We, the Chairmen/Chairpersons of the Internally Displaced Persons Camps set down herein below vehemently and strongly object to the use of IDPs' plight by certain people seeking to make political mileage out of our suffering.
During the political campaign in the runner up to the 2007 General Elections certain politicians incited their followers to inflict pain and suffering upon us for the sole reason that we exercised our constitutional and democratic right to elect a leader of our choice.
The campaigns of isolation whereby communities were incited against others became the hallmark of the 2007 Elections. Violence was visited upon our membership beginning September, 2007 in Kuresoi in Molo District with the sole purpose of disenfranchising our membership.
On 27th December, 2007 violence was visited upon our members in Mumias Town while on 29th December, 2007 parts of Uasin Gishu District violence was witnessed in Lelmok in Kesses Division. Wide scale violence against our membership intensified after the announcement of the disputed Presidential poll results.
From 301h December, 2007 our lives have been hell on Earth. Hundreds of our members were killed and hundreds more maimed and our women and children raped. For close to six months we were confined in IDP Camps far away from our original farms.
Later the government endeavored to resettle us. The Ministry of State for Special Programmes in the Office of the President has been distributing food to our membership since the beginning of our problems.
There has, however, been instances when there has been delays in the delivery of the foodstuff but these instances have been far and wide and the Ministry has responded to complaints promptly.
As the leaders of the people who bore the brunt of the senseless politically instigated violence, we take great exception to the use of our plight by politicians and civil society to gain political mileage or to justify their continued funding by the donor community.
The truth of the matter is that the most vocal politicians were the cause of the circumstances we find ourselves in today. Very few of these politicians have ever visited us in the camps to condole us or provide us with any assistance leave alone apologize to the Nation for turning Kenyans against Kenyans.
On the other hand, the Civil Society in no small way contributed to the fuelling of the violence visited upon our membership by giving credence to the claim of a stolen Presidential Election.
The said Civil Society has been missing in action in as far as assisting in the amelioration of our situation.
We, as the leaders of our suffering membership pray that both politicians, Civil Society and other self - seekers keep off the issues of the IDPs unless they are willing to contribute positively to the alleviation of our suffering.
We wish to thank the Government for assistance that we have received this far and its promise to continue assisting us until we are back on our feet again.
We wish our membership a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
IDP CAMP - NAKURU
IDP CAMP - NAIVASHA
IDP CAMP - ELDORET
PAUL MOGIRE SINDANI
IDP CAMP - MOLO
Archive for December 2008
We, the Chairmen/Chairpersons of the Internally Displaced Persons Camps set down herein below vehemently and strongly object to the use of IDPs' plight by certain people seeking to make political mileage out of our suffering.
Statement By The East African Marine Systems (TEAMS) Board Of Directors Regarding The Status Of The Fibre-Optic Cable
Statement by the East African Marine Systems (TEAMS) Board of Directors Regarding the Status of the Fibre-Optic Cable
In the interest of transparency, the Board wishes to set the record straight by stating as follows:
Contrary to the impression created in the said reports, the TEAMS project is on track, entirely above-board and is proceeding apace.
As for the assertion that the Cabinet has transferred billions of shillings worth of TEAMS shares to a selected group and nondescript entities, this is totally untrue. There is a clear and time-honoured procedure of getting Cabinet approvals on such critical decisions and the same were followed to the letter.
Accusing the Cabinet of rubber stamping a privatisation process in reference to TEAMS is insincere. This infamous claim is an allegation that can be made anywhere, any time whenever a Cabinet reaches a decision and that decision leaves out certain interested players.
The ownership of TEAMS is as transparent as it is aboveboard. The Cable is an ongoing concern, it has no tangible assets, as of now, to value — all the stakeholders are taking equal risks in the investment.
For the information of the general public the shareholding of TEAMS is as follows: -
- Government of Kenya- 20%
- Safaricom - 20%
- Telkom/France Telkom - 20%
- Econet Wireless - 10%
- KDN/Celtel - 10%
- Wananchi Online - 10%
- Jamii Telkom - 3.75%
- Access Kenya - 1.25%
- Inhand Ltd - 1.25%
- Equip Ltd - 1.25%
- Flashcom - 1.25%
- Fibrenet Africa - 1.25%
In light of the above, it is important to clarify that TEAMS is not exclusively a Government-driven project. Rather, it is an all-sectors initiative, both public and private, to introduce and enhance broadband connectivity in Kenya.
There are several reasons why the TEAMS Project is preferred as opposed to any other fibre-optic project.
Some of them are listed as follows:
The Vision 2030 initiative has identified Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) as one of the flagship projects. For Kenya to become competitive as a BPO hub the price of bandwidth has to be equal to, or less than, that of India or the Philippines, who are the main competitors. The price of bandwidth can only come down significantly if fibre optic cable is constructed.
The Government policy of achieving universal access to information has been frustrated by the absence of fibre-optic cable networks. The fibre-optic communication infrastructure is expensive to build and the government had an obligation to facilitate the construction of the necessary infrastructure in order for the Information and Communication Technology sector to grow, hence the involvement in TEAMS Project.
The Board wishes to clarify that the involvement of the Government is for regulation purposes to avoid collusion by operators in price fixing as has happened in other projects of a not dissimilar nature.
Regarding the claim that a barter arrangement has been entered into between Etisalat of the UAE and the Kenya Government, nothing could be further from the truth. The correct and true position is that each party is applying for landing rights in their respective countries — i.e. Etisalat in the UAE and TEAMS in Kenya.
In conclusion, from the foregoing it is evident that the continued campaign appearing in the local daily newspapers and in the EastAfrican weekly to discredit the TEAMS Project is based on information which is not well researched and which manifestly has the objective of derailing a home-grown project for lack of patriotism.
We Kenyan farmers and consumers of these Biotechnologies will be behind you in full support.
The Kenya Biodiversity Coalition (KBioC) is a consortium of more than 60 Farmer organizations, Animal welfare networks, Consumer networks; Faith based organizations; and Community based groups who have an interest and work in the areas of Agriculture. Biodiversity, Environment, and Health.
For a very long time now, we have fought to be included in the legislative process on the Bio-safety Bill in Kenya. This was deemed critical by our members in order to render transparency and justice to this needy and worthy cause of drafting a Bio-safety Bill for Kenya and thus meeting the mandatory Cartagena Protocol requirements to which this country is a signatory.
Why your urgent intervention?
Thus, your Excellency, before you assent to the Bio-safety Bill, 2008, it is imperative that the following pertinent issues be considered through a stakeholder's round table:
1. THE DRAFTING PROCESS LACKED PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
When the Bio-safety Bill 2007 lapsed with the 9th parliament, an opportunity to correct the failures in that Bill arose. This opportunity, your Excellency was unwisely squandered. The relevant government agents entrusted with ensuring an all inclusive dialogue process seemed to go out of their way to avoid any round table talks to address the shortcomings pointed out to you in the Bio-safety Bill 2007 (Petition letter to His Excellency through Muthaura, dated 16th October, 2007).
Our official requests through numerous letters (See attached) to meet with Minister of Science & Technology and the Minister of Agriculture, did not bear any results and their doors remained shut to the very end. Similarly, our cries to be heard by the relevant parliamentary committees were largely ignored. The Bio-safety Bill 2008 has gone through all parliamentary stages and now sits before you for your assent.
This Bill has not taken any of our views and petitions in spite of the sponsor of this Bill committing by stating, "we will incorporate everything. I give my undertaking to do all that at the Committee Stage" (Hansard, 2nd December 2008).
Your Excellency, having exhausted all channels of communication, we the members of the Kenya Biodiversity Coalition hereby appeal to your Excellency, as our last hope. We urge you very strongly not to assent to this flawed piece of legislation.
An alternate Bio-safety and Biotechnology Bill is currently before this 10th parliament. We the stakeholders in this legislative process consider that this alternate Bill would be a good basis for dialogue between Kenyans and the current sponsors of the Bio-safety Bill 2008.
2. CONFORMITY OF THE BIOSAFETY BILL, 2008 WITH THE CARTAGENA PROTOCOL ON BIOSAFETY
The Cartagena protocol has a mandatory requirement for public consultation and prior informed consent (PIC). The current Bio-safety Bill, 2008 that is before your Excellency awaiting assent, grossly violated these very important concepts and thus is inconsistent with this fundamental Protocol to which Kenya is a signatory.
3. SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF THE BIOSAFETY BILL, 2008
As enacted, the Bio-safety Bill 2008 shall apply only to the narrow scope of activities in GMOs and not all activities related to modern biotechnology, which are equally of Bio-safety concern. The Bill ought to have been amended to reflect the broader context.
If this is not done, then, there will be serious jurisdictional conflicts with other institutions with similar mandates that may affect enforceability of the law as envisaged. Additionally, loopholes have been intentionally left in this Bill.
Living organisms used in the generation of GMOs and their by-products are not covered, yet they are of more serious Bio-safety concern to health of other living organisms and their environment.
4. CONFLICT OF LAWS AND INSTITUTIONAL MANDATES
Your Excellency, in its current form the Bio-safety Bill 2008, will face serious difficulties and challenges in its implementation. It is in conflict with the Environmental Management and Coordination Act, 1999. The same can be said in respect of the Science and Technology Act Cap 250, and other laws.
Your Excellency, the Bill further gives a blanket exemption on the application of the law on pharmaceuticals for human use setting a dangerous precedent.
5. NATIONAL BIOSAFETY AUTHORITY (NBA)
There are serious and intentional flaws that have been introduce into the Bio-safety Bill 2008. The chairperson of the NBA unlike elsewhere before, will be appointed not by the president but by the Minister. The President has been effectively relieved of this function of appointing parastatal chairpersons.
6. ISSUANCE OF LICENCES / PERMIT:
In the current form, the Bio-safety Bill 2008 will authorize activities of GMOs through simple letters of approval instead of licenses and legal permits. It will be the first of its kind to have mandate to regulate Bio-safety activities with no mandate to issue a license or permit. This provision cannot be regularized through subsidiary legislation.
7. APPLICATION FOR CONTAINED USE ACTIVITY:
The Bio-safety Bill, 2008 provides for application for contained use activity in very general terms and thus fails to protect and safeguard farmers, consumers and their environment. The threat of contamination is most troubling with the expansion of GMO crops and animals to produce powerful drugs and under researched vaccines. These new GMOs may very well cross with other natural living organisms grown for food and result in dangerous chemicals entering the food supply chain. This has a negative impact on farmer and consumer livelihoods as well as affects whatever exists of our export markets not to mention our hotel and tourism industry.
8. GMOs, NATIONAL FOOD SECURITY AND OUR ENVIRONMENT:
There is no doubt that GMOs can enhance food security. The Bill appears to promote this view. It is also true that GMOs can have serious negative impact on national food security. This arises through contamination of indigenous food crops resulting in the loss of that important gene pool. The Bill does not protect farmers, consumers and other persons vulnerable to being affected by GMOs. Thus, it lacks prohibition notices to persons whose GMO activities involve risk of causing damage to human health and well-being and the environment.
Your Excellency, intentionally lacking in the Bio-safety Bill 2008 are clauses on corporate liability and the Power to remedy harm by the Authorities - be they -the law courts or the National Bio-safety Authority. The Bio-safety Bill, 2008 is deficient in many aspects that must be rectified to make it enforceable in dealing with the mischief for which it is intended.
Based on the above reasons and through this petition, we wish to request you TO HALT THE FAULTY BIO-SAFETY BILL AT ITS CURRENT STAGE. Additionally, PLEASE ASK ITS SPONSORS TO INVOLVE STAKEHOLDERS PREVIOUSLY EXCLUDED. FOR A TRANSPARENT. INCLUSIVE AND A PARTICIPATORY PROCESS IN ORDER TO ENACT A LAW THAT WILL GENUINELY ADDRESS BIO-SAFETY ISSUES IN KENYA.
Indeed your Excellency, the Government through your action still has an opportunity to put in place a comprehensive Bio-safety Bill that harmonizes the existing laws on regulation of modern biotechnology and related GMOs.
Please refer, in a letter to Amb. Francis Muthaura, a detailed analysis of the implications of the Bill, by a respected legal expert credited with drafting of the E MCA Act 1999, Water Act 2002 Forest Act 2005 and Wildlife Conservation and Management Bil 2007, sent to you separately in a package through statehouse.
kBioC MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS
- African Biodiversity Network (ABN)
- Alliances for Voluntary Initiative and Development
- Building Eastern Africa Community Network (BEACON)
- Action Aid International - Kenya (AAI-K)
- Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANA W)
- Anglican Church of Kenya-Development Office for Social Services
- Baraka Agricultural Training Centre
- Bridge Africa
- Busia Environmental Management Program
- Butere Focused Women in Development
- Central Organic Farmers and Consumers Organization (COFCO)
- Consumer Information Network (CIN)
- Community Rehabilitation & Environmental Protection Programme CREPP
- Daughters of Mumbi
- Development education services for community empowerment
- Institute for Economic and Social Development (INADES Formation)
- Gakaru Farmers Self Help Group (GESHP)
- Indigenous knowledge writers Association (IKWA)
- Institute for Culture and Ecology (ICE)
- Kenya Food Security Policy Advocacy Network (KEFoSPANl
- Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers (KENFAP)
- Kenya Organic Agricultural Network (KOAN)
- Kenya wildlife Conservation and Management Network
- Kenya Organic Farmers Association (KOFA)
- Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum (KESSFF),
- Kubukubu Agro. Organic Products
- Manor House Agricultural Centre
- Mau Forest Conservation Association (MACOFA)
- Meru Central Herbal and Naturopathic Doctors Association (MECHANDA)
- Nairobi Friends Club International (NFCI)
- NARC-K - Congress
- National Alliance of Community Forest Association
- Networking for Eco-farming in Africa (NECOFA)
- Participatory Ecological Land Use Management Association (PELUM-Kenya)
- Porini Association
- Resource Oriented Development Initiative (RODI-KENYA)
- Sustainable Livelihood Initiative Development & EmpowermentjSLIDE- Kenya)
- Sustainable Mobilization of Agricultural Resource Technologies (SMART Initiatives)
- Squatters Social Movement and Peasant Farmers (SSMPF)
- Sustainable Agricultural Community Development Program (SACDEP-KENYA)
- Tusaidiane Rehabilitation Centre
- Ugunja Community Resource Center
- Youth for Conservation JYFCJ
- Akamba Council of Elders
- Dagoreti Youth Network (DAYNET)
- Africa Nature Streams
- NGOMA Campaign (Ngombe & Mahindi)
- JESUIT HAKIMANI (Catholic - Justice & Faith)
- Practical Action
- Mazingira Development Project
- NG'EISOEN SHG
- ACK Western Region
- ACK Eldoret Region CCS
- KESSES Farmers Marketing Federation
- National independent church
- SARI - molo
- Subukia CBHC
P.O Box 3731-0506
We note with concern that the ministry has not responded to the specific objections raised by the media industry about the Bill, but has resorted to generalised statements accusing the media of impure motive.
The statement was replete with inaccuracies and distortions about the implications of the Bill and the consultations which took place before it was passed by Parliament, without most of the amendments Dr Bitange Ndemo had promised the media industry representatives would be included in the final document.
There were numerous meetings held between media stakeholders and the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Communications, Prime Minister, Vice President, Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister and other interested parties.
But we were dismayed that many important proposals and amendments made by the industry to make this Bill democratic and respectful of free communication were ignored.
Of particular concern is the manner in which the Bill was sneaked into Parliament for passage on December 10 despite the media industry being assured that it would be held back pending agreement on contentious issues.
The ministry states that the Government remains committed to media freedom and has no intention of gagging the media. That is far from the truth. The effect of a law that gives the minister and the CCK authority to issue guidelines and edicts on broadcast content and programming amounts directly to interference with the operations of the media and its editorial independence
The media industry recognises that it is necessary to update the Kenya Communications Act, 1998, to embrace new developments in communications.
But the regulations proposed for the Broadcast media under the new amendments, particularly in regard to ethics, standards and complaints, are already provided for under The Media Act, 2007, which established a Complaints Commission under the Media Council of Kenya. Yet the Bill creates a parallel regulatory mechanism controlled by the minister that duplicates the work of the independent Media Council.
Section 88 of the current Communications Act allows the minister for Internal Security to declare any situation "a public emergency" or cite "interests of public safety and tranquility" in order to raid broadcast stations and seize equipment.
The media industry repeatedly proposed an amendment which would ensure that such action could only be taken under a State of Emergency declared by the President in the manner defined by the Constitution. But in its selective amendment of the Act, the ministry ignored the proposals and the excessive powers of the Minister for Internal Security were left intact
This law has been abused before — in the police raid against The Standard Group and to justify the ban on live broadcast after the disputed elections.
Section SB: Independence of the commission
The ministry's statement avoided reference to the industry's concerns about the lack of independence of the Communications Commission of Kenya.
The commission's independence is a mere declaration under section 5B.
The Commission is executive-appointed without the participation of stakeholders. Parliament or any other interest groups — The Chair of the Commission is appointed by the President, four of its members are Permanent Secretaries (again Presidential appointees) and the remaining seven are ministerial appointees.
This all-powerful commission will receive "policy guidelines" on the broadcast industry "of a general nature". Shouldn't members of the Commission's Board be approved by Parliament? And given its level of expertise, should the minister issue guidelines to or take advice from the board?
Section 46 (c, h): Programming
This section gives the Communications Commission of Kenya unilateral powers to prescribe to broadcasters, without consulting them, what time, type and manner of programmes to air. A programme code as proposed is desirable but it has to be agreed between the industry and the Commission in order to guarantee editorial independence. Enforcement of the Code of Ethics and Practice, and complaints over media content, should be left to the Media Council of Kenya.
Section 46 (i): Responsibility and Good Taste
It is an unquestionable responsibility of broadcasters to ensure content is not immoral or vulgar. But under section 46(i), the ministry seeks to legislate good taste as a standard upon which a broadcaster can be held criminally liable. In a country with 42 ethnic groups, the media will promote national unity and cultural diversity.
This cannot be achieved by imposing on broadcasters legislation to cultivate an abstract "Kenyan identity" and a value of what is good or abhorrent as defined by the Information Ministry.
Section 46 (c, d) Licensing of broadcasters
The Commission is given sweeping powers to issue or deny licences. Under this section an applicant can be denied a license for failing to fulfill, among other requirements, "such other conditions as may be prescribed".This clause is too open-ended and is susceptible to abuse by a Commission that is only answerable to the minister.
Hate speech and post-election violence
We reject the claim by the Information Ministry that the media in its entirety was responsible for hate speech that contributed to post-election violence, and that the Kenyan media is unethical and unprofessional.This is selective indictment of the media calculated to absolve the various elements of Kenyan society, including politicians and government agencies, who were directly responsible for the post-election crisis as documented in the Waki Report.
From the above it is evident that there are fundamental issues that must be addressed in the Kenya Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2008 as passed by Parliament.
It is for this reason that we are asking the President not to assent to the Bill in its present form.
- Media Industry Committee:
- Media Owners Association
- Kenya union of Journalists
- Kenya Association of Journalists
- Assocation of Media Women of Kenya
- Kenya Correspondents Association
- Media Educators and Trainers Association
Statement by the Ministry of Information and Communications on the Local Media's Reaction to the Kenya Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2008
The Government wishes to take this early opportunity to set the record straight on this matter.
We wish to restate for the umpteenth time that the Government has no intention of gagging the media. Indeed, this Government has remained firmly committed to the freedom of the press and it will continue to be so.
We want to assure the media and the general public that the Government has no intention either in the present or in the future of undermining press freedom.
We have always embraced the spirit of dialogue with the media in the understanding that a true democratic culture demands that we uphold the principles espoused in the art of compromise - not coercion.
It is, therefore, very disheartening to see that at a critical time like this, and on a debate concerning a matter of such importance as the regulation of the broadcasting industry, the media have decided to give a lopsided debate and kill any dissenting views. Indeed, since the Bill went through Parliament last Thursday, the media have decided to black out most of the views in favour of the Bill, giving prominence to sideshows.
We also wish to point out that Section 88 which has become subject of the current debate, is not among the amendments proposed by the Minister for Information and Communications. Rather, this clause is in the Kenya Communications Act, 1998, which has been in existence for 10 years.
Further, the Bill has been wrongly dubbed the Media Bill.
It is in fact a Communications Bill whose intention is to harmonise the converged information and communications sectors.
With the convergence of technologies, it has become necessary to amend the Kenya Communications Act, 1998, to embrace the new and emerging media.
It is important for everyone concerned to know that liberalisation of the media was not accompanied by commensurate policy and legal framework, including guidelines on such issues as broadcast programme content. The proposed amendments are intended to streamline and introduce regulatory provisions in electronic transactions and broadcasting.
The Amendment Bill seeks to address the following policy objectives among others:
a) Create regulatory, advisory and dispute resolution bodies to support the implementatioon of the national information and communication technologies policy.
b) Provide new regulatory framework for broadcasting stations and services.
c) Provide for the licensing of certification service providers and country top level domain administrators; and
d) Provide for electronic transaction-related offences including cybercrime and re-programming of mobile telephones.
In broadcasting, the Bill, inter alia, proposes to empower the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) to license and regulate broadcasting service as well as promote the development of local content in addition to allocating frequencies.
The Bill further seeks to enable CCK to set broadcasting standards, and sets up a mechanism for handling complaints by the public.
In Electronic Transactions, the Bill provides a legal framework for e-commerce through legal recognition of electronic records and signatures. It also creates offences with respect to electronic records and transactions including cybercrime, destruction of electronic records and re-programming of mobile telephones.
The Bill also proposes the establishment of the Universal Service Fund to be financed by, among others, levies from licensees.
The Fund will be used to promote information and communication technologies services in rural and other under-served areas.
The Bill also has provisions seeking to empower CCK to ensure fair competition in the sector.
Kenyans will agree that due to the lack of a broadcasting regulatory framework, we have witnessed an unprecedented broadcast of unsuitable content including, I dare say, pornographic content.
The Government has embraced the spirit of dialogue with the media and all stakeholders in this matter and we are dismayed by the lopsided and misleading impression being created by the media, suggesting that the Government has ill motive in publishing this Bill. Indeed, the debate right now is not about media freedom.
The agenda being created by the media is clearly a tactic to divert public attention from the salient issues of broadcast regulation by introducing issues such as the taxation of Members of Parliament and the food crisis in the country to demonise this country's leadership.
We wish to inform the public that the Ministry encouraged and maintained a spirit of dialogue and negotiation with media stakeholders since July when we published the Kenya Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2008.
The current heat is obviously intended by its chief proponents to throw away the baby with the bathwater. Today, Kenya is presented with an opportunity to make a vital decision to enact a law that will regulate the electronic media, by promoting ethical standards and enhancing our moral values.
While press freedom is a cardinal pillarof democracy, an unethical and unprofessional media is a threat to peace and can cause great harm as evidenced during the Rwanda genocide of 1994.
Kenya came to the brink of a similar crisis early this year partly due to the airing of hate speeches by some FM radio stations.
That the country is in dire need of a legal framework for the regulation of the electronic media is not in dispute. The responsibility of ensuring that there are appropriate broadcasting policies that promote the national good is our sacred duty.
We must not, as a country, allow the heat of the moment to define our terms of social engagement. Kenyans must be called upon to reject the whipping up of emotions that deny them the fuller view of the issues that are pertinent to their lives.
It is my sincere hope that the media will digest this particular criticism in good faith so that in future they can promote dialogue.
The Government would like to restate that we mean well and remain committed to media freedom.
In addition to this statement, and to further set the record straight, the Ministry hereby reproduces the following:
(i) The broadcasting portion of the Bill
(ii) Section 88 of the Kenya Communication Act, 1998 (this section is not part of the Kenya Communications (Amendment) Bill 2008).
In conclusion, it is saddening to note that the media have gone ahead to publish personalized attacks on the Minister for Information and Communications and other Ministry officials.
This negates the genuine and open engagement that the Ministry and the Government have had with the media in the past:
Dr. Bitange Ndemo
Ministry of Information and Communications
It will be recalled that during the presentation of Financial Year 2006/2007 Budget Statement, the Minister for Finance announced the introduction of a new Transport Policy to address weaknesses observed in the existing transport policy, characterized by mismanagement, high maintenance cost and inefficiency, lack of parity in allocation of transport facilities, proliferation of vehicle models and idle capacity due to imbalance between the number of vehicles and drivers; lack of capacity to enforce regulations on the use of Government vehicles and escalating cost of providing Government transport which stood in excess of Kshs.4 billion per annum without corresponding improvement in service delivery.
Consequently, the Government put together a Task Force to operationalize the new Policy and to dispose surrendered vehicles through reallocation to essential services including security services and to sell the surplus through open tender in strict compliance with the provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005.
The Task Force charged with this responsibility include nine qualified Mechanical Engineers to inspect, value and lot the surrendered vehicles and four Senior Procurement Officers to manage the sale process. The disposal process is in compliance with instructions given under the Office of the President Circular letter ref. OP.CA3.23/ 1A of 30th June 2006.
At this point it is important to point out the specific falsehoods carried by the article in question.
Three of the vehicles listed as sold at throw away prices i.e. Toyota Land Cruiser GKA 565G, Mitsubishi Pajero GK A644G and Toyota Land Cruiser GKA 069F are in fact currently deployed at the Ministry of Justice, Constitutional Affairs and National Cohesion to facilitate the work of the Kriegler Commission.
Other surrendered vehicles have been allocated to facilitate the work of the Task Force on Mau Forest and in the Resettlement of the Internally Displace Persons (IDPs)
The Range Rover vehicle registration number GKA 507G said to have been sold at Kshs.1.5 million was actually sold for Kshs.4 million. Vehicles GKA 652K a Toyota Land Cruiser, GKA 799D a Pajero, GKA 811E a Pajero, GKA 344D a Land Cruiser and KAL 0220M a Mercedes Benz all of which are alleged to have been sold at give away prices have in fact been sold through the open tender at prices above reserve price.
The figures of the vehicles and monies realized from the sales as quoted on the said article are incorrect and only represent the rich imagination of the author since they were not verified with our records.
Our records indicate that so far 488 vehicles have been sold through open tender and not 1210 as quoted in the article. The sale has realized a total of Kshs.194,061,335 already paid into the Exchequer.
Another 811 vehicles were advertised for sale which closed on 25th November 2008 and are awaiting tender awards.
Another 789 vehicles are under process to be sold and will be advertised in early January 2009.
In total therefore, the Government has collected 2088 vehicles from various Government Ministries and Departments. The process of surrender will however, continue until all the targeted 2213 vehicles have been accounted for.
Many vehicle-shells lie around Government yards and are now targeted for disposal. Such shells must be distinguished from whole vehicles and it is to be expected that their sales will fetch poor returns.
As it is usual with sales, vehicles realizing prices below the Reserve will normally be withheld for re-tendering.
Section 33 of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act forbid employees of the procuring entity from participating in such sales.
It is the Ministry's view that the article in the Daily Nation was meant to mislead Kenyans and to bring the Government into disrepute. This Ministry wishes to call upon the Media to refrain from irresponsible journalism particularly the type that can destroy the careers of officers who are carrying out their duties with diligence and honesty.
This Ministry has confidence with the members of the Task Force assigned to operationalize the new Transport Policy and they should be allowed to do their job. Skewed articles like the one in question will not help and should be treated with contempt.
For: Financial Secretary
'Min of Agriculture virtually giving 400,000 bags of maize, bought at taxpayers' expense free to a cartel of millers. 400,000 bags were to go to contracted millers to make the cheap flour'.
A statement released by the Prime Minister on 1st December 2008, directed the NCPB to release 1.2m bags of maize immediately to registered millers at Kshs 1750 per bag in an endeavor to reduce the price of maize flour within 5-10 days.
Due to time constraints the allocation committee comprising SGR trustees (PS Finance, Special Programmes & Agriculture), millers and the NCPB made a decision to immediately release and allocate 400,000 of the 1.2million bags to available millers. Of the 400,000, only 58,631 bags were allocated to toll milling at Kshs 200 per bag.
The balance 341,369 bags of maize, was sold at a price of Kshs 1750 per bag to the millers who would use this maize for their branded products and sell at Kshs 65 per 2kg pkt ex-factory.
There is no milling cost paid to mill this maize.
'Four millers so far are contracted to mill maize on the Government's behalf and give it back for distribution.
In the interim, the Government identified 8 millers with substantial milling capacities to contract mill in Nairobi and Thika as there was insufficient maize quantities at other NCPB depots in the country. The millers are Unga Ltd, Uzuri Foods Ltd, Mombasa Maize Millers (Nrb), Pembe Flour Mills, Kabansora Millers, Nairobi Flour Mills, Chania Flour Mills and Capwell Industries.
The Government was to introduce contract milling to other parts of the country once adequate maize supplies had been received.
'They will be paid Kshs 80 million for the job'.
The Kshs 200 per 90kg bag paid to the miller for contract milling is lower than village posho mills who charge Kshs 270 to mill a 90kg bag and whose production cost is significantly lower.
Cost of milling 58,631 bags for the Government would be approx 11.8 million shillings.
'the by-product makes up to 15% of every bag. For 400,000 bags, that would make 60,000 bags and 'in theory' translate into a Kshs 54,000,000 extra income for the millers'
The bran portion is 15% of the maize and is sold at a price of Kshs 10 per kg of bran, working out to approx Kshs 7.9 million for the 58,631 bags.
Journalistic prudence warrants the verification of facts before making unsubstantiated claims. The toll milling agreement was negotiated after careful consideration of all the facts and figures in the presence of the Prime Minister, Minister for Agriculture, PS Office of the Prime Minister, PS Agriculture, PS Special Programs, PS Finance, MD NCPB, Cereal Millers Association as well as representatives of individual millers.
To claim that all of the above jointly conspired to defraud the taxpayer and to assert that millers are making profits of Kshs 1.4 billion is not only ludicrous, it is unfair and undermines the efforts of all who have worked tirelessly to reduce the prices of maize flour to benefit the consumer.
Chairman - Cereal Millers Association - 16 Dec 2008
The Kenya Land Alliance, KLA, joins the global community in marking the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UDHR adopted by state members of the United Nations in 1948. The adoption of the UDHR 60 years ago marked a critical milestone in human history towards the official codification, recognition and commitments to the protection of all human rights for all human race.
In the same vein, the member states of United Nations adopted the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ICESCR, in 1966 that sets out among others, the rights to adequate housing, food, education, health, and social security among other social, economic and cultural rights.
Having ratified both the UDHR and the ICESCR instruments, the 60th Anniversary of the UDHR is of particular importance to Kenya and the world as a whole as it is the year in which UN Member States were finally expected to approve the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, that ought to guarantee a balanced protection to these rights as with other rights stipulated in other equally important international Human Rights Instruments.
Consequently, KLA reminds the Government of Grand Coalition that basic survival and enjoyment of a sustainable livelihood in Kenya by all Kenyans depends greatly on secure access to land as a safety net to the majority poor people. Thus, the Government stands reminded that the resettlement of the recent and old Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) is a transitional justice issue that will confirm the Government's resolve and commitment to permanently address the breakdown of law and order in our country.
Most critically, the continued languishing in IDPs camps, of thousands of Kenyans displaced as a result of the contested Presidential elections of December 2007, illustrates the stark failure of the Government to uphold the right to an adequate standard of living, including food, clothing and housing as affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) Article 25, and ICESCR Article 11.
KLA wish to point out to the Government at this appropriate time that although the UDHR does not specifically mention "land" or "natural resources", the realization of a number of its various rights is dependent on secure access and use of land and other natural resources, as indeed is the realization of other rights stipulated in other International Human Rights instruments.
As we mark this year's Human Rights Day today (10th Dec 2008), KLA wishes to bring it to the attention of the government that secure access to land and other natural resources is one of the fundamental factors for the realization of the right to food, and right to housing. This is not to say that KLA is unaware that the right to food does not always necessitate an automatic right to land as the aim of access to food for all may be achieved through other means such as formal employment or off-farm income.
However, in the Kenyan situation where such other means are limited or insufficient, and the majority of the people living below the poverty line are mostly dependent on land for basic livelihoods especially in rural areas, the rights to land and other natural resources are crucial in order to realize the right to food. And in all circumstances, the production of food for sale in the market for wealth creation requires secure access to land. I
t is for this reason that KLA wished the government good tiding in dealing with the IDPs crisis. But having monitored the "Operation Rudi Nyumbani" since May 2008 when the government embarked on resettling IDPs back to their homes, the true situation is that IDPs have been moved from large IDPs camps only to end up and continue to live in worn out tents in poorly equipped and serviced 'transit' camps close to their farms, a situation that further aggravates their right to shelter, personal development and dignity, sanitation, and security.
On this Human Rights Day we join other human rights groups and organizations on calling the government to bring the whole exercise into line with accepted international standards on comprehensively addressing the Internal Displacement issue.
It is unacceptable that the government up to date has failed on its UN Habitat Agenda commitment on the objective of providing legal security of tenure and access to adequate shelter for all people, including women and children living in IDPs camps all over Kenya. Indeed the right to property was affirmed by the UDHR, Article 17, which stipulates:
..that everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others; and no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of property; a position well domesticated through our own Constitution.
The protection of property rights was equally reaffirmed in the convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal People (Article 16); the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (Article 11, General Comment 7); the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (Article 15); the Principles on Housing and Property Restitution for Refugees and Displaced Persons ("The Pinheiro Principles") (Principles 5 and 7); and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Article 14) which are central to the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement on resettlement matters.
KLA therefore takes this opportunity to point out to the government that while these instruments do not make explicit reference to land and other natural resources, with the exception of the Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, and the Pinheiro Principles, the reality of most Kenyans is that their most valuable property is their land and the houses and structures that are built on it, and the contingent natural resources associated with it.
Thus, KLA puts it to the government that responsible governance of land tenure must guarantee the realization of the fundamental rights of adequate food and shelter, and of property. Good land tenure system that eliminates a rise to violent conflicts is relevant to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. Specifically the government need to note that secure access to land and other natural resources is a direct factor in reducing hunger and poverty (MDG 1), promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women (MDG 3) and to ensuring environmental sustainability (MDG 7).
The government in dealing with IDPs crisis need to understand that it is responsible and accountable for its actions and omissions, vis a vis its population (citizenry). The present state of affairs demonstrates that the political will of the state clearly prioritizes the interests of minorities instead of the welfare of overwhelmingly poor majority of the Kenyan population. As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights these priorities must be set straight.
KLA, the human rights network for land rights calls on the Kenya Government to:
1. Meet its obligations under Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Human Rights Law, by taking urgent action to settle once and for all, the Internally Displaced Persons as a sure means of respecting, protecting and fulfilling their rights to adequate shelter, and to feed themselves.
2. Take immediate measures to support the finalization and implementation of the National Land Policy, which contains provisions that guarantee redress to land problem of the Internally Displaced Persons and safeguards against recurrence of displacement.
3. Ensure coherence of all food related policies as an obligation under the right to food. In particular, policies on agriculture, trade and investment, development and energy, should contribute to promote and never undermine the full realization of the right to adequate food as is the case today in Kenya.
4. Impose an immediate moratorium on land grabbing and transaction in land and property left behind by the Internally Displaced Persons until their safe return to their homes is guaranteed and/or until such a time that they can transact with it under no duress.
Odenda Lumumba National Co-ordinator,
Kenya Land Alliance 10th December 2008
C.K. Patet Building, 6th Floor Kenyatta Avenue,
P.O.Box 2177 - 20100 Nakuru.
Tel. 254-051-2210398 Fax 254-051-2215982
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The Council promotes structured trading systems and open market grain trade policy. The Council encourages Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) for the sustainable development of the maize sector in the region.
The EAGC welcomes the urgent measures taken by the Government of Kenya to deal with the rising price of maize flour through subsidy and approval of importation of white and yellow maize on duty free basis.
The use of yellow maize for animal feed will go a long way to ease the pressure on white maize for human consumption and mitigate against the projected shortfall for next year as the current harvest is expected to be below the Country's requirement for 2009.
These policy measures need to be temporary and backed up by measures to stimulate the sector. How does Kenya and our regional trading bloc partners meet domestic demand of maize and raise their share in the regional maize market? The answer lies in efficient production of maize.
This in turn depends on willingness of the private sector to invest in the maize value chain - supply of inputs, production, post-harvest handling infrastructure, processing and logistics. Free market policies are a must in eliciting investor response to this opportunity.
The regional trade policy (which Kenya subscribes to through the EAC Customs Union Protocol) encourages an efficient and structured open border trading. By encouraging investments in the maize sector Kenyan farmers and traders could benefit from producing a surplus to meet the regional maize market demand. In 2007, the size of the regional maize market (EAC and COMESA) was estimated at slightly over US$1 billion.
The region's share in this market was a mere 13%. This clearly demonstrates existence of a regional market potential of about 77% which is up for grabs.
Kenya led the way for other regional countries, way back in 1986, in embracing export led trade policies, which gradually led to abolition of commodity and price and market control regimes.
This policy environment has contributed to the success of maize sector, where according to the available statistics Kenya has been able to meet domestic maize demand in most of the years, with production in 2007 having been estimated at 3.1 million tonnes and consumption 3.3million tones, the shortfall was met by importation from the region by the private sector.
This calls for safeguarding the milestones already realized in maize market reform and supporting production in order to meet domestic demand as well as increase Kenya's share in the regional maize market.
Efforts should, therefore be made to enable the vibrant Kenyan maize sector to return to normalcy as soon as possible. A consultative meeting held by EAGC for its Kenyan members made the following recommendations for sustainable structured maize trade:
To address the current maize crisis, the following is recommended: -
1. The MoA should involve EAGC on policy and good governance issues in maize in view of its role as an honest broker by virtue of it being a regional grain Council whose private sector membership includes farmers, traders, millers, input suppliers and other stakeholders.
2. The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) to immediately establish a Public/Private sector grain consultative forum:
a. To immediately determine the available stock and shortfall.
b. To ensure grain forecasting and preparation of a national balance sheet.
c. This consultative forum will also be an accountability forum on actions agreed.
3. All traders, millers and NCPB to purchase maize from the farmers at market prices.
4. The City Council Cess on maize which is currently KShs40 per bag should be scrapped with immediate effect as this cost is passed on to consumers.
a. Measures to enhance production of maize to address national maize requirements in the future on a sustainable basis.
b. Encourage investments into land consolidation for purposes of large scale maize production
c. Government to provide support to bring down the cost of inputs - diesel, fertilizer.
On fertilizer, the government should allow private sector importation and distribution of the fertilizer under the GoK program on fertilizer. The fertilizer should also be imported and availed to the farmers in time for planting season.
5. The following measures, along with other measures to uphold free market principles should be considered as a matter of priority: -
- Market information should be available officially to create the basis for production forward contracting.
- Price discovery mechanism - price, quality, quantity, location of where maize is available.
6. EAGC Should take lead by working with COMESA and EAC in pursuing the following regional policy options: -
- Developing a regional mechanism for accurate capture of available regional maize stock - regional maize balance sheet.
- Establishing a regional crop forecasting system
- Develop a transparent regional mechanism for management of season export/import restriction - trigger stock based on a threshold pegged to the regional maize stock.
- Harmonization of the COMESA and EAC maize standards
- Implementation of the COMESA and EAC Simplified Tariff Regime
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Those Members of Parliament in need of assistance in this matter may call the Commissioner of Domestic Taxes on telephone 342195 or 2817066 or email: email@example.com.
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Tulipe Ushuru, Tujitegemee!
The ECK cannot be hanged by people with NO Moral authority as Kenyans watch!
(2) CREDO Foundation has watched in disbelief the politicians' call for the disbandment of the Electoral Commission of Kenya for the last eleven months now.The Parliament, one of the three wings of government has shown utter contempt of the judiciary by disobeying court orders with impunity. In fact Kenyans can rest assured this is a new beginning to a dictatorship. We must stop it.
(3) We have observed with interest that all those that call for this disbandment are those that were announced winners by the same Electoral Commission and who were all later sworn in as Councillors, Members of Parliament and Ministers of Government and their close supporters across the country.
(4) The issue they repeat and repeat for our ears and those of the foreigners particularly the American Ambassador to our country is that the General Election was all flawed.
(5) If this is why the ECK must go, the CREDO Foundation sees a strange thing in our political
development that may be positive:
(i) If the Election was flawed, and the leaders confirm this then the whole government system has to go but not just the ECK.
(ii) The Constitution amendment bill to amend Section 41 of the Constitution to allow the disbandment of the ECK proposes that the National Accord mediation team that worked with Koffi Annan will be the ones to appoint new commissioners after the current ECK is disbanded. It is now known that this whole team is interested in vying for the presidency in 2012. How can they be the ones to be trusted to appoint the commissioners who probably will be instructed to favour them during the general elections?
(6) Kenya has to contend with:
(i) The Political Parties Act
(ii) The Kriegler report
(iii) TheWaki report, and,
(iv) The existing divisions between individuals and among political alliances and coalitions
(7) Each of the above presupposes weaknesses and evils committed and recommends ways and means of Cleaning the systems and disciplining individuals. This does not augur well with many because one thing that does not go well with human beings is criticism and accusation. Bearing this in mind we wish to say the following:
8a. We believe that, it is only losers that wish and struggle for the fall and exit of others so that they may rise and succeed.
8b. Number 6 above contains channels of hatred and more divisions for this country if mishandled.
8c. The Electoral Commission of Kenya is tied in 6(i) and 6(ii) and the government has to manage this well so that the country will be more peaceful than ever before. Please, Peace be the dream-aim.
8d.We wish to strongly say that the same people calling for the quick implementation of 6(i, ii.and iii) above are the same bitter people that have caused division in 6(iv).
(9) There must be a very strange conspiracy and intention that has been hidden from the public
(10) CREDO Foundation will go to every length to see to it that Kenyans understand the game that is being played here.
Mtumishi Njeru Kathangu
Duplex Apartments Upper Hill, No 59
Tel: 20 271 2230, Fax: 20 271 2214
P.O Box 69564,00400 Nairobi-Keya
Review of 2008
The year 2008 was a difficult year for Kenyans. We began on a sad note as violence that broke out after announcement of presidential elections results on 30th December 2007 escalated to cover more areas. The violence had also changed character from mere protests and riots to murderous attacks on members of specific tribes and those suspected of having supported specific political parties.
The gloom attendant to the violence did not really lift from the nation until around the month of June when most Kenyans finally began to focus on the future.
Moving on however is yet to happen for hundreds of thousands who remain displaced from their homes. The resettlement and reintegration programme has not moved as it should have. At the same time, there are millions whose means of livelihood were destroyed by the violence and who now depend on the mercies of well wishers. It is sobering to realize that while as a nation we are seeking to heal and move on, pain and hurt remain in the hearts and bodies of countless thousands who were in one way or another affected by the violence.
It is against this background that as we come to the end of this year, we give thanks to the Lord God Almighty who has brought us this far. We are especially grateful that peace has reigned in the nation and despite the sporadic scares, the coalition government is holding together. We encourage all Kenyans to take a moment this Christmas season to reflect on God and give thanks to Him.
Further, we call upon all Kenyans to extend good will to the internally displaced persons. Many are still held up in the transit camps without access to food or essential services.
The government should especially move with speed to conclude the resettlement programme.
We are appalled that Kenyans have had to demonstrate before visitors and the Prime Minister to demand for a reduction of food prices before action was taken. For the government to have sat back and allowed the situation to deteriorate to such a point is grossly irresponsible. We aver that the food crisis is not an act of God but the outcome of ineptitude and carelessness on the part of our public officers. How is it that the government did not plan and put in place measures to ensure that all Kenyans have access to quality and affordable food at all times?
Regrettably, the government has an annoying and ridiculous way of focusing on only one issue at a time, thereby missing the benefits of planning strategically from a wider scope. Today, Kenyans are crying about maize. A few months ago we had a shortage of wheat. Before that there was a shortage of sugar and rice. Such a narrow minded approach to food security is an embarrassment and is inexcusable by the Kenyan public.
Kenyans, like the rest of humanity the world over, elect governments so that they can be protected from people and circumstances that would be harmful to them. The government of Kenya should have in place measures to regulate the activities of the middle men instead of whining about them through the media if they indeed are the cause of the shortages of foodstuffs.
At the core of the food security crisis is endemic corruption that pervades every sector of our society, and which the government does not seem willing to deal with. The reports that some people, who include Members of Parliament, corruptly acquired licenses to irregularly buy maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board and later sell it to the millers at inflated prices is alarming. This must be dealt with conclusively. We demand that independent investigations be conducted and all who are found to have participated in or abetted this cartel be removed from all leadership positions and be made to stand trial in courts of law.
To conclusively address the problem of food shortages, be it food for routine use or the strategic reserves, we expect the government to urgently spearhead the development of a national food security policy. This process should of necessity be widely consultative so that the policy is comprehensive and practicable.
Further, it is our hope that more resources will be allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture since food security is an essential component of national security and stability. We on the same breath urge the Ministry to develop clear plans on how the money will be used to help strategically secure food for Kenyans.
While regretting the state to which Kenyans have been reduced by the current and previous food crises, we note that poor environmental management has greatly impacted on food security.
We therefore urge that the national food policy developed by the government gives clear guidance to the nation:
- Increase of forest cover so as to reverse the deforestation in the country and instead promote afforestation
- Water management appreciating that every year, millions upon millions of litres of water go to waste when rains fall only for Kenyans to suffer a few weeks later when the sun shines. Development of dams and other rainwater harvesting facilities will go a long way in promoting our national food security
- Water pollution, noting that many rivers and even lakes are getting more and more polluted, making their water dangerous for human consumption and use Genetically Modified Organisms
The government should not make decisions on whether to allow or bar the use of GMOs in the country before engaging other stakeholders and indeed all Kenyans with a view to ensuring that we all understand the merits and demerits of GMOs. We must be interested not only in producing more food, but also in avoiding possible negative impacts of fhe same on our food production and security.
We are glad that the Constitution of Kenya Review Bill 2008 was passed by Parliament with the amendments proposed by different stakeholders. It is of extreme importance that all Kenyans be involved in this process of developing a new constitution that will bind them for years to come.
It is anticipated that attention will shift to the content of the new constitution since the roadmap will soon be law. In this regard, we call upon the different religious institutions and other stakeholders to put in place structures for a sober engagement of the content of the new constitution especially with regard to the contentious issues.
Reports from Kriegler and Waki Commissions
While reiterating our position that the reports from the Kriegler and Waki commissions be implemented without further ado, we appreciate that the cabinet finally gave clear leadership on this matter. It is our prayer that the myriad of committees being formed to strategise for implementation of these reports will not serve as a time wasting measures. We remind our political leaders that Kenyans are watching; and Kenyans want to put impunity behind them. It must not be a perpetual cancer in our land.
Taxation of the salaries and benefits of Members of Parliament
We reiterate our statement of 19th June 2008 in which we noted that "Members of Parliament, like all other Kenyans, have a duty to finance the operations of public offices and the government as a whole. No one should expect to have quality services if they are not willing to pay for it. Members of Parliament should show Kenyans the way in contributing to the national budget by allowing taxation of their salaries and allowances."
We therefore expect nothing less than measures being put in place immediately for Members of Parliament and holders of constitutional offices to pay taxes on their salaries, benefits and allowances on the same regime as other Kenyans.
Reproductive Health Bill
Parliament is currently debating the Reproductive Health and Rights Bill 2008. We wish to state that as a rule, there are two non negotiable principles that all proposed laws in Kenya must observe:
One, sanctity of life, which begins at conception
Two, traditional family values that facilitate stability in the society
We therefore find it presumptuous that a group of people have spearheaded a bill in Parliament that contravenes these principles. We demand an immediate unconditional withdrawal of this bill.
It is saddening that the condition of public transport in the country is worse than deplorable. Many lives of Kenyans have been lost in the recent past to meaningless road accidents. On the other hand, reports indicate that traffic police focus more on soliciting bribes from motorists than on enforcing traffic rules. We therefore call on the Ministry of Transport and the traffic police to strictly enforce traffic and road safety rules.
This is especially essential during this festive season when many Kenyans will be traveling to their holiday locations.
We also call upon the public transport operators to reduce fares to reflect the improved fuel prices. It is not appropriate for the operators to add an extra burden on the people who are already heavily weighed down by high food costs. In the same vein, we urge that operators resist the temptation to hike fares unreasonably during the festive season. Kenyans are coming from a particularly difficult year and the contribution we can make is enabling them to travel to their desired holiday destinations fairly.
In addition, the government needs to be keenly attentive to the condition of roads in Kenya. The deplorable condition of roads only goes to increase the cost of vehicle maintenance.
We conclude by appreciating that Kenya is still at a make or break point. We can either move Kenya forward or draw ourselves backwards into chaos and anarchy. We therefore call upon all Kenyans, and moreso the political leaders, to provide space for all of us to boldly examine our past and national challenges and make necessary sacrifices in order to re-engineer our nation and its institutions for a more secure and prosperous future.
Let us all make it our personal responsibility to promote peace and ensure it prevails in our environs and in the nation during this season and in the New Year.
May we all have a merry Christmas and a blessed new year.
Signed on this 4th day of December 2008 at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru.
Rev. Dr. Charles Kibicho Chairman
Rev. Canon Peter Karanja General Secretary
Describing Tanzania as dirt poor country, whose economy is dwarfed by that of Kenya, a country whose leaders spends time strutting the world than they do in their own country, a country that lacks dynamism and skills to drive its economy forward at the pace of its neighbors, amounts to nothing than a direct insult to the Tanzanians whom he is frustrated with, and angrily courting to join the community. Insulting Tanzanian leaders (Including our Head of State) translates to insulting the wisdom of Tanzanians who elected them.
As a Tanzanian, and a patriot, I am OFFENDED. And depicting Gitau Warigi’s, commentary as personal opinion would be naivety and self deceit on the part of Tanzanians, since he is exploiting national (Kenyan) media to let his views of hatred, prejudice, myopic, and stereotype mentality be known. Mr. Warigi, is exposing some of the underlying problems Tanzanians will have to deal with incase the treaty goes through without scrutiny.
Arrogance, superiority complex, recklessness, illogical reasoning, out of scope assumptions and erratic behaviors must be thoroughly weighed before committing our country, into the community. I highly believe he (Warigi) is speaking for the corrupt Kenyan regime, and not the infringed ordinary citizens, whose voices are not represented by the self imposed rulers. Maybe he was forced serve as a mouth piece (conduit) for some forces beyond his control since he has been more or less of rhetorical than logical in his offensive towards Dar es Salaam.
While economic consequences seem to be of greater concern, our security, social, culture and political setting trepidation were neglected by our brother, a Kenyan, and an editor, who failed to address our concerns. Yes, there are benefits of forming treaties or other blocs, within different regions, and these benefits can be realized without compromising a country’s political establishment, culture, and security. Reforming tariff’s system is one of the ways; free movement of people and goods across boarders can be another one.
Mr. Warigi, needs to get his facts straight, and learn more about NAFTA before dictating to Tanzanian’s the course of action. He is failing to understand that NAFTA has been a one sided Treaty, that has simply failed!
In the United States, as economist and a friend, Gary Bollinger details, NAFTA has eliminated some 1,266,000 job opportunities-primarily for non-college-educated workers in manufacturing. Contrary to what the American promoters of NAFTA promised U.S. workers, the agreement did not result in an increased trade surplus with Mexico, but the reverse.
As manufacturing jobs disappeared, workers were downscaled to lower-paying, less-secure services jobs. Within manufacturing, the threat of employers to move production to Mexico proved a powerful weapon for undercutting workers' bargaining power.
This continent-wide pattern of stagnant worker incomes, increased insecurity, and rising inequality has emerged at a time when economic conditions have been most favorable for the success of greater continental integration. The negative effect of increasing trade and investment flows has been obscured by the extraordinary consumer boom in the United States, especially during the period from 1996 through the summer of 2000.
The boom, driven by the expansion of domestic consumer credit and a speculative bubble in the stock market, spilled over to Canada and Mexico. Their economies have now become extremely dependent on the capacity of U.S. consumers to continue to spend in excess of their incomes. As the air seeps out of that bubble, the cost of those nations' reliance on the U.S. consumer market is becoming apparent.
The wave of unskilled workers crossing the boarder into the US, from Mexico, is creating a social time bomb for the hardworking educated American population who are being taxed heavily to provide social benefits for the less educated, and unskilled migrants from Latin America. Neither France nor Germany has gained anything substantial from Slovakia, in their EU integration, AND LAND has never been an issue.
While Kenyan’s were adapting their master’s language, English to be precise, Tanzanians were working towards their national Identity. And this is evident by the national language that has shunned tribalism and brought about pride not only to Tanzania, but for Kenya as well.
Kiswahili, that is, is the source our tolerance, and open-mindedness. It is the source of Tanzania brotherhood.
Many of the so-called Kenyan, semi-literate experts have nothing more than broken English in Tanzania offices, and if GITAU Warigi, feels that Kenya is more developed than Tanzania, then there is no need to cry for the Integration, because it is going to be a one sided game.
Simple mastery of a foreign language does not constitute a viable skill to be proud of.
Mind you, It is shameful to celebrate one’s cultural identity, and a form of slavery of some sort, to abandon your own for that matter. It will be prudent for Gitau, to give exact count of Tanzanians in Kenya offices to that of Kenyans in Tanzania trotting with crude and broken English.
Germans, have their own language, so are the Russians and the British. The Spanish and Italians speak their respective languages. Rwandese, Ugandans, and the Burundis both speak, Rwandese, Kiganda and Kirundi, and so are the Tanzanians.
We are proud of Kiswahili; it gives us a unique Identity as Africans and a nation.
A country known globally for her landless and landowners culture, if you will, cannot be allowed to export the pandemic to her neighbors. Tanzania will be committing a crime of a century to her people by following blindly the perilous path of privatizing her land.
We cannot comprehend a situation in which the famous Kikuyu’s tycoons, owning millions of hectors of land in Tanzania, yet the “poor” Tanzanians by their definition, stacked in the replica of Mathare, Kibera, and Kariobangi slums as squatters. Land privatization is a social injustice and pandemic a country whose foundation lies on brotherhood cannot adopt.
In 2007, Kenya, exported to Tanzania, twenty hardcore robbers whom were all armed to their teeth with battle field weaponry, and ready for action. Fortunately, 14, of them were gunned down before they could wreck-havoc to the peace loving Tanzanians.
If these men had same passports or Identity cards as Tanzania’s, no one would have known their country of origin.
I am sure there are many more cross boarder cases of banditry that do not make it to the national spotlight, but meant to frustrate the peaceful Tanzanians. I assume, these are some of the benefits GITAU is rushing us to enjoy, as the fruits of his “cross-pollination.”
Peace and harmony within Tanzania, are not products of coincidence, they are fruits of tolerance; they are social and political forbearance that have evolved through so many years of hard work. Our national pride “Kiswahili” has made the country a model for peace and harmony, as it is next to impossible to identify a Tanzanian by his ethnicity. Yet in Kenya, tribal identity dictates where to do business and where not to, when you belong to a certain tribe. Pathetically it also dictates who to hire for key positions.
Kalenjins and Luos are Kikuyu’s arch enemies, and so are the Kikuyus and Luyas. We don’t want this type of culture within our borders, and I do hope leaders in Dar es Salaam, are reading the signs on the wall, while working for the best interest of the 40 million hardworking, peace loving Tanzanians. There can be integration without losing our national Identity, pride, integrity, or compromising our security. We can also maintain our political tolerance within the unity without adopting the scary land reform proposal from Kenya.
Ages when people jumped into bandwagons without critically thinking or questioning WHY, are long gone. If our Kenyan neighbors are frustrated with us, I guess that will be their business.
Tanzania is NOT a banana republic, it is a free country ruled by logic, reason, and the will of the people and our leaders cannot jump the ship without knowing where it is headed. We are for the integration, but under a conducive environment where we are going to be treated as equals.
At stake is not the mere signing of the treaty, it is the future of the 40 million Tanzanians who can not be let down out of utter ignorance. If Kenyans are unwilling to compromise, they are at liberty to replace Tanzania, her southern neighbor, with Somalia, which is poorer than Tanzania, and both of them will benefit.
Mr. Warigi, it is time to wake up from your long snooze, instead of thinking in the terms of 1961. It may have taken a long time, but we are getting there. Tanzania has changed; her youth are well exposed, new vibrant leaders with mastery of your so called language of pride (generation X) are emerging. Times to dictate to sovereign nations on how to think are long gone, and the main Impediments, and obstacles to the EAC ratification is not Dar es Salaam authorities, it is the hasty, arrogance and your erratic attitude of either you are with us, or against us!
Mungu Ibariki Tanzania!
A TANZANIAN PATRIOT
More on the EAC Treaty Debate:
Tom Mshindi: As Tanzania dithers, EA integration must roll on
The round the clock port service has enabled port users to process their documents, pay duties & other levies and clear their cargoes on a 24 hour basis which came in after Presidential directive to Government Agencies concerned in cargo clearance.
It is important to note that the Kenya Ports Authority operations departments have always worked on 24 hours basis. Shielded from tidal influence, the port of Mombasa receives vessels calling in to load and discharge round the clock.
The quest to include other sections of the port services into the 24 hour working regime came sometime in early 2006 when the management and stakeholders realized the influx of cargo volumes. This was when Ships discharged round the clock while deliveries were restricted from 8.00 am to 5.00pm. During this time cargo deliveries averaged 350 containers per day com-pared to over 800 containers ship deliveries.
Consequently, congestion was inevitable and in fact worsening as containers were building up. It was at this time that KPA management and stakeholders raised the complaints to the government to have cargo deliveries on a 24 hour basis as a way of fighting congestion.
In June 2006, the then Minister for Finance honourable Amos Kimunya, in his budget speech, directed that the port should work on 24 hour basis. Immediately on hearing this announcement, the KPA management took the lead to call for an all-parties meeting to endorse the new working arrangement.
To the KPA management and many other stakeholders, this was a break through, a prayer answered as it would help clear cargo faster to reduce congestion and avoid imposition of vessels delay surcharge by shipping lines.
By mid 2007, cargo delivery was being done up to 2100hours, then to 2300hours towards the end of 2007. Through dialogue among the stakeholders, we moved to have cargo whose duty was fully paid and cleared during the day allowed to move out at anytime in the night. This improved cargo delivery to an average of 600 units per day, although our target was 1000 units per day.
With the new working arrangement now endorsed totally by all stakeholders and including documentation processes collection of revenue on 24 hour basis from 18th August 2008, we have already start¬ed to see some improvements in container delivery, which has grown from 427 in August 2008 to over 720 currently.
The 24 hour work schedule will also reduce the cost by port users as they will pay less on cargo storage while the port improves in efficiency and moves closer to its vision: to be rated among the top ten ports in the world in terms of reputation and performance, by the year 2010.
Set up by an Act of Parliament in January 1978, KPA's mandate is to maintain, operate, improve and regulate all scheduled sea ports along Kenya's Coast with Mombasa as the premier port and gateway to East and Central Africa.
Due to its secure location, superior cargo handling capabilities and an efficient communication infrastructure, the Port of Mombasa is the best port on the East Africa coastline serving Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Northern Tanzania, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia.
And as we celebrate 30 years of exemplary service to the economies of this region, we wish to re-affirm our commitment to transforming the Port of Mombasa into a World-class facility.
The Kenya Ports Authority has witnessed major developments in the 30 years of its existence. Within this period the Authority has scored highly in various sectors including the tremendous improvement of cargo handling capabilities. This is a testimony of the management's commitment to delivery of efficient and quality service to its customers.
In the last 30 years KPA has been in-charge of the construction of inland container depots; the establishment of the Bandari training College to impart quality training for both staff and non employees; setting up of the Kampala Liaison office to facilitate trade within the region; and recently and very important the automation of key port operations.
As the economies in the region continue to experience phenomenal growth, the management endeavours to upgrade facilities to meet the growing needs of the country and the larger east and central Africa.
Just a week ago KPA signed a con-tract with Japan Port Consultants Limited for the construction of a second container terminal, heralding a new chapter for the authority. Construction of the 1.2 million Twenty Foot Equivalent (TEUs) capacity second container terminal comes at a time when the management is striving to re-position the port to efficiently and effectively serve the region.
During the six year construction, the port of Mombasa will witness construction of quay and sea walls, utilities, buildings, access road and parking space. Other civil works will include extension of railway line, installation of leading lights from the quay and marker buoys at the channel and basins.
The total cargo handled has been increasing over the years growing on average by 8 per cent between 2000 and 2007. On the other hand, container traffic has increased from 236,298 TEUs in 2000 to 550,000 TEUs in 2007, translating into an average growth rate of 12 per annum. The traffic is projected to reach over 960,000 TEUs by the year 2015; this is way beyond the existing design capacity of 250,000 TEUs.
Out of the total port traffic, about 27 per cent is meant for hinterland countries, which have been recording significant improved economic performance in the past six years. This growth is expected to hold and in fact improve in the near future. However, it is dependent on how well the port operates. Currently capacity utilization stands at about 70 per cent which is one of the highest in the world. Conventionally capacity utilization of 40 per cent is considered optimal.