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Category Archives: Social

We Are The Proverbial Children Of The World

If you are reading this you either know this, know but don’t care, care but don’t know, both, a combination of all of all four but all of that doesn’t matter to this moment take the moment to reflect on what this was all about and act accordingly.

That will be your gift to the world, unless you don’t care in which case you would not be reading this this far in the first place unless you’re the very representation of fill the blank.

There comes a time when we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on pretending day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
We all are a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know,
Love is all we need

[Chorus:]
We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me

Send them your heart so they’ll know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stone to bread
So we all must lend a helping hand

[Chorus]

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well…well…well
Let’s realize that a change can only come
When we stand together as one

[Chorus]

Read the intro again.

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Posted by on February 16, 2014 in Religion, Social

 

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Reflections From A Field Trip To A Few Medical Clinics In Poor Communities of Rift Valley, Kenya

Most of us who visit home regularly from Diaspora rarely if at all find ourselves visiting other than our own villages, which is quite normal.

The other day while visiting Kenya, however, I had occasion to go on a field trip with a senior official from the Ministry of Health that initially was to cover several community clinics in Naivasha, Nakuru and Elburgon but, due to unavoidable circumstances, this was scaled back to just visiting several clinics in Naivasha as we had to return to Nairobi. The whole exercise was intended to gather information directly from the care-providers with a view of improving their delivery of health services, including identifying enabling tools to make their critical clinics more modernized and efficient.

Two things stuck to my mind from this field trip.

First, the dedication and commitment of these basic care providers, who double up as owner/operators of these clinics. Every one of the owner/operators we visited showed a level of genuine desire to provide basic health-care and not one gave me the impression they were in for their own aggrandizement. Contrast that with the hawks we often have to deal with elsewhere with overstretched hands asking what’s in it for them and never mind what the business proposal is or how it would benefit the country.

Second, just looking at the abject poverty surrounding many of these clinics was quite an experience for anyone to behold. There we were riding in our SUVs into these communities which basically are slums and as we are rolling by what somehow is a way meandering through these jam-packed residential areas, you could up close look and see the eyes of an impoverished child that says it all.

And the first question that comes to mind and I loudly asked those riding with me, is why?

Why in 2012 we can have this much poverty still devastating many an innocent child, let alone their adult families?

In a way, this was a rhetorical question for we know the answer.

The bigger question and one Kenyans must answer come 2013 is who really among those vying would be best placed at the top as president not only to change this culture of status quo on everything, but to really do something to make a dent in addressing the serious problem of rural and urban poverty.

I know many of us are doing what we can to alleviate the poverty from an individual point of view but it’s obviously going to take a collective effort by both us as individuals and the government formulating and implementing policies that can finally seriously begin to tackle head on and eliminate or greatly reduce this devastating trio-problems of poverty, malnourishment and poor or lack of healthy living conditions.

Rather than basing voting along tribal lines or alliances, Kenyans must focus on asking a fundamental question and that is, which among those seeking the top seat cares and has actually done something about alleviating these unacceptable living conditions and overall who has a proven record of catering to the needy and not the otherwise well to do.

Casting a vote based on an honest answer of that question will for the first time give us a leader at the national level who can actually finally make a difference in the majority of our people’s lives who otherwise will remain languishing in the same poverty and poor living conditions.

Let’s all reflect upon this and share and inform widely.

It’s the least we can do.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Politics, Social

 

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Happy Birthday Mama Ida

I saw the following posted by another blogger in Jukwaa by the name Nereah and thought I share here as posted:

I am sure all of you here in jukwaa will join me, nereah of amadi, in toasting to the good life and happy returns to lady dr ida betty odinga, a truly kenyan leader in her own right who long before the media discovered her, had contributed to the success of kenya by moulding the a chunk of transformational kenyan female achievers like sister betty murungi ;D and at least one jukwaa notable.

she inspire women,both young and old as a parent,wife, teacher, philanthropist,coimmunity organiser,industrialist,corporate chieftain,activist,mentor,farmer,business and first lady.

she is the very kenyan girl,born in the heart of rift valley somewhere in baringo and of mixed parentage and who has proudly raised her children first and foremost as kenyans….away from the toxic sludge of ethnicity and negative energy that some clueless detractors have unsuccessfully sought to ptray of her family.

and so, we salute and toast to the next first lady of kenya,the woman behind agwambo..

happy birthday mama winnie ;D

I share the same sentiments and join Nereah and all others in wishing Mama Ida a happy birthday and many, many, many more.
 
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Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Social

 

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Notes From Kangema Funeral for the Late Hon. John Michuki

The state funeral for the late Hon. John Michuki today was befitting a man of his stature and contribution to the country.

Many things were said at the funeral which was MC’d by DPM Uhuru Kenyatta but the highlight are as follows:

From the Ministry, Margaret spoke and noted Michuki was the hardest working minister

He loved reading about policy; he will get in office at 7AM and read policy while waiting for 8AM meeting.

One thing she remembers is him saying he did not understand why workshops are held to review a consultant review report of yet another consultant’s report.

Cleaning environment a must for Michuki.

Rivers that cross city give cities value

She said has a university graduate and experience but learned so much from Michuki who mentored her greatly.

Michuki was a family man who loved his wife and children immensely

When one would ask him how his wife is doing, he will have a great smile that said it all.

He said much as people like to delegate, there is one thing you must never delegate and that is your spouse to anyone, even to your children.

His wife was his business.

When it came to prayer, his wife was the leader of the family prayer.

He believed in her prayers and that’s what has kept the family together and given him the drive to do what he did.

Hon. Speaker Marende:

Spoke in behalf of all MPs and managed to introduce by name those who were present—and they were many—without missing a name.

He urged us all to emulate Michuki.

Emphasized that Michuki Loved Kenya and if we all emulated him as much in loving the country, we shall be alright.

Noted that Michuki wanted Kenya to be one nation.

Marende warned that politicians cannot and must not engage in incitement.

No promotion of hatred and division.

Kenya is for us all and let’s keep it that way.

Michuki would prefer that.

Ret’d President Daniel Arap Moi:

Offered his heartfelt sorrow and condolences to Mrs. Michuki.

Said Michuki is someone he has known most part of his public life.

Came to know him as courageous man who performed his duties with rare zeal through and perfection

When Michuki was DC in 1961 DC, Moi was parliamentary secretary for education while Matiba was assistant sec in ministry of education and because of this, all three men worked very closely.

The two were to work even closer as responsibilities grew.

Michuki would go to Treasury and assistant minister and Moi Vice President and later president.

He remained personal friend to death.

When Michuki completed Windsor, he noted road was not lit and posed danger and informed Moi about this and Moi promptly ordered power company to fix the street lights to the hotel, which was done in good time.

Michuki has a sterling record in no just politics but in the private sector where he was outstanding as well.

Michuki’s discipline and management style enabled him to create jobs.

When he was PS in Finance, no cent passed without a paper trail from person to person.

This is what should be done to rid us of corruption.

Moi noted during this time of grief, he prayed to God to give the family energy to bear the loss.

He also noted the program had a hymn in it saying “it is well with my soul” and this speaks all about life and death.

Life is not simple as people think, said Moi.

When at a funeral like this, everyone is here as friends, brothers and sisters.

No one will live forever.

Moi said we shall all go and had people nervously laughing when he noted he will be leaving and so will Kibaki but he hopes they meet in heaven where Michuki has gone ahead of them but will no doubt be joined by them and all of us.

The former president urged people to lean on God.

We may give the family condolences, but God’s counsel is sufficient, Moi noted.

Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga

Met Michuki when he was KCB Director where he helped him with a business loan.

Later entered politics where the PM recited with detail the relationships between 1983 to present.

Recalled flying to London from Norway to meet Michuki and Matiba and on their return to Kenya, Section 2A was repealed.

The PM noted Ford Divided where Michuki went to Asili and he to Ford-Kenya but the men remained working together in the opposition.

In 1997, “Asili ikasusia.”

They then worked together in Narc and joined government together, Michuki in Transport and Raila in Roads and everyone knows what a good job Michuki did at Transport, including the Michuki rules.

The PM then recalled the struggle for the new constitution where differences emerged.

After the referendum, the two worked together.

The PM noted Michuki made his mark at Environment as well.

The PM specifically noted Michuki was behind him as he fought to save Mau.

Muchuki has been leading in efforts to fend off those who would want to move UNEP from Kenya.

There are many countries wanting to remove UNEP but Michuki has been firm in making sure they don’s succeed, the PM noted.

The PM noted Michuki was to head a delegation to Rio in June for the global conference on the environment.

The PM urged Kenyans to plant trees from today through next Tuesday in memory of Michuki.

He said he did just that this morning in his home and at Freedom Corner.

H.E. President Mwai Kibaki:

God be with the family.

Thanked Kenyans for their expression of loss of his friend Michuki.

He was very close to him for “not that long” the President said, clarifying it would have been long if they both lived beyond 100—laughter from the audience.

The president praised Mrs. Michuki for her making sure even as Michuki was working hard outside the home, she, too, was working hard at home to make sure the children were taken care of and did as well as they have done in both education and professional and now married life.

The president noted many people forget about the home as thy pursue success elsewhere.

The president urged everyone with family to take care of them.

The president emphasized and reemphasized the good work Mrs. Michuki did at home as wife to Michuki and mother.

She led family and kept house together which made  Michuki happy.

The president said he is not worried about the family but urged them to help finish the work Michuki started and nearly finished.

“The work left now is small,” the president noted, adding the kids are doing well and will maintain their success because of the foundation Michuki and the mother has laid for them.

The president urged all Kenyans to emulate Michuki and finish what he started.

Without following that, there is no success or progress, he noted.

The president then went on what can be characterized as jabs at various politicians but one this writer believes he meant to target in saying all politicians should be like Michuki who never changed his mind “ovyo ovyo.”

The president said one thing Michuki believed was set a goal and never sway from focusing on it no matter what.

“No changing changing because you met with so and so,” said Kibaki, adding “stay firm as Michuki.”

Vote of thanks by son:

Thanks to God

Thanks co-celebrants, led by the Bishop Maria Wainaina

Thanks to clergy who gave tribute

Thanks to State: The President for his friendship and support, Head of Civil Service for funeral arrangements, Ret’d President Moi for his words of wisdom, the PM, his wife Mama Ida for words of encouragement, VP, I forget why, medical care staff, Dr. Njenga, Dr. Githega, and UK doctors as well as others, including all mourners.

MAY HE RIP.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Politics, Social

 

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Remembering Hon. John Michuki

Standard Online

I was very saddened to hear about the passing of Hon. Michuki. In a comment posted on Standard Online, I noted the following: “Now passes on a man who embodied all that is great in public service and the ingenuity of leadership for the benefit of a nation without putting ego or self first. The Bible tells us all have sinned but in the passing of this great man, let’s remember him for the great things he did in life and contributions to our country’s continued struggle to find home to itself. May he rest in peace.”

As we remember him, I recall the last time I saw him was in New York last year and sitting next to him at a dinner involving others as well and after glancing at the menu briefly, he looked at me, grinning and asked that I suggest what he should have.

Now, here is this Mzee giving me this heavy responsibility but I happily obliged albeit nervously so, wondering if he would take one bite and send me scrambling to fetch him nyama choma.

Fortunately, he liked it and as we left after that long dinner, he invited me to visit him when next in Nairobi. Unfortunately, that did not materialize as he was out of the country when I next came to Nairobi but was planning to do so the next time; a meeting which sadly now will not be.

As I have seen someone say elsewhere on the Internet, he will be remembered for many good and bad things but I will always remember him for the good things.

My heartfelt condolences to his family and again may he RIP.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Politics, Social

 

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Violence and Crime Cannot Be Entirely Blamed On High Youth Unemployment

A netter recently presented an hypothetical narrative in which a university graduate ends up as an Al Shabaab or Mungiki recruit because he could not find a job for a long time and his efforts to even start a jua kali life saver business fails to take off because he cannot get KEBS certification now required of all those making or selling these gadgets due to bureaucratic delays and/or corruption.

I have decided to explore this hypothesis further and in so doing, I offer my views on this serious and urgent issue that must be addressed even more aggressively and that is youth unemployment and crime, thus:

I don’t know if this has been asked of a real recruit but, the one who joins Al Shabaab or Mungiki in this hypothetical; how does he answer the question he is or will be maiming or killing innocent people who have nothing to do with his misery?

Next, how does he answer the question once they join, it’s only a matter of a short time before they are caught or killed whether they have even had a chance to kill or maim such that his “freedom” from misery at the expense of innocent people is short-lived and therefore not worth it?

Finally, but not least, how does he answer the question it is noble rather than offering to kill or maim the innocent, to simply commit suicide?

I ask these questions because if they are university educated as in this hypothetical or simply not mentally ill, joining either of these groups knowing fully the end is to maim, kill or be killed, I have no sympathy for them once they cross that line and make that conscious decision to join.

They deserve the fate that befalls them from that point on which is inevitably death, especially given even more resolute efforts by the government to root out these murderous groups.

I do have great sympathy and we all should for them before they cross the line and go there but there are several distinctions to note about this pre-Al Shabaab or and Mungiki phase:

Imagine you are at the admission desk for either Al Shabaab or Mungiki and the young man is standing there in front of you and you ask him what led him to come; what do you think he will say?

The netter narrated one answer in his hypothesis as above, namely, that the graduate is without a job, destitute and without even the hope to start a jua kali business because of corruption and red tape.

My take on it is there is more to that answer which goes beyond the question of economics into the question of violence and the propensity to commit violence in the first place.

In other words, and this is really my proposition, individuals who are willing and/or end up committing violence, especially in killing innocent people, have a predisposed violent mind which makes them readily inclined, and find it attractive to commit or to be recruited to commit violence.

Lack of economic opportunity is not the primary reason even though it can be offered as an excuse in their warped minds.

Were the opposite to be true, every poor person or those otherwise unable to find jobs would be trooping to all sorts of murderous outfits across the globe and the world will be finished as we know it.

The true answer the young man standing in front of you at the Al Shabaab or Mungiki desk as to why he is there is therefore “I want to kill someone.”

He can tell you the true story about how he physically ended up there, including the inability to get a job and being frustrated or unable to get KEBS certification but that’s simply an excuse to pursue his true passion and that is to kill.

For every one like him unable to find a job and being unable to find a means to make a living, there are thousands who went the other direction opposite the road to kill and maim and intentionally so as him.

As I have noted above, once this young man goes beyond the recruiting point and actually joins any of these murderous groups, I have no sympathy for him and what fate he meets and one would hope he is caught or eliminated before he actually kills or maims.

The solution for this type of person lies in not creating economic opportunity, but going to the root cause of it and that is, upbringing.

Children who grow up in an environment where love and peace is not preached and practiced but instead hate and intolerance is, or have bent anger from all sorts of directions from early on in life will invariably ultimately seek violence as the ultimate solution to their misery.

I would therefore recommend intervention in terms of education about conflict resolution and by that I mean both internalized and externalized conflicts, some of which can be cultural while others are intrinsic to the individual.

This is just my raw thought on this and therefore I can’t cite for you any scientific basis for it other than my own surmise based on my own observations and thinking about this.

I will in time explore this suggestion even further in terms of a specific proposal as to how this can be implemented but that’s to come at some point, I hope.

I distinguish this young man, the graduate who ends up being an Al-Shabaab or Mungiki recruit from the rest of the criminals who I may or may not sympathize with or advocate for helping them, depending on a number of factors which go to the core is of criminality and having a criminal mind.

There is no question there is a high correlation between unemployment and criminal behavior but unemployment itself does not account for all criminal behavior.

Indeed, it was in recognition of this fact that the Grand Coalition proposed and implemented through Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s office, the Kazi Kwa Vijana programme (KKV).

In launching the project, the PM said the following:

“I am pleased to write on the Kazi KwaVijana (KKV) programme, an initiative of the Grand Coalition Government to tackle the twin problems of hunger and unemployment. The KKV programme is designed to afford, during this period of global financial crisis, national drought and famine, immediate relief to young people by way of providing them with income to buy food through employment in public works. Young people, male and female, are to be employed under labour contracts in selected public works projects identified under the KKV programme. Some of these projects, particularly those to do with irrigation and water supply, are intended to enhance food production in the marginal areas most affected by drought. There are also KKV projects designed for the conservation and management of the environment while others will improve road transportation in rural and urban areas”

Following recent allegations of corruption involving Phase I of KKV (KKV I) that turned out to be false, the PM provided a detailed statement to Parliament in which he said, among other things, that KKV I was as stated in remarks launching the project, an emergency stimulus intervention, designed to provide a social safety net for young Kenyans at risk of hunger and starvation which was implemented by six ministries with the PM’s office providing overall supervision of the programme while Office of the President, and Ministries of Finance and Planning provided support services on the monitoring and coordination aspects.

According the PM and citing a report issued by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the number of youth engaged under KKV I actually exceeded the original target by more than 10 per cent. All in all, the Government contributed Kshs.2.8bn to KKV I in the financial year 2008/2009, and Kshs.4.3bn in the financial year 2009/2010.

The PM then went on to account for all expenditures on the project, concluding that just only 4.8% of the total funds for the project were spent on “ineligible” activities according to the World Bank guidelines, but that only meant that government, not the World Bank, should have paid for those expenses.

The PM did acknowledge that a payment of Kshs.1,221,000 was made as a top-up allowance to a civil servant in active service and on the Government’s payroll but promised that the funds will be recovered from the officer concerned as appropriate, to avoid double payment.

“I do not condone any kind of corruption or misuse of funds,” said the Prime Minister while noting that KKV I was a success.

As to the current status of KKV, the PM categorically disproved the allegation that Kshs.4.3bn or US$43 million for Component I of the KKV II Kenya Youth Empowerment Programme was lost because the project was cancelled.

“The Kshs. 4.3bn has not been lost,” said the Prime Minister, adding, “the project is alive and will continue to be implemented.”

The PM promised that he will ensure that any weaknesses that might remain in the programme shall be corrected and the government “will move resolutely forward with our plans to empower young Kenyans.”

That’s precisely what needs to happen but it does not mean an end to criminality when it does; it simply means we shall have less of it and in manageable proportions we can live with without living in fear of being attacked or robbed every day, everywhere and anywhere in the country.

On the other hand, violence will likely continue to be a part of a large segment of our society whether economic conditions improve or not due to historical and cultural reasons that must be addressed urgently by way of implementing a number of proposals aimed at basically deprogramming those prone to be violence while ensuring that today’s young and those in formative stage are indoctrinated to believe a handshake or hug, not fist is the solution to conflict.

As for those KKV may not reach, an outreach to at least educate and inform them even about some of the questions and consequences I have raised above for the hypothetical graduate Al-Shabaab or Mungiki recruit would go a long way before a job does.

Otherwise even more violence and widespread criminality will become a fixture in our lives more than it is today and that is simply unacceptable, given we have the resources to prevent us from getting there.

At the same time, we must accept the reality no society is violence or crime free; it’s all a matter of degree of opportunity and acceptance.

When HIV and AIDS pandemic hit Kenya, some were said to wish for less deadly STDs like herpes and so on.

Kenyans as a whole would prefer criminality of the old days that primarily involved petty offenses and when it occurred primarily in the cities not in suburbs and residences and certainly not at the rate and devastation it does these days.

That day will come sooner than later and how Kenyans vote in 2012 will certainly have a bearing on that happening.

Peace, Unity and Progress

Omwenga

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2011 in Politics, Social

 

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Ten Things For Kenyans To Be Thankful For This Year 2011

It is Thanksgiving here in the US so as we get ready to enjoy the day with family and friends, I am taking this moment to reflect on things I am Thankful to God about this year.

The personal ones, I’ll share with family at the dinner table.

The public ones, I am dividing them into two:

Things I am thankful for here in the US and things I am thankful for being a Kenyan.

Below are things I am thankful for being a Kenyan and believe we all are or should be thankful for same:

  1. A country that is holding on to peace and on a path to even greater peace and prosperity.
  2. Plenty of good not food is still found within our borders as prayed for in our National Anthem
  3. We reconstituted the electoral commission without a glitch and now look forward to its work in conducting free and transparent elections without glitch.
  4. We had the successful and unprecedented, highly approved selection process and appointment the Chief Justice of our newly created Supreme Court and associate justices to serve with him in finally leading in, and bringing about the necessary judicial reforms.
  5. We had a less praised selection process and appointment of a new Attorney General but an appointment 10 times more transparent and fair than any in the past.
  6. The economy did not tank any further. According to recent findings by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), Kenya’s economy grew by 4.9% in the first quarter of 2011, which is indeed good news compared to the negative growth of recent years.
  7. We saw the construction of more roads across the country further improving our infrastructure with the concomitant improved productivity and economic growth, especially in the rural areas.
  8. Prof. Anyang Nyong’o was diagnosed with prostate cancer and no, not because he was in that sense but because the diagnosis brought the much needed attention to this treatable killer disease that specializes African and African American of men over the age of 50.
  9. The government stepped up efforts to deal with food security, including the PM mobilizing governments in the Horn of Africa and convening a summit on food security, which resulted in the signing of the Nairobi Declaration, a document that is now the roadmap on how to improve food security not just in Kenya but throughout the region.
  10. There was overall less rancor in government, especially between and among the usual suspects and when it mattered, the government and country was united as in the case of the appointments mentioned above and more recently, in efforts to ramp-out Al Shabaab and in other matters of national importance.

There are obviously more things to be thankful for but these are my Top Ten.

When you pause and think about it, things are bad but not as bad as some would want everyone to believe.

Yes, we need to do better but let’s not do that by destroying what we have built or not appreciating or otherwise trashing those who have helped us get here.

Let’s do away with the bad and build on the good and let those who have helped us get where we are continue on their good works  and mission with even greater success and rewards ahead for all of us.

Let those who want to stand in the way of this progress not succeed come next year.

May God bring us more of the good things in infinity.

Peace, Unity and Progress

Omwenga

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Politics, Social

 

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