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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Five Truths and Five Fallacies About Corruption And the “War” Against It In Kenya.

Truth No. 1: Everyone who has had a position of influence in government or any of its parastatal bodies has engaged in corruption of one kind or another, save for a few individuals like my oldest brother who was laughed at for not helping himself to graft through the day he retired as a senior diplomat and even laughed more in retirement by people who were either fully engaged in corruption themselves and thinking he was a fool not to or by hypocrites who would rail against corruption but indiscreetly bad mouthed him because they felt cheated because they were hoping and expecting a piece of the action from him on account of his senior position that would never come. I know there are a few true civil servants like him who have served or continue to serve in our government honorably and without dipping in the till but the truth is, almost everyone serving in a position of influence in government or any of its parastatal bodies has engaged in corruption of one kind or another, is actively engaged in it or will in due course. I, of course, exclude from the latter those in the forefront of fighting, and have actually proven their distaste for the vice like Raila who clearly have not engaged in flagrant corruption and even if one were to assume for the sake of argument that Raila has engaged in corruption, it is no doubt diminimis and certainly nothing even close as compared to the rest of those with any chance of winning the presidency.

Truth No. 2: The most vocal and avid “anti-corruption” voices out there are either very corrupt individuals themselves or they will engage in extreme corruption in a heartbeat, given the opportunity. Among these, are people who have hitherto been unsuccessful in accomplishing anything in their lives, try as they may have and blame their lack of success on corruption when in reality, corruption has had nothing to do with their inability to accomplish much to write home about. True, corruption has and continues to be in the way of progress in our country but there are individuals who are simply agog about being anti-corruption crusaders for no reason other than the fact they have concluded this is their last gasp hope at being noted for something but in reality they are no different and would act no differently than those against whom they rant and rail, if God forbid they are given the same positions held by those individuals. In fact, the speed with which the likes of these individuals rush to line up their pockets upon getting the opportunity is directly proportional to the level of their prior accomplishments and poverty, or lack thereof, with the most accomplished and relatively well-off taking their time while the least of them gabble down the food as though they have never seen food before and in some cases, they have not.

Truth No. 3: The least vocal or those totally silent about corruption will actually be the only ones who in the end will determine whether corruption is at least minimized in Kenya and if so, to what extent. Among these, I include people like my late Mzee who never once bribed even the corrupt police with their illegal tax collection road-blocks on the road from Kisii Town to Nyamache,where he run a fairly successful business. I witnessed this with my own eyes as a little boy when Mzee will take me along with him to ferry his weekly or bi-weekly supplies for his Hardware and General Store. Initially, the police would stop him, come up with all sorts of fake reasons his otherwise properly decaled and maintained red Dutsun (and later Nissan—he traded these every 3 years with same color and model)—anyway, the police would essentially detain Mzee for so long in the hopes of wearing him down but he would just sit there, saying nothing until they let him go and in time, he created a reputation such that these corrupt police would not even as bother stopping him when they saw him approaching. I am sure we have people like this, namely, those who would not perpetuate the problem of corruption by refusing to bribe and we need more, starting from ourselves.

Truth No. 4: We need more of those people who refuse to perpetuate corruption by refusing to bribe than those tiring our ears and eyes every day ranting and railing about how evil corruption is—something we all know and agree or that so and so is corrupt when that’s not, in fact, the case or if it is, it is a known fact no amount of screaming such is going to make a difference unless the rule of law is respected and followed as it is hoped to be the case in the new political dispensation and judicial reforms.

Truth No. 5: Corruption is not our No.1 enemy; hate and tribalism is our No.1 enemy. I soon will elaborate on this line of thought but let me say here and for now as I have been saying from before and that is, what ails our country the most is hate and tribalism, which are closely related. You can eliminate all the corruption in the country but as long as Kenyans continue to hate and engage in tribalism to the extent one sees in these fora and on the ground, we shall to that extent remain backward and underdeveloped.

Fallacy No. 1: You can fight and succeed in ending corruption. This is just not true and neither is it possible. Corruption is a vice deeply rooted in our history as an African people and ingratiated in our minds by the colonists who introduced it to us, even as they went on to perfect theirs to the extent it is admirable and covetous to have it akin to us riding in a packed Matatu and hoping to ride in their spacious limousine. In other words, corruption is a way of life, the question being do you wish to have the Matatu version or the limousine version. Try as you wish, you are not going to completely do away with either and certainly not both. Common sense and prudence would dictate that we focus more on transforming the rules of corruption from stacking all Kenyans into an overloaded Matatu destined only in the direction of a cliff over which they shall all definitely plunge and perish unless the Matatu is unloaded, put into a thorough inspection to make sure it’s roadworthy before allowing it to proceed on the road to somewhere but only with the right number of passengers and if we can get to the point all passengers can ride in the Limo, that’s just a privilege few, if any, get to enjoy, anyway.

Fallacy No.2: Only a few are the anointed ones to speak or lead in the fight against corruption. This is no longer the case. While it’s true leaders and reformers like Raila have been in the forefront in fighting against corruption and other vices, we now have the institutional foundational framework envisioned and aided in being put in place by these leaders all of us must now play our respective roles in making sure all reforms are, in fact, carried out to minimize or at least bring corruption under control. It, of course, goes without saying you cannot put in charge those who are against reforms or are otherwise not gang ho on trying to end or at least minimize these vices. That would be dumb but is in no way deterring those who believe otherwise. Only the voters will soundly tell them a resounding No come 2012.

Fallacy No. 3: Our new constitution calls for purity. To hear some of these vocal and self-appointed champions of anti-corruption speak, you’ll think our new Constitution demands that only angles and puritans are allowed to vie and be elected to state office or otherwise hold the same. This is simply patently false, besides being a fallacy. Chapter Six does a weighting of cleanliness and puritanism with respect to leadership and integrity and sets a minimum threshold of cleanliness and puritanism acceptable for holding of a public or state office and nothing more otherwise all state offices will be vacant. Put another way, the drafters knew and understood nobody is perfect therefore it’ll be futile and counterintuitive to put in place a rigid system that allowed only for angles and puritans to hold state office but decided a certain minimum of standards was essential in at least ensuring those who hold public or state office have the minimum integrity worth the honor and privilege to so hold the office while denying those proven of having engaged in corruption the opportunity to continue practicing their vice at the public’s expense.

Fallacy No. 4: Corruption is purely a function of economic deprivation and therefore a survival instinct. Although there is some truth in this belief, this is largely a false notion and misconception.  True, most people, including our police and civil servants resort to corruption to supplement their meager salaries or wages but that does not explain why the most affluent and wealthy engage in the same vice, if not more fiercely. What explains, in my view, and this is really the truth, is GREED. Were greed to be a non-factor, you’ll have ordinary corruption which would otherwise not have any noticeable adverse effect on the public interest, including on our economy or in institutional delivery of services. Conversely, we are permanently held down to the ground with a big foot on our collective necks belonging to the most greedy who have compulsively robbed us of our nation’s wealth and prosperity for years and decades. The sooner we push back and extract ourselves free from these big feet and stand on our own feet, the better.

Fallacy No. 5: Only those outside the current leadership can help our country free ourselves from the rampant corruption in our country. This is patently false besides being a fallacy. See Truth No. 1.

Peace, Love and Unity

Omwenga

Copyright © 2011, Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2011 in Politics

 

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The Anti-Raila Luos Are Not A Viable Alternative To Raila And Neither Is Anyone Else

In a feature article appearing in the Nairobi Star, titled “Will the Alternative Voices in Luo Politics End Odinga Dominance,” its author, Samuel Otieno gives us a good doze of both history and current affairs related to efforts to curb or eliminate the influence of the Odinga family in Luo politics but he does not actually answer the question he poses even though he leaves enough tale tells to suggest he believes the current breed of “rebels” may succeed in ending the Odinga domination of Luo politics.

I take the opposite view, namely, neither those peddling “alternative voices” nor anyone from Nyanza is going to succeed in stopping Raila from being elected president either working individually or in concert with others from elsewhere and there are several reasons for my coming to this conclusion.

Before addressing those reasons, it is important to point out that there is a stark difference as between day and night why people wanted to get rid of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and current efforts to stop his son Raila Amolo Odinga from ascending to the presidency.

In the case of Jaramogi, he was simply seen as both a threat to Kenyatta’s henchmen and even to Kenyatta himself but the two men had a bond and friendship Kenyatta himself would reveal in his angry outburst in Kisumu following the riots that explains why Jaramogi was not eliminated altogether.

Given Jaramogi could not be eliminated as others would down the road, Plan B was conceived and that entailed not ending but severely curbing Jaramogi’s influence in Nyanza by way of pitting the affable and equally flamboyant Tom Mboya against Jaramogi.

What Tom Mboya did not know or knew but thought he would outsmart the schemers, was that Plan C called for his elimination after curbing Jaramogi’s influence or otherwise reducing him (Jaramogi) to ordinary mortal status in Nyanza.

In contrast, those bent on ending the “Odinga dynasty” by stopping Raila from ascending to the presidency are not doing so because Raila is a threat to the president and neither are they doing so because he is a threat to them in the region; he is neither for in the first place, Raila successfully run and beat the president at the polls in 2007, if there was any elimination to be, it would have occurred then or before but no one, even those who hate or can’t stand Kibaki would ever even think of Kibaki going to that extent; steal elections, yes, but elimination of Raila, no; not just because the man was largely responsible for Kibaki’s own ascendency to the presidency or because like the duo before them, the two men are friends but because that would simply be out of character and out of place, given that era of the politics of physical elimination is behind—or one would hope so.

The other reason why Raila is not a threat to Kibaki, is Kibaki is retiring from the scene and I would even venture to say here and confidently so that if one were to penetrate Kibaki’s heart and soul and inquire what his wish is as far as the succession politics go, he will find an honest answer that Kibaki would far much rather have Raila as our next president than even the boys from his neighborhood seeking the same office, if anything for the simple reason Raila is the most qualified of all the candidates seeking the office.

As for why Raila is not a threat to those from the Lake Region who wish to stop him from being elected as president, one must first assume or it must be the case that those individuals either singly or collectively have something going for them to bring them to parity with Raila such that it can be said there is something worth threatening other than Raila’s mere presence on the scene.

A lion taking a nap in the park is no threat to no one unless awoken.

Now, can one make the case that the anti-Raila Luos can form an unholy alliance with others from outside the region to stop Raila?

Sure. But making a case is not the same thing as bringing it to fruition.

Indeed, if there is one thing those behind curbing Jaramogi’s influence and those now bent on stopping Raila from becoming president have in common, it is that both were and are driven by reasons that were antithetical to the unity and progress of our country, in the case of those intent on getting rid of Jaramogi and both antithetical and disingenuous in the case of those bent on stopping Raila because nobody can seriously argue that the PM who represents a constituency in Nairobi is also a Member of Parliament for all constituencies from the Lake Region such that all those, in fact, holding those positions and portfolios as MPs and/or ministers or assistant ministers are irrelevant in the representation of their respective constituent interests.

This is a fallacy that has been and continues to be propagated by these individuals but someone must call them out on it.

Which brings me to reasons why I do not think these individuals masquerading as an “alternative voice” will succeed in their efforts to stop Raila from being elected as president.

First, it is one thing hearing an alternative voice but what difference does it make if both are saying the same thing?

Put differently, what has Raila said or done that is antithetical to Luo interests? Citing the litany of imagined and unproven “corruption” can only persuade the unwary and most uninitiated but not anyone who bothers to know what the facts are.

This new breed of anti-Odingas claim they have “relaunched the battle” to “deliver the Luos” from what they call “individualistic politics,” arguing that the current trend of politics in Luo Nyanza “make the MPs owe loyalty to one person and not the community that elected them”, and hence “see no need for competitive development.”

It would behoove these individuals to start from the basics.

If the MPs “owe loyalty to one person” and if that is the reason the individual MP has not effectively represented the interests of his or her constituents or otherwise not brought development in their respective constituencies, then common sense would dictate that one goes after having that MP defeated at the polls, or better yet, have the person run against him or her and defeat them at the polls.

That you cannot do so, or are incapable of doing so, don’t blame it on Raila or MP’s loyalty to him–or anyone else for that matter.

Blame yourself.

That may otherwise have been true in the past but in this new political dispensation even where the parties must have open and fair nomination processes, only those in search of short-cuts to power should be complaining they are being shut out of power when in reality they can’t convince even ordinary voters to vote for them because either they are inept and arrogant as leaders or they come across as one.

Second, in every known political society, there is always going to be a family or individual that dominates the politics of the area upende usipende.

In the United States, a country with over 312 million people, two presidents have come from the same family on more than one occasion and even as close as father and son.

Go to any country and deep in the village or hinterland and ask and you’ll be told who the local king or queen is politically speaking so those railing against the Odinga “dynasty” only fail to recognize, or do but pretend not to, the fact that you cannot campaign against a notion that is as fundamental and natural part of politics unless you are naïve enough to believe you can single handedly rewrite the rules of politics that have been in place from since the inception of politics itself centuries ago.

In fact, a very compelling and persuasive case can and must be made, and I personally believe this, that every one of these individuals trying to end the Odinga dynasty are themselves desperately hoping and praying they start one of their own forgetting that dynasties are not created, they simply happen.

A smarter thing to do, is to study why and how they happen, and if becoming one is one’s fancy, then follow the rules.

You are not going to rewrite the rules in the process of trying to create one and please do not pretend or try to fool anyone that you are not interested in creating a dynasty, or at least having power and influence for the sake of having it and nothing else.

Third, and relatedly, these individuals claim that they are “ready to face any consequences pertaining their struggle to deliver the Luos from the yokes of individualism, and that lack of freedom of choice and the community worship of the Odinga family” which they further claim “has dragged down the Luo community.”

There is a mouthful of fallacies, disingenuity, and warped logic in this assertion but let me just point out one: Unlike these individuals, Raila is the one who has suffered the most, including being tortured for his struggle to liberate Kenyans from the yoke of post-colonial tyranny so to now accuse him of inhibiting the liberty of Luos or yoking them is more than just being illogical; it’s be outright disingenuous and being intellectually dishonest.

Fourth, those leading in these efforts claim that the “[Luo] community risks further exclusion from the main Government should Raila fail to clinch the presidency in 2012 hence the need to integrate with other communities.”

Again, several fallacies and misconceptions in this assertion as well but let me point out one in the form of their own contradiction: By aiding and abetting those bent on stopping Raila from ascending to the presidency simply because he is Raila and a Luo, whoever these anti-Raila Luos succeed, if they do, in offering such aid leading to the schemer’s success would betray their blind loyalty and support faster than you can say MOU and were that to be the case, then they will be the ones going village to village, house to house throughout the Lake Region begging for forgiveness.

Fortunately, those villagers and others in all 47 counties, led by their leaders know better than reward shenanigans that would result in the election of someone other than on basis of their merit but on account of hate or dislike of another who deserves being elected both on the merits and as a matter of practical reality as informed by his own personal history and that of our country as a whole.

Indeed, many of these anti-Raila Luos can only say much of what they say against Raila in these fora and anywhere but in the face of the very voters who in some cases have already rejected them as leaders to begin with.

If they want to prove their leadership ability, then let them go in the villages and make their case constituency by constituency and if they succeed in doing so and get elected or have their candidates elected on anti-Raila platform, then so much the better for they shall have proven they are not opportunistic and all talk.

Fifth, one of those spearheading this group of anti-Raila Luos is quoted as saying, “[the] results of following one path has removed Luos from most educated, most developed to the bottom, competing with marginalized community in North Eastern Province.”

This is an unfortunate comment that needs no further comment other than to say pitting one community against another is the very definition of disunity and stagnation or reversal of forward progress in that area and let me also mention the obvious and that is, education excellence or exposure to same is not a monopoly of the Luos only; rather, our country can progress beyond where we are if there is excellence in education delivery and equal opportunity for all, not some.

Finally, but not least, these anti-Raila Luos accuse the Odinga family of “marginalizing Nyanza Residents to one party thereby eroding gains associated with multipartyism.”

This is another fallacy.

Maltipartysm is not the solution to problems faced in Nyanza or anywhere else in the country; rather, the problem is having a government designed to work jointly between the coalition partners to bring about development but has not done so because one side, namely, the PNU part of the coalition has done and continues to do what it can to prevent or at least frustrate the PM’s efforts to do his job for fear his success is further assurance of their eventual obliteration from political power and influence.

It is an understandable fear but my counsel is let everyone, including those scheming to stop Raila from being elected president take solace in the fact that, if there is someone who can be elected and govern our country without even as an itch to revenge against his foes and enemies, it is Raila for he has proven he can forgive even the worst of his tormentors.

Conversely, should our country be cursed with the presidency of any of the schemers, then one can only hope it’s at least someone with an idea what they want to do for the country and the ability to do so beyond just stopping Raila as all of them are wont to do.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Politics

 

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Singapore Named Best Country for Investment; Kenya Could Be As Well If We Elect the Right Person

In a story appearing on BBC Business News Online that I cut and paste below, Singapore once again remains at the top of the list of countries in which to run a business, which means investors are still channeling money to the island nation five years after discovering this relatively small nation of about 5 million people.

Will Kenya be the next Singapore of the world after turning ourselves around and implementing our reforms?

If Kenyans choose our president wisely, that should be the case, but it’ll take awhile to clean up the economic and social mess of last 4 decades.

However, we must start somewhere and one thing anyone who bothers to find out can easily find out, investor money movement in the world is peculiarly the same and essentially by the same people.

Speaking from experience, our firm LLP Enterprise, LLC, among other things, advises and assists investors in meeting their investment objectives in a number of countries, which includes identifying suitable places to invest and local partners to work with after conducting the necessary due diligence.

However, as deep pocketed as these investors can be, none of them is ever willing to put their money where another has not, which ends up being like a chicken game as between and among themselves.

Many times, clients come to us to find investors for their respective projects and if they meet our criteria, we agree to find such investors from within our network of investors, which means we become the sellers of these projects and thus the reason they must meet our own criteria; as in any sales, you are not going to successfully sell something you don’t believe in or care about at all.

I am invariably in this context asked whether the opportunity has been presented to so and so but this is a rhetorical question because the information sought is actually why did so and so not go for it.

Although there are any number of reasons this may happen, including the terms of investment, corruption remains #1 reason most of these investors don’t even want to hear about such opportunities to the point we don’t even bother presenting same to them but they are happy and in many cases anxious to unload their money elsewhere and, in fact, often do so.

To be sure, there are investors who could care less and are willing to invest even in a corrupt environment but that’s not a road our firm has ever been interested in and neither shall it ever, not because our firm is a US subsidiary of a foreign corporation and therefore bound by the strict US Anti-Corruption Law, but because it is the right thing to do in ending or at least dealing corruption a major blow.

I therefore always find it very sad we cannot bring certain investors to invest in Kenya because of the corruption factor but easily succeed in having them invest in other countries where the vice is not as pronounced.

Very sad because for every investor who declines the opportunity to invest, it is one more missed opportunity for a country to benefit in general and twice a missed opportunity for those who stand to benefit from such investment immediately and directly.

Once you convince one investor to invest, however, then the flood gates open.

That’s what happened in Dubai, Singapore and soon another country in Southeast Asia which is also about to burst into the global scene as a magnet for business.

This country has convinced an investor to put up USD200 million to build a new airport and hospital and no sooner had the ink dried on the MOU on this deal, the investor’s buddy has submitted a proposal to invest USD1.5 billion in the country’s hotel industry. Others are lining up with their proposals and I am certain that country will be transformed in less than a decade it took other countries to do so.

My point is this: Each one of these countries followed or are following a well known and easily copyable road map with deviations only taking advantage of their respective strengths, while eliminating their respective obstacles to investment, not just in policies and regulations, but in inspiring its people to to think as one and to be the best in their respective endeavors.

Investment in education, infrastructure and technology goes without saying.

These are not things that are not known or are impossible to achieve in Kenya; they are, we just need a reliable implementer and none can say they are or can be without also having the confidence of investors in the ready to come and invest, once they are in power instead of seating on the sidelines waiting to see what progress is made, if any, before they make that move.

Ask any of these international investors what risk score they have given each of these declared candidates, you’ll find without exception one has a very high score (meaning good) and the rest are ranked very low (meaning high risk) or not rated at all for being unknown or have nothing by which to measure them, which means the same thing to the investor as being high risk and therefore a no go for investment purposes.

The overall political risk of the country is also obviously heavily weighted but the two, namely, the head of state and country’s political risk factor go hand in hand and thus the reason the elections of 2012 will determine what direction the country goes next decade and more: Singapore direction led by a president capable of leading as such or Somali direction or simply stagnant, courtesy of a president incapable of leading as such.

I say we go and must go with a president capable of leading us the Singapore direction.

Peace, Love and Unity

Omwenga

Singapore ‘best country in which to run a business’

Singapore has topped the Doing Business report’s rankings for the past five years Singapore remains the best country in which to run a business, according to an annual report by the World Bank.

The Asian nation has come top of the World Bank’s Doing Business 2011 study, which rates 183 countries on the ease in which they allow firms to operate.

Judging nations on criteria such as how easy it is to start a business or get credit, the UK came in fourth place, while Chad was bottom.

Kazakhstan showed the most improvement over the past year.

Georgia has seen the biggest improvement over the past five years.

The best countries in which to run a firm

Source: World Bank Doing Business 2011 report
1. Singapore (2010 ranking: 1) 6. Denmark (6)
2. Hong Kong (2) 7. Canada (9)
3. New Zealand (3) 8. Norway (7)
4. United Kingdom (4) 9. Republic of Ireland (8)
5. United States (5) 10. Australia (10)

Published since 2004, the annual Doing Business report studies nine main criteria in total.

The other seven factors evaluated are – paying taxes, trading across borders, registering property, dealing with construction permits, closing a business, enforcing contracts and protecting investors.

It does not study wider conditions including a country’s infrastructure, workforce skills, or security.

Hong Kong came in second place, with New Zealand third, and the US behind the UK in fifth place. All of the top five remained in the same position as a year earlier.

Out of the 183 countries surveyed, the World Bank said 117 implemented new business-friendly regulation between June 2009 and May 2010 – the 12 months covered for the 2011 report.

The most improved countries over the past five years

The World Bank said governments were reacting to global economic circumstances.

“Against the backdrop of the global financial and economic crisis, policy makers around the world took steps in the past year to make it easier for local firms to start up and operate,” said the report.

It added: “While some economies have been hit harder than others, how easy or difficult it is to start and run a business – and how efficient courts and insolvency proceedings are – can influence how firms cope with crises and how quickly they can seize new opportunities.”

On a regional basis, the latest Doing Business report found that countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia did most to make running a business easier in the 12 months covered, with 84% of countries carrying out at least one pro-business reform.

Kazakhstan, which recorded the most improvements worldwide, carried out several measures including amending its company law, streamlining business start-up procedures, and making it simpler to get construction permits.

East Asia and the Pacific was the next best performing region, with three quarters of all countries introducing at least one reform to make life easier for firms.

Latin America and the Caribbean saw the fewest improvements, with only 47% of countries introducing one or more pro-business measures.

Singapore’s ‘efficiency’

Report co-author Dahlia Khalifa told the BBC that Singapore continued to lead the way for a number of reasons.

City of London skyline The UK remains in fourth place in the global list

“Singapore has now been top of our survey for the past five years,” she said.

“It is simply the most efficient place from which to import and export. For example, you only need four documents to export and import goods, which remains global best practice.

“Singapore is also the leader in protecting investors and minority shareholders.”

China, now the world’s second-largest economy, trailed Singapore in 79th place.

UK praise

Regarding the UK, Ms Khalifa said the report praised the ease in which firms could get credit, and that it had some of the strongest legal rights for entrepreneurs.

The report also highlighted the UK’s efficient system of credit information, and the speed in which commercial disputes were handled in the courts.

In Africa, the report said the best performing country was Mauritius, which it said was the world’s 20th best place in which to run a company.

Rwandan farmer Rwanda was the second most improved country in the world in the past year

This beat a number of nation’s in Western Europe including Germany (22nd in the global ranking), Belgium (25th), France (26th), Switzerland (27th), and Netherlands (30th).

South Africa is the next highest placed African nation (34th), followed by Botswana (52nd).

Rwanda, which came in 58th on the overall list, up from 70th last year, was the second most improved country in both the past 12 months and five years.

Chad was the worst performing country for the second year in succession.

‘Loud’ message

In Latin America, Mexico (35th) is now the best place to run a business, followed by Peru (36th). They overtake Colombia, which fell one place to 39th.

Venezuela, run by left-wing President Hugo Chavez remains the worst place in which to do business in the region, and is in 172nd place on the global list.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is the best performing (11th globally), followed by Bahrain (28th), and Israel (29th).

“We are very pleased to see that more and more countries are making it easy for companies to do business,” added Ms Khalifa .

“The message is loud and clear – countries realise they have to be serious about getting small and medium-sized firms up on their feet and creating jobs.”

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Kenya Courts Must Curb Abuse of Freedom of Speech On Internet and Everywhere

When Safina leader Paul Muite and others announced about a week or so ago that they may be suing PNU activist and spokesman Moses Kuria over defamatory statements they allege Moses made on his Facebook, I said the following:

In the first case to test the boundaries of freedom of speech in these fora, Safina leader Paul Muite and several others are reported to be off to the courts to pounce on PNU spokesman Moses Kuria over something he posted on Facebook Muite and others consider defamatory.

According to the story, the offending post Kuria is alleged to have posted, says, “I have said Ocampo has no case. All he has are fake witnesses coached by Hassan Omar, Wambugu Ngunjiri, Paul Muite, Ndung’u Wainaina, Njonjo Mue and Maina Kiai.”

Muite and his co-complainants apparently asked Kuria to withdraw the statement but he has refused and dared them to take him to court.

I then said, here is my take on this:

First, unless Kuria has evidence to back-up his claims that (1) there are fake witnesses (2) Ocampo is relying on (3) to make his case (4) that have been coached (5) Muite and his co-plaintiffs, then it would be wise he withdraws or modifies his statement.

Second, even if Kuria has some evidence or reason to believe the foregoing, it’ll still be wise to withdraw or modify this assertion for several obvious reasons, not the least is, a case against PNU running parallel with the Ocampo Six can only help solidify the image of PNU or whatever is left of it as the party of impunity and status quo.

Third, strictly as an ODM supporter, I would urge Kuria to remain defiant and defend the threatened suit, if he believes he has the evidence to back-up his claim.

Fourth, as Kenyan, I am for Kuria to withdraw or modify his assertion for I don’t see any good that would come out of taking a case like this to court but see all the bad the would, such as a rekindling of existing wounds and flaring up of animosity.

Fifth, regardless of what comes of this incident, let all netters and bloggers know that they must be cognizant the fact that freedom of speech does not carte blance to write and say anything and whatever one wishes. In time, and that time is coming sooner than later, there will be good cases to establish this fact, and that is, we must have clear demarcations of what is or is not actionable akin to the time, place and manner restrictions that have held freedom of speech in check here in the US, while allowing for the widest possible expression of speech unlike anywhere in the world.

The case has now been filed according to the news story that has just been posted on the Daily Nation Online.

I restate what I said in my earlier blog above and am working on a blog, or an amicus curiae brief to be filed in the matter in which I’ll make the case I have been making all along about freedom of speech and that is, freedom of speech cannot and should not be abused in these fora or anywhere and that the courts must provide clear guidelines as to what is or is not within acceptable limits of free speech in the context of our newly reaffirmed rights under the new Constitution.

Those of us who have lived in countries such as the US with maximum and enviable protections of free speech and press know fully well this is not a standard suitable for a young democracy such as Kenya therefore a somewhat more stricter scheme of rules must be adapted and applied in Kenya, especially with respect to our leaders at the top.

This is critical in nourishing both these freedoms as well as maintaining the integrity and respect of our institutions whose leaders must be accorded the same respect and dignity.

I’ll expound on this in my blog and/or brief.

Peace, Love and Unity

Omwenga

And now the Daily Nation Online  story:

Safina Party leader Paul Muite and four others have sued a Party of National Unity (PNU) official over comments on the social networking site Facebook Friday.

Mr Muite, Kenya National Human Rights official Hassan Omar, Maina Kiai, Ndungu Wainaina, and Wambugu Ngunjiri have sued PNU activist Moses Kuria for defaming them in a comment he posted on Facebook.

In what could be a precedent-making case in Kenya, the five complainants say that Mr Kuria defamed them by posting on his Facebook wall on or about September 29 a comment which read: “I have said Ocampo has no case. All he has are fake witnesses coached by Hassan Omar, Wambugu Ngunjiri, Paul Muite, Ndungu Wainaina, Njonjo Mue and Maina Kiai.”

They are seeking a permanent court injunction restraining Mr Kuria, whether by himself, or his agents from further publishing, or causing to be published the said words or any words defamatory of the plaintiffs.

The five also want to be paid general and aggravated damages as a result of the defamatory statementsand that Mr Kuria be ordered to pay the costs of the suit together with all interests accrued.

In their petition, the five say that the words complained of were understood to mean that they interfered with due administration of justice by manufacturing and coaching false witnesses.

“It also implied that we interfered with due administration of justice by coaching false witnesses in respect of the most heinous crimes under International Law, that is, crimes against humanity,” reads the petition.

It further claims that the words meant they have indulged and participated in the perversion of justice, procured false witnesses to mislead the International Criminal Court (ICC) and falsely implicates fellow citizens and that they are corrupt persons and are guilty of being dishonest.

The complainants stated that the words were calculated to disparage them in their respective professions and standings as politicians, human rights activists and respectable members of society.

“By reason of the publication of the said words the complainants have been severely injured in their credit, character and reputation, and have all been brought into public scandal, odium and contempt,” reads the petition.

They submitted that even after receiving a letter demanding that he apologise and withdraw the comments within 7 days, Mr Kuria refused and instead went ahead to issue another defamatory “press release” on his Facebook page.

They submitted that Mr Kuria reiterated that he would not offer any apology or retract the statements, arguing that it was inconceivable for one to try to curtail the freedom of expression in the social media.

Mr Kuria said in his post that he has significant information on the activities and role the five have been undertaking regarding the ICC cases and that their hands have been caught right inside the sugar jar.

They submitted that Mr Kuria’s reply implied that they have conspired with other unnamed third parties to pervert the cause of justice and interfere with due administration of law.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Law, Politics

 

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The Elections of 2027; An Insider’s True Story

Chapter I

Scene One

Location: Some Board Room somewhere in Nairobi for X7 Secretariat

Chairman: (Meeting in progress) This Omao; it looks like he is winning every argument we try to raise and my worry is he is doing even better in exposing our lies and innuendos, which is really all we have against Abdillahi. There has got to be a way to stop or at least slow him down.

Stratigiza: You are right, Boss, but I think I know something that can really rile him to the point of quitting the blogs altogether, not just slowing him down.

Chairman: Oh, what’s that?

Stratiza: A man of his stature would not take it well if he is exposed to some serious matusi so I think that’s our key to success in getting rid of him from the blogs.

Chairman: (Laughing hysterically) I agree, agree; I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about that. Stra you are a genius!

Stratagiza: Thank you; thank you boss.

Chairman: Now here is the hard part: Who should we dispatch for this task?

Stratigiza: Well, boss I wish I can do it but I am not really that good at hurling insults and neither is Tumbo here, so we may have to put word out there and see if we can find the best insulter.

Tumbo: (Heaving his bulky self to upright position) I am an enforcer, not insulter ah, but I think I know just the person we need for this and that’s got to be my cousin Tano.

Stragiza: Who is he?

Tumbo: He is the village insulter from shago and the boy can really deliver and if that doesn’t work, then his fists will certainly do it-that’s why he is nicknamed, ‘Tano’—unajua, yani, ni mutu wa ngumi tu akishindwa na mdomo, tano ya kushoto inamaliza mambo.

Chairman: Hehehehe! I like that. Where is this Tano?

Tumbo: He is in shago but I can arrange to have him over tomorrow.

Stratigiza: Does he know how to type?

Tumbo: Nope; never seen a computer!

Stratigiza: Does he know how to read?

Tumbo: Hata kidogo; anajua to kubonga lugha ya Mamake.

Stratigiza: Why then do you think he can do this? He would at least have to know how to type and send one way insults on the Internet.

Tumbo: Mimi nilifikiri ni mtu wa kutusi tu kwa simu; ama?

Stratigiza: No, no, no. We need someone who can hurl those insults on the Internet, which means he has to at least know how to type, even if it is one letter at a time; we don’t really care how long it takes him to do so as we can give him enough money to use any of the Internet cafes as long as it takes.

Tumbo: I see. Then I suggest we talk to Ensulta; he is my nephew and is currently a student at university.

Chairman: Is he good at hurling matusi?

Tumbo: Not as good as Tano but nearly as good; they both learned from their uncle, who I also learned my enforcement skills from, except Tano never knew anything else, except playing ajua.

Strategiza: Call him. Let him come tomorrow and we’ll see if he can do it.

Scene Two

Chairman: Sit, sit, sit. Well. Agokoyo, you sat there yesterday and did not say a word…everything okay?

Agokoyo. Ne mwega pio…

Chairman: English, English please. You are not at the ministry!

Agokoyo: Pole. I know; what I am saying is all is well and I, too agree with this idea of getting an insulter….

Chairman: And let me also remind you we are all in this together. We have to work together to try and see if we can succeed in bringing down this omogumo tree.

Agokoyo: You mean Omao?

Chairman: No, no, no; that’s small fish. I am talking about the idol he worships…

Agokoyo: Oh; you mean Abdillahi.

Chairman: Kabisa.

Agokoyo: Hapo, tuko pamoja. Just tell us what we need to do from our end. But we are not going to let our man try the matusi road again. He tried last time but it backfired on us so, I suggest whoever we hire to do this job, let him also recruit others kurusha hayo matusi kwa niaba yetu.

Chairman: Okay, let’s first deal with this Omao issue and revert to other items on the agenda for today, including the falling Shilling and how we must keep it falling to make Abdillahi look bad.

Okothe: I don’t think that Shilling issue is good for any of us. I know my small but growing group I represent at this table is not happy with it because all of us are really not doing that well and we are feeling the pinch from the rise in prices.

Chairman: I hear you but, let’s discuss that issue after this Omao thing.

Stragiza: Boss, let me introduce you to Ensulta (Ensulta sheepishly walks over to shake Chairman’s hand, bowing and with two hands overstretched, one supporting the other as a sign of great respect)

Chairman: How are you young man?

Ensulata: Fine, Sir.

Chairman: I hear you are good at hurling …have they told you why you are here?

Ensulta: Yes, Sir. I have been told my skills are needed to get into the nerves of one blogger by the name Omao.

Chairman: Do you think you can do it?

Ensulta: Yes I can, Sir.

Stragiza: Boss, I talked to him before he came here this morning and I was very impressed; he definitely knows all the right insults.

Chairman: How so, young man?

Ensulta: Sir, I was trained by [name deleted] during the last campaign. I was his chief insulter on the Internet and was given a handsome reward that enabled me to enroll for the parallel program at UON.

Chairman: I see; do you have some samples of your work?

Ensulata: Yes, Sir. I do (hands over a few pages of email print-outs).

Chairman: Hehehehe. These are good; really good…sycophant..hehehe..idol…idiot…worshiper..hehehe, good, good …I see you also know how to use them…I like this….

Ensulata: Thank you Sir.

Chairman: Everything I used to be called when I was with Moi…hehehehe.

Ensulata: Ahh…I am sorry Sir…

Chairman: Don’t worry; I used to laugh it off and now look where I am.

(Buzz)

Chairman: Tell him to come in.

Messenger: Sir, I have a parcel from the President, says urgent.

Chairman: (Examines the contents of the package) Okay. Say hi to him.

Stragiza: (Laughing) Isn’t it an irony we are talking about names you used to be called and in walks the leader of those who used to call you names?

Chairman: Hehehehe. At least I was not vindictive. I accepted his apologies and had him hired at State House as Deputy Assistant to the President’s Assistant PA, which is a title nice title but all he does really is, run errands for the old man all day long but seems to enjoy it.

Tumbo: Hehehe, and I was promised PS job and look where I ended.

Chairman: You are fine. Being a Compliance Officer is really what you are suited with your big frame..hehehehehe (all laughing).

Chairman: Anway, back to this…

Agokoyo: Young man; what would you do, if you run into this Omao and he wishes to clobber you physically for insulting him. What will you do?

Ensulta: Oh, I’ll run away as fast as I can; I cannot fight him and if he catches up with me, I’ll just cuddle up in a fetal position and beg for his mercy.

Stragiza: Are you such a coward?

Ensulata: I am afraid so, Sir. All I know is to hurl insults on the Internet but down here, you’ll think I am a Choir Boy—I just can’t take a chance of being whopped so I stay mum, even when I am being insulted myself.

Stragiza: I see, what if he demands to know whether you have been sent; what would you do?

Ensulata: (thinking for some time) Don’t worry, Sir. I won’t tell him the truth; I’ll just tell him no one has sent me to do this.

Okothe: I think you should know this Omao is not in Kenya. I understand he lives in Europe and hardly comes home so, no need to worry about him being here….

(Office Phone rings)

Chairman: Ok. Shemeji habari? (off record conversation)…Stragiza, I think I am okay with him, what do you think?

Stratigiza: I think so, too. What about you gentlemen?

Egoko: I agree. (and so do the rest, nodding their heads, saying, yes, yes)

Chairman: Okay; now, how do we go about doing this?

Stragiza: Simple: We give Ensulta here Kshs10,000 and let him go do his thing and report to us progress in about a month.

Agokoyo: What about the other insulters to focus on Abdillahi?

Stragiza: You are right; I forgot about that. Ensulata, do you think you can recruit a few of your trusted friends to do the same thing?

Ensulata: Yes; I am sure I can. How many do you want me to?

Stragiza: Well, let’s start with three: You focus on Omao; one of them focuses on Abdillahi and the other one ODM as a whole.

Agokoyo: That sounds good to me.

Stragiza: Then I suggest we do Kshs30,000, 10thao each.

Chairman: How do we know these kids will actually blast away the insults?

Tumbo: Don’t worry boss; Ensulta is my boy and I know he is going to do a good job, except I don’t know if 10 is enough; I think 20 is better because he is leading the team. Besides, I’ll be monitoring to make sure they are doing a good job.

Oluya: But Tumbo you don’t know how to even log on to the Internet!

Tumbo: Oh, I do, I do. I have one in my office…

Stragiza: Okay 20 for him, 10 each for the other two and come back here in about a month with a report of what you have done. You have to make sure you are on the Internet doing your thing for at least 10 hours a day.

Smata: What about his studies; he is at varsity, remember?

Stratigiza: Well, in that case, make it at least 5 hours a day.

Chairman: Can you do that young man?

Ensulata: Yes, Sir. I am only doing parallel studies. I can manage.

Chairman: Okay; I think we are set then.

(The parties leave)

(Outside the building)

Tumbo: Ensulta.

Ensulata: Yes boss.

Tumbo: Si unikatie yangu?

Ensulata: Ngapi?

Tumbo: Kumi; nusu ya hiyo tumekupa

Ensulata: Tano.

Tumbo: Hako wapi?

Ensulata: No; I mean, si ni kupatie tano?

Tumbo: Tano!

Tano: Aje mambo?

Scene Three

To be continued.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Politics

 

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Prof. Makau Mutua Is Wrong In Saying Raila Should Not Accept Moi’s Support

In an article appearing in the Sunday Daily Nation Online, Prof. Makau Mutua argues that Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga’s rapprochement with former president, Daniel Toroitich arap Moi is a “very bad idea.”

I disagree with the good professor for the reasons that follow, in addition to those I laid out in my Open Letter to H.E. Retd. President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, C.G.H.

Makau rhetorically posits the question why is Raila “dancing” with former President Daniel arap Moi and offers a number of reasons he says make his “gut and brains” tell him it’s a “very bad idea.”

The good professor is wrong off the gate; Raila is not asking Moi to dance with him; he merely needs Moi in the same dancing hall!

The hall surely must have enough partners to dance with to ensure Raila dances all the way to State House; it’ll be foolhardy for him to leave miffed or otherwise unhappy dancers outside the hall who may as well block his way to State House!

If this is not good reason enough why Raila must continue with the rapprochement with Moi and why this is a good idea, there is more.

Before getting to those, let me address a couple of preliminary points I also disagree with Makau related to politics in general.

Makau says, “politics is neither rational, nor emotional” and that politics is instead about “expediency” which therefore necessitates doing away with principles and thus the reason “moral and political “purists” never get into the “mud of politics.”

The professor is wrong that politics is neither rational nor emotional for if that were the case, we’ll have madmen and women elected to office and all these emotional and near childlike reactions to Raila’s popularity would not be, were it not expressly not because people often react with emotion and not reason but are irrational at times, even as they are trying to be rational.

I can go into details why I say so but that’s beyond the scope of this piece so let me address the rest of Makau’s thoughts in the above quoted assertion.

Makau says politics is about expediency, true. I agree with that statement completely but disagree with the professor that the expediency is at the expense of rationality and/or emotion.

All three go together, otherwise, you’ll have nothing but chaos and indirection in politics and/or the absence of compassion in whatever leadership manages to eke itself out in such an environment.

Again, expounding on this counter-points is beyond the scope of this article so let me just move on and address the balance of Mutua’s piece I disagree with.

It is true as Mutua argues that “in a democracy, the top priority of politicians is to win elections. That’s why every vote — especially in the opponent’s turf — must be wooed.”

The only question is whether Raila’s wooing Moi is appropriate or not.

Mutua says the mere thought of Raila lying in bed with Moi, “revolts” him and goes on to offer reasons “why—and why not—the PM would be unwise to dine with Mr. Moi.”

Not to split hairs too much, and with all due respect to my friend Prof Mutua, just as going to bed is different from dining with someone in real life, so it is figuratively speaking in the political arena.

I have noted above that Raila need not dance with Moi at all; rather, he just needs Moi in the dancing Hall, rather than outside the hall with others trying to block him from dancing all the way to State House.

Just as much as he doesn’t need to dance with Moi, Raila too need not go to bed with him; rather, having him at the dining table and breaking bread, is good enough so long as the duo are on the same page as to Raila’s pathway to State House.

In other words, there is more Moi can do for Raila’s presidential ambitions strategically speaking short of going to bed or dancing with Raila.

Of course, there is even more Moi could do and, indeed, it would be desirable that he actually does do the ultimate and that is, to simply go to bed with Raila.

As I point out below, I disagree with Mutua and others who argue that Moi is spent force; he is not, and those who think otherwise are mistaken for the reasons I elaborate below.

In his analysis, Mutua first presents the case why Raila should “coddle” with Moi and then offers  in his second part of the analysis, why Raila should not do so.

In offering reasons why Raila should “coddle” Moi, Mutua posits that “Mr Odinga has been outmanoeuvred [sic] by Eldoret North MP William Ruto among the Kalenjin.”

This is at best an unproven assertion.

While it’s true Ruto and others using him lied to Kalenjins about Raila and to some degree succeeded in confusing and misleading the Kalenjin community about Raila and his relations with the communit in efforts to topple Raila as heir apparent to Kibaki, it is clear these efforts have failed because Raila not only remains the man to beat, going by the most recent polling data showing him leading his closet rival Uhuru Kenyatta by more than 22 points, he has in more recent times started to regain the support he lost in RV due to Ruto’s mischief as rationality and reality starts to sink in among many who have hitherto been seating on the sidelines, while emotional overreaction to lies and distortions dissipates.

(For reasons why the Ruto failed to topple Raila, read my blog Who Is William Ruto Part VI and Why The Scheme To Topple Raila Has Failed)

I would therefore not say it’s the case that Ruto has “out-maneuvered Raila in Kaleland; quite the contrary, Raila has outmaneuvered Ruto and will likely continue to do so to the end when he emerges victorious, despite Ruto’s and others’ best efforts to stop him.

Notwithstanding the professor’s false premise that Ruto has outmaneuvered Raila in Kaleland, the professor is also wrong in his other premise that the destiny of Kaleland is in the hands of Ruto and that therefore courting Moi to gain this votes is a bad idea.

Ditto for Mutua’s converse argument predicated on another false premise that Raila can only have a prayer in Kaleland if the ICC charges against Ruto are confirmed in which case, according to Mutua, “coddling” Moi would be a good idea.

To his credit, however, Mutua recognizes that the Kalenjin are not a mindless monolith acting only at the direction of Ruto, or anyone for that matter and therein lies the opening for Raila or anyone else.

Raila has to and must continue to make the case in Kaleland as he is and has to in all parts of the country that he is the better qualified of all candidates who have expressed interest in the presidency, or those who actually run.

In other words, Raila has to, and all indication are he will have a 47-County campaign strategy and his motto must be “let’s not leave anyone behind except the most adamant to so remain but must join us ahead, anyway.”

It is therefore baffling why, singling the dynamics in Kaleland, Mutua says of Raila, “Mr Odinga is a “splitist” who is playing on “internal” Kalenjin differences to win a large chunk of their vote.”

This argument is counter-intuitive, even given the professor’s own admission above that the Kalenjins are not a “mindless monolithic’ group which ostensibly therefore should not vote en masse for one or another candidate.

The opposite of not being monolithic and voting en masse, is to have a split vote.

Any politician who seeks to harvest votes in the area must therefore by definition be a “splitist” and thus the reason I am baffled why Mutua is singling out Raila as somehow the only one doing this, which he by implication is arguing, is an aspect of “divide and rule” strategy when it obviously is not by his own analysis.

Mutua argues that Raila wants to “split” the Kalenjin “along the Ruto-Moi rift” and that Raila “believes Mr Moi will work with him to “kill” Mr Ruto’s stranglehold over the Kalenjin.”

This is an argument that is obviously wrong based on my own analysis above.

The Kalenjin are either going to vote as a block or they are not.

As I have been arguing forever, the Kikuyus and Kalenjin must lead in ending tribalism in Kenya and obviously, one way of doing so, is ending this habit of voting as a block by both of these communities, as well as the rest plagued with the disease.

By ending voting as a block, the Kalenjin and all communities for that matter must look for other reasons to vote for a presidential candidate other than that their own or closely related is running.

Which means all communities must by this measure have split votes and it doesn’t matter one bit for me, the basis for that splitting of votes.

If the Kalenjin split their votes along the Moi-Ruto axis, which really does not exist, given one is a mere boy, another a seasoned old giant, loath him or not, then so be it.

I’d rather have that than the entire community voting for Ruto just because they can’t bring themselves to vote for someone else.

Professor poses the question whether “the Kalenjin be put asunder along this divide (Moi-Ruto) and postulates that the “chances are only good if Mr Ruto is bound for trial at The Hague.”

Raila cannot bank on Ruto being bound for trial at the Hague or use that as a basis for his strategy to regain lost ground in the Rift Valley; rather, he has and must continue to engage in those endeavors as if the Hague does not exist.

Mutua argues that “it will be easier to lure away Mr Ruto’s supporters if he’s “sequestered” at The Hague. Mr Moi can then — with Mr Odinga’s charisma — recapture his place as the Kalenjin kingpin.”

This is too simplistic an approach I am surprised Mutua is even suggesting it.

Again, Raila has and must continue to regain lost ground in the Rift Valley as though the ICC does not exist.

This is, obviously, an analytic proposition that has nothing to do with the merits of the ICC case against Ruto, just in case someone mistakes my stating so.

Professor argues that, in the case Ruto is “sequestered,” then Raila has an opening in RV “because there is no other Kalenjin who can take Mr Ruto’s place,” adding that therefore the Kalenjin “might figure that Mr Odinga — who they christened arap Mibei when they were solidly in ODM — is better than the devil they don’t know.”

Mutua is on a very wrong track on this one and is going even further, he should stop and come back to where Raila is and must continue to be, and that is, to continue in his efforts to regain lost ground in RV as though ICC does not exist.

Indeed, even though Ocampo has charged Ruto for essentially hijacking ODM’s grievance with Kibaki based on the belief he stole the presidency from Raila, analytically, Ruto’s position is no different from that of the government and its part of the Ocampo Six, even though Ocampo appears to have more in the form of evidence against the latter 3 but is unlikely to overcome evidentiary and legal hurdles to secure a victory at trial as against the former 3, a case can be made about Ruto and ODM, “we are on your side.” Footing his legal fees, for example, is one way of expressing that sentiment.

This is why banking on confirmation of charges against Ruto as a net-advantage for Raila does not make sense to me.

Mutua then argues that this “plot” will turn out to be a fool’s errand if Mr Ruto beats the confirmation charges at The Hague.

The “plot” Mutua is referring to, is Kalenjins voting for Raila than “the devil they don’t know,” if charges against Ruto are confirmed.

Needless to say, this is not a “plot,” unless the professor is ascribing a new meaning to this word.

Assuming the professor means “strategy” or something less sinister, I have already noted above whether the ICC charges against Ruto are confirmed or not, Raila must continue doing what he is doing to regain lost ground in the Rift Valley and so far, so good, given recent developments there showing progress.

The person who really should be plotting now, is Ruto, on how he gets back to Raila’s fold, especially if things go in the direction they are likely to after confirmation of the ICC charges against him.

Professor argues another reason why Raila should reach out to Moi is “it would be foolhardy for Mr Odinga to sit by idly and concede one of the largest troves of votes. He wants to be the president of all Kenyans.”

This goes without saying, of course, and I totally agree.

Mutua then posits that “you can bet that Mr Odinga knows that Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka wants Mr Moi and the Kalenjin in his column,” adding that “that’s why Mr Odinga has snatched Mr Moi to deny Mr Musyoka a crucial ally.”

There are several things analytically wrong with this assertion from the professor as well as his conclusion that “you can bet that the man from Tseikuru — Mr Moi’s political pupil — will fight hard to get “daddy” back. My take is that Mr Moi will go with the winner,” but let me not get into each other than to say, unlike his opponents, Raila’s strategy from what we can tell, is based on building relationships, not destroying them. Kalonzo, Ruto and others specialize on the latter but not the former so, if I were Raila, I would not be terribly concerned about them and the little games and shenanigans they are playing alongside a moving train headed to victory down the road.

Another reason Mutua offers for why it’s wise for Raila to work with Moi, is “the  Kalenjin elite” are not used to being out of power as evidenced in their “troubled” behavior during President Mwai Kibaki’s reign.

Mutua explains that this is why the Kalenjins supported Mr Odinga and ODM in 2007, namely, because they believed that “Mr Kibaki’s regime had victimised [sic] them, and that Mr Odinga would bring them out of the political cold.”

According to Mutua, “Mr Ruto turned the Kalenjin against Mr Odinga” but the Kalenjin “may calculate that Mr Odinga could emerge the winner in 2012.”

Mutua concludes that therefore “this could be their chance to partner with Mr Odinga in the inner sanctum of power,” which the professor adds is “a likely scenario if Mr Ruto and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta are at The Hague.”

I agree in some of the professors conclusions, but disagree with some of his premises.

For one, and as I have argued above, the Hague is and cannot be a major consideration in Raila’s effort to regain lost ground in the Rift Valley but those who have had no reason to abandon Raila since 2007, joined by those who are now or will be convinced that Raila is the likely president, come 2012, will likely combine to give Raila sufficient support in RV and therefore help propel him into the presidency, independent and regardless of what happens at the Hague.

I therefore disagree with Mutua that this scenario (of increased support for Raila in RV) is only likely, if Ruto and UK are at the Hague.

I also disagree with the Professor’s argument that the “Kalenjin elite” are not used to being out of power, only because it’s somewhat misleading.

No community, social group, or party is ever used to being out of power.

Everyone wants to be in power and this is the problem of democracies.

Everyone cannot be in power at the same time.

Each of the major tribes in Kenya, has fielded a presidential candidate.

Why? Because each community wants one of their own to be president.

But there can only be one president at a time and therefore, only one community at a time and more so the reason we must have a president who cares and caters to all communities, equally.

Raila is presenting himself as such a candidate and is, in fact alone at the top as one such candidate.

In his second part of his analysis, Mutua raises a number of reasons why Raila should not “woo” Moi.

The first reason he offers, is that “Mr Moi is passé. He’s not the future.”

Moi may not be the future, but he is certainly the past and present.

When the professor asks the rhetorical question, “why, then, would Mr Odinga, a man who wears the mantle of reformer, reach back to resuscitate Kenya’s last dictator?” the answer I can offer him is, Raila wants Moi to help in ending tribalism.

There are many other answers I can give, but let Raila himself provide those in the course of his campaign and let the people, especially those from the Rift decide whether those are good enough reasons to reward him with a vote, in addition to whatever additional support he gets from reaching out to Moi, to begin with.

When Mutua rhetorically poses, “Should reformers worry that an Odinga administration will be more status quo, and less reformist?” the answer is, “no” based on reasons the very reformers know.

When Mutua rhetorically poses, “shuld we worry that Mr Odinga will be captured by ancient regime elements?” the answer is , “no” and when Mutua wonders, “If so, should reformers leave his side and launch their bid for the State House?” the answer, again, is “no” because those with Raila remain with him and will continue to be with him, because they understand precisely what he is doing, those who may have left him, are having second thoughts and returning and who already left him in the guise of “disagreeing” with him on his reform agenda, have done so for less than honest but opportunistic reasons unrelated to reform and therefore don’t count.

When the good professor poses the question, “If we want to transform Kenya — and break up tribal voting patterns — how can we do so if folks like Mr Odinga strategise along tribal lines?”

The good professor has this upside down; it is not Raila who is strategizing along tribal lines, rather, it is his opponents to the man and woman.

As noted above, Raila has a 47-County campaign strategy, meaning, he’ll court votes in every county of the Republic therefore his is not a strategy “along tribal lines,” not at all.

Finally, when professor asks, “Shouldn’t Mr Odinga reject the tribal calculus and turn the 2012 elections into a contest of issues?” I am sure the answer he would give as he has in as many times he has spoken on this, is yes, he would prefer candidates focus on discussion of national issues but that does not necessarily mean that he, as a reformer, must agree with Moi on any of them.

Agreeing on one, namely, helping in ending tribalism would be good enough.

And that also, is good enough reason Raila should continue with his rapprochement with Moi and thus why Professor Mutua is wrong in his view to the contrary.

FN1: Note the good professor did not give us a single reason why he is “revolted” by the mere thought of Raila reconciling with Moi and certainly all the reasons he did here could not possibly rise to that level of revolt

FN2 Note also by declaring the battle for RV is between who follows Moi or who follows Ruto, Mutua is saying Prof. Ole Kiyiapi or those not firmly behind or associated with either are irrelevant.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2011 in Politics

 

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Kindly Watch Out For Hypocrites, Liars and Schemers Masquarading As Agents of Change

A netter posted an excellent piece the other day, essentially summing up one of the arguments I have been making in this blog and elsewhere that there are a number of “holier than though” individuals out there who have tried and continue to try and hoodwink people into believing they are about “reform” and that they are opposed to Raila because, according to them, Raila has shed his reformist philosophy and that basically he is no different from anyone currently vying for the office.

These individuals present themselves as the “alternative” leadership to Raila and everyone else running for office and, have hoodwinked others who support their “cause,” which is no cause at all.

They have even come up with fancy names and acronyms to refer to their groupings but, peal the onion one skin from the suffice, you see all the tell tales of pure old KANU in each one of them.

They think like old KANU.

They act like old KANU.

They are the reincarnation of old KANU morphing as new agents of “change,” when in reality, what they want is power for the sake of power.

They have no agenda for anything else.

No; nada.

The only thing they all have in common, is their dislike of Raila for some, and visceral hate of him for others.

To hear them describe Raila, you’ll think they are describing the devil himself.

In fact, some have actually called him just that: the devil.

That’s how much they hate the man, yet, they have never stated a single reason why Raila is any more a devil than they are.

An expression is made it’s better a devil you know, than the devil you don’t know.

These folk, singly or collectively could be worse than several of the current presidential candidates I don’t know why anyone can risk plunging our country into even the worst we have been by putting power in the hands of amateurs whose claim to superior leadership to those of the current crop of leaders, is their empty refrain that they are the real agents of change.

Bogus; very bogus.

If they are true leaders, they would prove their leadership ability by storming any of the existing political parties, figuratively speaking, and mounting a revolution from which they can ascend to any position of power in government and we’ll all be happy to cheer them on.

Lame excuses that they cannot do this because these parties “zina wenyewe,” (have their owners), is just that, lame excuses.

That’s not enough justification to erase a whole class of leadership from the map and have them on as our new leaders instead.

Doing so would be foolhardy, naive and unnecessary.

What I have been saying from the beginning and will continue to do so until I am proven right after the elections, is that our next president is going to be among those who have already declared their interest.

Anyone waiting in the wings, hoping to take advantage of developments in the late hour of the game or overtime, is merely a wannabe but that does not mean we don’t have Johnny Come Late-lies among those who have already declared or expressed interest; we do and they, too, may not see the inside of that House they dream of as president.

Not this time around, or in the long foreseeable future for some.

I and a few others have been lone wolves in this view in these fora and elsewhere, but we are increasingly being joined by others, which is obviously a good thing.

I was therefore pleased when I read a post from one such fresh voice on the issue–at least I have not previously seen his posts on the subject and responded to him as follows:

I am so impressed with what you have written, I must nominate your piece for Article of the Year and am saving it my archives of important articles.

What you say applies not just to one individual, but to all holier than though hypocrites, liars and schemers.

You say, “I’m sorry but most of what we read from these “latter-day Saviours” are mere rants of jilted lovers. I doubt that these have anything to offer. At the end of all this, we will vote anyway, let the villagers decide. And I guarantee you, no villager will listen to X. They will listen to Raila, Kibaki or Uhuru or Ruto or even moi. Those are realities on the ground.”

This is one of the things I pointed out in my blog The So-Called G47 or Third Force Should Support Existing Parties We Don’t Need New Parties In Kenya.

You say, “From the foregoing, I am unable to tell what X stands for, apart from the fact that he dislikes his relative Raila the Paka.

I have been blogging about this for months; just go to my blog My Turn and search for “anti-Raila” or “Luo non-Raila supporters” or “Raila haters” and you’ll find what they all have in common, is they just don’t like Raila for one reason or another which mostly have to do with personal vendettas: some appointments that they hoped for that never materialized, some political support they hoped for that never came to fruition, some business deals they hoped for that never came their way, etc.

Not a single one dislikes or hates Raila for other than personal reasons.

There are those who do not support Raila for reasons that are not personal but among those, few are opposed to him strictly on policy issues but a majority of them don’t like or support Raila simply because he is a Luo.

I don’t know which is worse, those who hate or dislike Raila for personal reasons, or those who hate or dislike him because he is a Luo.

I have no problem and neither should anyone have any problem with those who do not support or even don’t like Raila for other than these twin evil reasons.

Finally, ndugu, let me share with you what I have said in another thread which is the same thing you have eloquently pointed out in your piece and that is,

Kiraitu like many others have been waiting in the wings to see if Raila is brought down to size or even destroyed by the likes of Ruto but, having seen all these efforts fall by the wayside, and realizing Raila is, indeed, the man to beat and very much all but certain to be the next president of the Republic, Kiraitu is simply acknowledging the fact.

There will be many to follow, including even many who have been most critical of RAO.

On your larger point, Dr. Willie Mutunga’s visiting Moi should put all that in perspective.

They say there are no permanent enemies in politics.

We are electing a president, not a puritan saint who is perfect and has done no wrong in life.

As the Bible tells us in the book of Romans 3:22-24, “This righteousness is given through faith in[a] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Raila is not saying he is perfect, he is simply saying and most agree, of all the candidates out there, he is the most qualified and even by far, everything considered.

That’s what Kiraitu and others are saying and even more others will be saying so in the days and weeks to come because it’s the truth.

In other words, for those who left the man thinking his ship was sinking, they have now seen the writing on the wall that that’s not the case and will soon try and find their way back to the ship.

The River Nyando will, indeed, be reverting to course for a number of those from the Lake Region except for the most suicidal.

Peace, Love and Unity

Omwenga

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Politics

 

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