KALASHA AWARDS: The Eminent Death of Kenya’s Grammys

There is a saying that it is only a fool who does the same thing over and over hoping for different results… Well the Kenya Ilm Commission seems to have perfected the art of eiCher being foolish or acting foolish beyond reproach is the Kalasha Film and TV awards are anything to go by.  When the commission, then under the leadership of Mr. David Maingi conceptualized the Kalasha Awards four years ago, it was a move that was loaded by majority prof film stakeholders and a welcome gesture that had the support of the industry. Four years down the line, the awards have become the most loathed event that any filmmaker and/or stakeholder wants To share their feelings on… Thanks to the controversies that have become the awards middle name.

The last two years have been the most affecting and torturous to any sane person. The film industry in Kenya has been forced to endure endless stupidities by the commission and the award secretariat in the last two years something that is now becoming a norm…   In the 2011 edition, the commission’s management and the awards secretariat spent an extra 6 million shillings for the event with an inflated budget of Kshs. 14 million up from the original 8 million. A board report on the awards (copy can be found on this site) recommended some drastic measures to both the management and the awards secretariat but till now, nothing has happened.  The emphasis of this note is however going to be on the 2012 edition whose Gala Night was held on Saturday 8th December 2012 at the infamous KICC Grounds… I will not dwell much on the process as that was tackled in a separate article (also available on this site) but rather focus on the Gala Night itself.  After reading all the press cuttings in the build up to the vent and listening to the CEO and Head of Marketing of KFC on air on separate TV and Radio stations, everyone was looking forward to the event’s gala with all their breath bated. The day seemed to be dragging put it finally came and all roads led to KICC, g,amour and swag all couple together as both nominees and general industry players worked so hard to out do each other in fashion.  Anybody arriving at the events expected much more with the petit ladies ushering you in looking all yummy… But that probably will be the memory anyone would want to have of a night that turned out to be a great source of agony event to the event organizers themselves. I will try and put the agonizing moments in bullet form fr quick and easy reading.

1. Seating.

After the beauties welcomed guests at the enterece and everyone being eager to have a seat, there seemed o have been a mix up with the seating arrangement with the table numbers and the numbers indicated on the Ickes/invites proving a hard match for the ushers. When frustrations of being moved from one table to the other couldn’t be taken anymore by me, I confronted one Mr. Leakey Odera whose company, Pambazuka Productions happened o have provided the ushering services, to my shock, he too, like all his models, had no idea what was gong on and were equally confused. “Boss, mambo ya meza ni KFC walikuwa wanna deal nayo… Kama kuna issues, ni uplands ya”. All in all, people sat down and waited patiently for the event to start.

2. Time Keeping

I know of a cliche that is repeated over and over that “Kenyans don’t keep time”. On this day, it is my belief that the done was three quarter full by the stipulated Time of 7 pm. Wh three quarters of he guests in, it needs no rocket science for anyone o know that an event should or must start… but no, no the Kenya Film Commission, n Kalasha Awards. It took a oil one hour later for the hosts o come on stage and introduce themselves and read out the program. Two hours past seven, the even final started.

3. Event Organization

I have very little to say about he even organization… It would be an insult to waste anyone’s time trying to explain what he general even organization was like. In simple terms, Kalasha Awards 2012 remains the most shitty show organized in his country after the zero budget Kisima Awards of 2009. The sound was pathetic, he lighting below par, he hosts boring, with one of hem being as high as a kit, everything that fell Nader he event organization was PATHETIC.

4. The Awards

The main reason why all Hesse was put together was the awards. After more Han enough hullabaloo about the nominations, it was finally the time to know who won. Everything seemed o be moving on well until whoever it was decided to award “Best Student Category Awards”. For bells sake, the two categories awarded were none existent in the nominations list and no one knows where the nominees came from, not even the nominees themselves were anywhere to receive their awards… A clear indication that they were not even aware of the nominations.  I won’t go into the nitty gritty of how crappy things got with all the mixup on the manes and awards etc. but the reality is, the awards were up to some point, not genuine. I remember the Chairperson of the Nomination Academy walking to the table of a nominee and telling the producer “be ready to go on stage…” Twenty minutes or so later, the nominee and a host of groupies were on stage receiving an award. Makes me wonder why and how genuine some awards that went to the people who at one point or the other this past two years have worked with the same chairperson in her productions were.

The Problem

The main problem with Kalasha awards is interference with service providers by the commissions op management. Word has it that the CEO of the commission met one of the service providers long before the contract for the event organization was offered. The said service provider is the one who supplied the commission with the awards’ statuettes.   The event organizer, IQ Marketing is also said o be complaining that they were forced to outsource sound and lights provision services from Homeboyz Entertainment by yet another influential board member who has been adversely mentioned in cases of conflict of interest involving the commission and service providers. Non involvement of stakeholders is another thing… On the day of the unveiling of  the nominees, a discussion was overhead where the eventual winner of the Best Director, Film Awards, Tosh Gitonga, was advising Mr. Alex Mulwa on how to make the event successful.  Another communication obtained shows how another stakeholder, Wilfred Kiumi offered to share a few insights on how to run he Gala event owing to his experience with CNN Journalist of bathe Year Awards among others ha was never acknowledged.

arting Shot After seeing the Chairperson of The Kenya Film Commission Mr. Chris Foot take the bull by its horn and walk backstage to stabilize things, It is high time he cracked the whip on both his management and the award secretariat. There is need for streamlining the commission and the awards. It is my understanding that here is a meeting that the Chair has called at the Kenya Film Commission offices scheduled for Thursday to review the event that was Kalasha 2012.   It is high time the truth is said and dispensed with… the three people directly engaged with the management of Kalasha Awards in he last two years have failed and it is highly time they either let go or sink the initiative. Mr. Peter Mutie, Mr. Alex Mulwa and Mr. Mwaniki Mageria… This goes to you, we are tired of your never ending juvenility on how you handle the Kalasha Awards, kindly grow up or let go.


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