We are extremely proud to be Kenyan!
We are proud of our beautiful country!
We are proud of our diversity cultures and traditions!
We are proud of our heroes!
We are proud of our high achievers!
We are proud of being hustlers!
We are proud of our hoods!
We are proud of our tribes and twengs!
We are proud of our kanges and our mats!
We are proud of our artists and musicians!
We are proud of our industries and farms!
We are proud of our sports teams!
On the 28th of February 2011 at 1pm EAT, wherever you are, at work, in the supermarket, in traffic, in school, on campus, in hospitals, in churches, in mosques, in temples, in synagogues, on sports pitches, in court, on your farm, at police stations, at armed forces barracks, in matatus, in buses, on the beach, in the game parks, at the airport, in parliament, in State House, in your homes …
On the 28th of February 2011 at 1pm, we stand
On the 28th of February 2011 at 1pm, we unite
On the 28th of February 2011 at 1pm, we shall speak in one voice.
On the 28th of February 2011 at 1pm, let’s sing our beautiful and powerful National Anthem, all three verses.
On the 28th February 2011 the world will watch as Kenyans stand UNITED;
1pm, 1 nation, 1 people, 1 anthem, united in 1 prayer for 1 Kenya
We are Kenya!
The Kenyan Twittersphere is buzzing with tweets on the referendum on the proposed Constitution of Kenya. We are using the hastag #KenyaDecides.
Uchaguzi a technology platform that allows citizens and civil society to monitor and report incidences around the electoral process built on the Ushahidi engine is also accepting reports via Twitter through the hashtag #uchaguzi.
No Kenyan vote is complete without a picture of long queues at the Holy Family Basilica, Cathedral of the Catholic Archbishop of Nairobi and Primate of Kenya, one of the most central polling stations in the heart of Nairobi.
Here is a short video as we walked the queue of 500 people from the entrance of the polling station to the end of the queue.
The queue lengths varies tremendously throughout the day, sometimes it is almost twice as long as the one in this video, other times it is just a few people.
His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi had voted moments before I took this video and media scrum around the Cardinal held things up for a while. Not that Nairobians seem to mind, so long as they had a newspaper to read while they wait.
I’m not just Red. I’m not just Green.
I’m a tricolour of black, red, and green, charged with two crossed white spears, behind a red, white, and black shield.
Update 1: Official Transcript now avaliable. (Thanks Mark).
At 15.00 local time on January 21 2009 the United States Ambassador to Kenya Michael E. Ranneberger hosted a webchat (online discussion) with Kenyan citizens on topics of interest in Kenyan-U.S. relations. Here is the transcript:
Webchat Moderator (Mark): Welcome to today’s webchat! We are glad you are with us. Ambassador Ranneberger will begin answering your questions at the top of the hour.
Webchat Moderator (Mark): We are taking your questions now. Our first question comes from Justus ole Ndutu Narok
Justus ole Ndutu Narok 2: Now that the American people have elected their first ever African-American President, are we likely to see more African-Americans being elected to this office in future?
Ambassador Ranneberger: Yes, I believe we will. The election of Barak Obama demonstrates how far the United States has traveled to build and strengthen democratic institutions. The U.S. presidential election was clearly decided on the basis of the issues, not on the basis of race. President Obama received support from a broad cross- section of American voters. His election also reflects the impact which the civil rights movement has had in transforming the United States. Democracy is, however, always a work in progress and much more remains to be accomplished.
brigid koskei 2: brigid koskei from Kenya. the political party system in America not only favors the majority but also the minoority.it also ensures that political leaders are not only in officeas a result of support from a specific race or tribe but leaders with right qualifications and those who merit those position. Does the Kenyan political party support this? if not what can be done to ensure theres a suitable and fair party system?
Ambassador Ranneberger: You are right about the American political party system. Political parties in the U.S. have developed over a period of more than 200 years. The parties nurture talent and enable individuals to run for office on the basis of merit. Although our political parties are well-developed, there are still a number of issues which must be addressed, including the ways in which parties and candidates finance political campaigns. In Kenya political parties are not as developed. First, there are too many parties (over 100), and many of these are tiny, personality-center â€œbriefcase parties.â€ Second, corruption has a negative impact on political party development in Kenya. Third, many parties are based on ethnic affiliations rather than on issues. Development of more effective issue-focused political parties is very important to the future of democracy in Kenya. We are working to foster more effective political parties focused on issues. This is part of a broader effort to strengthen democratic institutions.
omweba shadrack- moi university 2: obama says, “…those from largest capital to smallest villages(Kogelo/Nairobi) will feel him…” Through your embassy how will you make Nairobi(Kenya) reform its institutions especially parliament hence feel Obama’s effect as he promised now that you are our big brother? Asks Omweba S.M a Political Science Student from Moi university ( Kenya.)
Ambassador Ranneberger: Even before the inauguration of President Obama, we were working to support reforms. As you know, during the post-election crisis, the U.S. intervened to press for formation of the coalition government. That government committed itself to carry out an agenda for fundamental reform. While there are many reforms, constitutional revision, establishing an independent electoral commission, and formation of the Special Tribunal to try perpetrators of post-election violence, and fighting corruption are among the most important. We have made clear to the leadership of the coalition government that the partnership between the U.S. and Kenya is based on shared democratic values and, therefore, on implementation of the reform agenda. Parliament must play its role to support implementation of the reforms. I also want to emphasize, however, that the Kenyan people have a most important role to play. Although the U.S. helped on formation of the coalition government, it was the fact that the Kenyan people spoke out and insisted on a political solution that was the most important factor in resolving the crisis. The Kenyan people did this directly, and through the media, civil society, religious groups, and the private sector. It is important that the Kenyan people now insist upon implementation of the reform agenda.
Aaron cheruiyot 2: well yesterday president Obama moved from his usual hope speeches to one full of pragmatic demands both for his government and the citizens of the US. For us in kenya, after his inpiration we are faced with the enormous task of getting things rollong in our own country. where do you think is the place for us to start especially the youth?
Ambassador Ranneberger: I believe that the inauguration of President Obama will inspire young people in Kenya to be more active in political life. Despite the fact that there are now many younger Kenyans in Parliament, I do not regard them as really the voice of the young people of Kenya. It seems to be that genuine youth leadership has not really emerged yet. The young people of Kenya has the advantage of being relatively well education. I believe that young people should become more active in forming and participating in civil society organizations, and in speaking out peacefully through the media. Young people should be asking their Members of Parliament and the coalition leadership hard questions about why the reform process has not moved more quickly and about why more is not being done against corruption. Young people should take advantage of new technology, like the internet, to communicate, and to promote activism. Young people can also insist on the reform of political parties so that young people can participate more transparently. We will support these efforts.
Jeremiah – Kenya: Dear Mr Ambassador – I have read your bio about your career with the State department. With the new administration are you going to stay on in Kenya or will you be moving to another position?
Ambassador Ranneberger: It is always up to a new President to determine whether an Ambassador remains in his position. We serve at the pleasure of the President. As a career, professional diplomat, I am non-partisan and strongly committed to advancing the policies of the United States regardless of who is President.
Tuikeny from Nairobi: Bearing in mind that Obama’s ancestral home is kenya, does the America’s Embassy have any plan to encourage, support and boost tourism through initiatives like cultural activities in Kogelo and its neighbourhood?
Ambassador Ranneberger: In the wake of the post-election crisis, the Embassy has been working to boost American tourism to Kenya. We have no specific plans to become involved with Obamaâ€™s ancestral home. How that is handled is strictly up to the Obama family members in Kenya. It will be important to respect their privacy and their decisions regarding to what extent they might or might not want to become involved with tourism promotion.
Daudi: Good afternoon Ambassador. There is no mention of Africa on the White House Foreign Policy agenda page: http://www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/foreign_policy/ indicating that perhaps Africa is not a priority for the new Obama administration. Can you share any information you have on the Obamaâ€™s administration foreign policy agenda for Africa?
Ambassador Ranneberger: During the political campaign, Obama and his team made clear the importance they attach to U.S. policy in Africa. There has been strong bi-partisan support from Democrats and Republicans for programs like the PEPFAR anti-HIV/AIDS program, for promotion of democracy, for resolution of conflicts, for education, and for other programs as well. I am sure that the new Administration will give appropriate attention and priority to African issues. The U.S. greatly values its partnership and friendship with Kenya and with other countries on the continent. We will continue to support these and remain engaged with the people of Africa to promote their well-being.
Kamene Mutua – Machakos, Kenya: You were instrumental in encouraging power sharing at the begining of last year at the height of post-election violence. What is your take on the coalition government so far?
Ambassador Ranneberger: Thank you for your kind words. I believe that establishment of the coalition government was the best option to end the post-election crisis. I have talked extensively with President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga, and they have assured me of their commitment to carry out the reform agenda. I believe that they will do this. We will insist upon this, but the clear message they are hearing from the Kenyan people will also help push the reform agenda forward. At the same time, this will not be an easy process. There are vested interests on both sides who do not want to see the reform agenda fully implemented. It is important that the Kenyan people continue to make clear to the President and Prime Minister the importance of moving forward quickly to implement the reforms (particularly establishment of an independent electoral commission, establishment of the Special Tribunal to try perpetrators of post-election violence, and constitutional reform) and the urgent need to end corruption. The vested interests want reform that will be merely window dressing. President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga need the support of the Kenyan people to carry out real reforms that will begin a process of fundamental change. Largely because of the faith I have in the Kenyan people, I remain positive about the coalition government, and am optimistic that Kenya will move ahead to strengthen democratic institutions.
Nekesa: Good Afternoon Mr. Ambassador. As I’m sure you’re well aware the USA under 20 team has qualified for the Junior World Rugby Trophy to be held in Kenya this year. Do you plan to attend this tournament?
Ambassador Ranneberger: Nekesa: Unfortunately, I donâ€™t know much about Rugby, but I am excited by the prospect that a U.S. team may participate in the tournament here. Kenya is well-known for its athletes, yet another dimension of this great country.
Webchat Moderator (Mark): Thanks for joining everyone. We hope you will understand that the Ambassador tried to address as many of your questions as possible during the 60 minutes allotted for today’s webchat. The Q/A portion of today’s webchat is now closed.