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Chebukati, the Onus Is On You and IEBC To Prove You’re Not Compromised Already

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My Star oped this weekend:

For decades, the United States and Russia consistently tried to outdo each other in attempts to be the sole superpower.

But following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US emerged as the superpower, until the rise of China, and now we really can’t speak of the US as the unipolar superpower, especially in light of the election of Donald Trump as President.

The waning of US supremacy on the global stage is not by accident. Rather, it’s with the invincible, and, in some cases, overt, hand of the Kremlin, led by the ever-conniving President Vladmir Putin. So much so, it’s alleged, and now under investigation, that Russia influenced the outcome of the November 8 presidential election in the US.

While Russia was busy meddling in US elections, [if the allegations are true] then candidate Trump was busy egging them on, in what is now being investigated as illegal collusion that if proven, could lead to his impeachment and removal from power.

To be sure, the Russians tried but were unable to hack into the electoral system, even as they managed to hack other systems.

Notwithstanding this fact, candidate Trump, when he knew he was losing to the Democrats’ Hillary Clinton, started preparing his followers for his then seemingly eventual loss, by claiming the only way he would lose to her would have been because the system was rigged in her favour.

Fact is, it’s virtually impossible to rig US elections, especially at the presidential level, owing to a number of reasons beyond the scope of this column, suffice it to say key among them is the fact that the US system is decentralized besides being open and transparent. Can the same thing be said about our electoral system in Kenya? Of course not!

We have never had a single election since Independence in which the vote was not stolen, especially at the presidential level. The only exception, one could argue, would be the elections of 2002, where the opposition was united and determined to reject the Kanu regime of President Daniel Moi and his then project, Uhuru Kenyatta.

It was impossible for Moi not to have read the writing on the wall and done the right thing as he did by not even trying to rig. This notwithstanding the fact we have always had an institution charged with the responsibility of conducting free, fair, credible and transparent elections.

Unfortunately, each of these institutions was compromised, with the worst being the now-defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya, which was in charge of the 2007 General Election and led by Samuel Kivuitu, now deceased. This was a man who, prior to being appointed to head the ECK, had impeccable credentials, only to sully himself and nearly launch our country into a civil war because of his doing the bidding of those in power who wanted to remain at any cost.

When a new electoral agency, the IEBC was formed following promulgation of the 2010 Constitution in 2010 and Issack Hassan, a Kenyan-Somali, appointed as the chairman, many believed we had put the worst in electoral mischief behind us, and that he would be incorruptible, coming from a community thought to be neutral and not known to be corrupt.Hassan proved he was just as corrupt and inept as the chairmen who served before him.

We now have Wafula Chebukati as the new chairman of the IEBC. But the question is, Mister Chebukati, are you compromised as those before you were? If not, do you have what it takes to proudly stand on the side of the people of honour and integrity, or would the dangling of a few coins and promise of power have you ready to cast all aside for short-lived self-aggrandizement?

We’re watching, knowing fully this time around, only the will of the people will prevail and you’ll be wise not to even try to thwart it, notwithstanding what pressure is put on you and your commission.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2017 in Politics

 

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Gang Violence in Kenya Is A Problem But Extrajudicial Killing Is Not Solution

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In Gang Violence Is A Problem But Extrajudicial Killing Is Not the Solution, I make the case how the recent execution of two suspected gang members is not the solution to gang violence. I also make the case Jubilee government has failed to provide solutions for this and many other problems so it’s time to be booted from office and let the opposition led by Raila take over power and let them have a crack at fixing these monumental problems all prior governments have failed or have been unwilling to address.

And now the oped:

Donald Trump deployed uncouth tactics to win the presidential race, including blatantly appealing to racists on the far-right of American politics.

One way he did so — and this is how he launched his presidential race — was by leading efforts to discredit and undermine the legitimacy of President Barack Obama by advancing the bogus claim that he was born in Kenya and therefore not qualified to be US head of state.

The other tactic was to constantly trash the city of Chicago as the epicenter of black youth violence, as part of his attempt to appeal to racists and others as being the tough “law and order” candidate, who would get rid of the problem.

Seventy days plus into his moribund presidency, President Trump has not set forth, let alone even suggested, a single proposal to address the gang violence problem.

Nobody expects that he will, ever!

Neither is the man expected to do anything to address the problem of police brutality aimed at mostly the black youth and other minorities in the US, which increased last year and at the height of his candidacy.

There’s anecdotal evidence that youth and gang violence in Kenya is increasing to uncontrollable levels on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s watch. His Jubilee government is doing nothing to address this problem.

However, in the absence of any effective government intervention, summary execution or extrajudicial killing of even known gang members by the police, as recently witnessed in Eastleigh, doesn’t offer any solutions.

Granted, most people were in support of the executions of the two apparently well-known Super Power gang members by a plainclothes police officer because they’re fed up with these criminals who terrorize people in the area.

In other words, most people have no sympathy for these gang members, given the menace they have become in society.

That’s all true but let’s also focus on where the problem really lies — failure by the Jubilee government to create employment and other opportunities for the youth, who end up joining criminal gangs,where they commit all manner of crimes, including murder.

Jubilee has also totally failed to curb corruption, which has not spared programs intended to help the youth of this country. Indeed, the looting of more than Sh1.8 billion at the National Youth Service, which led to the resignation of the then Devolution CS Anne Waiguru stands as one of the monuments of corruption in a Kenya gone amok, though dwarfed by the Eurobond heist, of more than Sh215 billion that cannot be accounted for by the Jubilee government.

The solution to the escalating gang violence problem is therefore not extrajudicial killings, but ushering in a new government come August 8. A government that can address not just gang violence but the rampant corruption that’s now the worst ever in this country, and has prevented the government from addressing the needs of the people.

As Prime Minister, Raila Odinga was instrumental in the establishment of programs intended to alleviate youth unemployment and food insecurity, with the flagship project being the Kazi Kwa Vijana initiative.

KKV quickly became a casualty of corruption kingpins in the then Grand Coalition government. And later, as Raila would point out, senior officials who controlled the Ministry of Finance and aligned to President Mwai Kibaki killed the KKV program, along with others for fear it would succeed to the credit of Raila and his ODM wing of government.

Raila says he’s committed, now more than ever, to not only resume where he left off as Prime Minister with his half-loaf in finding lasting solutions for the country, but also promised to deliver immediate solutions to address the disgraceful high levels of youth unemployment in NASA.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2017 in Law, Politics, Uncategorized

 

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The Danger of Opposition Not Uniting Behind Raila

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In Danger of Opposition Not Uniting Behind Raila, I continue to make the case why Raila is the man to lead the opposition to victory come August and the man to lead the country come the day he wins but this time gets sworn as our next president.

And now the oped:

In the run-up to the last presidential election in the United States, Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton was so loathed by many, even within her own party, that some didn’t bother to show up and vote while others opted to vote for Republican Donald Trump.

This, in a nutshell, is why Clinton lost, and we now have someone who has converted the US presidency into something no different from the reality TV show he used to host.

The question is, why was Clinton so hated or at least not favoured even by Democrats in her own party? The short answer is fatigue: A number of Americans were tired of the same old clans hogging power to the point they said “enough is enough”.

This is also the reason why Jeb Bush, brother of former President George W Bush, couldn’t gain traction in the Republican primaries, because many Americans could not take yet another Bush as President.

Fatigue syndrome is something one must assume former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is or must be aware and have in place a strategy to counter it.

Indeed, just the other day, when having lunch with someone from a neighbouring country, the friend noted that opposition chief Raila, like his Uganda counterpart Kizza Besigye, “has vied for the presidency four times and lost each time.”

I corrected my friend, noting that Raila has stood for President thrice, won on two of the three occasions, but was not sworn in.

That it’s time for Raila to move on is not new. We hear it all the time, especially on social media. It is a misplaced notion.

The reality is that one other than Raila can defeat President Uhuru Kenyatta and his state machine. No one.

And therein lurks the danger if NASA were to make a mistake and give the ticket to someone else to be the joint flagbearer, that person will not only lose big time, but Jubilee may as well rule for another 50 years, as they arrogantly postulated following the last flawed elections.

Why?

This is because Jubilee will be emboldened to get rid of Deputy President William Ruto, and line up yet another one of their “own” to take over from President Uhuru in 2022 — a task which will be made much easier because Luos to a man will refuse to back whoever the opposition candidate would be, as payback for not nominating Raila.

The converse is not true. Other tribes would not punish the opposition flagbearer in 2022 because NASA backed Raila in this election, simply because that would not make sense even among the politicians prone to peddling some of the dumbest things.

For his part, Uhuru is already acting as though Ruto is irrelevant, and thus the effort to keep Baringo Senator Gideon Moi in the fold.

Interestingly, Uhuru has managed to do what Raila failed to do in 2012 — to keep someone in the family, who otherwise was a stumbling block, outside the fold and that was none other than Ruto

This writer dedicated hundreds of blogs and opeds pleading with Raila to woo Ruto back to the fold but was time and again resisted by several of his advisers, who in hindsight were extremely shortsighted and obviously dead wrong in their underestimating the damage Ruto would do.

One such adviser point blank dismissed a strategy I proposed as “too complicated” to be implemented in Kenya when, in reality, it easily could have and allowed Ruto to remain with Raila.

The point is, Raila cannot afford to make the same mistakes again. He should be hands on and be prepared to ignore some of the bad advice he will certainly get, while making sure there’s a disciplined messenger to deliver the message home.

He is the man and the country is doomed without him and, more importantly, without NASA rallying behind him, it is hello to continued domination by you-know-who.

It’s also how he beats back against those peddling the narrative that the opposition chief is fatigued.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2017 in Politics

 

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Say No To Political Assassinations

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In Say No To Political Assassinations, I make note of the re-emergence of this vile tool of political cowards to silence their critics and opponents in Kenya and make the obvious plea for all of us to be united in our condemnation of the vice and make that message loud and clear so it may sink in the minds of the wicked contemplating or actively pursuing their murderous plans against anyone be that a household name or your average citizen speaking their mind as guaranteed in the Constitution.

Excerpt:

We also know that politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level.

Indeed, even in our own individual families, politics is alive and well to the extent it’s about power and influence; those who have it be it in the family or society at large occasionally wield it responsibly but often irresponsibly, selfishly and recklessly, if not ruthlessly.

So much so such that as between and among politicians, simple disagreement or questioning of one’s conduct becomes lightening rod to vanquish those with whom they disagree or those who question them not just because they disagree or can’t be questioned, but because they see those challenging them as their mortal enemies standing in the way of what they want and that therefore the solution is to eliminate them.

That’s why we have had fist fights in Parliaments, political arrests and the ultimate price for challenging those with power, namely, political assassination.

In our beloved Kenya, we have had a fair share of all of these, especially political assassinations that peaked in the late 70s and early 80s. Kibaki may have left us no legacy one can speak of other than denying Raila even his nusu mkate (half-loaf) but one can say we never really had political assassinations to speak of during his presidency and that’s a testament to his own style of politics and discipline among his inner circle who are often the architects of these political assassinations.

The same cannot be said about the Uhuru administration not even a full five-year term we already have a claim of at least one person having been assassinated and from there we have a few or many more, depending on one’s level of comfort with conspiratorial theories and whisperings.

When a Recce officer publicly lets the world know he’s trigger happy to kill a Member of Parliament or more, one cannot possibly dismiss that as empty threat; rather, combined with the fact no action was taken against this officer, one must and has to conclude resorting to violence to punish those with whom one disagrees is not a thing of the past, but is a vice alive and well decades after we thought it was behind us.

That’s scary and if President Uhuru wishes to be on the right side of history on this subject, he should forthwith have this officer ordered to withdraw his incendiary and wanton display of willingness to resort to violence to silence a person merely because he didn’t like what the person said or did.

Similarly, the president should see to it that his security chiefs do not arbitrarily withdraw security details for politicians simply because those politicians are not towing the Jubilee line or simply because they’re vocal in their opposition to his government; their refusal to tow the Jubilee line or being vocal in their opposition to the Jubilee government is their Constitutionally protected right of which no one can take away, and that includes the president and his security chiefs.

That’s the new Kenya we want, namely, one where people are free to express themselves or associate with whomever they wish without fear of retribution from the state.

That’s second only to our other want and that’s having the will of the people expressed at the polls without fear, intimidation or vote rigging.

We can and must have room for both and Uhuru has a big say in both.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2017 in Politics

 

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We Need A Transition Government In Kenya

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In We Need Transition Government In Kenya, I make the case the only way to send Uhuru packing is for the opposition to unite as we did in 2002 which I say is possibly only if greed and ego don’t come into play.

Excepts:

There’s a reason Obama was reelected in 2012 despite all that he had going against him, including the widespread hostility toward Obamacare that those against it see as a wealth transfer from the haves to the have nots.

This reason is simply once elected in 2008 as the country’s first African American president, President Obama rolled up his sleeves and went to work in delivering an ambitious agenda to reverse the economic mess the country was plunged into by his predecessor George W Bush.

Americans going to the polls in 2012 rewarded Obama for these efforts which he has since built upon to become ranked as one of the country’s top transformative presidents.

The same cannot be said about our own President Uhuru Kenyatta.

There’s isn’t a single thing one can point to that Uhuru has done to transform Kenya such that he can make a case he deserves a second term.

Not one.

On the other hand, if the opposition were to be united and front a single candidate—and the only logical one who can beat Uhuru is Raila, then 2017 will mark the first time in our country’s history when we have a transformative leader as there’s no question if Uhuru were to be defeated, the dynamics of that defeat will be such that Kenyans will demand a new direction for the country that can only be delivered by someone those who waddle in looting and corruption fear the most and that’s none other than Raila.

In 2013, Raila supporters could be heard in bars and social gatherings making the case let’s elect Raila if only to serve one term as a transition president, meaning, to server one term in which to set in motion fundamental reforms in government that would be completed by his successor and others to follow Awambo having taken the country to another level of much desired economic prosperity and welfare.

If there was such a time having such a deal and sticking to it, it is now for without those hungry for power being assured their turn would be sooner, it’s doubtful they’ll be willing to be Raila cheerleaders–an outcome the country cannot afford.

Not with this much hunger for change in the air.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2017 in Politics

 

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Women In Politics Is Not End of Chivarly

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In Women In Politics Not End To Chivalry, make the case just because a woman decides to enter the political arena to vie for public office does not mean that’s the end to chivalry in as far as she is concerned.

Rather, women in politics yes must undergo the normal rough and tumble of political life but in the end they are still women deserving of greater sensitivity and respect than one would expect from one male politician to another.

Excerpts:

As father of two teenage girls and a young lad, I have always known before any of them freely breathed on earth how to treat a woman or what to expect from a man is not something a father has to lecture his children about but something he simply has to teach them by example in how he treats their mother; if he ever says anything worth noting about the subject, it’s simply to reinforce the right message he has otherwise conveyed.

On the other hand, there’s the proverbial counsel to young women that if they want to know how a man would treat them in marriage, they first must observe and learn how the man treats his mother.

Thus, where one is raised in a family where the father treats his wife with respect, is never abusive and takes care of the family in every respect, then one can expect a young man emerging from such a household doing the same thing to the women in his life, especially one he takes as his pride.

However, marrying into a good family and having a perfect husband—well, as nearly a perfect husband as one can have is not all a woman would want; rather, the modern woman wants more than just bearing and raising children.


Not too long ago, we witnessed the manifestation of this notion on public TV when a woman candidate for governor was subjected to public humiliation and smear unlike any of her counterparts have ever received in Kenya leading to the question, does one need to be this much uncouth in bringing down his opponent and more so a woman?

The answer is obviously no; one can be critical of a female candidate without getting into the salacious and utterly irrelevant details of the kind we saw valid or not.

Meanwhile, when Mrs. Pasaris was savagely attacked by one of the wishful gubernatorial candidates, one Miguna Miguna, those who like this type of savagery cheered him and were all giddy oblivious of the fact they were cheering their own uncouthness and stupidity.

This is what’s wrong with our politics in Kenya where grown men and women are willing to readily accept mediocrity, incompetence and abhorrent corruption simply because the culprits are fellow tribesmen or those aligned with their tribal party much the same way they cheered Miguna.

Nobody is suggesting that women should be stuffed into positions they don’t want or nominated to legislative office they cannot get elected on their own; rather, where one is qualified to vie as Mrs. Pasaris is, there should be unanimous condemnation of those who would malign and smear a candidate just because she’s a woman.

We should judge and elect our office holders based on their leadership ability and vision not all this other nonsense such as name calling and smearing which has reached toxic levels in the country and doubly so when mixed with tribalism.

We can and must do better.

 

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2016 in Politics

 

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Can IEBC Chair Be Fair and Impartial?

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In A Fair and Impartial IEBC Chair?, I make the case it’s possible but those charged with the responsibility to pick the next chair of this important body must do the utmost in screening and selecting only an incorruptible person who can ensure we once again have a fair and transparent election even half as good as we had in 2002, the only time it can be said we have not had an election riddled with rigging and all manner of corruption as to negate the will of the majority of the voters going to the polls as we have always had as the case going back to our country’s independence.

Excepts:

When President-elect Donald Trump was in the middle of his campaign, a political analyst in the US said Trump lied like a thug, daring anyone to challenge him, while Hillary Clinton was more nuanced in her lying, leaving room to explain away the lie, being the good lawyer she is.

Fast-forward to the 2007 and 2013 general elections and one cannot but conclude the Kivuitu who chaired the ECK in 2007 goes down in history as having presided over the most flagrant, in-your-face rigging of an election and, worse one who, like a thug, dared anyone to challenge him.

For his part, when Issack Hassan was selected to chair the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in 2011, he presided over questionable elections in 2013, where the rigging may not have been as in your face as was the case in 2007 but, like the smooth lying by Clinton, giving herself plenty of room to wiggle away, Hassan, too, pulled off serious rigging with plenty of room to explain away much of the irregularities that took place.

The onus is on those charged with the responsibility of finding one to do so and with urgency for, surely, we don’t want the IEBC once again being led by those capable of smiling at us while bludgeoning our feeble democracy to death, if not creating forces that literally kill Kenyans.

 

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2016 in Law, Politics

 

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