Most people I have spoken to find the much-vaunted Building Bridges Initiative report underwhelming and shoddily written. But you would have to be unaware of the mediocrity on which the Kenyan government is run to be disappointed by such a report.
I have read the document several times since the government released it last week with great fanfare, whereby our so-called leaders publicly fondled their own tummies (and even crudely kept touching themselves inappropriately) in total satisfaction with the designs they had for themselves at the expense of their weakened rivals and the rest of the nation.
The report has no poetic value, except in one instance in which it alludes to Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Caitaani Mutharaba-ini (Devil on the Cross) and, like the character Gatuiria in the novel, urges us to compose a “complex song of many voices” that celebrates the diversity of our nation. Then it lapses into contradictory verbiage about purity while pretending to abjure family and ethnic bloodlines.
Although my English isn’t all that good, I expect a presidential task force such as the one that wrote that BBI thing to know the difference between “this” and “these”. But because the report wasn’t meant to be better than a Primary Class Five composition titled “What I’d Like to be When I Grow Up”, I am happy to state that I like the thing the way it is. It reflects the low intellectual capacity of the clowns in charge of our country’s affairs and the public that follows them blindly.
The cocktail of malice, incompetence, and negative energy in our government is just out of this world. Maybe you haven’t come face to face with the animal species called a Kenyan government official. I have. When I was a young lecturer at the University of Nairobi at the cusp of the new millennium, a junior government spy (now a senior NIS mandarin) tried to trap me into some sort of a sex scandal. I don’t know what he’d have achieved from his efforts.
Pretending to be a love-struck female student of mine, he created a fake email account, through which the said girl sent me love letters, saying she couldn’t concentrate in my classes because I was “way too cute”. Could we meet behind the bushes in the evening and talk a little bit more about “the pleasure principle” (the Freudian notion that we instinctively seek pleasure and avoid pain to satisfy biological and psychological needs)?
Vivian, for that was the alleged girl’s name, repeated many times in her emails that she liked me because of my looks (my mirror told a different story but Vivian sounded like she had MRI eyes that could see my inner beauty). She added that my “no-nonsense” newspaper articles had swept her off her feet. Could we please meet behind the …?
Phallic symbols, my favourites ever, are references that recall male privates (such as a “whistle”, used a whole 22 times in the BBI report, and “root”, used 14 times). They subliminally remind us of masculine dominance of our society.
Because the launch of the report was largely a phallic affair, in which male politicians displayed their virility to the nation, women were given secondary roles at the function. In fact, their mention in some sections of the report is cosmetic.
When airing and archiving the event, the media followed suit in gender bias. The speeches by governors Charity Ngilu and Anne Waiguru have not been given as much airplay as the nonsense by male politicians. In live coverage, the centre stage of the event (the spaces next to the President, the MC, and their stand-fixed phallic microphones) were occupied by men.
When the cameras zoomed out slightly, the only woman we could see on the dais was to the right side of the TV screen. To make matters worse, her head was covered by the media house logo in all cases; we could only see her red skirt and black handbag. In effect, women were not supposed to use their brains at the launch. Their duty was to jeer the faction that supposedly threatened the phallic superiority of their paymasters.
I was born on December 26 a few decades ago. I would have been thrilled if the BBI task force had renamed that day for my dog Sigmund: Sigmund Day. The report proposes that we call it National Culture Day, ostensibly because “Boxing Day” is not African. This is very true. Let me emphasise that Christmas and Easter are “autochthonous” African concepts, to use one of the new words, used four times in the report, the task force taught me.
Say it after me again: autochthonous (indigenous rather than descended from migrants). Actually, it’s only that you’re too daft to notice this fact: the report is not in English but some “autochthonous” Kenyan language.
Seriously, though, very little in Kenya is autochthonous, except in relation to an imaginary notion of putative European colonialists or some other “foreign” ethnic communities we’d like to expel from our lands one day. We are a largely heterochthonous nation, with people who have immigrated from different parts of Africa and the rest of the world. Indeed, the illusion of ethnic and national purity the term suggests is the cause of most conflicts in the world.
After my first reading, I wanted to propose that we change Boxing Day to Hangover Day to capture the effects of our Christmas Day bingeing. But I almost immediately remembered that Kenyans, including our so-called leaders, don’t have to wait for Christmas to enjoy their tipple. We are shamelessly drunk even at public functions, and it is no wonder that nothing seems to work in this country.
Maybe because we are “autochthonous” Africans, remaining backward is our business. Written by mostly Judeo-Christian conservatives who don’t care about the contemporary issues progressive Kenyan youths are interested in (e.g., population control, climate change, and the rights of sexual minorities), the report is enamoured of biological procreation and the heteronormative family unit. It even asks the President to include “the state of the family” in his parliamentary speeches.
In support of this procreation initiative, my dog Sigmund and I yesterday agreed that we should jointly propose making November 7 the Bedroom Day in honour of the recent Kibra by-election, though he now prefers an “autochthonous” name for the day: twa twa twa. The mongrel also wants to be baptised Autochthonous by one of the BBI bishops.
The report preaches a “bottom-up” approach to Kenyan problems, but it follows old-fashioned ethnographic methods, in which the names of respondents are elided. To the elites who wrote the report, the individuality of lowly respondents means nothing. Unnamed, they could well be fictional. Going through the report, you would think you were reading Jomo Kenyatta’s Facing Mount Kenya (1938) or the condescending books of Jomo’s racist teacher, Bronislaw Malinowski.
As the report wasn’t meant to yield anything of value in the first place, it is better to do ourselves a favour and come to terms with the fact that we have been taken for a ride once again and it might be too late to do anything about it.
The report’s aim is to discourage us from seeking fundamental political or social change by pretending to offer avenues for transformation. It suggests that we should continue assuaging demagogues among our political class, so unlike in 2007 they don’t burn us alive in churches, stoke ethnic violence in political rallies in the run-up to the polls, or organise retaliatory attacks by youths who would then be all snuffed out to cover up crimes against humanity.
Singer speaks after attacking lover at WCB signee Zuchu’s star-studded concert
56 minutes ago
On 18 July, there was fanfare at the Mlimani City Hall in Dar es Salaam as WCB signee Zuchu held a thanksgiving concert months after her debut EP, I Am Zuchu. The event dubbed ‘Ahsante Nashukuru’ mainly featured performances by artistes from the WCB stable and attracted the whos-who in the Tanzanian entertainment and political scenes.
However, singer Gigy Money who also performed made the headlines for the wrong reasons after getting into a scuffle with her lover during the much-publicised concert.
READ ALSO: I was bewitched by a friend – Gigy Money
Peaceful arrival, later chaos
Moments earlier, Gigy and her Nigerian man were seen arriving arm in arm at the event whose highlight featured Zuchu receiving a brand new car from WCB head honcho Diamond Platnumz. Donning matching outfits, the couple was spotted on the red carpet as the paparazzi scrambled to capture the moment. However, all hell breaks loose later and viral videos depict the visibly angered Nigerian arguing with a bouncer at the entrance. After a tense confrontation, Gigy’s man is seen being led by the screaming bouncer towards the exit. Shortly after, a similarly irritated Gigy emerges and follows the pair.
“Gigy! Wewe Gigy wewe!” a woman in the background is heard dissuading the singer from pursuing them but the singer pays no heed and heads for the pair.
“You want to beat me?” the boyfriend is heard asking an approaching Gigy as the bouncer acts as a barrier between them. The bouncer manages to steer the incensed man towards the exit as Gigy follows behind, hurling obscenities.
At some point, a barefoot Gigy turns into a sprint before throwing one of her shoes which hits the man who then responds with an insult. Another bouncer finally intervenes and the two are separated. Gigy then asks for her vehicle so she can head home before warning the press against sharing videos of the incident.
Though the cause of their tiff is still unknown Gigy later made reference to the shocking incident in a social media post, hinting that alcohol had a part to play in the fracas. In another post, Gigy shared a photo alongside her estranged lover writing: “My mad man looked handsome before his demons arose and mine arose too.”
‘Running over Ali Kiba’
Gigy is not new controversy and recently said she’d run over her ex, singer Ali Kiba for breaking her heart.
“I will knock all of them down, I mean I will kill them. In fact, I will flatten them like chapatis. The first person I will knock down and kill is Ali Kiba. Actually, I don’t need a weak car, I need a Fuso so that when I knock him down I will be sure he doesn’t survive,” Gigy told Ayo TV.
Dating Kiba brothers
Gigy had in the past admitted to dating both Ali Kiba and his younger brother, Abdu Kiba. She solely laid the blame on Chekecha singer for pursuing her despite knowing that she’d been with his younger brother. Abdu expressed being heartbroken after learning the two had a fling, prompting him to marry.
“I was very hurt on hearing that Ali was dating Gigy Money because I dated her first before she became famous. But it’s alleged that Ali didn’t know. It hurt me for a while till when I married,” said Abdu.
Defunct Nairobi County Council Nurses Go On Strike, Citing Discrimination By The Government
Why Jahmby Kokai is happy her TV anchor dream never came true
37 minutes ago
Popular media personality Jahmby Koikai narrated how her first attempt at auditioning as a TV host backfired and she was sent home on the first day of the audition. Reliving her prime days, Jahmby narrated how she was determined to follow her dream of becoming a news anchor after completing her degree.
“There was a reality show that was running on one major TV channel here in Kenya, searching for the next top news anchor. I’ve always had the knack for news. At the time, I was working at Metro FM. Walked to my boss and asked him if he was ok with me participating in this competition. He agreed to it.
“Auditions were at Film Studios. The queue stretched all the way to the showground. I was at the back kabisa. Imagine 300 people before you. Then we got the briefing paper and it indicated, ‘no persons with experience in a media house allowed to participate in this audition’. Mimi Jahmby Koikai, nirudi home after watu 300 kukuwa mbele yangu?” she posed.
According to the endometriosis survivor, she went ahead to audition for the position despite the warning and was the first contestant to be sent packing.
“So I stayed in line until I got to the audition room. The judges were a few people I was in campus with. I felt a wave of despair. Like I’m here auditioning, yet my classmates will be judging me? I did my thing and I was considered. We got into the house and we were assigned to different groups. I was the group leader and we won the challenge. Later that evening, we were driven back to Film Studios for a briefing. The presenter of the show said some of us have to go home.
“My name was called out first amongst other great people. We were dropped home. I cried. It felt like I’d lost such a great opportunity. My mom and late grandma were so sad cos they loved to watch me do the news,” she narrated.
Later, Jahmby auditioned for another TV opportunity only to miss out as well.
“Then came another opportunity over 10 years ago, I saw a TV ad and decided to apply for the news anchor position. I didn’t get the job.”
However, due to endometriosis, Jahmby was forced to put her dreams on hold and concentrate on getting better. According to her, it is as though God had better plans for her and is grateful to not have gotten the jobs.
“I battled severe endometriosis in silence for over 19 years. I think of how engaging the newsroom is and I’m grateful I wasn’t in that space. I’d have utilized all my sick-leaves and off-days and just declared redundant.”
There was a reality show that was running on one major TV channel here in Kenya, searching for the next top news anchor. I’ve always had the knack for news. At the time, I was working at Metro Fm. Walked to my boss and asked him if he was ok with me participating in this competition. He agreed to it. Auditions were at Film Studios. The queue stretched all the way to the showground. I was at the back kabisa. Imagine 300 people before you. Then we got the briefing paper and it indicated, ‘no persons with experience in a media house allowed to participate in this audition’. Mimi Jahmby Koikai, nirudi home after watu 300 kukuwa mbele yangu? Nikasema zi. So I stayed in line until I got to the audition room. The judges were a few people I was in campus with. I felt a wave of despair. Like I’m here auditioning, yet my classmates will be judging me? I did my thing and I was considered. We got into the house and we were assigned to different groups. I was the group leader and we won the challenge. Later that evening, we were driven back to Film Studios for a briefing. The presenter of the show said, some of us have to go home. My name was called out first amongst other great people. We were dropped home. I cried. It felt like I’d lost such a great opportunity. My mom and late grandma were so sad cos they loved to watch me do the news. Then came another opportunity over 10years ago, I saw a TV ad and decided to apply for the news anchor position. As you see in this pic, I got my hair done at Ralph’s Hair Salon, new suit etc. I didn’t get the job. After KBC, I never got to anchor the news again. I’m grateful I did not get the job even though I felt dejected at the time. I battled severe Endometriosis in silence for over 19years. I think of how engaging the newsroom is and I’m grateful I wasn’t in that space. I’d have utilised all my sick-leaves and off-days and just declared redundant. There are many people like me who are bound by chronic illness and cannot do the things they love. I share your pain. But there’s hope. I’m grateful to God for His reminder that He will restore to you all the years that the locusts have eaten. Also Jer 29:11