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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Kenya Must Gallantly Deal With the Bashir Issue And Without Further Embarrassment

The ongoing spat between Kenya and Sudan or more specifically, between Omar Al Bashir and Kenya is both simple on one level but more complicated on another.

Be as it may be, however, there is one thing that is abundantly clear and that is, both Al Bashir and Kibaki have thus far bungled handling of this issue one wonders whether either leader is being advised at all by anyone who knows anything about international relations and diplomacy.

If your own court makes a ruling contrary to your stated position on an international matter or issue, you do not as president trash that court’s decision publicly and further embarrass yourself and the country by saying you will appeal the decision because you don’t like it.

Rather, you quietly communicate to the party you believe would be aggrieved with the ruling consistent with your stated position or your country’s national interests.

On the other hand, if a court of a foreign state renders a ruling adverse to your interests or your country’s interests (the two are not one and the same when it comes to presidents or national leaders as there are times a national leader or president’s personal or political interests may be a divergence with the national interest), you do not react by expelling that country’s envoy and recalling yours from that country.

Such reaction under those circumstances is unnecessary and goes to show yours is more show than nothing of substance.

In this case, it is the height of arrogance and self-elevation to untouchable status for Bashir to react the way he has, including expelling our ambassador to Sudan and notice I could have said but did not say “his country” because Bashir is holding his country hostage while trying to hold on to power he cannot possibly say has been given to him by his near hopeless people he is ruling by force.

Both Kibaki and Al Bashir have therefor bungled how they have handled this issue regarding the ICC outstanding warrant against Bashir and the Kenya high court judge’s ruling the warrant must be enforced were Bashir to step inside Kenya.

The ongoing spat between Kenya and Sudan or more specifically, between Omar Al Bashir and Kenya is an embarrassment for Kenya.

How poorly and even embarrassingly these two leaders have handled this Bashir issue so far is the easy and simpler part to see clearly and understand.

Beyond that, however, things do get complicated.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Al Bashir on March 4, 2009 upon the court’s finding that there were “reasonable grounds to believe that Omar al-Bashir bears criminal responsibility under the Rome Statute’ for five counts of crimes against humanity including murder, extermination, torture, and rape and two counts of war crimes.”

This marked the first time a warrant was issued against a sitting head of state making it a complicated issue by that fact alone made worse only by the fact Bashir is president of an African nation, which did not bore well with many of the African despots and masters of impunity and corruption presiding over economic genocides across the continent suitable for prosecution under the ICC if we can figure how.

Al Bashir has been on the lam since then.

On the lam, that is, except for Kenya, China and other African countries he is given red-carpet welcome if and when he chooses to visit the warrant be damned and never mind he stands accused of having committed crimes against humanity and is responsible for the genocide in Darfur.

The reasons given by Kenya for ignoring the ICC warrant against Bashir are (1) Bashir is a key to several security initiatives in the Horn of Africa, including the on-going operation by Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in Somalia and (2) that the AU has directed member countries including Kenya to ignore the warrant.

Lesser persuasive reasons given for ignoring the warrant against Bashir include the fact that there are outstanding unresolved issues in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on oil-rich Abyei relative to South Sudan and the even less persuasive citation of the Vienna Convention on the immunity of Heads of States and Government, which does not technically apply in the case against Bashir.

Overall, however, the Bashir issue does present some serious and complicated questions that touch on a number of areas, not the least of which are relations within the Horn of Africa, Africa and between these two and the West each of which must be equally balanced to come up with a viable resolution of it.

Meanwhile, a judge of the Kenya high court has ruled that the warrant against Bashir must be enforced were Bashir to step-foot in Kenya.

In my view, the Kenya courts should stay away from the Bashir issue for several reasons:

First, the ICC having issued the warrant against Bashir, this is no longer a judicial matter but one for the executive to enforce.

If the executive chooses not to enforce the warrant, then there can be no other recourse other than letting Kenya become a pariah nation with concomitant consequences for its leader or one with a constitutional crisis even before the ink has dried on the new constitution.

Neither option is that terrific but one would have to prefer a pariah nation than one engulfed in a constitutional show down that can easily torpedo all these achievements we have attained thus far.

Second, the court should decline to exercise jurisdiction under the “unjusticiability” or “political question” doctrine both of which hold that there are certain questions and issues better left for the politicians to deal with than the courts.

The Al Bashir issue is precisely one such issue because it does not render itself to resolution by the courts for the simple reason the court’s position could be at odds with the state’s overall political interests more suitable for the politicians to determine at their own peril than the robed ones who are supposed to be apolitical.

Alternatively, the courts could simply decline to exercise jurisdiction on grounds there is no ripe issue to litigate.

Al Bashir is not in the country for anyone to determine whether or not he could be arrested.

If and when he lands and is given another red-carpet welcome instead of being handcuffed, someone could then file an emergency application for a writ of mandamus to order the executive to arrest him.

By the time one goes through all the procedural hurdles of filing such an application and having a hearing, Bashir would have been long gone, meaning, the issue will never be ripe.

Third, if any court has to do anything about further about the Bashir issue, it should not be the Kenyan court but the ICC itself.

Under the Rome Statute, ICC has the option to seek enforcement of the warrant through the UN.

Let the court pursue that option and have the chips fall where they may for I do not see how any individual can defy the UN if any recent examples are anything to go by and not even the AU would dare do so.

These are more than sufficient reasons for the Kenyan courts to stay out of this issue and by doing so, it does not mean the courts will be abdicating on their respective responsibilities or ceding power under the new constitution but they will be acting conformity with it and fully consistent with the doctrine of separation of powers which may otherwise be undermined by the executive simply ignoring the court’s orders as it would likely be the case here and thus setting us on an unavoidable and unnecessary constitutional crisis.

Besides, Kenya is on the spotlight at ICC therefore everything we do must reflect the interest of Kenyans not any individual or individuals no matter how cozy they are with the president.

By acting as he has, the president is signaling he is has little regard for the ICC and that cannot be good for our country.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Politics

 

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Kibaki Is About To Flip Us All The Finger Again

According to the Standard Online, the deadline for appointing commissioners of the new and revamped national anti-graft body, EACC, has passed without the appointments being made because the principals cannot agree on who should head the body between two top candidates shortlisted for the chairmanship.

The two are said to be former Law Society of Kenya chairman who also served in the KACC Advisory Board, Erick Okong’o Omogeni, and Mumo Matemu who is a former commissioner at the Kenya Revenue Authority and chaired the Task Force on dual citizenship.

According to the paper, Kibaki wants Prof Matemu to take over EACC, while the PM prefers Mr Omogeni to head the body.

During the vetting process, Omogeni scored the highest at 81.7 points, followed by Matemu with 78.4 points.

Mogeni should therefore in my view be appointed as chairman of the body if merit means anything.

I cannot see any overriding interest to overlook the fact that Mogeni came up on top after shortlisting and interview other than Kibaki yet again trying to muscle his way into getting something he should not good only for his personal and narrow political interests not in the national interest.

Indeed, I find it interesting when the Standard says that “sources familiar with the standoff say the two leaders would compromise by way of one being allowed to pick the chairman and the other the deputy.”

That’s not a compromise unless Kibaki relents and lets Raila have his choice; having it the other way around would not be a compromise but yet again another flip of the finger at all of us by Kibaki as he did with the appointment of Prof. Githu Muigai as our AG. See my blog The Meaning of Kibaki’s Appointment of Githu Muigai As Attorney General for more about how Kibaki flipped us the middle finger.

Let us hope not again.

Peace, Unity and Progress

Omwenga

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Politics

 

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Ten Promises Kenyans Should Make Ahead of Elections 2012

  1. I promise to put my interests and those of my family first in all decisions I make and see to it that those interests are met through the labor of my hard work supplemented by others only to the extent they are a means to meet my objectives and this includes decisions I make about who to vote for in the upcoming general elections.
  2. I promise to only vote for and elect leaders who put the country first, and their interests and those of their cronies second or last.
  3. I promise not to vote for anyone solely on the basis they come from my tribe or ethnic group and, conversely, I promise not to withhold my vote from anyone solely because they are from any particular community.
  4. I promise not to vote for any politician who seeks to divide our country or who is conniving to gain office by divisive and tribal tactics but, conversely, I promise to vote only for those candidates who are not hypocrites and truly seek to unite our country and have a proven record for doing so.
  5. I promise to be fair and open minded in evaluating candidates to vote for and to base my decision not on the basis of misinformation, lies and distortions but on the basis of known facts, unbiased information, leadership ability, integrity and their stated positions on the issues that I care about and not inconsistent with our country’s national interest as reflected in these promises I make.
  6. I promise to constantly remind myself that I don’t know better than the next person actually knows best and in the event I don’t, I pray that God gives me the wisdom and/or ability to know better or to defer to those who do for my own sake and for the sake of our country.
  7. I promise to be considerate of the interests of my fellow Kenyans even as I pursue mine to the maximum extent possible.
  8. I promise not to be a hypocrite and if I am, may God make it possible for all to see through my words and deeds, including those appearing in print or on computer screens as a result of my fingers typing at the direction of my mind.
  9. I promise not to hate anyone or wish them ill just for who they are and even if they have wronged me, I promise to find ways to forgive them as God instructs us all to do and that is, to love one another, including our enemies.
  10. I promise to do my part in bringing about change in our country, including keeping these promises, or even running for public office myself, which should be at a minimum and a good start.

If all or most Kenyans keep all of these promises, and remain faithful to the end, then it wouldn’t matter who emerges at the top as the winner and is sworn as our next president for that person would be governing a country united and ready to match forward as never before–more than even the euphoria and excitement we witnessed and experienced in 2002.

That’s the Kenya we should all desire.

That’s the Kenya we must have in short order.

The only one stopping us, is us.

Peace, Unity and Progress

 Copyright © Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq. 2011

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Politics

 

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My Select Comments and Posts In Other Blogs, November 2011

The following are some of my comments and posts elsewhere I am migrating here for archival purposes.  Some of you may have already seen them so disregard accordingly and thanks for your readership.

You have used the maxim “simple minds discuss people, great minds discuss ideas” but I am afraid you don’t know or understand the meaning of that maxim.

When you are discussing the leadership qualities of a person contending for public office, his or her personality is an issue which is appropriate and, indeed, essential to discuss.

When you are engaged in mere debate, the personality of the debater is not an issue and is therefore irrelevant to discuss and those who opt to discuss the personal issues about the debater instead of the issue he or she discusses are the ones with small minds because they are incapable or unwilling to discuss the issues he or she raises.

Sarcastically to a known anti-Railaist claiming that those of us who ardently support Raila will “commit suicide” if he is not elected..

Thanks for your intelligent and indispensable contribution in this debate.

Just so I answer your question, the lives of some of us will always be better than yours regardless of who is president.

That’s a fact and is based entirely on the fact successful and completed people do not talk as you do about others as the way you have here.

To someone saying Raila has no chance in former Central

Brother X,

I have many friends from the area and even recently wrote about a visit to Kandara and other places nearby and met and made new friends from the area. I am happy to say change has already come in the area.

The backward from there or anywhere else in the country will be left behind unless they learn and change.

They, and by that I mean, the permanent but shrinking minority of haters, tribalists and other backward stuck minority, have a choice: join with the rest of Kenya or remain wallowing in that mindset which can only beget more unhappiness and misery.

To a known Raila hater claiming Raila’s supporters are his “worst enemy” and calling us names, including the stupid claim that just because I blog a lot does not mean I am intelligent…

Don’t worry about how Raila who you hate and do not wish to see became our president is marketed; worry about the candidate you wish to become president is marketed, if you have any.

I have repeatedly counseled people like you that the use of filth language such as “asslicking” and other matusi does not advance whatever point you are trying to make except among those who think like you in which case it makes no difference to the rest of us.

I do not blog to prove to you or anyone that I am intelligent.

To someone claiming that none of the current politicians should be elected president…

How many of those married would say they would rather have married their high school sweethearts or other person along the way than the nightmare they are stuck with now but are happy nonetheless?

Are they not better off than being married to their high school sweethearts and others they met along who could be twice the nightmare?

Some of these things you must take and put them in their proper context.

It’s not perfection we are looking for but someone who can take us to the next level and that person is Raila among the current crop of politicians vying for that office.

Again, if an outsider pops out of nowhere and takes the presidency in a fair and transparent election, he or she will make history and I’ll be right up there among those celebrating their victory and doing what I can to make their presidency a success.

To someone regarding debate on issues

We are all individually good judges of what is beneath us and what is not but there is always a consensus on what is beneath us all as a group on one side or other and one must always want to be above fray and that’s where I dwell.

This is what I was trying to say on the other thread you sought clarification and I offer it here because of how you ended your post, namely, declaring this thread discourse is “way below what i believe constitutes issue basd discussions.”

That statement is partially true with respect to some comments that have been made on this thread but overall, you and others have engaged in meaningful, above fray discourse, which is commendable.

I otherwise agree with most of what you have said here with some modification, except when you jab Raila saying, “like dismissing even his closest friends from positions of power when need be” or when you say that somehow Raila is not the person we are describing to be; he is.

To someone regarding reasons I gave in my dropping “Love” from my signature, to “Peace, Unity and Progress (previously Peace, Love and Unity)

I agree that love itself is enough to accomplish all of this but my experience and really part of the reason I have decided to exclude expressly stating “love” is because I have over time come to conclude some people are so full of hate, the very mention of love makes them unease akin to mentioning drug interdiction to an addict: It’s something they know works but don’t want to hear about it.

The better approach is to show them by example and in numbers how love is better than hate and we each can do that in our own ways, including how we reach out to the haters among us.

I personally would like to have a sit-down chat with any of my haters and really try to understand why they hate me and I am 100% certain its them who would find out there is not a single valid reason to hate anyone.

God teaches us to love one another no matter our transgressions.

I am happy to say I hate no one and not even those who hate me for who I am!

To a known Raila hater saying I should read a book than “wasting” time blogging

How and where I spend my time is none of your business so keep the counsel to yourself.

I know some of you hate Raila so much it’s spilling to those of us who support him but some of us are impervious to the hate directed at us and are in fact, driven even more by it to do what we do so that the likes of you don’t have your way in perpetuating hate and division in our beloved country.

Instead of harboring this much hate of others, however, I humbly and as sincerely as I can strongly encourage you to find ways to rid yourself of the hate and join the rest of us in finding solutions to move our country forward and if that includes supporting an opposing candidate, fine, do so with cogent reasons as I do for mine and let the people decide.

It’s never too late to do that but come after 2012 elections, the haters will be a permanently shunned and shrinking minority.

Re Ochuodho post on NVK-M mobilizing diaspora

It will be fascinating to see how people who don’t see eye to eye on at home suddenly become bosom buddies in the Diaspora. My sense is Kenyans on both ends reflect each other for the most part but Diasporans are for the larger part unlikely to buy into the nonsense of old politics of trickery, deceit and other camouflaged KANU tactics at the core of some of these groups masquerading around as agents of change when they, in fact, are not anything even close but are merely in search of power to the extent they can nibble at the ages or more precisely, in search of ways to prevent one man from ascending to the presidency or at least derive some benefit from having tried to do so. Watashindwa.

To someone creating and disposing red herrings instead of acknowledging the truths I blogged about Raila..

Just the other day, a reporter from the show 60 minutes asked former Speaker of the House and now minority leader Nancy Pelosi whether she (and other congressional leaders, including current speaker) benefited from buying stock based on non-public information. The speaker said this was not true but even before she finished explaining, the reporter was on to questions #2 and 3 to which Ms. Pelosi retorted all of those questions would be true if he assumed the premise of his question to be true, which she and Bohner insist is not and there are objective reasons to believe them.

You are doing the same thing here, namely, you are creating red herrings and going on to make good arguments in support of your red herrings except that’s not the issue in Basic Truth No. 10 about Raila; in other words, your arguments are based on a premise that does not exist.

Indeed, you have progressed from red herrings to now a slippery slope type of argument in saying there are more wanjikos, moraas and sangs who have suffered or are suffering more than Raila and this is in addition to your wholly made up premise that has nothing to do with Truth No. 10 and that is, you want to make sure that Raila “does not get in the boat thinking he’s both captain, crew and passenger at the same time”[sic] when he obviously not done such a thing and neither would he given his Truths Nos 5, 9 & 14.

In order to succeed in proving the truthfulness of Truth No. 10, you will have to tell us who among those running for president has physically and psychologically suffered more for the sake of our country than Raila.

Everything else is irrelevant as to this truth.

If you are incapable of seeing the glaring differences in leadership style and core principles between Raila and Kibaki, then I am afraid you’ll have to wait until after he is sworn as president to do so.

To someone–a lawyer–I took to task for his assertion that Raila is a “professed messiah” and in response to someone who echoed my sentiments, he made the preposterous proposition that intellectual dishonesty (which I had accused him of) is a virtue. I called him on this obvious blunder but, rather than admitting the blunder, he tried to defend the proposition and this was my final response to him…

MLF Ochieng-Nyamogo,

I can see you are still digging; can someone reach down and grab the hoe before he digs himself further to no end?

While they are coming to your rescue, I edify.

Yes, a professor must profess of their own sentiments and believes and no I don’t need to consult a dictionary for something that basic we all should have learned in basic English.

In other words, one cannot be a professor of another; you are either a professor of your own sentiments and believes or you are not.

Now, if you consult a dictionary you advise that I do, you will note the following definition of “professor” term you are now introducing in this exchange to save you but it’s sinking you instead:

noun

  1. a teacher of the highest academic rank in a college or university, who has been awarded the title Professor  in a particular branch of learning; a full professor: a professor of Spanish literature.
  2. any teacher who has the rank of professor, associate professor,  or assistant professor.
  3. a teacher.
  4. an instructor in some art or skilled sport: a professor of singing; a professor of boxing.
  5. a person who professes  his or her sentiments, beliefs, etc.

If you now wish to say that you meant that Maurice is a “professor” in the fifth meaning sense, which is very rarely used as such, then you still have a hole to dig yourself out of because I am unaware of any time Maurice “professed” Raila to be a messiah in that sense.

When did he do that? Kindly cut and past here such “profession” if we must now go with your third option meaning and usage of “professed.”

If you do that, I would reluctantly give you that you did not cynically refer to Raila as a “professed” messiah in the sense he himself has done so when we all know he has not.

I doubt Maurice has not done so either but I am waiting for your proof.

BTW, you know what rejoinder awaits that unlikely proof, do you not?

To someone complementing me..

Thanks brother Anyumba,

I like your analogy.

For every trashing out there, there are thousands of sober, reflective and objective minds who see the truth for what it is.

Unfortunately, much as I would love to focus only on where the PM stands on issues, the distractions from the trashing army is simply overwhelming but no one should ever tire telling the truth.

I of course, agree with you completely let the other side post here who they support and why and let the people compare and contrast rather than solely and exclusively ranting and railing everyday how Raila is bad.

No one is that bad except those who they support and are embarrassed or afraid to publicly support them.

I don’t buy the excuse they are undecided or that they are waiting for someone to emerge from the bushes to head our country come 2012.

Our next president is going to be one of the known candidates who have already declared or expressed their interest.

Pick one and tell us why he or she is better than Raila.

Otherwise, accept the reality Raila is the man.

Continuing to tell us how bad he is, is not going to change that.

To those in denial

There are people when it comes to Raila see only evil, hear only evil and would believe anything bad said about him but nothing good said about the man; if you tell them Raila is singly responsible for the drought suffered in Kenya or global warming for that matter, they will believe; if you tell them Raila is the person most credited for ending the Moi regime, they will not believe; if you tell them Raila needs to eat and eats food like all of us; they will not believe; if you tell them Raila is a god, they believe but pretend to ascribe that as being a god to others; if you tell them but for Raila, we would not have the new constitution, they will not believe; if you tell them Raila is responsible for having flat tires to borrow from another netter posting here, they will believe, and so on but you get my drift.

Among these are the Ruto supporters you refer to.

To someone regarding Diaspora voting..

I am against both ideas: No Diaspora Constituency and no fielding of a Diaspora presidential candidate for the following reasons:

First, there is no effective or even practical means of electing the person.

Second, Diaspora needs vary from country to country and region to region and most of them really can only be addressed locally.

Third, any Diaspora person is free to go home and contest for whatever seat they deep fit to contest, including the presidency.

Diaspora need a voice in Parliament, yes but that voice is whoever their MP is.

What Diaspora need to focus more on is having a government that is responsive to the needs of our brothers and sisters at home as well as one that provides incentives for us to invest with confidence in our motherland.

To be continued.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Politics

 

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Ten Things For Kenyans To Be Thankful For This Year 2011

It is Thanksgiving here in the US so as we get ready to enjoy the day with family and friends, I am taking this moment to reflect on things I am Thankful to God about this year.

The personal ones, I’ll share with family at the dinner table.

The public ones, I am dividing them into two:

Things I am thankful for here in the US and things I am thankful for being a Kenyan.

Below are things I am thankful for being a Kenyan and believe we all are or should be thankful for same:

  1. A country that is holding on to peace and on a path to even greater peace and prosperity.
  2. Plenty of good not food is still found within our borders as prayed for in our National Anthem
  3. We reconstituted the electoral commission without a glitch and now look forward to its work in conducting free and transparent elections without glitch.
  4. We had the successful and unprecedented, highly approved selection process and appointment the Chief Justice of our newly created Supreme Court and associate justices to serve with him in finally leading in, and bringing about the necessary judicial reforms.
  5. We had a less praised selection process and appointment of a new Attorney General but an appointment 10 times more transparent and fair than any in the past.
  6. The economy did not tank any further. According to recent findings by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), Kenya’s economy grew by 4.9% in the first quarter of 2011, which is indeed good news compared to the negative growth of recent years.
  7. We saw the construction of more roads across the country further improving our infrastructure with the concomitant improved productivity and economic growth, especially in the rural areas.
  8. Prof. Anyang Nyong’o was diagnosed with prostate cancer and no, not because he was in that sense but because the diagnosis brought the much needed attention to this treatable killer disease that specializes African and African American of men over the age of 50.
  9. The government stepped up efforts to deal with food security, including the PM mobilizing governments in the Horn of Africa and convening a summit on food security, which resulted in the signing of the Nairobi Declaration, a document that is now the roadmap on how to improve food security not just in Kenya but throughout the region.
  10. There was overall less rancor in government, especially between and among the usual suspects and when it mattered, the government and country was united as in the case of the appointments mentioned above and more recently, in efforts to ramp-out Al Shabaab and in other matters of national importance.

There are obviously more things to be thankful for but these are my Top Ten.

When you pause and think about it, things are bad but not as bad as some would want everyone to believe.

Yes, we need to do better but let’s not do that by destroying what we have built or not appreciating or otherwise trashing those who have helped us get here.

Let’s do away with the bad and build on the good and let those who have helped us get where we are continue on their good works  and mission with even greater success and rewards ahead for all of us.

Let those who want to stand in the way of this progress not succeed come next year.

May God bring us more of the good things in infinity.

Peace, Unity and Progress

Omwenga

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Politics, Social

 

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Examining Raila’s Stand on Issues and Record Part I

As an avid supporter of Raila for president, I often find myself defending him against lies, distortions and innuendo from his opponents, enemies and distractors.

I cannot recall anytime when any of these opponents, enemies and distractors have actually addressed any of the substantive rebuttals I present by way of responding their lies, distortions and innuendo but it’s easy to see why:

If the question is who among those running other than Raila has substantive issues or record they are running on, the answer is none and thus the reason they all prefer to employ deceitful tactics other distractions intended to camouflage the fact they have neither issues nor a record to run on.

Correction: They have a record but they would rather run away from it than with it in seeking the presidency.

In fact, they have thus far done a good job of hiding or running away from their records but come 2012, the record itself will catch-up with them.

Raila, on the other hand, has good record to run on and his stand on most, if not all of the issues facing our nation, is right on.

He also has either addressed these issues as MP, Minister or PM; is in the process of doing so, or he’ll certainly address them as president, if elected.

In Who Is Raila Amolo Part I, I have started an examination of Raila as an individual.

In this series, I examine Raila’s stand on issues and his record.

I have said repeatedly and let me repeat yet again that what I do is to share what I know about the man and why I support him.

I do not purport to speak for Raila or ODM and neither should anything I say be seen or interpreted that way.

My views are strictly my views unless I indicate otherwise as in when reporting on what he says at any public meeting I am present or reporting from other sources.

Having said that, I can tell you the man has yet to even officially start campaigning when the first order of business for him and his party as campaign is to set forth his party’s manifesto.

We know he has one from 2007 which one can assume would be revised to reflect changed circumstances since.

Going by Raila’s public statements and other public information, however, one can easily know where Raila stands on any number of issues and his record as a leader going back to the days of his agitation for reform that earned him unprecedented detention and torture, his life spared only for reasons we can speculate.

In this Part I, I address Raila’s stand on specific areas a netter asked me if I could tell him, and by extension, other readers where Raila stands on these issues and these are: Education, Energy, National Security and Food Security.

I briefly address each of these issues as a full-blown, complete analysis would be outside the scope of this blog but let’s say this is kionjo tu as more  is sure to follow.

Education: The PM believes our education standards needs to be improved beyond what we have now and the key to this, he believes, is the government’s willingness and readiness to invest more in education and manpower development.

This is what he believes and is at the core of the campaign platform he run on and was elected but not sworn as president in 2007.

Reaffirming this commitment recently, the PM said the following:”You cannot develop as a nation, if you do not invest in manpower development and that starts at nursery school through primary, secondary, to colleges and universities,” adding, “countries that have developed faster are those countries that have invested very heavily in manpower and the teaching profession [provides] that foundation.”

There maybe someone out there running for president with a better commitment to education, but you will agree, will you not, this understanding and commitment from the PM if implemented would see our country transformed both in education standards but in the corresponding economic development owing to the revamped and better developed manpower, especially given the PM’s other commitment is for Kenya to tap into the vastly growing business process outsourcing (BPO) of which the Malili Technopolis project is a part of and one the PM has been instrumental in seeing its development, among his many other accomplishments.

Energy: Consistent with his commitment to conserving the environment, Raila was instrumental in, and actually had the National Task Force on Accelerated Development of Green Energy (NTFG) established and housed in his office, where it’s alive and making good progress.

The PM established the task force to assist in installation of additional 2000 megawatt (MW) of green power in the country, which include six geothermal projects with capacity of 490 MW and seven wind power projects with expected capacity of 810 MW.

The measure also includes setting up number of power cogeneration projects with expected capacity of 600 MW.

Other measures underway promoting renewable energy in the country at the PM’s direction and supervision, include incentives to attract investment in solar energy, windmills, biomass.

Others include free distribution of one million energy efficient light bulbs in exchange for ordinary bulbs. The free distribution of energy-saving bulbs is expected to save 49 MW of power, which is is a significant amount, given the power shortage we have in the country.

Addressing an Energy Plus Partnership Conference recently held in Oslo, Norway, the PM called on developed countries and international development agencies to team up with the government of Kenya and help phase kerosene out of the country and give citizens in rural areas and urban slums access to cleaner and healthier energy and power.

The PM said Kerosene Free Kenya he is spearheading efforts to implement aims at making solar lanterns and solar panels, green charcoal and improved cooking stoves available to 10 million households the next 2 years.

The PM also appealed to institutions financing investment in energy to review conditions attached to the loans to enable more players to access the funds and participate in research and provision of clean energy to the poor.

In sum, when it comes to energy policy and issues, none of the other presidential contenders come even close to comparing to the Raila in his experience, expertise and leadership on this critical area of our economy.

None.

National Security: Although the president is hogging this important portfolio, the PM has been very supportive of the president’s efforts to secure our borders and the co-leaders get an A in their efforts to root out Al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia. We should all support their efforts for we cannot be divided in any way when it comes to matters of national security.

Anyone who tries to bring politics into our national security would only regret the swiftness with which the people would reject such a move so I would not worry too much about our national security unless we elect a madman as our next president, which I seriously doubt.

However, relationships with our neighbors, regional and international leaders do matter and add to our national security and on this measure, no one among those vying for president is better known and liked by all of these leaders than Raila.

I am fully aware that some wannabes have made staged trips to neighboring countries but the images coming from those visits show how boyish they are as compared to Raila who, on the other hand, comes across as the statesman he is when being received by regional and world leaders who, as is well known, like and even admire his leadership style.

Not all of you may understand this but they do and that’s all that matters.

Food Security: The PM understands with a country such as ours, no one should go hungry and has been leading in efforts to address the problem of food security, including his recent successful hosting of a Summit on Food Security for the Horn of Africa comprised of all the leaders from the Horn to address the food crisis in the region and at the end of that meeting, the leaders from these countries, namely Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somali, Eritrea, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi, signed what is now known as the Nairobi Declaration, a document that puts forth solutions for resolving the food crisis in the region.

Those solutions are being pursued as you are reading this and therefore on that measure, the PM gets an A on his efforts on this issue while none of his rivals for the presidency can get even an F for they have done nothing about the problem, except Ruto who may be given a B- from is archived records as minister for agriculture.

Tackling the National Debt and Deficit: The president has not only hogged the critical ministries and institutions that control government spending, he and his team have made sure the PM is completely incapacitated to reign in government spending and corruption–and especially corruption, which is the #1 reason we have the staggering and crippling debt and deficits.

Yet, despite these great odds against him, the PM has managed to at least prevent even more uncontrolled spending and corruption and everyone agrees there is no one out there running for president better placed to fight corruption than Raila himself.

No one.

These, then, are some of the PM’s positions and accomplishments in these areas but there are many others to follow in this series and I am sure the PM himself and his campaign will remind or inform the country, as the case maybe, when he rolls up his sleeves and starts his second successful campaign for the presidency.

This time Raila must not only be elected as he was last time, but he should also be elected with a clear mandate for he is hands down the best candidate among those running for president not just in experience and leadership, but also on where he stands on most, if not all of these issues which clearly is in line with where the country is or must be in order to achieve the peace, unity and prosperity we must have after all these years of abuse and neglect.

Peace, Unity and Progress

Omwenga

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Politics

 

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Why I Am Changing My Signature and An Appeal To All Kenyans for Post-PEV Peace and Unity

As you know, I have for a long time signed of with “Peace, Love and Unity,” reflecting three virtues I hold true and believe are essential in our lives, if we are to rise as a nation and excel beyond where we have been.

I even get occasional jabs from folks who ask why would I take this mantra from the Moi era which he and his regime sang but never practiced and my answer has always been the same and that is, just because Moi said but did not practice something does not mean no one else should.

An example I give is, Moi was sworn several times to uphold the constitution, which he never did but that doesn’t mean our presidents should henceforth not be so sworn just because of Moi having sworn to but failed to uphold it.

On further examination of these three virtues, however, I have come to conclude two are actually the same or an intricate subset of one another, depending on context and these are “peace and love.”

If you are a loving person, peace comes naturally or with little effort at worst.

I am therefore changing my sign-off to “Peace, Unity and Progress.”

I know progress is not a virtue but we cannot experience true peace and unity without progress for all.

In this post-PEV period of our history, we are each called upon to re-examine ourselves and answer the question, what is is I can do to bring about peace, unity and progress for all in our country?

Whatever that is, just do it regardless of what you think others may say or think about it.

The biggest obstacle in this simple request is, of course, hate and tribalism, the two vices that are deeply rooted in our history and culture but they need not be inseparable with us to the future or forever.

We can overcome both, if we want to.

I know fully it’s not easy for some but the easiest way to do that for those afflicted with it, is simply to forget the past and think about the future.

Harboring hate and tribalism over issues that are deeply rooted in our history and culture will only leave us divided, unhappy and certainly incapable of tapping the full potential of our country as a nation.

Many are looking to the ICC to bring closure to PEV but I have maintained this is wrong as ICC will never do such; ICC will be a mixed bag no matter the outcome.

There will be those who will be happy with the outcome just as much as there will be those who will be unhappy.

There is no outcome that is going make everyone happy.

In fact, it is more likely the outcome will make more people unhappy than happy.

Indeed, blogging on this issue recently, I said the following:

You are right and I agree people need to wait for the actual ICC verdicts. We also need to make sure they public is not led to believe an outcome of one kind is forthcoming when, in fact, the other is the more likely. I think if acquittals occur when people are expecting hanging at the Hague, we may end up being thrown back to where we started.

It’s a delicate balance but it must be done within reason and sound mindedness.

If there is one thing Ocampo said at the Koinange interview that I thought was apt, it is his urging Kenyans to be prepared for whatever outcome the ICC produces.

I have been a lone wolf in my position but I now see more and more analysts agreeing with my position and more so I hope they can join in supporting my proposal to put in place a system to allow for civil penalties, even for those acquitted at the Haguge because being acquitted does not mean one is innocent of being most responsible for PEV charged on the lesser standard of common murder, manslaughter, or destruction of property which are different from “crimes against humanity” with the latter requiring a higher standard of proof I doubt Ocampo will meet as per my analysis.

This may be the only way to bring closure to this sad saga in our history.

I still firmly believe in this and thus my appeal to those who were directly affected with PEV to simply forgive and forget while looking to a future without that much pain and suffering.

For those still homeless as a direct consequence of PEV, the government must step-up its efforts to resettle them and now, not later.

Ditto for the root cause of PEV, namely, land.

Early this year, I said the following in another blog on this issue:

As I sit here reading and reflecting on this issue on this Sabbath Day, I am seeing three solutions to this highly charged, thorny and complex issue of land and IDPs in Kenya: First, the IDPs should be resettled to the very places from where they were chased or run away from and do so for as many of them as can prove they actually did live and had a livelihood there. A new law should be passed to facilitate this, thus, if you were previously homeless but are now comfortably living in an IDP’s home and operating another IDPs kiosk as your own, it is time to get back to being homeless or finding another solution to your previous problems.

Second, if IDPs must be resettled elsewhere, then a law to provide for such resettlement must be passed to include among other things, making resettled IDPs under it ineligible to vote in those areas until at least after the next election circle or after there has been a complete re-examination of our land policy to ensure equity and fairness for as close to all as possible, whichever occurs first.

Three, a special land reform assembly must be constituted to address the question of land policy reform. This assembly should be comprised of elected leaders from each tribal area (and this is about the only time you’ll hear me suggest tribal consideration as a factor), so an assembly of approximately 40 members with an eminent non-Kenyan as its President (Kofi Annan or someone similar comes to mind) with a deputy elected by a super-majority of the members.

Parliament shall implement whatever recommendations the Special Assembly on Land Reform comes up with without delay, debate or amendment.

I wrote to the Minister for Lands back then and shared this with him but I doubt much will happen with anything along this thinking in the current administration even though we can all agree something must in the end be done to address this issue once and for all, my proposal being one means of doing just that.

Once we deal hate and tribalism behind us, Kenya would become a paradise we always believed it could be because the other vices, namely, corruption and impunity must correspondingly be eliminated or reduced out of necessity for a united country is greater than a few, powerful and untouchable they may think they are.

Conversely, a divided country will never successfully tackle any of these vices.

The choice is clear and starts from our own individual choices: Do we want to be a united country or not?

If so, what can I as an individual do to make that happen.

Whatever that is, just do it.

If that happens and we are honest about it, the outcome would be a second re-birthing of our country and this time propelling upwards to the skies in terms of opportunity and progress for all.

That’s my prayer.

Peace, Unity and Progress

Omwenga

[Unedited]

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2011 in Politics

 

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