Only in Kenya

Monday, March 27, 2006

Now that was a Safari of a Rally!

Raise your mouse and toast to KCB and Kenya Motor Sports for a well-organised Safari Rally. Now replace your mouse and read on.

The just concluded 3-day KCB Safari Rally shows how good Kenyans are at hosting a world-class event. And for local aces Azar Anwar and George Mwangi to hit the finishing ramp first, that was the perfect medallion needed on the organisers' necks. From Friday's thrilling 1.5km spectator stage at Uhuru Park, Saturday's pursuits in the Rift Valley and Sunday's dusty affair in Kao-land, the Safari Rally was bursting with nothing but the excitement of the world's greatest rally.

On Friday afternoon, you could have thought there was a political rally not Safari Rally at Uhuru Park. Only the well marked-out course gave away the fact that the thousands of Kenyans who were sitted on the terraced park and not taking boat rides were here for an adrenalin-oozing event. Every hand-brake corner, car spin, barrier cross and tyre-burning skid stop was met with wild cheers reminiscent of 2002 Rainbow Rallies.

Despite a dampening Saturday start with Uganda's Riyaz Kurji surviving a fatal crash in the Kinungi Section, the rest of the day was filled with fast-paced action as those who jammed the shores of Lake Elementaita witnessed. Car left clouds of salty dust that scared pelicans and flamingoes, but not spectators.

Sunday's spectator section at the traditional Stoni Athi had Kenyans hanging on trees, cliffs and any available space to get a glimpse of the action. And the drivers never let the fans down. Led by over-night leaders Azar Anwar and George Mwangi, the rally drivers displayed their mad driving skills, not honouring basic rules like slow down at jumps, sharp corners or rough surfaces. Noises of turbo-powered engines, punctuated with wild cheers from the crowd filled the hot and dusty air. As a dust-covered spectator cum neighbour took a shower Sunday evening, I could hear her making Impreza and Evo noises. Clearly, she'd enjoyed the Safari Rally.

Thanks to KCB, Kenya Motor Sports and all other sponsors for keeping the Safari Rally's spirit alive. Congrats to Azar Anwar, George Mwangi and all other 25 drivers and their navigators who made it to the KICC podium.

WRC, Kenya and the Safari Rally are ready to get back on your calendar. Are you?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Wag the Dog

My fellow Kenyans, I'd like you to press the red buton right above you. When the bus comes to a stop, please alight from the bus. After the dust settles as it continues with its journey, read the huge sign on its rear window; the sign below 'Emergency Door'. Mercenary Saga. That's what you've been riding for two weeks now. And, sad to believe, its been a 'Wag the Dog', Kenyan style.

Just in case you weren't keen on a hollywood by-product a few years ago, Wag the Dog is a movie where the US president calls on a top hollywood director to create a war to divert attention from a sex scandal he's dipped his whole body in.

Back home, you can't fail to see the link between the arrogant Armenians, defensive Raila and Kalonzo, and a leaning-on-one-side-of-the-fence government. The cover up? Anglo Leasing, Ndung'u Report, Kanga Squad, Goldenberg and a list that stretches from here to Loki on hot issues the serikali has no gloves to hold.

For once, both the serikali and ODM have a common enemy: the public. Its demanding action on corrupt individuals and land grabbers, all well represented in both sides of the political fence. A lorry ready to carry furniture is parked right outside Uncle Moody's office; placards and banners asking for Agwambo and other ODM characters to return mali ya uma are being printed in the hundreds in River Road; Kenyan Demonstrators Ltd. has been contracted by several NGOs to stage protest marches on press freedom and the two hot coals named above.

To shift focus and buy time, two Armenian actors scouting for movie locations in the country are called by the powers that be and paid to star in a movie. Location in Runda is provided, and transport too. Only thing is that Armenians don't have a clue on how to remove paper stuck on number plates. A supporting cast of Agwambo, Ms Mwai, Kalonzo and Mutua is briefed on the script, NTV, KBC, KTN and Citizen cameras are hired for the shoot and the low-budget production is on.

As one English man said in 856 AD, 'the rest is history'. We have 30 million Kenyans being treated to a free movie (and no popcorn) daily, while they forget the murk the governemnt left outside their houses.

The tail has been wagged.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I Love the 9pm News!

Nothing can remove me from my front of the TV seat at 9pm. Its the only time I can watch our politicians throwing accusations and allegations at each other, as we watch from our ring-side couches. Its a solid 30-minutes of unbeatable entertainment of cleverly-edited news footage ofeaturing: he said this (play clip 1a) then he replied like this (play clip 2a). He reacted to the accusation like this (play clip 1b), and in reality, this is what happened (play clip 2b).

Thank you News Editors for making 9pm to 9.30pm the boringest and most predicatble TV time.

Making of Mercenary Movie

What we need:

1. A red saloon car to add a sense of mystery.
2. A dog that bites in the night but friendly in the day.
3. Two passenger manifests.
4. Two caucasians with western European accents.
5. Enough bling to drop Pattni's jaw.


The Blog Starts Here

One week, the bulbs of our domestic CRTs are bombarded with pictures of journalists asking ministers if they'll resign. Some do (later admitting they actually got fired) and others (older and wiser?) stay put. Even after being served with a 72-hour notice to vacate their lavishly-furnished offices.

Next week, Kanga Squad pay a not so friendly visit to Standard Group establishments. Dressed in ODM colours I should add. They pull a few wires, carry a few hard disks and later prove they can't stop a fire accidentally started by sleeping watchmen.

This week, two caucasian looking but not speaking gentlemen, dressed in bling that will ashame Diddy let alone Prezzo are given acess to the VIP lounge at JKIA. "How much you pay me for mercenary?" Where's Ian Mbugua to teach these guys some acting skills. I hear their set in Runda wasn't even fully built. But they do tell us they made recordings of their meetings with some ODM guys - Githongo Style!

Who remembers Anglo Leasing?

And Mr Ndung'u's Report?