Welcome to KCDN

This is KCDN, an Environmental Management, Economic Empowerment and Poverty Eradication Civil Society.

We welcome you to our site. Kindly feel free to share with us your thoughts. Ideas that add value will be appreciated. Ideas that want to make us improve our physical environment will be welcome. And more so, ideas that redirect us from the lost cause will be of immense value.

It is us who will improve the lot of our Environment, our Economy and make Kenya a Clean Country, where People join hands to work for our own Economic Emancipation and where Municipal Solid Waste Management is looked at as a resource, not as waste.

We need to set the standards in this region of the World and become the referral point in how a people can join hands and work for their own Economic Liberation, where waste can be used as raw material and become a source of employment for our people.

Our collective actions will surely make a difference. This is why in partnership with our Key Strategic Partners- The Public Service Transformation Department, the National Environment Management Authority, the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation,other key Ministries, the Local Authorities in Kenya, the Provincial Administration, A Better World, Akiba Uhaki Foundation and other Partners, we are moving deliberately in sensitizing and mobilizing Kenyans to work towards A Clean Kenya where waste is separated at source.

And this is why we are inviting Kenyans to join with us in The Clean Kenya Campaign and be a Member of Kimisho Sacco Society Ltd


Odhiambo T Oketch,
Team Leader & Executive Director,
Tel; 0724 365 557,
Email; komarockswatch@yahoo.com, kimishodevelopment@gmail.com
Website; www.kcdnkenya.org.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Going back to the Basics

I was in Kisumu for a series of meetings on Sunday the 28th April and Monday the 29th April 2013 and I want to report to all our Team Members that the visit was very fruitful.
Following extensive engagements, Ms Florence Obura will lead our Mass Mobilization in Kisumu County and she will be helped by a Team of Volunteers including Ms Mary Anyango and Ms Belinda Awuor. They will get technical support from Mzee Hesbon Okwogo, Eng Peter Orawo, Mzee Peter Owiti and others.
L-R; Mr. Odhiambo T Oketch, Mzee Hesbon Okwogo, Ms Florence Obura, Eng Peter Orawo- at the back, and Mzee Peter Owiti after their meeting at the DC's Board Room in Kisumu yesterday the 29th April 2013
Today in the morning,I had extensive discussions with Mr. Moses Ojany- Chairman Insurance Consumers Association of Kenya and Mr. Jeconia Odhiambo- Branch Manager Gateway Insurance and we are discussing how to move our agenda forward.
I am happy to report to all Team Members that Registration for Membership at Kimisho Community Development Network is on going just as Kimisho Savings Sacco Ltd. We are optimistic that we shall have the Two Certificates with me by Friday 3rd May.
I am also happy to invite all those who will make it to join us for our 1st Group Meeting on Saturday the 4th May at 2.00pm at Villa Rosa Club in Komarock Phase 2. In between, I will be holding meetings with some key interest groups as we plan our scheduled Consultative and Awareness Campaigns across Nyanza on the following dates;
  1. 8th May- Mwisho Mwisho at Siaya from 10am.
  2. 9th May- ACK Church in Bondo from 10am
  3. 10th May- YWCA in Kisumu from 10am
  4. 11th May- Awasi
  5. 13th May- Migori
  6. 14th May- Awendo
  7. 15th May- Homa Bay
  8. 16th May- Oyugis.
We are inviting our Team Members in Awasi, Migori, Awendo, Homa Bay and Oyugis to give us venues for the meetings.
Lastly, hosting these events are never easy. It needs our collective support and as such, I really want to sincerely thank the following Friends who contributed towards our 1st visit to Kisumu over the Weekend;
  1. Mr. Joel Akama- Kshs 1530.00
  2. Ms Quinter Odhiambo- Kshs 5,000.00
  3. Mr. Eric Omondi- Kshs 1,500.00
  4. Mr. Elijah Agevi; Kshs 450.00
  5. Mr. Joshua Ongoge Odede; Kshs 650.00
Thank you and be blessed.
We will need more of this support and partnership as we work for The Great Revival; Going back to the Basics.
Peace and blessings,

Odhiambo T Oketch,
Team Leader and Executive Director,
Kimisho Community Development Network- KCDN
Tel; +254 724 365 557
Email; kimishodevelopment@gmail.com
Email; komarockswatch@yahoo.com
Group Mailing List; friendsofnyanza@yahoogroups.com
Blogspot; http://kcdnkomarockswatch.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The buck stops with the Directors of Environment

Dear Friends,
Now that the President and his Deputy are set to name their Government, there is a lot of expectations from the public. We are expecting the same kind of public overhaul from our Governors as well.
We will be celebrating our Silver Jubilee on the 1st June 2013 and sadly, our Towns and Cities are clogged with dirt, garbage and waste at every open space you can come across. Our drainage systems are clogged and when it rains like it does now, water flows freely across our roads and fields, leading to massive infrastructural damage even as our people get displaced from their homes.
We have been with these problems for the last 50 years and it is time we make a break with the past. The President is set to break from the past by naming a completely new Team to help him run the business of Government and we are expecting the Governors to also name a complete new set of Directors to help them run the County Governments.
And like our Deputy President William Ruto likes saying, we must not engage in guess works. We must make some things happen. Clean Cities and Towns will never just happen by themselves. Sure and planned interventions must be put in place to enable us move from this culture of guess work. Our various Directors of Environment are engaging in management by guess work and it will never achieve any results.
The success of any institution rests with the ability of the Head and in our case, the cleanliness or lack of the same in a Town or City is judged by the performance of the Director of Environment. He or she has been the face of the Council in Waste and Garbage Management and as such, they will remain the faces of the County Governments. If they have failed to manage Garbage and Waste in the past, nothing new will be expected from them. And the Governors must listen to their advice very carefully lest we continue with the past culture of anything goes.
When we kow-tow to the whims and timelines in Waste Management as dictated by the reactionary forces of the vested interest groups, we will never win the War on Garbage and Waste in Kenya. The War on Garbage and Waste cannot be won by bottling up knowledge, or by going it alone the way some Directors have behaved.
We must borrow from best practices and many examples abound. Rwanda has won the War on Garbage and Waste by encouraging everybody to be a player. Every 4th Saturday of the Month, everybody, and this includes even the President, join hands in Omuganda Day and this has ensured that every person becomes responsible with how you tend to your neighbourhood.
In Rwanda, the Directors of Environment never boast of the various Degrees they have. They show case their knowledge through action and as soon as you land in Kigali, you immediately realize that we have a Sheriff in Town- one who knows what Waste Management is all about.
They have perfected the art of public participation to an extent that every one feels guilty throwing anything down like we carelessly do.
In Gambia, human urine is in great demand and no one urinates carelessly like we do here in Kenya. Urine is bottled and sold out for conversion.  And someone ensures that this is done. In our case in Kenya, the implementing authority is by law given to the Director of Environment and he or she must ensure compliance and greater public participation.
We at The Clean Africa Campaignhttp://kcdnkomarockswatch.blogspot.com have been in the front line inviting Kenyans to actively participate in working for a Clean Kenya by 1st June 2013 as we celebrate our 50 Years of Independence. Now that we have Governors in charge of our Counties, we know this can be achieved if they overhaul the Teams watering the vested interests from their Counties. It is very simple; just cross check the performance of the various Directors of Environment and seek for answers. Like in Nairobi, can we be told what Kshs 40m being paid to contracted garbage truck owners does every month?
Why have we been unable to collect any waste from our streets and neighbourhoods even as we pay out Kshs 40m every Month for exactly this? Why have we been unable to convert waste in to wealth?
We all know that plastic- a major pollutant across the World, is a raw material for making fencing poles and more. Why are the Directors of Environment not engaging in public awareness campaigns to sensitize the various waste collectors about this?
We all know that if waste is separated at source, her premium increases. Why have the Directors of Environment never insisted on separation of waste at source as a first step to waste management?
We all know the value of paper, food remains, human feaces, urine and the other various waste streams. But as a people, we cannot enforce the laws on waste management. The buck stops with the Directors of Environment and their Teams. 
And in Kenya, these Teams have failed us. Why are they very slow in inviting Corporate Partnerships that can invest in the various Waste Streams? These are issues the Governors must address even as the vested interest groups dig in.
They have now shed their previous images and are busy trying to please the Governors with dead ideas- ideas that have never worked for Kenya in the past.
However, we at The Clean Africa Campaign are pleased with the performance of the Directors of Environment at Kisumu and Eldoret. They have taken a pro-active approach to Waste Management and they have even included public participation to help solve our perenial problem with waste and garbage.
In Kisumu, the Director and the People of Kisumu have formed KICOCEN- and every 3rd Saturday of the Month, they bring together many Teams in a Monthly Clean-up and Awareness Campaign.
Members of the Public joining in a Clean up and Awareness Campaign staged at Kondele in Kisumu in Partnership with the Kisunu City County and KICOCEN
In Eldoret, the Director of Environment and the People have formed Eldoret Green City Initiative and they are also jointly hosting Monthly Clean-up and Awareness Campaigns across Eldoret every 3rd Saturday of the Month.
These are positive interventions that we must uphold and appreciate. Kisumu is rapidly becoming the cleanest City in Kenya even as Nairobi grows deeper in filth. And this is the paradox of our times. We have faith that Machakos is on the right track and with an assertive Governor, the Town is in for major surprises and we are wishing them well.
We still have about 40 Days to Kenya celebrating our 50 years of Independence and we at The Clean Africa Campaign do firmly believe that within this time, we can at least remove the daily eye-sores from our midst in Nairobi. But it will need the direct intervention of the Governor because, the Director of Environment in Nairobi has proved grossly incompetent and unable to address the question of waste in the Capital City of Kenya.
We must invoke Polluter Pay Principle to address such carelessness. Each manufacturer can be made to join in keeping our Cities Clean
We need a Clean City and on this we will never relent. Even the Law is on our side;
Article 42 of our Constitution says this; Every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment...
Article 69 (1) The State shall-----(d) encourage public participation in the management, protection and conservation of the environment.
Then we are given room to seek for Judicial intervention when such rights are flaunted or infringed upon at Article 22 (1) and at Article 70 (1).
This is the Law and we are going to play our Public Oversight role with vigour and dedication as we invite all Kenyans to join with us in this Journey of Hope across Kenya.
Time for guesswork is over. We must roll our sleeves and clean our Towns and Cities.
Peace and blessings as we work for a Clean Kenya, a Clean Africa and a Better World.

Odhiambo T Oketch,
Executive Director,
The Clean Africa Campaign-TCAC.
Tel; +254 724 365 557

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Supreme Court Ruling Petition No 5 of 2013

Pumwani Majengo Clean up Campaign 27th April 2013

Dear Friends,
After a grueling 4 Months, when we gave way for the Campaign and Election Period, in partnership with the Nairobi City County, St John's Community Centre and Pygron, we will be hosting A Clean-up and Awareness Campaign on the 27th April 2013 as from 8.00am at Pumwani in Majengo.
We are all agreed that the question of Garbage and Waste has been with us for far too long and that with the election in to office of a new Team of County Managers, we have firm hopes and beliefs that our Governors will rise to the occasion and help Kenyans work for a Clean County.
We have agitated for proper waste handling and disposal technics and a lot of studies have been undertaken on garbage and waste in Kenya. An Integrated Solid Waste Management Strategy for Nairobi has also been developed and still, waste and garbage clog our Cities and Towns.
All the knowledge we have on waste and garbage management is meaningless when it is all bottled up and confined to a few people as waste managers. It makes all sense when it is widely shared for the general good of all, and this is why we at The Clean Africa Campaign will keep all the Directors of Environment across Kenya on their toes.
The war on garbage will never be won by bottling up knowledge.
To this end, we have developed a work plan that will involve massive Awareness Campaigns in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Machakos, Nyeri, Meru, Nakuru, Kisii and Kakamega beginning this Month.
We will be joining with these Counties every 3rd Saturday of the Month for Clean-up and Awareness Campaigns and come September, we will host the inaugural inter-County assessments during the Kenya Environmentalist of the Year Award.  
We will be working with the County Governors and their Teams, our Partners, the Community Based Groups and the General Population in ensuring that we develop proper Waste Disposal and Handling Technics. This must start at the Household level where we will advance the Process of Separation of Waste at Source.
As we join forces in Pumwani Majengo on the 27th April 2013, we are inviting as many groups in the 10 Counties to join hands with us and our Partners as we work for Cleaner and Safer Towns and Cities.
Peace and blessings as we work for a Clean Kenya, a Clean Africa and a Better World.

Odhiambo T Oketch,
Executive Director,
The Clean Africa Campaign-TCAC.
Tel; +254 724 365 557

Thursday, April 11, 2013


The Uhuru Kabinet- Dr James Mwangi

As we wait for the appointment of the Uhuru Cabinet, it is time for reflections.
In 1964 when Kenya became a Republic, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta appointed a lean Cabinet of 20 men namely;
  1. Hon. H.E.The Hon Mzee JomoKenyatta- President
  2. Hon.A.Oginga-Odinga- Vice President
  3. Hon J.D.Otiende, 
  4. Hon Dr.W.Mungai, 
  5. HonT.J.Mboya, 
  6. Hon. E.N. Mwendwa, 
  7. Hon. Dr.J.G. Kiano, 
  8. Hon M. Koinange,
  9. Hon P.Ngei, 
  10. Hon L.G.Sagini, 
  11. Hon J.A.Z.Murumbi, 
  12. Hon B.R.Mckenzie D.S.O, D.F.C,MP, 
  13. Hon D.T.Arap Moi, 
  14. Hon C.Njonjo- Attorney General
  15. Hon J.S.Gichuru, 
  16. Hon R.Achieng Oneko,
  17. Hon Mr. D.N.Ndegwa, 
  18. Hon D.Mwanyumba, 
  19. Hon S.O.Ayodo, 
  20. Hon J.h.Angaine,
  21. Hon W.M.Wamalwa
From this time on, Kenya witnessed some tremendous changes. The economy grew and life was comfortable. There were also some sad part of the history of the 1st Government, but that is not subject of this article.
In Nairobi, where I was born, life was easy and the Town was Clean. The Council staff then were very efficient. Nairobi was indeed a Green City in the Sun.Our Garbage was collected on schedule twice a week and all our Litter Bins were replaced the moment they started wearing off. As I went to Islamia Primary School, I never saw any garbage thrown by the road sides. Today, garbage is everywhere you turn and the people mandated to keep our Towns and Cities Clean are busy conferencing and studying waste and garbage. They are busy conniving with known cartels and their mission is to make hey when it lasts.  I want to believe that the Uhuru Cabinet will appoint a no nonsense Cabinet Secretary to oversee the question of Waste and Garbage that seems to be overwhelming this Team and ensure that Waste becomes a Resource.
This is Busis Road in Industrial Area in Nairobi
Public Transport was flowing and many of us liked boarding the Double Decker Buses that plied Route No 9 to Eastleigh. Traffic Jams were never witnessed. Vehicles were only stopped in the event President Kenyatta was in the vicinity of Landhies and Jogoo Roads. And the School Children would be made to line up waiting to wave at Mzee as he was driven by.
Later on, things started decaying bit by bit. Water that was freely flowing from our taps started missing from the taps and today, it is never there. It comes twice a week and it does not matter whether it rains or not. When it rains, water becomes a source of death and destruction. When it is not there, Electricity is rationed on account of low water at the Dams.
These are some of the paradoxes that Uhuru and his new Team will be facing.
There is something called Energy Regulatory Commission which is seriously messing everyone in Kenya other than themselves. This will be one body that will either be made to shape up or ship out. How can you adjust prices of fuel every month in a struggling economy? This is messing all households in Kenya just as it is messing the investors.
We all need to plan and budget for our fuel consumptions every year. And even the Government budgets for the year. But this monster of a body revels in adjusting prices as they please every month. Industries can hence not plan for their fuel consumption and long haul drivers cannot do the same as well. The Uhuru Team will have to address this issue and bring sanity to all.
Besides, we have the small issue of National Healing and Reconciliation. And this is one area the New Team will have to give greater attention. We are all hurting as a Country and we need to find some mechanisms of healing Kenya. Great efforts must be made at ensuring that communities live in respect of each other as we move forward. Let us not create an impression of one community being equal than any other community. We are all One People and when any of us wins, we all win. Let us celebrate our win and unity as One Big Kenyan Family.
Lastly, and this was the main gist of my writing today- Banking. In the 1990s, opening a Bank Account was such an issue. You had to have like Kshs 10,000.00 plus being introduced by two known people. The Banks were not friendly and there came a time that the major Banks even moved out of some major Towns on account of less business or insufficient deposits.
Then stepped in one brave man- James Mwangi. Equity Bank stepped in and moved to all those areas the major Banks were leaving. Equity Bank reduced the opening balance to Zero and even did away with the need for bringing Passport Photos as you open your Bank Account. The major Banks thought this was a passing cloud. But Major Mwangi soldiered on and soon, the major Banks were on the streets hawking their services at a time Dr Mwangi recalled all his Field Agents back to the Banking Halls.
He had made a major coup in the Banking Field and single handedly revolutionized the Banking Industry. The rest has been history.
Such are the kind of men Team Uhuru should go for. Men who see opportunities and move in, not men who give Travel Advisories. It will do Kenya a great deal to have Major Mwangi as our next Finance Secretary. He has my vote and my confidence.
I would also like another Major Mwangi- maybe, Odhiambo T Oketch being appointed to manage the question of Waste and Garbage in Kenya. Many Directors of Environment across the Land will have to seek asylum and ship out, for they have failed Kenya and made our Country Dirty and Filthy. Garbage and Filth covers every inch of open space you have in Nairobi and this must be addressed.
Peace and blessings as we work for a Clean Kenya, a Clean Africa and a Better World as we celebrate our Silver Jubilee.

Odhiambo T Oketch,
Executive Director,
TEL; +254 724 365 557,
The Clean Africa Campaign-TCAC.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Stakeholders Forum on Waste Management- 24th April 2013

Friends and Partners,
We will be hosting a Stakeholders Forum on Waste Management on the 24th April 2013 at the UNEP and so far the following Groups and Institutions have confirmed their participation;
  1. The Nairobi City County
  2. The Unep
  3. The Clean Africa Campaign-TCAC
  4. The World Vision Kenya
  5. NEMA Nairobi County
  6. Public Service Transformation Department
  7. Kenya Association of Manufacturers
  8. APSEA- The Association of Professional Societies in East Africa
  9. Kisumu City County
  10. Mesha Kenya- Media for Science, Health and Agriculture
  11. Forsight Technologies Ltd
  12. National Council of Churches of Kenya
Kenyans; eager and ready to join hands in working for a Clean Country
We are only enjoining the Corporates for this Forum and we are excited with the responses we are getting so far, because, we are all now agreed that we must put the question of Waste and Garbage at the right place.
Our engagements on the 24th April 2013 will surely set us on the right path even as we prepare for the official Launch of the Integrated Solid Waste Management Strategy for Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
We are seeking to engage with Corporates who are major producers of the Municipal Waste that we are struggling with, and all such players are invited to join with us in this planning stage. We will then focus on quick wins for the Month of May in preparations for hosting our Silver Jubilee and the World Environment Day.
Peace and blessings as we work for a Clean Kenya, a Clean Africa and a Better World as we celebrate our Silver Jubilee.

Odhiambo T Oketch,
Executive Director,
The Clean Africa Campaign-TCAC.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Waste Management- Time for action

An Integrated Solid Waste Management Strategy 2010-2030 for the City of Nairobi has been developed with the Financial and Technical Support from the UNEP and active participation from the City Council of Nairobi- now Nairobi City County, the University of Cape Town, the University of Nairobi, JKUAT, and many Research Teams. It is comprehensive and detailed.
The question of Waste and Waste Management has been with us for so long and now, as we prepare to celebrate 50 Years of our Independence, we must do something on the same.
On the 11th July 2012, The Clean Kenya Campaign- now The Clean Africa Campaign hosted The 1st Consultative Forum on Waste Management at Charter Hall in partnership with the Public Service Transformation Department, NEMA, CCN, UNEP and others and we identified a few challenges that have compounded the Waste Management Sector as;
  1. Vested Interests
  2. Lethargy from the Public Servants
  3. Institutional Capacities and
  4. Mindsets and attitudes from both the Public Servants and the Public
We then agreed on the following;
  1. Making Waste Management a NationalConcern
  2. Continuing with awareness campaigns but complimented with practical interventions
  3. Enforcement of the By-Laws by the various Council Enforcement Officers
  4. Creating clear regulations which are then made available to the public
  5. Consolidating all efforts by the many players on the Waste Management front and
  6. Building Capacities for the various Waste Handlers
On the 28th August 2012, again in Partnership with the Public Service Transformation Department, the CCN, NEMA, UNEP, A Better World, Mugumo Communication and other Partners, we hosted The 2nd Consultative Forum on Waste Management at the KICC whose theme was; Making Practical Steps towards the Process of Separation of Waste at Source.
During this Forum, we had the following resolutions;
  1. Formation of a Two Tier Think Tank Group to help move the question of Waste Management forward
  2. Formulation of a Media Strategy to help enjoin the Media as Key Partners in working for a Clean Kenya
  3. Formation of a Consortium on Waste Management to help look at how Waste can be used as Raw Resource by the various Industry players and
  4. Develop a Structured engagement with the Government, the Counties and the Development Partners.
Our drive was cut short by the Election Feavor when the process of Registering Kenyans as Voters started in November followed by the campaign period. We at The Clean Africa Campaign were involved in both processes and we had to take a break from the Environmental Management Campaign which has been our 1st Pillar. Remember Peace Building and Good Governance are our 2nd and 3rd Pillars and we can never ran away from them..
With the Elections over, and the Governors sworn in to office, we must now move on and focus on how to celebrate our Silver Jubilee on the 1st June 2013 in Cleaner Towns and Cities. The Unep and other Partners have made it now easier by developing the Integrated Solid Waste Management Strategy for Nairobi, something that we will effectively juxtapose for Mombasa and Kisumu, in what Mr. Henry Ndede of the Unep has called The Tale of Three Cities.
The residents of Kondele in Kisumu joining with us in a Clean up Campaign
The time for Studies and Workshops are now over. It is now time for action and we at The Clean Africa Campaign are happy with the kind of responses we have received on this front. As the Governors settle down to their offices, we must all join hands and help them make Kenya Clean. Waste is a Raw Resource that we can use for making several things. We must move away from shifting waste to our dumpsites and neighbourhoods and develop a more creative way of using Waste as the next Frontier for National Development and Employment Creation.
Already, we have started a Training Programme on Waste Management in partnership with EcoPost and we are focusing on Plastic Waste as a Raw Resource for production.
Peace and blessings as we work for a Clean Kenya, a Clean Africa and a Better World.

Odhiambo T Oketch,
Executive Director,
The Clean Africa Campaign-TCAC.

Kenyans Need Reconciliation in Post-Election Era

Kenyans Need Reconciliation in Post-Election Era
Washington – April 3, 2013 - Freedom House congratulates the Kenyan people for expressing their will in a peaceful and democratic election and in the process, demonstrating to the rest of the world Kenya's democratic resilience following the violent election-related upheaval of 2007-2008.  We urge the country's citizens to continue to reject political violence, and to remain vigilant and active in demanding accountable government from their elected leaders.
Freedom House also applauds outgoing Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s statesmanlike embrace of the Supreme Court’s verdict and calls upon him to continue urging his supporters to do the same and to refrain from violent protests that could undermine the fragile peace that has prevailed since the March 4 general election. By so doing, he will be leading the way in building public confidence in the nascent independent institutions under the new constitution.
We welcome President-elect Kenyatta's stated pledge to serve all Kenyans fairly and without discrimination. This will be critical to achieving national reconciliation and transcending the intense political and ethnic polarization that characterized the hard-fought election contest.  To do this, the president must commit himself to respecting and upholding the constitution, advancing democratic reforms by supporting the creation of effective governing institutions and securing the fundamental freedoms of all Kenyans.
Mr. Kenyatta's administration must honor Kenya’s international obligations, including matters related to international justice, and must ensure the independence of the judiciary and media as well as the ability of civil society to operate freely. He must also cooperate with the International Criminal Court and support the investigation of past and current human rights abuses. A democratic and just Kenya will not become a reality unless its leaders are politically and economically accountable to the people they represent.
Kenya is rated Partly Free in the 2013 edition of the Freedom in the World survey, Partly Free in the 2012 edition of the Freedom of the Press survey and Free in the 2012 edition of the Freedom of the Net survey.
To learn more about Kenya, visit:
Freedom in the World 2012: Kenya<http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2012/kenya>
Freedom of the Press 2012: Kenya<http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2012/kenya>
Freedom on the Net 2012: Kenya<http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/2012/kenya>
Countries at the Crossroads 2012: Kenya<http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/countries-crossroads/2012/kenya>
Blog: Kenya's Elections Promise More of the Same<http://www.freedomhouse.org/blog/kenya%E2%80%99s-elections-promise-more-same>
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.
Join us on Facebook<https://www.facebook.com/FreedomHouseDC> and Twitter<http://twitter.com/freedomhousedc> (freedomhousedc) and stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events<http://www.freedomhouse.org/news> by signing up for our RSS feeds<http://www.freedomhouse.org/news/feed>, newsletter<http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6580/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=2061> and our blog<http://www.freedomhouse.org/blog>.
Kind regards.

Njoroge Waithera • Senior Program Officer, East & Horn of Africa • Freedom House

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Broken Dreams from our Fathers

This presentation was to take place in SA on the 16th April 2013 but the Conference has been cancelled to a later date. But I think I ought to go on and share my thoughts;
The Broken Dreams from our Fathers
Citizens Rights to Basic Needs; a Presentation to the Conference of Mayors and Municipal Managers in Africa at the Premier Hotel, Kempton Park, Johannesburg SA on the 16th April 2013 by Odhiambo T Oketch
Your Worship the Mayors of Africa,
The Town Clerks of Africa present,
All the Executive Officers present,
The Intelligent Africa Group,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Africa is largely celebrating her Silver Jubilee- 50 Years since most of Africa became Independent Sovereign States. We had a dream. Our Fathers had a dream and in that dream they dreamt of One United Africa sovereign, developed enough to be in a position to give aid to other Nations of the World.
For in Africa we were rich in minerals and the land was fertile, the forests were thick and the rains never failed.
It is my great pleasure to join with you today in this conference as we seek to ignite that dream that our Fathers had in us. You are the drivers and the engine of development in Africa and you hold the keys; you can either make it or break it for Africa.
You can choose to have your own Dreams for Africa.
I have been invited to come and share my thoughts about the Citizens Rights to Basic Needs and a few things come to mind immediately;
1.    Clean neighbourhoods and environment
2.     Adequate and clean supply of water
3.    Affordable shelter and housing
4.    Safe, secure and timely transport
5.    Quality and affordable food
6.    Quality and Universal Health Care
7.    Efficient communication
8.    Fuel and lighting (Energy)
9.    Access to Quality Education
10.  Safety and Security
These issues are not unique to Africa alone. These are basic issues all Towns and Cities across the World are struggling with. And with the vast mineral deposits we have in Africa, I want to believe that we can be the next big thing in the World. We have gold, diamond, oil and a huge human resource in Africa. And this is what we need to make Africa move to the next level.
It only needs prudent management and a focused service oriented leadership. The Fathers of our continent, Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah, Leopold Sedar Senghor, Julius Nyerere, Seretse Karma, Ahmed Sekou Toure, Ahmed Ben Bella, Amilcar Cabral, Patrice Lumumba and Jomo Kenyatta to name a few, had a dream for the continent. They envisioned a continent that was united, prosperous, highly developed and peaceful, one that was ahead if not an equal partaker in world business with the rest of the world, a continent with capacity to give aid to other continents!       
In 1963, the Organization of African Unity was formed to advance cooperation and solidarity between newly independent African countries and fight against colonialism. In an attempt to revamp the organization, and move away from it being seen as an alliance of African dictators, it was re-named in July 2002 as the African Union.
At Independence the clarion call was service delivery at the most basic level of needs- fight against poverty, ignorance, disease. We have gone a full 50 years into our Independence as Sovereign African States and the dreams from our Fathers have largely been broken. We are now living in abject poverty with begging bowls to boot. We have not fought against ignorance and disease is still rampant across Africa.
We have also developed some new ways of living- tribalism, Nepotism, Corruption, Greed, Impunity and all the kind of vices that will never move Africa forward. And time is ticking and asking for a new crop of African Leaders, men and women brave enough to have new Dreams. Dreams of a new Africa- safe, secure, happy and fulfilled.
In a famous speech given in 1960, Kwame Nkrumah had this to say about the African Dream:
"We have seen, in the example of the United States how the dynamic elements within society understood the need for unity and fought their bitter civil war to maintain the political union that was threatened by the reactionary forces. We have also seen, in the example of the Soviet Union, how the forging of continental unity along with the retention of national sovereignty by the federal states, has achieved a dynamism that has lifted a most backward society into a most powerful unit within a remarkably short space of time. From the examples before us, in Europe and the United States of America, it is therefore patent that we in Africa have the resources, present and potential, for creating the kind of society that we are anxious to build. It is calculated that by the end of this century the population of Africa will probably exceed five hundred million. Our continent gives us the second largest land stretch in the world. The natural wealth of Africa is estimated to be greater than that of almost any other continent in the world. To draw the most from our existing and potential means for the achievement of abundance and a fine social order, we need to unify our efforts, our resources, our skills and intentions”
This was the birth of the African Dream that would have driven us to prosperity, to complete realization and achievements of Basic Needs. To date, Africa is still struggling to keep water flowing in our taps. In Nairobi, the Capital City of Kenya, many households do not have running water from the taps and this has made the cost of water provision to be way above the reach of many.
We are still unable to offer our people affordable shelter and housing, and this has led to the emergence of several informal settlements where law and order in terms of urban planning is poor, yet, the Local Authorities collect their daily cess from the people. It is my firm conviction that even in the informal settlements, we can plan for basis human needs such as roads, water, health facilities, electricity and schools. It only needs order, clear and firm conviction and maintenance of the same.
Our roads are clogged with human and motor traffic that drains the human resource hours on end everyday in Africa. Again, in Nairobi, you will spend 2 hours every morning and another 2 hours every evening to cover a 15 Kilometer stretch that under ordinary circumstances, one would cover in 15 minutes. Again the cost of fuel keeps rising every other Month to the discomfort of both the investors and the ordinary worker. And we are doing nothing to invest in our Roads and in modern Rail Transport. In Kenya, the rail Transport system that was built by the Coolies in 1895 is dead. And this is having a severe ripple effect and strain on our roads and yet, our Mayors and Municipal Managers seem not to know what they should do. It is sad that we are not dreaming for Arica, yet our Fathers had sweet dreams for our Continent!
We are doing nothing to enhance food security in Africa yet we are daily facing the challenges of rural urban migration. Everyday, able bodied young people are flocking to our Towns and Cities in search of greener pastures at a time a rallying call to go back to the land would do Africa proud. We must make a deliberate effort to work for food security in Africa and the best placed persons will be the Political Leaders, the Mayors and Municipal Managers in Africa. You can provide the basic infrastructure that would ensure efficient food distribution across our Towns.
We must feed our working population in our Towns and Cities and proper incentives must be given to the people who will go back to the land and engage in modern agriculture. This comes with subsidies in terms of machinery and fertilizers for the land, fertile and large as they are, are remaining unattended to. And we are all just watching.
A working population needs proper and adequate Health Care System. As Municipal Managers, it is your responsibility to build the Health Centres and Hospitals for our people. You will then need to develop Health Care Systems that offer best services to our people. Many of our Towns and Cities are lacking in basic infrastructure and little efforts are being put in place to address this. It is worrying that many of our Cities and Towns do not have clean and secure Maternity Hospitals, yet our Mothers and Sisters are still very active in building Africa.
Communication in Africa is very expensive. The cost of telephony, internet connectivity and general communication remains high and unreliable in Africa. I remember in Kenya, our President Mwai Kibaki was taken to the Coast of Mombasa at some point in time to launch the Fibre Optic Cables Network that was going to see drastic reduction in the cost of Internet Connectivity as it enhances Connectivity Speed. That was a mirage and it remains a mirage several years down the line.
The cost of fuel in Africa is simply killing the confidence of the investors who are doing business in Africa. In Kenya, we have the Energy Regulatory Commission that has decided to be giving us new fuel prices every month. We cannot build Africa through such ad-hoc management styles. We must have a predictable pattern in the fuel costing that will make the Industrial Investors have confidence in building their plants in Africa. It then behooves the Mayors and the Municipal Managers in Africa to be the agents that seek for this consistency in order to attract more investors. With more investors, you are sure of keeping in check the rate of unemployment. But with haphazard fuel cost planning, we will be in for some very rude developments that keep Africa remaining the Dark Continent.
Education is all. President Nelson Mandela once said that the best gift you can give to a child is Education. And how are we best placed to advance this? At the City of Nairobi, the Council has several schools and a complete Education Department to help manage the same. The Council Schools have been doing well despite the presence of Academies where children from the affluent go to. But as Municipal Managers, how best do you want to be remembered by our people. Great efforts must be placed in tapping quality human resource to manage and give instructions in these Municipal Schools. And you must mobilize for resources to enable you pay for this human resource. A great deal of parents in our Metropolis cannot afford to take their children to the Academies and other high cost schools. It is hence incumbent upon us to put in place structures that will enhance and develop the quality of instructions in these schools, and to make them compete at par with the rest.
You must make Africa safe and secure. Investors will only come in their droves to safe and secure neighbourhoods.
Last but not least is Clean Neighbourhoods. Africa has been labeled a Dark Continent and we have made her a Dirty Continent. Dark and Dirty. Yet, waste and waste management is the next frontier in human development. Waste presents us with immense opportunities in terms of Employment Creation. Many of our Towns and Cities are engaged in shifting waste from one point to another, at a time we should be taking advantage of the volumes of waste we generate. Garbage and waste is seriously competing for space with our roads and public utilities.

Waste and Garbage Management is becoming a big issue and according to projections from the World Bank in their last report, the Municipal Solid Waste generated by the Municipalities across the World will hit 2.2 Billion Tonnes by 2025 and this will cost the World some $375 Billion annually to manage. Africa cannot afford this. But we can do something to mitigate this by turning the waste problem into an opportunity. We can;
  1. Register all waste handling groups across our Cities
  2. Train the same groups on proper waste management with particular emphasis to specialization on different waste streams
  3. Delineate clear waste streams for each group
  4. Create holding grounds for the waste handlers as they sort and transport each waste stream to the end user
  5. Create a clear data bank for all waste users and convertors to enable the waste handlers know where to take their various forms of waste
  6. Create a clear payment structure for each waste stream and make those payments be on real time.
  7. And then institute the process of Separation of Waste at Source as a compulsory undertaking by all.
Africa must rise up and join in the Waste Revolution.
We may also look at the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and see what he says about Basic Needs. Maslow identifies 5 levels of needs and classifies them in the following manner;
1.      Biological and Physiological needs - air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.
2.      Safety needs - protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.
3.      Belongingness and Love needs - work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.
4.      Esteem needs - self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.
5.      Self-Actualization needs - realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
For purposes of this Conference, we will only look at the 2 lower Basic Needs and look at how best we can be agents that can help in their fulfillments.
As Mayors and Municipal Managers, you have a huge responsibility to ensure that your Towns and Cities are well rated in terms of Service Delivery. When you are elected or appointed into office, a huge responsibility is placed on your shoulders. It will really matter how you carry this yoke, for the results shall be seen.
It is our time to turn Africa around. We can choose to develop Africa or destroy her as has been done by many before us. We have unnecessary infightings in Africa to the detriment of development. The DRC Congo has been bleeding. The Somalia has been bleeding and in Kenya, we had an ugly experience in 2007. Rwanda had a similar episode. Uganda went the same route. Nigeria, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt have gone through some tumultuous periods, yet, these are largely issues that dialogue and leadership can solve.
We have enough wealth which when prudently managed can turn Africa around. And you are the leaders upon which much hope is bestowed. Our wealth is enough for all of us, but not enough for our greed.
We have the human capital that is equal or even better compared to the brains driving the first world, yet, we are sitting on our laurels waiting for Manna to once again fall from the Heavens. We went to the same schools and even did better. But of what value is going to school if you cannot replicate your academic process into reality.
You must be the selfless leaders upon which Africa must have new Dreams. You must fight tribalism, nepotism, corruption, greed and impunity and set the tempo upon which Africa shall rise. And Africa must rise during our time, not any other time.
The time is now and you are the agents who must make Africa rise from being a Dark and Dirty Continent to being the next frontier in Human Civilization.
The time is now and you are the agents who must provide clean and available water to the people of the African metropolis.
The time is now and you are the agents that must provide secure and affordable housing to our people in Africa.
The time is now and you are the agents who must decongests our roads and make road traffic easy and efficient in Africa.
The time is now and you are the agents who must make food available and affordable to all our working populations in our Towns and Cities.
The time is now and you are the agents who must ensure that Africa has affordable Health Care Services.
The time is now and you are the agents who must ensure that communication and internet connectivity becomes efficient, faster and cheaper in Africa.
The time is now and you are the agents who must manage the cost of fuel in Africa.
The time is now and you are the agents who must make Africa have quality and affordable education across the whole continent.
The time is now and you are the agents who must make Africa safe and secure for major investment opportunities.
And the time is now and you are the agents who must make Africa Clean.     
Let us join hands and work for a Clean Kenya, a Clean Africa and a Better World.           God bless you, God bless Africa. 

Odhiambo T Oketch is the Executive Director at The Clean Africa Campaign- TCAC      
Email Contact; oto@kcdnkenya.org,
Tel; +254 724 365 557                                                 http://kcdnkomarockswatch.blogspot.com