Reminder – Deadline March 30 2017 – Call for Papers for the 7th International Interdisciplinary Conference, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya on June 28 to 30, 2017 at Multimedia University of Kenya

Call for Papers for the 7th International Interdisciplinary Conference, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya on June 28 to 30, 2017 at Multimedia University of Kenya

 

General conference theme: “Africa at Development Crossroads”

Conference Venue: Multimedia University of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Sponsors: African Interdisciplinary Studies Association (AISA), Kenya Scholars and Studies Association (KESSA) and AIDAL

After the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and various strategies under NEPAD and various national development plans, Africa is still at development crossroads. Africa has been at the centre of many and sometimes competing and experimental development paradigms, both from within and outside. African countries are not sure if they need to borrow models from the West or East. Democratic revival has created some hope in some African countries. Despite this hope, many African societies are still gripped in gender, patriarchal and regional tensions. Women, youth, children and minority groups have been marginalized in some countries. Paper presenters will be expected to look from within in order to interrogate the success and some of the challenges these development paradigms have faced in light of external influences. Some governments have created inclusive constitutions that incorporate gender mainstreaming. Researchers are expected to critically examine models and approaches presented for development in health, education, tourism, mining, agriculture, water, livestock development, roads, railway and air transport, development of arid and semi arid lands, science and technology, engineering, environment, urban and rural development, vulnerable groups, minorities, women and children. How sound are development plans developed by African governments? In what ways have they been successful? Whose development and in whose interest?  How should development in Africa proceed? Who should be involved in Africa’s development and why? Are Africa’s development partners genuine? What projects should Africa pursue? These are the type of questions that participants are invited to explore.

 

Organized and hosted by African Interdisciplinary Studies Association (AISA), this 7th International Interdisciplinary Conference will be held on June 28 to 30, 2017 at Nairobi, Kenya. The conference will bring together scholars from all over the world to make presentations on matters that touch on Africa. 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 March 30, 2017 to Prof. Maurice N. Amutabi at africanstudiesassociaiton@gmail.com or mauriceamutabi@gmail.com or neddylinnet@gmail.com or Amutabi@yahoo.com or Amutabi@gmail.com

 

The deadline for submission of full papers or PowerPoint presentation is May 30, 2017. Most papers presented at the conference will be selected and published in edited volumes and journals affiliated to African Interdisciplinary Studies Association (AISA). The official language of the conference is English. The conference will consist of ten colloquia organized along themes.

 

Important dates

Deadline for submission of abstracts – March 30, 2017

Deadline for submission of PowerPoint presentation or full papers May 30, 2017

Conference dates – June 28-30, 2017

 

 

 

Colloquium 1: Africa and Sectoral Development

Sub Themes:

  1. Pastoralism, Energy, Water, Agriculture and Development in Africa
  2. Politics and Development in Africa
  3. Health, Diseases, Pandemics and Development
  4. Heritage, Culture and Development
  5. Urban and Rural Development
  6. Gender Dynamics and Women in Africa
  7. Democracy and Governance in Africa
  8. Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood, Kenywood, hip hop, etc
  9. The language question, minorities and marginalizaiton in Africa
  10. Climate change, Poverty, Deprivation and Vulnerability
  11. Peace, Conflict and Security issues
  12. IDPs and Refugee Crisis in Africa
  13. Economic Development in Africa
  14. Civil Society, NGOs and Social Movements in Africa
  15. Abstracts on any other relevant topic are welcome.

 

Colloquium 2: Economics and Management of Resources in Africa

Sub-Themes:

  1. Politics of aid, Economic Models, Development Plans and Development in Africa
  2. Minerals, International Trade, Commerce, e-Commerce and e-Baking
  3. Industry and Manufacturing in Africa
  4. Outsourcing and Africa’s ‘Silicon Valleys’ and ‘Industrial Parks’
  5. European Union, Global Finance and Development
  6. Environment, Climate Change and E-waste Management
  7. Planning and Management of Strategic Natural Resources
  8. Business Management, Human Resource and Entrepreneurship
  9. The Cooperative Movement, Women Groups and Savings Societies in Africa
  10. Media, Transport and Communication in Africa
  11. Regional Blocs, Integration and Regional Trade in Africa
  12. Global Business Management
  13. Tourism development in Africa
  14. corruption, inflation, “White elephants” and collapsing banks in Africa
  15. Abstracts on any other relevant topic are welcome.

 

 

Colloquium 3: Education and Development in Africa

Sub-Themes:

  1. Primary, Secondary, University Education, Research, Science and Development
  2. Open and Distance Learning, e-learning and e-resources in Africa
  3. Curriculum Reforms and New Pedagogies in Higher Education in Africa
  4. Higher Education, Linkages, Partnerships and Publishing
  5. Regional cooperation, linkages, Exchange Programmes and Collaborations
  6. Evaluation, Education Reforms, Research Repositories and Archives
  7. ICT, teleconferencing, webminars, networking and e-Learning
  8. Gender mainstreaming in Education in Africa
  9. Lifelong Learning and Adult Education in Africa
  10. Industry, Technology and Education
  11. Private Education, Early Childhood Education and Special Education
  12. Technical and Vocational Education in Africa
  13. Education for All, Poverty Prevention and Alleviation and Marginalization
  14. Abstracts on any other relevant topic are welcome

 

Colloquium 4: Judiciary, Constitutionalism and Human Rights

Sub-Themes:

  1. Judicial Reforms and Human Rights in Africa
  2. International Trade and New Maritime Laws
  3. Indigenous, Local, National and Global Legal Systems
  4. Cohesion and Integration Issues
  5. New Constitutional reforms
  6. The role of women and minorities in legal issues
  7. ICT and Law
  8. Gender, Environment and Alternative Legal Systems in Africa
  9. Environmental Law and Conservation
  10. Alternative Dispute Resolution in Africa
  11. Global Legal Education
  12. Land, Environment, Civic and Citizen Education
  13. Special Courts and Small Claims Courts
  14. Global Recruitment Firms in Africa
  15. Illegal and Forced Migration
  16. Treaties, Accords and Agreements
  17. Abstracts on any other relevant topic are welcome

 

Colloquium 5: Engineering, Science and Technology in Africa

Sub-Themes:

  1. Engineering and Training in Science and Technology
  2. Science, Technology and Development
  3. Agriculture, livestock and fisheries
  4. Science and Natural Resource Management
  5. Patents, Trademarks, Technology and Innovation
  6. Industry and University Collaboration
  7. Research and Development (R&D)
  8. Industrial Parks and Innovation Villages
  9. Innovation, Science, Technology and Environment
  10. ICT, Science and Technology
  11. Science, Technology and Gender
  12. Science, Children and Youth
  13. Health, Medicine HIV and AIDS
  14. Health Tourism and Foreign Aid
  15. Abstracts on any other relevant topic are welcome

 

Colloquium 6: Religion, NGOs and non-State Agencies in Development in Africa

Sub-Themes:

  1. Radicalization, Islam and Christianity in Africa
  2. Radical Religious Groups in Africa
  3. Media and the Church in Africa
  4. Ethics and Development in Africa
  5. Theology and Development in Africa
  6. Faith-Based NGOs
  7. Religious Institutions and Development
  8. Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and global peace and security
  9. Global Mega Evangelists
  10. Religion and Environmental Issues
  11. Religion, Gender and Women in Africa
  12. Abstracts on any other relevant topic are welcome

 

Colloquium 7: Security, Peace and Conflict in Africa

Sub-Themes:

  1. Africa Security Architecture
  2. Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and global peace and security
  3. Conflict, Rebel activities, War and Violence in Africa
  4. The UN, African Union, Gender and Human Rights
  5. Peace and Security in the Great Lakes Region
  6. Conflict Management
  7. War and Refugees in Africa
  8. Ethical Issues in Development
  9. Democracy, Leadership and Governance in Africa
  10. Dictatorship, term limits and Corruption in Africa
  11. Regional Bodies and peace in Africa
  12. Displacement, Refugees and International Affairs
  13. Failed and near-failed states in Africa
  14. Abstracts on any other relevant topic are welcome

 

Colloquium 8: Library, Information and Communication Technology

Sub-Themes:

  1. a) Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Africa
  2. b) The nature and state of ICT in Africa
  3. c) Mobile Libraries, Dissemination and publishing
  4. d) Library resources in Africa
  5. e) E-Library/Virtual library
  6. f) E- books/E-Journals
  7. g) Internet Research and online publishing
  8. h) Communication and Journalism
  9. i) Language, Radio and TV stations in Africa
  10. Gender and ICT in Africa
  11. ICT and environment in Africa
  12. Business innovations in ICT – m-pesa, m-kopa, etc
  13. Oral literature and oral narratives and texts
  14. Abstracts on any other relevant topic are welcome

 

Colloquium 9: Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Research in Africa

Sub-Themes:

  1. Challenges of invention of states and ethnic groups in Africa
  2. Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Development in Africa
  3. Gender, Women and Development in Africa
  4. Corporate Social Responsibility
  5. Aid and Sectoral Development
  6. New Paradigms of Development
  7. Minority Groups and Tensions
  8. Interdisciplinary Research and Development
  9. Public Policy and Ecology
  10. Entrepreneurship and Development
  11. Minorities and Development
  12. Integrated Rural Urban Development
  13. Funding Interdisciplinary Research and Development
  14. Social, Economic and Political Research
  15. Research Regimes
  16. Opinion polls, surveys and mapping in Africa
  17. Abstracts on any other relevant topic are welcome

 

Colloquium 10: Roundtables, independent panels and association meetings

Sub-Themes:

  1. Open for any panels or roundtables or association meetings
  2. Any relevant topic

 

Registration Fees:

  1. Staff from East African Universities and Organizations US$ 60 (KES 6,000)
  2. Rest of Africa US$ 150
  3. Rest of the World – Europe, North America, Asia, etc US$ 200
  4. Exhibition and advertising stand – US$ 200

 

Registration fee payments to: African Interdisciplinary Studies Association (AISA), Nairobi, Kenya

ALL GENERAL ENQUIRIES TO BE ADDRESSED TO:

Prof. Maurice N. Amutabi, Convenor and Chair

African Interdisciplinary Studies Association (AISA), Nairobi, Kenya

P.O. Box 13447-00400,

Nairobi, Kenya

E-mail: africanstudiesassociaiton@gmail.com or mauriceamutabi@gmail.com or neddylinnet@gmail.com or Amutabi@yahoo.com or Amutabi@gmail.com

 

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Leasing BVR kits and election materials the easiest way forward for IEBC

Leasing BVR kits and election materials the easiest way forward for IEBC

 By Maurice N. Amutabi

 The 2.5 billion shillings that has been allocated by the Government to secure electronic voting kits for IEBC has turned out to be the main attraction for brokers and suppliers more than the actual job the equipment needs to perform. IEBC officials appear to be under siege, from left, right and centre. It has become patently clear that interests, tender brokers, power barons, economic Mafiosi, activists, court battles and political rivalry will not allow IEBC to run credible elections unless it acts fast and swiftly, outside of these groups. IEBC has to do something different from what we have seen during every election cycle when equipment is secured late due to jostling for tenders by the country’s financial Mafiosi.

By now I am sure IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati and his team are aware that time has run out on them on the tender issues. Tendering for new equipment is now almost out of the question if timelines and schedules are to be followed by IEBC and if elections are to be conducted on August 8 2017. The court battles have just started and brokers have their antennas raised up and will rush to court as soon they learn that their person has been left out of the IEBC lucrative tenders. The only possibility for IEBC is to engage in bilateral negotiations with countries which have just conducted elections using digital and electronic system and lease their equipment for six months, and return it after elections. Only in this way will IEBC lock out the brokers who are salivating for tenders.

The problem of IEBC has been compounded by the request by Jubilee and other parties to assist it conduct their primaries. IEBC lacks capacity to conduct primaries for parties. IEBC is struggling to put things in order for the general election and can only conduct elections for parties by outsourcing the task to election consultancies and experts.  A December 2016 status report on Kenya’s 2017 elections by the Centre for Democracy, Research and Development (CEDRED) identified three possibilities for IEBC if it has to succeed in conducting successful elections in 2017.

The first possibility was probable if IEBC secured election equipment by January 2017 to allow for adequate training and mastering of the equipment, as well as movement to constituencies for testing. The second scenario was to lease equipment by February from a country where elections were conducted electronically and train IEBC officials on how to handle during election, giving enough time for mock runs and reruns and testing data backup. The third alternative was that if by March no equipment had been sourced, IEBC should lease equipment and some technical staff from a another country where electronic equipment has been used and through a bi-partisan proposal present it to Parliamentary Committee on elections for approval. This would avoid the wrangles over tenders. Where we are  now, five months before elections, it is this third scenario that obtains now for IEBC.

There are five countries (Canada, India, South Africa, Ghana and Israel) which have secure and tested BVR kids and election materials that can be leased by the IEBC for six months to ensure that it conducts credible and transparent elections. The five countries are friendly and would be willing to give the equipment under negotiated plans in order for IEBC to conduct successful elections in Kenya on August 8, 2017. CEDRED has established that if it borrowed from India, Kenya will need equipment from only one state in India such as Punjab and will need just three weeks to move the equipment from Mumbai to Mombasa and another one week to distribute to all constituencies. It will need about 47 technicians from India, one in each county to ensure training of staff and provide direction and avoid equipment tampering.

CEDRED established that equipment from Punjab alone would be enough because it has 23,000 BVR kits and Kenya needs about 19,000, plus backup or spare equipment in case of replacements. Kenya would therefore require maximum of 20,000 kits. When the rates are clear like this, it worries brokers and bribe takers. The problem to them is that there will be no bribery or kickbacks for this arrangement because the rate of hiring BVR equipment from India is known, because they are often hired out to institutions such as universities and cooperatives to conduct elections.  Kenya will hire them under the same terms.

Kenya will need about 20 containers to ship equipment to Mombasa, with each container taking about 1,000 kits. To ship a container from Mumbai to Mombasa will cost about US$1,000 (about 100,000 shillings) each. This will translate to about 2 million shillings. There will be no duty or clearance fee charged at the port because this will be government to government arrangement.

India has rates for personnel per day, when travelling abroad so it will be very hard for official to inflate the figures as is often the case. Each BVR kit and supporting balloting equipment is hired for 50 rupees per day (about 100 shillings). This would translate to 100 shillings X 6 months (6X30 days) = 18,000. Since Kenya needs about 20,000 gadgets, this will be 18,000 X 20,000 = 360,000,000. This amount falls far below the 2.5 billion allocated for equipment by the government.

The technical team from India will be paid their international rate of allowances which is US50 (5000 Kenya shillings) per day. This would translate to 5000 shillings X 47 officials X 180 days) = 42,300,000. The total expenditure on this will be 402,300,000. The other major expense will be transportation of the equipment from the port to the polling stations. One may need about 47 vehicles, one for each county, hired at 200,000 each, because they will move between constituency offices. For a County like Nairobi this may be done in one day, but for counties like Marsabit, Turkana, Tana River and Mandera, it may require few days to reach each constituency. This will cost only 9,400,000. The IEBC can use NYS trucks or private transport.

Some countries such as Turkey ad Botswana have leased election equipment from India before and it may be our best bet at this time. Leasing equipment from Canada may cost slightly higher compared to India. South Africa, Ghana and Israel will also be slightly higher than India. Ghana and Israel have slightly small populations and may not have adequate number of kits for the entire electrical process in the country and may meaning additional kits from a second country.

Many Kenyans are hoping that the IEBC chair Mr. Wafula Chebukati will demonstrate that he can act outside interests and lease equipment instead of being manipulated by tender interests. If he goes ahead and leases equipment, he would have succeeded in taking the political and economic Mafiosi from IEBC headquarters, forever. Many Kenyans will support an open, transparent and fair election process regardless of where the equipment comes from.

Prof. Amutabi is the Vice Chancellor of Lukenya University, Kenya and Professor of History and Fulbright Scholar, Amutabi@gmail.com

 

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Universities and counties should not bear tribal names – lessons from US and Nigeria

Universities and counties should not bear tribal names – lessons from US and Nigeria

By Maurice N Amutabi

Universities are public entities and should never bear the name of an ethnic group. Similarly, counties belong to all Kenyans according to Kenya’s constitution and should therefore not bear the name of any single ethnic group, given that no county in Kenya is inhabited by a single ethnicity. All counties in Kenya are inhabited by many ethnic groups although there are those with one or two dominant ethnic groups.  There are many counties in Kenya that bear ethnic names – Kisii, Nandi, Meru, Embu, Taita-Taveta, Turkana, Tharaka-Nithi, Elgeyo-Marakwet, West Pokot and Samburu – that need to be changed.

 

Naming counties after some ethnic groups goes against Kenya’s national constitution which states that all Kenyans are equal and can inhabit any part of the country. If Kenyans are equal then all ethnic groups should not have their names on any county because it isolates others. Why are some ethnic groups allowed to name their counties by their tribes while others are denied the privilege?  This amounts to discrimination based on ethnicity and against the Bill of Rights in our constitution. It is wrong for example to have a county called Samburu when there are other people such as Turkana, Rendile, Borana, Meru and Kikuyu living in that county apart from the Samburu people.

 

Names are very important and people would do anything to retain a name they like. I recall sometimes back when former President Daniel Moi ordered change of names for all sports clubs bearing ethnic names following constant fighting between supporters of Abaluhya Football Club (AFC) and those of Gor Mahia. The leaders of AFC came up with a new name, All Footballers Club (AFC) Leopards in order to retain the initials AFC. Gor Mahia leaders also came up with Golf Olympic Rangers (GOR) in order to retain GOR as the name of their club.

 

We need to rethink the whole notion of naming, because a name is very important. There have been indications that members of ethnic groups whose name counties bear have a sense of entitlement for positions in the county compared to counties where names are neutral and have no ethnic markers. The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) under chairman Hon. Francis Ole Kaparo should act immediately to order the name changes on our counties with immediate effect. NCIC has capable commissioners such as Prof. Gitile Naituli and Dr. Joseph Wamocha Nasongo who understand the implications of naming and should make sure they change these names. The same should be done for Universities which bear ethnic names for they violate the constitution on bill of rights and need to build an inclusive society. The best would be naming the counties after dominant towns in the counties and which names should not be tribal. Kisii County could be called Manga after Manga Hill, or Suneka or Ogembo or Gesusu or Mosocho or Keumbu County.

 

Taita-Taveta County could be called Wundanyi or Voi or Mwatate County. Turkana could be called Lodwar, Lokichar, Kalokol or Kainuk County. Elgeyo-Marakwet could be called Iten or Tot or Kapsowar County. West Pokot could be called Kapenguria County and Samburu could be called Maralal County.  Change of names will make them neutral places for all Kenyans to settle and not monopoly of some ethnic groups.

 

Nandi County could be called Kapsabet County, or Lelmokwo, or Chepsonoi or Kaiboi, or any other town in the county. Meru County could be called Nkubu County or Ikuu or Kenyakine County. Embu County could be called Runyenjes, Manyatta, Kigari or some other famous market or hill or river in the county. Did we run short of names so as to begin calling counties and universities ethnic names? It is worse for universities which are supposed to universal or global and yet they are associated with some narrow ethnic interests thereby demanding that Vice Chancellors come from the ethnic group for which the university is named after.  Kenya has progressive Cabinet Secretary for Education, Science and Technology who is likely to order for name changes immediately.

 

I was recently in South Africa and met many prominent scholars who kept asking me what we in Kenya were doing to honour great Kenyan scholars such as the late Prof. Ali Mazrui and late Prof. Thomas Odhiambo, yet we continue churning universities with community and ethnic names. Prof. Ali Mazrui was a mega-scholar, a distinguished professor in social sciences, while Prof. Thomas Odhiambo was the founder of the world famous International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE at Duduville, Kasarani and ICIPE Field Station at Mbita Point and founder of African Academy of Sciences. They wondered why Universities are being given ethnic names when there is a long list of scholars who could be named after them.

 

There are many universities in Kenya that have ethnic names such as Kisii University, Meru University of Science and Technology, University of Embu, Taita-Taveta University, Chuka University, Maasai Mara University, among others which should be changed. Kisii University could be named after independent hero Otenyo Nyamaterere or Chief Nyanduse or George Moseti Anyona or Andrew Omanga or Zachary Onyonka University or Wilkista Onsando or Nyachae University or a national hero from another part of the country such as Paul Ngei, Robert Matano or Fundi Konde. Meru University could be named Captain Judy Angaine University or Jackson Harvester Angaine University or Prof. J. N. K Mugambi University or a hero from another part of Kenya such as Achieng Oneko or Kungu Karumba.

 

Embu University could be named Jeremiah Nyagah University or Cecily Mbarire University or Prof. Mwaniki University or Prof. John Mwaruvie University or a hero from another part of Kenya such as Julia Ojiambo or Phoebe Asiyo. Taita-Taveta could be named Eliud Mwamunga University or Naomi Shaban University or Mashengu wa Mwachofi University or another hero or heroine such as Prof. Jonathan Ngeno or Oloo Aringo or Daniel Otiende or Martin Shikuku. Chuka University could be named after any of the leading lights born and raised in the county, preferably a woman given that most of our streets and national institutions already have male names.

 

Maasai Mara University could be named Joseph Murumbi University or John Keen University or William Ole Ntimama University or John Konchellah University or Stanley Shapashina Oloitiptip University or Damaris Parsitau University in honour of one of the first Maasai women to receive a PhD or Kajiado East MP, Peris Pesi Tobiko the first Maasai female MP.

 

Kenya already has some universities named after distinguished Kenyans such as Jomo Kenyatta (two universities), Adonija Obadiah Jaramogi Oginga Odinga (one university), Daniel Toroitich arap Moi (two universities), Tom Joseph Mboya (one university and one college), Pius Masinde Muliro (one university), Dedan Kimathi (one university), Koitalel arap Samoei (one university college), Mama Ngina Kenyatta (the new Mama Ngina Kenyatta University College in Kiambu), among others.

 

Many gender scholars concur that it would be great to have some of the universities named after great female heroines such as Mekatilili wa Menza (most famous female resistance heroine), Grace Onyango, (the first female MP in Kenya), Nyiva Mwedwa, (Kenya’s first female cabinet Minister), Grace Ogot (first female assistant minister), Prof. Florida Karani, (first female Deputy Vice Chancellor of a public University in Kenya), Field Marshal Muthoni (the Mau Mau heroine), Lena Moi (Kenya’s second first lady), Lucy Kibaki (Kenya’s third first lady),  Margaret Kenyatta (Kenya’s fourth first lady), Wangari Maathai (Kenya’s first female professor), Charity Kaluki Ngilu (Kenya’s first female presidential candidate), Tecla Lorupe (Kenya’s most famous female athlete), etc

 

The list of heroes and heroines in need of honouring can be long and may include people like Bildad Kaggia, J. M. Kariuki, Joe Kadenge (Kenya’s football legend), Kipchoge Keino (Kenya’s athletic legend), Orie Rogo-Mandulli, General J. K. Mulinge, Tabitha Sei, musician Ochieng Kabaselleh, musician Daudi Kabaka, Prof. B. A. Ogot, Prof. William R. Ochieng’, Prof. Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ambassador Prof. David Kikaya, Prof. Miriam Were and Prof. Judith Mbula Bahemuka.

 

In the US, the first lesson at state building was to ensure that no state or public institution bore an ethnic name. It was acceptable to name states after individuals given the roles they had played in setting them up. This has ensured that the states remain accessible to all ethnic groups. There were attempts by Irish and German immigrants to name states after their European ethnic identities but this was strongly resisted. In the UK, naming regions after the four ethnic groups – English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh – has created some of the worst nationalist uprisings and xenophobia, in which thousands have been killed. But United Kingdom leant early that universities should not bear ethnic names.

 

In Africa, Nigeria faced the worst form of ethnic violence and war based on ethnicity, and leant its lessons and no university today bears an ethnic name in Nigeria. After Biafra civil war, Nigerians agreed that states and universities should never bear ethnic names. It is perhaps one of the leading countries in the world where universities are named after individuals such as Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Namdi Azikiwe was the first president of Nigeria, from Igbo ethnic group), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (Tafawa was the first Prime Minister of Nigeria, from Hausa-Fulani), Chief Obafemi Awolowo University (Awolowo was the first leader of opposition in Nigeria, from Yoruba ethnic group), Adekunle Ajasin University, Afe Babalola University, Ahmadu Bello University, Afe Babalola University, Ajayi Crowther University, Akungba Akoko University, among others.

 

Kenya can borrow from Nigeria (not many countries borrow anything from Nigeria) and de-ethnicise names of counties and universities. This will cultivate a national and positive energy in the country that will promote our counties and universities into global giants. Universities should not be symbols of ethnicity where locals gather for small talk, local gossip and discussion of mundane things such as circumcision, payment of dowry, installation of clan elders, lists of witches, weddings and funeral and burial plans. It is not surprising that universities bearing ethnic names are headed by Vice Chancellors from those communities, which is rather unfortunate.

 

Prof. Amutabi is the Vice Chancellor of Lukenya University, Kenya and Professor of History and Fulbright Scholar, Amutabi@gmail.com

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Universities and counties should not bear tribal names – lessons from US and Nigeria

Universities and counties should not bear tribal names – lessons from US and Nigeria

By Maurice N Amutabi

Universities are public entities and should never bear the name of an ethnic group. Similarly, counties belong to all Kenyans according to Kenya’s constitution and should therefore not bear the name of any single ethnic group, given that no county in Kenya is inhabited by a single ethnicity. All counties in Kenya are inhabited by many ethnic groups although there are those with one or two dominant ethnic groups.  There are many counties in Kenya that bear ethnic names – Kisii, Nandi, Meru, Embu, Taita-Taveta, Turkana, Tharaka-Nithi, Elgeyo-Marakwet, West Pokot and Samburu – that need to be changed.

Naming counties after some ethnic groups goes against Kenya’s national constitution which states that all Kenyans are equal and can inhabit any part of the country. If Kenyans are equal then all ethnic groups should not have their names on any county because it isolates others. Why are some ethnic groups allowed to name their counties by their tribes while others are denied the privilege?  This amounts to discrimination based on ethnicity and against the Bill of Rights in our constitution. It is wrong for example to have a county called Samburu when there are other people such as Turkana, Rendile, Borana, Meru and Kikuyu living in that county apart from the Samburu people.

Names are very important and people would do anything to retain a name they like. I recall sometimes back when former President Daniel Moi ordered change of names for all sports clubs bearing ethnic names following constant fighting between supporters of Abaluhya Football Club (AFC) and those of Gor Mahia. The leaders of AFC came up with a new name, All Footballers Club (AFC) Leopards in order to retain the initials AFC. Gor Mahia leaders also came up with Golf Olympic Rangers (GOR) in order to retain GOR as the name of their club.

We need to rethink the whole notion of naming, because a name is very important. There have been indications that members of ethnic groups whose name counties bear have a sense of entitlement for positions in the county compared to counties where names are neutral and have no ethnic markers. The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) under chairman Hon. Francis Ole Kaparo should act immediately to order the name changes on our counties with immediate effect. NCIC has capable commissioners such as Prof. Gitile Naituli and Dr. Joseph Wamocha Nasongo who understand the implications of naming and should make sure they change these names. The same should be done for Universities which bear ethnic names for they violate the constitution on bill of rights and need to build an inclusive society. The best would be naming the counties after dominant towns in the counties and which names should not be tribal. Kisii County could be called Manga after Manga Hill, or Suneka or Ogembo or Gesusu or Mosocho or Keumbu County.

Taita-Taveta County could be called Wundanyi or Voi or Mwatate County. Turkana could be called Lodwar, Lokichar, Kalokol or Kainuk County. Elgeyo-Marakwet could be called Iten or Tot or Kapsowar County. West Pokot could be called Kapenguria County and Samburu could be called Maralal County.  Change of names will make them neutral places for all Kenyans to settle and not monopoly of some ethnic groups.

Nandi County could be called Kapsabet County, or Lelmokwo, or Chepsonoi or Kaiboi, or any other town in the county. Meru County could be called Nkubu County or Ikuu or Kenyakine County. Embu County could be called Runyenjes, Manyatta, Kigari or some other famous market or hill or river in the county. Did we run short of names so as to begin calling counties and universities ethnic names? It is worse for universities which are supposed to universal or global and yet they are associated with some narrow ethnic interests thereby demanding that Vice Chancellors come from the ethnic group for which the university is named after.  Kenya has progressive Cabinet Secretary for Education, Science and Technology who is likely to order for name changes immediately.

I was recently in South Africa and met many prominent scholars who kept asking me what we in Kenya were doing to honour great Kenyan scholars such as the late Prof. Ali Mazrui and late Prof. Thomas Odhiambo, yet we continue churning universities with community and ethnic names. Prof. Ali Mazrui was a mega-scholar, a distinguished professor in social sciences, while Prof. Thomas Odhiambo was the founder of the world famous International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE at Duduville, Kasarani and ICIPE Field Station at Mbita Point and founder of African Academy of Sciences. They wondered why Universities are being given ethnic names when there is a long list of scholars who could be named after them.

There are many universities in Kenya that have ethnic names such as Kisii University, Meru University of Science and Technology, University of Embu, Taita-Taveta University, Chuka University, Maasai Mara University, among others which should be changed. Kisii University could be named after independent hero Otenyo Nyamaterere or Chief Nyanduse or George Moseti Anyona or Andrew Omanga or Zachary Onyonka University or Wilkista Onsando or Nyachae University or a national hero from another part of the country such as Paul Ngei, Robert Matano or Fundi Konde. Meru University could be named Captain Judy Angaine University or Jackson Harvester Angaine University or Prof. J. N. K Mugambi University or a hero from another part of Kenya such as Achieng Oneko or Kungu Karumba.

Embu University could be named Jeremiah Nyagah University or Cecily Mbarire University or Prof. Mwaniki University or Prof. John Mwaruvie University or a hero from another part of Kenya such as Julia Ojiambo or Phoebe Asiyo. Taita-Taveta could be named Eliud Mwamunga University or Naomi Shaban University or Mashengu wa Mwachofi University or another hero or heroine such as Prof. Jonathan Ngeno or Oloo Aringo or Daniel Otiende or Martin Shikuku. Chuka University could be named after any of the leading lights born and raised in the county, preferably a woman given that most of our streets and national institutions already have male names.

Maasai Mara University could be named Joseph Murumbi University or John Keen University or William Ole Ntimama University or John Konchellah University or Stanley Shapashina Oloitiptip University or Damaris Parsitau University in honour of one of the first Maasai women to receive a PhD or Kajiado East MP, Peris Pesi Tobiko the first Maasai female MP.

Kenya already has some universities named after distinguished Kenyans such as Jomo Kenyatta (two universities), Adonija Obadiah Jaramogi Oginga Odinga (one university), Daniel Toroitich arap Moi (two universities), Tom Joseph Mboya (one university and one college), Pius Masinde Muliro (one university), Dedan Kimathi (one university), Koitalel arap Samoei (one university college), Mama Ngina Kenyatta (the new Mama Ngina Kenyatta University College in Kiambu), among others.

Many gender scholars concur that it would be great to have some of the universities named after great female heroines such as Mekatilili wa Menza (most famous female resistance heroine), Grace Onyango, (the first female MP in Kenya), Nyiva Mwedwa, (Kenya’s first female cabinet Minister), Grace Ogot (first female assistant minister), Prof. Florida Karani, (first female Deputy Vice Chancellor of a public University in Kenya), Field Marshal Muthoni (the Mau Mau heroine), Lena Moi (Kenya’s second first lady), Lucy Kibaki (Kenya’s third first lady),  Margaret Kenyatta (Kenya’s fourth first lady), Wangari Maathai (Kenya’s first female professor), Charity Kaluki Ngilu (Kenya’s first female presidential candidate), Tecla Lorupe (Kenya’s most famous female athlete), etc

The list of heroes and heroines in need of honouring can be long and may include people like Bildad Kaggia, J. M. Kariuki, Joe Kadenge (Kenya’s football legend), Kipchoge Keino (Kenya’s athletic legend), Orie Rogo-Mandulli, General J. K. Mulinge, Tabitha Sei, musician Ochieng Kabaselleh, musician Daudi Kabaka, Prof. B. A. Ogot, Prof. William R. Ochieng’, Prof. Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ambassador Prof. David Kikaya, Prof. Miriam Were and Prof. Judith Mbula Bahemuka.

In the US, the first lesson at state building was to ensure that no state or public institution bore an ethnic name. It was acceptable to name states after individuals given the roles they had played in setting them up. This has ensured that the states remain accessible to all ethnic groups. There were attempts by Irish and German immigrants to name states after their European ethnic identities but this was strongly resisted. In the UK, naming regions after the four ethnic groups – English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh – has created some of the worst nationalist uprisings and xenophobia, in which thousands have been killed. But United Kingdom leant early that universities should not bear ethnic names.

In Africa, Nigeria faced the worst form of ethnic violence and war based on ethnicity, and leant its lessons and no university today bears an ethnic name in Nigeria. After Biafra civil war, Nigerians agreed that states and universities should never bear ethnic names. It is perhaps one of the leading countries in the world where universities are named after individuals such as Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Namdi Azikiwe was the first president of Nigeria, from Igbo ethnic group), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (Tafawa was the first Prime Minister of Nigeria, from Hausa-Fulani), Chief Obafemi Awolowo University (Awolowo was the first leader of opposition in Nigeria, from Yoruba ethnic group), Adekunle Ajasin University, Afe Babalola University, Ahmadu Bello University, Afe Babalola University, Ajayi Crowther University, Akungba Akoko University, among others.

Kenya can borrow from Nigeria (not many countries borrow anything from Nigeria) and de-ethnicise names of counties and universities. This will cultivate a national and positive energy in the country that will promote our counties and universities into global giants. Universities should not be symbols of ethnicity where locals gather for small talk, local gossip and discussion of mundane things such as circumcision, payment of dowry, installation of clan elders, lists of witches, weddings and funeral and burial plans. It is not surprising that universities bearing ethnic names are headed by Vice Chancellors from those communities, which is rather unfortunate.

Prof. Amutabi is the Vice Chancellor of Lukenya University, Kenya and Professor of History and Fulbright Scholar, Amutabi@gmail.com

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Remembering late Prof. Joshua J. Akong’a

Remembering Prof. Joshua J. Akong’a

 Maurice N. Amutabi

The death of Prof. Joshua J. Akong’a on 7th February, 2017 caught many people by total surprise because he was not sick and lived one of the healthiest lifestyles for a professor. He liked to walk and ate healthy food. He liked his indigenous food, did not drink or smoke. He shunned indulgence and luxurious lifestyle. Prof. Akong’a always looked healthy in his tall frame and was a workaholic. Therefore, many people were greatly shocked when the sad news of the death of Prof. Joshua J. Akong’a was delivered to our Vice Chancellors meeting at KICD in Nairobi by the CEO of the Commission of University Education (CUE) of Kenya Prof. David K. Some.

 

Prof. Joshua Akong’a received his PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego, USA in 1979. He received his BA in Sociology from the University of Nairobi in 1975. He attended Kakamega High School where he sat for his O level exams in 1969 and A level exams in 1971. He attended Esiandumba Primary School from where he sat for his primary exams in 1965.

 

Prof. Joshua Akong’a was soft spoken and less ambitious than many scholars that I know. He supervised more PhD students at Moi University than anyone that I have known in all fields, from education, history, religious studies, environment, sociology, geography, anthropology to development studies. He was loved by his peers due to his laid back demeanour. He never engaged in polemical arguments and would often switch off during loud and fiery debates, and would therefore provide the way forward for he was always neutral. Prof. Akong’a was loyal and focussed on his academic work. He worked for only two employers- University of Nairobi and Moi University – in his entire life and rose to become Dean.

 

Prof. Joshua Akong’a was widely published. He published over ten books and several dozen articles in refereed journals and edited volumes. His most famous book was The African families and the crisis of social Change. He belonged to the generation of people born before computer and did not participate actively in social media so did not do digital and electronic publishing or posts on Facebook and Whatsup.

 

Prof. Joshua Akong’a hailed from Emuli, from the Abamuli clan of Bunyore, who are associated with Abashimuli and Abashitsetse clans. The Abamuli arrived in Bunyore as vassals of Nabongo (king) Mumia of Wanga kingdom, and representatives of the Abashitsetse ruling clan, and collected tribute on behalf of the Nabongo. Prof. Akong’a was born in this clan on April 25, 1949 at Esiandumba Sub-location, South West Bunyore Location, Luanda District of Vihiga County. After the collapse of the Wanga kingdom with the coming of Europeans, many Abamuli were left to their own devices and many became traders and business people at Luanda market.

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I first met Prof. Joshua Akong’a at the University of Nairobi in 1986, when I was in first year and he was then known as Dr. Akong’a and working at the Institute of African Studies as a lecturer. He worked closely with one of my academic and research mentors Prof. Gideon S. Were, which allowed me to interact with him more. The two were working on a World Bank and World Population project on district socio-cultural profiles in Kenya. Prof. Were was the project team leader and Prof. Akong’a was the Principal Project Coordinator. Prof. Akong’a wanted me to study anthropology but I was interested in history. Prof. Were recruited me as one of his data collectors but Prof. Akong’a was unsure about me.

 

As Prof. Were’s principal assistants, Prof. Akong’a did not initially like me to work with Prof. Were because, as he confessed later to me, he thought I was born in town and did not know much about rural Kenya where the project was concentrated. He was also uncomfortable with me working on Prof. Were’s ethnography project funded by the Rockefeller Foundation because he thought that I was not conversant with the Luhya language in which the data was collected. Prof. Akong’a was of the opinion that one could not excel in academia without proper grounding in their language.

 

Prof. Akong’a left the University of Nairobi for Moi University in 1989. Moi University had just been founded and he established the school of socio-cultural and development studies with Prof. William Ochieng. He was instrumental in resisting naming it the school arts and social sciences or humanities and social sciences. As fate would have it, I joined Moi University as lecturer in 1992 and we worked together. As colleagues, I found him more interesting than when he was lecturer at the University of Nairobi. I discovered that he was personable and down to earth. He could laugh and engage in small talk like other people, besides his huge academic profile. He was a consummate reader and writer and often left the library at night, especially when there was a conference in the offing.

 

In 1995, Prof. Akong’a took about ten of us junior scholars from Moi University such as myself, Prof. Maithya, Prof. Joram Kareithi, Prof. John Mwaruvie, Prof. Eunice Kamaara, Prof. Kenneth Inyani Simala, late Edward  Onyango Odiyo, among others to Nairobi to present papers at the 5th Conference of Pan African Anthropologists on Anthropology, on the theme “Population and Challenges of our Time” organised by the African Association of Anthropologists, Nairobi, Kenya, 15 – 19 October 1995 where he was one of the keynote speakers. The conference was convened by Prof. Paul Nkwi of Cameroon and served as an academic eye opener to many of us budding scholars. Prof. Akong’a did not allow the traditional attacks seen in those days on young scholars by seasoned professors. In those days it was a habit for academic heavyweights to run junior scholars off the stage by engaging in academic violence.

 

Prof. Akong’a was as fine as they came from the American training and he would start by stating the good in one’s presentation before pointing out areas that need improvement. You would never hear him using language of intimidation and disrespect to young scholars. You would never hear him saying that the paper suffers from academic myopia, has advanced academic kwashiorkor, lacks focus, lacks theoretical framework, and lacks rigour, as was the case of some professors whom I cannot name here. That is why his death devastated many who benefitted from his big heart and academic generosity.

 

I therefore agree with the acting Vice Chancellor of Moi University, Prof. Laban Ayiro who said, “Yes. Prof. Akonga was without a shadow of doubt one of our greatest dons. His commitment and sacrifice to tasks related to his duty were immeasurable. My heart and prayers are with his family during this painful period. May his soul rest in eternal peace.” To be sure, Prof. Akong’a was one of the greatest. His research in Northern Kenya made me adapt the area as my field as well and quoted from his wealth of research in the region.

 

As junior scholars at the time, we benefitted from Prof. Akong’a’s mentorship. He provided a lot of support and encouragement to us during those formative years when we were told that without a PhD on campus you are supposed only to be seen and not be heard. It was him who gave us secrets of ‘political’, ‘balloon’ and ‘featherweight’ professors who had not published and those days there were many of them at Moi University. He defended the rights of young scholars and often came from Deans Committee meetings bruised on our behalf fighting for travel allocations. I recall one day when I was awarded only 20,000/- to go to UK for a conference in 1994 and he encouraged me to take the money and use Aeroflot. I bought a cheap air ticket for Aeroflot (then Russian airline) and passed through Cairo, Karachi, Moscow, Helsinki to London and almost missed the conference, where I arrived on last day of the conference.

 

When his mother Jennifer Okisa died few years ago, we arrived at Esiandumba village with Prof. Kenneth Inyani Simala, among others, and found Prof. Akong’a crying. I had never seen Prof. Akong’a in this state, crying loudly like a child. He was the strongest person I knew but here he was in the village crying at the death of his mother, and at his most vulnerable position. It is when we sat down to talk, that we realised why he had to cry so loud. His mother had been the pillar of his life. She was the reason he lived. She had raised them against great odds and spent more days of her life working hard for the family. He narrated how she walked many kilometres to ensure that he was comfortable in high school, by taking to him boiled potatoes. She sacrificed for him, including surrendering her blanket to him when he was in form one.

 

In 1997, I sat with Prof. Akong’a on the same seat for three hours on the Moi University mini bus from Alego Usonga where we had gone to bury the late Edward Onyango Odiyo to Eldoret.  He told me many things. He told me to focus on publishing and spend more time on writing research proposals. He was already full professor in 1994 and told me that the drive to professorship is based on individual accomplishment more than group solidarity. I was then chairman of young scholars on campus who had been advocating for change in the country. We had been threatened and denied scholarships and promotions, and regarded as rebels. The following year I received a scholarship and thanked him for good advice. Prof. Akong’a was among the first people to congratulate me when I was appointed professor. He was also among the first to congratulate me when I was appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor and later Vice Chancellor.

 

Interdisciplinary research did not exist at Moi University before Prof. Akong’a. People were isolated in their own little cocoons and fields and did not do any research. They fought and bickered against each other in their little pools. Prof. Akong’a encouraged us to embrace multidisciplinary research and write using anthropological prism, literary prism, historical and gender prism, economic and feminist prism, saying that this broadened one’s academic horizons. He said that not many African scholars imposed themselves in their work. He said that many of them had not embraced interdisciplinary research. he encouraged me to write about funerals, gender, conflict, environment,

 

Prof. Akong’a applied and was interviewed for senior university positions and served as dean and campus Director at Kitale Campus of Moi University. He was aware that some positions came through canvassing and political goodwill. He never canvassed and never liked politics. We will miss his mentorship and hope that his academic legacy shall endure forever. May God rest his soul in eternal peace.

 

Prof. Amutabi is Vice Chancellor of Lukenya University, Professor of History and Fulbright Scholar Amutabi@gmail.com

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Government Approves New Degree Program for Lukenya University

The Commission for University Education (CUE)  has accredited a new degree program, Bachelor of Science in Dry Land Agriculture for Lukenya University under School of Agriculture. This is going to be one of the flagship degree programs for the Lukenya University. The University is now receiving applications for this new degree program for May and September 2017 intakes.

Before this new degree program, Lukenya University has been having two degree programs under the School of Business (B.Com) and School of Education (B.Ed Arts).

School of Business

Bachelor of Commerce (B. Com)

    • Accounting
    • Finance
    • Marketing
    • Strategic Management
    • Purchasing and Supplies
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Global Finance
      Bachelor of Education (Arts)
    • Students must receive KCSE MEAN C+ Plus a C+ in two teaching Subjects
  • B.Ed Covers most teaching subjects in secondary schools in Kenya such as
    • History
    • Kiswahili
    • Religious Studies
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • English
    • Literature

Proposed Bachelors programs at Lukenya for 2017/2018

  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Security Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in International Relations
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Systems

Proposed Masters Programs at Lukenya University in 2018/19

  • MBA – Accounting, Finance, Strategic Management, Human Resource, Marketing, Entrepreneurship
  • MA Political Science
  • MA International Relations
  • MA Development Studies
  • MA History
  • MA Kiswahili
  • MA Religious Studies
  • MA Geography
  • MA Mathematics
  • MA English
  • MA Literature
  • M.Ed (Administration, Educational Planning, Curriculum and Instruction, Economics of Education, Communication Technology and Research and Evaluation)
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New Degree Program Bachelor of Science in Dry Land Agriculture accredited by CUE

The Commission for University Education (CUE)  has accredited a new degree program, Bachelor of Science in Dry Land Agriculture for Lukenya University under School of Agriculture. This is going to be one of the flagship degree programs for the Lukenya University. The University is now receiving applications for this new degree program for May and September 2017 intakes.

Before this new degree program, Lukenya University has been having two degree programs under the School of Business (B.Com) and School of Education (B.Ed Arts).

School of Business

Bachelor of Commerce (B. Com)

    • Accounting
    • Finance
    • Marketing
    • Strategic Management
    • Purchasing and Supplies
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Global Finance
      Bachelor of Education (Arts)
    • Students must receive KCSE MEAN C+ Plus a C+ in two teaching Subjects
  • B.Ed Covers most teaching subjects in secondary schools in Kenya such as
    • History
    • Kiswahili
    • Religious Studies
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • English
    • Literature

Proposed Bachelors programs at Lukenya for 2017/2018

  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Security Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in International Relations
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Systems

Proposed Masters Programs at Lukenya University in 2018/19

  • MBA – Accounting, Finance, Strategic Management, Human Resource, Marketing, Entrepreneurship
  • MA Political Science
  • MA International Relations
  • MA Development Studies
  • MA History
  • MA Kiswahili
  • MA Religious Studies
  • MA Geography
  • MA Mathematics
  • MA English
  • MA Literature
  • M.Ed (Administration, Educational Planning, Curriculum and Instruction, Economics of Education, Communication Technology and Research and Evaluation)
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