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Archive: November 2012

Mshwari Inside Out, Everything you need to know

by simon

Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2012 12:37 AM

I am sure you have heard all the buzz on the new banking service pioneered by CBA and Safaricom. The move has seen CBA break into the market at the bottom of the pyramid, a niche it had not explored before. I gave the service a try and here is a summary of my experience.

Setting up Mshwari on your phone

Step one: Update the Mpesa Menu

- Under the main Mpesa Menu, select 'my account' then select 'Update menu'. This will prompt you to enter your Mpesa password and after few seconds, the new menu is available and there is 'Mshwari'. 

Step two: Activating Mshwari

- Select Mshwari on the main Mpesa menu, and you will find only 2 items under it i.e 'Activate' and 'Terms and condition'. Select 'Activate'. This will prompt for your mpesa password again and may take longer as mshwari is experiencing a lot of traffic. never the less, you wait untill you receive an SMS confirming the activation.

Step three: Updating Mshwari Menu

- You will neeed to repeat Step one again to get the complete Mshwari Menu. If you have used other m-banking services such as m-kesho, you will find mshwari very similar; if you havent, it is still very simple for the average mpesa user.

So what is so good about Mshwari, The Pros

  1. No transaction charges. This is a winner for me. I happen to be a major m-kesho customer but I always lose 30 bob every time I withdraw from Mkesho to Mpesa. But now that is history. Am not saying I wont use mkesho any more, look at the cons below.
  2. CBA, This is a reputable bank and I feel safer knowing my money is in their custody than how I would feel if it was held by some of the other banks we know so very well!!??!!
  3. The loan. Wow, this is a killer. So many times I have found myself in need of some cash and no nearby ATMs. That is why I used M-kesho to transfer cash from Bank to Mkesho and then Mkesho to Mpesa. I can assure you this is a cumbersome process, the bank's m-banking services are based on USSD and have a very high failure rate, you have to retry like 5 times sometimes before it goes through. Now all I have todo is get that 1k loan on m-kesho which has an interest rate of only 7.5% flat rate.  This is disguised as loan processing fee to allow muslims to use the service, which is awesome since I would hate to see my muslim brothers miss out on this revolution. It is repayable within 30 days. There is a caveat here, some people have praised the service for a low interest rate forgetting that this is 7.5% per month which is equivalent to 7.5*12 which is 90% per year, definitely the highest in the market. Safaricom has clearly stated an extra 7.5% will be charged for every extra month (for loan defaulters)
  4. Money saved in Mshwari shall earn an interest rate of 5% per year, this not winner, but it is still  something, probably below inflation rate but still something.
  5. Those are enough reasons to use mshwari but reason number one deserves a repeat! No Transaction Charges.
Don't be so psyched here come the Cons
  1. 6 Months mpesa user requirement for you to qualify for the loan. This is a downer, I mean somebody just realized he could 'okoa mpesa' with mshwari and decides to vuka from airtel to safaricom and you tell them they have to wait 6 months. I understand safcom's fears but I wish they could throw more caution into the wind and use other methods like restricting loan limits based on your 'age' in safcom and usage statistics but not cutting you off completely.
  2. The high loan interest rate. 7.5% per month, that is 90% per year on a flat rate which is equivalent to 139% interest rate on a reducing balance. Some bloggers have praised it for been the lowest without doing the maths first. The highest loan rate in the market today is 27% per annum on a reducing balance.
  3. No ATM. What if you lost your phone and you were in need of some emergency cash (Why I will continue using m-Kesho). You will have to obtain a phone and replace your SIM card and restore Mpesa. This process is normally straight forward, but what if it is in the middle of the night and you are out of town. You only have your ATM with you. With Mkesho, I will just walk to the nearest bank and insert the VISA ATM card and access my mobile cash pap.

Loan Limits

Safaricom announced that limits will be based on usage of safaricom services. The initial loan limit is Kes 2,000. Note that you dont need to have money in M-Pesa or M-shwari account to get the loan. Based on you saving, borrowing and repayment trends, the limit will be revised from time to time hopefully upwards. I recently got a text message that my loan limit had been revised up to Kes 2,600.

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When Gor Mahia Lost the Cup and Their Minds

by maria

Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 01:49 PM

Last Weekend was very disappointing for  Gor Mahia fans, when the long awaited victory at the Tusker premier league did not bear any fruits. They lost it to the brewers in one of the most watched matches held at the City Stadium.

Gor mahia is Known to have the largest fan base in Kenya, or rather the loudest, either someone is a Gor mahia fan, or he doesn't care about local football. Of course AFC leopards a.k.a Ingwe has a huge fan base too but mostly drawn from Western Kenya. The other clubs hardly have any permanent fans if I may say so.

So what happened when Gor Mahia lost the cup by finishing in a Draw with some Thika boys, the fans caused a mayhem in Jogoo road which later extended into the city centre as the fans who are generally known to have emotional and anger management issues marched creating fires and at one point breaking the windscreens of a few vehicles.

The Kenya Football Association has asked Gor Mahia to formally apologise to Kenyans though the club's management distanced itself from the incidents. This was not the first time Gor Mahia fans have misbehaved, earlier in the year, they lost a match to Ingwe and made it a very big deal by hurling stones to AFC leopards fans, an incident which left 3 Ingwe fans dead.

Whenever such incidents arise, people flock to social media where 'hate speech' is evident as non-gor mahia fans blame Raila, the prime minister who is also a core supporter of the club, and voe that he will never be president. These scenes paint a very bad picture to the supporters who are seen to lack composure.

So far  there are no plans to ban Gor mahia fans from attending their games or any other permanent solution. Some have suggested that all Gor mahia games be held in Kisumu and other minor towns to avoid giving the rowdy fans an opportunity to flock the city centre and inconvenience innocent Kenyans.

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by muunankari

Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 11:37 AM

Sometimes I can’t stop wondering whether is it Africa as a continent that is cursed or is it the color of our skin that is cursed? Africa, unlike the rest of the world has had it fair share of troubles. Almost all countries in Africa are classified as third world countries while countries such as south Africa, despite it been associated as a second world, reality on the ground is, that the poorest people in that country are the blacks.

Almost all the countries in Africa have in one way or another been ruled by a dictator. People who, at no one point have the interests of the people whom they lead at heart.  Africa unlike other nations, in this 21st century people are still dying of hunger, curable diseases, ethnic wars and ignorance.

And let me not start talking about historical injustices that happened to Africans such as the slave trades and the arrival of the colonialists.

But unlike other countries in the world, in terms of resources, Africa is the richest of all. From best timbers from the equatorial rain forests, to the “blood” diamonds of Liberia, to tea and coffee from Kenya, to gold from south Africa, oil from Nigeria and Angola  and its rich wild life and extensive popular coastal beaches, magnificent scenarios such as the great rift valley and the diverse cultural practices by the many communities in Africa.

My questions are;

why is it that we Africans, despite been blessed as we know we are, we still remain as the poorest continent in the world?

Our problems; are they dictated by the western nations? The middle-east nations or the Far East nations?

Why is it that we as Africans find it hard to solve our own problems for good without necessarily inviting other foreigners with their foreign ideas that most of the time don’t  to help us solve our own issues?

After much research have come to accept the fact that we, as a people are to blame for some of the problems that we go through.

We are the ones who accept bribes to vote in leaders who lack the vision and wisdom to guide us in the right path, it is us who are quick to allow ourselves to be divided in our ethnic, social, regional gender, religious and age classes by leaders who are only after their own selfish gains.

It is us who take up arms against our neighbours just because we are not for the same political opinions and ideas.

It is us who have done away with our traditional foods for GMOs.

It is us who have done away with our traditional names for foreign names some of which we name our children yet we do not know their real meanings.

It is us who are so quick to do away with some of our morally correct cultural practices for foreign cultural practices that add no value to ourselves and in some cases are more damaging to us.

The solutions to our problems will not arrive from a convention in the UN headquarters but from us within. It is high time, as Africans we change the way we think, the way we talk, the way we dress, what we eat, the leaders we have and the way we conduct ourselves and our daily business affairs.

Let us learn how to appreciate and tolerate one another despite the many different social, ethnic and religious backgrounds that we come from and just may be we will be able to achieve the dreams and visions of the continent.

Failure to do this, then some of the problems we go through will continue to persist.


Muthomi M’muuna Nkari


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Manchester United Vs Arsenal

by simon

Posted on Saturday, November 03, 2012 10:10 PM

Lets stick to the statistics:

Here are the results of the last 10 games between the 2 clubs

1. Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United
2. Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal
3. Arsenal 1-0 Manchester United
4. Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal
5. Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal
6. Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United
7. Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
8. Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal
9. Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United
10. Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal

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Hurricane Sandy and Everything You Need to Know

by simon

Posted on Saturday, November 03, 2012 09:35 PM

I read some comment on the web by a Kenyan that, 'It takes an hurricane to bring power down in New York, but in Nairobi, a 3 hour rain storm is all the push our Mains Electricity needs'. Now that is of course true IN SOME of our NEIGHBOURHOODS. 

Back to hurricane Sandy, the monster storm hit the east coast of the United States towards the end of October 2012 paralising activities in New York city, the world's Commercial hub and affecting at least 24 states in the US and taking the lives of at least 20 people. Was is not for the early warning systems in place in the continent, this would have gone down as the world's worst disaster of all times, probably.  But what is technlogy for as I have always asked here >>  A Technology Driven Future?. 

Hurricane Sandy How was it detected? The storm began as a tropical cyclone on October the 22nd and was picked up by the Government of Jamaica who gave a directive to watch it closely in the entire island. On October 23rd, it was developing quickly and the watch was replaced with the warning for a storm with a hurricane watch issued. The same day, the hurricane watch was replaced again with a hurricane warning. At the same time, the Government of Haiti issued similar warnings on its own land and so did Cuba, Bahamas and of course the US. 



Long story shot, by monitorying the winds hitting the coasts and their patterns in the ocean, a hurricane was declared and preparations made to save as many lives as possible.

My only question is, do we have the capacity to observe our daily weather patterns and detect similar events? I mean this was the biggest hurricane in recorded history on the Atlantic, how many can survive that if it occured on our own coasts?

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