From exemplary political activism to Politics


A political activist is someone who is involved in the political process for the sake of promoting, impeding or raising awareness of a certain issue or set of issues. Political activism typically involves engagement beyond just voting, whether it be through protest, demonstration or lecture.

Since the onset of 2012, political activist and entrepreneur Boniface Mwangi has been on the steady rise to fame becoming a household name when it comes to street demonstrations and putting pressure on the ‘overpaid’ and corrupt officials. Among-st his achievements is the m-pigs campaign that raised controversy with  animal rights activists on whether he slaughtered pigs outside the parliament building back in May 2013. He was cleared on the allegations and has never looked back since. Flash-forward to 2017, Boniface has a new political party and is running for member of parliament.

Boniface has taken up two different and important roles “When an activist becomes a politician, society loses the former to gain the latter. The reverse is also true. There are exceptions but they are rare. “Bob Kerrey, former U.S. senator

with his recent comments on facebook about members of parliament pay cuts, he has gathered a following that would give him an audience and the traffic he gets on his social media proves it. Below are his comments on corruption and the recent speech made by president Uhuru Kenyatta.

 

We must remember that we still remain a developing country with a long way to go. We are not going to be able to achieve what you want overnight. Right now it seems to me that the doctors should pay attention to our national circumstance and it seems to me that they should remember the higher duty to protect life. It seems to me that it would be wise for them to be guided by patience and practicality” ~ President Uhuru Kenyatta.

If this isn’t the height of hypocrisy by the president then I don’t know what is. He says we must remember that we are a developing nation and that doctor’s must be guided by patience. He says doctors took an oath to protect lives and I wonder if he remembers that he took an oath too.

Well said President Uhuru Kenyatta however, we can cite several instances where you failed to take your own advice. When members of parliament pushed for a salary increment they got their wish with a simple YES. You didn’t oppose, condemn, or come out as strongly to ask them to understand that we’re still a developing nation, YOU DID NOT.

30% of our national budget (600 Billion) is stolen and if you dealt with that you would have more than enough money to pay doctors. Kshs 5 Billion was stolen from Ministry of Health, you didn’t take action. Josephine Kabura admitted receiving Sh1.6 Billion from Billions stolen from NYS but she is still free. They’re countless examples of money been stolen since 2013 and your response has been “Unataka nifanye nini?” (What do you want me to do?)

How many have died because of this continuous looting under your watch? Inspite of all this looting not a single big thief is in jail. In the past two years over 60 helicopters have been bought by politicians most of them using money stolen from Kenyans.

In 2014 the National Irrigation Board and Green Arava (GA), an Israeli company signed a Sh14.5 Billion deal to fulfill one of the Jubilee Government’s agriculture flagship projects, the one-million-acre Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme.

Fast forward 2017 and Kenyans are dying of hunger. You are now accepting food from a desert country, UAE as we, a rich agricultural nation is suffering from drought because your government failed to plan.

The greatest of all is that you, as commander in chief, have stood by as our taxes have been looted. You have stood by as politicians continue to blackmail Kenyans and steal from us.

As l write this, outgoing MPs want to be paid Sh3.3 billion. They claim the pay is for the period between August 8, when the General Election will be held, and March 2018, when their five-year term was supposed to end. They want to be paid for work not done. You haven’t opposed this attempted theft.

Mr. president, l expect you and your overpaid cabinet secretaries to take a pay cut. You must start earning a developing country’s salary. Lead by example. Furthermore if the public hospitals where 45 millions Kenyans are expected to use are good enough, then you should use them too but they’re not.

The Doctors want hospitals to be well equipped but you have made this strike about salaries alone which is a huge misinformation. Read the CBA and you’ll be able to comprehend that doctors aren’t striking because they have no conscience but actually because they do. They don’t want to supervise death anymore.

Ps: The nurses, clinical officers, teachers, low-level civil servants, lecturers and the police are witnesses to you and the deputy president getting significant pay-rises starting from July 2017. Please remember them, they too deserve better pay for their work. And lastly if you dealt with corruption as a national disaster Kenya would develop faster,everyday hundreds of millions of shillings are lost through tax evasion,investors and businesses have to factor bribes as a cost of doing business in Kenya. Insecurity,unreliable water and electricity supply,bad roads etc are a result of corruption and have made Kenya’s growth stagnate. Fight corruption,reward and protect whistle blowers, jail and repossess stolen wealth and Kenya will become a developed nation. KaziKwako my friend.

Courtesy PAWA254 Media

12 Hours Left For E. Africa Amplify Challenge


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If you are a fan of design and all the innovations taking place in the global design world then you are in for a surprise. For the past few days openideo has been organizing a Youth Empowerment challenge for all the interested parties to apply for the challenge.

The challenge has so far received tremendous applications which can viewed on the openideo dashboard. There are 455 ideas submitted so far and counting. There are also a few research contributions on how the Youth can be empowered. The 269 contributions can assist you as an entrepreneur in knowing exactly what the East African Youth value the most.

By giving feedback on the submitted ideas, you can ensure that the $500,000 prize goes to the right idea… or not.

Enjoy

Mental Health and its Taboos


Health sector
Health sector

Since 2013 when honorable Hasan Njoho, Governor of Mombasa county came into power. Most of his politics was centered in mental health and rehabilitation centers in the county. this has had tremendous impact on the level of awareness of drug abuse in the nation. It made his job more secure. Currently, politicians are following suit, addressing alcoholism and even drug abuse under the umbrella organization ( National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA)).

The current Cabinet Secretary for Health James Wainaina Macharia has also made a few steps in keeping up with the times. you can get an over view of the health system here http://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/spa8/02chapter2.pdf. Private companies are also trying to innovate in this sector and its not getting anywhere where the govt hasnt been, from the many conferences and product launches I have been to.

Looking at 2015. Kenya television network popularly known as KTN has been put on the spot for stigmatizing mental health victims by highlighting their plight on public television. though some beg to differ. highlighting the plight of these victims/ patients can be beneficial to them since some good Samaritan can help them get the proper treatment. one interesting lecturer by Dr Catherine Syengo Mutisya-Consultant Psychiatrist Nairobi Mental Health Services & Nairobi Parenting Clinic K.M.A. Center, 3rd Floor, Mara road
UPPER HILL- tries to simplify the challenges the families face dealing with the disease.

Dr catherine argues that… families are often the main support for people affected by mental illness, and have a right to be treated as ‘partners in care’. They need information about the illness and treatment provided, and about training and support to help themselves as well as the person who is ill.

The thing is… after rehabilitation, it is still a taboo to talk about it. So the kids are still in the granary, not filling themselves with food but locked up in shackles, away from the society so as not to tarnish the name of the clans. And there is nothing NACADA can do about it since they are too busy advertising drugs that we the youth dint even know existed. and now we know.

By Job Ruto guest publisher

THE DIGITAL FILM INDUSTRY


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On Saturday 18th April, quite a number of film enthusiast turned out for the launch of Africa Digital Marketing Institute College.   The launch started off with the MC ( non-other than Larry Madowo) making an introduction of himself and clearly giving the audience the program  of the day. After adding a few jokes, He blatted “Coming on stage is  EA Cables manager,  Former director Vision 2030 secretariat, former Pan Africa insurance C.E.O and with a masters from MIT… Mr Mugo Kibati.”

MR. MUGO KIBATI
MR. MUGO KIBATI

Mr. Mugo energetically jumps on stage. He feels it urgent to point out that lapsset [http://www.lapsset.go.ke], Konza city [http://www.konzacity.go.ke/] and SGR [http://krc.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/SGR-Brochure.pdf] are all initiatives under the Vision 2030 that rolled out in 2013. Our journey towards transforming Kenya still goes on. Thanks for ADMI(Africa digital marketing institute) for organizing this event today since the development of film is critical to the economy. It should be more local and our own in terms of content.

“The gap on the supply side of local films is huge.” When Nairobi half-life came out two years ago, Kenyans turned up in numbers to watch. Currently it is safe to say that there has not been a movie that has reached that height.

“We must also have stakeholders able to produce quality films and also to ensure we have enough supply.” Said Mr. Mugo. He pointed out that the role of the government is merely to offer the platform for the services to take place. The mentality of people viewing the government as someone over there with a suit and tie holding a briefcase with huge sums of money inside should change. “Try taking to it” he concluded. He also noted that one should clearly explain and show the value of what they are to produce to the person in the government for them to take your idea seriously by quote “When you have an idea don’t take/pitch it half baked… people get tired.  ”

Since Vision 2030 was all about creating the right environment for Kenyans and investors. I decided to talk to one of the organizers Edward Olumola, the business development manager at ADMI.

The college started back in 2012 mainly majoring in Film training. When it started, it was called Jamhuri Film and TV academy or JFTA. This was due to the vast growth in the film and TV area. Re-branding took place about a month ago. This came due to the fact that they saw the need for new programs with the new digital media. “The mass communication that is being offered currently considers the digital migration.” Said Mr Edward. Though he admitted that there needs to be more sensitization of the public when it comes to film. If only there was such a tender then ‘we’ would be rich.

By Neville Mugambi

The Ultimate Forum


A talk at the sci(school of computing and informatics)
A talk at the sci(school of computing and informatics)

Getting inspired as a student to view the course that you are currently doing as a potential career subject is becoming something of the blues. the attitude that most undergraduate students have nowadays is tilted(as i can put it) to the pessimistic side due to the high unemployment rates being experienced in the current. With regard to inspiration or rather motivation, the school of computing and information at Chiromo is collaborating with the Code for development laboratory to inspire youths around their ecosystem.

The “program” or procedure to get to know when to get inspired starts with the simple journey of you following a Facebook page from the school of computing, twitter page or by following the famous tech savvy graduate “prof Nandaa” https://twitter.com/profnandaa.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”>

Just checked in at @Deveint for weekly #TGIF, let’s see how it goes. @MurayaKamau @crushcafeteria @samsoftK

— Anthony Nandaa (@ProfNandaa) April 10, 2015

The hash-tag is #PowerForum. after following these related social media channels, book your Wednesday afternoon to navigate your way to Chiromo campus for one of their talks.

one of the Lecturer theaters set up.
one of the Lecturer theaters set up.

I managed to attend the last two #PowerForums this year and meet a couple of leaders/Who is who in the tech space in Kenya. I also got to see the bigger picture that these talks aren’t just meant for computer geeks but also guys trying to run enterprises.

There is a bit of a downer though. you might never really get to know who will be giving the talks since you need to get an Eventbrite ticket to get those details. Simply following the action on twitter or Facebook will not do any good.  Taking advantage of the opportunity with the guest speaker is quite easy at this forum though you need to carry your own business card… just in case. Thirdly getting the directions for riverside drive… and the lecturer theater is many a times a nightmare to the attendees unless of-course you are a university of Nairobi alumni.

 

By Neville Mugambi.

How to Think about Kenya, Thanks to ‘Socio-economic Atlas’


About a week ago, the Devolution and Planning ministry(Headed by Cabinet secretary Ms Anne Waiguru) released what could be seen as the most comprehensive knowledge material in the history of the nation.

Even though the ‘Socio-economic Atlas of Kenya’ appears to be saying the obvious, that’s not the real reason for which it was prepared. The atlas was essentially designed to jar the citizens into thinking, critically.

Indeed, what the grand atlas says or shows is not nearly as important as to what it does not say or even illustrate. That is to say that the real and full meaning of the data can only be attained through pure ratiocination. We have to go beyond the surface, so to speak, to apprehend the realities presented by the data in the atlas in question.

Hence when I deconstructed the atlas, I gathered what I wanted to share. The main message is how to think about Kenya or Kenyans for that matter.

It is comforting to note that more than 20 million in Kenya live above the poverty line. That translates to about 55 per cent of the total population. Hence Kenya is a country where the other half is not only poor but also lives below the poverty line.

Further, if the average wealth gap between the rich and the poor is 76.2 per cent, then Kenya is a country where the poor make only a 23.8 per cent contribution to the economy. This is also to imply that the poor do not work hard. Do not believe it!

The poor work harder than the rich among us. One Jesse Jackson put it better: ” Contrary to … stereotypes, most poor people are not lazy. They work the hardest and the longest on the nastiest jobs. They sweep our streets; they raise other people’s children. They work in the hospitals, they mop the floors, and they change the beds. They empty our bedpans… you must not [forget] them!”

Again, when it is said that only 7 counties out of the 47 do not have a majority ethnic community that exceeds 50 per cent or more (possibly because of ‘negative ethnicity’), do not believe it! The seven counties are the only ones where opportunities abound. This statistic also deserves to be interpreted that way: the atlas reveals that Nairobi and Mombasa are among those that do not have a dominant ethnic community exceeding 50 per cent. Their population densities are 4,429 people per square kilometre for Nairobi and 4, 206 for Mombasa.

Also, it does not take rocket science to conclude that Kenya is a country where it is very hard to cross the poverty line. If, the atlas shows, the wealthy spend on average more than double (152 per cent) of what the poor allocate to meet basic needs, then the latter, according to the same atlas, would have to double their material or so means just to reach the poverty line. But to rise far above it? All effort is required. Yet knows what ‘all effort ‘ means and how do we measure it? Hence do not also believe that the wealthy over-spend what is rightfully theirs.

Moreover, we must never think about Kenya this way: that low birth and fertility rates is synonymous with more wealth. Rather, low birth as well as fertility rates should not be taken to mean that those factors are the real contributors to the high quality of life reported in counties such as Nairobi, Nyeri, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Meru, and Uasin Ngishu.

The population densities of some of those counties are as follows: Nairobi (4, 429 people per square kilometre), Kiambu (630 persons). Yet their birth rates are shockingly lower: Murang’a and Kirinyaga record the lowest rates at 23.5 and 26.8 live births per 1,000 people. In addition, fertility rates are remarkably lower in the same counties.

Hence if anyone told us that the counties’ economic status is pegged on the low number of people birthed every day, we should not believe it! There are more people from outside, so to speak, who contribute enormously to the economies of the said counties.

All in all, the Social-Economic Atlas is one of the best tools available to think about our nation and the people in it. Kudos to the brains behind it!

By Moses Omusolo works at Code-4-development Laba(C4DLab)

CITADEL MICRO-ISURANCE AGENCY


Elvis-Ackel

Micro-insurance and Micro-Finance cover the same type of people. The conventional market for insurance is people who have money. They are basically trying to sell a promise to their customer. Close to 50 insurance companies and their low market penetration was what challenged Elvis Ackel to open Kenya’s first Micro-insurance company(Citadel). The main question was how to expand the insurance market.

Citadel targets the UN-insured but insurable person/people. The people that live between 300 to 500 Kenya shillings a day. “This is a very risky venture” as Elvis describes it. Being a social entrepreneur in the insurance market he mainly seeks to

  • build knowledge
  • build capacity and
  • build awareness

The low income earners/Bottom of the pyramid are much more aware than the guy who sits in the office. The Insurance Regulatory Authority act on Micro insurance was basically made with this market segment in mind with the help of the Elvis.

 

 

LETHALSMALLZ FROM WASHAMBA WENZA LAUNCHES ALBUM


 

Lethalsmallz(A Kenyan Artsit) is going solo after launching his album Common Mwanainch. He has featured artists like Benadi, Wakesho, Kimya(Bamboos brother), Kev mamba, Kimathi, Charles Ouda, Ananda(an upcoming raga sensation), Wira, Buju Razor, Phonez, Judge and Dez 32. The album was compiled from various recording studios. These include G-ganji records, Kusini records and A-world.

The album is a contemporary Hip-hop album with a Kenyan feel to it. The lead track in the album which is also called common mwanainch is a collaboration with Kimya and the music video is also out. You can get to watch the video on YouTube.

Here is the full list of the album:

We Here Now

Rome Ft MnM

Usijaribu ft Benady

Call On You Ft Wakesho

Life  Ft Buju Razor

Common Mwananchi Ft Kimya

Celebrate  Ft Ananda

Lethal Love

Fungua Macho Ft Judge

Sorry

Praise God

Believers

Nataka Kudoz

Hold it Down ft Benady & Charli

On Toes Ft Ananda  DEZ 32 Kev Mamba & Flamez

Abdouba Dida (Star)

Life Of An Artiste (L.O.A)

Vile Inafaa ft Benady

Many Mcs Ft Judge

By Trevor Makamu
The album has 19 tracks. Most of the music enthusiasts I have interacted with are of the opinion that in Kenya, to make it as an artist one still has no option but to compile an album first. The success of the Washamba Wenza crew is visible in Nairobi. The crew currently organize an event called Hip-hop hookup at the famous Sarakasi Dome every month.

KENYA’S FIRST COMPUTER HARDWARE, BRCK


iHUB hardware device known as brck
iHUB hardware device known as brck

what happens at the silicon savannah? what else is Kenya known for except for M-pesa? who is taking advantage of the mobile device market in Kenya?… These are some of the questions that were lingering in  mind some time back. There was a very thin line between mobile innovation, start-ups and technology. Wait until iHUB came along in 2010. Their success stories in the recent past include Ushahidi (ushahidi.com)and kopokopo(kopokopo.com). These projects and their massive number of techies at their premise have enabled iHUB to be one of the leading innovation centers in East and Central Africa.

BRCK (http://www.brck.com/), which is their latest project is a bit different form the iHUB caliber. This is a state of the art hardware that interestingly looks like a small construction brick. Thus the name BRCK.

The hardware is said to be able to offer WIFI connectivity for mobile devices without requiring to be powered by electricity. Its target market, in my opinion is the tourists who come to Kenya not knowing that internet connectivity is a luxury in East Africa. The BRCK devices doubles up as a router, gateway and modem. For more specifications on the devices follow http://www.brck.com/specification/

iHUB founder with his brck device
iHUB founder with his brck device

Many African countries have already beat Kenya to chase being able to make their own mobile phone brands and tablets, even laptop brands. None of these has been innovation but a way to take advantage of the cheap production costs in China. Maybe this could be one of those products that will take the market by storm like Mobile money’s M-pesa or it would not. But the main point to put across to world is that, Kenya is not sleeping in terms of innovation.

By Neville Mugambi.

photos courtesy: brck.com and http://techpresident.com

 

FABLAB UON, THE BEST INNOVATION CENTRE


FABLAB
FABLAB

Most Kenyans probably have not heard about FabLab UoN and the activities that go on there. It is a place where electrical and mechanical engineering enthusiasts are abundant. Though even most of the undergraduate students in Kenya taking these courses have no idea of the services it offers. I asked one a random engineering student this week whether they new what goes on in the lab. They told me that they have free WIFI. That was correct but it dint hit the student that this is just one of their hands on projects.

The success of the projects in the lab have led to them winning the Best Innovation center award from Transform Kenya. The award was humbly recieved by Dr. Kamau Gachigi(Director) on 20/7/2014. Their greatest asset is the fabrication resources that they have in their laboratory. From 3D printers to laser gagdets. Here is the Fabrication Laboratory breakdown that has its roots from MIT(Massachusetts institute of technology)

What is the Fab Lab?

The Fab Lab is basically a collection of tools and equipment that leverage the power of Digital Fabrication Techniques in the hands of the average innovative mind.

Fab labs share core capabilities so that projects can be shared across them. This currently includes:

-A computer-controlled laser-cutter, for press-fit assembly of 3D structures from 2D parts

-A larger (4′x8′) numerically-controlled milling machine, for making furniture- (and house-) sized parts

A signcutter, to produce printing masks, flexible circuits, and antennas

-A precision (micron resolution) milling machine to make three-dimensional molds and surface-mount circuit boards

Programming tools for low-cost high-speed embedded processors

These work with components and materials optimized for use in the field, and are controlled with custom software for integrated design, manufacturing, and project management. This inventory is continuously evolving, towards the goal of a fab lab being able to make a fab lab.

Fab labs provide widespread access to modern means for invention. They began as an outreach project from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA). CBA assembled millions of dollars in machines for research in digital fabrication, ultimately aiming at developing programmable molecular assemblers that will be able to make almost anything. Fab labs fall between these extremes, comprising roughly fifty thousand dollars in equipment and materials that can be used today to do what will be possible with tomorrow’s personal fabricators.

Fab labs have spread from inner-city Boston to rural India, from South Africa to the North of Norway, and now Kenya. Activities in fab labs range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer project-based technical training to local problem-solving to small-scale high-tech business incubation to grass-roots research. Projects being developed and produced in fab labs include solar and wind-powered turbines, thin-client computers and wireless data networks, analytical instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare, custom housing, and rapid-prototyping of rapid-prototyping machines.

source: courtesy http://uonfablab.wordpress.com

By Neville Mugambi.