Women@Web Writing Contest

Are you a woman between the age of 18-25 years? We would like to hear from you! 3 lucky winners stand a chance to win Kes. 5000.

With increased internet penetration, there are more Kenyans engaging online on diverse issues, however, comparatively women’s participation on online platforms still lags behind. When we think about the future, we have to think digital space, technology and its application. As mobile phone penetration grows, so does our dependence on mobile network platforms for our daily transactions such as buying goods, paying utility bills, sending money and accessing credit. Our world has radically changed in the space of two decades and it is now inconceivable to live without a digital device. In spite of these technological advancements, there remains a digital divide between men and women in the form of access to technology.

Requirements
The article must be at least 700 words and touch on either of the following topics:

  1. The Data Protection Act
  2. Online Harassment
  3. Current Affairs: e.g Women’s participation online
  • Must be a woman between the age of 18-25 years
  • Must be Kenyan
  • Deadline 29th February, 2020
  • Articles to be sent to support@siasaplace.com

We must imagine leadership beyond dynasties and familiar personalities by Wanjiru Nguhi

A lot of us grew up being told to either be quiet or leave the room when the grownups were speaking. And it is no surprise that our modern day politicians adopted the same lingo. They consistently tell Kenyans, who pay taxes and vote them in to either be quiet or leave the room. In most cases, they have been kicked out of the room or denied access to the building where important decisions about their lives are made.

We know we are not in that room when we see pictures of Kenyan athletes sleeping on the floor in foreign airports; see the ever increasing unemployment rates and decreasing standard of living. Mind you, they never fail to prepare us for these unbearable shifts by constantly telling us to brace ourselves for tough times.

So, what does being in the room look like? What would Kenya look like if it worked for Kenyans? Who are Kenyans without the constant gas lighting from its government, threats to comply with government orders and directives, chaos on our roads, fear of carcinogenic substances in our food?

Who are we when we are not struggling to survive, to breathe? What does Kenyan freedom look like, what is the Kenyan dream? I refuse to believe in the “resilience that produces maturity gospel” preached by our politicians. I am not a zebu cow and neither is Kenya. I reject the resilient rhetoric that makes us comfortable in our misery. I reject headlines that ​sentence us to: “Brace yourselves for higher fuel prices, higher price of bread, higher electricity bills,” higher this, higher that… I reject it in all of its silencing, its manipulative finality and its hopelessness. I reject resilience because we cannot dream and be resilient in the face of misery at the same time. Nothing better comes when we collectively agree to be resilient, just more things to be resilient about. It feels like people sit in a room, in our absence of course, and come up with things that demand our resilience that will eventually kill us because we cannot hold our breath any longer.

​Kenyans are record breakers, inventors of M-pesa among many other things. We are the funniest people alive, see how Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) shut down the internet whenever we need to. Our artists are a constant reminder of what Kenyan beauty is and can be. When you think about the beauty of this country, think about what we could be if our government conspired with its citizens to help them prosper. We have a government that cares too deeply about how Kenya looks like to investors and tourists but does not seem to care about how Kenyans feel about being Kenyan.

Article 1(1) of Our Constitution states that all sovereign power belongs to the people. That means that we have every right to be in the room. Kenya should and must work for the Kenyan people. How do we take back this power? We must interrogate individuals who run for office and vote in leaders we know mean well for us. We must imagine leadership beyond dynasties and familiar personalities. We must take the time to study government structures and actively engage in government processes and hold them accountable to the people and the Constitution.

When we meet the Kenyans who have dedicated their lives to rejecting resilience, let us not ask them to fight on our behalf or speak for us. The work of imagining and working towards a Kenya that works for all of us cannot be delegated. It is not enough for us to become admirers of their words, their courage, and their convictions. We must all be willing and ready to ask the question, “I see what you are doing, how can I help? What can I do for this win? Then put in the work. A Kenya that works for all of us must be worked on
by every Kenyan.

I wish you a year and a decade that doesn’t give you reasons to be resilient. I wish you courage that consistently denounces survival.

Written by Wanjiru Nguhi
Co-Founder of Mwafrika Mwenzangu | Lawyer | Political Strategist | Writer | Feminist

Mary Wambui Munene, NOT FIT to serve as Board Chair NEA, Justice Makau has declared

The Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) has quashed the appointment of Ms. Mary Munene Wambui on Friday, 17th January 2019 as the Chair of the National Employment Authority (NEA) on grounds the gazette notice was illegal and unconstitutional and therefore null and void.

Delivering the ruling Justice Onesmus Makau directed the appointing authority to adhere to the Constitution and other laws including NEA act if they’ll be making fresh appointments to the office.

Below is our press statement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 17, 2020. Siasa Place and PAWA 254 has today welcomed the decision by the Employment and Labor Relations Court (ELRC) in Nairobi to quash the appointment of former Othaya MP, Ms. Mary Wambui’s as the Chairperson of the National Employment
Authority (NEA).

While delivering the ruling on the petitions that were filed challenging her appointment in October, 2019, Justice Onesimus Makau noted that Ms. Wambui was unqualified and that the gazettement of her appointment was irregular, unprocedural and thus unconstitutional.
He further directed that the appointing authority who is the Cabinet Secretary for Labor should follow the set out procedures and guidelines in the Constitution and the National Employment Authority (NEA) Act on the appointment of a person to the position of the chairperson of the board. He also issued a permanent injunction barring Ms. Wambui from being appointed to the post.

“The decision is a victory for the young people of Kenya given that the spirit behind the legislation was to create a platform to address the youth unemployment in the country.” ​says Siasa Place Executive Director, Ms Nerima Wako-Ojiwa.

Ms Wako has further called upon the Executive to take the issues facing young people seriously noting that unemployment coupled with increasing cost of living is impacting the youth negatively. She also noted that the win is big victory for the rule of law.

“I welcome the judgement by Justice Makau J for upholding the rule of law. Young people’s voice has been heard today and it has set precedence for all public appointments. Youth issues must be taken seriously.” ​ Mbuki Mburu , PAWA 254

In October 2019, Youth serving organizations, Siasa Place and PAWA 254 were enjoined with Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association who had petitioned against the appointment of Ms. Mary Wambui Munene.

– Ends –

For more information, contact Communication Officer, Siasa Place  |  Tel. 0757840552   |  Email: support @siasaplace.com

Also find a link to view the Judgement Petition No. 190 of 2019 – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NB8KcT-yYwtbtwQzzsaDboG190ADL0bn/view?usp=sharing

 

 

 

 

Issue Brief on the Proposed Amendments to the National Youth Council Bill 2019 by a Consortium of Youth Serving Organisations

Introduction
Article 55(b) of the Constitution mandates the state to take measures for the youth have opportunities to be represented and participate in political, social, economic spaces. Further on, in preparation for Africa’s youth bulge and succession planning, cognizant of best practices of the Commonwealth Youth Council, East Africa Youth Commission and Africa Youth Commission, article 55(b) necessitates an urgent move to harness the youth demographic dividend for economic prosperity of the nation.

Rationale
The National Youth Council’s mandate in fulfilling the above was structurally watered down by the amended bill of 2019 which shrinks further the democratic space of young people. Therefore, the YSO Consortium consisting of 50 national and grassroots organizations reviewed the provisions of the National Youth Council Bill 2019 and harmonized it into a memorandum with the following key provisions informing the 5-point agenda;

  1. Professionalization of Youth Work. Kenya is one of the commonwelath countries without a national-level policy that regulates, protects and promotes youth work as a distinct profession despite its significant youth bulge. To resolve this, we propose that the NYC will define the youth work profession model and work the MoPSYGA and other relevant stakeholders to establish locally relevant policies, procedures and mechanisms to accredit youth workers.
  2. Youth mainstreaming. The NYC will nominate youths into decision making bodies such as boards, agencies and other public institutions and organizations. They will also coordinate the youth agenda into national policy processes including youth mainstreaming, youth data and evidence based policy making , youth volunteerism and other relevant national development policy processes by public institutions and organizations.
  3. Structure and functions. The structure of the Council envisaged in the Bill transforms the Council into a national outfit that does not have any county presence. To address this, we propose the establishment of the County Youth Council, provide for its functions and powers. Secondly, the functions of the Council in the 2019 amendment bill are watered down and do not capture the spirit of a youth representative body and therefore we recommend the incorporation of functions in the 2009 Act with a few amendments.
  4. Corporate membership and resource mobilization. NYC funded from public coffers is hindered by lack of resources. We recommend having corporate membership as a mechanism to mobilize resources as such, Youth Serving Organization will be accredited as corporate members and will pay a subscription fee to remain in membership (provides resources and sustainability, representation) for a designate period.
  5. Capacity building. For the National Youth Council to transform, there must be a change in ways of engaging, therefore deliberate attempts must be mad to build capacity of council leaders to understand their role and repercussions of not executing their duties effectively.

Conclusion
In the interest of young people of the republic of Kenya, the memorandum proposes solutions to the loopholes in the 2019 Amendment Bill and seeks to gain the support of members of parliament, the initiator of the bill and citizens of good will.

By:Youth Agenda, ActionAid, PAWA254, Africa Youth Trust, Governance Pillar, Siasa Place, Nairobi County Network, AYLF, Global Platform, Young Democrats, My Leader Kenya, UJANA Africa, Red Cross, YOBBA, Activista, Nairobits Trust, Go Green, Y-Act, Emerging Leaders Foundation, World Healers Foundation, Nairobi County Youth Network, INUUA, ODBS Foundation, Youth Alive Kenya, Youth & Success Association, Akili Dada, Dada Power and Youth Senate-Kenya.

For access to the National Youth Council (Amendment) Bill 2019, check the following link:

http://www.parliament.go.ke/sites/default/files/2019-03/National%20Youth%20Council%20%28Amendment%29%20Bill%2C%202019_compressed.pdf

Think Different By Burns Noah

We live in a country where we anticipate, entertain and pay homage to corruption without guilt nor second thoughts. The integrity as well as the system’s sense of duty has been compromised and is vulnerable to attacks from people entrusted with responsibility. It is very unfortunate and clear that the political class is whining and fussing about the fight against corruption in a bid to secure their egotistic future ambitions. The war on corruption has been nothing but a witch hunt, an expose expedition where figures are quoted and the case will eventually be blown away by a magic wand. Surely, the burden is for us the people to carry, no aid or remedy is coming anytime soon.

When adamant, persistent people convene towards a common cause, the success rate is significantly substantial. A classic scenario is when issues went haywire for Algerians in terms of governance. They came out relentlessly in unison from all walks of life to call for the successful resignation of their former head of state Abdul Aziz Bouteflika. Across our boarder in a historical twist of events against all odds Omar AL Bashir was toppled through protest after weeks of demonstrations. The most intriguing part in the midst of all these is that the youth took the frontline in shunning despicable acts as well as being actively involved in the uprising. Corruption is ripping our society apart, it’s upon us the youth to rise up as one and take the most appropriate action as enshrined in our constitution.

Time has clearly stated that as Kenyans we are very forgetful, ignorant and don’t hold leaders accountable for their actions instead we mold an excellent audience that entertains mediocrity. The above conditions provide a lucrative environment for underhand ideas to take precedence as well as illegal businesses. For instance, today you part away with millions of public funds and you are branded an enemy of the people. Ironically, tomorrow you come with the millions for campaigns, sane citizens overwhelmingly hail your claim and elect you into office to loot billions while the same electorate languish in poverty. I challenge the youth in each and every county to ask questions, demand progress and keep their respective leaders on the watch list.

Finally, corruption goes far and beyond the political class to other fields of specialization. The perpetrators and architects of these heinous acts of corruption thrive and live among us; from distinguished public institutions, private entities to day to day activities of the Kenyan population at large. It is mandatory to embrace professionalism as well as observe ethical codes of conduct when exercising your expertise. In order to kick corruption out of our line of duty, young enthusiastic Kenyan practitioners should think differently, beyond greed for ill earned riches and wealth. We have an incredible future to orchestrate and a disgusting present to restructure, our reputation as a country is at stake

Written by Burns Noah an undergraduate at Kenyatta University pursuing BSc Petroleum Engineering
Twitter: @The_Analyst00

Do we plan some of our emergencies? By Victor Sijenyi

One will agree with me in one way or the other that, the drought and hunger situation being experienced in our nation currently is not a calamity or an emergency as being treated and mentioned by our so called leaders. It is something that we see almost annually.

Turkana county is one of the most affected counties with drought and food insecurity. Many a times, Turkana has suffered starvation frequently, not because they are lazy, not because during voting they are busy taking alcohol until they are not sober to elect, but because the leaders have a major reason behind vying for positions to serve the people but with a motive to sit over their rights and loot in the name of implementing non-existent development .

A hard fact that prevails up to date is that Turkana would be a rich county if the people would be left to extract their oils and sell as a right of ownership, but the so called leaders have sought to rule over them by making them to be beggars just to offer their resources in exchange of basic needs that their leaders have denied them. In the first place, the starvation in Turkana should be termed as a crime against humanity because it is orchestrated by the leaders who have deprived them energy and voice of unity to call for justice.

Many of the leaders who are calling for help, have subjected their people to, dams that were to be constructed and have taken over a decade and were fully paid for. These same dams have instances of requesting for more funding due to unforeseen circumstances, most qualified engineers for such projects should always give such estimations from the start. This makes it very clear who the tender winners always are.

Leaders have always been in this menace for years and even allocated funds for such emergencies, but funny enough, the county officials could not identify the national crisis. They instead responded by still organizing for cultural events. This puts it clear the kind of people we give responsibility to manage our funds and development plans.

I feel that as Kenyans, we have got too many lessons and events to learn from to make us not wait and see us suffer in the name of who we elected. We need to take precaution to be in the forefront correcting them even if the person in power is your close relative, remember that power is left here on earth you never know who will lead your children after you leave. Every county has their priorities and leaders too have theirs, these leaders will always want to support the needy to get attention on social media and the general public, in fact I encourage the public to device a way to generate support for themselves without leaving a space for such greedy leaders to take advantage of the situations.


Written by Victor Sijenyi. Victor is the Chair at Kasarani Youth Empowerment Centre and a volunteer at OAYOUTH Kenya
Email: thelegendsartsproduction@gmail.com

The Story of every African Nation By Ahmad Moalim

In life every one of us has their own story, all the stories are unique to that individual just like DNA, and stories may look alike but not the same.T hose before independence, and to date the stories have had 3 issues as the denominator, the issues mostly perceived and determined by the colonialists who regarded the African community as a backward illiterate society:

  • Illiteracy, the colonialist disregarded our social structure that catered for all, making us believe literacy is going through western educational system, and to achieve that our stories spread from going to school on empty stomachs to without shoes and accessing education at advance age in life like that of 84 year old Kimani Ng’ang’a Maruge, making him the oldest man in Kenya to attend primary school. The Guinness Book of World Records listed him as being the oldest person in the world to start primary school. Western education system became part of us growing up forgoing our culture
  • Poverty, white man collaborated with the Africans during colonial period and thereafter the tribal kings perpetuated the narrative of poverty in Africa. The perpetuated belief created stories and pictures shot of how poverty has its pangs on people including the story of southern Sudan girl whose photo was taken with a vulture behind her waiting for her death. The picture was taken in 1993 but since then has that changed even after attaining right to self-determination? And was poverty an issue in African society before the colonial masters and how was the societal setups before?
  • Diseases, from malaria to HIV/AIDS conditions and lately cancer that people have had their share of, to those with wealth and those without equalized by the pain of disease. The rich also cry for their loved ones, the powerful are powerless before the diseases. The current day colonial masters (tribal kings/ so called leaders) have ensured that systems (health, education, agriculture, manufacturing industries) don’t work so that they continue being beneficiaries of colonizing the masses with ‘mtu wetu’ syndrome. They are nor reaping from their own systems of neglect but they are slightly better because they can still afford to go abroad for treatment.

That which we are not told is, the continent is faced with the 3 issues as the main problems. Therefore being poor, sick or illiterate is normal what matters is what are you doing about your current status?

First we were told education has an effect of equalizing the poor and the rich as well as the solution to the 3 problems. However since the departure of the colonial power and inception of Africans as the leaders, things have taken a different turn. The Africans who fought for independence never enhanced the system of governance to accommodate growth through industries, and exploitation of natural resources. With 54 countries, the richest continent endowed with natural resources, every country has its tribes and every tribe has its own semi gods who call the shots. The tribes in power are the new colonial powers compared to the situation in which Britain had companies managing Africa on its behalf. Just like the companies the tribes in power manage Africa and on behalf of the western and eastern nations. Africa is growing and the debts are increasing every year, they are unable to negotiate for better deals because of the already incurred debts and the pressing demand for the infrastructural development which will never repay itself. The population has tripled since independence, democratic principles and laws are cut and paste without consideration of the people to extent of equating democracy to periodic shambolic elections. In Kenya government is taxing the citizens for every coin, and for everything including using the roads where the highway authority is introducing a new tax for those using highways!

Sounds brilliant as those with cars and businessmen will be the ones to feel the pain but the real effect is to the consumer who is the poor man who earns below a dollar. The cost will be transferred through increase of commodities. More to that, being young is equated to, a disillusioned and disinterested member of the society. Researchers have said that we (youth) do not care “how” we get anything what matters is we have it. Fortunately or unfortunately we constitute at least over 60% of our population not forgetting infotrak research, that Kenyans feel the country is headed in the wrong direction!

We were made to believe how our life should turn for the better after having gone through education but the reality is taking us into disarray. 90’s babies we grew up reading stories and society also told us how so and so became successful. Blinded with the stories, we went into education with expectations of success only to be stranded on the streets of Nairobi with our educational papers.

The same society revised the rules and told us to call our uncles/ aunties or they will call ‘mheshimiwas’, simply to find something other than having papers, that is connections or whom you know. From so and so went to school, the stories changed to so and so is related or known to who and through the linkage they got there. The education lost the “weight” and it became just a system that we have/had to go through as part of the growth / formal cultural expectations and get to the age of majority.

On July, 20th 2019, at unfungamano house, I was seated among young people from different walks of life for a book launch, entitled “UNBREAKABLE” by a young person who battled with his life story but decided to share the same life with us and those who come in long after we are gone. The author named Danish Odongo now is and will be described as an author for having shared the story of his life to encourage others and also fight for himself. “How” many of us can share their story only to inspire and tell their unfortunate story for others fortune?

Every story has its roots somewhere and for me the story lies within our governance. All our billionaires have had interactions with the government in one way or the other, what they possess may have been acquired through shoddy deals. Government ministers are the billionaires, state officers, are ranch and business owners, due to connection systems which have failed the governance system. Once on a dinner table, someone challenged us to think of a country as a home, government/ leadership as the two parents and the children as the citizens while those family members and neighbors as the neighboring countries! In the house if fathers and mothers fail to dispense their roles then that house becomes just another building and the children will suffer.

That said, the young people, today is a gift but you have to earn tomorrow!

Peace!

By Ahmad Moalim
Lawyer,Democrat,Community rights champion and student of contextualized democratic principles
Twitter: @moalim_ahmad

Summaries-Tweet-Header

MAY 2018 #SiasaWednesday SUMMARY

Title of the topic: Social Media & Politics: Where are we as a country?
Tweet Chat Summary For: May 2nd 2018
In today’s world, news and information are critical components of everyday life. With change in dynamics, various avenues of connecting with friends, sharing news and information, and real time connection has led to many people especially the youth, embrace social media to serve their various needs. Digital space has given many Kenyans a voice that was otherwise a monopoly of mainstream media. It gives platform demanding for transparency and accountability when it comes to political offices. Social media has straightened voices.

Social media will continue to be used as a tool for driving future changes in society as an avenue of enabling people express themselves. Measures must be put in place to curb the spread of fake news. Citizens must come together and shrinking civic spaces must be kept alive. Technology has the capacity to amplify the voices of citizens and greatly improve oversight. Government should instead embrace social media as a feedback platform for better service delivery and accountability.

Title of the topic: Disaster management: Where are we as a country? 
Tweet Chat Summary For: May 16th 2018

Disasters are majorly unpredictable occurrences that have serious negative consequences on the lives of the people. It is for this reason that as a society, we need to be fully and adequately prepared to initiate intervention mechanisms whenever faced with any kind of disaster to avert casualties, disruption of social order and to save lives and property. Disasters disrupt the functioning of society causing widespread human, material, economic and environmental loses which exceed the ability of the affected society to cope with using its own resources. Examples include drought, floods, fires and earthquakes.

All stakeholders in society must come together to form multi-agency rapid response units for interventions and rapid response. Government should involve and support stakeholders that deal with matters of humanity and disaster management to help mitigate emergencies. Both National and County governments should follow best international practice in handling disasters whenever they strike i.e. Preparedness, Reaction, Recovery and Prevention. Political goodwill and commitment is key to the implementation of the National Disaster Policy.

Title of the topic: What is the impact of public theft without consequences?
Tweet Chat Summary For: May 23rd 2018

Corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Anyone exercising power given to them by others, if they abuse it for personal benefit they are corrupt. It results to very serious consequences that impede the overall well-being and order of any society/state. It impedes development and service delivery meant for public good. The AKU’s East African Institute youth study 2016 found that 21-58% of youth believe it doesn’t matter how one makes money so long as you don’t get caught; 30-58% admired those who made money in any way; 8-45% believed corruption was profitable. The problem today is too many points of theft with no accountability. Also cultural tolerance seems to have gone up, sadly watering down tenets of Chapter Six of our constitution.

Theft without consequences – impunity – causes an erosion of confidence in public institutions, leaders and the law. Ultimately this destabilizes the politics and causes dislocations in society that manifest in a myriad of ways. There is need to make it hard to steal and get away with it. If institutions fail to hold those who steal to account, publicly ostracizing them should be the norm. Parents should live upright and honest lives while moulding the lives of the young ones. If they are busy stealing from the government the apple will not fall far from the tree. We need to look critically at corruption as theft. We never celebrate those who steal from our houses. Why do we celebrate those who still from our pockets indirectly?

Research shows that between 2013-17 Kenya lost US$3.5billion as a result of theft by the Jubilee regime. This is economic delinquency on a grand scale. It is more than mere theft. Deterrence value of convictions and asset recovery is at the core of success against graft. Whistleblowers are essential in fighting crime. They must be protected if we are to succeed. Remember most whistleblowers are public spirited civil servants. As citizens we have what it takes to make sure our leaders are accountable. Also make institutions deliver. Let’s use the power. Sovereign power belongs to us

Title of the topic: Are social movements able to offer solutions to matters affecting the nation?

Tweet Chat Summary For: May 30th 2018

Social movements play vital roles in educating, informing and empowering communities. Through social movements, many communities especially in developing economies have realized serious changes in approaches to the challenges they face, while coming up with sustainable solutions modeled for long and short terms. Social movements have played a leading role in bringing about change in Kenya. All major social and political changes that have happened in Kenya have been birthed through social movements. From the Mau Mau movement in 1960s to the 2010 constitution. Social movements come in two fold, both negative and positive. Positive in the sense that the oppressive nature of the status quo has created interest in social movements as an alternative and a viable option to bring about fundamental change. Negatively in the sense that by keeping the majority of Kenyans from taking it upon themselves to bring about change. They have perpetuated the notion that the problems we have as a country were meant to be and no one can do anything about it.

Social movements can be a great vehicle to rally the people into taking on corruption in government rather than waiting on your favorite politician to do it. Through training and practice, we are not reinventing the wheel but building on best practices that others have used with great success. Most important is that it will spread its basic theory that change only happen when the people themselves participate in bringing about the change they desire. There is no other being coming to bring about change in Kenya, it’s the people to do it.

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#SiasaWesnesday Tweet Chat Summaries – June 6th to July 18th 2018

JUNE

6th June 2018

Is lack of evidence helping suspects go scot free in the justice system?

Kenya has an adversarial system of law, where the Judges take a spectator position and weigh the evidence brought before the court. The problem here does not lack of judicial powers, but it is whether the Judiciary is ready to apply the law effectively in corruption cases. The judiciary can, however, in practice set standards. Corruption laws (Anti-corruption Act) provides a mandatory sentence for twice the benefit a corruption offender gets from corruption. We have the laws, and the question that is raised is whether we are ready to prosecute.

The independence of the Judiciary has greatly improved since the Moi Regime, but we are not there yet. The Judiciary needs to prove to Kenyans that they cannot be intimidated; the recent denial of bail of the NYS suspects is a good start.

12th June 2018

Economic impacts of public theft

Poverty rates in Kenya are higher than they ought to be, and this is as a result of public theft. The causative relationship between poverty and theft of public funds is that, above all else, the resultant higher borrowing and taxes levied on the general citizenry discourages production and that leads to higher than natural incidence of poverty.

It is also possible for the taxpayer to exercise their sovereignty to protect themselves from the repercussions of public theft. The people can pass laws that can check this bad behavior through a referendum.

What other countries have done to reduce government over expenditure and theft, is to tie spending to revenues. The logic here is that the less they can spend, the less they can steal. Balanced budget amendments helps in adopting this approach.

Kenya is also a lucky country in the sense that it has a large private sector as government accounts for, perhaps, give or take, 30% of total spending. Consequently, private sector activity is typically more than 65%. This, to a degree, allows the economy to cope with government failure.
One of the main things that can be done to reduce public theft is education. We need to make economic knowledge general knowledge so that we look at things from a practical perspective. That way, we will be able to understand what is at stake better when political promises are being made.

20th June 2018

Can the Kenyan people survive a 3.07 trillion Kshs budgetary estimate?

This year’s budgetary estimate is 3.07 Trillion Kshs. Kenyans have witnessed a dramatic increase of more than one trillion Kshs, in comparison to last year’s figure of 2.6 billion kshs. This current budget highlights a major challenge, which lies in its funding. Research indicates that there is a gap in the budget of 562 billion KES, and the treasury claims that half of the budget will be financed from borrowing.

The budget is too high, and there are no justifications for some decisions such as the VAT exemptions for basic items, and keeping the VAT rate at 16.

On the possibility of capping the budget; the IEA, an economic think tank in Kenya, found that Kenya’s budget can be sufficient at just 2 Trillion KSHS, where the founder, Kwame Owino, suggested it should be capped.

On checks and balances; Article 12 of the Constitution has sufficient controls of the country’s expenditure. Through the Public Participation Act, Kenyan people can also voice their concerns over any public issues, including the budget. Through this act over expenditure can be minimized.
Within the budget there was no information on the challenges experienced with the implementation of last year’s budget. Fighting corruption was one of the key issue that was briefly talked about by the CS for the National Treasury, when asked about the issue.

JULY

4th July 2018

History of Political alignment in Kenya

The formation of coalitions in Kenya began on a positive note changing the monolithic structure that existed before 1992. However, the political structure in Kenya has become very corrupt which continues the ability of political parties/coalitions to withstand the test of time. As a result, Kenya’s political and economic system cannot guarantee free and fair competition. This is also because all systems are controlled by a small elite that determines who participates and how.

For this to change, Kenyan Youth and other oppressed population groups must realize how much political elites fear an informed, angry, mobilized and organized citizenry. They will be able to defeat bad leadership if they are equipped with knowledge, which will be followed by actions.

11th July 2018

Role of Media: Is it harnessing gains or losing ground?

The role of journalism continues to evolve, and we still haven’t taken time to evaluate this. As a result, media continues to seem like it has lost the integral part it played as the fourth estate in Kenya’s first liberation.

For the East African media to be effective, it has to be able to maintain the trust of the public. As this has not been proved to be the case yet, other alternatives such as citizen journalism will continue to change the course of how stories are developed and consumed. Citizen Journalism has opened up a space for citizens to hold their leaders accountable, and be able to influence political outcomes. Citizens are able to tell their stories without state interference. However, for citizen journalism to be efficiently explored, there has to be paid attention to fact-checking and source-balancing to avoid the spread of false information.

In regards to independence in media; the most important question is asking how this freedom can be harnessed. For instance, the Constitution of Kenya guarantees media freedom, but this is limited by Editors and the Media Council as a result of factors such as ownership and control. This challenge can be addressed through the establishment of publicly funded broadcasters. This way, citizens will easily demand for accountability and media will be more people and issue oriented, as opposed to media setting its own agenda.

Technology has also largely influenced East African media. It has liberalized the dissemination of information, and there is a wider and diverse audience that can be tapped into. There are now various ways in which content can reach consumers using means such as websites, videos, and podcasts. There has also been more employment opportunities as journalists are now working as freelancers. Every journalist can be their own cameraman, photographer, editor and producer.

In conclusion, the future position of media in the East African Region lies in the hands of its citizens.

18th July 2018

Equality in Media: Fact or Fiction?

Equal representation in media allows everyone to belong, gives everybody a voice, which can lead to freedom. Equal representation amplifies the voices of the minority, and raises awareness on their issues and work that they do.

One of the ways in which this can be achieved is if journalists learn to go beyond the headlines, do more homework, especially when it comes to minorities. Learning to listen, look for the story within the story, or change an angle to how they look into an issue, could make a big difference.
The government could also do better in ensuring that laws/policies on equality are well implemented in media. What ails these agencies is nepotism, corruption, and the fact that those within the field allow themselves to be manipulated by external forces.

Technology and citizen journalism have also given a voice to the marginalized groups. Women in the villages have been able to carry practice journalism and report from their own locality. Through citizen journalism, groups have also been able to raise pertinent issues that have brought about policy change. For example, #StreetNakuru and its founder James Wakibia pushed for the ban on plastic through the #ISupportBanPlasticsKE campaign.

In conclusion, every person has a unique story and they should be given a platform on which it can be shared.

The Magic of Storytelling through Podcasting By Cecilia Maundu

The feminist tech exchange safety reboot modules podcasts

The month is August, the year is 2018, am in Nepal for the feminist tech exchange (FTX) convening. My first time in Asia and I must say it was an amazing experience. The meeting was a four-day exchange with feminist trainers and facilitators working on digital security and engaged in building stronger and more resilient movements in a digital age. After the convening the Association for progressive communication (APC) who were the conveners of this meeting floated a grant. The participants were given an opportunity to apply for this grant. And come up with creative ideas around feminist digital security. I applied for the grant and my idea was to localize the feminist tech exchange (FTX) safety reboot modules through podcasts! Yes podcasts. Why podcasts one may ask? Well before I answer that let me give a brief introduction about the FTX training modules, their purpose and who their for. FTX safety Reboot is a training curriculum made up of several modules for trainers who work with women’s rights and sexual rights activists to use the internet safely, creatively and strategically. It is a feminist contribution to the global response to digital security capacity building and enables trainers to work with communities to engage technology with pleasure, creativity and curiosity. It is for trainers working with women’s rights and sexual rights activists on digital safety. Trainers should be familiar with the obstacles and challenges faced where misogyny, censorship and surveillance are restricting activists’ freedom of expression and ability to share information, create alternative economies, build communities of solidarity and express desires. Safety Reboot explores how the online spaces are occupied, how women are represented, how discourses and norms that contribute to discrimination and violence can be countered.

Back to the question of why I choose podcasting, to localize the modules. Well first and foremost podcasting is just one of the most engaging forms of content delivery. Podcasts is basically storytelling in the digital age, and who doesn’t love a good story? I know I do. It’s so important in this technology integrated era that we are living in today, to take advantage of the digital platforms to tell stories, our stories because if we don’t tell our stories who will?. Storytelling is about transporting your listeners to a world they had no idea existed, and it’s your responsibility to make sure you don’t lose them along the way. Actually storytelling has been in existed for centuries. From the Bible being the greatest story ever written to Shakespeare’s, Romeo and Juliet. (Thank me later for jogging your mind). And what better way than podcasts to localize the feminists’ tech exchange safety reboot modules. I was very excited when my idea went through and it was now time to implement the idea. Have you heard of the saying easier said than done? Or in this case easier proposed than implemented? That was the space I was in. Actually I was the poster child for that statement, with this idea. But they say until you are out of your comfort zone, you will never know what you are capable of.

I started with the process of familiarizing myself with the process of creating a podcast, by listening to different podcasts and different tutorials on how to go about it. I then booked my first session in the studio. Let me just say I had assumed since am in the broadcasting industry it was going to be a walk in the park. I mean I work for a media house and we are in the business of broadcasting. So why would the production of podcast be rocket science to me? Let’s just say I was a bit wrong, underline the word a bit. I must admit my first session was challenging. You see with podcasts you assume just because it’s audio it’s just a matter of going in the studio and recording and getting out. On the contrary a lot is involved. Your listeners can pick up on your intonation, the emotion in your voice hence apart from you have to be prepared both mentally and psychologically. For someone who has not done podcasting, it’s good to know that it’s not easy, however it gets better with every episode. Let me replace the word better with interesting.

My first module was on online gender based violence, a topic that is very close to my heart. This module is about guiding participants through the issues relating to online gender-based violence – its root causes, how violence plays out on the internet, the continuum of violence that women, women-identified and queer identities experience online and offline, and its impact. The magic of FTX safety reboot modules is that a lot of group activities is incorporated in all their modules. This makes them more exciting and intriguing to the participants. And that’s the thing about incorporating activities in a training it keeps the participants more alert, and it also arouses their curiosity. After the first episode of the podcast was edited and ready to be aired I uploaded it to my Sound Cloud account and I also uploaded it on YouTube. The reason I choose two different platforms is to cater for the preferences of different audiences. The feedback I got after the first one went on air was very positive. It just fueled my desire and passion to keep going (not that I was going to stop anyway). That’s the thing about positive comments they keep you going and make you want to do better.

My second module was on creating space spaces online. This module is all about making the online space safe for the most vulnerable groups, facilitating learning and building capacity on creating safe online spaces, specifically for at-risk groups and individuals like women and sexual rights activists. I must say this was way much easier than the first one. Let’s say i was getting the hang of it!
The third module was about the “mobile safety”. In this module we work with participants to share strategies and tactics for using their mobile phones more safely in situations and contexts where they live in. How can we keep our phones safe knowing that our phones nowadays are basically our mini laptops.

Last but not least was self- care. Self-care is not a module. However the reason why included it was because it was really discussed during the FTX convening in Nepal. And thought I it was such an important issue that needed to be discussed. And just in a blink of an eye I was done, and I had to wrap up the project. The podcasts offered a comprehensive picture of different views and opinions on each module. And that’s the magic of podcasting. I must say it was a very interesting journey and truly an eye opener. This project would not have been possible without the generous funding of the Association for Progressive communication (APC).  Below are the links to the podcasts.

Both on sound cloud and YouTube. Kindly listen to them, share and give me your feedback.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJAVe-Hx4pc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yErbRrVw6fU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BhPyeXmJfU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BhPyeXmJfU
https://m.soundcloud.com/user-243131473

Cecilia Maundu is a Specialist in gender digital security training and consultant with a focus on training women on how to stay safe online. She is also a broadcast journalist, as well as a User experience trainer, (UX). Collecting user information feedback and sharing it with developers all in the quest of making technology usable for digital security trainers and human rights activists. She is also the current elected secretary general of the International association of Women in radio and television.
Twitter: @ceciliamaundu  |  LinkedIn: cecilia maundu

Would you share your food with your neighbour? By Mercy Kaponda

Last year, I was contesting for Miss Riara (my current institute of study) and all went well. In every pageant competition, the question and answer segment depending on your answers…will determine your chances of winning as either raised or lowered. What I mean is that they require brainy models. On this particular day, my question was, ‘What are the Big Four agenda?’ I knew I did not know the answer so there was literally no need of brainstorming. “Thank you for your question, I however don’t know the answer but I will go and research more on it” was how I probably framed my response.

I will skip the part where I consulted a friend afterwards who gave me answers from the tip of her tongue, very confidently. Thinking about it now, it is something funny that we would both laugh together about now, because she was not entirely right. After research, the following day I got to know the answer to the question posed. With all confidence, allow me to rephrase the answer to the question posed, “Thank you for your question, my name is Mercy Kaponda and I am currently pursuing Business Administration. These are the big four agenda; Universal healthcare, manufacturing, affordable housing and food security”

Then it got me thinking, what is Food Security? The state of having reliable access to sufficient quantity of affordable nutritious food. How do we attain Food security? Is it by producing more food or ensuring nearly zero waste of food or both? I’m here however, to talk on zero waste of food or rather minimal wastage of food. This in my opinion may lead to food security if the world’s population remains the same which might not be the case. Analysis has shown that 815 million people out of the 7.6 billion people in the world are malnourished with is about 1/10 of the world. Another study carried out by the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology shows that 1/3 of the food produced goes to waste. Let us look at some of the statistics available, consumers in North America and Europe lose about 209-253 pounds of food annually per person and the average consumption is 4.7 pounds per person/day. I’ll be working out with the lower figure 209 pounds lost divide by 4.7 consumed daily is equivalent to 44 days which when multiplied by the total population of both N. America and Europe (1,043,067,530) is 46,383,215,695 days which is 127,077,303 years. Do I need to go on with the calculations?

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the population is 1,066,283,427. Statistics have shown that 1 out of 4 people in Sub-Saharan Africa are malnourished, which is approximately 299 million people. From my own analysis, the consumption rate of an African is 1.3 kilograms per person/day while the amount of food lost annually by the above is 6-11 kilograms. Working with the lower value 6 kilograms divide by 1.3 kilograms is equivalent to 4 days which when multiplied by the 767,283,427 non-malnourished people is 3,0691,133,708 days.

Here are a few tips to ensure minimum waste of food. Cook less and only what you need. I am a victim of cooking excessive food and putting it into the refrigerator and eventually throwing it away to the hens. Share food. Instead of throwing food away, share the food with your neighbor.  I know this is awkward in these times, so why not share with a person on the street. Also, changing consumption behaviors such as discarding unappealing food which I am a huge victim. Food is meant to be eaten at the end of the day not to be perfect. To add to that, restaurants can opt for natural preservatives other than artificial ones as they are more effective and healthy. Using fresh ingredients also helps food last longer.

Lastly, I attended an event recently at a certain hotel. After everyone served and headed for their homes, the amount of food left was a lot which would all be thrown away. The hospitality industry should come up with ways for their customers to carry the food. Such hotels can give guidelines on how one can preserve the food and sign disclaimers with their customers in case the food goes bad in their hands. I believe we can all try one of these tips as the little steps is what matters; as the Chinese proverbs says, “One step at a time is good walking”

Written by Mercy Kaponda

Email: mercykaponda98@gmail.com

Siasa Place is an NGO formed 2015 that aims to create an enabling environment for women and youth mainstreaming into our body politics.

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