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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Ruto’s Continued Clinging To ODM IS Disingenuous and Highly Dishonest

I posted the following comment at another forum several of my readers there have asked me to post it here for easy reference so here we go:

Christine,

I agree with you Ruto’s refusal to resign from ODM and seek fresh mandate from Eldoret North voters is utter dishonesty of the highest order.

The problem is not that Ruto cannot be re-elected as MP, he can, even though he will have a stiff challenge.

That’s not his problem; the problem and the reason he has not left is, all ODM MPs allied to him will be equally forced to resign and more than half of them will not see the inside of Parliament again other than perhaps securing work as aides and even then they may not even qualify to be considered.

Yet, you see him chest-thumbing on how great and influential he is in RV.

He is not.

It’ll be a miracle if he delivers even more than 50% of his own constituency, let alone the entire region where at best he may deliver 40% and the rest remains loyal to ODM, give or take 5 or so for other losing candidates.

That’s all Raila needs to win in a landslide and on the first ballot.

Peace, Unity and Ruto Will Be Politically Irrelevant Soon If He Does Not Rethink.

Omwenga

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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in Politics

 

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Is Miguna Miguna the Newt Gingrich of Kenya?

I cannot say MM is a friend at the level, say, OO, would be but I have read him and known him for a long time and have even interacted privately with him on matters ODM when he was at the PM’s office.

I have largely stayed away from discussions about MM and intend to do just that other than what I have posted on my two blogs on him, Miguna Maybe Hurting But He Is Being Disingenuous As To Raila and Miguna Has Made Serious A Serious Allegation Let The Police Investigate.

I pose the question I do here, though, not in any way as a negative thing but as a positive opportunity to explore an even deeper question and that is, what role does an obviously brilliant man with hardly any break system between what he thinks and what he says has to play in a political system where there is a correlation between what you say and your political fortunes such that when its good, you are rewarded and punished when it’s not.

This is the question I would like us to explore in the context of comparing and contrasting MM to Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the United States Congress, and now one of those seeking nomination by the Republican party to challenge President Obama.

The underlying presumption in this question is, not matter how brilliant one is, not everything that’s going to flow from his or her lips is going to be brilliant.

No scientific study has been done to confirm this but just take my word for it or if not, take your own word for they are the same.

For those of you not in the US or do not follow US politics, a bit of a background on Newt Gingrich:

As noted above, Newt is the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives who is now running for president.

He is an historian by training and no one questions the fact he has a brilliant mind.

So brilliant, he devised a plan for Republicans to become a majority party in the House of Representatives and when the plan was executed in 1994, the Republicans led by Newt were able to wrestle majority control of the House from Democrats who had had it and therefore controlled the legislative process for more than 40 years until Newt and his crew booted them in 1994.

Riding mighty and high on this outstanding accomplishment, Newt forgot he was mortal and soon started treating everyone even then President Clinton as though they were irrelevant when, in fact, the were: he was only head of one of the three branches of government.

The list of things he was saying, many of them outright mean, is long to even summarize but the cleverer and even more brilliant Clinton is, he counter-engineered a strategy to remove the Republicans using Newt himself as the whipping boy and the strategy succeeded as Republicans lost miserably in the next elections of 1998, forcing the very same Republicans to seek an ouster of Newt as Speaker and replace him with someone less arrogant and abrasive (their words).

Rather than face defeat by his own Republicans in a bid for second term as Speaker, Newt resigned from congress soon after the elections of 1998 and went on to quietly feed from the hands of the very organizations to this day he publicly condemns as evil and has even called for the arrest and imprisonment of their senior officers for mismanagement—all the while collecting hefty consulting fees from them, mind you.

Fast forward to currently, the Republicans are in perhaps the worst nomination process for someone to challenge Obama for none of all of the candidates who have thrown their names in the hat impresses the Republican primary voters.

The one candidate who can actually beat Obama in the general election is Mitt Romney, who Evangelicals, a critical portion of the primary voters, hate simply because he is a Mormon.

As a result, there has now been and continues to be the quest to nominate a “Mitt alternative” and several individuals have held that spot as they rise up in the polls, only to crush and burn a few weeks later for one reason or another.

Newt is currently holding this political death trap that no one has escaped alive since the phenomena emerged a few months ago but, just as his predecessors, Newt is about to crush and burn, courtesy of his past and present and especially his inability to control what falls out of his lips.

He was interviewed over the weekend and said judges who do not rule according to Congress’ understanding of the law should be asked to come to Congress to testify why and if they refuse to come, US marshals should be dispatched to arrest and drag them to the August house a dimwitted answer but Newt was talking to the Right Wing nuts who vote in the Republican primary forgetting everyone else was listening.

That’s Newt for you.

MM needs no introduction.

How do these two compare, given the Newt background I have shared?

They are obviously both brilliant.

They both speak without regard to what impact what they say has.

They both obviously enjoy speaking their minds.

They both can say brilliant things in so speaking their minds.

They both can also say things that leave one wondering what the heck!

They both have been accused of being abrasive and arrogant.

Those who know them personally say they are as warm and fuzzy as a toy teddy bear made of the finest wool.

Given all of this, what role should someone like either play in politics?

My take on it is very simple:

Republicans should nominate Newt as their nominee to challenge Obama; he’ll be a dream candidate for Obama to floor come next year compared to the alternative they are desperate to replace, Mitt, who, in my view, will likely defeat Obama, unless there is an Independent candidate who runs or unless the Evangelicals stay home in which case Obama will floor Mitt, too.

As for our friend MM, let me quote myself in what I have already said in my blog above posted soon after he was suspended:

Open quote:

If Miguna does not prevail, in other words, if he is ultimately permanently terminated (he is now under suspension without pay) Miguna will join the long list of of once Raila supporters but now anti-Railaists such as the fellow I mention above and the many we know in these fora who endlessly rant and rail on how horrible and bad Raila is, simply because they have a personal ax to grind against him, not disagreement on policy or anything close.

Quite frankly, my wish is, it is the former and not the latter outcome for Miguna.

The last thing I would wish to see here or anywhere else, however, is Miguna bashing Raila.

I can see he has already started doing this but that’s neither pretty nor necessary, no matter the outcome.

Loyalty and friendship demand nothing less.

I do believe this is also an opportunity for Miguna to re-examine and re-evaluate where things went wrong and adjust accordingly and if he does so, I am sure his contribution in the political discourse and engagement in Kenya has yet to hit high gear.

Conversely, if he does not and stays on the course he is on, and especially where bashing Raila continues to be a part of it, Miguna would likely write and shout himself out of any continued relevance in the political discourse and dispensation in Kenya.

That would be tragic, indeed, for a man who has shown so much stamina and audacity.

As I have communicated to him privately, in calamity, there is greatness that can be revealed only by the greatest.

On the other hand, the average succumb in calamity, to even lower depths for their lack of foresight and ability to remain calm, even as they weather the storm, which they can, if applying themselves accordingly.

The difference is often one about character.

The stronger emerge even stronger, the meek, even weaker.

What shall it be in Miguna’s case?

Only time will tell but he has a lot to do with that but, as I have noted above, he is needs to correct course quickly and plot a new survival strategy as he must and I would not burn bridges with anyone no matter how tempting for that may be the very bridge to a new future.

The point: Miguna should start making amends with Raila by at least not hurling any more nasty stuff as he already done and gather enough strength and offer an apology to Raila who, purely from a political analyst point of view, has done the right thing for himself, his office, the party, and ultimately the country as all these decisions have a bearing and impact on his presidential ambitions.

Miguna himself will make the same call, were he in Raila’s shoes.

And so will each one of those crying foul.

It’s called the politics of survival.

Those in it must always be on a look-out not to become casualties.

If they are unable to and find themselves under the bus, they have no one other than themselves to blame.

I never buy this foul cry that anyone has thrown anyone under the bus: the people have thrown themselves under the bus or train or whatever moving vehicle.

This is the lesson all aspiring political players should and must learn.

The arrogant and tough talking Alexander Haig, former US Secretary of State, found this the hard way after essentially declaring himself president when then President Ronald Reagan was being treated for gunshot wounds, only to find out his old pal Reagan did not find any of this declaration amusing when told about it and a result, Reagan distanced himself from Haig and ultimately showed him the door.

End quote.

Would Parliament not be a livelier place to have MM among its intellectual leaders?

He certainly will provide a balance, if not a contrast to Hon. Bifwoli Wakoli and I am sure just by being there, MM will inspire great debate for many would want to make a name for challenging him.

As always, I wish him well.

Peace, Unity and Progress

Omwenga

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Politics

 

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Violence and Crime Cannot Be Entirely Blamed On High Youth Unemployment

A netter recently presented an hypothetical narrative in which a university graduate ends up as an Al Shabaab or Mungiki recruit because he could not find a job for a long time and his efforts to even start a jua kali life saver business fails to take off because he cannot get KEBS certification now required of all those making or selling these gadgets due to bureaucratic delays and/or corruption.

I have decided to explore this hypothesis further and in so doing, I offer my views on this serious and urgent issue that must be addressed even more aggressively and that is youth unemployment and crime, thus:

I don’t know if this has been asked of a real recruit but, the one who joins Al Shabaab or Mungiki in this hypothetical; how does he answer the question he is or will be maiming or killing innocent people who have nothing to do with his misery?

Next, how does he answer the question once they join, it’s only a matter of a short time before they are caught or killed whether they have even had a chance to kill or maim such that his “freedom” from misery at the expense of innocent people is short-lived and therefore not worth it?

Finally, but not least, how does he answer the question it is noble rather than offering to kill or maim the innocent, to simply commit suicide?

I ask these questions because if they are university educated as in this hypothetical or simply not mentally ill, joining either of these groups knowing fully the end is to maim, kill or be killed, I have no sympathy for them once they cross that line and make that conscious decision to join.

They deserve the fate that befalls them from that point on which is inevitably death, especially given even more resolute efforts by the government to root out these murderous groups.

I do have great sympathy and we all should for them before they cross the line and go there but there are several distinctions to note about this pre-Al Shabaab or and Mungiki phase:

Imagine you are at the admission desk for either Al Shabaab or Mungiki and the young man is standing there in front of you and you ask him what led him to come; what do you think he will say?

The netter narrated one answer in his hypothesis as above, namely, that the graduate is without a job, destitute and without even the hope to start a jua kali business because of corruption and red tape.

My take on it is there is more to that answer which goes beyond the question of economics into the question of violence and the propensity to commit violence in the first place.

In other words, and this is really my proposition, individuals who are willing and/or end up committing violence, especially in killing innocent people, have a predisposed violent mind which makes them readily inclined, and find it attractive to commit or to be recruited to commit violence.

Lack of economic opportunity is not the primary reason even though it can be offered as an excuse in their warped minds.

Were the opposite to be true, every poor person or those otherwise unable to find jobs would be trooping to all sorts of murderous outfits across the globe and the world will be finished as we know it.

The true answer the young man standing in front of you at the Al Shabaab or Mungiki desk as to why he is there is therefore “I want to kill someone.”

He can tell you the true story about how he physically ended up there, including the inability to get a job and being frustrated or unable to get KEBS certification but that’s simply an excuse to pursue his true passion and that is to kill.

For every one like him unable to find a job and being unable to find a means to make a living, there are thousands who went the other direction opposite the road to kill and maim and intentionally so as him.

As I have noted above, once this young man goes beyond the recruiting point and actually joins any of these murderous groups, I have no sympathy for him and what fate he meets and one would hope he is caught or eliminated before he actually kills or maims.

The solution for this type of person lies in not creating economic opportunity, but going to the root cause of it and that is, upbringing.

Children who grow up in an environment where love and peace is not preached and practiced but instead hate and intolerance is, or have bent anger from all sorts of directions from early on in life will invariably ultimately seek violence as the ultimate solution to their misery.

I would therefore recommend intervention in terms of education about conflict resolution and by that I mean both internalized and externalized conflicts, some of which can be cultural while others are intrinsic to the individual.

This is just my raw thought on this and therefore I can’t cite for you any scientific basis for it other than my own surmise based on my own observations and thinking about this.

I will in time explore this suggestion even further in terms of a specific proposal as to how this can be implemented but that’s to come at some point, I hope.

I distinguish this young man, the graduate who ends up being an Al-Shabaab or Mungiki recruit from the rest of the criminals who I may or may not sympathize with or advocate for helping them, depending on a number of factors which go to the core is of criminality and having a criminal mind.

There is no question there is a high correlation between unemployment and criminal behavior but unemployment itself does not account for all criminal behavior.

Indeed, it was in recognition of this fact that the Grand Coalition proposed and implemented through Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s office, the Kazi Kwa Vijana programme (KKV).

In launching the project, the PM said the following:

“I am pleased to write on the Kazi KwaVijana (KKV) programme, an initiative of the Grand Coalition Government to tackle the twin problems of hunger and unemployment. The KKV programme is designed to afford, during this period of global financial crisis, national drought and famine, immediate relief to young people by way of providing them with income to buy food through employment in public works. Young people, male and female, are to be employed under labour contracts in selected public works projects identified under the KKV programme. Some of these projects, particularly those to do with irrigation and water supply, are intended to enhance food production in the marginal areas most affected by drought. There are also KKV projects designed for the conservation and management of the environment while others will improve road transportation in rural and urban areas”

Following recent allegations of corruption involving Phase I of KKV (KKV I) that turned out to be false, the PM provided a detailed statement to Parliament in which he said, among other things, that KKV I was as stated in remarks launching the project, an emergency stimulus intervention, designed to provide a social safety net for young Kenyans at risk of hunger and starvation which was implemented by six ministries with the PM’s office providing overall supervision of the programme while Office of the President, and Ministries of Finance and Planning provided support services on the monitoring and coordination aspects.

According the PM and citing a report issued by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the number of youth engaged under KKV I actually exceeded the original target by more than 10 per cent. All in all, the Government contributed Kshs.2.8bn to KKV I in the financial year 2008/2009, and Kshs.4.3bn in the financial year 2009/2010.

The PM then went on to account for all expenditures on the project, concluding that just only 4.8% of the total funds for the project were spent on “ineligible” activities according to the World Bank guidelines, but that only meant that government, not the World Bank, should have paid for those expenses.

The PM did acknowledge that a payment of Kshs.1,221,000 was made as a top-up allowance to a civil servant in active service and on the Government’s payroll but promised that the funds will be recovered from the officer concerned as appropriate, to avoid double payment.

“I do not condone any kind of corruption or misuse of funds,” said the Prime Minister while noting that KKV I was a success.

As to the current status of KKV, the PM categorically disproved the allegation that Kshs.4.3bn or US$43 million for Component I of the KKV II Kenya Youth Empowerment Programme was lost because the project was cancelled.

“The Kshs. 4.3bn has not been lost,” said the Prime Minister, adding, “the project is alive and will continue to be implemented.”

The PM promised that he will ensure that any weaknesses that might remain in the programme shall be corrected and the government “will move resolutely forward with our plans to empower young Kenyans.”

That’s precisely what needs to happen but it does not mean an end to criminality when it does; it simply means we shall have less of it and in manageable proportions we can live with without living in fear of being attacked or robbed every day, everywhere and anywhere in the country.

On the other hand, violence will likely continue to be a part of a large segment of our society whether economic conditions improve or not due to historical and cultural reasons that must be addressed urgently by way of implementing a number of proposals aimed at basically deprogramming those prone to be violence while ensuring that today’s young and those in formative stage are indoctrinated to believe a handshake or hug, not fist is the solution to conflict.

As for those KKV may not reach, an outreach to at least educate and inform them even about some of the questions and consequences I have raised above for the hypothetical graduate Al-Shabaab or Mungiki recruit would go a long way before a job does.

Otherwise even more violence and widespread criminality will become a fixture in our lives more than it is today and that is simply unacceptable, given we have the resources to prevent us from getting there.

At the same time, we must accept the reality no society is violence or crime free; it’s all a matter of degree of opportunity and acceptance.

When HIV and AIDS pandemic hit Kenya, some were said to wish for less deadly STDs like herpes and so on.

Kenyans as a whole would prefer criminality of the old days that primarily involved petty offenses and when it occurred primarily in the cities not in suburbs and residences and certainly not at the rate and devastation it does these days.

That day will come sooner than later and how Kenyans vote in 2012 will certainly have a bearing on that happening.

Peace, Unity and Progress

Omwenga

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2011 in Politics, Social

 

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Diaspora Should Not Vote In 2012 Unless Sanctity of Vote Is Guaranteed

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is currently touring in the US seeking input and updating Kenyans living here about the upcoming elections and diaspora voting.

Although diaspora voting is a much desirable right for those of us living outside Kenya, I have several concerns about implementing the diaspora voting provision for 2012.

First, as in voting back home, voter fraud is first and foremost our No. 1 concern. I fully realize in this electronic age, we could have a system designed as fraud proof as one can be, but it’s Kenyans we are talking about and if even here in the US, electronic balloting can be manipulated, Kenyans who have now out-paced Nigerians in matters fraud would find ways to manipulate such systems with ease or at least that’s one of our concerns.

Second, the question of who is or what is “diaspora” is another concern I have and this is where things might get stickier than in other parts of the as yet to be passed legislation to implement this provision.

A Kenyan living in Anchorage, Alaska is in the diaspora much the same as one living across the border from Kenya in Juba. Should both be accorded the same voting rights despite Juba’s close proximity to Kenya compared to Anchorage, Alaska? This is one of the many questions IEBC must ask and answer.

Third, even within countries or areas destined as “diaspora,” venue for actual voting presents another concern; should there be multiple locations within those areas or must everyone be required to vote in one central location within that diaspora region or country?

Fourth, and a venue related concern, how will the laws in the respective diaspora designated areas affect our own laws? There are countries which may prohibit voting by foreign nationals within their borders outside the embassies?

Fifth, given the different time zones, how will the voting be conducted such that there is no leaking of the trends in places that vote early that may impact the rest of the voting one way or another?

Again, these are some of the questions IEBC must ask and answer in order to array or some of these concerns and I am sure there are others.

In the spirit of not presenting problems or concerns without solutions, let me suggest a few solutions which I think may address some of these concerns.

Regarding voter fraud, my suggestion would be to retain the services of a thoroughly vetted outside firm to electronically conduct the elections and by outside firm, I mean not a Kenyan firm.

To reduce the opportunity for mischief and fraud, voting must be physically limited to Kenya embassies and consulates in the diaspora countries.

No mailing in of any ballots should be allowed.

Requiring voting only at the embassies and consulates should in by itself eliminate the concern for establishing multiple locations within the region, which also would in turn make the exercise cost feasible.

As for defining what is “diaspora” within the meaning of the constitution, this should be done in a manner such that only those countries any ordinary Kenyan can name should be deemed diaspora, excluding the whole of Africa which Kenyans living in those countries should be required to go and vote at home as those serious there about voting are currently doing, anyway.

Preventing early voting influence or impact on later voting due to time zone differences could be handled by having a tightly controlled voting system with access limited to less than a handful of people who are under strict orders not to disclose the information on any voting trends until voting is completed and results transmitted to Nairobi.

Regarding how laws in the diaspora designated countries may affect our own laws, CIC should look into and make sure there is no glitch about that come implementation time.

Taking these measures and others should ensure that we have diaspora voting that is implemented consistent with our objective to finally have the most transparent and open elections in our country be that within or outside the country.

We should, however, err on the side of caution.

IEBC and CIC should carefully study and evaluate this issue as they currently are before making recommendations.

Parliament should, of course, approve or amend as necessary but there should be no rush to do so for the sake of 2012.

If more time is needed to ensure that we have a more perfect system, then that’s what should happen.

Peace, Unity and Progress

Omwenga

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2011 in Politics

 

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My Cash Is Not Clean, Declares William Ruto

According to the Nairobi Star, Eldoret North MP William Ruto yesterday said he has enough wealth to fully finance his 2012 presidential campaigns. Ruto said he has nothing to hide except how he got his money because people have questioned the source of his wealth and how he finances his campaigns. Ruto is conservatively estimated to be worth several billions of shillings. “I cannot account for every coin that I have” says he, adding, “my wealth declaration forms are available for scrutiny” and good luck if you think that is going to show you how I got my wealth.

I have paid mortgage since 1996 for the properties I have used to hide the source of my wealth, sometimes two or three mortgages just so I can say I am your average rich person paying mortgage like any middle class Kenyan. These records that would tell you nothing about how I initially got my wealth are available from the financial institutions and banks. I have without much pain or labor bought shares in companies including many I have created to cover the trail of my money and others I have built up from scratch through my sheer had work and determination to tap into the reservoir then known as Daniel arap Moi’s Reservoir for Unlimited Wealth (Reservoir). The story of my rise from near poverty as many university graduates with no jobs to dipping into the Reservoir and kissing poverty goodbye is well known and documented,” said Ruto on his Facebook page.

Ruto, the probable United Democratic Movement presidential candidate, said he can show how he legally acquired every property and business he owns today and dared anyone with contrary information to take him to court. Asked how dipping in the Reservoir worked and how one could prove it in court, Ruto laughed, saying, “that’s for whoever that is to figure out; I doubt they will but, hey, why should I stop them,” he added to more laughter.

Ruto wondered why questions were now being raised about his wealth yet in 2007 he helped to raise “half of the fund” for the ODM party and its presidential candidate Raila Odinga.  Asked what evidence he has to show that he raised the amount of money he says he did for ODM in 2007 or how much of that was used for his own campaign, Ruto demurred. “You are now asking me the kind of questions I really can’t answer and remain true to my objective here, which is to befuddle, confuse and mislead” Ruto confessed.

“I sold chicken at railway crossing near my home as a child. I built my father a house using my university boom. I paid fees for my siblings. God has been kind to me and through hard work and determination, I have something,” Ruto said. In other words, he said, “I, too, come from a humble background and unlike you and virtually everyone else in the country except the few of us, I have only made it to where I am not because God has not been kind to me, but because of the Reservoir and other public tills we have been blessed to have access to and exploit.”

“If I had acquired anything illegally I’ll surely be rotting in jail but thanks to the rotten judiciary we have had over the decades, it has never been possible to get to the bottom of cases where wealth has been alleged to have been acquired illegally and through corruption as is my case and I doubt that would happen anyway in the new system try as my ‘friends’ can because I have had more than ample time to hide my money trail besides converting much of it to legitimate businesses” he said.

Many people believe erroneously that you must be poor merely because your parents were. Some say ridiculously that there are people who were born to be poor. That is the gospel according to the devil,” said the MP.

All you need is the right connections and access to the source to dip into and you are set for life as I did with the Reservoir, Ruto advised.

In April, Ruto, Joshua Kulei and others were acquitted of defrauding the Kenya Pipeline Company out of Sh272 million in a land purchase deal. The state claimed that Ruto fraudulently obtained Sh96 million from the KPC in 2001 claiming that he was in a position to sell 1.745 hectares of land belonging to the Ministry of Natural Resources situated in Ngong Forest. Ruto is competing for a presidential ticket with wealthy Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, whose riches were recently estimated by Forbes at $500 million (Sh45 billion).

Other possible PNU Alliance opponents include Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa who are not considered wealthy. The PNU chairman Prof George Saitoti has said he hopes to stand in 2012 and will seek the alliance’s presidential ticket. Saitoti is thought to be wealthy as is ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Yesterday Ruto, a former minister in both the Moi and Kibaki governments, explained that he took several mortgages from Housing Finance Company of Kenya to finance acquisition of his real estate assets. He said his palatial home in Karen and flats in Ongata Rongai were backed by HFCK. He says he has repaid a loan from the Bunge Sacco to acquire a house in Elgon View in Eldoret.

His apartments on Jogoo Road in Nairobi cost him about Sh60 million to build in the 1990s when he was associated with, and worked closely with Moi, he says. Amaco Insurance has a turnover of hundreds of millions of shillings annually and is one of Ruto’s most successful businesses. Ruto owns an uncompleted hotel near Wilson Airport in Nairobi. He owns Sugoi home and farm in Eldoret. The MP is also said to have invested in the transport industry.

Yesterday, the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Isaack Hassan said the commission has now been empowered to monitor campaign funding including investigating the origin of such money. Hassan said the commission may hire its own personnel for the job or outsource it to an independent company.

Apart from the Elections Act 2011 and the Political Parties Act 2011, a new Campaign Finance bill is currently being fine tuned by the Constitution Implementation Commission, the Justice ministry and the Attorney General’s office. The bill will cap how much money a politician can spend in an election and block the use of public money from parastatals and elsewhere.

Ruto was born at Kamagut village, Uasin Gishu District in December 1966. He went to Eldoret’s Wareng High School for his O levels before proceeding to Kapsabet Boys High School for A levels. He graduated in 1990 with a BSc Botany and Zoology from the University of Nairobi. At university, Ruto was elected the leader of the University Christian Union Choir. He met his mentor President Moi when the choir was occasionally called upon to entertain the Head of State. He was briefly a teacher after leaving college before going into business and politics.

In the 1992 election, Ruto joined the notorious campaign team Youth for Kanu 92. He was first elected to Parliament in 1997 on a Kanu ticket. He became Home Affairs minister in August 2002 but lost the post after the December 2002 election when Kanu was defeated by the Narc coalition. He later joined ODM and became a member of Raila’s Pentagon team. Before the December 27, 2007 election, Ruto sought the ODM presidential nomination but miserably lost to Raila. He was appointed Agriculture minister in the coalition government in 2008.

In February 2009, Ruto survived a censure motion in Parliament over the maize scam. He was later moved to the Higher Education ministry only to be suspended months later for suspicion of corruption. Ruto has since fallen out with Raila and is now popularizing the UDM in the run-up to next year’s general election. “I am determined to run for President because I am a proven hustler and understand what it takes to succeed as one,” Ruto said, adding, “if I am lucky as to somehow find my way to State House as president, something I know is probably only a dream, I would seriously try and give a real chance to the ordinary Kenyan to be something. This election we will prove that even the children of paupers can be something in Kenya if they are given the opportunity,” said Ruto yesterday.

***The foregoing is a parody of a news story appearing in the Nairobi Star

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2011 in Politics

 

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Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and The Judiciary Must Stay Above Politics

Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga is once again having some of us scratching our heads by what he is saying or more precisely, how is going about saying it.

While no one can disagree with what the CJ is saying about ministers upholding the constitution or resigning, I find it wholly wanting that he has seen it fit to do so in a manner that appears and can, in fact, be said be an injection of himself and our courts into politics which is as bad as having no independent judiciary to begin with; of what difference is it if the CJ is another politician?

Would this not lead us to yet another era of blurred or no distinction between the politicians and the robed ones who are supposed to make sure the politicians are put in check and respect the law?

It would be prudent for our CJ to use the powers of his office and court to implement real change in the judiciary and rule of law in Kenya, not the media for if he chooses the latter as his primary vehicle, the politicians, especially those who would prefer status quo would reduce him to ridicule in no time and before one blinks, the court will be held to the same low esteem it’s been rather than bringing itself above politics and establishing itself as a noble place of awe and respect.

I am not here suggesting that the CJ should keep quiet and not say a word outside the bench or his chambers; far from it.

What I am suggesting is, the CJ should be selective and make public utterances outside his traditional avenues, namely, outside of court opinions and decisions only when it’s necessary to do so to explain the court’s judicial philosophy or policies but not politics.

The role of the court and judges in society is to interpret and apply the law made by politicians with minimal political considerations and an example of the latter would be such as the Al Bashir issue in which case I have suggested Kenyan courts should defer to the Executive on the basis of the “political question” or “unjusticiability” doctrines both of which hold there are certain issues better left for the politicians to resolve in the national interest.

The CJ will, in fact, accomplish and be more effective in both laying a firm foundation for the new court and effecting the desired reforms in the judiciary by simply focusing on carrying out the reforms, while ensuring that the court renders sound, well-reasoned decisions and opinions grounded in the constitution which would speak volumes and go far in reforming the judiciary than what the CJ can say in the media.

As the saying goes, sometimes actions speak louder than words and therein lies the conundrum in that the CJ feels compelled to say something about the court’s independence because, I assume, he believes if he doesn’t, the politicians will tramp all over it but this need not be.

Although one can assume there are some politicians out there who might still be living in the past in believing the new court and others can be manipulated or dictated to by the Executive, this is just not possible anymore and the CJ need not even say that; let them try to and he can easily show them who the CJ and the new court is in the new political order but there need not be a public showdown for that.

In sum, the CJ and the new court has a lot of goodwill more akin to the goodwill Kibaki was given in 2002.

Let the CJ not squander the goodwill to the detriment of Kenyans and the best way to do that, is to get more busy reforming the judiciary and not giving speeches and lectures on obvious matters it doesn’t need a CJ to tell us as even a simple Press Release by the court’s PR person can do the same thing while leaving the CJ above politics.

I know the CJ means good and has good intentions but he needs to understand being a CJ is unlike any position in government in that the less the politics in it, the better and not vice versa.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2011 in Law, Politics

 

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My Response To Yet Another Netter Falsely Claiming That Raila’s Record As MP of Lang’ata is Not Good for President

My response to yet another netter attempting to make the untenable argument that Raila should not be elected president because of his record as MP of Lang’ata.

To the netter:

I agree with you the record of all those vying for the presidency must be thoroughly examined, including their performance as MPs, if they are one and, in this regard, I am sure Raila will as everyone of them defend his record as MP as well as our PM.

Three things I can note as an observer and analyst, however and in response to your piece, which I have read every word but not found anything new in it:

First, if one examines the records of these individuals running for president who are also MPs and their performance as MPs, Raila still comes far ahead of all the rest in every measure.

Second, even if one were to somehow come up with a convincing case there is one or more MPs vying for the presidency who has a better record than Raila as MP, they will still fall short in comparison to Raila when evaluated against all other factors to consider in electing our next president, including those I have proposed in The Minimum Qualities, Attributes and Skills Our Next President In Kenya Must Have.

Third, the key to electing our next president and ensuring we have a united Kenya behind him or her, is to be step back and not be influenced by negative energy from the past. It is in this spirit I urged Kenyans to Shout Out If My Wish List Is Similar To Yours in as far as 2012 is concerned and the election of our leaders in the letter and spirit of the new constitution.

Beyond that, the two blogs below I have previously penned on this topic can provide you with some additional information and perhaps help you re-evaluate your position about Raila.

I also understand Raila cannot convince everyone to support him and neither is possible for any politician to do that so I assume no matter what information is out there about any of these presidential candidates, there are some people who would still not support them because Some People You Just Can’t Satisfy No Matter How Good A Leader You Are.

My Advise To A Raila Basher and Why Raila’s Record As Langata MP Is A Non-Issue

An Online Comment By A Kenyan Regarding Raila And Kibera

As I conclude in one of the blogs above, the campaigns are ahead: Raila will make his case for his accomplishments and why he is the best qualified to lead our country forward, and if his opposition will join you in listing his “wrongs” as their ticket to State House, please do so.

BTW, did you know that if you showed up at Treasury and asked UK to drive you to his constituency, he’ll be unable to do so and wouldn’t even recognize it, if you dropped him off somewhere within the constituency beyond where he is accustomed to stopping by and sipping some ahh, tea? LOL.

My point being, Raila will put up his record as MP against anyone, let alone as PM which no one comes even close to having anything to compare; not even the Minister for Finance who can’t account for billions still disappearing from Treasury, while Raila has been vigilant and dogged in his continued fight against corruption.

This is what elections are all about.

This is what elections should be all about and that is, analyzing and comparing people’s records to determine whether they deserve election, re-election or promotion to the highest elective office of the land.

The campaigns have not even started but I would be more confident being in Raila’s shoes than in his opponents’ for the writing is on the wall he will floor each one of them or even collectively should they succeed in banding themselves into a tribalism driven quest to “stop” Raila as they are desperately trying to do because Kenyans are much smarter and enlightened this time around than any time before in our history.

As I have said before, Raila’s victory will be a defeat of tribalism and success of any tribalism driven campaign to stop him would be victory for tribalism the latter might as well adopt as their campaign slogan, “Tribalism Here Today, Tribalism Here Forever!”

Raila and ODM should merely retort with one, “Ukabila Ishindwe!”

P.S. I notice most of the information you have included in your article is directly cut and pasted without accreditation from Kibera UK, a charity based in Wilmslow UK. My question to you is, did you research and prepare the information yourself? If not, you are engaged in classic plagiarism for using the information without crediting the organization.

That aside, the irony here is, you have used information by this organization which, going by what I can ascertain thus far, is one of the few legitimate NGOs around and not vehicles for self-aggrandizement for those who own or run them–anyway, you have used this information meant to solicit money and other resources to help deal with the Kibera slum issue, to slam Raila!

In my series on Raila, I will more comprehensively examine Raila’s record as MP, among others and will point out there how many initiatives he started after Toshaing Kibaki, which were scuttled by Kibaki himself after Raila succeeded in defeating passage of the then flawed 2005 draft constitution.

The netter’s response:

In these fora I neither invoke academia per se nor delve into archives of scholarly phenomena. Such writing formats should be reserved for corridors of intellectual acrobats. It’s the reason I am under no obligation to cite the source of my objectivity. However, intellectual honesty is the hallmark of political discourse. If you must be honest in the evaluation of Raila Odinga’s work in Langata, and how much his performance would help us prognose a Raila Presidency, we must refer to Langata.
The reality on the ground in Langata exposes Raila as an MP whose job performance in the slums is below average. For instance, Kibera needs tenancy rights, housing, water, electricity, clinics, hospitals, education, social amenities, employment, and security. When people lack basic necessities of life such as water, medicine and housing, that isn’t a measure of positive development. That’s mostly the case for Langata and especially in Kibera slums.
The role of an MP is to formulate developmental policies to better the life of his constituents. This doesn’t exonerate Mr. Raila Odinga’s role in Langata. If the PM’s leadership in Langata didn’t benefits his constituents need for tenancy rights, education, hospitals or roads, it wouldn’t be for the best interest of Kenyans to entrust the Langata CEO with all the 290 constituencies of Kenya. Raila Odinga’s charity can only begin in Kibera.
Yet evaluation of Raila’s work isn’t a comparative experiment with his competitors. He’s in my spotlight because from his prior experience and track record, we’ll be able to discuss the likely outcome of his Presidency. The idea that you think Kenya’s alternative Presidential candidates “measure below bar” compared to Raila, doesn’t make him a developmental enygma. In fact, I don’t care whether or not, Raila comes out as the best among those running for President in 2012. I’m concerned with his record as MP and whether he will make a good President.
There’s been a concerted effort to support the cliche that Raila’s developmental initiatives have been scuttled by President Kibaki. Kibaki became President 2002. Raila had been Langata MP for 10 years (since 1992). Matter-of-fact, Kibera was better in 1992 than it’s in 2011. Yet it’s not clear how Mr. Kibaki, then MP for Othaya, was/is responsible for the failures of his Langata counterpart. Here’s where Mr. Omwenga portrays himself as intellectually dishonest.
Mr. Omwenga, some declarations you make are interestingly subjective. For instance you claim that when Odinga becomes President, tribalism will instantly end. Let’s know how this will occur.
In your Minimum Qualities, Attributes and Skills our next President should Possess, you have referred to 1. Religious Conviction 2. Honesty, Truthfulness and Integrity 3. Firm Educational Foundation and Wisdom 4. Inspiration, Vision and Selfconfidence. Samuel, you’ve decided to ascribe these qualities to Raila Odinga. You’ve a right to your opinion. But if Raila had these qualities in his 20-year reign as the Langata helmsman, they didn’t positively benefit his constituents.
Value judgment and ascription of leadership qualities shouldn’t blind us to the real issues. Tell us how Raila’s leadership made it possible for the people of Kibera to meet their needs as in tenancy rights, housing, water, electricity, health clinics, education, employment, and security. You’d have defined his ability to lead.
Let’s debate issues, leaving out tour-guide polemics blown up to the size of evaluation criteria for our next President. Kenyans can only benefit from a President whose track record isn’t defined by ascribed wisdom and blaming his ineptitude on others. But accurate developmental initiatives quantifiable by quality housing, clean water, land rights, better and affordable healthcare, lessened corruption, better basic infrastructure, lower unemployment and an education system more relevant to the needs of the people.
For 20 years, Raila Odinga does not seem to have done much as MP. Until different evidence surfaces, the son of the Jaramogi doesn’t qualify to be Kenya’s President. His exit from Langata will be a burdensome yoke removed from the necks of the people of Langata and especially Kibera.

My response:

You have spoken well and and have basically confirmed something I suspected when I first read your post and this is, I do not believe there is anything I, Raila or anyone else can say to change your mind about the position you have taken about Raila and I cite two reasons why I have concluded this:

First, you say, “In fact, I don’t care whether or not, Raila comes out as the best among those running for President in 2012. I’m concerned with his record as MP and whether he will make a good President.

By this standard, only an MP with an excellent record such that everyone in his or her constituency has unencumbered tenancy rights, is housed, has sufficient water and electricity, access to free or affordable healthcare, education, social amenities, security and employment. If any of the basic necessities of life you cite to be water, medicine and housing are lacking in the MP’s constituency, then they are not “qualified” to be elected president. I suppose you did not think about food and clothing as a basic necessity, but let’s add those as well to make the group complete.

According your criteria, an MP is “disqualified” to run for president if any of its constituents is lacking in any of these basic necessities in addition to, ostensibly, the other items you listed, namely, electricity, healthcare, education, employment, recreation and security.

However, to simplify my analysis, let me just take you to mean none of the MP’s constituents lack in the basic necessities you cited and I added food and clothing to make it complete as we understand basic necessities to be.

Given that downward adjusted expectation, there is no room for anyone in the constituency of the presidential candidate MP you are evaluating to lack any of these basic necessities according to your criteria because if that were to be the case, then you will have to “disqualify” that MP and go to the next and so on until you find the one in whose constituency no one lacks any of these basic necessities.

To do otherwise, namely, accept less than no one lacking in any of these basics necessities of life, you’ll have to then accept the MP whose constituents proportionally have more of these basics necessities than other constituencies, which by definition means you’ll have to engage in a comparative analysis that you say in a not acceptable in your criteria.

You have therefore by that criteria eliminated all past, sitting, and future MPs from running for president for none ever has or ever will ensure that everyone of their constituent lacks none of these basics and essentials.

I need not tell you that that is an extreme and unacceptable criteria to elect our next president or ever.

You add the rest of the items I have excluded in the above analysis in the mix, namely, electricity, access to free or affordable healthcare, education, social amenities, security and employment and your criteria becomes even more extremely absurd.

BTW, I put “qualified” in parenthesis because that term does have a specific legal meaning in the constitution against which one can be evaluated to determine whether he or she is qualified to run for president and be sworn as one, which is different from what I assume you mean and that is, not suitable to be elected as president, even though qualified as a matter of having satisfied the constitutional requirements.

A more reasonable criteria of measuring one’s performance as an MP or representative and one applied in every country across the globe with a representative form of government, is by comparing the performance of the particular MP or representative with other MPs or representatives in their performance relative to services provided for their constituents, including bringing or preserving economic and social development in those areas but not in a vacuum, rather, as measured by an objective criteria which takes into account a number of factors reflecting the idiosyncrasies of the respective representative or MPs and that score becomes but one factor to consider in overall evaluation of the person to determine whether or not they deserve to be re-elected or elevated to a higher office, including the highest office of the land.

You are free to advocate for your extreme criteria but I doubt you are going to go far with it; in fact, I’ll be surprised if you have support beyond 5 or 10 people in the whole country who think such a criteria is reasonable.

You say, “But accurate developmental initiatives quantifiable by quality housing, clean water, land rights, better and affordable healthcare, lessened corruption, better basic infrastructure, lower unemployment and an education system more relevant to the needs of the people.” [sic].

I am not sure what you meant by the phrase as it is simply a predicate but I assume you mean how one provides these things to his constituents if an MP, is a measure of whether or not they should be elected as president.

In other words, you are stating the obvious, namely, all those MPs running must make their case as to how they have done in these areas, unless, again, you wish to apply your extreme criteria of only looking at one MP, no comparison to others, and no evaluation of any other factors, which is absurd, extreme and counterintuitive.

You then conclude, using this absurd criteria, that “For 20 years, Raila Odinga does not seem to have done much as MP. Until different evidence surfaces, the son of the Jaramogi doesn’t qualify to be Kenya’s President.

I am sure Raila will put forth and defend his record in due time.

However, as I noted above, you have confirmed already that you are not interested in that for the reasons I have offered above and, if there is any lingering doubt is anyone’s mind, you have removed it by your assertion that “His exit from Langata will be a burdensome yoke removed from the necks of the people of Langata and especially Kibera.

Those same people will beg to differ and so would most Kenyans who are likely to re-elect him as our next president.

Peace, Unity and Progress

Omwenga

[Unedited]

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Politics

 

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