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ONE ON ONE: Gidi Gidi




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A pioneer of Kenyan urban music, he has done it all — from making hits as part of the Gidi Gidi Maji Maji duo, to hosting one of Kenya’s most popular radio shows. Gidi Gidi, real name Joseph Oyoo, chronicles his 20-year showbiz journey:

Are there people who don’t know you were once an artiste?

Yes, very many. We did our music a long time ago so the new generation of urban artistes don’t know that we are the pioneers of this industry. Our first hit was “Ting Badi Malo” which featured on Tedd Josiah’s compilation album, Kenyan Second Chapter in 1999.

Then 2000 we did our first album “Is-marwa”, it had club bangers like “Ting badi malo remix” (Chwodho Style) and “Oruu”. In 2002 we did “Atoti” with the late Wicky Mosh which went on to become a big hit, even being used in advertisements. We also did “Unbwogable” in the same year which blew up when the Rainbow Coalition took it up as their campaign song. After that we landed a deal with South African Record label Gallo Records in 2003 and did “Many Faces” album with them.

You guys broke up in 2005, what happened?

Life happened to us. Maji Maji got married around that time and he had a lot on his hands. Life was also catching up with me so I had to adjust. I started music while I was still in high school, and at the height of our career I deferred my university studies for a couple of years. So around that time I also went back to school and got a degree in IT.

So how did you get into radio?

It was around 2008. I was working at the UN as a software developer, when I met with Carol Radul at a sports event. I am very passionate and vocal about football so we would engage in heated debates.

She saw the potential in me and invited me to join the then new sport FM station. There was no way I was going to leave a UN job to join a new radio station, but they pursued me and eventually I gave it a try. Ten years down the line, I don’t regret the move. I joined radio without any experience but I have learnt on the job, and today we are the number one morning show in Kenya.

You have been in the Kenyan music scene for about 20 years, what has changed?

In our time we really didn’t have music videos, even studios were hard to find. There is variety in the music and an improvement in the way artistes package themselves now. Revenue streams have also increased; we only earned cash from shows then. At least now there are ring back tones, endorsements, even the performance fees have really gone up. For artistes like Sauti Sol who treat their music like a business there are many opportunities, I just wish more acts would follow their example, instead of getting caught up in the hype.

Music from your era, and those who came immediately after you seems to still dominate playlists and even over shadow some new acts, what would you say is the reason behind that?


In our days we got a lot of air play, partly because it was the major source of music distribution but also because we didn’t have a lot of competition. When Gallo records signed us in 2003 we were one of the first African urban acts together with Skwatta Kamp from South Africa. They knew an explosion was coming in the urban music and they wanted to be part of it.

At the time Bongo was big in Tanzania but it was still localised, and so was Nigerian music. The Kenyan music scene was also very competitive. We had Tedd Josiah, Ogopa DJs and Clemo’s Calif Records all churning out great tunes to outdo each other. With time, however, things have changed. There are more channels of music discovery that have in-creased access and competition from all over the world. MTV, Channel O and later Trace Music broke down the African boundaries and more foreign music has also entered the market.

The campaign to increase Kenyan music on local radio continues to heat up and radio presenters have been blamed for the state of affairs what is your response to this?
Only urban artistes are experiencing this issue, vernacular musicians know their space and understand their audiences. They give people exactly what they want and they are booked back to back.

People need to understand how radio works. There is a music department that selects music and schedules the daily playlist. My work is just to talk and play what is already in the system, I can actually be fined and fired if I alter the pre-set list of songs. Every professionally run radio station has a laid down procedure for music selection that has been there since time immemorial.

Back in the day, our songs went through the same approval process before they received airplay. When “Unbwogable” came out KBC outright refused to play it, because it was too political for them.

At the time, Jimmy Gathu was in the selection committee for Kiss 100 and some of his colleagues were hesitant. There was a big argument and the committee was split right in the middle. So Jimmy bet that if the song was played it would be a hit in a week. True to form they played it and it was an unstoppable hit.

What is your advice to the music industry?

We must realise that we have come of age; we are an industry now and every stake holder has a role to play.

Yes, I agree the Media needs to find a way to promote Kenyan urban music, but the artistes also have a role to play. It is not enough to release your song online or to e-mail me and expect your song to be played.

Although music is a way to express yourselves you need to make music that resonates with the audience. Find out what people want to listen to and package it so. Let’s also engage management that can facilitate structured dialogues among the different players, shouting at each other every time there is a problem will not help us in the long run.



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.

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


“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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