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By PHOEBE RUGURU

They usually like to say that when you spare the rod, you spoil the child. If you experienced the full education spectrum in Kenya, without special privilege, there is little doubt that you experienced the rod at some point: because you were late to class; because you got 84% instead of 94% in Maths class; because you were the first in the class but not first in the whole school; because you forgot your textbook and had to share it with your desk-mate.

There seemed to be an endless pool of reasons as to why students were punished in school. And since being legally banned in 2001, though still being practised under the guide of “reasonable punishment”, corporal punishment is under review to be legalised and justified, an ambition headed by the Cabinet Secretary of Education, Professor. George Magoha.

The fact that corporal punishment can be proposed as a tool for advancing Kenya’s education sector is an embarrassingly backward proposition, ignorant, undermining the role of dialogue, and engraving colonial conditions in the minds of young children who need inspiration more than they need punishment.

One of the reasons why CS Magoha has called for the “return of the cane” is because, he claims, that students nowadays have “grown horns”, suggesting that the students of today are undisciplined and unruly. Perhaps his point of reference stems from the student strikes and protests that have been a prominent feature in many schools in Kenya.

However, to conclude that corporal punishment is a solution for lack of stability in some schools reveals another ambition to instil blind and manipulative conformity, an ambition that aims to hinder the ability and freedom for children to question, to challenge and to protest for their own rights.

Children growing to be controlled by the whip, might also be the ones growing up to inflict violence on their fellow citizens. It would be unsurprising, though under-researched, the correlation between corporal punishment and police brutality. It would also be unsurprising that the child who is corporally punished ends up being the one so afraid to stand up to injustice that they can graciously watch violence happen in front of their eyes and not even blink. Corporal punishment breeds a hardened conscience because the young minds are taught to conform, not to be conscious. 

In reviewing corporal punishment, what does it mean when parents also back corporal punishment at home? According to endcorporatepunishment.org, a study revealed that 78% of parents agreed that teachers should use corporal punishment to modify deviant behaviour in pre-primary school.

It therefore becomes even more important for there to be solutions to indiscipline that consider other alternatives such as dialogue, and psychological counselling. Confirming corporal punishment has proven to have terrible, and sometimes fatal, consequences for students.

Only recently, a 12-year-old girl died as a result of blunt force trauma impacted by her teacher after she was allegedly beaten on the head by her teacher when fetching water. Perhaps instead of focusing on ending indiscipline, it is far more important to scrutinise the issues that cause these challenges in the first place, for both the teachers and the students, as well as the parents. What happens if a student is abused at home by their parents, then goes to school where they may struggle in class and are then punished by the teacher, by the whole staffroom?

What if the school is the only place a student can be free from abuse and pain? Corporal punishment is the guarantee that children and students will not be understood in a sector that should prioritise their needs. Corporal punishment reinforces schools as being avenues of punishment, instead of inspiration and refuge.

Many parents with children in primary and boarding schools rarely have consistent and meaningful interactions with their children due to the little time children have to spend at home, or for leisure, following heaps of homework and holiday revisions. As such, many of them can be absent from observing their children’s behaviour and understanding what they lack, and as such, many perhaps surrender this responsibility to teachers.

It is this reason that KNUT (Kenya National Union of Teachers)’s Secretary General Wilson Sossion used to back his renouncing of both boarding schools and corporal punishment, calling for parents to play a more active role in reviewing how they discipline their children.

Corporal punishment as a tool of discipline and order in school is one that is colonial in itself; it is a term that can also be substituted for violence and trauma, a character with rhetoric echoing that of slaves and criminals. Impacting corporal punishment on children therefore seeks to reinforce colonial attitudes of authority and domination, those that suggest the inferiority of the child, strips their individual self-efficacy and shames them into submission.

There are no benefits to corporal punishment, not if they leave traumatic footprints in the minds of young people; not if years after school, these students can close their eyes and see a staffroom of teachers hoarding around them, each with a whip, or a thick stick or a thick hand; each waiting their turn.

By NANGAYI GUYSON

Kampala, Uganda -The Supreme Court in Uganda on Friday gave room Presidential aspirant Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine to withdraw his election petition seeking to overturn the victory of the incumbent President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

A panel of nine Supreme Court Justices led by the magistrate Alfonse Owiny-Dollo follows made a choice in an exceedingly concession from all parties to own the matter withdrawn.
In their brief ruling read by Justice Stella Arach Amoko, the Justices noted that upon careful consideration of the applying, the authorities attached to that and arguments from both parties and after reading the law, the leave to withdraw the petition has been granted.

The decision by Bobi Wine to withdraw the petition cements President Museveni’s January 14 victory allowing him to be sworn as President in May this year for an additional 5 year term.

His lawyers, led by Medard Lubega Sseggona had filed the appliance asking leave to withdraw the petition as a full.

Kyagulanyi pointed out six reasons for withdrawing the petition that are supported with arguments in an affidavit of twenty-two paragraphs. In keeping with Kyagulanyi, his witnesses are being abducted, tortured, harassed, and intimidated by state security operatives at the watch of President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, and Attorney General, the primary and third respondents to the Presidential elections petition respectively.

He also argued that the organs of the state just like the Uganda personnel and National Identification of Registrations of Persons Authority -NIRA, were getting used by the respondents to research and infringe on his privacy and that of his witnesses.

The musician turned politician also alleged that the court had applied the principles governing the Presidential Election Petitions to his disadvantage.

He cited the court’s decision rejecting his application to amending his pleadings.
“The petitioner’s application for extension of your time for filing of additional affidavits was disallowed thus frustrating effective Prosecution of the petition,” reads the appliance.

On February 11th, 2021, a panel of nine Supreme Court Justices led by the magistrate Alfonse Owiny-Dollo granted Kyagulanyi permission to bring additional affidavits not later than that day 2021. But Kyagulanyi, who wanted to create 200 affidavits, did not meet the deadline citing unusual circumstances.

He said the weird circumstances included the actual fact that his lawyers were operating mobile law firms because of insecurity and fear that state operatives may steal the evidence just like the case was during the Amama Mbabazi Presidential Election Petition in 2016. He also argued that state operatives seized their organization offices under the command of Museveni and therefore the Attorney General’s agents, which made it difficult for him to file relevant affidavits and evidence in support of his petition on time.

“The Petitioner lost time during the illegal house detention. But this honorable court is more inclined towards the strict timelines, which has disadvantaged the Petitioner to the disadvantage of the respondents”, reads the appliance partly. In his affidavit supporting the appliance, Kyagulanyi’s says the choice to withdraw the Petition has been influenced by the foregoing factors and not by any corrupt bargain or consideration from the respondents or the other person.

According to Section 20 Subsection 3 of the Presidential Elections Act, “an application for leave to withdraw a petition shall be supported by an affidavit of the Petitioner and his or her advocate, if any stating to the most effective of their knowledge and belief that no agreement or terms or of any kind has or are made or undertaking made in reference to the petition or, if any lawful agreement has been made, stating the terms of the agreement.”


Kyagulanyi’s application is supported by his own affidavit. The identical laws also state that if the petition is withdrawn, the petitioner shall be vulnerable to pay costs to the respondent. The Supreme Court had earlier on scheduled the conferencing for Kyagulanyi’s main Presidential election petition today. It’s unclear whether or not the conference will proceed with the new development.  The rules governing the presidential election petitions allow the court to substitute a petitioner once he loses interest.

Bobi wine’s decision of withdrawing the case has not gone well with many Ugandans. One Saddened Ugandan who never wanted his name to be mentioned reacted like this;
“But let me ask… the questions are many…
If the evidence was really there and if it had been really overwhelming…
Why would gathering and presenting it be so difficult?
Why would that evidence depend upon one person’s movements from Magere?
Why would the web stop working interfere with the overwhelming evidence they claimed to possess gathered?
Why would those lawyers amend anything?
Even after being allowed to submit after the initial deadline?
Why would they then want to feature anything if the evidence had been there and it absolutely was overwhelming?
And then eventually withdraw?


If anybody visited court for any reason and that they had overwhelming evidence, would they really withdraw whether or not they felt unsure about the fairness of the court?
That is on a private level, now what if you were representing innumerable people, and a few even lost their lives or their loved ones on your behalf… would you simply withdraw, because you don’t trust the court, yet you had overwhelming evidence? How disappointing.
Unfortunately, it really seems the evidence was just not there or it had been underwhelming. Basically, the actions of sour losers.


Retired Supreme Court Judge Prof George Kanyeihamba has expressed disappointment with the way National Unity Platform’s Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine and his lawyers managed the election petition resulting in its stalling. According to Kanyeihamba, the lawyers representing Bobi Wine are accountable for causing a stall within the case.

“If the lawyers had not dismissed that the judges were biased and attached to Museveni, how would Bobi Wine know. It’s their incompetence and that they are guilty,” Kanyeihamba said.
Kanyeihamba revealed that he tried to advise the lawyers and Bobi Wine but he was soon shown slight.


“A few days ago, Bobi Wine and his assistant came to the current house and said Prof what can we do. I said I can give evidence of what I saw and might also give my expertise as a constitutional lawyer.
He agreed and said he would include his lawyers and that I check with them. He then promised to bring the petition in addition the subsequent day so we undergo it. They never came.”
Kanyeihamba said that the lawyers are answerable for Bobi Wine’s actions.
“I don't blame Bobi Wine, he's an innocent man. One in every of his lawyers here said Bobi Wine agrees with me on what we must always present forward. Why then did they reject Bobi Wine’s advice that i might prefer to help?” he said.


Stella Nyanzi, a Former Kampala Woman MP aspirant, Ugandan human rights activist, poet, medical anthropologist, feminist, queer rights activist, and scholar of sexuality, birth prevention, and public health and a well-known critic to President Museveni has also attacked the handling of the petition in a very manner which is unfair to several Ugandans.
He shared a photograph of his new bulletproof car, Like a hero with a brand new gift on Christmas. How many other Ugandans need bullet-proof cars. To shield us from stray bullets let out by brutes?”

Reads the stanza to a poem the spit-fire Dr Stella Nyanzi posted on her Facebook wall during the week.
Its sentiments were raw, raising questions on Bobi Wine’s showboating on the tide of his luck to own a bulletproof car in a very potential combat zone. Dr Nyanzi wasn’t through with her Bobi-baiting poetry, however. Her subsequent poem had the hit-or-miss charm of a kikomando breakfast.

For she then posted an erotic poem entitled “withdrawal,” which attempted to sexualise Bobi’s withdrawal of his election petition.

Museveni, Electoral Commission and therefore the Attorney General haven't objected to the withdrawal. However, the trio asked court to condemn Mr Kyagulanyi to costs basing on his behavior including allegedly uttering out falsehoods, attacking the judicial officers, discussing issues before court through the media; and threatening to require his petition through the general public court which they observed as a mockery to the independence of the Judiciary among others.

 

Justin Harding (left) poses with trophy alongside Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya. Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

South Africa's Justin Harding produced a flawless final round of five-under-par 66 at the Kenya Open on Sunday to seal a two-shot victory over Kurt Kitayama and his second European Tour title.

Overnight leader Harding, whose maiden tour win came two years ago at the Qatar Masters, maintained his composure amid a steady challenge from American Kitayama to finish on 21 under par at the Karen Country Club in Nairobi.

"It was hard work. I was happy with the way I played," the 35-year-old Harding, who had three birdies and an eagle on the ninth hole, said.

"I made a mess of 11 and 12 and ultimately the way I played 13 through 18 this week, it was a stressful time. I executed some shots and managed to make a couple of good par saves."

Kitayama made two eagles and two birdies as he threatened to catch Harding by reducing his lead to one shot, but a bogey on the 11th meant he fell short.

Scotland's Connor Syme finished with a 64 to secure third place ahead of Spaniard Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez. ESPN

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan inspects a military parade following her swearing-in as the country’s first female president on March 19, 2021 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. AFP via Getty Images

 

Nicodemus Minde, United States International University

Samia Suluhu Hassan becomes the first female president in Tanzania taking over from President John Magufuli who died on 17 March 2021.

Born in 1960, she hails from Makunduchi, an old town on Unguja island, in Zanzibar. Her father was a teacher and her mother a housewife. After graduating from high school she studied public administration and later obtained a Masters in community economic development.

She began her political career in 2000 when she was elected as a special seat member in the Zanzibar House of Representatives. Special seats are reserved for Tanzanian women leaders under the country’s quota system.

She then served as the minister of gender and children in former Amani Karume’s government. Karume was the president of Zanzibar – an autonomous region of Tanzania – between 2000-2010. Hassan also served as the minister of youth employment, and of tourism in Karume’s cabinet.

Then in 2010, she was elected member of parliament for Makunduchi, sitting in the National Assembly of Tanzania, and was appointed minister of state for union affairs by President Jakaya Kikwete.

Samia Suluhu Hassan: A Profile.

She rose to the national limelight when she was elected to serve as vice chairperson of the Constituent Assembly. The assembly was a body of stakeholders brought together in 2014 by President Kikwete to discuss Tanzania’s proposed new constitution. It was led by Chairperson Samuel Sitta, a former Speaker of the National Assembly.

The Constituent Assembly, which was dominated by the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party was tasked to discuss and debate Tanzania’s draft constitution. Kikwete had initiated a constitutional review process in 2010 with the promise to have a new constitution through a popular process.

A new constitution has yet to be passed, with many in the establishment, including Hassan, preferring to maintain the status quo.

Becoming vice-president

The Chama Cha Mapinduzi presidential nomination of 2015 was a tight contest. After the party’s National Executive Committee votes were counted, three candidates were selected; John Magufuli and two other women – Asha-Rose Migiro, a Tanzanian who had served as the United Nations deputy secretary general, and Amina Salum Ali – a Zanzibari who had served as permanent representative of the African Union to the United States.

In the end, John Magufuli was nominated as a compromise candidate. He was viewed as candidate who could walk the middle line in a party that had been divided by competing interests.

Because there were two female finalists during the nomination process, it was deemed appropriate for Magufuli to nominate a woman as a running mate at a time when the country was already making great strides towards gender inclusion. Five years earlier, in 2010, Anna Makinda had broken barriers by becoming the first female speaker of the National Assembly.

Magufuli went ahead and nominated Samia Suluhu Hassan as his running mate. With Magufuli’s victory in the 2015 general elections, Hassan became the first female vice-president.

As vice-president, Hassan served as the principal assistant to the president. Her role should have been largely ceremonial. But when she assumed office, she represented Magufuli at many international meetings and engagements. These included the East African Community and Southern African Development Community summits.

This was because the late president rarely traveled abroad. As a result she has received immense international exposure, a factor that could influence how she governs going forward. An expected impact of this exposure will be to redress the international isolation Tanzania experienced during the Magufuli administration.

A reconciliatory figure

In November 2017, Hassan visited opposition leader Tundu Lissu in Nairobi Hospital. Lissu had just survived an assassination attempt.

She was the most senior government official who visited him, which is worth mentioning because Lissu had blamed the government for the attempt on his life.

Hassan conveyed Magufuli’s greetings. Her visit was symbolic because it sent a message of goodwill. It was an attempt to bridge the growing antagonism between the government and the opposition. Her candour and grace as she leaned in to speak to Lissu on his hospital bed reminded Tanzanians of the value of humanity and the true spirit of Tanzanian camaraderie.

She has been described as compassionate, rational and calm -– attributes that are a far departure from her previous boss.

Healing and unity

In the six years that Magufuli was president, the country became very polarized and divided.

His handling of the opposition and the COVID-19 pandemic only served to sow more discord among the Tanzanian people. And under Magufuli, Tanzania became increasingly isolated internationally.

Hassan’s international exposure could offer her the kind of worldview that is required to put Tanzania back on the diplomatic map. In her address after being sworn in as president on 19 March 2021, she spoke on the need to bury differences and show solidarity as a nation.

Hassan’s candour and rationality could be vital in moving the country forward. She should move in quickly to change the country’s stance on COVID-19 and reach out to the opposition and other stakeholders so as to build an inclusive national dialogue.The Conversation

Nicodemus Minde, PhD Fellow, United States International University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

By JULIUS MBALUTO

The word darkness is pretty much what it is, just a mere word! However, this word has power when it comes to perception or interpretation and context of where and how it is used.  The most obvious meaning, darkness is the opposite of light, that we know.

When it comes to the connotative meaning, the word darkness gets hideous, demeaning and negative. What do I mean? In religion, Satan is represented as the evil dark force behind all human misery. Clairvoyants tell those whom they are about to con that a ‘dark cloud’ is hanging above their lives and it has to be removed for them to make progress in life.

Let’s now get into deeper imperialist social construction. During the colonial era, Christianity was sold as the best alternative to any other religious practice by the Africans. African traditions were described by the colonialists as a dark rudimentary practise that should be replaced by Christianity. Jesus and angels were white and portrayed as the best while Satan,  Witchdoctors and evil angels were black with Satan drawn as a black man with two horns, a creature part animal and part man at the same time, pretty hideous!

The ‘blackness’ in the definition and derogatory use continues. Mainstream business is defined as trade but when corruption kicks in while doing the same, the meaning changes. Now we talk about ‘markets’ but corruption is involved while doing the same it becomes ‘black market’, the connotation of darkness, blackness hiding the negative meaning therein. When an accident takes place in one place on the same road, it’s called a ‘blackspot’. Why not a red spot, white spot, yellow spot or any other spot?

It was Europeans who branded Africa, a dark continent in 19th Century. The excuse given for this narrative was that the Europeans never knew much about the African continent. So, did they have to call Africa a dark continent because they knew nothing about it or should they have gone ahead and found out what they needed to know that time? The usage of this word at this time was derogatory where the coloniser felt superior to the colonised and the slave master felt superior to the slaves.

Without a doubt, it wasn’t about Africa being a dark continent. It had something to do with the African culture and sub-cultures, the African people as seen by the imperialists.  It has been argued that the myth of a ‘dark continent’ referred to the savagery that Europeans said was endemic to Africa. What is the truth? Talk about savagery and as history has it, colonialism and slavery showcased savagery from those pointing a figure towards Africa. Europeans proved once and for all that they had that quality by the way they treated Africans.

Now that we all agree Africa is not a dark continent, what do people think about Africa? Those who have been to Africa without any preconceived ideas of harvesting the wealth of Africa and insulting the people at the time have different tales. 

Earnest Hemingway once said:

“I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.“

Explaining his feeling towards Africa, Will Smith said:

“It’s really beautiful. It feels like God visits everywhere else, but lives in Africa”

Henry Loius Gates thought Africa was intriguing:

“For as long as I can remember, I have been passionately intrigued by ‘Africa’, by the word itself, by its flora and fauna, its topographical diversity and grandeur; but above all else, by the sheer variety of the colours of its people, from tan and sepia to jet and ebony”.

With 54 countries and over 1 billion people, Africa offers a market a ready market for many multi-national corporates. Africa is rich with resources from Oil, Minerals, Agriculture, Wildlife and Great scenic places and more.

The biggest waterfall in the world is in Africa. Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the original name) meaning the smoke that thunders offer memorable experiences. The great Rift Valley in Kenya and the wild beast migration is an amazing wonder of nature. There is a lot more to offer, these pages are not enough to tell it all.

Unfortunately, the West has exploited Africa since time immemorial. First, it was colonialism, then the creation of an international system which still looks down on Africa. United Nations has only 5 permanent members with veto powers to decide what happens in the rest of the world. None of those countries are from Africa. Former President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe died still urging for reforms within the United Nations. Representation means a lot when important decisions are being made but is anybody listening?

So, from colonialism to neo-colonialism which now is seen more as economic colonisation. Most independent nations in Africa still with pride in their sovereignty had to content with donor community and funders who always dictated to them on what to do. Early 90s, many economies in Africa were messed up by SAPs (Structural Adjustment Programmes) fronted by the Bretton Woods Institutions (IMF and The World Bank).

It came a time when these institutions wielded so much power. Their loans came with preconditions asking African governments to embrace multi-party democracy, do other things without thinking, they were only giving loans which had to be paid back in full. African leaders detested this state- of- affairs but unfortunately did nothing to change the status-quo. Many Presidential candidates over the years came into power having donor community in mind instead of thinking of how to free their countries from this economic colonisation.

Now then, the African leaders discovered China. Unlike the investors and funders from the Western Hemisphere, the Chinese don’t care about African politics, they don’t give preconditions, they make money available without many questions but behind the scenes they know, they will benefit more than even what their loans are worth. They give the loans, they take the contracts which the loans were supposed to do, they even ask to run those investments or projects when completed. China’s success to do projects in Africa now attracts the attention of the West and another scramble for Africa has just started. I’m aware that many countries from Africa benefit from genuine trade and genuine help. Africa is a large continent and cannot exist in isolation. However, Africans need to check again and again what any trade or loans mean to the economies of their countries.

What will be the role of the Africans in this new dispensation? Are we awake enough to see this current trend? Are we able to see what is already happening on the ground? It has come a time when the African people must know that Africa has value and a lot to offer. It has come a time, for African leaders to stand firm, inspire their countrymen to be productive, embrace the narrative of self-reliance, focus on what citizens can offer rather than what loans can offer.

Africa has value which the rest of the world wants. How much are our leaders willing to sell that value? Indeed, the western hemisphere nations, US, China and other nations have realized they need to invest in Africa. China is currently outdoing all other players in this game as Africa remains on focus. Africa is now the continent for the future. However, Africa needs to watch out not to be exploited in the name of investment. Chinks have started showing that it is not all trade or investments that are good for the African people.

 

 

 

 

 

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