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

Mar 24, 2013
What we learned about local and foreign media

I have been full of praise for Kenya’s media during the recent, still-not-concluded, general election. Local media coverage was vibrant and lively, and most importantly, stayed away from the parochiality and bias of the past. I was delighted to see very young anchors and journalists handling very weighty matters with verve and aplomb. Applause. Yet, […]

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Mar 18, 2013
How different will tomorrow’s world be from today’s?

“Tonight, I will be meeting friends in a restaurant (tavernas have existed for at least 25 centuries). I will be walking there wearing shoes hardly different from those worn fifty-three hundred years ago by the mummified man discovered in a glacier in the Austrian Alps. At the restaurant I will be using silverware, a Mesopotamian […]

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Mar 11, 2013
Why always being late is a discourtesy, and costs money

“How did it get to be “OK” for people to be late for everything? Because as far as I am concerned, it’s not OK. In recent years it seems that a meeting set to start at 9 am, for some people means in the general vicinity of any time which starts with the numeral ‘9’. […]

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Feb 17, 2013
This Sunday, meet a special street sweeper

Let’s all take a break from Kenyan election mania this Sunday, and focus on something that actually makes a difference in our lives. Regular readers of this column will know that it searches high and low to showcase common people who show uncommon wisdom, unknown people who need to be known, and little people who […]

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Feb 03, 2013
Tribe is the least important element of success in the 21st century

Once upon a time, this thing called ‘tribe’ mattered a great deal. When all our livelihoods were dependent on soils, rivers and pastures, your tribe helped you secure those vital resources for ‘your’ people. Your tribe kept you safe and kept you fed, so you were right to feel loyal. Once we started to urbanize […]

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Jan 27, 2013
We ignored the poor, so now they will choose their own leaders

He was born into poverty, one of seven children. He agitated against the iniquities and elitism of his society from an early age, often violently. He eventually formed a political movement that focused exclusively on the problems of the poor, and it quickly gathered a large following. He was supported to the hilt by the […]

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Jan 21, 2013
In 2013, you’ll have to overcome your fear of social media

“I recently taught a workshop on crisis communication at a top business school. Afterward, a mid-career executive came up to me with a question. But it wasn’t about how to handle rogue employees, or industrial accidents, or philandering CEOs. Instead, it concerned a far more personal sense of crisis: her overwhelming fear of public criticism […]

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Jan 20, 2013
These primitive attitudes towards women keep whole societies backward

She was a bright, determined, hard-working girl from a poor family. She persuaded her father to sell his only plot of land to pay for her dream to become a doctor. She promised him he would never have to work again as a labourer once her ambition was fulfilled. She worked nights in a call […]

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Jan 13, 2013
Apply these 4 tests before you vote

The time for Kenyans to select new leaders is upon us again. We go to the polls in just a few weeks time. Will we choose wisely? The precedents are not good. We know very well that most Kenyans do not choose leaders on merit. They choose them mostly on tribe. Your kinsman is your […]

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Dec 23, 2012
Don’t just blame the police – help them get better

A few years ago, I used to cross one of our now defunct Nairobi roundabouts on my way to work. Every day I would watch most drivers ‘overlap’ by arriving in the wrong lane to turn right, then cut in by force on the roundabout itself. Mostly in full view of traffic police stationed on […]

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Dec 09, 2012
Will the new traffic laws really solve the problem?

Kenya, we all know to our cost, has some of the worst driving habits and most dangerous roads in the world. Every single day, we lose many lives and many livelihoods to road incidents. You notice I did not call them road “accidents.” Accidents happen unintentionally and unexpectedly. Our incidents are both intentional and expected. […]

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Dec 02, 2012
Why should foreigners dole out charity while we look the other way?

I sat next to a leading Kenyan at a recent visit to the SOS Kenya Children’s Home in Buru Buru. We were told that the organization has a burning goal: to reduce the proportion of support it gets from foreigners versus locals. So far, it’s an uphill task. I discussed this with my neighbour in […]

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Nov 25, 2012
Venting anger on ‘foreigners’ is foolishness

As Greece’s economic implosion continues, a worrying trend is emerging: the growing popularity of neo-Nazi groups and attacks on immigrants. The increasingly popular Golden Dawn party has been repeatedly implicated in racial violence, though it denies involvement. Its hostility towards African, Asian or Arab immigrants, however, is overt, as it reportedly champions slogans such as […]

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Nov 18, 2012
Missing Person: The Kenyan We Want

New roads. New railway stations. New ports. New connectivity. That’s the Kenya We Want, right? We know infrastructure is at the heart of development, right? We know that infrastructure investments will power the economy to Vision 2030 and Middle Income status, right? Wrong. Do you wonder why we build a new ‘super’ highway only to […]

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Oct 28, 2012
This generation risks being the one that destroyed Kenya’s trees

Trees and development don’t go together? Of course they do. As I discussed here last week, sustained development does not take place at the expense of the environment. Ask Haiti, which in a frenzy of slashing forests for wood fuel, reduced forest cover from more than 60 per cent to under 2 per cent in […]

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Oct 21, 2012
Save our trees, for the sake of your grandchildren

This is the time of year when Nairobi becomes Jacaranda City. Everywhere you look, the famed trees are in blossom, painting the skyscape a vivid lilac, and precipitating our well-known ‘purple rain’ as they shed their flowers and create beautiful natural carpets all over the city. But look around, and you will see that this […]

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Oct 14, 2012
My 500th Sunday Nation column: Kenya has everything to play for

This is my 500th column on this page. To commemorate the occasion, let me take you on a little journey. Let us go back to the Kenya of a decade ago, when I first started writing in the Sunday Nation. In 2002, this country was broken. It had been plundered dry. It was in the […]

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Sep 30, 2012
How much longer will women be kept away from the top table?

There is a simple, widely observable incongruity in the higher planes of business life. Where are all the women? Specifically, where are all the women when it comes to decision-making and direction-setting? Look at the upper echelons of corporate life, and you will see only a few token feminine faces. This situation is found even […]

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Sep 23, 2012
Be average. That’s where the party is

There is a persistent drone in the air of human endeavour, and it goes something like this. Don’t try too hard; it’s not worth it. Don’t try to achieve too much; you’ll fail and it will hurt. Don’t stand out from the crowd; the crowd will shun you and you will be lonely. Be average. […]

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Sep 09, 2012
Leadership cults retard national development

Travel is great for a variety of reasons. One of the most important is the possibility of serendipitously coming across something you might not otherwise have seen. This happened to me recently when I opened a magazine on an airplane to find the following: “There was this one instance when a woman in her early […]

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Aug 26, 2012
How to spot a Kenyan – by Kenyans

There is nothing quite like Kenyans when it comes to our propensity to laugh at ourselves. I discover this every so often on Twitter, when making a few comical observations: often the hashtag created will go viral in a matter of minutes, as Kenyans on Twitter pile in with their own rib-tickling insights. #HowToSpotAKenyan was […]

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Aug 19, 2012
How many more innocents must die on our roads?

Kenyan leaders, what are you looking at if not at the carnage on our roads? We have always had a high rate of road accidents, but it has now reached crisis proportions. There seem to be awful crashes occurring across Kenya every single day. These result in deaths and dismemberments, grief and disruption, tragedy and […]

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Jul 15, 2012
One of the secrets of national success – clean toilets

I was fascinated to read this on the Harvard Business Review blog network recently: “Recently I asked a high-level Singapore official how Singapore’s companies would be able to compete in a world of countries whose companies have greater access to low-cost labor (as in China) and cutting-edge innovation (as in the U.S.). His response was […]

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Jun 24, 2012
Wealth should free us, not enslave us

Picture yourself at the funeral of a very rich person. This person owned much land and had plenty stashed away in plenty of bank accounts. There are many people present at this funeral, as there always are when a wealthy person passes away. The now-expired man of means is being given a fitting send-off. But […]

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Jun 17, 2012
Here’s the ONE thing that earns you respect in Kenya

To be widely respected in Kenya today, you need to have just one thing. Just one. All of the things that normally generate respect – virtue, compassion, wisdom, knowledge – have been thrown in the gutter. In the society we have crafted, only one thing matters, and you know what that one thing is. Money. […]

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Jun 03, 2012
Appreciate the perfectionists in your midst

While watching a cookery programme on TV the other day, I came across a most interesting word. The word is “kodawari,” and it is in Japanese. The programme in question showed a master sushi maker at work. Sushi has always fascinated me: for its artistry; its painstaking attention to detail; its insistence on the finest, […]

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Mar 06, 2012
#TwitterBigStick and #TwitterThumbsUp: where to from here?

The 2 hashtags, #TwitterBigStick and #TwitterThumbsUp were never intended to be finished products in any sense. As I have said from the outset, they were simply a demo of what focused tweeting can do. They play on very human needs: to express frustration when good service or value for money is not provided; and to […]

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Mar 04, 2012
Why should one examination make or break a child’s life?

Another year, another set of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education results. And another year in which parents, children and the media go into a seemingly uncontrollable frenzy about the significance of the results. I have written about this peculiar phenomenon before, and no doubt will again. For I fail to understand why we have to […]

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