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Thursday, October 18th, 2018

 

Ensure integrity of exams, it is the lifeline of under-privileged citizens

By LETTER
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The national examinations are definitive, at least for those who solely bank on education to unlock colossal challenges that confront learners in marginalised areas.

This ties in well with one of the objectives of a country’s education system — to promote social equality and responsibility.

I have witnessed unthinkable struggles by learners in their quest for the much-needed education.

These are the troubles that the little pupils and students endure as they seek to measure up with their counterparts in endowed environments.

The challenges the deprived populations face include long walks to school; long spells of drought; dilapidated learning infrastructure; lack of teachers; impassable roads; poor health; shortage of food, water, sanitation, uniforms; insecurity; and retrogressive cultures.

Examinations, in their current summative fashion, “make or break” the lives of the candidates in the cohort.

It is the premise on which the integrity of exams should be full-proof as we acknowledge the commendable efforts the relevant ministries and agencies have made toward that.

It is paramount that all candidates earn their grades, which will not only build confidence in the education system but enable them to take up courses at higher levels.

Mutethia wa Mberia, Nakuru.

When I was in high school, my parents pressured me to get the best grade as I cleared Form Four. I was desperate to do it.

However, the desperation made me fail to get the desired grade. I learnt that I should not pressure my children that way.

I have seen such pressure on candidates coming from all corners. If not the parents threatening the candidates with dire consequences if they don’t pass the exam, it’s the officials warning them about cheating.

Let’s encourage the children to strive for good future but bear in mind that it shouldn’t be just about grades but also talent.

Can we now give them a break?

Lucy Peter, Murang’a.

I humbly request parents with candidates to give them all the materials they need in the exams. That will help the pupils and their teachers to have peace of mind.

Parents whose children are day scholars should give them ample time to prepare for the exams, exempt them from house chores during this period and resist from uttering words that could make them lose self-esteem.

Encourage your children. I wish all the candidates success.

Ruth O. Wanga, Nairobi.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has assured students, parents, teachers and officials of security in all parts of the country during the exams.

I look forward to that.

Stecyfancy Kellong, Mombasa.


Flush out police criminals

By EDITORIAL
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The police are once again in the news for the wrong reasons.

This should concern the National Police Service, which has in the recent past made commendable efforts to clean up its image.

True, the police do a generally commendable job in difficult circumstances and deserve praise for that. They, in many instances, put their lives on the line to protect fellow Kenyans.

But there are a few rotten eggs pulling their honest and hardworking colleagues backwards.

When the word ‘force’ was dropped and replaced with ‘service’ in the official name of the police, it was deliberately meant to show a commitment to live up to is motto of Utumishi kwa Wote (Service to All’).

This made sense as the police tried to repair a battered image as a result of the devious activities of a few, who had turned the unit into a repressive, brutal, corrupt, inept and deadly outfit.

It is, therefore, disappointing that the NPS could be drifting back to its ugly past.

In Nairobi in the past few weeks, a gang of serving and past officers, working in cahoots with some wayward former soldiers, has been terrorising residents, robbing and kidnapping them for ransom.

Styling itself as a part of the Flying Squad, this gang has caused untold suffering to innocent people. Fortunately, some have been arrested by the real Flying Squad and others are on the run.

And at the coast, there is a public outcry over the increasing number of police killings of suspects and innocent people, including schoolchildren.

Five such recent incidents are being investigated. The rogue police and their collaborators must not be allowed to roam the country and terrorise law-abiding fellow Kenyans. They must be flushed out and punished.


Steer the economy back on right course

By EDITORIAL
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Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich must seriously rethink strategies to reverse the debt burden.

His latest projection that the debt portfolio will rise to Sh5.6 trillion next year is quite alarming.

Worse, the mountain of debt is expected to hit Sh7 trillion in 2022, when the term of the Jubilee government comes to an end — meaning the Kenyatta administration will leave Kenyans with huge debt burden.

It is, however, surprising that Mr Rotich appears unfazed by this reality, instead choosing to remain upbeat, but without convincing grounds to inspire the taxpayers’ confidence that the country will weather the storm.

The economy has proved resilient amid great odds. Last year, it resisted the pitfalls and stagnation occasioned by a long electioneering period and two presidential polls to register a 4.9 percent growth, which was not far off from the previous 5.6 percent.

That, however, is no ground for hope against the dark cloud of debt swamping hanging over Kenya.

In any case, ordinary Kenyans are already feeling the pinch of economic hardship and, worse, debt levels keep rising.

For starters, the government has only recently been forced to initiate austerity measures aimed at raising cash to plug a huge budget deficit in the current fiscal year.

But in this bundle is the cost of debt that is coming due for payment and which takes precedence over any other public spending.

Ultimately, it is the taxpayer feeling the heat. With increased taxation, prices of essential items have gone up and triggered a chain reaction, affecting various other sectors of the economy.

New levies on workers, such as the housing fund, is eating into incomes and crowding out cash for personal consumption, savings and investment.

Telecoms operator Safaricom has increased voice calls, data and SMS costs by 10 to 30 cents. Other telcos have followed suit.

This in a country where mobile telecommunication and transactions have become an integral part of life. For rural economies, mobile money has become the order of the day.

Raising the transaction costs essentially impacts negatively on incomes and spending.

Even more upsetting is that the government continues to lose a large chunk of tax revenues to theft or wastage. Loans for infrastructure development are easily swindled by dealmakers and influential political players.

Some of the cash raised from sources such as the Eurobond is inconclusively accounted for. In other words, Kenyans are burdened with debt because of corruption and pilferage. Further, the government is so bloated and wasteful.

We take this early opportunity to remind Mr Rotich of his duty to find better strategies to manage the economy. Cost-cutting and containment is inescapable while financial consolidation — matching income with expenditure — is imperative.


Stop exalting the bipolar politicians

By ELIAS MOKUA
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There are two statements the media should be better advised to keep off for the sake of public sanity.

First, “never again shall Kenyans fight one another because of elections … blah blah blah!” Second, “ … We are focused on what we were elected to do braah braaah braah…”

Politicians — specifically, many Kenyan politicians — are bipolar; they hold two opinions on anything. They propagate two extreme points at any one time. They have two natures on any given day.

In the morning, an elected leader is giving a gloriously thoughtful interview to the media on the state of the nation.

That afternoon, the same “honourable” is busy tearing apart reports in Parliament. In the evening, “Mheshimiwa” is giving a nice treat to friends before returning home as responsible parent.

On a sunny day, a politician is exhibiting great integrity in a written speech delivered to an attentive audience at Taifa Hall, University of Nairobi.

On a rainy day, the same politician is lining up friends and relatives for lucrative jobs that less-connected Kenyans have no access to.

See the same person donating very generously for worthy causes on Sunday morning.

Then the same ‘cleansed’ honourable is at a public rally that afternoon, breathing fire at any critic, any dissent and any contrary opinion — real or perceived. One moment they are aggrieved, another moment they are peacemakers.

The Sunday ends with a blistering attack on fellow politicians for calling for secession (if there was a possibility of seceding from politicians, I would do it yesterday!)

On Monday afternoon, or, let’s say, Tuesday morning, the honourable is back to the office. Interesting what bipolar persons can do.

Meet the honourable, if you are lucky to: Very good person one-on-one. The person in the media and the person you meet are diametrically different.

Move to the next office. The very nice, articulate, attentive media-sensitive and seemingly patriotic public figure in the media is not just dismissive but simply a devil to encounter.

What makes us believe that because of bipolar politicians, “… we will never again fight one another…”? Really?

Another reason why it should bother the media less to feed us with the blah blah blah and braah braaah braah is simple. We fought one another in 2007/2008.

We regretted the event but learnt little in terms of holding better, fair and credible elections. That is why last year’s General Election was, by and large, one big joke — except, of course, for people with bipolar tendencies.

It would not have hurt but built the credibility of the elected leaders if only they gathered courage and lived their celebrated love for the country to implement the TJRC report, so that we lay a solid peaceful foundation for the younger generation.

CORRUPTION

Away from the bipolar politicians, the media, which I generally respect, never stop to amaze.

The amount of corrosive corruption the same media so painstakingly report every other day, the mystery of public funds usage in the counties (without, of course, denying the many visible and most appreciated county developments since the advent of devolution) and the increasing taxes, some of which are not justified, should, ideally, prompt them not to take seriously political claims that “we are committed to what we were elected to do”.

What is that, if not sensibly addressing, as a matter of priority, the challenges Kenyans of low-income face, since they are the majority and form the economic base on which we draw our tax?

Governments are formed to deliver. If they deliver one tonne of sand instead of the five pledged, we should be angry and demand the other four.

Unfortunately, the media are the first to highlight the wonder of a one-tonne sand delivery!

The essence of being the ‘Fourth Estate’ is to make governments accountable, not cover up their failures.

The 2017 presidential election reporting is a case in point. The institutions charged with overseeing the electoral process needed to convincingly account for their role in the election mess.

The same energy, enthusiasm and creative imagination that is sometimes invested in media lynching of ‘omena’ (‘small fish’) should be used to ‘watchdog’ people who are paid by the omenas to deliver on their behalf.

Most of our elected leaders lack political morality. This is why the media ought to be aware that, in Kenya, statements such as “I promise, I commit, I assure …” are to be interpreted differently from what they conventionally would mean.

It will be a great service to the public if the media simply stopped elevating political meaninglessness in the public discourse.


Removal of thugs from roads best news yet from these shores

By MUTUMA MATHIU
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Every morning is a nightmare for me. I drive on roads with the worst traffic and drivers whose bad manners have to be seen to be believed.

Traffic officers have to physically supervise drivers on Kiambu Road to stop them from overlapping and shutting down the road.

At the Pangani overpass, there is an unusual double merge of traffic arising from the design of the road, which must have been done by a child: The traffic from Muthaiga merges with that from Kiambu Road, then the two fuse with that on Thika ‘Superjamway’.

Drivers on this road will not allow you to join the flow; they put the nose of their vehicle in front of yours.

As for the Long Noses from Mwiki and Githurai, many are the mornings I have had one on the left and another on the right and all trying to occupy the same space with me.

They look haunted — from the sheer number of poor passengers who have either been flung off, run over or otherwise knocked down and killed.

When I look reprovingly at the drivers, they always avert their gaze, their eyes, like a zombie’s, red and lifeless, the result, perhaps, of too much drink or sleep deprivation, or both.

I used to have a car for this road — a thick-metal Toyota Landcruiser box with bull bars straight out of hell, one capable of writing off a Long Nose without anything worse than a paint bruise happening to it.

I have had what is popularly known as a Nissan matatu shoot into the tyre hung at the rear and observe its front crumble like foil and driven on without the least inconvenience.

I am a great believer in the law and abide by it. But I am not going to risk getting killed on a bad road by getting out of my car to spend half the night taking cell phone pictures of the damaged matatu whose drunk driver rear-ended me.

Sadly, I bought adulterated fuel on the same Kiambu Road and the engine wouldn’t fire up.

The only mechanic who was any good at getting it back on its wheels went off to Somalia.

So, I have a car which, when I get some time, I’ll file out the chassis number, remove the plates and all identifying marks, then tow it to a quiet road in the middle of the night and leave it to the bloody county government to do with as it sees fit.

Now, given that taxis have become too expensive and since I can’t afford a five-litre Fuji white Range Rover with a panoramic sunroof and a red leather interior, I have to face this jungle in a car that makes me feel as if I am sitting on the tarmac.

And it is a nightmare. You can imagine my joy when I read John Kamau’s story about an impending crackdown on these thugs on our roads.

I have a confession. I dislike the unkempt, old, rickety, rude Long Noses. But I love the noisy, over-lit, colourful, grunting and grinding ‘nganyas’ — from a distance. I love noisy music.

In my car, especially on a peaceful night, it’s always deafening. I think the colourful noisy matatu is a significant reflection of who we are — our manic energy, brash and unrealistic ambitions and our tendency toward ‘wilding’ and drama.

But I am also old enough to realise that nothing good can come out of lawless roads, run by criminal gangs.

I hate the fact that matatu crews threw a young man off a moving vehicle, run over Kenyans as a matter of routine and are a law unto themselves because they pay protection money. Much as we love the chaos, it’s time for order and sanity.

By all means, get rid of the criminals and their minions and let all vehicles be driven within the speed limit, no lane hogging and craziness.

The Long Nose should be banned outright, all examples rounded up and burnt. But can we keep the crazy shaped, clean, colourful beautiful ones? They can be asked to sound-proof.

Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist, is reported to have been drugged and cut to pieces in the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, by a hit squad, apparently dispatched by Riyadh.

Why a government would order the dismemberment of a citizen, and a journalist to boot, one who was not even advocating its overthrow, is difficult to understand. How long can we avert our gaze from worse atrocities, such as Yemen?

All people of the world must stand united in disgust against this tyranny. No human being should ever occupy a position where he can take away the right of another to live and the freedom to express oneself freely.

These rights are not a gift from tyrants, however fabulously rich and powerful. These rights are ours, all of us, by virtue of our humanity.

US President Donald Trump, in his own indefensible way, has decided to walk down a path that would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

He insists that Riyadh has “strongly denied” the allegations. Huffpost, a publication which strongly opposes Mr Trump, has claimed that he is not defending the Saudis for the big defence contracts the kingdom has granted US firms but the millions of dollars that they pour into his pockets through his real estate empire.

For once, Mr Trump should rise above self-interest and stand with the rest of the world in asking that the killers of Mr Khashoggi be found and punished.

He should also encourage the Saudi royal family to pursue more moderate policies.


Headline that annoyed senior citizens who are safe drivers

By PETER MWAURA
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There is nothing magical about 72. It is simply the number following 71 and preceding 73.

The Daily Nation front page banner headline on October 10, Crash driver was 72 years, did not, as it apparently tried to do, explain the cause of the accident in which more than 50 people died at Fort Ternan, a small town 50 kilometres east of Kisumu.

Neither did the headline say anything meaningful about the accident.

Probably written by a younger journalist, the headline was an expression of ageism — prejudice on the ground of one’s age — not an explanation or depiction of the crash.

It was stereotyping, pure and simple. The headline writer was trying to tell readers that, because the driver was 72, he was incapable of driving safely.

The headline perpetuates the belief that older persons are impaired when it comes to driving, that if you are 72 you are not a safe driver, that if you are 72 you are more dangerous than a driver who is 22, 32, 42, 52, 62 and in-between.

Nothing could be further from the truth, everything else being constant.

Older drivers, studies have found, are statistically safer than their younger counterparts as they are less likely to take risks.

The headline was incredibly ageist. It offended many senior citizens who are responsible and safe drivers. I will let John Thuo Maina speak for them.

“The headline about the driver of the bus that crashed in Fort Ternan was offensive and in bad light to the senior citizens,” says Mr Maina.

“Did the editor want to imply that the bus driver caused the accident because he was 72 years old?

“You guys have made it look like being old is an offence. Even being addressed as ‘Mzee’ these days seems derogatory. If youth think they can handle all the situations on their own, then they have lost it. Let us give respect to our aged and it will come back to us.”

He concludes: “We should also give the police investigators a chance to tell us what really caused the accident.”

The headline boldly assumes that old people are mentally and physically incapacitated, tired, senile, feeble, forgetful and bewildered by technology and modern way of life to be safe drivers.

The headline writer got it all wrong. He or she would have done better by penning a more meaningful headline, such as “Crash driver was sleepy”, “Crash driver was fatigued”, “Crash driver was drunk”, “Crash driver suffered a heart attack”, “Crash driver was suicidal” and so on — if, indeed, that was the case.

Age does not equal accidents. The headline used by the Nation is not supported by research on the effect of age on driving.

Kenya has not done any such research that I know of. However, research elsewhere, principally in the UK, shows there is no evidence to suggest older drivers are more likely to cause a serious accident than younger ones.

Older persons, in general, are safer drivers; they are not thrilled by speed like younger drivers are. They are less dangerous on the road than younger drivers.

According to research by Swansea University, male drivers aged 17-21 are three to four times more likely to be involved in an accident than elderly drivers.

Young drivers are the most dangerous, according to the researchers. They have debunked the notion that dangerous driving is linked to older age.

They have challenged the idea that older people are dangerous drivers. They have come up with data to show that drivers aged 70 are involved in three to four times fewer accidents than those aged 17-21.

Charles Musselwhite, associate professor of gerontology at Swansea University’s Centre for Innovative Ageing, found that dangerous driving is not generally an issue for older people.

The most accident-prone age group by a substantial margin is young men, not older men.


Add ‘clean’ to cheap power presidential order

By ROSE HASSAN
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President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter this week to lower electricity prices is an early Christmas present to Kenyans.

And it is fitting that the order was made from Strathmore Business School, a leader in energy conservation, more so solar power, during the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) presidential roundtable.

I have mentioned before that energy will be a key ingredient to power President Kenyatta’s ‘Big Four’ legacy projects — particularly manufacturing and, in effect, job creation.

It behoves the President to take on the cartels in the energy sector that benefit from unfairly high electricity charges. That may include a rethink on the Lamu coal power project.

On September 19 in San Francisco, United States, a unique protest happened: Against US energy giant General Electric’s involvement in the Lamu coal power plant.

Now, “Frisco” is the tech capital of the world, home to the largest technology companies and, arguably, the engine of America.

One paradox is, why would such a forward-thinking company as GE get involved in a dinosaur-era fuel like coal? The US state’s ‘tech capital’ image was thrown into doubt.

The butterfly effect of the protest has reportedly made GE to reconsider the investment. GE was to buy a stake in the plant and provide turbines to run it.

The company explained that the deal would not be in line with its stated support of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

Even though US President Donald Trump signed an executive order pulling the country out of the Paris Agreement, non-State actors are still committed to it.

Another paradox: Why are the Chinese, who are decommissioning coal power plants in their hundreds for their adverse effects on the environment, exporting the second-hand plants to Africa?

Government mandarins will choke us with such bywords as development, but at what cost?

Scientists aver that the coal station would not even provide affordable power. Cleaner and greener energy sources can cover projected deficits of energy more cheaply.

Sometimes one wonders why Kenya ratifies international agreements, even domesticates them, and then dumps them on the shelves.

For instance, the feed-in tariff (FiT) energy task force formed by President Kenyatta came up with raft of recommendations, key among them, an energy auction system. Pray, why are they not implemented?

With the muteness from government, we can only deduce that its agencies are hell-bent on selling expensive power to Kenyans since renewable energy projects don’t provide huge paybacks and rent-seeking opportunities like such fossilised ideas as coal plants.

Many investors in clean energy will tell you the investment climate for renewables faces so much formidable headwinds that most are forced to opt out.

But is not all doom and gloom. To the credit of Kenya Power, a model of FiT, albeit medium-scale, is being implemented by Strathmore University.

At Sh12.36 per kilowatt hour supplied, the institution has not only nearly eliminated its power bills of about 25 million annually but, as per its 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), supplies 0.25MW to the grid, making Sh25,000 sales per day.

With our abundant wind and solar resources, energy may as well become our top foreign exchange earner and make our manufactured goods cheaper.


Create your own e-commerce website with KDuka

By DAISY OKOTI
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Justice Towett, 29 and Martin Ndeto, 26, both computer science graduates from Kenyatta University, are an example of what meaningful friendship looks like.

Together, they have created KDuka, a web application that enables you to create your own e-commerce website in a matter of minutes with no knowledge on coding.

“Justice and I have similar visions for our careers, and even as friends back in university, we found ourselves gravitating towards similar interests – hanging out at the same places during our free time and exploring similar after-school interests.

“Working on school exercises also brought us together. For example, coding was a challenge for Justice, which I walked him through,” Martin explains.

At some point while in school, they were contracted to maintain computers by a certain organisation. They spent Sh5,000 of the money they earned to register and start their business, Zerone IT Solutions. Here, they deal with web development and networks – connecting your devices and being able to remotely control them.

The idea to set up KDuka came from a request they got from two consequent clients. The first client wanted an e-commerce platform set up for her, and setting it up cost Sh110,000.

Soon after that, they were approached by another client to set up something similar.

This made them realise that setting up a platform that can be accessed and used by many different people would solve a bigger problem for those working with limited resources but would like to set up online stores to grow their businesses.

“We soon realised that web development is not very sustainable when you rely on clients alone, so we started to think about other services that we could provide on a long-term basis. As we worked on our clients’ projects, we were on the lookout for opportunities, and that was how we stumbled on the idea of KDuka,” explains Martin.

“We dove straight to the deep end, and one by one, we learnt how to work around the puzzle of creating the platform, a product which is absolutely capable of morphing into whatever the client wants through customisation options embedded on the platform,” says Justice.

The first step is to visit the website, kduka.co.ke and sign up. Once you do this, you are given steps and guidelines on how to set up your own store.

“The stores are made in such a way that an average and literate digital consumer can navigate. Once you sign up, you follow prompts that guide you on getting your site ready in under five minutes,” explains Justice.

The platform is a shelf where you display and catalogue all the products that you have for easy visibility, accessibility and purchasing by your clients.

“In KDuka, users have a chance to enhance their brand through the available customisation options at no cost. For operational costs, we charge one per cent commission from all the sales made by our users,” Martin explains.

PROBLEM SOLVING

So far, they have 150 sign ups which have saved users the developer costs, the time it takes to design and so on.

Apart from the free account, the site also provides analytics and other value add tips such as how the store is doing and how many visitors it received.

“The site offers free and premium packages. The premium package, for which we charge Sh420 a month, enables the user to have their own full domain (e.g. www.nameofyourstore.com), enables search engine optimisation and you can further push your brand – you can also use google analytics on your brand,” explains martin.

“The basic package, which comes at no monthly charge, affords users a subdomain (e.g. nameofyourstore.kduka.com) and other important details for a store like product categories to enhance display,” Justice further explains.

These two young men are onto something – and that is solving the problem of many young people who sell their products online but lack access to affordable platforms to grow their businesses, especially for start-ups just getting into ecommerce.

“The platform gives users a chance to enhance their brands themselves as opposed to using other online platforms where they do not have a chance to make their brands stand out,” says Justice, who primarily worked the platform’s user experience and front-end coding. Martin worked on the engine back-end.

FUTURE PROSPECTS

They hope that in the near future they can expand KDuka from being just a Kenyan market product to becoming an African market product.

“Good things do not come easily – developing the site has been one of the greatest challenges I have had. The first release took us six months – this version was too complicated for the ordinary user, so we had to rework it again, which took us close to a year,” notes Justice.

But building a product is one thing, and pushing it out there another altogether.

They are hoping for more sign ups from the current 150 and an expansion in the type of businesses that set up stores on the platform.

Currently, the majority users of KDuka mostly sell electronics and hair products and own boutiques.


Knut gives TSC notice over crucial talks

By OUMA WANZALA
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The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has issued the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) with a seven-day notice to reconvene talks on teachers’ welfare or face the consequences.

A meeting in Naivasha collapsed after TSC rejected a demand to revoke the transfer of 85 headteachers holding union positions.

“We read disinterest on your part as regards the resolution of the unresolved issues. We justifiably read mischief and mistrust on your part. We are keen on protecting the rights of our members as enshrined in the Constitution and relevant labour laws,” Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion told TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia in a letter dated October 18.

TSC and Knut were to meet on Friday but the former deferred the talks.

Mrs Macharia notified Mr Sossion that the meeting had been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances.

“The Commission wishes to therefore seek your indulgence so that the meeting may be rescheduled to a further date that is convenient to both parties,” the letter dated October 17 read.

APPRAISALS
During the Naivasha meeting, the TSC also rejected a demand to have such headteachers exempted from future transfers, a move that saw deliberations on the issue pushed to another date.

The 10-member joint team failed to agree on four of the six issues on the agenda.

According to the eight-page document, the team could only agree on the delocalisation policy.

The threat comes ahead of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams scheduled for next week.


ASK HR: Do I decline this job or just deliver it?

By FRED GITUKU
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Q. Besides my actual job, I enjoy designing. My boss is aware of my side hustle and has no problem as long as I don’t do it while at work.

Last week, he introduced a friend who wanted me to design a logo. We discussed at length the image he had in mind but when it came to pay, he was hesitant to talk about it. He said that we would talk about it after he saw my work.

I prefer discussing payment before executing a job. I fear that he wants to get the job done at no cost since he and my boss are friends. Do I just decline working on it?

It is positive that you have cultivated skills beyond the requirements of your current job and that your supervisor grants you the latitude to exploit your talent in design to earn additional income.

For him to have brought his friend to seek your services, your supervisor acknowledges your talent and confidence in your ability to meet a client’s expectations.

It is true that people have been swindled in business and life in general – the world is not free of treachery. It is also true that not all people intend to cheat or exploit others in business.

While it helps to be cautious owing to the difficulties of being able to tell apart a person in whom lurks a fraudster, you might discover in the long run that it is not beneficial to impute wily intentions to every client.

Assuming that you are yet to establish a design business, you may want to start by demonstrating your work to the world before getting preoccupied with payment.

Has your supervisor’s friend seen samples of your work? Whether or not he is hesitant to discuss charges, nothing should stop you from indicating your pricing and negotiating terms of payment if your work fits the bill.

It is expected that every craft has its tariff. Conversations about payment will get easier as the reputation of your work grows.

What if you produced a few designs of the logo and showed them to him? Presenting the designs differs from giving them out. Although it may take time and effort to create, in case he does not take the logo that you design, the work will form part of your sample repository for other potential clients. In any event, you would need several renderings before the client settles for the one that captures his imagination.

Consider whether you need to care more about building your brand and developing lasting relationships with your clients at this stage or ensuring that you get paid upfront for your design work. You need both the customer and the payment.