Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Why Kenya Should Become a Vassal of the USA

'Sovereignty' is defined by the Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus (3rd Ed., 2004) as "supreme and unrestricted power, as of a state; an independent state." The Black's Law Dictionary (8th Ed., 2004) defines it as "a person, body, or state vested with independent and supreme authority." The key words in these definitions are "supreme", "independent" and "unrestricted". Can Kenya claim to be a "sovereign state"? The Constitution of Kenya declares in section 1 that "Kenya is a sovereign Republic". Black's Law Dictionary defines this as "a system of government in which the people hold sovereign power and elect representatives who exercise that power".

The Constitution of India, on the other hand, in its preamble declares India to be a "sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic Republic." This matters a lot in how the elected representatives exercise the sovereign power of the people. In India, the elected representatives have resisted strongly the urge to mortgage their country to foreign interests, even when it would have been the easier thing to do to address pressing social and economic problems. Indeed in 1991 when India's foreign exchange reserves were in a precarious state, India did not go to the World Bank or IMF with hat in hand; instead, it took steps to liberalise its economy and thus become competitive in the global market. Today, unsurprisingly, the Tata group of companies is a multi-national conglomerate that owns such prestigious Western brands as Corus Steel, Tetley Tea, Jaguar Motor Co., and Land Rover.

While the People's Republic of China can hardly be described as a democracy, the Communist Party of China has also maintained an iron economic grip on the sovereignty of the Chinese State; indeed, the People's Revolutionary Army, at over 1.5 million strong, is also the largest economic investor in the country, separate from the Communist Party itself. All this is intended to ensure that China remains independent from the strong global politico-economic forces championed by the West. As a result, China has pursued a policy that has seen it rise steadily towards becoming a major global power whose opinion must be considered during periods of global instability, such as the economic recession that began in late 2007.

Which leads me now to conclude that Kenya can hardly claim "sovereignty". When the Minister for Foreign Affairs thumps his chest and dares America to do its worst, threatening similar retaliation, Hon. Wetangula willfully turns a blind eye to the politico-economic realities of the day. The past 18 months have demonstrated that we are "sovereign" only in name; in fact, however, we are beholden to the largesse of foreign powers, some Western, some not. When it was predicted that at least 10 million Kenyans were in danger of starvation, the Government of President Kibaki and later the Coalition Government of President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga went cap-in-hand to the West for food aid. When the 2007 General Elections led to widespread violence, displacement and anarchy, foreign powers intervened and coerced the 'principals' to cohabit unhappily in a coalition. A lot of the 'developmental aid' that Kenya receives goes towards 'budgetary support' and contrary to what our Finance Ministers claim, Kenya has yet to support its development agenda without assistance from foreign powers. So, how can we claim sovereignty as a nation when our elected representatives have mortgaged our country to foreigners?

Samuel Johnson said that 'patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel' and in Kenya this no longer moot. Every time our elected officials wish to distract us from pressing domestic matters of national importance, they use patriotism as a weapon to attack those foreign powers that have an opinion on "our internal affairs", forgetting that, especially, the West has supported this country financially for decades and expect a steady rate of return for their investment. By now we should all have realised that there are no rfree lunches in real life; we all pay a price, one way or the other.

Which leads me to ask, is it of any benefit to anyone that we remain a 'sovereign Republic'? The United Kingdom still retains many "dependent territories". So does the United States of America. Given our anti-pathy to being the Queen's subjects by the fact that her government screwed up so royally when Kenya was under her thumb, the USA seems a better bet as a colonial master. I propose that Kenya votes to become a proper vassal state of the USA. This will eliminate many of the problems we currently face: there would be no necessity for a President or Prime Minister; indeed, there would be no need for a 43-strong cabinet of ministers; the civil service could be refashioned along American lines; we would no longer speak of economic aid as much as transfer of resources. While America may baulk at adopting a wayward country like Kenya, in the long run it is our best interests to be rule by a foreign power; they can't screw up half as bad as our many thousands of politicians have screwed up since 1963. More importantly, we would never be divided again by General Elections and we would all concentrate on getting the much coveted Green Card, the epitome of achievement in Kenyans' eyes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Is the Rift Valley worth all the trouble?

The Rift Valley, once more, is being billed as the future turf of the electoral contest come 2012. Yesterday's creation of a Kalenjin Council of Elders and today's revelations of a Cabinet Minister directly involved in inciting violence against the non-Kalenjin point to a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of liberal multi-party politics. The Council ignores or attempts to ignore the fact that the Rift Valley is not the exclusive home of the Kalenjin and its members' claims that it is not a political outfit should be taken with the same quantity of salt one would take against the claims that certain Rift Valley MPs were not involved in the violence of 2007/08.

However, we shouldn't ignore the fact that the 10 sub-tribes of the Kalenjin are the largest ethnic group in the Valley. The Kikuyu, the Luhya and the Kambas are some of the other ethnic groups that can lay claim to parts of the Valley. But it is the Maasai who occupy second place in terms of size and political influence. The fact is, the Kalenjins call the Valley home but this does not mean that this is their traditional home, not in any way, shape or form. The Kenya constitution, flawed as it is, makes provisions for the protection of the rights of Kenyans to own property anywhere in the country.

The members of ethnic communities who took advantage of the semi-literacy of the 'true' owners of the Valley and acquired large tracts of land are not to blame for the failures of the so-called kalenjin leadership. If this new outfit wishes to address the leadership challenges of the Kalenjin, it must honestly tell its people that the reason why it is so backward in academic and economic terms and in other measures of socio-economic advancement. It is a fact that while the 24 years of president Moi's reign brought many opportunities to the people of the Rift Valley, one cannot deny that he ignore large swathes of the place. There is no excuse for the backwardness of the Ogiek or the Pokot and Turkana. President Moi, while showering largesse on a few of his fellow Kalenjin did not do much for the community as a whole, hence their feelings of persecution at the hands of economically and academically superior members of other communities.

It is now apparent that many of the Kalenjin politicians in Parliament, while denying that they are arming militias in the Rift Valley, will not do anything to reduce the level of tension. Many, even those in high government office, are convinced that their community is under siege. It is not our fault that the violence that took place after the 2007 General Elections took place largely in the Rift Valley; it is Rift Valley, specifically, Kalenjin MPs who perpetrated and perpetuated the violence and pretended to jpoin hands at the signing of the National Accord in 2008. What is required is an honest assessment of the MPs and other leaders of the Kalenjin community. Hon. Ruto, Hon. Bett, Hon. Sambili, Hon. Prof. Kamar, Hon. Kilimo, Hon. Isaac Ruto, Hon. Sirma, Hon. Cheptumo, Hon. Kutuny, and all the rest of them have singularly failed to articulate clearly a vision for their constituents and they will lead their people to the next general elections with percieved grievances against the rest of the country. I am not worried that militias are being armed in the Rift Valley; I am worried that if we balkanise this nation any further, there won't be a nation worth saving in the aftermath of the 2012 general elections.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Teen Sexuality is a Fact

I was shocked - shocked - to learn that teenagers and pre-teenagers are having massive amounts of sex. SEX! How could this come to pass? In Kenya of all places too. We are a Christian nation (so do all those churches tell us) and we do not have sex save for procreation. This report based on armchair research is just plain wrong. There's no way my standard eight neighbour in the micro-skirt and tumbo-cut is giving it to my other form one neighbour with the bad mohawk and sagging jeans and spotless white timbalands. No fucking way!

At least that is what I wish to stay but cannot because the truth is something else altogether. With every advancement in this country, be it economic, academic, telecommunication or social, the age of sexual maturity keeps getting lower and lower. Maturity as in recognition of themselves as sexual beings but not mental maturity to recognise the implications of sexuality and sexual activity. There is plenty of blame to lay around: parents who socialise their children using the DSTv and the internet; schools that are overcrowded and teachers who are overworked and underpaid; corrupt local authorities that have sold every bit of open land to the nearest Mr. Moneybags Developer; and churches that have proliferated at the same rate their proprietors are caught with their pants down that they are incapable of offering a coherent moral compass to their congregants. In the middle of all this is caught a givernment that has absolutely no idea what its priorities are and how to achieve tangible social and economic advancements without rending the fabric of society.

As a result, childhood sexuality is being ignored and the result is the rise in childhood pregnancy and abortion on an unprecedented scale. If we do not admit to ourselves that there is a problem and that we all must take responsibility, how will we find the courage or wisdom to offer more than platitudes to these children who are endangering their lives. HIV/AIDS is not the only risk facing them. Sexual exploitation can be far much worse. If you do not believe this, visit Phuket in Thailand and witness the dull stares of young boys and girls raped on a regular basis by clientys much older than them. Or take a walk along the beaches of Malindi and Mombasa!

Do they still want a dictatorship?

There is a new smell in the air: religious hypocrisy. The venom pouring forth from a section of my Christian brethren regarding the Kadhis' Courts is not only frightening, it is also illuminating. It is now quite apparent that Bishop Dr. Margaret Wanjiru, the MP for Starehe, Assistant Minister for Housing and the propietor of the Jesus is Alive Ministry has a very large bone to pick with the Muslims in Kenya. It is not just the question of 'their' courts; she was also at the forefront of preventing the Jamia Mosque from exercising another of their constitutional rights with regards to a piece of property they had paid millions of shillings for in Nairobi.

Christianity preaches tolerance; Jesus exhorted us to turn the other cheek if we were persecuted. The good Bishop and her fellow-travelers have a different interpretation of Christian brotherhood. In their discourse, the world owes us a lot. Christianity is under siege - from pornographers, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, hip hop artistes, reggae musicians, Hollywood, etc. The Church is facing a declining congregation and declining collections. In Kenya, to 'grow' your church, you must give it a national profile. Dr. Wnajiru has found the perfect issue to help JIAM to gro: antipathy to the Islamic way of life.

Kenya has never had a distinct line between church and state. After all, this is not the United States of America. But there has always been the presumption that all views, religious and otherwise, would be considered when matters of national importance are discussed. Dr. Wanjiru and her supporters are of the opinion that contrarian opinions are dangerous and 'demonic' and must be challenged at every opportunity, even if they cost Kenya opportunities for advancement. As a nation, we have waited for a new constitution now going on 19 years. The Christian opposition to a draft that has yet to be published over a matter that the rest of the country saw as settled for over fifty years will cost us a new constitution, one that will ensure that we remain saddled with a constiitution that we have already decried as overbearing and prone to massive abuse. Perhaps this is the game plan after all. Ensure that we go into the next general elections to elect a national assembly and president who would enjoy the enormous corrupting power conferred by this constitution. If this is the goal of the sudden discovery of religious parity in our Christian brethren, they will saddle this country with one more of a rather short list of incompetent, corrupt and dictatorial presidents.

Haki Yetu is not just a rioting slogan

Reports in our normally very reliable newspapers indicate that a few of our high and mighty lords of politics have retained legal counsel fearing ICC indictments may be handed down against them. Further reports also indicate that some of our erstwhile human rights heroes and heroines object strongly to these men (and women) of influence retaining legal counsel. What I wish to know from the (conscientious?) objectors is whether they preach human rights for the alleged victims alone or not. In Kenya, theoretically, one is innocent until convicted by a court of law. I have no problem with the likes of Uhuru Kenyatta, George Saitoti, Franklin Bett and their fellow-travelers diverting significant amounts of their personal wealth to protecting their rather thin hides from the attentions of prosecutors, whether here in Kenya or thousands of kilometres away in The Hague. It is what the rule of law would demand of and for them. I would have no problem in them deploying their lawyers to preempt any attempt to extradite them to The Hague. I would take strong pains to champion their right to legal counsel at all costs.

However, if their intention is to defeat the course of justice using the power of their political office, then all bets would be off and I would advocate taking matters into wananchi's hands, violently or otherwise. What I would also take great exception to is the position adopted by our human rights champions: one simply cannot deny another Kenyan the right to take all legal steps to protect himself. The ones who have retained legal counsel must at the very least have faith in our judiciary. The ones who would like to organise kangaroo courts to obtain the judgments they believe these suspects richly deserve are doing our country a great disservice.

It is no longer moot to suggest that Kenya has the most dysfunctional judiciary in the world, second only to Afghanistan and Somalia. The Hague as a venue for determining the guilt or otherwise of the so-called perpetrators of the post-election violence seems like the most viable option, especially for those who bear the greatest responsibility. It would be remiss of us to deny them the right to counsel, the right to prevent their dirty laundry being aired in a court of law, even if it is thousands of kilometres away in a foreign land. Ms. Jaoko and her fellow campaigners are placing this country in jeopardy by denying their fellow Kenyans legal rights conferred upon them by our constitution, flawed as it is.

The rationale behind a judicial process is that it removes the right to retribution from individuals to a body that has credibility. Even judges are subject to it. Hasn't Justice GBM Kariuki undergone a judicial process that acquitted him of serious charges? The suspects in the violence that led to the deaths of thousands, the loss of private and public property worth billions and the displacement of hundreds of thousands must be given the opportunity to prove their innocence in a court of law. They cannot do this without the services of highly paid advocates. It is their right. Ni haki yao!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Opportunity Knocks

Now that the Prime Minister and his co-principal, the President have found a working style that works for them, it is time they started looking for that window of opportunity to do the right thing. it is becoming increasingly plain that Hon. Odinga (ODM, Langata) will not be elected President of Kenya. It is also increasingly plain that H.E. Mwai Kibaki will have no legacy to leave Kenyans save for the well-executed road construction taking place all over the country. As such, both have an opportunity to steer the country away from the likes of William Ruto, Isaac ruto, franklin Bett, William Ole Ntimama, Simon Mbugua, Peter Munya, Kiraitu Murungi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Mutula Kilonzo and all thos literate and semi-literate inciters, thieves, murderers and rapists currently occuppying the National Assembly. If only the pair of them would remove the blinders from their eyes and see the potential glory of their names in history, I would register as a voter today!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The wheel of justice grinds slowly ...

... but it grinds true! Thomas Gilbert Patrick Cholmondoley has been handed a sentence of eight, yes eight, months for the manslaughter of 'stone-mason' Timothy Njoya. Let me not join the band-wagon that will lampoon Justice Muga Apondi's sentence. After all, the accused had been accosted by armed poachers on his expansive ranch. Sure, he has a penchant for shooting 'innocent' people on his property, but the sanctity of private property cannot be violated willy nilly simply because the land-owner is a rich man.
This has been an interesting trial. Taking the better part of 3 years, it has exposed the challenges faced by those who cannot rub two shillings together. The Delamere descendant is a land-baron in all but name. His wealth in capital is almost Croesus-like. He is able to afford the best and in Fred Ojiambo, he found an advocate who clearly earned his brief. He has the choice of appealing the sentence but he would be wise not to. It has nothing to do with his pursuit of justice. He should simply thank whichever god he prays to that he was not convicted of murder, else he would be facing the hang-man's noose today. He is a lucky, lucky fellow and he should serve his term in peace and pray that no more misfortunes follow him.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Myth

We are in the throes of an existensial crisis. My friends, we are going nowhere. Fast! Recent developments have shown up the myth of the multi-party polity. It was meant to foster democracy. That dream has been shattered to smithereens. There is no doubt that we need to rethink the configuration of leadership. How can we foster leadership, inculcate it in all Kenyans?
We must begin by admitting that we have failed ourselves and are failing our great nation. It is time that we began the long process of rebuilding national institutions, including government, religion, academia, sport, entertainment, the Fourth Estate, business, and foreign relations. It would mean redesigning our rules of leadership to remove or reduce conflicts of interest. When personal interests become the primary consideration when addressing matters of national concern, that is conflict of interest. None of our so-called leaders have been unable to separate the personal from the national and that is why lunatic statements like witchcraft in soccer are uttered by otherwise sensible old men or prime ministers will complain that they do not have assigned carpetted toilets.
Remove conflict of interest and the process of recreating leadership for the national good begins. Nzamba Kitonga and his team are sitting to draft a new constitution. They must consider all the other drafts that came before. Many had solid recommendations on how to govern. However, the constitution cannot change the character of Kenyans. That must begin from within.
I offer you a thought: If at any time you wanted or are a leader, and your desire was motivated by money or security for you and your family; if you considred the national good only after you had considered everything else, your are by all accounts a BAD leader. You will make a terrible president and your actions in any position of leadership will lead to loss in the long term.
Is it any wonder that we have very few innovative companies in Kenya? Is it any wonder that we are suspicious of all religions and religious denominations? Change your character and change the world.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The way of the gun?

When they formed the 2003 Narc government, Raila and Kibaki could not imagine the lengths to which their friends and enemies would go to ensure that their agenda would not survive. Mr. Kibaki was unwell, some say he was near death’s door. Raila was NOT the vice president; his ego would not permit it. It is this essential error that ensured that the fate of this country would be for the worse.

The so-called Mt. Kenya Mafia, in the period of the president’s convalescence, took over the reins of power and ensured that all potential future threats against their praetor would be met with defeat if not total annihilation. Raila Odinga and his LDP rebels were sidelined in decision-making; they were denied executive power in any form. Instead, Kibaki’s vice-president, the late Michael Kijana Wamalwa, was bolstered just enough to ensure the LDP did not become a force within government. All the instruments of power - the police, armed forces, finance, internal security – were concentrated among trusted allies of the Mt. Kenya Mafia.

If only Kibaki, upon his recovery, had honoured the secret MoU with the LDP, Kenya would have been spared the bloodshed of 2008. However, this was not to be. With that betrayal, the die was cast. The LDP rebelled during the referendum for the draft new constitution and solidified into a force to reckon with during the 2007 general elections. That it prevailed as the ODM is no consolation as the ODM is not in charge of the executive power in Kenya today. In attempting to redress the balance of power between the erstwhile coalition partners, they greatly underestimate the spoiler role that ODM-K’s Kalonzo Musyoka is bound to play in the next 3 years. It would be riskier if they were to presume that because his political constituency is concentrated in Ukambani, with one or two pockets of dissent, he is a weakling or without resources.

Kalonzo is the V-P. In the event the president becomes incapacitated, the V-P takes over. That is a constitutional reality and the National Accord amendments in the Constitution will not change it. Raila, as PM, has no executive power. ‘Supervise’ is such an amorphous word that is near impossible to apply to government. And to ignore the role played by the permanent secretary in the office of the president is simply foolhardy (or foolish, depending on where you stand). It is now dawning on the ODM that they made a desert and called it peace and now they are all dying of thirst while the PNU hogs all the oases.

It is time that Raila admitted to himself and to the nation that he will NEVER be president of this country – his time has passed. It is time to start grooming the next national leaders of this country. Even the likes of Joshua Kutuny have time and opportunity on their side. The old warriors should make arrangements for their retirement. This is the only way that Kenya can move forward. Say it ain’t so!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The 2 Principals Must Go!

We must agree that it is important to have dialogue in any confrontation. We cannot simply bury our heads in the sand and pretend that the problem affects someone else. That is what Kenyans are doing today - pretending that the political problems facing us are someone else's problem. This fact cannot be wished away. We must face it head on and we must come to terms with it.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Kibaki are not fit to hold high office. They have played with our lives and our national treasures simply to assuage their enormous egos. In their political calculations, Kenyans were not a factor, merely and excuse to engage in political brinkmanship. The result is that hundreds of Kenyans died and hundreds of thousands list their properties.

The coalition of the greedy has not brought about an improvement in our lives. Indeed, it has been a source of ever increasing misery. It is this coalition that has stolen food from the hungry, murdered innocent people, misused public funds, and sold public properties to foreigners for a song. It has refused to take any steps towards national cohesion or a new constitutional dispensation. It has began to attack an independent judiciary with sophistry and cant. It is a liability and it must be brought down.

It is our duty to remove Raila and Kibaki and their cohorts from power. They have proven time and again to have feet of clay. They don't have our interests at heart. we need a new breed of leaders. While I disagree with the NCCK on many issues, they are correct. We must have fresh elections, a new parliament and a new cabinet. Then we can move on.

Lack of vision

We must all take responsibility for the situation we find ourselves in today. It is not enough to rail against the system while we have refused to hold the members of the establishment to account for their deeds and misdeeds. The situation in Kenya today is one in which all the institutions of governance, whether political, social, moral or academic, are crumbling and bereft of leadership.

Leadership should inspire us to attempt the impossible - to shoot the moon, so to speak. We are living in a bankrupt age: bereft of any ideas save for the hustle. Take the example of our public universities: When the KU students went on the rampage in the past few weeks, we bemoaned the fact that they caused damage to public and private property in the pursuit of their demands. Vice Chancellor Mugenda is powerless to stop the violence from spilling onto Thika Road because she epitomizes the state of leadership in public institutions: it doesn't exist.

While her appointment may have been based on her professional qualifications, it is now becoming apparent that that was not the only criteria that she was evaluated by. as in appointments to all other institutions, he political temperature was also gauged and when she was found to be acceptable on that basis, her appointment came to pass. There is risk, however. Whenever irrelevant considerations are made, the long term goals of an institutions run the risk of being compromised if the newly installed leadership bereft of any vision. This is the situation that KU finds itself today. from all accounts, Prof. Mugenda runs the university along the same draconian lines that Moi-era leaders ran their dockets. She does not listen to new ideas, she does not tolerate constructive criticism and she will not countenance that others may be smarter and more experienced than her. Many of the experienced people in the University have given up attempting to advise her and have decided to sit back and watch the destruction of the institutions.

this is not in any way to absolve the student leadership. it too has failed to evolve with the times. Not many student leaders have any experience in addressing the needs and requirements of the students who elected them to office. They are, more sadly, not even interested in learning the basic tenets of leadership. If Joshua Kutuny is anything to go by, student leaders only see their future in terms of entering the national assembly as MPs. None sees their role as being to ensure that the universities where they learn improve to height before unknown.

And this is the malaise afflicting our country. In institution after institution, the lack of a genuine leadership has impacts far greater than that of poor management. The lack of a vision is the reason why programmes and policies as the Vision 2030 will not succeed. We don't have visionaries anymore and we are to blame. in our desire to protect our ethnic bailiwicks, we have promoted charlatans and snake-oil salesmen to positions of power and authority but not leaders. We shall continue to suffer so long as we make the wrong calculations. this is a fact. Let us accept it and deal with it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Wako and Martha: Gemini Twins

So Martha Karua and Amos Wako had a very public spat over one thing or the other. It really doesn't matter what their fight was about - what matters is that Kenyans are suddenly inundated with tales of their legal prowess. Are they really that good? I mean, what are their credentials? Mr. Wako attended some of the finest schools in Kenya and abroad. So did Ms. Karua. However, their conducts over the past five years, suggest that the best of their legal minds have been suborned for the greater political glory that accompanies their respective posts (if glory it is).

According to some (foreign) people, Mr. Wako is the embodiment of ... something or the other. What some of us know is that Amos Wako was Moi's A-G and now he is Kibaki's. He's managed to 'advise' the government every step of the way since the infamous Goldenberg whatnot came to light in the mid-90's and for the foreseeable future, shall continue to the same job. The Smiling A-G is after all a great survivor and keeper of dark secrets and he knows where ALL the bodies are buried. Ms. Karua is a different kettle of fish. Back in the day, when she and Raila saw eye to eye, she was a great believer in human rights and collective responsibility. So long as she could charge Moi with violating human rights and ask that his cabinet be equally culpable, she and Raila were team mates. Can the same claim be made in her favour today?

Sure, she wants to run for the presidency, come the next presidential elections. But will she protect us poor folk? He record in the defense of human rights has taken a serious beating. Her position on collective responsibility has become so modified as to be a brand new doctrinal position altogether. The day she resigns from cabinet and takes on the powers that be directly is the day she will become a credible presidential candidate. Until the, she is one of the boys in more ways than one.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Are you horny or desperate?

Contrary to popular opinion, the two are not the same. Horny people just want to bust a nut. Desperate people want a spouse, or a partner, at least. I just spent a week with a person who was both horny and desperate. It was not a pretty sight. This person tended to act in a manner to suggest that they needed a mental facility. Salivating all over some stranger is not good. When the stranger refuses to reciprocate your attentions, it is even worse. Where you keep doing it anyway, is the nadir of folly.

We have to decide to keep our professional and personal lives separate. Simply make a rule: anyone we encounter in our professional capacity will not become a target of our amorousness and vice versa. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and this one is no different. To exercise the option, the standard must be high, very high. You don't want to break your rules lightly, not for some skank whom you'll dump the moment you are infected by some mysterious unmentionable ailment. You gotta decide, are you horny or desperate? But damn, I hope you are not both!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The tax-dodgers from Ukambani (not Muthama, though)

The benevolent munificence of the tax-dodging mambers of the 10th Parliament knows no bounds - now the Akamba members of that august House want to establish a KES 1 billion fund for the region. This being the Kenya I know and love, I should not be blamed if I receive this information with a significant quantity of salt. I know my MPs - munificent and benevolent, they are not. Not without some ulterior motive. Take for example, Mrs. Ngilu was a darling of her people when she was in charge of Health (we all got free health-care in Ukambani) but she is a disaster in the Water portfolio.

The good lawyer Mutula Kilonzo has been reduced to issuing platitudes and promises of 'swimming in Nairobi river within a year'. The other Kilonzos, Kiema and Charles, are apparently mouths for hire with little experience in the cut and thrust of competitive electoral politics (they should have a chinwag with Gideon Ndambuki, he'll set them straight).

Politicians in charge of large sums of money conjure up visions of their expanding waist lines and spreading buttocks at the expense of the mwananchi. Instead of these 'leaders' playing their role and lobbying government for the relevant funds for the development of the area, they intend to hoodwink us with a large wad of cash in the hope that we won't call them on their failings. I was glad that the shaded visage of The Boss was not there to be seen; else I would have been very disappointed if the Hon. Member for Kilome associated himself with the charlatans and loudmouths at the 'top of KICC'. While he has a hands-on approach to the development of Kilome, I am afraid that his particular model may not be self-sustaining after his departure to parts elsewhere. What we demand of our leaders is help on 'how to fish' rather than the fish itself.

Friday, February 13, 2009

An Evil Odd Couple

Now what? Somehow "I told you so" seems inappropriate, doesn't it. But I did warn you. They will never put one of their own in harm's way. The masterminds, financiers and footsoldiers that rained blood on this nation will never be brought to book. Not so long as that unholy couple is in power.
What surprised me (though it shouldn't have) is the way Kenyans spoke with hope of the possibilities of a Local Tribunal or a trip to The Hague. Haven't we learnt anything of the past 45 odd years of Uhuru? There is one thing you can put money on and receive short odds at the bookies: politicians have never and will never correctly read the mood of the people and do the right thing. Not so long as we keep taking money and bull-shit from them in equal measure. Not so long as we keep breaking the petty laws so they THEY can break the major ones. Not so long as we keep believing that our fate is in the hands of the government. Not so long as we believe short-cuts and panya routes are the only means to success.
I am glad though, that Kibaki and Raila were humiliated in Parliament yesterday. I never liked their partnership; not in 2002 and not in this bastardization of coalition politics. They are an odd couple: they spend more time intriguing against each other, it is even doubful they have any time to run the government and their political parties at the same time. Not to mention, meet the needs of the constituents that sent them to Parliament. I mean, what have Raila and Kibaki done for the people of Kibera or Othaya. Kibera is still largely a slum and Othaya is still largely a backward Kikuyu village. In that they have a common purpose: screw the common mwananchi.
Mr. Raila is increasingly starting to resemble the toadying politician-fixer of the Kanu days. Greedy and grasping with no shame or conscience. When 10 million Kenyans are dying of hunger, he fires an obscure aide in his office as part of his 'zero tolerance' to corruption while his fellow MPs are busy writing love notes to the MD of the NCPB to favour one thieveing 'miller' or the other. How do you explain one Mr. Jackson Kibor making KES 85 million without spending a cent of his own or even being a miller? "Ni biashara," he says. Raila and Kibaki remain silent. And people keep on dying.
One day, Karma will bite them in the ass. At least, God does not allow sin to go unpunished ... even if it be visited upon the 3rd and 4th generations. Vengence will be ours!

Told You So

Now what? Somehow "I told you so" seems inappropriate, doesn't it. But I did tell you. They will never see things from your perspective - you inow it as well as I do. Saitoti, Michuki, Raila, Orengo, et al are all cut from the same cloth, are two sides to the same coin, as as Janus-faced as the best of the rest. In politics, all that remains in Kenya is the amassing and preservation of wealth and power. And so, to preserve these, they will seek to have a tribunal they can 'control' (read, manipulate). Good luck to you all.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The Hague or Not The Hague

It is now apparent that there are issues to be resolved before the perpetrators of the murder, mayhem and chaos of January to March 2008 are to be brought to book. First, the good members of the august house we like to call the National Assembly conspired to water down the language of the Draft Bill on the Tribunal. Then they came to a tribal alliance to protect each other in the event of adverse mention by the tribunal. Then, they finally connived to intimidate potential witnesses by their public utterances.
Thankfully, one or two characters saw through their charadae. But, do they come with clean hands? Mr. Imanyara's gambit to delay the process may eventually ensure the matter goes to the ICC. But, is Ms. Karua right to say athat many of the culprits will go free as the ambit of the ICC is so narrow? So was Mr. Imanyara's act to ensure that suspects were tried at the Hague or to ensure they would not face the full brunt of the law? Time will tell.
The problem is that we were quick to dismiss the Kenya Penal Code. The main reason was that there were apparently legitimate fears that the Kenyan Judiciary was compromised from the get-go. What that assumption failed to address was the apparent courage of one Hon. Mr. Justice Philip Waki of the Court of Appeal. If he exists, then surely there must be others like him. Unless he is looked upon as a weed in a garden of corruption!
Wouldn't it have been easier to draft a new law to try these fellows under the existing legal framework (giving a nod to the Constitution), by hiring outside investigators (the FBI and Scotland Yard come to mind), which we have done before, to conduct the investigations, forcing all named persons to stand down from their positions of power and authority, and by establsihing independent fast-track courts specially mandated to hear these trials? This whole tribunal/ICC dance is a distraction; it may end up that none of the perpetrators will ever face the justice they so richly deserve. That would be a crying shame, ama?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A Valentine's Day Wedding

Romance in these times is a precious commodit and my friend has chosen February 14th to solemnise his long-term relationship to his partner. That is beautiful. Most of you know of my position regarding marriage. Howver, do not be surprised that I am celebrating, nay, participating in my friend's special day. He gives me hope that if many were as careful, caring, steadfast, determined and principled as he, then I wouldn't need to seriously consider a specialisation in divorce law! I wish my friends a long partnership, joy and happiness in their future.

Leave the Old Gal alone!

Now, there are things you can do when you are angry. For instance, you can walk into Garissa Lodge and buy an AK-47 and wipe out your office-mates ... or you can do what the First Lady did - give a press conference and demand that your questions be answered. As a mother and as a citizen, Mrs. Kibaki has every right to use her position in relation to Baba Jimmy to demand better from George Saitoti and his fellow ministers. And the president was right in stating that despite his wife's feelings, he still reposed faithy in the good Professor, even if he shouldn't have.
The media discourse on whether she should or shouldn't have asked for explanations from the dramatis personae of our most recent misfortunes is neither here nor there. What is germane is the fact that we, the ordinary citizens, the electors, are incapable of demanding accountability from our representatives and leaders. If it takes a person of Mrs. Kibaki's position to do so on our behalf, then more power to her.
I disagree with the First Lady on many issues - but let it not be said that I would not defend her honour against any person that would seek to tarnish her name. She has faced many challenges and she has made a few mistakes. Like Jesus said, "He who is without sin..." It cannot be gainsaid that while our politicians were maneuvering to find the most advantageous position to knife each other, Mrs. K cut through the bullshit and spoke her mind. She was the only national figure to demand that our vulnerable girls and children at the Coast be protected from sexual exploitation and abuse. And today, she is the only one demanding that ministers be held to account for the unwarranted deaths of scores of Kenyans. And for that, this nation owes her a great debt of gratitude that it has not even began to repay.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

What will the Gooners do now?

When GTV finally went off the air on Sunday (or was it Friday), there was almost a nationwide day of mourning confined to the pubs, of course. One of my colleagues at work knows more about Arsenal that he does about opening a post office box. He knows Arsene Wenger's entire biography while he would be hard-pressed to name any significant dates in the life of his political hero, Raila Odinga. This is interesting: we have created a new religion and we call it football. We understand football statistics the way actuaries understand insurance premia. Yet, the bible still remains a mystery. Perhaps the death of the GTV is a good thing; perhaps men and women will find time to restore some sanity to their lives. Read a little, talk a litlle and make friends.

Are we really that desperate?

Geoge Saitoti is a millionaire many times over, perhaps even a billionaire. Who knows? What we do know is that he will not want for anything in the near future. It is highly unlikely that we will see him scrambling across wetlands of fuel to scoop some for sale at the nearest market centre so that he can feed his dependents. The First Lady is also not a from a humble background, not today anyway. She enjoys all the trappings of the spouse of a head of state. Yet their takes on the tragedies that have befallen the victims of the fires in Nairobi and Molo tell a story of the near continental divide among leaders in Kenya today.

There are those who have realised (belatedly) that they cannot continue to use us as cannon-fodder for their political wars. Others, however, do not care whether we live or die so long as they can loot the National Treasury. Mrs. Kibaki exposed the vacuity of some of our leaders by questioning Prof. Saitoti's callous remark about the imperatives of poverty compelling some of my unfortunate brothers and sisters to risk life and limb in the search for a meal. Had he taken time to run this statement through his admittedly well-organised brain, he would have come to the conclusion that while his sentiments may be true, there are many truths as to the misfortunes befalling the good people of this benighted land.

Some have ascribed them to the powers of darkness; other have ascribed them to the venality of those in power. What is certain is that these people in positions of responsibility and power have done precious little to ameliorate the suffering of the tens of millions of Kenyans facing starvation, famine, drought, disease, pestilence and all manner of avoidable risks. It is dispiriting to witness thieves and robber-barons sitting in the august chambers of the National Assembly inveighling against corruption in high office and other vices while their bank balances could fund several district hospitals for years without having to bother the guardians of the Consolidated Fund.

Yes, we are really that desperate. While the fat cats in Parliament roll around in their Mercs, Beemers, Rangeys and Pajs, we must make do with the recklessly handled City Hoppas and 14-seater matatus. While they can afford five course lunches at the Parliamentary cafeteria, we must make do with a one-square at the local kibanda. Anything more, and we must make a choice between food and transport. Don't even get me started on where we live as compared to their palaces in Runda and Muthaiga. The plain fact is that whenever we see a trailer on its side spilling paraffin or kerosene or petrol, risk to life and limb is not a deterrent to the opportunity to provide for our families by engaging in potentially suicidal siphoning missions. After all, the Judases that promised us jobs and food haven't done anything for us, have they?

Monday, February 02, 2009

President Kibaki's Curse

Am I the only one who sees it. More have died or been injured in Kibaki's short tenure proportinately compared to the much-hated Moi and Kenyatta reigns of terror. I believe he has lost more Ministers and MPs through tragedies and crime than any other president, Kenyatta-era assassinations included. And more of his MPs and Cabinet members have been implicated in crime than at any other time in history. Tell me this is not an accursed administration. Is this not the Voice of God clearly telling us: "Get rid of this man!"

There will be blood!

We have become rather good at wringing our hands in sorrow everytime the sky falls on our heads. But, this previous week has been especially brutal. First, so many die in the Nakumatt fire. Just as we are coming to terms with that tragedy, an overturned tanker explodes and more lives are lost. And in the background, is the grim reality that many more Kenyans shall die slowly and painfully of starvation. Just because their deaths will not be mercifully brief as those of the ones incinerated or blown up, it will not make them any less tragic. Or painful.
There are now mutterings of a new disaster-management system for the country with clear lines of authority and responsibility. Mutula and his shiny new ministry are seized of the matter. So is Mudavadi in his not-so-new one. And Kalonzo is busy praying for all and sundry. Baba Jimmy, however, takes the biscuit: he's ordered a five-day mourning period for those that lost their lives in the two infernos. But not for the ones dying of starvation.
And herein lies the rub: he knows that the venality and corruption of his perfidious government will not change. Ever. He will not further endanger his immortal soul by praying to the Almighty when he knows the he alone is responsible for the thousands that will starve to death. We would all like to blame Ruto & Co. for the theft of millions of tonnes of grain from the mouths of the hungry, but the fact is the buck stops with the president. He is the boss. His employees are behaving like bulls in ten million China shops. And no matter how many people die, he will not wish to rock the boat because he has a promise to keep. Not to Kenyans, but to his fellow-traveller Raila Odinga. These two characters have a lot of blood on their hands. When we write our history, it will not show the courage they displayed when they brought down Moi's regime, but the number of lives that were lost to satisfy their bloody lust for power.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Raila's Kryptonite

Superman had kryptonite, Rail ahas that massive chip on his shoulder that says 'Kenya owes me!' He nshould have known better to arbble-rouse against the media in his home turf of Kibera - a slum many of whose inhabitants cannot afford to buy the materian from the Standard Group. Indeed, it is instructive that the PM did not and could not point to any specific issue that had so irked him that he threatened to 'deal with them'. His mealy-mouthed attempt to explain himself smacks of wounded pride and shame. The meaning of his threat was clear. Weren't Raila and his fellow-travellers in government when the Standard Group had its facilities raided in 2005? Has Raila now discovered new information in the records of government to suggest that the Standard Group is a threat, if not national security-wise, but politically?
All those who climb to the top of the greasy pole by stepping on toes, eventually let their success go to their head. The day the Grand Coalition was formed was the day the fight against high-level graft stopped; Raila's explanations that he will fight graft from the inside is all talk and no trousers. He knows this and he knows that at least the Standard Group knows it too. Here's a sample of the coalitions greatest hits: Triton-berg, NCPB-berg, the sugar-industry imbroglio, the sale of SafCom shares, and now the deaths of thousands and the risk of millions more dying of starvation. He has given up the fight.Does he have an honest answer, especially to the millions of Kenyans who will starve because of his government's perfidy?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Please, hold my brief!

Four shit-inducing words for the novice. It's even worse when you have to ask a lady advocate, because more often than not, she'll say no!. I don't know why - men are more arrogant with clearly colossus-sized egos. So why is it that they are more generous when it comes to holding briefs for others? It can't be because they like spending time in court corridors. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that they tend to make exceptional mentors and assisting one another fosters that sense of camaredire among colleagues.
The day before yesterday, a femal-mentorship programme was launched at the UoN and I wonder if it will succeed. Ms. Passaris is no doubt a very successful person, by any standard and if she is offering to mentor Uni-types, that is all well and good. It just shouldn't be one of those women's empowerment programmes that come a cropper because the ladies in question are busy being their very worst nature. Here's to them not emulating the lady-advocates of Milimani Commercial courts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Death will be too good for them

When you look at Kenya in the here and now, you are shocked by the images of hunger and thirst...the desperation of a people reeling from one politically-inspired mess to another. Kenya is living proof that there are those for whom the milk of human kindness is a figment of a lunatic's imagination. I am talking about our political class. Three years ago, you would be hard-pressed to identify Raila Amolo Odinga with the oppressors of the poor. The likes of William Ruto and his South Rift cohort had gorged themselves during the Good Old Kanu days. When they realised that the Old Man had other plans for them, they simply removed themselves en masse to an entitiy that would keep them in truffles-NARC. Today, as PLO Lumumba said, the forest has changed but the monkeys have remained the same.
The catstrophes visited upon the poor and marginalised have not diminished one iota since the Second Liberation was declared won by Mwai Kibaki and his fellow-travellers. He has presided over some of the greatest financial scandals this country has witnessed. He has presided over the steady erosion of Kenya's influence in its near abroad - first by appointing that idiot Raphael Tuju and compunding the error by appointing the moron Wetangula to replace him when the good people of Rarieda no longer required his services. He has presided over the expropriation of public assets for private gain - the NCPB has become the private grannery of a corpulent privileged few while at least 10 million Kenyans starve slowly to death.
The dead tell no tales, so they say, but they have long memories and long reaches. If the thieving 10th Parliament believes that it will escape the opprobrium of the masses, let the events of January 2008 be a warning. Then they got Kenyans to slaughter one another in the name of 'power-sharing'. They play their games while our people die. That is the reality. That reality will not last forever. Our hunger and anger will run over and we will vent at the venal class that rules us - they don't lead; they RULE. Velvet gloves over iron fists, that's our government (Parliament, Executive and Judiciary).
Simply lining them against the walls of the National Assembly and mowing them down with AK-47s will not salve our wound or satisfy our rage. No, they must be made to pay back every last cent they have squandered building 100 million shilling Vice-Presidential palaces of vice, purchasing 700 million Prime Ministerial offices, and other items of conspicous government consumption. They must enjoy the highly motivated and enthusiastic attentions of prison warders in Kapenguria and Shimo La Tewa. They must live as we live...struggling to put a kilo of meat in the sufuria!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Inauguration II

When he intoned those words, "I Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear..." my heart, such as it is, swelled in pride. Here was a Luo abandoned by his father, raised by his mother and grandparents on 3 continents. And today, he is the President of the USA, ushering in a new era of US history. Kenyans, well some of us anyway (excluding Mutua, Baba Jimmy, Moses Wetangula ... mnajijua), have high hopes of his presidency, not just for what he can do for us but for inspiring us to make a better life for ourselves and future generations.
Collectively, Kenyatta, Moi, Kibaki and Raila have fucked up our country irreparably. It's time we emulated the Obamania and demanded change - real change - of our political rulers. It has been a variation of the same corrupt and venal regime since independence and I have no doubt that a Raila or Ruto or Saitoti or Karua dispensation would be equally if not more corrupt and venal.
These people have proven time and again that they do not have the spirit or the will to look out for the 'ordinary mwananchi'. Their stomachs come now we have the likes of Ababu Namwamba being implicated in the shenanigans surrounding the food shortages at the NCPB. And at one time he was touting himself as a leader of the 'opposition' and you remember where my position was on that little drama?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration

It occurs to me that Obama ran a near-perfect campaign. He identified the most talented members of his party as well as some outside it and he ran a disciplined, well-organised campaign. But it is not the fact that the campaign succeeded where others foundered that impresses in the context of Kenya's shambolic and corrupt campaigns. No, it is the fact that his team was a well-judged blend of the Old School and the New, old and experienced coupled with youthful and capable of enormous amounts of work. And it paid off in the best possible way. He has a clear mandate to lead and a lot of goodwill going into his 100 days. However, it is not strange that David Miliband or his German and Italian counter-parts are not in Washington DC today.

However, the spectacle of Wetangula and Anyang' Nyong'o attending a 'bash' was, perhaps, not the wisest thing to. The argument that you must leave the confines of your borders to better appreciate world perceptions and broaden your world-view cannot apply to the entourage in DC. No, our rulers have consistently demonstrated a deaf ear to the cries of reason and moderation from the people of this our nation. As hunger saps the energies of millions, this Government is expending precious resources to transport a so-so Foreign Minister and his sidekicks to a nation that is not waitng to receive them with open arms - if they seriously thought they would be given audience by US administration officials this week of all weeks, then all their education is for shit. That is a job left to professional diplomats and career bureacrats. Ohhh ... I forgot, we don't have those either, having politicised the diplomatic and civil services.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The law is an ass...

Today, the Court of Appeal declined to hear motions in 2 election petitons because of the disbandment of the Electoral Commission of Kenya and the failure by the government to establish the Interim Independent Electoral Commission. Mr. Justice Riaga Amollo chastised counsel for the applicant and counsel for the erstwhile ECK, and asked them 'who was instructing them?' If the ECK is 'dead', then all proceedings in which it is a party die with it. Indeed, Mr. Kioko Kilukumi pointed out that Cap. 2, Laws of Kenya, does not and cannot apply to the Constitution.

Today's fiasco could have been avoided if the drafters of the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act (No. 10) of 2008 had included a savings and transitional clause. However, even this clause could not have cured the provisions of Cap. 2.

This is a pattern that has been repeated time and again since the creation of the Coalition Government of Kibaki, Odinga and Musyoka. The Amendments made to the Constitution in 2008 did not consider the impact those hastily drafted clauses would heve in the early part of 2009. Now, ODM claims that Amb. Francis Muthaura, the head of the civil service, is overstepping his mark and that his role should ideally be played by the Prime Minister. Mutula Kilonzo and James Orengo, two experienced senior lawyers, have squared off in this matter and neither is backing down, both claiming that the Constitution of Kenya supports their point of view. Both are correct and both are wrong.

The problem is not a legal one or a constitutional one; it is political. Kibaki and Odinga do not trust each other and from their behavior in the past 12 months, they never will. It is time Kenyans realised this basic truth and acted accordingly. It would be in our best interests to confine Raila and Kibaki, and their entourages, acolytes, brown-nosers and hangers on to the dust-bin of history. Else, the law will keep kicking us in the ass.

It is because of their mutual distrust that 'errors' like the ones contained in the IIEC law have found their way therein. If they trusted each other, it would astonish you at the speed and intellect that would be deployed to come up with a good law. As the situation stands now, all election petitions at the High Court and the Court of Appeal, are stayed until the legal tomfoolery is corrected. But do you trust those ones at risk of losing their seats? I know I don't. Not one of them will vote to amend the Constitution to ensure that the petitons are heard to their logical conclusion.

As by law established

The members of my profession, the ones with a pompous sense of importance, tend to use phrases whose value has diminished greatly since the ...