Archive for June 2007

Kibaki re-election now more plausible than 2 years ago

A year and half years ago Kibaki was nearly a write-off in terms of re-election. Chances of Kibaki re-election keep getting a boost each passing day. The promising budget and economic performance of the country will be his main campaign platform. He has done well and this will be the one thing his critics will not counter successfully.

Quite unnoticed was his near-triumphant entry to Luo Nyanza last week after a successful tour of the North Rift last month. Luo-Nyanza is considered the bedrock of anti-Kibaki leadership and Kibaki has avoided touring the region like a plague since the defeat in 2005 constitution referendum. His visit was devoid of the expected jeering and booing and instead was cheering and respectful welcome. The presumed Luo-Nyanza kingpin, Raila Odinga was at hand with other regional leaders to welcome the president to their turf and some were even quoted praising Kibaki's leadership.

Kibaki has a lot of patching up to do on some key areas that may cost him a second term:

  1. Insecurity esp in his bedrock support of central Kenya. This region for the last two months have been terrorized and traumatised by the Mungiki adherents. Emerging clashes in other areas such as Mt. Elgon need to be cut in the bud for the Kibaki team to convince the residents that Kibaki is worth their votes.
  2. Arrogant and high-headedness among his generals. His key cabinet figures like Michuki and Karume is no secret that they bring more wrath than votes. Being octogenarian is a non-issue but inflexibility, dictator-tendencies, dishonesty, sleaze and such vice is unacceptable. Why would such liabilities like Kiraitu be seen to be Kibaki's key campaigners.
  3. Slow Infrastructural developments. Despite improvements in building infrastructure and huge budgetary allocations in this area, no secret that Kenyans are disillusioned at the slow pace of rehabilitating key road networks all over the country.
  4. Inconclusive anti-corruption measures: Despite the low levels of bribing taking place in public service amenities like passport applications, ID cards, chiefs, police etc the corruption perception is still high. The fact that Goldenberg and anglo-leasing theft was not dealt with conclusively is a minus for Kibaki
  5. DP/Narc/Narc Kenya squabbles: These are key parties linked to Kibaki's past, present and future. Even if party affiliation is deemed insignificant by Kibaki peers, it is the only vehicle that political management is enforced by Kenyans. If you are a good contractor, ability to make other people's residents magnificent, yet yours is in shambles, leaking and stinking is telling. Charity begins at home.
  6. Ignoring constitutional reforms. Kibaki had the golden opportunity to write Kenya's history in golden letters like the late Kijana Wamalwa would have put it. Calls for constitutional reforms were not stupid. They were grounded on a great urge to re-correct the path that Kenya as a country was taking in terms of governance, political and economic management, social needs and to reflect the ordinary Kenyans wish of how they intend to be ruled. Just because Moi was out did not mean all the constitutional needs were adequately addressed. Viewing constitutional based opposition as empty debes was wrong. Debate that Kenyans rejected the Wako draft did not necessarily mean that Kenyans said NO to comprehensive constitutional reforms. Kibaki had the chance to rise above all individual, political and sectarian interests and spearhead a conclusive and Kenyan friend constitutional reforms. In their victory, the nay-sayers of the 2005 referendum indicated acceptance of Kibaki's leadership in spearheading the reform process. He had the political and religious goodwill which he burnt up under the Mugumo tree.
  7. I have a feeling that Kibaki has lost touch of the ordinary mwananchi, the mwananchi's needs, worries, fears, expectations and hopes are not in his mind. Economic prosperity is a smokescreen that has deluded Kibaki and his team that all is well. They are in seven heavens forgetting that there are a myriad hells down here that need to be addressed as well.

by sirken

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COMMENTARY : Kibaki’s hands-off style drives economy

Watching Finance minister Amos Kimunya read the Budget speech yesterday, President Mwai Kibaki must have been quietly satisfied that his five-year term is coming to a close with the style of economic management he had pledged to install working as intended.

He might have had reason to look back to his acceptance speech on being declared the Narc presidential candidate in 2002.

During that occasion, Mr Kibaki had referred, almost wistfully, to the style of leadership practised back in the reign of President Jomo Kenyatta.

He was referring both to the ways in which the civil service was run and the economy managed during the time of Mzee Kenyatta, who had ruled the country from independence in 1963 up to his death in 1978.

Indeed, references to that period were an essential feature of Mr Kibaki’s campaigns since he first sought the presidency in 1992, with his pitch always harking a great deal on his successful stint as Finance and Economic Planning minister between 1969 under Mzee Kenyatta on to the period he held the docket under President Moi up to 1981, and also to his educational background as a Makerere and London School of Economics-trained economist.

Another common mantra of the campaigns was taxation and how the money collected could be put to good use instead of disappearing into bottomless pockets.

Up to today, exhortations for people to pay their taxes are a common feature of President Kibaki’s speeches.

Apart from his stint as Finance minister, the President had served as assistant minister for Finance between 1963 and 1965 and as minister for Commerce and Industry between 1965 and 1969.

Thus the President was always a key player in Kenya’s economic management during the early years of unprecedented growth, and is credited, together with Mr Tom Mboya, of crafting the free market policies that catapulted Kenya’s economy way ahead of its neighbours.

With the economy very much on the mend since Mr Kibaki made it to State House on his third attempt at the end of 2002, it is easy to make the case that the credit goes not to the two men who have served the Treasury docket during that period — Mr Kimunya and his predecessor Mr David Mwiraria — but to the policies established which basically emphasised going back to the basics.

Radical policy shifts

For Kibakinomics, if it can be termed so, has never been about radical policy shifts, but the much more conservative plan of simply doings things in the proved and tested ways.

It is about ensuring that the basic rules of bookkeeping are observed and about giving Treasury, and the entire civil service, the freedom and latitude to operate without too much political interference.

This is in stark contrast to President Moi, whose tendency to want a say in every little decision eventually neutered the rest of government as ministers and PSs were perpetually looking over their shoulders and could not make any decision without reference to State House.

Under Moi, also, was promoted the culture of political fixers and wheeler-dealers who, claiming authority from State House, could bully ministers and top civil servants to force decisions and policies that were geared to benefiting private interests. Indeed, under President Kibaki, there has been a great deal of emphasis on civil service reform geared towards achieving efficiency. The reforms have also had the effect of insulating the civil service from political pressure simply by demanding that all officers be responsible for their actions, with little recourse to the ‘‘orders from above’’ that were used to explain away anything during the Moi era.

In harking back to the Kenyatta years, however, questions have always been asked whether President Kibaki was looking backwards to a command economy rather than into the future.

But as it can be seen in the last five or so years, wistful references to the past have not stopped his government from enthusiastically embracing new ideas.

The Treasury, the Ministry of Planning and all other government ministries and departments at the forefront of policy design and implementation are packed with youthful technocrats, many with backgrounds in international financial and development institutions, who have been given free rein to drive key reforms.

Thus, while it may seem that the Kibaki Government is dominated by dinosaurs whose mindset goes back a century, the hands-off approach has ensured that those directly in charge have the freedom to do their work.

But despite everything, not even President Kibaki has been unable to resist the temptation to have decisions made on political considerations.

President Moi, before him, had his infamous Youth Fund and Women’s Fund which amounted to nothing more than pre-election bribery.

President Kibaki has his equivalents too, the difference being that they are funded directly from the Treasury rather than through public collections.

Also, the money is not being dished out freely at political rallies, but through structures that are supposed to ensure it is used for the intended purpose, and that it will be paid back.

The biggest fear as the General Election approaches, however, is whether there will be the temptation to raid the Treasury for campaign funds.

President Kibaki’s past political campaigns have been privately funded. But he was in the opposition then. There are indications now that many in his campaign see no reason to solicit for private funds when they have Treasury at their disposal.

There is evidence that those in high office who promoted continuation of the Anglo Leasing and associated scandals actively argued the need to raise political funds.

The fact that there has been no will to take action on those implicated is an indication that the motivation has not changed.

Publication Date: 6/15/2007

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The 2007-08 Kimunya budget blues

The finance minister Amos Kimunya will be reading the budget most likely on Thursday 14th June. As we all know, the budget is the most important statement any government gives in any year. It outlines in detail how the government intends to raise revenue and how it intends to spend it. Nearly all the revenue is raised by taxation. We all know that because president Kibaki always reminds us to pay tax.

Some years back the budget used to be an exciting moment for Kenyans. Many expected tax relief especially the lowly paid. Many who indulge in luxury expected to be hit hard and therefore waited almost breathless to hear which areas of their indulgence will be affected. These days however people do not expect much from the budget statement. They know it is just more of the same thing; taxes without service delivery. Soon Labour Day will be like the budget day. People go expecting a salary raise but nothing of the sort happens.

In the coming budget, Amos Kimunya will be telling Kenyans that he expects to raise Shs 520 billion through taxation and appropriation-in-aid. He will also be telling us how he intends to utilize the same. First he will be telling is that Shs 120 billion will go to education. Kenyans have no quarrel with that because we love children and we want the best for them. He will then tell us that Shs 56b will be spent on public safety law and order. This is mind boggling because Kenyans have not seen any internal peace. Tribal and land clashes is the order of the day. Mungiki rules and beheads almost at will. Kenyans feel unsafe in their homes. There are only 36,000 policemen and women guarding over 32 million Kenyans. If we go by the recommended United Nations ratio of a minimum of one policeman to 700 people then Kenya is short of 11,000 police officers. The country lacks the forensic ability to investigate and apprehend criminals. With Shs 56 billion Kenyans expect that a little more can be done to improve the security situation. Kimunya will also allocate another Shs 38 billion for national security.

This is the money we pay for them to spy on us. Yes the people who spy on us must be paid well. Not that we agree but that kind of is a bit rather steep. Well, it is also going to be used to defend us against our neighbours who are just about to join us in federation.

Kenya is an agro-based country and one would expect Kimunya to give a big chunk to agriculture and rural development. He will not do that. Out of the Shs 56 billion at his disposal he is going to allocate this sector a paltry 28 billion. This amount is only six per cent of the annual budget. So no one should expect irrigation to be undertaken in arid and semi-arid areas. Not much will be done for livestock development programme.

The minister is going to allocate shs 52 billion for public administration. This is rather high. The country needs a lean and efficient civil administration not a bureaucratic one which one document is passed on to six officers before action is taken. On the contrary, more districts are being created. In Kenya we have divisional officers –D.Os who are nearer to the people that they administer and deliver services to. These D.Os are graduates, young and energetic and above all qualified by way of training in government institutions. It would be cheaper to delegate the work done by D.Cs to D.Os. Kenyans will get services much nearer and less bureaucratic. There is no point to increase the number of districts as it is a replication of what can be undertaken at divisional level.

The minister will also announce that he has allocated Shs 38 b for health care. You have probably noticed now that taking care of the health of 32 million Kenyans is going to get a similar amount as intelligence and defence. This is a pity. In countries that health care of its citizens is paramount, the budget allocation is usually 12 per cent. Going by our case the allocation for health should be a minimum of shs 55 billion.

Physical infrastructure is going to get an allocation of shs 85 billion. First there is no road, bridge, dam or any major project that ever get completed within a year in Kenya. We have seen contractors doing one kilometer road like the procession way that connects state house to Serena hotel for three years and still not complete. The three-kilometre Mbagathi road that has now taken four years and is not complete.

Contractors in Kenya do not want to leave site once given work. They collude with government engineers to ensure work is delayed for flimsy reason and all the time the blame is apportioned to the government so that the tax payers foot the extra bill. The contractors do all they can to stay on site three to four times longer.

The way forward is to allocate money for infrastructure maintenance of about Shs 20 billion. An infrastructure development board of Shs 150 billion can be floated ad a business like board of shs 150 billion can be floated and a business like board be set to undertake these projects The ministry engineers should only undertake maintenance.

I wish Amos Kimunya well in the task ahead. Am sure he could do better.

Joe Donde.

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ODM Nomination: Kalonzo and Ruto in catch-22 situation

Now that ODM-K has established a National Executive Committee and National Elections Board (NEB), the political future of William Ruto and Kalonzo Musyoka will begin to unfold quicker than any of them would like. I say this because Raila Odinga is the one candidate that destiny and political logic dictate should face off president Kibaki in the 2007 presidential contest. Whichever way we look at it, ODM-K nomination, as Raila himself keeps saying, will be a mere formality to declare the obvious truism that trophies belong to the dominant.

The vexing issue in ODM-K is that the eight politicos aspiring for its ticket are presumably equal and must conduct themselves as such even when it is obvious that Raila is the lion among them and despite George Orwell’s caveat that some animals are more equal than others. That is precisely why Ruto is free to declare himself the best candidate without creating any fuss but the same utterances are “orange blasphemy” when uttered by Raila. To be sure, Raila himself is partly responsible for creating the illusion that all of the Kenya’s seven provinces must have presidential aspirants in ODM-K.

Probably Rail was only flattering his colleagues when he nudged them to declare their candidature but some seems to have taken the flattery too serious to afford the dignity of giving up their presidential ambitions and presumptive state house hopes of their tribesmen without ‘losing’ in a hard battle presided over by all inclusive NEC and NEB. In other words, the real value of ODM-K’s NEC and NEB is to perform the political rites of passage for the installation of Raila as the ODM-K’s candidate. With the formation of NEC and NEB the duo of Kalonzo and Ruto are about to run short of excuses for delaying an early nomination of Raila. And when this happens, the political veil on the duo would have been lifted to reveal minnows for what they have been all along-free riders!

Let us start with Ruto. Not being a child of privilege, unlike his political rivals in ODM-K and the Rift Valley in particular. Ruto’s candidature is both daring and seductive for having achieved to be taken seriously on the big political stage in Kenya. Yet from the beginning the presidency was never his goal at least in the immediate future. With the Moi clan and its acolytes still hanging around, Ruto’s immediate goal is to become the de facto political chief and power broker in Kalenjin land. Unfortunately, emerging wisdom in Kenyan politics is that if your goal is to walk 100 km you need to pretend that your destination is 1,000 km away. In Ruto’s political orbit this means that to become de facto leader of the Kalenjin, he must seriously pretend that he wants the presidency as soon as 2007.

The dilemma for Ruto lies in the fact that though the Kalenjin do not mind being flattered by his ambitions for state house, deep down they know that he is not a safe route to state house in 2007. You see the Kalenjin, as they keep shouting with greater frequency, are not used to opposition politics. Since Orkoiyot Samoei – Ruto’s alleged great grandfather, incidentally – the Kalenjin have always been on the side of power. Their loyalty to the British is too notorious to require comment and as soon as KANU defeated KADU in the 1963 elections, their leaders quickly closed ranks with old Jomo at the expense of Jaramogi Odinga and his ‘socialist’ alies.

Viewed this way, Ruto is starkly aware that if he does not broker a deal with either Kibaki or Raila, his erstwhile supporters led by Henry Kosgey, Kipkalya Kones and Sally Kosgei will make their own deals and he has no sufficient clout to prevent it. Thus Ruto can only stay relevant by joining the Kalenjin crowd which is already drifting towards Raila. Being a wise man, it is no wonder that Ruto is already saying that all ODM-K aspirants must begin to imagine the party’s candidate could be someone other than themselves. Don’t be surprised when he takes his counsel sooner than you imagined.

This brings our spotlight to Kalonzo. For a man of his humble background, we may never tell how much Steadman helped to spoil Kalonzo. The typical Narc-K ‘startegists’ are less inclined to reflection than their ODM-K counterparts but even the dumbest among the lot sees in Kalonzo the best prospect for the presumed imminent break-up in ODM-K. Besides hubris, there are good grounds for the instinctive convictions of the Narc-K brigade about Kalonzo.

Like Ruto, Kalonzo has a domestic political war of supremacy he must finish before he can seriously join Kibaki and Raila on the big stage. It is a pity that the trophy for winning the referendum was not political power otherwise the Kamba votes would all be in his basket to dispense as he wishes. To Kalonzo’s advantage, though the Akamba generally tends to be loyal to the government of the day, like the Kisii and Simeon Nyachae in 2002, he is likely to carry the day if he vies for the presidency in 2007. Thus whilst Ruto’s candidature is a non-starter among the Kalenjin as long as his prospects are dim, Kalonzo will anyway bag the Kamba if he contests. There is however a critical difference between Ruto’s and Kalonzo’s ambitions.

In all probabilities the Kalenjin majority will stay in ODM-K whether or not Ruto is its candidate. However, Kalonzo cannot count on the Kamba majority to stick with him in ODM-K unless he is the candidate. Moreover, if only Kalonzo’s hubris will permit him to see his real chance to get to state house will be higher in 2012 than 2007 when the GEMA communities are unlikely to have a strong candidate. The dilemma for Kalonzo is that in order to have a real chance to reside at state house he must contest in 2012 if only to lose and spoil for Raila. Thus even as circumstances compel Kalonzo to throw barbs and sulk at Kibaki all too frequency, his real rival in 2007 is Raila for whom he must spoil the race in order to get the trophy himself alter. This is precisely why the formation of ODM-K’s NEC and NEB ushers the calm before the storm that ahs Kalonzo and Ruto in its eye.

Kibe Mungai

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Third force: New alliances now shape up

The bitter race now unfolding on who should occupy the country’s highest seat come this year’s presidential elections likely to be hotly-contested has taken a new dimension both within the ruling coalition and ODM-Kenya.

This heat picked up momentum even as president Kibaki celebrated his last Madaraka day fete (at least until he is re-elected if he wins) with the usual pageantry and pomp of choirs and plane fly pasts last week.

As Kibaki marked his last Madaraka Day in office, it was not lost on many watchers that the issue of whether he will again recapture the seat that has afforded him so much power and pomp must have weighed heavily on the man who was elected on a whirlwind euphoria four and half years ago. At one time a pensive Kibaki watched the Nyayo stadium proceedings with something almost next to nostalgia that he could soon be missing all the pomp designed largely for the eyes of one man-the head of state.

Not to be left behind in the unfolding power jostling are the so called political parties with control of voters in certain regions. It has emerged, there is now widespread jostling among those vying for the presidency with those interested not taking anything for granted.

Informed sources say ever since the recent by-election in Magarini constituency that also saw a number of civic seats being won by smaller new parties, political strategies are being redefined.

It has also emerged, the current political uncertainty in ODM-K and President Mwai Kibaki’s perceived political party Narc-Kenya has further complicated matters.

Basing on the above accounts, political players are working on what analysts term as plan B in case of any eventuality.

In ODM-K, confirmed reports have it, in an effort to revive the Western alliance, Luo and Luhya MPs have been talking of a scheme to have Raila Odinga back Musalia Mudavadi in ODM-K presidential race.

Current Luo Mps are said to be aware, selling Raila as presidential candidate to face Kibaki even if he wins ODM ticket could turn out to be an uphill task. To them, Kibaki can pull a surprise and humiliate Raila in a presidential contest.

With this in mind and with a major push to have the presidency taken to Western region this time round, they see Mudavadi as the compromise candidate.

According to our source, Raila for a long time had a soft spot on Mudavadi compared to Kalonzo Musyoka. Raila handlers openly say it is easy for the Langata MP to work with Mudavadi than Musyoka.

We could not establish whether it is true in case things do not work in ODM-K in their favour Raila and Mudavadi may decamp to Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to further political ambitions of wrestling power from Kibaki.

It is imperative to note, LDP registration papers and party structures is in favour of Raila who is always looking ahead of his bitter foes.

Luo MPs have been sending feelers to Raila with an effort to have him secretly back Mudavadi when delegates vote and accept defeat as a democrat.

“Imagine Raila accepting defeat and openly agreeing to work with Mudavadi as ODM presidential candidate,” our sources questioned.

Also at issue is the recently constituted National Election Board chaired by retired Justice Otieno Kwach and the Elders Consultative Forum that was supposed to work towards having a consensus president candidate. The elders group is chaired by Westlands tough talking MP Fred Gumo. Odinga critics say both men will at the end of the day work in favour of Raila and Gumo has been heard on several occasions talking favourably of ‘Agwambo’.

Raila is said to be weighing his options on the planned scheme, he does not want to be seen openly supporting Mudavadi hence his continued campaign across the country for the party presidential ticket. He has been in North-Rift Valley, Coast, and Western and is set to return to Rift Valley again.

What is emerging in ODM-K is that the party will elect the presidential candidate through the delegates system as opposed to consensus.

According to statistics at the Orange party headquarters, Nairobi province which has eight constituencies will deliver 16,000 delegates. The city being the home ground of Raila will definitely see him enjoy an upper hand. Luo Mps in the city are three. Apart from Raila, we have William Omondi (Kasarani) and Reuben Ndolo (Makadara).

With the three add Westlands MP Fred Gumo and Raila gets a formidable following.

Of the Nairobi’s 16,000 delegates, Raila if he plays cards well can win up to 10,000 with other candidates sharing the remaining.

The breakdown is as follows:- Coast province 42,000 delegates, Eastern province 72,000 delegates, Western Province 48,000 delegates with Nayanza province 64,000 delegates with Rift Valley which ahs 49 constituencies producing a whopping 98,000 delegates.

Whereas it is true that Raila has done his groundwork well and may be ahead of others when it comes to delegates voting, his major undoing is if he faces Kibaki in the presidential ballot box.

However a nightmare for Raila could emerge if a deal struck between Musyoka and Uhuru materializes. It is said Uhuru may at long last not participate in ODM presidential race but instead back Musyoka for the seat. With this, it means Kalonzo will enjoy support in Central which has 58,000 delegates, parts of Rift Valley dominated by the Kikuyus and of course Nairobi.

Uhuru is the only ODM presidential candidate who has not presented his nomination papers. The party will remain in ODM-K as corporate and may not pull out as it is expected during the National Delegates Conference on 11th June.

Uhuru Kenyatta game plan is baffling. It is said he will run for the presidency on a Kanu ticket this year and form a coalition with any party. Reason, if Kalonzo emerges ODM-K presidential candidate.

Uhuru schemers believe, Kanu will garner at least 15 seats in Rift valley and nationwide at most 40 hence be able to form a coalition with any other party. Whereas Raila and Mudavadi are pushing for western alliance, Uhuru and Kalonzo are for Mt.Kenya alliance in ODM-K.

To them, leadership should settle in Mt. Kenya region.

We have information, former retired president Daniel arap Moi is caught right in the middle of the schemes. Moi is slowly distancing himself from Kibaki’s second re-election bid, we have established, thanks to the efforts being made by his favourite son Gideon Moi, the Baringo central MP.

It is emerging, the Moi family wants to have influence on who should occupy State House, something that eluded them in 2002 when Kibaki dashed their well planned project by defeating Moi’s preferred successor Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Moi political schemes are already working is well explained when William Ruto while on tour in Marakwet West constituency accompanied by eight MPs urged the community to stop criticizing retired president.

It shocked many since Ruto is known to be the commander-in-chief of anti-Moi political army in Rift Valley.

“Moi is like our father and we should respect him,. We should follow our traditions that prohibit us from arguing and throwing words at our elders,” Ruto said.

And while in Keiyo South, the home ground of Nicholas Biwott, the MPs led by Marakwet West MP David Sudi said they had matured politically and moved out of their father’s house. Ruto went further to say, ‘you should not think that I am bitter with Moi. I am not and you shouldn’t demonize him.”

Those on the campaign trail with Ruto were David Koros (Eldoret South), Musa Sirma (Eldama Ravine), Dr Sammy Rutto (Kipkelion) and Moses Cheboi (Kuresoi).

Others were William Boit (Baringo North), Joseph Langat (Eldoret East) and Charles Keter (Belgut).

It has come to surface, the anti-Moi MPs in Rift valley are making a technical retreat after discovering the former president was grooming and bankrolling certain individuals to take them head-on in the coming elections.

Back to Uhuru-Moi deal, sources say the former head of state is behind the planned Kanu NDC. Moi and Kenyatta families are set to facilitate the logistics.

At the meeting, Uhuru will come out and officially reveal he will not deliver his ODM-K presidential nomination papers.

This will be the beginning of ODM-K troubles and Moi will capitalize on it to bring on board political players, unite them and get one to face Kibaki in what many will refer to it as the Third Force.

That Moi-Kibaki political relationship is slowly hitting the rocks is well explained when Moi refused to accompany Kibaki during his tour in Kipsigisland. State house is said to have invited Moi but were surprised when he pointedly failed to show up, but went ahead to address his own gatherings.

Gideon Moi is said to have told his father not to honour the invitation. That Kibaki desperately wants Moi on his side is no secret. The president last week sent a message of condolence to the former president following the death of his sister Rebecca Sote Chelimo. The late was the mother to Gideon Toroitich who was Managing Director Agricultural Development Co-operation (ADC) during Moi’s days in power. He also owns the prestigious Giddo Plaza in Nakuru town.

Back to 2007 presidency, Moi is said to be behind deals to have Uhuru and Biwott factions unite.

The rival of Uhuru project is also being debated in high circles. The main question is whether Uhuru can beat Kibaki in the presidential elections. Remember both of them are form the Kikuyu community.

It may be impossible and that is why many argue Moi may be laying ground for Uhuru 2012 presidential bid or in 2017.

We have established, Gideon Moi is comfortable with Musalia Mudavadi facing Kibaki. The same is said of the former president.

If Mudavadi is the ODM-K presidential candidate, then Moia and close associates have sworn to throw their weight and financial support behind him.

Keen political observers will have noticed, former cabinet minister Cyrus Jirongo, the chairman of KADDU and a principal player in Luhya politics has always been quoted saying he will support Mudavadi if nominated on ODM-K ticket.

Jirongo just like Moi family is keenly following events in ODM-K.

Raila factor in ODM-K is Moi’s family big headache hence the need to remotely associate with the party. The Moi and Kenyatta family have never forgiven Raila for being the stumbling block to Uhuru presidential bid in 2002.

Raila in 2002 supported Kibaki after changing his mind about supporting Roads Minister Simeon Nyachae, something that is now being revived again. Raila’s main aim was to see Moi and Kanu out of power and to him Nyachae was a weak candidate. If Nyachae was the candidate, Uhuru could have won. The game the way Raila has explained was to have a Kikuyu face a Kikuyu to consolidate the Central vote which remains formidable. The Mt. Kenya vote could have gone to Uhuru ahd Kibaki not been the presidential candidate in 2002.

Nyachae since then is said to have never forgiven Rail and the two are now fighting over control of the Abagusii votes. Raila recently met 700 elders drawn from all 10 Kisii constituencies who endorsed him.

That political re-alignments are on cannot be disputed. Raila postponed his campaign to North Rift in what insiders see as aimed at re-cementing his political marriage with William Ruto.

The Ruto camp is said to be jittery with the new-found political deal between Raila and former powerful head of civil service Dr Sally Kosgey. If Raila forms the government, Dr Kosgey is slotted for big things.

With the crisis in ODM-K and NArc-K, Moi can easily sneak his political orpans back to power.

All he needs to do is to wait for the fall-out in the two parties and marshal them together leaving behind the overambitiuous ones who can wreck trouble in the new outfit.

Whereas Kanu due to its tainted image may not be the best outfit to recapture power so soon after losing it five years ago, it could join the new coalition boat which will bring together parties associated with those who have a soft spot on the retired president.

Parties being controlled by those sympathetic to Moi are many and with a formidable candidate can form the Third Force that has never taken off. Aurelio Rebelo’s GAP outfit will play a major role in such a setup. Najib Balala and Ali Taib will find themselves forces in Coast Province politics in such circumstances.

Perhaps aware of this, Kibaki has started consolidating his ruling Narc party. The recent appointment to those associated with Ford-K speaks volumes. The president is out to have Musikari Kombo led party in his political bag and that of Nyachae, Ford-P.

It is no wonder the president came out openly in defence of Nyachae’s ministry over the Mombasa saga where government spokesman Alfred Mutua ordered for arrest of contractors.

Nyachae went ahead and bought advertisement space in local dailies blaming the head of civil service Francis Muthaura for not taking action despite complaints.

To win Nyachae’s support, Kibaki came out in the open and to defend the roads ministry saying contractors in Kenya were doing a good job.

For now, Kibaki is said to be having second thoughts in Kombo and Nyachae ahead of the presidential elections as Narc-K crisis persists. Not to offend Nyachae, Kibaki was against Narc-K holding elections in Ford-P strongholds, Kisii. The fear is Nyachae might decide to resign from Kibaki government which will send wrong signals ahead of the crucial elections.

In the coming months, the country’s political terrain will witness re-alignments and counter-alignments as political coalitions emerge since it appears no single party can win this year’s elections.

With the crisis in Narc-K, Kibaki’s net home could well be his DP that will help him strike alliances with other parties. But the president so far continues to keep both friend and foe guessing on his eventual political home even as time ticks away to the next election.

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Moi’s political dilemma

Retired president, Daniel Moi is in a tight spot over supporting president Kibaki’s re-election bid, revival of ;project Uhuru’ and helping tame ODM in Rift Valley and beyond. As the clock ticks towards the elections, he ponders:

- How to help Uhuru maintain political relevance in 2012 without upsetting Kibaki’s second term bid

- Best means of paying Raila and his ODM group back in kind

Though quiet for some time now, retired president Moi is a man in dilemma, information availed to The Leader indicates.

He is torn between support for Kibaki’s bid for a second term in office or working for revival of his pet project; Uhuru Kenyatta presidency in 2012.

We have reliably learnt that the retired president was behind decision by Uhuru Kenyatta to call for a Kanu national Delegates Council meeting set for June 11 to deliberate “on the way forward” for the country’s oldest political party.

Sources disclose the ‘way forward’ for the scheduled Kanu NDC will be to ‘demand’ that Kanu de-link itself from the orange Democratic Movement (ODM), and that Uhuru have another go at the presidency on a Kanu ticket.

Former president Moi’s disdain for ODM runs deep. Moi is still smarting from the humiliating defeat his presidential candidate, Uhuru, suffered as a result of the last minute walkout by politicians who are today the leading lights in ODM; Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka.

Back to the forthcoming Kanu NDC, the carefully planned agenda for the NDC is a clear manifestation of the age-old political tactics perfected by Kanu in the years gone by where the then ruling party used to stage-mange the outcome of meetings of its critical organs.

The June 11 meeting, we are informed has full blessing, including facilitation, by the former president. It comes only four days before expiry of the June 15 deadline for ODM presidential hopefuls to return their application forms for the party nomination.

Ostensibly, the nomination deadline was extended for the third time after Uhuru failed to return his nomination documents.

The Uhuru camp was quick to explain that the delay was ‘forced’ on their candidate by the ongoing court-case in which a faction led by Keiyo South MP, Nicholas Biwott, wants to seize the party leadership.

The argument is, had Uhuru handed over the presidential nomination papers to ODM, Biwott would have used this as evidence that the party chairman had deserted the former ruling party and therefore the court had no choice but to declare him (Biwott) as the bona fide party boss.

Initially, Moi had thrown his weight behind the Biwott group but insiders say the equation may change dramatically once Uhuru formally severs his relationship with ODM. Biwott argues that Uhuru has no business in Kanu after his ‘defection’ to ODM.

But the Uhuru side has often countered that they have not quit Kanu but only joined ODM as a corporate member and in line with the party’s policy that allows for coalition with ‘like-minded’ parties.

Sources say Moi has already convinced the Biwott led faction to declare a ‘ceasefire’ once Uhuru is brought to ‘toe the line.’

But even as Moi works on a fresh deal with Uhuru, he has all but declared that he would not mind president Kibaki’s second term in office. Indeed, we have reliably learnt that the retired president was keen on accompanying Kibaki during his recent tour of Rift Valley province but the former president’s advisers thought it is still too early for him to display all his political cards.

However, during the whirlwind tour, president Kibaki let it out that he was quite in good terms with his predecessor who he took every turn to praise or even flatter; a very uncharacteristic thing of Kibaki.

At one point during the tour, Kibaki declared that his administration would not only retain Moi’s name on everything named after the former president, but would even look for more things to name after him in ‘honour of the many good things he did for this country.’

Back to the revival of ‘Project Uhuru’, we have learnt that the key mover of the idea is Moi’s son and Baringo Central MP, Gideon. Like his father, Gideon has no much love lost between him and ODM. He still hinges his political prospects on a strong Kanu and on an Uhuru presidency, if and when it comes.

But unlike his father, the younger Moi has no time for president Kibaki. In fact in the early days of Narc administration, Gideon made statements that bordered on contempt, if not insult, to the presidency, a point that he had to be cautioned against it by the senior Moi.

Sources say the retired president was specifically alarmed by a remark Gideon made in Mochongoi area of his constituency in September 2003 as president Kibaki was attending a regional meeting in Mozambique.

In a confrontation with the police, Gideon was caught on camera contemptuously asking the police who had sent them to stop his meeting ‘since the higher authorities who could only do so were in Maputo!’

The senior Moi, say sources, was so infuriated by the remark that he immediately summoned his son to lecture him on the need to respect the presidency. A source at the meeting remembers Moi cautioning the youthful MP, that. ‘even the weakest of the presidencies was still stronger than the strongest single individual and had to be treated with great caution.’

The Baringo central MP may have tamed his tongue, but there is no evidence that his attitude about the current state house changed much.

Besides Gideon, Moi’s other children are gunning to vie in this year’s election and, like their father, strongly believe Kanu-and not- ODM is their political vehicle of choice.

Moi’s eldest son, Jonathan, is eyeing the Eldama Ravine seat currently occupied by Musa Sirma, a staunch ODM supporter. Reliable sources say the retired president has lined candidates to face every ODM-leaning MP in the Rift Valley. And while he threw his weight behind Sirma who stood on a Kanu ticket in 2002 election, this time round he is fully behind his son just to spite ODM.

Other of Moi children expected in this year’s election are his second born son, Raymond, who has publicly declared interest in Rongai seat and youngest son, Philip, who has not declared but is widely believed to be eyeing Kuresoi seat in Nakuru District.

Sources say the retired president renewed interest in Uhuru presidency is more targeted at ensuring Kanu remains relevant and that Uhuru regains his political luster so as to be the man to beat come 2012 election.

However, the Moi family, just like Uhuru himself, knows that for him to factor in 2012 election, he must also be a presidential candidate in this year’s election as well, though not necessarily to win but to maintain a high level political presence.

And that is precisely the catch 22 situation for the senior Moi who is keen on keeping his friendship with Kibaki state house but at the same preserve Kanu and ‘project Uhuru’.

But the dilemma is even worse for Uhuru. Should he defy his mentor and stick with ODM, there are high chances that he will lose Kanu on a legal technicality. Yet on the other hand, chances are very remote that he would be the ODM flag bearer.

He has to contend with burning ambition of two leading ODM luminaries, Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka, who have so far demonstrated no intention to cede ground for anyone; least of all the man who made them ditch Kanu in 2002.

Yet, unless Uhuru is the ODM presidential candidate, he risks losing even his Gatundu South parliamentary seat unless he finds a formula of backing Kibaki presidential bid in the style of Mathioya Mp, Joseph Kamotho.

And yet, there is still mot much chance for Uhuru presidency on a Kanu ticket even with full backing of Moi and his famed political machinery.

In such eventuality, Uhuru may only count on Rift valley votes, and which are still not guaranteed given ODM’s and Kibaki’s expected high voltage forays in the province.

But perhaps that suits Moi’s grand plan just fine; that Kanu and Uhuru Project remain intact but without significant harm to the Kibaki administration.

Whether the plan survives to make an impact come 2012 id a different matter altogether given that politics is a very dynamic affair, and that predicting how the political landscape will look five years down the line is really a chase after a mirage. As they say, a day in politics can be a lifetime.

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Democracy and ODM-K: Does the party represent change?

ODM-Kenya (ODM-K) has recently endorsed its key party structures and in doing so it has used the same old ideas, mistakes it accuses the current government of making.

Specifically on the spot is the composition of the party’s election board, which was dominated by key public figures with a questionable past.

Being a key organ of the party, ODM-K appeared to be playing right into their criticism over public appointments.

“The party has been criticizing the incumbent government of appointing retirees to run affairs, but now they have gone a step further and not only appointed one of their own retirees at the very top but also some people who have been implicated in corruption,” Patrice Tirembenga a political science consultant in Nairobi said in an interview in her Nairobi office.

Board Chairman Justice Richard Otieno Kwach was among the judges who suffered from the radical surgery on the judiciary in 2003 and unlike his colleagues he opted to retire and continue enjoying his perks perhaps wanting to retain dignity rather than face disciplinary panels.

Kwach may however argue that the purge has since run into credibility crisis, with all the magistrates and judges who chose to face their accusers in the panel emerging victorious. Only it is not lost to observers that it is rare that the government wins any legal contest and there is much to worry about the expertise and the motivation to represent it.

While presenting his report to the then Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ringera had said, “This is credible and well founded evidence, on a range of offences ranging from direct corruption and abuse of office, to want of integrity, unethical conduct and judicial misbehaviour.”

“I have serious problems with Ringera. What investigations does he claim to have conducted on this matter before the so called radical surgery on the judiciary was done, everyone is winning their cases, he should also be questioned on his claims that what he presented was credible investigation,” Tom Maliti a Kenyan Journalist working with the Associated Press observed.

Maliti, who has covered all the tribunals of the suspended judges, further said that all those who had contested the decision by the state had emerged winners because the evidence presented to the panels, “was largely insignificant and basically wanting.”

On the appointment of Kwach to ODM-K’s board, Maliti argues, “there was very tight evidence on the case of Kwach including and alleged video of him in action receiving a bribe; it beats sense why any political party would want him to drive its democracy.”

He added, “That is not all the man himself foresaw a situation where he would lose the case and chose the softer landing that of resignation as a Court of Appeal judge, yet ODM-K that is promising change of government and administration has it as their top man, that is an issue, they will find hard to live with.”

The other curious members of the board currently under scrutiny is Frank Kwinga who served as the principal immigration officer in the late 90s, before being sacked in a reshuffle for his role in the deportation of wanted Turkey fugitive Abdullah Ocalan.

Despite constant briefs from the intelligence about the entry of the fugitive in the country he was among public officials who were in the forefront to deny his presence even as intelligence leaks indicated that he was involved in his entry.

Further during his reign, the immigration department especially in the issuance of passports constantly ranked among the highest most corrupt institutions in the country.

“Kwinga represented everything that was wrong with immigration systems in the country, in fact during his tenure all the major problems we are now trying to fix were invented,” Susan Achieng a former registration officer now serving as a systems consultant for the immigration department confided.

Achieng explained that, “Kwinga introduced a system where his word was law and systems were second. As a result re-establishing order is more difficult to a staff that he had already made them to believe in a certain mode of operations, but the Kwinga effect is eroding.”

At the electoral commission of Kenya, Kwinga is not remembered for any siginificant contribution.

Kwinga who is now ODM-K Nomination Board vice chairman was in fact viewed within ECK quarters as a retired president Moi man and was largely criticized ahead of the euphoric 2002 elections for organizing a trip for the entire ECK officials to state house to meet the then outgoing president Daniel Moi.

Another questionable inclusion is S.K. Thande who is also the chairperson of the Langata Constituency Development Fund.

Tirembenga, a political scientist posed, “If such appointments are on the basis of who is my friend then it does appear that the management of affairs by ODM-K will also be on who is who when it comes to public appointments and not who qualifies. If merit takes second place in appointments within the parts that have no significant monetary returns, what then can you expect when power is handed to ODM-K? The status quo will simply continue.”

Little is known of the activities of Dr. Wilberforce Wanyanga, a pharmacist, former MP Massir Maalim Arte, Dr Peter Gichohi himself a reproductive health consultant, Joshua Biwott a businessman and Zahra Shee Mohammed, a former Karen councilor.

However their associations with the big five presidential aspirants played a key role in their appointments. To underline the ever-simmering rivalries between Langata MP Raila Odinga and his Mwingi North counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka their preferences took the lion share of the slots in the nomination board.

In fact, composition of the election board appeared to reflect domination by interests of the ODM-K’s two main protagonists in the presidential race, Odinga and Musyoka.

Kalonzo’s allies to the board are: Kwinga and Arte, Raila’s are Kwach, Thande and Shee, Biwott and Kuluo are said to be in Ruto’s camp, Gichohi is a close confidant of Uhuru Kenyatta while Dr. Wanyanga is associated with Mudavadi.

ODM-K’s challenge is to prove that it lives within itself what it demands of the state and that it will present an alternative government. So far the party scores low going by the appointment of the election board and observers interviewed were unanimous that “the party shows no signs of representing change.”

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Mungiki Secrets

As Kenyans reflect with horror the recent grisly murders associated with the outlawed Mungiki sect information exclusively availed to us indicates that past and present Mungiki leaders were occasionally feted at State House by the last regime and that they are on first name terms with key operatives in the current top leadership of the country.

The Mungiki leadership is also quite chummy with key figures in the opposition who at one time or the other incorporated the banned sect in pursuit of their political agenda, we can authoritatively report.

In the run-up to the 2005 referendum vote, we have learnt, a senior cabinet minister secretly met a section of Mungiki leadership at a city hotel and agreed to a visit to State House two days later. The purpose of the meeting was to assure president Kibaki that the sect would back the banana/yes campaign. To lead the Mungiki delegation was a key founder of the movement but who has since quit, Ndura Waruingi.

However, say sources, the meeting was cancelled at the eleventh hour when state house got jittery at the thought of parading members of an outlawed group before the head of state. It was resolved that the cabinet minister handles the Mungiki in the best way he knew how, but to strictly leave state house out of it.

But if state house vetoed the deal with the Waruingi faction, another faction led by the group’s chairman Maina wa Njenga, now in custody, went ahead and cut a deal with the Orange group.

The deal with the Orange camp was struck, we can disclose, when Gem MP, Jakoyo Midiwo, took the Maina group for a night-long meeting at the Karen home of a key opposition leader and presidential hopeful.

At the Karen meeting, arrangements were made to facilitate Maina’s faction to take the “No” campaign to central Kenya and parts of the Rift valley province.

Information availed to us would indicate Mungiki’s cosy alliance with respective political groupings began much earlier in 1998 at the height of ethnic killings in Laikipia and Njoro areas.

It is the same cabinet minister who attempted to take Mungiki to state house during the referendum campaign who arranged the very first meeting between Mungiki leaders and retired president Moi in June 1998. The meeting was at the former president’s private residence in Kabarak, Nakuru district.

The meeting came about, we are informed, after Moi feared that opposition leaders, especially in the then opposition Democratic party, were planning to fund Mungiki as a counter force to perpetrators of the ethnic clashes in Njo and Laikipia where government agents were widely suspected to have a hand.

Prior to the Kabarak meeting, about 50 opposition MPs led by the then official leader Mwai Kibaki had converged at Sipili village in Laikipia district for a mass burial of 19 victims of the ethnic clashes in Laikipia.

At the highly charged burial presided by catholic bishop Nicodemus Kirima, opposition MPs openly declared they would arm Mungiki to defend the people of Laikipia and Njoro from attackers who they alleged were organized and funded by the then Kanu government.

One of the speakers at the Sipili meeting, the then Molo opposition MP, the late Kihika Kimani, openly stated that the opposition would be raising money to buy AK ‘47s for Mungiki which he said were going for a “mere Shs 10,000 a piece in Eastleigh!”

Sources say that after tapes of the speeches at Sipili were re-played to Moi at state house, Nakuru, he instructed the then state house controller, the late Wilson Chepkwony, to immediately summon the then key opposition leader, now a cabinet minister.

In a meeting with Moi, the opposition leader is alleged to have agreed to organize a meeting between the president and top Mungiki leadership at Kabarak the following weekend.

Also at the Kabarak meeting, we are informed, were the then chief executive of the Kenya Power company, Samuel Gichuru, and the then chairman of the Cooperative Bank, Hosea Kiplagat.

Our sources say that Moi began by exonerating his government from involvement in the ethnic clashes which were then raging in the Rift Valley and said that he had already given his security officers five days to end the clashes or they face the sack. Sure enough, the ethnic clashes stopped and were not to be heard of again in the remaining four years of Moi presidency.

At the Kabarak meeting, Moi allegedly expressed his wish to work with Mungiki pledging a handsome monetary ‘assistance’ which he said Gichuru would be delivering in a weeks’ time. Again, as promised, some Shs 5 million changed hands in the course of the week.

After the Kabarak meeting, Moi is said to have flung open the state house doors and those of his private residences to Mungiki.

Recalls a former key Mungiki leader: “At the Kabarak meeting, Moi instructed Gichuru and the then opposition leader (now a senior cabinet minister) to be taking us to see him any time we wanted to. We were never denied an appointment whenever we requested it.”

But the Mungiki leadership did not abandon the opposition leadership altogether.

Sources allege that Mungiki continued to deal with both sides until 2002 elections when Moi prevailed on the sect leaders to exclusively back his chosen heir, Uhuru Kenyatta.

In a meeting at state house, Nakuru, in August 2002, discloses a source, Moi is alleged to have vowed he would work ‘day and night’ to ensure Uhuru presidency would become a reality. He then asked the Mungiki leadership to completely cut links with the opposition, especially Mwai Kibaki’s DP which he said was doomed.

He is said to have assured Mungiki that state house would be there for them on a 24 hour basis. To prove he meant business, he introduced his then private secretary, Joshua Kulei, to Mungiki leaders and asked them to feel free to meet Kulei as his representative any time they needed assistance.

A follow-up meeting to the one in August is said to have come in November 2002, a month to the election, at Kabarak.

This time round, disclose sources, Moi allegedly made a curious introduction in the name of the then deputy army commander in charge of the Gilgil based western brigade, Gen John Koech.

A source at the meeting says heads turned all over the place when Moi said Koech was part of the group that was working ‘to ensure Uhuru became the next president of Kenya.’

At the meeting, Moi also gave Mungiki five ex-military Land Rovers for use in the Uhuru campaign. Gen Koech services in the military were unceremoniously terminated immediately the Narc government came to power.

Sources say that in the last few weeks to the December 29, 2002 poll, Mungiki leaders met Kulei for de-briefing at least once a week. ‘Something small’ always changed hands as facilitation for the Uhuru campaign.

In the meantime, aspiring candidates in the then Narc opposition party especially in Thika, Murang’a and Nakuru made private arrangements for Mungiki to throw its weight behind them in their respective constituencies.

Indeed Mungiki openly campaigned for opposition candidates in Juja, Kiharu and Maragwa among other constituencies in Central province.

The parting of ways came when Narc came to power in 2003 and officially declared war on Mungiki. Sources however indicate that influential leaders from Central province and elsewhere remained close to Mungiki leadership even as the crackdown went on.

Yet there was another reason why Mungiki could not go away despite the official ban and purported police crackdown.

Because of the political patronage it enjoyed, Mungiki also became deeply entrenched within the country’s security apparatus.

Sources say on noting the kind of political company Mungiki leaders kept, security chiefs decided to join the party and too became beneficiaries of the largesse the sect leaders got from politicians or extorted from the public mainly at PSV termini.

Sources say, at least four district police heads in Central province and two divisional commanders in Nairobi are on a generous take form respective Mungiki cartels operating in their areas.

Says a Mungiki leader who did not want to be named: “Just how can the government expect to finish us when not less than 6 OCPDs in Nairobi and neighbouring districts are in our payroll?”

Sources say any effort to crackdown on Mungiki will always hit a brick wall as long as senior policemen have a financial stake in the existence of Mungiki, just as sitting MPs-at least 8 including a cabinet minister-have a political stake in Mungiki.