Archive for January 2007

Kamangu goes to court to stop Bishop Wanjiru's wedding

James Kamangu, the man from Gachie, a cobbler and potter has made good his threats and has finally moved to court to block Bishop Margaret Wanjiru's wedding with a South African Pastor, Rev. Majeka scheduled on 10th of February 2007.

Kamangu claims he married the bishop under the Kikuyu customary law in 1979. The bishop later left their matrimonial home in Gachie to live in Nairobi after having two sons with Kamangu. The bishop has denied knowledge of Kamangu and his sons have said they are not in the business of looking for their father and are not interested in knowing who their fathers are. This incensed Kamangu who claimed he married their mother while she was still a virgin and is demanding for a DNA paternity test.

He has found support in a group calling itself maendeleo ya wanaume who have extended the demands to include an equal sharing of the couples wealth (Wanjiru's) on top of Kamangu's demands that Wanjiru dissolves the customary union with him and his sons recognize him as their father before he could get married to the South African. Wanjiru had denied knowledge of Kamangu and referred him as 'that man whose fingers look like they have been eaten by jiggers'.

The saga erupted after the bishop declared her interest at the Starehe parliamentary seat currently held by Narc-K sports minister Maina Kamanda. She extended to her congregation at Jesus is Alive Ministries that she will not plunge into politics without a man figure backing her and so will get married before the 2007 elections. Previously, she had testified in 2001 at a women's conference in Mombasa that the two sons had the same father and she got the second one as she 'went to the father to get food and fees for the first born'. The man later mistreated her, was a drunkard and they had to separate. The man remarried later and separated. Put on the spot, Kamangu said that Wanjiru consented to the second wife as is the Kikuyu tradition.

Word on the street has it that Maina Kamanda who is known to play rough politics is the financier behind the whole marriage saga and want to tear down his opponent before they get to the battle field. Powerful hands are behind Kamangu going by the way he speedily acquired birth notification at the notoriously inefficient Pumwani maternity hospital and later got birth certificates for his two sons from the registrar in less than 24 hours. In 2002 it was widely known that Jimnah Mbaru the current chairman of the Nairobi stock exchange and Dyer and Blair investment bank won the NARC nominations but was rigged out to favour the Kibaki compliant Maina Kamanda. Then, Jimnah was of the LDP wing that was competing for NARC nominations with the Kibaki led NAK.

Bishop Wanjiru has an interesting political life ahead of her. There is the court case, her church roles to balance with politics, and a marriage to a South African national bearing in mind that Kenya does not allow for dual citizenship. The same SA man could prove a counter-campaign strategy as some residents have been quoted in the media wondering how they would support a SA man in a Kenyan election. That will be dirty politics for the bishop that does not mix well with purist christianity.



1 Comment

Drama at Nation Media Group

From:   jacko mafia
Sent:   Tuesday, January 23, 2007 6:00 PM
To:     Linus Gitahi
Cc:     Wangethi Mwangi; Joseph Odindo; Helen Mbugua; Editorial@nation.co.ke; newsdesk@nationa.co.ke;    news-citizenTz@nation.co.ke; NTV News;NyeriEditorial; eldoretstaff; Msa Editorial; Kisumu Advertising; Nakuru; Advertising

Subject:        Re: The lid is off

Dear Mr Gitahi.

This is a letter from the staff of the Editorial Department and it's a follow up to another letter we sent you in December highlighting teething problems facing our department.

We are pleased to inform you that we are pleased with the steps you have taken so far to address the problems in the Editorial Department and in the larger NMG. From our own observation of the manner you have gone about your business, we now know we have a CEO who has the interest of the NMG and its staff at heart.

In our December letter, we have told you that we would wait until end of January to see if there were going to be any meaningful changes and reforms carried out by your administration. We have reliably been informed that a radical surgery is in the offing and your dreams are to see the right staff on the NMG bus. We are committed to support all your resolve to offload the excess and unproductive passengers from the NMG bus.

We, too, don't want joy riders and blood suckers who live on other people's sweat. We would prefer leaner and a productive staff who are
rewarded according to their performance.

However, we are disturbed that, whereas you mean well for the Editorial Department, you have taken the wrong path in picking the team of managers to select the staff to be offloaded from the NMG bus. We understand the editorial team comprise of the Editorial Director, Mr Wangethi Mwangi, the Group Managing Editor, Mr Joseph Odindo, and the Group HR Director, Ms Hellen Mbugua.

The three managers, and to a large extent Mr Mwangi and Mr Odindo, are the source of the problems bedeviling the Editorial Department and we gave you the reasons in our December letter. Since we understand the exercise for identifying the staff to be offloaded, transferred and promoted is complete, we decided to bring our heads together and decide the way forward. Journalists from Nairobi and representatives from all the bureaus held a meeting at a venue and date we will not disclose and came up with a resolve to write to you again and communicate what was deliberated.

a.. Mr Wangethi and Mr Odindo should be nowhere near any meeting where any reforms and changes in the Editorial Dept are being carried out. The two should have been the first casualty of your Administration's reforms. Just like President Kibaki put his foot in the
mouth by retaining Kanu's civil servants intact, we believe you have squandered a good opportunity to clean up the mess in the Editorial Dept by appointing the Mr Mwangi and Mr Odindo to spearhead the reforms.

 a.. We demand that the exercise of laying off unproductive staff must be transparent and target the non-performers. Mr Mwangi and Mr
Odindo may use the exercise to get rid of good staffers they don't like. In our December letter, we listed the joy-riders and the multiple posts which were purposely created by Mr Mwangi and Mr Odindo to reward their friends and girlfriends. We demand that the posts
be abolished and all the busy body bosses be the first to be shown the door. Mr Mwangi and Mr Odindo filled the newsroom with their girlfriends and friends poached from other media houses, yet they are unproductive and can hardly write any literate story. These too must be offloaded from the NMG bus.

We want to know why none of the women who have extended sexual favours to both Mr Mwangi and Mr Odindo have been spared the axe. Adhiambo Odera, who was employed directly to the position of the Editor after a sexual encounter in Malindi with Mr Mwangi is one of those women who have been spared yet her work is good mastery of illiteracy. She can't write or edit any story. Editing of Buzz magazine is done by correspondents. But she can't be touched because both Mr Mwangi and Mr Odindo share her as lovers and they fear she can expose them. It's the same case for many other women. Mr Mwangi and Mr Odindo, your wives will be hearing from us
 very soon.

 a.. We had informed you and listed sections which are headed by managers who are non-university graduates. Examples are the News Desk, where we have four editors, and only one is a graduate. The Form Six graduates were put there deliberately by Mr Wangethi for his own selfish reasons so that they can dance to his tune. We can't have reporters who have university degrees and masters reporting to Form Six managers! They too must leave or be demoted and given their rightful places like the copy-taking desk.

 a.. The House that his Highness the Aga Khan built has been into a brothel by top managers. Mr Wangethi, Mr Odindo and Mr Nabutolla have one thing in common - they take the golden cup for their ability of quenching their sexual lust using NMG female employees. The prime factor and criteria for promotions and hiring of female reporters and editors has been their sexual performance. This is something the Aga Khan and the entire world have never known. This is something we are going to expose and bring it to the attention of the Aga Khan and the world. In our December letter, we listed just a fraction of the female staff who have been rewarded with plum jobs and promotions after satisfying the sexual lust of Mr Mwangi and Mr Odindo. How then can the same sex perverts be the ones spearheading the laying off of unwanted staff?  We hope you had time to make your own independent investigations to verify the insight we gave you on the string of women who have been promoted or hired by the two managers based on their sexual performance.

 a.. Finally, we give both Mr Wangethi and Mr Odindo up to end of February to resign from NMG or we smoke them out. We have laid a
water-tight strategy to do so. We have various options to do so if you don't force them to resign or their conscience doesn't drive them to
doing so.

 Among the strategies we have are exposing the shame of NMG being a brothel in all parts of Kenya, Nairobi being the main focus, presenting the spouses of Mr Wangethi and Mr Odindo and the women they have been sleeping with with evidence, and writing to the Aga Khan and informing how his House has been turned into a brothel by the managers he has employed to manage his affairs. We have the contacts of all their spouses and they will hear from us very soon. We will also circulate pamphlets on the streets detailing who sleeps with who in NMG. Other strategies remain our secret and it's up to you to decide if you want the vibrant company you inherited from Mr Kiboro to sink under your watch. Things will start rolling very fast from March 1 if our demands are not met. But we will support you if we are satisfied with the reforms and the departure of Mr Mwangi and Mr Odindo.

Ms Hellen Mbugua, we also have a dose for you. Your husband will also be hearing from us on your sex escapades with KBC MD. We have water-tight dossier on you.

We can't sit back and allow immorality to continue thriving in NMG. NMG will explode and the rot which has been perpetuated by top managers will soon be in public domain. We can't be exposing the likes of Bishop Margaret Wanjiru and Samuel Gichuru yet we have
 managers and other staff who are worse rotten. We are putting on notice Mr Mwangi, Mr Odindo and the other managers who have found it difficult tokeep their zips tightly shut that sex scandals and the sex tree of who sleeps with who in Editorial and other departments will be public knowledge soon. They should start preparing their spouses psychologically. Watch this space!

NMG prides itself as a successful company, a market leader and a mirror of the society. We must set the example by actions and deeds. Managers can't preach water and drink wine. The hour of reckoning has come. The lid has been blown off internally and soon the world will be reading about the brothel that is Nation Centre.

We wish you luck!

 Cc
 Wangethi Mwangi
Joseph Odindo
 Hellen Mbugua
All NMG staff



3 Comments

Funny Forward: Jomo Kenyatta: Was he a Kalenjin?

After years of research I am now able to display Jomo Kenyatta's early potray, his real father and why he dropped [his]Kikuyu names. Mzee Jomo Kenyatta is believed to have been a Kipsigis who grew up among the Kikuyu.

The legend is like this. After the demise of the great Nandi Oloibon Kipnyolei arap Turugat (Simbolei) his sons went to other parts of the Kalenjinland. One of the them, Chebochok arap Boiso was to stay in Londiani in Kericho District. While in Londiani arap Bosio met a young lady later to become the mother of mzee Jomo Kenyatta. It is believed that their friendship resulted in the birth of Kenyatta whom we are told was originally called Johnstone Peter Kamau. Kamau's mother Wambui is reported to have been a widow who used to herd cattle in Londiani. She later sought employment in European farms in Central Province. While in Kikuyu land, Wamboi got married to Muigai who is wrongly believed to have been Kenyatta's father. After sometimes, Muigai divorced Wambui "for having a child from Lumbwa(kipsigis) people. She went back to work in European farms.

In 1913,all brothers of Koitalel arap Samoei were rounded up and banished to Central Province for opposing the evil plans of the white man. They were Kipchomber arap Koilegen (Kochich-lem),arap Boiso and Kibuigut. They were detained in Nyeri and Forth Hall now Maragwa. While in Kikuyuland, Kenyatta's mother was assigned the role of taking care of the three detainees. Why did the white man chose Kenyatta's mother. Is it possible that Wambui was able to speak Kalenjin? Or did the detainees chose her for reason detailed above?

When arap Koilegen was about to die in July 1916,he summoned Kenyatta to his house for briefing. Kenyatta was then a student at Thogoto Mission School. He gave him a beaded belt known in Kalenjin as Kenyattet, a container for holding stuff(tobacco) , a flywhisk and a monkey skin called Siombuut. He then told Kenyatta that when the white man go back to Britain he would lead the nation. He instructed him to drop Kikuyu names, Peter Kamau which he did. After that he instructed him to go to Loita and seek further advice from Maasai Laibons and in particular Ole Mokompo who died in the early 70s.After being blessed by the Oloibon, he was told,"Shomo Kenyatta!" ie go with this belt. Through divine powers, Kenyatta thought his name was Jomo Kenyatta. Jomo is derived from Maasai verb, Shomo.

arap Bosio, Kenyatta's father died in 1929 after being tortured by the white man. When he died ,Kenyatta was schooling in London. His demise shocked Kenyatta so much that for three days, Kenyatta was indoors crying and mourning the death of arap Bosio. Why then mourn arap Boisio!?

Back to Nyeri. When in Nyeri arap Boisio again befriended a young Kikuyu lady named Margaret Muthoni who was President Kibaki's father's sister. They married and had children who now live in Kericho District.

Before arap Koilgen died, another oldman form Tugen named Chepkeres arap Toroitich visited him, He later blessed him and told him that one of his grandsons would one day rule Kenya. This later came to be true when Daniel Kapkorios arap Moi became president, Sadly throughout the time he was in power, Moi never assisted the descendants of arap Koilgen, the Talai clan. They are squatting in Kericho Township since their land was taken by the white man.



Leave a comment

Youth Enterprise Fund Website

The Youth Enterprise Development Fund  under the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs



Leave a comment

Dark cloud over Nation Media Group as staff purge bites

A dark cloud hangs over Kimathi street where the axe of vengeance is descending on necks of staff at the imposing Nation Centre every passing day. No word, staff there say, can accurately depict the anxiety wracking them as no one seems to know what the next minute portends.

According to sources within Nation, the country's leading newspaper is sinking under hate and sexual improprieties committed by top brass in the regional media powerhouse. Woe unto you if your wife works at NMG, a group of disgruntled editorial staff say, as she will become common prey for randy vultures.

And now, unable to stomach what they largely view as high handed management tendencies of their bosses, the staff have written an open letter to the new CEO, Linus Gitahi baring their hearts out and undressing the company for every one to see what lies beneath the well-polished façade of Nation Media Group.

Already an unexplained purge has seen the exit of Claire Gatheru, Tony Kago, Wahome Thuku and Wainaina Kiganya of Taifa Leo.

In the electronic department senior editor Makau Niko and Mustaf Iddi who is a sports anchor on NTV were shown the door for yet-to-be understood reasons. Not safe from the axe are the distant outposts where the Nyeri-based bureau chief Muthui Mwai was sacked and replaced by Mugo Njeru while Eldoret bureau chief Maguta Kimemia was hounded out and his position taken over by sports writer Samuel Siringi. Also gone is cartoonist Stano.

What is however making the sackings even more tragic is the inhumane manner in which they are being carried out with the victims merely being handed a letter at the end of the day informing him or her not to report to duty the next day and to instead keep off and wait for a call.

No talk of money is ever mentioned in the letter and workers there fear that it is a dastardly plot to swindle workers their hard-earned terminal benefits.

The Nation is now unlike itself is demonstrated by the fact that the hitherto boastful faces of its staff have been replaced by mournful ones. Workers at the troubled media house who like to have one or two for the road at the end of the day as they wait for traffic jam to ease are now to be seen in pubs drowning their apprehension as they converse in low conspirational tones. With things falling apart at NMG, it is said, departmental heads are now earmarking people they will fire and replace with their own. On the brighter side though, the developments are said to have led to a new-found sense of seriousness as workers who used to report late are now the first to arrive in the morning.



1 Comment

ClayCourt on William Ruto

I was in Ugenya Constituency last week on a private visit and not to find out whether culverts would ever be constructed over the trenches that have been dug on the Ukwala-Ugunja road. Nor did I want to know how many pupils, who had been selected to join national and provincial schools but could not afford the school fees.

I went there to sort out my personal affairs and discovered by sheer accident that a 'civil war' would break out over the refurbishment of the Mathiwa Small home for people with physical disabilities. From what I gathered, the home was founded and sponsored by the local Catholic church, only to close down after it was handed over to the Government.

Recently, a decision was made to open and refurbish the home using the Local Authority Social Development Action Plan (LASDAP). But unless a respectable authority from the Local Government ministry or the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission steps in, there will be a "civil war" over the manner in which the refurbishment contract was awarded.

While I was in Ugenya, something of presidential proportions happened to the education standards of Ukwala division, or some zone thereof: William Samoei Ruto, one of the ODM-K presidential hopefuls, visited Ukwala Girls' Primary School, and doled out Sh100,000 in cash, Wow!

While the one-time Home Affairs minister was supporting education at Ukwala Girls, I was at Ukwala Boys chatting with Mrs Jane Otieno, the teacher who taught me way back in Standard Three that the herd mentality only works well with cattle or other animals.

Even though Ruto addressed a crowd at the school, none of the people I talked to could remember what he had said. With no one to fill me on his speech, I asked myself if there was anything he has ever said worth remembering since he became a presidential "hopeful", or when he was in YK'92 or even a Cabinet Minister. Ruto is probably a man of few words and a lot of action, I reassured myself.

I think if he becomes the President, the culverts will be constructed over those Ukwala-Ugunja road trenches that were dug ages ago. Maybe he will even avert the looming "civil war" at Mathiwa Small Home because he will not tolerate Government officials who short-change the locals by inflating construction costs. Who knows, even poor pupils who get selected national and provincial schools will attend the right schools since he will ensure that the Constituency bursary funds are not sent to nondescript private schools.

I looked around Ukwala township, Ugenya constituency and Kenya in general and saw many ills, anomalies, bad practices, corruption in high places, embezzlement of public funds, hiving of forests, grabbing of public land…and figured that since Ruto is a man of action, he will bring an end to bad governance.

He has never been president, and he was a minister for a very short period, but what is his track record on matters of national importance? When he was minister, it was alleged that he had assaulted Reuben Chesire at State House. He denied it but gave a terse statement. "Although I did not beat him up, I will do so very soon," he told the Daily Nation.

Whether true or not, that is history, and he should not be judged by what he did or did not do during the previous regime.

He recently unveiled his vision and I have asked my colleagues who have political hair on their chests what it was all about, but they are still studying it. But why does Ruto want to become the president of the Republic of Kenya? Is it because he wants to remove us from the woods, or could it be that he and his cronies have other ideas?

Whatever the case, and whether he is in Ukwala, Bomas of Kenya or at the courts, what ha Ruto been saying?



Leave a comment

Shs 1 Billion budget for ODM Kenya nominations

Even before the party has recovered from the discovery of the mistake that it did at arriving at delegates' method as the methodology for nominating its presidential candidate, ODM is now confronted with a bigger problem. It is emerging that apart from the loopholes that might give party enemies an opportunity to infiltrate the party, the method might not be affordable for the party.

Although the party has not mentioned it in public, some of the party key members say the process is one of the key issues that has forced the party to go back to the drawing board for a cheaper nomination method. A party member who pleaded anonymity said the party cannot afford the process and the faster the party agrees on consensus the better. The party has not yet developed a budget estimate but pundits say that the process may cost the party more than one billion shillings.

As the party was deliberating over the method in Naivasha, kalonzo Musyoka a proponent of the delegates system and who at the time was a guest in a talk show, was asked about the cost of the nomination process. In his reply to his TV host, Musyoka was evasive only saying that the process could easily be funded by donors.

According to the system agreed in Naivasha, an Electoral College 2000 delegates per constituency will cast the ballot to determine who ODM flag-bearer becomes. Logistically, this will involve preparing 420,000 ballot papers that will be circulated in the 210 constituencies in the country.

It will also mean preparing ballot boxes to be distributed in all the sub locations countrywide. Then there will be need to hire and train elections staff for the process.

On Wednesday, professor Anyang' Nyong'o, the party secretary general, said that the party was still discussing the possibility of ODM Kenya going for the consensus method instead of the delegates system



Leave a comment

Bank robberies, murders and general crime escalates

Kenya election years are characterized by increase in tribal clashes, violence and crime. 2007 will be no exception although political violence is generally expected to be low.

Currently, there has been notable increase in the number of bank robberies with over Kshs 300M having been stolen from banks and security firms in the last six months starting July 2006. The recent robbery was from Wells Fargo security firm headquarters in South C where Shs. 9.5M was stolen without firing a shot. Habib bank in Mombasa is a recent case in point. A number of police officers have been killed in the process with the under-equipped and understaffed 40,000 police force retaliating by killing 46 suspects in the month of January alone.

The spate of murders have been notorious in the Kiambu area where two American ladies were killed over the weekend. The areas around Kikuyu town of Kinoo, Uthiru, Gitaru, Muthure and Wangige are prime carjacking and murder prone areas as are areas along Limuru road all the way to Banana. Police claims that they have killed a prime criminal in those areas proved false when the said thug called relatives and told them not to celebrate yet. Last year, villagers torched the house of the thug and those of his former relatives after his killing sprees in the area.

It is said that the said thugs dominate Wangige town and have vowed to eliminate all the tycoons in the area. The pattern is the same, where they give rich men notice of a month or two months to enjoy their wealth and then they come and shoot them. In one case after the lapse of the enjoyment grace period, the well known thugs met their victim in a local pub and shot him and his friends dead. Their female companies were shot in their legs. Nothing was stolen from them. In another one, a woman was shot in the arm after the husband's period lapsed. The man of the house was not at home.

Recently, the decomposing body of a man whose relatives had been searching for him for a week, was found in a water-filled quarry near Kikuyu township. His body had been chopped and put in a sack with a rock tied to him so that his body will not float. He was discovered after a woman was arrested at her Muthure home on suspicion of being a gang leader of the notorious criminals. She was later said to have been a friend of the man who was carjacked as he went to attend a burial committee of a friend. He had Sh. 200,000 with him for the funeral. He was lured to the home of the woman who was said to have the habit of befriending crime targets. The man's car was discovered in a garage in a Kawangware garage as it was being repainted.

Tension is high at the Mt Elgon area where ethnic clashes have persisted for several months now. Despite the gang arrogantly displaying their arsenal and shouting out their mission to destabilize the area, the security arm have not done anything to quell the violence. But they were vigilant when presidential aspirant and anglican bishop Stephen Kewasis went to distribute relief food to the displaced residents, obviously a guise for Ruto to gain more political mileage.The security forces should be as vigilant when ending the violence.

Police commissioner, General Hussein Ali term expires in March. It is unfortunate that despite being poached from the deadly and disciplined forces, there is not much to show for his term in office other than the constant pronouncements that crime levels have gone down. Kenyans expected more from him. Knowing Kibaki's modus operandi, he is very likely to have his term renewed.

More unfortunate is Internal Security Minister, John Michuki mobilization of the provincial administration to toe government line, do its bidding and arrest opposition politicians who are inciting the public. He expects them to be loyal to their employer and pay back the hefty salaries paid to them by campaigning for the government. To him, government politicians are clean and need no monitoring. He is ready to use state machinery and resources to campaign for the incumbent and muzzle the opposition campaign. Critically, the minister
 is not keen to channel the energies of the country's security organs to protect the residents of the wider Kiambu and Nairobi area, Mt Elgon and the rest of the country.



Leave a comment

Cracks in Kibaki's Campaign Team

Following last week's open declaration by president Mwai Kibaki that he will defend his seat in this year's general elections come rain or shine, a fierce do or die battle appears to have exploded around the president with two camps emerging each driven by the sole objective of catching the big man's ear and eye.

According to knowledgeable sources in the inner sanctums of the president's circle of friends and political cohorts, the friction now threatening to burst into an uncontrollable inferno has its source in some key Narc-K functionaries' desire to not only control the president's campaign machinery, but also the line-up.

One camp revolves around a powerful Narc-K activist who has teamed up with influential permanent secretary in charge of strategic planning Stanley Murage.

Another camp rotates around Kibaki's friends in the Democratic Party who include defence minister Njenga Karume, Constitutional and Justice minister Martha Karua, Finance minister Amos Kimunya and Trade minister Mukhisa Kituyi who is the rotating chairman of Narc-K.

The latter group, we have learnt, want to pick Kituyi as Kibaki's running mate and consequently vice president if they win the next elections. As usual, the president who is famous for sitting on the fence is yet to show which side of the battling camps he will finally gravitate toward.

Perhaps spurred on by the president's silence that each group sees as a vote of approval, the two camps are now using the president's name to up their stakes much to the unbearable teeth-gnashing on either side.

And while all this goes, and as much as it might eventually impact negatively on the two groups' mutual goal of seeing Kibaki retain his seat, no one seems able to muster enough Dutch courage to face the president and tell him to either bring together the two groups or declare which among the two will finally win his heart.

Already, observers are drawing parallels between what is going on in Narc-K to the tug-of-war being witnessed in ODM-K between Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka. In fact, political pundits point out that had ODm been pulling in one direction, it would have had an easy time thrashing Kibaki in polls as then they would have capitalized on the open warfare now going on in Narc-K to their advantage.

Not surprisingly therefore, ODM-K as much as it is disjointed has the audacity of taking Kibaki head-on and making what would have been an otherwise smooth ride back to power by the elderly president a rather bumpy affair as his defenders as much as their determination and commitment is total, now risk spoiling the broth not because of the many hands, but because they fear credit for their efforts might go to their opponents.

Only last week, a quiet but potentially crippling game of intrigue was going on at the front most line of Kibaki's war machine as the two groups wrestled the steering wheel of the Kibaki campaign vehicle. First to make a move was the group associated with Narc-K activist and comprising of parliamentary aspirants.

While some cabinet ministers were traversing Trans-Nzoia and Bungoma districts selling their party to the people, back in Nairobi things were running out of hand for the infant party. The group of aspiring parliamentary contestants led by Kimani Ngunjiri and Prof Njoroge Karanja both of whom intend to run for Subukia and Molo parliamentary seats respectively wrote a letter to the Narc secretariat informing them of their intention to hold a meeting at the Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi. They went ahead and informed the public through advertisement in the media.

When the letter rerached the secretariat, the lady in charge who goes by the name Lucy and whose designation is Executive Director of Narc-K secretariat promptly informed Kituyi who vowed that this meeting would not take place. An incensed Kituyi directed the secretariat to put an advert in the daily papers denying knowledge of the intended meeting by operatives allied to Ngunjiri.

Lucy whose offices located at Vision Plaza along Mombasa road went a step further and reported the matter to the DCIO Kilimani police station that the Ngunjiri group should be locked in for defying party rules. Ngunjiri and Prof Karanja were summoned to appear at the police station but they ignored the police orders. That the two by all means and definitions are political non entities at least when it comes to national politics is now sending cold shivers down the spines of the Kituyi group who now wonder how such minnows can have the guts of punching above their weight if there is not more than meets the eye.

Not to be outdone though, Kituyi took the war to a deeper trench and wrote a stern letter to top editors in nation and Standard newspapers informing them that any advert or indeed any Narc-K communication that emanates from anywhere other than his office is a sham and should not see the light of day in the papers. matters on the position of the party, he said are his preserve.

Documents in our possession however indicate that over 300 people had already booked to attend the meeting at Grand Regency Hotel by remitting Sh.2,000 each to cater for booking of the hall and snacks. it is not clear whether the Kituyi group is doing anything towards torpedoing the grand Regency meeting and political watchers are keenly following matters to see who will be attending the meeting that promises to usher in a mouth-watering episode of the unfolding drama.

Another issue that is causing tension in the party is its constitution unveiled last week which states that any individual who intends to run on the Narc Kenya ticket should not hold any position at the grass root level. This, Ngunjiri's group argue is meant to leave a lot of influence on party matters in the hands of MPs. They argue that this will lead to rigging where the MP will choose who becomes a member of the party at grassroots level something similar to what is happening with the CDF membership committees.

They gave an example of Central province where Patrick Muiruri is the coordinator of the party in his constituency and also the coordinator at the provincial level. This, they said, has led to the locking out of leadership positions on party matters of the MP.

Another example they gave is that of Rongai constituency where the MP Alicen Chelaite is the coordinator of Rongai constituency and also the coordinator of Central Rift and area that comprises 17 constituencies. In that area, what Alicen decides goes, they claimed adding that aspirants in Narc-K had no chance of unseating such an MP. The same applies in North Rift where Kipruto Kirwa is the coordinator.

They also said told Kibaki that most of the MPs hovering around him will be trounced by their opponents and cited Steadman poll which indicated that 75 per cent of MPs allied to Narc Kenya will never make it back to parliament.

But even as the two groups go for each others' jugular, other camps are said to be taking shape with the president's daughter Judy at the head of one while her uncle, Alex Mureithi is heading the other one. These two groups, analysts, say, might at the end of the day emerge as the alternative camp once the two finish each other.

Kimani Ngunjiri is not facing any major opposition in Narc Kenya (Subukia) as his rival for parliamentary seat Koigi Wa Wamwere will vie on his party Chama Cha Wananchi (CCM). The Subukia contest is likely to be quite bruising indeed as Ngunjiri take on Koigi with his feet firmly on the ground.



Leave a comment

ODM-K should be careful on the use of 'majimbo'

One of ODM-K emerging policy is that of Majimboism i.e. federal government. Over the new year's various ODM-K campaigns, this is a keyword that has been featuring prominently.

It is apparent that one of the key issues that ODM-K wants to address in Kenya is that of un-equitable distribution of national wealth. This is an issue that has never been addressed adequately since Kenya gained independence in 1963. William Ruto's manifesto has prominently captured this as a key issue that his presidency will address. Kenya's wealth is deemed to be concentrated amongst few individuals and unevenly distributed to favour certain regions. No government has managed to address this adequately including the Kibaki administration despite its efforts with the Constituency Development Fund.

The Bomas Constitution draft addressed this issue mainly by advocating for devolution of the central government. This was agreeable by most delegates other than those who felt the proposed structure will be too expensive to administer. Not many Kenyans would think of the devolved government in terms of the emotions that Majimbo word invokes. As much as ODM-K advocates for majimbo government which in turn implies the proposed devolution proposed by Bomas, the use of the word majimbo may undo the well meaning strategy.

Majimbo to most Kenyans means upholstering tribalism and ethnicity reminiscent of the Majimbo calls by coast politician Shariff Nassir, now deceased that also contributed to ethnic tensions in Likoni and other coastal areas. It will imply federal divisions along tribal lines that would promote ethnic tensions as one ethnic bloc attains freedom from dominant groups in their regions who will have to be sent back to their federal ethnic regions. Federal regions which have resources or facilities needed by other regions will consider the new system as payback time and access to said resources will be a hard task.

Many Kenyan voters may not be patient to split hairs on what is devolution that is not majimbo. Devolution of government proposals has been a herald of good things to many Kenyans, but how will they treat the use of the term 'serikali ya majimbo'?



2 Comments

What impact will the 1BnYouth Development Kitty have on the elections

The KShs 1 billion youth development kitty is set for disbursement starting this Thursday. The fund will be launched by President Kibaki three days after revealing to African Heads Summit meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that the fund will be doubled to 2 Billion Kenya shillings in the next year.

Unlike any other political funds set for the youth, the funds will be distributed through banks and other financial intermediaries. The fund first half will be divided equally across all districts. The other half will be sent to districts pro rata to district population. Half of the fund will be disbursed through the youth enterprise scheme social development committees based at constituency level. The rest will be disbursed via financial intermediaries like banks and micro finance institutions.

The fund is open to youth aged between ages 20 and 35 years of age and with a viable business plan. The fund is not a handout but a loan scheme by the government targeting the youth. It is expected that the loanees will repay the loan at a lower interest rate to be announced but expected to be between 8 and 12%, lower than the best bank rate of 14%. It will solve the problem of unemployment and hurdles facing enterprising youth in need of credit facilities but lack collateral or consistent income.

The youth fund is expected to tackle the unemployment crisis facing a majority of Kenyan youth and encourage business start-ups, youth investments and boost the juakali sector. Financial intermediaries are expected to be creative and develop other collateral criteria to safeguard repayment of the loans other than the traditional asset and payslip related collateral.

Financial institutions are heavily competing for the disbursement of the loans with some offering to boost the kitty by 800m if given the disbursement function.

This will be another political boost to the Kibaki administration especially if equitable and easy access to the fund is guaranteed and exercised. It will give him a head start in his economic manifesto just like the CDF kitty. It may cost him a lot if the corruption and embezzlement bug hit this fund.

It has also been argued the 1Bn kitty is a drop in the ocean in tackling youth unemployment and poverty. However, the announcement that the fund will be doubled in the next financial year is a step in the right direction. Other political costs are that the fund is actually a loan at relatively competitive rates backed by a viable business plan to be repaid and not free aid to the youth. Disbursement logistics has also taken long to finalize and it may even take longer for the fund to reach the grassroots.

Involvement of financial intermediaries could be a bottleneck especially in applying, vetting of business plans, viability appraisals, apportioning the fund to applicants and assessing their credibility processes. This will be a tedious process if banks follow their normal loan routines. The banks will also be cautious lenders since the mantle of debt collection vests with them.

A huge proportion of youth do not operate bank accounts, their credit worthiness has scared off financial institutions from dealing with them and the informal sector do not have streamlined operational regulations that would make the vetting process easier. Unless the banks are willing to close one eye and amend their loan rules, it may be a while before the youth get real help in their economic quagmire. Kibaki being a conservative economist, he may not be in touch with the real needs of the youth but he is trying in a not so small way.



Leave a comment

Kibaki's Running Mate

Vice President Moody Awori announcement that he is in the race to be Kibaki's running mate in the 2007 elections. It was widely assumed that this position will be for the NARC-K younger turks who wished the VP would go to a quiet retirement. His entry into the highest available post in NARC-K has caused lots of confusion. Critics say that if he is retained as Kibaki's running mate, it would cost Kibaki the youth vote since NARC-K would be perceived as consisting of old, inflexible and keen to survive political elders.

The other top contenders for the position of Kibaki's running mate are:

  1. Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi - the current rotational NARC-K chairman and Minister of Trade and Industry
  2. Kipruto Arap Kirwa - the Minister for Agriculture and voted the best performing minister in 2006
  3. Prof. Kivutha Kibwana - The Minister for Environment and acting Lands Minister
  4. Prof. George Saitoti - The minister for Education who was recently cleared (politically cleaned) of the Goldenberg murk and whispered most prefered Kibaki successor by NARC-K minders.
  5. Musikari Kombo - Minister for Local Government and Ford-Kenya chairman. However, his indecisive and critical approach to NARC-K may make him unsuitable
  6. Charity Ngilu - Minister for health whose political star is on a decline after Kalonzo became the Kamba chieftain. It is suspected that Kibaki could use her to woo the Kamba vote especially if he decides to run on a NARC ticket closely held tight to Ngilu's chest.
The running mate position may also be guided by considering who ODM  choses as their presidential flag bearer. But knowing Kibaki's mode of operation he may just be comfortable working with the old guard, something that will not appeal the youth vote.

There has been talks that Kalonzo could decamp from ODM-K if he loses the ODM nominations. After the Naivasha meeting, Kalonzo complained bitterly that there are some in ODM-K who are out to display him in bad light. In the KISS 100 FM cross-fire show, Kalonzo stated that there is political cannibalism in ODM-K. Asker whether he would still consider talking to President Kibaki as he had stated in a 2006 programme, he said that it is too late for him to talk to Kibaki but he is always open to dialogue for the sake of the country implying he could still decamp to Kibaki's side when his star in ODM-K fades. In such an occurrence it is widely expected that he would be Kibaki's running mate and eventual successor in 2012 if they win in 2007.



Leave a comment

The British factor in Anglo-Leasing scam

The British government has been trying to arm twist and blackmail the Kenya Government to award the new-generation passports contract to De La Rue, a British firm, we can authoritatively report. The contract will soon be awarded after final scrutiny on short-listed bidders was conducted last week.

And in a curious coincidence, the British High Commissioner, Adam Wood, berated the Kenya government for not doing enough to resolve the Anglo-Leasing scandal on the same day that another Githongo tape was released raising speculation that the two occurrences could be part of a wider scheme to blackmail the government into giving the contract to De La Rue.

The contract for new security compliant passports was shelved after the Anglo Leasing bubble burst in April 2004. This came following disclosures that phantom companies in the name of Anglo-Leasing had been paid upfront to arrange Shs 2.7 billion financing for processing new-generation passports for the country.

It came out that the project cost had fraudulently been raised from Shs 800 million to Shs 2.7 billion. When the scandal erupted, "ghosts" wired to the Central Bank the Shs 90 million they had been advanced in upfront payment.

De La Rue prints the present generation of Kenyan passports which experts say are easy to duplicate, cumbersome to audit-trail and lack proper entitlement process. In some cases, computers at foreign immigration control points have been unable to read Kenyan passport owing to wrong placing of identification decipher zone in the local passbook.

The project has since been revived and will be awarded in a few weeks time. Tenders for the project were quietly invited in August last year. Documents in our possession indicate the 20 security firms, including De La Rue, submitted bids for the USD 10 million (Shs 700 million) tender. The deadline for bidding was October 31, last year.

On November 14, last year, tender evaluation on the project was secretly conducted at the Co-operative College in Karen area. At the evaluation, five companies were short-listed for the award of the tender. They included Thomas De La Rue, Canadian Bank Notes PLC of Canada, and a Germany company, G&O. Others were Global Enterprise Technologies of US and Israeli firm, Supercom.

On December 27, last year, the Principal Immigration Officer, J.K. Ndathi, wrote to both the short-listed bidders and the losers to update them on the progress. The losers were given 21 days to appeal.

Confidential information leaked to us indicates that the five short-listed bidders were subjected to further scrutiny last week using the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. Thomas De La Rue scored the least. ICAO is the body that standardizes and inspects international travel documentation.

Among the most compelling reasons for dropping De La Rue is that the firm intends to apply the same technology it has used to manufacture the present generation of passports which are considered below international standards.

Confidential sources at the Immigration Department disclose to us that on learning that De La Rue may not be getting the contract after all, the British High Commission began to apply underhand tactics to have the matter reviewed in favour of De La Rue.

Contacted, a spokesman at the British High Commission declined to comment, dismissing our query offhand in a single line that "the Embassy is not in the business of tendering for business in Kenya or lobbying for British companies."

The British security printing firm, situated on Thika Road, has been in trouble since the Kibaki administration came to power in 2003.

It began with refusal to renew a 10-year contract to print bank notes for Kenya which the firm had signed with the previous Kanu regime under questionable circumstances. The British government eventually arm-twisted the Kibaki government into renewing the contract even with its obvious flaws.

And last year, the government curiously tendered for half a million passport books from De La Rue even when it was clear that Kenya'a annual demand for passbooks is between 100,000 and 150,000 books. To make it worse, a huge chunk of the half a million books were jumbo-size yet most applicants go for the standard-sized passport. At the moment, all passport applicants are forced to take the jumbo-size, perhaps as a measure to deflate the present stock before the tender for new-generation passport is awarded.

Speaking at a forum in Nairobi on Tuesday, British High Commissioner Adam Wood revisited the Anglo-Leasing scandal and claimed that the Kenyan government has never showed enough seriousness in resolving the Anglo-Leasing scandal.

However, the High Commissioner did not say exactly what it is that the Kenyan government has failed to do as far as the matter is concerned.

But the most curious aspect of it all is the coincidence that the High Commissioner's remarks came on the very day former PS for Ethics and Governance John Githongo released his latest "expose" on Anglo-Leasing. This time round, Githongo posted a recording of a conversation with then Finance minister Daudi Mwiraria and Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi on his personal internet site.

In the tape, the duo allegedly prevailed on him to halt investigations on Anglo-Leasing.

Pundits were quick to see a possible collusion between Githongo and the British High Commission to revisit Anglo-leasing scandal piece-meal any time there is an issue to pick with the Kenya government.



Leave a comment

Kibaki to run for a second term

President Kibaki has confirmed the obvious that he will be running for a second term in office. Kenyans await the obvious confirmation that he will be running on a Narc-Kenya ticket.

His main campaign platform will be the robust economic growth that registered 5.8% growth in 2005 and an expected 6% growth in 2006. His other strengths in the free primary education programme and improved health care provision with free malaria treatment and anti-retroviral drugs to curb the HIV menace.

However failure of his anti-corruption strategy, continuance of the corruption culture, perceived unequal distribution of government positions & resources and failure to deliver a new constitution are the main concerns that could cost him his reelection bid. Other key failures include dishonoring the MOU and IPPG agenda on election of electoral commissioners.



Leave a comment

No reforms no elections campaigns kick off

The muungano wa katiba mpya movement (mainly ODM-K) kicked off its mass mobilization campaign for minimum reforms (now termed essential reforms to counter Narc-K insistence on Maximum reforms preference). The campaign started off in the form of a political rally in Machakos unlike the expected Nairobi street demos.

The essential reforms are meant to guarantee a free and fair 2007 elections. Key issues in the package being demanded include:

  1. Independence of the electoral commission of Kenya and entrenchment of the 1997 IPPG agreement (Inter Parties Parliamentary Group). The government to revoke recent sole appointments to ECK and consult ODM-K in a bid to include their representatives in the crucial election handling institution.
  2. Independence of parliament. Ensure that parliament calendar is predetermined and is not controlled by the executive. Usually a secret weapon for the incumbent as they can call off parliament and call elections at will.
  3. Entrenchment of the Bomas agreement that future president must garner more than 50% of all votes cast in any general elections
  4. Guarantee that at least a third of MPs are women.
  5. Ensure equal distribution of the national cake. This can only be achieved through devolution (Majimboism)
  6. Entrench the constitutional review and referendum law into the constitution
  7. Bar a sitting president from poaching from the opposition to ensure the country has a strong opposition.
  8. Ensure that all presidential appointments are vetted by parliament.



Leave a comment

Kalonzo and Raila hour of reckoning

The decision on the method to pick ODM-K presidential candidate arrived at in Naivasha last week will, in a matter of weeks, so radically change politics of the party as well as shape the final presidential contest towards the end of the year.

In separate interviews with The Leader this week, ODM insiders Mr Joseph Kamotho and Ms. Nazlin Umar, also a presidential aspirant, said the country should expect major announcements from ODM-K corner any time from now.

Said Kamotho: "Just keep your ears on the ground. There will be major announcements and activities in a matter of days, if not weeks."

On her part Nazlin said: "The nomination method arrived at in Naivasha will soon open a pandora's box. In the apst, some people have behaved as if they are ODM-K and ODM-K is them. Now let's see how many delegates each one of us will, and can bring on the table."

Kamotho could not agree more. He said:"We have one presidential candidate who talks just too much and is too full of himself. He has created the wrong impression thet ODM-K is him. The constituency delegate system will be his hour of reckoning."

Elsewhere on Wednesday, councilors from Kalonzo Musyoka's Mwingi district said they had done their mathematics and established that Kalonzo would garner more delegate votes than raila Odinga, hence they would not accept any situation where Kalonzo would step down for the latter.

Said the civic leaders: "We will not accept any arrangement where Kalonzo steps down for anybody. We have enough numbers even to bargain with Narc-Kenya should the need arise."

And Kamotho disclosed that grassroots Kanu and LDP leadership from Central Province will soon be holding a meeting to chart out a joint approach to the ODM-K presidential nomination.

He said: "We are major stakeholders and we won't be playing second fiddle to anybody. We too have the numbers to stake it out like anybody else.

At the same time, Kamotho was at pains to explain that ODM-K is very much a Central Kenya affairs as it was elsewhere.

He explained: "The erroneous picture that ODM-K is the enemy of Central Province was created during the referendum and is now perpetuated by Narc-Kenya. This is the impression we want to erase soon and the next thing will be to marshal enough delegates for the province to secure the ODM-K presidential nomination on our way to State House."

Nazlin, on her part, hinted at new realignments and possible defections in ODM-K soon. She reckoned: "Depending on the strength of blocs of delegates backing individual presidential aspirants, we are bound to see very different alignments from what we have heard so far."

But she was also quick to hint at possible defections if ODM-K nominations are manipulated in any way.
Asked whether they were hints that ODM-K nominations would be manipulated, Nazlin said: "What do you expect when we have the ODM-K secretariat dominated by people from one region? Obviously they would exploit every opportunity to tilt the balance in favour of the candidate from that region."

Pushed to elaborate, Nazlin said there was no hiding the fact that the ODM-K secretariat is dominated by supporters of Raila Odinga, starting with the secretary general, Prof. Anyang' Nyong'o.

She said" I have said it time and again that the ODM secretariat at the moment leaves the impression that it is working for just one ODM-K presidential aspirant, Raila and his friends.

She gave the example of the Naivasha meeting where the secretariat attempted to lock her out on the argument that the meeting was for ODM MPs alone, only for Raila's friends Musalia Mudavadi and Tony Gachokla to top in the list of invitees.

She says she finally had to force her way into the meeting when the secretariat refused to budge.

"You can be sure what kind of nomination there will be in ODM-K if this kind of secretariat has its way," she says.

For a long time, political pundits have argued that ODM-K façade of unity would last as long as the issue of the party's nomination of presidential candidate was avoided forever.

Indeed, ODM-K as it is today was born out of the unity of purpose in rejecting the draft constitution in The November 2005 referendum.

After that, it has stayed united as long as there was a joint issue on which to take on the government of the day. But as the 2007 elections gets around the corner, the party, inevitably has to confront the tricky issue of deciding on one presidential candidate from a pool of half a dozen possible candidates.

Aware that the issue could split the party in the manner of the original Ford in 1992, a day before the Naivasha meeting last week, ODM-K presidential candidates hurriedly convened at Safari Park Hotel to deliberate on whether they could agree to pick their candidate by consensus and avoid the potentially divisive ballot method.

Alternatively, the Safari Park parley sought to postpone the issue of nomination until after June.

Sources in ODM-K disclose that Raila was the key mover of both proposals which were rejected off-hand. Kalonzo, Ruto and Uhuru would hear none of it. Kalonzo, say his allies, was even ready to walk out of ODM-K the very same day if the consensus method were adopted.

It turned out that Raila had craftily left the idea to be presented and argued at the table by his friends, Musalia Mudavadi and Najib Balala.

Apparently, Raila – and by extension his allies Musalia and Balala – will be the first casualties of the nomination process agreed on at Naivasha.

Before Naivasha, conventional wisdom was that Raila and Kalonzo were the men to watch in ODM-K, with the rest in the pack playing second fiddle.

Far from it, Messrs. Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto have moved to the frontline to leave Kalonzo and Raila in their wake, in that order, according to observers.

Going by constituency delegate system ODM-K will be using to pick its presidential candidate, Uhuru has a head start with 112,000 sure delegates. This he can sweep clean in his native Central Province and the Rift valley Kikuyu diaspora of Nakuru and Laikipia districts. He can also count on the Eastern districts of Meru and Embu, which traditionally vote with Central province and the upper Eastern traditional Kanu districts of Isiolo, Marsabit and Moyale. Lastly he can count on at least four constituencies in Nairobi, including Dagoretti, Kamukunji, Starehe and Mathare.

The next is Ruto with 82,000 sure delegates from the vast Rift valley province. The vote is from mainly the Kalenjin districts in the province except Baringo district where the Moi family would do anything it takes to stop him. For a good measure, he could also count on the North-Rift vote as well as Samburu vote, though the Maasai vote cannot be guaranteed. In Narok District, William Ntimama may take the vote to his friend Raila, while Uhuru will most likely run away with kajiado and Transamara districts, besides Laikipia and Nakuru.

Trailing at third is Kalonzo with 62,000 sure delegates. These are from the four Ukambani districts of Machakos, Makueni, Kitui and Mwingi. Besides, and often underestimated by analysts, there is huge Kamba vote in the coastal districts of Mombasa, Taveta and Taita.

Raila is surprisingly at the bottom with only 52,000 sure delegates at the kick-off. These are 44,000 from the Luo Nayanza and Kisii's South Mugirango constituency, the only place he has a chance in the province outside the Luo constituencies. Raila can also carry with him at least four city constituencies, including Langata, Westlands, Kasarani and Makadara.

This has always been the irony of Raila's electoral chances. While he is a great mobiliser and can be counted on to bag in as many votes, it appears this only works as long as he is campaigning for someone else but himself. A good example is the 2002 election where he is credited with ensuring Kibaki won the presidency but his real contribution in votes was below 600,000 votes of 3.4 million votes that saw Kibaki romp home in victory.

This is how Kamotho explains it: "If Raila was to hold a meeting at Kiganjo (in the heart of Nyeri district) today, most likely he would attract a bigger crowd than President Kibaki. But come polling day, he would get zero votes!"

The nomination arrangement in ODM-K is also likely to spring other surprises. For instance, were retired President Moi to suddenly wake up to the reality of Uhuru being the ODM-K flag bearer, would he switch loyalties? After all, his main problem in ODM-K has always been a Raila presidency. What happens were he to realize he can actually live his 2002 Uhuru Project dream by backing an Uhuru candidacy in ODM-K?

And lastly, in the unlikely possibility of the entire ODM-K crowd – including Raila – saying Uhuru Tosah, where would that leave president Kibaki?

These are some of the interesting scenarios now made possible by ODM-K's nomination rules, and part of the entire drama in the countdown to the December election.

Uhuru Kenyatta – 112,000 delegates

William Ruto – 82,000 delegates

Kalonzo Musyoka – 62,000 delegates

Raila Odinga – 52,000 delegates

 (Src. The Leader)




Leave a comment

A word to Martha Karua

Watching KTN Newsline debate hosted by Louis Otieno, it was appalling to see the way you handled the minimum reform debate. I will attempt to be polite but the real message behind this post is, "Please come out of your high horse and be humble!"

The listeners when asked to vote whether they need minimum reforms, 54% voted yes and the other 46% voted no which is a surprise result in a KTN programme. It should have been 90-10 in favour of minimum reforms.

It is apparent that ODM-K counterparts have boxed you into a corner in this reform sideshow and you are doing badly. Let me remind you that the main reason Bishop Wanjiru earned public vitriol over her former marriage saga is one word: arrogance. If she owned up to her past and was respectful in her response, the public would have directed its fury to Kamangu. He would have been blamed for abandoning his father responsibility and only came out to spoil the chances of a hard working woman.

In 2004, John Michuki, the then transport minister was a darling of Kenyans and was even voted the best minister in the Kibaki administration. At the time LDP (read ODM-K) aligned ministers were still in the government and could not beat him to public admiration. Around the same period, Chris Murungaru, the internal security minister and Kiraitu Murungi, the justice minister were slowly becoming a liability and a burden to the Kibaki aligned forces. The major reason why they became a liability was their sheer arrogance and the way they handled national debates. John Michuki spoilt this above-board mantle in the famous 'rattling snake' statement and his perceived arrogance when responding to government critics. He is currently the biggest liability in NARC-K cabinet in the public eye. Why do you want to join him in this list?

It is unfortunate that you are slowly becoming a liability to NARC-K despite your strategic moves in 2006 that saved the Kibaki team after a humiliating defeat at the referendum. It is not the quality or relevance of the demands that are being made about minimum reforms that matter, it is how you in the government respond and react to the demands. As you heard in Newsline, it is no longer minimum reforms, it is essential reforms. Essential reforms will be shouted out like basic food, housing and clothing needs. The idea is to make the government have an anti-reform perception (and perceptions do matter) in the public eye. ODM-K will repeat and demo about it and Kenyans will buy it. You better change your strategy. You better be humble and more humble when you respond to these demands. Otherwise, your credibility will be in tatters and ODM-K will move to another nascent government minister: Mukhisa Kituyi.

Ruto may not have a saintly past in reforms like you, but he has 'seen the light' and Kenyans being like Jesus, they will forgive and forget. They will condemn you and your government with their votes. Listen to James Orengo reminder that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Have a reality check; you are not immune to the dangers of power. Like Louis Otieno asked what has changed now for you. I can tell you what has changed, you are in power. And what does power do? You saw the way Prof. Kivutha Kibwana carried himself in the debate, calm, consistent and collected. Borrow a leaf in upcoming debates.

You and other government ministers need to come down and humbly put your ear on the ground like a prudent ant out to detect an impending storm. Read the signs of the times and save yourself. You may need to concede some hallowed ground in these demands. Like ODM-K you are still stuck in the 2005 referendum ODM-K on one hand still in the glory of their win and the government in the arrogance of their defeat. Times have changed and matters at hand need different strokes.

Like in the opening paragraphs, it is not the quality and relevance of the demands and accusations being made to the government. It is how you respond to them. Remember it is a sideshow to cover up the problems in the opposition and an ODM-K campaign strategy. They are not keen to sell the notion of how good they are, they are out to sell to Kenyans, how bad the government is. This strategy will sell like a hot cake and we will vote the Kibaki government out. Be on guard and talk to Kenyans, talk to the media, talk to the opposition but do not talk down to them.



1 Comment

NARC-K reacts well to reform demo calls and more..

NARC-K has managed to save its skin to fight another day by dispelling the perception that they are against minimum reforms. This happened after the opposition announced mass demonstration plans to push for minimum reforms. NARC-K rotational chairman, Mukhisa Kituyi said NARC-K is open to dialogue on constitutional reforms and the other side should get to the negotiating table instead of the streets.

We await to see how tactical this is and whether it will quell and avert a government image crisis as Martha Karua did in August 2006, the last time there was push for minimum reforms. The ball is now in ODM-K court. NARC-K at heart do not want any kind of minimum reforms, a position hardened when the referendum did not go the government's way. ODM-K may not be sincere either and may be pushing for minimum reforms to sell themselves as reformists and paint the government as anti-reformist.

ODM-K decided to merge all its constituent parties (mainly LDP and Kanu) branches all over the country as NARC-K unveiled its constitution yesterday. Significantly, NARC-K current MPs and parliamentary aspirants are barred from holding branch positions in the coming NARC-K elections and can only contest national positions. The party leader will be the party's presidential candidate.

ODM-K 2,000 constituency delegates has been rumoured to have loopholes that have left leading luminaries uncomfortable in the system on top of a possible infiltration of the delegates with NARC-K bananas. More on this later. But if followed it may end up with a Ruto-Uhuru/Uhuru-Ruto candidature! There is a new push to have ODM-K candidate determined via a consensus of the six leading luminaries.

Mwiraria played his cards well by his 'no comment' answer to the media regarding Githongo tapes as Kiraitu remained tight-lipped. He managed to calm escalation of his Anglo Leasing borne problems -at least for now- unlike Bishop Wanjiru who brushed the media the wrong way. The media does make and break the high and mighty. Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission dismissed Githongo's tape as nothing new since they had it and was lumped among those those that cannot stand the test of a trial.

Nairobi could be headed for well-lit nights with the city council 60M plans to rehabilitate Nairobi traffic lights and street lights.

Kibaki's government has a development ally in Italy after Italy gave 5.4Bn in development aid and cancelled a huge portion of Kenya's debt. The 5Bn will be used in improving the education and health sectors.

CFC Bank is in merger talks with Stanbic Bank Kenya Ltd owned by Standard Bank of South Africa. The transaction once approved will make The Standard Bank Group of South Africa a majority shareholder at CFC Bank. The financial value of CFC will be based on NSE prices at the stock exchange over a 30-day trading period up to and including 18 January 2007.

Equity Bank has launched an Internet banking product targeting the Kenyans in the Diaspora. For an online demo go to http://www.equitybank.co.ke/

The new entrant to Westands parliamentary seat is Lawyer Aurellio Rebello pitting him against his former client pastor Kamlesh Pattni, current MP Fred Gumo and a possible re-entry of Betty Tett on a NARC-K ticket.



Leave a comment

The burden of a Kenya whistle blower

John Githongo has become a whistle blower celebrity with his piecemeal release of recordings of government officials private discussions of the Anglo leasing corruption saga. For his personal safety he has chosen the UK as a safe haven and the Internet has become his latest communication channel.

There has been various emotions regarding the way he has gone about it. One side is happy that he saved Kenyans lots of money and made would be public funds embezzlers cautious or stop altogether. To them he is as patriotic as those who fought for Kenya's independence. The other side is concerned about the ethics of his recordings, his bit by bit distribution of his recordings and his flight to London especially his decision not to release the tapes to the Kenya civil society or church. They have labelled him a British spy.

One can imagine the risks that Githongo has attracted to his life. Will he ever feel safe to return to Kenya even if there is a change of political dispensation. He has wounded many who wouldn't mind revenge. He has to live with this for the rest of his life. What a burden!

Protection of whistle blowers is to be guaranteed in a piece of legislation currently in parliament. However, this will not be enough when there is no political will to protect whistle blowers. Even if the state was to guarantee security, the burden of living with bodyguards all your life is a bother in itself.

David Munyakei, the Goldenberg corruption scam whistle blower did not have it easy. Luckily for him, he never had to run away from Kenya. But he lived a miserable life, jobless and died poor last year despite the many billions he saved Kenya after exposing the corruption scheme in 1992. Kibaki government never thought much of him even on winning the elections on an anti-corruption platform and did nothing substantial to sort out Goldenberg to match the patriotic gesture of David Munyakei. Neither did they do anything significant to improve Munyakei's living standards.

As much as we blame the government for the failure on the anti-corruption war, Kenyans are not ready to shed off the corruption bug. Githongo's albeit questionable way of dealing with graft will not be met with matching commitments by Kenyans to eradicate corruption. They will marvel at his recordings, vow to remove Kibaki's government, criticize his unethical recordings, praise his nationalistic virtues and condemn the lack of patriotism thereof in equal measure.

But how many Kenyans will stop receiving and giving bribes, how many will say no to a kickback to illegally award a contract? How many will reject the portion of NARC-K 5B or ODM-K 2B campaign 2007 election bribes when they do not support the parties?



Leave a comment

Githongo spills more beans.

The Kenya anti graft czar John Githongo now self-exiled in the UK released more damning recordings against Kibaki’s government compromising war on corruption. Less than a week after David Mwiraria, former finance minister, VP moody Awori and former justice minister Kiraitu Murungi were cleared of anglo leasing cover up charges by the Kenya anti corruption commission and attorney general.

This will put the government’s plan of cleaning up its loyalists on its tracks as the anglo leasing corruption scam come to haunt them again.

The new tape release has Mwiraria cautioning Githongo on following up the anglo leasing saga as its expose’ could have brought ‘our government down’. Mwiraria also asserts that he had briefed the ‘H.E’ (His Excellency) over the matter confirming Kibaki knew of the scam and kept quiet. This will disparage the government image and will definitely affect the kibaki reelection strategy. Why didn’t Kibaki act on the information he had about anglo leasing?

This pours cold water on the attempt by AG Amos Wako yesterday when he said that the said culprits were only cleared from allegations of cover up according to Githongo since his recordings were unintelligible and lacked context. Githongo could have more on this saga awaiting opportune moment to unleash it. Could he have recorded the president too? It will be interesting to hear these politicians get busted. Definitely he is a gem to the opposition (ODM-K) and they are taunting him that he will get a secretary to the cabinet and head of civil service PS in an ODM dispensation.

What if Kenya had five more Githongos? Wouldn't we be a better society?



2 Comments

No reforms, no elections

Non Narc-K mps and the civil society wants to go to the streets to push the government to concede minimum constitutional reforms and a reconstitution of the solely government appoint Electoral Commission of Kenya.

We are back to the days of mass action as the government of the day has refused to listen to any other voice outside there. The new alignment will convince Kenyans to demonstrate and refuse to have elections until the minimum reform package is passed. The demos will also push Kibaki to reconvene parliament early than planned in order to pass legislation to deal with this situation. The 2006 Kibaki redeemer, Martha Karua has accused such politicians of hypocrisy since they left a constitutional reform meeting after losing the minimum reform vote.

Are Kenyans really ready for mass action? Do they feel it is worth to go to the streets like in previous years to force a regime to accept minimum reforms? Will they leave their offices to make a point to the government or will that be left to the jobless and those hired youth? Will they create euphoria enough to make the government give ground? Will they recreate the days of no reforms no elections, saba-saba and nane-nane or will it backfire like it did on Matiba in 1997 when he led his followers to burn their voters cards.

The times are getting politically charged as the election date draws near. Who will be the ultimate winner? Kenyans?



Leave a comment

13M registered voters in Kenya in January 2007

The Electrical Commission of Kenya has disclosed that as at January 2007 there are 13 million registered voters. These are distributed as follows:

Rift Valley - 2,997,942
Eastern - 2,125,644
Central - 1,956,642
Nyanza - 1,787,289
Western - 1,404,862
Nairobi - 1,104,053
Coast - 1,049,553
North Eastern - 258,693
Total - 12,684,678

What do these statistics portend for the general election?

  • Votes regions will be key negotiation and campaign points. Constitution requires a presidential winner to garner at least 25% of votes cast in at least 5 provinces.
  • There are close to 5 million eligible voters who do not have voting cards either because they have no identity cards or they have not yet registered for voting.
  • The figures do not capture the Kenyans in the diaspora who may be willing to vote but there is no logistical infrastructure to enable them to vote.
  • With a historical voter turnout of about 80%, slightly less than 10m votes will be counted in the 2007 general elections
  • Politicians will coalesce their regions around potential regional chieftains and use the figures as a bargaining position in pre-election memorandum of understanding




Leave a comment

Determinant issues in Kenya’s 2007 elections

General elections in Kenya elicit a wide range of emotions. 2007 will not be different and a variety of issues will come to play. It is a decisive moment for Kenya. Some of the issues that will determine 2007 elections include:

  • Will Emilio Mwai Kibaki, the incumbent president, seek a second term in office - Kibaki is widely expected to run even though he has not publicly stated as such. A decision not to run or his inability to run could shift the political stakes.
  • Will Kibaki be re-elected or will Kenya have a fourth president - If Kibaki decides to run, his chances are uncertain as the confusion caused by the government loss in the constitution referendum and the subsequent opinion polls that has shown a steady rise in his popularity.
  • Who will be ODM-Kenya, the dominant opposition political party’s presidential candidate - This has not been seen as a significant factor as long as the party stays united. But the appeal of the party could change with different luminaries in the driver’s seat.
  • Will ODM-Kenya stay together after nominating their presidential candidate or will individual ambitions tear the party apart - A united opposition has been taunted as a sure win regardless of its presidential candidate. ODM-Kenya opponents have predicted that it will not hold after they nominate their candidate coupled by mistrust among the luminaries.
  • Will there be minimum reforms to guarantee a free and fair elections - The constitution debate has undergone a complete metamorphosis since NARC promised a new constitution in a hundred days. Calls for minimum reforms were met by promises of maximum reforms and the constitution making process stalled again. Whether there will be time to make any changes will have a bearing to this year’s election.
  • Will there be a snap elections or will elections be held as per the traditional end of December - There have been whispers of a pending snap election. The strategy is credited to the government out to outwit the opposition before it organizes itself. Does Kibaki have the guts to do this and will it necessarily work out to his advantage or is it an early trip to the gallows?
  • Is the ethnic and regional voting pattern era over - Kenyans are prone to vote along tribal/regional lines depending on the political lineups of competing parties. 2002 shown that Kenyans can vote above ethnic lines. Will Kenyans sustain this trend or will they vote according to the bargains of their tribal chieftains.
  • Will it really be a two-horse race? - The political landscape today is more of a competition between ODM-K and Narc-K. Is there a chance for a third political conglomerate? What if Kibaki abandons NARC-K for NARC or a fall-out occurs in ODM-K?
  • Will Kibaki’s good and bad record in office count? - The bad will definitely be a liability. Issues regarding loss in anti-corruption war, persistent unemployment, dishonoring MOU and IPPG deals could cost him his re-election. Will he be credited for his good economic record, free education and revival of some key industries?



Leave a comment