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Politics

The Telescope

LET’S VALUE OUR FARMERS AND THEY’LL TAKE CARE OF US

Agriculture has been the bedrock of Kenya’s economy even before independence but the story has changed.

Today, the government can no longer reassure farmers that they can eke a living alongside the current wave of industrialization to provide the bulk of Kenya’s sustenance. More so, laws that once supported the country’s mainstay are so discriminatory it’s a miracle farmers still make a living out of agriculture.

Theoretically, the government has an elaborate food policy but it has yet to activate it. For years on end it has dragged its feet over what, admittedly, are difficult political and economic decisions.

As it is, Kenya is barely food self-sufficient. It’s like a cork bobbing on water which could easily go under.

Trip down memory lane At independence, the division of numerous formerly white-owned farms among Africans was a political necessity but over the years that has changed.

Although it is politically impossible to reverse that division today, there are alternatives to halt further fragmentation. coffee

Take for example the coffee industry. In its current state, it is clearly a crime against farmers. This sector has for years been manipulated and disoriented to facilitate the exploitation of the many by the rich few.

However, Kenya is not-yet an industrialized country, so there is not much one can do until jobs can be found meaning that in many ways more than one people still depend on agriculture.

But as days go by coffee farmers are ageing and their children don’t see a future in farming. Most of them make less than a dollar a day in their household. Farm sizes are small and continue to shrink due to population pressures. Chances are bleak for farmers and they will not hold out any longer.

Today, it’s unbelievable that farmers wallow in regulatory bondage whilst they can grow and sell their own crops.

More so, agriculture is a devolved function and county governments can provide farmers with soft loans to buy milling equipment so that through their cooperatives, they can process their produce to do value addition.

Counties can also help train farmers not just about crops, but also processing and marketing.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and the political class must seize the arc of history and correct this injustice and give farmers the chance to farm their way out of abject poverty.

He can free the farmer from regulatory bondage, allow them to grow, process, sell and own their own crop at fair pricing for both the dealer and farmer.

He should investigate the coffee sector with a view to prosecuting those who have brought in corruption, vandalism and thievery that have cost hardworking and innocent farmers so dearly.

This article was published on People Daily on Friday 4th December 2015

The Telescope

MAINSTREAM MEDIA STILL STRONG DESPITE STIFF COMPETITION

Tumetoka analog tuko digital but even while the digital status is supposed to herald the demise of traditional media it’s becoming increasingly hard to talk about the media today without someone ardently referencing  old media’s unopposed importance.

Persistently pundits have warned about the dire situation facing our broadcast stations and newspapers. Warning about the surge in citizen journalism on blogs, social media, big media flank points on Youtube videos as evidence of a new era in media competition.

It’s also easy to believe in this alluring argument because we still nature our belief in the democratic promise of new media outlets.

A Pulitzer award in media is the highest recognition that a journalist can ever be accorded and for that its every prestigious. In the past few years the academic journalists on the Pulitzer panel have also jumpeddownload into the band wagon and acknowledged several online-only sources like the Huffington Post for the award , maybe signifying their recognition for the changing landscape.

Of course journalism is journalism and while several intriguing info graphics continue to reign in the public domain showing how social media is taking over the breaking news industry from traditional sources let us analyse the situation more closely.

Maybe most of us are missing on the point of journalism when discussing technology. The fact that something newsworthy can be published instantly on Twitter or recorded on video for Youtube does not honestly mean that traditional media is on its deathbed.

It also may be lost to some that traditional media’s role has always been to filter citizen journalism and bring news worthy content to a wider audience. Print and broadcast media still consists of generating engaging story ideas, tracking down sources, synthesizing of information and drafting a coherent written product.There are citizens who will never rest until they read a hard copy of a newspaper, magazine or even a book.

Print and broadcast media still consists of generating engaging story ideas, tracking down sources, synthesising information and drafting a coherent product. Unlike social media mainstream media  has constantly offered its audiences organizations and individuals cultivated credibility.

Nothing on twitter has been verified and while users turn to particular accounts it’s still a matter of trust.

Just as Twitter or any other social site has helped in breaking news it has more than once been the hub for spreading of inaccurate information perhaps even disinformation then like a forest on fire the same information is picked and amplified by other bloggers.

So far this much is clear though, there are transformational changes in the news ecosystem and social media is struggling for a position. These hyper-local contributors are redefining the very nature of news while pushing to new limits journalism’s entrepreneurial spirit.Internet-IPv6

The generally media is evolving just like anything else. But with new news delivery techniques together with great designs and a vibrant network of trained and curated individuals will help ensure the viability of the medium for a long time to come.

The winner of this tag of war is neither new or old media but a hybrid of the two.

So is traditional media on its death bed? Far from it!

This article was published on People Weekend Newspaper on 8-9, August 2015.

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The Telescope

JUMA’S NOMINATION HAS EXPOSED MPs HATRED FOR INTEGRITY

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.