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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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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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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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Jubilee Has Unwittingly Made Joho Popular

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In Jubilee Has Unwittingly Made Joho Popular, I make the case why.

And now the oped in its entirety:

Ask anyone, other than a Donald Trump sycophant or hapless partisan Republican, and they will tell you that the 46th US President is the most ill-prepared to occupy that office.

His bungling of the first major Executive Order, and, most recently, the spectacular failure of the “repeal and replace” Obamacare, are just but two examples that show why it’s a bad idea to elect anyone to high office with such dearth of knowledge and hapless leadership skills.

That doesn’t mean the man is uneducated: He did obtain an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania before his father gave him money and sent him off to real the estate investment business, where he did quite well.

The point here is that, as a leader, there is no correlation between education and performance or success in business for that matter. Just as you have dimwits who plough their way to high office at the expense of well-educated leaders, who can’t match their ill-gotten wealth they use to get power. You end up having well-educated individuals trying to outdo the dimwits in their incompetence in managing the affairs of the big office.

On the other hand, history is replete with examples of individuals, who had only minimal education or were otherwise poorly educated but went on to accomplish great things in life. B ut, to be sure, those are obviously exceptions than the norm, which leads to the question, why did the framers of our 2010 Constitution introduce academic requirements for holding public office?

The answer was obviously an attempt to prevent rich but illiterate people from dominating elective politics as they had since Independence Unfortunately, this has led to the increase of fake academic certificates by politicians, using them to gain office, without necessarily changing the overall quality of leadership.

Jubilee is now attempting to use the education requirement, in a classic holier-than-thou caes unlike anything we have ever seen before, to try and undermine Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho.

It is using every state machine simply because the man dared to challenge President Uhuru Kenyatta, and his failure to provide leadership not just for the Coast people, but everywhere else across the country.

One of the fronts Jubilee is attacking Joho on is using the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, an agency previously mostly known for investigating though not resolving serious crimes, to validate the bogus claim that Joho presented fake documents for admission to university and to get other certificates of higher learning.

The governor confirmed to this writer and others that his academic credentials are not fake and dismissed the fake documents talk about him tas a desperate move by Jubilee to cripple him politically.

What they don’t know is that in doing so, his popularity in Coast soars and now, thanks to this onslaught, suddenly the making of a force to reckon with not just in Coast, but across the country.

Put in another way, Jubilee is going to these extremes to counter Joho’s growing influence and his standing up against the President, not because it’s a wise strategy, but because they’re not used to dealing with a fearless person who doesn’t crumble at the unleashing of state machine against him, or one who’s ironclad against all forms of bribery directed at him to abandon his vision and people-centered politics.

Joho is not alone in this for we have had a number of fearless leaders in this country, who have challenged and in the end won against the powers that be, starting from the man Joho calls his mentor, Opposition chief Raila Odinga.

“I am ready to be punished politically,” declared Joho in the face of all this intimidation.

That’s the making of a force to reckon with and none other than Jubilee takes a lion’s share of this good news that seals the fate of Jubilee in Coast and, indeed, the rest of the country. Other leaders will certainly be inspired and do what the Mombasa governor has done, and that’s telling Jubilee, your days are numbered!

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2017 in Politics

 

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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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