PEOPLE AND POLITICS By – OMAO KIMONGE

I strongly believe that the March 2018 handshake that heralded the Building Bridges Initiative has brought more divisions than a unity of purpose that it was initially meant to bring. The opponents and proponents of the report are in a constant push and pull trying to woo their supporters onto their side. This  Initiative was aimed at stabilizing the body politics to underpin sustainable development and also eradicate poverty. We all welcomed the handshake because the country had reeled under the perennial cycle of post-election violence. We also believed the BBI reform process was a sure pathway to the promised land of political stability and the United Nations Development Goals. However, reading the body language of the political elite in the country makes me have a second thought regarding the referendum call. Having read the Building Bridges Initiative report, there are quite a good number of loose ends in the proposals and a reason as to why Kenyans should give it a wide berth in the upcoming plebiscite if at all it will materialize.

Foremost, the Building Bridges Initiative is illegal and unconstitutional. Our constitution gives two clear pathways to its amendment -a parliamentary way and also the popular initiative. Any amendments to the constitution emanating from the three arms of government must go through the legislature while those from the people must be people-driven. Proposals in the BBI  emanated from the Executive and thus must go the parliamentary way. This has not been the case, public resources have been used to push the BBI agenda without a proper budget for the same. This is in contravention of the Public Finance Management Act(2012). Our leaders have misled us on this and I suggest that any elected leader in support of the BBI must not be re-elected in next year’s general elections. In the social contract theory, philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean Jacques Rousseau challenged feudal absolutism. Their common argument was that since the inhabitants of a polity could not exercise direct authority over themselves, they ceded such authority to a sovereign. The sovereign had to rule for the benefit of the masses’ failure to which the inhabitants could withdraw such power. As Kenyan citizens, we have a five-year social contract with our elected representatives and those who are working contrary to our expectations must face the electoral wrath in next year’s elections.

Secondly, the call for the constitutional amendment is ill-timed. It comes at a time when the country is facing Covid-19 that has ravaged our economy. Many Kenyans are currently hanging from tight economic ropes. The mainstream media highlighted a story of a woman who boiled stones to pacify her hungry children. We have further read about the thousands of children who have been sent away from children’s homes because such homes can no longer support them. Hundreds of thousands of Kenyans go without food on a daily basis and none is ready to address this pertinent issue. Kenyans are just sick, they are not only sick but also tired of the government of the day. I suppose there should be an amendment to reduce the size of the government and redirect the savings to other starved but important sectors of the economy like health and education. This is because a referendum is not a priority at the moment. Just like the 2005 referendum, this year’s referendum will be a test-run for next year’s presidential elections and whoever has his way will ride on the momentum to the general election.

Third, the reform agenda has been hijacked and is under the control of politicians who to me are driving their self-interests at the expense of the citizenry. The drafters of the BBI report were political appointees who served the interests of their masters. These drafters were keen to appease every conceivable group so that they could induce such groups to support the document. The youth were promised a national youth commission to address their challenges. There could also be a seven-year tax holiday for youth-owned businesses. Counties could receive up to 35 percent of the sharable revenue from the national exchequer. There is also a proposition of ward development to cater to the development agenda at the ward level. All these are just ploys to hoodwink the masses to support a report that is unnecessary. We have the ministries of Youth, culture, and sports both at the national and county levels, what challenges will the youth commission solve that the aforementioned ministries haven’t solved? The addition of national revenue to the counties is welcome, but how sure are we that these resources won’t be squandered, ours is a history littered with unsolved cases of corruption and millions of lost dollars. The endemic graft is rotting in every sector of the economy with realms of newspaper columns, hashtags in political speeches, and presidential speeches devoted to the topic.

The report also proposes the creation of the office of the Judiciary Ombudsman to police the judiciary. This is wrong because the judiciary is an independent wing of the government. Giving the president powers to appoint the judiciary ombudsman will thus weaken this important wing of the government. The main reason for coming up with the BBI was to actually look for an everlasting solution to the cyclic chaos after every electioneering period. How does the Judiciary Ombudsman come in? I have further failed to understand the nexus between the “reggae” and a sense of everlasting peace. The proponents of this report have been telling Kenyans how no one can stop the reggae. The makers of the Titanic ship that capsized on the 14th day of April 1912 had shown off that no one could sink that ship including GOD. Eventually, the ship sank killing over 2000 passengers on board. Kenyans must say NO to the BBI proposals which are a new cash cow to the political elites.

By:OMAO KIMONGE

RESEARCH AND POLICY ANALYST.

CENTRE FOR RESEARCH AND CONSULTANCY

 

Redefining Self Love – By MARILYN GLORIA ODONGO

What is self-love? Do I particularly love myself? These are some of the many questions that arise in people’s minds when they have a feeling of disconnection with themselves. In addition to that, they are caught up in a cycle of unlocking their self-worth but it remains futile for quite a while. Much to my dismay, it is also a popular search according to Google Trends, with the searches rooting down for information on how to practice it and make it your daily routine. Talking about routine, is there really an end goal to self-love or is it a daily task to keep me happy and content with who I am? I believe there is, it can be an extended-expression of yourself but with a lot of emphasis on your values, what you stand for, and love that you have decided on being just that or however more, you feel best.

The art of not loving yourself places you on one of the records of the climbing statistics on behavioral disorders. Poor self-image arising out of not accepting and loving yourself as you are enhances the chances of you being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This is a mental health condition that greatly affects your mood, behavior, and self-image. It is a cluster B personality disorder that affects a person’s emotional functioning and can lead to behaviors that others see as extreme or irrational. The above clarification leads me back to my definition of self-love, it also involves being at peace with your relationship with others and choosing to value those who are there for us. Self-love borders on a lot about our past, present, and even future, it is the bane of our existence.

Why the name Borderline though? Clinicians thought of the person diagnosed with this disorder as one on the border between having neurosis, an anxiety disorder, and psychosis, which is loss of contact with reality. This condition is characterized by feelings of dissociating yourself from others, stress-related paranoid thoughts, chronic feelings of emptiness, a series of intense emotions such as anger, low moods, impulsive behavior in terms of excessive spending of money, drug and substance abuse, instability in your relationship with others and lastly poor self-image in values and career plans.

It is really painful that one has to go through all this, what could be the triggers? Is it societal or individually based? It could be both. I figured it would be pointless to recoin and redefine the true meaning of self-love and what works best, without getting to the root cause. Society at large has a great task ahead in reigniting the true spark of self-love in each individual. Three main factors have been analyzed to be the causes of Borderline  Personality Disorder. The first one being genetic factors, this could be attributable to cases where an immediate relative has had a mental health condition such as bipolar, depression, substance use disorder, or even antisocial personality disorder. Secondly, the individual’s environmental factors, how was the person brought up? Who was around him or her? What were the values instilled? How did they deal with losses or even sadness while still young? The individual could have been a victim of maltreatment, conflicts, abuse, and abandonment that could have been a thorn in his or her development and even emotional formation. Lastly, neurological factors have been well elaborated in medical records.

Someone would ask, “So what is the way forward, what are the solutions available?” There are a variety of treatments that have been described to help individuals with this disorder. First of all, is the cognitive behavioral therapy that involves working with a therapist closely in order to see and think things differently. Second, is a dialectical behavioral therapy that deals with a combination of both physical and meditative methods that enable an individual to regulate his or her emotions in a better way. Third, mobilization-based therapy, which is a talk therapy that helps people identify their own thoughts. Fourth, schema-focused therapy reframes how the person views themselves. Fifth, the transference focused psychotherapy that aims to develop a relationship with a therapist and thus there is an understanding of your emotions and interpersonal difficulties and lastly a systems training for emotional predictability and problem solving, which is a group therapy that is led by a social worker meant to supplement other forms of treatment.

I hope and pray that self-love shall become a moment of rest, a moment of unlimited joy, and a lifetime assurance of one wanting the very best for themselves. I want to be part of a community that voices self-love and works to ensure that each person is at peace with themselves.

By: MARILYN GLORIA ODONGO

Freedom of The Press: An Estranged Concept? – By Mercy Chepkemoi

Media refers to the means of mass communication, especially the press, radio, and television, but also including film and recorded music, as well as a number of distributions by way of cable, satellite, discs, and tapes. Media freedom in Kenya has always been tied to responsibilities which journalists are expected to carry for the realization of the societal common good. The emergence of new forms of journalism as a consequence of technological development and appropriations has engendered serious debate about media freedom and the practice of journalism around the world.

Good governance, an essential component of any thriving democratic state, is premised on a system of openness, trust, and government accountability. This can only be achieved if the public is involved in the process of governance. If the general public knows the functions, policies, and decisions made, they can question the government on the basis of the information obtained, and, most importantly, the reasons for the government’s actions. It is thus necessary that the government develops a clear policy on the freedom of information in a bid to ensure that subsequent legislation on freedom of information laws – is implemented effectively and based on accepted international principles and best practices.

The right to information is enshrined in Article 35 of the constitution, which provides for access to information with Article 34 providing for freedom of the media. The right to information underpins all other human rights; it is the cornerstone of all other rights. The right is encapsulated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) under Article 19. It is similarly enshrined in the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Kenya is a party.

Royal Media Services ran an expose in a segment ‘Guns Galore’ where the Citizen Tv journalist did an undercover episode on Police Officers allegedly renting Police Officer’s uniforms and firearms to civilians. In a press statement, DCI Director George Kinoti, discredited the expose alleging that the segment attempted to tarnish the entire National Police Service and undermine the efforts made by police officers. He further summoned the RMS editorial management team to make a statement on the allegations.

In recent months, there have been a number of accusations that the government has been cracking down on press freedom in Kenya which saw eight independent columnists resign from the Nation Newspaper citing lack of editorial independence. Journalists have reportedly been physically assaulted in their line of duty with some losing their lives while at it. In 2018, three of Kenya’s biggest TV stations were temporarily shut down after they confirmed plans to cover the mock presidential inauguration of opposition leader Raila Odinga. A move that was widely condemned internationally by the United Nations, United States, and human rights watchdogs.

The media is an important tool in the dissemination of information in Kenya. Without free media, the government could easily spread propaganda in the name of the truth. This tends to feed the masses, and in doing so, creates a utopian world where the government, in the eyes of its people blinded by the propaganda, can do no wrong to the country. The lack of care towards protecting journalists and media houses, through the passing or even the creation of laws limiting the free press, is worrying and may lead to further restrictions on freedom of the media.

Almost everyone relies on the media for information, education, and entertainment among other needs. The media, therefore, has a central role to play in the freedom of information and freedom of expression. Thus interference nubs its role on its knees.

 

 

Loans and Debts – By Isaac Murimi

Africa is often characterized by poverty. With the aim of development, these third-world countries tend to apply for foreign aid which heaps up and accumulates into billions in debt. The accumulation of bulks of loans is alarming and raising concerns. The concern is not just about the amount of debt relative to national income, but where the debt comes from. Giving an example of Kenya, the National Treasury report as of March 2018, showed that more than half (USD$24.5billion) public debt came from outside the country. Though studies show that external debt is not necessarily harmful as it can stabilize an economy and economic growth, it, however, depletes a country’s foreign exchange reserves. The depletion of a country’s foreign exchange is achieved because interest and principal repayments on external debt are made in foreign currency and this may devalue the domestic currency. In the short run, the country’s exports may lack the competitive touch hence a weak currency. When the currency is weak, it may lead to high inflation rates in the long term because it costs the country more to import what it needs for production and consumption.

How external debts pose great threats

External debts, especially foreign aids are believed to put debtors in situations that pose greater danger. Similar to Eurobonds, bilateral agreements are believed to cost a lot more than their explicit interest charge. Taking the case of China, where it is Kenya’s largest creditor, holding about 72% of the country’s bilateral debt; studies show that Kenya’s Chinese debt poses a threat because the loan agreements are not transparent, projects are not prioritized, accounting procedures are weak and it’s not clear what projects are costing. On top of this, most Chinese loans are conditional on Kenya’s acceptance of Chinese contractors. This limits the loans’ developmental impacts through potential technology transfers which could improve the country’s productive capabilities and in turn its future ability to comfortably absorb the debt burden. This kind of threat is not wholly likely to affect Kenya only. Many countries in Africa are on the verge of getting the same treatment or maybe they are facing the threat already. Giving a look at these countries’ Chinese debt is worrying. Angola is the most indebted African country to china with an estimated debt of over US$25billion. The threat that Angola is facing is that, despite it being the second-largest producer of oil in Africa, most of its oil is going towards the repayment of Chinese debt. East African countries have an estimate of over US$30 dollars debt to China which was overseen in the building of infrastructure especially roads and railway lines whose contractors are Chinese, but because of a lack of transparency and accountability, a lot of money has been lost to corruption hence threatening the East African coast from captivity by the Chinese. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could be one of the richest countries in the world considering how it is abundantly endowed with precious natural resources and minerals. However, the plundering of these resources and the unending debt to China of US$3.4 billion has set the country back.

 

African countries need to be cautious and prudent with the resources available within and produce for both consumptions and for exportation. Borrowed funds should be put to productive use. Investing them in improving public infrastructure would lower the cost of doing business and make a country an attractive investment destination. This in turn would bolster economic output, and therefore its ability to service the debt and, in the long run, lessen the need for additional debt.

 

Isaac Murimi

Contact Number: 0796962375

Social media handle @m.blizzler

 

Time to step up – By Gravice Luvuga

Good morning, I know many might be wondering why to specify the time to the morning when we all are going to go through this article at different times of the day or night. Actually, this is not a Good morning call indicating its morning but rather a wake-up call to the young people who for long we’ve been in slumber.

Time to wake up from the deep slumber of sitting back and letting our beloved Nation be driven anyhow while we just sit back and watch without even raising a finger. Time to wake up from sleep and dream that there are specific people who own our nation, specific people who can always make choices for us and drag us in the direction of their choice.

A wake-up call from the slumber of allowing ourselves to be used as tools and weapons by the very people we call our elders. Being used to a point of conflicting ourselves rather than encouraging and supporting one another. To a point of creating enmity amongst ourselves while the bosses are sipping expensive Champagne at five-star hotels.

Wake up from thinking that someone else will fix our nation. It’s high time we realized that it’s up to us to make the changes we desire. It’s up to us to fix our nation and realize that not involving ourselves in our country affairs is not only making us weak but also the main cause of poverty due to our own induced ignorance.

Most of us don’t even know about public participation in our county’s budget-making process hence we are greatly affected when the budget is released. We might seem to be careless but at the end of the day, we are the most affected. When we don’t air our views on how the government will allocate funds to help solve issues affecting us then for how long are we going to be left behind in poverty and distress. It’s high time we rise to the occasion, speak out on the issue of the budget, and make sure the government is allocating adequate funds to sectors that actually affect us.

The majority of the youths do not realize that we have public and private programs that are there to empower them. When each year millions are being allocated to these programs that very few know about, oh what a waste! A waste that we create for ourselves for being in a comfort zone that is nowhere close to being comfortable. A waste that we have brought by our own carelessness allowing other people to squander and benefit our own ignorance. We should wake up and explore every opportunity given to us or else we will forever be on televisions begging and accusing the government.

All of the slumber issues can be resolved by simply focusing on healthy youth leadership and representation. A healthy youth representation will only happen if we the youths start believing in our fellow youths. I was surprised by the fact that in a country where the population of the youths is huge a youth candidate couldn’t even score half the votes simply because he had little resources for his campaign. If we cannot give our fellow youths who understand the issues, we face a chance to lead simply because we’ve been ‘bought’ then when will our voices ever be heard.

We should believe in ourselves and give ourselves a chance to make a difference rather than always criticizing ourselves and looking down on ourselves. When we have leaders, who could always keep us in line by encouraging and motivating us to be actively involved in our country’s affairs and being active as well in the affairs rather than by preaching water and drinking wine, then surely enough things will not be the same for us. We have a chance in our own hands. Let’s all take it.

Finally, when we have the opportunity to be at the forefront when we’ve been given an opportunity to lead, let’s not misuse the opportunity, let’s always think about making our country better, encouraging other youths to be active in leadership and always striving to make a difference.

How to Maintain a Positive Mental Health-By Joy Ngoiri

World Health Organization (WHO) describes mental health as a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. I describe mental health as simply having peace of mind.

We all feel sad sometimes. That is part of being human. We are often told that we need to distinguish between an emotion and a mental illness. That when someone feels sad, it does not mean someone is depressed. But where exactly do we draw the line?

Depression is described as a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Depression often causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.

With the unprecedented events of the pandemic, most people have been struggling with how to stay afloat, feelings of loneliness and anxiety and the fact is, everybody is feeling something.

There are several ways you can try to cope with negative mental health at this moment. One of the best ways that I have discovered that can do wonders in calming and slowing down your thoughts is journaling. Journaling is basically just writing or noting down your thoughts and how you’re feeling. It can be compared to writing in a diary.

It sounds childish when you think about it through writing in a diary context, but journaling has proven to be very effective in calming down racing thoughts. Sometimes you have no explanation for how you are feeling, your mind is constantly racing with thoughts and you can’t exactly pinpoint what the problem is. You end up feeling sad the whole morning, afternoon or even the whole day but when someone asks you what is wrong, you genuinely have no answer and cannot explain exactly how you feel. That is the best moment to a journal. Write down exactly your exact thoughts. Whether you note down some mumble jumble, note it down. If you feel like life is hard, write it down. If you feel like you are not good enough and your insecurities get the best of you, write it down. This will at least help these thoughts not to be crumpled in your mind.

The other method that can help you maintain positive mental health is meditation. I know the word meditation sounds exotic and something that ‘black people don’t do but meditation has been proven to be very effective in calming someone down. We have seen people who get angry a lot take a deep breath two times and calm themselves down, that is ideally a method of meditation. Meditation is a practice for settling the mind and redirecting your thoughts. It is basically getting a new sense of perspective. It is not trying to shut down your thoughts or feelings, it’s about learning to be okay with them without being insecure about them. I like to think of meditation as exercising a muscle, only it’s my mind.

It is important to note that the mind is one weird place. Your mind will wander off when meditating and this is okay. Don’t give up. It takes constant practice. There are different types of meditation and one should try what works for them. One particular site that can help with meditation is mindful.org.

Another way to keep good mental health is staying active and exercising. This is a more practical way. We have all heard stories of people who were overweight and insecure about themselves and they used that insecurity to motivate them to exercise and become a better healthier version of themselves. Exercising daily, even for 30 minutes, whether it is home exercises or gym exercises helps to improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative moods. Exercising also helps to improve self-esteem and cognitive function. Once your self-esteem is top-notch, your insecurities will fade away.

Most people cannot afford a gym membership, this is where home workouts come in. Home workouts are hard to follow every day. Consistency becomes hard when nobody is following up with you. However, everything is in the mind. Sounds cliché, but once you put your mind to something and determine yourself to do it, it is easy to follow up.

These three are the most commonly used ways that help in maintaining positive mental health. Never feel like you are pressured to try everything. Everything happens in its own time. However, you have to take the first step in bettering yourself for yourself and for the people around you.

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Twitter-NgoiriJoy

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Social Activism in the 21st Century – By Billy Osogo

Simply defined, social activism is an intentional action with the goal of bringing about social change. Ergo, anyone who is fighting for change in society is an activist. From Malala Yousafzai fighting for education for girls in Pakistan; to Boniface Mwangi fighting for constitutionalism in Kenya; to Greta Thunberg fighting for immediate climate change mitigation.

In the digital era where the number of smartphone users worldwide is on the rise social activism has become a force to reckon with. Anyone armed with a smartphone can galvanize action by other citizens from anywhere in the world. Events in individual societies are increasingly capturing the attention of the world at lightning speed. The oceans and seas separating them notwithstanding.

#FreePalestine is the most recent illustration of social activism in the twenty-first century. The senseless killings of innocent children in Gaza have taken the world by storm.

The United Nations Secretary-General, in his remarks to Security Council, described the ongoing conflict as “utterly appalling”. He further said:

“The hostilities have already caused unconscionable death, immense suffering and damage to vital infrastructure. I am appalled by the increasingly large numbers of Palestinian civilian casualties, including many women and children, from Israeli strikes in Gaza.  I also deplore Israeli fatalities from rockets launched from Gaza.”

Massive demonstrations have been held all across the globe demanding justice for Palestine. Protestors gathered in cities including Doha, Stuttgart, New York, Cape Town, and Paris. In Nairobi, Christians and Muslims alike staged protests in solidarity with Palestine.

With social media playing a more prominent role in access to information, political causes cut across the traditional silos of streets and sovereign boundaries. As Israel escalated its relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip, the players of the beautiful game made their position known in the ongoing conflict. Football superstar Paul Pogba and his Manchester United teammate Amad Diallo held up a Palestinian flag following Manchester United’s final home game of the season.

 

Elsewhere, Leicester City players Hamza Choudhury and Wesley Fofana showed support for Palestinians after winning the FA Cup final. In a video making rounds on social media, the two were seen holding the Palestinian flag.

This is not the first time the world is rallying behind the cessation of gross human rights violations and injustice. In the 1980s, anti-Apartheid protests across the world brought attention to the diabolical human rights violations manifested in the apartheid government. Although limited, President Regan would impose economic sanctions on the apartheid government following pressure from various lobby groups. The apartheid government would eventually fall and Mandela would take his rightful place as the first black President of South Africa.

In 2020, following the gruesome killing of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter protests were held across the world. 331 days later, Derek Chauvin, the office responsible, was found guilty by the Hennepin County Courthouse.

The United Nations Security Council must not wait for an Israel-Palestine version of the Sharpeville Massacre to act. Too many lives have been lost already.

In the immortal words of Dr. King:

On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge, moments of great crisis and controversy.”

The writer is an active and concerned citizen.

Facebook: Billy Osogo

Twitter: @a_b_osogo

 

 

 

MILLENNIALS AND POLITICS – By June.

Politics, such a morbid topic, one that we love and hate both at the same time. Everything that happens in the world of politics affects every one of us whether we are active participants or not. A familiar phrase by the late President Daniel Moi was, ‘Siasa mbaya, maisha mbaya.’ We are witnessing this phrase come to play currently in this country.

Growing up in a Kenyan home meant that you knew what political party your family subscribes to and by default you subscribe to the same political party. For instance, A Luo family automatically subscribes to ODM and supports Raila, A Kalenjin automatically supports Jubilee and supports William Ruto. A Kikuyu subscribes to the Jubilee party and supports Uhuru Kenyatta. The list goes on and on. You can fill in the rest for yourself. As I’ve gotten older, I have realized all these prejudices do not serve to benefit anyone. To support a leader just because he comes from your tribe is doing an injustice to yourself because when we do, we end up with crappy leaders as we do now, we ALL suffer.

When prices of local items go up, there is no section for a Kikuyu or a Jaluo. We ALL suffer. I understand that these prejudices are difficult to get rid of, we have all played a part in propagating so many of these prejudices in one way or another, I know I have, but it is never too late to change our ways because things are not looking so good.

Every day when I watch and listen to headlines in this country, I can’t help but feel hopeless for myself and other people as well. You see it is somehow justifiable when our parents support people based on their tribe because, at the end of the day, they have their lives made already. But even with that being said, it is still very important to participate in politics, know who your MCA, MP, Governor, and Senator is. For things to change, the system must change. It is another thing though when the younger generation do it {you and Me – Millennials}. It saddens me when people my age do it. Because in all honesty, this government has not in any way shown that it cares for the young people of this country. We are going into 8 years of this administration without any bleak hope towards the youth of this country.

If you have job hunted in this country {I know I have}, you know how difficult, frustrating and depressing this process is. Before you give me that desperately tired logic of, ‘Start a business, build your own table.’ I want you to ask yourself where this is coming from and what it takes to start a business; financially, emotionally, and mentally. I also find it extremely corny and disturbing that this statement is normally uttered by grown old folks who have held government and public service jobs their entire lives. How ironic, don’t you think? Why then haven’t you started a business? Since it seems like such a great piece of advice. Normalize questioning some of this unsolicited advice. To make it worse, the pandemic has heightened everything so even that job hunting process is becoming impossible. If you have a job, as some people do, you are struggling to keep it by all means possible, with ridiculous curfew hours that do not in any way make sense to the typical Kenyan mwananchi who is out looking for his/her daily bread. Let’s not even talk about the hiked fuel prices. How much more could citizens take? Hell, even an internship is difficult to come by.

Then there is the gibberish (yes I said it) that is BBI, should I go on? There is a lot that has gone wrong already and it is up to us, the young to say that ENOUGH is ENOUGH. The revolution cannot happen while some people are comfortable with the status quo.

Recently, there has been the issue of curfew enforcement whose enforcement has gone wrong. Privileged people came out to say how Kenyans should know better. To the privileged, why would you speak from your gated suburbs, in the comfort of your own home berating Kenyans whose only crime is wanting to go home? The problem I have with politics and leadership in this country is everything is about punishment, be it not having a huduma number, etc. The supposed remedy for everything is punishment.

Everything we are currently facing in this country ranging from the health sector, corruption, and creative industry fail is due to bad and poor leadership. You cannot fix the public health crisis by treating citizens like criminals. The hubris is made even more glaring when we add in the fact that the leaders are criminals.  YOU are the criminals. Fix the problem, not the people.

For the average middle class who constantly display their ignorance by thinking these injustices will never befall you.  Let me submit to you today the middle-aged citizen is one health crisis away from abject poverty. Not to wish anyone any downfall but it takes that ONE admission to the Kenyatta Hospital to realize that you were not as financially great as you thought you were. As long as the middle-class citizens can fuel their cars, pay for their apartments and watch Premier League and Netflix a revolution cannot happen.

It has also become clear as day that we will never be able to ‘Harambee’ ourselves out of bad governance, we can’t entrepreneur our way out of incompetent regimes, and we can’t ‘PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY our way out of a bad system. This country is BROKEN and it hurts ALL OF US.

I hope there comes a time in this country when we realize that:

  • The government is supposed to work for us.
  • Harsher conditions aren’t an indicator of a working government: If anything indicates signs of a dictator government which is a dangerous path to tread in.
  • Foreigners don’t deserve better treatment; that there’s a difference between hospitality and discrimination.
  • But also that punishment is not a mode of communication especially from the government to its citizens.

Let’s be part of national conversations, social media is an amazing place to participate in national conversations. Let’s not wait for another 5-year mess to realize our mistakes as millennials, as a people, and as a country. So… Now is not the time to say, “I don’t like politics,” because politics definitely likes you and it certainly affects you

 

To be silent is to be complacent, I don’t care what your excuse is. TO BE SILENT IS TO BE COMPLACENT.

 

Leadership has nothing to do with one’s tribe or race

The founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, while reflecting on the idea of leadership said that: “Leadership is more than just ability. It is a combination of courage, determination, commitment, character, and ability that makes people willing to follow a leader.”

A while back, utterances by President Uhuru Kenyatta, that Kenyans should allow other tribes to produce a president in the future as well ignited an intense public debate. While the President’s intentions may have been good, he didn’t comprehend one important factor in the context of transformative leadership in totality. In the sense that, it’s not about the tribe in which a leader hails from but his/her intentions and conviction towards leadership and the country’s effective governance.

Politicians employ ethnic divide and conquer as well as divide and rule to mislead the populace. This advances the attachment of one’s ethnic trait, background, allegiance, and association to political fortunes. As a result, it can thus be seen that politicians have mastered the art of manipulating social divisions in Kenya’s political setting as a tool to advance non-democratic political belief systems. Of which does more evil than good, especially now, that we are, a few months away to the general elections.

Today, almost after 60 years of political independence, Kenya’s aspirations and hopes remain largely unfulfilled. The major problem the country experiences is the absence of genuine leaders.  The good news is Kenyans have begun yearning for leaders who reflect their aspirations.

The desire to otherwise use ethnicity for individual political gain continues to undermine progressive politics that can translate to meaningful development in people’s lives. At this moment, an average Kenyan leads an appallingly difficult life that is worse in most ways than that of a fellow Kenyan led in the yesteryears. The lack of employment opportunities continues to overshadow most people today. Yet, by virtue of being in a leadership position like the presidency, one stands a better chance to change the lives of the electorate (s)/he represents. A leader can influence policies and tailor them to people’s short-term as well as long-term needs. The reason being as an elected leader you have the power and influence plus a better chance than any other ordinary citizen to bring about a much-needed change in society.

In every sense, democratic equality or democratic participation must correspond to economic equality. Elected leaders have for a long time demonstrated their inability to be innovative and create opportunities for the people to prosper. There is no greater freedom than economic liberty simply because a job gives one life and something to live for. This and other ills affecting the country Kenya is what should concern and occupy our politicians mind more than the succession politics that clearly adds no value to our welfare.

In my upcoming book on leadership and governance, I attempt to explore the interconnectedness and interrelationship between the contemporary idea of democracy, good leadership, and the societal vagrancies that are implicit and intertwined with these notions.

The eyes of visionary leaders are usually set on the horizon. Not ethnocentric sort of political agitations and/or affiliations. They work with the power of intentionality and with a higher purpose to endeavor to change people’s lives for the better so that prosperity can be found within our borders.

A towering example is former President Kibaki and the late Labor minister, Tom Mboya. Kibaki and Tom did their best in delivering true service to this country. People loved them irrespective of their tribes. Obama too had African roots but Americans believed in his ideas and capabilities. He was rewarded with the presidency. He did well. All these iconic individuals served their respective country’s well despite some challenges. They were intentional and true to themselves. And that is good leadership.

Transformational leaders should have the ability to cause a change in followers and social systems. Kenyan politicians must be reminded that leadership really entails having a sense of responsibility and a sense of ethical commitment to society and to those they lead. Similarly, they ought to recognize that one’s leadership is part of a greater whole, with the inherent responsibility of turning the country over to the next leader who will build on the past and achieve even more.

Michelle Obama while speaking to Young Africans Leadership Initiative (YALI) in 2015 noted: “Leadership is about creating new traditions that honor the dignity and humanity of every individual. Leadership is about empowering all of our people: men, women, boys, and girls to fulfill every bit of their God’s given potential”. For us to get our governance right there is an unequivocal need to make an overdue cultural shift on what has often been considered normal.

For Kenya to reap the benefits of good governance there is every need to invest in a committed, disciplined, innovative, accountable, and visionary leader irrespective of the tribe.

Tribal politics is no longer normal if we are to achieve good leadership hence good democratic accountability.

 

Antony Nkuubi is a Governance Expert and Obama Foundation Leader’s Fellow

Email: ankuubi@gmail.com

Youth Political Party – By Daniel Orogo

Kenyan political history places young people at the forefront of the socio-economic and political liberation struggle. During the struggle for Kenyan independence in the early ’60s, the youth were at the center as planners, mobilizers, and foot soldiers of the Movement for the liberation of Kenya against British Colonialist: the Mau Mau (youth), with an ambition of emancipating Kenya from the oppression and guarantee (Political) freedom. Similarly, the post-independent Kenya and clamor for multiple party democracy periods in the 1990’s documents active youth participation in form of political caucuses, street protests, and formation of political parties such as Forum for Restoration of Democracy Kenya( Ford- Kenya) amongst other political outfits piling pressure on Moi regime to amend section 2A of the Kenyan Constitution. First forward to the current constitutional change discourse (BBI) and the upcoming general elections in 2022, what can be the vision of the Ideal ‘Youth party of Kenya?’

Beyond Demographic advantage to policy orientation

The Kenyan Constitution defines the youth as a person of the age of above 18 years but below 35 years. This same demographic interestingly occupies 75% of the Kenyan population according to the Kenyan Housing and population Census of 2019. Beyond the larger demographic advantage; the youth are largely excluded and underrepresented in the political governance and decision-making structures of Kenya. Siasa Place observes that while some youth engage in political discourse, a significant proportion remains undecided on their political choices

Cure for Regional Ethnic Parties and Politics

The majority of the established political parties in Kenya are formed based on ethnic origin and regional composition. Ethnic balkanization and regionalism are reflected both in their leadership structure and membership base. Ideally, the formation of political parties in Kenya should reflect the diversity of the Kenyan population, what is commonly referred to as ‘the face of Kenya’ the reality is that most of the political parties in Kenya are ethnic-based. It then follows that during political elections, ethnic and regional balkanization becomes a priority not addressing issues. The casualties are the youth whose appeal to ascend to political leadership is based on values, qualities, and competence and not ethnic extraction. Additionally, Party manifestos do not reflect a lot of the agenda young people value the most. In a way, the established parties are too hung up on their ways, too focused on tax and GDP discussions, etc. While political opinions of the youth vary a lot, so do the opinions across age in these established parties. Furthermore, as one grows up, the personal weighting on political issues changes, so that in some cases one would support one party in your twenties, another in your thirties, and another in sixties.

The Vision

I propose the formation of a ‘ Political youth party’ as sort of an orientation party for young people who want to take an active role in governance. Unlike the already existing parties, the youth party would work towards generating a unifying political manifesto based on the values and interests of the youth in Kenya. This way, political matters that concern young people would be brought to parliament and young people get a chance to learn how political systems in Kenya work. The Youth Political party of Kenya would be a catalog fundamentally to redeem the image of youth in Kenya from being referred to as a troubled constituency to that of motivated peacebuilders and ambassadors of a better fresh alternative leadership in Kenya.

 

 

Bio

My name is Daniel Orogo, am an analyst in Political and Governance issues in Kenya and Program Director at Uwazi Consortium. A political aspirant in Kibra.

 

Extrovert Depression

Extroverts are known to be inviting, easy to agree with, and very confident in social circles. Simply put, anyone referred to as the life of the party, is an extrovert. It is harder for others to see an extrovert as anything more than that. Remember the story of Cinderella? Everybody loved her in a glass slipper and they could hardly imagine that she was the same girl that was locked in the house on the night of the ball. Moral of the story? Just because someone is happy, outgoing, sociable, warm, and gorgeous does not mean that they do not suffer from depression.

The way introverts experience depression is different from the way extroverts suffer depression. Depression in extroverts goes against the norms of depression. Extroverts enjoy being around people because they draw their energy from others. Normally depressed people don’t like being around people. An extrovert finds it hard to be happy on their own and depends on the presence of others to be happy. They have a lot of energy and will always be loud and active to retain the presence of others. This will lead to a lot of fatigue.

A depressed extrovert feels that they are not allowed to be depressed because it is their role to fix things. Rarely will people ask them how they are doing because people assume that extroverts have no real problems? This is because extroverts always seem happy, composed and their life is figured out. Some extroverts cry themselves to sleep because they feel no one understands how lonely they are.  After all, it is draining to be the life of the party. When left alone, the thoughts of an extrovert seem so foreign and uncertain to them.

Extroverts are very expressive. But when depressed, they lose the energy to express themselves.  When depressed, extroverts feel that whatever they say is diminished and brushed off because naturally, people expect them to always be happy. As a result, extroverts are not taken seriously. People do not believe that extroverts also struggle.

Most extroverts have the constant need to be there for everyone but themselves. Or rather continuously solve everyone’s problems but their own that it has become their lifestyle. When extroverts are depressed, they are too ashamed to tell others that they need a break because their depression is serious, and even if they do joke around, they sometimes can’t get out of bed because their depression is impairing. They are embarrassed to admit they look tired because they have spent all night crying — for no reason — and confused as to why they were crying and didn’t get any sleep. The fact that extroverts cannot help others fix their problems makes it worse for them because then they are out of their element. It also makes extroverts notice their problems through magnifying lenses. This may result in anxiety, hopelessness, and a debilitating sense of self-esteem and worth.

You know how people always say, “He was so happy, and how did he end his life just like that?” “He was always there for everyone and looked like he had everything in control. What happened to him?” “How could such a happy, dedicated, enthusiastic person end his life?”  They do not realize the struggle the extroverts were having inside. Depression in extroverts isn’t about being happy or being sad. It can’t be rationalized like that; it is more than that. This makes suicide cases in extroverts rather complex.

 

Article was written by Elizabeth Taabu

Email: taabu.elizabeth8@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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