Tuesday, 31 March 2015


[A note to Katindi from New York, 28 March 2015]

Absence, they say, 
Makes the heart grow fonder. 
But whoever 'they' are, 
They clearly don't know 
What they are talking about. 
For absence also
Makes the heart ache
As one beholds
Beautiful sights and sounds
And realises that 
Their beauty is incomplete 
Because one's beloved
Is not present 
To partake of it
And so one looks 
Past the attractions
And the adventures, 
So longing for home, 
So missing the love of his life. 
Wish you were here, Katindi Sivi Njonjo

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

HAPPILY EVER AFTER... With Katindi Sivi Njonjo

We met inauspiciously
Became friends unhurriedly
Grew fond of one another genuinely
Enjoyed each other's company profoundly
We laughed, often uncontrollably
And slowly but surely
We fell in love unconditionally
And got married joyfully
Now we enjoy life gratefully
And because I love you completely
I look forward to living gleefully
With you... ever after, happily.

Monday, 9 March 2015


Friends, it is my humble pleasure to welcome you to join PURE - People United for Responsible Entertainment.
It has been 72 hours since Maina Kageni's show on Classic FM on Friday morning brought us together in a spirit of collective concern as to the content and timing of his show, especially the inappropriate and sexually explicit content of his call-in segments.
During that time, all of you have expressed feelings ranging from embarrassment through dismay to outrage about the flagrant violation of broadcasting standards with regard to content that is explicit and offensive on Maina's morning show.
Some people have said that they do not tune in to Maina's show and have counseled the rest of us to simply exercise the same right of choice and migrate to other stations. Clearly, those of this school of thought are people who do have the privilege of exercising choice in the comfort and privacy of their cars. But there are many more Kenyans - school children and old women, working men and college students - who use public transport to commute to school and work who do not have that choice. It is for them that we must speak up.
What's more, school holidays will be here soon, and many of our house helps tune in to this station when parents are not at home and have no control over the content that their children get exposed to. For this reason, the need to reclaim our airwaves remains urgent and important.
For the avoidance of doubt, let me state clearly two things that this campaign is NOT about:
1. This campaign is not about dictating to Kenyans about what they can or cannot listen to. Kenyan adults have the right to determine for themselves what content to listen to in accordance with their freedom of conscience and the freedom of expression that are enshrined in our Constitution.
However, the same Constitution provides in Article 24 that fundamental rights may be limited "to the extent that the limitation is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom."
With regard to freedom of broadcasting, such limitation is allowable through regulation as to time, manner and form of broadcasting content, aimed at protecting vulnerable audiences such as children. The campaign is therefore aimed at ensuring that if Maina, Classic FM or any other station want to air explicit content, such content is aired only after the watershed hour after children have gone to bed.
2. This campaign is not personal and not merely targeting individuals like Maina Kageni. He just happens to be a representation of an emerging culture among certain broadcasters who seem to think that the airwaves are their private property to do as they deem fit with them, including trashing values that we cherish as Kenyans.
On the contrary, the airwaves are a public resource and those privileged to use them for broadcasting must do so in a manner consistent with the public good. While we cannot purport to dictate to other Kenyans as regarding their personal tastes in entertainment, we do have a right and a responsibility to demand that those who use our airwaves do so responsibly.
Hence the urgent need for People United for Responsible Entertainment - PURE.
So, where do we go from here?
We shall work within the law and engage the media houses and the institutions that have been established as custodians of the public interest, notably the Media Council of Kenya, the Communication Authority, and, if necessary, parliament and the courts.
We shall begin small - doing our best with what we have where we are. And in doing so - working consistently, stone by stone, brick by brick - we shall rebuild the ancient ruins and we will raise up the age-old foundations, in the abiding hope that because we did our part in standing firm together to defend it, our homeland of Kenya will once again become a heritage of splendour.
Here is the initial post:


I am sitting at a Nairobi restaurant doing some work this morning, the 6th of March, and Maina Kageni is on Classic FM presenting his morning show. The topic of discussion is based on this man who has called in admitting quite graphically how he lets his wife sleep with a mzungu for money, going so far as to say that he lets them 'do it in the bedroom "nikiwasikiliza wakiguruma" from the living room. A recording of the caller saying this has been played over and over again and there have been other callers, some supporting others opposing the guy who thus peddles his wife.
I am a supporter of free speech, but I also a believe in upholding certain moral standards, especially in public discourse, and more particularly, in programmes that are aired at times of great and diverse listenership. Maina has made a career of having call-in discussions on his morning show that should only be aired after midnight if at all, and the State seems to have no interest in enforcing certain regulatory standards. Kenyans have complained but seem to be resigned to helplessly grin and bear it.
But we are not helpless. We can stand up to Maina and tell him that our society is not a free for all and we have certain moral standards that we stand for and are willing to defend. We can vote with our feet because Classic FM is kept on air through advertising of products that we consume. If we tell the manufacturers and marketers of those products that we shall boycott them until Maina and Classic FM change their ways, they shall change.
We must move from agonizing to organizing.
The first step, though, is to gauge how many of us are concerned about this issue. Once we get a critical mass, we shall do the necessary research so that our advocacy is evidence based, as well as ascertaining which advertisers keep Classic FM on air so that we can know our leverage. After that, we will take precipitate action to demand the change that we seek and vote with our feet if we are not listened to.
But the very first step is to take a straw poll right here. If you share my concerns about the content and timing of Maina Kageni's show, please indicate in the comments section below and where possible, give an example of content that you have found offensive or disturbing on Classic FM. 
Let us take a stand to clean up our airwaves.

Thursday, 5 March 2015


Genesis 18 records an interesting conversation between God and Abraham. God is about to destroy the City of Sodom due to its wickedness and Abraham pleads with Him not to destroy the city for the sake of the righteous who live there.

“Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?" he asks God, "What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?" God answers that He would spare the city for fifty righteous.

Abraham continues to haggle with God beseeching Him not to destroy the city for the sake of 45, then 40, then 30, then 20, then 10.

Genesis 18:32-33 marks the turning point in this conversation. - Then Abraham said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” The Lord answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home. And then the city was destroyed.

Why did the Lord stop at 10 while he had been so accommodating to His friend Abraham's repeated entreaties on behalf of Sodom? We do know that Sodom had at least one righteous family, that of Abraham's nephew, Lot. Would not the Lord have spared the city for their sake? I think He would. But the Lord stopped at 10 because that is where Abraham stopped. And because Abraham stopped, the city was destroyed.

Our city, our country and our society are where they are today because that is where you and I have stopped. People are dying of curable diseases as money earmarked for healthcare is diverted into politicians private pockets because we stopped; young people are being destroyed by drugs in our neighbourhoods because we stopped; our sisters are raped in the streets and our children are molested in the homes because we stopped; corruption is eroding the very fabric that covers our moral nakedness and tribalism is destroying the nationhood we have painstakingly build for half a century because we stopped.

We stopped pleading with God on behalf of our city, our country and our society. And just as we do not know the exact reason why Abraham stopped at 10, we are also not always very clear why we have chosen to stop where we have stopped.

Perhaps we just got tired of interceding on behalf of an ungrateful people and a thankless nation. Perhaps we stopped because we ourselves felt safe in our gated compounds and our air-conditioned offices far from the cluttered chaos and sinful smells of Sodom; Perhaps we stopped because our private health insurance, our private security guards, our access to private groups of schools for our children and the easy reach we have to a host of other services that our money can buy have shielded us from the decay and immunized us against the daily suffering that surrounds us. And perhaps we have stopped because our faith in God has ceased to be as strong as it once was and instead of looking up to Him as the God of the impossible that we first met, we now superimpose our own limitations upon Him and dare not trust Him to save the city even for the sake of one.

And so our city, our country and our society face imminent destruction on our watch.

But it is not too late to humble ourselves on behalf of our brethren and dare to ask Him who is all knowing and all merciful: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?"

But we must not stop at asking. We must then rise up and be the answer to the question we ask. We must become God's hands and feet in rebuilding the land of our birth and the place of our habitation so that our homeland of Kenya may once again become a heritage of splendor and the glory of Kenya, the fruit our our labour, may once again fill every heart with thanksgiving.