Barbs and bouquets

Friday December 26 2008


The Oyunga awards is a self-promoting exercise that happens at the end of every year. Awards are given out to Kenyans and the odd foreigner from all walks of life who contributed marginally or notably to the making of compelling news over the year.

This year undoubtedly belonged to our sports personalities. In this time capsule, you will find the usual suspects, the inspirational, the braves and the annoying. Due to looming global recession, cash prizes will not be forthcoming. The list follows no particular order. Without further ado, let the roll call begin.

1. Samuel Wanjiru for supreme endurance that eventually resulted in Kenya’s first Olympic marathon gold in superb style and a new Olympic record to boot.

2. The bizarre occurrence of the year was that snow-like substance that fell over an area of 100 acres in Nyahururu. A real case of global warming.

3. James Kamangu Ndimu, the last man standing, the unlikely hero whose marital tribulations kept a nation fascinated for months. Rest in peace.

4. Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi for the uncanny ability to remain calm under pressure and delivering results despite having one of the most stressful jobs in the country.

5. Barrack Hussein Obama for executing one of the most memorable political upsets in political history and reminding us that our best brains are still languishing in the Diaspora.

6. Michelle Obama for proving that having a strong woman to watch your back is an important ingredient in career advancement.

7. Jeff Koinange for bringing back the voice to our TV screens.

8. Professor Karega Mutahi for trying to wish away the flawed KCSE results as a mere ‘computer error’. That dumb excuse is set to jeopardise a generation of innocent high school students.

9. Martha Karua for proving that in politics, there are never permanent friends or enemies. Merely alliances of convenience and survival.

10. Media-savvy Mama Sarah Obama for maintaining decorum on her way to becoming the first grandma of the world’s most powerful economy.

11. Former Budalangi MP Raphael Wanjala and drama queen Joyce Akinyi Chinedu for illustrating that arrogance only counts if it cannot keep you out of an Indian jail.

12. Friday Nation columnist Clay Muganda for pointing out the difference between Kogelo and Nyangoma. The former is the clan that Obama Snr belonged to and the latter is the village where Mama Sarah Obama resides.

13. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, for a series of dumb blonde moments proving that good looks and little sense is never an impediment to a high profile political career.

14. Judge Philip Waki for rising to the occasion and giving Kenyans a chance to find the truth behind the last election debacle.

15. Pirates from Somalia for demonstrating that you do not need a submarine to hijack an ocean liner.

16. Caroline Mutoko for a year of proactive radio activism and walking the talk.

17. The most promising people’s watchman award goes to Okiya Okoiti Omtatah, the civil society activist who chained him himself to the gates of Vigilance house at the Kenya Police Headquarters.

18. Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura for keeping a protocol circus going between the PM and VPs offices.

19. The 10th Parliament for proving that a politician will do anything to retain his job. The country certainly needs more unemployed politicians to get ahead.

20. Wahu Mathenge for the best female artist prize at the inaugural MTV Africa Music Awards.

21. German ambassador Walter ‘Cool Cat’ Lindner for introducing his own version of flower power diplomacy.

22. Nairobi mayor Geoffrey Majiwa for sustaining a long tradition of toothless city fathers.

23. Activist Fred Odhiambo, he who heckled and interpreted the President’s Jamhuri day speech for reminding us that one man’s noise often represents the silence of thousands.

24. Pamela Jelimo (right) for a magical year on the track and making enough money to stop the country in its tracks.

25. Government spokesman Alfred Mutua for giving the spin a break and allowing his alter ego, the movie director, to thrive on TV.

26. The indefatigable Premier Raila Odinga for bringing a whole new meaning to the word multi-tasking.

27. Wilfred Bungei who won the 800m gold at the Beijing Olympics for running the race of life in the final laps.

28. ECK chairman Samuel Kivuitu who, despite dropping from grace to grass, is still trying to get to the bottom of the barrel.

29. Information Minister Samuel Pogishio for falling back on the old threats against the media and slaying the messenger while forgetting the message.

30. Collins Injera, the Kenya rugby sevens prolific try scorer for working his way into the world ranks.

31. First lady Lucy Kibaki for maintaining a vow of silence.

32. Kanji Mbugua, the hardest working contemporary gospel musician this year.

33. Henry Kiprono who Kirwa three gold medals in China and becoming the most successful paralympian in Kenyan history. Disability is not inability.

34.The foot-in-mouth goes Oginga Ogego, Kenya’s envoy to the US who must feel really silly for dismissing US president-elect Barrack Obama as a junior senator during a visit in 2006.

35. The mainstream media for butchering the word ‘draconian’ in frequent reference to the contentious proposed media bill.

To all gracious readers of this column, wishing you a prosperous and happy new year.