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Tag Archives: Kibera

Congratulations To Prime Minister Raila Odinga For Looking After the Education of Our Children

Let’s all join in congratulating the Right Hon. Prime Minister Raila Odinga and MP for Langata for yet again another development success story this one in his individual capacity involving continued improvement of educational opportunities in Kibera.

The Raila Education Center, one of the many initiatives and projects undertaken by Raila in his individual capacity and as a way of contribution back to society, is set to build a new ultra-modern school at the center.

The new school will be a center of academic excellence and will admit students from the East Africa region who will have the Research, Innovation, Science, Engineering and Math (RISEM) driven education as their foundation.

During the during the ground-breaking ceremony at the center in Kibera this week, Prime Minister Raila Odinga revealed that the education center will be built in three phases.

The first phase includes the construction of 14 classrooms and a girls’ hostel.

A state-of-the-art library and laboratory will be put up in the second phase.

Finally, a sports academy will be built, which is expected to double the number of students at the center.

The center currently has more than 1,116 children in its primary and secondary school, 64% of who are orphans from informal settlements.

About Raila Educational Centre

The Raila Educational Centre (REC) is located in the heart of Kibera, a slum with an estimated population of approximately 500,000 situated on less than 5% of Nairobi’s land mass.

While many families cannot afford to pay school fees, REC provides students with opportunities and a quality education to uplift themselves out of their current conditions.

Where a sense of hopelessness is common throughout the Kibera slum, REC students are resilient and strive for academic excellence and to become well rounded individuals.

Raila Educational Centre aims to:

Provide quality education for students from vulnerable backgrounds

  • Offer support to ensure academic achievement and personal growth
  • Develop well rounded students who excel in academics as well as in extracurricular activities
  • Provide students with opportunities and resources
  • Prepare students for university and to compete in a global market
  • Train and develop staff to enable students’ academic achievement
  • Improve infrastructure

Given the inadequacies in public schools infrastructure, REC provides access to education wherein students are able to enroll in the school to undertake both their primary and secondary education.

In addition, there is a free lunch program, provided by First Love organization, to ensure students have a good balanced diet, critical for their development and academic success.

Again, let’s commend the PM for these worthy accomplishments and wish him success as he continues to provide leadership in achieving even more success for all Kenyans.

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Posted by on November 1, 2012 in Politics

 

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My Response to Concerns, False Claims and Accusations Against Raila II

The following is my response to someone who posted a number of accusations against Raila and from those accusations the writer attempts to create the impression Raila is not electable as president. I have previously responded to similar but somewhat different accusations elsewhere on my blog but have done so here again as they seem to be in a continuum.

My response to the accuser:

First, allow me the pleasure of quoting you about something you have said in response to someone else on this forum that is apt as applied to your own posting below and that is, as you said, “Now brother, did you ever hear of a fellow who was asked to provide evidence for the Resurrection of Christ and he tabled thirteen pieces of serious evidence, only to be told: Apart from these thirteen, do you have any other?”

I like what your point out in this quote, namely, some people you just can’t convince no matter what evidence you put before them on an issue and this is precisely my point in my blog Some People You Just Can’t Satisfy No Matter How Good A Leader You Are. For example, in the US, where “birthers,” more recently led by their chief birther, Donald the Dump Trump have been demanding for a long time that President Barrack Obama produce his “long form” birth certificate to prove that he was born in the United States. When he finally did so recently before ending the life of Osama Bin Laden, a survey conducted after he produced the legal document proving he was born in Hawaii, the 50th state of the United States, shows that 14% still believe he was not born in the US!

So, let me not try to put forth the evidence here as to Raila’s accomplishments as a student, engineer, lecturer, businessman, party leader, nationalist, reformer, uniter, MP for Kibera, Minister, Prime Minister, and Peace Maker for there are those who may still want me to table some more in order to accept the fact he is presidential material but I don’t have the time to and neither is it necessary.

I am nonetheless sure most of those reading this here now know what that evidence is but as in all campaigns, I am also sure Raila will serve himself well by informing those who don’t know what that evidence is is, while reminding those who have forgotten what it is and otherwise making the case why his record clearly shows he is the more qualified and prepared candidate to be elected president among all those who seek that office last time and this time around.

Having said that, let me try and respond to some of your concerns, accusations and charges:

You say, “He [Raila] has failed in all his terms of being in government to bring any visible or meaningful change in the lives of the people he claims to represent, viz, the Kibera people. The development in Kibera and the efforts to bring change there are largely the work of NGOs.

I will not insult your intelligence to say Raila is not an MP for Kibera but an MP for Langata, of which Kibera is a part of. Both the rich and poor of Langata Constituency have elected and re-elected him ever since he first sought to represent them.

As to tabling evidence of this, please note what I have said above. You may also want to read a blog I have posted about An Online Comment By A Kenyan Regarding Raila and Kibera which is a comment from a fellow Kenyan addressing a similar accusation against Raila.

You say, “Raila seriously failed to unite the country at the most difficult time in our history when he had the power to[sic]. We are looking at the P.E.V of 2007-2008. Instead he was calling for mass action.” 

I have to believe you say this in all sincerity and not just lobbing a baseless charge against Raila. I am also surprised you have either fallen victim of lies, distortions, misinformation and propaganda or you have refused to accept truth as reality. Just so this is absolutely clear for those who have been equally confused and led to believe otherwise, ODM’s call for mass action in the face of flagrantly stolen elections in early January 2008 was not a call for violence; never was and never would it have been.

Rather, Raila and ODM initially planned but ultimately did not call for peaceful demonstrations across the country intended to jolt Kibaki and company to reality akin to what we have seen recently in Tunisia and Morocco where the citizenry said enough is enough for being exploited and abused by a government that had no respect or regard for them.

As an aside note, I have often told my friends the story how on one of the days a peaceful demonstration was to take place in early January 08 in Nairobi, a Maasai friend of mine and I went downtown ready to demonstrate, parked our car at Serena, walked across to a sea of GSU along Uhuru Highway and I remember my friend confronting a number of them and questioning why they were even there; I mean one by one down a line but none would say a thing.

My friend and I concluded two things from this brief peaceful encounter: One, having looked at them close face as we did–fearless I may add; I less than my Maasai friend:-)–we noticed even in their riot gear these were young boys and girls, not the hardened soldiers we had expected. Two, you could sense many of them did not want to be there to begin with, something that gave us heart.

But I digress. My point is, Raila only intended to call for mass action for peace. The violence that ensued had nothing to do with his desire to have the nation tell Kibaki he could not deny the will of the people at will.

You say, “I have a letter I wrote pleading that the two of them, he and Kibaki, tour the country and hold peace rallies, but it did not happen when it was most needed. Thus, I was convinced he did not have the will nor the ability to do so.”

I commend you for writing a letter asking the two leaders to hold peace rallies during that difficult time. Although it is not clear whether that letter was sent or that it ever reached either of them, Raila was already calling for peaceful demonstrations from day 1 so it is not true that “he did not have the will nor the ability to do so.”

The sum of this tragic stain in our history is this my brother, but for Raila’s quest for peaceful resolution of the crisis and ultimately his willingness to compromise far more than Kibaki ever did, we would not be talking about the same Kenya today; we probably still be at war that’s why we ought to be ever so grateful for how things turned out and let’s not be foolish again as we head into the next elections for history does have the uncanny ability to repeat itself.

Let’s hope and pray not; above all, let’s just be smart about this and conduct our affairs in a peaceful, orderly manner and may the best candidate be elected and sworn as president this time and for all future elections.

You say “We have been testing several leaders on the aspect of nepotism/tribalism. Raila is literally worshiped by his community and we need evidence that he has been free from nepotism in his government departments.

Two things I can say about this: (1) I think you meant to say Raila is greatly admired and liked in his community; this is, in fact, a good thing and one indicator the person is likeable as a leader (2) if your criteria for electing our next president is one free of nepotism, I am afraid we may have to amend our Constitution to allow foreigners to run for president for there is not a single Kenyan holding any office with responsibility to hire can be free of this charge or prove otherwise in the case he or she has hired someone simply because of merit and the person happens to be from his or her village.

This is not to say we should not strife to end nepotism as a vice; we should and must do so. As in many of the problems we need to fix, including corruption, Raila is the better qualified candidate to fix these problems.

You say, [Raila’s] comments on the Ngilu scandles [sic] have left many of us appalled. I wish he came out strongly on the issues of graaft as to demonstrate he is against them [totally].

Raila’s record for fighting against corruption and graft is clear and most Kenyans know and support him on his efforts and that’s all I really need to say about this.

You say, “[the] way he approached a serious document of our nation such as the Constitution was wanting. He did not operate within a democratic position. His remarks during that period were extremely partisan.

I actually need to post a full blog on this but let me not and just say this: you are wrong. Both Raila and Kibaki get major kudos for working beautifully and effectively together to pass the new Constitution and so does the resiliency of our people.

I remember attending one of the rallies held at Afraha Stadium just before the big vote and being simply happy to see the two principals there like old friends notwithstanding what happened in 07/08 and since. It was to me a refreshing reminder even in dire straits, there is hope.

After the Constitution passed and I returned to Nairobi on August 27, 2010 for its promulgation, a bit of the same sense of nationalism and euphoria we experienced in 2002 returned with me as well.

Unlike you, I am grateful for Raila and Kibaki having prevailed in getting the new constitution passed into law and I am confident we can surpass the euphoria of 2002 and the 2010 promulgation in the coming elections but only if people can pause and reflect what a beautiful and desirable occasion that is than its alternative.

You say, “No wonder the document remains difficult to implement.

Difficulties in implementing the Constitution have nothing to do with Raila but everything to do with those who never wanted the new constitution passed to begin with but the news for them is this: they had better wake up and smell the coffee. The train left the station a long time ago and is headed to its destination nothing will stop it; not them not anything else for the resolve and will of the people is monumental and unbreakable to overcome now and for generations to come.

You say, “[Raila] does not operate on principles but power games. His track record in moving from one party to another when his way did not go, is worrying.

Please worry no more; Raila’s party affiliations like any politician is to advance his political objectives but unlike most if not all of these politicians, his party affiliation or affiliations has always been and continues to be national in scope and nature which is just fine and acceptable by all.

You say, “I could go on, but I need to go back to my books.”

I hope one of those books is, Raila: An Enigma In Kenyan Politics by Oseloka Obaze. You might learn one or two new things about the man in the book.

Peace, Love and Unity.

Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2011 in Siasa

 

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An Online Comment by A Kenyan Regarding Raila and Kibera

The following was a posting by someone in a number of Kenya online forums in response to an individual who was lambasting Raila for “doing nothing” for his Kibera constituents…

You are right, he [Raila] can never be somber because he is always sober. However, I wish to disagree that he has done nothing for Kibera people for the following reasons. Recently he influenced the high rise buildings  build for a part of Kibera constituents where they are now leaving very happily. This is a project that should have continued with availability of funds from the Government. Otherwise it is a project that cannot be done from an individual’s pocket due to a the huge sum of money outlay it requires. You will note, even if you were the Mp/President it is not possible to do it from your pocket.

Secondly have you ever heard of flying toilets? I know you have started wondering how a toilet can fly. However, Raila has done a lot to build decent toilets for his constituents and at least one can comfortably ease his/her natural calls unlike in the past.

Thirdly the roads which were impassable due to congestion of unplanned structures have been at least in some manner improved on and now they are passable.

Talk of schools a lot has been done to improve on the mad structures that used exist before he become the Mp. And for your information Lang’ata Constituency does not cover only Kibera slums and neither Raila is the first Mp as you seem to imagine. Raila only become an MP for Kibera recently after a hell of incarceration by Kenyatta and Moi for the sole reason of fighting for good Governance which fully recognizes freedom of speech and many other human rights that were being seriously infringed by the two , that you are now comfortably enjoying without knowing the source.

The way you are reasoning, I can only [guess] you were born in 80’s hence you are yet to grasp Kenya’s socio-political development and the chief players.

Therefore as you try to understand these historical facts I can only advise you to go slow by stopping pointing your fingers at the wrong people or people you do not understand their past.

In addition you should shade the tribal undertone that is evident in your write up however much you struggle to hide it.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Siasa

 

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Some People You Just Can’t Satisfy No Matter How Good a Leader You Are

After spending time reading and responding to many posts attacking Raila, I have come to the conclusion Raila cannot do enough for a certain hardcore haters who remind me of Rush Limbaugh, a Right Wing Nut Radio Host in the US who for the two terms Bill Clinton was president, slept and breathed Clinton, railing against him daily and not once did he ever find anything good to say about Clinton; and that is being on air daily for roughly 2,900 days during that period, or the equivalent of starting to rail against someone before a child is conceived through when the child is conceived, born, crawls, learns to walk, learns to eat, learns to read and write and is old enough to tell you there is something wrong with you if you can’t find anything good to say about a person all this time.

For Limbaugh, Clinton never did anything good, never mind Clinton is credited for turning the US economy around and creating budget surpluses in the country of $69.2 billion for fiscal year 1998, $76.9 billion in fiscal year 1999 and $46 billion for fiscal year 2000, the only times the country had seen such performance since before Clinton was a small boy. On the other hand, Clinton was succeeded by George W Bush who sent the country’s economy in a downward spiral and is credited for creating the country’s recent economic crisis that President Obama is trying to fix.

The point is this, Limbaugh to this day sings praises of George W Bush and has yet to say anything good about Clinton which leads to the conclusion there are people who can just never be satisfied with a leader no matter how good he or she is and no matter what he or she does. Raila has not been spared this phenomena.

Reading and listening to some of these tirades against Raila, an uninformed person or someone who otherwise has these naysayers as the source of their information would be mistaken to believe Raila is responsible for everything wrong and nothing good in Kenya which is obviously not even remotely the case.

Fortunately, however, the naysayers always number in the minority otherwise these leaders will never see a moment of elected office no matter how good they are or can be. Put another way, a good leader aims to do good for the vast majority of those he or she leads for he or she knows you cannot please everyone all the time and that aught never be the objective to begin with; it’s enough you do more than enough to meet the needs of those you lead and this is precisely what Raila does as anyone who looks at the man objectively has to conclude.

Having said that, I am re-posting below my earlier thoughts about Kibera slums and Raila which has been a recurring accusation lobbed against Raila lately by some of his most avid naysayers in a number of forums:

The reason why I paint the slums is because I believe our country will develop one day and there will be no slums.”

Rahab Shane, Painter, Banana Hill Art Collective.

I just watched an episode of “Noble Exchange” on Halogen TV where this artist and her husband were interviewed. Her sentiment I have quoted above is poignant for several reasons: First, it is an optimistic statement; in her own words, she is painting the slums as an historical record to look back to long after the slums are gone.

Second, her sentiment lays no blame on anyone when there is plenty to go around, including this and other groups on the Internet which can do something about this problem, if they so chose and that is to say nothing about the government.

Third, even though the particular painting being featured was the Kibera slum, the artist sees the problem not from a tribal or political point of view but from a humanity point of view and thus her all inclusive use of the phrase “I paint the slums”  as opposed to “I paint Raila’s Kebera slums,” which would have been choice words were she to cast the issue in tribal or political terms targeting Raila for blame.

Fourth, the Banana Hill Art Collective came to being as a result of PEV yet Rahab and other artists at the Collective have commendably chosen messages of hope over messages of hate and division so characteristic and at the core of what drives an alarming number of Kenyans since that time and who knows for how much longer; as one of the artists, Rahab’s husband, Shine Tani put it, he looked up, saw a clear blue sky representing calmness, peacefulness and tranquility and contrasted that to the post election carnage and general chaos and what he ended up with is a painting theme he calls the “Blue Sky” in which he portrays the prayer, As It Is Done in Heaven, Let it Be Done on Earth; in other words, may the peace in Heaven also happen here on earth. This was Shane Tani’s prayer and so was it for most of us in Kenya post election 07 and is still our prayer.

So in the end, it is not about the Kibera slums, or the rampant poverty in Kenya or the lack of food or clean and safe water for many, etc; rather, it is about whether we have in us a leader who can finally unite the country while delivering on these long elusive needs. Many of us have analyzed the available pool, declared or otherwise and have concluded Raila Odinga is such a leader and that is a majority view as recent polling in the country indicates as well. It therefore goes without saying it makes sense to support Raila in his bid for the presidency or if you have to oppose him, then do so with something more substantive than simply because he is a Luo or other irrelevant and bogus reasons such as the one I have heard here that Raila created and has kept the Kibera slums for his political benefit which is not only bogus but absurd.

Peace, Love, and Unity.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2011 in Siasa

 

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