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The Telescope


In the recent past, investors and trade experts have placed great interest in the Kenyan market, leading the country to reap vast economic benefits. But this had not been the case for a long time, given grave corruption scandals , policy uncertainty and the importance of patronage and political connections in the business arena.

However, the government has continually placed emphasis in prioritising reforms and great strides have been taken in their implementation. To date, the actions taken have generated positive opinions in the local and international business community.

The international community also needs more convincing in the country’s rising economic prosperity and whether it’s sustainable in alleviating the level of poverty across the nation. Even while huge capital investment projects that Kenya craves for to sustain growth continue to be injected into the market, there still has been a constant trend of failure to ensure inclusive growth.secretaries

It is not lost on us that the government has either selectively or collectively failed to provide employment for the burgeoning youthful population. And it is these youth who are being radicalised into terror groups.

Then, instead of being part of Kenya’s growth they are acting as a real threat to growth especially when considering the important role of security and stability in, meaningful economic growth.

It is important to note that the government’s national development agenda as articulated in the various policy documents is grounded on alleviating poverty, creating wealth, and improving the welfare of the common person.

“It is not lost on us that the government has either selectively or collectively failed to provide employment for the burgeoning youthful population.”

To achieve this, there is a general need to return to integrity and accountability in the management of public resources, efficient and fair administration of justice, institutionalisation of democratic government, respect for and enforcement of human rights and the development of strong and stable institutions of governance.

On the other hand, increased private investment will require sustained improvement in the investment climate. Currently, the reforms and the recent improvements in economic performance have not altered the perceptions of the Kenyan and international business communities that the business climate requires intensive modifications.youth

Also a broad range of factors that contribute to a poor business and investment climate, including infrastructure, tax rates and administration, corruption, cost of finance, crime, informal business practices, regulatory uncertainty draw to an unbalanced economic environment.

However, this is Kenya’s moment- Africa’s moment and the world is watching. The challenge in implementing a tenable policy roadmap should be one that is addressed quickly and aggressively. Half of Kenya’s population is covered by the youths and each year there are 200,000 more 20-year-olds than the year before.

The only true challenge is in transforming this youth bulge into an opportunity so as to propel this country into its implicit success.

The Telescope

Why the future of Kenyan journalism needs assessment

I profoundly refer to journalism as ‘a business of the heart and soul’.

Contrary to the popular notion that becoming a journalist is a midnight affair, the amount of sheer hard work and undivided commitment that goes into it lies beyond the beautiful faces, angelic voices or short and long articles you peruse through the newspapers.

No one has a clear cut image of the real world like a journalist does. Far from the narcissistic glamour that it presumably exudes, journalists hear and see some of the harshest stories in life, which they report to the world.

Images of politicians arguing, horrendous accidents that take lives, communities fighting and families weeping reign among incessant brushes with the almost noxious conception of the real world in a day.

Scribe Tom Chambers says, in an article penned not so long ago: “We spend all day separating fact from fiction, listening to PR cronies and dealing with slimy politicians. We have a strong, working knowledge of how the world works. We can delve into the intricacies of zoning laws, local and national politics, where to find the good restaurants, what’s happening with pop culture, where the good bands are playing and more.

Look, we’re paid to write. Every day. What’s more, our writing matters. It changes opinions, affects decisions and connects people with the world around them. We’re not spewing our angst or trying to fabricate an aura of creativity. We write about the real world — with real consequences. Our words go through three or four cranky editors who make us rewrite before it’s printed a few hundred thousand times”.00260869-13ff4e68a2d47d3214beb0e4ea004a0d-arc614x376-w614-us1

Nevertheless, in the wake of great achievements, there is still the silent fear of regular clampdowns in the freewheeling media and open cyberspace. Fittingly, it has led to a serious travesty of justice. Most recently, footage of GSU officers violence against journalists left some injured and hospitalised in Mombasa.

Constitutionally, laws that infringe on press freedom continue to sail through the legislature rendering self-censorship futile. In addition, the civil society and media continue unsuccessful lobbies against retrogressive legislation but have not achieved much.

Sure enough, the situation on the ground has improved but a dangerous decline in media freedom in recent years has been accompanied by an increase in threats and attacks.

Ultimately, if the Kenyan press is to survive such threats, a unified, politically impartial press unit needs to be in place sooner than later. If not so, journalists will continue to live in a state of limbo as Kenya ranks 100th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

This article was published on the May 9 2015  in People Daily Kenya .

The Telescope

Why integrity is abstract, yet a critical value

Success comes and goes, so goes a popular adage but integrity lasts forever.

Integrity has been defined as a constant consciousness of doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. That is no matter the consequences.

But this could prove daunting when we live in a fickle world where “the end justifies the means” has become an acceptable school of thought for far too many. It is a thriving era of over-promise and under-delivery. There in lies our Waterloo.  Today, people seem to gain power quickly and easily if they are willing to cut corners and act without the constraints of morality.

Known or unknown to them, dishonesty may provide instant gratification but it will never last. Dishonesty has a way of attracting retribution. It may take time but in the end, justice is served, and , as one magistrate once said, it is best served cold.C-F-Payne

I can think of several examples of people without integrity who are successful and who win without ever getting caught, which creates the false perception of the path to success.

Unfortunately, that momentary result comes at an incredibly high price with far reaching consequences.

An underestimated fact is the immeasurable profit that comes with a network of people who trust you as a person of integrity which lasts forever as compared to a negative word of your character that spreads like wildfire. The value of the trust others have in you is far beyond anything that can ever be placed on a scale.

On a personal level, integrity rewards in having an army of people willing to go the extra mile to help you because they know that recommending you to others will never bring damage to their own reputation of integrity. On the contrary, a person’s dishonesty will eventually catch with them.

It may not be today and it may not be for many years but you can rest assured that at some point there will always be the hour of reckoning.

We become more and more like the people we surround ourselves with day to day and if you want to build a reputation as a person of integrity then it follows, naturally, that you should surround yourself with people of integrity.

Why spend years building success then risk losing it at an instant to villainy relations? Careless mistakes of entertaining toxic company can prove very costly.

A Latin proverb says that wise men learn from the mistakes of others but fools from their own. Building a steady reputation of integrity takes years, but it takes only a second for it to come crumbling like a house of cards.

That is why I always say to all who will listen: “Do what is right, let the consequence follow.”

This article was published on March 22 2015  in People Daily Kenya