Kenya’s New Chief Registrar for the Judiciary – Ann Atieno Amadi

annShe is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya since 1989. Previously she practiced law privately in Mombasa (1997-2003) after serving as a magistrate in the Kenyan Judiciary for six years from 1991 and 1997. Until May, 2008, she was the Deputy Executive Director and Head of Litigation with the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Kenya, a leading women’s rights organization in Kenya whose core business is the provision of legal aid services to indigent women.

Her main duties included assisting the Executive Director in the management and strategic guidance of the organization. As Head of Litigation she managed all the affairs of the organization’s three legal aid clinics in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa and provided leadership to all the teams in the organization. Other duties included project planning, supervision of programme implementation, conceptualization and coordination of research activities, proposal writing for fundraising and report writing. A core aspect of this position required strategic collaboration with likeminded organizations and in the process she interacted gainfully with partners in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, the Gambia, the United States of America, the Netherlands, Austria and the United Kingdom. continue here...


Why Wetangula is Safe

imagesSometimes things are not what they seem to be, especially when they involve the mighty and powerful.

A poor man in the ghetto has no way of hiding their lives; they actually don’t even have a private life. Their one roomed house exposes all they have to any visitor knocking at their doors; and mark you the house is not enclosed but in a filthy city corner filled with other shanties.

The herder at Loyangalani and Loitoktok lives in a fence-less hut in the vast expanse of the Northern Kenya desert with the nearest police station at about 100 kilometres away. Cattle rustlers attack and kill several young Moran at their disposal and take to their heels with their long-time reared herds. Their hustles of moving so many miles to far off places in search of water and pasture for their livestock come to a sudden stop; and that ain’t news anyway!

Who cares when the poor son of a peasant struggles till he buys a motorcycle for bodaboda business; then he is hacked to death by his clients one night in the bushy, dark and winding road in the village filled with potholes, and his lifetime savings stolen? I guess the family members care and that is why they cry at their burials.

You walk in the streets of our towns and cities at night, and you will risk going home without your purse or wallet; plus some pain on your body after a short session of a physical encounter with criminal gangs. You board a matatu at night from town, when you arrive at your estate you are hacked to death by some idle youths who reap from where they did not sow and they walk away with your belongings.

Sometimes the same boys in the streets pay a courtesy call to your home and you have to part with a significant amount of money and property, or else gunshots will be heard by your neighbors; and am sure you won’t love that, or would you? When it is not your home, they can visit you at your shop, mama mboga kiosk or even at your Mpesa outlet.

This tells you that the common mwanachi in Kenya is faced with insecurity from all angles and there is nothing they can do about it. They can just hope and pray that they get to see the next day alive to continue hoping and praying for the next day again. And so our lives have been turned to that of prayers and hope each day and each moment. Lucky enough, the One above never closes his ears from his miserable creatures here on earth; safe He keeps us and we get to see that extra day we pray for.

As for our honorable Senator Wetangula, the case is complicated; wetadifferent people have a different version of the same story. But I trust first-hand information from the eye witnesses more than rumors from the other public noise makers. And this is why Wetangula is safe; he has no scratch on his body, all he had with him during the incidence he still has and his car has no holes from a bullet shot except for scratches.

However, the government can do better in dealing with the security of a senior member of the society representing the interests of a large number of electorates.

Just for reminders, “mashabiki sisi ndo twaumia”; in this case we the electorates being in more danger of insecurity every day, and no one put it on the front page of the newspapers. And as the drama continues to unfold, just ask yourself; if it were you in that incidence, could it have been given such media attention?….#STAYSAFE!

A Date With the IMF Chief – Christine Lagarde

clThe IMF Chief Ms. Christine Lagarde was in town and I took time to have some intellectual intercourse with her on Monday the 6th this month. My aim of attending the @Mindspeak session at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi where we met was advised by many things.

I first learnt of her coming to Kenya through the financial markets guru Aly Khan Sachu through his always busy twitter feed. To me that was an opportunity to meet the one person I am hoping to one day occupy the position she currently is occupying at the IMF. But most important was to meet the Kenyan business leaders and entrepreneurs who would obviously attend the session and do a little bit of networking.

So the moment came and the waited guest of honor for the two hours the session lasted arrived in style accompanied by lead business men and women in Kenya amongst other dignitaries. Bob Collymore of Safaricom, Vimal Shah of Bidco and Martin Oduor the former KCB Chief were among the big names in the Kenyan business sector who graced this meeting of business minds.

When Ms. Lagarde started speaking, it was not her eloquence and fluency that struck me most, rather it was her deep understanding of her job. Without referring to any material, she took us to a world trip of the global economy. From the US and their stimulus programe tapering, to china’s growth, the economic growth figures of the various regions of the world in 2013 and the projected figures for 2014 to Japans economic performance . She talked of the Eurozone economic performance and outlook and talked much more about the IMF and its functions as an international financial institution.

However, all was not enough and satisfying till she came back to my home here in Kenya. She surprised many by her understanding of our economy better than even some of us who were present there. She had real statistics about the performance of our economy, and that was very challenging to many of us. She talked about the political climate here at home, touched on devolution, governance and corruption amongst many other things.

Finally, her parting shot was in 3Cs: C for Complete devolution; here she emphasized on the need to protect the technocrats implementing devolution from the greed of the politicians. C for Closing infrastructural gap; under this subject she emphasized on our need to invest more in infrastructure development as it is key for economic growth. C for Continue with regional integration; she praised the current efforts of integrating the East African states, but warned that regional integration is a sensual and exciting thing but very sensitive too, and therefore we need to “hasten slowly”.

After gathering some business and economic wisdom from all present and chatting with a few new faces, it was my time to leave and apply what I had learnt in economic development. The coffee was sweet of course and the variety of snacks served impressive, but the literature I carried from my date with the IMF Chief is what remains with me after all has been digested and finally egested.  Now am looking forward to the next date with the World Bank President; one Jim Yong Kim.

Personal Branding 101

imagesSome documentaries are more of documentaries than others. The other day I was watching some documentary on Finance and the future of investment banking presented by some networking professional in England and got so many revelations from it. The guy was soft spoken to the point of boring, but inside the calmness of his speech lied much wisdom.

There is always a different way of viewing things in the world. The norm has it that you should have a very nice CV – Curriculum Vitae that you send to a thousand and one companies when applying for a job. Much time is taken in decorating the CV. Some people go to the extent of paying the self-proclaimed “professional CV writers” a lot of money, just to have a two page grammatically choreographed document to present to as many companies as they wish to apply for a job in. Yes, a good CV is a nice thing to have because it’s your marketing tool to the companies that have never met with you before. It also serves as your brochure explaining the product ‘you’ to the many potential customers out there who might want to buy the product ‘you’.

However, most of us forget that as much as the product ‘you’ remains the same in all the markets, the markets differ. It is the market difference that makes all the difference between the smart guys and the just average guys. Attending a marketing class in campus, my lecturer talked of market segmentation as a strategy of increasing sales and beating your competitors when at it. Understanding the basic needs in a market and tailor-making your product to suit that market, is the key to a successful entrance into new markeindexts and remaining relevant to perpetuity.

Being who you are and having chosen whichever line of career that you’ve chosen; you remain to be the same to eternity, not unless you want to blur your life with inconsistency and lose public trust. With that in mind, you need to know how to package the product ‘you’ to fit into the various ,markets out there where you want to go selling yourself in terms of looking for a job. ‘K’ is always constant and the ‘K’ is you; what needs to change is the marketing techniques and customization of your selling strategy to fit into the different companies’ needs.

In essence the simple point being driven home here is that a finance professional will remain to be the same with the same skills learnt in school. However, the finance department in an engineering firm will not be the same as the finance department in an advertising firm. The skills may be the same, but their application will differ depending on the specifics in each company. Your CV needs to be company specific too; what we call the ED – Evidence Document.