Showing Up: Jack Ma, Televised Debates and IAAFUnder18

Most of the job is showing up. And most of the time, Kenyans do a great job of presence and participation. Last week, Kenya’s own Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi brought one of his organization, UNCTAD’s ambassadors Jack Ma to the University of Nairobi. Livecast around the world, this was just after Kenya hosted the biggest youth athletics meet of the season,  IAAF Under 18 Championships, at the Kasarani Stadium – the same venue that hosted President Barack Obama’s public visit only two years ago. Not only that, but both events enter Kenya’s hot election contest, which comes every 5 years or so. The televised candidate debates for deputy presidential and presidential posts revealed that Kenya does expect its own to show up, and be seen, even if the verdict is not yet in on debates deciding elections.

It is not enough to be a passport carrying Kenyan, you have to earn popular approval, as well as all the podium places. Your very presence has to be marked, and your work autographed with…for lack of a better word, Kenyanness (check dictionary for Kenyan beside the word lead also excellence) As a Kenyan, I am extremely proud when we wear our best clothes, and take on the world. No marathon in any city while living in Europe is complete without a 1-2-3 finish by Kenyan men and women. Citizens of Kenya, and I suspect many other countries expect their own to bring the goodies home, expect their politicians to be in the streets and in the tweets, and their athletes to shine in every race.

It is even better now that we have evidence of the democratic process of election campaigning, and I can share with friends and colleagues that Kenya is indeed doing the things it should to stake its own claim as a modern participant in political processes. But, also how could most of the Deputy President aspirants, except Muthiora Kariara fail to show up. He walked away with a huge leap away from being unknown, to breaking through the two-horse race wall-to-wall media blockade and increase the spotlight on his independent deputy presidential candidacy and platform. Also, just yesterday, how could our poised President Kenyatta miss the Presidential Debate?  (Of course, just 2 days ago, he did hold a much subscribed FBLive event) and leave the floor so open for the charismatic candidate former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to literally take the debate away?

So, race tracks, electioneering politicos and billionaires aside – in short. JUST SHOW UP.

How?

  1. Use this checklist (Read about the process of showing up from author Christina Rosalie)manifesto for showing up

 

3. Bring your friends along – and make sure you create a space for students to learn from you.

Naturally, I was happiest to see that one of the biggest purseholders, the Jack Ma, chose the season of the wildebeest migration to bring a heavy delegation( i.e Jack Ma + 38 Billionaires)  to Kenya and speak at the University that has curated some of the best minds in my family and our country, the University of Nairobi.

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Also, take a few minutes to catch the talk by Jack Ma at the University of Nairobi

Are you convinced yet, are you ready to get started on showing up? Ask me more about how you and your favourite people can get together, and start making better connections to your work, and others in your space via the contact form below.

 

I am Josephine Karianjahi, learn more about me and connect with me on Twitter

Speaking Kenyan Politics: Language

One language that we have not yet learned is that of speaking to one another across political barriers. My dear Kenya has spent the week in the first set of party primaries for the upcoming general elections. With over 40,000 candidates vying for the complex tiered county governments (47 of them) senate, and parliament, the primaries are much like the athletic heats which determine which Kenyan athletes make it to the international stage. The difference being that winning any of the seats is a guarantee of a hefty salary with perks that may extend beyond one’s term. As you can imagine, the polls are filled with colorful language that does not seem to have limitations. The winners list seems to be filled with new, younger, and untested faces. The first big bit was: Fagia Wote (Sweep Them All Out!) where voters decided they were done with several big names.

And now the major primary contests are all but over. The tribunals featuring primary election complainants are sitting day and night resolving one dispute after another. What started off as a full field of the same faces from the last election has been given a makeover with less of the old, and more new, fresh faces. Some of the mighty have fallen, the unlikely underdogs replacing them. A few of the previously heartbroken losers from previous contests can scarcely believe they are back. We are still mostly armchair political pundits roasting those we managed to catch on camera in the heat of the contests. We still have not learned to speak to one another. We still think it is virtually an anomaly to have someone win a contest in a region that does not match his name. We are still eating the mashed foods of young learners in modern day Kenyan politics.

Also, we are learning the meaning of the phrase: Independent Candidate. This is the place those unsuccessful in the primaries, and unwilling to concede will find their way to the electoral box. Kariuki has a meme you need to take a sec and chuckle at, that describes what this means to the man on the street.

And me, what language am I searching for now? I am a registered voter in Kenya – so I can afford to talk. Thinking deeply about how to write about my choices for MP, as of today being between Boniface Mwangi, Jaguar and Steve Mbogo for Area MP. On that I need new language too.

So who else am I watching talking about Kenyan politics on the internets?

Who are you watching and listening to regarding the elections in Kenya? Drop me a comment or write your own post in response

Josephine