Browsing Tag

Uhuru Kenyatta

The Telescope


A culture of mediocrity in leadership has gradually but surely sunk into the Kenyan economic space and we now feel the pinch.

It has finally dawned on us or rather, those who were quiet now are starting to speak up on inefficiencies that abound in government. And unfortunately this time, President Uhuru’s spin doctors have run out of stunts.

What is economic growth when wananchi cannot afford basic commodities? The economy seems to favour a few, with graft at its peak. Education issues are being conducted in a carefree manner. Recently the media was under the threat of being gagged. Kenyans are becoming restless and unless the trend changes, we could be headed for disaster.

However, rather than point fingers at the government and politicians, the electorate should lead in restoring the country to sanity. The buck no longer stops with the President and his government but we the citizenry.

We have contributed to the sorry situation by sitting on the sidelines as looters have a field day. We have forfeited our responsibility and must be held accountable.

It is time that we exercise people’s power in our communities, organisations and by far and large through the people we elect to power. Citizenship, not leadership, is the concept that we more urgently need to examine. Wananchi should bar the government from making excuses for failure.

“We cannot afford to sleep only to wake up in 2018 to complain about the same rot in leadership we are experiencing now”

We should not complain from the comfort of their sitting rooms with earphones or laptops on while the country sinks. Each and every one of us is a leader in their own right— as a manager, father or civil servant. We need to seek ways to straighten the existing wrongs in our society.

Our silence on bad leadership is what has led to the failure to produce a Kenyan brand from the millions of tonnes of raw material Kenya exports abroad. What is the role of the Opposition? To shout when it fails to eat too?

The welfare of a people in any given geographical space is tied to the quality of elected leaders. But more importantly is the fact that the effectiveness of those who govern is directly determined by the willingness and ability of the people to hold them accountable.

The willingness to be involved by actively participating, directly or indirectly, in governance is at the very heart of citizenship; this is our role. The next electioneering period is not far and it will require active and involved citizens refusing to elect and tolerate mediocrity but instead vote in the best men and women to represent their affairs in public offices.

Months leading to the next general election will be a great test not only to leadership, but also to citizenry. We cannot afford to sleep only to wake up in 2018 to complain about the same rot in leadership we are experiencing now. We must remain vigilant.

It is my firm belief that Kenya will be great, but it will take personal and collective leadership to achieve its rightful status.

This article was published on People Weekend on 31-1 November, 2015

The Telescope


Patriotism, or if you like national loyalty, is the love and devotion to ones country. This sentiment is closely related to nationalism where a group of individuals identify themselves with the nation based on political ideology, common cultural characteristics or even common religion or race.

But where do we draw the line between patriotism and nationalism? A clear line cannot be drawn but there is a positive and destructive side to both patriotism and nationalism.

The destructive force kicks in when one group of nationalists try to dominate others and refuses any form of criticism or elucidation. Patriotism becomes a problem when it is blind to the problems it causes the nation.

Blind patriotism is fanatical. It is also called chauvinism and can never lead to fascism.

As Mark Twain put it, “The true patriotism, the only rational patriotism, is loyalty to the nation all the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it”.

Today, Kenya confronts several challenges but the teachers strike still tops the chart. Seemingly, the conversation has evoked some passionate and heated debates over the past few weeks but like so many second-order priorities the Government risks letting the matter overshadow the real business of running an economy at its all tSRCchairime peak at the moment.

Truth is that the teachers issue runs deeper than what meets the eye.It’s also plain to see that at this point even the teachers representatives have lost focus of what is important. Rather than seeking a solution that will see teachers resume back to their duties news bulletins have over the recent past been flawed with mortifying threats between the Cabinet Secretary of Education, Teachers Unions representatives, Salaries and Remuneration chair among other quarters.

This stuff is just embarrassing and such destruction may drive popularity ratings among Kenyans for those involved but it’s in bad taste and diminishes the Kenyan brand- much to the delight of those stirring the pot but they do not advance the vital national discussion about the problem on the ground.

Stakeholders must ultimately unite around an answer that recognizes the gravity of the circumstances surrounding the strike and the urgency of implementing corrective measures. Teachers back at home want to hear solutions on the issues not the internal strife marred with brazen mudslinging and hate advertisements.

Also there is no great mystery here, we all witnessed in utter dismay this week when the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy-Cord took on the teachers issue on a public stage in their breathtaking contrast of a solution finding mission that backfired badly on them.

It’s not lost to many that CORD is manufacturing an outrage in part to undermine the Government, in part because they hope to tarnish President Uhuru Kenyatta’s name and in part, because we are quickly approachiPresident Uhuru Kenyattang the next elections and this is an opportunity to rile up its base for fundraising purposes.

However that aside good leadership means dealing with second order issues quickly and efficiently and not allowing them to ferment and dominate the political discourse for days or weeks on end while matters that actually make a tangible difference to our living are allowed to take a back seat.

For the government, the country borders between the boundary of decency and ridiculousness a solution is needed, now.

This article was published on the People Weekend on September 26-27,2015

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