Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Kenyan Olympic Outing in London: Did Kenya have two missed chances?

The general sentiment in our country is that we had a disastrous Olympic outing in London. These sentiments are partly based on the high hopes we had prior to the London games. We’re of the opinion as a country that we would better our previous Olympic outing in Beijing. A post mortem of the Olympic outing has been ordered by the executive to find out why we performed below our par. Also, some insights are publicly available [Elias Makori’s blog] as to what may have constituted our dismal performance. All indication leads to weak leadership from the sports officials accompanying the athletes. However, I will disqualify myself from having the last word on this because I was not privy to the happening in London and I am NOT a sports analyst.
Fundamental Questions
However, that said I will seek to raise some fundamental questions on the subject of sports and national building. If you looked carefully at the London games you will notice the British used the Olympic Games to;
  1. Re-introduce London back to the world centre stage [For two weeks London was at the centre of the world]
  2. Come up with a national narrative of unifying the country #teamGB
  3. Showcase Britain’s new economic narrative [creative economy]
  4. Carry out diplomacy with the rest of the world. The British used this occasion to reset their strained relationship with Russia.

This was London’s chance to shine and surely they did. So what lessons can Kenya lean from this?
In my opinion if we had clearly planned for the games both on track and off track we would have been able to come up with; 
David Rudisha after his win in the olympics
  1. A nation building narrative. It is pretty sad to witness clashes in Tana River in the wake of Olympic Games. Given the fact we are going to stage an election in 6 months we might just have thrown a golden chance of creating a more coherent society
  2. Sell ourselves to the world. Here credit must be given to the authorities for setting up a Kenyan House. However, I have reservation when you had a delegation of government upstaging the private sector in making contact with investors. There is a famous quote that ‘the government has no business being in businesses’. It should only provide a conducive environment for business persons to carry out their trade. Therefore, it was preposterous to have a huge delegation lead by the prime minister made up entirely of government bureaucrats going out to London at taxpayers’ expense to ‘source foreign investments’. It would have been sensible to have the government subsidizing the private sector to attend the games because they have the motivation and desire to see and carry out these contracts.
  3. Avoid embarrassing ourselves. Going by Elias Makori’s accounts, the Kenyan sporting officials lacked some basics. If we have a rigorous process of selecting our sporting officials the way we select our athletes then we can save ourselves some embarrassment in future. I have spoken to colleagues who are of the opinion of ‘vetting’ our sports officials.
  4. Invest in Sporting infrastructure. One of the stories that came from London was Julius Yego used YouTube to train for Javelin Throw because he did not have a couch. Also, we have missed chances since we do not make efforts to participate in certain sporting disciplines.  [The jokes going around the tech community was that we could tech ourselves a new discipline say diving before Rio!]

Despite my pessimist look I must give credit to our athletes who did us proud in London lead by their captain David Rudisha.
Julius Yego, Kenyan Javelin Throw athlete

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Events: Social Good Summit - Building the Global Conversation Nairobi

Social Good Summit Poster
The Social Good Summit has mainly been occuring in the developed world BUT this year it is being staged in Africa. This is a desire by the organisers to make this conversation truly global and partly I guess as a result of the changing times we live in [a multi-polar world]. 
Social Good Summit 2012 
The Summit expects to bring together social activists, development workers, forward-thinking technologists, young entrepreneurs and the wider public to share ideas on how to tackle global development problems using technology and social media. 
What to expect in Social Good Summit 2012

About the Social Good Summit
The Social Good Summit is a three-day conference where big ideas meet new media to create innovative solutions. Held during UN Week, the Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders to discuss a big idea: the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve our greatest challenges. This September, we want YOU to join the conversation with leaders and citizens from around the globe. The most innovative technologists, influential minds and passionate activists will come together with one shared goal: to unlock the potential of new media and technology to make the world a better place, and then to translate that potential into action
For more information visit: 

Tech Scene Kenya: Banks and Money Transfer Market in Kenya

In the last few weeks if NOT months we have seen the entry of two institutions into money transfer/remittances market. One is the entry of an unusual suspect Nation Media Group though Diamond Band [with Nation Hela]
This has been followed heads over heels by Barclays Bank [with PingIt].
Ping IT allows free mobile money transfer from the UK.
Diaspora Remittances
These institutions are entering into this market so as to have a share of the cake of the remittances to Kenya by Kenyan’s living in the Diaspora. The Central Bank figures on remittances to Kenya for year 2011 stand at a whopping $ 891,129
If the global economic recovery is to happen currently there are dark clouds hanging in Europe over the split of the Euro as a result of the Greek crisis which could be followed by either Spain or Italy. However, the United States seems to be out of the financial woods then remittances are bound to increase in the coming years and go to the pre-2007 years.
A substantial number of Kenyan’s live in abroad in Europe and United States. Most Kenyan’s go abroad in search of higher education but end up settling there after graduation. Since our society is knitted for children after graduation to support their parents then money is bound to flow North-South.
Industries benefitting from Diaspora Cash
Apart from the normal family support given from overseas to parents by siblings living there, other industries have received a boom from these remittances.
Pioneers to this market were Mama Mikes which was set up by Segeni in 2001. Segeni had lived abroad for a few years thus knew the problems they faced in remitting monies to Kenya. Mama Mikes deals with gift vouchers.
Other pioneer is pesapal /ticketsasa
The construction industry has also benefited substantially. Currently Nairobi is experiencing a housing/residential boom if the housing billboards on highways and housing exhibition are anything to go by. Kenyan’s abroad have been keen on building houses for their folks and houses in which they can retire to.  

Technology: Is Konza Technology City an Idea who’s Time has come?

Last week I attended a stakeholders meeting at iHub organized by Dalberg Kenya. This was part of their outreach programme to get the views and input of techies operating small and medium sized business entities on Konza City.
Ground Realities
What had initially looked as a good idea [I had made time to come & listen to session] quickly took another life of its own after presentation by Dalberg.  This all started when Kahenya gave his opinion that the whole idea of Konza city was a bad idea from the word go. Quickly all other techies took this line of though which brought in mind fundamental questions.
  1. Is Konza city an elite project that is being imposed on the tech community?
  2.  Does the government involve ‘ground’ stakeholders when making policies and development projects?
  3.  At what point ‘if any’ would feedback of ground stakeholders be incorporated in government projects put on paper?
View from Dalberg Consortium
Listening to Dalberg presentation one gets the impression that this is a well thought out project. Konza Tech city is a brain child of Ministry of Information & Communication and is being undertaken and underwritten with the help of International Finance Corporation.  
I have listened to the PS of this Ministry [Bitange Ndemo] and most of the IT practitioners will agree with me that this PS has been instrumental in the vibrant growth of ICT sector in this country through good leadership. However, this said, it seems Konza city might become his fall from grace with IT community depending on how he handles this matter.

Importing Development Models
The government seems to borrowing a leaf from other countries. This was the case during the presentation with Rwanda and Singapore being taunted as countries where tech cities have ‘worked’ but one begs to ask the question on why our government is keen on importing development paradigms without coming up with one itself.
  1. Is the Ministry out of thinkers or is it out of touch with the local tech scene?
  2. Why does it want to jump the gun in building a tech city out of town without addressing the needs of local start-ups?
  3.  Is this deal (Konza Tech City) a scratch my back I scratch your back project?
  4. What is the level of Political Interference in this project?
Local Problems need Local Solutions
This is what Bloggers and tech community are saying online;
@Kachwaya: Konza city is a big white elephant
@Kachwaya: Consultants and you know from where.. yes majuu are pocketing big cheque’s while teachers are earning sim sims #KonzaCity
@Kachwaya: … the government needs to just improve the road network, internet connection and tax regime
@Kachwaya: techies say let the government move out of Nairobi and go to that #KonzaCity
@Whiteafrican: Konza City’s biggest issue is location. Money would have better been spent on a 10 block ‘campus’ within Nairobi.
FYI: You can follow this discourse by using this hash tag on twitter: #konzacity

Listening on this discourse which spilled out to the social media one comes up with a few conclusions. One, local problems first need to be addressed before setting up this tech city and two, more interactions are required between the Ministry of Information & Communication with the tech community. This would be in form of roundtable conversations where the Ministry of Finance ought to be represented.
Also, the IFC needs to reconsider how input of tech community will impact on it as an institution and how it enters into contracts with government.

Other Considerations
The ground breaking for Konza city construction is scheduled soon. What the government needs to understand is that it could have a city BUT without the goodwill and building of relationships with IT community this will turn out to be ‘Konza Ghost City’.
Also, I have been privy to some research which is being conducted by scholars. Researchers are trying to document how the rapid infrastructure change our country is experiencing will affect ‘us’ as a society.

A case in point is the Thika Road Project which is magnificent but on the ground you also have a substantial majority of walking Kenyans! Also along the same high way you have the construction of Tatu City
Questions going Forward
For Konza Tech city what needs to be asked is how will our society be affected ‘if it will’ by the emergence of gated communities.
  1. Do we have studies to show impact of this gated communities?
  2. Where will other members of society who do NOT 'fit' in this models interact with this cities?

Events: Party in the Park, Sept. 22 2012 @ Masai Mara National Park

Party in the Park Poster

Venue:Masai Mara National Park [KQ Village]
Time: 3pm
Performances by: Freshly Ground, Sauti Sol, Beat Parade Band & Maasai Cultural Dancers
Dj sets by:  Homeboyz Radio’s DJ G-Money, Bilenge Musica, Electric Djs and DJ D-lite
Map to the party!

Tech/Video: Why Kenyans do it better by Alexander Oswald

Listening to Alexander Oswald presentation at TEDxVienna titled Why Kenyans do it better one gets an impression that we are doing some things right. Well... apart from tourism. The part where he talks about beach boys.

Hay Festival Kenya: Screenings at the Festival

Unlike the previous Storymoja festivals, this year’s festivals included film screenings into the programme.
One of my highlights of this festival was the introduction of King of Scotland by Giles Foden. This movie is based on his book by the same title which tackles Uganda under Idi Amin. As is expected he gave us some info we did not know.
Facts on The last King of Scotland
·         Giles was approached by Cow Boy films in 1999 with an interest to make a film based on his book
·         It was NOT until 2006 that production began because cow boy films could not raise the required capital to shoot the flick.
·         Money for the film become available when Forest Whitaker expressed interest to play Idi Amin
·         A previous script writer has been involved who wanted the movie to start in a boxing ring!
Other Films & Documentaries Screened
A Small Act
A moving documentary on Chris Mburu and his search for the benefactor whose sponsorship allowed him to continue secondary school in Kenya
Getting Justice
A documentary by Maina Kai
Internal Flight
Moving documentary account on Lemn Sissay
Tomorrow will come
This film looks at how the International Criminal Court process affects Kenya after naming of the six suspects by former ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo
Lamu Port
This was the premier of this documentary which tackles the development of the Lamu port and the implications to the community.
Yes Man!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hay Festival Kenya: Some of the things you might have missed enjoying the Festival

The first thing to note is that the venue of this year’s Storymoja festival was superb. This is the first time this festival was held at the National Museum. The first Storymoja festival was held at Impala grounds then it was transferred to Uhuru Park gardens for two subsequent years.
What is so great about National Museum?
a.       Louis Leakey Auditorium
The Louis Leakey auditorium served as the US Embassy stage in the festival. I have attended some events at the auditorium such as TEDx and movie festival screening of the Brazil Embassy and in my opinion it is one of the best spaces to stage an event. It has a state of the art sound system, good lighting and the place is in mint condition. It has a sitting capacity of around 300 people.
This auditorium was renovated with the help of Safaricom Foundation and was named in honor of Louis Leakey a great Kenyan who has put Kenya in the world map with his archeological work.
b.      Main Museum
The main museum served as the Screening location [Ford Hall] and also as a venue where most of the master classes took place [Discovery Room]. Thus, the festival ticket gave you access to the museum.
Inside the museum there we’re a number of exhibitions currently running. One of this was by Michael Soi. Michael is one of my favourite visual artists because he paints like he sees it in Nairobi. In our society which considers it’s self to be religious. There are some things that occur when darkness sets in. Also, in this exhibition was a tongue in cheek reference to Miguna Miguna in his in famous clarion come baby come.
c.       Snake Park
The festival ticket also allowed one to enter the snake park. I am NOT a big fan of snakes but I had a shot at it and in there lies some big snakes and reptiles. Let’s hope the Museum staff don’t Strike soon!
d.      Amphitheatre
The Storymoja amphitheatre was next to savanna restaurant. This being an open space was fantastic if you have outdoor sensibilities.
e.      Grounds
The Museum grounds provided perfect picnic spots for families and for nature lovers they we’re treated to bird walks by the Nature Kenya staff who were at hand.
f.        Junk art! 
Lastly, the festival was brought to live with art made from previously Junk material.  This exhibition featured computer monitor with had been recreated to resemble the face of a person, there were also good coffee tables and my favourite the monkeys which I aptly named the see, hear, talk & f@#k no evil monkeys

Hay Festival Kenya: The Google Platform

The Google Platform picture by KenyaBuzz
My Storymoja Hay Festival officially kicked off with the above session which saw Ory Okolloh [@KenyanPundit], Dr Christian Turner [@HCCTurner] and John Kampfner [@JohnKampfner] share a platform.

This session was of interest to me because it had Google’s head of government relations in Africa, Ory sharing a platform with a diplomat HE Dr. Turner. Turner is the current British High Commissioner to Kenya who was previously the director for the Middle East and North Africa in the British Foreign Office. Moderating this session was John Kampfner who is a freedom of expression advocate and a cultural advisor to Google. If you know me, then you would know I followed the Arab Spring and being a techie based at iHub Ory can do NO wrong! So this session was heaven sent.

So what did they discuss?

From the Foreign Office with Insights
The ambassador shared with us why he is on social media, which is to connect with people like Ory and to follow trends. However, after the pleasantry’s one was able to see why governments and policy makers like he was in his previous life appreciate social media. Social media has given people power according to Dr. Turner. The international community now is able to know what is happening in repressive/closed states.
Dr. Turner gave the example of Syria which under Assad’s father a Massacre occurred in Homes However, the international community got wind of this atrocity three months afterwards. This is because repressive states tend to have closed borders and by the time the international community got to know this it was too late for them to act as the uprising had been crashed.
Google’s Platform
Ory was of the opinion that technology has made our life much easier. Take the instance of M-Pesa which a lot has been written about. Try imagining a life without M-Pesa today certainly we would be spending plenty of time doing chores such as paying bills which took much of our time.
According to Ory technology has resulted to more instances of Africa led solutions from Ushahidi which she helped to put up and served as its first executive director to Mzalendo which she co founded with Conrad to bring accountability to our Members of Parliament.
Technology platforms according to Ory have made it easier for citizens to engage with government. She talked of how these days our MP’s are all over Social Media.

Almost all presidential candidates are now on Facebook and twitter ‘– Ory Okolloh

Freedom of Speech Online
John Kampfner who is an advocate of free speech raised some pertinent question to Ory and Turner. He wanted to know their take on freedom of speech online. This was pertinent given the riots that have been occurring in the Middle East and North Africa in response to a film made in America. 
Dr. Turner gave a diplomatic answer, which is to have people upload content which is pursuant to their countries rules and regulations. However, Ory was of the opinion that anyone can upload any content online provided it’s within their limits of expression. 

Some of the things I missed
Generally this was a very informative session. However, there were some questions which cropped in my mind after sitting through this session. This relates to Google. Although, I am an online person I have reservations with Google which has been taking over almost every aspect of my life.  These questions are;
For Google
1.       How do African governments perceive Google?
2.       Do the African Governments know the ‘power’ and clout of this tech companies?
3.       Does Google as a company inform governments? Especially in cases where they have data on terrorist cells online
4.       Is Google planning on taking over the world? [If it has not already taken it over already]
For the High Commissioner
1.       I would have been interested in hearing more about the British policy on Middle East [Israel & Palestine]
2.       The position and Policy of the British government on ‘international community’ interfering in another state involved in civil strive
3.       What his older peer’s think of him adopting social media and how he goes about explaining and converting them [if he does so!]

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Events: KCB Naivasha Horticultural Fair, Sept. 14-15 2012 @ Naivasha Sports Club

Having worked for the Ministry of Agriculture (Planning Department) for a couple of years. I came to appreciate the role Agriculture plays in our economy. One of the biggest income earners in this sector is Horticulture. Therefore it is a no brainier that KCB (local Bank) realises this and has partnered up with the horticultural sector for the last few years as the title sponsor to materialise this fair which is celebrating it's tenth anniversary.

If you live in Nairobi you will notice the trend where corporate Kenya has been involved in quite a number of activities lately. This more pronounced especially in the banking sector. The sector boosts of sponsoring marathons (Nairobi Stan Chart Marathon), to involvement in the community (Barclays Bank) and facilitating education (Equity Bank) through its foundation. The latter is re-writing how we perceive corporate social responsibility through its wings to fly programme. 
Why I Like the Horticulture Fair?
Most of the European countries (Germany & France) have agricultural fairs which are popular in their respective countries and attract humongous crowds (the likes of crowds we have in entertainment circles). So I like this initiative and collaboration and hope other corporates will follow KCB and put their money where their mouth is. 

Dates: September 14-15, 2012
Venue: Naivasha Sports Club
Tickets*: Adults Kshs 300, Children under 16 Kshs 100
* All Profits go to local charities

Read sponsorship info here and visit their official website

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Turning Tables: Hay at 25

Hay Festival is turning 25 and in doing so it has come up with an ingenious way of crowd sourcing views from its audience

This could be as a result of understanding the wisdom of crowds. So this is our chance to turn those tables on the writers and thinkers that have graced Hay Festival over the years.
Hay Festival organizers asked a panel to come up with 25 questions which would be put to the audience. These questions are;
  1. Why do we read novels?
  2. 25 years ago, the whole world lived in fear of an aids pandemic, the Berlin wall divided east and Western Europe, China and Latin America were considered part of the developing world and less than 1% of the world's population used mobile phones or computers. What changes will we see to the way we live now in 25 years time?
  3. What was the last thing you made with your hands?
  4. Which smell makes you happiest?
  5. Do you think we are reaching a point at which technological 'progress' kills the spirit and what we are or will it liberate us all?
  6. Which freedoms are you prepared to trade for greater security?
  7. How can we see the ratio of women to men reach equality in every walk of life, from birth to death, in education, work and play?
  8. What would you do if you knew you would never be caught?
  9. What piece of writing has most changed your heart and mind? Phrase, lyric, letter, book, poem, inscription.
  10. Would you like the United States of America to a) grow stronger? b) stay more or less the same? c) grow weaker? Why?
  11. 25 years from now climate change will have created over 100 million refugees. Where should they go?
  12. Are you happy? If yes, why? If not, is there something you can do about it?
  13. How will the world benefit from a realignment of economic superpower in the 21st century?
  14. Are religion and democracy incompatible?
  15. Half the world's languages are so seriously endangered that they are likely to die out during the course of this century. Does it matter?
  16. What determines what food you buy?
  17. Will genetically modified crops and lab meat save the world from famine?
  18. What can the country and the city learn from each other?
  19. If you became the leader of your country what would you fix first?
  20. Which season matters most to you and why?
  21. Mental health problems afflict 25% of us every year. Do we need to treat the perception of mental illness in the sufferer or in society?
  22. Is it possible to truly care about events that will happen after the death of one's great grandchildren?
  23. Teach us something important that you know.
  24. Which living leaders, writers, scientists, and artists, are opening the doors of the future for humankind?
  25. We're building a library of literature, music and cinema. Which one book, film and album would you contribute to it?
These questions have reminded me of rapper 50 cent who saw this way before them! When he came up with his 21 questions.
This questions in my opinion do NOT feature or address Africa because the 'panel' which came up witht e questions is mainly compromised of people from Europe [not that I have any 'beef' with Europeans or Eurocentric thinking]. Also it could be as a result of Hay festival having a massive footprint in other continents. In Africa Hay has a presence ONLY in Kenya through Storymoja. However, this said, question 2 is the one I relate to;
25 years ago, the whole world lived in fear of an aids pandemic, the Berlin wall divided east and Western Europe, China and Latin America were considered part of the developing world and less than 1% of the world's population used mobile phones or computers. What changes will we see to the way we live now in 25 years time?  
It would also be great to map out the responses in a website so that we can see the response of the world.  I plan on attending the festival and raising more Africa centric questions and telling the world what I think. Will you?

Republican & Democratic National Conventions: Wheels of Democracy? A dispatch from Kenya

Watching the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina last week & Republican National Convention the previous week in Tampa, Florida I couldn’t help but think what if Kenya had such conventions. This may sound farfetched but what we have in Kenya is National Delegates Conference. Though, both serve the same purpose, which is to oil the wheels of democracy. They serve as a sign of internal democracy [to nominate a presidential candidate] and fulfill party constitutions.  This and the scripted version of these events [well apart for the Clint Eastwood moment] may be the only similaries between conventions made in USA and conventions made in Kenya.
So what are the differences?
Well Kenyan conventions called National Delegates Conference are usually a one day affair. Party delegates are transported from all over the country booked in hotels and the due date they ‘just’ rubber stamp what is usually obvious. There are NO fancy speeches [like Michelle Obama well executed speech which had the Kenyan Social media was abuzz] or first ladies allowed anywhere near the podium.
However, things seem to be changing. Watching the TNA/Uhuru Kenya Party there we’re semblances with ‘conventions made in America’. There we’re fancy speeches [well ONLY Eugene Wamalwa did it for me with a well crafted speech. More like the Obama 2008 hope speech] and tele prompters. Well that’s the far as they would push it. So why was TNA able to pull this? This is because it is lead [we are so told] by young persons. Well, this would be true BUT would they call the shots if Uhuru won the 2013 polls? Or would the politicians high jack the professional party machinery… [This we can ONLY wait and see]
Going Forward
I am of the opinion the Raila camp which going by all indications might try to pull a ‘convention made in the USA’. The Raila Camp seems to be assembling a ‘kick ass’ machinery. This camp seems to be target the youthful vote. They have a presence in social media and are courting creatives [musicians-Jaguar & Redsan and reality TV celebrity Prezzo who almost won the Big Brother Africa] just like the democrats seem to have a hold of Hollywood. Also, NOT to be left behind are the other ‘youthful’ politicians [Ruto & Martha Karua]. This third force has gone forward to emulate the campaign fundraising tactics of their brethrens in the grand USA. Now they are holding fundraising dinners and a plate can go as high as Kshs 100, 000. How times change. Little has been written on campaign fund raising and politics in Kenya. But it has been an open secrets foreign funds play a key role in Kenyan politics. The big question is if the Chinese, Americans & Europeans have placed their bets on their horses. A telling sign has been the foreign trips undertaken by the presidential candidates. I bet an info-graph on this would be revealing!
Back to the USA Conventions
My favourite takes on this are; On the Republican convention I liked East Clintwood unscripted moment. I am a sucker for Clint Eastwood movies his monologue made me laugh.
On the Democrats front I liked Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton speeches.
Also appreciated we’re the artist who rocked the DNC convention. As a practitioner in Kenya’s Creative Economy this is something I will take stock of.
I think President Barack Obama speech lacked the oomph and style he had a while back when it was a joy to read his speeches. I guess being president in a declining America has its due pressures!
Now, I wait for the conventions made in Kenya. This is bound to happen because almost all presidential candidates have not named their running mates. Good times ahead await!

Events: Storymoja Hay Festival - Imagine the World, Sept. 13-16 2012 @ National Museum

Storymoja Hay Festival Poster
The line-up for the fourth Storymoja Hay festival in Nairobi is out. The Storymoja Hay Festival runs from 13—16 September and features international and local writers.
Dates: September 13-16, 2012
Venue*: National Museum of Kenya
Tickets: Kshs 1,500/Season and Kshs 1,000/day

*The festival will be based for the first time this year in the National Museum of Kenya.

Hay Festival works across five continents bringing writers to debate and meet with audiences around the world. Storymoja Hay Festival is the ONLY HAY festival in Africa.
Writers this year include Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans, Dinaw Mengestu, Ethiopian-born American author of Children of the Revolution, Giles Foden, Professor of Creative Writing at UEA, UK and author of The Last King of Scotland, Precious Williams, author of the memoir Precious and ambassador for the charity Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, Billy Kahora, author of The True Story of David Munyakei and Urban Zoning, Muthoni Garland, author of Tracking the Scent of My Mother, No Violet Bulawayo, winner of the Caine prize in 2011 for Hitting Budapest, Michael Logan, author of Apocalypse Cow, which won the Terry Pratchett Prize, Tony Mochama,Chris Lyimo, Sunny Bindra among others
Festival Programme
Check the festival programme online:
Fourth Storymoja Hay Festival
The fourth Storymoja festival will have the following events:
1.       The inaugural Wangari Maathai Lecture
Wangari Maatthai Memorial Lecture Poster
This will be given in honor of Nobel Peace Laureate and founder of The Green Belt Movement Prof. Wangari Maathai. It will be given by the Chinese author and historian Jung Chang.
Hay at 25
The way we live now from Hay Festival on Vimeo.
2.       Masterclasses in art, poetry and creative writing
Master classes are an essential part of this festival. 
Lemn Sissay who is artist-in-residence at London's South Bank Centre and the poet and film-maker Imtiaz Dharker will run a masterclass on writing and performing poetry. 
Lola Shoneyin, Nigerian poet, will run a poetry workshop and Swedish born Dutch illustrator Marit Tornqvist, best known for her illustrations for Astrid Lindgren's books, will run an art workshop for children. 
Eurig Salisbury the Children's Laureate in Wales will run a workshop for children's poetry, Precious Williams, daughter of a Nigerian Princess, raised by a white family in Sussex will describe the growing pains of an African foster child in her first book Precious while Dinaw Mengestu, born in Addis Ababa will delve in his fiction accounts of displacement and identity experienced by immigrants; the two will run a workshop together on Creative Writing.
3.       Panel Talks/Discussions
Giles Foden, Professor of Creative Writing at UEA in the UK and author of Zanzibar and The Last King of Scotland will talk about his fiction and the Oscar-winning film based on his novel.
Ory Okolloh, head of Policy and Government Relations Africa for Google, will discuss freedom of expression with author John Kampfner. They will be joined by the High Commissioner to Kenya HE Dr. Turner who served as the Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before being appointed ambassador to Kenya.
This year's festival will also see the first Commonwealth Writers panel debating The Writer and the Reader: Who are Contemporary African Authors Writing For? Jekwu Anyaegbuna (Commonwealth Writers Short Story regional winner, Africa 2012), NoViolet Bulawayo (2011 Caine Prize Winner) and Claudette Oduor and Lauri Kubuitsile (from Botswana, 2011 Caine Prize nominee) will talk to Billy Kahora (managing editor of Kwani, 2012 Caine Prize nominee and 2012 Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize judge).
4.       Music
Music will be from the Kenyan Boys Choir, who sang at Obama's inauguration, and a Poetry Gala with Lemn Sissay, Susan Piwang, Paula Biraaro and Beverely Nabozo.
5.       Kids events
Children have a designated area called Story Hippo village where they can play and interact with other children. Writing and Poetry workshops will also be conducted for children in this tent.
6.       Screenings
There will be screening of The Last King of Scotland [Giles Foden will introduce the screening], A Small Act, Getting Justice, Tomorrow will come, Internal Flight, Yes Man!
2012 Contributors
Jung Chang, Dinaw Mengestu, Giles Foden, Precious Williams, Billy Kahora, Muthoni Garland, NoViolet Bulawayo, Michael Logan, Tony Mochama, Chris Lyimo, Sunny Bindra, Lemn Sissay, Imtiaz Dharker, Lola Shoneyin, Marit Tornqvist, Eurig Salisbury, Ory Okolloh, John Kampfner, Jekwu Anyaegbuna, Claudette Oduor, Lauri Kabuitsile, Susan Piwang, Paula Biraaro and Beverely Nabozo

Monday, September 3, 2012

Politics: Hon. Charity Ngilu Tosses Her Hat into the Presidential Ring

Hon. Charity Ngilu [Current Water Minister] becomes the second woman after Martha Karua to toss her hat into the Presidential Contest ring.  Charity Ngilu launched her presidential bid yesterday at KICC. In a well orchestrated party delegates conference that saw her endorsed as the party's flag bearer on Narc party. 
This will be her second shot at the presidency after 1997 polls that saw her come number four. 
Many of us will remember Ngilu as being instrumental in the 2002 polls. She was the one of the leading lights who advocated for the then opposition to unite. Her efforts bore fruit and saw President Kibaki then head of opposition on Democratic Party ran on her party ticket Narc Kenya as a compromise party and saw the opposition through Kibaki clinching the presidency for the first time. 
She later fell out with the president and has been closely linked with the prime minister's ODM party.  In 2007 election she was the only woman pentagon member. She was given leeway by the ODM party  to contest her Kitui Central seat on her Narc Party.

Observers have pointed out that she is launching a presidential bid to increase her odds of being picked by the PM as a running mate.

The positive thing but her run for presidency is that it is igniting the ongoing campaign with fresh ideas especially on policy as opposed to name calling we have been getting. During her launch she set out the priority areas her administration would focus on. These are;
  1. Eradicating poverty;
  2. Fighting illiteracy;
  3. Improving healthcare;
  4. Women empowerment and
  5. Enhancing food and water security in the country
However, this seemed like a well choreographed reading of her party manifesto as opposed to what she believes in.
Critics will be eager to point out that her ministry has not been one of the best performing and we have had instances of corruption pointed out in this ministry. 
She is also ranked as an average MP on Mzalendo platform