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.