Let us rekindle the spirit of brotherhood this Xmas season

The Christmas season is here again. This is as much a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, as it is an opportunity to reflect on our achievements and failures during the year.

It is a time to be thankful for blessings that have come our way.

It is also a time to learn from the experiences of the year and make decisions for the year to come.

As a country, we have a lot to be grateful for this year.

However, there are certain critical hard choices we need to make to remain united as a nation. One of those is slaying the dragon of tribalism, which continues to spread its tentacles.

Many of us condemn tribalism publicly but feed it in private.

Let us reflect on the jokes, the comments, the thoughts, the actions, the feelings, the wishes and the writings we put forward about other tribes.

If you are tempted to think that those in the diaspora have shed off tribal tag, think again.

You only need to visit Internet and media blogs to discover the vitriol at other communities.

And to many of us, it is only tribalism and favouritism if it benefits the other tribe. If it is our tribe, we probably merit it.

It is only justice if a person from the other tribe is being punished. Many would rather throw a stone before finding out what the person has done.

If it is our tribe, it is probably a witch-hunt and being unfairly targeted.

As we celebrate this festive season, I urge every Kenyan to once again rekindle the spirit of nationhood and brotherhood that has equal consideration for everyone as exemplified in the story of the Good Samaritan.

In employment, let us give equal opportunities to everyone. After all, we do not just seek to sell our products and services to our tribesmen.

We also need to seek justice and fairness even for those we perceive as our enemies.

And remember the warning of the bible that those who gloat over other people’s misfortunes will not go unpunished.

Let us strive to seek goodness, justice and fairness for everybody regardless of their ethnic background, social status, economic status, creed or religion.

Then we will be on our way to regaining our dignity and unity as a nation.

Our future as a country depends on it. Merry Christmas, and happy 2011 to you all.

Dr Andrew Chemwolo, Geneva

Cry for Kenya’s burdened kids

Modern-day education system is a burden to children. I remember how during my nursery and primary days we used to report to school at nine and break at noon.

In nursery school, the day’s routine comprised mainly of singing and lots of play. This was the routine in almost all Government-sponsored schools. I pity the present children. The kids, some of them as young as four years-old, have to wake up at four, pack their king size bags with a dozen books and be picked by the school bus at six.

The sight of these kids carrying bags twice their size at freezing temperatures in the wee hours of the morning is not progressive.

My heart goes out to kids I see deep asleep on their school buses as they navigate our intricate traffic mess.

The foundation of learning is socialisation, rest and play.

The pioneers of this area such as Maria Montessori would die of shock if they were to visit a kindergarten today. Learning is a life long process and it is supposed to be fun. When a kid is exposed to hard concepts of multiplication a negative attitude might be ingrained early.

Ask them why they are doing their homework and mostly the answer would be to avoid the teacher scolding them. The whole idea of doing it because they like it is lost. There is no fun, no attachment, just routine. Let the kids play and grow.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year to all Children.

Kanyi Gioko, Nairobi


Garbage is city’s greatest undoing

While Nairobi is the largest city in the region, it is certainly not the cleanest. Taking a walk around Nairobi reveals heaps of garbage that keep growing.

In the estates, polythene bags are strewn all over the place taking away the shine from the city in the sun as Nairobi used to be called.

It really hurts to see the city choking in dirt yet we have a City Council that pays its employees for doing absolutely nothing.

Closer home, Rwanda has a national day for cleaning every month and polythenes are banned. We need to do something before the situation gets out of hand.

Motari David, Nairobi

Refuse collectors are doing the exact opposite of their call of duty along Accra Road and adjacent areas in Nairobi.

The team of refuse collectors normally clad in green aprons drag sacks of smelly waste on the road to a waiting truck usually several meters away.

Due to friction, the garbage bags get torn, spilling the refuse on the road. While the cleaners keep the centre spruced up, they definitely ought to use other modes of transporting the waste to the trucks other than just dragging it. Wheelbarrows especially can come in handy in such situations.

Justin Osey Peter, Nairobi


Commissions should be state-funded

It is common practice for the Government to seek donor support to finance operations of commissions formed to investigate various matters.

Whenever approached, most donors are only too happy to extend the financial – and sometimes technical – assistance sought.

But lately, there are questions being raised by a section of MPs about the veracity of such funding.

Their bone of contention is that such funding makes the commissions to be beholden to their financiers.

While these claims cannot be entirely true, they cannot be dismissed offhand.

Also, commissions whose operations depend entirely on donor money run a real risk of being crippled – as it has happened before – should the financial aid be cut off. Such commissions should be financed through the Consolidated Fund.

Gerald K Ndirangu, via e-mail

MPs’ reaction to Ocampo list not surprising

There has been a flurry of activities in the political circles following Luis Moreno-Ocampo naming of the six suspected masterminds of 2007 post-election violence.

From Charles Keter’s call for the disbandment of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), to passing of Motion seeking to pull Kenya out of ICC, the MPs have clearly not had time to rest.

But this is hardly surprising as the legislators have only reacted in their characteristic fashion.

First, we all know they preferred the Hague option to a local tribunal citing possible political interference. Now that their friends have been named, they are quick to discredit the ICC process.

It also ironical, but not unexpected, that there are plans to to raise funds to meet the legal costs for the Ocampo Six.

We have all along known – and the MPs have just confirmed to us – that their comfort and that of their friends matter more to them than the lives of the Kenyans who elected them.

Kenneth Kodida, via e-mail

For the last few days, Kenyans have seen MPs run helter skelter following the naming of the suspected instigator of the 2007 post-election violence.

But as the hullaballoo rages, nobody is sparing a thought for the thousands of people displaced by the chaos who are languishing in IDP camps.

Nobody is even caring to remember that over 1600 people were killed during the mayhem.

It should not be forgotten it was none other than the MPs who shot down the idea of establishing a local tribunal to try suspects of the post-election violence.

They took this decision thinking that Ocampo would take forever to arraign suspects in court. They were dead wrong.

Saad Mazen, Nairobi

Investigate police swoop in Umoja

I would like to bring to the attention of the Police Commissioner and Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission an incident that took place on December 16, at Umoja’s Innercore estate at around 9.30pm. On this day, innocent residents were arrested and taken to Buruburu Police station.

Residents were literally dragged out of their compounds and others pounced on as they alighted from public transport vehicles. I was among the "loiterers" arrested. I was released the following morning after giving a bribe of Sh2,000, as did the others. Arbitrary arrests should be investigated.

Bill Wasike, Nairobi

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