Entries from December 25th, 2017

Let Us Embrace Christ’s Values to Change Kenya

Posted by on 25th December 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

In a country where 80% of the population proclaims Christianity we can be sure that for the next one week it’s the message of Christmas that will dominate the country, but do we really manifest the traits and the philosophy of the person whom we celebrate?

Christ the founder of Christianity is the epitome of humility and love. The good teacher came to liberate the world from all forms of hate, theft, indulgence and all such vices, which unfortunately Kenya is deeply submerged in. Why would a country that is so religious be so evil? Is it a case of preaching water then taking wine? Might this be the kind of behavior that led Mahatma Gandhi’s expression of “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”.

For instance in Kenya every public function starts with a word of prayer, yet we have one of the most corrupt public service in the world. Through corruption we have lost a lot including lives. We have public servants who embezzle funds even from the most sensitive departments such as health. Not so long ago, we woke up to news that billions of Kenyan shillings couldn’t be accounted for in the Ministry of health – medics were on strike, while hospitals are yet to be equipped and poor Kenyans continue to lose their lives.

Parliament opens every session with prayers, yet we still have members who steal from their Constituency Development Fund kitty without shame. In a country where modesty should be practiced at all cost we have elected leaders whose guiding star is greed.

Over the past few months, Kenyans have also allowed ethnic hatred to take control. We have stereotyped, discriminated and even at times killed. What has become of us? Can’t we allow the reconciliation Christ modeled to be evident in us this Christmas?

Christ represents love, honesty, righteousness and loyalty and if we embraced these values we wouldn’t have a problem lowering corruption in the public service and all other sectors come 2018. Kenya has turned to what prophet Isaiah would have called an “unfaithful harlot”, -though Kenyans carry Bibles every Sunday and have very progressive secular laws – we are rebellious and refuse to walk the talk.

For instance, for the love of bribery and perversion of justice, this December we have had a high record of deaths on our roads. The “bloody money” that our authorities receive on our roads has made the transport sector ungovernable and therefore a deathtrap. If only we followed the teachings of Christ and resisted bribes?

Finally, as we prepare to have the meals and drinks of the year, why don’t we spare a minute or two to reflect on our role as Christ ambassadors in this country? Let this Christmas glitter with moments of love, laughter and good will. Merry Christmas and a have reflective 2018!

Twelfth Parliament: To hope or to despair?

Posted by on 16th December 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

Since the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010, Kenya has never found herself on the crossroads like in 2017. The 2017 election was one of the most contested by bitter rivals. It brought about toxic emotions and stretched people almost to a breaking point. The concluded election brought about wounds that may haunt Kenya forever, if they aren’t healed soon.

In the post-election period, a daunting legacy of the dangerous politics of secession has been left. There are some regions which are adamantly calling for “self-determination”. In the politics of state formation, there is no country that comes together and anticipates a day when it will disintegrate and that’s why there is no Constitution in the world that has a chapter on dissolution.

Since Kenya is better as one, our government through specific institutions needs to calm these separationists call by tackling the grievances of these regions whether perceived or real. It is either we live together as brothers and flourish; or fight and perish together as fools.

Coming from such a grueling, nasty and brutish political period, Kenyan citizens are fatigued and on the verge of hopelessness. In the last four or so months nothing seemed to work and things were falling apart. In such a situation, the job of the already elected leaders is clear cut – to restore hope to Kenyans.

The 12th Parliament as an institution should be the first to realize that combative politics are over and it is time to forge ahead as a country. The occupants therein ought to sacrifice their pleasures and pursue the interests of their constituents relentlessly.

There are still healthcare challenges to be addressed, take counties like Mandera and Tana River for instance, where we have a ratio of one doctor to 10,000 patients. In such counties hospitals and clinics are like a privilege. We are still in a country where 7 out 10 Kenyans do not have a medical cover. Can the 12th Parliament rise to the occassion and ensure that the system works for all Kenyans?

Unfortunately the 12th Parliament has had a false start, their first agenda has been to pursue a ‘fatter salary’, petty fights and at some point deserted their work.

Kenyans through our taxes ensure our leaders live in unimaginable opulence with better Salaries than their counterparts from developed countries. In 2013 for instance, a Member of Parliament from Kenya took home an annual salary of £44,730 730 (minus the allowances, which may be more than the salary) while a Spanish Member of Parliament took home £28,969. Let’s pause and ask, is our public service a gateway to theft and indulgence or service and humility?

Instead of our elected leaders getting down to start fixing the system to favor their constituents, they are on the run to fix their salaries and scramble for “lucrative” parliamentary positions. These retrogressive politics have only served to add salt into the existing injuries of poverty, hunger and ignorance. Kenya being one of the most unequal societies in the world with 60% of the population living in poverty, leaders are hell-bent to widen the gap by literally bloodsucking Kenyans.

While powerful positions that matter are dished out to family members and cronies, Kenyans continue to be abused both emotionally and financially for political gains. It is a burden that Kenyans are bearing year in, year out willingly. One can only hope that one day, morning will dawn and ‘mjinga ataerevuka’.

Finally, since the 2010 Constitution gave us a Parliament with immense powers, will the 12th Parliament exploit these powers and perpetuate a leadership of hope or doom? Your thoughts?

 

Anything to smile about after 54 years of self-rule?

Posted by on 11th December 2017

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Our country Kenya turns 54 on the 12th of this month and like every birthday we have plans to throw a party on the Jamhuri Day complete with a great speech from the President. But really, besides getting older what else is there to celebrate?

We’ve just gone through a most trying period in a competitive poll that nearly tore us apart and left a section of the country still sore. But being the people that accept things and move on, we’ve moved on.

Essentially we’ve gone back to being our usual mediocre selves. It appears 54 years of self-rule has turned us into lawless, angry people who have little patience for logic.

It sure does sound like a broken record every time analysts come on TV to remind us that at independence we were at par with Malaysia which is not the case now. Or how we gave aid to South Korea in the 60s and now we’re beneficiaries of their tax payers money, yet these statements are quite telling.

What then are we celebrating? Retrogressive-ness? We have retrogressed in nearly every sector despite the choir of politicians in government singing about this development and that development.

Major Towns stink

The major towns that became cities after independence were already set for the same by the white government. They had running water, proper sewerage system and a good public transport system.

Today, nearly every city that’s worth that term struggles with a broken sewerage system. Poor garbage collection system and a complete lack of urban planning and development.

Even the capital Nairobi has nothing worth to report home about after 54 years. God forbid it rains for one week straight. You’d be forgiven to think we’re living in the days of Noah. All the roads get flooded and pedestrians wade through the water which sometimes is knee-deep. You can only imagine the waterborne diseases that come out of that clear lack of urban planning.

The white man left us clean organized cities that we turned into filthy, disorganized urban places. And today more than 50years later, for every posh estate we have a slum as a reminder that ethnicity is not the real problem.

Poor roads

Fifty four years down the line and we have completely ground the public transport to a halt. People hardly bought cars in the immediate post-independent Kenya and those who did were considered affluent. Today people buy cars for convenience. The public transport is as unreliable as the meteorological department.

And Kenyans living in more urban places with “good roads” not dirt road, have to contend with potholes that significantly reduce the value of their cars after a few kilometers on the road.

The problem is further compounded by the fact that the government gave up on public transport long before we could pronounce privatization. What is left is a poorly managed matatus sector with rowdy conductors; mostly frustrated youths who hike the price at the change of weather.

The only thing to boast about in the transport sector is the Standard Gauge Railway that has replaced the Lunatic Express. Despite its inflated construction price it’s one of the few good stories to write home about.

Ailing Health sector

As we plan to slaughter chicken and goats on Jamhuri Day we should truly reflect on what exactly we’re celebrating. Is it okay for women to give birth at home these many years after independence? Is it worth paying NHIF when you still get referred to private hospitals and chemists for drugs?

Worse still is that the children who went to school in colonial Kenya had a better chance at succeeding than today. Why do we have free primary education that only serves to drive education inequality? Is it okay to celebrate when rural folks have children studying in mud houses or under a tree?

As we celebrate Kenya’s 54th birthday, we ask that the President and his team go back to the drawing board and see why we have fallen so low. Figure why it took nearly 50years to make North Eastern Kenya accessible.

Please seal these gaps in the public sector that result in sabotaging public institutions at the expense of private institutions just to make a few people rich. We need a Kenya that works for all of us. Bridge the divide between the rich and the poor.

In short, until we stop the over-reliance on private sector that is designed to make a few people rich we should not celebrate Jamhuri Day. Jamhuri Day gains relevance only where majority are happy with self-rule. Happiness here is derived from a good functioning public health, transport and education systems.

What Kenyans do MPs really represent? Certainly not the poor

Posted by on 1st December 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

This country has a lot of money. We spent Sh. 42billion in a sham election that the Supreme Court nullified and found another Sh.13billion to conduct a second exercise.

It’s like money falls from trees until it’s the common man that really needs it. Never mind since April this year the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been warning us about rising public debt in the country.

The latest warning came only a few days ago. IMF said the rising debt is likely to shock the economy and one would expect that such a warning would make us check our appetite for spending but no, we’re unfazed.

Statehouse only this week spent another Sh.300million to entertain foreign guests who attended President Uhuru Kenyatta’s swearing-in. But Head of Public Service and State House Chief of Staff, Joseph Kinyua said there will be no waste; so we should all rest easy, right?

Anyhow, some people have reasoned that the government-executive arm has always been aloof since time immemorial. One therefore expects that Parliament as the arm of government that actually represents the common man would grasp the public mood but Parliament is no different.

As I write there is a construction of a Sh. 110million tunnel connecting the Parliamentary Office block a couple of meters across the road. The Parliamentary Service Committee says it is part of a plan to decongest the city traffic.

It’s hard buying that tale because MPs are on record complaining about annoying constituents who wait for them outside Parliament buildings or their offices to ask for this or that help. So the tunnel is purely to keep off these poor folks from disturbing the honorable as they go about “important” business.

And by-the-way the Sh. 110 million could fund 688 university students through university all the four years. But that’s nothing compared to the privacy that MPs need as they go about their business.

Never mind that 900,000 Kenyans, out of the two million with HIV, are the only ones on treatment according to Ministry of Health PS Mwilu.

Today is World Aids Day and seeing as we have been on a divisive mode the past few months one would expect our MPs could’ve come together on this day and direct this money to this national challenge right?

The tunnel we’re constructing for MPs privacy-because that’s what it’s really about-can ensure another over 423 Kenyans access the highly successful Tenofovir drug by Gilead Sciences which by-the-way doesn’t exist anywhere in Africa because it’s retailing at Sh. 260,000.

If one is to consider the many projects that we undertake at the expense of priority stuff one would get a serious headache because our inability to figure what’s priority is disturbing.

This spendthrift habit in difficult times should serve as a wakeup call to all Kenyans. There are only two tribes in Kenya-the haves and the have-nots

Worse is that it’s increasingly becoming vague who exactly our MPs are representing.

Consider the recently released KCPE results and you will realize we live in a country where children from the academies celebrate good results attributed to hardworking teachers with good pay and parents who exceed expectations to pay private tuition.

On the other hand, another group of children face the inevitable doom over bad grades courtesy of overcrowded classes and uninspired teachers who earn meager salaries in public schools.

The saddest bit is that Sh.110million can build more than a hundred modern public schools that could make pupils from less privileged backgrounds get a fighting chance at a good life with their counter-parts from private schools.

A man elected by thousands of peasants to specifically represent them then turns his back and decides to consider the fine things is far much worse than a traitor!

Our message is simple. Keep taking advantage of the needy because they are ignorant and blinded by silly tribal fights but one day they will realize there are only two tribes in Kenya and in that day you will gnash your teeth.

Change while there’s still time.

How to heal our nation; lessons from Zimbabwe!

Posted by on 27th November 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

The world’s most quoted (unfairly mostly) and oldest president resigned this week-under duress. Robert Mugabe who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years finally called it quits.

The end of Mugabe regime is also interesting because it is the first ever “bloodless coup” in a continent where people die over “democratic elections”.

The situation in Zimbabwe is a stuck contrast from what we’re witnessing here at home.

Women MPs from the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition now claim 54 people have been killed since last Friday –  17th November – and are putting the blame squarely on the Jubilee government. The government on the other hand will hear none of it and are promising to deal with those causing chaos accordingly.

That Mugabe was president long enough for a child to become a professor one would expect that Zimbabweans would go ballistic once the chance to overthrow Mugabe became apparent but no, everything was so civil it was unbelievable it’s an African country.

I dread to imagine if that was Kenya. There are those who argue Zimbabwe is where Kenya was in 2002. There are a thousand reasons why we can’t compare those two events but I digress.

The events in Zimbabwe are therefore important because a despot was convinced to leave power without any bloodshed. And since then a lot of praise has been hailed on the political leaders-both opposition and government (ZANU-PF) as well as the army that was reported to have conducted itself professionally.

One therefore wonders, where are the Kenyan leaders to stand up and be counted?

Lessons for Kenya

Firstly, neither Morgan Tsvangirai nor his party-Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) took advantage of the situation; instead, the exiled opposition leader soberly asked that a way forward be chatted including all stakeholders.

He could’ve taken advantage of the mood in the country and make a quick come-back outmaneuvering the blue-eyed vice president in exile. But no, Zimbabwe is bigger than him or his supporters. Something the opposition here can learn.

Secondly, the army or security officers did not challenge with heavy force those who took to the streets despite them singing songs that taunted the head of the country. Another thing the Kenyan Security officers could learn from.

Often, and history has proven this to be accurate; almost all the time there is looting, vandalism and chaos following a demonstration in Kenya; it’s often the police who provoke the crowd with premature throwing of teargas and random shooting in the name of dispersing crowds.

It’s the reason pro-government demonstrators always appear peaceful and mature. The police hardly provokes them. In the recent past our police service has acted more as hooligan force on hire than a service dedicated to maintaining law and order among all Kenyans.

Thirdly, when the old leader (Mugabe) spoke for the first time when the world expected him to resign but didn’t; he acknowledged why Zimbabweans were demonstrating even though he refused-initially, to accept what they wanted.

He never promised to crash them or chided institutions that disagreed with him. This is something the President and his Deputy should take to heart.

Consequently demonstrators and particularly those of NASA should watch the demonstrations in Zimbabwe a hundred times and see where they go wrong. Admittedly; the Kenyan police are a big problem but is there a way to circumvent this?

The leaders of the demonstrations should decide for the sake of this country to carry themselves in an  orderly  manner by recruiting members whose only job is to look out for the thugs hiding in their midst by directing the crowd accordingly-hopefully with the help of the police.

Now that the Supreme Court upheld the October 26th repeat elections; rather than making chest-thumping statements about dealing squarely with so and so, the President and his Deputy should rise to the occasion; acknowledge the challenges we face not as Jubilee or NASA supporters but Kenyans and give us a concrete way forward.

It’s truly sad that it’s becoming a norm for very young people to die every election year for having different political opinion. Kenya will outgrow everyone living today. No one is more Kenyan than others.

Both NASA and Jubilee have people who fought for the democratic space that is commonly referred to as the second liberation. Can these people stand to be counted and heal our land?

The people’s assembly is a town hall writ large

Posted by on 19th November 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

By Gitungo Wamere

(Guest Blog)

The phrase “The People’s Assembly” has become one of the most used phrases in Kenya in the past few weeks. It has inspired both anxiety and confidence and as usual divided the country into two. Accolades and epithets, in regard to the idea are determined by the side of the political divide which one stands.

This idea of “The People’s Assembly” was introduced by NASA leader Raila Odinga when he was highlighting how the coalition shall be rallying its supporters against the government of President Kenyatta after his withdrawal from the controversial fresh election which was conducted on 26th of October.

In short “The People’s Assembly” is supposed to take shape of an inflated town hall where the people shall be discussing their issues then have them ratified by their respective County Assemblies. “The People’s Assembly” shall be different from a town hall because it is envisioned to have a structured membership and it shall have a “unique mandate” from the County Assemblies.  “The People’s Assembly” which shall not recognize the government of President Kenyatta (if Supreme Court validates his re-election) shall operate as a parallel government of the people.

Presently the questions are – what is the justification of the “The People’s Assembly”? What legal environment shall they operate in? These are questions that Kenyans have been grappling with, because this proposal has been confusing and to some extent vague.  Let’s try to dissect these two questions. Generally, the people’s assemblies are justified, because good governance and democracy thrives where people are consulted and they are free to question the government of the day.

Normally, people’s assembly is a forum where people meet to discuss and participate in decision making. They are formed for the sole purpose of facilitating public participation and putting the government on check. Looking at Odinga’s proposal, does it fall within the above justification? The answer is both yes and no. It is justified because like its look-alike the “The People’s Assembly Movement” in the United Kingdom, they shall be venting on the issues pertinent in the Kenyan society such as exclusion.

From the onset, Mr Odinga has highlighted issues like unemployment and cost of living as their agenda. On the other hand, their establishment is unjustified because they are meant to manufacture dissent and somehow breed anarchy in counties that didn’t support the President-elect.

The second question is on the environment and the legal architecture of the assemblies. First, there has been displeasure among the Jubilee section of Senators since the ratification of the People’s Assemblies in some counties. The discomfort emanates from the fact that county Assemblies are discussing issues that are way beyond their Jurisdiction.

Firstly, County Assemblies cannot discuss on the suitability, legality or the conduct of a President, this mandate is granted to Parliament.  Secondly, the County Assemblies cannot ratify the existence of an institution that doesn’t recognize the existence of a government.

Legally, County Assemblies are only supposed to legislate on County functions as stipulated in the part two of the fourth schedule. The People’s Assembly therefore, which will be an institution outside the constitution may find itself in trouble when steering its agenda.

It is perceived that “The People’s Assembly” is being formed to subvert the constitutional institutions in order to frustrate and delegitimize the government. Odinga says the “The People’s Assembly” shall operate until a legitimate government is elected in the office.

Despite, the circumstances and the grievances that surround President Kenyatta’s re-election extra-constitutional means will be unpopular and therefore difficult to sustain. A people’s assembly which is within the limits of the constitution may be welcome in a transitional democracy like Kenya. This is because people will find avenues to bring forth issues that bring discomfort in their wellbeing.

Finally, as a country we advocate for strengthening of civic education and arming Kenyans with information in order to encourage public participation. Here we shall make civic engagement everyone’s business compared to the current situation where government issues are left to a certain class of people. If the people’s assemblies take this shape, then there is nothing illegal when people assemble to discuss issues affecting them in order to get a solution.

Devolution makes secession talks superfluous!

Posted by on 13th November 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

Kenya is at crossroads. At the very core is the decision to move on – whatever that means or to take a step back and deal decisively with emerging issues.

Politicians would want us believe otherwise but the important decision here can’t be made until we ask whether we need a Kenya for Kenyans or a Kenya for the elite.

Uganda’s opposition leader Mr. Besigye captures this powerfully when he described the deteriorating relationship among member countries within the East Africa Community (EAC). He said, the integration process will remain a song until it becomes about East African people and not regimes.

To put his words into context; Kenya is now having a subtle diplomatic spat with neighboring Tanzania after the latter auctioned off 1300 cattle that had wandered across the border.

Our country has lodged a formal protest over the same, and of course the torching of over 6000 day -old chicks only made things worse. Tanzania claimed the chicks could spread bird flu.

In the same week, Ugandan Police Officers arrested 22 Kenyans from Migingo Island over fishing dispute and the government’s response according to the Inspector General (IG) is that, he can’t protect people violating Uganda’s territorial integrity.

This captures aptly the crossroad that Kenya finds itself in. On one hand, a country where there are Kenyans who feel they belong and the government will be outraged when their livestock is auctioned if it wanders off the border.

On the other hand is another group of Kenyans who don’t feel they belong because the government will do nothing to bring back their people arrested by a foreign government because – your guess is as good as mine.

Never mind the territorial integrity IG Boinett mentions has no bearing because there is no publicly available record confirming the dispute was ever resolved. Not even a committee of experts report.

The country is in such a bad state that a number of counties allied to the opposition are now considering secession as way of sorting out these challenges. But is this the solution?

Are the secession calls justified if Governors in these counties can’t show what they have done with the billions allocated for County development?

To paraphrase the Holy Scriptures, if you’re not faithful with the little (billions) how can you be faithful with much? (An entire country’s money-assuming secession is even remotely successful).

Wasn’t the formation of the 47 Counties about devolving resources and therefore keeping us from this madness that makes presidential elections a do or die affair? Has devolution failed in this regard or are there actors undermining it?

And while we’re on undermining devolution, what does it mean when the President “chairs a task force on regeneration of Nairobi” the project is reportedly set to spend billions of shillings. One therefore wonders, can the national government select counties to partner with outside the usual channels?

This is not just an idle banter. There have been serious attempts before to remove Nairobi from the list of counties and make it part of government through a Bill that failed and was accused of undermining devolution. In light of these, the true intention of this partnership must be revealed.

The truth is as a nation, we are in a crisis and no one should pretend otherwise. But the crisis is not just about the elite controlling our society, No! The crisis is also about our collective love for lies.

Dishonesty that’s birthed by false prejudice. Dishonesty in accepting a flawed process because we think it favors us. Dishonesty in entertaining secession calls when we can’t press our leaders to account for the billions we entrusted them with.

If we want to, we can salvage this country. Let’s forget about NASA and Jubilee for a moment and ask ourselves what country we want to bequeath our children.

You want to play your part? Take public participation seriously!

Posted by on 7th November 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

Since August 8th the country is being treated to a showdown between opposition NASA and the Jubilee government, it’s easy to imagine the country is split down the middle between opposition and government, but that’s a half truth. There is a good chunk of Kenyans who care less who is president-these are middle upper class and upper class.

Well, that was the case until now. It’s no longer business as usual.

The bungled August 8th elections by IEBC was only a symptom. The real disease can be diagnosed when we look keenly at how these independent institutions are formed and key office holders appointed.

Prior to the 2010 Constitution, institution capture by politicians was so obvious that people preferred settling cases out of court for fear that justice would be sold to the highest bidder. This was true of other independent institutions like the Anti-Corruption commission. They were cosmetic institutions whose only aim was subterfuge.

First forward to post-2010 constitution and there’s little to celebrate in this regard. And while we may want to blame appointing authorities and politicians in general; it’s time we also took up the blame. While we could play victim in the Moi and part of Kibaki regime it’s immoral to play victims now.

Despite the constitution for the first time allowing Kenyans to be involved in the law making process, majority Kenyans have treated the exercise with near contempt that has made us live with bad laws that beget toothless institutions that we now endure rather than enjoy.

How to deal with tyranny

Despite calls to amend the constitution over its over ambitious form, it is the best thing that ever happened to Kenya after independence. The problem has always been implementation and a citizenry that is too trusting of politicians.

For instance, parliament is the face of the people because it represents every part of the country. Laws debated before Parliament are therefore assumed to be presented to the entire country. But the drafters of our constitution knowing only too well the integrity challenge in the country allowed for the public participation of the citizens themselves to check on rogue MPs.

It’s therefore safe to argue that everything wrong with this country are the citizens of this country. All the scenarios currently at play are as a result of bad laws; from the constitution of IEBC that bares the biggest brunt to funny laws like the electoral amendment that prevent accountability of such an institution are a result of the public shying away whenever Parliament calls for a memoranda on public participation.

The country is getting lost in political heat; already the former Kilome MP, Harun Mwau has filed a petition challenging the election of President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta following the October 26th elections that the opposition boycotted.

The government on the other hand is cracking down on NGOs deemed pro-opposition or likely to challenge the elections. It’s easy to get carried away in these political moments and forget one of your key functions as an active citizen interested in the wellbeing of this country.

Parliament resumes sitting next week and three key bills are before them. The Computer and Cyber Crime Bill 2017, the Copy Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and the Building Surveyors Bill, 2017. With the ever fluid online challenges. Cyber bullying and criminal activities online are real but in Africa states have also used this law to cause harm.

Regarding the Copyright law, Musicians have been at the fore front complaining of companies and individuals misusing their efforts for gain. Will they come out and give views? Their fans perhaps? And what of the stories of buildings collapsing, trapping people and ending lives prematurely? Will Kenyans show up and present their views on the Building Surveyors Bill or wait to complain when another building collapses?

The message is simple: when the bills come up for public participation show up and give your views. Take up your rightful place as envisioned in the constitution. In case you don’t know the contents, please take time and visit our Dokeza platform and interact with the content. Drop your views too, in the event you might not make it for participation and we’ll do it on your behalf.

Public participation allows for cooperation and trust between the public and lawmakers-by extension government. Let’s do our part and stop playing victims all the time.

Our Government is as Good as Its Institutions – This One has Failed

Posted by on 31st October 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has announced the winner of the October 26th repeat elections that was boycotted by the opposition NASA today. It took four days after the ballot was closed before IEBC could confirm unequivocally the turnout of that exercise.

The Chairman was flip flopping; one minute announcing a percentage only to negate himself on his twitter account. He explained-on twitter that, “The 48% was a BEST estimate turnout from the team.” And that actual figures from 267 constituencies show 6,553,858 Kenyans turned out to vote.

Interestingly, President Uhuru, the leading candidate had garnered well over 7 million by Sunday and the chairman was at pains to explain how the candidate’s votes had surpassed the turn out. The bump in numbers he explained was the unannounced constituencies-again, this was difficult to level with the country.

The IEBC Chairman, Wafula Chebukati, finally announced the president-elect and deputy president-elect with a 39% voter turnout.

As one lawmaker once said following the bungled August 8th polls, in Kenya voting is not a problem; we just can’t count. It appears the same is true even in the repeat October 26th elections too. Some have even jokingly suggested that Bomas should be renamed Bodmas because of the many formulas applied.

IEBC isn’t the only important institution struggling with independence. The Supreme Court that was the country’s last option as the defender of justice suffered a blow on the eve of elections after Judges absconded their duty over flimsy reasons leading the Chief Justice no option but to cancel the hearing over a quorum hitch after five of the judges were a no-show.

The dissenting judgment by Justice Njoki Ndung’u has been cited as an indictment of the apex court in the sense that it is not free of politics. The judge attacked colleagues in her judgment prompting former Law Society of Kenya (LSK) CEO, Apollo Mboya to file a petition with the Judicial Service Commission over her conduct. If there was a rift among the top judges then the abdication of duty on the 25th confirmed it.

Never mind the police service is also under scrutiny after opposition and human rights watch groups accused it of using extreme force on those demonstrating against the government. To this point, nearly two months later the Inspector General can’t conclude any investigations on police brutality.

What then should we do as a country when there is a perception that independent institutions are out to serve those in power? The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) that was supposed to facilitate healing in the country has been accused of playing politics rather than pursuing their mandate.

The Directorate of Criminal Intelligence (DCI) and the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Offices have equally been accused of working under instructions of the politicians in power rather than for the good of the public.

Right now temperatures are high and some politicians are trying to make it a tribal issue saying only Luo Nyanza -a term many people from these region are beginning to dislike- as the only problem. The fight in Kawangware as confirmed by CS Eugine Wamalwa and other Luhya leaders who held a press conference to denounce it was largely between the Kikuyu and Luhya living in the area. But the Deputy President insinuated on an international broadcast that it was militia ferried from Nyanza.

Let us not lose sight of the issue at hand by trying to label one group as this or that.

In our observation, this is not about the Luos or the Kikuyus or the Luhyas or whatever tribe a politician and other ignorant arguments. Our voting pattern has often been on ethnic terms but to interpret it as simply about this tribe and that tribe wanting power is to be simplistic.

This fight is about those who want democracy proper with truly independent institutions and those who want an idea of democracy but prefer to rule as monarchs. The fight is about those who want proper structures in the country that can be respected by all and those who want what looks like a structure but can be bent to the will of the politician.

If we can’t have proper democracy and our institutions can’t work independently, and seeing as political interests are always competing with national interest then perhaps it is time we abandoned the unitary state and try federalism.

Let every county come up with their set of laws and institutions that can work in their interest while having a central government checked by the national Parliament. We can’t keep fighting every five years over a situation that is likely to be unresolved. It’s time we had a sober talk about another system of government. The current system of government has failed in Kenya!

 

Constitution and laws were made for Kenyans not the other way round

Posted by on 20th October 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

Lately it seems as though we are operating on auto-pilot. And the last few days have been something akin to the Biblical Armageddon. There appears to be no form of accountable leadership. Everyone is doing whatever they think is right in their eyes. Unfortunately the poor masses bear the brunt.

The government under Jubilee has allowed the riot police to have a field day with the National Super Alliance (NASA) protestors. No rules are applied. Demos are quelled by excessive teargas and bullets; it doesn’t matter if we are chocking the lungs of little ones in kindergarten or leaving them with bullet wounds or dropping their fathers’ dead, it’s all about show of force.

NASA demonstrators on the other hand went on a looting spree forcing many businesses to remain shut for fear of vandalism. Like the Jubilee government’s unwillingness to control the riot police, NASA appears unwilling to control their demonstrators. However, the math here is complicated by the infamous Nairobi Business Community which NASA now claims are the ones making their demos chaotic.

If you thought the police threw caution to the wind then you probably didn’t hear about the president’s Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua’s memo to all Principal Secretaries (PSs). He asked each PS to provide a vehicle (preferably an SUV) for the ongoing Jubilee campaigns. This is a high ranking government official ordering others to break the law with impunity.

Everyone is saying follow the rule of law; only no one is interested. To that end business man Jimmy Wanjigi found himself in hot soup after the government laid siege in his home over tramped up charges in complete violation of a court order. The Inspector General of Police and Minister of Interior who were both served by the court order did not care about being in contempt of court.

And while we are still on the Interior minister, he’s reported on the local papers as having asked a militia group in Kisii (Chinkororo) to deal with anyone who tries to interfere with elections scheduled for 26th October and that he will ask the police to, “Look the other way!”

It’s unbelievable the stuff leaders in the country are saying. Worse still, even independent bodies that could have helped restore confidence are themselves thrown their oath of office off the window and serving interests of their political masters going by the drama unfolding at the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The Senior Commissioner Dr. Akombe fled under the guise of official work only to announce her resignation abroad. The move was reminiscent of the Moi days when individuals went into exile in fear of the government. Whether her decision to quit was impressed on her by NASA or not is still an indictment to the electoral body. Perhaps Chebukati’s press conference was the final nail.

In all these confusion and high political temperatures Jubilee government despite calling for a National Day of prayer insists elections must go on despite the chairman’s admission he may not be able to carry out a credible election. NASA too, have now made things in their strongholds thick; promising the mother of all demonstrations on the 26th October-the same day IEBC scheduled the repeat elections.

In the end we are likely to burn this country once again and for what? So that President Uhuru can retain power? Or former PM Odinga to have power? No! Kenya is bigger than both these individuals and whatever ambitions they have. We must now return to reason. We can’t decide to apply the law when it works for us and ignore when it doesn’t favor us.

It’s precisely why this blog acknowledges former Kiambu Governor, William Kabogo, Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua, former advisor to the president, Kilemi Mwiria, former Kajiado Senator, Peter Ole Mositet and former Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando for refusing to play sycophancy and asking the leader they supported on August 8th President Uhuru Kenyatta to dialogue with Right. Hon. Raila Odinga for the sake of the country.

The National Integrity Alliance (NIA) together with fifteen professional and civil society organizations held a joint statement asking that the country goes back to reason. We urge political players from NASA to also urge their leader to meet with the president to dialogue on the way forward for the sake of our country.

Those lashing out citing this law and that law when it conveniences them should be reminded that the laws were created for man and not man for the law. On this Mashujaa Day, let’s say, no more killings, no more destruction of property not in the name of elections. Let’s all come and reason together!