South Bend Indiana Has Lesson For All Immigrants

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The recent South Bend, Indiana tragedy in which a Kenyan dad offed his daughter and then was taken out by cops is sad. I am however amazed at the way people at home ooh and aaah at this story as if it were the biggest news to come out of here. The program “Snapped” should start airing in Kenya so that Kenyans get an idea of why a story like that is not earthshaking in America. I even like that some are weighing in on who is to blame after reading a newspaper account. Others are worse…their CSI begins and ends with FB and twitter.

Truth be told, this is a pedestrian affair and is only made sadder by the fact that they are both so far away from home and also on account of the young life that was caught and taken  in the crossfire. Reading the local Kenyan papers, I am appalled at how people are calling the mother of this child names and then generalizing it to all Kenyan women in the US saying that all of them eventually leave their husbands because of the power of the dollar. Well you could have fooled me because I thought it was the dollar that drew both of them to the US in the first place. Their probas seem to have coalesced around money but ask any marriage counselor or pastor and they will confirm that money is always at the root of failed marriages. Everything else…cheating, diminished love etc. is a symptom!

I sympathize with the parents of the man and in their grief and mourning they are looking to understand what happened. They have suggested that there was a sociological family trigger, other than the police trigger that killed the man. And from their interview with the media it is obvious they think that their son would never do what he did, stab his daughter to death, and if indeed he did then his girlfriend and mother to their granddaughter had an ominous hand in it. They are in denial and she offers the obvious scapegoat. People need to lash out when something like this happens and so that does not come as a surprise. The mother is very angry and spends time on end gazing at the fresh mound of the grave in disbelief. They now want serikali,  throuh the office of  H.E Amb. Amina Mohammed Foreign Affairs, to intervene and ask American police why they did not just arrest him and deport him, in the words of the mother.

South Bend is a small town in the American Mid-West with a population of about 100,000 and an unemployment rate of 11.4%. It can be classified as small-time America located in the rust and Bible-Belt America. Settling here as an immigrant makes you stick out like a sore thumb and job opportunities are far and in between…and especially if you arrive with just your high school diploma or even a first degree from Africa. The jobs that will be open to you will be menial. Discrimination will be high on the bill and therefore the more reason for you to learn how to settle in and play by the rules. The other option is get a job and go to school in order to get an even better job. It does not come as a surprise that the couple went for months without a job. Now that is a myth that needs to be put to rest: Jobs in America are not hanging like ripe berries on trees for the picking!

Small time America cops do their job thoroughly and you cannot bring your home tabias there and expect to get away with it. The rules are clear. You are not allowed to drink excessively and then beat up on your wife, kids or husband. Violence is violence and the domestic type is the most despicable. Harm a child and you will go to jail…or die trying! There is no justifiable vehicular homicide and especially if the alcohol-meter says you had no business sitting behind a wheel. You break the law and take someones life, you are considered a threat to the community and they will take you out if you do not surrender. Obeisance is paramount here and and there is no defense in “I did not know”. These guys will call you “sir”…very respectful, as they cuff you and haul your butt down to the “cop-shop”! The take down is brutal but very civil unless you begin to plead your case in which case they will only listen to you once you have been processed at the station.

My point here is that while we all sympathize with the family, this is not an issue that is high on the SBPD’s to do list. It will be explained by the circumstances which in this case amount to the gentleman being considered rogue having had issues with the law known as priors. He is reported to have had a problem with alcohol, which most Kenyan men, and sometimes women too, do not seem to realize that they cannot continue to imbibe in the same copious amounts and attempt to drive, like they did at home. Hakuna “kitu kidogo”! It is sad that the other story coming out of Seattle involving the drowning of a young Kenyan boy is also being tagged to excessive alcohol in-take in the name of fun at the beach.

I was drawn to one comment in that standard where a Kenyan immigrant in the US (gentleman) said that when you arrive in peoples country as immigrants, it behooves you to learn the rules of the community in which you hope to settle. Life is hard and especially seeing that you do not have the regular support systems we have in our African communities, there is need for restraint and trying to make it work for the mutual benefit of the family. Life is already hard and there is no point in making it harder just because either party finds it difficult to acclimate and adapt.

When couples arrive here and I have seen it here, they are first lovey dovey and showing their best sides. Then they get jobs and now it becomes this is mine and that is yours. The law suggests that certain things should be done together if you want to avoid high costs…like filing your taxes and claiming your children . Equality becomes a reality and there is division of labor and no one is king of the hill in the house. Mutual respect must abide and the woman wearing pants as item of clothing should not be construed as usurping of powers conferred by the elders in gichagi! When this arrangement seems to not work then take the other route of seeing a counselor na ikizidi muone wakili wa talaka…Not to engage in mortal combat with kids as collateral damage!

This young family certainly did not have a chance. Some couples come here and they find their median very quickly and settle…not to say that they never have probas…but they know how to deal putting their mission at the core. Others fall apart very quickly. Like this family here. I hope the two families involved in this saga find peace and understanding that they will have purchased at a truly great cost…the tragic loss of a father and son, a daughter and grand daughter!

©njeriOsaak is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher / Consultant, currently based in the United States.

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Why POTUS Will Come To Kenya.

Obama is not coming to Kenya and Kenyans are sulking. How? How can he not know that we should be top of the list…and that that should not have even been a subject of debate seeing that we are his relatives…brothers, sisters and cousins…albeit sometimes twice…thrice removed. But we are “blood” and after all…si nyumbani ni nyumbani! He can’t even listen to the tug of his shosho’s  umbilical calling?

So the discussion at the State department, as they met to plan the trip, should really have focused on whether he should also go to TZ and SA and all those other countries that naturally fall in behind Kenya…All things nice, about us considered.

My modest research tells me that the United States and Kenya have enjoyed cordial relations since Kenya’s independence. Relations became even closer after Kenya’s democratic transition of 2002 and subsequent improvements in human rights.

After Kenya’s independence on 12 December 1963, the United States immediately recognized the new nation and moved to establish diplomatic relations. The embassy in Nairobi was established 12 December 1963—Kenya’s Independence Day…Right on the same day. They celebrated our birthday with that! Very profound I must say!

Then again, more than 9,000 U.S. citizens are registered with the U.S. Embassy as residents of Kenya. In 2006 a record 86,528 Americans visited Kenya, up 17.6% from 2005. U.S. business investment is estimated to be more than $285 million, primarily in commerce, light manufacturing, and the tourism industry.

So really…How can Obama skip over us like that? We are also blood yawa! And I keep on coming back there because that is how it feels if your rela arrives in your part of the world to visit and then heads back out without visiting you…not even a phone call. Worse still…the rela visits a neighbor who you have never really had much in common with and that you don’t like very much…and then sends a message ati you pokea ,salaams from them akiwa safarini kuelekea!

It doesn’t matter that they have been MPesaing you with aid here and there. This rela, and especially if they came visiting from majuu, should know that you needed to spend some much previously touted floss time with them. So now, what will you tell the neighbors and others? Anything you say to them can and will be construed to be sour grapes!

And Kenyans did offer a lot of sour grapes on Facebook and twitter…Ati even its better that Obama is not coming because of the traffic jam that would have caused them to be late for work. Now I know a lot of who Kenyans do not have a strong work ethic and being late has never really been a bone of contention…more a good and plausible excuse!

Some were more realistic and closer to the truth when they talked about the gas / petrol lost while idling in the jam waiting for the plane to land, traditional welcome and signing of visitors book and then the msafara into city center of the guest and entourage. Others just shrugged it off in resignation and capitulation with a “si akae basi!…Na ata asikuje akimaliza kukuwa prezzo!

The Telegraph, in an update on the planing of the trip, carried a piece recently on how Barack and Michelle Obama have reportedly scrapped a safari during their trip to Africa, and while in TZ specifically, because of the costs of snipers needed “to neutralize cheetahs, lions and other animals if they became a threat..”! I shared that on FB and I got an earful in response from my friends! Some said it was just as well they will not visit Kenya because now the disappointment would have extended to our lions and cheetahs. Then we would be left to deal with them to calm them down.

Another said that that is just an excuse because the safari would have been during the day when the lions and cheetahs are already well fed (poor zebra and gazelles and gnus!) and are usually taking a lazy nap. The Chinese Premier paid a visit recently and he did a safari and he was okay…and he did check out the wildlife scene!

A more serious reaction involved someone suggesting that the lions and cheetahs are a metaphor for a wild and hard to understand or control local ‘tribes-people” and the snipers would be stretched to pinpoint where in the woody jungle they could be hiding and pounce from! Then there is the misplaced notion that animals just roam wild in Africa and intermittently show up in the city…Now I know why we have Zebra crossings!

What ever the reason for Obama circumventing us, we must move on because no amount of venting, short of picketing and bringing  Shosho or Dani from Kogelo to the picket line, will change that program. The Telegraph in the same story says that including this coming trip, “Mr Obama has spent less than 24 hours in sub-Saharan Africa during his time as president, when he visited Ghana in 2009…”

Kenya has never had a visit by a sitting US President and so maybe there is a good reason…and a pattern. Americans say “if it aint broke…Don’t fix it!” It aint broke with Kenya and so nothin’ needs fixin’ I guess. My sour grapes is that Obama and entourage have on their agenda to visit where it needs fixin’. We’re blood and he will come…In good time because like that song says…“Nyumbani ni nyumbani”!…Home is home!

©njeriOsaak is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher / Consultant, currently based in the United States.

Women in Politics: Kethi To Join The Fray?

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So Kethi Kilonzo has said “yes” and then no…and now maybe, to the idea of slipping into her late father’s moccasins. The journey will now begins for this soon to be lady politician. Kethi’s rise is unique because her path into politics took a very different route than that of other political inheritors like Ngala, Mudavadi, M’Maitsi, Juma Boy, Khaniri and a host of others. She is, first and foremost, the first female to inherit a political seat (and she will win if precedence on post incumbent dad’s death, poli-inheritance is anything to go by), all the others coming before her having been men.

The similarities with her male counterparts ends at that point. Kethi can actually lay claim to the title of emergent or a people evolved leader following her never before seen and people judged, classic performance, as an attorney representing AFRICOG, a social activist group, as an interested party at the historical Supreme Court 2013 election petition. Her papa was still alive and sitting right next to her in the courtroom, as she made her debut quasi-political statement and appearance. He annointed her his successor there and then. She acquired overnight super-star status and the local dailies and social media were awash with glowing epithets one of which said “Kethi for president!”Okay…that was a bit much!

But I am a tad worried for her. She has been plummeted into politics feet first amid the euphoria that surrounded the election petition. It is all so heady considering that she must have not seen that coming and is now transfixed like a deer caught in the headlamps of an oncoming car. Will she make it across the road or be struck down in the prime of her life and be consigned to the political wasteland of women who have tried so hard to be accepted as equals in politics, but have come through with titles like iron lady and little else is remembered of them?

I am concerned about the challenges that lie ahead for this young lady who is really going into this hostile territory as a political minion! What will be Kethi’s role in the Senate and how will she expect to fare as compared to those who have gone before her?

I call it hostile territory because historically, democracy has not been kind to women and has served men better than it has women. Political thinkers and philosophers of yore such as Aristotle, Plato, Hobbes…the darlings of our Basic Concepts class at the UON… thought women as being only fit for certain roles in society such as being good mothers and wives! Now who would have thought…The starters and discoverers of democracy as we know it today!

This thought has been sifted through the years and despite the strides that have been made in the increased percentage of women involved in politics today, women’s domestic role of mother and cleaner and cooker and everything else will come later, has remained deep-rooted and entrenched. It is like DNA that is hard to shake off and we remain attached to the hearth, with helix apron strings, while the patriarchy of the male ego reigns supreme.

In a 2005 paper titled Women’s Political Participation: Issues and Challenges prepared for the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) Expert Group Meeting held in Bangkok, Farzana Bari quotes Adrienne Rich to define patriarchy as “A familial-social, ideological, political system in which men by force, direct pressure or through ritual, tradition, law, and language, customs etiquette, education, and the division of labor, determine what part women shall or shall not play in which the female is everywhere subsumed under the male.” That right there is the totalitarian nature of patriarchy and so what chance have women ever had…even before they started?

Consequently, when women enter politics within this context, chances that they will have a lasting impact are mediated and watered down by the stiff opposition they will experience from their male counterparts. Clearly, this is that last bastion of male dominance and as nature will have it, men will fight tooth and nail to remain at the top of the food chain in the political jungle. Women will forever be made to feel that they are where they are…whether in the Senate or parliament…as a token from the alpha male.

Never mind that in other circumstances women have to campaign 100 times harder than the men…and in high heels, skirts and with babies on their backs too! Women have to exert themselves harder campaigning on issues and at the same time dealing with demeaning insults that are grossly below the belt.

Wangari Maathai offers a classic example of a woman with an exemplary book education and who in jumping into the political foray found that the transition did not sit well with her supporters who thought she did a better job from the outside than if she became a hard core politician. She however went ahead and  while vying for a political seat in the 1980’s, against her ex-husband, she stated the classical statement at one of her campaigns, aimed at her opponent…telling him that he should keep the campaign clean and focus on issues that are above the neck and not below the belt! She was of course referencing the unfair insults that she had to endure from her opponent’s campaign machine that unfairly alluded to bedroom issues and other sexual innuendo!

We have seen other brave ladies such as Martha Karua, come into politics leaving behind their professional careers and which they excelled at. She who become only the second women in Kenya to vie for the presidency, after Charity Ngilu. Ms. Karua would however carry the campaign further than even Ngilu but alas the criticisms that followed her everywhere including the fact that she is a mere women saw her perform badly. She was beaten into fifth place by a johnnie-come-lately-into-the-election maverick, Abduba Dida, who had campaigned nowhere nearly as long, hard and as widely as Martha Karua.

Martha, also known as the iron lady was the subject of so much male (and female) derision and they did not pass the chance to take pot-shots at her. They reveled in stories that told of her clandestine sexual escapades and her unwomanly or unmotherly instincts that cast doubt on whether she was not really a man dressed in female hormones!

As I was writing this piece, there was an interesting heated discussion on CNN on why Hilary Clinton will or will not win the 2016 presidential election. A statement by one of the discussants filtered through to me. Hilary Clinton will not win because she is too masculine…She might however win because she is cheerful. Really? Its back to basics and women even as powerful as Mrs. Clinton must first be the traditional happy woman?

So…Charity Ngilu, Martha Karua, Wangari Maathai and now possibly Kethi Kilonzo. She can choose to emulate past women politicians…Wangari Maathai had a checkered mainstream political career but was wildly successful as an activist or critique from the edge and went on to become a Nobel laureate. Martha Karua…also successful but thanks to sideshows we remember little of her success and more of her grit and iron and anger. Charity Ngilu…Oh well!

I have some advice for Kethi…She needs to do some soul searching and make quick decisions about what her objectives will be and how she will go about achieving them. She should determine what and how she can bring her immense popularity and while it lasts to her new job as Senator for Makueni. She should just be herself and not strive to earn the masculinity and other hardnosed titles. The people love her as the intelligent, soft-spoken but pleasantly surprisingly brilliant person that she is. They already know she is a mother too. She should remember it is not going to be easy…men will be men and when push comes to shove, they will push hard, despite who her daddy was!

Yes. Kethi has the unique opportunity of charting a new course: Finding and setting a new approach to winning our rightful position alongside our men in politics, while remaining a lady but winning hands down, without necessarily taking the bait and turning into a clone of our women politicians, that has been cleverly crafted by men about us, over the years.

©njeriOsaak is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher / Consultant, currently based in the United States.

Sports, Culture and Arts Secretary and Nairobi Governor Save The Kenya National Theater from being Auctioned

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A topic after my own heart!…Unfortunately we still have anxious “developers” who get hives when they see prime property like that got to “waste”! I would imagine that they think it’s a waste because we don’t put these centers to as much use as we should.

I visited Market Theater in Johannesburg  South Africa (and met the late iconic George Menoe long after he had relocated back home from his home in Kenya!) and was so taken aback at the hive of activity that was this theater district! There were plays going on, rehearsals for next shows in other places, artists and patrons seated in various places including pavement / roadside pubs and eateries just debating / chatting about what they had just participated in or watched. It is also a star watchers spot where people go to mingle with their stage stars etc. There are also kiosks selling merchandise related to theater that I am sure serve as a side income generation for the theater…not just a bar and fish restaurant!

I ventured into the foyers of the theaters and saw plays advertised for as far ahead as 6…7…8 months. The box offices were busy selling tickets for the many, many functions booked to happen here. It is a center to which people gravitate all the time and not just during the one play that is showing as it is usually our case! The decor, ambiance and the history of theater depicted via murals on the walls was breathtaking!

Indeed, the Director and ministry officials should draw a plan with a caveat that puts all cultural centers and theaters around the country permanently out of the reach of cultural Philistines who never tire and seem to be born in every generation.Then it is also time to put in place people who can get stuff happening here all the time. By people who can…I am talking about ones with actual experience in running such cultural outfits and know how to put together programs that attract people and funding to keep the places going. The centers should be made visitor friendly and stop being hangouts for aspiring celebs and tailgaters!

And it does not have to be a play all the time but rather even workshops to encourage the development of the arts in every field.

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Written in response to a story and headline by Kimani Wa Wanjiru @ http://kimaniwawanjiru.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/sports-culture-and-arts-secretary-and-nairobi-governor-save-the-kccknt-from-being-auctioned/

©njeriOsaak is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher, currently based in the United States.

On Undercover Babies…And Posthumous Scandals!

A conversation I had with some friends recently on Facebook went something like this:

Jerry: These are signs of our times. Posthumous scandals

Me: Hio ni sawa kabisa…In keeping with our national pastime off having asides and deserts following the main meal! Hahaha! She said in her supporting affidavit that she needed to hit the iron when still hot…i.e before he is interred…Her trump card!

Willis: I think we are in a material oriented society. What about other men of less economic status? Almost nobody goes to claim anything when they die. Also, we are in a society where we lack strict laws on marriage, inheritance, Wills, Estates, etc etc.Undercover babies

As you might have already guessed…Yes! It was us Kenyans engaged in another favorite pastime….In the bar, at home, on street corners (I saw a lot of mini Kamukunjis in the city, Nairobi, when I last visited just before the elections…and nice little benches to laze on and chat that also ironically say on the backrest…”I will not just sit here…”!). We were  discussing current events (more affairs than gossip…affairs has a ring of highbrow  intellect being engaged!) and lending the discussion our own wild suppositions and explanations for the state of affairs…a death in the family called Kenya. In this case it was the untimely death (when is it ever timely?) of the said distinguished lawyer turned politician Mutula Kilonzo.

The reason why his passing caused a stir is in part because we had just come out of a bruising election and he was on the side that lost. The losing side was and still is trying to make sense of that loss and any scapegoat will do. In this case, it was being whispered that he has been “eliminated”. And that sinister dark forces that oddly resembled the government of the day and probably the Dalai Lama or Maradonna (remember his famous Hand of God?), must have had a hand in it…all in preparation for the return match set for 2017 by eliminating whatever and whoever looked like a formidable foe!

But that was not even the core of our discussion…We have since moved from shock and grief and crocodile tears and playing Sherlock Holmes by offering our “elementary” theories of how Mutula died…to now a more seedy and corpulent topic. That Mutula Kilonzo while serving the nation so opulently and in distinguished manner, may have found time to sow wild oats in his backyard that resulted in a little boy being born. Oh boy!…Is there a topic that gets our juices going and tongues wagging more than one where a clande relationship is nakedized for all to see and savor  Now we know who he really is, we bellow! We have seen his underwear…sorry underbelly!  And all that pseudo-intelligence cum political talk we earlier had on how a great reformist mind and sturdy mugumo has been felled by dark ninja forces,  is forgotten. So lets talk about sex nooow!…undercover sex and how oops!…babies can also be the unintended consequence!

I have only the greatest respect for this distinguished son of Kenya who led an iconic life. He was smart, and is the only lawyer within the Kenyan legal fraternity that a colleague said he ever heard expound on the law of unintended consequences; and his life story reads like the great novel Angela’s Ashes, a 1996 memoir by the Irish-American author Frank McCourt. I read a long piece on Mutula, written by one journalist, Emeka, in a local daily, and whose writing I admire for its depth and research, in which he chronicles Mutula’s journey from his indigent village life, through school and hard work, making much moolah along the way, and right back to the magnificent Valhalla he built as his getaway, and at which ironically he exited the earth! But by the time Emeka wrote his piece, the woodwork was still intact and Nthenya had not busted through to thicken the plot with claims that she wants to tell us another part of the story! She had a son with Mutula all seven years ago and before the soil is settled on his cenotaph and the ink dry on the will…would they please add a nota bene and include her son!?

All this remains unsubstantiated and it is all conjecture of course, until the DNA results are in. A pointed aspect of the discussion however, was on how he Mutula had now sunk low in the eyes of some of those who held him in high esteem as a morally upright person and whose life and success is a testament to how it is possible to be rich, famous and a politician and still be an example to others. One other friend weighed in on the discussion saying: “This man was all form and no substance. Let no one tell me about speaking ill of the dead.I’m getting more disgusted with Mutula with each passing day.This one about hobnobbing with his herdsman’s daughter…a girl much younger than Kethi…..eish!”

Women were more incensed because this has become the norm rather than the exception in our society where men shirk their responsibility of looking after the children that are born after the nice time of making them is a long forgotten faint memory that does not cause a stir in their groin anymore! My friend Esther was livid and had this to say: “Eunice Nthenya is a daughter to the late Mutula’s herdsman/ranch hand. I am trying to imagine how he approached & seduced her. Or was she just delivered by her father? Mutula paid Ksh 4,000 for maternity fees for Eunice child, his son… a princely sum indeed maybe at a local hospital or Pumwani. But…. he paid Ksh700,000 to feed the lions (PER MONTH!!)…so there you go..value for money, I tell you….. so Kenyans where do we go from here??? We need to hold our leaders accountable for their private immorality. After all we are funding their lavish livelihoods. Give the politicians their raise but they should live in a moral and transparent manner, failure to which they should be disrobed of their positions.”

Private Immorality! Now that is a new one. How is that and is it allowed? My friend is angry and indeed echoes the sentiments of many women who will no doubt be livid to hear of the lions eating well and yet the mother and child are left to fend for themselves. In Nthenya’s case, it is being suggested by mathematicians who did the quick mental sum that she was underage (15!) and did not know any better and did not have the wherewithal to make ends meet. This is even more annoying according to many, considering that the person involved here as the supposed father is wealthy beyond our wildest imagination! He had lions and gazelles and other wildlife for pets for crissake and he fed them!

But before we rush to judge Mutula so harshly, there is the other side of the coin that alleges that women we have also become not very different from the lions that he fed!…And that we go into these clandestine escapades knowing full well that the man is taken..He has a wife or wives and children to boot! What ever also happened to the pill…and now there is even an I-forgot-morning after-the-white-night pill? Can we still say it was an accident when the belly begins to grow? We then wait in the wings for the cue…most usually when the man is completely died and dead…and just before he is buried…then we tokelezea with the immutable exhibit of a child or children in tow to claim a share for “the children”!

A local daily quoted Nthenyas affidavit as saying that: “Ms Nthenya has sworn an affidavit to the effect that she was in a relationship with the late Makueni Senator between 2005 and 2008 and that he was the biological father of the minor who was born on May 5, 2006 in Makueni”. It is the child’s natural right to share the father’s wealth with the other siblings. It is in order therefore that the paternity test be conducted with speed and expediency to enable this child legally claim his fair share of the father’s wealth”

Speed and expediency! What speed now when we had all the time in the world to get matters fixed…birth certificates, wills and testaments and all that good stuff while everyone is still feeling lovey dovey. Maybe there is a lesson here that each time you are with a clande in a tight embrace and the with intentions of making immutable consequences called babies, pluck some of his hair and store well for future DNA purpose! But how about we also use the same wiles we used when the man is still alive to get ourselves situated…a business, a job…anything that will make you self sufficient and independent and strong…instead of waiting to potentially make a joke of yourself before the entire world…asking for a Shylockean pound of DNA to prove that indeed, apart from the forehead, ears and fingers looking a lot like the dear departed, science will also bear you out?

As a friend, Willis, said at the top of this article, women seem more Machiavellian when they arrive later to claim that they are acting for the children. That there are never cases of women chasing after poor men…only the rich and famous. I don’t know that such cases do not exist because we would not hear about them. Poor peoples stories never make it into the big media unless it turns tragic or comic. Readers and the public in general like to read about a rags to riches story..or riches to rags, but not about people who are just poor and whose lives seem to be going nowhere. Frank McCourt’s story in Angela’s Ashes only becomes interesting because he rose from abject poverty in Ireland and found his way to America the land of dreams and fulfillment. We empathize with stories such as these because they mirror our hopes and aspirations. So Willis that is the irredeemable fact, It is a material world and women now also know their rights. If the case cannot be made when the rich and powerful man is alive, then they will wait for when his torch has dimmed and the family is at its weakest, to step forward and lay their demands.

Will Nthenya’s addition to the story be the final epilogue to the unwritten ode of Mutula’s life…or should we expect an addendum(s) and more ibid, sic footnotes?…Or even part two and three…and four…as separate rejoinders and or as replies to the original manuscript? That is most likely never gonna happen because the drama is now over and the story is almost complete. We the interested bystanders will also have long moved on (okay…I know I might be boxed in the ears for that phrase by recovering poll losers but its for lack of a better one and also being Kenyan…!). We will have already found another sumptuous topic to mutilate with our forks and scythes which we always have at the ready! Linturi’s case is waiting in the wings. And the other guy..an MP also and whose 40 year old son wants to be counted as part of his brood!

We are never idle. My niece Yvonne gave me a nice phrase that describes how we roll us Kenyans…”We don’t idle well” and as Jerry said at the start of our conversation “These are signs of our times. Posthumous scandals”!

Catch up with the story here…or you will be the green horn at the bar discussion!:

http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/1846018/-/w5syt6z/-/index.html

http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000083329&story_title=tna-senator-in-paternity-row&pageNo=2

©njeriOsaak Is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher, currently based in the United States.

In my Opinion: Why We Love to Hate Caroline Mutoko!

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“A mother ship (or mothership) is a vehicle (e.g. ship, aircraft or spacecraft) that serves or carries one or more smaller vehicles. Examples include bombers converted to carry experimental aircraft to altitudes where they can conduct their research (such as the B-52 carrying the X-15), or ships that carry small submarines to an area of ocean to be explored (such as the Atlantis II carrying the Alvin). The mother ship may also recover the smaller craft, or may go its own way after releasing it.”

Caroline Mutoko is a mothership. She is strong, successful at what she does, opinionated, seemingly fabulously wealthy, bossy, famous, admired…and yet for the same reasons, she is misunderstood and…intensely disliked by many! I do not purport to know her well enough to write in her defense (she does that all by herself very well and doubt that she needs my help with that!)…nor am I a fan of her radio show but, her personality and place in the public eye (she is a celeb!) and the way she is perceived by many leads me to want to say something about her.

We constantly complain about our empty debe or air-headed celebs who usually have nothing of substance to say past the talent and money they have and yet when we suddenly get one who has an opinion and is brilliant enough to articulate it, we are quick to want to dumb her down. As if we want her to just shut up already and “eat” her money quietly! In fact, we all tend to sound like witches who wish the worst calamity on her…her offspring and anything associated with her!

I just think most people…and that includes some women… just don’t really like successful people…and its two strikes if they are women. Add a third strike if there is no successful man in the picture!  Caroline Mutoko is strong and mirrors our weaknesses.. or tends to remind us of our failures…or what we will never have or be! She speaks her mind, says what she likes because she is her own woman. We are such pessimists that we tend to not see her as a positive influence, a mentor for us to emulate or set our goals by. We give up before we even start and end up setting ourselves on fire consumed with hate and dislike for her success. Most of us cannot understand how she has not crumbled under the repeated onslaughts from the general public and so we keep on bringing up all sorts of sordid stories about her.

But she has refused to let the public write her narrative. In fact…it is these same stories that seem to make her stronger and a mystery that we continue to hammer at hoping to “kill” her and then look for the next victim after burying her in the heap where we send people (Nancy Baraza comes to mind) that we have made capitulate and brought down to their knees with attacks such as these. Caroline is always taking one for the girls because she encapsulates the strong woman who like the mothership, carries all of us with her as she sets sail in uncharted spaces where others have dared and fell. She is a mentor, a philanthropist and constantly speaks out asking young women to stand up for something and not be content with mediocrity.

I would at this point hasten to ask…So what if she was the mpango at the home when the mighty Iroko fell! What does that change and what abomination did she commit that Kenyans are not already famous  or infamous for? Caroline can never be let off the hook! Even after she offered (unconfirmed media sources) an “alibi” for where she was when Mutula died…she was at hospital condoling a friend and workmate, a lady, who was admitted in hospital…comments after the rumor carried by a daily rag went something like…”Why was she at the hospital with the lady overnight? Is she her husband?” Another chimed in response to that thus…”Caroline does not like men!”….of course insinuating that she might just be a dyke!…So they sort of accepted her alibi but still wanted to lynch her and open a new platform on which to continue attacks on her!

So incessant and urgent is the need to cut Caroline down to size that an FB lynch page is open for all “members” to jump in and vent any time she speaks and they, in turn, need to respond and add their two cents (which is really usually nonsense!). I think this is what helps her to grow. Every time people post insults in response to her she actually gets more material to keep her radio show going. This is all good fodder for her. All these people need to listen to her everyday or play catch up and listen when an issue is out there. All this hullabaloo drives traffic to her radio station. Consequently, no amount of kelele from the baying public will make her bosses sack her. It is all symbiotic…you feed on her, the radio station gets its traffic and the bosses are happy. I think that balances the equation!

And while we are at it…the baying wolves…(nipping at her heels and spending so much time in which they should be doing other things to better themselves)…should remember that she has a big platform from which she is able to adequately respond to all her critics at once. And it is no skin off her hinny because it is her job and she would actually enjoy doing that!

I like this talk that she gave and I hope the young girls there were listening. She was not speaking out of her hat and had prime examples that she mimicked complete with the sound and idiom of how we sound when making excuses for the bad decisions and choices we make in life.

(Watch the video here… Caroline Mutoko speaks to Eve Sisters about Relationships and tells Sisters to quit average attitude if they want to succeed. FAST FORWARD the video to the 6th minute to watch and listen to Caroline’s warning to girls.   :http://www.kenya-today.com/entertainment/caroline-mutoko-sisters-you-must-quit-average-attitude)

If you watch the video and the camera panning on her listeners as she speaks, you will notice the nervous laughter and looks on their faces as she tells the biting truth. It is either the young faces are already caught up in the scenarios she is describing…or they were contemplating a life no different than that. I particularly like the scenario she creates of a lady who happily goes for a date at Kwa Njuguna (who is the owner of that joint? He gets a lot of publicity each time girls talk about a bad dating experience! ). So if you set your standards so low, why do you expect the guy to treat you any different?

Going to Njuguna’s is fine and fun as she says.  But that should not constitute the entirety of what it means to have a good time. Well-to-do men often go to masandukuni to drink and eat nasty mutura every once in a while but they later retreat to where they think it befits them on the social ladder…and where they also hope to meet the future mother of their children. The same applies to ladies who can opt to visit seemingly seedy joints with their girlfriends to eat, drink, catch up on stories and gossip and just like the men do, they also remember what their goals in life are and move on back on track!

I live in the US where there is no limit to what a woman can do if she wants to be successful and independent at that. Fundamental of which is to value yourself and also get a good education. Learning self reliance at an early age is crucial and moving away from the belief that a woman’s history is etched in stone from the time she is born…to the time she bows out of the stage of the play called “this life”. Despite the fact that we are given a western education, some of us remain tethered to the ways of our long gone mothers, fathers, aunties and uncles that insist that a woman is nobody if she does not get an additional tag to her name…as in a husband. Caroline alludes to this when she mimicked ladies who despite having a good education and job have as their dream, the hope of “ensnaring” a good husband and then quitting everything to become a stay at home mother. That needless to say will be the first step towards committing harakiri…strangling yourself socially and emotionally.

I am happy to say that at this stage in life I have wonderful, strong and independent women friends who have done marvelously well on their own. I love it when I travel to the homeland and we gather at a “hen party” where we talk about almost anything under the sun…our children, careers, husbands or non-husbands, love found or lost…with food and wine flowing copiously! And yes some people have said all there is to say about us the “Hens” (when I was last home a gentleman we knew from our college days approached our table of girls at Impala club and greeted us saying…”Well well…If it isn’t Grace (our host) and the Pips!” Hahaha!)…but believe me…It all does begin to sound so yesterday that they give up and begin to respect you for who you are.

Why does dependency appeal to us so much? Is it the psychological misconception we have that our mothers who stayed at home had a good life?..an easy life? Did we ever stop to think that our mothers may have not had the benefit of an advanced education and the chance for the new-found freedoms that we have increasingly get with the changing technological communication and socio-economic environment. Why do we fear to be alone just because society will label you a loser, cheap, immoral etc…just because you do not have a husband? What is wrong with being single, a single mother and being a success at it and especially if the man responsible has abdicated their irresponsibility? In my eyes, all single mothers are the unsung heroes…Ask all those guys who go by names like James Wa Maria!

Ladies, you should talk to your mothers and you will discover that most of them want you to have a better life than they did. That does not necessarily mean living single or getting married. It just means that you need to be making sensible decisions guided by whatever situation you find yourself in…and that includes having oodles of self esteem and putting yourself in front…putting yourself first…and letting the kingdom follow….Like Caroline the mothership does!

©njeriOsaak… Is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher, currently based in the United States.

#Women in clubs…The Standard

Here is another enlightening and enriching Standard story! It is such an “Aha!” and revealing story and all men need to beware of this “new” tactic by women in clubs! Soo many women have grown “rich” due to the unsuspecting nature of men who frequent these clubs to pick up…wait for it…Women! Who in turn rob them of their phones and grow rich! I am def in the wrong profession!

 

http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000083046&story_title=women-in-clubs-conning-their-way-to-riches