By their inaction, leaders reducing President to a manager

By Bishop Dr. David Oginde
When Margaret Thatcher took over as the Prime Minister of Britain, she had a clear vision for her country: “I came to office with one deliberate intent,” said Lady Thatcher in 1984, “to change Britain from a dependent to a self-reliant society — from a give-it-to-me, to a do-it-yourself nation. A get-up-and-go, instead of a sit-back-and-wait-for-it Britain.” With this, Thatcher introduced a series of political and economic initiatives to address Britain’s high unemployment and ongoing recession.

Judging from some President Kenyatta’s actions, it is clear he has a similar vision and passion for Kenya. It has been heart-warming to see some of the decisive actions the President has taken — many times against all odds — to try and get the nation back on track. The President has on various occasions had to step out and personally deal with matters security. In the fight against graft, the President stirred up Parliament with the infamous list of shame that has seen some government officials and leaders step aside and others visit the courtroom. The President, again, had to personally call for investigations into the airport bus scandal before the Kenya Airports Authority board jumped into action. More recently, the President ordered action against illicit brews that have been killing Kenyans for years. Comical drama unfolded as leaders competed to show themselves more vicious than others in dealing with illicit brews.

Continue reading “By their inaction, leaders reducing President to a manager”

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The SpringBoard Convention 2014

CITAM teamed up with Africa Arise for a weeklong convention held from 25th – 30th August 2014, at CITAM Valley Road. The Africa Arise & Springboard Convention draw delegates from across Africa who were trained by respected global leaders such as: Bishop Dr. David Oginde; Rev. Calisto Odede; Pastor Ben Courson (Applegate Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville Oregon, USA); Dr. Betta Mengistu (founder and chairman of Beza International Ministries, Ethiopia); Bishop Dr. Joshua H.K. Banda (Senior Pastor, Northmead Assembly of God in Lusaka, Zambia & President of the Southern Africa Region Chapter of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Africa [PAOA]) among others.
Worship was led by Africa Let’s Worship (AFLEWO) with its vision bearer Timothy Kaberia taking the lead.

Two key events marked the convention:

news1The leadership breakfast and the ordination of ministers. The breakfast, hosted by Bishop Oginde, was attended by leaders from the political; corporate and spiritual circles and they included: Deputy President, Hon. William Ruto & his wife Rachel; former House Speaker, Hon. Kenneth Marende; Leader of the Minority, Hon. Francis Nyenze; Green Africa Foundation, Dr. Isaac Kalua; Eunice Njeri (who lead worship); KCB’s Chief Business Officer & MD, Mr. Sam Makome; Senior Pastors; Elders; Deacon Board; University dons and CITAM heads of department.

new-3The second key event of the convention was the ordination of the following pastors on Saturday 30th August:

  1. Pastor Jackie Mugane – Valley Road
  2. Pastor Erastus Oyando – Thika Road
  3. Pastor Anthony Makena – Ngong
  4. Pastor Walter Momanyi  – Buruburu
  5. Pastor Harun Wangombe – Missions
  6. Pastor John Ndegwa – Missions

Procurement and Budgeting: Where they meet

Each year most organizations, like CITAM, go through a budgeting process; basically for expenses and procurement; be it general or project procurement, opex or capex. The importance of procurement, therefore, in organizations stems in part from its integral role as one of the key vehicles of the budget execution process. Consequently, budget execution is affected by procurement and unless procurement has been planned adequately, with realistic time and cost considerations taken into account for the allotment of budget, the budget execution will be greatly hampered. To sum it up, even the best intended and most competent budgets are brought to naught, in the presence of a disconnect between the budgeting process and the budget implementation process otherwise known as procurement plans.

budgetingOn the other hand, in the context of substantial short-comings in effective planning for procurement transactions -big or small, even the best in class purchasing function is destined for disaster; poor quality, high procurement costs, failure to comply with policy provisions, delays in servicing procurement requests etc. No doubt, in the absence of a procurement plan the best-in- class purchaser become the worst purchaser presentFor which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28). To avert this, therefore, many best in class organizations result to procurement planning since procurement planning directly links the procurement function to both the budget preparation and execution process (PPOA,2009).

The concept of procurement planning is a simple one, that through advanced procurement planning an organization can not only effectively meet its procurement requirement(s) more efficiently, but also can achieve significant cost savings. For, recent studies on procurement saving strategies have proved that, volume leverage contributes 0 – 6% , price normalization 0 – 4%, contract compliance 0 – 6% with procurement planning contributing up to 25% of the total procurement savings in an organization (ISM,2013).

Procurement plans in a nutshell answers the critical questions, to both the user(s) and purchaser(s): What is needed? When it is needed? What is the total-cost involved? Which is the funding source? Who does what-when? What procurement method is to be applied? A basic step by step approach, then, to developing a procurement plan may entail:

(a) Establish a procurement planning team

(b) Conduct procurement needs analysis

(c) Drafting the list of your procurement needs – in line with your key objectives

(d) Analysis of reference total prices/costs estimates

(e) List of procurement needs adjustment to fit budget provisions

(f) Define the critical procurement KPI’s – cost, quality and time (g) Implement the plan – adjusting where necessary

(h) Monitor and Evaluate Progress. For, in a modern world-class purchasing function, a procurement plan is not only a tool to control purchasing activities, but, also a measure of purchasing performance, thus, the critical significance of the last step.

According to IAPWG – UN (2006) effective procurement planning enables an organization and its staff to work smoothly to achieve the organization’s goals with the right quality and quantity of inputs in place; ineffective procurement planning may result in failure to achieve those goals, putting in jeopardy the procurement principles and objectives causing damage to the performance and credibility of the organization, and staffs alike. As we budget, therefore, let us all remember the most critical step in cutting down the largest tree-trunk in the thickest forest is to first take time in sharpening the axe; sit down first.

Written by:

Omasso So,

Ag. Procurement Manager,

CITAM

RDC 2014

On 8 – 10th May 2014, about 3,500 people from 20 countries of 3 continents converged at CITAM Valley Road for what has been described as the most successful conference in the recent times. This was the not the usual motivational- like conference that we are used to. The theme was Multiplying Authentic Disciples: Where Do We Go From Here. It was all about walking the ancient path, discipleship. The greatest thrill was to see believers including the clergy from various denominations united for this one call, discipleship. Many delegates went away with a clear mind on ‘where to go from here.”

The Conference

High level plenary sessions, workshops, worship extravaganza, prayer junctions, and reflection moments all kept the delegates wanting to pitch tent and stay on.

  1. Plenary Sessions

Rev. Edmund Chan from the Intentional Disciple-Making Church (IDMC), Singapore and his wife Pastor Ann Chan, brought a fresh message from the Oriental. They covered the following foundational themes of discipleship:

  1. The seven marks of radical discipleship,
  2. Creating a discipleship environment,
  3. Cultivating a discipleship culture,
  4. Embracing a discipleship philosophy, and
  5. Empowering a discipleship movement

These themes ignited the fire for discipleship among the delegates. The scope of this report cannot allow us to highlight the numerous feedback we received from the delegates; however we sampled a few and this is what they had to say:

“…the speakers based their message on God’s Word and the Holy Spirit (using) real life testimonies…” “…the teachings were impactful and simple yet deep…” “…well-chosen topics…” “…well researched and inspirational teachings by Rev and Mrs. Chan…” “…practical, clear and relevant teachings…” “…simplified discipleship concepts…” and “…basic and simple Bible applications…”

The delegates’ workbook enabled the participants to follow the teachings easily.

The organizing committee was particularly moved by the feedback from one of the international delegates who said he was touched by the “care that was accorded to the international delegates”.

Pastor Esayas Ersabo, the leader of the 31- strong team from Ethiopia, epitomized the spirit of the conference, “RDC-2014 flashed enlightenment to us to realize that this is the time that African Churches should be ready to be heard publicly and her writings are read loudly. We would like to thank you so much, IDMC and CITAM (who put your hands together to organize RDC-2014), for challenging us to maximize our potential”.

#DVBS2014: In the footsteps of Jesus they walked

At the beginning of each year, there is one week that all Sunday School going children in CITAM together with their pastors and children workers look forward to: the Daily Vacation Bible School (DVBS). And this year was no different.

DVBS was held in ALL of CITAM’s twelve (12) assemblies, concurrently. The meticulous planning took hours of strategy to ensure a smooth flow of events. The children, aged 3-14, came in their hundreds and faithfully gathered each day from Monday 11th August 2014 to Friday 15th August with a celebration service held on Sunday 17th August.

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The indefatigable pastors and volunteers were always the first and the last to leave the assembly after ensuring each child was picked and dropped off at the right time. The cold August weather did not deter the children from attending DVBS and each assembly ensured the children were warm by serving them a cup of hot chocolate and snack each day.1 DSC_0029  DSC_0071 DSC_0286

Through song, dance, puppets and Bible stories, the theme to “Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus” was shared and many children made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ.

Leadership must-haves: power and authority

By Dr. David Oginde,

When the leader of the most powerful nation on earth realized just how powerless he was in the face of some laws of his nation, he broke down and wept. Early this year, President Barack Obama wept openly, and in front of cameras, as he spoke about the rampant deaths of school children at the hands of rogue gunmen. He was particularly moved by the deaths of 26 people including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. But his deepest frustration came from the fact that, in spite of these many deaths, gun lobby groups had stood against introduction of laws that would control easy access to guns. Congress appeared to play ball, leaving the President almost helpless.

Likewise, President Uhuru Kenyatta last week publicly expressed deep frustration over rampant corruption the country despite his efforts to curb the vice. “If there is one issue that has frustrated me, it is corruption, because the pressure is on me to do something about it,” the president lamented. An obviously emotional President went ahead to single out key officials in government he deemed to have failed him in this task.

He wondered why the Chief Executive Officer of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Attorney General, Director of Criminal Investigations, and the Judiciary had failed to tackle the vice in spite of being provided with all resources the institutions had requested. But, what seemed to irk and frustrate the President even more is the fact that he has no legal power to remove any of these constitutional officers from their jobs, even if they failed in their duties. Indeed, constitutionally, such a process is long and tedious, and cannot be initiated by the President.

At the centre of the frustrations of these two leaders seems to lie the oft debated role of power and authority in leadership. To be effective, every leadership position must come with the twin enabling ingredients of power and authority. Whereas power is the ability to make things happen, authority is the conferred legitimacy of power. Therefore, to exercise power without or beyond authority is anarchy-a dangerous tyranny. Yet, to have authority without power is a travesty- a frustrating helplessness. It would appear that for the US and Kenya, the fear of the former ended us up with the latter. Because of our near similar history of abuse of power, we created systems and structures that have ensured that our leaders enjoy authority but with little or no power. In both countries, the real power resides in various commissions and boards, and especially in Congress (US) and Parliament (Kenya).

In leadership practice, such situations are cured by the introduction of systems and structures that ensure a healthy balance between the exercise of authority and the use of power-conferring responsibility with requisite accountability. In the US, for example, the President has broad powers to manage national affairs and the workings of the government. The President can issue rules, regulations, and instructions called Executive Orders, which have the binding force of law upon federal agencies but do not require congressional approval. They are, however, subject to judicial review and interpretation. In this way, the President is not totally robbed of essential power.

It is in this regard that, though Obama wept, he nevertheless exuded confidence that he would crack down on America’s rampant gun culture. He declared, “The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage but they can’t hold America hostage. We can’t accept this carnage in our communities.

In the words of Dr. King we need to feel the fierce urgency of now because people are dying. The constant excuses for inaction no longer do, no longer suffice.” And with that, Obama said he would bypass the Republican-led Congress to introduce the restrictions using his own executive powers.

In Kenya, there does not appear to be any such powers conferred upon the President. This must be addressed so that the buck legitimately stops at the top office.Acha-Leader-Kya-Hota-Hai.jpg

Otherwise we may find, as Aeschylus, the ancient Greek tragedian put it: Excessive fear is always powerless.

Film Constitution Rights versus Moral Values

By Dr. David Oginde,

Ezekiel Mutua is at it again! This time round, the energetic CEO of the Kenya Film Classification Board is seeking to control the content of movies delivered through online platforms. Mr. Mutua has proposed amendments to the laws governing classification and licensing of film, stage plays and publications so as to include new media platforms.

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Of particular concern to the Board is the unbridled broadcast of what is has described as immoral content through such channels as YouTube and Netflix. As would be expected, there are already more than murmurs from some quarters, especially those who feel that the board is overstepping its mandate. Advertisers, writers, filmmakers, bloggers and actors have rejected the proposals arguing that they are not only punitive, but go against the spirit of the Constitution. This is not the first time Mutua is at loggerheads with media industry players. Indeed, in some quarters, Mutua is seen to have assumed the role of moral police, taking on major advertisers and brands-such as East African Breweries, Durex and Coca Cola- whose commercials were deemed unfit for human consumption by the Board. Mutua has equally come hard on such activities as Project X, and stopped a supposedly gay speed-dating event in Nairobi. He also banned a film based on the LGBT community in Kenya, and a podcast hosted by a lesbian actor and singer. He has considered these programmes and activities a threat to the country’s moral values and national security. But, is Mutua on the right path or has he gone rogue?

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At the centre of this debate is the place of individual rights vis-à-vis societal values and morality. In this regard is the fundamental right and freedom of expression-in all its forms-embedded in Chapter Four of the Constitution and framed after the US Bill of Rights. It is not lost on many that this is a right that has been long fought for in Kenya. Hence, it must be jealously guarded against any form of erosion that could take us back to the dark old days when Kenyans spoke in whispers even in the safety of their bedrooms.

Yet, there is Chapter Six which appreciates that no society can persist without observing fundamental values and ethics. Indeed, Chapter Six has become an essential gauge for measuring the suitability of any person seeking public office. However, the dilemma that confronts us is what to do when our rights and values clash.

In 1791, the US Constitution was reviewed to include the Bill of Rights, which became known as the First Amendment which soon ring-fenced individual rights such that no court could even begin to listen to any case that appeared to challenge its application-especially on the freedom of expression. This was until 1992 when relatives of three murder victims filed a wrongful death action against Paladin Press, the publishers of a murder manual Hit Man. James Perry, a career criminal was hired by Lawrence Horn to murder Horn’s wife and son-an eight-year old quadriplegic-so as to benefit from a $2million medical malpractice settlement for the injuries that left the boy disabled for life.

Once hired, Perry purchased a copy of Hit Man and relying on its instructions, strangled the young quadriplegic then shot the mother and nurse. A federal trial judge in Maryland threw out the lawsuit on the ground that the claims were ‘barred by the First Amendment as a matter of law.” However, on appeal, the Court of Appeal judges found the book so callous that they ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, holding that the publication of a book may be equivalent to “aiding and abetting” the commission of a crime. Under such circumstances, a publisher “does not enjoy the protection of the First Amendment.”

Thus the Hit Man case became the first successful hit at the First Amendment.

In our case, the fair balance between rights and values seems to be eluding us. Whereas there are many rights advocates who guard against interfering with our Magna Carta, there does not appear to be any credible defenders of Chapter six. That is why the lone voices for values-like that of Mutua-need our robust engagement rather than blanket condemnation. Our rights must be tamed by our values. Otherwise we risk being hit between the eyes by some rouge hit men.

Build Kiosks Along Pedestrian Foot Bridges

By: Dr. David Oginde,

As young architectural students, one of the things we were taught early in the course was that every challenge or constraint provides an opportunity for a unique and creative design. Thus, a difficult client, a rugged terrain, or a tight budget, can all work together to help produce a most innovative architectural masterpiece. Indeed, some of the most brilliant pieces of architecture the world over have been produced around some very demanding circumstances. It thus requires an imaginative architect to turn challenging problems into marvels of art.

I have since come to realise that this principle from the architectural school applies to almost every aspect of life. When life offers you a lemon, you are the wiser to turn it into lemonade. It is in this light that I have pondered over what should be done to sort out three abiding challenges on our two main city highways –Thika Road and Mombasa Road. These two roads are notorious for pedestrian deaths and traffic jams-which results from an uncomfortable mix of human and vehicular traffic, fighting for space in what should otherwise be high-speed superhighways. Added to the mix are hawkers, who similarly mingle dangerously with vehicles, trying to eke out a living.

Undoubtedly, this is a unique challenge to us in the developing world. In developed countries a majority of people use efficient mass transit systems or personal vehicles. A few pedestrian bridges, placed at strategic locations along the highways, serve the few who may occasionally need them. Highways are therefore easily cordoned off for exclusive vehicular use. Hence, vehicles easily move at highway speeds, but with few or no pedestrian accidents. Unfortunately for us, we have a large number of pedestrians that have to cross our roads at almost every point of the road. In the process, flesh and metal are constantly in conflicts, with the former being the fatal victim.

So far, it appears that we have adopted the easy solution of erecting bumps along these highways, resulting in at least two other challenges. First are the huge traffic jams that accrue from some of the bumps. On Thika Road, for example, it is not unusual to find acres of vehicles held up for kilometers simply due to a bump-whether or not there are pedestrians crossing. It totally defeats the very purpose of a highway. Secondly, though bumps slow down vehicles in the day, they bump them off in the night. It is not uncommon to find night accidents at bumps, perhaps because at night many drivers forget they exist, while some simply do not anticipate them. Thus, the pride of a superhighway has turned into a super-challenge. The solution requires creative thinking.

I don’t claim to be greatly creative, but a thought that has lingered in my mind for a while is why we cannot build more pedestrian bridges over our city highways, but design them to be overhead shopping centres- with mini stalls and eating kiosks. The bridges can be joint ventures with private individual or corporate investors who would let them out to small traders. This would hopefully serve several purposes; encourage pedestrians to use them, generate returns for construction costs, provide decent facilities for small traders, and of course eliminate most bumps. The highways can then be closed off to pedestrians.

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Interestingly, I was happy to find that others have implemented similar ideas. The City of Calgary in Canada recently commissioned the construction of a $13-million pedestrian bridge at one of its busiest pedestrian intersection. The bridge is partly sponsored by Cadillac Fairview Corp Ltd, which owns CF Chinook Centre, a shopping Mall that will connect to the bridge. In Durban South Africa, the city government in partnership with KwaMnyandu Shopping Centre Management has recently constructed kiosks at a pedestrian bridge next to the shopping centre and invited potential applicants who meet set criteria to run the stalls.

It means that we too can construct such commercial bridges along Thika and Mombasa Roads in partnership with interested investors. Garden City Mall, for example, can sponsor the construction of a bridge at Breweries that can include stalls and other shopping attractions, and thus eliminate the bumps at the spot. TRM, Safaricom, and Safari Park can do another at their spot. Sameer Business Park and Standard Group can do one on Mombasa Road. And so on. Let’s be creative, redeem our time, as we save lives.

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Personal Freedom: A Trample over the Requirements of Private Institutions

By Dr. David Oginde,

“Fundamental rights and freedoms cannot be contracted away in the name and at the altar of education.” This was the firm assertion of three Court of Appeal judges in a recent ruling on the matter of Muslim students wearing religious attire in Church-sponsored schools. In what is definitely a landmark ruling on personal freedoms verses institutional requirements, the judges averred that: “Schools cannot raise an estoppel against the Constitution. No one can”.

It was therefore the court’s strong position that in a free and democratic society, schools cannot adopt “an absurd inflexibility when it comes to enforcement of school rules to govern various aspects of life.”

Interestingly, in an almost similar case two years ago, High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi dismissed a case in which a six- year –old boy sued Rusinga School for ordering him to shave off his dreadlocks. The boy’s mother took to court alleging discrimination on gender, religious, and cultural grounds. She argued that the boy’s father was Jamaican and dreadlocks were part of his culture. However, the case failed because, according to the judge, the boy did not convince the court that his culture and religious rights has been violated.

Though the two rulings may appear to have reached dissimilar verdicts, in essence they are almost the same. In the dreadlocks case, it would appear that the case was lost simply because the boy had failed to convince the court that his culture and religious rights had been violated.

What exactly are the courts saying? Wooden-Gavel.jpgDoes it mean that a religious community is free to set up a socio-economic institution at their own cost, but they have no right to determine the nature or conduct of those that seek to access the services of such institutions? Part of the reason many religious groups set up social amenities such as schools or colleges, is first and foremost to provide social support to the community. Yet, equally important, is the fact that such institutions also serve as centers for the teaching and propagation of values, beliefs, and practices of the sponsoring body. The question that begs therefore is whether such a sponsoring body cannot legitimately expect to enjoy certain inalienable rights incapable of being repudiated or transferred to another. Or does the Constitution actually advocate for the fundamental rights of the proprietors of institutions to cede ground to the rights of those that patronize such facilities?

The matter of Muslim attire and the litigations thereof is not entirely a Kenyan phenomenon. In a USA case-Webb versus City of Philadelphia- the police department denied a Muslim female officer’s request to wear a Khimar over her uniform. The department considered that this would be a violation of its uniform regulation, which prohibited officers in uniform from wearing religious dress or symbols, and which prohibited officers in uniform from wearing religious dress or symbols, and which permitted no medical or secular exceptions. In defense, the Police Commissioner testified that in his professional judgement and experience ‘it is critically important to promote the image of disciplined, identifiable and impartial police force by maintain…(the department’s) uniform as a symbol of a neutral government authority, free from expressions of personal religion, bent or bias.” The court agreed with him.

It would appear that Kenya, in its quest to join the league of progressive nations, is in the embrace of unfettered freedoms. The truth is-no such freedoms exist. We all operate within common bounds that come with serious obligations. Courts therefore have the distinguished responsibility to ensure that we are not caged into legally enforced relationships that can only breed social animosity. It is instructive that in her ruling in the dreadlocks case, Justice Ngugi declared that ‘courts have no desire to interfere with the running of institutions, but must instead allow schools to govern their pupils.” I agree.

As argued here before, the selection of a school of college is an individual and family choice. It is gravely insincere for individuals or groups to willingly make such a choice, fully cognizant of the attendant obligations, and then turn around with frivolous demands for personal rights. Pom-pom-clip-art-angel-wings-clip-art-0a0-megaphone-2.jpeg

That can only be considered a trample over others’ rights.

 

IEBC: CAUGHT IN INDEFENSIBLE LEADERSHIP

By Dr. David Oginde,

When Isaack Hassan, the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), appeared on the JKL show last week, I could not help but admire him. His courage, calm and clarity of thought was simply commendable. This, especially in light of the pressure that has been on him and his commission over the last several months, could not be taken for granted. In the interview, Mr. Hassan made it abundantly clear that he and his fellow commissioners were not about to resign, not under any circumstances save for a political settlement that respects the Constitution.

The chairman advanced some very plausible arguments that cannot be easily ignored. Chief among them was the fact that the Constitution anticipated the very pressure and manipulation that they have been going through.122.jpg

Measures were therefore taken to provide the Commissioners collectively and individually with a constitutional shield against any such schemes. In his view, therefore, to step down because of such compulsion would set a wrong precedent that could serve only to undermine the very spirit of the Constitution that we seek to uphold. Well put, and I concur.

Yet, as author Richelle Goodrich rightly said, “Reality is a background so painted over by our own perceptions that every eye sees the world differently.” In spite of the chairman’s good arguments, the background to the current pressure is so painted by strong perceptions that make the commission’s continued stay in office look like a fraud and mere intransigence. Whatever it is that has contributed to this discoloring, it is so deep that it will take many liters of paint to restore a clean background. Consequently, in spite of the recent clearance of the team by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament, the stains seem to endure.

What seems to be at play here is what is commonly known in sociology as the Thomas theorem; which simply says, “If men (people) define situations as real, then they are real in their consequences.” In other words, the way people interpret a situation will determine their course of action. They may be totally wrong in their analysis, and yet their actions will be affected by those subjective perceptions, no   matter how absurd. Therefore, according to this theory, the critical issue is not whether there even is an objectively correct interpretation, but rather how the perception will influence consequent behavior.

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It is perhaps for this reason that even the often sober groups like the religious and business communities have come out in strong support of an exit, albeit with soft landing. In their presentation to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on IEBC, the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, for example wrote: “We are alive to the fact that the presence and perception of free and fair elections are fundamental to the peace and stability of our young democracy. We are therefore convinced that the standard required of the Commissioners and Secretariat of the IEBC is that which was required of Caesar’s wife: the need to be beyond suspicion.”

On their part, the Multi-Sectoral Forum (MSF) meeting at Ufungamano, and bringing together the religious, business, and civil society groups, declared, “ We maintain that, considering the history of Kenya and the credibility crisis of the IEBC, even if they are not found culpable through an investigation, it is important for the current commissioners to give way,” The fear here seems to be that, whereas the negative perceptions of the IEBC may not be real, they could be real in their consequences-a gamble we may not want to take, considering our history at the polls.

Obviously, this places the Commissioners in a most awkward position. On the one hand, they must maintain their innocence and must defend their constitutional rights and duties. And yet they must at the same time be alive to the possible consequences of the subjective interpretations of people’s perceptions. This calls for serious introspection and objective considerations, for it a true test of their mettle in leadership. It is a most unfortunate situation to be in, but it is in such moments that leaders are made. Maybe Mr. Hassan and his team may love this other one from Richelle, “Perhaps, if you weren’t so busy regarding my shortcomings, you’d find that I do possess redeeming qualities, discreet as they may be.” Sadly, we are rather busy, and may only discover them after you are gone.

African Leaders Should Borrow a leaf from David Cameron

By Dr. David Oginde,

Let’s admit it. We are miles apart, not just by distance but especially so on matters that matter. By stepping down as British Prime Minister, David Cameron has shown what true servant leadership is all about- a leadership that acknowledges that whatever position we hold, it is first and foremost granted by the people and for the people. Thus, when the people speak otherwise than we believe-no matter how wrong they might be-then our continuance in that leadership role becomes seriously untenable. The wise thing is to step down and let the people determine their own destiny.

The nation of Israel, as conceived and constituted by God, was a theocracy under the headship of Jehovah their God. He oversaw their welfare and affairs through the agency of priests, prophets, and judges. He was also their commander of the armed forces and duly fought their battles ever so victoriously. But, several years after God delivered them from their slavery in Egypt and settled them in the Promised Land, the people of Israel began to be uneasy with this arrangement. They admired the human kings of nations around them. Thus they approached Samuel, who was their prophet and judge at the time, and demanded of him to give them a king like other nations. Samuel was aghast! He could not believe how his people could even imagine such a thing. But God spoke to Samuel and reassured and instructed him, “Go ahead and do what they’re asking. They are not rejecting you. They’ve rejected me as their King. So let them have their own way.” And with those words, the will of the people prevailed. God stepped down from being their King, and Saul was appointed as the first human king of Israel. The rest is history.

As I have watched the goings on in the nations of this continent, it vexes the heart that we are so bereft of this godly attitude. Lives are being lost in Burundi. Uganda is amending its constitution to extend the presidential term. Zimbabwe has an eternal president. And South Sudan is bleeding. Africa has buried, nay, lost many of its precious sons and daughters in numerous wars that are completely unnecessary, if only the leaders were more alive to the aspirations of their people.

In our own nation, the country is almost at standstill because of the IEBS question. After weeks of street protests that resulted in the deaths of several Kenyans and destruction of properly, a parliamentary select committee is now at work collecting the views of Kenyans on how to reform the electoral system.

But, at the core of this exercise is whether or not the commissioners should be removed or retained. Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Committee on Administration and justice has also been grilling the commissioners on alleged corrupt practices. Eventually, a lot of time and money is going to be spent on processes whose outcomes are easily predictable. These are mere shenanigans that we should never have engaged in if only we demonstrated dignified leadership.

Whereas IEBC has maintained studious innocence in all accusations brought upon them, and whereas this is their legal and constitutional right, yet one wonders what would have happened if they had taken the path of Cameron early in the day. Where would we be today if, as soon as it appeared that the people had lost faith in them- whether rightly or wrongly- they opted to step down so that a new team is put in place? They would most likely, like Cameron, gone out with their heads up high having demonstrated a rare breed of leadership.Servant_Leadership_Empathy.jpg

But, it does appear that such things only happen in other continents and not in Africa. Here the will of the leader supersedes that of everybody else. Once granted a leadership position, we rule our people whether they like it or not. This is often true in the smallest chama, as it is in the largest corporate. Many of our leaders will simply not heed the voice of the people. Thus we marvel at the likes of David Cameron, and wonder why a man would step down from such a prestigious position for such a little thing as losing the Brexit vote! Yet, this is the godly thing to do. It speaks neither of weakness nor of guilt, but demonstrates the dignity of leadership.

 

Israeli Visit: A Dilemma to Kenya’s Diplomacy

By Dr. David Oginde,

Being the first by an Israeli premier, the recent visit to Kenya by Benjamin Netanyahu was historic. It certainly elicited excitement among many Kenyans especially because of the friendly role Israel has often played in times of crisis in Kenya. Yet it seems to have caused unease in some quarters. In fact, a group of Muslim clerics and political leaders termed the visit a danger to the nation.

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In their view, it would only exacerbate the already deplorable security situation in the country. They went as far as claiming that Israel is a violator of human rights, with whom we should associate, owing to its conduct in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Accordingly, the Muslim leaders asked Kenya to steer clear of Israel until a lasting solution is found to the conflict.

The truth is that Israel has been in constant battles with many of its Arab neighbors since its rebirth in 1948. These battles have been fought within and outside boarders of Israel, sometimes targeting their interests in other nations, including Kenya. At the center of these fights is the dispute over Israel’s legitimacy as a bonafide member of the community of nations. This legitimacy is something that some have refused to acknowledge, and especially its immediate neighbors, but which is an undeniable fact of history.

Thus the call by Muslim leaders raises fundamental issues with regard to Kenya’s diplomatic relations with the Middle Eastern nations. In recent times, the Arab nations have almost totally dominated Kenya’s diplomatic space with their leaders visiting Kenya one after another. In what has been regarded as trade and development ties, these nations have been assiduously aggressive in cementing ties with Kenya. Hence, their business interests are expansive and well entrenched.

Whereas there is absolutely nothing untoward about being astute in business, eyebrows were recently raised when Kenya was invited to join the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Announcing the move, Henry Rotich, the Finance Cabinet Secretary, declared that Kenya was set to become a member of the OIC, ostensibly to access cheap loans from the Islamic Development Bank, extended on interest free terms as per Islamic banking practice. Though this seemed like a noble venture, there were concerns with the fact that OIC declares unequivocally that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world.” Kenya was thus being invited to join a primarily religious outfit.

As previously argued in this space, such an eventuality was bound to throw Kenya into a diplomatic quagmire with Israel. Kenya has always considered itself a friend of Israel, though taking a neutral stand in the conflict between Israel and its neighbors.

Therefore, for Kenya to become a member of an organization that appears, at least covertly, to be unfriendly to Israel was most likely going to compromise that stand. This is particularly because the OIC position on Israel is clear. It has previously declared “the possibility of cutting ties with any (member) state that recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or that moves it embassy to its environs” Certainly a veiled threat to members of the organization not to entertain Israel.

Therefore, with Israel stepping out of the woodworks to also find allies in Africa, Kenya may find itself at the center of a love triangle battle whose impact could be devastating if not carefully managed. It is curious that the Muslim leaders considered the visit by Netanyahu a danger to the nation and one that could undermine national security. This could be a loaded statement considering that Netanyahu had just pledged to share intelligence with Kenya to pre-empt terrorist attacks.

Whatever the case, it appears unfortunate that the Kenya Muslim community would come out strongly to oppose diplomatic relations with Israel, on the basis of the Palestinian conflict.

Bearing in mind that there are many Kenyans who strongly consider Israel to have legitimate legal and historic rights to the land they occupy, we run the danger of importing the Middle Eastern conflict to our own land-a situation that would certainly not to be happy.

It therefore behooves us to allow the government to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with all friendly nations but stay clear of their internal affairs. In this case, it is perhaps the only way to keep both friends. Otherwise Kenya should also cut ties with any perceived “enemies” of Israel in order to be truly neutral.