The Saturday Nation's Billy Muiru penned a glowing profile of Kamukunji's newly minted MP, Yusuf Hassan, in which any substantive policy discussion was conspicuously absent.
Not to be parsimonious with praise myself but having read the article twice, I'm still at a loss to understand what the thesis was.
My intention is not to dismiss the profile as a fluff piece but questioning the writers journalistic talents is warranted and justified.
Instead of taking Kamukunji's only ever MP to possess a measurable sense of intellectual gravitas to task about his plans for the constituency, especially Eastleigh's business community, the writer focuses on the trivialities of the election battle and the personality quirks of Mr. Yusuf.
Some of the poignant questions that should have been addressed in the article include:
- The civil injunction issued against the collection of taxes by city council from Eastleigh based businesses
- The desperately malfunctioning sewerage system in Eastleigh
- Alien Registration for the thousands of Somali Refugees doing business in Eastleigh and paying tax to both local and central government apparatuses.
- Police over reach and antagonism towards Somalis.
- Muslim Profiling
- Infrastructure that is begging for a serious re-investment.
That Said, this profile will be useful to those looking to fill their knowledge gaps about the MP's biography. If you have the patience to go through the whole thing, it will most definitely shed light on some of those shadowy zones in his background.
Here is an excerpt of the profile as it appeared on today's paper.
To read full profile, go hereWho is this young man of Arabic or Somali descent on air?
That is what former Voice of Kenya head James Kangwana asked when he first heard young Yusuf Hassan on radio on a hot weekend in the early 1970s.
Hassan had been selected for a part-time job as a presenter, and would present the popular Dunia Wiki Hii when journalists failed to show up on time after binging on Friday.
Kangwana had noticed the soft but firm voice. Little did he know the Kenyan Somali man he had also described as “thin but intelligent” would rise to international echelons and work for both BBC and Voice of America.
Fast forward to 2011. Hassan is the new Kamukunji MP, representing a constituency whose parliamentary elections have been marred by controversy never seen in Kenya’s history.
In 2007, vote counting and tallying was violently stopped by angry youth, and it was only after eight months that the then Electoral Commission of Kenya would declare Samuel Mbugua the winner.
Did not enjoy his salary
He did not enjoy his salary for long. Loser Ibrahim Ahmed lodged a petition at the High Court and the election was nullified in January this year.In May, the ensuing by-election was stopped again only two days before polling after another loser filed a court case to stop it, arguing the nominations discriminated against him.So when the ill-fated election was finally concluded two weeks ago and Hassan declared the winner, he heaved a sigh of relief.“I felt like a new born baby. For all the battles I have fought, even at international level, I derived a lot of joy in this win,” said Hassan. He polled 19,030 votes against closest rival Ibrahim Ahmed’s (Johnnie ) 15, 476 votes.Yusuf cuts a figure of a man who cannot harm a fly beneath his seemingly elderly demeanour.A glimpse into his personal life, career exploits and political views reveals a personality that you cannot entirely brand as a journalist, human rights activist or a politician. He is all of them.Human deprivationPerhaps the easy way in which Hassan carries his affairs is a result of all the wars and human deprivation he has witnessed since his childhood through to his adulthood.