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Archive for January 7th, 2012

Kenyans Abroad To Get Cabinet Representation

Posted by Administrator on January 7, 2012

Kenyans in the diaspora will be represented at the Cabinet level in the next government, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka has said.

The VP also said his campaign team, together with partners in the PNU Alliance, would open a coordinating office for diaspora voters in South Africa soon. The office will also coordinate campaigns in the region.

Mr Musyoka told Kenyans working and living in South Africa that the government would like them to come back home as job creators and not as job seekers.

“We will create an enabling environment for you to come and invest in the expansion of the economy,” Mr Musyoka said at a meeting with the Kenyans at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg. There are 50,000 Kenyans living and working in South Africa.

“Let your vote count this year. It’s the year of the defining moment for our country,” he added. He urged the Kenyans gathered to support his bid for the presidency.

“Walk with me on this journey and I promise you, you will not be disappointed. Some ask what does he stand for?

“I’m a social democrat who is interested in expanding the economy to create jobs, banish hunger out of Kenya and lead a cohesive and harmonious nation,” Mr Musyoka said.

“I’ve seen the pitfalls and excesses of our past and that’s what I seek to correct.”

Listen to issues

The chairman of the Kenyans in South Africa organisation said it was encouraging that  the VP was willing to share a meal with Kenyans in the diaspora and listen to issues close to their hearts.

Student leader Kendi Mwabila said Kenyans living abroad were interested in supporting leaders who would help create jobs and deliver services in critical areas like education and health.

Mr Rottok Chesaina, the managing director of Expatriate magazine, told the VP that professionals working abroad are keen to make their contribution towards the realisation of Vision 2030 by providing solutions in IT and infrastructure.

Mr Musyoka was also in South Africa to represent President Kibaki at the country’s ruling party Africa National Congress (ANC) centenary celebrations in Johannesburg.

According to a dispatch by his press service, the VP said all efforts were being made to ensure Kenyans living abroad are fully engaged in the political process and that his campaign would open two more offices abroad.

In November last year, his team opened a campaign coordination office in London to cater for the Kenyan diaspora across Europe. The London office is headed by Mr Frank Karanja.

“We will open more party campaign offices in United States and Asia to get as many Kenyans as possible involved in deciding the destiny of their country,” the VP said.

The South Africa tour marked the end of a busy campaign week for the VP.

On Monday, he hosted several cultural leaders and MPs from across the country at his Yatta ranch in Machakos county where he unveiled his core presidential campaign team.

Three former advisors and close aides of President Kibaki – Mr Stanley Murage, Prof Kivutha Kibwana and Mr Raphael Tuju – also attended the luncheon.

Mr Murage, who declined to discuss his involvement in VP’s campaigns, was until last year a powerful State House operative advising the President on strategy and policy matters.

Prof Kibwana, a former minister and aspirant for governor in Makueni County, is still advising the President on constitutional matters.

Mr Tuju, himself a presidential aspirant, was President Kibaki’s advisor on ethnic relations and national cohesion.

Share a lot

“I have suffered a lot for my support for President Kibaki and we share a lot in common with Mr Musyoka and his colleagues in the PNU Alliance,” Mr Tuju said, adding he will work with the leaders in the alliance as long as they are ready for political competition.

Saying the luncheon was to celebrate their friendship and plan for the journey ahead, Mr Musyoka thanked the delegation for supporting him in politics and in the four years he has served as VP under President Kibaki. The VP’s campaign advisory group, which includes top scholars, lawyers and political scientists, will be headed by long-serving diplomat Mutuma Kathurima.

“I’ve tasked this team to fashion my campaigns in the spirit of the new Constitution besides exploring on the possible running mates,” Mr Musyoka said.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/Kenyans+abroad+to+get+Cabinet+representation/-/1064/1301684/-/14ob6flz/-/

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Kenyan girls sip sweet freedom after escape of early marriages

Posted by Administrator on January 7, 2012

NARIOBI, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) — At the tender age of 12, Rachel Naitoi woke up to a devastating reality. Her fears of early marriage, which had sent her into shivers, were being confirmed.

Her father had found her a husband.

The 47-year-old man supposedly her husband to be, had come to their home for the final bride price negotiations. As she puts it, her dream of one day becoming an accountant was shattered.

A last born child in her family, Naitoi lost her mother at a tender age. She says life after her mother’s demise has not been easy.

“It was one of the difficult moments in my life, though it was not a surprise, I had learned about the planned marriage from my husband to be after he paid the bride price. My father never informed me, I woke up one day and found the man together with his friends at home when they wanted to take me with them,” says Naitoi.

She could not hide her pain as she narrated her ordeal to Xinhua. “I wanted to complete my education but this seemed not to be, as I was in Class Four my father forced me to undergo circumcision, and in keeping with our traditions, once a girl is circumcised, she has to getmarried,” she narrates.

Sad is the fact that Naitoi’s alleged husband had two wives already. Determined to achieve her education vision despite the challenges, she ran away from her home on the eve of her “wedding day”.

“I pleaded with my brother to assist me; he gave me 200 shillings and directed me to a place in Kajiado where I could help. Were it not for him, I would be someone’s third wife,” she says her eyes beaming with joy.

She boarded a train the same day and arrived in Kajiado where through the area chief’s help, she was admitted at the Seventh Day Adventist educational and rehabilitation center, a haven for girls who have been rescued from Female Genital Mutilationand those forced into early marriages.

Although Naitoi had already undergone the cut, she was lucky enough to escape marriage as a third wife and is currently going on with her education at the center and aspiring to achieve her accounting career.

At the center, those who escape the knife undergo an alternative rite of passage.

Her story is similar to that of Kasaiyan Kaperu, 14, who is now in Class Three. She had also been circumcised and set to be married to a 52-year-old man.

“My mother informed me of my father’s plan but she stood up with me and promised to help me though my father could hear none of her pleas to let me complete my education first,” she says.

“I remember that day I was woken up by screams from my parents’ room when my father beat up my mother for opposing the marriage, he chased her away the following day,” she says.

With no one to turn to, Kasaiyan ran away from her home and sought refuge at the center.

Having never been to a classroom, teachers were forced to give her special attention. Other children of her age have already sat their Kenya Certificate of PrimaryEducation (KCPE), but she is now in Class Three. She is however determined to pursue her education to the end.

Kajiado educational and rehabilitation center is home to more than 200 girls rescued from FGM and early marriages. The center receives one girl each month.

According to an administrator at the center, even though parents have become more enlightened on the dangers of FGM, more awareness should be carried out if more girls are to be saved.

Perhaps with more information being availed to parents on the dangers posed by FGM, the retrogressive culture could be relegated to the dark past, the administrator told Xinhua.

Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2012-01/06/c_131347021.htm

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Kenyan helmer see opportunity in sci-fi

Posted by Administrator on January 7, 2012

JOHANNESBURG — Two years after her first feature film was released to critical acclaim, Kenyan helmer Wanuri Kahiu is poised to make a splash on the international scene  —  and she’s hoping the notoriety lets her challenge some of the lingering stereotypes about her homeland.

“I think it’s time to imagine a different type of Africa,” she says.

With two features in the pipeline and a TV pilot for Turner Broadcasting recently wrapped, the 30-year-old has come a long way since she left Kenya as a teen to study management science in the U.K., then moved to the U.S. and enrolled in a filmmaking course at UCLA.

After working on “The Italian Job” and other Hollywood productions, she returned to Kenya in 2006 and realized she’d found her life’s calling. Her feature debut, “From a Whisper,” which focused on the aftermath of the American Embassy bombing in Nairobi in 1998, won a slew of awards, including best picture and director at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2009.

Kahiu went on to become part of the inaugural class of filmmakers chosen for Focus Features’ Africa First program, which helps five young African helmers produce short films each year.

Her short, “Pumzi,” envisioned a dystopic futuristic world whose inhabitants fight for water and pay for air. After screening at Sundance and Berlin, it established Kahiu as a promising director willing to push boundaries.

The exposure “Pumzi” gave her opened up opportunities. Last month, Kahiu wrapped the Turner-commissioned pilot for “Sauti,” a drama series about a Kenyan news magazine in Nairobi. The skein would be a promising step for Kahiu: The helmer realizes Turner would allow “Sauti” to have a more pan-African reach than local broadcasters, and would offer her more creative freedom.

Most Kenyan nets, she says, lack the coin to produce the ambitious series she envisions. Many are reluctant, too, to get behind a skein that tackles politically charged stories.

And Kahiu is moving ahead with other projects.

A plan to adapt a Kenyan novel for the screen is in development with South African producer Steven Markovitz  —  part of an initiative by Markovitz and Congolese helmer Djo Munga, dubbed ImagiNations, to produce six films based on contemporary African novels.

Kahiu is also planning to continue her pursuit of sci-fi themes with an adaptation of the Nigerian-American writer Nnedi Okorafor’s post-apocalyptic novel, “Who Fears Death.” Working with U.S.-based Completion Films, she’s planning a pan-African production that would lens in three countries.

In sci-fi, she’s found a genre to match the scale and creative bent of her storytelling ambitions.

“I really like the flexibility of the genre,” she says, “and the ability to use metaphors to say a lot more challenging things about the political or social climate in Africa.”

Source: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118048237

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The help is away without official leave

Posted by Administrator on January 7, 2012

Photo/FILE House-helps take a lot of flak from their bosses, some of who are straight from hell.

Photo/FILE House-helps take a lot of flak from their bosses, some of who are straight from hell.

My bank is a rubbish bank. I could leave, but I look at the other options and none inspires me to make the jump.

And that’s the thing with banks – they are like women. You could leave, but for what?

You leave one hoping to find peace and happiness with the other, only to find that the new one goes to bed with a pair of scissors under her pillow and, worse, sleep walks.

That’s a woman you don’t want to go to bed angry. Anyway, back to the reason why I am so upset with my bank: Mobile banking.

Or rather, my bank’s refusal to let me enjoy the convenience and simplicity of said mobile banking. I filled the forms ages ago.

They promised they would call me with codes and things when it was good and ready. A year later, I am still waiting.

Instead, they get these pesky guys to call me about the new, exciting products that they are offering their clients – except that these exciting products are not exciting at all because they are loans.

So anyway, I decide to pay these ‘exciting’ guys a visit and ask them whose feet I have to wash to get mobile banking.

So there I am, sitting in the customer care section, waiting for my turn. In front of me is a middle-aged lady fiddling with her phone.

Another lady spots her and walks over to say hello. It is evident from the production that ensues that they haven’t seen each other in a while.

They do the whole confusing thirty-peck thing on the cheeks. Then follow the niceties about children, hair, dress and shoes. Nobody asks about Baba Nani.

Then one of the ladies mentions, frustration palpable in her voice, that she has to run back home because her house-help hasn’t yet come back from shagz after the December holidays.

The discussion then turns into a long discourse about maids and their cheek.

It seems this is the season for house-helps to do a number on their employers. And the house-helps seem to know not only where to squeeze, but when to squeeze.

And their excuses are insulting to the intelligence. There are those who get mugged and have their phones stolen on the day of travel. Or some who said they were on their way back… two days ago.

There are those whose mothers suddenly fall ill, or whose hair wasn’t finished on time at the salon because the hairdresser went into early labour.

Or some who haven’t decided whether all those hours spent explaining why sugar and other essentials don’t last a month is worth it.

Or my favourite – the ones who find out that they are pregnant while in the village.

That said, their employers aren’t any better, calling in sick at their place of work when they are actually inspecting their chicken farm in Kitengela.

It’s the capitalist drama; when you are not screwing someone over you are the one being screwed. But house-helps take a lot of flak from their bosses, some of who are straight from hell.

They have to deal with the brats that have become our children – kids who have never heard of the word ‘respect’.

They wake up early, sleep late, and earn meagre wages which they have to split between ailing relatives, children who need school fees and a new weave so that they can look just like the boss.

So when mothers call and ask, “Kwani ulisema unakuja lini, Betty? Usipokuja leo uje na uchukue vitu zako, mimi sina wakati wa kubembeleza mtu,” they roll their eyes and go back to sifting the rice.

House helps wield silent powers in the house, not because they understand the children more than their mothers, or know the domestic politics of the house, but because they can grind everything to a halt if they decide to.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/saturday/The+help+is+away+without+official+leave+/-/1216/1301008/-/e3lbjf/-/index.html

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Kenya: Warning of imminent terrorist attack

Posted by Administrator on January 7, 2012

 

A Kenyan police officer at the scene of a bombing in Nairobi last October that was blamed on al-Shabaab. Three people were killed. Photograph: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty

A Kenyan police officer at the scene of a bombing in Nairobi last October that was blamed on al-Shabaab. Three people were killed. Photograph: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty

Terrorists may be in the final stages of planning attacks on the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, the Foreign Office  has warned, saying that Kenyan authorities had told the public of a “heightened threat”.

“We believe that terrorists may be in the final stages of planning attacks. Attacks could be indiscriminate and target Kenyan institutions as well as places where expatriates and foreign travellers gather, such as hotels, shopping centres and beaches,” a Foreign Office spokesperson said. Britons were advised to exercise extra vigilance and caution.

Security concerns in Nairobi have grown since hundreds of Kenyan troops crossed the border into neighbouring Somalia in October in pursuit of Islamist militants from the al-Shabaab group. Linked to al-Qaida, al-Shabaab is blamed by the authorities for a series of raids into Kenya and kidnappings.

The militants have repeatedly threatened to attack Nairobi in retaliation for the incursion. Since Kenyan troops crossed the border, there have been two grenade attacks on a bar and bus stop in Nairobi, and a series of bombings and shootings in the remote north-east in which at least 30 people have died. Kenyan authorities have arrested a number of alleged members of al-Shabaab in recent weeks, including a Briton who was detained in December in the coastal city of Mombasa, according to a local newspaper, the Daily Nation. The newspaper said that the British national was suspected of being a bomb expert for al-Shabaab. Kenyan police were said to have raided his house and found materials and chemicals believed to be used in bomb-making, including detonators and timers, and also questioned his wife, a Kenyan of Somali origin.

The newspaper said that Scotland Yard had sent a team to Kenya to help in the investigation. British authorities have previously voiced concern about young men travelling to Somalia to fight with al-Shabaab, which has many foreign fighters in its ranks.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/07/kenya-imminent-terror-attacks-warning?newsfeed=true

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Kenya Forces Say They Thwarted Holiday Terror Plot

Posted by Administrator on January 7, 2012

Kenyan forces said that they had thwarted a terror attack over the holidays in Nairobi

Kenyan forces said that they had thwarted a terror attack over the holidays in Nairobi

Kenyan authorities said Saturday that they had thwarted attempted attacks by an al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group over Christmas and the New Year, as Britain warned its citizens over looming terror threats in Kenya.

Col. Cyrus Oguna, a Kenyan military spokesman, said officials received intelligence from credible sources that the Somali militant group al-Shabab was planning an attack over Christmas and New Year. He said Kenyan troops in Somalia made pre-emptive strikes on different targets in Somalia based on that information.

“We carried out pre-emptive strikes and disruptive strikes in Somalia and police secured things here at home and as a result of that we were able to have peaceful Christmas and New Year festivities,” he said.

Britain’s Foreign Office urged Britons in Kenya to be extra vigilant, warning that terrorists there may be “in the final stages of planning attacks.”

Oguna said Kenyan police on Dec. 31 killed three suspected al-Shabab militants caught trying to sneak into the country to disrupt New Year celebrations. Three suspects were arrested. He said the six men were seen by Kenya’s navy in Kenyan territory in two skiffs on the Dec 30. They abandoned the skiffs and hid among mangrove trees, Oguna said, but locals alerted police of their presence.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said the men were armed with six AK-47 rifles and more than 500 bullets.

Kenyan troops entered Somalia in mid-October to attack the militants, and have been supported by the country’s weak army.

Oguna said that they will continue to put pressure on al-Shabab and that at least 60 militants were killed in airstrikes on Garbaharey town, an al-Shabab base, on Friday.

Kenya blames al-Shabab for a string of kidnappings on Kenyan soil, including those of four Europeans. The kidnappings threatened Kenya’s tourism industry, a key source of revenue for the country. Al-Shabab, Somalia’s most dangerous militant group, is waging an insurgency against Somalia’s weak, U.N.-backed government.

Ethiopian troops recently entered Somalia on the country’s west, and they along with African Union troops in Mogadishu are squeezing al-Shabab fighters on three sides.

The group has said it will carry out suicide bombings in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, in retaliation for Kenya’s military incursion. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the July 2010 suicide attacks in Kampala, Uganda which killed 76 people watching the World Cup final.

Britain’s Foreign Office ministry said in a travel advisory issued Saturday that attacks could be indiscriminate and could target places where expatriates and foreign travelers gather, including hotels, shopping centers and beaches.

Meanwhile, Kenyan police say they want to apprehend British national Natalie Faye Webb, who is believed to have links to al-Shabab. A Kenyan court issued a warrant of her arrest on Wednesday. Kiraithe did not give details on why she is wanted by the police.

The court also issued an arrest warrant for Kenyan national Habib Saleh Gani.

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/kenya-military-airstrike-kills-60-somali-militants-15310849

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Kenya’s Own Oprah Captures Global Audience

Posted by Administrator on January 7, 2012

”]Mukami Kinoti Kimotho, founder of Mukami.TV [Photo/Standard]When Oprah announced a talent search for a talk show host on her OWN Network, Mukami Kinoti Kimotho, 37, entered the competition. Though she did not win, she made herself a media personality and launched Mukami.TV, where she commands millions of followers. She spoke to ALLAN OLINGO

When you meet her, the first thing you notice is her beautiful spirit. She talks in an inspiring tone that is uplifting and informs me that her work is encouraging people to keep pushing past all the obstacles and to achieve big things.

“Over the last few years,” Mukami begins with a smile, “I have always found myself disappointed by the lack of programming around positive, thought-provoking messages on television channels.”

Mukami says she felt a need to change the television watching experience and instead have life changing real stories on a web platform.

Mukami says she decided to use an online platform because she wanted to create an impact globally and that is what the Internet offers.

“I wanted to leverage my passion and talent to create a show that makes a difference in people’s lives,” she offers.

In May 16, last year, she launched the Mukami.TV on a webTV platform, which offers original programming, initially delivered exclusively via its YouTube channel.

Says Mukami: “The channel is available online. Our premiere episode is now available on our website and features the powerful story of Kimberly Merrell, an ovarian cancer survivor and mother of two, who overcame great odds to achieve her personal dream. It’s an incredible moving depiction of courage under fire, the power of self realisation and the miracle of hope.”

Personal stories

 

Mukami.TV delivers on-demand shows that are not only entertaining but also thought provoking and insightful.

The web television strategy, she says, meets the growing global demand resulting from a shift in consumer attention from contemporary television viewing to online platforms.

Says Mukami: “I did my research and realised having a web based TV will give me a global audience. At Mukami.TV, we have unique stories, which everyone globally can associate with.

“When we host cancer survivors, victims of war and poverty, HIV stories and others, we are also sharing with the same world that has been affected by all these problems so our global audience can identify with our content,” she says.

Mukami.TV allows the audience to connect with the individuals and associate with their stories. The bubbly Mukami says that her dream is to make a global impact just the same way Oprah has.

“I am a firm believer that we can do anything as long as we are passionate and determined. We can fight cancer, create peace around the world, fight for the rights of women, children and the disadvantaged, and all this is possible through sharing people’s stories,” says Mukami.

“How has it been?” I ask her.

“It has been one of the most difficult tasks I have indulged in but I am happy because of the fulfilment I get from doing it,” she says, adding: “It involves being up for long days with a lot of hard work but I am glad because the challenges have strengthened me.”

Financial demands

 

All has not been rosy though, and despite the success of having this web based TV Mukami admits that she still has monumental challenges.

“One of my challenges has been getting let-downs from known personalities whenever I want to host them. It dents my morale but it does not kill the spirit,” says Mukami.

Mukami says that as a woman, she has been able to work more than she thought she could, and balancing her demanding shooting and editing sessions and her family has been another great challenge.

Having a reality television is demanding capital-wise and when I asked her how she has managed to financially hold this concept together, Mukami says sacrifice surpasses all.

“When it is about passion, one is willing to sacrifice. I literally dug into my pockets to make it work. What helped me was that web television is cheaper than contemporary television,” says Mukami:

Mukami is optimistic that the Kenyan audience will take to her idea and support her because the topics she handles also affect them.

“The issues we articulate have a global face, and we deliver stories and content that any individual can relate with. I have faith that Kenyans will support one of their own and be proud about it,” she offers.

In fact, Mukami.TV has attracted a lot of interest from the mainstream media and Mukami is optimistic that it will soon be hosted by one of the local channels to the Kenyan audience.

“We have seen a growing interest from the mainstream media channels and if all goes well, Mukami.TV will be showing on your screens very soon,” she offers.

The future is bright for this concept and Mukami has already developed a lifestyle segment to add flavour to the real life stories that they share.

“I have learnt a lot since I started this. Greatest of all is being dedicated in chasing my dream. There are many times I felt overwhelmed and I prayed a lot. The result and response from the audience showed that my sweat was worth it,” Mukami says.

Ordinary people

The former Kenya Television Network (KTN) news anchor has not yet achieved her dream for she wants to be remembered as the Oprah of the web based reality television world.

“I still want to amplify the voices of everyday people doing extraordinary things. I want to showcase their stories as individuals who have overcome significant challenges and are sharing their gifts and talents to help others,” Mukami concludes.

Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000049534&cid=300&

Here is a link to MukamiTV; http://www.youtube.com/user/MukamiTV

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