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UNSUNG DIASPORA HEROES: Mwakilishi, Jambonewspot, Ajabuafrica

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BY MAHUGU NUTHU

“Fake news!” “Fake news!” Sadly, we are now used to waking up to anti-press rhetoric. It’s the new catchphrase. Trump’s old “you’re fired” shtick has lost its mojo. His unrelenting attacks on members of the Fourth Estate is something one would only expect from authoritarian leaders. For us Africans, harassment of media is something that sounds too familiar.

For years we have come to appreciate press freedom as the lifeblood of democracy and ironically looking up to USA as the beacon of these ideals. But that’s another story for another time.  That’s not the subject of this piece, but it makes a good backdrop. Everybody understands the power media outlets, but probably less appreciated is the power of the Mwakilishi, Jambonewspot, Ajabuafrica and dozens other online based newspapers. Today, these are the unsung heroes in our community.  The proof is in the pudding.

In a recent case in my own backyard, a family lost a young son in a road accident out of state. By Gosh, no parent should have to bury a child. We know it is not the natural order of things. That’s pain. Excruciating pain and sorrow. But God giveth and God taketh away.

It’s even worse when this happens abroad. As if death is not enough a blow, its followed by unimaginable bureaucratic tangle of paperwork and logistical nightmare. Consequently, the family needed assistance to move their son hundreds of miles to their state for a memorial service and then send him thousands of miles to his final resting place in Kenya.

Mr Mahugu Nuthu. PHOTO/COURTESY

The committee had to reach out quickly to raise the funds though social media and traditional ways. Unsurprisingly Mwakilishi, Jambonewspot and Ajabuafrica opened their pages. They responded quickly. Cases like this proves the importance of community press and the useful role these websites play in supporting the information needs of the Kenyan in USA.

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When it comes to tragedy, they do things that you won’t get from a monolithic newspaper in terms of turnaround time, reach and cost. Their results are very tangible and observable almost instantly, something you won’t get from the so called mainstream media.

These community websites do not usually charge for death notices and you reach a lot of Kenyans. Consider that one-day listing of four lines in a “national newspaper” will cost you several hundred dollars. And you might end up not reaching the people you are targeting.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not actually about money. It’s comforting to know that you don’t have to deal with the advertising department of a soulless intractable entity.  Mwakilishi, Jambonewspot and Ajabuafrica operators understand our community because they’re a part of it. Nobody is immune to tragedies. For the record I don’t know these people personally. But their actions show that they do not merely serve as information providers. Sometimes “death announcement” means “financial help is needed ASAP”.

Only a Kenyan living in USA would understand that and urgency of the situation. New York Times might not. That’s how we handle things. We scream across the country albeit digitally. We are the ones who discovered the “digits” by sending smoke signals piece by piece across the ridges thousands of years before it became “on” and “off” that computers use today. It was stolen. But I digress. I will leave the “alternative facts” to the “post truth experts!”

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While we are on the “appreciation” subject, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the role of Kenyan Churches in USA. They have become the glue which holds our community together. In times of tragedy, hardship and sorrow, as in the above reference case, the local churches become sanctuaries of hope. Allow me to pull another Kansas City Metro backyard example.

Neema Community Church is rooted deeply in its community, and has its membership operating as de facto public servants. Located in Olathe, Kansas, it’s a huge beautiful sanctuary with classrooms, meeting rooms, offices, recreation areas, a large fellowship hall and huge kitchen attached to it. Well, and lots of parking to boot. Under Pastor, Rev. David Nzioka, it’s a community center dealing with needs that go beyond the mission of a traditional church.

A place of worship where local homeless escaping freezing nights often get free food. In a time of crisis thousands of miles from home you are bound to find fellow compatriots here looking for the elusive answers to their many “whys” and seeking comfort in each other. It’s the iconic sacred tree where Africans worship, meet and greet

.  After a year of polarizing elections that rekindled ethnic tensions, it’s very encouraging see Kenyans remaining united at that level. Tribal lines become effectively blurred.  It takes a dynamic, charismatic and inspirational leader to accomplish this. I hope you find your own fashion of “Dr. David Nzioka” in your neck of the woods.

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Back to my subject as I conclude. I understand there are many diaspora news websites whose primary mission is to cover the important issues that affect the Kenya community in USA. Many showcase community businesses for a fee. Yes, they are businesses themselves. They are not obligated to carry your message, however sad. They choose to do it.  While I did not mention them all by name, my biggest hope is that you will continue to support them.

These media outlets make our community better just because of their dedication to it.  Same case applies to our community churches and pastors. We should let them know that we do appreciate what they do. Although we are spread across this continent-size country, sea to shining sea, they make us a cohesive Kenyan community.

By Mahugu Nuthu | nuthology@gmail.com. Mahugu is the author of the book Nuthology.

 

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BREAKING: Legendary jazz musician Oliver Mtukudzi has died

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Veteran jazz musician Oliver Mtukudzi has died, TshisaLIVE can confirm.

Mtukudzi’s record label Gallo Records confirmed the news on Wednesday afternoon but said there were no details available.

The musician’s family is set to release a statement later this afternoon.

An outpouring of tributes has already flooded social media.

During an interview with TshisaLIVE a year ago, Mtukudzi spoke about his excitement of releasing his 67th album.

He said the most significant thing about his upcoming album, Hanya’Ga (Concern) was the message.

“My 67th album is meant to share a message of introspecting and I’m hoping people learn a thing or two from it. It’s an album I wrote last year after I realised that the world keeps getting tangled up in ‘unnecessary’ problems.

“All because we are focused on competing and being better than the next person. In so doing we keep stepping on each other’s toes but that is not how God created us. God meant for us to compliment each other, that’s why he didn’t duplicate talent,” he said at the time.

Source: www.timeslive.co.za

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FBI agents arrest three Kenyans in US over links to Isis

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Three Kenyans were on Tuesday arrested in the United States for their links to terror group Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

The three were nabbed by Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents. They were identified as Mohamed Salat Haji, Mohamud Abdikadir Muse and Muse Abdikadir Muse.

The three were arrested in Lansing, Michigan. They are said to have pledged allegiance to the Islamic state.

Mr Muse Abdikadir Muse was nabbed while on transit to Somalia.

“He was checking in for a flight on his way to Mogadishu, Somalia when he was arrested,” a statement by the FBI released on Tuesday stated.

Mr Muse Abdikadir Muse had earlier this month purchased air tickets to travel from the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Michigan.

CO-CONSPIRATORS

The US Department of Justice said his other two friends, described as co-conspirators, had assisted him in getting the ticket.

“They aided in the purchase of the ticket and drove Muse Abdikadir Muse to the Grand Rapids airport, each knowing the true purpose of the travel was for Muse Muse to join and fight for ISIS,” read the statement.

According to the FBI, the three recorded videos pledging allegiance to the group where they narrated their desire “to kill non-believers, and even to potentially use a car for a martyrdom operation to run down non-believers in the USA.”

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Despite their arrest, the American Government is yet to find them guilty of the charges.

Their arrest comes exactly a week after terrorists led by a Kenyan identified as Salim Gichunge attacked dusitD2 hotel and killed 21 people.\

NairobiNews

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‘Please help me return home,’ Kenyan legend runner living in the US pleads

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

Kenyan distance running legend Henry Rono a broken man. He has been living in the United States of America for the last 32 years, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Rono who is now 66, on Tuesday reached out to Nation Sport and sent a passionate appeal:

“I wants a ticket back home, please.”

“Yes, I would like the government to help me get back home by getting me a ticket… I can’t afford living in the USA. I’m getting old… Also, being away from home for over 32 years is too long,” added the legend.

The legend is currently a security guard at the Albuquerque airport.

“Yes, I did retire, but these other jobs are stressful and I’m too old,” he said. “Like now, I’m sick from working hard. Many of my fellow Kenyans are dying from stressful hard working jobs,” said Rono, who was given a lifetime achievement award by the International Association of Athletics Federations in 2008.

“I have been given another award in Belgrade but I’m able to attend because of stressful work. Like now, I’m in the bed and I’m unwell.”

But Rono’s daughter Maureen confirmed she had spoken to the legend, and that he has been unwell since last week. “He has been coughing for the last week, and I’ve been in touch with him. If he asked you to send out an appeal for help, you can go ahead and publish,” she said.

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Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei, meanwhile, said his association would be ready to help the legend.

“He did a lot for this country and we can’t fail to get help for him,” said Tuwei. “We need information such as costs of tickets, who he could be travelling with and other details, and then see how we can support.”

The Washington State University star alumnus had taken up coaching after his running career, this after alcoholism dented the highlight years of his spell that saw him shatter world records in the 3,000 metres (seven minutes, 32.1 seconds), 5,000 metres (13:08.4), 3,000 metres steeplechase (8:05.04) and 10,000 metres (27:22.47), all within 81 days across USA (California and Seattle) and Europe (Vienna and Oslo).

Source: nation.co.ke

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