FROM A “USELESS TEACHER” TO CEO OF KENYA AIRWAYS

I walked towards the Intercontinental Hotel today with mixed feelings of anticipation and anxiety.I always feel anxious when I step into 5-star Hotel.I guess am not alone in this feeling.I was anticipating a lot to hear what the CEO of Kenya Airways had for many of the youths in a the Mara room.

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“Africa is crying for Human capital”

As a young unemployed graduate,I wrote quite a number of term papers and cited Kenya Airways a lot in university last year.The company was very and still is very relevant for any management student especially in the topics of crisis management,re-structuring and re-engineering all in efforts of creating stakeholders wealth and serving the community.

Mr.Titus Naikuni arrived,very composed and with a touch of humor to speak to us on the monthly forum called the “mind speak”. His has not been an easy journey but that of courage,pushing on and having a clear vision of his life since a very young age.

He was born “60-something” years ago in a small village in Kajiado.Where he was born,predominantly maasai tribe,cows and sheep were and still are kings but he was privileged to go to school as his own father was a teacher.They later move around due to the re-shuffling of his father from a school to another but his father had a very huge impact on young Naikuni’s life.He later introduced him to fields of engineering when he quit his job as a teacher and worked as a foreman in a construction company.

He failed his national primary exams twice,and thus,he missed a chance to join high school.His father transferred him to another school in the village and he had to go back to class 7,and luckily he made it to high school after the third attempt.Asked why he failed 2 times,yet he was bright,he explained the importance of being psychologically ready for any task be it an exam or an interview.

While in high school,he visited Magadi soda company and was so interested in working there when he “grew up”. He was advised to study very hard in sciences which he did.After high school and in that transition he worked as an untrained teacher(U.T) but the students used to refer to him as a USELESS TEACHER(U.T).

He later proceeded to Cardinal Otunga high school where there was only one school rule:Use your common sense and he made great friendships including Dr.Martin Oduor who has remained his friend ever since.

Asked about his life in university,Mr.Naikuni replies,”I did everything all of you did in university”. The audience laughed hysterically for reasons well know to them.He graduated in 1979 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.He contemplated on joining the military but swiftly changed his mind for “he could not cope with the many rules”.

True to his dream as a young boy,he later joined Magadi soda as an trainee engineer and 16years later he rose up the ladder to become the Managing director in the same company.Under his leadership,he saw the construction of the Magadi railway that transcends upto Mombasa.That was an absolutely huge project that tested his leadership capabilities.The loan that they took for the construction was actually re payed after 9months while the payback period was  4years.

He would later join the dream team under directives from the former president,H.E Daniel Arap Moi.(Actually I do not know what the dream team is and I will go back to my history books,When I asked Dr.Martin Otieno what it is,he referred me to his book and even told me the outlets to buy from.).Mr.Naikuni was later  sacked for political reasons.

Fast forward,he joined Kenya Airways where he is currently the C.E.O.It has been a bumpy ride but also a learning and successful experience,The airline currently employ 3,998 workers who are loyal to the company and have been part of its growth.

With four children,a supportive wife and a  farm where he lives,Mr Naikuni says he is soon to retire from the airline for his time has come.He has no regrets whatsoever.Having joined it as a very small local airline,KQ now has expanded especially venturing into the west African market which was a major breakthrough.His lowest moment forever remains the plane crash at DOULAH.

LESSONS FROM HIS EXPERIENCES

1.Always maintain integrity.

2.Do not fear anything and do not be afraid to speak what you think and feel.

3.Always be psychologically ready to face a challenge.If this go bad,dust off and move on.

4.Graduates should think out of the Kenyan boundaries for employment.Some African countries are crying for human capital.

5.The future for African airlines is consolidation.

6.Lead from the front.He refused per diem from the organization when he was traveling.He would later introduce a policy of people spending while they are on official duty and later coming to claim money.The has cut KQ’s expenditure by a whooping 70%.

7.Do not wait for people to empower you.Grab it.

8.Feel proud of the company of organization you work for.

9.Always have an impact.He is always happy when he sees a Zambian woman flying to Hongkong to buy merchandise,

then use the proceeds to educate her children.

10.Nothing is impossible.

11.Do not burn bridges.You WILL need them.

Dr.Titus Naikuni does not intend to join politics after he leaves his CEO job.

The session was compounded by humor and the able Moderator Ali Khan kept us engaged.

Indeed it always seems IMPOSSIBLE until it is done.

Wanja Maina is a 22-year-old Management Graduate and comments on topical issues.

 

 

 

 

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Why “ANALOGUE” TVs Should Be left To Die A Natural Death In Kenya.

THAT GIRL WANJA

Yesterday,high court judge,justice Majanja,gave a landmark ruling dismissing the media petition and nodding towards the onset of digital migration.The petition was by the three major media houses in Kenya(NTV, KTN &CITIZEN TV) where they challenged the move to digital migration as unconstitutional as well as demands to have CJ Willie Mutunga constitute a 3 judge bench to give their verdict of digital migration.Later in the evening the major TV stations would switch off their signals in protest towards the ruling.

10 years or so back,Kenyans were queuing in telephone booths to make telephone calls.This was before we bought in the idea of mobile phones.Either way,mobile phones were extremely expensive and so most people could not afford.As the years have gone by,almost 100% of all house holds in Kenya have a mobile phone(s).The telephone booths had to die a natural death,without government forcing people to buy mobile phones.Basically the people saw…

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Why “ANALOGUE” TVs Should Be left To Die A Natural Death In Kenya.

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This is an example of an old TV make.

Yesterday,high court judge,justice Majanja,gave a landmark ruling dismissing the media petition and nodding towards the onset of digital migration.The petition was by the three major media houses in Kenya(NTV, KTN &CITIZEN TV) where they challenged the move to digital migration as unconstitutional as well as demands to have CJ Willie Mutunga constitute a 3 judge bench to give their verdict of digital migration.Later in the evening the major TV stations would switch off their signals in protest towards the ruling.

10 years or so back,Kenyans were queuing in telephone booths to make telephone calls.This was before we bought in the idea of mobile phones.Either way,mobile phones were extremely expensive and so most people could not afford.As the years have gone by,almost 100% of all house holds in Kenya have a mobile phone(s).The telephone booths had to die a natural death,without government forcing people to buy mobile phones.Basically the people saw the need of the mobile phones and decided to buy them.

Another example are the black and white televisions.This televisions narrowed everything and every image to black and white.They are not in the market anymore.Reason being?They could not survive.Their need and demand had passed their expiry date and the people were more appealed by colored televisions.Right now,it is so rare to find a household with a black and white television.Both the telephone booths and the black and white televisions died a NATURAL DEATH.

The most interesting thing about this “forced death” of analogue televisions is the scanty information available.All over suddenly it has become an emergency to own a set box and be “digitalised” .Among my concerns include,the zero information out here.What are set boxes?how do they work?What will change if one installs one?the sensitization on this things is very low.

Ideally most Kenyans get their information from TVs.The media is a trusted watchdog for most households,trusted more than the opposition party.Switching of televisions signal,as a coercion to force people to buy set boxes is both unfair and unconstitutional.It is depriving people their freedom of information.Among the most disenfranchised include people with hearing impairments who purely rely on televisions due to recent introductions of sign language interpreters.

Some households are very poor.Some live below the poverty line and in informal settlements.The last time I checked,food was more basic than buying a set box.

The deadline for world’s digital migration is 17th June 2015.The best way is to have a transition towards the migration.If they deem it very important,then we should be left to “see by our selves” and then migrate.Just like the mobile phones,we purposely choose to own them after seeing their importance .

The other option is for the government to zero-rate the tax for the set boxes,or give them for free in each household.The affordability bit is well taken care of.

The information available in the Digital Kenya,(http://www.digitalkenya.go.ke/)the government website for the process of migration from analogue to digital television broadcasting in Kenya,shows that the prices range from (4,500-10,000) that is ($55-$120).

We live in an interesting country.The citizenry has been frustrated by the government for so long that anything forced on them by the government is resented greatly.This digital migration is already being politicized and who knows,it will give birth to unending court cases.

Personally I do not own a set box.I believe millions in my country do not.This digital migration has been forced and the way it is sold to us,leads to a lot of questions and concerns.Television now will be a reserve of the rich and “haves” just like many other services.
lastly,digital migration is a means to an end.It is a movement from point A to point B.Thus need to have the migration appealing,based on accurate information and sensitization other than through court rulings.

Let Analogue TVs die a natural death.

Feel free to comment.

Wanja Maina comments on topical issues.Her email is wanjamaina00@gmail.com

wanted their case challenging the digital switch to be referred to Chief Justice Willy Mutunga to constitute a three-judge bench. They said the shift from analogue to digital broadcasting was unconstitutional
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000100709&story_title=judge-majanja-rules-digital-migration-to-proceed
wanted their case challenging the digital switch to be referred to Chief Justice Willy Mutunga to constitute a three-judge bench. They said the shift from analogue to digital broadcasting was unconstitutional
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000100709&story_title=judge-majanja-rules-digital-migration-to-proceed
wanted their case challenging the digital switch to be referred to Chief Justice Willy Mutunga to constitute a three-judge bench. They said the shift from analogue to digital broadcasting was unconstitutional
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000100709&story_title=judge-majanja-rules-digital-migration-to-proceed

DETAINED AT 50:THE CURRENT PLIGHT OF THE AMPUTEE FOOTBALLERS IN KENYA

Today Kenya is celebrating 50years since independence from  the British colonialists.While most Kenyans celebrated this day with jubilation,one group of Kenyan sports men has no song to sing.They are held hostage at Kasarani sporsview hotel,10 minutes away from the venue where the president was.The president emphasized that Kenya shall “leave no one behind” in its development effort.

Disabled people in Kenya welcomed the independence celebrations with skepticism and optimism with equal measure.Theirs is a story of struggle and fighting to be visible in a country where they make up-to 15% of the population.But the sports arena has been neglected by successive governments since independence.Most disabled in Kenya have not had a chance to acquire formal education and therefore have joined sports as a way or DE-stigmatizing disability,having an income and also creating their career paths.

This has been a routine that befall them in most cases in tournaments both locally and internationally:No recognition,little promotion and lack of celebrations that befits the pride they have brought to this country.

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The amputee football team standing outside in the rain for they had to check out of the hotel due to unpaid bill

I heard of the plight of the Kenya Amputee footballers earlier today in a local station,as a “roundup” from their mainstream news.The national captain of the team was explaining how they have been held hostage due to unpaid bills and allowances.I arrived there at around 4 oclock only to be met by champions standing in the rain for they had been forced to check out of their hotels and they had nowhere to go.

“I do not know what my and children will say,they are expecting me at home with money for this festivities”,were  the sad words of worried Zacchaeus Kombo who play for the national amputee football team.He was expecting an allowance for his family needs.

Francis Ng’ang’a on the other hand a player in the team was wondering if things would have been the same if theirs was not a disabled team.He said that disabled sports persons are not given equal treatment from the relevant bodies of government.

As I was watching all that was unfolding,the captain mr.Dalmas Otieno advised the players to leave for they had nowhere to sleep.The captain and the federation officials have been held hostage for they committed on behalf of the federation.

With a bill of Kes 3.8million($44,706) on their face and pending allowances the  oofficials are  in a huge fix and the treasurer stated that they have no money at all.

So who was responsible?

The planning of any match was done by the federation.The budget was presented to the Amputee  football federation of Africa who had promised to sponsor the budget.Even so the team had approached the government for support and they gave them a go ahead to camp, train and play.They were taken back and forth when they approached them after the match to clear the bills and pay the players allowances.

Kenya was a host to Ghana,Sierra leone,Nigeria,Angola and Liberia in efforts to qualify for the world cup.Kenya Amputee team qualified for the same amid the challenges they faced through out the season.They did not have fans in the stadium due to lack of publicity and advertisement and efforts to reach government for support were futile.Amid all this tribulations,they managed to qualify for the world cup to be held next year in Mexico.

While it is clear evident that there is little or no support from the government,It is also  clearly show disabled sports persons  are not supported or given morale to play.

The government rarely commits resources to support this sports persons who work day and night to overcome entrenched stereotypes and excel in sports.The media equally does not give them publicity and airtime.

The acting chairman was making frantic calls to an acquaintance requesting for meals as he and officials are not allowed to leave the hotel at all.Looking frazzled,he at one point asked me,”what shall we do now”.

As I left the hotel,they were standing in the rains,trying to reach relevant government official who either ignored their calls or made promises that they could not keep.

The officials have now resulted to ask for donations from well-wishers.They got into an agreement with the hotel and safari com where monetary donations can be sent through M-PESA pay bill NO:850900.

Those suffering now are the players who have not had their allowances.Most of them being hawkers and low income earners,they had relied on the allowance for the two weeks to support themselves and their dependants

#I will be following up on this situation.

#Lets support them on M-PESA pay bill NO:850900.

Wanja Maina is a 22years-old human rights defender.

 

LIBERIAN PRESIDENT H.E ELLEN JOHNSON TALKS ON EMANCIPATION OF AFRICA IN THE EDD.

“The African people have endurance,resilience and the demographic dividend to develop”,were the powerful words of H.E Sirleaf Ellen Johnson,yesterday in the official opening of the European Development Days in Brussels Belgium yesterday.Adorned in a navy blue attire,made of African plaint,her signature headscarf,and most importantly her bold clear and concise  voice,indeed H.E John is a great visionary leader and her name will constantly appear in the current books and in the future narrative of the powerful African continent,as a leader who believed in emancipation of the continent.

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What will the year 2030 look like for the people of our planet and more importantly for the African people?In the year 2000,180 countries and orchestrated how they felt their world should be in a period of 15years.This was in the wake of the new millennium that was welcomed by optimism and skepticism in equal measure by people from different walks of like.In 2002 a committee of experts would sit down ,protract and articulate this future and more importantly come up with quantifiable goals upto the year 2015 which would be famously referred to the MDGs.

While the goals coming to an end in the year 2015 and everyone trying to figure out what the post-2015 era will look like,regions like Africa have to pose and ask  why against the backdrop of such lucrative and powerful framework on paper,the region is still tackling issues at the bottom of the pyramid yet the world is exponentially growing.

“we need to carryout consultations,and come up with an African consensus in regards to the post-2015 framework” was what H.E would later emphasize in her spectacular speech and intelligent choice of words.Africa’s growth remain uneven and we are still fighting Malaria which was eradicated many years ago.Factually Malaria is the no.1 killer of children in sub-saharan Africa.

While we are making amazing steps forward,H.E Sirleaf johnson expounded on the multiplier effect of peace and stability in Africa.Indeed the political climate in most African countries is very fragile and this fragility trickles down to the neighboring countries and this impedes growth significantly.From armed Militia in uganda,To the M23 in Congo.post-poll violence in Kenya,and frequent coups in different part of the continent.It is high time that African states realise that there can be no development without peace.

Economic transformation will also be very instrumental in salvaging Africa from the shackles of unemployment,poverty and inequalities.With high rates of of inflation in different parts of the continent,to negative balance of payments and most of all lack of market for goods and services have rendered people of this wonderful continent into vulnerability.To be fair enough though,the issue of economic transformation is not for Africa alone.There has been huge economic meltdown in Europe and the America’s punctuated by recession and companies going under.

The political will remain the missing link between development and lack of development.Most African countries have ratified different conventions and statutes which are extremely good on paper but without governments renewing their political will to work hard and meet this ratified instruments,we shall continue lamenting come 2030.

Partnerships based on Accountability,mutual benefits and most importantly to a common agenda to be met will indeed be instrumental for our continent.We need to have bold,compelling,realistic outlook on how we engage and work with our historical partners like Europe,America and more recently the East.

The presence of the A.U cannot be ignored.Actually the A.U view Africa as Africa and does not divide this continent into sub-regions like the sub-Saharan Africa.With the A.U in place,which also acts as our symbol of unity,we need to constructively engage,and do intra-African trade and sharing best practices.A.U has since set a task force for us to come up with goals that are national specific for our continent in the wake of the post-2015 discussion.

All in all we are a great people.With a huge “youth bulge” in my continent,I do  believe this is a huge goldmine.In the 1940’s most African countries were at par with the Asian Tigers but its young people choose to work very hard and now we are nowhere close to them.With the right skills and knowledge and most important and enabling environment we the young people shall salvage ourselves from ourselves.we are the young turks who have to work tirelessly for our continent.

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As the EDD enters day 2,today,I look forward to more positive and encouraging narrative of the continent we love so dear.

#Africa is prepared

#leave no one behind

La viva Afrique.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN MY DREAMS I DANCE-AN INCREDIBLE STORY OF ANNE WAFULA STRIKE AGAINST ALL ODDS.

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As a young disabled girl,an activist on human rights ,disability inclusion and most of all an avid reader of African and European literature,always looking for inspiration,I have always noticed that there is a missing link,in terms of autobiographies and literature written by a women with disabilities.There is a huge impact when disability intersects with gender.At that point most certainly,women with disabilities tend to be disenfranchised and dually-discriminated.

In my quest for literature written by women with disabilities then,I came across one Anne Wafula Strike.Born In rural Kenya,but now hailing in the U.K.I was immediately drawn to her,a figure that has campaigned and withstood huge challenges and faced extreme adversity to shine and be a role model to millions of girls with disabilities in the world.

She has documented her life in a 277 paged Autobiography called “In my dreams I Dance”. The book explores her life right from the time she was born to where she is now.An adorable mother and an irreplaceable wife.Some of the themes that come out strongly in her pace-setting auto biography include(but not limited to):

1.African perception towards disability.

Anne acquired her disability at a very tender age of 2.When she acquired polio,none of the family members really knew what it was all about.The family arranged for a witchdoctor called Solomon.He declared that hers was caused by “black magic”.The neighbors shunned them for the considered her family “struck by a curse from God”others thought that she should die completely.Later in her growing up,especially in high school,some students did not like her partly because of her disability and partly because of their ignorance.

2.Adversity.

While adversity is part of life,her life has been compounded by huge adversity.At the age of 9 years,that is in 30th June 1979,she lost her mother who was her care-giver and that was a major blow to this young disabled girls’ life.Not only does she fall into deep grief but she contemplates quitting her school life completely.Anne was also squarely affected by the infamous 1st August 1982 coup that happened in Kenya.she describes the horrendous incidence.She also sadly describes how she was re classified from section T53 to section T54 in her career as a paralympian without a fair hearing.Ironically this and many other tragedies do not put her down.They have constantly made her a strong woman who will live many years to tell her story.

3.Education.

She started her education at Joyland Kisumu,a special institution in Nyanza.She was an outstanding student both in academics and in leadership roles.She later transits in Kereri Girls for her A-levels.The transition does not come easily as she raises it.This is partly due to the socialization in a special institution,to a all girls high school with zero disability friendliness.The WASH facilities are minimally adapted but she copes anyways.She comes out a a friendly person and describes how her friends took turns to carry her to the dormitory. She later gains admition to the prestigious MOI university where she pursues her degree.Her father,been a modest man really believed in education and Anned grows up the same.She raises the importance of education to girl children.

4.Role of a support system

Throughout the book,her father is very evident.A man she stood by this girl amid thick and thins.Up until now he has been on Anne’s neck to do her masters degree as she promised to.Anne’s friends  have been her strongest pillar and she owe’s unto them where she is today.Not forgetting her brothers and sisters who viewed her just as their lovely sister.They adopted some games to fit her in. she states that, “when you have a disability,knowing that you are not defined by it is the sweetest feeling”.

5.Right to family

Like any other woman,a woman with a disability has a  desire to have a family of her own.She met a man who she calls Norman at a party.He approaches her and grinning he asked,”Did you break your leg skiing?”. coldly she replies,”I had polio as a child.Though they had a few uncomfortable minutes,they later chatted more and discovered that just like her,Norman has swum against the tide to achieve his goals.What happened between them is an amazing story of love that was culminated into a great wedding and later a beautiful son.

Lastly………

Anne Wafula has achieved what people said was impossible.She overcame the prejudice rife in her Kenyan village to become an award winning paralympian and went on to be the first East African to compete in her sport at the highest level.Indeed her story resonates the experiences of many persons with disabilities and its caught in first person narration.

Talk to Anne via email on http://annestrike.org/contact.htm and visit her great website too  http://annestrike.org/

Why not get a copy?

This book in a must read for all people.It is easy to understand and will keep you thrilled from cover to cover.

1.Non-kenyans get in Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/In-My-Dreams-I-Dance-ebook/dp/B0047T6Q9Y)

 

2.Kenya-Nairobi,I will hand deliver it myself (0710241891)

3.In other towns in Kenya ,It can be sent via post.

Have a reading day.