Thursday, 18 January 2018

EU suspends funding of Sh3.6b water tower over human rights abuses

European Union Ambassador to Kenya Stefano Antonio Dejak during EU day celebration at the ambassador's residence Muthaiga, Nairobi on 09/05/2017 [PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE]
NAIROBI, KENYA: The European Union has cut short funding of a controversial water tower project over human rights abuses.
This follows the killing of a member of the indigenous Sengwer community and shooting of another by Kenyan Forest Guards in Kapkok Glade, Marakwet.
The Sh3.6 billion project, tipped to protect the ground supplies of water in Mount Elgon and  Cherangani Hills that covers 11 counties, is in partnership with the Kenyan government and was planned for the next six years.
EU Ambassador Stefano A. Dejak condemned the killing, saying both indigenous people's rights and Kenya's water towers need protection.
"Yesterday's shooting took place after we had formally alerted Kenya's Government that the use of force by Kenya Forest Service guards in the Embobut Forest or elsewhere against innocent locals would lead the EU to suspend its financial support for conservation work on the country's water towers," said Mr Dejak.
"Accordingly, we are now suspending the support to the water towers programme with the Government of Kenya," he said.
Launched in 2016 it is dubbed the Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Programme.
Members of the Sengwer, Ogiek, Sabaot, Cherangany and Marakwet communities are against the project, saying it will lead to their eviction from their ancestral land.
The EU said its staff had been following up on reports spanning more than a year concerning abuses of indigenous people's rights in the conservation areas with claims that these were linked to the EU's support.
Speaking to Reuters, Judi Wakhungu, the Kenyan minister of environment and natural resources, said she did not have a formal report of the incident the union referred to.
There was a security operation led by the ministry of the interior in the area to flush out cattle rustlers, criminal elements and militias who hide in the forest, she said.
“We are going to assess how exactly we can improve the prevailing security situation... Thereafter we will see how we can move the project forward once we are satisfied that normalcy has returned,” she told Reuters, adding the EU would be involved.
Kenya’s economy relies heavily on farming and tourism.

I will form my government even from exile, says Raila

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Opposition leader Raila Odinga has vowed to form a rival government when he is sworn in on January 30 even if it is based outside the country.
He spoke as 13 opposition MPs said they will have all the National Super Alliance (NASA) affiliated lawmakers to support the oath by swearing affidavits declaring they will only recognise Mr Odinga as president.
In an interview with Voice of America, the opposition leader said his oath of office will be based on the results of the August 8, 2017 election, which he claims he won.
He said he will form a cabinet and run a government even if it will be from exile.
“This is no joke. An illegitimate government is in office, and the one that the people actually wanted to be there is outside. On January 30, we will end this. We will be sworn in with the August 8 results that shows we won,” he said.
President Kenyatta has warned that the law will take its course if Mr Odinga acts against the Constitution while Attorney-General Githu Muigai has said the oath will attract a charge of treason, which attracts the death penalty.
On Wednesday, the AG said he has to listen to the interview before responding. “I will listen to it and come back to you,” he said on the telephone.
In the August 8 election, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declared President Kenyatta the winner with 8,203,290 votes (54 per cent) followed by Mr Odinga’s 6,762,224 (43 per cent). Nasa declared the election a sham and went to court to have it nullified.
At that time, the opposition believed that the entire election was tainted by “non-compliance, irregularities  and improprieties” and did not ask the Supreme Court to order a manual recount of the votes which would have established if there was an error — or manipulation of computers — in declaring Mr Kenyatta the winner.
Instead, Nasa asked the court to quash Mr Kenyatta’s win and order a fresh election. The Supreme Court found in favour of the opposition and ordered a repeat poll, which Mr Odinga boycotted, citing lack of electoral reforms.
The Nasa leader says his January 30 oath is a protest against what he terms lack of electoral reforms and the failure by Jubilee to initiate dialogue over it. Asked what he will do after the oath, Mr Odinga said he will form a government.
“We can even be a government in exile, one that works from outside. It has happened in other countries. What we are saying is that Kenyans can no longer allow an illegitimate government not elected by the people to rule them. We will work like a government, we will form a Cabinet and we will work as a government,” Mr Odinga said in the Swahili interview recorded at his Capitol Hill office, Nairobi, on Tuesday.
Mr Odinga dismissed as far-fetched claims of differences between him and his co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula.
Nasa insiders say the three principals have called for a stop of the swearing-in ceremony, preferring dialogue to avoid the confrontation that would come with taking the presidential oath when President Kenyatta has already been sworn in. But Mr Odinga said the Nasa team is fully behind him.
“There is no rift in Nasa at all. No problems whatsoever. My brothers are fully behind the course,” he said.
On disagreements over the sharing of parliamentary committee leadership positions in the coalition, Mr Odinga said the differences were normal.
“In a large family like Nasa, these things are bound to occur. There will be cases where one family is demanding a fish and vice-versa. That is normal,” he said.
Yesterday, it emerged that two meetings by the Nasa principals had not yielded fruits over the swearing-in ceremony and that they had scheduled a retreat on Friday at Maanzoni Hotel in Machakos.
At Parliament Buildings on Wednesday, 13 lawmakers led  by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala and National Assembly Minority whip Junet Mohammed started a campaign that they said would see all the coalition’s MPs, governors and MCAs sign a legal instrument binding them to a resolution to swear in Mr  Odinga and Mr Musyoka as “people’s president” and deputy. Nasa has 154 law makers — 127 MPs and 27 senators.
The MPs said they do not recognise Mr Kenyatta as President.
“We are bound by a solemn belief in the sanctity of the vote and respect for the democratic will of the people. And we stand here before you to say enough is enough. Enough with “accept and move on”. Enough with Jubilee’s electoral theft. Enough with the diplomats and their dialogue. Kenyans want nothing short of electoral justice,” said Mr Malala.
“It is in this spirit that we as elected leaders representing the people have resolved to come together to further demonstrate that we do not recognise Uhuru Kenyatta as President,” he said.
However, none of Wiper and Ford-Kenya MPs attended the press conference that came just a day after the coalition’s four principals failed to agree on the modalities of the oath after two days of secret meetings.
The leaders first met on Monday at Karen Country Club and at a private residence in Lavington on Tuesday. In the affidavits, the leaders recognise Mr Odinga as the people’s president, having been elected as the president during the August 8 presidential election. They affirm that the poll, won by Mr Kenyatta, was not free, fair, transparent or verifiable.
The affidavit further trashes the October 26 repeat presidential election as a nullity because it was conducted by an electoral commission that was in contempt of the Supreme Court orders and that it was not conducted in strict compliance of the constitutional provisions and all other applicable laws.
“Had the IEBC complied with the Supreme Court orders and provided access to its servers, the results would have shown that the winner of the first presidential election was Mr Odinga,” the affidavit reads.
However, during yesterday’s press conference both Mr Malala and Mr Mohammed rejected claims of disquiet in the coalition over the oath and the manner in which the committee leadership positions reserved for the opposition parties had been shared out.
“There is no fallout in the coalition and nobody has been forced to sign the affidavit. It is one of our programmes to ensure the swearing-in ceremony takes place,” said Mr Mohammed.
Mr Odinga, on the other hand, told VOA that while foreign diplomats were welcome to help Kenya as friends, the current stalemate could only be addressed by Kenyans themselves.
“This is a fire that is for us Kenyans to put out. We have stated our agenda for dialogue.” he said.
“If they do not, sisi hatubembelezi mtu (We will not plead with anybody). We will do our things, let them do theirs and then we will see where we will meet,” he said and warned the envoys to keep off the push for dialogue, accusing them of siding with Jubilee.
Mr Odinga is particularly upset by US ambassador Robert Godec who recently asked Nasa to drop the “unconstitutional” swearing-in for a structured dialogue.
“They are our friends but they cannot force us. Kenya is not a colony of America. We are a free country. We will do as we want. It is not us Nasa that have breached the Constitution because they have created an illegitimate government,” he said.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

”We Only Recognize Raila As Our President”- 100 MPs Sign Affidavits For Raila Swearing In

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,
Gathered before you here today are the Members of the National Assembly and the Senate drawn from various political parties and indeed, various parts of the country. We are brought here today by a common belief in the indispensable need for electoral justice for the people of Kenya. We are bound by a solemn belief in the sanctity of the vote and respect for the democratic will of the People. And we stand here before you to say enough is enough. Enough with “accept and move on.” Enough with Jubilee’s electoral theft. Enough with the diplomats and their dialogue. Kenyans want nothing short of electoral justice!
The Presidential Election circus of 2017 is the third indeterminate electoral process in the last two decades to choose a national leader for the country. It is indeed sad for Kenya that the only truly free and fair Presidential election that the nation has seen since the beginning of the multiparty era is that of 2002. Many of those who voted in 2017 were not even eligible to vote in the last credible Presidential election held in Kenya!
Kenyans are tired of this vicious cycle of electoral fraud perpetuated by unpopular tyrants to force their will on the People. It is time to call their bluff; it is time to bring down the walls of Jericho!
Jubilee lost the election of August 8th. Later, Jubilee, with no opponent, could still not muster a decent show in the subsequent exercise carried out on October 26th. In both events, Jubilee conspired with elements within the IEBC to steal and subvert the sovereign will of Kenyans. And since then, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto would love nothing more than to continue living in their fantasy world assuming that given time, Kenyans will forget their fraud.
We are here to state in no uncertain terms, that we will neither forget, nor will we tire in our efforts until the Usurpers are driven from power.
It is in this spirit, that we as elected leaders representing the People have resolved to come together to further demonstrate that we do not recognize Uhuru Kenyatta as President.
As a matter of fact, we recognize His Excellency, the Rt Hon Raila Odinga as the bonafide President of the Republic of Kenya with His Excellency, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka as his Deputy.
To this effect, each one of us has signed a legal instrument binding us to this resolution. We remain on course in our journey to have the truly elected leaders of our Republic sworn in.
In closing, we would like to issue a stern political warning to those who would seek to abandon this quest for electoral justice. Kenyans are watching. The people are watching! If you want to negotiate with the thieves, do so in your individual capacity, do not pretend to speak for the rest of us. We urge wananchi to ask your elected leader whether they have signed this instrument and if they have not, we leave it to the Wisdom of wananchi to deal with them politically.
Signed and dated,
January 17, 2018.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Cabinet appointments: What prompted President’s brutal political butchery?

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Patience should be President Kenyatta’s compass as he painstakingly constructs his government with an eye on assembling a competent, committed and efficient Cabinet to help him carefully and successfully steer MV Kenya home on his final five-year voyage.
But he rushed an announcement about Cabinet-making a week ago on Friday. It exposed discord between President and Deputy President William Ruto over nominees and a President keen to use the Cabinet to build a legacy and a Deputy assembling a team to ensure his rise to power.
It is understandable when President and Deputy disagree over the composition of their Cabinet. But it is worrisome when their fight escalates and turns a marquee government event into a political and public relations fiasco, and invites pressure and ridicule on themselves.
By custom established in 2013, Mr Ruto flanks the President at every important function at State House. He was absent not because Cabinet-making is a minor distraction in Jubilee’s organisation of government, but because he was kept out of the loop or opted out in pique.
However, it is gratifying that he bravely and publicly sanitised his discomfiture. This pressure will be a recurring feature of the Kenyatta II succession. As I wrote on October 29, 2016, apart from the much-hyped 2013 pact with the President, Mr Ruto needs a Plan B for his 2022 presidential run.
Indeed, by stating publicly that Cabinet-making is the President’s prerogative and that he needs space to fashion it, Mr Ruto sent the message that he will bide his time and abide by his boss’ decision on the Cabinet to ensure his destiny is in his hands and not the President’s.
The DP understood that President Kenyatta would have his way. W. Craig Blesdoe and Leslie Rigby report that when Lincoln was unanimously outvoted by members of his Cabinet, he closed the meeting by saying: “Seven nays and one aye, the ayes have it.”
So President Kenyatta sacked, then claimed he had not fired, an astonishing 13 out of 19 cabinet secretaries (CSs). Then he nominated three out of a possible 15. But, curiously, he did not assign them dockets. And, he announced retention of six, thereby assigning the sextet special status.
The endorsement served as public humiliation of the 13. The import was clear: The six excelled while the baker’s dozen failed the President. Still almost all are sending emissaries to him seeking audience, a second chance or soft landing. They go to offices, but none has his heart in service.
Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohammed must have felt especially hard done by. She lay down her life for President and Deputy and helped deliver them from heinous crimes-against-humanity charges at The Hague.
They cannot have fronted and campaigned far and wide for a deadwood to become the African Union’s chief executive officer last year. Yet the President lay down the minister for his legacy.
Agitated, Kenya’s women are watching and waiting. Per the constitution, women should make up one-third of the Cabinet. With none of the sitting five retained and none nominated, the President must deliver to this hugely important constituency.
So what prompted this brutal political butchery? When President Kibaki fired his Cabinet of 28 in 2005, he was preparing Kenyans for the ejection of seven ministers who rebelled, and ran against him in a plebiscite on a draft constitution.
In 1962, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan sacked seven out of 21 ministers because he needed to bring in younger talent and fresh ideas to rejuvenate government. Alarmed by a by-election loss, he wanted to regenerate the Conservative Party and kick-start an ailing economy.
There were consequences. While most Kenyans understood that President Kibaki could not share government with rebels and backed their sacking, the action contributed to the explosion of post-election violence two years later.
The scale of brutality, which ran counter to Macmillan’s gentlemanly ways, turned Westminster and public opinion against the PM. From being fondly called Super Mac, he became Mac the Knife. Ailing, Macmillan resigned 18 months later, the damage undone. Mr Kenyatta wants CSs who will work to give him an enviable legacy. Mr Ruto wants CSs who will herald his march to State House. Both have debts to settle, but the fault line is the 2022-related dues the President or the Kenyattas owe Baringo Senator Gideon Moi or the Mois. Mr Moi wants to be president in 2022. There is Mr Ruto’s casus belli.
 Opanga is a commentator with a bias for politics 

Police probe death of University of Nairobi student in hostel

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Police are investigating the circumstances under which a University of Nairobi student died at the Mamlaka A Hostel early Sunday, January 14, 2018. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Police are investigating the circumstances under which a University of Nairobi student died at the Mamlaka A Hostel early Sunday.
The fourth year student, Ian Kibet Kimaiyo, fell from the third floor of the hostel and was found dead a few minutes past midnight.
Police said a security officer, Titus Awuor, reported to them that the student had fallen from the third floor but he was not certain whether he had been pushed.
“Police visited the scene and could not immediately establish the circumstances behind the incident,” police said.
Kibet’s body had blood oozing from the nose and visible injuries at the back of the head, police said Monday.
The body of the student was moved to the Chiromo mortuary awaiting post-mortem which will help unravel the mystery behind the death.
Elsewhere, a milk vendor was arrested and detained at the Muthaiga Police Station after he stabbed a supplier during a quarrel over a Sh70 refund.
Police in Starehe said that the suspect, Henry Mugambi Gitonga, picked a knife from his kiosk and stabbed Moffat Kwomboki, 25, after a quarrel.
The quarrel, according to police, was triggered by a previously supplied packet of milk which the suspect complained had gone sour.
“When Moffat did not honour the demand, he (Gitonga) stabbed him thrice in the chest killing him instantly,” police said.