Opinion and Analysis
It’s time to review successes, failures
Posted Monday, July 9 2012 at 21:53
Admissions of failure are strategies for improvement as institutions and countries take inventory of existing realities.
Taking stock helps to reduce illusions that cloud the eyes of those who appear to do well when the situation may not be so pleasant. Reassessments are many, each driven by passionate individuals, in different fields within Kenya and the Eastern African region.
Within Kenya one of the most visible reassessment exercises is on the Judiciary whose supposed failure threatens the country. The Judiciary’s supposed failure partly accounted for the 2007-2008 mayhem and the parading of Kenyans at The Hague because people had reportedly lost faith in the courts.
To restore the faith, the country took to vetting the entire Bench including Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, the driver.
While the hope is that the vetting will help to rebuild public trust, the issue is whether the vetted judges will make decisions that are dignified, fair, and promote the well being of the country. If their decisions leave the public murmuring, the murmurs will be evidence of remnants of mistrust in the Judiciary; a threat to Kenya.
There are also concerns over the education system which, seemingly dilapidated in every section and at every level, needs rehabilitation and new strategies. With each “county” expected to look after itself, an interesting meeting took place in Murang’a whose main agenda was to admit failure, not to apportion blame.
This agonising admission arose from the fact that Murang’a County is doing poorly on the national front. Participants noted that although it was first in Kenya to promote the idea of “colleges of technology”, it lagged behind in acquiring university facilities.
Its education standing is deplorable with performance in national examinations plummeting to nearly the bottom of the ladder. Since being nearly last in the 2011 national examinations was a bitter pill, Murang’a County Initiative and the County Directorate of Education went into action.
This explains the self-searching gathering of roughly 1,200 stakeholders at the Murang’a College of Technology grounds, with Edward Waiguru Muya of Kenyatta University leading, to look for ways out. At the heart of it was the realisation that collapsing educational systems are serious threats.
Comparatively, CEWARN has done well as one of the four pillars of IGAD but it still feels inadequate. Although it has been in existence for eleven years, its activities are not as well known as they should be. In part, this is because CEWARN concentrated on monitoring and warning officials of potential pastoralist conflicts.
While IGAD member states accepted CEWARN’s role regarding cattle rustling, within and across orders, there was concern that it could be more effective monitoring and warning about other potential sources of conflict.
The driver behind this reassessment is Martin Kimani Mbogua, the CEWARN director, who talks of bringing order to complex realities that are compounded conflicting interpretations. The choices that people make out of complexities should lead to “dignity land” which is peace.
The reassessed CEWARN should jump out of the mental restrictions of monitoring cattle rustlers. It means watching mega trends that include demographic shifts, cyber empowerment, depletion of resources, and “democratization” of such weapons as the drones.
These trends, if wrongly handled, are threats to peace.
Prof Macharia teaches at USIU -Nairobi