Kenyan Blog Awards 2015 submissions now open

Sharon Mundia was a big winner in 2014

Sharon Mundia was a big winner in 2014

The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) is a community organization that represents a group of Kenyan online content creators and that seeks to empower online content creation and improve the quality of content created on the web.

BAKE has today announced the launch of its fourth annual Kenyan Blog Awards. These awards recognize exceptional Kenyan bloggers that have great and useful content presented in a creative and innovative format.

The inaugural BAKE Blog Awards were held in 2012 on 5th May at a gala at the Nairobi Serena. The ceremony gave awards in 14 categories; best technology, photography, creative writing, business, food, agriculture, fashion, politics, sports, general and corporate blogs as well as giving out awards for the “tweeps” of the year. 300 blogs were submitted and 10,000 people voted.

The second edition of the awards were held in 2013 on 4th May 2013 at Southern Sun Mayfair Nairobi and had 15 categories. The ‘Lifestyle/Entertainment’, ‘Blog of the Year’ & ‘Travel Blog’ were added as categories and the two Twitter categories i.e. Best Individual Tweep & Best Corporate Tweep. Over 500 blogs were submitted and 50,000 people voted.

Last year, the third edition of the awards were held at Intercontinental Hotel Nairobi and it had 17 categories. 2 new categories “Best County Blog’ and ‘Best Health Blog” were added. Over 800 blogs were submitted and more than 50,000 voted . The 2014 awards produced a tie on the Best Sports Blog category which was a first for the awards.

The awards this year will have 18 categories after the addition of one new category, a “Best Education Blog” category. This category will reward blogs about education matters and those run by educational institutions. The full list of award categories includes;

1. Best Technology Blog

2. Best Photography Blog

3. Best Creative Writing Blog

4. Best Business Blog

5. Best Food Blog

6. Best Environmental/Agricultural Blog

7. Best Fashion/Beauty/Hair/Style Blog

8. Best Politics Blog

9. Best New Blog

10. Best Corporate Blog

11. Best Topical Blog

12. Best Sports Blog

13. Best Entertainment/Lifestyle Blog

14. Best Education Blog

15. Best Travel Blog

16. Best Health Blog

17. Best County Blog

18. Kenyan Blog of the Year

The time line for the awards will be as follows:

1.Submission phase – January 9th 2015 to February 18th 2015

2. Judging phase – February 19th 2015 to February 28th 2015

3. Online voting – March 2nd 2015 to April 30th 2015.

4. Winners Gala Event – May 2nd 2015.

To submit blogs into the competition, bloggers and fans of bloggers should visit blogawards.co.ke/submit.

10 bars I really enjoyed reviewing in 2014

Sirville

Sirville

Part of my job for The Star is bars. I am the guy who is charged with going to different bars that Nairobians access and tell you just how good or not good they are. This is in my weekly column “Nairobi Living” where I focus on several thing; décor, service, price of Tusker, disability access, emergency exits and of course whether one can watch the game of football. The one thing I pride myself the most is the “disability access” issues as this is the only space in Kenyan media where people with disability know where they can hang. My theory where this is concerned is that people in wheelchairs have the right to get as pissfaced as they rest of us as they down their favourite tipple. Here is a list of ten bars that I really enjoyed checking out this year. For the full list please go to the Nairobi Living Page on The Star.

Sirville

Sirville

1. Sirville Brewery and Lounge, Galleria Mall, Langata Road

Joining Sierra and Brew Bistro, Sirville is a microbrewery based in Langata road’s Galleria mall. I loved the great service and décor, TV for the sports junkie, clean washrooms, that it was disability friendly and it was conveniently located. On the downside the emergency exits were not convincing and meals can be pricey.

2. Club Skyfall and Lounge, Buruburu

I loved that pub which reminds me of a double decker bus. The place had decent décor, great service, central location, reasonably priced drinks, clean washrooms and TVs for the sports fanatics.

Its downside was that emergency exits not clearly marked and it was disability unfriendly.
3. Viva Lounge, Kandara Road, Kileleshwa

I discovered this little place in Kileleshwa which great décor, the great location, cool crowd and to die for pork. The only downside here is that it is not ideal for users of public transport and even those who drive might have an issue getting parking.

marabousport4. Marabou Lounge, Highwayy Mall, Mombasa Road

On Uhuru Highway the Marabou Lounge came strongly into the drinking consciousness. The pub has a convenient location, great décor, decent service, hip crowd, clean washrooms and is disability friendly. On the down side the venue is pricey and the emergency exits were not convincing.

Natives Grill

Natives Grill

5. Natives Sports Bar and Grill, Thika Road

Thika Road had several entries in my columns including Maxland but my favourite was the gargantuan Natives Sports Bar and Grill. The pub has decent service, clean washrooms, great décor, convenient location, sports and non sports fans equally catered to. On the downside, it doesn’t look like a place one wants to be around at cold seasons with the high roofs and parking can be a real issue.

6. Club Hypnotica, Krishna Plaza, Woodvale Grove, Westlands

Club Hypnotica is one of the many pubs in Krishna Plaza. It has world class décor and even better service, clean washrooms, disability friendly and shisha fans are sorted. On the downside the pub was very very small and emergency exits were not clearly marked.

Oryx Lounge Bar

Oryx Lounge Bar

7. Oryx Lounge Bar, Jogoo Road

This little bar on Jogoo Road is unassuming but it has great décor, excellent service, clean washrooms, emergency exits sorted, disability access and sports fanatics can get their fix. The downside is that it is extremely small and the general area doesn’t inspire where safety is concerned.

8. Eldy Grill, Zion Mall, Eldoret

I reviewed a few places out of town. One of these is the Eldy Grill which I loved for its great service, clean washrooms, free Wi-Fi, decent décor, TV for the sport fanatic and disability access. On the downside, the food, at least the pizza, disappointed and with only one clear entry and exit makes not ideal in case of an emergency.

Counter at Whispering Hills

Counter at Whispering Hills

9. Whispering Hills, Embu/Meru Highway, Embu

Also on my outside Nairobi travels, I discovred the Whispering Hills which has great service, decent décor, clean washrooms, great food, reasonably priced drinks and accommodation. The only downside was it was a bit out of the way.

JOe Cools

Joe Cools in Durban

10. Joe Cools, Durban, South Africa

It wasn’t just in Kenya that I was sampling beers. I was in South Africa earlier in the year and got to experience Durban. That city is way better that our Mombasa. While on the promenade I enjoyed Joe Cools where I got great service, great views of the Durban beach, decent décor and clean washrooms. The main downside here is that getting there means getting a visa, a task in itself with the South Africans being mean to Kenyans (the price of Moi supporting the Apartheid regime I suppose).

ICJ Kenya Jurist of the year 2014 Mbugua Mureithi acceptance

Mbugua Mureithi

Mbugua Mureithi

Members of diplomatic missions present

Hon. Judges present,

The Chair of the ICJ-Kenya,

Members of the Council of the ICJ-Kenya

My Learned Friends,

Ladies & Gentlemen,

Some things happen only once in a person’s life. Such is the humbling honour, privilege and recognition that the ICJ-Kenya has bestowed on me this evening/tonight. I also appreciate that this honour comes with the burden that the recipient will maintain the same standards that led the distinguished Selection Committee of the Jurist of the Year Award to pick the recipient. I promise you tonight that I will try to do so, even though I know, I am told authoritatively, that it is a one term award.

My journey to this humbling award has already been told and I will not repeat it. However, let me say something about the area that in the eyes of the public seems to define me at this moment i.e. human rights and counter-terrorism.

Our country has had to deal with the deadly scourge of international terrorism for a long time. Prior to the entry of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in the Somali conflict in October 2011, intended to rout the Al Queda linked Al Shabaab militants, the country had been used by international terror groups as a ground for launching attacks against Western interests particularly Israeli and US interests. This was the case with the bombing of the Norfolk Hotel on 31st December 1980, the bombing of the US Embassy on 7th August 1998 and the bombing of Paradise Hotel, Kikambala on 28th November 2002 and simultaneous attempt to shoot down an Israeli Arkia Airlines Boeing 757 as it took off from Moi International Airport, Mombasa. As it turned out, our own people – Kenyan citizens, always bore the greatest brunt of these attacks.

Justifiably, following these terror attacks the government through the security agencies embarked on robust counter-terrorism measures including the establishment of the Counter-Terrorism Centre and the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU). Prior to the enactment of the Prevention of Organized Crimes Act, 2011 and the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2012, all counter-terrorism measures and strategies were done outside any legislative framework. They were extra-legal. It is in the period prior to these two legislations that I got involved in the legal discourse of counter-terrorism and human rights. I vividly remember that my first engagement in this discourse was as a substitute paper presenter at a workshop organized by the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the Muslim Human Rights Forum (MHRF) sometime in mid 2007 at Lenana Mount Hotel. My colleagues Mr. Paul Muite and Mr. Harun Ndubi were the key presenters. However, Ndubi got pressing engagements and I was prevailed upon by Mr. Mikewa Ogada to replace him a day before the event. It was at that event that I met Mr. Al Amin Kimathi, the Executive Director of MHRF with whom, 3 years later, on 15th September 2010, we were arrested, tortured and detained in Kampala, Uganda on allegations that we were armed and dangerous terrorists!

Since the Lenana Mount Hotel workshop, I have worked in the area of counter-terrorism as a human rights, rule of law/legal consultant, defence lawyer and constitutional law litigator. In the course of my work in this area, I have represented individuals charged with terror related cases including those who are generally viewed as the leaders of terror in this country. I have also interacted with the security agents who are tasked with enforcing counter-terrorism legislation and strategies. I can therefore say that I am in a position to make comments in this area, particularly in light of the heightened terror attacks from the Al Queda affiliated Al Shabbab and the Security Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2014 with some measure of authority.

But first, let me say this for the record; the fact that I represent terror suspects does not mean that I am a supporter or sympathizer of terror. Every terror related case I take always troubles my conscience. However, I also remind myself of the oath we take on admission to the Roll of Advocates, to execute our professional duties as advocates without fear, favour or ill will, and the constitutional ideal that every person is entitled to counsel – even the scam of the earth. The true cumulative significance of the Advocates oath and the constitutional right of everyone to counsel is that advocates should not choose clients. As my learned friend, Judy Thongori, puts it; “advocates in private practice are public citizens who owe a legal duty to be accessed by everyone in need of legal representation.” In any case, it must also be remembered that the role of defence counsel is simply to ensure a fair trial for the accused. A fair trial is not synonymous with acquittal. Therefore, to resolve the moral dilemma in these cases and to maintain sanity, I restrict myself to taking such instructions that are only necessary to meet the case/charges at hand.

Back to the conundrum of terror-related insecurity: In my view, the answers to the current security conundrum posed by terror attacks carried out by the Al Queda affiliated Al Shabbab is not the enactment of draconian and unconstitutional legislation as proposed by the Bill. The answers lie elsewhere. And some of the answers are basic. First, the security agents must research the problem. By now, the security agents should have realized that the Al Queda affiliated Al Shabbab terror group is a complex phenomenon. It is an international and complicated web of networks. As the West Gate attack demonstrates, its membership is not just Somalia and Kenyan based. All the four actual attackers of the West Gate Mall lived in Western countries in the period before the attack. The network also has sympathizers who act alone without any command – just like the Boston Marathon attackers in the US.

The presence of Kenyan university graduates within its ranks and file as was the case with the car bomb explosion at the Pangani Police Station in May 2014 demonstrates that the Al Queda affiliated Al Shabbab is not just a bunch of illiterate, crazed, fundamentalists who cannot secure regular jobs – according to information given to my client, the car owner, by the police, the actual suicide bomber in the blast was a university graduate son of a KDF officer. Thorough research into this criminal network is therefore absolutely necessary in order to inform the counter-strategies that will properly identify the true causes of enlistment into the group, its membership and therefore nip its potential for recruitment.

Secondly, the Government must realize and appreciate that the provision of adequate security and supportive infrastructures are not optional or matters to be left to the people themselves. Whereas the President is right when he says that it is impossible for the State to provide a police officer to every citizen and that assisting security agents is a collective duty on all of us, the Government must realize that provision of security to all is one of the fundamental pillars of the social contract between the State and its citizens. Citizens surrender their individual right of self-defence to the collective protection of the State – to avoid the Hobbesian State of Nature. Counseling individual self-defence entails the danger of encouraging vigilantism and mob violence – what Kenyans popularly call “mob justice.” Community security strategies must remain voluntary and the Government has no right to lay a duty on citizens to protect themselves.

The absence of security officers in large areas of the country is unacceptable. Yet, these areas also remain largely inaccessible with no meaningful roads or no roads at all. This was the case in the two recent Mandera incidents where reports indicate that the terrorists had all the time to fire their assault rifles in the air to celebrate the brutal murders of innocent, hardworking Kenyans. The terrorists must have done this in the full knowledge that there would be no counter-response anytime soon. Unfortunately, it is evident that the Mandera incidents can happen anywhere in the country – including the suburbs of Nairobi where we hardly see police patrols.

Thirdly, the Government must realize that the phenomenon of international terrorism is a complex matter that cannot be assigned to regular security officers. It is therefore not sufficient to just put together a group of regular cops, regular intelligence officers and regular soldiers and call them an Anti-Terrorism Unit or National Counter-Terrorism Centre. Such units must comprise of specially trained officers in counter-terrorism.

Fourth, counter-terrorism operations must be done strictly in accordance with the rule of law. Security operations that are mounted on the basis of collective guilt and mass victimization of communities must stop. Similarly, security operations that are themselves criminal (some even international crimes) such as kidnappings, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial execution of suspects must also stop. Such operations are simply counter-productive. They alienate individuals and communities that are otherwise valuable partners with the security agents in combating terror. These counter-productive operations also add to the grievances that in some cases are the motive of joining terror groups. Instead of diminishing the problem, such operations provide fertile platform for recruitment and enlistment into the terror groups.

Fifth, there should be greater and structured co-operation between the security agents and the Office of the DPP in the cause of investigations aimed at prosecutions. This will avoid the increasing cases of needless, baseless and trumped-up prosecutions. Many are times when investigation officers expressly confide in me that they do not have evidence in some of the cases brought to court. In some cases, the IOs will say all they have is “intelligence information” that the accused committed the offence in question. Such prosecutions only serve to erode public confidence in the criminal justice system and are similarly counter-productive in the fight against terrorism. They add to the perceived grievances of the affected terror suspects.

Six, the country needs a candid discussion on the continued presence of the KDF in Somalia. Kenyans must reject the current formulation of the debate that suggests that a discussion of possible withdrawal of the KDF from Somalia is simply a sign of defeat by the Al Queda affiliated Al Shabbab. On the contrary there are multiple facets to this debate. One, the debate must seek to assess the impact of the KDF in Somalia on the country’s predisposition to terror attacks by the Al Queda/Al Shabbab. As it is, all evidence suggests that prior to the entry of the KDF in Somalia in October 2011, there was not a single terror attack by the Al Shabab on Kenyan soil. Yet, for the last 4 years of the KDF presence in Somalia, Al Shabab sponsored terror attacks have continued unabated. It is therefore necessary to revisit the strategic and security logic in the original AU AMISOM mandate that expressly excluded countries bordering Somalia from contributing troops to AMISOM. The debate must also be informed by the fact that the AMISOM mandate is not indefinite. The current AMISOM mandate expires on 31st November 2015 and Kenya is at liberty to request not to be included in the next extension of the mandate. Kenya must appraise its strategic presence in Somalia particularly given the fact that the warring factions have been at it for 24 years now. Kenyans must answer the question whether we are prepared to go it for such a long period, which it appears, given the history of Somalia, the Al Shabab and other groups are prepared for. The discussion must also be entertained in the context of possible growth of Somali nationalism against continued “occupation” of Somalia by AMISOM troops. History teaches that there are no people the world over who welcome permanent occupation of their land. As it is, there is already growing sentiments amongst Somali MPs that the current AMISOM mandate should not be extended and the troops must begin preparing to leave Somalia. It would be an unforgivable strategic blunder if the KDF was caught up in Somalia in a situation where the Al Shabab and the Somali Government agree that AMISOM must leave.

A few comments on the Security Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2014; I have just browsed through the Bill and my comments are really from a first impression of the Bill. First, no doubt, the Bill contains some important and useful provisions in the fight against terrorism that are informed by lessons learned from previous terror attacks in the country. For example, the provisions requiring landlords to maintain some basic information about their tenants which are to be given to security officers upon demand, the requirement for motor vehicle dealers to keep a record of motor vehicles sold and particulars of the purchasers, the provisions punishing radicalization, the provisions creating the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (which has hitherto operated without any legislative framework), among other provisions. There are also provisions that seek to tidy-up the language of existing laws to the new terminologies and offices created by the 2010 Constitution. However, about 70% of the provisions in the Bill go against the letter and spirit of the Kenyan State created by the 2010 Constitution. The proposed amendments make huge dents on the Bill of Rights, on fundamental rights to personal liberty and presumption of innocence (proposing pre-arraignment detention of up to 90 days for non-terror related offences and 360 days for terror-related offences) to a fair trial (by watering down the traditional safeguards of an accused, rules of admissibility of evidence and even trial of an accused by admission of statements without calling the makers!), the right to human dignity and freedom from torture (by proposing segregated incommunicado of untried terror suspects), the right to privacy and the right to independent practice of the media. As Miss Muthoni Wanyeki put it recently, some of the amendments seek to create numerous modern day Nyayo House Torture Chambers.

The amendments also propose that Kenya abandons some of its obligations under international conventions particularly the conventions on the status of refugees (by proposing a limit on the number of refugees that can be allowed into Kenya at a given time).

Given their obvious unconstitutionality, the provisions in the Bill, if passed, will certainly be struck out by the courts and the reaction by the executive will be, predictably, to criticize the judges and even label them supporters of terror. Instead of creating harmony within State institutions in the fight against terrorism, the amendments are bound to place the executive and the judiciary on a frosty relationship. The proposed amendments must therefore be keenly scrutinized and most of them rejected in the national interest.

If the 70% of draconian provisions in the proposed amendments are not rejected, they will certainly be received as a pleasant Christmas message by the Al Shabab. The Bill tells the Al Shabab that their attacks have paid off. They have forced the Government of Kenya to prepare legal measures that will undermine much of the gains brought by the 2010 Constitution to make Kenya a more free and democratic society. The Government has capitulated and opted to redesign the Kenyan State on the very oppressive and repressive form preferred by the Al Shabab – from a constitutional democratic state to a national security state or a Police State.

We must all resist this intended gift to the Al Shabaab.

Thank you very much.

Merry Christmas.

God bless you all and God bless our country.

Mbugua Mureithi

Advocate

(Jurist of the Year, 2014)

11th December 2014

(Serena Hotel, Nairobi)

A quick nip through the Intel Tech Bonanza

Larry Madowo

Larry Madowo pitched the heck out of the bonanza

The Intel Tech Bonanza. I couldn’t escape that event. Larry Madowo on his Friday show The Trend on NTV ensured that we knew about it as we saw celebs like Wambui Kunga of Elani kicking his butt in video games. Or a musician guy (I can’t for the life of me remember his name) trying to figure the parts of the body in biology using the some other Intel influenced gadgetry.

So there I was walking into the Sarit Centre on Sunday to check out the bonanza. Unlike the other exhibition type events that we are familiar with at the centre there were very few exhibitors. It was a very few folks who were doing their thing. In one corner, there was the gaming area where one could play using the latest console. I am not and have never pretended to have any interest in games so I ignored this place. So I started checking out what was happening in there. My usual style is to quickly look around and then settle on the places I want to concentrate on. This was the one exhibition that failed to give me this luxury. As soon as I was in the general area of a stand I was approached and the people started making a pitch for me to check out the amazingness of their product and this kind of put me off. I wanted to take my time looking at products, THEN ask for assistance if I need it. I don’t know if there were few people at this gig so each visitor had to be pressed.

A birds eye view of the Intel Tech Bonanza

A birds eye view of the Intel Tech Bonanza

There were some brilliant things on their in spite of my gripe of being hassled. If you wanted to but a laptop this was the place to be as some of the machines on offer were amazing. At really reasonable prices. Acer, HP and the rest of them were in there looking very buyable.

There were also the biggest hypeman of them all DNG doing some hyping and giving products out at some unique raffle.

Ultimately, I left the event a bit earlier that I would have like to. Lets hope that next year, assuming there is one then, there are more crowds so that I could do my stuff in a leisurely manner.

If you missed out you can check out more images at the Intel Tech Facebook page here where they have Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

 

Kenyans populate New African’s 100 Most Influential African list

Dazzling Diana

Dazzling Diana

The New African magazine has announced it’s most 100 influential Africans of 2014 and the list has given us the list of the most influential Africans in politics, media, the arts, activism and the like. It has many cool people on it. Some are there as a sort of “usual suspects” and a reminder that they are still alive – I’m looking at you Archbishop Desmond “Deputy Jesus” Tutu as well as new names like Trevor Noah.

There are fourteen Kenyans amongst the list Africa’s 100 most Influential. At top of the list is our #HashtagPresident President Uhuru Kenyatta. He became president last year and has gone to be one of the most talked about African leaders in recent times. I would add Fatou Bensouda here although her entry is because she spends so much thinking about getting the Kenyan leader (into jail).

Also in there is Lupita Nyong’o whose failure to appear on the list would have invalidated the list as it’s not very often we get an African winning an Oscar and then conquering the fashion world with awesome gowns.

In the same fashion space is Diana Opoti whose 100 Days of African Fashion made her an instant legend in African fashion circles as she showed off a new outfit for three months and ten days straight.

Totally Tabitha

Totally Tabitha

Talking about legends how about that Tabitha Karanja of Keroche Breweries getting into a space that SAB Miller, in its previous incarnation as SABL, was famously was kicked out of by dominant Kenyan player EABL. She is there as a business influential.’ Incidentally she also recently won businesswoman of the year somewhere else. Wicked.

Then there is Boniface Mwangi who promised to leave street protests to the next generation and then discovered that it wasn’t such a good idea as the #HastagPresident and his digital government was really making a mockery of running our country. Also in there is Jimmy Chuchu who became initially famous as a member of weird band Just-A-Band but also did a documentary that not all Kenyans are against “gayism” as there is a community of living and breathing “Ngays.” There is also Ory Okolloh who is very influential with her IT thing.

Cool Calestous

Cool Calestous

Scientist Calestous Juma is one of the coolest chaps out there and he made the list. The Harvard professor and director of the Gates Foundation funded Innovation In Africa Project is a very cool chap if you were to follow him on twitter.

The writers were also in there with Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Binyavanga Wainaina and Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor. And cartoonist Godfrey “Gado” Mwapwemba of the cartoons that annoy and the XYZ show.

Then there is the YouTube athlete Julius Yego. His claim to fame is being a Kenyan who is winning medals for such a strange discipline as javelin. I mean who know that people could win medals from throwing a piece of metal? Next you will hear Kenyans entering the shot put. Or the high jump. A more common influential athlete for a Kenyan is Denis Kimetto who broke the marathon world record in Berlin earlier in the year.

Congo’s Fatima Beyina-Moussa named President of the African Airlines Association

New AFRAA President Fatima Beyina-Moussa

New AFRAA President Fatima Beyina-Moussa

While we celebrate Kenya Airways on appointing two female board members, the rest of he continents airline industry is way ahead. The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has chosen Mrs Fatima Beyina-Moussa the Managing Director of ECAir (Equatorial Congo Airlines) as its President. She has headed the national airline of the Republic of the Congo since its creation in 2011.
Speaking at the conference the highlight qualified new president of the AFRAA spoke on her recent involvement in the industry. “In three years, we have been on a journey with our company,” says she said, “We have trained many Congolese people in aviation trades and our network is growing, along with our fleet. AFRAA represents continuity and complementarity. It is an excellent opportunity to promote our air transport policy and to stimulate discussions with our partners.”
The next edition of AFRAA will be hosted in Brazzaville, Congo under the auspices of the national airline of the Republic of the Congo, ECAir next November.

 

Thoughts on the Tusker Jenga Game promotion

Joseph Kadenge: This gentlemen won't convince me to go to the stadium

Joseph Kadenge: This gentlemen won’t convince me to go to the stadium

EABL’s current promotion for their Tusker brand is something called “Jenga Game” (build the game) which is meant to drive people back to sports stadia. The concept is very welcome as going to see a live match is still unheard of in many sporting disciplines. The football and rugby people are the ones who get the bulk of the people who attend matches and even there it is specific clubs who get the bulk of supporters. They include Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Harlequins (no longer the lip balm boys), Impala and Mwamba aka Kulabu. So every little help to get people out of the bars where they are making Arsenal Vs Man United, a mid table clash in England, trend on twitter and into Kenya sports arenas is appreciated.

My only concern is with the spokesmen that they chose to drive their campaign. The clever people at EABL sad down and opted for tried and trusted folks to run their campaign like former Harambee Stars captain Musa Otieno, legendary footballer Joseph “Kadenge na mpira” Kadenge and rugby player Lavin Asego. The adverts that we have been watching on TV have them reminiscing about their glory days on the pitch and how they were excited by the support of the fans so you too should go out and “jenga game.”

I understand why they used these names as they have name recognition where Kenyans are concerned and would theoretically appeal to us easier. Unfortunately, when you go out to the stadium you are unlikely to know the people who you are likely to be supporting if you follow these veterans advice. With this move Tusker misses out on a valuable opportunity to show us the current stars of the game so that when we go out we will immediately recognise an Andrew Amonde, a Dan Sserunkuma or a Jacob Keli as they ply their trade.

Please don’t give me a story about they are unheard so might not bring the fans to the terraces. Tusker Project Fame, one of the most celebrated reality TV shows in the country, is designed with the idea of unknowns getting the limelight. You can make big names from nobodies (sorry if you are a nobody and you consider yourself a somebody) if you put your mind to it. You however give potential fans watching those adverts the impression that the game has never moved on. You are telling them that there are no new crowd favourites if we have to stick with players who last plied their trade in the twentieth century to appeal to them.

These volleyball queens win trophies. Use one them.

These volleyball queens win trophies. Use one them.

Then there is the use of only guys. Come on. In the last few Olympics women have been giving us just as much glory as the men so you can tell me that you can’t find at least one woman to have on your campaign. If you can convince our athletes then you can go with the volleyball queen or those hottie Orange Telkom hockey babes. You have no excuse in 2014 to run a campaign with only men in Kenya for a mass market product. Especially one that Tusker considers itself to be.

A review of Love Brewed in an African Pot by Kwaw Ansah

Love-brewed-in-an-African-potLegendary Ghanaian movie producer director Kwaw Ansah was in town for a movie festival recently. His biggest claim to fame in these parts is the 1981 movie Love Brewed in the African Pot. The visit of the producer reminded me about how much my mum loved the movie since she watched in when it was first screened in Nairobi in the early eighties at the Nairobi Cinema. She loved it so much that she always made a point to go to the theatre whenever they screened it again which tended to happen at least once a year. Her two yearly arts related habits are thus reading Pride and Prejudice that Jane Austen classic and watching Love Brewed in the African Pot.

If you want to enjoy the movie you can watch it now as it is available online for free on your tube. How cool is that? One hour and fifty seven minutes of movie that I can watch from the comfort of my computer. This I did and I was impressed. The movie is about Aba, a young woman born to privilege who falls in love with the son of a fisherman. That’s the story in a nutshell really; random dude who can’t even read gets to fall in love with a girl way out of his league and luckily for him she accepts his “love” and they marry. That theoretically should be end of the tale but we all know that this is never so when watching movies from our continent.

Aba’s parents especially her dad were hoping that their pretty daughter would marry the son of a prominent man who was a lawyer. The family of said lawyer had already approached Aba’s family seeking her hand as they do in such movies (and in real life sometimes I have heard). She rejects the advances and goes for her fisherman’s son who is a mechanic’s apprentice and marries him and they start living the simple life. She starts sewing clothes to help generate extra income and gets pregnant. Happily ever after surely? Nope.

First the lawyer dude who was rejected decides to opt for the stalking option and starts following the young woman Aba around trying to convince him to get back with him. Even though he knows she is a married woman. Psycho. In one of lawyer dudes unsuccessful approaches Joe sees the two engrossed in talk and the simple man loses it accusing his wife of cheating on him and disowning his child to be. He heads to the bar to catch a few pints and his wife unwisely follows him to ask him to return home; he says no and hurls her to the ground in anger and of course she loses her child. Sob. On returning from the hospital where her beloved Joe never visited, she encounters the stalker lawyer and she pelts him with tomatoes (food fights in an African themed movie from 1981 – how revolutionary). More bad things happen to her and she is eventually has to get the double treatment for her ills. First a witchdoctor cures her of the bad spirits and then she lands in the looney bin as she needs her hubby. He eventually comes to the rescue. Late bastard.

The movie was extremely enjoyable to watch with some very cool visuals in many areas with the beach scene where Joe shows his strength coming quickly to mind. In this scene, the men of the beach sit in a semi circle and those who felt the strongest would challenge whoever was in the centre to a pushing contest like with the Sumo people. The battle is very congenial with everyone singing and clapping rhythmically including the wrestlers which kind of takes away the sting of the battling. Then there were the dream sequences with the father visualizing his daughter being married to the most eligible dude in the land. It was a mite surreal that visual. Also in the surreal territory was the scenes of witches that were haunting the girl Aba.

Her father had wanted her to marry someone from her league and she of course chose her preferred mate who proved her dad right as he was a spineless no good dude who couldn’t even believe his wife when she had told him that she was only with him. Punk. He really deserved the pain and she didn’t poor child.

I recommend you watch this movie. There are some very dark scenes you have to navigate and there are some scenes that are not necessary, film editors weren’t that glorified in those days and there was no HD, but it shows Ghana in the late seventies/early eighties and you want to see that. The older you are the more likely to enjoy it.
You can watch the movie yourself below.

Airtel Kenya appoints Titus Naikuni Chairman, journos synchronise watches

ef03fBharti Airtel, has just announced the appointment of Titus Naikuni as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Airtel Kenya. Dr Naikuni’s most recent full time job was at the group CEO of Kenya Airways.

It’s a big statement from the Mombasa Road based firm which has been dealing with some serious competition from the leading firm on the other side of town. Hopefully the company which has the best products in Kenya’s mobile environment right now, in my opinion, will start showing my countrymen the real deal.

Commenting on the appointment, Christian de Faria, CEO – Airtel Africa, said: “We are pleased to have Dr. Naikuni on the Board. His wealth of experience will add immense value to the Board and provide strategic guidance to our operations in Kenya, to enable Airtel gain an important place in the Telecom sector in the country.”

Titus Naikuni: please note the watch journos

Titus Naikuni: please note the watch journos

You can expect to see a change within Airtel Kenya going forward from now on I suspect. And you expect to see journalists who attend press conferences for the firm getting there bang on time as Titus Naikuni has not time for tardy journos. Synchronise your watches ladies and gentlemen journos.

“Kenya’s newest billionaire Peter Nduati” articles are coming

edmpcResolution Insurance have a new moneybags investor; Leapfrog investments. The company will be investing KSh 1.68b ($US18.7m) for a majority stake in Resolution Insurance, through its holding company, Resolution Health East Africa Limited.

LeapFrog Investments is the world’s largest dedicated private equity investor in emerging markets financial services. The group’s portfolio of companies currently reaches over 22 million people across 16 countries. It also has investments in insurance underwriters and distributors in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and India. Resolution Health East Africa Limited is the holding company for leading East African general insurer Resolution Insurance with operations in Kenya and Tanzania and in partnership with IAA-Resolution in Uganda.

The new investment makes sense to Leapfrog as they get to get a foothold in the East African regions burgeoning insurance sector estimated to be worth KSh 180 billion (US$2 billion) and growing. In fact LeapFrog partner Dominic Liber said of the connection: “Resolution is a strong and growing business, with an exceptional management team. In a short time, Resolution has grown to become Kenya’s fourth largest health insurer and positioned itself as a rising star in East Africa’s fast-expanding health insurance space. Our investment positions Resolution to take the next leap in its growth, and we look forward to working with them to expand their reach in health insurance and beyond.”

Shock as Peter Nduati looks like a normal breathing human being

Shock as Peter Nduati looks like a normal breathing human being

Resolution CEO, Peter Nduati was equally chuffed with the new proceedings and stated; “We are excited to partner with LeapFrog for our next stage of growth. We believe that LeapFrog’s dedicated operational investing approach, strong track record in health insurance, and emerging consumer expertise will add tremendous value. Importantly, LeapFrog shares our entrepreneurial ethos and commitment to financial inclusion.”

The concern is that with the Kshs1.6 billion injected where Nduati is a majority shareholder you can expect to see many news outlets running with “the newest billionaire in the Kenyan streets” story. Expect magazine covers on Management, quirky Business Daily profiles with Jackson Biko (Update: Its been done already), profiles on the business segments of KTN, NTV and Citizen. Also CNBC. Then the social websites Mpasho, Ghalfa et al will start serving you blogs like, “Shock as Billionaire Peter Nduati seen eating mutura at Njugunas!” The gist of that post will be that it is surprising that such a rich man would stoop so low when he should be eating only at Caramel. Another headline would be “Shock as Kenyan Billionaire seen dancing with ratchets (Photos| NSWF)!” (Apologies but those blogs love using the word “shock” with the thesaurus on their computers having been disabled) When you click like you do you will see the guy dancing on stage at Blankets and Wine or Koroga. It’s going to be epic. You heard it here first.

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