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Too Late for Uhuru to Compensate Kisii IDPs

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My Star column this weekend:

Barely a week before the November 8 election in the United States, Hillary Clinton suddenly realised a number of states that were previously safely in the Democratic Party basket could no longer be counted on.

This was a period she was facing an onslaught from her then opponent Donald Trump, with his appeal to American nativism, waging a campaign entirely based on lies and false promises.

One of these states was Michigan, where Hillary was forced to make a last-minute campaign appearance a day before the poll. As things would turn out, her appearance was too little too late to make any difference.

Had Clinton known the majority of voters in this usually friendly state for Democrats were ready to abandon the Democrats’ camp and vote Republican, she would have gone there much earlier in her campaigns: She didn’t. As a result, she paid dearly by losing in the state, which contributed to her losing the election.

President Uhuru Kenyatta faces the same situation and, therefore, will lose for exactly the same reason: That is waiting until it’s too late to address the needs of the voters in a county where he must get the same or more votes than he received in 2013, if he is to win on August 8. He has, however, done the opposite.

We’re talking about the county of Kisii. Like all Kenyans, voters in the Gusii region expected the President to deliver on his grandiose promises made ahead of the 2013 election.

Like a section of Kenyans, Gusii voters are disappointed that President Uhuru and his government have failed to deliver on these promises, and they’re too smart to be fooled with the gimmickry engaged in, trying to fool voters about what the government has done or is about to do.

We’re all too familiar with the many Kibaki-Raila era initiated or planned projects that Uhuru has been going around the country taking credit for as Jubilee when, in fact, they’re not: They’re only implementing what was placed in the pipeline by the Kibaki-Raila administration and even there, the poor pace of implementation is overshadowed by the wanton corruption bedeviling each of these projects.

The voters in Gusii are angry at the President for ignoring the needs of all IDPs from the area much as he ignored IDPs from other areas all these years in power — favouring those from his community and those from Deputy President William Ruto’s backyard, who were prioritised in the compensation plan. This is both indefensible and shameful.

Like Clinton, Uhuru has realised at the very last minute that the Gusii IDPs he has ignored all this time needed his attention, and he rushed there to give them long overdue compensation.

As was the case for Clinton, this, too, will be proven to be too little, too late for a number of reasons.

​First, Uhuru made the announcement no different than President Daniel Moi’s famous roadside giveaways intended to buy votes, which Kibaki perfected. But in Uhuru’s case, he’s not owed a thank you, let alone votes for doing something the government was obligated to do years ago.

Second, the fact Uhuru and Ruto made sure only IDPs from “their people” were compensated handsomely and timely compared to this last-minute scramble to get votes is another reason the duo must be booted from office not just by Gusii voters, but by all who care about our oneness as a nation bila ukabila (without tribalism) and related vices such as this, where those who rig themselves into government use the same institution to only benefit their tribes.

Third, there’s no justification whatsoever why IDPs from Central and the Rift Valley can be given nearly double what the IDPs in Gusii are being promised or given.

Last but not least, change is long overdue and the way to express one’s anger against those in elective office, who don’t respect you or don’t care about your needs as an individual or as a group, is to boot them out of office, notwithstanding these last-minute Hail Marys.

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Posted by on June 9, 2017 in Politics

 

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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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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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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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NASA Principals Have Kenya’s Future In Their Hands

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In NASA Principals Have Future of Kenya In Their Hands, I make the case why:

When Hillary Clinton announced her second bid for the presidency in April 2015, she was immediately faced with hostile opposition from within the Democratic Party by a wing that to this day, has never really liked her for a number of reasons, among them her being wife of former President Bill Clinton.

Others didn’t want her to be the Democrats flagbearer, arguing she was not progressive enough, while others deemed her not qualified simply because she’s a woman.

To make sure Hillary did not see the inside of the White House, Republicans on their part embarked on a relentless campaign to discredit her as “untrustworthy” by cooking up and peddling various false claims against her, key among them being the bogus claims that she somehow was responsible for the deaths of Americans in Benghazi, Libya, when the American embassy was attacked by terrorists back in 2012.

Republicans, who controlled the House, brought their entire party machine to tear down Hillary, courtesy of the sham Benghazi Committee, in which one of their member would later admit in a classic Freudian slip that the committee was, indeed, “a sham committee setup to damage or destroy Hillary”.

When they were not busy with their onslaught on Hillary on this ground, the Republicans, joined by Hillary haters in the Democratic Party, used their loudmouths in both radio and television to drumbeat the notion that she was being anointed without opposition, which, in their logic, was not a good thing. So much that many Democrats demanded an alternative to oppose her and thus the emergence of Senator Bernie Sanders.

Sanders provided home to disgruntled and short-sighted Democrats, who to the end remained loyal to him, and refused to support Hillary even after she became the party nominee.

Whatever their reasons were, most of these Democrats now regret not having supported Hillary because the outcome was having a President Donald Trump — a clueless man who stands for nothing they believe in and is certainly worse than Hillary could ever have been.

We’re faced with the same situation in Kenya where opposition chief Raila Odinga, like Hillary, is being resisted from both within and without.

There are those in and outside the opposition who begrudge Raila simply for who he is — the son of Jaramogi Oginga — who in his own right went on to become the icon and doyen of opposition politics much like his father was.

Many would like Raila to exit the world of politics and probably from this world altogether, without the title of President.

Then there are those who, like Hillary haters, simply dislike Raila for no apparent reason other than simply believing the smears and lies peddled about him.

Jubilee, like TNA before it, has done a superb job in profiling Raila variously as a “dangerous” or threat to the Kikuyu community.

While Raila is obviously not dangerous by any measure, he’s certainly a threat to those who have looted or illegally gained from the public coffers, regardless of their community.

This is a good thing for Raila to be feared for that must not only be applauded, but all progressives and well-meaning Kenyans must rally behind. The choice here is either being behind him or the corrupt who have looted this country.

Which brings us to the NASA principals: To each one of you, you hold the future of Kenya in your hands for if you don’t do the wisest and only right thing and make Raila the joint opposition flagbearer and rally the nation to defeat Jubilee, you’ll forever carry the cross of being the worst among the political class.

Worse than the very worse you’re very well-placed to uproot from power and present an alternative vision and leadership for this country.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2017 in Politics

 

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