The Wanjiku Phenomenon

The Member of County Assembly (MCA) post has attracted a huge amount of aspirants and it is proving to be the most fatal of seats one can go for in the 2017 General Election.

IEBC

This is surprising given that according to the Kenyan constitution the MCA seat is practically that of a diligent public-spirited person in a ward who basically acts as a linkage between the public and county government.

public service - wordcloud

However the perks which include a salary in the neighborhood of half a million shilling, a potential to hold a governor at ransom and the possibility of running the unconstitutional ward development fund has brought out the savage and greed in Kenyans.

An MCA ticket is seemingly a chance to get a lot of money for doing basically nothing.

This captures the essence of a Kenyan’s quest for public office.

national-assembly

This post is inspired by a conversation between radio presenters Nderitu Waihura and Professor Ngugi wa Njoroge on their show Gukera on Inooro FM on the night of May 22 2017.

inooro

Nderitu began the show by alluding to a conversation that had taken place earlier on Inooro TV’s show Kimuri which he co-hosts with Michael Njenga. The show had included former and aspiring MPs among them Lewis Nguyai, a former MP for Kikuyu. The show had focused on the life of an MP in relation to a Kenyan voter.

Nguyai had stated that given his Kikuyu constituency was near, when he was an MP he would be in his constituency office 4 times a week and every time he would be there he would be forced to give voters forty thousand which would translate to one hundred and sixty thousand a week and then to six hundred and forty thousand a month. At times this would see him take home only twenty thousand a month from his salary.

Another former MP Jeremaih Kioni stated that he often adviced young people getting into politics and intent on staying on the straight and narrow that they surely had found a sure route to poverty.

Based on these politicians’ comments, the two hosts began dissecting the Kenyan voter: ‘Wanjiku’.

VOTING

It appears that Wanjiku does not care about a leader who provides an oversight role on the government, does not care about a leader who passes good laws or a leader who is honest and stays on the straight and narrow.

Wanjiku’s view on leadership is money. Following towards her. Why does Wanjiku presume that a leader is an ATM bank? Why does Wanjiku presume that a leader gets into leadership for their own enrichment and thus they should milk the leader dry before voting for them? How is it that a leader is expected to pay maternity fees, funeral costs, school fees, etc? Who even knows why exactly does Wanjiku vote? Who benefits from Wanjiku’s uninformed voting?

We are currently on the eleventh parliament and from the first parliament voters have been conditioned or have conditioned themselves that a leader is as good as the money they give and imagine the damage done over the years.

results+px

Professor Njoroge then gave a story of a donkey. The donkey was tethered and well-fed and a lion was salivating at the donkey. The lion then sent a hare to tell the donkey how much he loved her and wanted to be with her. The donkey despite knowing the perils of a lion agreed to be wooed. Once the donkey was in the lion’s den the lion went for the donkey’s neck but somehow the donkey managed to run away. So the lion once again sent the hare to tell the donkey that the lion was not seeking to bite the neck but rather it wanted to hug the donkey due to love. The donkey bought the story and returned to the lion’s den and shortly thereafter the lion tore it apart. The hare which was present then ate the heart and the liver which are soft and sweet. Once the lion had struggled with the tough donkey’s meat it sought to eat the soft heart and liver but found they were missing. Upon asking the hare, the hare said that the donkey had not had a heart or a brain because if it did there was no way it would have accepted to go back to the lion’s den.

be_stupid_and_act_like_a_donkey_poster-rafb5e19f6341416ca9bbe6ea2c58d581_wvg_8byvr_324

The two contended that Wanjiku like the donkey was quite stupid and every five years accepted the lies on offer from both sides of the political divide and every five years was lied to without fail but still went back for the lies.

A case in point is the maize story. The opposition had made it a campaign tool not because they cared for Wanjiku but because it would help them push their vehicle to Statehouse.  As for the government their solution to the maize puzzle was not to ensure that Wanjiku had affordable food and to ensure that it would not happen again but rather to mint money and to deflate the opposition’s momentum.

flours.jpg

Currently there was no 90 bob maize available on the shelf but that was not what Wanjiku cared for. Wanjiku was more interested in if their MCA, MP, Govenor, Presidential candidate had submitted their papers to the IEBC, whether or not independent candidates were good or bad and other political issues of the day. For both Jubilee and NASA Wanjiku’s their hunger can be seemingly be postponed until after elections.

Clearly Wanjiku is deserving of a PhD thesis as a phenomena.

phd

The two also spoke of how right now ‘everyone’ knows that for you to get public office all you need is money, it does not matter where you got the money from. Once you have acquired money from legal or illegal means then no one can touch you, you can hire lawyers to frustrate the legal system and Wanjiku will cheer you and brand you a hero or heroine for being the ‘true Kenyan’ who is a hustler.

Then Nderitu, sought to look at Wanjiku away from the political prism: Wanjiku in a matatu.

mat

When Wanjiku is in a matatu in the morning or in the evening they are a cheering squad to a bad matatu driver. They are very happy when the matatu driver breaks all laws and gets them from point A to B in shortest time possible. However, if Wanjiku is driving then they are very much against matatus and they see how reckless and law-breaking matatus are.

From the perspective of Wanjiku in a matatu and away from matatu clearly Wanjiku is her leaders and her leaders are Wanjiku.  Everyone is seeking for their chance to eat and they only complain about eating when they are not doing the eating.

Little wonder President Uhuru Kenyatta famously once asked…”sasa mnataka ni fanye nini jameni?”

uk

At the end of the conversation the agreement was that the value system in Kenya is broken but no one has any idea how to fix it.

Therefore we shall keep performing democracy every five years but never addressing our root problem.

19421100-the-words-going-around-in-circles-on-colorful-ribbons-stuck-in-an-endless-repetitive-circular-patter

Food for thought…

GOD BLESS KENYA.

There is a perception that vernacular radio do more harm than good by just blowing the trumpet for the tribal lords but seemingly sometimes they also pause and smell the coffee.

A lovely touch was playing Eric Wainaina’s Nchi ya watu wadogo song as well as in the famous quotes segment playing a timely sound bite of Tanzania’s First President Julius Nyerere.

PS: All images courtesy of Google.

 

Advertisements

Fort Jesus by night

Centuries upon centuries. The Fort still has me in awe. It was delightful to see it at night.

img_20161209_193422

An art exhibition under the moonlight. Only in Mombasa.

img_20161209_193559

Looking across into the Indian Ocean. Now there are lights, imagine how it must have been when the Portuguese lived there centuries back.

img_20161209_193400

Kahawa tungu. Enjoyed as I watched an acting troupe rehearse at the courtyard of the Fort.

img_20161209_190437

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Hibiskus in Mtwapa

In my recent visit to Mombasa I opted to be based in Mtwapa.

img_20161207_180754

Last time I had been to Mtwapa it was an a day trip and Mtwapa had grown, complete with a new bigger Tuskys.

As usual when I land at a new place I walk around and mtwapa was no different as I went looking for ‘Jumba la Mtwana’ of which there was no coherent signage. I got lost and upon my return to Mtwapa proper got lost in a ‘ghetto’.

To get my bearing I took a boda boda to Moorings which did not tickle my fancy.

Checked out German Banhoff only to find it had been sold and was was now Bistro. 

My immediate need was a place to charge my phone and a place to shower after my night travel and over five kilometre walk about under the scorching sun.

In my quest to be tech-agile I downloaded Airnb but I was unable to navigate it. Going into google I checked out TripAdvisory and amidst the din I stumbled on a gem.

Hibiskus Lodge.

hibiskus

 

Asked a boda boda guy and it was love at first sight.

The rooms which are big, spacious, airy range from 900 shillings to 1800 shillings and in most of them you can cook for yourself.

hib-bed

 

It is a gated private villa with the owners living there so you are assured of quality.

There is a lovely sitting area where meals are served and it also serves as the common room with a TV as the rooms do not have TVs.

img_20161208_093852

Books and artwork dot the Lodge.

img_20161208_093606

The books are ALL in German.

img_20161208_093253

As is the menu.

img_20161208_093804

There is a swimming pool.

img_20161208_095120

The Lodge is located 15minutes walk from the Mtwapa Creek which has beautiful scenery.

img_20161207_180526

And for the famous sin city that is Mtwapa, the lodge is located 15 minutes walk from the centre of the nightlife action.

img_20161208_093934

Hibiskus Lodge is owned by Peter and Ingrid and I highly recommend it.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Sinking Jahazi

It is 1.21am on a Thursday night, you are at a gents at an uptown local and life is coming at you at a frightening speed.

1am

You have just barely managed to pay the bill and you have no extra money in your wallet.

You had previously okoa-d jahazi and not paid it back.

You have zero credit on your phone, zero on MPESA, and your bundles have run out.

So getting an uber never mind the mechanics of paying for it becomes a matter of rocket science.

This is when you stare at your phone and wonder who you can call to help.

As you realize that it is true a friend is someone who you can call at 1am and they pick up and help. And that despite the overflowing phone book you have very few friends.

Getting here may seem far-fetched and I can hear you wonder how a grown man can be so irresponsible.

7036387-worried-man-sitting-and-sweating

Let’s back track.

Man has not seen his friend who happens to be a woman for awhile. So man asks woman friend for a meet and chat. Woman is hanging out with her friend who is a mutual acquaintance and she asks if she can come with the acquaintance and man innocently says yes.

Drinks are enjoyed. Meat is ordered.

Then the acquaintance invites over a cousin who partakes of his drink and the meat and leaves.

Then the acquaintance has a phone chat with her best friend who happens to be in the vicinity and she comes over and also enjoys her drinks.

Shortly, the best friend of the acquaintance calls over her boyfriend who orders for drinks.

Then the woman friend, remember her, leaves.

All this time, the bills were piling up and the man is left with a hefty bar bill that no-one  is interested in paying.

Fast-forward.

Man who has just about paid the bill asks one of the wait staff to sambaza credit and man is able to hail an uber which gets him to an ATM thus enabling him to pay for ride home.

maxresdefault

Questions:

How often are men in such situations and they are left crying in the toilet?

Do women have a responsibility to also pick their share of the bill in joint company?

In polite company, should all those who have partaken of drinks and meal on a table share the bill?

If invited to a meet-up, as a lady, is it really polite to tag along your entire crew?

Learnings:

To get loaned credit – Okoa Jahazi – *131#

To get loaned bundles – Okoa Bundles – *544#

It is important to have emergency money in M-Shwari for a rainy day.

Consolation:

Man-up. You are not alone. A huge number of men have found themselves in a similar situation. Chalk it up as a scar of war. Pick the lesson and be cleverer next time.

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Tech for Governance

These are notes taken at the Code for Africa event in November 2016.

The panel was made up of @roomthinker and @gathara with Catherine Gicheru moderating.

**It happens under the hashtag – #hhnbo

The conversation largely unfolded as follows:

Mzalendo – Started as a database for parliament. Evolved over time
Most active constituencies were rural
Tech is Nairobi centric, how do you give voice to Wanjiku
Info is everywhere. We are just desensitized.
Tell the story in a way that engages the person
Are we digital warriors. Just talking and talking?
Digital conversations are valid. You don’t have to go to the streets. Kitambo we went to bars, whispered in the different spaces. Now we talk online
MPs are getting on Twitter
What of the people who ain’t on social media?
How do we give a majority of Kenyans a voice through tech?
We have come from far where there were gatekeepers. But social media has made more gatekeepers.
Danger is democratisation of truth where everyone has their on truth and facts
Another danger is folk talk to folk they agree with so create an echo chamber
So how do we link the groups?
Objective of mzalendo is to give public a voice
Knowledge is a genie which once it is out it can’t be put box in a box
Mzalendo gives you a diverse info – minister for health in 1970, Hansard for a long time, etc
How do you change narrative to be for more people?
How do you tell a story away from from the hard facts and into digestible bits?
Egovt has grown in a big way.
Info is there for folk to read
My car was hit, went to a cop station, the cops chucked an exercise book to write, shock on me.
So how do we use tech to help this? Because egovt is there but the basics aren’t there.
Tech is there but it is not helping
How do we complete tech process?
Illusion of information, illusion of participation
We need to craft systems to fix this
How did NTSA arrive at 50kph. Zero engagement
Do you think govt uses any of its social media to communicate
Empower – a way to show that there is a problem. An app that enables you to take pics, description, then upload. Through tech I can be able to share the pic with people in power. Then it can be used to fix.
So response happens but then the fix is superficial.
Impact – as a journalist you are looking at impact. How do you measure impact. Kanjo kingdom aired. We talked and talked then nothing happened.
Democratisation of free speech. It gives an insight into spaces.
Click-bait  is king
How do we devolve information, civic duty?
Why should I care?
So what?
Tax clock – shows what how much of my tax is used for x.
It is sobering that most money goes to debt payment
taxclock.codeforkenya.org
What is tax on a beer
Pay for nhif but still pay aar
Pay for cops but pay for g4s
How do you formulate policy
Public participation can be vague
But how can we tell people about when the interactions are there
Can we get an app for when things happen
Can we break down the information numbers
Uraia is doing stuff
How do you make people govt literate through tech
Representation being bettered through tech.

Code for Africa has come up with:
biscuitindex.codeforkenya.org
pesacheck.org

Questions that members of the audience had but were not addressed:
How do you hold folk into account?
Is it to get good people or to make the system good?
Can we tell both the bad and good stories?
How do I keep them on the straight and narrow?
****

***After here I kinda zoned out.***

czplk4nxuaaf5zo

*****My thoughts after the entire event.*****

1. As a content creator I loved the digital tools on offer to enable me to tell stories.

2. I have written about Talking Shop before.

3. It is a feel good opportunity to come together, talk amongst ourselves as folk interested in governance but it is an exercise in futility if we are just preaching to the converted. How do we get the information out to the mwananchi wa kawaida? How do you get the masses involved in the civic conversation?

4. It is great to talk about tech for governance/accountability but less than an year to an election the plan, focus has to be geared towards a) enabling folk to make good decisions at the ballot b) having credible folk on the ballot. c) ensuring the polls are free and fair.

5. Kenya’s problem is a crisis of values. Folk see leadership, being in government as an opportunity to enrich themselves not to serve. How do we fix that?

czjapksxuaamxfh

If you have read all the way until here them you are a serious person who deserves a treat :-).

Someone more serious than me, wrote about the event in a more fancy way. Enjoy!

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Saving the Railway

When you think the railway you think of something old. A relic that belongs to a museum and whose time is past in this age of smartphones and driverless cars.

131217110359-kenya-chinese-railway-1-horizontal-large-gallery

Tayiana Chao is a stunning contrast to that thought.

Tall, slim, with long dreadlocks, afro jewellery and an infectious laugh she would pass for a uni student who moonlights as an model.

I met her in in a gallery but rather than her being the subject it is her photographs that are under the limelight.

Still in her early 20s, this retired computer scientist has a story to tell and she has already written her first chapter – Save the Railway.

IMG_20160826_183052

Save the Railway is an exhibition that is ongoing at the ShiftEye gallery.

It is the fruit of Chao’s 3 years labour of love.

Chao was picked to go to JKUAT and study Computer Science but instead of Juja she was sent to the Voi campus. Her first instinct was to say no but as a history buff and introvert, Voi won her over.

Being away from the city was heavenly and in her weekend exploring she stumbled on the Voi Railway station.

The picture of the Voi Railway station is stunning. A house built with red bricks, with a tree on the side and with the horizon endless. It stands bang in the middle of the exhibition taking pride of place as her first love in this project.

IMG_20160826_182914

Chao puts it brilliantly “…it takes you to a different time…the station exactly as it was..not in the present time..grand… antique..

With that a dream was born. To tell the story of the railway. Not as an item in the history books but rather as a living being.

Everyone knows about the railway start in Mombasa and end in Kisumu but what of its impact? Basically, what did the railway do for Kenya and Kenyans?

IMG_20160826_182859

Through her journey across Kenya searching for and photographing railway stations Chao learnt just how much the railway was part and parcel of people’s lives.

It was not history for the people who lived next to the railway but rather a living breathing thing.

She felt the emotional aspect of the Railway. The lives touched, the grievances, the poverty, the lingering hope. And she learnt that the Railway mattered. Life for many Kenyans revolved around the railway and you can not put a value on the Railway’s importance.

IMG_20160826_182942

Chao’s journey is curated in the Save the Railway exhibition that runs from the 19th of August to the 2nd of September at the ShiftEye Gallery at the Priory building on Arwings Kodhek Road.

What started as a hobby has taken a life of its own.

“..someone come all the way from India to see this! I felt so honoured…” gushes Chao.

She graduated as a computer scientist but she has taken time off being a programmer to think of the way forward.

She wishes to write a book on her experience chasing down Kenya’s forgotten train stations. She also wishes to complete taking photographs of the off-road train stations.

But that is just the second chapter of her book.

Computing for heritage is where her book will anchor next. As a techie Chao wishes to do culture tech and believes that restoration of history through tech is the way to go. Chao envisions a day when Gedi ruins will be mapped and one will be able to relive the 13th century.

With Kenya in the middle of the SGR hype, I had to ask if she has plans to photograph the current history being made.

“..why did the old railway fail? Even as we do SGR let us ask ourselves that. Development is great but we need to learn from our past..” was the deep response.

Chatting with Chao feels like taking a walk down memory lane as well as how the history looks at the present.

What made her achievement even more amazing that is that this was mostly a solo-project with Kenya Railways chipping by providing permission and transport for the first phase of the project.

The bodies you would expect to be involved the National Museum, Brand Kenya and even the government ministries were not.

Now to the twist to this tale of Kenya’s railway.

Hilary Ng’weno is Kenya’s best known historian. A nuclear physicist turned journalist turned historian Ng’weno has curated much of Kenya’s history. Makers of a nation anyone?

His daughter, Professor Bettina Ng’weno runs a production house and she is working on a Hollywood style movie – Last dance in Kaloleni.

The movie which is in the funding stage will look at life in African railway quarters in the early 1920s-60s.

How the railway as one of the biggest employers in the colonial time impacted in the urbanisation, the arts, the politics, the music of Kenya.

Chao is also involved in the movie and when I asked her if she will be an actress, she laughed her infectious laugh and said maybe as an extra.

My gut says that when Kenya’s history in the next 5o years is written, Tayiana Chao will be a name worth noting not least because she will have photographed, written and technologically curated it.

IMG_20160826_182957

 

 

Be sport. Go check out the Save The Railway exhibition.

 

GOD BLESS KENYA!


#ConversationWith: Faith Muturi-Ngugi

After 4 years of hosting NTV’s Sunday morning gospel show Crossover101, Faith Muturi-Ngugi has called it quits.

ModerateKenyan chatted with her just minutes after she hosted her final show.

faith alone

ModerateKenyan: You just hosted you last show. How do you feel.

Faith: Overwhelmed.  So so overwhelmed by the love everyone has shown me. We have really journeyed together. First the feedback got me to tears. You realize you have formed a relationship with people. Shocked by the way the crew and my family planned the final surprise of having my family show up on my final show. My hubby dropped me in the morning and did not say anything. Imagine my surprise at him walking in to the set. It has taught me the importance of finishing well. I resigned in May but stayed on till end of July to ensure a smooth transition happens. Glad I stayed.

ModerateKenyan: Why are you leaving is what everyone is asking.

Faith: I am leaving because it is time. . No I am not trying to be deep, I just feel that it is time.  Life has seasons. My season at Crossover is over.

ModerateKenyan: Let’s go back to the beginning. How did you start.

Faith: I had wanted to be on TV six years ago but one of the TV stations rejected me saying I was not cut out for TV. Then four years ago a pal told me Crossover were looking for a host. Imagine they had already finished doing screen tests and even shortlisted but I showed up and they liked me. I did a screen test on Saturday 5pm and was on air on Sunday morning and the rest is history. Goes to show that when God opens a door, He really does open the door.

ModerateKenyan: How was your first Crossover show.

Faith: Wow! Not sure I should say this. I had never watched Crossover but I obviously could not say that at the interview. Had also never met DJ Mo or Sadic so did not know who was who (laughs). Why did you not google you ask? Well, my internet was flaky so could not Google. I was a Psychology major and had no clue about broadcast. It may seem like I was totally flying blind but I was not. I had been doing youth ministry for four years, 5 days a week, 9 high schools a week and I did not know it then but that was my education for TV hosting.

Faith-DjMo

ModerateKenyan: Co-hosting with DJ Mo.

Faith: When I started we were two hosts, two DJs. Learnt a lot from Allan T and Sadic. Then they left and it was just Mo and I.  We have amazing chemistry and bring out the best in each other. I feel that I am a better everything because of Mo. We have moved from being just colleagues to great friends who have each other’s backs. We are also great family friends now. It took him so long to accept that I am leaving. (sigh)

ModerateKenyan: Shows that stand out.

Faith: Honouring Kaberere. That was very very emotional. (pauses for a awhile). We also did a throw back show and dressed like 70s guys, then there was a reggae show (laughs). The first show also stands out. The theme was forgiveness and the impact was phenomenal. It is hard to pick a show but trust me all the laughing and dancing on Crossover has a HUGE impact.

music on cross over

ModerateKenyan: Has Crossover gone too far towards secular.

Faith: I came into the show as the deep one given that I am a pastor’s daughter but I have changed. Some songs I cannot sing along too and I do not understand but the youth relate totally with the songs and the musicians. I do outreach in the slums and I ask the gospel artistes to come perform. When we go by ourselves they do not listen but when a musician they love sings first then we talk after they listen to us totally. Through the music, which may seem secular we are able to change lives. The Bible says we shall know them by their fruits. It is easy to judge and not understand and call it going to far but Crossover is changing lives through what works in this generation.

cross-over-101-new-post

ModerateKenyan: How have you changed.

Faith: Ha ha. My look has changed. No, seriously, yes I have changed a lot. I am more conscious of the audience. I have moved from I know everything and the Bible is in my head and wanting to preach to seeking to connect and reach my audience at their level. Preaching at folk does not help anyone. Jesus used parables and really got the message home.

ModerateKenyan: The look.

Faith: Hahahaha. Let us just say many many many people have worked hard to get me here. It is still a work in progress but I am glad I have found my style. Dressing curvy me is not easy but I am now able to express my values, personality and still be trendy.

Faith-Muturi curves

ModerateKenyan: The curves.

Faith: You know my pal sent me a screenshot. Ati if you google Faith Muturi there is an option for Faith Muturi hips. (laughs and laughs and laughs) The curves have enabled us to push the Gospel. If someone watched Crossover because of the curves and stayed on longer and got ministered to then I am grateful. I have also shown that you can be curvaceous yet decent and with values.

ModerateKenyan: Baby bump. Congratulations.

Faith: Thank you. We are 5 months. It has been an amazing journey. I am blessed.

crossover-faith-muturi-pregnant-photo

ModerateKenyan: Boy or girl:

Faith: (rubs her belly) Hmmmmm. I shall tell you in the next interview. (smiles and winks) There is another interview, no? (laughs)

ModerateKenyan: Did pregnancy influence your decision to leave?

Faith: Since last Year I have felt it is time to leave. This was before expecting. So leaving was going to happen but pregnancy played a part. Ladies have worked in the media while pregnant and it should not matter only that for me I have a lot on my plate. I am a corporate trainer with over ten years experience; I do the Simama Outreach program where last year we had over 3,000 youth. Now add baby and husband then Crossover. Something has gotta give.

ModerateKenyan: Will you make a return to our screens?

Faith: (smiles) Watch this space.

message for season

GOD BLESS KENYA!


%d bloggers like this: