Entries from October 14th, 2017

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

Posted by on 14th October 2017

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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

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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.

Will the Legislature Stand to be counted?

Posted by on 4th September 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

The government has three arms namely: Executive, Judiciary and Legislature. Each independent and guided by the Constitution. However, the independence of the two arms from the Executive has been mostly a mirage.

In our over 50years of self-rule, the Executive always appeared to strong arm both the Judiciary and the Legislature; at least until the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution when the President’s powers were trimmed.

The Supreme Court’s nullification of the August 8th presidential results therefore is important because it affirms; if at all there was doubt, that the Judiciary is independent and free of Executive influence.

Indeed even after the new Constitution – never mind it has been seven years – the two arms of government struggled to show their independence.

The 11th Parliament which was the first House to come under the new Constitution acted for the better part of its term as a rubberstamp for the Executive completely showing lack of independence.

Legislature is by Wanjiku’s lens a most important arm of government because it is the voice of Wanjiku and its independence should be as clear as day is from night, yet remains the most prone to abuse by Executive.

The MPs elected owe their loyalty to the party more than the people. Sadly, these parties are owned by the politicians and MPs therefore do their bidding. Take the election of Speaker Muturi and Lusaka for instance.

President Uhuru called to Statehouse the MPs and Senators-elect before they took oath of office and impressed upon them the need to elect Muturi and Lusaka respectively. Legislature did what the Executive wanted without thinking what it would mean for Wanjiku-the real people who put them there.

The President owed the former Bungoma governor for the votes he got in Western Kenya and this was how to reward him seeing as he had failed to retain his position. There was no political damage in dumping former Speaker Ekwee Ethuro.

Parliament endorsed him despite the corruption allegations involving the slightly over one million wheelbarrows saga when he was governor. They conveniently hid under IEBC’s clearance certificate that gave the former him bill of clean health.

Parliament’s independence is further complicated by the fact that even nominated members are first nominated by the same party owners heading the Executive and must therefore toe the party line.

The ability to dangle carrots and sticks by the Executive has turned previously sharp and independent law makers into sycophants rendering them completely useless to Wanjiku.

Parliament becomes lame and dull especially because the people nominated, hardly deserve to be in Parliament. These are friends and cronies of party owners whose job is nothing but to ask how high when the Executive says, Jump!

Already President Uhuru boasts majority in both Houses and is confident his agenda will sail because of the infamous tyranny of numbers.

And should the elections coming in 60-days declare Raila winner he will find a most hostile Parliament courtesy of numbers. Which is funny because Parliament appears independent only when the President has few members in the House.

As the people who make laws that both the Executive and the Judiciary abides by the independence of the Legislature has never been more important.

The historic Supreme Court ruling was a first in Africa. Every pundit thought it would be impossible to overturn the election of an incumbent, yet it did thereby stamping its foot as an independent institution.

Will Parliament borrow a leaf and give us laws that reflect their independence and the will of Wanjiku? We are tired of the bickering from political parties and endless showdowns about party dominance.

We can only hope the lawmakers in the 12th Parliament will close ranks and remember their duty, first is to the people as representatives and not political party loyalty. We are watching keenly.

 

Let’s exercise our Constitutional power and remind MPs who is boss

Posted by on 26th August 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

On Sunday Kenyans celebrate the 7th Anniversary since the promulgation of the new Constitution. People celebrate anniversaries for many varied reasons depending on the occasion; but by far the common and most important is remembering the commitment made on that day.

On Sunday therefore we shall remember the commitment we made when we chose to articulate our issues in one document we call the Constitution.

The years prior to the promulgation of the new Constitution saw the country plundered and looted to astronomical levels. Corruption was the modus operandi and elected leaders were a law unto themselves.

Among the many things we set to correct with the new Constitution was having servant leaders who respected the office they were taking up and indeed the people who put them there. Chapter Six remains the proof of that commitment.

Indeed we knew there could be some wolf in sheep’s clothing so we made a commitment to winnow them out by recalling them before their term ends. Chapter 8 on the Legislature confirms this in Article 104.

Why then do we still appear helpless seven years after making such a radical commitment? Why has the corruption dragon become so difficult to slay? Why are we still having leaders who are more interested in themselves than the people they represent? Who is to blame?

Today we find ourselves in very familiar waters following MPs-elect provocative tone on pay cuts. It’s déjà vu all over again but some of us would rather we bury our heads in the sand and pretend surprise.

Homabay Women Rep is leading the gang of those who will be taking the battle to SRC door steps. She blasted Salaries and Remuneration Commission SRC in the full glory of cameras that she and others will not stand and watch the commission reduce them to beggars.

Majority Kenyans struggle to get by not the very least people from Homabay, but their Woman Rep, Gladys Wanga thinks Sh.621000 that the SRC pegged the MPs salaries at is not good enough for her.

She is not alone. Millie Odhiambo the newly elected Mbita MP also said in a local TV show that they spend a lot of money during campaigns in her attempt at justifying her colleague’s intent to fight SRC.

Needless to mention it is for this reason that the Constitution mandated IEBC to set campaign spending limits.

When politicians blatantly ignored the gazette notice by IEBC on capping campaign funds what were they saying about their commitment to the Constitution?

If we are to stop re-living this nightmare every five years we must understand why the Constitution begins with, “We the People…” Power belongs to the people and we must demonstrate it now.

Thankfully, not all is lost in this case. Thanks to Katiba Institute the conundrum MPs had put to in the law to make it near impossible to re-call them was defeated after a three-judge bench nullified that law that gave MPs powers to determine who had the right to petition for their recall.

In addition, the court in a petition lodged in 2013 ruled that: “Parliamentarians are expected to operate within the letter and the spirit of the Constitution.  Parliament, like all other state organs, is not above the law.  Members of the National Assembly, like all other state officers, and the National Assembly, like all other state organs are compelled by the Constitution to adhere to the national values and principles of governance found in Article 10 of the Constitution.  We therefore agree with the petitioners that the resolution by the National Assembly to nullify the Gazette Notices published by the SRC was unconstitutional.”

As we plan on celebrating the 7th Anniversary of the new Constitution, let the electorate take a cue from the great people of Kiambu County who have set the tone by quickly creating woke groups on telegram WhatsApp and digital spaces to get signatures to recall their Woman Rep, Gathoni Wa Mushomba after her careless remarks on the MPs pay cut.

The former Journalist has since apologized and promised to accept whatever SRC offers. That’s people power. Through the Constitution, Kenyans captured their best hopes and dream for the nation and our best days lie ahead if we all – the public and the arms of government – commit to obey the spirit and letter of the Constitution.

Can we count on the youthful MPs-elect to heal our country?

Posted by on 17th August 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

The just concluded August 8th General election has left part of the country limping. The ugly underbelly of our collective mistrust of other communities was once again exposed as has been the case every election year.

Raila Odinga disputed IEBC’s announcement that Uhuru Kenyatta was the winner and has since promised to challenge the results at the Supreme Court thereby quelling what possibly would have been a showdown between the police and his supporters; the call to avoid work having set the stage.

Nonetheless, the country remains fractured and not even the Supreme Court ruling will mend that; whichever way the ruling goes.

Presidential elections in Kenya have long been established as the signal to begin one’s turn to eat. This is perhaps why it’s very easily a tribal affair.

Considering other levels of elective positions do not draw such bile; is there something those elected-particularly to the National Assembly can do to address these deep seated issues? Can we look to the youth for healing where the older MPs have failed?

Babu Owino

If the youth and youthful MPs are to help bring sobriety in our country then those elected in this 12th Parliament are best suited for this job.

Take Babu Owino for instance. The MP elect for Embakasi East despite being a diehard NASA supporter can very easily help in healing the country. Regardless of your biases, this young man gets his peers and the younger generation quite excited with his unnecessary vocabulary.

Babu is credited for having coined the word, Tibim which has gained significant traction country-wide although he insists it’s a Greek word. His theatrics have endeared him to his peers.

In his student leadership days he fought for the student’s rights regardless of their ancestral home. He should therefore continue speaking for the youth across the country and not just NASA.

Will he realize this as he heads to Parliament and change his radical stand?

Jaguar

Celebrated Musician Charles Njagua Kanyi alias, Jaguar will also be representing Starehe Constituency in the 12th Parliament. After singing about vigeugeu we can hope as an MP he will set an example and not betray the confidence the great people of Starehe have in him.

Jaguar’s song are an anthem. Both NASA and Jubilee fans sing to his songs like their lives depend on it. His appeal to the youth is without a question and perhaps that’s why in future we might need more celebrities in the August House if only to have people with a wider appeal outside of their immediate ethnic circles.

Will Jaguar stand to be counted when the youth seek his voice or will he tow the party line?

KJ

The youthful John Kiarie better known ask KJ will be representing the great people of Dagoretti South. KJ was one of the first few voices to openly expose the ills of the government of the day through their satirical show Redykyulass that won the hearts of Kenyans of all ages.

Whether Redykyulass achieved its goal beyond making Kenyans laugh is a different story but no one can doubt the show united all Kenyans-including the villain who was being exposed.

Will KJ demonstrate this brilliance in the 12th Parliament and champion youth issues without thinking too much about voting along party lines?

Ndindi Nyoro

Also worth noting is majority of young people making their maiden entry into Parliament are very wealthy business people.

Employment being one of the biggest thorns on the flesh of our youth perhaps it’s about time they help draft laws that can help government create better environment for startups seeing as they can leverage on their experiences as entrepreneurs.

Incoming Kiharu MP Ndidi Nyoro at 32 years, is already a billionaire with interests in Telecoms, constructions among other businesses.

Paul Mwirigi

The idea that the youth are a violent group at the disposal of tribal chiefs is first coming to an end even as the youth fight for their space in leadership.

Perhaps nothing asserts that statement more than the Mount Kenya University student who won the parliamentary seat for Igembe South without relying on any political party.

John Paul Mwirigi at 23, makes history as possibly the youngest MP ever to be elected in Kenyan history.

With these number of promising youthful MP-elects we can remain hopeful that the 12th Parliament will have youthful people the youth can depend on to make better laws on their behalf.

 

Here is your guide to voting and the power in a pinch: Kura edition

Posted by on 4th August 2017

Categories: Uncategorized

By Paul Nyawanda

A ‘pinch of salt’ is just enough salt to fill the space between the thumb and the index finger-hence the term pinch. In addition, that pinch of salt can make a huge difference on how the food tastes, yet we hardly ever realize just how small a quantity this is. I explore what there is in a pinch of salt. Grab a spoonful; but first let me help the first time voter get his way around on elections day. Here is a simple guide for a first time voter.

If you are a first time voter, you are probably anxious; we all are. Before you make your way to your polling station remember, to check if you have carried your National Identity Card or Passport-whichever you used to register. Also, they have to be original unless you want to create a scuffle. Once you get there queue like everyone else, nothing could be more patriotic. As a rule of thumb, do not have any other engagements on the voting day. And remember to give way for the pregnant women, the disabled, the elderly and breast feeding mothers, it’s common sense. However, if you’re a stickler for the law it is one of the rules as dictated by IEBC.

At the polling station verification desk, you will present your ID or Passport for verification by the polling clerks. Your fingerprints will also be taken to confirm your identity after which you’ll be issued with the ballot papers. Here’s where things get tricky, so hear me well. You’ll be given six ballot papers, in different colours and directed to the booth where you shall vote for your preferred candidates. Once you’ve marked on the ballot papers as instructed you will then proceed to cast your ballot on the ballot boxes.

The ballot boxes have different colors symbolizing different elective offices. White ballot boxes are for presidential votes; Blue for Governors; Yellow for Senators; Green for MPs; Pink for Women Reps and Beige for MCAs. Once you cast your ballot, one of the polling clerks will paint your little finger with navy blue paint to mark you as having voted. So do not try mischief-usually the paint takes a while to come off. Give it a week. And just like that you’ll have crossed the Rubicon of a first time voter.

Having guided you meticulously through that process it’s only fair that I warn you about getting cold feet. First time voters fail to vote despite having registered for many reasons ranging from unknown fear to don’t-care-attitude; but by far the major reason is that their vote doesn’t hold much weight anyway. And that brings me back to the salt analogy and just what a pinch of salt can do.

A Powerful Presence

Take a pinch of salt from the spoonful and place it on your tongue. Be generous and make it a sizeable pinch. Even without the subsidy price tag, salt is inexpensive and readily available. You have no scapegoat. In a few minutes, a reaction will have been triggered. You either swallow the salt or spit it out. Its ‘powerful’ taste doesn’t allow you to sit pretty and ignore its presence on your tongue. The powerful presence forces you into action.

Power in Numbers

Every pinch consists of hundreds (maybe thousands) of individual salt granules. As the number of granules varies, so does the flavor of food. Eventually, this variation dictates the difference between food that’s well-salted and that which lacks such culinary courtesy. On its own, a single granule that forms part of this ‘pinch’ won’t do much for flavor in your food. The ‘pinch of salt’ relies on power in numbers for its sensational effect.

Power to Transform

A pinch of salt has the power to transform food into a meal. In the case of a meal, the transformation easily gives rise to a delicacy.

Such a small quantity is able to effect a transformation of this magnitude for one reason. Every granule of salt has several unique elements responsible for tasty or salted food. No other compound combines these elements in the manner that salt does. Consequently, no other compound (spice or combination of spices) can have the same effect on food that a pinch of salt can have.

In this election, the youth population is this powerful “pinch”. It would be suicidal for Jubilee, NASA and the rest to ignore the immense power that we wield as young voters. Power legitimized by our position as the majority of the voting population.

This power is reaffirmed by our ability to power Kenya’s economy through homegrown innovations that are creative, intellectual, and zealously ambitious. This ability being more abundant in us than it is in any other section of the population.

We have a pinch of salt that’s triple-packed with power. A powerful presence: Power in numbers, and the power to transform. Unity of purpose is the only solvent needed to make a powerful solution for this country.

You owe it to yourself to exercise this power on 8th August.

Thereafter, we owe it to our country to continue to exercise this power by holding elected leaders to account. Manifestos in tow.

This article is courtesy of Project Mchujo, running with the hashtag #ChujaSiasa