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Showing posts from October, 2015

Laughter galore as Kikwete’s flawless Kiswahili washes off on Kenyan House Speakers

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Tanzania's President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete shakes hands with the Speaker of Kenya's Senate Ekwee Ethuro (in blue robes) as the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi looks on. (PHOTO/STATEHOUSEKENYA FACEBOOK PAGE)
Kenyan lawmakers cornered Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete and demanded an address in Kiswahili. The MPs who had sat quietly listening to the visiting Head of State address the House in English, pushed for a Kiswahili address from their guest, and being an easy man, Kikwete obliged. The Tanzanian President’s aide promptly handed his boss a sheaf of papers with the Kiswahili version of the speech, and it is in there that the deep secrets, hitherto known to only a few people were poured out to the whole country in a speech beamed live on Kenya’s public broadcaster. The Kiswahili delivered in a conversational tone, with the ease of a brother talking to a brother, Kikwete explained why, to Tanzanians, Kenya is a very important partner not just in trade and infras…

LONG READ: The YALI Experience in 3,200 Words

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There are lessons you are inadvertently taught when you are a 35-year-old being forced to sit in the same class with an 18-year-old. Imagine someone who is half your age, with less of life experiences sitting by your side, being taught the things you should have learned eighteen years ago. You feel a little jealous that you were not told these things early enough; that some people are just lucky. But you also feel hopeful that a young generation is being made to learn about better ideals of leadership, and what a good society should look like. It is also somewhat shameful that you haven’t really done a lot to ‘change lives’, and in a country with a life expectancy of 61 years such as Kenya, you take a silent vow – the things you tell your heart and your mind and your conscience— to use the remaining part of your life to change the world. Your world. But when you sit in that class with an open mind, to learn not just from the lecturers but also from your colleagues, both the ones on the…