Tag Archives: kenyan

The Link Between #BabaWhileYouWereAway and #SabaSabaDay

CAPE TOWN/SOUTH AFRICA, 10JUN2009 -Raila Amolo...
CAPE TOWN/SOUTH AFRICA, 10JUN2009 -Raila Amolo Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya, Kenya Business Alliance Against Chronic Hunger – World Economic Forum on Africa 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa, June 10, 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not everything you see on the internet is real.

If you have read Enders Game (The movie does not have this bit), Two children, a brother and sister,Peter and Valentine,living in one house, shaped global ideologies on politics and policy, by writing blogs with pseudonyms, often writing against each other on opposing ideologies apparently from different corners on the continent as Locke and Desmosthenes.

You might be aware of the unveiling of supposedly catfish accounts on Twitter. If you do not know what I am talking about, a catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Twitter, Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue or push deceptive online causes.

Now read this blog on Exposed Parodies. In a nutshell, a number of prominent “twitter bigwigs” run multiple parody accounts to support their causes and to bait people.

The trap of following and conversing with parody accounts is easily to fall for. They are already being followed by thousands of other people, so this somehow implies they are an authority on whatever subject they speak about. You find them driving social conversations and ideologies, all by someone who doesn’t exist. A good number of Twitter accounts are not real, nor the thought leaders and ideologists speaking behind them are not real. There are teams of people tweeting and directing ideologies this way and that.

Obviously,there is a danger here,that of Social Control Through Social Media and it binds two elements:

1. Kenyan Hyperactivity on Twitter

2.Social control for mass causes or ideologies

The Feb 28th movement was a test run of social control in Kenya through social media. It occurred two years back,on Feb 28th 2012, where, all people on twitter were supposed to come out at 1.00 pm wherever they were, and sing the national anthem. I experienced it from an office in upper hill, on the 7th floor, and I could hear people in other offices and in the streets singing the Kenya National Anthem. This was indeed proof that social media can be a tool to rally and control mass action.

Kenyans have grown online since then. Over the years as well, Kenyans have been prolific on Twitter, pushing a number of global Twitter trends, just by the sheer volume of tweets, not by the numbers of people on Twitter. Kenyans have attacked South Africans, Nigerians and fought and won Twitter wars. Seemingly, Kenya is the most switched on nation on Twitter in Africa.

Today, whatever trends on Twitter is sure to be on the evening news. On the most part though, Kenyan Twitter trendsetters are for entertainment value; media personalities and representatives of branding and ad companies. Which means their endorsements are rarely for causes and mostly for parties and products. There is the growing thought leader on policy,politics and business, these however are tied down by family and corporate image and branding to risk their neck for a Kenya that is seemingly not worth fighting for. Even the firebrand and hitherto vocal @BonifaceMwangi Quit Activism.

Come #babawhileyouwereaway, a Twitter trend on a politician making his return back home after a three month visit in the USA. After he came back, he calls for national dialogue by the 7/7/2014. The historic Saba Saba day, a day of note in Kenya’s history in terms of policy changing political rallies.

This is my prediction. Whatever exists of CORDs social media team will try to create a trend on or around the SabaSaba day in line with all the complaints on #BabaWhileWereAway, an attempt to veer the mind of the middle class into action.

Sadly, and fortunately for Kenya, the Kenyan on Twitter still utilizes the tool as a means of entertainment. Social media tools, in the form that politician are attempting to use them, to drive ideals and ideas,  are the preserve of the educated and urbane.Most of the action on Twitter remains online. The Kenyan middle class tweets and shouts silently  from the comfort of his suburban home. On the most part, it is a means of news, misinformation,gossip,trending wordplay and jokes.

It will take about 5 more years, whence smartphones will be ubiquitous and pervasive, for the average Kenyan to be rallied by calls to action on a mobile phone trend.



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Pamela Jelimo is back! Kapsabet express is back! I watched her reclaim her 800m and was glad.

Where was this girl, where had she disappeared to and why was her performance so bad? What was wrong? Why does she fluctuate so?

Sad thing is,no one can really answer those questions.

Unrelatedly, I was looking through Kiva, the world’s first lending platform, an organization who’s sole focus is loans to MSME’s in developing nations targeting the very bottom of the pyramid.

The base target is the small business and microfinance hungry market, as the logical progression is that the top of the pyramid will only grow if the bottom has purchasing power.

The web is rife with different flavors of initiatives of investing in third world countries.

In a separate tangent, I saw an ad on CNN for golfcitizen.com

It is a portal with global golfer profiles, like a social network for global golfers, where you book, schedule and play in different courses, benchmark your handicap against others, you get the drift.

Then it hit me,


Ok the name sucks.

The idea doesn’t.

It is a fact that for the longest time, we have been seeking a definition of what it is to be Kenyan.

najivunia kuwa mkenya

Najivunia Kuwa Mkenya? Brand Kenya? Mkenya Halisi? The Kenyan National Dress? When government itself drove a search for a glocal identity? (New NGO word I learnt from my NGO world cousin Philo.)

The spirit of a nation is carried in the pride of its people.

Our athletes are the most irrefutably consistent bearers of our nation’s pride.

Kenya’s athletes are the best in the world.

Yet there are very many talented athletes without the support they need to turn them into international stars.

There is no shortage of athletic meets, across the globe, through Asia, the Americas, Europe.

Yet the world records stand unbroken because the breaker is fighting the wind herding cattle.

Lets have an athletes foot portal.

Lets track the profiles of future Jelimos,Bekeles,Tergats, Kiptanuis etc.

The portal lines out their training programs, their needs,their coach, transfers,training teams, movements, racing meets.

The athlete receives crowdsourced investments with the general public investing in shares of the athlete.

It is a true investment, payable with interest.

This allows the athlete to have a following, with whom she or he can communicate through new and old media.

It generates interest in budding athletes and we as a populace begin hoping in our own stars instead of tracing LeBron James, Tiger Woods et al.

It uplifts the athletic profession as a career, not the subsistent creature it presently is,with responsibilities and demands to meet, answerable to Kenya as a people.

In the public is engrained a sense of ownership, a culture of belief and goodwill and sparks entrepreneurship and a go getting attitude, a national spirit that binds the people together.


In Kenya, we live life in a strange pseudo reality.
A state where we do not trust our vision, feel our emotion, we hear but do not listen and find meaning in words. We touch but we do not move, act like we care but do not share.

An amazingly stupid incident is the cause of this rant.

It’s a Friday night and I’m on my way home.

I have turned down the company of an amazing girl because new work rules dictate that Saturday is half day.

I’m used to doing a jig on Friday nights at this nice spot with her but today I must pass.

So here I am minutes from home tweeting as I walk towards my place when this charming stranger stops me. He tells me never to use the phone at night, and how his got stole in the same area a few months before.

I appreciate his directness and I introduce myself. Hand him my card. He tells me he is in tourism and an interesting conversation begins. Two jovial guys chatting away. Oh, did I forget to mention Koi, his girlfriend? This is what “networking” is meant to be about.

They are headed to the local round the bend. I let them know all I have to do is drop off my work stuff (herein being laptop and my suit) before I can join them for one.

I have been on an attempted beer diet. No actually I am trying to quit drinking altogether. The cause of this is the subject of another FISHY story unrelated to this .

So I go ahead and quickly dump my stuff.

Head to the local. This place is amazing. Whatever day of the week, pilots, execs,makangas, you name it, it’s packed to the brim. Totally unbelievable. And they say ati uchumi ni mbaya.

And what greats me is a request that I throw a rao. I promptly do so coz the idea is we each throw a rao and thereafter head digs, to each his own. Wamboi doesn’t count as she is taken. I have forgotten the much sweeter old school version of that phrase. If you know it hebu remind me.[i]

Their best friend was already there by the way.

So three guys one chick. One rao later and my beer is not forthcoming. They have gotten their own rao and I’m seated there looking and feeling sheepish. Not that I cannot buy my own beer. In any case I was only planning for one for the bed.

It’s about integrity.

You guy that is one thing many Kenyans lack. Very few Kenyans have.

If I say that things are going this way they should go that way.

If I tell you each one of us is throwing a rao each one is throwing a rao.

If I tell you baby lets meet at one for lunch, it should be at one for lunch.

If I say dude let’s have a power sharing agreement and you are the prime minister and I the president and things are fifty fifty, let it be so.

But alas. This is Kenya as Churchill would put it.

Everyone acts like they are the stereotypical Nigerian.

And so I left the pub, angry at myself, feeling like “the mark” that just got hustled due to his own greed.

It would have felt comforting and rather expected were I shafted by a fly demu. That is rather kawa and expected.

But to be shafted by a guy, tena one with whom you have had an apparently meaningful business discussion with?

Dare he send me email kesho expecting me to throw business his way!

Foko Jembe!

Goodnight guys.

I am a tad the wiser.



[i] She is spoken for!