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Opinion

Social Media Is Not A Threat To Kenya’s National Security You Have More Dangerous Vices To Worry About

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Writer, Kenya West

Writer, Kenya West

You can’t eat your cake and have quickly challenged in African context given how the power elites for the longest time in history have been able to control the narrative and information flow in the traditional media. It has made it possible to sell garbage wrapped nicely as candy pack. Due to their tight grip on the traditional media, the African power elites have had fields day manipulating the traditional media and having their way with whichever social fraud they commit. Simple script, if it didn’t appear on the press it didn’t happen, that’s how the shots have been called.

New age media, the internet era, has completely revolutionized information dissemination and consumption sending a distress call to the big boys. Business has ceased being usual, the horse has gone wild and not even the harshest stroke seem useful in taming. The Internet has given rise to a new breed of citizen journalism with bloggers taking center stage. The ball is no longer dribbled by the traditional media alone; the bloggers are changing the game’s dynamics.

In the recent times, bloggers in Kenya have come under radar especially those deemed critical to the government and influential figures at large. In January alone about ten bloggers were arrested amongst them Cyprian Nyakundi, Yassin Juma, Patrick Safari, Judith Akolo, Eddie Illah,Robert Alia and Dikembe Disembe

The power elites in Kenya have targeted the bloggers in major clampdown specifically those critical to the system. In a well-orchestrated manner, arrests have been flying all over in a desperate bid to gag and suffocate the information flow new order pushed by the bloggers.

Blogger Cyprian Nyakundi

Blogger Cyprian Nyakundi

When a hyena wants to eat its children, it first accuses them of smelling like goats an African proverb that captures best the technique robust system adopted in dealing with the blogging menaces. The government being unhappy with the game has resorted to intimidating cards through unwarranted arrests. Section 29 of the information and communication act of misusing licensed telecommunication gadget, the same quote across all the arrested. The government has been accused by human rights watch for hiding behind this law as they pounce on bloggers.

Article 33 of the Kenyan constitution, guarantees everyone right to freedom of expression which goes further allowing them to seek, receive or impart ideas and information. It’s, therefore, selfish for the system to be impartial to the spirit of the constitution. If anything, you only worry about scrutiny of you have a lot to hide. Why would the system and power elites be concerned about citizens seeking information if they’re not doing anything dirty?

The bloggers have threatened the livelihoods of social fraudsters, big business that was initially immune to scrutiny and exposing of their company’s ills are left shivering as bloggers actively prove to be untamed. Controversial Kenyan blogger, Cyprian Nyakundi is currently jumping from one courtroom to the other thanks to legal actions against him after exposing big business like Safaricom and BIDCO Africa. Companies that were thought to be untouchable and could move with utmost ease and impunity no longer can.

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Threat to national security

Clampdown on bloggers critical of the government has been read by many as an attack on the freedom of expression and ugly bid by the system to continue controlling the information flow. More than often, bloggers have been accused of posting information seen as the threat to national security, in the right appetite of a hyena eating its kids, the hyena in this case Kenyan government has painted the bloggers as biggest threats to the national security way above terrorists slaughtering Kenyans. Begging the question, are bloggers the threat to national security in Kenya? The threat to safety is the umbrella used to gain public sympathy as the elites embark on mass lashing. Priorities should be rewritten, and issues faced head on without using bloggers as an excuse. The following according to me are the biggest threats to national security.

Corruption

Terrorism as a global scale problem has mainly hit Kenya and an apparent headache to the government. Less than four weeks ago, Al Shabaab attacked Kenya Defence Force (KDF) El Adde Camp in Somalia killing an unknown number of soldiers though preliminary state figures put it at a double figure. Corruption has facilitated terror attacks to a larger extent. Movement of weapons and terrorists in and out of the borders has been blamed on corrupt officers manning the borders. Several reports including those from UN, Justice For Journalists (JFJ) point out at a possibility of high-ranking army officials entangled in illegal sugar smuggling racket and alcohol trade in Somalia, Kismayu airport with KDF notably named as a major player.

Such selfish interests at the expense of our national security are a bigger threat than bloggers and when such issues are highlighted and questioned one is quickly named threat to national safety and risks being a visitor of the state.

Extensively, corruption in public offices, denying opportunities to deserving citizens, cutting off jobs only breeds more criminals contributing to the insecurity surge.

Incompetence

Blogger and journalist Yassin Juma were arrested just moments before he could publish information exposing incompetence issues on the El Adde attack. Yassin claims he was in contact with a source who revealed to him to have provided intelligence to the relevant agencies on the impending attack on the KDF Camp weeks before they were raided. Issues as to when the information was received, preparatory measures adopted by the commanders in readiness. It’s a sacrilege even to think about questioning the competency of the army. Westgate brought into focus some competence flaws by the KDF, but when bloggers and journalists like KTN’s Mohammed Ali raised the issues, they were quickly called out and dismissed as terrorist sympathizers. A miscalculation can lead to hundreds of deaths. Incompetence in any security force is a significant threat to the national security

Blogger Robert Alai

Blogger Robert Alai

Marginalization

Historically, marginalization of certain communities has been evident, contributing to the growth of hostile citizenship. With the sensitivity that it comes with, many have resolved to speak about it in low tones but look to kill a bedbug, and you have to use two fingers. In unity there’s power. Marginalization on conservative and religious perspectives can be blamed on the rise of insecurity in Kenya. Citizens from the North Eastern region of the country, have for decades complained of being given second class citizens compared to what they feel others are getting. Economic marginalization that has left significant parts of it impoverished can be attributed to the rise in terrorists pile up. Most of the youths that crossed over to Somalia to join the terror group have reportedly blamed their shift on unemployment with the militia promising lavish employment opportunities. While it’s morally unjustifiable, the truth is not any far.

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Gagged Media

The traditional media in Kenya is having powerful forces fingerprints stamped all over it. The information control is at its all time highest. Just last month, Daily Nation fired its editor Dennis Galava for writing an article critical of the government, this step is said to have been pushed by powerful forces from above. Galava is not the only journalist to have faced the noose, and some journalists have, and there’s a cold order in the newsrooms against inking anything critical to the system. Information is power and actively informed citizenry is the biggest threat to power masters as they become exquisitely inquisitive, alert and hindering to their manipulative ways.

Being a curious society, the more system attempt to gag the media, bloggers will continue to grow as the best alternative for unfiltered news which in turn blossoms their careers. Four weeks after the El Adde attack, the government is yet to come out and give precise figures. Meanwhile, Al-Shabaab seems to have won the war on propaganda, have released their alleged casualty numbers which they put at a 100+ number. Instead of being consistent in information flow, the government resorted to gagging the bloggers yet themselves created that void by not giving information to the public who are hungry to get the finer details. While it’s ethically immoral to post photos such as that Yassin was arrested for, it’s not in any way illegal.

Flawed communication strategy

Kenyans on Twitter recently mocked President Kenyatta on #UhuruInKenya this followed concerns about his constant foreign travels. Kenyans felt he’s barely in the country. The administrative communication team came in later to give clarifications on the need for such trips and benefits to the country. This was a too much yet too late move. The team should’ve developed a strategy consistently to give the public information on most of his trips and not waiting till the bomb goes off.

During Westgate and most recently El Adde attack, the government has proven not to be engaging best of strategies in handling the crisis situations. Too much information withholding is giving space to the Al Shabaab to propel their propaganda. Constraining the information in such a times is what gets the bloggers hitting the rail, and the enemies can take advantage to sell a spade as a big spoon. The Clear communication strategy will go a long way in fighting the war on terror.

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Intimidation

Out of ten bloggers arrested, only one would eventually face charges. Most are arrested, held illegally in custody for days before being released without single charge pressed. This is a clear blueprint of intimidation on bloggers to tame their mouths but has worked the other way round. Blogger Nyakundi, who was arrested and released, after two days without any charges against him, says,”these moves are intimidating theatrics put out to try and gag the bloggers. I was asked why I’m always attacking the government and about my accomplices, this is unacceptable, we’re in a democratic country where everyone is free to support any political agenda.” Similarly, Yassin Juma was released without any charge pressed against him, and that has been the case for Robert Alai, Dikembe Disembe, Patrick Safari and the rest. The fact that no charge gets to be pressed against them is a clear indication that there’s no crime committed and the intentions for arrests are only to play scare tactic role.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery

Own up

One of the greatest minds in humanity, Aristotle said,”to avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing” Jubilee government holding the throne, must look forward to criticism. While they’re going for the bloggers as the threat to national security, real terrorists are taking advantage to restructure themselves. Criticism doesn’t equate to being unpatriotic but rather shows one’s love and concern for the country and only pointing out loopholes for the betterment. Going for bloggers and tolerating economic terrorists, corruption cartels milking the country dry is equivalent to punching the air blindly while the enemy was strategizing cocking the gun behind you.

If you can’t beat them

As Kenya moves closer to 2017 general elections, the bloggers will have let role in information flow. Coming from a violent election and memories still clear of 2007/08, the country is vulnerable. Only those with a lot to hide are threatened by the bloggers, the government or the power elites shouldn’t be worried if all their dealings are stainless. The media has the jurisdiction of being the public’s watchdog, and if it fails to play the mandate, bloggers are restructuring the game and playing that role.

Public offices and power holders must be open to scrutiny and lethal criticism. They must be put into accountability. Fighting bloggers by painting them as the threat to national security with unconstitutional charges is uncouth and backward. To completely tame the bloggers as they are deemed enemies of the state, run a clean system this, in turn, will deny fodder to the bloggers who’re now increasingly watchful. Arresting and intimidating the bloggers has proved to be ineffective and only working as a rating booster for the bloggers. The game has completely changed, and the business as usual syndrome showed the door.

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Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on tips.kenyainsights@gmail.com or via Telegram

Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Send me tips to [in.kenyawest@gmail.com]

Opinion

AFRICA: When Development and Democracy is Compromised The Human Survival is At Risk

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A lady at her cassava farm.
Development and Democracy is fundamental right to every citizen it doesn’t matter whether they are from which region, tribe, race or belong to which religion. In Africa, democratic-Icons are still spending sleepless night going around the region and preaching development and unity, their ambition is seeing Africa growing.
Africa is a growing-potential zone in the world with huge raw materials, minds and space to invest, establish and explore new ideas and actualize them into reality. The growth is very slow because of factors which undermine them.
We have seen many countries impressing changes during international forums like African Union summits and meetings, Economic Community of West African States, COMESA, South African Development Community, East African community etc During such forums, leaders are able to utilize money, time and minds to think, sit together and discuss progress of events touching lives of the nations, send representatives to investigate, review and ascertain progress of programmes in the regions and present report to the management and member states.
Our major discussion has been settling wars in members states and solving food related problems especially in arid and semi-arid regions in Africa and improving living standards in the region. Instability in Somali government for instance has attracts many African nations who cry for justice, development and democracy, their citizens around the world want leaders and revolutionary team in Africa to intervene and promote peace in the region because they are part and parcel of Africa.
Fortunately, leaders have tried championed development and democracy in many ways by using different approach some have yielded fruits for instance Southern Sudan is now enjoying fruits of African states, now it is slowly establishing developments and experiencing stability in terms of democracy and development. others like Somalia and Sudan are experienced tough economic challenges which forces citizens to cry and seek for interventions.
I love African pride because leaders understand their ways of lives, during many forums, leaders put aside their interests and campaigned for economic bloc in Africa by encouraging exchange programmes among developing countries, assisting economically challenged nations, removing trade tariffs and subsidizing prices of goods to open markets for varieties of goods.
The recent visit by Ugandan president Yuweri Muzeveni to Kenya paved ways to expand trading partnership, the huge investment on standard gauge railway SGR remained strong investment which two countries Kenya and Uganda share. Museveni managed to enlighten Kenyans and Ugandans about establishing manufacturing companies within the region for instance one huge papermill which will serve the whole region, he also talked about establishing good environment for trade by opening borderlines which is key for promoting and integrating business in the region. He later spoke about pressing issues bedevilling social-economic and political affairs in the region like corruption, tribal and lack of empowerment in the manufacturing industries in the region.
For sure when development and democracy is compromised human survival is at risk. In Africa democracy growing positively and taking centre stage in shaping and changing mindsets of leaders.
Africa is a potential giant in the world with huge investment, I believe in near future, it will be sending an information to the world about progress, democracy and development.
Written By: Ian Chepkuto, Pangani Nairobi.

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Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on tips.kenyainsights@gmail.com or via Telegram
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Opinion

Police Impersonation And Their Public Relations

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Keeping law and order has been proved to be every country’s biggest agenda. No one is safe until they feel safe. As much as safety starts with you, there are State personnel specially and specifically deployed to make sure there is law and order.

Keeping law and order in Kenya is the mandate of the Police. Who operate under Kenya police Service. In well and clearly divided divisions, the Kenya Police Service make sure there is law and order as well as justice.

These are the people who make sure that our rights are protected. They make sure there’s a calm environment that promotes political stability hence economic development. These are same people who literally have the nation’s security details at their hands.

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Now, when we start hearing and reporting the cases of police imposters scattered everywhere in our country makes our entire security setup a joke.  This causes lots of unnecessary instability. This discloses a lot of loopholes in our security set up. These imposters make people start thinking about how to protect themselves.

Our security system was supposed to guard us internally and externally. This goes with a very thin margin of era. As I write this, I have been a victim couple of times to these police imposters. First was administration Police with a fake combat. Then Traffic police with unmarked reflector jackets and funny radio calls.

But many people get into bad hands of plain clothes officers.  A lot of people are extorted by civilians pretending to be corps. This even gets worse when such imposters get hold of the real police radio calls and handcuffs. One wonders if they collude with The Police in service to commit these crimes or they have their way in, to our security system.

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Again, I was recently arrested by Police imposters who refused to talk to someone I had saved with a name similar to the Police spokesman. They even refused to take me to a nearby Police station. I had no cash on me, and was not willing to provide any. That angered them and made them chain me for more than 5 hours in their Toyota wish car that had dusted plates. I was fortunately let loose after getting money from a friend who brought it in cash. They also ‘caught’ other citizens who paid off their freedom.

How will we notice that these aren’t the Police? Our security set up works differently according to; who you are.  Where do you come from. Where do you stay. Rule and divide.  Divide and rule. Then protect. There is a section of people who can’t be arrested without a warrant. There are people who can’t be arrested without seeing and verifying the police identifications.

Then there are the majorities who have no clue of what to check, demand or even do. They just get arrested and start negotiating for their release price. The public knows that the police will always charge you with an offense. Be it framed or not, no judicial officer cares as far as the police says so.

The police have neglected a fact that they are supposed to introduce themselves. With all the identification on them being hidden, arise the cases of police impersonation. Hidden identities are the cause of all these menace.

It’s also the duty of the government to make sure that police identifications and budges are hard to fake and easily recognized by the civilians.  We all have duty to protect ourselves and others, which includes those who protect us and the nation at large.

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If security starts with me, then I have to be well equipped with knowledge concerning the security and part of the basic security details every single citizen should know.

 


Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on tips.kenyainsights@gmail.com or via Telegram
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Opinion

JohnBosco: Why Government, Examination Bodies and Private Hospitals Are To Blame For Quackery In The Medical Field.

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Photo Courtesy/ Dreamstime.com

Quacks who practice Quackery are defined as the promoters of unsubstantiated
methods that lack a scientifically plausible rationale. Rate of Quackery in the medical field have rapidly infiltrated up to a point where majority of people have been convinced beyond reasonable doubt that only in medical field is where quacks are.

My aim of this article is to get down behind the scenes and get to share with you what and how i think Quackery in the Medical field by ‘Quacks’ and Quacks is being promoted, what promotes it and will probably get worse in the near future if some of the recommendation i have aren’t put into consideration by the concerned authorities.

Most of the quacks in medical field operate as mobile doctors, conducting tests and performing surgeries on patients in their respective homes and visiting them for continuity of care while some are based in private hospitals and some in public hospitals but at a low rate.

Private Hospitals

“Spend less on salaries and earn more income” has always been the Mission and Aim of Private healthcare facilities in a nutshell.

Private hospitals prefer employees who will make them earn more profit than employing expensive professionals who will probably demand more salary hence slashing down the profit of the Cartels. Therefore, they go for desperate undergraduates who work on locum- part time hours with one qualified professional to white wash the briefcase authorities.

On the better side of the coin, private facilities have assisted in reducing the rate of unemployment by offering jobs to these individuals considered quacks whom some are even more competent, credible than some egocentric professionals.

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National Government

State of the economy:

Firstly, high cost of living precisely financial distress elevates the desire and thirst for money to settle your bills and if your little knowledge and experience can bring food to your table if the Government of the day can’t make the cost any cheaper then you’ve to make a breakthrough by yourself. And this catalyses the cartelic business of Quackery without authorization and accreditation from the relevant authorities like Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Board (KMLTTB), Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDU), Nursing Council of Kenya (NCK), Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB).

Secondly, Ministry of Education accredited institutions, only 50% are competent and up to the task of maintaining the ISO standard. This means: The Ministry accredits many of these unqualified institutions through backdoor and briefcase hullabaloo, after all it is business. So many Medical learning institutions accredited are alive but still a few have employer trust on Competency, Integrity and Credibility which can be confirmed on practical grounds and those that aren’t trusted are still functioning, alive and well in the market and so are the Quacks that we have in the market. Why should Government continue accrediting more institutions when those that are there cant be monitored well to maintain their standards or their accreditation be terminated once the public and employer trust is lost. Why cant the Government close down these institutions that have lost public and employer trust and save Parents’ and Sponsors’ money than waste them and be rejected by employers or fail Board exams only to turn into quacks working in the black market.

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County Government

On cutting cost, County Governments similarly prefer Diploma holder from a well recognised institution like Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) to A Degree holder. Output of a degree holder in medical field is more or less the same as that of a Diploma holder in working station. They also target unrecognised institutions products but cheap so as to ‘save’ county funds only to channel into employer pockets precisely county Ministry of Health (MoH) battalion responsible for employment. I believe if audit report is done on this matter, this is the status quo and so are the rise of Quacks in the system mostly in Counties which didn’t meet the Clean sheet audit report apart from Makueni County which had clean sheet audit.

Examination Bodies

It is in the public domain, how expensive it is to get enrolled to the medical field and to afford the system financially is a nightmare to many individuals with financial impecuniousness.

If you are lucky to get sponsorship or scholarship then you win a jackpot if you’re an academic genius but unlucky if you’re an academic dwarf. Reason being: Sponsors on many occasions deal on ‘Get it right first time’ and affording Resit or Supplementary exams is similarly expensive meaning if you fail, you’ll have to take care of yourself thereafter, pay for your supplementary fee or rather resit fee which equals one full semester or a whole academic year depending on the number of papers you fail.

Affording this for a peasant – low class is like a bête noire. These people try to make ends meet by searching for locums in private healthcare facilities or any other facility within the field of medicine where they can raise funds to pay the fee. Unfortunately, when caught by the concerned authorities, they’re considered Quacks not because of misdiagnosis but because of papers but genuinely true quacks who might have made their way to the graduation list after sex exchange or bribery are embroidered as Qualified professionals.

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Being that the system is corrupt to some extent, extortion still carries the day.

Like in KMTC situation, Kenya Insights was informed of cases where Candidates receive two messages of Fail and Pass of Final Qualifying Examination (F.Q.E) results which we’ve concluded as an extortion scheme – “When you go to confirm why you were sent two texts, you will be probably denied the Pass and be confirmed Fail.” The aim of the System is money that you’ll pay when you get back for resit and it can be done as many times within limit of 4 years.

…………………

In conclusion, these ‘Quacks’ and Quacks sincerely can’t  be compared to employed Quack leaders of this nation who massively kills the future of our unborn children and the future generation every single moment.


Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on tips.kenyainsights@gmail.com or via Telegram
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