Swiss envoy roots for Uongozi drive

Monday December 17 2012


Swiss Ambassador Jacques Pitteloud says Kenya is either on the verge of going back to the dark days or a positive revolution.

Speaking during the launch of the Uongozi TV show at the weekend, Mr Pitteloud, who spoke on behalf of donors who have supported the civic initiative, said Uongozi was meant to inculcate a positive political culture among Kenyans.

“People should be talking about issues and the future of Kenya, which is what politics is about,” he said in Nairobi, adding that revolutions do not happen in a day.

Discouraged people

Nation Media Group Chief Executive Linus Gitahi said voter apathy and the findings of a survey last week that youths were more interested in knowing how to procure abortions rather where to find jobs had convinced him that Uongozi initiative was long overdue.

“We thought with a new Constitution, that is probably the best in Africa, or even the world, voter apathy would be a thing of the past. We were wrong and we must ask ourselves ‘why’,” he said.

“Hopelessness has discouraged people from registering. They are asking themselves what voting had done to improve their circumstances,” said Mr Gitahi, calling for Uongozi 2 and Uongozi 3 to address Kenya’s political and socio-economic problems.

Narrowed down

Uongozi is a civic initiative by Inuka-Kenya, whose chief executive is former presidential adviser on governance, Mr John Githongo.

It is supported by USaid, UKaid, Embassy of Switzerland in Kenya, Government of Japan, UNDP and Nation Media Group, which has provided Sh27.4 million to the initiative in advertising support so far.

Mr Githongo said the initiative started with 12,000 applications from the 47 counties and Kenyans abroad who have been narrowed down to the 16 participants who are now featuring in the show on NTV.

“Uongozi is about Kenyans building links and participating in shaping their leadership,” said Mr Githongo.