Odds and Ends
Before i head upcountry and not have much in the way of internet access here are a few observations.
In as much as the country is in the grip of elections with incendiary sms from phone to phone; and tribal tensions appear to be escalating, I noticed that there are messages promoting peace and unity during the elections; in likely places – church, and unlikely, sms messages confirming that a recharge of airtime is successful.
Church – Attended a service where the pastor called for one person from different parts of the country (rift-valley, coast, north eastern, western etc) to come to the front of the church. He also called for people from other parts of Africa and the rest of the world to join in. A lady from the netherlands was present i think… They held hands as he prayed for the country, reminding everyone that even after the elections, we will live together in peace.
SMS – When recharging safaricom airtime, the confirmation text reads something along the lines of
“The recharge is successful.Chagua amani zuia noma (choose peace, avoid violence/disturbance)”
The electoral commission of Kenya has done a good job of running ads promoting voter turnout. other organizatons such as Eric wainaina’s Umoja Pamoja also run ads appealing to young people to vote for young MP’s and progressive leaders.
KJ – John Kiarie is a popular performance artist who decided to get into the political game, running for the Dagoretti parliamentary seat on an ODM ticket. He has a facebook group and a website too. I think his run for parliament shows an interesting Intersection of art, politics and Tech. Many aspirants have websites and facebook groups too, but his is probably most interesting to watch because he is witty and really speaks for young kenyans. With his humour and style he is purported to have said – very rough translation
“Siku ya Kura nataka kusisikia Kiarie! Kiarie! Kiarie!, Mugo and Raila!, Raila!, Raila!, Kibaki” Alluding to the percentage/number of votes for the ODM candidate vs PNU come election day. I think he was courageous to take chance on young people despite the danger to his life (He was hospitalized last month after being attacked by people suspected to have been paid by his rivals)
There are huge billboards everywhere you look, the most numerous being those of President Kibaki in a nice suit, blue background and the words “Kazi iendelee” I have seen a couple ‘Adopt a light’s with ads for Kalonzo. Paper posters are pasted on electricity poles, telephone poles, kiosk doors and even trees. Some have been ripped off and new posters placed, it does not look good 🙁 There is a general feeling of disorganization, which can be felt from the moment you get off the plane. (see Josiah Mugambi’s post, KP’s woes with luggage, and Shashank’s post on parking) things just seem off. Its disconcerting because in June when I was here…I loved how efficiently the luggage was handled, and the CBD was just nice. Once this election is over i hope Nairobi can revert back to the beautiful city it was.
NTV has been posting clips from the news, so for diaspora kenyans wanting to stay in the loop, do check it out. Uploading a video is a tortourous task, so i wont even try.
Happened to watch the new TV channel K24 ‘All Kenyan All the Time’. I liked it alot, the styling for the intro shows Kenyan people in different areas, usual day to day task such as a woman washing clothes, a woman on a boda boda etc. It appears its focus will be on local content (writing this offline so cant check for more info, GIYF though). Jeff Koinange interviewed the Director of Kenya Wildlife Service, Kipngetich about the work he does. Excellent, engaging and more so, quite pertinent. The talked abit about the Amboseli ownership drama, which i have to dig for more info on..there is some ownership dispute i think Director Kipngetich laid out the strategy for KWS; it included focus on people and Ecology. Kipngetich is an impressive guy, and just from talking to a diverse cross section of Kenyans, most of them agree that he is doing an excellent job at KWS – He will probably help KWS reposition itself in a manner that will maximize the tourism dollars and increase growth in that industry.
Thank you for reading my blog – I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season, a stupendous year ahead and…wimax. Santa you hear that?!
*sorry i didn’t include all relevant links. (For NTV just search for tags, kenya, politics, ntv and you should be all set)