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Raila’s Message to Mt. Kenya Regarding BBI

Raila and Central Governors(1)

Raila chairs private meeting with Governors from Central

If you haven’t watched or don’t have the time to watch Raila’s interview with KTN’s Tony Gachoka, I have taken the time to provide the following detailed report of what the handshake co-principal said in this wide-ranging interview to Kenyans in general, but more so to our brothers and sisters in Mt. Kenya region.

In sum, this was a message from Raila to Mt. Kenya folk reminding them BBI is not about him, but about the future of our country. Raila also spoke about ridding our society of hatred and instead learning to forgive one another, especially forgiving those who have wronged us much as Mandela forgave De Clerk and other tormenters and ditto as Raila forgave the late Mzee Moi.

It’s a long report so here are key parts of it, the full report follows.

Raila started off by saying people are obsessed with 2022, but Uhuru and he are focused the Big 4 agenda and making sure BBI is thoroughly examined and then a decision made on the way forward.

Kenya is bigger than 2022; the elections of 2022 will be an event that will come and go.
BBI will be there for ages to come once implemented and becomes law.
For those saying Raila is disrupting Jubilee, that’s just not true because he is not a member of the party, he does not attend their meetings and has his own party to run.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila shook hands because they agree on the way forward as a nation, especially in addressing serious problems that have crippled the country for decades.

The BBI Report is 200 pages; nobody is going to read it in the rural areas and thus the need to hold these conferences, followed by rallies in the regions this is being done.

These are all serious issues affecting each respective region and the affected communities are getting the opportunity to air them.

The process must go on to its logical conclusion and that is the next phase after the conferences and rallies end.

It is also the reason Raila says you can’t stop the Reggae.

Raila made a point to emphasize one can’t control what people have to say once given the opportunity to speak. The man with no shortage of humor noted the Latin expression “in vino veritas,” which means “in wine there’s truth” might help explain some of the objectionable things said at some of the rallies.

Raila said he feels sorry about those people who talk about dynasties because they do so out of ignorance as we have no dynasties in the country.

A dynasty means a system where power is handed down to younger generations on hereditary basis, meaning, following a bloodline.

That has never happened in Kenya and there’s no system or basis for it to happen.

Talking about hustlers, Raila said it’s in the public domain that in 1936, Moi was given a cow to take 100 km to sell in order to pay for school fees and he did that—that’s the original hustler, not the chopper hoping hustlers of today dishing looted money.

Moi came from being a teacher to LEGCO, to being president all by dint of his determined efforts and humility.

Now the hustlers are people who have become billionaires within a short period of time and don’t want you to ask how come but we all know how, said Raila.

Raila noted the cancer of corruption is eating at the fabric of the nation and it is something we must cure.

He wants Ruto to be part of this fight against corruption, rather than being against it while running around the country with bags and bags of money as a Christian.

That’s hogwash, declared Raila.

The interview came to a close with Raila noting it would be nice to have Uhuru at the Meru rally but all is good because the president is on board with him going to the region that is his backyard and it is the president who invited him to go there.

And now the FULL report:

Raila started off by saying people are obsessed with 2022, but Uhuru and he are focused the Big 4 agenda and making sure BBI is thoroughly examined and then a decision made on the way forward.

Kenya is bigger than 2022; the elections of 2022 will be an event that will come and go.

BBI will be there for ages to come once implemented and becomes law.

For those saying Raila is disrupting Jubilee, that’s just not true because he is not a member of the party, he does not attend their meetings and has his own party to run.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila shook hands because they agree on the way forward as a nation, especially in addressing serious problems that have crippled the country for decades.

There are those who are opposing BBI for the sake of opposing.

BBI has not even reached a stage of asking what needs to be done with it; right now, it’s simply an opportunity for Kenyans to air their views on it.

This is a broad discussion of the way forward.

The rallies are tail ends; before each rally, leaders from the region hold a conference to discuss and capture information from participants representing stake holders from the region.

That information is then put into a resolution, which is in turn put into an MoU.

Going to the rally is to obtain ownership of the MoU.

The BBI Report is 200 pages; nobody is going to read it in the rural areas and thus the need to hold these conferences, followed by rallies in the regions this is being done.

As for those seeing mischief in the regional approach, there is no such a thing as mischief or anything other than an effective manner to ensure maximum participation by the public in the deliberative process.

Kenya has regions; you cannot bring people from all of them together in one place and say let’s have a conversation.

That’s why a decision was made to hold regional conferences and rallies.

Each community in the region comes with their concerns, which are duly registered.

For example, in Kisii, the issues raised were about revenue sharing in devolved units, governance, and agriculture. In Kakamega, collapsed industries and economic growth topped the list. In Coast, issue of absentee landlord is big, minerals extraction and benefits to local communities is another big issue, ditto several others that were addressed during the conference and rally there.

In Ukambani issues of draught, hunger and agriculture were dominant.

In Narok historic injustices, land (pastoralism) and education were the dominant issues while in Garissa, education and security were dominant.

These are all serious issues affecting each respective region and the affected communities are getting the opportunity to air them.

The process must go on to its logical conclusion and that is the next phase after the conferences and rallies end.

It is also the reason Raila says you can’t stop the Reggae.

Asked if this message is aimed at Ruto, Raila said not so; Ruto is only one of 47 million Kenyans therefore nothing special about him.

This is a song intended to convey the message to all Kenyans BBI is a train moving to a destination and cannot be stopped on the way.

Raila noted Ruto was first for BBI, now he is opposed.

Asked if it was his plan all along to take BBI nationwide, Raila said there was a taskforce that was formed to address 9 points he and the president agreed must be addressed.

These 9 points must be addressed by the people, not just those in the taskforce.

The taskforce did just that by going and collecting views across the country and handed over the report to the president and Raila at the Bomas of Kenya.

Next step after Bomas was to isolate the issues and determine which needed only administrative action, which needed parliamentary action with presidential assent an which ones require amending the constitution.

This is the step we are in, and the conferences and rallies are designed to collect the needed feedback from the people.

The Steering Committee for BBI is holding townhall meetings where those not coming to rallies can go express their views.

Those not going to the forums have the option to go to the rallies.

Before each rally, there is a delegates meeting at a conference for the region to discuss and prepare an MoU with the help of Steering Committee members who attend the conference.

The MoU is prepared from resolutions of the Conference.

The MoU is then handed over to member of the Steering Committee.

The first thing that is done at each rally, is reading of the resolutions.

After reading the resolutions, the question is put to the crowd and the yeas and nays are taken and a declaration made as to who has the winning vote.

People are then given the opportunity to speak about the resolutions and whatever else that is in their minds.

It is important that people air what is bothering them.

Raila made a point to emphasize one can’t control what people have to say once given the opportunity to speak. The man with no shortage of humor noted the Latin expression “in vino veritas,” which means “in wine there’s truth” might help explain some of the objectionable things said at some of the rallies.

Raila expounded on the phenomenon noting someone would say something mean or hurtful to someone they love in a state of drunkenness and when the alcohol is gone from their bodies, they deny having said or seek forgiveness by the one hurt takes that to be the truth regardless of the excuse or apology because they were saying them from their unguarded conscience.

In the rallies’ context, people get excited by cheering crowds to say things that shouldn’t be said in public akin to someone saying things in the state of drunkenness.

Asked how he feels about those calling him and Uhuru as dynasties that must fall, Raila said ignorance is a disease.

Raila said he feels sorry about those people who talk about dynasties because they do so out of ignorance as we have no dynasties in the country.

A dynasty means a system where power is handed down to younger generations on hereditary basis, meaning, following a bloodline.

That has never happened in Kenya and there’s no system or basis for it to happen.

Instead, we have had leaders who have suffered in their quest to liberate our people and take power from those who did not want to give it up.

Jomo Kenyatta was a meter reader before he went to study abroad and later became leader of the struggle for independence.

He was jailed for 9 years.

He did not inherit power from anyone, let alone a family member.

Jaramogi came from a very poor background and struggled to provide for his family.

Raila has fought his own wars trying to liberate the people of Kenya and nothing has been handed down to him from anyone.

Kenyatta died in 1978 when Uhuru was a small boy and he (Uhuru) did not inherit the presidency, which would have been the case were this a dynasty.

Ditto the Odinga family; Raila did not inherit any hereditary power from Jaramogi when the latter died, so there’s no dynastic relationship to speak of other than by the ignorant.

Reminded that none other than DP William Ruto himself has said Uhuru and Raila are dynasties, and that only he is the hustler. Raila said the first hustler in Kenya was Jomo Kenyatta, then Jaramogi and a long list of other true hustlers, including the late former President Mzee Daniel Arap Moi.

Asked if he is afraid of the “Hustler nation,” Raila said he is part and parcel of the hustler nation, if there is one.

This is because he has been fighting for the liberation of the country from the bonds of bad governance, impunity and corruption.

Raila said this without noting the dear price he has paid along the way in this fight, so the interviewer Tony Gachoka asked what makes Raila Odinga not bitter and not wanting to talk about his incarceration.

Gachoka contrasted that to those in the courts seeking compensation for all manner of abuses thy suffered in past regimes.

Raila responded noting fighting for freedoms in the country is not a walk in the park.

There are people who have died fighting.

There are people who have been tortured and died.

Raila said Mandela came out of prison after 27 years and decided to embrace Dr. De Clerk because he decided that was the best way forward.

This is a good example to emulate by those who have been incarcerated like Raila for their involvement in struggles to liberate a country.

Asked why most of Central Kenya does not recognize or care about Raila’s fighting for the freedoms we enjoy today, including them, and instead using Raila to fight Uhuru, Raila said there will always be people who are misguided and bent on pulling people in different directions because of ignorance.

Raila said people have suffered greatly, many to death in 1992, 1997, 2007, 2013 and lately in 2017 all because of bad elections.

Why do people have to die? Pondered Raila.

Yes, Uhuru and Raila had the handshake but we can’t sweep all these atrocities under the carpet; rather, we must find a lasting solution because if you don’t, someone else will do the same thing and result in more bloodshed, destruction of property and deaths.

This is what BBI is intended to do, namely, find a lasting solution to these ills that have been persistent in the country for decades.

For example, we need to end marginalization and exploitation of communities such as the Maas who in Kenya who have suffered historic injustices than their brothers and sisters in Tanzani who feel more included in their country than those in Kenya do about our country.

Asked why there’s a misconception of bad blood between Luos and MT Kenya and Kikuyus specifically, Raila said this misconception is misplaced because Jaramogi stood and fought for Jomo Kenyatta’s release and when given the opportunity to take over and become our country’s leader instead of Kenyatta, Jaramogi declined, saying Kenyatta must be released first and he should be the one leading independent Kenya.

Jaramogi did that knowing Kenyatta was a Kikuyu and that was of no issue or concern.

When Raila said Kibaki tosha in 2002, he, too, knew Kibaki was Kikuyu and this was not of any concern or issue so this talk about bad blood between Luos and Kikuyus is something wholly made up by those who thrive in creating divisions and hatred for nothing.

Raila noted even long before he said Kibaki tosha, he had worked very closely with the late Kenneth Matiba in agitating for reforms back in 1992 and they were both arrested and taken into detention and its after this arrest that Matiba fatally suffered and never to fully recover to the day he died 2 years ago.

When Kibaki was injured, Raila said the campaign must go on and it did with him campaigning as vigorously for Kibaki to the point he earned the nickname “Muthogoria njamba.”
Asked whether he was afraid going to Mt. Kenya region as there are those saying he will not be allowed in the region, Raila brushed such threats off as empty talk, noting he was in Murang’a only last week and he was well received.

The man of parables and riddles said “Ngurumo ya chura haiwezi kuzuia ngombe kunywa maji” (a frog’s ribbiting cannot prevent a cow from drinking water,” meaning in this case all those making noise in Mt. Kenya region about Raila will not prevent him going there.

Raila said he’s muthoniwa going to visit his friends.

So, he is not afraid at all about the visit.

Asked what he talked about with the Mt. Kenya governors who paid him a visit at his offices on Upper Hill, Raila said they discussed issues affecting the Mt. Kenya region, which has about 10 counties, stretching from Nakuru to Tharaka Nthi.

He said the issues that are dominant in the region are education, farming and security

The governors invited him and will welcome him as their guest this Saturday and he looks forward to the visit.

Gachoka noted BBI has been joined by politicians from across the country and Raila noted this was expected as the process is akin to repeated mitosis in biology where a cell subdivides into many. Support for BBI is organically growing and spreading across the country because more and more people now understand what it is.

Many of these are Kenyans who have been wondering how things are ever going to change, having seen circle after circle of the same divisive, bloody and deadly elections and ills that remain unaddressed more than 50 years after independence.

Some of these people were about to give up but now having understood what BBI is all about, they are embracing it as our only solution to all these ills.

For example, some of these people had no opportunity at all to get a job, and if they did, they were denied simply because they come from a tribe that jobs were not availed for that tribe.

This is one of the ills BBI will fix as inclusivity is a big part of the proposed solutions.

Opportunity to do business and security is a big issue, especially in NEP where children are going to school and there are no teachers.

Raila said though not all counties have been visited in this phase of the process, more than 30 counties have already signed on as supporting BBI.

Raila said after Meru, next conferences and rallies will be Nakuru, then Isiolo, then Nyeri, then Eldoret, then finally Nairobi to bring BBI closer to home.

The idea is to cover all parts of the country and be as inclusive as possible.

As to those whining that have a restructured Executive will add to an already bloated government, Raila said the proposal is to have a Prime Minister and 2 deputies with a reduced cabinet so, you’re not adding on the expenditure.

Asked why he believes in people driven process, Raila said because ultimately governance is about people.

You need to know what the people want and what’s going on now is precisely that so when the process is done, the people will get what they want.

Raila spoke of how there was once before another handshake before the current one that shook the political landscape, that one involving Moi.

Raila said the country needed to start constitutional review to change the old constitution which was bad but the government could not get this done alone, neither would the opposition get it done alone so he and Moi agreed to shake hands and work together to get this done, and that is exactly what happened.

What Raila calls the “politics of cooperation” enabled the country to start a constitutional review process with Yash Gal Pal chairing the Committee of Experts that guided us through the process.

Asked if Ruto has a lock on Rift Valley votes no matter what, Raila said he still has many friends in the region working with him on the success of BBI notwithstanding the support Ruto has on account of blood is thicker than water.

He said many of those in Ruto camp are immature and, in a hurry to get to 2022 not understanding we can’t get to 2022 before we have BBI in place.

Raila said he has many friends in the region including governors of several counties such as Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Narok and Kajiado.

Governors of all these counties are with him and Uhuru in supporting BBI.

Asked if Kikuyus and other “foreigners” in Rift Valley should be concerned or worried were Raila to become president, the AU High Representative for Infrastructure and handshake co-principal said in the heart of hearts, everyone knows there is nothing to be worried or concerned about him becoming president.

He’s a unifier and all he has ever wanted is a progressive Kenya where Kenya can live happily and enjoy these freedoms he and others have sacrificed to achieve.

Gachoka then asked Raila about his relationship with Senator Moses Wetan’gula who he said had once promised to teach Raila a lesson after the handshake, specifically, Gachoka wanted to know whether the two men had forgiven each other.

Raila resonded saying there was nothing to forgive because they never wronged each other and noted the two still talk to each other.

As to the other NASA co-principals, Raila said he has a cordial relationship with Kalonzo

He said Musalia just has certain concerns which he expresses but this is not the right way to express them. He says specifically Musalia seems to have issues with the national debt but he fails to note there was a where control systems collapsed, especially since ICC and put us on the path we’re on but this will be fixed in due time.

Asked about his relationship with Charity N’gilu, Kitui Governor, Raila said the two indeed have a long history working together and this is still the case.

Raila noted Ukambani is behind BBI as all governors from there are on board and so is Kalonzo who has not been in the BBi rallies owing to understandable conflicts of schedule but has sent his message of support and greetings through Raila.

He said he’s working with Mutua and Kibwana alongside Ngilu to make sure BBI maintains the solid support in Ukambani and to see it through implementation.

Raila said same thing is happening in Central where the leaders there led by Governor Ann Waiguru are spearheading efforts to popularize BBI.

So, Mt Kenya is next to come onboard with BBI despite noise makers there.

The BBI brigade is starting with Meru and then eventually Nyeri in making sure the people of Mt. Kenya fully understand what BBI is about.

As the interview was winding down, Gachoka revisited the question of why Raila is not bitter or otherwise staying clear of talking about his suffering and incarceration for fighting for Kenyans.

Raila responded saying life is short; you can’t change the past but you can correct the future. The man who accepted nusu mkate that turned out not to be to bring peace in Kenya in 2008 said harboring hatred and seeking revenge for those who have wronged you doesn’t help but makes things even worse.

When one is in detention for as any period of time, let alone years, it is easy to hate and seek revenge given the opportunity but he doesn’t believe in that, citing the example of Nelson Mandela who was incarcerated for 27 years yet he forgave those who incarcerated and tormented him.

Raila said in the same spirit, he and the Odinga family forgave Moi.

For his turn, Moi attended his (Raila) children’s weddings.

Raila said he visited Moi twice when he was ailing and on one of the occasions, Moi told Raila he still has a cow he had promised Jr at his wedding.

Talking about hustler, Raila said it’s in the public domain that in 1936, Moi was given a cow to take 100 km to sell in order to pay for school fees and he did that—that’s the original hustler, not the chopper hoping hustlers of today dishing looted money.

Moi came from being a teacher to LEGCO, to being president all by dint of his determined efforts and humility.

Now the hustlers are people who have become billionaires within a short period of time and don’t want you to ask how come but we all know how, said Raila.

In the same vein, fact that Gideon is Moi’s son cannot prevent or hinder him from vying for any top office that may be available upon BBI implementation.

Moi retired 18 years ago and is now dead, so this is not the dynasty nonsense Ruto and his supporters have attempted to peddle but have failed to get traction with it because it is a false notion.

Noting Ruto has said he’s ready to fight Raila politically, Gachoka asked Raila whether he is ready to fight Ruto or or whether he fears the man.

Raila responded he doesn’t want to fight people at his age.

He reminded Gachoka and viewers that he recruited and brought Ruto to ODM where he honed his political skills, which he now wants to use to fight Raila but Raila is not interested as he is focused on more important things such as BBI implementation.

Raila noted the cancer of corruption is eating at the fabric of the nation and it is something we must cure.

He wants Ruto to be part of this fight against corruption, rather than being against it while running around the country with bags and bags of money as a Christian.

That’s hogwash, declared Raila.

The interview came to a close with Raila noting it would be nice to have Uhuru at the Meru rally but all is good because the president is on board with him going to the region that is his backyard and it is the president who invited him to go there.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2020 in Politics

 

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Time For A Political Tsunami in Kenya

tsunami

In my oped this week Time for Political Tsunami in Kenya, I make note conditions are ripe in Kenya for the opposition to mobilize mass rejection of Uhuru and his Jubilee government much the same way they rejected him in 2002 when then president Daniel arap Moi attempted to force him down our throats.

I offer as reason (1) Uhuru’s amazing failure to take advantage of his being sworn as president to unite the country, which he has clearly failed to do (2) his failure to curb, let alone fight corruption that has exploded to fatalistic levels and (3) his failure to implement much of what he promised during the campaigns leaving Kenyans even worse than they were before he assumed office.

Excerpts:

There’s no arguing, however, that the white supremacists alone would not have elected Trump but in such a close election, their mobilisation in the key states where the Republican candidate needed to win made the difference.

Similarly, no amount of mobilisation of one tribe or two alone can ever elect one President in this country, given the 50 per cent plus one constitutional requirement. A presidential candidate must win 25 per cent of the votes cast in each of more than half of the 47 counties.

Going strictly by the numbers of raw votes cast, this did not happen in 2013 — again, something diehard Jubilee supporters know but cannot publicly admit. We were nonetheless told by the Supreme Court that Uhuru Kenyatta’s election as President was constitutionally valid.

We accepted and moved on. But we now have another opportunity, in a few months time, to elect our next President.

Are Kenyans revulsed by what the Jubilee government has done or failed to do such that they will in huge numbers come out to vote against it and say ‘enough is enough’ as they did in 2002?

The opposition certainly thinks so. That’s why the talk of the National Super Alliance is giving many in Jubilee sleepless nights. This is because were NASA to successfully launch, it’s bye bye to all of them and hello to new leadership in this country.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2016 in Politics

 

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The Evil That Must Be Defeated In Kenya

 

jomo1

My resumed column published in the The Star:

As we have sped past 52 years since our beloved country became independent, those who have been alive at least that long recall being taught in school how the colonists came with a Bible on one hand and a gun on the other.

They then went on to colonize us and the rest of Africa, utilizing the strategy of divide and rule.

For those who don’t know, divide and rule strategy is accomplished by breaking up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy in order to gain and maintain power and control over the subjects. As stated in the Journal of Socialist Theory the primary objective in this strategy is to prevent smaller power groups from linking up, causing rivalries and fomenting discord among the people.

Among the elements that comprise this strategy include, “creating or encouraging divisions among the subjects to prevent alliances that could challenge the sovereign, aiding and promoting those who are willing to cooperate with the sovereign and fostering distrust and enmity between local rulers.”

If the white man succeeded in implementing this strategy throughout their rule in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa, the Africans who succeeded them in post-colonial times took the concept even further and made it a mainstay of our post-independence politics.

So much so such that today, when we talk of democracy in Kenya—or Africa for that matter we’re not talking of democracy as understood in Western parlance but a system of rule solely predicated on this divide and rule concept better known and understood as tribal and ethnic based politics.

All of this is perfectly understandable; what is incomprehensible is, why would a generation of people born post-independence not only fail to see and reject this antiquated notion of manipulation and control but, worse, why on earth would they embrace it as they do much to the detriment of not only their own interests but to the detriment of our beloved country’s interests.

This is not a rhetorical question but one every Kenyan of voting age should and must ask and answer as we head to another general election come 2017.

It is extremely depressing, saddening and at times simply annoying to see young and older people in social media and elsewhere so entrenched in their tribal cocoons and many to a man and woman shamelessly defending the ineptness, incompetence and corruption of the Jubilee government which all of us as Kenyans must admit, if we are to be honest, that they have failed not only to perform as promised, but they have also failed worse than any government before them.

Those who follow American politics know the country is undergoing a political season unlike anything they have seen in their life time and unlike anything that has happened in the country’s 200+ year history.

A demagogue by the name Donald J Trump has tapped into nascent racism and bigotry that has been percolating undetected in the country with a promise to “make America great again,” which is code for returning America to its racist past.

This is nothing but application of divide and rule that has been successful everywhere it has been applied but as we shall find out a week from today, this time the strategy will fail and the demagogue will surely be sent packing to wherever he came from.

The strategy will fail because a majority of those going to the polls would make the case enough of the nonsense, one cannot possibly ride on racism and bigotry to power and there are more of those who believe this than the racists and other cult-like followers of the demagogue.

It’s precisely what’s needed in our own beloved Kenya, namely, a majority of voters going to the polls come 2017 and saying, enough of the tribal and ethnic based politics, enough of being ruled by inept and incompetent governments and leaders who promise the moon when vying for office only to deliver nothing but more misery, hopelessness and poverty for everyone except themselves and their cronies.

This is the only way we can save our beloved country.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2016 in Law, Politics

 

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Let’s Pray For Our Beloved Country

We Are One

I have been away on travel last several weeks most recently in Kenya where I was invited and attended the National Prayer Breakfast held at Safari Park on
Thursday, May 29, 2014.

Several wonderful things and prayers were said that morning and the president himself in his closing remarks, said if half of the people present heeded the prayers or what was otherwise said, the country would be transformed for good in less than 1 year.

I was in transit when the Mpeketoni tragedy occurred and have since arrived home and been following some of what is being said on these blogs and elsewhere.

How I so hope and wish someone could recite or regurgitate what was said at that National Prayer Breakfast for that’s what we need, not the unbelievable divisive and hate-filled rhetoric I am still reading online it’s as if 2007/2008 PEV never happened or some people are unbelievably clamoring and baying for more blood.

I can’t think of anything more pitiful, shameless and reckless than that–especially knowing some of this is coming from people who are supposed to be educated beyond a machette wielding uneducated buffoon somewhere in the village ready to mow down anyone for no reason other than he perceives the person as the enemy who must be eliminated for having done nothing other than simply belonging to a different clan or tribe.

That’s a shame and a sad one indeed.

Let’s pray for our country for in God, anything is possible and right now the country collectively needs His intervention.

Peace, Unity and Truth

Omwenga

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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He’s Back! Enigma Raila Gives Statesman Speech To Packed Audience In Washington, DC

Raila Speech at Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC

In vintage Raila mode, our former prime minister Raila Odinga gave a statesman speech cum lecture at the Woodrow Wilson Center earlier today, giving his vision for Africa next 50 years while touching on hot topics in both his supporters’ and enemies’ minds and that’s the elections many believe he won but was yet again the victim of electoral theft.

In his view, Raila said he knows he won but has had to accept the Supreme Court’s verdict to the contrary for the sake of peace for our country and that’s the mark of a statesman.

Listen for yourself what the man had to say and you’ll agree with me why it’s apt to say what I have in the title of this blog.

Or take an Alka Seltzer in the event you’re having an upset stomach over this man’s unparalleled enigmatic ability in the whole of Africa save for a few others like him he shall share the stature for life.

I am here talking about the likes of Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrick Lumumba and others who put dealing with the needs and suffering of their people ahead of everything else as proven by their individual and painful sacrifices.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Politics

 

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Curbing Defamation and Hate Speech In Kenya

peace_love_unity image

In Curbing Defamation and Hate Speech In Kenya published in the Star today, I share my views and thoughts on these dual vices that afflicts many in these forums and on the ground.

In sum, the point I am making is while we must have the right to enjoy the freedom of expression enshrined in our constitution we fought for many decades to realize, that freedom must also be checked with punitive measures to prevent or minimize the ability of those who would use the freedoms to spew hate or engage in hate or malice driven evil deeds such as defamation.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Law, Politics

 

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All Else Having Failed Thus Far, Its Time Someone Occupies The Whole of Somalia

According to the Standard Online, President Kibaki has lauded the efforts of United Nations Security Council towards strengthening the operations of the African Union Mission in Somalia.

“Kenya welcomes the United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 2036 of 2012 that has reviewed the AMISOM future operations in Somalia, as recommended by the African Union,” said President Kibaki.

The President, however, noted that the resolution does not provide for a maritime component, which is critical to the eventual success of the campaign in Somalia, as well as the fight against piracy and international terrorism.

Speaking Thursday during the London Conference on Somalia at Lancaster House, London, President Kibaki said that a new and more dangerous theatre for terrorist action had emerged in Somalia following the involvement of Al Qaeda elements in the Al Shabaab insurgency.

To further enhance security in Somalia, President Kibaki underscored the need for the development of a Somali national security force.

Meanwhile, the BBC, reports that other world leaders attending the conference have urged Somalis to seize an “unprecedented opportunity” to rebuild their nation, at a gathering in London on the war-torn nation’s future.

UK Prime Minister noted ending threats of terrorism and piracy were in everyone’s interests, while Hillary Clinton said plans to elect leaders and adopt a constitution before August were “ambitious,” adding the mandate of the UN-backed interim government would not be extended any longer.

Representatives from many Somali factions are attending the London conference, but the Islamist group which controls much of the center and south of the country was not invited.

Somalia is the world’s worst failed state but PM Cameron and others believe it needs a “second chance”.

There have already been more than 15 attempts to end more than 20 years of fighting in Somalia

Mr Cameron told the gathered world leaders, who included Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi and UN chief Ban Ki-moon, that the world would pay a high price if it ignored the plight of Somalia.

“In a country where there is so little hope, where there is chaos and violence and terrorism, pirates are disrupting vital trade routes and kidnapping tourists,” he said.

During his speech, Somalia’s President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed called for an end to the arms embargo, saying: “We’re looking for security. We’re scared of tomorrow.”

Yoweri Museveni, the leader of Uganda – which has provided the bulk of troops for African Union (AU) forces in Somalia – told the gathering African solutions to African problems worked best.

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council approved a resolution increasing the number of AU troops in Somalia by 5,000 to more than 17,000. Council members also agreed to extra funding for the mission and to extend its mandate.

The UK says its increased focus on the country is justified as the activities of militant groups and pirates operating off the coast of Somalia pose a direct threat to British interests in the region and to both regional and global security.

Naval ships from the UK and other countries around the world have been sent to patrol the Indian Ocean off the Somali coast to deter pirate attacks.

They have foiled a number of kidnapping attempts in recent months but attacks continue – and have been staged further from the shore.

The UK has also said it cannot rule out sending more military advisers to boost its small team currently assisting Ugandan forces part of the AU mission.

Kenya has also sent troops into Somalia to tackle al-Shabab, blaming the group for a number of kidnappings on its territory last year. Its forces will now be absorbed into the AU force following the UN resolution.

All this is good and well but the solution may just be simply occupying Somalia.

The two countries with the most at stake on this issue, Kenya and Ethiopia should simply move in and occupy the country, backed with the entire AU and, if necessary, the UN.

They should rule the nation until the locals either come back to their senses and agree to once again become a one nation, curve it up to two or three countries or forever occupy it, if they don’t get serious in pursuing and reaching either of the two options.

These half-hearted or weak at best efforts are simply delaying the inevitable and that is, someone occupying the country which has proven over and over it does not deserve to be considered a sovereign nation.

The warloads who have made it impossible to establish a government system in Somalia should be simply rounded up and forced to either accept a nationally imposed government by the occupying forces or they simply must be incarcerated.

The world cannot just sit by and watch or take these endless ineffective approaches to a problem that cannot be allowed to go on forever and getting worse along the way.

No band of people, small or large, lethal or otherwise should be allowed to rain terror on the innocent and hold hostage a whole region, indeed, the whole world when we have seen decisive actions taken in other places to root out worse enemies.

There simply reaches a time the sovereignty of a nation must give way to what is more practical for its own good and for the sake of the rest of the world and there can’t be a better example of that than Somalia.

Again, occupying the country does not mean doing so infinitely but only as necessary to restore peace and security within and without it.

Granted, there are logistical and political considerations that may not be easy to execute beyond the theoretical but, given the gravity of the situation and the urgency of it, this should be accomplished with relative ease so long as the end objectives and means are well thought out and made clear from the outset by those with nothing but the clean intentions to meet those objectives.

Who Is In Control of What In Somalia

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Politics

 

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Ten Things For Kenyans To Be Thankful For This Year 2011

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

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

The public ones, I am dividing them into two:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace, Unity and Progress

Omwenga

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Politics, Social

 

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Bravado and Pride of Luos: Fact or Myth and If Fact, Is There Anything Wrong With It?

I read with interest an article yesterday in the East African Standard Online titled, Bravado and Pride, the Key Tenets of the Luo which essentially says or purported to make the case that Luos have a “flamboyant nature and sense of style founded on three tenets, pakruok (self praise), nyadhi (bravado) and sunga (pride).

For the convenience of those pressed with time, the following are excerpts from the article:

“It is not uncommon to find a [Luo soccer] fan putting on a jersey inscribed with the writings reading owad gi agwambo (Agwambo’s brother), Wuod Gem (I hail from Gem) denoting that the wearer is proud of his birth place while wuoyi mosomo (highly educated) indicating the wearer’s high level of education.”

“This is in addition to their polished and eloquence in command of the English language, otherwise known as The Queen’s English.”

“The Luo tribe also brags of many professionals dominant in nearly every area of Kenya’s economic sectors and policy making.”

A man from former Central Province interviewed for the article, said, “”These brothers of ours are the most versatile of our tribes. They pride themselves in being the hardest working and most learned in Kenya. They can be found in large numbers in all social groupings, from the manual labourers in the quarries to university halls the world over, they are found everywhere.”

All this bravado and expression of pride is done in good faith, said another person interviewed for the article, professor Ouma Onyango, a history lecturer at Maseno University.

Another contributor, a psychologist, sees nothing wrong with bravado and expression of pride, if not done in excess.

“There is nothing wrong in praising yourself if you have done something really good. It is praising yourself in front of other people that is wrong, because people might think you are bragging about your achievements and qualities, sort of blowing your own trumpet in front of others, which I guess no one likes,” said the psychologist, Paul Maranga.

Curious after reading this article, I posted it in its entirety a forum with a fair balance of Luos and other tribes and ethnicities, wishing to know what their take on it would be.

First, I was surprised at the dearth of responses; I certainly anticipated this would generate an interesting discussion about tribalism and ethnicity, outside of the usual political prism, even though there is no separating politics from the issue.

Second, the couple of responses I saw were hardly surprising as they were from individuals I assume are Luos, affirming the same concept.

The one non-Luo who contributed in the thread, essentially found fault in my posting the article for discussion, which I could not and still can’t see what that could possibly be.

I have since reflected on the article and have several observations.

To begin with, there is no doubt this is a sensitive subject in as much as it goes to the core of who we are as individuals and in many ways, it forces us to look at both ourselves inwardly but more importantly, it exposes our vulnerabilities both from a practical point of view, and culturally to the point any expression of views on it to others becomes circumscribed for fear of the unknown.

In other words, we cannot express ourselves fully on an issue like this without fear of being branded arrogant tribalists, in the case of a Luo who does so express oneself agrees with the article or a brooding tribalist and hater, in the case of one who so expresses oneself in disagreement.

But this need not be the case.

As the psychologist said in the article, there is nothing wrong to express pride for oneself of one’s community; the problem is if one does it excessively.

What is excessive?

That’s the question but it’s not one which renders itself to a simple answer.

As in such questions, the answer depends on any number of factors and circumstances presented for evaluation.

The soccer fan at Nyayo Stadium with a jersey announcing he is from such and such village, is probably out-of-place.

It’s not villages that are in competition, but groups of villages, as represented by these teams therefore the promotion of one village over the others is in by itself the definition of anti-teamwork, which is necessarily counterintuitive and counterproductive, if displaying such messages intended to express oneness with the team, or support for it.

Ditto for a blogger in a forum, who announces he or she is from such and such village; which village where one comes from, is not relevant in a discussion of national issues but is very relevant in the discussion of regional issues, thus, in a forum, say, dealing with Lake region issues, such pronouncements are appropriate.

Let them try and out-do each other as to who is from which village and why that’s important or something to be emulated, if that’s the purpose for such declarations.

I suppose the reason people find it offensive or unacceptable to make such declarations in either regional or national fora, is it is assumed such declarations are intended to make those from other villages feel less Luo or worthy of mention, if in a regional Luo forum, or less Kenyans and humans for that matter, if in a national forum.

I personally never think so and actually find such declarations almost comical.

Now, on the larger question of bravado and pride, I find it a fascinating subject because it’s both a good thing but equally undesirable.

I come from a family of 10, with one mother, who is still around and we are thankful to God for that.

Our Mzee passed on a few years ago but if there is one thing he left in all of his children starting from our oldest now over 70 and retired to yours truly, who is the youngest, it’s never to chest-thumb or otherwise brag and none of us ever has and doubt ever will, as anyone who knows us will tell you.

There is greatness in being humble, but don’t be average either.

That was the lesson all of us learned from our Mzee who, having retired early as the head of the African Tribunal Court, went on to become a highly respected member of the community, besides becoming a staunch Adventist and elder of our SDA Church to the day he passed on.

I am glad I and my siblings learned this lesson and applied it in our lives as we grew up and hopefully have passed it on to our children (to say we have, is not to be humble so I can’t say we have or have not, or is it?).

But is being the opposite necessarily a bad thing?

In other words, isn’t there some utility in bravado and one proudly expressing oneself?

I think so, but only to some extent.

This, namely bravado and proudly expressing oneself and its appropriateness, in fact, becomes one of degree, but the question, as I posed above becomes, when is such expression excessive?

There are two extremes of this, as in many things, ranging from the most arrogant to the most humble.

Neither end is a desirable position to be, albeit for different reasons I address below.

Here in the US, there is a Radio Talk Show host by the name Rush Limbaugh, who someone once published a book he aptly titled, “Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot.”

That book sold like hot cakes and its author, Al Franken, is now a United States Senator.

This Big Fat Idiot, Rush Limbaugh must win hands-down, the title, the World’s Most Arrogant Person, and all you have to do, is to listen to the various ways he introduces himself to know he takes the title hands down:

“Talent on Loan from God,” “Maha-Rushi” (from Maharishi, a great sage);     “Serving humanity just by being here, and it doesn’t matter where here is,” “exuding knowledge and information with half my brain tied behind my back, just to make it fair” (this from a High School-drop-out), “Doctor of Democracy” and so on.

We all know Idi Amini and the titles he bestowed on himself in his foolish believe that would make him the super military general he was not but for his effort, he must be mentioned alongside this Big Fat Idiot Rush Limbaugh for he must be his runner-up.

These two are representative of the one extreme of self-expression but say what anyone can about the Big Fat Idiot Rush Limbaugh, he has a cult-like following among Republicans and even non-Republican listeners that have for decades made him the #1 Talk Show Host and a position he has maintained unchallenged all those years because he knows how to grab and keep his audience with endless rants and raves about Democrats and hubris.

So much such that when he brags about himself, these mindless listeners believe him and often acknowledge and remind him as much.

On the other end of the scale, there is extreme humbleness, which is a form of weakness and here, the perfect example is Jimmy Carter.

You cannot find in any country’s history, a president more humble than Jimmy Carter, yet, he was deemed a failure, even though he redeemed himself after leaving office to become the most popular president out of office in American history, right up there with the likes of Dwight Eisenhower, FDR and JFK Kennedy, men who in their own time, were humble in their own ways albeit to a much lesser extent than Jimmy Carter.

In between, these two extremes, there is a variety of self-expression and manifestation of assuredness and humility or lack thereof that ranges in degree from the acceptable to the unacceptable.

Where are the Luos in all of that? Is it as the article implied on the Limbaugh end or the Carter end, or neither?

In my view, this is necessarily a mischievous rap on Luos.

Luos have no more bravado and neither are they more openly expressive of their pride than any other tribe in Kenya.

This may be true among the younger generation of Luos but in time, as people move away from their enclaves and interact with others, some of the learned habits are unlearned and a blending of attitudes and mannerisms occur such that it makes no difference where one tribally or ethnically comes from but that does not mean there are not those left with their old habits and manners they are unable to shake.

I therefore reject this notion that bravado and expression of self-pride is the stable of Luos but would readily agree, if it’s a matter of propensity we are talking about, then there is amble anecdotal evidence to suggest its more likely than not a Luo would manifest bravado and more readily and comfortably show his or her pride than similarly situation folk from other tribes but only up-to a certain age.

Talking about pride and arrogance, many a politician or wannabes politicans have again and again been jettisoned from politics because of enlarged egos brought about by too much bravado and arrogance.

To be sure, pride in oneself, self-assuredness and confidence are key and required elements of a successful political career.

However, those same traits must always be put in check, especially as against other politicians.

PLO is being shown the door, not for incompetence in running KACC, in my view, but because he was perceived by the politicians as being arrogant and essentially telegraphing that he believed he had them all in his hand to threaten and abuse at will, which is the height of arrogance but less than the Big Fat Idiot Rush Limbaugh’s because the latter can express it and get away with it but not the former.

To be continued.

Peace, Love and Unity

Omwenga.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Musings, Social

 

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My Musings And Recollections About Life III

Most of us have literally grown and come of age in the Diaspora, having come here when we were very young. I was barely 20 when I first landed in the United States and, like many before me, and I assume others that followed, I had no clue what to expect other than life was supposed to be closer to what was depicted in the TV show Dallas, which I used to enjoy watching before venturing to the US, than what it actually was or became.

Having been in these foreign lands for close to three decades, I can say I have seen and done it all—well, almost all and would some-day like to pen a book to memorialize some of it for posterity’s sake.

And, boy, do we have stories we can tell about life in America!

Some, we can laugh about them now but they were not laughing matters at all when they happened. For example, when I first came to the US, folded and tucked neatly in my suitcase was a price possession from my last days of high school: very expensive—even by today’s standard, pink corduroy jeans.

Yes, pink corduroy, jeans!

Now, without having any clue, I would wear these pair of jeans with a shirt that did not often match, complete with an eagle necklace and matching gold bracelent and head to a favorite club down the street with my friends in the hopes of, of course, ahh…having fun and bringing home a trophy to account for the hard work.

I did this a few different times until one lady friend I met in one of these excursions, and would later date, told me pink was a color of choice for homosexuals!!!!

I was shocked, disgusted and traumatized for days and weeks but I finally somewhat got over it.

I up-to that point had no idea that homosexuality existed! In fact, I refused to believe there were Kenyan gays at home or even here in the US until just recently when I resigned to the fact in disbelief when I was given names including some very prominent people.

What a shocker it was though back then when I first found out that homosexuality even existed.

Fast forward and these days apparently pink is a mainstream color but you’ll never see me wearing it regardless.

Interestingly, there was a story here in the US the other day where parents “gave in” to their 7-year or so old boy’s wishes to be dressed in pink and as a ballerina.

Seeing the way the boy looks and talked, one could not but conclude he is definitely heading there but the question is, where did that come from? Naturally? I doubt it; it’s parents like these who contribute to this anomaly.

Indeed, I told my wife when watching the story that if this was in a normal African or Kenyan household, the boy will be whipped so silly he will be seeing different colors other than pink.

I was bound to find out about homosexuality back in those days sooner or later and sooner it was: Those days, Kenyans used to have weekly house parties and never liked going to clubs (only handful of us were adventurous enough to do so) so one time there was this house party taking place.

Having worked double shifts in addition to going to school and after a few drinks, several party goers–all men–decided to crash in one bed at least to get some zzzs before facing another day of school and double shift of work.

The partying got louder into the wee hours so a neighbor called the police, who upon entering the apartment, found several of the Kenyan male partiers totally passed out on the one bed!

It took some serious convincing of these officers that this was purely an innocent thing; the dudes had merely gotten drunk and tired and decided to crash before time was up to go to school and work again, and nothing more.

Fortunately, the police believed us and simply told us the party was over, and thus spared these innocent fellas from being busted for sodomy, which is still a crime in Texas.

We may now know that homosexuality exists among Kenyans, but I still find it to be an abomination that must never be allowed to sully traditional notions of family and by that I mean, let the homosexuals have as many rights as they can have, but we must draw the line at not allowing them to marry or openly engage in anything that defies our natural orientation and sensibilities, such as kissing in public or otherwise displaying acts of affection in public.

I should hasten to add I also do not approve of even heterosexuals doing the same, albeit for different reasons which have to do with degree as opposed to the acts themselves.

Thus, discrete to moderate is okay, excessive and exhibitionist not okay.

My position is, let the gays do these in the confines of their own privacy and ditto for the excessive and exhibitionist types.

I know some would rush to assume I am homophobic by saying what I have but I am not.

As president of the Student Bar at my law school in the mid-90s and in charge of distribution of funds to various student organizations, I made it a point to secure funding for an organization for gay and lesbian students, which was previously shunned and ignored at the school.

Indeed, this was true of gay rights across the country at the time.

As it were, a leader of the gay organization happened to be a friend but I had no clue he was gay and did not secure funding for the organization because of him.

I just knew it was the right thing to do that is why I hold the position I do, and that is, let’s not deny homosexuals rights everyone enjoys but let’s draw the line on interfering with traditional notions of family and our natural sensibilities about things of this nature for doing otherwise would, indeed, mark the end of the world but as an Adventist, it just might also bring about the return of the Messiah—not necessarily a bad thing.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2011 in Musings

 

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