Monday, June 1, 2009


Picking up and reading two superb books by two great African women has got to be one of the most nerve wrecking, at the same time exciting and vital decisions I have made in my seemingly long journey toward political and social enlightenment in all things African.President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in her memoirs, along with Wangari Maathai's book on the challenge for Africa, are a definite must read! Without trying to give book reviews here, I will straight away leap into discussing the two systems in Africa, more so in Kenya, that these two books provoked me to think long and hard about.

The economic system in Africa as a whole is hard to pin down since different countries have different policies and different strategies but I believe it is safe to state that mama Africa shares an ultimate goal as far as the economic system, that is, to be able to hold its own and to create a rightful and meaningful place alongside other economic giants in what is rapidly becoming a global economic village. Now, I will be the first to admit that my expertise certainly does not lie in the world of economics but the reason I touch on the economic system is a simple one, one that applies to all systems but in my humble opinion, one that applies to the economic system on a larger scale. The success of a developing nation, any developing nation really, as far as its economic system is first and foremost dependent upon a created partnership between the nation's government and its people! You see, much as we don't really pay any mind to how things work within the system, the farmer's produce, the techniques the farmer uses and the practices he takes up to increase his production has everything to do with the taxes the government will levy from you to provide the infrastructure, education, and investment in agriculture that this farmer needs. My point here is somewhat of an oxymoron really, because it is one that is simple yet complex. Economic systems are reliant on a correlationship between the government and its people, and for this partnership to be successful, as Ellen Sirleaf so eloquently puts it, people must believe their government to be honest, trustworthy, efficient, willing and able to mobilize its resources for the common good of the people. Maybe a thought provoking statement we should all have at the back of our minds and use when the time comes to make that INFORMED decision on who our representatives shall be, come the next election.

The education system is one that I hold near and dear to my heart because for me, this is where it all begins! Having been a product of the 8.4.4 system, well, the 8.4 at least, I will be the first to come out and commend the system on its great and valuable lessons on discipline and diligence. These two gifts really, are more vital and more necessary than many of us kudos 8.4.4 for giving us that much! So why fix what is not broken? Well, how about because discipline and diligence alone are only catalysts to otherwise missing ingredients? Quite frankly, our education system is great compared to others but this is where we fall short...we teach or get taught with the main goal of passing an exam! This is what success of both a teacher/professor and a student is based on. Many retired teachers, for whatever reason, will be the first to admit that this is the pitfall of the Kenyan and African system in general. Critical thinking, analysis and evaluation are not really on the education menu and as a result we have many great minds graduating from higher institutes of learning and having no clue how to apply the vast theoretical knowledge they hold in their more than capable minds.

Being a strong advocate for education, and the right kind of education, I believe that this is a major set back for our country and continent as a whole. Now, I absolutely understand the value there is in statistics, and with every passing year, the numbers show an increase in university graduands in Africa which is terrific right? It seems like the system why fix it? Well, maybe...perhaps fixing it does not necessarily mean its broken, maybe it means that it's in need of improvement! Surely, are we so scared of change that we blindly buy into the notion that the systems are too historically sacrosanct that they cannot be tampered with? Let's just take a moment and think about this. The potential we have within ourselves as Africa, as Kenya...if we could only tweak our systems so that they could favor development, unification, and the ability to negotiate head-to-head with already thriving nations...all this is within our reach! The ability to declare war on our plights of ignorance, poverty and disease is really a capacity issue! Within us lies the potential for change, and it surely will come, if only we as a nation, and as a continent can find the courage within us to push past our fears of the unknown and be honest with ourselves about who we are and then seek to be the best that we possibly can be!
So why fix what is seemingly not broken? Well, maybe because there is ALWAYS room for improvement!


Anonymous said...

you have very good writting skills. would love to read your opinion regarding social ills. in particular morality

Gigee Nyaga said...

Thanks a bunch for your comment. What about morality exactly?

Anonymous said...

mostly it's root cause and what impacts, if any it has had on the society. both positive and negative.