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Friday, April 6th, 2018

 

Affaire mauvaise gestion au Fnm: Komi Koutché devant le juge

 L’ancien directeur général du Fonds national de la microfinance (Fnm), Komi Koutché était dans la matinée de ce vendredi 6 avril, au palais de justice de Cotonou. Il a répondu enfin à la convocation du juge d’instruction du tribunal de première instance de première classe de Cotonou en charge du dossier de mauvaise gestion au Fmn au titre des exercices 2013 à 2016. Une affaire dans laquelle il serait impliqué alors directeur général de cette structure créée sous le régime passé et chargée d’octroyer des crédits aux plus pauvres.

En voyage hors du territoire national depuis plusieurs mois, l’ancien ministre de l’Economie et des Finances serait rentré juste au pays pour se mettre à la disposition de la justice. Il a donné sa part de vérité dans ce dossier pour lequel dix personnes avaient été incarcérées, vendredi 23 février dernier, à la prison civile de Cotonou. Elles avaient été placées sous mandat de dépôt pour les chefs d’inculpation de détournement de deniers publics, d’escroquerie, de blanchiment d’argent et de complicité de blanchiment d’argent. Il s’agissait de deux cadres du Fonds national de la microfinance, d’un agent du ministère de l’Economie et des Finances affecté au Fnm et sept responsables d’institutions de microfinance partenaires du Fnm. Deux autres cadres du Fnm avaient été mis sous convocation. Depuis lors même si certains des inculpés ont été libérés par la suite après quelques jours de détention préventive, les regards étaient tournés vers l’ancien directeur général du Fnm qui serait considéré comme un élément essentiel pour la manifestation de la vérité dans cette affaire de mauvaise gestion présumée et évaluée à un montant de 60 milliards F Cfa de perte à l’Etat, suite à un audit commandité par le gouvernement du Nouveau départ. La comparution de Komi Koutché était donc fortement attendue devant le magistrat instructeur. C’est désormais chose faite depuis ce vendredi 6 avril. L’homme s’est présenté en personne au juge pour faire évoluer l’instruction. Ce qui lui évite ainsi toute menace de mandat d’arrêt international ou de jugement par défaut. Les choses se seraient bien passées pour lui, selon certaines indiscrétions. Il est rentré chez lui après son audition par le juge qui a décidé de le poursuivre sans mandat. Komi Koutché est donc toujours libre de ses mouvements avec l’engagement de se mettre à la disposition de la justice en cas de besoin dans le cadre de la bonne évolution de la procédure.


Hurdles in Kenya's path to achieving universal healthcare

x  DESIGN | ALICE OTHIENO

Hurdles in Kenya’s path to achieving universal healthcare

Hurdles in Kenya's path to achieving universal healthcare

Cancer isn’t a national disaster; our broken healthcare system is

By GLADYS BURINI
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Catherine Waruguru, the Laikipia Woman Representative, has said she is seeking to have a Motion in the National Assembly compelling the national government to declare cancer a ‘national disaster’. I find this unacceptable.

When it comes to illnesses, language is of paramount importance.

Matters of health require the highest sensitivity.

Understandably, we expect doctors to have a warm, comforting and calming manner when they receive a patient.

Besides this, we also expect honesty from them, but as a gradual peeling of layers.

In the absence of this sensitivity, doctors might as well be walking into consultation rooms and immediately declaring that a patient has a life-threatening illness, and that they are going to die, and should therefore go home.

This would be in total disregard of the feelings of the vulnerable patient and their sensitive yet anxious relatives.

This is exactly what declaring cancer a ‘national disaster’ is going to do.

You are literally telling these families their case is not special.

You are among thousands of other people who have cancer.

Your case is not different from anyone else’s going seeking cancer treatment now.

PAIN
However, the harsh and painful reality for cancer patients is that their cases are deeply personal and are incomparable to any other.
To describe cancer as a ‘national disaster’ is rather insensitive and sadly generalises the harrowing impact cancer is having on individuals and their families.

Not only that, this term goes even further in trivialising the stages and types of cancer each person is going through.

A pancreatic cancer patient is in a far graver condition and has far worse prospects than patients with most of the other cancers.

Is this really a national disaster? It is not.

It is a deeply personal health journey only being experienced by that patient and giving it any other name will only numb the public from the pain of the patients.

TREATMENT
There is no denying that funds are urgently needed for cancer treatment.

Stop being hesitant and call out the lack of access to cancer treatment for what it is attributed to.

The national disaster is the Kenyan healthcare system, which does not grant all cancer patients affordable access to treatment.

Due to high healthcare costs, cancer patients are paying the highest penalties with their lives because they cannot afford to pay for the treatment.

The MPs sitting to debate this motion are highly unlikely to feel the effects of the financial hardship faced by families struggling to raise money to take care of their loved ones.

The real national disaster are the elected public representatives who are so far removed financially from wananchi that they will never know the emotional anguish these families are going through.

So no, calling cancer a national disaster will not stop it.

The reality is that even in countries where healthcare is free, cancer patients are dying; the inevitable is delayed by the treatment and palliative care.

To help cancer patients, table a motion for nationally affordable cancer treatment.

Reduce costs and seek to bring treatment centres closer to patients.

EARLY SCREENING

Of paramount importance is to seek a Ministry of Health public cancer campaign advocating for early screening, especially for the least survivable cancers of the liver, oesophageal, brain, pancreatic and stomach.

Four in five cases of cancer in Kenya are diagnosed when it is already too late.

An area that is also neglected but should be debated is palliative care.

We know cancer is a tough illness to contend with, making the end of life care for the patient even more crucial.

PALLIATIVE CARE

Cancer patients should not spend their last days agonising in excruciating pain.

The motion should, therefore, seek to prioritise hospices to aid patients and their families in those precious last days.

Lastly, look into the 2017 Pfizer and Cipla deal offering Kenyans cancer drugs at half the market price.

Is this currently nationally accessible? If not, how soon can all cancer patients access these treatments?

POVERTY
Today, we mark World Health Day and those with little to get by are being dragged into extreme poverty because of high healthcare costs.

Don’t drag cancer patients and their families suffering with limited healthcare choices into a national crusade when you made them the victims.

The healthcare system as it stands is not sustainable; fix this national disaster.


It’s time for City Girl to take game to next level

By NJOKI CHEGE
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I try not to share my personal stories in this column.

However, today is different. I will make an exception because I consider this day to be a milestone in the history of this column.

When I began writing City Girl, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that this column would come this far.

It began as a crazy idea — an experiment — which required me to tread into unchartered territory with no manual or experience.

All we had was an idea, a rough sketch of what it would look like to have a City Girl column.

CONTROVERSY
I grabbed the opportunity with the uncommon energy and enthusiasm of one reaching for a lifeboat on the Titanic.

Week after week, I doled out fiery, hard-hitting articles, earning myself the sterling reputation of a troublemaker, with my editors taking the heat on my behalf most of the times.

The column courted controversy in an unprecedented fashion, poking just about anyone and everyone that came to mind, essentially putting me on the receiving end of a massive tsunami of opprobrium and vituperation from both fan and foe.

Many of my critics accused me of boorishness and critiqued my allegedly ill-informed ideologies and jaundiced perspectives.

TRANSFORMATION

In fact, what amazed many was not the outrageous articles, but the confidence with which I broadcast my views.

A good number of you also thought that I was writing on issues that I perhaps was too young, too inexperienced and too ignorant to tackle.

It has been a tough three and a half years of writing this column, characterised by a steady stream of small victories punctuated by occasional missteps, which I have used as learning opportunities.

City Girl has changed my life in extraordinary ways, more than I could begin to explain in 700 words.

The consequences of courting controversy are beyond debate, and I must say that City Girl has opened more doors of opportunities for me than I would ever have imagined.

It has made me a more confident individual, stronger and certainly feared by members of the opposite sex who live in the perpetual horror of appearing in this column.

This column became my sanctum, my personal space where I would vent my anger on the bad days and express my joy on the good ones, and I must confess that there are fewer things better than being able to express your feelings in writing.

I started out as a young and naïve columnist in her early 20s, straight out of college with nothing but a dream of making it to the highest possible apex of my career.

I still have a dream, and I have been making one or two strategic strides that hopefully will take me to the next level.

Which brings me to the sermon of the day, the real reason why I am boring you stiff with my nostalgic reminiscence.

CHANGE
To avoid change is the surest path to ruin.

People grow, interests change, priorities shift and dreams become bigger.

We cannot afford to remain on the same path where we began, and we must keep challenging ourselves and pushing our intellectual boundaries to realise the pristine deposits in us that we never knew we possessed before.

Human life is to be experienced in phases, each occasioned by growth and more importantly by change.

I am, without a doubt, growing and changing.

GROWTH
My life right now is solidly ensconced in a different path from the one I was in when you first laid eyes on City Girl.

Equally, my mind has been undergoing an interesting re-arrangement and repositioning, which has indubitably transformed my areas of interest and certainly scaled down significantly the zeal of my writing approach as some of you may have noticed over time.

It is not lost on me that the column has acquired a particular fan base that appreciates the bold, no-holds barred approach.

This is why I promise my readers that even as I continue to grow into the next phase of my life, and even as they see a different type of content and approach, the witty, bold and sassy Njoki Chege will remain intact; only this time, she is evolving and rebranding.


What to do to succeed in e-commerce

By PETER MUGO
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Kenya has experienced remarkable growth of e-commerce platform to the extent of becoming an essential part of economic activities.

Increase in digital literacy and unprecedented new demand have occurred at the same time as technology and infrastructure development breakthrough.

International logistic companies like G4S and DHL, which has a significant local presence are now facilitating e-commerce between Kenya and various countries.

These companies are doing this by offering inspection services for all online merchandise before their customers make payments.

Besides, they provide real-time tracking allowing buyers to track the movement of their parcel from dispatch point to the delivery office.

This builds trust and confidence between the online buyer and seller regardless of the distance between them.

INTERNET
The number of internet users in Kenya is rising at a promising rate for the online marketplace businesses.

As per the Communications Authority’s statistics covering July-September 2017, an estimated 51.1 million Kenyans had access to the internet either through smartphones or personal computers.

The increase in e-commerce prospects in Kenya has seen numerous platforms being launched over the years.

Some of the common ones include Jumia, Africa Sokoni, Vitumob, Kili Mall and Masoko among other upcoming e-commerce businesses.

The businesses have grown into a lucrative opportunity, but e-commerce businessmen must be ready to offer the best customer care services.

CUSTOMER CARE

Customers in e-commerce platforms can be helped with the process of ordering, testing products, handling customer complaints, links for usage and experiential centres.

As internet and computer technology are positively used to facilitate online business, cybercriminals are also advancing their technology and are targeting transactions.

This poses challenges making some people are sceptical about online transactions. Online fraud is real.

Competition is also a challenge that may see some businesses closing shops.

Despite the growing market, the businesses must offer quality products both at their websites and what they deliver.

Some companies display quality products but deliver a completely different product to the customer.

USER-FRIENDLY
Customers expect the ordering process will be simple, reliable and user-friendly.

Besides, customers are interested in having an easy way of accessing other related products, comparing products and even having links where they can save the products for future use.

Thus, creating links for usage allows customers to explore other products and also allows the customers to purchase the product easily.

In achieving this, creating product categories would assist customers to get the product they are looking for within the shortest time possible.

Further, to increase the customer trust, avenues for products testing are essential.

COMPLAINTS

Customers need to know they are buying a good product and businesses can do this by giving considerable days before returning the products.

E-commerce companies may also win the trust and confidence of the clients by ensuring the delivery is efficient and effective.

In fact, Kenyans could spend more money on the platforms if what they purchase is delivered to the destinations of their choice within the specified time.

Nevertheless, one of the major problems associated with the online purchasing is how complaints are handled.

The way customer complaints are handled determines their future purchasing behaviour.

As such, it is essential for online businesses to establish feedback and contact avenues to handle customer complaints.

On time delivery, quality products, and excellent customer care including aftersales services are key to the success of online business in Kenya.

The writer is a Doctorate Student in USIU with interest in Strategic Management


Proper nutrition holds key to better health for children, women in Africa

By EILEEN NCHANJI
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Agenda 2030 of the United Nations aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages in line with the Sustainable Development Goal Three.

It also seeks to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition while also promoting sustainable agriculture.

However, only a privilege few have access to and can afford nutritive food and quality health care in many African countries.

According to the 2017 nutrition report by the World Health Organization (WHO), malnutrition is still one of the gravest problems across the globe, especially in Africa.

Malnutrition is not only a public health problem but also an economic one.

Some of the common diseases we suffer from as a result of malnutrition include aneamia, stunting, overweight (usually referred to as the triple burden of malnutrition) and micronutrient deficiency (lack of enough iron, zinc, iodine and vitamin).

ACTION PLAN

Stunting also complicates other diseases like measles, pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea, diabetics, cancers and heart disease.

Although global progress has been made in reducing malnutrition, according to the set SDG target, it is still not rapid enough.

For example, in Kenya, the demographic and health surveys carried out from 2003 to 2014 have shown fluctuations in the percentage of children under five suffering from stunting.

These have ranged from 30 per cent in 2003 to 35 per cent in 2008 and 26 per cent in 2014.

These surveys carried out were amidst Kenya signing the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme to reduce poverty and hunger and also implanting the nutrition action plan in 2012 and joining the Scaling Up Nutrition global movement.

AGRICULTURE
Stunting, according to the surveys, has a higher burden on male than female children as well as mothers, more so those who are less educated and in rural areas.

The above fluctuations and policies show that a lot still has to be done to eradicate malnutrition in Kenya and Africa as a whole.

The 2017 WHO nutrition report has proposed an inclusive and gender equitable framework, peace and stability, which create an enabling environment to fight against malnutrition.

While this is necessary, there is also the need to transform our agricultural sector.

This can be achieved by making sure that farmers can afford land, labour and inputs, have market linkages and information, and that they adopt climate smart technologies besides soil fertility management techniques and support services.

They can also be encouraged to grow crops that have benefited from bio-fortification technology.

NUTRITION
What does bio-fortification offer? The term was coined by a bean breeder, Mr Steve Beebe.

The bio-fortification of common beans was initially meant to produce varieties with more iron and more zinc.

These boosted the protein and vitamins that beans already contained and subsequent calories gotten from its consumption.

Known as the poor man’s meat, common beans are mostly grown by women for home consumption and sold when in excess.

BIO-FORTIFIED BEANS

In recent years, beans have become a tradeable commodity with more being sold than consumed, posing a problem for nutrition and health.

The recent past has seen the release of bio-fortified beans in Kenya, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

The more people we reach with bio-fortified beans and other such produce, the more we reduce the burden of malnutrition and make progress towards meeting most of the SDGs.

Dr Nchanji is a gender specialist in the African regional office at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Goettingen, Germany. [email protected]


Govt distributes subsidised fertiliser to farmers

By KAZUNGU SAMUEL
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The government on Friday flagged off about a million bags of fertiliser as it vowed to continue to distribute the commodity to farmers.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri flagged off the input at the Export Trading Group warehouse in Bonje, Mombasa County.

“I would like to reiterate the government’s commitment to continuously support farmers and address their challenges.

“My main focus today is the distribution of fertiliser. The urgency to access fertilisers and the long queues by farmers witnessed at National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots across the country convince me that people are keen to work with government to achieve our food targets,” he said.

COUNTIES
Mr Kiunjuri said although the country currently requires 12 million bags of fertiliser per year, the subsidy programme can only supply 25-30 per cent of the requirement, which has been allocated in quotas to various regions.

“Currently, Uasin Gishu which was allocated 361,960 bags of fertilisers has so far received 334,004 bags, which represent 92 per cent of the allocation.

“It is followed by Trans Nzoia which has so far received 150,970 out of the allocated 192,080 bags.

“Nakuru has so far received 36,180 bags out of the allocated 47,760 bags. Bungoma has received 39,280 bags out of the allocated 46,760 bags. Nandi has received 49,760 bags out of the allocated 58,800 bags,” the CS said.

TRADERS
Mr Kiunjuri added the government dispatched 971,670 bags, which represents 81 per cent of the total planting fertilisers transported to farmers in a massive exercise.

“The remaining approximately 200,000 bags will be dispatched to reach farmers in the next 10 days,” he said.

He added the ministry had requested, through the supplementary budget, a further support to purchase more fertiliser.

He regretted that unscrupulous traders were taking advantage of the fertiliser to defraud farmers.

“Unregistered farmers will not receive government subsidy on their produce. Therefore, I urge all farmers to cooperate with the government during the registration exercise. I have directed that the registration exercise be completed before the next harvesting season,” he said.


Leaders say polygamy could save a generation

By ERIC WAINAINA
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When Kiambu Woman Representative Gathoni wa Muchomba asked able men from the Kikuyu community to consider marrying many wives, and to also put a brake on family planning, she may have just said what many people are afraid of saying.

The renowned radio journalist said polygamy will offer solution to alcoholism and street families, saying the upbringing of children in the absence of their fathers has was the major cause.

“We give birth to these children, and we do not want to own up to them… for me I am saying, if you are a man from the Kikuyu community, and you can sustain five wives, have them and if you are a man and you are in a position to bring up (many children), do it,” she said, adding that the forefathers did it and raised the children well.

Ms Wa Muchomba, a wife and a mother, said it was hypocritical and pretentious to keep quite on the subject, which has since drawn mixed reactions, saying polygamy is not a crime but culture.

SINGLE PARENTS
Last year, Mr Joseph Kaguthi, the chairman of Nyumba Kumi initiative, found himself in a similar situation when he kicked off a campaign to encourage men to be allowed to practice polygamy in a bid to address the high rate of single parenthood and dwindling of the population.

But the former provincial administrator said he was forced to abandon it after he was bashed by women and clerics, whom he said were uncomfortable with the topic.

He however still believes that able men should practice polygamy, saying it will offer solutions to bad parenthood and the declining of the community’s population, a thing he said was only affecting the community.

Other communities, he said have been proudly practicing it, adding that if the Kikuyu community were to revisit it, it would solve many problem that are bedevilling it, and which he said if not tackled, will get to an irreversible stage.  

HUSBANDS
Mr Kaguthi said about 44 per cent of households in central Kenya are headed by single mothers.

He said they are afraid of disclosing the identity of the fathers out of the fear of being condemned by the community, adding the women have been desperately looking for husbands.

“If we have 44 per cent of families being headed by mothers and we say there is no problem, what is it?

“When we have our women flocking seminars convinced by foreign pastors of no known quantity so that they can be prayed for to get husbands, and we say there is no problem, what is a problem?” Mr Kaguthi asked.

CHRISTIANS

He said there are many women who are willing to be co-wives but since polygamy has been demonised, they are afraid of doing it because they are afraid of being branded husband snatchers.

“Polygamy is not, by and large, a national issue, but a problem of the Agikuyu, who have been influenced by the colonial spiritual values and practices.

“We need a little aspect of decolonisation so that people can embrace it. Even in the Bible, we read of polygamy but as a community we want to pretend.

“Only an irresponsible man, who would go to get another wife, without having taking into account on how he will manage them,” Mr Kaguthi said, adding that recently clerics have been streaming to his office asking his to revive the debate.

He added: “I am extremely happy that the political wing, and more so women, have backed the idea, and all people should embrace it because polygamy was a way of culture.”

Rev Vincent Mulwa of Christ Pilgrim Restoration Centre, in a recent interview, said men can marry more than one wife.

“As far as the Bible is concerned, the number of wives or concubines that one has does not matter and is not a standard of holiness,” he says.

LAW
He adds: “I have come out to tell Christians that we must preach the true gospel and allow our men in the church to marry as many wives as they want.

“Polygamy is not about men needing many wives but it’s about women needing husbands.”

In 2014, the National Assembly amended the Marriage Act allowing men to marry many women.

“Marriage is the voluntary union of a man and a woman, whether in a monogamous or polygamous union,” read a presidential statement made after it was signed.

According to Mr Kaguthi, polygamy is not a crime but colonialists demonised the practice.

“This saw the community forget its culture, even basic things like clan and age sets, and with the nominalism, the situation led to the penetration of alcoholism, and the situation we are in is nagging.

“And if remedial measures are not taken, we will reach a level of being classified under United Nations, a threatened and endangered communities and cultures and languages,” Mr Kaguthi said.  

MARRIAGE
With the fading of culture, which killed the counselling of children and preparing them to marriage and parenthood, Mr Kaguthi said most of the young people in the community are not getting married.

“While in a workshop in Embu that has brought different people, I asked young women why they aren’t giving birth, and they told me that they want, but do not know who to sire children with.

“I also asked the young men why they aren’t getting married and they said the women are having terrible and crazy demands,” Mr Kaguthi said.


Millennials: The group that has paused life’s milestones

By JACQUELINE KUBANIA
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They are digital natives with a world of information at their fingertips, they live in the age of opportunity working exciting jobs that did not even exist 10 years ago, they are more educated than their parents, better travelled and better connected to the outside world.

And yet, millennials still think they got the short end of the stick.

They are disillusioned with the government, are worried about money, and are delaying marriage and parenthood, among other significant markers of adulthood.

“At my age, my dad had a wife, three children, a stable government job, a home.

“Other than work, I do not think I am even remotely close to those type of levels.

“I think my parents had a better life as the cost of living was dramatically lower and there was little societal pressure to acquire low value return assets,” Eric Wainaina, a 26-year-old who works for a technology company, said.

MARRIAGE
Millennials, the generation widely defined as born between 1982 and 2001, has become a favourite topic of study, comment and critique among researchers and pundits.

The habits and eccentricities of this generation have held the rest of the world fascinated, inspiring headlines after headlines about trends millennials have bucked, industries they have killed and institutions they have laid siege upon.

According to research and commentary, millennials are delaying or refusing to settle down and have children thus threatening the institution of marriage; they are buying less real estate than their parents, thus killing the property industry and they have made the unassuming avocado a sort of super food.

Wainaina frames the millennial paradox quite well.

CHARACTERISTICS

While he has relative job satisfaction with the work he currently does, he is also worried the important markers that are supposed to come with the job still remain out of his reach.

From his point of view, what his parents were able to do with relatively the same resources 30 years ago, he cannot do today.

And it is this complaint that has earned millennials the tag “entitled”.

In a memorable TIME magazine cover story in 2013, millennials were referred to as “The Me Me Me Generation”, a narcissistic, self-involved, lazy and entitled demographic who want things easy and expect participation trophies.

They quit jobs if they are slightly unhappy, expect promotions as a matter of course and are unsatisfied with barely being cogs in a big wheel — they immediately want to feel valued and like they make an impact in their organisations.

PARENTING
In an interview that went viral on Youtube, self-described leadership coach Simon Sinek said this mindset is down to poor parenting that has created a generation that has low self-esteem and is ill-equipped to handle the challenges of the real world, especially at the workplace.

“The generation we call the millennials grew up subject to failed parenting strategies where they were told they were special; they can have anything they want in life, some of them got into honours classes not because they deserved it but because their parents complained and some of them got As not because they earned them but because the teachers didn’t want to deal with the parents. Some kids got participation medals for coming in last,” he said.

Counselling psychologist Catherine Gachutha agrees.

She told the Saturday Nation the ways in which millennials were brought up have contributed to their feelings of inadequacy as adults.

“Millennials were brought up by high-achieving parents who worked very hard to escape poverty, therefore could not pay their children as much attention as they needed.

“And perhaps out of guilt, these parents overspent on and overindulged their children, therefore giving rise to a generation which could be described as entitled,” she said.

AMBITION
Grace Naserian, a 24-year-old lawyer, thinks perhaps the tag “entitled” comes from how much millennials demand out of life, something older generations were afraid to do.

“Millennials are always chasing the sun, which makes many people uncomfortable.

“We want instant gratification, we want the glitz and glam without the sweat and tears and to some extent that makes us entitled,” she said.

But 29-year-old Wandia, (who only gave us her first name), chafes at being described as “entitled” or “lazy”, saying the terms are inaccurate and a cop out used by the older generation to escape responsibility for the things they have bungled up.

“Each generation will always want to shift the blame elsewhere, usually onto another generation most especially when frustrated.

“I think we need to start being smart about the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ and understanding that all these statements are merely symptoms of a bigger problem, which isn’t solved by merely saying millennials are lazy and entitled,” she said.

EMPLOYMENT
James Njoroge, also 29, agrees. He says millennials are unwilling to settle for work that does not engage them the way they would like.

“It’s an inaccurate description. It is based on the assumption that millennials should be willing to work in the types of jobs previous generations cherished, even when they are more aware about how exploitative the labour market is now. Millennials are not lazy, they just know their worth,” he said.

He is determined to chart his own way in the world of work, remaining disinterested in employment and preferring to engage in creative pursuits.

“I do not have a full time job. I am, however, not looking to go back to formal employment.

“There are opportunities for me in fields that are driven by communities created by the growth of internet culture.

“Co-hosting a podcast has opened my eyes to the possibilities of new forms of media,” he said.

CAREERS
In her career as a psychologist that has spanned many years, Prof Gachutha has seen many millennials walk through her doors seeking help for a variety of issues.

“Many of them report having trouble making lasting connections with other people, not just in romantic relationships but even in friendships or at the workplace,” she said.

According to her, this is due to a lack of interpersonal skills that make it difficult for millennials to build trust, and a prioritisation of the self at the expense of others.

“Tellingly, many of them are disinterested in marriage or stating their own families, and would rather work on building their careers,” she said.

Prof Gachutha believes if millennials had seen their parents model good personal relationships, then they would have found it easier and more appealing to form them in adulthood.

Wainaina, for instance, says finding and marrying a partner has slid lower on his list of priorities as time goes by, and that if he does decide to settle down, he is cautious of the fact that it might be hard to find someone genuine to put down roots with.

“Having a romantic partner is a good thing but it is more transactional now with the ‘what do you bring to the table mentality.”‘

“That makes it a sham and you do not know if you like each other or like the idea of each other,” he said, adding that he is open to the idea of marriage but at a later stage in life. 

RELATIONSHIPS
Chavalegi Amendi, a 33-year-old advertising professional, has some of the same fears as Wainaina.

He says he is still trying to decide whether marriage is for him or not, and he is in no hurry to get to an answer.

“There are too many failed marriages floating around and the thought of being another statistic scares me,” he said.

For Naserian, though, marriage and motherhood sound like good ideas, although she is wary of how society sometimes frames partnerships as an accomplishment, something to be lauded.

According to her, marriage is just a “stage in life”, not something that should be seen as an achievement.

Wandia and Njoroge are more extreme in their beliefs.

For them, marriage is largely unattractive, something neither of them is willing to pursue.

And like so many other young people in their age group, they are not crazy about having children either.

“I wouldn’t want children. I really don’t want the added responsibility and children don’t match up with my long-term goals,” she said.

For Njoroge, the decision to not have children is down to what he feels is an increasingly uncertain world where the cost of living has continued to go up and life has become more difficult and unequal.

“I feel it is a wise decision for me to not have any children because providing them with a decent life is becoming more difficult and may eventually become impossible for the majority of my generation,” he said.

“I’m anxious about the possibility of humankind destroying itself by creating an increasingly unsustainable economic system that promotes greed, inequality and war.”

GOVERNANCE
This disillusionment and uncertainty was well captured in a report by communications firm Well Told Story, who found that young people increasingly feel angry and disappointed about the future, and are excluded from governance.

According to the report, a majority (63 per cent) of young people aged between 15 and 24 feel unhappy, disengaged and disgruntled with how the country is governed.

They also say that they feel “excluded and voiceless” and left out in the cold with little information about governance processes, even those that are aimed at them.

Which could be part of the reason why Wandia reports feeling “uncertain” about the future.


Gathoni’s strange prescription on fixing alcoholism

What a week. We thought with the exit of Dr Miguna Miguna we would be staring at drab days ahead.

Shock on us. It was not long before a dashing post-teen chap is nabbed on the run amidst a swirl of spicy talks of “special relationships”, with honourable members of Parliament.

And the notorious social media burst in flames. No dull moments in Kenya.

But it is the erstwhile radio girl, Gathoni wa Muchomba, who caught every feminist off guard.

You see, the Kiambu woman representative seems to be having a way of grabbing headlines.

SALARY INCREASE

You remember soon after landing her first job in Parliament she insisted on a salary hike because, as an honourable member, her purse has to be well-lined, so she reasoned.

Kenyans went volcanic in their furry. She was forced to beat a hasty retreat.

She is back again hogging headlines and ruling airwaves. See, Gathoni is compassionate.

The sheer number and miserable images of lads who are perpetually doped to stupor disturb her.

Liquor has robbed them of their dignity and masculinity. They are zombies.

And this worries the good politician, and rightly so. Luckily, she has a solution (so she proclaimed) to the embarrassing mess — polygyny.

Yeah, Gathoni must be bamboozled by lack of insight and altruism of the wealthy in the country.

Kenya is a land of many rich folks whose property could run from Tanga to Timbuktu.

And she has a simple humble request: For the wealthy to marry as many wives as they can in a bid to end the spectre of women-run households.

This, to the queen of airwaves, is a masterstroke, which with one swipe will dissolve the dope.

POLYGAMY
I like Gathoni’s guts. She is pragmatic. She shoots from the hip.

I also love her audacity informed largely by naivety and befogged perspective.

But first things first. To paraphrase Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a man in possession of a vast fortune must marry many wives.

To matter in a society, the sages reasoned a man will be measured by the women revolving around him for it’s evidence he’s endowed appropriately to take care of them.

This could be Gathoni’s philosophical underpinning.

Or, she could just be a seer fulfilling the Christendom postulation of a time when many women will scramble for one man.

PARENTING
Doubtlessly, Gathoni sees solutions to social problems from the prism of money.

Well, material is fantastic — sweet even. However, I’m not sure if it can solve the pathological parenting paralysis so common in the country.

This is why: The todays wealthy folks, unless one was born in money, sweat through life to make it.

This means that at their prime for marriage they were too broke to afford a wife, a kid.

Technically, then it would have been a Herculean task to indulge in the excesses of polygyny.

COMMODIFICATION
This is how English thinker Sir Francis Bacon would have observed as captured in Essay 8 Of Marriage and Single Life: “He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief.”

Indeed, there are many things a true capitalist would excite in indulging; the last of it is to host a baby factory.

I see in Gathoni’s thesis a serious commodification of women.

That they should avail themselves to the highest bidder beats all the logic that comes with compatibility, love and romance.

The trouble with such commodification, in the name of altruism, is that as a property of the wealthy folk, the woman would end up miserable like a quasi-widow.

POVERTY
Will the rich marry the poor? This is a world that is caught in a vicious cycle of chronic hopelessness, and probably bitterness that reverberates from generation to another.

Opportunities to unshackle are limited. Bootleg liquor so gladly brewed by the very elite helps to keep the poor lad off their sorrows.

Politicians cherish this scenario.

Yet, we have seen families of super wealthy folks whose kids are in rehab and six feet under.

And we have also seen families of single mothers whose kids are in the C-suites of the blue chips locally and globally.

Gathoni no doubt loves money. Believes in patriarchy and quick fix solutions. But on this one, polygamy will not sate crave for a tot.

Mr Wamanji is communication and public relations adviser. [email protected] Twitter: @manjis