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

Nov 16, 2003
Our roads are neglected arteries

It was a familiar sight: a traffic log jam on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway. The usual ingredients: roadworks; a bit of rain; idiotically ill-disciplined drivers; the absence of an authority able to impose discipline and clear the mess. The result: traffic brought to a total standstill on our main transportation artery. In Britain some years ago, […]

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Nov 09, 2003
It is time to let the poor participate in their own development

The poor people of Kenya woke up to an amazing revelation at the end of 2002: they had the power to remove a government that did not perform! This had seemed impossible even weeks earlier: a government that had systematically impoverished this country seemed destined to last forever, a millstone around the necks of its […]

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Nov 02, 2003
Our corrupt judges mirror our own degraded values

Our once-dignified judges are on the run, scattered here and there by the broom sweeping through the judiciary. They were barely given enough time to gather their robes before being bundled out of office. The tales of their exploits have shocked some of us, and confirmed the worst suspicions of others. Most Kenyans are watching […]

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Oct 26, 2003
After the glamour of the White House came the harsh reality of JKIA

This week I can reveal some of the things that happened behind the scenes during the recent presidential state visit to the USA. Did you know that long before our President and his entourage arrived at Washington airport, Kenyan security personnel had arrived as an advance party to sort out the security arrangements? Our boys […]

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Oct 19, 2003
To attract investors, Kenya has much to do

The president and his entourage have been on a trip to the USA and UK to re-establish strong ties, build bridges, demonstrate commitment, renew partnerships etc. A taxi driver told me that this sort of thing is characterised slightly differently in Central Province. It’s called “looking for money here and there”. This government does indeed […]

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Oct 12, 2003
If we want money, we must learn to give it away

Most of us are unlikely to achieve true enlightenment in this lifetime. By and large, we will remain ordinary folk striving to make a decent living and extract some meaning from this brief and unpredictable existence. We will have jobs to hold down, mouths to feed, and obligations to meet. Money will naturally loom large […]

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Oct 05, 2003
Wealth: let us heed the words of the wise

If you still believe that the pursuit of material wealth should be our guiding light, both as individuals and as a nation, then you are putting yourself up against some of history’s most enlightened thinkers. This week I take you on a little tour of what the good and the great of this world had […]

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Sep 28, 2003
The folly of making the rich our idols

Why does everyone in Kenya want to be rich? Why do we look at rich men and women and envy them? Why do tycoons and magnates hold us in their thrall? Why do we fall at the feet of the wealthy and hang on their every word? The value that we place on material wealth […]

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Sep 21, 2003
The West preaches peace whilst selling guns

London is one of the conference capitals of the world. At any given point in time, you will come across a wide assortment of seminars, workshops and fairs in this city. Last week, London’s Docklands hosted an event that you and I might find rather unusual. In Nairobi we are used to attending exhibitions where […]

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Sep 14, 2003
Kenya: the poor country that spends lavishly

Meet John: he is a sensible sort of chap, but he’s going through a rough patch economically. His finances are in disarray, and he cannot currently meet his obligations. What does John do? For one thing, he makes sure that his spending goes down to an absolute minimum. This means focusing on the absolute basics: […]

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Sep 07, 2003
Oh, what a letdown these politicians are!

On Monday 30 December 2002, I sat amongst several hundred thousand people at Uhuru Park as our new president read out his oath of office. The joy of the crowd could almost be touched. It grew to a crescendo, and as the president reached the end, the final lines were said in a rousing chorus […]

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Aug 31, 2003
Let public servants first declare their competence

This week I would like to invite you all to a comedy show. Welcome, and please take your seats! Sketch 1: Phase 1 of the National Constitutional Conference is underway. Some interpreters sit in the middle of the auditorium amidst the clamour, translating the proceedings all day long using sign language for the benefit of […]

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Aug 17, 2003
Miriam – the little lady with a lesson for us all

Have you heard of Miriam Wanjiru? If you watch Nation TV or tune in to Nation Radio, you certainly will have. Miriam is not your normal celebrity. She is not a film star. She is not a pop singer. She is not a beauty queen. She is not a hip and go-getting yuppie. She is […]

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Aug 10, 2003
Let us teach self-belief to our children

Last week I wrote a mock ‘travel advisory’ for Kenyans travelling to the UK. Baiting the British in this way is great sport, particularly because they are so smug and self-righteous in their dealings with Kenyans of late. But having fun does not really take us anywhere. Every time we find ourselves turning on outsiders, […]

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Aug 03, 2003
Travel Advisory for Kenyans travelling to the UK

As one who has spent considerable amounts of time in both countries, I thought I should issue a personal travel advisory to those Kenyans contemplating travel to the United Kingdom. Enjoy! COUNTRY ADVICE – United Kingdom Current at: 3 August 2003 Getting there As a Kenyan wishing to visit the UK, you will find your […]

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Jul 27, 2003
Assaulting the poor is unspeakable folly

We are bedevilled by violence in this country. I have asked the question before: where does it all come from? Who teaches us this savagery? From the events of last week, the answer is obvious: our leaders. The pictures on our TV screens last Saturday were gruesome, to say the least. Hulking bulldozers met flimsy […]

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Jul 20, 2003
How much economic growth is chronic insecurity costing us?

If you give a man a gun, ask him to risk his own life in order to protect you, and then proceed to pay him just KSh 5,000 per month, the outcome is certain: sooner or later, he will turn the gun on you. Why the government is unable to see this self-evident truth remains […]

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Jul 13, 2003
In Africa, Big Brother watches us all

Unless you’ve been in serious hibernation for the past three months, you will be aware of a phenomenon called Big Brother Africa. In case you’ve just woken up, however, here’s what you need to know: twelve contestants, each from a different African country, are holed up in a specially adapted house in South Africa. They […]

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Jul 06, 2003
The travel ban was a wake-up call for Kenya’s tourism industry

So, the travel bans and nasty advisories are virtually gone. The European tourists are beginning to trickle back. Industry bigwigs, mayors, and beauty queens are usually at hand at the airport to welcome them back, dollar signs visibly gleaming in their eyes. The smiles are back. We can treat the whole episode as an ugly […]

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Jun 29, 2003
Money madness will produce many more Goldenbergs

Why are we so fixated on money? It appears to be the measure of everything we do. It is the reason we get up every morning and start working. It seems to make our world go round. Even the Leader of the Opposition was in full flow recently, attacking the former vice-president. He dismissed him […]

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Jun 22, 2003
If we want performance, we must value ability

Are we serious about becoming a ‘performance-orientated’ nation? Do we mean it when we say we’re looking for results? The president has taken a strong lead in the matter: he’s exhorted us to roll up our sleeves and get working. He’s warned us that there are no more handouts. He’s asked us to take charge […]

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Jun 15, 2003
The lost art of speaking plainly

Do you understand the following words? “The government is committed to developing innovative, proactive and goal-focused policies that reflect the aspirations of all Kenyans and meet the expectations of key stakeholders. We will focus on efficient and effective service delivery in an environment of transparency and accountability.” Or consider the following typical ‘mission statement’ from […]

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Jun 08, 2003
The aid circus is back in town

The shilling did its dance of joy last month, in anticipation (I’m told) of wonderfully large aid flows that will wash up on our shores in a matter of weeks. Our currency, like us, waits with begging-bowl outstretched. In business and government circles, the talk is the same: we’ll be OK because aid is on […]

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Jun 01, 2003
We collectively blew Kenya’s tourism away

What ails Kenyan tourism? Why does it go reeling from disaster to crisis? Is it really all to do with bombs and clashes, terrorists and politicians? These are merely smokescreens; when you look through the miasma, an ugly picture of complacency, giant-sized egos and misguided strategies emerges. Look first at the product. There’s no doubt […]

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May 25, 2003
Tourism and terrorism are now inextricably entwined

So, Kenyan tourism takes another body blow. An industry that has taken a frightening number of knocks over the past 10 years is put to the sword again. Already, we are told, the damage done by travel warnings, flight re-routings and conference cancellations runs to billions of shillings. Reeling from the bang, the tourist industry […]

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May 18, 2003
The frightening loss of common decency

Whatever happened to decent behaviour? Where along the rocky road we have been travelling did we lose our civility? What became of the ancient virtues of kindness, gratitude and courtesy? I only ask because I fear they may be lost forever. You think I exaggerate? Read on, and decide for yourself. Are you a worker […]

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May 11, 2003
A tale of two countries

In 1963, two countries in different parts of the globe emerged from turmoil and entered a new era of hope. Country A had just freed itself from the yoke of colonial rule and was breathing the fresh, heady air of self-determination. Country B was coming out of a debilitating war with an aggressive neighbour. Both […]

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May 04, 2003
Freeing ourselves from the prison of self-centredness

As we embark on rebuilding this nation, we mull over the losses we have incurred over the past two decades. What exactly did we lose? We certainly lost law and order; economic investment and growth; institutions and governance; roads and power lines. All of these can be reclaimed. Indeed, we are embarking on a journey […]

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