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.