Virtually, every current annual review out there describes 2020 as a roller-coaster. But it seems every year in the past has always been and every other year is definitely gonna be a roller coaster. Don’t you think so?
More accurately however, they say it’s been THE COVID YEAR! And Yes, I concurr and I hope you do too.
Amidst the dominating COVID-19 Headlines though, locally, and more precisely, in the context of voi town and Taita Taveta, County 006 at large, I believe 2020 served the residents as much good as the bad. Amusement and Cringes, Aaarghhh!!!s and Yeihhh!!!s WTFs and Smh!s…plus much more.
Here is our roll-back through a slightly satirical voi2day.com lens!
Well you can’t talk 2020 without talking COVID. In the simplest terms, it was baaaadddd! over here just as it was probably every other place. The panic, lock-down, cessation of movement, disconnect from family and loved ones. Name it. The experience was pretty much the same all year round.
Our local health workers did a commendable job and so was the county Resource mobilization team that championed the cushioning of the most vulnerable and affected. There were personal efforts, individual and corporate efforts rallied around this cause too. Good Job to everyone. Aluta’Continua.
The Reports of COVID funds misuse and mismanagement however, wasn’t the best of news, if at all that was the case. But well, they say in every disaster there is an opportunity.
The SUN *(in Caps)
The SUN seems to remain a voi constant especially during mid-year with temperatures hitting the 35 degree plus mark at times. Perennially, It’s always been a naturally scorching area, and 2020 wouldn’t have been any different.
In some quarters the ‘scientific’ argument has been that the voi SUN was actually a blessing in disguise during the corona period.
The comparatively low cases locally would be fairly attributed to the seemingly harsh regional weather conditions that not even the virus could sustain. If so, then we can only thank the universe to have strategically placed voi right between the sun and Mercury in the solar systems as was once depicted by a netizen. (We just re-modelled)
The Tsavo Fires
Speaking of heat. We wonder who the hell caused the fires at the local Treasures; our theatres of the wild. Was it just some pastoralist’s new found hobby or what?
At some point we had fires back to back as though it was a game…well, a game in a game. Certainly, this must have been disastrous to the local flora and fauna but eventually, whatever the source was we can only be happy the pastoralist found another hobby beyond lighting fires.
Still on Mother Nature, My bad! Well, voi is just but a mysterious place, in one month it’s burning up, whether it’s the sun or the actual Tsavo Fires. And in the following month, floods are washing everything and everyone on its course. This year was one of those in which considerably disastrous floods occurred. From the hills downstream the river banks broke and much was lost in the 2 serious floods occasions witnessed in 2020. It was havoc upon havoc.
Oh! Yes! No sooner had the County Executive and County Assembly stalemate cooled down than another set of ‘fires’ erupted. We had county ‘fires’ too… more ironically though, it was the firing of notably some of the supposed elite technocratic names The Milkah Rhigas, The Dr. Mwangemis, The Gertrude Shues, The Bigvai Mwalimemis, just to highlight but the tip of the iceberg … and yes, additionally, there were more innumerable reshuffles.
We aren’t quite sure what the local corridors of power were up to, however this year witnessed a series of inexplicable firing, re-shuffles, more firing, appointments and re-appointments, more power plays, all best known to the players.
It ought to be a commendable note however, that the county boss earlier in the year entrusted virtually all the 20 ward administrator positions to the youth. Bravo!
And the big man also grew some steady Afro too. What’s the secret Master? Interesting!
Well, beyond the usual political hullabaloos, this year saw a meteoric profile elevation of one Stephen Mwakesi, politically speaking. They refer to him as a public policy analyst, Netizens perhaps are still left guessing what’s really in store by the chap, who seems quite strategic about 2022. We can only hope the intentions get clearer in 2021.
2020 had been a year in which those who are politically keen will also ascertain that the #SambojaMashinani effect, albeit debatable, cannot be ignored. The culverts, bridges, borehole, tap water, small village dispensaries and tiny market launches albeit questionable, they are still justifiable, more so by the mashinani beneficiaries who definitely need them most and are of course part of the electorate, if not a better part.
Certainly, much is yet to unfold. It was a year in which there seemed to be a tangible Mruttu re-emergence. We can only project there is really, really much more in store for all, politically speaking.
It was a year in which SACCOs and the local cooperatives came of age. Various youth and Bodaboda factions of different regions had been at the fore-front of this revolutionary savings culture.
So, were the women-oriented SACCOs supported in part by the County First Lady Offices and the Docket of Youth. Other regional bigwigs, QWETU and ZOGHORI SACCOs equally achieved various notable milestones with the former crossing the 1 Billion mark in asset base.
Heated Online activism
Well, with most of us locked down and locked in, we had lots of time to be active netizens. The local powerhouse Facebook forum, The Taita Taveta County Citizenry forum, had been awash, with posts minute after minute, daily commentaries, comments second after second, rebuffs and counter-attacks back and forth both constructive and non-constructive criticism. But hey!… it’s just been social media.
A couple of notable names landed on the wrong side of the law while probably doing the right thing. Some got sued for one of the most interesting legal terms, Character Assassination or rather Defamation.
WTH! So we have assassins amidst us in these online streets? Rodger Ng’oo has been a fierce socio-political critic earning both love and loathe from either side of the divide.… We are not so sure if they are still active cases or much was thrown out of the court windows.
Commendable Regional Journalism
Still on digital matters, locally we witnessed various amateurish as well as professional names sprouting to tell local stories the best way they could. Trained journalists, as well as the self-taught fellas.
They did all they could to keep masses informed and also entertained where they could. Godfrey Kimonge, Omar Hajji, Pascal Ndambo, Tito Almasi, Rodgers Ngoo, Kwaela News, Tsavo Media Network, voi2day.com have been some of the consistent local online informers and names on the online journalism front line.
Local journalists attached to the established brand have done amazing jobs telling local stories to the rest of the world, NTV’s Bill, KTN’s Kimari, Daily Nation’s Mkanyika, CITIZEN’s Simiyu and team, The STAR’s Solomon Muingi and Godfrey Kimega, The Local FM stations among others. Kudos!
Evidently there has been something, I would aptly describe as a creative revolution, young and upcoming talents, have defied odds during the pandemic to CREATE. Whether it’s music, comedy, video production, craftsmanship, and much more. We’ve definitely been wowed by some of these outputs. We can only hope for more. Wiremesh Murume, Wangusi, Subiri J, The LOT pride and the Darker Berry Films teams have been quite profound at their respective crafts. Local powerhouse, Wafuasi Theatre Group equally achieved a first, getting their series air on the K24 TV Channel. Hongera Nyote! Carry on folks!
The New ACK, CATHOLIC and SDA Churches.
On thee Holy Matters, the above chapels have been built progressively over the years with ACK supposedly taking over a decade since the foundation stone was laid. 2020 saw the above structures achieve commendable construction mile-stones with virtually all of them being at the final completion phases. It’s fair to observe, that the trio are but magnificent architectural pieces of art too. May thee Almighty provide more.
Tourism, Hospitality and Job Losses
As the COVID claws sunk deeper, it was inevitable that a good chunk of the local labour force would lose their jobs especially in the hospitality industry, that was terribly affected.
A good number of breadwinner have been laid off, never to return. However, for some, lately there has been some sort of a reprieve. We can only hope things get better.
The exit of Sarova was a big shocker locally, however since the premise re-brand back to Taita Hills and Salt Lick Resorts and the re-launch later in the year, the auspicious and charming tourism destination that has actively championed battlefield tourism has remained quite promising nonetheless.
Peter Mwalugha, The waterman of Tsavo has been enviably consistent with his conservation goals and effort over the years and 2020 wasn’t any different. He certainly continuous to live up to the Head Of State Commendation, HSC accolade and as a true wildlife conservation champion. Keep going sir.
The Local Entertainment scene
Beyond the online entertainment spectacle, and just like in other parts of the country, many partygoers and revelers had hoped for an actual physical reconnect. This hasn’t been so in such a long time over 2020.
The often vibrant local entertainment spots seemed dead for a better part of the year. Shomoto Lounge, Milka’s Lounge and Vacani’s Angolo Lounge seemed to have come to our refuge.
DJ Krepta, seemingly grew to steal the show in most of these cases. Is he the new local DJ prince?
The 006 Talanta festival, a county initiative was a great wrap for the entertainment scene this year. In the process, a modern county studio was equally launched in a bid to support production for the budding music talents locally.
We can only hope it was a prelude to good things yet to come.
Local Sports Rejuvenation
2020 saw a tremendous improvement in sports activities at large. The visibility, County support and fan base involvement.
Additionally, The Dawson Mwanyumba Stadium finally had its much-needed upgrade. After years of shady deals from contractors plus never-ending complaints from the stakeholders within the sporting fraternity, His Honorable delivered one for the people and what a blessing it has been.
With its new status alongside Wundanyi town’s serenity, it wasn’t much a surprise when Premier League’s side Sofapaka made a successful bid to have it as their home turf. Now locals from the county can enjoy some live football from Kenya’s premier.
It’s worth noting, Taveta Sisal FC once again lifted the Governor’s Cup under the Leadership of veteran coach Salim Chalambo who’s probably the only individual to have won the silverware both as player and coach of Taveta Sisal FC. Cheers to more honors!
New Generation Mall-A marvel
Finally, voi town had a mall in 2020. Must be surprising for one reading this from afar. Yes! the town finally saw New Generation open its doors to the long awaited mall that now stands as probably the tallest building in town, with a 3 floor shopping, restaurant and offices complex.
It was quite exciting to the town for this marvel to come to life. We saw the Wakeshos, from Mghange Nyika and Wusi Kishamba trip and fall on the elevators, … a chance to finally smile at a tough 2020.
Love & Knots.
Well, despite the tough times we went through, and whereas there were a series of event cancellations, some couples managed to sneak in dates and tie the Knot. LOVE WINS! So they say. Doesn’t it?
Well, a good fellow, and writer Solomon Muingi equally wed his longtime girlfriend Martha and jamhurized it on the 12th of December. We are right behind you boss and all the other love birds that managed to say I DO during the COVID YEAR. We wish you eternal matrimonial union.
Whereas some got curled up in duvets navigating Netflix from one corner to another during quarantine, a couple of heads were seriously at work crafting ideas into tangible items that caught a series of media attention lifting the 006 flag higher.
Earlier in the year, Kasighau Girls quartet followed closely in the footsteps of their colleagues Kajire Girls in the annual Startup Challenge championed by Sote Hub, however, their trip bound for the US presentation was cut shorts as soon as the flight bans were enforced in the wake of COVID-19.
During Covid 19, a duo of lasses, Jacinta Chao and Rasalia Anguli did the best they could, innovating a ‘Social Distancing bed’ inspired by the COVID-19 events. It had a series of improvements one of the features being auto detection of distance away from an approaching subject. The innovation seemed overridden by events as aptly expressed by one of the netizens, Tito Almasi and somewhat didn’t live to it’s full potential
Then came the Doshi Duo, Lads from Mwakitau who opted to build a Lambo-inspired auto, using locally available scrap material. The Story prominently unearthed by NTV’s Bill Otieno endeared Nassir Kichinda and Ferdinand Mbashu to the national limelight in more-or-less the same space as the BJ-50 automotive innovation. We must acknowledge it was a good Try. Kudos Boys.
The accidents and Lost Lives
Unfortunately, road accidents had been quite rampant last year. The Caltex Junction and the high-ways did claim a lot of lives indeed, tens of boda boda riders, private car owners and truck drivers. Is it us, is it our highways or will this just be a constant phenomenon, unavoidable, inescapable no matter what?
In a strange scenario, a COVID-19 patient was lost in an accident late last year while being ferried by the county ambulance from 1 facility to another.
Sadly, more lives got claimed even in the wake of the new year. May we exercise more caution on the roads, lest we lose more promising souls. Beyond accidents, we locally lost friends, family and loved ones to an array of other causes. My all the Lost souls rest in Peace!
And YEAH! voi2day.com finally hit 5 Years. We are yet to celebrate though! Keep Reading! It’s been satisfying to see you click and scroll through. We stay committed to our mission of simply telling the story of voi town as the day’s unfold.
You came out Alive.
Well, the most important occurrence above all the losses, the bad and the sad moment, would be that, in a year that saw hundreds of thousands succumb to the novel COVID-19 Virus, YOU made it through. We can only hope you did learn key lessons, picked new life perspectives, re-set where necessary and most likely you are already conquering the new year 2021.
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