Opinion : WITH THE LIKES OF RUTH AND ROY, KENYA HAS THE TECHNICAL KNOW-HOW TO DO DEVELOP HER INFRASTRUCTURE

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By Dorcas Sarkozy

Still on Ruth Chemutai Kiprono, the young lady who reportedly garnered a 1st Class Honors degree in Science, Economics and Statistics. This young lady excelled in STEM in every conceivable way of the acronym/buzzword that is all the rage in education circles – certainly stateside.

Science; Technology; Engineering & Mathematics.

I am not sure what area/field of Science Ms. Kiprono studied but she achieved a 1st Class Honors in a field that is a pre-requisite for Technology and Engineering – certainly stateside.

In studying Science, Econ and Stats, she excelled in Mathematics.

This young lady has the foundation to write her ticket – in a global economy that puts a premium in the fields she seemingly excelled in – to a fault. I say “to a fault” because I have met students of classical ballet and philosophy and French Literature who can code with the best of them while running circles around Robotics major from Carnegie Mellon. And these students of the “soft skills” – as Arts/Humanities are condescendingly referred to in some circles – do so with aplomb and an awareness most engineers I know have difficulties mustering!

For now, let’s stick with the young lady from Baringo County.

That she opted for a position with the Energy Regulatory Commission is very telling. She opted for a field where her STEM training will be utilized. In looking at the agency’s “mandate” on its website, two items caught my attention. The agency is mandated to:

– Provide such information and STATISTICS to the Minister as he may from time to time require; and

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– Collect and maintain energy data.

(For now, I’ll overlook the patently sexist language in the agency’s webpage – because the Minister CAN just as easily be a “She”)

That being the case, can someone tell me why China had/has to import junior engineers to build, run AND maintain the SGR even as Kenyans with such potential go unemployed and/or underemployed?

Bae’s friend remains fond of the expression “It is not rocket science – and even if it is, it is not”.

Simplified, the idea that Africa or Kenya for that matter does “not have the technical expertise or know-how” is absolutely rubbished by (a) Ruth’s academic accomplishments and (b), stories of young men such as Roy Allela who reportedly created the Sign-IO gloves whose design intent is to facilitate better communication between the deaf and those who do not understand/know sign language! (“Meet the Kenyan Engineer Who Created Gloves That Turn Sign Language Into Audible Speech” – BOTWC January 2019).

Rocket science can be learned by anyone with the desire and aptitude to do so.

This young lady’s plight should be an inflection point that changes the conversation about how Kenya shortchanges its youth; its best and brightest.

It should be a tipping point for the country’s leaders – at the national and county level – to realize how much untapped potential they have.

I cannot think of a reason why the country that originated MPESA; definitely popularized its usage, cannot do the same for her infrastructure projects or with the body of a damn commuter bus!

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Let me re-state that: With such headlines as “Ekwee Ethuro, Kaparo and Willy Mutunga demand lavish perks” – Daily Nation February 2019), I KNOW the reason why Kenya cannot do for her infrastructure and food security and rapid transit buses what she is now known for thanks to MPESA!

The country pays through the nose for importing technical know-how from China and Japan and now South Africa because it has twisted priorities.

It does so because the likes of Willy Mutunga who characterized Kenya as a “bandit economy” have joined the “bandits” and now wants to raid the national coffers to the tune of “Sh1.6 million in monthly pension, a lump sum payoffs of Sh24 million and monthly fuel perks of Sh300,000 each” – for life!

Now you know why Ruth has to rely on the kindness of strangers to land a job and why Kenya imports technical know-how it has available locally.

Now you know why our roads are highways of death – even as we ignore talent capable of delivering the likes.

Let’s change that!

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