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Examining Raila’s Stand on Issues and Record Part I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

None.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No one.

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

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

Peace, Unity and Progress

Omwenga

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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Politics

 

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Kenyans Must Be Vigilant Against Old Politics

KANU may be moribund as party but some of the politics the party introduced or perfected from Kenyatta days through Moi days are likely to linger around for some time notwithstanding the new political dispensation.

We are all too familiar with the concept of “divide and rule” introduced into our psyche by the colonial beasts and later perfected by KANU.

The various alliances that have been formed, disbanded, regrouped, and now in some state of limbo are all but intended to divide the country primarily to block the ascendancy of Raila to the presidency

Unfortunately for them, however, they have only been able to figure the first half of this colonizer’s equation: the “divide” portion.

They are yet to figure the rule part as part of that requires for them to select one among them to be their flag bearer oddly enough because of the very tribalism they are trying to exploit!

Recently, it was reported in the news that Rafael Tuju and his entourage were pelted with rocks in Kisumu.

This is obviously conduct that cannot be condoned anywhere in the country and Prime Minister reiterated as much when he issued a statement after this incident saying there is no room for violence in politics in Kenya and that resorting to violence in politics will set us back in the gains we have achieved in thus far becoming a more democratic and free nation.

Even as PM Odinga was condemning violence in politics, reports emerged that the stone pelting may have been staged by Tuju himself.

Although one is inclined to give Tuju the benefit of doubt one cannot also rule out that possibility as it is nothing new or one that has not been tried before, namely, staging events to either show force or seek sympathy in certain situations.

That’s straight from KANU’s old Playbook.

Sometimes restraint on the part of everyone is the best way to avoid further misunderstandings and conflict and this is one of them.

This incident, as many before it and surely others to come, will be fully understood and appreciated in actually what transpired and who is behind it 40 years from now.

I say this for this because, even if ODM were to produces 10 witnesses that say they were each paid $500 by Tuju to stone his entourage, there are others who would not believe them, saying they have been paid to says so!

Moreover, if the same 10 witnesses on further questioning were to disclose they did not actually get the money directly from Tuju himself but from his agents and if on even further questioning they admit they don’t know whether those were Tuju’s agents who paid them and asked them to pelt the Tuju entourage, others will be even more less inclined to believe them.

All we’ll be left with then in this scenario is the fact someone was paid to pelt Tuju with stones but by who or why cannot be ascertained, except people would likely believe that which lines up with the political side they are on or lean towards.

40 years from now is a different story, however, especially if people are talking from their graves via secrets left with their loved ones or close associates: what are you going to do to them; kill them?

My advice is let’s all be vigilant against those who would use these types of tactics to advance their political cause regardless of party or party affiliation or even how insignificant they are in the large scheme of things.

Let’s have a Kenya where politicians can run and be elected on the merits of their character and leadership ability and not these divisive and ultimately backward tactics and with that I include tribalism, which goes hand in hand with this kind of ill-advised tactics.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2011 in Politics

 

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My Advise to A Raila Basher And Why Raila’s Record As Lang’ata MP Is A Non-Issue

This blog has been migrated here from my other blogs for archival purposes…

Do you know the difference between my tenacity and yours? Hint: One builds on the positive, the other builds on the negative; one sees the glass as half-full, the other sees the glass as, well, not even half-empty but completely empty even though it’s either half-full or half-empty, depending on who is doing the description.

No amount of Raila bashing is ever going to elect any of his opponents; do you know why?

Because people have had enough of it and no longer give anyone credit for it no matter how good or lousy they are at it.

You’ve got to take the No.1 slot among Raila bashers and I must give it to you, you are good at it but even you would agree sooner or later this is a strategy you must abandon and try something new for it’s not working!

Start from associating or identifying yourself with an alternative to Raila as our next president.

The list of those who have expressed their interest is long but in reality, there are only a handful of candidates from among which our next president is going to be elected.

Pick any of them and use the energy you are expending ranting and railing against Raila to make a case for them why they are better than Raila and why they should be elected instead of Raila.

Start by listing their accomplishments before you demand to know Raila’s here, which, in fact, you know fully well what they are but would rather have everyone believe you don’t; only those who know nothing about Kenya would not know what Raila’s accomplishments are.

But this rant about Raila “doing nothing” for his constituency “Kibera” is one I and others have addressed a thousand times, starting with pointing out Raila is an MP for Langata, not just Kibera.

Indeed, earlier this year, I penned a blog An Online Comment By A Kenyan Regarding Raila and Kibera in which I posted some of the specific things Raila has done for residents of Kibera, which is a part of his constituency and recently, in responding to someone making the same old but factually incorrect claim about Raila and his accomplishments, I noted the following:

The “ODM supporters and other supporters” you were with were either closet PNUs or moles of G7 or whatever the latest G is, if they could not immediately and rapidly tell you at least 5 Raila accomplishments as co-CEO last four years, which include (1) leading in the campaign for, passage and promulgation of our new Constitution (2) Stopping Kibaki from abusing the freshly minted new Constitution and thereby ensuring the indelibleness of the constitution (3) Saving the Mau forest (4) Starting to reverse the culture of corruption (5) Re-establishing Kenya’s good name and stature globally, after the dark days of PEV, through his network of connections and state visits, resulting in more investment in the country; an ongoing process (6) Ensuring implementation of road projects across the country he initiated even way back as Minister of Roads, Public Works and Housing (7) Overseeing the Task Force on energy that is ambitiously pursuing and so far successfully implementing an energy policy that is aimed at making the country energy sufficient besides helping in the overall growth of the economy (8) Having the government focus on the plight of the youth and yes, thus far successfully implementing KKV, whis is one of his initiatives working in conjunction with the World Bank (9) who can forget his vitendawilis and jovial self, which the country needs because it cannot always be grim, grim and doom as reflected by his opposition and lastly but not least (10) Successfully thwarting efforts by PNU to render him irrelevant in a country he was elected but not sworn as president, which is a solid plus on leadership ability.

It is for these reasons and more that Raila is gaining, not losing support across the country and ditto for the reason I and others strongly believe RAO will be our next president.

These are but some of the highlights of Raila’s accomplishments.

As I have previously said and you echoed in your post, 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.

Peace, Love and Unity

Omwenga

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2011 in Politics

 

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No Presidential Winner This Year, Says Ipsos-Synovate and Standard Online

Prime Minister Raila Odinga remains the most popular presidential candidate with 34 per cent of Kenyans indicating that they would vote for him.

According to results of the survey conducted by Ipsos-Synovate between October 15th-23rd, however, there would be no outright winner in the first round of presidential elections, if the elections were held today.

And neither will there be anyone eligible to be sworn as president, if the elections were held today.

The polls show Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta would beat Prime Minister Raila Odinga albeit by a slim margin in the popular vote, if the elections were held today and there is a run-off but neither will meet the minimum percentage of the popular vote margin mandated by the Constitution.

“Slightly more Kenyans (44 per cent) would vote for Uhuru and 41 per cent would vote for Raila in a run off,” read the results of the poll released on Friday by Ipsos-Synovate Managing Director, Maggie Ireri.

The new constitution mandates that a candidate shall be declared president if he/she receives more than half (over 50 per cent plus one vote) of all votes cast in an election.

It also requires that a presidential candidate garner 25 per cent of votes in each of the 47 counties.

We have no idea how these numbers breakdown by county as Ipsos-Synovate did not bother to find that out or they did but have chosen not share the data.

All we can tell is, the results of the survey released by the research firm indicated the probability of a run off. If you wish to know what probability, then you’ll have to figure that on your own as that’s not germane to our story line.

We also for this reason, namely, our story line, must say the study found out that a run off between the two would be contentious.

One editorial staff member suggested we use “very competitive” instead of “contentious” but he was shouted down and told to retreat back to his cubicle because saying things like that do not help in getting our paper off the stands or visits to our online version.

None of the eight presidential candidates who were sampled during the opinion poll that targeted 2, 000 respondents was able to garner 50 per cent plus of votes cast, which means if the elections were held today with all these people running, we will not have a winner, even in a run-off.

Don’t worry, though, because the elections will not be held today or tomorrow; rather, by the time we go to elections, a lot would have happened and many of these candidates would have either been bought off by those performing better than them but desperate, or they would happily and without money consideration throw their support behind those doing better than they are but who they genuinely believe in their cause and quest for the presidency.

The poll indicates that 34% of respondents will vote for Raila, 24 per cent of respondents would vote for Uhuru and Eldoret North MP William Ruto would get 10 per cent of the votes.

Other presidential aspirants such as Peter Kenneth, Raphael Tuju and others would garner less than two percent of the votes, the survey show.

On the run off, the opinion poll indicated that Raila would beat Ruto by 46 per cent to 29 per cent, while a contest between the PM and Kalonzo would end up with Raila getting 44 per cent against the VP’s 37 per cent.

Ireri observed that a large number of respondents (15 per cent) remained undecided about whom they would vote for in the run off.

“This proportion of undecided voters would be enough to tilt the win either way. Our experience over the last nine years of conducting political opinion poll surveys has proven that the undecided proportion has to be less than five per cent for any survey results to be conclusive,” she noted.

We have no idea who these 15% undecided are but doubt very seriously they are undecided as they claim.

Chances are these are supporters of one of the candidates who cannot bring themselves to say they’ll support him or her but know for certain they are going to quietly and happily cast the vote for him or her.

Imaginations are running wild in our editorial Boardroom as to who these are and we think we know exactly who it is, but we’ll not spoil the fun in outing them; we’ll just let you do your own imagination and we shall compare notes after the elections.

But it could also emerge these are people deliberately not included in the survey to reach a desired outcome.

Either way, we shall find out who these really are for they shall of course tilt the scales when it’s all said and done.

The results show if there were to be a run-off today, Uhuru’s support will come mainly come from Central and Eastern with some from Rift Valley Provinces, an indication that playing the tribal card with the help of members of the G7 alliance has yielded some tribal fruits.

It also emerged that Raila’s support was predominately from his stronghold of Nyanza, Western and Coast provinces, as well as from the Rift Valley where he is doing and continues to do better than expected.

These results must be good news for the G7 alliance that has been toying with the idea of either fielding a single presidential candidate against Raila or all the four presidential aspirants –Uhuru, Ruto, Kalonzo and Wamalwa go to 2012 polls then force a run off.

The only thing standing in the way of this G7 scheme, are Kenyans who believe elections for such an important office cannot be entirely and wholly based on stopping someone from being elected merely because he is singly better than everyone else running, singly or collectively.

The other little detail in the way of this G7 scheme, is a ruling by The Hague based International Criminal Court to commit to trial or set free any of the presidential aspirants on the “Ocampo six’ list which will certainly disrupt this G7 scheme and change the political platform in the country.

The Ipsos-Synovate opinion poll survey further indicated that 49 per cent of those who voted for President Kibaki in 2007 were most likely to vote for Uhuru in the 2012 elections while 11 per cent would vote for Raila, which means that Raila will likely get about 11% of the votes from the former Central province, 49% to Uhuru and the rest to be shared among the remaining candidates.

This distribution will be a significant shift in the voting pattern in the area and, in fact, will be a welcome improvement over the past when nearly 100% of the vote went to one person.

It will also be an improvement for Raila from 2007 when he made a good showing in the area, counting only genuinely cast votes.

As for Raila and his support from the last elections, 62 per cent of the respondents who voted for him in 2007 would still vote for him while 16 per cent were for Ruto, which means the much talked about Ruto playmaker advantage does not exist.

The study shows that Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka will get nine per cent, Gichugu MP Martha Karua five percent and Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa two per cent.

The question everyone is asking here is, who are these 2% saying they’ll vote for Eugine?

“Your guess is as good as mine,” said Eugene when contacted by our resident Western reporter Mwana wa Ingo, adding, “I don’t even think there are that many people supporting me for re-election in my own constituency!”

At least another intellectually honest politician from a class where most, if not nearly all are not.

We need more of intellectually honest politicians to save our country from going further down the path of lies, distortions and innuendo that explains why Raila is not running off with this thing even as we speak because there is little doubt the man lost some ground due to these unfortunate and reckless tactics.

Fortunately for him and the country, however, there is plenty of time between now and elections to continue regaining the lost ground and build on more support across the country to outright win the elections on the first ballot or trounce his opponent in the event we have a run-off and be sworn as president.

Peace, Love and Unity

Omwenga.

***The foregoing is a parody of a story appearing on Standard Online***

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2011 in Politics

 

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Who Is Martha Karua Part IV

In Minimum Qualities, Attributes and Skills Our Next President Mus Possess, I set forth an objective criteria that should be used to evaluate presidential candidates in deciding who among them should get our nod to be our next president.

In that blog, I noted as follows:

To be sure, leadership is a subject that has been studied for centuries and many scholars have tried to define what it is exactly but none has had lasting acceptance.

Analyzing these studies is beyond the scope of this piece but I have drawn from these studies qualities, attributes and skills (QAS) I believe are essential and a must have for the person we elect as our next president and these are:

  1. Religious Conviction
  2. Honesty, Trustfulness and Integrity
  3. Firm Educational Foundation and Wisdom
  4. Experience and Exposure
  5. Inspiration, Vision and Self-Confidence

It is my belief applying these QAS to select our next president will result in the election of the most apt and suitable president at this time in our history.

I then go on at length in that blog, expounding on what these qualities entail and why I think they are apt, if applied properly, in helping us choose an ideal or at least the best leader we can have under the circumstances, given the candidates we have vying for the presidency.

I now apply these qualities and evaluate the candidacy of Hon. Martha Karua (HMK), in this next to last series on her (see my archives for earlier parts).

I will, in the future, analyze other candidates as well.

  1. Religious Conviction.

I don’t have much to go by here other than HMK’s own declaration during an interview with Jeff Koinange on K24 during the referendum in which she emphatically declared that she is a Christian.

How much or less of a Christian she is, I just don’t know and neither her or anyone from her campaign has responded to my phone call and SMS seeking input for this next to last piece on her.

I would therefore simply give HMK the benefit of doubt and say being a Christian, she has been exposed to the teaching of Christianity, especially as it regards to treating others with compassion and love.

2.   Honesty, Trustfulness and Integrity.

This is a tough one and not just for HMK, but for everyone running for president, or for any public office for that matter.

All politicians are not honest or trustworthy to begin with, so do most people believe and except for a few here and there, few people would believe most, if not all politicians have not been involved in questionable transactions of one kind or another, or otherwise engaged in conduct that may be said to adversely reflect on their honor and integrity.

In the end, this may be a question of degree, as opposed to absolute terms.

Be as it may be, the direct question to ask about HMK and all others seeking office, for that matter, is does she pass the threshold set forth under Chapter Six of the Constitution and my answer is, yes she does.

I have no doubt many can look back to HMK’s conduct post-election 07 (PEV) and conclude HMK is the most dishonest, untrustworthy and certainly without any integrity and that would be on the surface, the appropriate conclusion to reach, but there is more to it than that.

There is no question, HMK came across during those grim days as shrewdly cold and recklessly inflexible, all the while advising Kibaki to take the most of hardline positions while the country was about to plunge into civil war, not to say anything about people having already been burned in churches and their homes with streets and homes still on fire.

This was clearly not something you would expect from an honest person and one with honor and integrity; you would have expected such person, at the minimum, to be reconciliatory and accommodating, given the facts known then and that is, Kibaki had flagrantly stolen the elections.

I know the media, and out of respect for the reconciliation finally reached, refer to the 07 outcome as “disputed” or that “nobody knows who won” but there is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Raila won the elections by far, Kibaki and crew just made sure he was not sworn as president.

For her hardline position, and advising Kibaki not to relent even under the tremendous pressure being applied from everywhere, and despite the obvious need to so relent, if anything, to stop the violence, one can and should rightly say or conclude that HMK was then wallowing at the height of impunity.

It therefore would be easy to conclude HMK lacks this trustfulness and honesty elements, when evaluating her leadership ability, solely based on her conduct post-election but I think this would be unfair.

HMK’s honesty, trustfulness and integrity, must be measured in totality, meaning in examining her complete personal and professional, including her political life.

Starting with her conduct during PEV, this is clearly her biggest stain on her trustfulness, honor and integrity but she has explained her conduct as being driven by a desire to serve her master as zealously as she could.

In other words, in her quest to please Kibaki, HMK crossed the line without knowing to a level of zealotry that completely ignored or disregarded reality.

Or put differently, HMK was for impunity before she became against it but unwittingly so, according to her explanation.

If this is her explanation, it is understandable and forgivable, especially given the fact she has since decamped from the Kibaki regime, even though listening to how she puts it, her distancing herself from Kibaki has more to do with not standing Kibaki’s kitchen-cabinet than anything related to her PEV conduct or role.

I’ll give her a pass on that.

Beyond PEV, I have not heard of HMK as being implicated in conduct unbecoming an honest and trustworthy public servant with integrity to boot.

I dismiss as not particularly relevant stories reported in the media about HMK being car-jacked in car she was only with a priest and no security detail near or anywhere around, if anything on double standard grounds: no man would be held to account for anything of that nature, even if the inferences and insinuations from the incident were true.

Besides the issue of impunity I discuss above, I have never heard anyone accuse HMK as being corrupt or harboring corruption and that being the case, I would give her at least a passing grade on integrity.

That being the case, I therefore would have to conclude HMK meets the integrity threshold under the Constitution and cannot be disqualified to run for president on this ground.

3. Educational Foundation and Wisdom

HMK studied law at the University of Nairobi from 1977 to 1980.  Between 1980 and 1981 she was enrolled at the Kenya School of Law for the statutory post graduate law course that is a prerequisite to admission to the Kenyan roll of advocates and licensing to practice law in Kenya.

HMK therefore has the requisite educational foundation and wisdom to be elected president

4.  Experience and Exposure.

After graduating from Kenya School of Law, HMK worked in the Judiciary as a District Magistrate rising to a Senior Resident Magistrate at the time of leaving the Judiciary in 1987.

During this period, she was in charge of Makadara Law Courts from 1984 to 1985 and Kibera Law Courts from 1986 to 1987 when she left to start her own law firm. In the year 1987 Martha Karua formed Martha Karua & Co. Advocates which she operated till the year 2002.

While in practice, Karua presented many pro bono cases notable among them the treason trial of Koigi Wamwere and the late Hon. Mirugi Kariuki.

HMK is credited for having significantly contributed to the development of family law and especially the distribution of matrimonial property as well as constitutional and administrative law.

HMK was a member of the opposition political movements that successfully agitated for the reintroduction of multi-party democracy in Kenya in the early 1990s.

Kenya was at the time under the authoritarian rule of KANU, the only legally recognised political party in Kenya at the time, and which was led by then president Daniel arap Moi.

HMK joined Kenneth Matiba’s Ford-Asili party but lost the party nomination ticket to the wealthy and influential former Head of Public Service Geoffrey Kareithi.

HMK was then offered a ticket and support by the Democratic Party of Kenya (DP) elders who wanted a clean break from the Kareithi – Nahashon Njuno rivalry.

Karua won the 1992 general election to become the MP for Gichugu constituency, which she has represented since, and in doing so, she became the first woman lawyer to be popularly elected to Parliament.

In 2002, HMK joined Raila and other “KANU Rebels” who split from KANU and formed the political coalition NARC that won the 2003 General Election in Kenya and defeated Moi’s Uhuru Project, effectively putting an end to KANU’s nearly four decades of choke-hold on power in Kenya.

To be continued.

In Part V, I conclude the series on HMK

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Politics

 

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Who Is Martha Karua Part I

Who Is Martha Karua Part I

Hon. Martha Wangari Karua (HMK), born 22 September 1957, is a Member of Parliament for Gichugu Constituency and an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya. HMK rose to national prominence following the disputed elections of 2007 when she became one of the most hardline advisers to President Mwai Kibaki and was rewarded for her efforts with re-appointment as Minister of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs, a position she held until resigning from it in April 2009, blaming her departure on Kibaki’s other hardcore inner-cabinet that had sought and succeeded in rendering her a lion without claws.

HMK was born in Kirinyaga District, Central Province of Kenya; she is the second born in a family of eight siblings, four girls and four boys. She studied law at the University of Nairobi from 1977 to 1980 and between 1980 and 1981 she was enrolled at the Kenya School of Law for the statutory post graduate law course that is a prerequisite to admission to the Kenyan roll of advocates and licensing to practice law in Kenya. HMK embarked on her professional career in 1981 as a magistrate and was promoted 3 years later to resident magistrate in charge of Makadara Law Courts for about 1 year and later Kibera Law Courts where she served for another year before exiting judicial service in 1987 to start her own firm, Martha Karua & Co. Advocates which she operated until 2002.

HMK was part of the opposition political movements that successfully agitated for the reintroduction of multi-party democracy in Kenya in the early 1990s. She joined Kenneth Matiba’s Ford-Asili party but lost the party nomination ticket to the wealthy and influential former Head of Public Service Geoffrey Kareithi. She was then offered a ticket and support by the Democratic Party of Kenya (DP) elders who wanted a clean break from the Kareithi – Nahashon Njuno rivalry. Karua won the 1992 general election to become the MP for Gichugu constituency and the first woman lawyer to be popularly elected to Parliament. She was also appointed as the party’s legal affairs secretary between 1992 and 1997.

In 2001, when the Constitutional Review Bill was laid before the House, the entire Opposition with the exception of Karua walked out of Parliament. The Bill had been rejected by the Opposition as well as Civil Society but HMK in her first display of stubborn inflexibility based on her convictions, took the view that as elected representatives, instead of walking out, it would be more prudent to remain in Parliament and put the objections on record which she did.

HMK later enjoyed the coattails of the political coalition NARC that won the 2003 General Election in Kenya with Kibaki at the helm, having been put there by his friend and now co-leader of Kenya, Raila Amolo Odinga (RAO) with his “Kibaki Tosha” electrifying speech. The NARC coalition not only ended KANU’s nearly four decades of stranglehold on leadership in Kenya’s politics by trouncing Daniel Arap Moi’s handpicked successor, Uhuru Kenyatta, it also put all future presidents on notice that you cannot impose your wishes on the country just because you are president; the people actually matter in deciding their destiny thus the Uhuru Project in this respect was the first and last, poorly as it was conceived or otherwise.

That is the way it should be but I digress.

Following the disputed elections of 2007 in which many, including international observers believed Kibaki had lost handsomely, the country erupted in what nearly became a civil war. With pressure mounting from within and from outside, Kibaki was quickly forced to face reality and seek a resolution of the crisis short of his remaining president as though he had won outright.

To this end, Kibaki appointed HMK as one of his negotiators with the RAO team under the direction of Kofi Annan. During the negotiations, HMK displayed some of the most unyielding and hardline stances the country had seen to date and probably forever.

Fortunately, however, the people’s prayers, Kofi Annan’s skill and dogged determination and Raila’s willingness to bend over backwards more than Kibaki did for the sake of peace, the parties agreed on a compromise that became the National Coalition government we currently have in Kenya.

As noted above, HMK was rewarded by Kibaki for her efforts by being re-appointed to the Cabinet albeit this time somewhat legally as Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister in the grand coalition Cabinet announced by Kibaki on April 13, 2008.

Meanwhile, HMK was endorsed as the national chairperson of the NARC-Kenya political party on November 15, 2008 the old-fashioned way, namely, with virtually no competitive election during the party’s national delegates’ convention at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi where all officials including HMK were simply endorsed to their respective offices. So much for democracy but I digress again.

Not liking the medicine from the cabinet she once filled with her own dozes to be served by His Excellency President Emilio Mwai Kibaki, especially during the crisis, HMK resigned as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs on April 6, 2009, citing frustrations in discharging her duties.

Not much else is remembered about what HMK did at Justice but in February 2009, she had a memorable and heated argument with the then Minister of Agriculture and now suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto at a cabinet meeting as the President sat quietly, watching the sparring ministers, according to a source at the meeting who said. “The President did not say or do anything. He just sat there quietly watching as the ministers took on each other. It was chaotic, hot and eruptive.” The two ministers had been sparring in public over a period of time, with HMK demanding Mr Ruto’s resignation over a maize scandal. Ruto did not resign then but he was ultimately suspended from the cabinet following a resumption of a fraud case against him which has since been dismissed Kenyan style but not to disappoint, the legal system has other things pending against Ruto putting his return to the Cabinet at best in the unknown category.

HMK’s combativeness not just with Ruto at that time but throughout her political career has earned her choice references, including the “Iron Lady,” the “only man” in the PNU Cabinet and others less favorable not fit to repeat here but love her or hate her, she is certainly a woman to reckon.

In her private life, HMK gained attention after she and a Catholic priest, Fr. Dominic Wamugunda, were carjacked and robbed on December 6, 2003. She said in Parliament that she was under no obligation to provide any explanation for why she was in Wamugunda’s car or what she was doing at the time of the carjacking. Responding to those wondering why her security guards were not with her at the time the crime occurred, classic HMK retorted that when she did not feel she needed the guards, she did not use them and that was pretty much the end of that story.

HMK has now declared she is running for the presidency in 2012.

Roaring in Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard, and as if to make this point, HMK and her party candidates beat Uhuru’s chosen candidates in two by-elections held on September 20, 2010 in Juja and Makadara where HMK’s candiates, William Kabogo and Gideon Mbuvi Kioko aka “Mike Sonko” picked the parliamentary seats respectfully much to the embarrassment of Uhuru and his party which had obviously underestimated her.

In Part II, I will continue my examination of HMK and her quest for the Presidency

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2011 in Siasa

 

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