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Maisha Poa

Maisha Poa
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"As you think, so you become"

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Kwale County women’s representative Zainab Chidzuga wants the Mining Bill reviewed, saying it confers excessive powers on the Cabinet Secretary in charge of the docket. Chidzuga said the bill vests powers on the CS “as though mining were his private property”.

Zainab Chidzuga Woman Representative KwaleShe said if left unchanged, the provisions could lead to abuse of office by future office occupants. She singled out the provision in the Bill that gives the CS powers to, singlehandedly, issue and revoke permits of mining firms saying it goes against the policy of public participation, consultation and transparency of government activities. “We have to trim these powers. Most of us (legislators) are not comfortable with the powers vested upon the Cabinet Secretary because such powers can corrupt anyone,” she said. Chidzuga said Coast legislators will push for public participation and involvement of county governments. “We want counties to be involved in mining and all small miners should be left to the counties. We are also looking to review the Base Titanium agreement that was made some years back because it does not outline how residents will benefit,” she said.

Chidzuga made the remarks on Tuesday at Hill Park Hotel in Tiwi, Kwale during a two days’ forum organised by civil society groups to discuss the Mining Bill. Coast leaders, including Kwale governor Salim Mvurya, have in the past criticised the national government for failing to consult them over the issue of loyalties. They accuse the national government of failing to consult the county government before the export begun of Titanium began. “The royalty being paid is very low. The county government and residents who live where the mineral is being extracted ought to be paid the same royalty as the national government,” said Mvurya in an earlier interview. Chidzuga said the government’s initial agreement with Tiomin Kenya (which later sold to Base Titanium) was that there would be a renegotiation of royalties after five years.

She said this is yet to happen despite the fact that Base Titanium has also started excavation. She said the county proposed that residents should receive a royalty of 10 per cent, counties 35 per cent and national government 55 per cent.

She said this is yet to happen despite the fact that Base Titanium has also started excavation. She said the county proposed that residents should receive a royalty of 10 per cent, counties 35 per cent and national government 55 per cent.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000111377&story_title=mp-provisions-in-mining-bill-could-lead-to-abuse&pageNo=2
She said this is yet to happen despite the fact that Base Titanium has also started excavation. She said the county proposed that residents should receive a royalty of 10 per cent, counties 35 per cent and national government 55 per cent.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000111377&story_title=mp-provisions-in-mining-bill-could-lead-to-abuse&pageNo=2

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MCAs, the new kids on the block in county politics are enjoying unrivaled supremacy. They have dramatically attracted national attention as the whips with which to bludgeon the governors. This is evident in Embu where the Governor, Martin Wambora has survived two scathing attempts of dislodgement. They have also caused displeasure to Kericho Governor and are reportedly training their guns in other counties.

Kwale MCAIn an orchestrated move, they have seduced the senate which was hitherto seen to be dormant to go to work-through ad hoc committees, ostensibly to protect devolution. But questions are already being asked whether the MCAs actions against the governors are meant to safeguard devolution or undermine it.

A very ugly theory seems to be gaining currency. That in the county assemblies, nearly all over the country, reside masters and mistresses of blackmail. That they’ve developed an habit of pushing for personal agendas to the county executive which if not handled in their favour, they pick fights with the governors. And given the powers they derive from the constitution and the county governments act, the governors have no option but to dance to their (MCAs) tunes. Whether these allegations are true or not is not for me to judge; but that’s what pundits are saying.

But should this be the case, then I see MCAs getting into more peril than the governors. In fact, it’s loudly whispered that the governors have gone back to the drawing boards to develop strategies of countering the rogue county assembly members. A strategist who is privy to the plans of the governors informed Upfront Tales that “if the plan being worked out by the county executives materializes, the governors will enjoy the longest laughter ever.”

“The recall clause is only a few months away to be operational. A good number of voters seem to be sympathetic with the governors in this war between them and the assemblies; the governors are likely to influence successful recalls of MCAs in their country if they too start playing hard ball,” says my informant who goes further to explain that some elected MCAs receive less than 3000 votes to be in the assembly.

“If the governors decide to play rough and facilitate the recall clause by say, buyin the requisite 30% of the voters (governors have powerful financial muscles) to append their signatures to recall their representative, this can spoil the party for the rogue MCAs bad style,” asserts the strategist who says this is just a plan F in the governors strategies most of which are just legal and legitimate.

Other observers however think that the MCAs are exercising their constitutional mandate and that they should be left alone to do so; only that they should ensure that they inform the public on their plans as the latter also has an important stake in governance.

The debate is not likely to end too soon and this might just be an opportunity for social media users to give their take.

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Why Schools In Coast Posted Poor Exam Results

The 2011 K.C.P.E results sent shockwaves with the placement of five out of six coastal counties at the bottom of the list. And as has been the trend, public schools in Coast region were once again caught napping. Despite the dismal performance by the entire region except Mombasa, it would only be fair to appreciate that each county has its own peculiar challenges and that such challenges can only be addressed by the leaders and residents of the affected county.

Take KwalePoor Exam Results in Kwale county for example. The county boasts of enormous natural wealth, some of which are either known, recently discovered or still hidden beneath the earth. Tourism—one of the major economic activities which earns Kenya a substantial share of foreign income is concentrated in Kwale’s Tiwi, Diani, Galu Kinondo, Chale, Funzi and Wasini islands, to name but a few.

A recent study carried out in the vast county presents mouth-watering revelations. In Poverty in the midst of wealth: The Case of Natural Resources in Coast Province, Ilishe Trust—a Mombasa based civil society organization, identifies Kwale as the second wealthiest county in terms of natural resources in the entire coast province after Taita Taveta. Some of such resources are concealed in land, water, wildlife, fishery, mining and forestry. Whether these resources are managed with the bias to improving the livelihood of the Kwale communities and how their availability affects the education development of potential beneficiaries is a story for another day.

Early in the year, Uwezo Kenya—a non governmental organization, conducted a national survey to assess the literacy and numeracy levels of children aged between 6 to 16 years. The study had damning revelations. Released in the second half of 2011, the report bears a very close relationship with this year’s KCPE results in the manner of ranking.

For example, Kirinyaga County which topped in this year’s national ranking appeared third nationally in the Uwezo-Kenya report after Nairobi and Mombasa in that order. At number 7 out of 47 counties, Taita Taveta came second in coast, followed by Lamu (13), Kilifi (18), Tana River (29), while Kwale held the tail end at position 36. The ranking was based on class 3 pupils who could do class 2 English, Kiswahili and Mathematics.

According to the report, nine out of ten children in class 3 cannot read a class 2 story written in English in Kwale; neither can 3 out of 4 children in class 3 do class 2 divisions. The report also indicates that the proportion of out of school children in Kwale is higher than the national average.

“Learning levels are very low. Only 1 out of 10 class 3 children can read class 2 story,” reveals the report. Learner absenteeism, says the report, is also very high. “Nearly half of the children are missing school daily,” says the report. The report titled: Are our children learning also indicates that the percentage of girls and boys aged between six and sixteen years who can do class two work is 41% and 48% respectively. While the Ilishe report advocates empowering the communities and establishing effective structures to safeguard ownership and exploitation of natural resources in the region, the Uwezo report urges all stakeholders to read, get informed, discuss, take action and make the difference.

Whereas the recommendations of the two organizations may not be the panacea to the challenges Kwale and Coast in general is facing, there is need to start from somewhere. One fact must not be taken for granted: Some of the most highly educated Kenyans hail from Kwale’s three constituencies of Matuga, Kinango and Msambweni. This challenge should therefore be taken up by Kwale professionals caucus whose membership comprises respected men and women both in the public and private sector.

As stake-holders in various parts of the country ponder on what steps to take after the not very good results nationally, all leaders in Coast region should perhaps start by addressing issues raised in the Uwezo-Kenya report as one way of enhancing education standard in the six counties.

Political and religious leaders must take the initiative of restoring confidence of the coastal residents that their children are no different from the others in the rest of Kenya. As much as it is important to advocate for land rights, it is equally imperative to look at the education sector. Let the parents, seek explanations from the schools about why things are the way they are. Let there be a consultative relationship between all parties. Otherwise, with its vast wealth of natural resources, the region needs an educated population more than it needs anything else.