Friday, November 30, 2007

Stop Press: Election rigging in progress!

Word reaching Siasa Duni is that Michael Kairu, a Director of printing firm PRINTFAST, is in the UK to collect samples of ballot papers from an ECK commissioner and deliver the same to a security printer in BELGIUM for production of parallel ballot papers to be used in rigging the forthcoming General Elections. This is being carried out under the supervision of Hon. Michuki, Cyrus Gituai, PS Provincial Administration, J Makumi, Director of Administration at the Ofice Of The President, a Mr Kirubi DS F OP, government-friendly officers at Govenment Press and Gideon Moi.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Kibaki, let my people go!

Transition is a necessity; we cannot romanticize it. Our dunderheaded elders in PNU have to accept this truth in order that civilized society may exist.

My Mosaic message to President Kibaki is this: please, pass on the mantle and let the people of Kenya go!

Many Kenyans are already tired of your leadership. This society must fast-forward into its bright future with a younger leader than yourself. Another five years of you and the country shall remain stagnant, or continue to limp to a dark future.

True to Moi’s vision, the 2002 General Elections were meant for generational transition. However, Moi foundered on the methodology by trying to impose his suspect choice on the country.

Conventional wisdom holds that a generation cannot succeed itself. Yet it did in 2002... and still wants to perpetuate itself in 2007! I will categorize Kibaki’s past five years as accidental or interim. Accidental, because many Kenyans—mistakenly—did not foresee the dishonest leadership that has so far accompanied his tenure; interim, because he belongs to Moi’s generation. Indeed, if Moi retired, it follows logically that Kibaki should do the same.

We in Kenya seem to be very unfortunate; we have extremely greedy elders (leaders?) whose only interest is self interest. They are reluctant to go and let go. Our only respite is to vote them out on December 27.

The Orange team justifies the optimism and the faith in the future of this society. It is time to renew leadership and discard old, tired and spent forces. This will ensure the survival of the Kenyan civilization.

Many have branded Raila Odinga as “dangerous and devilish”. My submission is that previously, we elected leaders because they claimed or were supposed to be “angels”.

Yet the same angels turned out to be devils on assuming power. Now that Raila Odinga is a "devil", why don’t we try him out to see whether he will emerge as a worse devil or, better still, an angel?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Revealed: Raila's real MoU with Muslims

A group of Muslims Tuesday made public their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga and denied that it was meant to suppress other religions.

They also explained why they chose to support Mr Odinga instead of President Kibaki, who is defending his seat on a PNU ticket, and ODM Kenya flag bearer Kalonzo Musyoka.

The National Muslim Leaders Forum (Namlef), which signed the pact on behalf of fellow Muslims, said they had been motivated by the need to protect the interests of members of the religious community who have suffered oppression under successive governments since independence in 1963.

And Mr Odinga reiterated that ODM’s pact with Muslims “was very innocent”, contrary to the allegations in some quarters, especially by his political rivals. Mr Odinga also stated that this was not the first time that such an agreement had been signed with members of the Muslim community.

Since early this month, a purported MoU has been circulating on the Internet, which Mr Odinga and Muslim leaders dismissed as a fake, with the ODM candidate promising that the real pact would be made “public at an appropriate time”. Yesterday, Mr Odinga said: “Even the current Head of State, President Kibaki, did so in the run-up to the 2002 General Election at Nyali Beach Hotel in the presence of Mr Michael Wamalwa (who became the Vice-President) and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka (now the ODM-K presidential candidate). I, therefore, wonder why people are up in arms.”

Namlef chairman Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi said: “The objective was to safeguard the interests of a section of the Kenyan community (Muslims) that has undergone atrocities over the last 44 years.

“Fears that Muslims want to introduce Sharia law and make Islam the supreme religion in this country are false and only meant to generate hostility between us and our Christian and Hindu brothers. Islam does not suppress other religions.”

Namlef, the national umbrella platform of leaders of Muslim organisations, called the press conference at its offices in Hurlingham, Nairobi, to clear the air over the controversy.

When Mr Odinga disclosed in public that he had signed an MoU with Muslims, this sparked off national debate with some Christian leaders denouncing it.

The issue was also seized by PNU leaders, who denounced the pact as allegedly meant to create religious animosity.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The tribulations of one Stanley Livondo, aka Mr. Moneybags

The ECK last week declined to accept Mr. Stanley Livondo's Direct Nomination for Lang'ata Constituency by PNU after he failed the Language Proficiency Test administered by ECK last week.

The flamboyant rookie politician, who only a month ago was arrested on suspision of murder after the fatal shooting of a youth during a public meeting he had attended in Western Kenya, is said to have dropped out of school in Standard Six and can hardly construct a sentence in English or Kiswahili, let alone pronounce words like "categorically" and "ashamedly".

Unbeknownst to Livondo, Kenya 's electoral rules require that Parliamentary candidates pass Oral & Written Language Proficiency Test.

Similarly, thousands of PNU supporters from Central Kenya were reportedly disenfranchised after the ECK declared that 20,000 newly registered voters in Lang'ata had committed the electoral fraud of double registeration.

"I Sdanley Lifondo teclare here totay my inderest in te seat for te memper of barliamend for Kipera. I plech to remufu one Raila Otinka from his currendi stanting as MB in tis gonstichuensy," piped Livondo.

Members of the Press had to remind Mr. Livondo that the constituency is called Langata, and not Kibera.

More reports filtering in indicate that Stanley Livondo attempted to have the ECK approve his candidature on the strength of marks he scored in an English Composition that he wrote in the twilight of Standard six at Bukhungu Tay & Poarding Primary School.

Mr. Livondo is set to hold a press conference at Inzogu Bar & Restaurant, where it is rumoured that he will use the opportunity to showcase his Standard Six Composition and accuse his main opponent of "Priping" the ECK, even as he moves to "tuck" the "ECK Pullet".

Kibaki Broadcasting Channel

Too many Kenyans compalining... what could be the cause? Another reader's take on Kenya's favourite news channel...

Dear Kenyans,

I've just watched KBC News at 9:00 p.m. I'm amazed by the coverage that continues to be on KBC. I still recall the way that government-owned network used to sing praises of President Moi from start to end of a newscast. That was sick. What I saw this Friday is the same old slanted coverage that shouldn't be tolerated in a modernizing Kenya. Here's what I'm talking about. For seven straight minutes Tony Gachukia kept going about Kibaki and PNU. He gave Kalonzo Musyoka half a second. He gave the Hon. Odinga about a minute. He gave Kamlesh Pattni about two minutes. Is this a network that claims to educate and represent the collective voice of Kenyans?

On to the Steadman Polls. I don't want to dispute them. That would bring too much dignity to them. But I looked at the body language of the white dude and what I saw was a man who clearly knew he was feeding kenyans bullshit. When he says they came up with a new system of polling, what does he mean? When he claims they polled adults, what was the cut off age? And why hasn't he used this crazy system before? Why now? And what was that about Kalonzo Musyoka meeting Steadman guys for three straight hours and suddenly having a three point jump. Coincidence? My humble opinion is that Steadman and KBC have allowed themselves to be used as an illicit extension of the Kibaki reelection machine. I can't wait to hear the explanation Steadman will give once the ballots are cast and the truth flies in the face of Steadman's pontifications.

Last week a friend told me that Steadman was gonna have the Hon. Odinga at 45 and President Kibaki at 41. I disputed it. I did because I thought Steadman cared about integrity. Now I know my friend was right. She tells me the next Steadman polls will have Hon. Odinga at 48 and President Kibaki at 4I. And just before the elections President Kibaki will have edged the Hon. Odinga by about fifteen points. President kibaki will be at 53 and the Hon. Odinga will be at 38. The reversal will have been completed. One doesen't need to be a rocket scientist to script this game. Steadman has all along been part of the Kibaki thing.

Now, here's my word to Hon. Odinga and team. Dismiss those polls with the contempt they deserve. If there's just one thing you want to take from them, let it be that there's still a lot of work to do. Like I said before, nothing good comes easy. We cannot and must not rest until every corner of the country has tasted the orange. Kenya cannot afford five more years of a Kibaki government.

As for KBC, they might as well call themselves the Kibaki Broadcasting Corporation. To my fellow Kenyans, there's KTN and Nation TV. If you want to get the full perspective, watch the men and women in the two networks. And while watching NTV, don't forget to catch The Bull's Eye. That guy is the best!

An observation (resolve?) by another reader fed-up with Kibakism

Intelligent Kenyans know that RAILA will make Kenya great again. He has the will and the plan to carry it through; he has the brains around him and he is a very capable President.

Kenya will never again entertain "mamlukis" in the name of Artur brothers, yapping around and sleeping with the president's daughter while calling Kenyans "black niggers"... what a shame for our country!

KENYA will never be known worldwide for being number three in corruption... and Home of Anglo Leasing type of scandals.

Kenya will never be known again as a country built on tribal enclaves and tribal appointments to public service.

Kenya will never again enetertain a First lady appearing in international TV showing her rotten teeth and rotten words, embarassing the nation in her night dress and with chiken legs. We will be respected again.

Kenya will never again export thieves to Tanzania and Uganda, ashaming the whole nation. We shall be respected again in East Africa.

Kenya will never again boast of 56 percent living below the poverty line. Lucy will never again abuse the poor in Korogocho; Matere will never again shamelessly tell kenyans that they were cheated by Kibaki.

Kenyans will never again be called "pumbavu" and "mavi ya kuku". Fellow Kenyans, are we that foolish to be insulted and we again vote in the "insulter"? Your vote is your dignity! Show Kibaki that you are dignified and you can put your vote wherever you like and wherever you choose.

Kenya will never again get travel advisories because of Mungiki insecurity and Mt. Elgon kilings. No more Standard raids, no more theft, no more trbalism... it's within your reach fellow Kenyans!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Odongo: The man Kenya is refusing to honour

By Wafula Buke

Late last year, an Irish comrade sponsored a trip to Zanzibar for us to belatedly pay homage to a fallen hero in the struggle for the social liberation of Africa: Prof. Abdul Rahman Babu. Just as I have done on the few occasions I have been lucky to visit other countries, I went finding out how the poorest lived and being a Kenyan, where could I find out this other than in the slums? My one and a half-hour walk was unsuccessful. The worst houses that crept into my view were qualitatively miles away from the Kenyan slum version of bad houses. I had hoped that any direction I walked would lead me to a slum as was the case in Kenya. I decided to seek guidance from the ever courteous Zanzibaris.

The guy I approached did not know what a slum was so I described the nature of this humble estates in terms such as "flying toilets", congestion, houses with walls that can be brought down with a horse kick etc. "Pole Ndugu," the fellow spoke. "We do not have such residences in Zanzibar. After the 1964 revolution that was led by John Okello, everybody was given five acres and I believe that's why we do not have such houses here." Incidentally, the second in command of his army was Brigadier Absolom Amoi Ingen whom Okello describes in his autobiography as "a Mluhya from Kenya." Okello himself was a Ugandan from the Acholi community. He had traversed East Africa in search of a means of livelihood for himself and his orphaned siblings.

When he arrived in Zanzibar, he took the challenges that black people were facing then; racial discrimination, political and economic marginalization. He played a lead role in staging a coup that brought the order that seems to have erased slums as indicated above. John Okello's story is a sad one that deposits lorry loads of guilt in any conscience. After the revolution, Nyerere and Abeid Karume threw him out of Tanzania after branding him dangerous. On the Kenyan side, he was given six hours to leave Kenya by Kenyatta. Uganda was equally hostile. He could not land himself a job despite having been a Minister for Defence in Zanzibar for the short period his team was in power. He became a beggar to survive. On returning back to Kenya, he was given an eighteen month jail term for being illegally in Kenya. It is in Kamiti that he wrote his autobiography. He is reported to have been found murdered on the banks of a river in Uganda by the Amin regime in the 70s.

Brigadier John Odongo's death on 26th this year in the D.R.C. brings to an end a life that bears amazing similarities with the 1964 Zanzibar revolutionary hero: John Okello.

• Both came from an ethnic community that spans the entire East African region i.e. Luo

• Both had similar first names (John) and similar initials (J.O.)

• Both left their countries of origin and settled in countries within the East African region.

• Just like Okello, Odongo took up arms and joined Ugandan patriots and Tanzanian Pan Africanists in rooting out the Amin dictatorship.

• Both were not formerly militarily trained prior to the rebellions they led.

• Both were victims of expedient politics of their host countries. Museveni dispatched Odongo to Ghana in an effort to maintain peaceful relations with Kenya just as Okello was ordered out of the region to wear out his revolutionary influence.

• Both were selfless and did not live to enrich themselves. To them individualism was the proper utilization of the whole individual at the absolute benefit of the community.

• Both abandoned their families in pursuit of higher moral and societal goals whose benefits accrued to many.

• Both did not acquire university education. Odongo dropped out of secondary school while Okello dropped out of primary school when his parents died. Prof. Abdul Rahman Babu is on record for dismissing Okello as a Lumpen due to his poor grasp of theory.

• Both were shunned by mainstream politicians of their native countries.

• The final part of their lives were miserable.

• Both exhibited amazing degrees of Pan Africanism by their readiness to die for the liberation of people far from their own countries believing that liberation anywhere leads to liberation everywhere. After being thrown out of Kenya by the Kenyatta regime, Okello got a lift and headed to Mozambique where he hoped to

• participate in the war of liberation from Portuguese colonialism.

• Both were conscious of imperialism as a fundamental cause of Africa's predicament.

• Citizens of the countries that benefited from their political labour recognize and revere the two leaders (recall Museveni's acknowledgement of Odongo after the attack on Sirisia by FERA?)

Odongo died as a leader of FERA, an acronym of the February Eighteenth Revolutionary Army whose inspiration is derived from the day Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi was hanged. Yet Odongo's death did not elicit a single message of condolence from the "who is who" in Kenya. The government has no comment and has apparently no plans of facilitating the return of his remains to his relatives. Unfortunately, the social composition and the historical background of the official opposition cannot have room for him in the riches of their hearts. Our Odongo has been buried by the burial rites-fatigued Congolese having witnessed millions of funerals in the last decade. Clearly, no tear may have been shed and no eulogy delivered in what must have been handled by the "town council" as it disposed bodies of "persons of no consequence."

It may not be easy to make out what the late Odongo's vision for Kenya and indeed humanity was since he was not published. However, his political association speaks volumes. He was an ally of what Kenyans have come to refer to as the doyen of opposition politics. Oginga Odinga was the architect of the first post-colonial institutional home of the Mau Mau dreams for a just society: the Kenya People's Union. Its disbandment and the ensuing crackdown on its functionaries deployed Odongo to the Ugandan front in the struggle for qualitative change in African politics. Odongo found himself exiled in Tanzania when the socialist leaning Obote was overthrown.

Unlike many exiled political actors, he did not seek the politically neutralizing comfort of Western countries but instead opted to join the struggle for the liberation of the region from dictators. One is inclined to imagine that he had read Ernesto Che Guevara who said: "Each spilled drop of blood in any country under whose flag one has not been born, is an experience passed on to those who survive, to be added later to the liberation struggle for his own country…"

In a continent that is rocked by ethnicity and the concomitant unity mongering, Odongo could still draw moral and spiritual upliftment from a movement that has been dubbed by neo-colonial agents as a Kikuyu peasant struggle; the Mau Mau. Odongo's and Wangamati's FERA was an attempt at talking social and economic justice. It was a revival of the "Not Yet Uhuru" of Kaggia and Oginga Odinga and the "Uhuru na Mashamba" slogan of the anti-colonial struggle. He negated the brand of politics that were espoused by political platforms such as KANU, FORD and other associated organizations which in practice defined democracy as the right of the rich to access the reigns of power through an electoral process as they continued dominating the poor.

For his unshakable and deeply-rooted faith in social justice and the dignity of humanity in disregard of national boundaries, Odongo had to be hosted by the radical Jerry Rawlings, be displaced by the conservative Kofuor, be hosted again by the revolutionary Laurent Kabila and be abandoned by his European-leaning son Joseph Kabila where he succumbed to the maladies of the poor and miserable. For indeed, Odongo was never a refugee in the United Nations sense of the word. Even in exile, he was a politician, a businessman when situations demanded and a freedom fighter at best. He was never just a granary of knowledge about change for the better, he lived every idea he knew about change.

As we continue hoping for the exhumation of the body of Odongo for a decent burial in Kenya, our people must be wondering why his death could not provoke even a hypocritical message of condolence from the mainstream quarters. Having been an underground politician myself, I am aware that Odongo had several contacts among people who are presently in the ruling coalition. Some were leaders of armed groups in the fight for change during the KANU leadership. Those in the civil society must keep their distance from being associated with violent forms of human rights advocacy lest the Reebok Award givers and donors spot them.

As for politicians, the reason lies in the substance of his politics. He believed in the ideals of social equality and even distribution of national resources. Kenya being a country that leads in Africa with regard to the gap between the rich and the poor had to find it uncomfortable in honoring a man who spend his whole life trying to supplant architects of Kenya's social disorder. He has to suffer the fate of social transformers. And as happened to Patrice Lumumba and Che Guevara, Odongo's remains had to be thrown in an unmarked grave. Just as the ruling elite of Che's mother country Argentina celebrated his death, similarly Odongo's death can only be a subject of murmurs and may be celebration in the privacy of the ruling elite. Its only the poor of Kenya and revolutionaries all over the world who will tearfully note the death of one of their own. As the curtains close on Odongo, his sympathizers may find solace in what Lumumba wrote to his Congolose people when his own death was nigh; "History will one day have its
say. It will not be the history taught in the US, UN, Washington, Paris or Brussels. However but the history taught in the countries that have rid themselves of colonialism and its puppets."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Survey Says Kenya Corruption As Bad As Ever

A new study of corruption in Kenya shows there has been little progress despite repeated promises by President Mwai Kibaki's government to crack down on graft. Everyday, Kenyans can expect to pay bribes at least a couple of times a year.

The report from Transparency International's Kenya branch says that Kenyans have largely come to accept the petty corruption that is part of their lives. They can expect to pay at least 2.5 bribes each year, double what they paid in 2005.

The trend is a setback, because President Kibaki came to power in part on his pledges to eradicate corruption, which ranks 142nd among 163 countries on Transparency International's global corruption list. Posters have been put up in offices and on billboards to raise public awareness, but to little effect.

Yet the anti-corruption drive has slowed down, and many government ministers have been embroiled in allegations of graft.

"Looking at the statistics that we received from this report, the situation is as bad as it was four years ago," said Richard Leakey, the head of the Kenya branch of Transparency International.

"The Kibaki government seems to have been totally unable to address corruption at the basic level. It's clear that you can deal with corruption and an awful lot of it has to do with making people more aware and participatory," he continued.

According to the survey, the biggest bribes were paid when high school students sought to enroll in Kenya's overcrowded university system. People also reportedly paid large bribes when seeking jobs. And Kenya's police force was seen as the most corrupt agency in the country, the sixth year in a row it has attained that dubious honor.

The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, which will soon release its own figures, says the public is partly to blame because people who are stopped by the police will often offer a bribe to avoid long court proceedings.

The Anti-Corruption Commission's spokesman, Nicholas Simani, says people must learn to say no to paying bribes.

"Majority of the general public, they're the ones who basically induce this kind of activity. So we need to have a two-way understanding here," said Simani. "You can say the police are the most corrupt, but they are being corrupted because the public actually are the ones who are also giving it out. So the public also needs to be educated on this. Then we are saying that both of them are guilty. The giver and the taker is guilty of an offense."

Transparency International did not touch on larger issues of government corruption. For the report, the group asked 2,400 ordinary Kenyans across the country about their perceptions of corruption and whether they thought it had eased.

Kazi gani?

* A Sh360 million helicopter servicing contract in South Africa. Military officers had argued that the contract was too extravagant and servicing the helicopters could be done locally. Kenya Air Force (KAF) went ahead to spend Sh108 million as a down payment for servicing the Puma helicopters, whose tail number is logged as 418 at Denel Aviation, a South African firm.

* In 2003, the military was split over plans to buy new Czech fighter jets. The plan to buy the jet fighters would have cost taxpayers Sh12.3 billion.

* A Sh4.1 billion Navy ship deal. A Navy project was given to Euromarine, a company associated with Anura Pereira, the tender awarded in a process that has been criticised as irregular. The tender was worth Sh4.1 billion. Military analysts say a similar vessel could have been built for Sh1.8 billion.

* The Kamanis were also involved in a deal to build a CID forensic laboratory. On June 7, 2004 an amount of $4.7 million was wired back. The payment was a refund against the money paid for the Criminal Investigations Department forensic laboratory. Another Euro 5.2 million was paid back in respect of the E-cop project, which involved computerisation of the police force and the installation of spy cameras in Nairobi by Infotalent Systems Private Limited.

* The Prisons department lost $3 million after contracting Hallmark International, a company associated with Mr Deepak Kamani of Kamsons Motors, for the supply of 30 boilers. Only half of the boilers were delivered – from India and not the United States as had been agreed.

* The construction of Nexus, a secret military communication centre in Karen, Nairobi. The Government spent Sh2.6 billion (US$36.9 million) to construct the complex. Three years later, military personnel have not moved into the centre. A phantom company, Nedermar BV Technologies, which is said to have its headquarters in Holland, implemented the secret project situated along Karen South Road. Nedermar is linked to businessman Anura Pereira. However, Pereira has denied this. The tendering process for the Nexus project was circumvented as DoD's Departmental Tender Committee. Funding for the project was made through the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The complex is currently headed by Colonel Philip Kameru. Nexus was first meant to be an ammunition dumpsite before it was turned into a military communication and operations centre. Construction continued without any site visits by either the DoD staff or Ministry of Public Works officials. The Nexus project was implemented during the tenure of General Joseph Kibwana.

* In 2005 plans to buy a sophisticated £20 million passport equipment system from France. Here government wanted to replace its passport printing system. The transaction was originally quoted at 6 million Euros from François Charles Oberthur of Paris - the world's leading supplier of Visa and MasterCards, but was awarded to a British firm, the Anglo-Leasing and Finance Company Limited, at 30 million Euros, who would have sub-contracted the same French firm to do the work. Despite the lack of competitive tendering Anglo Leasing was paid a "commitment fee" of more than £600,000. Anglo Leasing's agent is a Liverpool-based firm, Saagar Associates, owned by a woman whose family has enjoyed close links with senior officials in the Moi regime. Company records show Saagar Associates is owned by Mrs Sudha Ruparell, a 47-year-old Kenyan woman. Mrs Ruparell is the daughter of Chamanlal Kamani, the 72-year-old multimillionaire patriarch of a business family which enjoyed close links with senior officials in the Moi regime. Anglo Leasing made a repayment of Euro 956,700 through a telegraphic transfer from Schroeder & Co Bank AG, Switzerland on May 17, 2004.

* The local chapter of Transparency International and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), a government body released a report in February, 2006, stating that between January 2003 and September 2004, the National Rainbow Coalition government spent about $12-million on cars that were mostly for the personal use of senior government officials[9]. The vehicles included 57 Mercedes-Benz, as well as Land Cruisers, Mitsubishi Pajeros, Range Rovers, Nissan Terranos and Nissan Patrols. The $12-million substantially exceeded what the government spent over the 2003/04 financial year on controlling malaria -- "the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Kenya", says the report.

* In late February 2006, the leading newspaper The Standard ran a story claiming that president Mwai Kibaki and senior opposition figure Kalonzo Musyoka had been holding secret meetings. On March 2 at 1:00am local time (2200 UTC on the 1st), masked gunmen carrying AK-47s raided multiple editorial offices of The Standard, and of its television station KTN. They kicked and beat staff members, forcibly took computers and transmission equipment, burned all the copies of the March 2nd edition of the newspaper, and damaged the presses. At KTN, they shut down the power, putting the station off the air. Initially, the Kenyan information minister claimed no knowledge of the raid, but it has since revealed that Kenyan police were responsible. The Ministry of the Internal Security later stated that the incident was to safeguard state security. "If you rattle a snake you must be prepared to be bitten by it," John Michuki said. Three journalists at The Standard, arrested after the critical story was printed, are still being held without charge. The story now also features the bizarre case of two Armenian businessmen, mocked in the press for their taste for heavy gold chains, watches and rings, referred to as Mercenaries, who the opposition says led the raid and had shady dealings with Kibaki's government.

* In November 2006, the government was accused of failing to act on a banking fraud scam worth $1.5bn involving money laundering and tax evasion, reported by whistle-blowers as early as 2004. Investigators believe sums worth 10% of Kenya's national income are involved. A recent auditor's report says the scale of the operations "threatens the stability of the Kenyan economy".

* In November 2006, British Foreign Office minister Kim Howells warned, that corruption in Kenya is increasing the UK's exposure to drug trafficking and terrorism. "People can be bought, right from the person who works at the docks in Mombasa up to the government. (...) This weakness has been recognised by drug-traffickers and probably by terrorists too." Said Howells for the BBC.

* On 31 August 2007, The Guardian newspaper featured on its front page a story about US$3 billion of corruption by the family and cronies of former Kenyan leader Daniel Arap Moi. SThe source of the information was the Wikileaks article The looting of Kenya under President Moi and its analysis of a leaked investigative document ("the Kroll report") prepared for the Kibaki government.

* In September 2007, Wikileaks released documents exposing a 500 million Kenyan shilling .pdf payroll fraud at Egerton University and subsequent coverup, now the subject of ongoing legal dispute in the High Court.

* On the 28th of September 2007, Wikileaks released released 28 investigative documents exposing a US$1.5 billion dollar money laundering fraud by Charter House Bank Ltd. Re-reported in the Kenyan Standard newspaper.

A sneak peak at PNU campaign strategy

A gem I came across on the www. Honestly, the levels of desperation are simply pitiful.

Kibaki supporters,
this is the time to cash on to that Moslem MOU thingy, especially to christians.. confront them with that Mou Pdf article, ressurect memories of the memorandum period, and the argument of islam taking over kenya.

Foward the email to as many christians as you can, engage ODM christians in solid argument, talk about the islamic agenda for africa. Do not get sucked into tribal this, tribal that,…have statistics ready, such as the increase of civil servants salaries, today, free primary school education, self financing country, use empirical facts, facts that can be verified by the blind.

Let these morons continue singing kikuyu this, kikuyu that, after a while people will get tired.

Pwani university is going to be operational soon, ramisi sugar factory will be reopened,,World Bank has just praised the reforms in the kenyan sector, use easily discernible facts. Meanwhile dont get sucked into kikuyu this and that. Leave that for these retards.

Copy and paste that steadman policy to everyone you know.

But use the islam agenda more, the U.S are against these guys, there is no better wave to ride than that of making a pact ‘with the enemy’

screw arguments about moslems being kenyan, we know they are, but thats not the point, the target is raila. he is a flip flopper, today he is in church being annointed by bishop wanjiru, tomorrow he is in a mosque saying allah is the God of Kenya, the next day he is in busia getting annointed by some traditional african church leader.. a spiritual mixture will work against him..

Haya. Let these other morons continue saying mamluki, sijui gikuyu sijui what…development is there for all to see..!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What is Anglo Leasing?

Kiraitu Murungi is one of the closest allies of Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki. He has been accused of attempted cover-up in the Anglo Leasing Scandal, which he has earlier claimed that it was a "scandal that never was".

On February 8, 2006, the BBC World Service aired a conversation between Murungi and former Governance and Ethics Permanent Secretary John Githongo where he appears to be coercing Githongo to drop his investigations on the Anglo Leasing Scandal. He had promised that Anura Pereira would forgive a debt of KSh. 30 million owed by Githongo's father.

Murungi initially maintained that he would not resign his cabinet post despite the allegations of corruption. He claimed that he was innocent and that Githongo's reports are mere propaganda. On the recording, he has commented: "I have listened to the alleged tape recorded evidence. It is truncated, inaudible, insufficient and inadmissible to form any credible proof of the allegations being orchestrated by Mr Githongo". On 13 February 2006, however, President Mwai Kibaki announced that Murungi had resigned to allow full investigation into the allegations. On 14 February 2006, a day after his resignation, Murungi has claimed that he played no role at all to cover-up the Anglo Leasing Scandal. He has blamed his woes on the politics of National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) and the media. However, it later emerged that President Mwai Kibaki had asked him to resign from the Government.

On 15 November 2006 Kibaki reinstated him as Energy minister.

Recently, Dr. Murungaru has been embroiled in a conflict with the British Government following cancellation of his Visa to enter the United Kingdom, due to allegations of corruption in the Anglo-Leasing scandal. He has taken the British Government to court challenging the cancellation of his Visa. He has hired prominent Kenyan lawyer Paul Muite and a group of British lawyers, Mr Rabinder Singh, a Queen's Counsel of Matrix Chambers, London, Mr Richard Stein, a senior partner in Leigh, Day and Company and Ms Tessa Hetherington, a junior counsel of Matrix to represent him.

On 23 November 2005, President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya dissolved his cabinet following a humiliating defeat on a referendum on the proposed constitution of Kenya. The president and his key allies including Dr. Murungaru were campaigning for a Yes vote on the constitution, and they lost forcing the president to reconstitute his cabinet. Many Kenyans speculated that Dr. Murungaru may not be re-appointed back to the cabinet owing to his tainted image. He is viewed by many as corrupt and arrogant, and many people have cited this could be a contributing factors to the Government's loss in the referendum.

On 22 January 2006, John Githongo named Murungaru as one of three top politicians (with Kiraitu Murungi, former justice minister and present energy minister; and finance minister David Mwiraria) as being involved in scams worth $600M. On Wednesday, 1 February 2006, Finance Minister David Mwiraria announced that he was stepping down as a minister and a member of cabinet to pave way for investigation. The news were received with joy by many Kenyans, though some saw him as a scapegoat who has been sacrificed to protect a president whose support has been waning. Meanwhile, Dr. Murungaru has remained unrepentant, claiming he has done nothing wrong.

On 16 January 2006 President Kibaki allowed anti-corruption chief Aaron Ringera to request Murungaru to declare and account for his wealth. Murungaru has since moved to court to prevent the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission from investigating, saying fulfilling the commission's request would amount to self-incrimination.

Vice President Moody Awori announced on 2 February 2006 that he was not going to step down from his post despite being adversely mentioned in the Anglo Leasing Scandal. He has insisted that he is innocent, and that nothing short of due process will make him resign his post. He has criticized by many people for defending those involved in the scandal before Parliament.

On February 17, 2006, the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACA) arraigned Dr. Murungaru in a Nairobi court charging him without failing to declare and account for his wealth. The Commission believes that Dr. Murungaru has become too rich too quickly and has been investigating the source of his wealth, especially in relation to the Anglo Leasing Scandal. He denied refusing to declare his wealth, and was released on a bond of KSh. 200,000. On December 1st 2006, the Kenyan High Court determined that KACA's notice to Murungaru was not carried out according the laid down law that subsequently led to the High Court quashing KACA's case against Murungaru. The court did not however stop KACA from investigating Murungaru or anyone else for corruption but insisted that any orders issued by the Commission be done so in a legal manner. Coincidentally, the civil society in Kenya under the banner of Name and Shame Corruption Network (NASCON) held a demonstration in the streets of Nairobi to push for the resignation of more senior people in President Mwai Kibaki's administration. Key among them is civil service boss Francis Muthaura and Vice President Moody Awori.

David Mwiraria: Following revelations that he had been involved in the Anglo Leasing Scandal, he decided to resign his post on 1 February 2006. He has maintained that he is innocent and claims that he is stepping down to pave way for investigations. Despite there being no investigation report clearing Mwiraria, President Mwai Kibaki appointed him Minister for Environment on July 24, 2007.

Mwiraria features prominently in audio recordings released on the internet in 2006 by John Githongo, exiled former Permanent Secretary in the Kenya Government, which indicate Mwiraria was trying to stop Githongo's inquiries into the theft of over 777 million US Dollars in a series of 18 security related contracts, colloquially called Anglo Leasing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The change we want

The change we want is one that allows all Kenyans to benefit, whether in the opposition or in government. There is absolutely no need to lead delegations to State House and ask for institutions, cabinet posts or national holidays and handouts. These are things that people should not beg, bargain or ask for. They should be granted accordingly.

Secondly, I feel bad when I go somewhere and the first question is where do you come from, instead of what are you good at that can take us to a another level as a country.

We want a sense of national pride instead of ethnic pride; a sense of belonging to a country with a diverse cultural mix. In short, we want a RESPONSIVE government with strong institutions because poverty, crime, corruption and unemployment will always be there.

Lastly, we need directional LEADERSHIP, not management that is driven by annual GDP figures, with no keen attention to social and political well-being of the HUMAN capital. At the very least a leadership that makes simple promises that it can keep.

Na kazi iendelee!

"Na Kazi Iendelee" is the slogan for PNU. However, with PNU campaigners choosing to avoid issues and attacking personalities, it only leaves Kenyans guessing which work they are advocating for.

Now since they have decided not to talk about it, allow me to remind you the work they have been doing, and which they wish to continue should Kenyans decide to give them a second chance:

1. The work of covering-up corruption in the form of Anglo Leasing, that saw John Githongo pushed from Office of the President, to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and finally to exile. If Githongo was still around, the Kroll Report that was leaked to the Guardian paper would have been made public a long time ago and action taken accordingly.

2. The work of appointing Goldenberg Commission of Inquiry, that used up millions of shillings, and nothing came out of it. How many people have been charged?

3. The work of spending millions of shillings in the Bomas Conference, only for the draft document to be watered down by Kiraitu and delivering the doctored Wako Draft. Remember they promised a new constitution within 100 days of coming to power. The referendum was 1,116 days later!

4. The work of wasting state resources in campaigning for the unpopular document in what was called "the government project of selling bananas".

5. The work of importing mercenaries that characterised the KTN raid in the name of National Security, after snakes were rattled. The Artur brothers used state resources and enjoyed government security. Do not forget that they were also issued with a return air ticket, paid for by you and me. Resources were also wasted in the Kiruki Commission, which was just another cover-up.

6. The work of importing "freedom heroes" from Ethiopia in the name of peasant farmer Ayanu, to spend Kshs. 1M per day in a 5 star hotel while our own known freedom fighters wallow and die in abject poverty.

7. The work of beefing up security for the "politically correct" while Kenyans die from activities of outlawed gangs such as Mungiki and Sabaot Land Defence, and recently the Chinkororo of Kisii that have raised insecurity to all time shockinglevels.

8. The work of evicting the poor, small-scale traders, hawkers e.t.c., with no regard to human rights and without offering them alternatives.

9. The work of exporting thuggery to neighboring countries, that saw 14 Kenyans shot in Tanzania, after failing to deliver the 500,000 jobs per year flaunted during the 2002 campaigns.

10. The work of recommending chiefs and assistant chiefs for corruption trials, while allowing the big fish to act with impunity. Do not forget that the KACC is drawing millions of shillings in salaries from public coffers with nothing to show for it. Also don't forget that neither Kiraitu nor Mwiraria has ever written a statement in response to Githongo's allegations. This is called "Zero tolerance to corruption".

11. The Work of appointing people from one community, way past their prime and their glory days firmly behind them, to top government positions while Kenya experiences brain-drain as people fly abroad for greener pastures. Ever wondered why Ministry of Defence, Ministry of finance, Ministry of Internal Security, Treasury, Public service and The KACC are headed by individuals from the Mt. Kenya region? Do not forget that Moi was recently appointed as an envoy of something or other. This is called "Vijana na Kibaki".

12. The work of improving the economy by a whopping 6.7 % while the prices of essential commodities such us milk, bread, sugar and flour keeps shooting up with the minimum basic wage remaining the same.

Je, kazi gani iendelee?

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Is Kibaki losing his grip on Central Province?

A letter from a disgruntled Central Kenya Visionary...

Wakikuyu Wenzangu,

It is time for right-thinking Kyuks to speak and enlighten some of our fellow brethren who seem to be brainwashed about the issue of “Only Kikuyus can ever rule Kenya ” and “Only Kikuyus know how to make money”. It is very unfortunate that a great lie is being told that all Kikuyus are Kibaki damu and will vote as a block for him. This is coupled with the other lie that most Kenyans in the Diaspora support Kibaki and his PNU (Panua as it is commonly known out here). It is an open secret that Kibaki and his PANUA party do not enjoy any sort of support in the Diaspora, let alone in his own Othaya backyard.

It is time we made some facts clear. For starters, Kikuyus have always followed their own like the mice that followed the piped piper. They always tend to believe that as long as you are a Kikuyu, then you are fit to lead, a school of thought that I totally disagree with. Kikuyus are not the only people in this country and it is high time we showed respect to all the other 42 or so other tribes that constitute the great nation commonly referred to as Kenya. Over the last 5 years, Kibaki's government has only concentrated on developing one region of the country i.e. the greater Mount Kenya, by spending billions and billions of shillings on infrastructure while millions of Kenyans die of hunger and illnesses in the North Eastern and other provinces due to lack of food and poor infrastructure in the region. Surely, how can a whole president just sit back and watch as millions of people die of starvation and lack of health facilities in this day and age while in one region, there is an abundance of these infrastructure?

Kibaki was a keen and faithful student of the Kenyatta and subsequent Moi regimes, both of which flourished on and preached tribalism, corruption, nepotism and all sorts of misdemeanours against its citizens. And true to Kibaki’s nature, he has followed suit and adopted the philosophies of his two predecessors by openly encouraging tribalism in the government (Just look at the list of government appointments and you will clearly see what I mean), abetting corruption of the highest order (Anglo leasing and other financial scams that have been created in the last 5 years) and encouraging nepotism within the public service (Kibaki’s 2nd wife, the NARC-K activist, was appointed and given a government position). Kibaki himself, as much as he would want people to see him as a champion reformer, his record speaks for itself; during the dark years of the Moi regime, when innocent Kenyans were detained, kidnapped never to be seen again, executed and even killed in cold blood for opposing Moi's dictatorship, Kibaki, who happened to be the vice president them, condoned all these senseless barbaric acts against Kenyans and never, not even once, did he stand firm and oppose the president and his actions. As long as he was given his fair share of the loot, he was very content and watched from the sidelines as many Kenyans died for no apparent reason. Is this the kind of person you would trust with the leadership of the country for another 5 years? As long as everything is going his way and he is reaping from where he has not sown, he turns a blind eye on the innocent Kenyans who are suffering. At the same time, Kibaki happened to double up as the minister for finance when the Moi regime openly looted the country's coffers and raped Kenya’s economy, bringing it to knees. Kibaki then, as the minister for finance, together with Moi and his cronies, stashed their ill-gotten wealth overseas; money stolen from innocent tax payers money and unsuspecting donors. No wonder this Kibaki guy and his cronies are among the wealthiest individuals in Kenya, despite not having a clear record of how their wealth was accrued.

Now, over the past 5 years, Kibaki has clearly divided the country along ethnic lines to the extent of putting the whole of Kenya on one side and the Kikuyu’s on the other. It is so difficult being a Kikuyu in this day and age as every one seems to hate us for one reason or another. But to be honest, I sincerely do not blame Kenyans for hating us Kikuyus. I put the blame squarely on Kibaki and his cronies. For some reason, the likes of Kibaki, Michuki, Karume and that ugly bitch of a minister Martha Karua. These guys have single-handedly alienated the Kikuyu from the rest of Kenyans with stupidity and arrogance that is second to none. Throwing insults with maximum ease at anyone else who is not a member of “the greater mount Kenya” because they think that we are the chosen tribe. Well, let me be honest and frank with these tribal leaders and just give them a piece of my mind. The colonial days are over, and Kenya is a free state; we no longer need tribal chiefs and home guards (this is specifically to Michuki, Karume and Nyachae) and people are more educated and enlightened. This is the 22nd century. You all should retire and go mind you herds of cattle and sheep or whatever it is that you have looted from the innocent, decent and hard-working Kenyans (me, a very pissed off Kikuyu, included).

I have been following the campaigns closely, and to be honest, initially, I never liked Raila and what he stood for. Especially when he said he was going to introduce majimbo, I nearly fainted. After that, I took time to educate myself on what this Majimbo thing is all about and why people say it is bad for our country. Apparently, it turns out that Majimbo (federalism) as described by the world-renowned Oxford advanced learners dictionary that was researched, compiled and written by none other than the English themselves, is a system of government in which several states (provinces) come together or unite but retain considerable over their own internal affairs. Now, the other day, I was listening to Kibaki and his bunch of uneducated and stupid henchmen by the names Dick Wathika, (who apparently talks like a retard), Livondo aka Mr. Money Bags (who does not know how to read and cannot construct an argument to logically reason with a 10 year old), David Mwenje (the thickest man in Nairobi) Kamanda (I really don’t know where to place him) and other goons who cannot be referred to in this letter for fear of spreading stupidity to our dear readers, shout to the top of their voices that majimboism is another term for tribalism.

Now surely, looking at the definition from the oxford dictionary, I did not come across anywhere in the definition where with the good men from England (who apparently speak English as their mother tongue and develop the term in contention) equating federalism to tribalism. So would Kibaki’s henchmen please tell us where this definition comes from? Unless kibaki has developed his own dictionary that has been author by the PNU elite, I truly disagree with his definition. Furthermore, Kibaki has been at the fore front of campaigning against majimboism saying the way it is bad for the country and spreading all sorts of propaganda about it. Fast forward to the launch of the PNU manifesto over the weekend and Kibaki clearly states that his government will introduce “majimbo” system that will distribute resources equitably to all regions of the country. First, ODM were the first to propose this system and then ODM –K followed suit. Now, the clueless kibaki and his bunch of uneducated foolish cronies have joined the band wagon. My question is, this is someone who is clearly undecided on what he wants, and if he was truly serious, he should not have waited for ODM to propose the majimbo system for him to suddenly realize that resources have to equitably distributed to all regions of the country (as opposed to only one region as has been the norm) but would have implemented it on the very first day he was sworn in as the president of the republic of Kenya. This clearly shows that Kibaki is unsure of what he wants and does not have the interest of the country at heart. He just wants to be re-elected president so he and his tribal kinsmen and friends can “endelea na kazi “of continuing to loot the resources of the country.

I am really tired of these wazee’s in leadership who often who have very little to offer to us progressive Kenyans. They always tend to bring us down. As much as Kibaki is my kinsman, I am truly not voting him. There are other 42 tribes in this country and any one from any of those other tribes has an equal chance of leading this country. The presidency of Kenya is not the reserve of “the house of Mumbi” and we really need change in the country. We are the only country in the region which is still clinging on the old, neocolonialist leaders who have nothing new to offer us (as the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks). For this reason, I would urge all my fellow right thinking kikuyu brothers and sister to vote for change. It is time to stop thinking along tribal lines and look into the future. We need to develop a better Kenya where we shall be proud to raise our children in and be able to provide for them all that they will ever want. So please, vote for change and discard the tribal thoughts.


Ndirangu Maina

Monday, November 12, 2007


Obviously, we can all enjoy the freedom to associate Raila with all the present and former dictators of the world. The problem, however, is that right now, there will be an almost zero audience outside of Central Province. The only concern is that PNU supporters seem hard pressed to understand why many Kenyans are considering voting out Kibaki. Well, fellow Kenyan, let's sample these:

Remember: In 2002, Raila and team tirelessly campaigning for Kibaki while he was bedridden? Remember afterwards, Raila taking the road to Nyeri for Kabaki's first home coming as president? Remember him mobbed by crowds in Central Province along the way and referred to as "Njamba" (hero)? And only now he is a dictator, a fascist and so on. Was Raila a hero only because he was supporting Kibaki?

Remember these words: "The era of roadside policy declarations is gone"? Those were Kibaki's gallant declaration in his inaugural speech soon after he was handed the instruments of power. He was telling Moi to the face that the culture of goodies (read- districts, colleges etc) is dead. FACT: Kibaki has literally dished out more districts and colleges by the roadside in less than five years than Moi ever did in his twenty four.

Remember: Kenyans voted in Kibaki (among other issues) on a corruption platform? Remember Kenyans' distaste for Goldenberg? Well, it took Moi and team almost 24 years to produce Goldenberg. Now contrast this: it only took Kibaki and team one year to produce Anglo Leasing!

Remember MOU? Was that not trashed as soon as Kibaki's henchmen took over? In their short memory five years is equal to infinity! Now they are running around like headless chicken asking us for one more term. Imagine the arrogance of the second term knowing that the "Dear leader" will not need our votes again. Remember Matere Kereri, this late in the day, taunting Kenyans that he advised the president soon after election to trash-out the MOU? What was that for? Where I come from, you don't continue beating up a man stretching out an arm for mercy.

Remember: We thought after Moi, we were done with commissions of inquiry. Under Kibaki, haven't we witnessed one commission after another? Didn't commissions start inquiring into the work of others that came before them? At least Moi used to tell us the finding of a commission however compromised. Kibaki does not even bother to reveal the find after spending fortunes of tax payers' money.

Remember: Lucy Kibaki, taking control of Nation News Rooms in the wee hours of the night? Abusing and beating up professional journalists? FACT: Like many Kenyans, those poor journalists are mothers, fathers, daughter and sons to different Kenyan families. They go to work every day/night so that their families can have decent lives. Needless to say, they were embarrassed by the indignity meted upon them in front of cameras while their children, husbands, wives and parents watched from their living rooms. Fellow Kenyans, did we troop to the polls to elect Kibaki so that Lucy can demean our brothers/sisters with impunity in full view of their own children and loved ones? We say NO! Kibaki's tells us Kazi iendelee? Kazi ya kuchapa wazazi mpele ya watoto wao?

Remember: "The Armenian Brothers" taking control of East African Standard News Rooms and a few days latter beating up workers in our biggest airport? Remember those criminals calling our countrymen NIGGERS... on our own soil? Remember they had government (GK) number plates on several of their cars? Remember they were openly in possession of government issued firearms and police uniforms? And Kibaki wants us to sing Kazi iendelee? Kazi ya Mamluki?

Remember "Rattle The Snake"? Did we elect a snake or a government? To whom was the bite from the rattled snake directed to? The very people who voted Michuki's boss to office? What a short memory! They quickly forgot that they twice tried unsuccessfully? Third time lucky, Kenyans voted the Kibaki team - they then quickly metamorhosized into snakes!

Remember Moi being accused of tribalism in public appointments? Now compare Moi and Kibaki head-to-head on the extent of this vice. Was there a time in Moi's 24 year rule when all heads of all key ministries (Finance, Internal Security, Defense, and Education) were from Rift valley, let alone being Kalenjin? Today, not only are all ministers from the same community, so are all the PS's, all the Under Secretaries and all heads of departments. Add KRA and Central Bank to the list. Amazingly, all this tribalization was achieved within three years of Kibaki's presidency! FACT - It took Moi twenty-four years to achieve some sort of semblance of Kibaki's tribalism.

Remember the government of the day has been trying to counter tribal accusation by circulating a list of "Other Kenyans" - outside Central Province - in public appointments. Isn't it laughable that our national government is bold enough to compare public appointment of one Province against public appoints offered to all other Kenyan communities? And to be fair, the list actually compares very well. Meaning the rest of the country together has a somewhat equal appointment tally to a single province. Isn't a pity that Muslims are asked to hand in their resumes for consideration 90 days to the end of the president's term? Where was he all these years? Did he just remember that some Kenyans are Muslims?

Remember Livondo, he who cannot read a written speech? Remember that he has four AP bodyguards provided for by the government? FACT: While women and children in Mt. Elgon are being butchered, the government affords Livondo four government solders ready to shoot at the public as they did in Western Kenya.

Now I know you must remember this. Remember Nyachae with his war cries? Inspecting a guard of honor mounted by his rag-tag militia in full view of cameras? Didn't the thugs make good their threat by attacking three respectable politicians just moments latter? Again, in full view of the cameras?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

KEN REN: the scandal that dies hard

While researching the notorious Russian MI-17 helicopter overhaul contract, we came across a puzzling exchange in the Parliamentary Hansard of June 26th 2007.

The scene opens with Joe Nyagah, MP for Gachoka in a full frontal engagement with John Michuki, the Minister for Administration and National Security over the 12.8 million dollar helicopter overhaul contract that was awarded to the highest bidder. At issue is whether or not Mr. Nyagah is in a position to give the true facts over helicopters. Joe Nyagah suddenly shifts gears and thanks the government in the ultimate back-handed fashion. If he intended to silence Mr. Michuki, it worked.

“Mr. Deputy Sir, I wish to thank the Government for wishing to repay the [sic] Kenden loans. As we know, Kenden collapsed in 1970’s. I see that from this year, we will start repaying those loans dating back to 1970’s.”

Mr. Nyagah’s thanks cannot have gone down well at all. He had raised a gigantic bogey from the past. The distant past - three decades ago.

Ken Ren Chemical and Fertiliser Company; a 30 year-old scandal had re-emerged, with less than 4 months to go before the 2007 presidential election.

A thumb nail sketch of Ken Ren:
In its hey-day, Ken Ren was the Goldenberg and Anglo Leasing of Kenyan public sector corruption. It had a mix of local and foreign players and was shrouded in mystery. Shrouded in mystery, for a generation of Kenyans, Ken Ren is almost completely unknown.

In the early 1970’s, a decision was made to enter into a joint venture with an American Company to establish a fertiliser processing plant at Mombasa, on the Kenyan Coast. The company was called Ken Ren Chemical and Fertilizer Company. The government was both a shareholder and a guarantor for the factory. The deal collapsed in scandal and the factory was never built. The company ended up in liquidation and embroiled in litigation in Europe. At the heart of parliamentary and public scrutiny, was the role of treasury, then headed by Mwai Kibaki, as Minister of Finance.

What we know of the litigation:
Information on the litigation is hard to come by. Nevertheless, research reveals two cases. In the first, SA Coopee Lavalin v. Ken Ren Chemicals and Fertilisers Ltd, a U.K. House of Lords decision of 1994, the court records the plaintiff as a Belgian company who had contracted with the Kenyan defendant (Ken Ren) to build a chemical plant in Kenya. When a dispute was referred to arbitration by the ICC in London, the Belgian company sought security from Ken Ren, which had become insolvent, on the ground that Ken Ren’s backers (which included the Kenyan Government) were unlikely and could not be forced to pay costs, should Ken Ren’s claim at the ICC fail. The House of Lords agreed to order security, partly on the basis that the insolvent Ken Ren was being funded by the Kenyan Government.

The second litigation ended more recently. The ICC Arbitration proceedings, Republic of Kenya vs. Bawag of Austria, resulted in an award against Kenya in November 2000; and heralded the beginning of the re-entry of Ken Ren into the public consciousness.

Fast Forward to 2007:

Soon after Joe Nyagah’s altercation with John Michuki, on July 11th 2007, Peter Kenneth (Assistant Minister for Finance) tabled a list of all loans signed by the Government of Kenya between January 1963 and December 31st 2006.

On this list there are two Ken Ren related loans. Unpaid loans. Collectively, they are worth just over Ksh. 4.3 billion. The questions rapidly follow:

• Why would we have such loans on our books, in 2007 if the Ken Ren Fertiliser Company was never built?

• Why do the budget estimates provide for a payment of at least Ksh.268m on principal and interest payments for Ken Ren, which by all accounts ended in failure 30 years ago?

• Why should Kenyans pay for a 30 year old dud project?

• Who was responsible for getting us into this debt, in the first place?

The Ken Ren Debts:

It is possible to depict the Ken Ren debts in tabular form. The information below is derived from public domain Kenyan Ministry of Finance documents including the list of loans signed between 1963 and 2006, the statement of public debt and the budget estimates 2007/8. Ken Ren, it would appear, has been hidden in plain site.

Creditor: Austria –Bank Fr Arbeit und Wirtschaft AG (BAWAG)
Date: November 14th 2000
Purpose: Ken Ren Fertiliser Company Restructuring Agreement
Amount: Ksh 1.4 billion (Euro 16.63 million)
Outstanding June 2005: Ksh 1.48 billion
Repayment Terms: Loan of Euros 16,635,156 payable semi-annually commencing 30 September 2003 and ending 31 March 2014 as per agreement dated 14 November 2000
Budget 2007-8 Provision: Principal redemption Ksh 192,982,604Interest Ksh 75,644,019

Creditor: Belgium - Ducroire
Date: ICC Award November 6th 2002
Purpose: Ken Ren Rescheduled debt agreement (No. ii)
Amount: Ksh 2.89 billionEuro 32.5 million
Outstanding June 2005: Ksh 2.85 billion
Repayment Terms: Loan of Euros 32,520,319 repayable in 21 semi-annual instalments the first falling due on 31st December 2003 and ending on 30th June 2015

Bearing in mind that our public debt accounted for 50.5% of our GDP in 2006, is it not time Kenyans started asking pointed questions about Ken Ren and other odd debts?

Especially now in this is election year, as Minister of Finance Amos Kimunya continues to borrow at unprecedented levels – even while an 11 country study by the World Bank study rates Kenya’s debt management capacity as weak (Business Daily, July 10th 2007).

Exactly how dangerous is Raila Odinga?

By Wafula Buke
When Mr. Musikari Kombo said Mr. Raila Odinga was "one dangerous man" during the Kibaki Tena launch at Nyayo Stadium, he brought to the fore the issue of divergence in outlook by those who get involved in politics to a new level.

I recalled my dealings with the two gentlemen in relatively similar situations at different times. In 1992 when I arrived in Bungoma from exile, in an effort to integrate me into local politics, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi took me to Wamalwa Kijana and Mr. Musikari Kombo. "I think it will be necessary for us to move around with Buke. This is the only way we can ensure that the Government does not pounce on him," said Kituyi. He argued that my association with them would draw the requisite solidarity in the event of an arrest.

Kombo quickly spoke: "Chairman, it is dangerous for us to move with him. Let him go back to his hiding place as we await the State’s reaction to his homecoming." Wamalwa had to agree with Kombo, the richest man in their midst. Wamalwa added that it was not "safe" for them to tour the district with me.

Kituyi tried to convince them, but to no avail. Needless to say, I was confused. What kind of democrats were these who were not prepared to defend one of their own? Between the Government and I, who was dangerous?

The driving force behind our reformist political efforts had all along been hinged on the notion that the Government was endangering the social integrity of the nation.

My victimization during the 1995 Fera crackdown led me to see the difference between Raila and Kombo. While in prison, Kombo and his regional colleagues made no efforts to secure my release or safety under the pretext that it was "dangerous" and "unsafe" to show solidarity with me.

Having failed to secure support from those she considered my allies, my wife sought the intervention of the man Kombo recently referred to as "one dangerous man". I had never talked to Raila or met him in person. My wife paid him a visit in his Kisumu office, where she poured her heart out concerning my frustrations and how I had been let me down by those I trusted.

Raila told her to wait for his call as he left for Nairobi. He called her the following day and told her that I would be released in three days. She did not believe him but true to his word I was released. That ended my 49 day ordeal in custody.

To this day, I have never known the magic he played to secure my release.

I am also reminded of what Titus Adongosi's mother asked Raila when he visited her in the company of Mr. Kenneth Matiba in 1997. "I am told you were with my son in prison, who killed my son?" she asked crying. When Raila pledges to institute the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, he speaks for those who were determined enough to "cut the Mugumo tree with a razor blade". Kombo and Mr. Simeon Nyachae, on the other hand, are still prisoners of fear and incapable of seeing Kenya under Raila.

Raila's footprints on the history of the struggle for a better Kenya should not be a basis for subjective accusations. As the establishment struggles to tag reformers with distasteful labels, other questions must be asked. Where were Kombo and Nyachae during the struggle to return this country back to multipartism?

An American black political activist, Mumia Jamal, succinctly says: "When you don’t oppose a system, your silence becomes approval for it does nothing to interrupt the system." If these alliances of conservative individuals under a conservative Head of State can achieve the little or much we see today, how much more shall Kenyans achieve under a crusader for social change like Raila with his team of "dot coms"?

The stories of Kombo and Raila can be likened to those of the vulture and the leopard. He should be warned that in the absence of the leopard the vulture must learn the ways of the leopard or perish. To those who deride strugglers for social liberation, take heed from Mandela’s epigram:
"To overthrow oppression has been sanctioned by humanity and is the highest aspiration of very free man."

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Blast from the past: some annonymous predictions made circa June 2007

Here are some predictions made earlier this year. The source is unknown, but they are pretty exciting. Some have come to pass, others have bombed, others are yet to come and others never may. Judge for yorself...

1. Kibaki will run again for presidency. Despite all his efforts and the wishes of his kitchen cabinet, he will lose the December election by a wide margin.

2. KANU will reemerge as a formidable force, as Kalonzo Musyoka runs as her torch bearer.

3. Prior to this, Kalonzo Musyoka will leave ODM-K with the excuse that the primaries were not democratic.

4. Prior to this Raila Odinga will win the ODM-K primaries and run as her presidential candidate.

5. Prior to this, Uhuru Kenyatta and Nicholas Biwott will be reconcilled by Daniel T. Moi, who will also prevail on them to woo Kalonzo back as the torch bearer. In real time, predictions 3 and 4 have already happened.
(Remember that the only reason Kalonzo left KANU was due to the failed 'Uhuru Project.' Moi always believed that his tribe should not rule soon after his reign. For his own comfort, he tried Uhuru and there was disaster. Mudavadi is now a principled man, and will not go back to KANU. Indeed Kalonzo believed he could be president even before KANU swallowed 'Tractor.' Moi is still a master planner and has learned from his blunder. He has said "Kalonzo Tosha!" Uhuru has agreed. In calling the KANU delegates conference to converge in a few hours, UHURU is about to save his face, lest people conclude he never matured. It was assumed that he had become his own man when he disregarded Moi's advice and led KANU into ODM-K.

6. Ruto, Mudavadi, Balala will stay in ODM-K. Others more will stay.

7. Charity Ngilu and Paul Muite and others will join ODM-K and will not run for the presidency.

8. Raphael Tuju, Joseph Kamotho, Uhuru Kenyatta, Charity Ngilu and Musikari Kombo will not win elections in their constituencies. Muite will be the only one to win as an MP who is not pro Narc-K in Central province.

9. The sun will set on Kenya's 2nd president. He will not live to see how KANU fared in the next elections.

10. There will not be a clear winner in the December elections between Raila Odinga of ODM-K, and Kalonzo Musyoka of KANU. NARC-K will be a distant 3rd. Unfortunately the decision will be made by the High Court of Kenya.

11. On the brighter side, Kenya will have her first Prime Minister next year. It will be a woman. (Her name was revealed to me but it is this part that is not clear)

12. Generally between June and August, the wildebeest congregate and prepare to cross the famous Grumeti River to enter Kenya's Masai Mara. Some do not make it. Likewise, the politicians are in a similar situation. The first defection has already taken place and benefited NARC-K, the second DP. Most defections will not make an impact except one.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Are you planning to shift from Lang'ata? Hon. Raila Odinga answers your questions

QUESTION: You said secondary education will be funded by stolen taxpayers’ money in overseas bank accounts; how long will it take you to recover this money?
Lugohe Humphrey,

ANSWER: I meant that this country can afford free secondary education if we recover stolen public funds and seal all the loopholes that have enabled the funds to be siphoned out of the country. I intend to seal loopholes in the current system that has seen Sh50 billion siphoned out. It is from these savings that not only free secondary education will be funded, but also other social amenities such as health and decent housing.

Some ODM leaders close to you have been implicated in corruption and funds mismanagement; will you appoint them to the Cabinet?
Gitari Njagi,
Kasarani, Nairobi.

The Constitution guarantees that all of us are innocent till proved guilty, and appointments to the Cabinet are subject to one being elected MP first. It’s true that some of our members have pending court cases relating to corruption. My government will respect the rule of law, and if any of our members is found guilty then justice will take its course.

I must stress, however, that witch-hunting in the guise of fighting corruption will not be entertained.

You have talked about reducing the prices of commodities, which is a good idea, but how do you plan to address the issue of high production costs?
Eric Wekesa,

Consumer prices for most basic items have skyrocketed in the past four years. During my vision launch, I said my priority will be infrastructure, infrastructure and infrastructure.

I propose to lower the cost of production by investing in physical infrastructure. The railway system, to which previous regimes have not added an inch, must once again be the primary means of large-scale, heavy-load transportation as the costs involved are lower than those by road. I will also modernise the port of Mombasa and transform it into a duty-free port modelled on the Dubai one.

I will invest more in the energy sector, reduce power tariffs and encourage the use of more biofuels.

If you are elected, how will you ensure that politicians do not position themselves to retain their current Cabinet positions?
Jeff Kens,

The team we have is dominated by people who championed the course of reforms that the Bomas Draft envisaged. We have been joined by other reformists like Mrs Charity Ngilu who are interested in transforming this country. I am contesting the presidency on a platform of complete and real change.

Your biographer seems to suggest that you played a role in the 1982 abortive coup; do you have any regrets?
Munjiru Anne,

The book you are referring to was an independent work that I did not commission. I played no part in the coup attempt. In 1982, I was charged with and acquitted by the High Court of any crime relating to the coup attempt. It’s an insult to the military top brass to insinuate that a civilian can plan a coup within their ranks. More importantly, I regret that lives were lost.

You have promised a new constitution within six months if you come to power; does it mean you will thereafter cede presidential powers to the prime minister?
Nyingi John,

Yes, we will enact a new constitution within six months. We will work closely alongside the Bomas Draft that was mutilated by the current regime. Very soon we shall be unveiling steps we intend to take to unveil a new constitution in six months after taking over the government.

It is said that Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga is being protected by powerful people close to retired President Moi and in the current government, some of whom are said to be in ODM; please comment.
Ken Momanyi,

If Felicien Kabuga is in Kenya while I’m president, I will hand him over to the international court for trial. In my government, the charade of mamlukis will not be tolerated, nor will people in my government be spared if they engage in practices that may lead to ethnic tensions as happened in Rwanda.

Have you signed a memorandum of understanding with running mate Musalia Mudavadi so that, if you win, he will take over from you in 2012?
Bonface Witaba,

My MoU with Mr Mudavadi is in the public domain. He is my running mate, and therefore will be the vice-president in my government. In the Pentagon, I am but the team leader — first among equals.

How will your ideals of social democracy help to address the scandalous gap between the rich and poor in Kenya?
Kabue Njoroge,
Korogocho, Nairobi.

Social democracy, or the Third Way as it is commonly known, instructs that social justice be realised through a capitalist system. I do not believe in the high income discrepancy between junior and senior civil servants. As the Third Way propagates, I will work within the rubric of a capitalist system with a human face. We want to devolve the resources to the grassroots to help alleviate poverty.

We want to empower people who are ready to work hard and make an honest living.

What is your response to the recent claim by Finance minister Amos Kimunya that the drop in share prices at the Nairobi Stock Exchange is due to opinion polls in which you lead?
Renaldo D’Souza,

Mr Kimunya’s remarks are unfortunate coming from the minister responsible for the Treasury and who therefore has the fiduciary duty of calming the market. Stock markets are generally jittery at the end of the year, more so during a general election.

It’s only natural to expect the market to oscillate from time to time, and this ought not to be pegged on the opinion polls. The current index is no different from what was witnessed prior to the 1997 and 2002 general elections, and I know Mr Kimunya does not suggest that both dips were precipitated by President Kibaki’s candidacy.

Don’t you think the Orange symbols being used by the two ODM groups will cause confusion during voting?
Midow Bonny,

Not at all. We in ODM, being the original owners of the full Orange, have noticed that the country will differentiate between the two symbols. The presidential opinion polls also confirm this as the party ratings are almost at par with the candidate’s. We are also going to conduct vigorous civic education campaigns and hope to see the Electoral commission do the same across the country.

How do you intend to protect Kenyan industries from cheap imports from China and other countries?
Dr Kowino J.O,

By engaging in bilateral negotiations with the Chinese government to control the flow of imports. I also intend to empower the Kenya Bureau of Standards to have the capacity to develop standards and actually implement them by carrying out inspections at the ports of entry.

What measures are you going to take to ensure sugarcane farmers and the industry at large contribute to the growth of the economy?
Benson Otieno,

Sugar production plays an integral role in the economy. This regime, just as the past ones, has not given the industry the support it deserves. Other farm produce like coffee and macadamia have received immense financial support from the Government. To remedy the situation, I intend to seek an extension from Comesa to safeguard the quota on the amounts of sugar that may be imported duty-free to protect the cane producers from being swamped by cheap imports.

If you are elected president, how will you deal with ministers who talk ill of your administration from within?
Simon King’ori,

In ODM, we have maintained the principle of unity in diversity. We have always entertained divergent opinions and resolved them internally and amicably. It is the same principle that we intend to apply once in government.

How do you intend to use your Pan Africanist credentials to foster peace and stability in the eastern Africa region?
James Opiyo-Wandayi,

I will walk the path trodden by both Kwame Nkurumah (of Ghana) and (Tanzania’s) Julius Nyerere who dreamt of a United States of Africa. I also enjoy very cordial relations with most of the East African leaders. I intend to leverage this goodwill to bring on board all the protagonists and other like-minded panAfricanists to find lasting peace in the region.

Some ODM supporters say they will stop paying matatu fares and house rents if the party ascends to power; how do you plan to handle the unrealistic expectations?
Joseph Magiri,

In my government there will be no joy-riders. People have to work and pay for the services they get; they must pay all taxes due. Let me add that I have a lot of respect for private property and I have never asked people to stop paying their rents. But I’ve asked landlords not to exploit the housing shortage in Nairobi by increasing rents indiscriminately. I am also a landlord in Nairobi and I cannot ask people renting my house not to pay rent.

Will you have your portrait on the currency if you are elected?
Joe Gituto,


Ethics permanent secretary John Githongo showed commitment to fighting high-level corruption; do you envisage him playing any role in your government’s efforts to fight graft?
Eric Kathenya,

I worked closely with Mr Githongo and I know he is a patriotic Kenyan committed to fighting high-level corruption. I leave it to him to decide if he’ll be happy to serve in my government. If he is willing to serve, then at the appropriate time, we will sit down and find an appropriate position for him. He will be considered alongside other qualified Kenyans who merit positions in the anti-corruption commission.

How will the majimbo system you are pushing benefit a poor province like North Eastern?
Abdiwahid Khalif,

A devolved government entails a deliberate affirmative action that equitably distributes resources to address past unjust allocations and expands the opportunity to create wealth by mainstreaming the rural population’s participation in economic activity.

North Eastern region will get a share of the 60 per cent revenue allocated by the central government to the regions countrywide. North Eastern will then prioritise its development needs and use the funds to meet such needs. The region, as the others, will be allowed to collect local taxes as it deems fit.

It is said that your opponents have imported voters into Lang’ata to vote you out and that you may switch to Bondo; is this true?
Mike Nyagol,

There is some truth in the rumour that my opponents are importing and manipulating the election register in Lang’ata. The Office of the President has bought the register. However, there is no truth in the claim that I plan to move from Lang’ata. I am a national leader who has represented a cosmopolitan constituency since 1992.

A bill was recently passed in Parliament that denies people who leave employment prematurely access to their pensions until they attain age 55. If elected, will you seek to repeal this bad law?
S. Lumidi,

The world over, best practices as regarding pension schemes dictate that contributors be allowed to withdraw some amounts for emergency purposes. In the US, for example, contributors are allowed to withdraw a percentage which has to repaid with interest. I believe such a system can work in Kenya too, especially since our life expectancy is much lower.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Caught in the act: ECK official tampering with Voter Register

ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga has written to the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) demanding an explanation on alleged tampering with the voter register.

In a complaint to the ECK, Mr Odinga said he had received “credible information” that a group of six individuals – four from Central Province, one from Western and one from Coast – under the supervision of an ECK officer, were tampering with the voter register at ECK headquarters. He claimed two Administration Police officers are on guard 24 hours as this was taking place.

“They are operating under a strongroom located on the 13th or 14th floor of Anniversary Towers, the ECK headquarters. The are replacing names of voters in some constituencies with new names and even using those of the deceased,” said Mr Odinga at a Press conference held at Serena Hotel on Thursday.

He said the group was altering the voter register both electronically and manually.

He said Lang’ata and Sabatia constituencies were among those being targeted in a complex plan to rig him out, along with his running mate Mr Musalia Mudavadi. Mr Odinga claimed another group had gone to the AG’s chambers and picked names of the dead which were used to replace the names of living voters in Lang’ata, Sabatia and Mvita.

“The teams have also been transferring people from regions where Kibaki would have no problems (in winning) to areas where he is doing badly,” he added.

At the same time, he took issue with President Kibaki’s failure to consult other political parties when he replaced five ECK commissioners whose terms had expired. Mr Odinga accused President Kibaki of reneging on the Inter Parties Parliamentary Group agreement formulated during the Kanu regime in which he (Kibaki) was party to.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A most undiplomatic act

A strange spectacle unfolded last week involving US ambassador Michael Ranneberger and Labour minister Newton Kulundu. Mr Kulundu launched what appeared to be an unwarranted attack on the US and other Western countries, which he described as the worst violators of human rights in the world. He qualified his remarks by saying they were purely personal.

The ambassadors’s reaction was strangely intolerant. He declined to shake Mr Kulundu’s hand twice, a serious insult to an African, and was very hostile. He described the ministers’ remarks as “ludicrous” and “nonsense”.

The incident left Kenyans wondering. Doesn’t the US pride itself in being the land of the free, where the freedom of the expression of unpopular (or even nonsensical views) is respected?