Public Transport System during the Holiday Season By Ken Ogembo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below is our press statement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Ends –

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

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

 

 

 

 

Think Different By Burns Noah

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

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

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

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

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

Do we plan some of our emergencies? By Victor Sijenyi

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Mercy Kaponda

Email: mercykaponda98@gmail.com

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

Mailing form

Our Contacts

Development House, 8th Floor
Moi Avenue,Nairobi

+254-757-840552

www.siasaplace.com/