Monday, 30 June 2014

SHARE if you hate RACISM!

Ruby Bridges, the brave little African American girl's entry into an all-white school on November 14, 1960.
As soon as Bridges entered the school, white parents pulled their own children out; all teachers refused to teach while a black child was enrolled.
Only one person agreed to teach Ruby and that was Barbara Henry, from Boston, Massachusetts, and for over a year Mrs. Henry taught her alone, "as if she were teaching a whole class."
Every morning, as Bridges walked to school, one woman would threaten to poison her; because of this, the U.S. Marshals dispatched by President Eisenhower, who were overseeing her safety, only allowed Ruby to eat food that she brought from home.
Another woman at the school put a black baby doll in a wooden coffin and protested with it outside the school, a sight that Bridges said "scared me more than the nasty things people screamed at us."
At her mother's suggestion, Bridges began to pray on the way to school, which she found provided protection from the comments yelled at her on the daily walks.
SHARE if you hate RACISM!

Raila Odinga unveils Cord plans for city rally

Monday, June 30, 2014
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (R) with former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka at Uhuru Park on May 31, 2014. PHOTO | FILE
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (R) with former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka at Uhuru Park on May 31, 2014. PHOTO | FILE  NATION MEDIA GROUP
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Cord leaders will ask Kenyans to make a resolution on how to force the government to accept demands for dialogue when the coalition holds its Saba Saba rally in Nairobi next Monday, according to Mr Raila Odinga.
Kenyans would also be given the chance to recommend how their suggestion would be implemented, Mr Odinga told the Daily Nation on Monday in an interview.
He hinted that the country should brace for a repeat of the mass action which eventually forced President Daniel arap Moi to accept a return to multi-party politics in the early 1990s.
The Saba Saba rally will be held at Uhuru Park.
“On Monday, people are coming to demand their rights. It will be a strong demonstration that Kenyans are concerned with the latest developments and the danger it poses for the future,” said the Cord co-principal.
Cord will then implement the resolutions reached.
Mr Odinga did not disclose what the resolutions would be, saying that would pre-empt the views of Kenyans.
Mr Odinga has promised Jubilee “a storm” if it does not convene what he has described as structured dialogue.
The demands for dialogue and the threats of a storm have caused disquiet in Jubilee.
Mr Odinga said the level of insecurity, corruption, disunity, devolution, electoral bias and “amendments to the Constitution” were entering the danger zone and could only be dealt with through national dialogue involving all Kenyans.
He said Cord had given Saba Saba Day as the deadline for the talks, arguing that the Monday rally, which he wants declared a public holiday, would be the culmination of “consultative rallies” with Kenyans on the “crisis”.
“Once assembled (at Uhuru Park), representatives of the people will speak and a resolution will be made. I don’t want to pre-empt what the resolution of the gathering of the people of Kenya will be,” he said.
Pressed further about the resolution, he said: “It will be a resolution to avert the catastrophe of sliding back to the dark days of dictatorship. Let us cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Mr Odinga said the rally would bring together representatives of farmers, workers, women, youth, civil society and religious leaders who Cord leaders had consulted through the rallies.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy, Mr William Ruto and Jubilee MPs are opposed to the rally, arguing that it could result in chaos.
They have also questioned the platform on which the former Prime Minister is demanding dialogue, instead saying that issues raised by Cord can be addressed in Parliament.
On Monday, Mr Odinga said: “Is there a case for dialogue? Our answer is yes. We have done a representative sample through rallies and the verdict is Yes. Our deadline for dialogue is Saba Saba Day. If dialogue takes place before, we will still hold the rally to say that is what we wanted. If it (dialogue) doesn’t, Saba Saba Day will be for the people to confirm that we need dialogue.”
At the weekend, President Kenyatta dismissed the dialogue calls, arguing that the Jubilee administration was not interested in political theatrics. Anyone with issues to discuss, he said, was welcome to State House.
“We cannot spend all the time as a country politicking as if we are in an election period when we concluded elections a long time ago,” he said.
Mr Ruto stated that no leader was elected by mistake and those in office should focus on developing Kenya instead of wasting time politicking.
“If it is Saba Saba, we heard of it 20 years ago. This demonstrates that they have nothing new to tell Kenyans. We will not spend our time on useless controversies,” he said.
But Mr Odinga argued that Saba Saba Day was historically important, signifying the fight for the second liberation from the dictatorship of President Moi.
He claimed that President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto were part of the past system. That was why, he said, Parliament passed amendments to the Kenya Police Service to give the President powers on who becomes the Inspector General of Police, had enacted the Public Benefits Organisation Act and encroached on media freedom.
“We want to see if we are back to where we were (in 1990). We can see the red light is on the wall and the danger must be stopped,” he said.

Kenya’s Future Clouds as Tensions Rise and Tourists Flee

A resident of Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya, in front of a poster of Raila Odinga, an opposition leader who has threatened nationwide protests. Credit Sven Torfinn for The New York Times
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NAIROBI, Kenya — The line at the water tank in the Kibera slum is not as long as it used to be. It’s not because of a sudden advent of indoor plumbing. It’s because fewer people can afford a 10-cent jerrycan of water.
The cost of just about everything here is going up: rice, wood, rent, gas, minibuses. Hundreds of thousands of young men remain jobless, marooned in the muddy slums, selling garbage or hunting for casual work. And their ranks are growing only because a pillar of Kenya’s economy — tourism — has been walloped by a wave of terrorist attacks, including a brazen raid on a coastal village last week that killed more than 40 people.
Adding to the woes are rising political tensions, with critics accusing the government of trying to snuff out dissent and Kenya’s opposition leaders threatening to stage nationwide protests.
“I’m not talking small protests,” Raila Odinga, an opposition leader, said, his eyes glowing. “I’m talking massive.”
On Friday, Mr. Odinga held a rally in a stadium in the western town of Eldoret, where thousands of young men pumped their fists and some called for the end of the current government. Kenya’s police chief initially banned the rally, saying violence could break out, but police officials relented after they were accused of abusing their powers. Scores of riot officers, in helmets and camouflage fatigues, ringed the stadium.
A street in Kibera, where about 300,000 live without running water or proper health care. Credit Sven Torfinn for The New York Times
But even as anxiety, fear, malaise and pessimism are spreading here, and many speak of a dark cloud settling over Kenya, the outside world still sees mostly clear skies.
Glass towers are rising across the capital, Nairobi, many financed by investors in Europe and the Middle East, and chugging bulldozers have become nearly as commonplace as minibuses. There are new roads everywhere, new bridges and huge malls being dug out of hillsides.
Just this month, Kenya issued Africa’s biggest debut Eurobond for an impressive $2 billion, and the deal was so oversubscribed — Morgan Stanley was among the investors — that the cost of the loan was substantially lower than expected.
But at 51 years old, Kenya, which just celebrated its anniversary of independence from Britain, is a bit like a classic car: beautiful on the outside and nice to look at. But under the hood, many Kenyans say, the wiring, and especially the steering, need serious work.
A poster of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya in the outskirts of Nairobi. Credit Sven Torfinn for The New York Times
“There’s a pretty big bifurcation right now,” said Aly-Khan Satchu, a Nairobi investment adviser who bought more than $10 million of the recent bonds for overseas clients. “The capital markets are showing they can look through a lot of this noise. But there’s a great divergence between the markets and how people feel on the ground. It worries me.”
One reason for the market’s confidence is Kenya’s diversified economy. This is not a commodity country, like Nigeria or Ghana with their oil, or Zambia with its mountains of metal. There are agriculture, horticulture, tourism (usually), new discoveries of oil and gas, an expanding service sector, a far-reaching national airline and a major African port, with a second one under construction. Kenya’s ruling party prides itself on its commitment to infrastructure.
While the terrorist attacks are troubling, investors say, Kenya’s track record of business development, and the size of its middle class, indicate years of growth.
“Kenya is exceptional,” said Josh Ruxin, an American who has written about entrepreneurship in Africa and is investing in a multimillion-dollar pharmacy chain with plans to open more than a hundred Duane Reade-like stores across Kenya.
Much of Mr. Odinga's support comes from Kibera. Credit Sven Torfinn for The New York Times
The biggest concern remains governance. And it is not only the recent moves by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration to solidify control, threatening to pass a punitive news media bill and to start a nationwide neighborhood watch program that critics say is tantamount to an internal spy network. It is Kenya’s entire system, which can best be described as an ethnocracy; it is a democracy, but politics are determined almost exclusively along ethnic lines and are often highly polarizing.
People vote for members of their own group, however sullied the politicians’ reputations are, and coalitions among the five or so major ethnic groups are held together, somewhat tenuously, by doling out posts, often to people grossly unqualified.
“Everybody knows the interior minister is an embarrassment, but the government can’t fire him because he’s Maasai and they need a Maasai,” said Boniface Mwangi, a young artist who had been leading protests until he said he received death threats — from the police.
He waved his hand dismissively.
Boniface Mwangi, a young artist who had been leading protests until he said he received death threats. Credit Sven Torfinn for The New York Times
“Tribal arithmetic.”
That tribal arithmetic can be explosive, as in 2008 when more than 1,000 Kenyans were slaughtered in ethnic clashes after a bungled election.
Not since then have Kenyans been so worried about the direction of their country. Public safety seems to be deteriorating rapidly. Five workers were recently bludgeoned to death at a gas station, a schoolgirl was decapitated this month and a recent newspaper headline blared: “Hyena unearths four bodies in secret graves.”
In the attack last week, two truckloads of militants roared into the coastal village with black flags, black scarves, AK-47s, bazookas, grenades and illumination flares. They shot dozens of people, slit throats, then burned down a good chunk of the town. It seemed more akin to an insurgency. Though the Shabab militant group from Somalia claimed responsibility, Mr. Kenyatta blamed “local political networks.” On Wednesday, his police services arrested the governor of that area in connection with murder.
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200 mileS
All of this raises the question of how much more a business community, however talented, can accomplish in a place that is increasingly insecure. African terrorist groups seem to have suddenly realized how vulnerable many states are at their core. Nigeria is a cautionary tale. It boasts one of the fastest-growing economies on the continent, but at the same time, Boko Haram, a Nigerian militant group, is growing even faster. Nearly every week it stages bold attacks, including the kidnapping of more than 200 girls, still missing. But Nigeria produces nearly two million barrels of crude oil per day. It does not live or die on outside investment.
Mr. Odinga, the opposition leader who lost in Kenya’s last presidential election, remains the most potent shaper of the rising discontent. He holds no official government position, he is dismissed by many as having no clear plan, and he is 69. Still, he can instantly stir up the passions and loyalty of millions of fellow Luos, among others.
In a recent interview at a hotel cafe, while slurping the froth off a cappuccino and snacking on peanuts, he said the people were fed up — so much so that they were “willing to take the bullet.”
And you? he was asked.
Mr. Odinga tossed a few more peanuts into his mouth, paused, chewed and then grunted yes.
Kibera slum is his base. People there barely get by. Boys wheel battered carts up sloppy paths, and women fry sardines in a drop of oil in gummy, tarred skillets. Not far from the water tank sat Peter Mutunga, vendor of secondhand pipe fittings. He had carefully laid out his wares on a plastic tarp, but nobody was buying. Nairobi’s fancy new malls seemed a million miles away.
“There are really only two tribes in Kenya,” he said wistfully. “The poor and the rich.”
Correction: June 27, 2014
An earlier version of a picture caption with this article misidentified the person shown on a poster and its location. He is  President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, not Raila Odinga, an opposition leader, and the poster is in the outskirts of Nairobi, not in city’s Kibera slum.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Take off those comical hats, look presidential and get the job done

There is an epidemic of hat-wearing African Big Men. As we speak, three African presidents – Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, Salva Kiir of South Sudan, and Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Uganda – can’t seem to appear in public without “pith helmets”. What I can’t fathom for the love of me is why an African president would don a ridiculous-looking hat at state functions. Unless of course they were hiding something hideous that would be unsightly. Except none of them has anything unsightly on their heads. President Museveni has a bald pate, but that’s not a reason to hide his noggin. Both President Kiir and President Jonathan have full heads of hair. So what logic has driven three powerful men to veil their heads?There is a historical legacy between power and the pith helmet. The pith helmet was invented for European colonial rulers in hot tropical climes. It’s a sister of the safari helmet worn by white tourists to ward off the African sun. But my earliest memories of the pith helmet aren’t fond ones. I still remember stories about a stern-faced pith helmet-wearing British colonial district officer (DO) in Kitui who was said to “cane” Africans for the pleasure of it. These colonial “gods” were omnipotent. They were intimidating and unapproachable. You could be sanctioned for just meeting the gaze of the white DO. When Kenya became an independent state in 1964, African DOs took the place of the British overlord. As we know, the African post-colonial state inherited intact the machinery, mores, and garb of the colonial state. The only difference was that a black face resided at State House while the head in the pith helmet was now black. African Provincial Commissioners, too, wore the pith helmet. It didn’t matter whether a DO or PC was male, or female – a pith helmet and khaki fare were the uniform. Watching the African DOs and PCs one could be forgiven for thinking that they were born with the pith helmet on their black heads. That’s because they wore them with authority and pride – as if they had invented the funny-looking hat. They didn’t see it as a symbol of oppression. Today – over 50 years after independence – the relics of the district and provincial administrators still wear the pith helmet. Never mind that the 2010 Constitution abolished provincial administrators. See also: Nigeria in darkest phase of history-president at bomb site This is my point – the African has an uncanny penchant for holding onto the most ridiculous artefacts of European colonial culture. That’s why they wear the pith helmet – a colonialist’s funny hat – without any hint of irony or sarcasm. Reminds me of Kenyan advocates – learned members of the LSK – insisting their professional “dignity” would be compromised if they didn’t wear the horse’s wig on their African heads. Why do we want to forever be dumb copies of the European original? Why do we have this racialised and malignant complex of inferiority? Back to my three comical presidents. Let’s start with the Nigerian. A scientist and one-time academic, President Jonathan can’t be described as a “regular guy.” You will be hard pressed to find many people named “Goodluck”. I don’t know what his parents were thinking. Boko Haram, the Islamic terror group, has exposed the dearth of wisdom underneath Mr Jonathan’s black hat. The man is like deer caught in the headlights. How can he allow “Africa’s giant” to be brought to its knees by a primitive rag tag militia? I remember a poignant picture of President Jonathan and President Barack Obama at the White House. President Jonathan – with his funeral-like oversize black hat – looked like a cartoon character beside Mr Obama. I’ll take Mr Museveni and Mr Kiir together. Mr Museveni is perhaps the most awkward hat-wearing African president. His suits don’t fit particularly well, but his hat – which is several gallons big – only makes matters worse. How do you dress in a full suit and then carry such a heavy object on your head? I can understand a hat, shirt, and jeans at a cattle ranch in Naivasha or Texas, but not at a State House press conference beside President Kenyatta. Mr Kiir, the inept President of South Sudan could be mistaken for a cowboy in his humongous black hat. He wears it all the time, even when he’s sweating.
Presidents – whether African or other – are supposed to have image-makers. If I was President Jonathan, President Kiir, and President Museveni I would fire my image-makers pronto. Come to think of it – why have their spouses allowed them to wear such strange-looking hats in suits? Are our dear presidents secretly yearning to be the pith-helmeted all-powerful colonial governor? Perhaps channeling the despotic mien of the colonial administrator? I don’t get it because these clownish “presidential hats” don’t work as a fashion statement.

SHOCKING PHOTO: Governor Alfred Mutua’s recently launched ‘super highway’ already falling apart

The yellow colour dividing the two lanes of Mutua’s much hyped road has faded away. The road, as one user pointed out, is so old like it has been there all along.
This is the 33km road bitumen road build within a period of three months and which the Machakos governor Dr. Alfred Mutua billed as the fastest built highway in Africa. Well, it seems time was the main idea. How long will my road take to be built? Three months, that’s what I want.
Now a week into existence, the road looks dilapidated and tired despite the fact that less than 1000 vehicles have used it. It brings into focus the ‘hurry to develop’ without thinking and planning.
Road situation now
Below is a fact-sheet for the road:
1. The Road is a critical linkage road cutting across Machakos County joining Garissa Road to Machakos Kitui Road.
2. The Road id 33 kilometres long.
3. The original KENHA (National Government) estimate cost was Kshs. 1.6 billion for construction of the road. However, Machakos County Government has constructed it for Kshs. 650 Million, a third of the KENHA cost. Local contractors, registered with the National Government were used. The road was supervised by qualified engineers and all materials tested by the National Government’s testing unit.
4. The road was fully funded using Machakos Government County funds.
5. The Road was built in a record of three (3) months (March 18th, 2014 – June 18th, 2014).
- This was by using eleven (11) contractors, each contractor assigned 3 kilometres. Had it been awarded a single contractor, the road would have taken a minimum of 36 – 48 months (3- 4 years).
- This is a revolutionary way of doing things. Same quality but faster results for Wananchi.
Road situation when launched a week ago:
Maendeleo chap chap?
6. The Road has street lights installed on it, road signage and also features a Rest Area with a toilet and Convenience Store.
- The street lights feature 28 transformers and have also provided electricity to towns and homes along the highway.
7. The road has CCTV Cameras covering its entire length.
8. The towns of Kithimani and Makutano Ma Mwala have also been tarmacked and lit.
9. The Road was promised to the people of Machakos County by President Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki to no avail. It is considered the most vital road in the County.
10. Governor Dr. Alfred N. Mutua visited and monitored construction of the road by visiting over 10 times and by receiving regular reports of speed of construction and quality.
- This is the first tarmac road built by a County Government in Kenya.
11. The construction is based on Governor Alfred N. Mutua’s development ideology of Maendeleo Chap Chap, meant to provide speedy, quality and efficient service for citizens.
12. Another development Program that makes
The 13th fact about the road is that it is the newest old road in Africa.

Internal rebellion stalks Cord as anti-Saba Saba sentiment grows

Sunday, June 29, 2014
PHOTO | ISAAC WALE Cord leader Raila Odinga (centre) addresses supporters at the 64 stadium in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County on Friday last week. With him is co-principal Moses Wetang’ula second (right) and Siaya Senator James Orengo.
PHOTO | ISAAC WALE Cord leader Raila Odinga (centre) addresses supporters at the 64 stadium in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County on Friday last week. With him is co-principal Moses Wetang’ula second (right) and Siaya Senator James Orengo.  NATION

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Despite attracting huge rallies in Eldoret and Narok over the weekend, Cord leadership is increasingly concerned that the number of members among its rank growing cold feet ahead of Saba Saba Day is growing.
Sunday Nation has learnt that some Cord leaders are now questioning what exactly its leadership seeks to achieve with the rallies. Among them is Mbooni MP Kisoi Munyao, initially excited about the rally, who has now taken a back seat.
And the decision by minority chief whip Gideon Mung’aro to lead a host of Coast politicians to meet President Uhuru Kenyatta at the State House in the wake of terror attacks in Mpeketoni was among the first things that sent jitters among Cord leaders.
Mr Mung’aro was not immediately available for comment when the Sunday Nation tried to reach him on Saturday.
Minority leader Francis Nyenze said that those against rallies fear the events might easily get out of hand.
“Some of our members are concerned that the rallies are heightening political temperatures too much for their comfort. They thus feel there is need to cool things down. I must, however, hasten to add that this is a very small fraction,” he said.
Cord embarked on rallies immediately its leader Raila Odinga returned from the US last month in what they say is meant to force the government to hold dialogue to “discuss issues of national importance.”
Cord lists security, high cost of living and the disbandment of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission as some of the items that need to be discussed should the government agree to talks.
Maasai leaders were among the first to openly voice their opposition to the rallies, with Kajiado Central MP Joseph Nkaissery saying they had put the country into election mode.
And when Cord took a decision to withdraw a censure motion against Interior and Coordination cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku filed by Kisumu Central MP Ken Obura this week, they were alive to this fact.
Sunday Nation learnt that the fear that the censure would injure Cord’s slim foothold in Maasailand was the overriding reason behind the decision to withdraw, a meeting held in Mr Odinga’s home in Karen on Tuesday. The following day, Mr Nyenze was tasked to write to the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi to inform him of the development.
Mr Nkaissery’s camp are said to have given an ultimatum to the Cord leadership stating they would withdraw their support for the coalition if it proceeded with the motion.
“After wide consultations, we decided to withdraw the motion. We think Lenku is just but a small functionary in a rotten system,” Cord co-principal Moses Wetang’ula said.
Mr Lenku who comes from the same community as Mr Nkaissery, has been accused of incompetence by the opposition in running the ministry.
Although the sponsor of the motion insists he will proceed with it, the party has taken a position and MPs who spoke to Sunday Nation said the fate of the motion is sealed.
“That is a gone conclusion, it is dead and buried,” Suna East MP Junet Mohammed said.
Another wave of rebellion toward the rallies is simmering in Ukambani where a section of leaders like Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua have said they are not keen on the rallies.
Those dissenting say the rallies are a complete waste of time that they would not be part of.
Wiper chairman David Musila and Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua said on Thursday that they would boycott the rallies because they were divisive.
Instead, they pledged to support the Jubilee government to develop their region, and would not be party to destabilising the government.
“We are ready to work with the government. The President must be told we want real infrastructural development in this region. That is the point of our cooperation,” Mr Musila said.
The MPs drawn, from the three counties in Ukambani, said Kenyans were not in an election mood and they should unite to confront the challenges facing them, adding that the 2017 General elections would be used to do judge the Uhuru Kenyatta-led government on its delivery of promises it made in the last elections.
Machakos Town MP Dr Victor Munyaka said Kenyans shouldn’t be asked to attend political rallies and, instead, Cord should offer tangible solution to problems.
Other MPs who have joined the anti-rallies chorus were Vincent Musyoka (Mwala), Itwiku Mbai (Masinga), Regina Ndambuki (Kilome), Kyengu Maweu (Kangundo) Dr Susan Musyoka (Machakos County), Rose Museo (Makueni County) and former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile.
The MPs’ strong opposition to the rallies that would climax on this year’s Saba Saba day was also echoed by ODM MPs who attended the commissioning of the 33-kilometre Kithimani-Makutano-Mwala road by Dr Mutua. 
The MPs who included Cord Chief whip Gideon Mung’aro (Kilifi North), Zainabu Chidzuga (Kwale County) and Aisha Karisa (Kilifi County)  said they were looking forward for a Coast-Lower Eastern political pact ahead of the next election.
The road commissioning turned into a platform to drum support for the government with National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale leading Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Kimani Wamatangi (Kiambu) in calling for a fresh alliance with Mr Musyoka.
“Mr Musyoka is very welcome to work with us. Joining Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto would make a great team,” said Mr Duale.
Mr Wamatangi reminded  local residents that they were “in-laws” to Central Kenya residents and would be readily accommodated in the Jubilee government.
“We have a rich history. The Jubilee vehicle that is now moving still needs  a wiper so that it can move faster in the face of the storm,” said Mr Wamatangi.
Those comments forced Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka to declare on landing from China on Friday that he was still ‘Corded’.
And discreetly reading the riot act, Mr Musyoka said:  “Some of them rode on my name during the last General Election to win their seats and now they pretend to speak on behalf of the community or the party. Voters are watching them and they may climb down the political ladder soon.”
Because of the new development, Mr Odinga and Mr Wetang’ula are said have asked Mr Musyoka and Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama to reign on the growing voices of dissent in their backyard.
According to one ODM MP close to the goings-on within the party, Cord is concerned by the latest overtures by Jubilee’s Kipchumba Murkomen and Kithure Kindiki to Mr Musyoka to join government, which the comments by Mr Musyoka thus helped diffuse.
When they were hosted by Governor Mutua in Machakos early in last week at the launch of a newly tarmacked road, the Senators said Mr Musyoka that the combative brand of politics displayed by Cord did not conform to his school of thought and he should therefore consider joining Jubilee.
Mr Munga’ro’s presence at the event has further reinforced the belief among some ODM leaders that he is leading a rebellion against Cord from holding rallies at the Coast.
Mr Musyoka’s return has also helped quell speculations within Cord that his tour of China was just an excuse to skip the many functions lined up by Cord even after talking tough on May 31 on the need for the government to “come down from the ivory tower” and talk to the opposition.
But Siaya Senator James Orengo, a close ally of Mr Odinga, said most of the dissenting coalition members are newcomers in politics.
“We are in a state that not many of them are used to. A lot of them are new and thus not used to playing hard ball, the tough politics,” he said.
He said piling pressure was the only way to put people in government to account.
“We did this and forced President Moi to repeal Section 2A of the Constitution that finally ushered in pluralism. So many people were not keen even then, and it took just a few of us to have the job done.”
Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar said the argument by some in Cord that they need to work closely with the government for the sake of development was spurious.
“I know of many of them flirting with Jubilee in the name of development projects but these are all innuendo.”

Sarah Elderkin: What really HAPPENED in MPEKETONI?

Sarah Elderkin: What really HAPPENED in MPEKETONI?
Sarah ElderkinSarah Elderkin
For once, I agree with Uhuru Kenyatta. I don’t believe the attacks in Mpeketoni that left tens of people dead were the initiative of Al-Shabaab. I think Kenyatta is correct when he says that politics was at the heart of the incident.
Al-Shabaab sympathisers might have been involved and only too glad to help perpetrate the attacks, just like at Westgate. But have you ever heard of contract killing? Contract killing must be doubly satisfying where it serves the purposes of both the initiator and the perpetrator.
The Mpeketoni attacks were indeed “well planned and orchestrated”, as Kenyatta put it – again, just like Westgate. But it wasn’t the opposition that did the planning and orchestrating.
The politics Kenyatta referred to had nothing to do with the opposition in the form of Cord, much as he came out heavy-handedly to hint – without actually saying so – that it was.
Rather, during the past 50 years of our colourful (and deadly) political history, a terrible, shocking cynicism has allowed our government leaders to embrace, make use of and protect those operating in the murkiest depths of the underworld (drug-traffickers, ivory poachers, international fugitives, shady European ‘brothers’, murderers, thieves etc) to achieve nefarious aims. Now Al-Shabaab sympathisers can be added to that list.
What is most significant is that, on many occasions through history, the resulting incidents have been planned and perpetrated precisely at times when the government has desperately needed diversionary tactics in order to reign in the opposition and shore up fast-receding support.
Let’s briefly revisit 1969, when Tom Mboya was killed. This happened at the height of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Bildad Kaggia’s opposition to the government through the Kenya People’s Union, which was loudly vocal in its condemnation of the theft of land and property being perpetrated by Kanu’s top officers, led by Jomo Kenyatta.
The KPU had to be stopped. What better way than to assassinate an esteemed son of Luoland (Mboya), in the hope that this might be blamed on rivalry with a fellow Luo (Jaramogi) and would thus undermine support for the KPU?
And it would kill two birds with one stone. At a time when Kenyatta was looking old and tired, and panic was setting in among his kinsmen, leaders close to him would be rid of a Luo who was getting a shade too popular, and who might have been in line to succeed the ageing president. It offered a neat solution.
In the event, the killing backfired, at least in one sense. Mboya’s death only succeeded in galvanising support around Jaramogi, forcing Kenyatta three months later to ban the KPU, and shortly thereafter to detain Jaramogi.
Undoubtedly, Mboya’s death was a political assassination. But no individual in government did it with their own hands. It was it done through a contract killer.
A ruthless government achieved its aim by using someone else to perpetrate the crime and then – in an increasingly common scenario – it engaged in public weeping and wailing over the same crime, in order to fake its innocence.
Mboya, 1969. Then came JM Kariuki, 1975, killed at a time when Kenyatta was frailer than ever. The president’s ill-health was making his henchmen very nervous.
In their eyes, JM was too great a defender of the poor, and too popular with the people. In the event of Kenyatta’s death, he might just win the presidency.
The unholy rich around Kenyatta had much to fear and even more to lose if Kenyatta’s successor was not ‘one of them’. A solution was found. JM’s killer was never apprehended. Was it a contract killing?
A couple of years later came the ‘Change the Constitution’ movement, led by Gema politicians still panicking over ‘losing’ the presidency to a non-member. If Kenyatta died, Daniel arap Moi, as vice-president, was constitutionally in line to ‘inherit’ the post.
Gema, led by politicians including Njenga Karume, Kihika Kimani and Dr Njoroge Mungai, could not stomach this idea, and they hatched a plot to change the Constitution to prevent Moi’s accession.
In the event, they did not succeed. But history shows repeatedly that the Gema hierarchy has never been happy at the idea that someone from outside their own inner circle or from a different ethnic community might take power.
These are facts. They might be stark and difficult to confront but we can’t wish them away. This is history. These things happened.
In 1990 came Robert Ouko’s turn. He was killed for being on the brink of exposing high-level corruption in government, at a time when calls for a return to multi-partyism were becoming a clamour too difficult to ignore.
President Moi and his cohort sycophants still believed they could continue keeping their hold on monolithic power, but they knew the exposure of rampant corruption by senior government members could prove the nail in the coffin. Once again, something had to be done. No killer was convicted of Ouko’s assassination. Was it a contract killing?
Then came the murder of Crispin Mbai, in 2005. He was killed for spearheading a new Constitution that embraced the startling idea of devolving power away from the presidency (something that is still being resisted today – never mind about any new Constitution). Again, no killer was apprehended. Was it a contract killing?
Each time, leaders with sorrowful faces have announced that “no stone will be left unturned” in finding and punishing the perpetrators. Each time, nothing of the kind has happened. (In the case of Mboya’s convicted alleged killer, he was allegedly later spotted safely outside the country, a free man.)
Even where there have been official inquiries into these violent deaths, the resulting reports have been either bastardised or buried. The JM Select Committee report fingered Kenyatta’s lieutenant Mbiyu Koinange. Kenyatta decreed that the report could not be published unless the name of “my minister” was omitted. So it was.
Collateral damage
Those were the days. It’s not so easy to get away with it now but throughout our history there has been a pattern that is difficult to ignore.
And now, because the stakes are even higher, current events are even more brutal, and they affect many innocents who are simply ‘unfortunate’ collateral damage. These innocents fall by the wayside in deaths that are of as little importance as those of victims in a computer game.
In fact, disregard by our leaders for justice and for the lives of ordinary people affected by these high-stakes political games has been Kenya’s story ever since Independence.
Before JM was finally killed, there had been several attempts to assassinate him. These culminated, the day before his actual murder, in the bombing of a Mombasa-bound OTC bus on which he had been scheduled to travel.
The 27 ordinary citizens killed in that incident were collateral damage – just as the tens of people killed in Kisumu during Kenyatta’s visit in 1970 soon after Mboya’s assassination were collateral damage, and just as the 1,500 people killed after the 2007 general election were collateral damage.
For years, so-called ethnic clashes have claimed the lives of thousands in many parts of the country. Strangely, these ethnic clashes hardly ever occur at any time other than election-time, when people need to be intimidated, displaced or murdered, so that they are rendered unable to vote freely, or at all.
They are mere collateral damage. And the increasing blatancy since Independence of murder-for-power has been breathtaking.
Now innocent shoppers and shop assistants, and innocent World Cup TV viewers, killed at Westgate and Mpeketoni respectively, have likewise become collateral damage in what appears to be nothing less than a desperate bid for personal ambition and survival that grows ever more deadly.
It all makes the Moi government-inspired Mwakenya witch-hunt of the late 1980s – which was used to tame the opposition and consolidate power in Moi’s hands – look very feeble by comparison (see box).
Uhuru Kenyatta assured us that Westgate would be investigated via an inquiry. We were promised “full accountability”. That was before he did an about-turn on the matter.
There are many who believe that the Westgate attack was staged to divert attention away from the leadership’s difficulties with the International Criminal Court, and to change international attitudes to that.
If so, it was hugely successful. In such a situation, something had to give – either Kenya’s part in the fight against terror, or the ICC cases. The sympathy vote had been called in and the hoped-for response assuredly came back.
The west’s opposition to the Jubilee head-honchos all but crumbled in the face of Kenya’s role against terrorism, which was characterised by its army fighting in Somalia and by its homeland taking what appeared to be a major revenge hit at Westgate.
Who hasn’t seen the ICC process subsequently dragged out with continual changes and delays – and the near-collapse of the entire process, without a squeak from any gainsayer?
Where are the bodies?
As far as Westgate is concerned, we have been told that the perpetrators had escaped/been killed/been arrested.
But do we know what happened to them? Have any bodies been identified? Has anyone stood trial? Have we seen them? Do we actually know anything about what happened inside that mall? Do we even know the identities of all the innocents who were killed? Are some still missing?
Ultimately, the inquiry promised by Kenyatta was just another unkept promise, just like all those other inquiries and unkept promises made over the years in events where government has acted with complete disregard for human life – and has then found itself with too much at stake, and too much to cover up, to reveal any truths.
In the Westgate case, there remains no proof of anything whatsoever, only a government statement of ‘facts’ forced down our throats: Al-Shabaab was responsible and the attackers are nowhere to be seen. Job done, end of story, how convenient.
Fast-forward eight months and Jubilee is in trouble again. After more than a year in power marked by blunder after blunder, ever-greater tolerance of corruption, failure to deliver on key promises, insecurity nationwide and the possible sale of our birthright to China (who knows what was in THAT deal?), public approval is falling fast and things look elephant.
At the same time, the pesky Raila Odinga is back from the US and is more troublesome than ever. Can nobody stop that man pointing out where things are going wrong and demanding accountability and national dialogue? Can no way be found comprehensively to turn the tide of public opinion against him and stop him in his tracks?
Well, perhaps someone thought of a way.
There are some very curious aspects to the Mpeketoni case and as a result some very pertinent questions are being asked – not least concerning the response of our security personnel. The overriding question is, Where were they?
According to many reports, the authorities received information from residents about a planned attack in the Mpeketoni region a week earlier – and they apparently thought (according to information in a Nation report) that this might be an appropriate time (a) to change the shifts of GSU security personnel in the area, resulting in having a team on duty that was unfamiliar with the terrain, and (b) for all the commanding officers to be out of town and unreachable.
To any reasoning person, this seriously looks as if there was a plan afoot, and that Al-Shabaab sympathisers must have been part of that plan.
What is more, an opportunity was presenting itself irresistibly. Not only was there the background (excuse) of the presence of the Kenya Defence Forces in Somalia, but there was a neat precedent offering a timely copycat idea.
During the World Cup in 2010, terrorists burst into a hall in Uganda where people were watching a match on TV, and massacred 74. Déjà vu.
It is not as if there is not a large security presence in the Mpeketoni area, with GSU camps barely half-an-hour away at Witu and Mukowe, a Kenya Defence Forces base at Magogoni, and an Army base and National Youth Service training centre at Bargoni.
Al-Shabaab’s modus operandi has usually involved military targets, and they were certainly spoilt for choice in this area. But instead, in a complete departure from their usual style, they went into a village. Or so we are supposed to believe.
In addition, Al-Shabaab strikes indiscriminately. It doesn’t leave aside women and children, as the attackers did in Mpeketoni. Its adherents certainly don’t go round asking who is a Kikuyu, as the Mpeketoni attackers were reported to have done.
Isn’t that a bit of a giveaway? If you want to tarnish the opposition, feign an attack on your ‘own’ people. That’s an old trick. (And – viewed very cynically – with 1,500 people killed in post-election violence and no one yet held accountable, what’s a few dozen more, if it serves the purpose?)
One officer in charge of a GSU platoon has said that, during the attack, he repeatedly tried to get help from his senior officers but they were nowhere to be found – one of them, notwithstanding the threat of a terrorist attack hanging over his area, reportedly up in Nairobi.
To add to the difficulties, the mobile phone networks jammed. How much of a coincidence was that?
This all brings back too uncomfortably the way the police stood by and watched as people were butchered on Rift Valley roads during the 2007 post-election violence. Were these personnel, in both cases, under orders?
And what about the Mpeketoni police? Where were they? One police officer was killed, said to have been off-duty at the time – something senior officers have strenuously gone out of their way to deny so that it looks as if police were in combat.
No one else thinks so, and anyway, Lamu County Commissioner Stephen Ikua is reported as having said that the perpetrators knew exactly where police officers were situated. How, unless they had been tipped off?
Perhaps the most curious thing about the Mpeketoni attack is the so-called claim of responsibility by Al-Shabaab. This was made on the Al-Shabaab-friendly website Somalimemo, which regularly hosts Al-Shabaab propaganda, and on the pro-Al-Shabaab radio station Al-Andalus, operating from Mogadishu.
Neither of these is Al-Shabaab per se – but no doubt any self-respecting Al-Shabaab-sympathising organisation would be only too keen to align itself and Al-Shabaab with any ‘successful’ operation. Also, perhaps the claim was part of the ‘contract’.
Those people saying airily that “Al-Shabaab doesn’t claim responsibility for things it hasn’t done” should get a reality check. We are talking about extremist murderers here, engaged in a jihad.
Are they likely to be bound by the kind of moral code that prevents their cashing in on any kind of publicity and propaganda they can get? Let’s be realistic.
In the responsibility claim, the terrorists are alleged to have said that Mpeketoni was a Muslim town before it was “invaded by Christian settlers” – apparently a reference to the mostly Kikuyu immigrant population there.
Al-Shabaab terrorists are not in the habit of politely referring to their enemies as “Christians”. They call them ‘infidels’ or ‘kafir’. Additionally, they are more prone to issuing such triumphant declarations as “Allahu Akbar! May Allah’s anger be upon those who are against us” – than to indulging in the somewhat chatty nature of the alleged statements by Al-Shabaab after Mpeketoni.
These went something along the lines (after the second night’s raid) of “We raided villages around Mpeketoni again last night … We have been going to several places looking for military personnel.”
Nonsense! Which conquering jihadist speaks like that? Was this reference to ‘military personnel’ employed to make it look and sound as if it was Al-Shabaab searching for their usual targets – because very clearly the attackers were certainly not in villages searching for soldiers, when several military encampments lay untouched close by.
Was whoever issued these statements speaking to a script? Was this a torturous shared plan, out of which everyone was supposed to emerge a winner – that is, if you discount the ‘collateral damage’ and Kenya’s political opposition?
Was the ‘Al-Shabaab’ claim of responsibility and Kenyatta’s almost open accusation of the opposition meant to give the impression that Al-Shabaab and Cord were working together, to divert suspicion that it might in fact be Al-Shabaab and certain authorities in Kenya who had a common plan?
In the aftermath, to top it all, Kenyatta, having pinpointed interior secretary Joseph ole Lenku, inspector-general of police David Kimaiyo and CID boss Muhoro Ndegwa as having serious questions to answer about the response to the incident, decides to put Kimaiyo in charge of a cluster of security forces!
How sincere can we believe Kenyatta was in questioning the conduct and abilities of the three? It looks as though this was simply for form’s sake.
And the latest decision looks like an offshoot of the main objective – or perhaps it was even the main objective, and the start of a plan for executive control of the security sector in its entirety, completely reversing the gains (so far only on paper) of the new Constitution.
Clearly, some people know exactly what is happening. Nothing is as it seems.
Is a ruthless government again achieving its aims by contracting someone else to perpetrate a crime, and then engaging in public weeping and wailing over the same crime, in order to fake its innocence?
Many current events could be seen as part of a plot to ensure the ‘100 years’ rule. We ignore the undertones at our peril. And we need to ask ourselves: Are we being set up?

Sarah Elderkin is a freelance journalist


Uhuru face-to-face with Raila over talks

Saturday, June 28, 2014PHOTO | PSCU President Uhuru Kenyatta with Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, former President Daniel Moi and Cord leaders Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga and Moses Wetang’ula during Gen. Jackson Mulinge’s burial in Machakos on June 28, 2014.
PHOTO | PSCU President Uhuru Kenyatta with Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, former President Daniel Moi and Cord leaders Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga and Moses Wetang’ula during Gen. Jackson Mulinge’s burial in Machakos on June 28, 2014. 
By Sunday Nation Team
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Cord leader Raila Odinga directly pitched his calls for national dialogue to President Uhuru Kenyatta when they shared a public platform for the first time since he began the demand one month ago.
Mr Odinga said President Kenyatta should not reject the calls for dialogue.
“We need to work together and are all in one nation,” he said.
His Cord co-principals, former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, also called on the President to consider national dialogue. They spoke during the burial of former Chief of General Staff Jackson Mulinge in Kathiani, Machakos County.
Mr Odinga called on the President to dialogue with Kenyans on the issues affecting them.
“There are peace challenges facing Kenyans. Kenyans are dying. Just the other day it was Mpeketoni, then Baringo and Wajir. Our soldiers in Somalia are dying, they are being brought one by one in coffins. All those are huge challenges that need to be addressed,” said Mr Odinga.
Insecurity has been a key agenda by the Opposition.
“We have said that as Kenyans we must look for a lasting solution to these problems. There are many things which we want to speak about. I am appealing to you President Uhuru Kenyatta to sit down with us and dialogue as Kenyans,” Mr Odinga said.
But President Kenyatta responded in a terse statement that dwelt chiefly on eulogising the fallen General and steered away from politics: “We are supposed to learn and follow his legacy. I do not have any doubt that we want our country just the way General Mulinge wanted it and I know we can achieve a lot.”
The President said the problems facing Kenyans needed leaders who were ready to respect one another and respect Kenya as one nation. “That is the only way we can achieve much,” the President said.
On his part, Mr Musyoka said diologue was the way to peace.
“Following what is happening, and what has elicited debate, it is important for the citizens of this country to hold a dialogue because the alternative to dialogue is chaos,” said the Cord co-principal who flew in from China on Friday.
“We do not want a chaotic nation. This nation has such potential that can be looked upon in the years ahead as a shining light not just in our region but the entire African continent and indeed the world. In terms of our own democratic practice, we need to talk. The integrity of the vote will always be respected,” the former vice-president said.
Mr Wetang’ula said Opposition leaders would continue to speak out, which did not amount to usurping the authority of the President.
“It is good for leaders to speak. We want to request Your Excellency the President that you will lose absolutely nothing by sitting down with the Opposition to talk about the many challenges that face this country. We are ready to talk,” he said.
He said Cord was not challenging Jubilee’s tenure.
“You are in authority. We are not saying you should leave power; we have no capacity to do so. We are simply saying that by coming together, we can reason better, think better and make the country better,” Mr Wetang’ula said.
House Majority Leader Aden Duale called on leaders to follow the Constitution and defend it if they wanted change and dialogue.
Former President Daniel Moi said that he would not wish to speak politics but urged all to live in peace and support the current President until the next elections. He said leaders should aspire to be as patriotic as the former General.
“Gen Mulinge was a true gallant leader who was fearless and who should be emulated by all leaders. He was a true patriot and a true friend and that is why all Kenyans have come here to mourn him,” said the former President.
General Mulinge, who was the longest serving military chief, was sent off with full honours in a ceremony attended by serving and former top officials.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua promised that his government would build two monuments, one in honour of Gen Mulinge and another in honour of the late Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo, at the Machakos People’s Park for their contribution to society. Senator Kilonzo died last year.
Later at a rally in Ntulele, Narok County, Mr Odinga defended Interior Minister Joseph ole Lenku over the insecurity witnessed in the country in recent months and said that the buck stops with President Kenyatta in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces.
The Opposition leader said President Kenyatta had stalled implementation of the security sector reforms he (Mr Odinga) and former President Mwai Kibaki started, leaving Mr Lenku without efficient and professional officers on the ground.
“We have no qualms with Mr Lenku since it is the President who was supposed to ensure the security services are professionalised. Mr Lenku is a very small man and can do nothing and that is why we are seeking authority from the people to demand dialogue,” he said in Ntulele.
In the Narok rally, Mr Odinga said security officers on the ground were “rotten” and could not be expected to deliver better security for all Kenyans, leading to Kenyans being killed and maimed across the country.
In what was dubbed the “Ntulele Declaration,” Mr Odinga said that corruption, land, jobs, high prices, high fares and general insecurity were among the issues he wanted addressed as a matter of urgency. Mr Musyoka did not attend the Narok rally but remained behind in Kathiani.
Speakers at the Ntulele meeting called on Cord to pressure the government to enforce eviction of settlers within the expansive Maasai Mau Forest, saying they were to blame for continued degradation of the environment that has seen water flowing into Mara River reduce.
They also urged Cord to move swiftly to put pressure on the government to restore Maasai land rights in the ownership of Kedong, Narasha and Nkuruman ranches.
Mr Odinga also called on President Kenyatta to make public the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report, saying that would help restore Maasai rights to land as it moves to address historical injustices by the colonial government.
Senator Wetang’ula reiterated that the Constitution had delegated power to the leaders which could be taken away if people felt pertinent issues were not being addressed for the betterment of the people.
“Bungoma, Wajir, Mpeketoni and Baringo people have witnessed shocking deaths and, as leaders, we cannot ignore this. We have a duty to seek their mandate to demand restoration of peace and security across the country,” he said.
The Cord leader said time had come for people of Narok to demand their rights, adding that Maasai youths had been denied jobs at the Olkaria geothermal plant, among other areas where exploration was going on.
Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama and Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar called on the security apparatus to look into ways of protecting the people and shun politicising security issues.
Mr Omar said the Lamu deaths should be investigated “professionally”.
“Senate Majority Leader Kindiki Kithure, Majority parliamentary leader Aden Duale and Senator Murkomen should not become spokesmen for the President. He is the right man to lead Kenya out of this quagmire,” said Mr Omar.
Reported by James Kariuki, Bernadine Mutanu, Bernard Ogembo and Anthony Omuya