and frequent within the African region with landslides, droughts, floods becoming a blaring norm.  Climate change is an increasing threat in Africa and has a growing impact on the continent, hitting the most vulnerable hardest, and contributing to food insecurity, population displacement and stress on water resources.  When the wealthy countries fail to honor commitments to help developing nations tackle the challenge of climate change,it is a harrowing betrayal.  During the Copenhagen Climate Summit, in 2009, a pledge was made to provide $100 billion a year of support to the poorest countries by 2020. As it stands this target is now unlikely to be met until at least 2023. The fight against global climate change cannot be won unless it is won in Africa, however, global support has been lacking. In the words of current African Union President , President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, H.E. Felix Tshisekedi during the COP 26 summit, ‘Africa is tired of waiting!’

Africa can no longer wait for a response and when it arrives, is too vague because it undermines the real solutions that address the core causes of climate change. There is failure by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — and within it the COPs — to advance to real solutions to the climate crisis because its agenda and actions have been mangled to preserve the profit-driven vested interests of powerful corporations, governments and other elites. Actually, there is no real guarantee of funding to the climate crisis. African countries are already spending around 5% of annual GDP on climate initiatives, compared to less than 1% in rich, developed nations. All this is despite the fact that poorer nations still have to pay around five times more on debt repayment than on climate measures not-withstanding the Covid-19’s effect on their economies.

The heavy carbon emitters, like China and the United States, have a moral obligation to help the nations of Africa, particularly the rural areas of these countries, mitigate the impact of climate change, not just to help Africa, but to help the rest of the world. Hypothetically, against all odds, Africa has made great efforts in driving the global climate agenda. This is demonstrated by the very high levels of ratification of the Paris Agreement – over 90%. Many African nations have committed to transitioning to green energy within a relatively short time frame. Clean energy and agriculture are, for example, prioritized in over 70% of African countries. This is an integral part of setting the tone of the economic development priorities of the continent. Climate justice demands that there be international cooperation to tackle this existential threat and to mitigate its effect.

What if this alleged tomorrow never comes? It is imperative that African governments collect and collate data to design customized frameworks for building the resilience of African economies, societies and ecosystems to climate change. The framework is to guide actions in member states towards low-carbon emissions development. The continent must adopt green pathways for economic growth. Whether or not the $100 billion per year pledge from rich countries set to be available from 2023 becomes a reality, the continent must strive to fend for itself. The plan has to be more comprehensive than just adaptation financing. Beyond financing, Africa urgently requires an insurrection in terms of knowledge and climate action planning. 

The youth, women, girls, the disabled and every marginalized group should be at center stage in the fight for climate justice and a transformative shift towards a disaster-proof Africa. It is the youngest generations that stand to be the worst affected and thus should be heavily involved and supported with tools and resources even beginning from there time in the classrooms. Change is inevitable and at this juncture afoot. The introduction of compulsory climate change studies in both secondary and primary schools would be a step in the right direction for Africa and especially my country, Kenya. Climate references can be embedded into most school subjects, geography, history, science for example and also languages where the students have the opportunity to discuss the climate crisis in a new language. These issues can be incorporated into daily lessons, with age-appropriate discussions and topics. Children can see how climate issues fit into their world and in any way do something about it. In doing this Africa, or Kenya would be copy pasting a epic chapter in the books of countries like Spain, Argentina, Mexico, New Zealand, China and even Italy where former Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti championed a law which made Italy the world’s first country to make climate study compulsory in schools. The list is endless what the students can do that will enlighten them to the ramifications of climate change. Primary learners can for example be encouraged to think more about greening their own classroom, while young teenagers can learn about fast-fashion through upcycling their T-shirts.

Since Africa’s population is 60% youth, they could be retooled to take up climate action as an opportunity to offer impactful solutions to society.  Being the most significant non-state actor constituency on the continent in terms of numbers, African countries could draw on the intrinsic abilities of their energy, creativity, skills and talents to drive climate action while unlocking opportunities for them and providing with employment. Training the youth on waste-recovery to wealth where they coalesce waste recovery to fuel charcoals and bio-fertilizer solutions, which are non-capital-intensive opportunities, into their enterprises. Youth can be taught to be au fait with markets by providing effective and affordable alternatives to contemporary non-sustainable solutions of charcoal and chemical fertilizers. Through the value added solutions, that are climate friendly, their income can go up by 150%. Their new knowledge can be used to make a case in formulating an institutional response to African states, of how the Informal sector in Africa can be leveraged as the foundation for rebuilding better, different more resilient economies in the region.

The last United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow delivered only on adaptation, climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building. The next conference COP 27, slated for Egypt next year should address the climate change impact on Africa per se. Failure to that, the African Union (AU) should call for an Africa-specific conference to address this issue, that seems according to them is – dastardly ours.


Kaki had arrived at the coffee shop uneasy because she was behind schedule. The pressure was on from the publishers to deliver on her book due for debut early the next month. Since she had not handed it to the editors, the phone had continuously been ringing with deadline threats from the people that mattered. She had promised, yet again, that in a matter of days, it would be forthcoming. That is why, even when Jay walked into the dinghy she never noticed him until he walked over. That was after he had sat and gotten struck by her beauty whilst he took his espresso. Since all his efforts of trying to catch her attention had been to nought, he had taken it upon himself to walk over and say hi. That is how it all started. After a couple of meetings, it seemed a union was in the offing. It was crystal to the pair, they were made for each other. One thing led to another, months and months down the line, they tied the knot. Their wedding wasn’t lavish but very private and reserved. Only few family and close cronies were lucky enough to witness the event. And just like that, their lives set off, in the same beat. Everyone to himself. Kaki engrossed in her books and writings, Jay in his advertising and marketing business. It worked well for the both. At least for that time. It gave Kaki ample time to devote herself to her demanding writings and Jay his job. The love was there. A match actually made in heaven. She never would notice the time he came in at night. Or him never asking for food. Most of the time, he had eaten out in the meetings, he alleged. It was no biggie for her. She wasn’t that much of a fan for cooking anyway. When the tables turned with the entry of the corona virus, it’s adverse effects weren’t felt early. It took time before the stay and work from home order was enforced to ensure Jay’s wings were clipped. All memos in his email from his superiors advised the same thing – work from home. Somehow it didn’t seem such a great idea to Jay from the very beginning. He only agreed because there was no other way. All odds were starkly against him. Still he couldn’t help feel contained, borders infringed and just couldn’t get that feeling out his gut. Mind you, it wasn’t that he didn’t love his wife. No, there marriage was okay. Rocky like all the others, but still intact. That is what mattered for them. That first day for working at home wasn’t all that bad, working on the laptop next to her in their study. Actually, it was quite refreshing that Jay naively started nursing thoughts it wasn’t that bad after all. He plodded on. That first and second day working side by side passed in a daze, Kaki buried in her laptop. She had another deadline fast approaching. Muted. That’s how she preferred it, less talk, more concentration, more efficiency, more output. That’s exactly how she would put it. Jay knew that. He toed the line. In the evening however, was when he felt best time to break the monotony. He was hungry. They could at least talk now, couldn’t they? They could do with a break, and maybe share a meal together. Unbeknown to him, Kaki had just started a new scene in her writing and her creative juices were flowing like never before. This was not the time to stop. She had to keep going while it was still flowing. While the tempo was still up there. She had to ride this wave as much as possible, because the final hand-in date beckoned, ever so close. When Jay talked to her, she did hear, though she postponed reacting as she tried to type away a narration that had fallen in place in her mind. Then as she took it away, totally forget his mere presence in the room. That’s how it always happened, she always got lost in it.  However, Jay had never experienced this with her. As he slid out the study to the kitchen solemnly, the pangs of hunger that had encroached his stomach in systematic waves, only fanned ire. His mastery and prowess in the kitchen ensured he prepared a beef sandwich out of the bacon, salad and bread in the refrigerator. It felt much better after that. Enough to go straight to bed without an afterthought. He guessed she would prefer it that way. Actually, he guessed right. The time she came to bed and left it again, he never heard. In the morning, Jay found her in the study, still at it. That’s how another day began. Another day working from home. With Kaki responding to his ‘good morning darling’ without even glancing up to him standing at the door. But it was okay, they were alright. After freshening up, he made enough coffee for the both of them. Old habits die hard. Just that aroma catapulted him back to them days. He took her a cup and settled next to her, on her right. The acknowledgement of receipt never came. Nor did the appreciation. From his basic grooming, it was common courtesy to do so. It didn’t matter anyway, she was in her own world. Not even the ‘old time’s sake’ coffee would burst that bubble. Jay shelved the negative notions, after all it was the dawn of a bright new day. He too had issues to look into, new clients to follow up on. After a short while, he too was lost in the clicks of the buttons on the keyboard. At that moment, everyone had a clean slate. Again what inspired him to resurface to the real world was hunger. At around noon this time. Her cup of coffee was empty. Jay needed food. How could he make her understand this. “Can you make something for lunch?” he asked her ever so politely. She just looked up absent-mindedly, then bowed back without a word. She was gone, just like that. It was no use repeating himself. He got the cue. His eyes turned red, blood-shot red. His breath came harder, faster and even laboured. His heart pounded on his chest massively threatening to explode his rib-cage. Jay tried all means to get a hold, but he could see he was loosing it, and fast. “I SAID CAN YOU PLEASE MAKE SOMETHING FOR LUNCH!” he shouted without warning. His voice boomed and reverberated around the walls of the study. This noise caught Kaki off guard, nearly scared the skin out of her. Her face revealed the effect the raised voice had left in its wake. Jay had never, not once, lost his cool with his wife. This was uncharted waters, new terrain for the both. Kaki could see he was shaking, struggling unsuccessively to get it in control. But she was mad, she felt perplexed and down-trodden. Why did he have to raise his voice? Was it an order or a mere request? Look now she was loosing valuable time, she could have written a whole paragraph by now. What will she tell the publishers and her editor if she didn’t deliver on time. All these thoughts somersaulted in her head, stirring her ego and anger in the same pace. Kaki wouldn’t have it. She would absolutely take non of it. The next tirade of words hauled from one spouse to the other reeked of malice and contempt. Jay couldn’t see just how Kaki could be comfortable not fulfilling her duties as a wife. And for a long time, he emphasised. Kaki on the other hand was nearly dying in shock and disbelief. Not fulfilling her duties as a wife. Where was that coming from? She opened her mouth and this time spat venom. Something within the peripherals of not standing up long enough. Something about not quenching her thirst when at the taps. Kaki unleashed, throwing caution to the wind, totally berserk, out of control. The best example of a reaction from a wounded feline. Jay’s ego was wounded. Maybe beyond repair. Abuses were one thing, but contempt was something else completely. Kaki had taken a shot at his inflatted oversized male ego and trimmed it to size. Mercilessly, for a fact. It wasn’t fair. He had tried to be a good husband, always tried to be supportive. All the hullabaloo was because he had just asked for lunch. What nonsense! Adrenaline shot through his spine as he reflected on what was causing all this tiff. Even now Kaki was still hurling absurdities, only that he was so drowned in anger, he couldn’t hear what she was ranting about. The direction the argument had taken plummeted the situation further. Even when the slap came, she never saw it coming. It caught her in the middle of a controversial quote. Right in the middle of her cheek and sent an echoing sound through to her ears. She coiled below with her hand covering the area, tears now flowing effortlessly. Kaki sank on her chair, her legs couldn’t bear her weight anymore. Her whole world was crumbling, with that one slap. He had done it. He had dared to lay a finger on her. Jay too was surprised with the agility of his hand. It had struck like a whiplash, for a second and it was over. He wasn’t in control. The hand had been controlled by his anger. His anger had gotten the best of him. What could he say to justify himself. He shouldn’t have done that, he knew it, from the utmost depth of his heart.


The revelations that only siblings of the ruling elite families in this ‘our’ Kenya are the sole beneficiaries of the latest presidential appointments had me swallowing involuntarily and I abandoned all hope of ever salvaging trust in this system. As it is alleged that corruption is made more painful and costly through the corridors of the justice, am awed with the fact that the crooks and cronies of one Grace Wakhungu have seemingly managed to raise 1B to save her skin. Led by the likes of a former vice president giving 135million(by the way, anyone with info how much this guy gives in church?). The figure had looked attainable from the first few days after that history-making verdict. Why should we be dismayed now, if not disappointed, that before the dust has settled, Grace and company have achieved the near impossible! She will soon breathe the sweet, fresh air of freedom, leaving jail with her head held high proudly. You can see that twee picture setting a bad precedent right there. Now, if liable fines in courts of law are promptly paid by looters, then I feel all this a sham! I ask, after the fines are availed, can we honestly say they are sanitized and holier than thou? Has the 314million NCPB maize scandal been attoned by the millions injected through the judiciary wing of government?  Hands up to anyone discerning the metamorphosis of impunity in our country! I daresay there is a chama for the likes of GW basically out there to ensure collection of handouts anytime their own lands in hot soup. For curiosity’s sake, when this Government is paid, isn’t it possible to get re-looted again? Who doesn’t know the Nigerian story of the re-looting of already recovered millions from it’s own coffers. The way this picture threatens to unfold, stinks so much of same script, different cast. I say we got the front seats to the new and improved Prison Break Season Covid Finale. Missing in action is the shovelling and dirty stuff.

Anyway, just across the gate, her co-accussed, the Sirisia MP John Waluke has managed to raise only a paltry 250 million. Focus on the 100 million coming from someone very high in government, it is alleged. You definitely know who it is! You remember the invisible face in the fiasco who albeit pocketed the most. Yes, that one! Kenyans too ‘managed’ to respond to the pleas of the MP’s wife Roselyn and contribute a humble sh.361,000. By all means an amount very fair, considering no one got invited to the bash when they made merry of the stash they had conned with her crooked husband of an MP. However, it was not before Kenyans renowned for their prowess in speaking their minds, had trolled her online with abuses and mockery. Who wouldn’t anyway? After gobbling up 40M with none but blood relatives, you then shamelessly turn to all and sundry for the helping hand, when the money is drained.

Well, if we are talking about money and draining in the same sentence, we can’t avoid the nieces of the President who have shown that the Covid-19 nightmare was godsent. How rhetoric that, while that mother in Kisauni, Mombasa was boiling pebbles for her three malnourushed offspring, starving, someone only 33years of age, just across the county borders, had scored a tender worth 84M. As if wherever they were born, they already didn’t have more than enough! Just like that, because of the right connections from blood lineage, these lasses confirmed to be carrying two of the priciest cats in town. The interesting bit though, don’t forget, is their modus operandi. From the registration of the company days before Covid-19 happened, to the signatures appended in procurement documents, everything reeked of either naivety or stupidity. Although my fingers are crossed its the former rather than the latter. There is absolutely no cunning in signing your name in goverment documents especially if there is a connection with that very goverment. An experienced hand in this our Kenya, the way we know it, especially with ties up there with the you-know-who, would hide behind proxies when doing business with government. That is obviously to prevent the drama and public relations circus that ensues when caught with hands in the cookie jar. I bet they have learnt the hard way and next time an alias would be forthcoming. Better yet, there doesn’t have to be one.  My take, surprise everyone, change, do an about-turn! Don’t continue the pillage ladies, what’s already in the barns can last generations! Again, you may ask Ankoo or Grandma for a lil piece of the pie, they wouldn’t risk leave you again to your reckless ways.

On this same beat about change, if there is one about-turn worth noting, it’s the one that the plane carrying Kenyan officials for the late Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa burial took. We still aren’t sure if it really was bad weather that forced them to do a hasty retreat as they claimed. Their would-have-been hosts seemed to  harbour different views which catapults this situation downhill further. It can no longer be swept under the carpet of the bad neighbor relationship between Kenya and Tanzania. There is more than meets the eye. This enterprenual mind of Kenyans always seeking new ventures then excelling in, am afraid, has rubbed very badly on neighbours. It has caused a ripple effect of suspicion and open hate. Maybe, mostly fueled by an inferiority complex that is supercharged by an inferior education system, shilling and outdated policies that were enshrined in their minds and way of life since them days. Even Covid-19, a plague that has plundered the whole world still wasn’t mighty enough to unite these neighbours. Their policies as pertains to the pandemic have been like night and day. Kenya choosing to acknowledge the presence of the virus with the whole world. Tanzania has however, under it’s very able president chosen to remain as if they live under a rock unbeknown to the rest of the world, and refute the existence of the disease within it’s borders. Their President has vehemently discarded any notions of Covid-19 and thrown caution to the air by ignoring all WHO set precaution guidelines. All this claiming that Providence had ensured his people were cured and remained immune to the disease. I can’t help thinking, this is a modern day Kinjekitile Ngwana. Didn’t she tell her people that the water she sprinkled on to them was holy water, and would prevent the white man’s bullets from penetrating their bodies. Shock on them then, shock on them now. Perhaps in the ultimate turn-around of events, the Tanzanian Health PS has reviewed their Covid-19 travel advisory. This move he claims is in a bid to maintain the countrys’ coronavirus free situation. Need I say more!

On matters near home, that we can’t afford to throw under the bus, i applaude the coastal lawmakers for standing steadfast, when push came to shove concerning the county’s revenue sharing formula. I have said it before, it is times like this that leaders worth their salt should stand up and get counted. It is high time the coastal people wake up and refuse to dance the accapella of anyone but themselves. He who feels it knows it. That is why they should expect no one but themselves to fight for their rights. With the first hurdle out of the way, the next step of gathering people under one umbrella should follow suit urgently. Just showing you can lobby in unison about the revenue sharing debacle is next to nothing, if you can’t execute the finishing meticulously. It is a belittling fact that most of the dwellers at the coast are squatters thus they may argue, how that new revenue sharing math will affect their everyday life. More needs to be done to follow and realise the dreams of fallen coastal leaders like the late Ronald Ngala, the late Sharriff Nassir, the late Karisa Maitha who wanted to consolidate the coast as one block. That way they will have the gained leverage in votes and thus a say in bargaining for the interests of her own people. If you check the chapters of history, they will attest that the coast has always nursed and toyed with the thought of seceding because it has been marginalised even before independence when it was a Protectorate of the Sultan. Presently, it still can’t grapple with the fact that the public beaches still haven’t been officially opened. Maasai Mara is up and running even causing a raucous in Eliud Kipchoge just to stimulate domestic tourism. That revenue sharing debate was a light-bulb moment to coastal leaders. Alas, it was crystal that it was every man for oneself. Adjustments and concessions for whatever reasons have to be made. Lest the coast and other marginalised areas get infuriated, frustrated and rebellious enough to hit the highway and leave Kenya to its own-Kenyans.


I can’t say I was astonished by the turnout of events yesterday when the Senate cleared Governor Whyguru of all wrong doing. She wasn’t obviously going anywhere with the solid backing of State Howz and Baba Rao himself. The very able Senate team declared her white as the wool of ‘sheep’ and instead pointed the finger elsewhere for the DCI to go sniff and fetch.

It is not fair to say that the MCA’S, who huddled and slept together in the county buildings, in order to rise early and impeach Whyguru represented the will of the people of Qirinyaga. It is definitely not rocket science that when these politicians start forsaking their humble abodes to sleep on couches in the office(this is a first one by all means), something is brewing. They are probably thinking with their stomachs. When the MCA’S managed to pull off this stunt Whyguru had them right where she wanted. The numerous prior attempts to overthrow her had made her, up her game apart from growing a thicker skin. All that remained was to separate the wheat from the chaff. Which the MCA’S did themselves, without any probing, ever so vividly on D-Day in front of cameras. Those allied to ‘Myguru’ were bundled in a heap and forcibly thrown out the gate. It was downhill ever since. Unbeknown to them the die had already been cast.

Fast forward to the Senate happenings. The confidence that Governor Whyguru exuded during the trial was second to none. The cartons of bulky documents delivered to the Senate committee as part of her defense served to bully and scorn her detractors. Maybe to prove her prowess and experience in these realms, Whyguru could be seen calmly passing time with a solitaire game. I mean who does that? It was like saying, get it over with! Who says it doesn’t pay to know who is who in this country? The Governor had it all covered. The addition of her husband in his professional capacity to speak on her behalf tells you the extent of seriousness this issue had been given. You can imagine the amount of time invested in making this narrative have a fairy tale ending.

In the dismissal of their more-like malicious application, the bad is on the MCA’S who delivered a half baked motion that could not stand the required threshold. According to the Senate, there was nothing linking the allegations to the Governor. No signatures or account deposits just flawed processes by county executive personnel working under her. So what was pushing these MCA’S to quickly oust her? Definitely there is more than meets the eye! Why not first accumulate enough evidence before moving forward? Were they merely crying wolf? It is sad that they couldn’t discern that what they delivered was a still birth. I bet they cared less. What topped their agenda was to do the bidding of their master of the time. To prove they are for hire to the highest bidder, i wouldn’t be surprised if I saw them tomorrow on the news expressing their unwaivered, unfaltered support for the Madam Governor.

You can blame it on the dynamics of this new political dispensation. This new order is all about the numbers and whose side you fall on. You can be darker than sin yet viola,we can change you as white as snow. The people of Qirinyaga did the same thing. Didn’t they? One minute she is clean, the next she stinks. They will certainly get a chance to illuminate their thoughts next time they vote, that is if the Governor decides to run again. Although it’s more likely she forfeits this and gets a cabinet appointment, done with these shenanigans. Need I say why else WHYGURU is my guru! Next time I hear anyone saying she is corrupt, I will retort with a,”go tell it to the birds!”

Continue reading “WHYGURU IS MY GURU”


The honourable CS MAGOHA was out  to give a briefing on the findings from the Senate committee tasked with advising the ministry on the modalities of opening schools under this Covid scare. Only families with candidates know how fidgety they had become not knowing their fate. Anyway, it seemed like the minister couldn’t ignore and just couldn’t wait to fire away at the elephant in the room. The recent reveal of the exponential number of pregnant schoolgirls in the country just had to be tackled. Any responsible adult and father would be obliged to do so.

I was baffled earlier in the day, when I came across the post somewhere in the net and it struck me as odd. I am aware what most people had was just the figures from one county – Machakos, but (courtesy of my essential services badge) I had numbers for all counties pretty early in the day. It’s description in one word – poetic. I mean the numbers were so high, with Nairobi predictably leading from the front with slightly above the better half of eleven thousand, that they actually literally looked like Covid-19 status update numbers from Brazil.

The self-confessed professor of twenty or more years still razor sharp had the wit and audacity to question the authenticity of this information. How did they arrive at these figures? Who or which organization conducted this survey? Who are these children,from which schools? How did they get a hold of them to find out their state? Schools closed on late March, how could anyone get a hold of all those school kids and test them? No matter how you look at it, it’s next to impossible to get such data unless all those kids went to hospital to seek help and we got the news there. Better still, an underage pregnant would never take themselves to hospital at one or two months in it. Not logical at all. Again it’s not even two months without school that is if you don’t count April. It’s the holidays for crying out loud. It a normal thing, only this time a little longer.

What also clearly caught my eye was conservative Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit beating Mombasa hands down.  I mean if you know the Coast the way most of us do, there is no way that is holding any water. There is no way, for example, the Garissa or Wajir bodabodas are more lethal than their counterparts in Mombasa. That is a the-world-is-flat lie. It made me remember the tale of the judge who told a defendant to try and make the dog smaller if he didn’t mean for it to be a hyena whilst he was trying to explain his case.

According to them you can never guess who is to blame for the spike in pregnancies. I can give you all day but you won’t get it. No, not the parents. Again, no, not the man or boy presumably. Let’s cut the chase. They blame it on the man of the moment, the alpha male – Covid-19. That is when it clicked! Has it? This opened a totally new dimension in my thinking and I must give it to some Kenyans for their genius. Whilst all eyes are riveted on the fight against this monster, some people have already turned it into a money – mincing plot. Some nerve! It is practical that pushing a narrative so hard makes people start believing that line and just like that pap an NGO is born to champion and defend just that. Then, as if by order, we would need funds to do this, some to do that and the outcome is the siphoning of millions from government coffers into someone’s belly.

I bet the sources of the information had not put into consideration all the dynamics as pertains to this case scenario. Didnt they even think we would be tempted to discern and conclude that maybe we are fighting the wrong battle? Yet again they had underestimated the intellect of other like – minded geniuses out there who can read between the lines. Come to think of the way I had already blacklisted some of my pals from Eastern for the sins of their kinsmen. Even in our traditional African custom, it is classified as an unfathomable act. You don’t steal from the house of the mourning. Only a naive and slow head will still not have had that light bulb moment after perusing through this. As for me on this one, I beg to pass. I beg to say, nope am not boarding.


Asiepet moved sluggishly on the bed and sat up, she turned her head and fixed her shuttered eyes on Samba. The man snored away peacefully unaware that the alarm had been snoozed for an umpteenth time before Ash( he had pet-named her that!) could salvage the much required strength to severe ties with the heavy scarlet duvet.        ‘Samba wake up, we’ll be late for work, ‘she drudgily muttered under her breath as she tried to shake his upper torso. Realisation dawned on him like a douche of cold water and he sprung to life. In three swift movements he had slipped into his bathrobe, pecked her cheek and slithered into the adjacent bathroom. She could hear the sound of  teeth meeting brush, a tap opened then guggling. Ash allowed a happy face to slip then for no apparent reason a thousand thoughts and memories shuffled through her mind like a black jack deck. She felt so happy at the moment. Life was presently good. It had been fair to her so far.This is exactly what took her mind back to the childhood memories of barefoot strolls down dusty lanes. Those dark days are what made her feel uneasy and a visitor in this present bubble of a moment.

Her mind strayed to miles yonder, years back as she stared infront at nothing. She was only ten years then and had just started getting visitations from the Red Robin when her mother summoned her to the kitchen. It was one strategically placed outside the main house. A smaller version of the main. Still circular, made with stick, mud, mudbrick, rammed earth and pebbles. The roof was adorned in thatch and a conical piece of tin stuck round the top of the centre main pole. On that day, the smoke seemed irregularly clingy as she sat next to her mum. The smoke stung her eyes as she tried to puff into the fire that threatened to falter away. Then her mother vomited the news to her. She looked powerless, there was nothing she could do! Asiepet’s father had ‘after much thought’ decided to marry her off to a rich old man whose boma was just across the river. It was either these news or the smoke that now stung like teargas, that caused tears to stream effortlessly down her puffy cheeks. All her dreams were shattered and scattered on the floor with these news. Ash had always dreamt of making it big. Leaving home and going to work in the big city. She had always clung onto dreams of driving a posh car and living in a house with a bedroom upstairs. All that gone with the wind. Ash didn’t even notice when her mum left perhaps also overcome with emotions. She wouldn’t dare object to her husband. Those were different times. Ash went to bed directly, she suddenly had lost her appetite. Even the rag of a mattress that she cuddled in everyday felt itchy as if infested with bugs. She tossed and turned like her life depended on it.

All this while Samba had come back clean and shaven. He noticed Ash totally immersed in her thoughts and moved closer to her face until he could feel her breath. That is when she jumped up startled. ‘ Sorry baby, I never meant to stun you. You seemed very far, is anything the matter?’ inquired Samba looking very concerned. Before he could finish the question, Asiepet had marched into the washroom and closed the door behind her. Time waited for no man, they needed to beat the morning traffic! In a  jiffy, they were both ready to leave their humble abode. The couple walked briskly to their family car looking, feeling, smelling like a million grand. To their utter naive dismay, the morning traffic jam had beat them to it. As sure as the sun,it presented itself as soon as they joined the highway. Bumper to bumper the vehicles assembled in a long unending line both sides of the road. They both resigned to the fate of arriving late at their respective jobs. The cars moved in hiccups and it became business as usual to switch off the engine. ‘That’s the city for us!’ Samba exclaimed as he reached forward and switched on the stereo. Some cool classic music rented the air and soothed the duo. He had noticed how preoccupied Ash seemed this morning. He let her be. She would talk when she was ready.

Asiepet escaped the traffic pandemonium with great ease that morning. Sleep was never forthcoming so the morning came ironically as a blessing. Even so, with the fact that the old mzee with whom she was allegedly betrothed to, would make a technical appearance in their compound. It wasn’t the official ‘handing over’ ceremony but more like a ‘view the prize’ visit. The old mzee was shamelessly early i bet lest anyone changes their mind. He walked with a limp that was magnified by an oversized coat burst out on its seams. His head was small and had scattered unkempt hair on the sides protruding from the ancient baseball hat he sported. What a sight to behold. Ash felt disgusted and wanted to throw up. She raced behind the kitchen.  There it was! The shortcut that she had created for herself for going to school every morning. The path lay right in front of her, now for the taking. Yes, it was either that or go back to the house and exchange pleasantries with her soon-to-be husband. The choice was hers.

The sound of car horn sliced the air like a hot knife and brought her back to Samba. The jam had eased and he had weaved through the lanes that her offices were well in sight. ‘Have a good day dear,’ Ash whispered to Samba’s ear as she planted a well-deserved kiss on his lips. She opened the car door and made for the building’s entrance. Asiepet couldn’t help thinking that day she had made the right choice taking that path. That path had taken her to the school headmistress. The headmistress had taken her to the Commissioner. From there, her education had become unstoppable. She had become a force to reckon with from right then.



As much as i have tried so much to evade writing anything about Covid-19, the recent order of events have left me no choice. For some time now, i have harboured some very stereotypical views as pertains to the above mentioned subject. However, I have always practised restraint and had the audacity of keeping them shut to myself but until now. I need to make it crystal at this onset that the following words are nothing but my penned thoughts. No pun was intended whatsoever. This pandora box of thoughts was burst open, contents therein spilled and this is what spew forth. All this hell, courtesy of a masked brute who broke the law in broad daylight and lives to tell the tale just because he hid his face behind the piece of clothing. The witnesses at the scene of the crime allege that they only saw a masked image take to his heels in the aftermath. This experience left me with a bile-like taste in my mouth and I couldn’t help but swallow involuntarily. I had to question everything, the need for the masks, even the mere existence of this pandemic.

Masks have been employed by humans for generations to serve different purposes though their current extent of misuse in the soiled hands of criminals, begs for their fall into disuse. A masked ‘customer’ will nowadays stroll casually into a business premise in the middle of a busy street and transition into a robber within a blink. Even that wise investment in CCTV cameras would in this case be an exercise in futility. And why is this? It is the law of the land that all persons wear a mask whilst in public. As a precautionary measure against contracting or spreading the corona virus. Well, sounded so easy and responsible at first, didnt it? That was until some shameless, opportunistic thugs customized this to suit their current endeavors. Totally deviating from the main agenda of saving lives in the prevention of new cases. The question begging to be asked here by all and sundry is that do the masks even protect from catching the virus?

I dare say the evidence for the efficacy of surgical masks or homemade masks is limited, and masks aren’t the most important protection against the corona virus. Study has found that masks don’t necessarily stop healthy people from catching the virus but does stop people spreading it further. It has also showed that covering one’s mouth and nose can reduce forward distance by an exhaled breath by more than 90%. As this breath could contain small droplets of water some of which contain the virus. Isn’t it in order to deduce that masks aren’t effective in stopping contracting the virus rather spreading it. Unless for the healthcare personnel, we can pass that masks are for the protection of others, not for the protection of oneself. Moreso in the cases of asymptomatic carriers of the virus. Still the mask must be worn correctly, changed frequently, removed properly,disposed of safely and used in combination with good universal hygiene inorder to be an effective module.

These veiled thieves ridicule the very efforts put in all over the world to rid this world of this disease. They end up smearing with dirt the very good intentions of the World Health Organisation of prescribing to all states to encourage the use of masks. But then again, what about the children and those with disabilities and respiratory problems? I reckon they were never taken into consideration when the masks were being pushed down our throats. Methinks, Covid-19 is a mild illness especially in Africa. Most people will come into contact with the virus and your individual response will depend on your immunity. After all hundreds of viruses inhibit our respiratory tract causing problems here and there but the body defends itself. The homemade masks that masses are spotting are least effective and the recommendation that they too are applicable was ill-advised, only because “any kind of impediment is better than nothing.” These fabric masks wouldn’t be able to stop the spread of the infection, but would have a small effect on transmission. All this factored in, we shouldn’t be relying on masks to help us go back to normal. Of course if that is if you are not that thug.