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!


Word on the street…

(Guys in a house watching football, listening to music, having a beer and basically chilling.)

Guy A: Who will you vote for?

Guy B: (Proudly) Peter Kenneth. My conscience cannot let me vote for these other fools.

Guy A: Okay. After you and your conscience have wasted your vote and forced Kenya into an expensive run-off who will you vote for?

Guy B: Wa! Between worse and worst I guess I will pick worse so I will reluctantly vote Cord. I do not want to live under sanctions. Just look at Zimbabwe or Sudan.

Guy C: I was also going to vote for Martha or Peter Kenneth but after the alliances formed I realized it will be a close two-horse race. So I changed my mind! I am not going to waste my vote. I will vote for Cord. Not that Cord are that great.

Guy D: I will vote for Jubilee. Kenya and Kenyans do not need half-shocks like PEV 2007/8. Kenya needs major shock to happen so that it can rebuild once and for all. These half-measures mean Kenya never grows. Look at Rwanda? It totally broke apart then now it is doing well. Let us break apart totally and then rebuild. Also I can’t vote for Raila after his 41 tribes versus 1 tribe mantra in the last elections.

Guy C: So it is basically about tribe?

Guy D: Off course it is about tribe! This is Kenya. How would you feel if your community is targeted and singled out through no fault of your own? Even you are in Cord because your guy got running mate.

Guy B: See? This is why I am voting Peter Kenneth. To end this tribalism nonsense.

Guy C: To bad Kenneth has no chance in hell of winning. So you are wasting your vote. And these wasted votes will force us into a run-off. Do you think Kenya is politically mature enough and rich enough to go through a run-off? Or will a close election result in chaos?

Guy A: And to be honest, Kenneth appears to me to be an Obama in 2008. He looks good, can be branded well and he can speak well. But when push comes to shove he is short on concrete and long on fluff.

Guy D: So you who will you vote for?

Guy A: No one! I do not have a voter’s card. And looking at the options available and after listening to all your reasons for voting, I can’t say I am missing out on anything. Whoever wins it seems we are screwed and the question the election is settling is just how screwed we are!

Ends…

The above conversation played out in my presence over the holidays.

The guys chatting are all young, urbane and educated with exposure to internet, media and world affairs.

It is amazing that all these attributes seem to have had no impact on their decision on who to vote for. No one mentioned issues or track record. It basically comes down to tribe and political history of aspirant.

It is a sad indictment of the level of our politics/democracy after 50 years of independence.

With two months to what promises to be bruising and very competitive elections, it is also worrying and scary.

Pray for Kenya.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


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!


Kenya Daima…

These words of William Butler Yeats in his poem The Second Coming keep playing in  my head:

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

My country is no longer at ease.

Before I wrap my head around what is going on I would like to:

Pay tribute to all the members of the security forces who have lost their lives in the recent days while in the line of duty.

Pay tribute to all Kenyans who have lost their lives due to the recent spate of violence.

Request you to spare a minute every day to say a prayer for our beloved country 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!


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!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 59 other followers

%d bloggers like this: