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MAINA: Femininity is not a ticket to riches




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A fun quiz was posted o social media recently.

It went like this: Moses has Sh5, 000 in his pocket, Lucy smiles at him. How much does Moses have in his pocket now?

The response on the comment section was an almost unanimous; “Nothing, Moses has no money left in his pocket.”

Although hilarious, the answers are not a far-cry from the assumptions society has when it comes to women and money.

It is believed that by the virtue of being female, she has unlimited opportunities to cash in and have her finances sorted out instantly.

Some of her assets are listed as good looks, being curvaceous, aligned dental formula and of course, the ultimate resource; her vagina. Woe unto you dear woman if you are caught lamenting about your financial constraints especially in the presence of men.

“How can a beautiful girl like you suffer from poverty,” Michael will inquire with feigned concern.

Even before you reply, Richard will be on you like flies on fresh dung, “A girl of your class cannot be broke. Please, leave that useless boyfriend of yours and let me take care of you. A woman like you deserves fine things,” he will quip and go ahead to rub your back affectionately.

The tactless David will go right ahead and blurt out what all the rest of the men are probably thinking but are too modest to say, “With that nice behind? You are here whining about cash when your well-rounded bottom can make a man give you access to both his ATM and Mpesa accounts? Girl, you are underutilising your assets!”

Most surprisingly, the perpetrators of this assumption are not entirely male. There are women who believe, without a single doubt, that being female automatically strikes them off the “broke” list.

You must have heard tales of mothers who send out their blossoming daughters to go forth and ‘make use of their beauty’ to earn a living. Many of these girls end up becoming commercial sex workers.

In her book, I’m Too Pretty to be Broke, Joan Thatiah explores this very narrative that alludes that being a woman—a beautiful woman for that matter—guarantees one financial success. She exposes this mind-set for the fallacy it is:

“A woman who thinks that beauty is synonymous with success is misguided, maybe even delusional. To attain financial success you will need to put in the work…If you are one of those women who think that beauty equals financial success not necessarily in the career world but also in the form of a rich and powerful husband, look around. ..A quick glance at Margaret Kenyatta, Janet Kagame and even Janet Museveni will show you that these women’s explicit focus isn’t how they look. What they have is likeable personalities and overtly impressive CVs.”

The assumption that women cannot be broke is closely chased by the other lie of modern day society; women get money from men and are incapable to create wealth on their own merit.


It purports that for every successful woman you see sashaying about in fine linen, there is a male financier behind the scenes. Again, this reflects on why the society perceives the idea of a broke woman as being ridiculously surreal. Why would a woman be broke when there are so many men around, laden with money and waiting to spend it on women?

Meg Mwende, 30, is a teacher by profession. In 2018, she decided to resign from her job after the work pressure started to threaten her health and well-being.

Although she had a child and a parent to fend for, she opted out of the job without a plan of how she would pay her bills and soon enough, she got broke.

“Have I ever been given money simply because I was a woman? Yes. One mzee actually gave me some money and said that woman should always have something stored for a rainy day. It was a one-time offer though.

But then there are men who promise to ‘take care of me.’ I have had offers made to me in the streets, at social events and even in restaurants by men old enough to be my father.

They claim that a ‘woman like me’ should not suffer want, whatever that means. Trading myself for money has never been a viable option for me because I know that although one may gain some temporary riches, it makes you poorer in so many ways starting from your self-worth and peace of mind.”

An 18-year-old female student who wished not to be identified shares similar sentiments as Meg;

“If you start receiving money from a guy, you automatically surrender yourself to them. You may try to regain your voice and pretend that you are still in control but you will only be fooling yourself.

Can you imagine trying to assert your opinion as you sit in his car in a dress and shoes he bought, pointing him with a finger whose manicure he paid for and shaking a wig he financed?

He will walk all over you, it will be suffocating and embarrassing and by the time reality hits you, you will be already hooked to the highlife and afraid of losing it all. It is hopeless; I would rather be broke but free.”

Evidently, the claims that women cannot be broke because they have assets to ‘cash in’ should be taken with a grain of salt reasons being there are strings attached.

The cost of those strings is high and many women are opting to skip that route all together and instead work with their hands to be financially secure.

As entrepreneurs and career professionals, women are not exempted from the usual highs and lows of economic pursuits, including being broke occasionally.

The notion that a woman cannot be broke is misguided and as Joan Thatiah puts it, an easy way out for indolent women who believe that being easy on the eye is enough to make them successful.



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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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.

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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.

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