Friday, April 30, 2010

Some Wise words on Integrity

"A liar needs a good memory." — Quintillian

"Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful."- Samuel Johnson Rasselas, ch. 41

"What is left when honor is lost?" — Publilius Syrus First Century BC, Maxim 265

"If we believe a thing to be bad, and if we have a right to prevent it, it is our duty to try to prevent it and damn the consequences." — Lord Milner

"Let no pleasure tempt thee, no profit allure thee, no persuasion move thee, to do anything which thou knowest to be evil; so shalt thou always live jollity; for a good conscience is a continual Christmas." — Benjamin Franklin

"To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful." — Edward R. Murrow

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." — Abraham Lincoln

"It takes less time to do a thing right than to explain why you did it wrong."— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"He is not wise to me who is wise in words only, but he who is wise in deeds."— St. Gregory

"There are seven things that will destroy us: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Religion without sacrifice; Politics without principle; Science without humanity; Business without ethics."— Mahatma Gandhi


In Service to God and My Country.ARMS

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Unused Road.....

"You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence. You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves."Abraham Lincoln, Republican
This famous quote by Abraham Lincoln underscores the place of integrity and personal obligation in making a country grow. This blog has taken the position, that every man and woman has and should play their role in making their society a better place to live in.
Listening to common discourse in Kenya, there seems to be an effort to find the other person who is responsible for this and that going wrong. Rarely, and this may not apply to all, will you find people discussing their role in the state of things. This leaves us in a sorry state where we claim to be clean and everyone else is dirty. If that be the case, then we should be extremely worried for no matter how "clean" we may be, if all that surrounds us is dirty then its just a matter of time and we shall also be dirty. This may be best reflected by a statement i read sometime back that goes, "Light that is constantly surrounded by darkness is in danger of loosing its brilliance". That may be debatable considering the moon has been around for ages but still shines....but if my science was right, the moon reflects the sun's light.
back to my point, I think we have had too many excuses in Kenya and its time I want to hear statements of responsibility. Will you be the first one to go? I am choosing that road, the unpopular and unused road of being a man of my word. This is certainly not ease in world society where telling the truth is unnormal. But I will try, will u try with me?
This we shall do in service to God and Country.
ARMS

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Famous Quotes on Responsibility

"The price of greatness is responsibility."— Winston Churchill

"Success on any major scale requires you to accept responsibility . . . . In the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have is the ability to take on responsibility." — Michael KordaEditor-in-Cheif, Simon & Schuster

"The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it." — Lou Holtz

"Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off."— General Colin Powell

"You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself."— Jim Rohn

"The reason people blame things on the previous generation is that there's only one other choice."— Doug Larson

"In the old days, words like sin and Satan had a moral certitude. Today, they're replaced with self-help jargon, words like dysfunction and antisocial behavior, discouraging any responsibility for one's actions.."— Don HenleySinger/Songwriter

"Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses." — George Washington Carver

"All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you."— Wayne Dyer

"In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity." — Abraham LincolnDecember 1, 1862 Message to Congress

"It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”— J. W. Goethe

In Service to God and My Country.
ARMS

Adopted from http://www.leadershipnow.com/responsibilityquotes.html

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Voting YES or NO - You are responsible for your Choice


"When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice" - Rev. Martin Luther King, Jnr.


These words by the late Rev. Martin Luther King, sink deep when you think of the task ahead of us. We have a draft of the proposed constitution that the AG is publishing in readiness of the referendum to be held in three or so months time. Both YES and NO camps have set base and each is doing what they do best - using all means necessary to sway the vote to their favour. The interesting difference this time is that the 2005 YES and NO leaders are both on the YES side and this has very key implications. Its a good thing that they agree on this matter. One hopes that they agree for the same reasons and hopefully those reasons are for the good of the country and not just selfish as has been the case for most of our fellow citizens in leadership positions.
I have gone under for the last 19 days since my last post and have been thinking deeply on this matter-The proposed Constitution of Kenya.
What concerns me most is why I will vote whichever way? Why will you vote YES? Why will you vote NO? It has beceme common to hear many a kenyan blame this or that leader for the matters affecting them even when they (citizen) have the power to sort things out. Thus many will vote either way, simply because their spiritual or political leader has said that is the best way to go. It is this suspension of personal intellect and responsibility that greatly disturbs me. This blog asserts that the only way to move this country forward is by having every man and woman take responsibility of their own choice. We must take the voters card, vote in the referendum and elections with the full commitment to stand by our choice. We cannot blame any one for the outcome of the choice we make.
I urge us to read and compare the various drafts while considering why certain clauses have been changed from one version to another leading to what the AG will publish. Having considered it personally, make a decision that you are willing to stand by to posterity. Remember, that history will surely judge us for every choice we make.
Let us seek to "bring a true order of justice"(Martin Luther) and make Kenya the country of choice. Do not allow yourself to suspend your thinking and play along with others. This blog will endeavour to arouse our consciousness on matters of national building of which the constitution is key. This will be by encouraging personal responsibility towards the same.
In Service to God and My Country.
ARMS

Thursday, April 1, 2010

PROPOSED DEVOLUTION FRAMEWORK: POLITICAL EXPEDIENCE OR ECONOMIC PRUDENCE?

Nearly 2 decades of efforts at constitutional review and there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. One of the fundamental provisions that the new constitution will have is one on Devolution. “Devolution has been advocated as a political response to the ills plaguing fragile and plural societies, such as conflicts, inequalities, rent seeking, economic stagnation, corruption and inefficient use of public resources. Besides, devolution can also be implemented as a reaction to external pressure from organized groups (or separatists)”, states a report by the Institute of Economic Affairs (2010).

It has emerged that as parliamentarians vote for the constitution today, devolution will be one of the main issues of contention that will make or break the constitution making process. But Why? Is it because the proposed structure of a national government and 47 county governments is inadequate? Or is it because it is associated with one side of the political divide? Is the current debate on devolution one that is driven by the need to be politically correct or by the need to be economically prudent? It is imperative to note that the one of the main arguments for an efficient system of devolution is that of ensuring that there is equitable (some have insisted on equal) sharing of national revenue and other resources. Difficult as this may be, it is certainly a quest that must be addressed. The other reason has to do with representation and proximity of government to the people. There thus seems to be an expectation among Kenyans that devolution, by ensuring better sharing of revenue, providing effective avenues for representation (participation at local levels) and bringing government closer to the people will solve the problems that threaten to cripple their lives. This may be far from the truth unless the following issues are put into consideration.

First, is the basic requirement that the unit of devolution and hence development be clearly stated. Currently we have albeit three such units namely, the local authority, constituency and district. Each of these units receives resources (human, technical and financial) to facilitate development at the grassroots. It has thus emerged that this has created competition, duplication and ultimate wastage of public resources with little if any impact. One would rightly observe that the cost of providing key public goods and services at the local level is in excess of double of what it would cost in well defined system. On this, I have a disturbing concern. The MP’s while aware of the conflict the CDF management structure of which they are the CEO’s in their respective constituencies have caused, are unwilling to let go. Infact, if the Kabete Consensus retreat is anything to go by, they (MPs) are on record as having agreed on the creation of 25 regions with the Constituency as the unit of devolution. And towards this they proposed that 10 % (up from current 2.5 %) of total annual ordinary revenue of government be allocated to the CDF kitty (under their management) and 20 % be allocated to the regions. Accordingly, county governments were to be done away with, effectively making the MP the lord at the constituency. This is against the principle of separation of powers. It also negates the demand by Kenyans for popular participation in development. On this I completely disagree with the members of parliament.

Secondly and closely related to the first, is the question of what constitutes national resources? Those proposing regional governments are on record as implying that the regional government will have greater autonomy and muscle than the county governments in revenue collection and utilization. Theirs seems to be a suggestion that the resources within their region will be theirs for keeps. This has the potential of causing greater resource conflict than the country has ever witnessed. Looking at Kenya today we have certain revenue points that we consider as key. They include the coastal beach, the national parks, mountains, agricultural zones just to mention but a few. Whereas, persons from a certain region that has a key resource may be advantaged should we pursue this proposal, this could change should the resource decline or global forces cause a decline in its utilization. Further should other regions that were initial disadvantaged discover key resources, then there is likely to be imbalance in revenue and this could lead to conflict resources. A case in point is Nigeria. When the federal constitution was established, sharing of resources between the regions and the federal government was based on the derivation principle that meant that 13 % of the revenue was left in the region of source. As Seberu (2001) quoted by IEA (2010) observes, in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, all export duties of agricultural commodities and import and excise duties on tobacco and motor fuel were simply returned to the region of production or consumption. This tended to make the rich regions richer and to arouse invidious opposition and resentment from the less well endowed regions. This even got worse when oil was revenues became a significant part of the Nigerian economy. This shifted the focus from the agricultural regions to the oil rich regions. Today we are alive to the unending conflicts in rich oil regions especially on the Niger Delta. Oil accounts for 90 % of Nigeria’s revenue. So I ask, in the event that a key resource is discovered in the commonly considered marginalized areas such as Oil in North Eastern or other expensive gases in upper Rift valley, what will we do? The proponents of regionalism ought to carefully weigh these concerns.

Thirdly, devolution regardless of the shape it takes is likely to encounter problems unless underlying misunderstanding of the place of government and representation is concerned. It is unfortunate that positions in government have been interpreted and utilized as a means to personal end. This has affected the way public goods and services are applied for the common good. Further, it is painful to observe that anything public is a target for misuse, abuse and indulgence. Long after the colonialists who had taken our resources and were using them for their gain, excited the stage we are still “stealing” back what is rightly ours. Unless, we the citizens appreciate the devolved governments as our own and not belonging to some foreign entity, then it will be difficult to deliver the gains of a devolved government.

I thus appeal to our members of parliament to vote on this matter with the best of their clear conscience. They must each oppose any system that will duplicate and waste public resources of which we elected them to hold in our trust. They must defend the right of the citizen to meaningfully participate in the development meant to benefit him/her. They must put the money where the people they represent want. They must leave a legacy of men and women who stood for what was right in the midst of pressure to conform to the culture of the day. Men and women who choose rationality over expedience.

And to fellow citizens, our country will become what we individually and collectively choose to make it. It’s all in our hands.

In Service to God and My Country.

ARMS