Saturday, November 13, 2010

Legislators should not trash the IIBRC recommendations

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA
The recommendations of the Independent Boundaries Review Commission should be respected and any anomalies addressed with sobriety and not through reactionary tactics being portrayed by political leaders, since the Chairman of the commission made the report public.

How long shall we see politicians trashing tax payer funded programs especially when it doesn’t serve their political interests? This is egocentricity, lack of leadership and a waste of resources should they demand for the reconstitution of a new IIBRC to start the same job Mr. Andrew Ligale’s team has completed.

If the IIBRC may have violated certain provisions in the current constitution in the apportionment of the constituency boundaries, threatening to trash the entire work of the commission will mean pressing for the reconstitution of another commission but this will be a toll on the Kenyan tax payers. We are tired of seeing taxpayers’ money being wasted on jobs which although not perfect, have been fully completed by the experts the country has been able to produce.

Many of our people are living from hand to mouth while others are languishing in IDP camps almost three years after the post election violence. Therefore, when leaders talk about expenditures that will drain the exchequer with no benefit to the lives of Kenyans, to me, it’s a poor show of leadership.

We need to be watchful on MPs out to frustrate the IIBRC recommendations that will be tabled in Parliament and this time, we are not going to condone threats like the one uttered by Limuru MP Peter Mwathi, who predicted violence if the Ligale commission recommendations are not handled with care.

Elected leaders who evoke violence to drive a political point when Kenyans are reeling from the violence that engulfed the country in 2008 is totally in bad taste and a sign of incitement. Such leaders should be picked by the law enforcement to record a statement.

We can’t trust leaders who are fond of raising eyebrows on issues that they think are detrimental to their political survival. This trend has turned to be a form of compulsive psychiatric disorder where political leaders are obsessed with rejecting what is beneficial to scores of millions of Kenyans each time a commission comes up with recommendations after wrapping up its work.

We saw the same trend in the Ndungu Land report, the Waki report, and Kriegler report and now it’s happening on Andrew Ligale’s boundaries review commission. Indeed, even if the Chairman of the IIBRC rescinded the recommendations of his commission to appease those against it, we shall still have those who will feel short changed because you can’t please everybody in the society.

Electoral boundaries are there to facilitate effective service delivery to the citizens of any Country and therefore, I believe Andrew Ligale’s team did consider local population demographics during the apportionment of 80 constituencies.

For instance, in the United States, California which is the most populous with 37 million people has an apportionment of 53 Congressional Representatives, while Wyoming with a paltry population of 50, 000 has only one. I believe that Mr. Ligale’s team did use these criteria to arrive at 80 constituencies.

Finally, this trend by politicians to try and paralyze the findings intended to shape the destiny of our country should cease. I do believe Mr. Andrew Ligale has impeccable credentials in public life and many Kenyans will trust the job he did as Chairman of IIBRC.

Its not a norm to do all the Romans does

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo,
New Jersey, USA
The rate at which Kenyans are adopting Western culture is alarming. In fact, practices like Halloween with no benefit to the spiritual and moral fabric of our society are being celebrated like any merry holiday. In our urban centres, there is a big shift in the modes of dressing, communication, and general attitudes especially from young people.

These negative social transformations have caught our society by a storm, which is a negation of the values and tenets we need to uphold as a God fearing nation. In fact, what I see in New York, Los Angeles or London is exactly what's happening in the City of Nairobi.

I shudder at the thought of how our society will be in 20 years as the liberal lifestyle we see in the West is penetrating deep in our society and not only eroding our Kenyan heritage but slowly destroying our moral values. It's extremely frightening that these days, we are experiencing these: poor dressing habits, open profanity, vulgar language and open talk about sex.

Tragically, these negative trends are spreading rapidly even in schools where many young Kenyans are struggling to look modern by imitating everything Western under the allure of looking modernised.

I fail to understand why we're failing to maintain our societal norms and only accommodate foreign habits which are of no benefit to our lives. Our people need to be reminded that foreign is not necessarily good or applicable in our society. Just because it's working elsewhere, it doesn't mean it's suitable for Kenya.

Our people are wrong by embracing events like Halloween which has its roots in the US, Canada, Ireland and Scotland. Most homes looks like graveyards with human skeletons dangling on doors, as children and adults roam around in frightening costumes.

Kenya is home to almost all races - Asians, Europeans and Americans, but most of them have continued to retain their identity and values. In fact, most well-to-do individuals or those on short assignments especially diplomats take their children to schools which offer their country's education curriculum.

In fact, the tourists who visit Kenya do not go back to their countries and start practicing our customs for instance wearing the popular Maasai shawls or singing the popular Isukuti folklore.

Wherever Westerners go, they carry their culture, education, religion, norms, and values. And when we allow ourselves to be a dumping ground for obscenities we forget our true identity.

There are numerous examples showing that our society is ready to accommodate anything originating from the West while burying our original identity. Our musicians want to rap like Jay Z; while others want to sing like Janet Jackson or Madonna.

Many want to dress like lady Gaga. The popular Benga Music that spread up to Central Africa has faded away and may never be heard again because if it doesn't sound American. Where shall be our identity for years to come?

We should not become copycats to foreign habits which are not only destroying our values but also ruining our families. Currently, many of our women have become less virtuous; men don't care about nurturing lifelong relationships. Amongst our youth, profanity (Western) epithets are on the rise. The types of music they play contain vulgar language with unprintable lyrics.

Many of us who speak fearlessly against negative western lifestyles ends up being labelled or accused of being anti-modern and traditionalist. However, it's high time we kept the tenets that forms the basis of our upbringing but only accommodate the Western culture which is vital to our society.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

America is better off with Obama than a Republican

Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA
President Barrack Obama faces tough challenges than most American Presidents in recent history despite working hard to address the impediments he inherited from his Predecessor, President W. George Bush.

He is hassling to resuscitate America’s dwindling economy through job creation, restructuring the Country’s financial system and to rebuild the broken diplomatic relations that went sour during Bush’s Presidency, a Republican.

It’s ironical that the party that was in power before Obama took over inherited a budget surplus from former President Clinton, a democrat but messed up the economy. They now expect Obama to fix things overnight even after he forewarned them before taking office of tough times a head especially the economic downtrend and job creation for many unemployed Americans.

Obama critics must know that to lead a country of more than 300 million people is not easy. In fact, even if John McCain had won, it would have taken him time to turn things around especially the economy.

In the international scene, Obama has tried to thaw the animosity towards America from the Arab World reassuring them that the US is not their enemy; which is a great stride for reconciliation and global peace.

To the contrary, this gesture has made the Republicans brand Obama as a sympathizer to Islam; a religion they link with terrorism. In fact, John McCain’s Vice Presidential running mate, Sara Palin have used placards in their Tea party rallies with inscriptions that brands Obama as a terrorist, a fascist, a racist, an a Adolf Hitler and an anti-Christ. This is the same woman who would not even differentiate between South Africa as a Country and Africa as a Continent in the 2008 Presidential elections.

How do you brand a legitimately and genuinely elected US President a dictator and still exercise freedom of assembly and speech in rallies, TV stations and on the internet? These Republicans need to wise up. I wish they knew what goes on in Zimbabwe and Iran.

The US President’s diplomatic approach has angered many evangelical Right wing Christian leaders; notably, Pastor John Haggee of John Haggee Ministries of Texas, whose sermons have persistently portrayed Obama, as not doing enough to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. This is a clear demonstration that if Obama was a Republican, they would advise him to invade Iran, the way they did to Bush before America invaded Iraq.

Pastor Haggee and Pat Robert of Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) amongst others accuse Obama for socialising America; an ideology they link with Satanism. Truly, if signing a medical bill to benefit millions of uninsured Americans is communism (socialism), and also extending unemployment insurance to benefit the Americans out of job is satanic, then these Church leaders do not know the true meaning of being “Christ like.”

We of the Kenyan descent living in America cringe with disgust on seeing how Obama’s presidency has ignited racist remarks coming from Christian Preachers whose sermons are watched on TV by Kenyan Christians at home. Instead of challenging him on policy matters, they’re using racial slurs, an indication that the question of racism in America is far from over.

Recently, a former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is mulling a bid to run for President in 2012, said that Obama’s animosity toward the West is influenced by his forefather’s resistance against the British rule in Kenya. What type of a President Mr. Gingrich will be if he doesn’t get it that like Kenya, the US was once a British colony and that Obama is an American, born in the West despite his mixed race?

How gullible is the Republican Party leadership that even after Obama’s two years in the Oval Office, they are still pressing him to produce his birth certificate in order to be convinced that he is an American and not a Kenyan? It’s only in America where you have the freedom to insult a sitting president with unprintable epithets without repercussions.

I believe that, those who elected Obama were not ignorant to vote for a Kenyan or some one whose origin they didn’t know in the 2008 Presidential elections. They will exercise the same right to either vote him out or for a second term in 2012. And therefore, questioning his citizenship is not only an insult to those who came from diverse political backgrounds- republicans, independents and democrats and overwhelmingly voted for him, but also recipe to dent America's respect and image abroad.

The role of a political opposition in a democracy is to keep the government on its toes with fairness without malice and prejudice while sticking to policies and issues that benefit the ruled. The Republicans are racists and they want to ensure that the Obama Presidency is a disaster so that in future, a person of colour will not be entrusted with the US Presidency.

The Republicans have stooped to low and if they think by trying to dent the image of a legitimately elected President because of his colour will catapult them to take the White House in 2012, they are blinding themselves. In fact, their behaviour towards Obama has set a very grim picture to the US which is seen globally as the epitome of democracy, justice and freedom.

Finally, America is better off with President Obama than a Republican. His management of the US affairs is in tandem with the American constitution which has been exercised by his predecessors.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kenyans should change their habits as we promulgate a new law

Our Country will transition to a new constitution on Friday to end the historic journey that began over 20 years ago. As a nation, we welcome the new the new dawn with hope and optimism.

Given the overwhelming majority of Kenyans who voted for the new constitution, we all feel that the new document will turn our lives around for the better.

I want to remind you that, the foundation of our national success are pegged in our hearts and minds, despite the new constitution. Even the leaders who shall be elected to rule under the new constitution shall operate following the thought pattern of their minds and the willingness of their hearts.

The great books we read about human wisdom and moral uprightness may not change us if we’re not ready to observe and learn to think wisely and make wise decisions or become morally upright. Our Country will only succeed when we take a collective responsibility through changing our characters, habits and behaviours.

Ralph Emerson, a famous US philosopher once said these words which have been used by theological scholars in many years: “you sow a thought and reap an action; sow an act and reap a habit; sow a habit and reap a character; sow a character and reap a destiny.”

This is a clear demonstration that Kenya’s success lies on the good character of every citizen- rich or poor, male or female. With good character, we shall reap good fruits and hence, a great destiny for Kenya.

If we plant hate, tribalism, greed, envy and strife, we reap the same. When we plant peace, harmony, love and treat others with fraternity and brotherhood, this will automatically trickle catalyse positive change in Kenya.

Accusing top leaders for practicing corruption when we knowingly do things that perpetuate the vice is a big betrayal to ourselves. Corruption is corruption even if it involves giving or receiving a cup of tea to extend or receive favours.

We can make our Country a haven to live in starting from our individuality as it moves gradually to the Villages, Clans, Sub Locations and Locations, Divisions, Districts, Provinces and mirrors to the whole Country.

We need to change by exhibiting the basic rules of honest and integrity. When you find someone's wallet, don't take it or ransack its contents, try to find the owner. Do to others what you expect them to do you. You can’t expect your MP or President who are all human to do things right when you knowingly do it wrong.

I live in the West and one day when I forgot my phone in a restaurant table, coming back the following day, my phone was handed to me. A Customer sited next to me handed it to the manager who kept it safe. Is this too hard to nurture as a value of honest? We can do more to make our Country better as we usher in a new constitution.

Avoid asking for “kitu kidogo”-someth
ing small, before moving a file belonging to a fellow Kenyan to another department for those in the public service. Don’t be driven by tribe to employ some one. Consider any Kenyan irrespective of their tribal background so long as they are qualified.

Offering a job position to a relative or friend without qualification is the surest way to destroy Kenya. And when we do this, we become the first to start whine and blame the leaders.

For matatu owners, ensure your vehicles comply with traffic rules to minimize request for bribes from the police. When you are convinced your vehicle is roadworthy, and a police demands a bribe, don’t bribe. It’s better to go to court and get justice that you cannot get on a highway. Short-cuts will deny us justice and delay the success of our nation.

In an election, vote for some one who has values and a passion to serve not because you grew up together. Ensure that anybody aspiring to become governor, senator, MP or Presidents his value driven and puts the interests of the nation above his.

Don’t vote for Wanyonyi for President just because he speaks your dialect and ignore Hassan who is vibrant and pro- people. Desist from being brainwashed by tribal kingpins who preach ethnic disharmony through deceit to catalyze their political ambitions.

Those giving you money, buying you a cup of tea, or a packet of Kasuku or Gorogoro, you can accept it but vote your conscience and not short-term material inducements.

For those who practice faith, ask God for wisdom when choosing a place of worship. Ignore lies from your Pastor, Rabii, Imam or Guru. Remember, God knows you and will deal with you individually and not through spiritual leaders. Let us stand up for what is popular for the nation and not our families and tribes
From this Friday, we shall wear a new wrist watch and please, let us nurture a new culture of conducting our public and private lives in order to build a better nation for future generations.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

ODM must discipline MPS

By, Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey USA
We want to build strong political parties which operate as tools of governance, a replica of Tories and Labour in Great Britain, Democrats and Republicans in the USA, CCM and ANC in the African continent. This will only be achieved through discipline from members and officials.
That is why the latest move by the ODM party to discipline their MPs who went against the party to campaign against the recently ratified constitution is laudable.
Violating a decree or agreement comes with consequences. That is why we have rules in every social, economic or political group. Therefore, you cannot be a member of a social club and fail to abide by the rules.
When Adam and Even reneged the decree of God in the Garden of Eden, they got a harsh discipline that dogs the human race even today. If they respected God’s rule, things would be different today for the human race.
I challenge William Ruto to tell Kenyans whether former South African President Did Tabo Mbeki, did parade his Xhosa tribesmen in the cabinet and in parliament to protect him when the ANC unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in him? Mbeki, is a respected freedom hero who fought against the apartheid in South Africa and despite this, he had to respect the constitution of his party. His presidency was cut short and he had to respect the decision of the ANC party. This is what we want to see in Kenya.
It’s very clear that the heart, mind, soul and love of William Ruto and his group is not in the ODM party. They are waiting for the rain to stop, form or move to another political party. Before doing so, they want to ensure that they have completely wrecked the party before the official exit.
The ODM party should move with speed for the discipline. We cannot continue to be wretched by people who want to play the tribal card in perpetuity when Kenyans want to confront the monster head on. They used it during the referendum campaigns and isolated their own community and still want to keep doing so.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Improve curriculum instead of adopting American education model

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA
It’s vital to restructure the management of our education systems in order to conform to the recently ratified constitution but the ministry of education should be careful about the plans of adopting the American model of education.

We don’t to borrow an education system from any country but rather to restructure the prevailing system for improvement. The USA system is far from being perfect despite the Country having dedicated teachers and being equipped with modern learning facilities.
Currently, the Country is struggling with poor management and underperformance in their elementary and secondary schools. Many Parents are now opting to “vouchers” provided by the government to enable them pay tuition for their children in private schools after pulling them out of public schools.
Political leaders have conflicting views on the voucher program. Those who support the program argues that it gives parents freedom to choose schools for their children when they under perform in public schools. Those opposed to the program terms it as a destroyer of public schools. They strongly advocates for government support to underperforming schools through funding and retraining teachers.
Having been to College in American, lecturers opine that the standard of our education is superior based on the excellence of Kenyan college University goers. This is a clear demonstration that the model of education Kenya wants to adopt is not free of loopholes.
Firstly, the Ministry of education should focus on a plan to equip public elementary and secondary schools with learning equipments like computers to improve ICT and also facilitate the establishment of at least one library in every when established as stipulated in the new constitution. These will boost students’ performance.
Education is the citadel point that defines the success of any nation. Leaving the sector on the hands of counties will be a grave mistake. It will be fair for the central government to manage curriculum development, hire teachers and manage national examinations the way it has always been.
Secondly, there is need to entrench new study modules in the curriculum like, peace education, conflict resolution, corruption and human rights. These will give learners a good foundation in their psyche to become good citizens.
It will add value given the fact that the country has been through negative events which threatened peaceful co-existence. Regrettably, the Ministry of education hasn’t nurtured young school goers who saw the violence that engulfed Kenya more than two years a go with peace education.
To ensure that young Kenyans understand their background and heritage, History and Swahili should be compulsory subjects in primary and secondary schools.
In my view, to build an upright society, religious education should be compulsory in Primary and secondary schools. The Bible says: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This stresses need to mold young school goers with integrity while young.
Our major religions like Christianity, Islam and Hindu teaches moral values that should be taught in schools to boost the ethical values of young Kenyans.
Kenya is a very small country compared to the USA. We recently adopted a constitution which borrowed heavily from theirs but the government of Kenya should let our education system be structured to suit our prevailing standards.
It’s unworkable to leave the management of our schools on the hands of devolved units- counties units which cannot address tackle even the rampant irregularities that the country experiences during national exams.
Finally, the management of our education system should remain the way it is today but focus should be on improvement at all levels. Let us not rush to adopt a foreign system when the existing one can be strengthened and improved to conform to the needs of Kenyans.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A new chapter to transform Kenya is born

Kenyans voted for the new constitution with great enthusiasm, making a landmark for what they have been craving for in many decades.

This is not a victory for the President, Vice President or the Prime Minister, in the grand coalition government but a victory for democracy and the future of all ages whose ideas and aspirations are well captured in the new law.

Our hopes pegged on seeing a paradigm shift in the management of the Country’s governance affairs in the social, economic and political spheres, as the government moves towards the implementation stage for the new law.

The expectations from the Kenyan people are very high. Its reminiscent of the rainbow coalition of 2002.The resiliency exhibited in the way people voted during the referendum reflects a nation thirsting for a positive transformation.

The new constitution contains wonderful provisions which if implemented to the letter, will transform the Country into a haven for the citizens and non citizens. There is hope in many spheres for instance, dispensation of justice through the bill of rights, respect of freedoms, equity and equality to all cadres in the society, devolution and other pro-citizen provisions.

Those in the helm of leadership should unequivocally steer the nation through the new “bureaucracy” to positively change the lives of the Kenyan people. We want to see our governance systems and processes begin to change earnest, so that shouts of hurrah and jubilation that characterized the passage of the new law will hold water for the benefit of the people of Kenya.

We don’t want to heave a sigh of relief the way we did in 1963 after independence and still continue being manacled by civil strife, tribalism, disunity, injustice, corruption and other vices.

The new law should transform and restore our broken governance systems and processes for the benefit of millions of Kenyan people.

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila need to be commended for their spade work to ensure the passage of the new constitution but the biggest job they have at hand is ensuring that the aspirations of Kenyans that are captured in the document are implemented so that they can have confidence in the new law.

That said, the two leaders also need to reach out to the opposing camps during the referendum campaigns in order to bridge divide for purposes of national healing, unity, peace and reconciliation.
The Church and political leaders who opposed the law in the referendum should support the government by putting behind their differences because they all played a good game but one team had to win.

They need to shake each others hands, accept the verdict and focus on national interests as opposed to being hypercritical about the law which has already been ratified by the Kenyan majority through universal suffrage.

Political leaders and citizens who didn’t vote for the ratification of the new law are required to democratically respect it and pledge their allegiance to it to enable our country move on. This was well demonstrated when the “no” camp conceded defeated through their defacto leader honourable William Ruto. It was a reflection of political maturity and respect for the democratic process.

Implementing constitutional provisions is different from honouring political promises, which are often not binding. Therefore, the constitution being the new law of the land and binding must be implemented to the letter. Kenyans don’t their dreams and expectations shuttered but respected and fulfilled according to the new law.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

President Kibaki and his Predecessor should be role models

President Kibaki and his Predecessor should be role models
By Joseph Lister Nyaringo,
New Jersey USA
While President Kibaki and his predecessor are exercising the beauty of our democracy in the current referendum debate, personal attacks does not augur well for the Country.
They are expected to exhibit decorum and statesmanship that the new generation should emulate.
Former President Moi has a right to take a position in the coming referendum over the proposed constitution but the aggressiveness he has exhibited in campaigning for its rejection has bee characterized by rancor, propaganda, falsehoods and misinterpretations of clauses.
It’s very rare for a retired President to openly pick a quarrel or throw words at a sitting president and vice versa but the latest between former President Moi and his successor has taken many Kenyans by surprise.
It’s imperative for the two leaders to remain as pillars of social harmony and role models. Our Country is still fragile following the 2008 tragedy. The peace we currently enjoy is likely to be put in jeopardy when two respected elders are openly washing their dirty linen in public.
Coming from a province which was the hot bed of the post election violence and where majority of the people are against the proposed constitution, Moi and Kibaki’s disagreements does not help to cement the peace that the multi-ethnic province desperately craves for.
Both leaders being in opposing camps, this might spill over to catalyse a collision between members of the public in the Rift Valley who are for and against the proposed law.
In Western democracies, most former presidents do not directly criticize their predecessors. When they do, it’s so veiled and usually touches on their party policies, or campaigning for party candidates.
The best example is the recent passage of the healthcare legislation by the Obama administration which sparked heavy criticism from the Republican Party, but not a single day did former President W. Bush come out to criticize his successor, President Obama.
In our Continent, we have never heard Benjamin Mkapa, Tabo Mbeki, or John Kufuor directly criticize their successors. In fact, despite the acrimonious debate that culminated to Tabo Mbeki’s exit from the ANC party leadership and South African presidency, the former president has kept his cool and given Jacob Tsuma the chance to lead the rainbow nation.
The die is cast and Kenyans must look far a head and choose between what is right and discard what is undesirable. I leave them to judge for themselves whom between the current President and his predecessor his standing for our national good or doom.
The beauty of our democracy should be exercised with caution so that we can build a united Country for posterity. Freedom can build or wreck a nation but when applied wisely to spread what is desirable, truthful and beneficial to the governed, it will go a long way to cement peace and tranquility in any society.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dr Lumumba has heavy responsibilities at the helm of KACC

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA
For the first in the history of Kenya, a plum and sensitive government appointment has been given to a professional without political leanings. This is a reflection that we are moving towards nurturing meritocracy in our Country’s civil service.

Dr. Lumumba, Prof Jane Onsongo and lawyer Pravin Bowry were approved by our legislators without any political or ethnic considerations.

Being at the helm of KACC, Dr. Lumumba is an inspiration and a motivator to many Kenyans. He has exhibited exemplary qualities in the reform platform. He has persistently challenged the status quo, terming it a recipe for the Country’s stagnation on democracy, political, social and economic development.

His intellectual Stimulation to those inside and outside the academia has motivated many Kenyans to strive and climb the academic ladder. From PLO the great orator to a chief anti-corruption tsar is not only a milestone to the Dr’s family but for all Kenyans.

He is known to be brilliant, knowledgeable and a forward thinker. Heading an organization charged with the responsibility of fighting corruption in the country is a tall order for the charismatic and eloquent lawyer. He has no political baggage and Kenyans expects him to operate independently with a paradigm shift from his predecessor, Justice Aaron Ringera.

Being young, energetic and creative, the new KACC director should fight the vice of corruption with zeal and determination. He knows that corruption is the genesis of the myriad problems that have bedeviled our country since independence.

The new KACC boss developed the vision, sold the vision to Kenyans, found his way and now he stands to be counted rather than saying I wish it was done this way and that way. The yoke is on his shoulders to translate his eloquence and ideas into practice. He needs to convince Kenyans and the world through service delivery because saying is one and dong is another.

There are high expectations from Kenyans for the new KACC boss. He needs to fold his sleeves to help the nation on the war against corruption. There is a general believe that new brooms sweep clean and although they don’t sweep all corners, a clean house is what Kenyans expects from Dr Lumumba.
May the new KACC team under Dr Lumumba make integrity, honest, and values their operational etiquette in anti-corruption watchdog body. Their appointment was done transparently, through vetting and finally approved by our law makers who represent millions of Kenyans.

We urge the new team to lay a firm foundation centred on professionalism, transparency and accountability so that those who will take over from them will perpetuate the same ideals in KACC.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Leadership perspectives Visa-vis World cup in South Africa

Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA
The entire world was glued on television watching the world cup for the first time from the African Continent. Our two leaders in the coalition government President Kibaki and PM Raila Odinga travelled to Johannesburg for the tournaments’ opening ceremony. I wonder if they learnt any lesson while in a country which has enjoyed majority rule for only 15 years but has comfortably positioned itself in the global stage; surpassing the Continent’s power houses like Nigeria and Egypt.
When South Africa won the votes to host the 2010 World cup, it sent a very strong message to Africa and the world that the post apartheid nation was prepared for greatness globally. It was impressive during the matches … security, infrastructure and logistics to safeguard the comfort of fans who thronged the rainbow nation was well coordinated; a reminiscent of a developed country.
South Africa’s economic grid and governance practices are phenomenal; a sharp contrast with Countries which attained self rule more than a half a century a go like Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Morocco, and Guinea. In fact, the Country’s GDP is 10 times that of Kenya despite being 3 years away to celebrate a half a century since we attained independence from Britain.
I don’t want to sound disrespectful to African leaders who took over after independence; but it appears like they were not ready for majority rule. May be things would be better today if the colonialists stayed longer the way they did in South Africa. The challenges we see in the DRC, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, or Kenya, are all homegrown as a result of poor leadership foundation laid upon by the founding fathers.
It must be remembered that if Neslson Mandela could have followed the path that most African leaders took after independence, South Africa would not have gotten the opportunity to host the World cup. Despite the horror of the apartheid regime and Mandela’s incarceration, the white minority rule laid a firm foundation that they passed to the freedom hero and this has continued to define country’s current stature.
Mandela inherited an economically viable Country from the minority predecessor, Fredrick De Klerk and ruled for one term; passing the baton to Tabo Mbeki who perpetuated the same ideals passing it to Jacob Tsuma. Mr. Tsuma recently shepherded the World cup to a successful end.
It’s paradoxical that Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, despite sharing the same colonial heritage with South Africa, cannot measure up to the rainbow nation on good governance, democratic practices, infrastructure, and respect to the Country’s constitution. I’m not implying that South Africans are free from daily challenges but their Country stands on a better platform compared with many African nations.
Shall we conclude that African nations currently bedeviled by civil strife, corruption, governance malpractices and injustices achieved liberation from the colonialists too soon, or post independence leaders were caught off guard before they could set their minds on self rule?
In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe inherited a robust economy from the British, but today the Country is a shell. The citizens cannot even feed themselves, yet the Zimbabwean strongman keeps whining; blaming the West for his Country’s problems. Just recently, the DRC celebrated 50 years of independence from Belgium but there was nothing to celebrate when the country is riddled with poverty, illiteracy, violence, injustices and many other human rights violations.
If Nelson Mandela, suffered for over a quarter a century but after his release and ascendancy to the Presidency proved that political cronyism, tyranny, autocracy, corruption, ethnicity was not in his vocabulary, how come our own Jomo Kenyatta who equally suffered never nurtured the same ideals when he took over from the colonial leadership ?
Nobody thought Kenyatta will renege the spirit of the independence struggle. Nobody thought his reign will be compounded with land grabbing, political assassinations, detaining government dissenters especially those he fought with during the freedom struggle. The first President cynically and tragically aligned himself on ethnic identification through a cartel of tribesmen who misadvised him on key national decisions which is the genesis of Kenya’s present predicaments.
He passed on a devastating legacy to Moi, which has continued to roil our country making it hard to agree on issues that affect the nations especially getting a new constitution. How come former President Neslson Mandela was able to get a new constitution for his people in a span of two years after he became president when it has take Kenya more than 20 years to achieve the same?
My final challenge is for African leaders is to take stock of where they went wrong and devise home grown solutions if they expect to be at par with South Africa.
As we move to see our Country’s rebirth on 4th August, let us not be engulfed by utopia because our great success is dependent upon a transformative leader who will take over our nation under the new constitution. The future is bleak but very hopeful.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Honour heroes through a new constitution

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo- New Jersey USA.

Those who love freedom and justice; those who cherish and relish democracy should be prepare to reward the heroes of Kenya’s second liberation through voting in a new constitution.
Truly, how can we reward these brave men and women who are still with us and the departed ones like- Bishop Alexander Muge, Henry Okullu, Manasses Kuria, George Anyona, Masinde Muliro and Jaramogi Odinga?
Shall we continue being manacled by the tentacles that deprived them off their freedom or we need to shake off and build a new order, look back and celebrate their zeal and determination to pave the way for Kenya’s second liberation.
Shall we reward these heroes by joining forces with those who subjected them to physical torture, spiritual ordeal and mental agony to deny Kenyans a new order?
Shall we reward these heroes through negative maneuvers through killing the dream they have always held for the Country and which is likely to change our leadership and governance systems for future generations?
While attending a discussion group sponsored by Amnesty International in New York recently, I was given accolades not because of doing anything for Kenya but through the respect one the key figures of the organization upholds for the Central Imenti MP Gitobu Emanyara, when they met in New York at the height of Kenya’s clamour for Multiparty democracy.
This reminds me of one key thing- true patriotism. Emanyara and his group fought passionately with zeal, bravery without looking at any gains. They loved Kenya during that time and they have continued doing so without giving up.
They didn’t mortgage or betray the course of the struggle but kept pressing forward fearlessly. Those days, there were no strong activities from the civil society like it is today but they used every means to ensure that section (2a) was changed. The public order act, the chiefs’ order, and the public security act all gave former president Moi the ammunition to make Kenyans forced refugees in the West and detainees at home.
Let us reward the heroes who paved the way for the freedom we enjoy by voting in a new constitution in the coming referendum.

Pursue what’s achievable before Referendum day

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA

Let us not dream that we shall wake up one day to sing one chorus or dance in the same rhythm. That is why it’s futile to seek for absolute truth in the proposed constitution before the referendum day.
No leadership system or political ideology his perfect in the World. Not even the evolution of Democracy; the most preferred system of government.

Theocracy, the system Moses and his brother Joshua used to lead the Israelis from Egypt never lacked weaknesses despite giving World the 10 commandments. Reaching Promised Land, Israel’s leadership from King Saul to the present Benjamin Netanyahu has been riddled with turmoil after turmoil for many generations.

It has been said severally how hard it is to attain a perfect constitution. Personally like most Kenyans, I’m for yes not because the constitution is perfect but because it will help us run our country well than the current one.
A law that faces resistance is not necessarily a bad law. That is why many of the hard criticism being fronted by sections of the Kenyan society about the proposed law do not pass the merit test. Court petitions, suggestions to entrench an addendum to the contentious clauses before the referendum are clear moves to scuttle the constitution and prevent Kenyans from getting a new constitution.
Where were these people now coming with ideas at the eleventh hour as if they are from another planet? They had humble time to petition, propose or suggest ideas when they failed to provide inputs at the formative stages of the proposed law?
When a first time MP voted on a transformative platform is fighting to use Parliament to stop the referendum, many of us are left in a state of quandary about our nation’s young legislators and their reform credentials. It’s quite clear that Mr. Jamleck Kamau is for the retention of the status quo and an enemy for the reforms the country craves for.
Those who are against or are on the grey area on proposed constitution should take a cue from the recent passage of the health care legislation in the USA which never got any backing from the right wing Republicans, whom like many Kenyans in the “no” camp wanted to score political points when in fact the was for the benefit of millions of Americans without healthcare.
They should be reminded that even the law is rejected in the referendum, it will be elusive to achieve what is acceptable by all Kenyans at any given period. Besides, we’re fatigued with the quest for a new constitution. We don’t want to start from ground zero on the tax payers’ expense.
The IIEC has already hinted that they have run short of funds for the referendum and therefore, it will be a financial tragedy to subject Kenyans to another circus of coining another constitution if the proposed one is rejected during the referendum.
It’s too late to use unorthodox maneuvers through courts or punch holes on the contents of constitution. We need to focus for decision day on August 4th 2010.
However, those who feel there is time to try and engage the Church for a possible deal can do. Church leaders supporting the proposed law like Dr. Timothy Njoya and retired Bishop David Gitari should be prevailed upon and requested to reach out to their fellow Church leaders. You set a thief to catch a thief.
It’s never too late to unify the Country by bring the clergy on board to support the proposed constitution. This is a viable mechanism than what many on the “no” camp are pursuing.

Koigi Wamwere should be consistent with reforms

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo, NJ USA

The former MP for Subukia’s political credentials especially on the struggle for freedom and good governance in the country has been exemplary. That is why; I cringe with disgust when I see him sharing the same platform with his former oppressors who want to deny Kenyans a new constitution.

He must understand that the bigger percentage of those against the proposed constitution are not doing so because of patriotism but due to some clauses that are likely to disrupt their comfort zones but very beneficial to the Kenyan majority.

Koigi should reconsider his stand and support the proposed law; failure to which, his political resume will be dented forever. If he continues his negative campaign on the proposed law, he will never be remembered to have been in league with freedom heroes like: the late Jaramogi Odinga, Mukaru Nganga and George Anyona.

He needs to emulate the consistency of former Butere MP Martin Shikuku and Dr. Timothy Njoya who have continued to fight relentlessly for reforms in the Country especially on the attainment of a new constitution.

Having suffered detention without trial and being exiled, many Kenyans expected Koigi to be the last person to dine and wine with non reformers like Cyrus Jirongo, William Ruto and former President Moi especially on matters related to chatting the way forward for Kenya’s future.

I also call upon Dr. Wanyiri Kihoro and Rev. Mutave Musimi to reconsider their stand and join the league that wants to give Kenyans a new constitution. Like Koigi, the two suffered immensely during the Kanu regime as a result of their stand against dictatorship.
They need to remember that the good of today often overshadows the good of yesterday. Therefore, even though one has done good things in the past for the country; their future legacy is often tethered on the stand they take especially now that the Country is gearing to usher in a new constitution that will define the future governance systems and processes.

Kenyans should ignore those who want to scuttle the referendum

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo New Jersey, USA

I’m dismayed by a group of Kenyans coming with court injunctions at the eleventh hour when we are only one month to the referendum.

The latest from Dr. Barrack Abonyo, a Kenyan in the Diaspora who filed the application in Court through civil society activists with questionable credibility, is a shocker. The Interim Independent Electoral Commission is yet to come to terms with the Wednesday ruling by the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court that allowed prisoners to vote in the referendum.

We have two groups in Kenya’s civil society: those who genuinely want positive change and those who love to see disorder in the Country because this is the only way they will convince donors to fund their programs.

I will single out Mr. Okiya Omtata of KEJUDE whose ambiguity in the proposed constitution has been noted by many Kenyans. I don’t want to sound harsh but many idlers purporting to champion for the rights of Kenyans for cheap publicity are fighting tooth and nail for the postponement of the referendum.

We need to be privy with these groups who se primary motive is to see the Country swim in chaos so that they will remain relevant because they know that comprehensive reforms in the Country will make it elusive for them to attract funding from donors.
Where were they only to emerge at the eleventh hour? They didn’t raise this matter earlier enough for logistics to be put in place to allow Kenyans to vote from abroad. It’s unrealistic to fix modalities in a span of one month to allow Kenyans to vote from abroad when they are scattered a cross the globe even in smaller countries like Monaco and The Vatican.
Indeed, it’s our inalienable right to vote in any election from the Diaspora but logistically, it’s impossible in the coming referendum. Besides, most of our Missions abroad do not have a comprehensive central database of Kenyan citizens and this alone complicates the matter.
I challenge Dr. Abonyo to travel to Kenya and exercise his democratic right in the August referendum instead of using proxies -Okiya Omtata to file a case on behalf of a constituency he does not control or represent if he believes that what he stands for is popular with Kenyans in the Diaspora. Since he never consulted widely before he decided to proceed to court, I view the case as personal since it doesn’t represent the interests of the Kenyan majority in the Diaspora.

Like Dr. Abonyo, I live overseas and I don't want to see a delay for Kenyans to have a new constitution just because some one is advocating for me to vote in the August referendum. I may not cast my vote in the referendum from abroad but I have family members, friends and relatives whom I could advise how to vote based on what I have read in the proposed law and how important it is for them to vote for or against the proposed constitution in order to shape for destiny of our motherland.

Therefore, I urge the IIEC not to be derailed by last minute strugglers who don’t want Kenyans to have a new constitution as they had humble time to file court injunctions but could not do it only to come at the eleventh hour.
While the ruling by the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court that allowed prisoners and remandees to register and vote in the August referendum is laudable, we need to question those behind the injunction on why they waited for the referendum campaign when they had a chance to do the same while the voter registration exercise commenced.

To be honest, this is a scheme to either delay the country from getting a new constitution or having the exercise discarded altogether. Even the registration of prisoners and remandees is not going to be easy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Intellectuals should be catalysts for change in the Country

I concur with the views expressed by Professor Mutua Makau in the Sunday Nation dated 13th June. His objective arguments are an inspiration to many of us in the Diaspora.

Unlike many Kenyan Scholars abroad who have either decided to remain mum or developed disinterest in the remaking of our nation, Professor Makau has stayed a float on issues that bedevil our nation; arguing objectively without bias while providing tangible solutions on the way forward for our motherland.

Personally, I’m proud of Professor Makau’s portrayal of leadership where he has persistently injected, concrete and tangible ideas from the Diaspora to Kenya’s mass media. I find his arguments especially on the proposed constitution fair and balanced. In his Sunday Nation column, he captured the feelings of the nation on the need for politicians to desist from pursuing egocentric ethnic interests that are detrimental to the unity and cohesiveness of the nation.

To second his views, I could like to remind the Kalenjin community that honourable Ruto and former president Moi are misleading them by keeping them at ransom thereby isolating them from the rest of country on national decisions. They two have proved to Kenyans that they love to thrive on controversy in order to stay afloat politically.

Kenya is a diverse nation and what hurts one community hurts all. That is why the impact from the post election violence of 2008 affected the entire nation despite not touching all the 42 communities in Kenya.
Watching quietly when politicians are using the referendum campaign to set the nation on fire will be more tragic for Kenya.

We want damage control before we degenerate to the abyss of 2008. What happened at Uhuru Park on Sunday is a sign of bad things to come unless the government moves decisively to unravel the truth on those who committed the heinous crime.

In fact, there is no provision in the proposed constitution where certain groups, social classes, individuals or communities will be targeted and deprived off certain right and privileges. Furthermore, there is no provision that legalizes homosexuality the way those in the no camp appears to argue.

Our Country is in the process of healing and reconciliation. This is the time we want to hear the voices of the top cream of our Society the way Professor Makau has always done so that their ideas and knowledge can be harnessed to keep our country moving.

Therefore, I challenge Scholars in the Diaspora especially the famous ones like Professors Ngugi Wathiongo, and Ali Mazrui to join Professor Mutua Makau’s league as catalysts for change. Their intellectual prowess is needed in the wonderful debate currently going on over a new constitution that will pave the way for Kenya’s rebirth.

It’s useless to climb the academic ladder and fail to give direction on issues that matter for the nation. In fact, the quest for knowledge is to acquire skills, knowledge and expertise that will help society in times of a crisis. I cringe with disgust each time I read Mutahi Ngunyi one of Kenya’s intellectuals in his Sunday Nation column. He sounds like someone whose intellectual prowess is either getting drained or reasons like an ordinary citizen. While he has a democratic right to take a position in the proposed law, his views are myopic, ambiguous and cannot shape our national destiny. He always duels on medieval generalities with no exit strategy on national predicaments.

Those accessing the mass media should ensure that their views are objective and in tandem with the substance that will hold Kenya together. Many of us have read the proposed law and concluded that it contains excellent provisions that will nurture equality and equity, freedom and justice as well as building a culture of fair governance systems and processes for the benefit of the entire nation. May our intellectuals join the club?
Joseph Lister Nyaringo

Sunday, June 13, 2010

South Mugirango, cast your vote with your conviction

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA

The people of South Mugirango should avoid being dragged into succession and referendum politics when they go to the polls in June to elect their next leader after the nullification of the election of the then MP and Trade assistant minister Omingo Magara.

Voters must focus on the qualities of the candidates before they cast their votes and not be swayed by the charged political climate in the Country. After all, they’re electing an MP to address the myriad problems they face in the grassroots and not the President of the Republic of Kenya.

Although clan politics often takes centre stage during elections in Gusiiland, it’s imperative for the voters to disregard it because it has thwarted civil unity in the Community. Voters should remember irrespective of whether a candidate is Omosinange, Omogetenga or Omotabori; they are all citizens of Kenya, and have to be voted based on their values and character.

The MP should be a person who will articulate the people’s interests, aspirations, as well as standing up for the common good of the Abagusii and the entire nation. He or she must be a leader with the desire for public service especially being well versed with challenges that face the constituency. He must be ready to lift the standard of education, infrastructure, agriculture as well as fighting to scale down the consumption of illicit brews that has ruined the lives of young people.

Being induced by cash handouts to influence one’s vote has continued to rob the Abagusii community off good leaders. Many aspirants for leadership are often given a blackout during elections not because they lack leadership qualities but because they don’t bribe the voters. Voters must remember that a one time cash or material inducement cannot change one’s life, community or nation.

Leaders with presidential ambitions who want to capitalize on the national hype that has characterized South Mugirango by elections must be reminded that theirs is not about the love for the constituents but a selfish maneuver to expand their political network through the former ODM party Treasurer, who is defending the seat on a different ticket.

Honourables Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto and the Vice President want to use South Mugirango as a specimen in a chemical lab to settle political scores to a well known opponent in their quest for the Presidency. I urge the people to reject this external pressure by casting their votes wisely with their conscience and conviction.

Any acts of lawlessness from the voters during the campaigns despite being treated with the theatrics of a referendum must be avoided. The voters must uphold a democratic culture that accommodates campaign issues and ideas from all candidates in order to make informed choices. It will be unfair to hurt, insult, curse or provoke some one just because of supporting a different candidate.

The people are not looking for an omniscient Member of Parliament, but some one who is down to earth and who will listen to their day to day challenges by providing workable remedies with humbleness and humility all tamped with honest, integrity, selflessness and human love.

The MP should be a person who will conduct the affairs of the constituency with transparency and accountability while upholding servant leadership through dedication, hard work and commitment.

If South Mugirango constituents will adhere to the above when they will go to the polls, they stand a good chance of electing a good MP. These should also apply to other constituencies with impending by elections like, Matuga and Juja.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Kenya not out of the woods yet even with a good constitution without a leader

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey USA
The proposed constitution is likely to pass in the referendum despite the raging debate between the protagonists and antagonists and thereafter, Kenyans will start focusing on a leader who will apply the new law to transform and restore our Country’s governance systems and processes.
As a nation, we are smelling justice, equality, equity, freedom, devolution, a fair justice system and other wonderful provisions enshrined in the proposed law but the sum total of any bureaucracy whether in business or government always requires a superb leader to ensure its success.
Currently, many Kenyans are stricken by poverty; living from hand to mouth. The landless can’t afford even a graveyard. Quite often, in rural Kenya, a young girl is raped and the culprit perambulates lackadaisically in the village while the victim wriggles in pain with no justice.
A farmer in Nyamache District delivering tea to a buying centre is robbed off his kilos by a corrupt tea clerk. If this happens in the grassroots, what about at the top where we have entrusted leaders with responsibilities of managing our taxes which are in a tune of Billions of Kshs?
Our exchequer has been looted since independence and the culprits walks freely among us. Many of these corrupt individuals have stashed the loot to foreign banks when many Kenyans are living under a dollar a day. Others have undergone a spiritual transformation- fooling Kenyans by preaching as well as leading political parties. What a phony way to fool Kenyans?
The corrupt of yesteryears are the ardent critics of the proposed constitution; fearing that its passage will unravel their past inequities and bring them to justice when it’s implemented. Therefore, our key focus should be how the new constitution will be harnessed to address the past and present predicaments that continue to bedevil our nation.
The President who will take over from Kibaki under the new constitution will determine whether we shall float and swim as a nation or sink and drown. He must be a person with a willing spirit and excellent track record to use the “new bureaucracy” to lift our nation from the current abyss. He must also be willing to defend and protect it for our national good ands not betray it the way others have done since independence.
Remember, liberation from colonialism was received with a sigh of relief but it never relieved Kenyans. The hurrah and jubilation that will accompany the passage of the new constitution will not be enough in itself. It will carry more meaning when Kenyans shall elect a leader who will not turn into a world dog to maul the nation but use the new law to transform and restore our broken governance systems. After all, a constitution is just a mere book in black and white.
We have experienced betrayal after betrayal of the constitution form many decades done by the Presaident Kenya has had. The first president Kenyatta betrayed Kenyans when he immediately took the mantle of leadership and started acting against the spirit of the independence struggle. Former President Moi started well but underwent a complete metamorphosis; he killed dissent by changing the constitution, which turned Kenya into a one party state.
Although he agreed to change section (2a) after a lot pressure from human rights advocates and the International community that paved the way for the reintroduction of multiparty democracy, he still betrayed Kenyans by failing to provide a level playing field for multiparty democracy to suffice in the Country. Further to this, he rigged himself into power in the first multiparty elections of 1992 using state machinery like police, civil service and the provincial administration.
When Kibaki took over in 2003, he vowed to defend and protect the constitution and promised the country a new one after 100 days. Did he deliver it? Instead, he perfected political cronyism, corruption, betrayal and tribalism that he inherited from his successor. Even though he supports the current proposed constitution, he has violated the current one several times. The most tragic scenario, he was sworn in 2008 despite mysteries over his election victory.

Our “governance manual” is likely to change in August this year but we must be ready to elect person who will use the new manual to transform and restore our nation in the economic sphere, social sphere and political sphere, when elections are called. The person must be change minded and having the problems of Kenyans at heart.
A good example is Barrack Obama, who had the problems of millions of Americans without health care Insurance and after being elected president, he moved with a stratagem that caught his opponents off guard, when his administration passed the healthcare bill that was a hard nut to crack by many former US Presidents.
This is the spirit we expect from those who want to take the Country’s leadership under the new constitution. Otherwise, with Moi, Kibaki or Kenyatta’s replica in State House, it will be a tragedy for the nation even with a perfect constitution.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Moi should not remind Kenyans of bloodshed

I cringe with a deep shudder when a former President whose regime was compounded with injustices likes detention without trial, tribal clashes, political assassinations, corruption and many other vices will waste his retirement time to talk about bloodshed when the country is gearing for a new constitution that will pave the way for a better Kenya.
We don’t want to be reminded of bloodshed when the nation is reeling from the post election violence where thousands of innocent lives were lost through senseless killings in 2008. The former President must stop holding the Bible on one hand and a gun on the other.
Does Moi value human life when Dr. Ouko and Bishop Muge were killed in cold blood on his watch, leave a lone the tribal clashes in the Rift Valley during the 1990s? Nobody heard of Moi when Kenyans were killing each other during the post election in 2008.
He has a democratic right to take a position on the new constitution but he must be cautious with his statements that may spark animosity amongst Kenyans. He is from a region which was the epicentre of the post election violence and where majority of its leaders are opposed to the new constitution which will be subjected to a referendum in August.
Wasting time to criticize the positive steps the country is making when he squandered 24 years doing nothing, Moi should borrow a leaf from former Presidents Benjamin Mkapa who mediated the peace we enjoy currently enjoy after the post election violence. He should emulate Nelson Mandela who has continued to be a role model globally and Billy Clinton whose philanthropic work has created a positive impact to disadvantaged people in the World.
Moi should thank God that our systems may never indict him for crimes against humanity especially on detention without trial and the tribal clashes of the 1990s. He stands tall in the league with former Chilean dictator, Agostino Pinochet, and Charles Taylor of Liberia for his poor human rights records in Kenya.
The Country has moved forward, after his dictatorial regime. Despite the post election violence 29 months a go, there are no political detainees in our jails and Kenyans enjoy free speech that Moi is misusing to talk about bloodshed. Unlike his regime, today government officials exercise a lot of dissent where they speak freely without fear for victimization.
It’s sad that the Church that fought Moi’s repressive regime has joined him to retain the status quo by wanting to deny Kenyans a new constitution. They need to understand that Moi his not against the new law due to his love for Kenya but to safeguard his interests and that of his family. The checks and balances enshrined in the new constitution has given him butterflies as it will question impropriate acquisition of public properties like land.
Politicians like Cyrus Jirongo, William Ruto, and Isaac Ruto, now teaming up with Moi is purely due to selfishness ends. They have a negative record from the first multiparty elections when they used dubious means to sneak Moi back to power.
Why are they raising eyebrows when the coalition government is using state resources to give Kenyans a new constitution? While being Moi’s political students, the trio under the banner of YK92 used state resources to perpetuate a repressive regime and no matter how much money their mentor will inject into the “no” bandwagon, Kenyans will not buy their political trickery and hypocrisy.
Moi has a right to air his views in the current debate but we can’t bank on him to give us direction on constitutional making. At least, we are on the path to realizing what he failed to achieve in his 24 years reign. He should go slowly on matters of governance while in retirement.
Why can’t he engage in domestic philanthropy using the hefty riches he acquired while President as it will benefit many Kenyan people?
We admire the way the former President handed power peacefully to Kibaki in 2002 and we all want him to enjoy his retirement instead of propagating lies to Kenyans about the new constitution by evoking bloodshed.
Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey-USA

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Kenya's Young MPs have failed to nurture a new political order

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA
This is how Francis Imbuga, a Kenyan playwright captures the events that are unfolding in our Country in his Play Betrayal in the City, “ it was better while we waited, we have killed our past and are busy killing the future.”

After nearly 20 years of acrimonious debate for a new constitutional dispensation, Parliament passed the draft constitution that will be subjected to a national referendum by July 2010.

Contrary to this positive stride, a section of young MPs, who are supposed to be torchbearers to foster a new social, political and economic order led by the Minster for Higher education honourable William Ruto have decided to mobilize Kenyans to reject the draft constitution.

Ruto’s “no” line up includes: Eugene Wamalwa, Isaac Ruto, Cyrus Jirongo, Joshua Kutuny and Peter Munya to mention but a few. They all have a democratic right to accept or reject the constitution, but their timing is suspect and sinister.
This line up reflects that young people in political circles want our Country to remain in the old order by being ardent protectors of the status quo instead of being catalysts for change and transformative leadership. I’m convinced that majority of young leaders in our Country are more ethnically inclined, self centred and therefore worse than the older politicians.

Last week, a media Columnist, Mr. Barrack Muluka highlighted how Mr.Eugene Wamalwa, who is also MP for Saboti and one of the youngest MPs in Parliament, urging his community in a vernacular radio, to vote for him so he will get the opportunity to sleep in State House. The legislator is now in the league of President Moi’s political students, William Ruto, Cyrus Jirongo and Isaac Ruto of the YK92 fame. He has joined the duo who sneaked Moi back to power in 1992, not for the Cockerel but to mobilize Kenyans to reject the draft constitution. What a shame!

By Cyrus Jirongo and William Ruto joining their political mentor former President Moi, in the “ no” camp over the draft constitution, they are sending a message to Kenyans that Kanu’s old styles of running national affairs is blossoming back in full throttle through young leaders.

This is not the first time young leaders have led Kenyans down. In the last elections, Uhuru Kenyatta dethroned himself from leader of official opposition and decided to support Kibaki’s re- election. The Gatundu South MP left about 1.8 Million Kenyans who voted for him in 2002 in suspense and also subjected multiparty politics in dire straits. This was selfish, egocentric and a lack of principles in leadership.

We are tired of leaders who are lackadaisical on issues of national importance but ready to shout when their comfort zones are threatened. Some have become venomous while in their tribal backyards and what comes out of their mouth is incitement, hate and sowing seeds of discord which is a recipe for chaos in our ethnically diverse nation. They have forgotten the rough and tumble Kenyans went through in early 2008.

All politics is local but it’s irrelevant for those with national leadership ambitions to concentrate in their ethnic enclaves. If William Ruto wants to endear himself nationally, he must articulate the interest of all Kenyans, instead of behaving as if he loves his Kalenjin people more than God who created them. Dragging his differences with the Prime Minister to the entire Kalenjin community does not make sense either.

As a young person, I will be the last person to advocate for leadership change or support some one based on their age. One can be 100 years and still stand tall on issues beneficial for the Kenyan people. After all, except honourable John Michuki, majority of the older generation leaders are supporting the new draft constitution which sends a very strong message that they want to bequeath a good country to the young generation. On the other side of the ledger, I’m not trying to imply that all young legislators (MPs) in Kenya are sympathizers of the status quo. There are those who have done very well.

I urge our young legislators to learn from President Obama, whose administration has seized the opportunity to reform key institutions in the US like Heath Care which defeated many presidents before him. On global transformation, he recently unveiled a policy with a target to combat nuclear proliferation as well as a focus to change America’s foreign policy. By and large, he is focusing for greater achievements that reflect a new social, political, and economic order for America.

In Kenya, we have sung “change” for many decades and now we must ignore the young or the old who want to derail us from achieving this end. In fact, many of those now rejecting the new constitutional are doing so to settle political scores or for egocentric reasons.

We all contend that the draft constitution is not free from imperfections and will be amended as needed during the implementation stage. After all; our laws are not cast on stones. Jesus came and was accused of violating the laws of Moses, when he taught on the new Covenant. We have closed the Red Sea, and we are swiftly heading to the Promised Land. Let us not be detoured or derailed Kenyans, let us vote yes for our future and the future of our children.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kenya desperately need selfless leaders

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
The myriad problems that face our Country ranging from the economy, social and political spheres require leaders who are more concerned about the citizens than themselves.

Such leaders must pour their lives for effective public duty to enhance the lives of Kenyans than themselves. It requires more than mere rhetoric to tackle the high poverty rate, inflation, skyrocketing of prices for essential goods, insecurity and crime. It requires an inner passion driven by compassion, empathy, dedication and human love.

Political leaders hold the most important job roles in any Country. The policies they make affect even the most valuable professionals in the society like: Doctors, Surgeons, Dentists, Accountants, Engineers, and Pilots. This is an indicator that they are responsible for millions of people's lives including their own.

Leaders in our Country are not dedicated to their roles in the society. Even those elected from their regions do not point the priority areas that need to be addressed. We lack a contingency plan as a Country. That is why; we always address symptoms instead of the causes. We don’t get a remedial strategy from the leaders until people start starving to death especially during the onset of famine.

Sections of the media carried out footage about the famine in Turkana and Ukambani and for those who saw, it was a terrifying experience. I shed tears and wished I had the capacity to ease the pain I saw in the people. Ironically, one of the leaders from Turkana who is also a Cabinet Minister recently bought a Chopper worthy Millions of Shillings.

This was an absolute lack of wisdom, humanity and empathy. Such leader doesn’t deserve to be elected to Parliament, leave alone being given Ministerial duties in any government. How do you buy a luxury like a Helicopter when your people are starving to death; eating herbs like goats?

Even though the Minister has a right to own any luxury, human life is of cardinal importance compared to a Chopper. People look forward to him as rekindles of their hopes; expecting him to serve them with humility and mercy.

Kenyans are suffering in the middle of plenty on a few hands. Even in Ukambani, we have rich men and women in the current leadership who have not taken any initiative to address the scourge of famine in the region.

To significantly rejuvenate the standard of living for Kenyans,page content we must be absolutely sure that those we elect to office are capable of doing the right job. We must assess their wisdom and understanding of the current challenges that our people face.

footer (site informatiWe must make sure that they really do have the skills for the job and are capable of being great leaders; advocating for what is popular and good to the masses. The mistake we make is to elect leaders on the basis of what they own, like the Turkana politician; he will use the Chopper to fly around the constituency luring people to vote for him.

We face many challenges in this country because the people we maintain in national leadership do not have a passion to serve. They don’t care about what happens around them so long as it doesn’t affect their immediate family.

Last week, the USA government, faced with dwindling Stock Trading, went a head to vote in Congress in order to inject Millions of Dollars to resuscitate their financial Markets. This is the surest way for leaders to attack problems before it becomes chronic and end up affecting our national good.

Politics has been taken as an avenue for riches and fame. Public duty; the genesis of any leadership calling does not augur in the minds of current and aspiring leaders. Even those who are blessed with plenty and riches do not care about the poor in the society. I admire the United States system where aspiring leaders are often grilled over their contributions to charitable causes.

Quite often, leaders with generosity often advocate for policies that benefit the entire society. It must also be understood that political leaders who often put the interests of others above there own are often the best in the World.

It was a great sacrifice and a reflection of selflessness that Nelson Mandela, of South African suffered for 27 year to liberate his Country. In Kenya , the legendary, late Member of Parliament for Nyandarua North, JM Kariuki exhibited rare qualities in political leadership for his advocacy on matters that affected the poor. Do the leaders we have today exhibit JM’s love and gusto to fight for the people, regardless of who they are? Certainly not.

In the wisdom of Martin Luther King Junior, the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. We saw a laid back attitude from our key leaders when the Country was facing the highest challenges early this year. It took the wisdom of outsiders to get our Country back to the track.

True leaders must radiate a selfless image; working diligently to change the lives of others based on mercy a caring heart, and a willing spirit. They must be driven by the qualities of character and integrity; avoiding the temptation to misuse their authority in their public life.

Leadership is about Values pegged on humility, caring, compassion and human love to the ruled. Anything outside this is mere self gratification and egocentricity.

True leadership entails guidance, effective management, discernment of circumstances and problem solving with a heart and willingness to change a situation that distracts the lives of those he leads. Any leader who puts a dark curtain to the problems bedevilling the country lacks the legitimacy to be called a leader.

Monday, April 12, 2010

This is not the first time Church leaders have misled Kenyans

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo, New Jersey, USA
Church leaders have failed to show leadership especially on matters of national importance. In 2004, they trashed the Bomas draft, even when the Pop’s representative to Kenya had supported it. In 2005 referendum, they advised Kenyans to vote through their conscience, a deviation of the Church’s role as the “conscience” of nation.

Before President Kibaki who is a Catholic took over from Moi in 2003, the Catholic Church fought with Kenyans for good governance as exhibited by retired Archbishop Raphael Mwana Nzeki. He fought for multipartism as well as being fir firm at the height of tribal clashes in the Rift Valley in 1992.
Ndingi, was in the league with the late Bishops Alexander Muge of Eldoret and Henry Okullu of Maseno South Dioceses.
What real went wrong with Church leaders after Kibaki entered the House on the hill when they kept former President Moi on his toes?
The role of Rev. Timothy Njoya, the late Archbishop Manesses Kuria, Henry Okullu, Kipsang Muge, and David Gitari will never fade from Kenyan memories. They stood against injustice, corruption, tribalism and political cronyism during Moi’s regime.
It’s should be remembered that the worst from the clergy was in 2004 when Bishop Peter Njoka, once embroiled on cash for prayers at City hall and Bishop Moses Njue, went a head telling Kibaki to act tough on dissenters in the Narc government whom they said were taking the President for granted.
As if this was not enough, they proposed the introduction of “Kibaki Day” as a national holiday.
Although they apologized for taking a tribal path in2007 general elections and the subsequent violence, Kenyans can’t forget how the Church failed its cardinal responsibility to bring Kibaki and Raila Odinga to the negotiation table. If they preached harmony, tolerance, love, peace and tranquility, these would have de-escalated the post election violence.
On the draft constitution, Church leaders should know that it’s only in heaven that we have a perfect constitution. Threatening to mobilize Kenyans to reject the draft is hypocritical.
That said, we applause the head of the Anglican Church Dr. Eliud Wabukala and Rev. Timothy Njoya for advising Kenyans to vote “yes” for the new constitution. The two have emulated the wisdom of Moses and David, both religious and political leaders who gave their people direction during challenging times.
The Secretary General of the NCCK, Rev. Peter Karanja should scale down his hard-line position on the draft constitution, failure to which, Kenyans will conclude that he is a sympathizer to the current constitution which is the source of Kenya’s current problems.
No wonder, the reverend has advocated before for an early election under the current constitution that Kenyans want to get rids off to quell squabbles in the coalition government.
The two contentious clauses in the draft constitution: the Kadhi courts and abortion do not make Kenyans lesser Christians. On abortion, women can’t be left in suspense when abortion is needed to safe a mother’s life. Also, to expung Kadhi courts, which is intact in the current constitution will portray intolerance from the Christian majority and this will augur badly for religious harmony and ecumenical cooperation between Christians and Muslims. There is no religion superior than another since God created Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Agnostics and atheists with equal rights.
If religious leaders played their roles as the nation’s conscience, former United Nations Secretary General Koffi Annan will come to Kenya mainly to watch the “big 5” in the Mara and enjoy the breeze in our Coastal Beeches.
Kenyans are tired with MOUs which keeps our nation at ransom when they are not honoured. An MOU with Christians on the draft constitution will drive a wedge between Muslims and Christians.
After all, the Prime Minister Raila Odinga has been a victim of MOUs, the first one in 2002 with Kibaki, second in 2007 with the National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF), and in 2008 during the power sharing with Kibaki that cobbled the Coalition government.
In all MOUs, except the one with NAMLEF, Kenyans have been treated with theatrics of betrayals, enmity and disunity. Promising amendments after the constitutional referendum by the government will be a lie to the Church. In fact, President Kibaki has a history of dishonouring agreements. After all, the constitution will be in force when he is in retirement.
Let us vote “yes” to pass the new constitution. Any changes in the draft will be done as needed by tomorrow’s generation who may have more virtue and wisdom for a better document than what we want today.

Friday, April 9, 2010

MPs rejecting the draft are sympathizers of the status quo

Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey USA
It's cynical for a section of MPs to threaten mobilizing Kenyans to reject the draft constitution as if they were on vacation when the draft was passed in Parliament. Most of those making these threats have a history that does not endear them to speak for the Kenyan people.
They served a regime that brought our country into its knees and therefore Kenyans cannot trust them because they don’t care about their interests.
Both Cyrus Jirongo and Willliam Ruto of the YK 92 fame and former President Moi’s protégés want to protect their ill-gotten wealth by rejecting the constitutional draft whose provisions may compel them to disclose the sources of their wealth. These two legislatures don’t care about the country.
Therefore, the MPs who are following the two blindly must be cautious sinces they may end up denting their political resume forever. I challenge level headed MPs in the Ruto bandwagon like: Amason Kingi, Mutava Musyimi and Eugene Wamwalwa to move with caution since most of those threatening to mobilize Kenyans to reject the draft constitution have never stood for change in the Country.
If we strive to accommodate the interest of every group, we shall end up with an amorphous document which does not reflect the wishes of the Kenyan people. That said, legislatures who are against the draft constitution must be ignored completely.
I may have a soft spot for honourable Mutava Musyimi of Gachoka whose struggle for a new constitution is vividly in the memory of many Kenyans but when he stoops too low to be in league with political amateurs like Joshua Kutuny and Simeon Mbugua, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Those following honourables William Ruto and Cyrus Jirongo, to reject the draft constitution must remember that the two are Moi’s old political cronies whom he is using as proxies while in retirement to shape public opinion and protect his corrupt past.
Why is the eloquent Member of Parliament for Eldoret East always want to create controversy even on matters of common sense? Ruto is not showing leadership and will never be one. Those banking on him should think twice.
On the other hand, I wonder why John Michuki, a respected elder in Kenya’s politics is against the clause that allows a mother to procure an abortion on health grounds. If he truly respects human life, he would have questioned the rationale used by the police who killed youths suspected to be Mungiki adherents in central Province.
Finally, I urge our people to keep a watchful eye on politicians who want to take Kenyans back to Egypt. We have already closed the Jordan River and are swiftly heading to the Promised Land.
We must all contend that the draft constitution is not free from imperfections but the remedies must be worked out when it’s passed. Laws are not carved on stones. They can be amended, replicated, or augmented to suit prevailing circumstances. For now, the draft constitution at hand will serve our Country well than the present one.
It’s elusive to have a constitution that pleases every one. For now, we should all be united in one accord to vote for the draft during the referendum. This is the only yardstick that will shape the style of governance and positive destiny for our Country.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

President Obama’s critics have gone too far

It’s all in America where you hate the government and still have the right to express yourself freely without coercion or intimidation. Only in America, you will find a popularly elected President called a dictator as if he is in league with the Iranian despot, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
Those who are calling President Obama a dictator merely because of a legislation passed into law, dont know the true meaning of a dictatorship. They need to learn about what goes on in Zimbabwe and Iran before calling President Obama’s administration a dictatorial regime. Regimes world over, are repressive and employs brutality to destroy dissent from opponents and regular citizens.
Having said that, the role of any political opposition is to play a watchdog role; putting the government in power on it toes fairly without malice, prejudice and personalization. This watchdog role must stick on policies and issues that benefit the people.
The stiff opposition on the Obama administration currently exhibited by the Republican Party in collaboration with the Tea Party movement has turned slanderous and mudslinging. This is a deviation from real issues that affect the American people like job creation and economic revival. That is why a big percentage of Americans see this animosity as a ploy whose agenda is to dent Obama’s Presidency.
Before President Obama took over, he acknowledged the fact that fixing America’s present problems, especially the economic downtrend and unemployment was not going to be done overnight. This was a positive gesture to prepare the citizens psychologically instead of giving them false hope.
The President’s critics should understand that leading a Country of more than 300 million people is a hard task and even if John McCain would have become President, it would have taken him time to turn things a round for the American people. After all, Obama has been in the White House for less than two years.
The attacks on the President over big government and its impact on the US economy by the Republican Party do not hold water because there is no prove on this. President Bush senior and a believer in small government was hounded out of office due to poor fiscal policies. He left a trickle down economic mess in the exchequer that President Clinton, a democrat resuscitated to a robust surplus.
Therefore, critics from the Republican Party attacking Obama’s fiscal policies should tell the American people what happened to the huge surplus Clinton left in the national coffers, as well as the state of the Country’s economy when President Obama took over from Bush junior before their totally unwarranted attacks.
I personally agree with real Estate mogul, Mr. Donald Trump who commented one time in CNN of how good the USA economy is when the democrats are in power.
The President’s avid efforts to see the passage of the Health Care bill that will help millions of uninsured Americans to access healthcare should not be politicised. His opponents should wait and see the impact of the bill after its implemented. After all, Obama will not support a legislation that will not benefit the American as it will ruin his political legacy.
Those members of the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement who are persistently discrediting the president seem to have a sinister motive. After all, where were they when George Bush invaded Iraq by falsely claiming there was weapons of mass destruction which has claimed many American lives as well as billions of USA dollars to rebuild the Arab Country?
The American people expressed their universal suffrage to elect Obama because his message resonated well with their predicaments. If he performs below expectations, they will exercise the same right to vote him out in 2012. It’s therefore imperative that the freedom that is enjoyed in America today should be exercised with civility, and respect.
His opponents should challenge him on policy matters fairly without mudslinging, propaganda and extremism. By saying they want their country and government back in rallies as if America is on the hands of some colonial power or an a despotic President is an insult not only to those who voted for President Obama but it robs the American people a lot of respect abroad. It reflects negatively on the Alaska Governor, the defacto leader of the Tea Party movement especially when supporters in her rallies are seen waving placards that read, “Obama go back to Kenya.”
The President was born and bred in America where he contested for the Presidency and won. He is trying to resuscitate the economy, create jobs mend bridges between America and her allies as well as fighting terror. He is not a dictator, fascist, anti-Christ or terrorist the way he has been painted in Tea party rallies. He is managing the affairs of government within the confines of the American constitution just like other previous presidents before him.
When leaders irrespective of their political affiliations stoops too low to dent the image of this respected Country just because they don’t like the man who sits in the Oval office, is not only racist but shameful. It’s so tragic that a sane American will spit on an elected representative calling him the “N” word just for a political opinion in the 21st Century. This sets a very grim image to a Country seen globally as a model for democracy, justice and freedom.
Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey USA

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


By Joseph Lister Nyaringo

Many Kenyans are in suspense whether proper valuing was done on the Rongai land before it was purchased by the state to resettle internal refugees.

It is hard for the nation to be convinced that the DPM, Uhuru Kenyatta never influenced the purchase price for the 1171 acre farm since it’s a family asset besides him being in charge of our national exchequer.

Transactions of this nature must be carried out with a lot of transparency and accountability because if the land belongs to the Minister for Finance’s family, then there is a big conflict of interest whose sum total is likely to be a rip off to the Kenyan tax payers.

We don’t want to see a recurrence similar to the Grand Regency sell although the hotel was under- valued and sold to foreigners.

No nickel was spent to buy the huge tracts of land the former first family owns equivalent to the size of Nyanza but the land was acquired by the late president through the worst form of power abuse in post independence Africa .

There is nothing to celebrate about the former first family and in fact, if they were philanthropic, they will be the last people to sell 1171 acres to the state and later distribute it to Internal Refugees. It does not reflect any humanity on the plight of the IDPs but a yardstick to build political mileage for Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta who augurs Presidential ambitions.

This brings to the fore the question of how charitable many rich Kenyans are. Just recently, when the USA President Obama won the Nobel Peace price, he decided to have the prize money that comes with the coveted award all donated to Charity.

He didn’t keep silent to use the money for his re-election campaign slated in 2012 but to help his fellow Americans who are far much better economically that Kenyans. Our leaders should emulate this form of domestic philanthropy.

Back to the plight of our Internal Refugees, the operational etiquette of the grand coalition government is often very weird. The nation was recently told by the Minister for Lands Honourable James Orengo of an impending exposure of those who grabbed state owned land.

This was followed by the admission by the same Minister that the state lacks the legal mechanism to repossess some grabbed land.

We must understand that there is nothing hard for the government of the republic of Kenya if its mandate is to protect and advocate for what is beneficial to the Kenyan people.

When the Narc government repossessed KICC from KANU back in 2002, nobody raised eyebrows. That is why many Kenyans still belief that the government has the moral authority to execute the same moves to reposses grabbed land and put it on the hands of the state.

We are being treated by the theatrics of the old order. Kenyans expected honourable James Orengo who has carried the torch for reforms in Kenya for decades to advocate for the release of the Ndungu Land Report so that Kenyans will know the truth.

This is the opportune time for the Ugenya legislature to prove to Kenyans that he still stands for reforms that Kenyans have always known him for. The MP should be the last person to advocate the purchase of land by government from grabbers.

Both Orengo, Uhuru Dr. Naomi Shaban must tell Kenyans the aspects surrounding the land purchase deal since national assets do not belong to politicians but Kenyans.

It’s noble to ease the burden of the internal refugees but the exercise must be done with impartiality and as a nation, we want to see transparency and accountability in managing public affairs especially public expenditure.

We want to know the criteria used to select the victims who have been resettled in the1171 acre farm in Rongai, noting that it’s not only one community that suffered during the post election violence.

We want to see Kisiis just like Kikuyus displaced from Kisumu and parts of Rift Valley resettled as well as all Luyias and Luos displaced from Central and Rift Valley provinces resettled if our leaders are prepared to nurture reconciliation in our nation.

Focussing to alleviate suffering for one community while leaving others will not help to heal the nation but ignite more animosity amongst Kenyan communities.

The latest imbroglio on resettling Internal Refugees is likely to be a storm in a tea cup as the government prepares to evict illegal settlers from the Mau forest. The evictees are going to demand the same treatment which has been extended to the internal refugees in the 1171 acre farm in Rongai.

This is a serious challenge that the government needs to address in order to perpetuate uniformity especially on addressing the problems that bedevil the entire nation across the board.