A Westgate Attack Documentary Video review


A new documentary on the Westgate Mall attack form last year appeared online on Tuesday. This video was the one that was allegedly shown on American TV network HBO and is a powerful piece of journalism produced and directed by Dan Reed.

It starts with people having a typical Saturday morning in Nairobi headed to the Westgate Mall. One of them is there to work so she sets up a stand to sell. Another is a lady who has gone shopping with her kids. A gentleman has gone to do some shopping.

It all unravels as men attack the mall with guns and a mission to cause the highest amount of damage. The men are four and go in two waves. One group of two starts at the ground floor and shoots their way into the mall causing havoc and death. People run into the Nakumatt supermarket and the two go about their merry way shooting their way in killing anyone that moved.

The other two go the top of the mall and start by killing people who had come to a cooking competition that had been organized by East FM. They execute their mission and then move to lower levels.

At one point seven good guys, five plain clothes officers and two civilians who are licensed to carry handguns, go into the mall and execute one of the most daring rescue missions in Kenyan history as the SWAT team wait outside for instructions from above to act. These seven people are the ones that save the most people from various part of the mall.

Eventually the army guys storm the place shooting anyone that moved; including at the police officers who had been at the venue leaving one officer dead. Eventually the mall is secured by the army and an explosive device blown up in the venue and there is no footage after this.

The beauty of the documentary is that it uses footage from the many cameras in the venue to tell the story so you don’t have to be told too much. There are firsthand accounts of the survivors from the attack with a starring role for Abdul Haji the dashing young man who was at the forefront of saving so many lives as well as a corporal who was shot. Those who were there give a very bizarre recounting of the attackers which showed both their brutality as well as their compassion leaving some to go safe where they killed others mercilessly.

One of the most moving things in that documentary for me was the view of my former colleague Ruhila Adatia laying on the floor with her hands out asking for help before she is carried into an ambulance. That as far as I know the last image of her alive. You can see that at 33.59 minutes into the movie.

The movie illustrates what we all know. This was an attack by Al Shabaab attacking Kenya for their invasion of Somalia. It also puts to death myths that have come from the event. There were no mattresses burning in the mall as alleged by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku. That was the army’s doing.

Ultimately the lesson from that day is that our security forces are one of the most uncoordinated ones around which is why they were killing one another instead of killing the bad guys. They should have acted sooner as this would probably have saved more lives.

As we come to one year after the attacks there are several events to remember that traumatic few days that will not be forgotten soon that saw 67 dead, hundreds injured and millions traumatised. The Storymoja Festival is currently having one at the National Museum one that started on the 15th of September and will be running for a month. If you are in Nairobi please check it out.

OLX Social Media Awards nominees list out

OLXSOMA2014The nominees of the awards ceremony for users of social media are out and voting is welcomed from you the voting public until the day of the Awards ceremony will be held on October 3rd . The theme for this year’s OLX Social Media Awards is “Making Social Media Work For You.”

All these nominees are already winners as they will all get a course by Hootsuite University that will help build capacity of nominees and further enhance the impact of social media on our society. The Hootsuite University Program is designed for professionals seeking to increase skills in Hootsuite and other social media tools and tactics. The Hootsuite is a web-based social media management tool.

The judges have shortlisted five nominees under each category of the Awards, which include the National and County Governments, Learning Institutions, and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). Other categories are Social Network Personality of the Year, Large Corporation, Traditional Media, Best use of Social Media and the Best of the Best.

To vote for the nominees, social media users will be required to visit the Awards website: www.soma.or.ke. OLX Kenya has been the title sponsor of the Awards for two consecutive years.

The full list of the nominees are;


Most Influential Facebook personality

  • CabuGah

  • Stephen Musyoka

  • Rita Oyier

  • Dennis Maladit

  • XtianDela

Most influential twitter personality

  • Boniface Mwangi

  • Xtiandela

  • Sitawa Wafula

  • Chief Kariuki

  • Sunny Bindra

Most influential Instagram personality

  • MutuaMatheka

  • ThisIsEss

  • Misskihoro

  • Vera sidika

  • Benkiruthi

Most promising new blogger

  • www.magunga.com

  • http://ernestwamboye.blogspot.com/

  • http://missindependent.co.ke/ -

  • http://silvianjoki.com/

  • http://waruisapix.wordpress.com/


Corporation with best customer care

Chase Bank



Jambo Jet


Corporation with most creative campaign

  • Open your eyes – by Safaricom

  • Aromat – Unilever

  • Tembea Kenya – KWS

  • Chasepreneuer – Chase Bank

  • Hands off our elephants

Most influential corporate personality


Bob Collymore

Peter Nduati

Gina Din Kariuki

Mohammed Hersi

SME Category

SME of the year

  • Buy Rent Kenya

  • Eat Out Kenya

  • PikaChakula

  • Ma3Route

  • SandStorm Kenya

Most Influential SME personality

  • Aly Khan Satchu

  • Sunny Bindra

  • Eric Kinoti

  • AhmednasirAbdullahi

  • GatwiriMurungi

National and County government Category

Most active State Corporation

  • Kenya Airports Authority

  • Kenya Tourism Board

  • Kenya Power

  • State House

  • KWS

Most active county government






Most influential government personality

  • Amb. Amina Mohamed

  • Alfred Mutua

  • Mike Sonko

  • Jane Waikenda

  • Sakaja Johnson

Traditional Media Category

Television show

  • NTV – The Trend with Larry Madowo

  • KTN – Jeff Koinange Live

  • NTV – Tujuane

  • Citizen TV – Sunday Live

  • NTV – Churchill Show

Radio show

  • Capital FM – The Jam

  • HBR – G money in the Morning

  • Milele FM – Bangaiza

  • Radio Jambo – Teketeke with Mbusina Lion

  • One FM – Drive

News channel

  • Citizen TV Kenya

  • Capital FM Kenya

  • K24 TV

  • KTN Kenya

  • NTV Kenya

Most influential Media personality

  • Adelle Anyango

  • Daniel Ndambuki AKA King’ang’i

  • Jeff Koinange

  • Julie Gichuru

  • Maina Kageni

Best use of Social Media

Best use of social media for entertainment

  • Sauti Sol

  • Buni.TV – XYZ

  • Ghetto Radio

  • Pulse Magazine

  • Kiss TV – Live on Blast Club AfterBurn

Best use of social media for charity

  • Eddah Hope Cancer Foundation

  • Beyond Zero Campaign

  • Hands off our elephants

  • Kenya Red Cross

  • Safaricom Foundation

Best use Social media by learning institution

  • ZetechCollege

  • USIU

  • UON

  • Kenyatta University

  • Strathmore University

Best of the best

Overall personality of the year

  • Amb. Amina Mohamed

  • Daniel Ndambuki AKA King’ang’i

  • Xtiandela

  • Mike Sonko

  • Paula Kahumbu

Overall organization of the year

  • Chase Bank

  • Safaricom

  • Eatout Kenya

  • Kenya power

  • Kenya Tourism Board

Africa Media Initiative on Hate speech and Safaricom supports Women in tech (kind of)

Dr Ron Archer in man drag

Dr Ron Archer in man drag

If you are not a huge fan of hate speech (who is really? Unless you are selling guns?) then one event you want to check out this gig tonight at the Pawa 254. Our friends from the African Media Leadership Forum invites all for the launch of their Pan-African campaign against hate speech, #TurnthePageonHateSpeech. The hashtag is a bit wonky and everything so I expect fully that the four Kenyans On Twitter not contributing to the #Kenyanisms trend will quickly turn in into the #TTPOHS. Or something.

Talking about tech and its use there has been the growth of many women in it with lists popping up ever so often telling us about the top ten women in IT in Africa. The one thing that many of these have common is that they all have Ory Okolloh and Isis Nyong’o Madison proving that once your name is in a list you have it made in town.

Its not just the Orys and the Isis’s of the world that have been proving that stuff is looking good for women in tech as many initiatives show up like Akili Dada and others I suggest that you use your Google engine to enjoy to enjoy. One of these is the Women In Technology initiative which is receiving backing from those guys who recently reduced the price of mobile money charges the other day.

The initiative means to celebrate and honor female professionals who have excelled as mentors,
exemplified unique vision, shown outstanding leadership, success within Technology related carriers
So showing women who are “doing good” in IT right? You are therefore invited to a Women In Technology Fathers and Daughters Edition tomorrow evening with… Mrs… Sorry Mr… or rather Dr Ron Archer at the Michael Joseph Centre in Nairob. Hey, Dr Ron Archer COULD be a woman no? Say it with me… #SilenceIsAWoman

Murage Gichuki’s brilliant idea for Zuku

Murage Gichuki

Murage Gichuki

If you are based in Nairobi you will have noted that the are looking to bag your data business as much as possible. Jamii Telekom is the loudest with their Faiba pronounced hilariously as “faimba” by a stone age dude. The others in that segment are Zuku and Access Kenya and a few other folks ensuring that especially in the homes and corporations segment have the best Internet experience.

With the players in a battle for the market every little bit of help given especially of the charitable variety. Enter Murage Gichuki who is a Zuku customer and a creative with one of the leading firms in town. Here is his contribution.

Here’s an idea for Zuku. They should consider allowing existing users like me to access their Zuku WiFi anywhere I find it. E.G At a popular coffee house, using Zuku it logs me in to my account and funnels more bandwidth automatically to the Coffee House Account.

This could even be the Zuku Points Loyalty program where the more users you allow to access their accounts through yours earns you points which can be redeemed for bandwidth or upgrades on PVRs. Etc. Just an idea that I would like to have as a Zuku client.

If I were Zuku I would try and make this one happen. It is a guaranteed winner. I think.

A Q&A with communication specialist Noel Wandera

Noel Wandera

Noel Wandera

Noel Wandera is well known in both journalism and PR circles for his stints in The Standard Group and Gina Din Corporate Communications (now the Gina Din Group). He talks to Nairobiliving.com on his motivations, his view of where electronic media is heading and his new baby Dailymail.co.ke

Where did you go to school?

I did my primary education at St Peters Primary School, Ishiara in the then Embu District but now Mbere. For my O – Level’s, I went to Kakamega High School for my ‘O’ levels and St Peters High School, Mumias for my ‘A’ levels. I then attended the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton where I graduated with a BA English (Minor) & Automotive Technology (Minor). This was followed by proceeding to the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication for a Post Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication

You were well known for your job at Gina Din Corporate Communications (now GDG Group). What other jobs have you done?
Before joining Gina Din in 2006, I was at the Standard Newspapers between 2001 and 2006. I was on the business beat, covering Tourism, Aviation & ICT. I joined Gina Din in 2006 to handle clients related to my field of specialisation namely Kenya Airways, Safaricom Limited, South African Tourism Board and UUNET, now MTN Business.

I left Gina Din in November last year to Express DDB, an advertising & media buying firm where I had a short stint. My brief was to start a PR unit within the company. The unit is up and running. But realising that my ambitions were not being met, I made the hard decision to leave the company two months ago into self employment, partnering with a former colleague Steven Njenga.

What are some of the most memorable experiences in your life?

Positive experiences
The fact that I am married to a beautiful wife Jane, and two cute and handsome babies, Tamara & Tendai respectively

The exposure that I have been able to receive in my line of duty, both at The Standard and Gina Din Corporate Communications. While at the Standard, I had the privilege of touring the entire Kenya with the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), experiencing Kenya’s 42 different cultures & interviewing great individuals, chief amongst them the late Akuku Danger who had over 40 wives. I have also sampled European culture in France, Britain and Germany covering KTB events, as well as other cultures on the African continent, like Comoros, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania, most of it with Kenya Airways when they were opening new routes to serve their Jomo Kenyatta International Airport hub

Negative experiences
Being on the receiving end of commercial interest between Media houses and corporate entities. While with the standard, I wrote a hard hitting piece on the corruption that involved a major Government Corporation which I won’t name, importing poles from Tanzania while the same could be sourced from Kenya. Although I had my facts right, I was made to retract the story, which was the P3 headline, as demanded by the said parastatal. It is still vivid to me with my senior, David Okwemba, who had just joined to The Daily Nation, calling to ask if I still had a job!

The Kenya Airways Douala crash was one of the lowest points of my career. I remember being woken up by my executive director, Desiree Gomes at around 4 am and instructed to find my way to the KQ headquarters, Embakasi. What followed was almost a month of sleepless nights managing that crisis. You know what is happening, but cannot release raw information to grief stricken relatives and the media because sanity has to prevail. After the whole exercise, the entire Gina Din staff had to undergo trauma counselling.

How have these experiences informed how you go about the business of your life:
They have taught me moderation, patience and how to deal with disappointments & arrogance from others.

What are you up to now?
As I said earlier, my friend and former colleague, Steve Njenga have set up a communications consultancy agency called Arkhesolutions to claim a stake in Kenya’s Public Relations and online news gathering space, the latter of which we are still piloting – www.thedailymail.co.ke.

What informed my decision?
Ambition, off course. We intend to be a force to reckon with, especially in the on-line media space, which has a lot of opportunities to exploit. We know that we have what it takes to succeed, having been in the media industry for over 13 years.

Where is the broadcast arm of the communication industry headed at the moment?

The liberalisation of Kenya’s media sector has led to it opening up its space, which provides the next challenge, which is to satisfy it with the requisite content. We will start seeing more independent production houses emerging to feed this hungry market with data every day.

With the intended digitalisation process coming, TV stations will have more airspace. There will be channels specifically to air business, entertainment, documentaries, sports you name it. In fact, sometimes I wonder if we shall have enough journalists and producers to satisfy this market needs.

I foresee the emergence of service providers from where leading stations will lease their services like going to the site and linking with the studios, instead of them sending their crew because of various factors like distance and even lack of personnel.

I also see a situation where TV stations will only have core employees – News anchors, in-house studio technical personnel and the management team etc – then outsource content producers who will however need to meet the respective stations’ quality standards

What would you say is a really good place to have a meal in Nairobi at under Kshs1,000:
I do not have any preference for a particular place at all. Infact what dictates where I eat is my meetings with clients and newsmakers.

Serena Hotel Nairobi staff go back to school

Staff getting canned by a stern teacher.

Students getting canned by a stern teacher.

The Serena Hotel in Nairobi seems like such a great place to work. Apart from having pretty decent service whenever they are there I tend to hear good things from the people who work there. They recently hosted a school uniform day at their Nairobi office where staff came dressed in their uniforms from when they were in school. It was sort of a little thing to flag morale in these dark days for Kenyan tourism.

The images need no explanation but for purposes of saving people’s embarrassment I will not give the names of the people in the images.

Kneel down with your hands up!

Kneel down with your hands up!

The school boy has landed some hot babes from neighbouring schools.

The school boy has landed some hot babes from neighbouring schools.

Is that an AgaKhan student/staffer?

Is that an AgaKhan student/staffer?

School prefect! Don't dare make noise in class.

School prefect! Don’t dare make noise in class.

Julie Otieno’s free advice to Uchumi Supermarkets:

A typical Uchumi setting.

A typical Uchumi setting.

Julie Otieno is one of the more respected public relations professionals in Nairobi having worked in several organisations before setting up her own outfit Traction Communications (Read the Q&A we did with her here). So when a serious communications professional like her gives you free advice you as an organisation want to have a listen as she might know what she is doing.

Here is the advice she gave to one of the country’s most well known supermarket brands Uchumi after visiting their Capital Centre branch on Mombasa Road recently;

Free Advice to Uchumi Supermarkets:

1. Forget what OMO says, Dirt is NOT good. Please reacquaint your cleaning team with buckets, detergent, mops and dusters. Alternatively, outsource cleaning services to Parapet.

2. Disorder clouds the decision to buy. Your veggie section would look neater if you could go the extra mile and remove the wilted greens and shriveled carrots and beets. Those are only good for cows and horses….and it’s highly unlikely that anyone blessed with a herd of cows or a Horse or two would come shopping for their animal’s meals at Uchumi.

3. Those trolleys and shopping baskets can actually be cleaned WITH WATER AND SOAP. Try it. The difference will amaze you.

Happy Sunday.

You think they would listen our friends from Uchumi right?

Free juice welcomes me to new Samsung shop at Capital Centre

The things free juice make a man do...

The things free juice make a man do…

There is a new Samsung shop at the Capital Centre on Mombasa Road in Nairobi. How did I find out you ask? No it was not one of those things where some PR professional sent you a brilliantly worded Press Release with long stories about there being VIPs that would be of interest to a news organisation. I find out about it when I went to continue celebrating my International Beer Day when I heard a whole of noise at the Capital Centre. As I was leaving the place the noise forced me to see what was about and I noted that there was some sort celebration. Turns out that there is a new Samsung shop at the mall where the Kazuri beads folks used to have their operation. I guess selling phones is more profitable than selling beads in this part of the world.

New Samsung shop (Photo taken with Tecno Phantom A+)

New Samsung shop (Photo taken with Tecno Phantom A+)

Anyway I went into the shop and it looks to be rich in the phone arm of the business with the Galaxy phones taking a lot of space. After looking around I walked and I was offered a free glass of juice for walking into the shop which I thought was pretty cool. If they do more launches like this I’ll be attending more of those…

Kenyan photographers be buggin’

The team whose work was being exhibited.

The team whose work was being exhibited.

Insects. We love them right? Wrong. No one who is not a scientist at ICIPE who is studying them, executives at Mortein Doom, Raid and Bolt who make a killing them or nutty folks will be seen declaring their love for them.

This is why it was so interesting when photographers Eric Gitonga, Abdul Mutuma, Martha Mutiso, Sabore Noah and Larry Asego, hosted a Bugging a Macro Journey photography exhibition at the Alliance Francaise in Nairobi the other day for insects. The event was sponsored by Alliance Francaise, Pawa254, Photographers Association of Kenya, National Museums of Kenya and Nature Kenya.

I was unable to attend the opening which was quite well attended but I went to check out the work at a later date. The exhibition showed a variety of the bugs that we see in our daily lives as well as some rare ones including spiders, house flies, fruit flies, praying mantis, ladybirds and many more. The photos of the insects are large prints that were retailing at anything from Kshs8,000 to Kshs20,000 depending on the quality of the photos.

The photographs have been done exceedingly well and I enjoyed the watching these creatures that I don’t love up close. I was able to see that these little critters in a different way without them being at the end of my boot as I stomped on them or as I swatted them. I suspect that the public was similarly amazed as the exhibition was so well received that the venue extended the dates by one extra week

For those who missed out on the exhibition there is hope you yet. The work of the five photographers was compiled into a book costing Kshs5,000. You want to check out the good work please email larryasego{at}yahoo.com

The one where I discover a new way of taxing around Nairobi

A screen shot of the App.

A screen shot of the App.

The Short version of the blog

I discovered Easy Taxi a new mobile App on Google Play Store which allows you to book taxis at reasonable prices this weekend. After testing the service I came to the following realization.

The Pros

  • The App allowed me to book a taxi which came to my destination. I could follow the taxi dude on it as he came to where I was.

  • The price was reasonable. I don’t have to negotiate too much unlike when I am somewhere and I have to call someone who would quote me a price based on their needs.

  • The drivers access new business opportunities especially for those who might be starting out.

The Flaws

  • There are some areas of the city where there aren’t many drivers signed up.

  • The GPS + Data combo is a killer of your cellphone charge. While this might not be too bad for you as a consumer of the taxi service it is not ideal for you as a taxi driver as it means you have to use a great phone battery wise (Chuck your Samsung phones) or be constantly charging your phone.

So I recommend you to try this new service.

Ready to request a taxi.

Ready to request a taxi.

The Long version of the blog (For those who have more time)

Travelling around the city of Nairobi is one of those things. Like in any city the options are simple; public or private. For long in this town when you decided to go the private route once you have your car then you are good to go as whenever you wanted to just get into your car and off you were.

In the last few years it’s not so simple. First there was that period when the cars were being car jacked so making the whole “Nairoberry” moniker to be justified. At one time it was so bad that every single car on the roads had their number plates on the side of the vehicle to make it easier to identify it was car jacked and you were holed up in your boot. It became much better when the cops led by Brigadier Mohammed who was then police commissioner took the war to the bad guys and there was a huge drop in the carjacking incidents in Nairobi.

Then there was Breathalyzer test we call “alcoblow” in Kenya. With the number of deaths on the roads because of drinking while under the influence becoming unbearable for the authorities they returned the reviled alcoblow because cars weren’t knowing their way home as they used to say. That led to the police setting up road blocks around the city, especially where folks were known to drink and you were tested for the alcoholic level in your blood. That wasn’t just it; to make it more fun the folks had the media in tow so that meant that if you were high not only would you sleep in jail for one night but your would be seen on TV looking like a right tool. This experience led to many hilarious and humiliating experiences to many Nairobians.

The alcoblow experience taught us that maybe we want to try having a designated driver whenever we went drinking. After all as they say in that excellent EABL advert tells us life goes on when you leave us. The designated driver thing doesn’t work so well for all of us as no one wants to be that idiot who is sipping on stoney tangawizi while everyone else is having a gay old time. Thus the rise of the taxi.

The number of taxis in this city is quite impressive with the number of taxi companies and freelancers as a great option for all over us. For the taxi user we all know that there is no metred cab system in Kenya so it’s always at the discretion of the driver that you are using. A user knows the price of your general area. My place in South B usually costs between Kshs500 and Kshs800 depending on the mood of the cabbie.

One of the things that happened is that with this system is that folks start keeping the numbers of the cab guys who they trust and you can be sure that if you look at the cellphones of many folks you would see numbers like “Taxi Mwangi” or “cab John.” There is a flaw with that system though. A good cab guy would have regular clients who would seek him out especially when they are in unfamiliar territory. The flaw is that with a popular cab guy you can wait for a quite a while as he tells you “I’m only ten minutes away” for three hours. Not ideal.

This weekend I found a new way that uses technology. I was told about a mobile application called Easy Taxi about a good pal of mine told me about. I was headed to Ngong town for a kids birthday party (my kid was going for the party, I was going to drink with the adults) just beyond Nest and I needed to use a taxi. I started by downloading the App and installing on my phone and then doing something I avoid at all times; enabling the GPS. I don’t like GPS as it eats up my phone battery and I don’t want big brother following my movements around town. Having installed the app I set my location in the map and this was amazing that I finally found out the name my street which doesn’t have a sign since I moved here. Kudos GPS.

Once I set my location I was able to request for a taxi. As soon as I made a taxi request I was given a call almost instantly by a cab guy trying to get my location. The reason was that the area I was at wasn’t that clear to him from the map where I was. After I explained to him where I was we hang up and I waited for him. It wasn’t too much of a worry as the App said that I would have to wait for only 7 minutes. The app gave me his name, his number, the type of car he was driving as well as the car number plate. This allowed me to know who would be coming to pick me up as it even had a picture of the driver.

After an hour he was nowhere to be seen and my first experience of the Easy Taxi was starting to worry me. Was this like when your typical cab driver tells you that he is just up the road and he at that moment in time dropping off a guy in Kikuyu town? The problem I had was that in my house my Airtel is lousy so I couldn’t even track the driver. I was able to discern that there was the Kids Festival happening at the Carnivore and my part of the city was in gridlock. I had to get into town to see if I could get to the cab guy and when I got in and I called Aaron he wasn’t picking. I opted to try again before calling my usual cab guy. This time I was contacted by a guy called John Njenga and it town I was able to see the Easy Taxi App at its best. I followed on the App on my phone as the cab came from I&M building on Kenyatta Avenue in town to Times Towers on Haile Sellasie as I watched. Brilliant.

When I boarded I indicated that I did (the App insisted on it) and we were off to Ngong. As we headed out I was able to bond with John and he was able to teach me a lot. The new App has been very useful to him. This is because now he was able to see who his customers were without a fear of being car jacked. He also explained to me that he had seen an increase in business because he was able to access new customers. Pretty handy for a taxi driver wishing to increase their business.

On my part the man charged me Kshs3,000 to Ngong town just beyond the Nest which meant that I had to part with only had to part with Kshs2,500 as the was a Kshs500 discount for every ride on this day (part on the reason I was sampling the service). With that price I asked him about the service and how much he would charge me to various parts of the city. It was not horrible. Kshs800-1,000 to Buruburu. Kshs500-1,000 to South B. The prices weren’t daylight robbery because he was a member of the Kenya Taxi Cab Association which is a kind of Sacco where free lance taxi drivers banded together because the more the merrier.

When we got there I put on my GPS to see if there was any cab guys in the area; nothing. I quickly asked Njenga if he was willing to wait for a few hours for me which he accepted.

Would I use the service again? Oh hell yeah!

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