Archive for September 2008

Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Agenda Item 4

Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation

Agenda Item 4: Long-Term Issues and Solutions Matrix of Implementation Agenda

ISSUE: Constitutional Reform

As described in Agreement signed on 4 March 2008:
  • Consultation with stakeholders.
  • Parliament to enact Constitutional Review Statute, including a timetable.
  • Parliament to enact referendum law.
  • Draft Constitution prepared in consultative process, with expert assistance.
  • Parliament to approve.
  • People to enact through a referendum.

Consultations launched and review statute enacted by end of August

Constitutional reform to be completed in 12 months from the date of enactment of statute.


Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs

ISSUE: Institutional reform: The Judiciary


a) Constitutional review to anchor judicial reform measures including:
  • financial independence
  • transparent and merit-based appointment, discipline and removal of judges
  • strong commitment to human rights and gender equity
  • reconstitution of the Judicial Service Commission to include other stakeholders and enhance independence and autonomy of the Commission
b) Enact Judicial Service Commission Act, with provisions for:

- peer review mechanisms
- Performance Contracting

c) Streamline the functioning of legal and judicial institutions by adopting a sector-wide approach to increase recruitment, training, planning, management and implementation of programmes and activities in the justice sector.


Constitution to be adopted in 12 months.

Judicial Services Bill passed to implement the constitutional provisions within 3 months


Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs

ISSUE: Institutional reform: The Police


a) Constitutional review to establish an independent Police Commission.

b) Review and define the role of the Administration Police.

c) Review laws and issues related to security and policing (including the independent complaints commission, citizen oversight of police services, enhanced information disclosures, human resource management and capacity building) to make them consistent with modern democratic norms.

d) Finalisation and rollout of the National Security Policy to enable relevant sectors to develop their specific sectoral policies

e) Recruit and train more police officers to raise the police-to population ratio to the UN Standard


Constitution to be adopted in 12 months

Review process to be completed within 6 months

Recruitment and training to be completed by 2012


Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitution Affairs,

Office of the President

Ministry of Internal Security

ISSUE: Institutional reform: The Civil Service


a) Parliament to pass bill incorporating civil service reform measures from past proposed draft constitutions.

b) Continue with on-going administrative and financial reforms.

c) Results-Based Management (RBM) and Performance Contracting to cover all persons paid from public funds.

d) Review the Anti- Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003 and the Public Officer Ethics Act 2003.

e) Review the legal framework for declaration of incomes, assets and liabilities with a view to establishing an efficient and devolved administrative, compliance and analysis institutional framework

f) Appropriate constitutional and legal reforms will be undertaken to facilitate parliamentary vetting of senior public appointments

g) New legislation on whistle blower protection, freedom of information, and operationalisation of the Witness Protection Act 2006

h) Review recruitment legislation to institutionalise national character in the public service.

i) Review Standing Orders to ensure parliamentary oversight over membership of committees is based on competency and integrity


Bill to be passed by Parliament within 12 months of the coming into force of the new Constitution RBM and Performance Contracting to be entrenched in the new constitution

The various legislations to be adopted by Parliament within 6-8 months of promulgation of the new constitution


Ministry of State for Public Service/Public Service Commission

Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs

ISSUE: Institutional reform: The Parliament


a) Comprehensive review of Parliamentary Standing Orders and Procedures to enrich quality and output of Parliamentary debates and strengthen multi-party democracy.

b) Parliament's Research Centre to be strengthened.

c) Live coverage and electronic voting to be introduced.

d) Enhance oversight role of Parliament over the national budget.

e) Review Standing Orders to create a Monitoring and Implementation Committee

f) Introduce stricter and timelier deliberations on reports by institutions such as the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, Kenya National Audit Office, State Law Office, and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

g) Strengthen organs of Parliament such as Parliamentary Accounts Committee and Parliamentary Investments Committee to promote transparency and accountability in the utilisation of public resources

h) Improve transparency of MPs by creating a register of interests and opening up parliamentary committee work to the public.

i) Review Standing Orders to ensure parliamentary oversight over membership of committees is based on competency and integrity.


Review to be completed within 6 months.



ISSUE: Land reform


a) Constitutional review to address fundamental issues of land tenure and land use.

b) The development and implementation of land policies should take into account the linkages between land use, environmental conservation, forestry and water resources.

c) Finalisation of the draft National Land Use policy and enactment of attendant legislations.

d) Land laws to be harmonised into one statute to reduce multiple allocations of title deeds.

e) Establishment of a transparent, decentralised, affordable and efficient GIS-based Land Information Management System and a GIS-based Land Registry at the Ministry of Lands including all local authorities.

f) Land Ownership Document Replacement for owners affected by post-election violence

g) Development of a National Land Use Master Plan, taking into account environmental considerations.

h) Land Reform Transformation Unit in the Ministry of Lands to facilitate the implementation of the land reform programme as outlined in the National Land Use policy.

i) Strengthen local-level mechanisms for sustainable land rights administration and management.

j) Finalise the Land Dispute Tribunal Act.


Land reform process to be factored in the constitutional review process within 12 months


Ministry of Lands

ISSUE: Poverty,inequality and regional imbalances


a) Ensure equity and balance are attained in development across all regions including in job creation, poverty reduction, improved income distribution and gender equity.

b) Increase community empowerment through devolved public funds for both social and income programmes, and develop local capacity to manage devolved funds.

c) Implementation of policies and programmes that minimise the differences in income opportunities and access to social services across Kenya, with special attention to the most disadvantaged communities in the Arid and Semi-Arid Districts, urban informal settlements and pockets of poverty in high potential areas.

d) Improve wealth creating opportunities for disadvantaged groups and regions through increased infrastructure spending in roads, water, sewerage, communications, electricity targeting poor communities and regions.

e) Increase availability of affordable and accessible credit, savings programmes and appropriate technologies to create an enabling environment for poor communities to take part in wealth creation.

f) Develop an Affirmative Action policy and enhance the Women's Enterprise Fund.

g) Improve health infrastructure in underserved areas of the country through construction or rehabilitation of community health centres.


Implementation of measures to be reviewed within 2-3 years.


Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030

ISSUE: Unemployment, particularly among the youth


a) Generate an average of 740,000 new jobs each year from 2008-2012

b) Youth polytechnics to be revitalised and expanded in all districts to facilitate the training of young people in technical, vocational and entrepreneurial skills to equip them with relevant skills to participate fully in productive activities

c) Youth Empowerment Centres to be rehabilitated or established in all constituencies.

d) Upgrade existing National Youth Service institutions and establish three new ones

e) Development and enactment of a National Youth Council Bill

f) Establish Youth Enterprise and Employment Programme to promote SMEs and self employment among the youth

g) Youth Enterprise Development Fund to be increased and mechanisms put in place for easier access to credit and collateral

h) Some 5,000 youth to be recruited to National Youth Service to be employed in labour intensive road projects, tree planting programmes and other productive activities.


Review progress of implementation of the various measures within 12 months


Ministries of Roads, Public Works, Youth .Special Services and Gender

ISSUE: Consolidating National Cohesion and Unity


a) Finalise and support enactment of the Ethnic and Race Relations Bill by Parliament.

b) Parliament and the Executive to initiate and sustain advocacy role on ethnic and racial harmony.

c) Establish and operationalise a policy and institutional framework for a Peace-Building and Conflict Resolution Programme (PBCR) and early warning mechanisms on social conflict, including a PBCR monitoring and evaluation system and a restructured Secretariat, and enactment of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Bill

d) Extend District Peace Committee framework to entire country and link it to District Security Committees

e) Finalise the Hate Speech Bill and review the Media Act to control incitement attempts

f) Undertake civic education on ethnic relations

g) Inculcate a civic culture, which tolerates diversity and encourages inter-ethnic cooperation, through the school curriculum

h) Operationalisation of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC)


Ethnic Relations Bill to be passed by Parliament within 3 months Review progress in implementation of the various measures within 12 months.

TJRC to complete its work in 2010.


Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs

Office of the President

Ministries of Education and Information

ISSUE: Transparency, accountability, impunity


a) Strengthen the policy, legal and institutional framework for increased public transparency and accountability, anti-corruption, ethics and integrity, including through the development of a national anti-corruption policy, enactment of necessary legislation, and systems and capacity enhancements to strengthen the National Audit Office.

b) Undertake programmes to support improved prosecution and adjudication of corruption and economic crimes, and improved oversight and consideration of anti-corruption and audit reports by Parliament.

c) Enhancing capacity and performance in the Investigation and Asset Tracing Programme, the Civil Litigation and Asset Recovery Programme, the National Anti-corruption awareness - campaign and District Anti-Corruption Civilian Oversight Committees

d) Continuous monitoring of the Public Officer Ethics Act.

e) Revitalise Public Financial Management including the management of devolved funds such as the CDF, LGTF and Road Maintenance Levy

f) Expand capacity of District Anti-Corruption Civilian Oversight Committees to monitor management of devolved funds and stigmatise corruption.

g) Review the effectiveness of the Public Procurement Authority,

h) Undertake structural reforms focusing on prevention, investigation and recovery of corruptly acquired assets,

i) Review the effectiveness of the Privatisation Commission,

j) Full Operationalisation and capacity-building of the Public Complaints Standing Committee (the Ombudsman),

k) Finalize and operationalise the GJLOS policy framework and establish a comprehensive GJLOS policy review and update process.

l) Sustain the APRM process by ensuring assessment of government (executive, legislative and judiciary) performance and accountability.

Review progress in implementation of various measures within 12 months.


Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs

Ministry of Finance

Attorney-General's Office

KACC Judiciary

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Jaindi Kisero: Elevation of CBK’s Jacinta Mwatela far from show of gratitude

MRS JACINTA MWATELA, who was replaced on Tuesday as deputy governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, is an extraordinary banker and public officer. Her story and record of service at the CBK offers an illuminating study on what personal commitment to probity by a public official can bring to public office.

Observers who have been keenly following the shenanigans at the Central Bank of Kenya know very well that her replacement and promotion to the position of permanent secretary for the Ministry of Northern Kenya and Arid Lands was not inspired by a sense of gratitude to the 30 years of exemplary service she has given to the CBK.

The truth of the matter is that somebody wanted her out of the way at the central bank in a hurry. It is an open secret that she was not in good books with the clique that wields power at both the Central Bank of Kenya and the Treasury.

Outspoken and uncompromising on issues to do with procedure and probity, she found herself on the wrong side with powermen over the manner in which the multi-million second generation currency printing contract was handled.

Last month, she rubbed the powermen the wrong way by the evidence she gave to the Chris Okemo-led parliamentary committee on finance and public administration that was investigating the Grand Regency saga.

Within the Central Bank itself, it was an open secret that she was among a group the insiders at the bank would derisively refer to with the code name, “The Three Musketeers”. Mwatela was perceived as the inspiration to a group of three tough women in the top management of the bank, who refused to play to the whims of politicians and influence-peddlers at the Central Bank of Kenya and the Treasury on matters of procedure and probity.

With her exit, the three musketeers have more or less been dismantled.

The manner in which Mrs Mwatela was replaced raises several broader policy questions. Can we— really — claim to have an independent central bank?

Why does the Government pretend to subscribe to the principal of central bank independence, but in reality treat the affairs of this critical regulator of the financial system as if it were another ordinary parastatal?

If we indeed believed in an independent central bank, the Government should have left the recruitment of the second in command of this key institution to its board.

The issue of Central Bank independence is as old as central banking itself. We need to renew our faith in this principle so that we can keep politicians and the Government away from the Central Bank as far as possible.

IT IS FOOLHARDY TO ENTRUST THE power of issuing paper money to the Government. Goldenberg happened basically because we had a central bank that was willing to cede power to ministers and permanent secretaries at the Treasury.

Why are were driving in the reverse in terms of the need to achieve independence and autonomy of the Central Bank of Kenya?

Last year, the Treasury tried to introduce changes to the Central Bank Act with the aim of introducing a chairman appointed by politicians.

Treasury’s argument at that time was that the current arrangement, which allows the governor to hold the positions of both chief executive and chairman of the board was not in line with modern corporate governance practice. Clearly, the intention was to get the Central Bank to cede space to politicians.

Fortunately, that move did not see the light of day. What Kenya needs is a central bank whose commitment to price stability cannot be influenced by either short-term considerations of politicians or the borrowing appetite of those big spenders at the Treasury.

Inflation is the cruelest form of taxation on the people. Yet only an independent central bank, operating autonomously without the influence of politicians, can deliver monetary conditions for non inflationary growth.

We should not allow politicians to come near the conduct of monetary policy. Faced with hyper-inflation, authorities in Zimbabwe recently ordered the removal of zeros from their currency notes.

The idea that inflation can be brought under control by simply deleting zeros from the currency notes is utterly foolish. It is like believing that you spend less on the scratch cards for your mobile phone by buying more “bamba 20s”.

Monetary policy must be left to an independent central bank run by individuals who do not owe their positions to political patrons.

In 2003, David Mwiraria made a decision that led to the collapse of the government bond market when he announced in the Budget Speech that year, the reduction of the cash ratio from 10% to 6%.

By this move, the minister had freed Sh8.1 billion of liquidity into the marketplace. The 91-Treasury Bill rate went to 1 per cent. When the rates started coming up, it triggered market volatility as never seen before.

What is my point? That politicians must keep away from the Central Bank of Kenya.

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Jaindi Kisero: There’s need for radical change in State corporations

THIS BIZARRE FIGHT FOR control of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) between Labour minister John Munyes and the trustees of the fund, is not an isolated case.

Right now, the telecommunications market regulator, the Communications Commission of Kenya, does not have a chairman, reportedly because of a power struggle between Office of the President and its parent ministry.

We must blame this confusion on a corporate governance regime that allows the Office of the President and the so-called parent ministries to wield too much influence over parastatals.

As opposed to shareholders in private companies, our government- mainly through parent ministries and Harambee House- insists on steering and at the same time rowing the boat.

In the private sector, the shareholder allows the board of directors to steer the company. The management does the rowing. The kind of spectacle we are now seeing at the NSSF is easily avoided.

Pork and barrel politics is also a big factor in the confusion. Whenever a new regime comes in, the slate has to be swept clean to allow the new rulers to dish out jobs for the boys.

This what happened when Narc came to power in 2002. The current NSSF saga reflects the same phenomenon.

Patronage politics is a very complex phenomenon. We have a system where every appointment to a public position is viewed in ethnic terms.

The other day, we laughed aloud and dismissed those Coast MPs, who were demanding that the managing director of the Kenya Ports Authority, must be recruited from the coastal tribes.

As the elite of this country, one of our big limitations is arguing in circles. In the wake of the post-election crisis, the impression out there was that we had started taking a serious look at our past to discover where the founding fathers went wrong.

The psyche of the nation had been jolted to the extent that we were now ready to start conversation over even what until then were considered as taboo subjects such as ethnic inequalities in public appointments, the politics of inclusion, injustices committed against some communities by past regimes and ethnic diversity in employment practices.

The moment the situation settled down, we returned to business as usual. If we wanted to remain intellectually honest, we should have looked at the lamentations of the Coast MPs in the broader context of the cry for inclusion and ethnic diversity in public appointments.

Until we start introducing institutions and practices which will tie the hands of decision makers to enforce ethnic diversity in appointment to public positions, the talk about national healing will remain just that-talk.

IS IT, REALLY, FAIR TO TREAT MERItocracy as if it was dogma, especially in a context where critical institutions and ministries are still allowed to be dominated by certain ethnic communities?

We have a system where the minister for Health can wake up one morning and replace all members of the Medical Supplies Board with his personal appointees.

Today, there are many cases where Harambee House has intervened to block appointments made by ministers exercising their rightful powers as heads of parent ministries.

The point here is this. Merit and performance contracting are very good principles. But where the principles are not allowed to be exploited by the ruling political elite as justification for perpetuating exclusion, they only serve to breed public cynicism about what the Government is preaching.

What needs to be done? We should demolish and overhaul the current regime for governing parastatals and put these institutions on a completely new corporate governance architecture.

We need a system where Mr Francis Muthaura will not have anything to do with the running of parastatals.

And, this whole idea of having a “parent ministry” should be abolished to insulate parastatals from the influence of meddling ministers and permanent secretaries.

It will require the scrapping from the statutes of the State Corporations Act. We can then have a system where the running of parastatals is placed around the Treasury, but where laws are introduced to make its powers to intervene in parastatals analogous to the relationship between a shareholder, board and management of a private company.

Which brings me back to the NSSF. The Government needs to disabuse itself from the notion that it owns the Fund.

Beyond its fiduciary responsibility to protect the contribution by pensioners, the State has no businesses cramming the board of this institution with permanent secretaries and political appointees.

In the long run, the interests of pensioners will be served better when the NSSF is finally brought to full compliance with the requirements of the Retirement Benefits Authority.

If the Government persists in treating the NSSF like any other parastatal, it will soon find itself in court- sued by a public-spirited pensioner for meddling on worker’s funds.

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Jaindi Kisero: New import regulations oppressive for business

Importers of fast-moving consumer goods are up in arms against a decision by the Kenya Bureau of Standards to introduce a quality mark on all imported goods sold in Kenya by October 1.

They raise very valid points against this new requirement by the standards body. First, the requirement that the mark be stuck on goods per product brand will cost time and money.

Second, the one requiring them to unpack every imported item and to stick the mark on it will cause them to endure time-wasting logistical problems.

Third, in these days of globalisation – where companies manufacture goods in separate locations in far-flung continents – and where packaging is done to conform global tastes, insisting on a quality standards mark for the Kenyan market alone is superfluous and tantamount to introducing non-tariff barriers.

Fourth, if forced to comply, the importers will inevitably pass on the costs to consumers, with negative consequences to a market already faced with consistently rising prices.

I do not want to go through the whole catalogue of grievances by the importers. But I think they have a major point, especially when they complain about the nuisance value of the new requirements.

The painful truth is that businesses in this country are forced to endure foolish and maddening regulations and laws. Law-abiding citizens are being converted into dodgers by excessive regulation and taxation.

In the computer world, they talk of user-friendliness to denote technology introduced with convenience for the user in mind. In this country, regulators do not bother to ensure the rules and regulations they introduce are user-friendly. They ram these regulations down your throats and expect you to comply.

In the specific case I refer to, the importers were invited to a meeting with the managing director of the Kenya Bureau of Standards one afternoon, told about the new requirement, and informed that the implementation date would be October 1.

It was as if the management had just discovered that standards marks for imported products were a legal requirement. The Standards Act, which they invoke has been in the statute books for ages. There was no gazette notice.

Indeed, the importers were more or less invited for an ultimatum: Introduce a new quality mark for your products or face discrimination in the market-place.

The only thing the management of the standards body is willing to discuss is the implementation and the timing of the effective date. It is the law and must be respected.

In a liberalised environment like ours, effective regulation is critical. But regulators destroy taxpayers’ morale – a valuable but delicate national asset – when they flex muscle without considering what some of these regulations do to business in terms of time and money.

The quality being introduced will be a big nuisance to implement in terms of time and energy. Compounding the problem for businesses in this country is the multiplicity of regulatory bodies and certification agencies they have to deal with.

At the Mombasa Port, you have to deal with the Kenya Bureau of Standards, Kenya Revenue Authority, public health authorities, the police, the National Intelligence Service, and many more.

And, complying with one set of these strangulating controls does not necessarily mean that you are compliant.

As an importer, you can wake up one morning and find that inspectors from the Nairobi City Council have raided retail outlets and removed your products from the shelves on the grounds that the packaging has included the manufacturing date but left out expiry dates.

Yet some of the goods, for instance, imported motor vehicle spare parts, do not expire.

We all know that the City Council possesses neither the competence nor the machinery to determine whether or not the products are harmful or below standards in terms of quality. It is just plain meddling. Period.

The Bureau has also introduced a new standards mark for locally manufactured products. Without doubt, this is a good effort at giving our businesses easier access to our regional markets.

What I find unfair is the requirement that products have to be subjected to quality assurance by specific brands. The requirement that businesses pay Sh20,000 per product also amounts to excessive taxation.

The Government should listen to the importers, and must ensure that the introduction of the quality mark for imports is in line with the terms of international trade.

We must strive to make this country attractive for business. According to a recent investment climate study, businesses here pay more bribes to regulators than their competitors in Asia.

This is the “unofficial payment” which an investor has to pay to get things done. Businesses pay too much for electricity, transportation and many other costs associated with poor infrastructure.

Why make things worse by introducing a quality mark that will only serve to increase the cost of doing business?

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Jaindi Kisero: Safaricom refund: Can’t we ever learn from experience?

The Safaricom refund saga is a total mess. According to the latest statistics from the Central Bank, cheques for a whopping Sh1.67 billion have yet to be refunded.

Poor investors have been made to wait for months on end for their money. As a matter of fact, the refund process started way back on June 9, 2008.

Clearly, somebody has minted millions from these inefficient systems. Mark you, the total cheque refunds amount was Sh92 billion. The opportunities for minting money by lending it on a short-term basis are very huge, indeed.

Admittedly, both the Central Bank and the Capital Markets Authority have lately been working very hard to try and sort out the mess.

What I don’t understand is why these regulators should pretend to be serious about resolving this problem when the cheques refund problem was anticipated long before the IPO was launched.

As far back as November last year, the Kenya Bankers Association wrote to the authorities forewarning them that over-subscription of the Safaricom shares would inevitably present an insurmountable cheque refunds problem.

The association went to the extent of suggesting what needed to be done to pre-empt the messy situation.

Apparently, these warnings fell on deaf ears. The upshot is that what we are now reaping are the fruits of failure to act on sound advice.

We are also paying a heavy price by not learning from experience because all these problems we are seeing now were experienced during KenGen IPO.

When, during an IPO, you allow the leading commercial banks to hold the funds for long periods pending the processing of the refund cheques, you create major distortions in the money market.

You end up with a situation where a huge proportion of the cash in the country end up in the vaults of a couple of the receiving banks.

The liquidity strains lead to a rise in inter-bank rates and precipitate short-term fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.

During KenGen, the Kenya Commercial Bank, which was the lead bank, found itself holding much more money than it could handle.

Worse, it could not lend the money to other banks as it did not have credit lines with most of the small banks. Several such small banks almost closed shop.

The worst hit was the clearing house where settlement of transactions became a major problem with commercial banks finding it hard to source funds to settle their net debit positions.

The whole financial system had to endure untold pressures.

The question here is this: Did we really have to go through these pains again with the Safaricom IPO? Wasn’t it obvious that the Safaricom IPO would exert a bigger strain on the financial system?

What was so difficult in allowing more banks to join the three receiving banks – Citibank, National Bank of Kenya and Equity Bank?

In their letter, the bankers’ association had suggested that the Safaricom IPO would need at least five more banks.

Besides suggesting that more banks be involved in the transaction, the association had also suggested that Safaricom be handled through a system known as “delivery versus payment” – an arrangement in which investors only pay for the shares on allocation.

Under such a system, you are allowed to support your application by a guarantee or a letter of confirmation from your commercial bank.

Since an investor doesn’t have to pay in advance, the problem of refund cheques is completely obviated.

I hope that these suggestions will be taken on board during the Cooperative Bank of Kenya IPO. The mess over Safaricom refunds should never be allowed to occur again.

If there is a lesson learnt from the Safaricom IPO, it is how the ordinary Kenyan has become used to easy credit. The cheap and plentiful money then available is what created the over-subscription.

Relative to the size of the economy, household debt is on the rise. When we brag about economic revival citing Safaricom and other developments in the financial sector, we forget that our economy is yet to experience the vitality produced by sustained investment in a productive capacity.

Three factors are responsible for the economic activity we are witnessing: credit-fuelled consumption, big budget deficits, and growth in the business service sector.

Trying to understand this economy through a public response to an IPO is like trying to understand the human body by staring at people’s faces.

Although it is important, it is only one dimension of the bigger picture. There is more to development than reliance on sectors where people take dividends and fees from handling wealth that has been produced elsewhere.

For this country to experience sustainable growth, we have to invest more on brick and mortar – on infrastructure, manufacturing and agricultural activity.

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Jaindi Kisero: Spend enough money on Mombasa port or else. . .

The idea of making clearance of cargo at the port of Mombasa a 24-hour operation makes a lot of sense.

If you can get all cargo-clearing departments, all those multiple government authorities involved in processing cargo, and all container freight stations to work for 24 hours a day, you will have solved half of the congestion problem at the port.

But you will still have to follow it up by reviewing lengthy procedures in the processing of transit cargo, scanning and verification, and police escort for the cargo.

In the medium term, one of the most urgent things that needs to be done is to give the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) more land and space.

I still don’t understand why the process of acquiring 30 acres of land belonging to the Industrial Commercial and Development Corporation (ICDC) is taking so long.

Several years ago, politically well-connected operatives in the former regime of President Moi forced KPA to donate this land to ICDC to develop a soya bean project.

Funded by expensive supplier credits from a European financier, that project stalled many years ago amid obsolete equipment and a huge State-guaranteed foreign loan that took the Government several years to clear.

Why can’t the Government just give the order that this land should revert to its former owners?

I gather that the KPA board has been negotiating with ICDC for an outright purchase. Apparently, ICDC is insisting that KPA pays for the equipment as well.

The question we should be asking is whether public interest will be best served by allowing the ICDC to own that land and the obsolete equipment on it, or by the Government ordering that the land be returned to KPA to build a new container terminal.

Secondly, there is an urgent need for KPA to come up with a long-term strategic position on container freight stations in its overall plans of easing congestion at Kilindini Port.

The authority badly needs to bring on board more of these private sector players if it wants to reduce the traffic around the port area.

The success of operations such as the Grain Bulk Handlers Ltd in providing quality handling is enough proof of what private capital is capable of doing in the cargo clearing services.

The recently built Bossfreight Terminal at Mariakani is yet another example of efficiency levels which the private sector can bring to bear in providing some of these services.

Bossfreight is a facility exclusively handling vehicles, and that makes it possible for users to clear their vehicles in one place during which the vehicles come out complete with number plates.

The point here is this: If KPA can’t come up with a well-crafted policy of sharing some of the responsibilities with private freight firms, it will be impossible to increase the flow of international capital into the business.

In this regard, the Government needs to review the 10-kilometre rule for building container freight stations, as this will make it possible to put up these facilities on easily affordable land.

I do not agree with those who say that the Mombasa port faces a major threat of cargo diversion to Dar es Salaam Port right now. Currently, Dar es Salaam is facing major problems. It lacks capacity to handle additional cargo.

The real future threats to Mombasa are the recent developments taking place in the road and rail links in what is referred to as the Central Corridor – those that connect Dar es Salaam with the hinterland countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi via a road network stretching 1,500 kilometres.

At the height of the post-election violence, both Uganda and Rwanda sent ministerial delegations to Dar es Salaam to discuss alternative sea routes and passage for their imports, especially petroleum.

During these visits, the two countries signed memoranda of understanding seeking to make Dar es Salaam the seaport of choice for the hinterland countries.

Tanzania has also recently awarded tenders for two major dredging contracts, which is expected to increase ship turn-around time and also make room for large ocean-going vessels.

Presently, there are plans by Rwanda to build a railway link between Kigali and Isaka in Tanzania. As a matter of fact, the tender to build the link was awarded in January.

When the Kigali-Isaka link is completed, it will definitely trigger an increase in Rwandese and Burundi cargo passing through Dar es Salaam, especially because Rwanda is also expanding its container terminal in Isaka on a 14-acre piece of land.

The evidence may be anecdotal, but if we do not spend enough money on improving the quality of services at Mombasa Port, we will gradually lose our comparative advantage as the hub of economic activity in the region.

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Macharia Gaitho: Better constitution holds key to prosperous Kenya

A NEW GALLUP SURVEY REveals that Kenyans are more concerned about unemployment, poverty and high prices, than they are about a new constitution.

That is worrying. That we are more concerned about simple bread-and-butter issues — about our creature comforts and well-being — than about the constitution, shows we conform to the hackneyed argument of years past that matters of the stomach are more important than freedom and democracy.

During the struggle for multi-partyism in the early 1990s, President Moi and his academics-on-hire went into overdrive trying to sell the argument that the crusade for democratisation and human rights was alien and foreign-inspired; and failed to take cognisance of the fact that Kenyans had much more important issues to occupy them.

Politics of the stomach, President Moi used to say as he presided over a kleptocracy that looted the national coffers, drive in a wild binge aimed at buying hearts and minds.

Well, a few in the inner sanctum grew very rich, but the vast majority of Kenyan became much, much poorer until they eventually realised how important it was to boot out the Kanu regime before it starved them all to death.

So, in a way, Mr Moi was right. He bankrupted the country and the people he was trying to buy with politics of the stomach came to realise that their long-term interests lay in democratisation rather than temporary satiation.

In time, the process was completed when the Moi regime was shown a wide open exit door to mark what came to be recognised as a pivotal stage in the Second Liberation.

It was not long, however, before the new President Kibaki reneged on the promise to deliver a new constitution, one of the cardinal pledges of election campaign, and the coalition that had ended four decades of a Kanu monopoly on power started crumbling.

President Kibaki’s biggest letdown to Kenyans has always been the aborted new constitution; and after the near meltdown following the disputed 2007 presidential election, it was widely recognised that the path to peace, national reconciliation and healing would have to be paved with a new economic and social order.

Hence the surprise that just over half a year since the country was pulled from the brink, Kenyans no longer recognise the paramountcy of a new constitution.

I don’t know whether that is a sign of contentment, indifference, or desperation, but it is still worrying.

If it is contentment with the relative peace and calm following installation of the Grand Coalition government, then Kenyans are in a state of dangerous delusion.

Peace is not just the absence of war. The fact that Kenyans are not killing each other at the moment does not mean a state of peace, it only means a ceasefire. Until the things that divide Kenyans are resolved and he solutions entrenched in a new constitutional order, we cannot talk about having attained peace. We are still in a state where a tiny spark can lead to fresh bloodletting.

Indifference is just as dangerous. It means Kenyans simply do not know or do not care that they are sitting on a ticking time bomb that could explode at any minute.

Then there is desperation. It is true that a people struggling just to keep body and soul together, as in the Moi years, might have little time and energy to expend on abstract things like a new constitution. They have enough problems about where the next meal will come from.

Perhaps Mr Moi’s ideology of the stomach held that hungry people do not have the luxury of time and energy to agitate for improvements in their lives.

True, to an extent, because the more chilling reality is that a hungry and desperate people do not have the luxury to look forward to a future of hope and promise.

They are more likely to turn to crime and other acts of desperation merely to survive. Runaway crime and the proliferation of dangerous gangs in the urban areas and all sorts of bandits in the remoter areas are a direct manifestation of that state of desperation and hopelessness.

A PEOPLE DRIVEN TO CRIME BY sheer necessity are unlikely to be too concerned about the constitution, law and order. If anything the weaker the machinery of State, the more advantage to those living on the margins of civilised society.

That is why we should be extremely worried that Kenyans are not placing the constitution firmly atop their “to do” lists.

It is time the Government moved to re-assure a cynical public that it is indeed moving towards giving them justice and opportunity for all through a new economic and social order that will be entrenched in a new constitution.

It was in June that the laws providing the timetable for a new constitution were published.

Since then, apart from interventions by some groupings looking for roles to play, we have heard very little about actual progress on that timetable.

Our leaders have been quite content with the trappings of high office and thus are paying little to address the issues that must be resolved if Kenya is to firmly get back on track towards peace and prosperity.

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Macharia Gaitho: Code of Conduct being flouted with impunity

THERE USED TO BE A DOCUment called the Ministerial Code of Conduct. Issued by President Kibaki just three short years ago, The Code would appear to have gone into disuse seeing the sort of conduct and utterances we are daily observing of our ministers and assistant ministers.

In addition to expecting them to observe the general Code of Conduct and Ethics applicable to all public servants, ministers were further bound by detailed regulations in a long list of dos and don’ts.

The regulations are being openly flouted, and it appears nobody is willing to enforce them.

Perhaps one could blame the structure of the coalition that forced the two arms of government to cohabit with characters they would ordinarily not want to be seen dead with. There is also the unofficial immunity granted ministers because, however badly they behave, they cannot be sacked unless President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga concur.

The coalition structure, however, is not exactly the one at fault. Even in the pre-coalition period, when he ruled without having to make reference to anyone else, President Kibaki was patently uninterested in enforcing discipline and good behaviour among his troops.

A look at the Code of Conduct reveals a whole series of provisions, which have been ignored.

As a public service, today I dedicate my space to extracts from the Code of Conduct. I will be waiting to receive alerts when these provisions are flouted. I suspect no minister will be left standing if the Code were to be applied.

In carrying out public business, including making public appointments ministers should make choices on merit, without discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, gender, religion or origin.

Ministers are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to scrutiny by the Public and Parliament. Ministers, who knowingly mislead Parliament, will be expected to offer their resignation.

Ministers should, at all times, act with honesty, and uphold the highest ethical standards.

Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises or appears to arise between their public duties and private interests. A minister shall not personally, or through a company in which he or she is a shareholder or a director, do business directly or indirectly with the ministry or any public body under the general or special oversight by the ministry of which he or she is the minister.

Collective responsibility requires that ministers should be able to express their views frankly in private while maintaining a united front when decisions have been reached. Ministers should thus not disagree publicly with Cabinet decisions. Decisions reached by the Cabinet are binding. Ministers are required to abide by them and defend them as necessary.

IN REACHING POLICY DECISIONS ministers shall give fair consideration and due weight to informed and impartial advice from civil servants.

Any minister who intends to make a speech, which deals with, or makes observations which have a bearing upon matters which fall within another minister’s responsibilities, should consult that minister.

On appointment to each new office, ministers are advised to provide the secretary to the Cabinet with a full list, in writing, of all interests which might be thought to give rise to a conflict. The list should cover not only the minister’s personal interests but also those of a spouse or partner, children who are minors, trusts of which the minister or a spouse or partner is a trustee or beneficiary, or of closely associated persons.

Ministers undertake to allow the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, or any other competent authority, to access their declarations of assets and liabilities made under the Public Officer Ethics Act, or any other law amending or replacing the same.

No other authority shall be required by the Anti-Corruption Commission or other competent authority to access a minister’s declaration from the responsible Commission and to verify the same. The President may, on the advice of the Commission or other competent authority, take administrative action against a minister whose declaration is found to be incomplete, or false or otherwise to raise suspicion on the integrity of the minister without prejudice to any legal action that may be taken against such minister.

Ministers must resign any directorships they hold when they take up office.

A Minister shall not accept or solicit any gifts, rewards, hospitality, benefits or any other valuable present in any form, whether in appreciation for any act done or for any other reason. The same principle applies if gifts are offered to a member of their family.

Receipt of gifts by a minister from donors should, in all cases, be reported to the President, and be retained by the permanent secretary on behalf of the ministry. Gifts given to ministers in their official capacity become the property of the Executive.

Ministers shall not use government facilities and resources for party or constituency work.

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Macharia Gaitho: The wives of key leaders don’t need this money

PRESIDENT KIBAKI, VP MUSYoka and Prime Minister Odinga are no doubt the most pampered public servants in Kenya.

In addition to princely salaries, courtesy of the rest of us ordinary mortals, they enjoy almost unlimited benefits and perks that take care of virtually every earthly need.

These include shopping, household, entertainment, holidays, leisure and other personal expenses which really should not be charged on the long-suffering taxpayer – but no audit raises a query.

Now the three wise gentlemen find it fit to extend to their spouses further entitlements in the form of cash infusions from the public coffers for assignments nobody quite understands.

Now, I do not begrudge a First Lady and the others – I’m not sure whether they would be Second Lady, Third Lady, or whatever – having their official activities funded by the State.

I suppose spouses in such exalted positions do have some public duties that come with having married right or married lucky.

There will be dinners and cocktails to host, charitable work to be undertaken, all sorts of official travel and countless activities that come with the territory. Some of those functions might even involve a bit of sprucing up in the wardrobe, hair and facial departments.

It would be extremely mean and churlish of us to expect them to dip into their own handbags to finance activities that are undertaken principally in support of the quasi-official roles they play.

It is thus right and proper that – clothes, hairdo and make-up excepted – we, the taxpayers, foot the bill.

It would be entirely wrong, however, to simply throw wads of cash at Mrs Lucy Kibaki, Mrs Ida Odinga and Mrs Pauline Musyoka for them to spend as they wish. Not a single shilling should go into their respective personal bank accounts.

Any provisions for spousal expenses should not be paid directly, but drawn from the official budget of the principal spouse who is in Government service.

Such expenses as envisaged should not be paid out as salary for no recognisable job done, or as some ex-gratia payment; but operated within public service rules and regulations as applied to public servants authorised to incur expenditure for defined functions or projects.

Since the beneficiaries in this case are not even public servants, it follows that they cannot be allowed to sign, draw any cash or sign any expense vouchers. Such tasks would have to be entrusted to staff in the offices of their husbands.

I don’t know where this whole business of paying the far-from-needy spouses of our key leaders came from. I have no idea whether Mama Ngina Kenyatta was ever paid an allowance.

IT WAS WHEN PRESIDENT KIBAKI came to power that Kenya again had a First Lady and the allowance came into being. One might recall that it was very tactlessly increased just before the General Election of last year – something about an increased workload.

During President Kibaki’s first term, the matter of Vice-President Awori’s wife getting an allowance never arose.

From the circulars seen recently from the Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, one can glean that the payments to the wife of the present Vice-President is an innovation, as is the matching payment to the wife of the Prime Minister.

If the way Kenya operates is anything to go by, it might not be long before the wives of Deputy Prime Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi also start badgering their respective husbands for money from State coffers.

Next it will be the turn of every Cabinet minister to be under siege from a determined spouse wanting his or her share of shopping money from the Exchequer.

Then on down to Assistant ministers, PSs, MPs, judges and anybody who is somebody on the public payroll.

Before things start getting out of hand, the easier and faster option might be to simply stop those cash injections to the First Lady and the VP’s and PM’s spouses. They will not starve, nor will they lack the wherewithal to be always presentable and well-turned out.

Official expenses, within reason and budget, will still be met by the public, but there will be no issue of any of the aforementioned spouses being seen as greedy while most Kenyans live below the poverty line.

Rejecting the payments would earn the three ladies a tremendous amount of respect and goodwill from the public.

* * *
Mr Mutula Kilonzo comes across as a pretty sharp fellow in both his natty attire and in his gift for repartee. But as minister for Nairobi Metropolitan Development, he is going a bit over the top.

It is good to dream, but flights of fancy and castles in Spain are entirely different propositions.

The minister should stop dazzling us with all those fantasies 10-lane highways and spaghetti junctions all over the place, and even special lanes for the high and mighty, and go for the simple things first.

Residents of Nairobi’s Eastlands, Westlands, Southlands and Northlands may be impressed with all the glib talk, but all they want is the garbage collected, water in their taps and their roads fixed.

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Macharia Gaitho: Raila, the performer, has impressed friend and foe

WITH INTERVENTIONS on the Mau Forest crisis, the Grand Regency Hotel sale; and now the Port of Mombasa, Prime Minister Raila Odinga is displaying a rare kind of leadership as he defines the functions of his new office.

The power-sharing agreement he signed with President Kibaki gave him a position that was hardly defined. Whoever got such a post could either assume vital executive power or be no more than a glorified messenger.

Indeed, many of Mr Odinga’s allies were apprehensive that he had been short-changed, particularly because he did not get direct responsibility for any of the key dockets like Internal Security, Provincial Administration, or Finance.

On the other side, many of President Kibaki’s people were quite satisfied with a deal that granted them a respite from the post-election violence, while giving Mr Odinga what looked like a premiership with very little power.

Many of the PNU nabobs were wont to smirk that as long as Mr Odinga got a long motorcade and appropriate security detail, he would be quite happy, and it would be back to business as usual.

The fact is that it is no longer kazi iendelee. Mr Odinga has grabbed an ill-defined office and shaped it powerfully in his own inimitable way.

There is now no longer a question of what power-sharing meant. The early efforts to use Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka to cut Mr Odinga down to size have been abandoned, and it is now quite clear that the Prime Minister stands right next to the President in terms of the pecking order.

Constitutionally, the President still wields almost untrammelled executive power, but the nebulous responsibilities given the Prime Minister might, in fact, have been a blessing in disguise.

“General co-ordination and supervision” actually came without limits, and that is being seen by the way in which Mr Odinga has the freedom and latitude to exercise his influence over virtually all functions of Government.

He is helped partly by President Kibaki’s laid-back style and distaste for micro-management, so that what used to be seen as a gap in the running of Government has now been more than adequately filled.

With the President in his usual repose, it is Mr Odinga who has moved in to crack the whip across all functions of Government.

President Kibaki has always talked about accountable and efficient Government, but it his former arch-foe, Mr Odinga, who is out in the field whipping everybody into line.

Most refreshingly, Mr Odinga has shown that he is not afraid to step on a few toes. The Mau Forest and Kenya Ports Authority interventions could for him be very tricky politically.

LEADING THE DRIVE TO CLEAR THE Mau of illegal settlements and removing the ports boss has brought him into direct conflict with some of the key constituencies for ODM, but the Prime Minister has faced down MPs from Rift Valley and Coast provinces, respectively, who have taken him to task over the initiatives.

In the process, he has displayed that getting work done for the betterment of Kenya is for him more important that transient political considerations.

He has made a powerful case for saving the Mau, and the MPs from the region who had been complaining have been forced to tone down their demands lest they be seen as supporting the destruction of such an important national resource.

At the Port of Mombasa on Monday, Mr Odinga minced no words in restating his conviction that the vital facility cannot be left to the mercy of incompetent management.

Even more important might have been the strong style in which he dismissed claims by local MPs that the removal of the Ports Authority boss amounted to removal of a Coastal.

Mr Odinga restated the principle that KPA is a vital national facility for which management must only be entrusted to the most qualified and deserving person rather than merely going for a local.

The emphasis on qualifications and expertise over ethnicity, discrimination and even affirmative action amounts to an important policy pronouncement that might irk many of Mr Odinga’s allies schooled in the politics of the ethnic card.

Mr Odinga has been extremely busy since he assumed office, becoming the face of Kenya on the international forum, and energetically pushing the country’s case in the global economic community.

Those who had earlier dismissed him as a socialist or communist might be dumbfounded by the way in which he has courted Western investors.

But it is clear that he is far more than just an effective salesman. He seems to be driven by a missionary zeal to see Kenya succeed as a showcase of development, but for that drive to succeed, political stability is vital and that is where things can become a bit complicated.

While his performance so far might have pleasantly surprised former foes around President Kibaki who thought he was the devil incarnate, there are many in Mr Odinga’s own camp who now think he is now supping with the devil.

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Tom Mshindi: Righteous anger can’t wash away violence allegations

Kenya may not be the most corrupt society, but it certainly ranks very high as one of the self-declared democracies in which leaders exhibit an extraordinary disregard for the values of right and wrong.

Even more profound is that they know they are being hypocritical and leading a double life, but so what? Kenyans are gullible, accepting and corruptible.

This week’s amazing histrionics from some leaders is a powerful example.

We have seen Cabinet ministers William ole Ntimama (National Heritage), William Ruto (Agriculture), Sally Kosgei (Higher Education), Najib Balala (Tourism) and Uhuru Kenyatta (Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Trade) angrily condemn a report that implicates them in the planning of the mayhem that followed the disputed election results in December 2007.

Buret MP Franklin Bett has also registered his indignation and demanded that his name be expunged from the report and a full apology issued.

The report: On the Brink of the Precipice: A Human Rights Account of Kenya’s Post-2007 Election Violence, was prepared by the Government human rights watchdog, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

It is one among several written by varied organisations on that cataclysmic event, but it is unique for actually naming senior leaders that it accuses of direct involvement in planning the chaos.

I have considerable respect for some of these leaders, a few of whom have contributed remarkably to the struggle to advance freedom and democracy in Kenya.

But the vitriol they are pouring on the report betrays a little more than mere umbrage at baseless allegations by one uppity organisation that lacks credibility and prestige.

First, the KNCHR is a very serious entity that has courageously investigated and reported on issues of public probity without fear.

It is also populated by people who, individually and collectively, combine knowledge, prestige and personal integrity that cannot be dismissed simply because its report has upset some people.

Merely by being a product of the KNCHR, the report should be read with sobriety. Second, and equally important, are the facts around the violence.

It is a moot point that the mayhem was not spontaneous, that there was a deliberate plan that the aggressors were following before those targeted retaliated.

This is quite clear in the reports and evidence that has been adduced before the various committees investigating the violence.

It is equally moot that the violence was planned and executed along ethnic lines. That is how, for example, the Kisii and Kikuyu found themselves to be victims in virtually all these areas.

Ethnic politics and loyalties ultimately gravitate around a tribal leader and nowhere is this phenomenon dramatised more graphically than in Kenya.

The political socialisation fostered first by Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and refined by retired President Moi, arraigned communities around ethnic chiefs who acted as direct links to the centre. These are the structures that were used to deadly effect during the violence.

Rather than rant at the report and stir the same ethnic passions the leaders are trying to distance themselves from, they should do what assistant minister Danson Mungatana suggests: Step aside like former Finance minister Amos Kimunya did and invite an independent probe into the allegations.

They could also go to court and challenge the same because, as Mungatana says: ‘‘You do not discuss your innocence in the media, the press cannot clear you...’’

If they cannot step aside, President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga can do Kenyans that favour?

The responsibility for ultimate action may sit with these two gentlemen, but where is the surprised anger and public outcry that greeted news of the sale of Grand Regency?

Clearly, Kenyans are making a very telling statement here if one assumes, as we should, that on the scale of evils, the suspicions against these leaders are any less onerous than the ones against Mr Kimunya.

Any surprises therefore that to be corrupt in Kenya is a sure ticket to fame, riches and political power?

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Tom Mshindi: As Tanzania dithers, EA integration must roll on

It is regrettable but hardly surprising that Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda must now proceed with the East African regional integration project without Tanzania because it is scared about the implications of progressing with plans to set up a common market by 2010 and a political federation by 2015.

Tanzania’s unease was evident from early 2007 when results from the referendum conducted on the pace at which the integration should be conducted returned a verdict that its citizens saw no need for haste because their national systems and institutions were not quite ready to embrace East Africa as completely as the integration envisaged.

This is hardly surprising. The theory and experience of regional integration provides ample evidence that subordinating national interests to a supranational authority is not an easy feat even for countries that otherwise have plenty else in common.

The EU integration that started more than 30 years ago is still very much a work in progress. Had the initial signatories of the European Union waited until all eligible members were ready, they would still be waiting.

A decision from the rest of the Eastern African countries to proceed without Tanzania will not, therefore, be seen as a betrayal of the EA spirit. Tanzania should be free to make decisions that it feels are in its best interest just as the other countries are free to do.

For them, however, those interests are best served by creating an entity whose sum total is bigger than its individual units – economically, politically and socially.

Tanzania does not advance a compelling case why it is getting cold feet so late into the process.

Its fears became apparent when the Wako Commission on the fast-tracking of the integration process proposed a formula that would see the political process rolled out parallel to the economic one.

Tanzanian leaders argue that its people are not ready for the envisaged integration because its political and economic structures cannot manage the demands of integration – which call for elimination of all trade barriers, allowing free movement of goods and services, and finally having a political federation.

Informally, Tanzanians will confess their main problem is Kenya’s stronger economy and the aggressive streak of its entrepreneurs. It is very concerned that Kenyan professionals will have an unfair advantage over Tanzanians.

This week, Tanzania’s East African Co-operation minister Diodorus Kamala told a meeting of private sector representatives in Arusha that his country would insist that non-citizens be barred from acquiring land.

Although he was quick to reassure his surprised audience that land for business purposes would still be available, the caveat he desires exposes a deep-seated and largely misplaced fear that citizens from one country – supposedly Kenya – will migrate en masse and inhabit Tanzania’s vast virgin land.

These reasons must be taken for what they are – belated excuses to delay a process whose potential benefits have been fully demonstrated.

It is tempting to agree with those arguing that Tanzania is suffering serious indecision over its status as a member of both the East African Cooperation project and SADCC.

It wants to enjoy the advantage for having feet in both camps for as long as possible before it finally opts for one – probably SADCC – after wasting its neighbours’ valuable time.

It must have been very clear for Tanzania that regional integration comes with a cost, and none larger than the cost of surrendering some autonomy and opening up its doors to allow the infusion of resources and competition from its neighbours.

It should also know that Kenya's industrialists are not going to close shop and wait for their neighbours to raise their production sophistication levels before they can compete.

Tanzania should have devised a strategy that enables its industrialists to benefit from partnering with others who will set up shop there. It should be using this time to expose its professionals to skills and work attitudes that raise their competitiveness – just as Uganda and Rwanda are doing.

The only plausible reason why they have not done so is unwillingness, as the country is not short of strategic thinkers.

It is unlikely that this position will change soon and the rest of the East African countries must move on.

The economic imperative for the other countries is certainly more urgent than it is for Tanzania, which believes its port, vast land, unexploited resources and SADCC membership give it a time advantage.

The rest of Eastern Africa must not be held hostage by such selfishness.

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Tom Mshindi: Githongo: Anti-graft Czar with a poisoned chalice

Excitement or fear that the visit of self-exiled former Ethics permanent secretary John Githongo may herald another dramatic expose of the murky dealings many senior operatives in the first Kibaki Government were involved in is misplaced.

He appears to have no inclination to rattle any more snakes, which is hardly surprising as corruption is not going anywhere.

Mr Githongo was not the first legally appointed operative to seriously track corruption. That credit perhaps belongs, with deep irony, to Mr John Harun Mwau, who ran the precursor to the Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority.

Like Mr Mwau, Mr Githongo’s efforts aborted and he fled before punishing anyone for corruption. He claimed his life was in danger and that his boss no longer appeared to be enthusiastic about tackling the cancer he had sworn to take on.

As could be expected, conspiracy theories abound that try to discredit Mr Githongo. However, corruption is a high-stakes game and an occasional death is seen as a legitimate price that may have to be paid.

What is not in doubt is that his boss then did not exhibit any great desire to affirm his zero-tolerance pledge, the farcical Operation Dragon in the Judiciary notwithstanding. On this, he was just being consistent with his predecessors who found great comfort in accommodating corruption.

If Kenya’s top leadership had wanted to tackle corruption, there was always ample information.

The Comptroller and Auditor-General’s reports were annual narratives of extreme sloth and venality (with the offices responsible identified) that were treated as routine lamentations, eliciting no action whatsoever from those mandated to act.

Reports of parliamentary watchdogs – the Public Investments Committee and the Public Accounts Committee – that have almost always found public officials culpable in the stealing of public funds or illegally exercising public authority for personal gain have been filed away in the archives rather than being treated as desperate public pleas for action.

We recall the spectacular Dick Berg scandal that hugely tainted the preparations for the 1987 All Africa Games and the complicity of our top sports administrator then who is now back as a senior player in the coalition Cabinet.

Recall the Turkwell Dam scandal and the ministers involved? What of the politicisation and corruption of the financial sector in the early 1990s through vehicles such as YK 92, and institutions like Trust Bank?

Shenanigans around land as a prime corruption tool are well-recorded in documents like the Ndung’u Report. That report lists a who is who in corruption related to land, and it is almost a carbon copy of who is who in the past and present political set-up.

And then, of course, was the father of them all – Goldenberg, before the new monster surfaced in the form of Anglo Leasing.

This history precedes Mr Githongo and will survive him into the indefinite future. My view is that as Kenyans, we are both unwilling and incapable of fighting this scourge.

Unwilling because corruption is extremely adept at self-perpetuating and sustaining, incapable because of the incredible resource inequities that define Kenya’s social relationships and elevate whoever has into a cult hero, and whoever has not into a veritable beggar.

Administrative responses like the KACC, the National Anti-Corruption Campaign, the Efficiency Monitoring Unit and legal instruments like the Public Officers Ethics Bill, serve as no more than embroidery trinkets that add up to very little when the sub-structure on which they rest is corruption-riddled.

The good judge, His Lordship Aaron Ringera, can talk of numbers of files opened, investigated and sent or resent to the Attorney-General and wax lyrical about how fearless and committed KACC is.

But KACC is one of the most expensive and ineffective Government indulgences.
Ultimately, fighting graft demands firm political action, not only legal responses, and herein lies the dilemma: Hardly anyone among those who should strike a telling blow on corruption can, in the words of Jesus, cast the first stone.

The rest, including the media, can only make the noise of the frog – completely useless as a deterrent to the cow drinking in the corruption well.

In the fullness of time, corruption will be reduced by decisive political action from those with the moral legitimacy to act. Such action has to be supported by a spectacular creation and redistribution of wealth to reduce inequities.

We should invest in education, infrastructure and wealth creation, not in a PS portfolio. Mr Githongo’s assignment was designed to fail.

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Tom Mshindi: PM is a great manager, but where is the team?

Both the subject and thrust of colleague Macharia Gaitho’s commentary in the Nation on Tuesday made it second most popular according to the Internet edition reader’s aggregator.

This is hardly surprising as Mr Raila Odinga, Kenya’s prime minister for four months now, remains the most compelling politician in the country.

Taking up a role without a clear purpose and deliverables, he has written his own job description and is using it to very good effect, both for himself and for country.

Here is a leader who has the country’s priorities right, and the courage to attempt to resolve thorny ones with the risk of upsetting entrenched interests.

There is one danger though – he needs to carry the rest of the team with him.

There is as much applause as there is cynicism about the eventual success of his approach if the rest of the team is not in the game.

Since the coalition government started work, the highlights of its existence has been former Finance minister Amos Kimunya’s very public slide into ignominy, Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang’ and his peculiar handling of the work permits issue – he almost went Kimunya’s way but will live to issue more permits – and Education minister Sam Ongeri’s less than wholesome handling of the fiery unrest in schools.

Worth mention also is the Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi’s attempt to clean up the mess left by his counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta at the Local Government ministry where the latter, in a bout of unusual political generosity, nominated more councillors than the law allows him to.

One notes also that Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o at the Health ministry and Mrs Charity Ngilu at Water have been busy appointing parastatal chiefs in ways many see as high-handed and hence unacceptable.

Nairobi Metropolitan minister Mutula Kilonzo has been taking futuristic flights into the city of 2021, while many would rather he remained grounded in the present, talking about more pedestrian lanes, bypasses and bicycle lanes for all residents rather than for the extra comfort of politicians!

We highlight these because they represent what the public sees the ministers doing.

Ministers, unlike permanent secretaries, are judged by what they say and what they are seen to be doing.

They are political heads of Government departments and a lot of their time must be taken up with articulating these policies in ways understandable to the public, supervising the execution of public projects, and consulting with the public and other stakeholders.

I see three reasons why they are failing. One is sheer incompetence. There are ministers who do not deserve the responsibility. An example of one ministry that seems to have been seriously short-changed is Transport.

The second reason is that there are just too many portfolios, some not clearly defined, that even the public sometimes forgets there are 40 ministers!

Culture and National Heritage? No wonder Mr William ole Ntimama is generally absent.

Ministry of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands? A budget of less than Sh10 billion does not make it a terribly crucial docket, does it?

The third reason is that many of the ministers are waiting for cues from their party principals before they can move, creating a vacuum Mr Odinga is filling.

The experience of Mr Kimunya and the near-disaster involving Mr Kajwang’ has fostered significant hesitancy among the ministers. Many are uncertain whether the moves they make will draw applause or opprobrium.

It is this incompetence and uncertainty that Mr Odinga must tackle because his team must deliver for him to succeed.

He has signed a performance contract tying up the whole lot and each must play their role.

Rather than try the impossible feat of asserting himself everywhere and pronouncing himself on everything, he should be demanding results from ministers. They should be the ones jumping around.

As the team manager, he certainly needs to make ministers responsible and responsive.

For each of the issues in which he has publicly become involved – Mau Forest, the port, trade and investment – there are substantive ministers.

As a manager, he knows that greater success lies not in outshining other players, but in ensuring that they do their bit for the whole team to deliver.

Sometimes that means demoting some players, or sacking them altogether.

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Mutahi Ngunyi: Who is the revolutionary: Moi, Kibaki or Raila?

In life, we do not see things as they are; we see them as we are. And nothing illustrates this better than the story of this Italian guy who worked for a clinic in Yugoslavia in the early 80s.

Every morning, he would cross the border to Yugoslavia by bicycle and be subjected to a thorough search. The authorities at the border believed that he was smuggling stuff into the country.

They would, therefore, undress him and disassemble his bicycle hoping to find something. For years, the routine continued without success.

After the liberation of Slovenia from Yugoslavia, one of the border guards saw the man in a cafe and introduced himself.

He said to him: “… I used to check you every morning at the border. We were convinced that you were smuggling something, yet we found nothing when we searched you. So, what exactly were you smuggling?”

The man replied: “The bicycles I rode, of course!” Because they were conditioned to think in a certain way, the border guards missed the point.

And this is exactly what we have done with our leaders. We do not judge them as they are; we judge them as we are! The result:

We cannot tell the thugs from the visionaries. Let me use Mr Daniel arap Moi, the former president, as a reference point.

The record must reflect that we misjudged Mr Moi on three accounts. The first regards ‘‘Project Uhuru.’’ On this one, we were wrong and Mzee Moi was damn right.

And not because of one Mr Uhuru Kenyatta; this Kenyatta guy was just a symbol. We were wrong because we rejected an idea whose time had come. At the core of the project were two fundamentals.

One, to retire the likes of Mr Mwai Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga. These politicians were part of the old vision that needed to give way to a new one.

Two, to effect a generational change from the independence politicians to the ‘‘Obama generation’’ in its 40s. And if America is considering the idea today, Mr Moi had seen it for Kenya five years ago.

But because we disliked him at the time, we rejected the man and his visionary project. In its place, we chose an inferior idea sold to us by the political twin brothers: Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga.

Working together or separately, the idea of the two has been a disaster for Kenya.

The second area in which we misjudged Mr Moi regards integrity. I was convinced that Mr Moi would be the one to plunge the country into civil war.

And opportunities to do so were made available to the old man. After the NARC victory in 2002, he could have rejected the results like President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe did.

Similarly, he had the option of handing over the government to the armed forces, an idea entertained by some of his cronies.

And either way, he would have emerged the winner as we have seen with Mr Mugabe. But given all these options, the former president chose the country over self.

The same cannot be said of President Kibaki. Faced with a similarly difficult situation in December last year, he did not exhibit statesmanship.

Securing his presidency was more important than the survival of the country. This is why history will judge him harshly.

As for Mr Odinga, we must ask this question: if he loses the 2012 race, will he take it with the dignity of Mr Moi or the brashness of President Kibaki?

Although Mr Odinga is ‘‘Moi-sh’’ in his approach, my suspicion is that he will act like President Kibaki in such an eventuality.

The third account on which we misjudged Mr Moi regards simple people. We laughed at the illiterate cronies around him, and the choir masters he promoted to head parastatals.

But when I think about it today, there was a strategy here and it was two-pronged. One, it was about equalising relations.

Under Mr Moi everybody, especially simple people with talent, had a chance of becoming somebody.

Two, by surrounding himself with illiterate cronies like the late Mulu Mutisya or Kariuki Chotara, the symbolism was that he was one with the grassroots.

And the message to the people was that there was a place for the ‘‘grassroots’’ people in the ‘‘glasshouses’’!

The story is different under the twin brothers in power. For President Kibaki, you have to be posh to gain his favour and to benefit from his enterprise.

But the case is worse for Mr Odinga. While Mr Moi consulted with the Mutisyas and the Chotaras, Mr Odinga’s ‘‘glasshouse’’ is full of mzungu operatives.

The only ‘‘grassroots’’ fellows are his hustlers who, unlike the Moi simpletons, are poverty stricken.

The question we must, therefore, ask is this: between Mr Moi, President Kibaki and Mr Odinga, who is the revolutionary?

The visionary and innovator, in my view, is Mr Moi; the other two are just his copycats. And this is why the ‘‘Obama generation’’ must borrow from him if they are to wrestle power from the twin brothers.

Some of the Moi lessons are contained in a business book I am currently reading entitled Leading the Revolution by Gary Hamel.

The person who will lead the ‘‘Obama generation’’ must be about three things. One, he must have imagination.

According to Mr Hamel, “…(people) fail to create the future not because they fail to predict it, but because they fail to imagine it.” The best example of imagination in Kenya is Equity Bank.

Two, the guy must have a capacity to celebrate the stupid. Wealth and change are created by ‘‘stupid’’ ideas; ideas that people will laugh at as untenable.

Three, this person must be able to win small, win early and win often. Do we have such a person in the house?

Mr Mutahi Ngunyi is a political scientist with The Consulting House, a policy and security think-tank for the Great Lakes region and West Africa.

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Mutahi Ngunyi: Three tricks Raila should learn from Kibaki

Prime Minister Raila Odinga should stop behaving like President Kibaki’s ‘‘house girl’’. The good president is taking it easy in his typical ‘‘kuji-enjoy’’ style, but this PM guy is too intense about work.

He is everywhere, doing everything. What is more, no body asked him to: It is not part of his brief as PM or as MP for Langata.

The man is just a restless being who has to keep busy. And the problem with his higgledy-piggledy style is that it exposes him. The more I reflect on Mr Odinga in ‘‘power,’’ the more ‘‘Moi-sh’’ he looks: selfish, unreliable and a turncoat.

Today he supports the opposition, when in ‘‘power’’ he tells us opposition is bad. When in the cold he supports civil society, when in ‘‘power’’ he tells us that civil society cannot be involved in constitutional review. The man is swinging like a pendulum!

But is this deliberate or is he doing it sub-consciously? I want to believe that Mr Odinga is looking for balance in his new role. And anyone in his position is bound to act like him -- higgledy-piggledy or ovyo ovyo (in Kiswahili).

However, and as he looks for balance, the PM’s problem is that he is unable to keep his mouth shut.

The confusion he is going through is, as a result, broadcasted to the public everyday to the horror of some of us.

And this is why the PM should borrow a few tricks from his political twin brother -- the President. Not because President Kibaki is better than him, but because of what one philosopher said: “… a wise man benefits more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.”

The first thing Mr Odinga should learn from President Kibaki is the politics of silence and scarcity.

When looking for balance, silence is a powerful political tool. In fact silence does not only aggravate your enemy, it annoys even the devil. Each time an opportunity is given to him to shut up, the PM should therefore grab it.

The Holy Bible says that “…even a fool, when he keeps quiet, appears wise”. In the case of Mr Odinga, his wisdom is becoming questionable because his mouth is all over. And the same can be said about his everyday appearance in the media. According to the law of supply and demand, scarcity increases the price.

The more you are in supply as a politician, the lower your price and the lesser the respect. Because he is in the media daily, this ‘‘tinga’’ man is losing the magic and the mystique. In fact, each time I see him on TV, I switch channels to avoid his government small talk.

The second trick regards the acquisition of an enemy. Every good politician has a worthy enemy. And, in the absence of one, you should create an enemy from nowhere.

President Kibaki understood this principle early and, today, he is a creation of high quality and hardworking enemies. The same testimony can be given by Fidel Castro who believed that the bigger your enemy, the tighter the bond between you and your followers.

In fact Castro believed that there was only one device for “keeping the spirit of the revolution alive.” That tool: a worthy enemy! If the PM is to make it as the fourth President of the Republic, he needs a good strong-headed enemy.

His father, the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, had T.J. Mboya as the enemy who built him. With such an enemy on your heels, you cannot afford to be lazy. He will sharpen your skills and keep you focused.

My hypothesis is that Mr Odinga is currently sloppy because he does not have an opposing force to energise him since he joined Mr Kibaki. And, unless he gets one, he is likely to grow lazy and unfocused.

In my view, Mr Odinga’s worthy enemy is not the VP, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka. The opposing force for Mr Odinga will come from the Kalenjin. And the person to lead it is likely to be Mr William Ruto.

In fact, if Mr Ruto led a Kalenjin rebellion against the PM, Mr Odinga’s ambitions for 2012 would be in danger. This is so because the Kalenjin are his political lifeblood.

The third trick is to commit to no one. President Kibaki has no loyalty to anyone, except his immediate family. And although politicians have a problem with this, it is an ancient rule of realpolitik.

This way, he is not beholden to anyone and he has the independence to act as he wishes. In my recent reading of history, I have realised that enduring republics were built by strong, visionary individuals.

In fact the Asian Tigers became economic giants because they were partly led by authoritarian leaders. To the contrary the PM is a groupie who believes in the ‘‘dictatorship of the proletariat.’’

Unfortunately, his team model has failed twice now because the captain is held hostage by the team members. In my view, therefore, the PM should abandon this ‘‘team thing’’ and establish hegemony as an individual.

He should break away from the bondage of Mr Ruto and the rest of the Pentagon power brokers. Then he can have the luxury to commit to no one.

And, while at it, he should remember the words of former President Moi: “… life is not an emergency.” As such, he should work hard, and play hard as well!

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