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Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to Raise Funds for A National Resource Center for Human Rights Activities.

Twenty Human Rights Activists are gearing up to summit Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for establishing a National Resource Center for activists in Kenya.

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Photo: By Herbert Aust on Pixabay

Twenty Human Rights Activists are gearing up to summit Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for establishing a National Resource Center for activists in Kenya.

The group plans to depart Nairobi on 13 February a cross the border and take the scenic Marangu route. On their way up to the Uhuru Point (summit), they will make stops on Horombo and Kibo water points. The expedition will take a total of 8 days, with the team expected to jet back into te country on the 20th of February 2021.

Organized by Defenders Coalition, the national human rights defenders’ umbrella body targets to raise Ksh.50 million Kenya Shillings through the campaign dubbed Climb for Justice. With contributions from Kenyans, the lobby has raised Ksh. 6.9 million. The Defenders Coalition has risen to the occasion from time-to-time offering legal support, relocation and enhancing the skill sets of human rights defenders to counter the risks. This has a huge financial implication, which sometimes the institution is unable to meet.

Since the launch of the campaign in August 2019, over 900 Kenyans and friends of Kenya have taken part in the different hiking activities. A lot of support has been realized, including ordinary Kenyans taking part in different hiking destinations. Among the hikes accomplished are; Mount Longonot William Hill, Elephant Hill, Eburru Forest, Kudu Hills, Ngong Hills, and Kijabe Hills.

In as much as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro will be a new refreshing phenomenon, it is not the first time the campaign will be taking this extreme length to sensitize members of the public on human rights and social justice.

In December 2019, Thirty human rights defenders and members of the public climbed Mount Kenya reaching up to the summit of Lenana Point on Jamhuri Day. On the same day, Kenya received her independence, 58 years ago, from the colonial masters Great Britain.

The Climb for Justice Campaign offers an equal opportunity for all Kenyans to be part of cementing human rights into the country’s national culture.

It equally gives Kenyans a chance to promote local tourism while addressing issues on wellness as the campaign incorporates physical activities such as hiking in Kenya’s parks.

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Kenya Elections 2022

The People’s Manifesto Must Be Inclusive Of Economic And Political Institutions

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By Auscar Odhiambo Wambiya

As the race towards August 2022 elections hots up in Kenya, debate rages on economic and development models that Kenya should adopt in the post elections dispensation.

In the recent weeks, we have seen political parties hold public rallies, listening tours and national delegates conferences to either unveil presidential candidates or adopt economic or development models that they seek to champion if or when they form government after the elections.

As ultimate presidential candidates spruce up their manifestos,  ahead of their launch towards August 2022, it is essential that the people’s manifesto wins.

What does a people’s manifesto portend? Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson in their book, “Why Nations Fail; The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty,” answer with the argument that economic and political institutions are the greatest people centered engines of prosperity among and within nations. Further, that inclusive economic and political institutions are those that allow and encourage participation by the great mass of people in economic and political activities, that make the best use of their talents and skills and that enable individuals to make the choices they wish. To be inclusive, the people’s manifesto must feature ideas on how to secure private property, an unbiased system of law and a provision of public services that provides a level playing field in which people can exchange and contract. It must also permit the entry of new businesses and allow people to choose their careers.

As manifestos get unveiled,  Kenyans need to scrutinize them on whether they answer the people’s needs, while building on Kenya’s Vision 2030. Kenya aspires to be a middle income economy, with the political pillars envisioning a democratic political system that is issue based, people centered, result oriented and accountable to the public.

Empirically, it is impossible to achieve inclusive economic prosperity without inclusive political institutions. That is why we must fix the politics and the economics simultaneously.

In the education sector, for example, Kenyan’s must embrace manifestos that promote entrepreneurial initiative, creativity and adequately prepare pupils and students for skilled work. Most professionals in the education sector agree that the recently launched Competency Based Curriculum is conscious of skills for future work. One need to find out if their candidate speaks to the competency based curriculum. If not, much of the education our children will receive in future, could end up being propaganda meant to shore up the legitimacy of the regime in power with fewer and limited books to read, let alone computers.

Does the future education espoused in your candidates manifesto embrace technology and innovation?

Evidence now exist to show that inclusive economic and political institutions foster economic activity, productivity growth, and economic prosperity. Secure private property rights are central, since only those with such rights will be willing to invest and increase productivity. A businessman who expects his output to be stolen through corrupt institutions, expropriated, or entirely taxed away will have little incentive to work, let alone any incentive to undertake investments and innovations. But such rights must exist for the majority of people in society according to Doran and Robinson in “Why Nations Fail.” The people’s manifesto must therefore speak very candidly to the investment atmosphere anticipated by the next government and whether it will promote a market economy, built on private property where successful entrepreneurs, both local and foreign, enjoy the fruits of their investments and efforts.

These will have ripple economic effects on the ordinary citizens at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

Inclusive economic and political institutions create inclusive markets, which not only give people freedom to pursue the vocations in life that best suit their talents, but also, provide a level playing field that gives them the opportunity to do so.

Those who have good ideas will find it easy to start businesses, workers will tend to go to activities where their productivity is greater and less efficient firms can be replaced by more efficient ones.

Setting up inclusive economic and political institutions is therefore much more than sloganeering and giving handouts to woo voters, it includes long term structural and systems thinking. Can you say this about your candidate’s manifesto?

If people’s manifesto that embrace inclusive institutions lead to prosperity, why are they shunned? Joseph Schumpeter, former Finance Minister of Germany-Austria, suggests that political leaders oppose such manifestos for fear of what he calls creative destruction.

This is because inclusive institutions replace the old system with the new, new sectors that embrace technology and guarantee higher returns to the people attract resources away from the old sectors where looting has been easier. This, as an example explains the low uptake of technology driven revenue collection at the national level and in the counties because the porous manual revenue collection systems are avenues for pilferage. The process of economic growth and the inclusive institutions upon which it is based create losers as well as winners in the political arena and in the economic marketplace.

What does the manifesto of your candidate say on embracing new structural systems that will empower the people in the long term?

On the opposite end of this manifesto debate is the extractive economic and political institutions which should be looked out for and shunned ahead of August 2022. Poor economic performances are attributable to manifestos that fail to create incentives for parents to educate their children and by political institutions that fail to induce the government to build, finance and support schools and the wishes of parents and children.

The price that nations whose institutions are extractive pay for lack of inclusive markets is high. They fail to mobilize their nascent talent.

If we fail to scrutinize these manifestos, we could end up with ruining many people with potential like Bill Gates and perhaps one or two Thomas Edison or Albert Einsteins who will work as poor, uneducated farmers. People being coerced to do what they do not wish to do, like pushing a wheelbarrow around, because they never had the opportunity to realize their vocation in life.

Keep vigil. Most importantly, ask yourself what the candidate’s history and record is with regard to respect for and execution of inclusive economic and political institutions.

The Writer is a Masters in Development Studies Graduate of The Catholic University of Eastern African. He is based in Siaya County.

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Business

Bureau Of Standards Has Urged Manufacturers To Undergo Standardization On Products

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KEBS Chief Executive Officer Charles Musee

Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) wantmanufacturers’rs industries to go for the diamond mark which is a premium mark of quality products in the markets.

This was said during a meeting between Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of customer companies from the Coast Region and Kenya Bureau of Standards team.

The Regional Manager Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Charles Musee said the Diamond mark is a premium mark which shows that a manufacturer entity has consistently confirmed the requirements and the processes which satisfy the award of that mark and the compliance of the standardisation mark.

Musee said the number of companies has been issued with the diamond mark adding that is a result of consistency and compliance to standards thus urging more manufacturers to consider applying for the same.

“This is really a milestone in trying to sell the diamond mark which is our mark of excellence and together with the standardization mark, we are urging our customers to go for this mark,” said Musee.

He underscored the need by the institution to inform its customers of the new services they are now offering to boost the need to have quality products and services.

KBS partners during breakfast breifing at Royal Court Hotel in Mombasa

“The theme of this meeting is “KEBS your partner in trade”. We wanted to tell the CEOs about the services we offer to the factories around and also the service industry. We have quality assurance services, metrology services, testing services and we also support certification services in terms of the quality management system and we also train the industry through our national quality institute,” he said.

He added that as KEBS they have now ensured that maize flour and the manufacturer of those entities have been implemented a process that ensures that the raw material before start processing they have to be tested first and ensure they don’t have aflatoxin.

Musee gives an example of KBS Lunga Lunga station in Kwale county that they have their laboratory at the border which ensures that any maize before allowed to the country is tested and is free from aflatoxin.

on the other hand, KEBS Director Metrology and Tasting Dr. Henry Rotich said the focus of the institution is strengthening the collaboration of stakeholders and improving the quality of products manufactured in the country specifically as they move towards the African continental free trade area.

“We have shared a number of initiatives KEBS is doing to make our country very competitive as a destination for investment and manufacturing. The focus is on improving our quality infrastructure so that there is acceptance of products as we export outside the country,” said Rotich.

The Director said the forum enabled them to engage and get feedback from the industry on how to collaborate to improve information sharing, efficiency especially on market surveillance.

According to him, the industry has a big outlet as they market their products thus agreeing to share the information with KEBS which can be useful in improving the policing of the market to ensure that there is a level playing ground for everybody.

“KEBS is now using the open door policy as an industry and manufacturer. You are welcome to share ideas, let’s reason together, and go ahead,” said Rotich.

“Today a number of companies have been issued by diamond mark and these are testimonies that in the coastal region,  the manufactures here are very keen in terms of quality, that is why they get renewal. We are urging all the industries to apply for diamond mark,” concluded Rotich.

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Opinion

Though I’m Kikuyu, I Won’t Vote To Give Ruto 20 Years In Power

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By Koigi Wamwere

Some people say every Kikuyu man and woman will spontaneously elect Ruto as the next president come year 2022.

But this is an open falsehood. Though I am a Kikuyu, I will not automatically vote for William Ruto or anyone else to be Kenya’s next president when next elections come.

But while Ruto wants every Kikuyu to vote for him because he or she is Kikuyu, just as he wants every Kalenjin to vote for him because he is Kalenjin, I will not deny William Ruto a vote because he is Kalenjin and not Kikuyu like me. Nor will I vote for anybody merely because they are Kikuyu. I will only deny Ruto a vote because he is not fit to be president of Kenya for the following ten reasons.

First, the next president Kenya must be a president who is totally committed to the elimination of corruption and negative ethnicity. But from his history, William Ruto is not a leader of integrity and cannot be relied upon to develop Kenya by eradicating corruption.

Second, from my knowledge, Ruto is not a patriot or a nationalist capable of sacrificing his personal interests to save the country from any danger or tragedy like dictatorship. For me, the only reason Ruto pursues leadership is wealth and power. As a youth, Ruto therefore never did anything to save Kenya from one-party dictatorship.

Three, despite public pronouncement, Ruto never fought for democracy and will not protect democracy as a president because, philosophically, he does not believe in democracy. Instead he believes in dictatorship and therefore fights to protect dictatorship as he did when he was in the YK 92. How can I who has been a victim of dictatorship vote for Ruto who believes in tyranny?

Four, Ruto wants me to vote for him, not because he qualifies to be president who will protect my freedom and improve my life, but only because I am a Kikuyu and he is a Kalenjin and the two communities are in a political coalition, not for the good of the two communities but aggrandizement of their leaders and economic elites. This to me is no reason to vote for Ruto.

Five, Ruto would also want me to vote for him, not because he qualifies to be president, but because he voted for Uhuru as president and every Kikuyu therefore owes him a debt of gratitude for which he or she must pay or be shown the door out of Rift Valley.

Six, though Kikuyu, I don’t owe Ruto a debt. I could only have a debt of Ruto, if Ruto had ever voted for me or ever gave me anything and cannot be forced to vote for Ruto. Nor can I be forced to vote for Ruto because I live in Rift Valley which is an integral part of Kenya. As it is, Ruto and Uhuru have never voted for me. And nor have they done anything for me. Instead of Kikuyus owing Ruto a debt, it is Ruto who owes Kikuyus a debt.

Seven, had UhuRuto government transformed Kenya economically in the last 5 years Uhuru and Ruto have been in power, I could have an excuse to vote for Ruto. Right now when I look around, I see no transformation for which I can vote for Ruto. The only transformation I see is Ruto’s personal transformation and enrichment. We have had so many strikes starting from Doctors to lecturers but he only think of how he will own everything in the country. He has never raised an issue to benefit an ordinary Kenyan as he move around the country to meet his own heart desires. Should I therefore vote for Ruto’s further personal transformation instead of trying someone who can transform Kenya?

Eight, for Kenyans to give William Ruto not just 10 years of vice-presidency but another 10 years of presidency, he and Uhuru need to have done so wonderfully that Kenya would have achieved half of Singapore’s development which we can expect him to complete if we give him 10 years of presidency. As it is, it would be suicidal and crazy if Kenyans were to give Ruto 20 years of power, almost same time Moi lasted in power.

Nine, not even Ruto’s background as a hustler should persuade the so-called hustler nation or poor people to vote for him. Ruto is no longer a hustler or poor person. If anything he is already a trillionaire or double trillionaire who like other rich people thrives on exploiting poor people.

Ten, even Ruto’s early campaign for presidency using government projects should not persuade any Kenyan to vote for him. And he is especially disqualified for presidency because he is blamed for rigging so many people in the last election to create a political network that will ensure he is voted for presidency come 2022.

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