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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Was Jesus a Lunatic? - Scholars examine the facts about Jesus' claims to be God

Today I came across a very interesting but controversial read about Jesus Christ that I had to share with my readers. I was attracted by Y-Jesus Magazine's text ad that read "Was Jesus a Lunatic? - Scholars examine the facts about Jesus' claims to be God"

Y-Jesus is a single-issue magazine that deals with the evidence regarding the most controversial person who ever lived. The magazine is illustrated with dramatic photos and contemporary graphics, will help both youth and adults understand the evidence regarding Jesus Christ and his radical claims.

Below are extracts from Y-Jesus


Have you ever met somebody with such personal magnetism that they are always the center of attention? Possibly their personality or intelligence---but something about them is enigmatic. Well, that’s the way it was two thousand years ago with Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ greatness was obvious to all those who saw and heard him. But, whereas most great people simply fade into history books, Jesus of Nazareth is still the focus of numerous books and media controversy. And much of that controversy revolves around the radical claims Jesus made about himself.

As an unheralded carpenter from an obscure Galilean village in Israel, Jesus made claims that, if true, have profound implications on our lives. According to Jesus, you and I are special, part of a grand cosmic scheme, with him as the center of it all. This and other claims like it stunned everyone who heard them.

It was primarily Jesus’ outrageous claims that caused him to be viewed as a crackpot by both the Roman authorities and the Jewish hierarchy. Although he was an outsider with no credentials or political powerbase, within three years, Jesus changed the world for the next 20 centuries. Other moral and religious leaders have left an impact---but nothing like that unknown carpenter from Nazareth.

What was it about Jesus Christ that made the difference? Was he merely a great man, or something more?

These questions get to the heart of who Jesus really was. Some believe he was merely a great moral teacher; others believe he was simply the leader of the world’s greatest religion. But many believe something far more. Christians believe that God has actually visited us in human form. And they believe the evidence backs that up. So who is the real Jesus?

Did Jesus deserve the title of “great religious leader”? Surprisingly, Jesus never claimed to be a religious leader. He never got into religious politics or pushed an ambitious agenda, and he ministered almost entirely outside the established religious framework.

When one compares Jesus with the other great religious leaders, a remarkable distinction emerges. Ravi Zacharias, who grew up in a Hindu culture, has studied world religions and observed a fundamental distinction between other religious founders and Jesus Christ.

"Whatever we may make of their claims, one reality is inescapable. They are teachers who point to their teaching or show some particular way. In all of these, there emerges an instruction, a way of living. It is not Zoroaster to whom you turn; it is Zoroaster to whom you listen. It is not Buddha who delivers you; it is his Noble Truths that instruct you. It is not Mohammad who transforms you; it is the beauty of the Koran that woos you. By contrast, Jesus did not only teach or expound His message. He was identical with His message."

The truth of Zacharias’s point is underscored by the number of times in the Gospels that Jesus’ teaching message was simply “Come to me” or “Follow me” or “Obey me.” Also, Jesus made it clear that his primary mission was to forgive sins, something only God could do.

No other major religious leader ever claimed the power to forgive sins. But that is not the only claim Jesus made that separated him from the others. In The World’s Great Religions, Huston Smith observed, “Only two people ever astounded their contemporaries so much that the question they evoked was not ‘Who is he?’ but ‘What is he?’ They were Jesus and Buddha. The answers these two gave were exactly the opposite. Buddha said unequivocally that he was a mere man, not a god—almost as if he foresaw later attempts to worship him. Jesus, on the other hand, claimed … to be divine.” READ MORE on

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What next for Barrack Obama?

Related Posts:

1.President Barack Obama's visit - What's in for Africa?
2.Obama cracks the code to reach Islam
3.Excerpts from the press on Barack Obama's speech at Cairo University
4.Obama’s Egypt Tour: Its Historical Significance

Referred to many as the new John F. Kennedy, Barrack Obama inspires hope and change not only in the United States but also across the world. A Change the world desperately needs. Given the myriad problems the world is experiencing thanks to unpopular US foreign policies.

His nomination is not only historical (being the first African-American) but also of crucial importance for democracy. He was able to cross the racial divide, and mobilize millions of younger voters yearning for change from old US policies that have lost touch with reality. Once again, the world is in a position to see the US in different light, and Obama should be particularly proud for playing a key role.

Mr. Obama’s ascent is not only because of his youth and background but also because he promises a radical departure from policies of the Bush administration. The United States of America is currently among the worst poorly rated countries, akin to Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and the failed State of Somalia - the only difference being its global economic influence and superpower status which is quickly eroding thanks to the emergence of alternative superpowers like the combined Asian Tigers and the larger European Union.

Africa, a continent once dismissed by Mr. Bush as “not fitting into the U.S national strategic interests”, has not gained much under the Bush administration. His last 5 day tour of the continent was just that, a tour through a region that doesn’t mean much to America. This was made clear in an interview with Bob Geldof aboard Air Force One en route to Ghana, back in February when President Bush said that he believed America was in an ideological struggle with extremism, people who prey on the hopeless - a situation which breeds terrorism. "That's why this trip is a mission undertaken with the deepest sense of humanity, because those other folks will just use vulnerable people (Africa) for evil. Like in Iraq." Bush spoke of his mission to Africa.

Granted, some of Mr. Bush’s international policies especially those concerning Africa are appreciated despite their lopsided nature. For instance the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) largely touted as the best tool to nip the trade imbalance between the US and Africa. The dismantling of the Multi Fibre Agreement's world quota regime for textile and apparel trade in January 2005 reversed gains made due to increased competition from China and other developing countries outside Africa.

AGOA’s failure can be partly attributed to little African involvement in its preparation and the lack of understanding of why it was set up in the first place. Its design is meant to reward countries that do not engage in activities that undermine United States national security or its foreign policy interests and not international trade per se. If for example, America determines that an eligible sub-Saharan African country is not making continual progress in protecting American foreign policy, it will be stripped off its eligibility tag.

The US policies towards the Middle East a key player in OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) have pushed global oil prices to dangerously destructive levels forcing the non oil producing countries especially in Africa to bear the brunt. This among other forces has slowed down global economy. There is surge in the price of basic commodities such food which has led to worldwide protest and increased suffering among the world’s poor. It’s a long chain of destruction whose source is America. It has lost global respect and trust under the Bush administration and needs radical surgery which can only be done by fresh untainted hands. Whoever succeeds President Bush should not loose his bearing given the clear road map ahead.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Why Obama cartoon failed to tickle

Call it the attack of the Jonathan Swiftboaters. A New Yorker cover illustration, showing Barack Obama dressed as a Muslim fist-bumping his gun-toting wife, fell a foul of the humour police Monday. To some, it was satire. To others, it was aid and comfort to the malice mongers who hide under the rocks of American politics. In the end, it was both.

“Successful” satire — mildly funny, generally anodyne and broadly therapeutic — needs an “April Fool’s” moment, when the joke is revealed and everyone is at least invited to have a laugh.

Like a practical joke, satire can be hysterically funny without a shared catharsis, but that’s often a cruel form of humour. To be effective — if by effective one means a teachable moment, a transformative bump forward in self-awareness — the humour must be widely appreciated.

New Yorker editor David Remnick found himself defending satire that seemed to go astray. On Saturday, before the July 21 issue even hit the newsstands, he said, “Satire is offensive sometimes, otherwise it’s not very effective.” Monday, he acknowledged the offence given, and the emotional pitch of the current presidential campaign, but stood by his cover.

“(The illustration) had a title — the title is ‘The Politics of Fear’ — and there is also a context,” he said. “It is appearing in the New Yorker.” By which he meant everyone generally understands where the magazine is coming from, that it is “liberal-minded” and doesn’t traffic in the kinds of slurs and innuendo the cover obviously lampoons.

Caught in the maelstrom of cable television blather, Remnick fell back on the time-honoured belief that offensiveness in satire is rather like the height of a diving board or a tight rope: It raises the stakes and, if the joke works, increases the return.

Which misses the other half of the equation: If you want satire to be “effective” (like a good editorial or a well-written position paper) you must aim at a wide audience, invite people in and wink with exaggerated meaning. In the cartoon, Obama almost looks as though he’s winking. But “almost” doesn’t count in socially safe satire.

Unfortunately, as debate about the image grew, the New Yorker missed a golden opportunity to question the rather odd American relationship to satire. Why must it be broadly effective rather than just funny? Why must humour, like grief, somehow be good for us on a deeper level? Instead, the magazine fell into the deadly trap of overanalysing the funny in public.

“The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall? All of them echo one attack or another. Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to prejudice, the hateful, and the absurd. And that’s the spirit of this cover,” the magazine said in a statement released Monday.

The New Yorker might have added that the image doesn’t even add up to a coherent set of prejudices.

It’s not clear how a Muslim man who keeps a painting of Osama bin Laden on the wall could survive marriage to a powerful, gun-toting, pants-wearing, independent woman. But no matter. If something satirical isn’t working for you, no matter how many times someone unpacks and analyses it, the joke won’t suddenly become funny.

And if the satire isn’t carefully calibrated to a target audience, then it will almost assuredly be remembered for its offensiveness rather than its supposedly palliative effect on the body politic.

The main problem with the New Yorker cover — if it’s a problem at all — is that its humour is intended for a relatively insular, like-minded readership: subscribers to the NewYorker, a presumably urbane audience with strong Obama tendencies.

No matter what the New Yorker says about holding up a mirror to prejudice, the cartoon certainly didn’t do that. It was more like a spyglass.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Update: Finally, Kenya's Rogue Finance Minister Amos Kimunya Forced to Resign (Read Fired)

In his resignation speech he said he had held consultations with the President, his family and constituents before resigning. He insists that his hands are clean and his conscious is clear.

"I am stepping aside to pave way for investigations" he said

Whatever may have transpired within the last 6 hours must have been very devastating for the minister since by last night, Amos Kimunya, implicated in various corrupt dealings still held his vow - never to resign lest he dies. He gave conditions that his ouster will only come along with the exit of among others, the Kenyan prime Minister, Raila Odinga. He even played the tribal card pitting his constituents (Kipipiri) against the rest of the country. This was akin to incitement witnessed after the last general elections that saw many Kenyans rise against each other and the destruction of property throughout the country. Mr. Kimunya's behavior during the last few days show that he was more than ready to go this route.

According to Kumekucha a local authoritative blog, "The tribal card may have worked devastatingly well for the foxes that we call our politicians, last January. However this time round it may not work as well"

"There are a number of factors that are against Kimunya’s survival. For starters it is clear that the vitriol we saw in parliament during the historic censure debate last week was mostly personal" (read the full post at Kumekucha)

He almost turned his own misery into a PNU- ODM fight which could have seen the collapse of the grand coalition. Little did he know that the coalition stands more important than one Amos Kimunya. He needs the coalition, not the other way round.

Sources close to the treasury indicate that the Kimunya was actually fired given the dangerous political temperatures that he was raising in the country. However clean Kimunya claims to be, many in the coalition inner circle believe that it's stability is pegged on trust and cannot stand such kind of scandals and reckless behavior. He had to go. Both the President and the Prime Minister vowed to ensure the success of the grand coalition.


1. Aides to Rogue Kenyan Finance Minister in Shady deal Paraded in Shame (List Includes Kenya’s Central Bank Governor)
2. Corrupt Deals by Rogue Finance Minister Threatens Kenya’s Young Grand Coalition Government
3. Britain, Tony Blair and Mugabe are to blame for Zimbabwe’s woes.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

MPs pass vote of no-confidence against Kimunya - as details of other dirtier, fishy and corrupt deals emerge

From East African

Kenyan Parliament has passed a vote of no-confidence against rougue and corrupt Finance minister Amos Kimunya (above: pictured) over his role in the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel.

This means the President can (should) sack him or appoint a commission of inquiry into his conduct. However, the President is not bound by law to take any action against the minister. But Mr Kimunya can choose to resign as minister or await the President’s decision. This is just the first scandle.

Fresh details have emerged of how Finance Minister Amos Kimunya, in a Cabinet paper he tabled at a meeting in May last year, sought to justify a joint venture with the local subsidiary of British currency printer De La Rue Security Company Ltd.

In the paper, a copy of which has been seen by The EastAfrican, Mr Kimunya argued with some vehemence that Kenya needed to secure a strategic long-term relationship with De La Rue.

Such a stable relationship with De La Rue, he argued, would encourage the company to invest in new technology and materials and thereby boost the quality of the currency......Continues Below


1. Aides to Rogue Kenyan Finance Minister in Shady deal Paraded in Shame (List Includes Kenya’s Central Bank Governor)
2. Corrupt Deals by Rogue Finance Minister Threatens Kenya’s Young Grand Coalition Government
3. Britain, Tony Blair and Mugabe are to blame for Zimbabwe’s woes.
4. How to get rid of Robert Mugabe

As it turned out, that Cabinet paper is what set the stage for the derailment and final cancellation of $51 million contract under which Kenya was to acquire new generation tamper proof bank notes, now the subject of a row in parliament where the minister is accused of having acted imprudently.

Under the contract, Kenya was to acquire the new generation notes at far more competitive prices than in the existing contract.

In a statement he made to parliament last week, Mr Kimunya argued that the country did not lose any money by cancelling the contract for new generation bank notes.

Opinion is, however, unanimous — including among technical staff of the Central Bank of Kenya — that the country would have saved billions of shilling had it opted for the second-generation bank notes.

Indeed, the tender for the banknotes was the first to be competitively procured in the country’s history.

Until that tender was floated, De La Rue had been supplying Kenya with bank notes under 10-year, opaquely procured deals handed to it without any competition.

Available documents show how a former head of legal affairs at the CBK, J.M.Gikonyo, had in a letter to Central Bank Governor Prof Njuguna Ndungu questioned the whole arrangement.

“It is not clear why the joint venture has to bind Kenya to continue with the existing generation banknotes, which are more expensive compared with the new generation banknotes,” he said in the letter.

The letter continued: “The international tender demonstrated that international procurement of bank notes through competitive tendering is able to provide the bank with bank notes at lower prices.”

De La Rue’s first contract with Kenya was an exclusive 10-year contract signed in January 1993.

It was a lucrative deal that committed Kenya to a minimum order of 170 million bank notes in a year. The notes were to be produced in De La Rue’s Ruaraka factory.

In December 2002, just a few days before the new administration of President Mwai Kibaki took the reins of power, Del La Rue hurriedly signed another 10-year agreement.

The date on the contract was December 5, 2002. It was to come into effect on January 1, 2003.

In March 2003, then minister for finance David Mwiraria wrote to the former governor of the Central Bank of Kenya directing him to cancel the contract with De La Rue.

The minister gave three reasons: First, that the contract was single-sourced. Second, that the contract period was extended to 10 years instead of the normal five years. Third, that since the contract became effective on January 1, 2003, when the new government was in power, the Narc government should have been consulted.

Consequently, the government decided to float an initial tender for the new generation bank notes in which several international currency printers participated.

In May 2006, De La Rue emerged the winner in the competitive bid and was contracted to print 1.71 billion pieces of the new generation bank notes at a cost of $51 million.

The plan was that the bank notes were to be issued beginning, July 2007.

This background explains why the derailment of implementation of the contract for the second-generation bank notes was clearly a step backwards in efforts by the government to bring transparency to the procurement of bank notes.

In the Cabinet paper, Mr Kimunya stated that De La Rue’s Ruaraka plant did not have the technology to manufacture the new look notes and that the company had all along planned to produce the new look bank notes in plants located in Europe.

He said De La Rue was planning to close the Kenya plant because the advent of the new generation notes would render it redundant.

Thus, once the Cabinet paper was passed, the death of the new generation bank notes contract was a foregone conclusion because, having committed itself into purchasing 25 per cent shares in the Ruaraka plant, the government was now going to be compelled to make sure that it did not close down.

Following the Cabinet approval, negotiations for the joint venture were set in motion. The Treasury put out advertisements inviting transaction advisers. Consequently, CBA Capital Partners Ltd were appointed to advise the government on the deal.

In the meantime, a parallel process was set in motion to negotiate another long-term currency production agreement between the Central Bank of Kenya and De La Rue.

On September 28, 2007 , the Treasury wrote to the Central Bank requesting it to review a draft long-term currency production agreement.

The Central Bank was informed that De La Rue was keen on making the new agreement an integral component of the proposed joint-venture agreement.

In the draft deal, De La Rue proposed, “The bank shall purchase all its bank notes requirements from the De La Rue factory in Ruaraka.”

When the draft currency agreement was presented to the top management of the Central Bank for review, it was met with stiff opposition.

“We are opposed to a situation whereby the bank enters into the currency production agreement with an entity [the Ruaraka facility] which regrettably may continue to use old technology,” they said in a letter signed by Mr Gikonyo.

Last week, Mr Kimunya opposed the new generation bank notes, arguing that the concept of a new currency note had been comprehensively dissected and addressed by the Central Bank.

The minister also said the new-look notes were abandoned because the Central Bank would have had problems storing the old bank notes.

It is noteworthy that this was the first time Mr Kimunya was advancing these arguments. In the Cabinet paper where he presented a long narrative on how the currency contract had been handled, the minister did not oppose the new notes — suggesting that what he said in parliament was an after thought.

The only reason he gave for the delay in the implementation of the contract was that “ the government considered it imprudent to have a new generation currency in an election year.”

He said the government had directed the Central Bank to delay the commencement of the contract to January this year.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Aides to Rogue Kenyan Finance Minister in Shady deal Paraded in Shame (List Includes Kenya’s Central Bank Governor)

Report from The Standard and Daily Nation

Professional valuers Monday said the Grand Regency Hotel was worth at least Sh4.5 billion, but in a new bizarre twist, it emerged yesterday that the hotel did change hands at Sh1.85 billion and not Sh2.9 billion. Earlier reports by the finance minister Amos Kimunya were proved wrong yesterday by evidence produced by his cabinet colleague, the Minister for Lands, James Orengo who uncovered newer details about the shady deal.

Mr. Orengo, who first blew the whistle over the secret sale, opened a new dimension by claiming that the firm that bought the hotel is indeed Kenyan and not Libyan as earlier claimed. A Libyan embassy official, Mr Ahmed Mabrouk, said the mission (Libyan Embassy) was not involved in the (shady) transaction, adding that the matter was purely between investors from his country and the Central Bank of Kenya.

Former Trade minister Mukhisa Kituyi also stepped into the raging saga saying the sale was an unfortunate statement of impunity by Kimunya. He called for a revocation of the sale and the property returned to the public.

Addressing a press conference at Ardhi House, Lands Minister James Orengo also released pictures of the company directors one of whom is a well-known local contractor and has previously been involved in shady deals. The transfer was effected on June 20th this year and was witnessed by the CBK Governor Prof Njuguna Ndungu....Continues Below


1. Aides to Rogue Kenyan Finance Minister in Shady deal Paraded in Shame (List Includes Kenya’s Central Bank Governor)
2. Corrupt Deals by Rogue Finance Minister Threatens Kenya’s Young Grand Coalition Government
3. Britain, Tony Blair and Mugabe are to blame for Zimbabwe’s woes.
4. How to get rid of Robert Mugabe

The minister said the company was incorporated and registered in Kenya. "Two characters are in the letters of transfer are indeed Kenyans," said Orengo.
The directors of Libyan Arab African Investments that bought the hotel, holder of Passport No 004428, holder of ID Card No 6104260, holder of Passport No 298071 and CBK Governor Njuguna Ndung’u who witnessed the sale agreement.

Orengo said it was clear from the documents that the deal was not between the Government of Kenya and the Libyan Government.
Orengo made the revelation against a backdrop of a flurry of activities at the Grand Regency Hotel as the new owners scrambled to formally take over the hotel. The hotel managers were kept busy the entire day and late into the night as they engaged in stocktaking.

Documents released last night by Orengo show that Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) sold the land and building to a locally registered company, Libyan Arab African Investments Company Kenya Limited.
Earlier, Mr Kimunya and his permanent secretary, Mr Joseph Kinyua, held talks with Prime Minister Raila Odinga ahead of the committee meeting over the controversial sale of the hotel.

The directors — whose names were not appended — had their Identification and Passport Numbers listed as 6104260, 298071 and 001428.
The minister also revealed in the registration of title, a registrar at the Lands office — a Mr Mulee — changed the sum of figure from Sh2.5 billion to Sh1.85 billion without endorsing the changes.

Interestingly, one firm of advocates handled the sale transaction for both Central Bank of Kenya and the Libya Arab African Investment Company Kenya Limited.
Orengo said the firm of Wetangula, Adan, Makokha and Company Advocates was the same for the CBK and the new owners.
He stated that Attorney General would have been the one to act on behalf of the CBK (read Government) and not a private firm.

In the documents the Libyan Arab African Investment Company Kenya Limited has its registered office in Nairobi.
The hotel’s new owners officially installed a new Libyan financial controller, Mr Cairo Makhzoun Gilani and a Ugandan Chief Engineer, Mr John Kubarigire who supervised the stock taking exercise of all the hotel’s assets.

The new financial manager had visited a local bank earlier in the day for details on the hotel’s financial position. The take-over and the stock taking was being executed in a hurry against fears that the Lands Minister would cancel the deal and revert the hotel to Kenyans.

The new managers walked into the hotel in the morning, minutes after the workers were hurriedly told that new directors would be coming to the hotel, causing anxiety among the members of staff. To outsiders and visitors, the entry of the new managers went unnoticed.

Security Intelligence sources told the Standard that the formal hand-over was to take place at around midnight last night. "We are informed the handover ceremony will take place tonight (lastnight) but I do not think they have invited the media," said a security source that sought anonymity.

The hurried hand-over was being done against the backdrop of a cabinet sub-committee convened by Raila and which plans to grill Kimunya on the sale that has had the entire country focused on the matter.

The handover was also done on the eve of planned demonstrations by a section of MPs who plan to hold a protest march to register their displeasure at the controversial sale. Their attempt to hand over an application to the police at Central Police Station was snubbed and told the face the demo will not be allowed.

Attorney General Amos Wako also met with members of the Law Society of Kenya after which he demanded from Kimunya for all documents on the sale of the hotel. He said he needed to study the controversial sale to be able to give a concrete way forward on the same.

The chief Government advisor who was not party to the signing of the sale said he would advise Government accordingly on the action to be taken on the sale of the hotel that has put the Finance minister on the spot. He at the same time reiterated that businessmen Kamlesh Pattni has not been granted pardon and his court cases are still on track.
"The issue is being handled now by the Prime minister Raila Odinga. I assure you after receiving all the documents on the sale I will then tell you the action to take. I do not want to injure the advocate client confidentiality," he said.

Members of parliament led by North Imenti MP Gitobu Imanyara plan to sponsor a censure motion against Kimunya in Parliament Tuesday afternoon. Imanyara said that they will move a motion of no confidence in Kimunya as Finance Minister and added that they have the support of Ministers, Assistant ministers and backbenchers.
"We will not allow him to continue enjoying the status of a Finance Minister since he lied to Parliament over the sale of the hotel,’’ Imanyara said.