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Voices From Kiswahili Blogosphere

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya, Tanzania

There are fifteen active and two inactive Kiswahili bloggers. Sixteen bloggers are Tanzanians and one is Kenyan. Several new Kiswahili bloggers are currently working on their blogs but not yet ready to go public. The main conversation in the Tanzanian blogosphere is the nomination of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jakaya Kikwete, as the presidential candidate for the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi [1](CCM). The presidential election takes place in October this year.

Tanzanian bloggers have been following the nomination process with a lot of humour and at times drawing similarities from the recent conclave of cardinals that elected Pope Benedict XVI. The bloggers refer to the ruling party’s nomination process as “papal conclave,” members of the National Executive Committee of the ruling party are “cardinals” and the party’s headquarters in Dodoma is “Sistine Chapel.”

Here is a list of active and inactive Kiswahili bloggers:

Maitha [2] of Mawazo na Mawaidha (opinions and advice) is the only Kiswahili blogger from Kenya. He reports [3] that the Kenya’s draft ICT policy ignores the importance of open source [4] software for the developing nations. He asks [5] his readers to use Google’s translation tools to translate the following sentence into Spanish and back into English to see how meaning can be lost in translation: “Aishwarya’s mom is nice and cool.”

Tungaraza [6] of Mwandani (companion) questions the current use of Kiswahili words for a blog: blogu, blogi, bilogu and asks Kiswahili bloggers and speakers to come up with a new word, which is not necessarily borrowed from the English word: blog. He discusses the plight of the inhabitants of Diego Garcia, a British colony lying between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean, who were forcibly removed in the 1960s to pave the way for the set up of one of the biggest US military bases in the world.

Innocent [7] of Dira Yangu (My Vision) talks about the next Tanzania presidential election expressing his support for the ruling party presidential candidate, Jakaya Kikwete.

Egidio [8] asks whether the election of Pope Benedict XVI was free and fair!

Reginald [9] criticizes the Tanzania’s National Election Commission for being silent over presidential campaigns led by the President of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa, before the official date for campaigning is announced.

Simon [10] of Kona Yangu lists “10 commandments” for the next president of Tanzania.

Ramadhani [11]discusses the importance of Kiswahili in Tanzania, contributing to the on-going debate on whether Kiswahili should become the medium of instruction in institutions of higher learning.

Kazonta [12] wonders why Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania, does not have a single institution of higher learning.

Idya [13] of Pambazuko (Dawn) discusses the statement by an opposition politician in Tanzania, Augustine Mrema, that it is easier for Osama bin Laden to be brought to justice than the ruling party presidential candidate to bring about concrete social and economic change in the country.

Bakanja [14] emphasizes the importance of traditional institution of elderhood in maintaining moral order in Africa. He is an African monk blogging in both Kiswahili and English.

Martha, Beatrice, Da Mija, and Zainab are the only women blogging in Kiswahili so far. These four female bloggers are making an extremely important step by bringing African women’s voices to the Kiswahili blogosphere.

Martha [15] wonders why the ruling party in Tanzania had no women presidential aspirants.

Beatrice [16] suggests that Getrude Mongella, the president of the Pan-African Parliament, becomes the running mate for the ruling party’s presidential candidate, and ultimately the first female Vice-President in Tanzania.

Zainab [17] reports that most Tanzanian women support the nomination of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jakaya Kikwete, for the ruling party presidential ticket. They feel that he is sincere and cares about women issues.

Da Mija [18] writes her first introductory post promising to write about society and social change from Amsterdam.

Mponji [19] of Furahia Maisha Yako (Enjoy Your Life) and Onaeli [20] of Jitambue (Know Thyself) have been inactive since January, 2005 and July, 2004, respectively.