On a Sunday branded October 18 more than four floors ago, I landed on this planet adding one digit to the 4.511 billion world population then.
My late mother, Maggie ‘Rambanya’ Okiri once narrated to me how she discarded me from her Internal Affairs Department with a sigh of relief after tens of hours of prolonged labor; I was TOO BIG! This BIGness has come to define many aspects of my life, including ambitions and plans….GO BIG OR GO HOME!
In the fourth floor, unfulfilled dreams keep shouting in your ear, high expectations grab you by the ginene, time flies faster than Top Gun jets, but it is truly my era of clarity of purpose.
As I start a new phase of my calendar and life, I have been reflecting on just how gracious God has been to me, especially looking back at the last one year of my life. I am truly God’s favourite.
He has kept pushing me towards greatness and planting seeds and surprises along my path.
When I made the risky decision to quit Nation Media Group, I was dealing with one of my darkest moments of life as a result of the battle we had been bravely fighting at home since 2020 (one day I will reveal more on the ‘messy and with casualties’ aspects in a book).
Anyway, I decided to vacate my comfort zone and delved into digital media strategy and communication in the governance and political world, while working on growing my baby, www.swalanyeti.co.ke, (the baby is growing healthier and taller with each passing day- BRING PARTNERSHIP MONIES!).
I just opted to take a risk and transfer my vast knowledge and experience in doing digital for newsy matters at RMS (5 years) and NMG (3 years) to enhance governance and political communications. In this life if you never take risks, you will never grow and learn anything.
In the last one year, I visited and highlighted a number of major government projects initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta, to hospitals done by NMS, to significant mega dams projects, to affordable housing projects in Nairobi and Rongai.
From the transformative Kipevu Oil Terminal, to the Associated Vehicle Assemblers (AVA) plant in Mombasa, to covering the Ardhi Sasa transformation spearheaded by my mentor and former boss at Royal Media Services, Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney.
From attending and covering the COP26 and visiting and inhaling the outstanding architectural marvel of Edinburgh, Scotland and the Johnnie Walker Experience and taking a risky presidential selfie at the rooftop (Ohuru security yawa!) ….tales of long winding walks at 1am on the very very cold streets of Edinburgh with my two large suitcases and a rack sack on my back shall be revealed at a later date in print form ha ha.
During this mentally fulfilling one-year period, I grew tremendously in my grasp of the government, governance and development matters in the Uhuru era but, most importantly, I expanded my comprehension of the importance of strategic digital communication and just how powerful it is, whether in the political, corporate or development spheres.
When I got in, I didn’t have a global view of just what I was getting into yet I knew I had to dive in deep but, in hindsight, I am dead sure this was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.
And then the presidential campaign era landed on my laps like a hot babe in love without inhibitions.
This was new to me, being the first time that I was directly and exclusively involved in a presidential campaign to test what I had learnt in the mainstream media and the period thereafter in terms of strategic digital communication.
The heated political season also saw me accompany Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga to a number of engagements both in Kenyan and abroad, and this was an eyeopener, in terms of just what it takes to understand and sell a presidential candidate.
Locally and in London, UK, I got a chance to witness behind the scenes just how hectic a typical day is for the hardworking former Prime Minister and we spearheaded one of the most memorable strategic digital media campaigns ever witnessed in the country.
I am proud of the various social media teams, and especially Pauline Njoroge, for holding my hand and teaching me a thing or two or three about strategic digital communication in the development and political world and staying true to a course no matter what.
This rollercoaster ride of the last year gave me a front row, scratch that, front seat to shape the opinions and thoughts of many in Kenya and abroad on politics and development and was the most memorable epoch of my strategic communication endeavors.
To crown the London trip, and in between feeding the Kenyan and foreign media houses with statements and accompanying photos and videos under challenging circumstances and time differences, I had a rare chance to meet Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby at Lambeth Palace in London and attended a Eucharist Service presided over by the Archbishop. Nothing can beat this!
I can confidently say, without batting an eyelid, without coughing, without winking, without flinching, without tripping on my tongue (kizungu mingi), that of all the advertised things that went wrong with the Azimio/Baba campaigns resulting to the election loss, digital media strategic communication is among the few, if not the only one, that went right.
I had a chance to work with some of the greatest minds the country has on the digital space and got to be interviewed by a number of media houses including Al Jazeera on Disinformation in the Kenyan election and La Croix on Kenyan online campaigns on my work and the misunderstandings around what it entailed.
Regardless of the poll outcome, I‘m proud of the role my team played in the long, crazy and tedious electioneering period, considering the many late nights strategising, tough decisions made, numerous crises tackled, varied tense moments, bottled and exploded anger, disappointments and celebrations, revelations and the “Get Over It” closure. Zero regrets.
Thank you all who took your time to wish me a happy birthday on October 18, 2022..... Jah Bless!
All in all, the last year has also opened my eyes to the many facets of many people I know, including friends I have and have not, those I am related to, contemporaries, mentors and acquaintances.
I have also learnt a myriad of things about myself, what ignites my passions, what works and what doesn’t for me, what to discard and what to keep as well as who matters and who doesn’t.
My purpose has been reignited and I am working extra hard to unravel what the future (digital) portends for this Mac Oscar Prince, the son of Otani. As far as my dreams and visions are concerned, Freedom is here!