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Archive for August 14th, 2011

Why Peter Kenneth is ‘Mzungu’ to Kabogo

Posted by Administrator on August 14, 2011

In Gatanga constituency they will tell you that Mr Peter Kenneth is a muthungu (mzungu). What they mean is that when their MP calls for a Constituency Development Fund (CDF) meeting for 7 a.m., for example, the meeting will start at that very time.

Time, Mr Kenneth has taught his constituents, is money and waits for no man.

Second, they will tell you that when a CDF meeting resolves that a certain amount of money from the Fund’s kitty will be used for a project identified by the people as important, not a cent of it will be diverted to some other cause.

And the people of Gatanga know that each project has an objective, and it is to be carried out within a given timeline.

The MP for Juja, Mr William Kabogo, also refers to Mr Kenneth as muthungu. But his reasons for so doing are totally different from those of the people of Gatanga.

Mr Kabongo’s reference to his legislator colleague is meant to portray him as an outsider and, therefore, one whose ideas are at variance with, or even inimical to, those of the people of central Kenya.

Election platform

The people of Gatanga who refer to their MP as muthungu have in mind his commitment to making better their constituency; to diligent use of their resources and to meeting the objectives they set themselves or what he set out in his election platform.

The muthungu reference from the people of Gatanga then is a positive attribute to Mr Kenneth, and an acknowledgement of the work he is doing as an MP.

Mr Kabogo’s reference to Mr Kenneth as muthungu is negative and derogatory. It is aimed at rubbishing Mr Kenneth’s as yet declared bid for the presidency as unwanted and unbecoming.

This is so because the central Kenya region is expected by the dominant political class to back Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s run for the presidency.

The unstated, but potentially politically damaging, aim of calling Mr Kenneth a muthungu is to paint him as reminding nationalists of those dark days of the colonial era.

Political class

In the same vein, the dominant political class for which Kabogo speaks seeks to derail Mr Kenneth’s possible presidential run as sponsored by foreigners.

The upshot of this is that Mr Kabogo gives voice to the pressure being brought to bear on Mr Kenneth to give up his presidential ambition.

It is also a warning to the Gatanga MP that should he run, it is the intention of Mr Kabogo & Co to run him ragged, and possibly out of town, by hammering at his family tree.

If Mr Kenneth wants to run for the highest office in the land, what Mr Kabogo and those he speaks for should do is to attack his platform.

What Mr Kabogo & Co should do is to arm their man for the top job with the best political platform this country has yet seen. Mr Kabogo & Co must campaign for their platform and not attack the person of Mr Kenneth.

And because Mr Kenneth is yet to declare his intentions, the best way for Mr Kabogo to test his mettle is to attack his record in Gatanga, in Parliament and at public functions and previously as assistant minister for Finance and now assistant minister for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030.

But then, again, why attack a man who has not yet declared he wants to be president? Why attack a man this early when the wise thing to do would be to prepare all ammunition for the race proper when the election is called?

The answer is simply that the dominant political class in central Kenya would want to see the region field a single presidential candidate.

At the ballot

But there is an alternative surely. It is that if Mr Kenneth runs, then Mr Kabogo & Co should pull all the stops out on the stumps to ensure that the region votes, to a person, for Mr Kenyatta and not Mr Kenneth.

In other words, my pitch is that the best way to beat Mr Kenneth is at the ballot and not to pressure him not to have his name on the ballot.

I do not know why Mr Kenneth wants to be president but, if he asked me, as a friend, one thing he should do were he to run, I would tell him to first use his nationally recognised success with CDF as a model for his plan for Kenya.

How many Kabogos will escape the CDF landmine in 2012?

Kwendo Opanga is a media consultant opanga@diplomateastafrica.com

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/Why+Peter+Kenneth+is+Mzungu+to+Kabogo+/-/440808/1218294/-/qprv3kz/-/

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When daughters-in-law sabotage themselves

Posted by Administrator on August 14, 2011

•Most women experiencing strife with their husband’s parents like to think that their mother-in-law is the one at fault. But what if the problem is simply one big culture clash?

•Most women experiencing strife with their husband’s parents like to think that their mother-in-law is the one at fault. But what if the problem is simply one big culture clash?

Stella Muturi, now married for 10 years, does not see eye to eye with her mother-in-law. Their relationship was lukewarm at the beginning, she says, until her husband started to build their own home.

“She said we were constructing too big a house yet we had only two kids. She thought we were wasteful and took offence when I tried to explain the importance of a big house,” says Stella, a secondary school teacher.

She explains the ensuing tug of war. “I said we had adequately budgeted for the house but she assumed I was the one pushing her son to spend thousands of shillings on it while we could do with a cheaper one. Things have never been the same,” says Stella.

Many women will tell you there is one, two or most of her husband’s relatives they do not get along with. But generally, it is the mother-in-law who is the source of most of the strife in a marital home.

Informal chats with women— some daughters-in-law and others old enough to be mothers-in-law— indicate this lukewarm, sometimes acrimonious relationships, often arise from what the daughters-in-law do or do not do.

Just what are some of the mistakes women do in new families and upset everybody?

You are ‘chairman of the family board’

You may be lucky enough to be in a family that recognises the input of all members in discussions and activities, but you are not the star in this script. Some members still view you as an outsider, or better, a subordinate member.

The moment you seek to take charge of their affairs, the more they will think their ‘son or brother’ has no say in your house.

Avoid giving opinions before consulting your husband. Tame your tongue and be restrained in your participation on family matters especially if it involves third parties. You can never be the family’s spokesman.

Fashionista extraordinaire

So, your appetite for fashion is high? Or like a paid up model, you don the latest hairstyles and newsest arrivals at the local clothes shop? Keep this to yourself.

Many families will think you are an extravagant leech out to squeeze every penny out of their son. This is regardless of whether you are employed or not. They’ll loathe you for this more than they will appreciate your nose for the latest fashions.

Many people in traditionally brewed families still think that a wife and mother should dress modestly. This is not to say that you change your lifestyle to endear yourself to your village-bred in-laws, but it will do you more good than harm if you do not seem to attract public attention for how you dress.

Showing too much flesh

This is related to the above, only that it specifically refers to the exposure of your body courtesy of your dressing.

Short skirts and exposed cleavage are a firm no go zone. In many instances, trousers can also bring issues. Decency in their presence will pay a lot of dividends for you.

No brother or father wants to know how sexy or hot you are. They are not supposed to think of you in this way, in the first place.

Many people, especially those bred in the rural areas, associate ‘nakedness’ with loose morals. Seeing your exposed body only serves to feed their fertile imagination and that is where they begin to see you as loose and not a decent sister or daughter-in-law.

Flashing the cash

It is understood that you are well educated, have a good job and are quite modern. But this is no license to overturn the style in which your husband’s family conducts its affairs.

They may still be poor or local in their thinking, but that is how they have been surviving (and brought up the man you chose to marry).

Over-running them with state of the art electronics, latest car models, utensils and sophisticated menus will just lead them to hate your lording it over them more than they will appreciate your attempt to improve their welfare.

Any changes should be made step by step, and it will do you more good if it is seen to be coming from your husband.Yes, some people in the family might seem drawn to all these trappings you offer.

However, these will be those with a tinge of inferiority complex or a sharp mind that wants to take advantage of your showiness. So avoid making overt displays of wealth or power.

Modern menus

As a modern woman, you may prefer to cook exotic, foreign food, and think that plain ugali and matumbo stew, for example, is beneath you.

But for your own good, restrict these sorts of recipes to your own house. Try these foods with your in-laws and they will brand you lazy.

When they visit, make sure you cook them some of the fare they are used to, which is also more filling than the pastas and steak dishes of today.

Don’t let them joke that your supper is an appetizer. Many people still value a woman by how full they become when you host them.

You miss family events

Writing in one of her blogs, writer Sally Richards says women have a soft spot for people who show concern about their special days. Your mother-in-law will never forget that you missed a certain family event. They rarely understand.

In fact, Dr Kerre, a sociologist, says many people regard skipping a family event as an act of rebellion or opposition to the goals such a meeting is meant to achieve.

He says, “Family events are a bonding session with your in-laws. The more you meet and interact, the more you understand each other.”

If your husband attends and you fail, they assume he isn’t in control of you. They think he cannot compel you to do, among other things, convince you attend a family function. Again, your absence is conspicuous and people will talk about it.

You are your own army

This has to with your defense mechanism. You score very little if you do not accept criticism, especially from your mother-in-law. Arguing with her does you no good. Do not proclaim to the world that she is archaic or wrong, or be stubborn.

Often, your opinions will differ on almost everything including bringing up your children, food, clothing, choice of dates and so on. Writer Richards actually declares being too defensive as the easiest mistake women make with their mothers-in-laws.

Be humble and polite and promise to look at the issue from her point of view—even when you know you are right.

You push everybody to share your interests

You obviously know what you want, what you like and what you don’t like. But expecting your mother-law and her daughters to enjoy the same movies, programmes, food, residential areas or even fashion sense will put you in a lot of trouble.

So when they come to your house, resist the urge to turn them into little clones of you and share your interests. It is more useful to make them feel like you are taking their likes and dislikes into consideration.

You are mean

Society is quite materialistic and your husband’s family will be keen to see what you are bringing to them, not what you are getting from them.

Experience has shown that daughters-in-law whose mother-in-law can show an array of appropriate gifts from her will have a defender when they clash with their husbands.

You do not have to buy respect by spending your income on relatives, but loosening your purse or offering assistance in kind may be the only thing you need to have a bit of peace in that home. It is worth it.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/saturday/When+daughters+in+law+sabotage+themselves+/-/1216/1217742/-/3h4jwgz/-/index.html

Posted in Features | 1 Comment »

Thika highway opens doors for business to thrive

Posted by Administrator on August 14, 2011

Vehicles use a finished section of Thika Road as construction continues. Completion of Kenya’s first ultramodern superhighway is poised to open new business opportunities Photo/JAMES NJUGUNA

Vehicles use a finished section of Thika Road as construction continues. Completion of Kenya’s first ultramodern superhighway is poised to open new business opportunities Photo/JAMES NJUGUNA

Completion of Kenya’s first ultramodern superhighway is poised to open new business opportunities, giving Nairobi’s economy a major boost, economists said.

The 50-kilometre Thika Road, to be commissioned early next year, is also expected to significantly raise the value of real estate.
It will also eliminate traffic congestion on one of Nairobi’s major traffic arteries, saving motorists billions of shillings and time that is wasted in  daily logjams.

Real estate dealers in Nairobi say the scramble for land along the superhighway began in earnest two years ago with the onset of work on the road and has gone into overdrive.

“Everybody is fighting for a piece of what will surely become the hottest real estate spot in Kenya,” said Mr John Muthua,  managing director of Q-Pavillion, a real estate firm based at Kahawa.

“Only five years ago, the price of a half  acre plot one kilometre off the highway at Ruiru stood at an average of Sh1 million. That shot up to Sh7 million by June this year and is still rising,” he said.

Mr Muthua said that rising demand means that even at such a high price, there is still a severe supply shortage that is tilting the ground in favour of even higher prices.

“The general value trend has been going up by sometimes up to 100 per cent every year making many land owners   reluctant to sell,” he said.

The promise of getting to Nairobi with ease once the road is complete has opened areas that were once out of the question for city residents.

Nairobi’s hinterland has now expanded as far as Kilimambogo, Kenol, Kandara and Gatundu where buyers are snapping up land at record speed.

Mr Muthua said people are looking for  residential space away from  congested Nairobi estates and the accompanying dilution of the quality of public services.

Civic leader Njihia Ngugi of Thika municipality said completion of the highway could mean a better future for the town that has developed into Kenya’s second largest industrial hub.

“Historically, Thika has provided Nairobi with an industrial and commercial support base,” Mr Njihia said.

“With the new transport system, we expect a new wave of investors to give Thika a second look as a potential candidate for the establishment of big manufacturing plants,” he said.

The first sign of  growth linked to the highway began with the arrival of  multiple banks in Thika, he said.

Head of the Private Sector Development Division at the Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis Joseph Kieya said the highway will make a positive impact on key sectors of the economy, including real estate, manufacturing, transport and the labour market.

“Thika will soon become too expensive to buy or let real estate, opening up new areas for settlement,” he said. “In about another five years, I expect settlements to stretch further down the road towards Murang’a.” Prof Kieya said reduction or elimination of traffic jams should make investing in public transport attractive ultimately increasing competition and pulling down costs.

Elimination of roundabouts and other bottlenecks such as single lane tracks is expected to significantly ease traffic flow and reduce the cost of running a public service vehicle on the highway.

Nairobi is estimated to lose Sh20 billion a year on traffic jams, more than  City Hall spends annually to provide services such as water, sewerage and garbage collection to residents.

“Thika Road has been notorious for wasting man-hours. Time that could be useful otherwise being burnt up in traffic jams is a major loss for any economy,” said Prof Kieya.

Completion of the road should also open Thika town and its surrounding to business and leisure visitors.

“It should be possible for Nairobi residents to escape to Thika, Ruiru and nearby towns to patronise hotels and shops, and for business retreats,” said Prof Kieya.

“Investors should see these opportunities and seize them with speed for the first to market advantage.”

This year, Thika  municipality will spending nearly a quarter of its annual budget on infrastructural development, especially improvement of roads and water services. “Our water services are already quite reliable and expansive, but we are not stopping until we match our hype of being the Birmingham of Kenya,” said Mr Njihia.

Prof. Kieya however cautioned that explosion of real estate development would harm agriculture and aggravate the country’s food security and foreign exchange challenges.

“It is not a very good thing for the future of agriculture if coffee estates and other fertile farms along Thika Road and beyond are cleared for settlements,” he said.

“We should never forget that a successful country also needs foreign exchange, which horticulture, coffee and tea earns us every year.”
hcege@ke.nationmedia.com

Source: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Corporate+News/Thika+highway+opens+doors+for+business+to+thrive+/-/539550/1218886/-/15p7xam/-/

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