Monday, 26 August 2013

Debate on referendum rages as more leaders call for caution

PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA Former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi (left) and former Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa pay their respects at the grave of former Vice-President Michael Kijana Wamalwa in Kitale on August 23, 2013 on the 10th anniversary of his death.
More than 30 MPs on Saturday joined Deputy President William Ruto in criticising those calling for a referendum.
The MPs – from both Senate and National Assembly – said those calling for referendum had ulterior motives.
The rebuke came moments after UDF leader Musalia Mudavadi and his New Ford-Kenya counterpart Eugene Wamalwa waded into the debate, also questioning the timing and motives of those spearheading calls for the vote.
Speaking in Kitale on Friday at a memorial service for former Vice-President Michael Kijana Wamalwa, the two leaders, who have kept a low profile since March 4, said the referendum would be costly especially coming just months after a very expensive General Election.
“The issues being talked about may be relevant, but who will conduct the election when the electoral commission’s credibility is in doubt with many cases in court? Leaders must be careful when pushing for this agenda,” Mr Mudavadi said.
Mr Wamalwa said it was premature for the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) leaders to call for a referendum when the Constitution had not been fully implemented.
And in Meru, MPs mainly from the Jubilee Alliance and a few Cord members claimed there were plans to destabilise the government in its formative stages.
They also defended the government for having increased allocations to the county governments from 32.6 per cent to 40 per cent of national revenue.
“The government on its own gave counties 32.6 per cent of national revenue, but now it has increased that to 40 per cent. Did we have a referendum? Some of these people want to get power through the back door,” Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi said.
Tigania East MP Mpuri Apuri said that although he was in Cord, he was not supporting his leader Raila Odinga on the referendum.
He told Mr Odinga to allow the government to deliver on its election pledges.
Mr Ruto said the fact that the government had agreed to increase allocations to the counties was proof enough that Jubilee was committed to devolution.
“Some people want another contest with us, and they are looking at a cheap avenue for that. But even if we have 100 contests, we will defeat them,” Mr Ruto said.
Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi said a majority of Kenyans were not prepared for a referendum and that what they wanted was service delivery.
However, Trans Nzoia Senator Henry ole Ndiema (Ford-Kenya) said the call for a referendum has been sparked by the superiority battle between the Senate and the National Assembly.
“In some countries, the Senate makes changes to laws made by the National Assembly, but in our country it is vice-versa. This may necessitate a referendum if we fail to reach a consensus,” said Mr Ndiema.
Political strategist Peter Kagwanja said there is no democracy in the world where the National Assembly is superior to the Senate.
He added that the government had no choice but to implement devolution or risk making it the main issue in campaigns for the next election.
Separately, the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) said it is not opposed to amending the Constitution but will only support a referendum if it is people driven.
“This Constitution is not a property of Cord and Jubilee but of all Kenyans. It is, therefore, wrong for the politicians allied to the two alliances to use it as their battleground to settle their scores,” General Secretary Peter Karanja said moments after closing NCCK centenary conference at Kabarak University in Nakuru on Friday.
In Mombasa, renowned scholar, Prof Ali Mazrui, expressed reservations over the referendum calls, saying it was “too early” to start mutilating the three-year-old charter.
Prof Mazrui said the Constitution should be given time to mature and grow.
“We are coming from a unitary system which had no place for small tribes like us to have influence in Nairobi where power lay in the hands of a few individuals with names, history and wealth,” he said.
But Cord, the council of governors and civil society have vowed to push on with the calls for a referendum.
Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto told the BBC interactive programme Sema Kenya at the Multimedia University on Friday that he would start collecting six million signatures in September in support of the referendum.
The aim, he said, was to strengthen the Senate, increase allocations to counties to more than 40 per cent of the national revenue and to allow counties to handle things like building schools and giving bursaries to needy students. He said counties should also be allowed to handle rural electrification and roads.
Civil society activist Okiya Omtatah said he had already collected 300,000 in support of the referendum and that he targets two million.
Mr Ruto and Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar dismissed claims that the time was not ripe for a referendum, saying it should even have been held a day after the March 4 elections to protect devolution.
“The referendum is not about Cord, Jubilee or Transition Authority but to protect devolution. Devolution is not CDF, Uwezo Fund or being told to use that money first or to keep quiet,” Mr Ruto said.
Mr Omar added: “The Senate has been weakened and is now toothless. We need to go backwards so that we can move forward. We want counties to be centres of development and not just human resource bureaux.”
Three constitutional offices also supported calls for more money to be allocated to counties but said the time was not ripe for a referendum.
The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC), the Transition Authority (TA) and the Controller of Budget said governors and others pushing for a referendum should first exhaust other mechanisms to improve the allocations.
“Yes, more money should be given to counties. We support the referendum, but this is not the right time,” TA chairman Kinuthia wa Mwangi said.
Mr Wa Mwangi and Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo said the counties should first use the money allocated to them, then carry out costing to determine the amount of money they require.
Mr Wa Mwangi said counties should be given a year to operate and “then check what they will be allocated in next year’s budget”.
But a member of the Commission on Revenue Allocation Amina Ahmed said the referendum should be held if a majority of Kenyans were for it. The commissioner said CRA had allocated Sh231 billion to the counties before it was trimmed to Sh210 billion. She said the 34 per cent allocations were as per 2010/2011 audited accounts of the national revenue, adding that the law should allow the latest Auditor-General findings to be used in determining funds to go to the devolved units.
In yet another development, Tharaka-Nithi Governor Samuel Ragwa said he would push for a plebiscite unless the government disbursed enough money to help the largely semi-arid county roll out its projects.
He called on the public not to take the call for a referendum as aimed at sabotaging the Jubilee government and urged senators, MPs, and County Assemblies to support them.
Speaking at Marimanti market, Mr Ragwa said he was ready to lead a rebellion against the government if the move would benefit his county.

Friday, 23 August 2013

How to Register an NGO in Kenya, Tuesday, 12 April 2011

1. A cover letter addressed to the Executive Director requesting for registration.

2. Duly filled Form 3 (three copies) in original Forms.

3. Duly filled Addendum to Form 3 (two copies) providing specific information on their physical address and contact details.

4. Duly filled Form 1 (one copy stating organization’s contact person)

5. Two (2) recent colored passport sized photographs of top three (3) officials with the names of the official and organization written at the back.

6. Photocopy of ID card/passports for the three (3) top officials.

7. Copy of Name Reservation Form duly approved and paid for.

8. Three (3) Copies of the proposed NGOs Constitution-signed by three top officials and one official on all the pages.

9. A Copy of minutes authorizing the filing of applications. The minutes should specifically resolve to register as an NGO

10. Processing fees Kenya shillings Eleven Thousand (KES 11,000) for NGOs that are national in scope and Kenya Shillings Twenty Two Thousand (KES 22,000) for NGOs that are international in scope. In instances where the applicants have downloaded application forms from the NGOB website, they will be required to pay the requisite fee of Kenya Shillings Two Hundred (KES 200). Where a name reservation has not been paid for, the fee of KES 500 will be applicable.

11. Proposed one-year budget of the applicant organization.

12. All applications shall be typed or filled in block letters

13. All signatures must be in original form. Scanned and/photocopied signatures will not be accepted.

Name Reservation Process
1. Filling of Form 2 and payment of Kshs.500/- being processing fee.
2. Submission of Form to the Registry for conducting the search.
3. Conducting of search and recommendation for reservation by the Registry
4. Submission of reserved name to the Programmes Manager for approval.

Requirements for Change of Name of an NGO
1. Formal application addressed to the Executive Director seeking for consent.
2. Application should state the proposed name and give reasons for the Change of Name.
3. Duly signed minutes of the meeting proposing the Change of name of the NGO.
4. Copy of advertisement in the local dailies informing the general public of the proposed Change of name.
5. Processing fee depending on the status of your Organization (Kshs.10,000/- or 20,000/-)

Requirements for Change of Office Bearers
1. Duly signed copy of minutes of the meeting authorizing the Change of office bearers.
2. Duly filled Form 13 signed by both incoming and outgoing officials.
3. Duly filled Form 3 signed by the incoming officials.
4. 2 passport photographs of the incoming official(s).
5. Photocopies of the ID/Passport of the incoming officials.

Requirements for Amending the Constitution
1. Formal application addressed to the Executive Director seeking for consent and signed by the three registered Officials of the organizations.
2. Copy of the minutes of the meeting authorizing the amendments to the Constitution clearly giving reasons for the amendment.
3. Copy of Constitution with highlighted sections to be amended.
4. Kshs.2000/- processing fee.

Requirements for Recommendation for Duty and Tax Exemption
1. Formal application addressed to the Executive Director requesting for the recommendation for exemption to the Director General Kenya Revenue Authority
2. Verification of the documents by the Finance and Administration Manager
3. Payment of Ksh. 1,000/= processing fee
4. Writing of recommendation letter for collection by the applicant

Requirements for Letter of Introduction to the Bank
1. Formal application addressed to the Executive Director requesting for the same
2. Recommendation by Programmes Department for payment of Ksh. 2,000/= processing fee
3. Writing of the letter for collection by the applicants

Self-taught techie’s love for computers pays off in millions

Onfon Media Ltd chief executive Dennis Makori. Courtesy 
Onfon Media Ltd chief executive Dennis Makori. Courtesy 

Posted  Wednesday, August 21  2013 at  17:46
A former Moi University student registered a company based at the institution at 21. Fifteen years later, the enterprise is said to be worth Sh1 billion with four million subscribers.
Dennis Makori, chief executive at Onfon Media Limited — a value added telecoms service provider — is not shy about his road to recognition. He says that he is not done yet and the present success can only be termed as a start-up.
“In 1998, while at the university, computer technology was evolving and although I did not have any skills on its usage, I developed a deep passion for computers and taught myself about the technology in less than three months,’’ the 33-year-old entrepreneur told the Business Daily at his office on Mombasa Road in Nairobi. “I started securing freelance jobs in computer programming.”
By the time he completed studies at the university in 2003, Makori set out to develop his briefcase business — Comb Soft Developers. At the time, he says, he was keen on selling himself as a brand.
Andrew Mbuya, Makori’s former classmate describes him as risk-taker and a shrewd businessman able to tap opportunities.
“I worked at his university-based company since both of us were pursuing Electrical and Communication Engineering,” he told the Business Daily on phone. “We joined hands and contributed Sh50 each to register Comb Soft  Developers, he was passionate  about  trying out new ventures.’’
Hezborn Otachi, who attended Kisii High School with Makori, says entrepreneurship traits were evident in the businessman whose conversations were dominated by discussions on top investors.
“This is a rare feat for a man who kept talking about success given his humble background,’’ Otachi says of Makori.
The entrepreneur operated his business from home between 2003 and 2005, and on a good month he could earn Sh9,000 as salary from his business.
“I was building the ground for my small firm but those were my lowest moment. There is nothing disheartening than seeing what you love doing most is not flourishing,” says Makori.
“Operating through a registered company was more encouraging. I had seen Its potential.”
He decided to change the name of the company to Onfon Media Limited to pursue mobile advertising in 2005. He approached Mbuya, the former colleague at the university for a partnership. However, the Sh110,000, which was required for registration was a big challenge. The licence for the business cost Sh100,000 while Sh10,000 would was for registration.
“In January 2006, I had saved a good amount of money from the numerous projects I had handled through Comb Soft Developers,” he says. “My friend Mbuya was at hand to help and we registered Onfon Media Limited in the same month,’’ said Makori.
Today, Mbuya owns shares at OnFon Media where he is also a partner.
As the two entrepreneurs waited for the licence from the Communications Commission of Kenya, they rented a small office to plan and lay down strategies for the company. In January 2007, the regulator issued them the licence. They partnered with Safaricom, which allowed them to send short code messages through the telco’s value added services system. The deal was based on revenue-sharing.
“We had no money to buy a router but we configured a clone server which routed our connection to Safaricom.We had only one computer,” said Makori.
“The next step involved approaching vernacular radio stations for partnerships on premium messages. We chose them because the main stations were already in business with other companies in the same venture.”
He adds: “Under the agreement, for every Sh10 message, Sh3 goes to the Kenya Revenue Authority while the remaining Sh7 we share equally with Safaricom where each party gets Sh3.50, we normally get our monthly payments from Safaricom’’.
He initially started with one radio station — West FM. Within a month, the new deal earned them a Sh50,000 profit.
“Take a case of the current trend in our local radio and TV stations. For every programme there is an opinion segment where listeners and viewers are asked to air views on a given issue. Millions of Kenyans respond with their opinions daily,’’ he says. “This at the end of month translates to good figures.”
How does the system work? I asked him. “The message from the sender goes to mobile service provider then re-routed to Onfon Media where we relay them to media houses through our automated system,” he explains. “We have a capacity of 50 million messages a day. We install a software to our media partners that enables them to access the content at ease.’’
Makori says that their turnover rose to Sh30 million between 2008 and 2009 from Sh1 million in 2007 when they started operations.
Started with one radio
“Between 2009 and 2010, our turnover rose to Sh86 million, and this was buoyed our online banking model, among other factors’’ he says.
Currently, Onfon Media Limited has been contracted by K-Rep Bank, Consolidated Bank, Africa Investment Bank and National Social Security Fund for a joint mobile banking venture based on the revenue sharing model.
To clinch more deals locally and in the region, Makori diversifies his enterprises. As a result Onfon Media operates in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The entrepreneur plans to cover at least 10 countries in Africa and list on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, London Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange by 2015.
Makori says he owes his success to his parents and sponsors.
“My father was a tout and I went through high school and university courtesy of well-wishers and bursaries, my upbringing  taught me that  humility is the key to winning hearts,” he says. “I believe in uplifting other people’s lives just like people who supported me.”
Makori says he sponsors seven orphans in high schools in Kisii and he is working with 5,000 artistes in the region on a ring-back tone project.
“Money has taught me to grow with other people,’’ he says as we part.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Foreign varsities step up recruitment in Kenya

By David Mugwe

Posted  Monday, August 20   2012 at  19:57

Foreign universities, mainly from the United Kingdom (UK) and Canada, have stepped up the marketing of their institutions in Kenya, focusing on students with immigration and financial requirements to study abroad.
Anglia Ruskin University in the UK will be holding information sessions over the next two weeks for September and January intakes.
Others such as Cardiff and the London School of Business and Finance have also sent representatives to meet potential students mainly in major cities.
Uniserv Education and British Canadian International Education centres, which provide free information and assistance on UK university admissions, career counselling and visa guidance, and others such as the International Education Centre have also been running advertisements ahead of the next academic year.
University of Exeter, Queens University Belfast and Newcastle, Manchester Metropolitan, and City are all aiming to recruit students from Kenya.
Richard Bakare, the country development manager for Anglia Ruskin University who is holding information sessions at various locations in Nairobi, said demand for foreign education was high and would continue to rise as more students graduate from high school and universities.
“There is a huge supply of graduates in a market where there is a shortage of jobs. There is a demand for foreign education that is of higher quality that would give graduates an edge in the local market,” said Mr Bakare.
He said many students believe it would be easier for them to be more successful in other countries and probably command higher salaries than they would locally, adding that the country also has a growing number of parents who are willing to pay for foreign education.
“More Kenyans are becoming affluent and they would want to give their children a better start in life. It is obvious that we have a lot of potential but those who choose to study locally are missing out on the exposure,” said Mr Bakare.
Last week, Information and Communications Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo, speaking at a careers and mentorship conference, pointed out that foreign universities had seen potential and opportunities in the country.
The number of candidates sitting for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary School Education (KCSE) and the Kenya Certificate of Primary School Education (KCPE) examinations respectively have remained higher than the combined number of technical institutions and university places available in the country—increasing competition for the available opportunities.
According to the Economic Survey of 2012, a total of 410,586 candidates sat for the KSCE examination, up last year from 271,691 students in 2007 while the number of those enrolled in universities and technical institutions stood at 198,260 and 104,173 last year, up from 118,239 and 76,516 in 2007 respectively.
“We do not have enough opportunities available locally…they see a market,” said Dr Ndemo adding that many secondary school graduates cannot get admission to local universities due to capacity constraints.
Conestoga College, Comox Valley High School and Niagara College in Canada have also sent a representative who has been hosting information sessions about studying and living in the world’s 11th largest economy. Intakes are in January and May next year.
Bhanu Vishishth, president and life coach at Ignite Globally —a Canada based consulting firm—who has been in the country representing the three institutions said Kenyans had become more aware of opportunities available internationally, leading to increasing inquiries.
“We have seen more serious students coming to the education fairs and seminars and the students are more knowledgeable, focused and clear in what they want to do. The Kenyan population is more aware of what is out there for them,” said Mr Vishishth.
He said it can cost an average of between C$10,500 (Sh892,000) and C$12,500 (Sh1.06 million) per year in tuition at a Canadian university and between C$18,000 (Sh1.53 million) and C$21,000 (Sh1.785 million) including living expenses , adding that Canada is one of the few countries that allows foreign students to work for a period of time there after graduation.
Mr Vishishth said there was also a growing number of individuals and families with more disposable income which is making more people invest in international education, adding that some choose to settle abroad while others come back and take advantage of emerging opportunities at home.
Mr Bakare said studying abroad gave students international exposure, which allows them to “see things differently”.
Diamond Trust Bank group chief executive officer and managing director Nasim Devji during a recent online discussion on “My 15 min chat with a bank CEO” that is run weekly by the Kenya Bankers Association, said that while going abroad offers exposure, universities Kenyan universities produce graduates who can ably compete with their counterparts from overseas.
“Going abroad gives general exposure for any career, but in my view a good qualification from a Kenyan university does form a solid base and Kenyans with a good local degree are quite capable. You do not have to go abroad,” said Mrs Devji.
According to Uniserv Education, the average living expenses are about £600 (Sh78,600) per month in London and about £800 (Sh104,800) per month in London while tuition costs could range between £6,000 (Sh786,000) to £20,000 (Sh2.62 million) annually, depending on the course one chooses.

Local graduates lack key skills for job market

Graduants at a past ceremony. Local universities have been blamed for not preparing students for leadership, decision making and critical thinking. FILE 
Graduants at a past ceremony. Local universities have been blamed for not preparing students for leadership, decision making and critical thinking. FILE 

Posted  Monday, August 19   2013 at  19:41
Graduates from Kenyan universities are less competitive in the job market due to gaps between their training and the skills employers want, a new study has shown.
The report by Washington-based Results for Development Institute (R4D) says local tertiary institutions need to impart graduates with skills such as communication, leadership, decision making and critical thinking to stay ahead of the dynamic career race.
The think-tank also called on African institutions to link with employers and industry to bridge the skills gap.
“Non-cognitive skills are becoming increasingly important as economies change,” reads the report released in Nairobi last week.
“Theoretical knowledge acquired in the classroom is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and it is insufficient by itself.”
The findings say soft skills are crucial for economies like Kenya where the informal sector generates about 80 per cent of jobs.
“Non-cognitive skills may be even more important in the informal than in the formal economy—most informal workers are self-employed and thus need to be able to work along the entire value chain, running their own businesses,” it says.
R4D argues that the jua kali and SME sectors require players with entrepreneurial and business skills such as financial management, market research and marketing.
“Informal economy workers need to be more self-reliant than formal economy ones.”
The findings come in the wake of disagreements between universities and professional associations over the quality of graduates as many of them fail to meet expectations at the work place necessitating that employers conduct on-the-job training.
It also partly explains the continued appetite for foreign universities, which focus on developing more rounded graduates.
“We must pay closer attention to what students are learning and how they are learning so we can determine how to prepare them for employment in an increasingly interconnected global economy,” said Nicholas Burnett, managing director at R4D.
The American institution says 21st century work places need graduates with a mix of life skills, cognitive and non-cognitive skills.
Interestingly, Kenya does not have a national manpower strategy — a policy document that should define and catalogue the country’s human resource and align it to the labour market.
Furthermore, most universities do not have mandatory career counselling programmes, job placement centres to coordinate internships and trainings with industry or exchange programmes with foreign universities.
A survey by the Kenya ICT Board dubbed ‘Julisha’ released in November 2011 revealed that innovative thinking, problem solving and project management and implementation were the top three skills that locally trained IT professionals lacked.
“Roughly a quarter of companies are not satisfied with the quality of IT professionals from educational institutions in Kenya; a third of companies have contracted or plan to contract external providers to manage the skills shortages,” says the Julisha report.
Universities need to review their curricula to infuse core subjects with career skills such as flexibility and adaptability, initiative and self-direction, social and cross-cultural skills, productivity and accountability, leadership and responsibility. The R4D report also emphasises computer literacy and technology skills.
The student population in local colleges has tripled to 240,551 in the last five years, but most institutions have not matched the growth with number of lecturers and infrastructure.
Last year, the Engineers Registration Board declined to recognise graduates from Kenyatta, Egerton and Masinde Muliro universities over the depth of some of the modules they offer.
The report argues that schooling should deliver the fundamental skills for employability to youth, so that employers can then conduct on-the-job training that is specific to their needs.
The clamour for closer university-industry tries has seen institutions such as Strathmore University, Kenyatta University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology sign partnerships with companies.
The Safaricom Academy at Strathmore, for example, offers postgraduate courses in mobile telecommunications and innovation in fostering techpreneurs.
Safaricom learning and development manager Peter Njioka says: “Theoretical knowledge and technical training is important, but at Safaricom we place a premium on skills like innovation and creative thinking - that is what drives our brand.”

Sunday, 11 August 2013

PHOTO | FILE The Kenyan dance halls of the 1960s were dominated by a special group of musicians whose talents mesmerised not just the country but the region and beyond. 
PHOTO | FILE The Kenyan dance halls of the 1960s were dominated by a special group of musicians whose talents mesmerised not just the country but the region and beyond.  NATION MEDIA GROUP
Posted  Monday, August 12  2013 at  01:00
Daudi Kabaka. Fundi Konde. Fadhili William. David Amunga. Sal Davis. Ben Blastus O’Bulawayo. Gabriel Omolo.
These are the names of musicians who ruled Kenya and beyond in the ’60s. Their hit songs were so successful that they were even top of the charts in the United Kingdom. They were re-recorded by fellow musicians in Africa, Europe, and North America.
What is their story?
It all started in 1958 when talent scout and promoter Peter Colmore learned of the presence in Nairobi of a young exceptional guitarist from the then Belgian Congo (now the DRC).
Colmore, an Englishman who had lived in Kenya for 20 years, traced the musician to a River Road club, where he was entertaining crowds.
That meeting between Colmore and Edouard Masengo marked the beginning of an association that had a profound influence on the early years of popular music in Kenya.
In January 1959, the two men flew to Elizabethville (Lubumbashi) to sign a promotional contract with Jean Bosco Mwenda, another talented Congolese singer and guitarist. Bosco had been recording with South African company, Gallatone, for a promotion. Shorty afterwards, the three men returned to Kenya.
Colmore signed deals with companies like Coca Cola and Aspro to promote their brands during shows around the country.
During a recording for The Aspro Show before a live TV audience in 1959 at City Hall, Nairobi, Bosco introduced the event by singing one of the popular commercial jingles of the time: Aspro ni dawa ya kweli… inamaliza homa kali mara moja.
These shows were taken around the country. Bosco and Masengo quickly turned into household names.
They popularised the technique of playing the guitar by plucking the string directly with the fingertips or fingernails.
Bosco’s recording of the instrumental piece, Masanga, is a perfect example of the style that was aped all across the region. It was taken up by musicians like George Mukabi, John Mwale, Ben Blastus O’Bulawayo, and David Amunga.
Bosco was accompanied in his performances by the Jambo Boys Band, which included a young guitarist called Fadhili William. By the early 1960s, Fadhili found himself at the frontline of a new wave of Kenyan musicians who brought a whole new variation of dance music.
A new recording company, Equator Records, was set up with a policy of “East African music for East Africans”. It was through this label, owned by Englishman Charles Worrod, that Fadhili and his mates, Daudi Kabaka, Gabriel Omolo, and Zambians Nashil Pichen and Peter Tsotsi, ruled the pop charts for the remainder of the decade.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Time ripe to legislate on role of Diaspora, representation

Updated Saturday, August 10th 2013 at 23:40 GMT +3
In a very enlightening opinion piece published in one of our Diaspora news aggregator,, Mkawasi Mcharo-Hall makes a compelling case for structured legislated Diaspora representation and engagement with its own government.

She argues that everything else — the excitement about investing in Kenya, jobs promises and sporadic appointments — all of them and more, are efforts that are dead in the water.
She says that even partnerships with private sector depends on political goodwill that is why most countries that take their Diaspora seriously have seen the wisdom in legislating engagement with their own Diasporas. Kenya has seen the light in this regard too, hence the Diaspora Bill.
“But this piece of legislation is little talked about, its history little understood, and its purpose lost to the Diaspora. Instead, we’re becoming nonchalant as the President follows the Prime Minister’s example of making personal Diaspora appointments in their political offices,” she wrote.
She makes an appeal, which I’d like to echo that as the Diaspora and the government, we should not get fixated on partisan appointments and deny ourselves an opportunity to address the real issues. Mkawasi says and I agree with her totally that, the Digital, New Media and Diaspora office created recently in OP should remove the “ Diaspora” appendage from its title.
The simple reason is that, that office is and was created primarily as a government spin tool with little room for independent thinking and decision-making.
The people who work in this office have been identified and will be paid to advance an agenda that is purely protective of the status quo. That is why this office should never have anything to do with Diaspora affairs. It is confusing and downplaying the role of the Diaspora.
During Last years Diaspora Conference held in the DC area, the Diaspora were told by experts that were visiting from Kenya that beside the economic and philanthropic role in the society, Diaspora is and should be viewed also as a watchdog, a thorn in the conscience of government. Alluding to this, Mkawasi said this is a near-sacrosanct characteristic and role that Diaspora organisations should fiercely protect, and one that the government should appreciate even as we wrangle for partnerships.
“This counter-balance characteristic makes for excellent engagement and vibrant debate that actually expands Kenya’s democratic space and builds institutions. Yet without structures of engagement and representation, this rich essence of the Diaspora community is greatly diminished. The Diaspora Bill must be seen through successful enactment and implementation,” Mkawasi wrote.
I have written here about the need to refer to the Diaspora Bill when the government is thinking about engaging the Diaspora in a more meaningful way so I won’t belabor the same thing again. But I’d say this though, what forward looking Kenyans living abroad are clamoring for, or what they lack now is not political patronage. What they want is legislation that would clearly outline the role of the Diaspora in nation development and what the government is obligated to do to make this possible. The tendency with Kenyans even those abroad is and has always been viewing everything through the lenses of political patronage.
So, while Uhuru Kenyatta goes to the East to look for development partners, while the newly elected senators and governors go to the West for investment partners, the Diaspora should start their journey towards lobbying lawmakers to change the flaws in the clauses that established Dual Citizenship and Voting Rights with a view to amending them. And the journey should begin now. The Diaspora activists and groups should regroup and take up arms.

Five reasons why we are a mediocre country

Posted  Saturday, August 10  2013 at  18:04
Today I don’t need any crystal ball to tell you what you know, but which you deny. We are a mediocre country, and we know it.
We are malignant, uncouth, corrupt, and – get this – cursed with an evil eye. But we weren’t always so little, small, and spiteful. We used to dream big. But our dreams died. Now we have nightmares – and night sweats.
We’ve become a defensive, easily slighted nation. We are an epithet-riddled people. Our mouths need to be washed with soap. Our hate-dripping fingers shouldn’t be allowed near a keyboard, or keypad. Which begs the question – why have our brains shrunk? Are we “devolving” instead of “evolving?” Here are five unarguable secrets we are mediocre.
First, we’ve “outsourced” our brains – and inner conscience – to mobs. We no longer think as individuals, but as mobs. We are no different from a herd of buffalo. Look – “tribal identity” is the first thing you most want to know about any Kenyan you meet.
Admit it – that’s what you hear in the person’s name. Bingo – Makau must be Kamba, Githongo a Kikuyu, Ochieng a Luo. That’s how you decide into which “mobs” you will “confess” or which political cartels you will support.
We’ve become Pavlovian dogs – we “salivate” on cue upon seeing our “mob.” We lose our individual agency within the tribe. Full professors become tribal bloviators. They revert to nature, and start crawling on all fours.
Tell you what – the tribal mob robs us of our intellect, and turns us into morons. Our noggin becomes an empty calabash. Our heads become incubators of genocidal thoughts. That’s not as big of a leap as you think. If you doubt me, flash back to the 2008 Eldoret Kiambaa church fire.
Our state’s – and society’s – proclivity for anti-intellectualism is woven around the tribe. It’s all about “eating” or looting, to be less euphemistic. Like maggots, we look to the state for pork when “ours” are in power. That’s why power is a zero-sum game. Never mind the existence of so-called devolved counties. The same folks who yesterday used to “eat” in Nairobi are now pillaging county governments.
Second, we are a corrupt people. That’s right – we are victimised by small dreams because we have become one of the most corrupt people on earth. Virtually every Kenyan wants a shortcut to money. Lie, cheat, steal, kill – it doesn’t matter how you get the money.
I know – you want to blame it all on the MPs. But – and don’t argue here – the “little people” are equally corrupt. It’s ironic the “little people” have the gall to complain about the naked and rapacious greed of MPs. That’s nothing but jealousy. The “little people” would rob us blind if they got the chance. The kettle shouldn’t call the pot black. We’ve become a nation of thieves.
We’ve no problem stealing from strangers. We mug each other in broad daylight. We knock down the old and infirm and make off with their purses and wallets. But we also steal from family members. Raise your hand if you haven’t been victimised by a relative. But we pretend to be a religious nation. Don’t make me laugh. Unless being religious – Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or a kamuti believer (Kamba spell) – means that you can “pinch” that which isn’t yours with impunity.
Remember the expression – “why hire a lawyer when you can buy a judge?” Even judges have been for sale. I sure hope Chief Justice Willy Mutunga stamps out the vice in the Judiciary. Can he defeat the corrupt networks?
Third, we are in love with leaders with shady or even criminal backgrounds.
Just look at who we’ve elected into county and national offices. One wink and we all know what I am talking about. Some are land grabbers, suspects of egregious offences, drug addicts, and a sordid assortment of beefy-necked pillagers squat in public offices. That’s your fault – because you either elected them, or allowed them to manipulate their way into office.
Remember the statement by French philosopher Joseph de Maistre – “every country has the government it deserves”. We elect our tormentors, and then wonder why we are being tormented. We aren’t victims, but self-victimisers. We just love that boot of the oppressor on our necks.
Fourth, we are jealous and spiteful. Like maggots, we like to pull each other down.
Why aren’t we happy for the success of others unless they belong to our mob?
The election of Senator Barack Obama to the White House was one of the most important events that’s ever happened to Kenya. But a segment of our population has trashed him because he’s “Luo.”
They’ve done so because he shunned Kenya after the 2007 re-election of President Mwai Kibaki, which he viewed as illegitimate. Then he skipped Kenya on his recent Africa tour because of The Hague trials of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. Haters can’t see beyond President Obama’s Luo heritage. Hate only diminishes the hater.
Finally, we are mediocre because we refuse to accept our mediocrity. We are the terminal patient living in complete denial. But denialists are usually doomed. Will damnation be our lot?
What, as a country, can we do to accept that we are below average? For one, we can start by stopping hating everyone who tells us the bitter truth.
When Mr Obama said he would skip Kenya, a prominent pundit asked Kenyans to “show him the contempt card.” Wow – as if Mr Obama cares. We should stop being so sensitive, and acting like silly brats.
Makau Mutua is Dean and SUNY Distinguished Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of the KHRC Twitter @makaumutua

Thursday, 8 August 2013

How fate conspired to make me a polygamous academic

Prof Kamuti (back right) with some of his wives, children and grandchildren. PHOTO | FAMILY ALBUM
Prof Kamuti (back right) with some of his wives, children and grandchildren. PHOTO | FAMILY ALBUM 
Posted  Saturday, July 6  2013 at  06:13
In the remote windswept Mathuki village in Kitui County, a 78-year-old man stands tall literally, academically and most spectacularly for his polygamous traditions that he has kept in a day and age when such practice is largely frowned upon.
Call it a quirk of fate but Kamuti Kiteme has been down the hallways of City University of New York – one of the largest universities in the US, but also kept a polygamous marriage that has seen his youngest children going to school together with some of his grandchildren.
Kamuti is a Professor Emeritus – a distinguished title of honour granted to retiring professors for their outstanding contribution to academic excellence in a university. He was bestowed with the honour in 1995 by the City University of New York, one of the leading universities in the world. And such is his high standing that he is entitled to an office and a full time secretary at the university until his death.
However, unlike many intellectuals of his standing and men of his generation who shunned polygamy and embraced monogamy as prescribed by Western colonial culture, Prof Kamuti is husband to five wives and boasts one of the largest families in modern Kenya.
The Prof’s love story cuts across two continents where in the last five decades he has married and simultaneously raised successful families in both Kenya and the United States.
Interestingly, his first-born son from the first wife, who was born in 1959, has grandchildren the same age as his last-born son from his youngest wife.
The first grandchild and his last-born from the sixth wife are in their teens and are both high school students.
What is more fascinating about the complex mosaic of his extended family is the fact that his wives, born of different races and diverse cultures, live in almost perfect harmony eating from the same pot and sharing everything.
His large family of 21 children and dozens of grandchildren, most living in the same compound, makes his home look like a village.
In most contemporary African societies, civilisation has transformed people’s cultures where such educated people like Prof Kamuti see it as fashionable to marry only one wife and raise a lean family of at most three children.
Two of his wives
When Lifestyle visited his home at the dusty Mathuki village of Mwingi East in Kitui County, we found the old professor whiling away time at the local shopping centre with two of his wives.
In an attention-grabbing sense of humour, Prof Kamuti narrates the unique circumstances that saw him end up with an intricate series of marriages.
It all began in 1959 when he fell in love with a young girl named Ndululu. He had just landed his first teaching job and was posted to Machakos High School soon after graduating from Kagumo Teachers’ College.
“I was young and naive, besides being among very few educated people in the region. I wasn’t keen on settling down so early but was looking for opportunities to advance my education,” he said.
“Unfortunately,” he added, “Ndululu became pregnant even before our relationship had crystalised into a serious love affair. Marriage wasn’t a priority for me as I was only 24 years then.”
The following year, an opportunity arose for him to leave the country for studies in the United States during the famous airlifts organised by the late Cabinet minister Tom Mboya.
Kamuti travelled to the US in the same season as other young Kenyan students such as Barack Obama Snr, the late father of US President Barack Obama, and the late Nobel Peace Laureate Prof Wangari Maathai. Barack snr had, however, gone to the US under different arrangements.
“I left the country in 1960 on the same flight with Obama Senior but we ended up in different universities. I was admitted to South Dakota University while Obama went to Hawaii University,” he said.
Leaving behind his girlfriend and child, his mother worried that her son may never return home and arranged to bring Ndululu and her grandson to live in her compound.
For 15 good years, Kamuti was out of touch with the happenings back home and, although he was busy with his studies, he had begun a fresh relationship in America.
During his stay in New York, Kamuti fell in love with a white American woman of Anglo-Saxon descent and decided to marry her.
Ms Barbara Fisher from Maryland became Kamuti’s second wife and they soon got a son named after him, Kamuti Kiteme.
Racial discrimination was still rampant in the US then and their marriage ran into problems in a short time after his wife was disowned by her parents for marrying a black African.
“My in-laws refused to recognise our marriage. Barbara was called a dog for agreeing to marry me and we were literally forced to divorce,” he recalled.
Just as Obama’s father was separating with his American wife Ann Dunham in Hawaii, Kamuti was experiencing similar problems with his wife in New York. Both Kenyan students had named their sons after themselves.
His heritage
In a telephone conversation from New York on Thursday last week, Prof Kamuti’s son, who is an IT expert, told Lifestyle that he was proud of his father and very grateful for the diversity of his heritage.
“I’m glad they gave me Kamba names and even though my parents are now divorced and I work in America, I consider myself a Kenyan first and my homeland is Kitui County,” Kamuti Kiteme Jnr said.
He added that he wished his estranged parents, who are still on talking terms, could reunite and settle in Kenya and that he really admired the way his father maintained a good personal relationship with each one of them despite their strenuous marriage.
After the divorce, Prof Kamuti quickly picked up his pieces, this time falling in love with another white American woman, Drusilla Davis, from Maine.
“Drusilla was madly in love with me and even her family accepted me unlike the previous marriage where I was called a dog. She is an apotheosis of a woman, the quintessential wife any man would dream of,” Prof Kamuti told Lifestyle.
Drusilla Davis, later renamed Mrs Kaveti Kamuti (Kamba for my wife), of whom the professor is full of praise for her outstanding character, officially became his wife after she agreed to his marriage proposal.
The couple established a home in New York where they both worked while pursuing their education. They were also planning their trip to Kenya to meet family members.
However, in mid-1970s during their first visit to their Kitui rural home, Prof Kamuti got the shock of his life. He found that not only was his first girlfriend, the girl from Machakos whom he impregnated before leaving for the US, living with his mother, but also that she had eight more children with other men.
In a twist of both fate and luck, he found himself having two wives and 10 children including the boy from his second estranged American wife.
“I protested that I would not accept the woman who had filled our home with other men’s children but my uncles demanded that I inherit them and still retain my American wife because I was the only son in the family,” he said.
It was very awkward for the professor to discover that the children, some of them enrolled in local schools, identified with him as their father and were longing for his return to afford them a better livelihood.
Inheritance laws
“I sought legal advice from my friend Prof Onesmus Mutungi, the former High Court judge who was then teaching law at the University of Nairobi. Sadly, I was told that under Kenyan inheritance laws, these children were legally deemed mine,” he said.
“I therefore agreed to undertake the huge responsibility of raising the family and educating the children even though they were not my biological children”.
His story would become more complicated upon return to the United States.
Back home, by circumstances which he describes as default rather than design, Prof Kamuti was set up for another marriage.
His mother married a “nominal wife”, Ann Mutongoi, for his late step-brother named according to a traditional Kamba practice that allowed a family to be raised in the deceased’s name.
Being the only son in the family and already facing the difficult prospect of raising children born in his absence, he faced the dilemma of watching as his family lineage got diluted if he allowed the wife to be kept by other men as would have been the case.
“I could not allow other men to invade our home and give our family children we are not related to by blood and with whom we would have problems relating to, so I agreed to keep my late brother’s nominal wife,” he said.
Upon the approval of Drusilla Kaveti, Ann Mutongoi became officially his fourth wife and he went ahead to have four children.
“Kaveti would make fun of my marital life and she even nicknamed me Mbendwa – Kamba for lover boy – but she was very supportive and indeed she encouraged me to accept the first family,” he said.
She told me: “Mbendwa if it pleases your heart, you have my full support, so go ahead and inherit your late brother’s wife. After all, what’s the point of having some other “bastard” children for your brother when you are available?” At the time, Drusilla was finding it hard to conceive.
Prof Kamuti says these were the circumstances which, to some extent, were beyond his control and not part of his initial dreams.
A house-help
Another spectacle would happen when the fourth wife recruited a house-help named Margaret Vaati from a neighbouring village.
While the professor was away in the US, his mother conspired with his fourth wife to marry the house-help as the nominal wife for another late brother and, therefore, Margaret Vaati became the fifth wife.
“In the spirit of family solidarity, all these wives agreed that I’ll be the father of their children to avoid having inheritance disputes,” he said, adding that Vaati has six children with him.
The first wife Ndululu has since died.
Two of his wives stay in Kenya managing the tasks of feeding and educating the large family where everything, including meals and responsibilities, is shared.
Ann Mutongoi and Margaret Vaati told Lifestyle that they were happier than most women in single marriages and do not regret embracing Prof Kamuti.
“I’m very happy to be part of this successful modern day African polygamy. We are truly one family, and there are no barriers in our lives,” said Margaret, adding that the family organises an annual get together party every December to celebrate their unity.
She explained that any wife can discipline all the children, notwithstanding who their mother is and that is the spirit that binds the family together.
“We have weekly duty roasters where one wife attends to the family’s string of retail businesses while the other is left at home taking charge of household chores,” said Ann.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Row over ‘Kibaki land’ in Uganda

PHOTO | PPS Former president Mwai Kibaki and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in Kampala on August 4, 2013.

PHOTO | PPS Former president Mwai Kibaki and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in Kampala on August 4, 2013.  PPS
Posted  Sunday, August 4  2013 at  23:30
Police in Uganda were involved in a scuffle with a retired army officer, Brig Kasirye Ggwanga, who was accused of occupying a piece of land said to belong to former President Mwai Kibaki.
According to Sunday Monitor newspaper, Ugandan deputy commissioner of police stormed Brig Ggwanga’s residence in Kizungu, directing that the retired officer vacates the plot of land he is occupying for it belonged to the former president.
Brig Ggwanga however opposed the eviction claiming that Mr Mugabi and his team had gone to his house without any court order.
“They came here without any instrument claiming I was staying in Mr Kibaki’s house. I told them to go to Mengo and find out who leased this property for 49 years,” Brig Ggwanga said during the Thursday incident.
It was later established that Mr Mugabi’s team seemed to have mixed up the plot numbers as the document they had showed plots number 273 and 732 instead of 461.
“This is my property. Have I gone to Kikuyu land to claim ownership of a house there? How did Kibaki acquire this property?” the retired brigadier asked.
He said he had so far stayed in the same house for 20 years and would stay in the same house, “and even renew my lease after 49 years have elapsed”.
When the police spokesperson, Ms Judith Nabakooba, was contacted, she said she was not aware of the operation to evict Brig Ggwanga.
Asked whether he pulled out his gun and chased the security personnel, Brig Ggwanga said: “I didn’t do that. I only told them to vacate my premises because they were disturbing my peace.”
Brig Ggwanga said the officers said they had come to evict him from a property in Lukuli, a low-end suburb “yet I stay in Kizungu”, an up-scale area.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Why the two Rutos are on a collision course

Posted  Saturday, August 3   2013 at  20:00

Let me whisper a secret in your ear – there’s trouble in the Rift Valley. Kill that thought – it’s not what you think.
The world is “upside down” because brother has turned against brother. Bomet County Governor Isaac Ruto has unsheathed his sword against Deputy President William Ruto.
But I could be wrong – perhaps it’s William Ruto who struck the first blow. This much is undeniable – the two Kalenjin titans are separated by a “growing rift”.
We know the “Great Rift” hasn’t been “Happy Valley” for decades. But the protagonists have never been so fraternal.
Which begs the question – does Governor Ruto see a soft underbelly in Jubilee? Why is he rattling the snake?
Let’s peel this political onion. That Governor Ruto is a political maverick is without doubt. Though less famous than his namesake – DP Ruto – the Bomet Governor is an intriguing personality.
He dabbled in Marxism at the University of Nairobi. A former Kanu hawk under the Moi regime, Mr Ruto has often displayed a defiant independent streak.
The former Chepalungu ODM MP is one of the few politicians who read actual books. This explains why he speaks in highly intelligent complete sentences. He’s witty and fun loving.
But there’s a paradox – he’s been a long-time Kalenjin parochialist – until now. He’s morphing into a Kenyan – a nationalist – as Chairman of the National Council of Governors. He’s emerged as the key and unapologetic advocate of devolution.
Let me tell you why the two Rutos are on a collision course. Devolution – once known as majimboism – has been near and dear to the Kalenjin for decades. It was part of the raison d’ĂȘtre of Kadu, the settler-supported party led by former President Daniel arap Moi.
Majimboism – or federalism – was supported by the Kalenjin, Luhya, and the Coastal peoples to counter Kanu, then dominated by Kikuyu, Luo, and Kamba.
But majimbo held a special place in the Kalenjin Rift Valley. The Kalenjin saw it as a defence against “internal colonialism” by “outsider” groups – especially the Kikuyu – who had “settled” in vast chunks of the Rift Valley.
There’s deep historical resentment against so-called “foreigners” in the Rift Valley. Although most Kalenjin voted against the new Constitution, they have fully embraced devolution – one of its central tenets. This is one of the key points of divergence between the two Rutos.
It’s an open secret that the Jubilee regime is perceived as opposed to devolution. Some argue that President Uhuru Kenyatta is hostile to devolution. That’s why – the argument goes – he has retained the provincial administration, the innocuous and duplicative county commissioners, and even the despised vestige of local colonial chiefs. There’s no doubt these structures undermine – and sabotage – county governments.
Curbing revenues
Even worse, the central government seems bent on curbing and constricting revenues to the counties. DP Ruto is seen as marching step lock with Mr Kenyatta in opposing devolution.
Mr Kenyatta is caught between a rock and a hard place. The Kikuyu – from which he comes – have never been enamoured of devolution. They believe it will “marginalise” them as “settlers” in the Rift Valley and the Coast.
Yet President Kenyatta is under the fiat of the Constitution to fully implement devolution. What is DP Ruto to do? Will he support Mr Kenyatta’s tepid view of devolution, or break ranks with Jubilee’s TNA and throw his weight behind Governor Ruto’s crusade for complete devolution?
Like Mr Kenyatta, DP Ruto is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. He’ll be damned if he doesn’t back Mr Kenyatta, but he’ll also be damned if he supports Governor Ruto.
This is how Governor Ruto may put DP Ruto in a chokehold. Governor Ruto is likely to emerge as the champion of devolution among the Kalenjin. DP Ruto, on the other hand, could easily be painted into a corner – as a “sellout” to the Kikuyu position on devolution. This is a quandary DP Ruto can’t afford.
He “destooled” former President Moi as the “paramount chief” of the Kalenjin by posing as their new saviour.
They say “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”. Governor Ruto seems eager to use the same sword against DP Ruto that the latter used against Mr Moi. It’s called poetic justice. DP Ruto risks being “destooled” by Governor Ruto among the Kalenjin.
This narrative explains the intrigues and war of words between the proxies of DP Ruto and those of Governor Ruto. DP Ruto’s Kalenjin allies haven’t taken kindly to Governor Ruto’s naked attack on Jubilee for its failure to support devolution. They have threatened to either impeach the governor or kick him out of URP.
But his Kalenjin cohorts and fellow governors – across the political divide – have come to Governor Ruto’s defence. They have called DP Ruto’s bluff and dared his cronies to make the first move. An old African saying is that “two rats can’t live in one hole”. Can the Kalenjin Rift Valley be “ruled” by two “kings” – both of them named Ruto? Or will one vanquish the other?
Methinks Governor Ruto smells blood, and sees an opening to dethrone DP Ruto. It’s a slight window, a crack.
Governor Ruto is a strategic thinker, and knows that The Hague trials are looming. That’s why it’s a perfect opportunity to position himself as the alternative to DP Ruto among the Kalenjin.
These may be the first shots in the struggle for succession among the Kalenjin. This may explain why one Ruto is after the other.
Makau Mutua is Dean and SUNY Distinguished Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of the KHRC. Twitter @makaumutua

Friday, 2 August 2013

A Force Field Against Mosquitoes?

When warding off mosquitoes, few products on the market offer a convenient and non-toxic solution. Mosquito netting and EPA-registered repellants may be the most prevalent commercial products for the task, but a company called ieCrowd says it is about to introduce a new approach: the Kite Mosquito Patch.
Worldwide, 666,000 people die from malaria each year, according to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Africa, where 91 percent of worldwide Malaria cases were recorded in 2010, the need for an effective and convenient repellant is critical.
Developed at the University of California Riverside, the technology behind the Kite, which ieCrowd acquired, is said to involve non-toxic chemical compounds that neutralize a mosquito’s only meal ticket: its ability to detect carbon dioxide, which humans exhale.
“The Kite Patch is somewhat of a marvel - a novel approach to mosquito deterrents,” said Grey Frandsen, ieCrowd’s chief marketing officer and Kite’s project lead. “[It] creates a spatial plume, if you will, around the human body and essentially makes us invisible to mosquitoes.”
Each Kite Patch, which sticks onto garments, is purported to shield humans from mosquitoes for up to 48 hours. Frandsen would not reveal which chemical compounds are in the Kite Patch because the technology is patent pending. Nevertheless, he insisted that the compounds are safe.
“All of the compounds that we are bringing together and blending represent compounds approved by the Food and Drug Administration here in the United States for consumption, and by the International Fragrance Association for the fragrances,” he said.
Pending approval from the Environmental Protection Agency, ieCrowd expects to release the Kite Patch within 10 to 14 months. He declined to say how much it will cost.
Given Africa’s critical concentration of malaria cases and deaths, ieCrowd is testing the Kite patch in Uganda. Frandsen said he hopes to make an immediate impact where it matters most, even it means disrupting bed nets, a successful and non-toxic defense against malaria.
“Bed nets are great until you have to walk around all day wearing this strange bed net, which in most societies are not acceptable,” he said.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

LSK's Mutua says Supreme Court presidential petition closed

Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua has raised an objection to the Supreme Court's jurisdiction to hear any matter relating to the presidential poll petition August 1, 2013. FILE 
Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua has raised an objection to the Supreme Court's jurisdiction to hear any matter relating to the presidential poll petition August 1, 2013. FILE   NATION MEDIA GROUP
Posted  Thursday, August 1   2013 at  09:50
The Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua has raised an objection to the Supreme Court's jurisdiction to hear any matter relating to the presidential poll petition.
Through his lawyer Tom Ojienda, Mr Mutua said the matter was now closed and the court could not expend itself on any issue arising from the petition.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, who is the president of the Supreme Court, directed interested parties to file submissions in seven days.
He said a ruling on Mr Mutua's objection would be made later. Dr Mutunga, however, clarified that Mr Mutua was not facing contempt of court proceedings.
The LSK boss appeared before the court after it summoned him last week.
Mr Mutua was summoned over comments he made during the March presidential election petition hearings in which Cord leader Raila Odinga challenged the declaration of Uhuru Kenyatta as President.
Dr Mutunga said the LSK chairman’s comments contravened the court’s order against commenting on the then on going petition.
The Chief Justice said that the comments, which were also reported in news media, had touched on issues that were alive before the court. He directed Mr Mutua to appear before the Supreme Court on a date to be notified to him.
On Wednesday, Mr Mutua said that he would obey the summons.
“I respect and hold the Judiciary in very high esteem. I shall appear before The Supreme Court as directed tomorrow (Thursday) from 8:30am,” he said.
The Supreme Court issued the summons last Monday through a letter signed by Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court Lucy Njora.
Mr Odinga and civil society groups under the banner of African Centre for Open Governance (Africog) challenged President Kenyatta’s victory claiming the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) did not conduct a fair, transparent and credible election.

Uhuru, Moi hold talks on regional peace

President Kenyatta (left) confers with former president Daniel Moi (right) at State House, Nairobi August 1, 2013. The two leaders held talks on regional peace. PSCU 
President Kenyatta (left) confers with former president Daniel Moi (right) at State House, Nairobi August 1, 2013. The two leaders held talks on regional peace. PSCU  
Posted  Thursday, August 1   2013 at  12:22
President Kenyatta has held talks with former president Moi at State House, Nairobi Thursday.
During the meeting, they discussed regional peace initiatives.
The meeting came a day after the 6th Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government on the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
The ICGLR summit made recommendations that would see an end to conflicts in the DRC, Central African Republic, Sudan and South Sudan.

Another big lesson from Nigeria

Posted  Saturday, July 27   2013 at  01:00
At some point, we will need to talk about the bill. The tab, not the Marriage Bill — that’s a grand circus.
I’m more perturbed by the cost and experience of doing a prostate cancer examination than the Marriage Bill. Why? Simply because marriages will never be an equal opportunity for all no matter how many bills are proposed or passed.
That playing ground has always been tilted. Among other things, the Bill places spouses in equal shares regardless of the contributions of either towards the acquisition of property. (Not much of a surprise.)
The Bill also places no limit on the number of polygamous unions a man can enter into with proper consent of his partner. Polygamy, the way I see it in the modern context, is like trying to grow hyacinth on land. It’s impractical.
Although most of us are inherently polygamous by nature (Come on, accept it and free yourself), we have conformed to the mould of modernity and the truth is, the modern lady has a lot more going for her than the housewife of the 1970s. So she will say no.
She will say she will accept a co-wife only if she is in a wooden box, six feet under. And she will say it with arms akimbo and fire in her eyes. And that whole promise of marriage? Was that a legal joke?
Does that imply that women have become so vulnerable intellectually that they need a law like this to protect them from men’s crafty ways? Like I said, an elaborate circus.
But like I said, this isn’t about that Bill. It’s about the politics of the bill — the tab. If there ever was a metaphor of how bills should be handled it must be the Nigerians. Nigerians aren’t the easiest people to take to.
They are morbidly flashy. They are loud and brash. Not to mention insolent, and annoying. They come down here, with their strong square chins and suspect tales about their monarchic pedigree and they confuse our women with their chivalry.
Alluring Nigerians
I found myself in the company of some two Nigerians a week ago. They were in the company of a friend, who I had passed by to meet in the pub briefly. There were three girls on the table. Giggly like hell. They were sipping cocktails through painted lips. Expensive cocktails, no less.
The Nigerians were drinking Dom Perignons. A bottle arrived in ice. When you sit with Nigerians, you realise very quickly why the womenfolk love them: They are attentive. Almost comically. When a woman says something, they listen like she is saying something that will alter the course of cancer research.
They nod and act very interested even if the woman is as interesting as TV on mute. While we let our women wrest water bottles open and pour water for themselves, the Nigerian guy is ahead, twisting the cap and pouring. They are disgustingly charming. And these women turned putty in their hands.
When the waiter brought the bill, for some reason two of the women quickly reached for it saying, “Today this is ours!”
But the Nigerians would hear none of it; in fact they seemed totally offended by the idea of women paying for their drinks. So one of them snatched the bill and paid. Nigerians aren’t just chivalrous by words; they also exhibit it using their wallets. As they say, they “chop their money.” Which is something we need to learn, to treat the bill as our friend.
When you spend some time in the night, you will realise how averse we are at handling the bill.
There are some of us who look the other way come bill time. Or go to the johns and spend days in there. Or pick imaginary phone calls and wander out. Or start having this annoying folk and tale about having dollars. Or Japanese Yen. Or some story about Mpesa. Or we just let the girls pay.
The general rule is, if we are guys and we find ourselves with female company, we pay the bill. No questions asked. We can hold a little committee outside and pool funds if push comes to shove because one of the ladies put away expensive whiskey like a sailor, but we don’t let the ladies open their purses. It shouldn’t matter that for every beer we drank the ladies drank four. We pay.
Reputation of scrooges
Apparently we — Kenyan guys — have gathered a reputation for being scrooges. One Nigerian said he is constantly surprised that we always let our women pick the bills.
He said in a Nigerian accent that to them that is, “losing my kujun!” I asked what kujun was, he explained dramatically whereupon halfway through I realised he meant cajones. And really, isn’t that what paying a bill should be, protecting your cajones?

Muthui Kariuki’s Folly Exposed His Incompetence

Government of Kenya spokesman Muthui Kariuki 
Government of Kenya spokesman Muthui Kariuki
By Ochieng’ Maddo

When Mwai Kibaki, as was expected, replaced an Alfred Mutua with a Muthui Kariuki, many Kenyans knew the appointment was not based on merit because Kibaki had this unfortunate tendency to fill and refill key government positions mostly with names that rang a bell in his head. That was how Kenyans came to know Njuguna Ndung’us, Julias Karangis, Ndegwa Muhoros, Githu Muigais, John Njiriainis, Lucy Ndung’us, Kinuthia Mwangis, Francis Kimemias and Michael Gichangis among others. But that was Kibaki who–thank God–has until retired and paved way for the ‘digital’ Jubilee Coalition. However, despite promising Kenyans that their government would comprise of youthful people with fresh ideas in this digital age, Jubilee has effectively recycled many ‘analogue’ government officials on the same basis that their names still ring a bell in Uhuru Kenyatta’s mind. Muthui Kariuki falls in this category.
Muthui Kariuki has not mastered his job role since he assumed office. He has consistently embarrassed himself in all the previous Press Statements, but most conspicuous was the one he did this week. For a man with experience in teaching and Public Relations spanning years, it beats reason that Muthui still fails understand that his position entails boosting the image of the government, not tainting it as he does. This reminds me of a question Professor Ouma Muga used to ask of Kibaki’s misrule: “How much experience is enough experience?”
Despite his ‘wealth of experience’, Muthui’s behaviour reveal him as a man who believes Jubilee is a Mount Kenya rather than Kenyan government. Public Relations does not require such a mindset. PR is a delicate field that handles propaganda, syndicated information and sensitive leaks hence calls for sobriety and caution. It requires one to be careful, tactful and well thoughtful before releasing statements to the public. It is a field where truth can be effectively denied and toppled head over heels. PR is a strategic communication exercise aimed at building and nurturing beneficial mutual relationships between organizations and their publics. Here, propaganda can be repackaged and served as official, true and honest position of an entity on pertinent issues. It requires finest communication skills, attractive and engrossing oratory and good looks to boot.
Muthui Kariuki does not belong here any more. He is too old for the job, his face lacks visual appeal and his English heavily laden with Kikuyu dialect. The last time he learnt communication was 30 years ago. A lot of changes have taken place in this field which his communication skills are completely devoid of. His brain therefore, direly needs refurbishing. Muthui is also a local man, narrowly travelled hence not exposed to international standards of spokesmanship. The 57 year-old Literature teacher has only gravitated around Nairobi and Central Kenya. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Kenyatta University then a PGD and a masters from University of Nairobi in the 80s. He proceeded to teach at Starehe Boys Centre before holding PR positions in a handful of Nairobi-based companies. Such a man’s brain is operating in a ‘Nairobi closet’. The next place he knows is his region of origin, period!
These traits were on display last Thursday when he desperately attempted to give official government position on the rejection of Uhuru Kenyatta’s speech by wananchi in Kisii last weekend. The spokesman ridiculously displayed deep emotions and pitiable grimaces. Even though he was reading a speech, he still gesticulated like a frightened adolescent. He ranted like an obsessed preacher. I wondered loudly why the man who was supposed to be a spin doctor instead decided to spill the beans on his employer.
Muthui had obviously decided that Raila was an enemy of THEIR government who should be dealt with ‘decisively and mercilessly’ as Mutahi Ngunyi recently advised. He therefore did not care whether Raila commands a massive loyal following whose feelings should be taken into consideration before issuing such a careless talk. He was not interested in any kind of mutual relationship with Raila and his supporters. He was only keen to defend the government at all costs, but he ended up further denting its image. It beats logic that the man is paid handsomely by out taxes to stage such unfortunate antics.
Muthui should borrow a leaf from some of his colleagues. In the run up to the last general election, spokespersons Munyori Buku, Denis Onyango, Kaplich Barsito and Kibisu Kabatesi of Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi respectively, displayed exemplary contemporary skills required in this trade. They did it in the way of Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s efficient spin doctor, who manned sensitive communication and Blair’s image both in Labour Party and in government; and also worldwide during the controversial Iraq Invasion in 2003. Campbell concealed sensitive information that only got revealed in 2012. He upheld public confidence in the Prime Minister even when Blair and George Bush were dethroning Saddam Hussein on false grounds that the latter had weapons of mass destruction.
To reciprocate Munyori Buku’s performance in the last campaign, Kenyatta has appointed him to head the new Presidential Strategic Communication Unit. May be he could do better in Muthui’s position. Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto desperately need a better spokesman especially at this time when they are fumbling with a divided country and the impending deadly trials at the Hague.

Betty Waitherero’s Article that annoyed Muthui Kariuki and the government

This is an article that was written by a journalist/ blogger (Betty Waitherero Njoroge). She was forced to pull it down by the government’s spokesman, Muthui Kariuki.

Enough with the propaganda already, Jubilee!
I think parents should do more than just pay for their teenagers school fees; they should go out of their way to forge a sound relationship with them, one that is not based on arrogance and violence but on mutual respect and love. Teach your kids how to be honest and clear minded adults, because the result of just ignoring your teenage miscreants is one Muthui Kariuki.
Talk about a juvenile delinquent; Muthui Kariuki is the epitome of a childish deviant. As government spokesman for the backside of the Jubilee government, Muthui is really good at his job. In between issuing threats while claiming to be accommodative, this character has the audacity to claim that Raila Odinga’s politics are “chest thumping, hateful, arrogant and toxic.”
The pot calls the kettle black. For someone who has a record ZERO accomplishments as a civic leader this hot head sure brings a mouthful of trash to the table. By the way, he is a perfect representative for the Jubilee government which, despite having several stalwarts with over 20 years experience in government, have also a record of ZERO accomplishments.
Or as one colleague expressed recently, within the first 100 days of the Kibaki administration 1 million children went to school under the free primary education program; within the first 100 days under the Jubilee administration all children were out of school.
Of course, when you are busy doing nothing and yet being paid 76 times the average GDP, you need a mouthy person to sidetrack the people by saying all sorts of ridiculous things about perceived enemies. We are now to believe that despite Jubilee forming the government, and despite Jubilee dominating Parliament, the Senate and the County administrations, Raila Odinga is still the bane of Kenya and is somehow behind the many problems Jubilee is actually not dealing with.
The propaganda machinery in this government needs to improve by the way. Couldn’t they try something more intelligent than filling the daily news with stories of men shagging livestock? Or repeatedly insulting a man you claim is insignificant. When it comes to stupid utterances, none can out do Muthui Kariuki.
I don’t know what’s worse, some wannabe loud mouth or a president who is busy posting his latest status update in a rugby shirt. Each time I see his photos of how he was where laughing with who I feel so nauseated. Meanwhile his deputy is busy reinventing reality by calling himself a hustler. Is it the pain of the lie that makes him cry so much or what?
A man who made a fortune through corrupt means turns around and calls it hustling, another one who spends his time goofing off turns around and complains to teachers about the high wage bill meanwhile he does nothing for the economy and in fact sanctions ridiculous expenditure.
Now look here – why were our children out of school while you decreed that 250 million kshs will be spent on giving a retired 80 plus year old an office? Then you say the wage bill is high. It looks like it’s only high when you have to do the right thing and pay the service providers their dues.
Meanwhile, I expect that the next thing the government will say out its backside AKA Muthui Kariuki is that there is no money to pay for the free maternity despite it being a Jubilee campaign promise. That won’t surprise me at all, because there is money for luxury planes to Congo Brazzaville and money for retired old fogeys to have an office but no money to pay teachers and of course no money for hospitals.
I don’t even know how Uhuru Kenyatta finds the temerity to attend social functions. Wait. I get it now. He isn’t president, he is a celebrity! That’s why if he wears a rugby t-shirt, automatically he supports the rugby team with funds right? Where is that money coming from, if there is no money to pay the teachers?
This government is beyond redemption really. Rather than attempt to be functional we are going to be submitted to 5 whole years of propaganda and hogwash. Pictures of matching ties and laughing buffoons coupled with lurid tales of political bogeymen meanwhile the entire system is incapable of any form of decent service delivery. All of this will be conducted via the dumbest outlets no less

Wiper MP loses seat in election petition

Mr Stephen Mutinda Mule (C).  NATION MEDIA GROUP
Posted  Tuesday, July 30   2013 at  23:30
A Wiper MP lost his seat after the High Court ruled he was not validly elected in the March 4 polls.
Lady Justice Lilian Mutende, in her judgment delivered at the High Court in Machakos, said the polls in which Mr Stephen Mutinda Mule who contested the Matungulu seat on a Wiper ticket was declared winner, were not free and fair.
Petitioners Thomas Malinda Musau, Stephen Ndambuki Muli, John Makenzi and former MP Moffat Maithya filed a petition against Mr Mule soon after the General Election. The trial took four months.
The petitioners had complained that their agents were not allowed in the tallying centres and in some cases polling stations were opened late and closed early, hence denying their supporters their constitutional rights of voting.
Mr Maithya testified that he was forced out of the tallying centre despite being a candidate in the polls.
During the trial, the court ordered a recount of the votes which still placed Mr Mule (pictured) in the lead with more than 2,262 votes.
But Justice Mutende said irregularities in the polls were enough to make her conclude that the elections were not free and fair in the Machakos County constituency.
She directed that only a by-election could help address the issues raised.
Campaign for Cord
Mr Mule, who was represented by lawyer Priscilla Kioko, said he would appeal against the ruling.
He read politics in the judgment, saying he was being punished for vigorously supporting the Wiper course and cited his recent campaign for Cord against the Jubilee coalition in the Makueni senate by-election won by Wiper’s Mutula Kilonzo Junior.
Two weeks ago Mavoko MP Patrick Makau breathed a sigh of relief after the High Court dismissed an election petition challenging his election.