Friday, March 6, 2009


We all saw the now infamous news conference of our Kenyan president and his first lady where they made it clear that they were married to each other and only each other. I was more than mortified when I first saw the clip and I was quick to cast a disapproving stone at the first family of Kenya and render them guilty on a list of charges. Before I give my extremely uncensored opinion on the clip, I dare to look at the situation from their perspective.

For years (even before he got into office the first time round) our media has tormented the first family of Kenya on the issue of polygamy. Now granted, the president is not exactly a man of the people, and doesn't seem to say much about most situations but he chose to speak out on this matter. Pushed to the edge perhaps? Our beloved Lucy on the other hand has no issues nor problems, that the English language can't fix anyway, when it comes to letting her opinions known. For many of us, watching Lucy is pure entertainment, and many blame it on a lot of things and well..substances, but wait a minute, let's take a step back and think about this. How often does Lucy come out to play? If you really think about it, its usually when her family is being attacked. She's a lioness, a mother, a wife who's first instinct is clearly to protect her family. Now granted, the ways she chooses to go about it are sometimes questionable (well..more often than not) but can you really blame her? Our media has taken to believing they are better off serving us "Entertainment News" rather than reporting on actual matters that affect me and you. In fact if we are to be brutally honest, media accountability has long become a foreign concept. The difference between fact and fiction seems to be no, I am not so mad at the media bill that got passed. It was but only a consequence of an otherwise let loose media function. Was it overboard? Sure, to some extent. Was it necessary? Most definitely..but that's a topic with its own time.

Having stated one side of the "I have only one wife" saga, (yes ladies and gentlemen..this was admittedly far more entertaining and intriguing than watching Jack Bauer save the world in 24 hours) this is what I honestly think of the situation. Number one, resources were wasted, taxpayers money wasted, and let's face it...a whole 7 minutes was wasted on not so good pillow talk! Are we all questioning what the priorities here are, God knows we should be! I want to know where the maize went, heck I want to know what you'll do for the 1 in 4 kids dying from HIV/AIDS and other killer diseases. I want to know what you will do for the men in our country that find themselves out on the street with no jobs, no food on the table, and no shelter to lay their heads at night! I want to know, Mr. President, what are you doing to feed the millions of mouths that have not had a bite to eat in weeks, or the STILL displaced people from the chaos that erupted while getting you to office! That's what I demand to know!

Here's the thing Mr. President, I don't even want you to tell me about the conspiracies that go down within the confines of the government, I don't even want to hear about your plan to destroy corruption...NO! I've learned to expect less of my government. I've learned to accept that it will remain a struggle for power until we..that's right..we, the NEW SCHOOL OF THOUGHT come in and do right by our country. So no, Mr. President, the pillow talk does not excite me, it doesn't stimulate me, it doesn't turn me on. Show me what you're doing to help give shelter to our displaced people, show me what you are doing to improve our medical care, show me that you care...that will be worth my seven minutes.

For all the media out there that so proudly ran this story, how about you uncover some real issues that affect me, how about you go out there and report some real news that improves my quality of living. How about you don't waste my seven minutes with impetuous stories, some of which are shamelessly based on fiction rather than fact, maybe then I will join you in the fight against media gagging.


Norah said...

Great stuff gal...If the president responded/addressed the issue on corruption in the country the same way he did with his 2 wives saga then corruption in Kenya w'ld have been history.. Keep going....

Anonymous said...

Thats an interesting way of looking at it. What happened in this case wasn't a case of errant reporting. A former MP insinuated something about the first family and this clip being aired on National TV. The president has never spoken with such venom about a matter that affects the country but could call on the press to clarify on what frankly speaking is a "non issue". Lets just say i have never felt so alone as a Kenyan citizen..

Prettylyf said...

Very well said/written. I definitely concur with you!!!

While reading your post the song Dear Mr. President by Pink came to mind. Do you know it? if you have a minute listen to it.

Tristan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tristan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tristan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Now? said...

Gigee this was very well written but I have a different point of view and I feel like sharing.

"For all the media out there that so proudly ran this story, how about you uncover some real issues that affect me"

I think this story affects us all a lot more than you realize. Superficially, this is a story about the president's alleged second wife but if we've learned anything from the human career then we have to look under the surface.

Google the phrase "commission report kept secret" and you'll find that a vast majority of these reports investigate some form of government misconduct.
It surprises me that no one has claimed responsibility for coming up with this gimmick.

Chapter 102 of the Laws of Kenya state that reports by commissions of inquiry should be made to the President in writing and can be kept secret if it was deemed that State security would be compromised by their release. This loophole is exploited by our government and it's not really that ingenious.

Crimes are committed, commissions are created and reports are classified by the president "for our own good"
Declassified after say 50 years when no one cares, probably around when the proletariat is distracted by a whole new "Commission of Inquiry" into the of that day.
It's the perfect crime.

There aren't that many reasons why the president would classify a document exposing corruption. It would be logically to assume that either he or someone in his inner circle is involved in the corruption.
This unfortunately has been "business as usual" since before the Goldenberg Scandal.

So let's look at the facts from The Kiruki Report findings and then compare conclusions.
These are the sources I used:

-Two foreigners come into the country with travel documents that Interpol confirms as stolen in Russia and Europe.
-They claim to be investors but their companies (Brother Link International Company Limited and Kensington Holdings) has registration documents that appear to be forgeries or at best obtained in contravention of the law. Senior Assistant registrar of Companies Jane Njeri testified that the Arturs did not pay stamp duty but used falsified KRA Personal Identification Numbers -PIN to have the company registered. Njeri also said that although another company existed by the name, Kensington Holdings Limited, the Arturs were permitted to register their company using the same names.
One of the directors of Kensington Holdings is a Ms Winnie Wangui Mwai. The same individual puported to be the president's daughter.

-The report says that Interpol tipped Kenyan police off about these criminals and goes on to blame the police for not acting swiftly. The report proposes a major shake up of the Kenya police.

-They were finally arrested after beating a customs official and pulling out a gun on him and a CID officer at JKIA's VIP lounge. This lounge is supposed to be for the president and visiting foreign dignitaries.
The police gave them 4 hours alone at their residence before carrying out the orders to arrest them. They still found "two AK47 assault rifles, four Ceska pistols and more than 200 rounds of live ammunition, three bullet proof vests, four holsters, 20 reflective jackets, 24 hoods, two pairs of jungle boots, two jungle T shirts, four jungle jackets, two jungle trousers, three jungle scarfs, one black mask and an assortment of fake GK, civilian and diplomatic number plates, Very High Frequency (VHF) radios, motorola communication handsets, closed circuit television cameras, two Russian and two Kenyan passports" in their residence.
What they were going to do with these items is left to the imagination and that's not what we're talking about.
Instead of being arrested and charged with any of the various offenses they committed, they were quickly escorted to the airport and sent to Dubai where they just vanished. They had no criminal records in Dubai!

-The report makes recommendations about Ms Winnie Wangui, co-director of Kensington Holdings- that she be relieved from her civil service position and investigated for fraud, forgeries and various customs violations.
“Brothers in Armenia, Africa Confidential Volume 47 No. 21

My conclusion:
I think the free media unknowingly played an important role in this saga. A role that only a free media could have played.

Off course the more important question here is what the Artur brothers were doing in Kenya and whose patronage they were enjoying but since that information was not even investigated and the little that was unearthed by the Kiruki report has been classified, this case had to be pursued from the only other fault line- the protection of Ms Winnie Wangui Mwai and that's why Paul Muite called H.E Kibaki out resulting in this classic speech.

I think these things keep happening because we never get outraged by them. And we don't get outraged because we think it's too big a system for one small corruption case to affect our individual lives.

I'll leave it at that. I enjoy your blog and keep it flowing!

Anonymous said...

Yeah I agree with the above comment, I had no idea that the Armenian brothers had anything to do with this story.