Kenyan bloggers are giving voice to the voiceless
Few months back, Democratic Republic of Congo singer known as Koffi Olomide was taught a lessons of a lifetime that in 21st century, you cannot behave like a 19th century male chauvinist and get away with it, when Kenyans On Twitter, commonly known as KOT, teared him into pieces and left the Kenyan government with no option but to cancel his VISA.A Zambian friend at the time told me how events in Kenya led to the same singer concert cancellation.Social media and blogging, has given the voiceless the voice they needed not only in developing countries like Kenya but in the western World.In the east african country, blogging has contributed to the enhancement of society with Cyprian Nyakundi, Robert Alai being the stalwarts of the blogosphere that has shaped millions of Kenyans minds and to an extent behaviour. The words written by Kenyan poets, fictionist, dramatists and other creative writers continues to provide Kenyans, people in the region and Internet community with uncommon sense, conscience and wisdom that will guide human beings through upheaval and uncertainty long after politicians and bureaucrats have left the arena of power and have descended to oblivion. Kenyan bloggers includes scholars, writers, and literary connoisseurs who connect and share ideas in open debates and discussions about the role they can play in bringing up sensitive issues in Kenyan society, such as those relating to Koffi Olomide assault, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, human rights, the 2007- 2008 political tragedy, environment and censorship among many others.The power of literature by Kenyan bloggers is to bring truth to the people.Blogging can play the critical role in changing the society that is not being ruled by the rule of law.
The example of KOT, a social media phenomenon that has occurred in Kenya during the last five years. In opposing totalitarian control of media and terror from Somalia terror groups, a group of people insisted on creating a social media movement despite having to face many challenges whenever they air their differing opinions.Unlike in USSR in 1950s where tyranny dreamed of utopia, a perfect society, Kenya is now a country whose half of its recent policies have been shaped by what online community deems fit. By writing the stories about people who face injustice, blogging can tell the society about power abuse and teach the truth about human nature, where finding imperfection in people show that utopia is just an illusion. Bloggers can be the voice and the conscience of the Kenyan society.Good blogging provides insights into humanity through the complexity of the stories.Bloggers are also expected to write in order to bring back the past to younger generations and educate society about pressing issues such as human rights, tragedies in Somalia where unknown of number Kenya military personnel were killed and the nation’s dark past.Stories of the past can teach the next generation of Kenyans about humanity and empower them against one sided prejudice, stigmatization or misconception from groups with a hidden agenda.Like concerning human rights issues, the rights activists community usually face social injustice because they are thought of as violators of status quo values. I don’t think politics is going to change, but I do think that Kenyans online can change the way people see the issue of homosexuality which is highly emotive but LGBT is more secure in Kenya than neighbouring Uganda, that this doesn’t have to be a religious issue, that there’s need to respect people, no one is asking to be gay, no one is asking to have a homosexual lifestyle, but people do know that they should treat such people with respect and dignity, because they’re human beings. Through stories, it is hoped that Kenyan bloggers can establish connections with readers, so Kenyan readers can identify the character of human beings, who are just the same as them, and introduce empathy and sympathy in order to avoid any violence from happening in society.Bloggers also really need to depoliticise the issue and promote values, compassion and respect.