Kenyan film tackles corruption

By Martin Chemhere- Corruption in Africa is being tackled in many fronts, and the latest strategy is through the Kikulacho – the Bite Within, launched in Nairobi this week and aired on independent television station, Nation TV on July 17.

Dubbed “a film every Kenyan must see”, it was launched by East Africa’s media giant A24 Media and Camerapix, in collaboration with Transparency International(TI) -Kenya.

Also described as “deeply insightful and powerful documentary”, Kikulacho – The Bite Within, depicts how devastating poor organization and management can be to a country and its people. How African countries can ensure better leadership and a better tomorrow for its children?

Kikulacho is a moving Kenyan documentary that examines how corrupt systems and policies have impacted on the common people. But it is also a story of hope and triumph that aims to look at how our institutions and leadership can be shaped by the people themselves to realize their dreams.

After its Nation TV broadcast, it will then be followed by a global release.

The film has been launched at a critical time in the country’s history, when its people are just a few weeks away from voting in a referendum on whether to adopt a new constitution. The last time a referendum took place on the same issue it bitterly divided the country and sowed the seeds for the discord and violence that rocked the country and shocked the world in the December 2007 elections.

How have the Kenyan elections been organized? Why does land remain such an emotive issue – can any constitution be used as a tool of oppression? Using powerful, historical archive, interviews with people across the country and a haunting music score, the film seeks some answers to these questions. Much of the material in the film was drawn from Camerapix’s own rich and authoritative library and gives perspective to the tale of corruption in Kenya.

It is directed by Kenyan filmmaker Murad Rayani and produced by the same team that created such award winning documentaries as Refusing to Die and Mo & Me.

Speaking during the launch of the film, A24 Media Chairman Salim Amin said: “This film is meant to serve as an eye opener. It basically is a stop sign, for people to pause and think, before literally stampeding into yet another crushing pitfall,” referring to the 2005 referendum and the 2007 post-election violence. “It was so clear after the 2007 elections that the image we portrayed of Kenya as a land of peace was a sham that brutally turned to a mess in the eyes of the whole world,” he added.

The film covers such emotive topics as extra-judicial killings, corruption scandals and the issues of landlessness and squatters rights. It also examines the key impact played by such icons as Pio Gama Pinto and JM Kariuki as well as exposing the dark underbelly of corruption. As the country stands at a crossroads with the ghost of the last election still looming large and the referendum approaching, the film is a must see for every Kenyan and anyone concerned with issues of human rights, progress and how people are governed.

“It is also a story of hope and triumph that aims to look at how our institutions and leadership can be shaped by the people themselves to realize their dreams,” said the TI-Kenya Executive Director, Samuel Kimeu, in his address to the audience prior to the screening.

Premiering just three weeks before the constitutional referendum, the film will be used for civic education with its call to action to citizens to actively participate in decision-making processes including the referendum and the 2012 elections. The film also aims toprovide an impetus for debate and dialogue on governance issues, and act as a springboard for the Kenyan public to make a difference in their communities, have a say in issues that affect their lives, and take responsibility for the future of Kenya “Transparency International-Kenya hopes that all Kenyans will view this documentary and act to stamp out the attitude of  helplessness and apathy towards corruption. Accountability and transparency requires an active role by the public. Kenyans’ power to take charge, change their destiny and shape a better Kenya lies with their votes,” said the TI-Kenya Board Chair, Dr Richard Leakey.

A24 Media is Africa’s first online delivery site for material from journalists, African broadcasters and NGO’s from around the continent and its production arm, Camerapix, founded by the legendary photo-journalist Mohamed Amin, is one of the continent’s oldest independent production houses.