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The BBC's Andrew Harding reports
"For Kenya, this is daring stuff"
 real 56k

Friday, 22 December, 2000, 18:42 GMT
Kenyans laugh at their leaders
Comedian Walter Mong'are
"President Moi" arrives in style, atop his Limousine
By Andrew Harding in Nairobi

A group of Kenyan students have dared to break a major taboo, by ridiculing the country's president on national television.

Interestingly, their weekly satirical show, "Redykulass", has not been shut down by the authorities.

Instead it is forcing politicians to rethink their ways in order to avoid being targetted by the comedians.

For many the group's antics offer a rare excuse to smile in a country facing deepening economic and political problems.

Local bigwigs

On stage, Walter Mong'are looks like the president. He speaks just like him.

Comedian Walter Mong'are
He breaks into a wild, groin-thrusting dance
But he is actually a daring imposter - a young comedian taking the mickey out of Kenya's ageing leader, Daniel arap Moi.

The grey haired figure peers into the night sky, looking for his beloved aerial display - his bodyguard making the appropriate noises.

The crowd are in stitches - well most of them are. A few local bigwigs are trying their best to frown.

But as the president takes off his jacket and together with two close aides, breaks into a wild, groin-thrusting dance, the audience gasp, then go beserk.

Presidential motorcade

For Kenya this is ground-breaking political satire.
Audience
The crowd is thrown into a frenzy
The men who have dared to take on Kenya's political elite are three Nairobi students turned comedians.

Their weekly television show has taken the country by storm.

Mr Mong'are says many politicians are scared of the group's satire.

"Of course they are. With time they have changed. They have kind of cut down on a lot of talking......", says Mr Mongare, the imposter.

Some locals think the show is a bit on the extreme and do not think "it's right to imitate our politicians" who deserve respect.

But there are those who say Redykulass is simply "marvellous".

Moi's alter-ego

Walter Mong'are
Money to buy support?
The group took to the president's home town, Eldoret to perform at a charity.

President Moi's alter-ego put his head through the sunroof and waved graciously.

At first the crowds thought it is the real thing - when they got the joke - they beseiged the car.

Then the "president" throws money at them - pretending to buy their support just like certain Kenyan politicians do.

The Redykulass group seem pretty confident and they have already set their sights on new targets.

Kenya's evangelists had better watch out.

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