Monthly Archives: December 2010

2010 Reflection

It has been quite an eventful year for me and for Kenya. If I was to begin writing it all it would be quite a long post. Luckily I stumbled on this quote which captures my lesson for 2010.

“To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.”

Koffi Annan

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Merry Christmas

For me Christmas 2010 has been a reflective time.

I took time to read the story that is the reason for the season and I learnt some things that I would like to share.

First, the story of the birth of Jesus features only in two of the four Gospels. In the Gospel of Mathew where the genealogy is focused on and in the Gospel of Luke where the context is established. Secondly, God ALWAYS fulfils His promises. It may take longer than we want or it may even take surprising forms but the constant theme is the fulfilment of God’s promises.

I also went to watch a musical on Christmas Eve – A Village Christmas – which was a Mavuno Church and Kijiji Records production. It was an AWESOME production. Brilliantly executed and the puns were top class!

My message for you this Christmas is – whatever you are doing do remember that Jesus IS the reason for the season.

If you do not celebrate Christmas – Happy Holidays!

For all who celebrate – Merry Christmas!

GOD BLESS KENYA!


The Nerve!

I am ANGRY! As a Kenyan I have taken a lot of bullshit from our politicians over the years but what these politicians have been spewing in the last couple of days has to be the craziest and most insensitive nonsense they have ever uttered.

The gist of the nonsense is that Kenyans should contribute to a kitty to aid in the legal defence of: Ruto, Kosgey, arap Sang’, Muthaura, Uhuru and Ali collectively referred to as the ‘Gang of Six’ or better still Kenyans taxes should be used for the same reason. Have our politicians finally completely lost their minds?

For the record I have no pity for the ‘Gang of Six’. In case we have forgotten, these are men accused of the greatest responsibility in the post election violence that rocked Kenya and resulted in the death of 1,000+ people and the displacement of 600,000+ people.

How inconsiderate can these politicians be? How callous and self-serving can they be? How do you ask victims to contribute for the legal defence in a court case for those accused of masterminding their torture, death, arson and rape?

Let there be no doubt, the ICC case is Kenya and Kenyans v ‘The Gang of Six’ and it is my prayer that justice shall be done and impunity shall finally begin to be addressed!

Internally Displaced People (IDPs) have been living in tents and braving the extremities of nature for the last three years and these politicians have never done a fundraising to alleviate the situation. Then they have the nerve to raise funds for the suspected masterminds! Only in Kenya!

There has been a deliberate effort to lionise and turn into heroes the ‘Gang of Six’. I have heard politicians compare them to the Kapenguria Six and this is nonsense. The media too appears to have been roped in into this charade. I read the Sunday Nation and I wondered why the stories and profiles were only for the ‘Gang of Six’ and about the victims there was deafening silence. I wish to state that these men are NOT heroes and they should not be treated as heroes. These men are suspects in a case of crimes against humanity.

There has also been an effort to politicise and tribalise the ICC list. I will not dignify the nonsensical arguments with counter arguments.

My open advice to the ‘Gang of Six’ is keep quiet, ask your political friends to keep quiet and to go prepare legal defences to counter Ocampo and the ICC. If Ruto’s trip to the Hague when he left with bravado and returned looking like a haunted man is any indication of the magnitude of Ocampo’s evidence then you need the best legal brains and a clever strategy to deal with this issue.

As for the media, editors in newsrooms need to rethink their role in this country. How do you run such stories of blatant insensitivity and that are bound to unnecessarily raise temperatures in the country?

Fellow Kenyans, it is time we took control. The political class has clearly lost the plot. It is TIME we stood up, spoke up and acted to save ourselves and our country from the political class.

The nerve! Yes, I’m angry.

“Kila mtu atauchukua mzigo wake mwenyewe.

Kila mtu atatoa habari zake mwenyewe.

Siku hiyo itafika.”

GOD BLESS KENYA!

 

 


Conversation with Elani!

Elani is an upcoming band that is causing quite a stir in Nairobi.

It is comprised of Muthoni Kunga, Wambui Ngugi, Bryan Chweya and Daniel Kimani (Kim).

Just before they brought the house down at Psys Westlands on Dec 15, 2010, I had a chat with them.

Moderate: What does Elani mean?

Elani: Elani means light in Giriama. We are seeking to be a light to the world through our music and also to find internal light for ourselves through our expression. Look at us as a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

Moderate: Who is Elani?

Elani: We are a band that is conscious about what is going on around us. We abhor bubble-gum music. Music for us is a platform to express, inform and entertain. We reckon that if you have nothing to say then it is best not to say it.

Moderate: How do you aim to find a balance between seriousness and fun in your music?

Elani: It is not easy but we believe it can be done. The trick is to always connect with our audience and to be open to criticism and feedback. We also believe in ourselves and in our music.

Moderate: How long has Elani been in existence?

Elani: 3 years

Moderate: What were you guys doing before Elani?

Elani: Ha! Ha! We are all very young. Before Elani we did E.M.S (Estate Management and Survey) which is a fancy way of saying we killed time at different locations. One of the locations was Alliance Française where we met, hit it off and decided to form Elani.

Moderate: When did you start singing?

Muthoni: Sang in choir. Wambui: Sang in shower. Kim: Sang in shower. Bryan: Started singing in high school and was part of the Christian Union music group (Voice in the light) at Upper Hill.

Moderate: Apart from Elani, what else do you do?

Muthoni: 3rd year Law student at University of Nairobi. Wambui: 3rd year Actuarial Science student at University of Nairobi.  Bryan: 4th year Law student at University of Nairobi. Kim: ICT student at Cornerstone College.

Moderate: Do you have an album out?

Elani: No.

Moderate: Why not?

Elani: We are aiming for longevity. For us to be relevant for a long time we have to produce music which we shall be proud to share with our grandchildren. Therefore there is a benchmark to be met. We have 5 songs that pass the benchmark and we are working on 6 more songs then the album will be ready.

Moderate: What genre is your music?

Elani: Our music is Urban Afro – fresh new funky music with an African twist. And just for the record our music is for all people. We refuse to be put in a box!

Moderate: In what languages do you sing?

Elani: Apart from English and Kiswahili, we also get songs we have written translated to other languages by our friends and we then learn the words. So far we have sung in Abagusii, Dholuo, Gikuyu and French. Our reason is to reach a diverse audience and also when we do our projected Kenya-wide tour we aim to appeal to all Kenyans.

Moderate: Who/What drives you?

Elani: Each other. Our passion for music. A desire to grow. A dream to go international.

Moderate: Who is your inspiration?

Muthoni: My mum. Wambui: The awesome Kenyan music around me. Bryan: Friends and positive folk. Kim: Friends and fellow musicians.

Moderate: How often do you rehearse?

Elani: We rehearse every Tuesday for four hours.

Moderate: Can you play instruments?

Muthoni: Good on the guitar, want to learn the keyboard. Wambui: Planning to learn the keyboard. Bryan: Good on guitar and keyboard. Kim: Good on bass guitar and keyboard.

Moderate: What are the charges for a gig?

Elani: It varies since we offer different packages. Contact us for details.

Moderate: Do you have a manager?

Elani: No. We can’t afford one plus we have heard horror stories so for now we are doing it ourselves.

Moderate: Who have you curtain raised for?

Elani: Sauti Sol. Gogo Simo. Eric Wainaina. Stan. Dela.

Moderate: Challenges of performing as a band?

Elani: It is expensive hiring instruments and catering for all personalities is hard. But there are positives: we have awesome synergy and we are always fresh.

Moderate: Challenges faced as young artistes?

Elani: Breaking through has been our biggest challenge. Guys tend to link us to other bands, tell us it has been done before and that we are trying to ape X. On the positive side, we have a lot of youthful energy and many years to grow and learn.

Moderate: You are two guys and two chics in the band. Is there any love brewing in the group?

Elani: NEVER EVER! We are brothers and sisters and our friendship is too important to mess with.

Moderate: Do you get groupie love from fans?

Elani: Ha! Ha! Ha! Hell no.

Moderate: Relationship status?

Bryan: Find me, find out. Kim: No comment. Wambui: My father will read this! Muthoni: That’s private!

Moderate: Does Elani give back to the community?

Elani: Yes. Since Dec 2009 we have being Ambassadors for Cancer Awareness Treatment and Support Initiative.

Moderate: Are you big on social media?

Elani: Social media is our biggest aid in getting crowds for our gigs and interacting with our fans. To join our Facebook group and be getting regular updates just search for Elani.

Moderate: Plans for 2011?

Elani: To learn and grow. We also aim to have three big shows as a build up to our album release at the end of the year.

Moderate: Parting shot?

Bryan: AIDS kills. Wambui: Dare to believe. Kim: Never give up. Muthoni: If you can dream it, you can do it. Whatever your dream, go for it!

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Mama Daktari Auditorium

Alliance Française is at the centre of artistic endeavour in Nairobi. Its auditorium has over the years played host to all manner of artistic gigs. A little know fact is that the name of the auditorium is Mama Daktari Auditorium.

A plaque at the entrance to the auditorium reads as follows:

“Dr. Anne Spoerry (Mama Daktari):

30 May 1918 – 2 February 1999.

Dr. Anne Spoerry a.k.a Mama Daktari, Africa’s first woman flying doctor was an outstanding figure of 20th century East Africa and Kenya in particular.

Born in Cannes on 30 May 1918, Dr. Spoerry was an active member of French resistance during World War 2. After qualifying as a doctor in 1947, she left Europe and arrived in Kenya in 1950 during the Mau Mau uprising, via Aden and Ethiopia. She settled in a farm in Subukia, serving the farming community as a medical doctor. In 1963, she learnt to fly and a year later in 1964 she joined AMFREF and Flying Doctor Service.

With unrelenting determination and dedication Mama Daktari at the helm of her renowned single engine aircraft, Cherokee Lance 5Y ZAT took healthcare and preventative medicine to remote places all over East Africa till her death in February 1999.

An extraordinary woman, her resilience, love and generosity touched the lives of thousands of people. “

Now you know.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


The ICC list

A lot has been said and written about the ICC process and the ICC list. Previously I have voiced my opinion on the issues here and here.

Yesterday at 1400 hours Kenyan time, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Moreno Ocampo made public the list which has kept Kenyans on the edge for almost two years.

The list read as follows:

1.       Mr. Joshua arap Sang

2.       Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta

3.       Maj. (rtd) Hussein Ali

4.       Amb. Francis Muthaura

5.       Hon. Henry Kosgey

6.       Hon. William Ruto

These gentlemen according to Ocampo bear the greatest responsibility for the Post Election Violence that rocked Kenya in early 2008.

As is common in Kenya, this list has been sensationalised and I feel like the crux of the matter is getting swallowed up in the sideshows.

The crux of the matter is 1000+ people died, 600,000+ people were internally displaced and Kenya’s image as a haven of peace was shattered.

Kenyan politicians dealing irresponsibly with the ICC issues is no surprise but it is with sadness that I see people in cyberspace making fun of the ICC issue and the media reporting irresponsibly. In case anyone needs a reminder of the hell that was the Post Election Violence here it is.

After a day’s reflection I have no comment on the list. This is just one step in a long journey that Kenya and the ICC have embarked on. The journey is guaranteed to be rough and bumpy. I pray that for the sake of all those who were directly and indirectly affected by the violence that justice will be done.

I am sad that 34 months after the signing of the Peace Accord, no tangible effort has been made to address and treat the causes of the violence. This is a collective failure by ALL Kenyans and it is a pity!

The truth of the matter is that as long as the causes of the violence are not addressed then the peace we are currently enjoying is superficial and fragile. That is scary!

Do say a prayer for Kenya and meditate on how we ordinary Kenyans can kick start the healing process as it seems our politicians are hell bent on dragging Kenya to hell.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


The Amani Room

Shortly Moreno Ocampo, the prosecutor for the ICC will be naming the six suspects who bear the greatest responsibilty for the Post Election violence.

I would like to you to take a minute and say a prayer for our beloved country. I also would like you to meditate on a room at Serena Hotel that 34 months ago played a key role in re-establishing peace .

This is what is written on the plaque that is on the door of The Amani Room.

For mercy has a human heart

pity a human face

And Love, the human form divine,

And Peace, the human dress.

William Blake.

In early 2008 the peace enjoyed by Kenya since independence was shattered by violence that erupted after the 2007 elections. It is in this room that mediation talks were held and that on 28th February 2008 the peace accord was signed which brought the crisis to an end. These talks were brokered by Koffi Annan, the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations to whom our beloved nation owes everlasting thanks.

A peace is of the nature of a conquest:

For then both parties nobly are subdued

And neither party loser.

William Shakespeare.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Odds and Ends

There are several issues that have cropped up in Kenya in the past month that would each ordinarily require a full post but I reckon an odds and ends post will suffice.

Naivasha MP, John Mututho drafted and managed to get through Parliament, The Alcoholic Drinks Control Act 2010 which in my opinion is a ridiculous piece of legislation. I am a Kenyan man of legal age and I do not need the government to tell me when, where, why and how I should drink. This law needs to either be redrafted or better still completely withdrawn.

Tanzania with the sponsorship of East African Breweries Limited organized a great Confederation of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) tournament. The icing on the cake was Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Stars winning the cup. Kenya’s Harambee Stars lost all its matches and bowed out of the tournament in disgrace. Way forward for Kenyan football is a total infrastructural revamp initiated by the government. If FIFA bans us due to government interference then so be it. This humiliation has gone on for long enough!

Julian Assange is my hero. Through WikiLeaks he has managed to expose America as two-faced, patronising and insulting to other countries. WikiLeaks has also lead bare the truth about our political class. Thieves, arms traders, drug barons, murderers are all to be found in our political circles. During yesterday’s Jamhuri day celebrations both the President and the Prime Minister took turns blasting the American envoy to Kenya and shouting about Kenya’s sovereignty. Methinks this issue of neo-colonialism is a red-herring. Yes, Kenya is sovereign state BUT that does not make the WikiLeaks exposé on our political class any less true. The onus is Kenyans to radically change our political leadership. Are we up to the challenge? I’m not sure.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


PG 18!

Yesterday as I was walking home at around 11pm I stumbled on a group of four guys who were maybe in their mid-twenties outside one of the numerous pubs in my hood. The guys were chatting either before entering the pub or deciding what pub to go to next. One of the guys was loudly reminiscing about his escapades the previous night. This is what I overheard:

“Wa! Wa! Wa! Jana nilimanga poko mwingine jo! Alikuwa yuko labda 15 hivi. Alikuwa msoft tu sana, msoft ka sponge!”

Translation,

“Wow! Wow! Wow! Yesterday I had sex with this amazing commercial sex worker. She was maybe 15years old. She was so soft! Soft like sponge.”

As I kept walking I had several questions popping in my head: A 15year old commercial sex worker? This guy did not have a problem paying her for sex? How come this guy is so proud of his deed until he is bragging to his boys? Is it that common to have sex with underage commercial sex workers that none of his boys were shocked?

A couple of week’s back I was chatting with my pal about the craziness of the 14-24year old generation. A generation is in the throes of a sexual revolution that can make even the most liberal person blush. I debated on whether to write about it and I chickened out. After what I overheard yesterday I reckon this is a post worth writing.

According to my acquaintances in this generation, sexual activity as early as 12years old is very normal. Therefore by the time one gets to 20years old they are totally jaded. The natural progression is to then try what is unconventional as what is normal is boring.

This has lead to sexual experimenting on a grand scale. If you can think it, these guys have done it. Orgies at house parties, videos of sex acts, nude photos, bi-curiosity and all manner of crazy and kinky things. It has also lead to rampant drug abuse with drug use being made to look totally cool and the ‘in’ thing. I am not a prude but every time I go to a club these days I cringe. The girls are getting younger and younger, the dresses are getting shorter and shorter and the dancing is basically sex with clothes on.

Methinks there is a line in as far as morality is concerned and the 14-24year old generation have crossed it in a big way.

It may appear cool to do all these crazy sex acts and to use all manner of drugs but what happens when this generation gets to their late 20s? Will they look for the next high? I shudder to think what that will be. Or will we see an emergence of sex rehabs, drug rehabs or a growth in church attendance?

I listen to folk talk and read newspapers and I am surprised by what folk say. It is either they are totally clueless or they are hypocritically conservative or both. Kenya is certainly going through a sexual revolution but you have to be tuned in to know about it.

Since generations get progressively crazier, I shudder to think how our children will turn out. This knowledge certainly does make me scared of being a parent.

I am in no position to climb the moral high ground and preach as to what is right or wrong. The only thing I have to say is always remember that HIV/AIDs is real and whatever you do be sure that your conscience can live with it in the cold light of day.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


The Silent Takeover?

When I was growing up the Somali community lived mostly in Eastleigh. Then Eastleigh was a mix-mash of different communities living together and it was a hub for trade and commerce.

Now Eastleigh is still a huge hub of trade and commerce but the predominant community is the Somali. The other communities have been slowly but surely being edged out.

The war in Somalia has led to a proliferation of Somalis into Kenya. The fact that there are Kenyan Somalis and the rampant corruption in the Ministry of Immigration has meant that a Somali from Mogadishu just needs to hitchhike to Eastleigh and once there pass himself off as a Kenyan Somali complete with birth certificate, national identity card and passport. Thus the number of Somalis in Kenya has shot up rapidly.

The Somali Diaspora send millions of shillings back home and the rise and rise of piracy have meant that the Somalis have became quite financial well off.

This combination of huge human capital base and huge financial base has resulted in various happenings in Nairobi.

First, the housing market has being totally overrun by Somalis. They are willing to pay three times the market rate and thus housing in Nairobi is currently priced beyond the capability ordinary Kenyans.

Secondly, who are naturally quite enterprising have due to the financial muscle gotten into commerce on a grander scale than they were ten years ago. Mega malls have been constructed in Eastleigh and it’s rumoured that you can buy anything and I mean anything there. The result of this is that Kenyan small-scale traders are gradually getting elbowed out.

Thirdly, the Somalis have silently gotten into the Central Business District of Nairobi. Standard Street which is home to Lonrho House and Steers Restaurant has been wholly taken over by Somali traders. MPesa shops, electrical appliance shops, a Somali restaurant and a Somali coffee shop. There is also the interesting phenomenon of buying pubs and converting them to non-alcoholic restaurants. Ibiza pub is now City Star Restaurant while Seasons pub is now Rayan Restaurant.

Fourthly, since Eastleigh has proved too small for the huge number of Somalis, they have migrated to South C which is a middle class estate in Nairobi. This would be quite natural and okay but upon further investigation it is not. There are reports of Somali only apartments in South C i.e. you only get to rent if you are Somali. Remember that other communities were edged out of Eastleigh? With their strong financial base will the same happen in South C? If that happens then which estate will be taken over next?

I have no issues with Somalis but these happenings make me wondered about the following:

1.      Is it possible for Somalis to co-exist and integrate with other communities?

2.      How do we differentiate between Somalia Somalis and Kenyan Somalis?

3.      Is there a silent bid to establish influence in Nairobi and then in Kenya by Somalis?

Food for thought..

GOD BLESS KENYA!


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