Letter From Ukunda

A Letter from Ukunda: by Mark Mwandosya

Adigo mphapha?

Alombwaye ni ani?

Dze Rabi?

Atsi similani

Na mchisimila

Midzichenda Similani


Huna voya madzo

Vii hivyo

Na atu achigomba

Asantani sana

Our hosts advised us to take a connecting flight for Ukunda from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. We knew we would finally end up in Kwale, a county in the coast of Kenya, and Kwale, the headquarters of the county. We had toyed with the idea of taking a road trip to Kwale from Dar es Salaam, with a stop-over at Tanga. This would have entailed taking the trip using our Toyota Double cabin, known by the Swahili slang, Toyota Mayai. Unlike the previous version of the Toyota Pickup, this four-wheel drive is really meant for city and/or tarmac road driving. We would have reached Kwale, but the journey would have taken a toll on us physically, especially my wife Lucy and I. Driving to Kwale would have meant crossing the Tanzania border into Kenya at Horohoro, the border town on the Tanzania side, and Lungalunga, its twin on the Kenyan side. In the end, we decided to travel by Kenya Airways to Nairobi, and make a connection at JKIA for Ukunda as advised by our hosts.

Ukunda would, therefore, be our final destination. I was good at and liked geography as a subject at Malangali Secondary School in Iringa. However, I must admit that I never heard of Ukunda before our host, Chirau Ali Mwakwere mentioned the name. He was surprised that I did not know of Ukunda, a famous tourist destination, connected to JKIA by three daily flights, and two flights depart for Ukunda from Wilson Airport in Nairobi. To me, and this is what I told Chirau, “Ukunda sounds exotic as a name. I thought it was a town in some empire in H. Rider Haggard’s novels King Solomon’s Mines and Alan Quatermain (Macumazana).”

The flight to Ukunda was full. Apart from the four of us, Lucy, our sons, Max and Emmanuel, and I, the passengers included those who looked like tourists. There was also a good number of young Kenyans who seemed to know each other, and their conversation centred on some topics they were most likely going to discuss at a seminar or workshop at Ukunda. Ukunda is real. For, we touched down around 4.30pm after a flight of 50 minutes in a Jambojet Bombardier Q400 Dash 8 airliner.

Ukunda Airport

After being warmly received by Chirau and Rose, our hospitable and charming hosts, we drive through a settlement or township rather typical of any coastal town in Tanzania. Welcome to Ukunda! we are told. After a few kilometres, I still wonder what could attract the development of a world-class airport at Ukunda. Within the same township, we notice writings giving reference to Diani. It is clarified to us that Ukunda and Diani are one and the same. However, the closer you get to the Indian Ocean, the more evident Diani is mentioned.

The Beach Road in Diani, does not get you right into the beach, but gets you somewhere near the ocean. As we turn right at the end of Beach Road, we now realise how developed coastal tourism is in Kenya. We start taking note of beach hotels, with names such as: Zumzum; Turtle Bach; Kusini Beach Cottages; Lantana; Coconut; Neptune Beach; Salama Villas, Mzima Beach; Tamani; Al Manara Luxury Villas; Zubeida; Boabab Beach; Papillon; Safari Beach; Lotta Resort; Manyatta Bar/Restaurant; Ali Baba; before we turn left into Diani Beach cottages, a place that we would call home for a few days. I must add that these are not any sort of beach hotels. The majority of them are world-class five-star hotels. Take the Al Manara, for example, it is supposedly owned by a highly placed family. It has the capacity to host a conference of global proportion. “Who are the other investors? we ask. We are informed when the area was opened up for investment, many rich, retired Europeans decided to take advantage of the friendly investment climate. The idea was to capture the high-end tourism and discourage the bag-packers who come reading a pamphlet, “How to Survive Africa on five dollars a day”. Investors came in waves, first Europeans generally, Germans specifically, and now those of Slavic origin from former Yugoslavia.

Diani Beach

Our trip to the south of Diani the following day was as exciting as it was a learning experience. We were intrigued to be in Msambweni. For, Msambweni is an area in Tanga municipality in Tanzania. Msambwe, we are informed, is a plant that exists in the land of the Digo, a major tribe in Kwale, Mombasa and in Tanga area down to Pangani in Tanzania. Msambweni Town in Kwale County is a collection of about 17 interconnected villages: Msambweni Mwaembe; Msambweni Sawa Sawa; Msambweni Nganja, Msambweni Mwachande; Msambweni Chisima Chanze; Msambweni Tumbe; Msambweni Mirarani; Msambweni Munje; Msambweni this, Msambweni that, and so on. It is a typical coastal town of major proportion and a parliamentary constituency too, which includes Ukunda, Diani and Chinondo areas. There is a Digo saying which goes, Uchirema bada Msambweni, undaryani? Which means, if you refuse to eat bada in Msambweni, what will you eat? (Bada is thick porridge, ugali, made of cassava flour).

For those with a keen interest in Kenyan and African history in general, Msambweni is a place to visit. Along the major road at Msambweni Bomani, we stop at Jomo Kenyatta Primary School, previously Bomani Primary School. Towards the end of his very eventful life, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta spent much of his time along the coast. One of the Kidigo dances that Mzee Kenyatta liked to watch, and perhaps danced during his youth days, was Sengenya. He was watching one such performance at the place when he collapsed suddenly and was rushed to Mombasa where he was pronounced dead. RIP Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

Sign to Jomo Kenyatta Primary School, formerly Bomani Primary School. It was here where Mzee Kenyatta collapsed and was rushed to Mombasa where he passed away on August 22, 1978

We reach the border post of Horohoro and are amazed at the efficiency of the one-border post. Transport into and from Tanzania is as seamless as it can be. This is the East Africa we knew as we were growing up. I remember a famous ‘East African’ Dr Buyuni Jahazi. The late Prof. Buyuni Jahazi was three classes ahead of me at Malangali Secondary School. He was related to one Hindu Lilla of Bagamoyo, Tanzania. Buyuni’s parents lived in Kampala, Uganda, and his brother Mohamed Jahazi, was an Assistant Minister and a Member of Parliament for Mombasa Central, now Mvita Constituency. You cannot be more East African than that. Coincidentally, the one-border post concept was promoted by another famous Digo from Tanga, Ambassador Juma Volter Mwapachu, when he was Secretary General of the East African Community.

HoroHoro Border Post. Tanzania Side

LungaLunga border post. Kenya Side

On our way back we decide to take a detour at Lungalunga towards Vanga and explore the southern coast and the ‘absurdity’ of a border separating one community. We stop our vehicles in Kenya, walk about 100 meters south and we are right in the middle of Jasini, a vibrant settlement, a typical Digo-Swahili community. As we walk down a narrow ‘street’, we are reminded by the locals that some of us are in Kenya, and some are in Tanzania. There is no physical border as such, save for a few landmarks scattered around the village. Our attention is attracted to a street corner. A minibus with Tanzania registration number is parked facing south, 50 centimetres from the ‘border’. It is rightfully in Tanzania, and makes daily trips to and from Tanga in Tanzania, in the service of the Digo community across the border. The cross-border movement of people becomes especially handy during national election time in Kenya. We are informed that about 1000 individuals cross the invisible border to vote in Kenya!

At Vanga town we look for a Member of the County Assembly (MCA) called Yusuph Mbwana, a friend of Chirau. We meet Hassan Kibwanga Mwatosya, one of Chirau’s ardent political supporters who asks Chirau for financial support! We are informed that Vanga town is the home of Juma Boy, a famous name in Kenya coastal politics. Other famous names from the coast include Ronald Gideon Ngala (RIP), Robert Stanley Matano (RIP), Karisa Maitha, Shariff Nassir, Dawson Mwanyumba, Chirau Ali Mwakwere, Kassim Mwamzandi, Abdalla Ngozi, Ali Masudi Mwakileo, Suleiman Rashid Shakombo, Mbwana Ali Warrakah, Darius Mbele, Noah Katana Ngala, Juxton Shako, Marsden Madoka, Eliud Mwamunga, Morris Dzoro, Najib Balala, Ms. Marere Mwachai, Kazungu Kambi, Mashengu Mwachofi, Chibule wa Tsuma, Jembe Mwakalu, Caister Mwatela, George Mkangi, Abdulrahman Omar heka, Japhet Kase, John Mumba, Israel Lekwa Dhaidoo, Yuda Komora, Mwacharo Kubo, Mzamil Omar Mzamil, Mohamedali, Joe Khamisi, Omar Zonga, Rashid Mzee, Ali Bidu, Mwalimu Kombe, Mwidau, Msanifu Kombo, Sammy Omari, James Mwatsama, John Mvoyi, Ms Naomi Shabani, Kennedy Kiliku, Boy Juma Boy, Mathias Kea, Mtana Lewa, Mwadeghu, Suleiman Mwaronga Kamolle, Samson Mware, Morris Mboja, John Mnene, Lukindo, Ben Gunda, Mwacharo Kubo, Chief Kitonga, Roky Mchinga, Hassan Ali Joho, Ms Mishi Masika Warrakah, Dawson Mungatana, Mwandawiro Mghanga, Ms Aisha Jumwa and Mwasambu Mwaboza. Chirau and I usually share a joke: I affirm, emphatically too, that all those in Mijikenda with a prefix Mwa, must have come from Rungwe District in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. He says Nyakyusas must have originated from Digo land!

From Vanga we pass through a large plantation whose sight intrigues us. It is neither sugar cane nor sisal. We sop to ask the attendants who inform us it is a tea tree plantation (not a tea plantation). Tea tree is used for the manufacture of cosmetics and for pharmaceutical uses.

We then pass through Mangawani. Chirau informs us Manga means cassava in KiDigo. From there we drive through Mazoreni. Chirau asks me if I remember Omari Nundu. “Of course, I do”. The late Omari Nundu (RIP), a Digo from Tanga, and I were in the same cohort which in 1971 benefitted from Government of Tanzania scholarships to study abroad. He went to Glasgow University to pursue aeronautical engineering as I was admitted at Aston University to study electrical engineering. We later became Members of the Tanzania Parliament and served as Ministers, too. Chirau informs me that Omari’s grandfather, a Digo from Tanga, moved to Mazoreani during colonial times, and was later employed as a translator at Kwale town. It is a small word indeed, they say.

A visit to any area in Eastern Africa which borders the Indian Ocean will be incomplete without an encounter with the ugly nature of humanity and its history, the slave trade. It is a place one visits that evokes anger, frustration, bitterness, and at times forgiveness to the perpetrators of slavery. How inhuman one can be to enslave another human being, savagely extract labour out of him? And make rape an instrument of subjugation? I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that we ended up at Shimoni, caves where slaves were kept before being transferred to Zanzibar. The town of Shimoni was the colonial headquarters of Kwale District until 1924 when Kwale became the headquarters.

Shimoni Slave Caves

As we head to Diani, we pass through Gazi. Many mud-built palm leaves thatched huts are interspersed across the land. They have doors but no windows. As usual we ask who the occupants are. Our tour guide and driver, informs us, “These belong to the Makonde whose fore-fathers were brought to Kenya from Mozambique to work in sugar cane and sisal plantations. They have only recently obtained Kenyan citizenship after being stateless for decades.” Chirau adds, “They are not part of the Mijikenda”. And who are the Mijikenda? He goes on to give us a history of Mijikenda.

Mijikenda, literally translate into, ‘nine towns’, is a collection of nine societies or related tribes in coastal Kenya. They are supposed to be descendants of two wives of the founder of Mijikenda. Mbodze was the senior of the two. Legend has it that she bore five children, three boys and two girls. The eldest was a boy named Digo. Others were: Ribe, a boy; Kauma, a girl; Rabai, a boy; and Kambe, a girl. Names of some Mijikenda begin to click. The second wife was known as Matsezi. She had three children in the following order: Giriama, a girl; Chonyi, a boy; and Dzibana (Jibana), a boy. These eight children of the two mothers are the founders of the eight out of nine related societies. The last of the nine societies are the Duruma. They are believed to have come with the Portuguese as far south as Mozambique and present-day Zimbabwe as soldiers and slaves. When the Portuguese were conquered by the Arabs and the Digos, the Duruma moved inland beyond Mombasa where they were received and welcomed by the Digos. Mijikenda is, therefore, a collection of related tribes: Giriama, Digo, Duruma, Chonyi, Rabai, Jibana, Kambe, Ribe, and Kauma.

We are on the Beach Road again. This time we take the opposite direction. We turn right at the main round-about of the major, Tanga-Mombasa Highway. We are on our way to Kwale, Kwale proper, the Kwale we have always associated Chirau and the family with. We pass through Tiwi and Kombani. At Kombani we encounter a sad experience. We notice to our left a long and high wall. We are told it is the Kombani Drug rehabilitation centre. A number of young people are lying about, sitting around, aimlessly. It is not a sight that one would wish to see twice, not even once. Our hosts tell us this is the negative and unacceptable result of foreign tourism.

We leave the main road to Mombasa and turn left into the road to Kwale, a hundred meters or so from the drug rehabilitation centre. We drive through three plateaus to reach Kwale Town, the capital of Kwale County.

Traditional mud house

Kwale is scenic and cooler than Diani. We have traversed to about 400 meters above sea level. The town and its surrounding settlements are on hills that overlook the Indian Ocean, and the city of Mombasa to the east. We are told that on a clear day, the Usambara Mountains and the Kilimanjaro can be seen far in the north west. It sounds familiar, come to Kenya and see Mount Kilimanjaro. To be fair to Kwale, a separate letter would be needed to cover the beautiful scenery, the Shimba Nature Reserve, and the welcoming and generosity nature of the Digo of Kwale.

It is about the trees that intrigue me most in Kwale. You can see people going into edifices, the first thing you notice are trees. This is very much different from similar towns in East Africa, and Tanzania in particular, where a tree in an urban setting seems to have been declared, the enemy of the people! I am curious about the Digo and the tree. We are told by Chirau that to a Digo, a tree is sacred. It is the place where originally, a Digo would communicate with the Supreme Creator. A tree is, therefore, held in high reverence. I am reminded that Chirau and I have been, at separate times in our countries, Ministers responsible for the environment, and coincidentally too, Ministers responsible for transport. It is rare for friends, and fellow alumni of the same University, Birmingham University, to hold such high positions in separate countries, around the same time.

We are in Kwale to pay respects to the Late Mzee Ali Mbwana Changoma Warrakah, father to Chirau, and to Mzee Mbwana Warrakah, Chirau’s elder brother, and doyen of the family. We visit the rolling hill where the old family house is, the house where Chirau grew up. We ask to go to pray at the grave of the Late Mzee Ali Mbwana Changoma Warrakah. We are informed that tradition required that he be interred deep in the Kaya Forest where ancestors have, from time immemorial been buried. We are instead directed to the graves of Mama Mwanasha Mwanambeyu, Chirau’s mother and matriarch of the family, and Kenya Airways Captain Gakweli Warrakah, young brother to Chirau, where a short prayer is performed.

Mzee Mbwana Warrakah welcomes us in true traditional Digo style and hospitality. We are introduced to the family, who include children, grand-children and great grand-children. The festive mood is heightened by the presence of two traditional dances: Kayamba, performed by a troupe La Wakera, led by Mwakutseka Chidombo, and Igiza, led by Mbwana Mwiru Mwachangoma; and the legendary Sengenya, led by Khamisi Matsudzo Mwamrezi. We join in the ambiance of the music, and occasionally tip the performers, if only to enliven the spirits of the dancers.

The word Kayamba, reminds me of Martin Kayamba, in all likelihood a Digo from Tanga who was the first Tanganyika African to hold a high office in the colonial administration in the mid-1920s. Chirau reminds me that it was another Digo, Hassan Mgala, from Vanga, who became the first African District Commissioner in Kenya.

Burial site of Mama Mwanasha Mwanambeyu, Chirau’s mother and matriarch of the family, and Kenya Airways Captain Gakweli Warrakah.

Sengenya Dance

A visit to Kwale would be incomplete without a tour of the Kaya FM Radio Station. A brain-child of Rose and Chirau Mwakwere, Kaya Radio was established more than 15 years ago. It is meant to promote culture, songs, music, traditions and education among the Mijikenda. Previous to its establishment, coastal radio stations were extensions of Nairobi-based communication media. In that setting it was not possible to explore and exploit local talent, and reach out to the Mijikenda who were not the primary target of ‘national’ media. Under the management and direction of Rose Mwakwere, its achievements have been spectacular, the many challenges along the road not-with-standing. Max was an extremely avid listener of the event, now that his aim of starting Lusekelo Radio FM in Lufilyo is about to materialize.

Radio Kwale Studio

From Kwale we turn left into the main highway to Mombasa. From distant Lufilyo, we thought Kwale would be over 100km from Mombasa. It took us 40 minutes to reach Likoni, driving through different places in the same conurbation, merging into the city of Mombasa. Where does the name Likoni come from? We ask. Chirau explains that in Digo, Rikoni (or Riko) is the place where water meets the land, and where there are human activities too. For ease of pronunciation, and to blend with Kiswahili, it became Likoni. From Likoni, Mombasa proper, the island of Mombasa is reached by Likoni Ferry. The Ferry is about to depart. We are guided to park our vehicles and wait for the next ferry. Instructions follow a moment later that we have to drive into the ferry. Information has reached the Ferry Captain that Chirau is around. We are told he cannot be kept waiting. As we get into the ferry, our vehicles are thronged with ‘cries’ of Dzipapa, Dzipapa, Dzipapa! Dzipapa is a Digo word for largest shark of the size of the whale. Within a few minutes we are in Mombasa Island, not before politician Chirau has to depart with some ‘few’ shillings, the crowd blocking us unless he does something about their ‘hunger’ plight. They all claim to have voted for him. It sounds very familiar, they probably never voted at all!

The reader of A Letter from Ukunda, could be forgiven if the expectation now is that I will write about Mombasa. I have no intention of doing that. For, from a large metropolis of the Mombasa type, Nairobi, Kampala and Dar es Salaam being such cities, there is not much to write home about. Fort Jesus, I am reminded. Yes, an interesting place to visit. However, like many such landmarks of colonial subjugation, there are more questions than can be answered by the well-meaning ‘independent’ tour guides who have chaperoned thousands of people in and out of such castles.

To be fair to Mombasa, one scholar I had the good fortune of reading a lot about during my Malangali Secondary School days, Prof. Ali Al’amin Mazrui, hailed from Mombasa. He was then professor of political science at Makerere University, Uganda. I had the unenviable occasion of meeting and interacting with him when, as Chair of Nile Committee of Ministers, I invited him to be guest speaker at our Nile Day that was held in Dar es Salaam. As I inform him of my encounter with Prof. Mazrui, Chirau explains Ali Mazrui and several others who became leading scholars at independence contributed significantly to Kenya’s development. Sadly, he adds, during colonial times education was segregated along racial lines. There were separate schools for Europeans, Indians, Arabs, Goans and Natives (Africans). There was preferential treatment extended to all races, except Natives, Africans. This education system produced scholars through preferentially treated Arab schools. These included Prof. Ali Mazrui, Prof. Hyder Matano; Prof. Idha Salim; Prof. Busaidy; Prof. Bujra; Prof. Sagaff, and many others. He goes on to say, “These individuals, and many others, carry no blame for the education system which gave them preferential opportunities. We honour them for the nationalism which they exhibited after our independence.

Chirau goes on to explain that pupils from Arab primary schools were the only ones admitted to the Arab Secondary School in Mombasa (presently known as Khamis Secondary School). The latter school would only admit Arab and ‘Waswahili, including one or two Mijikenda who preferred to be identified as ‘Arabs’. Where did the Digos go for their education? We ask. Chirau elaborates that education for Natives in colonial Kenya was largely provided by Christian Missionaries. Digos were neither Arabs nor Christians. While faithful to Islam and proud of their tribe as they continue to be, Digos, as Natives were locked out of the colonial education system. They were educationally totally marginalized.

Fort Jesus, Mombasa

As we head north, and as we pass through Shimo la Tewa Maximum Security Prison, Chirau points to the east towards Shimo la Tewa School, of which he is one of the famous alumni. This is after we have passed hundreds of meters of a brick wall that marks the border of area belonging to the famous Bamburi Cement Company. Behind the wall is what appears to be a thick forest, in the city. We are informed that it is the result of reclamation of land degraded by Bamburi through limestone quarrying. How I wish Twiga Cement Company of Dar es Salaam, and other cement factories, could visit Bamburi and learn something about reclaiming degraded land through reforestation.

We cross a bridge into Mtwapa, we leave Mombasa behind us and enter Kilifi County. The main northern-bound road crossing Mtwapa is very busy. Chirau says Mtwapa is essentially an industrial hub of the coast. More than 20 industries are spread across the town, drawing a cosmopolitan work force from across the country into what essentially is the land of the other Mijikenda; Jibana, Chonji, and Giriama. They say Mtwapa ‘never goes to sleep’. I am reminded that Amason Kingi, the immediate former Governor of Kilifi County, is the current Speaker of the Senate of Kenya. Driving north after an hour or so, I am told I had dosed off all the way, as we get to our destination, the gated Professional Golf (PG) community of Vipingo Ridge.

Vipingo Ridge Golf Course

Our next tour, a short tour, is of the northern coast of Kenya. We drive past Kibaoni, Mkomani, Mavueni, Kilifi, up to Malindi. Malindi is a typical East African coastal town where indigenous (Giriama), Arab and Indian sub-cultures fuse into what could be referred to as Swahili culture. There is one simple rule applicable in Malindi, ‘If you are not from Malindi, you must be a tourist’. You are called by a vendor, jostled by another, shouted at by the third, before you realize what is going on. Tourism is a sub-culture and a business in Malindi. Rich old and retirees from, mainly Italy, come as tourists, buy property, marry or get married to young Giriama, young enough to be their grandchildren. Italian seems to be the fourth language after Swahili, English, and Giriama.

Within a short time, we find ourselves being guided to the Vasco da Gama Pillar, another reminder of Africa’s sad colonial past and subjugation by foreign powers. We also tour the archeological site of Gede on our way back. Gede is a fascinating place to visit. Only about 30% of it has been excavated. What one sees are remains of an ancient Islamic civilization. A museum has been built to preserve some of the artifacts found during excavation. The place reminds me of Kilwa Kisiwani, Kilwa Kivinje and Mikindani in Tanzania. Conservators from the latter could benefit from visits to Gede which is under the able management of a Curator in-charge from the National Museums of Kenya. Needless to say, visits to such places, leave ‘local’ tourists like us with more questions than answers.

We end our tour of the north coast on an intriguing note. At a restaurant where we had ordered Swahili food for dinner, our young guide connives with the restaurant owner and we get charged approximately 2000 shillings per head! We are obviously overcharged. We are now tourists, not local tourists. That disappointment aside, our visit ends well. We are entertained to a Giriama dance by a troupe led by Mzee Julius Nyerere, the father to our chief tour coordinator who has been groomed by Radio Kaya, and is now a star of his own, and has an elderly Italian lady as one of his wives.

Ancient ruins of Gede

The visit to the coast of Kenya comes to a closure at the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) imposing Mombasa Terminal. The security check there is more thorough than anything I have seen at a train station, or even an airport. You line up behind your luggage, a special police dog- squad inspects the luggage, presumably for drugs, the luggage then goes through the scanner, and then, and only then is one allowed to proceed to the terminal. At the terminal the passenger and the luggage go through another security check, before being allowed to go to the gate.

Two things strike me in our First-Class coach. Firstly, the comfort is modest, a bit spartan, and commuter-like. Only that the commuting time is about five hours! Secondly, one is advised through the public address system, not to throw used toilet paper into the toilet, but put it in an open container provided. Strange, but very Eastern I must add. The coach is nothing in comparison to a similar class of the Chinese built, 50 years-old Tanzania Zambia Railway (TAZARA). Not every grass is greener on the other side of the fence!

Mombasa-Nairobi SGR Train

Mama Lucy Mwandosya and Mama Rose Mwakwere

Prof. Mark Mwandosya and Amb. Chirau Ali Mwakwere "Dzipapa"

Our visit to Kenya came after a tumultuous period of elections and election petitions. For about two weeks we were glued to our TV screens watching Kenya vote, count the votes, and announce the winners and the losers. By the way, in Tanzania, nobody loses, we say one has not obtained enough votes. Some of the TV stations would give 10 minutes of prime-time news to one coalition of parties and two minutes to another. We kept on changing stations until we found one that provided somewhat equal coverage to the various coalitions.

Then came the tense and somewhat chaotic situation just prior to the announcement of the winner of the presidential election, and the subsequent petitions to the Supreme Court of Kenya. A few hilarious takeaways from the petition hearings included: A lorry filled with election petition material being escorted into the court premises, as we wonder if present technology could not be used for material which would merely require a lap-top computer flash; Shaaban Robert, a famous Swahili writer, a Digo from Tanga, being widely quoted by a senior lawyer; a young lawyer sending the honourable court on a ‘wild goose chase’; and above all another senior lawyer bursting into a nursery song , Piki Piki Poki Paka Mielo

On a more serious side, Kenya has no doubt set a high electoral bar for East Africa, Africa and other parts of the world. In particular one wonders whether other countries could go as far as posting on election commission websites, presidential results, in real time, from polling stations. I would not bet even 100 shillings.

We are back in Mbeya, Matema Beach and Lufilyo, from Ukunda, a visit that has left us with fond memories of the hospitality of our hosts, Rose and Chirau Ali Mwakwere, the people of Kwale and the rest of the Mijikenda. Kwale kwa Adigo na Kilifi kwa Agiryama, mwahuphocherera vinono. Navoya Mlungu akurindeni na akuhaseni. And as the saying goes, “Inshallah, when you come to Lufilyo, Busokelo, we shall ‘revenge’ “.

~ Mark Mwandosya