Tuesday, August 27, 2013


The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), an umbrella of protestant churches and other Christian organizations in Kenya, last week held a 3 day long conference to celebrate 100 years of its existence since its establishment in 1913.This comes at a time when the church struggles to come to terms with all manner of accusations being leveled against it from faking miracles to using the word of God to extort the flock among many other accusations. While some of the accusations might be true, it’s also important to acknowledge some of the positive attributes of the church, it’s important to consider the role that the church has played in shaping the wellbeing of this country since the period before independence to date. Kenya’s history cannot be told without mentioning the church. In the 80s and 90s the church played a huge role in the clamor for multi-party democracy from single party democracy widening the democratic space where today the business of politics is no longer a monopolistic affair but a situation where Kenyans have a wide pool of choices to select from. The church was in the forefront in the push for constitutional reforms through the famous Ufungamano initiative in the early 2000 resulting in the formation of a people’s commission mandated to collect views of Kenyans on the desired constitution. The church has also been heavily involved in shaping the education system of this country through establishment of schools including the famous Alliance High School and institutions of vocational training to respond to demand for skills among Kenya’s young population. Mission hospitals and other health care facilities in the country are a product of the church.

In this backdrop, even as the nation gears up to celebrate her 50 years of independence from the colonial masters, it will also be fair for Kenyans to accord the church the respect it deserves considering the immense contribution the institution has made to this nation albeit the few flaws here and there.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Makueni County is a by-election away to becoming the first county to elect the first woman senator in Kenya. This has been made possible by the youthful advocate Kethi Kilonzo offering her candidature for the position in a by-election following the demise of the immediate former Senator Mutula Kilonzo who is also Kethi’s biological father. Kethi’s candidature has already received an overwhelming support from the CORD alliance bigwigs led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the Makueni community at large pushing high her prospects of clinching the position.

The young advocate, who came into public limelight at the height of the 2013 presidential poll petition representing Africog, is a novice in politics however the professors of politics surrounding her and who have been in the business for donkey years will most likely tutor her to her best form. She is definitely a fast learner going by how she conducted herself in her maiden public political address. She managed to speak to the wananchi of Makueni in the simplest expressions possible considering the audience she is used to, a bunch of learned friends addressing each other in legal jargon inside courtrooms.

All said and done, the verdict of the Makueni electorate will determine whether or not this history will be written.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013



Social media networks such as Facebook have provided a platform for us to freely express our thoughts and ideas. We are in the age of enjoying freedom of expression and it’s a right enshrined in the new constitution nevertheless some Facebook users have begun misusing this freedom. I am particularly perturbed by the kind of careless comments fellow Kenyans make on some Facebook pages especially during this fragile and sensitive period as Kenya prepares for a general election in 2013.I have come across comments that if not censored will rip this country apart along ethnic or political lines and most likely take us back to what transpired in 2007/08 popularly referred to as Post-Election Violence. A certain political party which has a page on Facebook claimed that there’s some fraud taking place in the ongoing voter registration exercise. They claimed that in some registration centers voters are not being issued with the slips and that the slips are being bought in order to deregister people of a certain political party .This sparked a chain of reckless comments, people lashing out at each other. I wonder why people can spread such propaganda yet IEBC made it clear that the only thing that will be required during the actual voting exercise is the National ID card and not any slip or voters card. We should be careful on what we comment on Facebook and please could administrators of pages whose posts spark violent and careless comments be quick to remove or delete such comments.

My Wishes and I


One evening   I went to shop in a supermarket and as I was waiting on the queue to pay my bill I glanced at the exit and spotted this guard hopelessly staring at a lady standing next to him fiddling with her costly phone. I really felt for this guy because from his look I would tell he was saying to himself, “ I wish it was me, or I wish this was mine(the phone)”I watched his hopeless face as hordes of people walked in and out splashing a lot of cash in exchange for all sorts of nice merchandise .I know there are so many people out there who are like this guard in the supermarket and who keep on blaming themselves, their families, their environment and even God for not letting them have what others have. They keep on saying to themselves, “I wish it was me”

I think I am one of them, every time I walk on the road or streets and see some young pint sized girls looking 10 years older than me driving state of the art expensive cars, I always recite the phrase, “woiye I wish it was me”

Every time I visit the so called leafy suburbs and watch kids being driven to school by their parents in nice vehicles or being picked from home by their school buses, “I wish when I was a kid I enjoyed the same kind of privilege” always flashes on my mind.

Sometimes when I pass by Galitos, or Pizza Inn and see them buying pizzas, chips and chicken while in my pocket I only have a rugged 50bob that can probably afford some light meal in a backstreet cafĂ©  where chances of being mugged are high, I always wish I were them.

Sometimes I get lucky and make some trips to the airport probably to see off some friends or something. There I meet opulence face to face. I see rich kids and their folks with their huge baggage running to either catch a plane or have just landed, I always wish I could fit in their baggage,in their bags so that I can fly like them.

I bet now I have hit 1001 “I wishes” no wonder it turned out so easy to figure out what the “staring at the lady guard” at the supermarket was thinking. However I have decided I am going to put a period at the end of my wishes, I am going to start a new sentence .I came across something that my father scribbled for me and that is what is going to start my new sentence. He said to me that he shall fulfill all the desires of my heart according to his riches in glory; I therefore start my sentence with the word desire. I wish I had that guard’s contact I would have called him to welcome him into this new narrative. And to all of you out there,” I wish” won’t help you, it’s a vehicle to take back to history, focus on the future and begin desiring.


Nairobi, January 22, 2013


Over the past few days debates have been raging on concerning the battle for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat whether the immediate former Embakasi legislator Ferdinand Waititu is fit to manage the affairs of Kenya’s capital, the East and Central Africa Economic hub compared to one Dr.Evans Kidero, the former managing director of Mumias Sugar. One thing has emerged from this that whereas Waititu represents the low income earners most of them in the informal settlements, Kidero on the other hand represents the high and middle class, the bourgeois.

The later have been engaging in discussions in the boardrooms, offices and social media whether really Waititu can manage the city considering his perceived rather low levels of education or professionalism and the kind of antics he has been displaying in the past while apparently fighting for the rights of the poor, those who’ve come face to face with injustices. A section of this bourgeois class are worried that he will extend the same kind of gymnastics even when he becomes the governor of Nairobi so they are up in arms, using all kind of terms to refer to Waititu all in the name of discrediting him as the preferred candidate to manage Nairobi.

One thing this class of people fails to grasp is that wasting a lot of time in debates trying to discredit him will not change anything besides voting. Most of these people don’t participate in the voter exercise, all they do is  pretend they’re busy on their computer screens whereas thousands and thousands of the so called low class earners, are out there flocking polling stations and casting their ballots in favor of the person they feel can’t stand by their side wherever whenever.

Anyhow, the point I am trying to drive home is that change cannot be brought about by postings on facebook walls or twitter or chatting and debating with our workmates every morning in the office per se, it can only be realized if all this is mixed with action, walking into polling stations on 4th March and deciding our future by voting in the right leaders. So let all and sundry go out and vote.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Beyond Church Precincts Empowering Communities for Self Governance and Development

Decentralization has been hailed as one of the key ingredients of development and good governance world over. It gives the people the opportunity to participate in the management of public resources. This could be one of the reasons why the Kenyan government thought it necessary to adopt the concept by developing various decentralized funds to cascade development down to the grassroots. In 2003 an Act of Parliament No 11 led to the establishment of CDF (Constituency Development Fund) which required that 2.5% of government ordinary revenue collected every financial year is administered through CDF.3/4 of this amount is equitably divided between the 210 constituencies whereas a ¼ divided based on poverty index of a constituency hence constituencies with high poverty index get a bigger allocation.

Since then, CDF has led to tremendous development at the grassroots, construction of schools, health facilities, water projects are among development projects initiated as a result of CDF. The fund has further helped in scaling down levels of illiteracy through provision of bursaries to students unable to raise school fees. This notwithstanding, the management of CDF funds has had its fare share of challenges among them being minimal or lack of community participation in the running of the funds, identification of projects, implementation and even monitoring of the same. There’s a huge gap existing between communities (the right holders) and the duty bearers (those charged to oversee the funds).Most people are afraid of approaching their leaders e.g. MPs to enquire about the running or utilization of the funds hence lack of accountability.

A CDF funded school construction project in
constituency (file photo)

It’s on this premise that National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has initiated a programme dubbed ” empowering communities for self governance and development” seeking to improve the capacity of local communities to participate in project design, implementation and demand for transparency and accountability in utilization of decentralized funds CDF included. The programme is targeting 14 constituencies in Coast region. The organization has trained Community Accountability Facilitators to raise awareness among constituents on decentralized funds and further helping them understand their roles; demanding for accountability, involvement in project identification and implementation and monitoring. The organization has further trained Social Auditors to peruse through project files available at CDF offices and visiting projects to verify what’s on the records against the actual. The auditors document their findings; call for community  forums which brings together CDF officials and other stakeholders and present their findings. This provides a platform for right holders to engage the duty bearers.
Bunge La Mwananchi Changamwe constituency in session
Since the inception of this programme mid 2010 a lot has been realized. Communities have been empowered and several indicators can attest to this. For instance constituents in Changamwe and Kinango constituencies with the help of the trained community accountability facilitators and social auditors have formed a platform popularly known as “Bunge La Mwananchi” where people gather to discuss pertinent issues affecting them and especially in relation to decentralized funds.

This platform has created interaction between the community and the duty bearers. Communities are now able to confront management committees and their area MPs to demand for accountability. It’s envisaged that once communities are empowered they will demand, of course using the right channels, for what is rightfully theirs and eventually the government of the day will be put on its toes to provide quality services to its citizenry.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Setting Ground for Potential Investors

Foreign investors including multinational companies are beginning to grow interest in the East African market. Price water Coopers is one of them planning to put up a regional headquarter in East Africa. Kenya being the economic hub for the region is at a vantage point of absorbing these investors. This notwithstanding, there are quite a number of factors that are likely to repel the investors away and settle for other countries within the region.

The first factor is political instability in the country. Based on what happened in 2007, the violence that erupted after the disputed presidential elections, some investors are still not certain whether 2012, Kenya’s next general election is going to be peaceful or there will be a repeat of 2007.Despite operating in a new constitution that has provisions expected to curb malpractices during elections as happened in 2007, there is still need for political will. Politicians must ensure they adhere to the new law and play their cards right. They must select their words carefully whenever traversing the country campaigning. There’s need to crack down on the illegal militias that at times are used by politicians to cause chaos during elections. This way, we will have a peaceful election and will build faith of the investors to invest in our country.

The other factor is corruption. This has been the order of the day in Kenya. Virtually all sectors are infected by this corruption virus and it seems to mutate every time we try treating it. Kenya has been rated among top nations where graft has thrived. Corruption will scare away investors since they will have the notion that to penetrate into the Kenyan market you have to part with something hence an extra cost of operation, so to avoid this they’d rather go to another country where they won’t incur any unnecessary cost to bribe in order to penetrate the market for instance the issue of how former KPLC director Mr.Gichuru allegedly demanded pay from any company which wanted to do business in Kenya.. As a nation we have to face corruption head on and fight to eliminate it. The anti graft commission has to steer clear of any political interferences in administering its mandate. Kenyans must throw all their weight behind the Commission in waging war against this monster since a collective and joint effort will bear victory.

The energy sector has also got to find alternative means for energy provision. Explore other means such as geothermal power, wind power to supplement hydro power currently in use. The frequent power outages are leading to loss of millions of money. Many businesses can’t operate because they use machines that are run by electricity. Some resort to using generators which guzzle a lot of fuel, a commodity whose cost has of late hit the roof. This is an extra cost of operation for businesses and if not addressed then very many potential investors eyeing our market will shy away.

Poor infrastructure, transport and communication systems are other factors that are likely to prevent these investors from pumping their money into Kenya. We are however on the right footing with the construction of Thika superhighway, one of the busiest highways in East Africa. Once complete, it’s going to ease traffic flow and hence smooth movement of goods and services. The expansion of Jomo Kenyatta Int’l Airport is another plus for us. It will enable the handling of more airlines hence more business for the country. Construction of Lamu port and opening up of a road linking Kenya to Ethiopia will also spur more investments. We however need to improve our communication systems.Fibre cables have been installed and therefore service providers need to ensure there’s access to high speed internet to ease communication and online transactions as well. The issue of people traveling for miles and climbing trees to find signal for cell phones should be a story of the past. Every area in Kenya should have clear network connection.

Above all, God has to come first. Kenyans have to turn to God and put him first in all their dealings. All said and done, soon we will be giving the likes of Malaysia and others a run for their money.