Tag Archives: Bahati

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!


Heritage Series – A Wife’s Tale

The sun that had earlier kissed the slopes had progressively disappeared under the heavy clouds. Gradually chilly it had turned. It seemed like the afternoon rains which are very common in the Kenyan highlands would pour anytime.

At a corner, where two houses join, a lady sits on a stool, taking in scenery and enjoying the breeze.  Donning several sweaters, a maroon dress, a blue woolen cap which covers her white hair and she has a walking stick at her side.

Upon sighting her visitor, she bursts out laughing. “My husband, is that you or are my eyes deceiving me?” she exclaims. A hearty handshake ensues accompanied with the rhythmic vocal intonations.

She may not do it herself due to vagaries of age but just like a wife would, she asks Wairimu, her helper to get her husband a stool, take his bag and warm up a mug of uji for him. Wairimu, does all this in short order. She also introduces herself to the husband as a distant relative.

Wife and husband then proceed to catch up on ‘home’ matters. With each finding out what the other had been up to since they were last together.

Conversation drifts leisurely as the husband sips his uji. “Is it too hot? Should Wairimu bring another cup to aid you cool it?” wife soothingly asks husband.

During a lull in conversation, a cow moos at a distance. A cockerel chases two hens around the homestead. The dog, Tiger, sniffs out the visitor and attempts to play. For its efforts it earns itself a poke with the walking stick. Wairimu washes the dishes, begins preparing the evening meal and lights up the jiko.

Husband picks up the thread of conversation. He guides it to an area that had previously just been glossed over. Wife lights up like a Christmas tree. Making light work of the many decades that have passed by. Her memory razor-sharp.

She begins to coherently answer the prodding questions

When I first went to Nairobi, we lived in Majengo. This was in the late 1950s. I moved to be close to my husband. By then I had three children with the then last-born just a couple of months old. My friends in Majengo were Khadija and Fatuma. Swahili women who loved talking and cooking. They greatly improved my Kiswahili. Unfortunately once I left Nairobi, I forgot most of it.

One day a white man did allocations for houses in Bahati – a newly-constructed estate for Africans. Three families were to share one house. It was a big leap from living in Majengo. With the many constructions in Nairobi I cannot point out where the house stands now.

To eke out a living I sold vegetables in Marikiti Market. A group of us women would harvest vegetables from the banks of Nairobi River after paying for strips. The farmers were from Embu and Ndia. I do not know if they owned the land or just farmed it.

We picked the vegetables during the day, washed them until they looked very fresh, and then took them to the market at 3am. There were matatus to town. I would sell my stock and still come back and prepare breakfast for my school-going children.

My clientele at the market were mostly Asians although there was a sprinkling of white ladies. I struck up a friendship with two Asian ladies. One did not have kids. One did. She invited me to an Indian wedding. It was a great chance to sell my wares and experience the eight day ceremony.

By now I had gotten more children. I was also taking care of my nieces and nephews as well as other family’s children. To further supplement the family income I brewed flour-based African beer. I bought the flour from my Majengo friends.

Sympathetic to my large brood, the alcohol consumers made a beeline to my house every evening to partake of my brew. I sold a quart at one shilling and a pint at fifty cents.

The shadow of the white man was never far off. Several encounters spring to mind. Once I had to stand in an identification line as a betrayer picked out Mau Mau sympathizers. Off course I had taken the oath. The betrayer was fully covered. Only his eyes were visible. He did not speak. Just nodded or shook head to show who was Mau Mau. He did not pick me out.

Another time was more risky. My husband ran a charcoal business. He kept guns for Mau Mau in the sacks. The authorities suspected but never found evidence. One day there was a swoop, he was taken to a police station and almost taken to jail but luckily he was not. The sight of me with a child several days old must have softened the cops’ hearts.

Kenyatta, I cannot say I saw a lot of. Father of Odinga walked around Bahati a lot. He dressed in shorts and a Swahili cap. He seemed a brave man at ease with people.

The Independence Day was quite something! It was at that big open piece of land. What do you call it? It rained a lot. Lights were switched off. Then upon their return the white man’s flag had been brought down and Kenyatta hoisted our flag. It was the end of the white man. We were very happy.

The questions cease. Husband takes in the impromptu history lesson. Wife smiles and has a far-away look. She appears to be reminiscing. Husband is awed by how her memories tell a story of Kenya’s last 50-years.

Husband is grandson. Wife is grandmother.

Wife’s memories are her husband’s heritage. Wife’s memories are Kenya’s history.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


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