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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid