Call for papers for Africa Conference Kisii University, July 30 to August 2, 2014, Kisii, Kenya

First Annual International Interdisciplinary Conference, to be held at Kisii University, July 30 to August 2, 2014, Kisii, Kenya

General conference theme: “Africa and the New World Order”

Conference venue: Kisii University, Main Campus, Kisii Town, Kenya

The rise of China and India as global economic powers has created new development dynamics, synergies and imperatives for Africa. Many African countries are looking for new global partners in order to create and fashion better development opportunities for their people. There is increasing realization that the world is a global village where influences move back and forth in rapid succession between cultures, so that it is often not easy to tell the original from the duplicate. The Kisii University would like to take this opportunity to invite scholars, researchers, academics and students in Africa and elsewhere to submit papers on Africa and the New World Order to bring to the forefront new perspectives that address how Africa has responded to the forces of globalization, especially in the rise of China and India. Organized and hosted by the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) of Kisii University with the support of all faculties at the university, this First Interdisciplinary International Conference will be held between July 30 and August 2, 2014 at the Kisii Main Campus, in Kisii Town, Kenya. Submission of abstracts: Send abstracts of between 250 and 500 words, including full contact details (title, name, address, email-address, and telephone) as well as institutional affiliation by 30th March, 2014 to Prof. Maurice Amutabi at mauriceamutabi@gmail.com or Amutabi@yahoo.com. The deadline for submission of full papers is 30th May, 2014. All papers presented at the conference will be published in edited volumes and journals affiliated to Kisii University after satisfactory peer review process.
The conference will consist of ten colloquia organized along themes:
Colloquium 1: Globalization, social, Economic and Political Changes in Africa
Colloquium 2: Globalization, Agriculture, Commerce, Tourism and Management of Resources in Africa
Colloquium 3: Globalization, Education and Development in Africa
Colloquium 4: Globalization, Constitutionalism and Human Rights
Colloquium 5: Globalization, Engineering, Science and Technology, and Environment in Africa
Colloquium 6: Globalization, Christianity & other Religions in Africa
Colloquium 7: Globalization, Peace and Conflict in Africa
Colloquium 8: Globalization, Library, Information and Communication Technology
Colloquium 9: Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Research in Africa
Colloquium 10: Roundtables, independent panels and association meetings
Registration Fees
Staff and students from Kisii University KShs.5000 KShs.5,000.00
Staff and students from other universities in Kenya KShs.6,000.00
Staff from East African Universities and Organizations KShs.8,500.00
( US $100)
Rest of Africa US$ 150.00
Rest of the World – Europe, America, Asia, etc US$ 200.00
Registration fee payments to: Kisii University (Attn: 1st Annual International Conference)
ALL GENERAL ENQUIRIES TO BE ADDRESSED TO:
Prof. Maurice N. Amutabi, (PhD)
E-mail: mauriceamutabi@gmail.com or amutabi@yahoo.com

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Call for conference papers for International Conference at Kisii University, July 30 to August 2, 2014, Kisii, Kenya

First Annual International Interdisciplinary Conference, to be held at Kisii University, July 30 to August 2, 2014, Kisii, Kenya

General conference theme: “Africa and the New World Order”

Conference venue: Kisii University, Main Campus, Kisii Town, Kenya

The rise of China and India as global economic powers has created new development dynamics, synergies and imperatives for Africa. Many African countries are looking for new global partners in order to create and fashion better development opportunities for their people. There is increasing realization that the world is a global village where influences move back and forth in rapid succession between cultures, so that it is often not easy to tell the original from the duplicate. The Kisii University would like to take this opportunity to invite scholars, researchers, academics and students in Africa and elsewhere to submit papers on Africa and the New World Order to bring to the forefront new perspectives that address how Africa has responded to the forces of globalization, especially in the rise of China and India. Organized and hosted by the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) of Kisii University with the support of all faculties at the university, this First Interdisciplinary International Conference will be held between July 30 and August 2, 2014 at the Kisii Main Campus, in Kisii Town, Kenya. Submission of abstracts: Send abstracts of between 250 and 500 words, including full contact details (title, name, address, email-address, and telephone) as well as institutional affiliation by 30th March, 2014 to Prof. Maurice Amutabi at mauriceamutabi@gmail.com or Amutabi@yahoo.com. The deadline for submission of full papers is 30th May, 2014. All papers presented at the conference will be published in edited volumes and journals affiliated to Kisii University after satisfactory peer review process.
The conference will consist of ten colloquia organized along themes:
Colloquium 1: Globalization, social, Economic and Political Changes in Africa
Colloquium 2: Globalization, Agriculture, Commerce, Tourism and Management of Resources in Africa
Colloquium 3: Globalization, Education and Development in Africa
Colloquium 4: Globalization, Constitutionalism and Human Rights
Colloquium 5: Globalization, Engineering, Science and Technology, and Environment in Africa
Colloquium 6: Globalization, Christianity & other Religions in Africa
Colloquium 7: Globalization, Peace and Conflict in Africa
Colloquium 8: Globalization, Library, Information and Communication Technology
Colloquium 9: Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Research in Africa
Colloquium 10: Roundtables, independent panels and association meetings
Registration Fees
Staff and students from Kisii University KShs.5000 KShs.5,000.00
Staff and students from other universities in Kenya KShs.6,000.00
Staff from East African Universities and Organizations KShs.8,500.00
( US $100)
Rest of Africa US$ 150.00
Rest of the World – Europe, America, Asia, etc US$ 200.00
Registration fee payments to: Kisii University (Attn: 1st Annual International Conference)
ALL GENERAL ENQUIRIES TO BE ADDRESSED TO:
Prof. Maurice N. Amutabi, (PhD)
E-mail: mauriceamutabi@gmail.com or amutabi@yahoo.com

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Why the ICC Cases Against Kenyan Leaders May be Dismissed

The threshold for evidence at the International Criminal Court (ICC) is very high. The evidence must be impeccable and beyond reasonable doubt, without any contradiction. Evidence, especially corroborated evidence that leave no reasonable doubt is required from all witnesses. Observers think that the case against Deputy President William Ruto is hanging on a thin thread, especially after contradictions emerged among witness testimonies and accounts, and admission that some witness accounts were false and inaccurate. The testimony accounts are opening doubts and revealing weaknesses in the prosecution preparations. Eye witness accounts are increasingly being replaced by hearsay. The withdrawal of witnesses makes the likelihood of dismissal of the case on the grounds of lack of evidence more likely. Similarly, the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta may not hold given the fact that many witnesses have withdrawn from giving evidence. It is clear that the Prosecution intended to build its case on the bank records and transactions of the President, which makes this tricky for the court. The case against journalist Joshua Sang was built on innacurate translations of his broadcast transcripts, from Kalenjin to English, without taking care of the Kalenjin idioms, sayings, metaphors, and proverbs, which have no English equivalents.

There are ten grounds on which the cases against President Uhuru Kenyaatta, Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang may be dismissed.

For full article, write to amutabi@yahoo.com

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The Late Prof. W. R Ochieng’ Opondo was a Thinker and Philosopher

The Late Prof. W. R Ochieng’ Opondo was a Thinker and Philosopher

By Maurice N. Amutabi

I have received many calls and messages from friends and colleagues asking me why I did not write anything about the death of Prof. William Robert Ochieng’ Opondo, one of the most famous public intellectuals in Kenya. I first met the late Professor William Robert Ochieng’ in the 1980s, while I was a student at the University of Nairobi. He never taught me but was already famous and one of the distinguished faces of the Kenyatta University College, then a constituent college of the University of Nairobi. I admired his views at seminars, particularly his tendency to disagree with everyone. I had been a great admirer of his column in the Sunday Nation, Ochieng’s View’. His commentaries on topical issues in this column in the 1970s and 1980s influenced and shaped public opinion in ways that few intellectuals have done. I admired his writing style and in many ways has influenced by writing.

Prof. Ochieng’ was a great author, intellectual, thinker and philosopher. He was one of the most prolific writers on the Kenyan intellectual circuit. His books such as Themes in Kenyan History, A Modern History of Kenya, An Economic History of Kenya, The First Word, The Second Word, The Third Word, provide useful signposts into Kenya’s past in ways that are original and creative. He had a great mind and creative in the way he went about his profession as a historian, always using historical facts to inform his commentaries.

Prof. Ochieng’ liked the media. He defended the right of lecturers to write in newspapers, a practice that is often dismissed by scholars who think writing in newspapers is not for intellectuals. He was the master of micro-history in Kenya, penning stories of unknown places such as Yimbo, and remembering defunct little kingdoms such as Kadimo. He also used reminiscences as a historical device better than any professor I have known. His reminiscences about his time in Kenya’s colonial primary schools, growing up in Yimbo, his times at the regimented Alliance High School, exchanges with colleagues in the Senior Common Room at the University of Nairobi, and challenges of Kenya’s past have been well captured and articulated in his articles.

Great minds such as Prof. Ochieng’s are rare. He was a fiery public intellectual who was feared and admired by friends and foe in equal measure. His departure is a great loss to Kenya’s public intellectual debates. He had the knack of igniting public debates on many issues. He was a controversial figure and sometimes rubbed people the wrong. He commented on many issues, and made bold assertions and claims which he was always ready to defend. He was brave and would accuse his colleagues of laziness, for not publishing. He also called for abolition of dowry, among other controversial declarations.

Kenya has lost a great person, because Prof. Ochieng’ was a public intellectual per excellence and had a retinue of converts and followers who strongly believed in all that he said and wrote. I recall the There was something about Prof. Ochieng’ that many scholars admired, his style of writing. He was a good story teller. He knew how to make narratives interesting, how to capture the reader. Many of his scholarly works had witty titles and phrased in interesting phraseologies. Many greatly admired how he deployed and weaved anecdotal facts and issues in his grand and meta- narratives.

Prof. Ochieng’ embraced interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches in the production of knowledge very early and wrote on almost anything, from literature, business, religion to music and from dowry to fishing. This was at a time when few scholars could dare venture outside their disciplines. He was a post modernist and post colonialist in his views, before these theoretical imperatives became commonplace. He hated pigeonholing of subjects and shunned little disciplinary turf wars, and believed that one could write on any subject.

Prof. Ochieng’ was an avid reader and this contributed a lot to his broad understanding of issues. I believe that there was no intellectual article in the daily newspapers that the great professor did not read. He was a great and prolific writer, who produced leading books in historical studies of Kenya. Many students of Kenyan studies read his books. I had a chance to contribute two chapters in books that he edited.

Prof. Ochieng’ was courageous and took on the mighty and powerful without fear or favour. His commentaries in newspapers often attacked uninformed positions of politicians and leaders who were against the poor. He critiqued policies that were anti-poor and stopped short of calling for an uprising to stop some of the ills that afflicted the Kenyan society. He even took on his mentors. In 1994, at a UNESCO a conference in Kericho, Prof. Ochieng surprised all of us when he picked on a paper presented by his mentor. He picked out some inconsistencies and told the senior professor, “This is not what you taught me, Professor.” People were shocked and exchanged knowing glances. There was no other comment on the paper.

When Prof. Ochieng’ moved to Moi University in 1986, Prof. Ochieng was admired as one of the senior professors on campus and made Dean of the School of Arts and Social Sciences. Prof. Ochieng’ knew me when I joined Moi University in 1991. He was social but one needed to be careful what you said to him, because it could easily end up in the media, in his commentaries. Prof. Ochieng’ was vociferous and strong critic of many scholars, which made him to be feared. I was at his receiving end many times, for reasons that were purely intellectual and scholarly, especially in the volatile 1990s and 00s.

In 1992, I was at the receiving end of a scathing remark by Prof. Ochieng’ on my conference paper which I presented at a Kisumu Hotel at a conference on Thirty Years After Mau Mau’ and which was organized by Maseno University. My paper made a connection between the rise of independent churches in Western Kenya, and Mau Mau. Prof. Ochieng’ thought that I was overstretching historical connections. What saved the day for me were the interviews I had done with Luhya men who had taken Mau Mau oaths in central Kenya such as Abednego Mukalo and Harrison Ngota from Ebunangwe, Bunyore and their pictures and those of their homemade guns and copies of Mau Mau songs taught in Karinga schools, translated in Luhya.

In as much as he was a great intellectual, Prof. Ochieng’ had some weaknesses. He sometimes came across as rude and arrogant, and some of his criticisms would sometimes degenerate into personal attacks, such as his exchanges with Ali Mazrui and Taban Lo Liyong. He was intolerant of views of younger scholars, whom he assumed knew little. He did not embrace digital advantages and remained analogue, which may have diluted his contributions. He made some intellectual somersaults. For instance, many admired his liberal ideas, and Marxist and anti-bourgeoisie discourses of the 1970s, but were dismayed when his views became conservative and strongly pro-establishment. He served the Moi regime, as Permanent Secretary which was the clearest indication of his shift. Prof. Ochieng’ will be greatly missed.

Prof. Amutabi is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Students Affairs) at Kisii University. Amutabi@yahoo.com

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Arrogant Ochieng’ cannot hold candle to great writers like Ngugi and Mazrui

I read last week’s Saturday Nation story entitled “Ochieng’ has no regrets working for Moi” and was disappointed that the professor avoided answering most of the questions, choosing instead to embellish his side of the story.

That is vintage William Ochieng’ for you! He will go to great lengths to dismiss everyone apart from himself. While growing up, I enjoyed reading Prof Ochieng’s column in the Sunday Nation and admired his articulation, analyses and interpretation of issues. Although he sometimes came across as arrogant, his arguments were grounded in facts.

Prof Ochieng’ still remains academically arrogant, but facts have long ceased to be part of his forte and academic mantra. He has become more abrasive and assumes that scholarship in Kenya ended with him and those of his generation. There is evidence that he has read some of my commentaries in newspapers, but I doubt if he has read any of my books.

I was astonished to read Prof Ochieng’ tear into Kenya’s two most prominent scholars, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Ali Mazrui, the way he did. I do not regard Ngugi as a tribalist simply because there were more Kikuyu students graduating with Masters degrees in Literature when he was head of the Department of Literature at the University of Nairobi.

They say those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, because Prof Ochieng’ has similarly been accused of presiding over a Luo hegemony when he headed Maseno University in the 1990s. It was said some meetings were conducted in Dholuo when the only non-Luo member of management was absent.

The role of the Mau Mau in the liberation of Kenya cannot be gainsaid and Prof Ochieng’ should not dismiss it as a mere peasant uprising, which he alleges had nothing to do with our independence. He should settle his personal scores with Ngugi without distorting history.

Prof Ali Mazrui is one of the three mega professors from Africa, the others being Wole Soyinka and Ngugi. They are icons and have contributed immensely to African scholarship. I was, therefore, taken aback when I read the unkind words Prof Ochieng’ was hurling at these great scholars.

Do not misunderstand me. Prof Ochieng’ is a good scholar, but his academic prowess cannot compare to Ngugi or Mazrui’s, for while Ochieng’ has remained Kenyan, writing about Yimbo and Kadimo ruothdoms (kingdoms) and Abagusii, Ngugi and Mazrui have engaged in greater questions and discourses such as decolonisation and statecraft in Africa and the wider world.

He may want to know that since he wrote the history of the Abagusii in the 1970s, other scholars have since emerged in Kenya, writing on other interesting subjects and not just migration. They include Maurice Amutabi, Eunice Kamaara, Godwin Murunga. John Mwaruvie, Kenneth Simala, Mary Nyangweso, Kennedy Onkware, Shadrack Nasong’o, Peter Odhiambo Ndege, Anne Nangulu, Adams Oloo, Frank Matanga and Oscar Mwangi.

The fascinating part of the interview is when Prof Ochieng’ was asked: “Prof Maurice Amutabi has projected you as old school, a defender of professors who use yellow notes to lecture since you yourself never mastered the Socratic method of teaching.” His rather shallow and mundane response was terse and dismissive and made no reference to me.

I got numerous calls on Saturday with a lot of my former students telling me how my Socratic style of teaching inspired them, while some friends and former students of Prof Ochieng’ confided in me how I was right about  his lack of mastery of the Socratic method.

While studying at the University of Nairobi, I admired teachers like Prof Mwangi wa Githumo, Prof Korwa Adar, Prof Njuguna Ng’ethe and Dr Katete Orwa, who came to class with only chalk, and sometimes with cards. They had confidence in what they taught and we admired and applauded them.

Reading Prof Ochieng’s comments last Saturday, I was reminded of the time last year when he tore into me, with bare knuckles, for daring to speak about lecturers who read yellow or brown notes to students. In a piece mischievously entitled “Amutabi talks tough, but show us his books” in the Daily Nation, Prof Ochieng’ suggested he has published more books than me, which is inaccurate.

On that occasion, he came out as an unapologetic defender of bad lecturers who shamelessly embarrass those of us who prepare adequately before a lecture.

Many scholars know that Prof Ochieng’ loves nasty and ugly fights, especially in public. Like the vintage Ochieng’, he skipped the important topic of bad teaching, the subject of my article, and moved to a different subject on books, where he mistakenly thought he might have an advantage over me.

For the record, I have published more and better books. If he wants to contest this, our academic peers can be asked to compare our works. I wonder if he considers his little pamphlets titled First Word, Second Word and Third Word that were churned out of his polemical and unsubstantiated articles in the Sunday Nation, as books!

What is more, Prof Ochieng borrowed the titles of these little books from Taban Liyong’s book, The Last Word, which he tried to rubbish, unsuccessfully. This may explain why Liyong was at the receiving end from Prof Ochieng’ last week.

Prof Ochieng’ used some unsavoury words to describe Liyong, including calling him a liar and blaming him for being a refugee in Kenya.

The professor did not come out clean whether he is a user of yellow notes (brown notes) or not. He asked to be shown my books, and said that he would come to Nairobi to see them. Well, Prof Ochieng’ should be advised that in this day and age, my books are just a mouse click away.

He only needs to search for ‘Maurice Amutabi’ on any academic search engine and the books are there, ready for him to order.

To be kind, it may help the old professor to know that I am now in Kisii Town, less than 150km from Maseno, and he is free to come and see my books.

By Maurice N. Amutabi. Prof Amutabi is deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Affairs) at Kisii University. Amutabi@yahoo.com

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Masters and PhD Programmes

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PhD and MA Degrees in Peace and Conflict at Kisii University

Kisii University offers PhD and MA in Peace and Conflict, offered at the Kisii University main campus, Nairobi campus at Ambank House, and Eldoret Campus. The Masters and PhD programmes are done by coursework and thesis. The PhD and Masters programmes are offered on full time, evening and weekend. Application forms are found at the Kisii University website at http://kisiiuniversity.ac.ke/

Please write to the Registrar

THE REGISTRAR, ACADEMIC AFFAIRS
KISII UNIVERISTY
P.O BOX 408-40200
KISII

OR

Send the filled copies via e-mail to

acregistrar@kisiiuniversity.ac.ke

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