Archive for 2009

National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Views on the Harmonized Draft Kenya Constitution: Kenyans, Build Consensus Genuinely

I. Preamble

The Executive Committee of the National Council of Churches of Kenya has met here at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru, from 30th November - 3rd December 2009. In this meeting, we have keenly studied and reviewed the Harmonised Draft Constitution published by the Committee of Experts.

In these discussions, we were guided by the words of Nehemiah 2: 17 which says "Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace"."

Similarly, the fabric of the Kenyan society has been destroyed and weakened greatly over the decades, and Kenyans are convinced that a key pillar in repairing it is by putting in place a new constitutional order.

We are therefore grateful to God that the Harmonised Draft Constitution has been published and released to the public for discussions and debates.

Having considered the provisions in the Harmonised Draft Constitution, we propose the following principle changes to facilitate the reconstruction work intended to be achieved through it

2. System of Government

In our memorandum to the Committee of Experts of 14 July 2009, we noted that the two systems of government which Kenyans could choose from were Presidential and Parliamentary. Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages.

What we have found to be unacceptable is a hybrid system. Kenyans have experimented with a hybrid system in the past with disastrous results and are now seeking to change it.

We challenge the Committee of Experts to be bold and present to Kenyans a pure system that is workable rather than the system they have proposed in the Harmonised Draft constitution.

This proposed system of government appears more-to serve political expediencies than giving our nation a fresh start.

Whichever system Kenyans choose, it should have either of the following characteristics:

2.1 Parliamentary System

i. Parties would present lists of preferred Members of National Assembly and the party leader who would be their candidate for Prime Minister to the electoral commission six months prior to the election date

ii. Voters would vote for parties, not individuals

iii. Seats in Parliament would be allocated proportionally based on the number of votes the party received in the elections

iv. Members of National Assembly would not represent constituencies but their parties

v. Limit the terms of service of the Prime Minister to two terms

vi. Constituencies shall be abolished to enable Members of National Assembly to serve the entire nation

vii. This will ensure justice in representation and help the different ethnic communities come together

viii. There shall be a clear separation of powers and meaningful checks and balances between the Judiciary, Legislature and Executive

ix. The leader of the party or coalition with an absolute majority in number of MPs will be appointed the Prime Minister by Parliament

x. Cabinet Ministers would be appointed from within the National Assembly

xi. A ceremonial president if necessary would be elected by Parliament, that is, a combination of the Senate and the National Assembly

2.2 Presidential System

i. The President is elected directly by the people through universal suffrage

ii. The President will need to achieve an election threshold of 50% plus one votes and 25% votes in majority of the devolved units

iii. The President shall have a running mate who shall be his or her principal assistant

iv. There shall be a clear separation of powers between the Judiciary, Legislature and Executive The President and his or her running mate shall not be Members of the National Assembly or Senate

v. Cabinet Ministers and their deputies shall be appointed from outside of but approved by Parliament

vi. The President shall be subject to a raft of checks and balances by other institutions to enhance accountability and transparency

viii. If there is need for a Prime Minister, he / she would be appointed by the President ind approved by Parliament and would not have executive powers

3. Devolution

We in the National Council of Churches of Kenya appreciate the chapter on devolution.

However, we make the following proposals:

i. That there be two levels of government, national and county

ii. The counties should be adopted from the 46 districts identified in the Districts and Provinces Act of 1992.We find any other figures arbitrary and without objective basis

iii. The county governor and his / her deputy will be elected directly by the people and will need to achieve an election threshold of 50% plus one votes

iv. Remove the Regions since they will have no significant role to play

v. National laws shall supercede county laws

vi. The executive and legislative functions at the county level should be separated just as they are at the national level.

vii. Technical competence, integrity and moral uprightness shall be the bedrocks for effective service delivery, with the County Assembly providing oversight

4. The Legislature

The provisions in the Harmonised Draft Constitution, if adopted as they are, would result in a situation where Parliament was virtually unworkable with continuous conflicts between the Senate and the National Assembly.

To remedy this, we recommend amendments to provide that the Senate be the Upper House which approves the laws from the Lower House.

The National Assembly as the Lower House would have mandate for originating legislation.Their roles would also be separated to be as follows:

4.1 Senate:

i. To check the National Assembly

ii. To check the devolved governments

iii. To protect the interests of the devolved governments

4.2 National Assembly:

i. To check the Executive

ii. To make laws

iii. To play a watchdog role

The Senators should be elected directly by the people in the county, and should be required to report back to the County Assembly every two weeks.

This will ensure that the synergy between the Senate and the counties is real.

5. The Judiciary

We recommend that the proposed Constitutional Court be done away with since the duties it was expected to play can be undertaken effectively within the established judicial system.

6. Kadhis Courts

The Kadhis Courts should be removed from the constitution in total. This is because their inclusion:

i. Contradicts the principle of equality of all religions

ii. Contradicts the principle of separation of state and religion

iii. Contradicts the principle that the state shall treat all religions equally

7. Other Proposals

Having extensively considered the Harmonised Draft Constitution, we further recommend the following amendments are made:

i. Clearly indicate the international boundaries of Kenya rather than leaving it to international law

ii. Clearly state that life begins at conception and ends at natural death

iii. Clearly state that children once conceived have a right to be born

iv. Clearly define family to be constituted between an adult man and adult woman

v. Clearly state that a person has a right to propagate their religion

vi. Clearly state that no person shall be hindered from converting from one religion to another

vii. Clearly define marginalized groups as well as minorities, and state when the state of marginalization will be deemed to have ended

viii. Remove the limitation of the Bill of Rights to persons professing Islamic faith

ix. Provide for the youth as a sector in their own right rather than lumping them together with persons with disabilities in the various provisions in the draft constitution

8. Message to the Committee of Experts

Kenyans have been seeking a new constitution for more than twenty years, and they are convinced that this is the opportune moment for this.

However, they will not accept just any constitution draft you produce.

The draft taken to the referendum must be one that fulfills the aspirations and dreams of Kenyans, or else they will reject it and restart the process all over again.

Further, we remind you that you have a duty to ensure that all Kenyans read the Harmonised Draft constitution.

This would allow them to make recommendations within the time frame provided.

You are therefore obliged to move with speed and ensure that the drafts are made available throughout the country.

9. Message to the people of Kenya

We encourage all the people to read the Harmonised Draft Constitution and make recommendations for its improvement.

Further, they should communicate their views and opinions to the Committee of Experts within the time allocated so that the Committee captures their aspirations and wishes.

10. Message to Members of Parliament

We in the National Council of Churches of Kenya call upon Parliament to consider:
One, amending the Constitution of Kenya Review Act so as to extend the time allocated for public debate and submission of the people's views on the Harmonized Draft Constitution for another 60 days.

It is important to remember that the last constitution review process was rushed and thereby aborted.

Two, extend the time provided for civic education on the final draft to a total of 90 days.

Three, amend the Constitution of Kenya Review Act so as to facilitate presentation of two drafts during the referendum whose provisions would be harmonized except for the chapter on system of government one would present a pure presidential system while the other would present a pure parliamentary system.

Kenyans would then choose between the two, without the risk of falling back on the current constitution.

II. Conclusion

We conclude by urging all Kenyans to continue participating in the constitution review process by making recommendations on how the Harmonised Draft Constitution can be improved to serve the interests of all Kenyans.

On our part, we have prepared a detailed memorandum with our recommendations that shall be presented to the Committee of Experts.

We also urge the Committee of Experts to listen keenly to what Kenyans have to say about the Harmonised Draft Constitution.

We wish all Kenyans a blessed, joyful and secure Christmas and a prosperous new year.

May God bless Kenya.

Signed on this 3rd day of December 2009 at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru.

Rev Dr Charles Kibicho - Chairman

Rev Canon Peter Karanja - General Secretary

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The Star Political Gossip

An assistant minister from Western Kenya behaved badly in the corridors of Parliament on Wednesday when he attempted to hit on a female colleague from Central Province. The man loudly proclaimed that the woman "is mine". He was taken aback when the Central MP did not take kindly to his joshing and put him in his place by giving him a tongue lashing and warning him of dire consequences if he continued with the joke' which she did not welcome.

Some MPs have turned a wealthy Cabinet minister from Rift Valley into their ATM machine. The three MPs from Nairobi, Rift Valley and North Eastern are said to go to the minister's office every Friday where they collect Sh50,000 for unspecified services.

A policeman at Central Police station is confessing to have killed 80 people since he joined a notorious hit squad whose existence police authorities, and even the Internal Security minister George Saitoti, insist does not exists. The policeman has on several occasions been overheard bragging in bars that he has met and even exceeded his target as a member of the squad which is responsible for felling some of the people police have on their Most Wanted List.

The trend of staying in a hotel to avoid pesky constituents who are always expecting a handout seems to be catching on. We are now told that an MP from Central has been booking himself into a suite of rooms at Oustpan Hotel in Nyeri whenever he travels to attend to issues in his constituency. After a flying visit to 'look at development' the man retreats to his suite, away from the reach of the hoi polloi and their incessant need for handouts!

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What the harmonized draft Kenya constitution says

The zero draft constitution unveiled recently devolves government to three levels - national, regional and county regions.

Here, the governments are distinct and inter- dependent and conduct their mutual relations on the basis of consultation and co-operation.

It also separates state and religion. It spells that the State and religion shall be separate, there shall be no State religion and the State shall treat all religions equally.

The documents abolishes Moi Day as a national day and renames Kenyatta Day as Mashujaa Day (Heroes Day). It only recognizes three national days - Madaraka Day (June 1), Mashujaa Day (October 20) and Jamhuri Day (December 12).

It gives Parliament powers to make provisions for public holidays.


The document also allows dual citizenship. A person who is a citizen does not lose citizenship by reason only of acquiring the citizenship of another country.

It also states that a person who as a result of acquiring the citizenship of another country ceased to be a Kenyan citizen is entitled, on application, to regain Kenyan citizenship.

Representation of the people

The constitution allows independent candidate. It says that a person is eligible to stand as an independent candidate for election as a Member of Parliament, a regional assembly or a county assembly, if that person.

It also demands that voting be by secret ballot and in transparent ballot boxes. Elections will be run by an Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. The commission will run presidential elections, election of members of the Senate, election of members of the National Assembly, election of members of regional assemblies and of regional executive, committees, election of the members of the county assemblies and of county governors, and deputy county governors, election of the mayor and deputy mayor of Nairobi, referenda; and any other elections as may be prescribed by an Act of Parliament.

A member of Parliament or of a regional or county assembly elected on a ticket of a political party ceases to be member of Parliament or of that assembly on resigning from the party; or being expelled from the party for indiscipline after a fair hearing. It also lays out the foundations of forming a political party.

Political Parties will not:

(a) Be founded on a religious, linguistic, racial, ethnic, gender or regional basis or engage in advocacy of hatred based on any of those matters;

(b) Engage in or encourage violence by, or intimidation of, its members, supporters, opponents or any other person;

(c) Establish or maintain a paramilitary force, militia or similar organization;

(d) Engage in bribery or other forms of corruption; or

(e) Except as is provided under this Chap¬ter or by an Act of Parliament, accept or use public resources to promote its interests or its candidates in elections.


There is established a Parliament of Kenya, which shall consist of the Senate and the National Assembly.

The Senate shall consist of:

(a) Members elected one each by the counties, each county assembly acting as an electoral college;

(b) Women elected two each by the regions, the elected members of the county assemblies in each region acting as the electoral college;

(c) Persons with disabilities or falling within the category of youth, elected one each by the regions;

(d) the Speaker, who shall be an ex officio member.

(2) Elections under clause (l)(c) shall be as provided by legislation.

(3) Upon election, the senators elected from each region shall collectively constitute a single delegation for the purposes of clause 141(2)(a).

(4) Nothing in this Article shall be construed as excluding women from con¬testing an election under clause (1)(a).

Membership of the National Assembly 126.

(1) The National Assembly shall consist of:

(a) Members elected one each by the constituencies as may be provided by law;

(b) Women elected two each by the regions, the elected members of the county assemblies in each region acting as the electoral college;

(c) Persons with disabilities or falling within the category of youth, elected one each by the regions;

(d) the Speaker, who shall be an ex officio member.

(2) Elections under clause (l)(c) shall be as provided by legislation.

(3) Upon election, the senators elected from each region shall collectively constitute a single delegation for the purposes of clause 141(2)(a).

(4) Nothing in this Article shall be construed as excluding women from con-testing an election under clause (1)(a).

Membership of the National Assembly 126.

(1) The National Assembly shall consist of:

(a) Members elected one each by the constituencies as may be provided by law;

(b) Women elected one each by the counties, each county comprising a single member constituency;

(c) Seven members who shall be persons with disabilities, no more than four of whom shall be of the same gender;

(d) Seven members elected by marginalized communities, marginalized groups and ' workers; and

(e) The Speaker, who shall be an ex officio member.

Right of recall

131.(1) The electorate under Articles 125 and 126 have the right to recall their member of Parliament elected before the expiry of the term of the relevant House of Parliament.

(2) Parliament shall enact legislation to provide for the grounds on which a member may be recalled and the pro¬cedure to be followed.


Authority of the State President

There shall be a State President of the Republic. The State President is:

(a) Head of State;

(b) Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces; and

(c) Chairperson of the National Security Council.

(3) The State President is a symbol of national unity.

(4) The State President shall:

(a) Respect, uphold and safeguard this Constitution;

(b) Safeguard the sovereignty of the Republic;

Accordingly, he will promote and enhance the unity of the nation; promote respect for the diversity of the people and communities of Kenya; and ensure the pro¬tection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.

The State President shall not hold any other State or public office.

Functions of the President

(a) Address the opening of each newly elected House of Parliament;

(b) Address a special sitting of Parliament once every year;

(c) Once every year:

(i) Report, in an address to the nation, on all the measures taken and the progress achieved in the realization of the national values, principles and goals set out in Chapter Three; and

(ii) Publish in the Gazette, the details of the measures and progress referred to in sub-paragraph (i).

(2) The President shall appoint and may dismiss:

(a) the Cabinet, including the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Ministers;

(b) the Deputy Ministers;

(c) the judges of the superior courts; and

(d) any other State or public officer whom this Constitution requires the State President to appoint.

(3) The President may:

(a) Appoint high commissioners, ambassadors, and diplomatic and consular representatives with the approval of the National Assembly; and

(b) Receive foreign diplomatic and consular representatives; and

(c) Confer honours in the name of the people and the Republic.

(4) With the approval of Parliament, the President may sign instruments of consent of the Republic to be bound by treaties and international agreements. With the approval of the Cabinet, the State President may:

(a) declare a state of emergency;

(b) declare war.

(6) The State President

(a) May appoint commissions of inquiry; and

(b) Shall cause the report of any commission of inquiry so appointed to be laid before Parliament within twenty-one days of the receipt of the report by the State President.

Once every year, the State President shall submit a report to Parliament on the progress made in fulfilling the international obligations of the Republic.

Assumption of office of State President

The swearing in of the State President-elect shall be before the Chief Justice, or, in the absence of the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice and in public.

The State President-elect shall be sworn in on the first Tuesday following the 14th day after the date of the declaration of the result of the presidential election unless the result is challenged.

If the result of presidential election is challenged under Article 165 but the Constitutional Court upholds the result of the election, the State President-elect shall be sworn in on the first Tuesday following the seventh day after the Court's determination.

Term of office of State President

The State President shall hold office for a term not exceeding five years beginning with the date of assumption of office. A person shall not hold office as State President for more than two terms, a person who has continuously served as State President for at least two and half years shall be deemed to have served a full term.

Removal of State President on grounds of incapacity

A member of the National Assembly, supported by at least a quarter of all the members may, at any sitting of the Assembly move a motion for the investigation the State President's physical or mental capacity to perform the functions of office.

Prime Minister

There shall be a Prime Minister of the Republic, who shall be the Head of Government.

The Prime Minister shall direct and co-ordinate the work of the ministries and the preparation of legislation, and is responsible to Parliament. The Prime Minister shall preside at meetings of the Cabinet.

In the absence of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister shall perform the
functions of the Prime Minister.

Appointment of Prime Minister

Within seven days following the summoning of the National Assembly after a general election, or whenever necessary to fill a vacancy in the office of Prime Minister, other than on the occasion of a vote of no confidence, the State President shall appoint as Prime Minister:

The member of the National Assembly who is the leader of the largest political party or coalition of parties, represented in the National Assembly; or if the leader of the largest party or coalition of parties has been unable to command the confidence of the National Assembly, the member of the National Assembly who is the leader of the second largest political party or coalition of parties represented in the National Assembly.

Cabinet and Deputy Ministers

The Cabinet shall consist of:

(a) The Prime Minister;

(b) The Deputy Prime Minister; and

(c) Not fewer than 15 and not more than 20 other Ministers.


The superior courts are the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Constitutional Court and the High Court.

There is established the Supreme Court which consists of:

(a) The Chief Justice, who shall be the president of the court;

(b) The Deputy Chief Justice, who shall—

(i) Deputise for the Chief Justice; and

(ii) Be the vice-president of the court; and

(c) Not fewer than five and not more than seven other judges. The Supreme Court shall be properly constituted for the purposes of its proceedings if it is composed of five judges.

Subordinate courts

The subordinate courts are—

(a) The Magistrates' Courts;

(b) The Kadhis' courts;

(c) The Courts Martial; and

(d) Any other court or local tribunal as may be established by an Act of Parliament.


There shall be a regional government for each region, consisting of an assembly and an executive committee, the principal role of a regional government is to co-ordinate the implementation, within the counties forming the region, of programmes and projects that extend across two or more counties of the region.

An Act of Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, provide for the govern¬ance structure and management of the Nairobi Region as a metropolitan city and the capital of Kenya.

Despite Article 228 and the Fourth Schedule, an Act of Parliament shall provide for taxation powers for the government of the Nairobi Metropolitan Region.

Regional assemblies

The legislative authority of a region is vested in the regional assembly of that region. A regional assembly:

(a) Consists of three delegates elected from each county within the region by the assembly of that county from among members of the county assembly;

(b) Is elected for a term of five years; and

(c) Has power to pass any laws that are reasonably necessary for, or incidental to, the effective exercise and performance of the powers and functions assigned to the region.
In electing delegates, a county assembly shall take into consideration ethnic and other diversities, including gender, represented in the county.

A regional assembly, while having due regard to the principle of the separation of powers, has power to maintain oversight over the regional executive committee and any other executive organs established by laws passed by the assembly.

Election of mayor and deputy mayor of Nairobi

The mayor and deputy mayor of Nairobi shall each be elected by more than half of the votes cast by voters who meet the requirements relating to residence within the region, prescribed by an Act of Parliament.

The election of the mayor and deputy mayor shall be by universal suffrage. Subject to clause (1), an Act of Parliamen shall prescribe the manner of election of the mayor and deputy mayor.

Functions of regional executive committees

(1) The members of the regional executive committee are responsible for the exercise of executive powers in relation to the functions and powers assigned to the region.

(2) The regional director may assign specific responsibilities to the members of the Committee.

Part 3—County governments

(1) There shall be a county government for each county, consisting of a county assembly and a county executive.

(2) Every county government shall decentralize its functions and the provision of its services to the extent that it is efficient and practicable to do so.

(3) Despite the provisions of this Chapter, the counties forming the Nairobi Region for the purposes of Article 129(5) shall not perform any other function, nor exercise any power, of a county government except as is provided in an Act of Parliament referred to in Article 215(3).

Members of county assembly

(1) A county assembly consists of:

(a) Members elected one each for the wards, either directly or through proportional representation, with such boundaries, as are prescribed by Act of Parliament, after taking account of recommendation of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission;

(b) Such number of special seat members, in proportion to the votes received by each political party under clause (1) (a), as to ensure that no more than two-thirds of the membership of the assembly are of the same gender;

(b) Such number of special seat members, in proportion to the votes received by each political party under clause (1) (a), as to ensure that no more than two-thirds of the membership of the assembly are of the same gender;

(c) Such number of members of marginalized groups, including persons with disabilities, minorities, older persons and youth, in proportion to the votes received by each political party under clause (l)(a), as are prescribed by Act of Parliament; and

(d) such number of independent candidates as may be elected under clause(1)(a).

(2) The filling of special seats under clause (1)(b) shall be determined after declaration of elected members from each ward.

(3) A county assembly is elected for a term of five years.

The regions into which Kenya is divided are Coast Region, Eastern Region, North Eastern Region, Rift Valley Region, Nyanza Region, Western Region, Central Region, Nairobi Metropolitan Region.

The counties into which Kenya is divided are:

Coast Region: Kwale, Mombasa, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Lamu, Tana River, Malindi

Eastern Region: Makueni, Machakos, Kitui, Mwingi, Meru Central, Meru South, Meru North, Tharaka, Mbeere, Embu, Isiolo, Marsabit, Moyale

North-Eastern Region: Garissa, Ijara, Mandera, Wajir

Rift Valley Region: Kajiado, Narok, Trans Mara, Turkana, West Pokot, Marakwet, Trans Nzoia, Keiyo, Uasin Gishu, Nandi North, Nandi South, Kericho, Bureti, Bomet, Baringo, Koibatek, Nakuru, Samburu,Laikipia

Nyanza Region: Bondo, Nyando, Siaya, Suba Kuria, Ra-chuonyo, Kisii Central, Gucha, Nyamira, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori

Western Region: Busia, Bungoma, Teso, Mt Elgon, Lugari, Kakamega, Vihiga, Butere/Mumias

Central Regio: Kiambu, Thika, Murang'a, Maragua, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga

Nairobi Metropolitan Region: Westlands, Kasarani, Lang'ata, Embakasi


All land in Kenya is designated as public, community or private.

There will be a National Land Commission.

The functions of the National Land Commission are to—manage public land on behalf of the national and devolved governments, recommend to the national government a national land policy;

Advise the national government and devolved governments on a policy framework for the development of selected areas of Kenya, to ensure that the development of community and private land is in accordance with the development plan for those areas;

Investigate disputes of land ownership, occupation and access to public land in any area as provided for by legislation; Advise the national government on, and assist in the execution of, a comprehensive programme for the registration of title in land throughout Kenya;

Conduct research related to land and the use of natural resources and make recommendations to appropriate authorities; initiate investigations, on its own or on a complaint, into present or historical land initiate investigations on its own or on a complaint, into present or historical land injustices and recommend appropriate redress;

Facilitate the participation of communities in the formulation of land policy; encourage the application of traditionally accepted systems of dispute resolution in land conflicts;

Assess tax on land and premiums on property in any area designated by law;

Monitor and have oversight responsibilities over land use planning throughout the country;

Consolidate and from time to time review all laws relating to land; and initiate revision of all sectoral land use laws in accordance with the national land policy.

The National Land Commission shall establish offices throughout Kenya.

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$26,7m technology upgrade for Kenya international airports

Global air transport communications and information technology solutions provider SITA has signed a ten-year $26,7-million agreement with the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) to upgrade passenger processing services at its two international airports.

The upgrades, which would include the installation of Kenya’s first self-service check-in kiosks, would be implemented at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), in Nairobi, and the Moi International Airport (MIA), in Mombasa.

The JKIA would receive 32 self-service check-in kiosks and the MIA 16 kiosks by June 2010.

The upgrade of passenger processing technology would also allow airlines operating in the country to share check-in and boarding facilities.

“Working with SITA we are introducing world-leading technology that will provide the best service for both the airlines and passengers using these airports. This technology will also be available at the new Terminal Four in Nairobi when it opens,” KAA MD George Muhoho said in a statement.

He added that the move to self-service check-in and the adoption of SITA’s common-use technologies would allow the KAA to increase the capacity at the airports and manage peak travel hours better.

“There is now huge global demand for passenger self-service check-in. The majority of passengers clearly prefer self-service options when they are available, which reduces pressure on airport operators during peak periods,” SITA sub-Sahara Africa sales director Sam Munda commented.

In November, the KAA reported that it would invest about $349-million to expand and modernise its major airports over the next four years.

Newswire Reuters had, at the time, quoted Muhoho as saying that the European Investment Bank and the French Development Agency would each provide $93-million of funding, while the World Bank would provide a further $34-million in funding.

The KAA would provide the remainder of the funding.

Story Here

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Moving forward to find answers to difficult questions: New Order Party of Kenya

Fellow Kenyans,

Kenya is a very beautiful country endowed with vast resources, diverse and beautiful culture and heritage; smart, talented, dedicated and a loving people.

It has been 45 years since our country became free. Independence to Kenyans meant more than just freedom. It meant economic and democratic prosperity also. Innocent, peaceful and loving Kenyans placed their hopes and aspirations on the hands of the then leadership. They were let down.

Looking at the massive challenges facing the country today in relation to those at our independence; one is only left to wonder where the rain started beating us as a country. Previous and current regimes have condemned majority of Kenyans into bondage of poverty resulting from exploitation of man by man, Kenyan by Kenyans for that matter.

Grand-white-collar corruption has continued unabated since independence and as a result, Kenyan economy is on its knees. No one seems to have any answers to this grand monster.

Insecurity and the news of death from thugs, rustlers, vigilantes, and security forces is the order of day whether one lives in rural or urban Kenya.

Food insecurity is today an accepted face of Kenya. No meaningful policies are in place to alleviate this situation. Core agricultural sectors are not performing.

Unemployment is the biggest employer in Kenya today. The economy does not have the capacity to create jobs and no meaningful economic reform policies are in place to assure revitalization of the economy and job creation.

Public Educational sector is in a fix. No serious reform measures are in place to revive the sector to assure continued public confidence and future prosperity.

Public Health sector is in sorry state. No meaningful Public Health care reforms are in the offing.

Public infrastructures and utilities are either dilapidated, in a sorry state of repair or left to rot despite the much hyped-CDF devolved kitty. No body seems to care as long as their kinsmen are beneficiaries of these funds

Political, constitutional, electoral and legal reforms are not taking shape as expected. The pace is wanting and the commitment on the part of leadership is either missing or insincere.

Environmental degradation has been rife and the effects of draughts, lack of drinking water, drying hydro power dams are there for all to see.

The blot of the 2007 post election violence lingers in all Kenyans minds. No guarantees are in place that that dark period shall never recur again. The current regimes don’t seem to be bothered.

Other messes caused by the current and the previous regimes including land grabbing, political murders, deprivation of basic rights and freedoms and other known specific economic crimes still haunt all Kenyans in one way or the other.

This national situation as it is not sustainable. A decisive ammunition must be devised to deflate the status quo. Kenya must be set free from the enemies of the Kenya. The road is going to be rough and bumpy but with a resolve we shall see the Promised Land.

Kenya’s problems are bigger than any individual and calls for more than mere replacing of the current leadership.

Whining shall not take the country anywhere. Decisive action shall to change the course of our country. A drastic action based on solid values, ideals and moral principles that can stand the test of time. Our values must form the vision of our future as a country.

Kenya needs a strong, concrete and practical leadership that is ready to craft and decisively implement new plans and policies for long-term economic and social development. A leadership with the capacity to make decisions that affects lives, health, welfare, destiny and reputations of millions of Kenya without fear or favour.

A leadership that acknowledges and appreciates that there can never is justice in Kenya without political equality, honest courts and responsible leadership.

New Order Party of Kenya shall do everything possible to make sure that Kenya is not only a prosperous nation, but also a fairer and a safer place for all Kenyans.

We are in Kenya because God wanted us in Kenya. Kenya belongs to all Kenyans.

God Bless Kenya

Lawrence Kamau Macharia


New Order Party of Kenya

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The Muslim Question in Kenya: New Order Party of Kenya

Kenya is by law a secular state. The question of separation of the religion and government has largely been ignored for a very long time and it is only now that there is a constitutional making issue that voices are being raised and temperature flaring about this tricky, thorny and critical issue.

The naked truth is that, religion in Kenya plays a big role in governance as they are organized governments. Other than the usual political positions taking by the churches and Muslim bodies, today we have influential Bishops and Sheikhs serving Government as Ministers and Members of Parliament.

It is normal today to see individual spirituality being an increasingly important element of leadership in every domain. We have seen religion organizing their followers to take a united stance for the common good of the community.

Christians and Muslims form the significant proportion of the national population. Both faith profess and teach love of God, unity in God and love for thy Neighbour. No matter the numbers or geography, mutual respect and harmonious coexistence of political systems and ideas, but not necessarily culture between the two religions shall form the platform for a peaceful and prosperous country.

Both Christians and Muslims have their legitimate grievances especially in the process of constitutional making. Unfortunately these grievances are rapidly degenerating to conflict situations leading to certain religious leaders taking extreme positions. Under stress, religious leaders are known to react by reducing their own beliefs and forming tight knit religious entities to protect their interests.

The role of religion in Kenya must not be to divide the country. Any person elected in whatever capacity in Kenya or any Government must be allowed to lead without allowing convictions take over them. It is common sense that just likes any public policy; the constitution must not be made out of religious convictions. Reasons other than religious reasons must be allowed to have the ultimate say for the public good in constitution making.

Muslim community in Kenya represents an equally significant constituency in Kenya. The representation in the Governance and government institutions is by far below par. To ask for policies to be adopted to allow proportionate representation is a legitimate demand. This is fact.

Internally displaced persons of Muslims faith (Bajunis) that were displaced by the Shifta Wars are still IDPs, more than three decades later. Massive land grabbing at the Kenyan coastal strip by wealthy and powerful individuals from the indigenous who are dominantly Muslim is a daily reality. Absentee landlords amongst other land related issues are some of the legitimate concerns of Muslims.

Hajj is one of the Pillars of Islamic faith. World over Hajj pilgrimage is taken very seriously. Unlike other countries, Kenyan going for Hajj festivities are least assisted by the government in planning, logistics and welfare. If other secular governments assist their citizens for Hajj, would anybody blame Muslims for voicing their displeasure?

Wakf Commission was established under the Act of Parliament. Empowering of the Commission is necessary for normal operations.

Formation of a central body to cater for specific muslim needs is paramount. Lack of proper organisation andlegislation leaves Muslims with no proper forum to express and address their grievances leaving them at the mercy of politicians. Polarizations, divisions and rivalry between and among the leaders compromises any hopes of leadership in articulating Muslim woes. This is a legitimate concern.

De-registrations of Muslim NGOs have left many Muslim madrassas unable to operate. This has largely been explained so due to the threat on terror. Most Muslim areas are marginalized area and due to poverty, draught and underdevelopment, Muslim parents cannot afford to pay for the madrassas fee. The government has a very able machinery to screen NGO’s and their source of money. In every flock, there must be a black sheep. Because of a few individuals, the entire community must not be made to suffer. To voice the concern about the NGO’s deregistration is a legitimate issue for the entire Muslim Community. This is a fact.

The other messy issues touching the community include underdevelopment of Muslim areas, poor education infrastructure, lack of adequate bursaries and scholarships, Drugs Abuse, making Idd ul Hajj and Idd ul Fitr public holidays among others. The community is bound to feel marginalized with all these real afflictions.

The Kadhi Courts and Muslim Wakils issues also affect Muslim community. The debate rages on whether Kadhi Courts should or should not be included in the constitution. Opposing sides have their legitimate points but it is worthy noting that these courts have been operational since the days of Sultanate.

The jurisdiction of the Kadhi Courts is very limited and well stipulated in the Kenya Judiciary Website ( and only covers determination of questions of Muslim Law relating to personal status, marriage, divorce or inheritance in proceedings in which all parties are Muslims.

New Order Party of Kenya (NOPE) believes that the arguments on Kadhi Courts’ should be guided by reason beyond religious convictions so that all Kenyans can join in, share and contribute to in the debate. Extreme religious positions of placing the religious justifications are not helpful and only serve to hurt the process.

We are in Kenya because God wanted us in Kenya.

Kenya belongs to all Kenyans.

God Bless Kenya

Lawrence Kamau Macharia


New Order Party of Kenya

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COTU Leadership is part of what ails Kenya: New Order Party of Kenya

Kenyans workers are some of the exploited work forces in the world. World over trade unions are known to fights for good working conditions for their members. However, in Kenya trade unions are perceived by the majority as the tool used by the ruling elites and business class to muzzle and exploit the commoners.

The employers and the government deal with workers with a lot of impunity. The working conditions of majority of the Kenyans are deplorable. This is despite the fact that there exist in the country trade unions, under the Umbrella of COTU (Central Organisation of Trade Unions) and trade unionist. Trade unions cardinal objective is to represent employees’ interest to the employers.

Democratic governance demands that trade unions must be involved in the building of social movements and developing of social changes. Thus a functioning trade union movement can thus be as an indicator of democracy and standards of human rights in any country.

In pre-independent and immediate post independent Kenya, trade unions played a very significant role in the liberation of the country and articulating for the workers plight. But as time went on, they lost their glamour, respect and wit. Today they represent a feeble, disrespected body with no clear policies towards achieving the COTU vision of developing a work force that enjoys a sustainable decent work environment and the COTU mission of promoting the creation of productive and sustainable employment opportunities, facilitate achievement of workers' rights, enhance social protection and provide effective representation to Kenyan workers.

Globalization, revolution in production technologies and new management styles represent some of the key major challenges that trade unionists must overcome in order to remain competitive in Kenya. This calls for revitalization of COTU. The current leadership does not seem to have the answers. COTU as constituted today cannot hack a digital password with a machete. A code is required.

So many Kenyans have lost their body parts through injuries at work, some have been crippled for life and many more are dead. Towards addressing these issues, trade unions have blatantly refused to show leadership.

Protection of Kenyans from local and foreign investors is at best non-existent. Shipping Industry, Mining Industry, Manufacturing Industries, Private Security Companies, Export Processing Zones (EPZ) and Container Freight Services (CFS‘s) are typical examples. COTU has blatantly refused to take leadership.

Improvement of the economic and social conditions of all workers are what Kenyans workers are yearning for. This can only be achieved through democratic governance. Towards pushing for this democratic governance; COTU has been weak and toothless. Fighting for Agenda Item 4 to be acted upon by COTU is suspect. It is not what Kenyan expects of COTU leadership.

COTU is as guilty in the eyes of Kenyan as are Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki Administrations. COTU is part of what ails Kenya today. Revitalization and resurgence of this vital organisation is paramount as Kenyan workforce need for trade unions can never be replaced.

New Order Party of Kenya (NOPE) salutes the COTU leadership for their service to the nation. We respect them so much that we are telling them that this is their time to go home. NOPE believes that economic freedom will come to Kenya through the Kenyan workforce. This shall be practical only when the rights and privileges of the workers are safeguarded.

The sad truth however, is that majority of Kenyan workforce are skeptical about the role of current trade unions in protecting their rights. Kenya needs a union the can tame, the voracious Black Europeans, White Europeans, Arabs, Indians and some lately some Chinese who believe that Kenya belongs to them.

To end the culture of exploitation of Kenyans by Kenyans and Kenyans by the foreigners in Kenya, CURRENT COTU LEADERSHIP MUST GO HOME. .

Kenya belongs to all Kenyans.

God Bless Kenya

Lawrence Kamau Macharia


New Order Party of Kenya

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Let us eat and let hawkers eat too: New Order Party of Kenya

Hawkers form a very significant and social-economically group in all major Kenyan towns. Elites and commoners view hawkers from very different perspectives. Some see them as an eyesore and nuisance primates, while other view them as a critical group that helps solve their shopping problems especially during these tough economic times.

The hawkers issue has been thorny in Kenya in recent times. It has been a real problem. Tackling it has been complicated and painful and at times destructive. Kenyans have seen demonstrations, relocations, fracas and both loses of lives and property as result of confrontations between hawkers and both municipality and regular security officers.

The issue is still alive and unresolved. No tangible policies and mechanisms that are beneficial to the Central Government, Local Authorities, Community and the Hawkers have ever been adopted in independent Kenya.

New Order Party of Kenya (NOPE) believes that Hawking Question must be addressed if Kenya has to achieve meaningful economic growth, political stability and general security in urban areas.

Despite the negative perception, hawking has a significant contribution in alleviating poverty. It creates employment. It gives consumers convenience of buying good and services at convenient locations. Hawking is an attraction to both foreign and domestic tourists. Hawking reduces insecurity by opening up streets that would have otherwise been isolated especially at nights. Hawking protects encroachments and misuses of vacant spaces. Hawking provides income earning opportunities for the elderly and disabled. The list is endless.

Through well crafted and practical policies, this huge hawking potential can be tapped and translated to gains for the society in terms of orderliness, incomes to both the individuals and taxes to the local authorities and government.

NOPE believes that the government must come up with a Hawkers commission that shall be legally mandated to handle Hawkers affairs. This commission shall comprise members from the Stakeholders involved in hawking activities. The commission should come with proposals aimed at making the hawking activities proliferate with discipline, eliminating any possibility of disharmony and confrontations. Such proposal that the commission must come up with includes the following:

Registration of Hawkers

Registration shall be aimed at making hawking a legitimate practice that comes with individual hawkers’ responsibility. It shall show the hawking carrying capacity of a particular area and this would help in decision making.

It shall also enable the government and local authorities to plan and to execute their policies with regards to taxations. It also shall enable the hawking fraternity to organize themselves in a proper manner with regards to airing of their grievances and accessing finances either from, Government Agencies, Non Governmental agencies or Micro Finance Institutions.

Code of Conduct of Hawkers

The commission shall come up with a strict code of conduct that shall govern the operations of the hawking business. This code shall clearly stipulate the basic minimum for one to be accepted as a hawker and the penalty for not adhering to the stipulated laws.

This code shall include among other things, identification badges, cleanliness, time for doing business, allowed and prohibited wares, noise factor, distance from the shops, pedestrian paths and the roads among others. This code shall guide the issuance and withdrawal of licenses to and from the hawkers respectively


The commission shall push for recognition of hawking as a legitimate business. This shall call for the provisions and guidelines for the provisions of licenses to the hawkers. The commission shall also clearly stipulate the procedure of the license acquisition, eligibility for licensing and conditions of licensing.

Licensing criteria such as eligibility (domicile), conditions (type of goods), and preferences (disabled, women above 50, men above 60), and recommendations from nearby residents (for 'temporary' areas) shall be included. Others licences like Festival and other daily licences options shall be also factored in.

Demarcation of the town and cities

The demarcation aspect shall clearly show the hawking zones, zones where hawking is strictly prohibited, zones temporary demarcated for hawking and the rest of the towns/cities.

The commission shall also come up with selection criteria for a non-hawking zone, regulations within a no-hawking zone, list of no-hawking zones. These demarcations aspects shall also come up with special mechanism for controlling other forms of hawking such as Roving Hawkers and Mobile Hawkers.

Long Term Planning

The commission shall also be mandated to come up with long terms schemes for hawkers operations. The commission shall also come up with measures of establishing other hawking areas like Hawking Bazaars, Daily and Weekly Markets or Plazas and integration of hawkers to main stream businesses

Hawking success is a win-win situation for all Kenyans.

NOPE believes that a just government that protects the interests of big business can and must also protect the businesses of the less fortunate members of the society. Hawkers’ quest for recognition is not a favour, nor is it a privilege: or if it then it must not be exaggerated. The government and big business must eat and let others eat too.

Kenya belongs to all Kenyans.

God Bless Kenya

Lawrence Kamau Macharia


New Order Party of Kenya

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The battle of opinions ad the proselytization of political tourism and perfidy

Politicians have once more proved that they have nothing to offer anybody except their own confusion. In the words of Antonin Artaud, “If confusion is the sign of times, I see at the root of this confusion, a rupture between things and words, and between things and signs that are their representation.”

What can one say when a government function to promote tourism in the North Rift ends up being a forum to proselytize political tourism and political perfidy? Three cabinet ministers led a brigade of Rift Valley legislators on a journey to promote a political circuit in the area.

The government in which they all serve was turned into a common enemy, nay, a curse, and speaker after speaker “justifiably” directed his arsenal against this “terrible curse.” In a desperate attempt to craft a regional alliance, they all dispensed with the paragon of civility. Lyrical waxing legislators went straight for the government`s jugular. They said it loud and clear that they themselves were the only “transformative leaders” that this country badly needs. However, their verbal snafus and preposterous sound bytes was the only visible sign of their ‘competence and efficiency.”

This is ad nauseum. Why? Because we would be naïve as a country were we to allow individuals with skeletons in their closets to use alliances to sanitize their dark past. We have not forgotten how the YK92 architects literally bled this country and left it for dead. A good number of those shouting from the roof tops of the need for transformational leadership are themselves devoid of any iota of political idealism of whatever persuasion. All they want is to get to the helm of leadership so that they can evenly cover their muck.

We cannot allow this country to sink to unbelievably low levels as a democracy courtesy of political leaders who incessantly reduce issues of national importance like the conservation of Mau, the constitution and retribution to macho sparring. Their failure to appreciate the fact that this nation can prosper faster through a genuine and deliberate effort rather than seeking to lead on the platform of tribal alliances bespeaks volumes of the content in them. It is abundantly clear that should leaders refuse to learn from the past and ignore lessons from the country`s mistakes then they shall simply be leading this country in to a more tumultuous future covered with the deceptive warmth of their ignorance.

I must confess that like many others who attended the Kapenguria rally, I found it preposterous that cabinet ministers should suddenly depart from the principle of collective cabinet responsibility in so startling a way. If indeed these ministers are dog tired of serving in this Government as they want the electorate to believe, then they must resign. Yes, let them resign or be sacked so that they can have a carte blanche to criticize the government from the comforts of the backbench. After all, there is no indispensable man. The Government will not collapse and go to pieces if anyone of the gentlemen who are seeking to be entrusted with its guidance should resign.

Tome Francis,

Bumula Constituency.

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Retired President Moi must not talk senseless and write himself out of reputation

I must admit that I have never seen the wisdom in the leading media houses affording retired president Moi acres of space to comment on socio-economic and political issues affecting this country. The media must realize that Moi will never ever tire of media attention. He will gloat.

Believe me you, he will blubber. The media knows this weakness. It also knows too well that it is a mistake to keep on haunting him out of his peaceful retirement. What is not clear though is why they (Media) have kept on accosting him in his retirement. Why increasingly let the man blubber himself out of any iota of reputation?

It is not had to tell. The media is affording him acres of coverage perhaps with a view to making him believe that at 85, his mind is far much better than anyone`s else. To the mainstream media, it is sweet music to hear Moi say that in his reasoned opinion, the excision of the Mau complex for tea farming is the only novel idea for conservation of our water towers! According to the senior Moi, the on going Mau conservation effort is bound to fail ostensibly because the Government is holding the wrong side of the stick.

You see after many years of his word being above reproach, he still thinks the government of the day is made up of idiots. This is because it is expressing reasoned opinions which are different from his. After all, he is an expert. Yes, an expert who has made all the mistakes that could possibly be made in his 24 year reign.

This is the repertoire of wisdom that characterized Moi`s 24 year executive fiat. This the wisdom that he employed in the creation of today`s Mau executive squatters: To establish lush tea estates in this water tower. Today, he must be wondering why the Government of the day is unwilling to “fuata nyayo.” Why is the government unwilling to drink from his pond of wisdom?

To keep the story short, the senior Moi is simply asking the Government to allow him continue his tea business in Mau. As far as he is concerned, it is the Government`s headache to deal with the illegal Mau evictees as long as his lush tea farm is untouched. Herein lies the trap; if Moi stays put, so will his coterie. The conservation exercise will definitely have flopped.

Obnoxious as this may sound, yet it is a testament to the fact that his opposition (as well as that of many others) to the Mau evictions was not about the welfare of the hapless and helpless illegal settlers but for his own selfish interests. The bitter truth is that the illegal Mau evictees are but mere pawns for the peers of the realm.

Moi and his coterie literally “imported” gullible Kenyans from Kericho, Bomet and Baringo and put them in the Mau to act as a shield against any future threats of evictions from successive regimes. That is why today, they troop back to their ethnic enclave and make the loudest noise from the roof tops to scare away the Government of the day from undoing their ecological plunder.

This is clever ploy about tea farms conserving the water tower is only aimed at spreading confusion so as to ensure that the Government of the day is kept off balance. They do not want to let the ruts get deeper than they already are.

My exhortation to the government is that it must never allow itself to be derailed from this noble conservation exercise. Instead it must do everything in its power to get rid of this wicked form of opportunism and propaganda in our midst.

As for retired president Moi, let him take counsel in the words of Oliver Cromwell, “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken” on this noble conservation exercise.

Tome Francis,

Bumula Constituency

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The Star: Moi is wrong on tea estates

RETIRED President Moi said yesterday that replacing forests with tea estates does not impact on climate change. Moi is just plain wrong.

You cannot compare a tea estate with a 100-foot high forest with at least 50 times as many leaves, all absorbing carbon and emitting oxygen during photosynthesis.

The argument that there are other tea estates is also fallacious. Most Kenyan farmland would have been forest or woodland 200 years ago but no-one says this should all be returned to nature. However, gazetted forests like the Mau should be sacrosanct.

Moi should remember that Mau is not the only forest being destroyed in the world. Many forests, including the Amazon and Congo, globally are rapidly vanishing.

The destruction of the Mau is part of a worldwide process that has to be reversed.

Moreover, the Mau is Kenya's largest water tower, providing half the country's hydropower and rivers to half the country.

Even if there was no drought, Kenya needs the Mau Forest to store rainfall and release it evenly during the dry season.

Moi has been in politics for 50 years and we should respect his experience. But he is wrong on the Mau. It needs to be fully restored.

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Wycliffe Muga: Coast too divided to be viable state

Last week I pointed out that any hope for what we now call Coast Province seceding to form a new mini-state or semi-autonomous region would be heavily compromised by the fact that the ethnic groups indigenous to the "Lower Coast" have an abiding fear of being dominated by those from the "Upper Coast".

And that the only condition on which the people from the Lower Coast would join such a project of secession would be if there was a guarantee that the new geopolitical entity would be led by someone from the Lower Coast.

But that is only the beginning of the problem: within the Lower Coast, there is an equally severe political division between the Muslims and the Christians.

This is essentially because there is an ethnic as well as a religious division here: What we refer to generally as "the Mijikenda communities" of the Lower Coast are chiefly composed of various sub-ethnic groups, including the almost entirely Muslim Digo and Duruma, of Kwale District, and the mostly Christian Giriama, Kambe, Jibana, Chonyi, Kauma, and Rabai of Kilifi , and Malindi Districts.

And there is just as much political mistrust between the "South of Mombasa" Mijikenda communities and the "North of Mombasa" Mijikendas. Complicating matters yet further is the bit¬ter political rivalry between the so-called "black Muslims" (i.e. the Swahili, Bajun, Barawa, etc) and the so-called "white Muslims" who are of relatively pure Arab blood, and can in many cases trace their roots to Oman.

The "white Muslims" are in general very much richer than the "black Muslims", and so have most of the economic power. But they are relatively few and so the "black Muslims" tend to be the decisive force in politics.

As such, what many up-country people see as "Coast Province" is not a homogenous and unified political entity, which could reasonably remain cohesive if it seceded.

In the totally improbable event of such a secession, what we now know as Coast Province would break up into three or four smaller units, none of which would be a viable semi-autonomous region, much less a mini-state.

This is why past out-standing Coastal leaders never considered secession as a strategy to empower their people. They have at-tempted instead to solve these problems within the existing political boundaries.

The last politician to be a serious contender for the designation of "Coast political kingpin" was Emmanuel Karissa Maitha, who died a year after attaining his dream of serving in the Cabinet.

His political strategy was not to run for President or to lead the people of the Coast away from the rest of the country. His goal was to unite the Coastal communities.

He liked to point out that Coast Province had roughly 20MPs much the same as what we generally term as "Luo Nyanza".

Also that the Coast had just a little more than one million voters which was the same as what "Luo Nyanza" had in 2003 when Maitha served in the Cabinet.

He would then ask why it was that "Luo Nyanza" had been a potent force in national politics from the moment that Kenya returned to multiparty politics in 1992, while the
Coast was still a political backwater, fought over by the contending presidential candidates.

The answer, of course, was that while Luo Nyanza was united, Coast Province was not. So where in one case you would be certain to have roughly 20 votes in Parliament working as one to advance the causes dear to the residents of Nyanza Province, and a million presidential votes to contend with at every General Election, the Coast did not present either the same threat or the same opportunity because it was so hopelessly divided.

His conclusion from all this was that Coastal leaders would only be taken seriously by the rest of the country when they learned to speak with one voice, and to support one regional leader who could bargain for them with the central government.

Of course he said this with the idea in mind that he alone was capable of holding the position of regional leader for the Coast. But the fact that this logic was intended to serve his personal ambitions does not mean that his calculations were false.

More importantly, he at least had the courage to look for real solutions to the problems unique to Coast Province, and to recognise that these problems could only be solved through unity. He did not succumb to the cheap politics of demanding secession.

Muga Comments on topical issues.

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Aghan Daniel: Kenya failing over land mines treaty

The second review conference on the Mine Ban Treaty opened in Cartagena, Colombia, last Sunday. Conspicuously missing is Kenya's political leadership. To confirm her apathy, Kenya instead chose to send a junior diplomat for the very high-level talks. This despite Kenya having hosted the first review conference in Nairobi five years ago.

The review conference, held every five years during the lifetime of a treaty, is being attended by hundreds of representatives of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, some states not party, international organisations, UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Handicap International and the International Coalition to Ban Landmines.

This Review Conference aims at assessing challenges in the universalisation and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, and taking stock of progress made since the First Review Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2004.

The 1997 treaty has been a landmark accomplishment. For the first time in hi story,'a group of governments and civil institutions joined together to ban a conventional weapon that had been used by virtually every fighting force in the world for decades.

Today, 156 nations are party to the treaty — including Af-ghanistan, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, all of Europe except Finland (Poland has signed but not yet ratified), all of sub-Saharan Africa except Somalia, almost half of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa (including Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait and Algeria), and the entire Western Hemisphere, except for the United States and Cuba.

Kenya's leaders absence at the talks means the country has missed an opportunity to show unflagging support for the campaign against the insiduous weapons.

At the end of the conference, Kenya will have missed an opportunity to reaffirm her political commitment to ban and prohibit the use of land mines. For starters, the Government of Kenya ratified the Mine Ban Treaty nearly nine years ago — January 23, 2001 — but has failed miserably to domesticate it hence making the treaty inoperational locally.

In the run up to the Cartagena Conference, a leader of my organisation, Handicap International, called both the Prime Minister's office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to confirm Kenya's inability to register for the conference despite earlier reports of Prime Minister Raila Odinga's attendance. As usual he was taken round and round with no concrete response.

Could it really be true that Kenya would tinker in making a political statement in one of the most inclusive and comprehensive treaties put together in the last 50 years? This is absurd.

And given the closed, hush-hush nature of Kenya's legislation process of the Mine Ban Treaty excluding almost everyone involved in the land mine issue, the real reasons remain unclear. Surely the administration has no intention of defending the homeland with antipersonnel land mines?

Kenya s position on land mines calls into question our country's non-expressed views on multilateralism, respect for international humanitarian law and disarmament. How can we, with total credibility, lead the region to display commitment to the ban on use, transfer and stockpiling of land mines and cluster munitions when we cannot even sit down with our neighbours to collectively give directions on what we are doing to rid the world of land mines?

This administration has seemed all too willing to put aside human rights in the service of political expediency. Its response to the entire process of domestication of the mine ban treaty is so far wishy-washy; its response to ratify the cluster munitions convention is shrouded in mystery and invisibility.

A shrinking number of countries — including China, Russia, India and Pakistan — have not joined the Mine Ban Treaty.

However, the majority of these countries are in fact complying with key treaty provisions such as no use, trade, or production of mines.

Myanmar and Russia are the only states using antipersonnel mines in recent years, along with non-state armed groups in about seven countries.

When will Kenya join the rest of the world in reaffirming her commitment to ban these insidious weapons of terror that have caused so much heartbreak and devastation?

Despite Kenya's lethargy, antipersonnel mines have been stigmatised in less than ten years, as an unacceptable worldwide, even for countries that remain outside of the treaty.

The author is the advocacy and campaigns officer, Handicap International, Kenya/Somalia programme, Nairobi.

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The Star Corridors of Power Political Gossip

An assistant minister from Western Kenya behaved badly in the corridors of Parliament on Wednesday when he attempted to hit on a female colleague from Central Province. The man loudly proclaimed that the woman "is mine". He was taken aback when the Central MP did not take kindly to his joshing and put him in his place by giving him a tongue lashing and warning him of dire consequences if he continued with the joke' which she did not welcome.

Some MPs have turned a wealthy Cabinet minister from Rift Valley into their ATM machine. The three MPs from Nairobi, Rift Valley and North Eastern are said to go to the minister's office every Friday where they collect Sh 50,000 for unspecified services.

A policeman at Central Police station is confessing to have killed 80 people since he joined a notorious hit squad whose existence police authorities, and even the Internal Security minister George Saitoti, insist does not exists. The policeman has on several occasions been overheard bragging in bars that he has met and even exceeded his target as a member of the squad which is responsible for felling some of the people police have on their Most Wanted List.

The trend of staying in a hotel to avoid pesky constituents who are always expecting a handout seems to be catching on. We are now told that an MP from Central has been booking himself into a suite of rooms at Oustpan Hotel in Nyeri whenever he travels to attend to issues in his constituency. After a flying visit to 'look at development' the man retreats to his suite, away from the reach of the hoi polloi and their incessant need for handouts!

A senior Cabinet minister met six councillors two weeks ago and pledged to give them Sh7 million to mobilise people to demonstrate against those trying to "distract" him in his 2012 plans. We are told the councillors have received the first instalment of Sh2.3 million and they are required to prove their worth before getting the rest of the money.

We are privy to the details of a meeting which resolved to "identify and ruthlessly" deal with people who testified against a senior Cabinet minister in connection with the post-election violence. We are informed that the high profile meeting held three weeks ago was funded by the senior Cabinet minister and attended by his close allies, who also asked the minister to extend to them "an opportunity to make money in government".

The maize shortage and the subsequent scam and the importation of fertiliser proved to be a cash cow for three companies whose proprietors and directors are now being asked to pay back the favour through contributions to a politician's mobilisation kitty.

We hear that writers at a vernacular radio station have ganged up against one of their bosses, who they believe has received preferential treatment from a Cabinet minister. The minister's handlers have now set aside close to Sh5 million to pacify the writers. The funds are reportedly coming from close to 15 parastatal heads, who are contribut¬ng Sh350,000 each for the 'project.'

We hear a prominent Cabinet minister from Rift Valley is contemplating starting a TV station and a vernacular radio station with its main office in Nairobi. We have been informed that the minister has twice been seen at Transnational Plaza along Mama Ngina Street surveying one of the floors being considered as a possible location for the new station.

The CEO of a local university has paid himself Sh2.3 million gratuity amid fears that he will soon be relieved of his responsibilities. We are told that the chief executive officer wants to get out as much of the money due to him as possible and before the university council meets to avoid any future litigation over the dues.

A media consultant was told to leave the studios of a local media house where he had accompanied a political personality who asked to give his opinion about the draft constitution. The media house chief was not amused by the consultant's audacity to presume he could appear in front of the cameras at the station. He asked the consultant to leave the premises and never to return to the station until he sorted out his financial obligations. The consultant had no choice but to leave the building and head to his car and speed off.

Some people who claim to be from a constituency in south Nyanza have been camping out at the gates of the National Assembly waiting to see their Member of Parliament. They said they had been on the streets for six days waiting to see the legislator who asked them to come to the city but can now not be reached on phone.

A prominent MP from Central Kenya is behaving badly. Corridors of Power has it that the legislator has been hiring and firing his assistants at will. The legislator is said to be giving no explanations when dismissing his hapless employees who leave without knowing the reasons of their dismissal. That the man has given his wife a free hand to harass, intimidate and even abuse the staff seconded to him has not helped matters.

A senior detective is among those being investigated in connection with the Sh24 million cash that went missing as G4S guards were loading ATMs at the Yaya Centre. The man reportedly pocketed a big chunk of the cash that was recovered when two suspects were stopped and held at a roadblock at Kikopey in Gilgil. The man reported that only a fraction of the cash was recovered and took the rest. Now a special team has been established to investigate the theft which has prompted a rethink in the manner in which cash is transported.

Residents of Mlolongo along Mombasa Road are angry with a certain Rift Valley MP who is said to have business interests in the area. The bone of contention is that the 'big man' has been making numerous visits to the area not only to supervise a building he and his cronies are putting up but also to "hunt" for beautiful girls and women. The MP is said to be using his bodyguards to threaten any of his 'prey' who reject or resist his advances.

Who is recruiting ghost workers at the office of the Prime Minister Raila Odinga? Corridors has gathered that a top civil servant in the human resource department has hired over 50 non-existent staff members, who are "paid for services they have not delivered". The matter has now caused concern and we hear key personalities involved want it addressed before Raila learns of it.

An MP from South Nyanza has fled his home. The legislator, who has said very little in Parliament since he was elected, has been sleeping in hotels to avoid meeting his constituents, who have been visiting his home to discuss matters affecting their constituency. The legislator is now running the constituency from hotels in Migori and Homa-Bay while constituents queue at his home.

Three MPs who had no money to take to the Mau funds drive borrowed Sh200,000 from a top Cabinet minister from North Rift promising to repay in a week's time. Before donating the funds, we are are told, the MPs made toxic statements. It's almost a week now and corridors will let you know whether they have paid the debt.

Corridors is aware of two lawyers who have Sh6 billion between them in their accounts. We hear the funds belong to a prominent Cabinet minister, who is accumulating the money as a war chest for elections. We are now told that the lawyers have invoked client confidentiality as the reason for failing to declare the source of funds and now sleuths are watching the movement of the funds with interest.

We told you yesterday of a Sh6 billion election warchest belonging to a Cabinet minister and held in trust by two lawyers. We have just learnt that the money is more than Sh6 billion. It is Sh 17 billion, generated mainly from corrupt dealings in the past few years and the owner has told those who care to listen that he is ready to do battle with anyone.

Former Baringo Central MP Gideon Moi wants the Waki Envelope made public. We are told by those in the know that the son of the former President is convinced that making the contents of the envelope public "will be enough to deal with some politicians who are making noise all over". He also wants Prime Minister Raila Odinga to let President Kibaki "carry his own cross" on the Mau issue otherwise "if the Kalenjins go, they go forever".

You must have heard by now talk of generational change. We are told the Uhuru Kenyatta-William Ruto axis is planning to make this its rallying point as it seeks to popularise the new alliance. We are told that people working for the two are designing a political strategy that will revolve around young people and why older politicians need to be kicked out.

A former senior official of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry is battling with alcoholism. We are told the situation has become so bad that the once high-profile businessman has now been taken into rehab at Nairobi Hospital and there is a plan to fly him out of the country.

Were some MPs duped into giving money for the Mau evictees? MPs Ayiecho Olweny and Shakeel Shabir have told Corridors that they appended their names and signatures pledging contributions in good faith. But now that the issue has turned out to be a political contest between PM Raila and Agriculture Minister William Ruto the two are sparing no effort to clear their names. We are told the to MPs have been spending a lot of time in their constituencies explaining why they sent contributions to the Mau harambee.

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Hassan: Politicising Mau evictions is fatal

The latest tirades pitting Prime Minister Raila Odinga and a cabal of MPs led by Agriculture minister William Ruto over the government's plan to restore the Mau Forest complex are now taking on dangerous proportions that could spark off another round of ethnic passions that could hurtle the country back into chaos.

Yet the Mau Forest restoration exercise is a government policy—period! It has nothing to do with the political ambitions of any one person in government. Hence any attempt by anyone to politicise the Mau restoration should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.

The Agriculture minister and his cabal of MPs have missed the point and should do some soul-searching over their stand on the Mau.

First and foremost, the controversy of the Mau restoration should not be seen as an issue pitting Prime Minister Raila Odinga against the people of Rift Valley and their leaders.

Anybody who knows the geography of Kenya can appreciate that the Rift Valley
Province is a vast province that stretches from Turkana in the north to Narok and Kajiado in the south.

Not all Rift Valley people have a problem with the government's efforts over Mau conservation.

For example, the Maasai people who were pushed to the extreme south of the Rift Valley would like the Mau to be restored at all costs because this vital water tower sustains their cattle.

A section of Kalenjin MPs led by Ruto have turned the Mau Forest restoration issue into an ethnically-motivated political arm-wrestling contest. All reasonable Kenyans understand that the restoration of the Mau has far-reaching legal, political, economic and humanitarian ramifications.

To restore the Mau, it is inevitable that some people who have settlements in this catchment area will have to be evicted. Of all people, Ruto must know this. The centre of gravity of this whole issue is the apparent failure by Ruto and his colleagues to understand what it means to be a member of government.

Government is the group of people responsible for controlling a country or state. This definition of government presupposes a sense of unity and teamwork in order to undertake this enormous but noble task.

'Parliament' however refers to a group of people who are elected to make the laws of a country and represent certain interests.

The decision to restore the Mau Forest Complex was mooted by government, of which Ruto is a member. Despite legitimate concerns from affected people, it was agreed that the environmental outweighs any other socio-political and economic interests — and Ruto was part of this consensus.

The matter was later brought to Parliament and MPs, including Ruto, agreed that the need to restore the water tower was an urgent matter of national importance. So it came as a, surprise when the Agriculture minister, despite attending a Cabinet retreat for bonding in Mombasa, tore into the government plan to restore the Mau.

The Mombasa communique which the Cabinet committed itself to was very clear:

"Cabinet ministers and assistant ministers will foster unity and cohesion within government by refraining from making adverse public utterances against fellow Cabinet ministers and assistant ministers and those which could cast a bad image of the government."

Hours after committing himself to this communique, Ruto breached it while meeting 'his people' who were honouring a voluntary government quit notice from the Mau.

The minister ranted over the 'eviction of his people' without giving them alternative settlement or compensation.

But while the issue of compensation or re-settlement of Mau evictees is entirely a matter of government policy, it surprised many when Ruto and his echo-chambers became unreasonably personal by directing tirades at Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

The Mau restoration policy involves at least half-a-dozen ministries of which the PM's office only performs coordinating functions. Why would the minister single out the Premier for his criticisms?

It is unfortunate that our leaders have not learnt the lessons of early 2008 and are hell-bent on pushing the country to the brink of the precipice. But this time round they must be contained before they succeed in their dangerous mission.

The writer is a Chevening Fellow, CEO of Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance and deputy secretary general of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims.

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Joseph Kamotho: Glaring loopholes in the latest draft

The new draft constitution leaves a lot to be desired and requires more than a radical surgery before the referendum. The document by the Committee of Experts is a cut, copy and paste with few amendments from the cur-rent constitution.

At least two drafts — one on a purely parliamentary and another on presidential system of government — were expected at this stage or at the referendum. The coalition government, a mixed grill, is already controversial and has led to political bickering.

The history of constitution making in the country dating back to the colonial times has not been a bed of roses. The Bomas drafts and others were trashed by feuding political class.

The nation's founders could not agree on a constitution at Lancaster House until the British Government intervened resulting in a document that has been mutilated beyond recognition.

But even then, the independence constitution was clear on the distinct roles of the head of state and government in a new Kenya. The Governor General was the head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Jomo Kenyatta was the PM and head of government because his party, Kanu, won the majority of parliamentary seats in the first General Election.

In the ensuing period, political parties were hoodwinked into dissolving ostensibly to forge national unity. Consequently, Kenya became a defacto one-party state. That is when the rain started beating us.

The proposed formula of picking a President who will also be the Command-er-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in a parliamentary system like India is not acceptable.

The next President who will not be an MP is expected to go round the country to look for votes and eventually cede authority to the PM. On which platform would such a person be elected if not on any of the existing parties and what happens if the President and the PM come from different parties?

In the new draft, the President shall have powers to dismiss the PM. You cannot rule out a collusion between the President and MPs to remove the PM in such an arrangement.

To avoid conflict between the President and the PM, a group of eminent persons should be proposed and subjected to an electoral college to elect one as President from the list.

The President should be, above all, a symbol of national unity and serve for one term of seven years that does not coincide with a General Election.

In a purely presidential system, the President is elected by the people and runs the country with the two chambers of deputies. The appointments made are vetted by MPs.

Unlike in the parliamentary system, MPs in a presidential system concentrate on committees and subcommittees and legislative agenda as well representing the constituents.

In the current system, the constituents are under-represented and legislative work suffers because the ministers who are also MPs are under obligation to support the Executive at all times under collective responsibility.

The new draft proposes that out of the 20 ministers to be appointed by the PM, 50 per cent should be drawn from outside the Legislature. This won't add value to the functions of the Executive.

Going by history, we are likely to see and hear more of bickering in the Cabinet than ever before.

The committee identified areas where reforms should be undertaken but surprisingly avoided the Legislature that needs radical surgery. For instance, there is a Parliamentary Service Commission comprising MPs, the Speaker and the Clerk as members.

One cannot expect fairness from a commission dominated by elected persons especially when it comes to recruitment of staff.

For purposes of transparency and accountability, half of the commission's membership should come from outside the Legislature to forestall abuses and excesses by lawmakers.

The experts should look at the draft afresh and ensure that the document is not rejected again — its rejection would mean a rehearsal for worse things to come.

The writer is a former Cabinet minister and secretary general of Kanu and LDP.

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Mwalimu Mati: Imperial Presidency to Blame over Mau

Kenya has had imperial presidents since Independence. All started out as men of little means and ended up as tycoons.

Everyone knows the history. Jomo Kenyatta's home in Gatundu was a community project, because he had lost years to jailing and detention, and yet he died as the country's single largest landowner.

All Parliaments during his presidency remained silent, and the few Kenyans who challenged his acquisitive style found themselves in detention or worse. The genesis of the landgrabbing mania of Kenya's political elite was epitomised by the Kenyatta era.

His successor Moi continued this trend and the land corruption of both eras has been extensively documented by the Ndungu Commission.

The Mau Forest story is there. So it's not at all ironical that among the potential evictees from the Mau complex is a large scale tea farmer from Kiptagich who once was the President of Kenya and the leader of Uhuru Kenyatta's political party Kanu.

Kiptagich Tea Estates Limited owned by Moi is prominent in the Ndungu Report.

However it appears that Moi's tenure at Kiptagich may be ending soon.

The Standard on Sunday newspaper reported that Prime Minister Raila Odinga's office has said: "On Monday we are sending emissaries to Moi to surrender the Kiptagich Tea Plantation or we take it by force."

That's fighting talk but what remains true is that Moi has no right to profit another day more from a tea factory that he illegally set up by abusing his presidential prerogatives.

Kenyans should not be confused by the hypocrtical and emotional calls by Uhuru, Zakayo Cheruiyot, Franklin Bett, William Ruto, Mutula Kilonzo and Kiema Kilonzo for poor people's taxes to be used to compensate such large-scale land grabbers.

Elements of the neo-Kanu leadership are desperate to avoid having to face the poor people who they deceived into believing that they were being given the land with legitimate titles.

Paul Ndungu who chaired the Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Land Grabbing this year publicly stated that the Kiptagich Tea Estates farm is on illegally grabbed forest land, and that his Commission recommended in 2004 that the government repossess it.

It started in the mid 1980s as a well-meaning campaign to settle the landless. The government decided that the Ogiek community should not be homeless anymore.

They were to be resettled permanently. So government ordered an excision of part of Mau Forest Complex for r settlement.

Ndung'u told the Nation in July that corruption crept in. "Instead of carving out say, 2,000 hectares, those handling the exercise would excise 10,000 hectares and allocate the extra hectares to themselves and other influential individuals in government," he said.

Ndung'u gave the example of Kiptagich settlement, to which some residents from Baringo were moved when their land was taken for construction of a college. Kiptagich, in the southern part of , Mau Forest, started as a very small settlement scheme. And since the area was virgin land and close to Kericho, the new arrivals ventured into growing tea.

According to Ndung'u, Moi, while touring the area, realised tea was doing very well and conceived plans to expand its production. He got himself a huge chunk of land. "The tea growers used to deliver it to the factories near Kericho which was not only far but through very bad road network. Eventually, Moi decided to build a private factory there for them," said Ndung'u.

The report's verdict was that former President's children, who were illegally allocated land, including former Baringo Central MP Gideon Moi and his wife Zahra, Raymond Kiprotich, Doris Choge and Jonathan Toroitich, should return it.

And an audit report of the Mau forests appointed by PM Raila Odinga, which has already been approved by the Cabinet, shows that the Ogiek people were never the beneficiaries of the Mau allocations.

Later in 1997, the government decided to establish in Nakuru another settlement scheme - Olenguruone and extension of Kiptagich for which 1,812 ha were set aside. The intention was to establish an outgrower tea zone for Kiptagich Tea Estates. All these excisions had not been gazetted.

Ndung'u says that because all the settlements were created in the forest before it was de-gazetted to farmland, everything was done illegally.

"It does not matter who gave the directive, including the President... the titles should be revoked, everybody should be evicted and the forest to be replanted," he said.

The writer is the CEO, Mars Group.

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