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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Why ranking cannot be wished away

By JOSEPH MAKUKU
Ranking has been in existence for a long time. In the cabinet of the disciples of Jesus Christ, Simon     Peter rose through the ranks to  the position of the rock upon which the church stands today. On the other hand Judas Iscariot was dropped when he was involved in subversion. Ranking of any nature creates competition which in turn leads to improved performance. When the parameters of ranking are adequately stringent, discipline in the fields under scrutiny is upheld leading to checks on any infringement.
It is true the practice of ranking traverses all spheres of life. On the cultural front we have over the years ranked various artistes for instance astrologers, herbalists, musicians and even movie stars. For decades Sheikh Yahya Hussein remained the undisputed leader in East and Central Africa in the world of astrology. Herbalists across the continents are in perpetual struggle for greatness and that is why they have become permanent features in the advertisement circles. At any given time there is a musician who is topping the charts. Our own Lupita Nyong’o was ranked so highly in the Oscar awards in 2014 thus earning an Academy award for best supporting actress in the movie, 12 years a slave.
Religions world over are referred to in accordance of followership. Catholic leads the park in as far as membership goes. It is however in the sports arena where massive rankings are witnessed. This is because of the vastness of the disciplines undertaken in this area. In football, Federation of International Football Associations  rankings are released every other day to show the position of the world’s leading sport at any given time. The current top five in Fifa ranking are Germany, Argentina, Colomdia, Belgium and Netherlands. Algeria is ranked at number one in Africa. It is encouraging to note that the Kenyan league management improved in ranking the standoff between FKF and KPL notwithstanding. The Williams, Serena and Venus, have ruled the tennis world for several years while Roger Federer, the Swiss professional player, is ranked 2nd  by Association of Tennis Players. Other names that have dominated various disciplines in sporting world courtesy of ranking include Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt, Froome and Alia Atkinson.
There is a debate going on regarding ranking of schools based on performance in national examinations. The government insists on nonranking while education stakeholders hold a different view. Ranking in education has always provided motivation for improved performance through competition. Schools compete in various fields like music, drama, debate and science as evidenced in the many trophies that decorate their cabinets. It is not clear whether the ministry banned any form of ranking so that participants in athletics will have to leave without knowing the winners. If the above situation obtains then what is the fate of the trophies held. The irony of the matter is that the enforcers of the no-ranking directive are themselves creatures of ranking at one stage on the way to the top.    
 In the world of business, companies are ranked according to the turnover, growth in profitability, management structure and even corporate social responsibility strategy. The company of the year award is a living testimony of ranking. Just the other day the Federation of Kenya Employers  chairperson, Jacquiline Mugo was feted for joining the list of Top 50 influential persons in Africa. As this was happening a record 290 newcomers including basketball superstar Michael Jordan were joining Forbes billionaire’s club. Kenya Revenue Authority rewards corporations based on their tax remittance. It is through such ranking procedure that the taxman comes up with the best tax payers.
Sometimes ranking attains new meaning when we find ourselves having to attend the annual Most Ugly Dog show. What happens if ones dog is not ranked as the ugliest?