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Monthly Archives: September 2019

How I Met Uhuru Kenyatta; A Musing and More

Uhuru(2)

Many have asked me to pen a memoir and I fully intend to do so, if anything to put in record that which I have personally witnessed or been a part of. To the extent I can, anyway, for there are things that shall forever remain private, especially as they pertain to public figures I have had the privilege to know or interact with. As I have done previously, I continue to share tidbits here and there, including this one.

The World Bank, through the office of its Vice President for Africa, invited a handful of Kenyans of which I was one to have a meeting at the World Bank offices in Washington DC. The purpose of the meeting was to organize a core group of Kenyans who, in turn, will organize Kenyans in the diaspora to more effectively participate in our country’s economic development.

The recognition was, Kenyans in the diaspora already contribute significantly in Kenya’s economy but mostly by family remittances and other contributions beside direct income and jobs generating activities.

We called this group the Kenya Diaspora Network or KDN.

Although everyone expected yours truly to be the inaugural chairman, this was not a role I wanted to assume, given my then very busy practice and other considerations. Instead, I encouraged a good friend Michael Okomo to vie and we had him elected as chairman.

[I discuss in detail what happened with the group, especially after KCA’s President Mwaniki was invited to join the group, and why I and other founders decided to leave the group and things went downhill from there for the group].

Soon after formation of the group, I had a discussion with the World Bank liaison for groups like this (there were others, including one for Ethiopia and Sri Lanka, which was the pilot country for this World Bank initiative).

In my discussion, I told him I was soon traveling to Kenya and looking forward to bring the group’s vision to the Minister of finance and others.

The gentleman told me this was perfect timing because there was a World Bank Consultative Group Meeting for Kenya taking place in Nairobi at the same time I was planning to be there.

The liaison then arranged to have me credentialed as an observer for the invitation only meeting that was to take place at Safari Park Hotel in April 11 and 12, 2005.

As an invited guest for the meeting, I had an option to stay at Safari Park at reduced rates but I opted to instead stay at Fairview Hotel where I met Ruto for the first time and more on that later.

On the appointed date, April 11, 2005, I was driven to Safari Park and dismissed my driver, with instructions for him to come back later in the evening about 6pm. This is because I was planning to be at the meeting the whole day and ditto the next day.

I then proceeded to the meetings wing of the hotel but could not be admitted to the meeting because I did not have proper credentials. I explained that I was there as an observer by arrangement of the World Bank office in Washington.

The polite staff directed me to go see a Ms. Ruth at the other side of the hotel, which I did. She told me she was expecting me and handed me my name badge as well as other useful information.

I then returned to the venue and this time was welcomed and proceeded to the meeting room, which was actually more like a huge lecture hall.

As always, I never like sitting to the front. I prefer sitting all the way on the back in settings like this and that’s what I did.

As was scanning around, I could immediately recognize the place was full of who’s who in Kenyan government other than Kibaki who was not present.

Everyone else who runs the government or had a stake in how the government was run was there.

During a short break before lunch, I went over to say hi to my political mentor and friend Simeon Nyachae.

As we were talking, several people waved or said hello to him and one, he told him there’s someone I’ll like you to meet.

He then introduced me to someone I already recognized as none other than now President Uhuru Kenyatta.

I had never previously met the man in person but had heard and read a ton about him so, I was pleased to meet and hear him speak one on one like that. As I have previously blogged, my conclusion from that brief meeting was contrary to what I had heard or read up until that point, Uhuru was intelligent, articulate and down to earth like no other person of his background and privilege.

He remains to be so this day.

[More about the meeting, how I also met Amos Wako for the first time, what happened in my brief chat with him about dual citizenship, looking to my right during the meeting and seeing someone sitting all alone, nobody talking to him at all even during the break. It was none other than the now late Nicholas Biwot. I couldn’t believe it; this once so powerful man in Moi era was basically a loner at this meeting! And much more, including how a then cabinet minister and “friend” dodged and basically refused to have his driver drop me in town and why I had to leave earlier than when my own driver could make it back to Safari Park to pick me up]

I will meet Uhuru again, for the second time and this was just after passage of the new constitution referendum before promulgation. I met Uhuru this time at a mutual friend’s house and I told him I was headed back to the United States that evening.

Uhuru told me I should stay for the promulgation then planned about a month later but I told both he and our mutual friend I wished I could but I had to return to the US with intention to plan on coming back for the promulgation as it was going to be the historic event to cap this historic occasion as we ushered in the new constitution. And that’s exactly what I did, namely, returning to the US and then back home 3 weeks later for the promulgation.

..

[More on promulgation, how Kibaki snubbed my friend and not inviting him and his supporters to State House for the party there following Uhuru Park festivities, how my friend was already ahead of this and hard organized an alternative party at the Carnivore, how as I told to wait in my hotel where my special invitation to the Carnivore bash was hand delivered to my room and what went down at the bash itself, including musing with interacting with then Speaker Kenneth Marende, what I told him, his response and how I shook hands and said hello to the late Dr. Kofi Anan and comedy relief involving one Jeremiah Nyagah]

All that and more in my memoirs when finally published.

Including more on Constitutional Change 2.0; the impending referendum.

[unedited]

 

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2019 in Musings, Politics, Uncategorized

 

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Saving the Mau Forest in Kenya is Paramount

Mau Forest(2)

Aljazera Mau Forest Report

Kudos to my friend Senator Ledama Olekina and other conservationists who are leading in efforts to save the Mau forest for generations to come.

This is a complex, yet a simple issue to resolve. Indeed, it would have already been resolved by now had Ruto not lied about it so much in the lead-up to 2013, a classic example of being extremely shortsighted or otherwise being driven to gain power no matter what. Worse, even when they get to power, those who are driven by this “by all means” attitude do even worse, focusing on grabbing and corruption as opposed to doing anything good to at least make up for the lies along the way.

For example, Ruto could have immediately embarked on making sure the government’s plan for the Mau he derailed back in 2013, is put back on track.

He never did so the elephant still sits in the living room, waiting for Raila and like minded to once again try but this time succeed in pushing it out.

All our leaders must act responsibly as caretakers of our country’s resources not just for the present, but for the future generations as well.

Put petty, stupid or siasa ya tumbo politics aside and do the right thing for once, if you’re not doing so already.

Let’s all support saving the Mau forest.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2019 in Politics, Uncategorized

 

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There Will Be A Referendum Next Year Even If BBI Team Does Not Recommend One

BBI Team(1)

The Star reports that BBI is planning to suggest major reforms but will avoid recommending a referendum.

My view is, take it to the bank there will be a BBI referendum.

Just because the BBI team does not recommend it does not mean there won’t be one.

On the other hand, if the BBI team does not recommend a referendum, that would be a clever move by the team.

Remember, one of the key tenets of BBI is to deal with and offer solutions to end antagonism and hatred.

The only reason they will not propose a referendum–and it’s not final that they won’t, is to maintain their neutrality and balance consistent with their mandate.

However, once they send those proposals to the president, many of their proposals will be found to be implementable only by constitutional change, therefore the president will call for either parliamentary action or a referendum.

Parliamentary action will only be called for if the president knows and is confident he has the requisite two-thirds votes in Parliament to pass the BBI bill.

Unless a proposal touches part of the constitution that can only be changed by a referendum.

In sum, a referendum is a foregone conclusion.

It’s coming and will overwhelmingly pass as proposed.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2019 in Politics, Uncategorized

 

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Uhuru Is NOT Afraid to Appear In Central with Raila

Central

“Uhuru is afraid of opposition to the handshake in his own backyard that is why he canceled a tour there with Raila and is afraid to schedule one.”

I have seen this false argument or a variation of it in social media so I decided to respond to one and I am posting here what I said in that response:

No politician; I repeat, No politician, let alone a president will EVER be “afraid” to hold a rally in his own (and some day when Her Majesty Gov Anne Waiguru is president) her own backyard. Here is why:

Even assuming the politician has performed so terribly and pissed off half of his supporters (even the worst of them will always have the other half either indifferent or staying with him or her regardless, in the US the man who his Secretary of State never denied calling a moron has a permanent support of about 35% who will never abandon him no matter what–even if he shoots and kills someone as he once bragged and unfortunately right).

So, my point it, even as much as any politician sucks, (I had a debate with my now college age children about this word they told me to lighten up as it’s not a bad word as I have always told them)–but I think this is the first and last time I’ll use it as it’s just not me; let’s just say I remain old school.

Anyway, I digress; back to the point, every politician has a core support that will never go away. Uhuru has it, Raila has it and so on.

Now, if this politician wants to hold a rally for any reason, all he or she has to do, is to mobilize and bring those supporters to any venue and just take my word for it, were Uhuru, let alone Uhuru and Raila to announce a rally this weekend anywhere in Central, you’ll see a multitude of people there unlike anything you have seen before.

And among those multitudes will be tons of armed plainclothes from various law enforcement agencies looking for hired goods bent on disrupting the event.

Uhuru’s father used to say ukileta unyokonyoko utaona, but that was a preserve for other areas, not Central.

When serikali sent a platoon to arrest Nyoro recently, Uhuru was sending the same message to everyone in Central, namely, ukileta unyokonyoko utaona cha mtema kuni.

Put another way, the president will not be cowed to not exercising his power just because of brown bag beneficiaries noisy rants or heckling no matter how loud.

In sum, Uhuru and Raila have not had the much anticipated tour of Central, not because Uhuru is “afraid” of anything, but for reasons those who know anything about these things know or should know.

I often say let me not reveal strategy but it’s okay to do so here because (a) it’s not strategy I am involved in providing and (b) it’s one that I can surmise based on what’s known and what any analyst can figure by putting 2 and 2 together:

This is why the as yet to happen tour of Central by Uhuru and Raila has not happened–but it SHALL:

The duo are waiting for BBI to be rolled out. (Okay Grammar Police: is it the duo are, or is waiting?)

Once BBI proposals are in the public domain, intelligence will be gathered as to how the public is receiving it through their elected officials.

State House operatives will then work around the clock arm-twisting, if they have to, to line up support, with emphasis being on Central where Ruto has spent enormous resources to turn the most gullible against Uhuru mostly because of the handshake.

When that process is complete, Uhuru will announce his tour of Central alongside his buddy and brother Raila.

The tour will be a smashing success and from there, the powerful couple will embark on select rallies in first, Rift Valley, then West, then Coast and then back to Central to close the deal on the referendum.

The referendum overwhelmingly passes.

We have the final pieces put together in readiness of a second rebirth of our beloved country.

It would not surprise me if passage of the referendum is timed so that promulgation happens in August much as it happened in the 2010 referendum.

Now you know.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2019 in Politics, Uncategorized

 

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No; the Handshake Is NOT Shaky or Falling Apart

Handshake(1)

There has been an effort since yesterday to peddle the false narrative that the handshake deal between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is “shaky” or “falling apart.” The only people who would buy this lie are those who hate the fact we have the handshake blossoming and is here to stay.

Any keen observer cannot but conclude this lie is actually the Hustler’s latest Ruto talking point (RTP), following the “dynasty” RTP that miserably failed to get traction or take off because we loudly called it out to be nothing but the farce it is.

That’s not to say it is not being peddled by those who don’t know better; it is, even after Uhuru himself called it out as nonsense and–get this, Ruto agreed with him!

But the Hustler did this knowing his sycophants are and will continue to peddle it.

They are now on to this latest RTP about the handshake being shaky or falling apart.

It is NOT.

Reality is, the handshake is FIRM, and will deliver as promised, starting with BBI implementation coming soon.

Fact is, people are aghast at Uhuru and Ruto having buried their differences and misgivings for each other and shook hands for the sake of self and, more importantly, the future of our beloved country.

The people who are aghast are those who for one reason on another continue to harbor the backward belief that Raila cannot be our president principally because he is a Luo.

Those tribalists must fail because that kind of reasoning belongs in the archives, not the present or future of our beloved country.

There may be those who may also be opposed with the handshake simply because it caught them off guard, especially when they were expecting Raila to forge forward with the national resistance movement (NRM) he announced when he was sworn as the “People’s president.”

On the day Raila was being sworn as “People’s President,” which I was opposed to, it happened as I was following it live while on the road driving to pick up my daughter from school for a weekend home visit.

I rarely follow anything streaming live while driving as it’s simply not safe to do so but I made an exception here because I knew this was something unheard of and I didn’t wish to miss it live. I just turned the phone down and only listened to what was being said.

However, overcome by what I had just heard, I decided to pull over and was very saddened to tell my good friend and someone I have been on trenches promoting and defending for years, I told him it was with great sadness I parted company with him as I could not in my conscious follow him to NRM, which he vaguely announced was in the forming with what it is to be fleshed out in the days to come.

To me, it sounded like declaration of war or going to the bushes as a rebellion against Uhuru and the illegitimate government.

That could only take Kenya the Somalia and eventually the Rwanda of 1994 direction.

I could not have any of that because I am never for violence under any circumstances.

Fast forward to March 9, 2019, I like everyone else was pleasantly shocked to see the handshake between Uhuru and Raila.

It was not easy to fathom at first; rather, it took several days to process and it finally sank in several weeks later when I had time to both process and talk to people who matter about it. Everything I heard was, yes, this is a surprise, but it is real.

Even then, I had my lingering doubts as to the sincerity of, NOT Raila, but Uhuru.

Indeed, when power broker and close ally of Uhuru, David Murathe came out publicly in support of the handshake, I was even more skeptical about the handshake.

This is because I have personally interacted with Murathe in the lead-up to 2013 elections he told me things about Raila that made me doubt he could have those views reversed in the opposite direction, even with the handshake!

But there was more; Murathe even went to Luoland to declare his support of the handshake! And he has been continuing to say things I never thought could fall off his lips! Yes, God is real and He does miracles all the time.

This is one of them.

Anyway, in the midst of these lingering doubts, I created a checklist of five things I know had to happen and must happen to make this handshake and everything that follows a reality. No need to disclose what those are but suffice to say three of those 5 things have happened already.

Two remain, but they are contingent on each other, meaning, one happens, the other one must out of necessity.

I patiently wait for that to happen but all looks good.

Even going by what has happened, it’s with great confidence I know the handshake is firm, is here to stay and will deliver on what it was entered into to deliver and that is, a new Kenya where there is not destruction of property, shedding of blood and loss of lives just because of an election and, in particular, a rigged election.

This is the new Kenya we should all clamor for and so, let’s remain guard against those who would want us to remain in the old Kenya where only violence, division and hate thrive among those unable to move forward to the future.

 

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2019 in Politics, Uncategorized

 

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What’s Really Going on In Kibra By-Election?

Uhuru and Ruto(1)

The Star is reporting that Uhuru Assures His Support in Kibra By-Election

This is after the same paper reported the president has no time to campaign for Ruto’s project in Kibra.

Reporting in both of these news stories is sound.

However, a more closer analysis of the reporting reveals even though the reporting is good, meaning, there’s no factually false or unsupported reporting, it is the case what we have going on here is (a) the president NOT supporting Ruto’s project Mariga to win and (b) he expects him to lose.

Here’s why:

First, even though the credible newspaper says in its first headline above that the president has “assured” Mariga of his support, nowhere in the story itself does the reporter details or even give us any suggestion as to how or what the president intends to do to assure Mariga victory.

Even a political novice will tell you appearing with the candidate and campaigning for him even once in Kibra, will be one sure way of assuring the candidate any better chance, let alone victory.

Second, the story does not quote the president even once to as to what his views are on Mariga. Not once. Not only that, the story has not a single quote from Raphael Tuju, the Cabinet Secretary without portfolio, who is also the Secretary General of the soon to be moribund Jubilee.

That speaks volumes neither the president, nor Jubilee A are interested in the Ruto project Mariga in the Kibra by-elections, otherwise they would have gone on the record to say exactly what they want in the contest.

Instead, they have let journalists and the rest of us to make what we can from it, with the Star saying this is good enough to “assure” Mariga he’s not an outcast after all.

That’s technically correct; were the president not to do so, namely, invite or be seen with Mariga, it would have an even more clear message this is a waste of time and someone still trying to wag his tail.

For those of us who follow these things closely, here is my take on this:

The man from Sugoi is playing chess with the president; he demanded that Jubilee field a candidate–and more specifically, his project Mariga and the party bosses led by Uhuru had to make a decision: refuse to field a Jubilee candidate and give the Hustler a talking point to beat their heads with, or let him have it knowing fully he was at least not MP material to beat ODM candidate.

They were only gleeful when it also emerged the man is not qualified to vie.

When the matter went to IEBC, I expected the Tribunal will affirm the disqualification and so did a couple of well placed people in Nairobi I privately discuss things like this.

However, when I got up the next morning and saw the headline news that IEBC had confirmed Mariga as eligible to vie, I immediately re-analyzed the whole thing and then saw what the strategy must be.

My conclusion from the new analysis was simply put, had the powers that be wanted to have Mariga stopped at the qualification step; they would have had it done and the decision would be fully backed under the law.

As previously noted, Mariga’s disqualification was one of those issues that fall in the gray area of the law, therefore, which side the decision went, had to depend on who is pulling the strings behind the scenes at IEBC.

To be sure, I cannot rule out that Ruto is or can; in fact, this will be the test going to the future, and especially ahead of 2022.

If there’s any reason to believe Ruto has more moles in IEBC than Uhuru–and the system will know this, Chebukati is out of the door long before he knows what hit him.

Ditto those the system determined are up-to no good for 2022.

Note I am not saying up-to no good for 2017, 2018 or even 2013.

That’s now a matter of history books and thanks to the handshake.

The team can only survive for 2022 if Uhuru and Baba agree they should.

So, in this ongoing chess game between Uhuru and Ruto, Uhuru–who just take my word knows Mariga is going nowhere–invited Mariga to come to State House and, of course, the Hustler cannot miss out on a photo-op like this, so he tagged along.

It’s his project, after all.

From the Hustler’s perspective, this is a bad day; a very bad day for him because he is being outwitted every step of the way.

There’s is something he’s desperately baying the president to foolishly fall for but it ain’t happening.

 

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2019 in Politics, Uncategorized

 

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Comments Re Kibra and Ruto’s Prospects in Gusii

Gusii(1)

My responses to RB1:

You say, “They just expect magic to happen” referring to ODM expected win to retain the Kibra seat that was declared vacant owing for death of former holder of the seat.

No; magic tricks are for entertainment but this is serious politics with all manner of implications so nobody is at Orange House practicing magic tricks.

“They dismissed Kalenjin votes in 13 & 17.” False. I spent the entire time I was in Kenya for elections in 2013 in mostly Rift Valley and only once in Coast and I was in the Advance Team of Two who worked literally around the clock coordinating rallies and local issues so speak to what you know or can speculate but don’t state as fact something which is false. In 2017, the strategy was different but no one “dismissed”the Kalenjin vote as that would be idiotic.

Equally vigorous efforts were undertaken to harvest votes in Rift Valley as whole, much as was the case across the country so what you’re saying here is false.

You say, “NASA” lost badly.” yes, but rigging had no small role in that, which you can poopoo all you wish but is FACT.

You say, “Kamba gone and huge chuck of Coast and Western gone.”

False on all counts. What I know is going on even as you’re busy imagining things here, is there are ongoing negotiations by all key Kenyan politicians, including all NASA principals on how best to shape the upcoming new alliance that will be unique in so many ways, not the least of which is robbing in a sitting president. Compare that to Narc when it was an effort to defeat the then Moi project.

You say, “Remember Ruto delivered to Jubilee Western.”

False. The thuggish rigging in August 2017 that led to the country’s historic nullification of the elections don’t count for nothing. Raila obviously won Western in 2013 by miles.

You say, “He [Ruto] will do better esp with BBI katiba where Luhyias get big posts, either DP or Prime Minister.”

Nothing wrong to so wish; reality is, Raila will once again easily floor whoever is matched with him for votes in Western in 2022. The PM position is a wild card that is kept so secret as to who it will be it will not be unveiled until the BBI referendum is ripe for voting–and probably not even then. I and others, of course, are rooting for, and backing Her Majesty Lady Anne Waiguru to be the PM or at least DPM.

You say, “He told me that teo (sic) visiting Kisii MPs told them that Ruto will lead in Kisii and praised him. Check out if that is true and update SO tafadhali. The truth will deliver us from evil.” The person was either hallucinating or had had one too many to drink or just plain drunk. If neithr, he is one of the brown bag beneficiaries not that Kisii politicians are immune from contracting the disease.

Kisiis are stubbornly independent but Ruto faces different dynamics there unlike Raila so let me just leave it there.

You say, “If Ruto has Kisii, his win will be a landslide.” He doesn’t therefore there are no landslides to speak of unless you’re talking about Raila.

You say, “Another NEP mp told a Kisii Kisii friend that folks like him because he shares his wealth with others. They tried saying it is stolen funds but she said even Raila stole but keeps his wealth to himself.” This is one of the fallacies that takes different permutations in Ruto lore peddled here and on the ground, but, I’ll dedicate a column or blog just to expose it to those who don’t know already it’s a big fallacy designed to hoodwink the gullible.

We are here to save them from that so stay tuned.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2019 in Politics, Uncategorized

 

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