What Have You Done For Your Country

By Justalffie

What are you doing for your country?


In what could be one of the most elaborate & stinging quote as pertaining to patriotism & a citizen’s responsibility to their country from one of the most recognizable leaders, John F. Kennedy said:

“Ask not what your country can do for youask what you can do for your country.”

This is what came to mind after the ‘country’ became incensed, frustrated & even disgusted when the Ocampo 6’s return was welcomed in what can be likened to a ‘Hero’s welcome!’ The media did not make it any better with all of them turning their attention to Uhuru Park while at the same time purporting not to support them!

It’s this that I believe brought about the “I Support Ocampo 6 Media BlackOut” (#ISupportOcampo6MediaBlackOut on twitter) movement and cry all over the cyber world (read ‘Kenya’) and then came the petition to collect signatures in support of this cause. (Sign the Petition)

At this point I wondered how exactly this will help; so the petition is signed then & a HIGHLY almost METAPHYSICALLY IMPROBABLE turn of events that the media blackout is effected; then what? Don’t get me wrong, sign the petition. It’s a worthy cause but here I ask what good is a ‘good cause with no effect”?

Allow me to illustrate. If you were in unfamiliar territory and were lost and along the way you meet a native of the area who happens to know the area, ask him for directions. Assume with me, that he goes ahead & tells you how dangerous the path you are on is but doesn’t tell the right path to take, of what help will that be to you?

That’s how I feel about this move. Media blackout is well & good but what is it that we’ll be doing in the meantime? Inaction is just as bad as bad action, if not worse!

For too long we’ve complained about these politricksters with their politricks (as Peter Tosh would put it). What they are doing is hardly new to us or new at all! They’ll still come back to the voting public with the now famous “90 day roadmap” to do whatever including relocating the IDPs!! What nerve?!! Malcolm Muggeridge, a great in the media industry put it this way;

All new news is old news happening to new people.”

So in essence we are being REACTIVE in airing our frustrations which we all know will avail little to nothing! It’s time to be PROACTIVE. Talking about what they should do then get angry when they inevitably don’t do, is pointless. This is what Albert Einstein referred to as insanity when he defined it as;

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

But in terms of offering a direction to take, maybe Confucius said it best when he said;

“Better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.”

Cursing the darkness (what we don’t like about the politicians & maybe the media) will not make it go away. Shining a light on the other hand will kill the darkness! This is the focus of this post… WHAT TO DO, not WHAT AND HOW BEST TO COMPLAIN ABOUT WHAT IS NOT BEING DONE!


I’m not going to suggest aggression because I’m of the same school of thought as Dr. John Lennox who once said that, ‘In the country I come from (N. Ireland), Aggression is usually linked to weakness of argument.‘ I believe we have strength in our argument.

What can we do as the media fights for these leaders’ attention or the other way round or is it a symbiotic relationship?!

I offer a suggestion. Using twitter as a sample, we have corporate, sober media personalities, influential members of the business, music industries, event organizers, bloggers… the list of these movers & shakers, so to speak, is endless!

Twitter has more than 70,000 Kenyan users – about 50,000 active users but for the sake of this argument allow me to use 20,000. If for example, in a month, these 20,000 tweeters give only 500 each, we’ll have a total of 10 Million!! How far along can this go in the pursuit of aiding our brothers & sisters who were displaced during the PEV?!

That’s just one month. How much more can we do in the next 12 months, that is before these politricksters come back to tell us how they promise to resettle them in the now famous 90 days?!!

Just recently, there was the 1% drive that helped raise 100,000 in 8 hours via social sites! 8 hrs!! We can’t honestly say we can’t effect change now can we?

Events can be planned, drives held etc… nothing can really STOP A UNIFIED PEOPLE!

Remember Kenya Feb 28?


Many have different opinions concerning this initiative some even see it as a waste of time. I, however, see it as an initiative that achieved its objective – Unite Kenyans in singing the National Anthem which doubles up as a prayer or hymn as some see it! Without the “endorsement” of the government we, Kenyans, came together for a positive cause. If that’s not a testimony that we can do much more I don’t know what is?!

 If we, in our various capacities (still using twitter as the base of argument but not excluding other forums) including the corporate in these platforms, ACT we’ll have achieved more than just going on about “righteously advocating” for an Ocampo6 media blackout or whichever other blackout!


Well, it’s time we walk the talk, and to borrow from Johnnie Walker tag line… “Keep Walking”..

You want an Ocampo 6 (along with others) media blackout, good BUT don’t stop there, in fact don’t even give them your time. Instead effect change. It’s common knowledge some of them will want to ride on your cause down the line.

For the media, maybe these words by Caroline Mutoko address you best:
Let’s STOP the madness” 

Review: Twitter App LMAO!

Before I begin, it is good if I ask you to register the following information somewhere in your subconscious mind: I am not a tech guy. I try to know what is helpful for me, and let other people, whom I can consult when I need to know about something, worry about the newest inventions. For example, it is enough for me to know Google Chrome is a better browser than Internet Explorer. What use is it for me to know that Internet Explorer 9 is about to be released or Google has ditched built-in H.264 support in Chrome? No use whatsoever! Now that we have a background on where I am coming from, we can begin.

I think twitter has more apps than I have followers! One of them is LMAO! LMAO! is a “mobile web interface to twitter’s API. It is a twitter client for idiots developed by another!” according to the developer, Amasy. I have used it for about two weeks now and I have no doubt it is one of the best out there. LMAO! is like Dabr’s sister, only she is younger and therefore, more attractive. Not only is it developed by a Kenyan, it has several Swahili and sheng words such as “Fuata” and current in-words such as “mpango wa DM”, “Mara that”, “PAP!” etc. I can only hope that the words will be replaced with other in-words when their time has come to an end. However, I must say the use of words that are in general use by almost any young adult makes this app much more fun to use than its sister!

Unlike snaptu, I did not have to download anything. I just went to www.enlightglobal.net/lmao where I was asked my twitter username and password. Once I gave it permission to access my account, I was good to go, as easy as it sounds! The first thing I saw was the purplish background with menus at the top. (Luckily, I was able to change it to a more male colour of Blue.) The menus are as follows:

Home: which displays the tweets of the tweeps you follow according to date and how long ago the tweet was posted. This can be changed in settings so that instead of how long the tweet was posted, it shows the time. I should also mention that unlike snaptu in which you can only view a maximum of the last 200 tweets, in LMAO! you can view as many as possible by clicking the “older” tab available down the page.

Replies: No points for guessing what is found here!

Directs: Again no points for guessing what is here. I should mention that unlike snaptu, LMAO! allows you to view the DMs you have sent in the “Ma DM’s Zile Umesend” section

Search: I really enjoyed using this part, mainly because it was faster than I imagined.

Favourites: All my over 500 favourite tweets were here. Favouriting a tweet is also as easy as ABC. Unfavouriting a tweet, however, gave some sort of error, but still did the job.

Followers: Shows my followers in the order in which they followed me from the latest. There is some information given to help me decide whether to follow (Fuata) or not. For example, the average tweets per day, number of followers, bio etc. This info is normally not available in snaptu. On clicking the username of the tweep following you, you get more options including @replying them, following them, blocking them (Block hii fala) or reporting them (snitch this ass to twitter) and not forgetting the tweep’s tweets.

Friends: Shows the tweeps I follow with the options as I have given in “Followers” above.

Twitpic: You can upload a twitpic directly from the device you are using or from the memory card, easily I must say. You also have an option of adding a message of 110 characters!

Trends: Show the Trending Topics. You have an option of checking the TT of certain areas/countries like the UK, Canada, India, various states in the US etc. Unfortunately Kenya is not on the list.

Lists: Show the lists I am in

Settings: You have options to adjust the app to suite you. You can change the background colour, set the app according to the device you are using (if it is touch screen, a PC, normal phones etc)

About: Tells you one or two things about the app and developer. (not three.)

Logout: I know you are smart enough to know what this does.

The app does not refresh itself, which means you have to refresh it in the “Si urefresh?” tab. The advantage of this is that it does not eat up your data charges if you forget to close it. Another disadvantage is that, unlike snaptu, it does not allow you to use multiple accounts. When writing a tweet, snaptu will not let you continue once you reach the 140 character mark. LMAO! on the other hand will let you be an “idiot” and write whatever you want, only for it to give you an error when you post it. I also forgot to mention that you have two options of retweeting (old school, where you can edit the tweet or new school).

I assume that the app is a work in progress, even though it is better than most apps around, since the developer does not mind comments, suggestions or questions. He does not seem the type to take criticism though, and fairly, for coming up with such an app, he should not get any. Big up to Amasy for LMAO! I will suggest you take a look at it, and give it a spin. If you do not like it, “download snaptu uache kusumbua watu kichwa!

Why a Kenyan Revolution Will Never Happen

By cdohnio

I needed to out this up quick which is why I’m doing this on a day I already have on post up but I feel the longer I wait the less relevant what I have to say becomes. Also I’m not a political scientist or any sort of expert on revolutions and such matters, these are just my thoughts.

Recently, ever since the Tunisia and then Egypt protests and revolts there’s been a lot of chatter on my time-line(Twitter) about whether such a thing can be repeated in Kenya. Today there was even talk of one on 28th February. I don’t know where this one came from but there were a lot of tweets tagged with it in the morning.
I kind of found this laughable because I knew it could never happen, not yet anyway. Why? Well that’s why I’m writing this to explain why I know it could never happen.
We don’t have the balls.  We’re way too comfortable to have a citizen-led revolution. We’re too scared to do what it takes. The post-election violence that happened in 2008 has put in us a health fear of such “revolution”. Even today, when the #feb28 tweets were flying around tweets going around begging for calm, that there were more peaceful means to change the piteous state our country’s in. Someone mentioned the new constitutional implementation as a way to change things.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very pro-peace but what I need my fellow Kenyan’s to realise is that for change to come, a revolution to take place you have to be ready to make sacrifices, I’m not talking about money but lives. Yes, I’m saying that for change to happen in a revolutionary manner we must be ready to die. Until that day we’re ready to lay down our lives  to see change we’ll have to be content with the manner that reforms are being implemented in our country, snail’s-pace and probably a couple of generations out.

I’m not saying that the revolution must necessarily be violent but I am saying that we must be ready to die for it. I say this because the system we’d want to change, the corruption and impunity will not want to change. The people who back it will not want to change, they will fight back and do so violently. We all saw it during the post-election violence. They have the power and means to hire and entice people to kill and intimidate anyone who tries to change the system that has  given them vast amounts of wealth and power. Case and point the Ocampo six.

These guys have managed simultaneously make their prosecution and tribal and political debate and coerce the government to somehow consider their defence one of national pride and honour, hence pay for it, simply because they’re part of the government. I mean are you fucking serious? Crime cannot be protected simply because it’s committed by the government or members of it.

Also for this country to undergo a revolution the middle class needs to take part in it. We won’t. We’re too selfish. We all only ever think about ourselves and/or our families. Think about it. Sure we’ll complain about the corruption, the sorry state of our judicial systems and poor infrastructure but when it comes down to it we all manage to living with them, quite comfortably I can add. We’re not ready to lose that comfort. I think this still goes back to what I said before.
I’ll leave you all with this short story from the post-election violence period:

Kibaki had just been declared president and sworn-in in increase darkness. We saw on TV that Kibera was rioting. Looking out the window you could just make out the smoke in the distance( we stay liked 20 mins walk from Kibera in those days).
Later that night there was talk that Raila had called a rally at Uhuru park, that he was going to swear himself in. My aunt and mum made plans to go. They weren’t going to stand for their election being stolen.
Morning came. They woke up psyched, charged. They dress in jeans, t-shirts and running shoes. There was talk of “If there’s no transport, we’ll walk. Even if the police come there we’re prepared to stand our ground.
They left the house and out of our court. I immediately put on the TV to find out what the situation around Uhuru Park was. A ring of police and GSU all round the place, armed to the teeth.
3minutes later the door opens and there are my aunt and mum. Apparently the GSU(General Service Unit, special police unit used in special situation mostly riot control) men had chosen outside of gate to deploy to stop protesters who were trying to make it to Uhuru park on foot and they had been told to return to house immediately. I laughed my head off!

I fear this is what will happen if we ever tried for a revolution, we turn back scared at the very first opposition we meet. I’d like to point out that both relations in Egypt and Tunisia started with death. Also in Egypt, when they had gathered together in Tahrir square they stayed there besides the police harassing and wounding and killing them and today apparently there been pro Mubarak supporters causing havoc and death. That’s all I have to say. As always peace!!!!

PS: I read an interesting post on revolution on Diasporadical today by misternv. I suggest you go check it out. Again peace!!

This is why I Blog by cdohnio

So this is my first post on The Alternative Focus. Wow!! Awesomeness!! Why? Well first of all I haven’t been blogging for to long, about 10months, so to be asked to be part of a team was a heady experience, despite the fact I’m the “oldest” blogger here in that I started earlier than every one else. Second I’m the youngest here so being asked to join with adults…that heady feeling. Also, though I’m not sure this was considered, that someone actually thinks my writing is good enough to be part of their team…well you know…heady feeling 😀

So I agonized over what I’d have as my first post here. Perhaps a description of me, the blogger, and how awesome I am? (Thus giving away the size of my ego) Or maybe I could port one of my more sensational posts here to get people talking? Or I could write about something I’ve been thinking of for a while: Why I started blogging and why I keep doing it.

I wrote this post for my own blog but thought that it would be a good one to have here first

I started blogging first of all to prove that I could. A friend of mine started a blog and flossed about it to me, how he was “ahead” in these things. I told him starting a blog ain’t really a big deal and immediately went out to prove it. My first blog was on Opera (No you can’t read it). I’m rather proud to note that my friend doesn’t blog anymore while I still do.

I started blogging because I wanted to be in the paper. You know for the celebrity. No, really. The first blog I saw, or rather noticed, was @savvykenya’s Dairy of a Kenyan Campus Girl. I saw her blog featured in one of our Friday magazines and thought ”I wanna be here too” While my work has been featured in the paper (the same one) my blog hasn’t yet.

I blog because I have something to say. I write about anything and everything I feel about. I use my blog, and now this one, as part diary, part soap box, part venting spot and part noise making joint. I write about the stuff I hear and see, that I feel and experience. Some things maybe stupid, nonsensical or just plain boring but I always feel that you need, or may want, to know about it.

I blog to entertain. I don’t know if I’m a writer, I don’t think I am. Calling myself that feels like being a pretender to the throne or something. You know like a wannabe. While I may not be a writer, I’ll always try my best to write stuff in a way that makes it worth your while reading, in a way that entertains, keeps you at the edge of your seat and all that. I do think that I’m getting better with each post. I read on writing skills and stuff when ever I can. I also read other people’s blogs to get a better feel for writing on the web.

I blog because it’s fun. I like writing. I never thought that I could write stuff, didn’t like composition much in high school, but here I am one like my 50th post or something. I like that you read what I write. Every time I go check stats on my posts I see digits, not high ones but digits non the less, and that gives me massive high, a thrill that you care enough to check out what ever I decide to write for you( BTW since I started my blog, about 10 months ago, I’ve had over 5000 hits and about 1000 visitors, yay me!!). So I expect the same here. Okay, really I’m hoping for the same here.

I blog because you care. There’s once I asked if you really gave a damn about what I said (among other stuff) and the resounding answer was yes. You comment on my posts. Because you care and I don’t want to disappoint you I blog.

I blog to learn. Really I’ve learnt so much from here it’s staggering. I’ve learnt about several new things I wouldn’t have know or bothered to find out if I wasn’t blogging. I hope to tell you about them with time.

I blog to meet new people. While this may be more because of twitter than blogging I doubt that I’d know half the people I do know there if it wasn’t for blogging. I’ve made several new friends because of it. I could even be adding you to the list soon.

I blog because it enables me to do awesome stuff. I can’t really explain this one but I’ve done some things I wouldn’t have been able to with out being a blogger. Really.

There several other reasons I can’t really think of now but are still there. There was time a while back that if someone asked my profession I’d probably think, not say never say, blogger because of all the time I spent thinking about it and writing.

So know you know why I do this. I think that was a better than trying to describe myself or rewinding a sensational post, right? But don’t worry I’ll do those another time. This was more insightful, right? In the meantime let me end this post in a non-selfish way and thank @greatrnk for putting all this together and for asking me to be part of the team. It’s really awesome to be part of a team, isn’t it? Let me know what you think in the comments, talk to me. Peace!!

Find More Writings by cdohnio here


Chapisho La Siku Ya Mashujaa na Alffie

Kwanza ningependa kumpongeza aliyependekeza kuwa na Jumakiswahili (yaani siku ya kiswahili kama vile Jumamosi ni siku ya kwanza, Jumapili na kadhalika) kwa mtandao wa mawasiliano kwa jina “Twitter”. Ni pendekezo hili lilinifanya niamue kuandika chapisho hili kwa lugha ya taifa ya Kiswahili. Shujaa ni mtu mashuhuri katika jambo; bingwa, shupavu, mshindi, stadi kwa jambo ama mtu ambaye alifanya jambo ambalo linatambulika na watu fulani kama kitendo cha kupewa sifa. Ni kwa sababu hii siku ya Mashujaa imefanywa kuwa siku kuu. Nami leo ningependa kuwatambua baadhi yao na kuwapa heshima wanayostahili.

Ee Mungu nguvu yetu

Ilete baraka kwetu

Haki iwe ngao na mlinzi

Natukae na undugu

Amani na uhuru

Raha tupate na ustawi.

Kwanza, nitaanza na mashujaa ambao walikuwa hai wakati nchi hii yetu ilikuwa inapigania uhuru ambao tunaosherehekea sasa na kuishi, wakati mwingine bila kukumbuka kuwa wakati mmoja hapo kale haukuwa!

Sita Waliofungwa Kapenguria

Dedan Kimathi Waciuri

Kuna wale wajulikanao sana kama Bildad Kaggia, Kungu Karumba, Fred Kubai, Paul Ngei na Achieng’ Oneko ambao waliwekwa gerezani na rais wa kwanza wa Kenya ambaye sitamtaja hapa kwa sababu ametambulika sana. Sura yake iko kwa hela zetu, mwanawe ako serikalini, ana mali (na mashamba!!) kila mahali – nadhani amepata heshima ya kutosha!! Dedan kimathi Waciuri kwa ujasiri wake na kuifia nchi hii. Sitawasahau akina Tom Mboya, MAU MAU na wengine wengi waliopigania uhuru wetu lakini hawajapata kutambulika. ASANTENI!

Amkeni ndugu zetu

Tufanye sote bidii

Nasi tujitoe kwa nguvu

Nchi yetu ya Kenya


Tuwe tayari kuilinda

Evans Wadongo

David Lekuta Rudisha

Ngugi Wa Thiong'o

Evans Wadongo CNN Hero kwa kuchukua jukumu la kufanya mabadiliko mahala aishipo na mahala usaidizi unahitajika bila ya kumtegemea ‘mheshimiwa’ fulani. Ngugi Wa Thiongo kwa kusimama wima akitetea anachokiamini hata baada ya kutiwa gerezani. David Rudisha kwa kutuonyesha kuwa hakuna rekodi ambayo haiwezi kuvunjwa tena na tena! Timu ya raga kwa jina linalofaa la Shujaa pia ni lazima niwataje kwa kuweza kuipa Kenya sifa zinazoenea hadi kona zote za dunia hii!



Kimani Muruge

Kimani Maruge kwa kutukumbusha kuwa umri si jambo la kumzuia yeyote yule kufanya kile atakalo kulifanya na ana nia ya kuifanya! Maulana aiweke roho yake mahali pema peponi!

Kwa mashujaa wengine kama Wangari Maathai, John Githongo na wengine wengi tutazidi kuwapa heshima wanazostahili na kuwaunga mkono panapohitajika. Mashujaa wa Kenya ya leo ni wengi lakini nimetaja hao kadhaa tu. ASANTENI! Natujenge taifa letu

Ee, ndio wajibu wetu

Kenya istahili heshima

Tuungane mikono Pamoja kazini

Kila siku tuwe na shukrani Shujaa nitakao wataja sasa ni wewe na mimi yaani Wakenya kwa jumla! Mtu yeyote yule anayejitambua kuwa Mkenya ni shujaa! Mengi tumeyaona na kuyapitia; mengi tumevumilia na kujivunia; mengi tungependa hayangetendeka lakini yalitendeka lakini bado tupo wima. Hata baada ya maovu ya watu fulani, bado tulijitokeza kwa wingi kuipigia kura katiba iliyopendekezwa na hata ingawa kulikuwa na tofauti ya maoni kuihusu katiba hiyo, hapakuwa na uhasama!! Kwa sababu hiyo.. kama wewe ni MKENYA,WEWE NI SHUJAA!! Heko kwako!

Hii ni kazi ya "Dozart Designs" (Alisha Picha)

Hii ni kazi ya “Dozart Designs” (Alisha picha)

Kwa hivyo kama wewe wajivunia kuwa Mkenya..jipongeze na uedelee kujivunia!

Hii ni kazi ya WordTracer(www.twitter.com/Wordtracer) pata picha hii ya kuweka kwa kompyuta yako kwa kuailisha picha (clicking on picture)

Find more writings by Alffie here

Is Language Evolving or Dying? by Alffie

Change the meaning of a word and you change the meaning of the world.

I was fortunate (or unfortunate depending on how you see it) to have an English teacher being my mother. Let me paint the picture, my English was for one particular reason a little less credible than hers..This is the reason:

“My teacher was a white man whose first language was English. I wasn’t taught English by an Omondi, a Kamau or a Wanyama!” She once put it!

We always argued over pronunciation – our favorite being picking into news anchors’ pronunciation & at best painful use of English! If there’s one thing I’m poor at it’s “sheng“. It’s not that I can’t understand it, I just can’t keep up with its dynamism and ambiguity. Plus the idea that it is location specific also presents a barrier for me so I stopped trying.

So why write this post?Well,since the advent of social media especially..the foundation ground of language as we know it has been shifted. This coming as such things as Hip Hop culture already playing its major role in shifting the language dynamics a great deal!

Allow me to highlight several examples:

Hip Hop Influence

The Hip Hop culture came in with creativity at it’s best, especially so through RAP (Rhythm And Poetry). This art form brought with it witty word play, coining of new words like shawty and word use which include redefining the meaning of ordinary words to mean different things. Now when you mention words like COOL, HOT, CAT, ICE, CHIC, FLY, RIDE…etc you have to consider the audience and context because they all refer to different things from what they should originally. One that bothers me a lot is “Hustler”. Hip Hop has made this word mean a person who works hard to get what he has. If my mother hears this word used, she’ll probably go to the dictionary meaning which is not good at all..

This movement also brought along with it new ways of saying ordinary words. The most common being the one widely credited to Snoop Dogg.. one just adds the “izzle” suffix 7 what u get is for example.. for shizzle nizzle,it’s the big Snoop D-O Double Gizzle!

The Computer Age Bug

This is not much but has changed quite a bit of language. Consider for example how much you hear of  “Windows” and immediately think of the normally glass covered opening on a wall of a building?! Windows, Apple, Mouse, Program among many other words don’t get the same automatic ordinary response they were meant to have.

Social Media

This ties in a lot with ‘The Computer Bug’ because simply put, social media rides on the revolutionary wave of the computer age. Social media has made ordinary language entirely different. Now we have initials to represent reactions like LOL for Laughing-Out-Loud, SMH for Shaking My Head probably in disbelief, among many others. It’s influence is so bad that I recently saw a tweet of a friend who ended up saying LOL instead of actually laughing! Other common acronyms and their meanings can be found here.

There’s this expression; “DEAD” (common on twitter! for some reason, Facebook faithful don’t seem to get this concept!!) which implies that one is dying of laughter. Then there’s this expression “Blog whoring”.. my mother would faint on hearing such an expression used in whatever setting! The idea here is that one moves from one blog to another reading as they go along. Now, I understand that, reading someone’s work has been described as intercourse of the minds but “blog-whoring” seems like pushing the envelope, I would think!

At the end of the day, when you meet someone who can’t seem to express themselves well i.e. articulate their thoughts well, speech punctuated by curse words half of which they hardly understand, mixing languages (we’ll meet in the jios, soma the gazeti!!).. you can’t actually blame the above reasons, at least not without considering other factors.

I realised, for example..not many can sit through a British (English) movie mainly because their “English” is “hard”. They would rather watch the American (US) which defiles English as it is! To start pointing out the errors in American English would be a tedious task.

Is it a case of evolved language or death of it?

With all these changes, the world has indeed changed. For the positive or for the negative…I won’t dare to judge!

PS: And before I go, my name is The Alternative Focus not my names are.