By Oyunga Pala
Many Kenyans were irked after American Bishop T.D Jakes use the N-word in a sermon in Dallas, USA. The clip that went viral was drawn from a section of a sermon where Jakes criticizes the materialistic lifestyle of the pastors in a new reality hit series ‘The Preachers of L. A” which he dismissed as junk TV. To distance himself from the hyped cast of prosperity pastors, Bishop T.D Jakes emphasized that “The natives all over Kenya drink water because of this ministry. And the hospital in Nairobi survives because of this ministry”. That statement rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Who are you calling native? That word conjures some of the most demeaning colonial era stereotypes that successive generations of Kenyans have had to bear. (more…)
By Alexander Chagema
The government of Kenya is practically under siege from all quarters. It has abdicated its responsibilities to us and instead is preoccupied with lobbying African governments to give the ICC a mighty kick in the loins. But the tragedy of this is that the person chosen to champion that cause has no respect for the rights and freedoms of others. He is a guerilla who shot his way to power and must remain there even if it means smashing some skulls. President Museveni runs Uganda with an iron fist, as if it was his personal fiefdom, clamping on the universal right of the free media to inform and to educate.
Parliament is at war with other government agencies and governors now demand to be elevated to the status of kings, complete with aides and domestic support staff . County representatives are on strike over pay that demeans their newly `acquired’ status. Can the running of a country get any more dysfunctional than this? With so much energy expended in the wrong place, with such obvious stagnation, will the envisaged double digit growth of the economy become a reality or will it remain a campaign gimmick? (more…)
There is a growing call for people to ‘accept and move on’ on almost every matter. But I refuse to be everybody and want to stand out as my own, and say yes I am homophobic. By this, it does not mean I have any hatred towards the gays or lesbians, but its a behavior I cannot tolerate, and nothing can sway me from this opinion.
We are Kenyans, a country that thrives on values that are underpinned by cultural awareness. Yes we are a cultural country and nowhere in any culture do we have gay-ism or lesbian-ism. As a matter of fact, we are not a society that should even be debating on the same sex marriage or relationships. (more…)
By Oyunga Pala
For the longest we heard the phrase,’ The youth are leaders of tomorrow’ was replayed like a radio station jingle. In primary school it held a lot of promise. By high school we had gotten cynical and at college it was out rightly mocked. Tomorrow did arrive but all that remained was the same old and conservative political class. The face of Kenyan leadership has always been somewhat grandfatherly. A career in Kenyan politics began right after retirement from civil service in your mid fifties, matured in one’s 60s and with a little persistence and lots of luck, presidency would be deemed possible in your 70s. The Young Turks were men in their late 50s, many who had grandchildren. (more…)
I believe you had a wonderful Christmas, at least to make up for a year full of political goings on. I know that at this time of the year Christmas may not have made so much sense to you given the proximity it was to the forging of alliances for each of you. Perhaps it is a sign of good things that each of you officially got endorsed as a presidential flag bearer in your respective parties in the same month we celebrate the birth of Christ, born to redeem us for we are sinful.
Just like any Kenyan out there, my prediction is that the two of you will ultimately be the candidates to beat. Win or lose, there is so much at stake. Kenyans are optimistic but at the same time there is an untold fear of what our Kenya will be after the elections. The two of you have fanatical followers. You have done a good job to whip a good percentage of the population to be on your side. My request is that leadership must at the same time be able to tame such followers into being respectful citizens who are willing to be your co-workers as we seek to take the magical Kenya into the heights it ought to be. (more…)
By Oyunga Pala
I am invisible. A native Kenyan in the midst of cheerful expatriates. I am the only black person in this house party excluding the servants tinkering around in starched white uniforms. They all switch to sheng whenever they have to speak to me. The party of guests is seated on a garden patio that pans out onto this perfectly manicured lawn lined by a colorful hedge. A crystal clear pool lies on one end of the compound leaving about enough idle space for an Ostrich farm. I am the invited guest. The writer. The token local, a good add to the mix.
Meet ‘O-younger Parlour’, the Kenyan friend. (more…)
Ripples of public unease capable of turning into giant waves are gaining momentum in Kisumu, a very volatile town. All of a sudden this sleepy town has been turned into a killing zone, a town where youths and political antagonists take their battles to the streets, daring the police and generally destroying property.
The cold blooded murder of an ODM official on the streets of Kisumu is not something we can afford to watch in detachment from the comfort of our sitting rooms , shrug and say `too bad’ . This ugly occurrence, coming a few months short of elections could be a harbinger of bad tidings across the country. Whether it is a common criminal act or political assassination, we demand action from the police whose duty it is to protect us from harm and schemes that could destabilize the country. (more…)
Ferdinand Waititu is a man overdue for a long prison term and the fact that he walks free today is manifestation enough that the government applies double standards in executing the law. The man has over the years exhibited a lawless streak under the guise of protecting his constituents and law enforcers have all along obliged him.
Willful destruction of property and assault are culpable under the law yet the Embakasi MP has made these two his trademark. It is not unusual to see him bring down perimeter walls, maliciously destroy property and throw stones like some glue sniffing street hoodlum or even beat people on the streets of Nairobi under the pretext of caring for his people. (more…)
By Jonathan Lewis, Founder/Host, iOnPoverty
Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, 34, is the mother of three-year-old Adili, a wife of ten years, an American political science professor and the CEO of Kenya-based Akili Dada, which she founded in 2005 to advance African women into leadership positions. She was recently honored by the White House as a “champion of change.”
“If there is one word that defines what I really care about, it is justice. I named my son Adili. It means ethical, just and fair in Swahili.” (more…)
By Terewa Buhere
A good number of American voters perceive Mitt Romney as super rich, stubbornly rigid and arrogantly indifferent. These attributes are definitely not presidential. That could explain why the Romney camp resorted to showcase his wife, Ann, in a bid to embellish his rather wobbly presidential bid.
Ann’s role is to humanize her husband by compensating for his supposed weaknesses. In the end, Ann hopes to rebrand and repackage Romney to make him sellable to the rather apprehensive American electorate. She has a momentous task of convincing Americans that her hubby is warm and approachable. But Romney’s reluctance to make public his tax returns is his major undoing. Democrats are having a field day poking holes in Romney’s bid.
In Kenya, the scenario is quite different. Seekers of the high office have chosen to hide their spouses—I really don’t know why. (more…)