Tuesday, 31 March 2015


30th March 2015.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have been a way for a couple of days. While I was away, the President spoke on historical injustices and corruption, among other issues.
Let me congratulate the President for finally acknowledging in his State of the Nation address that the long-standing historical issues contained in the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation report are holding our nation back and need to be addressed once and for all.
We have long advocated this. We have long pleaded for the full implementation of the TJRC report in its original form. Now that the President has come around to see the point, the report must be implemented expeditiously and with all honesty.
The President’s apology should therefore only be the beginning of a whole process that must be inclusive and bipartisan in dealing with historical injustices.
Historical injustices in Kenya started at independence way back in 1963. Individuals, families and communities have since suffered various forms of injustice in varying degrees to this day. Their grievances cannot be addressed by an omnibus apology that makes equal all forms of abuse and all victims and that seems to believe that you can buy justice with money.
Kenyan’s will recall that even with the Grand Coalition Government gone, we in CORD have continued to call for a return to the full implementation of Agenda Item Number 4 as contained in the Peace Accord of 2008 which was meant to address historical injustices through various long term solutions and institutional reforms.
With the new Constitution in place and with a concerted focus on land and institutional reforms, the full realization of Agenda Four is critical for the future stability and prosperity of the country.
We are wanting in fostering national cohesion and the elimination of feelings of exclusion and marginalization. Yet dealing with these issues is critical to the future of Kenya as a united nation-state. Because Jubilee has pursued a deliberate policy of exclusion and marginalization, we decided to put inclusivity as part of our referendum agenda. The President's apology and acknowledgement must now be followed by the following:
1. Apologies to specific living victims for specific incidences. A blanket apology does not meet the needs of victims to see the state as genuinely concerned about the abuse that they have suffered.
2. The State must now set up a mechanism that will:-
a) Identify victims and assess the injuries they have suffered and borne over the years.
b) Compensate the victims for their injuries as far as that is possible through clearly spelt out budgetary provisions that makes the compensation a right and not a favour.
c) Make restitution (return) of property that had been illegally taken from victims and the general public.
d) Investigate incidents of injustice and prosecute perpetrators of those injustices where they are still alive. In the alternative, the State must set up a mechanism through which perpetrators can seek and be granted amnesty for the injustices they have caused.
The process must end with the promulgation of laws and policies that will safeguard against a repeat of any injustices in the future.
On corruption, we appreciate the President’s acknowledgment that what we have been saying never was noise after all.
However, we find the so-called report of the EACC a fraud on the people of Kenya. We find the President's move to table names from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission before Parliament and to seek those named to "step aside" a discomforting reminder that the more things change in our country, the more they remain the same.
It is a sad reminder of Justice Aaron Ringera and Kiraitu Murungi’s excited but ill-fated so called Radical Surgery of the Judiciary in 2003 which turned into a witch hunt and a white wash whose sole aim was to pack the same institution with loyalists and home boys while destroying reputations of others through rumours and innuendos. In the end, nothing changed in the Kiraitu-Ringera Judiciary.
With this latest step, in which the President borrows again from his predecessors by failing to sack those he has power to sack while admonishing those he has no powers over, the war on graft has once again been cheapened and turned into a game of musical chairs. The move should convince all that it is business as usual and soon, all those who have stepped aside shall troop back to their seats and make up for lost time. The President is acting as a whistleblower, not an executive authority.
1. The document the President tabled in Parliament is not the "Report" required by the Constitution or the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Act. Article 254 of the Constitution and Section 27 of the Act refer to a "Report" of "the Commission".
2. Section 4 of the Act defines "the Commission" as "the chairperson and two other members".
3. The President brought to the House a dossier given to him by the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission. This is a serious breach of the Constitution and a cavalier attitude towards the duties, responsibilities and status of the Presidency and the Legislature. It turns EACC into a bandit organization and a fire fighting tool of the Executive at the beck and call of a besieged presidency seeking redemption by hook or crook, contrary to the constitution and expectations of Kenyans.
4. The 'report' has no structure in time or institution. Some of the most recent incidences of corruption like "chickengate" are left out. Executives long accused, long resigned and long absolved from accusations and in fact vindicated and compensated by a court of law are still listed for action.
5. It is unclear why the EACC would quickly concoct a dossier and give it to the President to undertake a political activity but fail to compile from the same dossier an investigation report to give to the Director of Public Prosecutions recommending prosecutions. The only conclusion we can draw is that this is politics and business as usual that is meant to hoodwink Kenyans into believing that corruption is now being fought.
6. "Stepping aside" is a cruel joke when the stakes are so high, the losses so painful and the source of accusations so controversial. It is a method used by the past Presidencies to placate public anger and not take any action. There is no difference in Kenya between the President requiring a person to "step aside" and the President setting up a Commission of Inquiry.
7. What Kenya needs from the President is action that is genuine, logical and consistent with the demands of the constitution. Even as he is revealing names, the President is still on the other hand appointing people with corruption issues to serve his government.
8. The recent appointments he has made to the Judicial Service Commission are a clear indication that the President gives no regard to the issues of corruption and integrity where his political interests are concerned.
9. It is for the same reason that he has deliberately left out the IEBC and other sacred cows in the presidency from the list.
10. We are witnessing institutional failure and dysfunction in government never seen even in the worst of times in our history. It is now getting clearer that Jubilee’s sole agenda was the Presidency as some kind of self-help enterprise. The balance of Jubilee’s term will be one nightmare after another. Our country is losing it.
The Rt Hon Raila Odinga, EGH.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Amanda Knox nach Freispruch: "Ich bin unendlich erleichtert" spot on news – Sa., 28. Mär 2015 09:14 MEZ

Amanda Knox bei einem TV-Auftritt in den USA im Januar 2014 
Spot on news - Amanda Knox bei einem TV-Auftritt in den USA im Januar 2014

Amanda Knox (27) ist endgültig freigesprochen worden: Ein Kassationsgericht in Rom hat den Schuldspruch gegen die US-Amerikanerin und Raffaele Sollecito aufgehoben. Fast acht Jahre lang hatte der Fall italienische Gerichte beschäftigt. Knox war 2014 wegen Mordes an der britischen Studentin Meredith Kercher zu 28 Jahren und sechs Monaten Haft verurteilt worden, Sollecito zu 25 Jahren. Kercher war am 1. November 2007 in Perugia ermordet worden. Nach dem Freispruch am Freitag sagte Knox, die in Seattle lebt, in einem Statement, sas unter anderem die "New York Post" veröffentlichte: "Ich bin unendlich erleichtert und dankbar für die Entscheidung."
Knox war die Mitbewohnerin von Kercher. Die damals 21-Jährige war vergewaltigt und mit durchschnittener Kehle aufgefunden worden. 2009 wurden Knox und ihr Ex-Freund Sollecito für die Tat verurteilt, 2011 gab es in zweiter Instanz einen Freispruch, der aber wieder gekippt wurde. Die beiden wurden erneut schuldig gesprochen. Die Mutter des Opfers, Arline Kercher, zeigte sich vom endgültigen Freispruch geschockt: "Sie wurden zweimal verurteilt, es ist etwas merkwürdig, dass sich das jetzt geändert hat", sagte sie. Knox hatte wiederholt ihre Unschuld beteuert.
Sie war nach dem Freispruch 2011 in die USA zurückgekehrt und beteuerte, sie werde nie wieder nach Italien kommen. Auch ein Buch hat der "Engel mit den Eisaugen", wie Knox von der Presse genannt worden war, bereits herausgebracht ("Zeit, gehört zu werden"). Ein Kinofilm, der auf den Ereignissen beruht, wird demnächst ebenfalls zu sehen sein: "Die Augen des Engels" ("The Face of an Angel") mit Daniel Brühl und Kate Beckinsale wird in Deutschland am 21. Mai anlaufen.

Saturday, March 28, 2015 Africa’s original sin, in the words of Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew

A vigil guard at his post as Singapore's late former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew lies in state at Parliament House in Singapore on March 28, 2015. PHOTO | ADEK BERRY 
A vigil guard at his post as Singapore's late former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew lies in state at Parliament House in Singapore on March 28, 2015. PHOTO | ADEK BERRY |  AFP

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Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father who breathed his last on Monday, was brutally honest in his assessment of the prospects of the newly independent African nations.
From his experience interacting and observing the behaviour of our own founding fathers at international meetings and state visits, the man lionised for transforming Singapore into a wealthy modern state came out with some choice descriptions of selected leaders and events on the continent in his autobiography, From Third World to First, that point to Africa’s original sin.
On the culture of coups in the 1960s: I was not optimistic about Africa. In less than 10 years after independence in 1957, Nigeria had had a coup and Ghana a failed coup. I thought their tribal loyalties were stronger than their sense of common nationhood.
On Chief Festus, Nigeria’s finance minister, in 1966: The night before the meeting, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Belewa gave us a banquet in the hotel. Raja and I were seated opposite a hefty Nigerian, Chief Festus, their finance minister.
The conversation is still fresh in my mind. He was going to retire soon, he said. He had done enough for his country and now had to look after his business, a shoe factory.
As finance minister, he had imposed a tax on imported shoes so that Nigeria could make shoes … I went to bed that night convinced that they were a different people playing to a different set of rules.
On Krobo Edusei, Ghana’s minister for presidential affairs, in 1966: On our arrival at Accra, the person who came up to the aircraft to greet me was Krobo Edusei, the minister for presidential affairs.
He had gained notoriety as a corrupt minister who had bought himself a golden bedstead, a story much publicised in the world press …
On my second night in Accra, he took me to a nightclub in Accra. He proudly announced that he was the owner and that all VIPs would enjoy their evenings there.
On Kamuzu Banda, Malawi’s founding father: He was quite a character, with his sunglasses even indoors and at night, and his buxom young African lady companion. He looked old but spoke with vigour, waving his fly whisk to emphasise his points. (1971 Commonwealth meeting in Singapore)
On Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s founding father: Prime Minister Kenneth Kaunda’s major preoccupation was politics, black versus white politics, not the economics of growth for Zambia. He remained as president until the 1990s when, to his credit, he conducted a fair election and lost.
On lavish lifestyles displayed by Third World leaders at Commonwealth meetings: All leaders were equal at the conference table, but those from heavyweight countries showed that they were more equal by arriving in big private jets, the British in their VC 10s and Comets, and the Canadians in Boeings … Those African presidents whose countries were then better off, like Kenya and Nigeria, also had special aircraft.
I wondered why they did not set out to impress the world that they were poor and in dire need of assistance.
Otieno Otieno is chief sub-editor, Business Daily. jkotieno@ke.nationmedia.com. @otienootieno

Saturday, 21 March 2015

How Kenya Airways was Run Down and Why the Airline Might Cease Operation Very Soon

KQ is in a dep mess. The national carrier is a shell of its former self. The thieves have run roughshod and fleeced the company millions in a well crafted scheme which seems to be meant to run it down and then cheaply buy the airline off.
The people behind the strategy includes former CEO Titus Naikuni, current Finance Director Alex Wainaina Mbugua and 2 top State House (Office of the President) personnel.
The scheme to run down Kenya Airways started right from the Office of the then President Kibaki and involved senior OP and DoD officials. Also roped into the deal is KQ Finance Director and the current CEO. The Finance Director is said to be so deep into the corrupt deals meant to bring down KQ to its knees that he recently bought 14 very high end properties in Johannesburg with 6 of the properties being located in the affluent Sandton area.
First, they set up four offshore companies called Twiga, Amboseli, Jetspace and Samburu which knew what aircraft Kenya Airways (KQ) needed and so approached Boeing and Embraer to deliver the same. The problem is that, without investing a single cent, the owners of the companies got KQ LPOs and managed to use the same to get loans from Afro-Exim Services.
Of the KQ fleet, the Embraer E170 series are being phased and replaced by the E190s. Key individuals in the Office of the President are said to own the 5Y-KYR, KYS and KYT. Another 10 aircrafts with registrations 5Y-FFA to FFJ are said to be owned by another powerful Kenyan family which earns them more than $500,000.
Currently, none of the Dreamliners (Boeing 787s) are flying. This is because the maintenance cost is so high and the owners who have not been fully paid for the aircrafts are said to be planning to detain some of the planes in case they fly outside the country. One of the planes was recently detained in China and released only at the intervention of key State House officials.
Most of the KQ board members who are aware of the illegal happenings are pocketing up to $6million per year in kickbacks as they are promised a standing fee per hour clocked by the operational aircrafts.  The recent KPMG report does not mention the illegal withdrawals in KQ reserve accounts in London. It doesn’t even detail the wastage which the company gets by outsourcing engineering work to other airlines.
Some of the areas which have been used to get money out of KQ includes the outsourcing of various services like training, hotel and catering as well as importation of everything including toothpicks. Take the renovation of the IOCC building which is next to the Presidential Lounge at JKIA. Renovation work were so expensive and KQ ended up importing even pens, water dispensers and seats to spruce up the Engineer’s working area while what was imported could have been acquired cheaply locally.
Staff using the IOCC (International Operations Control Centre) wondered why KQ had to import water dispensers from Germany while they could get the same locally. The renovation of the building despite the company knowing very well that the building will be brought down when the new runway is being built.
There was a time KQ spent an average of Ksh 1.5million on each and every staff member on useless trainings which did not benefit the said staff members in any way. The training was compulsory and those who failed to attend were sent on compulsory leave until they took up the training at the KQ Pride Centre.
One company which benefited most from the uncontrolled KQ outsourcing is the STOIC tracking. The company installed vehicle tracking and fleet management system in KQ vehicles being used on the tarmac to control speed. The speed limit is 25 Km/h. The company was being paid Ksh 4 million per month from 2005/2006 financial year to Dec 2014 when KQ decided to stop the service having realised that it didn’t prevent the staff from exceeding the speed limit on the airport tarmac. Only KQ installed such a service in their vehicles at the airport while the likes of 540, KLM and Qatar did not see such a need.
Now KQ is not in a state to meet its financial obligations. Staff salaries are paid late and remittances for staff contributions to Union, SACCO, NSSF and NHIF are not being done in time as KQ is left to rummage through the financial mess they created to sort themselves out. In February, KQ staff salaries was only possible after IATA sent the airline its codeshare contributions.
SACCO remittance happened on 13th March and not February 20th as always. Some contractors like Jubilee Insurance knows the precarious financial situation at KQ very well but want to debts to accrue further so as they would not want to interfere with the relationship.
The bad financial decisions at KQ started after the 2009 KQ strike where Naikuni told the Cabin Crew that their work and “Cabin Crew ni kama waiter naweza kuenda Kencom na nipate wengi.” (Cabin crews are like waiters who can easily be recruited from Kencom bus stop). That was true to an extent. But consider the cost involved in training the Cabin Crew at Pride Centre. KQ charges over $3,000 for a 6 months Cabin Crew training where they only spend 3 months in class and the others just doing nothing. In fact at KQ, the staff always know that though the work is simple, KQ charges training of the staff more expensively that it would cost to train a medic locally in the same period.
Naikuni then said that he would teach the Cabin Crew a lesson resulting in the retrenchment of the over 420 cabin crew. KQ then decided to outsource the assignment of recruiting and managing the Cabin Crew to Career Directions which is owned, managed and operated by Naikuni’s long known girlfriend Lucy Mmari.
KQ was meant to save with the outsourcing but that failed to work as service quality deteriorated. KQ ended up recruiting almost 1,000 new Cabin Crew through Career Directions. The company pays the CCs only Ksh 40,000 from the previous Ksh 80,000. The difference is not a saving to KQ since the airline pays Career Directions around Ksh 120,000 per month per Cabin Crew.
KQ made no savings on the salaries and there was no need since Cabin Crew salaries was just 1.3% of the total annual cost incurred by the airline. In the meantime, now the new Cabin Crews employed through Career Directions have been made to supervise the old and mature few who remained employed directly by KQ while the mature ones earn better salaries.
With the quality of cabin service declining, complaints emerged on social media and many at times were Cabin Crew caught having sex with passengers on air or shoplifting make up for personal use (in Bombay in India). Generally, the staff who are so loyal to the national carrier decided to steal to improve on their image. It is now believed that some KQ staff might be engaging in importing contrabands to boost their income as the airline continue to suffer.
For March, KQ staff who are suppose to be paid on 20th will have to wait for the sale of a Boeing 777 aircraft registration number 5Y-KQT at a cost of $57million to be able to earn their salaries. A brand new 777-200 plane like the KQT being sold goes for just over $250million. Considering that the plane is a 2005 make, the plane being sold is almost brand new. It is however believed that some KQ technical staff might have taken some of its parts leaving the plane being sold a SHELL. But the plane already has a buyer who has paid part of the money.
According to a senior pilot, “it is just sad that KQ cannot get to enjoy flying the 777s and make money out of them immediately after fully paying for them.”
Another plane with registration ending KQS is also scheduled for sale. Of the 77-200s, only KQU and KZY are flying but might be up for sale soon. Another plane, a 777-300 with registration ending KZX is parked but sometimes serviced for Amsterdam route.
Enter the Boeing 787s aka the Dreamliners. Of the 17 staff KQ trained to handle the improved fleet, 6 never touched the KQ fleet as they were immediately poached by Qatar, Emirates and other rich and ambitious airlines. A total of 12 of the 17 Boeing Dreamliner trained staff have left the national carrier while the remaining are mulling leaving. Only one Boeing Certified engineer is left to support the Dreamliner at JKIA.
With airlines like Qatar Airways so moneyed that they are buying two Boeing 787 Dreamliners every day in CASH, this was bound to happen.
There are loud rumours within the KQ maintenance crew that the airline cannot afford to provide in-flight entertainment (IFE) in the 737-800s as the vendor who sold the system and provide maintenance services is owed so much money that they now detain any system sent to them for maintenance. KQ knows that it is suppose to provide in flight entertainment on every flight which goes for more than 5 hours. It’s just not able to provide the same.
Apart from the money owed to the vendors, KQ also owe the taxman, KRA a lot of money that the taxman once detained some equipment over a Ksh 30 million debt which has not been settled.
In the last 5 years, KQ has lost a total of 75 Engineers and employed 150 (from Nairobi Aviation) new young and inexperienced technicians (calling them engineers) who have never touched an aircraft in real life. KQ has also poached close to 40 Kenya Airforce Servicemen to boost its fleet technicians. Many of the current pilots and engineers claim that they fear for the national carrier as it is playing poker with passengers’ safety.
Another avenue in which KQ is losing money is the maintenance agreement signed with Royal Thai airline, Qatar Airways, KLM, Aviac Technologies and others. As KQ planes fly to Paris, Bangkok, Amsterdam and other destinations, someone within KQ decided to sign maintenance agreements with other airlines with experienced staff on the ground. The sad bit of this is industrywide, it is not advisable.
What happens is that the airlines or companies with maintenance agreements with KQ will always ensure that KQ planes are grounded longer for minor and inconsequential defects so that their companies can maximise their earnings. One such instance happened in Amsterdam last Monday when Kenya Airways lost a total of Ksh 47million in one flight because KLM engineers refused to clear the flight for take off over some “valve leak” which was found not to exist. When such a thing happen, KLM engineers would earn $250 per hour per Engineer or $120 per technician. This money is paid directly by KQ to the KLM accounts and is not inclusive of repair and spare parts costs which cost millions of USD. Why would KQ refuse to station own engineer in such locations and loose Ksh 47million in one instance. The practise was common in Paris when Aviac Technologies services was contracted to maintain KQ planes that 90% of the flights were always delayed or cancelled.
It is not sometimes wrong to give out such contracts but is nonsensical for KQ to give out such contracts when no one is giving them the same.
When such a thing happens, KQ is bound to pay accommodation for the affected passengers and crew. KQ is also bound to pay other costs like meals, transport and communication. When preparing an expense report, KQ staff would also sneak in some expenses which hard hard to verify like “cost of airtime.”
Expense sheet prepared by KQ staff for KQ116
KQ 116
The time to save KQ is now. The company is flying full planes and making money. The problem is that some executives have intentionally decided to kill the national carrier and launch their own. In the words of one senior executive, “KQ is not making a loss. KQ is just over spending.”
KQ’s 10 year plan were copied by airlines like Ethiopian Airlines (ET). But you can’t compare ET as it is run in a dictatorial way. You remember the ET pilot who flew a plane to Greece. Many ET crew are monitored and banned from leaving the country the moment they try to seek greener pastures elsewhere. You can’t compare how ET crew lives with how KQ is but ET is still afloat but if they still rely on the KQ plan, it will go down soon.
As KQ goes down, it is still spending almost Ksh 96 per litre of Jet A-1 fuel while the price has fallen to almost Ksh 45 per litre. KQ is bound to spend this much because it is hedging fuel and bound by the contract until the year 2017.
Though KQ has even retrenched some “overage pilots”, the fact is that they don’t have money to pay them and told them to wait for 6 months. The problem is that KQ might not be able to last for 6 months.
As Safaricom continue to sell properties (sold go downs in Embakassi and planning to sell headquarters) to cover costs, it is not clear how long this will be allowed to go on.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 East African Breweries director quizzed over racial bias claims

From left, EABL Group Finance Director Tracey Barnes (left), Group MD Charles Ireland and Kenya Breweries Limited MD Joe Muganda. 
From left, EABL Group Finance Director Tracey Barnes (left), Group MD Charles Ireland and Kenya Breweries Limited MD Joe Muganda. Cofek Secretary-General Steven Mutoro has written to the Directorate of Immigration demanding that Ms Barnes’ stay in Kenya be terminated. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION  

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Immigration officials yesterday summoned a senior director of East African Breweries Limited (EABL) for questioning amid allegations of racial discrimination against her Kenyan colleagues.
The brewer’s finance director, Tracey Barnes, appeared before the Director of Immigrations and Registration of Persons in the afternoon for grilling.
She has been accused of mistreating and intimidating Kenyans working in the company as a way of pushing them out so she can replace them with foreigners.
On Tuesday evening, the directorate tweeted saying it had received the complaint against Ms Barnes and promised to take action.
“As per the complaint raised yesterday, the EABL Finance Director Tracey Barnes (foreigner) is at Nyayo House to answer some queries,” said the immigrations office through its handle @ImmigrationDept.
The complaint against Ms Barnes was lodged through a letter from a former employee of the regional brewer to the Director of Immigration.
The letter, signed anonymous, claims that Ms Barnes was frustrating Kenyans by assigning unrealistic targets and firing them if they fail to deliver.
“We have not met them for two years because of the unreasonable targets set by the group finance director. The targets are not only unrealistic and unachievable but purely meant to frustrate employees so that they are sacked and replaced with whites and that is exactly what has been happening.
‘‘It is very bad for Kenyans to be frustrated on their own soil by a foreigner yet we have a solid government with a strong immigration department which is supposed to protect its citizens,” the letter reads.
EABL, however, dismissed the claims, saying they were untrue and calculated to tarnish Ms Barnes’ reputation.
“EABL has not received any complaint from any former or current employee regarding the allegations made,” the company said in a statement.
The Immigration office has called on other employees going through such cases to speak out.
The case has attracted the attention of the Consumers Federation of Kenya as well as many Kenyans on social media.
Cofek Secretary-General Steven Mutoro has written to the Directorate of Immigration demanding that Ms Barnes’ stay in Kenya be terminated.
“We are most aggrieved at the fact that your department has not only allowed too many unnecessary expatriates but some like the one adversely mentioned at the EABL, to cause an untold pain to Kenyan workers on their own soil,” he said.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


Governor Sospeter Ojaamong;
Invited guests;
Thank you for giving me the chance to be part of this. I wish to congratulate you and our governors across the country for the work that is giving hope to our people.
The work you do here, and in many once forgotten places like Turkana, Tana River, Kwale, Mombasa, Wajir among others has restored hope in our people.
It is largely the reason our economy is holding firm despite the lack of clear direction at the national level.
As we gather here, it is mid- term of the Jubilee administration.
The general feeling is that the National Government has taken us midway to nowhere. Our people are placing their hopes on the county governments.
Initiatives like this forum make the future worth looking forward to. That is not to say County governments are perfect. In fact, a number are turning to be true duplicates of the wastage, corruption and lack of accountability that has long haunted the National Government.
That is why in recent day, CORD leadership has been forced to intervene in certain counties where voters are complaining of wastage, patronage and exclusion. While we stand by devolution, CORD will not protect and county government under its leadership that presides over graft and related ills.
This is why as a coalition we have taken the decision that all our governors must give a State of the County briefing to their constituents and file the report with the headquarters by June this year.
This will provide an opportunity to showcase what county governments in our control are doing for our people and for the people to audit the counties.
As pioneers, current County governments were always going to be judged by higher standards because of high expectations and decades of deferred dreams.
This is the reality they must live with and confront. We however have no option but to make Devolution succeed.
Success will be measured by the difference we make in people’s the lives.Investing wisely and getting your priorities right are therefore critical.
We need to build on the tremendous progress we have made and also learn from our mistakes by sharpening focus on creating jobs for the youth and investing in education and quality affordable healthcare.
It must be the aim of every governor to ensure his county leads the nation in economic competitiveness, access to quality health care and access roads connectivity to farms and markets.
These will in turn create a conducive environment for investors. We must also learn to create synergies by coming together as neighbouring counties so we can benefit from economies of scale.
Our governors in the Coast have pioneered this by forming the Commonwealth of Counties of the Coast. I congratulate them for the foresight.
I wish to see this spirit extended to western Kenya and beyond.
We have to make counties the new centres for job creation by providing opportunities for people to take charge of their future.
County Governments will create opportunities by removing unnecessary licensing requirements particularly for the small and Jua Kali sector traders who are actually the backbone of our economy.
Yes we must bring in the big manufacturers. But we must also accord protection to the mama mboga, the mama samaki, the mechanics, and the livestock traders, among others.
They must feel wanted and welcome by our county governments, after all, they are here to stay.
We must also go all out to look for investors. We live in a competitive environment.
Leaders cannot sit back and hope that investor will just show up at the door.
That is why I have made it my duty to help introduce our governors to potential investors abroad. I am glad the governor has taken this up with vigour.
It is important that we allow businesses, big or small, foreign or local, to compete on a level playing field, under the same rules.
County governments must set their priorities and stick to them.They must not be dragged into the National Government’s appetite for big tenders whose sole purpose is to create opportunities for kickbacks.
We have seen that lately, with equipment being forced on county governments.
Counties must pioneer Business Unusual by avoiding the old economics that made Kenya one of the most unequal societies on earth.
I want our governors to believe with me that as the economy grows, every citizen must reap the benefits.
There is no benefit whatsoever in being told that the economy is growing by seven or 10 per cent when a majority of our people are stuck in the same spot; when putting a meal on the table is getting harder, house rent, the prices of milk, unga and bread are all rising and more children are being sent home for lack of school fees.
Our county governments must go all out to invest in programs that eliminate extreme poverty especially in rural areas.
The CORD coalition stands for capitalism with a human face.
CORD governors must therefore pay particular attention to the people struggling at the bottom of the ladder. They are the reason we fought for Devolution.
We will work very closely with our governors to help them translate our manifesto into MAISHA BORA for our people.
CORD will continue pushing for more money to be brought down here, where the majority of our people live.
We will continue to push for clarity on the sharing of the proceeds of mineral resources between the National Government and the county governments.
Minerals and other natural resources like fish extracted from here must finance the human and physical development of the people living here.
They must finance the schools, roads, markets and hospitals here and help create jobs here.
That way, we shall end inequality in Kenya. Kenya must stop being two or three nations in one; where the economy grows for some while life gets desperate for others, where some regions have everything they need while others can barely access even basic necessities like roads.
That is why our push for a referendum cannot stop.
This is how Kenya will trace its way back to being the land our founding fathers dreamt of; a land of justice, unity and liberty.
We can only achieve this by sharing equitably and justly. County governments must be at the centre of this journey to the Kenyan dream.
Thank you. God Bless Busia.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 Middle East carriers push KQ into turbulent future

The Kenya Airways Dreamliner B787 on touchdown at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport during the official reception in Nairobi on April 5, 2014. PHOTO | FILE
 The Kenya Airways Dreamliner B787 on touchdown at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport during the official reception in Nairobi on April 5, 2014. PHOTO | FILE  

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In Summary

  • Dubai’s Emirates has also brought the battle to the doorstep of the troubled Kenya Airways  when it announced plans to connect more people with Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, by switching from the current Airbus A330-200 aircraft used in one of the two daily flights to a larger Boeing 777-300 ER starting May 1.
  • Ruto called on Kenyans to support KQ and appealed to all the local carriers to price their tickets  competitively to attract and win the loyalty of Kenyan travellers.
  • Western airlines have long complained about competition from the three Gulf carriers, which are fast turning their home airports into major hubs for transcontinental routes.
Last week, Dubai-based carrier, flydubai said it would increase its flights in Africa to 78 per week.
The airline, which doubled its Africa routes last year, will have 12 touch points in East and North Africa. The latest destinations are Alexandria, Bujumbura, Juba and Zanzibar. This has seen its passenger numbers in Africa shoot up by 14 per cent.
Flydubai chairman His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum said the airline’s strategy this year is to increase flights, especially in the underserved routes in Africa.
Dubai’s Emirates has also brought the battle to the doorstep of the troubled Kenya Airways when it announced plans to connect more people with Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, by switching from the current Airbus A330-200 aircraft used in one of the two daily flights to a larger Boeing 777-300 ER starting May 1.
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have also been increasing their touch points in Africa.
The latest plan by the giant Gulf carriers means a fresh headache for Kenya Airways.
“The coming of the Middle East carriers to fly destinations in Africa is a real threat for KQ’s long-haul destinations,” said Standard Investment Bank senior research analyst, Mr Eric Musau.
Kenya Airways, Mr Musau added, should now consider scaling down its expansion involving purchases of large aircraft for long-haul travels until the current assets are fully used.
Considering that in 2014 Africa accounted for 54 per cent of the airline’s income, the new threat in this airspace is likely to worsen the situation for the loss-making carrier. Kenya Airways suffered Sh10.451 billion loss for the half year ending September, 2014.  It doesn’t help KQ that the new competitors are said to be receiving huge subsidies from their governments.
Three top US airlines accused Dubai’s Emirates, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways two weeks ago of receiving subsidies from their governments amounting to $42 billion (Sh3.9 trillion).
In a 55-page report, the US airlines and labour groups said the three Gulf carriers had benefited unfairly from huge interest-free loans, subsidised airport charges, government protection on fuel losses and below-market labour costs considered unfair subsidies by the World Trade Organisation.
In the report, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines, along with US pilot and labour groups, urged Washington to raise the issue with the UAE and Qatar.
The accusations have, however, been denied.  “These accusations are false and unacceptable. They are baseless,” UAE economy Minister Sultan al-Mansouri was quoted as saying by the Emarat Al-Youm newspaper.
Mr Mansouri said the UAE was “ready to discuss such claims, on condition of receiving reports that would prove that UAE carriers received government support.”
Western airlines have long complained about competition from the three Gulf carriers, which are fast turning their home airports into major hubs for transcontinental routes.
The waning fortunes of Kenya Airways could have prompted the government to move in to keep it afloat.
Early last month, an inaugural aviation workshop held at the KQ Pride Centre to supposedly deliberate on the way forward for the local industry turned out to be a strategy to whip up all government officers to fly KQ.
The meeting presided over by Deputy President William Ruto discussed ways of increasing the airline’s passenger numbers. The forum brought together several top government officials including a host of Cabinet secretaries, permanent secretaries, governors and senior aviation stakeholders.
Ruto called on Kenyans to support KQ and appealed to all the local carriers to price their tickets  competitively to attract and win the loyalty of Kenyan travellers.
“As we promote and pledge to support Kenyan carriers such as Kenya Airways, we must as a government make it clear that we will not tolerate unfair competition. Kenyan carriers must deliver high quality services and attractive pricing propositions,” said Mr Ruto.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Transport Cabinet secretary Michael Kamau, who warned that the carrier could plunge into a crisis should Kenyans fail to support it.
“If you don’t support our national carrier, we will end up carrying it instead. Our aviation industry is at crossroads and we have to determine the direction we will take going forward,” Mr Kamau said.
Government efforts to lift KQ out of trouble are not new. Qatar Airways’ application for licence to be the third foreign airline to fly to Mombasa from August 2013 failed over what was said to be traffic right issues.
In 2012, the Doha-based airline’s application to fly to Kilimanjaro via Nairobi was not permitted by Kenyan authorities.

Will the Largest Financial Prize in the World Improve Governance in Africa?

Namibia's outgoing president Hifikepunye Pohamba. Photo released under Creative Commons by Agência Brasil.
Namibia's outgoing president Hifikepunye Pohamba. Photo released under Creative Commons by Agência Brasil.

After 2011, it took almost four years for the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to find a suitable next recipient for its Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. In late 2014, the Prize Committee selected Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba.
Hifikepunye Pohamba has been Namibia's president since 2005. His second terms ends on March 21, 2014.
The Ibrahim Prize, which recognises and celebrates African leaders who have developed their countries, lifted people out of poverty, and paved the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity has been awarded only four times in eight years. Past recipients are Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in 2007, Festus Mogae of Botswana in 2008, and Pedro Rodrigues Pires of Cape Verde in 2011.
The recipient receives US$500,000 a year for ten years, and US$200,000 a year thereafter.
The Foundation explained the reasons for choosing president Pohamba:
This award from an African foundation is a celebration of achievement in African leadership on the African continent.
The Prize Committee has decided to award the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership to President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia.
President Pohamba’s focus in forging national cohesion and reconciliation at a key stage of Namibia's consolidation of democracy and social and economic development impressed the ‎Prize Committee. His ability to command the confidence and the trust of his people is exemplary. During the decade of his Presidential mandate, he demonstrated sound and wise leadership. At the same time, he maintained his humility throughout his Presidency.
He was deeply committed to the rule of law and to respect for the constitution, in particular on the issue of term limit. The Prize Committee also commends his respect for political opposition. His particular emphasis on issues of gender equality led to the notable achievement that 48% of Namibia's parliamentarians are female.
Opinions about the merits and relevance of the award have always been sharply divided. In 2009, Ory Okolloh said she did not see how the prize enhances governance and leadership in Africa:
I don’t get how the prize enhances governance and leadership in Africa – the problem is that most African leaders today are thieving, corrupt, buffoons who spend their time in office lining up their pockets so deep that the Ibrahim prize is chump change and that issues of legacy are irrelevant (see e.g. “I have no regrets”Moi), but I do get the part that decent leaders need a plan B – post retirement…although the fact is that most of them are voting themselves very nice “exit” packages anyway (see Mozambique, Ghana) . But, rather than rewarding African leaders for doing what they should be doing as a matter of course, why not set up a fund where e.g. if they want to build a library, or write a book, or set up a business – they have to apply for the money. So they have a plan B, it’s just not automatic.
Better still. Just shift the foundation’s focus away from things that have a minimal impact on the future of African leadership…I mean the index and the prize are just as about as impractical you can get if you are serious about changing the face of African leadership…if you ask me.
What should you be doing then you ask?
Well, any organization that is trying to do any serious work around leadership in Africa has make young people the core of any programming. Otherwise you haven’t looked the demographics of Africa yet and seriously thought about the implications. Convincing the Mugabe’s of the world to step down, is only part of the problem – you have to ask who is replacing the old guard? Is there a pipeline? Are the replacements different? Or are they just a younger, hungrier, more cynical version of the same (see Kenya’s parliament today).
I see that your foundation does offer scholarships to rising leaders, that’s a good start. But if the intention is to grow leaders at home, I would offer scholarships to enable students to attend local institutions as well.
And scholarships are so inside the box.
How about a fund for young Africans who are running for office – they have to come up with a plan, sign a commitment to good governance, and commit to being open with their campaign and if they get elected with their voting records in Parliament, public declarations etc….sound a bit crazy? Maybe. But in comparison to a index of democracy…hhhm.
Or if that’s too political – a travel fund/scholarship for young Africans to travel within Africa and spend a month or 6 months or a year – living in a different country, doing community service, writing a book, taking pictures…whatever – the underlying idea being that they would have the opportunity to get to know their own continent, to expand their worldview in a different way, to network with their fellow Africans, and to start building cross-border relationships which are critical to the future of the continent (think trade, ease of travel, etc.).
Discussing the Foundation's choice for 2014, Robert I. Rotberg, a fellow at Woodrow Wilson International Center, asked, “Did the Ibrahim foundation make the right choice?” He pointed out that most of the accomplishments the prize committee noticed where not of his own doing but his predecessor's, the first president of Namibia, Sam Nujoma:
The extent, however, to which Pohamba can take credit for these favorable results is questionable. He has been a very lackluster president of his country, and much of the progress which the ranking systems and the prize committee has noticed is largely either Nujoma’s doing or the product of other effective hands within the SWAPO ruling party. Human rights advances have been made despite official opposition. Having a free media has been achieved, too, by strenuous local efforts, certainly not thanks to a benign government. No one within Namibia would have imagined a leadership prize going to someone of Pohamba’s limited accomplishments and relatively low profile.
Indeed, if anything, Pohamba should be acclaimed for what he chose not to do, not for what he did. SWAPO has now transformed itself, thanks in part to Pohamba’s refusal to oppose change, into southern Africa’s first democratized liberation political party. Unlike the African National Congress in South Africa or the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front in Zimbabwe, over the course of 2014 SWAPO underwent a quiet internal revolution. No longer were Ovambo, the dominant ethnic group, guaranteed the top spots. Nujoma’s son, a potential heir to Pohamba, was pushed aside. In fact, SWAPO decided at two consecutive party congresses to be guided by the wishes and votes of members, not by an outgoing president.
As a result, Hage Geingob, 74. assumes Namibia’s presidency on March 21, after serving as prime minister and being exiled briefly by Nujoma. Geingob is a Damara, one of the smaller ethnic entities in Namibia, and received a British Ph. D. in 2004 for a thesis on how to promote good governance in Namibia. He was one of the founders in 2004 of the African Leadership Council.
Professor Calestous Juma, Faculty Chair of the Mason Fellows Program at Harvard Kennedy School, has a different take. He argued that Africa needs more governance prizes, not less:
Much of the debate has focused on the relevance of rewarding presidents with funds they probably do not need. Others question the criteria used for selecting the winners and argue that judgment on leadership performance should be a national matter.
These while these arguments are valid, they miss the critical role that prizes perform is benchmarking excellence. The size of the prize is an indication of the premium placed on good leadership. If good leadership was so abundant in Africa such a prize would possibly not be needed.
The prize and the media attention it generates inspires leaders and their followers to think about the value of excellence in public service. The existence of a benchmark for governance makes leaders reflect on their contributions irrespective of whether they will win the prize or not.
Unlike other prizes where winners are based on public expectations, the decision is based an elaborate research effort that uses a wide range of metrics to recommend candidates to the section committee. One can disagree with the criteria but cannot question the commitment to rigorous review.
It is true that some countries are more difficult to govern than others. This is not a reason to question the relevance of the prize. It is in fact an argument for more prizes, not less. There are many other African entrepreneurs who could help to broaden the base for excellence in public service by supporting other prizes.
Professfor Makau Mutua, a distinguished Professor of Law at the State University of New York, disagreed with Calestous Juma in a tweet that sparked a Twitter debate between the two:

Grace Ogot passes on

 Kenya Former politician, author Grace Ogot passes on By Standard Reporter Updated Wednesday, March 18th 2015 at 16:55 GMT +3 Share this story: Grace Ogot Former Assistant Minister and author Grace Ogot has passed on. Ogot died at Nairobi Hospital upon arrival at about 11am Wednesday. She had been in frail health.

She is wife of academician Professor Bethwel Allan Ogot. Ogot was a respected literary icon who penned several books including the book Land without Thunder. While condoling with the family, Gem MP and deputy minority leader Jakoyo Midiwo remembered Ogot as a firm politician in the 80s and early 90s and who fought for the girl child. Ogot was born in Asembo, Nyanza in 1930. She was a Kanu hawk in her days. In 1984 she became one of the few women to serve as a Member of Parliament and the only woman assistant minister in President Daniel Arap Moi’s cabinet. She served as Gem MP and assistant minister for culture in 1985. She was reappointed to the same ministerial position in 1988. See also: Court declines to declare RBA boss unfit to hold public office Apart from Land without Thunder, Ogot’s other literary works include The Promised Land, The Other Woman and Other Stories, The Island of Tears and The Graduate.