Land Grab Right on The Green Belt?

Spring Valley Nairobi – An area that was supposedly protected by the Green Belt Movement is now being built up by a developer. The Green Belt Movement is the organization founded by the venerable Prof. Wangari Maathai, a nobel laureate and actually a heroine of mine. I ask about this because there are more questions than I have answers, when I drove by this area in late 2006 and late 2007 my impression was that the whole valley around the signboard was part of the Green Belt Movement protected area. At the time the whole place just had trees and a few vegetable gardens. Am I mistaken?

Land grabbed or not?

The sign board is now an exercise in utter irony

Land grabbed or not?

Fence around the property

Land grabbed or not?

view from the road

Land grabbed or not?

view from the side.
All pics taken June 28th 2009.

Anyone with more info, please comment.

Yes We Can – In other languages

While watching the Democratic National convention, and twittering with other citizens of the world, we started translating the phrase ‘Yes We Can’ to other languages. Here are the translations we gathered.

Ndiyo tunaweza’ – swahili

DNA of Soulfege
In Ga “Ehh, wo ba nye!”
in Akwapim Twi “Yiu, ye be Tumi!” en Anglais: YES WE CAN!

french:”Oui nous pouvons” lingala:”e, to koki” portuguese:”sim podemos”

‘we fit do am’ -Pidgin English for Yes We Can. The ‘t’ is silent.

There are 2 t-shirt designs that my twitter friends and designers came up with…
Kaysha designed this

Picture 1.png

and the venerable David Kobia designed this one.

Picture 2.png

click on the respective images to buy the t-shirts. I recommend wearing both, just because you can 🙂

Please chime in comments with more translations of ‘Yes We Can’ in whatever language you speak.

Andrew Mwenda arrested by Ugandan Officials

Update:04/28/2008 “Andrew is out of jail on Bond, he has to report to the police tomorrow.”
Thanks for the good news Emeka

This piece of news via the TED blog is terribly worrisome. Andrew Mwenda, arguably Africa’s most refreshing intellectual and journalist, has been arrested by Ugandan officials. More here.

This is utter injustice, and i am not even sure where to begin. For now, highlighting it on this blog seems to be one way, please highlight it on yours too, and I am sure some initiatives and online campaigns are being organized. Keep an eye on the TED blog for Updates.

Below is a picture i took of him last year at TEDGlobal. He is the one in the middle with glasses,looking at the Mamamikes remittance site, and speaking with Segeni.
Mama Mikes Demo

Bloggers for Kenya: Thank you

Thank you to our dear blogger friends for supporting Kenya, and for spreading the word on the ‘Support Kenyans in Distress’ campaign with
Georgia of Caribbean Free Radio
African Loft
Kikuyu Moja

As the Mamamikes blog updates, the amount is exceeding $1900.
May i reiterate the thanks to the following people….

Omolo, Kuria, Kimura, Nyokabi, Miaud, Edgerton, Monyo, Kimeria, Dsouza, Kangethe, Muthoni, Coseac, Barbieri, Patel, Jabbar, Mann, Warungongo, Wairimu, Juergen, Njoroge, Laurance, Wanja, Wambui, Romanos, Lutz, Popplewell, Walsh, Kamau

Thank you to the following Kenyan Bloggers for committing their time to volunteer on the 17th.
M of Thinkers Room
Josiah Mugambi of Skunkworks and Mission Driven
The list is growing, so if you are a kenyan blogger/blog reader in Nairobi, please leave a comment if you can make it. we understand the situation might be tenuous but we hope it will be calm on Thursday. If you have any questions please feel free to send me an email, afromusing at gmail dot com

Date: Thursday January 17th 2008
Location: Mamamikes office – Kingsway Hse opposite Nairobi Outpatient Center on Muindi Mbingu Street
Time: 5pm

PS: Ushahidi Update: Local number to report an incident is +254 711 862 149 6007

Bloggers for Kenya, and Hope in Jamhuri Park.

Mamamikes’ donation page is now live. When you click on the homepage, you now have an option to purchase vouchers for Kenyans in Distress. The food and supplies bought will be distributed by the Red Cross to the various parts of Kenya that have been affected by post election violence. This is another way to help and it can save you on wiring costs associated with direct Bank Transfers to the Red Cross. Even without advertising, Mamamikes has already received $300, worth of donated vouchers. (Thank you to that Kind Soul wherever you are)
Update: The amount received so far is now $1000 (thank you!)
For your $10 voucher a package with the following items is purchased for the Red Cross.
-3litres of cooking oil,2kgs of rice and slippers
-2kgs of unga,5litres of water and a pair of shoes
-sanitary products,2kg unga and 2kg of rice
Vouchers are available in the amounts of $15, $20, $25, $50, $75, and you can buy as many as you are able to.

Bloggers for Kenya
This week we would like to appeal to all bloggers, friends of bloggers, wannabe bloggers, diaspora kenyans, Tedsters, treehuggers, geeks, nerds, boingboingers, worldchangers…you get the idea, to give what they can using Mamamikes’ donation page. On Thursday the 17th of January the bloggers in Nairobi will meet at the mamamikes office, assist in purchasing all the items and delivering them to the Red Cross.
Parliament opens tomorrow and there are some rallies planned later in the week, therefore depending on the situation, we will still shoot for Thursday to deliver the items to Red Cross. If for one reason or another the situation is too unstable on Thursday, we will reschedule and let you know. For now, please post about this and tag your posts with ‘Bloggers for Kenya’.

Hope In Jamhuri Park

With all the feelings of helplessness many feel at the current situation; what with failed mediation attempts, fears of more instability as Parliament opens tomorrow, the secondary trauma of watching news of your country being torn apart; perhaps the only thing that can keep Kenyans (here and in the diaspora) sane is doing something to assist the displaced. I have since learned the acronym IDP (Internally Displaced Person), something that aid workers such as Mr. Arunga who works in Darfur, and diplomats in Africa are familiar with…Now the acronym is being used to describe the people camped in various shelters in Kenya.
One such place is Jamhuri Park, Nairobi. I joined Martin and Cynthia of Mamamikes on a visit to Jamhuri Park to see first hand the plight of Internally Displaced persons. It was heart-rending, and very surreal. We could not believe that this was happening in our country, but left with a bit of hope in our hearts as we saw the work of other volunteers, the Red Cross, St. John’s Ambulance Service and even the police/military. Martin and Cynthia have written about the experience here. I will only add some pictures from our day, as they have wonderfully captured everything i wanted to mention in the post. Thank you!
Queues to get food


Queue for health care by St. Johns Ambulance Services

Red Cross
Ahmed’s red cross Jacket. He usually works in Isiolo, but came to Jamhuri Park to help with the tracing activities. I.e figuring out who are the lost children, photographing them, and tracing their relatives.

Soccer with the children

Kevin (the little boy) talks to Victone of the Red Cross,who is part of the tracing team that will try to locate and reunite Kevin with his family.

Children gathered for a bit of entertainment in the afternoon.

Volunteers entertaining the children with song and dance

Watching and listening…

The whole set of photos from the day is here.

The Death of James Odhiambo – Kenya Post Election violence.

Note: Images posted on
Disclaimer: The following images are gruesome and disturbing. The humanitarian crisis is real and dire. Complete set of photos taken in Kakamega by Mr. Arunga are available here. The images include shots of the police station, showing the displaced taking refuge there, burning shops, vandalized petrol station and burned car.

The death of James Odhiambo

Onlookers and concerned citizens around the body of 24 yr old James Odhiambo, who was killed in the post election violence in Lurambi – Junction on the way to Shikoti, Kakamega, western province, Kenya. The gentleman in white (Brian) on the right worked with James at the petrol station as attendants and witnessed the shooting.
The death of Joseph Odhiambo
Close up of the bullet wound on the body of 24 yr old James Odhiambo. According to eye witnesses, he was walking to work when he met the GSU paramilitary. Mr. Odhiambo continued to walking towards towards the GSU as he thought he could talk to them and find out what is happening. According to eyewitnesses, he was shot without even though he was not violent or doing anything that would indicate he would be a threat to the GSU. The witnesses tried to contact the police so they could come and pick up the body, but the police said that they did not have fuel for the vehicle. As of the writing of this post, the late James Odhiambo was buried yesterday in Homa Bay, Nyanza province. Brian and other friends from the area traveled to Homa Bay to comfort the family. If you would like to help the family directly, please do not hesitate to contact Brian Oluoch at +254 724 912015. Mr. Odhiambo was the sole breadwinner for his family…Any contributions towards their well being is appreciated.

Pictures were taken by Mr.Michael Arunga, who works for World Vision in Darfur, and was on holiday at the time. He witnessed the burning of a kikuyu owned property, as shown in this photo.
Burned store

**The decision to post the pictures here and to tell this story is partly because the pictures were sent to editors of newspapers in Kenya, they did not run them or cover the story. As people try to get back to ‘normal’ life around the country, it is important to remember that there is no normal for a lot of people in Kenya.

More ways to Help – Kenya’s Post Election Aftermath

Note: Global Voices Online has a special coverage page that aggregrates posts relating to the post election aftermath, based on Hash’s list of blogs.
Upload pictures, video and report incidents of violence in Kenya.
sms your incident to +44 762 480 2635 once a local number in Kenya is set up we will be sure to update you.

Online Petitions (Doubts on effectiveness aside, it might make you feel a little better)
Gopetition published by Coalition of Kenyans and Allies for Democracy, for Kibaki to Step Down for international friends.

Letâ??s send a wave of messages to our own leaders, asking them to hold off until agreement is reached and the results are independently reviewed: fill out the form below and your foreign minister’s details will automatically be entered – then personalise the message, or just hit send:

Click here.

The blog Sukuma Kenya has a paypal donate button.

Mama mikes is working on a donation page where you will be able to donate specific packages to the red cross. Once its live i will be sure to update you. You can still send credit and other forms of assistance to family members at any time.

“People are suffering”

This is a video i recorded last Thursday before leaving Eldoret. It has been included on the Ushahidi website, and i urge others who have pictures, video or text to please upload them
We converse in Swahili and English, where i asked a few questions and he was kind to oblige. Many thanks to Wilson for his candor and for giving me permission to share his thoughts with you.

Update: Jan 5th, and Ways to Help

Update: 5:45 pm Nairobi Time.
The Mamamikes crew are working to catch up with the orders placed, some of them were stuck in various parts of the country and just made it back yesterday. Most of the orders to Eldoret and various parts of the country are being processed now. Thanks.

I left Eldoret yesterday, with a heavy and broken heart. As much as i wanted to stay and write about what was going on there, i needed to get back to Nairobi and get back to work on my Global Voices gig.
First, this is the link to Kenya Red Cross and you can donate here.

I kept snapping pictures on my way out. This is of a Red Cross Truck heading into town, as we were leaving towards the airport. This was a good sign and a ray of hope.
The Kobil on the right only had diesel available, no petrol, same case with National Oil, just a few miles ahead.
Red Cross truck

The airport is operational. Saw remnants of a roadblock on the way.

From a chat with the former Councilor of Eldoret: There were attempts by religious leaders to convene a peace meeting yesterday, but this did not happen. The hurt and divide inflicted by events of the past several days may be too great to bridge over. It will take time and a concerted effort.

On what can be done: Donate to the Red Cross, which has a Uasin Gishu office. Happened to take a picture of the signpost…
Red Cross Sign
I had ordered some credit using mamamikes on the 1st of January, but still haven’t received it as of today. Like KP said, Safaricom and Celltel need to enable online recharge of airtime so that the diaspora and even Kenyans in Nairobi can purchase airtime for others. My aunt who uses MPESA said it was a godsend and will always keep money for emergencies. This is because MPESA can be used to send airtime/money to yourself and others.

Because of the hurdles encountered using either MPESA (their offices were closed) and Mamamikes, i would suggest that if you would like to Sambaza credit and have an immediate impact, you can send it to The Chairman of Kenya Red Cross Eldoret – Advocate Birech 0722 82 8484, who will distribute it to those affected and aid in the Kenya Red Cross effort in Eldoret. For international readers and diaspora, the link for donations to Red Cross should work, though will update you with more information as it becomes available.

Airlines operating out of Eldoret are
Aero Kenya
Jetlink – cant find website, but these are the numbers i have for Jetlink – 020827531, 020244285 and 0720 608 608

Anyone with other avenues of assisting is welcome to comment. Thank you.

Jan 3rd update from Eldoret

Today is an even sadder day. I am trying to keep my tears in check…but cant. Town was quiet in an eery, uneasy way. The hopelessness is palpable and the sadness in people’s eyes is overwhelming. Some streets are deserted, shops are closed and Eldoret as we knew it is gone.

There is an appeal for blood donations at Moi Referral and Teaching hospital

There were funeral arrangements being made for Lukas Sang, an athlete who was burned.I do not have all the details yet, but will update once i get more info.

What is Eldoret without Paul’s Bakery?
For many of the displaced, this was the only home they knew. where have they gone, and will they be able to return?
– Mr. Limo of Limo House Hospital, and a leader in the area; taped a peace message to air on Sayare TV station (The ban on live broadcasts is not helping, because the peace appeals need to be heard and seen as many channels as possible) Cant listen to local radio. How can we listen to music at this time?!
– Fewer people at the cathedral on Uganda road.
– Shortage of vegetables
– Airtime is expensive – double the amount actually. For Ksh100 worth of airtime it will cost you Ksh200

Watching the news, seeing the military on the streets of Nairobi…this has got to end. We can never ever talk of normal again. Their is no normal. Stability? Of what sort? Honestly, i am afraid to say what i think on this blog as I will be in Kenya for a few more days. Whatever little hope I had that our country could rise to the greatness it was on a cusp off…is dwindling. AG Wako’s call for retallying of the votes (as seen on NTV afew hrs ago), seems like an avenue to be explored immediately. Kenya is on the brink, Kivuitu, ECK and the Kibaki Govt need to ask themselves…to what end is all this? Till when? and How? If you anyone of them calls themselves a Kenyan, a retallying of the votes, a lift on the live broadcast ban, and immediate resolution of this state of affairs is needed. Anything else is just denial, excuses and cowardice. Stand up, lead and save our beloved country. People have lives to get back to. Work, school, businesses…How is that ever possible when sections of the country are unpassable? Will we have to get different ID’s for every tribe possible? It just isn’t sustainable, its madness.
Let me stop here…Be safe, and God Save Kenya.