Of President Uhuru And The Meat Of The Matter

 

President Idi Amin Dada went to the Buckingham Palace for lunch with Queen Elizabeth of England. After the lavish affair, he stood up to show his gratitude on behalf of his delegation and the people of Uganda. “Her Majesty the Queen. Thank you for your hospitality. I am now thoroughly fed up! When you come to Uganda, I will revenge!”

President Uhuru’s recent witty comeback at Raila Odinga during former politician William Ole Ntimama’s funeral was in the same vein of joke, told at another’s expense.

Kumeza mate sio kula nyama … sisi ndiyo tumekikalia hiki kiti, kwa hivyo nyinyi mezeni mate na sisi tutakula nyama, hatuna haraka.”

(Lusting over meat is not the same as eating meat…we are occupying the seat, so keep lusting as we eat the meat, we are not in hurry).

Those simple words coated with a thick layer of privilege define the great rift between the disregard of the ruling class and the frustrations of the trodden masses.

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The Unofficial Expatriate Guide To Kenia

You finally got your dream posting to Kenya and you cannot wait to post pictures of your first Safari adventure in the Kenyan savannah. You bought a copy of Obama’s “Dreams of My Father” and finished it on the plane to Nairobi. The excitement as you step off the aircraft onto Kenyan soil is palpable.  You loved “Out Of Africa”, bet on Kenya to win the 3000m steeplechase at every Olympic game and think Lupita Nyong’o is absolutely gorgeous. You can feel the connection and cannot wait to visit the Maasai Mara to meet a real moran and the Kibera slums.

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Why Did He Jump And Check Out Like That?

To commemorate the 15th anniversary of September 11th  2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre, in New York, Esquire magazine, ran a captivating piece titled The Falling Man. It was a haunting long essay inspired by a blurry photograph of an unknown man plunging to his death in seemingly peaceful resignation to his fate. The unidentified man appeared relaxed dropping headlong, one leg folded, his white jacket splayed out, both hands aligned to his sides, in symmetry with the architectural structural lines running down the Towers.

The Falling Man was one in a series of photographs taken by Richard Drew, a veteran Associated Press photographer who caught the mass horror, of tens of Americans jumping to their death after the first plane hit the North Tower. The pictures of the jumpers were quickly censored in mainstream US for the obvious trauma that would be borne by the families of the victims. Conservative records estimate that 7-8 percent of the victims of the 9 11 terrorist attack, jumped or fell to their deaths to escape the burning towers.  Richard Drew’s Fallen Man picture became an iconic tribute to the unidentified victims who jumped.

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OH My! What A Guy! The Many Facets of Being Jeff Koinange

Jeff Koinange is without a doubt, Kenya’s most celebrated journalist. As host of the popular JKL show  on KTN TV his industry remains unmatched and his ability to find connection with all types of people has elevated Jeff to an undisputed position, as a voice of influence in our times.

Jeff was the first African in history to win an Emmy and notably the first African to win a Peabody, and the first African National to be awarded a Vernon Jarrett and the Prix Bayeux.

The “Bench” a moniker for Jeff Koinange’s JKL show hosted by Kenya Television Network has become an institution warranting the title “the voice”. It is where talent is unearthed. It is where issues of contention get aired providing a weekly catharsis for dedicated viewers. The “Bench” helps us by constantly calibrating national events and contextualizing issues, thereby birthing a more informed audience.  The bench will clock 9 years in November 2016 and it has provided a platform to more than 3000 guests. This is what is considered good journalism.

But it what does it take to consistently operate at this high level? Does Jeff have a life outside the bench?

 I invited Jeff to my bench and this is what he had to say…

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Fear Of A Cool President

You have heard it repeatedly that the unveiling of the cabinet secretary nominees was refreshing. No protocols were observed and President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto relaxed demeanour was the major talking point. Their matching dress code, informal speech delivery and openness overshadowed the debate on the credibility of the nominees.  We are not used to a president dressing down during a live state function.

Traditionally, presidents only lost the suit when they went to the coast. I have to admit, they looked cool and cool sells.

It is quite obvious that they are big Obama fans. Ever since the Obama effect took over America, many Kenyans have behaved like jilted lovers who felt dumped. “That should have been our president!”

Invariably, there has been a secret longing for a cool president and Uhuru and Ruto joined at hip like Siamese twins are bleeding the prospect for all its worth. Uhuru’s casualness, calling journalists by name, inviting them to tea had the media corps gushing.

When you have lived through the stereotypical African big men presidents, Uhuru and Ruto’s buddy swagger in public engagement becomes something of mouth gaping spectacle.

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