Category Archives: Event

Spinning the ICC, Governing by PR

Let me let you in on a little secret.

I lined up to welcome private citizen Uhuru Kenyatta who returning from his Hague date. Ssssssssh. Keep it between us.

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As a schoolboy lining up for retired president Moi – who prophesied that KANU would rule for 100 years to much derision (Who is laughing now?) – was normal. He seemed to always be on the go and he (or his handlers) felt that school children should either be lining the road waving or singing for him at different forums. Moi also said “now you are saying Moi must go but one day you will say Moi must come.” And the hullaballoo at Moi’s birthday did somewhat validate his statement.

So Chief Chef Lenku’s circular requesting for peace-loving Kenyans presence along the roads which the private citizen/President was not a shocker. After all the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Curiosity and my continued study of human nature fuelled my ten minutes walk to Makadara along Jogoo Road. And my timing was impeccable. Fifteen minutes upon my arrival the motorcade made its appearance.

It is common knowledge that Uhuruto used ICC case and astute PR to ascend to power. Communities which felt under siege came together to protect their sons using the tyranny of numbers. And spin or PR if you like whitewashed the picture (and eyes).

Just how much this ICC and PR narrative sold is now unfolding.

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The mass of people at Makadara was positively buzzing. These were not rent-a-crowd folk. These were people sharing a common unshakeable belief. Not subject to reason or logic. It is because it is kind of belief. It felt like a stadium or a church.

Young and old. Male and female. Seated and standing. All waiting. Happily. Anxiously.

Snippets of conversation in the alternative national language floated around me. “He is ours.” “God-given.” “He is our blood.”

One side of phone conversations was overhead; “I am here. I could not miss it for anything. Where are you standing?” Also, “Where are you?….you can’t make it…he is almost here.”

Then the outriders’ zoomed past signalling the much awaited moment was near and the buzzing crowd became alive. Screaming, chanting and dancing. The junction into Buruburu from Jogoo Road was blocked as the frenzied crowd demanded an address.

Before I walked away I caught a snippet of Uhuruto and their astonishment was clear. The narrative gelled together around ICC and PR had worked beyond their wildest dreams. More conversation snippets floated around me. “See what we voted for?” “See the fruits of our labour?”

The ICC case and astute PR has managed to turn Uhuru support into a fanatical undertaking. The support is more than political. It is something akin to religion. And religion is now being woven into the narrative. Uhuru is viewed as the Chosen One. A popular chant of Uhuru supporters is “Si nguvu/si uchawi, ni maombi.” (It is not our strength/it is not witchcraft, it is prayer.) Songs have also being composed to that effect. Uhuru’s presidential victory is touted as an answered prayer.

kenya-flag

Another by-product of the ICC case and PR is flag-waving patriotism. Most of the crowd at Makadara had the flag. Matatus and even private cars flew the flag. The flag being used was Kenyan but is the Nation Kikuyu? Put another way, to the crowd at Makadara is the Kikuyu nation synonymous with the Kenya nation? Or another way to ask the question is did the challenge mutate from personal to communal to national? And now international?

Articles 147 and 134 are in the constitution. Ruto is a Deputy not Vice. It follows then when principal is absent the deputy acts. But politics is about perception. And Uhuruto use of PR is phenomenal. So amid much fanfare President Uhuru became a private citizen while Deputy Ruto became Acting President complete with trappings of power.

uhuruto

A fact that one following the ICC case may found hard to believe is that post election violence actually happened. The Kikuyu bore a substantial brunt of the violence. The Uhuruto bromance aside, the hoi polloi still harboured a grudge. A Ruto presidency was unfathomable. Too much blood under the bridge it was said. But after ‘the handing over power’ show a Ruto presidency is now somewhat discussable. Which given numbers tyranny, then a ten plus ten Uhuruto reigns may not be fiction.

Remember the 100 years prophesy? Tingisa kabisa.

So what do all these variables portend for mkenya wa kawaida or for Kenya?

Is the ICC case good for mkenya wa kawaida or for Kenya?

Is the management by PR good mkenya wa kawaida or for Kenya?

I have no idea.

You?

GOD BLESS KENYA!

p.s – ALL images courtesy Google.


I am at ease…

Chinua Achebe has gone to meet his Maker.

As is wont nowadays the news started as an online unconfirmed story before his family confirmed the worst. I got the confirmation via a BBC World Service news bulletin.

There is a point to my rambling. There was a time when BBC was the authority of news in Africa. During those days autocratic authorities practiced censorship. Now online social media is the first to break news. Time certainly do change. Also Achebe worked for radio in Nigeria and he also had a relationship with BBC.

So the dots do connect. You just have to know where and when to look.

Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe

I have read all of Achebe’s books and his style of weaving the old and new is breathtaking. I have visited Nigeria from the comfort of my house. I have come to learn of Nigerian traditions and culture via Achebe’s books. As a history buff Achebe helped open a window into how life was before and after the coming of the whiteman. I have enjoyed countless hours immersed in an Achebe books. For all these I say thank you.  Also I have grown as a writer due to my reading and thus by extension I owe Chinua Achebe a thank you for the inspiration.

As an aside, over and above mourning his death I also mourn that I will now never have a chance to meet him. I have been blessed to meet Wole Soyinka and Chimamanda Adichie and early this year I spoke of how a brilliant hatrick it would be to meet Chinua Achebe. Sadly that now will never be.

If I had had a chance to meet him I would have asked him about his simplicity in his writing which is something every writer aspires to and which Achebe seemed to achieve effortlessly. I also would have love to chat him about his passion for Nigeria as I am passionate about Kenya and I seek to write to make Kenya better.

Chinua Achebe’s life was a life well lived. He was a storyteller extraordinaire and he will live forever in the memories of all of us who savoured his work and that is why although I mourn I am at ease.

Fare thee well.

‘There is that great proverb—that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter… Once I realized that, I had to be a writer.’

– Chinua Achebe

‘I was conscripted by the story, and I was writing it at all times – whenever there was any opening. It felt like a sentence, an imprisonment of creativity.’

– Chinua Achebe

‘It is only the story…that saves our progeny from blundering like blind beggars into the spikes of the cactus fence. The story is our escort; without it,we are blind. Does the blind man own his escort? No,neither do we the story; rather, it is the story that owns us.’

– Chinua Achebe

PS: Every African needs to read The Trouble with Nigeria by Chinua Achebe.

GOD BLESS KENYA!

***Image courtesy of Google***


Kwa maoni yangu…

Kenya yesterday held a historic televised presidential debate. I watched it at very packed K1 which is a popular restaurant in Nairobi. The debate lasted close to four hours and these were my thoughts as I watched in 140-character sized capsules.

 

NB: PK –Peter Kenneth. RAO – Raila Amollo Odinga. UK – Uhuru Kenyatta. MaDvd – Musalia Mudavadi.

We love our politics. Streets full of Kenyans rushing home to catch the debate.

At a very packed K1. The Kenyans I have spoken to have articulated issues they want addressed. Now we wait to watch history.

Loud cheers for PK, Martha, Uhuru and RAO.

Noone stood for the anthem at K1. Shows of patriotism don’t sit well with Kenyans?

Martha has mob mafans here. PK too. They are the ones getting cheered most so far.

Raila strikes first low blow. Mutahi Ngunyi tribal numbers get a mention. And director pans to UK.

Cheers for PK & Martha in Tribalism question. Felt UK also acquitted himself well.

First jeers and boos of the night at K1 go to Raila over his answer to 41 v 1 question.

After the Raila and Uhuru interlude of denials of tribalism a guy screams ‘Ati now you are brothers?’ to much laughter.

Second low blow of the night goes to Dida with his irony jab to most of the guys on the dais.

ICC issue getting guys excited now at K1. Guys jeering and cheering per which side of ICC-suspects issue you are.

‘I’m an ICC-suspect. That’s a personal problem I have. Pick me anyway.’ Says Uhuru. Choice and consequences in black and white.

‘It would be a challenge to run govt from the Hague via skype.’ Third low blow is by Raila.

Muite tears into Raila and Kibaki. ‘Both principals should be standing trial at the Hague’.

ICC question: Raila gets battered. Peter Kenneth, Mudavadi fence-sit. Muite takes no hostages. Uhuru&Martha express stands very well.

Very very impressed by Linus Kaikai. He brought his A-game tonight. Solid moderating thus far.

Personally impressed&intrigued by Dida. He’s funny and has got a different way of thinking. I’ll google him.

Dida apewe kile atakunywa. Because the quips and brains. Haha.

At start someone asked ‘Why is Migingo an issue?’. After Muite ‘I’ll send Navy’ guys cheer and clap. Tough president needed?

Julie appears to says 1.5hrs to go and someone screams, ‘Haiya? Its not over?’

Halftime: Martha has aced most ques. PK&Madvd share a fence. RAO&UK have taken a beating. Dida&Muite are wild cards. Ki-what?

Noone has answered Mr. Godana. Candidates just blabbing now. Sinaubaya but can Kaikai return?

2hours in. Guys have started leaving K1. Maybe #KEDebate13 should not have had the second segment. Attention lost now.

Wa. I can’t keep up with what question is being answered. This is like Press Conference KBC. Julie unatuangusha joo!

This is now :-(. Julie you have singlehandedly managed to kill off #KEDebate13. Amazing.

Dida asks the public schools question. Julie hijacks it and kills it! Wtf? Oh boy.

My take: Kiyapi didn’t connect with me. Dida made me laugh a lot. Muite has toughness and grasp of the law. Madvd was invisible and colourless.

My take: RAO took quite a beating. UK was eloquent, angry and defensive. PK fence-sat, was mechanical and unappealing. Martha really brought her A-game and shone throughout the debate!

My take: Linus Kaikai has cemented his stature as great moderator. Julie Gichuru has gotten terribly exposed on big stage.

Admit I was skeptical of #KEDebate13. Now methinks it’s a step in right direction. A seed planted for Kenya’s future.

Talked to various Kenyans after debate. Debate was a hit. Yes, some tribal mindsets are constant but a shift may just have started.

Hats off to the production team that was behind the #KEDebate13. Almost 4hrs of live going flawless is big. Kudos.

Hats off to Kenyan media for organizing the debate.

End of my two-cents.

So what did YOU think of the debate? Who do YOU reckon won it? Did it change YOUR mind?

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Tunawesmake

Tunawesmake is a crap slogan.

There are no two ways about it. But because it is crap it may work. Any kind of publicity is good. With everyone going on and on about how a bad slogan it is, everyone is talking about it and by extension the candidate which is what the campaign team wants.

Tunawesmake is Peter Kenneth’s campaign slogan. Kenneth has launched his presidential bid on a Kenya National Congress ticket.

In the recent past I have gotten cynical about the mundane nature of Kenyan politics and therefore I have been giving the party and presidential launches a wide berth. However I sat through the Kenneth’s launch and it availed some food for thought.

His speech was impressive. It was sober, issue-based and grounded. When he spoke of the fiscal discipline he will instil in governance it struck a chord, when he talked of his up-bringing in Bahati by a single-mum who struggled to take him to Starehe Boys, I saw someone who knows real Kenyan struggles.

If anything, I pray that the speech heralds a new dawn of issue-based politics in Kenya.

The launch itself felt too pre-planned and airbrushed. One could see echoes of Obama ’08. Also many of the speakers did not move his agenda forward and some performances like Amani’s were painful to watch. While we are it, Big Ted and Jua Kali are really making a fortune out of the political launches without committing to any candidate.

19-year-old Andrew Kenneth’s speech was a bright spot in the launch. It appeared honest and real. He certainly will aid his dad lock down further the female vote. It also heralds a new fad in Kenyan politics were family are part of the package of the candidate.

Peter Kenneth spoke of the iron-discipline instilled by his mum and by Starehe Boys but for him to connect with voters methinks he needs to loosen up.

Politics is about emotions, liking & other non-tangibles. The launch and the Kenneth campaign so far have gone for logic and sense.

Clearly him (and his son) have strong appeal to young urban women voters. He also appeals to urban male voters who tend to be thinking voters.

His campaign team needs to figure out how to sell him to the emotional voters. The ones who vote due to euphoria, tribal reasons or our-man-said-we-vote thus. The kind of voters who have no qualms voting for the likes of Sonko or Waititu. Unfortunately they make the biggest number of voters in Kenya.

Some questions that Peter Kenneth will have to answer are;

His identity – In Central, he is derogatorily referred to as Kamuthungu with Muthungu being Kikuyu for White man. People are already asking what is his ‘Kenyan’ name.

His source of wealth – He was raised in Bahati by a single-mum, his school fees in Starehe was paid for by a well-wisher, how then did he became as rich as he is now?

Is he over-reaching – Gatanga Constituency Development Fund under his patronage has been run well. Many expected him to then run for Governor of Murang’a County. His insistence of being in presidential race raises eyebrows. Is he a plant? Is he just making a point and positioning for 2017?

All in all, his one-party, no alliances, no mention or name-calling of other aspirants and sticking to issues is different from regular Kenya political fodder.

Methinks, Peter Kenneth’s launch will occasion a rethink in strategy by other parties and presidential aspirants.

The ICC ticket of Uhuru and Ruto is court-prone. Its take-off is dependent on the integrity case lodged at the Supreme Court and its success is dependent Kenyans feelings about having a president and running mate entangled in the ICC court process.

Raila’s campaign is currently blunder-prone. He is a far-cry from the invincible candidate of 2007 who inspired mega-support. Cases in point – Why pray did he apologize to the Kalejin community and not to entire country? And exactly what is this mistake he is apologizing for? Also as a self-declared proponent of democracy and reforms how can Raila ask his brother Oburu and his long-time friend Orengo who are competing for the Siaya Senate seat to share out positions? Don’t the electorate have a say?

Martha Karua’s campaign appears to have currently run out of steam and she has fallen off the radar. She also has to contend with what I will call the Baraza-effect. Nancy Baraza’s alleged nose-pinching incident has shown women in authority in a bad light and Martha is unfortunately reaping this.

Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka are non-starters. They are both KANU orphans who are so used to the Mtukufu Rais phenomena and thus cannot or have never learnt how to walk with their own two feet.

Enter Kenneth! Anawesmake?

I don’t know but it is shaping up to be an intriguing couple of months as we count down to March 4, 2013.

PS:  What if Kenneth and Martha were to set aside their egos and come together as one ticket?

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Christian Raving

The Lounge as defined by one of its organizers, DJ Soxxy of the Kubamba fame, is a Christian hangout with varying themes; DJs, karaoke, spoken word or featured artistes held every Friday at Petma Restaurant which seeks to provide Christians with an alternative to the club scene.

Courtesy | Google

Adawnage were last Friday’s featured act. In my previous post I shared what a pleasure and blessing it was to watch Adawnage perform LIVE at The Lounge.

It was my first time at The Lounge. As a student of human nature I was intrigued by what I saw and I had to share with you.

Let me digress, I had spent that Friday afternoon listening to the Adawnage’s Safari album in anticipation of their gig. This resulted in an interesting incident with my colleague.

My colleague is a young staunch Christian lady. Those who in days gone were called Dada katika Yesu (Sister-in-Christ). She was quite surprised nay shocked that a) I knew of Adawnage b) I was jamming to their music and c) I was planning to go for their concert.

Now while I am not by any stretch of imagination be a Ndugu katika Yesu (Brother-in-Christ), I do have a relationship with God. It may not be ideal or textbook but it is there. So I certainly did take offense at the judgement and I told her as much.

While we are on the subject, let me just say I am tired and put off by saved guys who throw judgement at me and preach to me. Let me also say I am truly thankful to my saved pals who show their Christianity to me by their actions. End of rant.

Back to The Lounge. I have to say at first impression, the only difference between it and a regular club in Nairobi is that there was no sale of alcohol.

Every other element you expect to find in a club was present. Beautiful women, all dressed up and made up. Couples. Ladies and gents on the prowl. A DJ playing very loud danceable music. Folk dancing provocatively.

Let me be clear. Adawange did NOT dance or sing provocatively. During their performance guys were mostly seated except the random person seized of the spirit who would stand and sway to their music.

The dancing happened before Adawange went on stage and during the interlude of their performance lead by Zionists dance group.

This resulted in a big culture shock for me.

I may not be Ndugu katika Yesu but I was raised Anglican and church in my mind is solemn and reflective.

In this I am not alone. Muslims have women and men praying in different places at the mosque so as to reduce temptations. In ‘conservative’ churches women are required to wear long dresses and cover their hair. These measures are put in place so as to ensure that when worshiping, distraction and temptations are reduced to a minimum.

I wondered where Jesus was in the crazy dancing which in all honesty was no different from that happening in the pub next door. I was also trying my best not to have sexual thoughts while in ‘church’ but the ladies shaking what they mothers gave them were making it quite hard for me.

For me, it felt awkward and not right to dance and party like that in ‘church’. I stayed only for as long as Adawnage were performing and left immediately after.

For the regulars, they were in a zone. It was a ‘party don’t stop’ kind of situation with Adawange’s performance seeming to be a blip in their raving. When I left at midnight, DJ Sanch was getting ready to take the party to the next level.

With the provocative dancing, high energy levels and relatively young age of party-goers/congregation, it was not far-fetched to imagine hanky-panky situations ensuing.

This got me thinking.

The Lounge is meant to take Jesus to the people and provide clean wholesome Friday entertainment for those who are saved. But I wonder whether in taking Christ to the masses, the message is getting diluted. Whether the ‘cool gospel’ which is all the rave now may be doing more harm than good.

Or whether like my aforementioned colleague who did not think that as an unsaved guy I could listen to gospel I was being judgmental on saved folk who want to party and shake their booty till morning.

I am aware of an instance in the Bible where King David danced for the Lord in joy. I am also conscious that Christians were asked to be the salt and light of the world.

From what I saw at The Lounge, I was left with question marks.

I have written previously on Gospesecular music but to see the Christian raving for myself was pretty unsettling. Hence writing and sharing my experience at The Lounge with you.

Maybe out of the ensuing discussion I will get enlightenment.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Adawnage!

Adawnage are AWESOME!

I stumbled on their music recently and I was blown away. Their album Safari is worth a buy. Just listen to Uwezo and you will be uplifted. A review of their album can be read here.

Courtesy | Google

When I learnt that Adawnage would be performing at The Lounge this past Friday, it was like Christmas had come early. The Lounge is a Christian hangout which happens every Friday at Petma Restaurant (directly opposite KFC) on Kimathi Street. It is organized by DJ Soxxy, he of the Kubama Krew fame.

The event which was sponsored by Coke Zero was highly publicized online. However there was conflicting information. Some places said it would start at 7pm, others said it would start at 8pm. I was there at 7pm. In future, if you read conflicting start times for an event in Kenya, take the later time and even then be sure that the said time is not an exact start time but rather an ambiguous marker of the neighborhood when the event may start.

The event started at 9pm.

Adawnage who sound awesome in their album sound even more amazing performing LIVE.

They performed for two hours (two one hour sets) and their pure unbridled energy was infectious, uncommon and wholesome. They sang songs out of their Safari album, sampled tracks from their soon to be released album and did covers of songs by Zidi the Band. They were also joined on stage by Number 8, Makena and Carlisto for an explosive show.

I was blessed, entertained and ministered to.

Their lead singer Rosemary whose stage presence was a marvel to watch took time out from performing for a one minute sermon which was my take home: It may be the days of microwave solutions but it pays to wait on the Lord. Whatever you are trusting Him with, He will come through for you, at the right time.

It was totally worth my time and worth the wait and sideshows that The Lounge entailed.

Be sure to grab a copy of Safari as you await the release of their new album.

If you would like to watch Adawnage perform LIVE, they together with ZIDI the BAND and Dann NumberEight present Ziada Nairobi at Parklands Baptist on December 12, 2012.

Time: 3pm – 6pm.

Charges: Free.

Theme: One nation under God.

Featured artistes: Makena, Mercy Wairegi, Carlisto, Nasara the poet.

Reason: Spreading the message of Peace, Love and Togetherness in our lovely Nation.

Methinks it is quite a plan for Jamhuri Day.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Kenya 28 Feb

For all the information on Kenya28Feb check out their website here and get the details. This is my personal account of my pre, actual and post Kenya28Feb.

Pre:

I admit that while I agreed with the organizers in principle, I felt that this was a half-baked good idea which needed better planning and further thought.

You cannot ask folk to do something and then tell them the why does not matter. You cannot start something with no idea of the future. You cannot ignite a fire that you are not interested in keeping alive.

Yes, I realize that it is currently ‘cool’ to be political and the activism fad aroused by the happenings in North Africa is the in thing but I believe that Kenya’s street revolution has already happened. Remember when we sang ‘Yote yawezekana’?

I appreciate that most on social media are pretty young and also ignorant on happenings before existence of social media but Kenya did fight and win against a dictator. Therefore I strongly believe what we need now is a revolution of the mind. A mind shift to look at leadership and been led differently.

Kenyans are terribly apathetic and asking them to do something which has no tangible return is akin to crying wolf. This makes it harder for the next person who tries to organize the masses with a plan. Also if you are clueless and rudderless as organizers you will be hijacked by outside forces who are more politically aware. I warned one of the organizers of this possibility and she thought I was naive. Well, Bunge la Wananchi just did the hijack at Kencom and reports indicate  they are matching to Parliament. Wanna guess what will be in the news?

Social media also got pretty ugly with both sides trading accusations and abusing the other. That was pretty sad. I believe that it is a great thing that Kenyans are not sheep or zombies who blindly follow. Everyone’s opinion really does count!

Actual:

Despite all my misgivings surrounding  the event I decided to sing or how I looked at it say a prayer for my country and give thanks to God for all the blessings and to also pray for peace.

Read the words of the anthem here and get inspired by the powerful prayer.

I made my way to Kencom bus stop and got there at 12:50pm. The organizers had formed a small circle which the cameras were targeted on. There was a size-able crowd. Half who were there to sing and the majority who were clueless curious onlookers. In five minutes I had answered at least 10 Kenyans who asked me what was going on. I also heard a lot of misinformation been peddled by Kenyans who pretend to know. Bunge la Wananchi had hijacked the front line and they had a banner too.Apathy was also evident. We sing and then? Who are the organizers? Are they celebs?

I had expected a platform, a mic, someone leading the singing but it was quite chaotic. Impatient Kenyans started to sing at 1.02pm as the organizers delayed. This prompted the organizers to finally start and it meant that I sang the first stanza twice.

But finally we were in sync and in that moment I was proudly Kenyan! Devoid of the cynicism and just united with other men and women with whom I share a country of  birth.

We sang in Kiswahili and the words to all the three stanzas were instinctively remembered. It was a powerful moment and I was  glad I said the prayer.

Once I finished saying that prayer I said one of my own and walked away just as the Bunge la Wananchi started their chanting.

Post:

I am sure the organizers have learned a lot from their foray into the murky world of politics. I also hope that the organizational kinks and informational gap between the elite 1% on social media and the kawaida 99% on the streets will be addressed. I am assuming that this was not a fad and that Kenyans today started the revolution of the mind. I pray that it will not be hijacked by folk with ulterior motives.

As for me, I am glad I said my two prayers for Kenya. I shall continue to use my blog to aid the mental revolution that Kenya desperately needs. I will also seek to plug myself into initiatives that can benefit from my political awareness.

What will you do?

GOD BLESS KENYA!

 

 


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