Talk of youth as future leaders may sound so novel. This is despite the fact that it has always been the case all along- it has, for the longest time, been said that the youth are the future, or leaders of tomorrow if you may. The current crop of leaders, together with the government of the day, has time and again peddled this narrative through the various platforms and channels available to them. However, there has been very little, if any, development over the years to promote the realization of youth leadership. This, therefore, begs the question: Is this merely a simple, empty, and overused cliché?
The youth form the bulk of not only our country’s population but also the electorate. A lot of young people are enthusiastic and eager to be involved politically and to shape their destiny and society(ies) in which they live. The youth are, thanks to their visibility, exposure, and progressive ideas, better placed to assume higher, more effective political and leadership roles. Despite their qualitative and quantitative visibility, the sorry state of their inclusion/ involvement in the management and development affairs of the country is deeply troubling. There are numerous factors that have stood and continue to stand between young people and their quest for leadership. Among the notable obstacles and challenges that make it difficult (or nearly impossible) for young people to lead include; suppressive government structures, corruption, poverty, lack of education, and unemployment. These factors significantly muffle and/or even extinguish their voices, thereby making it imperative that they seek and adopt strategies targeted at making the much-needed change.
Current leaders have also gone to great lengths to cast the youth in a bad light and to portray them as immature and having negative idealistic attitudes that taint their reputation. This should not necessarily be a bad thing. Why? Rather than trends, youth are largely moved by ideas, which they have the potential of staying true to and not giving up on despite the cost, challenges, and obstacles they’ll come across. While this idealistic attitude could earn them a bad reputation in the eyes of veteran leaders, it is precisely what will see them as being good leaders. The veteran leaders have also argued that this digital age has reduced the youth into a mere generation of followers only moved by trivial pursuits, not leadership. In this regard, the youth should remember that social media has been used the world over by other young people to bring about change, lead, and hold the government to account. Through social media, youth have been able to organize unprecedented change in, for example, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, and so on. Youth have also used social media to get their messages across and to drive various causes- such as human rights, unfair or discriminatory policies, injustices, and climate change- which have been responsible for various historical developments in the world.
It is, thus, all too clear that the youth are the ones best suited to drive positive change and pave the way for the future. Without youth empowerment, the country cannot thrive. While the country is led by veterans, its future is highly dependent on the youth and young leaders who remain highly disenfranchised and excluded despite their having the skills, ideas, motivation, and power to lead. The youth should, therefore, rally together, remind their leaders of their duties and responsibilities, take it upon themselves to demand good leadership and accountability, and take ownership of their future by pushing for the change they’d like to see.
Written by Levin Banns Ouma
Profile: I am a Kenyan youth who is interested in and closely follows politics and governance issues in the country. Facebook: Levin Leweezy Ouma
“Will we succumb to chaos, division, and inequality? Or will we right the wrongs of the past and move forward together?” the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres posed to global leaders in the 18th edition of the annual Nelson Mandela Lecture. The lecture was given as part of the celebrations of Nelson Mandela International Day which is celebrated on the 18th of July every year to honor the legacy of a global icon whose values continue to inspire many seven years after his death.
The question above resonates well in the Kenyan context we find ourselves in today. Many Kenyans feel the supplication in our national anthem, “O God of all creation bless this our land and nation”, has gone unanswered or the blessings have been few, with the rest praying for more blessings upon the few. It is worth noting that we are in the middle of a global pandemic whose effects on the economy have caused untold suffering to countless Kenyans. Declining income, closure of businesses, and the loss of jobs only reflect the tip of the iceberg. The political climate in the country, however, seems to suggest otherwise. One would be forgiven for thinking we are months to a general election with the novel coronavirus already contained.
The political doldrums in the midst of a pandemic make one wonder whether it is a blessing or a curse to be born in this country. It seems this quagmire is what made a netizen to hilariously assert that this country should be closed for repairs.
However, all is not lost. Amidst all these, we are given a chance to correct mistakes and build a future while appreciating our not so memorable past. It is while we are down that we scratch our heads for the way up. It is no longer tenable to remain in the trenches and complain about poor governance and corruption in government. It is time to advance against the ills that bedevil our societies and stand to be counted. After all human history is replete with circumstances where the unfathomable has been achieved by the unexpected.
In this sense, rising up means fighting the undoing that fan negativity and embrace those that bind us in unity and form the hegemony that Kenya should be. This means extending our arms to the less fortunate in our communities and demanding action from authorities where we feel there are issues. It also means the citizenry making an effort to become more informed on how they are and how they should be governed. Above all, it is all about raising the political cautiousness of the people to enable them to make decisions that benefit them in post-COVID 19 elections.
Finally, it is also about our leaders owning up to the great responsibility bestowed on them by leading from the front. It is a great dereliction of their ordained duties to be the ones leading in subverting laws which are meant for the good of the people to oppress and deny citizens their right. Politicking on succession politics in these extraordinary times is at best pharisaical of them.
The good for all is a prosperous country where unemployment is eradicated, healthcare accessible by all, housing no longer a preserve of a few, food security attained, and where the rule of law reigns. Now is the time to begin the actualization of this, because this is what we signed up for.
Written by Kibet Brian who is a Student at the University of Nairobi – School of Law in Parklands. He comments on topical issues with a bias for Tax, Social, and Administrative Justice.
Twitter – @Kibett_Brian
Facebook- Ki-Bett Brian
Considering the fact that the youths are the future and the representation of any nation, Kenya is not exempted from such a fact due to the high number of youth in the country. This is because these are the people who are mainly engaged in any nation-building process or any destructive process due to the high levels of energy that they have and the capability of them adapting to new environments. In recent years, we have seen youth being engaged in certain reforms of our nation. The latest has been witnessed during the Kazi Mtaani Project that has seen the cleaning and rehabilitation of our environment. This was a great boost to the youth since to some extent; the levels of unemployment and poverty were reduced. However, there is much that needs to be done to counter the unemployment notwithstanding the fact that most of them have attended institutions of higher learning. Though most of them are now being encouraged to attend technical institutions so as to create self-employment, the government should feel the urge of providing sufficient capital to them after successful completion of whatever course one has engaged in. Also, there is a need to engage the youth in administrative processes such as governance and policy implementation. As stated earlier, the youth are the future of any nation and in regards to this, a generation of responsible youth will be raised and this will create a stable transition of them from junior to some of the senior positions in governance. This will help our nation avoid going into a governance crisis.
In Kenya, the executive, legislature, and any other administrative bodies have been given the power to come up with legislation and policies. However, any undertaking that these institutions do engage in should be in the best interest of the citizens and through their involvement.
According to Article 1 of the constitution, the Sovereign power belongs to the citizens and hence the need for the citizens to be engaged in public participation as guaranteed in the Constitution of Kenya in Articles 10 (2) a, 69(1)d, 174(c), 184(1), 196(1)b and 232(1)d. The government usually uses the Kenya Gazette to present any issue that needs public participation. The question that arises is: how many Kenyans are able to access the Kenyan gazette and fully air out their views? How many Kenyans are able to read and fully comprehend whatever information has been placed before them in the gazette? Are the timelines provided for public participation regarded as sufficient? Despite the fact that public participation is guaranteed in law, the government of Kenya has not yet reached the threshold that is required for sufficient public participation to be stated to have taken place. This is clearly seen in instances whereby the public is not involved and if they are involved they are not given enough time to participate. Recently, it was witnessed when there was a transfer of functions from the county government of Nairobi to the national government.
The deed of transfer of functions was rendered illegal by J. Hellen Wasilwa in Petition 52 of 2020. This is because the county assembly was not involved in the process which was a clear violation of the constitution. In such a case, public participation would have been conducted by the members of the county assembly who are the representatives of the citizens of Nairobi County. In conclusion, public participation remains not to have been fully implemented and hence the need for the government to institute measures to ensure the same will be conducted fully in the coming instances.
Written by Stephen Gathaga Mihang’o, a student at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa
Facebook: Stephen Gathaga
There are always two sides to a story. A story is never complete if you don’t listen to both sides. This is especially where there are controversies or disputes but especially when it involves the death of a person. In case of an accident, if the victim survives and lives to tell their tale then that’s okay and great as well. At least the family of the victim will know what really happened and if there are things that can be avoided as well as lessons learned from the accident. But what happens to the victims that die instantly…who lives to tell their story? Who can attest to what really happened that led to the death of the victims? Their story will always be forgotten tales. No one will ever know what really happened that led to their demise.
When one loses a loved one, there are more questions than answers. Questions that only the dead can answer. Questions we carry for a lifetime. Questions that do us more harm than good. These questions hurt so deeply, pierces the heart like a knife. The questions lead us to a place that no one wishes to be in. One is left in limbo. It is hard to move away from such thoughts and only God can give you peace of mind, serenity, and tranquility that you so badly need.
COVID 19 for instance came with a bang. Like the uninvited guest, the virus came unnoticed, settled among us, and set the pace and tune which everyone dances to at the moment. The tunes may not be melodious as we all wish it should be but we forcefully have to listen to it and settle with the rhythm however boring. Every nation worldwide has been affected by the virus, so many have died and Kenya has not been spared either. There are those who have died as a result of the virus. There are those who suffered from mild headaches and died from it. There are those who have died from childbirth. At the same time, there are those who have suffered from major and minor accidents and died at the hospital, there are those who have had heart failure and died as a result. Some of these cases have been reported as COVID 19 cases thus creating stigma on the bereaved families.
Unfortunately, the dead cannot speak for themselves. The living is the one left to defend the dead. It is only the victims that can truly tell their tales but it is unlikely that anyone would listen because they cannot speak nor can their voices be heard. The stories of their struggle, suffering, and the feeling of loneliness and abandonment by their loved ones will remain untold. Only the ones who have survived the ordeal can narrate their survival journey. Sadly, the dead will always keep the pain and agony they went through when they were sick when they suffered when their heart failed. They cannot tell the world they are not COVID 19 victims as it is claimed by others. Theirs will always remain to be so only to be forgotten by others with time.
Forgotten tales are stories worth listening to and sharing the pain of the victims, but mostly it is never the case. The owners travel with them to an unknown destination and no one will ever know what truly happened. Their stories are in a safe haven but forgotten by many.
Written by Barbra Ouma from Kisumu county
Facebook: Barbara Ouma
Chapter 4 of the Constitution of Kenya is an ambitious aspiration that is meant to promote equality, equity, inclusion, and non- discrimination based on gender, race, and ethnicity. The Constitution has presented an occasion where women and girls have over time experienced historical imbalance. Systemic challenges have made it difficult for women to not only access political leadership but also social and economic rights. The right to safe abortion, right to menstrual health hygiene, female genital mutilation are some of the issues that women and girls among other things fight every day.
Menstruation is a biological process that transitions a girl to womanhood. Some girls experience it earlier than the age of ten, others experience it way later. This biological process is characterized by pain, some women experience extremely heavy bleeding, premenstrual syndrome, and amenorrhea. However, this biological process which forms a critical component of sanitation, health, and education has been compounded by taboos and cultural practices. Silence or discussion of menstruation hygiene in hushed tones has curtailed women’s and girls’ ability to express their sexuality and this hinders their participation in matters that concern them. The silence has been worsened by existing gender and social norms, societal restrictions, predominant patriarchy, and gender inequality.
Kenya has made some significant strides in addressing menstrual hygiene. Water and sanitation sector is key in implementing menstrual hygiene management, hence Article 43 of the Constitution has given a right to all to enjoy access to clean and safe water in adequate quantities. Menstrual health is a reproductive matter, the same provision guarantees all women and girls to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health which includes reproductive health care. However, these rights have not been fully achieved as far as menstrual hygiene is concerned. Most girls and women in low- and middle-income areas still face challenges relating to access to sanitation facilities and lack of proper avenues for disposal of menstrual waste. Disposal of menstrual hygiene products is not only a waste management problem but a health issue as well. Poor disposal of menstrual products may act as a breeding ground for infections and diseases. On top of that too, sanitary products not disposed of well can be an eyesore. Most school latrines and public toilets lack free-flowing water, lockable doors, good lighting, and privacy in general.
And to mention accessibility, the prices of sanitary towels are outrageous. Girls and women who cannot afford this commodity have been forced to improvise the sanitary products. Tree barks, socks, tissues are some of the improvised products. Even though these go a long way, they pose a challenge and could lead to infections. Some young women in rural areas are known to sit on small holes they have dug as their menstrual cycle passes.
The Basic Education Amendment Act, No. 17 of 2017, provides that the government shall provide free sufficient and quality sanitary towels to every child registered and enrolled in a public basic education institution who has reached puberty and provide a safe and environmentally sound mechanism for disposal of the sanitary towels. This has kept many girls in school but in areas where negative gender-based practices continue to prevail that limit access of girls to education, girls have missed out on this which has spiked the rise of early teenage pregnancy due to transactional sex and in some areas early childhood marriages.
The Menstrual Health and Hygiene Policy is a landmark Policy that was approved by the Government of Kenya in November 2019. It contains five policies that the government hopes to include in existing programs like the anti-FGM campaign. The policies which include the establishment of an enabling legal and regulatory environment for women and girls, eradication of myths, taboos, and stigma around menstruation, ensure women and girls have access to safe and hygienic menstrual products, safe and appropriate menstrual waste management and maximum accountability in the policy will go a long way in ensuring that women and girls enjoy this reproductive health right devoid of stigma and shame.
Written by Mercy Chepkemoi who is a lawyer by profession. She is particular with issues affecting women’s rights.
Twitter – @masiememo
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Facebook – Mercy Chepkemoi Chebett
As the country struggles to curb the spread of coronavirus, teenage pregnancy has also starred as another outbreak that has raised alarm all over the country. It has been weeks since the media reported data that is said to have been from public facilities, even as stakeholders continue to debate on this matter and blaming each other, the big question remains, how do we liberate our girls from another pandemic called teenage pregnancies?
The magnitude of the problem extends to the social, mental and economic wellbeing of the pregnant girls as most them are not able to complete their education despite the existence of policies that support them to resume school after delivery; Important to note is that complications relating to pregnancies and childbirth are the leading causes of deaths for girls age 15-19 (WHO), therefore this pandemic exposes teenage girls to even greater risk. Their limited capacity to negotiate for safe sex, school closure, sexual violence, and perhaps the COVID-19 pandemic might have been the leading causes of teenage pregnancy.
Urban informal settlements have mostly been affected by the surge of teenage pregnancies with teenagers being left at the mercy of quack doctors procuring unsafe abortions, while those who choose to keep the baby have limited access to essential healthcare. Doreen is a thirteen-year-old girl living in Mukuru slums, she is four months pregnant from a 23-year-old man, Doreen has since faced rejection from her parents and the man who impregnated her. She expresses her dissatisfaction with the antenatal care she has been receiving from a nearby facility. Doreen represents thousands of girls across the country who are facing tough times in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Enough said, if the issue of teenage pregnancies is not addressed then we might end up having more teenage pregnancies than COVID-19 cases; so how do we sustain the gains made over the years as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic? Stakeholders including parents, the government, and Non-Governmental Organizations should promote comprehensive sexuality education that will help learners make informed decisions concerning their bodies and health. There is also a need for continuous advocacy to address policy barriers that limit enabling legal and socio-cultural environment for accessing Sexual Reproductive Health Services and information
Finally, it is imperative to note that the root causes of teenage pregnancies are complex and to be successful, there is a need for comprehensive, multi-pronged, and multi-sectoral approaches and integration of the approaches in COVID-19 response especially at the County level.
Steve is a passionate Reproductive health advocate who has a reputation in the youth sector when it comes to reproductive health and rights.
He is a youth health advocate from Nairobi Youth Advisory Council championing for the rights of youth and adolescents, sexual minorities to access to comprehensive and age-responsive sexual reproductive health knowledge about their sexual and reproductive rights.
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On Thursday the 18th of June as the world slept, world leaders convened virtually to cast votes for the UN Security Council non-permanent membership 2021–20202. Kenyan won. This was after it garnered129 votes against Djibouti’s 62 in the second round of voting at the UNSC headquarters in New York City. Kenya won largely due to its support for refugees from Somalia and South Sudan, as well as to its support to the two countries’ fragile governments. The win came at an opportune time, this is because Nairobi’s latest international bids had largely been unsuccessful. Kenya had lost a bid to host the secretariat of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement to Ghana. She had lost her bid to have one of her own as Chairperson of the AU Commission. It also failed to host the regional offices of the Afrexim Bank. This means that Nairobi can, from January 2021, return to the UN’s most powerful organ after 23 years where it will be part of key decisions on global peace and security.
As a Kenyan and a patriot, my heart was filled with joy and I couldn’t help but smile as I read the news. I did not know what this meant for the country, but my ignorant self was aware that being the UN Security Council, this meant that it was a huge deal or so I thought. But what does this big win mean? How does this major move translate to the life of a Common Mwananchi? Does it trickle down to Wekesa or is it just an icing on the cake? Are there perks that one can ride on or is it another foreign concept one that is of no benefit to the citizens?
The win wasn’t devoid of issues, it later came up that none of the East African countries voted for Kenya a move that left most of us questioning our rapport with our neighbors. Observers said Djibouti’s race against Kenya may jeopardize working relations in regional blocs the two countries belong. According to Dr. Mustafa Ali, “having two entrants from the same region was also a pointer to weak multilateral diplomacy in Africa and a possibility of external influence.”
The fact that two countries from the IGAD region were competing for a non-permanent member seat at the UNSC left us wondering if this was a pointer to deep divisions between countries at the sub-regional bloc~ Dr. Mustafa Y Ali, Chairman of the Horn International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Speaking during a press conference Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Racheal Omamo alluded to the fact that with the new platform, Kenya will articulate the issues that shaped its campaign for the seat. These issues include regional peace, Justice and Human rights, Climate Change, and youth empowerment. She mentioned that the opportunity will allow Kenya to join the world in dealing with issues that are critical for every human being.
“It is essential that Africans are at the table, that our ideas, our decision making, our thought processes visions and are laid on the table for all to see, for all to hear and for all to engage with that is why we were endorsed by the African Union to speak for Africa without hesitation, trepidation and without fear.~Racheal Omamo Cabinet Secretary Foreign Affairs.
The big question is can Kenya and Africa as a whole make its global point or influence as an independent entity without being infiltrated by external power interests?
Mukanda Asha is a bibliophile who is passionate about youth, women, policy, and data and the effect that the four have on each other.
A lot has been happening across the world and the news has been overwhelming to watch and listen to everyday. We can’t underestimate the value of mental well- being especially during such a period in our lives. Most of us rely on watching TV as the main source of news but what we don’t understand is how TV can affect our mental well-being. Unlike Radio and Newspaper, TV airs news by both visual and audio, which can create phobia, fear and anxiety issues. According to research conducted by Patient.info, led by their clinical director – Dr. Sarah Jarvis, shows that among the 2000 people surveyed, those of age 18-24 felt lonely, depressed, anxious, empty and had difficulties sleeping after watching TV news.
For those aged 55 and above were less anxious and less likely to experience mental health problems. We can’t fail to talk about the recent police brutality, not to mention the George Floyd police brutality in the US.
Here in Kenya, the Director of Public prosecutions Noordin Haji, acknowledged that his office has recorded 80 cases of police brutality since October 2019. Looking at such huge numbers, we are prone to panic, fear and anxiety.
How we think, feel and act is influenced. But once a country’s people are in fear, the economy is at risk. A productive nation is when its citizens care for their Mental health, and then, they can build a better economy.
Government figures show that at least one in every four Kenyans suffer from a mental illness at one point in their lives. Taking a deeper look into how social media increases the numbers, it is worrying. Twitter – the most powerful social media platform, most users on this app have expressed in one of their tweets how they are suffering from mental illness. It can be stress, Depression, anxiety and sleeping disorders.
The tweets are clear, search for the word #Depression or any other mental illness, you’ll see how serious these issues are and the need for Mental health programs in Kenya.
Look at the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and #EndPoliceBrutalityKE. An indication of people tired of police brutality and awakening call to give justice to the bereaved families.
Protecting our Mental health is very important, especially during such times. These are some of the guidelines that will help keep your Mental health in check.
- Start a Daily Routine and Stay Consistent
Having a routine will help you develop a positive mindset especially one that incorporates a regular bedtime and waking time. If you are at home, allocate a working area – so every time you are there, you focus on work.
- Stay Home, Wear Mask and Wash your hands
Keeping safe is our major responsibility and we ought to accomplish it. While at home, ensure all your surfaces are clean. When out shopping maintain social distance, wash your hands and wear your mask.
Do not overdo any of these measurements that will only increase fear and phobia.
- Allow your life to go on
Live the moment, allow inner self to come in agreement with your emotions, accept how you feel and know you can do something about it. Acknowledge you are not alone and this shall end.
- Eat a balanced meal & be consistent with your meal time.
For a healthy mental and psychical state, eat your meals at a selected time to help you balance your mental health and physical equilibrium.
Your Mental wellness is your wealth, take health breaks out of Social Media and create routines to keep you on track.
Faith Moraa Ogega is a Writer, Digital Strategist, Mental health Advocate, Fitness and Lifestyle Enthusiastic and a passionate Performance Coach.
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SIASA PLACE STATEMENT
DATE: 2nd June, 2020
RE: STATEMENT ON EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS IN KENYA
As Siasa Place we wish to strongly condemn the inhumane and unlawful use of force by the Police on the people during the enforcement of set out guidelines and directives to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus in the Country. We have noted with concern the excessive force meted on citizens violating the guidelines more specifically the nationwide dusk to dawn curfew and wearing of face masks while in public. In recent times, there have been reports of the brutality across the country on people found to violate the guidelines. These acts of brutality and unlawful detention in some cases and extortion should not be allowed where laws exist on how to punish the offenders.
We note with great concern that young people specifically men are highly targeted and also those in informal settlements. According to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) since October 2019 they have received 80 (eighty) cases of police brutality as reported to the Independent Policing and Oversight Authority (IPOA) and shockingly 15 (Fifteen) people have been killed and 31 (thirty one) others injured by police officers since Kenya heightened security measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Just this week, a middle-aged man was shot dead in Bondeni area, Mathare Constituency in Nairobi County for allegedly contravening the dusk to dawn curfew order. The man commonly known as Vaite was coming from the Marikiti market where he earns his daily living and was heading ‘home’ when he met his untimely death. This incident sparked protests which went into the night. We condemn this extrajudicial killing and call upon the government to move with speed in prosecuting those involved in the heinous act. Particularly, we ask the Independent Policing and Oversight Authority (IPOA) to investigate this incident and charge those found culpable.
While, we appreciate the government’s efforts in combating COVID-19 in the Country, there is need to obey the rule of law and the constitution.
About Siasa Place
Siasa Place is an NGO formed in 2015 that aims to create an enabling environment for youth mainstreaming into our body politic, through inclusion and meaningful participation.
In Africa the gap between the poor and the rich is inevitable throughout the various different countries in the continent. According to the Oxfam international research 10% of rich individuals earn 23 times more than the poorest 10% of individuals in Kenya.
Social inequality refers to the degree of unequal distribution of resources like wealth and opportunities like health, education and employment opportunities. Social Inequality entails various differences between persons and groups of people which depend on availability of expenditure, income information and other dimensions in their various lives.
In Kenya, social inequality continues to thrive majorly due to corruption which creates an unequal gap involving distribution of resources. Research from Oxfam shows that in Kenya poverty levels can be improved by simply reducing income inequality among individuals. “The solution is easier said than done” as there is a strong link between economic inequality and gender inequality.
Gender inequality involves unequal opportunities offered based on gender rather than one’s skills and experience. Men hold major positions of power in various job categories compared to women as they are deemed responsible and providers in the society, while women were deemed responsible for the family and house chores. Fewer women are in positions of legislature as an average of 40% of women in Sub Sahara Africa are not able to complete their higher education due to various factors like early marriages and cultural discrimination.
It is estimated that over the next decade millionaires will keep rising as other millions of citizens will still live in extreme poverty languishing in slums. In order to reduce social inequality in our country we as patriotic citizens can work together with the government to adopt policies that will reduce social inequality. Some of the changes that can be implemented include :
- Investing in healthcare services equally
- Equalizing wages and salaries
- Progress on racial and gender equality policies.
- Increased taxation on wealthy rather than the poor.
- Political leaders should listen to the needs of the ordinary majority rather than the privileged few.
In conclusion leaders need to take accountability of equitable distribution of any resources to the public and implement recommended policies since it will help reduce the major social inequalities in the country.
Ivy Achieng Omondi is a go-getter, team player and an enthusiastic youth on matters involving women empowerment, youth empowerment and political matters in the country.
Social media handles – @ trehvivyivy (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
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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.
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What matters? Welfarism? Free markets? Democracy or just efficient governance systems? Individualism or communalism? The essentialism of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be underestimated.
The COVID-19 crisis has raptured globalization, disheveled economies, disarrayed polities and reorganized societies on massive scale. Pristinely, a global economic recession is looming.
Economic recessions or crises have always led to fundamental change in politics and thence a revision of the social and economic policies adopted to transition to the next chapter. The COVID-19 pandemic manifests itself as a social, political and economic crisis.
Socially, norms and routines have been altered. People are forced to adjust to unfamiliar lives: working from home; no more feeling of camaraderie from social gatherings; for others, it’s doomsday with their jobs wiped out by the monstrous virus; for some, readjusting to realities of life in the countryside is the new normal; and certainly, worries about the fate of tomorrow dominate our lives than ever before.
Politically, the frivolous nature of greedy politicians has been exposed. Politicians are now familiar with policies and terminologies of a functional healthcare system. State capture by big business is in plain view; financial bailout programmes are mainly targeting large corporations and not small and medium-scale enterprises. Democracy and authoritarian classifications no longer matter. It is how efficiently governments around the world respond to the crisis.
Economically, it’s evident that people should matter more than profits and this ought to be the primacy of policy. Global supply chains are disrupted. Organizations are scaling down their operations and unemployment is set to rise. Living standards are bound to fall and manacles of poverty are primed to handcuff more people. Developing countries are set to rack up more debts. In short, the COVID-19 pandemic has orchestrated a reversal of economic gains.
A Reflection of the Past
History matters, and it matters a great deal! In modern world history, economic crises or pandemics of human nature have often led to political, economic and social reforms. For instance, the deadly Spanish flu that ravaged parts of the world between 1918 and 1920 occasioned public healthcare reforms.
According to Laura Spinney, the aftermath of the Spanish flu prompted governments to adopt policies seeking to provide healthcare for all. Spinney notes that the post-Spanish flu period saw Russia become the first country to establish a centralized public healthcare system, a policy imperative adopted by some Western European countries. Such a healthcare system was fully financed by a state-run insurance scheme. Creation of Sweden’s modern welfare state is significantly credited to the depredations of the Spanish flu.
Across the Atlantic, the federal government of the United States of America opted for employer-based insurance schemes as part of the post-Spanish flu healthcare reforms. In Canada, the topsy-turvydom created by the Spanish flu pandemic led to the establishment of the federal Department of Health in 1919 with the state playing a primary role in advancing public healthcare.
Although information about the origin of the Spanish flu is still unclear, the first official cases were recorded at USA Army’s Camp Funston in Kansas. Large-scale mobilization of troops during World War I is thought to have catalyzed the spread of the flu.
A report published by the Federal Bank of St. Louis in 2007 documents about the economic effects of the 1918 Spanish influenza such as closure of grocery stores, an increase in drug store activities, a rise in demand for beds and mattresses, long hours of work for physicians, and closure of mines among others.
Despite the fact that the report entirely focuses on the American state, its praxis on the significance of the nexus of the 1918 Spanish flu and a modern-day pandemic is engrossing.
Africa also bore the brunt of the Spanish flu with a research study highlighting that in the coastal region of Kenya the virus paralyzed administrative operations, created food shortage, occasioned commercial losses and overstretched the healthcare sector. In South Africa, the flu led to the death of 300,000 South Africans representing 6% of the total population.
In an article published by Reuters Magazine in 2013, Begley warns of how a flu pandemic could trigger a global recession. The news feature is based on a 2008 World Bank report highlighting that the SARS pandemic of 2009 shredded global GDP by $33 billion.
Major economic crises always spark calls for reforms. Notably, the Great Depression resulted in the formulation of the New Deal which largely aimed at addressing the plight of the common Americans. In Western Europe, the economic crisis occasioned by World War II actuated the European Recovery Programme (the Marshall Plan). These two reforms laid the foundation for the Golden Age of Capitalism although Robert Reich in his book, Supercapitalism, refers to it as “Not Quite the Golden Age” since political and economic inequality was evident among women and minority groups.
The economic recession of 1973 changed the global political economy in fundamental ways. Economist and historian Marc Levinson writes that the early 1970s marked the end of the Golden Age of Capitalism with politics moving to the Right. The decline of the Golden Age resulted from stagnated productivity growth. The shift of politics to the Right resulted in a loss in social benefits such as health insurance mostly provided by governments across Western Europe among others. As such, the implications on public healthcare were significant.
The fundamental shift in the global political systems was also embraced by the Bretton Woods institutions which embarked on missions to spread the Washington Consensus gospel in Africa through the infamous Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs).
Failure of SAPs is evident especially in public healthcare and education systems leading to revision of the Washington Consensus with focus directed to a number of policy issues including provision of social safety nets and poverty reduction.
Financial crisis that precipitated the Great Recession in 2008/2009 led to advocacy for more government intervention in the economy with calls for provision of healthcare for all especially in developed economies. The austerity measures adopted by governments following the recession were germs for emergence of radicalized political movements across the global north.
William Davies contends that the financial crisis of 2008 failed to provoke a fundamental shift in capitalism but the COVID-19 crisis is set to bring about a sea change in the systems of global political economy based on high levels of international connectedness and the spatial nature of the pandemic. Retooling of social and economic life is certain with the pandemic serving as an inflection point “for new economic and intellectual beginnings.”
A Vision for the Future
Economic and political movements will emerge after the pandemic to vouch for reformation of healthcare systems all over the world. Governments and multi-lateral institutions will have to change their priorities and increase spending on public healthcare. Therefore, universal healthcare will emerge as a policy priority for state and non-state actors.
Governments and multi-lateral institutions reluctant to embrace healthcare for all will encounter opposition from social justice movements and disgruntled members of the public.
A paradigm shift in the systems of political economy is also bound to happen. Neoliberalism is set to reform or undergo decapitation. Political and economic ideologies that fashion people over profits will dominate public discourse. Could there be a re-emergence of democratic capitalism or will social democracy be the norm? Will the Chinese political economy model inspire states?
What is the future of big business in the global economy and national politics? Reformation of the healthcare system will most likely be derailed by the Big Pharma. Big Pharma may take hostage global politics and economics. The intricacies of the medical-industrial complex could go a notch higher.
Globalization will still be fashioned by state and non-state actors as a crucial step towards economic recovery and prosperity.
Immigration to the most affected countries especially the developed ones is set to take place. The Western world may review its immigration policies and make them friendly. But this will depend on the pace of economic recovery.
Is a new world order in the offing? Too close to call but possibilities are within the horizons; evolution and dominance of the world by the medical-industrial complex and not the military-industrial complex; the dawn of a multi-polar world; dissipation of democratic ideals and enchantment of political pragmatism; and establishment of welfare states.
Sitati Wasilwa is a political economist and consultant on governance, geopolitics and public policy at Savic Consultants and a youth leader at YMCA Kenya. Twitter: @SitatiWasilwa
Getting a job in Kenya is hard. One goes through a lot of monkey business, it ends up as a job in itself, a job for looking for jobs.
I am shocked at just the sheer volumes of young people struggling to get employment. For the record, I am not unemployed. Sometimes though, I wonder what is the point of saying you are employed if your struggles are just the same as those unemployed?
I mean, this country in the beginning of this year introduced new taxes. Talk of turnover taxes for small business. This is over and above the taxes this government levies on businesses and Kenyans. The net effect is it leaves you with little monies that actually being employed sometimes, does feel like being unemployed.
I know of a single parent who takes home 4000 thousand Kenya shillings per month net salary. With it she is expected to feed, clothe and protect her 2 year old. The current state of economy forces Kenyans to do and be everything so as to make ends meet.
I always wonder, what if this single parent taking home Ksh. 4000 monthly quits her job, how will she survive?
Come to think of it, this is the mentality that we are forced to have. We have been conditioned to think that ‘little is better than nothing’. We are encouraged to stick with it because uncertainty of unemployment is too great.
Employers, meanwhile have learned to take advantage of this dire state of affairs. They know Kenyans will take what is being offered. Economy is bad, they tell us and something is better than nothing. So for those people who think are lucky being employed, including myself, news flash, we actually are not. I am not saying that you should quit your jobs. No. I’m only saying we live in a selfish society where the state and our laws have utterly failed to protect its citizens. We the people, have found ways of going round the problem, we have several sources of income to sustain our families
The frustrations for young people don’t end here, welcome to the home of contradictions where you study for field A but get work in field Z. I mean, each year Kenya produces thousands of graduates whose majority end up tarmacking for years and years. By the time they get a job that they studied for its seems too late as companies want higher degree or more skills. If you decide to go back to school and get this higher degree, you again seem to be too overqualified. Now this is a monkey business that needs to stop.
Recently, I went to a government building to run some errands. To my surprise, all the desks that I went to for assistance were being manned by old folks. May the good Lord forgive me but these are our grandparents who are meant to be enjoying their retirement. I enjoyed the slow service, a process that could have taken 30 minutes took 3hrs.
Most of our institutions are run by people who maybe had a certificate and as time went by, they did not see the need to go back to school. So if one goes to seek employment with the hope that their degree will be a plus, they will get a rude shock because, people at these places feel threatened by ones qualifications. They think their jobs will be taken away from them. That is why old people keep dominating while the youth keep tarmacking.
So let us face it, the economy is bad. The government is worsening the situation by taking more loans. I do not know about you but at this rate, where we are heading as this current state scares me.
Written by Sharon Laura O.
The National Youth Council Act of 2009 establishes the National Youth Council (NYC) in law. The Council comprises several members from the Ministry in charge of youth affairs, and eight youths elected by the youth in a formal set-up. The purpose of the National Youth Council is to give a voice to the youth of Kenya in a bid to have an inclusive body in the political, social and economic matters affecting the country.
A Bill, the National Youth Council Amendment Bill (2019) was introduced to Parliament to amend some provisions of the NYC, Act. Among other proposals, the Bill proposes changing the format of membership of the Council. NYC comprises 8 youths elected by the youth. The Bill proposes to change this set-up to 9 youths nominated by the Cabinet Secretary. This proposal, if passed, will undermine democracy within the Council, limiting the voice and participation of the Youth in governmental affairs.
The proposed composition of membership of NYC will curtail the very essence of the Council. The Council as is, promotes independent participation of the youth in the Council. Having the members nominated by the Executive, rather than elected by the public, undermines the independence of the youth members and that of the Council as a whole.
In a number of the most democratic countries, the members of youth councils or the equivalent entity, are elected by other youth democratically and voluntarily. The Norwegian Children and Youth Council for example, has its members elected by members of other youth organizations. The Commonwealth Youth Council also has its executive members elected by other youth.
Why then, would the Kenyan Parliament propose nomination of youth members into the Council by the Executive? Is there foul play? Do they have malicious intentions? The most probable answer would be that Parliament, through the Executive, wants to have a hand in the affairs of NYC. They intend to suppress the democratic factor of the Council, thus limiting the functions of the Council.
Should the proposed amendment go through, then the Youth of the country may no longer count on the Council to carry their concerns independently. Further, the Youth will not have confidence in the affairs of the Council and will generally doubt their integrity.
There is a general feeling of loss of confidence on the government’s focus on youth affairs in the country. Allowing the government further control on youth affairs will be therefore undesirable and will extinguish the youth’s hope on making a difference in the country’s affairs. It is therefore imminent and important that Parliament does not consider the controversial clause on changing the NYC, but rather leave it as it is.
By Anita Otieno
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.
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;
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
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.
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
Writing is not simple, frankly a difficult task to regularly be able to story tell. Any writer would like to have a concise, complete, up to date and reliable record. In order to get that record they have to do proper research, read and re-read before they get a first draft.
African liberation, the realization of African nationalists’ dreams seem farfetched. Africa has never been the continent that Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Frantz Fanon wished it to be.
In the preamble of the promulgated 2010 constitution of the Republic of Kenya, it commits to nurture and protect the well-being of the individuals, the family, communities and the nation at large. Therefore, the states through elected and nominated representatives are mandated to ensure that Kenya is a better place to be –a safe haven. However, this has not been the case. More…
As we settle back to our work flow, in this new year. I can’t help but think of the circus that occurred during my transit to the village for the holidays.
- Drivers on phone or operating vehicle radio most of the time
One day as I was traveling from the village back to the city and was privileged to seat next to the driver of transline shuttle. For the first 4 hours, the driver was on phone more than all the passengers combined. He was either making a call, receiving a call, texting or reading a text message. While off his phone, the focus shifted to either changing radio channels, trying to search music from his phone and back to phone calls. It was a concern for me and decided to post it on Facebook and reactions received was that this was not something unique to that particular driver but a problem with shuttle drivers. A week later, I decided to use Guardian shuttle to Kisumu and it was the same trend. Distraction is a major cause of accidents on our roads.
- Drivers hitting the target
As Christmas drew close, demand on transport increased and drivers got trapped into making money without considering the regulations. For instance, one driver making unprecedented 900k within 24 hours with most of them making those trips from 19th to 24th December and the same will be expected in January as the same people will be rushing back to report to work. How? A driver would start the trip by 6am in Nairobi to Kisii (300km) and leave Kisii by 2pm for Nairobi and finally have the last trip back to Kisii. That same driver will leave Kisii very early even with five passengers because filling a shuttle then was not possible if they had to make the trips and there was no waiting in Nairobi as passengers were already waiting, as one driver that I spoke to mentioned. Fatigue is among the causes of accidents regularly mentioned by the police. SACCOs can regulate just how many trips a driver can make.
- Police mounting roadblocks
Do they even serve their purpose? Driver’s comradeship demanded that they informed their colleagues if there were roadblocks mounted and therefore some would change route or reduce speed for those who were over speeding. More inspiring was the fact that motorists have devised an online application updated by drivers on roadblocks to inform the road users and therefore they are able to plan accordingly whether to reduce speed or change route. Therefore, police must now embrace use of technology, invest on working their relationship with the public and invest in intelligent policing. Additionally, these very roadblocks are cash cows for the police. For instance, from Kisii to Oyugis is a distance of 25k with 5 roadblocks. All 14 seater public transport vehicles (matatus) carried more than twenty passengers with introduction of a temporary board joining right and left seats to accommodate additional passengers, locally known as ‘sambaza’ while others hanging on the door. All of them are stopped by the police and left to proceed after hefty greetings between police and the conductor or a simple salute as conductor drops Ksh 50 shillings note. According to one conductor, the police will demand for money whether you have 14 or 30 passengers and their portion is Ksh 50. So you better carry more to take care of their cost otherwise the vehicle will make nothing. If you don’t give then you will forever battle cases in court which is unnecessary.
- Not reaching the destination one paid for
Oversea bus made it a routine to drop people destined to Katito in Oyugis until one day local rights activist aka boda boda teamed up and forced them to complete the journey. Passengers were returned back into the bus and the bus forced to complete the journey or face the music, they complied. Passengers from the village to Nairobi were not spared either, people with luggage which could have easily been carried by bus freely were being charged or forced to send them as a parcel hence introducing another inconvenience of collecting them a day after. What if items were perishable and could easily go bad?
What did you notice on the roads during the holiday season?
Written by Ken Ogembo – Program Manager at Siasa Place
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
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
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
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
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
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
Never has there been a need for digital security as the present time. When I embarked on a journey to become a digital security trainer, my mail goal was to help keep women and young girls safe online.
Four months since Railways bus terminus became my drop off here in the CBD. One noticeable aspect was the dents on public transport vehicles at the stage, which can only be associated to either inadequate transport policy or failure in the implementation.
With the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Kenyans foresaw a new nation. We did hope that it was just a matter of time for Kenya to progress from a developing to a developed nation. A new Kenya was indeed dawning.
In the preamble of the promulgated 2010 constitution of the Republic of Kenya, it commits to nurture and protect the well-being of the individuals, the family, communities and the nation at large. Therefore, the states through elected and nominated representatives are mandated to ensure that Kenya is a better place to be –a safe haven. However, this has not been the case. More…