Archive for December, 2012

A report released yesterday by the Interim IEBC on the progress of the voter registration process revealed a very shocking state of affairs.  With only less than a week to go, only 8.6 million people have registered as voters representing a slightly fewer than 50 per cent of the 18 million Kenyans targeted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

 
The figures presented by the commission indicated that voter apathy is still high in most parts of the country. This means most Kenyans have little if no concern on the reason why they should register a voters, or is it what we are used to where Kenyans like doing things on the eleventh hour. This should leave the IEBC and the political class a very worried lot. The commission is doing all it can to encourage Kenyans to register as voters through short text messages and awareness, the politicians have also expressed concern on the low voter turnout and are also encouraging people turn out and vote.
 
The task now remains with the IEBC to address the issue of voter apathy, which has been labelled as the main reason for the low turnout. The commission should intensify its efforts to ensure it reaches its 18 million target. Isaack Hassan also fingered delays in issuance of national Identity Cards for the low numbers. So many identify cards are still lying in government offices yet to be collected.
 
The March 2013 elections is going to be one of the competitive and biggest in the history of our country and for it to be successful, the Kenyan electorate should come out and register in this remaining week. Already, the commission has indicated it will not extend the registration process; they should therefore make use of these few remaining days.
 
Leading the pack of the top 10 counties in voter registration are Nairobi, Kiambu, Lamu, Murang’a, Nyeri, Kajiado, Kisumu, Nyandarua, Siaya and Kirinyaga. The rest of the counties At the bottom are Uasin Gishu, Isiolo, Marsabit, Kwale, Trans Nzoia, Garissa, West Pokot, Wajir, Turkana and Mandera all presenting a very low voter registration turnout.
 
Kenyans should realize that your vote is your future and it is the only way we can be able to get rid of the current bad woes and bad leadership in our country.
 
Nixon Kanali, Nairobi
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A world bank economic report launched yesterday presented a very worrying revelation on the state of unemployment in the country.
 
The report indicated how the rate of unemployment has continued to be high and persistent. Out of the total 800,000 jobseekers available, the report says there are only 50,000 jobs available.  It goes further to say that vices like corruption, tribalism, bribery and sexual harassment are the major contributors of this trend and unless they are addressed the situation is never going to change. For a long time now, the problem of unemployment especially among the Kenyan youth has continued to be a very big hindrance to our economic growth. This has mostly been necessitated by these vices in the World Bank economic report, something which both previous and current governments have always done little if nothing to address.  
 
Corruption and impunity has continued to be the order of the day. At one time our country was even ranked among the most corrupt countries in the continent. The monies set aside by the government or contributed by donors to create some profit generating projects has always ended up in the pockets of hungry leaders mandated to oversee the implementation of these projects. A case in point being the kazi kwa vijana initiative where millions of shillings were reported missing. Another scam was in the youth empowerment funds project, a government project which again saw another millions of shillings go unaccounted for.  These projects had been put in place to cater for the large number of unemployed youth; unfortunately it was never the case. Money was embezzled by corrupt leaders out to satisfy their selfish ambitions at the expense of youth unemployment.
 
Tribalism is also a major contributing factor to the high unemployment rate in the country. People in high offices have always hired members of their families or community despite some of them not being qualified to hold the positions they are always hired to work in.  You may not be surprised to walk into a government or private office only to find people from the same community even speaking their mother tongue in offices. It has now become a norm that for one to secure employment, he or she must have connections, which might include you being a member of a community in office, a very worrying trend indeed.
 
Reports of bribery and sexual harassment have also been on the rise. For you to secure an employment position you have to part away with a bribe.  Some people are even asked for sexual favors before securing a job or being promoted.
These are just among the many more vices that exist in the Kenyan job market and have contributed greatly towards this unemployment rate.  So many university and college graduates are out there unemployment not because there are no jobs but because of the vices that exist in the job market, vices which these graduates cannot give in to and are below their reach.  This matter should be addressed very fast, especially now that the country is preparing to a transition into the next government.
Our politicians are now busy campaigning and making coalitions. The mammoth crowds attending these political rallies is a clear indication that the problem of unemployment is very big and serious, and these politicians are doing nothing to address it, especially among the youth.  The next government should really work towards improving this situation instead of just making empty promises. 
Youth empowerment is key towards the growth of any economy in any given country. This can only be achieved if the government gets rid of all these vices that contribute to the current state of unemployment and create opportunities for employment.
 
Nixon Kanali, Nairobi

Yesterday saw two top presidential aspirants, URPs William Ruto and TNAs Uhuru Kenyatta form a pre-election alliance in a political rally at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru. The deal came just weeks after speculations went through the country that the two had sealed a deal to work together. Accusations which URPs William Ruto had come out strongly to denounce but came out in the open yesterday. In this deal, Uhuru Kenyatta is going to vie for the presidency while William Ruto will be his running mate.

Even as this new deal was sealed yesterday, question still linger in the minds of Kenyans as to whether this could be the alliance to beat come the next elections. With some pacts labeling it as a coalition of suspects, in view of the fact that the two have cases still pending at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague after being linked to the 2007-2008 post election violence . Some forces are also labeling it as a tribal alliance, something which both Uhuru and Ruto have come out strongly to dismiss.

Watching the two leaders and Mps allied to them yesterday at Afraha stadium announce the alliance and selling themselves. I keep wondering if the two did enough to convince Kenyans that they have what it takes to be the leaders of our country come next year. Both of them exuded confidence that they are going to win the presidency saying that no courts can block their ambitions. Already, there is another case in court against the two and other leaders with integrity questions to be blocked from vying for the various seats come the next elections after the first one was dismissed.

While this was happening, the Prime minister and his ODM entourage was in Mombasa Tononoka grounds.  Speculations are also going round that he could be sealing a deal with the Vice president and Wiper party leader Kalanzo Musyoka to form an alliance. Already, the Vice president has come out to dismiss this. However, our eyes are open to see if just like Ruto did, he is going to enter into an alliance with the ODM even after dismissing the rumors.  This is one thing that Kenyans should be watching, our current leaders cannot be trusted and we should vet them carefully before voting them in.

The kind of politics being played by all these aspirants is the “it’s our time to eat” kind of politics, where some leaders are out to block other leaders from vying for the top seat because they come from a certain community. This was evident at the Tononoka rally in Mombasa where nearly every leader who stood up to speak during the ODM rally said that they were not ready to be led by another leader from Central or Rift Valley. They all said that for close to 25 years the country had been led by two communities and they needed someone new.  I am just wondering of this is the notion being shared by every Kenyan out there.

Our country is very important, and as the late Prof. George Saitoti once said, there comes a time when the country is more important than an individual or an individual community. This is what we should be putting in our minds as we prepare for the elections. The ongoing political campaigns should give us a very good ground for us to vet these leaders regardless of their tribe.  We should not let our country to be dictated by hungry leaders. No one has the right to choose a leader for us, the decision lies with us as the electorate.

As the deadline for the se leaders form coalitions approaches, we are keenly watching to see more in the political cycle. Meanwhile Kenyans should watch out for tribal or ethnic alliances and instead go for issue based alliances.

Nixon Kanali, Nairobi