A recent meeting called to brief religious leaders on the agenda of the upcoming International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD+25) in Nairobi turned acrimonious. Whereas the organisers of the summit had assumed the faith community – Christians, Muslims, and Hindus – would readily support the conference, it turned out that the religious leaders were unhappy on several fronts.
At the centre of the disagreement were two critical issues – the agenda and the registration. On the summit agenda, the faith community was deeply sceptical on the real purpose of the conference. Whereas the summit has been sold as an innocent, indeed critical forum to discuss key factors on population development and control, the faith community views this as a mere facade for entrenching unacceptable practices into national and international laws. The clergy are of the view that several of the commitments to be adopted at this controversial conference are to advance abortion, homosexuality and other illegitimate practices.
A tweet on October 15 by Denmark Embassy in Kenya and Somalia – a key sponsor of the conference – betrayed this notion. It read, “Final countdown for ICPD Nairobi Summit! We are looking forward to a loaded 3 days of discussions, dialogue and expose on women empowerment, sexual and reproductive health and rights… access to family planning and sex education, LGBTQI rights, women’s and girls’ rights and much more!” This seemed to confirm the fears that the Nairobi conference is part of a final ditch effort by international pro-abortion groups such as International Planned Parenthood Federation, Marie Stopes, Rutgers, and IPAS to fine tune their agenda and force it on governments, especially in Africa. There has been a concerted effort by these groups to push pro-abortion activities, especially Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in various African countries, including Kenya.
The ICPD+25 is set to issue 12 commitments that government representatives at the conference will be expected to sign to at the end of the summit.
These commitments are part of a well-co-ordinated campaign for abortion, sexualisation of children, homosexuality, and contraception for girls. They also include controversial subjects such as universal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH).
The concern here is that “Sexual Health” as defined by UN agencies encompasses abortion, CSE, legalised prostitution, same-sex marriage, transgender hormone treatment and surgeries, and much more.
Another serious proposed commitment declares that young people’s health and well-being cannot be discussed and decided upon without their involvement (‘nothing about us, without us’). This will be a follow-up of the Bali Youth Declaration, which purportedly represents what the world’s youth want.
This youth declaration calls for the legalisation of abortion, prostitution (sex work), same-sex marriage, and CSE and SRH services for youth – without parental consent. The plan is to advance this controversial agenda and entrench it through the youth at the Nairobi Summit.
The second factor that caused acrimony at the briefing meeting was that the faith community had been largely locked out of the conference – in an apparent deliberate effort to keep out potential dissenters.
Several church delegates that had attempted to register were not successful. What irked the clergy, even more, was the fact that the organisers came to the meeting with a draft statement that was to be merely signed by the faith community and issued at a press statement endorsing the conference. The clergy refused to sign the document or to participate in a press release.
What seems clear is that the ICPD+25 is not going down well with many Kenyans – especially in the religious sector. When the ICPD was held in Cairo, 25 years ago, the agenda of population control through abortion was set forth through the Cairo Declaration.
The concern is this agenda is now being watered for expansion, and unfortunately, the names of our city and nation are going to be associated with it. Many are not amused. Consequently, the church leaders have opted to organise a side event to address the same concerns the summit delegates will be discussing.
The truth is these are weighty matters that cannot be allowed to simply fade into oblivion. That is why we urge our government not to endorse these tactfully worded commitments.
The Nairobi Declaration must come forth with a breath of life rather than with a spell of death.
– The writer is the presiding bishop of Christ is the Answer Ministries. [email protected]
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Our wizards saw the Brave New World, but none saw coronavirus
Last year in December, Nation Media Group held its first Kusi Ideas Festival in Kigali. The festival tried to peer ahead the next 60 years in Africa.
There were many Brave New World ideas about how that future might look like, and also the perils that progress almost always brings. Needless to say, no one saw Covid-19 coming.
A futurist curtain-raiser in The EastAfrican, titled Africa in 2079, came close to outlining a mirror universe to the one Covid-19 is bequeathing us.
Between London, Zimbabwe, and the corners of Africa where Econet’s fibre optic network reaches, Strive Masiyiwa, founder and chairman of Econet Wireless and former chair of the board of AGRA wrote:
“I recently invested in a tech start-up that has created an Uber-like platform for tractors, enabling farmers to link up with a central database and order a tractor via SMS…freeing the farmer from the drudgery of the hoe. This service is particularly valued by women farmers, enabling them to circumvent social norms that might otherwise hamper their ability to hire a tractor.” From wherever we are hiding from the virus, unable to roam the farm, Uber farming could be the new way a lot of our food is produced.
From Tanzania, Aidan Eyakuze, who is executive director of Twaweza East Africa and has been confined in-country as an elegant prisoner for nearly two years because of his love of inconvenient data, painted an intoxicating but strange utopian-dystopian picture of Africa at the end the century.
By 2079, he foresaw the “vast majority of Africans earn their living through multiple micro-tasking (MMTs) ever since every ”job” was unbundled into its component tasks…leaving only those unbundled micro-tasks needing social intelligence, creativity or dexterity to be done by people. All ”taskers” are always-on private contractors who bid relentlessly for the privilege of tasking.
Incomes are kept low by the relative scarcity of tasks requiring the human touch.
“The unrelenting competition for tasks is both stressful and socially divisive — you are competing against everyone all the time…even marriages have renewable term limits, ‘in case someone better comes along.’” With work-from-home regimes, the former has come 78 years earlier.
Indeed, even for the latter, more people now probably think being cooped up with the same man or woman in the house “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part,” is a very archaic model.
Between Italy and Kenya, the Society for International Development’s Arthur Muliro, peered into a what a truly borderless Africa might look. Among others, his gaze settled on, of all places, Libya.
“Libya…was now welcoming other Africans and allowing them to settle. The peace deal that had come after a decade of civil war was holding and there was new optimism, in part boosted by the arrival and expansion of new migrant groups who had settled there and were helping rebuild their adopted country.”
On a close re-reading, turns out Aidan hinted that Turkey, which jumped in the Libyan fray as the coronavirus made its way out of Wuhan, might have something to do with it.
Stadiums progress welcome – Daily Nation
Last week, the Sports ministry’s top officials, led by Chief Administrative Secretary Hassan Noor Hassan and Principal Secretary Joe Okudo traversed the country to access the ongoing construction of stadiums.
President Uhuru Kenyatta also made an impromptu tour of the Nyayo National Stadium to ensure that all is well besides giving Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed full support. That has made sure that renovation works resume at all the stadiums — including Kasarani, Nyayo, Kipchoge Keino, Kamariny and Wote — and that everything is running on schedule.
Upon completion of some of these arenas, the country will have positioned itself to host major world events, especially in football, athletics and basketball. The ministry must, therefore, ensure that, while it has given contractors an ultimatum to finish their work, it also insists on quality delivery.
But there are concerns about work at county stadiums, especially in Mombasa, where those who redesigned the arena have done away with the internationally approved running track.
The new stadium has been designed for football only hence won’t host any track and field events. The four lane track will only be for warm up and this has raised eyebrows.
Mombasa County Chief Sports Officer Innocent Mugabe said Bububu grounds in Likoni and Kenya Ports Authority’s Mbaraki Sports Club will be upgraded for sports use. Mombasa being at low altitude, it is suitable for staging major World Athletics events, having staged the 2007 World Cross Country Championships.
Kenya is bidding to host the 2025 World Championships in Athletics and Mombasa can easily be the venue with a good stadium in place. There is still time to build a county stadium.
Ensure reopening of schools runs smoothly
When Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha announced a fortnight ago the postponement of school reopening to January next year, he gave an exception. Universities, teacher training colleges and technical training institutions were directed to be ready to reopen in September.
Consequently, they were asked to put in place safety measures prescribed by the Health ministry, including reorganising classrooms and hostels to ensure social distancing. Just a month to the planned reopening, are those institutions really prepared?
In the past few days, Prof Magoha has convened meetings with the heads of the institutions to plan for the reopening and visiting the colleges to assess their preparedness. Preliminary reports from these engagements indicate that just a few institutions are ready.
At the university level, so far, only Strathmore has been declared ready for reopening. Ensure reopening of schools runs smoothly
For teachers’ colleges, three — Murang’a, Kibabii and Kericho — have met the threshold. Assessment is ongoing for the technical training institutions.
But the broad observation is that most of the institutions are not ready. Though not surprising, most of them are ordinarily in poor state and Covid-19 has just exposed them. Beyond the situation, long-term actions are required to revamp and revitalise them.
Reopening the colleges in September will be the starting point for relaxing restrictions in the education sector. The reason for beginning with colleges is that they have mature students who understand the health protocols and can, therefore, take care of themselves and minimise infections. Their experience would then inform plans for reopening primary and secondary schools.
Closure of schools and colleges has dealt a huge blow to education. Learners in schools have lost a whole year and have to repeat classes next year. This comes with high social, economic and psychological. Indeed, this is the first time in history that schools are being closed for a year.
The last time the education sector suffered most was in 1982, when, following an abortive coup, the University of Nairobi and then-Kenyatta University College were closed for nine months. That created a major backlog and that took five years to clear. This is the reason steps should be taken at the earliest opportunity to mitigate the damage.
The challenge, therefore, is for the colleges to work on those health protocols to prepare for reopening. All other sectors, such as transport and tourism, are reopening and, therefore, colleges have no reason to lag behind. We ask the management of the institutions to expedite the required processes and get ready for reopening in September as directed.