Archive for the ‘Kenya’ Category

By : Konstantsa Karaleeva

Edited by : Natalie Bush

Kenyan topics from class through the eyes of a Kenyan


Readings, movies, culture, discussions and research are great tools for learning about the global world and places that are far away and very different from your own environment. But only you create your own perspective from all of your knowledge of a place, based on your vision, beliefs and culture. The best way to understand a place is to go to it. Even after visitng, you will still have a vision of this place through the lens of your culture and beliefs. For me the best resource for a place, which is far away, is a person from this place. Someone who has grown up there and has been witnessing all the processes that you have read about and watched regarding global media. If this person has another perspective different from his / her native land this will make the information subjective and objective at the same time. That is why I decide to find someone who is from Kenya.

After some research, I found a Kenyan student at Mizzou. Faith Ka…. who is a sophomore nursing major. She was born and raised in Kenya and after high school she came here to pursue better education. Faith is an athlete at Mizzou and is part of the track and field team. I asked her about her vision and opinion about almost every of the suggested topics for covering of a country that we had for class. I have written about many of them but I couldn’t cover everything. I think that this post can be a submission of my work on the Kenyan blog toward the semester, because it combines many topics. Instead of submission of my own research, I decided to submit my blog on Kenya, based on a real Kenyan’s words and opinions.

language and its effect on the culture

Faith :

–       Language definitely shapes the culture, but the culture also can shape the language. For example, the ethnic group of Nilotes people came to Kenya from Ethiopia. When they came they were originally speaking Sokethe language. This group of people divided into two tribes- the Luo and the Kalenjin .Luo went to the land near the Victoria Lake and they did fishing for a living. The other tribe, Kalenjin, where I belong to, went to the highlands and there were a lot of animals so they started doing farming. Due to the two very different lifestyles and areas where the two tribes were living, the language started changing. Now, many years later the language has totally changed. There are still some similarities,  for example some words have the same pronunciations but the meaning is different. I cannot completely understand someone who is Luo.


–       history: how has its history shaped culture and politics

To understand our political system right now, one has to know the historical context. The first president, after Kenya’s independence was Kenyatta who was Luo. The second president was Moi, who was a Kalingen. Many Kolinjen people were donating for his governance and during his presidency, many schools and universities were developed and many of them are named after him, Moi University for example. He was in charge for more than 20 years after Kenyata. After that Kebaki became a president and he is from the Luo tribe, the tribe of Kenyata’s tribe and now Kenyata. The problem with the tribal issues and politicians is that when the pesident is from certain tribe this tribe is favorited. Even though now it is different the bias that the tribe of belonging of the president is favorited and beloved with some more advantages that the other tribe remains. It is still considered that Kelinjin people are more educated and well developed.

–       3.      Relationship to neighboring regions and countries

–       Tanzania and Uganda are the most connected neighboring countries to Kenya. The other neighbors, Sudan and Somalia had some serious problems. Many refugees from there were coming to Kenya during the wars. Kenya is definitely the most westernized country in the region. Right now, the rising of GMO product is a very big concern. Recently there was discussion here at MU for NGO in Kenya and there was a guest lecturer. This lady was saying that the nearby countries are waiting for Kenya’s decision on GMO and if Kenya accepted it the other countries will follow this example. This only shows that Kenya is very influential for the region and can be considered as a leader.

–       4.    Relationship to the US

–       This is very funny because most people in Kenya truly and deeply believe that the USA president Barack Obama is from Kenya. Mainly because his grandfather came from Kenya and his sister has a Kenyan name -Oma, which is an important name for the LUO  tribe. There was one photo of Obama and his grandma in Kenya and people were saying, “See, the way he is dressed he is just a normal typical African boy.” His grandma is still living in Kenya. When he came to visit Kenya, people went crazy. During the USA elections people were very focused on Obama winning and they were so happy and proud of him. American culture has a very big influence on Kenya right now. For example even with gay rights. This part of the world is very conservative and homophobic but now you can feel that a very small percentage of the people are becoming ok with the gay rights issues. Only because the USA is gay friendly and Obama stood for gay marriage equality, last summer.  Nairobi is becoming very fast the American ideology. I saw a girl’s photo on Facebook and she was dressing just like she was in the USA and I thought that maybe she was here, in the USA, but actually the photo was taken at Nairobi. Then I realized that Kenya is very influenced by the western media and western culture.

–       Contemporary politics

–       We had a very bad political crisis in 2008 when there were elections for president. But right now it is ok. Before they had to have both of them and stop fighting and people saw the painful aspect in the last elections.  Many people suffered from the elections. You read the statistics and you think it is bad but you cannot imagine I have so many friends and I know so many people who lost close people and who suffered. From all of this pain, they came together and it is now stable . Now there is new government and the new constitutions and he is still the previous president and maybe it will be like that few years more.

–       Borders: who created them and when; any conflicts?

–       We have few countries that we border. One of them is Uganda and we had some issues with them. The conflict was over the Victoria Lake. Some people say it belongs to Kenya and some think it is Ugandan. The conflict is specified in the Migingo area island. They fought over it for  a long time and I think this is our biggest conflict with neigbohoring countries. Otherwise, we don’t have many problems with our neighbors.


–       Poverty level and food sustainability.

–       Specific parts of Kenya are poorer than others. Mostly the Northeastern side is poor. That is because it is dry and there are not a lot of things that grow. People there have cows and sheep but even they don’t produce milk for dairy a lot because it is dry. This part of Kenya does not produce a lot of food and that is why people are poor.

–       Climate change and sustainability issues

–       We have two seasons -hot and rain season. Lately there is more sun and less rain. Before, the rain periods were longer but now there are only two months. This is really bad for the planting because the dry weather has a bad influence on the plants, environment, animals and everything else.


–       status of minorities, women, old people, disabled

–       Women have the right go to parliament and many can be part of groups. In our culture there are certain beliefs and perceptions for women that Western people don’t understand. They think that women are discriminated but the truth is that the  majority of women are educated .

–       education and literacy- The primary school is free and everyone goes to school. However, there are high school fees. Women outnumber the men in the school. I think that we have a good educational and school system. I finished my high school in Kenya and when I came to the University of Missouri I thought that it would be extremely difficult for me because the educational system is so much better. I actually felt very well prepared. We really study and work hard.

–       global connections / effect of globalization- I definitely think that Kenya is globalizing and has some connections. Kenya is definitely the most developed country in the region, not only because I am from there but because it is true. If you are interested in Kenya you can visit:

– Here I find all the information about my country. I try to be connected and to be in touch with Kenyan family in friends. I miss them a lot as well as Kenya itself. It is a beautiful place.


Journalism in Kenya

Posted: May 9, 2013 in Kenya

By:Konstantsa Karaleeva

Edited by : Natalie Bush


I am in the last week of my senior year of journalism. Having the chance to take this year as an exchange student at the University of Missouri, Columbia showed me how important education is for good journalism. When I started my education at the New Bulgarian university at Bulgaria I was already working as reporter at the Bulgarian National television. I though journalism was much more hands-on than education and the University degree cannot help you to do better journalism. The Journalism School of University of Missouri proved me wrong. Being considered for the best Journalism school in the USA and in the world, this school has a very interesting approach toward journalism education with their famous, Missouri method. The Missouri Method focuses on having real life experience during your course of education. Now I can see that education of journalism is definitely the basic tool for creating good journalism; therefore the journalism status of a country really depends on the education that this country provides for journalism majors.


That is why I decided that I have to start my research on Kenyan journalism issues from the education of Journalism and Mass Media in Kenya.


The three best schools for journalism are Daystar University, United States International University and Multimedia University. Daystar University is one of the recognized universities in East Africa not only in Kenya. It has sent out a majority of professional journalists in Kenya. Top ranking journalists in Kenya have come from this university. Multimedia is also ranked as one of the best schools for journalism in Kenya. United States International University (USIU) is an international university that offers a journalism program to students. Many of their students have joined the media industry with international relations degree amid journalism that has different majors and minors. The CNN African Journalist winner John Allan Namu came from USIU.


Latitude-0314-wrong-bis-blog480-v2      But when one finishes his or her education in journalism, this doesn’t mean that they can be very good journalists. The level and creditability of the journalism job not only depends on the abilities and knowledge of the journalist himself but also of the overall situation and legislations in the country. That is why we cannot talk about Kenyan journalism without taking a look into the legislation of the media in Kenya.


Media in Kenya is regulated by a statutory body called the Media Council of Kenya. The Media Council of Kenya is an independent national institution established by the Media Act, as the leading institution in the regulation of media and in the conduct and discipline of journalists. It is mandated amongst others to register and accredit journalists, register media establishments, handle complaints from the public and create and publish yearly media audit on the Media Freedom in Kenya. During accreditation the journalists agree to adhere to the Code of Conduct and Practice of Journalism in Kenya, which was created by media practitioners and stakeholders with the view of making Journalism in Kenya a more professional and respectable field.


The Code of Conduct link can be found here. There are 22 points in this conduct code.


Even thought the conduct code aims to make journalism more reliable and respectable in Kenya sometimes, Kenyan journalists are criticized about their work.  The best tests for journalism in a country are the important events in the country that have very strong social influence. This was the case with the 2013 presidential elections in Kenya. The whole world was watching Kenya and the journalists’ jobs were more than important with lots of responsibility in this case. The main reason that these elections were so important for the country and were defined as “historic” is because they were the first elections in the country after the elections in 2008. The criticism was that the mainstream media helped propaganda for the candidates and was tolerating hate speech. This attitude in the public sphere increased the tension between the different candidates and their allies. Even Joshua Arap Sang , radio journalists of Kass FM, is due to stand trial, along with Kenyatta and his running-mate William Ruto, at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, for his role in the 2007-08 violence.


This is why in the current elections the media outlets tried to avoid increasing attention. However, some observers claimed that they have gone too far in the other direction and have failed to do their surveillance job and be “watchdogs “ of the elections. The criticism was that this was irresponsible because the journalists were miscounting the vote rigging.

A Kenyan blogger who stayed anonymous said that, “Journalists kept on reporting only what the electoral commission was telling them. They did not cover people who were complaining about the elections because they were afraid things will be like in 2007. Even though it was good for them to be cautious on peace, they were not supposed to withhold information.”

But journalists defend their reporting. A journalist at the IEBC central counting station who remained anonymous asked, “Can you imagine if we started running headlines about elections being rigged? What would have happened? There was already too much tension across the country. I thank all my colleagues for being responsible and interrogating allegations made before rushing to flash headlines.”

Some think all of the attempts of defending is pointless because the facts show the media coverage of the elections and the campaign were not adequate. The main reason for that was the fact that the speeches that candidates made before the results were announced were not broadcast live.


Kibet at YaMumbi IDPs camp8


Kenyan journalists defend election coverage of Kenya

BY:Konstantsa Karaleeva

Edited by : Natalie Bush

My grandfather used to say, “I don’t understand what people who speaks other language say but I can tell you what kind of people they are only listening to their words.“ I’ve never thought how right he was before doing one of the first readings for this class. It is amazing how many researches and studies have found exactly the same thing. My grandfather was uneducated ,gfamrerm , who grew up in a small Bulgarian village in the mountains. His natural intelligence told him language, behavior and way of thinking are all connected. Language Can Shape The Way You Think remains one of my favorite articles from this class. Being a non-native speaker, using English for studying and living in an English speaking country have proved to me this is true. Frequently I have trouble with English because my mind forms my thoughts in a very different way than the way I need to find the right wording for specific things. Every time when I translate something I face the different way of thinking behind the two languages. Studying a third language here makes it even more interesting.

I think if we look closer to the language spoken in Kenya we can better understand some of the issues Kenya has and we can learn much more about this country and its culture. After reading about Kenyan language, I identified three aspects of Kenya related to its languages: Kenya’s history, tribalism and attitude toward life.


English was inherited from Kenya’s British colonial past. Even today, English is the language of choice in business, academics and social set-ups in Kenya. This fact is related with Kenya’s history. By knowing English is the official language we already know that it was colonized by England . There is second official language in Kenya and it is Swahili (also called Kiswahili). Swahili is a unifying African language. Even illiterate Kenyans know some basic Swahili. The purest form of Kiswahili is spoken along the coast where native Swahili people live. Swahili is one of the most common African languages and it is spoken in many countries other than Kenya, such as Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda and Zaire.

Having too different official languages has resulted in a third language which is combination of them. Sheng is a commonly spoken slang in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. It is a mixture of Swahili and English, with a sprinkling of other indigenous languages. In fact, Sheng is more than just slang – it’s a lifestyle, especially among the urban youth who, today, are more fluent in Sheng than in the purer forms of Kiswahili.

Trying to understand Kenya’s economy and especially the political system is not easy. To have a better understanding for those things, one has to know more about Kenyan tribalism. Kenya is divided on different tribes, with different viewpoints, understanding, rituals, needs and political views. That is one of the basic reasons for the violence in the elections of 2007 and overall violent acts in Kenya. Tribalism caused some tension, problem and issues in this year’s election too. More about that can be read in my “Kenyan March Madness Post.”

Speaking about Indigenous people of Kenya in class, gave me the idea to write about the indigenous issues and indigenous people of Kenya. As the guest lecturer on Thursday suggested, South Africa can be related to the so called Kansas Nation ( United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand) who have similar histories connected with indigenous people and their rights. Only this part of Africa can be related to it because it was under English colonization. That is why I think it is important to talk about the Indigenous Languages in Kenya.

Kenya’s ethnic languages are spoken mostly in rural settings and in homes where all members belong to the same ethnic group. The most dominant of the indigenous languages are Kikuyu, Dholuo and Luhya. Kikuyu is the language of the Kikuyu people, Kenya’s largest ethnic group. It is closely related to the Embu, Mbeere, and Meru languages spoken by neighboring communities in the Mount Kenya region.

The Kikuyu language is widely spoken in Kenyan towns. Additionally, members of other ethnic groups also speak it. This is particularly true in business situations. Since Kikuyu people run the majority of Kenya’s businesses, it is common to find people conducting business in the Kikuyu language. As a result, other business people have had to adapt and learn Kikuyu too in order to do proper business.

(Stay tuned for my Blog for more information about Kenyan Indigenous people.) -Authors note.

The third connection of language is life philosophy. Do you remember Lion King.? Yes, you for sure know this song. It is called Hakuna Matata. Not many people actually know this is not a made up phrase, but it is a phrase in Swahili. The film’s production team claims it picked up the term from a tour guide while on safari in Tanzania. It was then developed into an ideology that, along with the seemingly antithetical value of duty to the monarchy, is central to the moral content of the film.kenya-yetu-hakuna-matata

The title phrase is pronounced with American English phonology within the song, including a flapped “t”, rather than as it is pronounced in Swahili.-Note

Even though the idea for the usage of this phrase came from a safari in Tanzania, Swahili is also spoken in Kenya and this phrase is also used there. It can be translated literally as, “There are no worries.” Its meaning is similar to the English phrase “no problem.” As a bicultural, I definitely can see how sayings, phrases and proverbs in one’s language represent the cultural understandings and beliefs of this nation. I think that this phrase and life ideology can be related to some extent to the African culture in general, including Kenyans.




By : Konstantsa Karaleeva

Edited by : Natalie Bush

If there is any technology that can be called, “the next big thing”, it would be the drones. Recently they have raised many questions and discussions. Drones can be used for military purposes in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan.  There are many people who are against them due to their usage. Various questions have been raised such as, “Is this the beginning of a new type of war, where technology is used more than human force? Does this mean one-day there won’t be soldiers dying on the battlefield because only technology, like drones and robots, will be used? What is the damage on the health and nature drones cause? Is this a new, better way of war or are drones the worst-case scenario for violence in the world? There are many people with opinions on both sides of the discussion.images  Drones can also be used for many other purposes, aside from work in war zones. But drones have dual use as well. The can  be used for good and for bad influence.Sometimes they can even save not only human lives but also lives of animals. This is what Kenyan experience shows. The wildlife and natural resources in Kenya are one of the most precious and valued things the country has. The flora and fauna richness in Kenya makes them a target for many poachers. Many developing countries in Asia, mainly China and Thailand, are successful in the ivory business thus, encouraging more people to kill wild animals, especially rhinos.

Kenya has the 3rd largest population of rhinos. The wildlife service in Kenya is fighting day and night to eliminate poaching. Mother-Daughter1-e1359742266187Paul Magbuha, of Kenyan wildlife service, claims, “These people are there to kill the animal. If you are between him and the animal you will be killed by him.” This is an example of why Drones are now used in Kenya . With the use of drones, the poachers can be seen and stopped safely without taking any human life. Is this a good way to save both humans and animals lives? Is there any damage and, or, bad consequences that can be caused by the use of drones? What do you think?

Used Sources:

By: Konstantsa Karaleeva

Edited by : Natalie BushImage

The environment in Kenya has become a big concern in the past few years. The overall welfare of the environment is a very important  to Kenya as it is a main source for the country. 75% of the working force in the country is involved in agriculture. Kenya is also a well known destination for tourism and safaris. Tourism boosts the economy and the income of the citizens in Kenya. Due to this, if the nature of Kenya is spoiled, Kenyan economy and development will severely suffer.

Many different organizations work for the sustainability in Kenya, one of them is the Institute for Law and Environment Governess (ILEG). ILEG is a non-profit civil society organization working in the field of environmental governance in Kenya. Their projects are mainly focused in two specific fields of natural resources and global warming. The global warming is increasingly harming to Kenya. Global warming in Kenya causes a lack of clean water, a loss of livestock and wildlife and more. Both wildlife and livestock are important resources for Kenya’s economy. A big percentage of the country’s income comes from activities related with agriculture. This is why natural resources and lands will play a critical role in Kenya’s socio-economical development. There are not any laws for ownership of lands or any legislation. This gap in the law causes a lot of problems. ILEG advocates for more legislations and laws in the field of natural resources. Having specific laws regarding environmental issues will make it much easier for Kenyans to maintain their natural resources working for them.

ILEG  also works in the field of technology and environment, environmental damage, and social justice. Environmental issues and human rights are closely linked.

Violations of fundamental human rights like:

  1. Denial of access to environmental investments,
  2. Failure to ensure equitable benefit sharing, denial of access to information,
  3. Denial of opportunities for participation in decision making,
  4. Denial of justice in environment-related matters

Local communities, minority ethnic groups, poor people, uneducated children and women are involved in environmental issues through educational panels. There are several different projects that directly work with them and help them to become more aware and involved in the sustainability issues in their areas. ILEG’s work is focused on giving the civil rights of people involved and to have active participation in environmental issues.

This is very good practical example of how environment issues and human rights are connected and they go hand in hand. The interaction between human rights and environmental problems is important.

Sources :

The Kenya(n) March Maddness

Posted: March 10, 2013 in All Posts, Kenya

Author: Konstantsa Karaleeva

THE TERM March madness IN THE USA    refers to the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association)  Basketball Championship which features 68 college basketball teams. Most of the games take place in March and March Madness has become one of the nation’s most prominent sporting events.

In the beginning of March , Kenya experienced it’s own type of madness. It was also international global madness. Kenya was in all of the mainstream media. On March 4th , 2013 , Kenya hold its most historical and expected elections. Claus Stacker from the African service of Deutche Welle , said that this is the most important elections for Kenya since its independence. He made parallel between Kenya today and South Africa in 1994.

                                            Why this elections are historical for Kenya ?

These are the first elections since 2007. Then after the elections there was a lot of violence acts and more than 1000 people were killed. Kristi, 25 years, a student at University of Missouri, who moved to the States of the age of seven, explained it to me really shortly “ It was crazy “ she said. The sophomore from the J school Batul Hassan, who did her internship in Kenya in the summer, shared that fro the summer last year people were excited about the elections .The tension in Kenya started long before march , 2013. Not only Kenyans were concern about the upcoming event. Everyone was wondering if the violence acts form 2007 would repeat in 2013.

World leaders also were concerned with the elections. The President of the United States of America (USA), Barack Obama recorded a video with a message for the Kenyans… Many people related this with the fact that Obama has special relation with Kenya since his father is from there.

The Big day


The big day had come. There were 14 million registered votes. The pulls remained open till 5 pm. There were some early morning attacks and twelve people were killed. These attacks seemed like activists movement. The atmosphere was reported to be pretty calm. Kennyata took the early lead.

It seems like this elections are really different fro those before 5 years. The official results were expected to be shown on Tuesday In the earliest. The results showed that is it possible that each o the candidates will have 50% of the votes. In this case next election will be in April.

The next three days

 Tuesday, March 5th

There were still no official results. The early results are showing that Kenyatta is leading with 2% of the vote. Only 333 000 votes are counted so far.

Wednsday , march 6th—Kenya needs patience

It was still early for complains or celebrations. The results weren’t officials. Kenyatta’s official spokersman had told that the final counting can have impact on the final result.kenya za den 3

Thursday , march 7th


“The votes are doctored”, claim the presidential runners mate. The tension is growing as the time passes by. The fear of violence is growing. One of the ministers claimed that the voting has to start again. The votes are counted on hand.

78 hours later—-Mid night Surprise!


Friday, March 8th-Official result

Finally. Kenya knows the name of its next president- Uhuru Kenyatta. His re-election will definitely impact the connection of Kenya with the west. The official results came surprisingly. The new president was announced at 2:35  am , local time. This was supposed to happen, at 11 am , local time Saturday. The tension during the week now for sure will explode in many parts of Kenya. People there don’t have problems with who will be their president, but the way he is selected.

The counting of the votes , again was doubtful and raised many questions. The announcement in the middle of the night also seemed like trend of unclearness of the elections fairness.

Uhuru Kenyatta has to face the criminal justice court in hague in July because he is blamed for crimes against the humanity. He claims to be innocent. Now the problem will be that he will try to run a country and in the same time not to go to the jail. Ts re-election will definitely impact connection of Kenya with some of the biggest world forces.

Saturday March 9th-First reations

After it is official that Kenayatta has won the elections with 50.07% of the votes, his opponent said that he is ready to appeal.

Now we can only wait and see what is next.The world will hope for peaceful reaction of the recent events!



Your First Step to Kenya

Posted: March 3, 2013 in All Posts, Kenya

by: Konstantsa Karaleeva


Official Name: Republic of Kenya

Capital: Nairobi

Government Type: Republic

Population: 36.91 million

Area: 224,960 square miles;

Languages: English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages

Year of Independence: 1963

Web site:

Sources  for the  photo :