Archive for December 2007

Top 10 campaign issues: The Muslim Block

If there is one minority grouping that have made a strong case for their consideration in this year's presidential vote, it is the Muslim religious faith.

For the past two months, this group has managed to hit the headlines severally. No presidential candidate has managed to avoid them. With the exception of Nazlin Umar, the rest of the presidential candidates are assumed to have a Christian back ground. They are all going head over heels promising anything in their imagination to woo the Muslim vote. The three main contenders has been televised in numerous occasions dressed in kanzus and other clad normally associated with the Islamic-oriented culture.

In this campaign issue, Raila has a head start and wherever he goes that there is a muslim following, he resonates well with them. It is no secret that Raila Odinga will receive the lion's share of this vote. He has confessed to signing an MOU guaranteeing them that he will look into their interests when he gets into power. This MOU has been subject to various debates, with the Christian faithfuls been subject to propaganda from those opposing the MOU with Muslims. The impact as to whether Raila-Muslim MOU will make him loose a sizeable Christian vote has not been established. One strong factor is that Christians are not good at coalescing around a certain thinking line and take cardinal positions without splitting. The numerous church splits are a point to note.

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish Islam-faith related concerns to those of terrorism. The main contention of late has been the people who have been victimised by the Kibaki administration after being suspected to have been sympathetic to the global terrorist cause and anti-Somalia government (Islamic Courts government in Somalia). Some Kenyans of muslim faith have been allegedly expatriated to Ethiopia, Somalia and Cuba. This has been the major contention that the muslim vote has a beef with Kibaki. Other concerns are related to the 'marginalisation' of the coast and north-eastern Kenya communities which are predominantly muslim. It is good to note that in the 2005 referendum Kibaki campaigned for a constitution that allowed for kadhi courts, that the muslim vote wanted while Raila campaigned for its rejection.

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Top 10 campaign issues: Corruption - The past, present and future

It was highly anticipated that this will be a core issue in deciding the next president of Kenya. Corruption. A quick browse of is just a tip of the iceberg. One remembers Goldenberg, Angloleasing, Nd'ung'u Land Report, Githongo dossier, the Kroll Associates, tribal clashes report, the pre2002 grabmaniac, our city council regime and other scandals that have hit the airwaves and our court corridors to know how gigantic corruption is an issue in the presidential campaigns. Only, it is a silent top campaign issue. Why?

Kibaki started it with his infamous address in Uhuru park in Dec 2002 - corruption will cease to be a way of life in Kenya, it will be a thing of the past. My government will adopt a zero tolerance on corruption, just to paraphrase him. Kenyans were happy, they even started civil arresting policemen who were caught taking bribes from matatu operators.

The mood at the time in Kenya was saintly and people were happy that billions of Kenya shillings stashed abroad will soon be repatriated. Goldenberg commission was established and it was just a matter of time before those who conned Kenya were brought to book and made to pay every penny with interest. Then the long wait started and before Kenyans could climax their celebrations, right, left, center, Kibaki government was hit by corruption allegations, corruption perception sky-rocketed, KACC became toothless and it was business as usual for the corrupt. Zero-tolerance? Kenyans know better.

Kibaki is seeking a second-term and the anti-corruption fire is smouldering if not put out completely. In his camp are personas whose Goldenberg, Anglo-leasing and other corruption scandals are near synonymous. Zero-tolerance on corruption is no longer the rallying call. Former president whose governance record was the bashing of post-multipartism opposition whom Kibaki once headed is campaigning for Kibaki. To the Kibaki team, all re innocent till proven guilty.

Enter Raila, the purported 'Moses' who will lead Kenyans to Canaan. He is said to be zealous to clean up Kenya, the mess it is. You may be tempted to think that he eats, drinks and sleeps eradicating corruption in Kenya. Unfortunately his campaign energy is not in this direction. He tried at first but he could not sustain it. In his political expediency he needed some people that were mentioned adversely in some of the grand corruption schemes in Kenya to achieve ODM's regional balancing. He adopted several of Moi's orphans whose names cannot stand the anti-corruption test.

Raila once promised to put Moi to task on his governance record but that did not go down well with the voting loyalty and he had to go back on his word. Raila's name also appears in the Ndung'u Land report. he has defended himself saying that the author was malicious. At one time Raila was enthusiastic of implementing the Ndungu land report, after a clean up of names sneaked in. This has slowed down Raila's energy and zeal for a clean country such that he can only guarantee through his teeth while looking left, right and center to fight old and future corruption.

Mr clean, Kalonzo Musyoka, saves the day or so he thinks. He has dared anyone to associate him with ill-gotten wealth and so far so good. Critics have been quick to point out that in all the Moi and Kibaki corruption he adopted a hear no evil, see no evil, do no evil policy. Even if he knew or saw the blatant plundering of Kenya through corruption he chose to keep quiet instead of taking action or even resigning from a government whose ideals he did not agree with. So far the corruptiometer favours him more than it does Raila or Kibaki.

Corruption, according to Justice Aaron Ringera of KACC fights back. It has fought back and has managed to drown if not silence the three top contenders for the presidency to a level that anti-corruption crusade is not getting the right attention in our campaigns. If it exists it is only done in whispers to ensure that it does not topple the voting patterns.

With due respect, Pastor Muiru and other contenders for the presidency have not put a case strong enough to resonate with the Kenyan voter, so we will leave them out in this analysis for now. How sad for Kenya. Even Kamlesh Pattni the architect of Goldenberg, turned preacher, is running for an electable post. He gets a sizeable audience wherever he goes stashed with lots of cash handouts.

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