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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!

 

Kenya is an unpleasant marriage, let’s make it work!

Posted by on 14th October 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

Renowned Economist David Ndii opined a widely read article on the Daily Nation with the title: Kenya is a cruel marriage is time we talked divorce. At the core of his message is, as a country we have failed to show ability to live harmoniously or share equitably the resources of this country and that perhaps regions not satisfied should break away.

It’s possible that’s an oversimplification of the over 1300 words in that article but really, that was the gist. Anyhow, Dr. Ndii was right on one thing. This is a cruel marriage. However, rather than talking divorce we should try make it work. But first we need to understand how we got here. While Dr. Ndii’s article gives that background there’s that sessional paper that is perhaps the mother of inequality in Kenya. The Sessional paper no. 10 of 1965.

Back when we had the eight provinces the leadership at the time under Mzee Jomo Kenyatta-the founding father, decided that to grow the economy faster, money for development should be “invested where it will yield the largest input.” And by this, the approach ended up favoring areas with good climatic patterns and better infrastructure compared to other provinces. It goes without saying that Central Province and certain parts of the Rift Valley were the major beneficiaries.

This wasn’t necessarily a bad idea; in fact if Mzee Kenyatta and his economists had gone a little further to think of how they would have utilized the non-productive regions we wouldn’t be here. Additionally, the inability by his government and subsequent governments to spread the resources to other regions is what has led to the “our turn to eat” mentality. And perhaps Mzee Kenyatta and his predecessor Moi bear the biggest brunt having ethnicized the government.

Attempted Solutions

Perhaps the single, clearest attempt at redeeming ourselves from the jaws of inequality that nurses tribalism was the 2010 Constitution. It not only reduced considerably the powers of the president, that easily made one a despot but also created devolution in an attempt to kill the “our turn to eat” mentality and forge nationalism. The equalization fund is also another good attempt at correcting the mistakes created by that sessional paper no. 10 of 1965.

The 2010 Constitution gave our Parliament teeth to make their oversight role effective and prevent the Executive from bullying other arms of government. And to keep the country from cyclic politicking that made the country mark-time; the Constitution ensured the cabinet were professionals who wouldn’t waste time trying to impress their constituents as a result, the old order of appointing MPs was abolished. As a matter of fact, we can all agree that it is the 2010 Constitution that has kept the fabric of our nation even in this trying moments we find ourselves in.

People, the weaker link

Why then are we still having tension over an election and spewing hate messages when we have a powerful document like the Constitution? The answer is found in a statement one Martha Karua once said: you can’t legislate morals. Despite having an entire chapter on integrity on our Constitution, Kenyans ignore it all the time and picking leaders without any iota of integrity, simply because the mentality of “our person” hasn’t been cured.

The drafters of our Constitution made too many assumptions. One was that Kenyans were people of integrity and would elect leaders of integrity. Part of the problem we find ourselves in right?

Only this week first time MPs, Charles Kanyi (Jaguar) of Starehe fought with his counterpart from Embakasi East Babu Owino over “their persons”. And the fight degenerated online with their supporters throwing shade at each other.

In the same week, Police have descended mercilessly on unarmed university students in class. And when a journalist pushes the police boss for information, there are Kenyans who attack him because they feel he is attacking the government-‘their’ government. In short Kenyans appear to have no sense of principles or values that guide them. Right or wrong is seen from the lens of their leaders; unfortunately, even these leaders don’t know what they stand for. Perhaps we shouldn’t also be surprised that losers in the bungled August 8th are crisscrossing to another party after spending half a decade attacking the same outfit.

Die hard NASA supporters would not condemn the wanton looting and destruction of property during their demonstrations and Jubilee supporters would not condemn the blatant killing of the demonstrators either. And so the future of our country remains in the hands of two people; the Jubilee candidate, President Kenyatta and the NASA candidate former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Are we doomed?

While some quarters think this unpleasant marriage demands divorce, we are of the opinion that every marriage has issues but solutions can be found when partners put their ego aside and honestly deal with the issues raised by both of them.

For starters, Parliament should resume its rightful role as envisioned by the Constitution as the only arm that represents the people and abolish that electoral amendment law that clearly doesn’t have the face of Kenya.

The Judiciary’s annulment of the August 8th elections was important in this country because it signals for the first time since our independence that there are no sacred cows; that we are all equal under the law and that a ruling can go either way. If Parliament could abandon the whole show of tyranny and put their oath of office above any other person we shall heal this country.

Other independent institutions like the IEBC, EACC, DCI among others should also take cue and refuse to be intimidated by politicians and serve Kenyans according to their oath of office. As long as the three arms of government and independent bodies appear to be serving sections of Kenya rather than Kenyans in general things might get thick but we needn’t not divorce. Let’s work this through, let all of us rise to the occasion.

 

Dear Kenyans, when leaders light the fire, here’s how to put it out

Posted by on 7th October 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

The youth in Kenya are a very curious demographic. They are the group that attend political rallies in their numbers; engage police in running battles during demonstrations and make time for hate on social media.

The oldest youth in Kenya today, (35) was only 25 back in 2007 when Kenyans lost their humanity and burned each other in a most horrifying fashion where killing by blunt objects and machetes did not suffice.

Our collective ability to accept things and move on is quite staggering. Activist Boniface Mwangi through picture mtaani has given Kenyans a Post-Election Violence (PEV) memorial but we clearly moved on.

Otherwise how do you explain the dangerous rhetoric by our politicians and the bile our youth are spewing on social media in the name of freedom of speech?

Politicians have stood in public rallies and called for the extinction of another community and people-largely youth cheered in this madness. Someone has to put a stop to this before we find ourselves on the re-set button.

Here is how to play your part as a youth without giving up your freedom of speech or any other freedoms you are most likely to lose if you keep on this self-destructive path.

Firstly, realize that silence is truly golden. You don’t have to comment on every online story or social media posts. Develop self-restraint. But if you have to comment respond to the issue-not the person who wrote or posted.

Secondly, Avoid hasty generalization in any conversation verbal or otherwise. If you come across a comment from a Luo or a Kikuyu, kindly remember it does not represent the views of their respective communities.

Fake News

Consequently, remember this is the age of fake news don’t let your emotions run high over fake stuff. Here’s a quick guide at detecting fake news:

  1. Check the source of information; is it a credible site? Or does it look like something hastily created to spread propaganda? Here’s a pointer, credible sites are not shrouded in mystery.
  2. Check the date. You could be fuming over history! This is especially important to note if you’re the type that shares articles or posts that excite you positively or negatively.
  3. Check your biases. Ask yourself why the story irks you? This is especially important for ardent political party supporters. It could just be a cold truth. Don’t let the love for your party blind you from truth.
  4. Check the author. What stories have they done in the past? What’s their expertise? Are they even real or it’s a propaganda bot? Be wary of political posts or articles with no bylines.
  5. Don’t stop at the headline. Sometimes overzealous editors use sensational headlines. Don’t comment until you read the entire story. Why embarrass yourself?
  6. Confirm story with links provided. If a site claims a story is based on a link they’ve provided, click on that link to confirm-also follow steps 1-5 on that new link.
  7. If you are lost for time or are just lazy simply ask an expert. There are enough credible journalists online who can point you in the right direction. Don’t make yourself a fool.
  8. Check if it is a joke; when political temperatures are as high as they currently are, some people like to blow off steam with practical jokes. Don’t get caught flat foot. Trick is to never overreact.

Cultivating your mind

While the list above is quite instructive the real challenge sometimes is that we have a youth that hardly engages its mind at best and at worst, one that has nothing in the mind to engage.

If you are constantly finding yourself fighting with other people on social media over what a politician you both don’t know has said, you need to be worried about the state of your mind.

Read books, especially about this country. Otherwise you will become easy target for politicians who want to use you, feeding you propaganda. Knowledge helps you separate the wheat from the chaff! And there’s a lot of chaff at this point.

Lastly, get busy. If you have too much time on your hands or lots of data bundles between now and the scheduled presidential repeat-polls then try learn something new on YouTube. It’s better to improve self than waste time fighting imaginary enemies.

Better yet, read about other tribes and know something more about the people you spend time hating. We will need to live after October 26th , 2017!

Dear MPs, refrain from drafting laws to settle scores; you will hurt our future!

Posted by on 29th September 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

This week has been without a doubt the most jaw-dropping since the political temperatures begun soaring shortly before the August 8th polls.

Politics aside, there is a serious deficit of values in this country. That a young man such as Embakasi East MP would stand on a podium and attack another presidential candidate with unprintable words and the people cheer is just absurd.

And if you think Babu Owino crossed the line, you probably didn’t hear Nairobi governor “respond” to him. Mike Sonko not only called the MP unbelievable names, he threatened him with rape!

At this rate, Ezekiel Mutua should classify political rallies in Kenya PG 18. It was really sad to see people cheering as the governor promised to send people to sodomise a Member of Parliament.

This vengeance culture our politicians are displaying is not only setting a bad example but will completely destroy the fabric of our nation. An eye for an eye will make us all blind.

It’s the same thing playing out between NASA and Jubilee regarding the October 26th presidential repeat-elections. Both sides coming with strong positions and none is yielding.

First, NASA presented what they call irreducible minimums; a set of issues they want IEBC to tackle before the October 26th polls. While some of the issues raised therein are legit and should be looked into; there are some however that can’t be implemented given the Constitutional time frame.

There’s little or no time for IEBC to issue tender for new ballot printing or an IT firm to replace Safran that they claim interfered directly. Perhaps an independent audit would suffice here.

Also, the chest thumping that there will be no elections is completely uncalled for and may be interpreted as an attempt at chiding the other side and can’t therefore lead to amicable resolutions.

Jubilee on the other hand decided to “respond” to NASA’s irreducible minimums by drafting an elections Bill that appears to reverse all the gains the country has made in this area.

Firstly, the Bill is not in the interest of the public but an attempt by Jubilee to assert itself. The laws they are now changing were made in a bi-partisan way with law makers from both sides.

Secondly, Jubilee MPs went ahead to change other bits that were completely not in contention, like watering down the qualification of the Chair to make it easy for the deputy chair take over where chair is missing. Reducing quorum from five to three.

The Bill further gives preeminence to the manual tallying over electronic tallying. Also any transmission hitches will not nullify results as announced by respective presiding officers. This completely erodes the transparency as voters are not able to see the scanned forms 34Bs transmitted together with results.

Additionally, the Bill wants the requirement that forms have particular features to prevent mischief be ignored. Basically the Bill is responding to the “illegalities and irregularities” in the Supreme Court judgment.

In short, majority of the changes in this Bill are not drafted in good faith and are purely done to ensure Jubilee presidential candidate is assured of zero nullification should NASA claim their votes are rigged again.

Here’s a free advice to the Jubilee lawmakers. When you start drafting laws for an individual, you’re participating in the making of a despot. All dictators, from Amin Dada to our very own Moi used laws drafted in Parliament to legitimize their actions.

Resist the need to be a sycophant and debate laws that will serve future generations rather than short term-reactive laws that are meant to put your opponents (NASA) where you feel they belong.

In the end our Jubilee sycophants should remember it took nearly a decade to reverse section 2A of the old Constitution and it happened at the pleasure of former President Moi.

As a nation we must find a way to fix the value system in this country that Politicians find it impossible to insult each other in public or create laws to settle scores.

Institution Capture by Politicians is real; Wanjiku Must now Arise!

Posted by on 22nd September 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

The Supreme Court judgment delivered this week though reaffirming Judiciary’s independence; left a lot to be desired. If anything, it affirmed the fears that Judiciary is indeed under threat.

Firstly, that the dissenting judgment focused more on poking holes at the majority judgment rather than offering their reasoned judgment. In the words of the Narc Leader, Martha Karua, it was as though they had put their colleagues on trial.

It’s also not lost to wananchi Supreme Court’s decision to absolve the IEBC officers of any criminal offences despite the majority judgment confirming illegalities were committed.

The Judiciary had already been labelled partisan by government politicians and one could argue they feared including criminal charges could only escalate tension. In the end they made a judgment that appeared political.

That Parliament is captured is not in question. Only this week Parliamentarians have shown their unity, yet again in fighting the Salaries Renumeration Commission (SRC) yet again. MPs know as long as they do things that please their political godfathers they are free to go rogue and the electorate can go hang.

Otherwise, why would the Budalangi MP be so bold in his silliness? He said, “In the 10th Parliament, this House was covering our many wives and the children of these women and girlfriends. This cover must be brought back,” referring to the medical cover that currently covers one wife and four children.

This disrespect for Wananchi is because Parliamentarians are only afraid of their party bosses-the main politicians-not mwananchi who put them there and has no medical cover.

Unfortunately, the Fourth Estate that one expects to help the electorate in making more informed decisions is also experiencing institutional capture. Not only was the media unable to report objectively during the August 8th polls but they were also muddying the waters by bringing on set partisan politicians who fed viewers more propaganda. Sadly, to this point, the media continues bringing politicians on set rather than experts who can add meaning to the conversation and help steer the country from the polarized state.

Other independent institutions also suffer the same problem. Again, this week, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) complained that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) cleared 106 candidates who were not fit to hold office against its recommendations. EACC now says over 60 per cent of the leaders in question were elected. Why then did IEBC clear these people? But one also wonders why EACC appeared toothless then, as it is now.

It appears the country is being held hostage by a cabal of politicians who are interested in nothing but power for the sake of power.

And while the electorate is partly to blame for electing the same people; the challenge to a large extent is the undemocratic nature of political parties where the choice presented to mwananchi is the worst. Right now, all eyes are on IEBC as they work to deliver free, fair and credible elections in the second round. And the rest of us are hoping this key institution will choose to serve Kenyans rather than politicians.

In the meantime, Kenyans must refuse to be dazed by the political rhetoric that keeps us fighting each other on social media and other public places at the expense of people who have little interest in us.

We must refuse to be pawns in the politician’s game even as we prepare for the next round of elections.

Let’s remember the real fight here is between the rich and the poor and choose our sides wisely and hope the media and other key institutions will do right by the people and hold the fabric of this nation together.

 

This Parliament looks rogue; we must now put pressure on them to focus on our priorities

Posted by on 15th September 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

It’s sad when people elected to represent and make laws on behalf of the people swear an oath to conscientiously guard and protect the constitution only to disregard that vow a few days later.

Ngunjiri Wambugu, Nyeri Town MP has filed a petition with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) seeking to remove the Chief Justice from office.

Chief Justice Maraga is the man who put Kenya on a map having nullified the presidential elections following the bungled August 8th polls-proving the Judiciary was truly independent. A ruling that has been received well all over the world.

That Jubilee as a party wasn’t happy with the ruling is understandable as the President and his deputy are only human. However, the Nyeri Town MP’s overzealous petition has nothing to do with why he was elected. All this is in a bid to impress his party bosses.

The people from his constituency according to a research by Kenyatta University have challenges implementing the Special Needs Education (SNE). The reasons include but not limited to socio-economic factors, socio-cultural among others.

Only last year, the great people of Nyeri presented a wish-list to President Kenyatta ahead of his visit. Top on the list was alcoholism; challenges coffee farmers were facing; the proposed construction of mega dams for Kieni and Tetu-which directly affect the livelihood of the people in Nyeri town but the Nyeri politician thinks getting Chief Justice Maraga from office is what is important to his constituents.

He’s not the only one mixing his priorities. Aden Duale the majority leader and Garissa Town MP has promised to tell people from his ethnic community that NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga is the enemy of the people from the North; to mean North Eastern Kenya.

Hon. Duale took issue with the NASA leader’s demands that IEBC purge the individuals who bungled the August 8th elections.

Every sensible Kenyan knows IEBC’s image is tainted and action needs to be taken to restore confidence but the Garissa Town MP decided to go ethnic; conveniently forgetting other names on NASA’s list that are not from the North, including the CEO who is from Western Kenya.

Hon. Duale like Ngunjiri Wambugu swore to defend the constitution and the rule of law a few days ago but the Jubilee politician no longer sees the need to follow due process and brings ethnicity instead.

Never mind North Eastern Kenya has been the most politically and economically disenfranchised part in the country since independence. One would imagine there are more pressing needs in Garissa Township than protecting one public servant alleged to have committed an electoral offence.

In a shocking statement following the killing of hundreds of students in Garissa University, the terrorist group Al Shabaab described the region as “colonized land” to mean they were in control of the area.

As long as other Kenyans are not free to move safely in Garissa, any MP elected there should make it their co-business to strengthen security in that region and promote inter-county tourism and make the terrorists realize the North is part and parcel of Kenya.

The majority leader is not the only one making careless statements. The President shocked the nation a few days ago when he said Parliament would impeach Raila if he wasn’t president-no other sound reason was given to justify the impeachment. He also boldly proclaimed he had enough numbers in Parliament to change the constitution.

One therefore wonders what kind of Legislature the 12th Parliament is shaping up to be.

A Parliament that can impeach the president simply because he’s not likeable to them. A parliament that can change the constitution to fit whatever the Executive wants. A Parliament that threatens another independent arm of the government such as the Judiciary.

The common Mwananchi unlike privileged politicians need responsible and accountable institutions. If public servants working for an independent an institutions like IEBC can commit electoral offenses leading to annulling of presidential results and go scot-free, surely what message are we sending?

Did the MPs understand the meaning of the word, “conscientiously” that some of them were struggling to pronounce? If they did then they will do what is motivated by the moral sense of right and wrong. And some things are out rightly wrong.

Coincidentally, today the world celebrates the International Day of Democracy and the theme this year concentrates on “the critical need to strengthen democratic institutions to promote peace and stability.”

Petition to remove Chief Justice Maraga does not help in strengthening the Judiciary as an institution and neither is the desire to protect alleged criminals strengthening the IEBC to remain independent and foster peace and stability. This actions speak volumes and must not be taken lightly.

In the meantime, Wanjiku will do well to keep pressure on their elected Members of Parliament to remain focused on the priorities of their constituents.

Forget Politics! We must learn to demand value for our money

Posted by on 9th September 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

The bungled August 8th elections was one of the most expensive elections in Africa at over Sh.40 billion. The expected repeat elections is expected to cost the Kenyan tax payer another Sh. 10 billion.

We can engage in NASA and Jubilee politics all we want but it doesn’t change the fact that billions of money are being spent and we can’t seem to get any return on investment.

How about we rest the politics for a moment and start paying attention at the colossal amounts of money we’re losing meaninglessly.

The leaked IEBC internal memo is a good place to start.

The IEBC chair’s memo directed at the CEO of the electoral agency demands answers to many things including the failed transmission of form 34As digitally, the use of porous servers, and why Satellite phones worth Sh.484 million were never used.

It doesn’t matter where the political wind is blowing, hard working Kenyans who pay taxes from their sweat must now demand value for their money. It can’t be business as usual. These elections were funded by both Jubilee and NASA supporters. It cuts across and is therefore no longer a political issue as such. We need to see people prosecuted, charged and jailed over these offenses.

It’s disturbing how impunity reigns supreme yet we fund very important bodies with our taxes. According to the Budget Statement for the fiscal year 2017/18 read out in Parliament by the CS Treasury, Henry Rotich; a total 47.8 billion was allocated to improving National Security.

Out of these 47.8 billion, 12 billion was for enhanced security operations (this includes CCTVs) yet a senior IEBC official would be dragged from his car and killed, his car do rounds in the city but our enhanced security can’t nub the perpetrators.

Where’s the return on investment in our National Security? And what does that say about the ordinary mwananchi? Should we even expect justice for the human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and the taxi driver?

In the same budget statement, Sh.410 million was allocated to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC); a commission that has gobbled tax payers money since inception with no visible results. Why should the tax payer continue funding NCIC when notorious hatemongers like Politician Moses Kuria are only getting bold by the day?

It now appears that even the fires ravaging schools and killing students could’ve been prevented if the schools were built according to the laid down safety standards. Stories are rife of parents not allowed to see where their children will be spending the night and yet they’re paying fees. This casual habit we’ve developed as a nation is now costing us children in schools.

Parents must demand to see any part of the school as they are the main clients and they pay for their kids to be there. We must now develop a culture of seeking proper value for the monies we spend.

In light of the new IEBC leaked memo, there’s a need to ask ourselves if the estimated Sh.10 billion will be another waste of money.

To prevent this wastage the culprits that bungled the August 8th elections must face the full force of the law. We sweat to pay taxes and every penny should be accounted for.