Arich's Contemplations

Exercising my civic right by writing my opinion

Will the old system of identifying student leaders work?


Linda Kiptoo (Kipsigis Girls) cast her vote during the 2016 Student election

Ministry of Education conducted a survey in 2008 to establish the relevance of student participation in school governance. This survey contributed to the establishment of Child Friendly School (CFS) practices by empowering students to take part in the decision making process for a more cohesive school community and conducive learning environment.

The survey also indicates that student participation in school management tends to improve learning and instills positive values in the students. Therefore, other than election of student leaders, schools are encouraged to involve their students in matters that affect their lives in school including student discipline and how they can channel their grievances.

Many schools across the country, both secondary and primary, adopted this approach allowing students to exercise their democratic rights by electing their leaders. Kipsigis Girls is one of the schools that adopted the election method of identifying students leaders after a successful pilot program on school governance in secondary schools and so far more than 20 other schools from Kericho County have taken up the initiative. However with regular cases of students’ unrest, the Ministry of Education gave out a circular in schools earlier last year advising Principals to adopt the old system of identifying student leaders i.e. selection. The big question however is whether the adoption of old system will work.

Mejja Nessy after being declared winner

No pretense-I don’t understand this Art

I have zero knowledge on fine art, but I think that only makes me even more qualified to tell you about this piece of crap that hangs at the reception of the noble corporation  which I visited not long ago in my  City-Kisumu

It is a large and ‘Kamba’ colored (I don’t know where got that but I grew up knowing that yellow is for Kambas ) and it occupies a prominent position on the wall behind the Receptionist’s desk where you would think a pleasant decorative item would be more appropriately located. Instead, however, we have this, a thoroughly repugnant painting, as repulsive as it is bewildering.

Abstract art does not fool anyone except art scholars and the artists themselves but the rest of us know that it is bullshit. The rest of us know that there is a very scanty difference between the painting described as “a vivid exposition of vital figures posed in provocative postures which allude to our hardworking spirit as Africans”

So we really don’t always see a lot of sense from these things and can ignore them. They only offend us when we hear of how much they cost, then they get really sickening to think that thousands were paid for this clumsy drawing with no sense or reason?

This painting is lacking creativity that if I were to find out what it costs it would not just hurt my spirit, it would stab hard into my soul and drain out all my faith and from that day on I will be dead inside.I would hate artists likesCollins Thinktank Okello

Here is the painting.


I mean, what the fuck, right?

It makes no sense. Okay, when I grab at the corners of my head and squeeze hard and try to find a way of figuring out what is going on, the most I can come up with is that some modern woman is using a traditional mortar and pestle in wrong way with the head of the pestle facing up.

But that is not the only thing I can notice, the woman in this art piece seems to be just posing but not doing the actual job. I don’t need to go into further detail. You get the point. I think this painting is stupid.

I’m not one of those people who dismiss everything they don’t understand as stupid. Usually, I can appreciate that just because I don’t get the joke, that doesn’t mean the joke is not funny. Just because I don’t get the point that doesn’t mean no point exists. But usually, I need to at least see that some effort went into creating the thing I don’t understand. However, look at this shit. The guy can’t even bring the message in his art piece. No modern woman would do such job with her ‘expensive’ jewelry-look at her necklace. What about her expensive Derra  (I doubt this spelling) dress?

Dear Journalism Graduates, Calm Down, You’re Not Yet Journalists 

I am in a way, writing this letter to all young Journalists, as well as to myself. Consider this a note from this dear writer.

It amazes me whenever I find young Journalist who’ve just graduated from University moving around with a sense of entitlement. They feel they ought to join a company and immediately get bestowed with the title of “Editor”, “Editorial Manager”, or “Beaurue Chief.” Many are hungrier for titles than they are for skills. Many of them have not yet done the real work of Journalist. All they have to show are their degrees earned after four years of rote memorisation.

I want to say it with a sting that; “Just because you graduated with a Journalism Degree, doesn’t make you a Journalist.” You don’t become a Journalist by going through the structured world of University.

I was at an event a few months back when someone asked for Journalists to stand up and be part of a certain project. A few young Journalism students who are awaiting graduation were the first to stand up and offer to lead the project. I was happy for their confidence and self-belief, yet another part of me wanted to cut their bluff and make it clear to them how they were not yet Journalists.

Many young Journalist constantly complain that no company is willing to take them on even after they presented their Resumes. Those who are lucky to get jobs are annoyed when they are sent down to work as Field Reporters. Some assume that they should simply land in an organization and immediately be given titles such as; “Managing Editor” Not to say that young Journalists don’t deserve these titles, but they must work for them and the surest way to do this is to work from the bottom-up.

So for the sake of young Journalists who have graduated or are about to graduate, I will offer my tips, and gentle advice. Consider me as an elder brother trying to clear your minds of all the illusions.

1.Your lecturers were not Journalist so most of their lectures were detached from reality

One of the biggest failures of our education system is the fact that people who have never done things are the ones trying to teach people to do things. Until I had started practicing Journalism, I vowed never to write a single word about Journalism.I am the guy who loves to learn based on the realities on the ground. So everything I advocate for, must be practical. Why then do we have people who have never started a business or managed one, lecturing students in business administration or entrepreneurship? Why do we have people who have never practiced as Journalists being responsible for producing the future Journalists of the country? Would you want to have a home dog lecturing a puppy on the laws of hunting in the wild? So to you dear young graduate, yes you learnt the basic principles of Journalism graduated with that degree, but that doesn’t make you a Journalist. Until you’ve worked 10,000 hours in the field, only then should you claim to be one.

2.Contrary to popular opinion, Journalism graduates are not in short supply, and the jobs are scarce

Many people joined Journalism Schools under the false hopes that the jobs were a sure deal. They were humbled the moment they completed their last paper to find out that there were more graduates than jobs. Secondly, you are no special flake. There are more Journalists out in the real world, most of them with Second-class upper degrees as you. So what makes you think that you should have the job instead of them? Fight for your place.

3. You must work out from Scratch

It is once in a while that you find examples where a Journalism graduate gets a job and is immediately made leader. Instead, you are going to have to work your way up from the ground. You will have to join the field Reporters and get yourself dirty and taste teargas(yes our police oflate have perfected the art of being brutal to journos) accumulating real skills. Sometimes, you will keep questioning why you had to suffer with that Journalism English. One advise, don’t let that discourage you. That’s just a furnace to harden and anneal you as a Journalist. So take heart. Build those practical skills, and become a good Journalist.

4. Your Passion Is More Important Than Anything

You may get a job that pays you well, but all that is just a side effect. The most important thing for a young Journalist is passion. Passion is the garden for persistence and persistence is the nutrient for the people who eventually win. There are going to be many times as a young Journalist when you will harbor thoughts of quitting. But your passion will be the one voice that will convince you to hang in there. Make sure you really love this path. Because if you don’t, when it gets hard, you will definitely drop off, especially when you may have to work longer hours than your friends.

5. The Soft Skills May Actually Matter More Than the Hard Ones

Networking skills, negotiation skills, marketing skills, presentation skills, communication skills, writing skills and above all, emotional intelligence matter more than anything you were taught at University. You will find that emotional intelligence is handier at a workplace than your IQ. Kindly build these skills; they will get you moving faster than your counterparts.

6. Self-Awareness Matters More Than Anything In The Field

Please and please, this is the most important of them all. “Know yourself” said Socrates. Just because everyone is doing something at work doesn’t imply you too, should do the same. Know yourself. Leverage your strengths. It is of no use becoming a fish trying to climb a tree that will be preparing your life for regret and misery. Are you a fish or you’re a monkey? Don’t focus on your weakness; everyone is already playing that role for you. Your only responsibility is to focus on your strengths.

7. You are a liability to many employers

Even though you think you are an asset to the employers, many of them view young graduates as liabilities. Many of them know that by giving you a job, they will also take two more years investing money in training you on things that Universities were supposed to teach you but didn’t. The things that matter in the workplace were not actually taught to you. Nobody taught you how to prioritize at work, which meetings to attend and which ones to cancel. Nobody teaches a Journalism student the concepts of lean management. I have not seen it happen in any leading Kenyan University.

8. Prepare to Learn Much As Fast As Possible

The workplace is not a University, so prepare your brain for another journey of learning on the job. And you must learn as fast as possible. Your boss doesn’t want to teach you the same thing more than two times. They want to show it to you once and be expected to do it excellently the next time. This is a challenge for young journalists, but you must have the resilience and be a constant learning machine.

9. Be Prepared To Cry Sometimes on Your Own and Develop A Thick Skin

Work can be challenging. And if it is not challenging, then you are not growing, kindly tender in your resignation and look elsewhere. If you never doubt yourself constantly, if you never contemplate quitting in those first days, rest assured you are not growing. But if the reverse happens, then be happy, you are in the right place, develop that thick skin. In the beginning days as a young Journalist, the work-life balance will be more of a myth.

10. Don’t Lose Sight of the Big Picture

I think this is the most important thing for every young Journalism graduate. Don’t lose your imagination. Don’t let the system to eat you up. Keep those big dreams, keep those ideals. Don’t let the older minds to poison you. Don’t conform. Keep that little rebel alive. Above all, don’t let the short-term blind you to the long term. Remember, you are working in the background to build those highlights that everyone glosses over when they think of a Journalist.

And in case you want to always keep in touch, we can always touch base over a drink or two. And share more learnings. Even I, after these many months, I am still learning. Every day is a humbling experience for me. The more I know, the more I realize that I know nothing. One last thing, you may always feel like you are the dumbest person in the room. But you’re not, even the older Journalists are more confused than you are, and have their own doubts. Those thoughts are normal.

I sign out….
Adopted from Ian Ortega’s letter to Engineers

Police is the loose connection in most Murder cases in Kenya

If you follow major murder cases in Kenya you will find that the loose connection is the Police. In fact, all murder cases and grave capital offences are nearly impossible to effectively prosecute because of weak investigative process and/or direct interference ty the Police. The state is unable to provide credible evidence against criminals in Kenya. Most of the cases that are “successfully” deallt with, are those which are meant for PR on favour of the government like the prosecution of the ivory smuggler.

Those that arise from stepping on the foot of who and who is solved through a wired elimination mechanism with I dont know who. I can conclude that nearly 80% of Prisoners in detention all over the country are victims of shoddy Police investigations. It is the price that we have all had to pay for our corrupt state, which makes due diligence impossible to comply with….and subsequently dealing a body blow to the rule of law.

The business of being ‘writeprenuer’

Yesterday I bumped into an old friend of mine from Nyangoma Boys School, and I must say it was a pleasant surprise until he asked me what I do for a living.I told him I am a writer and he said ‘that one I already know but what do you really do?’ And again I said I am a writer.

“Is that even a job, he asked? I replied no, it’s not. It’s an obsession I earn money from so I can’t really call it a job. ‘So you don’t work?’ He asked and I said yes. Then I realized there are very few people who understand that writing can be profitable in Kenya even if you are not attached to any Media house.

But since I worked for an online news agency -not long ago.I realized there was a market for creative writing in Kenya. Now being a writeprenuer (writing entrepreneur) is a part most writers struggle with and its a part I struggled with until I got introduced to Writing for profit. Most people including my dad thinks that being a writer is some lazy thing. They assume you lie down in bed or sit down on a sofa and words just start flowing into that word document-idiots!!! That is not a fact; actually writing requires a lot of research, reading and thinking a lot outside the box of what’s real and what’s fiction and how you can make people believe in both. It requires that you be a good debater so that you present your best argument to your readers. It is impossible to write if you don’t have an ounce of confidence floating in your body but that put aside the writing thing really does have un tapped profitable possibilities. So today I really want to connect with that writer that is still struggling with how to turn this presumed “not for profit” craft into a cash cow of their own.

1.Read news papers and magazines and see which Organizations publish PR pieces (content talking about a company and what they do).Once you have identified those organizations go ahead and read their content and rework it. After rewriting that content in a creative and interesting way, go ahead and meet with someone on the team of that company and see the person in charge of their communications department. Tell them your name and what you do and show them what you did with their content. If they love what you do, then that means a call back on their next project. If they don’t like it ask them if you can rework it to their satisfaction…but if they refuse move on and rework another companies’ work and please don’t be afraid of going to other organizations whose work you’ve not seen. People always don’t know what they don’t have,so go ahead and show them what you think they need.

2.Get yourself a professional website and write your heart out about any topic that meets your fancy. Most times people ask me where I get the things I write about and the answer is always I don’t know. But the fact is, am always straining my brain and praying to God to give me a topic I have never written about so that I stretch my writing libido and I believe it has worked. The website will be a nice place to practice daily but also it will be a great display of your best work and writing technique. Any time you go out to meet a client instead of talking about what you have done and what you can do. It is much professional to show and don’t tell. Let the client come up with their own conclusion about your work. Plus it saves time and makes for very short professional meetings because Company Execs don’t have all day to listen to you talking about how good you are.

Disclaimer: Please don’t post irrelevant unprofessional content on your website because if you do it will kind of affect how people perceive you.

3.Market your mind out. Recently I was talking to my friend in the same business(writeprenuer) one Kevin Omollo and I asked him if there was any other way I could improve on my marketing strategy. And he told me Arich, you are a good. There is no better brand than that-being good. Show how good you are by publishing work that has no typos, misused words or bad formatting.Just keep it out right professional. If it means paying a proof reader do so than handing in work that has typos or mistakes.

When I started on this journey in 2009 it was hard at first because people didn’t know me that much but those that chose to know me have encountered my greatest madness and that is because I decided to be a writepreneur.

Writing provides for me the food I eat, the clothes I wear, the rent I pay and the freedom to be true to Geoffrey Arich and that is the business of being Geoffrey Arich the writepreneur…actually this is a word I crafted.

Proverbs 13:24 Exciting Teachers and Parents.

What is the meaning behind  the proverbial ‘spare the rod and spoil the child.’ Is the holy book supporting corporal punishment?

Proverbs 13:24 “He who spares the rod hates his son,but he who loves him disciplines him” The big question is:What is the use of the rod,is it a metaphor or directive?

Proverbs 13:24 have been used by most parents and teachers to justify corporal punishment without understanding  the use of the word ‘rod’ in the bible.The rod used in Psalm 23 is the same as the one used in Proverbs 13:24. In Psalm 23 it reads ‘Your rod and staff comfort me.’ This rod should be comforting and not brutal.

The same Shepherd rod refered in Psalms is the same rod in Proverbs 13:24. Children just like Sheep learn better.If directed they will learm what is expected  and generally conform but if they are beaten they not only stop responding but  they can escape or turn wild.

To spare the rod doesn’t mean parents or teachers should beat their children and students respectively instead they should like Shepherds value and care for their flock.Lets use the correct tool of good parenting to teach responsible behavior and morals and avoid getting excited by simple verses in the bible.

Good things are from Forsaken Places /People

John 1:45-46,Philip found Nathanael and told him “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law,and about whom the prophets also wrote-Jesus of Nazareth,the son of Joseph.”

Can anything good come from that common town? (Nazareth) Certainly not the Messiah! Can anything good come out of a carpenter’s son?

Location factors heavily into our assumption and judgement about people and their future.

Can anything good come from Ugenya “the home of local brew” mostly known as Chan’gaa? 

Can anything come out of that clan called Masiro? A village full of drunkards and brew makers? A village full of illitrate people with no school and hospital…

When you doubt that anything good can come out of your village,your clan or your troubled family….come and see! Come to the cross and see what is written -Jesus of Nazareth!

When you doubt and feel that no good can come from your troubled life come and see what is written on the cross “Jesus of Nazareth”

Come and see! We may not be able to resist every caricature of stereotype but we have no right to condemn people on account of superficial factors.

Refuse to live defination of others- define yourself based on your own merits.

Jesus warns us about judgment  in Matthews,encouraging us not to judge by appearance but to render right judgment.

Matthews 7:1-4 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

Raila is a classical narcissist


Is there a party coup going on or is Raila pruning his succession queue? I feel that  Ababu’s rants have something to do with the future of ODM politics? Or maybe it is plain old politics of being relevant? If I was Raila  I would grow eyes in the back of my head!

Ababu is fighting Mbadi,Mbadi is
fighting Gumbo,Gumbo is
fighting Orengo,Orengo is fighting Rassanga and the cycle continues! The only pillar, anchor,reed that is holding this Party together is
Raila. How’s ODM insured against
collapse without Raila?? In my view I think Raila is a classical narcissist!

As long as this rat pack are tearing at each other, his own position as the only ‘man with a vision’ and the only one who can keep things
together in ODM is unrivaled. He plays all of them like the master that he is!

They all fight each other hoping to be noticed by the master and have some favours dropped their way-but hell no!!! Wandayi is better placed.
The reality is that all of these men except Rassanga and Gumbo are historicals! As historicals, they all
have legitimate reasons to believe themselves to be in the succesion queue! But Raila has held up the queue so that his possible succesors re-organize themselves.

These men the Ababus are frustrated! Ambitious men whose
progress has been stymied, they watch time go by and their own chances of ever being  ‘bigger guys’ in ODM pass by! So the only way out for them is to have a price tag affordable to Jubilee and enough for their stomach.

Truth be said, most of the Ababus of ODM  will never ever get to be
president of this country. Not to mention the fact that they will have to ride over another Odinga or his grandson to gain political mileage.

Political dynasty is real in Kenya

I have no authourity to judge or comment on the allegation that Nick Ruto is going to vie for  Turbo parliamentary seat. I have acknowledged the fact that political dynasties or rather family dynasties are all over the world.

The Odinga,Kenyatta and Moi’s families have dominated kenyan politics since 1961 and for some who may have been pleased when Fidel Odinga died,it was too early to celebrate a Odinga loss.

There is an upcoming Rosemary Odinga and in 2017,it is speculated that she will be going for Kibera Parliamentary seat-no doubts she deserves it. We have Ruth Odinga,Allay Odinga………… Laugh loud at those who think that Odinga dynasty is over.

Another political dynasty we have is the Moi family,this is a powerful brand :Moi ruled for more than 20 years and still we have his sons struggling to maintain their relevance. Project “Nick Ruto” may work if at all it exist but on my part I know it will happen if tested.

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