THE FUTURE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY

As mankind marches on towards the future,i hope it does so with an occasional glance at the past in order to learn from history so that much of the evils we have seen in the previous years are not replicated in the future.

It has been three weeks since the tsunami and earthquake that rocked Japan and the tiny island country is still grappling with the devastation long after international media moved on to cover the ongoing fight for Libya.The most heart breaking reality has to be the fact that about 28,000 people may have lost their lives though this cannot be ascertained yet till the recovery efforts are complete.By today morning 11,000 had been confirmed dead and 17,000 were still missing.In addition to the current recovery efforts to cater for almost 300,000 homeless people is the crisis they are having at the nuclear plant in Fukushima.While the rest of the world watches Japan handle its crisis we need to be asking ourselves whether we have enough knowledge,skills and capacity to be able to control any eventualities that may occur if Kenya ever thinks of going nuclear.This is because sometime back the university of Nairobi announced it was looking into the grandiose idea of venturing into this risky business.

Kenya has a dismal record of handling calamities and more often than not we rely on foreign aid to cater for even the most preventable of disasters like drought.Now think of what would have happened if Japan had our current crop of leaders,one word-disaster.While the government in Japan has been criticized for the handling of the crisis we need to accept that they already have their hands full and with the unprecedented turn of events the fumbling the government is going through is forgivable.

The lesson from Japan should make all global producers of nuclear energy sit up and rethink the safety measures that they have in place.Just a few decades back we had the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine ,the three mile island accident and now Fukushima that should serve as lessons to humanity on the challenges it faces as it searches for energy sources and the need to put human lives and environmental safety first in its quench to fill the widening energy gap.

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Cameras,Mic and our MPS

Kenyan politicians are famous for providing comic relief to our otherwise mundane lives .That is why some of our TV stations devote 30 minutes daily on prime time news to the shenanigans our MP’s are always upto.

This week there has been a joke doing the rounds of how the embassy of Netherlands in the country has been waiting for the influx of honorable members who had vowed to accompany the Ocampo 6 to the Hague.For those reading this who may not be in the know we have 6 suspects who have been summoned to the ICC to answer to charges of organizing the chaos that ensued after the disputed 2007 election where more than 1200 Kenyans lost their lives and property worth millions was destroyed.Up until now there are still displaced persons living in makeshift tents in camps.Over forty MP’s had vowed to accompany the 6 and lets just say the embassy is still waiting for these individuals to show up.

A lot of furor has ensued over the summons against the six and it even resulted in one female MP vowing she is going to strip if Ocampo so much as dares to lay a finger on any of them.While applauding this zeal and love expressed by the cronies of the six,i do wonder if some of our politicians ever weigh or even think through the statements they issue while holding the microphone and cameras roll.Our politicians sometimes act like children in a candy tore when in front of crowds and they look like they are in competition with each other.They want to outshine and outdo each other in spewing forth outrageous statements like there is a prize to be won at the end.

That i why i think PR agencies are missing out on a niche in the market by not rendering their services to some of our members of parliament.They need some lessons on how to carry them selves in public and what not to say when in front of the cameras.After all some of them are government ministers and it leaves a lot to be desired when a female Minister with a few grey hairs vows to bare all in the name of showing her rage at the ICC court.I assure her Moreno Ocampo will not loose any sleep over her dissatisfaction and her declaration never reached him because as usual our politicians were playing a role in the the well scripted play that i Kenyan politics.

SAFARICOM…Moving forward

Safaricom the mobile telephony company has been the biggest business story in the country for the past 10 years.It has broken all the records in terms of profit,subscriber numbers,media campaigns,IPO subscription you name it,Safaricom has been there done it.

The coming years are going to be the defining moments for this mobile giant and Bob Collymore has his work cut out for him.This must have influenced his decision to restructure the top management to be in line with what he sees are the future challenges the company faces.The new management reflects the company’s focal point as revenue generation and customer retention.

As number portability launches on the 1st of April this year,the company will have to do more to ensure it does not loose any of the 18 million customers it already has.This means that Safaricom needs to redefine its mission to ensure that it keeps its promises to its customers at being the best communication service provider in the country.It needs o be the benchmark by which its rivals measure their success.The top management at Safaricom can no longer afford to be seen to be sitting back enjoying pinacoladas as they enjoy the success the company has seen for the past 10 years,they need to be 10 steps ahead of the competition and in step with global communication trends world wide.No longer will customers be satisfied with the “Niko na Safaricom” slogan ,they need to be more than satisfied with the services and products that they pay the company for.

Mpesa mobile money transfer service won a lot of accolades the world over for its innovativenness and for making banking availabe to anyone with a phone.The same cutting edge innovativeness needs to be seen in all the products and services Safaricom puts forward from now on.We no longer want to see those automated messages of”mpesa is experiencing delays,please try again later”,we need to see things working on time and when we need them.Bob Collymore is going to have to push his team to deliver on the promises and expectaions Kenyans have for this local company that has scaled heights no other corporate in Kenyan history has done before.

Over to you Bob and your team,are you going to deliver?

Redefining the Role of the Kenyan First Lady.

First ladies the world over are famous for many things and at the moment among the most recognizable faces is Michelle Obama the wife to the President of the United States.An Ivy League educated lawyer Michelle has carved a niche for herself in the public eye and among the things she is famous for are her sense of style and the campaign she has taken on to combat obesity in children through her lets move initiative.

Kenya has only had two first ladies,Mama Ngina Kenyatta and the present day Lucy Kibaki.It seems that the wives of our Presidents hardly ever take an active role in anything though we have heard of Ms Lucy Kibaki being involved in the HIV/AIDS initiative through her role as chair of the Organization of the 40 African First Ladies Against HIV/Aids.

When the coalition government came into power,someone saw it wise to provide allowances for the first lady,the vice presidents wife and the Prime Ministers spouse for the supposedly state responsibilities they had taken up.There were even offices leased out for these ladies which have never been used.

As we elect a new government next year it is time Kenyans rethought the role of the first lady in the coming years because things are changing and the role of the Presidents wife will go beyond sitting pretty in State house and smiling as she ushers in guests.While ideally the chief role of the first lady is to be hostess during social functions it is time the Kenyan first lady took up roles that while politically neutral are those that highlight the plight of children,women or the people society has forgotten.But what do we see in Kenyan politics,first ladies prefer to be wall flowers during the time their husbands are in power,some even assume they are government and we have had of squabbles between these ladies and government ministers at official functions outside the country.

For the past eight years we have seen statements being issued on a myriad of issues from the office of the first lady,most have been on the definition of what constitutes the first family to lash backs at coalition partners on the gossip our ministers share with expatriates.Occasionally we have seen the media frenzy that has ensued when the first lady goes shopping .All this because most of the time she seems to be living in an ivory tower up on the hill far removed from the lives of ordinary wananchi.

I have some ideas for the next first lady that should keep her busy for the period that her husband is in office.First on my list is Brand Kenya which could do with an ambassador to assist in marketing the country to its citizenry and the world at large.Having the first lady on board would not only give it the necessary PR mileage but would give a face to this state body that Kenyans hear about but hardly know what it does.The Kenyan fashion scene is a becoming so vibrant and our designers are doing shows the world over and seeing the Presidents wife in some Kenyan creations during state functions would be a great boost to the industry.We cannot also forget the sorry state of maternal care in Kenya where mothers are losing lives every day,having someone champion these cause might save a few lives and reduce the negligence in the health care system.

There is a lot the first lady can do if she so wishes and hopefully the next one will be up to the challenge.

MY WISH LIST FOR 2012

I have decided to write my wish list for the kind of President i desire and maybe just maybe my wishes will come true.So here goes….

1.A president who walks the talk on corruption.
A lot of the time we have had a lot of talk about this issue that has haunted our country since independence but nothing seems to come of all the talk.P L O Lumumba the head of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission and his staff seem to be making a lot of headway but we are still waiting for heads to roll.The talk against corruption needs to start with the head of government declaring it will not be tolerated and saying it till our ears hurt.When the head of government has to the moral courage to stand his ground on this,even the traffic cop on Mombasa road will think twice before picking up the fifty shillings left on the rad by the driver with the overloaded matatu.

2.A president who sees the bigger picture on environmental issue
A lot of the time we celebrate the opening of a new road and we envision the formula 1 speeds we will be having on the highway as rubber meets the road,not caring about our safety or that of other road users.We have enacted the so called mututho laws,NEMA ( National Environment Management Authority) authorizing that all psv vehicles carry a waste basket with such gusto we miss enacting those that would save lives.
Kenya is growing at the rate of a million every year and our resources like land remain constant.Take the example of lake Victoria which is seeing a war being waged on it from all sides.We have the flowing sewage finding its way into the lake and the water hyacinth menace, yet this lake is still expected to feed the growing mouths on its shores and generate enough water for the Egyptians downstream.With no time this lake that is the largest fresh water lake in Africa will be unable to meet the demands being placed on it.
After watching a documentary on the effluent that flaws into this lake i swore i wouldn’t touch any fish other than that from a fish farm.These are the issues NEMA should be focusing on instead of on trivialities.And it would be a great boost if the President led the way in matters environmental or at least had someone competent enough to lead this fight.Otherwise we will have these people who rely on the lake for their food becoming instant candidates for famine relief very soon.

3.President who champions accountability and integrity.
Just this week a report detailing a study by the American Center for Disease Control found out that maize millers have been feeding Kenyans on flour whose aflatoxin levels were abnormally high, so much so it was deemed unfit for human consumption.I have yet to hear a word if any from either the Prime Minister or the President asking the millers to answer to this.This comes at a time when the Minister for Medical services had jetted back into the country after a prolonged stay in the United States where he was being treated for cancer.Aflatoxin is even secreted in milk from animals that may have fed on animal feed that is contaminated.According to Wikipedia high levels of aflatoxins may later result in liver cirrhosis or carcinoma of the liver.With such a gloom picture on the dangers of contaminated maize meals and other flours which Kenyans are fond of from wheat flour to that used to make porridge for babies who are this country’s future,who is going to look out for the interest of Kenyans.

4.The President needs to be a people president.
Since independence Kenyans have relied on an elite pool of individuals from whom they choose a leader.It is about time we elected someone who understands what the common mwananchi goes through.From the rising fuel costs, to the rising price of a packet of unga,the Kenyan mwananchi is struggling to make ends meet.And if one has a family to feed,rent to pay and an extended family to support it is a miracle the way the average Kenyan man or woman is still able to get up in the morning and go to work,the stree of daily living could be more to balme for the rising inciddences of hypertension and other heart related ailments.Maybe if we had a President who recognizes the struggles we face everyday just to put food on the table then we may see changes in the way government is run.

5.We need a President who will unite Kenyans.
With 42 tribes so entrenched in their beliefs on why they should have a go at the top job,we need a President who will rise above tribal ethnicity and champion the need for a Kenya devoid of tribal baggage and one who understands that diversity should be celebrated and not used to divide us.A president who will unite us will be the first step towards building a Kenya for the future.

6.I need a President who dreams and sees visions.
A lot of the time when you listen to speeches from key leaders in government there is nothing to inspire you.Now a president who would paint pictures in words of what Kenya will be like in 20 0r 30 years and follow that with action definitely has my vote.He needs to be someone who inspires Kenyans and shows that hard work and perseverance will result in a better future for us and future generations.We are only on this earth for a time and we need to live it better than we found it.

7.A President who leads by example.
A lot of the problems that trouble us today can be laid squarely on the door of indiscipline.Just look at the way we drive,the way students vent their feelings by burning down educational institutions to the way we loot tankers of petrol .We need a President who will bring order to the chaos we are beset with today.Kenyans need to learn it pays to follow rules and the results of this will be seen in efficiency of services in government offices without the need to grease an officials hand and a more or less orderly society which cannot be a bad thing for any one.

I could go on and on on what i would like but i would be asking for perfection from a human being which is impossible to achieve.But maybe it would be easier to instill the values listed above in my children who hopefully will not have to live through the turmoil our country and its citizens have gone through.

JAPAN’ S EARTHQUAKE

My eyes have been glued to CNN watching the devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunami that hit this island country for the past one week.The scenes played out on TV look like something out of a Steven Spielberg movie,it is so hard to believe it is real.

Reality hit me square in the face when i listened and watched a man cry as he told how he had lot his wife,son and 4 grandchildren and my flood gates opened.I cried for that man and the woman who watched her young daughter being swept off by the huge waves.Not forgetting the man who was pushing his wife’s bicycle with her name on it,and carrying around 2 photos of his petite wife and asking people if they had seen her.It was heartbreaking to watch these scenes.it did beg the question,how could God let this happen?!

I do not have any answers to that but i do hope the Japanese find comfort in the words of Sri Arubindo the Indian Philosopher and spiritual guru “Death is but changing of our robes to wait.In wedding garments at the Eternal’s gate.”

It will not bring them back but they do live on ,in the hearts and in the memories of the loved ones they have left behind.

2012-The year when Kenya redefines itself.

Twenty twelve will be a defining moment in Kenya’s history,it will be the first we will be electing new representatives under the current constitution. Alot of water ha passed under the bridge and is will be time for us to define the kind of future we want for our country and this will be reflected in the leadership we vote for.

Looking at the way things are politically today there is not much hope that things will change.All we hear in the news are in fighting among members of certain political parties and other shenanigans that should put this honorable members to shame if they really had a shred of decency.

Watching CNN this week there was a report that sucides in Japan were on the rise because of the increasing unemployment rates in the country.This all happenning in a country that is o technologially advanced Nairobi is like a bck water town in comparison.I dont think any Kenyan sare killing them selves over their joblessness but we have to say we have developed a thick skin because it is not uncommon to see university graduates selling boiled eggs at bus stations today.

Back to the sorry state of Kenyan politics,at the moment all politicians are concerned about is fixing their opponents and no one is telling us about the sorry state of food in the country today.With fod prices rising all over the globe it is certain that this year will be one of the most challenging in terms of household sin Kenya meeting their food needs.This is at a time when fuel prices are on an upward trend and there is looming drought and we are already seeing the first signs of it in Samburu,Turkana and other areas.

As all these happens none of the candidates who have declared their interest in the top seat have even come up with a road map of how they plan to tackle the challenges facing the country today.All we hear is bickering from every front,i am sure i am not the only Kenyan who mutes their TV or simply switches it off whenever i have to see another politician grandstanding.

I am hoping that in the 16 months we have before the next election Kenyans take a long and hard look at them selves and then turn to their children and ask themselves what the future will be like ten years from now.Do we want our children who are barely out of their diapers to be faced with a growing national debt,pay for services from government bodies that hardly deliver or face years of joblessness even after going through a warped education system.Twenty twelve will be the year we make our voices heard about the Kenya we want to live in,let us not disappoint ourselves or future generations.