Thursday, February 20, 2014

News from Nairobi

MIASMU director Father Michael Kirwen gives way to Professor Eric Aseka after a brief introduction during the public lecture.
Students and field assistants from the Contemporary Political and Economic Realities in Kenya class team up to present a skit during the PR session.

By James Chege
Maryknoll Institute of African Studies

Public Lecture and PR Session 

On Feb. 12, the Maryknoll Institute of African Studies sponsored  a public lecture on the contemporary political and economic realities in Kenya. This lecture is arranged once per semester to give students an overview of  political and economic issues.

The lecture was given by Eric Aseka, a full professor of Kenyatta University and current vice-chancellor of the International Leadership University based in Nairobi.  The lecture touched on various issues affecting Kenya and the political landscape. Aseka talked at length about Kenya’s current state leadership, noting that it is driven more by selfish interests than the common interest of the nation. Sentiments were shared by many who use clich├ęs such as “It’s our turn to eat!” which serve as indication that the leaders are out to eat the fruits of independence instead of increasing the productivity through using the said fruits. The lecture also covered some of the challenges facing Kenya and the reasons these problems exist.

Thereafter the first pastoral reflection session of the semester was held, with skits presented by students from the Contemporary Political and Economic Realities in Kenya class and those of the Sage Philosophy: The Root of African Philosophy class, taught by Edward Oyugi and Dr. Oriare Nyarwath.

The first class presented a skit about a young man looking to get permission from his parents to join the priesthood. Unfortunately his parents refused to give their blessing as they wanted to see grandchildren. The young man was then torn between two decisions; to abandon his calling to the priesthood or to shun his parents, culture and traditions and join the priesthood.

In the second skit a council of elders meeting had been convened to deliberate and give judgment on an issue concerning wife inheritance. This scenario pitted folk philosophers against their sage counterparts in a heated debate on whether the brother of the deceased should inherit his wife. From this several arguments and counter arguments emerged from the two camps with the conclusion being that the man should not inherit the widow but instead should help provide for his dead brother’s family. The day closed with a plenary session where all students gathered and shared their views on the presentations and various questions raised.