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.