I rarely comment on statements issued by Nairobi Governor Dr. Evans Kidero because of the tremendous personal respect I have for him. However, a comment he made in Suba (while being installed as Suba Elder) has made me wonder whether Gov. Kidero really understands Luo Nyanza ‘issues’.
Look at this statement, â€œIn the years gone by, Luo Nyanza was the brain basket of Kenya. We had the most engineers, doctors, lawyers, architects and most other professionals. But at the moment, the number of our students joining both public and private universities is alarming, our numbers have dwindled to an alarming level’.
I do not know the ‘years gone by’ that Dr. Kidero meant. Luo Nyanza is still producing ‘engineers, doctors, lawyers, architects and most other professionals’.
Two things explain Kidero’s very false assertions. One, he is too removed from Nyanza to understand it. Two, he lives in the ‘years gone by’, and, for political reasons only, purport to understand Luo Nyanza.
In the years gone by, Luos used to be the brain basket of Kenya – whatever this means – because Luos worked harder and Kenya still appreciated hard work.
This was before Mt. Kenya and kamatusa realized this and beat Kenya to it, Luos included. The essence of hard work that took ‘only bright people’ to the university was watered down when Mt. Kenya and kamatusa introduced something called ‘parallel programs’ and populated the universities with ‘people’ who ordinarily would have found themselves at Kirinyaga Technical Training Institute (if it exists) – ordinarily.
The introduction of parallel programs, also known as module two- opposed effusively by Luo student leaders of that time (it was the generation of Christopher Owiro alias Karl Marx) – and which sent over 300 of UoN students home, majority Luos, ensured that the next phase of Kenya’s intellectual life would not be about brains, but money, and Mt. Kenya had loads of it.
Alongside this came the massification of higher education, and proliferation of private, or quasi-private, institutions of ‘higher learning’. Not only did these other higher education ‘outfits’ add to the ‘everyone’ getting higher education, they also ensured those with money got ahead, and as long as we Luos can remember, we’ve never really had thaaat kind of money.
You no longer needed to be brainy to do medicine, engineering, architecture, law and #gikmakamago.
The second part of Governor Kidero’s weekend comment, also utterly false, is this claim that the number of Luo students joining both public and private universities has ‘alarmingly dwindled’.
Well, I know it is still not in the intellectual nature of Luos to join ‘private universities’, especially the type of ‘private universities’ here. But for public universities, Luo students still get admitted in their thousands.
What has changed, and what Kidero doesn’t see, is the employment culture in this country.
If Kidero wants to test that Luo students still take the courses he is taking about – from public universities – let him announce that he needs such certificates. I will get to the house today and inform my own cousin, a mechanical engineering graduate of JKUAT who graduated only to realize Luos don’t own production companies in Kenya among other things. He will inform his classmates, and his classmates will inform others. By noon tomorrow, Kidero would have seen such a sad spectre of brainy people with no opportunities. The scene alone will make him shed true tears, not the suba crocodile tears he ‘shed’ over this weekend.
By constantly making these sweeping statements, Kidero, and many other Luo leaders cover the real crisis affecting Luo youths – that of having ‘useless papers’, mostly earned outside Luo Nyanza by meagre resources of Luo Nyanza.
One can argue that educating Luo Nyanza youths has been a painfully slow investment because it is one thing to have a journalism degree certificate from Moi University with an ‘omera’ surname and another to get a job at citizen TV, or K24, or KTN, or NTV or The Star (where it is rumoured you have substantial share). Just an example.
In fact, getting a job is the exception ‘for us’, not the rule. And it goes all the way to the cabinet of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
So, really, educating Luos, which Kidero is overemphasizing, is the easy part, the hard part is getting into formal employment.
And now, again, Mt. Kenya and kamatusa have realised there are no more automatic jobs in the formal sector where ‘brainy’ Luos were to get them.
Mt. Kenya and kamatusa has effectively introduced ‘business’ as the new answer to youth unemployment and with Youth Fund and Uwezo fund, the Luo youth, with 16 years being fine-tuned for the formal sector has to now form a group with 10 other Luos to breed chicken and sell eggs in chiro Olare! iYawa!
And Kidero knows the higher Luos get up the academic ladder, the ‘difficult’ they get. I mean ile ujaluo unayoua. Kiswahili to pod tek!
If we are blunt with the truth, we stand a chance at solving one of Luo Nyanza’s current worst crises – unemployment.
The manner Luos are scarcely populated in President Uhuru’s decision-making table is the manner the truth is reflected below, brains notwithstanding.
The truth must be naked and we can’t undress the queen so I regress to dhogwa.
By Dikembe Disembe via Facebook