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NASA Has Done Well, But Challenges Lie Ahead

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My Star oped last weekend:

When Illinois Senator Barack Obama gave his maiden speech at the Democratic Party Convention in 2004, many saw the emergence of a new star in American politics.

Few, however, believed he would rise so fast to hold the highest office in the land. And even fewer believed they’d see a black US President in their lifetime. Many are still in disbelief that Obama was elected President, not once, but twice.

Just as there were many who never believed a black man, let alone Obama, could be elected US President, so there are many who don’t want or believe a Luo and Raila Odinga in particular, will be elected President.

Those who believed that a black man could not become President in the US did so solely based on racism and nothing else. Dr Martin Lurther King’s message that judge a man by the content of their character and not the colour of his skin fell on deaf ears when it came to this lot.

Much as racism was the determining factor for those resisting the presidency of a black man, so too is tribalism and deep hate is a major factor in those who don’t want a Luo and Raila to become our President.

Those deeply entrenched in the corrupt system in Kenya, and who stand to lose the most were Raila to be elected the head of state, have successfully exploited this tribalism-based hatred of Raila to deny him the presidency twice.

It is said the third time is the charm and, going by what has happened thus far, this third time, indeed, would be the time Raila cannot be denied.

The key to this is simply a united opposition, woven together with its realisation that, together, victory is at hand but, divided, would be nothing but a guarantee that Jubilee will remain in power.

Neither they nor the country can afford that for if the opposition doesn’t unite and the result is another five years of the same dearth of progress and development thwarted by historic levels of corruption. Then, for sure, they shall be rendered irrelevant for the rest of their lives.

Put another way, the only way to remove Jubilee from power is a united opposition and that’s as true for August 8 as it would be for 2022 and infinitely until such a time the opposition is united as was the case in 2002.

Only a fool could wait that long when the smart thing to do is to remain united now and avoid the prolonged suffering of our people.

Once united and solidly behind one candidate — and, again, it goes without saying who that candidate should be — then what shall follow and needs to be done to remove Jubilee from power will be much easier.

That’s not to say there aren’t challenges that lie ahead: There are and key among them is the never ending quest for Jubilee to want to remain in power in total disregard of the people’s expression of their will, in other words, rigging and attempt to use the government machine to achieve their mischief.

That cannot be allowed to happen, and the only way to ensure that is a united opposition, which will thwart any plans to change the will and the decision of the people.

It is the prayer of those of us who love our country that going to this general election, we will have a united opposition that will remove Jubilee from power. This will pave the way for our country to finally reap the fruits of Independence that have eluded us ever since.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Politics

 

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Courts Must Protect Vote Integrity

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In Courts Must Protect Vote Integrity, I make the case voters will do their part in making sure Uhuru and Company are sent packing come August 8 but the Court must be vigilant in making sure there’s no election theft this time around. And now the oped:

US President Donald Trump shocked the world when he won in one of the most bizzare presidential elections in America. He lost the popular vote by almost 2.9 million but was declared the winner by virtue of having won the majority of the Electoral College votes.

The drafters of the US Constitution created the Electoral College system to guard against “cabal, corruption, intrigue, and faction,” which, to some, degree it has.

The proof of the ingenuity of the system is in the fact that only in four instances in the country’s more than 230-year history has the President been elected not having won the popular vote. They also created a checks and balances system such that no single branch of government among the three could overwhelm the others and ride roughshod over the country’s affairs.

President Trump is finding this out first-hand as the courts promptly tossed out his hurriedly issued and unconstitutional executive order banning Muslims from certain countries from entering the US (he claims the ban was not against Muslims but the courts took the view, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, it’s probably a duck, except in this case, the court said, it was a duck).

Our Constitution is not 230 years old. It’s only only on its seventh year, if you put aside what we had before as not really a constitution, but a manifesto for an efficient dictatorship.
Be that as it may, the drafters of our Constitution did borrow a page from the American Constitution and established our own system of checks and balances. Built underneath that system is, at least on paper, an independent judiciary.

We all recall the fanfare ushering in the new Constitution in 2010 as if we had finally arrived as a country. Unfortunately, that spirit of oneness and purpose was short-lived as we found out in 2013 that the ugly old was with us in the form of rigged elections and a compliant judiciary that turned a blind eye on the glaring evidence of rigging presented before it.

Correction; a compliant Supreme Court which turned a blind eye on the glaring evidence of rigging presented to it only for its then Chief Justice and President, Dr Willy Mutunga, to seal the Court’s fate as the most inconsequential court in as far as the preservation of vote integrity goes, and making laughable the notion of an independent judiciary.

But all is not lost. Mutunga has since left the Bench with hardly any legacy to speak of other than the foregoing and he has been replaced by David Maraga.

With the addition of Lady Justice Philomena Mwilu and Justice Isaac Lenaola as Deputy Chief Justice and Supreme Court judge respectively, one can say we have had a reset of the court, taking us back to just after August 2010, when we prematurely celebrated the liberation of our judiciary from the chokehold she had suffered all those years since Independence in the hands of the President.
It’s a fact that other than in 2002, there has never been an election in Kenya where there was no rigging or outright theft at the presidential level.

Indeed, in all of those elections, we had an impotent judiciary doing the bidding of the riggers but, with this reset, the men and women serving in our highest court of the land may yet again be called upon to rise to the occasion and deliver justice for the country and it’s our collective prayer they will not fail us as their predecessors did.
In other words, as the courts in the US told Trump he can’t tramp on people’s rights at will, so, too, should ours tell President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Jubilee administration loud and clear if they’re to be worth the honour bestowed upon each of them and collectively.
Only then shall we be a free nation and every indication is this is already in the making, namely, saying enough is enough.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Politics

 

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Why Voters Should Send Uhuru Packing

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In my Star oped this week Why Voters Should Send Uhuru Packing, I offer some of the reasons why Uhuru will be a one-term president.

Excerpts:

But it wasn’t long after they were sworn in before UhuRuto obviated what many already knew: Their priority number one was to use state resources to thwart and ultimately succeed in walking away from the ICC without convictions, as they eventually did.

So much that for the first two years of the Uhuru presidency, all the focus was on leaving the ICC, when they were not busy filling every possible position in government with their tribesmen and women. They reserved the best positions for their cronies and hangers-on, who in turn made sure they successfully engaged in massive corruption.

And that’s a shame, reason and fact number one that this is a failed government.

To be sure, some of us — and to the chagrin of those with whom we have been in the opposition trenches — rooted for the duo’s success for, after all, we only have one President and one administration at a time and we have, as a country, needs that must be met.

Instead of capitalising on that goodwill and delivering on their promises for the sake of our country, President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto squandered it all and, even worse, allowed their cronies to engage in even more corruption, worse than this country has ever endured, which is reason and fact number two why this is a failed government.

There’s not enough time or space here to analyse all the failures of the Jubilee government based strictly on the promises made in their manifesto. They have failed to deliver on those promises, let alone even try, while pretending to launch “new” projects when in reality, they were put in the pipeline by none other than the person who gives them the most shivers.

Suffice it to say, however, that Jubilee has failed to deliver on promises ranging from providing transformational leadership, when they’ve given us worse, to making Kenya safe when, as one blogger put it, “The police have all the weapons and vehicles they need to arrive at a place where it is easy to trample on the rights of the common citizens but not to protect themselves from sporadic al Shabaab attacks and bandits in places such as Suguta Valley and Kapedo.”

From empowering the youth, where the massive looting at NYS tells you all you need to know, to providing food security where, as this same blogger puts it, “people are still dying of hunger in 21st Century Kenya and of all places in Tiaty constituency, where Jubilee reaped 51, 000 votes out of a possible 22,000.”
From a healthy Kenya, in which the doctors’ strike tells you all you need to know to, last but not least, tribalism, which is now worse than ever before.

These are just but a few facts and reasons why the Jubilee government has failed, and which the majority of the voters going to the polls must have in mind in sweeping them out of office come August 8.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2017 in Politics, Uncategorized

 

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Raila and CORD Should Support ICC Deferral

CordLeaders4

According to the Standard,  former Prime Minister and Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) co-principal Raila Odinga will Tuesday lead emergency talks involving opposition MPs over the ICC.

There is no doubt at the center of these discussions will be the question what position should CORD take relative to the question of whether the ICC process should go forward on the track it’s on or should it be terminated and/or deferred as Uhuru and his deputy and more so Uhuru now seeks.

I am fairly confident the former PM will be under great pressure to call for continuation and conclusion of the ICC process at the Hague but wiser counsel would be for him to lead CORD into taking the position CORD supports termination and/or deferral of the cases as well as finding a local solution that can bring about closure to this tragic chapter of our country’s history.

That will be the right call given all the circumstances and certainly the best in the interest of the country’s unity going forward.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2013 in Politics

 

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Implications of Today’s Historic Supreme Court Ruling and Plea To Us All

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In Implications of Today’s Supreme Court Ruling published in the Star today, I offer my views as to what the implications of today’s historic Supreme Court ruling are and urge us all to accept the decision whether we agree with it or not.

Here is an except:

To this end, it’s preferable that the court reaches a unanimous decision whichever way the consensus of the court goes as to the merits of the petition challenging the presidential results announced by IEBC.

Such an outcome may not guarantee or shield the court from criticism or condemnation from those who may not agree with it, but it would certainly go a long way in reducing the number of those so inclined to so condemn or criticise to a negligible minimum more akin to the village madman or woman every village must have—and that will be great for the country, given the concomitant reduction in divisiveness flowing from it.

The voters spoke on March 4, the Supreme Court has now spoken as to the finality of what the voters said is.

Let’s all respect that, whether we agree with the decision or not and hope we now have this mess behind us and more importantly, that in the next general election, we shall have a competent, incorruptible and independent electoral commission which can conduct credible, open and transparent elections whose outcome reflects the will of the people going to the polls and therefore avoid all these bitter disputes and moments of great anxiety and conflict.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Politics

 

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Of Sleepless Nights, Alarms, and Songs; A Musing and Reflection About Today’s Historic Ruling

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We are now less than 3 hours away from the Supreme Court rendering an historic decision in the petition by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and AfriCog seeking to nullify the bogus results announced by the obviously compromised IEBC that Uhuru won the presidency in the March 4, 2013 election when he, in fact, did not win or even come close.

I ordinarily do not use an alarm to get up but given the odd hour it would have been in the US at the earliest time I thought the US could announce the results at home, and given the sleepless nights this week closely following events back home while trying to catch-up with other matters, I did set an alarm to wake me up.

As is not too infrequently the case, the alarm did not go off as it was not set right.

However, I was woken up with an entirely unexpected means and that’s waking up to a song playing in my mind and the song was “By the Rivers of Babylon” by Boney M.

I immediately woke up and dashed downstairs to my office to find out whether I had slept away during the most historic moment of our time but fortunately, it was only just after 7am Kenya time and the Court had obviously not rendered its decision.

Knowing the justices were to give at least a 2 hour notice to the lawyers before rendering the decision and having confirmed this had not been done, I went back to sleep but this time made sure the alarm was set right for at least two hours later.

When I woke up the second time, I found myself thinking about the song that basically woke me up the first time.

This is, of course, a song many of us who were of age to appreciate music in late 70s when it was very popular know very well and still brings back memories of those days when I hear it.

I last listened to the song just a few days ago in my usual perusing through my zilizopendwas.

Now, even though I can hum some of the lyrics of the song, I have never really known in totality what the song is all about but had a general idea.

In the context of why it woke me up, I tried to ask myself is there any meaning to this?

So, to answer that question, I went to where we all go in search of answers or where others go in breathlessly trying and hoping to find dirt or unfavorable things about their enemies and that’s Google.

I wanted to know the full meaning of this song and this is what I found in a Wikipedia entry:

The song is based on the Biblical Psalm 137:1-4, a hymn expressing the yearnings of the Jewish people in exile following the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BC:[1] Previously the Kingdom of Israel, after being united under Kings David and Solomon, was split in two, with the Kingdom Of Israel in the north, conquered by the Assyrians in 722 BC which caused the dispersion of 11 of the 12 tribes of Israel. The southern Kingdom of Judah (hence the name Jews), home of the tribe of Judah and part of the Tribe of Levi, was free from foreign domination until the Babylonian conquest to which Rivers Of Babylon refers.

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion… They carried us away in captivity requiring of us a song… Now how shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?

The namesake rivers of Babylon are the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The song also has words from Psalm 19:14:[2]

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight…

It is one of a few pop songs whose lyrics come directly from the Bible (See also Turn! Turn! Turn! by Pete Seeger, 40 by U2, and The Lord’s Prayer by Sister Janet Mead). The melody bears a strong resemblance to “How Dry I Am“.

In the Rastafarian faith, the term “Babylon” is used for any governmental system which is either oppressive or unjust. In Jamaica, Rastafarians also use “Babylon” to refer to the police, often seen as a source of oppression because they arrest members for the use of marijuana (which is sacramental for Rastafarians). Therefore, “By the rivers of Babylon” refers to living in a repressive society and the longing for freedom, just like the Israelites in captivity. Rastafarians also identify themselves as belonging to the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

The Supreme Court decision is a test of whether we have gone past and continue to move as far away from an unjust or repressive government system or whether we have not and are headed back to that system.

This, in my view, is the meaning of my having been woken up with this song.

My hope and prayer, obviously, is that the historic decision the Supreme Court renders today pushes us further away from and not to return to the oppressive and unjust government of the past.

God bless our beloved country.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Politics

 

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My Thoughts and Views On Raila/AfriCog As Expressed Via Various Posts Online Part V

IEBC Bomas

This is a continuation of the various posts I have made elsewhere on this issue for those who may have not seen them; as noted in Part I, it’s been a crazy busy week I was unable to update this blog.

M I know you’re snoring away but while you’ve been snoring, IEBC counsels Nyaoga, Paul Nyamodi and Mungai attempted to make their presentations defending the impossible. Nyaoga made a brief opening which was basically a lecturing of the justices on the law and blah blah they already know.

Interestingly, while talking about law, Nyaoga said and I quote, “a body exercising constitutional and statutory in good faith cannot be displaced lightly and moreso on preconceived notions, historical perceptions, stereotyping or typecast” but he cited no authority for this proposition, meaning, which court other than him has said this. Such propositions are usually ignored by the judges and whatever other arguments flow from it and Nyaoga did try to tie some argument to this to no effect.

Counsel Nyamodi spent a considerable amount of time trying to justify the mess with the registry senior counsel Oraro says to this day we don’t know how many registered voters we have in Kenya thanks to the mangling, tampering and manipulation of the registry by Hassan and other mandarins at IEBC. Nyamodi did the best he could but in the end did not address the evidence and facts petitioners put forth yesterday.

Counsel Mungai was next addressing the inconsistency of numbers and failure of ICT.

One has to give Mungai good credit for articulating and emphatically so, a number of fake arguments. I counted at least 3 such fake arguments otherwise known as straw man arguments. For example, Munga claimed if the Court were to find that the illegal special register created by the mandarins at IEBC is, in fact, illegal, then according to Mungai the Court will be disenfranchising 36,000 people with disabilities such as no fingers, etc.

Now, this is a classic straw man argument because the issue is not whether people with disabilities should be allowed to vote; rather, the issue is whether IEBC created an illegal register of voters and the petitioners have shown that they did.

That being the case, the credibility of the presidential elections cannot be said to exist here and thus one more reason this is headed to nullification.

Here are some of my tweets on this:

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Mungai is engaged in straw man argument regarding the special register and the 36,000 votes in it petitioner says were used to rig

Omwenga @Omwenga

IEBC admission they had a special register nobody new about except for the “mandarins” at IEBC is fetal and the case can be decided on that

Omwenga @Omwenga

Ethuro David Ekwe is chosen as the Speaker of the Senate

Omwenga @Omwenga

Unofficial Ethuro new Speaker of the Senate

Omwenga @Omwenga

The law is very clear the register once gazetted is final and cannot be amended or adjusted except in one instance not applicable here.

Omwenga @Omwenga

IEBC counsel admits amendments and alteration of the register was done after Dec 18 and claims IEBC had authority to do so!

Omwenga @Omwenga

IEBC Counsel: IEBC will criminally prosecute people who doubly registered as voters…interesting they too may be criminally prosecuted

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Omondi denies there was additional registration after December 18 when the evidence shows to the contrary.

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Nyaoga is arguing that what the petitioners seek as a remedy is impossible; this is is an odd argument; so we accept rigging?

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Nyaoga for IEBC is thus far lecturing the Justices instead of rebutting what the petitioners’ counsel raised as irrefutable facts

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Ochieng basically says there was illegal collusion among IEBC, Kencall and TNA, which made it possible to cook #s electronically

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Ochieng basically says there was illegal collusion among IEBC, Kencall and TNA, which made it possible to cook #s electronically

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Oraro rests his case for now reserves time to respond after the respondents attempt to rebut what he and Kilonzo have laid down

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Oraro: IEBC and Hassan completely abandoned their constitutional obligations to the detriment of all Kenyans and Raila in particular

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Oraro: The IEBC committed several breaches of its constitutional obligation to conduct an open, transparent and accurate elections

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Oraro: These were not nominal irregularities resulting in these discrepancies but serious violations that altered the results

Omwenga @Omwenga

Oraro: Discrepancies between forms 34 and 36 and between forms 36 and final results has more than the 8200 votes needed to nullify elections

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Oraro: Exclusion of presiding officers returned the tallying process to 2007 where ROs were doing as they please with numbers

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Oraro: Presiding officers, the institutional anchors excluded from the tallying process chain at unilaterally created regional teams

Omwenga @Omwenga 48m

Counsel Oraro: had IEBC addressed shortcomings system pointed out to it long before the elections, we could not have had the flawed election.

Notice the difference between what you’re saying and what yours truly and Lee are saying; ours is based on facts, information and analysis, yours none of the three.

There is another word for it, meaning what you’re doing starts with a “k” and ends with an “a”

I told you yesterday the justices await today to laugh at what attempt to explain the impossible these IEBC, Uhuru and Ruto’s lawyers will try and achieve thus far they’re just evoking sadness instead for the dearth of substantive response to the precise points of facts and evidence presented by counsels Oraro and Kethi Kilonzo.

I have never seen dancing around issues as has been demonstrated by the 3 lawyers who have gone on the floor and all Jubilleans must be concerned knowing who is next are lawyers for Uhuru and Ruto who are really not the primary culprits but albeit instrumental in the scheme.

If IEBC can’t make a case to defend their wrongdoing, nothing Uhuru’s and Ruto’s lawyers can do to save them.

We are now slowly but surely moving from a 5-1 decision in favor of Raila to a unanimous decision in favor of him–yes, him the man.

…IEBC has concluded its rebuttal and what a joy for Raila and Cord; they did not even bother to address the hard evidence and facts put before the court; they rather opted to dwell on ancillary, irrelevant or other issues not partinent to question before the Court and that’s whether the now obviously compromised IEBC conducted an election which were simple, accurate, verifiable, secure, accountable and transparent elections as required under the law.

The answer to that question as clearly established by the petitioners and their lawyers is, a resounding NO.

Here are some of my updated tweets on this:

Omwenga @Omwenga

Abdullahi wants the SC to create a new standard of proof higher than that applicable criminal law; this is IEBC trying to find any escape

Omwenga @Omwenga

Abdullahi is engaged in showmanship, comedy and lecturing justices on constitutional laws they already know instead of rebutting petitioner

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Abdullahi has done it; he has said something outlandish drawing the ire of Justice Wanjala–says SC is on trial when it’s not!

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Abdullahi is on many are holding their breaths wondering when not if he says something outlandish or puts foot in his mouth.

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel W Kilonzo for IEBC: National Tallying Center only one that matter; not polling, constituency or county tallies; amazing!

Omwenga @Omwenga

It’s clear IEBC is staying clear of the evidence–or at least at much as they can and are comfortable trying to kill time lecturing on law

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Nyaoga’s dwelling on standard of proof is perplexing but good from Cord’s side because it’s eating valuable time.

Omwenga @Omwenga

Counsel Rebello attempt to justify why Cord agents were kicked out of tallying center is laughable; he was better off leaving the fact alone

Omwenga @Omwenga

IEBC counsel claims elections were peaceful, open and transparent; but of course they were; it’s the cooking of the numbers that was not!

Omwenga @Omwenga

IEBC counsel is trying to justify its lie to the court on grounds none of the other candidates complained about the bogus results

Omwenga @Omwenga

IEBC counsel is lying to the court that the people of Kenya have accepted the bogus results announced by the obviously compromised IEBC

Omwenga @Omwenga

Key is special register was not made public as required by law and nobody knows who is in it or who voted from–perfect for serious rigging

Omwenga @Omwenga

Issue is not whether the 36,000 voters in the special register should have been allowed to vote but one whether register is legal; its not.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Politics

 

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