Category: Leadership

HOW WE CAN USE THE WARD UNIT TO UNLOCK KENYA’s UNTAPPED POTENTIAL

Dr. Kalua Green 24 September 2022 0

There are 1,450 Administrative Wards in Kenya. Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) are the elected political leaders of these Wards. Previously they were referred to as Councilors.

Politicians often used the Councilor seat as a steppingstone into the Member of Parliament (MPs) seat. Among politicians who started off as Councilors are Hon Ferdinard Waititu, who commenced his political journey in 2002 as Councilor of Njiru Ward. He later served as Embakasi Member of Parliament before being elected as Kiambu’s second Governor. Simba Arati, the current Governor of Kisii also started off as nominated Councilor for Nairobi City Council in 2007.

I suggest that we radically change our perception of this seemingly lowly MCA Position. It’s not just a stepping stone into higher office. Our elected MCAs have the potential of becoming the most consequential leaders in the country. I have previously written in this column why they are like Ward Presidents and today, I will focus on how they can deliver transformative leadership.

Between 2013 and 2017, I was honored to be one of the lead organizers of County Investment Forums in several Counties. Through these forums, we were able to unwrap the immense investment potential in Counties like Nandi, Kisii and Baringo. We realized that Kisii had the potential of following in the wine producing footsteps of French regions like Bordeaux and Champagne. Similarly, we explained how Baringo’s potential of becoming a world class honey producer was unlimited.

Unfortunately, such investment forums either died altogether or were expanded into regional forums. In this new electoral cycle, we need to refocus investment opportunities to our  Wards. Indeed, Wards must become like companies that must return value to their shareholders. Here are three reasons why this approach may change the country in a powerful, lasting manner.

Firstly, we must unlock the human resources that are locked within Ward demographics. For instance, Upper Savannah Ward in Embakasi East Constituency has a population of almost 40,000 people. This constitutes nearly half of all the people in Seychelles! As such, this population must be regarded as a powerful human resource.

However, it is incumbent on them to contribute significantly in Ward affairs. The most direct way for them to do so is through public participation that ensures efficient, accountable utilization of Ward funds. But more than this, they should also contribute their skills to transform their Wards.

There is need to ascertain the depth of skills possessed by constituents in any given Ward. That will enable a systematic utilization of relevant skills towards Ward development. To illustrate, it could be, that some constituents of Kasighau Ward in Taita Taveta County have ecotourism skills that can help the Ward to earn revenue from ecotourism. The same applies to every Ward in Kenya.

Secondly, Wards will be transformed through the sustainable utilization of their natural resources. Every Ward in Kenya is endowed with natural resources that can greatly enhance sustainable development and job creation.  A vast Ward like Mutha in Kitui County is home to South Kitui National Reserve. With intentional investment, this natural resource can boost ecotourism in the area, and in the process create thousands of sustainable livelihoods.

Thirdly, financial resources must flood into Wards through Ward-specific investments. Just like we experienced County Investment Conferences, time is ripe for targeted Ward Investment Fora. Through such conferences, Wards will be able to take a private approach to public sector development. This will compel MCAs to act increasingly like visionary CEOs and less like short-sighted politicians.

I nudge the President to deploy the power at his disposal in emboldening MCAs. After all it is the MCAs who determine resource allocations for the Counties currently at Kshs. 370 billion. Think green, act green!

What Ruto must do to plant and grow seeds of prosperity among all Kenyans

Dr. Kalua Green 10 September 2022 0

Congratulations are in order for President-Elect William Samoei Ruto’s gallant victory at the ballot. On Tuesday September 13, Dr Ruto will be sworn in as the fifth President and make history on several fronts. It has been a remarkable journey for him and rather than State House being a destination, it should be the beginning of another more important duty.

You see, as Kenyans cast their ballot on August 9, each of them planted a seed of hope, restoration and expectations. Whether their candidate won or lost, they made a statement of intent. They sought a renewal and promise of better days ahead. While elections are in nature divisive, they should never sow seeds of despair or trigger hopelessness.

Democracy, they say is where the majority have their way while the minority have their say. In the end, all Kenyan voters are winners and can be likened to planters of trees. The onus is now on President Ruto’s team to water and nurture the seedlings Kenyan voters put into the soil.

This team must do all they can to grow the seedlings of affordable healthcare, quality education, decent housing, equal opportunities and a thriving economy. No Kenyan should be left behind. Kenya is a fertile ground for all her 52 million people if the land is “tilled” properly, tended carefully and the harvest shared equitably.

President-elect Ruto should now assume the father-figure stature and lead in healing the fissures wrought on by the grueling campaigns. He must quickly close ranks with rivals and get down to delivering on his promises. There are quick wins he can work on this early.

To lower the cost of food, he can invest in sound agriculture policies that encourage smallholder farmers and the largescale producers. The Guaranteed Minimum Returns (GMR) for farmers that his Kenya Kwanza Alliance pledged during the campaigns, should be a starting point. Majority of farmers have often decried high cost of farm inputs, cheap imports and exploitation from middlemen or brokers.

The Kenya Kwanza administration has a clean slate to dismantle cartels and introduce value driven markets for farmers’ produce. If all farmers can make an honorable living from their ventures, there will be enough money to keep many of our youth from the jobless corner. Food will be enough for all and there would be no more shameful call for food aid and donations from Kenyans in North Eastern.

Indeed, should agriculture be fixed, President Ruto will have planted the biggest opportunity for all Kenyans. All successful countries started by feeding themselves, exporting the surplus and making enough money to invest in technology. It can be done here and President Ruto has in the past demonstrated ability to initiate projects and see them through up to completion.

Personally in 2011 when Wangari Mathai passed on, I invited then Cabinet Minister William Ruto to commemorate her by establishing 71 trees. A movement started at the Prof Wangari Maathai Institute. He duly attended and planted trees demonstrating his passion for agriculture and environmental conservation. Shortly after, this campaign that targets a 40% forest cover by 2032 evolved into the now famous Plant Your Age initiative commemorated annually on 14th September. This year just a day after the President’s inauguration I will be joining Kenyans at Unga village, Ndhiwa Sub-County of Homa Bay County as we plant 1,881 trees which represent the number of newly elected leaders from the MCA to the President. Similar Plant Your Age activities will be held across the country because we believe in a green future where everyone thrives. The President has a huge opportunity to make tree growing the norm rather than a one-day event. This is only possible if we think green and act green!

Here Are Three Concerns That Supreme Court Must Consider Before Pronouncing Kenya’s Next President

Dr. Kalua Green 3 September 2022 0

Tomorrow, September 5, 2022, the Supreme Court will make an eagerly awaited ruling on the presidential petition. It is widely expected that they will either nullify the Presidential election, or uphold William Ruto’s election. Can they in fact, find a middle ground or a third option? Solomonic wisdom should fuel whatever decision they make. Actually, let’s call it Koomenic wisdom. According to the Urban dictionary, the name Koome means wisdom. What a beautiful coincidence!

Thousands of years ago, Solomonic wisdom saved a baby’s life when King Solomon identified the baby’s real mother. He was able to identify authentic maternal instincts in one of the two feuding women when she preferred to give up her baby instead of the baby being sliced into two.

On Thursday 1st September while appearing before the Supreme Court Justices, lawyer Kioko Kilikumi asserted that the petitioner, Raila Odinga, was like the evil mother because he wanted the presidential elections to be nullified unless he was awarded victory. He pointed out that in this particular Presidential case, his client William Ruto was the real father.

Later on, Justice Smokin Wanjala implicitly suggested to Mr. Kilukumi that if indeed his client was akin to the real mother in the Solomonic case, then maybe he should act accordingly. The implicit, tongue in cheek suggestion was that Kilukumi’s client should be willing to let go of his electoral victory.

While neither the Petitioner Raila Odinga, nor the respondent William Ruto is expected to give up their respective claims to victory in order to prove a point, the real mother’s selfless spirit must be considered. The leader who will exhibit selflessness and parental responsibility must be celebrated as a true leader.

The Kenyan electorate constitutes the baby in question. This electorate is representative of 50 million Kenyans. An unsound, unwise judgement can easily tear this nation into two.

In the current electoral process and the just concluded Supreme Court proceedings, IEBC is like a nanny to the Kenyan electorate. They are the ones who have either mishandled or taken good care of the electorate. Tomorrow’s Supreme Court decision must clearly spotlight IEBC’s role.

All great nannies usually become surrogate mothers to the children under their care. Similarly, an IEBC that runs on integrity and transparency will mother Kenya into a world-class democracy devoid of trust deficiency. Kenyans will readily trust such an IEBC to print ballot papers locally because after all, we print our own money at De La Rue located in Mathare North.

As for the Supreme Court, it is standing in King Solomon’s shoes. Just like him, it must administer a Koomenic wisdom that is deep-rooted in three powerful pillars.

Firstly, tomorrow’s decision must engender public confidence in the rule of law and democratic principles as espoused in our constitution and electoral laws. I am encouraged that in her closing remarks, the Chief Justice actually asked for prayers for them to reach a decision that would achieve this.

Secondly, tomorrow’s decision must expose and punish the deceptive spirit and actions embodied by the evil mother from Solomonic times. Electoral deception and malpractices are deeply harmful to our nation and must be rooted out in entirety.

Finally, tomorrow’s decision must accelerate healing that will unify the country. In doing so, the decision must not only unearth electoral mess, it must also take decisive preemptive steps towards ensuring that this mess doesn’t keep recurring in all electoral cycles.

Considering the above, lets brave for a ‘Koomenic Ruling’ appreciating the fact that although democracy and rule of law is high-priced it is the foundation of a united country and thriving green economy. Think green, act green!

Tuesday Vote is a Golden Chance To Midwife A Sustainable and Food Secure Kenya

Dr. Kalua Green 6 August 2022 1

In these tough economic times, there isn’t much you can buy with Sh100 save for a 2kg packet of maize flour after a deal reportedly struck between the Government and maize millers. The arrangement was that all maize within the country be nationalized. According to maize millers, the available maize is worth 640,000 bales of flour.

Two weeks later, this arrangement seems to have fallen flat in many retail outlets. They say that they are yet to lay their hands on the subsidized flour. On one hand the Government is blaming unscrupulous millers for hoarding the cheap maize flour so that they can sell it at a higher price after the subsidy is over. On the other hand, millers are insisting on advance payment of the Kshs 8 billion that the subsidy depends on. Even more complicated is the fact that the retailers claim that the Government only considered maize held by millers and not stocks that they had already purchased at higher prices which is worth about Kshs 175 million.

Why does this back-and-forth matter two days before the General elections?

Abraham Lincoln the nineteenth American President has an answer to this question, “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”

Campaigns belong to politicians but elections belong to the people.

We, the people of Kenya, must now take full responsibility of the Tuesday elections. We must hire and fire lest we live with the consequences, including food prices.

Back to maize flour prices, it’s clear that government subsidies are simply not sustainable. We must face and address food production chain in totality.  A substantial percentage of the maize we consume locally is imported. In 2020, Kenya imported nearly 300,000 tons of maize, mostly from Uganda and Tanzania. I challenge the incoming administration to enact policies that will drastically boost local maize production and consequently lessen the need for expensive maize imports.

Herein lies the primary role of the leaders that we shall elect on Tuesday – policymaking. We must shift from the mindset that predominantly demands ‘development’ from elected leaders. Policy births development. Elected leaders midwife this birth. Imagine a midwife who is unqualified, who doesn’t know when to pull out the baby or when to cut the umbilical cord. The baby wouldn’t stand a chance. That is what incompetent, ineffective legislators do – they stifle great laws from seeing the light of the day. But before we cast a stone at them, let us remember that they do not elect themselves. We elect them.

In essence, we the people are the originators of the great laws that birth great development. When we elect great leaders, they will deliver great laws and development will ensue.

On Tuesday, the overall prosperity of Kenya will be in our hands. We must pay attention to all elective positions as opposed to our usual obsession with the presidency.

As the leader of a political party – the Green Thinking Action Party – I have witnessed an unprecedented level of electoral integrity. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission seems to be living up to the independence that the constitution granted it. Electoral integrity is however not a preserve of IEBC. Kenyans together with the international community must remain vigilant.

More importantly, Kenyans must now step out of their homes into the voting booths and cast their votes. After that, they must hold the elected leaders fully accountable every single day of the next five years lest we end up with another maize crisis. Think green, act green.

Why August 9th is a Real Date With Our Destiny

Dr. Kalua Green 30 July 2022 0

In 1995, Kenya was among more than 180 countries that adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on Gender Equality. In doing so, these nations committed to the systemic protection and empowerment of women. Twenty-seven years later, the Kenyan woman has made giant strides forward, but she still has a long way to go.

Politically, women evidently hold only 21.6% of seats in parliament. Socially, 41% of Kenyan women have experienced physical or sexual violence from their husbands or partners in their lifetime. Economically, women accounted for 61.9 percent of the jobs that were lost in 2020. Clearly, millions of our women are still waiting for that elusive bright future. They will be among the 22,120,458 registered voters who will hopefully troop to 46,232 polling stations on August 9th. In the privacy of that voting booth, the Kenyan woman should vote for leaders who will greatly aid her journey towards sustainable political, social and economic empowerment.

The Kenyan youth will be arriving at those voting booths in a largely disillusioned state as IEBC revealed that the number of youths registered to vote in 2022 stands at 39.84 percent which is a decline of 5.27 percent against 2017.”

The 2019 Census revealed that 5,341,182 or 38.9 percent of the 13,777,600 young Kenyans are jobless. This number is undoubtedly higher now due to COVID’s adverse economic impact. Although only a comparatively lower number of these youth will vote, they still have the power to elect leaders who will decisively address their economic predicament. Leaders who will oversee policies and investments that will create millions of new jobs every year.

Last year, Communications Authority of Kenya revealed that there were nearly 60 million mobile phones in Kenya. Out of these, 26.0 million were smartphones. Tragically, not a single of those smartphones was at least assembled in Kenya. If just 10 million of these smartphones were manufactured here in Kenya, investors would have made billions and created thousands of jobs. Will the next President and leaders enact legislation that will boost such investment leading to unprecedented creation of jobs?

How will these envisioned policies and political action finally decisively impact the Kenyan farmer? Time is ripe for the Kenyan farmer to play in the big league. After all,

The 2021 Global Hunger Index ranked Kenya 87th out of 116 countries. It described our level of hunger as serious. While this is unfortunate, it is also an opportunity for our farmers to produce sufficient food so that we can become more food secure. However, they can only do so through climate smart agriculture. The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) found that every dollar invested into climate smart agriculture doubles returns for farmers. As such, the millions of smallholder farmers who will enter polling booths on 9th August, should cast their votes for leaders who will boost climate smart agriculture.

Further, according to the World Bank, 18.8 million Kenyans live below the poverty line of $1.9 (Sh226) a day. With the current high cost of living, how is such a Kenyan supposed to survive when even their healthcare and quality education are beyond reach. This is the plight of nearly 19 million fellow Kenyans.

Honestly, we the registered voters can either lift all Kenyans from poverty or push us deeper beneath that dreaded poverty line. We can change the plight of our women and young people. The ball is in our court. We can either score own goals by voting for shortsighted, leaders or score a hat trick by voting for servant leaders with passionate willingness to change our Nation. Think green, act green.

KENYANS ARE EYEING FOR TRUST, NOT GENIUS OR DRAMATIC LEADERS

Dr. Kalua Green 11 June 2022 1

There is nothing new under the sun. This scripture in Ecclesiastes 1:9 contains a powerful lesson for leaders. Virtually everything that leaders promise has already been promised before. Even more telling, many of these promises have already been implemented somewhere. With the global Climate Change crisis, the power of leadership doesn’t lie in the ability to make lofty promises but rather in keeping those promises. When leaders fail to keep their word, trust is shattered.

As politicians make a litany of promises in the ongoing campaigns, I choose to remind us that the biggest promise that must be upheld is the constitution. Captured in the constitution’s first article is the sovereignty of the people. As such, servant leadership that is built on trust is a constitutional mega requirement.

Politicians must also recognize that Kenya already has a development blueprint that took millions of shillings and thousands of hours to develop. Virtually all the promises being dished out in campaigns are covered in Vision 2030. Indeed, the Kenya Vision 2030 is a vehicle for accelerating transformation of our country into a rapidly industrializing middle-income nation by the year 2030. Kenya has been ranked as a lower middle-income country since 2014. However, we are yet to break into upper middle-income economies. According to the World Bank, these are the ones with a Gross National Income (GNI) of per capita between $4,046 (473,786) and $12,535 (1,467,848). Against this scenario, our presidential candidates must demonstrate to Kenyans how they will lead the country to upper middle-income status before 2030.

Kenya is already Africa’s sixth largest economy. This means that we are on the right trajectory. We have a lot going for us. Firstly, Kenya’s blue economy remains largely untapped. According to Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (Kemfri), we harvest less than 10 per cent of fish in our coastal exclusive economic zone. You will rarely hear leaders offer practical solutions for harvesting more fish at the coast. It doesn’t take a genius to know that if we harvest more fish from our ocean, the coastal economy in particular and the country’s economy as a whole will benefit immensely. The leader who will tap fully into this immense blue economy potential will earn the trust of Kenyans.

Northern Kenya may not have fish but it definitely has livestock. According to the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Kenya’s livestock sector contributes about 12 per cent to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 42 per cent to agricultural GDP. This is unsurprising since Kenya has the second-largest livestock reserves in Africa. However, our country is a high net importer of meat. Consequently, we ship livestock jobs to foreign countries every time we import meat. It doesn’t take a genius to know that if we revamp the livestock sector so that we become a net exporter of meat, we shall revamp northern Kenya’s economy and boost the national economy in the process.

Further down in the western part of Kenya, Africa’s largest freshwater lake sizzles with economic opportunities. The Lake Victoria Transport infrastructure can generate up $60 billion worth of trade annually for Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Currently, it is generating only $6 billion. It doesn’t take a genius to know that full development of Lake Victoria’s transport infrastructure will galvanize East Africa’s lakeside economies. Pragmatic leadership will deliver these billions and engender trust amongst the electorate.

Finally, experts and development agencies have documented trade opportunities that already exist for every corner of the country to tap into. Standard Chartered revealed in a research report earlier this year that Kenya’s exports will grow by over Sh1.1 trillion by 2030. We must therefore increase local manufacture. That is something that we have talked about for decades. Kenyans are not looking for geniuses or dramatic set of front-runners to elect, they simply need candidates they can trust.  A demonstrative flawless development agenda encapsulated in trust does it. Think green, act green!

HOW UPROOTING CORRUPTION CAN LEAD TO EQUAL WEALTH DISTRIBUTION

Dr. Kalua Green 21 May 2022 0

By December 2020, only 26,971 Kenyans had managed to secure mortgage loans in the course of that year. This was revealed in the Central Bank of Kenya’s Residential Mortgage Market Survey 2021. Although these mortgage loans increased in 2021 to approximately 40,000 they are still a drop in the ocean.

Considering that approximately 15 million Kenyans are over the age of 35 years old, there are millions of Kenyans who should be able to afford mortgages. The fact that the overwhelming majority of working Kenyans cannot even afford these loans says a lot about the wealth distribution in our country.

According to Oxfam, less than 0.1% of Kenya’s population own more wealth than the bottom 99.9%. This means that approximately 8,300 Kenyans own more wealth than at least 44 million Kenyans. Along a similar vein, the richest 10% of Kenyans earn about 23 times more than the poorest 10%. Due to these glaring financial disparities, Kenya’s super rich are growing richer at a rate that is one of the fastest in the world. Evidently, Kenya is now one of the most economically unequal countries in the world.

How did we arrive here? More importantly, how can we flee from this unfortunate predicament? We can start by uprooting corruption.

Corruption rips apart the pockets of Kenyans and siphons money from there into the greedy hands of a few corrupt individuals. That’s because we lose one third of our national budget through corruption. This shocking information was revealed back in 2010 December by Treasury officials that were testifying before a parliamentary committee. This figure was corroborated six years later in 2016 by none other than Philip Kinisu, the then Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman.

This year’s budget was Shs3.3 Trillion while the 2021/2022 budget was Shs.3 Trillion. If we lost one third of the funds in any of these budgets, we would have lost Shs1 Trillion. Since the SGR cost roughly Shs420 billion, an amount of Shs1 Trillion can build an SGR of more than 1,000 kilometers. If you add up lost Trillions from previous years, you will end up with enough money to build an expressway from Busia to Mombasa. Think of what such an infrastructural leap would do to the economy of our country.

Tackling corruption will free up billions that can be used for all manner of infrastructural projects that will further open the country’s interior so that economic growth can be inclusive of all Kenyans. Seven out of ten Kenyans live in rural areas. According to the World Bank, most poor people live in these rural areas. They are the ones that must partake of the wealth that is being created in this country. The wealth that is currently mostly confined amongst the 8,300 Kenyans who own more wealth than the bottom 99.9%.

While our major urban centers like Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru are not as poor as rural areas, they are also home to millions of poor people. In 2020, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics released the first ever comprehensive poverty report. According to the Report, nearly 16 million Kenyans were living in poverty. The report described poverty as an adult earning less than Sh3,252 in rural areas and Sh5,995 monthly in urban areas. This should convince us all about the glaring unequal wealth distribution in our country.

In order to emerge successfully from this tragic inequality, we must take immediate, strategic steps. The first step is to vote wisely. As Jackson Mati said, ‘Nothing goes wrong, it can only start wrong”. The moment we elect the wrong leaders, we should not look surprised by the obvious results. If we elect ethical and effective leaders with political will to expend those Trillions in a professional and just manner, then Kenya’s wealth will be shared equally across the country.

More importantly, Kenyan entrepreneurs of all levels must ensure that their voices are heard, not just through their vote but also through their establishments. They must continue agitating for a tangible economic growth pathway that transforms communities. Think green, act green!

How Baby Diapers Can Kick Start Kenya’s Economic Transformation

Dr. Kalua Green 8 May 2022 1

Our departed former President Mwai Kibaki was my friend and boss. I was privileged to learn five key lessons from him that can transform our nation.

Here Are Five Lessons That We Can Learn from the Late President Kibaki

Dr. Kalua Green 30 April 2022 0

Our departed former President Mwai Kibaki was my friend and boss. I was privileged to learn five key lessons from him that can transform our nation.

Why We Must Revamp The Kenya School of Government to Improve Public Policy and Leadership

Dr. Kalua Green 23 April 2022 0

Have you ever heard of conversational receptiveness? This is a tactical approach that seeks to improve engagement with opposing views. It enables amicable conflict resolution which ensures that when people disagree, they do so in a non-violent manner.