News / Africa

Kenyan Political Satire Show Prepares for Elections

Kenyan Political Satire Show Prepares for Electionsi
X
February 28, 2013 5:02 PM
The XYZ Show is an enormously popular political satire television show in Kenya. It has a fan base of 8 million viewers per month. The show uses puppets as caricatures of political leaders and to highlight political issues in the country. With Kenya’s general elections set for Monday, the program’s creators and crew are working overtime to satisfy their audience's craving for a good laugh. Jill Craig reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Kenyan Political Satire Show Prepares for Elections
Jill Craig
The XYZ Show is an enormously popular political satire television show in Kenya. It has a fan base of 8 million viewers per month. The show uses puppets as caricatures of political leaders and to highlight political issues in the country. With Kenya’s general elections set for Monday, the program’s creators and crew are working overtime to satisfy their audience's craving for a good laugh.

The XYZ Show, now in its seventh season, satirizes Kenya’s politicians and other personalities using puppets. No well-known figure is spared, and right now, political candidates are being lampooned in the lead-up to next week’s election.  

"People in Kenya love politics - we eat, live, sleep politics," said Brian Kyallo Msafiri, the show's director. "And especially toward an election year, that’s all people talk about. I’d say right now, the whole country is very polarized and people have taken sides and all conversations, whether on social media, on streets, on corners, in villages, is all revolving around politics.”

One of the show’s fans is Jacquie Mwai, a public relations consultant from Nairobi.

“So the humor brings in a way of softening up what we’re really thinking about these politicians, especially with all the scandals they have. It’s good to use humor to expose these people without making it tense for Kenyans, especially during this political time,” she said.

But a show that pushes boundaries and presents the country’s leaders in a less-than-positive light is bound to spark criticism.

Nevertheless, XYZ’s creator and co-producer, who goes by the name Gado, said the show's success means Kenya is moving in the right direction.

“Sometimes, yes, we’ve been threatened and we’ve been sued, threatened to be sued. I think the television [stations] we’ve worked with have received numerous complaints from politicians and threats also. This can only show you that Kenya as a democracy is growing," said Gado.

Director Msafiri believes that XYZ also is encouraging Kenyans to reflect on their responsibilities as citizens.

“The beauty also about the show is that it gives Kenyans an opportunity to look at themselves because we choose the leaders that lead this country," he said. "So when we poke fun at our leaders, in a sense we are also poking fun at ourselves because we are poking fun at the choices we make.”

The show is funded by grants from the Ford Foundation and Open Society Institute, among others.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: andre
March 03, 2013 11:34 PM
Try such satire in Zimbabwe and you are sure to be jailed and then deported.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid