Archive for October 2010
At the International Monetary Fund meeting going on in the US, African ministers complained that the Fund was treating Africa unfairly. Then the IMF Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn walked into the room, spoke to the ministers and asked if anyone had a question. None of them raised a single question.
An MP from Nyanza is spending a lot of his time avoiding his constituents who seem to have lost faith in him. The constituents are saying the man is hard to find when they need his help. The voters have decided that the MP's performance is below par and they will "deal with him" at the right time.
Like children, some of the MPs in two parliamentary committees are fighting for attention. The members from the Legal Affairs Committee chaired by Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba and those from the Oversight Committee chaired by Mandera Central MP Hussein Abdikadir are organising media functions and other meetings aimed at outshining each other.
You know about the tag of war at the Ministry of Industrialisation over the appointment of the KEBS managing director Joseph Koskey? Yesterday we reported that Civil Service boss Francis Muthaura has been in talks with PS John Lonyangapuo over the matter. Actually the PS with whom Muthaura had a word is Dr Karanja Kibicho. Lonyangapuo is the PS for Public Works and has nothing to do with the fights in his former Ministry.
A top official at KACC has complained to friends that he is facing serious frustrations moving ahead with speed as anticipated in the war on corruption. The official claims roadblocks have been placed in every move he makes to unearth corruption and has suddenly become isolated in a process that requires a lot of teamwork.
The uproar over the appointment of the new Kebs director has led to Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey being called in to explain his decision to Prime Minister Raila Odinga who is also the ODM party leader while Kosgey's the chairman. On his part, Head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura has given a hearing to the PS John Lonyangapuo.Kosgey and Lonyangapuo have been at loggerheads since the former went ahead to appoint Julius Koskey as the new Kebs boss against the advise of the PS and a section of the board. It's now a matter of who will blink first.
A Cabinet minister from Nyanza is at risk of being isolated by MPs from the region for associating with a group of Luo elders who have fallen out of favour with the MPs. The minister is being accused of financing and organising international connections for the elders who have fallen out with their colleagues over "artificial feuds" manufactured by some local politicians.
The interest that a well known PNU political activist has taken in the ongoing construction of stalls on a disputed City Council plot in Upper Hill, Nairobi, has attracted the curiosity of many people. A senior City Council officer who has been asked questions about the construction of the stalls just when the council is tearing others down has remained mum and does not want to comment on the matter. The question many are asking is whether the council has changed its policy as far as unplanned structures are concerned.
Yet another attempt by another political activist, this time from South Nyanza, to get audience with Prime Minister Raila Odinga has come a cropper. The man, who is hoping to run for Parliament in the next elections, is bitter that despite investing huge sums of money in ODM politics and donating huge sums of money in harambees the PM is yet to notice him. The well known ever ambitious political activist is deeply concerned that people in his constituency will soon realise the PM wants nothing to do with him which will mean the death knell for any political career he is hoping for.
A cabinet minister from ODM has been enjoying freebies offered by a Mombasa politician. In return, the mheshimiwa has been using his influence to assist his newfound-friend acquire some prime real estate along the beach. The politician is known to pay his friends for their assistance by footing the bills for the plane and chopper hired to take them to Coast where he hosts them in style and indulges their every whim.
Some High Court judges who have been presiding over a controversial land case are reportedly headed for trouble after a prominent city lawyer started compiling a report containing what he claims is incriminating evidence that will bar the judges from any future appointments to the bench. The lawyer has reportedly been gathering the dossier on about 15 High Court judges who have over the years handled the matter. He intends to present the dossier to the vetting committee.
Former schoolmates of a Nyanza MP who has all along been claiming he is a qualified lawyer have challenged him to say in which university he acquired his law degree. The man reportedly never completed his law studies as he dropped out after one semester for unexplained reasons and never returned to school to complete the course.
A top cabinet minister who is known for claiming he is "Mr Clean" surprised his colleagues when he started celebrating receiving a Sh20,000 gift from a businessman. The minister decided to be 'philanthropic' by calling a number of his buddies to join him for a small weekend party which he hosted courtesy of the cash gift.
Key ODM-K strategists want President Kibaki to appoint Ndaragua MP Jeremiah Kioni an assistant minister. The plan is to have Kioni in cabinet leaving the way open for gemstone dealer and Kangundo MP Johnstone Muthama to take over as one of the joint Chief Whips.
Prime Minister Raila Qdinga's handlers are pushing hard to have one of the ODM Cabinet ministers from Nyanza fired and replaced with the ever vocal Gwassi MP John Mbadi. The handlers are complaining that the minister has been a burden to the party which is in need of revitalisation to woo more members. And if Raila does not want to appoint Mbadi, the handlers have set their eyes on yet another assistant minister, also from the same region, whom they think should be replaced by Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo.
On Friday we told you of a former provincial commissioner who is said to be overruling his boss when it comes to some decisions to do with allowances. We have since learnt that decisions to do with allowances are not made or implemented by one person. They are collective because the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry decided to set up a committee to deal with allowances. Since the new system was implemented, we are told, the committee has been able to deal with all the allowances and in fact got rid of fictitious claims. Those complaining have had their claims questioned.
Speculations doing the rounds is that former nominated MP and sponsor of the very successful Sexual Offences Act Njoki Ndung'u wants to be the Chief Justice. Many of her friends and associates say the firebrand gender activist and constitution expert is uninterested. But her name has featured in a list being circulated by members of the Law Society of Kenya. They think she should be considered for the soon to be vacant position of Chief Justice. Her inclusion has reportedly made her very unhappy as it is far from the reality.
Last week, we told you of an MP from central Kenya who has puzzled his colleagues with his new love for Khat or Miraa. The MP has been carrying with him bundles of the mild stimulant herb which he does not shy away from chewing whenever he gets an opportunity. The same MP has also not been hiding his love for beer and has been seen several times along Riverside Drive imbibing his favourite drink as early as 2 pm.
An MP from Nyanza has been harassing Parliament staff. From the kitchen staff to clerks, the first-time MP belittles everyone he comes into contact with. He has no respect for the team that works day and night to ensure his stay at Parliament is comfortable. The staff now want this big man to stop his bad manners.
An argument between an MP from Kisii and his former aide almost turned tragic at a Nairobi hotel when the honourable member drew a gun. The mheshimiwa threatened to shoot the civic leader claiming he was behind his recent misfortunes. It took the intervention of two friends who had accompanied the MP to restrain him. When things cooled down, the MP sauntered away with a word of caution to his former aide, "I'm not through with you yet!"
We told you about a former minister from Coast who has been conning people and has become an embarrassment to his former cabinet colleagues, family and friends. We have learnt the man conned his junior at the ministry out of Sh180,000. The man, who has piled up a debt of Sh6 million, left the lady with a Rado watch as collateral and promised to repay the debt in a week but never did.
The PNU leaders who have been pushing for changes in the party's leadership are about to make a major announcement. Our mole in the party tells us that a group of disgruntled members who include youthful MPs are set to form a new party altogether. The group will be making an application to the Registrar of Political Parties next month for the registration of the new party whose name they are still piecing together. The group aims to shut out elderly politicians from politics of 2012.
Yesterday we reported that a senior officer in the Ministry of Housing has refused to pay junior workers allowances approved by the PS Dorothy Angote. We want to take the earliest opportunity to clarify that Ms Angote is the PS in Ministry of Lands while the Housing PS is Tirop Kosgey. The said officer, a former provincial administrator, has been overruling claims approved by Kosgey and not Angote.
The season of "eating" is upon us. At least that is what our moles are saying about a Cabinet minister who has enlisted the services of some senior officials and parastatal chiefs under his ministry to try and skim as much "excess cash" as they can in readiness for the 2012 campaigns. For those officers who do not oblige, they are finding themselves transferred or demoted which has caused fear among the staff. The minister has also organised for a top law firm to get the contract to recover millions of shillings owed to one of the parastatals under his mandate.
Time: 2am. Place: Langata Road: What: Kenya Airports Authority bus, KAT 277X parked by the side of the road. A group of people swiftly offloading cartons of clearly labeled duty free liquor and beer from the bus to a waiting matatu. Coincidence: The matatu belongs to a senior Duty Free shop manager.
The unending PNU wrangles continue. Now the dispute is about the two advisers associated with the party. Party officials are now fighting amongst themselves as to who between Prof Peter Kagwanja and Moses Kuria is best qualified to be the party's political spin doctor.
Junior employees at the Housing ministry are angry with a senior official who they say has refused to pay allowances which have been approved by the Lands Permanent Secretary Dorothy Angote. The official, a former provincial administrator, has given himself the role of overseeing the work of all technical departments, including directing heads of departments, even though he sorely lacks technical know-how.
By Francis Mureithi
MAINA Njenga wants to convert the six million youth he led in the Mungiki sect to join his new Amazing Grace International church.
In an exclusive interview with the Star yesterday, Njenga said he now wants to teach young people the true gospel and admitted he had misled them in the past.
He said his one-month-old church already has 10,000 followers and the number is expected to shoot up in the coming weeks with the opening of branches across the country.
The church has been meeting on an open ground behind the Labour Party of Kenya offices on Amboseli Road between Nairobi's Lavington and Kawangware estates.
Njenga describing as "primary school" the period when he led Mungiki youth to follow African traditional religion and pray facing Mt Kenya. He said they now need to be converted to believe in the true God.
"I had a very big following of people to the tune of 5 to 6 million. We want these people to continue believing in God. I have to change their faith, I want to train them to become non-violent because I am a teacher, I am a doctor and I am an ambassador of peace," said Njenga.
"I have been teaching them about facing Mt Kenya, I have to go back to them and tell them that we were wrong in some ways. Let's start reading the Bible," he said.
Mungiki is a proscribed sect whose members are often accused of operating protection rackets in the matatu business and in the slums.
Njenga said he does not care whether the government puts his church under close scrutiny.
"It does not matter, governments come and go but people are the government. If people believe in what you are doing, nobody can oppose you," said Njenga at the LPK offices from where he now operates.
He accused some police officers of trying to preserve Mungiki sect because they have been the beneficiaries of extortion.
"The police cannot be happy when Mungiki is getting finished because they work with Mungiki.
They are the people who organise those young groups to go to the matatu industry so that whatever cash they get they share," said the former Mungiki leader.
Since his release from prison last year, Njenga has become a preacher of peace and harmony while building a political empire behind the scenes comprising young people from Central, Nairobi and Central Rift Valley provinces.
Njenga, whose National Youth Movement for Yes mobilised five million youth during the August 4 referendum on the new constitution, is mapping out strategies to transform his church into a political party with civic, parliamentary and presidential candidates.
The movement has been converted into the Amazing Grace International. Some of the leaders called themselves Warembo ni Yes during the referendum campaigns but are now calling themselves Warembo ni Yesu and leading groups in their respective constituencies.
Yesterday Njenga denied that he harboured political ambitions ahead of the 2012 elections.
"I don't have such ambition. I am not of the class of going to high places. I am a simple man," he said.
He said he quit Bishop Margaret Wanjiru's Jesus Is Alive Ministries after they disagreed on the new constitution. Wanjiru campaigned for the rejection of the new constitution while Njenga was in the Yes camp.
Njenga said he was still a personal friend of Wanjiru and campaigned for her during the recent Starehe by-elections where she recaptured her seat.
He added that his attempts to join other churches have been thwarted.
"If I go to any church, they do not give me time to talk about my salvation. They are afraid because I am going to influence their followers. Every time I go to their church, they feel threatened. We need to have our own independence," said Njenga.
Last Sunday, his church received visitors from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, Njenga said.
He said the Amazing Grace International has its roots in Washington DC in the USA.
Rev Grace Kariuki and her husband Richard Kariuki are founders of Amazing Grace International Ministries and Amazing Grace Children's Centre Outreach ministry based in Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa and Warrenton, Virginia in U.S.A.
Rev Grace is ordained by Northern Virginia Ministerial Association, Deliverance Church, Kenya and Faith Covenant Ministerial Association, USA. Grace holds a doctorate from Life Christian University and Seminary.
Grace relocated her family to USA in 1998 after teaching in public, private and Christian schools in Nairobi, Kenya. Between June 20 and July 20 this year, the Kariukis launched their ministries in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha.
Amazing Grace International Ministries provides shelter, clothes, food medical care and education to the orphans and the homeless children in the streets of Nairobi, Kenya.
The former Mungiki leader was arrested in February 2006 in a dawn raid at his Ngong home. In June 2007 he was sentenced to five years in prison, having been found guilty of having an illegal firearm and marijuana.
During 2007, a police shoot-to-kill policy led to the deaths of over 1000 suspect Mungiki members. In June 2008 while appealing the prison sentence, Njenga's wife Virginia Nyakio was carjacked on Langata Road, shot and her mutilated body was found in Gatundu.
On April 2009 Njenga was acquitted and immediately rearrested and charged with the murder of 30 people that occurred while he was incarcerated.
Six months later in October 2009 the state terminated the charges against him after he filed an affidavit with lawyer Paul Muite threatening to expose the politicians who had worked with Mungiki.
On coming out of jail, he went straight to Bishop Margaret Wanjiru's church, accepted the Lord and was baptised.
The big news about Africa on much of the global print media, over the past week or so, has been a report on how hundreds f of women were assaulted and raped by rebel militias in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo DRC) last June.
It is perhaps right and poetically fitting that these reports of DRC atrocities have been released at a time when prominent members of Kenya's political establishment are quaking in their boots at the prospect of the promised indictments and arrest warrants finally being issued by the ICC.
For if all that we have heard rumoured is true, then some of these seemingly polished and civic-minded men, have some personal experience of unleashing rabid militias on innocent men and women in unprotected villages or urban slums.
Thanks to these politicians, the days are long over when Kenyans could look with amazement at such atrocities as those which recently took place in the DRC, and ask, "What is wrong with those people?" We know now that we are in no position to stand in judgment over other African nations, in the matter of atrocities that arise when "tribal conflict" commences in earnest. We can no longer pretend that we are any different.
And that, I suppose, is why these ICC indictments - as and when they are finally handed down - should be viewed with rejoicing by the average Kenyan. They offer us the only opportunity we have to ensure that we never again have to experience anything like the post-election violence of 2007-08.
It's true that there will almost certainly be innocent people caught up in the ICC net. That can hardly be avoided when witnesses are reportedly being flown out with their entire families and further promised the opportunity to settle in the consoling suburbs of North America and Western Europe, after they have testified against the alleged masterminds of the post-election violence.
West Africans have been known to attempt foolhardy desert crossings to get to Europe via North Africa. Yet others are routinely drowned while trying to sail the Mediterranean Sea on some makeshift boat in the desperate search for economic opportunity in Europe.
So why would a Kenyan not make up elaborate atrocity stories directed against a person from a different tribe, if this would lead to permanent residence amidst those streets which are said to be payed with gold? This possibility of fictional atrocity stories is something which will bear watching when our fellows-citizens begin to give evidence against some prominent politicians who are even now having sleepless nights.
Still this is not your heavily compromised and deeply mistrusted Kenyan justice system we are talking about. It is the ICC, a world-class judicial operation. And I would venture to suggest that mere indictment by the ICC would be seen as proof of guilt by most who read about it. If the accused was to be subsequently released for lack of evidence, this would not take away the stain of perceived guilt.
In all mention of that person's name thereafter, the foreign press (in particular) would speak of "the Kenyan minister who was once indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity..." That is hardly the kind of thing which any politician, however reckless, would want his grown-up children to read about in the papers; and every time he or his family travelled abroad, if an immigration official lingered over their passports, they would nervously wonder if perhaps that officer was trying to figure out where he read this name before, and why the mere reading of it made him so uneasy.
To have your name officially associated with crimes against humanity is definitely a punishment in itself. But there is always the chance that some of these Kenyan leaders will actually be found guilty.
That they were absurdly careless in those difficult days: that they got carried away with the heat and fury of the moment. And that they subsequently left behind the most obvious and unmistakable evidence of their involvement in the massacres and arson attacks of those desperate days.
And this takes us back to those hundreds of rape victims in the DRC. The reason why there will be no escape for the perpetrators of the post-election violence here is that this is not really just about Kenya. It is about sending a message to all African leaders.
And the message is that it is no longer possible to allow atrocities to be committed within your borders - or to sponsor such atrocities yourself for political reasons - and hope to get away with it.
The writer comments on topical issues.