<a href="http://www.mg.co.za/specialreport.aspx?area=soccer_world_cup_2006"><img src="http://www.mg.co.za/ContentImages/272488/icon_focuson_wc3.gif" align=left border=0></a>It has been dubbed "The Greatest Show on Earth", and in Kenya that's precisely what the Soccer World Cup is. So, with just days before the latest tournament kicks off in Germany, excitement among soccer fans in the East African country is mounting.
In an isolated village in Kenya's western Siaya district, near Lake Victoria, 75-year-old William Onyango gazes at a faded newspaper clipping pinned to the wall of his dank, makeshift store. ''American politician to visit Kenya'', says the headline. A smiling Senator Barack Obama gazes from the photograph accompanying the article.
Aids activists have threatened mass action and a lawsuit against Kenya's government for its apparent failure to protect HIV-positive people from violence and intolerance. This follows the brutal murder of Isaiah Gakuyo, a frail 15-year-old boy who had been living with Aids.
Minibus taxis, referred to as ''matatus'', have long been a ubiquitous feature of the Kenyan landscape, providing transport in cities -- and linking urban and rural areas. But a revolution is under way in western Kenya: bicycle taxis are replacing motorised vehicles, their passengers perched on padded seats positioned above the back wheel.
More than a month has passed since authorities in Kenya pledged a fresh drive against high-level graft in the corruption-riddled East African country, but no assets have been seized, as promised. The first group of high-profile Kenyans suspected of looting public coffers recently appeared in court on related charges.
Kenya's Parliament reconvened amid the usual grandeur and opulence that accompanies the occasion. While the rulers sated themselves with a sumptuous dinner and stroked one another's egos with speeches overflowing with praise, Betty Tom lit a fire 400km away at Orongo in western Kenya and gave thanks to God.
A Christian charismatic revival is sweeping Kenya and Uganda and its surrealism is intensifying. Each weekend, especially in Nairobi and Kampala, tens of thousands attend ''crusades'' at sport stadiums and public parks at which American evangelists and their equally ebullient brother and sister preachers from Africa fling hope at the masses.
The fallout from a growing list of corruption scandals in Kenya is intensifying by the week as national and international outrage at the apparent rot at the heart of President Mwai Kibaki's regime swells. Recently, education minister George Saitoti, Kibaki's personal assistant Alfred Getonga and the president's close ally Kiraitu Murungi exited the corridors of power.
As revelations about a multimillion-dollar scam involving the Anglo Leasing and Finance company riveted public attention in Kenya , a report about investigations into the country's biggest corruption scandal to date was gathering dust in an office at State House.
Aftershocks from an earthquake in central Africa were still being felt in Kenya on December 5 last year when a leading academic warned of a looming ''tragedy''. Many buildings in the city were being erected without ''proper structural analysis'', said Professor Norbert Opiyo-Aketch of the University of Nairobi.
Kenya's political crisis has deepened, with 22 politicians refusing to accept posts in a reconstituted government, and foreign envoys adding their voices to demands for a snap election. Kenya has been without an effective government since President Mwai Kibaki fired his Cabinet three weeks ago.