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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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Africa

VIDEO: Now DP Ruto, Aisha Jumwa tell Matiang’i off and call for his resignation

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Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto has said all those mentioned in the latest fake gold scam should carry their own crosses and desist from dragging the name of the president into the scandal.

Without dropping any names, Ruto said that “the political conmen had now tuned to gold.”

Walipanda ndege hapa na kwenda huko Dubai na kufanya maneno yao. Wabebe mizigo yao na waache kumuingiza rais kwa mambo hayo,” said Ruto during a fundraiser at a church in Endebess, Trans Nzoia County,.

Meanwhile, Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, a close associate of Mr Ruto, has asked for the immediate resignation of Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matian’gi.

A section of Jubilee MPs havealso told ODM leader Raila Odinga to state what he knows about the fake gold scandal.

They said Interior CS Fred Matiang’i should also explain how the country’s security was protecting the premises with fake gold.

Speaking  on Saturday when they accompanied Deputy President William Ruto during the launch of various development projects in Trans Nzoia, the lawmakers asked Matiang’i to state what he knows about it.

The leaders were Governors Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu), MPs Robert Pukose (Endebess), Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Janet Nangabo (Women Rep, Trans Nzoia), Rahab Mukami (Women Rep, Nyeri), Mathias Robi (Kuria West), Janet Jepkemboi (Turbo), Gabriel Tongoyo (Narok West), Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon) and Owen Baya (Kilifi North).

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This as it emerged that the Director of Public Prodecution, Nordin Haji, had defended President Kenyatta and former PM Raila Odinga.

Mr Haji issued a statement on Saturday about a recording circulated on social media that suggests that some information was relayed to President Kenyatta, Mr Odinga and Interior minister Fred Matiang’i, and that discussions followed.

He condemned the release and circulation of the recording, saying, “Such claims and their circulation through social media, specifically through leaked phone recordings in today’s age of real-time, borderless publishing, are alarmist and may needlessly cause disaffection.

He warned that “unless all facts are obtained and analysed, it is irresponsible and possibly unlawful to publish such material.”

SPEEDY PROBE

Mr Haji said he had personally received complaints from victims who said the person behind the scam had been invoking the President’s name in dealings and conversations.

“Having realised that they were conned on the availability of the gold, and the misleading knowledge and involvement of the President, the former Prime Minister and CS Matiang’i, they resolved to [file] a report [with] Kenyan authorities and cooperate with law enforcement in unearthing the under-dealings.”

The DPP said he had thus directed Inspector-General of Police Hilary Mutyambai to speed up the probe; he said the file should be forwarded to him in the next seven days.

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Mr Haji also asked members of the public with helpful information to report it to authorities.

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VIDEO: Vote for our very own top Diaspora Gospel Artiste Naomi Karanja

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It’s back.

The 2019 edition of Groove Awards with Safaricom event is officially here. As was the case last year and years before that, the awards will celebrate excellence in Gospel music in Kenya and across Africa.

Celebrated Gospel Artiste Naomi Karanja from Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the finalists in the Diaspora Artiste of the Year Category. Please take a little of your time to vote for here here.

Since 2004, Groove Awards with Safaricom has celebrated excellence in gospel music in Kenya and across Africa. The awards, entering their 14th year in Kenya (and 6th in Rwanda), are this nation’s most prestigious and recognized Gospel music awards event, enjoying regional resonance and relevance.

Groove seeks to promote gospel music as a message of hope and an avenue to address issues affecting young people across the African continent with a key focus on its main objective – “Shaping culture through positive content and entertainment.”

Groove Awards has seen over 1,800 artists/groups nominated and almost 400 Groove statuettes presented to gospel musicians in Kenya and beyond.

The Venue and date for this Year’s Gala will be communicated in due course.

 

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Young Kenyan Mukurino who works for World Bank and is a Professor in US
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Embassy in US writes to Kenyan comedian inviting him to perform in Baltimore, Maryland

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Apopular Kenya comedian has been invited to the United States to perform at this year’s   Makadara Day celebrations, organized by the Diaspora Baltimore Community.

In a letter by Deputy Chief of Mission, David Gacheru, the comedian is invited to The Hermes Center of St.Demetrios 2504 Cub Hill Road, Parkville, 21234 to perform to the Diasporans on June 8, 2019.

“To have you as one of our guests would be an honor to the people who will be there and the whole organization,” read part of the letter.

According to the embassy,  the event is attended by a huge number of Diasporans every year.

An excited Omondi took to his social media platforms toannounce the development.

“We need private jet guys!!! Baltimore see you in two weeks,” he wrote.

 

In Kenya, the Madaraka Day celebrations will be held at the Narok stadium, where the committee chairman, PS Karanja Kibichio, had visited over the weekend.

He was visiting the place to inspect how prepared the County was ahead of the celebrations which will be held on June 1, 2019.

The Principal Secretary assured the public that the stadium would be ready by next week.

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