The usual suspects dominate the top ten list – with the new addition of Maranda. Boys take 7 out of the top ten positions. Top girl fourth (from Alliance Girls). Top three students from St. Peter’s, Kakamega, and Alliance High School.
Top ten schools are:
Maranda High School
Alliance High School
Alliance Girls High School
Starehe Boys Centre
Mang’u High School (Yours truly is a proud Mang’uman, although they should’ve done better than this…)
The 2011 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results will be released tomorrow. The exam is a make or break affair for most students since it is the key determinant of whether they will continue on to college or drop off the education ladder and join scores of unemployed youth with limited economic prospects.
These results will be the first since the 2008 introduction of subsidized high school programmes.
This year’s high school leavers will still have to wait for about two years before they can join university – an artifact of the Moi Administration going back to the early 1980s when universities were shut down for an extended period due to political unrest.
I do not have the exact numbers but know that the duration of time between leaving high school and joining university for the average Kenyan student (who does well enough in high school) is closer to 6+ years than 4 years. Both the Moi legacy and intermittent strikes by lecturers and students are to blame for this massive waste of young Kenyans’ time.
Former Defense Minister and GEMA leader Njenga Karume is dead at 83. Mr. Karume succumbed after a long battle with cancer.
The late Karume, who made most of his money from the beer distribution business, was one of the most influential and richest politicians among the “independence generation.” Njenga Karume was mostly a self-made man (His autobiography is titled “Beyond Expectations – From Charcoal to Gold”). With little formal education (many Kenyans know of his “wananinji” pronouncements), he managed to create a business empire that catapulted him to the boards of many a Kenyan company. Being the leader of the powerful GEMA cultural bloc and a close ally of President Kenyatta certainly also helped.
May he rest in peace.
The passing of Njenga Karume comes just four days after another veteran politician and also close friend to President Kibaki, John Michuki, passed away. It is hard not to think that time is beginning to catch up with the political elites who led Kenya’s independence generation. Indeed this year’s general election will be the first without a leading independence leader in contention for the presidency (Theirs sons and political scions will duke it out).
The natural generational change is certainly a cause for excitement; peaceful elite rotation mostly leads to positive outcomes. But at the same time I have the nagging feeling that the 50 and 60 year old “young turks” who are about to take over may lack the encompassing interest that the “wazees” shared (Notice how nice Kibaki has been to former President Moi). Yes, they were not always good people – the deaths J. M. Kariuki and Tom Mboya forever remains a blotch on their record – but you have to give it to them for holding it together even when things were falling apart all around the neighborhood.
Democracy is also a deeply rooted Somali political principle which, I suspect, continues much as usual in the more remote parts of the nomadic interior. How long it will be before it reasserts itself in the central political life of the state remains to be seen.
We are still waiting.
For an account of the politics of the Siad Barre coup of 1969 check out Lewis (1972)
John Michuki, MP for Kangema is dead at 80. The late Michuki was a Kenyan politician that many learned to love (and sometimes love and hate). As Transport Minister he brought sanity to the rowdy matatu sector with the much-loved “Michuki Rules”. As Minister for the environment he cleaned up Nairobi River.
His less illustrious contribution was in the security ministry. It is under his watch that the Standard Media group was raided by masked thugs under the pretext that they were about to publish information that would have “impinged on the person of the president.” It later emerged that the media house had information about alleged illegal dealings by a woman rumored to be an illegitimate daughter of president Kibaki. The war on the Mungiki sect was also carried out under his watch – with numerous allegations of extrajudicial killings of hundreds of young men.
The son of a paramount chief, Michuki was among the group of super-wealthy conservative elites who at independence took over power and managed to quiet the more radical elements of the independence movement. Under their watch Kenya emerged as a capitalist enclave even as its many neighbors flirted with communism and African Socialism, with disastrous consequences. For better or worse, Kenya benefited from this “home guard generation” (see Bates 1989, for instance; for a different view see AfriCommons).
The Kenyan political scene will sorely miss Mr. Michuki’s straight talk and ability to deliver. He was among a handful of government officials that actually stood for what they believed, and he had results to back up all his talk. As the Nation reports:
Michuki gained the reputation of being a “ruthless” and efficient manager, who is widely acknowledged as being among the best performing ministers in President Kibaki’s government.
As Stearns argues in this excellent book, the causes of the conflicts in eastern DRC are multiple and complex. Yet simple narratives in the media and among aid workers and advocacy groups have tried hard to reduce these causes to a fight over minerals; and similarly the consequences as mass rape of women and young girls (remember the video cameras fiasco??). In reality the story is more complex than this.
Here is a quote from a good paper on the international community’s responses to the Congo (DRC) conflicts by Severine Autesserre in the latest edition of African Affairs:
“These narratives focus on a primary cause of violence, illegal exploitation of mineral resources; a main consequence, sexual abuse of women and girls; and a central solution, extending state authority. I elucidate why simple narratives are necessary for policy makers, journalists, advocacy groups, and practitioners on the ground, especially those involved in the Congo. I then consider each narrative in turn and explain how they achieved prominence: they provided straightforward explanations for the violence, suggested feasible solutions to it, and resonated with foreign audiences. I demonstrate that the focus on these narratives and on the solutions they recommended has led to results that clash with their intended purposes, notably an increase in human rights violations.
The international actors’ concentration on trafficking of mineral resources as a source of violence has led them to overlook the myriad other causes, such as land conflict, poverty, corruption, local political and social antagonisms, and hostile relationships between state officials, including security forces, and the general population. Interveners have singled out for support one category of victims, sexually injured women and girls, at the expense of others, notably those tortured in a non-sexual manner, child soldiers, and the families of those killed.”
The paper is a grim reminder that “fixing the Congo” – whatever that means – will take a long time. More on this here.
The pressing issues raised in the report include economic, political and social concerns:
The slow pace of the military operation and the high cost of keeping troops in the field are the main reasons behind Nairobi’s desire to operate under AMISOM command. The treasury would then not have to pay the full cost of the campaign. It is estimated that Linda Nchi is costing the government at least KSh 210 million ($2.8 million) per month in personnel costs alone in a year of a record KSh 236 billion ($3.1 billion) budget deficit. If the interven- tion’s cost is not contained, already high inflation will spiral, and local discontent could become more serious…..
The intervention in Somalia is likely to have a complex impact on Kenyan Somalis’ political positions, because their attitude toward it is not straightforward. The government’s desire to establish a buffer zone between the border and the rest of Somalia privileges the Ogaden, the majority Kenyan-Somali clan. The possibility of a semi-autonomous state in the south of Somalia politically dominated by Ogaden may not be favoured by the minority, marginalised clans of north-eastern Kenya, such as the Ajuran and Degodia…..
Views within the ethnic Somali and wider Muslim community regarding the war are mixed but predominantly critical. Even those now mildly supportive could easily become hostile, especially if things go badly wrong, and civilian deaths mount. The notion that the war is popular within the Muslim community is wishful thinking, and the potential to exacerbate already worrying radicalisation in the country is very real. The police and other security services have shown some restraint in bigger cities, but there have been numerous reports of abuses in North Eastern Province.
The Kenyan tech industry just got another boost, this time from the global phone maker Nokia. The Sunday Nation reports:
Nokia plans to make Nairobi its global hub for research and investment for the India, Middle East and Africa region.
The move is a big win for the country which will serve as a nerve centre for Nokia’s global research activities, bringing together application developers, businesses and software engineering eco-system from around the world.
The company has research facilities in 13 locations worldwide, and Nairobi will be its nerve centre.
The Nairobi Nokia Research Center (NRC) located at the Nairobi Business Park along Ngong Road previously served the African region only.
Perhaps after experiencing a Bill Easterly moment, a friend of mine (grad student here at Stanford) had this on his facebook wall:
“Hello, my name is Mr. Development Man. I know Africa so much!! I went there one summer and stayed with an NGO. I talked to my servant cook who served me food, so I know African workers. I read a few books written by white Americans about Africa, and remembered their big words. So I know African ideology. African prostitutes talked to me at my hotel poolside, so I know about relationships in Africa. I took pictures of kids at the orphanage, so I know how Africans suffer.
My conclusions: Africans are corrupt. The place is poor because of poor policies. And my knowledge can help them. If they just listened to my smart American knowledge — obtained from the 2 months at the NGO, my white man books, my prostitutes, my few words with my servant cook — they would develop!! Why don’t they listen to me?? I can help them…Stubborn, corrupt African politicians…
Signed, Mr. Development Man. Remember, I am here to help you Africa!!”
I have a sense that Mr. Development Man’s note is directed at both development practitioners and academics alike. Let us all take heed.
Chad, who is into short stories and is also a late night radio DJ, wrote this Letter to Mr development man on the dynamics of the love-hate relationship between donors and aid recipients.
Here is introducing the annual Stanford Africa Forum:
SAF is organized by a multinational and multidisciplinary group of Stanford University students who share a common passion: a firm belief in the potential and promise of the African continent. Previous editions of the Forum have placed the spotlight on this potential and we plan to continue in this tradition with the 2012 edition.
Here is a link to the 2012 SAF Conference website. If you can make in on Feb 25th 2012 please register and show up.