Monday, February 28, 2011

The fear of testing at a VCT

An hijab wearing lady


Stop Child Labour


Kenyan PM Raila Odinga


Orwa Ojode


Musalia Mudavadi


Thabo Mbeki

Kenyan First Lady Lucy Kibaki

Limitless: Am feeling high

Kojoa hapa lakini ukipatikana!

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki

Martha Karua

Unfinished Head

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka

African hut on a hillside

A visit to Nairobi National Museum: Home to Kenyan and Human History

We clustered in group of five for our special group besides Education building and library of The University of Nairobi, UoN. This was on 8th February 2011 during the Maseno University fourth year media students Nairobi tour for five days.

Previously we had had a talk on media by KTN reporter Zipporah Karani and Standard reporter turned freelancer Sam Rambaya. The talk was facilitated by the Journalism Department of the host university.

We mingle freely before I with a group of about 20 colleagues opt to visit the Nairobi National Museum in Museum hill road at Westland’s round about – A 10 minute walk from UoN.

“Let’s walk around to the Museum before heading to Nation Media Group at 2” it was mid morning as Ndinda Kilonzo advised and went to get gate pass money from George Ojuondo, a lecturer.

We move away chatting animatedly like weaver birds plundering a corn field. It was my first visit to the Nairobi National Museum.

We passed the UoN gate opposite Fairmont the Norfolk Hotel, down past Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, KBC, further down adjacent to K24 TV station before arriving at the Westlands’ round about.

The road was under construction for a flyover and underpass. The museum’s gate had been brought down by bulldozers to make way for the road construction. As we arrived at the Museum the empty yawning entrance felt like an old aunt inviting us for a warm hug at her warm bosom.

A buzz of murmur of “are we there yet?” passed through the group. We took a bench as a Julie Digo, a classmate took a seat next to me and talk excitedly about the famous snake park. Ndinda went about to hustle tickets for us.

An ice cream vendor rolled his cart around and a swarm of primary school children thronged him for cones like flies to a morning excreta. Another bunch of a noisy mob of pupils were using the toilet with their teachers looking at them hawk eyed.

I wiped my note book and scribbled.

To our left stands a life size stone carving of a dinosaur frozen, startled its eyes scanning the world carelessly. In front is another carving of a woman with breasts the size of a hand ball about to hug a boy. Behind us on the bench is a statue of a stonemason carving another man.
I move about after scribbling taking photos with my mobile phon. My other colleagues also pose for photos as others buy ice cream.

The Nairobi National Museum stared in 1929 when the British colonial government allocated land where it stands. A year later in 22nd September it was officially opened and named Coryndon Museum in honor of Sir Robert Coryndon, a onetime governor who was a great supporter .

After Kenyan independence it was renamed to the current name and managed by National Museums of Kenya, a parastatal. The museum has grown with branches in Kisumu, Lamu, Kwale and Fort Jesus in Mombasa amongst others.

The Famous Snake Park, Fish Aquarium
Finally Ndinda comes with the tickets and we start with the famous snake park harboring the reptile section.  A guard stamps our tickets and we move to a concrete enclose with a thorn bush in the middle. The encloser if full of snakes, lizards and a lonely tortoise oblivious of its surrounding.

We appoint as a long slender egg eating snake tries to climb a wall before falling back. It scares us and we laugh happily.

Safely locked in their cages, with a glass for viewing the snakes look docile and almost inertia in the noon heat, giving visitors a pitiful glance. Slicked next to cages is info about the reptiles.

Two African rock python intertwine tightly together mating, while a third is a third is barely visible in a cave like a discarded rope in an empty homestead.

In the next cage a giant savannah monitor lizard flicks its forked tongue lazily, looking for insects. It spins its neck giving us a curious stare and moves furthest from us.

We see a Gabon viper which is famed to have the longest fangs at 4cm, red, forest and brown spitting cobra and a puff udder amongst others.

“Why can’t I see the crocodile” someone asks as we reach the Nile crocodile cage.  We scan the cage with a pond in the middle before we make out the 2 meters croc carefully camouflaged under a young coconut bough.

Its grey rough skin looks offending. Its grey calculating eyes look at the world: their wildness tamed in the safety of the cage.

We troop to the aquarium floating about leisurely accustomed to their limited space were different species of fish. These four dimly lit rooms give visitors to see tilapia, Nile perch, mud fish, and coral el amongst other species around Africa.

“Come on Manuel take a photo of me and this yummy mud fish” Izzo inquires before we swap places. The mud with its ‘whiskers’ lies inertia in the muddy water.

Afterwards we move to the main building divided into nature, culture and history sections. The reception is expense with beautiful; art pieces dotting the walls.

A startled receptionist jumps as we walk in.
“No entry until you pay” She says sternly in a quick sheng. She gets the tickets and proceeds to count us physically.

“Msipigie wageni wengine kelele (Don’t make noise for other visitors)” She announces satisfied and goes back to seeping with a straw from a bottle hidden by a black polythene bag. Tour less since entered the museum, someone grunts about the services.

We throng on, Enock Moturi; a friend pulls me aside to the bookshop of African collection hinting the subsidized prices on books.

The jovial old man attendant smiles warmly, a catharsis from the cold receptionist. The bookshop is lined with an array of souvenirs with an African touch; birds, cards, greeting cards, notebook and sandals amongst other gifts.

Veteran journalist Hillary Ngweno’s DVDs are beautifully displayed among other African authors and films. I ask the price of a beautiful African shirt which costs ksh. 1,200. (Talk of subsidy!)
After few rounds I settle for Prof. Wangari Maathai’s The Challenge for Africa which is subsidized at Ksh. 800. Enock buys Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun and Kwani?6  a literary book.

“So you come from Maseno University? I have my home next to the Siriba campus” The jovial old man chat with us as he wrap our souvenirs. After inquiry he promises to look for a curator to talk to us.

We thanked him and move to the culture pillar a one storey exhibition area with a massive guard display surrounded on the wall with beautiful painting of Kenyan culture and dotted with tribal artifacts. We idle about like lost children while a white family is taken through by a tour guide.

We hear muffled laughter which takes us to the nature section. We find some friends admiring a stuffed gorilla about to charge with a threatening snare.

In the middle of the exhibition area is life size stuffed elephant, eland, giraffe, zebra kicking in the air and a mammoth skeleton of a mammoth.

A stuffed Columbus monkey poses quizzical as if thinking of a prank next to the gorilla, baboon and baboon. Other stuffed animals are hedgehog, porcupine, warthog, and skunk amongst others.
Beautiful birds with their beautiful plumage perch delicately in an adjoining room. Their plumages are displayed beautiful

History of Kenya, Mankind
I guess the beauty and gem of the Nairobi National is the history section and the human origin section of the Leakey Memorial Building having the fossils of early man. The hall was n honor of the famed archeologist Dr. Louis Leakey who was instrumental in building the museum.

In the history department we see the ceremonial seat which President Jomo Kenyattaa sat on during Independence Day. At the foot there is a souvenir Nation publication of independence.

We are taken back by the photos of Mau Mau struggles, and old photo of Nairobi city looking ancient. The last photo of field marshal Dedan Kimathi arrested by British colonialist haunts.

“They could not find his body” Someone says remembering the fake Dedan Kimanthi who was brought from Ethiopia.

Dedan Kimathi’s clothes before he was arrested and his pistol are preserved in a glass column. I stand there lost only to be brought to life by a sound of a train the adjacent room.

The sounds come from hidden speakers as the front of a train tries to pass a small rail. An artist Impression of a white engineer shouting at an Indian is real life. Graying photos of construction and hung about.

We finish our Museum tour by harrying to the human origin where the skulls of early men and a full skeleton bring to life our high school history lessons. They are carefully laid inside a glass. They have been constructed to look as if they were dug yesterday.

An artist impression of the old world in 3D shows an early man family. A mother checks a bird’s nest to the waiting arm of an expecting child. Two of them are skinning an animal using stone flint while one is starting fire by striking two stones.

I stand there transfixed, stock still with my mouth semi open.

They look so real life; their only mistake is being on the wrong time of history. I stand in the glass 3D before an SMS informs me we should regroup at the entrance.

I rush out to be in time for a tour of Nation Media Group in Kimanthi Street.


Cartoon Roughwork

African Story; Why the hair on hyena’s back is longer.

Long, long time ago when animals still talked like people Simba the lion was very very sick. One early morning while Simba the lion went hunting he stepped on a big big thorn which stuck on his leg.

Simba tried and tried to remove the big big thorn but could not remove it. Sadly and painfully Simba went back to his cage very very hungry and very very sick

Simba could not hunt again for food. Simba was very hungry. Simba grew very very thin and sick.
One day Sungura the hare was being chased by Fisi the hyena. Fisi wanted to eat Sungura for breakfast.
Sungura ran and ran very fast and hid inside Simba’s cave.
Fisi was afraid to follow Sungura because Fisi was afraid of Simba. Fisi went away very hungry. Fisi went to look for rotting meat for breakfast.

Inside the cave Simba caught Sungura the hare. Simba was very hungry and eating Sungura for breakfast could make samba very healthy.

“I am going to cook you for breakfast” Simba told Sungura.

Sungura started trembling because Simba was very very hungry and sick.

“I will remove the big big thorn in your leg. Please. Please Simba don’t eat me for breakfast” Sungura cried.

Simba agreed not to eat Sungura. Sungura then removed the big big thorn from Simba’s leg.

Simba could now walk without the big big thorn in his leg. Samba lived with Sungura in the cave.
Sungura cleaned the cave while samba brought meat to cook.

Fisi on seeing Sungura living with Simba was jealous. Fisi was angry. Fisi knew he could now not eat Sungura for breakfast.

Fisi was afraid of Simba.

Fisi thought and thought how to eat Sungura for breakfast. Fisi went and told Simba that hare knew the medicine to cure Simba’s leg.

The bib big thorn which Sungura removed left a big wound on Simba’s leg.
“Sungura has been hiding the medicine to heal the wound left by the big big thorn” Fisi told Simba.

Simba went back to the cave looking for Sungura.  Simba told Sungura “You know the medicine for the wound caused by the big big thorn, but you did not say” Simba said.

Sungura knew that Fisi was jealous. Sungura thought of a very very clever trick.
Sungura told Simba that the medicine was the skin from Fisi’s back.

“Am small that is why I could not get the medicine which is the skin from Fisi’s back” Sungura told Simba.

Immediately Simba heard this he jumped on Fisi’s back. Fisi cried and cried. Fisi ran ran away but samba caught Fisi.

Simba removed the skin from Fisi’s back.

Sungura took the skin and made a medicine. Sungura placed the skin on Simba’s leg and was cured immediately.

Simba the lion and Sungura the hare lived happily ever after.

Fisi’s ran away crying and bleeding. Fisi was never seen gain. When the skin on the back of Fisi the hyena healed the hair grew longer. The hair grew longer because there was a wound there/

That is why all hyenas in the world have longer hair in their backs,

An article and two cartoons

Libya’s Revolution: For Muammar Gaddafi its time for deeds to roost.

The fall of a Pariah
The ongoing people’s revolution in Libya trying to outset 42 years of Muammar Gaddafi’s rule is a case of his past deeds to other nations not only in Africa and Arab world, but worldwide coming back to haunt him.

I watched his about 75 minutes speech on the debris of his bombed house by USA which killed his daughter and what came to me was a leader still grappling with stale revolutionary dogma which brought him to power in 1969 at 27 years old.

Interestingly, the Khartoum government reacted to the Libyan crisis by cautioning rebels not to get involved. The uprising is sure to split over to Sudan with a delicate separation underway since Gaddafi has been deeply involved in the rebellion.

Former Sudan president Gaafar Numeiri, after a failed assassination attempt in 1976 by Gaddafi called him ‘a split personality- both evil’

Driven by grand otiose ambitions and with a dour pathological penchant of meddling with affairs of other countries he used the vast Libya’s oil revenue for this endeavors at the expense of citizens.

His hollow attempt at pan-Arab made him sign ‘Tripoli Charter’ to link Egypt and Sudan; 1971 Benghazi Treaty linking Libya, Egypt and Syria; 1973 Hassi Messaoud Accord linking Libya and Algeria and Djerba treaty linking Libya and Tunisia.

Interestingly these countries have been swept by the current revolution or in are just ripe.

All these treaties fell humiliating the pariah when he was left out by Egypt in 1973 Arab-Israeli war, though he was itching to get involved.

When the diplomatic font failed he invested heavily on arms and artillery to support dissenters against other countries in proxy violence, assassination and outright bribery.

Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia which destabilized West Africa was trained by Gaddafi against USA backed President Samuel Doe, the same with Eritrean guerillas against Haile Sellassie Ethiopia, in Niger and Mali.

Outside Africa he supported Palestinian functions, Irish Republican Army, Busque separatists, Islamic insurgency in Philippines and Thailand.

Closer home in Uganda his attempt at propping Amin 1979 defeat ended in humiliation. Amin was among 30 African countries paid by Gaddafi to cut diplomatic ties with Israel.

With all these record hanging somewhere in his desert tent, Gaddafi started the mantra of United States of Africa using traditional African chiefs as his puppets. His union never augurs well with his Islam chauvinism in Uganda while opening a mosque and calls for Nigeria to separate to Christian south and Muslim North.

It’s every time he talked of African unity that I think of his occupation of Aozou and Tibetsi region in Chad to form what he called Islamic Republic of Sahel. It took the intervention of France and USA to regain the region in 1986 and a 1994 International Court of Justice ruling which rescinded his claim.

With such a history and deeds, Muammar Gaddafi’s argument of western imperialism, foreign saboteur against his ‘revolution’ and quest for Libya’s oil will never hold water.

What he should know is that the skeletons from his closet are grabbing him and I hope Libyans will end his 42 year reign.
Published on the March 7th 2011 Issue of  The EastAfrican

Annoyed and Angry

Mohamed ‘Mo’ Amin: A tribute to African top Photojournalist

Imagine as a photojournalist while on an assignment, you lose an arm in an ammunition dump explosion, how would you feel on your career prospects? Visual this picture with, let’s say, Jamaican top sprinter Usain Bolt involved in a car accident and having his legs amputated.

This may be pessimistic but that is exactly what happened to African top and most decorated photojournalist Mohamed “Mo” Amin from a Kenyan while on an assignment for VISNEWS and the BBC in Ethiopia.

On that fateful month of June 1991, Mo was covering the fall of Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam has he was being outset by Eritrean and Tigray rebels after 16 years of bloody rule.

His colleague John Mathai lost his life.

For 48 hours while Mo was in a coma, the doctors amputated his left arm which was shattered with bullets and shrapnel beyond healing.

The news of the accident which precedent his death 5 years later on 23rd November 1996, was received by shock throughout the world.

Condolences were from John Birt and Marmaduke Hussey who were BBC director general and Chairman respectively, actor Stefanie Power who was Mo great admirer and former US president George Bush, Snr who in 1985 white house reception praised Mo of bravery in “risking his life daily to arouse the conscious of mankind”

In a spirit of bravery against despair and defeat, Mo is quoted in October 1991 Drum as saying; “I’m lucky to be alive and I will film again.”

And exactly 2 weeks after the blast Mo was already in his company Camerapix, Nairobi with a left empty shirt sleeve- doing his work

This spirit saw Mo cover his best documentary of the Ethiopian famine of 1984 that gave him world wide acclaim. The seven minute film for BBC accompanied by Michael Buerk voice was broadcasted on 23rd October and re-televised in 425 other stations in the world.

The film was a by the way for Mo after covering Mengistu’s 10 years rule celebration in Addis Ababa before moving to Korem, a small town.

“There was this tremendous mass of people, groaning and weeping, scattered across the ground in the dawn mist” he recalled.

The film made the greatest impact on donation with over $1 billion raised within a year. Irish pop singer Bob Geldof organized a fundraising record Do they know it’s Christmas, while Harry Belafonte produced We are the world written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie and arranged by Quincy Jones.

This and other coverage in war ravaged areas was an eye to the world

“Like tens of thousands of other Ethiopians in Diaspora, I anxiously followed the events in Addis via the media. Throughout the 80s you have been our eyes. I very much hope that you will recover, mentally as well as physically from the horror” Mrs. Belai an Ethiopian Diaspora living in England wrote to Amin in hospital during the accident.

Amin believed that a good photojournalist should often be ready for anything. The 1984 film was just a backstage of Mengistu’s celebration, while he was fully dressed with a topper hat while covering Jean-Bedel Bokassa coronation as emperor of Central African Republic in 1977.

But it wasn’t all glamour; “A newsman has to take risks and sometimes they backfire” he said after a 27 days prison stint in Zanzibar after taking photograph of a military parade.

His friend and colleague Brian Tetley, who died with Amin in 23rd November 1996 plane crash aboard Ethiopian airline intercepted by hijackers to Nairobi to Comoros Island, recalled Amin shooting Search for the Nile with a broken rib in 1971.

“While on our way to Ripon Falls we met Seven Ugandan soldiers in a drunken stupor. One of the soldiers pulled me from the car and knocked me to the ground” Narrates Tetley “He placed the rifle on my head and started fiddling with the trigger”

It was Amin who moved from the passenger’s seat and negotiated with the soldiers who broke his ribs with the rifle butt before letting them to pass at last.

Later, unruffled Amin took the footage for the television series with a broken rib while Tetley sat by watching painfully.

It was this strength of mind of fighting for justice that saw him on his last hours on the tragic plane trying to rally other passengers against hijackers. The plane crushed while he was still standing and he knocked his head on the roof before dying.

Entrepreneurial spirit

Born in 29th August 1943 at Eastleigh, Nairobi Mo talents as a pressman, photographer, publisher and entrepreneur started at young age. His skills, courage and resourcefulness saw him start as a freelance photographer in 50s during the freedom struggle.

In 1961 he was the cameraman for CBS TV’s Face the Nation and become the producer at his 20s for BBC six hour documentaries Search for the Nile which won an Emmy.

He also produced Journey of a lifetime, six documentaries on Vanishing Africa tiled Hunters of the Jade Sea and African Calvary on Ethiopia’s famine which were screened on the BBC.

His entrepreneurial will saw him start Camerapix Company in Dar-es-Salaam in 1962 before moving it to Nairobi 3 years later. Apart from producing over 30 magnificent pictorial books on travel, culture, wildlife and religion, the business published for Ethiopian Airlines an in-flight magazine Selamta.

His venturing into publishing was inspired when he self publish his first book Pilgrimage to Mecca after being turned down by publishers. He would go ahead to publish Journey through series of books about Kenya, Pakistan, Tanzania, Nepal, Zimbabwe and Maldives.

Mo spirit lives on in Africa

Mo distinguished career aided by his multi-talents nurtured through experience, persistence and courage saw him on the frontline of wars, riots, disasters and just common life that saw his lens record history for the world.

After his tragic death, his wife Dolly and son Salim Amin succeeded him at the Camerapix and started the Mohamed Amin Foundation with a motor ‘Mo Force: The Legend lives on…”

The foundation is a reputable trainer of best photojournalists and movie producers who have left a mark not only in Africa but world wide.

Partnering with Al-Jazeera, Camerapix produced a documentary Mo and Me which won Best International Documentary in Los Angeles International Film Festival in June 2006.

The documentary is available at Youtube.

Working closely with journalists Michael Buerk, Colin Blane and Tahir Shah, Salim Amin started A24 News Channel in Nairobi targeting African with news and a range of topics in 24/7 basis.

Other remarkable programs by the foundation are The African Journal, Hatua TV talks show and Polar meets Solar with the aid of David Johnson and Christel De Wit, among others.

Hon. Bonny Khalwale - Ikholomani


Annoyed and Angry

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How media manage parallel importation

Parallel importation is the importation of non-counterfeit product from another country without the permission of the intellectual property of the owner. According to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia parallel import often run alongside legally produced products/services in the market causing negative effects. Grossman and Lai (2000) parallel trade occurs when a good protected by a patent copyright, or trademark, having been legally purchased in one country, is exported to another without the authorization of the local owner of the intellectual property right in the importing.
Often parallel importation arises when manufacturers produce different products for different markets causing difference in price. This coupled with technological advancement causes the same produce to be illegally imported from the country with cheaper price to another buoyed by profit motives.
Ahmadi and Yang (2000) write that proponents of parallel importation advocate for it for free flow of information and customers getting competitive prices for products and services in the market. Contrary, some scholars admonishing the practice as imbalance between western (information rich) and third world (information poor) in media imperialism by dominance of the latter  culture. (Ochieng, 1992[i], Ahuja and Chhabra, 2003). Discussed by UNESCO[ii] against agencies like Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters and Agency Pressed Franc amongst others whose ‘influence is enormous because ‘communication products, language, popular culture, and of course news in all parts of the world (by passing local media) from west’[iii] Ahuja and Chhabra (2003:90). This skewed reporting is seen as if ‘the western correspondents are not reporting the third world states in proper light’  Ochieng’ (1992:7).
The following are some of the challenges caused by parallel importation in media. In this paper I later look at how media managers can manage these challenges.
Challenges of Parallel Importation
The major challenge of parallel importation, and currently felt in the Kenyan print media, is the increase of price on paper due to poor government regulation and the fall of Webuye Pan Paper, a major producer of the county’s paper. This challenge has caused the cover head price of the newspaper to increase by Ksh. 5.  The government’s 25% interest rate in the backdrop of Egypt through COMESA 10% import, and Tanzania and Uganda’s 0% rate has brought worries of parallel importation of paper in Kenya. Paper converters have requested government to reduce the import rate by 10%. Otini (2011: 9).
Secondly, parallel importation has a negative effect on the viewership of electronic media which ‘for commercial television and radio, advertising is the lifeblood of the industry. What concerns advertisers using the media is reaching the target audience’ O’sullivan, Dutton and Rayner (2003:146). When a TV programme like soap opera is shown in sequences to maximize on advertisement to an already saturated audience, then this will translate to low viewership and revenue.
Tied to this second point is the challenge of program regulation and economies partly caused by parallel importation to mangers conscious of audience rating. A mass market already saturated with parallel import can cause TV and Radio program to go tabloid. Langer (1997) notes the pressure to reschedule important programs like news for more  popular programs like soap opera which focus more on personalities, human interest stories and entertainment.iv This causes tabloidization of the TV excludes more  serious and important stories.
Parallel imports often damage the reputation of media houses since when bought in illegal grey markets they lack warranties making any fault to be associated with the organization. A manager of music production house or a cable TV provider will not be able to control negative effects on illegal products brought by faulty CDs and poor connection illegally done.
Multinational media house like Times Warner, 20th Century Fox, and BBC amongst others as source of parallel imports causes challenge to local producers who try to sell their products and services to their country’s media houses. Independence here means autonomy and freedom from external constraints….it’s most often seen as meaning not unde3r the direct control of large organizations, be that commercial or state’ O’Sullivan, Dutton & Rayner (2003:154). Flooded with cheap programs from abroad locally produced programs at expensive rate kills their local's aesthetic against their western counterparts’ i.e. Cobra Squad.
The difference of political and social beliefs across countries causes a major challenge in controlling parallel imports against the backdrop of sovereignty. Communist countries where information shared make it hard to curb parallel imports which can be daunting. Closer home, the 0% rate on paper from Tanzania and Uganda compared to Kenyan can be hard Otini (2011:9)
Tied to the point above is the culture of impunity and corruption which has caused offenders of copyright law like pirates and facilitated by ease of bypassing bureaucracy for illegal non-counterfeit products and services to go about their trade easily.
Lastly, technological challenges have made parallel imports to be easy to acquire especially with the advancement of ICT. Although allowing free of information ‘however, it may prove to be virtually impossible to scrutinize and regulate the constant stream of new material being supplied on a daily and growing basis’ O’Sullivan, Dutton & Rayner (2008: 155). Additionally, the technological advancement of the West is causing their multinational media houses with local agents to reproduce local contents easily and cheaply against local media. Under this Ochieng’(1992:109) notes that it ‘is an impossibility where it’s supposed practitioners themselves as a whole have no skills for and awareness of the kind of journalism and other production activities that would be responsive to social needs’
Managing challenges of parallel importation
Media managers through the help of regulation bodies like Communication Commission of Kenya, CCK making media houses and practitioners to regulate the environment. Equally the Music Copyright Society of Kenya, MCSK, tries in controlling the piracy reducing to some extend the effect of parallel importation.
Media mangers should provide warranties and after sales services on their products and services to their customers. This will discourage the customers to but grey products and services to get the benefit warranties.
Cable TV providers manage parallel importation by encrypting of satellite TV to avoid scramming of their services for sale across the border. This showing in specific areas avoids scramming of the channels.
Equally, to a market already saturated with parallel imports, radio and TV manager can bank on this to help capture a market not fully catered by these imports. A good example is the explosion of Bollywood movies which has KTN starting Bollywood soap opera and The Star have a full page for Asian scene with celebrity gossip, movie and music review targeting the Kenyan Asian community.
Fourie (2007:363) highlights concentration, convergence and liberalization as some of the measures cutting across the media sphere against parallel importation.v
Concentration is when means of production in market sectors is owned by fewer but economically larger groups cutting across the media sphere controlling the effect of parallel importation to control a sphere where a media house can have a leeway. Fourie (2007) gives example of American Online which affected by internet and piracy merged with Time Warner to supplement the former cable customer and its speed of internet and television services.
Convergence is the coming together ICTS and traditional media for diversity and beat parallel imports at their game by providing cheaper products and services easily to the market. This creates new way for production, distributions and increase market.
Liberalization is a state intervention to expand the number of players in the market apart from state run media house. This increases market competition bringing diversity and lowering price discouraging customers to opt for parallel imports.

[i] Philip Ochieng’, a Kenyan journalist in his book I Accuse the Press adds control by absentee owners of press and political elites, dearth of technological ‘know how for journalists, and government and self censorship as other challenges of the media.
[ii] This difference brought the New World Information Order by UNESCO between 1978-89 to promote free flow of information and address imbalances by improving the capacity of all countries to communicate. This gave the muse to Philip Ochieng’s book.
[iii] I expound this effect of parallel importation on local production later.
iv This has seen Citizen TV to feature Afro-Cinema from Nollywood and KTN to feature a Bollywood soap opera recently.
vFourie on Globalization, ICT and Media adds privatization, internationalization and Commercialization as how media reacts to this effect. This three, according to me, have no bearing to parallel importation.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine Aftermath: Love was the Sore Loser

So how was your valentine day?

Was the chocolate Belgian? Was the wine French? The flower Oserian? or was the courtesy English? I just wonder if the cocktail was Irish and the dinner was under a chandelier?

In this big event celebrated world wide, love has become the sore loser with high unattainable expectations and business adapt at putting sales at the needle peak.

If the dinner advertisement in press, the flowers doting the streets and the sales offers on the shop is anything to by, then the meaning of love in this special day has weathered faster than the roses the morning after.

To my male readers, was the sex satsifactory after doting the woman? Or was is that after spending in anticipation of a cozy night the woman gave an excuse? If you went to bed an hugged a pillow then was there a meaning of love yeasterday?

To the ladies, after anticipating him to be wild as a stallion, did he just jump on you like a stolen bicycle, or did he, in name of foreplay, just sucked your lipstick dry and tuned your nipples like an FM nob in a cloudy day?

Honestly, the heartbreaks felt in the morning after, the quarrels of diminished expectations and the love-and-lets-show-the-world attitude makes love to become the sore loser as lovers strive after vanities of romance, which is expensive, compared to love which is given all heartedly and freely.

Love unlike romance is not a one day speciale or constricted to a color, dressing code and dinner parties.

The unwanted pregnacies that were patched last night, the number of veneral disease contacted or the wastage of money on vanities sadden if you consider the vanity of love.

That is not to say i didn't enjoy my valentine because i had supper (I don't do dinners) with a lovely lady.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Upgrading of Kisumu Airport road should extend to Busia

Section of Kisumu-Busia Highway
The ongoing construction and upgrading of the Kisumu airport into  international status is a welcome especially after the constructors started re-building a section of Kisumu-Busia highway at Otonglo estate, Kisumu.

This construction has caused diversions as earth movers have removed the old tarmac which is a far cry from the occasional patch work on pot holes the government has been doing on this busy highway connecting the country to Uganda.

Government need to reciprocate this gesture not only around the airport but also all the way to Busia to help increase the benefit of the airport not only to Wanainchi but also investors.

This upgraded route will be shorter and cost effective for transporting import and export goods not only in the region but some parts of Uganda.

Published on Business Daily of Friday 11th Feb 2011,  Daily Nation Thur 10th Feb 2011, Standard Fri 11th Feb 2011, The EastAfrican Feb 14-20 2011 and Weekend Star on 12th and 13th Feb 2011 

Kisumu council needs to Revamp Ofafa Memorial Hall

Kisumu City
The Kisumu council should revamp the Ofafa memorial hall built in 1961 by the effort of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga who transversed all the way to Uganda to build it up.

Sadly this effort has made the old building still standing stout to go into a waste.
The building next to the city center is a pale shadow of what it was intended for use with broken window panes, erratic rental and a desolate air.

As a memory to Ambrose Ofafa, a Nairobi, Kaloleni councilor assassinated by Mau Mau fighters in 1954, the buirlding can be an archive for West Kenya to bolster tourism in the tregion.
Published on Business Daily Thur 10th Feb 2011, Daily Nation Friday 11th Feb 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 1; Nairobi Media Trip - Fun at Lake Naivasha and The Pangani lodges

Am busy trying to coax sleep in a lodge, New Kamwara somewhere in Pangani area of Nairobi at the first day of Maseno Media trip to Nairobi. My tonight roommate Samuel Wambugu aka Sam Peace is busy fidgeting with his phone at the background.
The day started with a phone call from Eric Asubwa a buddy informing us that the bus was almost leaving us behind at 6:15, previously we had successfully ignored a 5:30 alarm with Kenneth Korir my school roommate.
We successfully got out of bed showered and were at the university monument promptly at thirty minutes past 6 before proceeding to Siriba campus to book the smaller bus for the ride to capital city.
My financial situation was on a down turn as the Bank was yet to access my new ATM while my father was still hustling money. At about 9:00 we left school to Kisumu to pick Mr. Nyambuga a lecturer who joined his colleague Mr. Katiambo before making a momentary stop over at Kericho for breakfast at 11:00.
I call my father, mother and elder sister Merrice. Dad grunts his journey mercies while mum laughs merrily before informing me should intercede to God for me. Siz only laughs and caution not to get lost in the big city.
I have tea with toasted sandwich at Ksh. 55, which reminds me of my poverty. We move over to Nakuru to meet the other team in another bus before sharing journey stories. The mood is gay and expensive as the heavy paper bags from supermarkets attest.
The pre-scheduled meeting with Zipporah Karani, A KTN senior reporter and an alumnus of Maseno back fires and thus we head to Lake Naivasha to spend the day.
We pass Kikopey a famous nyama choma joint as Ken tells me a story of how they had trekked from Gilgil to Lake Elementataita and back, the funny part is that the lake has no fish!!! I change seats and enjoy a ride with Vivian Amani and Louisa at the back before the bumps make me move over to my place.
 At Lake Naivasha area of Cray Fish with many labour lines for flower farmers like Homegrown and Karuturi, Mr. Katiambo tickles us with a story that the line have a birth of 3,000 per day surpassing Nairobi’s 1,900!!
The small rooms, abject poverty coupled with workers away from home is the main cause leading to abortion, rapes, sodomy and multiple sex relations.
The last line is “for every woman you see outside the window is either 1-12 months pregnant”
Fisherman’s Camp
After several false leads for a cheap public beach at the shores of Lake Naivasha we reach the Fisherman’s Camp where we retreat for the afternoon. The Acacia groove waves lazily on the lake breeze as black and white colobus  monkeys chatter on the canopy.
On the harsh summer sun the golden barks of the trees blend beautifully with the blue sparkling surface of the lake and the thick green underground forming a carpet. All around camps going for Ksh. 700 per night dot the landscape.
We take snaps as other adventurous students go for a boat ride to the lake. Am used to boat riding at Lake Victoria to part with Ksh. 200, so I move around sampling the area and chat with friends.
Ken, my roommate moves to the curio section to buy a gift for his KU girlfriend and orders lunch at the tourist lodge. The HOD moves around with his brother before having a chat with us over relationships and work.
Soon afterwards we move away from Naivasha and avoids the Mahi Mahiu way making us to be slowed at the westlands jam (which is always slow but moving according to FM stations.) through Waiyaki way.
Ken becomes a tour guide pointing for me land marks like Nairobi School, KBC, CCK, Safaricom House and Radio Group Africa.
We are informed of a talk on media and entrepreneurship in Nairobi University and a visit at Nation Media Group before we regroup at Kenya Polytechnic to pick other students residing at this lodging. The ones with abode in the city had left earlier.
At the evening twilight the CBD looks different since the last time I check it.
We book into our lodge which are quite affordable – without sockets though- and walk all over Pangani with Sam Peace looking for an MPESA joint unsuccessfully. We at last opt for a grab joint for supper for a tight budget. I call my dad and younger sister in KU for a chat, before calling my home buddy Marvin Odero who resides in Rongai and catch up on women.
Sam order Kienyeji, a mashed mixer of maize, beans, pumpkins leaves and Irish potatoes fried and made into a paste. Find it funny and settle for a heartburn inducing chips and chicken which strangely tastes like fish to me!
We stroll back to sleep and watch the 9 O’clock Citizen TV news as we charge our electronic. I crawl for a warm shower as the rounds of beer has started to make my other mates tipsy.
It’s late hope to sleep and wake up tomorrow good night.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

William Wordsworth - Calm is all Nature as a Resting Wheel

Calm is all nature as a resting wheel.
The kine are couched upon the dewy grass;
The horse alone, seen dimly as I pass,
Is cropping audibly his later meal:
Dark is the ground; a slumber seems to steal
O'er vale, and mountain, and the starless sky.
Now, in this blank of things, a harmony,

Home-felt, and home-created, comes to heal

That grief for which the senses still supply
Fresh food; for only then, when memory
Is hushed, am I at rest. My Friends! restrain
Those busy cares that would allay my pain;
Oh! leave me to myself, nor let me feel
The officious touch that makes me droop again. 

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William Wordsworth - "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"

William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

(7 April 1770-23 April 1850)

All rights reserved to the poet, William Wordsworth.
A(1850-04-23) (1770-04-07)

Marieta Maglas - Kiss My Soul

If that morning would be my ideal incredible realness,
In a forgotten time of the telluric and most desirable land
Your certain love would come to utter my vivid happiness
Kissing closed eyelids, caressing them with your tender hand.

We would wait for the mercy of our dearest Lord Christ Jesus
Who quintessentially has freed us from our sins by his blood
Purifying incessantly our souls by our obedience to the truth
Greeting one another so deeply with the kiss of our love

I would still be sleepy and I would be like a squatting deer,
Twilight unequivocal zone would be in its dim lighting resilience,
Always tossing in between these two worlds of virtual and real
And His love would fulfill fascinatingly our benevolent radiance.

Your soul would penetrate totally my soul with your embrace
The intangible feelings would turn into tangible unequivocal shivers,
The old world changing, to the new world of whispers yielding place
Being enlightened by our eternity that these two worlds dissevers

Waking up with our ideas as enclosed beneath souls entwined,
Metamorphosing both of us, melting our inexpressible sorrow,
We would awake for forgiveness, our glittering souls being absolved,
I would know how deep is your love, I would have hope for tomorrow.

When our shining sunbird into the horizon would fly and disappear
And the sun would rise by reflecting a thousand colors in the water
Pervading a realm of space from our empyrean dreams, drying the tear
Understanding that if you're no longer alive, it does not matter.

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William Shakespeare - It was a Lover and his Lass

William Shakespeare
  IT was a lover and his lass,
   With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o'er the green corn-field did pass,
   In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

Between the acres of the rye,
   With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
These pretty country folks would lie,
   In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

This carol they began that hour,
   With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that life was but a flower
   In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

And, therefore, take the present time
   With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crown`d with the prime
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

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Marieta Maglas - Letter to Jesus

If I could understand who I am
from the beginning,
maybe I would never be able
to defeat my hopes and suffer as a ruin.
but so many roads I covered without you, Jesus,
that I can not have the courage
to stop and fall again, any longer.
I wanted to tack my attitude
for being only with You,
I wanted to totally transform myself
into another woman,
that woman awoken by You,
that woman recognizing
her own new existence.
Now I know that
only through Your Divinity and only with You
I can attain love and I can be tangent to You,
with this love inside, as a proof of my existence.
and I know that only together with You and only through You,
I can reach the truth.
and I know that only together with You and only through You
I can get to Father,
and I can survive,
because life comes from Him.

All rights reserved to the poet, to read more poems by Marieta Maglas follow the links;,