"CEOs can't wait to read Sunny Bindra's articles every week."

Jul 03, 2016
What did the United Kingdom just do?

The market reactions said it all: the pound plunged to levels last seen in the 1980s. British shares endured a bloodbath, some losing a third of their value. That tells you that no one had factored in a ‘Brexit’ – Britain voting to exit the European Union. I know I hadn’t – I never thought […]

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Mar 06, 2016
Why do people start family businesses?

Why does anyone start a family business? As a long-standing business advisor, there are days when I feel compelled to ask that question. This is one of those days. I ask because I feel sickened by the myriad court battles, protracted inheritance disputes and ugly sibling rivalries that so often characterise family businesses here in […]

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Dec 13, 2015
There’s a fraud going on in your organization right now

“Somewhere in your organization a fraud is taking place, right now.” The venerable accounting teacher, James Boyd McFie, would say those words at the beginning of every lecture he delivered on a programme for directors that I used to lead. The sentence created a suitable chill in the audience. It is true. No matter which […]

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Sep 27, 2015
Keep Left Unless Overtaking

Many years ago I was a university student in the United Kingdom. I would, of course, take public transport everywhere: trains, buses, coaches. But I missed the feeling of getting behind the steering wheel of a car. Once, when I had to make an inter-city trip to meet some relatives, I decided to splash out […]

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Aug 09, 2015
So Obama came to Kenya. So what?

The visit was epic. As I wrote here last week, US president’s long-awaited visit to Kenya had it all: spectacle, glamour, drama, sensation. New words entered our vocabulary, and even our child-naming lexicon: POTUS, Air Force One, Marine One, The Beast. And then he was gone. And a thoughtful Kenyan must ask: so what? After […]

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Aug 02, 2015
Three observations from #ObamaInKenya

The visit to Kenya last weekend by US president Barack Obama brought us to a standstill, watching every bit of the ride: planes, helicopters, automobiles, protocols, speeches and all. Allow me to make three simple observations. First, Kenya received publicity that we simply could not have bought. This was pure gold. We were in the […]

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Jun 14, 2015
Jail the real criminals, not minor traffic offenders

Regular readers may recall I was arrested a while back. Irregular ones may need reassuring that it was for a minor, inadvertent infringement of road rules that technically constituted an offence. I looked the arresting officer in the eye and asked him why he wished to arrest me, a generally law-abiding person who takes great […]

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Jun 07, 2015
We need to act now on Nairobi pollution

What’s the biggest killer in the developing world? Given our propensity to engage in senseless and unending armed conflicts, you might be forgiven for thinking war was the biggest culprit. Not so. If you have been following much-publicised recent global campaigns, you might also think diseases such as malaria and HIV-AIDs are the most lethal […]

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Apr 12, 2015
The one word no one is saying after the Garissa attack

The need to write something immediately after the horrific slaughter of our students in Garissa was overwhelming. I had to resist, though. An event this brutal and unprecedented requires some reflection and some perspective. And so I have been able to observe the reactions of others. I looked on aghast as the supposed perpetrators of […]

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Mar 15, 2015
No, the answer is not more security for the Big People

Gangland-style executions are firmly with us in Kenya. A spate of recent incidents, all with the same calling-card: professionally executed hits that target specific individuals. Couple that with the ever-present threat of terrorism, and lots of Big People are worried. What is interesting is what the Big People think they should do in response. Members […]

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Mar 01, 2015
Where will this culture of violent protest take us?

Is violence the only way to make a point? If Kenyan university students have a grievance – an injustice, a bad policy, or even just a power cut – they will be out on the streets rapidly. Not protesting, but rampaging: attacking and stealing from motorists and bystanders, hurling stones, destroying property. When Nairobi hawkers […]

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Dec 21, 2014
Do people really change that much?

Back in the nineties, Kenyans were really fed up of their leaders. The country was in dire straits, and there seemed to be no light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel. In those days, our only symbols of hope were a group of people not in government: opposition politicians, young activists, […]

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Aug 17, 2014
We are running our world as though people don’t matter

What’s the most common thing you hear political and business leaders say about Kenya’s insecurity problem? That it’s having a bad effect on the economy. That as tourism implodes, economic purchasing power heads south. That as fear pervades the nation, the investment climate suffers. What’s wrong with this picture? All of the above is true, […]

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Jul 27, 2014
It’s time for shareholders to change their perspective

There’s a problem in business, and it’s a serious one. No, it’s not about the difficult customers, or the disillusioned employees. It’s about the shareholders. Shareholders, we know, are the supreme entity in business. They put their money at risk, and stand to lose it all if things go wrong. They are therefore entitled to […]

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Jun 29, 2014
Ever wonder why we make way for the Big People?

You’re stuck in traffic. If you live in Nairobi as I do, there’s nothing special in that statement. We’re mostly stuck in traffic jams, most of the time. It’s the way we’ve become, numbed into the acceptance that wasting time in a vehicle is a natural state of being. Kenyans talk about jam so much […]

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Jun 22, 2014
Divided, we fall

Let us not just count the dead. Let us see that it is someone’s loving father, someone else’s only child, a family’s income-earner who has been snuffed out. Terrorists ran amok again in Kenya last week, massacring the residents of Mpeketoni in Lamu County for hours. The full death toll is yet to be confirmed. […]

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May 18, 2014
When governments spend big, taxpayers do not

The grand projects are in full flow, and the media applaud enthusiastically. A new railway, laptops for the children, roads for the counties, WiFi for the towns. All of this is described as largesse, generosity on the part of enlightened government, freebies from our favoured development partners. The money is flowing, and boom times are […]

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May 11, 2014
If you want nothing done – form a committee

I had a problem with my jaw recently. I was following Nigeria’s problems with the Boko Haram terror group, and the recent truly horrific abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls. The girls have been missing for weeks, and fears abound that they have been sold into slavery in neighbouring countries. Few of us can truly appreciate […]

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Apr 20, 2014
Nothing really changes until the culture changes

A year ago, India seemed to be looking upon itself in horror. A horrific gang-rape had occurred on a Delhi that seemed to shock the nation. Moral outrage filled the airwaves; punitive sentences were promised. This could never be allowed to happen again… And then…what? Nothing much. In fact, the reverse seems to have occurred: […]

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Nov 24, 2013
The elite are not spared the effects of a society in decay

There is a piece of writing that has been on the wall in front of my computer for a decade. It is a succinct poetic depiction of the inter-connectedness of things. Every bit of life depends on every other bit. The piece of paper (or device screen) on which you’re reading these lines contains everything […]

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Nov 03, 2013
Why can’t we tell the truth any more?

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Ancient wisdom from the Bible, and a phrase we are fond of repeating in Kenya. Why, I don’t know, as we have steadfastly avoided the truth for decades. Most belief systems around the world revere the truth. The wise have always told […]

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Oct 06, 2013
It’s time for this nation to press the ‘Pause’ button

There comes a time when an entire nation needs to pause. Two weeks after the Westgate atrocity, this is such a time. That savage terrorists could plan such a complex attack with such ease, and execute it with such disdain, should give us pause as a nation. For that cannot be done without willing internal […]

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Sep 29, 2013
Forgive me for the Westgate atrocity

For once, I don’t know what to write in this column. I’m not normally at a loss for words, but last week’s Westgate atrocity confounds analysis. That we can come to this leaves me wondering what more needs to be written or said. So heavily armed people can walk into a shopping mall and start […]

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Sep 08, 2013
Kenya’s ‘tenderpreneurs’ are killing its entrepreneurs

Our enterprise culture is one of Kenya’s greatest assets. Kenyans have a ‘can-do’ attitude, often overcoming great odds to establish businesses small and large. The rate at which we start businesses and sustain them is the envy of our neighbours. It is the engine that drives economic growth and creates employment, formal and informal. What’s […]

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Jul 01, 2013
How prepared is your board for this world of rapid change?

“Technology is making boundaries between industries more porous and providing opportunities for attacker models. For example, in the banking industry, online consumer-payment products such as Square—a mobile app and device that enables merchants to accept payments—are challenging traditional payment solutions. Free Mobile, a French telecommunications attacker, has captured significant market share by offering inexpensive mobile […]

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Jun 09, 2013
A poorly managed government is an oppressive government

Imagine you are convicted of a crime, one which you remain adamant you did not commit. Imagine that the court system eventually allows you to post bail on appeal. The bail is set at the equivalent of modest US$ 180. But you are poor, and such a sum is beyond your reach. What would happen […]

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May 19, 2013
Let us not be seduced by false consensus

The mood was upbeat. Speaker after speaker had highlighted the fact that Kenya is on the move, that the direction is right, that the economic fundamentals are now very attractive. Then the final speaker stood up, and struck what felt like a false note. He asked us to be careful. He wondered what Kenyans being […]

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Apr 28, 2013
We must put the shine back on Kenya’s police

I had an interesting encounter with a policeman last week. I was flagged down for allegedly committing the heinous offence of obstructing traffic. I pointed out that what I had done was arguably not wrong at all – at best, misguided, at worst, an honest mistake. To no avail. The policeman entered my vehicle to […]

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