Thursday, 13 July 2017

First time voter chronicles: Party primaries explained

...well kinda.

Hey guys, third day going strong on this series. It is no glide through  but hey nothing ever comes easy.

This is not the most exciting article yet. It's purpose , though is to answer myself and future first time voters on what the whole party primaries fiasco was, except from one Kenyan clueless youth to you. My L, is your W.

Okay so let's get to it. So you know how in the US General election it is mainly a race between Republicans and Democrats. Each party has to have their holder of the fort, their go to guy (or girl), their rep if you may. A couple of people within the party reckon they got the goods and now it's up to the members to put their support behind those who they feel tick every box in their list of requirements. Remember Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton? The Bern wasn't scalding enough and so the new IT girl on the block took it all the way home.

So that whole process there is a primary.

Sounds clean, sharp, straight forward. So what was the big deal? You think everything is big in Texas you clearly haven't been around these parts.

Blood, sweat and tears was the order of that period in time; crying on national t.v, unrest in some places and the usual busfull of noisemakers all in the name of campaigns.

Thanks to a bunch of disputed results some people who  lost under questionable circumstances and decided that the show must go on, understandably signed up to be independent candidates. Code for, "I don't need you or your political party". While others were plain sore losers and have since decided to also ride solo and give this independent candidacy a shot.

Let me be the first to put my pedestrian opinion out there, pedestrian because I am by no means the next Mutahi Ngunyi, but if you lost fair and square, there's a high chance that if even your own party members don't like you as much as the other guy, sis, be humble and just sit down. The general public at the ballot may just rub the salt deeper into your already stinging wound. Again, Hillary anyone?

So there you have it, party primaries explained.Oh yeah and a little side note. I was confused as to whether I was expected to vote or not, if you are a registered party member then that was your cue. Otherwise, which was my case, just sit back and watch what happens, happen, unless there is something else I should be doing which if you've got the tea let me know in the comments down below. This whole process is a party affair, the only role IEBC plays is setting deadlines for parties to present their respective candidates. Everything else is an in-house affair.

Have a good one!   

Thursday, 6 July 2017

My voter registration process and am I even voting?

I am really trying to keep at this series, whether I like it or not, so as implied in this post let's crack on with my voter registration process.

However, I think a little story  time is in order. In my late teens, when we were at breakfast and just fresh off the announcement of the 2013 general elections results, my dad gave this big speech to both me and my sister. I cannot for the life of me remember what it was about but the take home was in the next general I (me) WILL vote. There was not even so much as an allusion to me having a choice, it was more like it was written in stone.

It is also a vivid memory hearing my parents at the crack of dawn going to vote in 2002, 2007 and 2013. My mom would even go as far as planning our annual Christmas holidays around the election calendar so that we would be back in time for them to cast their vote.

Now I am not sure if the spirit of patriotism burns ever so bright within them or it is they fact that they are career civil servants, what is private sector? and a change in national administration is more hard hitting to them than it is to most.

Flash forward to 2016. It may have been in my Family law class where my lecturer asked by a show of hands who would be voting.Only a handful went up. Do not get it twisted though, that could mean anything. My class has a unified poker face. Not even Dave Chapelle could get so much as a smirk out of us. I know for sure my hand went up, but at the time I was high off the energy the 2016 U.S election carried with it. You have got to give it up to the American people being the most spirited nation out there.

In true Kenyan fashion, the last day of registration found me impatiently queuing to just get it over and done with.

The process in itself was pretty painless and not as time consuming, contrary to my anticipation. The IEBC have taken a whole lot of smack for the past few years leading up to the elections but you have got to hand it to them. It's efficiency, at least in my experience was high up there. For one they were available 6 days a week and yes that means Saturday to. All I needed was my original national ID,my finger prints taken and one crappy photo later I was issued with my voter's card. So to a future first time voter, do not go the last day, maybe you did not here me  the first time, DO NOT PUT IT OFF UNTIL THE LAST DAY.

So I lost  my voter's card.

The story behind my loss is rather boring. It pretty much involves remodelling my room and losing a whole bunch of things in my temporal state of roomlessness (not a word), the voter's card being one of them. The good news is, the big girl I am on a Saturday afternoon dragged my feet to my polling station and confirmed it is indeed no biggie, all I need is my ID when the day is here with us, however I am pretty sure that my voter's card will pop up when I least need it.

And now, will I vote? Should I? Excuse me while I get into my feelings here. These manifesto are beautifully written sounding like an out of this world business plan.But what about the 5 years worth of loose ends? NYS scandals, KDF still in Somalia, industrial strikes every waking moment thanks to CBAs that are only good in theory. Is no one going to tie them up? All these new flashy plans, all I am hearing is mo' money, mo' problems, mo' debt and another burden on the taxpayer.

Work with me here. What I would like to hear is maybe getting KDF out of Somalia and redirecting these resources to I don't know health, education, housing, averting recurring food crises, crack the whip on corruption cases of the yester years, recover embezzled funds because that money can't just be floating somewhere in space and we just let it. Then maybe just maybe a second term will be a guarantee so that you can roll out your fancy shmancy plans.

Have a good one!       

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

First time Kenyan voter chronicles

Welcome to my most likely highly flawed view on politics. With nearly a month to Kenya's general election, this series which I hope I will follow through with, because y'all know how I am on the consistency front, is a voice of another confused under represented, under informed, misinformed Kenyan millenial youth.

Let me paint out the path I hope to take, mostly for me to have a feasible plan and consistent content. It is only logical to start from the very beginning. My voter registration process;did I register, why am I even voting? Did I  seriously think that my vote would change Kenya's course? Do I still think that ?Losing my voter's card because that happened.Verifying my voter info., you know the IEBC works.

Party primaries #wharrathose? The drama that came with it, the dawn of independent candidates, 2017 parliamentary candidates.Presidential and gubernatorial debates, my take.2013-2017 Jubilee government and opposition; what have they done for me since then and lately?

What I expected of the campaign season;manifestos, build up events the kind where I get to know off parliamentary candidates and they get to know my/our needs , voter education and lack thereof (just being brutally honest here), leadership and integrity is it just a show?

The problem with us youth, is there even an active voice for marginalized groups in Kenya i.e women and youth or are we just afraid to say the 'O' word, over representation.

Some other things, will probably crop up within the course of this month, but it will ultimately lead up to the decision I made on whether I should vote or not, what my first time voting experience was like, what is the real climate in the 2-5-4 pre and post general elections and I mean the real climate NOT the international media's take.

Disclaimer: Because my personal documentation of my journey to the ballot is going to be in the somewhat public domain let me make this clear, this is going to be a documentation of my antics as a first time voter. It will not be a broadcast of my political references or affiliations (because I have none). It will probably be a what I expected, what you fellow or soon to be first time voter should expect. If anything, I will steer clear from opinions when it comes  to politics, because what I say on here can be hurriedly misconstrued as hate speech.

This leaves ol' girl over here to tread on less ground than had been anticipated, but we still have some stable ground between my feet and the earth's core so imma have to work with what I have.

Have a good one!       

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Blankets and Wine: AKA, Fena, Nneka

I am just gonna creep right back like nothing ever happened. The elephant in the room is I've been gone for months on end, hopefully this post is among the first of many, maybe even a peace offering to myself and avid readers of this little space. You know just to make up for lost time.

Another quarter of the year, another edition of Blankets & Wine. Yet again I was riding solo and yet again I am glad to report, there is no regret in sight.

Let's come back down to the ground level and work our way up. Advertising of this edition of Blankets started in February and the cheapskate in me jumped on the opportunity to bag an early bird ticket. Life hack for you fellow frugal friend or broke collegiate, do not sleep on these early bird tickets.

I roll up to the venue, Ngong Racecourse Waterfront, after being searched twice within, I kid you not,  25 metres. I understand security measures, in fact, I respect them. But what can change within 25 m? Huh? Enlighten me. To give them the benefit of the doubt, it wasn't the usual KK Security and the newbies were may have just been trying to be eager beavers.

Usually, when you walk in there is this picnicky summer vibe. This time though, before y'all come at me, I know the weather was less than stellar but it was just tent after tent after tent and of course the Mama Rocks food truck which I think I speak for all of us when I say adds more life to any event. If my memory serves me right, food vendors and retailers are always around the perimeter,leaving room for you and me to roam the grounds distraction free and of course Homeboyz to do their thing stark in the middle of it all, conveniently on a raised platform. A little room is also left to appreciate the waterfront where instead there were... you guessed it, more tents.

On the aesthetic appeal level, it's going to be a no from me.

Anyway on to the reason why we all flock to Blankets; the live music. I think this was their most packed line up yet. Everybody and I mean everybody brought it, from the Supa Mega to the fresh faced Nu Nairobi lieutenants Kiwango and Muroe Music.

The opening act was Janice Iche looking like a 60's flower child complete with a flower crown and a flowy white dress., all systems were ready and set to go for festival season. When the band took it a few notches down meshing perfectly with her whispery voice that was the cherry on top of  it all.

To the guys who reminded me of youth as it should be, Kiwango and Muroe Music. They used every inch of that stage to define stage presence, foot-on-the-stage-speaker, rocker style, Muroe head banging, locs and all. Kiwango with this huge beaming smile on his face. These guys were born for that moment not to mention their interaction with the crowd which carried such a casual vibe with it I thought me and them, we go way back.

What was surreal was the actual ages of some of the live performers, I mean to be so young and perform so well; singing over a live band proved to be quite the challenge for some of the artistes, experienced or nah! However, Kahvinya and Ciano hands down,  they were the break out stars balancing out the live band with the perfect mix of just pure instrumentals and vocals. Somebody call Teen Vogue because I just found a couple of people who deserve to be on the 2017 annual fresh faces spread.

Then came a couple of familiar faces; Tetu Shani who in my most humble of opinions enjoyed most of the crowds love. His new single, Samalina, had people twirling and  parents dancing with their kids. It was such a less is more type of deal with a bit of humour and some throwback tunes. Here is a guy who needs to do a Tetu Live by the end of this year, Tetu, make this happen, take it as a shove in the right direction.

To round up the Kenyan line up were Prisca Ojwang followed by Trina Mungai who had us moving and grooving to Pale Pale a personal favourite.

Two weeks down the line and I am still giddy over the fact that I got to see Nneka live. Everything about her performance was thought through. She performed during golden hour and what is better than golden hour? Golden hour at the waterfront. She had us singing along to everything on her set list; Soul is Heavy, Restless, Shining Star but the one that topped it all of, My Love.

Wrapped in a blanket, acoustic guitar in hand it all felt so intimate despite the reported 2000 guests. From how she worked with the band, it was a no-brainer that she is a seasoned artiste; knowing how to jam her acoustic guitar to the electrics and her little hand signals to the band to either go all the way out or come all the way down. Precision to the very core.

Yup, you and me both were waiting for Hearbeat, it didn't happen but no hard feelings here...well kinda.

Y'all know I am all about the deejay's set during the breaks. This time one the 1's and 2's was Taio Tripper. The homie doesn't play. He had everything in there from late 60's early 70's Kenyan Rhumba to some trap soul, keeping everybody happy. He did have this annoying cock's crow sound bit playing between tracks, I get trying to be different from the sirens, the horns or the bountiful cliche self promos but imma pass on that one. The deejay from last time still has my heart or should I say my feet.

When Kenyan artistes are on an international platform, they step up to the plate. Fena was no exception; face beat, hair did, wardrobe changes, merch, surprise guest artistes. No doubt about it she came to represent.

First half was Kenyan throwback tunes Boomba Train, E-Sir, Necessary Noize the works. Second half was her chat toppers, Sema ng'we and of course the Skwaaaa with Kama Kawaida and Party Nation so naturally saucy Mayonde, boss lady MDQ, super producer Kagwe and the guy who takes no Ls, Blinky Bill were ready to put the LIT in lituation.

With a name like SUPA MEGA you really can't afford to be mediocre. Forget working with the built in band or DJ, it was all Rainbow Nation up there.

 His was an experience. He sprayed the audience with water, champagne and some more water, you've got to give the brutha credit for having insane aim, gave us a little of Poison by BBD, sang the chorus to Congratulate a dozen of times, All eyez on me, Baddest and even without his crew, Burna Boy and Da LES he still held it down. The crowd was feeling him on a whole other level and sprayed him in turn with vodka and he just stood there, arms wide open and took it. Let the spirit of champagne showers spread all around. And did I mention that the dude's got moves? Moves that I will forever compare to any other rapper who so much attempts to even do a two step, moves that went beyond pacing from one end of stage to the other, Big Sean's moves? Bigger. I went home a happy lass that day.

If you stayed for the mix by Suraj and Ukweli, drop your review down in the comment section below because a sistah had a long commute home.

Have a good one!  

Just a little rant though, press seriously need a little bit of decorum and so do security. I mean, I was at the very front and I had people blocking my view. One of the press guys even had the nerve to set up his equipment right in front of my field of view; I'm talking tripod and those huge bulky camcorders another guy stood on top of the barricade all in the name of getting the best angle. And where was security? I'm asking the same question.



Thursday, 26 January 2017

Surviving College: Semester In Review 3.1

Hello peeps,

I have been having a pretty swell couple of days, if I do say so myself. So, I figure why not use the high of positive vibes to write this post.

Realistically speaking we are 3 weeks into the new semester; third year of college, second semester. What y'all would call the last semester of junior year. So far, we are time barred, some classes just started this week or a week late, there is an ongoing lecturers' strike but, I will say, we have met nearly all our lecturers(literally going out  on a limb for us) and they mean business and I like that.

Let's back track a bit though, to last semester. Fam, it was rough. I only had three units, which I will admit I took for granted. I really want to pin the blame on someone. Something. Anyone? Anything!But, when it is all said and done, excuse me while I put my big girl pants on, it was all me.

Class attendance. Them Friday classes tho'. I know I can count on one hand how often I missed class on Friday but the impact was felt. Of course, I met the attendance threshold, in fact, surpassed it, but bruh! Missing one college class is a definite no-no especially with the bulk of the units that I have.It's a no-brainer, but I learnt that the hard way sad to say.

Work-school balance. There was no such thing, not even remotely, work won and I am disappointed in myself for that. I had one afternoon class which ate into 4 hours of work. I still had to meet my weekly hours regardless. Long story short, I would work 9 hours two days out of the week, leaving little or no time for all things school and school related. There I said it, I messed up. Of course I was tired, dog tired, hence the whole attendance 'thing'.

Time was of the essence and I think it was abused. I was not reading or studying enough, we have already established that. But nearly every week one class or another was cancelled, some topics, given that we were in a little crisis situation could have been covered in a single class which had us having classes to the  very last day more or less. I mean whatever happened to study leave? There was also this thing where each unit had at least two facilitators and coherence was not a thing, nearly every one of them on a different wavelength from the other. Welcome to public university, where being shortchanged is the order of the day.

Back to me though, exam season was in full swing when I realized that I do this really stupid thing, where I wait to master key concepts or actually familiarize myself with certain course material a few days to the exam. Often, a few days to finals, I am just a huge ball of throbbing nerves on legs; pulling all-nighters, cramming, minimal study breaks, bluntly put NOT 'A' material.

Improvements? For one, this semester, I plan to be attending every class. So far, not too bad, I missed one class last Friday since I had a  hunch that it would be cancelled and what do you know? It was! Punctuality will also have to make several guest appearances. Getting ahead on my lessons would also be the ultimate dream seeing how notes and course outlines have been graciously flooding my inbox. Study time's bar on the graph just has to increase.

My war paint is on, and I am ready for the assignments and study binge weekends. Hopefully it will be a different story in the next semester in review.

Have a good one!    

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

#Blog4Dev 2017

Hey guys,

Now, let me tell you, for me it has never been a walk in the park to write over topical issues especially essays. In primary school, way back in the day, our school director Mrs. Muhoro, would enter us into all manner of essay writing competitions especially the Commonwealth Essay Writing Competition. We participated maybe 3,4 years in a row(my primary school class of 2008) and nearly every year someone or a couple of people from my class would either be 'commended' or 'highly commended', I on the other hand never did, go figure. Regardless, it made us, winners and 'losers' alike, up our vocab and story-telling skills. All of it surely paid off because one of my classmates is now an avid content developer for one of Kenya's natural hair brands and might I say, my hat naturally goes off to her because her blog posts and captions are straight fire.

Long story short, this is my way of keeping the fire burning. Ladies and gentlemen, my #Blog4Dev 2017 entry. (I am out here just beaming with joy because I actually mastered the guts to write it, Super proud!)

A sizeable percentage of the G.D.P in East Africa is attributed to agriculture, specifically, 32%. The African continent has one of the youngest demographics in the world, with East Africa boasting of 80% of the population being below the age of 35. Majority have caught the entrepreneurial bug as statistics reflect a greater majority would aspire to start their own business. Despite all the odds, less and less youth take the plunge into the world of agribusiness.
Within the Kenyan context, the majority of farmland is in rural Kenya. Farming is largely practised on ancestral land perceived to be the family heirloom. Access to it is often limited, especially to the succeeding generation. The young are thought to be reckless with a get rich quick mentality in tow; selling the land instead of tilling it is a common occurrence. The fear by the older generation is understandably rife .Their efforts to protect the land  have now slowly evolved to be, in plain sight, a denial of the right to access land.
White collar jobs have been glamorized casting blue collar jobs away. Agriculture to many, may  lack the sophistication other professions are famed to offer.
Kenyan rural agriculture seems to be stuck in time. Traditional farming methods for instance are still adhered to despite faster more efficient methods having been in existence.
It is important to acknowledge the role  the internet has played in attracting youth in far flung areas to agriculture. Information is constantly shared through social media channels; blogs, websites, Twitter and Facebook, proving to be more than effective.
This innovation can be taken even a notch higher in unison with agricultural aide programmes such as Kenya’s Agri-Vijana loan targeting young people keen on undertaking agri-business,  more specifically, green house farming .
Creating an application that is a one-stop shop for all things agribusiness would be a sure industry changer. Alerts on outbreaks of crop and livestock diseases, would be shared, to those likely to be affected, precautions  issued with the relevant action plan to be taken against the infected. Handbook information would be shared out among first time farmers. A calendar with relevant dates that farmers would need to keep up with would also be a feature on the application.
Contemporary professions surrounding agriculture can also be developed. Whole new business concepts could be embraced or customised to suit the Kenyan nation. Take for instance the subscription food box; fresh fruit and vegetable delivered fresh from the farm on a weekly basis, with meal suggestions and portioned according to need. The hustle and bustle of going grocery shopping is gone, a time efficient approach, waste free and not to mention convenient.
Awe conferred to graduates who opt to put their degree on the back burner and instead delve into farm work should be a thing of the past. The rural urban migration conundrum to should follow suit as clearly the wealth eagerly sought after, the glamour and sophistication is the very earth we walk on. 
Have a good one!
P.S. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Monday, 23 January 2017

My Network Article

This was the article I wrote for My Network a magazine pull out in the Daily Nation, they were looking for writers and the winner would get an internship and I guess the article published. They never got back to me, but hey it's still a piece, enjoy!

They weren’t kidding when they said the world is at your fingertips, in all its glory, beauty, and art.  Going to galleries is still in, no doubt, but to take it all in, it’s probably all right in front of you. On your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, basically on your timeline.

Add a little juice to your timeline by following @jebet.n. She unconventionally takes the selfie to a whole other level, going back to its roots, the self portrait. More than that, her portraits are brought to life; call her, Chief GIF, as she adds animation to an otherwise still portrait.

The flare does not stop there; she goes beyond stand alone art, incorporating body art to the subject before her lense, tinkers with somewhat dull backgrounds sometimes in the most subtle of ways or going all in on them.

There is something about her black and white images. Black and white in itself comes across as unfiltered, as ironic as it seems. Jebet Naava’s is no different but there is something more, something gripping.

A little bit of everything features on her page, even with her focus on portraits; scenery, of course captured on its best side, Nairobi CBD monuments as never before seen, light falling in all the right places and perhaps what she draws her inspiration, maybe drive from, quotes, poem excerpts, music taste ranging from, possible president of #NuNairobi, @josephkiwangoart to the very soulful, new sounds of @yellowlightmachine.

Her work is dynamic, unpredictable and beyond captivating. Almost as if you managed to score a ticket to one of the most exclusive gallery shows yet. Until then though, go ahead and get cultured the self expression that is her Instagram and you can even go beyond it and on to her Behance, Jebet Naava for exclusive content.
  All of the picture belong to the super talented Jebet Naava follow her on her Insta!