Archive for August 2009

Mwai Kibaki son, Jimmy Kibaki, enters Kenyan politics (Guardian UK)

The eldest son of Kenya's controversial president, Mwai Kibaki, is entering politics in an apparent attempt to salvage his father's legacy after the 2007 elections descended into ethnic violence, severely damaging the country's reputation as a democracy.

Jimmy Kibaki, a wealthy 46-year-old businessman, campaigned for his father before the chaotic 2007 poll but has otherwise kept a low profile until now. His decision to launch a nationwide youth initiative called Simama Kenya – Stand up Kenya – has been widely interpreted as a move to create a third presidential dynasty in the country.

The sons of Kenya's first two leaders, Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi, entered parliament in 2002 occupying their fathers' old constituency seats. President Kibaki, 78, is due to retire in 2012 having served two terms.

In an interview with the Guardian, Jimmy Kibaki said he had not yet made a decision about whether to run for parliament. "People will automatically assume this is all about succession," said Jimmy Kibaki. "This is about ending tribalism and encouraging the emergence of a meritocracy and new young leaders."

Though Jimmy Kibaki's reputation is unsullied his commitment to the ordinary youth has been questioned because of his age and elite upbringing. The National Youth Convention released a statement describing Simama Kenya as a "cheap political outfit" that was trying to hijack its agenda.

There is also a widespread feeling that presidential dynasties exist mainly to protest the family interests - the Kenyattas and Mois are among the richest families in Kenya, and not all through hard work. Uhuru Kenyatta is currently finance minister and deputy prime minister, and while Gideon Moi was voted out in 2007 he is plotting a return. Both are former schoolmates of Jimmy Kibaki.

But Jimmy Kibaki offered another motivation for entering the public arena - rescuing the reputation of his father, who never gives media interviews due to his "very low opinion of journalists". While insisting that the 2007 presidential poll result was fair - a conclusion local and international observers did not reach - Jimmy Kibaki said that bad press over the election fiasco and corruption scandals was one of the main reasons that his father has never been on a state visit to the UK, despite the colonial links and having studied at the London School of Economics.

"I'm concerned about my father's legacy. He was very hurt last year by comparisons made in the UK between him and Robert Mugabe. I'm not saying he has had no failures, but there have been more successes than failures."

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Kenya Announces Major Development Projects Totaling $3.3 Billion

The Kenyan government has approved a budget of about $ 3.3 billion to support food security and job creation projects across the country. 

A statement from the government today said the money would be for the implementation of 18 multi-purpose projects across the country over the next eight years, saying that the projects are expected to deal with some of the major challenges facing the country on a medium and long term basis. 

The projects, which will cover the six regional development authorities involve: irrigation of food and cash crops, hydro-electric power generation, supply of clean water, development of fisheries, water catchments conservation, creation of local employment and rural development, said the statement from government. 

Over 213,000 jobs are expected to be created from the project with a trickling factor and another 956,000 indirect jobs.

Kenya has had to declare a state of emergency following a series of long droughts in the last few years. In April, the World Bank provided an emergency grant of US $5 million under its Global Food Crisis Response Program to assist Kenya in dealing with significant food shortfalls due to the impact of the current drought in the country, high input prices and the global financial crisis.

To read the original article, click here.

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Biggest Wind Farm in Africa Slated for Kenya

A 300-megawatt wind farm, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, is being developed in Kenya in the hope of decreasing the country's greenhouse gas emissions and developing alternative energy sources. Work has already begun on the $891 million project, funded by KenGen and KBC Bank NV of Belgium.  

Damaris Mungai, program associate for the United Nation Environmental Program's Kenya Country Program, said, “Investing in wind energy means that we are in control of the price of electricity once the wind farm is developed.” The clean nature of wind energy aids Kenya's goal of reducing their emission levels as set out in the Kyoto Protocol. 

Mungai noted four areas that will benefit from the creation of the wind farm: climate change, energy security, economy, and safety.  

Completion of the wind farm is expected by September 30, 2012. 

To read the original article, click here.

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Is Kibaki wasting funds via a Foreign PR Company and Brand Kenya Board?

Of late we have been receiving messages from Lisa Mendelson of Chlopak Leonard Schechter (CLS) relating to Government of Kenya pronouncements of their actions relating to various national issues.

According to CLS website

"Since 1993, CLS has been working hard to inform target audiences, change critical perceptions and solve high stakes problems. "

They continue to say

Our areas of specialty include:

  • Crisis and Reputation Management
  • Branding and Corporate Positioning
  • Litigation Support
  • Issue Advocacy
  • Media Strategy
The emails are signed

"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."

Is the grand coalition government getting that desperate to clean up its increasingly tainted image and wasting precious public funds in the process?

A lot of public money is already being pumped into the Brand Kenya Initiative and CNN adverts while Kenyans continue to suffer from skyrocketing food prices and insecurity. Worse still there are perennial problems of water shortage and electricity cuts that would direly need such budgetary allocations.

Kibaki and his brother Raila should know that as long as Kenya is not comfortable for Kenyans, no foreigner would touch it even with a ten-foot pole unless they are out to milk public funds from their cosy offices in Washingtons and Londons of this world.

How gullible can they be!

As long as they continue to propagate impunity, tribalism, poverty and fail to deliver justice and economic prosperity equitably, Kenya will always be categorised as a failed state led by power hungry despots and dictatorial regime. No amount of public relations without action will change this.

Wake up Kibaki, Wake up Raila! If possible wake up and GO. Kenyans are tired of this sorry reign. Two years have whizzed by without the grand coalition being any grand to Kenyans. History will judge it harshly.

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