As the country heads for elections next year, Kenyans will expect the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to keep its eyes open in order to detect and deter cases of hate speech and forestall a repeat of 2007.
That’s why the case against MPs Wilfred Machage and Fred Kapondi is important. It shows seriousness on the part of NCIC in dealing with suspected hate speech cases.
It’s no wonder then that Kenyans were surprised by news that NCIC had applied to withdraw the case against the two. We are not presupposing guilt, but we would have wished to see the case go the whole hog.
NCIC says, after consultations with the defence counsel, it plans to pursue alternative ways of dealing with the case. What alternative ways? Notably, besides court action, section 13 of the NCIC Act doesn’t offer alternatives to dealing with hate speech. Kenyans haven’t forgotten that before going to court, NCIC gave the suspects an ultimatum to make a public apology. None did. So, what’s the game plan this time Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia, NCIC boss?
Criticism of railway plan off the track
Mr Michael Joseph, who resigned as chairman of the Kenya Tourism Board on Thursday, said something during the Kenyans for Kenya fundraiser that cannot go unchallenged, says Ms Roseleen Nzioka.
Joseph, she notes, seemed fed up and exasperated by the fact that once more we have drought, and starving people. "But that is not my qualm with MJ," says Nzioka "after all, we are all fed up with this drought-famine-starvation cycle." Her beef with Joseph is his assertion that Kenya doesn’t need another railway line. She says that "MJ is completely out of the loop on this one. We need another railway line. No, actually not just one, but many other lines crisscrossing the length and breadth of this country."
Nzioka bets that Joseph has never used matatus and is "therefore sheltered from the vagaries of our manambas and hiked fares". She says Kibaki has done a good job with infrastructure development and prays that the next President will do the same on food security. Nzioka says it cannot be gainsaid how important food security is to a nation, but equally important is infrastructure especially provision of efficient, affordable, dependable, public transport. PointBlank can only hope that Nzioka has managed to put the wagon back on track.
Is Knec engaging in cheating?
Over the years, the Kenya National Examinations Council has been credited for picking teachers and other people for training as examiners on the basis of merit and experience, says Mr Kennedy Makasembo, Kenya Union of Post-Primary Teachers Migori chairman.
However, he claims, things have changed lately. "The whole process has been turned into an avenue to reward friends, cronies, relatives or ‘you part with’ something to be considered."
He claims although qualified and experienced teachers do apply, they rarely make it to Knec’s list because they fall short in "any of the aforementioned categories." Makasembo claims he knows of a veteran teacher who has been turned down over the years but one of her students who later became a teacher in the same school has made it to the training. "In such a scenario, who is to guide who? What matters here is who holds your hands," he asserts.
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"To prove my point, I challenge Knec to table the list of all the teachers who applied with their TSC numbers and those who were picked for training this year alone to show how transparent they are," he concludes.
DON’T YOU FORGET
Disabled still waiting for answers on funding rule
On July 15 Mr Charles Mugo, a physically challenged person, wrote to PointBlank appealing to Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development to "act out of kindness" and issue new and simpler requirements for funding business proposals for the physically challenged persons through the National Council for People with Disability.
Mugo said current regulations require those seeking funding to be in a registered group with a minimum 10 members. He suggested that the rule should be relaxed for the disabled to enable them access the business funds.
"The PS should know that it is very difficult to form such groups since we are not so mobile to socialise with people," he said. Does Mugo’s complaint warrant action Dr James Nyikal, PS Ministry of Gender?
KP dims hopes in Bungoma estate
Residents of Mashambani Estate in Bungoma are being subjected to ‘a strange kind of power rationing’, claims James Omedo Kihali. He says they receive very low voltage energy for the last one month.
"What use is such supply if it means normal bulbs are dim, fluorescent tubes can’t light, fridges can’t cool and computers can’t switch on?" he poses.
He claims calling Kenya Power’s emergency lines does not help as residents only receive empty promises. "Didn’t they promise that the rationing would affect only industrial consumers? Why are we in semi-darkness daily?" he asks.
Right of Reply
Father’s name has its place on ABN forms
Our attention has been drawn to the article in The Standard’sPoint Blank column of July 27 by Mr Tom Arody who wondered why names of fathers do not feature on Notification of Birth (ABN) of their children.
He claimed that all that appears on an ABN form is the name of the baby, sex type of and nature of birth, the place of birth and mother’s name.
I appreciate the Arody’s concern and therefore wish to explain the features of Notification of Birth (ABN) and procedures of registration of a birth.
Birth registration is done immediately the child is born at the hospital or the assistant chief’s office in case a birth occurs at home. Birth registration is the first right of a child.
• The registration form B1 has two segments: Acknowledgement of Birth Notification (ABN) Birth register used to collect information pertaining to the child’s particulars as well as the parent’s.
• The Register of birth contains the bulk of the information concerning the birth, including full name of father where available.
Purpose of ABN
• Proof that the birth has been notified/registered with the Government either through the hospital or Assistant Chief.
• To enable the parents acquire the birth certificate for the child by linking the serial number of ABN with the birth register in the custody of the registrar of birth.
• Contains all the information pertaining to the birth.
• Enables the department’s statistics section to compile other features of the birth for use by the government to plan for services.
Name of the father
• Where the child has a father, his name appears on the notification of birth as well as on the birth register.
• The father’s name also appears on the birth register if the mother and father are married.
• Where the parents are not married the father’s name space is left blank.
From the foregoing, it is clear that the omission of full name of father is not discriminatory since the notification has space for father’s name.
Mrs J. W. Mugo,
Director, Civil Registration,
Ministry of State for Immigration &
Registration of Persons