Insecurity is on the rise in Menaka in northeastern Mali. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) calls for the resumption of security patrols to prevent attacks on civilians and aid workers.
This week, NRC resumed its assistance to displaced people in Menaka, despite a volatile security situation. Last week, NRC along with five other non-governmental organizations temporarily suspended all their assistance because of rising insecurity and several attacks against aid workers.
June 7, the office of an international organisation was attacked in Menaka, its guard was tied up and several assets were stolen. It is the eighth time that aid workers and/or their offices are targeted by criminals in this city this year. Before this, the latest attack against humanitarians was on 29 May when three armed men broke into the home of an aid worker.
Since April, criminality has been on the rise in the city of Menaka. While there were a monthly average of three reported security incidents from January to March, there were six incidents reported for the months of April and May. This increase could be due to the end of security patrols that were in place from December 2017 until April 2018.
“The security situation has not improved but there are thousands of women, men and children who need help. We are only in Mali to serve these people and so NRC decided to resume its operations. However, we urgently need the authorities to take measures to protect aid workers and civilians from violence,” said Hassane Hamadou, Country Director of NRC in Mali.
In the Menaka region, NRC is providing assistance to displaced people fleeing inter-ethnic violence and military operations. Since November 2017, over 8500 displaced people have received emergency aid including shelter kits, household items and water purifying tablets in Menaka.
If the ability to create a balance between public and private life is the hallmark of emotional intelligence, former Cabinet Minister Eliud Timothy Mwamunga proved adept at it.
For he was obsessively unforthcoming, yet notoriously loud and boisterous in public.
Whether he was speaking about ranching, which he was passionate about, or hitting out at a political rival, Mwamunga was famous for his entertaining grandiloquence and verve.
His constituents in Voi, Taita- Taveta, who he represented in Parliament for many years, remember him for his relentless campaigns against land grabbing, protection for ranchers, water provision and education.
When he joined the local government as a clerk to the county council in Taita-Taveta he convinced the civic leaders to sub-divide and register empty rangelands into ranches to keep off land grabbers, speculators and brokers, as a result protecting more than one million acres of community land.
He registered many parcels as ranches and named them according to the administrative locations where they were located.
This shrewd move, according to former Wundanyi MP Mashengu wa Mwachofi, did not endear him to many people, who promptly labelled him a “land grabber masquerading as the poor man’s watchman.”
An astute politician and a shrewd businessman, Mr Mwamunga is credited with helping shape Kenya’s trade policies and Africanisation of commerce.
After leaving Makerere, Mr Mwamunga briefly taught at Ribe Teachers’ Training College in Kilifi before enrolling for a law degree at the University of Dar-es-Salaam. It was during his time at Ribe in the 1960s that he met his wife, Priscillah, then a teacher at St John’s Girls’ High School in Kaloleni.
From his early days as a student at Shimo-la-Tewa in Mombasa, Alliance High and later Makerere University in the 1950s where he trained as a teacher, Mr Mwamunga cut the image of a lonely and reserved man for there were very few people who could match his educational qualifications then.
It is because of his impressive scholarly credentials that he vied for the Voi Parliamentary seat in 1969 unopposed, clinching the seat at the young age of 34. He went on to enjoy a 20-year uninterrupted stint as MP.
His rising star saw him serve as a Cabinet minister under Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi. His career in the Cabinet took him to various portfolios such as Commerce and Industry, Environment and Natural Resources, Lands and Settlement, Information and Broadcasting and Works, Housing and Physical Planning.
Yet like the impulsive Icarus in Greek mythology, his fast-paced political career was always beckoning.
His time as MP for Voi was rudely cut short in 1988 when he was defeated during the Kanu nominations which adopted the controversial queue voting.
Earlier, he faced accusations of having misused the constituency’s Sh1 million raised by President Moi in a funds drive. His protagonist, Laban Kitele, then Supplies and Marketing minister, demanded in Parliament that he surrenders the money or face prosecution.
Dumbfounded, Mr Mwamunga sprang up from his seat and declared that the money was with the district commissioner but the DC denied it, leaving the minister wounded and chastened.
Consequently, Mr Moi relieved Mr Mwamunga of his duties as Minister for Works, Housing and Physical Planning, ending his political career.
In the 1988 General Election, Mr Mwamunga was resoundingly beaten by newcomer Adiel Kachila who managed 12,588 votes against his 1,028.
With the advent of multipartyism in the 90s after years of repression, Mr Mwamunga teamed up with his long-time friend Mwai Kibaki and John Keen to usher in the “second liberation”.
Mr Kibaki, then 60, resigned from the government on Christmas Day after serving for 28 years in various capacities – nine of them as Vice-President – before being dropped after the 1988 elections.
But even with the repeal of Section 2A, which allowed the formation of more parties, the proponents of second liberation failed to capture the presidential seat after individual interests among the opposition figures led to a split of the original FORD party, giving Moi a chance to reclaim his seat with relative ease.
This defeat left the opposition luminaries licking their wounds with some like Mwamunga deciding to “retire” from public life and concentrate on dairy and beef cattle farming at his Ndara Farm — out of public glare.
Unknown to many people, the soft-spoken politician was a philanthropist to a fault based on what he did to his immediate community in Sagalla where he built two churches at Ishamba area: One for the Anglican Church of Kenya and another for the Presbyterian Church of East Africa with the former bearing his mother’s name.
So beloved was Mwamunga by his community that a women’s group of 40 recently went to his expansive Ndara Farm to assist in the harvest of pojo (green grams), work that took four days. When he inquired about the charges, the group said they had volunteered the service for free to their elderly leader.
“Ninyi sio mnanisaidia mimi, mimi ndiye niwasaidie ninyi” (you are not supposed to help me, I am the one supposed to do so) and with this, he paid them handsomely with promises of supporting their income-generating activities in the future.
Narrating his encounter with the politician at his Ndara Farm, the headteacher of Mwamunga Primary School was “shocked” to learn that the former minister was not aware of the existence of the school named after him.
But when invited to be the chief guest, he readily accepted and in the process single-handedly built a permanent classroom for the school. He also went ahead to build Mwambiti Secondary School next door through donor funds.
The former minister’s critics, however, speak about his unorthodox ways and means of dealing with land transactions that frequently landed in court for arbitration.
A case in point was the 2014 land dispute between his Voi Development Company Limited and Agam Investments Limited which he lost in the High Court when he tried to stop the investor from repossessing a plot he had sold to the company.
During the trial, the ex-minister denied entering into any transaction with Agam Investments, claiming that it was not even party to the sale of the property. The court thought differently and he lost the case.
People privy to his social and business life also told the Sunday Nation that Mwamunga had a “peculiar” character of driving in the middle of the road from his Ndara Lodge Hotel to the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway, forcing other motorists to give way.
Although education was one of the minister’s strong points, to some of the constituents, the strong-willed politician was “stingy” whenever approached by university students for bursaries or financial assistance in the 1990s.
For some local ranchers and small-scale miners, Mr Mwamunga was a ruthless man wherever they crossed the red line involving some of his interests within the said industries in the constituency or county.
Still, Mr Mwamunga, who was born on July 21, 1935 in Ishamba Village at the foot of the Taita Hills, was described by those who knew him as a highly religious person with a passion for land protection and education. They remember when he stood his ground against the conversion of Moi Stadium in Voi into a bus park, claiming he was the owner of the land and that he had donated it to the adjacent Mwanyambo Primary School.
He will also be remembered for being the owner of the land where Voi Police Station is built and also for his initiation of the establishment of the Coast Institute of Technology though he had opposed its naming. He wanted it named Taita Taveta Institute of Technology.
A man of calm demeanour, the lion of Voi’s roar went silent on Saturday, June 9, 2018, aged 82, while undergoing treatment for a gastrointestinal infection at a Mombasa hospital.
Additional reporting by Jonathan Manyindo
For Kenya to prosper, we must discard our many differences – ethnic, religious, economic, social and political. In particular, we must fight counterfeit goods as they are detrimental to the economical and our health.
For weeks now, we have been treated to news of counterfeit goods being impounded in different go-downs and warehouses – especially contraband sugar with traces of mercury, copper, mold and yeast.
But different arms of the government are giving contradictory accounts of the impounded sugar.
The Interior minister confirmed the unfitness of the contraband sugar after receiving a report from the Government Chemist. But his Industrialisation counterpart termed the claims “misinformed”, saying only mold and yeast were detected due to poor storage.
It is unfortunate that a country with laws and organs to protect consumers can end up with such counterfeits.
The Interior ministry, together with the Anti-Counterfeit Agency, Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Bureau of Standards should move with speed to weed out unscrupulous traders.
As a society, we have become so inhuman that we do not care about the effects our actions have on others, as long as we make huge profits. Our morals have greatly deteriorated.
Kenya’s economy is affected negatively by such goods which evade tax and cause price distortions.
Kevin Shikhule, Maseno
Kenya is a country mired in a profound crisis of citizenship. Top news headlines reveal a citizenry with no pangs of conscience smuggling poisonous sugar containing mercury and copper, no remorse in orchestrating multi-billion-shilling corruption scandals, siphoning billions in tax evasion or standby and watch as over 76 pc of its youths turn into gamblers – the highest number in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, wrote of the happy life as one lived in accordance with virtue.
In his politics, Aristotle envisioned a moral society based on the ideal community of happy and virtuous citizens, participating in politics and living a virtuous life.
Undoubtedly, Kenya today has all the pointers of a sovereign state: recognised in international law, with a government and exercise sovereignty over a geographic area (580,367 km2).
But the big question remains: does Kenya’s 49.7 million people (2017 estimate) merit the mantle of “citizen?”
It has been said that the test of good citizenship is loyalty to country. As Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian nationalist and first Prime Minister, once said, “Citizenship consists in the service of the country.”
And Ronald Reagan used to remind his fellow Americans that: “Good citizenship and defending democracy means living up to the ideals and values that make this country great”.
Investing in political education is the only way to produce a happy and virtuous Kenyan citizenry.
Political education enables countries to cultivate the virtues, knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits needed for political participation and to prepare the people to carry out their role as citizens in society irrespective of their political orientation, age, education-level or socio-economic background.
However, as a concept and enterprise, “political education” has always been steeped in controversies concerning its meaning and desirability.
Liberal thinkers advance political education as a necessary tool to prepare citizens for their future responsibilities.
This has given rise to the concept of “educating for democracy”, the production of an informed and responsible citizens, capable of making decisions for themselves in relation to politics.
However, the more pernicious genre of political education has been effectively used as handmaid of totalitarian regimes hell-bent on propaganda and brainwashing of citizens. Hitler’s totalitarian regime used it as an instrument to produce loyal citizens committed to Nazism in German.
However, some countries have used labels such as “social studies”, “studies of society”, “current affairs” or “citizenship Studies” to shield their courses or programmes teaching political education from controversies.
Others have abandoned political education to such agents of socialization as family, education institutions, peer groups or religious groups. The danger is that these agents treat political socialization as secondary to their primary purposes.
But political education is an agent of socialization in its own right with clear aims in regard to the information, ideas and arguments being transmitted to citizens.
Notably, political education is inextricably linked to the power, stability and wealth of nations.
Citizenship education has enabled China to cope with market reforms and globalisation. Significantly, it has contributed to China’s meteoric rise from a poor developing country to the world’s second largest economy within three decades.
In no other country in the Western world has political education been given so much prominence – by politicians, academics and other experts – as in Germany.
In post-war Germany, political education was viewed as an essential ingredient in restoring democracy. After reunification in 1989, Germany has invested in political education as a potentially significant agent of political and social integration.
Arguably, a strong political education system within the context of strong and functioning political parties and civil society largely explains Germany’s rise from the ashes of defeat in World War II to a cohesive democratic society and the world’s fourth largest economy.
In the wake of civil wars, conflicts and genocides in post-Cold War Africa, political education has become re-imagined within the liberal international order as an important instrument in preventing conflict and in the reconciliation and reconstruction of post-conflict societies.
Following South Africa’s peaceful transition from apartheid to democracy in 1994, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is investing in political education as an antidote to bad governance, maladministration and such unethical and criminal conduct as corruption and fraud.
A strong system of political education has also been seen as a way to socialise and enable citizens cope with the changing post-apartheid political landscape and to understand new institutional arrangements under the new constitution and the values it represents.
In post-genocide Rwanda, political education has been promoted as an essential tool of combating the ideology of genocide, preventing future violence and consolidating unity, cohesion and integration to undergird development.
Considering Kenya’s history of a violent anti-colonial struggle, decades of dictatorial rule, cycles of election-related conflict and uncertainties –especially after the 2007-2008 post-election violence and political uncertainty in 2017 – one would have expected the government to invest heavily in citizenship education to underwrite national unity, social cohesion, solidarity and stability as enablers of development.
But the country exhibits antipathy towards political education. This can be traced to its bumpy start with political education.
Kenya’s experiment with political education is traced to the establishment of the controversial Lumumba Institute off Thika Road in the 1960s. The stated aim of the institute’s political education programme was to “elaborate the spirit of harambee.” However, it was labelled a “Communist project”.
Professor Peter Kagwanja is a former Government Adviser and currently Chief Executive of Africa
Nation Media Group is in the process of selling 51 per cent of its shareholding in Mwananchi Communications Limited to a Tanzanian registered entity.
This follows enactment of the Media Services Act that restricts foreign ownership in a print media enterprise to 49 per cent, which company chairman Wilfred Kiboro said “posed a challenge to the group”.
“We continue to operate in an unpredictable and challenging regulatory environment across the region,” Dr Kiboro said during the company’s 55th annual general meeting (AGM) on Friday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi.
“In Kenya, the latest affront on press freedom was witnessed by the Government’s closure of four private television broadcasting stations, including NTV, for a period of one week. This adversely affected our viewership and advertising revenues,” Dr Kiboro added.
He was referring to the January 30 shutdown of transmission systems, signals for NTV and KTN News which were restored on air on February 5, while those for Citizen TV and Inooro TV were restored on February 8.
INVEST IN TRAINING
The three were shut down by the Communications Authority of Kenya as they broadcast live opposition leader Raila Odinga’s “swearing-in” as the “people’s president” at Uhuru Park in Nairobi.
NMG also intends to continue to developing, nurturing and enhancing the skills of its staff by investing in their training both locally and internationally, Dr Kiboro stated.
“We have seen the impact of this in our improved journalism and the innovations in our content offerings. We invested in a new digital publishing system, Newscycle Solutions, which is a state-of-the–art publishing system that will enable NMG to exploit and optimise our media assets across all platforms.
“The Group is evaluating various opportunities for developing new revenue streams and recently launched the Lit360 music label to promote local artistes and has partnered with a company to launch a gaming competition,” he added.
The company is also banking on its partnerships with the government and private entities to boost its presence in the regional market,
NMG has partnered with USAid to support Tusome (a Government of Kenya initiative) which is a literacy programme to expand access to reading material to the more than 22,000 public primary schools.
The leading media company also entered into a long-term partnership with the Ministry of Forests and Environment to ensure the achievement of the objective of planting 250 million trees by 2022 to increase Kenya’s forest cover from 7 per cent to 15 per cent.
Additionally, NMG has held various successful agriculture ‘Farming Clinics’ forums under the Seeds of Gold brand, which have attracted sponsors and a number participants.
“Our key focus going forward will be to serve the people by informing them and educating them about the things that matter most to them. We shall continue to carry out our mandate as the people’s watchdog to promote plural democracy, transparency, accountability and good governance.
“In this regard, we will continue to expose and fight corruption wherever it is, relentlessly and fearlessly for the good of our country and for future generations,” Dr Kiboro said.
During the function, NMG shareholders approved payment of Sh10 dividend per share, making it one of the highest payouts by a Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) listed company.
Dr Kiboro explained that although the 2017 profit was not as high as the previous years, the board had retained dividend at the same level because of the strong business growth outlook.
The group’s directors had recommended payment of a final dividend of Sh7.50 per share on the issued share capital as at December 31, 2017, adding to the Sh2.50 a share interim dividend paid on September 30, 2017.
Survivors of the Gikomba fire disaster who do not have the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover will have their bills settled from the National Disaster Fund, the government announced on Saturday.
Director of Clinical Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr Peter Masinde, said the national insurer will, however, settle the bills for their members.
“The government gives us money for disaster preparedness which we use in case of such cases,” Dr Masinde said.
So far, 16 people have died after suffering burns and chocking on poisonous fumes.
Records from the Kenya National Hospital (KNH), according to Dr Peter Masinde, confirmed that they had received 74 patients, including 28 males and 46 females, among them 17 children as at Saturday.
SUCCUMBED TO INJURIES
Five patients succumbed to their injuries at KNH on Thursday. The number rose to six on Friday morning when a child also succumbed to its injuries at the same hospital.
“The number (of those who have died at KNH) has increased to six,” Dr Masinde said, adding that the majority of the patients were treated for anxiety, burns, and soft tissue injuries.
Five patients sustained burns above 30 per cent and were admitted to Intensive Care Unit for specialised treatment.
“The remaining will be discharged as they get better. For those with severe burns, they will be here for a while though they are very stable,” he said
“KNH has established an information centre to help relatives in tracing their patients,” Dr Masinde added.
The information desk has helped relatives trace their loved ones to the wards and Chiromo Mortuary where bodies of those who dies are lying
Ms Betty Kaveke, a mother of four, lost two of them in the market fire, while two others are being treated for severe burns at the KNH.
The beautiful game of football has two sides to it. The social and the business.
By social I refer to the simple act of kicking about a football for the fun of it. All over the continent, this is the daily norm for millions of African children.
However, when it comes to various FIFA World Cups, the neglect by African federations to address the business side of football will continue to beset Africa’s ambitions.
And what exactly is this business side? In one word, money! And more precisely, its judicious application in preparing our five World Cup representatives.
Specifically, the investment in world class coaching setups and for sustainable periods of time.
African federations display an appalling ignorance of the worth of their product (the footballers). This is evidenced by their refusal and or neglect in engaging coaching setups that reflect their respect, knowledge and appreciation of their players worth.
Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Senegal undoubtedly produce the finest natural footballing talent on the continent comparable to any other parts of the world. However, they continue to be plagued by their clueless and visionless “big men” in their federations.
Unfailingly these federation chiefs engage coaches that would not be allowed anywhere near the respective European clubs of their charges!
One illustration using Cameroun should suffice. When Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona), Rigobert Song (Liverpool), Lauren Etame (Arsenal), Geremi (Chelsea) and Njemba–Njemba (Manchester United) were playing in the same Indomitable Lions team, their federation (FECAFOOT)went through about 10 coaches in a five year spell!
All these nondescript coaches had one thing in common; they were out of work when engaged and thus asked to apply for the coaching positions. And when engaged, their salaries were in the region of US$10,000 – usd$20,000 monthly.
Coaches at the above mentioned clubs, and their likes, today earn in the range of $7-10 million annually. And this only for the head coach/manager!
They also have one thing in common; they are head hunted. Both Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola were tapped by Manchester United and Manchester City and literally given an open cheque to fill in their desired terms!
To have a realistic shot at winning the World Cup likewise requires an investment in proven coaching staff at under 17 and under 20 levels.
At the ongoing Russia World Cup, FIFA have a total pot of $791 million to give away. This is divided into participation, preparation, performance, compensation and prize money fees.
By failing to simply hold out for a draw in their last group stage match, both Nigeria’s Super Eagles and Senegal’s Lions of Teranga lost out on a massive financial windfall.
They each missed out on $4 million that is given to every team that qualifies for the initial knockout round of 16.
At Russia 2018, every participating team was paid $8 million upon qualification for the finals; a year before kickoff. A further $1.5 million was likewise given to every team to cover their participation costs once in Russia.
FIFA’s financial payout also makes provision for payments to all the parent clubs of the 23-man playing squad of each nation. Compensation is also paid out to every player’s club in the unfortunate event of serious injury during the tournament.
Such is the serious business of money at the FIFA World Cup that whereas the financial pot at the USA ’94 finals was a paltry $94 million, three finals later at Germany ’06, it had risen to $282!
Whereas the World Cup winner takes home $38 million and the runners-up nation $28, it is the commercial attraction that this win generates that is where the real story is.
The winning federation can attract in excess of $250 million during their four-year reign as world champions.
This money is generated from commercial endorsements of all the world champions on and off pitch activities, during their four year reign. Among these on pitch activities are exhibition matches, for which millions of dollars are paid out as appearance fees.
The world’s biggest and richest corporations are of course FIFA’s partners including Qatar Airways, Toyota Motor Corporation, Coca-Cola and Samsung.
FIFA, by extension, “owns” the individual national federations, bankrolling them seriously and thus justifying their zero tolerance policy to government interference in their operations.
FIFA does, of course, dole out these staggering figures because it wants to afford every country a realistic chance of victory by ensuring that it is thoroughly prepared. And good preparations (camps, multiple coaches and coaching setups etc) cost money.
Cameroun at Italia ’90 was the last team that could have won the World Cup without the need of a coach! Such was their incredible natural talent that they went to the tournament with a “token” coach in the person of Russian Valerie Neponmiachi (RIP). He neither spoke the two main languages of Cameroun – English or French.
That notwithstanding, Cameroun easily cruised into the Cup quarters and were well on their way to eliminating England and making the cup semis but for some atrocious refereeing decisions that saw England awarded two penalties.
FIVE WORLD CUPS
Let me end by giving a very telling statistic. At the last five World Cups, beginning with Japan/Korea 2002 and including Russia 2018, African teams have played 82 matches, drawn 19, lost 48 and won only 15. A win ratio of only 19 pc!
Until the disconnect between the social and business side of football is bridged significantly by African federations, not only will the above statistics not be improved upon; but Africa will continue to be represented at the World Cup by brilliant individual players, and not well drilled cohesive teams.
And the consequences will, of course, continue to be Africa’s failure to progress to the business end of the competition.
As the old adage goes, ‘to fail to plan is to plan to fail”!
The writer is a freelance journalist
As we sat populating cyberspace with social media messages during the launch, I could tell that the National Land Use Policy was getting confused for the National Land Policy.
The National Land Policy is contained in Sessional Paper No 3 of 2009, while the Sessional Paper No 1 of 2017 carries the National Land Use Policy. The two are as different as our Constitution and its enabling laws!
The National Land Policy provided for the formulation of a national land use policy, which sets the framework for land use management in Kenya.
Its scope is limited to land use, while the land policy embraces the much wider spectrum of land and related sub-themes. The absence of a land use policy has resulted in haphazard urban and rural development by competing land use needs.
The launched land use policy incorporates measures and principles to guide all activities that impact on the use of land and land-based resources. It identifies and profiles all major land uses within the country.
Agriculture, one of the key uses, contributes about 30 per cent of Kenya’s GDP, while also providing livelihoods to over 80 per cent of the population.
However, cultural practices and a rapidly increasing population have placed great pressure on agricultural land, leading to its wanton sub-division in many places in the central, Rift Valley and western regions of Kenya.
In other areas, urbanisation and growth of towns and cities has seen the conversion of prime agricultural land into residential and commercial use.
Nairobi, Nakuru and Eldoret provide good examples, where commercial and residential developments now stand on large tracts of land previously under food and cash crop farming.
Pastoralism and livestock development is another major land use, particularly practised in the arid and semi-arid zones.
Degradation as a result of overgrazing, and fragmentation of this land pose challenges highlighted in the sessional paper. Parts of Kajiado and Narok are good cases.
Industrial development, mining and energy production are the other key uses. Land for the production of renewable energy such as geothermal, solar, wind and biomass is noted to be mainly under private or communal ownership, therefore posing difficulties, including conflicts, during acquisition initiatives.
Tourism, transport, infrastructure development and human settlements also place demands on land use. Poor planning, a big shortfall in the supply of decent housing in urban areas and poor service infrastructure are key challenges in human settlements.
The land use policy aims at rationalising these and other land uses around the country.
The policy identifies some of the factors that influence land use in the country. These include our culture, our history, institutional structures, policy and laws.
Land tenure systems, our land market and the taxation regime greatly influence land use too. The land use policy further sets out guidelines, principles and strategies to govern land use.
Sometimes I think that we Kenyans are a formidable people. We go through crisis after crisis but somehow, we seem to always get over it and move on.
Right since independence there have been moments of serious turmoil but most of that is now behind us.
The question I often ask myself is whether we really learn anything from our mistakes and the consequent dangerous episodes that arise.
When you look at some things, we would have to conclude that we do not really learn.
Take this war on corruption that has been declared. All Kenyans who think objectively would have to agree that this is a cancer that must be fought.
Of course, it would be difficult to expect that those who are directly involved and benefit from corrupt activities would want to see it this way. They must have some kind of reasoning that justifies the things they do and certainly do not see their actions as corrupt.
Many times, I have pointed out in this column that there is a way of thinking in this country that seems to suggest that the government is a cake that must be eaten in the here and now, and not one to be baked for the good of all. Does that not explain all the noise surrounding the issue of corruption and all that goes with it?
The bigger question, however, is whether we can really achieve our aspirations if the stories we hear are true. Some time back, we set 2030 as the deadline for when we should have arrived at a certain level of our national development.
BIG FOUR AGENDA
More recently, our President declared a four pillar agenda of what he wants to leave as his legacy. When one looks at the Big Four Agenda, it does sound like a brilliant idea, and indeed, if it is correctly implemented, it will be great for this country. One major dimension of our existence that must be put into serious consideration as we try to put in place all four, is the question of safety.
Any legitimate government has the obligation to see to it that its citizens are safe at all costs.
It is, therefore, critical even as we try and achieve acceptable levels of food security, to make sure that all elements of food are safe for human consumption.
This includes sugar and that is a discussion that can be put into context in our present circumstances.
Housing has also to be safe for human habitation just as health care and industrial outfits. The current outcry about unsafe sugar meant for Kenyans is a great example of what corruption can do. Do we really have standards?
Fr Wamugunda is the Dean of Students and a Lecturer of Sociology at the University of Nairobi.
When you spend more than you earn, you run into debt. When you own more than you earn, you are probably corrupt, or a thief. In theory, a lifestyle audit can clear the anomaly, but why is everybody screaming and kicking against the mere idea, warning it can only happen over their dead bodies?
When once upon a time Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula spoke of a “messy, noisy divorce which will have casualties”, he was speaking of Nasa and had no idea it would soon apply to Jubilee.
An ordinary URP-allied MP stands up somewhere in the Rift Valley, and cheekily dares Uhuru Kenyatta to start with an audit of his late dad.
Fair enough, but will we first go and open the mausoleum and see who will revive the dead Mzee back into life?
Another unremarkable MP from the same region declares carelessly on TV that the lifestyle audits won’t work, and have no legal basis.
More than that, he dares that these audits will be resisted. But the most sensational thing he mentions is that this whole lifestyle thing has been cooked up by powerful people in State House to derail the Deputy President.
Soon, brickbats start flying. In Parliament, one of the URP MPs waves a list linking Uhuru’s brother to the controversial sugar imports the DPP and DCI are cracking down against.
Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri waves the MP away, dismissing the attempt to bring in Uhuru’s family as diversionary.
Uhuru himself speaks publicly about the matter, shrugging that if anybody wants to implicate his brother, they can go ahead and try.
Around the same time, yet another politician from the Rift Valley who is said to be sympathetic to Senator Gideon Moi intervenes and urges caution: Let us not be seen as if we are fighting the President personally.
A community meeting is called somewhere in Lang’ata, and everybody emerges smiling and shaking hands. In truth, deeper divisions remain unresolved as Uhuru’s wing of Jubilee intensifies its onslaught against high-level corruption.
The question to ask is this, why has the URP wing of Jubilee gotten unhinged, complaining that it is being targeted and threatening all manner of consequences?
This is interesting. Why are they so agitated? Is there something they are hiding, and which the country may want to know? Why are they so busy muddying the waters?
It should be noted that the Deputy President has proclaimed himself ready for the lifestyle audit. He has said he has no objection either against the broader anti-corruption fight. He now needs to convince his allies that putting up a fight against the anti-graft war is very poor tactics.
There are a good number of people who believe all what is going on is just PR. A stunt. Create a lot of commotion everywhere, but make sure nothing fundamentally changes.
That is what all previous Kenyan regimes have done when they want to consolidate, but thereafter go back to the normal corruption ways.
If this is the kind of smokescreen Uhuru is throwing, he will lose the country, and his own generation even.
STOMACH A STUNT
What I know for certain is that the majority of Kenyans won’t stomach a stunt. Uhuru is well-travelled to take note of how Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and the new Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed, in their own way, are changing how their countries operate, and are assessed by the world.
Aspiring to become something better than the Third World is a sick joke unless we root out this vice of corruption, whichever wing of Jubilee it belongs. That is the secret behind Singapore.
Uhuru should drop that idea he floated about polygraph tests. They don’t belong to our culture and won’t work here. However, he must move full steam ahead to implement this culture-change in government he has started. Corruption must not be a way of life. Our children are growing up believing this is how their country works, and the first thing they will want is to leave.
By the way, how will these lifestyle audits be conducted? By the Kenya Revenue Authority, or the National Intelligence Service?