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OFF MY CHEST: A proposition to donate my seed

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By MESHACK YOBBY
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The text came in on a Saturday afternoon when I was deep inside the pages of Allah Is Not Obliged by Ahmadou Kourouma.

Apparently, the full title of the book is Allah is not obliged to be fair about all the things he does here on earth but that is such a long sentence to put on the cover of a paperback.

And quite appropriate for the story that the text was about to reveal.

“Hey…umm…I need to see you. Can we have lunch tomorrow? My treat,” Lucy wrote.

Usually, when a woman tells a man ‘we need to talk’ or any of its variations, a man sits down, goes through his sins and singles out which ones might have offended the woman. Then he prepares a defence.

But I am a single man and have been for a couple of years. Lucy is an old friend that I hadn’t seen in years but had kept in regular communication with. So I knew I was not in any trouble.

“Yes. One o’clock?” I replied.

We met at a restaurant along Mombasa Road, and after the usual pleasantries, during which she showed no signs of duress, I asked what was on her mind.

“You remember I lost a pregnancy four years ago?” Lucy asked.

I remembered. She had been so excited she had toyed with the idea of running a pregnancy blog. She’d gone to Toi market and bought baby clothes, and Gikomba to buy diapers at wholesale prices.

Her boyfriend was amazing through the process, flaunting her for all to see. They planned a traditional marriage, formed a WhatsApp group and added everyone. The ceremony was beautiful.

Then, three weeks into the second trimester, her stomach ached so intensely that she started bleeding. When she got to the hospital, the doctors said it was a miscarriage. She was devastated.

She had prayed for a healthy pregnancy and done everything by the book but still, the pregnancy was lost through no fault of her own.

It is difficult to console a woman who has lost a child. What do you tell her? That it is well? That you understand what she is going through? That she is young, so she can still get another baby, as if babies are eggs that you just get over the counter?

Do you tell them that it is better for the water to spill than the pot to break? I don’t remember what I told her then, but I remember feeling sad and questioning God. But Allah is not obliged to be fair about all the things he does here on earth.

“Mike left two years after that,” Lucy said. “The doctors said I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and would need heavy treatment for pregnancy to even become a possibility again. Mike and I tried for two years but nothing happened. So he left.”

She ran a finger over the rim of her glass of fruit juice, her eyes trailing it but her mind far away, dredging up forgotten emotions. I felt for her. Society has often judged a woman by her ability to take care of a house and reproduce. Women who are unable to have children are often looked down upon. Even if people do not say it outright, you will see the judgement in their eyes.

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I’d heard of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome from a friend that had suffered the same in 2017, so I knew a bit about it and how difficult it was to manage. In vitro fertilization is pretty costly, and can easily go upwards of Sh400,000 at the Nairobi IVF Centre. It is not affordable to everyone who has problems with pregnancy.

“Have you thought of adoption?” I asked.

“Yes. But I don’t know how to explain this…I want to try as hard as I can to get my own child first. I want my blood, my genes to run in that child. The older I get, the less the chances of that happening. If I get to the age where it is virtually impossible for me to get pregnant, I will adopt.  But that is not my immediate plan,” Lucy said.

“I need a favour from you. I need you to make me pregnant,” she said.

I almost spilled my drink. I have no children at all because I have been careful to not risk it. I am in no position financially or mentally to have children, so it is a very deliberate choice. And I do not want another family to pop up at my funeral and claim inheritance. I want to be a one family man.

As if reading my thoughts, Lucy said, “I know it is not an easy thing. I am not asking you to marry me. I am not even asking for upkeep or that you be involved in raising the child in any way. All I want is your seed and we are done. I get pregnant, and we part ways. I can even draft an agreement.”

“Lucy, I am not sure about this. I empathise with you, but how am I supposed to live knowing that I have a child somewhere, and I know how to find that child?” I asked.

“That is why the agreement would be important. To safeguard both of us,” Lucy said.

“Why couldn’t you just seduce me and then disappear after getting pregnant? I know so many women who want a baby but not the man that comes with the baby. They get pregnant and go their way,” I said.

“But what if those men one day get suspicious and demand a paternity test and sue for custody? I don’t want to risk that.”

“So you want us to sign an agreement, and then have sex indefinitely until you get pregnant, then forget we ever had that encounter?” I asked.

I looked at her. I felt bad that a woman would have to go to such lengths to get a baby, when she did nothing to cause the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

People in church would tell her to pray and fast for a miracle. They would tell her the story of Sarah in the Bible, who gave birth long after menopause. They would lay hands on her stomach and shout to the heavens. But at the end of the day, Allah is not obliged to be fair about the all the things he does here on earth.

To some, children are given, to some, children are denied and to some, there is some hope for conception. And Lucy was in the last category.

”So, will you help me?” Lucy asked.

I haven’t answered her yet. I am yet to decide what to do.

Off My Chest is an open forum for anyone who wants to share their story or write letters they have always wanted to write.



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Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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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 –

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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.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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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.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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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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