Archive for March 2009

Koigi Wamwere: Uhuru not qualified for top seat

Mr Uhuru Kenyatta has also declared his intention to vie for presidency in 2012. As expected, his loyalists are beating drums for him.

But what qualifies him to lead Kenya?

One needs to do something patriotic to deserve leadership. What has Uhuru done for Kenya to deserve leading it?

When Moi tyrannised Kenya, Uhuru, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, William Ruto and others like them did nothing. Does this qualify Uhuru or Kalonzo for that matter, to lead Kenya?

Without a history of patriotic service, what special quality does Uhuru have? As far as I know, Uhuru has no intellectual superiority over Kenyans.

So, does Uhuru have a special vision that can liberate us from poverty? With his family’s empire built upon land it acquired when Kenyatta, his father, was president, Uhuru has never said he will return some of that land to the landless to blunt the pangs of their hunger.

Instead of living up to his name Uhuru, whenever he talks, I hear him pontificating against freedom. On matters of humanity, Uhuru’s heart seems as hard as a stone. Still, his supporters have reasons for wanting him to lead Kenya.

To begin with, he is a special Kikuyu whom all Kikuyus will support once he offers himself for election. And elections being a game of numbers, Uhuru thinks, support by a block vote of the populous Kikuyu qualifies him not just to vie, but to be the president of Kenya.

The other day on TV, I saw a lady called Wambui anoint Uhuru to succeed President Mwai Kibaki. She alluded to him as her husband – muthuri wakwa.

And of course, Kibaki’s support is assumed to be that of all Kikuyus, despite his failure to protect many of its members from post-election violence, and whose thousands of youth continue to suffer extrajudicial executions under his watch.

WITH MORE MONEY THAN MOST, Uhuru is a front runner for presidency in our politics. Sired by Mzee Kenyatta, many also believe Uhuru was born a leader. But fire does not always beget fire. It also begets ashes. Though Solomon was a great leader, his son Rehoboam became an unspeakable tyrant.

Other Kenyan women are also giving birth to sons. I don’t see Kibaki-Uhuru project selling more successfully than the Moi-Uhuru project.

Uhuru also has great hope for presidency because of his unfolding alliance with Mr Ruto, who may deliver a block Rift Valley vote to him.

For Uhuru and his community in Rift Valley however, doing an alliance with a majimboist like Ruto is like returning their finger where it has been bitten more than once.

Against their best interests, the aristocracy of Central Province might also anoint Uhuru as their ethnic chief. For this very reason, the rest of the country will most likely reject him as president of Kenya.

Only a Kikuyu who will put Kenya before Central Province, nation before tribe, is likely to lead Kenya again.

In seeking the presidency, Uhuru might sell himself as a protector of properties of ethnic elites who own, but not as distributor of national wealth to the poor who own nothing.

Uhuru believes he qualifies for presidency because he is young like Obama, and will mesmerise the youth who will embrace anything that is young and glitters.

Uhuru’s father led Kenya because he fought and suffered for her. Uhuru must do likewise.

Mr Wamwere is chair of Chama cha Mwananchi.

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Resolutions of the Second Special Delegates Conference of the GEMA Cultural Association (GCA)

Held in Nanyuki on 27th February, 2009

The Special Delegates Conference of the GEMA Cultural Association:

Aware: of our core mandate that embraces the following:
  • Working towards a united Kenya by promoting understanding and co-operation among the Kenyan people
  • Co-operating with other like minded organizations from all parts of the country towards national cohesion
  • Preserving unity, welfare and togetherness among it's membership
  • Preserving, promoting, conserving and refining African cultural heritage; and,
  • Promoting sustainable economic advancement of it's membership
This conference now resolves as follows
  1. The Conference has approved and adopted the constitution of the GEMA Cultural Association at the national and branch levels
  2. The Conference has approved and adopted the creation of 80 branches as currently constituted
  3. The Conference has approved and adopted the officials elected in the 80 branches during elections held on the 12 th February, 2009
  4. The Conference has approved and adopted members nominated and elected to serve in the GCA Supreme Council
  5. The Conference has approved and adopted members nominated and elected to serve in the GCA Executive Council
  6. The Special Delegates Conference has expressed sincere gratitude to all the founder members who have worked tirelessly to create GCA structures since the first informal conference held in Meru on 31st May, 2009. In particular, the conference recognized the efforts of the interim supreme council, interim executive council, the GCA Executive Director, Secretariat Staff, Members of the Election Board, the returning officers and the delegates for the hard work that has seen all GCA structures develop to full maturity.
  7. The Special Delegates Conference noted that GCA is now duly registered according to the laws of the Republic of Kenya and therefore all members are free to undertake GCA activities without fear or prejudice.
  8. The conference has condemned in the strongest terms of possible the extra-judicial killings of the youth. The conference has noted from the list of the victims that majority of the targeted youth are from GEMA communities. In this regard, GCA categorically demands that all those implicated as being directly or indirectly responsible for these killings be interdicted immediately pending investigations.GCA has further mandated the Supreme Council to seek audience with His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki in the next 14 days to further re-emphasize the urgency of this matter.
  9. The Special Delegates Conference has noted with deep concern that since the appeal that GCA made during the Meru conference, there has been very slow speed of resettling the Internally Displaced Persons to their original homes. GCA is further concerned that while the IDP's are languishing in the camps, they may not be in a position to prepare their farms for the forthcoming rainy season. This may lead to the country continuing to suffer food shortages, at a time when hunger is looming everywhere. GCA wishes to state that it is ready to work with government to ensure that this issue is handled conclusively and the IDP's are restored in their status as of December 27 th 2007.
  10. The Special Delegates Conference has expressed concern about the problem of youth unemployment in our region. The conference resolved to mobilize the community to work more towards resolving the youth unemployment problem. Attendant to this, the conference has resolved to work towards eradication of crime, drug abuse, alcoholism and erosion of values among our youth.
  11. The conference has expressed commitment to continue working towards the unity of the GEMA community in particular and the Kenyan nation in general. The conference has emphasized on the need to build bridges with other communities and initiate cultural exchanges in order to foster national understanding.
  12. The conference noted that the region has untapped economic potential which could be effectively utilized to improve the livelihoods of our people. The conference has resolved that GCA will work with the government in order to initiate viable economic projects that will lead to poverty eradication among our people.
  13. The conference noted the critical need for cultural renaissance among the GEMA communities and Kenyans in general. The conference resolved that unless there are efforts to re-build our cultural and moral fabric, it will not be possible for the community and the nation to re-discover the glory of the past. In this regard, the conference has resolved to initiate, various cultural programmes.
  14. The conference noted the need to have regional meetings to promote the Organization and help recruit more members.
  15. The conference noted the need to ensure that allocation of employment is not discriminating GEMA in Rift Valley on account of being Kikuyu Embu or Meru.
  16. The conference noted that GEMA has no stand regarding the future political leadership. We have a President now whom we love and support. When the time comes we shall decide which Kenyan to support to be in government. Those who have declared their intentions have the democratic right to do so.
Signed in Nanyuki,
this 27th day of February, 2009.

Bishop Dr Lawi Imathiu

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Only a Majimbo system will save Kenya from disintegrating

The Kibaki and Raila government will not deliver on reforms, development agenda, poverty eradication and other agenda that can improve the well-being of Kenyans. Kenyans are gradually waking up to this reality.

Worse still, the Kibaki-Raila coalition will not break until 2011 in readiness for the explosive 2012 elections. For they are held together with the glue of hefty allowances and salaries, looting the public coffers and corruption scandals to enrich themselves and their immediate families. The 2012 elections has already been predicted to be a christmas party in respect to post election violence and rigging for no reforms will be implemented by then.

To aggravate the situation, Kenyans and their leaders are tribal before measure. What Koigi wa Wamwere referes to as negative ethncity. It is an irrepairable condition that has been perfected by Kibaki-Raila coalition to divide and rule Kenya. The tribal diversity no longer holds Kenya together, it degenerates it at a fast pace.

The only solution to this grave condition that Kenya finds itself in is a Majimbo system of governance. It is high time that the Mount Kenya region sobered up on this fact.

The Majimbo system will give Kenya a chance to officially accept tribal politics and bring sanity to the political system in that respect. It will sanitize the politics of Kenya and bring order to the country. It will also bring equity and quench the thirst for power and influence toKenya's myriad of various grand standing political chiefs as well confine them to teh regions of acceptance.

One option is to have the Majimbo system based on the current provincial boundaries. If that does not augur well to the tribes, Kenya can have the following regions:
  1. Mount Kenya Jimbo
  2. Pwani Jimbo
  3. North Eastern Jimbo
  4. Nairobi Jimbo
  5. North-Rift Jimbo
  6. Central-Rift Jimbo
  7. South-Rift Jimbo
  8. Luo-Nyanza Jimbo
  9. Kisiiland Jimbo
  10. Bukusuland Jimbo
  11. Western Jimbo
Each state should have its own taxation system, parliament and other governance structures within the financing ability of the jimbo.

Each state should contribute a certain percentage of its income to the central state mainly to run a lean central government, parliament and foreign affairs department. Resources should be from the Majimbo to the central government and not from the central government to Majimbo.

The head of the central government will be a two-year rotational among the jimbo presidents and the central parliament will consist of three nominees from each jimbo.

I believe this will save Kenya from the circus of tribal politics and from disintegration; or at least Kenya will disintegrate in style.


Kenya Politics: Politics of Diversionary Tactics

Kenyans got into 2009 an angry lot. Most of the anger was directed to the grand coalition of Kibaki and Raila for failing to rise to the occasion.

Jamhuri day celebrations of December 12, 2008 were supposed to capture the mood of Kenyans against the grand coalition were it not for the media hijacking of the Kenyan people’s cause with the replacement of the original cause for that of media bill revolt.

The people-driven agenda that the Kenyan people wanted their leaders to take note of comprised of unbearable standards of living, escalating food prices, high transport and fuel costs, general hard economic conditions, poor leadership, corruption in government and delayed reform agenda.

During the celebrations, Kibaki and Raila tried unsuccessfully to delay the people-driven agenda by trumpeting the issue of the new constitution that they were to give Kenyans in the new year. Kenyans no longer care much about a new constitution as they care about the pressing needs of survival and probably a brand new leadership devoid of Kibaki and Raila. The Christmas and New Year festivities slowed the people-driven agenda which was gaining momentum at a rapid pace to the relief of Kibaki and Raila.

The people-driven agenda was aptly picked up in 2009 with more corruption scandals in government especially on maize the staple food of many Kenyans, famine and extra-judicial killings by police and was putting Kibaki and Raila on the spot for failed leadership until now. It was becoming embarrassing for the two principals as witnessed when religious leaders blasted the two in a public fund-raising function.

However, in a span of one week, Kenyans attention has been diverted from their people-driven agenda to a Raila Kibaki agenda.
  • Kibaki did his part by focusing Kenyans on who is and who is not his wife on national television. He did injustice to the KCSE results announcement which needed more attention then. The nation needed to debate on failing educational standards but were denied this for the president was in a foul mood.
  • Raila and his ODM brigade did their part by calling on Koffi Annan to help them renegotiate of the National Accord for they need more power and political positions for those who are their wives, sons, daughters, immediate relatives and those who are not their wives. This call came three days after ODM pentagon member, William Ruto had told off Koffi Annan for frequent meddling with Kenya Affairs
  • The rest of the PNU brigade, in characteristic fashion, told their ODM counterparts to take a walk if they are discontent and the to and fro accusations kept Kenyans busy off their problems. Kalonzo and his party ODM-K, also tried to contribute to the diversion of Kenyan minds but their voice was drowned
The extra-judicial killings debate, Mungiki demonstration and the murder of Oscar foundation officials just made sure that Raila and Kibaki can peacefully rest from the wrath of Kenyans; for Kenyans have a short memory for now.

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It is in Alfred Mutua’s Personal Interest to Resign

One is bound to sympathise with Dr.Alfred Mutua, the Kenya Government Spokesman. Kenya politics is getting murky and he is being drawn in the middle of antagonistic political forces. This is the best time for him to walk away, albeit in the proverbial coiled tail. Yes, he will not quit at the prime of his career as a government spokesman, but he is way past the peak and is on a free fall, very fast. It will not get any better for him and he would better count his losses and walk with the bird at hand rather than wait for the two in the bush.

He must be under pressure by his masters, whoever they are, to hold ground and not twitch. However, this is not the time to play hero and heroine and with the “use and dump” politics of Kenya, it is no good for him. The events of the past week leave him very exposed career-wise. Just hours after denouncing Oscar foundation as an NGO that funds and organizes Mungiki activities, Kamau King’ara the owner of the NGO and an official Paul Oulo are murdered along state house road. Alfred Mutua may have nothing to do with the murders but the murders are easily linked to his statements.

Raila Odinga, the ODM leader, in his characteristic “spoiling-for-a-fight” opportunistic attitude sees Mutua as another “political kill” and goes for Mutua’s jugular.

Mutua may last, but will he have peace as this grand collision confusion intensifies.

Alfred has a bird in hand that he can walk away with while it lasts. Maybe courtesy of his free time, networks, connections and resources as a government spokesman, he has actualised his childhood dreams in his Golden Dreams movie production company. He has revolutionised Kenya’s budding movie industry as a rewarding career through his popular action and comedy TV series which includes Cobra Squad, Beba Beba and Munene Nyagah’s Prime Time Show. Many folks do not have the golden opportunity to live their golden childhood dreams; Alfred Mutua has and is respected on that front unlike his government spokesman career.

Alfred Mutua’s resignation at this time may be interpreted as a sign of weakness or guilt which may not necessary be the case. Thus, Alfred may choose to stay on to save face and brave the daily embarrassment of his position. But he should remember he is wounded and would better walk away and live to fight another day.

Will he listen?


What is Wrong With Raila Odinga?

Actually, nothing is wrong with the prime minister, he is just staying true to himself, his colours and character.

One year on, he has realised that he was screwed up on the national accord. Some of us knew and said so once he signed the national accord, but peace and the trappings of power were paramount then. The illusion of executive prime minister was so strong that noone thought he would spend his first year of premiership fighting the likes of Kalonzo Musyoka, Francis Muthaura and Alfred Mutua for totalitarian political control.

Raila Odinga is itching for a fight in the name of renegotiating the national accord. His insatiable thirst for power, which we all possess, cannot be restrained any longer. We sympathise with him and Kenyans since we know there is a probability he would have faired better in building his family empire and that of many a Kenyan families were he not robbed of the presidency by Kibaki.

There is almost a guarantee that Kenya under Kibaki is going in a certain direction and very fast at that. Interestingly, that direction is not in the highway of vision 2030, poverty eradication, millennium goals and such non-Makerere fancy economic terms. It possibly could be in the direction of 1970s Kenyan heydays or prior (the pre-1963’s) when Kibaki was a successful Minister and a promising Kenyan “Professor of Economis” as Daniel Arap Moi was Kenya’s “Professor of Politics”. What is wrong with taking 2009 Kenya to the 1970s, everything was bliss and beautiful then?

Back to Raila, nothing in the power structure will change and he just has to work with the little he has. He has to be content with no conjugal rights and sleeping on the sofa, for he is neither ready for separation nor a divorce and give up the sweet luxuries and convenience of staying in his current mansion and expansive loot. His other partner is cold and psychologically abusive and in his true self may not care about the rumblings in the house or the coming tsunami. He has nothing to lose.

In Raila’s country, Kenyans are supposed to attend their tribes after their names after which your political standing is assumedly made and which table you sit for dinner is assigned. In his latest theatrics even the military and police should be bound by their tribal affiliations, just in case there is a coup, the numerics are appropriately tilted.

Raila has mastered the obsession with foreigners. From John Kuffuor, Koffi Annan, Harambee stars coach, the Kenya we want key speakers, hiring a foreign ECK commissioner proposal to calling the FBI to investigate Oscar Foundation officials murder, the trend is worrying. While foreigners could be for the betterment of our Kenyan situation, it is worrying that Raila is not keen to explore Kenya talents and solutions and does not seem have faith in Kenyans building a better Kenya for themselves.

If Kenya continued being a colonial state instead of gaining independence in 1963, we would probably be a near-first world country in the league of South Africa and the 1990 Zimbabwe. But there was a reason why the unsophisticated Kenyan natives then traded all that propensity to prosper to having their own sons and daughters run the affairs of their nation and handle their crisis. Jomo Kenyatta may have propagated neo-colonialism for lack of faith in Kenyans and for personal gain, it will be sad and diabolical if Raila perfected it.

Raila was a darling of Kenyans for being anti-establishment and for propelling the course of the oppressed against the land grabbers, public coffers looters and corrupt regime. He is however loosing the trust of Kenyans and his support is waning for Kenyans are slowly not differentiating him from Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki.

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Kenya Culture: The Mungiki Nation

Kenyans are at a crossroad. They are caught between the rock and a hard place, between the pot and the fire.

On one side there is the dreaded and murderous Mungiki. Just a mention of the word Mungiki and Kenyans scatter and lock themselves in their homes. Mungiki’s signature beheading, skinning of their victims and public display of their bloody trophies sends a cold shiver down the spines of many a Kenyans especially in Nairobi and Central Kenya.

Many businesses in these areas pay a daily non-voluntary tax to this gang in addition to the other taxies levied by the government. Worst hit is the matatu industry, construction sector, juakali sector, small shops and kiosks and other small scale businesses.

On the other hand is the Kenya Police. Other than the concern that the police have been blamed for extra-judicial killings of suspects, many Kenyans dread an encounter with the Kenya Police even when they are wronged and need police intervention. Kenyans are used to bribing their way to get “just treatment” in the hands of the police. Police harassment and brutality has been there for decades.

Thanks to the Mungiki, police at will execute suspects and brand them Mungiki. Thriving on the Mungiki mystery, the police do not need to prove to anyone that an executed Kenyan is a Mungiki, it is a closed case. If this trend continues by 2012, a huge percentage of central Kenya youth would have disappeared mysteriously under trigger happy policemen.

It is the high time the political establishment instituted the much needed police reforms to live up to their motto of “Utumishi Kwa Wote” (Service to all). Raila needs to stop being a crybaby and take the police reform bull by its horns. Kibaki needs to get into a foul mood and address the pertinent questions of police harassment, brutality and extra-judicial killings that are making the Kenyan wives and mothers mad.

As for Mungiki, for a start, the central Kenya politicians need to stop hiring this criminal gang during their political campaigns. Kenya politicians need to seriously address the problem of unemployment and give hope to the Kenyan youths. The Kenya police should arrest these criminals and take them to court with convincing prosecution evidence and leave it up to the judiciary to take the blame if these criminals find their way back to the Kenyan streets unreformed.

For now, as things remain the same, Kenyan should brace themselves for a Mungiki nation.

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Republic of Kenya, Ministry of Energy Press Statement: Iran Oil Deal Not Rejected

Our attention has been drawn to the headline story titled "Row as Sh106 billion Iran oil deal rejected" that appeared in the Daily Nation on Tuesday 3rd March 2009.

The story makes very serious allegations based on hearsay and bordering on malice. In line with our core values to uphold transparency and accountability, the Ministry of Energy wishes to lay the facts clear as follows.

It is NOT true that the Ministry of Energy had rejected the offer to purchase crude oil from Iran.

Indeed during the state visit by the Iranian President, H.E. Mahmound Ahmadinejad last month (February 2009) the Minister for Energy, Hon. Kiraitu Murungi and his Iranian counterpart signed a memorandum of Understanding for supply of four (4) million metric tons of Iranian crude oil per annum.

The signing was preceded by an analysis of economic comparison between Iran light and Murban as well as Iran Heavy and Arab Heavy.

The comparison is as follows

Crude type: Iranian light
Cost of crude oil and processing fess -100 tons in Ksh: 2,831,071
Value of products in Ksh: 3,245,948
Delta in Ksh: 414,246

Crude type: Murban
Cost of crude oil and processing fess -100 tons in Ksh: 3,086,635
Value of products in Ksh: 3,432,675
Delta in Ksh: 346,040

Crude type: Iranian Heavy
Cost of crude oil and processing fess -100 tons in Ksh: 20,702,223
Value of products in Ksh:3,030,143
Delta in Ksh: 327,919

Crude type: Arab medium
Cost of crude oil and processing fess -100 tons in Ksh: 2,670,187
Value of products in Ksh: 3,047,809
Delta in Ksh: 377,622

It is clear from the above analysis, the gross margin for Iranian light at Ksh414,246 is better than for Murban crude oil at Ksh346,040 by Ksh68,206 for every 100 tons of Iranian light crude oil processed. This translates to Ksh682,060,000 for one million tons.

Kenya made a request to Iran to be allowed to import crude oil through the Kenya National Oil Corporation and indeed other Kenyan companies at concessionary terms amounting to 10% below the market price. This request was not granted by Iran on the grounds that their law and Government have no provision for supply of crude oil below the official selling price and hence Kenya has to import Iranian crude at the prevailing official selling price.

Iran however, agreed to consider granting Kenya a 90-day credit period for payment of crude oil lifted. Kenya had requested for 120 days credit terms. Kenya will pursue further discussions on the Iranian oil import.

Iranian crude oil is not waxy as alleged in the story and had in the past been processed by the Kenya Petroleum Refineries (KPRL) in large quantities.

Energy matters are spearheaded and supported by the Ministry of Energy and it can therefore not be said that Ministry officials were opposed to the Iran oil deal.

It appears that the story was published with ulterior motives where facts were misrepresented to give slanted information.

We would like to state that as a Ministry we are open to consultation and dialogue but we also wish to state categorically that we will not run the affairs of the Ministry through the press.

Ministry of Energy
4th March 2008

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Ministry of Medical Services: Press Statement on the Status of Medical Supplies in Public Health Facility

The attention of the Ministry of Medical Services has been drawn to the recent media reports on shortage of medical supplies in public health facilities and wish to clarify as follows:-

The Ministry has a social responsibility of providing quality, accessible and affordable health care services to Kenyans through established health systems.

Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) under the Ministry of Medical Services has been mandated to procure and supply quality medical supplies to public health facilities in line with Legal Notice No. 17 of 2000. It is also required to replenish stocks of medical supplies in all public health facilities in the country.

The Ministry's responsibility is to supervise KEMSA to ensure it provides effective and efficient procurement and distribution of medical supplies and overall discharge of its mandate. In this regard, in July 2008, the Ministry constituted a National Task Force to look into the managerial and operational problems and propose ways to address them.

The Ministry is currently implementing the Task Force recommendations. A case in point is that the Ministry has handed over procurement of medical supplies and equipment to KEMSA, restructuring of management, streamlining supply chains and distribution of medical supplies directly to over 4,000 health facilities in the country on regular and scheduled basis.

That notwithstanding, the Ministry is in the process of constituting a new board to oversee operations at KEMSA and bring about sanity in the supply chain of medical supplies in the country.

Current situation

i. The Ministry has adequate stocks of essential drugs (basic drugs for common ailments) which will last up to December 2009. There are no stock-outs of essential drugs experienced in the country as reported by the media.That notwithstanding, strategies have been put in place to ensure adequate supplies during the short and long term period.

ii. The Ministry has enough drug-kits (basic package of drugs for each level) to last up to September 2009. Procurement of additional drug-kits has been initiated by KEMSA and deliveries will be done four months prior to stock-outs.

iii. We have enough stock of Anti-retroviral drugs for HIV and AIDS patients to last for seven months. In addition, KEMSA has procured additional ARVs, whose first batch is expected by this month while the next batch will be delivered by May 2009.

iv. The Ministry has over seven months stock of anti-malarial drugs. In addition, there is over one year stock of anti-tuberculosis drugs.

v. We have enough stock of contraceptives to last up to December 2009. Besides that, procurement of pills, implants, intra uterine devices, injectable contraceptives and emergence contraceptives has been finalized and deliveries are expected by May 2009.

vi. Currently we have adequate stock of vaccines and plans have been put in place to ensure uninterrupted supply up to December 2009.

vii. There is adequate stock of non-pharmaceuticals to last until July 2009. Hospitals have been instructed to supplement any additional needs using cost sharing funds whenever need arises.

viii. Finally, the Ministry has already cleared Kshl .2 billion of the Kshl .6 billion owed to KEMSA suppliers carried over from last financial year. We shall clear the remaining Ksh400 million in the next 2 weeks

In order to ensure adequate stock of supplies in the country, the Ministry will continue to build capacity of KEMSA to respond to emergencies and ensure timely procurement. Capacity will also be built at the hospitals to facilitate a smooth distribution network.

The KEMSA team is doing everything possible to fast track deliveries to hospitals and liaising with development partners to ensure timely supply of drugs to health facilities.

As a Ministry we wish to reassure the public that we are committed to ensuring availability of medical supplies in all public health facilities countrywide. We are also working with other government departments to improve the staff working environment and ensure equitable distribution of skilled health professionals in the country.

Prof, James L. Ole Kiyiapi,
4th March 2009


The Battle for Kibaki's Wealth and Othaya Parliamentary Seat

" The President might not take him to court, me and my family will take him to court"

Mwai Kibaki gave a rare press conference to remind Kenyans that he has "only one dear wife". He denied that he had a second wife, what Kenyans interpreted as a denying Mary Wambui, a renowned Othaya politician who is also referred as "Wambui wa Kanu", "The Narch Activist" and "Wambui wa Mwai".

It is not hard to decipher Wambui's role in the Kibaki administration and the president's life. It is not a secret that Mary Wambui is no ordinary woman or politician. She enjoys state security at her homes in Nairobi and Nyeri and represents Kibaki in Othaya functions. A few links will do.
The genesis of the latest first family soap opera is former Kabete MP Paul Muite's reference to Kibaki's "two wives" during the commemoration of the raid on Standard and KTN.

While Kenyans should give Kibaki the right to decide who he is married to, they cannot wait to for the time the first family takes Muite to court; if only for comical relief. Muite has since reiterated that he stands by his comments on Kibaki's two wives.

So why the fury and wrath? The most common explanation is that the president does not want to be accused of bigamy, having had a church wedding with Lucy. Another is the protective natural instinct of a wife and mother out to protect the sanctity of her marriage and her children's inheritance from the other woman and gold diggers. Yet another is the weight of the impact of the soon-to-come debate in parliament of the dam ning report on the Armenian brothers who were allegedly linked to Mary Wambui and her daughter Winnie Wangui who even had a relationship with one of the brothers.

One interesting angle to the story is that the fight for Kibaki's wealth is on. Wealth and inheritance are grave issues and for a wealthy aged man like Kibaki, interested parties try to position themselves early enough. A public declaration of who the probable heirs will be goes along way in securing rights to inheritance from would-be gold diggers. It is not clear to the general public what the Lucy family of four does for a living other than relying on daddy's wealth and running opaque family businesses.

Another angle to the story is the battle royale expected in 2012 at the Othaya parliamentary seat where Kibaki has been an MP since 1974. A whole generation of leaders have been put on hold as Kibaki idolised Othaya politics. For once Othaya constituents will have a chance to test-drive new leadership material. Othaya constituency will definitely be a hotspot in 2012.

The Kibaki family will not want to fade into oblivion come 2012 and are strategising on how to keep the Kibaki political reigning. The eldest son, Jimmy Kibaki is being fronted as a heir to the parliamentary seat. There are however doubts that he will make it and a work around is being sought. Jimmy has already started being a guest of honour in many a fund-raising in the area, an area he is not well-known to visit but has to do so for political expediency. On a recent fundraiser he was quoted as saying: "Allow me to speak in English as I neither know Kikuyu or Kiswahili" which left many wondering how he will campaign come 2012. He went ahead to give a donation of Kshs 400,000 from his father and Kshs 60,000 from himself.

Another work-around for the Kibaki family has seen Othaya and the larger Nyeri area being subdividived into many administrative units to the extent that many older location units are now divisional administrative units. This is in preparation for the review of constituency boundaries, reforms that are expected to happen before 2012.

One possible electoral boundaries reform proposition is to make every divisional unit a constituency. The many subdivisons will leave Jimmy spoilt for choice as well as accomodate other older political aspirants (the likes of Peter Kanyago, Mary Wambui, Benjamin Kahihia) who have been put on hold following 38 years of Kibaki's parliamentary stint while catering for the young political offshoots who are likely to carry the day in Othaya come 2012.

Another hurdle for Jimmy Kibaki and the Lucy first family has been the popularity of Mary Wambui as a possible political heir to the Kibaki political seat. During the constitutional debate of 2004-05, it was proposed that the president will not be an MP in the new constitutional dispensation. Othaya constituents toyed with the possibility of having a new MP if the proposal was adopted. Back then, the consensus was that Mary Wambui, was the rightful replacement then. This allegedly sparked a controversy within the first family to the extent that it was alleged Lucy offered to battle it out with Mary for the seat in such an eventuality. It is also alleged that this could have happened if Mary Wambui had gone for the Nyeri Town seat in 2007, the reason she allegedly was made to delay her political ambitions.

Talking to the Othaya constituents, the political tide for Othaya has since turned against the first family and any alleged relations to an extent that none of the first family members and supposed Kitchen cabinet operatives is expected to win a civic seat in the next election. The constituents are unhappy with the way their MP has handled their issues and talked down on them since he became president.

In order to contain the ambitious Narc Activist (now PNU Activist), another proposition will see Othaya split into three with the town area reserved for Jimmy Kibaki, the northern part set for Mary Wambui, who comes from the area, while the southern part set aside for the KTDA Nyeri region chairman and former Medical Supplies chairman Peter Kanyago. The tricky bit is the impact of a Mary Wambui parliamentary career that has potential to cause more embarassment to the first family. What better ways to forestall such a possibility than to insist on who the members of the first family are.

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KNHRC: Our Coalition Government: Expectations, Disappointments and Opportunities

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
1st Floor, CVS Plaza, Lenana Road.
P.O. Box 74359 -00200. Nairobi - Kenya.
Tel: 254-20-2717908/2717928/2717256/2712664
Fax: 254-20-2716160

Our Coalition Government: Expectations, Disappointments and Opportunities

1. We mark the 1st birthday of our Coalition Government, not with song and dance, but with cautious optimism. This time last year, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) welcomed the signing of the National Accord by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga. It signaled an end of two months of open hostilities between some communities, anxiety, fear and violence that had enveloped the country following the disputed outcome of the 2007 elections. For us, such conditions were totally unconducive for human rights protection and respect. To that extent, the Accord was a necessary condition and indeed a great milestone.

2. As Kenyans we delivered a fractured electoral verdict whose product is this Coalition which has received the harshest first year critique of any administration since independence. Part of this disappointment is borne of the 2007 campaign rhetoric by the main political parties which raised the hopes and expectations of Kenyans to unrealistic levels. This, combined with the weak political management by our leadership, the loss of leadership momentum following the Grand Regency, Triton and Maize debacles and the failure by the Government to mobilize effectively to pass the Constitutional Amendment (2008) Bill for the Special Tribunal meant to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of the post-election violence, have left President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga politically undressed.

3. But even with these disappointments, Kenyans cannot afford to disengage and play the role of cynics. We have a country to build. The country must reflect on the last year and strategize on the opportunities for enhancing the protection and respect of human rights in Kenya.

On the fight against impunity covering egregious post-election human rights violations

4. An important undertaking of the Coalition Government was to investigate and offer redress for the serious human rights violations which plagued Kenya as a consequence of disputations of the 2007 presidential elections results. The Coalition Government pledged itself to bring to account perpetrators of the violence so as to break with the impunity which perpetrators of past human rights violations had enjoyed.

5. One year later, the status of this pledge is tilted precariously in favour of perpetrators of the violence. Despite multiple statements by the President and the Prime Minister assuring Kenyans and the world that the Government would bring to book perpetrators of the violence, little concerted investigations by the Police or prosecutions by the Attorney General have happened. The Government established the Commission of Inquiry on Post Election Violence (CIPEV) with the mandate of investigating the facts and context relating to the violence and recommending measures for bringing to justice perpetrators of crimes; but recommendations of that Commission have subsequently been trashed by some senior members of Government. Enactment of the principal recommendation of CIPEV - that a Special Domestic Tribunal be established to investigate and prosecute suspects -failed when Parliament gravitated to partisan positions.

6. The KNCHR is definite about the need to undertake those investigations and some prosecutions before the 2012 General Elections. Failure to do this will entrench impunity even deeper in Kenya's national psyche, and will cause the country more future pain. Hence, while the KNCHR still prefers the establishment of a local tribunal, it also calls for speedy resolution of this long-drawn discussion. Kenyans should realize that the International Criminal Court is not really an alternative to the local process. It is an option which is and shall remain open whether a local process is established or not.

On resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs)

7. The post-election violence resulted in the displacement from their land of over 600,000 Kenyans. Many of these Kenyans (presently as many as 300,000) have during the year continued to languish in ill-equipped camps; and the possibility of exercising their rights to education, food, shelter, health, and even civil and political liberties, has been undermined.

8. One year later, the Government has made energetic (although sometimes unfruitful) efforts to resettle the IDPS. The Provincial Administration has played a pivotal role towards the goal of resettlement. However, endeavours to resettle this population have been fraught with grave dangers: some IDPs have not been welcomed back by their neighbours; resources to facilitate resettlement have been inadequate or ill-applied; the process is riddled with corruption; and the Government has not given cogent attention to the catalysts of displacement. Many Kenyans who became IDPs due to prior elections-related eruptions (in 1992 and 1997) have still not been resettled.

9. As the National Commission pointed out in its post-election violence report, "On the Brink of the Precipice", The Government should pledge to approach resettlement or other appropriate interventions for IDPs from a human rights perspective. It should facilitate IDPs to choose from a selection of reparation measures, either in the form of restitution (return of what was taken from them); compensation (financial); satisfaction (apology); rehabilitation; or guarantees of non-repetition.

On constitutional; legal and Institutional reforms

10. The President and the Prime Minister pledged that a new Constitution would, after nearly two decades of prevarication, an inconclusive consultative process at Bomas of Kenya, and a failed referendum, finally be concluded within one year of the National Accord. This was in further acknowledgement, among other issues, that "the current crisis revolves around the issues of power and the functioning of state institutions" (Agenda No. 3), and that Kenya's creaking constitutional framework continues to cause ineffectual protection and promotion of the rights of Kenyans, in fields as varied as the exercise of freedoms such as those of association, expression and movement; protection from arbitrary deprivation of life; exercise of economic, social and cultural rights; and to the enforcement of human rights in terms of Chapter V of the Constitution. Pledges were also made to review failed governance institutions such as the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK).

11. One year later, review of content for the new Constitution has still not started. The promise that the review would be finalized in one year in any case was never really achievable, since implementation of that pledge rested on far too many variables; for example, it was never realistic that the necessary statutory instruments would be in place within eight weeks of the Coalition.

12. The machinery of reviewing the Constitution is now in place: the necessary enabling legislation - Section 47A of the Constitution on replacing the Constitution) and the Constitution of Kenya Review Act, 2008 - has been passed; the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Review of the Constitution is in place; and the President has appointed members of the Committee of Experts. At the same time, though, the Grand Coalition is mishandling the initiative to replace the ECK with the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) in terms of recommendations by the Independent Review (Kriegler) Commission established under the Accord to propose improvements to the electoral process. The establishment of IIEC has been plagued by political infighting within the Parliamentary Select Committee delegated to nominate members to the IIEC.

Furthermore, the constitutional amendments which repealed the ECK from existence did not include adequate transitional measures and Kenyans could encounter an intricate constitutional legal minefield if it suddenly became necessary for the country to hold presidential or parliamentary elections before the new Commission is established.

13. Even as the country seeks a new Constitution, the Government's flagrant abuse of citizens' constitutional rights to assemble and associate is troubling. For the last one year, the Government has not allowed public demonstrations or meetings to happen particularly in Nairobi. If this Government cannot abide by this Constitution so that citizens may protest against exorbitant food prices or against corruption, will it even respect a new Constitution?

On truth, justice and reconciliation

14. Transitional justice has remained on the to-do priority list of Kenyans for far too long. Again, the President and the Prime Minister last year pledged that a process would be instituted with the aim of inquiring into historical injustices, human rights violations and economic crimes, including those committed by the state, groups or individuals during the period 1963-2008.

15. One year later, the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation (TJRC) Act, 2008, has been enacted. This law, though, has not come into operation, apparently because the Government is still fund raising for the venture. At the same time, ordinary Kenyans have not had ample opportunity to engage on the possible nature of benefits of the TJRC process for them. The country may, therefore, spend huge resources on this process even while tangible outcomes/ deliverables remain fleeting and unquantifiable.

On inter-ethnic cohesion

16. Kenya's ethnic polarization was demonstrated starkly by the ethnic killings and destruction which followed the presidential election results. It was in recognition of this fragmentation that the Government committed to establishing a framework for managing interethnic relations in the country.

17. One year later, the Government includes a department of National Cohesion in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Parliament has enacted the National Cohesion and Integration Act of 2008. Yet, the Act's proposed interventions are far too narrowly defined to cover only ethnicity when the statute could have been framed as an equality and anti-discrimination law to provide succour to all discriminated groups. Further, it is not clear what concrete steps the Government is taking to assist Kenyans towards integration and cohering; and the country is as ethnically polarized as it has ever been.

18. Perhaps, it was never to be expected that Kenya's traditional political fault-lines which are largely defined ethnically would be resolved in a decade let alone one year. But Kenyans must recall that one aim of the Political Parties Act, 2007, was to ensure interethnic harmony. Yet, in the current cacophony of Coalition politics, that statute has been left to gather dust by the political wayside. Another proposal which the National Commission has consistently made (and for which it developed draft legislation) is the enactment of hate speech law to criminalise speech which would engender discrimination of an individual or group on grounds such as ethnicity, sex and disability. But despite similar recommendations by the Waki as well as Kriegler Commissions, the Government has not acted.

On public and corporate accountability

19. The 2030 Vision, which the Coalition Government subscribes to and is implementing, is clear on the value of accountability to the people of Kenya. Accountability is a human rights principle on the basis of which individuals may call upon their leaders to take responsibility (answer) for their policy or administrative deeds or misdeeds. Kenyans had for many years been victims of stolen or wasted resources, making it difficult for them to have effective exercise of their economic and social rights (education, food, shelter, etc).

20. One year later, the maize and oil scandals typify the distinct failure of the Government to fight corruption. Members of the Government have declined to take responsibility for commissions or omissions within their ministries; the Police, the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission and the Attorney General have not undertaken successful investigations and prosecutions of these scandals; and the two principals of the Accord have failed to take political actions to deal with misdeeds within Government.

21. I n the meantime, corruption in the corporate sector has mushroomed more than ever before. Kenya's depressed stock market is as much a result of the credit crunch as of complicit or negligent failures of market regulation. As a consequence, big players in the market (including stock-brokers) have connived to remain afloat at the expense of small investors whose life savings have been wiped out. The situation is hardly different in the cooperative sector where similar heists have been visited upon unsuspecting Kenyans while the Government has stood by watching.

22. The National Commission has consistently recommended that Parliament should pass legislation barring from appointive or elective office leaders who perpetrate economic misdeeds on the country and indeed those who violate human rights generally.


23. Kenya has no option but to build a strong culture of political accommodation, political compromise and checks and balances which are critical in a divisive environment such as this one. The bewildering factionalism witnessed among our parliamentarians, the decline in public trust, and the suffocation of the moderate voice, should not overwhelm us. Neither should we be overwhelmed by the Government's inability or reluctance to stem the extra-judicial killings which have ravaged the countryside. As citizens, we owe it to ourselves and our children's children to seize whatever space that is generated by constitutional and institutional reforms to make positive contributions that will enhance the protection and respect of human rights. We cannot afford to fail. If we do, as Justice Kriegler warned, 2012 will be even dire than 2007 was.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
27th FEBRUARY 2009

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Abdulahi Ahmednasir: The more Karua rants about graft the more she exposes her failures

The English idiom all hat, no cattle resonates well with the inhabitants of Texas. It was used with good effect against Barack Obama by Hillary Clinton during the primaries for the nomination of the Democratic Party’s presidential ticket. She dismissed her opponent as one who only talks the good talk. Our own Martha Karua, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, is all hat, and no cattle. The minister pontificates about everything ideal but has nothing to show. In the bigger scheme of good governance and reforms, Karua is the classical propagandist, just another irritant idle talker.

The minister has an exasperating habit of lecturing — from a self-erected pedestal — ordinary Kenyans and her colleagues in Cabinet on topics ranging from corruption and good governance to what she calls "taking political responsibility".

Whenever she has the opportunity to tell us what we already know about all things wrong in this country, she seizes it as though she will not have a second chance. At times she merely parrots the same issues on corruption, bad governance and accountability.

Occasionally, she drops names of individuals she has on her political sight. Recently, she zeroed in on her Cabinet colleagues William Ruto (Agriculture) and Kiraitu Murungi (Energy). On both occasions she ended up a loser. Both brought out an element of troubling political grumpiness in her. Three weeks ago she tore into the Judiciary without any provocation. When one juxtaposes her poor track record with her loud pronouncements on issues dear to Kenyans, one cannot help but notice the deficit in bona fide political practices on the part of the minister.

Karua is in charge of a vital ministry. With the Attorney-General Amos Wako from another political era, the Justice Ministry was created to provide a powerful engine for reform. This was on the presumption that the holder of the office has an idea how and what institutions to reform. Karua is thus in charge of all sphere of the reform portfolio in Government. She is the fulcrum around which all facets of the justice system should ideally rotate. For instance, the reform of the Judiciary, police, prisons, corruption, human rights, legal profession and all institutions that help in good governance fall under her mandate. In all these important sectors crying for reform, Karua has not taken a single step for reform during her years in the Justice Ministry.

Under the Justice Ministry

Let us see two of her pet subjects to underline her dismal failure. The Judiciary is headed by the Chief Justice. In terms of the political organisation in Government, the Judiciary administratively falls under the Justice Ministry. Whereas to his credit Kiraitu as Justice Minister implemented the successful radical surgery of the Judiciary, which brought sanity and gave a new lease of life to an institution that was on its deathbed, Karua has nothing to show for the post-surgery phase of judicial reform.

The only time she strongly engages the Judiciary is when the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is about to appoint judges to the High Court and the Court of Appeal. When the Chief Justice authored a Bill on JSC that would have given the Judiciary financial autonomy, Karua shelved it. Yet the Bill would have made the Judiciary more responsive to the needs of Kenyans.

Karua oversees two departments with contrasting resources and mandate. The Judiciary, with presence in every corner of the country has an annual budget of about Sh800 million. The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (Kacc) with 330 employees, all housed in a single building, has an annual budget of about Sh1.2 billion. The top five employees of Kacc earn more salary than all the judges of the Court of Appeal. This mismatch of resources and priority occurs in her docket. If she can’t appreciate the dire need of an important institution like the Judiciary or see the wasteful excesses of Kacc, what can she know about the rest of the country? What positive agenda can she have when her docket is in dire need of outside assistance?

In the fight against corruption, Karua no longer pretends her ministry is doing anything meaningful. Apart from a propagandist organisation called the National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee, Karua has not initiated any consequential effort in the anti-graft war. This committee is unaccountable money guzzler that specialises in cheap and at times shadowy publicity stings for her ministry.

Kenyans admire Karua when she talks compellingly on corruption and bad governance. But they are also tired of her inertia. She has had many opportunities to take the war to the next meaningful phase but has persistently refused to take up the challenge. As a politician with presidential ambition Karua should know what matters is not how many speeches she gave prior to 2012. Her scorecard as minister will pose her greatest nightmare.

—The writer is an advocate of the High Court.

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Maina Kiai is Back

Maina Kiai, a former Chairman of the Kenya National Human Rights Commission is back. He is back as a journalist and joined the many media analysts assessing the performance of the grand coalition government. He went to the post election violence hotspots and bashed the government performance.

Kibaki and Raila should have watched his show on NTV to get a glimpse of what awaits them ahead.

For more on Maina Kiai's return visit

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Martha Karua 2012 Presidential Bid Wobbles

A while back I thought that Martha Karua should revise her 2012 presidential strategies. I now think she should take time and reflect on whether her strategies are working. She should also give Kenyans a break and stop "payukaring" every other day. The truth is that Martha Karua political star is dimming.

A year ago, Martha Karua was charged with the responsibility of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs.

Kenyans expect her docket to take political responsibility and accountability for:
  • Lack of confidence in the Kenya judicial system - Kenyans are screaming for post election violence perpetrators to be taken to the Hague because they cannot trust the Kenyan Judiciary. Police justify extra-judicial execution of the Mungiki adherents since once arrested the judiciary is slow or dismiss their cases. Victims of Mungiki cannot trust the judiciary to come to their aid. Many Kenyans shiver at the mention of a dispute resolution through the Kenyan courts which still sways to the side of the deep pocketed.
  • Lack of a new constitutional dispensation - Martha has been laid back on this front and not devoting as much energy to a new constitution as she has to her presidential bid. The deadline for a new constitution has now been pushed to June 2010 with no glimmer of hope that this will ever be achieved. She is supposed to be the project manager of this critical Kenyan project and should have worked day and night to bring consensus on the divisive constitutional issues, no attempt has been made towards this objective.
  • Lack of national cohesion - Kenyans are still as tribal as they were one year ago if not worse. That is the reason IDPs cannot be accepted back to their farms. Martha has failed to mobilize Raila and Kibaki to the course of national cohesion.
In her one year in office, what has Martha Karua achieved as the Minister for Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional affairs. It seems she has neglected her duties to concentrate on campaigning for 2012.

From her campaigns, she has not fronted any new leadership style or fresh ideas. She has even resulted to tribal endorsements no different from Moi, Kibaki and Raila.

It is a high time she shunned those weekend campaign rallies. If she only managed the project of a new constitution effectively, she will be guaranateed of more votes than sweating it out at weekend campaign rallies and funerals.

Right now, she has made herself very vulnerable and a jokers vote of no confidence in parliament on her will easily pass. While fighting Kimunya, Ruto and Kiraitu on grounds of corruption and political responsibility is noble, she has forgotten that within a year she has also constructed a house of glass using the bricks of non-performance and has gradually lost the moral ground to throw stones at her neighbours' glass houses.

Martha Karua should retreat and stop sprinting to 2012. She should take time to build a stronger foundation and differentiate her politics, otherwise, on 2012, she is loosing it.

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KCSE Results Class of 2009

This year the KCSE results has been delayed and will be released tomorrow, Tuesday 3rd 2009. Traditionally the KCSE results are released before the end of February.

Unlike other years, the school ranking system will not be used to rank the best schools and only the best candidates listing will be announced.

The school ranking system has been abused by school heads out to improve the mean grades but will be missed by parents since it gave an indication of what good schools are out there. The ranking also gave parents an indication of how their children will perform going by historical mean grade trends of the secondary schools where their kids are enrolled.

Candidates can check their results online by visiting the Kenya National Examinations Council website


Andrew Limo: Fibre optic cables set to boost trade in Kenya

For Kenya and the countries along the eastern coast of Africa, 2009 will be remembered as the year the real internet landed and the people began to communicate and do business in a way never imagined before.

The long awaited undersea fibre optic cable is coming to connect us to the rest of the world through cheaper telephony, the internet and even video communication. For people who know how to tap into the knowledge economy, this will enable the steroids to surge forward. For those who cannot figure out any opportunity, the digital gap widens.

Internet prices started falling when the telecommunication sector was liberalised a few years ago, with new competing technologies, mostly wireless, offering faster and a cheaper service than the copper wire dial-ups of the then monopoly, Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation.

KPTC which, split into three before Telkom was sold, is not entirely to blame for the high cost of the internet cost and international calls. Until the arrival of these magic cables, which transmit information over long distances using light signals reflected on glass, communicating to the outside world is through those metallic birds high up in the air called satellites.

The only change over time is that we stopped relying solely on the earth stations, such as Longonot, and started using smaller VSAT (very small aperture terminal) dishes.

Now a big race by service providers to offer high-capacity and affordable internet connection is on. Everyone says it is landing the cable in Mombasa soon, and Seacom, which touted the ambitious Africa One project in 1995 to wire the whole continent, seems determined to have a headstart in the raging fibre war.

Seacom’s local boss Jean-Pierre de Leu says he will pop up the champagne bottle on June 27.

THE EAST AFRICAN MARINE SYSTEM (TEAMS)), a consortium in which the government has shares, should be completing its link to the United Arab Emirates in April. The third provider, The Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), which aims to connect the region from South Africa to Djibouti, is expected to land its fibre at about the same time.

One strand of optical fibre (the thickness of human hair) is capable of 20,000 simultaneous voice communication, or 25,000 gigabytes per second, of information — which is enough to carry text of 3 million books in a second.

Fibre technology was discovered by some young men with “obsession for glass” in South Carolina, USA, as early as the 1930s. For a long time it was used by the intelligence cameras and also doctors to spy on the human stomach.

So what are we going to do with what is clearly a broadband boom? People buying bulk internet expect the prices to fall from the current $3,000 (Sh240,000) a megabyte to around $400 (Sh32,000) or less by the end of the year. If this fall in pricing is passed onto the consumers, it should spur e-commerce, e-learning (distant learning), business process outsourcing (BPO) and so on.

The technology pipes will be wide enough for any innovation and imagination. The 2010 World Cup will be kicked in through these pipes using high-definition TV and internet TV, or IPTV.

But perhaps it is the BPO industry and call centres that are expected to rake in money for these multi-million-dollar investments. The current global credit crunch may force outsourcing firms in the developed countries to look for cheaper and new outsourcing destinations beyond the domination of India, the Philippines and China.

To benefit from the new knowledge economy, schools and universities must acquire the internet at subsidised rates, or how else do we expect to grow our scientists if they cannot afford online research?

The laying of overland fibre cables should also be stepped up, otherwise the superhighway will come to a stop in Mombasa and Nairobi.

The government’s effort to connect far-flung areas such as Lokitung, Loitoktok, Mandera and Malindi with fibre under the National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure, NOFBI project is a proactive move that will give many people a chance to create new businesses, skills, electricity and security allowing.

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Mutahi Ngunyi: Annan, please stop patronising Kenyans

Today I will play the devil’s advocate on Mr Kofi Annan. Without wasting time, I will call him an agent of confusion. He started well, and we respect him for the Peace Accord.

However, his reform agenda is top-down, arrogant and naive. Instead of taking us forward, it is holding us back. And because we respect him, we do not disagree. The result: We remain confused. In fact, we are going round in circles getting irritated and achieving nothing. We are like this puppy in a story told by C.L. James.

In this fable, an old dog saw a puppy chasing its tail and asked, “why are you chasing your tail?” The young puppy replied, “I have mastered philosophy; I have solved the problems of the universe which no dog before me has solved; I have learnt that the best thing for a dog is happiness, and that happiness is in my tail. Therefore, I am chasing it, and when I catch it, I shall be happy.”

The old and seasoned dog stared at the little puppy and responded, “my son, I, too, have paid attention to the problems of the universe in my weak ways and I have formed some opinions.

I have realised that happiness is a fine thing for a dog. And that happiness is in my tail. However, I have also noticed that when I chase after it, it keeps running away from me, but when I go about my business as usual, it follows me.”

Like the little dog, we spent one year chasing the “Annan reforms”. But the more we chased them, the more elusive they became. And the reason is simple: these reforms are not about healing; they are about blaming. They are not about restoration; they are about retribution and sackings.

Like chasing the tail, they are minimalist. Yet what we crave as a country is to be taken from “crisis to cairos”.

Cairos is a place of re-birth, a moment of renewal, transformation and change. And if we pursue this place, the “Annan reforms” will follow -- like the tail follows the dog. But our leaders cannot take us to this cairos if they are in chains. They must liberate themselves from the bondage of Kofi Annan.

I say so because it appears like we have two principals and a grand chairman. Now the grand chairman, Mr Annan, has assumed the position of chief principal. And this is why he is summoning them like school boys to Geneva for a meeting.

To put it mildly, this is bad manners on the part of Mr Annan. Or what do you think?

Back to my assertion that Mr Annan’s reforms are top-down, arrogant and naïve, I beg your indulgence to demonstrate. One, we said a resounding “no” to a local tribunal. We discussed this in our homes, in our worship places and everywhere.

Our verdict was unanimous: Hague Express. Even our greedy MPs agreed with us and voted for The Hague. And then came Mr Annan. This man is not a Kenyan and is not elected. But he disagreed with the will of the people.

His position? Kenyans are wrong! Now he wants a local tribunal by any means necessary. My question to the country is this: who is he? What gives him the right to contradict us and push for what we rejected?

This approach is arrogant and top-down. And I am inspired here by a little book known as Tao Te Ching on leadership wisdom. According to this book, “ . . . all streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it power.

If you want to govern the people (therefore), you must place yourself below them. If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.” For Mr Annan to succeed in his reforms, he must humbly place himself below the people.

If he operates from the heavens in Geneva or wherever, he will fail for a fact! My point? He should not patronise us. He should send the Waki List to The Hague pronto. Or what do Kenyans think?

Two, the naiveté of Mr Annan’s reforms is in the constitutional review and the electoral changes. On the constitution, he has taken us one step backwards with the idea of a panel of experts.

And my hunch is that this panel will fail. From our woolly conditions, I doubt that a new constitution can emerge. More so because constitutions are made in abrasive times of crisis; and in the absence of a crisis, they create one.

Regarding the electoral reforms, I have a question: In the unlikely event of President Kibaki’s inability to execute the mandate of his high office, who would conduct the resultant election? No one.

Samuel Kivuitu is no more, and the entire electoral machinery has been disbanded. In sum, the “Annan reforms” have placed us in a constitutionally reckless place. And although a commission is being concocted by Parliament, I am nervous about it.

It will not be prepared enough to handle the turns and twists of the 2012 elections. In fact, in its naiveté and rawness, it will be manipulated galore. And on this score, our situation could be worse.

But if Mr Annan has outlived his usefulness and is overstepping his mandate, what do we do with him? What do we do with a hero who saved our country from collapse? I have a thought from history.

A brave mercenary soldier saved the city of Siena from an external invader. Thrilled by his brevity, the citizens of this town wanted to reward him handsomely.

No amount of money or honour could compensate his selfless actions. The citizens thought of making him Lord of the City, but even that, they decided was not good enough. At last, one citizen stood before the people’s assembly and suggested “... let us kill him and then worship him as our patron saint”.

So they killed him and worshipped him as a saint. I suggest we do the same thing with Mr Annan. We should “kill” him from our politics and worship him as “saint Annan of Kumasi”!

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Cabral Pinto: The spirit of J.M. Kariuki cries for justice

March 2, 2009, is the 34th anniversary of the assassination of Hon Josiah Mwangi Kariuki, popularly and affectionately remembered by Kenyans simply as “JM”.

The Elijah Mwangale-led parliamentary committee that investigated the killing, laid the blame on the State security machinery, senior government officials and the presidential aides.

JM is best remembered for his stinging criticism of Kenya’s ruling elite. “A small but powerful group of greedy, self-seeking elite in the form of politicians, civil servants and businessmen have steadily but very surely monopolised the fruits of independence to the exclusion of the majority of the people.

“We do not want a Kenya of 10 millionaires and 10 million beggars.”

Professor Mwangi wa Githinji has immortalised JM’s words by writing a book titled, Ten Millionaires and Ten Million Beggars: A Study of Income Distribution and Development in Kenya, which provides the evidence to reinforce JM’s critique of the Kenyan ruling class.

A FEW YEARS AGO, I ATTENDED THE funeral service of Prof Katama Mkangi at All Saint’s Cathedral, Nairobi. Activists Wafula wa Buke and Aluoka Otieno revisited JM’s murder by addressing Prof Mkangi’s spirit.

“If you see JM, please let him know that his Kenya has now 50 billionaires and 30 million beggars,” they prayed. It is not difficult to know who the billionaires are.

JM is remembered also for his love for the ordinary people and for spearheading a private member’s Bill in Parliament that resulted in the enactment of the Hire Purchase Act. The Bill had sought to protect the middle class who faced oppression from financial institutions engaged in the business’s financing.

On the land issue, JM favoured the imposition of ceilings by individuals, corporations, foundations and religious organisations, the major categories that own most of the land in Kenya. His challenge of powerful local and foreign vested interests must have formed the motives of those who killed him.

JM’s murder shook the very foundations of Mzee Kenyatta’s regime. There were demonstrations against the administration in various parts of the country. Mr Mwai Kibaki was the only Cabinet minister who attended the funeral.

If President Kenyatta had dared attend the funeral he would have needed the security that President Moi required when he attended Dr Robert Ouko’s.

Assassinations confirm to Kenyans that the vested interests in this country will kill leaders who dare stand up for ordinary Kenyans’ lives and livelihoods. The murder of freedom fighters Dedan Kimathi and Pio Gama Pinto is a further example of this political truism. Killing the messenger has never killed the message.

Kenya’s status quo of foreign domination, exploitation and oppression, supported by the self-seeking elite that JM talked about, cannot be sustained for ever and ever. History records that Kenyans have never succumbed to domination and exploitation and that, indeed, they have always fought for their freedom.

This message is currently being conveyed to the grand coalition Government that follows in the footsteps of its greedy and anti-people predecessors since independence.

As we celebrate the International Women’s Day next week, we need also to glorify the spirit, determination and sense of purpose that has been displayed by Ms Rosemary Kariuki (JM’s daughter) and Ms Terry Kariuki, the widow, in leading the family in a struggle for justice for JM.

THE TWO WOMEN ARE GREAT LEADERS and politicians. They have joined broad movements that call for the end of impunity and for the setting up of transitional justice mechanisms. They have over decades built networks of solidarity with other Kenyan patriots seeking justice for JM and other assassinated Kenyans.

They remind us of the mothers of political detainees at Uhuru Park’s Freedom Corner in Nairobi, who did not give up until their sons were released. They remind us of the mothers and grandmothers of the disappeared in Latin America who never gave up until justice was done.

The message for change can never be killed. The messengers have been jailed, detained, forced into exile or even killed. The message from the oppression is that leaders for change are prepared to die for their motherland. Kenyans who need change comprise the majority, and a cabal of local and foreign elites cannot for ever jail this majority.

Change is unstoppable as long as people who believe in true justice, democracy, human and equal rights keep the spirit to fight alive.

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Cecil Miller Fights Back

Press statement on behalf of Cecil Miller with regard to his nomination and subsequent rejection as chairman of the interim independent electoral commission

Several Comments and assertions have been made in Parliament, the Media and Public Forum at large with regard to our client, Cecil Miller's nomination and subsequent rejection by Parliament as the Chairman of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission of Kenya (NEC). It is important that we, on behalf of our said client address some of these issues and put across our client's position and hopefully set the record straight.

The issues are threefold:-

1. Cecil Miller represented Hon. Danson Mungatana in an election petition and would therefore be partisan in the discharge of his office as Chairman of IIEC or that there arises a conflict of interest.

Nothing could be further from the truth. A conflict of interest would only arise if Cecil Miller continued to represent the MP or any other MP or Politician subsequent to his appointment as Chairman. Cecil Miller's relationship with Hon. Mungatana was purely on an Advocate-Client basis and the allegation of bias is unfounded. Moreover, Hon. Mungatana is only one member in Parliament consisting of Two Hundred and Twenty One (221) other members.

It is not therefore possible that with, Cecil Miller as Chairman, only Hon. Mungatana's interests would prevail over those of the entire house. Moreover, the proposed Chairman would have been assisted in his duties by Eight (8) other Commissioners and thousands of support staff making the possibility of bias even more remote. Throughout his legal career, Cecil Miller has represented people from all walks of life, tribe, religion and political persuasion. Does this then mean that he aspires or subscribes to all these interests? We think not.

Indeed, Cecil Miller has represented and continues to represent another member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Review of the Constitution (PSC), the Hon. Charity Ngilu. He also represented the so called "ODM Pentagon" in the run up to the 2007 General Elections. Does this mean he would also be biased in their favour? We think not. The allegations of bias were therefore made in bad faith and without full disclosure of these facts which were well within the knowledge of the accuser.

2. Cecil Miller is a wife batterer and cannot therefore hold public office.
This is an allegation that has not been proved. Cecil Miller has never been arrested or charged in any criminal court with the offence of assault or battery of his wife or any other person. An allegation remains just that, until proved by relevant and admissible evidence.

To this extent we urge the Hon. Millie Odhiambo not to hide behind Parliamentary privilege and repeat the same unfortunate and malicious comments outside Parliament in order that the law may take its course. Whereas allegations of battery were made in a divorce case in 2003 in which Cecil Miller was a party, the same were not proved and the Divorce Court did not find him guilty of the allegations. Cecil Miller is currently happily married to Amina Miller.

3. Cecil Miller did not qualify for the job or was not shortlisted for the interview
Cecil Miller applied for the job of the Chairman. He met the criteria set by the PSC. He attended the interviews like any other Candidate and emerged as the successful
candidate. We shall leave it at that.

At the end of the day, the rejection of Cecil Miller by Parliament was not because of his incompetence, bias, lack of integrity or unsubstantiated claims of wife battery. These were just a smokescreen. It was as a result of Political Intrigue, Manipulation and Pure Tribal and Party Politics.

Should the Chairman of the NEC come from mars? We leave that to Kenyans to decide.

Issued at Nairobi this 27th day of February 2009

P. W. Wena & Company Advocates for Cecil Miller


Citibank N.A. Kenya, corrects erroneous comments related to its role as Lead Receiving Bank in Safaricom Initial Public Offering (IPO)

Citi disputes the erroneous reports related to its role as Lead Receiving Bank during the landmark IPO of Safaricom, clarifying previous inaccurate statements by industry participants concerning the delivery of refunds and the reconciliation process with brokers.

According to Citi, the delivery of refunds was strictly in accordance with the instructions received from the Government of Kenya through the various agencies that were involved in the IPO.

These instructions were to issue payments directly to all applicants and, according to the prospectus, the preferred method of refund was through electronic transfers directly to applicants' bank accounts.

If bank account details were not available, a default refund cheque was to be issued.

Complaints have also been received from some investors to the effect that they were forced and/or coerced to fill certain forms mandating some brokers to deal in the refund cheques with the help of some commercial banks. In yet other cases, some brokers transacted in refund cheques without the express authority of the investors, the Central Bank of Kenya is investigating this matter.

With regard to the reconciliation with brokers, Citi has undertaken the process of reconciliation in a meticulous and conscientious manner and has maintained an open door policy for brokers to present all outstanding issues. It should be noted that all brokers have duly signed the reconciliation certificates attesting to the completeness
of the reconciliation process between themselves and Citi. This was also a pre¬condition to payment of commissions to selling agents by the Government of Kenya. All commissions have since been paid by the Government of Kenya.

Citi has also undertaken additional actions to assist in addressing queries and issues raised by brokers after the closure of the IPO, including numerous communication and requests of meetings with the brokers to address any remaining issues.

Citi, in full coordination with the Central Bank of Kenya, the Capital Markets Authority, the Investment Secretary and the Privatisation Commission, has worked around the clock to ensure that the performance of the market was not compromised, that the IPO would be a resounding success and that all issues arising from a transaction of this scale would be amicably resolved and the integrity of our markets assured.

Citi takes great exception to erroneous comments made by disparate brokers and/or their representatives at various fora which misrepresented the process undertaken by Citi in its role as Lead Receiving Bank and reserves its rights thereto.

For further information, please contact:

Ade Ayeyemi,
Managing Director, East Africa

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Statement on the Occasion of the First Anniversary of the National Peace and Reconciliation Accord


This statement is issued by the Concerned Citizens for Peace (CCP) on the occasion of the first anniversary of the post-election crisis and the subsequent National Peace and Reconciliation Accord.

CCP is a coalition of organisations that worked together and separately after the announcement of the disputed election results and the subsequent violence to rally for dialogue and resolution of the crisis, becoming the rallying point for the voice of dialogue at a time when the country was on the edge of total collapse.

On the occasion of the first anniversary of the Accord, we wish to express our relief that the country survived the crisis - and register our concerns and suggestions about the state of our country one year later:


1. We acknowledge and appreciate the courage and dedication of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga in signing the Accord, and for their commitment to ensuring that the coalition government holds. We also sincerely thank Dr. Kofi Annan and the African Union Panel of Eminent Personalities for brokering the agreement, and for their continued interest and support in ensuring the success of the Accord. We recognise that the Coalition Government is the basis of our current peace, however tentative.

2. We acknowledge the numerous and commendable efforts of ordinary Kenyans, faith communities, private sector and civil society organizations to advocate on behalf of the afflicted and to promote understanding, healing and reconciliation. During the crisis, many Kenyans took initiative to end the violence and restore calm in the country. Many volunteered their time and resources to work with the youth in the epicentres of violence, with politicians, with the Kofi Annan mediation team, with SMS campaigns, with FM stations and other forms of media all in an effort to save our country. Ordinary people contributed money, telephone airtime, prayers, flowers, secretarial services, intellectual input and meals, while mobile phone companies and media houses offered their facilities for free. All these and many others are true heroes and heroines of Kenya. We thank you!

3. The past year has been marked by soul-searching, innovative and groundbreaking work showing that even the most difficult times can draw out admirable qualities from Kenyans. We wish to acknowledge the efforts of civil society and non-governmental organizations to speak out for accountability, justice and peace and encourage inter-ethnic understanding. We appreciate the efforts of religious leaders to encourage a spirit of confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation. We also acknowledge the work undertaken by various government departments to rebuild the country and its institutions. We equally applaud the progress made in the implementation of the Accord, particularly the drafting and passing of relevant legislation to implement certain aspects of Agenda Four. We similarly recognise efforts made by women and women's initiatives 'to contribute to the peace processes in Kenya.

Our Concerns

4. We nevertheless have concerns about the state of our country today. The signing of the peace agreement and the formation of the Coalition Government were never intended as ends in themselves. Rather these were aimed at creating an environment in which the underlying problems that finally brought Kenya to its knees could be addressed in unity. In particular, the broader purpose of the Accord was national healing, reconciliation and the restoration of our nationhood. These goals are lagging behind and in great need of dynamic initiative and leadership.

5. There is a growing sense of disquiet and general malaise in our land.Today we have corruption scandals, a cavalier attitude of the ruling class illustrated by among others MPs' refusal to pay taxes on flimsy grounds while the citizens face heavy financial burdens, a food crisis, the economic downturn, and youth who are increasingly restless and losing hope for a better life.

6. With regard to the implementation of Agenda Four, we are concerned that the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), the proposed Special Tribunal for Kenya and the constitution-making process could be turned into divisive, rather than transformative processes, if the political class does not move to create an environment conducive for these important undertakings. Instead of rallying the country together, some of the politicians have sustained their partisan and divisive rhetoric. Internal dissension among the main coalition partners and positioning for the 2012 elections appears to hamper the two principals from making any radical decisions some of which, like the Mau Forest settlement, have huge implications for the environmental survival of the country.

7. The plight of Displaced Kenyans (now just called IDPs') is simply a matter of national shame and a sign of unbelievable callousness. Thousands of Kenyan citizens who were self-sufficient remain fearful or materially incapable of returning to their homes and have lived in despicable squalor for the last one year. The longer these Kenyans are homeless, the higher the human and material costs of reintegration will be. In both rural and urban centres, people have been allowed to continue to occupy others' land and property with impunity. The intended national reconciliation cannot be achieved in these circumstances. In addition, the attempted secret burial of some of the bodies of those who died in the violence speaks of insensitivity to the emotional needs of the concerned families.

Our Appeal and Call to Action

8. On Remembrance and Contemplation: As we mark the First Anniversary of the Accord that gave us this second chance, we call on all Kenyans to dedicate the last weekend of February (27th to 1st March 2009) to remembrance, prayer and contemplation. We urge Kenyans to hold vigils, prayers and memorials for continued peace in the country, and to contemplate and act on the lessons from the crisis last year and its aftermath.

9. On Our Responsibility as Individual Citizens: While rightly holding our leaders responsible for much of the current malaise, we all have individual responsibility and power to do our utmost to build a just and peaceful country. We can choose to be a force for justice and reconciliation within our communities. We can choose to shun those of our leaders who preach ethnic hatred and want to continue to divide us. We can reach out to neighbours and those in need. We can decide to return that which does not rightfully belong to us. We can choose to welcome Displaced Kenyans and assure them of their security. We can choose to forgive. We call upon all Kenyans to exercise their individual power and leadership to bring change. Indeed, Yes We Can.

10. On Resettlement of Displaced Kenyans and Restoration of Properties: We call upon the government, all leaders and the communities concerned to single-mindedly work towards the sensitive resettlement of all Displaced Kenyans. Similarly, we call upon the government to ensure the smooth and peaceful restoration of all illegally acquired and occupied properties to their rightful owners.

11. On Accountability: We call upon the President, the Prime Minister and Parliament to act in the best interest of the nation and quickly build consensus on the best avenues of accountability for the violations during the post-election violence. We demand that voices of civil society and legal experts be listened to on how to seal legal loopholes that may be exploited to avoid accountability.

12. On National Healing and Reconciliation: Reconciliation cannot succeed if it is viewed only as a government programme. We call on all Kenyans, faith leaders, civil society, media and politicians to take it upon themselves to encourage a spirit of humility, repentance and forgiveness that could contribute to national healing and reconciliation.

13. Constitutional Review: We urge that the constitutional review agenda be given the highest priority and be concluded well before the next elections. We call on Kenyans of goodwill, particularly the media, religious and civil society leaders, to insist that the constitution-making process be insulated from partisan political interests from now henceforth. It is at moments such as these that focused, dedicated, courageous and inspirational leadership is required from all sectors of Kenyan society.

14. Vision 2030 and the Ethical Conduct of Leaders: We ask that all leaders live by the ethical and value standards articulated in various sections of the Vision 2030 document. Without making values and ethics a central pillar in our quest for renewal and progress. Vision 2030 will not succeed.

Let all with one accord
In common bond united
Build this our nation together
Mungu Ibariki Kenya!

Concerned Citizens for Peace

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