The Anatomy of a Betting Nation

Posted on 3 min read

A few days ago, I spent the day in a client’s office where I was doing some work. The office was manned by four young people, three ladies and one guy, who seemed to have graduated from college within a period of one to five years. I noticed that they spent about two hours going through the sports section of the dailies, doing some writing on their notebooks, and check some online sites while taking notes. It had not occurred to me that they were looking for betting tips, checking for odds and placing their bets online. Four employees spent two hours each trying to place bets for the evening’s games, at the expense of their employer’s time, resources and space! Welcome to Kenya, the betting nation.

The betting craze has taken Kenya by storm. The young people bet. I have seen a 70 year old betting, and old women in rural villages bet. Graduates bet and uneducated people bet even more. A research by Geopoll showed that Kenya leads the rest of Africa when it comes to betting, in terms of the number of people betting and the amount of money invested in betting. It is no wonder that 20% of adults in Kenya consider betting to be a reliable source of income. When I tried to analyse Google trends results for the keywords ‘betting tips’, the results were amazing, almost shocking. The leading countries in the world are Kenya at 100%, Uganda at 53%, and Zimbabwe at 24%. The traditional gambling nations like the UK do not feature.

The growth of betting in Kenya is best highlighted by the growth of the Kenyan betting companies. SportPesa, a Kenya betting firm already took the world by storm. This betting firm is the main sponsor of the Kenyan premier league, as well numerous other sports in Kenya such as rugby and boxing. Its impact is not just felt in Kenya. Among the big and mighty sports team that it sponsors include English Premier League Everton FC and Hull City. It also has a partnership with Arsenal, as well as Torino in Italy. The moneyed betting firm recently joined formula One and is the sponsor of SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team. No other Kenyan startup has made it this big.

But why all this betting craze? Like many other African countries, Kenya has a youthful population with a median age of about 19 years. Joblessness is high, and the number of people who live in extreme poverty stands at 29%. Advertisements by the betting firms majorly tell stories of rags to riches, and end up enticing many to bet. With these conditions, betting is a reasonable chance of escaping poverty.

Even the rich bet. In the same way that prosperity gospel is enticing people to give money with the promise of more reward, betting also seems to sell hope in the same way. Other factors have also made betting easy, such as high penetration of mobile money which allows almost anybody to do transactions online and make payment. Online lending apps also come in handy with reports saying that many people will quickly borrow money in order to bet.

It is hard to quantify the impact of betting on a society. By September 2016, 400,000 Kenyans were already blacklisted with Credit Reference Bureaus for mobile loans of less than KES 200 (USD 2)! Most of this borrowing is attributed to betting. Many employers have also lost money in terms of wasted productivity as young people spend time analysing bets and fantasizing on winning big. Gambling addiction has been said to cause problems such as family breakdown, violence and crime, debts and emotional instability. One wonders what will be the impact on Kenya in the next 15 years.

In an attempt to slow down the practice, the government recently announced a ban on advertising of gambling between 6 am and 10 pm. It also banned endorsement of gambling by celebrities, in a ban that will take effect from 30th May 2019.


Jesus is in Trouble

Posted on 2 min read

Jesus is in trouble. Some serious trouble. The kind of mess that would easily get you into depression. As one would be expected to do, he decides to get his three close buddies, so that they can go and pray. He takes Peter, John and James with him so that they could back him up. He tells them;

My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.

He needed their support. He needed them to pray for with him. He then went a little farther and fell on the ground. Falling on the ground maybe because the knees gave way. There he pleaded with the Father that if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him to be taken away. It was not like a prisoner awaiting the gallows, but like a cornered a tethered sheep watching helplessly as a wolf approaches. He was indeed in danger.

He goes back to find his three friends asleep. He is like, “Seriously? You guys could not stay awake just for an hour when I need you most?”

He goes again to pray, and comes back to find his prayer partners asleep again. They were so embarrassed that they did not know what to say. Even Jesus had no other words for them. It was already too late. His friends were turning to a luggage which he had to drag along.

It was now a race to the bottom. The events that followed were worse:

  1. He was soon to be betrayed by a friend.
  2. His close friend denied ever meeting him.
  3. His gang of 12 who had been very close to him ran away, leaving him with abductors.
  4. In a few more hours, he would be forsaken by his people he was trying to save.
  5. He is to be tried under an oppressive regime, for a crime he never committed.

Can someone help Jesus before Friday comes?


Babies and Former Babies

Posted on 3 min read

When you show the moon to a baby, they only see your finger (African proverb). That is just how babies are, and that is how they live their lives. The grown ups are always at the receiving end of these selfish human. Babies will keep you awake at night until you start questioning why mentally sound people decide to get children. They will cry for food, cry or attention, cry for what they need, cry for what they do not need, cry to get what can harm them, and cry when they feel lonely. They see you as a servant who has always existed to serve their needs.

As far as the baby is concerned, the earth is just a few meters long. It could be that the earth has two people, mum and dad, of course and an aunt. Daddy is the biggest thing around, and the trip to the clinic could as well be a trip to mars. There might be animals on the planet, but which planet? Cows, birds, TVs and chair belong to the same family. The known earth revolves around the baby, while rotating on the parents’ axis.

We tolerate babies in the hope that one day they will outgrow their childish behaviors. We patiently feed them, change their diapers, and wake 194 times every night to attend to them in the hope that one day they will grow up and become responsible. We do our best in the hope that they will turn out just fine. The government is probably keen on child care in the hope that they will turn out to be great tax payers. We are a world that works hard to take care of babies, but maybe it is time we paused a little and learnt from them.

Why do babies cry and fight for toys they do not need? Even if another baby clearly needs the toys, or is using them, a baby will cry and demand to get the toy, and hoard the toys to themselves. And they quickly forget what is in their hands, in order to get what is in someones hands. I always thought such babies will turn into terrorists, then realized that the globe’s richest 1% own half the world’s wealth, and the top richest 26 people on planet earth own as much wealth as 50% of all people on earth. I now conclude that this penchant for accumulating toys will land these babies into the top something under something in the world.

I have always held the opinion that a sleepy baby should just sleep, not cry and make life unbearable for everyone. That can never be the case. Even sleepy adults do not just go to bed and sleep, but take caffeine to keep them awake for longer. Even when they sleep, they set an alarm to rescue them from the sleep. They then spend the whole day very irritable because of lack of sleep. Babies are just honest adults.

Babies do not know dirt. Everything that can fit will land in the mouth. Thank God most insects are swift, and toothless mouths are less potent. Babies can feed on anything, and it takes a parent to distinguish foods and non foods. They will eat bitter stuff and cry, as if someone forced them to eat. Parents will always determine what the baby feeds on, because they know what is safe for little humans. Yet, the same parents do not know what is safe for big humans. Big humans do not know where moral boundaries lie, and are not open to suggestions or directions. Of late, big humans cannot tell the difference between a boy and a girl.

Babies get angry and frustrated when their needs are not met in a reasonable amount of time. Their parents overlap on the roads and jump queues.

As Augustine says in ‘Confessions,’ Babies cry loudly for food, constantly demanding for the attention of their mothers. Only waiters and waitresses can give the other side of the story.

Babies demand things that aren’t even in their best interests. Their parents also own 32 pairs of shoes.

Babies do not want adults telling them what to do. They want to space to practice lawlessness, break stuff, spoil toys, and even self destruct. Adults do not want a supreme being telling them what to do.

Grown ups are overrated.


What’s next after campus?

Posted on 5 min read

At some point in campus/college, especially during your final months or semesters, you will need to start planning for life after school. It is a joy to finish and look forward to graduation, but there are also many moving parts involved that can rob you the joy of completing your studies. As you anticipate a life without assignments, cats and exams set by the devil himself, you also realize that it will be a life without HELB and possibly the close social gatherings you have enjoyed. By the way, HELB will still be there, but this time round like Santa Claus turned terrorist, asking you to repay your loan. Blessed is the one without HELB, for they will not be haunted! Sorry, I digressed.

3 things you can do to secure a job

What’s next after campus? I faced this question almost six years ago, and with so many uncertainties, I had to decide what to do next and how to shape my life at least in the short term. What makes this a major decision in life is that a lot of things change, and your life will be altered significantly from how you have lived in the last 20 years. Some of the major changes to expect include:

  • Increased cost of living, in terms of housing, food, travel etc.
  • Decreased support from the people you depended on.
  • Increased expectations from people.
  • Finding a job in a jobless economy.
  • Transition to a different town/location, new community and friends, or new church.
  • Another 300 challenges which I have no space to mention

One of these challenges is finding a job, and I would want to talk about it in the hope that I will help someone make the right decision. While in school, we work hard in the hope that we will land a good job, and possibly occupy the corner office. Even those who do not venture into employment hope to be successful as entrepreneurs. How can we make this a reality?

The reality of job environment today

Once upon a time there was a thing called a job. You had the same one for your entire life, and then you retired, and got something called a pension.

Things have changed.

Today, your career is probably going to take a lot of twists and turns. You’ll work, change jobs, tarmac, get a side hustle and a main hustle, become an employer, an employee, consultant… etc. With the exception of a few people whose career path will look like the straight path shown below, most of the people will have a twisted, convoluted and mixed up career path as shown

With this in mind, how can one ensure that their career kicks of well? Jobs need experience, and experience needs jobs. This cyclic loop can keep you jobless forever. Some people are also not sure which job they want to do, and others are keen on changing their careers completely. The other problem comes when you send hundreds of CVs, and receive neither response nor regret. Other times you attend so many interviews that you start doubting your purpose in life because some do not even bother to send a regret. With such challenges, here are three considerations that will help you get relevant experience land the job of your choice in the long run.

Getting experience


Internships are loved and hated at the same time, majorly because you can easily get yourself one, and also because most of them do not pay. However, internships are one of the best way to gain some experience in a specific field.

Internships give real time experience and exposure, and work best if you are targeting to intern in small organizations as opposed to big corporates. This is because in small firms, you are likely to be given more duties and responsibilities, as opposed to big corporates. In our start-up, an intern will get more experience and exposure in three months as a system administrator than they can get if they worked in the big Kenyan companies for one year. This is because we give you as much work as we give a senior system administrator, and you will have the guidance of the senior admin seated next to you all the time.

For networks, you are likely to get an internship through referral, because many times these opportunities may not be advertised. If you know someone in an organization or business that is doing what you want to do, consider asking them to consider. Consider also cold applications to any firm you know, and also look out for advertisements.

Job shadowing

Job shadowing refers to finding someone doing what you want to do, and then spending time with them in their actual working environment to see and learn from what they do. The objective is to see a mechanic, tailor or software engineer at work, so that you can decide whether that is what you can gauge your interest and capacity in that field. You may consider spending one hour with them every day, or even a whole week.

Job shadowing works well with networks, and can be very useful of you are not decided on a career. One person loves art and painting, but after spending a day with a painter, he was convinced that it is one of the most boring things in life. That made him change their mind on becoming a paint artist. A day with a lecturer can help you know the joy and struggles of setting exams, marking, preparing for next lesson and doing your PhD studies at the same time.

Volunteer Work

You can opt to spend time doing volunteer work in an organization of your choice. This


Whatever happens after campus, never stay idle. Find somewhere to make yourself useful, and whatever you do, do it with all your might, as unto God. Remember the example of David in the Bible, who had done his work excellently, and that helped him pass his first interview. Which interview? When he went to Saul to tell him that he could actually eliminate Goliath, Saul asked almost asked him what on earth he had been smoking, to think that he could eliminate a seasoned fighter. David replied:

“Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

1 Samuel 17:34-37 NIV

His faithfulness as a shepherd prepared him for his greatest battle. Be faithful as you work, look for jobs, do internships, and even tarmac.


An Unreasonable Action

Posted on 2 min read

The story is told of a truck driver who often visited brothels while on the road. This was a common practice for some truck drivers who spent many days on the road; away from family, friends, accountability and any form of restrain.

On one occasion, a colleague shared with him the details of his favourite brothel, and even gave him the name of the person he should request while there. This was a welcome suggestion; an opportunity to experience a different service, and he gladly made his way to the brothel. He asked for the name that he had given, and was told that he would have to wait because the said prostitute was meeting another client. He patiently waited for an hour, and finally his time came to meet the recommended person.

To his shock and disgust, he entered the room to find his wife. He was devastated. Unknown to him, his wife had been making a living through prostitution while he was on the road. In the rage that ensued, he killed her!

How incredulous! This man was completely at peace with his wayward ways, yet he could not stand to see the favor returned. Many of us live this kind of lifestyle. We do not want to see the bad things we do being done by others. We do the same things that we detest when done by others. And we are not the first ones to do so, as shown in the scripture below:

Romans 2:21-22
…you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?


The Man who Continued Fighting for 29 Years after World War II Ended

Posted on 2 min read

If you underestimate what loyalty, pride, determination, and commitment can produce in a man, you need to hear the story of Hiroo Onado.

On 2nd September 1945, the World War II officially ended when Japan formally surrendered to the allied forces. Germany and Italy had already surrendered, and thus Japan’s surrender meant end of atrocities after 2194 days of hostility, deaths and bombings. However, this was not to be. Several pockets of isolated fighters continued fighting, an in one such team was a man by the name Hiroo Onoda.

Hiroo Onoda was a soldier in the Imperial Japanese Army who was stationed in the Lubag Island in the Philippines. He had been trained in the field of guerrilla warfare, sabotage, counterintelligence, and propaganda, and so when his team was overpowered by American forces, he retreated to the woods and kept fighting. His aim was to keep the allied forces busy and occupied, so that they would take longer to invade Japan. Hiroo did his duty diligently, where he would launch guerrilla attacks on the Filipino police and villages. Unfortunately, the war ended but Hiroo never got to know about it. In his thinking, he knew that Japan would never surrender until the last man was dead. His mission was to defend Japan unto death.

For 29 years, authorities tried various methods to make him surrender. They dropped leaflets in the woods announcing that Japan had surrendered and all soldiers should drop arms and surrender. Hiroo was unmoved; he thought that to be a propaganda tactic to make him surrender. They dropped photos and letters from his family asking him to come home, but Hiroo would have none of it. He continued hiding and attacking villages and civilians until the last day when something made him surrender.

When Japan realized that their man would never back down, they located his commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, who went to Philippines to give him an order to lay down his arms. With that, Hiroo emerged from the woods with his service rifle and sword still in excellent shape. He was appalled that Japan had actually surrendered 29 years earlier, and was welcomed to a new reality. Hiroo died later at the age of 91.

What can an army of 300 Hiroos accomplish?