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We Need A Break from Kikuyu Presidents

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My Star oped this weekend:

Forty-three men have served as President of the United States with the following ethnic origins: 27 English, two English/Scottish, two English/Welsh, four Scottish, one Scottish/Irish, two Irish, three Dutch, one German and one African. This is according to the Atlas Forum.

It took more than 219 years for the first President of African origin to be elected as US head of state. This is despite the country having men and women of African ancestry for years, who would and could have served ably 10 times better than the current President.

This is no longer the case after Barack Obama was elected in 2008, and served up until last year. Kenyans should and must learn from this backward refusal of Americans to accept a Black man or woman, for that matter, as capable of leading them.

The question to ask is: Is it fair or right for a country of more than 40 tribes to be led in all of its history by sons hailing from only two communities, which have exchanged the presidency only between them?

The answer is clearly a resounding No. Since Independence, this country has been led by the Kikuyu, who have dominated the presidency, and the Kalenjin, who got in-between on account of President Jomo Kenyatta naming Daniel Moi as Vice President.

No one expected Moi to last more than the constitutionally provided 90 days within which a new President was to be elected. But, thanks to Charles Njonjo and his team, Moi quickly figured how to entrench himself as President and the rest is history.

Mwai Kibaki, another Kikuyu, succeeded Moi in 2002. Moi himself had picked another Kikuyu, Uhuru Kenyatta, to succeed him.

Upon completion of his rigged second term in office in 2013, Kibaki, in a classic asante ya punda ni teke, made sure the man who made his presidency possible could not occupy State House, by unleashing the state machine to yet again rig the man out for the second time as was successfully done in 2013.

With the dominance of these two tribes in leadership, so has been the case in the allocation of resources across the country besides jobs, which clearly and indisputably favour the Kikuyu, followed closely by the Kalenjin.

This is neither right nor fair as other communities are left to scramble for crumbles, if any at all.

One of the reasons Raila has been mercilessly opposed in the Mount Kenya region is because there are many there who believe presidential leadership belongs there and nowhere else.

This is wrong for several reasons.

First, Kenya, as in many other countries, has never embraced dynastic rule, even though one can argue that the dominance by one community in presidential leadership is no different.

Voters must reject this notion of dynastic rule come August 8.

Second, underlying the thinking among those who hold the view presidential leadership belongs to the Mt Kenya community is this sense of misguided belief that one community from that area is particularly superior to all others, which is pure nonsense.

It’s actually this kind of thinking that has created hatred and animosity among tribes of all manner in many countries, most notably Rwanda, where the 1994 Genocide is attributed to this backward superiority based ethnic and tribal divide.

Third, even though the Constitution attempts to force this issue of not having one tribe win the presidency merely due to its numeric strength, those in power have and do find ways to manipulate the system to produce an outcome they desire but this time we, as Kenyans, must be prepared to say Never Again.

There’s nothing tribalistic, divisive or discriminatory in urging we get a break from yet another Kikuyu presidency: This is just a question of fairness and fatigue anyone objective would have to agree with.

It’s our hope and prayer this shall come to pass come August 8 and we live happily thereafter as a nation.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 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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Breaking the Yoke of Tribalism

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In Breaking the Yoke of Tribalism, I continue to preach against tribalism in Kenya; what President Magufuli said is an understatement, truth is, tribalism is not just holding us back, it’s destroying us as a nation and each one of us has a role in that, question is, are you for the destruction or for hope and progress of the nation?

Let’s hope and pray the latter; at least for a vast majority of us.

And now the oped in its entirety:

Politicians have from time immemorial exploited the hapless vulnerability of humans to succumb, to appeal to emotions based on race, ethnicity or other immutable characteristic to get elected to office only to pursue selfish agendas. This is with little or no service to benefit these very people.

The most recent example is in the United States, where Donald Trump shamelessly whipped up the emotions of nativist White America (read racists), and mostly rode on that wicked strategy to the White House where has thus far confirmed some of the worst that was feared and with much more to come — if he survives his own self-destruction.

There are many parallels between racism in America and tribalism in Kenya.

Racism has historically been defined as the belief that race is the primary determinant of human capacity; that a certain race is inherently superior or inferior to others, and/or that individuals should be treated differently according to their racial designation.

Tribalism, on the other hand, is the manifestation of strong cultural identity among members of a group that treats as different other cultural groups, which also equally have strong cultural identity among its members and equally treat other cultural groups as different.

Group identity along tribal lines or ethnicity is not per se a bad thing, however.

Such cultural identification become nefarious when used as an excuse to hate or otherwise engage in activities intended to annihilate one or more of the tribes or individuals within it.

Indeed, just as racism in America has been an impediment to greater achievement or progress for blacks, so too has tribalism and negative ethnicity been in Kenya — even among those who practice it.

To be sure, people are not born racists or tribalists, much the same way they are not born knowing right or wrong.

According to psychologists, both racism and tribalism are learned habits.

Children learn hatred, racism, and all these other negative traits from early on but not all of them allow it to define who they become later on in life.

Unfortunately and largely by choice, however, the unlearning of racism or tribalism and other wicked behaviour learned in those formative years stays with some people to the day they die.

Thus, you have grown men and women who leave their respective homes for higher education abroad only to bring their tribalism along, worse than even that practiced by the villagers, who never saw the inside of a classroom

What a shame if these men and women cannot shake loose from the yokes of tribalism. What hope do we have for our beloved country?

These tribalists usually believe that given the “superiority” they have been led to believe has accrued to them by virtue of birth which no one should take away. On the other hand, they are led to believe they’re not or cannot be equal to others they have since childhood, known or have been told are inferior — a belief whose manifestation leads to resentment by the rest who adopt a hatred of their own with the end outcome being exactly what we have had since independence, namely, one tribe believing no matter what, one of their own must be at either end of the table regardless of outcome at the ballot which we should all just agree that’s simply wrong and unacceptable anymore.

Put another way, every Kenyan must ask himself or herself this simple question: Am I a tribalist and if so, why?

Why is it you would have a phobia of a Luo becoming president of our country simply because he’s a Luo? Why?

We must as Kenyans rise above this pettiness and backwardness and learn to choose our leaders based on merit and boot them from office when they have failed as Jubilee has regardless of whether they’re one of “us” or not.

That’s what we need for us to truly break loose from the yokes of colonialism of which tribalism is a by-product and that we must do come August 8.

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2017 in Politics

 

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Why Raila Is The Best Choice for NASA

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In Why Raila Is Best Choice for NASA, I make the case why the opposition leaders in NASA should pick Raila as the jugganaut’s flag-bearer and go on to send Uhuru packing from State House to jubilation of the country save for the minority who would prefer status quo because to them, mediocrity is a high standard and leadership failure mean nothing.

The oped follows in its entirety.

The late venerable United States Senator Edward Kennedy, whom I had the privilege to work for, was asked 38 years ago a fairly routine question Why he was running for President.

In his response, the already household name from the nearest thing America has had to a royal family gave what someone present described as “a hesitant, rambling and incoherent non-answer [which] seemed to go on forever without arriving anywhere.”

Many people believe this — the incoherent, rambling answer — is why the liberal icon never picked traction with his bid to succeed then President Jimmy Carter, who some thought even a mannequin could beat both in the party primary and later in the general election.

He was nonetheless walloped by some B-movie cowboy actor known as Ronald Reagan.

This question, “why are you running”, has since been a standard question asked of presidential hopefuls and aspirants for other elective offices, with all of them still giving incoherent or nonsensical responses. This is despite rehearsing responses over and over again.

At the core of this question is a quest to understand the depth and conviction of the candidate and even more, their vision.

If one were to ask President Uhuru Kenyatta why he rasn for President in 2002, and if he were to give an honest response, he would have replied, “I don’t know; Moi thought I should.”

He didn’t have to but everyone knew he was going to be trounced by Kibaki as he was, once Raila ‘toshad’ Kibaki; it could have been anyone, anyway, even a mannequin as was the case with Jimmy Carter, because Kenyans had just had enough of then president Daniel arap Moi.

To his credit, Uhuru did not exit the political stage in embarrassment for agreeing to be Moi’s project but he went on to participate in the revamping of our Constitution, working hand-in-hand with none other than Raila, the man he would face in the 2013 elections.

If one were to ask Uhuru why he was running for president in 2012 and the man were to be honest, he would have said “because I simply want to get the ugly monkey off my back aka the ICC.”

That has come to pass and that’s one legacy Uhuru will leave behind when he’s sent packing in August, namely, having successfully taken care of the ICC problem courtesy of the office he holds.

What about Raila; what would he say as to why he’s running for the highest office? The answer is the same he has given in each of the two times he has vied and won the presidency but not been sworn-in.

The answer is the same his supporters and critics alike have known all along and that is, anyone objective who studies Raila’s leadership qualities, who gets the opportunity to observe how the man applies those qualities and skills, and knows of his vision for the country he has articulated since long before he was numerously detained and jailed by Moi, cannot but conclude Raila is the right person to take over the presidency in our country on each of the times he has been denied not at the ballot, but by compromised election boards.

Yet, those most afraid of Raila go around peddling all manner of garbage, propaganda, lies and distortions about him simply because they can’t fathom the man with a broom to sweep away corruption and impunity becoming President, with their blind followers buying the same, hook, line and sinker.

Given as a whole the mission upon which Raila embarked to seek change in the country going back to the 80s remains intact and given much of what he campaigned on in 2007 and 2013 remains largely unaccomplished through no fault of his, Raila will make the case yet again and the country will once again give him the opportunity to finally deliver on his vision. Let’s just make sure their resolve is not again thwarted by the state machine.

This is also why NASA should make the man it’s flagbearer.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 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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