Kenya: Q&a With President Kenyatta As Jubilee Marks 4th Anniversary
April 11, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Capital FM, Nairobi — PRESIDENT KENYATTA: I am very proud to showcase some of the work that my government has done in the first four years of my term. As your President, it is my primary duty to provide the environment necessary for each one of you to fulfill your full potential, and to improve your own livelihood, as well as that of your community, and that of our nation.
Together, we have achieved much that will benefit many, and in a very short time.
QUESTION: What was your vision going into 2013 elections? What did you want to achieve for the country?
PRESIDENT KENYATTA: To understand where you are, and to understand where you are going, you must know where you’ve come from; then you are able to better visualize where you want to be. And I think we’ve come a long way.
Our forefathers came together with the singular aim of having a free, socially inclusive society where our people could govern themselves, and make a future for themselves. They achieved our independence for us. Once we got that independence, somehow we did not internalize that independence as a Kenyan independence; we internalised it as an ethnic independence. So we started to say ‘what about the prosperity of my community?’, ‘what about the jobs of my community?’ We lost the nationalist spirit that actually won us that independence — independence was not won by any singular community, it was won by people coming together and saying we want to govern ourselves; we want a future for ourselves. I believe that the politics that took place after the first 10 or so years of our independence resulted in a situation where, rather than co-exist as Kenyans, we co-existed as ethnic communities. We saw the worst of that in 2007/2008. It is an episode of our national history that is still fresh in our minds.
As a result of that, some of us who were accused of fanning that incitement felt very, very, very strongly, and thought very deeply. We asked: ‘how could our country — that we all love so much, and that we all wanted so much for — end up in this particular situation?’ Then, working with other individuals, we agreed: ‘look, it is time for us to change the Kenyan narrative’.
QUESTION: So, what was your resolve?
PRESIDENT KENYATTA: Our rallying call in 2013, as many in Kenya will remember, was the fact that regardless of whether we won or lost, we would ensure that we had a country that would not end up in the kind of chaos that we saw in 2007/08, and that no Kenyan would lose their life for who they were. We wanted a country that celebrates our diversity and that works together with the understanding that the issues that confront us don’t confront us because of our ethnicity, but are common to all of us as Kenyans. The only way to solve them is to solve them together. And that was basically the platform on which we launched our campaign in 2013. And, thank God, Kenyans gave us an opportunity to lead this country.
For the 4 years that we have led this nation, we have focused on answering a single question: how do we coalesce this society of 43 communities into one society? We recognised that our new constitution gave us an opportunity to achieve this, through the devolved governments. We made them work, and we were able to reach out and get development into every corner of this country. We ensured that our government was as inclusive as the constitution allowed us to be, because it was the first time, for example, that we were limited in the number of Cabinet Secretaries we could appoint. I also think it gave us the opportunity to pick the best that we could from our country, because so long as you are limited, you have to pick the best. As the national government, our key priority then became, first and foremost, to ensure that in the shortest possible time we got devolution to work so that every single Kenyan, irrespective of what part of the country they came from, could feel the benefits of being a Kenyan.
We also focused on education, recognising that as long as every single Kenyan is able to get proper education, we are beginning to equalise our society.
Many areas got — for the first time — decent infrastructure that could attract industries. (And we have to attract investment outside the main cities: Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Eldoret)
We went on a massive programme of building roads, electricity expansion, trying to increase dams in order to get water access, so that a person living in Wajir would have the same benefits as a person living in Nairobi; so that an industry would be attracted to Garissa — because now you are connected to the main grid — just as it would be attracted to Mombasa. We recognised that if we focused ourselves on these, it would ultimately give us an opportunity to achieve what every single Kenyan needed: opportunity.
We are not there yet, but we have started that journey. We have started the process. I believe strongly that if we are allowed to continue with the kind of development we have made so far, then, in a very few years to come, we will have a singular society that looks at issues differently: not from where we come from, but from whom we are as Kenyans.
We will begin to deal with the challenges that face every single Kenyan, the challenges of health, the challenges of education, the challenges of job creation; and once we do that, we then can see ourselves as Kenyans. And once we see ourselves as Kenyans, because we have a government that is dealing with us as Kenyans, we will look to a future where we work together for mutual prosperity and for mutual happiness.
QUESTION: Are you making progress?
PRESIDENT KENYATTA: Well, you also ask yourself where and how you want to get to where you are going. I keep on telling Kenyans: let us have patience; let us focus ourselves on doing things that ought to be done, because if things had been done in years past, we wouldn’t be complaining today.
QUESTION: Some have chided you as a tourist President. How have Kenyans benefitted from your travels beyond our borders?
PRESIDENT KENYATTA: Countries are like people: you cannot make progress on your own. Kenya must work in very close corroboration and cohesion with its neighbours and others in the international community. That is why we have made foreign policy central to our agenda.
We need to ensure that we are on good terms, and have great trading partnerships, with others. We would not attract the kind of investment that we are attracting if we were only talking to 42 million people; we need to be able to talk of a region of 300 or 400 million, because it is that economy of scale that will allow us to attract the kind of investment that we need, in order to create the jobs that our people need. So long as you continue to think inward, you will only slow your quest to achieve your objectives. And that is why my administration has been very keen to improve linkages between Kenya and other nations. Within our region we have been very focused on trying to deepen integration. We have worked very hard, and now we have a single network area for Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, and we are trying to bring on board Burundi, Tanzania and South Sudan. We now have a single tourist visa, so that visitors coming to Kenya can use the same visa to go to Uganda and Rwanda.
East Africa: EAC Passport for Release Next Year
April 11, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Marc Nkwame*
Arusha — Issuance of international passports for East African Community (EAC) has been re-scheduled to early next year, the same time the African Union also intends to release its travel document.
The EAC six partner states, it was revealed at the just ended 35th EAC Council of Ministers’ meeting here, have been directed to start issuing the new East African machine readable Electronic- Passports by January 31, 2018 after preparedness of each partner state was considered.
The council directives come on the backdrop of the 17th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State that directed the partner states to issue the new EA e-Passport by January 1, 2017 and execute the phase out programme for the current machine readable East African and National Passports between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018.
According to the 35th EAC Council of Ministers’ official report, Burundi reported that through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, the country had completed the process of procuring the EA e-Passport booklets and was ready to issue the document by April 3, 2017.
The e-Passport is expected to boost free movement of people across the East African region and facilitate implementation of the Common Market protocol, which guarantees the right to move between countries in East Africa.
The EAC e-Passport will have diplomatic, service and ordinary categories, different from the current machine readable passports issued by the partner states. It will be valid for up 10 years while the diplomatic passport and service passport will be valid according to the holder’s specific term of the service.
The new EAC travel document will come in red, green and sky blue — the colours of the EAC flag — but with text and national emblems, in gold to complete its face. The colour of the passport will depend on categories.
The EAC diplomats will carry the red passport, while officials and ordinary citizens will have green and sky blue, respectively. The outer front cover will have the ‘East African Community’ inscription in gold on top and below the name of the issuing partner states will be pasted.
But, the recent African Union (AU) summit in Kampala floated its own idea of having the AU passport, which will be a hybrid travel document serving as VISA to all the 55 countries on the continent. Officially known as the African Union (AU) e-Passport, the electronic document will grant holders the visa-free access to any of the 55 AU member states.
The e-Passport has symbolic importance too. It is seen as a key step toward the AU’s vision of a “continent with seamless borders”. Supporters hope the visa will improve intra-Africa travel, trade, and development.
The AU, according to an official release from Addis Ababa, plans to abolish visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries by 2018, in line with the AU Agenda 2063.
The AU has been citing 2020 as the new start date for the proposed visa- free African travel.
*Tanzania Daily News/Allafrica
Africa: Kenya’s Internet Speed Ranked Fastest in Africa
April 9, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Fred Obera*
Kenya’s internet is faster, and cheaper as compared to many countries around the world a report by Akamai, a leading Content Delivery Network revealed. Out of the 108 countries sampled globally, Kenya ranked number 23, and the country is the top ranked African country, with the fastest internet connectivity speed. The fast and reliable internet in Kenya has significantly influenced the improvement of e-commerce, generating enormous social, and economic benefits for the country.
Kenya’s internet speed and connectivity is faster, and cheaper as compared to many countries around the world a report by Akamai, a leading Content Delivery Network (CDN) has revealed.
Out of the 108 countries that were sampled globally, Kenya ranked number 23, and the country is the top ranked African country, with the fastest internet connectivity speed. South Korea has the highest average connection speed globally at 26.1 megabytes per second (Mbps).
Akamai aims to make the internet fast, reliable, and secure for its customers.
In most African countries internet is expensive, and speeds are generally slow. In Kenya several internet providers such as Safaricom, Airtel and Orange have upgraded their speeds to the benefit of their customers, and such upgrades have had a positive impact on the economy.
The reliable internet in Kenya has significantly influenced the improvement of electronic-commerce. Many Kenyans are now able to bank and transact online, download music and videos while the uptake of e-learning resources and usage of social media platforms has also greatly improved over the past few years.
According to the report, Kenya overtook third-quarter leader Israel to gain the top spot for average connection speeds among the surveyed Middle East and Africa countries in the fourth quarter. The country has had a tremendous growth in high-speed connectivity in the past years.
The report further said, Kenya has an impressive average of 15mbps followed by Israel at 14.4mbps, South Africa recorded 6.6 mbps, Morocco 5.2 mbps, and Nigeria 4.1 mbps.
Kenya’s National broadband strategy
The improvement to Kenya’s connection speeds and broadband adoption rates is attributed to the successful implementation of the National Broadband Strategy (NBS). The vision of this broadband strategy has been to see the transformation of the country to a knowledge-based society driven by a high capacity nationwide broadband network.
The overall objective of this strategy is to provide quality broadband services to all citizens.
“The strategy has enabled the government to roll out the National Optic Fibre Broadband Infrastructure that has linked all the counties to the Internet by fibre cable. Fibre cable ground installation and provision of 4G network coverage has contributed to the high speeds and efficiency in connectivity,” Joseph Mucheru, the Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information said.
Top ranked countries with high speed internet connectivity:
South Korea: 26.1Mbps
Hong Kong: 21.9Mbps
2017 AFRICA CEO FORUM: 20 AFRICAN BUSINESS LEADERS COMMIT TO PROMOTING WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP
April 7, 2017 | 0 Comments
Fostering female entrepreneurship in Africa and improving women’s access to decision-making positions in African companies: the African Women in Business working group met in Geneva at the 2017 Africa CEO Forum and made concrete commitments towards achieving these aims.
GENEVA, Switzerland, 4 April 2017 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Building on the success of the African Women in Business initiative launched this year by the Africa CEO Forum, which took place in Geneva on 20 and 21 March, the organizers convened a special working group consisting of mainly female CEOs/managersfrom 20 African countries and various sectors. Among them were Janine Diagou of NSIA (Côte d’Ivoire), Binta Touré Ndoye of Oragroup (Togo), Fathia Bennis of Maroclear, Tunisian lawyer Donia Ellouze, Rosemary Yeboah of Ecobank (Ghana), and Tonye Cole, CEO of Sahara Group (Nigeria), the only male participant.
During this first session, moderated by Oulimata Sarr, UN Women Regional Economic Empowerment Adviser for West and Central Africa, the working group made resolutions to improve the status of women in companies. It also committed to putting forward several recommendations in order to come up with an action plan for women’s leadership in African business. The key takeaways were the following :
Three keys for fostering female entrepreneurship
* Give access to financial products specially designed for women entrepreneurs: the working group intends to bring this matter to the attention of financial institutions.
* Create women’s networks, drawing on Senegal’s Women Investment Club (WIC), whose 54 members raised half a million dollars to finance woman-run SMEs.
* Advocate to promote access to large public and private enterprise tenders for woman-owned SMEs
Emphasizing the fact that women hold 40% of mid-management positions in Africa, yet only 5% are CEOs, the working group selected four proposals for a fairer distribution of corporate power in African countries.
Four recommendations for improving women’s access to decision-making positions
* Systematic mentoring. Women and men who are in a leadership position in the business sector must devote time to mentor young women and develop their skills in order to optimize their career opportunities.
* Promote flexitime in companies with the aim of giving employees the opportunity to achieve a good balance between their personal and professional lives.
* Encourage gender equality legislation for boards of directors, as Rwanda and some other countries on the continent have already done.
* Create databases listing high-potential female profiles to facilitate the recruitment of women to decision-making positions by African companies.
The first decisions taken by the members of African Women in Business working group were the following:
* Sahara Group, Nigeria-based energy conglomerate: reach a 40-60 female-male ratio on its board of directors.
* Tonye Cole, Chairman, Sahara Group, also pledged to bring other men to the next African Women in Business meeting, stressing that men also have a role to play in advancing gender equality.
* Oragroup, Togo-based banking group: improve the female-male ratio of its executive committee from the current 26-74 to 50-50 by 2020.
* Groupe Jeune Afrique: training the next generation of women leaders through the “Heroines’ Forum”, an initiative that will move from country to country, with its first edition in October in Abidjan.
* The Africa CEO Forum also set itself two objectives:
– Increase the number of women delegates from 20% to 30% over the next 3 years
– Increase the number of women speakers from 20% to 35% in the same time frame
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the Africa CEO Forum.
`Ten Things to Know About Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Candidate for WHO-Director General’
April 4, 2017 | 0 Comments
In May this year, the World Health Organization (WHO), the world’s premier international public health agency, will elect a new Director-General to lead the organization when Dr. Margaret Chan steps down in July. The importance of this role, cannot be underestimated. Pandemics, pollution, poverty and war all add to the complexity of preserving the health of the world’s almost 7 billion citizens.
A cool head, informed professionalism, and high-level organizational experience will be needed. While three candidates remain in the nominee field, Dr. Tedros Adhanom of Ethiopia – a champion for global health priorities both nationally and internationally – stands as the most experienced, visionary, and veteran `problem-solving’ leader to take on this most important public health position.
Why? Here are ten things you might not know about Dr. Tedros and his candidacy:
1. Over three decades, Dr. Tedros demonstrated a unique mix of political leadership and hands-on public health experience.
2. As Ethiopia’s Minister of Health he has greatly improved health outcomes in a country/region hardest hit by many of the world’s biggest health challenges; his comprehensive agenda of reform dramatically transformed the country’s health system.
3. Dr. Tedros increased access to health care with limited resources and community engagement, using primary health care as a platform; investing in critical infrastructure, expanding the health workforce and initiating pioneering financing mechanisms.
4. By overseeing the training/deployment of 38,000 health extension workers, (a `health development army’) his efforts created a community-based system with nearly 3 million women at its core; leading to a seven-fold increase in health professionals and a capacity increase of doctor training from 3 medical schools to 33 schools.
5. Under Dr. Tedros leadership, the Ministry of Health developed an integrated, household-based information management system which documents the health history of each family member; resulting in improvements in data collection, monitoring and evaluation.
6. Health insurance in Ethiopia now provides people in both the formal/informal sectors with full coverage of health services; leading Ethiopia to be the first country to sign a global compact with the `International Health Partnership’.
7. Dr. Tedros also helped establish the pooled MDG Health Fund, facilitating the allocation of ear-marked/disease-specific funding to address pressing health needs.
8. With the establishment of `Ethiopia’s Pharmaceutical Supply Fund Agency’, Dr. Tedros instituted transparent and accountable business processes, ensuring the availability of a reliable supply of affordable, quality-assured medicines.
9. Dr. Tedros showed impressive leadership and broad understanding of valuable partnerships/relationships as Board Chair, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB & Malaria; Board Chair, Roll Back Malaria Partnership; Board Co-Chair, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health; and Chair, UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board.
10. In being elected to lead the WHO, Dr. Tedros will make history as the first African to head the organization.
In a lifetime of service, Dr. Tedros Adhanom has used his proven political, diplomatic and negotiation skills to continue to build a healthier world for all people – a goal he will undoubtedly work towards when elected to be the next Director-General of the World Health Organization.
Dr. Tedros will be travelling in your part of the world soon and is available for phone and print interviews. For reference, the WHO election will take place on May 23rd in Geneva, Switzerland at the 70th session of the World Health Assembly.
Kenya: Hundreds At Burial of Embu Woman Who Failed to Resurrect
April 3, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Charles Wanyoro*
Hundreds of mourners in Embu Saturday attended the burial of a 38-year old musician whose husband caused a stir after storming a local mortuary to pray for her resurrection.
Tens of clergymen who attended the burial at Rwika Village defended the actions of Apostle Robinson Karumba, saying it was a demonstration of faith among believers.
The clergyman had on Wednesday stormed Gakwegori Funeral Home accompanied by seven members of Eagle Winners Prophetic Ministry and spent over three hours praying for her resurrection.
Rev Karumba had clung on to hope that his wife would rise from the dead and Saturday would merely be a thanksgiving ceremony.
However, Bishop Ben Mwendandu, who led the requiem mass for Ms Pollyrose Ng’endo, said miracles still happen in this age depending on the will of God.
Most of the villagers were eager to see whether the family would make a last attempt at the resurrection bid or they would resign to fate and finally lay her to rest.
“Someone asked me why we exercise our faith by praying for the dead yet the dead don’t rise. I always tell them that we are behind a screen, only God decides.
Bishop Mwendandu also blamed the failed prayers on the worshipers’ lack of discretion.
Earlier on, journalists filming the proceedings were forced to leave the function with majority of speakers claiming the media wanted to embarrass them.
Pastor Karumba’s mother broke into angry shouts demanding that the journalists leave the family to bury their daughter and not report the proceedings of the burial ceremony.
Bishop David Mutwiri said many people have doubts on the ability of modern day clergy due to the proliferation of false preachers who are only after making wealth.
“When we pray for someone and they don’t resurrect, we should not despair.
“We have always prayed for many things and some don’t happen. Does it mean that God doesn’t exist?
“Not all prayers are answered. The problem is that people are no longer praying for the right things, only for wealth such as livestock,” said the head of Perazim Mission Centre.
The body was finally interred shortly after 5pm.
Fifa propose nine African World Cup spots
April 1, 2017 | 0 Comments
Fifa is proposing that Africa gets nine automatic places when the World Cup expands to 48 teams in 2026.
That would be an increase from the tally of five places that the continent currently holds.
A tenth African country will take part in a six-nation play-off tournament to decide the last two spots.
Football’s world governing body has revealed its plans for how all 48 places will be allocated, with 16 Europeans teams set to qualify.
“The Bureau of the Fifa Council, comprised of the Fifa President and the president of each of the six confederations, agreed on (the) proposed allocation,” said a Fifa statement.
The recommendations will be voted on by the Fifa Council at its next meeting on 9 May.
Fifa members voted in January to expand the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams, starting with the 2026 edition.
- Asia: 8 direct slots – increased from 4.5 (currently 46 members)
- Africa: 9 direct slots – increased from 5 (currently 54 members)
- North and central America: 6 direct slots – increased from 3.5 (currently 34 members)
- South America: 6 direct slots – increased from 4.5 (currently 10 members)
- Oceania: 1 direct slot – increased from 0.5 (currently 11 members)
- Europe: 16 direct slots – increased from 13 (currently 55 members)
- Final two places in 2026 decided by six-team play-offs
NB: Currently teams from Asia, north and central America, South America and Oceania play-off for two places hence .5 spots above.
Uber and Old Mutual help drivers to earn, learn and save
March 31, 2017 | 0 Comments
|In celebration of Global Money Week, Uber and Old Mutual have announced that they will be extending its free money management course that took place in South Africa to its driver-partners in Accra, (Ghana), Lagos (Nigeria) and Nairobi, (Kenya)|
|JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 31, 2017/ — In celebration of Global Money Week, Uber and Old Mutual have announced that they will be extending its free money management course that took place in South Africa to its driver-partners in Accra, (Ghana), Lagos (Nigeria) and Nairobi, (Kenya). The course reflects Global Money Week’s theme – Learn. Save. Earn. Driver-partners attending the workshops will be empowered with the skills to manage their finances in order to grow their income and save for the future. Workshops begin this week and drivers will receive an invitation via email to reserve their seat.
Driver-partners across Africa are extremely important to Uber and their own financial wellbeing is an ongoing priority. The technology and flexibility of the Uber app enables driver-partners to start, run and grow a small business on their own terms. By offering skills development in financial management, Uber can assist entrepreneurs in building sustainable businesses.
Recent statistics illustrate the contribution small and medium enterprises (SMEs) make to high growth economies on the African continent. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics notes that there are over 17 million SMEs registered in Kenya, with these businesses employing half of the Kenyan workforce. In Ghana, 92 per cent of companies registered are micro, small and medium enterprises and contribute 70 percent to the country’s GDP, while Nigeria has seen a 100% increase in small businesses in recent years.
However, this boom in entrepreneurship is not without its challenges. The findings of a study conducted by Invest In Africa (IIA) and Strathmore Business School illustrate that 70% of Kenyan SME’s fail within the first three years of operation owing to a failure to scale up. Nigeria’s national MSMEs survey conducted by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) in partnership with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) notes that only 69% of SMEs have business plans and 95% have no form of insurance. This lack of planning and financial savvy can cause the business to fail in their early stages. Through targeted education and skills development, entrepreneurs have a much stronger chance of ongoing success.
The Old Mutual On the Money workshops are free to Uber driver-partners in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana. By attending, they’ll learn to understand basic money principles, develop healthy savings habits and plan a path to financial well-being. The workshops were previously run in partnership with Uber in South Africa with great results and positive feedback from the driver-partners who attended.
Zweli Ngwenya, a driver-partner who attended the Old Mutual On the Money workshops in South Africa says, “This course has helped me a lot in learning how to plan my budget.”
Alon Lits, General Manager for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa says, “Uber is a passionate champion of innovation, both in the transport sector and in the development of entrepreneurs. With this partnership we can foster the skills of emerging entrepreneurs, empower driver-partners using our app to grow their small business, support their families and begin saving.”
John Manyike, Head of Financial Education at Old Mutual, says, “Global Money Week highlights the importance of money management skills and we are excited to be able to play a role in helping entrepreneurs make the most of their hard-earned money. Small businesses are key to driving inclusive economic growth in Africa – and their success will ultimately benefit us all. By extending this partnership with Uber across Africa, we are able to further promote financial fitness across the continent.”
Driver-partners can book the workshop directly via an email invitation.
Troika Backs IGAD On South Sudan
March 31, 2017 | 0 Comments
The members of the Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States) reiterate their strong support for the combined efforts of the African Union (AU), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and United Nations to end the conflict in South Sudan, and join in their recent calls on all armed parties, including the Government of South Sudan, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition, and other armed groups, to commit to a ceasefire. The Troika welcomes the recent commitment by President Kiir to IGAD leaders to announce a unilateral ceasefire by government forces, and it calls upon him to ensure that his order is carried out immediately and in full effect.
The Troika underlines that the dire humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is the direct result of the conflict and demands that all parties cease violence against humanitarian workers and obstruction of humanitarian assistance. Military offensives and the obstruction of lifesaving assistance must stop immediately in order to end the suffering and severe food shortages inflicted upon millions across South Sudan.
The Troika reiterates that there is no military solution to this conflict and that a durable end to the conflict will require a political process involving all the principal parties. An inclusive national dialogue, deemed credible by the South Sudanese people, could provide a means to redress root causes of conflict and build a true national consensus. As President Kiir committed in announcing the planned national dialogue, it should supplement, and not replace, the core elements of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.
The Troika endorses the ongoing efforts of AU High Representative Alpha Konar and UN Special Envoy Nicholas Haysom to encourage all parties to end fighting and engage in peaceful dialogue. It also fully supports Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission Chairperson Festus Mogae’s work towards a truly inclusive and effective process to implement the Agreement. In addition, the Troika endorses the work of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan, and the deployment of its Regional Protection Force. Lastly, the Troika notes the importance of breaking the cycle of impunity, and encourages further progress by the AU toward the rapid establishment of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan
*The text of the statement was issued jointly by the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Norway.
Letter from Africa: Should degrees be necessary for leaders?
March 31, 2017 | 0 Comments
In our series of letters from African journalists, Joseph Warungu looks at why Kenya insists that its senior political leaders must hold a university degree.
There is a whirl of activity online at the moment as Kenyans try to “find” their old school mates to stand by them in case they are required to prove that they did in fact attend school and sat national examinations.
It is all a light-hearted mock of the serious situation in which the Governor of Mombasa, Ali Hassan Joho, has found himself in.
Police are investigating whether Mr Joho forged his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) as alleged by the Kenya National Examinations Council.
He denies any wrongdoing but if these allegations are proven, Mr Joho could be in danger of criminal charges and could be stripped of the degrees he subsequently obtained at university.
A person vying for the position of governor is required by law to hold a degree from a recognised university.
This means Mr Joho could potentially be locked out of the race to defend his seat in the August general election.
It is this last point that leads Mr Joho to describe the whole situation as attempts to intimidate him.
“Some of the worst cases of abuse of power have involved highly educated people.”
Mr Joho, who is a member of the opposition ODM party, is a fierce critic of the ruling Jubilee Party government and is never afraid to clash publicly with the president.
It is unlikely that the learned men and women who drafted the 2010 constitution of Kenya had Mr Joho in mind when they included a university degree requirement for holders of the office of president, governor and deputy governor.
The thinking was that the president is the CEO of the country while governors are the CEOs of Kenya’s 47 regional county governments.
These positions require governance experience and a visionary leadership that is partly the product of a mind broadened by education.
But perhaps the big issue the constitution was trying to address was the culture of the 1980s and early 1990s, when the Kenyan president tended to be surrounded by half-educated sycophants.
These handfuls of men who had the ear of the president were so powerful they could influence public policy on just about anything.
The story is told of how in a bid to stem anti-government sentiments at public universities, one of these semi-literate leaders said: “The government has enough resources to hunt down and arrest this Karo Makisi who is inciting the students to riot”.
The poor politician was convinced that Karl Marx was a man physically present at the universities and was causing trouble for the government.
No-one had educated him on popular social, economic and political ideologies.
Another of the inner-circle politicians who barely went to school is famously said to have proposed a great solution to the frequent unrest and clamour for political change taking place in public universities.
“If all that the students want is dayarog, they should be given the dayarog to eat so that calm returns to the institutions.”
He mistook the students’ demand for dialogue as a type of food that was missing from their menu.
This is how far Kenya has come in the evolution of its political leaders.
Now fearful of being barred from running for the lucrative position of governor, many politicians who did not go to university have been studying day and night to obtain degrees.
But based on experience of poor leadership, Kenyans know that a university degree does not define a leader nor guarantee competent leadership.
Some of the worst cases of mismanagement of resources and abuse of power have involved highly educated people.
On the contrary, Kenya has in the past witnessed brilliant leaders who were elected into office without degrees and who have gone on to personify exemplary leadership.
The constitution of Kenya has another provision on leadership and integrity.
This requires people vying for public office to be elected on the basis of personal integrity, selfless service and honesty.
However, these core leadership principles have been reduced to a mere process of certifying that the candidate is of good conduct and free from corruption charges.
The clearance procedure is open to manipulation and abuse, and judging by the number of leaders who have been involved in grand corruption over the last five years, it is an exercise in futility.
So Kenyans can be forgiven for turning Mr Joho’s education pain into a national pastime online.
No matter how progressive the constitution is or how comprehensive the laws are, it is only when the people breathe life into its letter and spirit and defend it with their lives that transformation can truly begin to take place.
For now, because I’m not sure who else might be reading this, excuse me for a moment as I try to find my long lost classmates … just in case.
Kenya Sex Podcast Encourages Sexuality Dialogue
March 31, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Rael Ombuor*
Nini Wacera and Karen Lucas are known as the “sex queens” of Nairobi. In a rather conservative country, they co-host a popular podcast called “The Spread.” The project is aimed at opening dialogue about sexuality, providing information on sexuality to people of all ages, focusing specifically on the youth.
The platform kicked off in 2015 after Lucas and co-presenter Wacera noted that no one was having conversations with the youth about sex. There was a platform on the continent, and in Kenya specifically, for a sexuality-based talk show.
“It’s the way we were raised and it has a lot to do with religion and sort of like the religious beliefs that are pushed upon us and being told by our elders that certain things are wrong but I think it’s changing, there is a new wave and new generation of people who are a lot more open. If we can sort of spearhead that in Kenya then we are very happy to do that. It’s about unlearning all of the things we have been told are bad and taboo,” said Lucas.
A wide range of topics are discussed on the show, from sexual health, body image, pornography and the dangers associated with sex and sexual abuse to HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.
“There are many things that can be avoided, teenage pregnancies and the rise of HIV amongst our children, sexual abuse. If we are having conversations with our children about sex and sexuality all of this things can be avoided or reduced in our country,” said Lucas.
Twenty-nine year old Cathy Sonia is an ardent listener. Growing up, she struggled with her sexual identity; she had no one to talk to about it.
“A lot of us are raised to believe that sex is more of a private issue. It never comes across to our parents to talk to us about sex, that never happens and so as kids we grow up believing that that’s just a taboo,” said Sonia.
She said the show has helped her understand her sexuality.
“At the end of the day, the podcast is informative, it gives you informed information or informed knowledge so that at the end of the day, the teenager or the child is aware that sex is ok at the end of the day, that it is not a taboo. It is not something to be ashamed of, It is normal. It is just like eating.”
The Kenya Film and Classification Board is the government agency mandated to regulate the creation, broadcasting and distribution of films in the country. The Kenya Information and Communications Act empowers this agency to promote national values and morality. Its CEO, Ezekiel Mutual, says podcast produced in Kenya falls under the boards mandate.
He said he supports The Spread, but insists that ‘morality’ should be maintained. As long as the podcast does not promote homosexuality, he is fine with it.
“There are levels that could create an offense, but the discussions about sexuality in itself are very healthy, I think we need to provide this platforms for guys to talk about it,” said Mutual.
“We cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand and assume that the subject of Homosexuality is not happening in Kenya. It is happening, therefore I encourage the conversation. My problem would be, people who are in it should not use it to create misleading information that this is the norm or this is what should be in Kenya. If they are discussing the challenges, if they want to find help, if they want to find confidence in discussing and finding solutions among them, I have no problem.”
The Spread continues to channel sex-positive messages. The presenters said they will continue to support and promote young people’s healthy sexual development through their broadcasts.
Appointment of Dr. Joseph Nnanna as Chairman of AFC
March 30, 2017 | 0 Comments
LAGOS, Nigeria, 29 March 2017,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), a leading pan-African multilateral development finance institution and project developer, announces that Dr Sarah Alade, its Chairman, representing the Central Bank of Nigeria, from which she officially retired on 22 March, 2017, has also stepped down from her position as Chairman of the AFC Board of Directors with effect from today.
Dr Alade will be succeeded by Dr Joseph Nnanna, Deputy Governor at the Central Bank of Nigeria. Dr Nnanna has over three decades experience as an economist and banker. He has served as a consultant to the government of Nigeria, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and, on the Board of the International Monetary Fund.
Dr Sarah Alade, said: “It has been a privilege to serve as Chairman of such a dynamic and fast-growing organisation.
“I have had the pleasure of overseeing some of the company’s milestones, including the Company’s inaugural Eurobond, Swiss Franc (CHF) and Sukuk issuances, expansion of country membership from 9 to 14, expansion of the Corporation’s operational footprint to 28 countries, growth in the balance sheet to US$3.4 billion, and, the creation of the African Power Platform vehicle with Harith General Partners of South Africa. I have no doubt that the Corporation will continue to flourish under my successor and wish both him and AFC the best in the future.”
Andrew Alli, President and Chief Executive of AFC, paid tribute to Dr Alade: “We are all very grateful for the notable contribution that Dr Alade has made to AFC during her time as Chairman of the Board.
“Over the course of her tenure the Corporation has expanded rapidly, and approximately US$ 4billion has now been invested in projects across 28 African countries, helping to drive economic and social development. We welcome Dr Nnanna to his new role and look forward to working with him to continue this success in the future.”
AFC will celebrate its 10th anniversary 15th – 16th May 2017 at the AFC Live Summit, which will bring together many of the top international players in African infrastructure investment for high level discussions on the industry’s many challenges, and potential solutions.