February 2021


By Jaymo Wa Thika

As citizens, we get so irritated when we see a police officer take that 50 bob from a matatu driver or a government officer taking a bribe from a private citizen to offer a services they are paid to do or even that person who bribes a “soldier” to jump the queue in the banking hall. 

At that particular moment, we view those people as very evil and as our real enemies. But in the real sense, they mirror what 99% of us would do if the mantle was bestowed on us. The truth is, it hurts us so much because at that particular moment, we are not the beneficiaries of the act. What hurts us most is because someone else is benefiting and not me.

When we look at all these people, we tend to talk so ill about them as though they were aliens, or a breed from another planet and not part of us. These are our brothers and sisters for crying out loud. They are us and a reflection of exactly who we are. 

Dishonesty is deeply rooted into our Kenyan DNA. In the society we live in, we must know of that shopkeeper who always cheats on the weights or the quality of the items they sell. We might know of that butcher who sells meat gotten from suspected sources including slaughtering dogs or cats. We also know of that matatu crew who will hike fares just because of a few drops of rain and so on. 

This is the kind of society we are living in. People are so dishonest and can do anything to earn money, even if it means killing a fellow human being with our greed. These are the same people running public office, private companies, in business and even in religious setups. 

But have you ever asked yourself what corruption does to our own economy and our own lives?

Businesses are unlikely to thrive in corrupt contexts. Practices such as fraud, bribery, extortion and embezzlement poison the business environment and corrode economies from within. Corruption is toxic to business. 

By investing the wrong way, investors actually harm the communities they serve. Investors who thrive in corrupt deals actually kill genuine businesses because such shortcuts evade certain costs that give them advantage over the genuine players. The genuine players are therefore unable to compete in the price offers thus forcing them out of business.

The misuse of an office for private gain leads to the needless inflation of production costs and thus greater operational inefficiency. Another problematic scenario occurs when government officials harass firms with costly "official" requests. Once businesses are locked in that hopeless situation, they tend to comply by way of offering kickbacks or bribes that comes in many shapes and forms. These outlays inflate labour and operational costs and in turn, create a less favorable business climate and ultimately serves as a serious drag on a nation's wealth.

When someone misappropriates money, say for a road, they eventually make the cost of production so high and eventually the cost of living since the ripple effect trickles down to the consumer.

People who misappropriate money meant for the health sector directly affect the general health of the people and in the long run, affects productivity and wealth creation.

In a nutshell, the impact of corruption on cost of doing business is extremely massive.  The problem is taking a toll on the business climate, national debt and public service delivery. Corruption inhibits private investment, reduces economic growth, increases the cost of doing business and can lead to political instability. 

The government weak implementation of the law meant to eliminate corruption is also wanting. However, a corrupt-free Kenya starts with me.


By Jaymo Wa Thika


As the debate on BBI starts to take shape and the politics of 2022 elections creep in, the political temperature in the country has started rising. Politicians have started spitting venom against those they perceive to be their opponents. As we speak, the country is currently at a very sensitive moment where one silly mistake can ignite a fire that will be very difficult to extinguish.

It is sad to admit that this animosity is being triggered by what the people consume in the name of news. There is a direct correlation between what the media feeds their viewers with the behaviour of the people consuming their content over time.

I will not also stand here and absolve social media from blame. This too is another time bomb altogether. What people are discussing and sharing across these platforms borders to treason as opposing sides insult and threaten each other over their political inclinations.
Just recently in America, we saw a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that had been fueled by years of false statements, conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric. If this could happen in the US, what about an infant democracy such as ours that is dogged by negative ethnicity and class wars? We got to be very careful.

The media plays a key role in shaping how society operates and influencing perceptions and attitudes. This simply means that it should cultivate the proper balance between self and collective interests which, sustained by the interaction with the community, is important for social order.

However, the Kenyan media thrives in fueling animosity by giving prominence to the verbal diarrhea by our Kenyan politicians. In fact, every positive aspect of the news is given a wide berth and all the bad things said by these politicians are given prominence regardless of the dangers they pose to this country.

Though we fought to protect free speech, acts that might incite violence are not free speech. Common sense demands that the media gives inflammatory political outbursts a total blackout and if they must report them, do it in a manner LEAST likely to provoke violence. However, Kenyan news are very inflammatory, hate-inciting and aimed at polarising the nation. The media has been completely out of hand inciting violence through irresponsible journalism.

There has been an increase in strident and extremist tone of ‘reporting’ and acceptance of ‘opinion’ voices which seek to attack and disparage our fellow Kenyans. The media is being used by politicians to openly incite acts of violence against fellow Kenyans in the guise of ‘freedom of the press’.

There has been a broad series of praise for public criminal violence in the media and more cagey publications phrasing as if such violence ‘was ok’ just because they were perpetrated by people ‘friendly’ to the media stations concerned. The media has been used to glamorise, incite and wink at criminal violence as somehow ‘justified’ and ‘right’ because the media writers and their editors do not agree with a certain political wing’s views.

Political inclinations, obsession with economic returns and tribalism are key issues degrading media practice in Kenya. The country is sharply divided by the two main political outfits and the media has not been in any way different. Their opinions on various issues have been so biased depending on the side of political divide their editorial policies prescribe to. This has dictated the kind of news items and political analysts they present on their platforms and it does not require rocket science to identify which side of political divide each media house secretly supports.

It is also an open secret that media houses do ‘sell’ headlines and prime airtime to the highest bidder. Thus, the media sees nothing wrong with certain public incitement or praise of criminal violence and will use their might and vast media reach to castigate or silence other sources that expose this vice.

In a nutshell, lack of media professionalism is one of the greatest challenges facing this country. The role of journalists has been challenged by the social media which has become the key source of information for most people even though what is put on social media is mostly rubbish. In the fight to retain their relevance, the mainstream media and most journalists have ended up playing ball.

Despite the temptations, journalists have to continue to be journalists and should conduct their activities according to high standards of ethics, accountability, legality and credibility, while exercising rights such as freedom of expression and information. Ethical values are crucial in the way journalists shape content, hence the need to examine them critically in journalism practice.

As the society’s watchdog, media professionalism involves responsibility, which includes reporting with accuracy, fairness, without distortion of information and selection of truly important news for the people.

The more the media celebrates political indiscipline, the more they influence public misbehavior. If the media gives a blackout to politicians who spit nonsense, this would discourage the habit and eventually force them to speak what is good for the people.

Note, if Kenya burns, we will blame the media.


By JAYMO WA THIKA

There has been a lot of talk about Kenya’s national debt and if it is ok or healthy for the government to keep borrowing.

Before we discuss this, let’s first try and understand what Public Debt or National Debt is. Public debt is money borrowed by countries to get extra funds to invest in their economic growth. 

There is nothing wrong for countries to borrow money for investment. However, there is an absolute limit to the amount of debt that a government can borrow. If it exceeds that limit, the government will default. This risk is measured by comparing the debt to the country's total economic output, known as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The debt-to-GDP ratio gives an indication of how likely the country can pay off its debt.

When such debt approaches a critical level and a country starts experiencing trouble paying off external debts, creditors start demanding higher interest rates when lending.

Kenya’s public debt burden currently stands at about seven trillion Kenya shillings. The country’s National Debt to GDP Ratio now stands at 55.50%

Japan has the highest national debt in the world at 234.18% of its GDP, followed by Greece at 181.78%. The US national debt stands at 106.70% of its GDP.

Germany’s debt ratio is currently at 59.81% compared to China’s at  54.44%.

Russia’s debt ratio is one of the lowest in the world at 13.79% of its GDP.

Within our region, Sudan has the highest at 177.87% of its GDP, followed by Eretria at 127.34%, Burundi 63.54% Rwanda 50.00% Uganda 44.81%, South Sudan 37.81% Tanzania 36.57%

By comparing what a country owes with what it produces, the debt-to-GDP ratio reliably indicates that particular country’s ability to pay back its debts. 

A study by the World Bank found that countries whose debt-to-GDP ratios exceed 77% for prolonged periods, experience significant slowdowns in economic growth. Every percentage point of debt above this level costs countries 1.7% in economic growth. This phenomenon is even more pronounced in emerging markets, where each additional percentage point of debt over 64%, annually slows growth by 2%.

In conclusion, there is nothing wrong for a country to borrow money for investment but it becomes a concern if it borrows to repay loans. In the latter, there is no generation of new wealth and the country may not be able to repay its loans in future.


By Jaymo Wa Thika

There is no politician who really loves an independent electorate, one who will never come to them for handouts or for petty assistance. Politicians thrive in deficiency and will always work behind the scenes to ensure that their electorate always have something to cry home about so that they (the politicians) will rush to them as the “savior”.

For instance, why would government offer bursaries to poor parents instead of channeling that money directly to learning institutions and ensuring that education is absolutely free? To put this in a language that you can understand; This is government giving you government money (bursary) to pay government fees. It doesn’t make sense.

But the politicians would prefer the status quo since it benefits them politically. Yes. They would want desperate parents to throng their offices to beg for bursaries so that once given, they will go home doing the “Firirinda” dance in praise of this politician and claiming that, were it not for the politician, their children would not have gone back to school.

That is dragging our people into mental slavery. Simply infecting our people with this deadly virus known as “Politically Dependency Syndrome”.

On a different perspective, I feel that bursaries should be done away with and instead, the government should come up with policies to economically empower the people. Instead of giving the person bursary, why don’t you empower them to have money into their pockets and then ask them to pay for their own school fees? They say, “Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime.

But doing so is working your way to losing a massive voting bloc. Politicians survive through the creation of a desperate society who believes that politicians are gods and have answers to all their immediate problems.

That is reason people adore politicians who feed them on handouts and goodies that only last for hours.

If you critically analyse the kind of programmes that politicians initiate within their jurisdictions, you will realise that most of them are skewed towards enclosing the beneficiaries into some cocoons where will merry-go-round the same economic status forever.  Very few politicians work on programmes that completely transform their people into full economic freedom and if they do, these programmes only benefit those very close to them, for obvious reasons, their own political expediency and not for the good of the entire society.

That is why you will see politicians using a lot of money to offer their people with free water in bowsers instead of drilling a borehole for them or connecting them with the main source of water. That is why you find politicians forming “rescue teams” to offer food donations, hearse services and so on in order to psyche them into always believing that their help would only come from that direction.

All these are schemes to enslave the masses into voting machines. Politicians only want to use people as tools to serve the achievement of their (politicians) own ends.  Politicians are there to serve their own interests, not yours. That’s the hard reality.

Politicians are happy to serve a gullible and ignorant society who easily buys into their mischievous and populist decisions just to get cheap publicity. Critical thinkers who question political mediocrity are branded as enemies and politicians will ensure that such people will never sit near the political table. Politicians feel so comfortable while being surrounded by their “Yes Sir” supporters who will cheer and clap for them even when they are walking naked in public.

It’s high time Kenyans woke up from this deep slumber and start redefining their own destiny and that of future generations. Luckily, the society is growing younger and more enlightened by the day thanks to the internet and we should never let such opportunities just fly away without taking advantage of them.

Let’s start to seriously vet those we entrust into leadership positions and ensure we only contract those with a vision for the good of the whole society and not just a few. Kumbuka, Msipojipanga, mtaendelea tu kupangwa. 


By Jaymo Wa Thika

Yesterday we had a conversation with a friend about the deplorable state of our public service and the lack of professionalism in virtually all spheres. One thing boiled down my mind…. Things have fallen apart in this country. Be it in the public or in the private sector, there is nothing to smile about.


Have you ever come across a situation where you have preferred to be served by an elderly professional rather than that youthful and energetic graduate? Have you ever come across, say a patient preferring to be attended by an elderly doctor rather than a young doctor? Have you asked yourself why companies hire the services of old and experienced lawyers?


There must be a reason for all these preferences to the old guards.


Gone are the days when a doctor was regarded in great esteem. Neither the teacher, police officer, lawyer, media personalities ….. name it. We can no longer take pride in what comes out of any of these professions. Majority of what we have today are incompetent paper giants; very colourful academic papers but zero to show for this.


In the early and mid 90s, policy makers in this country changed the focus of our education sector to examinations-oriented approach. All the energy and focus was turned to exam results (KCPE and KCSE) and people put too much pressure to teachers and learners to “produce good results”.


Success was measured on the grades one scored rather than the skills gained in their 8 or 4 years in primary and secondary schools respectively.


Everyone started glorifying exam results… The government, the media, churches and even family gatherings started celebrating “exam giants” and despising those who scored low grades without considering the circumstances that contributed to their low grades nor their own individual strengths.


It didn’t matter how one attained those grades as long as they were good. Teachers started training children to cram for exams and recite answers to questions. The modus operandi in the teaching profession changed from teaching to comprehend to coaching learners for exams, what is popularly known to many as spoon-feeding for exams.


Other vices such as exam cheating and parents or schools bribing KNEC exams officials to have the results of their children and schools doctored in their favour started creeping into the system.


The results of all this was that so many unqualified candidates took up the university slots and eventually into the job market.


The universities were no better…. Remember the famous sex for degrees saga?


It was during the same period that we killed middle-level colleges and village polytechnics. Most of these were either transformed into universities or died a natural death. This meant that anyone who missed university admission had nowhere to go and was considered a failure.


Eventually, we ended up with so many paper giants who were unqualified to hold the responsibilities bestowed on their shoulders. It also brought people into the service whose parents could bribe their way into a job regardless whether that was their dream job or if they qualified for the job.


These are the majority who are running our public affairs today and making policies that are meant to make Kenya a super power in the future. It explains why we have so many frustrated people in the workforce. Most of them are frustrated because they have been assigned duties beyond their capabilities. This anger and frustration is usually directed to the people seeking their services, their employers or their own families. These are people who claim to be underpaid because they feel that the job is too hard for such a salary.


Yes, we have wasted over 30 years producing a generation of bookworms rather than skilled thinkers and problem solvers. Those are the people that we have entrusted with developing policies to make our lives better.


A generation that can’t solve any problem without referring to the books or to Google Search. A generation that just copy-pastes the ‘one-size fits all’ policies. Yes. That generation that believes that just because a formula worked in the US, UK, China or wherever, it will definitely work in Kenya. A generation that believes that every Kenyan solution is backward just because the Mzungu says so.


Luckily, the government has introduced the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) into our education system. Let’s hope it works out this time round and mend the errors of yesteryears.


BY: JUMA HEMEDI

24/02/2021

The Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020 also known as BBI has been in the public discussion since 2018 when President Uhuru Kenyatta and the former Prime minister Hon. Raila Odinga met at harambee house for discussions and a handshake, ending weeks of political street protests and violence in the cities of Nairobi and Kisumu. 

Yesterday Tuesday 23rd February, the BBI bill surpassed the minimum number required from county assemblies to take it to the next stage.

Among the proposals in the Bill is the creation of ward development fund. The Ward fund is set at 5% of the funds received by counties from the National Government. 

This proposal has elicited public debate among Kenyans with some saying that this provision was included to act as a bribe to the MCAs to entice them to pass the Bill. Nothing can be further from the truth.

HISTORY OF WARD DEVELOPMENT FUND

In the year 2002 the government of Kenya through the Ministry of Local Government introduced Local Authority Service Delivery Action Planning (LASDAP), to create an entry point for local Authorities to constructively engage with its citizens on matters of planning and Development. 

The objective of LASDAP was to improve efficiency and accountability. In particular LASDAP process was to focus on aspects such as;

a) Service delivery

b) Financial management including budgeting

c) Participatory planning and local governance

d) Revenue mobilization, monitoring and evaluation

e) Institutional reforms

f) Fiscal and overall decentralization.

Preparation of the first plan by local authorities was to enable local Authorities to draw funds from Local Authority Transfer Fund (LATF). LATF had been established as an act of parliament as Local Authority Transfer Fund No 8 of 1998. Section 5 (2) of the act stated; 

“There shall be paid into the Fund in subsequent financial years, five percent of all tax collected under the Income Tax Act in the year or such other proportion of the said tax as the Minister may, with the approval of the National Assembly, from time to time, specify”.

I invite us to interact with the act.

LASDAP provided a forum for consultations, monitoring and feedback mechanism to communities, local authorities, civic leaders, the private sector and donors. 

LASDAP guidelines also provided for Project Management Committees (PMCs) who were the elected representatives of the beneficiaries and worked hand in hand with other stakeholders to spearhead Project Monitoring and Evaluation, within the LASDAP process. The eligibility for Committee membership included ability to read, write, leadership or supervisory skills.

The ward development fund being proposed in BBI is similar to the LASDAP model proposed and established in 2002 in two ways. First it proposes a minimum of 5% of funds transferred to the county and it seeks to meet the same objects of inclusivity in local development. 

WARD FUND AND THE UNDERSERVED AREAS “THE POLITICAL NO MANS LAND”

Thika Town, Juja and Ruiru constituencies were created in 2012 during the IEBC boundaries review. They were created as a result of splitting the then Expansive Juja Constituency. With the boundary review some wards in Thika town were merged and others were split. 

The new Ward boundaries created an opportunity as well as challenges. But the ward boundaries also created “marginalisation” and political discrimination. Allow me to explain with examples.

Landless estate is perhaps the biggest middle class estate in Thika Town, it falls under Kamenu ward. Kamenu ward has a population of over 74,000 residents. Adjacent to Landless in Kamenu ward, is Salama Estate bordering Gatuanyaga Ward. Due to voting station proximity a majority of Salama residents are registered voters at Gatuanyaga Primary School which is in Gatuanyaga Ward. 

Most landless residents are voters in polling stations in town and others at Thika Approved School which is a polling station in Hospital Ward.

In political terms, residents of Landless and Salama estates do not vote for the MCA in Kamenu. Since politics is about interests, whenever challenges such as roads and drainage systems are discussed in Landless, there is no political capital to be gained by the Kamenu MCA. The only party that would gain political capital there is the area MP. 

With a ward development fund the MCA will be compelled by law to make sure the area is developed, services are delivered and the infrastructure development projects are done. It will also enable Landless residents to petition the office of MCA to ensure that their area is given equal attention as well as participate in the planning and budgeting of development in their area.

MAPOROMOKO ESTATE, TORA ESTATE, MAKONGENI PHASE 10, 13, 6, 7 

When the 2012 boundary review was done, Maporomoko estate was classified under Murang'a county so was Bendor, Githingiri and Maki estates. Residents of these areas pay their rates to Thika Sub- County, Kiambu county, get essential services such as water distribution and most have businesses and interests in Thika town.

They are registered as voters at Chathi Police Post, Thika stadium and Moi Primary School, these polling stations are in Thika Township ward. The township MCA cannot help lobby for any development there since they belong to another county yet they are voters in his ward. The MCA on the other side of Murang'a has no Political capital to gain from Maporomoko, Maki or Bendor estates. leaving them with no representation.

With ward development fund the Kenyans in those areas will be included in development of their ward irrespective of where they vote and irrespective of who the MCA will be. They will no longer be “marginalized”.

Same will go to residents of Makongeni phase 10, 13, 6, 7. These estates are in Kamenu ward, but most of the residents are voters at MOW Canteen, Joy Town Secondary School, and other polling stations in Thika Town. The two mentioned polling stations are in Hospital Ward which means the Kamenu MCA gains no political capital there and the Hospital Ward MCA cannot lobby for development there even though residents in these estates voted in his ward. 

Ward development fund will bring social justice and inclusivity in development to the residents of Makongeni.

Tora residents will benefit from the ward fund too. Politically it falls under Witeithie Ward in Juja Constituency but most of its residents vote in Kisiwa Primary School, EGAARD Canteen and Mary Hills Girls High School all of which are polling stations in Thika Township ward.

There are a lot of these examples all across the country which has left so many areas underserved, unrepresented and isolated in terms of development. Just like the drafters of LASDAP concept and LATF act had noted in 1998 and 2002, the drafter of BBI have taken the same note in 2021, almost 20 years since the LASDAP experiment. 

It is a welcome move and will ensure shared prosperity, accountability and inclusivity.

The responsibility now will be upon us……to find those amongst ourselves who will be able to give us quality representation, inclusivity and basic human dignity.

Juma Hemedi


REPRESENTATION

The Bill seeks to create a level playing field in the Senate and the National Assembly by doing away with nominations. Everyone will have to go through the ballot.

In the Senate, it amends Article 98 to increase the number of senators from 47 with one representation from each County to 94 Senators. 

Each County will be represented by two Senators, one woman and one man. Also regarding the Senate, in terms of its oversight role, the bill seeks to amend Article 96 where it expands the Senate’s mandate. 

The house (Senate) will not just oversight revenue allocated by the National Government to the Counties, but it will also oversight the revenue raised and received by the county governments and their expenditure. 

With the removal of the position of Woman Representative Seats in the National Assembly (NA), political parties will be required to meet the two-thirds gender rule while submitting their lists to the IEBC.

The BBI document amends Article 90 with the special seats in both NA and County Assemblies thus providing that the seats will be allotted on the basis of the total votes received by the political party as opposed to the current practice where such allocation is based on seats won by a political party.

Therefore, nomination slots in the County Assembly shall be reserved on the basis of gender parity and will only be given to people who have vied, but lost but more so the second person from either of the gender of different from the winner will carry the nomination.

A newly created article 151A gives birth to three positions namely, The Prime Minister (PM) and two Deputy Prime Ministers (DPM). The PM will be nominated by the President from among the elected Members of Parliament, and from the party with the majority of members in the National Assembly. 

The PM functions shall be to coordinate and supervise government functions. He or she shall only assume office after nomination has been confirmed by NA, supported by majority vote of the Members.

The PM shall as well be deputised by the two DPMs who shall also be appointed by the President from among the Cabinet Ministers. The number of Cabinet Ministers will remain 22 (Including the two DPMs).

Article 154 shall be amended to remove the approval of the national Assembly in the appointment of the Secretary to the cabinet. Also, by amending Article 155, the President shall be required to appoint Principal Secretaries from a list recommended by the Public Service Commission (PSC). The appointees will no longer require the approval by the National Assembly.

New article 107A proposes the creation of the position of Leader of Official Opposition (LOO) to be the person who received the second greatest number of votes in a Presidential election and whose political party or coalition has at least 25% of all MPs.

It denotes that the LOO and the PM shall not be members of the same party. 

The repealing of Article 108 creates the order of precedent in the National assembly as follows: -

 The Speaker of the National Assembly

 The Prime Minister; and 

 The Leader of Official Opposition

New article 108A constitutionalizes the party leadership structure in the Senate as follows:-

 The Speaker of the Senate;

 The Leader of Majority party; and 

 The Leaders of Minority Party.

Therefore, the National Assembly shall have 360 elected MPs from single-member constituencies; 4 PWD representatives- two men and two women; two youths from both gender; number of special seats members necessary to ensure the two-thirds principle is adhered to; the Speaker, Attorney General and Cabinet Ministers who are not elected MPs all as ex-officious; and the Leader of Official Opposition.


Traders and operators at Thika Main Bus Terminus are calling on the authorities to come up with a comprehensive strategy to eradicate petty thieves and muggers who have now turned Thika town CBD a living hell.


This was revealed after several people were mugged by knife-wielding thugs near the county toilets at the main stage.

The chase led the traders to the thugs' hideout at the nappier grass between Nanasi and Chania River where over 10 thugs managed to escape.

Three knives used in the crime were recovered.

According to the traders, thugs disguising themselves as chokoras (street kids) have wrecked havoc in the town with muggings happening everywhere across the CBD, especially at dawn and in the evenings.

The traders say that it has become very difficult to eradicate the vice since those arrested were always released back to town without any charges leveled against them, a practice that has now made them bolder and more daring.

The thugs spend the night on the various gardens in town and the empty structures within town and in the main bus terminus.

They have now graduated into breaking into people's kiosks and stalls within town.

The traders are now appealing to the authorities to wipe out street families across town as they have turned out to be a very good hideout for thugs.

 


By Jaymo Wa Thika


The worst thing to have in this world is the poverty of the mind. You can be poor financially but very rich upstairs. What you do with that wealth is what matters.

We need to teach our people to avoid that dependency syndrome and learn to believe in themselves. That is our only hope.

Instead of concentrating on those blocking our way to success, we should work out our ways out of those hiccups because any step forward in life, however small, is worth a million. We can never afford to lose hope.

Even in the most developed worlds there exist poor people.. not because their countries don't support them but because they have decided not to take that bold step to believe in themselves, no matter the situation they are in.

We have seen people start earning by selling a few mandazis within the estates to a point they have opened their own food kiosks.

We have people in Thika owning supermarkets but started as hawkers. Did they wait for the government to build their empires for them? No. They sacrificed and stayed focused.

That is what most of us lack but we want to blame our individual failures on others.

As much as the government has something to do with growth, 90% of it depends on our perception and our mindset and we can never run away from that fact.

It is true that the government is supposed to create a conducive environment for people to work and prosper but 99% of individual success depends on the individual him/herself. We can never run away from that fact.

The problem with us is that we tend to get stuck in the past. We are very rigid and won't let go of what is not working.... We only want to stay in our comfort zones, .... what we grew up to know, even if it has been overtaken by events.

If Covid didn't teach us anything then we shall never learn.

During this Covid season, there are so many people who made genuine money because the seized the opportunity and made the best out of it as the rest of us settled on the normal and died a natural economic death.

We saw people who owned schools or clubs turn them into something else and moved on with life. We saw pastors and teachers turn to hawking or farming when what they knew turned out unproductive. That's the spirit we need to have.

When we allow ourselves to be stuck on negativity, we will never make any step towards redeeming our lives. There will always be something or somebody standing on your way to success. How you handle the situation determines the direction your life curve will take..


By JAYMO WA THIKA

Yesterday I bumped into a heated debate in town where one of the participants argued that unlike today, long time ago, the country had a lot of money and people were rich.

This statement sent my memories back to when I was young and something struck me…. That this was a white lie.

When I was young, I used to hear adults say “Mbeca ciagĩte mũno thikũ ici. Gũtirĩ na mbeca” (We have a scarcity of money). I was also born to see people living in Kiandutu and others in Section 9.  By then, living in Kiandutu was equated to living in abject poverty and those who lived in Section 9 were the ones the millennials are now referring to as “Dynasty”.

What am I trying to say? 

There has always been poor people and rich people and this will not end today but with eternity. Today, just as in those days, there is someone struggling to place a meal on the table but there is another one living in plenty. This is the reality and it will always be.

As we speak, buildings are sprouting like seedlings during the rainy seasons… People are buying vehicles as if they were toys. Does it mean that all these people are thieves, corrupt or earning money illegally? Not exactly. Most of them ni kujipanga while the rest of us are whining and crying ati uchumi ni mbaya and hakuna pesa.

Our biggest undoing as Kenyans is that most of us suffer from “Brain Deficiency Syndrome” (BDS). Our minds ache when we think. We just want to survive on other people’s ideas. Yes.. That’s the bitter truth.

Today, if you gave a 100 people KES. 500,000 each to restructure their lives, about 70 of them will buy a plot of land worth almost that much and remain with nothing to put up the house to live in. 

20 of them will venture into the very obvious businesses we know of; M-PESA shop, boutique, selling phones, buying matatus, bodabodas, taxi etc. Yes….. Plunging themselves into an already saturated market and expect to make it.

About 5 of those people will either spend their money on luxuries or use it to pay dowry, school fees, elevate their standard of living or such like recurrent expenditure.

How do we expect to rise in the economic ladder if 95% of us have their priorities upside down? Very unlikely.

Only the remaining 5 will invest their money prudently in untapped opportunities around them that many people never think of but are essential. Opportunities are always all around us but we are always too lazy to think or spot them. This is the group that make it in life as the rest whine and cry everyday that hakuna pesa.

We live in a generation that will bribe KES. 300,000 to have their kids join the police, KDF or even teaching without considering where the children’s heart are or even where their strengths are. That is why you find so many angry and frustrated people working in the civil service or in companies. They are frustrated because their bodies are stuck away from where their hearts are.

The day we will discover ourselves and learnt to use our brains more than our hearts will be our day of redemption. That time that we will learn to “tembea na majira” and being flexible enough will be the day we will start “kuomoka”.

Tutavuka border only when we accept that the way things worked for our grandparents and parents’ does not necessarily mean that they will work today and in the future. Life is very dynamic –  It keeps on changing and only the smartest survive.


Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina is calling on Kenyans to think outside the box and identify opportunities that have been brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Talking in a local live TV programme, Wajungle noted that not everything about COVID-19 was bad, Wainaina noted that if Kenyans hadn’t learnt anything from this pandemic, then they would never learn.

"If it (COVID-19) hasn’t taught us to be innovative and manufacture our own solutions to our problems, then we are doomed. This is our golden moment to make an about turn. Revolutions change nations. The COVID-19 revolution is our chance to as a country to turn around our economy through innovations and manufacturing. This is our golden opportunity as a country to liberate ourselves from foreign dependency," he said.

He noted that as a section of the economic sector collapsed with COVID-19, another window of commerce opened. 

"Each one of us needs to position ourselves to avoid collapsing with those that have been rendered redundant," he advised.

Wainaina further advised Kenyans not to lose hope, but see this as an opportunity to invest. He asked them to reposition themselves and identify the priority areas and opportunities that developed from the conditions brought about by COVID-19 pandemic.

He also advised them to form themselves into clusters and pool together resources that would enable them grow faster.

Wainaina asked the government to ease some of the COVID-19 stringent measures such as curfew hours to allow more people to do business, pointing out that the economy was a multiplier effect and interdependent.

The legislator also said that this should have been a very opportune time for the government to block foreign imports and facilitate the growth of the manufacturing sector.


Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji died in the early hours of Monday morning and buried in less than 24 hours as per Muslim burial customs, despite belonging to the Kenyan elite class, being a very influential politician in his community and enjoyed the trappings of power.

Despite his stature, he was buried like every other Muslim - it didn’t matter who he was while alive. 

According to Muslim burial rites, a body is rarely transported instead, one is buried where they have passed away and as quickly as possible.

The burial should take place where death (maut) happens. That is why Senator Haji was buried in Nairobi and not Garissa.

The remains are wrapped in a simple plain cloth (the Kafan) which costs less than Sh. 500. After that, instead of a coffin, the deceased is transported to the mosque in a Janaza that is returned after use and reused by another family.

The Janaza is taken to the mosque and placed at the back awaiting the normal prayers.

After the normal prayers are over, worshipers are informed about the presence of the body of a departed brother or sister and requested to remain behind.

It is considered a blessing to take part in such a ceremony even if you were not known to the departed. At that point, many people especially the youth help to ferry the body to the front.

Before the body leaves for its final resting place, the family led by the eldest son and the Imam ask if there is anyone who owed the departed anything.

If the deceased owed anyone anything, the son or immediate family male members are expected to take responsibility for the debt.

After that, final prayers led by the Imam are conducted and the entourage leaves for the cemetery.

At the graveyard, immediate family members preferably sons and brothers to the deceased go inside the grave.

According to Islam burial customs, women are not allowed at the gravesite. If they attend, they can only watch from a distance.

After arriving at the cemetery, the body is removed from the Janaza and placed inside a grave that has a mould of mud which acts as a pillow where the head of the deceased is placed. Additionally, the body faces the right side towards Mecca.

Wooden planks are used to enclose where the body is placed and if there is no wood, concrete slabs can be used.

Once done, family members step out of the grave and soil is poured in.

This is followed by a quick sermon that can take five to 10 minutes and the ceremony ends.

There are no speeches or protocols at the mosque or the burial site regardless of the status of the deceased.

At the mosque and burial site all are equal


■ You cannot create serious change in the society if you are not ready to be the change that you desire. I have been totally convinced more than ever before that in a developing and struggling economy like ours, the developmental state should be led by a leadership that is totally focused on unlocking the potential of the people. 

■ Aligning resources and investment in growing talent and growing competitive production is key to bringing hope to the hopeless. I am now freer and bolder to be the change that I desire in this country.

■ BBI is not the solution to all our problems. There are so many other challenges. There is enough space for some to complete the work that has been going on in BBI while others are minding the faults in other areas of critical importance like building a fresh and structured small and medium enterprises and minding the devours of engaging more Kenyans in the digital economy which is one of the fastest growing service sectors globally in the post covid era.

■ When I was given the honour to be the first Kenyan to be the Secretary General of the United Nations, I felt a momentous duty that I should do my job in such a way that others can entrust such serious senior leadership to my countrymen and women going forward. Secondly, that I honour the tradition that has been there in the Diaspora, that given international challenges, Kenyan professionals perform very well. As I stand here, I am proud to say that I executed my services with honour.

 ■ I have the privilege of standing outside the forest and see the canopy better than better than those we are competing with. I challenge the leaders, they can settle scores but don’t settle us lower. Mainstreaming of political bad manners does not present part of the solutions of our national challenges. I want to be part of the conversation of how we can save our politics from this rising tension and combativeness. 

■ We can civilize our politics. We can tone down the language of toxic confrontation that causes a negative mood to the investors and citizens and affects nation building.

■ After 58 years of the Kenyan economy being at the service of Kenya’s politics, we must now struggle for an era where Kenya’s politics is at the service of the Kenya’s economy and I think that centralizing economic governance as the cornerstone of government, something I learnt from the former President Mwai Kibaki is one of the things that drive me in my desire that I can offer service and be part of the solution that the country needs.


BY JAYMO WA THIKA

INTRODUCTION:

Whenever one gets into a covenant, especially a lifetime formal agreement, it is always prudent to understand what they are really getting themselves into. This can never be well achieved if we attempt to think it through using our hearts (emotions) rather than our brains (intellect). Critical thinkers have faith in the power of logic and sound reasoning as opposed to emotional reaction to challenges.

The introduction of the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 popularly referred to as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to the 47 county assemblies for debate marks a milestone into our future and how we, as well as future generations, shall be governed. We are staring at a constitutional contract that will bind us for quite some years before Kenyans decide to improve our constitution further.

ARTICLES 2 and 3 of our Constitution gives supremacy of the laws of Kenya to the Constitution and its validity or legality CANNOT BE subject to challenge by or before any court or other State organ.

ARTICLE  4 states that Any law, including customary law, that is inconsistent with this Constitution is void to the extent of the inconsistency, and any act or omission in contravention of this Constitution is invalid.

What does that mean?

Any law that is included into the Constitution of Kenya is FINAL and CANNOT BE challenged in any court until an amendment to the Constitution is done through a referendum or by any other way that is stipulated in this constitution. This means that we shall all be bound by the laws that will included in the Constitution once the BBI amendments come into place. No one, including the president, will be in a position to change, add or subtract any part of the Constitution without the mandate of the people of Kenya.

As we stand today, the President, Members of Parliament or Members of County Assemblies can amend or change the laws that govern us in their roles as the Executive and Legislative Arms of Government to suit their selfish interests or maybe punish a certain groups of people or settle political scores. BUT THEY CANNOT AMEND THE CONSTITUTION WITHOUT COMING BACK TO MWANANCHI FOR APPROVAL. That is the same reason they are coming to us for approval or rejection of the BBI.

When you see various people insisting that their views or interests be included in the BBI amendments, they are simply fighting to have them protected by the supreme law of the land where no leader can manipulate them whether they like them or not.

Amendment of Article 82 of the Constitution.

If we go back to history a bit, the selfish interests by those in government (Parliament and Executive) who refused to come up with a formula to achieve the ⅔ Gender Rule, have brought about a 3-year stalemate over the matter. That is why women have insisted that the laws governing the ⅔ Gender Rule be inscribed into the constitution.

Amendment of Article 89 of the Constitution

The same applies to the “One–Man–One–Vote–One–Shilling” Agenda being fronted by communities who feel that they have been disadvantaged for years when it came to representation and resource allocation. As we all know, there has been a 3-year stalemate over the matter, something that has brought counties into their knees as Treasury could not advance the requisite budgets to counties due to the stalemate in The Senate.

Eventually, it turned out impossible to deduct money from counties that have been unfairly favoured with this distribution because the distribution formula had been anchored in the Constitution. That is exactly what the communities living in the Mt. Kenya Region currently want included in the constitution because they very well know that, no matter who is president, no one can take that money (or representation) away from them once it is included in the constitution.

The Insertion of new Article 11A in the Constitution

When you see people insisting that their economic occupation (eg coffee, tea, dairy, fishing, livestock farming etc) be included in the constitutional amendments. They know quite well that once anchored in the constitution, no one can amend it to their disadvantage as happened in the early 80s and 90s where the then regime virtually killed those particular sectors in order to “punish” a particular group of people who did not subscribe to their ideologies.

Amendment of Article 203 of the Constitution

Constitution making is a contest over distribution, redistribution and limitation of power. When the proponents of the BBI insist on channeling 35% of the national budget to counties as opposed to the current 15%, they are fighting to “actualise” devolution by monetising devolved functions.

As we stand today, quite a good chunk of funds meant for devolved functions is controlled by the National Government through Ministries, thus crippling county governments’ ability to effectively offer services to their people. This leaves governors at the mercy of the National Government as Mwanachi lynches them over lack of services. Governors are literally reduced to begging Cabinet Secretaries to execute functions that constitutionally should be the mandate of counties. That is what is being corrected through BBI by constitutionally protecting devolved funds from the political manipulation by the National Government.

Amendment of Article 80 of the Constitution

This amendment lays the framework to deal with integrity issues through effective and expeditious investigation, prosecution and trial of cases relating to corruption.

CONCLUSION

A liberal democracy is the main method through which sustainable peace can prosper. Past deficiencies and injustices help to create new solutions to the challenges faced by a society. The Constitution is never cast in stone and should always effectively serve the interests of the time and of the future.

The ability to divorce politics from constitutional making will be key to coming up with a document that will serve this generation and generations to come. The future of this country lays barely in our hands and history will either judge us fairly or harshly depending on the decision we make today.

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