Education: Kenya’s Lacking Covid Response, and How to Improve.

Admittedly, everything has been a lot harder for everyone since the realities of Covid — 19 became our new normal. Some of these challenges affect the very core of how education is administered across the world. For the context of this piece, I will focus on what has largely been portrayed as Kenya's response, or lack thereof. The things you see online and on the news largely portray embarrassment, anger, and bewildering despair from multiple stakeholders.

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Image Courtesy, UNICEF

A couple of months ago, there was a video of young girls at school premises, being sprayed by knapsack sprayers — apparently, with disinfectants to contain the spread of Covid — 19. This was captured on camera and broadcasted across media platforms. It was disturbing to watch, not just for the utter lack of decorum for those girls and lacking understanding of the basic guidelines on how Covid spreads and containing it but also the extent to which those expected to lead the fight against the disease are ill-equipped. The lacking government support and planning in response from the Health and Education ministries was evident. …

In 1944 there was the invasion of Normandy, where allied troops focused their attention on the beaches — they staged their counter-invasion of Europe, and in effect won the Second World War. In business, the idea of a Beachhead Strategy focuses on resources being dedicated to a smaller market area (product/ category/ segment) to turn it into a stronghold before advancing to the broader market segments or industries. It is the conventional way of dominating smaller segments of a market, product, or industry and leveraging that capacity to dominate the rest of the focus.

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Retail in East Africa remains a very interesting subject today. With the collapse of Uchumi Supermarkets, Nakumatt Holdings, and the current mess at Tuskys Group of Supermarkets. I previously served as a Head of Strategy and Business Development at Tuskys Group where my role oversaw Expansion, Rationalization, Product Development, Partnerships, and the broader aspects of Business Development — I’ll volunteer that there are many aspects of retail I have documented since my time in that role, more on a scholarly aspect than opinion. One of the subjects that fit the beachhead strategies involves Private Label Manufacturing, in which I oversaw a rollout of “Tuskys Choice” — a commercially lucrative model of partnering with manufacturers under contract manufacturing with commercial interests driven by loyalty and price points. …

What has changed in the wider world? What do you think about leadership and leading? How much has power shifted? Who holds it, and who is effectively using or transmitting it? Admittedly, writing about Leadership and Power is not my primary focus but events as they occur in business, politics, social spheres, and just about every traditional leadership logical sense has shifted — away from what has existed for decades. Adaptation to moments in time is a lot louder today than it has ever been at any given time in history.

Recent developments in Geopolitics — whether it is the Hong Kong protests, The Arab Spring, The Sudan Uprising, Black Lives Matter, or even the most recent developments with Ending Police brutality in Nigeria’s #EndSARS speak volumes on the shift of power. The shift is even more glaring with the policy changes, adaptations, and shifts in the American political contest between the Democrats and the Republicans. Traditional control, leadership, and offering from almighty leadership has gradually been wiped out, or in more diplomatic terms, evolved a great deal. …

We never really think about how we learned greetings growing up. Often, parents and guardians are excited, and competitively so when a toddler says ‘Mama’ or ‘Papa’ as their first words — depending on which native or characteristic language is spoken in a household. Language and how to communicate is something I graciously credit my father for teaching me, deliberately and subconsciously. I think my father was very ‘aspirational’, by a typical African household’s standards. Like most ‘forward-looking’ kids, English was the preferred mode of communication — perhaps informed by the need to be articulate in future career paths. It helped a great deal, that my father was largely linguistic. He spoke and still speaks impeccable English. His friends and folks in the neighborhood always took a stab at his masterly of the ‘Queens tongue’. …

The Pride Lands of Africa, The Kingdom of Wakanda, The African nation of Zamunda, The Equatorial Kundu and The State of Sangala. There are thousands of fictional African states showcased in various television series and movies for decades. These are just a few populous ones from Lion King, Black Panther, Coming to America, The West Wing and 24. Often, there is extensive outrage online whenever a picture depicts an African nation in undesired light. In recent times, there have been concerns about Lion King having a setting in East Africa — but lacking in featuring Kenyan Artistes. These complaints stretch further to Disney’s trademarking of “Hakuna Matata”, the alleged theft of the Kenyan Kiondo by a Japanese enterprise and the appropriation of the Kikoi as British, negating its Kenyan history.

Various media reports have brought forth a discussion of the personality that African Countries and their kin are given. From pictures of malady, craving or supreme destitution to giving an account of fear-mongering and turmoil in a political challenge; there has consistently been a feeling of shamefulness — which thanks to the digital and social media age, African netizens have been cautious in pushing back and moving in the direction of making a personality that either speaks to them or their ideal standpoint. …

For the past ten years, terrorism is a subject I have had to contend with on a personal level. Whether it is meeting someone new, explaining a physical defect either from a direct inquiry or from personal insecurity I feel necessary to get past so that I can focus on other matters at hand. I have always avoided weighing in on a deeper or intellectual level. As it were, on 20th December 2010, I got caught up in an attack orchestrated by Al Shabaab — a jihadist fundamentalist group based in East Africa, primarily in Somalia and which has pledged allegiance to the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda. …


Zack Mukewa

Interdisciplinary Strategist. Interested in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Technology, and Economic Development.

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