Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kudos TJRC, But Can a Cow Walk Freely to the Slaughter?

Kudos TJRC, But Can a Cow Walk Freely to the Slaughter?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Kudos TJRC but, can we see actions?

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo USA How can one be trusted to dispense or build avenues for justice in a society when they are accused of violating the same justice? This critical question lingers in the minds of many Kenyans following last week’s release of the Truth and Justice Reconciliation Commission’s Report (TJRC), led by former Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat. Redressing old wounds require collective and individual sacrifices. It entails forgiveness, acknowledging wrongs, and payment of reparations to victims, surrendering of ill-gotten assets to victims or state, confessions by perpetrators or serving in jail. It remains to be seen how President Uhuru Kenyatta will handle the TJRC findings, which implicates him and his deputy for the Post election violence of 2008. Secondly, majority of Kenyans sees the report as authentic and a true reflection of the gross human rights violations and other historical injustices in the Country since independence. We can’t ignore a report which implicates its own chairman. TJRC report is the surest hope for Kenya for a good beginning to a better future. We expect President Uhuru to reverse the negative cycle started by his father as first President; perpetuated by former President Moi and perfected by his predecessor, Mwai Kibaki. The really task has begun for the Attorney general, Director of Public Prosecution, the legislature, Judiciary and the Executive to help heal the nation through the TJRC report. It’s perturbing to see a report implicating 400 Kenyans; including the mighty, who have contributed to various violations in our nation since independence. Going through the nitty gritty of the report, one will cringe in disgust; seeing the names of people mentioned. Whom can we trust, if those whose litany we recite are the same people who work to destroy the nation either as elected representatives or appointees? Many of them are either in the Senate, legislature or executive. Others are marked for various public appointments even when they don’t meet the integrity threshold. Tragically, others are dead while some are enjoying their loot in retirement when the really hustlers and sufferers- Kenyan tax payers are living from hand-to-mouth. What a man-eat-man society? The TJRC findings have exposed the nakedness of our nation. Since it was formed to provide Kenyans with a footage on past ills for purposes of nurturing accountability to enhance national peace and justice, it’s of cardinal importance for the government not to white-wash the commission’s recommendations if it cares about the future of Kenya. This is the biggest test for our justice and legal systems to ensure that recommendations arrived at by the TJRC are followed conclusively. Despite the fact that Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy are mentioned, they need to focus on the larger picture and apply the current wave of our democratic transformation to work on a “paradigm shift” which will address our nation’s violent past through the TJRC recommendations. Kenya is larger than their tittles. Justice is a universal right to all in any society. If our Prison jails are dominated by petty offenders like chicken thieves, Kenyans will not be comfortable to see the ‘big fish’; the really law breakers, who steal, rape, murder, incite, maim and kill being on the loose. We are perhaps the only Country in the World where people with dubious backgrounds are revered and offered public responsibilities. Our shaky justice system, propaganda, and a low grasp by citizens on civic matters like voting, has continued to dwarf our success as a nation. These vices must be critically addressed and a long lasting remedy sorted. The Kiplagat report must help us to salvage Kenya by curbing the monster of impunity, corruption, injustice, and respect for the rule of law based on the current constitution. It will be extremely tragic to let the TJRC report go down the drain. Those who have gone ballistic after their names featured in the report like former Chief Whip Norman Nyaga, and former Minister Franklin Bett should remember that the report is not intended to demonize any individual or community but act as a healing recipe for lasting justice, peace and security in our County. We can’t afford to dim the pursuit of Kenya’s prosperity. The realization of the Millennium Development Goals as well as Vision 2030, are all pegged on our capacity as a nation to curb social evils. On whether President Uhuru will act upon the TJRC recommendations to heal the nation, is a mystery since a cow cannot lead itself to a slaughter house. Its worthy for him to remember that an infected wound if not treated can be fatal.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

CAN UHURU KENYATTA HELP RECONCILE THE NATION AND ADDRESS PAST INJUSTICES

Joseph Lister Nyaringo I shudder seeing all these greed mooted to innocent Kenyans. The best healer and equalizer in a situation of this nature is our almighty God. It’s clear that from the Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki Presidencies, our Country has been on the hands on “VULTURES,” in fact hyenas. Will the son of the first President; Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta reverse the negative cycle started by his father, perpetuated by Moi and perfected by the man he recently succeeded Mwai Kibaki? Time will tell but… I shudder seeing all these greed milking dry innocent Kenyans by people they call their leaders. Can we be wrong to say that the best healer and equalizer in a situation of this nature is our almighty God? It’s clear that from the Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki Presidencies, our Country has been on the hands of “VULTURES,” in fact hyenas. Will the son of the first President; Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta reverse the negative cycle started by his father, perpetuated by Moi and perfected by the man he recently succeeded- Mwai Kibaki, if he does, how can he pursue it when he is a victim? Its not easy because a goat cannot slaughter itself. Time will tell but following the TJRC findings, if we were an integral nation, almost 50% of people in the current government do not deserve to be in office. They belong to jail or should be undergoing court battles to exonerate themselves and not leading the nation. But, Kenya na pesa, you can kill today and can’t spend a single day in remand.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

LAPTOPS FOR KIDS IS A MISPLACED VENTURE

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo-USA The laptop project for standard one kids by the Jubilee govt is a misplaced priority which has received a barrage of condemnations from majority of Kenyans at home and abroad. If the government cares about developing Kenya into a modern ICT nation, let them offer the gadgets to needy University students or construct modern ICT facilities in every constituency where locals can access information and training facilities for free. Why can’t the government under the Ministry of education first formulate a curriculum for computer training in every school in Kenya, as well as equipping existing teachers with computer skills? Many teachers in rural areas cannot even hold a computer mouse! Improving education performance or preparing Kenya as an ICT hub does not necessarily mean that we waste tax payers’ money on projects which will die before takeoff. The government should first build better class rooms, hire more teachers, re-train existing ones, feed starving kids especially in Northern Kenya, and provide free medical checkups and immunization drives in all Primary schools in the Country especially in rural areas. Even in the developed world, children are not necessarily provided with laptops. If I were President Uhuru Kenyatta, I will put aside the campaign promises which to me were mere gimmicks to win an election and embark on prioritizing governance issues. First of all, let them feed the children, provide them with clean water, better classrooms, and ensure that there is at least one Registered Nurse in schools which are prone to communicable diseases. You cannot divorce the health and nutrition of a child with better learning. I hope President Uhuru and his deputy will listen and work on priorities to help build a healthy, wealthy and informed nation.

Uhuru, Ruto among 400 Named in TJRC Report

Uhuru, Ruto among 400 Named in TJRC Report

Friday, May 10, 2013

Joseph Lister Nyaringo: Dorothy Johnson-Laird Resigns from KGU

Joseph Lister Nyaringo: Dorothy Johnson-Laird Resigns from KGU: Dear Ladies and Gentleman:   Please be advised that effective immediately and with sadness I must submit my resignation as an Advisor to K...

Joseph Lister Nyaringo: President Kibaki and PM Raila Must support the ICC...

Joseph Lister Nyaringo: President Kibaki and PM Raila Must support the ICC...: By Joseph Lister Nyaringo This December will remain a historic period for Kenya especially for those w...

Joseph Lister Nyaringo: Legislators should not trash the IIBRC recommendat...

Joseph Lister Nyaringo: Legislators should not trash the IIBRC recommendat...: By Joseph Lister Nyaringo New Jersey, USA Legislators should not trash the IIBRC recommendations The rec...

Joseph Lister Nyaringo: Its not a norm to do all the Romans does

Joseph Lister Nyaringo: 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 H...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mutua Makau was wrong on this!!

Mutua Makau is promoting moral decadence

SHARING IDEAS BY JOSEPH LISTER NYARINGO: Clan and Tribal Politics

SHARING IDEAS BY JOSEPH LISTER NYARINGO: Clan and Tribal Politics: By Joseph Lister Nyaringo-North America We all belong to nations, communities (tribes) and clans but these leanings should not dictate the ...

SHARING IDEAS BY JOSEPH LISTER NYARINGO: Jubilee Cabinet Should be More Inclusive

SHARING IDEAS BY JOSEPH LISTER NYARINGO: Jubilee Cabinet Should be More Inclusive

Has the Church lost her role as the conscience of the nation?

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA

We may not judge the stand taken by the Church to reject the proposed constitution but one thing they need to be reminded of is this: if they truly believed in the power of God with unquestioning faith, even without the steps they are taking to defeat of the new law, God will still let the “no” carry the day in the referendum.

Confronting the State over the proposed constitution when they know that by faith, God has powers to overturn anything that is against his will in this World is spiritual hypocrisy. In fact, it’s not in tandem with God’s way of doing things.

If they were true representatives of God, they should know better that it only requires prayers and fasting to turn things round and not spewing fire and brimstones before the media or going to Uhuru back to chant and rant against the proposed law. Going for road shows and propaganda machine from the pulpit to defeat a good law that will change the Country will be counterproductive.

Why can’t they solicit funds to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and clothe the naked? It’s well known that many congregants to these Church leaders are living from hand to mouth in shanties where they miss the very basic items for human survival.

Creating animosity with the State merely due to Kadhi Courts that are entrenched in the proposed law reflects the Church leaders of lacking faith, love and hope; the basic virtues of Christianity.

What happened in Kakamega where Bishop Mark Kariuki of Deliverance Church blamed the government for turning people away from attending their rally is of poor test. It shows that the Church has deviated from their cardinal responsibility to battle out with the government and therefore failing to be the conscience of the nation.

The Kadhi courts clause that is the borne of contention by the Kenyan Church will only cater for the interests of Muslims and does not make Kenya a less Christian nation. Truly, how does this affect me as a Christian, and derail me from my love for Christ?

The Church’s stand does not help in Christian evangelism nor does it work to build a solid ecumenical bond between Kenya’s diverse faiths. According to St. Augustine, charity is benevolent, disinterested, and generous, bringing forth friendship and communion.

Cardinal Njue, Canon Karanja and the rest should get out of their comfort zones and shepherd God’s people based on the truth and facts not lies.

The Church need to play a role in matters of State but primarily, her role is eternal; preaching and advancing the Kingdom of God while the State Worldly order that is centred on the dynamic life of the citizens and material wellbeing. We live in a pluralistic society and the Church must stop behaving as if they want to control the lives of those who don’t agree with their values, tenets and views.

The cardinal reason for the Church’s presence is to reach out to all people and incorporate them into the multi-ethnic body of Christ. This was and is still the cardinal mission of Jesus Christ and even members of the Early Church like Apostle Paul, who in 1st Corinthians 9:20-22, talks about adjustments in his Missionary Journey to win converts.

The clergy need to understand the cultures of those they consider strange, unethical and odd in order to win them to the body of Christ. They need to go slow on the rejection of the Kadhi courts in order to make this happen. Their stand has scared many Kenyans with the interest to embrace the Christian faith.

My prediction is that the proposed constitution will pass in the referendum on a landslide. Those who want a perfect constitution should stop lying to themselves because it’s only in Heaven that you can find it.

Will they run out of the country when the new constitution passes in August? We applause Dr. Rev. Timothy Njoya and retired Bishop Gitari for advising Kenyans to vote for the proposed constitution in the coming referendum.

Kenya's Looming Elections: Role of Media

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo New Jersey, USA. The Kenyan media should be at the frontline in defining the leadership pattern the citizens should follow during the electioneering period. While we are not used to political endorsements by the media in Kenya, I think it’s a trend we need to see so long as it’s done fairly, objectively, in good faith and based on the policy issues of those running for political office. In the West, major media houses endorse candidates after a thorough research and analysis of one’s agenda based on popular opinion. Our news anchors, reporters, editorial personnel, columnists and commentators have a great role to help build a better Kenya by ensuring that what is injected into the minds of the citizens will create harmony, peace and understanding. I hold the media fraternity with high esteem the way I do to teachers. While the latter shape a person’s skills, knowledge and professional career, the former reports and analyses current events and often gives a critical view and conclusion on issues which enhance the lives of people in the society. Rather than remain on the grey when the citizens need guidance and direction, it will be fair if the media went spot on; giving facts on the values, characters and behavior of candidates who want to take the leadership mantle. If the New York Times of USA and The Guardian of the UK endorse candidates running for office, we need to see the same trend in Kenya so long as it’s done objectively and without favourism. Major Editors and columnists should go down to business and grill aspiring leaders who are currently hopping from location to location trying to entice voters with slates of promises. The aspiring leaders ought to be grilled heavily especially on policy issues which the media should translate to the Kenyan audience. Voters ought to know the viability of the promises and if the promises are achievable, resonate well with the aspirations of the people of Kenya and are in tandem with our current laws. We wake up every morning thinking what our print media, radi and TV are carrying in terms of where Kenya is moving. The media played a pivotal role in the emancipation of our nation from the one party dictatorship in the late 80s and early 90s. Kenyans expect the same media to give direction especially now that we are under a new constitutional dispensation, which has a great promise for our nation. We will never forget the role played by the Nairobi Law Monthly formerly managed by Hon. Gitobu Imanyara, the Economist owned by Njehu Gatabaki and Society of Pius Nyamora. The three magazines fearlessly advocated for the repeal of section (2a) of the former constitution to pave the way for multiparty democracy. I’m not trying to imply that our mass media should embark on political activism but to act as a mirror through which better leadership practices are nurtured, debated and shaped; thereby giving clear and informed direction for the nation. The leadership we have defines the amount of freedom the media will exercise in its noble role as a guide, advisor, informer, ventilator, educator, dissector, and a critique of national and global matters. I’m convinced that if any of those who were behind the Standard Group raid was vying for the Presidency, the level of criticism to such an aspiring leader will be heavy and the media will not advise Kenyan voters to elect the perpetrators of the raid. Come on the Standard Group and Nation Media amongst others media Houses and hit the nail on the head on the strengths and weaknesses of aspiring national leaders! If every day we read your headlines and watch your news, you need to come out with a clear analysis of the agenda of the candidates who are vying for the Presidency in order for Kenyan voters to make informed choices before election day. It’s encouraging that the media is the number one purveyor of civic education to the masses. Whether it’s through vernacular stations, mainstream media, tabloids or gutter press, Kenyans have a high reading and listening culture on matter of political leadership and if the content is geared to helping them understand the status of our nation and enable them make better decisions, this is the best form of civic education the media will offer to Kenyans. The more the media remained objective, focused, fair, truthful and clear in its reporting, the higher the chances of seeing these values infuse into the national psyche; hence helping build a better citizenry. The media should continue helping us overcome negative ethnicity, strife, corruption, hate speech and propaganda which are mooted by our politicians. Those who continue to incite and propagate hate before Kenyans must be condemned by our media at all times.

US Elections: Kenya Must Borrow a Leaf

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo New Jersey, USA Kenyans are more inclined to American politics more than any nation in the globe since President Barrack Obama, who has Kenyan ancestry, was elected President in 2007. The lingering question by many is what the Country is likely to gain during Obama’s second term in office. Having enacted a constitution which borrowed heavily from the American model, and seen how US campaigns are conducted from the voting process, to announcement of election results, our country should use these experiences to improve our democratic leadership systems. If you admire your neighbour’s manicured lawn, you should learn how to manicure your own lawn. Kenyans saw how ideas, issues and policies are key pillars in the US political campaigns through a People-based approach. We saw clearly how democracy is respected by conceding defeat even in a close election. We saw the Importance of uniting a nation even with different political standings and callings. The campaigns were peaceful, devoid of sharp divisions, name calling and hate speech which dominates the Kenyan system. The winner and the loser evoked unity in their address to the nation immediately after the election results; promising to work harmoniously for nation building. Why is it hard for our leaders to copy the American brand of politics when we have borrowed their model constitution and have also seen how well it has served them as the most powerful and democratic nation on earth? Why do we continue to be shrouded in ethnic linens; often supporting leaders with dubious, divisive, selfish and questionable integrity merely because of tribal leanings? Indeed, as the ancestral home of Obama’s father, we need to bring to an end ethnic hatred which is the cause of civil strife, political violence, and poor distribution of national resources, corruption and nepotism in Kenya. If the US, a country which allowed racial intermarriage and voting rights for minorities five decades ago will accord a man of Kenyan ancestry to serve as President, we need to look critically beyond creed, race, social status, religion and tribe in electing our leaders. We are tired of leaders who shun meetings of government officials who visit their region merely because of political differences yet they serve the same country. Truly, can such leaders heal a nation through ethnic harmony and integration? Just before the US elections, one of President Obama’s ardent critics, GOP Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie warmly welcomed the President when he visited the State to assess the damages caused by Hurricane Sandy. Being at the height of the campaigns, nobody thought the host governor would welcome Obama, but Mr. Christi even went ahead before national television to congratulate the President for his empathy to the hurricane victims. This is the political maturity and tolerance we want in Kenya. As a show of nationalism and selflessness, political opponents should pick a phone and call each other after an election and focus on what is good for the citizens. In fact, in his victory speech, Obama promised that he was looking forward to meet the man he defeated in the presidential contest to discuss the challenges facing the American people. Why can’t our leaders emulate this style if they truly care about building a united and cohesive nation? During the campaigns, President Obama and his opponent Romney never toured their home States of Illinois and Massachusetts respectively to incite their supporters against each other; a trend which is common in Kenya especially during the electioneering period. In fact, Obama ended up winning Massachusetts and Wisconsin; the home State of Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate, Paul Ryan. It’s normal to rejoice over Obama’s victory but we must be ready to inculcate the ideals of nationhood especially now that we are approaching the election year. We need to shun leaders who want to incite the public. As we continue to celebrate Obama re-election, the government of Kenya needs to encourage diversity in public service by utilizing exemplary skills and talents of people who are not necessarily of Kenyan ancestry. We have many untapped talents in our nation if we can learn from what Dr. Manu Chandaria has been able to do as an entrepreneur and philanthropist as well as Suresh Shah, the former MD of Uchumi Supermarkets who helped the retail chain expand by reaps and bounds in the 90s only to see the retail chain plummet after his controversial exit from the company. In the political scene, we need to see more of Pio Gama Pinto, Basil Criticos, Philip Leakey, Shakeel Shabbir and Irshad Sumra. This is the best way to celebrate Obama’s victory as a product of accommodating diversity in public life by the American people. We hate to remember the assault to Safina party founder and environmentalist Richard Leakey during Moi’s repressive Kanu regime where they accused him of neo-colonialism. As a nation, we need to build a leadership culture which is inclusive, representative and diverse. These will not only earn us respect in the global stage but will also help to build structures that will improve the lives of Kenyans in social, political and economic spectrums.

SONKO and GROUP ACTS DISRESPECTFUL AT AIRPORT!

The level of disrespect and open contempt Kenyan Members of Parliament honourables Mbuvi, Waititu, and Kabogo showed to our law enforcement at the airport was unprecedented. How dare you slap a police inspector when on leaving and entering your compound as honourable MP, it’s the same officer who salutes you, opens and closes the gate for you? Even when you are sleeping with your family, it’s the same officer who ensures your safety and security while protecting your property.

Even if Waititu, Mbuvi or Kabogo belittle our law enforcement; they should respect the crown that comes with it. I laud officers manning the airport for doing an exemplary job without bias.

That is what Kenyans having been craving for- service without special treatment or bias! They treated the rogue MPs who wanted to jump the red tape like any ordinary citizen. By Joseph Lister Nyaringo New Jersey, USA Who will respect honourables Kabogo, Mbuvi or Waititu, if they are not ready to respect the law and themselves in the society?

A lot of what the legislators exhibited was not because of their love for Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, but a sycophantic move to score political points geared to the 2012 general elections. They know that the next elections will be titanic and therefore want to use every weapon at their disposal to build a support base. The Airport is not a place where you go to create a fracas to show political loyalty to your presidential candidate.

If Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta was the President of Kenya, would Mbuvi, Waititu and Kabogo would likely have set the airport a blaze! What they showed at the airport didn’t earn them any marks at all but robbed them of respect and honour. All Kenyans must ensure that those they want to give elective posts must uphold ethical standards and values in the society. They need to undergo a thorough scrutiny, vetting and analysis.

On several occasions, honourable Mbuvi and Waititu have tried to create havoc and breach of peace while at the same time tried to endear themselves as vocal advocates against the inexcusable rise in the cost of living for their poor constituents.

We can comfortably conclude that Mbuvi and Waititu are not being genuine with their politicization of the Sinai fire tragedy especially on the government’s plans to relocate the victims. It is sad for leaders to capitalize on national calamities to score political points. Inwardly, they don’t care but outwardly, they shed crocodile tears. What a high level of phoniness and hypocrisy? We need leaders who are level headed; with clear judgment to analyse situations and do what is right. They must not only respect the laws of the land but also reflect decorum, courtesy and respect to existing governance institutions.

Kabogo, Mbuvi and Waititu should be given a red card come the next elections for they do not qualify to be members of parliament representing law abiding citizens. It’s true, Uhuru Kenyatta, is the deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya and since he is not ordinary citizen, will always attract crowds from admirers wherever he goes but when elected MPs who should show good example goes to our International Airport and want to break security protocols is totally unacceptable and impolite. The trio’s presence at the airport was sycophantic and did not help anything to soften the criminal charges against their Presidential candidate- Mr.

Kenyatta at The Hague. It’s therefore clear that their violent behavior at the airport may end up reinforcing the charges Mr. Kenyatta is facing at The Hague, following the 2007 disputed election. We all know Uhuru augurs Presidential ambitions but the behavior of the three legislators will reduce his votes. Creating public disturbance, inconvenience and violence is punishable by law and therefore, we are keenly watching to see if the three legislators will be charged in a court of law for what they did in our international airport.

Will Obama's second term make Kenya to shape her democratic leadership?

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo New Jersey, USA Kenyans are more inclined to American politics more than any nation in the globe since President Barrack Obama, who has Kenyan ancestry, was elected President in 2007. The lingering question by many is what the Country is likely to gain during Obama second term in office. Having enacted a constitution which borrowed heavily from the American model, and seen how US campaigns are conducted from the voting process, to announcement of election results, our Country should use these experiences to improve our democratic leadership systems. If you admire your neighbour’s manicured lawn, you should learn how to manicure your own lawn. Kenyans saw how ideas, issues and policies are key pillars in the US political campaigns through a People-based approach. We saw clearly how democracy is respected by conceding defeat even in a close election. We saw the Importance of uniting a nation even with different political standings and callings. The campaigns were Peaceful, devoid of sharp divisions, name calling and hate speech which dominates the Kenyan system. The winner and the loser evoked unity in their address to the nation immediately after the election results; promising to work harmoniously for nation building. Why is it hard for our leaders to copy the American brand of politics when we have borrowed their model constitution and have also seen how well it has served them as the most powerful and democratic nation on earth? Why do we continue to be shrouded in ethnic linens; often supporting leaders with dubious, divisive, selfish and questionable integrity merely because of tribal leanings? Indeed, as the ancestral home of Obama’s father, we need to bring to an end ethnic hatred which is the cause of civil strife, political violence, and poor distribution of national resources, corruption and nepotism in Kenya. If the US, a country which allowed racial intermarriage and voting rights for minorities five decades ago will accord a man of Kenyan ancestry to serve as President, we need to look critically beyond creed, race, social status, religion and tribe in electing our leaders. We are tired of leaders who shun meetings of government officials who visit their region merely because of political differences yet they serve the same country. Truly, can such leaders heal a nation through ethnic harmony and integration? Just before the US elections, one of President Obama’s ardent critics, GOP Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie warmly welcomed the President when he visited the State to assess the damages caused by Hurricane Sandy. Being at the height of the campaigns, nobody thought the host governor will welcome Obama, but Mr. Christi even went ahead before national television to congratulate the President for his empathy to the hurricane victims. This is the political maturity and tolerance we want in Kenya. As a show of nationalism and selflessness, Political opponents should pick a phone and call each other after an election and focus on what is good for the citizens. In fact, in his victory speech, Obama promised that he was looking forward to meet the man he defeated in the presidential contest to discuss the challenges facing the American people. Why can’t our leaders emulate this style if they truly care about building a united and cohesive nation? During the campaigns, President Obama and his opponent Romney never toured their home States of Illinois and Massachusetts respectively to incite their supporters against each other; a trend which is common in Kenya especially during the electioneering period. In fact, Obama ended up winning Massachusetts and Wisconsin; the home State of Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate, Paul Ryan. It’s normal to rejoice over Obama’s victory but we must be ready to inculcate the ideals of nationhood especially now that we are approaching the election year. We need to shun leaders who want to incite the public. As we continue to celebrate Obama re-election, the government of Kenya needs to encourage diversity in public service by utilizing exemplary skills and talents of people who are not necessarily of Kenyan ancestry. We have many untapped talents in our nation if we can learn from what Dr. Manu Chandaria has been able to do as an entrepreneur and philanthropist as well as Suresh Shah, the former MD of Uchumi Supermarkets who helped the retail chain expand by reaps and bounds in the 90s only to see the retail chain plummet after his controversial exit from the company. In the political scene, we need to see more of Pio Gama Pinto, Basil Criticos, Philip Leakey, Shakeel Shabbir and Irshad Sumra. This is the best way to celebrate Obama’s victory as a product of accommodating diversity in public life by the American people. We hate to remember the assault to Safina party founder and environmentalist Richard Leakey during Moi’s repressive Kanu regime where they accused him of neo-colonialism. As a nation, we need to build a leadership culture which is inclusive, representative and diverse. These will not only earn us respect in the global stage but will also help to build structures that will improve the lives of Kenyans in social, political and economic spectrums.

Jubilee Cabinet Should be More Inclusive

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo New Jersey, USA. The yet to be confirmed nominees for Cabinet Secretaries by the Jubilee government comprises men and women of finesse, knowledge and professionalism but their composition is not inclusive and representative for diverse groups in the Country. We expected President Uhuru Kenyatta and his team to consider nominating at least an individual with a consciousness on social justice, advocacy and strong understanding of the plight of the poor. We expected to see a youth and at least a Kenyan citizen from a different ancestry incorporated in the Cabinet lineup as a gesture to boost national diversity. We have evolved as a nation through great struggle. Men and women with bravery risked their lives; forgetting their self-comfort to fight for the collective good of our nation before and after independence. The freedom and democracy we cherish and the good signs of accountability in managing government affairs were never achieved on a silver platter. I challenge the Jubilee government to consider men and women who have fought for Kenya on the streets and in the boardrooms to the Cabinet. Offer them an opportunity in the Cabinet in order to showcase their yearnings for the nation’s poor. With this, the nation will gauge the fire and desire which drives an activist to pursue causes geared towards transforming the lives of the poor in society. After all, the sum total of any successful government is measured on how many poor people whose hopes it has rekindled. The proposed sixteen members Cabinet have no single individual who has participated to edify Kenyans on the utility of justice, fairness and democracy. This is a vital segment of our population which is more result oriented, passionate and their desire to emancipate society is more crystal clear because they focus on people. We cannot underrate the bravery of the present Century activists like Okiya Omtata, Anne Njogu of CREAW, Mwalimu Mati of Mars Group, Cyprian Nyamwamu of NCEC, Susan Kariuki and Kepta Ombati both founders of the Youth Agenda. The number of Kenyan activists both old and young is huge. I believe they are energetic, knowledgeable and strong believers in freedom, fairness, justice, democracy and the rule of law for all Kenyans and can do well if offered a chance. I agree with a Daily nation Columnist, Macharia Gaitho’s analysis on the need to have agents for change in the Jubilee Cabinet rather than pure bureaucrats. While bureaucrats mostly follow the ‘book,’ and strict work ethic, their view on the plight of the masses is often vague. Some level of extremism is vital for effective management and leadership of any institution. We need people of the late Mboya’s caliber whom as a Trade Unionist, made an excellent Minister for Justice. The late John Michuki’s tenacity and firmness helped to transform the public transport sector in the past government. Freedom icon, Nelson Mandela’s endurance, bravery and reconciliatory approach, helped to liberate and pacify South Africa. Mother Theresa made a mark in the lives of the poor through philanthropy and divine consciousness. On diversity, we expected to see a Cabinet nominee from the Asian community. If voters are embracing diversity by voting Kenyan Asians like Irshad Sumra and Shakir Shabir, why should our leadership avoid this vital constituency in a Cabinet? After all, Asians are naturally good managers and the government needs to tap their talents in running government affairs. The developed World especially the USA realized that a blend of professionals from diverse backgrounds is a boon to their economy and the country has benefitted massively through this. While some Kenyans are jubilating how the Jubilee government has injected fresh blood in the Cabinet by shutting doors for politicians especially older ones, I think this argument is far-fetched and a false theory. Where is proof that non-politicians are good performers in the Cabinet? Those tasked to run public affairs need to have political backgrounds and understanding on how politics shapes public policies. Cabinet Secretaries will operate under the policy guidelines of their ministries but they will still remain answerable to the executive- the President and his Deputy who are politicians. Besides, legislators vetting Cabinet nominees are elected through a political process. Therefore, we cannot completely divorce politics from those tasked to take Cabinet portfolios in subsequent governments. Retaining Madam Ngilu and Najibu Balala who are politicians in the Cabinet, isn’t a bad gesture. After all, the Kitui Central MP is passionate, motherly and those who have worked with her say, she is a stickler for duty despite alleged malpractices when she served as Minister for Water in the past government. The nominee for the Ministry of Mining, Najibu Balala, performed equally well as Minister for Tourism and his background as chairman for the national Chamber of Commerce Mombasa branch, will boost his performance in the new Ministry. Having a hybrid Cabinet will ensure service delivery, professionalism and harnessing of a broad range of ideas to spur socio economic development in the Country.