Owaahh: One story is good, till another is told:
Owaahh is the pseudonym of a blogger based in Nairobi. He is a Writer, Researcher, Blogger (and Eater of bananas) with respect to his biography. Owaahh’s Stories, like the imperial bank heist, stir emotions, especially Sadness and Rage.
His kind is extinct save for Biko Zulu, Magunga and Oyunga Pala and two or three more. He describes his writing as mostly creative nonfiction and his favorite writer is Guy Talese.
The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) Awards 2017 recently crowned his blog, Owaahh.com as winner for the best topical blog in Kenya.
Owaahh is known for stories about people, criminals, and heroes. He has a love relationship with Research so he finds pleasure in writing for a living.
Who Is Owaahh and Why is Morris Kiruga Impersonating Him?
We would love to think of Morris Kiruga as Owaahh’s doppelgänger but technically speaking, Morris Kiruga is supposed to be Owaahh’s actual name. Morris, (or the alter ego as we like it to be), is a more adventurous and down to earth version of Owaahh. They are believed to be distinct in personality and style.
Owaahh is proper and collected while Morris Karuga is the happy-go-lucky split end. Owaahh does the heavy lifting by investigating and researching on mysteries, while Morris Karuga beats the resulting stories into shape. Whether they lead a double life or coexist dependently, we are yet to establish.
Why Does Owaahh Hide His Identity?
Being a researcher, his incognito identity helps him observe easily without drawing attention to himself. That’s the only way one can tell a good story according to him. Asked why there’s not a single photo of him online, he mumbles something about maintaining the mystery. Owaahh agrees that his head is quite big and will compete with the story or distract the reader.
One of the weirdest stories he has written is of a lady who works at a morgue and bites off the thread after sewing up the corpses. You definitely need a faceless big head to blend in while doing such stories.
Here’s yet another faceless picture of Owaahh since he doesn’t want his face to compete with the stories he writes. 🙂
Owaahh and the Imperial Bank Heist:
Owaahh brought us Why Kenyan Banks Fail and The Sack of Imperial Bank. These stories exposed the rot and corruption in the Kenyan banking industry. This particular series stood out because of the indifference majority of Kenyans have when you introduce complicated calculations.
Most of what Owaahh revealed has been happening for years. However, he brought it all out in a creative way that makes sense for the common mwananchi as well as the Financial Analysts. What makes his stories stand out is the in-depth research and emotional element that almost always accompanies his word.
Songs By Owaahh: Apparently He Sings too…
Well, music by Owaahh? Not really but there’s a renown namesake who does sick mixes (according to his fans). Since you are already here I might as well share some of his/her music, a 40-second sample with you:
For you to appreciate this read, even more, you need to understand the place Kenya is at right now. Here’s a Letter someone wrote to the president with basic recommendations on how to put things in order:
Recommended Reads by Owaahh:
What Happened to Kenya’s Moon Rocks?
Owaahh: The Man Who Sold a Country Part 1 and 2:
Recently, Owaahh put out a two-part story series at just the right time. Our country is indeed in a really tough place and the taxes are not making to better.
I’m not sure if the President of Kenya read this and if he did what his reaction was but hey, here goes. (P.S: This is an excerpt, for the full article please visit owaahh.com which appears to be down -perhaps due to traffic- and should be up by the time you are reading this.):
The Man Who Sold a Country By Owaahh
First published on https://owaahh.com
About a month after President Uhuru Kenyatta launched his flagship project, the new railway line, I joined a group of fellow merrymakers on a trip to Diani. It was my first time on the new train, and it was symbolic for me because I had unknowingly joined the last ride of the Lunatic Express. That last ride was a literal party train, and because the train was slow, it was more chaotic than a night out in Nairobi.
I had walked into a train
The first thing anyone told me about the new railway wasn’t that there would be about six security checks between the gate and the train. It was that you couldn’t carry alcohol onto the train, and their bar only opens once you get to Mtito Andei. It was a surprise to me because just four months earlier, I had walked into a train that had a bottle of terrible whiskey with my name on it, and there had been a full party in the third-class carriage. It also didn’t make sense, to me as a libertarian, why a government and its proxy would have such oddly specific rules about what adults choose to do with the time they have little else to do with.
At the second check, I noticed a pile of matchboxes at the feet of two Chinese men supervising the security guards. Then one of them bent, took three of the matchboxes, and stuffed them in his pocket. I hadn’t seen any signboard saying you couldn’t go in with a matchbox, which meant this was actually theft. As was almost everything else about this railway, and the governments that built it. Theft, not just by the two Chinese men and their helpers who were only there for a salary, but by everyone involved in this project. Even us, we were robbing ourselves of the simple choice of carrying perfectly legal things onto a train we had bought tickets to board.
Leaders of Tomorrow – Cartoon by Bwana Mdogo
After what felt like unnecessary checks, I was on the train. But I had come all this way with white rum in a clear water bottle. No one had noticed, through six thorough security checks that involved humans and canines, that I was carrying contraband. It didn’t hit me that this was actually a security loophole until the next day. It turns out that the entire experience here was just built on recklessness, and we were all paying for an experience that belongs in a primary school more than for a service where you have to prove you are an adult before you even buy tickets. After the rush was gone, I noticed something else. There were no dustbins. I can’t remember seeing any throughout the station, or on the train, during the entire ride that day. It looks like a small oversight until you consider everything we now know about Uhuru Kenyatta’s flagship project. It belongs in the trash can, but someone ate the money for that too. And we are paying for it, and the thing it should have designated to the dumpsite of ideas.
Like it though, the Lunatic Express was a mess from the beginning. It was a railway that wasn’t meant to be, crossing a country that didn’t exist even as an idea yet. It built a country by force and killed, stole, and raped everyone and everything it could find. The new railway was meant to herald the start of something similar, but maybe more positive. It was defended as the legacy of our time, and not the cartel idea it was. It’s not just about the railway or dustbins or even the Prohibition-like rules, but about almost every decision the people we have given this country to run have taken in the past six years.
If Kenya was married to Uhuru Kenyatta…
If Kenya was married to Uhuru Kenyatta, and everything he represents as a man and a president, it would be the spouse who hurts, who is emotionally abused, physically abused, threatened with death, distracted with relatives and reckless debts and robbed during the day. It would be the spouse who’s told she’s being taxed because she’s growing too fast, and that because cows don’t run on fuel, the price of milk shouldn’t go up. Even when it is pretty much run by the President’s family, which is legendary in its single-minded pursuit to treat Kenya as a jar that never runs out.
But the beginning of this story should have been about the fact that the most prominent art piece in the entire project is not its architecture, but a Chinese man who visited what’s now Kenya more than seven centuries ago. Its signs are foreign, it’s English bad, it’s Kiswahili worse, its terms completely ridiculous. But the men who signed us up believed they were doing their job, and perhaps this is where this story begins. That everything happening to us now is deserved because when we should have done better, we actively didn’t. In fact, we ran to the other side of the room. We gave an interviewee a job he didn’t want and then hoped for the best.
Indecisive, Inexperienced, Impulsive, Reckless…
There are a few things that are clear about Uhuru Kenyatta as a human being. He is indecisive, inexperienced, impulsive, reckless, and he has a well-developed persecution complex. He asked us “Mnataka Nifanye” as if he was a panel beater in Muthurwa on a Monday morning, or a shoe shiner in Eldoret wishing he ran the country for a day. That question was an insult. He has scratched his ass in public while threatening the judiciary, which sounds like multitasking at an advanced level. He has fled when he should have been here answering questions, and he has built around him a bubble around which Kenya is fine. And will be fine. And debts and illegal taxes exist on paper and don’t actually affect the people who live here.
We can only love if we know fear, and it is clear now that Uhuru Kenyatta, and the entire political class he heads, does not love or fear us. He, and it has never learned to fear us. Not the power of the people. Not our suffering. Not our fears. It simply does not give a fuck. No one does. Even we really don’t. Our politicians are employees who only do the job because it pays the bills and nothing more. They have no plan, no direction, no convictions, and no unrealistic belief that this cow they suck from will survive for long.
We don’t know Uhuru Kenyatta
If you think about it, we don’t know Uhuru Kenyatta. We don’t know who he is as an individual, or what he stands for. We don’t even know the truth about his college education, or even about his lost years, or his personal life. We know the truth, at least in bars and in our homes, but not as part of the national story. We talk about his marriage loudly in bars, and joke about his heavy drinking as we drink heavily to forget just how much shit we are in.
To forget that as we order the next round, he could be selling a part of the country and we would still have to pay for it somehow.
The man in charge of this country has never had to fight or beg for a thing in his life. Everything he, and even his Hustler partner, has has been handed to them. It has not been handed by the delicate balance we common folk try to maintain so that we make a living without harming each other. As a Kenyatta, especially one born after the war, Uhuru has lived a sheltered and privileged life. His elder stepbrother was already a man when the war began, and he eventually joined the gulags as an interrogator, with blessings from the old man. His sister was the first female mayor of Nairobi until her dad got her another job (she was voted out by the Murang’a cabal, for a man who proceeded to begin Kenya’s unending story of collapsing banks), and his mother, also born into privilege, has decided that her legacy will be the wealth of her family. She, and the family she heads, only want this country for what it’s worth.
He lost his first job interview for a public interview in 1997
There’s no difference between Uhuru Kenyatta the man and Uhuru Kenyatta the presidency. In the Kenyatta clan, these came as a package. He has never had to be a human being with no family name, no family wealth, no connections, no privilege, no empty fridge, no fridge at all, no electricity, no random bullets flying around. That reality, which most of us have lived, is as foreign to him as his lack of self-awareness of it is to us. He lost his first job interview for a public interview in 1997 not because his ideas didn’t make sense, but because he had that Kenyatta name. His rival brilliantly kidnapped himself to remind the electorate that if the old dynasty got one foot back into power, it would never let go.
In this clan from Ichaweri, we are an idea. We don’t exist. Jomo the man made sure of that, by dragging a family that was suspicious of his heritage into his own looting spree. Jomo the man believed he was a king, and acted like one, and refused to build a nation. He maintained the state as it had been, only changing the skin color of office holders. He made it illegal to be broke and gifted himself more than handsomely for simple things like traveling to resettle landless people. He, like his son after him, actually became an adult in office. And this is our problem. Or at least one of many. In fact, even after producing two of our presidents, the first female mayor of Nairobi, and owning a large chunk of the country and its future, we don’t know enough about the entire Kenyatta Clan. We wouldn’t even know if the houses we rent or the things we buy somehow make them money. Right now, on a laptop and online and with a word processor begging me to stop, I could be making Ichaweri money and I would never know. If the Kenyatta Clan are not to be our eternal dynasty, the relatives who have our country’s name in their name to remind us they own us and not the other way round, then something must give.
There is only one biography on Uhuru Kenyatta
There is only one biography on Uhuru Kenyatta and very few articles that actually question the man’s thinking. There’s no knowledge about the man an overwhelming majority of this country decided should run this ship (this is sarcasm if you hadn’t noticed). And he has not only failed, but he has also reminded us that the entire political class is a self-serving mess. It is putting on a show to keep us distracted, in a time when we have TVs and Netflix for exactly that. We need to eat. We need to take our kids to school. We need to not fear to die in Nairobi because we are young men and women. We need to go home and know we won’t be touched
inappropriately, and then get home, or into the bus, or into the cab, and find we are being touched inappropriately by the government.
At some point, this stupidity needs to stop. Just because it’s happening almost everywhere in Black Africa does not mean its normal. We are law-abiding, tax-paying, living citizens. Before we are black or Kenyan, we are living human beings. And even if you believe in an afterlife, somewhere inside you-you must entertain the fact that this is it. That there’s nothing beyond this. No better life. That if this one doesn’t work, there’s no doing it again. That the same way you have broken up with people who treated you badly, you must see this country and the man who runs it, as your abuser.
A daily threat to your mental and physical health. That every day of silence and servitude is an act of consent.
China is not the problem:
China is not the problem. And this is a surprise coming from me because I have written quite a bit on Chinese racism and economic conquest. China is an empire on a journey others have taken before. It is following the natural progression of history, to win at home, and then seek others to rule and take your excess and give you raw materials. In fact, if you had forgotten, that is exactly how we became a country. That empire fell too, and now its on its knees, blinded by its own inability to cope with its loss of power.
China will fall too, someday. We will never be an empire, that’s clear, and even the point of being a functional country exists more on paper than it does in our lives.
China in Africa: Will Kenya Learn from Zambia and Sri Lanka
If Zambia and Sri Lanka don’t suffice as examples about what it means to mortgage a country, then nothing ever will. In the next decade, many other nations will have to bow to China’s predatory debt conquest. Black people will remain at the bottom of every racial hierarchy that exists because, to rephrase a Katt Williams joke, we are willing to let the driver get lost even when we know he’s lost. We are more worried about losing face or being rude than about the physical and mental anguish that will follow when it crashes…
For the full story please visit: Owaahh.com or Download the PDF version from Hapa Kenya
Cartoon by Bwana Mdogo.
Owaahh, 2018. One story is good, till Another is told.