Category Archives: Event

Talking Women with KikeTele

The 2016 International Women’s Day theme is ‘Pledge For Parity’ .

On the eve of the International Women’s Day KikeTele held an event, ‘Women Game Changers’.

KikeTele-IWD-2016

These are my notes from the event.

First impressions:

Full auditorium.
Mixed audience.

Afro print aplenty.
Moderator introduces panel reading from a paper. Shouldn’t panelist introduce themselves?

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Saida Ali Mohamed (Consultant -Feminist analysis and women’s rights) opening:

What are the reasons for cultural practice’s
Context of pain as an African woman
Decision making at community level – household & community level

Dr. Faith Mwangi-Powell (Country Director for the University Research Company, Kenya) opening:

As a mother moved
Big up to Lightbox for aiding community telling story
It’s until community says no
Matter of choice – how can they be empowered to make choice
Dialogues with community – when you know why then your what changes
Convos shouldn’t happen at this table they should happen at village level
Let girls dream
FGM is an issue for global concern

Kennedy Otina (Coordinator Men to Men FEMNET) opening:

At times you wonder if you are doing anything
What happens if my daughter gets married in Samburu
(ModerateKenyan aside – Should it matter it’s your daughter/sister?)
FGM is impunity. Extreme patriarchy. Men deciding on women sexuality.
Power relations???
60 year old man marrying 12 year old – the men are weak, girl are red-blooded, (!!!!)

Beautiful-International-Womens-Day-Wallpaper-Free-Download

(ModerateKenyan aside – Rambling thoughts galore)
(My friend  seated next to me – Do you want me to write my thoughts?

It’s really rich of him to talk about patriarchy and then go ham on the ‘our daughter’ nonsense)

What are we not doing?

Saida Ali Mohamed (Consultant -Feminist analysis and women’s rights)

Let’s talk about the silence, agency, power.
What are the practice’s impact on women
FGM confers ‘womanhood, respect, status’ in community
Understand nuances not to validate but for clarity and effective approaches to deal

Dr. Faith Mwangi-Powell

When you understand the why you get the what
Not every culture is bad

(ModerateKenyan aside – Can we give alternatives?)

Amref is already giving alternates  – everything but the cut
Tell community about danger of FGM health wise
Not big stick but education of community is best
Narrative is changing
Create solutions with community

How have you addressed power issues

Dr. Faith Mwangi-Powell (Country Director for the University Research Company, Kenya)

Men pretend to know everything
Men pass buck
Power is in favour of men
Laws are hindered by enforcers who are part of community who turn a blind eye – chiefs come from same community that perpetuates.

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Notes exchanged between ModerateKenyan and a friend:

ModerateKenyan  – NTV’S Rose Wangui recently did a story on morans who have stopped FGM. Chief Moran leading campaign. Anticut warriors.

My friend  seated next to me – But do they have an NGO that knows how to use buzzwords?

ModerateKenyan  – Hahaha! Wish she was here. She has done stories on Northern Kenya for a decade plus.

My friend  seated next to me – I’d love to meet her… She sounds interesting.

ModerateKenyan Actually her story on beading was the first one to lift the veil

My friend  seated next to me – Write a blog post!!!

ModerateKenyan – Tutaona.

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Question time:

(ModerateKenyan aside – Reveals the many NGOs in Kenya – many in audience who stood to ask represented an NGO)
NGO talk is grating
The Girlchild vs boychild question came up
A question on what of communities who do FGM in hospital, in modern space to fulfill rite? NGOs have concentrated in the so-called marginalized areas but anecdotal evidence shows FGM happens in suburbia Nairobi.

Panel response:

Saida Ali Mohamed (Consultant -Feminist analysis and women’s rights)

Role for broader sexuality conversation for boys and girls
Crude abortion – should safe abortion be possible
Safe spaces for girls availability
Have sex. Do not get PG. How now?
Autonomy of woman body in context of societal

Dr. Faith Mwangi-Powell

Medicalization of FGM has to be checked. Doctors, nurses arrested.

Kennedy Otina (Coordinator Men to Men FEMNET)

What are the numbers to support  boychild neglect
Human rights are gender blind
Men are jobless and still want to be powerful. Confusion.
Bringing forth a new generation of men
If we empower women it doesn’t mean that men are dis-empowered

More question time:

A Samburu warrior stood up and made a commitment that he will marry chic who ain’t  cut
Same warrior asked Is there alternative to ‘fight against FGM’ – breakage of family/society, alienation of girl child have long-lasting impact

(ModerateKenyan – felt this was the crux. A shoewearer who could have provided great insight and also moved conversation from NGO-speak to real talk. Shame time run out and moderator ended discussion.)

Panel concluding remarks:

Saida – s/o to Samburu girls in audience
Dr. Mwangi-Powell – tell someone about dangers of FGM
Ken – men shout it that you are against it

*****

Felt the conversation ended abruptly.

Wanted to talk to the Samburu girls in the audience and hear their voice.

Wanted to talk to the Samburu warrior going against the age-old cultures also wanted to engage him on how he thinks the fight against FGM should be tackled.

Got thinking as a communicator why the FGM campaign is taking so long to reach the audience. Is culture chipped away slowly or at once? Are the works that have been done in last 20 years and that are being done now chipping away at the roots of FGM and results will come soon?

Got challenged as a man to check my privilege which sometimes is subconsious.

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inernational-womens-day-cartoon

Mwende Ngao who was moderating second panel began with spoken word

Politics of Womanhood – Women belong to every one apart from themselves
Kesho it’s international women day – pledge for parity
Parity is 117 years away – It’s serious.

Talk would centre on – Women artistes – portrayal of women in art

Moderator introduces panelists. Reading from phone. Why not let panel intro themselves?

Aleya Kassam (writer)

Began by saying ‘Such a chaste audience’
She read a blog post – brilliant vivid writing. Huge applause at the end.
Conversation on Aleya’s writing with moderator
Astounding how women are writing in plenty but are invisible

Moderator did question and answer instead of conversation
Also zero involvement with rest of audience/panel

As Monitah set up moderator read another spoken word piece

Monitah (musician)

Sang 3 songs
She looked she was enjoying herself a lot
She was being herself
Moderator – How do you deal with non-mainstream tag? Monitah –  I do my music, I am me, That’s bottomline
Moderator – Challenge as a woman in media? Monitah – being hit on, want more women at the top
Moderator – Plans for your album? Monitah – working on it, follow me on social
Moderator – Arts place in society? Monitah – it’s key to give folk something to think about. Plant seed.

international-womens-day-2

Question time:

Is there a point to your art

(ModerateKenyan aside -this question GRATES!)

*****

My friend, her friend and I had to leave at this juncture for various reasons.

As we left we chatted on the almost two hours spent at the event.

Authentic talk vs Talk for pay.

Heard one talk, heard all talks until it sounds hollow.

Whether one should have standards or whether one should accept standards do not pay bills and accept to be a mouthpiece for something they may not be very passionate about.

Additionally whether the talks really help or they are an echo chamber. No divergent views expressed.

I have talked about Talking Shops in Nairobi before.

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An aside from the conversation was self-publishing and the perils. With the bigger picture becoming  whether as a friend one should harshly critique a friend’s creation or one should be ‘supportive’.

You read things or listen to songs and ask doesn’t the creator have friends? What if the friends are too timid to share harsh truths?

So my appeal as a creator is if something is good PRAISE it and if something is mediocre BASH it.

Moreso if it is done by a friend. Only way for our creativity to grow.

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Our exit conversation also tackled:

Afro print and Afro-centric wear which have become the uniform for creatives. Note to all ourselves: do not jump onto bandwagon:-)

Moderating is HARD. Curious: Who is your favorite moderator?

*****

March 8 is International Women’s Day.

I gotta say:

Women are AWESOME!

I CELEBRATE all the women in my life.

Thank you all for being a BLESSING.

International-womens-day-images-3942

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GOD BLESS KENYA!


Man about Town

Many years ago I was at the heart of Nairobi’s art scene. I sat in a roundtable and discussed Nigeria politics with Wole Soyinka at the GoDown, danced to Sweet Mother with Chimamanda Adichie in her first visit to Kenya at Club Afrique, spent a fortnight in Lamu with writers from across the globe, attended monthly spoken word gigs organized by Kwani, and so on and so on.

Somewhere along the line I dropped out of the Nairobi art scene. My people say he who once danced watches. And watch I did as new folk entered into the scene. For them the essence was not art for arts’s sake but rather money was the bottom line even at art’s expense. Added to their quest for money was their quest for fame aided by technology and social media.

This led to an interesting occurrence in Nairobi: Increased artsy events, increased number of people in those artsy events, increased number of people proclaiming to be creatives and yet still a nagging feeling that the Nairobi art scene is stagnant at best or filled with posers at worst.

But as I discovered much to my delight a vibrant honest-to-God art scene is very much alive and kicking in Nairobi away from Instagram and Twirra.

Friday – Caged Bird Sings

Reading through Nairobi Now I stumbled on the advert for the musical adaptation of Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings at Phoenix Players.

The Thursday night show had been bought out by the American Embassy who was the play’s sponsors so Friday night was the first open-to the public run.

caged2

The play featured 6 odes: to man, woman, Africa, America, love and life. It sought to address the issue of being black in America but there was also a bit of localization. The cast of Tone Theatre Productions directed by George Orido worked to deliver an excellent mix of elocution, music and poetry.

caged3

The play lasted a hundred minutes and it carried the audience along its brainy fare with the climax for me being the hauntingly beautiful duet between a flute and saxophone. From a production perspective, the lighting, wardrobe and props were all top-notch.  Mr. Moipei (father to the Moipei sisters) was the musical director and that perhaps explains were the music was beautiful. The intimacy of the setting at Phoenix Players also added to mood.

The 14 member cast was pretty young and featured 3 teenagers who sat for their KCSE exams last year.

Remember these names: Terry Wambui, Wendy Kendra, Linda Manja, Charles Ngambi, George Njoroge and Claire Etaba.  If nurtured well, then these are Kenya’s future stars seeing as Lupita Nyong’o also treaded the boards at Phoenix.

Dreams are certainly valid.

Friday – Singing the Blues

Still buzzed from the creative excellence enjoyed at Phoenix I decided to check out a gig I had heard about and even read about but which seemed incongruous – American mugithi/one-man guitar.

The gig is located at The Blues restaurant in Hurlingham. At the petrol station where there used to be Kula Korner.

blues2

The concept is simple. There is communal as well as individual band equipment – guitars, drum kits, keys – and anyone is free to go up on stage and jam. The talent do not know each other and are as diverse as you can imagine. In addition, a chat with the drummer, a Kenyan guy in his early twenties revealed that the songs performed are on demand and are improvised.

The appreciative audience was also diverse. A trio of young Kenyan guys at the counter, an in her thirties European looking lady, a Kenyan man seated alone downing Tuskers donning a Godpapa, a table of Americans men and women aged approximately 25-65 years.

the blues

What was common was the love for blues and country music with patrons singing the blues as they quaffed beers and kept the kitchen busy.

I totally enjoyed the vibes and the gig gave me an idea too: America meets Kikuyu.

Imagine a random American guitar player going head-to-head against say Mike Rua. Intriguing inter-cultural mash-up, no?

The gig happens every Friday. Check it out if you are a Blues, country music fan or if you just seek a different kind of Friday night out.

Sunday – WeLoveVinyl

My dad had an old Sanyo radio which had the vinyl player or ‘kinanda’ as we called it.

kinada1

Before the needle broke I grew up listening to 33s and 45s of Charlie Pride (my mum) and Jim Reeves, Kenny Rodgers, Kikuyu benga (my dad).

It thus did not seat right that an year after #WeLoveVinyl started I had never graced it and I sought to fix that.

welovevinyl-eventposter

However I may have run ahead of myself.

From the outside in I thought #WeLoveVinyl is a Sunday plan involve girls in small sundresses, music playing on vinyl, many Nairobians, food, drink and your regular to be seen-at gig.

How wrong I was.

#WeLoveVinyl is a niche, for-fanatics Sunday plan. Music plays on Vinyl, there is crate digging but I was wrong on the other fronts.

Began by a group of music lovers, #WeLoveVinyl seeks to connect the small but growing community of vinyl lovers with record sellers as well as vinyl player sellers while creating a Sunday plan of music and fun.

Crate-digging – the act of perusing vinyl records placed in a crate is a delight. I pride myself as a music buff but I discovered I know nothing. There were records upon records.

There was a crate of music about which I was totally clueless.

Rhumba crate had Simaro, Anna Mwale, Tshala Mwala, Bozi Boziana, TP OK Jazz etc etc.

In the Book of 45 was Kikuyu gold. History of Kenyan music in the 45 records. Nyeri Hills Band, Karura Brothers, Nguku Happy Bros, Gatundu Boys, Joseph Kamaru and Sister, Baba Kiwinja, Kamaru Music Stores KMS, DK Undugu Sounds, Equator Records. These bands and recording studios were all up and running in the 1960s!  Also, discovered that AP Chandarana based in Kericho was making Kikuyu music in Kericho in the 60s. Makes you wonder where the rain started beating us.

Crate digging is akin to a treasure hunt and the glint in the eye of music lovers and joy upon getting a prized record is a sight to behold.

The gig is held every first Sunday of the month at Soiree Gardens. Alight at Uchumi Ngong Road, Take the road where iHub is (Bishop Magua House), go down then turn right and follow the music.

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So if you are a passionate art lover check out these gigs and enjoy authentic experiences. If you know of other ‘unspoilt’ artsy gigs happening in Nairobi please do tell.

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I appreciate that art is expensive and commercial aspect has to be cultivated. It is unfortunate that the emerging middle-class are the folk who can afford the art gigs even though for them it is about being seeing and not the art. A necessary evil I guess.

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GOD BLESS KENYA!

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The Caged Bird Sings photos courtesy of .

The WeLoveVinyl photo courtesy of .

Rest of the photos courtesy of Google.


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.

BD+Uhuru+Return+0910l.JPG

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.

The-International-_2166929b

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!


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