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The Telescope


Gone are the days when good work performance attracted reward. Most people in positions of influence will attest that maintaining ethics and values is an uphill task; given that political leaders expect favours, to pass laws or strike deals.

Dr. Monica Juma seems to be paying the price for being steadfast to her duty.

Recent events saw a section of Mps opposed to her appointment as Secretary to the cabinet throw sideshows, thus derailing logical debate on the issue.

After years of devoted service to the country and Africa at large, Juma, who had the requisite qualifications and vast experience in public service, security issues and academia was denied the opportunity to serve for what the legislators termed as lack of political approach (whatever that means!) in dealing with the public and elected representatives.

Regrettably Monica Juma is not the first to be vilified for performing her duties with dedication. In politics, power games, deceptions, and sabotages often block laudable individuals’ noble efforts ,thus threatening the county’s development.Noisemakers may be rewardedwith plum positions they have no idea about.

What was witnessed last week dented the electorate’s glimpse of hope in the legMonica Jumaitimacy of the legislature. Their persistent disregard for democracy by constantly misusing power so as to achieve their selfish interests particularly in this instance left many to say the least appalled.

It’s not lost to many that in Kenya this unbecoming conduct has cost us negative consequences such as political instability,skewed economic development and public resources wastage as well as reduced healthy political competition.

Granted the fight against corruption ways cannot be won overnight but we must strive to salvage leaders with integrity and check rogue Mps.

Regardless of our reform record, we will never achieve our social-economic potential without an honest, efficient legislative system.

Put simply, corruption strikes at the heart of our most cherished beliefs and assumptions about our democratic government. That makes it extremely dangerous to the body politics.

As for Juma, you have served your country well. You may never know but you have gained admirers of all ages and political divide.Continue doing so…virtue, we are told, is its own reward.

Given your capacity to fight, I very much doubt that the matter will end here.

This article was published on the People Daily Newspaper on June 20-21, 2015/PEOPLE WEEKEND.


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 

The Telescope

Will our leaders’  dented image ever be cleansed?

A hand count of leaders can attest to a soft landing after a long or short stint in power. Most testify to its sudden demise much faster than they even notice it is short-lived presence.

Despite the aura of omni-potence that most political leaders project, history records otherwise. So delicate are these fickle positions of power that when things truly fall apart, titles regularly unravel with unholy speed.

As economy cools and political temperatures rise in the country, domestic unrest continues being more poignant and consequences of any form of political unrest are never gradual, gentle neither are they partial.

For a second, let us appreciate that our society today is better than its predecessors in important ways but the current crop of political leaders identify as reactionaries. One time they are rolling on innovative currents — impressively smart- but the next they seem to be saying or doing things that are either morally repugnant or utterly ridiculous.

What follows then leaves more questions than answers. How confident are we that our society is better than its predecessors in important ways and how do we compare to history along dimensions we might care about?

Truth is even at the wake of record innovation, we’ve had lengthy digressions into social  injustice issues, corruption among other ills. One feels concerned that we could stumble anytime now.

Politicians so far have not shown a competence to be able to handle all these balls in the air at the same time. Our confidence in them reduces by the minute as they engage in unabashed acts leaving nothing to be desired.

It’s appalling to see elected individuals in places of policy making participating in foolhardy episodes seeing that they are not immune to pettiness that passes for national politics, hatred for political commentary and crushing acrimony for governance.

It is no longer surprising to see them going into blows, a perfect reflection of the bellicose nature of the Kenyan national character.

Was the electorate wrong to expect the current crop of politicians to rehabilitate the image and authority that make for the government? Are they to be trusted intellectually even morally with any oversight role. Will their dented reputation ever be cleansed?

Kenyans have failed to be introspective, leading to a recurrent preference for mediocrity.

Conventional wisdom challenges that democratic institutions such as in this country, be structures of voluntary cooperation that solve distributive conflicts and benefit all lest we be entirely lured into diminutive politics.

This article was published on March 15,2015 on People Daily Kenya