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POTUS

GES 2015
The Telescope

LONG TERM POLICY FOCUS NEEDED TO DRIVE NEW KENYA

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

12
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