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.