Move to the Diaspora is beneficial

Brain drain, which results from the international migration of highly educated manpower to rich countries, should have ceased to worry Kenyans over 30 years.

At this time Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand established fully-fledged institutions catering for the interests of non-resident citizens.

These institutions were tasked with tapping the $150 billion that their non-resident citizens remitted from abroad.

Kenyans living or working abroad, regardless of their skills, qualifications and sporting talents are not a total loss to the country as implicated by some.

They remit an excess of $560 million to their families annually. This is only 0.4 per cent of the global remittances. It is no longer advisable to remind students going abroad to come back at the end of their studies. Globalisation has rendered such advice obsolete with the emerging ‘world without borders.

It is up to the individual to find a niche in this competitive world. Africa, after all, is a net consumer of world intellectual output.

Instead of the present small number of two million Kenyans living and working abroad, we should be targeting higher figures.

Since we have invested heavily in education, let the world be our fodder. It is the only way of using the surplus manpower besides creating mobility of labour.

There is need to urgently create structures that help Kenyan communities in the Diaspora.
If these ambitions are pursued as soon as possible, as President Kibaki reassured the nation on Jamhuri Day, "things will even be much better."

Why Hon Kuti has done us proud

Mr Kariuki’s calling for the sacking of the minister for Youth Affairs, Hon Mohamed Abdi Kuti, is misdirected and preposterous,(The STD, Monday, June 4, 2007).

A fully fledged Youth Affairs ministry in Kenya is a recent development. Credit goes to the Government of President Mwai Kibaki who recognized the role of the youth in the prosperity and welfare of this nation. The minister and the chairperson of the Youth Fund, who is “dynamic and articulate advocate of the youth,” for sure can best speak for themselves.

Nevertheless, one thing is obvious. Whereas the Youth Enterprise Development Fund is a great idea, just like all other public projects, it is severely constrained by budgetary limitations. Every gram of social advance would have to be paid for by countless kilos of often exasperating efforts by each and every one of us. A billion shillings may be a good start, but won’t make appreciable difference when it comes to the accumulated needs and the large number of our youths. Thus, one cannot blame the minister or any body else for the scarcity of financial resource.

Under the circumstances, therefore, Hon Mohamed Kuti and his officials have given a sterling account of themselves and have done us proud. Rather than unfairly criticizing them , we should cheer them up, and be aware of the unpardonable sin of ingratitude to God and country.

Writer wrong on Mandera new districts

It is arrogant and hypocritical for Mr Hassan Hache to dismiss as “noise makers” the genuine concerns of heroic Kenyans from Mandera who demanded a mere inclusiveness and prior consultations with regard to the hiving of two additional districts from their existing one(DN, July,9,2007). Whereas the creation of new districts is a welcome development everywhere and has a lot of benefits for the people, equity and natural justice demand that the process be led by public officers of impeccable integrity and that the interest, views and aspirations of all the communities be taken into account before the Government makes the final decision on the new districts. In the case of Mandera, this was not done.

Some otherwise very intelligent people wish to close their eyes from the social realities of the communites of the district. By 1963 three major communities lived here and had their colonial chiefs as wazes Hussein Salat, Mohammed Jari and Abdinur Gesey. Today the balance has shifted so much so that some thirty percent of the population acutely feel disfranchised and politically dismembered. Some of the people we have elected have not become their brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.

We are living in a democratic, free country. We are led by an elected Government of the people and for the people. The people will stand up for their rights and the Government will have to listen. The voice of the people is the voice of God. The people of Mandera have the capacity to reason and agree amicably by themselves on anything on win-win basis.

All that the “noise makers” demand is inclusiveness in the process of the creation of the new districts and protection of their constitutional and natural rights. This is not advanced calculus, not to understand. Simply put, no one is opposed to the allocation of the new districts, if this is done in more a sensitive, all inclusive and sincere manner.

I suppose, whatever troubles such a large section of the population of the district, definitely troubles all Kenyans, let alone a local fellow.


The military has a role in keeping law and order.

Following the controversial declaration of the results of the presidential election on 30th, December, our country is at the great risk of sliding farther into dreadful black hole of civil war and disintegration. The economy is facing a meltdown, the tourist sector being the worst hit. Lose of public and private properties are in the billions of shillings.

Our people are dying in there hundreds. Some three hundred thousand people have already been displaced and are in un-Kenyan like, heart rendering, and unhygienic camps in the ethnic-conflict prone Rift Valley. Youthful, marauding, murderous gangs have taken over highways and people being burnt alive in their homes. The resources of the ever-alert Kenya Police have been over stretched.

The Kenya Army has done sterling job in the cases of Nakuru and Naivasha by responding to the emergency situation of the country and augmenting the efforts of the civil authorities. But this is insufficient. It is the mandate of the military to defend the country from any external aggression and support the civil powers if and when required. To this end, it is out of context for Hon Musalia Mudavadi of ODM to say the government should not use the military in fighting violence when the nation is passing through a life threatening experience.

At the highest political level, intensive dialogue and negotiations are going under the able leadership of the former UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan and Kenyans are keenly and anxiously awaiting hard choices to be made by their leaders.
But, at another level, the Chief Secretary, Amb. Francis Mathaura and his legions of permanent secretaries, the military commanders, under the Chief of General Staff, Gen. J M Kianga , the Kenya Police and all other government agencies must come together on daily basis and work round the clock during this difficult times for the sake of “duty, honor, and country “ and save us before it is too late. Life and economic activities must continue under any circumstances whatsoever.

Most of our military personnel are unfatigueable, patriotic, world-class officers with first class talents. They can play major role in ensuring that the country weathers this storm if they are well directed and given chance. It would be scandalous if they become bystanders of their country’s tragedy.

NEP’s great expectations from the grand coalition Government

We thank God; the country is now safely recovered from the edge of the precipice of self-destruction, following the ferocious eruptions of violence that were ignited by the disputed results of the presidential elections. In spite of over two months of terrible national crisis that caused 1,200 deaths, economic nightmare for many and displaced 350,000 people, at last good reason, international persuasions and patriotism of the principal leaders of both sides have carried the day, enabling to the speedy enactment by parliament of two important legislations and formation of grand coalition Government with a prime minister.

The people’s expectations are high. The challenges are daunting. But the opportunities for turning the country to a new course of prosperity are many. Today, all Kenyans and their leaders are on the same side. It is not hard, therefore, to propel the nation to a new level of peace and social equity and further restore the country’s brand image of being jewel of Africa-Kenya hakuna matata.

The residents of North-Eastern Province , however, have special, specific expectations from this historic grand coalition Government. The region, formerly known as Northern Frontier District-NFD, consisting of upper Eastern and North Eastern Province has had bitter history of economic marginalization, political exclusion and injustice such as the Wagalla massacre, ethnic differentiation and threat of economic exploitation at the hands of a sedentary and increasingly centralized state. The region further suffers from harsh climate and geographical isolation from the main national economic and social streams. During the past four decades the formal position has been, so long as the city, agricultural commercial lands, and the communication network to the outside world were unaffected, the nation could get by without much ado about the economic plight of the peripheral regions and their inhabitants. That must now change.

The Northern region which is about a half of the country, borders the world’s poorest region, Ethiopia and Somalia, is the least developed province and is unenviable part of what the MP for Nyatike, Mr.Omondi Anyanga described as “ a Kenya that Kenya forgot” about since the days of pre-independence. Progress has been made since 60’s.But more needs to be done in order to develop fullest the potentials of every inch of our land and the talent of every one of our citizens. The basis of the high expectations of the people here arises from the campaign promises made by all the presidential candidates who are luckily, today the cabin crews of the nation’s political and economic destiny. We expect President Mwai Kibaki, the Vice President and the Prime Minister to be very dependable crews of affairs of state.

The pledges of all the three parties, ODM, PNU and ODM-K for the region included the bringing about of balanced regional development, creation of special ministry for the recovery and development of NEP. They also promised major capital outlay for roads network, a kind of Marshall Plan, education, water, health, agriculture, livestock, issue of ID cards and proportional representation in senior government appointments such as in the cabinet. It is not hard to discharge these pledges. It would only require sincerity from our leaders since great political pledges are long term philosophical commitments and do not end like a midnight rainfall or a word casually spoken. We hope this time round, we would have many promises made to the residents of NEP fulfilled.

Law review: Justification and relevance of Kadhi’s courts

Mr Tom Kagwe gave a satisfactory account of the historical background of the Kadhi’s courts in Kenya as currently found in our Constitution, but ended up with an inaccurate, and a pre-determined, subjective conclusion. (East African Standard, July 30, 2004).

The Kadhi’s courts are as old as Islam itself. It is not possible to imagine an Islamic society without one form or another of these courts any where in the world. That is why the people in our coastal belt had the Kadhi’s courts much before any European set foot in Africa. In communities where majority of the people are of Islamic faith, the Kadhi’s courts have wider roles and more comprehensive powers.

However, where Muslim population is in the minority, the jurisdiction of these courts have been limited to what section 66(5) of our constitution defined as "the determination of questions of Muslim law relating to personal status, marriage, divorce or inheritance in proceedings in which all the parties profess the Muslim religion." In the draft constitution of Kenya, 2004, section, 198/199, "there is established Kadhi’ s courts" and their jurisdiction strictly restricted to what they have always been since 1963. One principle normally observed when undertaking any kind of reviewing legal or social issues is "if one cannot improve them, one should not impoverish the beneficiaries of the legal or social issue being reviewed by taking away an existing benefit".

It is important to appreciate that the Kadhi court is a major pillar of an Islamic society. We know in a Muslim community, it is a taboo and shameful to have children outside marriage. No marriage is recognised unless conducted before a Kadhi or a person of similar qualification. Then in a population of 9 million, it is easy to estimate the amount of work that will translate in the form of courts to administer them. For example, in Wajir District, most of the times, there are more cases handled by the Kadhis’ court than the District Magistrate court.

Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and the British colonial power of the time knew the importance and seriousness to which the Muslim people attached to their courts. That is why in 1895 the Sultan of Zanzibar gave away his sovereignty of the Coastal region to the British in exchange for what could appear to the non-Muslims a simple thing; "the protection and retention of Kadhi’s courts. At independence, the late President Kenyatta ensured the Kadhis’ courts were enshrined in our Constitution. The late Mzee Kenyatta was a pragmatic, wise man and was a person of integrity; not a later-day ‘MoU’ trashers as Kagwe suggests, when he says that the very Kenyatta who guaranteed in writing the continued existence of the Kadhi’s courts expressed his desire "not to be bound by all pre-independent treaties and agreements." Mzee Kenyatta, like all leaders worldwide, was a defender of the interests of his countrymen. For sure, whatever troubles Kenyan Muslims definitely troubles all Kenyans. To quote Barack Obama’s now well-known recent speech, we have to be our "brothers’ and sisters’ keeper."

Some anti-kadhi individuals state that they are not against the Islamic courts, but their inclusion in the constitution. The question is, if one is not against the Kadhis’ courts themselves, does it matter whether the courts are established under the Constitution or under an Act of Parliament?

There are many things found in the draft constitution. These include mundane issues such as "the election of district councillors and Commission for Gender". Is someone saying then that the Kadhi’s courts are not important enough to be included in the Constitution of the Republic? Such a person for sure should seek the sermon and prayers of the 13th century St Francis of Assisi of Italy.

The historical justifications and relevance of the Kadhis’ courts in Kenya today are as critical and timely as ever to the interest and welfare of Muslims in particular and Kenya in general for all times to come.


MYWO: NEP celebrates Rukia’s election victory

The recent countrywide elections of the 45 years old Maendeleo ya Wanawake organization has given the residents of North Eastern Province something tangible to celebrate about when the women delegates from all the provinces almost unanimously elected as their chair person, Mrs Rukia Subow.

Rukia, who has served MYWO for over a quarter of a century with selfless dedication, had her ‘finest hour’ during this election. It is a tribute for our women folk for their nationalism and heroic hearts. Rukia’s election demonstrated that when it comes to any kind of election, we are capable of “thinking as Kenyans first”

The Kenyan women, just as the continental African women, face a lot of challenges. The developmental process affects women and men differently. In Africa, statistics show that while women produce as much as 80% of the food, they own less than 1% of the property. In other cases 98% of girls do not go to schools

These are great challenges which are beyond the capacity of women organizations such as MYWO. They are national challenges for all men and women who hold positions of leadership.


When the Government recently announced additional districts, Mandera residents were happy that their district was at last one of those considered for two more additional districts.

If two additional districts were carved out from the existing Mandera, I believe it would be more than enough to address and accommodate the concerns and diversities of the interests of all the residents, if only there was goodwill from all parties involved.

The sad thing however, is that a very vocal and partisan section of the local leaders lack this goodwill. They want every opportunity for themselves even when the rules of good neighborliness, equity, socio-economic imperatives and nature of settlement dictate otherwise.

Majority of the people desire to have their new district headquarters at El Wak and Rhamo. Thus, in order to forestall future conflicts and feelings of alienation of one section of the local community by another, the government, through our Minister for Internal Security, Hon. John Michuki, should ensure that ElWak and Rhamo be the District headquarters for the two new districts.

In order to maximize social advantages for all, more often than not, the state becomes the most qualified, neutral judge of our societal affairs. No doubt, residents of Mandera district are no exception.

The Magic of Winning Students’ Confidence

Ability to win students’ trust and confidence by teachers, though not easy to evaluate when assessing a new teacher’s suitability before deployment in class, is critical in the academic achievement and personality development of students anywhere.

This ability is a function of leadership. Teachers are leaders. They have followers, they are motivators and role models. Their students love them. Their communities respect them. Students love and perform best at schools where they feel they are growing up, learning and teachers are keenly interested in their future prosperity. Where there was effective communication between students, teachers and parents.

Winning students’ hearts is certainly not Advanced Calculus. Any teacher who consciously wishes to gain the confidence of his or her students and practices leadership techniques is most likely to be one of the most admired staff at any school. Great character, subject knowledge and being “Professor of human Nature” are some of the qualities which work wonders with students.

We know a business that does not show a profit, at least equal to its cost is irresponsible, since it wastes our society’s resources. Similarly, a school that does not consistently post satisfactory educational performance is bound to be frowned upon by all key stakeholders . We all wish to associate with winners, with great names.

Being among the top schools in examinations does not come easily. Our system is very competitive. It comes from great teachers and hard-working students and world-class facilities.

For a teacher to win his or her students, the teacher should first have strong desire to be a good teacher. The students are always able to discern this strong desire from the teacher’s face. Students are good readers of body language. Educational psychologists have always reminded us that as teachers, “a thorough knowledge of what we are teaching is very important, but a thorough knowledge of the students as human beings is as important.”

My Headmaster in Wajir Full Primary Schol in 1973, Mr M.M. Said was such a teacher. He would go great length to be a good teacher. He told us great stories and motivated us to be the “best that we could all be.” He was energetic, a person of character and professor of human nature.

Today, teachers are hired for their ability to manage students and understand human relations as well as for their technical skills and knowledge. Our students are largely what we make them. There is no such thing as perfect students.
Every student has certain abilities and shortcomings, even as the teachers and everyone else. The teachers’ job is to mould the human weakness of their students in the proper, noblest, most desirable direction.

Teachers should be loyal to their students and should not ignore them. A lady teacher named Josephine became sick and was admitted in Hospital. She was surprised that not only all the teachers and students-756 of them, visited her at the hospital, but the students persuaded their parents too,to visit their teacher. She was uncompromisingly loyal to her School Community. When the time came, the community reciprocated. Later on she started her Private Academy which proved a fantastic success.

Teachers must not be afraid to give praise to good students. To praise is to give “mental sunshine and mental wage” by expressing appreciation for good School work , for discipline and for character. A great teacher is one who remembers the faces and names of his or her students many years after they had left the School. One of my teachers in High School remembered almost all the names of his students, their looks, their habits and their class-work.

Teachers should not be too lenient or too severe on their students. Both have severe consequences. There are indicators to show whether a teacher is too lenient or too severe. Students rarely respect a teacher who is too soft. They will display a lax attitude towards their studies. They will avoid one who is too harsh. Students will restrict their output and appear sullen.

It pays to win students confidence. All teachers should cultivate habits of winning their students. It is great for academic achievement and personality development of students.

Mr. Billow Khalid who is a former Military Officer, is a Motivational Trainer.

Brain Drain Is An Obsolete Idea

It is a Myth that “ Kenya (is) hardest hit by brain drain in Africa .” (Standard,Dec.,11,2006.)

Brain drain ,which is the “problem” of international migration of high-level educated manpower from poor to rich countries, should have ceased to worry us in the 70’s when the Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand began establishing fully fledged departments and ministries for the interests of their “non-resident precious citizens” in order to be the leading beneficiaries of the $150Bn financial world of foreign remittances.

Kenyans living or working abroad are not losses for the country, regardless of their skills; qualifications and sporting talents. They are pools of resources. They, for instance, send to their families annual remittances exceeding $56M, although that is only 0.4% of the global remittances. The fact that Somaliland receives more remittances than Kenya , US$850M annually, shows how much we have fallen behind over the years in this area.

It is no longer advisable to remind students going abroad to come back home at the end of their studies. Globalization has rendered such advice obsolete since we now belong to a “world without borders.” It is up to the individual Kenyan and institutions to find their own niches and level in this competitive world. Africa after all is a net consumer of world intellectual output.

Instead of the present small number of “two million Kenyans living and working abroad” ,our target should have been ,by 2012,to have five Million Kenyans living abroad and 600,000 Professionals in the US alone and annual remittance target of US$1.5 Bn. Since we have invested heavily in education ,let the world be our fodder. It is the only way to help our surplus manpower and create mobility of labor.

What is needed urgently are structures to help the Kenyan communities in the Diaspora. We should have a “desk” for “non-resident Kenyans” in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” a “ recognition” at our International Airports, Department of Immigration, Central Bank, AG’s Office and in the Office of the President. If these things are done as soon as possible, as
President Kibaki reassured us on Jamhuri Day, “things will even be much better for all of us.”