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GES 2015
The Telescope


Former Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph once said that Kenyans have peculiar habits. And nowhere in Nairobi is our peculiarity more pronounced than on social media. The digital culture that has slowly but surely taken over most national conversations is vicious and astounding at the same time.

Using hash tags and blazing keyboards to ensure that Kenya is discussed fairly and with respect in the online market, Kenyans on Twitter better known as #KOT are a growing phenomenon born out of the social media boom in the pulsating Kenyan economy in an increasingly crowded online universe.

Media giant CNN found itself on the wrong side of #KOT last week when they called Kenya a hotbed of terror. #SomeoneTellCNN trended for a little over a day with Kenyans roasting CNN for the seemingly offensive tagline. To add to the action was the responsive hash tag #GESKenya2015 covering the successful sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) that by extension holds a world of promise for the country’s unrelenting entrepreneurial spirit.

POTUS ‘s visit is a key moment in Kenya’s history to renew the right kind of international support for citizen-led development.

In the wake of this new maximum gain, Kenya has continually been highly regarded as a country on the move. Capable of building a firm, irreversible alignment to progress so as to achieve sustainable development that Kenya boasts of as a fast rising economy .

However the big question is: How does Kenya navigate towards further benefits to take on the world after GES? Does Kenya have what it takes to sustain its rapid growth? Can the country and its leadership steer towards modern economic structures that focus on technology driven markets and redefine our reliance on traditional commodity markets?

It’s no doubt that Kenya has the power to tap, greatly into its own innovative revolution that can place her on the world map; M-Pesa is one of those innovative ideas among many others being injected into the market.

Imposing opportunities that can be availed to our able youths and women also hold great potential to transform the entrepreneurship industry enormously. By incorporating women and youth the nation will steer towards a devolved connection throughout the country – from the government quarters to the grass root level so as to connect new technologies to diffuse executive powers while laying a much needed emphasis on the integrity of leaders and governance institutions taking centre stage.

Also, accountability efforts by civil societies and think tanks must be expanded dramatically. With an extra caution to avoid a repeat of past mistakes of lionizing specific leaders or regions as President of the United States Barack Obama’s warned so as its easier for Kenyans to hold dormant leaders to account.

POTUS ‘s visit is a key moment in Kenya’s history to renew the right kind of international support for citizen-led development. Start ups of initiatives that will boost vital sectors such as business, technology, health, education, agriculture among others are welcome .They will offer great potential to reinvigorate Kenya to reach its maximum potential to become a thriving Investment Hub.

However as Kenya looks forward to reap from the global summit an emerging challenge weighs on our part. To tap into our profound potential we require a long term policy focus and a redefined management strategy. Vision 2030 is not too far from our reach but as the evil hand of corruption continues to linger unchecked our country’s economic mission will remain disrupted.

This article was published on the People Weekend Newspaper 1-2, August 2015

Kenya's Supreme Court judges file into the chamber during the opening of the 11th Parliament in the capital Nairobi April 16, 2013. REUTERS/Noor Khamis (KENYA - Tags: POLITICS)
The Telescope

Our collective ruin stems from trusting politicians

Leadership does not have a secret formula; all true leaders go about things in their own way. It’s this ability to think differently that sets them apart and perhaps makes them popular or unpopular.

Virtuously by order of their mandate or through corruptible means, no one can dispute the fact that the senators that emerged top in the recently released survey that ranked them according to their influence on the ground, exercise autocratic leadership.They understand that leadership boils down to people.

Whatever the style, whatever the method, they believe in themselves, their ideas, their stuff and their staff. Nobody can be successful alone and these politicians know this all too well.

One such man is Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko , a controversial populist whose brand of service is dismissed by many, but appreciated by an equally large number. He incessantly seems to have fully embraced the benefits of social power.

Social power is the basic common element in politics, economics, and all other social relationships. It is possessed by all individuals and social groups and arises out of their connections to each other. Robinson Crusoe, marooned on a desert island, didn’t have to deal with it until he met Friday.

Regardless of how you choose to look at it, Kenyan politicians’ performance or lack thereof in office and our tolerance towards the unbecoming habit continues, to dent the devolved government on the long run.

Furthermore it is rather regrettable that as Kenyans, we have repetitively cultivated in our repute for short attention spans and high expectations consequently helping our politicians to master the art of deluding our minds by telling us what we want to hear rather than that which is necessary for the country’s long-term good.And therein lies our collective path to ruin .kenya_debate001_16x9

We continue to stand at the peripheries of our rightfully deserved prosperity risking the likely nosedive unless we make some difficult but necessary decisions.

Our constant failure to yield actions will maintain politicians ignorance to Kenya’s democratic deficit as we are painfully aware of it from various surveys that persist on finding the electorate increasingly concerned that politicians are not working for them the way that they should.

Besides, some politicians dormancy is a violation to Kenyans democratic rights .

This consequently results to a less democratic government which in return yields less legitimate actions; alienating the public.

We have long suffered under governments that have seemed to consistently favour special interests over the public interests and worse off opposition parties that remain drunk on political opportunism. Its about time Kenyans take action against latent politicians who have mastered the craft of deceit and shenaniganism.

However, even in this light, I respect politicians that are genuinely serving their electorates as per the book but they unfortunately occupy a pitifully small fraction.

I long for politicians who will value real discussion and debate. I long for a political party that will have a true vision for the whole nation. What is the future going to be like? I shudder to think sometimes. Wake up Kenyans!

This article was published on May 23 2015 on People Daily Kenya

The Telescope

Women ought to embrace the spirit of competition

Women have made long strides towards attaining independence, authority and opportunity.  On the domestic front, women are experts at a tensile brand of quiet authority and no one can deny that she wields — without lifting a finger and by virtue of sheer existence — an outsize, open-ended, irrevocable influence in life.

Nevertheless, for a few thousand years women had no history. Marriage was our calling and meekness our virtue but now what has been traditionally considered female traits — strong communication skills, a collaboration instinct a gift of juggling emotional  intelligence are hailed as desirable leadership qualities.

Over the last century, in stuttering succession, we have gained a voice, a vote, a room, decorously or defiantly. Women have begun to transform the idea of power which had for so long been a male construct.

Across the board, women are separating success from purpose, focusing less on titles, careers or status but rather more on accomplishments, influence and responsibility.

Nonetheless, even with this considerable amount of success, a glance at the proportion of women in public positions of power today versus their male counterparts still reveals that we have a long way to go.

Today, in most countries, women still face extra challenges when pursuing public positions. The motion on the two-thirds gender rule has recently amassed strong protests among respective quarters, especially women leaders. The rule that will unlock the current gender impasse without acrimony placing women in key decision making arms of government seeks to increase the female voice in national issues.

However, democracy specifically in elective processes call for competition and it’s about time women stepped up to the task.

Internationally, women in power such as Hillary Clinton (now vying for POTUS in the 2016 elections)MTE4MDAzNDEwMDU4NTc3NDIy and former Australian PM Julia Gillard, continue to inspire women to go for top leadership positions.

Liberians, for instance, did not vote in Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as President based on her gender but her abilities as a leader. Margaret Thatcher was also Britain’s PM for 11 years and fought hard to retain her seat without the expectation for favours just because she was a woman.

Sexism and gender should never be a political issue,  neither are manners, respect or courtesy. Women who intend to occupy the positions that will be availed should rise to the reality and create the requisite atmosphere to competitively participate in elective posts to join the legislature and county assemblies. Handling issues much less like outsiders but equal competitors to the political process.

This article was published on the May 16  2015  in People Daily Kenya