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Monthly Archives: June 2012

2nd Update: Why It’s Wrong For Chief Justice To Attend Miguna Book Launch

Supreme Court of Kenya

I have received comments and even read elsewhere in other Kenyan fora people saying there is nothing wrong with the Chief Justice being a guest of honor for Miguna in his book launch.

Those taking this view argue that the Chief Justice has the right to freely associate and so does Miguna, which is true but they are all missing the point.

The constitution which guarantees us all freedom to associate also prescribes State Officers from so freely associating, otherwise, we might as well accept the argument it would be proper for our Chief Officers to freely associate with prostitutes or engage in drunken stupors and so on.

The fact is, there are certain things our public officers, especially at the level of Chief Justice must not engage in as they otherwise would if they were not state officers.

The relevant part of Chapter Six states as follows with respect to State Officers of which the Chief Justice is one:

75. (1) A State officer shall behave, whether in public and official
life, in private life, or in association with other persons, in a manner
that avoids—
(a) any conflict between personal interests and public or official
duties;
(b) compromising any public or official interest in favour of a
personal interest; or
(c) demeaning the office the officer holds.

Can a case be made that the CJ’s obligation to his personal friend to attend this function is in conflict with his role as Chief Justice?

Can a case be made that by attending the book launch of a personal friend and author of a book that has been touted as the mother of all punches to knock Raila out of the presidential run puts the Chief Justice in a compromised position?

Can a case be made that Dr. Willy Mutunga’s attending the book launch demeans the office of Chief Justice?

These are questions that must be asked and answered [i]objectively[/i], not with emotions and how one answers them cannot be and must not be seen from their partisan perspective for some times we all must rise above politics and see things from the perspective of what is good for our country as a whole.

A simple test to determine this is simply asking oneself is this something that brings us together as a nation or one that divides for surely there must be something we all as Kenyans must agree to see the same way otherwise we are doomed.

Politicians must ask themselves the same question ditto for State Officers but the Chief Justice, the President/PM more so than everyone else and were the Chief Justice to ask himself is what he contemplates to do something that brings us together as a nation or one that divides us, he would obviously have to agree it’s the latter and not the former which means he shouldn’t engage in such conduct for the sake of the office he holds.

Conversely, if the Chief Justice thumbs his nose on everyone asking him not to attend this event and goes ahead with it, then he has to know this will not be without consequence even if that is merely the creation of doubt in people’s minds that his judgment is wanting and that cannot be anything worth the risk.

Another way to look at this is even more simpler: If you don’t want to be part of a controversy, stay away from it.

Miguna is obviously a controversial figure and for the Chief Justice to dive in and join him in the controversy says more about the Chief Justice than it does about Miguna who has done nothing wrong to invite him to be the guest of honor in his book launch; all of us would do the same thing, but not all of us would readily accept the invitation for some of us are of the view doing so is inappropriate and contrary to Chapter Six of our constitution.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Law, Politics

 

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Why Its Wrong For Chief Justice Willy Mutunga To Attend Miguna Miguna’s Book Launch: An Update

Supreme Court of Kenya

I have it from an impeccable source that several judicial colleagues of the Chief Justice have actually asked him not to attend the event but, according to my source, the CJ “has his own mind,” which basically means to me his mind is made up and he’s blowing everybody off on this and that would be very, very unfortunate, if it’s, in fact, the case.

My take on this is, let those who care about judicial reforms and establishing and maintaining high integrity as in the spirit of the new political dispensation and freedom continue to put pressure on the Chief Justice by visiting the Supreme Court website and simply sending a message the Chief Justice should not attend Miguna’s book launch as it would bring disrepute to not only the Supreme Court, but the entire judiciary.

As noted in the blog, first, let’s all remove our partisan hats and look at this as a Kenyan, not political issue.

Would you like to have someone as our Chief Justice entrusted with the critical responsibility to lead our judiciary in a new direction of reform to be embroiled in defending the appropriateness of attending some nondescript book by a friend who has clearly staked his position relative to Raila in the presidential race?

What does that say about our Chief Justice and his ability to be fair and impartial, let alone his ability to effectively lead the judiciary if he is deliberately thumbing his nose at his colleagues who are urging him not to attend the Miguna book launch for fear and rightly so that such high profile gesture would forever cast a shadow over the CJ and the entire judiciary?

Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind who critically thinks about this that people would rightly and easily start to entertain the notions that the CJ is on to the wrong track in how he is handling himself vz the demands of that office in taking the judiciary in a new, reformed direction?

When the CJ visited Moi soon after his being sworn, there was almost no reaction from anyone save for some of us due to willful suspension of disbelief because most people were simply still awash with the aura and happiness of having gotten rid of the top echelon of the judiciary and infused new blood in the system and many even simply overlooked the very bad reason given as an explanation by the CJ.

Having come from outside the judiciary to take a seat at the highest possible place in the judiciary and let alone leading it, the CJ has an extraordinary expectation and requirement that he treads rather very carefully both in how he manages the judicial affairs as well as how he relates to his colleagues throughout the judiciary such that he does not give any of them reason to thwart his efforts to reform the system, which they can.

Ignoring those from the bench who have asked him not to attend this book launch by essentially a disgruntled former employee of the PM’s office or even ignoring those who have not yet asked him not to but would if they had the opportunity to is not exactly the way to go in light of this delicate tread the CJ must carefully tread on.

I could go on but you get the drift so just log on to the Supreme Court website and let your voice be heard in opposition to this troubling decision by the Chief Justice that has nothing to do with what he should be honed in and exclusively so and that is, guiding the judiciary in these critical phase of its new life.

Again, in the larger scheme of things, the Chief Justice thumbing his nose on his colleagues and attending a nondescript event like this other than the excitement its eliciting among those who can’t stand Raila may look trivial, but the real tragedy shall be in the amount of judicial capital and goodwill the Chief Justice would have lost at the time he needs every bit of it to bring about the necessary reforms at judiciary.

That’s no small price for all of us to pay but the Chief Justice has it still within him to save himself and ultimately all of us the loss.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Law, Politics

 

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US Supreme Court Upholds President Obama’s Signature Healthcare Legislation

A supporter touts Obamacare at US Supreme Court

In an historic decision issued just a few minutes ago, the US Supreme Court upheld President Barrack Obama’s key legislative accomplishment and that is the health care law that ensures health coverage for all Americans, especially the poor and elderly who were previously without means to get health coverage.

The number of people who were previously without insurance coverage but will now benefit from this law is estimated to be about 50 million people.

Obama having the law passed in the first place was historic in that all presidents before him had tried to pass similar law but failed.

The Supreme Court decision itself is historic because a conservative Justice appointed by a Republican president (Bush) joined the four liberals of the court to deliver the victorious decision for Obama and Democrats who were all gloomy leading up to the decision day as they were poised to be humiliated with a decision tossing out the law as many were expecting the reliably conservative court to deliver.

Fortunately for Obama, Democrats and most Americans, justice and fairness to all has prevailed in the court upholding this important and signature piece of legislation Obama will be remembered for in infinity.

With this vindication, Obama may now be on a cruise to a second term as POUSA.

Congratulations, Mr. President!

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Politics

 

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Why Its Wrong For Chief Justice Willy Mutunga To Attend Miguna Miguna’s Book Launch

Supreme Court of Kenya

According to the Standard, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga is scheduled to appear as guest of honor in the launching of the controversial Miguna Miguna’s book on July 14, 2012.

Regardless of where anyone stands on the political divide in Kenya or who they support in the Kibaki succession politics, all Kenyans must be united in loudly telling Chief Justice Mutunga that being a guest of honor in this book launch for Miguna is wrong.

There are many reasons why this is so but one is sufficient in by itself to have the Chief Justice rethink, if he is committed to attending this event, and that is, gracing the event is not worth the honor and dignity by the person holding the high office he does.

This is because even though theoretically a co-equal branch of government with the legislative and executive branches under the new political dispensation, we have a greater expectation and requirement that our Chief Justice be at all times above politics.

This expectation and requirement does not mean that our Chief Justice must be politically aloof or blind to the goings on politically; quite the contrary, he or she must remain informed about the politics of the day lest he or she will not effectively and fairly execute the full responsibilities of the office.

It also doesn’t mean that the holder of that office cannot express themselves politically outside of their official role if they must but it does mean if they do so it must be done such that it does not evince bias or a tainted judicial mind, let alone even the appearance of impropriety.

That is also not to say the Chief Justice cannot allow politics to creep into his judicial philosophy, if it hasn’t already.

However, the reason we insist on having only the best among those with sterling credentials and reputation to serve as Chief Justice is because there is an expectation that individuals like that would and must separate themselves from the politics of the day and instead draw from their judicial prowess, if any, knowledge of the law or wisdom and judiciously and fairly apply the law to the facts and render the right verdict on any given issue.

In other words, our Chief Justice and the rest of the judiciary for that matter must always avoid political controversies unless in the context of rendering an opinion in resolving an issue at hand.

Indeed, in countries such as the United States, the highest court of the land there has long held and, it is in fact, the case that courts must stay away from deciding “political questions,” which means staying away from deciding issues that are strictly political in nature and are best resolved by the legislative and executive branches of the government, not the courts.

Given the judiciary in Kenya has been nothing but an extension of the presidency for decades until now, we are nonetheless a long way from reaching a point where the courts can leave it up to the legislature and executive branches to resolve issues because they are too political.

This is more so the reason why the Chief Justice and the rest of the court must remain above politics even when considering questions that are political in nature.

There cannot be a more flagrant violation of this principle than what the Chief Justice is poised to do and that is being the guest of honor for Miguna in the launching of his book.

In fact, this whole thing sounds like a bad joke or publicity stunt neither the Chief Justice nor anyone serious can possibly wish to be a part of.

This is because after being unceremoniously booted from the Prime Minister’s office as an advisor on coalition affairs, Miguna Miguna promised the world he has an ax to grind by way of a book he now plans to launch in the next two weeks or so.

There is nothing wrong about that at all; Miguna has a right like anyone else to publish anything he wishes to, provided it’s not slanderous or otherwise in violation of the law.

What is wrong is for the Chief Justice to grace his book launch with his presence, which is not merely Dr. Mutunga who is going to be in attendance, but the office he represents and that is the Supreme Court of Kenya.

There is not a single plausible reason the Chief Justice can advance worth exposing his own judgment and the office he holds to ridicule and condemnation in this manner.

Not one and if it is as it’s been advanced by others that it’s because the Chief Justice is good friends with Miguna whose friendship goes back to his post-graduate studies, that may be a great reason to join Miguna in a private party to celebrate the launch of his book but not to be the guest of honor at the official launch of the book with all its implications and impressions created rightly or misconstrued by having a person of his stature at such an event.

While the Chief Justice cannot advance a plausible reason why he would expend the goodwill he has and expose the neutrality of his office to at least suspect treatment henceforth, there are many other reasons why it’s a bad idea and wrong for the Chief Justice to go forward with this and leading them would be just a matter of answering a simple question; why would the Chief Justice basically endorse Miguna’s book and not Kimbo cooking fat or any other commercial product?

Is there any difference between the two in terms of keeping the office of the Chief Justice above reproach or ridicule, let alone the harsh criticism that is sure to follow over this basically trivial issue in the larger scheme of things?

Or, if you want to keep it at the book level, why would the Chief Justice endorse Miguna’s book and not books by others be they fictions, non-fictions or simply trash?

It is not as if Miguna is set to release a tome about things we don’t already know or of any value beyond being fodder to Raila’s haters and critics and if he does, in fact, “reveal” things heretofore unheard of or unknown, no one doubts they will be nothing but fiction cooked in his mind over these many months he has been brooding to get back at his former boss and likely our next president, Raila Amolo Odinga.

These are certainly cross-hairs the Chief Justice does not wish to find himself in for any reason, not even friendship for certain things are far more important than that friendship when it comes to matters of state and specifically the very office he holds as Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court.

The Chief Justice was appointed from outside the judiciary specifically because it was believed he will bring the kind of freshness and untainted history to clean the judiciary but that does not mean he has free rein to ignore or tramp traditions and practices that have made judiciaries across the globe the venerable institutions they are and chief among that is simply staying above petty things such as lowering oneself to be used as a prop in launching a book that’s likely to be a flop as many others before which their peddlers promised so much only to offer nothing to write home about in the end.

To be sure, there are many hungry to devour every word in the book but no one who knows anything about these things seriously thinks Miguna is going to add anything to the political discourse beyond what is known and there certainly won’t be any “insights” into how the government works beyond what we know—or more precisely, beyond what anyone who follows these things closely will know.

In Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and the Judiciary Must Stay Above Politics, I noted the following:

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 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.

It is worth repeating this and hope the Chief Justice hears our plea to him to take this rare opportunity he has been given and help shape our judiciary in a manner all of us can be proud of and much to the benefit of our country.

At the time the court is poised to render important decisions that have far-reaching implications about our country’s future, the last thing the Chief Justice would want to do, is go mingle with Miguna Miguna at the InterContinental in the launch of a book many have already dismissed as nothing but an effort to get back at Raila for sacking him not any different than many a servant has been sacked.

Were Miguna not otherwise sacked and left the government on his own in efforts to disclose wrong-doing he had found while there, his book would not only be a roadmap to correct that wrong, the Intercontinental Hotel would be too small a venue to launch the book as everyone would be right there to give him support and applaud him for the job well done in penning the manual, if he was around and alive to witness the support.

This is not the case by far and given some of the things that have been leaked as earthshaking and a taste of things to come, my prediction is the launch and aftermath will only be rivaled in history by Mudavadi’s launch of his presidential bid under UDF after defecting from ODM and now many including him are wondering why.

I cannot fathom why Chief Justice would want his name mentioned together with such historical flops, especially arising out of this well-known background of controversy involving Miguna and the PM but if he does, he will have only but him to blame.

The collateral damage will be questions about his judgment that will linger long after the lights are out at the launch venue for the book and all garbage is dumped from the event if he, indeed, graces the event with his presence.

Let’s hope he doesn’t.

[Unedited]

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Law, Politics

 

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Prof. Makau Mutua Is Once Again Wrong About Raila Campaign Strategy This Time Regarding Ruto Part II

State House Nairobi

This is a clean-up piece to remove any doubts that may be lingering as to whether as I have shown Prof. Makau Mutua is wrong in his condemnation of the purported thawing of relations between Raila and possible alliance with one William Samoei Ruto.

In Part I of this two part series, I laid out the case why Raila working with Ruto, if they do, is not a bad thing and is, in fact, a good thing for both politicians and for the country as a whole.

I in this Part II, of the series, I address the good professor’s specific contentions, assertions and arguments.

Let me start with the more easier one to dispose of: Makau says “Let me guarantee this – Mr Odinga will handily lose the election if he enters into a political marriage with Mr Ruto.

The only thing anyone can guarantee about Kenyan politics or any country’s politics for that matter is there will be rigging and cheating of one level or another.

Everything else anyone guarantees you is nothing but their wishful thinking.

I would rather the professor makes his arguments without any such guarantee because it neither advances nor adds to his very unconvincing case at best he is trying to make against Raila potentially working with Ruto.

When Makau says “it’s clear there’s a political cabal around Mr Odinga that’s giving him deadly advice,” leaving aside what the good professor means by “deadly” advice, he forgets his own advice may as well be rightly dismissed as unhelpful and simply off at best.

I have already noted in Part I that Makau’s attempt to prop up his feeble argument against Raila working with Ruto by invoking heavenly authority in Mark, 8:36 is simply inapplicable for the reasons I noted in that blog.

I disagree with Makau’s contention that “there’s an un-interrogated assumption that this election – like all previous Kenyan elections – will be driven by tribe.

Contrary to this assumption the professor rightly characterizes as “un-interrogated,” there is plenty of anecdotal evidence on the ground that more and more Kenyans have either already shaken themselves free of this tribalism disease or they are on the way there.

The only object standing in the way for others and trying to exploit the double vices of tribalism and negative ethnicity is variously presenting itself as G-something—mara G7, or now maybe G1 and what have you but only they and their followers believe ukabila is the winning formula for the upcoming general elections.

Raila and ODM, on the other hand, are on to a 47 County Campaign (47CC) strategy pursued on the principle and belief each vote from every part of the country counts and none should be taken for granted let those bent on grouping them under some tribal formula do so but may the better strategy for the country prevail.

The faith and optimism in many a Kenyan leads to a belief it’s not tribalism that would prevail as Makau posits, but the true Kenyan spirit as embodied on those who have shed or will shed the vice.

Professor Makau argues that it’s because of the tribalism factor that Raila is courting Ruto—that’s if he is, adding “[Raila’s] handlers believe that only Mr Ruto can bring back the Kalenjin into the PM’s fold.”

While it may as well be the case that Raila “handlers” believe that only Ruto can “bring back the Kalenjin into the PM’s fold”—a proposition which is wrong by itself to the extent it assumes that Kalenjin are like a hoard of sheep to be directed which way to go en masse by Ruto, Raila and others could actually more accurately be of the view there are any number of ways Raila and ODM can regain lost ground in RV without Ruto and they are presently doing just that and increasingly successfully so.

Makau says Raila’s “handlers” have “panicked because they think they’ve lost the Luhya with the defection of Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi to the UDF party.

Not sure where the good professor gets information or is simply imagining things but anyone who cares to check would find out neither Raila’s “handlers” nor he himself is panicked or thinks they have “lost the Luhya” vote; if anything, everyone I know is happy and pleased Mudavadi’s defection was so anti-climactic and without any noticeable impact even he must be scratching his head wondering why he defected.

True, those bent on “stopping” Raila will do what they can in their ABR (Anyone But Raila) quest, including propping up Mudavadi and pumping his way all they can in futile efforts to have him shoved down our throats as our next president but in the end, the people’s will shall prevail.

Makau says, “Neither the Kalenjin nor the Luhya will vote like a bloc. Like the Kikuyu, the Kalenjin and Luhya votes will be scattered to the four winds.”

I agree for the same reasons Makau provides for his rationale but disagree with his take that Gichugu MP Martha Karua and Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth “will claim a sizeable chunk of the Kikuyu vote.”

That honor—if you can call it that will go to whoever the Inner Sanctums (Kibaki clique) end with as their ABR.

Makau concludes that, of the big five communities, only the Luo will likely vote as a bloc.

I would also agree with that but add following closely will be Kikuyus and Kalenjins but the Kales will only vote in greater margins as a block in favor or Raila but not the other candidates coveting the vote.

In other words, we shall have either a repeat of 2007 or a split vote where Raila still garners a good chunk of the vote regardless of whether Ruto returns to ODM or aligns with him or not.

While I agree with Makau that only Luos are likely to vote as a block—and who can deny them, I disagree with him when he says that “Mr Odinga should stop ‘thinking tribe’ and cozying up to Mr Ruto.”

This assertion assumes that Raila “cozying” up with Ruto is tribal math politics based; it need not be as a logical case can also be made Raila simply wants all the support he can get even from his rivals and enemies as any politician seeking high office would.

Indeed, given Raila has a pathway to State House that does not include Ruto’s involvement or support, it is less about tribal math Raila would want to work with Ruto than merely being pragmatic and smart about how he goes about charting his course to State House.

Makau says Raila “must define himself as the ‘issues candidate’ – detribalised, reformist, and pro-youth.”

I agree with all that except to note being an “issues candidate” can only but take him so far and I have no idea what the good professor means by Raila being “detribalized.”

If by that Makau means Raila is or has been a tribalist, then he needs to put less sugar on his coffee to gain more clarity of who Raila is or has been with respect to mambo ya ukabila.

I disagree with Makau that “the [Raila Ruto] courtship is a genius political plot to destroy him.”

Makau advances the argument that because Ruto is one of the so-called Moi orphans and the more notorious or infamous at that, and because he led opposition to the constitution, and even more so because of the pending ICC charges against him, Raila’s alliance with Ruto, according to Makau, “would shatter Mr Odinga’s credibility at home and abroad.”

Not necessarily.

While it’s true and possible many may find such an alliance wanting, even more would understand perfectly why it’s necessary and significant—marginally as it may be, in the reelection effort of Raila.

All politicians, local and abroad will understand exactly what Raila would be doing, if he does so and would do the same thing were they in his shoes and ditto for all foreign politicians therefore nothing to worry about that.

Makau then asserts, “How [Raila] embraces such a politician and calls himself a reformer is beyond me.”

This assertion is a thesis by itself requiring a complete chapter in a book to explain why the professor is wrong but, let me just say being a reformist is not to the exclusion of being a pragmatist.

The two actually must go hand in hand lest there won’t be any reforms to speak of.

I do agree with Makau that “Mr Ruto would not miss a second chance to bury Mr Odinga” but note this will be highly unlikely—meaning, getting a second chance, not the burying part.

However, I disagree with him when he says “hypocrisy and opportunism would define Mr Odinga if Mr Ruto was to become his Siamese twin.”

This is actually an interesting metaphor coming from Makau who should know the metaphor is misplaced.

In order for the metaphor to apply, Raila would have to pick Ruto as his running mate and even then, the metaphor will be inapt in describing such an outcome because doing so, namely, Ruto becoming Raila’s running mate would not be hypocrisy neither would it be opportunism.

It will be smart politics by both the PM and Ruto.

Makau ask, “How could Mr Odinga look Kenyans in the eye – and the country’s friends abroad – and call himself an incorruptible leader? Who, pray, would believe him?”

Makau has committed a fallacy by assuming a premise that is false.

It is not true that not agreeing to work with Ruto amounts to being incorruptible because Ruto is no more corrupt in 2012 than he was in 2007.

The good professor goes on to add, “With Mr Ruto at Mr Odinga’s side, we can expect impunity to reign in the next government.”

Not true.

Raila can work with Ruto and others to get elected yet continue pursuing his reform agenda unimpeded and unaffected by anyone including those who help him get reelected.

The two are not mutually exclusive.

When Makau says “The new Constitution would be treated like trash – a meaningless piece of paper,” he is describing what would happen if Raila or a reform minded leader like him is not our next president.

Makau says, “I will guarantee something else – all true reformers and bona fide civil society leaders would desert Mr Odinga in droves.

Besides as noted above being unwise to guarantee anything in politics, it is simply not the case that “all true reformers and bona fide civil society would desert Mr. Odinga in droves.”

A few may but a vast majority would understand the principle of not winning a skirmish only to lose the battle.

When Makau asks “Imagine what he’ll do once in power if he betrays you before the election,” he is obviously once again engaged in fallacious reasoning to the extent he assumes a false premise, namely, that Raila agreeing to work with Ruto would be a “betrayal” when that’s clearly not the case; a few like Makau may see it as being a betrayal but most will not therefore Makau’s slippery slope argument following his false premise is equally off and unconvincing.

Makau seems to go downhill with his arguments from this point.

For example, he ponders the question, “Why then would Mr Odinga do an about-face and oppose the ICC? This may only paint Mr Odinga in an unflattering light – as someone who’d do anything to get himself to State House.”

Raila has not said he is now opposed to the ICC and neither does agreeing to work with Ruto imply or mean that he has.

The two are separate and apart from each other I am surprised Makau is attempting to make a connection that does not exist.

When Makau says “Mr Odinga shouldn’t dangle the ICC deferral carrot in front of Mr Ruto” he contradicts himself because he also acknowledges and declares that “Mr Odinga has no power to make Mr Ruto’s charges at the International Criminal Court go away.”

How can Raila dangle something he doesn’t have?

Did the good professor really think this one thru?

Obviously not.

The good professor concludes his piece by noting “Mr Odinga has a choice to make. Is he a man of principle, or a fair weather reformer? Will he bend to the wind for the sake of power?

Raila has proven over and over he is a man of principle and his reform credentials speak volumes on their own.

He is not about to flip and become someone else at this late stage in his life and especially when he knows so many are counting on him to remain steady and focused on the goal he has been on a life-long journey to achieve and that is completely liberating our country from the shackles of corruption, impunity and tribalism.

When Makau says Mr Odinga’s reunion with Mr Ruto would be akin to President Obama becoming a Republican to be re-elected and that the thought sickens him, he is collapsing two distinct concepts into one and that is, political ideology and strategy.

The two are not one and the same, even though related and impact each other as they must.

Given Kenyan politics is less about ideology, if any and all about strategy, a wiser politician is the one who focuses on a winning strategy and Raila appears to have one in place with his 47CC (47 County Campaign strategy).

This Ruto alliance may be true but yet again it may not be.

Whatever the situation, the goal for those who care about reform and fundamentally transforming our country has to be to elect someone who can best lead us in doing so and that person as it is today is none other than Raila Amolo Odinga.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Raila Should Select The Certified Reformist Gitobu Imanyara As His Running Mate

The Standard Online in a story I cut and paste below has joined others in speculating that Raila may be zeroing in on the Central Imenti MP and certified reformist Hon. Gitobu Imanyara to be his running mate.

This follows Mr. Imanyara’s joining the influential Friends of Raila (FORA) lobby group where he was immediately appointed as deputy patron, a key position in the group and Raila’s reelection campaign.

I am proudly and enthusiastically calling on Raila to make our good friend Imanyara his running mate and end the speculation because Imanyara is not only a true reformist committed to bringing about change in the country much as Raila is, he provides the best option for regional balance without resorting to tribal based arithmetic which those who believe in it would say Raila must pick someone from RV.

As yours truly has been saying on these blogs, Raila is seeking the presidency based on a 47 County Campaign strategy (47CC), which means he will traverse and harvest votes across the country and regardless of what region or tribe because his goal is not only to get more than the requisite majority to be sworn as president but also to be elected with a commanding majority from across the country so that he can bring about the long overdue transformation of our country he has promised.

Hon. Gitobu Imanyara will be an ideal running mate and Deputy President to help him bring about that transformation.

That does not mean there are not others equally impressive and/or qualified as Imanyara who can take the spot as well; there are and I am sure the PM can toss a coin as between and among them and pick one with the same desired outcome of having a credible running mate who can bring about regional balance and as they and ODM go on to sweep the country at the polls.

The only thing I would say is, if one or another is not picked, especially among those others whose names have been recently mentioned as potential picks for running mate such as Henry Kosgey, let them not let that be a reason to slow down or hold back their support because there are many other ways they can contribute and impact in the transformation of the country working with Raila, if Kenyans give him the nod again as they did before but was prevented from being sworn as president.

Indeed, with the selection of Imanyara and the ongoing and steady regaining of lost ground in RV, this election maybe a repeat of 2007 must all of its ugliness, namely, Raila and ODM yet again sweeping the country.

This is because more and more Kenyans are saying enough of mambo ya ukabila, corruption and impunity.

They are also demanding that the constitution be fully implemented and none other than Raila of those out there with a serious shot at the presidency can make the case they can even come remotely close to Raila in fully implementing the constitution while at the same waging and winning a serious fight against corruption and ending impunity.

None

For the Standard story on Raila and Imanyara, go Standard Online

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Politics

 

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Prof. Makau Mutua Is Once Again Wrong About Raila Campaign Strategy This Time Regarding Ruto Part I

Many A Dream To Occupy As Prezo

State House Nairobi

Professor Makau Mutua is wrong in his conclusions about what Ruto’s return to ODM portends or what were to happen were Raila to agree to work with Ruto by way of an alliance between the two and their respective parties.

Before analyzing Makau’s column in the Daily Nation inaptly titled “Raila Must Shun Ruto or Pay The Political Price,” it is important to keep a few things in mind as one evaluates what the good professor is talking about.

One of these is simply the fact that politics is not an exact science.

As in everything in life, there are many choices one may have to make in how to pursue political objectives or even to pursue them at all.

Given the various competing interests a politician must sometimes choose from or pacify and given the concomitant consequences directly flowing from making such decisions or failing to do so when things go south, a successful and effective politician is one who weighs all the available options to effect an objective and picks one that he or she must provide effective leadership in having a majority follow him or her with it and the key here is providing effective leadership which produces a following sufficient to effect successful pursuit of that objective.

There is no exact formula in how one does this but we can deduce from studying those who succeed in such endeavors to be mostly individuals with plenty of wisdom, stamina, and guts with relevant experience topping it all.

These qualities also ensure that, if one makes the call and it turns out to be the wrong one or backfires, they are able to quickly recover or face and deal with the consequences with gusto because even in defeat, there is success.

It all depends on the nature of underlying efforts and motives and, conversely, what comes of the outcome.

It’s easier to know the former than the latter but it’s not knowing the latter with any degree of certainty that makes some decisions and choices more difficult and risky than others.

This principle is particularly relevant in the Kenyan political setting because for decades, the most reliable predictor of outcome has been tribalism and ethnicity and this still remains the case to some great extent and how much we can only wait for the 2012 or 2013 elections to know for sure.

The question then becomes, since we know we can no longer as a nation continue to embrace and/or exploit tribalism and ethnicity in choosing or electing our leaders, what can we do to make sure we have the desired outcome of having neither of these destructive tendencies eradicated or once for all done with, leaving choosing or electing leaders strictly a matter of qualifications and leadership ability?

I don’t know for fact that Raila and Ruto are in talks towards Ruto returning to ODM or somehow the two working together as Makau and other posit that they are but, let’s assume for the sake of argument that they are; is Makau right in his condemnation of the efforts and his doomsday prediction that such cooperation will sink Raila’s presidential quest?

I do not think so and that brings me to Makau’s piece who I differ with completely in everything he is arguing in support of his position, starting from his seeking cover from the Bible, Mark 8:36, which says, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”—a verse which is, with all due respect to the good professor, totally inapplicable here.

It would be wholly outside the scope of this article to go into an exposition why this verse is inapplicable in the manner Makau has used it so let me just say the verse applies to what we need to do as individuals to live according to God’s instructions and specifically prohibits us from pursuing earthly things that lead to the loss of our souls, which according to God is the greatest loss of all.

On the other hand, the verse is no more instructive or relevant than what is expected of our politicians individually and collectively as embodied in Chapter Six of the constitution which morally and ethically is the measure by which we must hold our leaders accountable to their conduct as it related to their ability to hold public office.

Anything more, including adhering to even higher moral and ethical standards is desirable but don’t hold your breath on that one.

Not that the Bible is not relevant in its teachings when it comes to politics; it is, but Makau would be better off looking elsewhere in the Bible such as Romans 3:23 which reminds us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and Chapter 6 is there to make sure only those passing its mandate are fit to hold office.

While Chapter Six sets the minimum standards for ethical and moral conduct in holding public office, there is no specific guidance given to parties anywhere as to what is the right or wrong way to conduct their affairs, including campaigns beyond what the law provides or prescribes.

There is no law that would bar Ruto from returning to ODM or for Raila to work with him so this simply becomes purely a question of political strategy and tactics but Makau has coyly turned the issue of political strategy into one of exclusively right and wrong from a moral and ethical standpoint.

Even though related on the one hand in that political strategy must be informed by legal, moral, and ethical considerations, it does not follow that both political strategy and these considerations fit into a clearly defined matrix where everyone can look and agree even what that definition is.

Intelligent, well-meaning people with no ulterior motives can differ as to their view of whether ODM accepting Ruto back or Raila working with Ruto is a morally right thing to do.

Sometimes asking the wrong question can lead to wrong answers and conclusions and this is one good example.

The question should be not one whether Ruto returning to ODM or Raila agreeing to work with Ruto is a good thing; rather, the question should be how significant is either event occurring toward advancing the prospect of having Raila, the leading reformist in the country, to be reelected and this time sworn as president?

If the answer is yes, this would be a significant move or even game changer, then the second question where all this morality and ethical considerations must be weighted in is is it worth it for either of these events to be allowed to occur or is as Makau argues committing political suicide?

The second question cannot be objectively answered by anyone who doesn’t understand and agree that there are, indeed, times where the end justifies the means and there couldn’t be a more clearer case than this where we either have a reformist president in Raila or a non-reformist, status quo lover of impunity and corruption as the alternative choice.

That is what this elections are going to be about and that’s not being subjective or biased because of my support for Raila but anyone who knows anything about our country, who is vying for the presidency and where they stand relative to reforms and full implementation of the constitution, they would have to objectively agree only Raila is the reformist and reform minded while everyone else is not and cannot embrace something this grand overnight or even after a long time.

Another way to understand this is to ask and objectively answer the question whether clearing obstacles in the way for a reformist like Raila, who stands over and above all others vying for the presidency as the most qualified candidate, is clearing these obstacles worth it if that includes working with people like Ruto who obviously have the ICC hanging of their heads?

Answering this question must as a precondition require one to be intellectually honest as to how does Ruto being charged at the ICC figure in this analysis of whether it’s a good or bad thing for him to return to ODM or work with Raila.

My contention is notwithstanding his reckless conduct with his pal Uhuru during the so-called “prayer rallies” which were nothing but, Ruto is actually innocent under the law until proven guilty.

If we respect the concept of the rule of law, we must accept that fact.

Note this position is not inconsistent with my previously asking Ruto and UK to suspend their presidential ambitions in Uhuru and Ruto Must Now Suspend Their Presidential Ambitions because working with another candidate is wholly a different thing from running as one for obvious reasons not necessary to elaborate.

Having taken the view from the very beginning that Ruto cannot be convicted of the serious crimes against humanity he faces—unless he bungles his defense—and a position I know I differ with many of my ODM friends, one may be tempted to dismiss my argument as biased.

It is fashionable to sing the refrain Ruto is guilty of the serious crimes he stands charged with and therefore Raila or ODM should have nothing to do with him but I am not there.

The only argument one can make and I have is Ruto’s stock has steadily gone down from when he miscalculated and allowed himself to be used to topple Raila as ABR (Anyone But Raila) only to crash and burn such that Raila can easily dispense with any desire to work with him but the flip side of this argument is equally convincing and that is, even if his stock as devalued, it still has value to give dividends to make it worthwhile keeping it or in this case working with him.

Marginal value but value nonetheless.

A different argument that can be put forth and persuasively so is sometimes you just have to fight fire with fire.

Right now, our Number One problem in Kenya is tribalism and we must slay this animal if we are ever to attain true fruits of independence as a united, peace loving nation.

You cannot find anyone more filled with hope and optimism when it comes to Kenyan politics and our people than yours truly but even he must come to grips with the reality and fact that change cometh slowly.

There is no question we are seeing signs that even though still a strong and dominating a factor in Kenyan politics, there is anecdotal evidence tribalism and ethnicity may play a lesser role in the next elections thanks to efforts of leaders like Raila who are not only determined to preach the message of unity and ending tribalism and negative ethnicity as determinative factors in how we choose our leaders, they are providing the leadership needed to change the minds of even some of the hardcore believers of these destructive mindsets such that in the end, we shall have a majority agreeing with them and electing a president for the first time who neither tribalism nor massive rigging would be the determinative factor in how he is elected.

It would therefore behoove Raila to work with anyone and everyone willing to work with him knowing fully well that includes people who may have heavy baggage such as Ruto but the converse is less an attractive choice because taking the verse Makau cites literally to go the other direction would be the equivalent of a suitor who seeks to marry a woman of his dream and does everything he has been told is the right thing to do to win her heart and her parents’ blessing but forgets to do something as basic as inquiring and finding out what the woman really likes and wants.

A more clever suitor and competitor who equally covets the same woman finds out what makes the woman click and does it in addition to using his charm and wit to win her over and ditto her parents, leaving the other suitor hapless as he clings to unhelpful rules and practices while the woman joins the former’s hand in marriage.

In reality, the hapless suitor who loses out could be the medicine that the doctor ordered for the woman to have an everlasting and happy courtship and union but if the one who wins her heart has any scruples in him, he would strife to live up to the expectation created in both her and her parents before their approving of him, lest he will be deemed a bad mistake and rejected accordingly.

Same thing with the quest for the presidency of our beloved country.

There are many suitors in the field, including downright crooks and thieves but in making his case, Raila is saying he knows just what the bride and her parents need to win them over and has embarked on doing just that or meeting the need and if some of that falls outside the box in norms, practice and expectations, what matter most is that he is able to win over the hearts of the pride to be and parents.

If he doesn’t disappoint and becomes just what the doctor ordered for the woman and more, then whatever failings he may have had or could have henceforth pale in comparison and actually become understandable as simply a part of inescapable life.

In the context of reforms and Makau’s argument that Raila is doomed to lose the mantle he carries as a reformist if Ruto returns to ODM or if Raila agrees to work with him, Raila must summon all his political skills, charm and good luck to make the case why this is not a condemnable move, if it occurs, and doubly so as among some of the reformers and Civil Society.

The working assumption in the absence of any logical reason not to so assume is most of the Kenyans supporting Raila, including many of the reform only minded and Civil Society would back Raila and whatever he does within the bounds of acceptable or at least understandable options.

He need only worry about convincing the rest of the country; not all of them, but enough to put him over the constitutionally mandated 50% + 1 to be reelected and this time sworn as president.

In Part II, I will examine Prof. Makau Mutua’s specific contentions and arguments

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Politics

 

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