Don’t talk Trump or Brexit if you don’t watch local news

Tuesday June 28 2016

People protesting against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his policies rally outside of Trump Tower in New York City in the US on June 21, 2016. PHOTO | DREW ANGERER | AFP

People protesting against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his policies rally outside of Trump Tower in New York City in the US on June 21, 2016. PHOTO | DREW ANGERER | AFP 

By LARRY MADOWO
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“I don’t watch Kenyan news,” has become a brag these days.

“Stop saying dumb s*#t like that, you’re embarrassing yourself,” I often want to tell them but I don’t because I’m a Christian learning to leave the wrong thing unsaid at the tempting moment. Those same people who expect us to celebrate their ignorance can hold court authoritatively on the dynamics of the US election and how Donald Trump could be the leader of the free world next January.

The excuse is almost always that they are tired of Kenyan politics, so they don’t bother to consume it. Ergo, they argue, they stay away from prime time news because it is full of politics. They don’t read the papers either, or listen to the radio news. In fact, the only book these proudly uninformed people read is Facebook.

I spent a few days in the United Kingdom last month and left convinced that it would stay in the European Union but the referendum would be a close call. Turns out I was wrong. Good thing I didn’t care, either way. I made the mistake of saying that on Twitter.

This is precisely what is wrong with journalism, they charged. That an influential journalist like me couldn’t give an informed, nuanced view of the impact of a Brexit was unacceptable, apparently. So I followed up by pointing out that the first time I applied for a visa to the UK, I was denied  one for being “single with no assets and no strong family ties in Kenya”.

The High Commission gave me an option to appeal but grovelling doesn’t come naturally to me, and my ancestors would have turned in their graves at the mere thought of that.

I even added that the Brits now consider me deserving of multiple-year visas at a time and I visit every few months but I have always known my place. Indeed, one of the accusations the “Remain” campaign levelled against their opponents in the “Leave” camp was that they were racist.

DARK-SKINNED RELATIONS PARTLY TO BLAME

It is witless to deny that part of the reason why the UK voted to leave the EU was because of strong anti-immigrant support. So those snotty Africans obsessed with the impact of the Brexit on us should know that you and your dark-skinned relations are partly to blame for this.

You care so much for a country that once colonised you, and whose citizens now consider your presence in their land an undesirable invasion.

Heck, most of the Kenyan commentators on the EU referendum have never even been to the UK, yet they’re here pontificating about globalisation and other random talking points they heard on the BBC. I’ve been to the UK four times in the last year alone and I still don’t care about their referendum, take a seat!

These same self-hating losers, to use a Trumpism, are holding heated debates about what The Donald portends for the future of American politics. If they were to submit their documents to the US embassy, they would be told in that rehearsed singsong I sat through while waiting for my visa: “I’m sorry, you’re not a qualified applicant at this point.”

Translation: the United States currently doesn’t consider you worthy of a visa, you’re too poor.” Or, the only United States you’ll see is on TV. Because of the accident of your birth, the world is stacked against you and the sooner you fix your country, the faster you can be allowed access to the UK and US, where you really want to be.

You know what I care about: this country, the one on whose passport I travel. The one where I live and whose future is eternally intertwined with mine.

The one where I have a vote and where my voice counts. I’m by no means suggesting you should only care about the US, the UK or the rest of the world if you’ve been there. But you’re deluded if you think you can have a Kenyan media-free diet while still living here and getting affected by the actions of those you refuse to acknowledge.

YOU HAVE A CIVIC DUTY

You not only have a civic duty to actively engage with the political leadership and how your country is run, but you’re also stuck with this corner of the world called Kenya.

Some of those who derisively boast about not listening to Kenyan radio or watching Kenyan TV just suffer from an inferiority complex. Living in Kenya and pretending you only watch CNN makes you look worse than the local media you don’t think is good enough for you. If you won’t be voting in the American election this November, and you don’t carry an EU passport, quit whining and shut up.

Or start a blog, nobody cares.

***

DP RUTO AND THE NEXT TWO ELECTIONS

Deputy President William Ruto and Kiambu Governor William Kabogo made up, shared a platform and declared their loyalty to each other. Alright, more like William the governor declared that he fully supported William the deputy president.

“We should be asking ourselves, is he qualified to come in again as the deputy president?” nominated senator Paul Njoroge said over the weekend, throwing a new spanner in the works. While Kabogo had previously said Ruto shouldn’t expect automatic support from President Kenyatta’s Kikuyu community in 2022 when he will run for president, the senator’s remarks are even more telling.

This is especially because it is assumed that Ruto will automatically be President Kenyatta’s running mate next year. After all, there is no UhuRuto without the Ruto part, right? This was always a joint ticket, with the agreement — written or gentleman’s — that the URP man would succeed the TNA man.

But then again, neither of them is a stranger to agreements and memorandums of understanding that are never quite honoured when they mature. “The issue of 2022 to me does not exist in my head,” said the senator, paraphrasing what Kabogo had said  and then backtracked on. This will be interesting, grab your popcorn.

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CHURCH OF WEED OPENS IN THE US

A “church” in Lansing in Michigan in the US, held its first services last Sunday but it wasn’t anything you are used to. This is because the First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason is for those who love cannabis but also want to be spiritual.

“The church will be providing free ‘religious material,’ a.k.a. cannabis pre-rolls, for the congregation to enjoy as well as a main course,” it promises. Is this legal? Perfectly. Michigan legalised marijuana for medical use in 2008.

That is why this church can operate freely there as an agnostic, non-denominational church that “leaves religious theology up to the individual”.

The Lansing State Journal reports that they have an actual ordained minister, one Jeremy Hall. Many Christians will, no doubt, struggle to call this a church, but I am dying to see how this all works. If I’m ever in the area, I’ll definitely go for the service.

***

FEEDBACK: On giving Moses Kuria time on air

Larry, the public outrage over your interview with Mr Moses Kuria was not surprising.

Most Kenyans, including myself, have perfected the art of selective amnesia. We forget the bad stuff when it suits us. That is our greatest undoing as a nation. We just never learn from our incompetence and bad manners! For instance, Mr Kura was the public enemy number one barely two weeks ago. That you were tough on him during the interview is a joke. These are not the kind of people whose ego should not be massaged, at least from what I have seen him and his allies utter and do in public.

A piece of advice, though. When engaging such guys, have as few discussion items as possible. Probe them on one or two issues and press for the right answers. This will limit the usual evasive tactics they use to buy time during interviews.

Mwamba

 

Larry, it was fair that Moses Kuria had a chance to have his say on TV, but he achieved little. I find it ridiculous  for him to keep apologising and repeating the same mistake. Mr Kuria came to apologise to Kenyans instead of letting us know why he keeps uttering hateful statements.

You did a good job by pressing pushing him to the corner to explain why he  says all the things he says and his intentions, but he excused himself out of that by saying the case  was in court.

Let no one make you feel that you did a poor job.

Henry

 

Larry, Your head is way up in the clouds. Kenyans don’t protect MPs and I think you know that. We don’t have your so-called “your tribe betrays you” ethnic school of thought.

We know that you are unprofessional when it comes to interviews and you take them very personally. You shouted Moses Kuria down on many occasions, as you normally do with your with other interviewees, and in the in the end the “interview” you conducted was just noise and a waste of airtime. You need to get your emotions in check and not accuse the whole country of having a complex. The problem is your professionalism, not us as a nation.

Claire Wanjiku