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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Africa off to Commonwealth Games Medal Hunt Amid Controversies

Thousands of athletes from Africa and around the world continue arriving in India’s New Delhi city as the clock ticks ever closer to the 19th edition of the Commonwealth Games slated for 3rd October.

Poor quality air, racism, filthy accommodation, terrorist threats, sex slavery, child labour, delays and corruption allegations are just but some of a plethora of concerns that have been raised as the world plans to converge in India’s political and cultural capital, Delhi, for the 19th edition of the Commonwealth Games.

Some countries have delayed their arrival at the games until conditions improve, while some of the world’s top athletes like 100m record holder Usain Bolt, his compatriot Asafa Powell, 800m World record holder David Rudisha of Kenya, Caster Semenya of South Africa among others have already pulled out of the October 3-14 multi-sports spectacle.

A dark cloud of uncertainty also clogs the minds of many on whether the games will actually kick off.

Africa will once again be aiming to put a strong showing with perennial medal hunters Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria expected to lead other 19 African countries to glory in Delhi.

Kenya has sent a fairly strong team, both in track and field with the likes of Steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi, former World 5,000m champion Eliud Kipchoge, World Junior 800 metres silver medalist Gladys Cherono Koech and 20-kilometres race walk hopefuls Grace Wanjiru and David Kimutai to lead the team which also includes a boxing, rugby and swimming team.

However, many elite Kenyan athletes like World 800m record holder David Rudisha (fatigue) have pulled out of the event. Other Kenyan athletes who wont grace the 19th edition of the Commonwealth include Janeth Jepkosgei, the defending women’s 800m champion from Melbourne four years ago who has alluded her absence to injury, Africa 5000m Champion Edwin Soi (injury), 2007 World marathon champion Luke Kibet, world 10,000m champion Linet Masai and Olympic 1,500 metres champion Asbel Kiprop who also decided to give the games a wide berth citing fatigue.

Without Ethiopia, Bahrain, USA, Morocco and Qatar, Kenya has high medal hopes in middle and short distance races.

South Africa's two world 800m champions Caster Semenya (women) and Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (men) have also pulled out of the Commonwealth Games. The absence of these two household names in the South African athletics lineup will greatly hamper the nations chances of a medal haul. A late decision will also have to be made on whether Olympic long jump silver medalist Godfrey Khotso Mokoena will be able to compete. Mokoena has not trained for six weeks. Scans conducted by South Africa’s chief medical officer Shuaib Manjra revealed that Semenya had a back injury.

Nigerian officials have set their sights on the African crown inspite of fielding a team bereft of sprints pin-up Olusoji Fasuba, who won silver in Melbourne 2006.

However, they will be banking on the likes of triple jumper Tosin Oke, gold medallist at the African Championships, the multi-talented Blessing Okagbare and their 400m hurdles national record holder Ajoke Odumosu to lead the medal hunt.

Nigeria will compete in track and field, boxing, weightlifting, wrestling, special sports and table tennis.

In the 2006 edition in Melbourne Australia, South Africa finished as Africa’s best team and fifth overall with 12 gold, 13 sliver and 13 bronze, Kenya was second in Africa and 10th overall with 6 gold, 5 silver and 7 bronze while Nigeria finished placed 12th with four gold, six silver and 7 bronze medals.

Other African countries that will be sending athletes to the Commonwealth include Ghana, Gambia, Botswana, Uganda, Lesotho, Mauritius, Cameroon, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Swaziland, Seychelles and debutants Rwanda, which will be making its first Commonwealth Games appearance after being admitted to the Commonwealth of Nations in November 2009.

Interesting Facts

•    The event is held every four years and only Commonwealth (former British colonies) are eligible to participate
•    The event was first held in 1930 under the title of the British Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
•    The Commonwealth is headed by Queen Elizabeth II
•    There are currently 54 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, and 71 teams participate in the Games.
•    The 2014 event will be held in Glasgow Scotland
•    There are a total of 31 sports (with two multi-disciplinary sports) and a further 7 para-sports which are approved by the Commonwealth Games Federation.
•    Only six teams have attended every Games : Austarlia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scottland and Wales. Highest scorers from these are Australia in ten Games, England in seven and Canada in one
•    The 1942 and 1946 Games were not held due to WW II
•    Cricket has been played in only one of the Commonwealth Games, in 1998, Kuala Lampur
•    United Kingdoms has hosted the game five times, Australia and Canada four times each, and New Zealand thrice. Auckand (New Zealand) and Edinburgh (United Kingdom) are the only cities to have hosted the Games twice
•    Willi Wood, a lawn bowler from Scotland, UK, is the first competitor to have competed in seven Commonwealth Games from 1974 - 2002

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mariga’s Combative Display Undone by Zizzou-like Head-butt

He’s been tipped by goal.com as Rafael Benitez’s and Inter Milan’s Javier Mascherano. No he’s not from Argentina nor any other South American nation. He’s from Kenya – the ever football-wrangling Kenya who were appallingly humbled 1-0 by minnows Guinea Bissau a few weeks ago in the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers. He’s versatile, has attacking instincts, tackles tough and possesses a ferocious shot on his feet, and, well, owns a hammer which he duly uses to traverse across his native country once in a while.

He’s Mcdonald Mariga, the Kenyan midfield sensation who became the first East and Central African footballer to win a UEFA Champions League medal. The son of Noah Wanyama was snapped up by the ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho (who has since left Inter for El Madrid) at the close of transfer window in January and has since gone ahead to win the Serie A title, the Coppa Italia, the Supercoppa Italiana and the 2009-10 UEFA Champions League.

There were some doubts whether the 23-year-old prodigy would nail a role under new tactician Rafael Benitez. But all these doubts now seem to be some passing cloud as the ruthless manager appears to be having confidence in
Mariga going by the fact that he handed the Kenyan international a full 90-minute role at the heart of the defending Champion’s midfield in their match against Turkey’s FC Twente.

The former Parma man was combative, to say the least, and showed some glimpses of panache that did no harm to his undoubted class. However, his commendable all-round performance was undone by an unnecessary head-butt on Twente’s Theo Janssen which went unpunished but must have reminded many of the Zizou-Materazzi incident.

Whatever Jansen might have said or done to the Kenyan international is unclear but the two scuffled even after the final whistle. In the Guinea Bissau match, Mariga was reported to have had a supremacy battle with his country mate Dennis  the Menace Oliech, who plies his trade in the French Ligue 1 and was part of the Auxerre team that lost 2-0 to AC Milan in another Champions League encounter. Whether he head-butted Jansen thinking he was Oliech or simply grew up to be a Zizou is something that only Mariga knows best.

Watch the video below:

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

What Kenyans Do on the Internet

Kenya is ranked as one of the top ten Internet users in Africa. Slightly over 5% of the country’s nearly 39 million people access the Internet on a daily basis. But have you ever wondered what these 2 million people do on the Internet? I pitched this question to Atuech, and porn was the first word to come out of her lips.

While this cannot be said as to having an absolute element of truth, dismissing it entirely would fork out an element of naivety since these PG-rated (if parents are allowed to guide) websites are the easiest to access with the slightest of intention, or even lack of it.

Some people eke out a living through the Internet while newspaper and magazine owners need to be online for the sake of survival. Then there’s the group of Social Networking. I don’t know how many comes to your mind but Facebook is the undisputed champion here, at least in terms of real networking.

The most popular sites in Kenya is believed to be Facebook, Yahoo, Google Kenya, Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, RapidShare, Blogger.com, Twitter, Wordpress, LinkedIn, news sites like the Daily Nation, Capital FM, BBC and the Standard among others.

The YouTube video below has especially been doing rounds on Facebook…

But my interest today is the numero uno social utility: Facebook. Radios and TVs are advertising Facebook, so are mobile companies like Safaricom. Kenyans use Facebook for chatting, sharing pictures and of course updating their status and commenting on their friends’.

However, I have come to learn that there’s something else that’s creeping in: Mchongoanoz, ribcracking jokes for lack of a befitting English word. I have stumbled across quite a number across the Kenyan Facebook users community and would like to share them below. You can drop in a few in the comments section if you like.

Please don’t take them personal and I pledge to translate to our non-Swahili/Sheng speakers should I get a lot of interest. Keep your rib cracking.

Here we goooo…

As you get older three things happen. The first is your memory goes, and I can’t remember the other two…

1.    Una haga ndogo ukiinama mwenye ako nyuma yako anadhani unamwambia agote
2.    Ati grandmatha yako ni mzee ako na profile pic ya noah
3.    TV yenu ni small hadi Swaleh Mdoe huingia ki gully creepa.!!!!!!!!!!
4.    We ni mshamba mpaka ukibuy smokie" unaenda kuikulia "smoking zone"
5.    We ni fala mpaka unaulizanga mbona central bank haina branches kwa tao zingine ka equity bank
6.    Kwenyu ni maskini hata kutoa jasho mnatoa in installments.
7.    We n mblak ukipigwa picha camera inaread 'file format unknown'
8.    Kwenyu insecurity iko high til dogi za mtaani zinatembea mbili mbili
9.    Kwenyu nyi ni mamsoto design ile siku ma dingo walikam,walitoka tu na experience...
10.    We ni mrefu mpaka una segments kama miwa....
11.    Ati dem wa Edu ni mkonde hadi akim-hug wasee wanasema 'manze umevaa tai kubwa'
12.    Eti wewe ni mzee hadi gover ilikuyangaya ID card
13.    Gari yenu imezeeka hadi ikigonga bump...mnashuka kupanga viti..
14.    We ni fala mpaka siku ya kwanza. ulinunua gazeti ulicover.
15.    Mbwa yenyu ni kali eti ikikimbiza mwizi inafika kwa fence then inamtemea mate.
16.    Kwenyu mko wengi mbaka mlango ya keja yenyu ikifunguliwa ngware.....,mnamwagika
17.    Siz wako ana maskio bigi mpaka alipozaliwa alishikwa ka trophy.
18.    Ati wewe ni danda hadi slippers zako zimeandikwa.."VAA HAPA"
19.    Some bedsheets zina flowers,athaz zina teddybears na athaz r jst plain simple...bt zenyu are  special coz in da middle zimechorwa "USIKOJOE HAPA"
20.    Wee ni fala hdi uliona sausage ukaxema unataka ile mutura safi!
21.    Wee ni mlafi hadi ushameza adams apple yako....
22.    Ati nyinyi ni masonko u hav 2 swimming pools of which one is empty for those pple who cnt swim.
23.    Kwenyu ni kuchafu design mse akianguka,anasimama kama ameshakua chokoraa....
24.    Shosho wenu ni mchafu hadi akinyamba,ananyamba takataka
25.    Una jicho kubwa hadi pupil imeupgrade ikakuwa student

Need a Break? Check out this other YouTube Video:

26.    Dame yako ni mnono hadi akikutumia 'friend request' kwa facebook, inakuja kama GROUP INVITATION!!
27.    Bado Yusuf ndo ana kichwa bigi akitoka nje kunakuwa na Eclipse
28.    Wewe ni mchoyo hadi unamezanga piriton kwanza b4 ukule ati ndio minyoo zilale kwanza.
29.    Ati tanya ni mnono mpaka akikalia novel inakuwa short story
30.    Una kisogo refu kinyozi hunyoa na sharpener ya pencil
31.    Una mapimples mob hadi ukichukuliwa photo inajiandika join the dots
32.    Mikono zako ni ngumu ukidara manzi yako anasema…acha kunikanyaga!
33.    Mko na gari nzee mpaka mkipark tao watu wanaisurround wakidhani ni accident
34.    We umesota mpaka ukieka bamba 100 4one yako inasema credit memory full
35.    Una mkono hard hadi ukiwa karibu na comp inaread "found new hardware..!"
36.    Wee ni mjinga hadi sunday skul ulienda boarding
37.    Phone yako ikilia inajipanguza machozi..
38.    Umekonda mpaka ukiingia baby clas watoi wanashout one.
39.    We mzee mpaka line ya rasa yako imefade..
40.    We ni mweusi mpaka hauwezi toa bright ideas
41.    Phone yako ni mzee hadi bluetooth yake ina mapengo!
42.    We ni mslow hadi hauwezi kula fast foods.
43.    Kichwa ndogo mpaka huwezi change mind.
44.    We unapenda reggae mpaka we hushuta buo buo buo
45.    We mchoyo mpaka ukishuta unataka unuse peke yako
46.    Phone zenu ni mzee hadi Snake ilidie!
47.    We ni mslim hadi ukivaa tisho ya green wasee ukitokea wanasema cheki sim card ya safkom
48.    Wewe ni mlafi mpaka ukimaliza kuvuta sigara unalamba vidole
49.    Paka yenyu imecheki movie mob mpaka ikiona panya inanyemelea ikisema ” tereng tereng….”
50.    We ni mnono hadi ukikanyaga mkate inamwaga supu

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Kenya Becoming the Strangest Country in the World

Murders Most Foul 

A lot of things – strange things - have been happening in Kenya of late. Just in the last week of August, a man butchered his wife and three children for reasons that only him, the machete and some mischievous sprite somewhere knew. The man, a boda-boda operator, reportedly did this under the deafening pitter-patter of the rain. He’s also reported to have raped one of her daughters before descending on her with his chosen weapon. This act of gross callousness was perpetrated on a Saturday night, most probably by a Christian who was looking forward to a great sermon come Sunday morning.

Just before this disturbing story disappeared from the airwaves, a stray cat was then reported to have devoured a newborn baby at a hospital in Kenya’s Garissa town. The cat, believed to have had rabies turned its hunger into the newborn who was left unattended as the mum was recovering from a caesarian delivery. Animal welfare officers were sent to the town located next to the Somali border to track, trap and kill the domesticated carnivore but no success has been reported so far.

Biting the Finger – or is it body – that feeds you, literally

Have you recovered from that? I bet not. To continue with the outlandish occurrences and murders most foul, a 25-year-old man surrendered to the police but only after stabbing to death two of his elder brothers in the middle of the night in a suburban town in Kenya’s Central province.

I don’t know what this whole killing and devouring means but it seems there is a rush to reduce the population of one specie in Kenya; humans. And it appears that both the human and animal (read cat) population have reached a consensus to work together and ensure that population numbers in Kenya doesn’t swell right from birth.

But for the cats, this is not such a smart move. I can only imagine how many mothers have developed an instantaneous fear of cats, or ailurophobia if you may. Talk of biting the fingers that feed you, or in the case of babies, potential fingers.

Get a Husband Pap!!

And for the single men, there was a grand meeting at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) this past weekend. In only what can be dubbed as ’90 Wives/husbands in 90 Minutes’, a horde of love struck women flocked a marriage seminar presided over by Nigerian self proclaimed pastor of marriage, and perhaps professor in that field, Chris Ojigbani who made the ‘faithful’ believe they would get a husband pap! Working under the theme 'Your set time of marriage', the conference, which commenced on Friday, was attended by more than 5000 women who prayed and believed God would grant them their wish of getting married or remaining in it with peace.

It remains to be seen how many of these women will get marriage proposal asap, and whether or not this shows the extent of desperation that the Kenyan woman has gotten into depends on on which side of status you are.
Okoa Jac-hazi

Back in the office, and Atuech had a day to forget this Monday. She always has something to forget about on a Monday and this was no different. In what looked, smelled and sounded like a normal routine visit to the ladies/gents, the gods of lavatory must have dreamt of Atuech spending a good number of hours inside that room. I don’t know why her but then again, it was on a Monday and Atuech just had to have something to forget.

How long did she stay there? As long as someone could travel from Nairobi to Thika town under a heavy traffic. The positive thing is that she gained some experience in door-breaking in her attempt to help the makeshift carpenter free her from the misery – if it was one?

What I fear is that after the anguish, Atuech may have developed a certain serious condition called Corporophobia (Fear of going to the toilet). But that’s just a worse case scenario.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

How to Get the Best out of the Telecommunications Industry

Call it mobile price wars or liberalization of the telecommunications market, call it the clamour for subscribers or a maturing market. One thing is for sure; the Kenyan telecommunications sector has been rattled and the snakes have had to respond. And respond they have.

It all started with a reduction of interconnection rates by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), from 4.42 shillings to 2.21 shillings.

Of course not anybody expected the response to be as instantaneous and almost as spectacular as it came. I believe even CCK were stunned at the swiftness at which Zain in particular moved to extend the reduction costs to the end user, the subscribers. Aren’t we all used to cases where companies, like Matatu touts, are always already too willing to adjust prices upwards when the situation calls for such a move, while they would drag their feet and offer all manner of excuses when the situation calls for a reduction?

Zain has been burning its midnight oil, throwing in promotions after another, even changing its brand name from one to another in its pursuit to get at least a respectable part of the subscriber base that Safaricom has held for far too long. None of the efforts have bore any fruit.

The same, if not less, can be said of the other players. In a market that has four players, the competition can still only be referred to as monopolistic as neither Zain nor any of the other players in Yu and Orange/Telkom have done enough to slow the pace of Safaricom’s growth. 

The fact that Safaricom is listed in the Nairobi Stock Exchange with such a large shareholder base, able to refinance the company in times of financial strain just complicates the whole mathematics for its competitors. This is without mentioning the biilions of shillings the company gets through its revolutionary M-Pesa transactions. However, with Zain, once called Kencell then Celtel and soon to be called Barti lowering its on-net and off-net calls to a stable 3shillings, Safaricom had to respond though this was not guaranteed. But when they responded, their response didn’t stir up the market as such. Under ‘the more you top up, the less your calling rate’ promotion, Safaricom tried but rarely knocked subscribers - who were already lining up for Zain lines - off their feet.

What ensued were pent-up newspaper adverts which attacked in innuendo competing companies while verbal exchanges also dominated the air as Zain accused the market leader (read Safaricom) of sabotage. This, just like Yu and Orange slashing their call rates was entirely expected.

But with these networks having almost uniform rates, how do you get the best value for your money? Is it still advisable to have all the SIM cards? I believe so. Let me break this down.

For those with Safaricom SIM cards, you can retain it primarily for M-Pesa transactions. I know there are cheaper options with Zain’s Zap and Yu’s Yu Cash, but M-Pesa wins here simply because it has wide network of agents spread across the country. Zain is still playing catch-up but I believe it will take some time before they get there, while Yu is still a disgrace in the money transfer business.

You can also retain the Safaricom SIM card if you are one of those lucky Kenyans who can top up with 50 shillings or more. In such a case, it will be almost parochial switching to a Wonderful World, unless of course Safaricom’s promotion ends. Which brings me to the point of having Zain. Do you always mind about clear networks, or a constant calling rate with no terms and conditions? Do you care less about brand names? Then Kencell-Celtel-Zain-Barti-what-next is the better option. Here, you can be surefire of good promotions always coming your way but nothing like stability in brand name.

Yu equals chatting. Who said chatting is only available online? With Yu, your worry should be on your keypads longevity and whether your phone battery will survive the long hours of chatting. I don’t think per-second billing is quite convincing since the cumulative minute cost equals that of Zain.

And finally, Orange. If you are not a diehard aficionada of the Orange Democratic Movement who embraces everything orange, you can use Orange 3G for browsing. Orange is inarguably the cheaper option for those who want to browse at home through their modems, hence buying an Orange line wouldn’t be much of a waste.

Bottomline is, none of the existing mobile operators provide all these services in one, hence the need to still own at least one SIM card, registered. Thus, with Safaricom, Zain, Orange and Yu lines (you only need two twin-SIM handsets for to hook all of these), you are likely to get the best option in such a wonderful world of competition where the little things you do brings happiness forever.

Niko na SafaOraZainYucom!!

And That's thesteifmastertake!!