Archive for September 2009

Justice Aaron Ringera Finally Resigns

After taking Kenya in endless circles of debate, embattled KACC director has finally resigned. Kenya Parliament has earlier on in the month censured him by revoking a Kenya Gazette notice by President Mwai Kibaki reappointing him for another five year term.

In parliament eyes, Ringera was never reappointed, that is, his tenure at KACC ended when his earlier term ended. The resignation is just to save face and borrow dignity for a while.

There are already unconfirmed reports that he will get a soft landing as a judge of the highest court in Kenya, the Court of Appeal. Some parliamentarians have vowed to make sure he does not get the judge job since he is already a retired judge.

His resignation gives more power to parliament over the excesses of the executive and the President will be more keen next time to follow due process when making executive appointments.

It is interesting that to many Kenyans, Ringera's tenure at KACC exemplifies impunity in way of protecting the big 'fish' who are corrupt embodied in such corruption scandals as the Goldenberg and Anglo-leasing amidst numerous multi-billion scams. Most of these scams have renowned parliamentarians as the architects and beneficiaries. The same parliamentarians that showed Ringera the exit door.

Ringera reared and protected pythons that have finally come to haunt and strangle him. If he had zealously guarded Kenya's wealth from these scams and pursued them corrupt MPs and politicians' sidekicks with all his might, exposing them, freezing their corrupt assets, instituting private prosecutions where the attorney general refuses to prosecute, maybe things will be different.

Ringera walks out of KACC a tainted man in the public eyes of Kenya. If he was a man of integrity and good community standing before, he has lost it in a matter of weeks. If he is getting a soft landing as a court of appeal judge, his illustrious career will be crucified in a muddy cross.

All in all, there are no sympathies, it is good riddance for Ringera. Hopefully the 2.5 million Kenya Shillings will go to a Kenyan man or woman of integrity and zeal to better our motherland. Just pray it is not Dr Smokin Wanjala or Fatuma Sichale, for they will prolong Ringera's tenure and legacy at KACC.

Next on line is none other than the ever smiling Amos Wako, the Attorney General that Kenya will greatly and gladly do without.

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Ross Kemp of Sky TV Investigates the Dreaded Mungiki Sect in Kenya

A very intriguing look at the Mungiki sect in Kenya by Ross Kemp, a Sky TV journalist weeks after the post election violence. This happens during the disappearance of Maina Njenga's wife together with his driver. Maina Njenga is the spiritual leader of the sect and allegedly controls the Mungiki like an emperor. Their tortured and mutilated bodies were discovered two days later.

He manages to interview some of the key leaders of the group and attends a night-oathing ceremony. It would have been interesting if he had interviewed Maina Njenga in prison and also Mungiki leader convert now pastor Ndura Waruinge.

Not only does he look at the allegations of violence within the group, he also looks at the angle of income generation within the sect especially at the Dandora dumpsite, the kwekwe squad annihilation attempt of the sect among other aspects of the sect.

For once, he interviews a passionate female Mungiki leader who owns up to female circumcision within the group.

Ross Meets Mungiki The Leader

Ross meets the founding member and acting Mungiki leader Charles Ndungu at the birthplace of the movement in Kenya’s Central Highlands. Only days after Ross’ return from Kenya, Ndungu was killed after gunmen fired 17 bullets into his vehicle during a high-speed chase.

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Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Government of Kenya and Usaid Launch Joint Project to Enable 21st-Century Education in Kenya Schools

Seoul (Korea Newswire) September 24, 2009 09:08 AM -- Today at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, Cisco, Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp., the government of Kenya and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a joint commitment to improve education in Kenya. Launched in collaboration with Kenya's Ministry of Education, the Accelerating 21st Century Education (ACE) project aims to improve the quality of primary and secondary education through the effective use of information and communications technology (ICT).

The parties are working together to develop a best-in-class model for deploying ICT in education. Reflecting a combined commitment valued at more than US$9 million, ACE will create “one-to-one e-learning” classrooms in 60 focus schools across Kenya. One-to-one e-learning, a model in which every student has access to a computer, helps foster an environment where young people can develop skills such as problem solving and critical thinking.

ACE will deploy more than 6,000 networked computers for student and teacher use; train approximately 7,000 teachers to effectively integrate technology in the classroom; train technical support staff at each school to maintain the technology; deploy a wireless infrastructure within the schools; provide access to digital educational content; and develop the local ICT industry in Kenya to promote economic development and sustainability.

In addition, Cisco, Intel and Microsoft will work together to establish a School Technology Innovation Center (STIC) in Nairobi ? a model that has been promoted in other countries through the Microsoft? Partners in Learning Program. The center will be dedicated to research on innovative emerging technology solutions and serve as a repository and showcase for best-known methods of teaching, learning and educational technology.

“ACE ties in with our mission to increase access to education, improve the quality of education and raise school enrollment rates for children from marginalized areas of East Africa,” said USAID Kenya Mission Director Erna Kerst. “We hope this collaboration will encourage more Kenyan children to complete school, improve teacher training practices and enhance professional development for teachers and school administrators with support from USAID.”

USAID works closely with the government of Kenya on educational programs aimed at ensuring that more Kenyan children enroll in school, stay in school and receive a high-quality education that equips them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the 21st-century economy. These education programs support more than 400,000 children from the most marginalized communities ? including those orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic ? as well as systemic changes in teacher training colleges and key educational institutions.

Commitment to Action Takes Holistic Approach to ICT in Education

The ACE project focuses on 40 secondary schools and 20 primary schools across Kenya. It will deploy 6,000 student personal computers (PCs), 120 teacher laptops, 60 servers and the supporting wireless infrastructure to establish two e-learning classrooms at each school.

The project will also train 2,000 teachers at the schools, as well as 5,000 pre-service teachers at teacher training colleges in Kenya. In addition, ACE will offer education leadership forums to help lead teachers at the participating schools define a strategy for creating 21st-century learning environments. Training will be provided through the Intel? Teach Program and the Microsoft Partners in Learning Program, which offer proven ways to integrate technology into the curriculum for enhanced classroom learning.

To promote a sustainable implementation of ICT in education, two instructors and one network administrator at each of the 60 schools will receive networking and IT training through the Cisco? Networking Academy?. The Networking Academy collaborates with educational institutions, governments and community-based organizations to provide students around the world with foundational ICT skills along with career skills such as problem solving, collaboration and critical thinking for increased access to career and economic opportunities.

“Collaboration among public and private-sector organizations can significantly enhance the quality of education for students around the world and strengthen the communities where they live,” said Tae Yoo, senior vice president, Corporate Affairs, Cisco. “By taking a holistic approach to education that includes the effective integration of ICT, the government of Kenya in cooperation with Cisco, Intel, Microsoft and USAID is taking a bold step forward to create a sustainable model of education reform and equip students with the skills they need to be successful in the 21st-century.”

ACE aligns closely with the goals of Kenya's Ministry of Education, which recently digitized its national curriculum. The project will provide digital content to help deploy the revamped curriculum, with an initial focus on math and science subjects for primary grades 4-6 and for the first two years of secondary education. As part of this effort, Intel and the Ministry will collaborate on developing localized content for the Intel? skoool™ Learning and Teaching Technology, an interactive Internet resource for learning math and science. Microsoft is also working with the Ministry to develop a new education portal where teachers can access e-mail and online educational content.

“By mobilizing our combined resources, we can help Kenya's Ministry of Education put the implementation of its National ICT Strategy for Education on the fast track,” said Lila Ibrahim, general manager of the Emerging Markets Platform Group at Intel. “We believe that public-private collaborations like the ACE project are the most powerful means to invest in 21st-century learning and at the same time can help to stimulate the local economy.”

Extending the Benefits of ICT in Education Investments

To encourage the sharing of knowledge related to tested best uses of technology in education, all of the key practices and methods learned from ACE will be captured in a School Technology Innovation Center (STIC) that Cisco, Intel and Microsoft have committed to establish in Nairobi.

Like STICs in other countries, the Kenya center will serve as a hub where education leaders and teachers from the region can access the latest information on technology solutions that are proven to enhance innovative teaching and learning, thus improving the skills needed by students to thrive in the 21st-century. Center visitors will also be able to view research on innovative educational technology solutions, witness technology demos, participate in trainings, and learn from best-practice models and outcomes.

“Providing technology access and IT skills to students is a cornerstone for future innovation, economic growth and individual opportunity in the competitive global marketplace,” said Linda Zecher, corporate vice president of Worldwide Public Sector at Microsoft. “By combining the experience and resources of public and private sector partners in a holistic way, the ACE project will help the Ministry of Education further its efforts to transform learning and increase opportunity for all of Kenya's students.”

To demonstrate the benefits of technology in the classroom, the STIC will feature 20 Intel-powered classmate PCs, networked via Cisco wireless infrastructure, and the latest software offerings from Microsoft, including the new Windows? 7 operating system. The classmate PC is an affordable, full-featured, compact and rugged student laptop designed to promote interactive and collaborative learning among students and teachers. The STIC will also feature other technology products that are well-suited to teaching and learning.

Over the course of three years, the ACE project is expected to directly benefit an estimated 39,000 students and 7,000 teachers through improved educational infrastructure and training. Kenya's Ministry of Education estimates than an additional 300,000 people will benefit indirectly from the STIC and other aspects of knowledge sharing.

Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at

Cisco, Cisco Systems and Cisco Networking Academy are registered trademarks or trademarks of Cisco Systems Inc. and/or its affiliates in the United States and certain other countries.

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* Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

News Source: Intel

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Gitobu Imanyara's hotel room raided by thugs at midnight in Libya

TWO men believed to be Kenyans broke into Gitobu Imanyara's hotel room in Tripoli on September 11 while he was asleep.

Imanyara was in a delegation of MPs from the Pan African Parliament invited to attend the celebrations of President Muammar Gaddafi's 40 years in power.

He and other MPs including Nominated MP Musa Sirma at-ended a formal dinner hosted by Gaddafi on Friday, September 11 and had returned to the hotel where they were booked.

In the middle of the night, Imanyara woke up as two men entered the room using a security swipe card. The men ran off after Imanyara started shouting and raised the alarm.

One man was carrying a spray can which apparently led Imanyara to speculate that he would be kidnapped after being sedated.

When Imanyara went downstairs after the incident, the hotel management reportedly said the two men who accessed Imanyara's hotel room were Kenyans and had booked themselves into the hotel using Kenyan passports. However the 'Kenyans' by that time had vanished.

Curiously the hotel management claimed to have no record of Imanyara's presence after he asked them to explain how the two 'guests' could have accessed his room without the master key card.

Imanyara had completed a guest form on arrival so that he could be issued with his room key card.

The hotel security persuaded Imanyara not to make an official complaint at the time.

"They told the MP to forget about the incident. That it was a small thing as he had not been harmed. They said that after all people were fasting and there was no need for unnecessary scuffles over small issues," said a reliable source with Libyan connections.

Yesterday, Imanyara said he suspected the two men had been sent to eliminate him. He declined to disclose more details about the incident saying he would do so at a press conference today.

The Imenti Central MP has filed a complaint with the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and asked Interpol to launch investigations into the attack that has left him deeply shocked.

"We have received a formal complaint from the MP but we have made contacts with our consul in Tripoli to get to the bottom of the matter," Foreign Affairs PS Thuita Mwangi said yesterday.

Mwangi said little had been done so far as no complete report had been obtained from the Kenyan embassy in Tripoli.

Sirma, who is with Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the United States, is expected to record a statement with Interpol when he returns.

A group of Njuri Njeke elders, who were in Libya at the same time at a different forum organised by Gaddafi, have demanded that the Kenyan ambassador to Libya Ephraim Waweru Ngare provide an explanation for the incident.

Ngare yesterday declined to comment.

"I have no idea about what you are talking about. I have no information at all, and furthermore, these are weighty issues we cannot discuss on phone, maybe in Tripoli," said Ngare.

Attempts to reach, the Libyan ambassador to Kenya, Taher Ali Mawan, were fruitless as our calls to the embassy went unanswered.

Yesterday, the Njuri Ncheke elders said they were unhappy with the threats against Imanyara whom they regarded as a junior elder.

"Imanyara is a member of the Nchuri Ncheke and he is our son whom we shall fight for by tooth and nail to ensure that he is not harassed by anybody," said the Njuri Ncheke chairman Paul M'lthinkia flanked by the secretary general Phares Ruteere and the council's spiritual leader Pastor Marangu Mugambi.

Addressing a press conference held at a Meru hotel, the elders demanded an explanation from the government regarding the incident.

They also demanded that Imanyara's security be increased as well as for other vocal MPs criticizing the grand coalition government.

"We are demanding that action be taken urgently to have the security of Imanyara and others like Dr Bonny Khalwale and Martha Karua strengthened further," said Mugambi.

The elders pointed out that last month his office was broken into and only his computer hard disk and files relating to cases involving a member of First Family were taken.

Money and other valuable items in the office were untouched.

The elders asked the new Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere to investigate the incidents and bring the suspects to book.

Imanyara has upset some politicians by trying to push through a special local tribunal law to deal with the post election violence cases.

Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo who is a supporter of the Imanyara bill has also received threats from some of his Cabinet colleagues who warned him against pushing for the establishment of the special local tribunal. Strangers have also threatened his wife Nduku and his son, Mutula Kilonzo Jr.

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Nairobi Star Political Gossip

why are Lup MPs giving assistant minister Orwa Ojode the cold shoulder? We are told the MPs from the lake region are suspicious of the Ndhiwa MP whom they say is planning to start a campaign for the political separation of Southern Nyanza from the Central Nyanza regions.

A top level Cabinet minister who was equally influential in the former Nyayo regime reportedly owed Sh260 million in tax arrears and the KRA attached his salary for the entire five years which he served in the last Parliament. When the man was re-elected t to Parliament, the KRA lifted the attachment but a few months ago, the taxman wrote to the minister reminding him that he still had arrears to pay.

Three South Rift MPs were over-heard criticizing a senior Cabinet minister from the North Rift whom they accused of using them to further his own political ambition. The MPs accused the man, who holds a senior party position of "finishing" them through his recent political manipulations and have now vowed "not to be drawn into any of his "selfish schemes."

An assistant minister from Ukambani is very angry with two Cabinet ministers from the region whom he suspects of plotting to bring him down politically. The assistant minister from ODM-K reportedly wept accusing the two ministers of carrying out a personal vendetta against him. The man has since refused to pick up calls from the two ministers who are hoping to seek reconciliation for the sake of the party's unity.

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Nairobi Star - Wycliffe Muga: Maathai is Dead Wrong on Mau

MY recent criticism of our Nobel laureate Prof Wangari Maathai, and her interventions in the controversy on the Mau forest, appears to have troubled quite a few readers.

Obviously there are many who see her as a national icon, beyond all criticism.

Nonetheless, hardly a day passes before she comes up with some new statement to confirm that for all the honours that she has received internationally, she is first and foremost a parochial Kenyan politician, no different at all from many others. And in this she is further revealed to be both a false prophet and a hypocrite.

The most recent proof of her hypocrisy was in that she has guided some World Bank reforestation project right into her own political backyard, in the Aberdares mountain range.

This happens to be the one forest that is already effectively protected by a fence of the kind that the government has pledged to one day put up around the Mau forest.

But if we set aside for a minute her fame as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and see her as a failed politician determined to regain the Tetu Constituency seat in 2012, the choice of the Aberdares as the place to set up this labour-intensive tree planting makes perfect sense. It's fairly typical of how Kenyan politicians operate.

And as the gullibility of World Bank technocrats is stuff of legend, it cannot have been all that difficult for a person of her stature to convince the local World Bank office that Central Province was the ideal place for such a project - even though Eastern Province probably deserved it more.

What is far more disturbing, however, is her persistent declaration that no compensation should be given to the Mau farmers, and also that they must be evicted without delay.

In this she is a false prophet very much like those political leaders who, in the early years of independence in the 1960s, argued that the departing "white settlers" should not be compensated for giving up their farms, since this land they were now selling had been originally "stolen" from the indigenous Kenyan tribes.

Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed. And their wisdom was to be vindicated a full 30 years later, when the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe set out to accomplish precisely what these Kenyan politicians had advocated in the 1960s: violent and compulsory acquisition of the land owned by white farmers, with no compensation.

The contrast between the subsequent collapse of the Zimbabwean agriculture-based economy, and the relative success and resilience of the millions of Kenyan smallholder farms, could not be greater.

And the underpinning factor in all this is that in Kenya property rights were respected, while in Zimbabwe, property rights were violated.

When Maathai argues that there is no need to compensate the Mau settlers, since they "stole" that land, her words merely echo what Mugabe has been saying for over a decade.

She is supporting violation of the property rights of those farmers in the Mau, many of whom bought their land from the original allottees and received title deeds from the local lands registry.

It is true enough that there is something inherently dubious in the fact that former
president Moi should have a vast tea estate in what was formerly Mau forest land.

But as the French philosopher Ernest Renan said, "To form a common nation, people have to agree to remember a few things but also to forget a few things". And, as concerns the Mau, this perspective argues against violent eviction with no compensation paid.

For make no mistake - in the absence of compensation, those evictions will of necessity have to be violent.

We have already seen how this plays out, back in 2005, when the Lands minister of the time, Amos Kimunya, declaring the title deeds of the Mau settlers to be "mere pieces of paper", coordinated an eviction which saw homes, churches and schools burned and traumatised families left out in the cold on roadsides.

This is more or less what happened again on a more terrifying scale in the post-election violence, for which some of our leaders are now faced with the likelihood of being indicted by the International Criminal Court.

Given this recent history, if Maathai is determined to continue in her insane persecution of the farmers in the Mau, this is what she must do:

First she should return her Peace Medal to the Committee in Stockholm that gave it to her. And then she should prepare to make a journey to The Hague when the time comes, to join the other Kenyan political leaders who stand accused of fomenting politically-instigated violence within our borders.

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Nairobi Star - Jerry Okungu: What's the Fuss about Raila, Obama Dinner?

It is only in politics where a dignitary can be invited for a meal and then be "disinvited" and "reinvited" within hours.

This is the story of President Obama and Prime Minister Raila Odinga that kept tongues wagging for the better part of the Idd long weekend. It is the stuff that makes headlines even in some of the most respected media in Kenya.

However, before I discuss the merits and demerits of highlighting such a basic matter as an invitation to dinner between two relatives such as Obama and Raila, let me revisit a more or less similar episode that took place in Rome sometime last year.

President Robert Mugabe had gone to the Italian city to address the World Food Programme summit in his capacity as the Head of State and chairman of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. Unfortunately for Mugabe, little did he know the host country, a member of the European Union, had planned a humiliating parting shot for him.

It did not help matters that at the time Mugabe's regime had become extremely violent on opposition politicians to the extent that his soldiers and supporters could unleash terror at the slightest provocation.

When Mugabe arrived in Rome with his beautiful wife Grace, Zimbabweans back home were enjoying an inflation rate in billions. Bank notes were seven to ten figures up. The economy was on its knees and millions literally starved for a day's meal.

It was this scenario that informed authorities in Rome to delete Mugabe's name from the list of VIPs for the farewell state banquet! And nobody had the kindness to tell Mugabe of this omission on time.

He learnt about it through the press! Their argument was that there was no point in lavishing the Mugabes with wines and sumptuous meals while back home he was starving his own people to death!

Therefore, if Obama had to decline to invite Raila to his dinner, he would not be the first African senior politician to be subjected to such discrimination on account of bad governance.

However, what is intriguing is why the media had to blow the Raila-Obama saga out of proportion! Why was it necessary for Raila to be invited, disinvited then reinvited to the same Obama function?

Knowing the American State Department, I don't think they were the authors of such careless diplomatic mischief. Americans are more meticulous when it comes to such matters. They decide these little things many months ahead of time.

Remember during Obama's inauguration in January, the whole world knew that foreign heads of state would not be invited but would be represented by their ambassadors in Washington. President Kibaki and Raila did not go to Washington. The few ministers who thought Americans were joking and ventured into Washington had to contend with watching the event from their hotel rooms.

What was curious were the conflicting reports from the American Embassy in Nairobi and of course our New York office. How come they were all in agreement that Raila had been disinvited only for the State Department to rubbish such rumours?

Who stood to gain if Raila was excluded from the Obama list of African Heads of State?

Isn't is normal international practice that when a head of state appoints one of his assistants or even a foreign minister to represent him or her at international summits, such an appointee is accorded the status of leader of delegation?

There is no denying that Obama has been unhappy with our government performance, especially with its slow pace of reforms. It is also true that he gave Kenya, his fatherland, a miss when he first visited Africa recently.

However, these are not reason enough for the media to drive a wedge between Kenya and the United States. In any case, Raila was in the US to attend the UN General Assembly at the request of his President, not Obama.

The way I see it, our media would do us proud if they interrogated foreign governments whenever they subject our leaders to unwarranted diplomatic fiascoes the way Western media protect their own rather than jump to the rooftops to celebrate our leaders' discomfort.

The Obama-Raila fiasco was a test case for the newly-hired public relations company in Washington.

Where was the company when Dennis Onyango, Raila Odinga's press officer, our missions in Washington and New York and the American Embassy in Nairobi were escalating the already embarrassing situation?

It made me believe in my earlier misgivings about hiring foreigners to clean up our mess.

They will never do it for anything else except cash.

The writer is a media consultant.

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Nairobi Star: Kenya Anti Corruption Commission Advisory Board to fundraise for Ringera job adverts

DEFIANT Kenya Anti Corruption Commission Advisory Board now plans to raise funds within its membership to put up newspaper adverts seeking to replace embattled Justice Aaron Ringera.

This follows a flat refusal by Ringera on Tuesday to sanction the payment of adverts setting the process for his replacement together with that of his assistant director Fatuma Sichale and former assistant director Dr Smokin Wanjala.

Ringera, who is the chief accounting officer of the anti-graft body and who also serves as the secretary to the board, has insisted that there is no vacancy to be filled as the President had already re-appointed the trio.

"We are considering the prospects of us raising the money to pay for these adverts because he has refused to pay for them. He is the only link we have to the KACC secretariat and when he refuses to cooperate, it's a tricky affair," a member of the board said.

The board member told The Star that it is very critical that the board sets in motion the process to replace the three to offset claims of inaction and complicity in the President's action to appoint them.

The source also talked of the board's encounter with Ringera on Tuesday evening. "We felt ambushed because we had met to give notice of an intended meeting where the issue of the adverts was to be discussed only for him to pull a fast one on us."

The board will meet again on Thursday next week when the fund raising deal would be discussed. The adverts had already been approved for placement in two dailies tomorrow.

Parliament said it looks up to the board to fill the posts which it considers vacant.

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Nairobi Star: MPs may stall Treasury over Ringera saga

DEVELOPMENT projects and government salaries for the second half of the year could be frozen if Parliament makes good on its threat to delay or throw out the appropriations Bill, Treasury has said.

Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said yesterday Treasury will table the bill when Parliament resumes duty on November 10 but it will be up to MPs to approve it.

MPs have threatened to shoot down the bill to pro-test against the re-appointment of Justice Aaron Ring-era as Director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission. But Uhuru said the issue should be dealt with in isolation without forcing government operations to shut down.

"As we are dealing with the situation that does not mean the whole country has to grind to a halt," Uhuru said. "The government is currently operating on the vote on account."

Uhuru was speaking after signing exchange notes with the Japanese government for a Sh830 million non-project aid.

The vote on account allows government to spend 50 per cent of its tabled budget for the year with the rest being subjected to parliamentary vote through the Appropriations Bill.

"Once the 50 per cent is exhausted, that is that. It means that development programmes will have to be stopped, salaries will have to be stopped," the minister added.

Government is this year working with a Sh860 billion budget meaning so far it is working with about Sh400 billion. Part of the money is yet to be raised through government borrowing programmes.

Uhuru however asked Parliament to pass the Appropriations Bill to allow for government to implement stimulus programmes.

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Nairobi Star: Landowners get Sh2.7bn in Thika road expansion

PAYOUTS have started for land acquired for the expansion of Thika Road.

The Ministry of Roads has set aside Sh2.7 billion for the compensation.

Lands Commissioner Zablon Mabea in July last year gazetted hundreds of acres on Thika Road in the government's plan to expand the highway.

Among those who will lose land are the Kenyatta family and the prestigious Muthaiga Golf Club.

Others include Kahawa Barracks, Parklands Secondary School, Muthaiga Primary School, Kenya School of Professional Studies, Kenyatta University, the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, the Ramgharia Sikh Union which runs the Guru Nanak Hospital, Utalii Hotel, Fig Tree Hotel and East African Breweries.

In July, Roads assistant minister Wilfred Machage told Parliament Sh 1.1 billion will be paid out while Sh573 million will be paid to the Commissioner of Land. He said the ministry had already paid Sh458 million leaving a balance of Sh 1.2 billion.

"The ministry is in the process of preparing cheques for the affected persons amounting to Sh 1,279,229,067 leaving a balance of Sh964,649,447 to be paid later," Machage said.

There are unconfirmed reports that the Kenyatta fam¬ly has been allocated Sh980 million but the cheque is yet to be issued. It is not clear the acreage the Kenyattas have surrendered.

Several institutions have already accepted the offer and one university has already been paid Sh550 million.

The Kenyattas, speaking through a confidante of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, denied that the family had rejected the offer. "We are only aware that the government has been acquiring land along Thika Road for expansion. Again you cannot reject the government's offer where compulsory acquisition laws are being applied. You either take it or you lose everything."

The Lands commissioner in his gazette notice quoted section 6 (2) of the Land Acquisition Act that gives the government the final say on the amount of money the affected property owner should be paid. Normally, the state hires valuers who inspect the property and advise government on how much it should pay.

The government has borrowed Sh 18.5 billion from African Development Bank for upgrading the 45km road from Nairobi to Thika.

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Nairobi Star: Tea farmers get Sh25.4bn record bonus

THE Kenya Tea Development Agency has announced the highest ever earning for tea farmers of Sh25.4 billion which rivals any payout for small holder tea farmers in the world.

The Sh25.4 billion represented a 28 per cent increase in earnings for this year compared to Sh 19.7 billion reported last year.

In what is a record year for small scale farmers the average rate payable per kilo of green leaf delivered to factories increased from a total average of Sh24.6 in 2008 to an average of Sh35.1 this year.

Managing director Lerionka Tiampati said the record earnings by KTDA's half a million farmers are the reward of efficient factory processes, improved auction prices caused by high global demand that has been driven by prolonged drought and favourable interest rates.

"Exporters have enjoyed the weakening of the shilling and we hope it remains below the Sh70 mark," said Tiampati.

He said of the Sh25.4 billion total payment Sh7.7 billion has already been paid out to farmers at a monthly rate of Sh10.50 per kilo of green leaf over the year. The balance of Sh 17.7 billion will now be released as second payment, commonly referred to as the 'bonus' will be paid out in October.

This represents a significant increase over the Sh 11.3 billion earned last year.

At Sh35.16 per kilo of green leaf, KTDA is so far the best payer in the world.

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Nairobi Star - John Cleave: Soft Laws Will Lift Tourism Standards

Ginger beer and snails seem a comic mix of subjects but when combined, these humble ingredients created a legal chain reaction that, over time, modified our rights and continues to globally influence consumer protection today.

A manufacturer of ginger beer was held accountable in law to pay damages to a claimant who fell ill after drinking from a bottle she discovered contained the remains of a snail.

At the heart of this legal nicety is the discovery of an irreducible duty of care the average person owes to everyone else on the planet to be "reasonable" in actions and not cause foreseeable harm to another.

Tourists are vulnerable to duty of care and contract issues because they do not stay long, do not wish to waste holiday time confronting problems, are constrained by language differences, and heavily rely on local service providers to obtain the quality of service they expect in their home countries. Preventing problems before they occur is therefore central to sustainable inbound tourism.

Laws covering tourism services are contained in various Acts of Parliament and the new tourism bill, awaiting parliamentary approval, attempts to draw them together in one new bill. The tourism bill, however, focuses mainly on government authority and licensing requirements that for the most part are easily met.

The Tourism ministry has little oversight capability, few training facilities, or inspectorate outside the hotel industry and therefore relies on command and control laws in other sectors. These are not always enforced.

Only mandated membership in designated business member organisations with codes of practice, known as soft laws, can provide overall protection because code infringement results in loss of membership and loss of all tourism licences.

Mandatory membership in an association with soft laws does not infringe individual liberty and the first step towards ethical co-regulation, self-regulation and legal partnership is to link licensing to mandated association membership.

The right of free association and free speech are constitutional protection of individual rights under private law, but consumer protection falls to a sub-section of the constitution that governs relationships between individuals, citizens, companies and the state under public law.

Mandated membership of business associations have been upheld by the European Union and in Kenya, membership in the Kenya International Freight

Warehousing Association is mandated. The Kenya Revenue Authority does not issue a licence without membership.

Tourism Associations welcome mandated membership and those that do not must be hiding some form of oligarchy or monopoly. Self-regulation is about markets and mandated codes must include joining minima and an agreement that membership cannot be withheld provided the minimum joining standards are met. No one is locked out.

An example of enhanced tourist hotel protection is membership that requires a fire self-assessment risk certificate. No certificate, no membership. No membership, no licence.

Fire prevention inspections and the insurance industry will coordinate a process to prevent the continuous outbreak of fires on makuti-roofed tourist facilities at the Coast.

Another example under the code will be the introduction of a new law of tort for harassment to provide arrest of vendors not legally allowed to trade on beaches.

Beach vendors regard strenuous sale routines to be excellent merchandising, whereas overseas visitors regard them as hostile. The soft law leads to a new hard one in a beneficial social and legal relationship.

Another example, highlighted by the recent accidental death of a young British tourist while fishing is still under investigation, so no comment can be made, but it is known that the boat was not owned by a member of the Kenya Sea Anglers Association that has a code of ethics and conduct. Membership may have prevented such a sad occurrence.

An overarching code of practice for the industry is, therefore, desirable to provide high standards in all tourism activities. Soft laws are a social and legal engagement between business and government to add governance where it is needed.

Unscrupulous entrepreneurs are a drain on national resources and reduce credibility in the eyes of potential investors. In a country committed to eradicating poverty and becoming a semi industrialised state within 20 years we need to take these matters very seriously.

Tourism is a vital component of our economy and tourism business licensing linked to mandatory association membership will protect tourists, raise standards and enhance sustainability. This must now be incorporated in the new tourism bill before it is published.

Cleave is the acting chairman of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators.

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Nairobi Star: Local tourists to benefit from new cheap packages

LOCAL tourists are set to benefit from cheaper tourism packages next year in an initiative to be launched in November.

Tourism Minister Najib Balala said yesterday that his ministry is in consultation with stakeholders in the industry with the aim of coming up with ideas to make tours cheaper for locals, most of whom cannot enjoy safaris and other leisure activities due to high costs.

"We have declared 2010 the year of domestic tourism. We want to boost this area of tourism by encouraging intra-African travel and also make Kenyans understand that tourism is not just going to the beach or the Mara, there are other areas as well," Balala said.

To start off, the ministry wants school and university holiday schedules altered so that they do not coincide with the tourism high seasons as is the case currently.

"We want the Ministry of Education to consider changing the holiday months so that the students go for holidays during the low season because when the holidays coincide with the high season, hoteliers and tour operators cannot bring the price down," the minister said.

He however noted that the plan is at its initial stages and that Tourism ministry officials will be meet with their Education counterparts in the coming weeks to deliberate on the matter.

The two tourism high seasons in Kenya fall between the months of July to September and December to February. School holidays are in April, August and December.

The ministry has been allocated Sh30 million for domestic tourism in the current financial year and, according to Balala, part of the money will be used to market new tourism attractions like the Western circuit.

Balala said tourism is performing well having recovered very well adding that the industry is reaching the same profit levels of 2007, the most successful year. Sh62 billion profit was earned that year.

The minister note that the industry is promising citing the launch of new charter flights from Europe directly to Mombasa as a big boost.

The three flights from Brussels, Paris and Amsterdam will start operating between October and November.

Meanwhile Balala revealed that the newly appointed Managing Director of the Kenya Tourism Board shall report to office on 21st October because he was still finishing his contract at East African Cables Tanzania.

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Nairobi Star: KCB puts brakes on its expansion plans

KENYA Commercial Bank is now slowing down on its breakneck expansion strategy to concentrate on exploiting the expansive footprint it has established in the region.

Only the very new markets such as Rwanda and Uganda will continue seeing new branches at the rate which has seen KCB virtually double the number of branches on its network over the last two years.

The bank has 185 branches, by far the largest in the region, and over Sh 171 billion in assets, making it also the largest bank in Kenya in that category.

KCB has been expanding rapidly with new branches being built in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Southern Sudan.

According to management, focus will now shift to making the branches profitable by setting targets for the managers.

In a bold statement, the bank now says it is looking to lead in earning, a direct challenge to Barclay's Bank which has been raking in huge profits .

"We now have in place the necessary business supporting systems to meet our various needs, all of them state of the art and with immense capability," KCB Group chairman Peter Muthoka said during the bank's re-launch of its mobile banking platform yesterday.

"Our focus is now to make this network deliver results for our shareholders so that KCB can also stake claim to leadership in terms of profitability."

KCB has in the past year overtaken Barclays in virtually all categories including customers' deposits and loan book size.

And while its expansion has outpaced rivals, the new branches, except for Southern Sudan, are yet to begin contributing to profits. Southern Sudan has, however, continued to defy expectations returning huge profits.

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Nairobi Star: Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo family receives death threat

JUSTICE Minister Mutula Kilonzo, his wife Nduku and their son Mutula Junior are living in fear after receiving death threats from unknown people.

The latest death threat was when an anonymous caller phoned Mutula's wife on Friday last week.

There is no clear motive but the minister has allegedly been confronted by his own Cabinet colleagues.

Two Cabinet ministers went to his 14th floor office at Co-operative House in July to ask Mutula to stop pushing for a Bill to establish a Special Tribunal to try post-election violence suspects.

The ministers were angry with Mutula's insistence that the best option for Kenya was to create a local tribunal instead of referring the case to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

They asked Mutula to declare his interest and explain why he was so determined to have a local tribunal.

One minister asked Mutula if he had a valid passport but declined to explain why he wanted the information.

Contacted yesterday, Mutula was reluctant to discuss the conduct of his Cabinet colleagues but said he was taking the threats directed to him and his family very seriously.

"I do not know why anyone would target my family and myself but I can tell you that all these issues have been reported to the police as required by law. I am hoping that action will be taken as soon as possible because this is a very serious matter," said Mutula.

"They tried to make me malleable but did not succeed. Now they have decided to threaten my family. Why would any one threaten my wife or my son? It is totally unfair and unacceptable," said Mutula.

Mutula's wife told the Star how someone called her on Friday at about 10pm to say that she was targeted for elimination. The caller did not say who was behind the plot or why they wanted her dead.

"The person who called me sounded very polished and spoke very good English for the 15 or so minutes I engaged him. He made it clear to me that he was not just delivering a mere threat but that he was tipping me.

"He then went on to say ask me to report the matter to the police as soon as possible because the plan was about to be executed," said Nduku.

She said the man refused to identify the people behind the plot and insisted that the plot was real.

"I do not know who I have wronged so much that someone can actually plan to kill me," she said.

Nduku's report to the Gigiri police station is recorded in the Occurrence Book as OB 16/10/9/09.

Acting Gigiri OCPD Paul Korir confirmed last night that Mutula's wife had recorded a statement.

"I can confirm that we received that report and we are investigating the matter," said Korir.

Mutula Junior said he had received death threats several weeks ago and had reported the matter to Central Police Station but no arrests have been made so far.

"The person was very general but said he had been paid Sh200,000 to kill me because of a sensitive case I was handling. He did not name the case but just insisted that there was plan to eliminate me.

" I reported the matter to the police and the last I heard was that they had traced the location where the call was made. I do not know if they are continuing with investigations or not," said Mutula Junior who now runs his father's law firm Mutula Kilonzo and Company Advocates.

The two ministers went to Mutula's office a few days before the Cabinet met on July 20 and finally decided to reject the Bills which proposed the changing of the constitution to establish a special local tribunal.

Instead, the Cabinet decided to change the mandate of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission to enable it to handle post election violence suspects.

Following the Cabinet decision, mediator Kofi Annan handed the Waki list of suspects to the International Criminal Court whose Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo is now analysing the evidence, will soon take over the Kenyan case.

Yesterday, Mutula said the the death threats against his family was because of the position he had taken on the tribunal issue.

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Nairobi Star: William Ruto begins bid to stop Sh96 million graft case

THE hearing of an injunction that has stalled a Sh96 million corruption case against Agriculture minister William Ruto for five years began yesterday.

The minister and eight others were charged in 2004 with obtaining Sh9,916,830 part of the total sum from Kenya Pipeline Company finance manager by pretending he was in a position to sell land belonging to the Environment Ministry.

The 1.745 hectares land is situated within Ngong Forest.

But the minister rushed to the high court and filed the constitutional application challenging the criminal proceedings at the chief magistrate's office.

He told a three-judge bench yesterday that he is a stranger to the case and cannot be held liable because all the actions and decisions that led to the sale were approved by the government.

Through his lawyer Katwa Kigen, the minister argued that his right to secure protection of the law is violated.

He said he did not receive any monies, as evidence adduced in court shows that the money from KPC went into Kenya Times account and not his.

In the magistrate court, Ruto is accused together with former president Moi personal aide Joshua Kulei, Baringo Central MP Sammy Mwaita, Sovereign Group Limited, Berke Commercial Agencies, Priority Limited, Celtic Multy stems and Somog and Limited.

But the minister argued that the accusations have been brought based on discrimination and out of malice.

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Nairobi Star: Eastern and Northern Bypasses Constuction Progress on Schedule

WORKS on the Eastern and Northern by-passes in the city are proceeding well.

A tour of the bypasses yesterday revealed that the construction is within schedule.

Last March, the government received Sh8.6 billion from the Chinese government for the construction of the by-passes in the city to ease congestion on the roads.

China has appointed China Road and Bridge Corporation as the contractor for the two by-passes that will take 30 months to complete.

The 70km-road project consists of two major road links in the Nairobi Road Network Plan.

The contractor has begun tarmacing part of the Eastern bypass from the Embakasi Garrison towards Kangundo Road.

Roads permanent secretary Michael Kamau said yesterday that the government is satisfied at the pace at which the Chinese contractor was working on the by-passes.

"We are taking advantage of the favourable weather to open up Nairobi and its environs through building these bypasses," he said.

Kamau added that the bypasses will be motorable to the public even while under construction in the three-year contract.

"The construction includes interchange, flyover crossing, box culverts, standard pipe culverts and other drainage works," he said.

The Eastern bypass, which is 60 metres wide and 40 kilometres long, starts on the Ruiru-Kiambu road. It crosses the Northern bypass and the Ruiru railway line into Thika road.

After crossing Thika Road, it crosses Kamiti, Gathara-ini and Nairobi rivers into Ruai.

The corridor then crosses Kangundo Road and goes for about 10km to Mombasa Road through Embakasi Garrison and the North Airport Road.

The Northern bypass is about 25km long and has a service road of 10km through Runda and Thome estates. It starts from Ruaraka trading centre on Limuru Road, overpasses Banana Road and reaches Closeburn farm.

It then passes Kahawa West and Kamae and proceeds to Ruiru and joins the Eastern bypass.

The northern by-pass will connect with the Nakuru-Nairobi highway.

Ministry of Roads Public Relations Rachel Keino said yesterday that the government has resolved the issues that had threatened to slow down the construction.

Runda residents were at first to have the Northern by-pass cut through their neighbourhood.

During the launch last August, President Kibaki said the government was aware that the process of acquisition of road bypasses around Nairobi was mooted several decades ago to provide alternative routes for transit traffic.

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Nairobi Star: Dr Kioko Mang'eli says fake goods fight caused his sacking

SACKED Kenya Bureau of Standards boss Dr Kioko Mang'eli left office yesterday saying he was the victim in a 'terrible war' against counterfeit goods.

Mang'eli, who was in the third month of his second three-year term as head of Kebs, handed over to the Director of Metrology and Testing Joel Kioko in a hurriedly convened press conference at the organisation's headquarters yesterday afternoon.

The meeting was presided over by Industrialization PS Prof John Lonyangapuo and senior Kebs officials.

"It's tribal and political. I was given the (sacking) letter yesterday but I wasn't given a chance to explain myself," a bitter Mang'eli told journalists at the meeting.

He claimed unnamed politicians who wanted to make money for 2012 election campaigns from counterfeit goods had hounded him out of office.

"I don't regret being pushed out, they will also not live in power," he said. "Tomorrow I might be the Prime Minister or President and I will be there with them."

Mang'eli was sacked on September 8 through a letter by head of civil service Francis Muthaura but vowed to stay on saying the sack was not procedural.

Ukambani politicians including Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo and Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo rushed to his support and faulted the Government for sacking him.

Police had recently been instructed to arrest Mang'eli if he showed up the bureau offices in South C.

His fate was finally sealed last Friday during a meeting at Harambee House between President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, before the PM flew out to the United States.

Prof Lonyangapuo was instructed to inform Mang'eli of the orders and enforce the decision.

Yesterday, the PS skirted questions from the press but said Kioko would be the acting head until the board advertises the position, and a new MD is picked.

He heaped praise on the sacked director and said he managed to turn round fortunes of the bureau.

"Nobody failed and that's why the board appraised him," Lonyangapuo said.

Mang'eli accused leaders of cheating' the public on the financial position of Kebs. "As I leave, Kebs has Sh1.8 billion in the banks. They can go to National Bank and ask (managing di-rector Reuben) Marambii," he said, waving documents.

Muthaura had accused Mang'eli of seeking a pay rise after falsifying Kebs documents to show that he had turned the organisation's fortunes around.

The National Standards Council (Kebs board) had upped his salary from Sh480,000 to Sh 1,070,000.

Mang'eli however said the pay rise was decided at a meeting chaired by Minister of Public Service Dalmas Otieno.

The board had claimed the MD had turned Kebs' fortunes around from Sh300 million surplus in 2005-2006 to Sh826 million in the 2007-2008 financial year. However, audited financial statements show Kebs had a surplus of Sh288 million in 2006-2007 and Sh229 million in the period 2007-2008.

Mang'eli, who had also been accused of irregularly employing and promoting employees, was unrepentant and said he did so because Kebs had enough money.

"We've employed 150 people and increased salaries without receiving any money from the government," he said.

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Nairobi Star: Corridors of Power Political Gossip

Some ODM members are worried that failure by President Barack Obama to meet his distant cousin Prime Minister Raila Odinga may impact negatively on the perception that the party has 'connections' to the White House. They claim that ODM has done nothing wrong to warrant its party leader being denied a chance to wine and dine with the world's most powerful leader with Kenyan roots.

We hear State House was on fire two weeks ago after The Star published a story of how Othaya councillors were locked out of a hotel in Nyeri town, where their MP, President Kibaki, was enjoying lunch after a tour of the constituency. Some members of the First Family asked certain civil servants why the councillors were locked out. It seems the incident has ruffled some feathers in the Big House on the Hill as the Othaya civic leaders express their unhappiness.

An MP from Central Kenya was heard "talking badly" about a PNU minister from the region. The man, who is not known for being discreet, was overheard describing the senior minister from the region, with whom they share constituency boundary, as a "walking corpse".

We understand Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo has tasked a team of lawyers to study the decision by Parliament to nullify the appointment of retired Justice Aaron Ringera as the executive director of he Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission. Mutula has told the team to report back to him by early this week for him to take an appropriate decision.

Where did a female Cabinet minister from Rift Valley take the money she was given on Tuesday night by a vocal minister from the region to distribute to some politicians in the region? Corridor was shocked yesterday when one MP shouted at another in Parliament Buildings: "You ate our money but you did not fulfill your side of the bargain"

The wife of a prominent Kajiado politician has now declined to send pocket money to her husband after they differed over a political decision taken by the politician recently. We are told the man who used to distribute dollars to his constituents during the last general elections has now turned into a beggar. He has been frequenting Parliament Buildings where he solicits for handouts from MPs.

We told you that Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo's bid for presidency is stealthily gaining momentum. On Monday, a group of Kamba professionals numbering about 200 met at a Lukenya Hills outpost where prospects and strategies of his bid were extensively discussed.

The unceremonious and abrupt transfer of a top crime buster in Kawangware has set tongues wagging that despite a change of leadership, the police force remains the same. The man was transferred to Meru after he "got into trouble" by arresting two sons of a prominent Westlands politician who were found peddling drugs and smoking bhang.

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Nairobi Star: Kibaki may defend Othaya's MP seat in 2012, says Jimmy Kibaki

PRESIDENT Kibaki may remain as the MP for Othaya even after relinquishing the Presidency in 2012, his eldest son Jimi Kibaki has said.

He said nothing prohibits his father from standing again for the Othaya seat that he has held since 1974.

"Mzee might not retire as an MP. He might retire only as a President. The constitution allows him to seek another term as a Member of Parliament," said Jimi speaking at a harambee in aid of Our Lady of Consolata Birithia Catholic Church in Othaya on Sunday.

There has been widespread speculation that Jimi could succeed his father in Othaya because he has recently been making frequent visits and presided over several functions and fundraisings.

Jimi also launched the political youth movement Simama Kenya earlier this year.

PNU activist Mary Wambui, once rumoured to be the second wife of the President — but which the First Family has emphatically denied on many occasions — is understood to also be interested in the Othaya seat. Analysts say she could mount a strong challenge to Jimi as she is popular in the coffee-growing constituency.

If Kibaki senior decides to defend his Othaya seat after serving his maximum two five-year terms as head of state, he will be the first President in Kenya to do so.

The founding President Jomo Kenyatta died in office in 1978 while President Daniel arap Moi chose to retire from active politics after serving his two five-year terms that ended in 2002.

The constitution does not bar Kibaki from becoming Prime Minister should he become the leader of a party with a majority in the House in 2012.

Russia's Vladimir Putin and Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi both switched from President to Prime Minister in recent years.

The Star could not identify any case of an African president standing down to become a mere MP.

Kibaki entered elective politics in 1963 by contesting the Donholm constituency in Nairobi Province that he won on a Kanu ticket. He shifted base to Othaya in 1974.

But Kibaki risks missing the entitlements of a retired head of state that are enshrined in the Presidential Retirements Benefits Act of 2003 if he chooses to remain as an MP.

The Act stipulates that the benefits cannot be paid if a retired president is "actively engaged in activities of any political party and if the retired president "holds any appointive or elective post in or under the Government."

A retiring president receives a Sh17 million lump sum payment as a goodbye token. He then gets Sh950,000 tax-free monthly, which is 80 percent of the salary of the sitting president. A retired president is also given Sh300,000 monthly housing allowance, Sh300,000 as electricity, water and telephone allowances, and Sh200,000 as entertainment allowance.

He will be provided with 38 public servants including 6 officers for his own personal security and 6 others to guard his Muthaiga and Othaya homes. He will be given 4 four-wheel drive vehicles.

Jimi has been touted as a possible candidate to take over the Othaya seat after Kibaki's retirement.

He launched the youth initiative Simama Kenya in June together with ODM-Kenya MPs Kiema Kilonzo and Charles Kilonzo indicating that he has political ambitions.

Jimi lashed out at those already campaigning for the Othaya seat in 2012 saying the race is not a 100 metres but a marathon.

"You will get tired in six months and elections are three years away," said Jimi. "You better hold your horses, the time has not come," he added.

Over 20 parliamentary aspirants including businessmen, lawyers and sitting civic leaders have already started criss-crossing the constituency in silent campaigns.

Jimi praised the work his father had done during his tenure as area MP saying he had brought more development than anybody else would have done.

He said aspirants interested in the seat have been spreading rumours that Othaya will be divided into six constituencies which he said was impossible.

"Why are they not competing on development instead of politicking all the time? I wish you would challenge them to bring developments instead of politics and mere rumours'.
"Tell them to hold their horses. Youths should not be used by politicians but should take responsibility for their lives," he told the congregation.

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Nairobi Star: David Makali - Feuding Experts Hurting Reforms

Is it true that if you put two lawyers together in a room, you have an argument instantly?

Judging by recent verbal displays in interpreting the law, there is something to be wary of about the Learned Friends we entrust our all with.

They have a knack for turning everything into an abracadabra; a simple door can have several meanings to a lawyer — is it an exit, an entrance, or just an opening? You can argue up to tomorrow.

And so it is not surprising what is going on with the Committee of Experts established to prepare a draft constitution. From a layman's point of view, their task seems so well defined and simple but is it?

They are supposed to examine the previous drafts, isolate the contentious issues, and build consensus through consultation with different (I hate this word) stakeholders. Once they have done so, they can then present a draft constitution for consideration by Parliament in December.

Parliament will mull over it, and if it finds issues, send it back to the Reference Group which will then... I lose you.

Ok, in short, in March we should have a referendum on a constitution that is expected to be so agreeable to the majority and if endorsed by 60 per cent of the registered voters will become our supreme law.

Well if you don't know or like that, go to the nearest police station and notify the OCS of your intended protest. Kenyans are in the habit of waiting until the last day to complain about this and that. Sorry, this time the courts have been stripped of the power to entertain your grievances.

What is disappointing though is the wrangling in the committee.

Last week, Committee member Njoki Ndung'u ventilated her frustrations with the committee's mode of operation in a letter to the chairman Nzamba Kitonga in which she basically said, Stop, something is wrong!

According to Njoki, the committee has not been following the law and some of its meetings are not meeting the threshold set by Parliament - that they must all be on record.

What irritated her is a short notice retreat to Naivasha last week by the committee to write a draft. Well, Njoki has to know that she is fully engaged by this country to write the constitution, so she should be available on call 24-7. But she had other issues, which might need urgent attention.

Key is the complaint that the committee has yet to draw the attention of the public.

True, the constitution is nowhere as exciting as the back-door reappointment of Aaron Ringera or the controversial prosecution of post-election violence perpetrators. But, surely, a constitution we have been trying to write for 25 years should at least elicit some public interest and participation.

Can the Principals ask the country to keep quiet for just a day so we just discuss the constitution?

Secondly, the consultations don't seem to be progressing well. The job of the committee was to present the contentious issues to the public, receive submissions on them, and meet with vested interests — institutions and individuals — to harmonise their views
and bridge their differences.

The consensus would then be written into the draft on the basis of the widest possible acceptance or excluded altogether. Njoki accuses the committee of rushing to write the draft before it has exhausted the consultations, subtly hinting that the committee is prematurely "deciding" for the public what is consensual.

Well, not surprisingly, the protest has found instant amplifiers in the name of evangelical churches calling themselves the Kenya Christian Constitutional Forum. Yawn.

The question is how much consultation is enough? And given that some people, especially evangelicals who are battling for exclusion of the Kadhis' courts from the constitution, will not yield unless their position is accepted, will the committee finish its work in time?

Maybe Njoki is right — the committee has become impatient with some potentates who think the Constitution cannot be written without their views. But is there anyone out there, political or religious, whose views are indispensable?

I can bet that unless we cut off some arguments, we will still be discussing about a draft in March next year and asking for more time. Politicians will happily grant the extension, knowing well it will allow them one more day in office.

David Makali is a media consultant

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KenGen Launches Power Bond

Nairobi -- Power producer KenGen announced that it aims to add 500 megawatts of electricity to the national grid with proceeds from the $204 million public infrastructure bond.

“It is part of KenGen’s short term strategy to stabilize the power situation in the country by commissioning 500MW from fast-tracked projects by 2012,” said Eddy Njoroge, KenGen’s Managing Director.

He said that Kenya will require $4.5 billion over the next 10 years for power production to meet rising demand.

Prime Minister Odinga who presided over the launch said Kenya should strive for home-grown solutions to the power crisis facing the country.

“We have to think out of the box. It requires huge resources to meet the demand for power in the country and it does not help to always listen to advisors from outside,” he said.

The Prime Minister also added that other corporate bodies with strong balance sheets should issue infrastructure bonds to tap into local resources.

KenGen’s bond is the first corporate offer targeting the retail segment. Investors will enjoy a fixed net interest rate of 12.5 per cent.

The offer closes on September 29, 2009 and is expected to start trading at Nairobi Stock Exchange on November 9, 2009.

To read the original article, click here.

For more information, please contact Lisa Mendelson at (202) 777-3561 or

This material is distributed by Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates on behalf of the Office of the President of the Republic of Kenya. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, Washington, DC.

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John Michuki on another 'Executive' Mandate

John Michuki is the Minister for Environment and a close ally of President Kibaki.

Today he was asked by some journalist about his opinion regarding Parliament's planned veto on presidential appointment. The Kenya Parliament is set to retract the appointment of Justice Aaron Ringera by President Kibaki.

Michuki's opinion was also sought on House Speaker Kenneth Marende's decision to allow such debate to take place.

This is what John Michuki had to say:

The executive should be left alone to carry out its mandate. It should be allowed to carry out its development programme without interference. It is on that basis that people will decide whether to send it (executive) home or give it further mandate.
Is Kibaki sight trained to beyond 2012?

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A Thought on Major Hussein Ali Replacement as Police Commissioner by Mathew Iteere

Kibaki has for once controlled the political agenda and debate in Kenya for over a month now. The media, other politicians (especially Parliament) and the Kenyan public is playing catching up. Mwai Kibaki is proving to be a marathoner and is tiring the patience of everyone else. He has kept his ODM "enemies" very close. He is actually having a field day. One wonders whether the Kenyan courts or parliament aka Kenneth Marende will really manage to spoil the party.

For the last month it has all been about Justice AaronRingera and Major Hussein Ali. The former police commissioner has since been replaced by Mathew Iteere. Major Hussein Ali is now the Postmaster General. This change is ostensibly meant to pave way for the much touted police reforms. Whether there will actually be satisfactory police reforms is another matter altogether.

As calls flooded FM stations, where Kenyans vent and lust, one comment summed up the whole debate for me, "Kenya has not done much with the change of guard at Kenya police, we have just been made to exit the gents and enter the ladies!"

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David Makali: Ringera, why are you clinging to this job?

I have come to the conclusion that the biggest obstacle to just governance and the rule of law in Kenya today is squarely one of a dishonest President. In almost every social and political crisis that has befallen us since 2003, ineffectual leadership and mischief motivated by political expediency is self-evident.

And the stalemate over the illegal re-appointment of Justice Aaron Ringera and his cast of pretenders to office is but the latest example. It recalls the circus that the country was taken through by Samuel Kivuitu's discredited Electoral Commission, and the fallout in the Narc government after 2002 elections.

In the case of the ECK, the President invoked his imperial executive powers to appoint commissioners contrary to established tradition and a standing gentleman's agreement he had benefited from. The straight inference was that he had appointed commissioners to serve his interests. And no measure of public protests could drive sense either into the President or the beneficiaries.

The consequence was that the ECK lost its credibility way before going into the elections and set the stage for political conflict. Come the elections and the ECK's general conduct only vindicated those who believed it had been conscripted in an ulterior scheme to return a particular result.

The chaos was predictable. Yet, despite driving the country to the brink of civil war, none of the disgraced commissioners felt conscientious enough to resign. They took a bleeding country through the court to defend their bloody contracts and terms of service and extract their dues without a sense of responsibility. I hear they were all paid over Sh20 million each!

Now flip to Ringera & Co; another bunch of people we have all along believed to be decent and honourable enough to obey the law. But now they are sitting tight as controversy rages about the circumstances of their appointment. I ask, do these people have any conscience? I must remind them that the English verb "re-sign" was coined precisely for circumstances such as they find themselves in.

By refusing to resign — or in this case insisting on taking up their illegal appointments — they have proved themselves to be not just morally bankrupt but accomplices in breaking the law, which is in itself a bad statement on their competence and integrity.

No, it is not a matter of different interpretation of the law. Nor can they take refuge in the fact that they have only been appointed and the person answerable is the President. They are accountable to the people of Kenya because they are the direct beneficiaries of an action which has been shown to be clearly mischievous, fraudulent and illegal.

icy cannot pretend that they have been appointed against their will, because they lobbied for those jobs. They cannot pretend that something disastrous will befall the country if they are not in those offices. This country has more than enough qualified people of high integrity who can perform those duties, if not better.

Because of your studious silence, we must begin to speculate about why you have been appointed in such a manner. We must begin to wonder what considerations have exchanged hands or pledges have been made to the appointing authorities.

We have to wonder whether your conduct has anything to do with the contents of the book "It Is Our Time To Eat". We must ask what it is you have been doing the last five years that you are scared of leaving office, or why President Kibaki feels he needs you in the office five more years when no one else has said so. Not Parliament. Not the Advisory Board.

We must ask why you are so desperate to keep these jobs, despite your high qualifications. This country specialises in obfuscation of facts to suit partisan interests and political expediency. But in your case, the illegality of your backdoor appointment and the dishonesty of your acceptance, is daylight fraud and breach of procedure. It reeks of political corruption, the kind you are charged with investigating.

'The arguments advanced in your favour by political sycophants cannot reverse the precedent set by the re-appointment of your colleague, Dr John Mutonyi. Your continuing occupation of those offices is insulting to the intelligence of Kenyans and a scar on your own character, integrity and social standing.

We look up to you to resign, step down or reject the appointments.

David Makali is a media consultant.

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Corridors of Power Political Gossip

An aspirant in the Bomachoge by-elections, who was in the habit of dishing out free meals at his restaurant during the campaigns and was finally forced to shut the business, now feels cheated. The unsuccessful aspirant was overheard telling his friends at a restaurant on Chaka Road in Nairobi that some of his perceived supporters had the audacity to tell him to continue dishing out free food up to 2012 as a strategy to unseat the new MP-elect Simon Ogari.


Corridor is wondering what is wrong with Prime Minister Raila Odinga's orderlies. On Wednesday night they beat up a KTN cameraman and blocked him from taking photographs at a bash in honour of the visiting Tanzanian Prime Minister. And on Tuesday, a top member of Raila's security manhandled other Cabinet minister's bodyguards at Orange House.


We hear the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) advised President Kibaki that KACC director Aaron Ringera should not be reappointed on grounds that the public mood was against it. Instead, a little bird whispered to us, the President chose to listen to his political arm of ministers Mutula Kilonzo, Kiraitu Murungi and his special adviser Nick Wanjohi. We are now told the NSIS has advised that Ringera should not take up his position as a way of resolving the Parliament-Executive impasse.


Do you remember the story of the jailer intimidating inmates at Kamiti Prison? We are told the jailer is using prisoners to construct a beach home at the Coast using excess funds requisitioned from the Consolidated Fund to repair prisons.

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Wycliffe Muga: Ringera's job isn't about graft war

For a while, it seemed we were headed for quiet times. The Shinyalu and Bomachoge by-elections had been peacefully concluded. And the controversy over the proposed Mau evictions was at last heading towards a humane resolution.

But instead, political temperatures have risen. And this time it is over the reappointment of Justice Aaron Ringera as the Director-General of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission.

Judging by what newspaper readers and TV viewers have to say, it seems a majority are outraged at this decision. Justice Ringera is widely considered to have failed to deliver, and many want to see his quick exit.

I think a lot of this anger is misplaced. I would say Justice Ringera should be allowed to keep his job, provided only that he goes further than the KACC's advisory board on the pro-posed salary reduction.

The proposed reduction of the director general's salary by 35 per cent does not go far enough.

What Ringera should do is accept a pay cut of 75 per cent, and then cling to his appointment letter, having made it clear he is not in it for the money. He would still be left with some Sh625,000 a month, which is still a huge salary for a purely ceremonial job.

The point which most critics seem to ignore is that Ringera's position has little to do with fighting corruption. This director-general-ship, like the other grand title in this field, The Permanent Secretary for Governance and Ethics — held briefly by the fabled John Githongo — is part of the elaborate window-dressing the government set up a few years ago to appease the donors by suggesting something was being done about corruption.

Which is not to say that anybody is actually fooled by this eyewash. But rather that it provides something that can be mentioned in speeches when the government is defending itself from accusations of not being serious about corruption. And the proof that this is the case was provided by Ringera himself, when he spoke on numerous occasions of the lack of teeth which faced the KACC, and how his commission was helpless to use the evidence they had of economic crimes, since he had no powers of prosecution.

John Githongo likewise, after realising that he was getting nowhere, unilaterally changed his job description from that of adviser to His Excellency the President on Ethics and Governance to that of a spy-at-large. In this new role, he recorded private discussions which would later enable him to betray friend and colleagues who were foolish enough to speak plainly, because they trusted him.

I once knew someone who held a senior appointment at one of our diplomatic missions abroad, and was congratulating him on having scaled the heights of diplomatic service, when he told me that there really wasn't that much to it. Most of what he did was just to hang out, he said.

And Justice Ringera's job is really no different. He basically just hangs out. And those naive enough to be taken in by the elaborate pretense that this job has something to do with fighting corruption have only themselves to blame if they find that nothing of that kind is happening.

Mind you, these positions which allow the holder to hang out for a period of some three very pleasant years or so are among the most sought after in the whole country. And any politician of stature will have a whole troop of hangers-on determined to somehow get to hang out at taxpayers' expense for the next three years. Some manage this by getting diplomatic postings to non-crucial friendly states. Others get to serve on commissions of inquiry of one kind or another.

There was a time when even the CEOs of state corporations were appointed mostly from the ranks of such hangers-on. But that is not so frequent these days of performance contracts. In addition, boards of directors have learned to assert them-selves, just as the advisory board of the KACC is now doing in opposing the presidential appointment.

How far they will get with this defiance remains to be seen. But the outcome actually does not matter, once you realise this position is of no real significance, and that it hardly matters at all who holds it.

If Justice Ringera will agree to a 75 per cent pay-cut just to assure us that personal greed is not what drives him he should be allowed to keep his job.

Wycliffe Muga comments on topical issues.

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Pheroze Nowrojee: Youthful Tribalists are not the Future

So, we are seeing tribal leaders again. They voice tribal deprivation and tribal injustice in a flash. There is famine in the country and drought across the land. But all they shout about is that they are being painted as 'thieves'. In place of prayers for the national problem, they call prayers for the tribal grievance. In another flash, they give up being members of the National Assembly and become hardworking members of their self-summoned tribal assembly.

This is a return to the politics of the past. Those dark days proved to be so damaging to Kenya and all its peoples that we needed the world to sit us up again. The damage is visible also to the very peoples for whose benefit governments practised tribalism over the past 20 years. For tribalism is not bad when it is practised for the benefit of one tribe, and good when for another.

Tribal politics damage every part of the nation, no matter for whose apparent benefit they have been practised. We have seen that the tribal politics of Kenyatta, Moi and the first Kibaki government divided Kenyans, created the third most unequal country in the world, and unleashed oppression, corruption and illegalities that resulted in our election chaos of 2007. That is the experience we all know. We cannot stop such politicians. But there is something we can do.

We can reject them. And deny them respect, or vote. We have to heed that experience, so we have the strength to reject the tribal appeals and 'leadership' which we find so difficult to resist even while we know they are wrong.

The politics of tribalism is the use of money and coercion to hate others, so that a few individuals keep power and enlarge their wealth. No nation can be built on such sand.

To keep tribal politicking 'attractive', fresh branding campaigns are launched from time to time.

The latest repackaging has a very bright sticker on the product: "With New Youth(ful) Leaders". This is also being put on the shelves as the Politics of Youth, so youth can buy it directly also.

The political salesmen are 'youthful'. The political product is Methuselahan. Tribal politics is not the politics of youth. It is the politics of Moi, Kenyatta and the colonial British. That is why
when the going gets tough, the young tough get going to visit certain old men.

Youthful tribalists say they are the new model of youth leadership. We all still hold up Nelson Mandela as the model for ourselves and our Continent. I have not noticed lately that he is a youth. I thought the beliefs, consistency and actions of Mandela were a better test than age. So too, we must choose our youth leaders more carefully, and on their service and consistency. Youthful tribalists are not the future.

If we follow the youth who studied in YK92 and in late-Kanu, they can lead us in no other way. They do not know any way other than tribalism. Their 'leadership' is but old wine in new bottles. There is a further reason to reject such 'leaders'.

Tribalism is dysfunctional. Tribalists cannot implement a constitution of ideas. Nor can a mix of national welfare and tribalism bring us success. There is no such theory of constitution or good government premised on ethnic domination.

Tribal primacy cannot make Kenya a functioning nation. To make Kenya develop, we need functioning laws, commerce and social justice. We need them implemented and practiced all the time, to pull Kenya back from our retrograde past.

The oaths of office these 'leaders' take are to constitutional supremacy. Their actions are for the supremacy of their own tribe. This is a basic conflict.

When MPs swear loyalty to the Constitution, they are swearing loyalty to concepts of freedom, equity and law. But when (as they are doing) they transfer their loyalty from those concepts and donate it instead to a tribe, then intellectual schizophrenia sets in.

We cannot subscribe to national ideals and simultaneously to ethnic hegemony. They are incompatible. To do so brings the nation to a standstill. Exactly as happened in 2005 and 2007.

We must learn from our history or it will keep teaching us the same painful lesson of 2007. We have to deny support to leaders who offer the easy politics of ethnicity and give support to those who work at the more difficult politics of delivery, regardless of their ethnic group.

The writer is a lawyer based in Nairobi.

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Nairobi Star Political Gossip

Kenyan athletes known to revel in sipping 'mursik' (Kalenjin traditional sour milk) to celebrate at the end of a successful race were disappointed when German-authorities refused to allow the gourds containing the milk into their country! Unable to meet the cost of having it destroyed in Germany, the Kenya sporting authorities organised to have the milk airlifted back home.


The brother of former Information minister Mutahi Kagwe is being wooed to unseat Kieni MP Nemesyus Warugongo. Dan Kagwe, a business-man in Uganda is said to have already bought a big chunk of land near the Ark Hotel in Kieni East district in readiness for making his political debut.


Was Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Mutula Kilonzo kept in the dark in the reappointment of Aaron Ringera as KACC boss? We hear Mutula was taken by surprise when Kibaki made the announcement. Mutula was in the process of engaging the KACC board to come up with transparent process. The affable minister has since been avoiding calls especially from journalists.


We hear that a returning officer in one of the two constituencies which had a by-election behaved himself so exemplary that a commissioner at the NEC called him to warn him against granting interviews to journalists and observers. The commissioner was not amused that the returning officer was 'stealing the show' from the IIEC


We are told that Committee of Experts vice chair Atsango Chesoni's comments that the commission will not be cowed "no matter how much money they offer us in secret little meetings" should not be treated lightly — even though Atsango was speaking in a light hearted manner. So, are there people seeking to compromise the commissioners?


MPs will now be provided with job cards to identify themselves when accessing-Parliament Buildings. The decision follows frequent embarrassment caused to the legislators by guards from the Sergeant-at-Arms office who recently manhandled one of the lesser known MPs from Eastern Province. Some of the MPs have said it would be easier to relegate the ignorant and arrogant security officers who are not trained in handling VIPs.


A top-level member of the Pentagon who campaigned vigorously for ODM has been overheard telling friends at a restaurant in the Hotel Intercontinental that he would have been in Kamiti if Prime Minister Raila Odinga had won the 2007 presidential elections. The man said recent developments in the party would have seen him thrown in jail by now!


The GSU officers guarding VIPs who live at the headquarters in Nairobi are protesting a move by deputy commanding officer Job Buroyo to move them from their current houses at the Drive In Estate to the headquarters. The 200 or so families are concerned that they will be leaving their spacious homes for cramped houses at the headquarters.


Internal Security minister George Saitoti has been meeting with National Heritage minister William ole Ntimama to ask him to rally the Maasai MPs to support his presidential bid in 2012. We are told Ntimama gave Saitoti one condition — he must remain firm in supporting the eviction of settlers from the Mau Complex to win that support.

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