Monday, July 25, 2005

Műtongoria wa Othaya: Heads, You Lose, Tails, We Win!

"One more such victory and I am lost!"

King Pyrrhus of Epirus
(318 BC - 272 BC)

What is the "Winner's Curse"?

The Winner's curse is a phenomenon akin to a Pyrrhic victory that occurs in common value auctions with incomplete information. In such an auction, the goods being sold have a similar value for all bidders, but players are uncertain of this value when they bid. Each player independently estimates the value of the good before bidding.

The winner of an auction is, of course, the bidder who submits the highest bid. When each bidder is estimating the good's value and bidding accordingly, that will probably be the bidder whose estimate was largest. If we assume that on average the bidders are estimating accurately, then the person whose bid is highest has almost certainly overestimated the good's value. Thus, a bidder who wins after bidding what they thought the good was worth has almost certainly overpaid.

More formally, this result is obtained using conditional probability. We are interested in a bidder's expected value from the auction (the expected value of the good, less the expected price) conditioned on the assumption that the bidder won the auction. It turns out that for a bidder bidding their true estimate, this expected value is negative, meaning that on average the winning bidder is overpaying.
-from Wikipedia, the free Encylocpedia

"Wako has only 30 days, and he has only two options. He can do the right thing or bring the government down. If Wako tries to do what Nyachae tried in Kilifi, he will bring Kibaki down. If Wako makes dramatic changes in the Bill, he will bring Kibaki down and this time there will be no remedy.The Constitution cannot return to Parliament now. Wako makes one false move and publishes something that the public does not want and Kibaki is down."

Mutula wa Kilonzo, Kenya's Shadow Attorney General

What Are Tactics?

"Tactics is the collective name for methods of winning a small-scale conflict, performing an optimization, etc. This applies specifically to warfare, but also to economics, trade, games and a host of other fields such as negotiation.

Tactics and strategy are often confused.

* Tactics are the actual means used to gain a goal.
* Strategy is the overall plan.

An example of the difference:

* The overall goal is to win a war against another country.
* The strategy is to undermine the other nation's ability to wage war by annihilating their military.
* The tactics (told to the combatants) are to do very specific things in a specific place."
-from Wikipedia

1.0.The Pitfalls of Short Term Tactical Triumphalism

It has been quite an eye-opener gauging reactions of Kenyans inside the country, those abroad and those from both groups who have a virtual residence in the cavernous expanses of cyberspace.

I am referring specifically to reactions about the two main events that have dominated this week in Kenyan politics:

(i)The three days of unbridled police thuggery and state violence against peaceful Kenyan citizens prostesting the wanton mutilation of the Bomas Draft by Kibaki's allies and their associated political courtesans;

(ii)the gruesome peripeteia of the butchery drama itself-the "victory" of a cynical and callous "Government Side" who came to power pledging to whittle down the powers of the President, but have a mere two and a half years later effected a 360° universal reversal by injecting a lethal dose of political Viagara into an executive that was already too frisky with its existing powers;

After dissecting the actual voting patterns of alleged reformers who popularized the mythical Wanjiku and observing the unsolicited knee-jerk online finger wagging and tongue lashing against patriotic and democratic Kenyans in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu who had the temerity to express their dissent against the controversial Kilifi Draft by marching in the streets and signing petitions- it is obvious that many, many Kenyans are yet to crawl from under the ideological and hegemonic sway of the misrulers huddling in the Kibaki kitchen.

Given the ideological bankruptcy of Kenyan mainstream political parties in general, it is sad to report that the kind of ideological and hegemonic sway that I am talking about is of the very myopic,the very parochial and the very shallow kind-meretricious tribal mindsets; sequestered family connections,specious and unctous religious affiliation and an abject aversion for progressive political dispensations.

An indicator of the paucity of what passes for "national poltics" in Kenya is to be found in the main reference points in the often feisty and ferocious virtual joustings on the internet- Luos vs. Gikuyus; Raila versus Kiraitu; Christians versus Muslims; NAK versus LDP; the Wazee versus the Uhuru Generation and so on and so forth...

Instead of analyzing how my former democratic minded human rights lawyer is transforming himself, month by month, year by year into a grotesque, quasi fascist neo-colonial


some idlers with too much time on their hands, not enough content and less than four original thoughts in their heads will, for instance, conjoin my ethnic heritage and my Marxist critiques so that these two strands morph mysteriously into something as cruddy as an alleged congenital compulsion on my part to "worship your god, Raila".

This boffo tribal reductionism on the part of a section of my compatriots has literally meant that those of of them who are Black African Kenyans and are still blinkered by these ethnic blind folds are, in reality, no different from

Western pundits like Gwynne Dyer

who see all our problems in that shallow and narrow artificial perpetual face off between Tribe A and Tribe B or Politician X tussling with Politician Y.

Those of us who insist on critical perspectives and analytical frameworks that transcend this scuzzy cacophony of ethnic trash talking are usually accosted by a loquacious loco lobby offering a mish mash of jejune cat calls, a hodge podge of arrested development digital naked ape dung and/or a potpourri of resentful, censorious silence on public forums from vicious gossips who yabber endlessly on their invitation-only semi-clandestine yahoo based listservs where the tribal minded can unleash their xenophobic venom, convinced there will be no "politically correct" rejoinders urging discussants to raise the ideological bar rather than lower it.

To insist on a sober, national approach to our politics; to demand an adherence to rigorous analysis of objective facts; to dispassionately and consistently apply the stubborn and familiar lessons of history and draw unsurprising political conclusions from a socio-economic analysis grounded in class/gender and other components of a holistic systems approach is often to invite ridicule or worse, instant snoring snooze fests from those accustomed to the ephemeral sound bite that is often punctuated by a commercial for this or that head ache remedy.

What to is one to do in such a situation?

Some of my friends have succumbed to the sway of conventional thinking, conformist crowd pleasing- wrestling in the mud of traditional and familiar Kenyan bar room punditry; others have retreated back into their cloistered academic coves- while some have jump-started local virtual chapters and branches of a tit-for-tat mutual tribal mudslinging network on the double you, double you, double you...One or two have become what the TZ wahenga call nyambizi and the Anglos dub submarines, lurking wordlessly in the dark corners of cyber-forums, keyboards untapped, lips zipped, not uttering a pip, not sqwacking a squeak as they chuckle following the boisteruous wranglings of the digital wrestlers with tongues untied....

If the foregoing has come across as coy, esoteric and even a bit befuddling from a literary vantage point, it is because I am hoping it will be a screening device, a kichujio sieving out the foul mouthed heckler-trash leaving behind a core of reasonable and reasonably serious thinking adults with whom one can co-ruminate on our national condition as Kenyans with unfinished historical, democratic and political tasks- such as the birth of a truly Wananchi -based Katiba. Hopefully the former have long since bid their spittle splattered adieus leaving behind the former to exchange reflections with...One keeps their fingers crossed sardonically because one is aware at the same time of the sudden desire of some eager beaver fresh ex-teens sticking around, baiting with bated breath, spoiling for a cyber-duel.

Based on the extensive media coverage, it would appear as if the NAK chieftains are quite jolly regarding their apparent gargantuan "victory" in garnering slightly over a hundred votes to their opponents less than sixty five to claim and declare ushindi.

A local Kenyan daily lists on this link, some of the reasons why the faces of the Kibakites are cracked wide open with very self-satisfied smirks.

In a swift, smirk mopping counter-movement, KANU's attorney general in waiting tries to wipe precisely that smile off the face of Kenya's-Dictator-in-Progress and his sauntering and swaggering acolytes. For that, check out this hypertext kiunga.

After browsing through that rather combative interview, perusing and reviewing the Official Opposition's projected legal and legislative bag of tricks, I can bet my very last ngiri and jirongo that there are a lot more back and forth of this back and forth political fencing encounter,sans proper and kosher rules of engagement.

Even rabid opponents of the Bomas process like Ahmednasir Abdullahi and Kibe Mungai see serious and even grievious flaws with the devious slippery slope ending in a ditch that Kiraitu, Nyachae et al are attempting to lead Kenyans into.

The NCEC, which used to be in NAK's corner, and took Bomas to court at one low point last year, is today lambasting the ex-reformers like Mutava Musyimi and Ndingi Mwana a'Nzeki for their naked hostility to their former mass action allies and renewed sycophantic toadyism to the NAK parvenu usurpers of our people-driven constitutional agenda.

Not just from KANU and the LDP, but from the broader Kenyan extra-parliamentary mass democratic movement,one should tell the intoxicated NAK mobs to expect more application of these terms borrowed from the sport of


With moves and tactics like the...

Flying Lunge



Direct Attack With Lunge

En Guarde

Direct attack from the left defended by flancconade of quarte

2.0. The Optimism Borne of a Democratic Strategic Vision

On the day after the morning after following the night before Kenyans should be able to breathe more easily, smiling at the self-inflicted quandary and soon to be bewildering quagmire that the Kibakites have sunk themselves into.

On New Year's Day 2003, Kenyans welcomed the year and the brand new Kibaki-NARC government with brimming optimism and a laundry list of suggested actions. I was among those people with a list of my own titled,"The Democratic Tasks of the Kibaki-NARC Government."

Along with millions of other Kenyans I have watched bleakly as Kibaki continued to move further and further away from that pact with the Kenyan people. Along with millions of other Kenyans we publicly noted how Brief the Honeymoon With NARC was; along with millions of other Kenyans we noticed, as far back as the year 2003, when NARC started Lurching towards Political Gangsterism that made us warn about the dangers of a Creeping Civilian Coup that would see the NAK forces usurp the democratic dividend the Wananchi had so graciously granted to them when they swept the NARC team to power; and proceeding to Hell in a Hand Basket, even as we exhorted our compatriots to move Beyond The Politics of Expediency.

And of course in the last year and a half we have been the often isolated, frequently derided chroniclers of the triumphs of our people and steadfast recorders of the clawbacks on democratic rights by Kibaki and his team.

By early this year we were wondering sardonically and sarcastically Why The Kibaki Government Was Scared of Its Former Friends?, although by that time, we had declared in anger and frustration to the head of state, "Műtongoria Kibaki:Thiî na kűu!!

That is why the latest betrayal has NOT "shocked" us nor have we been surprised by the shameless betrayal of Wanjku by her biggest advocates- Kivutha Kibwana, Kamau Kuria and the list goes on and on and on and on.

What we saw in the year 2003 and 2004 was the trailer.

We are now watching the feature presentation on the wide silver screen.

This is NOT the time for the pro-Wanjiku and pro-Katiba forces to be locking themselves in their toilets and bawling their red blood-shot eyes out.

It is a time to plan our own long term victory celebrations- which when they happen, will be one of the biggest cavalcades for justice, peace and democracy in the history of this young nation.

Time is on our side.

The biggest GIFT the Kibakites have granted to the Kenyan people is the chance to whisk off the masks, smash the veneers and peel off the facades and to finally reveal to all and sundry, the true undemocratic hideous faces of these imposters riding on the backs of our people's national social justice struggles on their preposterous, ultimately quixotic quest for get rich quick lucre, instant stature and quick fix leverage.

Who would have thought that Mwai would become MORE repressive than Moi within a mere two and a half years?

Who would have thought that Mirugi Kariuki would be enthusiastically supervising the brutalization of his own Nyayo House alumni?

Who would have thought all these pseudo-democrats and "reformers" of yesteryear were in reality sketchy desperadoes angling for billion shilling bank accounts, expensive 4WD rides and of course a return to the Golden Years of Kenyatta's Gikuyu Supremacist Arrogance?

Thanks to these greedy power maniacs we have known all about them so quickly, saving us the trouble of grilling them closely about their parliamentary voting amd records.

For one, the Kenyan people know that

they have at least 102 members of parliament that they must immediately turf out for the Crime of Mutilation of the Zero Draft.

We should add to that list any wishy washy fellow travellers in our so camp who may have been pressurized to vote or abstain from voting against the corruption tainted Nyachae constitutional rejigging; must expose any so called "comrade" who got a taste of the swag that we hear is being divvied up among the judases and the quislings who went through with the various acts of political harlotry, oblivious to the democratic imperatives of their own constituents who elected them with an express mandate of passing a katiba within the first siku mia moja.

So many sports analogies come to mind:

NAK is George Foreman in 1974, pummelling Muhammad Ali with punishing, ring rocking body blows unaware of the latter's Rope a Dope gambit that would end the world heavyweight championship bout with a Round 8 Knock Out...

The other sports reference that I think captures the spirit I am trying to inspire in my fellow Kenyans is Venus Williams' gutsy come from behind victory over the heavily fancied number 1 seed Lindsay Davenport at this year's Wimbledon finals:

The Venus Williams victory is almost hackneyed in its Victory Through Perseverance morality tale, but it is still the sweeter, because unlike the fairy tale of Cinderella or Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, this is a true story of triumph of how a fiercely determined competitor transcended historic barriers that would consign her to obscurity because of her working class origins, her African ancestry, her specific gender identity and other societal hurdles to soar to the apex of her aspirations.

When Venus won, all people who have been told that they would never ever win, knew that they did not have to listen to the naysayers and their pessimistic dour predictions.

Kenyans, let us imagine that we are Venus Williams facing off a much more fancied opponent in the finals.

Even though we have showed our mettle before, our opponent is cocky.

The commentators are derisive; the tournament organizers have busted us from our once top billing to a lowly 14th seed.

We have lost the first set and are in danger of losing what some people think is the second and final set- presumably going down in defeat in straight sets.

What do we do instead? We block out all that negative energy; we tell ourselves" We Can Do This!"; we fight back; we hit a few aces; we force a tie breaker; we win the next game, then the set; our opponents claws back and it looks like it is kaput, the fairy tale is over; but oh NO!

We fight back again, and again, and again...

And then we shock even ourselves when we see our opponent crumble under our relentless and ferocious barrage. We are not just the comeback kid anymore. We have just been crowned champion of the world! We are giddy with joy; we are laughing, we are crying, we are jumping up and down, we want to do cartwheels, somersaults and hand stands! We have won! We have won! We have won!

The smug pundits are silent, their smirks wiped from their snobbish mugs.

The world's media cameras click away, as we sit there, drenched in delirium, unable to believe that we actually pulled it off.

I am sure that I am not the only person in the world who is a demented fanatic of women's professional tennis.

There is no male tennis player today who comes close to the talent, raw athlecity, excitement and sheer crowd pulling power of the top ten women players in the world.

Of course,I am TOTALLY and completely biased when it comes to

Venus and Serena. I think they both RULE, OK?


Serena Williams

is my favourite, but that is something for another digital....


I am OUT.

Onyango Oloo


Kenya Democracy Project said...

To my demented stalker:

You KNOW that you are not "george onyango oloo" although i agree that you are a mpumbavu. you have posted almost two dozen trashy threads about this essay on two other kenyan forums. why the infantile insecurities? why the daily hate messages using up to 32 handles on mashada, kenyaniyetu,rcbowen, the nation forum, mambogani and elsewhere? do you think that if you urinate on my essays i will stop thinking, writing, expressing myself? by placing your pre-kindergarten comments on this blog which is read in spain, the philippines, italy, india, kenya, tanzania, austria, the uk, canada, the usa, ethiopia, norway and sweden you are saving me the trouble of exposing your silliness. i was tempted just now to use your real name and expose further your three year stalking campaign- all inspired by the fact that you have failed to embrace your sexual orientation as a closeted gay man, and has instead spend all your waking moments sexually harassing me, posing as a female, sending me hard core pornography, maligning my son and trashing my dead relatives. please cease and desist. unfortunately for you, i am not gay nor am i attracted to members of the same sex. you live in one of the most gay positie cities in north america. please contact a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered support group and ask them to assist you with your issues. also find a way of dealing with your drinking problem which is getting more and more serious. this constant bombardment that you unleash on oloo- a stranger you have never met, is more than a trifle bizzare. what you are doing is is also criminal.

let me go back and work on the next essay.

good luck with dealing with all those issues.


if you lived in canada, i would have recommended some psychiatric and mental health resource.

Onyango Oloo

Remember there is a law against cyberstalking and some miscreants have been convicted in your state.

D Achilleus said...

I like your site a lot.

Unfortunately, the way you link to pictures was sucking the life out of my bandwidth (on my server). Additionally, they are copywrite protected. I would be happy to work out something for your use of or link to the fencing images you found if you like.

Thank you for thinking of me and the images on my site.

Kabal Fencing