Tag Archives: Kenya

Lessons from Huddah Monroe vs Joe Muchiri Tweef, #JoeVsHuddah

While nations like Guatemala, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya among others have successfully changed regimes through twitter, in Kenya, some grown adults struggle to add positively to this nation’s development agenda.

To them, a person’s contribution to society should only be limited to how sufficiently philanthropic one is willing to churn out crude words among other assortment of controversies.

Let me explain…

Earlier this week on twitter, we were treated to a circus that bordered plain insanity. It was hard to tell whether we were in a zoo of apes or human beings and for a second, I almost believed the evolution theory.

Lessons from Huddah Monroe vs Joe Muchiri Tweef, #JoeVsHuddah

A popular radio producer raised a question concerning the career of a lady who is popular in social scenes. The response he got was made of undiluted arrogance and outright inanity. How do you flood social media with your filtered images yet when someone talks about them, it becomes personal? As is said in Africa, a pretty face and fine clothes do not make a character.

The urban dictionary defines a socialite as:

“Someone who has money and doesn’t work, instead devoting his/her life to being “socially active.” They go to parties, gather media attention, and essentially “work” at being popular. This often comes at the expense of any meaningful contribution to society or culture.”
The allure of easy fame has driven many to abandon reason. Some have gone to desperate and extreme lengths just so that they might be in the limelight. You see, we will soon part irreconcilable with the days where success is about brilliance and hard work and one is celebrated based on the meaningful contribution they make to society. A new invention that solves human problems or an athletic ability that defies odds will be frowned upon.

Excellence in academics or awards in arts and music will be pedestrian. We will hopelessly begin to search for days when we rewarded an impeccable character that is beyond reproach and questioning. You see, those days are almost gone.
It’s extremely regrettable when people whom God has given abilities choose to abandon all that and travel the thorny, bumpy road of controversy. Instead of harnessing the mental power, they have surrendered to using fleeting looks to attract vain fame. And that’s what happens when you lower the definition of success to a point where sluts can easily access tools for cleansing their reputation through flashy images and an illusion of success on social media.

We know the profession you are involved in; a high-end trade of the flesh!! What is particularly sad is the fact that in the past, such acts were deemed to be too disgraceful to even imagine. They could only be carried out by the most shameless miscreants and even then, such people had to operate under the cover of darkness. But now, yellow journalism has sanitized the “world’s oldest trade”, dragged it into the limelight, glorified it through entertainment blogs and made it a noble career option.

Galatians 6:8

“For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap. For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

The values that built the foundation of this nation and spurred it to economic growth shall soon feel the full and final impact of the hammer of extinction. The end justifies the means, by whatever means possible, seems to be our widely accepted motto. Irreducible minimums for proper socially acceptable conduct are deemed uncool by some myopic individuals who lives for the moment. Wisdom has fallen by the wayside and manners are about to make a swift exit.

It becomes a national disaster when mainstream media glorify no apparent personal achievement apart from scandals, at the expense of those who rightfully deserve the limelight for their noble contribution in society. Instead of educating the nation about vision 2030, socialites now chart a discourse for national dialog. Where are the moral sentinels? How then do we expect to stir Kenyans to greatness if the content that excites us is that of junk? For a meager amount, one is willing to flash their dignity down the toilet and we regard them as ‘celebrities.’

And I close with a Nigerian Proverb,

“And If there is a character, ugliness becomes beauty; if there is none, beauty becomes ugliness.”

Follow the write @dannishodongo

Check out his blog: dannish.co.ke

The views and opinions expressed on this article are solely those of the author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Capital Group, Capital FM Staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Don’t Waste Your Struggle, #DontWasteYourStruggle

It has been 28 years since I was delivered on this earth and breathed its air in a midwife’s humble house somewhere in a little village called Ongeche in Kano plains. When I gave my first cry, I was flagged off to begin the race of life and the only guarantee was that it was going to be full of many uncertainties. And so the journey began. Born in a humble family, my mother converted the clothes she wore to a wrapping shawl so that I could be covered. The luxury of pampers and napkins were too superior for my humble butt.

Photo Courtesy: http://www.maierandmaierphotography.com

Photo Courtesy: http://www.maierandmaierphotography.com

The journey has been characterized with many ups and down. Swimming my way to school 2 kilometers away because of the floods and eating rice with its husks past midnight having waited for my mom to come back from the rice fields 5 KMs away. From putting sugar cane in tea because we couldn’t afford sugar, to eating plain kunde and mrenda for lunch because we had to balance the ratio of flour vis a vis when we wanted the luxury to eat a complete meal.

After sitting for my KCPE, an admission to Lela Secondary school was secured and I reported. While the normal practice for many students revolves around shopping and being able to choose the school they want to attend, mine was different. My brother, who was 10 years older than me surrendered his shoes to me so that I could use them for school. Herding neighbors’ cows over the weekend for a meager amount for pocket money was routine.

Four years later, overwhelmed with hunger and deprived of energy, I stepped into the KCSE examinations room because we had slept on an empty stomach the previous night. I questioned the relevance of education in my life and if at all it was necessary. The 2 pairs of uniforms that had been bought for me when I was admitted in high school were the same ones I finished high school with.

But my life took a detour on 28th February 2007 when I gave my life to Christ. And my perspectives changed. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt from my life:

Don’t waste the struggle

Regardless of what you have gone through; a terminal illness, poverty, hunger, death of loved ones, loneliness, lost investments, addictions among other painful experiences, you must understand that as fire is to diamond and gold, trials, and tribulations are meant to purify us. While we are in the midst of the storm, things might not be clear but once the storm subsides, its value becomes clearer. Therefore do not lose faith in the storm, do not give up along the way, do not throw in the towel because if you do, the current pain you are feeling would have been wasted. As Maya Angelou once said,

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

God is good

One of the questions that many of us have asked is this; if God is good, then why is there so much pain in the world? And that’s a justified question that I asked on October 10th 2010 when I lost my brother in a terrible road accident, he was only 25 years old. Recently, I lost a good friend who was only 22 years old, she had just completed her undergraduate studies at Daystar University and she was waiting to graduate on 27th June 2015 (Read her story here).

Yet in the midst of all these questions, one fact remains; God is good. He has sustained me in my lowest moments, he has bound my broken heart when the spears of pain threatened its very existence, He has been a faithful friend who sticks closer than a brother, He has wiped away every tear from my eyes, He has amazed me by his constant provisions and favor. He has forgiven my sins and wiped away my transgressions, my cup overflows with his goodness; He has poured on me the oil of gladness and given me a double portion for what I lost. I don’t have the right qualifications to be working for the leading radio station in Kenya, neither do I have the right background for the job I currently have. I don’t think I had the right qualifications and money to take me through a degree program in Daystar University, arguably one the best Universities in Kenya.

But God’s favor can take a lame man and make him dine with kings. He can take a reject and make him acceptable before men. He can take a man from obscurity to prominence. He can take a village boy and plant him right in the state house. And that’s the God I serve, he specializes in doing what no man can do. That which has been declared impossible by men, he makes it look like child’s play.

Be Patient

For a while now, I’ve been struggling to find meaning and relevance in my job. I’ve been feeling like I’m in a career maze and finding my way out has been seemingly impossible. I’ve been feeling trapped in a career that I don’t see myself pursuing in the long run. I have tried my hand in numerous things [to get out of this maze], but it seems like my all my efforts are becoming futile. So earlier this year when I started blogging, the new hobby brought many prospects and I felt like finally I had found my way out. But five months into my writing hobby, incredible things have happened, yet I still feel like they are not happening at a faster speed so that I can do that which I love i.e. telling stories and impacting lives.

It hit me this morning that success is a collection of experiences. The job I’m currently doing is meant to impart in me relevant skills that I will need when I’m doing what I was made to do. It took Joseph 13 years in prison for him to be molded by God so that he could have the right character for the prime minister’s position in Egypt. David first was a shepherd and then he waited for 15 years to be king after Samuel anointed him. As the adage goes, easy come easy go. God is not in the business of sending short-lived blessings your way. And he knows that sometimes what might be good for you in the future can turn to be poison now. And therefore I will wait, trusting that he who holds the future knows best and nothing gets him by surprise. And as he says in his words, the blessings of God makes rich and adds no sorrow. As Helen Keller ably puts it,
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

Forgive

In this life, many people will hurt you both unintentionally and intentionally. However, the choice to let go lies in your hands. Throughout my life, I’ve hurt people and I’ve been hurt too. Sometimes these experiences numb you and therefore you turn cold. And as it has been said, hurting people hurt people. But as you grow older, you realize that life is too precious to hold on to any grudge. As it has been said, holding a grudge is like drinking acid and expecting the other person to get burnt by it.

So today as part of a gift to my new year, I let go of everyone that hurt me. I forgive unconditionally, I open a new chapter of freeing everyone trapped in my mind because I’m also just a beneficiary of forgiveness on the old rugged cross some 2000 years ago.

Things might not go as planned

When I was 19 years old, I had drawn the grand plan for my life. I was to graduate by age 25, be a middle level manager of a giant corporate body by 26, marry and own my first house by 28, have my masters degree and our first born baby by 29, among other grand plans. In short, some of the goals have come to pass while some have not. But I am not discouraged at all. I have peace because life has detours. I’m still hopeful that I will achieve them in due time.

Conclusion

The future is bright, in fact it’s so bright that sometimes I get blinded by it. My passion for leadership stems from the life that I lived and knowing that everything rises and falls on leadership. That’s why I will write about politics until that day when Kenyans will choose leaders based on the content of character and what they can do for us.

I want to travel the world doing human stories, I want to touch people’s lives as I live my purpose, I want to write and write more. I want to tell the stories of that refugee in kakuma and I want to be the hand and feet of Jesus when tragedy strikes. I want to be the greatest father who ever lived to my future children and the greatest husband to my future wife. I will die empty having poured out all that God has put within me.

The greatest joy in my life will be to go to heaven and find a standing ovation as my name is engraved in the hall of fame. ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness,’ are words that I long to hear from God the father.

The article was first published here: dannish.co.ke

Follow the writer: @DannishOdongo

 

Coming to Kenya is not a dumb idea, Mr. President!

My perception of Americans has always been good. For the most part, they seem to be a pleasant, knowledgeable and confident bunch with an appreciation for democracy and all the socio-political ideals that flow from it.

Red C

So when I came across Robert Rotberg’s ill-conceived article labeling Obama’s decision to visit Kenya as dumb (http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/05/going-to-kenya-is-a-dumb-idea-mr-president-117737.html#.VUzETo6qqkq), I was quite stunned by the degree of misinformation that it conveyed. Upon reading it, I was tempted to respond with an article directed at all Americans in general but reason prevailed and I decided not to address over 300 million people based on the misinformed opinions of one man so for today, I will speak directly to you, Mr. Rotberg.

Dear Mr. Robert I. Rotberg, in my view, the content of your article was poorly researched. I find it extremely difficult to reconcile the richness of your resume with the shallow premises expressed in your article. If you were hoping to gain hits for your article by issuing shortsighted and alarmist comments, bravo, you succeeded. Your article is currently trending on Twitter in Kenya.

The manner in which your article cites the ICC charges against President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto as a reason why Obama ought not to visit Kenya betrays your subscription to the archaic school of thought that indictment is the equivalent of conviction. In democratic societies Mr. Rotberg, accused persons are innocent until proven guilty. The two Kenyan leaders have not been convicted by any court sir, in fact, as you rightly point out, the charges against President Kenyatta were dropped. Your inferred allegation that the dropping of these charges was due to the intimidation of witnesses is unsubstantiated and speculative and to that degree does not merit any sort of serious consideration…the fact remains that there was insufficient evidence to sustain the case against the Kenyan President and as such the ICC prosecutor terminated it. My advice to you is this, stick to the facts Mr. Rotberg. Perpetrating propaganda is not a good look for any journalist.

Despite the fact that Obama has never visited Kenya during his presidency, we have managed to stay on the path of economic, political and social growth. Yes, we have had challenges, but we have grown past the tribal violence of the 2007 general elections. In fact, we had a hotly contested election in 2013 the results of which were contested in the supreme court but we remained peaceful all through. Every society faces challenges and difficulties. We struggle against corruption and tribalism, but these are things which we are tirelessly working to change. Even the US has its racial struggles as we have seen from the recent unrelenting execution of unarmed black men by police in America so let’s not act like yours is a perfect society.  We have seen, among many other unspeakable atrocities, white American policemen choking black people suffering from respiratory ailments to death in broad daylight so please spare us the lecture on tribalism/racism and use that energy to speak against the injustices that plagues your own land. Don’t focus on the speck in your brother’s eye while you pay no attention to the log in your own.

Your attempt to trivialize president Obama by linking him to a specific ethnic group in Kenya has failed badly. Methinks that it stems from your general lack of respect for your president. Do you expect Obama, the president of the most powerful country in the world to come to Kenya and take sides in an ethnic ‘battle’? No one in Kenya would perceive Obama as a being against Kikuyus or being for the Luo if he were to choose to visit his father’s ancestral home in Luo land.

Your outrageous claims that Kenya is a playground for terrorists and, therefore an unsafe place for Obama to visit are unwarranted. You are forgetting one important fact of history and that is that the 9/11 attacks killed over 2500 Americans. Other terror attacks have occurred in the US since that fateful day and no one seems to say that the US is unsafe. Kenya, on the other hand, which is considered a third world country with inferior intelligence and defense systems, has never suffered a single attack of such a scale. While Kenya might not have the best security system in the world, I would say this country has done well to keep such attacks at minimum fatality levels.

Mr. Robert .I. Rotberg, I don’t know who you are, but you do give the impression that you have a lot of time on your hands. My advice would be to use it wisely to change your country. You already have a plethora of issues to deal with and a powerful platform as a writer to address those issues. Focus on that and do it not with the aim of putting others down but of helping find a solution. Do that diligently and perhaps after all is said and done you might go down in history as a great American who contributed towards positive social change in his country.

This story was first published here http://dannish.co.ke/2015/05/09/coming-to-kenya-is-not-a-dumb-idea-mr-president/

The writer is a blogger, a digital media strategist and at Capital FM Kenya.

Follow him @DannishOdongo

Kenya will soon have a Socialite as President!

A few years ago, traditional careers were esteemed, Engineering, Medicine, Law, Arts, Business etc. But the tides are changing. You can now become a socialite.

 

Socialites Hudda Monroe from Kenya and Zar from Uganda at Skylux Lounge

Socialites Hudda Monroe from Kenya and Zari from Uganda at Skyluxx Lounge

The past weekend was a sad one for me because influential leading personalities in Kenya gathered at Skylux lounge to party with two socialites; Huddah and Zari. Now that this high-end trade of flesh is gaining popularity, do not be surprised when socialites submit their intention to run for the top office in Kenya.

The urban dictionary does a stellar job of defining a socialite as:

Someone who has money and doesn’t work, instead devoting his/her life to being “socially active.” They go to parties, gather media attention, and essentially “work” at being popular. This often comes at the expense of any meaningful contribution to society or culture.

The allure of easy fame has driven many to abandon reason. Some have gone to desperate and extreme lengths just so that they might be in the limelight. You see, we will soon part irreconcilable with the days where success is about brilliance and hard work and one is celebrated based on the meaningful contribution they make to society. A new invention that solves human problems or an athletic ability that defies odds will be frowned upon. Excellence in academics or awards in arts and music will be pedestrian. We will hopelessly begin to search for days when we rewarded an impeccable character that is beyond reproach and questioning. You see, those days are almost gone.

They shall soon feel the full and final impact of the hammer of extinction. They are endangered like the white rhino because our society has set the bar and definition of success at a desperately low level. The end justifies the means, by whatever means possible, seems to be our widely accepted motto. Ours appears to be a generation that embraces excesses in all its mannerisms with absolutely no regard for morality. Irreducible minimums for proper socially acceptable conduct are deemed uncool by a myopic generation that lives for the moment. Wisdom has fallen by the wayside and manners are about to make a swift exit.

How do you make easy money in Kenya?

Well, first release a sex tape that goes viral but when asked about it, dodge the question and swiftly move on while making money from the dubious reputation gained. If that’s too extreme, release a twerk video where you hysterically shake the amplest parts of your body. If you are a musician or a music group and you are desperate to revive your dwindling career fortunes, just release a shockingly erotic music video that gets banned on TV but will most probably go on to amass over a million views on YouTube. You could decide to bleach yourself or acquire a weave at a ‘price’ that could comfortably cover the cost of a kidney transplant. You don’t have to explain to anyone where you got the money from because, as you will defend yourself, you are an entrepreneur with lucrative “business partners” from foreign lands that deal in oil.

You can lie to some people sometimes, but you can’t lie to everybody all the time. We know your profession, a high-end trade of the flesh!! What is particularly sad is the fact that in the past, such acts were deemed disgraceful. They could only be carried out by the most shameless miscreants and even then, such people had to operate under the cover of darkness but now, yellow journalism has sanitized the “world’s oldest trade”, dragged it into the limelight, glorified it through entertainment blogs and made it a noble career option. The easiest trick may be to check yourself into a 5-star hotel knowing all too well that you can’t afford a plate of oily chips at Sonford on Moi Avenue. In any society governed by reason, you would be embarrassed by this but no…not in Kenya. In Kenya, the media would eat up your story with a big spoon milking it of all its worth. They then reel you in for interviews and bestow upon you instant microwave ‘celebrity’ status. Make sure that you show no remorse for your actions when you appear on TV. Such airtime would probably be better spent talking about your innovative conversations starters you employ, read (the tattoos you have in place of your eyebrows)

The Problem

If you live in Kenya, a few names may have popped into your mind while reading this article. Laura Oyier is probably one such name. It grieves me that while Ms. Oyier’s tasteless escapade were being covered in the media, Justice Joyce Aluoch became the first female vice president of International Criminal Court at the Hague. She achieved what no other member of the Kenyan legal profession has ever achieved but in the minds of the members of the Kenya’s glitterati worshipping 4th estate and blogosphere, Lady Justice Aluoch’s achievements are mundane and devoid of color. It was brushed as the kind of uninspiring news that merited, at best, a few yawns and was certainly nothing to write home about.

It becomes a national disaster when mainstream media glorify no apparent personal achievement apart from scandals, at the expense of those who rightfully deserve the limelight for their noble contribution in society. Since when did socialites chart a discourse for national dialog? Why have we becoming a society that worships scandals and attention seekers? Where are the moral sentinels? It’s all fun and games until your daughter comes home and breaks your heart with news that she wants to be a socialite. For a meager amount, one is willing to flash their dignity down the toilet. We will soon have a group calling itself ‘Socialites Association of East Africa’ headed by Zari and Huddah who then will embark on an aggressive recruitment drive and champion rights of these beings. Then we will wail while wearing sackcloth. Because it only looks glamorous until it enters your house.

Socialites don’t pursue this fickle vain fame for dwellers of planet Mars. Neither are they doing it for aliens. We are the consumers of their vanity. You see media that runs content that is deemed progressive like development issues, business, religion and any sensible content are not read in Kenya. Yet media that specializes in dispensing controversial content e.g. fake rear ends, fake mammary glands and basically any content that is vain, rake in viewers by the millions.

This tells you one thing, however much, we complain about socialites and their effects on the moral fabric of our nation, we cannot wish them away unless our core belief is fundamentally changed. What if we decided to intentionally steer our society towards content that is wholesome and beneficial? We have fed our minds with junk but shockingly we still somehow hope to miraculously become sensible right thinking members of the society. We are what we eat. Garbage in, garbage out. As a man thinks so is he, period.

Follow the writer @dannishodongo