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Cry My Beloved Country? Not Again! By Teddy Kamau

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Dr. Teddy Kamau

The indefatigable Kenyans are the hardest working people in Africa. Of course not all Kenyans, but most work hard! A perceptive American business man visiting Kenya argued that Kenyans are the only people who can take rocks from the neighbors garden, set a Kiosk on the road and try to sell the same rocks to the neighbor with a convincing argument presenting the rocks as unique and precious. Innumerable kiosks, the fixed Mama Mboga, the line of small markets dotting the A104 from Nairobi to Eldoret, all testify to the American’s Finding.

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On the other hand, Kenya is the quintessential land of deals; in the parlance of CNN, “a hotbed of deals” – strange deals. A wealthy friend of ours had an account with Chase Bank Kenya. We repeatedly told him that the Chase Bank in Kenya, is not the widely known JP Morgan Chase Bank of the United States. He stubbornly argued that it was and went on to keep his money in the institution. We wrote a prescient article on this media outlet earnestly asking Kenyans in the Diaspora to be extra careful about banking in Kenya. Many of you thought that we were being unfair to the Kenya Banking system (https://diasporamessenger.com/2015/10/how-safe-is-money-in-kenyas-banks-they-are-getting-closed-left-and-right/)

Our argument then and now, comes from the book of Amos.The ancient Israelites were a very hard working people. They carefully and diligently invested in their financial system. Unfortunately those who controlled the monetary system were thieves. The common man is just that: ‘common’ we use that word common to refer to regular, ordinary, unsophisticated, casual, and other synonyms. We communicate the fact that these regular folk work hard for their money; they then innocently and hopefully invest in the national monetary system. But unfortunately and repeatedly, the system fails them.

So then what is the problem? The problem is, even after Prophet Amos and the other prophets warned the common man about the corrupt nature of those in authority, they were always taken for ride. It is the same thing happening in Kenya with Chase Bank. In fact there is another financial and security company in Kenya with an American name Wells Fargo. Those who invest in these names believe that the American name guarantees that it is thus. The question is, does a Kenyan Company with an American name guarantee that that company is regulated by American financial system? The resounding answer is no. Usually these names do not relay any relationship with the companies in America with the same name.

As Diaspora, we have uneasily watched our fellow Diaspora land in Kenya and look for the nearest Americana brand name. The perennial truth is that names are just that, names. When shopping in a grocery store, we diligently read the label in the package to find out more about our purchase. The same thing applies especially to the Kenya banking system: read the label.

Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD) with Timothy K. Nyenjeri. HTBluff Associates. An EMG Consortium #HTTBluff for Diaspora Messenger

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