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Archive for November 3rd, 2009

It is time for an honourable act, Mr Wako

Posted by Administrator on November 3, 2009

The United States government has finally told us that Attorney General Amos Wako (EGH, EBS, SC, MP) is the public official who has been banned from setting foot on American soil over his supposed role in frustrating reforms in Kenya.

I am aware that the government’s principal legal advisor does not perform his duties from Los Angeles or Atlanta, but the action by the United States, in my view,  justifies what the AG has all along been asked to do – charmingly vacate office.

Mr Wako, 64, has been in office for close to two decades (he was appointed on May 13, 1991).  During that period, serious doubts have been raised about the manner in which he has prosecuted – or even terminated – cases before the courts.

Those in power have never known Mr Wako to unsettle their comfort.  They have always felt protected in his hands.

Even before Justice Aaron Ringera left office, he told us it was Mr Wako who was frustrating the fight against corruption.

Many expected that Mr Wako would take cue from Justice Ringera and smile his way out of the State Law office but he refuses to do so. 

Mr Wako knows full well that the process of removing him from office is an elaborate one and that is why he refuses to leave.  I don’t think Amos Wako needs to take the country through the rigours of establishing a Tribunal to investigate the obvious.  His performance as AG has been dismal to warrant his exit.

When Philip Alston produced his report, among the offices he wanted reformed was that of the Attorney General, and the Judiciary among others.

So let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture.   We urgently need judicial and other institutional reforms to restore faith in the country’s justice system.

On the other hand, why haven’t any of our MPs introduced amendments to the law to give the AG limits to his – or her – term?  Or do they fear he may have a file on them which he can open at will?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Michael Mumo-Capital FM

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Kenyans’ return from abroad gives shine to labour market

Posted by Administrator on November 3, 2009

By NAOMI MBOGUA  
Posted Wednesday, November 4 2009 at 00:00

The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word crisis.

One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity.

In a crisis, be aware of the danger but recognize the opportunity” John F Kennedy.

The financial crisis that started out as a financial problem in the West has affected millions of people from Wall Street to African villages.

Statistics show that about 20 million people lost their jobs globally as many organisations downsized in the wake of the economic downturn.

There is no conclusive evidence on the full impact of the global financial crisis on migration but the effects are being observed.

Some countries such as Italy and UK have recently changed their immigration policies to protect their labour markets.

The Spanish Government has introduced financial incentives aimed at encouraging unemployed migrants to go home.

Policy changes, retrenchment and fewer job opportunities have forced thousands of migrants worldwide to return to their home countries.

But although the economic downturn appears to have spelled doom around the world, it can be argued that developing countries have benefited from the return of their skilled manpower from the diaspora.

Kenyans who are, or were living abroad have not been spared the effects of the downturn and those who have returned home have given reasons that are directly or indirectly linked to the global crisis.

Some have, for example, openly admitted to have lost their jobs, saying they returned home hoping that Kenya has a wider range of opportunities and that the job market within their fields would be more favourable and less competitive.

Some have opted to take a more proactive approach and have accepted the ‘golden handshake’ offers from their previous employers— having realised that the crisis was likely to present increasingly difficult conditions and fewer job opportunities— making it wise to take whatever was on offer and go home.

Another group of returnees indicated that they had planned to return and that the economic downturn had only given them the urgency to head home.

For others, the return was coincidentally driven by personal circumstances and the realisation that they were better off at home than in a foreign land.

Others reckoned that this would be a good time to return and contribute to the development of their home country.

But the real question remains: Have the return of Kenyans from the Diaspora had any effect on the labour market and economy?

Do the returnees have anything unique or superior to offer the Kenyan economy and labour market?

Are their aspirations and expectations different from Kenyans who have not had the opportunity to live and work abroad?

Do they have a more disciplined individual work culture?

And do Kenyan employers understand what appeals to potential employees who have returned after many years abroad?

Potential benefits

It is often argued that recruiting from the diaspora has a number of potential benefits.

For example, a global approach to hiring is said to boost an organisation’s reputation and image with external stakeholders.

This is because the organisation is seen as having a global approach to its operations and is deemed to recognise the importance of a diverse workforce.

It has also been argued that employees with international experience may offer skills and knowledge that is not available locally.

These may include technical knowledge and experience in unique disciplines and fluency in foreign languages—skills which are likely to improve an organisation’s ability to deliver goods and services, add value and provide sustainable competitive advantage.

Employees with global experience are often regarded as more creative in their approach to work and life in general.

Working and living in a different and diverse environment helps one develop social skills, flexibility and adaptability to new and challenging situations.

On the other hand, it may be argued that an employee with local education and experience has a better understanding of the regional and local business environment and the resulting issues.

They have more reasonable expectations about employers and life in general, which ensures that they settle down faster in their work environment, resulting in more loyal and motivated employees.

According to the 2009 PricewaterhouseCoopers Human Resource Survey, whose findings will be released on Friday, the main reason why employers have been keen on recruiting returning professionals is because of their qualifications, experience and international exposure.

On average, 110 employers seeking to fill vacancies have indicated that they have received about 72 applications from returning professionals.

The respondents were also specific as to the skills that they were gaining from the diaspora—indicating that 91 per cent of the returning professionals had finance/accounting skills, 77 per cent were proficient in information technology and 55 per cent good in sales and marketing.

The survey also found that organisations that have recruited from the diaspora, have on average hired three people since January 2008, who have at least two years working experience abroad.

Some 50 per cent of the returning professionals have been recruited into middle management and 24 per cent into senior management.

In most cases, organisations have negotiated to fit the new employees in existing salary structures.

A profile sample of the returnees indicates that the majority have lived abroad for more than 10 years and that many travelled abroad initially but ended up being employed in the host countries upon completion of their studies.

A majority have bachelors or masters degrees and three to 10 years work experience that varies from financial management, to education, to aviation.

A large number are employed in small to medium sized organisations in Nairobi, while others have set up consulting firms or are supporting family businesses.

Others are looking for employment.

Irrespective of whether a potential employee has local or foreign education and work experience, what remains clear is that employers are looking to recruit those who have an edge and hence the potential to offer the highest return to the organisation.

The 2009 PricewaterhouseCoopers Human Resource Survey explores if the increase in the number of Kenyans who have returned from the Diaspora has had an impact on the Kenyan labour market and employers’ recruitment strategies and practices.

The author works for PricewaterhouseCoopers.Email: the2009humanresource.survey@ke.pwc.com

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President to become ceremonial under new constitution

Posted by Administrator on November 3, 2009

By OLIVER MATHENGEPosted Tuesday, November 3 2009 at 22:00

 

Kenyans will no longer directly elect the country’s chief executive if the proposed new constitution is adopted.

 

This role will belong to members of Parliament, who will elect a Prime Minister with executive authority from among themselves.

 

The President will still be elected directly by the people, but will remain head of State exercising only ceremonial functions.

 

This is one of the key highlights in the final draft of a new constitution worked out by the Committee of Experts.

 

Since the National Accord was sealed last year to end the post-election violence, Kenya has both a President and a Prime Minister sharing power under a loosely defined structure.

 

President Kibaki retains executive power but has to make all key decisions in consultation with PM Raila Odinga.

 

Under the new proposal, the President will cede executive authority to the PM, who will be head of the party commanding a majority in Parliament.

 

But the President will still have to be popularly elected, and require a new threshold of more than 50 per cent of the national vote, in addition to the current requirement of 25 per cent of the vote in at least five provinces.

 

The Committee of Experts, who ended a retreat in Amboseli on Monday, made minimal changes to their working draft which the Nation reported on two weeks ago.

 

Devolution

 

The only departure from the previous document is that they are now proposing that the President should not represent any constituency and should not sit in the Cabinet.

 

The experts have previously reported that although most Kenyans have expressed the need for more checks and balances through Parliament, they have also said they like to directly elect the President.

 

The draft also provides for a system of devolution based on eight regional assemblies and county governments based on districts.

 

On devolution, according to those who have seen the document, the new draft improves on the Bomas and Kilifi drafts by providing clearer provisions on relations between the central and regional governments, particularly on matters of taxation and jurisdiction of relevant institutions.

 

The draft also retains the Islamic kadhi courts as presently constituted. Some Christian groups have threatened to reject the draft if the courts remain in the Constitution.

 

Although the National Accord stipulated that adoption of a new constitution should lead to a general election, the draft proposes staggered implementation, harmonised with the present parliamentary calendar as well as the work of other institutions.

 

They include the Interim Independent Electoral Commission and the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission.

 

When the experts returned to Nairobi on Monday, their chairman, Mr Nzamba Kitonga, described their one-week mission as the “start of the drafting process”.

 

Sources within the committee have, however, indicated to the Nation that the main body of the draft was finalised at Amboseli and what remained was fine-tuning so that the document could be published as early as next week.

 

Other than being in charge of running every day affairs of the government, the PM will be responsible for the nomination of ministers for formal appointment by the President.

 

He will have the liberty of appointing up to half the ministers from outside Parliament, according to the document, which also limits the number to 20 ministers.

 

The President will remain as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and will still have the powers to assent to Bills into law.

 Source: Daily Nation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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American Meets Kenyan Dad After 28 Years

Posted by Administrator on November 3, 2009

By Casper Waithaka

Nairobi — The reunion of a Kenyan father and his American daughter after 28 years of separation began with an advert in the newspaper. It ended on Tuesday with the long-estranged pair hugging and sobbing on Moi Avenue, Nairobi.

Passers-by couldn’t help but stare.

American Tramaine Chelang’at Hugie said she has always dreamed of meeting her father, Mr Anderson Obare Atuya. She knew him only from a photograph of him holding her when she was born.

She had to find him. So when it was time for Ms Chelang’at, who is 28, to find an internship in her field of study — integrated media for international development — she chose to take an assignment in Kenya.

Work in the slums

She arrived in Nairobi in July, and began working in the slums and doing HIV-related projects. But after speaking to some of her father’s old friends from college –where he met her mother, Terri Lea Hugie an African-American — Ms Chelang’at had no leads as to his whereabouts.

Mr Obare is of mixed parentage, his mother being of Kalenjin descent and his father a Kisii. The name Chelang’at originated from Mr Obare’s mother’s clan and was chosen by Tramaine’s mother who had the choice of naming her Moraa.

When Ms Chelang’at could not find her father doubts crept in. She knew he was Kenyan, but after so many years, he could have lived anywhere. But she wasn’t ready to give up, yet. She had to try another tactic.

“Back at home, friends told me many Africans read newspapers,” Ms Chelang’at said.

On Friday, she placed a one-line classified in the Daily Nation that read simply: “Do you know ANDERSON OBARE ATUYA? Baptist College Track Team (USA) 1977/1978.” She was afraid it wouldn’t be enough. She wanted to place a bigger advert, but it was too expensive.

However, it worked. The single-line classified ad led to a flood of phone calls to Mr Obare — who earns a living as a taxi driver taking tourists to visit US President Barack Obama’s father’s village in Kogelo.

After many calls, Mr Obare, 55, went to a friend’s home to see the paper for himself.

Recent events had given him little to feel hopeful about. He retired from government and started a business in Kisumu selling motor vehicle spare parts — but saw his dream of a comfortable life burn to the ground, along with his shop, in the post-election riots.

“I almost became a beggar,” he said.

When he saw the advert, he knew he had to respond. But the contact information for his daughter was an e-mail address. Mr Obare never uses the Internet and did not have an e-mail address.

Now it was his turn to work to make the reunion possible. He contacted a niece, who took him to a cyber-cafe, and they responded.

When Ms Chelang’at received the note on her computer screen she had one thought: “What if this is a hoax?”

Mr Obare had to prove himself. They exchanged a few e-mails. First he sent a digital transmission of his Social Security card, a vital identification document in the US. Next, he sent pictures of a young Tramaine, which he had received in the mail years ago from her mother.

It still wasn’t enough. Ms Chelang’at’s mother — back in the US — was adamantly against the reunion and refused to believe Mr Obare was who he claimed to be. But Ms Chelang’at didn’t care. She was poised to realise a lifelong dream.

The father and daughter arranged to meet, and on the advice of the Nation team, decided to meet at the Moi Avenue Primary School bus stop so they could have their reunion at the nearby Nation Media Group headquarters.

The moment was imminent. But fate — and Kenyan livestock — intervened. On the way from Nakuru to Nairobi, the bus carrying Mr Obare hit a donkey. Only 20 minutes from the city centre, they were delayed for nearly three hours as police cleared the accident site.

But finally — after 28 years, one photograph, one classified advertisement, several e-mails, several phone calls and one dead donkey — Mr Obare was going to reunite with his daughter.

On the lookout

He stepped off the bus clutching his luggage and accompanied by a friend, Rachel Moraa, crossed over to Jevanjee Gardens on the lookout for his daughter.

The tears began to flow even before they could embrace next to Ufundi Cooperative Building. They held each other for close to five minutes not wanting to let go of the moment each had longed for.

“My daughter. Oh, my daughter. You look like my first-born daughter… This is a miracle,” Mr Obare said through sobs.

For Ms Chelang’at, she was more composed as she wiped her tears, “It’s OK. It’s OK. I’m here. I’m here,” she said in a heavy American accent.

“I am so energised to have found my father. People told me it was not possible to trace my father, but I always felt it in me that he lived in Kenya,” she said. “My friends in America always tell me I look African-Kenyan. And finally I have a reason to believe so.”

Source: Daily Nation

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Kenya gets new State House boss

Posted by Administrator on November 3, 2009

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 3 – Dr Nelson Githinji has been appointed the new State House Comptroller, filling the position that has remained vacant for nine months.

The private sector professional had served as the Head of Policy, Corporate and Government Relations for Coca Cola East and Central Africa.

Dr Githinji will now take over as the chief accounting administration officer of State House from Hyslop Ipu who left last December under un-explained circumstances.

Mr Ipu took over as Comptroller from President Kibaki’s long time supporter Matere Keriri in 2005.  Mr Keriri was appointed to the post immediately the Narc government took over power.

A statement sent to newsrooms by the Presidential Press Service on Tuesday afternoon said: “Following separation of the office of Private Secretary/Comptroller, State House, Dr Nelson Githinji has been appointed Comptroller State House.”

“The appointment takes effect immediately.”

Dr Githinji is a director of Junior Achievement Kenya that exposes learners to the opportunities of the global economy.

In June year Dr Githinji represented the First Lady Lucy Kibaki at the Organisation of Africa First Ladies meeting in Egypt at Sharm El-Sheikh on June 30, 2008.

Dr Githinji is an active member of the Kenyan Chapter of the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS.

He also worked with SmithKline Beecham as Group Product Manager (Food & Beverages industry) between 1994 and 2002.

More to follow…

Capital FM

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Kenyan Diaspora remittance reduces

Posted by Administrator on November 3, 2009

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 3 – The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has reported a decline in remittance from Kenyans in the Diaspora in the month of September.

A statement on CBK’s website shows that flows in September declined by 4.6 percent from $55.9 million (Sh4.2 billion) in August to $53.3 million (Sh4.1billion).

The decline is reflected in inward remittances from the rest of the world which decreased from $17.2 million (Sh1.2 billion) in August to $10.2 million shillings (Sh770 million) in September.

North America and Europe continued to record the highest rate of remittances, while those from the rest of the world account for less than a third of total remittances.

There was an increase in flows from North America from $25.4 million to $28.3 million, while that from Europe was also on an upward trend from $13.4 million (Sh1 billion) to $14.9 million (Sh1.1 billion).

Total remittances for the first nine months till September stood at $451 million (Sh34 billion).

CBK Director of Research Michael Gitaari said the stabilisation in remittance flows in the second quarter of 2009, may in part reflect the bottoming up of the global economic recession as a result of coordinated intervention by policy makers.

Remittance flows to developing countries have proved to be resilient compared with other private flows.

CBK monitors the monthly flow of data on remittances from Kenyans living abroad through commercial banks and registered international money transfer agencies in the country.

Remittances from informal channels are however not captured, something CBK governor Prof Njuguna Ndungu says they will be monitoring closely, with the aim of streamlining them.

Remittance through informal channels is said to be close to $50 milion which Prof Ndungu has said CBK would be tracing.

“That figure is not chicken feed by any standards, but what I want to happen is to know what that money is financing to see what whether it is being used appropriately.”

Capital FM

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