Has Exam Cheating in Kenya Been Eradicated?

This post is in response to some interesting events that have happened in Kenya with regards to examination results

First lets be clear, I think what the CS has achieved is commendable and laud his efforts

But …..

First a preamble

Kenya’s education system (academics) is defined largely by its two transition methods

a) Transition from primary to secondary school education schools

b) Transition from secondary education schools to University colleges and institutions

Previously there was a Primary education followed by two tiers of Secondary education labeled ‘O level’ and ‘A level’ before a 3 year University program making a 7-4-2-3 academic program for those who managed to successfully get through all stages at their first attempt. Of course there were some specialist courses at the University that required more years such as fields of medicine where the courses required 5 years to complete.

Prior to this system at the break of independence, Primary Education also had two tiers, while secondary education also had two tiers before University college but the number of years before college were much fewer.

The current system was a result of elaborate research initiated by the National government in response to growing concerns  that the academic model of the time had become obsolete or more precisely did not serve well the growing needs of the country.

The current system is an 8-4-4 system in which the first 8-4 years are geared towards ostensibly nurturing the younger minds to be more self reliant with practical life skills before going into higher education for those who qualify.

Of course like any system, there are now new concerns that the system overloads the students, quality is low and other concerns or complaints about the inadequacy of the system.

In this post I am not going to go into the merits, failures or successes or in fact any discussion about any of the academic models in Kenya or elsewhere

This article only takes a brief look into a practice and in fact a culture that crept in, first in very little bits, but eventually consumed the academic circle, and that is the culture of Exam Cheating

Why is Exam Cheating prevalent

The learning model in Kenya, (as in most “developing or merging” countries) is fashioned along the same model for access to opportunities. It is NOT based on a collaborative or cumulative model, but is based on a gated/fenced access, with a throttled pass model. Let me explain

When ordinarily a human wakes up there is one thing generally guaranteed, they can breathe freely and never have to think about quotas or allocations. As such there are no fences or access concerns. If however we crammed people into a space ship and sent them into outer space, we will suddenly need to develop hierarchies that determine who has priority access to which resources and that will include even the most basic or fundamental resources required for survival. This is the gating/fencing access am referring to.

So lets get back to planet earth and specifically, Kenya. Our history and present circumstances are largely influenced by the impact of colonial  occupation, and the subsequent turn of events after we gained independence. Do not get me wrong, am not blaming the colonials, but we have to acknowledge that most of present day Kenya revolves around western or colonial influence.

Back to the discussion, yes we had local kings, chiefs, warlords, and associated structure before the arrival of colonials. And am sure pre-colonial history will show the gated resource management. When the colonials invaded Africa, they fashioned there own type of gated access to resources. Among these gated mechanisms was the hierarchy within Administrative structure they implemented in which they installed persons they deemed loyal or at least somewhat compliant with their model. And then implement systems that furthered their perception of social norms. So the academic institutions were fashioned to catapult natives from ignorance into socially acceptable humans.

At this point I fast forward the discussion

Our human nature quickly outgrows any system we design, and therefore natural selection using such systems reaches saturation very quickly. What is the point? Well before saturation, its easy to use or deploy a system to naturally select qualifiers for access to resources, but however, once saturation is achieved, the only way to provide gated access to resources is by appointed or select “delegates” in turn, using some conjured mechanism of selection. Note that the selection of delegates is in itself another conjured mechanism.

In short, we can quickly move from a free for all access to resources, to a heavily gated, resource access system in just a few short moves. Take for instance the circumstances of people in war torn regions Allepo Syria, South Sudan, etc. But I digress

Colonial Kenya, and post independence Kenya, resources and opportunities that initially belonged to all Kenyans and were readily accessible instantly became limited resources and opportunities, that could only be accessed either as favours from the Administration or through some system or qualification process. Initially the system appeared to work, but gradually the majority of the population continually got equal access and opportunity to qualify but unfortunately the resource pool remained and todate remains stagnant or in fact is shrinking. The resource pool is includes formal employment in government, corporations or businesses, access to land or farming, opportunities for innovation, business etc

When a qualification system is saturated the it has to undergo restructuring. It can either become more restrictive e.g setting of tougher qualification criteria but which are usually inconsistent or out of sync with ultimate goals or benefits or the systems gets replaced entirely. Unfortunately governments are slow evolving creatures, therefore cannot change quickly enough to adapt, whereas people will naturally move into survival mode when faced with challenges turning misfortune into opportunity.

I would like at this juncture to state that the academic and opportunity models in Kenya is ridiculously absurd. Instead of focus on creating more resources such as wealth, expanded opportunity etc, we focus all our attention on establishing bigger or more elaborate fences and gates and the associated personnel to man these fences/gates. Phrases such as “utanguka mtihani” or “hutaweza hiyo kazi”, “huyo jamaa alishindwa” are the hallmark of the gated/fenced mindset resulting from this model. Yes its okay to admit that you have used such or similar phrases often

But again lets get back to the story on hand

If its not clear, we have a severe shortage of  (or perhaps debilitating restriction of access to ) resources in the country. The system of access to these resources, is through a limiting and limited gating/fencing off process and associated gate keeping mentality ( the wheeler-dealers, brokers, armed guards, cronies, relatives etc in higher office). Under these circumstances, any objective, fair and open qualification system is not able to fairly and objectively select qualified access to the resources, because either the system will get overloaded with qualified people, or setting up tougher qualification criteria succeed in locking out majority including well qualified and better suited persons, and the tough criteria does not necessarily reflect the required commitment or needs for the opportunities etc.

Based on these challenges people adapt, and unscrupulous characters take advantage of these gaps to create alternative or corrupt channels, that are far much easier to engage and work in, with instant and in many cases gratifying results. Over time these channels become networks and evolve into cultures and social norms. In this case, the networks involve the examiners, educators, institutions, security, storage and transport, parents and the students. Each and everyone of these players has benefited one way or another from exam cheating.

So we now reflect on two “successes” – It has been reported that the ‘surprise’ and early announcement of results is considered a success in that the corruption cartels were not able to influence these results

It is also reported that there were fewer “higher scoring” marks per student even in schools that have a record of performing well in the past.

So the questions are

  1. How is poor performance of students considered a mark of success?
  2. Secondly, if ambush works this year and maybe the next, how is ambush considered to be a long term measure of, or indeed a strategy for success?
  3. Has the problem really been solved or did we create a wormhole that we perhaps successfully sneaked into?

We will await a comprehensive audit, but I can say this, its possible the networks could have been subdued, or were not as pronounced this year, but exam cheating is not an issue that will be resolved in one year or regime, simply because everything else ( opportunities, resources, networks) remains in the same state.

You will note that I will not even go into the discussion on quality of teachers, curriculum, study hours, extra learning tuition, costs, workload, (and hyuk hyuk hyuk Staddy 1 laptops and electricity). All these are topics on their own.

There is simply no cause for celebration

But in closing I have the following reflections to ponder on

  • In advanced countries, students are usually allowed to carry a “cheat sheet” into an examination center
  • We do not encourage “cramming” but yet expect students to “cram” for the exams
  • An experienced professional will always refer to a guide-book or instructions manual

Over to you folks

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala nominated to head EACC- Dont Laugh

Uhuru has given up on fighting corruption and nominated the least qualified person to pray for corruption to go away. Surely, thieves are laughing all the way. I now fully support Hon. Millie Odhiambos utterances. Thing are getting stupid by the day


President Uhuru Kenyatta has nominated retired head of the Anglican Church Eliud Wabukala to chair the anti-corruption commission and has sent his name to Parliament for vetting.

President Kenyatta sent his name to the National Assembly in a communication that was read to the House by Speaker Justin Muturi during Tuesday’s special sitting.

Archbishop Wabukala was among six individuals who had been shortlisted for interviews to head of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

They were interviewed for the job by the Public Service Commission on November 17.


Others who eyed the job were Mr William Kirwa, Mr Philemon Mwaisaka, Mr Peter Ondieki, Ms Rose Osoro and Erastus Iguna.

Parliament has 14 days from the date the Speaker tables the names to vet and approve or reject Archbishop Wabukala.

The House, before consideration, has seven days to seek public’s views on the candidate’s suitability

But on Tuesday, the House voted to extend the period of vetting by not more than 14 days to factor in the fact that MPs will be going on their recess.


“We have to do this by January 4. We are asking Parliament for 14 more days to make it 28,” Mr Samuel Chepkonga, the chair of the House Justice and Legal Affairs Committee said.

Should Archbishop Wabukala be approved by the House, he will replace Mr Philip Kinisu who was forced to resign after a company associated with him was named as a beneficiary in the Sh1.6 billion National Youth Service scandal.

Aged 65, Mr Wabukala had set himself apart as a soft spoken stickler for rules who had led the Anglican Church to condemn corruption in the country.


“Owing to the pivotal role that the chair of the EACC in driving the fight against corruption within our society, it is advisable that the concerned committee expeditiously proceeds to notify the nominee and the public,” Mr Muturi.

Archbishop Wabukala currently chairs the National Anti-corruption Steering Committee, a government entity formed in November 2004 that “carries public education, sensitisation and awareness against corruption.”

The committee’s mandate has been renewed several times after its terms expired.

By Mzee Posted in kenya

This Is Pathetic Even By Miguna’s Standards.

I came through something that just stunned me. Miguna was back at this favourite Jeff Koinange show in some alleged race for the Nairobi governor and then he gets into this ugly outburst about people wanting to or actually raping Esther Passaris.

There is pathetic and then there is Miguna who takes the same to a whole new level. For a guy like Miguna, a good friend of mine, who has actually been accused of and charged with rape right here in Toronto this is frightening talk.

Miguna’s rape case just  to be clear was a big fiasco. Miguna was publicly arrested and humiliated by the Toronto police who seemed to have their own axe to grind with him. The cops handcuffed Miguna right out of his office when they could simply have summoned him to come to a police station.

It turned out that the alleged rape victim in the Miguna case was one of Miguna’s clients, a Kenyan woman who had applied for refugee status in Canada and Miguna was representing her. Under investigation it turned out that the alleged victim had lied in her application for refugee status by claiming that the friend who came with her was not a relative.

The police found out that the friend was actually the alleged victim’s sister. This is when things got very complicated for the alleged victim. The investigation concluded that since the alleged victim had lied in her refugee application forms that fact will be used against her in the actual trial on the basis that if you lied before to get status in Canada why should anyone believe you now.

Consequently the case collapsed and Miguna then sued the Toronto police up to the Queen of England for the humiliation and got a whole load of money and pretty much left the country. Quite frankly nobody knows if Miguna raped the alleged victim or not. Only Miguna and the allged victim know that.

Now here we have Miguna on a pretty heavy tirade against Esther Passaris on matters of rape and Miguna’s excuse for his brutal sexist and stupid behaviour is that Esther had accused him of being a rapist.

If you thought Trump was ugly and mediocre to the point of insanity, welcome to Miguna’s world.

Here it is. Lovely country we have.


Corruption Owns Me. Uhuru Declares. A bloody shame.

In probably one of the most pathetic public shows of incompetence, defeat and hopelessness, Uhuru Kenyatta told Kenyans and the whole world that his hands are tied by corruption and there is nothing he can do about it. Really?

In practical terms Uhuru Kenyatta is saying that he, Uhuru Kenyatta is corruption and corruption is him. We know that. And Uhuru thinks we are supposed to laugh and be happy about this. I don’t think so and the president is hearing it loud and clear from Kenyans of all walks of life. Uhuru is a dismal failure for the job of the chief executive of our country. That too we know.

As Uhuru cries and weeps in State House during another meat feast his prized corruption guru, Anne Waihuru is back in the public light appearing before one of the comic fronts pretending to be fighting corruption, the PAC. The stuff coming out of there is frightening.

People who worked at the NYS are giving details of how Waihuru was siphoning billions out of the NYS in a full length scam that at least robbed the country off Kshs 1.8 billion and counting.

The same Waihuru whom Uhuru defended until he couldn’t cry anymore has herself been cleared by the same phony PAC and other fake anti-corruption outfits.

And Uhuru says his hands are tied. At least Uhuru can ask Waihuru to untie his hands so we can at least clean up just the mayhem for the NYS. Is that OK Mr. President? Maybe not. Hands still tied? Yes.

That whole Uhuru conference on corruption at State House was a terrible circus. Just what we have come to expect. But I am very happy with the vigorous response of Kenyans. The republic is awake and pretty pissed. Very good.


Remarks by Johnson Sakaja during TNA Special NDC at Kasarani

Full text of speech made by Hon. Sakaja Johnson, Nominated MP, Aspiring Governor and Chairman The National Party, during the TNA Special National Delegates Convention held on September 8, 2016 at Kasarani Indoor Arena.

“Honorable delegates, today I have the bittersweet privilege to address you all for the last time as your national chairman.

Almost five years ago, I stood before you all, before the entire nation at a similar gathering on the 20th of May 2012, under the symbolic gazing eye of our founding father Jomo Kenyatta at the KICC. On that day, the hopes of a nation were revived as we launched one of the greatest party that this country has ever seen; TNA – The National Alliance.
It was a day filled with pomp and pageantry, style and colour as Kenyans from all walks of life, Kenyans from all faiths, came together to affirm their belief in the promise of a better tomorrow.

We believed that against all odds our country needed to move beyond the poison of past politics to the promise of the path to prosperity. From the excruciating emptiness of ethnicity to the triumph of true togetherness. We believed that together we could rise again and usher in a new era in our country.

And the journey began, We traversed the country, Ndhiwa in Homabay to Wamagana in Tetu, from Lokwar Nakuse in Turkana to Isebania in Kuria, we sold our dream.

I’d like to thank each and every one of you who believed in this dream. I’d like to specially recognize some of our fallen comrades who believed and dreamt with us – The Late Hon. Muchai of Kabete, The late Hon. Jose of Gatundu, The late Hon. Kamakia of Ngobit Ward and The Late Hon. George Nyoike of Oloolua, who fell by the wayside. I pray that they are smiling down on us from heaven proud that we still believe.

Many of you will remember our first by elections in Kangema and Kajiado, when we first tasted victory, and the entire country took note of the new kid in the block. I am personally grateful that you stood by our President Uhuru Kenyatta and that you stood by me as your National Chairman. When many doubted that such a young man, then at 27 could lead a party anywhere, you believed. I was motivated by the words of Paul to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12, that ………… I was guided by the words of Max De Pree when he said “the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality, the last is to say thank you, in between the leader is a servant.” Today I say thank you and that I’m eternally grateful for the honor to lead. You owned this dream even before we unveiled it to the world; you believed.

When the sceptics said that certain communities can not lead this country, we believed that Kenyans were looking at the content of the character of their next president and not the structure of his DNA or ethnicity. We believed.

When our detractors told us to keep our prayers within the privacy of our bedrooms and not in prayer rallies and meetings – we believed in the power of the Almighty and we responded with resounding chants of “sio uchawi ni maombi”. We believed.

When the world called us suspects and told us choices have consequences, we believed in the beauty of our dreams and the greatness of our country Kenya. When they said that we would be a pariah state by electing Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto little did they know that Barack Obama and His holiness the Pope would soon be trooping to this great land; reaffirming the belief that Kenyans had in their leadership and signaling that they too believed. We believed.

My fellow delegates , you believed. That Even at the darkest moments, when even our candidate was encumbered by naysayers and prophets of doom; when the rain of skeptism and the storm of disbelief threatened to extinguish the embers of our hopes and led him to temporarily seek to defer his dream YOU gathered at the Multimedia University and reminded him that you believe. We believed.

It became a journey of pain and joy, sweat and tears – you mobilized your families, your neighbors, your friends and foes alike around a movement that you believed in; we run the greatest campaign this country has ever seen. Not fueled by money, glitz or glamour but fueled by your hope and faith. You made sacrifices for which we are forever indebted; you moved beyond your comfort zone. We won because you believed.

Our victory signaled a new era for this country. We reignited the hopes of a new generation of Kenyans; and reincarnated the spirit of our founding fathers. We reminded the youth of our country, the trustees of Kenya’s posterity that they too can lead. That they needed to be defined by more than just an over quoted statistic but by success and opportunities. We lived true to our promise that we would not be a party that only sought those with millions of shillings in their accounts but those with millions of ideas in their minds. This is why we were able to get the highest number of young Kenyans elected into office. This is why we were able to get more than half of all the women elected as members of parliament in single member constituencies. From Esther Gathogo, to Cecily Mbarire, from the indomitable Naomi Shabaan to the first ever elected Maasai Woman Peris Tobiko – our Mama Simba Esther Murugis and the famous Alices – wahome and Ngang’a. We did it because you believed.

And today, we stand here together; to make history, to usher our country’s politics to the next level and to reaffirm that we still believe.

We still believe that we can continue on the path of prosperity and transformation even as we unite our people. That the beauty of our country lies in the diversity of its citizens. That no matter where we are from, no matter what we do, we still believe that every Kenyan wants the same thing – to go about their lives peacefully, to make something out of themselves and to guarantee their children a future.

WE still believe that power must remain in the hands of the people, and that we shall not be bystanders in our own story.
My fellow delegates, this dream has never changed.”

The dream that began over 50 years ago when Jomo Kenyatta, Bildad Kaggia, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, my role model Thomas Joseph Mboya, among others, united against all odds to fight a colonial power and to deliver this country from the shackles of imperialism. It was their unity that birthed this great nation. They believed.

In the late 80s and early 90s, the second generation of a free kenya came together to fight against single party rule, and against all odds they ushered in a new era of multi party democracy. It is their unity that delivered their victory. The believed.

Even now as we consider the role that our generation must play, we realize that the dreams of the Muites and the Matibas, the dreams of those who fought for Multi Party Democracy were not to drive us into tribal cocoons in the name of multiple Political parties but to give us freedom to choose our leaders and to express our political convictions in a manner that unites rather than divides.

Their fight was never about driving us into a Luo party or a Kamba party, a kikuyu movement or a Luhya alliance, their dream was to usher us into political parties where a Maasai in Kilgoris and a Somali in Habaswein will find similar expression; into parties where a Giriama and a Turkana will focus on the issues that unite them rather than those that divide them. That Kenyans from different communites would be proud members of the same party not because of their tribal kingpins but because of their common issues. And that they would be free to express themselves within those parties without undue discrimination.

WE still believe that this should be the case today. WE believe so because we have seen a beautiful reality. That the hopes of the Kikuyu are not at all opposed to the dreams of the Luo; that the aspirations of the Luhya, do not negate the wishes of the Meru; that the pain that Mama Chelangat in Bomet feels when she can not feed her daughter is the same pain that Mama kamau in kigumo feels when she can not feed her son; that the same joy that Mama Jakoyo feels when her son passes his KCPE exam and gets placement in Lenana school is the same jubilation that Mama Duale feels when he also passes his exam in Garissa and joins Lenana; and that our politics should not seek to divide Jakoyo and Duale when they become best of friends in school yet they have spent time sharing experiences and expressing their dreams; we can not allow a type of politics that seeks to divide. This is why we are here today.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is for this reason that we have purposed to move together into a party that gives life to our beliefs. Because we still believe. We have purposed to join other parties who also believe that for Kenya to move forward, for unity to be our marching anthem, we must come together. That the party of believers, the party of kusema na kutenda, will enter the mbus, new ford kenya, united democratic forum, tip tip, pnu, ford people, grand national union together with other partners and move into Jubilee Party. That we will put aside our personal political ambitions and agree to serve this country and coming generations.

For there is no higher calling. That the clarion call of Tuko Pamoja in Mombasa can be responded to by Khulialala in Bungoma, That twehamwe in Nyandarua can be echoed by Kititenebo in Narok, That Waislajirna in Mandera can cause Wankanyakla in Kondele and that that Wankanyakla in Kondele can bring about a resounding Kimi Kibagenge in Kericho and pamoja mzeiya in Dandora in Nairobi. Marshalling all Kenyans to join hands in one accord – Tuko Pamoja. That we will create a lasting legacy of a truly democratic party where nominations are free and fair and where every member has an equal opportunity to exist, vie and lead.

Finally, even as the curtains come down on The National Alliance a party that was driven by people who’s philosophy rang true to the words of Margaret Mead when she said ‘never doubt that a small group of thoughtful concerned citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever had’ let it be known, let it be remembered, let it be written and let it go down in history that a great party The National Alliance Existed; and that this great party paved the way for an even greater party Jubilee.

We still believe that our faith is unshakeable, we still believe that our march is unstoppable, and we still believe that our victory is inevitable.

God bless you, God bless Jubilee and God bless the Great Republic of Kenya
Tuko Pamoja.

By Cont-ED Posted in kenya