Monday, November 26, 2012

A VALUE-DRIVEN CITIZENRY WILL TRANSFORM KENYA

When we passed the new constitution in 2010, majority of Kenyans welcomed the new dawn with optimism; believing that it will help to catalyse reforms in order to transform the country’s social, political and economic spheres. We have a critical role to play by taking advantage of the provisions in the new constitution to nurture a good society through changing the way we conduct ourselves daily in our society.

 Remember, all mistakes we make whether big or small contributes to national decay. Therefore, over-dependence on political leaders as the only hope to fixing the challenges we face as a country is far-fetched. This is because; the foundation of national success is dependent upon a values-driven approach by the citizenry. It’s also pegged on how we conduct ourselves in our private and public lives.

 What is conceived in our mindset and thought process defines the decisions we make in life. According to Gautama Buddha, the ancient spiritual teacher of Buddhism, what we think, we become. A corrupt mind will compel us to be corrupt, while an evil mind will lead us to do evil. It takes a willing mind to walk away from tribalism, nepotism, violence, molestation, theft, dishonesty and bribery if we think broadly the negative impact the said vices bring to society.

 Most challenges facing our nation are as a result of poor leadership and incompetency amongst public servants. They have failed to adhere to the ethical principles of duty. We read about moral uprightness but this will not change us unless we’re ready to observe, preserve and apply ethical values in our everyday lives.

This doesn’t mean that I’m perfect because, I’m also struggling to ensure that my life is grounded on values, character, integrity, honesty and truth. In fact, I understand the critical importance of these moral tenets.

That is why I decided to share my thinking. According to a US philosopher Ralph Emerson, you sow a thought and reap an action; sow an act and reap a habit; sow a habit and reap a character; sow a character and reap a destiny. Our net worth to society is centred on what remains after we have replaced the bad habits with good ones.

Therefore, the destiny of our society is pegged on actions, thoughts, habits and character of every citizen irrespective of their standing in society. If we plant hatred, tribalism, greed, envy and strife, we reap the same. We can make choices, whether we become good trees which bear good fruits or vice versa. We can shape a good Kenya if we plant peace, harmony, love and treating others with dignity and respect, fraternity and brotherhood.

 Corruption is corruption whether it’s Anglo Leasing, Goldenberg, stealing your neighbour’s chicken or Price gouging by unscrupulous business people. The sum total of it all is corruption, and doom to our beloved country. Vendors of substandard or underweight products are devoid of ethics and what they do is hurting the whole Country.

The officers in charge of standardization at the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS) are remunerated well and Kenyans expects them to do a thorough job to protect them. They need to ensure that all substandard imports ranging from drugs, food stuffs and electronics are inspected before they are cleared into the Kenyan market.

 The faster we nurture the principles of probity and values, the higher the chances of being able to see fairness, justice, equality and equity in the Country. Honesty and truthfulness don’t hurt. If you find someone’s lost wallet, it’s unethical to ransack its contents.

Keep it safe as the owner may emerge. Do to others what you expect them to do you. I recently forgot my cell phone in a restaurant and making a follow-up the following day, I discovered that an honest person in the restaurant picked it from where I left it and handed it to the manager.

What does not belong to you is not yours. We don’t need religion to learn this. If we expected our President, MP or Governor to operate with honesty and integrity, we need to remember that as citizens, we have a cardinal responsibility to act the same way.

 As we strides toward elections, we need to elect people who with values and a passion to serve. They must also put the interests of the nation above theirs. Those with dubious records and who use tribe, clan, family leanings and money to entice voters should be rejected at the ballot boot.

 Offering a job to a friend without qualifications merely because of sharing a similar dialect is a negation of meritocracy, ruining service delivery, and promoting nepotism and corruption in the Country. You find a farmer bribing a clerk at a Tea buying centre for more kilos in order to fetch a higher bonus payment. In fact, the Tea clerk steals the kilos from other farmers.

 Is there any justification for the bribing farmer to complain about corruption in the national radar when he or she is involved in corrupt acts? Even the tea clerk is not justified to demand for better remuneration from the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA). We always blame traffic officers for corruption on the highways and forget the fact that Matatu operators are purveyors of the same.

The operators are used to bribery to the extent that, even if the vehicle involved is direct from the showroom, they will still hand money to the officers on a road block. Who is to blame here? If a vehicle is roadworthy, and a traffic officer demands a bribe, the driver should decline, and demand a charge sheet to appear in court and prove the vehicle’s road-worthiness.

We need to be patient and avoid cutting corners which deny us justice. Compatriots, let us wear the wrist watch of honest and drill in character and values. Let us nurture a positive culture in conducting all affairs which affect our lives.

This is the surest way to make Kenya a haven for prosperity for all.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Legislators should not trash the IIBRC recommendations

First posted on Saturday, November 13, 2010 By Joseph Lister Nyaringo New Jersey, USA Legislators should not trash the IIBRC recommendations The recommendations of the Independent Boundaries Review Commission should be respected and any anomalies addressed with sobriety and not through reactionary tactics being portrayed by political leaders, since the Chairman of the commission made the report public.

 How long shall we see politicians trashing tax payer funded programs especially when it doesn’t serve their political interests? This is egocentricity, lack of leadership and a waste of resources should they demand for the reconstitution of a new IIBRC to start the same job Mr. Andrew Ligale’s team has completed.

If the IIBRC may have violated certain provisions in the current constitution in the apportionment of the constituency boundaries, threatening to trash the entire work of the commission will mean pressing for the reconstitution of another commission but this will be a toll on the Kenyan tax payers.

We are tired of seeing taxpayers’ money being wasted on jobs which although not perfect, have been fully completed by the experts the country has been able to produce. Many of our people are living from hand to mouth while others are languishing in IDP camps almost three years after the post election violence. Therefore, when leaders talk about expenditures that will drain the exchequer with no benefit to the lives of Kenyans, to me, it’s a poor show of leadership.

 We need to be watchful on MPs out to frustrate the IIBRC recommendations that will be tabled in Parliament and this time, we are not going to condone threats like the one uttered by Limuru MP Peter Mwathi, who predicted violence if the Ligale commission recommendations are not handled with care. Elected leaders who evoke violence to drive a political point when Kenyans are reeling from the violence that engulfed the country in 2008 is totally in bad taste and a sign of incitement. Such leaders should be picked by the law enforcement to record a statement.

 We can’t trust leaders who are fond of raising eyebrows on issues that they think are detrimental to their political survival. This trend has turned to be a form of compulsive psychiatric disorder where political leaders are obsessed with rejecting what is beneficial to scores of millions of Kenyans each time a commission comes up with recommendations after wrapping up its work.

 We saw the same trend in the Ndungu Land report, the Waki report, and Kriegler report and now it’s happening on Andrew Ligale’s boundaries review commission. Indeed, even if the Chairman of the IIBRC rescinded the recommendations of his commission to appease those against it, we shall still have those who will feel short changed because you can’t please everybody in the society. Electoral boundaries are there to facilitate effective service delivery to the citizens of any Country and therefore, I believe Andrew Ligale’s team did consider local population demographics during the apportionment of 80 constituencies.

 For instance, in the United States, California which is the most populous with 37 million people has an apportionment of 53 Congressional Representatives, while Wyoming with a paltry population of 50, 000 has only one. I believe that Mr. Ligale’s team did use these criteria to arrive at 80 constituencies. 

Finally, this trend by politicians to try and paralyze the findings intended to shape the destiny of our country should cease. I do believe Mr. Andrew Ligale has impeccable credentials in public life and many Kenyans will trust the job he did as Chairman of IIBRC. Posted by Joseph Lister Nyaringo at 5:53 PM Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook

Not all Western styles are right for Kenyan society especially Halloween

First Posted on Saturday, November 13, 2010 By Joseph Lister Nyaringo, New Jersey, USA The rate at which Kenyans are adopting Western culture is alarming. In fact, practices like Halloween with no benefit to the spiritual and moral fabric of our society are being celebrated like any merry holiday. In our urban centres, there is a big shift in the modes of dressing, communication, and general attitudes especially from young people. These negative social transformations have caught our society by a storm, which is a negation of the values and tenets we need to uphold as a God fearing nation. In fact, what I see in New York, Los Angeles or London is exactly what's happening in the City of Nairobi. I shudder at the thought of how our society will be in 20 years as the liberal lifestyle we see in the West is penetrating deep in our society and not only eroding our Kenyan heritage but slowly destroying our moral values. It's extremely frightening that these days, we are experiencing these: poor dressing habits, open profanity, vulgar language and open talk about sex. Tragically, these negative trends are spreading rapidly even in schools where many young Kenyans are struggling to look modern by imitating everything Western under the allure of looking modernised. I fail to understand why we're failing to maintain our societal norms and only accommodate foreign habits which are of no benefit to our lives. Our people need to be reminded that foreign is not necessarily good or applicable in our society. Just because it's working elsewhere, it doesn't mean it's suitable for Kenya. Our people are wrong by embracing events like Halloween which has its roots in the US, Canada, Ireland and Scotland. Most homes looks like graveyards with human skeletons dangling on doors, as children and adults roam around in frightening costumes. Kenya is home to almost all races - Asians, Europeans and Americans, but most of them have continued to retain their identity and values. In fact, most well-to-do individuals or those on short assignments especially diplomats take their children to schools which offer their country's education curriculum. In fact, the tourists who visit Kenya do not go back to their countries and start practicing our customs for instance wearing the popular Maasai shawls or singing the popular Isukuti folklore. Wherever Westerners go, they carry their culture, education, religion, norms, and values. And when we allow ourselves to be a dumping ground for obscenities we forget our true identity. There are numerous examples showing that our society is ready to accommodate anything originating from the West while burying our original identity. Our musicians want to rap like Jay Z; while others want to sing like Janet Jackson or Madonna. Many want to dress like lady Gaga. The popular Benga Music that spread up to Central Africa has faded away and may never be heard again because if it doesn't sound American. Where shall be our identity for years to come? We should not become copycats to foreign habits which are not only destroying our values but also ruining our families. Currently, many of our women have become less virtuous; men don't care about nurturing lifelong relationships. Amongst our youth, profanity (Western) epithets are on the rise. The types of music they play contain vulgar language with unprintable lyrics. Many of us who speak fearlessly against negative western lifestyles ends up being labelled or accused of being anti-modern and traditionalist. However, it's high time we kept the tenets that forms the basis of our upbringing but only accommodate the Western culture which is vital to our society. Posted by Joseph Lister Nyaringo at 6:08 PM

Time to mobilize the Christian Constituency

By Reuben Kigame Fish FM http://www.reubenkigame.com/ rk@fishkenya.net saltkenyafamily@yahoogroups.com First posted Monday, December 13, 2010 Brothers and sisters, When I look at how the Christian community approaches transitional moments such as this one, I begin to shiever within. The tendency is to watch how the world does its politics and then try to take sides within that worldly approach. We know the current government is virtually dead. We know that 2012 is here. Elections may well be called before then.On the one hand I hear the cry that those standing must get out and declare that they are. On the other I hear, let us teach the populace first before we get leaders from them. Between these two positions is a large number of believers who simply watch and suspiciously wonder if it is ok for a Christian to be involved in politics. As all this is happening, the country is degenerating with an ever-increasing cry that somebody stands up and helps restore our nation. In this communication, I want to plead one more time: Please sign up your friends to this forum and link us to every existing Christian group that has a presence on the internet. Tell your facebook and twitter friends about signing up to saltkenya and lead them on it. What I would like to do is to start asking those aspiring to share with the larger team on this forum and have the forum members interrogate them. Kindly get to your email address book and send out an invitation for your Christian friends to join saltkenya and follow them up.By January, let us see if we cannot have the first aspiring presidential candidate address this forum. We hope to have as many of them as possible do so. If you know any professional who is aspiring for any county or national position, please bring them on the forum and let us interrogate as well as support them. Time has come for us to mobilize a Christian constituency. Will you take this cause forwards? How many have you introduced to the forum this far? May we be found worthy of having been part of bringing God's Kingdom here on earth, in this country in our generation. In the service of Christ, Reuben Kigame Coordinator Salt Kenya Family

President Kibaki and PM Raila Must support the ICC

First posted on Friday, December 17, 2010 By Joseph Lister Nyaringo This December will remain a historic period for Kenya especially for those who cherish justice and the rule of law. Our Country has made a great stride towards liquidating impunity and for the first time, the famous and might have been shaken from their comfort zones. The new order for Kenya has beckoned and this is a reflection that we are headed to better governance systems and practices. The new constitution has rekindled past injustices like murder of Dr. Robert Ouko, the Artur brothers saga, the Wikleaks which is a blessing in disguise for the Kenyan people who now know what they wouldn’t have known about the past and present government. Above all, The ICC has humbled a section of our powerful click despite the glamour, the money, the fame and the beautiful offices. This is a reflection that justice will prevail to protect the vulnerable, the unknown, the less famous, the poor, beggars, the hawkers and street peddlers. Indeed, the rich also can cry. God has heard the cries of the impoverished lowly Kenyans who have never seen justice since independence. Who knew that The Hague 6 would include the Head of the Civil Service, the custodian of the President of the Republic of Kenya’s diary and the former commissioner of police when the President is the commander in chief of the disciplined forces? The inclusion of Muthaura and Major Hussein Ali in the list of The Hague 6 has actually put many people in a quandary especially on what the President knew about the 2008 post election violence. The President and Prime Minister, now giving conflicting remarks after the famous Waki envelope has been opened did assure Mr. Moreno-Ocampo and Dr. Kofi Annan recently that the government was committed to safeguard the work of the ICC in Kenya. They also promised to arrest those indicted for the post election violence and hand them to The Hague for trial. The 6 individuals named by Mr. ocampo are mere suspects who have not been proven guilty by the ICC and if the President and Prime Minister believe in this concept, they should let justice take its course instead of coming up with a move that is likely to raise a red flag about their move on the Hague 6. We have clearly seen that a local tribunal will prone to manipulation by the State and therefore, to scale down impunity in our land, the best way to go is The Hague where the alleged perpetrators must be ready to face three verdicts whose outcomes will encompass these: outright acquittal if proven not guilty, life imprisonment or the hangman’s noose. The two principals should remember that Kenyans want an end to the cycle of impunity and getting justice for the massive crimes committed during the post election violence is the best way to go instead of trying to shield a few individuals for political expediency. I fail to understand why the President and the Prime Minister are making a “U” turn in supporting a local tribunal when they would not rally legislators to vote for the establishment of one when they had humble time to do so. It reflects that they are not serious about ending impunity, which has bedeviled Kenya for many decades. After all, a local tribunal is likely to be manipulated and this will deny justice to the post violence victims and the majority of Kenyans who want the victims to be tried by the ICC. Majority of Kenyans voted for the current constitution to help us fight impunity, which has bedeviled our society for many decades and this can be achieved through political will from those in the Country’s top leadership. Joseph Lister Nyaringo, Sec. General, Kenya Global Unity, NJ US

Dorothy Resigns fro Kenya Global Unity (KGU)

Saturday, January 29, 2011 Dear Ladies and Gentleman: Please be advised that effective immediately and with sadness I must submit my resignation as an Advisor to Kenya Global Unity. KGU was founded with the following core values: I.Honesty and Integrity II.Respect III.Transparency and openness IV.Discipline V.Unity KGU as a committee should take the lead in setting the core value of unity. Unity means open communication, reciprocity, transparency, honesty, and joint action. However, what I have witnessed over recent weeks has strayed far from unity and is sickening. As it stands, KGU is far from united and in this respect it is currently fundamentally flawed as an organization. Noone can deny that over the past several months, Joseph Lister Nyaringo has spearheaded the actions taken by this group. The very constitution which was used to suspend him, was ironically for the main part drafted by Mr. Nyaringo. Please review the history of KGU's emails and appreciate that he has, for example, called the meetings, set the agenda and often implemented next steps. However, more recently Mr. Nyaringo made several attempts to reach out to the leadership of the organization via phone in order to communicate about what actions to take next and received absolutely no response. An organization needs fluid and open communication in order to effectively function. If there is no open communication, how can next action best be determined? Mr Nyaringo also sent out an email about holding elections, to which he received no confirmation or feedback. How can the Secretary General operate in a vacuum if KGU is supposed to be working together as a team? How is KGU expected to proceed if there is failed communication within the organization? How can KGU which claims to be member driven, show indifference about holding elections, show indifference to its members, the very reason it was founded? Recently, Mr. Nyaringo has also been labelled as “evil” by a member of KGU. He has been accused of tampering with the KGU facebook page, with absolutely no evidence to back up this statement. If Mr. Nyaringo had such knowledge, surely a website designer would not have had to be hired to build KGU's website? This is just one in a series of examples where intense hostility and violent threats have been addressed both towards Mr. Nyaringo and Mr. Kinity. I ask you, is this a democracy where freedom of speech and assembly is honored or a feudal state where we threaten to literally “burn peoples fingers” if they speak up? (There exists the documented proof of these violent and untoward emails and phone calls). How can you, in all good conscience, stand alongside someone knowing that they are this violent? A violence which is out of hand in relation to any actions, in my opinion, that either Mr. Nyaringo or Mr. Kinity took. Are you working for an old Kenya, where meetings happen behind close doors, where phone calls are not returned, where only a select few are in power and maintain that power over time? Or are you working for a new Kenya which is just, where the rule of law is followed, where the citizens have a vital voice in their leadership? What Kenya do you want your children to grow up in? That being said, I can no longer operate as an Advisor to this organization. I am speechless beyond words at the unprofessional manner and uncalled for attacks on both Mr. Nyaringo and Mr. Kinity. It is clear that Mr. Kinity and Mr. Nyaringo had a parting of ways with the leadership of the organization. But rather than flailing out and attacking them mercilessly, more diplomatic, unifying, and non-violent means should have been chosen. Please remove my name, photo, emails, and all identifying information from all KGU internet spaces and publications. I no longer wish to be affiliated with this organization as it currently stands. I leave you with one more thought, from President Obama, regardless of what you think of him as a President, I believe this statement is on point. "All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort - a sustained effort - to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings." Sincerely, Dorothy Johnson-Laird

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE IIBRC MUST BE RESPECTED

BY JOSEPH LISTER NYARINGO NJ USA First publicized in November 2010 The recommendations of the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission should be respected and any anomalies addressed with sobriety and not through reactionary tactics being portrayed by political leaders, since the Chairman of the commission made the report public. How long shall we see politicians trashing taxpayer-funded programmes especially when it doesn’t serve their political interests? This is egocentricity, lack of leadership and a waste of resources should they demand for the reconstitution of a new IIBRC to start the same job Andrew Ligale’s team has completed. If the IIBRC may have violated certain provisions in the current Constitution in the apportionment of the constituency boundaries, threatening to trash the entire work of the commission will mean pressing for the reconstitution of another commission but this will be a toll on the Kenyan tax payers. We are tired of seeing taxpayers’ money being wasted on jobs which although not perfect, have been fully completed by the experts the country has been able to produce Many of our people are living from hand to mouth while others are languishing in IDP camps almost three years after the post election violence. Therefore, when leaders talk about expenditures that will drain the exchequer with no benefit to the lives of Kenyans, to me, it’s a poor show of leadership. We need to be watchful of MPs out to frustrate the IIBRC recommendations that will be tabled in Parliament and this time, we are not going to condone threats by elected leaders who predict violence if the Ligale commission recommendations are not handled with care. Elected leaders who evoke violence to drive a political point when Kenyans are reeling from the violence that engulfed the country in 2008 are totally in bad taste and a sign of incitement. Such leaders should be picked by the law enforcement agencies to record a statement. We can’t trust leaders who are fond of raising eyebrows on issues that they think are detrimental to their political survival. This trend has turned to be a form of compulsive psychiatric disorder where political leaders are obsessed with rejecting what is beneficial to scores of millions of Kenyans each time a commission comes up with recommendations after wrapping up its work. We saw the same trend in the Ndungu Land report, the Waki report, and Kriegler report and now it’s happening on Andrew Ligale’s boundaries review commission. Indeed, even if the Chairman of the IIBRC rescinded the recommendations of his commission to appease those against it, we shall still have those who will feel short changed because you can’t please everybody in the society. Electoral boundaries are there to facilitate effective service delivery to the citizens of any country and therefore, I believe Andrew Ligale’s team did consider local population demographics during the apportionment of 80 constituencies. For instance, in the United States, California which is the most populous with 37 million people has an apportionment of 53 Congressional Representatives, while Wyoming with a paltry population of 50, 000 has only one. I believe that Mr Ligale’s team did use these criteria to arrive at 80 constituencies. Finally, this trend by politicians to try and paralyse the findings intended to shape the destiny of our country should cease. I do believe Andrew Ligale has impeccable credentials in public life and many Kenyans will trust the job he did as Chairman of IIBRC.

MY TAKE ON TNA AND ODM IN GUSII

Published on 10/28/12 8:54 PM As a community, we need to identify the party camp which likely to form the next government and will be friendly and accommodative to the aspirations of Omogusii. We need to use a microscope to define the really intentions of the leaders who want to acquire power and will only embrace those who are likely to help shape a better future for Kenya. We must avoid at all times leaders who want to acquire power for revenge, perpetuate graft, ethnic interests, and protecting ill- gotten wealth. We must also say no to those who want to acquire power for purposes of retaining the status quo and promotion of impunity. We need to gauge the two parties ODM and TNA, which have made inroads for prominence in Gusiiland on these premises: consistency on the reform agenda, standing for the common people of Kenya in the pursuit of justice, fair play, equality and equity, respect for the rule of law, upholding constitutional provisions, fighting graft and other vices. We have seen what Kibaki is capable of doing for Gusii and Kenya for the last 10 years, and having voted for him several times as a community, I think this is the best yardstick to measure the viability of Uhuru Kenyatta’s candidature and how his Presidency is likely to affect the Abagusii community if he wins the March 2013 elections. For Raila Odinga and his ODM Party, my respect for the PM is centred on these premises: his reform credentials, firmness to protect and defend our constitution and his consistency in standing with the people of Kenya during good and bad times especially his bravery to fight for truth and justice, democracy and the freedom we currently enjoy in the country. The PM’s score card in Gusii for the last five years is rather ambiguous because of the circumstances of 2008 which diluted the agenda he had for Kenya. However, like Kibaki, he hasn’t been able to stand with Abagusii on any key government appointment given the fact that he is a key partner in the current coalition government. This is perhaps the major question he is likely to face from the electorates who expected him to advocate for the appointment of individuals from Gusii to key government positions since the ODM party was overwhelmingly voted for by the community and with majority of MPs.The Prime Minister also needs to spell out clearly the policies he will put in place to shape a new Kenya after Kibaki’s exit next year. For Mr. Kenyatta, he sounds as a friend of the Abagusii but the biggest challenge is his inability to do more for us since he has unfettered access to the man in power- President Kibaki. He hasn’t stood with us especially in addressing the plight of Abagusii IDPs, government appointments and more importantly, he hasn’t told the nation what he is likely to do differently from President Kibaki, whose controversial second term in office culminated to the killing of Abagusii in the Rift Valley. Uhuru should not take the Abagusii for granted. Our people are not for short-term material enticements through a select few but could appreciate if he focused on the policies and ideas that will lift Gusii and the Kenyan nation. Let us look at the two horses keenly and pick the right one.

Namwamba and Neto should drive the reform path

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo New Jersey, USA Published on 9/20/12 7:13 PM The elevation of Budalangi MP, Ababu Namwamba to the Cabinet and the victory Agostino Neto’s as MP for Ndhiwa has set a dramatic scenario for youth leadership in the Country. This is because; both legislators are young, pragmatic, knowledgeable and share a common virtue in advancing the reform agenda, transformative leadership and strengthening democratic leadership and governance which is in tandem with the current constitution. The Kenyan youth from all walks of life expect honourable Namwamba to shepherd the Ministry of Youth and Sports to greater heights. They also expect Neto, who is a product of the Civil Society and fighter for Social justice to reflect the same set of ideals while in the national assembly. Having a youthful Cabinet Minister, associated with addressing the aspirations and predicaments of young people in the nation is a great stride. We therefore hope that the Budalangi MP will work independently and remain passionate with the plight of the youth. However, despite this positive stride, many Kenyans still remain apprehensive with the performance of youthful legislators. Those whom we expected to foster a new social, political and economic order have reneged the covenant they established with Kenyans after being voted to power. It’s not private that honourable Eugene Wamalwa, who is youthful, and Minister of Justice and constitutional affairs’ pronouncements have often shown him as a defender of what is good for his political survival and not the interests of the nation. If he is not about his tribesman getting chance to sleep in State House, he is busy misinterpreting the law- a clear sign that he is not ready to help us overcome impunity in the Country. In Parliament, majority of youthful legislators have either become ardent protectors of the status quo or are too ethnically inclined, self centred, corrupt and therefore perpetuating the old order and its ills. Where is honourable Cecily Mbarire, whom like Agostino Neto was a product of Civil Society? Where are Mwangi Kiunjuri, Joshua Kutuny, Gideon Sonko and Peter Munya? They all rose to the helm from humble backgrounds but have undergone a complete metamorphosis; always showing sycophancy and ethnic chauvinism. Have we killed our past and are busy killing the future as Francis Imbuga; puts it in his Play, Betrayal in City? Will Kenyans trust the Youth for national leadership if we take stock of what they do in Kenya’s current political climate? What happened to honourables Milly Odhiambo, Elizabeth Ongoro and Rachel Shebesh? All we see them do is dance a litany of survival. They follow the boss’s rhythm without showing their talent and creativity despite their massive knowledge. For them, what bedevils the nation is secondary. Is this what we expected from young MPs in the August House when they should toil and moil for the success of Vision 2030 and the Millennium Development Goals? Soon, honourable Namwamba will be sworn in. We hope he will help the nation understand what happened to the Youth Enterprise Fund which is managed through the office of the Prime Minister who is his boss. We also hope that the able and charismatic lawyer will be integral and stand with the Youth of Kenya. Youthful leaders have consistently betrayed the people of Kenya. In the last elections, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, dethroned himself as leader of official opposition to support the re-election of President Kibaki. The Gatundu South MP left about 1.8 Million Kenyans who voted for him in 2002 in suspense; putting multiparty democracy in dire straits. I wonder if his move was for the benefit of the Kenyan youth. In 1992, political opportunism drove youthful Cyrus Jirongo, Isaac Ruto, William Ruto and Sam Nyamweya to use dubious means to sneak Moi back to power through the YK92 lobby group. In fact, when Ruto joined Moi to campaign against the passage of the current constitution, it was a repeat of what they did 18 years earlier during the first multiparty elections but this time round; Kenyans who desperately wanted the new constitution defeated them. Its high time youthful leaders seized the moment to catalyse the reform agenda for the nation. They should nurture a leadership culture which will promote a new social, political, and economic order for Kenya and Africa. We have sung “change” for many decades and the young should help effect it to the fullest. We contend that all humans have imperfections but the new generation of leaders like Agostino Neto, Ababu Namwamba and others should think more about Kenya’s future than the self. Not every Kenyan will be President or MP but for those God has bestowed with these responsibilities, they should serve with dedication and commitment in order to leave Kenya better, wealthy and healthy. If the words of Frantz Fanon should carry meaning, then the new generation of leaders in Kenya must discover their mission, fulfill it, or betray it. After all, it’s our actions which will define the quality and not the quantity we shall be remembered for and therefore, our immortality. Published on 9/20/12 7:13 PM

Will Obama’s Victory help improve Kenya’s democratic leadership?

Joseph Lister Nyaringo New Jersey, USA Kenyans are more inclined to American politics more than any nation in the globe since President Barrack Obama, who has Kenyan ancestry, was elected President in 2007. The lingering question by many is what the Country is likely to gain during Obama second term in office. Having enacted a constitution which borrowed heavily from the American model, and seen how US campaigns are conducted from the voting process, to announcement of election results, our Country should use these experiences to improve our democratic leadership systems. If you admire your neighbour’s manicured lawn, you should learn how to manicure your own lawn. Kenyans saw how ideas, issues and policies are key pillars in the US political campaigns through a People-based approach. We saw clearly how democracy is respected by conceding defeat even in a close election. We saw the Importance of uniting a nation even with different political standings and callings. The campaigns were Peaceful, devoid of sharp divisions, name calling and hate speech which dominates the Kenyan system. The winner and the loser evoked unity in their address to the nation immediately after the election results; promising to work harmoniously for nation building. Why is it hard for our leaders to copy the American brand of politics when we have borrowed their model constitution and have also seen how well it has served them as the most powerful and democratic nation on earth? Why do we continue to be shrouded in ethnic linens; often supporting leaders with dubious, divisive, selfish and questionable integrity merely because of tribal leanings? Indeed, as the ancestral home of Obama’s father, we need to bring to an end ethnic hatred which is the cause of civil strife, political violence, and poor distribution of national resources, corruption and nepotism in Kenya. If the US, a country which allowed racial intermarriage and voting rights for minorities five decades ago will accord a man of Kenyan ancestry to serve as President, we need to look critically beyond creed, race, social status, religion and tribe in electing our leaders. We are tired of leaders who shun meetings of government officials who visit their region merely because of political differences yet they serve the same country. Truly, can such leaders heal a nation through ethnic harmony and integration? Just before the US elections, one of President Obama’s ardent critics, GOP Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie warmly welcomed the President when he visited the State to assess the damages caused by Hurricane Sandy. Being at the height of the campaigns, nobody thought the host governor will welcome Obama, but Mr. Christi even went ahead before national television to congratulate the President for his empathy to the hurricane victims. This is the political maturity and tolerance we want in Kenya. As a show of nationalism and selflessness, Political opponents should pick a phone and call each other after an election and focus on what is good for the citizens. In fact, in his victory speech, Obama promised that he was looking forward to meet the man he defeated in the presidential contest to discuss the challenges facing the American people. Why can’t our leaders emulate this style if they truly care about building a united and cohesive nation? During the campaigns, President Obama and his opponent Romney never toured their home States of Illinois and Massachusetts respectively to incite their supporters against each other; a trend which is common in Kenya especially during the electioneering period. In fact, Obama ended up winning Massachusetts and Wisconsin; the home State of Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate, Paul Ryan. It’s normal to rejoice over Obama’s victory but we must be ready to inculcate the ideals of nationhood especially now that we are approaching the election year. We need to shun leaders who want to incite the public. As we continue to celebrate Obama re-election, the government of Kenya needs to encourage diversity in public service by utilizing exemplary skills and talents of people who are not necessarily of Kenyan ancestry. We have many untapped talents in our nation if we can learn from what Dr. Manu Chandaria has been able to do as an entrepreneur and philanthropist as well as Suresh Shah, the former MD of Uchumi Supermarkets who helped the retail chain expand by reaps and bounds in the 90s only to see the retail chain plummet after his controversial exit from the company. In the political scene, we need to see more of Pio Gama Pinto, Basil Criticos, Philip Leakey, Shakeel Shabbir and Irshad Sumra. This is the best way to celebrate Obama’s victory as a product of accommodating diversity in public life by the American people. We hate to remember the assault to Safina party founder and environmentalist Richard Leakey during Moi’s repressive Kanu regime where they accused him of neo-colonialism. As a nation, we need to build a leadership culture which is inclusive, representative and diverse. These will not only earn us respect in the global stage but will also help to build structures that will improve the lives of Kenyans in social, political and economic spectrums.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Constitutional appointees need to safeguard the law

 Posted on 
By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
Many of us feel betrayed by politicians and those tasked with implementing the Constitution which they voted for two years ago. It looks like we are not out of the woods yet. It has become hard to differentiate between the old and the new order. 

We continue to see the old operational styles being perpetuated by those who should guide the nation towards the change which is tandem with the new law. Several bodies tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the implementation of the new law have either abdicated their responsibilities or failed to provide clear guidelines to ensure the nation reaps maximum benefits of the new Constitution. 

From the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), led by Isaack Hassan, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), led by Mzalendo Kibunja, Commission for Implementation of the Constitution (CIC), led by Charles Nyachae, The Attorney General, to the Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u, all these bodies have not played their role to the expectations of Kenyans.

It was a great contradiction early this year when the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) chairman Charles Nyachae told the nation that William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta, who are both indicted by the ICC, are eligible to vie for the presidency. 

The same argument was weathered down a month later by the former Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs Mutula Kilonzo who said that if the two legislators were allowed to vie, it will be against the spirit of Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity. Kilonzo, who has since been moved to the Ministry of Education advised Ruto and Kenyatta to stop their countrywide presidential campaigns. 

It’s also discouraging that the IEBC, the Registrar of Political Parties, the Attorney General and the Speaker, have failed to provide direction on the fate of six MPs who were recently declared partless. If the law is followed to the letter, MPs Linah Jebii Kilimo, Richard Onyonka, Clement Waibara, Gideon Mbuvi, Barnabas Muturi, and David Mwaniki Ngugi technically lost their parliamentary seats. 

Therefore, the Speaker should declare their seats vacant thereby giving the IEBC room to conduct new elections in the affected constituencies. It’s clear that the affected MPs were elected under the old constitution which did not have a provision for independent candidates. This is the surest way of living and operating within the law.

It has also been observed that the IEBC hasn’t provided proper guidelines especially on the current premature presidential campaigns when the Country is nine months away to the next General Election. This is if the March 2013 will suffice. Kenyan tax payers must be told by the government the mandate of bodies like Brand Kenya, and the Mzalendo Kibunja led National Cohesion and Integration Commission. 

As citizens and tax payers, we have a right to question or even demand the disbandment of bodies which have failed to discharge their duties or have failed to operate within the mandate under which they were founded. In any society, bureaucracies are created to enhance service delivery to the citizens as well as uplifting the status of a nation’s social, political and economic fronts. What role is Mzalendo Kibunja playing to enhance national cohesion when there is hate speech all over the nation from top politicians to regular citizens? 

It’s imperative for Kibunja, to fold up his sleeves to address hate speech which has not only become rampant in political rallies, eating joints, and social gathering but also in the cyberspace. The current Constitution cost Kenyans lives and resources and must be defended and protected. It was passed to steer our nation towards greater heights because of its wonderful provisions. Failing to respect and uphold it is the clearest indicator that Kenya is not ready to overcome impunity and upholding the rule of law. 

Is it not at height of corruption and impunity when a Presidential candidate is flown in a tax payer paid military chopper to his political campaign meeting? I think this was a violation of the law and wastage of public resources when the deputy prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi was flown recently from Nairobi to attend a campaign rally in Western Kenya. What is the purpose of having a good law merely on paper yet our governance systems and processes continue to thrive on the old constitution? 

Our political leaders still thrive on the old culture and have become purveyors of hate and tribalism instead of purveyors of patriotism. The ethnic undertones which dominate their political campaigns are clear examples of flouting the current law. 

The degree of patriotism from our political leaders is on low ebb. Instead of shaping intelligent debates to allow Kenyans make the informed choices before the next elections, they are busy propagating seeds of discord through ethnic nationalism which does not augur well for peace and harmony in the country. It’s therefore sad that the negative image portrayed especially by those vying for the Presidency is slowly sinking into the minds of their supporters when they are supposed to be role models. 

The arguments we see in social gatherings, social media, eating joints and funerals is tragic for the nation. We want the law to be respected and those who are found flouting it to be punished. This is the surest way to build the Kenya we all want. 


(Joseph Lister Nyaringo is a Kenyan living in New Jersey, USA)

Read more at CapitalFM:: Constitutional appointees need to safeguard the law http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/eblog/?p=2012












Read more at CapitalFM:: Constitutional appointees need to safeguard the law http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/eblog/?p=2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Martin Shikuku’s legacy will always inspire Kenyans


Martin Shikuku’s legacy will always inspire Kenyans
 By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey USA
The late honourable Martin Shikuku will not only remain legendary but a living symbol for equity and equality in our nation. I haven’t seen any leader who advocated for the common people of Kenya with great zeal like the former Butere MP. We grew up hearing him and saw him fight for our common good fearlessly even when the system was extremely brutal to dissenters.
He carried himself with humility and humbleness; often mingling freely with all cadres in the society. I personally met him for the first time in 1994 in a setting where most V.I.Ps will never shake your hand; leave alone talking to you but Shikuku, embraced me and my friends; shook our hands; shared a short conversation before walking away to see the big guys.
We were all left puzzled especially being in a society where the mighty carry themselves like small gods and rarely socializes with common people. This trait by Shikuku is very uncommon.  Shikuku’s character was similar to that of the late JM Kariuki and Bishop Alexander Muge, of the Anglican Church. Both loved ordinary people and were fearless while defending justice and truth.
Ask yourself where Kenya will be if we had majority of MPs with similar qualities to Shikuku, Muge and JM Kariuki? On the other hand, suppose Matiba and Shikuku would have taken government in 1992, shall Kenya be the way it’s today under the Kibaki Raila government?
I have the audacity to believe that even though Matiba’s health was wanting, Shikuku would have helped him to pursue an aggressive agenda to reform key government organs and give the Country a new constitution immediately after the first multiparty election. The Country could have been in a better footing today had Matiba and Shikuku taken government.
Its worthy to note that the bad seeds Kenyatta planted in our nation after independence got fertilized by Moi and kept blossoming. When Kibaki took over, he promised to prune it but all was empty rhetoric.  Instead, tribalism and corruption skyrocketed to immeasurable proportions. Kibaki’s economic agenda hasn’t narrowed the gap between the rich and poor. Our nation continues to be treated with the get-rich-quick schemes.
The high revenue collection under Kibaki hasn’t helped much to fight poverty, unemployment or improve service delivery. Despite being an avid economist, Kibaki’s economic agenda isn’t for the common people but for the “big guys.” It’s only a negligible percentage of Kenyans who feel good about his economic policies.
No wonder, the late Martin Shikuku once wondered aloud why corruption and looting was rampant during Moi’s leadership but there was a trickle of crumbs for the poor, but under Kibaki, nothing falls from the high table for the biblical Lazarus.
The ideals Shikuku stood for is exactly what strained the relationship between Kenyatta and two freedom fighters- Jaramogi Odinga and Bildad Khagia. Kenyatta underwent a complete metamorphosis immediately after independence and pursued a path towards enriching his community and family through jobs and land grabbing. This was against the spirit of the freedom struggle.
That is why Kenya will later experience a series of political assassinations under Kenyatta’s presidency whose genesis is unresolved until now.
It’s saddening that after President Kibaki took power in 2002; he pursued no tangible plans to negate the evils of the past but instead perfected it. Our nation is more polarized, disunited and tribalism is on high ebb. The negative signs we see today are not different from what made us hate and kill each other in 2007. It all started when Kibaki destroyed the tranquillity and cohesiveness Moi had entrenched even under his Kanu dictatorship and many Kenyans look back and admire the unity we used to enjoy under Moi.
What can we do as a nation? The best is to learn from our true heroes like the late Martin Shikuku, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Bildad Khagia, Bishop Muge and JM Kariuki, in order to pursue the path which lifts the whole nation.
For honourable Shikuku, you were born; lived according to your purpose and as the nation embarks to give you a heroes’ salute for your final journey, you will always remain in our hearts as one of our Country’s greats.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Miguna Miguna needs to respect his audience

Miguna Miguna needs to respect his audience
I think it's good that Miguna is provided with security. The guy is actually a nuisance even to his audience who can turn amok and hurt him. I watched in disbelief a radio interview he held with Eric Latif of Capital FM, where the author bragged and went as far as saying he was smarter than the journalist.
Thank God, Latif appeared calm, polite and professionally savvy even when Miguna remained on the defensive; often ducking tough questions. Was this not an insult to to Eric Latif and members of the 4th Estate, when an interviewee calls a journalist dumb,; the opposite of the word smart?
How can you respect or entertain an idea coming from a person who belittles everybody he comes across? Is Miguna smarter than all 40 million Kenyans?
Miguna Miguna his sparing no one.; not even curious citizens. He has dismissed the CJ, DPP, the PM and virtually all MPs from his Luo community. He needs to sober up and treat people with respect if he needs their audience.
The altercation between Miguna and his audience in Nakuru this week is a clear indication that all will not be rosy for Miguna as he embarks in a tour to promote his book in the Country.
Has he used his smartness to advance any creative ideas to help Kenya apart from writing a book after falling out with his former boss and a short stint in detention during the Nyayo days?
Good people, we have seen heroes and heroins in our Country. Just yesterday, we lost the former MP for Butere, Joseph Martin Shikuku; a gallant son of Kenya who stood for the dignity of all irrespective of their status in life.
The former MP was detained because of fighting for the common people in our country but he never went round bragging and mocking Kenyan citizens and calling them idiots the way Miguna his doing.
The people's watchman carried himself with dignity. He touched many ordinary hearts and led an ordinary life; mingling with all; loving all while envisioning humility and humbleness.
The late Shikuku had every right to call us idiots because of his struggle but he never did. He answered all questions with respect.
Miguna may be driving a point but his approach will end up scaring even his admirers. In fact, he will scare even journalists who have put his name in the national radar. He doesn’t know the same journalists are digging deeper to understand him and know the original intent of what he is doing.
For me, I don't see what he is up to. If he cared about corruption, let him not approach it from one side of the aisle but go to the bottom of it.
We can trust him if he start posing questions to the ruling elite about mega corruption scandals like: Goldenberg, Anglo- Leasing, Triton Oil, Volkswagen cars deal, Grand Regency sale, Safaricom IPO, land grabbing and the sealed Ndungu Land Report, the pyramid scheme, stashed cash in foreign accounts, the weapons deal to South Sudan, and above all, the mutilation of the constitution by the current ruling elite.
If it’s about soiling the names of political leaders for self gain and cheap publicity, Kenyans have a right to ask him tough questions and if he can’t answer, they will run.
Joseph Lister Nyaringo

New Jersey USA

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Kibaki succession and politics of betrayal

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey USA
The two leaders in the grand coalition government President Kibaki should hold with esteem are Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, because of their positive role to his 10 years Presidency.
That’s why I think that Raila and Kalonzo are the most betrayed by Kibaki. As he strides towards the end of his political career, he does not appear to favour any of the two to succeed him.
This has sent tongues wagging especially in the Vice President’s camp, which have been holding their breath for payback time from Kibaki. They feel that the President should return the favour which Kalonzo extended to him in 2007 during the disputed Presidential election results.
What shall we conclude about President Kibaki who has been in politics since age 28 and who unsuccessfully vied for the Presidency twice before clinching the seat in 2002?
Shall we conclude that he is a principled leader and not a rewarder of political cronies or an unthankful person who dumps those who helps him to ride to his glory?
The Vice President had every right to turn Kibaki down when he offered him the Vice presidency and join Raila’s protesting camp over the disputed presidential election results. Perhaps we would not have the current coalition government, since it would have changed the political equation in the Country.
It’s also remembered that President Kibaki's victory in 2002 is largely attributed to the role played by Raila. The deputy Premier, just like the Vice President, even if both leaders don’t speak openly, must be feeling that Kibaki owes so much.
I'm 100% sure that the Vice President’s heart bleeds more than Raila’s especially when he sees the succession debate from the President’s community shaping up negatively to his presidential ambitions.
Its true Kalonzo saved Kibaki during the inevitable hour in 2007; a period viewed by many as the most desperate in the President’s political career. It can’t even be compared with 2002 when Raila Odinga, used the phrase “Kibaki tosha” at Uhuru Park.
Several political events have kept the Vice President extremely sceptical. First of all, a party formed by State House insiders- UDF, is spearheading Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi to succeed Kibaki.
It remains to be seen if Kibaki will eventually support Mudavadi and if he does, will he succeed in convincing Uhuru Kenyatta to forego his ambitions to support his fellow deputy PM?
If he doesn’t, Mudavadi should not expect any support from the President’s backyard and his exit from ODM will be seen as the most miscalculated political move in recent history.
Secondly, the pact this week which brought together Uhuru’s (TNA), Kiraitu’s (APK), Kimunya’s (PNU) and Kiunjuri’s (GNU),all from Mount Kenya, has left Kalonzo in tenterhooks.
Kalonzo may look passive and sound calm on State House’s silence over his Presidential quest but he bitterly feels betrayed by a community whose man he stood with and accepted to take the number two slot when the Country was smouldering.
When the campaign hits a crescendo soon, Kenyans will hear alot from the Akamba community who have continued holding their breath; hoping that since their man helped to legitimize Kibaki’s grip on power, Kalonzo would have been his preferred successor.
Watching the vigour with which Uhuru Kenyatta, Peter Kenneth, and Martha Karua are campaigning for the top seat, Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi should not bank on Kikuyu votes. Even if Kibaki will rally behind one of the two, it’s unlikely that the community will deny their own and vote for an outsider.
The formation of the G7 alliance gave a new lease of life to the Vice president where he thought that the group will automatically endorse him. However, key figures in the alliance are expanding their energy and resources to advance their campaign on the national radar. This is a clear demonstraton that the success of the alliance to rally behind one presidential candidate is elusive.
It’s ironical that UDF, URP and TNA parties led by Mudavadi, Ruto and Uhuru respectively were all born almost at the same time except the Wiper party of Kalonzo and New Ford Kenya of Eugene Wamalwa. If these party leaders believed in a similar ideology and unity of purpose, why can’t they rally behind one candidate?
In the coming election, the 1992 and 1997 history is likely to repeat itself when a fragmented opposition would not beat former President Moi. This time round, the Moi, will be none rather than Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

ODM must discipline MPS

By, Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey USA
We want to build strong political parties which operate as tools of governance, a replica of Tories and Labour in Great Britain, Democrats and Republicans in the USA, CCM and ANC in the African continent. This will only be achieved through discipline from members and officials.
That is why the latest move by the ODM party to discipline their MPs who went against the party to campaign against the recently ratified constitution is laudable.
Violating a decree or agreement comes with consequences. That is why we have rules in every social, economic or political group. Therefore, you cannot be a member of a social club and fail to abide by the rules.
When Adam and Even reneged the decree of God in the Garden of Eden, they got a harsh discipline that dogs the human race even today. If they respected God’s rule, things would be different today for the human race.
I challenge William Ruto to tell Kenyans whether former South African President Did Tabo Mbeki, did parade his Xhosa tribesmen in the cabinet and in parliament to protect him when the ANC unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in him? Mbeki, is a respected freedom hero who fought against the apartheid in South Africa and despite this, he had to respect the constitution of his party. His presidency was cut short and he had to respect the decision of the ANC party. This is what we want to see in Kenya.
It’s very clear that the heart, mind, soul and love of William Ruto and his group is not in the ODM party. They are waiting for the rain to stop, form or move to another political party. Before doing so, they want to ensure that they have completely wrecked the party before the official exit.
The ODM party should move with speed for the discipline. We cannot continue to be wretched by people who want to play the tribal card in perpetuity when Kenyans want to confront the monster head on. They used it during the referendum campaigns and isolated their own community and still want to keep doing so.

Mutula should let schools to choose students’ dressing code

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo,
New Jersey, USA
I vehemently disagree with the Minister for education over his recent support to students of Rwathia Girls Secondary for demanding to be allowed to wear short skirts against the school’s dressing code.

Kenyans expected Mutula Kilonzo, to focus on his core Ministerial duties and not to lecture Kenyan teachers and students about modernity.

The modernity Mutula talks about should not drive us to ruin our societal decency. I’m sure any parent will undergo a nervous breakdown to discover that their beloved girl-child has been raped on her way from School because of dressing in a manner that provoked or enticed a rapist.

It’s a good practise to shield that which entices the eye to make a person sin. Even the Bible reminds us not to partake that which will make your friend to stumble.

Girls and boys at puberty want to attract attention through their looks and outfits. This is a critical stage for every human being and whoever is tasked with mentoring these youngsters must be good role models.

This is exactly what the administration of Rwathia Girls School is trying to do by ensuring that the students dress decently, respectively and comfortably. That is why Mutula's liberal view on the dressing code for Kenyan girls is irresponsible, immoral and uncalled for.

As a father figure, we expected him to be the guide towards moral ethic; respect and encouraging young people both girls boy, to guard their decency. Otherwise, dressing decently is a moral responsibility which should be upheld by all gender irrespective of age.

Therefore, encouraging the girls to dress provocatively or seductively under the aegis of modernity is actually giving rapists ammunitions for attack.

The trend is likely to elicit negative repercussions especially in mixed boarding schools where girls and boys mingle freely. It seems Mutula has never heard of mass rape within institutions.

We have experienced many acts of sexual violence mostly against women and the girl child where the victims rarely get justice. Quite often, the contributing factor is poor mode of dressing which attracts the male predators.

Unlike in the West where a distress call is answered within 3 minutes by police, and where most school going children carry cell phones, the Kenyan situation is a different ball game.

The Ministry of education should give a free hand for institutions to build their own standards for discipline including the dressing code.

I applause Rwathia Girls Secondary for trying to enforce a decent dressing code for their students and this should be emulated by other public and private schools in Country.

Even in the Western World where students’ mode of dressing is never a major issue, some schools still embrace a dressing code depending on the standards set upon by the School Districts.

Therefore, it’s our responsibility to reject any modern or Western styles which can taint the moral fabric of our young people. We need to promote those which will work for our private and public wellbeing.
It’s sad to see our young men and women getting more Americanized than the American themselves. On dressing, what we see on the streets on Nairobi is not different from what you will see in Chicago and New York.

I am not trying to imply that what is American is bad but we need to respect, maintain and uphold our identity. The rate at which our people are imitating the western styles like talking accents, gestures, and dressing, while thinking that ours is primitive and inferior is totally misplaced.

Why copy ways which do not conform to our customs or add value to our lives under the aegis of modernity and freedom of choice that Mutula his talking about? We know very well that Westerners, do not copy any of our customs.

We need to remember that we are a society which respects values which are often pegged on our culture, morals and traditions.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Abagusii needs new leadership

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA
Former cabinet Minister Simeon Nyachae, who has since retired, is perhaps the only leader from Gusiiland who tried to unite the Abagusii community and occasionally brought their issues to the national radar.
As he enjoys retirement, is leadership is sorely missed in the region. I’m not implying that Nyachae’s leadership styles were flawless but I want to state confidently that he was a strong leader compared to the current MPs.

None of the seating MPs has tried to advocate for cohesiveness as a formula to chat the way forward for the community’s social and political interests both locally and nationally.

Two senior Cabinet ministers, Prof. Ongeri and Chris Obure are only interested in pursuing personal interests from the two hails of the coalition government.
They have completely failed to articulate the Abagusii interests, the way Nyachae occasionally tried to do. They do not care about the myriad challenges facing the community like, youth unemployment, debilitating education standards, rampant poverty, insecurity and poor infrastructure.
Even some who were voted in the last elections on a progressive platform like honourables Momoima Onyonka and Dr. Robert Monda have dismally failed the leadership test and therefore betrayed the confidence of the electorates.
This is a wakeup call for a new generation of aspiring leaders both from Kisii and Nyamira Counties to prepare and take over democratically in order to inject better leadership practises which will mitigate the crisises we are in as a community. We want to see men and women with a consciousness to salvage our two Counties from ruin.
We must vote for governors, senators and MPs with values and a transformative agenda for the community and Kenya, in order to spur socio-economic development in the region. Even those who will come seeking votes as Presidential candidates must convince our people that their record or agenda reflects well for Gusii and the whole nation.
Women aspirants must also step forward and take advantage of the current constitution so that we can have visionary and balanced- leaders with skill, knowledge, experience, and people-based to develop Gusii.
Good leadership entails directing and guiding people to make good choices geared towards improving their standard of life.
I believe that farmers, business community, professionals, youth, and social groups should, through an inclusive approach, work directly with elected leaders to address the day-to-day challenges facing the Abagusii community.
Otherwise, leaders who shun the electorates by keeping them in the dark are do on new government policies and programs which are intended to help them, do not deserve to be re-elected.
We want leaders who will bring all cadres in our community together, and introduce them to new and existing government programs to make them productive and self sustaining so that we can arrest economic stagnation to overcome poverty.
After all, the task of all political leaders is to interpret government policies and programs to the people. In fact, an elected leader is the first avenue for civic education in any society.
For instance, it’s shocking that a big percent of Youths in Gusiiland do not access the Youth Enterprise fund. Those who are aware of it do not know what to do in order to qualify. We can’t blame the government on this as it lies squarely on the elected leader.
It’s also saddening that the Tea sector, which is the backbone of Gusii’s economy, is not given adequate attention by our leaders. There are rampant outcries from farmers which range from, underpayment, poor transportation of fresh leaves to the processing plants and mismanagement of the regional factories which is often caused by political interference.
It’s high time voters focused on candidates whose ideas and issues are in tandem with the aspirations of the Abagusii community, and be wary of those who want to acquire power for their selfish ends.
Voters in the Counties of Kisii and Nyamira have the best opportunity through the coming election to define the future of Mwamogusii by voting leaders who will lift our community from the present degradation.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

MIGUNA’S BOOK, INTELLECTUAL GYMNASTIC AND SYCOPHANCY

Miguna Miguna’s yet to be launched book is a betrayal of intellectuals in our society. Instead of publishing a scholarly material to nurture a discourse which promotes harmony and best leadership practises, he has come up with a book focussing solely on individual weaknesses of the Prime Minister of Kenya.
Who is perfect in this evil World apart from Jesus Christ? Raila Odinga, the man Miguna’s book boasts to have taunting revelations according to the book’s excerpts from a local daily, is not perfect. Not even the most respected personalities in the globe whether dead or alive can claim perfection.
We don’t want to hear or read about bedroom stories of individuals unless it’s necessary.
I haven’t seen or read the book but I want to challenge the author that as an acclaimed scholar, he is sending a wrong message to many intellectuals in the Country especially the new generation of thinkers. You don’t differ with a person and resort to devising ways to fix or the tarnish the person’s image.
I’m not against local authors but it’s myopic to waste valuable time writing a book whose content is primarily centred on an individual whom you have a grudge. Kenyans need to see better from those who have climbed a higher academic ladder.
How will Miguna convince people that his is not about hypocrisy, hate and bitterness to Raila Odinga after losing his job? This is a wrong use of the power of pen and paper.
I recently read Dr. Shem Ochuodho’s book, The Dawn of a Rainbow, and to be honest, I admired it’s content which provides perspectives on the evolution of our nationhood since independence and leadership failures in the country.
We have people who have done weird things to our lives but we don’t agonize on how to fix them or subject them to public shame. We have to move on. Miguna is playing intellectual gymnastics which, with time, will backfire and tarnish his reputation for good.
I don’t want to sound defensive on Raila Odinga but my major problem with the author, is why he decided to raise eyebrows after being dislodged from his comfort zone as advisor to the Prime Minister.
Isn’t this the height of hypocrisy to use obscenities and epithets to your employer when you are fired?
If Miguna cared for Kenya, he would have folded his luggage in protest and quit when he discovered that things were not being done right by his boss. Perhaps he would have become another John Githongo.
Waiting until he is fired to spew fire through the media and writing a book, is an indication that the former advisor to Raila, is an opportunist and not a nationalist? If he cared about fixing things at the Prime Minister's office, he would have opined to go back when he was reinstated.
Miguna is clever, full of verbose and very manipulative. No wonder, former attorney general Amos Wako, was right when Miguna created a negative scene during a meeting in Uganda. Its true Raila’s enemies will break in jubilation when the book is out but to level headed Kenyans, this will not dignify or make the former advisor win any argument.
Miguna’s purported tribulations in the Prime Minister’s office is a wakeup call for Kenyans to be careful with public figures who remain silent when things are rosy, but decide to cry foul when their comfort zones are threatened or unsafe. If he cared about fixing things at the Prime Minister's office, he would have opined to go back when he was reinstated.
We want to see more replicas of John Githongo, who went ballistic on realising that things were not going well in the system. To be honest, which right thinking Kenyans will not trust the former anti-Corruption Tsar?
When Matere Keriri was shown the door from State House, did he go round or use the mass media to talk negatively about the President? Or does Martha Karua quit the grand coalition government, always talking negative about President Kibaki?
Our country is in the process of healing and reconciliation. This is the time we want to see the top cream of our society stay afloat on issues; arguing objectively without bias while providing tangible solutions on the way forward in order to move us to the next level.
We desperately want to see leadership and direction from learned Kenyans and not the pursuit of narrow and selfish interests through the negative use of academic prowess.
Let Miguna Miguna, join the league of intellectuals, if he thinks he is one, like Mutai Ngunyi, professor Mutua Makau, Egara Kabaji, Barrack Muluka to mention a few, and debate issues objectively and without bias through the mass media.
Talking tough to settle political scores cannot help Kenya.
www.listernyaringo.org

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Diaspora aspirants hold strategic meeting in USA

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey USA
A caucus for Diaspora political aspirants from different parts of the USA in the coming general elections was held in June 24th in the State of Delaware. The meeting whose theme is Kenya for all discussed a wide range of issues on the status of our nation, which culminated to several resolutions.
The aspiring candidates met amid controversy surrounding the voting rights of Kenyan diasporians in the coming elections and the mutilation of the new constitution by sitting MPs.
The meeting resolved to form a forum dubbed “Kenya for all” which will address several issues among them the voting rights of Kenyans living abroad, organize political debates for all candidates running for office in Kenya and abroad and sensitize voters to elect value driven leaders as the only benchmark to transform the nation.
The aspirants who will vie for different positions plans for a Kenyan home-coming and also hold joint campaigns to showcase the agenda they have for their constituents electorates.
They singled out certain Presidential candidates whose support for Kenyans living abroad is lackluster. The meeting challenged honourables Uhuru Kenyatta, Musalia Mudavadi, William Ruto for being averse on matters affecting Diasporians but lauded Prime Minister Raila Odinga, honourables Martha Karua and Peter Kenneth for being the only presidential candidates who passionately support Diasporians especially on voting rights as stipulated in the current constitution.
Parliamentary aspirants who attended the meeting included, Jimmy Onkangi, Kitutu South, Joseph Lister Nyaringo, Bobasi, Denzel Musumba, Teso South and Shem Ogamba, Kitutu North constituencies.
Three gubernatorial candidates, George Munyotha, Dr. Barrack Abonyo, Dr. Matunda Nyanchama who are gubernatorial candidates for Kiambu, Kisumu and Nyamira counties respectively, attended the meeting and a senatorial candidate for Nyamira County Mr. Sam Abuga Mweberi. Several other candidates from USA and Canada sent their apologies.
They promised to hit the ground and educate Kenyans on how to identify the right presidential candidate before casting their votes; stressing that and the same candidate must be a reformer, believer in social justice and one who is consistent and incorruptible.
“Presidential candidates should not take Kenyan Diasporians for granted. We cannot support an individual merely because of talking tough or giving hefty promises but, consider their credentials, track records especially on building democratic tenets, respect to the rule of law, and advocating for marginalized groups- the poor, women, children, youth and students.” Said Joseph Nyaringo, one of the organizers of the caucus.
“We have put a microscope on all Presidential candidates and those with dubious records, purveyors of negative ethnicity and impunity will not be tolerated in the current Kenya, “said Sam Mweberi.
The meeting reiterated the importance of the coming election, which has a great promise for Kenya, especially the provisions in the current constitution which among other things gives Kenyans living abroad the opportunity to cast their votes.
However, it was pointed out during the Delaware meeting that the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) hasn’t laid down modalities to ensure that Kenyans scattered in the whole of North America are provided with the opportunity to cast their votes.
It was also pointed out that the electoral body has failed to be specific on why it cannot provide proper logistics to ensure that specific areas in the USA, with a higher presence of Kenyans are utilized as voting centres in order to attract a higher voter turnout.
The general elections slated in August according to the constitution are likely to be held in March 2013, and this clearly gives the IEBC humble time to put logistics in place and ensure that that majority of Kenyans in the Diaspora gets the opportunity to vote.
We have faith in the electoral body and we believe that it is going to be the most independent in our country’s history.
As the constitution stipulates, all Kenyans living abroad have a right to vote for all leaders across the board, from the county assembly persons, MPs, senators, governors and a President. No exceptions!
We cannot condone a scenario to vote for Presidential candidates only since it will undermine the spirit of democracy and reflect that it’s only the presidency, which is more important than any level of leadership in the country. All leadership hierarchies are important to build a prosperous country.
The meeting also challenged candidates spreading the negative notion that Diaspora candidates are detached from the day-to-day challenges facing Kenyans, to remember that, the current constitution that borrowed heavily from the USA model is likely to be actualized if many candidates who have been exposed with American institutions are voted in. They pointed out that the devolution of power or the legislative process is similar to that of America.
The candidates also warned Members of Parliament who have perfected the art of making amendments on the current constitution with the intent of perpetuating their selfish ends, to remember that voters are keenly watching them. Come the next elections, they will be replaced by leaders who will respect and uphold the constitution.
It’s sad indeed that a constitution virtually two years old and whose fruits are yet to be tasted by Kenyans is being mutilated for selfish ends.
It’s ironical that the American constitution which has been in existence for over two hundred years has undergone only less than eight amendments, yet the Country remains a global economic leader. Our MPs moves are not only evil, but also against the determination of our nation to be a model for upholding the rule of law for posterity and not individual gain.
For purposes of encouraging issue-based politics, the aspirants will organize the first Diaspora debate, which will be held in August in Dallas Texas. It will bring together all aspiring leaders currently living in North America and will also invite Presidential candidates from Kenya for participation.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

High hopes on Judge Kalpana Rawal team

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA
It’s encouraging that the five-member team led by Judge Kalpana Rawal which is tasked to unravel the truth surrounding the demise of honourables George Saitoti and Orwa Ojodeh, and four police officers through a helicopter crash has earned a lot of support from government organs and the Kenyan public.
Unlike in the past when controversy littered public inquests before and after their findings, there is goodwill from the executive, judiciary and the legislator.
Its however discouraging that the commission was not provided with a timeline to complete its task, and this is likely to be a toll on the exchequer hence a taxpayer burden.
Despite that, Kenyans and families of the departed souls want a solid truth on what happened, how it happened and why. This time round, we don’t want to see dirty washed under the carpet to cover inequity after the findings.
It’s also a great show of leadership and solidarity that The Attorney General, Chief Justice the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Transport, have unequivocally assured the Kenyan people of the government’s commitment to establish the truth following the helicopter crash.
The only skepticism Kenyans have is how the past and present governments treated findings of various commissions and inquests, which are often not made public especially when it’s suspected to touch key people in government.
We hope the truth will not be washed under the carpet like in1975 after the late Elijah Mwangale’s Parliamentary probe team implicated the government for the murder of Nyandarua North MP Josiah Mwangi Kariuki.
Expectations from Kenyans are very high. Being the first commission of inquiry for a major national tragedy under the new constitution with a reformist Chief Justice, a new Attorney general and Director of public prosecution who took office after thorough vetting, we believe all these will help to ensure that justice is pursued by length and breadth. It’s also a great stride in the fight against impunity.
The passion with which the government has in discovering the circumstances, which led to the helicopter crash, should be a precursor to backtrack unresolved truths on past tragedies like the demise of the late Robert Ouko, Oscar Kamau Kingara and John Paul Oulo, JM Kariuki, Bishop Alexandar Muge, and Father John Caesar and Arwings Kodhek amongst others.
This is the surest way to put our country on a better justice footing in the new dispensation. It will also help the affected families to heal following the mysteriously departure of their loved one, build harmony, peace and reconciliation in the Country.
Three things give credence to any commission of inquiry or public inquest. First, the credibility of those tasked to carry out the commission’s mandate, of which, I personally don’t have any doubt or pessimism on Judge Rawal and her team.
Secondly, the thoroughness and truthfulness of its findings and finally, if the findings will pave the way for restitution to ensure justice for the aggrieved parties.
After all, apprehending any suspects in case of a criminal intent over the tragedy will be something Kenyans will be looking forward to after Judge Rawal’s team is done with the findings.
Finally, for purposes of ensuring confidentiality and information gathering, a call hotline and postal box should be established in order for Kenyans to volunteer useful information to help with the investigation.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Constitutional appointees need to safeguard the law

Kenyans feel betrayed by politicians and those tasked with implementing the Constitution which they voted for two years ago.

It looks like we are not out of the woods yet. It has become hard to differentiate between the old and the new order. We continue to see the old operational styles being perpetuated by those who should guide the nation towards the change which is tandem with the new law.

Several bodies tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the implementation of the new law have either abdicated their responsibilities or failed to provide clear guidelines to ensure the nation reaps maximum benefits of the new constitution.

From the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), led by Isaack Hassan, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission NCIC, led by Mzalendo Kibunja, Commission for Implementation of the Constitution (CIC), led by Charles Nyachae, The attorney General, to the Registrar of political parties Lucy Ndung'u, all these bodies have not played their role to the expectations of Kenyans.

It was a great contradiction early this year when the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) chairman Mr. Charles Nyachae told the nation that Honourables William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta, who are both indicted by The ICC, are eligible to vie for the Presidency.

The same argument was weathered down a month later by the former Minister for Justice and constitutional affairs Mr. Mutula Kilonzo who said that if the two legislators were allowed to vie, it will be against the spirit of Chapter Six of the constitution on Leadership and Integrity.

Mr. Kilonzo, who has since been moved to the Ministry of education advised Mr. Ruto and Kenyatta to stop their countrywide presidential campaigns.

It’s also discouraging that the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission IEBC, the Registrar of political parties, the Attorney General and the Speaker, have failed to provide direction on the fate of six MPs who were recently declared partless.

If the law is followed to the letter, MPs Linah Jebii Kilimo, Richard Onyonka, Clement Waibara, Gideon Mbuvi, Barnabas Muturi, and David Mwaniki Ngugi technically lost their parliamentary seats.

Therefore, the Speaker should declare their seats vacant thereby giving the IEBC room to conduct new elections in the affected constituencies. It’s clear that the affected MPs were elected under the old constitution which did not have a provision for independent candidates.

This is the surest way of living and operating within the law.

It has also been observed that the IEBC hasn’t provided proper guidelines especially on the current premature presidential campaigns when the Country is 9 months away to the next general Elections. This is if the March 2013 will suffice.

Kenyan tax payers must be told by the government the mandate of bodies like Brand Kenya, and the Mzalendo Kibunja led National Cohesion and Integration Commission.

As citizens and tax payers, we have a right to question or even demand the disbandment of bodies which have failed to discharge their duties or have failed to operate within the mandate under which they were founded.
In any society, bureaucracies are created to enhance service delivery to the citizens as well as uplifting the status of a nation’s social, political and economic fronts.

What role is Mzalendo Kibunja playing to enhance national cohesion when there is hate speech all over the nation from top politicians to regular citizens?

It’s imperative for Chairman Kibunja, to fold up his sleeves to address hate speech which has not only become rampant in political rallies, eating joints, and social gathering but also in the cyberspace.

The current constitution cost Kenyans lives and resources and must be defended and protected. It was passed to steer our nation towards greater heights because of its wonderful provisions. Failing to respect and uphold it is the clearest indicator that Kenya is not ready to overcome impunity and upholding the rule of law.

Is it not at height of corruption and impunity when a Presidential candidate is flown in a tax payer paid Military chopper to his political campaign meeting?

I think this was a violation of the law and wastage of public resources when the deputy prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi was flown recently from Nairobi to attend a campaign rally in Western Kenya.

What is the purpose of having a good law merely on paper yet our governance systems and processes continue to thrive on the old constitution?

Our political leaders still thrive on the old culture and have become purveyors of hate and tribalism instead of purveyors of patriotism. The ethnic undertones which dominate their political campaigns are clear examples of flouting the current law.

The degree of patriotism from our political leaders is on low ebb. Instead of shaping intelligent debates to allow Kenyans make the informed choices before the next elections, they are busy propagating seeds of discords through ethnic nationalism which does not augur well for peace and harmony in the Country.

It’s therefore sad that the negative image portrayed especially by those vying for the Presidency is slowly sinking into the minds of their supporters when they are supposed to be role models. The arguments we see in social gatherings, social media, eating joints and funerals is tragic for the nation.

We want the law to be respected and those who are found flouting it to be punished. This is the surest way to build the Kenya we all want.