About 10rdmwesh

Safaricom will deduct their charges from your Mpesa Account, while Co-operative Bank deducts their charges in your bank account therefore after the transfer, your new Bank account balance will be less the transaction fees.

Transaction charges are:

Range M-Pesa Charges (Charged in your M-pesa Account) Coop Bank Charges (Charged in your Bank Account) Total
Ksh.100 – Ksh. 2,499 Ksh. 30 Ksh. 30 Ksh. 60
Ksh. 2,500 – Ksh. 4,999 Ksh. 50 Ksh. 50 Ksh. 100
Ksh. 5,000 – Ksh. 9,999 Ksh. 75 Ksh. 75 Ksh. 150
Ksh. 10,000 – Ksh. 19,999 Ksh. 100 Ksh. 100 Ksh. 200
Ksh. 20,000 – Ksh. 35,000 Ksh. 150 Ksh. 150 Ksh. 300

Go to the Mpesa menu on your phone and select Pay Bill option.
Enter business no. 400200 (Please confirm with your bank in-case of any change)
Enter your Cooperative Bank Account no.
Enter the amount to transfer (maximum amount per transaction 1s Ksh. 35,000, and Ksh.70,000 maximum within 24 hours)
Enter your M-PESA PIN number
Confirm your details and press OK/Send
Next, you will receive and SMS from M-PESA showing the amount has been transfered from your account, it reads: “XC12FSA7 confirm <amount > sent to Co-operative Bank Money Transfer for accounton 05/12/10 at 11:30 am.New M-PESA balance is”

You will receive an SMS from Cooperative Bank confirming that the money has be transfered to your account: “M-Pesa Paybill Amount =will be transferred to bank A/c,, shortly. Co-operative Bank K Ltd.”

In one hours time, the money will be available in your account for any other transaction e.g online transaction using your ATM card.

Now, to Access money in your bank account for different services, You need to have registered for M banking at any Cooperative Bank Branch.

Then on your phone press *667#. A menu will appear on your phone from which you select what M banking service you need as follows :

5. Mpesa
4. Airtime (Pre-paid only)
3. Utilities
2. Alerts
1. Banking
0. Call center Number

Press the number against the service you need. In our case you press 5 and follow the intuitive wizard. However, you need to be fast in keying in information in each step, if you delay for more than say 60 seconds in a single step, the system does not complete your request and you have to start afresh.

As at the date of this post, Cooperative bank charges a flat fee Ksh. 60 to transfer money to your MPesa account regardless of the amount. You are however limited to transfering a total of Ksh. 75,000 within 24 hours.

I Like the UK’s e-governmnet motto “Digital by default“. It shows real commitment to take government services to the people, not the other way round.

We have an e-Governance Secretariat established by the government of Kenya (http://www.e-government.go.ke/). The main objective in the website was to

oversee conceptualization, design and coordination of implementation of information technology activities in the civil service that are geared towards realization of full e-Government in public service delivery.

Essentially, the term e-Government also known as Digital Government, refers to

‘How government utilizes IT, ICT and other telecommunication technologies, to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness in the public sector’ (Jeong, 2007)

The government of Kenya approved a national ICT policy in consultation with relevant agencies which recognized the problems of the different disjoint government systems, duplication and lack of enabling infrastructure. Since then the government has created systems for applying for public service jobs (is it working?), tracking status of passports (dead), exam results notifications (working), a government procurement portal, and submitting tax returns and declaring customs online (perfect). Many other services are still at infant stage but it is still a step in the right direction.

Other successful e-government strategies by the government are:

  1. Establishing a data center and implementation of a shared services platform where common services are integrated and managed centrally to improve services, reduce overhead costs and duplications as well as for optimal utilization of the ICT human capital.
  2. Laid fiber optic cable through the nation but they have not yet provided last mile connectivity to government offices or other users.
  3. Released Open Government Data through opendata datasets concept. The data includes: various dimensions of population data; local and national government authority expenditure; public health indicator data and statistics including hospital locations; education data such as enrollment rates and school locations; parliamentary proceedings (digital Hansard); weather information and detailed census statistics on topics such as access to electricity, water and sanitation. https://www.opendata.go.ke/
  4. The government each years offers Local content grants to about 20 developers and artists of up-to $50,000 per project through a competitive process. http://www.ict.go.ke/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=356&Itemid=301
  5. Promoting BPO/ITES activities in the country. The Hallmark is the establishment of the grand Konza Technology Park which is billed as the next African Silicon Savannah. http://www.konzacity.co.ke/
  6. And finally, entrepreneurs are given loans to start Digital villages code named Pasha (meaning disseminate). This initiative aims at establishing Cyber Cafes that providing internet access and various online
    services at the grassroots. http://pasha.co.ke/

The initiatives are more that what I’ve outlines, and can be a good basis for a Masters or PhD dissertation. I did a slideshare presentation a years back with the same theme, but different components. You can access the link herehttp://www.slideshare.net/lordmwesh/e-government-7203413

Is our e-government strategy working? Are we “more talk and no walk”? What can be done to push the stalled projects forward?

Scandals and political intrigue Published: 01/29/2006 on Nation Newspaper, Kenya. By: MUTUMA MATHIU

So I will tell you a story. Maitu Wanjiku is dead. Wanjiku was one of those strong African women you see around Nairobi with a huge load of Sukuma Wiki, onions, potatoes and lots of other food, which they sell from place to place.

You could call her a hawker, I prefer Wanjiku. Wanjiku had been saving to buy one of those mobile telephone booths because she was tired of pounding the roads an average 50 km a day.

She had saved Sh7,999. She only had a shilling to go. A day before her “accident” she passed by the duka to buy salt. She didn’t know it, but in the price of salt was the tax of a shilling.

The following day, as she walked across the Kenya Railways yard to her favourite butchery in Nairobi South ‘B’, where she would eat a huge lunch every day, she walked right into her nightmare. She was accosted by two City Council askaris.

She tried to run away, but she wasn’t built for speed. Besides, they were young men, much younger than her. They ran her down and broke her leg. They also took all her money and her goods.

With a heavy heart, and aching leg, Wanjiku went into her savings and put them back in the business. She had to choose between spending the money on a doctor, or on the business to feed her children.

So armed with courage and pain killers, she went about her business, most of the time on the edge of delirium from the pain in her leg. She could have gone to a public hospital, I suppose, but she wanted to raise enough to get “proper” treatment from a private doctor.

She collapsed on the street. At the Kenyatta National Hospital, the surgeon opened up her leg, sewed it up again and prescribed a heavy dose of sedatives. Wanjiku’s injury had eaten her on the inside and poisoned her blood.

The doctor sensed that the woman who had single-handedly brought up a family on the strength of her back had lost the will to live. A compassionate, hard-working doctor, he knew when the battle was lost. Besides, he had a queue of patients who had at least a fighting chance. Wanjiku died the same night.

In a village pub, a mosquito perched on Joe Wenjerr’s parched tooth and sucked a mixture of blood and other unwholesome things from the MP’s receding, swollen gum. Parched because when drunk, the MP would sit at the bar for hours and hours, his face split in a stupid, wolfish grin that would dry up his teeth.

He drew some form of relief by exposing his putrefying gums to the breeze. He had sat at the spot when he was the head of a parastatal. Then he was a different man. He would arrive with a briefcase stuffed with Sh200,000 and the night would degenerate into a farce as the bar staff and customers robbed him.

He had no respect for money and never seemed to notice when the bar girls, all whom he had attempted to make love to, charged him Sh10,000 for a couple of bottle of beer or sneaked wads of notes from his bag.

His bar bill, his wife’s plastic surgery boob job and his own little touch-up that he never spoke of had cost the parastatal Sh49 million.

Now he was key opposition MP and spokesman on political reforms and governance. In his more lucid moments, he would ask himself: “Na hii reform tunaimba, ni nini?” And he would conclude that he just wanted things to go back to how they used to be. He was poised to be part of a future government.

Steve Mbosnia came to government to save the country from the endemic, grinding poverty caused by high-level corruption and the torture of the innocent by a dictatorial regime. He was smart, young, a lawyer to boot, with a fantastic family that brought him a lot of joy. That was before he came face to face with the “realities of being government”.

A piece of paper was placed in front of him: By appending his signature, he would sort out his family and political career forever. He would have money to campaign in the next three elections, send his children to the UK, build a home in a funky neighbourhood and buy a small place on the beach in South Africa.

He would be liberating himself to be a better politician, a better patriot, he told himself. One deal and he would never touch corruption again. He signed the contract for a fictitious supply of eavesdropping equipment for the police at a price equal to one tenth of the budget.

Ragnath Pai has two secrets (he never counted the fact that he has never paid tax in his life a secret). Though he passed himself off as an international businessman with “expertise in international trade” he had never made money from business, unless you counted the peanuts his family had made for 50 years selling sufurias. He made his fortune from his “deals”. He had sunk billions into international investments which “needed time to mature”.

Second secret is that he loved his chiropractor like a brother. The man had introduced him to a parastatal buffoon with swollen gums 15 years ago, opening a door to unimaginable, easy wealth. He had given the man Sh1 million during his daughter’s wedding.

Right now he was sending Sh1 billion to his bank in Switzerland. He wanted to buy a college in Bangalore to train young girls in knitting. Of course, he would finally recover his money, somehow. Truth be told, he didn’t know why knitting. But he had always had this thing about looms and cotton. At the top of the pile of money he was pushing abroad was Wanjiku’s shining shilling.

Allow me to provoke your thoughts.

Robbery with violence in Kenya is punishable by capital punishment or life imprisonment. That does not deter hard core criminals because most of them have given up on life, and they would not mind dying vis-a-vis the prospect of quick riches. But the capital punishment too ensures that more hard core criminals are put away, and those who are released through back doors are gunned down by police, what we call extra judicial killings. There are many innocent victims of circumstances along the way, but still the country becomes safer than if all those Matheri Wanugus, shimoli, etal were on our streets.

How should the corrupt be treated?

Now consider this, corruption kills more people than robbery with violence. Some civil servant said that he had a sick patient, and he lives in Kitale. Since he is covered by “free NHIF medical scheme”, he went to the NHIF designated hospital only to be told he was assigned to a hospital in Kisumu, a town he’s never set foot. For purposes of seeking treatment he borrowed fare and took his patient to Kisumu. On arrival, the “Kangaroo hospital” told him his name is not on the list of covered civil servant in that hospital so he had to pay for any services. To cut the long story short, the dude lost the patient. Very sad story replicated from Lodwar to Kajiado, from Homabay to Malindi. Imagine a container in Embu is allocated 4million by NHIF while Mbagathi District hospital gets 200k? Imagine a Clinix mobile hospitals getting 200million while Kenyatta Nationa and referal Hospital KNH gets a million! And when they cannot treat the patient, they refer him to KNH.

People die from fake or lack of drugs in our public hospitals (That’s how my friend’s father died of Malaria of all things deep in the Nyayo era). People die from road accidents when drivers are trying to avoid a porthole (I lost a friend like that who had gone to Nakuru to watch rugby Ten-a-side last month). People die from unroadworthy public vehicles allowed on the road by rogue traffic policemen, people die from consuming toxic maize imported and dumped in our market, people die of poverty after retrenchment from public institution and parastatals that have collapsed; hitherto without any pension, golden handshake or parachute money (I am a victim), generations are lost and become destitute because they cannot afford decent education because of corruption (Our law states that anybody with C+ should access public university at normal fee rates, but because of “lack of funding”, they have to be more creative and look for ways out, and those who make to university are content with doing obsolete or substandard courses.

And my Friend,, what happens when a corrupt government official is caught with pants down? He is told to negotiate repayment with the government with no punishment (Read Pattni and Grand Regency, Read Katana Ngala with Mayors house …. and many more). Is this the law we want? Can’t we kill the living corrupt, as we produce more corrupt. At least that way, we will be balancing them instead of now where we’re just increasing their numbers.

And as we race to the general elections, MPs, Permanent Secretaries, Ministers, senior government managers, e.t.c will be heads over heals competing on who will loot more, so that the next government can find the state coffers empty.

And what will the next government do to finance budget deficits? It will sell the Kengens, Safaricoms, Telkoms, of this world. And the cycle continues.
And that is the inheritance we pass to our children

Dedication to Mr. John M. Kimunga.
In his well lived life, Kimunga took time to reflect on the important things

A life well lived

  1. In pursuit of a goal, do the natural, God will do the supernatural
  2. Your income can grow only to the extent that you do – T. Harv Eker
  3. Consciousness is observing your thoughts and actios so that you can live from true choice in he present moment rather than being run by programming from the past – T. Harv Eker
  4. No thought lives in your mind rent free; each thought will be either a cost or an investment – T. Harv Eker
  5. Habits are of two types; he doing habit and not doing habit – T. Harv Eker
  6. What you focus on expands – (A universal law) T. Harv Eker
  7. When people complain, they focus on things that are wrong with their lives and in accordance with the above law, the things that are wrong increase
  8. There is no rich victim. To stay a victim, the attention seeker will make sure that he remains poor! – T. Harv Eker
  9. The goal of truly ruch people is to have massive wealth and abudance
  10. If your goal is to be comfortable, chances are that you will never be rich. But if your goal is to be rich, chances are that you will end up being mighty comfortable – T. Harv Eker
  11. River people will do whatever it takes to become wealthy as long as it’s LEGAL, ETHICAL and MORAL – T. Harv Eker
  12. You always get what you want, what you subconsciously want and not – WHAT YOU SAY YOU WANT
  13. If you want to be rich in the truest sense of the word, it cannot only be about you, it has to include adding value to other people’s lives – T. Harv Eker
  14. What we focus our minds on expands. Rich people focus on opportunities for making money and opportunities multiply. Poor people focus on obstacles and these similarly increase
  15. If you want to become rich, focus on making, keeping and investing money – T. Harv Eker
  16. If you want to be poor, focus on spending your money
  17. To make money honestly is to preach the gospel of Christ – Russel H. Conwell (Acres of diamonds)
  18. Money is power and you ought to be reasonably ambitious to have it – Russel H. Conwell (Acres of diamonds)
  19. To become rich, the characteristics you need to adopt include: Reliability, positiveness, focus, determination, persistence, hard work, energy, good human relations, good communication skills and expertise in at least one area.
  20. The idea that all rich people are somehow bad is nothing but ignorance – T Harv Eker
  21. If you resent what people have in any way or form, you can never have it! – T. Harv Eker
  22. If you can remain true to your values while others around you are full of doubt and even condemnation, you will grow faster and stronger. – T. Harv Eker
  23. Matters that infect your mind with toxins include: arguing, backstabbing, gossiping and mindless television. – T. Harv Eker
  24. Getting rich is not a stroll in the park; it is journey full of twists, turns, detours and obstacles
  25. If a hundred foot oak tree had the mind of a human being, it would only have grown to be ten feet tall. – T. Harv Eker
  26. If you say you are worthy, you are. If you say you are not worthy, you are not. Ether way you will live into the story. – T. Harv Eker
  27. For every giver, there must be a receiver, and for every receiver, there must be a giver. – T. Harv Eker
  28. If you are not willing to receive, then you are ripping off those who want to give you. (You are denying them the joy and pleasure that come with giving) – T. Harv Eker
  29. Rich people work hard and believe its perfectly appropriate to be well rewarded for their effort and the value they provide for others. Poor people work hard, but due to their feelings of unworthiness, they feel that it is inappropriate for them to be well rewarded for their efforts and the value they give others- T. Harv Eker
  30. If you have been blocking yourself from receiving money, chance are that you have been blocking yourself from receiving everything else that is good in life – T Harv Eker
  31. Rich people understand that when faced with a choice between two good things e.g. to have money or meaning in their lives, they can, with a little creativity, almost always figure out a way of having both – John M. Kimunga
  32. Money is a lubricant; it helps you slide through life instead of having to escape by – T Harv Eker
  33. Poor people don’t believe they deserve cake, so they order a doughnut, focus on the hole, and then wonder why they have nothing – T Harv Eker
  34. One can be a kind, loving, caring, generous, and spiritual person and be really fucking rich – T Harv Eker
  35. Rich people take time to learn about investing and investments. Poor people think investing is only for the rich and so stay poor – T Harv Eker
  36. Simplification as a networth factor involves simplifying your lifestyle so that you spend less and leave more for saving and investment – T Harv Eker
  37. Experience will always rise in direct proportion to income. Income alone cannot create wealth – Parkinson’s law
  38. Rich people manage their money well. Poor people mismanage their money – Thomas Stanley (The millionaire net door)
  39. Wealthy people are not any smarter than poor people; they just have different and more supportive money habits
  40. The single biggest difference between financial success and financial failure is how well you manage your money
  41. Fear, worry and doubt are the greatest obstacles, not only to success but to happiness as well
  42. Rich and successful people have fear, doubts and worries but they don’t let these stop them- T Harv Eker
  43. Rich people don’t base their actions on what is easy or convenient, that way of living is reserved for the poor and most of the middle class – T Harv Eker
  44. Expanding your comfort zone will expand your Income and consequently your Wealth Zone – T Harv Eker
  45. The three most dangerous words in the English language are “I know that” – T Harv Eker
  46. A secret that only rich people know: the goal of creati.ng wealth is not primarily to have a lot of money, it is to help you grow yourself into the best person you can possibly be. In fact, this is the goal of al goals – T Harv Eker
  47. Success is not “what”but “who” – T Harv Eker
  48. While rich people are experts in their fields. middle class people are mediocre and poor ones poor – T Harv Eker
  49. If you want to be rich, learn from the rich. Those who are broke, be they consultants or coaches can only teach you one thing, how to be broke! – John M. Kimunga
  50. What you are does not matter; What does is what you can become – Joel Osteen
  51. Don’t say yo have no money to save, start a savings account and God will provide the money – Joel Osteen
  52. The more you depend on God, the more you depend on yourself. – Myles Munroe
  53. I have as much time to completely age as the very young have to grow up – John M. Kimunga (61 years)
  54. There is no power in procrastination – Joyce Meyers
  55. You will never get out of your current mess if you do not change your mind and your attitude no matter who caused it
  56. You cannot stay where you are and get where you want to be – Duke Myles
  57. If your subconscious financial blueprint is set for success, nothing you learn nothing you do, and nothing you know will make much of a difference
  58. The most important ingredient for success is the millionaire mind
  59. A fundamental truth confirmed by T. Harv Eker is that rich people do think differently from poor and middle class people!
  60. Our own thoughts do keep us back from being rich
  61. Following the two quotes above, it is essential to train and manage our minds so that we model our thinking and business strategies on those of rich people
  62. Refuse to entertain thoughts that do not empower us in the pursuit of vision towards wealth
  63. You were born to make a difference, not a living – Myles Monroe
  64. We have to plan for the sake of other people – Myles Munroe
  65. With faith, the journey towards God’s promise will succeed no matter what
  66. Into the hands of every man is given a marvelous power for good or evil, the silent unconscious, unseen influence of his life. This is the constant radiation of what man really is, not what he pretends to be – William George Jordan
  67. Before anybody could put a cause on you, God had already placed a blessing on you. Nobody can curse what God has already blessed – Joel Osteen

Ohh, RETIRED means Reliable, Experienced, Trustworthy, Industrious, Resourceful, Edified, and Dedicated

I must say we are living in interesting times.

I remember Professor Phillip Mbithi the Moi Cabinet Secretary in the 90’s say “there is oil in Kenya, its an open secret.” I Mwendwa remember reading that feature in Nation on our good old professor. Sikuambiwa na mtu. Here is a 2006 article i’ve got from the net on the same, although the story is not all about oil: Here is the article

Prof Mbithi rejected the East African Community appointment and retired to his ranch in Machakos (close to the Machakos/Mombasa Road junction. To this day he spends his days secluded, reading the Bible and raising beef cattle. He has also issued various predictions including one that he supports with an encounter he had with Moi, to the effect that there are rich Oil deposits in Kenya which for some strange undisclosed reason can not yet be drilled. But Mbithi says that it will be drilled in the near future

You know pessimists help government be either transparent, or hide all their tracks, but they cannot eat in the open.

A stranger all of a sudden comes to you and discovers “Your cow has milkable tits”. And starts milking your cows. There and then, it means there is a problem with your HEAD. Umeshawahi ona Americans going to mine Russian oil? Have you ever seen Chinese go to mine American oil?

Iko dudu kwa Kichwa yetu.

Now the western spin doctors are going into overdrive mode, Kenyans will not know what has hit them. And that is my prophesy.

Its good for Turkana now to get the limelight they have been craving for years. We also know their needs is not oil but water. They MAY get some basic infrastructure, hospitals, roads, and schools. But I digress.

Canada-based minerals and metals firm Pacific Wildcat Resources has said it will drill this year at a new site in Kenya that has shown potential for rare earth deposits.

The company said tests had established the presence of high grade deposits of rare earth on Kiruku Hill, just three kilometers from its current Mrima Hill niobium and rare earth project site near the port city of Mombasa.

Another resource we discovered “In 2005, a 500-square-kilometre area stretching through Kitui and Mutito was discovered to contain one of the richest coal reserves in the world.”
Here is my source

I cant believe this … Let me raise your hair kidogo, I got these from a different source “Turkana sits on one of the world’s largest PROVEN (re-read that verb PROVEN) gold reserves and also has a respectable array of gemstones. This laid-back region could be looking at the kind of transformation that was experienced by the South African region of Rustenburg with the discovery of platinum.”

“Turkana sits on one of the world’s largest PROVEN (re-read that verb PROVEN) gold reserves and also has a respectable array of gemstones. This laid-back region could be looking at the kind of transformation that was experienced by the South African region of Rustenburg with the discovery of platinum.”

The scramble for Africa that started in the 1890s is still active today though in a different fashion. I think the West has the resources map for everything in Africa. They know where to strike next for oil, gold or anything else they want.


They call the Third World the lazy man’s purview; the sluggishly slothful and languorous prefecture. In this realm people are sleepy, dreamy, torpid, lethargic, and therefore indigent—totally penniless, needy, destitute, poverty-stricken, disfavored, and impoverished. In this demesne, as they call it, there are hardly any discoveries, inventions, and innovations. Africa is the trailblazer. Some still call it “the dark continent” for the light that flickers under the tunnel is not that of hope, but an approaching train. And because countless keep waiting in the way of the train, millions die and many more remain decapitated by the day.

“It’s amazing how you all sit there and watch yourselves die,” the man next to me said. “Get up and do something about it.”

Brawny, fully bald-headed, with intense, steely eyes, he was as cold as they come. When I first discovered I was going to spend my New Year’s Eve next to him on a non-stop JetBlue flight from Los Angeles to Boston I was angst-ridden. I associate marble-shaven Caucasians with iconoclastic skin-heads, most of who are racist.

“My name is Walter,” he extended his hand as soon as I settled in my seat.

I told him mine with a precautious smile.

“Where are you from?” he asked.


“Zambia!” he exclaimed, “Kaunda’s country.”

“Yes,” I said, “Now Sata’s.”

“But of course,” he responded. “You just elected King Cobra as your president.”

My face lit up at the mention of Sata’s moniker. Walter smiled, and in those cold eyes I saw an amenable fellow, one of those American highbrows who shuttle between Africa and the U.S.

“I spent three years in Zambia in the 1980s,” he continued. “I wined and dined with Luke Mwananshiku, Willa Mungomba, Dr. Siteke Mwale, and many other highly intelligent Zambians.” He lowered his voice. “I was part of the IMF group that came to rip you guys off.” He smirked. “Your government put me in a million dollar mansion overlooking a shanty called Kalingalinga. From my patio I saw it all—the rich and the poor, the ailing, the dead, and the healthy.”

“Are you still with the IMF?” I asked.

“I have since moved to yet another group with similar intentions. In the next few months my colleagues and I will be in Lusaka to hypnotize the cobra. I work for the broker that has acquired a chunk of your debt. Your government owes not the World Bank, but us millions of dollars. We’ll be in Lusaka to offer your president a couple of millions and fly back with a check twenty times greater.”

“No, you won’t,” I said. “King Cobra is incorruptible. He is …”

He was laughing. “Says who? Give me an African president, just one, who has not fallen for the carrot and stick.”

Quett Masire’s name popped up.

“Oh, him, well, we never got to him because he turned down the IMF and the World Bank. It was perhaps the smartest thing for him to do.”

At midnight we were airborne. The captain wished us a happy 2012 and urged us to watch the fireworks across Los Angeles.

“Isn’t that beautiful,” Walter said looking down.

From my middle seat, I took a glance and nodded admirably.

“That’s white man’s country,” he said. “We came here on Mayflower and turned Indian land into a paradise and now the most powerful nation on earth. We discovered the bulb, and built this aircraft to fly us to pleasure resorts like Lake Zambia.”

I grinned. “There is no Lake Zambia.”

He curled his lips into a smug smile. “That’s what we call your country. You guys are as stagnant as the water in the lake. We come in with our large boats and fish your minerals and your wildlife and leave morsels—crumbs. That’s your staple food, crumbs. That corn-meal you eat, that’s crumbs, the small Tilapia fish you call Kapenta is crumbs. We the Bwanas (whites) take the cat fish. I am the Bwana and you are the Muntu. I get what I want and you get what you deserve, crumbs. That’s what lazy people get—Zambians, Africans, the entire Third World.”

The smile vanished from my face.

“I see you are getting pissed off,” Walter said and lowered his voice. “You are thinking this Bwana is a racist. That’s how most Zambians respond when I tell them the truth. They go ballistic. Okay. Let’s for a moment put our skin pigmentations, this black and white crap, aside. Tell me, my friend, what is the difference between you and me?”

“There’s no difference.”

“Absolutely none,” he exclaimed. “Scientists in the Human Genome Project have proved that. It took them thirteen years to determine the complete sequence of the three billion DNA subunits. After they

were all done it was clear that 99.9% nucleotide bases were exactly the same in you and me. We are the same people. All white, Asian, Latino, and black people on this aircraft are the same.”

I gladly nodded.

“And yet I feel superior,” he smiled fatalistically. “Every white person on this plane feels superior to a black person. The white guy who picks up garbage, the homeless white trash on drugs, feels superior to you no matter his status or education. I can pick up a nincompoop from the New York streets, clean him up, and take him to Lusaka and you all be crowding around him chanting muzungu, muzungu and yet he’s a riffraff. Tell me why my angry friend.”

For a moment I was wordless.

“Please don’t blame it on slavery like the African Americans do, or colonialism, or some psychological impact or some kind of stigmatization. And don’t give me the brainwash poppycock. Give me a better answer.”

I was thinking.

He continued. “Excuse what I am about to say. Please do not take offense.”

I felt a slap of blood rush to my head and prepared for the worst.

“You my friend flying with me and all your kind are lazy,” he said. “When you rest your head on the pillow you don’t dream big. You and other so-called African intellectuals are damn lazy, each one of you. It is you, and not those poor starving people, who is the reason Africa is in such a deplorable state.”

“That’s not a nice thing to say,” I protested.

He was implacable. “Oh yes it is and I will say it again, you are lazy. Poor and uneducated Africans are the most hardworking people on earth. I saw them in the Lusaka markets and on the street selling merchandise. I saw them in villages toiling away. I saw women on Kafue Road crushing stones for sell and I wept. I said to myself where are the Zambian intellectuals? Are the Zambian engineers so imperceptive they cannot invent a simple stone crusher, or a simple water filter to purify well water for those poor villagers? Are you telling me that after thirty-seven years of independence your university school of engineering has not produced a scientist or an engineer who can make simple small machines for mass use? What is the school there for?”

I held my breath.

“Do you know where I found your intellectuals? They were in bars quaffing. They were at the Lusaka Golf Club, Lusaka Central Club, Lusaka Playhouse, and Lusaka Flying Club. I saw with my own eyes a bunch of alcoholic graduates. Zambian intellectuals work from eight to five and spend the evening drinking. We don’t. We reserve the evening for brainstorming.”

He looked me in the eye.

“And you flying to Boston and all of you Zambians in the Diaspora are just as lazy and apathetic to your country. You don’t care about your country and yet your very own parents, brothers and sisters are in Mtendere, Chawama, and in villages, all of them living in squalor. Many have died or are dying of neglect by you. They are dying of AIDS because you cannot come up with your own cure. You are here calling yourselves graduates, researchers and scientists and are fast at articulating your credentials once asked—oh, I have a PhD in this and that—PhD my foot!”

I was deflated.

“Wake up you all!” he exclaimed, attracting the attention of nearby passengers. “You should be busy lifting ideas, formulae, recipes, and diagrams from American manufacturing factories and sending them to your own factories. All those research findings and dissertation papers you compile should be your country’s treasure. Why do you think the Asians are a force to reckon with? They stole our ideas and turned them into their own. Look at Japan, China, India, just look at them.”

He paused. “The Bwana has spoken,” he said and grinned. “As long as you are dependent on my plane, I shall feel superior and you my friend shall remain inferior, how about that? The Chinese, Japanese, Indians, even Latinos are a notch better. You Africans are at the bottom of the totem pole.”

He tempered his voice. “Get over this white skin syndrome and begin to feel confident. Become innovative and make your own stuff for god’s sake.”

At 8 a.m. the plane touched down at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Walter reached for my hand.

“I know I was too strong, but I don’t give it a damn. I have been to Zambia and have seen too much poverty.” He pulled out a piece of paper and scribbled something. “Here, read this. It was written by a friend.”

He had written only the title: “Lords of Poverty.”

Thunderstruck, I had a sinking feeling. I watched Walter walk through the airport doors to a waiting car. He had left a huge dust devil twirling in my mind, stirring up sad memories of home. I could see Zambia’s literati—the cognoscente, intelligentsia, academics, highbrows, and scholars in the places he had mentioned guzzling and talking irrelevancies. I remembered some who have since passed—how they got the highest grades in mathematics and the sciences and attained the highest education on the planet. They had been to Harvard, Oxford, Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), only to leave us with not a single invention or discovery. I knew some by name and drunk with them at the Lusaka Playhouse and Central Sports.

Walter is right. It is true that since independence we have failed to nurture creativity and collective orientations. We as a nation lack a workhorse mentality and behave like 13 million civil servants dependent on a government pay cheque. We believe that development is generated 8-to-5 behind a desk wearing a tie with our degrees hanging on the wall. Such a working environment does not offer the opportunity for fellowship, the excitement of competition, and the spectacle of innovative rituals.

But the intelligentsia is not solely, or even mainly, to blame. The larger failure is due to political circumstances over which they have had little control. The past governments failed to create an environment of possibility that fosters camaraderie, rewards innovative ideas and encourages resilience. KK, Chiluba, Mwanawasa, and Banda embraced orthodox ideas and therefore failed to offer many opportunities for drawing outside the line.

I believe King Cobra’s reset has been cast in the same faculties as those of his predecessors. If today I told him that we can build our own car, he would throw me out.

“Naupena? Fuma apa.” (Are you mad? Get out of here)

Knowing well that King Cobra will not embody innovation at Walter’s level let’s begin to look for a technologically active-positive leader who can succeed him after a term or two. That way we can make our own stone crushers, water filters, water pumps, razor blades, and harvesters. Let’s dream big and make tractors, cars, and planes, or, like Walter said, forever remain inferior.

A fundamental transformation of our country from what is essentially non-innovative to a strategic superior African country requires a bold risk-taking educated leader with a triumphalist attitude and we have one in YOU. Don’t be highly strung and feel insulted by Walter. Take a moment and think about our country. Our journey from 1964 has been marked by tears. It has been an emotionally overwhelming experience. Each one of us has lost a loved one to poverty, hunger, and disease. The number of graves is catching up with the population. It’s time to change our political culture. It’s time for Zambian intellectuals to cultivate an active-positive progressive movement that will change our lives forever. Don’t be afraid or dispirited, rise to the challenge and salvage the remaining few of your beloved ones.

Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner and author. He is a PhD candidate with a B.A. in Mass Communication and Journalism, and an M.A. in History.


“Most of the great philosophers have struggled to define this elusive thing called Self. Plato, Descartes, Locke, Hume, they all gave slightly different answers to the same haunting question: Who am I? What if you can write your future self a letter, and have it delivered on a date you specify?

FutureMe.org is based on the principle that memories are less accurate than e-mails.

See, usually, it’s the future that will reflect back on the present.

So send your future self some words of inspiration. Or maybe give them swift kick in the pants. Or just share some thoughts on where you’ll or what you’ll be up to in a year, three years…more? And then futureme.org will do some time travel magic and deliver the letter to you, via email. FutureYou, that is.

Wired Magazine has a good article on the whole magic.