29 November, 2007

Call to Nobel Laurete-Wangari Mathai

The renowned 2004 Kenyan Nobel laureate Wangari Mathai recently lost Party of National Unity (PNU) nominations to pursue the Tetu Parliamentary seat. This did not come as surprise as she has met several politically significant blows ever since her winning the prestigious award and being appointed a paltry assistant minister in the Ministry of Environment!

Yesterdays KTN Programme hosted by Linus Kaikai confirmed what the public has all along been calling her to do: quit politics, as she is way above that political seat and it is certainly hoped that she will heed call. It is hoped that as a private citizen she will not be partisan and or limited by party policy but will act selflessly in defending the environment -the core duty that landed her the Nobel accolade. But the question is will she heed that voice of reason?

There is so much ahead of her including a shot at becoming the first African woman secretary general of the United Nations, but politics can certainly muddle that ambition.

Take for example, after having banned the cultivation of crops in forested areas, in an apparent attempt to win the electorate votes in the upcoming 2007 December polls, the Government through minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Hon David Mwiraria announced on November 1st 2007 that Non-residential cultivation system of certain forests will soon be reintroduced with new rules for implementation after a 8year ban. No doubt this will result in massive logging to create space for planting. It is certainly challenging for her to continue to be part and parcel of a system that negativates the gains made in pursuing ecologically sound principles! It therefore stands to reason that she should dedicate more time to her Green Belt Movement, re-energize it and adopt more policies and programmes that are sustainable in the long run and sensitize the public, the Diaspora and the continent on the same. A feat that will definately demand more time than she can currently give juggling both interests at the same time.

Infact it is a mark of greatness to delegate and handle that which one can more effectively handle, take for example the fact that Jesus said his disciples would do more than he could be able to accomplish in his three and a half year ministry! Indeed he could not by himself reach the whole world but he helped and trained his apostles who would eventually through word of mouth and other means reach the whole world(Acts 1 :8).That is a classic mark of Greatness and is certainly hoped many will heed it!

22 November, 2007

The Google March in Africa

Africa is rapidly developing to be an emerging market for many multi national corporations!IBM has just announced about a mentorship program in conjuction with many sub saharan universities with intent to develop an employee base when the company launches a major initiative in Africa.On the otherhand Google recently launched its first African office in Nairobi in July this year.Question is,what is in the offing with these new entrants in our domestic markets.

Generally, Googles mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.In attempting to reach that goal locally, Google intends to optimise the use of Google applications in the African,Middle East and Asian region . Further,in order to get more users in the sub saharan market Google is willing to go to the extent of buying international bandwidth and make it affordable to the locals so that they don’t have to pay the curent high premiums prevailing in the african market. Google also intends to develop their Maps product to make sure it has a more relevant appeal and contains local information that is searchable and useful.Thirdly,Google wants to help local webby's monetize local content. Lots of people have done local content but most times it’s flopped. By doing so,google intends to generate more jobs and work especially for the ailing African economies.

That is definately good news for African bloggers who feature local content but cannot effectively monetize since most African companies are yet to grasp and utilize the power of internet advertisement which is a multi billion dollar industry in the developed countries.Most of the top notch advertisement companies have no strategic plans to usurp and exploit this rapidly developing market.Groups such as Ogilvy and Mather,Ayton Young and Rubicam,Lowe Scanad Group,Adopt A Light... etc in Kenya tend to capitalize on print media,outdoor and television advertising and neglect the internet as a medium of massive advertisement perhaps due to the fact that a staggering majority of the African populace lack access to the internet or the computer.

But despite that vein of argument,the recent launch of NTV(a local Kenyan television channel) on Youtube attracted a massive 500 ,000 hits.This indicates that there is a ready market for local content both within Africa and in the diaspora that needs to be tapped.

Google is also set to join the mobile market this is evidenced by their recent stategic dalliance with Sprint Nextel and Cingular Wireless in the United States .Locally, Google in patnership with Safaricom, a leading mobile services provider in Kenya is offering the locals free internet access which obviously is a strategic move to ensure that of the more than 2 million safaricom subscribers get access to google search on the go and remain users of google products especially as it chats its way through the mobile market.It also a preparatory stage for googles attempt at being and remaining the leading search provider in the world.The mountain view based company recently unveiled a free cell phone software package,which it intends to use to more easily peddle ads and services to people who aren't in front of a PC. Thus Google is set to dominate the mobile web market as part of its expansion programe.It is hoped that phones running the new software will be cheaper hence more accesible and affordable to users.

For along time google has been indexing web pages with intent of having the largest database.This will make google eventually the leading and most comprehensive information portal.Due to this vision being championed by Larry Page (founder),Sergey Brin(co-founder) and Eric Schmidt(C.E.O Google inc.) critics have labelled google as "googzilla" and perhaps this fear of monopolization of the information market may be the driving force behind the stalling of googles bid to buy ad tracker Double Click,the leading visual advertisement content provider by regulators in Europe and America.At the same time many rights activist have raised concern over googles attempt to provide books online terming it as attempt at copyright infringement and an abuse by the company.

Their rescent third quarter financial statements(September 2007) are a proof that emerging foreign markets are proving to be the core revenue generating sources for MNC's and microsoft Corp is indeed taking cue from this.Googles revenues from outside of the United States totaled $2.03 billion, representing 48% of total revenues in the third quarter of 2007, compared to 44% in the third quarter of 2006 and 48% in the second quarter of 2007. Thus the foreign revenue curve can be seen to be exponentially growing for this company founded in a stanford university dorm and which is hardly a decade old!The example of Google portends the growth and potential that the emerging markets have and the short duration wherein profits can begin to be harnessed !If only local investors could take cue.

The march of Google in Africa will definately yield alot of benefits especially for the local information and technology industry.Their entry into the markets and attempts in creating a presence through launching products with alot of media presence bear evidence of googles attempt at exploiting the opportunities available in emerging foreign markets .This bear evidence to what this investment markets have in store for multi nationals that are willing to take the leap and who will be pleasantly suprised at the opportunities Africa has to offer.

17 November, 2007

Flavoured Straws Hits The Market

Couldnt help but post on this exciting product courtesy of strawtech that has just cropped up in the domestic market-granule packed flavoured straws!

Do your kids hate drinking healthy milk!do they frequently need much persuasion inorder to drink their milk,Then straw tech has just come up with an inovation that will leave them going gaga-flavoured straws!I must say that is ingenuous !Think of it ,the straws come in different flavours from strawberry,to banana,chocalate ...etc all made from natural ingredients.The straws are packed with granules and when one drinks normal healthy milk it is instantly flavoured. The sugar content in the straws is negligible hence the straws are diabetic friendly.And as a parent you need not fear your childrens teeth getting messed up as the straws delinver the milk to the back of the mouth .Truly bespoke dental compliant!When it comes to the environment,the straws are made from recyclable material hence the environmentally conscious need not fear.

The innovation is credited with an australian baby boomer and will be produced in Kenya by strawtech Limited ,the patent holder in conjunction with HACO Industries.The local director of Strawtech Mr Andrew Robson was quite enthusiastic in a radio interview this morning about the product launch and promises that the product will soon venture into the East African market.For now i cant wait but get my son and nephews their flavoured straws from the local hypermarket!

16 November, 2007

Dick Morris Strokes a Political Furore

Dick Morris the former President Clinton scandal ladden political strategist has just stroked a political furore in a third world country by joining the campaign team of a leading Presidential Contender Mr Raila Odinga!

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Dick Morris Strokes A Political Furore!

Top American political author,campaign strategist and newspaper columnist recently stroke a political furore in Africa by joining the Kenyan Presidential Aspirant Raila Odinga's election campaign team.His entry into the Kenyan political arena heightened the stakes and gave a new angle /twist to the scramble for the Presidency.

The incumbent President His Excellency the President Hon.Mwai Kibaki did not fail to mention at a rally in Nyayo Stadium shortly after Presenting his nomination papers to the Electoral Commision of Kenya that Mr Dick Morris had been misguided by the opposition and that he would be of no consequence in the elections scheduled for December 27, 2007!

The Government spokesman Mr Alfred Mutua yesterday mentioned that Mr Dick Morris risked facing deportation as he had visited the country on a tourist visa and had no valid work permit as a political stategist.It is however alleged that Dick may have jetted out of the country way before the Governments announcement of the impending deportation.That by itself was an admission that his presence and entry in the political scenery was unwanted and unappreciated by the ruling elite.

Mr Dick Morris is a former Clinton stategist but now turned harsh critisist after a fall out with the former US president .His life is dogged with scandals including an alleged affair with prostitute Sherry Rowlands which resulted in his resignation from the Clinton campaign on August 29th 1996.A further scandal errupted recently when Dick was listed by the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services as the 7th largest delinquent tax payer.It is hopped that this background will not dint the Rails Odinga Presidential campaign but as has been seen in the political atmosphere prevailing in Nairobi.Chances are that the ruling PNU party will definately capitalise on this misdeeds.However Dick has an impressive foreign polical campaign portfolio having offered services in the U.K, Ukraine, Mexico ....etc.His vast experience may easily help him waddle against the avalanche of critisiscm headed his way.

Much lefts to be seen whether the other Presidential Aspirants will higher foreign consultants in this tight paced presidential race which is too close to call!

14 November, 2007

More Local Content on Kenyan TV

Ever since the demise of the popular tv comedy show Redykyulass! featuring Walter Mongare(aka.Nyambane,nyams etc), parliamentary aspirants John Kiarie(K.J)Peter Kaimenyi(Kajairo)Maurice Otieno(Mdomo Baggy) and Antony Njuguna ...etc few Kenyans hardly spend considerable time watching the telly.

That has changed with the introduction of more localised content starting with the famed "Kobra Squad!" airing on NTV which betrays the mentality of the official Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua. The 'action packed' program reeks the influence of the days of rambo,chuck norris and the likes what is actually missing is that local narrator at the popular tv dens who commentates with much gusto at the unveiling action packed scenes.But the program is descent! features innovativenes and may go along way if the on screen advertisement bits are minimized considerably.That's a start for now but we hope it will be more realistic,convincing and eye catching as we go along.

Other tv s that have captured our attention is the two popular comedy shows being aired by Citizen TV i.e 'Papa Shirandula'(a stereotype of a lughya watchman leaving a double life with many clandestine wives ).I must say that this program is intriguing and the plot catching.Keeps you glued on the screen.The other popular comedy is Inspector Mwala,featuring the famed Vitimbi on screen character Mwala!Who in certain episodes takes the jokes too far but still the sitcom achieves a fair rating.

On sundays Kenyans relax to popular tunes of Africa,afro fusion etc !the real Music!likes of Manu Dibango, Seif Keita, Lucky Dube, Achieng Abura,Ladysmith Blackmambazo... etc This on the program Afro Dizzia.Hosted by non other than the local Kenyan Celebrity Kaz(Kora Award Nominee for most promising female artist).I find her hosting quite tasteful and professional(thumbs down for all that hullabaloo,gossip rumors on the web, dont believe and i aint going searching..but if tis true....*#***!).I invite kenyans to celebrate the innovativeness that is being mirrored through local content especially in the acting arena!While recognition of local music artistes has come of age little can be said of the performing arts,film industry and acting fraternity! We need to recognize the beauty and preciousness of local content otherwise gifted artistes loose the zeal.

Kudos to all who continue to entertain us from within the local fraternity

13 November, 2007

Poverty Eradication!Just for thoughts!

Its election year and come to think of it Kenyan Mp's(especially those of the 9th Parliament) are/were the richest and most fortunate fellas ever!With their frequent salary hikes, perks... etc.These guys fall in the top bracket of the most highly paid members of parliament in the world and non in both political divides is least bothered!Talk of hungry Hyena's

Come to think of it as part of poverty eradication if Kenyans elect 220 non- millionaire new MP's then we will have 220 new millionaires.So this election----will you vote for a millionaire???

08 November, 2007

Activism Against Gender Violence-Blog Carnival

Black looks .org draws our attention to the 16 days of activism against voilence starting from 25th November, to 10th December 2007 (an inititiative by the Center for Womens Global Leadership now in its 16th year) and invites all African bloggers to participate in a blog carnival sensitizing people against Gender Violence.This two dates coincide with the International Day Against Violence Against Women and International Human Rights Day.The theme for the blog carnival is "Demanding Implementation,Challenging Obstacles:End Violence Against Women"

The theme is quite appropriate and timely as we have seen quite some level of violence(i.e violence aginst Ms Asha Ali an Aspirant for the Dandora Civic Seat, Pollyne Owoko ,Mrs Orie Rogo Manduli,Mrs Flora Igeki Tera amongst many other unreported cases)during this election year in Kenya especially against aspirants seeking parliamentary or civic seats.That is a shame and definately calls upon increased and concentrated efforts against this vice by all stake holders.In this vein i do welcome the formation of Electoral Gender Based Violence Rapid Response Unit(GRRU) an initiative of Education Centre for Women In Democracy and other stake holders .The efficacy of the unit is yet to be ascertained as it may be severely limited without political goodwill and immediate and rapid assistance by the police and other relevant authorities.

There is quite an increase in the presence of activist groups in Kenya advocating against Gender violence such as COVAW (Coalition Against Violence Against Women),FIDA, FEMNET...etc.But they have a scanty presence in the blogosphere and cyber space.Perhaps this would be an opportune to them to increase their activity.I do agree that sub saharan africa has very few people with access to the internet.But yet the power of activism vide the internet cannot be down played especially in directing international attention and resources towards fighting repriesive practices against the African Girl Child and women such as Female Genital Mutilation, domestic abuse, gender violence,spousal rape etc. It is important to note that many Africans have migrated within the diaspora and would like to now synergise their efforts with local communities to fight some negative vices that they left back home.The blogosphere is a facilitative forum for their efforts and also for other well wishers.

I earnestly urge all Kenyan bloggers to take this opportune period to actively participate in voicing their disapeal against gender violence and use this period as a launching pad towards better and equitable treatment of women and children as they are the backbone of society.In response to the call,i intend to take a comprehensive look at the various legal instruments currently in force in Kenya that tend towards protection and prosecution of gender violence with specific reference to women and the Girl Child!Watch the space!


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