Category Archives: In the news

Fragment of a non-existent diary

Disclaimer:

Posted  this on the 1st of July 2oo9 on a different blog. Five years later who would have thought gossip blogs, socialites would be a phenomenon :-).

Re-blogging here to remove the cobwebs from this blog.

Writing here will resume soon. Hopefully.

Enjoy!

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I am a 2nd year student of French at the university. I plan to be a radio presenter and became a celebrity. I know all these people and if they can hang with me then they can work with me, right? I have an interview with that hot male presenter tomorrow at his house and I need to look hot for that. What to wear, how to look? But that is for tomorrow. Today, do I go to school? Hmmmm, let me call my best friend and classmate and find out if she is in school or has got plot.

Let me tell you about me…Am 22years old,life is bliss, credit, hair, men and of course the rave and drinking on any given day is all I am about. I have no source of income but since I am pretty and hot then that is no issue. My parents provide for the basics and then the rest is up to me. Have a steady (or not?) boyfriend who lives in the right side of town and drives the right kind of car. He thinks I am The One but clearly he is mistaken. Still have places to go, people to meet and things to do. So marriage or any commitment is in the very distant future if ever. And again this body is not ready to push let alone carry a baby for nine months. That’s why after I got my accident three months ago, I got one of my service providers to pay for a procedure and flush out that problem. Oh,by the way I had quite a scare this weekend..i was three days late and thought I had had another accident but they finally came so now I can rest easy.

As for the steady, I rather like him and he is able to support my lifestyle so for now it’s all good. But as for love and all that mushy feeling, no, that’s not me! Apart from the steady boyfriend I have a couple of other fans or should I say service providers because their purpose in my life is to provide what I need when I need it. They are all at my beck and call and when I call they run. After all don’t they all hope to get a piece of this fly ass? If only they knew! But disposable income they got and so clever they think they are, so it’s all fair games, no?

I had a fight with my steady over the weekend and I need some TLC which for me is alcohol and a crazy night out. Let me start texting the various options and see who comes up fastest with a fun plot.

My best friend gets back to me and says she has no plot but she is skiving the rest of her classes and idling in town and I should call her up when I get plot. My pal is not very pretty but she got a fine body and brains. So she is good for dancing and conversation which all these service providers seem to want a girl to provide. She hangs around me a lot as am better socially connected but since she is better academically then we both gain.

The texts are coming fast and furious and I pick one. He has been asking for a drinks date for two months so I reckon he has waited for long enough and his wallet will be easy to open as he will want to impress me.

After calling up my best pal and telling her where we should hook up I flash the lucky (or unlucky?) service provider and once he calls back I tell him where I want to meet him and the time. Me and my best friend meet up and after window shopping-oh my! we just discovered a great place to buy shoes-we finally strut in one hour late. The guy is all smiles even though he must be seething inside. A softie he is. So much potential to fleece him I think.

We give our excuses and order for our drinks. Today we are not taking our usual Smirnoff Ice Reds, we are taking Famous Grouse on the rocks! Small talk is provided by my best pal and I just seat there and look innocent and desirable. I off course pop up occasionally and ask the lifestyle questions…where do you work? As a what? Where do you live? What do you drive? The guy has no idea of my intent and answers all these questions without guile. Poor man!

After a couple of hours and a pity story of me been sad I come up with the idea of going for Karaoke at a trendy out of town pub. Guy tries to wiggle out but I flash him a smile and my bedroom eyes and he is toast. We take a taxi and off we go. I am already on phone texting to find out who is at the pub we are heading to.

Getting there, the pub is kicking and the karaoke is in full swing. My best pal also can sing beautifully and the “offer is sing and get free sambucas ” so of course she will sing but the service provider still has to buy Famous Grouse on the rocks.

As my best pal sings, dances and small talks the service provider I do my lap of honor. You know how it is, a girl has to be seen and see people. How else will I prove tomorrow I was at the kicking pub last night? Lap of honor consists of checking out the potential service providers and also touching base with existing service providers and thus getting dates for all of next week! Every so often I go back to the table and chat up the original service provider, can’t be seeing to be a lousy date because one thing I have learnt is never ever burn bridges.

After one hour of my technical appearances the original service provider decides he has had enough and says is time to leave. This is when the party is really getting to climax so I tell him he can go and leave us. He clears the bill and gives me money for a cab. Of course I am a bright girl so I ask him for money for my best pal’s cab too, the fact that we are next door neighbours notwithstanding! Still trying to impress me, the guy off course coughs up and leaves us to jienjoy.

To be continued…
(Disclaimer – This is just me having fun with words. All characters and occurrences are fictional. Any resemblance to anyone or anyplace is wholly coincidental. The to be continued is fictional too!)


Giniwase-chaos?

Sunday, the third of November was the day which had failed to come for many a season. Eighteen seasons if you are keen on counting. To their credit, Gor Mahia players, officials and fans kept the faith, swallowed the heartache and kept believing.

Finally, in 2013, they could say, actually with a couple of games to spare, Giniwasekao (this thing we have taken it) and Ginimarwa (this thing is ours).

Given that the team styles itself as Sirikal (the government), the trophy presentation ceremony was dubbed a state function with a promise of a spectacle worth remembering. There were rumours of suits being measured, limos being hired and conflicting reports as to who between Raila Odinga and President Uhuru would present the trophy.  It was a moment of history in Kenyan football.

I got to town at 1400HRS and Tom Mboya Street was engulfed in a carnival atmosphere. Green and white was everywhere. Fans actually got suits! White with a trim of green or green with a white shirt was the preferred style. Ladies were also not left out with some donning green figure hugging dresses while others went for green and white kikoys.

Unfortunately, what would have been a delight to marvel in was ruined by the sense of entitlement exhibited by some of the the fans. Both vehicular and human traffic was at their mercy as they wailed, chanted and hogged the street. One fan shouted, “Make way for Sirikal and if you have a problem, go to your house.”

By a stroke of luck I got to the road leading to Kasarani just as the convoy of limousines carrying the players made its grand entrance.  It was impressive with the four stretch limos complimented by Mercedes’ and several four-wheel drive cars.

Sadly, what was a great idea was ruined when someone decided to allow the limos onto the stadium track for a celebratory lap of honour. Never mind that there was an ongoing KPL match.  The fans went berserk and stormed the stadium. This lead to numerous injured fans, a damaged ambulance and it was awhile before sanity was restored.

The arrival of Raila Odinga made the fans go wild as did the stadium walk-around by the K’ogalo players who were dressed in suits.

The choice of music was Ohangla and it blared from the mega speakers positioned around the stadium with fans dancing and singing along. Kenyan and American flags blew in the wind as a whiff and at times a cloud of marijuana smoke wafted around the stadium. Flares were lit and the noise levels were phenomenal.

Words fail to do justice to the atmosphere inside Kasarani. Personally have never seen anything like it and I felt as though this was more than just a trophy celebration.

Several images stood out for me:

There was a feeling of defiance and achievement with one placard capturing this by simply declaring: “This is a victory which you cannot steal from us.”

Gor Mahia fans are no slouches in the dressing department but the fan who took the cake was clad in white underwear, long socks and green sports shoes. All through the match he danced – perhaps to keep warm as a light drizzle and a chill engulfed the stadium – while clutching a portrait of prolific striker Dan Sserunkuma. At the end of the match, the fan, still in his underwear went into the middle of the pitch and presented a very surprised Sserunkuma with the portrait.

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As the Gor players did their lap on honour in the stadium, impeccably dressed in lime green suits, white shirts, dark green ties and black shoes, I spied among them Rama Salim looking lost and forlorn in jeans, tshirt and sneakers. For context, Rama played for Gor in the first leg of the season and he and Sserunkuma had a brilliant partnership. To everyone’s surprise and the club’s dismay, he ditched Gor for Arab money, signing up to an obscure team in the Gulf. Watching him, I wondered whether he regretted his decision.

After a thunderous rendition of the Gor Mahia anthem, the match kicked off. K’ogalo players were clearly overawed by the occasion. Or maybe for them it was just a formality before the trophy was presented. Either way, KCB played delightful one-touch football and took a two nil lead into the break.

On the stands the party continued albeit in a muted tone. The fans were getting restless since KCB were hell-bent on spoiling their party. The entry into the stadium of roughly thirty anti-riot police led to ugly scenes. Apart from horrid verbal abuse, the fans threw plastic water and soda bottles, broken seats, beer cans and even poured water on the cops who exited and stood at the entrance of several gates. It was a shocking display of anti-authority.

Just a few minutes to seven in the evening, the referee blew the whistle and the K’ogalo fraternity was put out of its misery. Despite the two nil loss to KCB, the Okombe (trophy) was Gor’s.

The trophy presentation which was the point of the point of the afternoon was nothing to write home about. The Kenyan Premier League management did make a gallant attempt to put on a show like normally seen abroad. Confetti, fireworks, a winner’s podium, the works but it all seemed rushed and somehow not authentic.

Unfortunately, no sooner had Jerim Onyango lifted the trophy aloft and even before the rest of the Gor Mahia had a chance to hold the hard fought for trophy; shots of teargass rent the air. This was because thousands of fans were invading the pitch overwhelming the thirty or so anti-riot police. Alas, there was to be no orderly celebration.

That for me was my cue to leave.

As I walked out of the stadium in the dark, with thousands of fans making deafening noise around me, I reflected on the afternoon.

There had been glimpses of excellence and even moments of heart-warming expression. However, these were drowned out by excesses of unprofessionalism and hooliganism. Sadly, a fitting metaphor for what is the state of Kenyan football. I also thought of what could be a booming professional football industry in Kenya as opposed to the infrequent current sparks in the dark.

One day, it will happen, I told myself, one day, and hopefully, it would not take 18 years. However, getting to town at around 2100HRS and seeing the mayhem being caused by a section of Gor fans around the Tom Mboya monument, I was not so sure.

There you have it. K’ogalo, the Kenya Premier League Champions 2013. K’Ogalo, the team which is never far from chaos and mayhem.

Good and Bad.

Wonder what comes to the mind of Kenyans when they think K’Ogalo?

GOD BLESS KENYA!

(Images courtesy of Google)


Gagged

The passage by a handful of MPs of the Kenya Information & Communication Amendment Bill 2013 has caused shock waves in the country.

For Kenyans old enough to remember, this feels like the start of a return to the dark days of dictatorship when KANU was baba na mama. For the younger ‘digital’ generation who have no recollection of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation ruling the airwaves and bulletins riddled with Mtukufu Rais, the hullabaloo may seem to be overkill or even a timely blow to the unfashionable traditional media.

As for the Kenyan media for whom the bill has direct impact, shock is an understatement. Just the other day, tea and a photo-op at Statehouse was the hottest ticket in town. Now the members of the Fourth Estate are learning, if you jump into bed with someone, do not be surprised if they screw you.

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Before jumping in on the debate which was unfolding on my social media space I took time to read up on the laws, bills and amendments in question.

There is the Kenya Information & Communication Act of 1998 which is subject to the 2013 amendment Bill which sailed through parliament and now awaits Presidential assent. Then there is the Media Council Bill 2013 which in MY reading repeals part/all of the Media Act 2007.

Both the KIC Amendment 2013 and Media Council Bill are being pushed by Aden Dualle, Leader of Majority in Parliament and also Hawk-Extraordinaire for Jubilee. I am unsure whether he is fronting the bills in his individual capacity or as the government head in parliament.

As a matter of full disclosure, I am a journalist or is it broadcaster or is it media practitioner? It depends on which of definition of the diverse media laws you read. But more importantly, I am a Kenyan worried about the slippery slope the country has embarked on. Echoes of China or Uganda anyone?

Let us start with the Kenya Information & Communication (KIC) Amendment Bill 2013:

The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) is to be replaced with the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK).

According to Section 6A, the board of the CAK shall comprise of a Chair who will be appointed by the President, Principal Secretaries of Information, Interior, National Budget and 7 persons appointed by the Cabinet Secretary of Information.

According to Section 6E, the CAK Board will establish a Broadcasting Standards Committee. This committee will administer broadcasting content, formulate media standards and regulate and monitor compliance.

Section 34 of KIC Amendment Bill 2013 seeks to amend Section 102 of the 1998 Act. This is the part dealing with the Appeals Tribunal. In 1998 Act, the tribunal was made up of a chair who is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, 2 people chosen by the Minister for Communication and 2 people forwarded by Media Council of Kenya. In the 2013 Amendment, the tribunal is to be made up of a Chair who is a Judge appointed by JSC and 4 people chosen by the Cabinet Secretary of Information.  Quorum is 3 = Chairman + 2 members.

Surprise addition to this part is the punitive fines to media houses and threat of fines and deregistration to individual journalists. (This was not on the amendment put forward so my take is this was an on the floor of parliament addition.)

The Appeals Tribunal part of the KIC Amendment 2013 Bill is what has caused major furore. Mega fines with threat of accounts getting attached is sure to get tongues wagging. But in my (very layman) opinion I think this KIC Amendment 2013 Bill in totality is in bad faith.

The entire board of the CAK which has sweeping powers is made up entirely of government functionaries. How can they be fair?

The Broadcasting Standards Committee will be established by the CAK. Its function of to administer content, formulate standards, regulate and monitor compliance has a terrible ring to it. Does this not sound like some Communist country in the 1980s not Kenya in 2013? This to me is even worse than the Appeals Tribunal.

Then there is the threat of suspension and de-registration of journalists. Is there/was there a registration of journalists conducted? And just to ensure absolute supplication, there is the threat of individual fines up to the tune of one million which may lead to journalist accounts getting attached.

This the bill in front of the President.

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Let us now check out the Media Council Bill 2013:

It is quite a long bill which for large parts addresses itself to the nitty-gritty’s of the running of the Media Council. However, it still finds space to address journalists and journalism.

The first thing I did in this Bill was to re-read the Code of Conduct for Journalists which is in the Second Schedule. By and large have no problem with the code. Methinks, it should be required reading for all with an interest in media.

My reading of Section 8-11 is that for all intents and purpose appointment to the 7 member Media Council is in the hands of the Cabinet Secretary of Information.  Does this then not make the Council a government puppet?

According to Section 45(a) the Cabinet Secretary of Information may from time to time amend the Code of Conduct for Journalists. Imagine that?

Section 28 talks of the council setting up a Complaints Commission whose functions are in Section 32.

Perhaps lawyers can illuminate this. How does Section 34 of Appeals Tribunal in the Kenya Information & Communication Amendment Bill 2013 relate/co-exist with Section 32 of the Media Council Bill 2013?

This Bill is still snaking its way through Parliament.

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In conclusion:

Let me remind everyone that freedom of the media is enshrined in the constitution under Article 34. I also understand that no freedom is absolute. Actually, regulation of the media is a constitutional requirement under Article 34 (5c).

However, I totally dispute that government through the Cabinet Secretary of Information and his lackeys can be trusted to be 100% decider of what the media can or cannot broadcast.  That is wrong on so many levels and I shudder to imagine that the Jubilee government is seeking to return us to the dark old days.

The two bills as presently constituted are wrong both in the letter and spirit of the law. Will President Uhuru Kenyatta stand on the right or wrong side of this debate? Let’s wait and see.

GOD BLESS KENYA.

(all images are courtesy of Google)


Proudly Kenyan!

I love sports. This past weekend was a brilliant sporting weekend for Kenyan national teams in various categories. I take this opportunity to salute the sportsmen and sportswomen for flying our flag high.

180111081502--Kenya Flag

In athletics, the Kenya team to the World Cross Country Championship battled muddy and icy conditions to register wins. I pay tribute to the entire tem and pay special tribute to Japeth Korir who bagged the elusive gold in the 12km senior men’s race. The 19-year old joins a prestigious club of John Ngugi, Paul Teregat, Joseph Ebuya and Kenenisa Bekele. Not a small feat. Hongera!

Japheth Korir

Japheth Korir – Winner 12km Men’s race

In rugby, the Kenya sevens team was at the Hong Kong Sevens. They emerged fourth in this leg and are placed fifth in the IRB world standings. While I pay tribute to the entire team I wish to pick out two players who stood out for me; Willy ‘Lomu’ Ambaka whose receiving of the ball from kickoffs and amazing runs are a sight to behold and Biko Adema who had an almost 100% conversion record. These are a bunch of armatures who juggle work, school and other commitments in addition to rugby but are mashing it up with the best in the world in their field. They embody the never-say-die-in-your-face Kenyan spirit.  For the joy and occasional heartache that their performance delivers consistently as they journey around the world, I say asante!

Biko Adema

Biko Adema

In football, Harambee Stars traveled to Nigeria and secured a draw against the defending African champions. This was after they were accorded shoddy treatment by their hosts. It is worth noting that the Stars were leading from the 35th minute and the Nigerians equalized in the 94th minute with the match ending in the 95th minute. Apart from the shock result, there is the fact that the boys played attractive football; they showed self-belief and the free-kick that delivered the goal was sublime. I pay tribute to the entire Harambee Stars team and pay special tribute to my man-of-the-match Francis Kahata who had the match of his life.  Great job Harambee Stars, keep it up!

Francis Kahata

Francis Kahata

These men and women are true Kenyan heroes. They give their blood, sweat and tears for the sake of our country and they deserve respect, recognition, and accolades! They also give us priceless joy, pride and bring us together like nothing else does. I salute them. I am proudly Kenyan!

GOD BLESS KENYA!

***All images are courtesy of 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***


Dinner is served!

Jumbled thoughts. Long post. Bear with me.

Let us start with the basics. I am a registered voter. Yes, finally! It took me only three minutes and I was done. Unsure whether I will vote though but as my pal told me, why deny my future the opportunity?

elections-ahead-sign-600x400

*image courtesy of Google*

I was out and about and managed to get snapshots of word on the street:

When getting my weekly haircut I listened in on very interesting conversations at the barbershop. Folk are planning on voting for CORD so as to ensure that Jubilee has no chance of winning the presidency. Their reckoning is that Jubilee is BAD for Kenya and voters should do all they can to ensure that it does not get to State House. Martha Karua is not liked while Peter Kenneth is liked but seen as a future president.

Left the barbershop and went to the kibanda. They have amazing Ugali Matumbo! Again listened in on conversations. The electoral process has disillusioned young people who also believe elections are rigged always and winners are pre-arranged for voters to rubber-stamp. Thus there is no point of voting.

The alliances make one dizzy. Lemme try drawing the picture:

CORD is the alliance for Raila-Kalonzo-Wetangula and motley of other hangers-on who also include ex-Mungiki leader Maina Njenga. Its been fronted as the coalition of reforms and democracy. The irony in this statement is tragi-comic

Jubilee is the alliance for Uhuru-Ruto-Mudavadi and other hangers-on like Ngilu and Balala. It originally was Uhuru-Ruto but somehow they have roped in Musalia and attracted the hangers-on. It’s the coalition of the accused and their back-up plan.

Pambazuko is an alliance of has-beens, never-beens and unknowns. It brings together Eugene Wamalwa, Cyrus Jirongo, Nicholas Biwott. How the three found themselves together is baffling.

Kenneth-Tuju are in an alliance which to the best of my knowledge does not have a name. They are selling themselves as the face of new Kenya. Whether their gentleman mien and American-style of politics will resonate in Kenya is a matter of conjecture.

Surprisingly even Kingwa Kamencu, her of tears and no underwear also has a coalition with several other parties.

Martha Karua is a lone ranger as is James Ole Kiyapi.

Courtesy | Google

Courtesy | Google

This is the political landscape roughly 12 weeks to the general election.

Kenyan politics makes one disgusted. Little wonder voter apathy is so high. But it is what it is.

Lemme try dissecting the alliances and candidates.

Kingwa Kamencu’s alliance, I have nothing to say. James ole Kiyapi is a non-entity for me. All I know is he is an ex-civil servant who is running for president most likely to put it on his CV and tick something off his bucket list. Pambazuko alliance is a group of people trying to position themselves to pick up the crumbs from the high table where Kenya is been shared.

Martha Karua has fizzled out. She was once the candidate for the chattering classes on the social media but after Peter Kenneth launched his bid she got eclipsed. My feeling on her is she has not connected with people. You vote for someone you like. Martha Karua does not inspire liking. I can hear her logic but I do not relate to her. Her campaign team has tried really hard to work on this but it has not worked.

She is also too stubborn to work with anyone so most likely she will end up on the ballot on principle but even in her heart of hearts she knows winning is a reach too far.

Kenneth-Tuju is the non-tribal and development-focused ticket. They have captured the imagination of the young and a lot of those on social media. I keep hearing the statement, “I will vote for Kenneth even if I know he will not win”. They however have not managed to transform their appeal to tangible support. I have a problem with their communication teams who I feel are sleeping on the job. Also the fact that Peter Kenneth was willing to jump into bed with the Mudavadi, Jirongo and Gideon Moi has rubbed off some of his innocence even though he bailed on them at the last minute.

They are the face of Kenyan politics of the future.

That Uhuru, notwithstanding his status as an ICC suspect and the fact that Kenya is coming from a Kikuyu presidency has managed to make Jubilee a strong force in the elections is a statement about our politics. Make no mistake. Jubilee is Uhuru and Uhuru is Jubilee. Ruto is a commoner who has by association managed to eat with the Kings. Musalia is a son of a former Minister who appears to me to be a puppet of the powers that be who is been fronted by ALL means and been forced down our throats via all means to succeed Kibaki.

Jubilee coalition is very fragile and all its members do not trust each other. How they will remain together until elections is beyond my comprehension.

CORD is a coalition of the unlikely. It is also five years late. If Raila and Kalonzo had stuck together five years ago, they would have won with a landslide. They did not. And Kenya was plunged to post-election violence. Also if you had told someone a month ago Raila and Kalonzo would be a joint ticket they would have thought you are mad.

They are now together and the actions coupled with the presumed implications of the Jubilee ticket are pushing many towards this CORD ticket if only to frustrate Jubilee.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is the menu. What will you have for dinner?

PS: The two-horse race is bound to be bloody with the stakes so high. Uhuru v Raila is CORD V Jubilee is personal, family, tribal and generational scores getting settled. The fight has been on-going since the 1960s and this elections may be the climax.  Pray for Kenya.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Undecided…

During the US elections I often wondered how given all the media coverage and adverts available any voter would be undecided on whether to vote for Obama or Romney.

It is therefore funny that with three months to the Kenya elections I find myself being an undecided voter.

Do not get me wrong, I am decided on who I will NOT vote for. The indecision is on who I WILL vote for.

Courtesy | Google

I am tired of crap. 50 years of nonsense is enough for Kenya. I believe time is nigh for Kenyans to break away from the yoke of mediocrity.

The launch of Tunawesmake was a breath of fresh air. Issues appeared to have come to the fore-front of Kenya’s body politic. But two weeks later there is no sustained buzz from the Peter Kenneth campaign. Methinks this was a wasted chance to build momentum by his campaign team.

Enough about Peter Kenneth.

Let us talk about the ‘elephant in the room’: Martha Wangari Karua.

For a while, Martha was touted as the ‘change candidate’ for the demographic of Kenyans who are tired of the tribal nonsense and business as usual politics.

However her campaign appears to have lost team and direction. It feels to me that it has fizzled out even before it got started.

And now with the launch of Tunawesmake many of those who were Team Martha are slowly getting seduced by Peter Kenneth. Therein lies the indecision many pro-change voter are faced in. They have to choose between Martha Karua V Peter Kenneth.

This is reminiscent of Obama v Hillary duel in 2008 for the Democratic Party ticket. Hillary lost and had to settle for Secretary of State while she bids her time. She is said to be considering running for the US presidency in 2016.

Martha Karua is no stranger to politics. She has been in politics since 1992. Prior to that she served as a magistrate. She rose up to position of Minister of Constitutional Affairs in President Kibaki’s cabinet where she was referred to as the only man in the cabinet due to her strong-will. Her only blemish is her unequivocal support for President Kibaki during the 2007 election debacle.

Her political pedigree is not in doubt but the question begs, is Kenya ready for a woman president? Or is presidency a bridge to far for Martha? Should she swallow her pride and support Peter Kenneth so as not to split the reform-centred vote?

Kenya is a patriarchal society. This is even more pronounced in the rough and tumble of Kenyan politics. Just look at the hullaballoo over the two third rule. Despite women having the numbers it is highly likely that not enough women MPs will get voted into Bunge thus resulting in a constitutional crisis after the elections. Add to that mix what I call the Baraza-effect; Kenyans been averse to a strong confident women leader following the Baraza alleged nose-pinching incident. The odds are thus heavily stacked against Karua.

Folk have been saying that Kenneth can choose Karua as his running mate. I believe this will be problematic. A ticket that has Peter Kenneth and Martha Karua would be a hard sale due to the fact that both have Kikuyu roots and President Kibaki is Kikuyu. I know it should not matter but Kenya in 2012 is a tribal country and tribe cannot be ignored. Two Kikuyus seeking to succeed another Kikuyu would not go down well with ordinary Kenyans.

Since she has already said goodbye to Gichugu constituents, how about Martha borrows a script from Hillary Clinton? She can throw her weight behind Peter Kenneth and then negotiate for a Cabinet Secretary for Constitutional Affairs. With the new Katiba needing massive implementation, she will have mega visibility and she will be working on something she has labored for over the years –constitutional reforms.

Will she? Would she? I have no idea. That ultimately is Martha Karua’s decision to make.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

It appears that I am not the only one who has to make decision concerning the upcoming 2013 elections.

Given the state of our country and our politics, the decisions are not black and white. It is about choosing lesser evils, been strategic, sacrificing individual desires for the greater good of many.

The only constant I can see in the midst of the ever changing variables is the love for Kenya.

Everything notwithstanding we all have to put KENYA FIRST!

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!


Safaricom Sevens 2012

Safaricom Sevens is billed as Kenya’s and to some Africa’s premier rugby event. It celebrated its 17th birthday this past weekend.

Since 2000 I have not attended the tournament but this year I broke my hiatus and was at Nyayo Stadium all of Sunday to sample the rugby and atmosphere.

Image | Google

These are my reflections:

The Good

1. Nuturing of talent. It was great to see Under-12, Under-14 and the University teams.

2. The coach has a bigger selection of international quality players available to pick from going by the standards of Morans (2nd placed) and Shujaa (3rd placed).

3. The expression of patriotism was amazing. Folks donned national flag colors, got painted, carried flags. In a country where tribalism is rife, that was refreshing to see.

4. I was socialized into rugby on Ngong Road. Therefore I was skeptical on the move from KRFUEA. Also wondered on the security. After Sunday I was sold on the move. Nyayo Stadium has potential. It just needs to get nurtured.

5. The security has intense, had to endure six body searches before entry into the stadium.

6. Safaricom did try to relieve the fans of the torture from the sun by providing branded mini-umbrellas, big umbrellas, helmets and hats. For that I applaud them.

7. Russia (the stands directly opposite the VIPS) was ROCKING! It was a-laugh-a-minute.

The Bad

1.  The KK guards were pretty rude.

2. The rule about no food and drinks from outside was not uniformly enforced. The group I was with have to give away fruits and water. Imagine our surprise when we got into the stadium and folk had sandwiches, bottles of wine, vodka and all manner of food and drinks from outside.

3. Speaking of food and drinks, the vendors at the event charged exorbitant prices. Seeking to take rugby to the masses should also include vendors being considerate to mwananchi.

4. On Friday and Saturday there was limited coverage on mainstream media as Gor v AFC grabbed all the headlines. This was slightly remedied on Sunday though.

5. A well-manned social media account preferably twitter would have come in handy to enable fans plan their day by providing match day fixtures and times.

6.  Only VIP and hospitality sections were tented. The fans in the rest of the stadium were left to open to the vagaries of the intense sun. How much would it cost Safaricom to provide tenting for all?

8. Got into Nyayo at 9.30am. Matches were already on-going. Fans were steadily streaming in. However mounds of garbage from the previous day were gathered at various points around the stadium awaiting collection. This finally happened at around 11am.

9. Also noticed that the Coke vendors directly in front of Russia had tattered branded umbrellas. Not a good look for a major event.

10. It was ironic that Safaricom sponsored the tournament but Safaricom cellphone internet was a matter of chance. Half the time I could not log on.

11. This was the first major rugby event that I have attended that I did not see Arigi, the staple of Kenya rugby for the last 15years. What happened to him? Who are the new people running the cheering squad? They are not cool. Ministry of Rugby do something!

12. In related news, Come baby come is now a rugby chant. How now?????

13. 90% of folk there are clueless about rugby and are there for the carnival. The carnival fans are great but wish the numbers of folk who get rugby would get to at least 50% of the crowd.

The Ugly

1. The dispensing of the branded merchandise was handled badly. Officials threw the Safaricom merchandise at fans in the stands who then scrambled for them, this would easily have led to a stampede.

2.Most fans are clueless about old school rugby songs. Aren’t they being sang in school, uni or club rugby matches? It would be very sad if the songs which are our heritage were to die off.

3. The women in minis, heels and makeup. Honey, it is rugby. Jeans, shorts, sandals/sneakers will do.

Bonus

This was my 7s moment (the two were seated next to me in the stands and were speaking in Kiswahili):

Chic: (Sips beer, puffs cigarette) Do you understand the rules of this game?

Guy: Kinda

Chic: I have no absolutely idea. I just come to look at the well-built guys in tight shorts running around.

Me: HAHAHAHA!

GOD BLESS KENYA!


My Unspoken – Premiere review

In many cultures across the world, problems concerning matters of the heart, family disputes and habits were discussed behind closed doors and mostly by elders.

This was not entirely to hide things (hiding did happen) but to ensure that the reputation and the feelings of all the parties involved were prudently looked after and to also tap into the wisdom of the elders.

Times are changing. It is now the norm in certain quarters to talk about these matters publicly and with no regard to age. Whether this new way of doing things is good or bad only time will tell.

With that background I want to talk about My Unspoken which aired last night on NTV at 10pm.

Image courtesy of Google

Its promo was quite eye-catching and it fueled my curiosity to watch.

For those who did not watch it is a counseling session where a group of women are helped by a counselor/life-coach to confront the demons of their past and live life anew.

It is normally run under the Alabastron programme and this was its premiere on TV.

Totally get the media sense for NTV to air the show. Women crying, opening up about their ordeals, being guided through how to make things better does make for great television which means audience numbers go up. This boosts ratings and by extension advertisers.

Ponder about the confidentiality aspect though. A woman may be strong and ready to go on national television and bare her soul to millions but we do not live in isolation. As individuals we are parts of a greater society. So if a woman goes on TV and accuses her husband of battering, what does that do to her children, her husband, her extended family? And even if now it seems a great idea to be on TV, 10 years from now will she be happy about the footage that will be accessible to all online?

Also asked myself where is the voice the accused? We heard of husbands who battered, uncles who raped, mothers who were negligent. None of these were giving a hearing. Balance is key in media. You always strive to get both sides of the story. So is NTV opening itself up for defamation suits?

Let me digress, defamation is the airing of content that soils a persons otherwise good name and causes them to be shunned by right thinking members of the society. You may say that no names were mentioned but if you say uncle who raised me, my husband, my mother then that is as good as naming them. And in defamation the burden is on ‘he who alleges’ so NTV by airing the accusations will be expected to provide evidence of alleged crime.

Moving on, to me counseling is meant to heal and bring closure. Confront the issue or the person and deal with it. How they will achieve this on TV is beyond me. Shouldn’t counseling be private and individual? How then do you have people with varying problems all in one room and then proceed to diagnose them and prescribe solutions?

The counselor also greatly matters. The show’s counselor comes across to me as trying to be mix of Tyra, Oprah and Dr. Phil. This leads me to the fact that the qualifications of the counselor were not presented for scrutiny. Who is she and what is her locus standi?

The fact that there was reference to auditions being held for the women who were then chosen to appear on TV based on the ‘gravity’ of their emotional hurt is something I found off. Emotional hurt or psychological trauma is not a joke or something to be trifled with.

Should counseling be a subject for Reality TV? The model has worked in Tyra, Oprah and Dr. Phil but will it work in our society? What is our culture? What is our world view? How do we address home/private matters? It is all well and good to say we are urban and sophisticated and that we can talk about everything in publicly now but is this the case in Mogotio or Nguruweni?

I am not belittling the women who bravely told their stories on national TV but all I heard was how other people’s actions ruined their lives. Thus I wonder should we encourage the culture of calling up someone to help you fix your problems instead of taking charge of your life and charting the course? Maina Kageni breakfast show is a long running example of where folk chose to hand over the reins of their lives to other people to make decisions for them.

Finally what is the utility value of the show? And what is the impact that it might eventually have to an audience?

Spoke to my psychiatrist friend and apart from him being appalled by the show he spoke of trend building. This is where bad things through gradually media acceptance are seen to be cool and they became a fad to the audience. Easiest way to illustrate is that through Maina’s breakfast show, cheating in marriage in Kenya has been made normal.

That is the power of the media.

From the show I got the fact that women (people) are carrying around incredible baggage. I totally agree that the issues raised need to be addressed. Regular readers will know how I am entirely against censorship or burying heads in the sand.

My concern is regarding the mode and means of doing so – Group counseling on national television.

Have several friends who are all praises regarding Alabastron.

Spoke to one today and she insisted that the society has been silent for too long and it is time we addressed the injustices visited on women (people) emotionally or psychologically.

She contended that while men are able to compartmentalize their issues women will carry their hurt into every aspect of their lives. Therefore she felt that Alabastron is a brilliant initiative.

Regarding the My Unspoken TV show she asked me to reserve judgment until I have watched all the 13 episodes. I shall do so but that does not mean I cannot comment on the first show that I watched. That is the spirit in which this ‘review’ is written.

This post has many questions because the show left me with very many questions. On media programming, on influence of churches and church leaders, on the rise of reality TV and on the state of families, marriages and relationships in Kenya. I am still musing over them.

As usual, this is a conversation.

What did you think of My Unspoken?

GOD BLESS KENYA!

 


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