Friday, April 20th, 2018
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, managed to deliver this week urgently needed assistance to hundreds of displaced Libyan families in the town of Murzuk, in southern Libya. Humanitarian help is desperately needed in this region of Libya where recent deadly clashes between armed groups in and around the city of Sabha (some 760 km south of Tripoli) have forced an estimated 1,900 Libyan families to flee their homes.
A UNHCR emergency aid convoy left the Libyan capital Tripoli on 4 April. The convoy, consisting of seven trucks loaded with basic aid items was able to enter Sabha the following day where we distributed humanitarian assistance to 850 displaced families. Access to Murzuq and Oubari further south was initially blocked due to security reasons, and the aid had to wait in Sabha.
However, earlier this week, the local population began using the main roads from Sabha to Murzuk. This gave UNHCR a window of opportunity to urgently deliver core relief items to the city of Murzuk where on Wednesday (18 April) 370 displaced families finally received much needed aid.
The displaced Libyan population in the south badly needs adequate shelter and basic household items including hygiene kits, sleeping mats, mattresses and kitchen sets. To make matters worse, humanitarian access to this part of Libya has been restricted for weeks and the situation remains extremely volatile. Many have sought refuge in local schools, hospitals and other public buildings.
In Libya, currently more than 184,000 internally displaced people are in need of humanitarian assistance as well as 368,000 people who have recently returned to their homes. UNHCR continues to advocate on their behalf and to provide relief until they can find durable solutions, including returning home on a voluntary basis and in conditions of dignity and safety.
To respond to the needs of more than half a million Libyans uprooted by the conflict, UNHCR has increased its capacity and resources by 300 percent in recent months.
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Ce rapport cherche à examiner l’impact de l’absence d’acte de naissance sur l’accès à et la continuité dans l’éducation en République centrafricaine (RCA), où des années de conflits armés et d’instabilité politique et économique ont dévasté les systèmes éducatif et d’état civil. En particulier, nous cherchons à comprendre de manière générale les pratiques courantes des enfants et adultes concernant l’acquisition des documents d’état civil afin d’accéder à l’éducation, ainsi que la politique et les règlements des systèmes d’état civil et éducatif. Cette enquête sert à renforcer le travail du Conseil Norvégien pour les Réfugiés en RCA dans la protection des personnes déplacées, réfugiées et vulnérables.
Les révélations de l’enquête
Le système d’état civil centrafricain est complexe, coûteux et fragile
Les procédures d’enregistrement des naissances, prévues dans le Code de la famille et divers ordonnances et décrets, sont complexes et géographiquement et financièrement inaccessibles à une vaste majorité de la population. En 2012, 61% des enfants âgés de moins de cinq ans avaient leur naissance enregistrées, un taux qui est estimé avoir baissé suite aux crises récentes. Les Ministères de la Justice; de la Santé; de l’Intérieur; de la Sécurité Publique et de l’Administration du Territoire; et des Affaires Sociales sont tous impliqués dans la délivrance des actes de naissance. Les actes de naissance et les extraits d’actes ou duplicatas coûtent 1 000-1 500 FCFA ($1-2), sans compter les frais médicaux, le document de sortie de l’hôpital et le transport. Pour un pays où 66.3% de la population dispose de moins de $1.90 par jour, ces frais sont souvent inabordables. En plus, le délai légal d’enregistrement est seulement d’un mois et ceux qui ne le respectent pas doivent passer par le système judiciaire qui est fragilisé et lent.
Par ailleurs, le système d’enregistrement de naissance ne s’est pas encore rétabli: beaucoup de centres d’état civil dans lesquels se trouvaient les archives et registres ont été détruits pendant la crise récente et les fonctionnaires responsables ne sont pas encore déployés sur le terrain. Les déclarations de naissances, qui facilitent l’enregistrement aux centres d’état civil, doivent se faire auprès des centres de santé ou auprès des chefs de village, mais ces derniers ne sont pas toujours disponibles ou ne les font pas de manière systématique.
Les personnes déplacées et retournées ont peu de chances de reconstituer leurs documents d’état civil ou d’obtenir des jugements.
Beaucoup de jeunes et d’adultes qui étaient enregistrés dès la naissance ont perdu leurs documents d’état civil pendant la crise récente ou celles des vingt années précédentes. Le nombre de personnes ayant perdu leur acte de naissance n’existe pas mais actuellement un quart de la population est déplacé ou réfugié et la destruction des habitations est bien documentée.5 Selon l’article 180 du Code de la Famille, ces personnes, y compris les personnes déplacées et retournées, devraient se rendre dans leur village natal pour refaire leurs documents d’état civil. Pour ce faire, un jugement de reconstitution du Tribunal de Grande Instance est nécessaire, dans les cas où les souches sont détruites, pour la restitution de leurs documents d’état civil.
D’abord, ces jugements coûtent, avec les frais de transcription, entre 8.500 et 10.000 FCFA ($17-20) mais au-delà du prix, ils seraient impossibles à obtenir dans de nombreuses préfectures et sous-préfectures sans tribunal opérationnel: sur les 182 magistrats du pays, 162 se trouvent à Bangui.6 Cette enquête a trouvé que ce système encourage la falsification des documents et la corruption des officiers d’état civil, et défavorise les personnes déplacées qui seraient obligées de retourner vers des lieux non-sécurisés.
Les actes de naissance jouent un rôle dans la continuité dans l’éducation.
Cette étude a confirmé que ce sont la continuité et l’achèvement dans l’éducation, et non pas l’accès initial, qui constituent les défis principaux pour les élèves sans acte de naissance. En fait, l’État centrafricain a surtout favorisé le droit à l’éducation au premier cycle, lequel est obligatoire, vu le taux faible d’enregistrement des naissances. Cependant, les examens de fin de cycle tels que le Brevet d’Études Fondamentales 2 et le Baccalauréat, ainsi que les concours d’entrée aux cycles fondamental 2 et secondaire, requièrent un acte de naissance. Les enfants sans acte de naissance peuvent parfois accéder au fondamental 2 et au lycée à condition qu’ils aient une bonne moyenne en classe, mais il n’existe pas un décret officiel qui l’ordonne. Le Brevet et le Baccalauréat sont des diplômes clés qui facilitent l’accès aux études supérieures, aux formations et au travail.
Le renforcement des systèmes d’état civil et éducatif est vital pour la paix.
Cette enquête a révélé des pratiques discriminatoires, comme le refus de délivrer des actes de naissance aux enfants d’étrangers, ou aux populations perçues être étrangères, dans certains centres d’état civil: cela constitue une pratique qui enfreint le Code de la Famille et les conventions internationales signées par la RCA. La réconciliation en RCA dépend d’une remise en œuvre des services sociaux pour pouvoir mieux intégrer et protéger les populations desservies et discriminées. L’accès amélioré aux études secondaires et supérieures, facilité par une meilleure couverture des services d’état civil, contribuera à l’inclusion sociale et à un renforcement des capacités dans des communautés affectées par la violence.
L’existence de la volonté du gouvernement et des organisations internationales.
Le gouvernement actuel et celui de la transition se sont efforcés de renforcer les services d’état civil et l’éducation. Pourtant, la politique devrait être vulgarisée en dehors de Bangui et des villes principales. Par exemple, le Décret présidentiel n° 14.228 de 2014 garantissait la gratuité des actes de naissance aux enfants nés pendant la crise, mais en raison de l’insécurité et du manque de financements, il n’était pas uniformément promulgué malgré les efforts de nombreuses organisations qui soutenaient la délivrance des actes de naissance et des jugements En outre, UNICEF, DRC et ASF ont mené des campagnes d’enregistrement, de sensibilisation et d’audiences foraines. Tout dernièrement, le gouvernement, sous la Direction Générale du Développement Local et avec le soutien de l’Union Européenne (UE), UNICEF et UNFPA, a établi une plateforme sur l’état civil qui vise à sécuriser les documents d’état civil et d’identité et de ficher les archives nationales de l’état civil.
Recommandations pour le gouvernement centrafricain:
De chercher des solutions politiques. Aucune campagne d’enregistrement, d’audience foraine ou de sensibilisation n’aura d’impact durable sans une reformulation légale des délais, des prix et du rapport entre la justice et les services d’état civil dans le Code de la Famille. Cela consiste à supprimer la nécessité du jugement de première instance pour les personnes ayant perdu leur acte de naissance;
De renforcer le cadre légal de l’état civil pour la protection des populations réfugiées, déplacées et vulnérables: cela consiste à élargir la période de la crise dans le décret présidentiel n°14.222 et d’inclure une provision pour les jugements supplétifs et de reconstitution aussi bien que la domestication de la Convention de Kampala, ICCPR et la d’autres pactes ratifiés par la RCA. Cela nécessite une élimination de l’obligation légale de retourner au lieu de naissance pour procurer un jugement supplétif ou un duplicata d’acte de naissance;
De créer des systèmes robustes de conservation des archives et de collecter des données statistiques concernant les taux d’adultes qui ne possèdent pas, ou plus, leur acte de naissance;
D’éliminer les barrières aux examens et concours dans la mesure du possible.
Recommandations pour les organisations internationales:
De contribuer à l’offre des solutions mobiles, comme des audiences foraines, dans les régions les plus éloignées;
De sensibiliser et renforcer les capacités des agents d’état civil, des statisticiens dans le gouvernement, des directeurs et censeurs d’écoles, des sages-femmes et des chefs de village et de quartier;
De contribuer à renforcer les capacités techniques et matérielles des centres d’états civils en coordination avec l’État centrafricain;
De se coordonner avec les ONG et le gouvernement pour chercher des synergies, surtout dans les domaines de la santé et de l’éducation formelle et non-formelle, pour faciliter les enregistrements des naissances;
De collecter des données sur les personnes sans actes de naissance, et la destruction des centres d’état civil, dans les sites et zones d’interventions pour mieux comprendre l’étendue du problème et les bonnes pratiques;
De tenir compte des droits des déplacées et réfugiés et des jeunes dans les campagnes d’enregistrement et de sensibilisation.
Recommandations pour le Conseil Norvégien pour les Réfugiés:
De répondre à un besoin urgent d’aide légale dans le cadre de la documentation d’état civil, principalement dans les domaines suivants: la fourniture des bureaux d’état civil, l’aide juridique et le soutien apporté au gouvernement dans l’organisation des audiences foraines. En particulier, le renforcement des liens entre le système de santé et d’état civil est favorable pour faciliter les enregistrements dans les délais légaux;
De s’assurer que l’acte de naissance ne soit pas une condition d’entrée aux projets d’éducation non-formelle et d’inclure les assistances légales dans le package de réponses donné aux jeunes déscolarisés pour favoriser leur transition vers l’éducation formelle ou leur insertion économique;
De vérifier dans quelle mesure les kits scolaires de NRC qui traitent de l’éducation aux droits de l’homme soulignent le droit à une nationalité et à un nom et de créer des ressources pédagogiques accessibles, tels que les livrets illustrés qui présentent des informations sur les procédures administratives pour obtenir un acte de naissance et enregistrer pour les examens de fin de cycle;
De rejoindre la plateforme gouvernementale sur les services d’état civil et de plaidoyer pour les droits des personnes déplacées et refugiées et de plaidoyer au Ministère de l’Éducation pour les solutions politiques au niveau des documents requis pour accéder aux examens et concours;
D’explorer des modèles de programmation intégrée entre ICLA et Éducation pour mieux appuyer les élèves, parents et enseignants à enregistrer les naissances et à se procurer les documents associés;
De renforcer les mécanismes d’apprentissage des bonnes pratiques et programmes de la région.
Leaders and residents on Friday eulogised Baringo South MP Grace Kipchoim, who died in Nairobi, as a peace champion who united warring pastoral communities by initiating development projects.
Leaders who spoke upon learning of her death said the region has lost a great leader who was instrumental in stamping out cattle raids and banditry among warring communities in the North Rift by introducing social-economic income-generating activities to improve people’s livelihoods.
“It is a really sad day for us having lost a great leader who transformed the region through peace caravans to contain insecurity and ensured equal distribution of resources that has seen every ward realise development,” Julia Kandie, a nominated MCA from Baringo, said.
Ms Kandie recounted how the late legislator personally supervised several projects, including irrigation schemes which helped the semi-arid region realise food security.
“She involved all political and religious leaders in spearheading peace initiatives and dialogue to resolve disputes among Endorois, Illchamus and Pokot communities.
“Despite being on the sick bed, she would talk to fellow leaders to preach peace,” the MCA added.
Ms Kipchoim, who was first elected in 2013 on a United Republican Party ticket, died at Nairobi Hospital after a long illness. She was serving her second term in Parliament.
“It’s true we’ve lost her. We convey our condolences to her family,” said Baringo North MP William Cheptumo.
Having endeared herself to the electorate through her development track record, Ms Kipchoim was elected during the August 8 elections despite her not holding a single campaign meeting.
Joshua Cheptarus, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary-General, on Friday said that the MP’s death had dealt blow to peace programmes in the region.
“It is indeed a sad day. There will be a big gap. She promoted peaceful co-existence among the communities and encouraged leaders to be united.
“I call on all leaders to put aside their differences and accord her a descent send-off,” the Knut official said.
The MP’s efforts also saw the government deploy police reservists in her constituency following rampant cases of insecurity.
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi described the MP as a leader who passionately pursued the interest of the people.
The stage is set for hearing of appeals filed against four Nyanza governors.
Governors Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), James Ongwae (Kisii), Okoth Obado (Migori) and John Nyagarama (Nyamira) are fighting to retain their seats at the Kisumu Appellate Court.
Justice Hannah Okwengu yesterday gave directions on how the appeals will be handled.
The hearing date for Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti’s case, who is challenging the High Court decision to nullify his victory, will be known on Tuesday next week. Mr Awiti’s pre-trial hearing will be presided over by Justice Okwengu.
Mr Nyong’os appeal will be heard first on May 7. The appeal was filed by former Governor Jack Ranguma.
Justice Okwengu set May 14 as the date when Mr Nyagarama’s hearing will begin. Mr Walter Nyambati is the appellant.
The appeal for Mr Ongwae will be heard on May 15 while that of Migori governor filed by Mr Ochilo Ayako will be heard on May 17. In Kisii’s case, Mr Joel Onsando and Mr Francis Omao are the appellants.
A Kenyan woman is among TIME’s 100 Most Influential People, a prestigious annual list published by the American news magazine that acknowledges extraordinary people changing the world.
Ms Nice Nailantei, a 27-year-old anti-FGM activist from Oloitokitok, Kajiado South, is the only Kenyan who made it to the magazine’s 2018 list. She is listed alongside media mogul Oprah Winfrey, President of the United States Donald Trump, Prince Harry and China’s President Xi Jinping.
She was recognised for her relentless efforts to end female genital mutilation.
Ms Nailantei’s journey began at the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro at the age of seven when her parents died. At this age, a Maasai girl is considered to be at the cusp of womanhood and ripe for circumcision, and later marriage to an older man.
Nailantei’s unparalleled courage — never witnessed before in her village — saved her on the eve of her planned circumcision. She run away with her sister away to avoid the cut.
When she returned home, she had clarity of thought that surprised even her grandfather, Mr Philip Lampat Sing’aro, a respectable village elder. She negotiated with him to give her one more year to prepare herself for the rite of passage. When a year passed, she remained adamant against the cut, although her sister finally gave in. Ms Nailantei would later join high school and at the age of 15, she became a role model and a fierce crusader against FGM.
Using diplomacy and negotiation, Ms Nailantei approached Maasai elders with information about the ramifications of FGM on a woman, imploring them to recalibrate their thinking around the practice.
Although her plan did not work at first, the elders warmed up gradually and the greatest sign of respect from them came when they handed her the esiere, a powerful walking stick that symbolises leadership.
Now at 27, Nailantei has become a paragon of a fearless campaign against FGM that has so far saved more than 15,000 girls. Her efforts have spawned international headlines in respectable newspapers such as the New York Times, and have afforded her an enviable seat amongst the citadel of global icons, pioneers and world leaders.
Although the announcement was made yesterday, Nailantei received an email from the magazine two weeks ago, but she had to keep the news even from her closest family members. This is because the magazine was strict on the confidentiality of the matter.
“I am truly honoured and grateful to be in the list,” she said in a phone interview with the Saturday Nation. “It shows how important our work against FGM and child marriage is,” she added.
Ms Nailantei is not sure how the magazine learnt about her although she suspects that is was Jaha Dukureh, a Gambian anti-FGM crusader, who recommended her and eventually wrote a short story to accompany the announcement in the magazine. “I did not know she was writing the story,” she says.
She has been closely following Jaha’s work through international media.
Ms Nailantei said her grandfather is proud of her. “I called him. He may not understand the magnitude of this recognition but he is very proud of me. I am quite sure he is telling every villager about this,” she said a jovial Nailantei.
As she prepared to jet off to New York tomorrow morning to receive her award at a gala event scheduled on Tuesday, Ms Nailantei was mulling over what she will say during the three minutes she will have to make a toast at the event.
Her eyes remain steadfast on her goal to make FGM a thing of the history books, she says.
The political class is headed for a major showdown over a new push to review the 2010 Constitution pitting key Jubilee and opposition leaders against a camp allied to Deputy President William Ruto.
Mr Ruto shot the first salvo last weekend when he dismissed talk of amending the constitution as misplaced and intended to accommodate a few individuals.
The DP, who was addressing a gathering at the homecoming of Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed in Kakamega, asked Kenyans to instead focus on development issues.
Mr Ruto’s remarks appeared to target area Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and his Machakos counterpart Alfred Mutua who had called for a change of the constitution to ensure inclusivity in the running of the country’s affairs.
Addressing the public at Khayega market in Shinyalu, Kakamega County, two days earlier, Dr Mutua said there was need to amend the constitution to create more political positions.
“One shouldn’t die politically just because he failed to clinch a seat he or she vied for, they should also be integrated somewhere else to serve the people,” Dr Mutua said.
Mr Oparanya on the other hand called for amendments to the constitution to create the Prime Minister’s post to ensure all the tribes are represented.
“We want the broadening of the executive to ensure that every tribe feels represented, the presidency shouldn’t be for two tribes,” Mr Oparanya said.
In what appears to be a repeat of the 2010 referendum contest between the “Yes” and “No” camps, the latest push has sharply divided the political class with Mr Ruto and his allies facing off with a growing list of pro-constitutional change campaigners.
Then, Mr Ruto and former President Daniel Moi stood up to a strong “Yes’ campaign team led by retired President Mwai Kibaki, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, then-Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and deputy Prime Ministers Musalia Mudavadi and Uhuru Kenyatta, which eventually carried the day.
On Thursday, Mr Ezekiel Njeru Namu petitioned the National Assembly through Speaker Justin Muturi seeking amendment of various sections of the Constitution.
When Speaker Muturi received Mr Namu’s petition he said the matter is weighty and needs careful deliberation.
Speaker Muturi directed the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chaired by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo to look into the petition and table a report in the House within 60 days.
“The Committee should undertake to engage the petitioner and may thereafter introduce necessary bills for consideration by this House, in respect to the prayers sought by the petitioner and should undertake to engage the petitioner,” Mr Muturi said.
“You will agree with me the prayers sought by the petitioner require thoughtful consideration as they propose to fundamentally alter the architecture of our Constitution,” Mr Muturi argued.
Catholic church bishops led by Cardinal John Njue last week called for changes to the Constitution to help heal the country.
Yesterday, Mr Mudavadi supported calls for constitutional changes to provide for a parliamentary system in order to ensure inclusivity.
He maintained that the Bomas draft that was “cannibalised” by Parliament during the Naivasha retreat in 2010 should be adopted by the country.
“The structure we had under the Grand Coalition government was purely presidential and not parliamentary,” Mr Mudavadi said.
He described the current presidential system as ‘mongrel’, saying it had eclipsed other governance structures and centralised leadership at the executive headed by the president.
His views were echoed by Mr Odinga’s allies, an indication that the opposition, hitherto divided over the newfound Kenyatta-Odinga handshake, was closing ranks on the push for a constitution review.
MPs Samuel Atandi (Alego), Anthony Oluoch (Mathare), Caleb Amisi (Saboti), Florence Mutua (Busia Woman Representative), Godfrey Osotsi (Nominated), and ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna claimed the Constitution has 20 per cent errors and needs to be amended.
“We all agree that there is need for constitutional change to fix the 20 per cent that is defective in the 2010 Constitution. We want to tell the DP that this will happen whether he likes it or not,” Mr Sifuna said, referring to Mr Ruto’s opposition to the push.
ODM chairman John Mbadi asked the team tasked with implementing the handshake between Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga to also re-look at the entire Constitution based on the famous March 9 deal, and propose changes.
“We have two assignments right now: Fixing the IEBC, and looking at the 20 per cent of the Constitution which we said we will look at, and now is the time,” Mr Mbadi said.
“We have the option of forming an interim commission to oversee a referendum, or we have the team looking at the deal signed by Uhuru and Raila to look at the whole Constitution, including fixing the IEBC, electoral reforms and the governance structure, and then we subject it to a referendum.”
Last week, the Global Peace Foundation asked the National Assembly’s National Cohesion and Equal Opportunities to push for the constitutional amendments to reduce the two five years presidential term to a one seven year term.
The foundation observed this was the only way to cure the tension that comes during the election cycle.
But speaking in Nyandarua on Wednesday evening, Jubilee secretary-general Raphael Tuju, in reading from the same script as Mr Ruto, said that time is not ripe for Kenya to discuss a referendum to change the Constitution just a few months after the election.
“The Jubilee Party will not condone worthless debate about creation of positions for a few individuals. We are now focused on development,” Mr Tuju said.
It was the same position taken by Jubilee parliamentary leaders Aden Duale (National Assembly) and his Senate counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen, both key Ruto allies, who while insisting that the IEBC needed to be reformed, rubbished talks about a referendum to look at the other aspects of the Constitution.
The resignations of IEBC commissioners Connie Nkatha, Paul Kurgat, and Margaret Mwachanya — leaving only its chairman Wafula Chebukati, and commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu — has sparked debate on the need for constitutional reforms.
“The debate on electoral justice (after the fixing of the IEBC) should include a discussion on the structure of the Executive.
“Its present design is incompatible with the creation of a nation based on inclusivity, protection of the well-being of communities and the nation, social justice and shared prosperity,” Senate Minority Leader James Orengo said in a statement on Wednesday.
Former Constitution Review of Kenya Chairman Yash Pal Ghai, however, warned politicians against viewing the process through a very narrow lens, warning it could turn disastrous.
He however said it was time the 2010 constitution was reviewed.
“I do have strong views on that subject. It depends on the approach to the review.
“I think the politicians have a very narrow objective. They are concerned about the idea to the amendment to the presidency so that we move to the parliamentary system as a way of sharing power.
“In itself this is not very effective and therefore I would not be very much in favour of that.”
“Personally I would support the idea of a parliamentary system and that is what we voted for in Bomas and it was also recommended by Kofi Annan and the eminent African leaders who came after the 2007 violence,” he added.
Lawyer Nzamba Kitonga who chaired the Committee of Experts that midwifed the 2010 constitution, says the debate about amending the Constitution is welcome but should be holistic and not just be confined to wresting some power from the presidency to a yet-to-be known body in the Executive.
He also says the task to review the Constitution should not be left to the politicians but that there should be an inclusive approach.
“Kenyans should remember that when we finished our work we had said that an assessment on whether the Constitution sits well with the country should be done between seven and 10 years after the promulgation.
“In that period we should have been able to tell what has worked, what hasn’t worked and what needs to be rectified. So, the current debate fits within the timeframe we had given.”
Reporting by Samwel Owino, Walter Menya, Patrick Langat, Derick Luvega and Waikwa Maina
The 1932 painting by Pablo Picasso featuring his mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter was sold in 2010 for $106 million (Sh10bn).
Another Picasso painting Garcon a la Pipe was sold for $104 million.
I once projected each of these paintings on a wall to a group of people I was training and I asked them how much they would pay for the paintings.
Someone offered to pay five dollars, another offered to pay 10 dollars and the highest bid of the day was 20 dollars.
Now, why would they offer to pay so little for something that was so valuable? Because they did not know the value.
In essence, it is not enough to be valuable. Your value must be appreciated for it to be relevant.
There are different genres of music and each one has a following.
The classical musicians, opera singers, jazz musicians, hip hop musicians and many more.
Each has a following but the disaster happens when a rock musician parades his gift in front of classical music enthusiasts or when the opera singer parades his gift in front of electronic dance musicians.
People who do not appreciate what you have will never see you as relevant even if you are gifted or intelligent.
Salt has no value on its own. Its value is not intrinsic. That is why you never hear of a meal of boiled salt or roasted salt.
The value of salt comes out relative to what it is added to.
Jesus taught that we are the salt of the earth thus implying that our value as people will come out as we give ourselves to making our world better.
As we established last week, intelligence does not guarantee relevance.
The very definition of the word relevance tells us that it has to be connected to something. You cannot be a standalone relevant person.
Your relevance is measured by the value you add and is NEVER measured by your opinion of yourself.
There is what I have called the circle of value. This is a two way flow of value comprising of an inward and outward flow.
The inward flow is the value that is added to you.
CIRCLE OF VALUE
This comes through reading, through associations that stimulate thought and through exposure.
The outward flow is made up of the value that you bring to the table — the table being a time in history, your family, your community, your place of work, your nation or whatever it is that you are a part of.
You need to be constantly alert to evaluate if your circle of value is shrinking or expanding.
If shrinking it means the people who value your intelligence or skill are diminishing.
If expanding, it means the people who value what you have are increasing. Donald Trump in the book, How to Get Rich, talks about his encounter with a man called William Levitt — a real estate developer who is credited as pioneer of the modern home development model of building estates and homes for the middle class.
Levitt, according to Time magazine, was one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.
At the peak of his success, he sold his company for 100 million dollars (which in today’s money would run into billions) and then married a new wife and retired into the French Riviera.
Twenty years later he tried to get back into the game but the magic was gone.
He eventually went bankrupt and in the meeting with Trump two weeks before he died he said: “I lost my momentum. I came back and I wasn’t the same.”
His circle of value had shrunk. The one time master of real estate who everyone wanted to hear from was now all alone.
When your circle of value shrinks, your ideas no longer matter and your voice is no longer sought after.
I believe one of the things that drove Levitt to his death just two weeks after this encounter with Trump was the fact that he discovered his voice and his ideas had run their full course.
He had been away and life had simply gone on without him. What is the net impact of your absence?
If your absence doesn’t make a difference was your presence necessary? Your life will be measured by impact and not by presence.
What is the point in being present if your presence is not making a difference?
The difference you make is the yardstick for measuring your relevance.
Never forget the fact you are the salt of the earth.
Your relevance comes from the value you bring and the value you bring will come from the quality of your ideas.
When the inward flow of your circle of value increases then you will be strategically positioned to expand the outward flow.
As long as your circle of value is expanding you can never become irrelevant. To be continued…
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating 10 senior Kenya Revenue Authority officials, who include two commissioners, over their possible flirtation with a company that was recently ordered by Court of Appeal to pay Sh2.5 billion to the taxman.
The Saturday Nation has seen three separate letters sent to KRA headquarters by EACC dated February 1, February 5 and March 12 inviting senior officials to record statements on “alleged corruption” during the investigation into the importation of 40 million kilos of sugar by Darasa Investment Limited.
“It is true that we are investigating the matter and our Mombasa office is handling the matter,” the EACC spokesman, Yassin Amaro, said.
The number of officials who have recorded statements in Mombasa is not clear but from Nairobi’s KRA headquarters, the EACC has listed 10 officials who are to record statements.
“We are interested in getting the truth about the sugar import since a lot of accusations cropped around it,” said Mr Amaro.
The investigations will be of public interest since it goes into the integrity of an agency entrusted with revenue collection for the national government. It might also shed light into how KRA officials and employees collude with companies to evade tax.
During the court case, some KRA officials were concerned that Darasa Investment had insider information in its bid to evade paying Sh2.5 billion tax – an issue that the EACC will be investigating.
Sources told us that some of the officials have been invited to give background information as EACC attempts to build a case and that various documents have been handed over.
The saga is tied to a company owned by publicity-shy billionaire Ibrahim Noor Hillowly, who had taken KRA to court seeking to get duty exemption on Brazilian brown sugar cargo worth Sh2.12 billion, which he claimed to have imported when the government opened a duty free window to traders to offset a national shortage.
At the High Court, KRA lost its bid to levy the Sh2.5 billion tax with Justice Eric Ogola saying that the sugar imported by Darasa Investment Ltd was entitled to be cleared duty-free. He termed the decision by KRA to levy duty as unlawful arguing that the sugar was loaded from Brazil between May 12 and August 31 and destined for the Port of Mombasa as per the requirements of a Gazette notice.
KRA had argued that the MV Anangel Sun was not destined to Mombasa when it left Brazil and that papers by Darasa indicated that the sugar on board the ship was not the property of company. It also questioned why a ship that could not dock in Mombasa was allowed to carry the consignment.
But Justice Ogola ruled that he was satisfied that the vessel that carried the consignment from Brazil could not dock at the Port of Mombasa due to its size, hence the sugar had to sail to Dubai for trans-shipping.
KRA appealed the ruling and won the case handled by lawyer Ken Ogeto, now the solicitor general. The Court of Appeal was told that the High Court disregarded inconsistencies in documents presented by Darasa, such as a pre-export verification certificate showing that the sugar was produced in August and September 2017.
While the first exempted imported sugar loaded into a vessel destined to a port in Kenya between May 11 and August 31, last year, a second gazette notice also allowed a duty waiver on any sugar that was “loaded into a vessel between September 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017, destined to a port in Kenya and consigned to a local sugar miller.”
The problem with Darasa Investment Limited papers was that the lading papers indicated that it only became the owner of the sugar cargo in Dubai – which is not a producer of sugar. Also, the date of production was ahead of the loading date.
KRA lawyer, Mr Ken Ogeto told the court that “(It was) illogical for the applicant to contend the sugar was shipped from Brazil in July yet in their documents it was produced in September.”
In its final ruling on the matter, where Darasa Limited had also sued the KRA commissioner in charge of Customs and Border Control Julius Musyoki, in his personal capacity, the Court of Appeal said that Darasa Investments Limited had jumped the gun and should have taken the matter to the tax tribunal rather than seek a judicial review.
The Court of Appeal said that that inconsistencies regarding when the sugar was loaded into the vessel were not resolved and that “judicial review is not available when facts are disputed.”
This week the World Bank Group is hosting UHC Financing Forum in Washington, DC.
Back home, doctors are holding conferences to discuss healthcare financing towards universal health coverage.
And the two meetings couldn’t be more timely. However, there is a recurring reference to public-private partnerships as the magic wand.
We have now become accustom to the new buzz word in healthcare: PPPs. Public-Private Partnerships are not new.
More often, it is the answer thrown around to the question about infrastructural and healthcare financing.
In simple terms the public-private partnership should be termed for what they really are.
They largely lack the public component and are more often profit-driven large-scale businesses between private sector and governments.
Indeed the UK, which has long experimented PPPs call them PFIs – Private Financing Initiatives – as the word PPPs was found inappropriate due to the lack of shared goals.
Firstly, the trouble with PPPs is that no law regulates the framework and there is no policy around how these partnerships should be structured.
Thus PPPs have become a way for politicians to green light their promises to the electorate without proper financial planning but more scaring without public participation and questioning on the feasibility, sustainability and the long-term fiscal costs to the taxpayers.
Secondly, in healthcare, PPPs are conduits for corruption or awarding tenders to companies that are aligned to politicians.
The case for PPPs has been built by the World Bank, the G20 and the UN as a means to finance the Sustainable Development Goals.
Partnerships even became a Sustainable Development Goal in their own right as number 17. But are these partnerships as effective as were envisioned?
The manner in which they were fronted and the interests from developed economies meant it was a way to promote international trade and penetration of developing nations for western conglomerates and multinationals.
The evidence from research in emerging markets paint a picture of PPPs as vehicles for commodifying essential pubic services and channelling the taxes to private companies.
The negative consequences and inadequacies of PPPs are often discovered late after the impact fails to be seen or the not documented cost implications come to bare.
In Kenya, the Managed Equipment Services (MES) keeps being mentioned in many private meetings around universal healthcare as a proven effective means of financing huge projects.
However, the MES will remain Kenya’s white elephant never quite discussed.
Each of the 47 counties pay an equal share of annual premium in leased equipment yet they never got the same package of equipment.
Additionally, in most counties equipment are not in use because health personnel were not employed as part of the MES project.
In the long run, the whole project will cost twice as much if the equipment were to be bought, installed and more health staff employed and trained to use the equipment.
Some hospitals even lack water supply or adequate space for the radiology or dialysis facilities.
The end result is that the MES will cost the taxpayer an estimated Sh52 billion in seven years without significant outcomes realised.
The MES isn’t a partnership. It is a smart business driven by equipment vendors in which the government provided them with a perfect platform to supply.
There is no shared value or a shared goal as pertains healthcare system.
A comprehensive needs assessment was not conducted and an urgent impact assessment is needed to ascertain the significance and sustainability of the project.
In Lesotho, a private vendor constructed a national hospital on behalf of the country as part of PPPs initiative.
Few years later, Lesotho had consumed nearly three quarter of the health ministry budget and the private vendor had made a return on investment of up to 25 per cent without a change in patient outcomes, health indicators and or efficiency improvement noted in the hospital.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has identified universal healthcare as one of his ‘Big Four’ second term agenda.
Political commitment for healthcare is a very powerful drive in transforming healthcare systems.
Ironically, high-level policy-making discussions around financing for the UHC agenda have taken the familiar pattern of PPPs.
Ideally, UHC requires a system-wide health sector transformational approach for which PPPs are fundamentally not suited.
PPPs require an environment of ethics, accountability and proper governance to be effective.
Until healthcare identity is that of a shared value and a shared goal centred on improving health outcomes and strengthening the health system, PPPs remain ineffective and too costly in the long run.
No where in the developed or emerging markets have PPPs been proven effective as a financing model for public goods such as water provision or healthcare.
The buzz word in UHC financing remains PPPs — a ‘rent-seeker’s dream’ to commodify people’s access to services.
Dr Ouma Oluga is the Secretary General of Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists & Dentists’ Union (KMPDU)
This week, allow me to become a bit of a dilettante.
I love listening to music, but I can’t sing a single note without making the frogs in the nearby swamp cringe.
I am also a little cosmopolitan in musical tastes; I have no particular affinity for any particular type or genre, or really care whether the rendition is in Sanskrit or any other language so long as it contains discernible melody and rhythm.
In short, the message doesn’t matter so long as the song is catchy, hummable, and easy to sing loudly in the privacy of the bathroom.
I must confess I do not write this piece in the light of deep understanding of what makes good music, but as an uncultured layman who is as happy listening to Jose Gatutura belting out Thii Ukiumaga as he is enjoying “The Blue Danube” by the great Austrian composer, Johann Strauss II, I wouldn’t even have anything against hip hop music if only there was a little more music and a lot less rap which, in my largely untutored mind, amounts to meaningless, grating cacophony.
The reason for this lengthy disclaimer is that in 2016, a very unlikely figure, a musician who has been on the scene since the 1960s, was surprisingly awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, edging out great writers of fiction who, in the minds of many, should have been recognised for their literary contribution.
Singer/songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel for, allegedly, “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.
The man is best known in Kenya for his song, “Blowin’ in the Wind”, released a year after our independence.
The fact that this and a few other songs he composed are still popular decades later in many parts of the world must mean something, though connoisseurs of literature, many of whom cannot have a real understanding of the influence his lyrics had on the American counter-culture era, were understandably taken aback.
How can a musician win a Nobel Prize for Literature for compositions that have had little impact on what has happened in the rest of the world in the past five decades?
However, there was a precedent.
In 1913, Indian musician Rabindranath Tagore won the prize, but then he was also a poet, artist, novelist and all-round guru who broke new ground as the first non-European to be so honoured.
Can we really say the same about Bob Dylan?
Is it right that the man should join the likes of Bertrand Russell, Ernest Hemingway, Wole Soyinka (1986), Albert Camus, Salvatore Quasimodo, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nadine Gordimer, and many others totally unknown outside the groves of academe?
On this one, the jury is still out. To paraphrase Dylan’s own words, “the times, they are really a’-changing’.”
The other surprising award which prompted a few gasps was the Pulitzer Prize for Music which went to Black American rapper Kendrick Lamar a week ago.
The Pulitzer is a strictly American prize which recognises excellence in journalism, both print and online, fiction, poetry and editorial writing.
Other categories include investigative reporting, feature writing, international reporting, music, and 12 others.
All the awards in the music category have in the past gone to composers of classical and jazz, not hip hop.
When I learnt that this year’s Pulitzer went to Lamar, I sought to know exactly why, and did a little research, beginning with the winning album titled “Damn”.
Immediately, my curiosity turned to consternation when the very first song, “Loyalty”, in which Rihanna features, started with a video of half-naked dancers provocatively wiggling their backsides.
This was in sync with the vulgar and misogynist lyrics bordering on the obscene, which were mystifyingly described by the award jury as capturing “the complexity of modern African-American life”.
I highly doubt that African-Americans talk like that, but if “Damn” was the best hip hop album of the year, then our own rappers stand a chance to soar to great heights, considering that most of their lyrics are even more incomprehensible if not as coarse.
But then again, this is unlikely considering that we don’t have an award scheme comparable to the Nobel or the Pulitzer, which is a wake-up call to those of our philanthropists who love the arts.
There is no earthly reason why, beside miserliness, they cannot fund an award scheme which will benefit this country’s budding Kendrick Lamars.