Friday, July 15, 2011

Constitution Implementation Fathers

The US citizens have enormous respect for their founding fathers for the foresight and the vision they had when they founded their republic. One thing comes to mind when I read the history of US is the process of writing the declaration of independence. The base upon which US laws are based upon.

In Kenya we had a great Constitution Commission of Kenya which bequeathed us a new constitution and in their wisdom and foresight they created a Constitution Implementation Commission. The also went ahead to make sure that none of the commissioners in CCK would sit in this commission. At first I thought we would not find able bodied Kenyan’s to fit into these commissions.

Enter Charles Nyachae & his Commission
However, I was proved wrong. The constituted 8 member constitution commission has been a representation of the new Kenya. It has stood its ground on enactment of new legislations sometimes coming at odds with legislatures, hawk eyed on the time schedules spelt out in the constitution and vocal on the need to implement the letter and spirit of new law.

The commission chairman has moved out of his way to always stick out his head when key issues that are incidental to implementation of the new constitution are being addressed. Perhaps this may have rubbed those in authority in the wrong way. Given the fact that the commission are yet to be paid their dues six months on the line and despite this HUGE shortcoming from the government we came to learn of this fact a month ago when it was first reported in the blog-sphere.

The commission has placed its ‘eyes on the antelope’ as PLO Lumumba would put it despite the non payment of their dues. To add insult to injury a section of the government has been calling for the renegotiation of their pay perks downwards!

Chip of the old block?
It is worthwhile to note that most of us had not heard about Charles BUT were familiar with Simeon Nyachae the formers father who was a career civil servant in provincial administration before plunging into politics and becoming the King of Kisii land. He later served in cabinet in various positions and at one time rose to the position of Finance Minister during Moi administration. He later broke ranks with his mentor President Moi and joined the 2002 NARC and served in Kibaki’s first administration. Mr. S. Nyachae vied for the presidency under Ford People in 2007.

Gandalf the White?
I do NOT seek to judge the son Charles based on the father Mr. S. Nyachae because he has shown to us and the world that he is his own man.  
Mr Charles Nyachae, the chairman of the Commission on Implementation of the Constitution (CIC). Photo/Nation
Source: link
In fact we have come to recognise the chair of CIC by his trade mark white beard (which reminds me of Gandalf the white in the Lord of the Rings-The two towers). 

Southern Sudan. Free at last?

July is turning out to be a historic month in many fronts. Last weekend July 9, 2011 witnessed the birth of the republic of Southern Sudan. The previous day had seen the final flight of US space shuttle program. End of US monopoly in space? Well the jury is NOT yet out on this one.

Back at home (Kenya) there has been lots of discussion of what this ‘new’ neighbour (South Sudan) means to us! Kenya was the host of the negotiation for the peace process and is home to many Southern Sudan. Going by what I have been hearing we seem to be expecting too much from this young nation. Considering it said to have a huge oil wealth and lots of resources which are yet to be mined.

Resent Events
Kenya is among the first nations in the world to recognise Southern Sudan and there has been talk of Southern Sudan joining the East African Community.

It is too early to judge what role Kenya is playing in the new Salva Kiir’s administration in Juba. But going by sentiments witnessed on television, NTV (Nation Television) Kenya wants to reap the peace dividends.

Major TV broadcasters cancelled their schedules to broadcast live the happenings in Southern Sudan. In fact I had gone home early expecting to watch some bit of live TV and the usual county madness of Lolani Kalu on NTV only to realise NTV had cancelled it’s county screening and moved to juba

So we were able to watch the pre and post independence celebrations of the people of South Sudan where also Kenyan elites had gone to witness the birth of the new republic.
Political pundits were also on TV giving their views on how the unfolding events were going to impact Kenya.
The dallies were also not left behind and Kenyan political differences were put aback and the headlines focused on Southern Sudan with tag line lines ‘Southern Sudan, free at last’.

So 1960’s in the region
So all of a sudden we get a feel of what our folks felt like in 1960’s going by the celebrations emanating from South Sudan. If a global happiness index is to be conducted then Southern Sudan would top the world rankings.

The Future and Destiny of South Sudan
I am happy to see the Sudanese who have been able to fulfil ‘the right to self determination’ and thus they have become the newest member of global states (193 according to UN).
However, the hard part of nation building has began and they young nation will be confronted by key questions such as;
  • How to undertake Nation building (How this new state is going to carry out the delicate process of nation building).
  • How to handle the issue of Abiyei (oil rich region)
  • How to use the oil resources.
  • Its relation with Kenya. How the new administration in Juba views Kenya and how it interacts with Kenya.
Nobel Peace Prize
As the South try a hand in nation building it would be good for the Norwegian committee to realise they extraordinary feat and perhaps reward the parties that secured the peace in this unstable region. Perhaps, the Somali’s might have been watching the events as they unfolded and might be convinced otherwise!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Maestro Ricardo Muti in Town!

On the second weekend of July, 2011 Nairobi was treated to a rare treat of classical music when Chicago Orchestra conductor Ricardo Muti came to town for a concert and conducted Orchestra Cherubini in Uhuru Park.

New Grounds
This concert was a first of its kind in many aspects. It was the first time that Ravenna Festival's Roads of Friendship initiative was in sub-Sahara Africa having previously performed for a northern African country.
It was also a first time an orchestra which boost of over 400 pieces performed in Kenya if not in the region.

The other aspect that got me thinking during the concert was the location. Yes Uhuru park is either associated with political event (Ocampo 3 home coming party comes to mind!), Preachers who know to effectively how to use public space (who at times can be a pain in the neck with their end time gospel while asking for a quid) and lovers! Since I am based at Kilimo I am forced to pass by the hollowed grounds BUT I try to go round them less cupid whom I think might reside there may set a glimpse on me!

That said the concert showcased that indeed the grounds can be salvaged from this tag lines.

Breaking Traditions
This concert also broke other traditions which might NOT be seemingly be clear to the eye. In Kenya cultural activities are mostly a prerequisite of the French BUT the Italian staged a cultural coup at Uhuru Park!

This Festival, according to what I have read was set up by an array of many players starting with the Vice Presidents office (who graced the festival despite there being independence celebrations in Southern Sudan. Considering he was one of the mediators. This must have meant a lot to him), the Italian Embassy in Kenya, The Nuncio’s (Pope’s Representative in the country) office, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (The Minister was conspicuously absent from this festival. The office ought to have someone younger-My opinion) and the Nairobi City Council (Finally our City fathers gather some mad love from me).

The Maestro also in his closing act incorporated our Kenyan singers as they belched out the last performance. This was the climax of the festival for me.

A Maestro’s Dream and Aspirations
In some of the introductions of the day the MC did throw quite some comparisons before the main act. One of this was the late Pavarotti. He compared and contrasted the two Italian misical figures and one thing that clearly presented itself during the performance is that Maestro Muti is soft spoken.

However, when he did speak he pointed out his vision of seeing a united and peaceful world. In fact this concert was dedicated to dwellers of the Nairobi slums.

Ravenna Festival's Roads of Friendship
This concert is part of Ravenna Festival which has an initiative Roads of Friendship, born in Sarajevo in 1997. 14 concerts in different cities of the world have been conducted to date with an eye for celebrating peace and invoking human solidarity through music.  

The 2011 Roads of Friendship Ravenna Festival was dedicated to funding educational scholarships for young people in Nairobi informal settlements (which have had success stories of transforming lives through Amani Onlus).

These scholarships are to be given to Italian missions operating in Kenya.  The concert also gave tribute to Italian missionaries who work in Kenya.

Here is a link to photo’s of the event from Quaint Photographers on Facebook.