Main Menu

Sunday, November 4th, 2018

 

After deal, Kiir and Machar must now seek lasting peace

The People of South Sudan have a lot of expectations following the signing of a deal to end the five-year war.

They hope the Khartoum agreement will be honoured and implemented by factions allied to President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar.

This is the opportune moment to find a lasting solution to the problems facing the world’s youngest nation. South Sudanese have not known peace for generations.

DISHEARTENING

From December 2013 when the civil war broke out, tens of thousands have died, property destroyed, and thousands of women and girls raped, as millions fled their homes.

The United Nations and other global organisations agree that South Sudan and Yemen are the worst catastrophes facing the world at the moment.

It is disheartening when leaders remain blind to the suffering. The country’s economy is destroyed and inflation has hit alarming proportions.

ATROCITIES

There are reports of UN peacekeepers looting and turning their weapons against the masses they are supposed to protect.

For peace to be sustainable, the warring parties should apologise for the atrocities meted out on the innocents. This may be the last attempt at peace-building.

Citizens and players in the peace processes are weary and dispirited. This is largely blamed on leaders, whose motives for prolonging the bloodbath are only known to themselves.

IMPLEMENTED

Concerns by Dr Machar and other rebel leaders should not be brushed aside by SPLA officials and regional leaders.

After the formation of an inclusive government, Mr Kiir and Dr Machar should visit the country’s 34 states and inform the masses how the Khartoum Accord will be implemented.

In the previous government of Mr Kiir, Dr Machar and Mr James Wani, the three were supposed to do so but failed to.

As a result, violence broke out again in July 2016, leading to renewed killings and looting.

In the old Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which was signed by Dr John Garang and the Omar el-Bashir government, citizens were informed of what it entailed. Dr Garang and President Bashir were determined to honour the deal. It worked and led to the birth of South Sudan.

South Sudanese want to see dividends of the peace deal. They include services, restoration of stability, socio-economic development, building of roads, schools and hospitals, poverty reduction, the return of refugees, institutional reforms and free elections.

The former enemies must commit to preaching peace, healing, reconciliation, and forgiveness among our country’s ethnic communities. This is the only lifeline for our delicate situation. Together we stand, divided we fall!

Kocrup Makuach, Nairobi.


Beyond exams: Fill gaps in new testing competencies in schools

By NYAGA KINDIKI
More by this Author

The learning curve protracted in new competence-based curriculum is designed to emphasise the significance of developing skills and knowledge and also applying those to real life situations, including critical thinking, problem solving and creativity.

TEST SCORES

Testing competencies will help teachers to spend their time well without exams. The public will also be able to judge teachers without making reference to how many students have passed or failed in an examination. The current system has reduced education simply to what can be recalled on a particular day. Exam scores not just test children, but also teachers, parents and schools.

But the glaring gaps of implementing how these competences will be tested do not augur well with how curriculum is defined, planned, implemented, and evaluated, crucially influencing the quality of education being provided. Varying the structure of years spent at various levels of schooling and a few content areas is not good enough as there is a huge arena of implementing, providing resources and training teachers in colleges and universities. Curriculum change should provide teachers with targets, vision for their children; mental picture of a preferred future, which is shared with all in the public domain. The vision should also shape the programmes for learning and teaching as well as policies, priorities, plans and procedures.

Even with the go-getting euphoria of testing competencies, the risk of maintaining the status quo of ranking schools after national examinations will persist with the perverse incentive it creates for schools to teach to the test and off-roll students in order to improve performance. This is so because conventionally, tests and exams were developed to generate evidence about individuals for certification and selection rather than to provide data on the system as a whole. These developments beg some severe questions about the logic, practicability, and actual impact of testing and intervention strategies: Are children acquiring competencies? If so, how? If not, why not? What exactly do we mean by competencies? And how might changes in assessment assist in improving the quality of education in our schools?

EXORBITANT

The assessment framework in any country helps schools to raise standards. The learning curve protracted by testing competencies is difficult to measure due to challenges related to its implementation. Parents are likely to take a different curve of going ahead to get “pretty good education” for their children. They are also likely to continue paying exorbitant amounts of money to take their children to “good schools”, hoping to improve their life chances. The distraction of the administration of national schools by increased enrolment, cutting budgets, too much emphasis on technical education with inadequate resources and at the expense of arts-based courses, point to a disconnect in the curriculum with what actually matters to families.

Children from the majority low income families will find themselves competing for places in public schools. Access to education will be divided into three tiers unless this trend is reversed. The widens the gap of access to education.

The inequality will create generations of elite who simply do not understand the realities or experiences of other citizens. A three-tier education will create a pool of professionals such as politicians, lawyers and doctors who are graduates of private schools and much adored national schools. This trend is unlikely to reverse in the near future.

Although the ranking of schools has been criticised as punitive; in the absence of adequate resources needed to test competencies, the learning curve will take a different dimension altogether. What will be measured is not what matters and to measure quality education will remain the testing and ranking of students.

Mr Kindiki, a professor of international education management and policy, is a visiting professor and researcher at Oldenburg University, Germany.


The key role of seeds in alleviating hunger

By SALLY AKINYI
More by this Author

“Seeds are the soul of agriculture’’. This is a statement not far from the truth; these tiny things are the lifeline of the food we consume every day.

However, with the looming climate change, the future of seeds is under siege. The harsh consequence of this reality has been observed through the continued loss of food diversity. In fact, the world has lost 75 per cent of its food biodiversity in the past 100 years.

UNHEALTHY FOODS

Today, in East Africa, local varieties of indigenous foods such as yams, cowpeas and amaranth are not only shrinking, but also rapidly being replaced by unhealthy foods. Smallholders, too, have resorted to cultivating crops that fetch them more income.

821M PEOPLE

The FAO estimates that out of the 821 million people in the world with severe undernourishment, 256 million are in Africa. While indigenous foods have significant potential to alleviate hunger and improve food security and nutrition, their future also grapples with the trend of monopolisation of seeds by global food companies. We must look at the rise of seed multinational firms and their implication on the future. The new shift in the Bayer and Monsanto (now the largest producers of genetically engineered crops) merger signal a boost in agricultural research and innovation. It is expected to spur innovation in the rising demand for food supply globally.

MODERNISATION

Against this backdrop are worried lots. Smallholder farmers, who are the custodians of diversifying food in Sub-Saharan Africa, stand to loose out in the so-called new modernisation of agriculture.

The importance of seed diversity in this new monopoly is considerably a major discourse on the road to eradicating hunger.

The role of seeds is quite significant in improving food production in regions that have borne the brunt of hunger in recent times.

ANCESTRAL SEEDS

The new food giant- Bayer and Monsanto- is to seek approval from regulators in 30 countries. The looming reality of this move brings with it continued patenting of plant varieties, making farmers unable to continue to breed varieties, as has been the norm for many years. Smallholder farmers have been known to exchange knowledge on seeds and pass on indigenous seeds from one generation to another. They are key in retaining seed diversity, which is crucial in preserving ancestral seeds that hold immense nutritional value.

SMALLHOLDER FARMER

As countries like Kenya begin trials on GMO food, it is important that they create a level playing field of all actors in the food system, including smallholder farmers.

New approaches such as Open Source Seeds Systems (OSSS) have the potential to check the dominance of food giants. OSSS is re-defining the role of smallholders in the seed sector by safeguarding their rights.

PLANT BIODIVERSITY

Secondly, countries need to catalogue their indigenous foods in order to preserve knowledge for future generations. In this way, they can retain their plant biodiversity, which is useful in countering food insecurity.


Government must start focusing on cleaning up the health industry

The health sector continues to be stuck in a glaring situation, simply because not every Kenyan citizen is in a position to access health services as needed. This is commonly experienced in rural areas where there are less hospitals that in urban centres.

You will find a whole constituency with just one health facility, and sometimes two constituencies sharing one. The worst part of it is that some of the few available facilities are lacking most, if not all, of the needed expertise and equipment for treatment to take place.

For instance, you will find a facility without a well-trained medical practitioner to offer proper services to patients. Sometimes you find one general doctor with no specialists, so it means the little but incomplete service they give you will have to come at a price.

Despite their presence in those hospitals, how will they offer treatment without the necessary equipment? This forces most Kenyans to opt for private facilities.

But what will a Kenyan without money do to get treatment? Those able to travel to provincial general hospitals will always find long queues since those lining up have also come across the same crisis in their regions.

It is saddening to see that the government continues to invest huge amounts of money in projects that are less urgent, compared to the health sector. We are asking the government to equip the facilities and hire medics to improve the sector.

Gladys Wanjohi, Nakuru.


Ijara MP Sophia Abdinoor wins African leadership award

By ABDIMALIK HAJIR
More by this Author

Ijara Member of Parliament Sophia Abdinoor has won a top African female leadership award.

The award, which was given by Women Advancement for Economic and Leadership Empowerment Foundation in Africa (Waele Africa), recognised strategic role the lawmaker played towards African women emancipation.

The accolade dubbed ‘Pride of Africa Women Award’ was given in Namibia during a summit aimed at strengthening political understanding of women’s role in conflict prevention, resolution and post-conflicts peace building.

The summit also seeks to develop an overall analysis of women’s traditional role in mediation and peace building in Africa.

The selection was based on case studies undertaken within Unesco special project on women and cultural of peace in Africa.

SOLIDARITY

The forum also seeks to provide an avenue for exchange, confidence building and solidarity among African women promoters of peace.

The ward was also given to top African leaders including former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete among other African leaders.

Mrs Abdinoor made history during the 2017 General Election when she beat four other candidates to win the Ijara parliamentary seat in a region highly regarded as patriarchal society.

The MP is also founder of Womankind Kenya, a non-governmental organisation working in Northeastern region. The organisation fights for women’s education besides combating harmful cultural practices such as female Genital Mutilations (FGM).

VULNERABLE GIRLS

The organisation also runs Umulkher Girls School which offers education to orphans and vulnerable girls in the region. Girls who escape FGM are also accommodated in the institution.   Speaking from Namibia the MP said the continental award is a recognition to not only herself, but also for many mothers and grassroots women who toil daily to improve the well-being of the girls and women in the society.

“This award is great recognition and motivation for all those women who contribute to women empowerment in terms of education and health among other sectors,” she said.

“On behalf of the people of Ijara and Kenya at large I wish thank the committee for recognising our efforts,” she added.


Family love steers Cheruiyot, Keitany to New York podium

By ELIAS MAKORI
More by this Author

IN NEW YORK CITY

Little Allan Kiprono Kiplagat Sunday morning told his father that mum would finish second at the New York City Marathon.

The five-year-old had in April this year predicted that her superstar mother would win the London Marathon.

And twice, he was right.

Olympic 5,000 metres champion Vivian Cheruiyot, Allan’s mother, did win the London Marathon and on Sunday she did finish second in New York.

Family support played a huge role in the results of the TCS New York Marathon with Mary Keitany winning her fourth title at the “Big Apple” ahead of Cheruiyot.

Keitany ran a brilliant second half to win in two hours, 22 minutes and 48 seconds with Cheruiyot second just over three minutes behind in 2:26:02.

Both Kenyans are accompanied here by their families, Cheruiyot’s husband and coach Moses Kiplagat travelling along with the young Kiprono and Keitany boosted to the second fastest time ever here by her husband-coach Charles Koech and children Samantha (five) and Jared (10).

Keitany’s winning time had an amazing second half split of 66:58 that blew away her opponents.

“I’m always comfortable when I’m with my family at the races as I don’t have to think about them being back home,” Keitany, 36, said.

“It gives me time to relax and focus on my race, and I also have to try my best and make them happy because they will be waiting for me at the finish line and I wouldn’t want to disappoint them.

“In the morning, my children woke up and told me ‘mummy, you are going to win’ and they prayed for me. This gave me the motivation.”

Mary Keitany of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the Women's Division during the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon in New York on November 4, 2018. PHOTO | TIMOTHY CLARY |Mary Keitany of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the Women’s Division during the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon in New York on November 4, 2018. PHOTO | TIMOTHY CLARY |AFP

Cheruiyot’s husband Kiplagat added that young Allan woke up early and told him that his mother would finish second.

“At the London marathon, he had told me that her mother would win and today he said she would be second. He’s sort of a prophet,” Kiplagat said.

He added that Cheruiyot had been battling injury in the last few weeks, the Olympic champion also revealing that she cancelled most of her training.

“I had to cancel most of the training for the last two weeks. I had an ankle injury, knee and calf and so I’m happy to finish second,” Cheruiyot said.

American defending champion Shalane Flanagan was third in 2:26:22.

Defending men’s champion Geoffrey Kamworor settled for bronze in 2:06:26 behind Ethiopians Lelisa Desisa (2:05:59) and Shura Kitata (2:06:01).

Desisa, third here last year in 2:11:23, said he had stomach problems then, and conditions were good this time round.

“Last time, when I entered Central Park, I had a stomach upset, but this year, it was different. It happens. This year I controlled myself with my teammate and coach,” Desisa said after winning the race in a sprint finish with compatriot Kitata.

Kamworor, who is also the world half marathon and cross country champion, said he was happy with second place.

“I’m happy to be on the podium. I tried my best and I’m happy about the result,” Kamworor said.

Kenya's Geoffrey Kamworor (centre) in action with Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa (left) and Shura Kitata (right) during Men's Division of the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon in New York on November 4, 2018. PHOTO | DARREN ORNITZ | Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor (centre) in action with Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa (left) and Shura Kitata (right) during Men’s Division of the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon in New York on November 4, 2018. PHOTO | DARREN ORNITZ |REUTERS

It was an emotional day for race director Peter Ciaccia, the New York Road Runners’ director of events, who was handling his final race before retiring after serving in the annual race’s organization for 18 years.

“Do I have clearance on the runway,” Ciaccia’s voice blasted through the public address system on Staten Island where the race started at 8.20am, local time with the wheelchair competition.

“Lead vehicles start rolling… on your marks… go!”

Fittingly, the field of over 50,000 took off in waves to Frank Sinatra’s rendition of John Kander’s 1977 composition New York, New York, the theme song for Martin Scorsese’s film with the same name.

New York, New York, I wanna wake up in a city that never sleeps, and find I’m a number one, top of the list, king of the hill, a number one…”

After showers on Friday and Saturday, the weather held with starting time temperatures at five degrees Celsius under clear skies, conditions that got warmer as the race progressed, ideal marathon conditions.

Results from the New York Marathon :

1.      Mary Keitany (Kenya) 2:22:48

2.      Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya) 2:26:02

3.      Shalane Flanagan (USA) 2:26:22

4.      Molly Huddle (USA) 2:26:44

5.      Rahma Tusa (Ethiopia) 2:27:13

6.      Desiree Linden (USA) 2:27:51

7.      Allie Keiffer (USA) 2:28:12

8.      Lisa Weightman (Australia) 2:29:11

9.      Mamitu Daska (Ethiopia) 2:30:31

10.  Belaynesh Fikadu (Ethiopia) 2:30:47

1.      Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia) 2:05:59

2.      Shura Kitata (Ethiopia) 2:06:01

3.      Geoffrey Kamworor (Kenya) 2:06:26

4.      Tamirat Tola (Ethiopia) 2:08:30

5.      Daniel Wanjiru (Kenya) 2:10:21

6.      Jared Ward (USA) 2:12:24

7.      Scott Fauble (USA) 2:12:28

8.      Festus Talam (Kenya) 2:12:40

9.      Shadrack Biwott (USA) 2:12:52

10.  Chris Derrick (USA) 2:13:03.


Retired Catholic Archbishop Emeritus John Njenga dies

By FAITH NYAMAI
More by this Author

Retired Catholic Archbishop Emeritus John Njenga is dead.

Mombasa Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde has confirmed that the catholic priest died in Nairobi at 11:45 on Sunday.   

 “Dear brothers and Sisters, it is with humble submission to Divine will that I wish to inform you of the demise of our beloved Archbishop Emeritus John Njenga. He went to the Lord today, Sunday 4 Nov at 11:45 hrs. Other details shall be communicated later,” said Rev Musonde.

The deceased joined priesthood in 1948 at Kibosho Seniou Seminary in Tanzania where he studied philosophy, theology and pastoral studies for nine years.

SOCIAL STUDIES

After his ordination as a priest in 1957, he returned to the country and was posted to Kiserian Junior Seminary where he served for three years until 1960.

Between 1961 and 1964, he went to London and Rome where he studied Social Studies and the Canon law to doctorate level.

Upon returning to Kenya, Archbishop Njenga was put in charge of Law at the Catholic Secretariat before he was appointed the parish priest of the Lady Visitation, Makadara between 1964 and 1969.

He was the first priest in for Nairobi archdiocese.

ORDAINED BISHOP

He was the first ordained priest from Lioki Parish, the first Catholic priest from then Kiambu District and the first priest to publicly baptize his mother on his ordination day as bishop.

He was also the first bishop for Eldoret Diocese. In the late 1960, archbishop Njenga was ordained bishop and posted to Eldoret Diocese.

During his time of service in Eldoret, he started 40 schools before he was transferred to Mombasa Diocese as a bishop.

It was in Mombasa where he was ordained as an archbishop of the newly formed archdiocese. Njenga served in Mombasa for 18 years before he retired.

LIKONI CLASHES

In an earlier interview with the Nation, he termed the 1997 Likoni clashes, in which more than 200 people died and property worth millions of shillings destroyed, as the most trying moment.

Ever since he was a child, Archbishop Njenga aspired to be a priest and was actively involved in church activities.

He was formerly a member of the Church of Scotland Mission before he joined the Thogoto intermediate school, a catholic school at the age of 11 years.

He served as a catholic priest for 56 years before he retired.


Butali sweat to reclaim lead from Police

By AYUMBA AYODI
More by this Author

Dutchman Merteen Fonteyn scored one goal and made one assist as Butali Sugar silence United States International University 2-0 at City Park on Sunday to reclaim their men’s hockey Premier League lead.

It’s in the third quarter that Butali Sugar managed to break USIU defence when Zack Aura floated the ball from the left before Fonteyn drew first blood in the 43rd minute.

Then in the last quarter, Aura played Fonteyn through before finding Vincent Odhiambo to sweep in the second goal with seconds to go.

The victory saw Butali Sugar reclaim the league’s lead from champions Kenya Police on better goal difference as both teams tie on 51 points each.

While Police have – who have 17 wins and one loss – have four matches to go, Butali Sugar Warriors – who have 17 wins and two losses – have three matches to wind up the season.

“We lacked patience and my players were under pressure after what happened in Police verses Wazalendo match,” said Butali coach Dennis Owoka, who said they will write to Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) following what happened at Wazalendo and Police match on Saturday.

“We just want to concentrate on the remaining matches and end the league on a high,” said Owoka, who gave it to Fonteyn, who drew first blood besides playing assist to the second goal.

“Fonteyn passes and knowledge of the game are awesome. You would expect that from a player who had featured in top league in the Netherlands, Germany and England,” said Owoka.


undo mulls shot at African Championship title

By ABDUL SIDI
More by this Author

Multiple Kenya National Rally and Safari Rally champion Carl Tundo is contemplating tackling all the rounds of the African Rally Championship.

”I am in discussions to do the ARC championship but have not committed yet. It has always been on my bucket list. But it is a huge commitment, not just financially. Let’s see what happens,” said Tundo, the four-time KNRC and five times Safari Rally winner.

The 2019 season is expected to start in February. The calendar will have six rounds – in South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

Tundo has never done an ARC event outside Kenya.

Tundo, who will turn 45 years next month, added: ”It would be great to add the ARC title if my plans allow. I have won five Safari Rallies. I started rallying in the early ‘90s in an old Subaru Leone and only did three events and retired in them all.

“I remember I rolled in one of them while trying to avoid a cyclist near Kakamega in the middle of the night.”

The ARC has been dominated by Kenyan drivers with Don Smith, Jasi Chatthe and Manvir Baryan showing off their talents in South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.

The current Kabras Sugar-sponsored Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10 driver, who clinched the 2018 KNRC title after victory in the Eldoret Rally last month, is now getting ready for the Guru Nanak Rally in Nairobi. The event will be run on November 17 and 18 and will be the last round of the 2018 Kenya National Rally Championship.

The crew, has also won the Safari, KMSC and Rally Sport Club (RSC) and the Nanyuki rallies to extend their overall lead in the 2018 Kenya National Rally Championship to 169 points.


Congo Boys still top despite draw

By ABDULRAHMAN SHERIFF
More by this Author

Favourites Congo Boys were held to a one-all draw by Mnarani United from Kilifi in their National Division Two Northern Zone League match at Serani Sports Ground in Mombasa over the weekend.

Congo will blame themselves for failing to win the game they dominated for large periods.

The home team took the lead in the second half through Anwar Abdulhakim with Musambai Klinsman equalising for the Kilifi-based side.

However, the draw did not affect Congo’s position at the top of the standing as they increased their points tally to 54 from 28 matches.

Their closest challengers Kilifi All Stars were expected to play Sparki Youngsters Sunday.

Congo Boys head coach Yusuf Mohamed said they could have won the match by a bigger margin but their strikers failed to play it cool near their opponents’ goal.

“We deserved to win but poor finishing cost us to surrender the two points,” said Mohamed.

He also said their opponents scored through a defensive error.

“I can’t blame my defenders because it is usual for making an error and our opponents took advantage of that to share the spoils,” said the Congo tactician.

Mnarani United head coach Peter Odero praised his players for their fighting spirit to draw level after conceding what he said was a dubious penalty.

“I salute my players the way they fought after Congo took the lead and we deservedly equalised. We would have won the match had the referee not disallowing what was our genuine goal for offside,” he said.

The game started at a cracking pace with both teams attacking with intent. Congo, missed two golden scoring opportunities in the first quarter.

Hussein Abdulmalik was put through by Ali Hassan in the 11th minute but blasted the ball wide. He wasteful Abdulkalik missed another sitter in the 15th minute when his slow shot was easily saved by Mnarani goalkeeper Nixon Chengo.

It was in the 54th minute that Congo took the lead when a Mnarani defender fouled Patrick Matano and Abdulmalik made no mistake from the spot.