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Adong Judith wins the Prince Claus Award




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(One of this year’s Prince Claus Award winners, Ugandan playwright and filmmaker Judith Adong, says she was inspired by the 1991 Zimbabwean film Consequences, directed by John Riber.

“At the age of 13 after watching Consequences, I bacame obsessed with becoming a filmmaker because seeing Africans on the big screen was magical.

For a long time, I had imagined being in a film was a mzungu (european) thing. Consequences let me know even I could make films, which at the time I didn’t even know was called filmmaking,” says Adong.

Adong was awarded alongside seven cultural practitioners, a journal and an institution.

The awards are organised by the Prince Claus Fund based in the Netherlands, and honour visionary individuals and organisations for groundbreaking work in fields of culture and development.

Adong’s work raises public debate on contentious issues to provoke positive change.

Her first play, Silent Voices, reveals the terrors of Uganda’s 20-year conflict with the Lord’s Resistance Army and challenges of the peace-building process, asking difficult questions about amnesty and forgiveness and confronting the public’s passivity and complicity.

She brings the stories of vulnerable and disadvantaged people to the wider public of Uganda and the world.

Her works tackle such controversial subjects as the struggle for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex people in Uganda, the hypocrisy of religious and gender politics, child sacrifice practices, social media deception and the horrors of colonialism.

She is the first Ugandan to receive the Prince Claus Award.

Adong says she spent a good part of her life chasing the filmmaking dream, so much so that even when she was doing so well in the theatre programme that she ended up being admitted to Makerere University, she still dreamt of being in films.

This dream came true when won a Fulbright Fellowship to study at Temple University’s MFA Filmmaking and Media Arts in the US.

“After that I was able to make some films, and I must admit that I find the rawness of theatre unmatched. Of course one cannot ignore the fact that film has more legs to travel, making it more far-reaching than theatre, especially for the kind of stories I tell.

“However, one thing that makes both film and theatre exciting for me, is simply the power of storytelling to humanise viewers. This is the heart of it for me,” she adds.

Adong is not a stranger to the Prince Claus Awards. She says:


“When an award comes to you from an organisation you had applied to three times for production grants and only received rejections, words cannot even begin to explain how much it means. Now, they are recognising the power of the work I have done. My work has finally spoken to them and it is an exhilarating feeling.

“This is a huge boost to my energy which was already getting deflated and I was wondering if anybody really cares. But someone definitely cares, no matter how far away from home they are. This award is reassuring,” she further added.

“In a country where art and artists are not taken seriously, it is good to receive such a powerful validation and appreciation of my artistic work. There is a misconception that artists are not smart enough to represent citizens in places like parliament,” she said.

Judith Adong was born in Gulu district in northern Uganda in 1977.

She holds a MFA in Filmmaking and Media Arts from Temple University in the US, a Bachelor of Arts in African Language, Literature in English and Theatre, and a Diploma in Music, Dance and Drama from Makerere University, Uganda.

After a day’s work Adong unwinds by sipping some good wine and watching television series. She is the artistic director of Silent Voices Uganda, a non-profit organisation that supports the development and production of performing arts.

According to Adong, the biggest challenge facing Uganda’s film and the performing arts is the limited training that the students are receiving in relation to theory versus practices.

“Theory is all good if a student aspires to become a scholar, but when a student aspires to work in the field of producing and a lot more time has to be dedicated to practical lessons. Currently, the opposite is true in Uganda, where more time is dedicated to theory,” she says.

Adong will receive her award later at the end of the year at a ceremony where Prince Constantijn will present the awards at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on December 6.

On December 5, the 2018 Laureates will tell their stories at Louder than Words, a public event at the Compagnie theatre in Amsterdam.

Past winners from East Africa

  • 1997: Mathare Youth Sports Association. A Development aid organisation in Kenya. Also in 1997: Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, a Congolese-Tanzanian political philosopher
  • 2005: Opiyo Okatch, a Kenyan dancer and choreographer
  • 2006: Henry Chakava, a Kenyan publisher
  • 2010: Kwani Trust, a Kenyan literary platform and magazine
  • 2012: Boniface Mwangi, a Kenyan press photographer and peace activist
  • The other 2018 Prince Claus laureates are the Market Photo Workshop (South Africa), Marwa Al-Sabouni (Syria), Kidlat Tahimik (Philippines), Eka Kurniawan (Indonesia), O Menelick 2º Ato (Brazil).


Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’




Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –




Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard




Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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